Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Woo Hoo! Disney Announced Sequel To The Incredibles Being Planned

I don't know how I missed this exciting news from earlier this year. The Incredibles (2004) is one of my favorite films. io9 reports that a sequel is (finally) in the works:
Disney CEO Bob Iger announced at a shareholders meeting today that Pixar will produce a thirdCars movie (no surprise there) as well as a sequel to The Incredibles—which has been confirmed on the Disney/Pixar Facebook page. Iger says that Incredibles director Brad Bird is working on the story, but did not say that he would be directing the sequel.
Brad Bird has also directed other favorites of mine like Ratatouille (2007), The Iron Giant (1999) as well as the relatively execrable Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. In 2015, he has the hotly awaited summer blockbuster Tomorrowland starring George Clooney.

GODLESS WEDNESDAY: Former Pastor Who Tried Living Without God For A Year Became Atheist

Somehow I missed the story of Pastor Ryan J. Bell, even though he is a local since Fuller Theological Seminary is in Pasadena, California. Bell made headlines when he announced that the former Seventh-Day Adventist Pastor and seminarian was going to live without God for a year as an experiment. Both of his Christian employers (Azusa Pacific University and Fuller) terminated his employment within days of Bell's announcement, but he received over $27,000 in donation after his plight was publicized on the Patheos website.

Well, the experiment is now over and Bell says "I don't think God exists." He said so in a recent interview on NPR
After a year, Bell tells NPR's Arun Rath, "I've looked at the majority of the arguments that I've been able to find for the existence of God, and on the question of God's existence or not, I have to say I don't find there to be a convincing case, in my view. 
"I don't think that God exists. I think that makes the most sense of the evidence that I have and my experience. But I don't think that's necessarily the most interesting thing about me." 
"I think before, I wanted a closer relationship to God, and today I just want a closer relationship with reality," Bell says.
Don't you think there is something wrong with religion if it ends up being a choice between God and reality? Jus' sayin'!

WATCH: The Year 2014 In Movies!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

James Stewart, Openly-Gay Author Of #1 Best-selling Calculus Textbook, Dead at 73

James D. Stewart is very well-known in the world of college mathematics as a Professor emeritus at McMaster University and the author of the best-selling calculus textbook, often called the "Stewart Calculus." However the fact that the author of Stewart's Calculus is openly gay (and Canadian!) is certainly not as widely known.

Stewart, 73, was made very wealthy by the success of his textbooks and used his money to support various philanthropic projects, mostly involving music and mathematics. In Toronto, he is known for the development of Integral House, a $32 million dollar architectural wonder which served as his residence and a state-of-the-art concert facility for 150 people with perfect acoustics and dramatic curves.

 Sadly, in 2013 Stewart was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and given a year to live; he succumbed to the disease earlier this month on December 3, 2014.

Toronto's The Globe and Mail reports:
The house and all its custom-designed furnishings were an expression of his love of curves, so prominent in calculus. But there was no “formula” for the house, he said – it was a work of art that he was lucky enough to live in, and that brought him into contact with musicians he might otherwise never have met. 
It also became a great party centre during Pride Week and at Halloween, when the all-male guests were expected to show up in extravagant drag. “He was a crazy guy, privately,” Mr. Ralph says. “That man could party. He would let it all go.” 
Dr. Stewart was “out” his whole adult life, and supported many services and initiatives for LGBT people. Joseph Clement, who is making a documentary about Integral House and its owner, said that in the early 1970s, Dr. Stewart helped launch the Pride movement in Hamilton by inviting Toronto activist George Hislop to speak in the city.
As a gay mathematician myself I had heard that Stewart was gay but had not seen any documentation of this fact. It's sort of sad that fact is becoming more well-known now that Stewart is dead, but it is still an encouraging notion that a gay man was responsible for teaching generations of college students calculus.

Long-Delayed Autopsy Report Shows LAPD Shot Unarmed Black Man In Back At Very Close Range

As Mayor Eric Garcetti promised, the official autopsy report on the August 11 Ezell Ford shooting shows that LAPD officers shot the unarmed, mentally-ill 25-year-old Black male three times including once in the back, with that fatal shot occurring so close that there was a muzzle imprint on his skin.

