THE DEUCE, James Franco, and Male Full Frontal Nudity; How Nico Tortorella Identifies, Ah-gain; The Benham Brothers: Unhinged Rant

The Deuce, James Franco, and Male Full Frontal Nudity

There’s a new HBO series out titled, The Deuce, starring James Franco. I watched the pilot last night and I noticed there’s male full frontal nudity. It’s not your average male full frontal nudity, though. This full frontal moves fast, and there are erections. This full frontal works with the story. It’s not just some cliche guy dressing or undressing for the sake of getting naked and showing off. Of course James Franco didn’t do a full frontal scene with his erection…yet…but you never know.

From what I gather, the premise behind the show is the rise of legalized porn in New York during the 1970s. Most people today don’t realize that until the 1990s Times Square was not the family friendly place it is today. It was rough, especially near the Port Authority. 

The Deuce is an American drama television series set in and around Times Square, New York. Created and written by author and former police reporter David Simon and his frequent collaborator George Pelecanos, the series pilot began shooting in October 2015. It was picked up to series in January 2016.It is broadcast by the premium cable network HBO in the United States. The first season consists of eight episodes. HBO made the pilot available through its video on demand services and affiliate portals on August 25, 2017.The series officially premiered on September 10, 2017.

There’s more here. The show itself is actually very good, and Franco nails his part as the lead. In fact, Franco may have outdone himself this time, that’s how good it is. He may get an award for this one. And, I’m told the way they portray Manhattan in the 1970s is about as accurate as it gets. All I know is the time flew by, I like the characters, and I’m watching the entire series now.

How Nico Tortorella Identifies, Ah-gain

I’m trying have patience with this guy. I’m sure he’s a nice guy. But frankly, after watching all those annoying promotions for the TV show Younger (a show I will never, ever watch) during Everybody Loves Raymond commercial breaks, and reading about how Nico does or does not identify time and again, I’m getting a little jaded…to the point where I honestly don’t care anymore how he identifies.

In any event, here’s the latest.

“I’m not in an open relationship so I can go out and just fuck whoever I want,” he says. “For me, it’s more about the ability to emotionally connect with people outside of my primary partner.”
Steve Ward, the CEO of Matchmakers, appears absolutely befuddled about all this polyamory business happening right under all of our noses.

You can check that out here.   I’m from the school of thought that says not everything needs to be discussed this openly in public. But that’s just me.

The Benham Brothers: Unhinged Rant

Here’s another story about those two Christian Benham brothers who have made a name for themselves through anti-gay rhetoric. I would imagine they’re making money, too.

This is the latest. Once again, they take it upon themselves to actually speak for God…

“As a nation,” they continue, “if you would have told us back then, in 2001, that in 2017 we would be completely redefining what gender means, what marriage means, what sexuality means … I would’ve–I would’ve said, ‘there’s no way that would happen in this country!’”

The rest is here. There’s a photo of them, and in spite of their wholesome Christian lifestyle they don’t look as though they are aging well at all.

Said With Care

A PG Rated Gay Romance

Not All Gay Books Have Sex
In Their Prime by Ryan Field

Brent Corrigan On King Cobra Movie; Real Life Queer Stories; That Gay Single Life

Brent Corrigan On James Franco’s King Cobra Movie

Even though the independent film community has given straight James Franco and his film, King Cobra, “acclaim,” I still think it’s important to hear comments and thoughts from  a gay perspective. Not an LGBT perspective this time. There’s a difference. I’m talking about only the “G” in LGBT. A gay perspective, with respect to gay culture and a gay man’s POV. And sometimes that’s VERY different from LGBT.

But more than that, since the film was allegedly based on the early years of Brent Corrigan’s film career, without his input, his thoughts are even more important.

However, the real Corrigan/Lockhart has lashed out once again at the production, accusing Hollywood of “bastardising my early years in porn”

You can read more of this here, where Corrigan talks about a book he’s writing, from his own experience and perspective.

And this is from an earlier article on the same topic.

In a post to Facebook, Corrigan said: “The internet has been a buzz regarding some recent news that a movie is being filmed right now in New York State chronicling the Bryan Kocis murder and the early days of my adult career.
“I was originally approached to be a part of the film as a consultant and the cast. I was asked to play a small part in the film and declined the role.
He added: “Ultimately, I chose to move forward with my own plans to finally release my book in place of taking part in someone else’s presentation of events that I personally lived as a young adult.

You can read that one here.

I can’t comment because I have no intention of seeing King Cobra. But I will read Corrigan’s book when it’s released.

Real Life Queer Stories

I saw this on Twitter recently and thought I would share. It’s a web site filled with real life LGBT stories coming from real LGBT people.

I very clearly remember being 13 and being a bit concerned that I might not actually be straight as I had expected to be. I also remember thinking, ‘don’t be stupid, of course you’re not,’ and burying it deep inside where I didn’t deal with it for nearly ten years. Ahhhh, adolescence. Of course I…

You can check this one out here. It’s a simple web site that’s smooth to navigate. And you would be amazed at how much Twitter opens the world to all people coming from the LGBT community. It’s not like Facebook.

That Gay Single Life

Here’s a post with more of those memes that have quotes. This time from single gay men. The premise is that it’s okay to be single.

I’m a single gay guy and all I want is a husband…until I take a close look at my friends’ relationships and I’m all like “ew but not like that.” 

I actually think some gay men are happier being single and they function better. At least that’s what I’ve seen from personal experience through more than a few good single friends. I would imagine the same goes for straight people.

Here’s the rest.


The Arrangement 

Poison Gay Wedding Cakes? Perez Hilton in Underwear; James Franco Kissing Gay Man

Poison Gay Wedding Cakes?

