Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ugly Betty

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So my flatmate's got me hooked onto this fabulous and, naturally, very gay US show called 'Ugly Betty'. UB is apparently based on the 'Colombian telenovela' (yeah, I didn't realise telenovela was a word either) Yo Soy Betty La Fea, and has been adapted for the US market by producer - wait for it - Salma Hayek. Hayek appears semi-regularly as both a character in this show, and the show-within-a-show, a hilariously camp Latino soap opera that Betty and her family follow religiously. She may not be the world's greatest actress, but kudos to her skills of production.

Anyway, the pilot ep of UB is very Devil Wears Prada - highly intelligent but plain, poorly-dressed big-eyed young girl begins work at a premier fashion magazine. The owner of MODE magazine (played by Jim Robinson From Neighbours - man, was leaving that show the best thing he ever could have done for his career, he's in like every single US show now!!) has handed editor-in-chief control of the mag to Daniel, his womanising, fairly hot son (played by the gay jock who screwed around with Josh Jackson in Cruel Intentions), following the mysterious 'death' of the magazine's previous publisher, Fey Sommers.

As becomes clear, however, it would appear that a/ Jim Robinson has murdered Fey by tampering with her car brakes, and b/ Fey is actually still alive and in hiding. Doing her bidding is Wilhelmina, the uber-bitch editor who Jim Robinson passed over to give Daniel the top job. Wilhelmina herself has her own massively homosexual toadie, a kind of younger, bitchier version of Smithers.

Meanwhile, Betty is naturally ostracised by all the glamazonian, size-0 chicks who work at MODE. Her only friend in the company is a no-bullshit, Scottish (naturally) dress-maker with loads of worldly wisdom on watching one's back. Although Daniel himself is less-than-pleased when Jim Robinson (sorry, I just can't think of him as anyone else) appoints Betty as his EA - mainly to prevent Daniel sleeping with another one - Daniel soon comes to respect Betty's sharp mind, uncompromising honesty and skill.

Rounding out the cast is Betty's very poor but very likable Latino family - her kind father, trash-with-heart-of-gold sister and almost too-gay-to-function, homo-in-training nephew.

The style and tone of UB is not unlike Desperate Housewives - camp, pretty facade with dark undertones, cynical but heart-warming, and underscored by a murder mystery. And it is nice to see a slightly overweight leading female character on screen, getting ahead and earning respect through her intelligence and quality of character rather than her looks or figure. America Ferrera, who plays UB, has perfect comic timing and effortless, natural charm in abundance. The rest of the cast is also effective.

The breakaway star, however, has to be Vanessa Williams as Wilhemina, a modern-day Alexis Colby. Remember Williams - nudey Miss Universe, 'Save the Best for Last' song, Arnie's girlfriend in Eraser, etc? I know right - never picked her to be, like, a proper actress. But as the Streepesque fashion diva, Williams is absolutely sensational. The first episode actually shows her homo lackey injecting Botox into her forehead, and from there she only gets worse. This chick (assuming one of the Oz stations picks up the show) will be our new Alexis, our new Amanda Woodward, our new Samantha Jones - the fuck-you-all diva every gay boi wants to be. Plus, I don't know who Vanessa's real-life Botox-injector is, but for a 43yo mother of four, bitch is lookin' gooood.

For an intelligent show, it does take a few conventional liberties - UB is ugly because of bad hair, braces, poor taste in clothing and other factors that can be overcome in a duckling-turns-into-swan montage. And the Poor But Sweet Immigrant Trash family is a bit PC (although her baby-homo nephew who knows more about MODE than Betty ever will is adorable).

But overall, this is a great PG companion piece to DH. Hopefully, it won't lose its momentum as quickly as the latter seems to have done. Start downloading torrents at will - it's well worth the bandwidth.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Australia Votes: QueerPenguin Says 'Meh'

Firstly, regarding this annual election: Don't be too grumpy that a paddy won Oz Idol (you xenophobic, anti-Irish, nationalistic supremacist scum). Gina G came 8th in Eurovision once (UPDATE: Thanks to Eurovision tragics everywhere). Just the cosmos balancing these sorts of things out.

Meanwhile, downstairs in this four-yearly election: Victorians vote for the status quo in one of the most boring elections since Nora Flynn was voted top dog following Myra's murder*.