KTLA reports:
The report was made public more than four months after the Aug. 11 fatal shooting, which caused an outcry from family members and supporters who said Ford was complying with officers’ demands and was on the ground when he was shot several times in the back. 
The county Department of Coroner document showed Ford was shot three times: once in the right side, once in the right back and once in the right arm. The first two shots were fatal, the coroner’s report stated. 
In the area of the gunshot wound to Ford’s back, the surrounding skin had a “muzzle imprint,” the report stated. The cause of death, described as a homicide, was listed as multiple gunshot wounds.
Mayor Garcetti released a statement saying that a "full" and "impartial" investigation is underway.

Hat/tip to KPCC

Monday, December 29, 2014

GRAPHIC: Polling Data On Marriage Equality 1985-2015

As 2014 comes to a close we should take stock of where we are on the question of marriage equality. Right now 35 states have marriage equality, with Florida (the 3rd largest state in the Union) going into effect on Monday January 5. That is very close to two-thirds of the population living in jurisdictions with marriage equality.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering appeals from the states in the 6th Circuit within the next week or so and if they grant certiorari then we could have a final national determination by July 2015.

The graphic above shows the  polling data on support for marriage equality (i.e. same-sex marriage) for the last three decades. It's a pretty picture!

Hat/tip to Daily Kos

EYE CANDY: Raciel Castro (3rd time!)

Raciel Castro has become my favorite eye candy, bar none. He first appeared on the blog on May 19, 2014 (and also for my birthday two days later) and then showed up again on July 7, 2014. He is 22-years-old, 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds. He has his own popular Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as an entire Tumblr devoted to his images. I'm actually baffled as to why he's not on the cover of every men's fitness magazine there is? Please send me names of guys you think are better looking, because, to me, Raciel is the acme of "hawt"!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

FILM REVIEW: Interstellar

As I have said before, Christopher Nolan is my favorite director. Once I found out that Nolan was releasing a new film, Interstellar, starring Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Sir Michael Caine and Matt Damon in 2014 I started following the pre-release hype pretty heavily. Oscar nominees John Lithgow and  Jessica Chastain have key parts in the film as well.

In fact I was able to see the film a few days before its official premiere, at a preview screening at Arclight Cinemas in Pasadena which was on 35mm film. The reviews of the film were generally mixed (73% from critics on, but box-office, especially internationally, was quite robust with a domestic gross of $173 million and a worldwide gross of well over $600 million.

Overall, I liked Nolan's latest film, but I did not think it was at the same level of his film Inception (2010), which I think is a masterpiece. I saw Interstellar six weeks ago, but for some reason I have been blocked on writing this review (as well as for the other movies I have seen this fall). My initial reason for waiting was that I had hoped to see the film again (probably in standard digital projection or one of the five other formats the film is released in) to confirm the initial impressions I had garnered from seeing the version of Interstellar on actual film.

Regardless of what format you see it in, one thing that one takes away from the cinematic experience that Nolan has created with Interstellar is an appreciation for its impressive visual canvas. The film is simply stunning to look at and has shots that I will remember for years. Interestingly, it somehow manages to simultaneously have something of a retro and futuristic look to it.

The story revolves around a widowed former test pilot named Cooper (McConaughey) who is raising two kids with the help of his father (Lithgow) in a near-future Earth increasingly impacted by climate change which is causing crippling food shortages that have led to an increasingly dismal outlook for the viability of our world. NASA and a professor named Brand (Caine) have a secret plan to use a recently discovered worm hole near Saturn to explore different galaxies to find another planet our species can colonize in order to survive. But they need an experienced pilot to lead the mission because NASA has limited resources and this is basically our only chance. And thanks to relativity it is very likely that time will pass much more slowly for the team that goes while years pass back on Earth. So basically Cooper has to decide whether it is worth trying to save the entire human race if it means he will never see his beloved brilliant daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy) ever again. We find out that another daughter will likely not see her father again because Professor Brand's daughter Dr. Brand (Hathaway) is going on the mission as the head astrophysicist.

