Friday, March 05, 2010

Six Degrees of Wikipedia's featured article and Kevin Bacon

Every day, Wikipedia has a feature article. And as I've discovered, every day, that article can be linked to Kevin Bacon, with no more than six degrees of separation.

March 3, 2010

  1. Sholes and Glidden typewriter
  2. Civil War
  3. American history
  4. Richard Nixon
  5. Frost/Nixon (film)
  6. Kevin Bacon

March 4, 2010
  1. Kinzua Bridge
  2. Pennsylvania
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Howard Stern
  5. List of Celebrity Guests on the Howard Stern Show
  6. Kevin Bacon

March 5, 2010
  1. Suffock Punch
  2. USSR
  3. Cuba
  4. John F. Kennedy
  5. JFK (film)
  6. Kevin Bacon
March 6, 2010
  1. Battle of the Alamo
  2. Disney
  3. Paramount Pictures
  4. Footloose
  5. Kevin Bacon

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Unbearable Being of Lightness

After an 18-day vacation in the Philippines, it’s no surprise that friends and coworkers would expect a white guy like me to come back with a tan. Sorry to disappoint. I may actually have spent less time in the sun than I do at home. Why? It’s hot outside in the Philippines, and I do my best to stay inside as much as possible unless sitting next to a pool under an umbrella. With my shirt on.

To generalize, the people of the Philippines are with me on this. It’s not like the Filipinos were urging me to get into the sun, but for very different reasons.

I’d love to get a tan. Back in high school, when I spent summers outdoors, I had a great looking tan. Those were the days when I’d start in the spring with a good, solid, full-body sunburn to establish my “base tan.” After that, I could stay outside for hours without getting burnt, and often did.

Now, I stay out of the sun because I think ahead. I'm an adult. I plan for my future. Avoiding age spots, deep facial creases and perhaps even more importantly, melanoma, means no tan is a healthy tan.

In the body conscious gay community, this has meant endless snide comments and scornful leers at summer pool parties and Atlantis cruises. But just you wait, bronzed hotties. Wait until we're all 60 and you look like Abe Vigoda. It'll be revenge of the palefaces.

I’ve been using a facial moisturizer with an SPF of 30+ for at least a decade. Though it’s hard to appreciate when I hang around so many Asians, I actually look quite a bit younger than I am. I was tickled to be told this week by a casting director that I was too young looking to play the parent of a high schooler. And I recently had an audition where I was to play a high school guidance counselor. Even I thought I looked too young for the role. And when the part called for me to call a student “son,” I knew I couldn’t pull it off.

The short-term cost is I’m too pale for American standards of male beauty, and certainly gay standards of beauty, but that may be changing too. That dude from Twilight, Robert Pattinson, seems to be giving pale white guys new life, but we’re not there yet. As a woman, Nicole Kidman is admired for her milky white complexion, but as a pale guy, I feel like I should be auditioning for a crystal meth PSA--if only I had fewer teeth.

I knew I might have been overdoing my sun aversion when my doctor ordered a Vitamin D test, and then sent me a coldly worded e-mail that with the results, saying I’d have to start taking a Vitamin D supplement once a day as long as I live. Here I thought I was doing something good for my health, and it turns out I’ve sentenced myself to a daily pill to keep my bones from turning into potato chips. Somehow, I sensed in her e-mail that she relished giving me this news. I imagined a cackling, witchy voice when she scrawled “as long as you live.”

Standards of beauty are entirely cultural, and they can be reversed. For reasons that surely date back to Magellan, many Filipinos are obsessed with looking lighter. I never saw any Filipino news media after the results of Sammy Sosa’s skin lightening treatments came to “light,” but I imagine that he was seen as a role model and Google searches for “Sammy Sosa whitening treatment” must have spiked in the Philippines.

You’d be hard pressed to find a tanning bed or a skin bronzer in Manila, but drug stores and cosmetic counters are teeming with products to lighten skin.

One line of whitening creams is marketed under the name “Placenta” and actually contains bovine placenta. I suppose the theory is that babies come out with such light skin because they’ve been mixing it up with placenta for nine months.

But why use a cream when you can enjoy lighter skin by drinking a healthy lemon drink? Sold in the Philippines is a powdered drink called “Slim n’ White” which contains glutathione which “surely whitens.” Not only does the drink promote “whiter, healthier skin,” it’ll give you youthfulness and stabilize your red blood cells. And I didn’t even know my red blood cells were suffering from instability.

