Thursday, March 01, 2007

Skins: This certainly was about a boy.

They just don’t make child stars the way they used to. A friend of mine had his moment of fame. He did some television, did some film and even a little Broadway and worked with major talent. He hit puberty and retired.

Apparently these days puberty is the in thing when it comes to acting. Certain Daniel Radcliffe is making the most of his on the West End in Equus showing the world exactly how talented he really is. He’s not alone.

Nicholas Hoult has continued his career in a very steamy way as well. If you don’t remember him he was the boy in the film About a Boy with Hugh Grant and Toni Collette. These days he is steaming up British television is a very racy series Skins. He seems twice as tall and has a rather pleasant metamorphosis.

Now Skins may have more male flesh than you can shake a stick it but the show just isn’t my cup of tea. It a teen oriented show with lots of stupid ass teenagers doing destructive, mean and idiotic things. It basically seems to depict teens as liars, thieves, sex fiends, drug addicts, idiots, vicious, etc. No doubt the teens eat it up. And apparently the show is made for them though with the plot lines they explore it is hard to believe.

I’ve watched two episodes, or to be more precise one episode and bits of another during the commercial break. I actually prefer Boston Legal for entertainment. Skins is closer to soft core porn and the drama they portray is just to sordid for my tastes.

As far as I can see most episodes (based on the two I’ve seen and the commercials) seem to be plot devices so they can strip Nicholas Hoult down to as few clothes as possible. And when they do underwear shots they make sure they are tight, tight brief---none of this puritanical American obsession of Boxers that go from the neck to the knees. And when they do the scene with briefs that is all he has on -- no shirts. I'm not sure anyone watches for the plot.

Based on a rather limited sampling it appears that Mr. Hoult shags someone in every episode but then everyone is apparently shagging everyone in every episode. And the half episode that I saw was no exception. The teens, with two teacher chaperons, are off to Russia for some reason. Except the one female teacher has the hots for one of the boys.

Of course they fall into bed. She tells him she’s not used to shagging her 17-year-old students. He responds: “How old are they usually?”

The main theme, however, seems to be a conflict between two former best mates, Maxxie and Anwar. Anwar is Muslim and makes nasty remarks to Maxxie about him being gay. Anwar is a drug runner who beds a woman he meets in Russia so he’s more a hypocrite than religious or perhaps, that's just the same thing.

Maxxie, played by the ├╝bercute Mitch Hewer (who apparently has no photos on the net), was supposed to room with Anwar but walks out after the unpleasant remarks. He is off to spend the night in Tony’s room, played by Hoult. And now things get rather hot even for the Brits. (And I thought the Brits never had sex. Actually maybe they don’t but their tv characters sure do.)

Maxxie is upset and tries to talk to Tony. But Tony (Hoult) instead offers to give Maxxie some head. Maxxie is rather shocked by this and then Tony grabs him and kisses him full on the mouth rather forcefully. When Maxxie expresses complete shock Tony says: “I’m in Russia. I want to try something new.” Maxxie informs him that he has no intention of being a new hobby like canoeing. Tony responds that he’s already done canoeing. And then Maxxie asks about Tony’s girl friend and Tony replies she’s done canoeing as well.

Commercial break over and I’m back at Boston Legal. I tune in again later only to find Maxxie and Tony standing in the room talking. Tony’s girlfriend is passed out on his bed -- another favorite past time of the teens in the this show. Tony removes his and Maxxie's shirt and starts making out with him. He slides down and unzips Maxxies pants and, from the rear view we are given, spend a couple of seconds giving his gay mate head -- something the girl friend observers silently from the bed.

Maxxie pulls back and says: “Well at least there’s one thing we know you’re no good at.”

Now you see what I mean when I say that this is very, very steamy.

I know that some people in the States get very upset with things like this. Outside of Islamic countries they are about the only Puritans left on the planet. So if they were furious that Daniel Radcliffe appears nude in a play just how do you think they’ll respond if they find out that Nicholas Hoult, who they still imagine as 12 years old, is depicted (though not explicitly of course) as giving head to Mitch Hewer. If you think British television is Monty Python or Brittas Empire then there are other sides to the UK that you obviously don’t know about.