It is telling that Interstellar was initially a project that Steven Spielberg was to direct because the film definitely has a Spielbergian emotional quality to it which I think is its primary weakness. Clearly the stresses that can be applied to the bond between father and daughter are on display, as well as the stresses on the team who know that they may be humanity's best hope to survive. One of the key themes of the film is about difficult choices and another is obligation. There are scenes and dialogue which are cringeworthy (Hathaway's character at one point says "Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space.") For most hard-core science fiction enthusiasts like myself such touchy-feely sentiments are anathema, especially as they are appearing in a film which celebrates the power of science to solve humanity's problems and depicts the wonder and beauty of the physical Universe in multiple ways. The film also does a good job of depicting interstellar space flight in a way that is believable.

So, overall, I agree with most reviewers that Nolan's Interstellar is an ambitious, gorgeous film which is a bit too emotionally heavy-handed to be considered an unqualified success but is definitely worth seeing, especially in the theaters.

Title: Interstellar.
Director: Christopher Nolan.
Running Time: 2 hours, 49 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.
Release Date: November 7, 2014.
Viewing Date: November 5, 2014.

Writing: A.
Acting: A-.
Visuals: A+.
Impact: A.

Overall Grade: A (4.0/4.0)

SyFy Announces Key Cast Members For "The Expanse" TV Series

You may remember that my favorite science fiction series ("The Expanse") is being adapted into a television series to air on SyFy in 2015. Season 1 of the show will be based on Book 1 of the series, titled Leviathan Wakes. The show appears to be coming together, because casting news has been coming out for months. The Expanse takes place roughly 200 years in the future and the first book is based around the adventures of the crew of The Rocinante (James Holden, Alex Kamal, Naomi Nagata and Amos) as they travel around the solar system, especially Mars, The Moon, Earth and various habitats in the Asteroid Belt. Two pivotal characters are Detective Miller, a detective whose investigation into the disappearance of the daughter of the head of a huge corporation catalyzes the plot, and Chrisjen Avasarala, an apparently minor official in the administrative body that serves as the world government of Earth who wields incredible amounts of power and is probably my overall favorite character in the series so far.

Here is what we know so far about the cast:
Holden: Steven StraitMiller: Thomas JaneAmos: Wes ChathamAlex: Cas AnvarNaomi: Dominique TipperAvasarala: Shohreh Aghdashloo
There are other characters that have been announced, like the important role of Fred Johnson who heads the Outer Planets Alliance (OPA) and will be played by Chad Coleman (Tyreese from The Walking Dead). There are intense politics between the inner planets (Mars, Earth and the Moon) and the Outer Planets (usually known as The Belters) with associated cultural dynamics between people who have grown accustomed to living in space or in limited gravity (Space stations, asteroids, or the Moon) and Earth, which has a huge population and resources but increasingly limited ability to enforce its will on what it perceives as its colonies. However, Mars is almost as (militarily) powerful as Earth and is trying to enforce its will on the rest of the solar system regardless of what Earth may want. The Belters believe they are different from anyone who lives "trapped in the gravity well of a planet" and should be treated as such, the OPA is a group that is trying to advocate for Belters, often using violent means to get their point across.

And then things get really weird when an alien probe (called a "protomolecule") arrives that apparently turns any form of life into zombies. I can't wait to see how SyFy adapts the series, hopefully it will become their "Game of Thrones in Space."

Saturday, December 27, 2014

SATURDAY POLITICS: 10 Weeks Until Los Angeles City Elections

Council President Herb Wesson has a plan to control
Los Angeles city politics until 2020
in just ten weeks, on March 3, 2015 Los Angeles voters will go to the polls and decide who will represent them in seven even-numbered city council districts. In two of those districts (#8 and #4) there is no incumbent. However, even more important than City Council, School Board and Community College Board of Trustees races that will be decided is the two Charter Amendments which could change Los Angeles City politics forever.

