Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Honor of Being Banned



Via Huffington Post, Cecilia Galante on the honor of having her book The Patron Saint of Butterflies banned:

And herein lies the real honor of being banned: I believe that when someone writes their truth, their real truth, the one that has kept them up at night, wondering if they could put it down on paper, the one that made them weep when they finally did, the one that still haunts them, even to this day, it is an act of courage. The older I get, the more I understand that every act of courage in this world is eventually going to be met by someone who is still afraid. It is those fears that are really behind the banning of books, those closed minds and eyes, which refuse to throw open their own curtains and see their own light.

The Canyon and the River

Cloudy Wednesday Evening



I took this shot yesterday on my way to my server job. I was trying to catch the rays of sunlight pouring of the clouds.

Whaddaya think?

Beau: Tristan MacManus



No, I do not watch Dancing With the Stars, but thanks to Nancy Grace's nipple slippage on the last episode, I was blessed with a sighting of this beauty on Piers Morgan.

Tristan is Nancy's partner, poor man. But, good Lord, he's hot!

And actually this picture doesn't do him justice...because, of course, you can't see his ass!

Thursday Beau: Diego Miguel



Via OHLALA Mag

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amazing Elizabeth



Via Kenneth in the (212)

I completely agree with the quote, but sadly I also agree with Kenneth's comments about Ms. Warren and the state of the country...

I adore Elizabeth Warren and everything she stands for and wish her well in her run for the U.S. Senate. But it's frighteningly reflective of how twisted our nation has become that no matter how many thoughtful and intelligent things she says, it seems nearly 50 percent of Americans still don't want listen to her. Forget about this viral quote throwing (a splash of) cold water on the idea of a "self-made" millionaire, she couldn't even convince half this nation that banks and credit lenders shouldn't have the right(!) to rip off consumers -- of all income levels. I fear for the future, and it has nothing to do with the debt.

Repost: On Carrie Bradshaw's Block 6 Decades of Romance



Thanks to The Closet Professor I got to read this very excellent article:

...a real New York romance played out at the house next door, No. 64, whose plainer facade served as Carrie’s building for the first three seasons of the show, said Tim Gunn, the fashion executive who lived in an apartment there for 16 years. It lasted almost six decades, linking two men from their first meeting at the Rockefeller Center skating rink during World War II until one of them, Harold Eliot Leeds, an architect and professor of interior design at Pratt, died in 2002.

Moffie



Nicholas van der Swart has always known he is different. Unable to live up to the expectations his family, his heritage and his culture have of him, he grows increasingly diffident and introverted. When, at the age of 19, he is conscripted into the South African army, he enters a world that is utterly at odds with his every sensibility. Here, he will face the scorn and violence of his tormenters, but will also find the strength to survive.

Although the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa has gone a long way toward exposing and exorcising some of the atrocities committed in the name of Apartheid, very little has been revealed about the adversities faced by gays under the regime. Set in "Ward 22" during the Angola Bush War that raged from 1966 to 1989 in South-west Africa, Moffie transports the reader into the world of a young gay conscript with evocative realism.

At turns heart wrenching and humorous, told with great sensitivity and infused with hope, Moffie is a long overdue account of a vital subject, place and time.

You can read a review of Moffie here

My Thoughts Exactly



I called this a teabagger masturbation festival on Facebook.

Apparently someone else felt the same.

Bookshelf Made of Books



Via BoingBoing

Lunchtime Beau



Via MensRoom

I'm so freaking horny, I've basically been edging ever since I got to work. :)

World in Our Hands



Via MensRoom

Beau: Men of the Stacks



Via Men of the Stacks

So...to say I wish I could occasionally find a hot naked (gay) guy in my library, is kinda an understatement.

Happy Hump Day



Red and green together? It's sort of like Christmas.

Click over for your hump day hottie

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

YAY: The End of Bullfighting in Catalonia



Via A Humane Nation:

Raphael Minder of The New York Times reported this weekend on the final day of bullfighting in Catalonia in Spain. It was not a nominal or cosmetic change in policy, since bullfighting has been a tradition in this part of Spain.

Minder also reported that bullfighting is flagging nationwide because of the economic downturn in Europe, as well as an end to some industry subsidies long provided by the government of Spain. These are welcome developments, since bullfighting involves demonstrable cruelty for nothing but human entertainment. It’s no different morally from dogfighting or cockfighting, except that the human hand is more directly involved in the torment and the punishment of vulnerable creatures.