My Filipino partner, Robert, lamentably, fell for the marketing ploy and bought one of the whitening skin creams. There’s no subtlety in the packaging. The front of the package features no fewer than eight words alluding to whiteness or lightness: 1) Whitening + Cream + Powder, 2) SkinWhite, 3) POWERWHITENING, 4) Light beige, 5) Whitens in as fast as 7 days, 6) Whitens continuously, 7) and my favorite, Reveals your Whitest White (a two-fer).

This particular product contains a sunscreen, even though there’s no mention of its sun blocking properties. I had heard on some TV news show that most of these skin whiteners are just sunscreens, so I guess there’s nothing stopping me from using this stuff. At 55 pesos (about $1.20), it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than the Olay Regenerist moisturizer I use daily. (Who is more guilty of falling for slick marketing claims?) I should have brought back a case of the stuff.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The World According to CBS Morning News

Bravo to CBS Morning News for having Adam Lambert on after a queasy ABC cancelled his scheduled appearance on Good Morning America.

But just as Adam was pointing out that the media has a double standard when it comes to sexuality, CBS chose to blur out Adam's smooch with what was apparently another man, while showing Madonna and Britney's tongue action in all its glory.

Apparently, this is the world according to CBS Morning News:

But everyone loves a lesbian lip lock. Right Harry?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Levi Johnston Playgirl photos revealed

Finally, Playgirl has released some Levi Johnston photos that show a little skin. Levi said it would be done tastefully and people would not be disappointed. Well, I don't know how you accomplish both of those goals. So far, I'm disappointed. I don't want "tasteful." I want Levi measuring his erect penis against a hockey stick. I want Levi straddling Todd Palin's snowmobile, hollering, "This is how I rode your daughter!" I want a shot of Levi squatting over a toilet, wiping himself with pages from "Going Rogue." Tasteful? I was hoping for a pictorial directed by John Waters. A Coppertone ad may be as racy as we can hope for.

Levi is my hero. Only he could tweak the sensibilities of the Palins so deftly. I love that he's dishing the Palin dirt little by little. Keep us wanting more. As he reveals that Sarah Palin calls Trig her "retarded baby" he maintains that there's a lot more where that came from. Fifteen minutes extended.

Our man Levi was in New York City last week with Jon Gosselin. The media reported that the elder Jon was giving Levi advice. About what? How to make America hate you? Levi's doing pretty well for himself. If nothing else, it's totally hot that a Alaskan guy who was wrapped up in a fancy suit and forced onstage at the Republican National Convention is now cool with gay men gawking at his nude body, and hangs with our girl, Kathy Griffin.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'm in the semifinals in the Great Canadian Laugh Off!

After a super performance at Yuk Yuk's in Toronto, I was just chosen as a semifinalist in the Great Canadian Laugh Off!

The significance of this event cannot be overstated. This is really big for me. Another guy (who is amazing and very polished) and I are moving on from tonight's round to the semifinal night on Saturday.

This competition is made up of 64 comedians from all over the world. Tonight, eight comedians performed for eight minutes each. The field was strong--I was found all of the performances entertaining, and some of them were absolutely brilliant.

In the drawing before the show, I landed the coveted last spot. After seeing so many strong performances, I didn't think I had much of a shot. My attitude was that I would just try to entertain the packed house and enjoy my international debut.

The owner and founder of the entire Canadian Yuk Yuk's chain, Mark Breslin, was at the show, and he took the time to tell me he thought my set was great. Are you getting this? The owner of a chain of 12 comedy clubs all over Canada thinks I'm hilarious. This is huge for me.

Before the show, we were told that only one non-Canadian has been chosen for the semi-finals so far. The implication was that it's not too likely that a non-Canadian has a chance, so we should just have a good time. That did take off some of the pressure, but as often happens, my nerves made me pee every 20 minutes and my junk shrunk into my body, and I looked like I was 7-year old who just jumped into Lake Ontario.

In working on my set, I was stressing about whether I should go with a squeaky TV-clean set, or to do more risque material. Did I mention that this competition will air on Canada's Comedy Channel? So, I had concluded that I should curtail some of my more raunchy material. But then, in our pre-show orientation, the producer said we should just go for it. This is Canada--the audience is used to edgy material, and they'd be disappointed if they weren't seeing an adult show.

So, I quickly reworked my set list, and it obviously paid off. My closer, an act-out of my version of the first sex scene in Brokeback Mountain, was, shall we say, well received. In comedic vernacular, it fucking killed.