Voters will be asked whether they want to change the dates of municipal elections to align them with county, state and federal elections, moving them from the current odd years to even years, and moving the primary from March to June and the general election from May to November.

On the face of it, this sounds like a good idea because turnout in municipal elections, which are often at seemingly bizarre times of the year, has been declining precipitously and has recently reached embarrassingly low levels. However, in order to effect the change, the result will be that Councilmembers elected in 2015 and 2017 will get 5½ year terms instead of the typical four year terms. Thus, if voters approve Charter Amendment One and Two current City Council President (if he gets re-elected in March) would be able to serve as City Council president until atleast June 2020!
I'm sure it's a complete coincidence that it is precisely that date when the primary election for the next Board of Supervisors seat currently occupied by Mark Ridley-Thomas (and which is considered the "Black" seat on the 5-member board) would be scheduled. Wesson is currently 63 years old and would be a formidable candidate to join the powerful body. Interestingly, the only member of the 15 Los Angeles City Council to vote against putting the Charter Amendments before voters was Bernard Parks (who unsuccessfully ran against Ridley-Thomas for that Supervisorial seat 2008 and was formerly the Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department).

One bonus of the Charter Member change would be that whoever is elected in 2017 as Mayor would also get to serve a 5½ year term, which would be a great boon for incumbent Mayor Eric Garcetti. Another troubling problem with the proposed charter change to even-year elections is that adding our local elections to the end of a very long federal, state and county ballot may actually reduce the number of people who vote on these races due to "ballot drop-off"
Factoring in the potential drop-off in votes on city races stuck at the end of a long even-year ballot, city races might have attracted just 23 percent of eligible voters last month. That’s because in that election in Los Angeles County, nearly 3 in 10 people who voted for a candidate for governor did not vote for the last judicial race on the same ballot. Calculating that drop-off from 31 percent turnout yields about 23 percent turnout, the same as voted in the 2013 general election for city offices. Even the numerical case for the scheme to change elections for our city and school board officials breaks down under scrutiny based on recent evidence. 
The charter amendments to change election dates are phony “reform.” Real improvements to city voting would consider moving the city election to match the months of even-year elections, to expand early voting and mail balloting, and to hold elections on a Saturday and Sunday, when people are more easily able to vote.
There are less than ten weeks to go  before Los Angeles voters will decide the very nature of municipal democracy but there is very little discussion going on about this critical public policy change. I hope that changes soon!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Florida Becomes 3rd Most Populous State in the Union, North Carolina Becomes #9

The news this week was that Florida surpassed New York to take the #3 spot in the list of most populous states in the country. However, there was little mention that North Carolina skipped past Michigan to take the #9 spot and #8 Georgia joined the 10 million people club.

Here is the official data from the Census:

The 10 Most Populous States on July 1, 2014




New York
North Carolina



CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Sir Elton John, Lance Bass Get Married (To Other Men)

Last weekend there were two same-sex celebrity weddings. One aspect of marriage equality increasingly becoming a reality is that famous LGBT people will get married (and divorced) as well. Sir Elton John and Lance Bass married their partners. John had been together with David Furnish for over 20 years and the two are raising kids together. Bass married his boyfriend of three years Michael Turchin. The Bass-Turchin wedding was recorded for airing on E! Television in February 2015 as a special event: Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding. Most of Bass' *NSYNC's bandmates were in attendance, with the notable absence of Justin Timberlake, who is on tour.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

FDA Proposes Reducing Lifetime Ban On Gay Blood Donors To One Year

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement today which indicates that it will propose changing the current lifetime ban on blood donations from any man who has had sex with another man since 1977. The proposed policy will be that gay men who declare that they have not had sex with another man in over a year shall be allowed to donate blood.