Of note: There was a direct correlation bewteen the fall in Labor's primary vote and the rise in Fundies First's. Like, literally - Labor were down 4.3%, while FF debut vote in their first Vic election was 4.3%. This isn't a big surprise - Labor has always had a core socially conservative voter base mixed in with its more progressive voters - but unfortunately, we can assume based on these figures that Labor will maintain a chummy relationship with the Happy Bashers and thereby negate any claim to calling itself a genuinely progressive party (if, indeed, Labor even bothers with that tag anymore).

What worries me more is that in this election, the Greens' vote remained essentially the same. Now, considering the daily screams of anti-Green hysteria propagated by the Hun and other quality Murdoch publications, that's actually quite a good achievement - but then again, would people inclined to vote Green even read the Hun anyway, and/or be convinced just by one throw-away rag of the 'evils' of the Green Menace without tottering off to do their own research and/or read a less biased source? I'm not sure I want to lay the blame regarding the Greens' static vote entirely with the Hun; maybe it's just a case that the Greens have reached saturation of primary voters. Maybe, in Victoria at least, 10% of the voting pool is the highest they can hope for. This should have been the moment they went one step further than the last election and won at least one Lower House seat, but it looks as though Bronwyn Pike will actually increase her margin in Melbourne.

I guess the best thing to do now is keep an eye on the upcoming NSW State and Federal elections and see if the same is true of Fundies First - i.e. if their total voter base is only 4-5% or whether they are still growing - mutating - in force. Also, pay attention to disgruntled Labor/Lib voters and see with which party they cast their protest votes. Now that the Greens have essentially consolidated their core voter base with that of former Democrats voters, the test is to see if they can keep poaching disgruntled progressives from both Labor and Liberal- or have all potential 'defectors' already defected? Results from Victoria are not encouraging.

Say what you will about the Greens, but Australian voters deserve a valid third force in our political system - and I'd sure as hell much prefer it to be the Greens than Fundies First.

(*obscure Prisoner reference)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!

Brilliant Friday arvo brainwave: Movie bio about the life of Dolly

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...With Dolly played by Jennifer:

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Christ, I'm a freakin' genius. Somebody steal my idea, already!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Mystery of 2:53pm

So what exactly happened on 2:53pm on Sunday afternoon that gave Thorpie such clarity of mind?

Did the Braziliano water polo player come across his face with seed so sweet, he realised he had to make cock his No 1 priority instead of swimming?

Just a theory.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wait For It...

Have a read of this - I'll explain at the end why I find it particularly interesting (my emphasis added):

...many of us could not imagine Australia without an ABC...

...I speak up for the ABC. I reject the views of some who regard it as biased. It is a view that ignores history and exhibits a poor grasp of the nation's and the State's political record.

In New South Wales no-one pursued the excesses of the Wran Government, the failings of the Unsworth Government, or the consequences of the spin-before substance approach of the Carr-Iemma Government more than ABC radio and television did. Federally, it is hard to argue that during the Hawke and Keating years the national broadcaster's news and current affairs programs did not vigorously hold Federal Labor to account. Some of those interviews are legendary. Those who argue that the broadcaster is biased against government fail to recognise that the ABC has a record of trying to hold government to account, irrespective of political make-up. For me, the ABC makes up part of the nation's accountability mechanisms that work to benefit all those who live in our open and democratic society.

It is also worth noting that in his appearances on the ABC, whether television or radio, Prime Minister John Howard never seems to have trouble making his point, getting his message across and holding his own, whether facing Kerry O'Brien or Virginia Trioli. Perhaps those who engage in ABC bashing have forgotten what Opposition is like, when one makes use of whatever tools are at hand to expose and hold government to account. Those who advance the argument of ABC bias also seem to suffer from a one-eyed perspective of Australia's media. The criticisms applied to the ABC never seem to be made of commercial radio and television broadcasters, none of whom would claim to be perfect.

Those who seek to criticise, attack or undermine the ABC would have greater credibility if their critique extended across broadcast dials. I get frustrated at attacks on the ABC from my side of the political spectrum because they ignore the obvious: many of those who rely on ABC broadcasts, who value and support the national broadcaster, are Liberal and National supporters. The same people who helped elect the Federal Government on four occasions are supporters of the ABC.