I’m starting this post with the fact that everyone who follows me knows I do, and always will, support equality and gay marriage. Most people also know I’m not very political. That should go without saying, however, the way things get turned around these days you clearly have to cover every last fucking track you leave.

The headline reads, Conservative US pundit jokes about poison in wedding cakes for same-sex couples, which is probably one of the most misleading headlines I think I’ve ever seen. Notice how they don’t even capitalize headlines anymore. They’re talking about something conservative pundit, Ben Carson, said recently during a conference. At a glance, they spin it to make it look as though Carson is doing a comedy routine about poisoning gay couples with wedding cakes when in reality he was giving an extreme example of something that could happen.

Here’s what was said:

‘What I have a problem with is when people try to force people to act against their beliefs because they say “they’re discriminating against me,”‘ Carson said, according to The Hill. 

‘So they can go right down the street and buy a cake, but no, let’s bring a suit against this person because I want them to make my cake even though they don’t believe in it,’ he continued. ‘Which is really not all that smart because they might put poison in that cake.’

I don’t agree with anything Ben Carson stands for. He makes me gag. He’s a tool for Fox news and a good one at that. I’m sure he’s compensated well just like all other pundits, including our very own Rachel Maddow. But if you think that what he said suggests in any way he would like to see anti-gay bakeries put poison in gay wedding cakes I feel very sorry for you, because that means “they” have accomplished “their” goal.

You can read the rest here. In an ironic twist, it’s actually a great example of bad journalism that fuels people like Ben Carson and helps make them even more money than they already have.

I call bullshit on this one.

Perez Hilton in Underwear

This is only post-worthy because I’ve already posted twice about Perez Hilton being a house guest on the UK’s version of Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother.  Evidently, Hilton did not get evicted from the house this week, and was so excited about it he stripped down to his underwear.

Host Emma Willis said it was a very close eviction, with 1% separating the bottom three contestants on the UK reality TV show. 

Hilton was then seen stripping down to his underwear and licking his own skin as he celebrated his victory, despite crowds outside the house chanting: ‘Get Perez out!’ 

My new rule this year on the blog is that I’m not knocking other gay people…unless it really, really needs to be said. In this case, I’m keeping my mouth shut.

You can read the rest here. Stay tuned for more Perez and CBB. 

James Franco Kissing Gay Man

I’ve been ignoring most things related to James Franco, frankly because I find him a little dull lately. He seems to be going to camp. And I’m one of the four people in the world who actually “got” his novel, Actors Anonymous, and reviewed it with five stars.

Of course the way he’s been promoting his new film, I Am Michael, is pure cultural appropriation…because he’s straight playing gay. The nasty little fucker is laughing at us, and I also think with us, and people are loving every minute of it. So I can’t actually knock Francofor being good at what he does. In fact, he’s overpowered this film so much no one even realizes Zachary Quinto is in it.

Franco plays Michael Glatze – the man who went from gay, proud and founder of a gay twink magazine to become a pastor and the poster boy for the ‘ex-gay’ movement. 

Quinto plays his former boyfriend and at one point in the film they take part in a steamy threesome scene with Teen Wolf star Charlie Carver. (see photo below)

The rest of the article is here. 

The reviews are interesting, at least from what I’ve seen. I won’t run out to see this one, but I probably will see it eventually.

Chase of a Lifetime


Cover: The Littlest Christmas Tree; James Franco BDSM Gay Film

Cover: The Littlest Christmas Tree

Here’s the cover preview for my Christmas novella, The Littlest Christmas Tree. It’s 21,000 words, it will be available in digital only, and I’ll be putting it up for FREE early next week for the holiday season. Blurb is below. It’s the second book in the Second Chance series. I’m keeping this as a running series for a while, too.

In this bonus novella from the “Second Chance” series titled, The Littlest Christmas Tree, an unhappy man trapped in a relationship so bad he isn’t even allowed a small Christmas tree is granted a second chance to go back in time and rethink the most pivotal choice he ever made. In doing this, he becomes one of the lucky few who can alter the outcome of his entire life.

But there’s a catch. Although he’s offered the chance to return to his college days and make a different choice, when he actually does go back he’s not consciously aware of this and there are no guarantees he won’t make the same bad choice twice. Will he choose a stable life with a handsome, aggressive young law student? Or will he choose the scruffy young theater student who drives a motorcycle and works in an auto body shop?


James Franco BDSM Gay Film

James Franco and Travis Mathews have a short feature out called, Interior. Leather Bar. But I’d like to set this up first. In 1980 there was a film titled, Cruising, with Al Pacino portraying a NY cop doing what I think was under cover work in gay leather bars. I have seen the film and read the book, which had the same title. I read the book around the same time I read Dancer from the Dance and The Front Runner. At the time, there weren’t that many reading choices for gay men. And these three books stand out more than any others for me. What’s interesting about what Franco did is that he tried to recapture (not recreate) scenes that had been cut from the original version of Cruising (so that they could avoid an X rating at the time) and he re-imagined those scenes in his short feature, Interior. Leather Bar.

Their new short feature, Interior. Leather Bar doesn’t recreate Cruising but is a mix between their take on that lost footage and a documentary-style, partly scripted, partly real, behind-the-scenes look at how they made it.

Here Mathews shares the joys of difficulties of getting actors to have ‘real’ gay sex on screen and his reasons for taking on a subject many would rather he left alone.