I *heart Dubstep



Especially when it's a dubstep remix of a Foster the People song.

Thanks, BoingBoing

Doctor Who vs. Alice



Via Illuminations and Other Stuff

Madonna vs. The Sex Pistols



Via Dangerous Minds

Bullies: We're Glad You're Dead



I'll be very extremely happy when these little fuckers' pictures are published. Fuck justice and turning the other cheek. I want out-and-out life-destroying vengeance!

Via Unicorn Booty:

The parents of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, who was found dead at their home on Sept. 18, indicated in an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Ann Curry on Tuesday that their daughter endured further taunts at a school function immediately after Jamey’s wake. At a homecoming dance she attended shortly after her brother’s death, a potentially poignant moment turned ugly after a song by Lady Gaga, Jamey’s favorite artist, who recently dedicated a song at a concert in his memory.

"She was having a great time, and all of a sudden a Lady Gaga song came on, and they all started chanting for Jamey, all of his friends," Jamey’s mother, Tracy, told Curry. "Then the bullies that put him into this situation started chanting, 'You’re better off dead!' and 'We’re glad you’re dead!' and things like that.

"My daughter came home all upset. It was supposed to be a time for her to grieve and have fun with her friends, and it turned into bullying even after he’s gone."

"I can’t grasp it in my mind," said Tim Rodemeyer, Jamey’s father. "I don’t know why anyone would do that. They have no heart, that’s basically what it comes down to."

Breaking News: Obama Releases $1.89 Billion in Grants for HIV Funding

Via Sayen CroWolf:

Health & Human Services announced today that it was releasing $1.89 billion in grants through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program “to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS continue to have access to life-saving health care and medications.” Approximately $1.213 billion will be sent to states and territories under Part B of the Ryan White Program, with $813 million of that total designated for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Thirty Part B States and Territories will also “receive $40 million in ADAP Emergency Relief Funding (ERF) for the purpose of eliminating or reducing ADAP waiting lists and/or supporting cost containment strategies to prevent implementation of a waiting list,” HHS said. As of Sept. 22, at least 8,785 people in 10 states were on a waiting list to receive life-saving medication.

More here from Instinct

Lichtenstein in Wood



Or, at least, Lichtenstein-esque...

My Modern Metropolis

You Go, Grandson!



Via WickedGayBlog:

Randy Roberts Potts came out, divorced his wife, and has been traveling the country trying to counteract the legacy of his televangelist grandfather — Oral Roberts.

Full story here!

Here's some more on this.

Beau: Kentucky Film Maker, Kentucker Audley

Image via Memphis Flyer

If you are in Lexington tonight, which I know most of y'all ain't, check this out...

We just wanted to send a quick reminder about tonight's screening at the Kentucky Theater. In partnership with Surreelfilm and the Lexington Public Library, and as the final event in this year's Boomslang Festival, we will be showing Lexington native Kentucker Audley's Open Five at 7:30 pm. The film has received glowing write-ups in The New Yorker and Variety, and we are proud to host its Lexington premiere.

Please be sure to stay after the screening for a Q&A with Mr. Audley who, in addition to directing the film, co-wrote and stars in it. The question and answer session should be of particular interest to local filmmakers as Mr. Audley is working outside of the Hollywood system, with small budgets, and achieving tremendous success. This is a great opportunity to hear from an independent writer/director who is making it on his own terms!

The event is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!

For more information, click here.

Tuesday Beau



Via oh yeaaah

Monday, September 26, 2011

Simon Tam Comes Out



First I was all impressed that he was PLAYING gay on The Playboy Club - which I actually liked - but then for him to come out all together. (And doesn't he have a hottie bf in The Playboy Club? I seem to have looked up and there was a half-naked hottie on the screen, which being about The Playboy Club

You know, Sean Maher and I share a Chinese Zodiac sign. :)

Sean via AfterElton:

"I have these beautiful children and this extraordinary family,” Maher says, “and to think in any way shape or form that that’s wrong or that there’s shame in that or that there’s something to hide actually turns my stomach.” Maher kept thinking about what daughter Sophie would say when she realized he was closeted professionally. “What would she think if I said, ‘Oh honey, you can’t come with me to work because they don’t know I have an adopted daughter and they don’t know that I’m gay.’ My children and our family, I’ve really never been as proud of anything in my life. I couldn’t be happier at this point in my life, and I feel like we’ve created this pretty extraordinary family."