I stand up for the outstanding services (ABC's) radio and television arms have provided to the State and nation for 74 and 50 years respectively.

It's probably already been given away - but can you guess which lefty, latte-sipping, poofo, commo, pinko, lezzo, tree-hugging, feral, public broadcaster-supporting, Muslim-apologising, anti-Capitalist hippie said all this in State parliament on Friday?

Yep, Barry O'Farrell - Deputy Leader of the NSW Coalition Opposition.

The guy's got my vote once Debnam's shafted after the 2007 election that they'll lose. (I mean, he would if I voted in the NSW Liberal caucus. You know what I mean.)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Fat Fighters Report

Net Weekly Weight Loss: 2kgs.

Dance: Happy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Maybe She Was Right

Franca Arena, I mean. You know, about the paedos. Her former party is not in good shape these days.

Sure, we made fun of her at Mardi Gras, speculated that she was motivated by her inability to deal with (apparently) her own twin sons' homosexuality rather than a genuine concern about children, and at the height of her campaign confused paedophilia with homosexuality once too often.

But maybe she was also on the right track. Maybe Orkopolous isn't the only kiddie-toucher in NSW Labor (or in other political, legal and public service fraternities).

The state of NSW politics is dire, to put it mildly. I don't want to vote for this government, nor do I want to vote for the neo-Inquisition Christian mafioso posing as the Opposition. I can take comfort at least in the fact that we have optional preferential voting here, meaning that when I do vote for a third party, it is something more than an ultimately redundant side-step to voting Labor or Liberal.

Iemma and Debnam don't have half a spine between them, both being puppets of their respective parties' machines. Neither side has true solutions to our decaying infrastructure, expanding bloated waistline of urban sprawl, or reconciling our increasingly ghettoised city. And I can't see either side improving while Labor is still beholden to the unions and promoting hacks who whore themselves to the right factions at the right time, or while Clarke is still calling the shots for the Libs and stacking the party with gun-totin' Bible-bashers.

I don't know if the problem is unique to NSW or symptomatic of state governments generally. Current scandals surrounding the NSW, Queensland, WA and Tasmanian governments would seem to suggest the latter - although if Howard actually ever enforced his own Ministerial Code of Conduct, the federal government would be equally as stinky, the key difference being corruption and dishonesty would be punished rather than tolerated.

At least Franca was pure of misguided heart and large hair. Maybe we should bring her back to sort things out.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tony Abbott's Greatest Insight + Psychotic Buggery

You know what? If Tony wants to admit that he is 'a cruel, callow, callous, heartless bastard', who am I to argue with him?

He makes such a compelling case.

And speaking of cockroaches: Does anybody else find those Baygon 'Power is Yours' ads a little...bloodthirsty? I mean look, I hate germ-carrying bugs as much as the next girl - and lord knows, they reign supreme in inner-city Sydney - but that ad with the mum and little girl conspiring to hunt down one small roach, with that annoying, overblown 'power is YOURS!' song in the background, seems a little disproportionate.

Not content with this, however, Baygon has now released a new Weapon of Mass Bug Destruction (WMBD), one whereby a fly lands on a sticky pad thing, sucks up some poison, then flies off and dies somewhere else.

Well, firstly, I don't want to run the risk of a pre-poisoned dead fly randomly dropping into my coffee at breakfast time. Secondly, since when did bug-killing evolve into such a complex battle of strategic warfare? I want bugs to die, but not because they slaughtered my family in front of my infant eyes or because of their extreme, monotheistic fascist ideology. They're just yucky.

Remember when people used to get by with a fly swatter? Or at least, those quite cute Baygon ads a few years ago where a chick working in a perfumery sprayed fly spray, another snooty chick walked by, sniffed, said 'mmmm, l'eau de toilette', to which first chick replied, 'no, low allergenic!" And then the voiceover said, 'From the house of "Bay-shon"'. Fun.

Ads with voiceover talking about how 'a killer lies waiting'? Not so fun. More...Psychotic.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Good News Day

Golly - feelin' the love today!