And I’m not even talking about Torchwood (though I will sometime soon but it will take up several pages).

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Called a war hero but left a second class citizen.

Here is a powerful story on several levels. According to ABC News, Staff Sgt. Eric Alva was the first U.S. Marine to be seriously wounded in Iraq. He enlisted when he was fresh out of high school -- just 19-years-old. His father had been in the Army and serverve in Vietnam and so had his grandfather who served in World War II and Korea. He said: “I wanted a bigger challenge” so he joined the Marines.

A decorated officer Alva had done duty in Japan and Somalia and was then sent to Iraq by President Bush. He was leading his men to Basra from their base in Kuwait. The desert was dark that night the sand blowing made it difficult to see. They stopped momentarily and Alva went to retrieve something from his Humvee when the explosion went off. It was a land mine that changed Alva’s life.

Evacuated to Kuwait Alva awoke to find his leg was gone. “It was like a nightmare. And I remember just crying for a few minutes, and I fell back to sleep because the drugs were really heavy.”

The Department of Defense has a web page dedicated to Erica Alva with this headline: “’Credit to the Corps,’ Hispanic War Veteran Honored.” They have a picture of him receiving he Heroes and Heritage Award from Major General Christopher Cortez. It was Cortez who said that Alva was “a credit to the Corps”. He also said: “We are grateful for his faithful service and proud to honor him today.”

Alva was touted as a symbol by the pro-war crowd. When he was transfered to Bethesda Naval Hospital President and Mrs. Bush paid him a visit. Then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stopped in to say hello. So did Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California.

Another visitor, one not noticed so much by the media, was Lois Alva, his mother. Eric’s first impulse was to apologize to her. Two weeks before Alva was sent out of the US to Mr. Bush’s war he decided to fly his mother out to California to see her one more time before deployment. He hadn’t been able to go home for Christmas. The one thing he promised her, as he dropped her off at Palm Springs Airport for her return flight to Texas, was “I’ll come back. I won’t get hurt.”

He hadn’t kept his promise to her. He couldn’t keep his word. He told her: “I’m so sorry I got hurt.” Lois said she could barely breath at that moment and told him all she cared about was that he was still alive. From Kuwait Alva was sent to Germany for surgery but before his surgery he asked to call his parents. He said he wanted to speak to them and to tell his mother he was sorry for not keeping his word.

That night in the desert Alva’s friend, Brian Alaniz, rushed to his side to help his comrade. I knelt down to put together a suction device,” said Alaniz. Alva was in such pain he couldn’t understand what was happening and he temporarily lost his hearing from the force of the explosion so he couldn’t hear what anyone was saying to him.

As Alaniz was helping his friend there was another explosion. He said, “the second explosion went off underneath me”. Alaniz lost his leg in that explosion. “I didn’t realize that it was -- that it was -- that it was Brian that actually got hit that time,” says Alva.

Lois says that Eric feels bad and blames himself for Brian’s injuries because he thinks “if it hadn’t been for him, [Alaniz] wouldn’t have stepped on the mine.” Eric told one news crew: “You think of the what-ifs in the beginning. And if I hadn’t gotten hurt, then Brian would still be -- have both legs... I felt responsible for what had happened to him.”

Alva says: “I went through countless nights of agony and tears but there was never any doubt, I kept faith that I could recover, and I’m still recovering.”

Lois said that lying in the hospital Eric had already been contemplating his future. “I look at Eric having a strong heart; he’s very strong-spirited and not the type to easily give up. He’s talking about working with children with disabilities.” He is now studying for a degree in physical therapy.

Brian Alaniz says he’s learned so much from Eric Alva. “Eric’s a hero for everything that he’s accomplished since his injury. It’s easy when you’re on top. But when you hit rock bottom and then try to climb back up, you know, it really defines who you are and -- and what you stand for.... He inspires me a lot.” Eric says the same of Brian. He says he has become the brother he never had. “I thank him every day for -- for -- for the effort and the job that he did that day.... To me he’s a hero.”