I get to do some sightseeing tomorrow--I'd like to head to Niagara Falls. Then, on Saturday, I'm doing an interview that they'll use for the Comedy Channel show. The Saturday show will have the same format as tonight's, with each comedian getting eight minutes.

Interestingly, the sponsor hotel just happens to be right in Toronto's large gay district. It's like magic. Actually, this encouraged me to go for broke on my gay-themed material because Toronto is clearly a very hip and progressive city. Queer as Folk was filmed here, you know.

Oh, I just remembered I have hardly eaten all day long. I was strongly encouraged after the show to go celebrate in a bar tonight. I think finding a late-night snack joint is probably more my speed.

I love Canada.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I met Conan!

This week, I got invited to meet Conan O'Brien. He was in town looking for new up-and-coming comedians to feature on the Tonight Show.

Well, not exactly. Well, not at all. He was in town to meet staff and advertisers at the local NBC affiliate. And I happen to work for one of those advertisers.

And that meant it would have been really desperate and pathetic of me to tell Conan that I'm an awesome comedian and I look forward to being on the Tonight Show. And despite the fact that I am indeed desperate and pathetic, I resisted the temptation.

Nevertheless, it was an interesting interaction. We were invited to pose for a photo with him. When it was my turn, I told him I brought my scissors to cut his string. If you aren't a huge Conan fan, you may not be familiar with a little thing Conan does at the beginning of his show involving an imaginary pair of strings attached to his hips. If you know the show, you know what I'm talking about.

So, I held up my hands as scissors by his hip and smiled for the photo. He said I should be careful not to get too close or it will look like I'm giving him a circumcision. I responded that as an Irish guy, I'd think that would have already been done. "Yes, a long, long time ago," said Conan, effectively describing to me what his penis looks like. In mixed company even.

My uncanny ability to draw out such a personal detail from a major celebrity is surely evidence that I should fall in line as the next Tonight Show host after Conan. Or at least the next host of the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon. (I mention this just in case NBC is scrambling for a replacement. Remember, NBC, Conan was an unknown too when he took that gig. In fact, Conan had never even played the Purple Onion or Rooster T. Feathers.)

After my photo, Conan came over to where I was standing and poured himself a cup of coffee (he takes Splenda, just like me!). He remarked that this was an awkward situation where all 30 people in the room are looking at him, but no one is talking to him. So, I told him that he wasn't nearly as freakishly tall as I expected him to be. The thing is, he said, a lot of Hollywood stars are really small, so he has to be careful not to make them look diminutive on his show. He had his desk lowered, and he's careful not to stand right next to the short ones. Sometimes, you'll notice he crouches down and extends his arm for a handshake to avoid towering over them.

He continued to chat and answer some questions from others in the room (Damn, I wish they'd all have just gone away, so I could have had a private audience with him), until he said we should all try to make it down to L.A. to see the show. I asked him if we should just go up to the gate and mention his name and they'll escort us backstage. In Conan fashion, he was quick on his toes and said, "Yes, just come on up, bring a firearm, whatever you like. They'll lead you right on in."

It may be an exaggeration, but when I saw the photo above, I was reminded of another meeting of two great Americans.

Hey, a guy has got to dream, right?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

25 Really Random Things About Me

I keep reading all these 25 fascinating things about my friends on Facebook, so here's my shot. But I'm going to be true to the word "random." Random is random. Finding out a friend of mine has a tattoo of Dakota Fanning on his ass is not random. It's disturbing.

1. I'm almost out of toothpaste.
2. My left areola has a circumference of 2.8 inches.
3. I didn't measure my right areola because that wouldn't be random.
4. The second digit in my first phone number was "2."
5. My middle name is not Humphrey.
6. Monkey feathers.
7. I was once 4 feet, 6 inches tall.
8. I am not a part of the Rhythm Nation.
9. I have never wrestled a gazelle.
10. I often wear two socks.
11. I am in my early to late 30s.
12. My biological mother was female.
13. Astrology is bullshit.
14. Today I recalled how to calculate the circumference of a circle.
15. The password is "corky."
16. My cel phone is charging right now.
17. Last night, I had dinner.
18. I'm not sure.
19. 404 Object Not Found
20. Number 13 isn't all that random, but it had to be said.
21. I can't fight this feeling anymore.
22. Gurgle gurgle flub flub.
23. I'm shorter when I'm sitting down.
24. My favorite color is 7.
25. I am feeling an irresistible urge to measure my other areola.