The reaction to the proposed policy change was decidedly mixed:
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern wrote: “…the FDA remains trapped in the 1980s—terrified of gay men and their diseased, untrustworthy ways. Perhaps in another 31 years, we’ll see the FDA move to a sensible, nondiscriminatory rule. For now, we’re stuck with this embarrassing, unscientific half-measure. 
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) told her constituents, “Today’s announcement is a welcome step in the right direction. However, I am disappointed that low-risk gay men are still being discriminated against with this outdated policy. Healthy Americans who don’t engage in risky behavior, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have the opportunity to donate blood and help in the effort to save lives. I look forward to working with Secretary Burwell to build on the step taken today by removing this discriminatory ban while keeping our blood supply safe.”
I think my position is somewhere closer to Senator Murray's than Mark Joseph Stern's although I would agree that this is a half-measure. That being said, you can still acknowledge that a change has been made, and the change is in the right direction even if it is not as much change as one would prefer. I also agree that the proposed policy change would STILL be discriminatory and is unacceptable public policy, but it is still better than the current policy which was completely irrational and rooted in homophobia.

Monday, December 22, 2014

EYE CANDY: Anthony Moufarej

Anthony Moufarej is a 22-year-old model from Quebec, Canada. According to his Model Mayhem page he is 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds and of Middle Eastern descent (which we could probably figure out from his name). According to other websites, he is from Lebanon.  Here at our motto is "Hawt is hawt" and we have featured other models of Lebanese descent before, like the stunning Adam Ayash.

Anthony has a presence on Facebook and there are lots of pictures of him available on Tumblr and Pinterest.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

QUEER QUOTE: Justice Department Now Agrees 1964 Civil Rights Act Protects Transgender People

There has been an interesting (and important) development late in the year in LGBT equality! The question of whether discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression is covered under prohibitions against "sex discrimination" has been hotly debated for years. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a ruling in Macy v. Holder in 2012 which said that they believe that discrimination against transgender individuals is illegal sex discrimination under federal law. The U.S. Department of Labor used that ruling to issue an announcement in 2014 that the agency also believes employment discrimination against transgender individuals is illegal under federal law.

Chris Geidner of Buzzfeed reports that on December 15, 2014 the Attorney General of the United States sent out a memorandum basically agreeing with the EEOC and Labor Department's interpretation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Right Act that prohibition of sex discrimination in employment includes transgender employees.

This is a huge deal because there is no federal law enacted by Congress prohibiting discrimination against LGBT employees and only a dozen states have enacted state laws protecting civil rights based on gender identity or gender expression (in contrast to over 20 states that have law protecting civil rights based on sexual orientation). Thus the Justice Department reversing its previously held position and now endorsing the concept that "sex" includes "gender identity or expression" is very significant.

Here's a key excerpt from the Attorney General's memorandum (Treatment ofTransgender Employment Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ) which is today's Queer Quote:
After considering the text of Title VII, the relevant Supreme Court case law interpreting the statute, and the developing jurisprudence in this area, I have determined that the best reading of Title VII' s prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status. The most straightforward reading of Title VII is that discrimination "because of ... sex" includes discrimination because an employee's genderidentification is as a member of a particular sex, or because the employee is transitioning, or has transitioned, to another sex. As the Court explained in Price Waterhouse, by using "the simple words 'because of,' ... Congress meant to obligate" a Title VII plaintiff to prove only "that the employer relied upon sex-based considerations in coming to its decision." 490 U.S. at 241-242.It follows that, as a matter of plain meaning, Title VII' s prohibition against discrimination "because of ... sex" encompasses discrimination founded on sex-based considerations, including discrimination based on an employee's transitioning to, or identifying as, a different sex altogether. Although Congress may not have had such claims in mind when it enacted Title VII, the Supreme Court has made clear that Title VII must be interpreted according to its plain text, noting that "statutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil to cover reasonablycomparable evils, and it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed." Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Servs., 523 U.S. 75, 79 (1998). 
It basically says what I said, but in a lot more words, and using Supreme Court precedent. This is a very important result and it will be interesting to see if this signals the next evolution of civil rights jurisprudence which is that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (i.e. against LGB people) is also sex discrimination. I have believed that it is, and the best explanation for why this is I have ever read is in Andrew Koppelman's  now seminal 1994 law review article "Why Discrimination Against Lesbians and Gay Men is Sex Discrimination."

