Sunday, April 29, 2007

Not-so Ugly Betties

Lordy, it's been a while since my last random posting of exploitative hot-man pics, hasn't it? Sorry about that.

Anyway, it was quite the smorgasbord watching the latest Ugly Betty. On top of resident hottie Eric Mabius (not literally, sadly), there were a couple of delicious, exotic flavours for those who prefer their bread a little less white.

First, Cristian de la Fuente playing Alexis' new love interest:

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(although, naturally, being Brazilian he's totally duplicitous and working in the employ of evil Jim Robinson from Neighbours. Gotta love the show that's working to style positive images of Mexican-Americans but can't help falling back on the 'evil, swarthy Brazilian' stereotype when it suits).

But for real black coffee, not just cafe au lait, meet Amanda's new love interest, played by Mykel Shannon-Jenkins:

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Can't see Amanda going back...

Surprise surprise, Silvo Horta, the producer of UB, like pretty much all the producers of the best shows on TV at the moment, is himself a big 'mo. Mmm, casting couch.

I gotte get me that job...

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Laboured love

It's gone pretty much the way I predicted - right down to de Bruyn being chief asshat about it - and so now we have the very, very soft option of federal relationship registration to look forward to. Looks like the Kruddster is every bit afraid of seeing the happy fags at ceremonies - god forbid! - as J-Ho. Although I guess de Bruyn's response is perhaps indicative of why Labor had to come up with such a cop-out compromise - they had their own influential homophobes to counter before they could expect to go up against the homophobes on the other side.

People are suggesting that for the moment, the most important thing is for Krudd to announce policy that will get him into power - or more importantly, get Howard out. It's probably true, too. Howard didn't flaunt the extremities of his government as part of his 1996 election platform; they came out when he was safely in government and had sympathetic Independent and Democrat senators on hand to assist his agenda. Likewise, perhaps, a better option can be presented when Labor is in government and has had a few years to help re-shape the Howard mindset in swinging voters. Not that civil unions are an 'extremity', of course - they only appear that way because Howard's been around so long - but it may need to be softly, softly for the first term.

I'm still not entirely convinced, however, that this policy doesn't also reflect Krudd's own personal views on the subject. Ever since he became leader he's been uncharacteristically tight-lipped about GLBTI issues. He has good form, having been Wayne Goss' COS at the time homosexuality was decriminalised in Queensland, but otherwise he's struck me as being fairly in-line with his predecessor on this particular policy area - i.e. no worse than Howard, but not much better either.

Of course, now the Labor apologists will bleat that this is the best option we have, we should be grateful for what we're getting, reforms only ever happen under Labor, yadda yadda - and it's true - but Labor and Krudd deserve no kudos for reinforcing the fallacy of public commitment ceremonies between same-sex couples somehow being a threat to society, which essentially is what relationship registration reinforces.

Honestly, who wants to get 'registered'? It's about as romantic as going to the Department of Motor Registries for your first date. Sure, the legal safeguards will be in place, but relationship registration - equating same-sex couples with elderly sisters looking after one another and other forms of interdependent relationships - only reinforces the misperception in people's mind of same-sex relationships as somehow alien to everybody else's, as though we're different from the everyday couples living together, taking out joint bank accounts and - yes - fucking each other.

The official text of ALP policy reads:
Labor will ensure that all couples who have a mutual commitment to a shared life do not suffer discrimination because they are not married.

Labor will take action to ensure the development of nationally consistent, state-based relationship recognition legislation that will include the opportunity for couples who have a mutual commitment to a shared life to have those relationships registered and certified.

This legislation will:

- be based on the scheme that has existed in Tasmania since 2004 and that the Victorian Government has announced its intention to introduce;
- not create schemes that mimic marriage or undermine existing laws that define marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Just as I thought, the timing of Bracks' Victorian relationship registration scheme was too exquisitely convenient for the federal Labor agenda for it to be a coincidence. Presumably, 'state-based relationship recognition legislation' will have application for federal law - this, after all, is the key issue, since most state laws are now equal. It seems as though federal Labor is offsetting responsibility to the states - which is fine for the moment given the luxury of uniform state Labor governments, but this won't always be the case.

