The Official Web Log of Famous Author Rob Byrnes,
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West New York, New Jersey
Defining Deviancy Down Since 2003
Friday, June 29, 2007
Hamas sure knows how to show the kiddies a good time.
BEST. LEDE. EVER!
From the AP:
PHILADELPHIA -- Baltimore, Philadelphia and other cities in a bloodstained corridor along the East Coast are seeing a surge in killings, and one of the most provocative explanations offered by criminal-justice experts is this: not enough new immigrants."Bloodstained corridor!" Now that is drama!
I can't wait for the movie.
Just a quick heads up: in addition to all the bloggy goodness you get here at The Rob Log, on Monday (I think) I will also start blogging elsewhere. I will share that Top Secret Location with you as soon as (a) I get the green light; and (b) I can get on a computer that can access Blogger.
At that other blog, I'll probably be dealing with slightly weightier topics than I do here, but it's all good. You will still have TRL to meet all your meme-ing, Queerty-bashing, eye-rolling needs. On Monday, it will all become more clear.
And while I'm discussing the excitement accompanying the dawn of a new month, this is as good a time as any to congratulate Debbi, winner (well, apparent winner, since the game doesn't end for another nine hours) of the June Triviality Game. Better luck next month, Joel and Mike.
A new game starts on Monday. Why don't you join us? Click here for some tips, and show us what you've got.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
EVERYBODY LOVES PLAGIARISM
Actress Doris Roberts, better known as the bitch from Everybody Loves Raymond, on catching the acting bug:
"I got my start in the Bronx in kindergarten," Roberts told the crowd. "I had one line in a play, and everyone laughed and applauded; I loved that sound, so that's why I continued doing it."Which reminded me of these lyrics from the musical Applause :
“When I was eightNice try, Doris, but we're on to you here at The Rob Log. You can't put anything by us. Consider yourself busted, lady!
I was in a school play
I’ll never forget it
I had one line to say
My big moment came
I said ‘what ho the prince!’
My sister applauded
I’ve been hooked ever since.”
This public service provided by the only blogger old enough to remember Applause. You're welcome.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
No, I'm not taking a cheap shot at Giuliani or Bloomberg. And, no, the editors of Queerty aren't running for office. But this article has had me giggling all morning.
Now I also want to know how my name would be translated. Babel Fish isn't giving me much help. Then again, maybe I don't want to know, lest a book jacket like this be in my future:
Monday, June 25, 2007
YOU CAN RUN, BUT...
I don't mean to make light of a tragic situation, but... where the fuck did this guy think he was going to hide?!
Also, Jolene? I know he's got 'fun' spelled out amongst the swastikas on his chin, but I
Friday, June 22, 2007
I'm sure that after you've clicked on this link you'll know what to do.
That is all.
IF HE WALKED INTO MY LIFE...
After vanishing into a life of presumed leisure in the Hamptons five or six years ago, the real-life model for Jamie Brock -- the charming but manipulative schemer who is the dark soul of Trust Fund Boys (which, of course, you've already read) -- has left me two voice messages in the past few days. 'Jamie' wants to get together and hang out again.
I can only assume that he didn't read the book. That, or he didn't recognize what admittedly was a broad parody of him.
I hope he still has a sense of humor.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
GAY WRITERS ON GAY WRITING
Some intersting thoughts, although nothing you haven't already heard here and on the blogs of my writer friends:
There was agreement on the panel with Schulman’s statement that "The marginalization of gay literature is tragic." She continued, "I also think it’s sad that currently straight white men like Michael Chabon and Jeffrey Eugenides are thought of as the experts on gay literature." Mallon argued that pulling gay fiction out and putting it in its own area "sends a signal that these books are about a specific experience and the undercurrent of that message is that the experience probably won’t apply to the majority of readers."Read the whole thing here.
Oh, and also? I can't remember with whom I was recently arguing that Michael Chabon is straight, but -- once again -- I was right.
AVERT YOUR EYES, CHILDREN!
This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
gay (17x) dead (4x) sex (2x) pain (1x)
What, no extra demerits for mentioning South Carolina twice in the past nine days? That can't be right.
(Via Potty-Mouthed Jamie at I Must Be Dreaming)
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I understand the impatience. I do. In a perfect world, one should never have to struggle to achieve equality, and basic rights should never be in question, let alone subject to tyranny of the majority.
But it's not a perfect world. Go figure.
Which makes last night's news out of Albany very important. As you've certainly read by now, the New York State Assembly passed legislation that would legalize marriage by a margin of 85 in favor, to 61 opposed.
But first, the bad news: don't get your hopes up. There is no way in hell that the State Senate will pass the bill this year (or, frankly, next year), so this will not become law. And while I've been amused this morning reading dozens of angry blog comments promising angry retribution against Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno if the bill doesn't pass his house, I can assure you that Bruno isn't scared of you or worried about your threats. His constituency -- and the constituencies of most of his majority, not to mention quite a few members of the Democratic minority -- either don't care about or are hostile to the concept of gay marriage.