Eric Alva is putting his life back together. He was a marathon runner in the Marines and has been learning how to ski again, without one leg. He’s been asked to join the U.S. Disabled Ski Team. “It’s amazing how quickly I was able to get back into skiing. Cross country skiing was a bit tougher than downhill, though, because I had to use a lot more upper body strength and I’m still getting used to my right arm not being as strong.”

Each week Alva takes time out to speak to various groups about the war. He says at the schools children always want to talk about he guns but that he tries to steer them away and toward more important things. “I want to get across to them that I was lucky to make it home, and others were not so lucky. I also want to motivate them do something with their lives.”

Perhaps that ought to be the theme for Alva’s own life. Here was a young man who wanted to do something with his life. He wanted to make an important contribution. And certainly he has inspired people. The testimonies of his friends and family bear witness to that.

Alva dreamed of running again in the Marine marathon. And he seems like the man can do whatever he sets him mind to do. But he can’t. He is no longer considered fit to be Marine or to serve his country in the military.

He was home one evening spending time with the love of his life, who said to him that Alva lost his leg defending freedom and rights that he himself will never be allowed to enjoy. He was told: “Look at the rights that people are being denied. And look at the rights that you are fighting for. Look at the rights that you put your life on the line for, for this country. And yet you don’t get any of them.”

Alva was shocked, perhaps a little hurt, but he realized it was true. His partner is another ma and Alva is gay. That night he realized: “I’m just a second class citizen who isn’t going to get anything unless I say something. And I’m in a position to do something.”

So war hero Staff Sgt. Eric Alva publicly announced he was gay and that he would fight for the repeal of government policy that prevents men like himself from serving in the military. “There are certain things you do in life at a certain time and a certain place. In my heart, I this this is the right time.”

Some of his friends in the Marines knew his secret. He tells of a night when he was having drinks in a bar with a fellow Marine who commented on some of the women. Alva didn’t say anything and the other Marine made a remark: “Dude, what’s the matter? Are you gay or something?” With two margaritas under his belt he was feeling bold and replied “As a matter of fact I am. So what do you have to say about that, jerk off?”

When the other Marine realized he was serious he told Alva he’d keep his secret. He didn’t. He would tell others and repeatedly he found himself shot down because the other service men didn’t care.

Eric says he just want to “be your regular, average American citizen who has a voice, who has a point to make and wants to empower other people about the rights and equality of what people really deserve in this country.”

Eric Alva is truly a second class citizen. His sexual orientation makes him ineligible to serve the country which honored him for the very service they say he is incapable of giving. He can’t marry his partner. As Eric says: “Any American willing to serve their country shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not the government will give them fair and equal treatment when they return home.” Of course he is right but then neither should it deny them fair and equal treatment even if they don’t enlist in the military.

Equal rights before the law ought to be the birthright of every American. Jefferson’s magnificent Declaration didn’t say that “all men are created equal (except for homosexuals)”.

In one interview he was asked about the wedding band he wears on his hand. He told about his recent flight to Washington to speak out in favour of equal rights for gay military personnel. He was waiting to board the plane: “This very nice woman next to me said she recognized me. She looked at my ring and asked about my wife. I told her I have partner. His name is Darrell. She paused and said, ‘Good for you.’”

Good for him, indeed.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Pelvic thrust lands dancers in jail in Texas.

What can you say about the Theocratic Republic of Texas? Here is a state that works very hard to prove that their average intelligence is so low that any of them could be the current occupant of the White House. As one Texas newspaper recently admitted: “Every now and then, a city somewhere in Texas gets all wrought up with moral outrage and does something really stupid.”

Don’t sell the state legislature short. They are leaders of the ban dildo movement in America.