Very disappointing. Still, for a more positive perspective on registration, this is definitely worth a read (published in the Hun, no less!)

And in other, happier queer-related (sorta) news, one of the Libs' most homophobic tools, Ross 'What's to stop a bloke marrying his E-type Jag?" Lightfoot - joins the scrapping heap, where he belongs. I'd like to think that, with him and Santoro both gone, this is a slow but steady cleansing of old-school Lib anti-gay extremists - but unfortunately their successive generation equivalents just replace them. Still, good riddance.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Yes Prime Minister

This is just too precious for words - so to speak. Be warned: It is dangerously addictive and will eat up an appalling amount of your time. But it's worth it.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Victorious Victoria?

It's good news, no question, that Victorian Premier Steve Bracks is now saying a statewide relationship register - the very register he has until recently opposed - could be in force by the end of the year. Kudos definitely to the VGLRL and other Victorian lobby groups for forcing Vic Labor to lurch forward.


I'm a little bit cynical and doubtful (I know, me doubtful and cynical? Who'd've thunk it) for a couple of reasons. You see, Bracks just happens to make this decision, coinkidinkally around the same time as K-Rudd prepares to make the call on national relationship recognition at ALP national conference. Now, rumblings suggest Krudd is unwilling to commit to civil unions - the homophobic Catholic Right/'Shoppies' faction, especially under arch asshat Joe de Bruyn, won't have a bar of it and they're clearly either too powerful or too closely in line with Krudd's own personal views on the subject.

So what are the options? Marriage is out, civil unions are out. How about a federal relationship register, then? Or better yet, how about federal law recognition for couples registered under existing state and territory schemes? Ooh that'd be sweet, wouldn't it - Krudd doesn't really have to do anything then other than reform existing discriminatory federal laws, and that whole State/Commonwealth alliance he's been banging on about since his election to the leadership works an absolute treat in terms of the Victorian and Tasmanian Labor governments. 'End the blame game', indeed.

Maybe Bracks' timing playing exquisitely into Krudd's agenda of Commonwealth/State harmony is, as mentioned before, merely a coinkidink.

Or maybe it's not.

As for the model itself: I have my reservations, which I've expressed previously and reiterate in this week's SX:

Such a scheme, which would be also be available to non-conjugal couples, seems the best compromise for factions polarised by the issue, and thus the best defence against another attempt by Howard to wedge Labor.

This choice, however, would be a cop-out, pure and simple. It would ignore the reforms of New Zealand, the UK and other democracies similar to Australia where civil unions or partnerships have eventually been enacted by centre-left governments, despite great protest. A registration scheme, while equitable, does not provide the option of an official ceremony where partners can publicly formalise their commitment. Its very low take-up rate in Tasmania would suggest that same-sex couples are reluctant to have their relationships ‘registered’, as they would their pets – and do not appreciate being denied the opportunity of a legally-binding ceremony.

If Rudd does go with relationship registration instead of civil unions, he is following in his established style of holding a position different to Howard – but not different enough. Federal Liberal’s appalling record on law reform for same-sex couples could cost them at least one seat, now that Malcolm Turnbull’s takes in much of the inner east Sydney queer ghetto. But instead of adopting a progressive alternative and exposing a Liberal weakness, Rudd instead appears set to cave in to the Labor Catholic Right, and opt for a model towards which most on both sides will feel ambivalent, at best.

But I guess for the moment this is the best we can hope for. Same-sex couples in Victoria can now at least register their relationships, then have a ceremony as they've always been able to, even if by itself it's still essentially symbolic - but ultimately the legal safeguards will be in place, which is the most important thing.