Make no mistake, this isn’t M/M romance or anything M/M related. This brand of gay fiction brings me back to my roots as a gay author and it’s about as real as things got back then. When Cruising was written (and filmed) times were very different and gay culture was an underground sub-culture, in raw form. The only way to meet other gay men, and to interact with other gay men on any social level, was to go to bars and clubs that featured everything from country-western to BDSM. Or, in state parks and public rest areas. Or course there were ads in the Village Voice, but you had to be very brave to answer them.

There’s an interesting interview about how Franco and Mathews handled the gay sex scenes. You can read more here. You can view a clip of ILB here. IMDb mentions it here. In the UK you can check out where to order it here. The only place I could find that’s selling it now in the US on DVD is here. I sent a few e-mails out asking for more info on that. We’ll see what comes back. I’m dying to see it. Update: According to facebook update it will be available in the US in March. FB link.

Here’s the basic plot from the book, Cruising.

The novel is about an undercover cop looking for a homosexual killer in the world of sadomasochism leather gay bars in Greenwich Village, New York. While undercover, he begins to gain feelings for his gay neighbor at the same time he is in a relationship. He ends up cheating on his girlfriend.

This isn’t Fifty Shades of Grey BDSM either. This is the real thing, not “Mommy Porn.” I highly recommend reading this book, as well as Dancer from the Dance.

James Franco on Broadway; Janet Reid on Self-publishing; Almost Gay Bishop in UK

James Franco on Broadway

In addition to a long list of film credits, an impressive academic career, and a list of published writing credits, James Franco is now heading to Broadway.

Leighton Meester has signed on to join James Franco and Chris O’Dowd in the upcoming Broadway revival of “Of Mice and Men” this spring.
Meester, the “Gossip Girl” star whose film credits include “Country Strong,” will make her Main Stem debut in the production, as will Franco and O’Dowd. She’ll play the role of Curley’s wife, the woman who figures into the tragic ending of the well-known John Steinbeck tale.

You can read more here. You have to wonder how Franco does so much and switches gears so fast. I work on deadlines all the time. I only need about three or four hours of sleep each night and I work at least six days a week. Franco seems to have found that extra day in the week I’ve been looking for all my life.

Janet Reid on Self-publishing

Literary agent Janet Reid recently posted about self-publishing and made a few strong remarks. No comment from me. You’ll have to figure this one out alone. (This is one of my shortest posts in years.)

You can read (not Reid) more here.

Whatever you do, if you’re planning on querying Reid, spell her freaking name right and don’t send anything to her from that new-fangled place called Amazon. You’ll be sorry if you don’t get these things right, you evil young e-book reading whipper-snapper.

Almost Gay Bishop in UK

Among so many negative news items these days about anything LGBTI, I found this one so uplifting I had to post about it and share.

The Church of England was one vote away from appointing its first gay bishop.

The openly gay Dean of St Albans Dr Jeffrey John was one vote away from becoming the newest Bishop of Exter, according to The Times, replacing the Right Rev Michael Langrish.

You can read more here. And my comment now is that I’ve been telling Tony we need to get to the UK. I’m serious about that. I have friends there, I love my UK readers, and I hear so many excellent things I’m curious now. I may have mentioned this in the past, but when I was in college my university, Fairleigh Dickinson in Madison, New Jersey, had a campus in Wroxton, England. As an English major I could have gone but opted not to go at the time. It’s one of my few regrets in life. I think I would have loved every minute of it.

This is part of the article is interesting, too.

The Church’s evolving attitudes also include the possible appointment of female bishops by the end of 2014, after an overwhelming majority of the Church’s governing body voted in favor of dropping the 20-year ban.


James Franco/Batman; Free Gay Xmas Excerpt; Marriage

James Franco/Batman

If you have a faint heart, you probably shouldn’t click the link to this piece about James Franco and his Batman and Robin photos. If you have a sense of humor, you’ll love it. And like with everything else Franco, I’m sure there’s an underlying message somewhere. He does nothing by accident. We might never know what exactly that message is. But it’s there.

James Franco’s version of 50 Shades might actually be more NSFW than the original.