The interesting situation now is that currently the T in LGBT have federal employment protections while the LGB do not, while the LGB have many more states where they are protected under state law and the T are not. Surely this untenable status quo can not be maintained for long.

 Hat/tip to Chris Geidner

Supreme Court Refuses To Delay Florida Marriage Equality From Going Into Effect Jan. 5

Wow! The United States Supreme Court has denied Florida's request for a stay of a federal district court judge's decision ruling that Florida's 2006 state constitutional amendment banning marriage equality violates the federal constitution. The Court said that Justices Thomas and Scalia would have granted the petition for a stay.

This is a VERY big deal, because this is the first time the High Court has let marriages go into effect as a result of a mere district court decision, when there was no precedent for marriage equality in the controlling appellate circuit of jurisdiction. Florida is in the 11th Circuit, and that appellate circuit has not ruled in favor of marriage equality (and in fact has some anti-gay decision in its not too recent past). The current legal skirmish the Supreme Court decided was about what should happen while the merits of the state's appeal get determined. Almost a year ago, in Utah's marriage equality case, the Supreme Court unanimously granted a stay putting a federal district court decision in Kitchen v Herbert on hold while the 10th Circuit was considering that appeal. In both cases the appellate circuit had refused to grant the stay while they considered the appeal and the state appealed to the Supreme Court in both cases. In the Utah case, the 10th Appellate Circuit ruled against the state on the merits on appeal. Ultimately, the Supreme Court refused to hear Utah's appeal of that loss, allowing marriage equality to go into effect in the 4th, 10th and 7th circuits. The denial of a stay in Armstrong v. Brenner (the Florida case) demonstrates how swiftly the tide has turned in favor of marriage equality, even at the Supreme Court level. 11 months ago they granted a similar petition, 9-0, on Friday they denied it 2-7.

The Washington Blade reports:
In August, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled against the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, known as Amendment 2, but placed a stay on his order until 91 days passed after the appeals process was completed in the Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia marriage cases. When the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review these cases, it set for date for same-sex couples to be able to marry in Florida starting Jan. 5. 
Bondi tried to extend the stay on the same-sex marriages as she continued to defend the law in court, but her requests were by denied by the district court as well as the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ordered the stay to be lifted “at the end of the day” on Jan. 5.  
In a statement, Bondi said Florida will acquiesce to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the stay to expire after Jan. 5 as initially ordered by the district court. 
Hat/tip to Equality On Trial

Friday, December 19, 2014

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Lifetime Movie Includes Whitney Houston's Lesbian Lover Storyline

The Lifetime movie on the life of Whitney Houston directed by Angela Bassett and starring YYa Dacosta will apparently include a storyline about the long lesbian rumored relationship between Whitney and Robyn Crawford that was "more than just friendship."

The Daily Beast has an interview with the actress Yolonda Ross who plays Robyn in the film:
I have to confess, I had no idea that Whitney had a rumored gay lover before reading about your role in this movie. No clue!Really?! That’s funny. I was here in New York before she was with Bobby. So I knew of Robyn. It’s funny how many people don’t know of her because they’re younger or people who didn’t get on to Whitney until she was already with Bobby. But I already knew of her and of the whole situation. When you look back at it, it’s interesting how that part, which was a thing that was actually written in the press at one time, was squashed and brushed away when all the other stuff happened in her life later.[...]But because this movie doesn’t actually go out and say “they were lovers!”, how do you portray their relationship? Were you playing up or, on the flip side, shying away from portraying a romantic attraction?No, I wasn’t shying away from it. She’s a beautiful woman. And from what I knew of Robyn then, I don’t think she was in the closet. It’s a love and it’s an admiration. So that was played there. How much of it is a love that’s between two lovers is a different story, because that, then, would have called for there to be different kinds of scenes in the movie. I played it as love and longing. Ultimately, what’s happening with them is that the person who Robyn loves is leaving. No matter if you’re lovers or a best friend, when someone you love leaves to get married, your relationship is going to change. That’s what I played. And that’s what it was.
The movie debuts on the Lifetime network on January 17, 2015.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Marriage Equality Goes Into Effect In Scotland!