Still, it is a pity that in studying Howard so intetently to learn how best to emulate his successes, Krudd seems to have lost track of what's going on in the rest of the world.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

It's official

The gayest moment in the history of the known universe has finally arrived:

Seriously, the world cannot get any gayer from this precise moment. The rock has reached the top of the hill. From now on, it's an avalanche of rampant heterosexuality.

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Generic Big Brother Housemate Entry Statement

"Hi, I'm_________

I'm a 2_y.o personal instructor from _______.

My friends describe me as pretty out-there, wild and not afraid to speak my mind.

I love a really good argument with someone - even when I don't disagree with them, I just love hearing the sound of my own voice so much.

My hero is (please insert impressive political/sporting figure who actually has done something of value, identification of whom will make HM appear profound and intelligent even though in reality you only just learned about them last week from a Fantales wrapper).

  • 'Fun', 'unapologetic', 'misunderstood.'
  • 'I like to keep it real.'
  • 'I want to use my time in the house to discover who I really am.'
  • 'I'm not here to make friends - I'm here to win.'
  • 'Game on, mole.'






a/ Oslo
b/ N
c/ Four
d/ That's like, book smarts, man. I've got, like, 'life' smarts





Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gunning for a bloodbath

You really have to wonder how many more massacres need to occur in the US before the country finally gets serious about gun control.

The fact is that guns don't kill people - the bullet exploding in people's skulls kills them. Cho Seung-Hui could not have stabbed, bludgeoned or decapitated 33 people in 2 hours without being stopped - but he could have shot that many, and did. Just as Martin Bryant shot 35 people at Port Arthur in 1996.

John Howard, in one of his few genuinely commendable, positive long-term achievements, took on the gun lobby and enacted rigid uniform national gun laws. It was a shame it took a massacre to spur him into action, although in his defence he had only just come to power - the reforms should really have happened on Keatings, Hawke's or even Fraser's watch. The reform was not cheap - $500,000 million to buy-back 600,000 semi-automatic and other types of guns - but it was a necessary investment, and the 11+ years we've since enjoyed massacre-free in Australia are testament to its effectiveness.

But Port Arthur, mercifically, is a one-off gun tragedy in Australia in terms of the number of casualties. In the US, Virginia Tech is not. They'd already had Columbine, which should have been where it ended - not a preview of worse things to come. Instead, Bush has allowed the ban on assault weapons to expire - and I'm not holding my breath that this latest bloodbath will spur him to action, given that at the time Bush was speaking about the issue, his spokesman was reinforcing the fallacy that people have a right to bear arms so long as the law is followed.

The Republican Party has always been a sock puppet of the NRA and the Democrats aren't much better. And why not? With 35% of American homes containing guns, it's a big cash industry. Bringing constitutionality into the equation gives the 'right' to bear arms an unfounded sense of authenticity. But what about the constitutional right to life and liberty? The right to expect that you can go to university without fearing that you'll be mowed down because some psychopath can too easily get his hands on an assault weapon?

Easy access to guns will continue unabated in the US so long as its residents bask in their collective paranoia of constantly being under threat, and while the sale and distribution of guns remains a big money-spinner. If citizens don't generally have easy access to land mines, ready-made bombs or nuclear warheads, why do they expect easy access for this particular WMD?

It's simply not a case of 'guns don't kill people, people kill people', but rather, 'people kill people at a much faster rate, and with a much greater final body count, with guns than any other weapon'.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Too gay to function?

OK, I think I've officially outgayed myself.

Last night, I spent over $200...on a Tupperware party...hosted by Portia Turbo...which was followed by a supper of mushroom quiche...and champagne.

Even I find that offensively faggy. Christ, it was fun though. Portia knows her shit - and her audience. And I had no idea just how diverse Tupperware is! There's a Tupperware product for almost every cooking, storing and entertainment need (well, 'entertainment' within reason. There isn't a Tupperware vibrator or anything, at least not one in the catalogue or demonstrated by Portia).