The actor took to Instagram Wednesday, Dec. 4, and posted two photos of a little something he titled “50 Shades of Batman and Robin.” The first post was a shot of the torso of a man — probably Franco himself — dressed in BDSM Batman garb. The second was a shot of someone wearing a Batman mask with something that resembled semen on the top of the cowl.
My only comment is why do these journalist people continue to refer to 50 Shades in a way that suggests it represents BDSM? It doesn’t. It’s not even close to BDSM representation. I also learned another Internet-ism: NSFW. Until now, I didn’t know WTF that meant…Not Safe For Work.
You can read more here, and view James Franco’s amusing photos as well. I can’t post them; I don’t want Franco suing me for infringement. And here’ a link to my review about Franco’s book, Actors Anonymous. There’s an Amazon link there where you can purchase the book. I loved it.
Speaking of 50 Shades, hasn’t it been a long time since E.L. James wrote something? I’ve been curious to see what her next book after 50 Shades would be like. Most of the career writers I know have written at least three or four romance novels since the release of 50 Shades. Maybe she has something out and I missed it.
Marriage (Mine)
Tony and I usually keep these things private, and by private I mean from friends and family, too. We really don’t like to hawk people for gifts or attention with these things, and we’ve reached a point in our lives where some things are more significant when they are private. But since I’m always ranting about gay marriage here on the blog, I would be highly remiss if I didn’t post something about my own marriage at least once in a while.
Yesterday was our twenty-first anniversary. We went out to a local restaurant/gay resort, The Raven, like we usually do and I figured we would be celebrating in private…like we usually do. After dinner, as the waiter took the credit card, I noticed three good friends enter. I figured they’d stopped by for a quick drink on their way home from a company party. There was also a male revue/stripper show going on that night in the bar area. In any event, what happened after that stunned me, and it takes a lot to do that. I had no idea Tony had planned for them to be there, with a cake that said, “Marry Me,” and two gold wedding bands. I have no idea how he pulled that off without me finding out. I usually know everything.
So, following a twenty-one year long engagement, we’ll be getting married this January in Northern Vermont in a place Tony found where some of the first gay weddings were held. Of course our marriage still won’t be recognized in the Commonwealth of PA, only one mile from the New Jersey border where it will be recognized. But at least things are still moving forward and we’ll be legal in some states.  
And James Franco did a gay Batman and Robin photo shoot, which wouldn’t have happened ten or twenty years ago.  
Free Gay Xmas Excerpt
Here’s an excerpt from my Christmas novel, A Christmas Carl. It’s a gay parody on the old Dickens story and I had a lot of fun writing it. If you think what James Franco did to Batman is interesting, you’ll love what I did to Bob Cratchit. There are also a few tender moments, too…AND, Hillary Clinton eventually does become the first woman President of the United States in a scene from “Christmas future.” That’s me being self-indulgent, and wishful thinking on my part.
This book was released a few years ago, but it’s still on Amazon and other venues where digital books are sold. Stay tuned for more posts about my newest Christmas book coming out. It’s the second book in the indie Second Chance series I recently started, and this one will be very emotional and I’m not going for parody of any kind.
Keep in mind that like all excerpts I post here, this one is from the raw version:  
While Carl Smite was wrapping bundles of loose change on Christmas Eve, a cell phone in the back room of his antique store rang. His body jerked forward and he almost dropped ten dollars in quarters on the floor. He was sitting on a gilded Louis IV chair, behind a French Empire desk with detailed inlays and bronze ormolu trim. There were price tags with large numbers in bold red print on both pieces of furniture. Everything in Carl’s antique store was for sale, including the nineteenth century cup and saucer he used to drink his morning coffee.
            When Carl’s employee answered the phone and said, “I’ll be there after eight tonight,” his voice went up with a light, pleasant hum. And when he said, “I’ll see if I can get there sooner, but my boss is keeping the store open until eight tonight,” his easy, friendly voice didn’t drop or waver.
            Carl frowned and wondered why pitiful Able Anderson was always so damn cheerful. He folded the ends of the paper coin wrapper shut, then he lifted his head and shouted, “Able, hang up that damn phone and come in here, now.” He’d just wrapped twenty-three dollars worth of loose change and he didn’t want it lying around the store.
            There was a shuffling sound in the back room, and then a few whispers Carl couldn’t make out. Carl heard him click the phone shut and toss it on a counter. A minute later, Able loped into the showroom with a half smile on his face. “What can I do for you, Mr. Smite?” His soft blond hair fell to his forehead in thick, straight shocks. He was wearing loose, faded jeans that fell low on his slim waist, and a puffy down jacket made out of black shiny fabric. He smiled at Carl and rubbed his palms together to keep them warm.
            Carl placed the last roll of quarters into a bank deposit bag and said, “Why were you on the phone again, Able? I’ve told you time and again that I won’t tolerate an employee of mine making personal phone calls during business hours. I’m paying you good money to do an honest day’s work. And I expect you to do your job while you’re on my time.” Normally, Carl would have fired someone else on the spot for doing this. But Able was an excellent furniture restorer and upholsterer, he didn’t mind working for low wages, and he had a large, floppy penis that moved around in his jeans when he walked fast.
            Able took a deep breath and rubbed his palms together again. Carl hadn’t raised the thermostat that day and the store was freezing. He smiled and put his hands into his pants pockets. “I’m sorry, Mr. Smite. I was only on the phone for a minute. I was telling a friend of mine, the woman who owns the tea room across the street, I’d be down at the homeless shelter to help hand out Christmas Eve dinners tonight. And I’m helping out tomorrow on Christmas Day, too. My friend was wondering if I could get off early to get down there by six. They need all the help they can get, and I doubt anyone is going to come into the store at this hour on Christmas Eve.”
            Carl frowned and shook his head. Able Andersonwas so dirt poor he was almost homeless himself and here he was talking about handing out free food at a homeless shelter. “No,” Carl said, “you can’t get off early tonight. I might need you to move something heavy. You never know who will come into a retail shop for last minute gift. One year on Christmas Eve, I sold a crystal chandelier to a very famous actress.” This had never actually happened. But Carl liked to think there was a chance it could.
            “But it’s snowing outside this year,” Able said. “And all the other stores around us are already closed. And I’m sure you have plans tonight, Mr. Smite. If you don’t have plans, you could always come with me to the homeless shelter and help out. We’d be glad to have you, and afterwards maybe we can go out and have a Christmas drink somewhere.”
“And I’m sure you’d expect me to pay for these Christmas drinks,” Carl shouted. Then he rubbed his strong jaw and laughed. Carl suspected that Able was trying to flatter him and seduce him. Able flirted with him all the time. But Carl wasn’t about to let some young, penniless loafer take advantage of his wealth.
Carl had found success at an early age. And now he was only in his mid-thirties, about ten years older than Able. Carl had thick brown hair, a naturally muscular body, and a hard, round buttocks. But he didn’t care about his good looks. He wasn’t interested in finding a lover. The only time he used his looks to his advantage was to sell an expensive antique to a wealthy client. He knew how to make women swoon and older gay men giddy.  
            Able shrugged his shoulders. “Then I’ll buy you a drink, Mr. Smite. I’ve been working here for about a year now and we hardly even know each other.”
Carl lifted an eyebrow and stared at him. Then he shook his head and said, “I’m going home tonight, just like it’s any other night. And I’m not wasting my time handing out free food to a bunch of losers. No one ever gave me a free dinner. No one ever gave me anything for free. I’ve worked hard for everything I have. We would all be homeless, getting free dinners and handouts, if we didn’t work. And then what kind of a world would this be? I’m over it.”
            Able rocked on the balls of his feet and shrugged his shoulders. “You look good today, Mr. Smite. Is that a new pair of pants?” When he smiled, there were two perfect dimples on his rugged face.
            “Don’t change the subject on me, Able,” Carl said. “I’ve worn these slacks many times and you know it. You should know by now that just because you’re better looking than the average man, silly flirtatious remarks won’t work with me. I’ve used them all before myself, and you can’t con me.” Carl was wearing tan slacks, a white dress shirt, and a weather-beaten black wool sport jacket with threadbare elbows. There was a long beige scarf around his neck to keep him warm. He wore this outfit, and a few others like it, all the time. He preferred a classic look that lasted, and didn’t believe in wasting money on expensive, trendy clothes.
            Able laughed. “Did you get a haircut?” he asked. Then he spread his muscular legs wider; his right hand moved around in his pants pocket.
            Carl pressed his lips together and folded his arms across his chest. He knew that Able was groping his penis on purpose, hoping that Carl would become distracted and forget about why he’d called him into the showroom. Able was always doing annoying things like this; there was always a sex starved expression on his face. He’d touch Carl’s arm and breathe on his neck when Carl least expected it. He’d press his large, thick fingers into Carl’s shoulder and leave them there a moment too long. When the weather was warm, he’d wear skimpy shirts to show off his chest muscles, and worn jeans that fell so low on his young waist that Carl could see the waist band of his underwear. Sometimes he was even bold enough to place his palm on the small of Carl’s back and guide him through the store.
            But Carl always stepped away from him. He’d pull back fast and take control of the situation. He was much too sensible to be distracted by anyone’s good looks.
Carl owned one of the most successful, important antique stores in the city and his only concern was money. The fact that he hadn’t made any money that day infuriated him. People didn’t buy important, expensive antiques as Christmas gifts. They bought cheap junk in discount department stores. Holidays made Carl clench his fists; they always interfered with normal business. So Carl pointed to the deposit bag filled with change and said, “I didn’t call you in here to talk about the homeless or getting drinks. I need you to make a deposit this afternoon.” It made him feel calm and warm inside to know that at least something was going into the bank that day.
            Able’s eyes opened wide; he blinked a few times. “Seriously,” he said. “It’s four o’clock in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, Mr. Smite. The banks are all closed. And the snow is really starting to accumulate out there. We’re supposed to be getting at least nine inches.” When he said nine inches, he gave Carl a naughty look and smiled. Then he pushed his dick forward and tugged the shaft a few times on purpose.
            When Carl saw the outline of Able’s long penis protrude through the fabric of his worn jeans, he took a quick breath and said, “You can go across town, to the main branch of the bank, and put the money in the drop-off box.” Then he handed Able a long, thin key to the bank deposit box and said, “And don’t waste time either. When you come back, I want that chair you’ve been working on in the back room to be completely finished by the time we close tonight.”
Able pulled his hand out of his pocket and took the key from Carl. He put the key into his pants pocket and then pulled a pair of black gloves out of his coat pocket. Before he put on the gloves, he pulled a ten dollar bill out of his back pocket and placed it on Carl’s desk.