Congratulations! :)

Mother Monster Remembers Jamey



Thank you, Joe.My.God.

Breaking: Rep. Barbara Lee Introduces Bill to Decriminalize HIV Exposure

Repost via Joe.My.God.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced a bill that could eventually force the repeal of laws that criminalize exposing others to HIV. Jilted lovers and angry spouses have often been thought to falsely tell authorities that they were never informed of their partner's HIV status.

The bill, called the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act, calls for a review of all federal and state laws, policies and regulations regarding the criminal prosecution of individuals for HIV-related offenses. It then creates incentives for governments to reform existing policies that use the law to target HIV-positive people. Introduced Thursday, the legislation “relies on science and public health, rather than punishment, as the lead response to HIV exposure and transmission incidents,” said Catherine Hanssens, executive director of the New York-based Center for HIV Law and Policy.

In some of the 34 states with HIV exposure laws, a conviction results in permanent classification as a sex offender and a prison sentence of up to 30 years. The above-linked article from Housing Works will help you understand how troublesome the HIV exposure laws can be.

Friday, September 23, 2011

For the Pimply, Fat, Obnoxious Gay Kids Who've Committed Suicide



Via a comment from Tim:

I want to make it clear, however, that there are hundreds of gay kids committing suicide across this nation who are not cute. Who don't have sexy voices.

These are the pimply, fat, obnoxious gay kids. The ones who ugly faces, or pear-shaped bodies, or heavy glasses, or frankly unattractive personalities.

:(

Weekend



I'm very, very excited about this movie. I've shared it with friends, posted it on Facebook. And you probably saw an earlier-today posting with the NPR review. So I thought it best to post the trailer here as well with the link to the Band of Thebes post on it.

Apparently Weekend is getting across-the-boards good reviews which also makes me extremely happy. I also posted the NPR review on the Facebook page for the local "art-house" theater, so maybe, just maybe we'll get the movie here.

*Crossing fingers

More Jamey



Via NYT

It's sad that it takes someone's death to draw them to your attention. I love watching this kid speak: he has a way of talking that would expose him as gay - at least to me - that I find extremely enjoyable. Most of the guys I've dated have the same way of talking: it isn't overly effeminate, but slightly. I'm sad that this guy is gone; that it truly got that bad.

The article claims that he was bisexual, which also makes me feel for him, because as a teen, I was on the bi-now-gay-later plan, and I wonder if we shared that in common.

Also, check out this interview with Dan Savage on why he started the It Gets Better Project.

RIP: Jamey Rodemeyer



Via Joe.My.God.:

Buffalo-area police are considering filing criminal charges against the students who allegedly bullied 14 year-old gay teen Jamey Rodemeyer into killing himself.

No bullying laws exist in New York State, according to Camilleri, so police would have to determine whether aggravated harassment charges fit this case. Whether suspects would be tried in juvenile court would depend on whether the alleged bully was 16 or older, he said. Police said they had spoken with Williamsville School Superintendent Scott G. Martzloff, who has pledged the district's cooperation. "We've heard that there were some specific students, an identifiable group of students, that had specifically targeted Jamey, or had been picking on him for a period of time," Police Chief John C. Askey told the Buffalo News.

Boomslang Festival



Originally Big Freedia was scheduled to take part in this but, sadly, due to a health condition, he's being replaced by the Cunninglynguists. :(

But still...The Tom Tom Club AND the Psychedelic Furs sharing a stage! Cool!

Check out the schedule!

NPR on Weekend



Via NPR:

Weekend, an achingly tender chamber piece from first-time director Andrew Haigh, opens in the finest tradition of atmospheric British realism. The camera lingers on the bleak anonymity of a high-rise housing project edged with brave patches of green, then sweeps us up to the 14th floor of this concrete monstrosity, where lives a great soul yearning for completion.

In his cramped but cozy flat, handsome, bearded Russell (Tom Cullen) puts on new sneakers in preparation for dinner at the home of his best friend, Jamie (Jonathan Race), and his wife. The company is jolly and welcoming, but Russell's sensitive features betray a sense of marginality, possibly self-imposed. On his way home, he stops at a gay bar and picks up Glen (Chris New), an artist. They spend the weekend together, on and off. That's pretty much it for plot, unless you count some fairly explicit sex, sprinkled with drug use and a little perfunctory socializing.