Marriage equality has officially come to Scotland, as today is the first date that people who were previously in registered partnerships can have them converted into legal marriages, the BBC reports.

The law on same-sex marriages has already changed in England and Wales.
The change in Scotland comes as a survey revealed a huge rise in support for same-sex marriage over the past 12 years.
More than two-thirds of people (68%) agreed that gay couples should have the right to marry, according to the figures from the Social Attitudes Survey, which tracks public opinions on a range of subjects.
The figure compares with just two-fifths of the public (41%) in 2002.
The 2014 survey suggested fewer than a fifth (17%) of Scots were against same-sex marriage, compared to 29% in 2002.
Younger people were more likely to believe gay couples should be allowed to wed than older Scots, with 83% of 18 to 24-year-olds in favour compared to 44% of those aged 65 and above.
Hat/tip to Joe Jervis

Monday, December 15, 2014

EYE CANDY: Dominic Santos

Dominic Santos is a smoking hot guy you might have seen around the internet (ManCrush). He is apparently more well-known as an adult performer, especially at Randy Blue (perhaps NSFW). Unfortunately, I don't know his age, height or weight, but presumably if he is appearing in porn flicks then he must be over 18 years old. He is apparently quite talented, in more ways than one!

Regardless of what he does for a living, he is still smoking hot, and definitely worthy of an Eye Candy post, don't you think?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Today is 12/13/14!

Today is December 13, 2014, or 12/13/14. It happens to be the last "sequential date" of the 21st century. The next one is more than 89 years away, January 2, 2103, or 01/02/03.

Friday, December 12, 2014

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Golden Globe Nominations Announced

The Golden Globe nominations were announced yesterday as Hollywood's award season is now in full swing on the inexorable march towards the Academy Awards.

Here are the important categories:
MoviesBest motion picture -- drama"Boyhood" "Foxcatcher" "The Imitation Game" "Selma" "The Theory of Everything"
Best motion picture -- musical or comedy"Birdman" "The Grand Budapest Hotel" "Into the Woods" "Pride" "St. Vincent"
Best directorWes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" Ava DuVernay, "Selma" David Fincher, "Gone Girl" Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, "Birdman" Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"
Best screenplayWes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" Gillian Flynn, "Gone Girl" Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, "Birdman" Richard Linklater, "Boyhood" Graham Moore, "The Imitation Game"
TVBest TV series -- drama"The Affair" "Downton Abbey" "Game of Thrones" "The Good Wife" "House of Cards"
Best TV series -- comedy"Girls" "Jane the Virgin""Orange is the New Black" "Silicon Valley" "Transparent"
Some of the notable nominations are Ava Duvernay for directing "Selma," becoming the first Black woman to be nominated for a Directing Golden Globe. People are suggesting that "Selma" may get several Oscar nominations as well. Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" was snubbed, garnering a single nomination for it's score. Both of the main actors in the reboot of BBC's "Sherlock" were nominated, for different things. Martin Freeman was nominated for his work in the miniseries "Fargo" (which I have been slowly catching up with online and it appears to be really really good) while Benedict Cumberbatch was nominated for his role as Alan Turing in "The Imitation Game."

So far of the Best Picture nominees I have only seen "Birdman" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" but I do intend to see everything in the Drama category, especially "Foxcatcher" and "Boyhood."

In the television categories I'm constantly surprised by the snubs that "The Walking Dead" (which is the highest rated drama series on television) gets from the awards. I'm glad to see that someone is recognizing the consistent excellence of "The Good Wife" and of course "Game of Thrones" is probably my favorite show.

It's not clear that the Golden Globes can have that much of an impact on the results of the Oscars (the Screen Actors Guild awards are more closely correlated since the actors' branch is the largest branch of the Academy).