        Carl looked down at the money and said, “What is this for?”
        Able put on his gloves and reached for the deposit bag. “I ordered a sandwich from the deli down the street. I haven’t eaten anything all day and I’m not going to have time to eat anything before I get to the shelter, so I ordered something. Ten dollars will be enough.”
          Carl pointed to a rumpled brown bag on his desk and said, “I brought my own lunch today, a cheese sandwich on white bread and an apple. You’ll never have any money if you keep squandering it away on sandwiches from delis, Able. After all, you don’t find ten dollars in the street every day.”
         Able pressed his lips together and took a deep breath through his nose. He said, in a lower, controlled voice, “I usually skip lunch, Mr. Smite, to save money. I never order out. But I figured I’d splurge today because it’s Christmas Eve.” Then he turned away from Carl and crossed toward the front door. On he way out he asked, “Is there anything I can get for you while I’m out?”
          Carl shook his head and said, “Just get back here as quickly as you can so you can finish that chair before the day is over. I’ll be looking at the clock while you’re gone. If you don’t finish the chair by eight, I’m keeping the store open until you do. And I don’t care what time that is.”
        “Yes, Mr. Smite,” Able said. “I’ll be right back and I promise I’ll have the chair finished by eight.” Then he pushed the door open and a small bell on a Christmas wreath jingled. 
        A few minutes later, the front door opened and the bell jingled again. Carl looked up from his desk and forced a smile. He’d been reading the financial pages from yesterday’s newspaper. (Carl never bought a current paper. He just waited until the owner of the shop next door to him tossed his in the street trash cans every night.) His first thought was that a customer had entered the store. He wanted to sell at least one item that day. He was hoping that it was someone older who would be attracted to him.
            A thin young man wearing a flimsy denim jacket stepped into the shop. He walked with a limp. He wasn’t wearing gloves or a scarf. His brown hair had been shaved short and he wasn’t wearing a hat. There was snow on his shoulders, two small sliver hoops in each ear, and his angular face was red with wind burn. He crossed to the back of the store and placed a brown bag on Carl’s desk. Then he looked Carl directly in the eye and said, “That will be nine dollars, Sir.” His voice was deep and nasal. He turned his head and coughed into his elbow.
            Carl’s eyebrows went up and he stepped back. He didn’t want to catch a cold from some stupid, grungy delivery boy.
            The young guy cleared his throat and said, “I’m not contagious. This is just the end of a month long cold.”
            Carl pulled a taped receipt off the bag, and then removed the bag from the desk so it wouldn’t ruin the expensive burl veneer. He placed the bag on the floor and stared down at the receipt. When he confirmed that it was nine dollars, he handed the young man the ten dollar bill Able had left him.
            The young man stared at him for a moment without speaking. His face was smooth and handsome, his chin strong and square. He couldn’t have been more than fourteen or fifteen years old. He tilted his head and said, “Thanks,” and put the ten dollar bill into his back pocket.
            As the boy walked back toward the front door, rubbing his wet nose and limping, Carl stood up from his chair and shouted, “Hold on there. I didn’t get my change.”
            The young guy stopped short in front of a Bombay chest that had a ten thousand dollar price tag and turned back to face Carl. “You want change?”
            Carl furrowed his eyebrows and said, “If the bill was nine dollars, you owe me one dollar back. Don’t you know how to count change? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you didn’t, from what I’m seeing with people your age these days.” He walked to where the guy was standing and looked down at him and frowned.
            The young guy squared his shoulders and lifted his head. He looked into Carl’s dark brown eyes with his own dark brown eyes and pulled a one dollar bill out of his pocket. He handed it to Carl and said, “I know how to count, Mister. I just thought you were giving me a tip, is all.”
            Carl hesitated. There was something about the expression on the guy’s face that made his stomach jump. It wasn’t sexual and Carl would never have been interested in anyone so young. Carl was cheap, his heart was the size of an English pea, and he couldn’t care less about Christmas. But he wasn’t attracted to minors and he never would have harmed a child. This reaction was more like he’d seen this guy somewhere before. There was something familiar about him, a connection of some kind that Carl couldn’t pigeonhole.
But that didn’t stop Carl from taking the dollar bill. He ripped it out of the guy’s hand and said, “Why should you get a tip for doing your job? Don’t they pay you where you work? No one tips me for selling an antique. It’s my job.” The dollar bill felt soft and wet, as if it had been in his pocket for a very long time.
            The young guy took a deep breath and shook his head. “Don’t worry about it, man,” he said. “I guess you need that dollar a lot more than I do.” Then he turned his back on Carl, opened the front door, and shouted, “Merry Christmas, buddy.”
            “Keep your ‘Merry Christmas’ to yourself,” Carl shouted back. “I’m over it, you little smart ass.”
            When the door was shut and the boy was gone, Carl shoved the dollar bill into his back pocket and walked back to his desk. A half hour later, Able returned from the bank and asked if his order form the deli had arrived. His shoulders were coated with snow, his thick blond hair was soaked, and his face was red. Carl lifted the brown bag from the floor and handed it to him. “It was nine dollars even,” he said, shaking his head.
            Able took the bag and said, “Damn. If I’d known that it was nine I would have left a few extra bucks to tip the delivery guy.”
            Carl was about to reach for the dollar bill in his pocket. But he stopped when Able asked, “Did you give him a few extra bucks? I’ll pay you back.”
            Carl’s hand dropped to his lap and he frowned. “Of course I didn’t give him any of mymoney. I didn’t order the food.”
            “Well,” Able said. “At least he received a dollar tip. It’s better than nothing. I would have given him more because it’s Christmas Eve and all.”
            Carl reached for a polishing cloth on his desk and stood up. “I’m going to polish that eighteenth century game table. And you’d better get back to work on that chair so it’s finished before the day is over. And I don’t want to hear anything more about Christmas, or homeless people, or giving large tips to nasty, germ-carrying delivery boys. I’ve had enough. I’m over it.” Then he stormed past Able with the polishing cloth in his left hand. With his right hand, he patted the dollar bill in his back pocket three times. If anyone had walked into the shop and seen him smile, they would have thought he’d just sold a fifty thousand dollar bronze statue.