Recently the Men of Chippendales made the mistake of performing in Lubbock, Texas, Lubbock is the 11th largest city in Texas and is situated between Dallas and the Dark Ages. Considering that geography you can see the dancers were asking for trouble.

The men were dressed. By virtue of state law and the holy edicts of the Souther Baptist Convention even children are born fully clothed in Texas. This is a state where a nudist is defined as woman who shows her ankles. But the men sinned! A couple of them opened their pants to reveal --- black boxers!

Now you know they are dancing on thin ice. Dancing indeed. At this point Police Chief Claude T. Jones (didn’t you know he’d be named Claude or Homer or Jethro) had his eye on those crotches. Yes sir. When it comes to protecting the virtue of the Lubbock lady-folk Claude will not let any male package go unwatched. Every male crotch on that stage was under police surveillance.

And then he saw it. Right there on the stage in front of God and the women of Lubbock, who forked over ridiculously high fees to attend the show, Chief Jones saw a pelvic thrust. You heard me right. A pelvic thrust.

And it was then that the Chief insisted that a heinous crime had been committed. He says Texas law forbids dancing with the intention of providing “sexual gratification.” And no woman will ever be sexually gratified when Claude T. Jones is on duty. He’ll see to that personally.

(Please note that the following video clip is NOT from the Lubbock, Texas show. It contains more than clothed pelvic thrusts. So if you live in Lubbock please don't watch this video as you may be arrested by your Police Chief.)

Apparently the police chief doesn’t realize that it usually takes a bit more than a pelvic thrust to sexually gratify a woman. Wouldn’t you hate to be Mrs. Claude T. Jones?

Some residents of the town questioned the police using their time to spy on male crotches and police pelvic thrusts. They tried to bring up the topic at the city council meeting when the mayor and council suddenly adjourned the meeting and headed off to prayer meeting or something.

Now one local publication in Lubbock, The Daily Toreador, a university newspaper ran a story that one might find of interest in light of the police chief’s intention to protect women. It reported that “Self Magazine ranked Lubbock as the third least safe U.S. city for women.” Now they have people who are killed in Lubbock. They have people who are assaulted. They have armed robberies that take place. But never will they have sexual gratification if Chief Jones is on the job.

If he had his way you wouldn’t have your way.

City officials, when they came out of hiding, did defend Ol’ Claude and his crotch-watching officers. Mayor David Miller said: “The council supports the Lubbock police department including the actions of last Friday. We feel there was probably cause as well as praise the officers on the scene as well as Chief Jones.”

I wonder how the Mayor knows there was probable cause? Was he in drag in the audience crotch-watching as diligently as the police were? The police insist that the dancers “sexually stimulated and sexual gratified” the female members of the audience. Even worse the police insisted that women in audience had been “aroused and gratified” by the dancing. Please note the women did not complain though I suspect some did when the police got involved.

Now lets be honest here. The typical man is not exaclly the most perceptive person when involved with women. He is often obvlious to whether or not a woman is gratified. Men, if you don’t believe me do your own poll. Now if this is the case when men have the woman naked, right in front of them, it would be almost a miracle if a man could tell a woman was sexually gratified when she was fully clothed. And considering the women were not just dressed but sitting in chairs at the time the ability to discern that they were aroused and gratified is utterly astounding.

Now this is where I’m confused. The officers were staring at the bulging, thrusting leather-bound packages of the male dancers. At the same time they could see through the women’s clothes and could discern immediately not only arousal but gratification. Something they rarely do when at home, in bed, with their wives. Or with their girlfriends when the wives are at church.

This talent is actually useful. Instead of expensive scanners at the airports, which now peep through you clothes (they have to make sure you don’t have bin Laden in your panties) the US government could just deploy Lubbock police officers. They have x-ray vision that would make Superman jealous -- of course with his tights they'd arrest him if it looked like the thrusted!

Apparently the city attorney won’t be going ahead with a court case. It seems there is a lack of evidence that any of the women in the audience were sexually satisfied. But the good news is that the women are still as unsatisfied as before just the way God and the Lubbock city council intended.