Sure, it's overpriced. Sure, I probably didn't need $200+ on the shit. Sure, I've been suckered in by classic pyramid selling. But Portia-hosted Tupperware parties are So Hott Right Now (it's what all the cool kids in East Sydney are doing, doncha know). I'd strongly recommend them.

Now I'm off to buy Callea's CD, not eat for two weeks and then go to a foam party at Arq. The bar for faggotry has been set to fabulous new heights.

UPDATE: Jacob offers a highly scientific questionaire to conclusively determine one's faggoticity rating. Check it out.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Proper education

My first reaction to seeing that convicted heroin peddler and reformed addict Michael Coutts-Trotter - aka Mr Tanya Plibersek - had been appointed NSW Director-General of Education, was naturally, as the seasoned, serious political commentator I am: "Hmm - kinda cute for a senior public servant." Between mum and dad, the Trottersek spawn has scored some quality genes.

Anyway, I was unsurprised by the hysterical shrieking of the Terror set. Helen Lovejoy would be heartened by all these Concerned CitizensTM begging us to PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!! In fact, the Terror's surpassed itself with this headline: "Drug school boss 'inspires' wife". I'm pretty sure he hasn't just been appointed to head any drug school - indeed, I'm not even sure would a "drug school" would be - but whatever.

The appointment is dodgy, but not because of the guy's history with smack. If we're to give up on any idea of prison as a means of rehabilitation as well as punishment, we may as well never let convicted felons outside again after we've locked them up - an idea that no doubt appeals to many Terrorists (readers of the Terror), but with little grounding in reality.

Trotter has done remarkably well to reform and turn his life around. He's served his time, has not re-offended since and is a working model of how there can be life after a drug addiction. Having seen members of my own family overcome this nightmare drug and function again in society I know just how difficult it can be, and credit should always be issued where it's due. Condemnation of Trotter as a convicted dealer, not merely user, is irrelevant - most users invariably peddle the shit around themselves to free up some cash for their own next hit.

Furthermore, I'm pretty sure Trotter won't come into direct contact with the kiddies - he'll no doubt be fairly safe and protected from everyday reality in the high ivory tower of public service, as most senior bureaucrats usually are. But even if he's not, I think he's actually an ideal model to present to children, or at least young adults who may themselves be battling drug addictions.

And again, none of this of itself should be an impediment to Trotter enjoying a successful career in whatever he chooses. He's done the crime, he's done the time. Even new Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell says: "Of course I have a problem with the drug background … but my first starting point in who heads up education are what are the qualifications for the job … I am happy to believe in redemption."

(Side note: This is the second time now I've heard O'Farrell say something fair and sensible for a senior Lib. I can see myself warming to this guy. Well - more so than I ever did with Frank Spencer, anyway.)

Having said all this, I still think the appointment is dodgy. It certainly reeks of "jobs for the boys", although let's not be naive and pretend such appointments are only the terrain of NSW Labor - plenty of Howard's mates have scored sweetly in the last decade too. Plus it would appear Trotter is not entirely qualified to run Australia's biggest education department. His CV covers press secretary and chief of staff to the former treasurer, Michael Egan, and, most recently, the director-general of the Department of Commerce. As the Smuh puts it in today's ed:
Assuming there was good reason to replace the previous director-general, Mr Andrew Cappie-Wood, was there really no better candidate than Mr Coutts-Trotter? Was there no one with stronger qualifications and experience in education, or in managing a large organisation? Or an executive who combined both, as did Dr Ken Boston, a former NSW director-general of education now prominent in Britain? How are the Ken Bostons of the future to emerge when, instead of a doctor of education, NSW schools get a former spin doctor?

And further:
Such an appointment deserves very careful consideration, especially when public schools are bleeding students to the private sector, and school education is under attack from a doctrinaire federal education minster. Headhunters should be approached, and candidates' credentials and experience measured against demanding criteria.

Sadly, in both the state and federal arenas, such top appointments are instead decided behind closed doors by governments with no obligation to explain their thinking.