Mostly, though, the two men hole up in Russell's flat, gabbing wondrously about who they are and where they come from and what they want. And as they do, a rich world of longing, self-revelation and disappointment opens up between two strangers who, on the face of things, don't mesh on any level.

Hello, my life. :(

Beau: Nice Nips



Via Yummy of the Day

Beau: The Young Professionals



Is it me, or is the image of a man straightening another man's tie somewhat erotic?

The Young Professionals: check out Soundtrack to My Day

Georgia Killed Troy Davis

I was sick yesterday, and therefore am a little behind, but I did go to my server job, and tried to find out from anyone about Troy Davis.

From Amnesty International:

After a torturous delay of more than 4 hours, the state of Georgia has just killed Troy Anthony Davis.

My heart is heavy. I am sad and angry. The state of Georgia has proven what we already know. Governments cannot be trusted with the awful power over life and death.

Today, Georgia didn't just kill Troy Davis, they killed the faith and confidence that many Georgians, Americans and Troy Davis supporters worldwide used to have in our criminal justice system.

Wende, on our Abolish the Death Penalty Campaign team, met with Troy Davis yesterday to convey the support that he has had from all of you. He asked us to deliver this message back to you:

"The struggle for justice doesn't end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I'm in good spirits and I'm prayerful and at peace."

Let's take a moment to honor the life of Troy Davis and Mark MacPhail. Then, let's take all of our difficult feelings and re-double our commitment to abolition of the death penalty.

It's sad that the same reasons Repubs and Tea Baggers don't support univeral healthcare are the same reasons they support the death penalty: racism. :(

God forbid rich people pay for the upkeep of someone who isn't white.

We're Here For You



I saw becca's post about Adam but I didn't recognize the name until I got emails from other bloggers about SEX AT NOON TAXES.

I also didn't realize how young he is. He seems to be doing better. Click on the link and there's an update from his family.

My thoughts and wishes and prayers go out to him. (Damn! If only I had such a hottie for a friend, bf, or lover!)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Doctor's Companions




Via All aboard the knuckle train to fist planet!

From Alan Hollinghust: Sex on the Brain



Via theguardian:

One line from Alan Hollinghurst's new book, The Stranger's Child, is lodged in my head as I arrive at his Hampstead flat. Daphne Sawle, a key figure in the book, whom we follow from a poetically inclined 16-year-old to a tough old boot of 83, is about to be interviewed by would-be biographer Paul Bryant. "He was only pretending to be a friend," Daphne tells herself, "something no interviewer, probably, had ever been."

Bryant duly writes his book and uncovers all sorts of secrets about Daphne's tangled relationship with Cecil Valance, the Rupert Brooke figure at the centre of the novel, whose memory is fought over for decades after his death. I rather like Bryant – a "little wire-haired ratter", according to Daphne – who becomes increasingly bombastic as the book proceeds. Hollinghurst is perhaps less enamoured of his character, and of biographers who confuse art with life. I ring the bell with trepidation.

Books I'm Excited About

Featured in the September 2011 issue of OUT


We the Animals - Justin Torres

An exquisite, blistering debut novel

Three brothers tear their way through childhood — smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn — he’s Puerto Rican, she’s white—and their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times.

Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense familial unity felt by a child to the profound alienation he endures as he begins to see the world, this beautiful novel reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that is sly and punch-in-the-stomach powerful.

Written in magical language with unforgettable images, this is a stunning exploration of the viscerally charged landscape of growing up, how deeply we are formed by our earliest bonds, and how we are ultimately propelled at escape velocity toward our futures.

The Marriage Plot - Jeffrey Eugenides

It’s the early 1980s — the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the caf├ęs on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.

As Madeleine tries to understand why "it became laughable to read writers like Cheever and Updike, who wrote about the suburbia Madeleine and most of her friends had grown up in, in favor of reading the Marquis de Sade, who wrote about deflowering virgins in eighteenth-century France," real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead — charismatic loner, college Darwinist, and lost Portland boy — suddenly turns up in a semiotics seminar, and soon Madeleine finds herself in a highly charged erotic and intellectual relationship with him. At the same time, her old "friend" Mitchell Grammaticus — who’s been reading Christian mysticism and generally acting strange — resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.