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Local LGBT Ordinance Repealed By Fayetteville, AR Voters

Hmmm, now that the fight over marriage appears to be coming to a close there is increased focus on other aspects of the gay rights agenda that most people thought had been settled a long time ago: should LGBT people have equal access to public goods and services, housing, employment, credit, et cetera? Simply said, are gay rights civil rights? (And by "gay" here I mean "LGBT.")

In many states there are no state laws against discriminating against individuals based on sexual orientation or gender identity. There is no federal law banning discrimination in these areas either, so many activists have started enacting local ordinances (like the one enacted in Houston earlier this year) to protect LGBT individuals from rank discrimination based on characteristics that have nothing to do with their ability to do a job, rent an apartment or access services from local businesses or governments.

However, there are many people who not only feel that their religious beliefs about LGBT people should be informative (if not determinative) of public policy in this area but also that the Government is abridging their religious beliefs by enforcing equal treatment under the law based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. These people are the same people who thought that it was a brilliant idea to put the marriage rights of their fellow citizens up for a vote and now want to do the same thing with basic civil rights as well.

Anyway, this week there was another skirmish in the upcoming kulturkampf on this issue when a local ordinance in Fayetteville, Arkansas was repealed just months after it was enacted, thanks primarily to political activity by conservative and religious leaders.

The vote was surprisingly close (less than 500 votes out of 14,000 cast) but the bad guys won. Keep Fayetteville Fair responded:
Fayetteville voters decided to repeal a city wide anti-discrimination ordinance in a special election Tuesday night. Keep Fayetteville Fair and its supporters have campaigned the past several months, encouraging a vote against the repeal of the ordinance. 
More than 7,000 people voted against the repeal and stood behind the idea that employees should be judged on their merits nothing more, nothing less. The ordinance would have protected Fayetteville residents from being fired from their job, denied housing, or kicked out of a restaurant simply because of their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. 
“We have a very strong local volunteer and support team who worked hard to try to keep this ordinance in place,” Anne-Garland Berry, campaign manager said. “Fayetteville is a city filled with inclusive, accepting citizens. Unfortunately, the repeal of this ordinance tells our visitors that we do not treat everyone with respect and only allocate freedoms to certain groups of people.” 
The campaign would like to thank all its supporters and volunteers who put in countless hours to keep our city fair. Including others who stood up for fairness, Rep. Greg Leding, Alderman Matthew Petty and Mayor Lioneld Jordan.
Hat/tip to Max Brantley

GODLESS WEDNESDAY: Godless Children In Berlin Get Their Own Day Off From School (June 21)

Are you jealous of all the religious holidays that god-fearing folks have? Well now comes word from the Friendly Atheist  that at least in Berlin, Germany, godless children have a school holiday of their own! It is June 21st, and the occasion is World Humanist Day.

This is how the Associated Press reported the story:
BERLIN (AP) — Schools in Berlin have recognized World Humanist Day as a holiday on a par with All Saints' Day, Yom Kippur and Eid al-Fitr.The decision means Berlin pupils who subscribe to humanism — a philosophy that rejects the existence of deities — can apply for a day off to celebrate their belief in the same way as Christians, Muslims and Jews do for their holy days.Arik Platzek, a spokesman for Germany's Humanist Association, said Wednesday the decision "is a positive signal and a good example."He says it will be the first sanctioned holiday for humanists in any of Germany's 16 states "and as far as we know worldwide."World Humanist Day was conceived in 1986 and takes place annually on June 21. It often falls on the solstice.
Seems like it might be a good idea to have  a holiday in recognition of the solstice anyway considering how important the Sun is to our existence! Anyway, I think it's cool that atheist kids will have the opportunity to have their (lack of faith) officially recognized by the state in a similar way the state recognizes the faiths of their pers.

Hat/tip to Friendly Atheist

Monday, December 08, 2014

EYE CANDY: Elton Ukago (black/white)

Elton Ukago has appeared as Eye Candy once before (September 1, 2014). Ukago is a Los Angeles-based model who is also known as Agu. He is active on social media sites Twitter and Facebook.


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