GQ’s 25 Least Influential List; James Franco Parody with Seth Rogen

GQ’s 25 Least Influential List

Other than wondering about who reads GQ Magazine anymore, or any print magazine for that matter, I couldn’t help notice that GQ Magazine’s list of the 25 least influential people is interesting. (If you still read print magazines please don’t comment with vitriol. I think it’s wonderful that you do, but print magazines like newspapers are dwindling fast and it’s not my fault.)

First, the most annoying thing is that I can’t actually get a comprehensive list of the 25 least influential because it’s one of those annoying web sites where you have to click from page to page twenty five times. Ugh!

In any event, some of the names on the list are surprising, some not.

While magazines across the country offer readers their pick of the world’s “most influential people,” this year, GQ magazine is bringing you the “The 25 Least Influential People Alive” — and on the list are MSNBC host Ed Schultz, and, of all people, President Barack Obama. This is the same magazine that oddly, named Obama “Leader of the Year” in 2009 and “Man of the Year” in 2008 while calling Sarah Palin “dangerous” and “poisonous.”

If you care about GQ’s list, you can read more here. And here’s a link to GQ’s actual web site where if you have the time in your life you can click through 25 long, slow pages and sift through ads you don’t care about.

Sorry for the snark here. But besides putting President Obama on the list and saying, “nothing gets done,” they also added Miley Cyrus for “licking sledge hammers.” I thought it might be parody at first, but it seems real. Unfortunately, GQ didn’t list themselves for the exploitation of men over the years, promoting fake unrealistic male images, and for being about as relevant as the typewriter in the year 2013.

James Franco Parody with Seth Rogen

Now this, I thought, was funny. When I saw it on social media in several places this afternoon I wanted to share just so I could have it up on the blog and link back to it again in the future. It’s a video of James Franco and Seth Rogen making out on a motorcycle.