So let's be critical of this appointment by all means. But let's make sure it's for the right reasons. And hey, give the guy a fighting chance first - he may prove to be an outstanding D-G after all. Stranger things have happened.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kiwi fruit

3,2,1...I'm back in the room.

New Zealand is greasch. Similar but different, parallel universe sort of feel - well, at least until you reach the heart of the South Island, then it's very, very unlike anywhere in Australia, or I imagine the world.

Anyways, won't bore you with a long travelog, so here are some easily digestible bullets:


Auckland: Meh, just another city, really. Not offensive, just...meh. Go to a spot called Devonport at Auckland's North Shore, that's kinda cute. And check out Karangahape - 'K' - Road and Ponsonby, the closest Auckland has to a homo ghetto.

Rotorua: Amazing geology - lots of sexually suggestive exploding geysers. But man, it really, really stinks to high shit. Wouldn't have been able to manage more than 2 days there.

Napier: The 'art deco city', so named because after a big fuck-off earthquake all but decimated it in 1931, it was rebuilt smack in the middle of the art deco period. Got a nice, English seaside village thing happening - the sort of play where Emily and Florence would prance around being 'layyydies'. Weird though - it's on the coast and markets itself as a seaside village, yet the pebbly 'beach' and massive rips and currents make any swimming there impossible.

Would recommend Marineland too, where you can get up close and personal enough with a Little Blue penguin that the sod will bite you given a chance.

Wellington: Absolute gem. Big city compacted into a beautiful setting of harbour and hills. Much more exciting and attractive than big brother Auckland. Has a cool, funky, Melbournesque vibe. Just a tip to NZ city planners: putting all your shipping and docks right in front of the CBD rather than less visible parts of your harbours is not a good look.


Picton: Small, cute. The best part is getting there via the InterIslander, and coming into the vastly different landscape of the South Island.

Greymouth/Haast: The West Coast is the duelling banjos territory of NZ. Pretty spectacular scenery, of course, but disproportionately higher human/sheep ratio, really, really bad roads and an ominous feeling that NZ's equivalent of Mick Taylor would be the person most likely to drive by if you broke down. Go there for Franz Josef as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

Queenstown: 'Noosa of New Zealand', quipped my dad. He's about right. Unlike Haast, Queenstown has a Louis Vuitton outlet, very few native accents and ridiculously overpriced - well, everything. But hey - it's Queenstown. No trip to NZ would be complete without at least a couple of nights there. Do shit you wouldn't otherwise normally do, like jump off a bridge. Still not quite sure how I managed that without alcohol and/or drugs. And after a few days in the West Coast, civilisation will be muchly appreciated.

Te Anau/Milford Sound: Again, kinda scary road to get there, but worth it. Milford Sound is probably the definitive South Island experience. If you're lucky, as we were, while you're waiting for through traffic at Homer Tunnel (scariest tunnel I've ever driven through), you might get some very inquisitive Kea come up for a chat.

Christchurch: Very reminiscent of Adelaide. Like, unsettlingly so. Magnificent botanic gardens, punting on the Avon is very fa, fa, and there were actually quite a few cuties at Cruz, Ch'ch's only gay club (avoid its only gay bar, 'Heaven's Above', like the proverbial).


Definitely a more progressive place than Australia. Fascinating to hear newsreaders open a bulletin with the Maori 'Kia ora' before 'Good evening'. And a much more successful integration (compared to us anyway) of Maori people and European settlers - perhaps because it started off on a slightly better note.

Helen Clark seems to have a Howard factor about her - has also ruled since the 20th century and seems a bit on the nose. Also interesting to see the inverse of what's happening with our Opposition - their National Party under new leader John Key looked to be shifting to the left to mirror Clark in the hope of gaining some of her voters, as Labor under Beazley and Rudd has steadily shifted to the right for similar reasons.

Each year NZ's population rises by literally 50% in tourists alone. You can understand why - it really is a paradise.

Plus, we didn't see one farmer having relations with his sheep. Not a one.

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