MonkeyBoy brings down the cruise liner with him. Bill Clinton, 2008's First Lady? I can see it now;

Britters might now actually live to see her 30th;

Science and common sense triumphs over the flat-worldists (well, half-way there anyway);

And another tiny sparkle added to the ever-so-faint glimmer of hope that we may yet have a new administration before 2093, after all.

Yep - I'm gonna do that Happy News Wednesday Dance!


(I just did it then. You can't see it on account of this being a blog. Duh.)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Case in Point

I won't say too much about Ted Haggard; I will just ask what I believe is a rhetorical question:

Surely - surely - this is definitive proof that homosexuality is inherent and naturally-occurring, and cannot be switched on and off at will?

That is, if even those most dedicated soldiers fighting to promote the 'ex-gay' cause cannot themselves stay on the straight and narrow (so to speak), ipso facto, the cause is, as argued by all legitimate psychological, physiological and psychiatric authorities - as well as we humble fags down here on the floor - a big heap of steaming, rancid bullshit?

Amusing clue in Wiki re: Ted's 'troubled' ways:

'Haggard focused ministry efforts on homosexuals early in his Colorado Springs ministry by frequenting gay bars and inviting men to his congregation.'

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a faggot.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Weight Units: XX

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I know it's a bit Bridget Jones, a bit self-indulgent, a bit LiveJournal - but fuck it, I'm gonna do it: I'm gonna start an online weight diary.

You too, will be able to follow along at home: I'm not yet game enough to specify what the 'XX' represents to the public (although it IS indicative of my weight still being in double digits, so the super-smart folk can deduce I weigh neither <9kgs,> 100kgs), but I will be offering a weekly round-up, along the lines of 'Current weight: XX-(however many kilos I've lost that week)' or 'Current weight XX+(however kilos I've...*sob* know)'.

I always vowed never, ever to become one of those queens who lets himself go once he's partnered up. And while it is true that the Boy is nothing less than completely supportive of me, I'm angry with myself that I have allowed myself to grow a little...erm...lethargic.

That is, since I met the Boy, I stopped going to the gym on a serious level, and as neither of us is typically fag in the kitchen - we have fridges purely for storing wine - we've enjoyed fine dining in some of Sydney's most effluent restaurants, at a cost of depleted bank accounts and (in my case, not his) expanded waist lines.

To look at me, I probably don't look significantly heavier than usual (or maybe I do and my friends and family have just been too polite, grrr), but as that odd-looking belly dancer warbles, the hips don't lie. Neither do pants. And the scales definitely don't. No single man has been able to reduce me to tears in many years - but you don't reckon my bitchy scales didn't slap me down into a blubbering mess with but a flickering number it spat in my face last week.

The reason it gets me down is that I once was the weight I currently am, prior to my 21st birthday, when I dropped around 16kgs. Now, I know gym work since that time would account for some of this weight gain, but if it were all muscle, my stomach would have a far more harmonious, less fractured relationship it currently endures with some of my jeans.

I'm resolved not to be a Sydney gym bunny - there's too many of them anyway. And I'm also resolved not to be one of the pretty, gay, gym bod bloggers, many of whom seem to orbit Rye's site (his comments section is often not unlike flicking through DNA mobile phone desktop icons). I still chuckle recalling the time a certain unnamed blogger, upon seeing my photo, expressed his surprise, as 'he always just assumed gay political bloggers were fat and ugly' (or sentiments to that effect). I know more than enough politically-astute gay male bloggers to know this is just not the case, but it's still a standard to live up to (or not live up to, as it were).

Don't worry, I know all the cliches: Lose weight for yourself, nobody else. Pay attention to your clothes, not your scales. Everything in moderation. Have a bit of dust. I actually once was a Weight Watchers regular, complete with a Kath Day-Knight-esque WW group leader who used the word 'trim' a lot. I'm doing this for all the right reasons and I will know when to stop.

So today, the weight loss begins in earnest. Celine Cuisines for lunch and dinner, daily walks home (city to almost Bondi Junction), tennis once a week and - shut up - boxing twice a week.

I'm mainly blogging about this for posterity more than anything else. I want to return to these archives in a few months' time and see how I (hopefully) stayed on track. Besides, once it's in public I can't deny my commitment. That is my theory, I own it and it's mine.

The overweight penguin you knew is dead. From now on, I'm a big (not-fat) dynamo!! And where's that cake??!! Oh, wait.