Today, Seth Rogen released a shot-for-shot remake of Kanye West’s now-infamous, Lisa Frank-inspired “Bound 2” music video featuring Kim Kardashian.

According to his Facebook status, Rogen and James Franco made the video “during down time on the set of #TheInterview.” It looks like they had a lot of free time on their hands:

You can check it out here. Is it just me or is Rogen extremely attractive in this?

Review: Actors Anonymous by James Franco

Review: Actors Anonymous by James Franco

I finished this novel last night and figured I’d better post a review while it’s still fresh in my mind. And that’s because in many ways it reminds me of a graduate course I took senior year in college called Communications and Literature. I was supposed to take this lame senior seminar as a requirement, but with a little foot work and a really cool advisor in the fine arts department who had some national fame at the time (and signed anything I asked him to sign because he knew how hard I worked in his sculpture classes) I figured out a way to bypass the senior seminar and take a graduate course that focused on literature, interpretation, and communications.

The course was so intense the professor admitted on the first day he didn’t get it either, especially the semiotics and semantics. And the reason I’m even mentioning this now is because while I was reading Actors Anonymous I felt as if I’d been transported back to that graduate course all over again. Actors Anonymous, like the graduate course, is the kind of book that needs to be absorbed a certain way, and parsed with an articulate eye. So far, in reading most of the mainstream so-called professional reviews I haven’t seen anyone do that with Actors Anonymous. I’m not talking about Amazon reviews now. I highly respect all customer reviews and everyone has an opinion I respect. I’m only talking about people who get paid to write reviews for mainstream publications, and who should know better. Unfortunately, I guess they didn’t take any grad courses in communications and literature.

One aspect of communications and literature I learned about in the grad course I mentioned above is that we tend to interpret literature differently at various times in our lives. In other words, I might feel completely different about Actors Anonymous ten years from now if I reread it again in the future. If you don’t believe me, revisit a novel you read ten years ago and see if you feel the same way about it. As our lives and circumstances change through the years, we often tend to interpret the books we read in different ways. For me, at this point in my life, I think I appreciated Actors Anonymous as much as I did because as a career fiction writer I understood what was written on the page, and also what was written between the lines of the pages. I probably wouldn’t have felt this way ten years ago.

Due to the fact that Actors Anonymous is so abstract at times I can’t get into a full plot description because the novel doesn’t really follow the normal course of novel writing. I have no doubt it’s fiction for the most part. And yet it’s not an anthology, and I should know because I’ve been in far more anthologies than I can even count at this point. What I thought it did was follow a theme that revolves around acting, the deep need to act almost to the point of addiction, and all the traps that accompany fame and fortune if an actor is successful. And it’s done in a current (and simple) way that I think is about as real as any novel I’ve ever read before. If there were a genre labeled “Reality Fiction,” this would be a perfect fit. There’s no proverbial sugar-coating deal going on here, and in the same respect it wasn’t too over the top in a way I might have questioned.

The book does bounce at times from chapter to chapter, which I thought added more abstract appeal. There’s a chapter with texts discussing a realtor who boasts about things like her glorious adventures to her deep desire for what I thought was supposed to be interpreted as affection. I could be wrong about that, but it was an interesting chapter anyway. And it’s really the way a reader interprets the chapter that matters most. And then there are chapters like McDonalds I and McDonalds II where an unusual guy who seems to drift with the breeze tries to pull his life together by working in fast food and making a few extra bucks on the side by performing sexual favors for some poor unfortunate who’s not going to get laid any other way. In fact, throughout the novel I found many well written sex scenes. But they aren’t sex scenes that are designed to stimulate the reader in a sexual way. Most are raw, they devolve into the darker side of life most struggling artists experience at one point or another, and they often left me wanting to shower (or rinse my mouth with peroxide). However, the fact that they had this brand of clarity only made the novel more intense for me and the overall reading experience.

If I had begun a book like this and found the writing overdone or poorly executed I probably wouldn’t have finished. Thankfully, none of the characters “barked,” in the dialogue tags and no one’s “feet climbed up the stairs.” However, the word economy, the exact way each sentence flows into another, and the structure of the narrative kept me turning each page into the early hours of the several mornings. I would love to have seen the original manuscript without revises just to compare it with the final book. It’s been so well edited and made so tight I couldn’t find one single flaw with the writing. Even the sex scenes worked, and scenes like this in other novels I’ve read tend to be over-written many times. But not once during a single sex scene did I read a sentence like, “He brought her off.” This might sound like a minor detail to many people. But if you read a lot and you know the difference, it’s a huge thing for others.

Whether or not this novel was written to be sarcastic at times could be anyone’s guess. I did detect a hint of snark and WTF-ery in an amusing way (Perez Hilton: smile), but it’s not the first time I’ve seen that in fiction of this nature and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The voice in a general sense kept me reading, even during a few of the bumpy sections where I had to go back and figure out what had happened. For me, that was fun. I have eclectic taste and I like reading abstract works that challenge the norm every once in a while just as much as I sometimes like reading Debbie Macomber. I’ve already recommended Actors Anonymous to people I think will like it as much as I did (or get something out of it), and I’ve cautioned a few who I know would expect something else. As a writer, the one biggest fear I’ve always had was getting nothing but three star mediocre reviews. Because the books that get the most balanced reviews between one star and five always seem to be the most challenging to the reader. They touched a nerve, they made someone think, and whether they pissed someone off or thrilled someone else, the extreme is always what matters most in the end in fiction.

My suggestion to anyone vetting this book for purchase would be to check out all the reviews and read the samples. My warning would be to beware of  all the so-called professional mainstream reviews that talk more about the author and the author’s fame than the actual contents of the book.