Over the next year, as the members of the triangle in this amazing, spellbinding novel graduate from college and enter the real world, events force them to reevaluate everything they learned in school. Leonard and Madeleine move to a biology Laboratory on Cape Cod, but can’t escape the secret responsible for Leonard’s seemingly inexhaustible energy and plunging moods. And Mitchell, traveling around the world to get Madeleine out of his mind, finds himself face-to-face with ultimate questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the true nature of love.

Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the Novel, while creating a story so contemporary and fresh that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives.

Lightning People - Christopher Bollen

Joseph Guiteau is a working actor who moved to New York to escape a tragic family history in the Midwest. Wandering through a city transformed by the attacks of September 2001, he frequents gatherings of conspiracy groups, trying to make sense of world events and his own personal history. Looming over his life is a secret that threatens to undermine his new marriage to Del, a snake expert at a city park, whose work visa is the only thread keeping her from deportation back to her native Greece.

The new marriage influences the lives of those around them: William, a dark and troubled actor whose sanity is fading as quickly as his career, leading him to perform increasingly desperate acts; Madi, a young entrepreneur who will have to face the moral complications of a business made successful by the outsourcing of American jobs to India; and her brother Raj, Del’s former lover, a promising photographer whose work details the empty rooms of an increasingly alienated city.

Christopher Bollen’s first novel captures the atmosphere of anxiety and loss that exists in Manhattan. It is a story of the city itself, and the interconnected lives of those attempting to navigate both Manhattan and their own mortality.

The Stranger's Child - Alan Hollinghurst

From the Man Booker Prize–winning author of The Line of Beauty: a magnificent, century-spanning saga about a love triangle that spawns a myth, and a family mystery, across generations.

In the late summer of 1913, George Sawle brings his Cambridge schoolmate — a handsome, aristocratic young poet named Cecil Valance — to his family’s modest home outside London for the weekend. George is enthralled by Cecil, and soon his sixteen-year-old sister, Daphne, is equally besotted by him and the stories he tells about Corley Court, the country estate he is heir to. But what Cecil writes in Daphne’s autograph album will change their and their families’ lives forever: a poem that, after Cecil is killed in the Great War and his reputation burnished, will become a touchstone for a generation, a work recited by every schoolchild in England. Over time, a tragic love story is spun, even as other secrets lie buried — until, decades later, an ambitious biographer threatens to unearth them.

Rich with Hollinghurst’s signature gifts — haunting sensuality, delicious wit and exquisite lyricism — The Stranger’s Child is a tour de force: a masterly novel about the lingering power of desire, how the heart creates its own history, and how legends are made.

[The Stranger's Child was on the longlist for this year's Man Booker Prize, but shockingly did not make the shortlist.]

Conversions: Two Family Stories from the Reformation and Modern America - Craig Harline

This powerful and innovative work by a gifted cultural historian explores the effects of religious conversion on family relationships, showing how the challenges of the Reformation can offer insight to families facing similarly divisive situations today.

Craig Harline begins with the story of young Jacob Rolandus, the son of a Dutch Reformed preacher, who converted to Catholicism in 1654 and ran away from home, causing his family to disown him. In the companion story, Michael Sunbloom, a young American, leaves his family's religion in 1973 to convert to Mormonism, similarly upsetting his distraught parents. The modern twist to Michael's story is his realization that he is gay, causing him to leave his new church, and upsetting his parents again—but this time the family reconciles.

Recounting these stories in short, alternating chapters, Harline underscores the parallel aspects of the two far-flung families. Despite different outcomes and forms, their situations involve nearly identical dynamics and heart-wrenching choices. Through the author's deeply informed imagination, the experiences of a seventeenth-century European family are transformed into immediately recognizable terms.

Happy Birthday, H.G.



A Different Stripe, the Tumblr blog for the New York Review Book Classics, posts the first paragraph of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds in honor of his 145th birthday.

(BTW, NYRB publishes an edition of War of the Worlds illustrated by Edward Gorey.)

"No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinse the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most, terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment."

Hottie Hikers Released from Iranian Prison



Via Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Cairo and Tehran — Two American hikers convicted of spying in Iran and sentenced to eight years in prison were freed Wednesday in a legal and diplomatic drama that ended after negotiations over bail and infighting between the Iranian president and the country's judiciary.

Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, both 29-year-old graduates of UC Berkeley, were released from Tehran's Evin Prison after judges agreed to accept a combined bail of $1 million. The Americans were turned over to the Swiss ambassador, who represents U.S. interests in Iran, and were expected to be flown out of the country, although it was uncertain where they were to be taken.

Happy Hump Day



Via Bottom Jay

UPDATE: So it finally happened. I can no longer see this pic. It's been replaced by a black circle with a line through it. So I'm posting it again. Should it disappear, simply click on the link.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Now Reading: The Missing of the Somme



I picked up this book thanks to a suggestion and post by my blogger friend over at Naked Came I:

There is a superb article in today's Los Angeles Times about Geoff Dyer's book The Missing of the Somme. The book was published in the United Kingdom in 1994, but due to his publisher's worries that his first American book might be too "unreachable" by U.S. audiences, due to publication rights falling into the wrong hands, and due to other factors, his book was not published until this year [2011] in America.

Most Americans probably can't tell you in what decade World War I occurred, much less what years it began or ended. Most Americans probably can't tell you why the war was fought, how long it was fought before the United States entered the war, why the United States entered the war, who the top American commander in the war was, or why the war ended. They probably remember who the combatants were (or the main ones, anyway), and might remember the four most notable features of the war. They probably don't know about the war's major innovation (which didn't affect its outcome, but still...). [Click on the link to Naked Came I for the answers - Writer]

Dyer's book is not a history. It's a meditation on memory.

What's fascinating about World War I is that you had no frontline radio coverage, no TV coverage, very little war photography. The war was largely one of memory. People experienced things, then remembered them -- in letters home, in drawings, in stories told to family members, in monuments, in reports to headquarters, in stories told to newspaper reporters.

What's even more interesting is that so many people died in World War I. Deaths totaled 8 million. Permanent, crippling disability affected another 7 milion. And 15 million were seriously wounded. That's HALF of all the combatants. (In comparison, on D-Day, dead and wounded were just 5 percent of the total Allied invasion force.) In Germany, a whopping 15 percent of the total male population died from combat. In the Austro-Hungarian Emprie, it was 17 percent; in France, 10.5 percent. Civilian casualties were even higher. Famine in Germany killed another 1 percent of the population. In Russia, 5 to 10 percent of the population died from hunger.

With such death, who was left to remember? Who from the front lines could remember this battle, or that seige? Few could do so, which left memory -- the memory of the traumatized, the memory of their friends and families, the memory of society at large -- the only keeper of the flame.

The interview with Dyer is really eye-opening. I strongly suggest you read it.

So far it is both amazing and moving.

Tuesday Review: The Princess Bride



It is with some regret and sadness and a little bit of annoyance that I must admit that I am rather disappointed with the book The Princess Brides: S. Morgenstern's classic tale of true love and high adventure: the good bits version. I found the writing flat and in the bits in which William Goldman interrupts the story to talk about the bits of Morgenstern's tale that he is skipping, rather annoying and preachy. Peter Falk you ain't.

I realize that this disappointment comes mostly from spending the last two decades watching the sublime movie based on the book and in some cases, speaking the dialogue along with the movie. And in some way it is the flatness of the book, of the characters that lend it so well to become a movie. The actors imbue the characters with...well, character. Cary "As you wish Westley" Elwes is at his slightly sardonic, slightly smirky best. Robin Wright is perfect as Buttercup, so much so that I did not realize that the actress had ever been in anything else. As for the other actors...well, Andre the Giant IS Fezzik, and Mandy Patinkin is Inigo (well, accept when he's being Che or when he's being Rube). The Princess Bride, the movie, reached a level of tongue-in-cheek perfection (Inconceivable!) that Spaceballs only dreamed of obtaining.

Not so much the book. Yes, I know it's a classic. Yes, I know it's part of the list of 50 books that every teen should read. (And, honestly, maybe that's the problem...I'm definitely not a teen, but still...I can read Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series til world's end, and that's on the same list!)

But, ultimately, reading the book left me with the same feeling that I had while reading Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code (and, yes, I can admit that Princess is galaxies far better than anything Dan Brown could ever hope to write): I felt like the book was the great idea for a movie, and that when William Goldman wrote the screenplay for the movie, he finally got it right.

Matt Smith and "Caspar"



From BBC's Christopher and His Kind

Oh, He's Cute!



Via A soft male collection