I purchased the book in digital format on Amazon for 5.99.

Side note: I think you can retrieve your iTunes if your drive crashes. (It’s in the book.)

JFK’s Lincoln; James Franco Gay Interest

JFK’s Lincoln

Every year around this time President John F. Kennedy’s legacy begins to circulate in the media because he was shot and killed on November 22, 1963. And this year marks the 50th anniversary of his death. Most of what’s been printed or filmed has made the rounds so many times it’s ingrained in the heads of almost every American who is over thirty years old. But this next article about the Lincoln Continental Limousine in which Kennedy was killed has a few interesting facts I’d never read before.

I knew it had become a tourist attraction at the The Henry Ford museum in Michigan, but I didn’t know that the car we’re seeing now is virtually nothing like the car in Kennedy’s motorcade. It was originally midnight blue and now it’s black. The headlights were altered and look nothing like the original headlights in Kennedy’s Lincoln. It’s not even a convertible anymore, and hasn’t been for a long time.

And there’s a reason for this. After the shooting in Dallas, the Lincoln limo was flown back to D.C. and housed in a Secret Service garage where it underwent extensive examinations. At the time, no one knew what to do with it, so pragmatism overtook the historical significance of the car and this was the ultimate result:

But the federal government of the United States of America did not have another presidential limousine. Developing one could again take years. Macabre as it may be, it was faster to just rebuild the one they already had.

The ’61 Continental survived, but underwent massive changes.

Secret Service agents shipped the car back to Hess & Eisenhardt in Cincinnati, where engineers encased its body in armor and titanium plating and added the permanent, bulletproof roof. The gas tank was filled with a plastic foam that minimized the risk of explosion if bullets were fired into the tank. Bulletproof windows five layers thick were installed.

And after all the massive alterations the Lincoln returned to D.C. in the spring of 1964 with its original color, midnight blue, and President Johnson, Kennedy’s successor, freaked out and ordered it painted black because of the macabre images he thought it might provoke. So it was repainted, returned to the white house garage, and went into service for the next sixteen years.

The Continental would spend the remainder of its years in the background. It traveled with Johnson to Vietnam, with Nixon to China, with Ford to the Soviet Union. It made its final foreign trip with President Carter in May 1977, carrying him around London and Newcastle for an economic summit.

Retirement awaited upon its return, and the car was given back to Ford, from which the federal government had leased the car for $500 a year.
One of the aspects of the entire Kennedy shooting that has always impressed me was the way Jackie Kennedy seemed to know that even in her most desperate moment she had a duty to preserve history and to let the people see what had happened so no one would ever forget. I can’t believe she refused to remove her blood-stained suit by accident the day Kennedy was shot. She wasn’t a stupid woman and she knew that one day those photos of her standing in that blood-stained suit would become a huge part of American history. Unfortunately, they didn’t discuss what should happen to the Lincoln with Jackie Kennedy, and a car that never should have been altered or tampered with because of its historical significance was completely ruined.

You can read more here. There are many more details and probably a lot of facts you didn’t know. You can also see a photo of the limo as its been altered and is now in display in Michigan. The photo above is public domain and that’s the original limo.

James Franco Gay Interest

When I posted about a novel I’m reading written by James Franco earlier this week, I had no idea he was so fascinated with gay men. But this next article talks about how Franco seems curious about gay men and thinks of them as his heroes, and I have noticed a few gay scenes in his new novel that tend to be painfully accurate, but not always flattering to gay men. That’s hard to explain, so I’m not going to even try.

Franco has played several gay characters in films. As far as I know, Franco is straight and as they say an actor should be able to play any part. I fully agree with that, however, it doesn’t always work that way if you’re openly gay in Hollywood and you want to play a straight lead in a film. But that’s the way it works, and straight male actors often get to play the parts of gay men without the hint of a double standard or the fact that it’s fucking cheesy to do. (Sorry for the short rant; it might happen again.)

In any event, straight actor, Franco, has directed two new films with gay characters, in all his straightness. I don’t know if those characters are being played by gay actors, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they aren’t. The world is run by straight white men; they call the shots, especially in Hollywood.

Interior. Leather. Bar. is a ‘docufiction’ film that attempts to recreate the 40 minutes of deleted sexually explicit footage from the 1980 film Cruising while Sal tells the story of the last day in the life of the late gay actor Sal Mineo.

Any gay man, me included, can relate to what’s between the lines in that sentence. And Franco says this in reference to the gay roles he takes:

‘In Milk, the point is to show one of the great fighters for equal rights for the gay community, so I was happy to do that. With characters like Allen Ginsberg [in Howl], my love for him started with his work when I was a teenager. So his sexuality is secondary to me. It’s an important aspect of who he was and his character, but it wasn’t like, “Yes, I want to play another gay role,” it was more, “Yes, I’d love to play another one of my heroes.”’

I’m sure there are openly gay actors who would love to play the life story of John F. Kennedy because he was their hero. But I doubt that would happen.

As a side note, Allen Ginsberg was a regular here in New Hope, PA, as mentioned in this article.

At the Terrapin we had many interesting customers, from locals like James Michener, Rachel Welch, Peter Hurkos, Gerald Heard, Hal Just, Harry Smith, Allen Ginsberg. and a large crowd of new people..

In any event, I like Franco, and I’m enjoying his book. I think his intentions are good and I’ll probably enjoy his movies. But there is something in all this that falls under the old bullshit saying that I’ve mentioned before here on the blog by journalist Linda Ellerbee: “And so it goes…”

You can read more here about why James Franco is so enamored by gay men.

Blog at

Up ↑