I'm not calling for complacency, just for a dose a realism. Remember that more than 20% of the Assembly Democratic Conference opposed the bill, and keep things in perspective.
Now, the good news: I am confident it will, eventually, happen. And yesterday's Assembly vote is proof of that.
When I went to work for the New York State Assembly in 1982, Hugh Carey was still governor; when I left in 1996, George Pataki was midway through his first term. During the 14 years I worked in Albany -- and at a fairly senior level for most of that time -- not only was gay marriage was never discussed, but even the most benign gay rights legislation was, at best, neglected. Sometimes, after a few decades, a relatively uncontroversial measure would pass, but an issue like gay marriage? Oh hell no.
And yet, just one decade later, the Assembly has taken this bold step. More to the point, it wasn't just legislators from the traditional gay ghettoes who voted in favor of the bill, but a broad coalition of men and women -- and, let's not forget, a few courageous Republicans -- who stepped to the plate, put their careers on the line, and voted to do the right thing.
I know some of these people, and I know their districts, and I can assure you that this wasn't a politically expedient vote. The easy thing would have been to vote no. They voted yes.
We had a lot to do with this, and not just those (whose numbers didn't include me) who traveled to Albany, met with as many people as they could, and rallied. The rest of us played a role just by living our lives openly, and maybe making it easier for others to come out than it was for us. The cumulative ripple effect has had an effect. It is the human face that forces even the most conservative legislators to take note, and start thinking of the LGBT community as people, not 'others.'
Ten years seems like a long time, but it really isn't. That doesn't mean it's right for things to take a long time to happen, but it's a fact of life. That these 85 Members of the Assembly stood and publicly proclaimed their support for gay marriage in the State of New York gives me a lot of optimism for the near future.
Will it happen this year or next? No. Within the next five or six years? More likely. Change is slow, but -- as the Assembly proved last night -- change does happen.
And now, my own personal shout out to some Members of the Assembly whom I know (or at least once knew) and deeply respect for their courage: Jonathan Bing, Joe Morelle, David Koon, Susan John, Roann Destito, Jeffrion Aubrey, Ron Canestrari, and Sam Hoyt. Thanks. Next time you're in town the drinks are on me.
UPDATE from the Dept. of Unintentional Neglect: Everyone is (deservedly) singing the praises of Assembly Members O'Donnell, Gottfried, Glick, and the other elected officials who moved the bill through the Assembly, but it's important to note that none of this would have happened without the leadership, organization, and political savvy of New York's only statewide LGBT advocacy group, the Empire State Pride Agenda. Unlike some of our national groups, the Pride Agenda is results-oriented... as we've just witnessed. The Washington-based groups could learn a lesson or twelve from them.
Monday, June 18, 2007
I am about to embark on a new bloggish endeavor (more details before the end of the month, and yes, I do know I'm a tease) and I'm going to need a new avatar. This is what I've been using:
Yes, it's me, but it's too small to see clearly. Because the New Bloggish Endeavor (hereafter NBE, although I won't be using it hereafter, so never mind) will probably be a tiny bit more high profile than the deep hell-pit of obscurity that is The Rob Log, I think I need a new icon to go with what I hope will be better writing and more reasoned, intellectual discourse on the major topics of---
Heh. Even I can't stomach that much bullshit. Let's just say that I need a new graphic.
Your job? To help me select the image that will permanently represent me, with the proviso that, to me, 'permanent' means whatever I want it to mean. Here are some thoughts, be feel free to contribute images or suggestions of your own:
You can see why I can't choose. I have an over-abundance of great images, and each on speaks to me, as I'm sure they speak to you. As always, thanks for your help.
GAWKER EXPLAINS IT ALL TO YOU
When it comes to astutely over-analyzing every frame of the final episode of The Sopranos, no one compares with Gawker's Alex Balk.
Before you waste another three days reading the message boards at Television Without Pity, consider this:
Journey, those balladeering power-pappers who defiled the ears of so many innocent victims throughout the eighties - an era in which Members Only jackets reached their sartorial apex - opened the decade with an album called "Departure." Departures, of course, is the magazine that Tony Soprano defiles in Dr. Melfi's waiting room. Waiting rooms are often considered a sort of limbo. Limbo, of course, is the First Circle of Hell in the Inferno, written by Dante. This could not be a more obvious reference to Silvio Dante, played by Steven Van Zandt, who, in 1985 penned the anti-apartheid tune "Sun City," the chorus of which contained the lines "We're rockers and rappers united and strong/We're here to talk about South Africa, we don't like what's going on." (Which are particularly atrocious.) Also, "I ain't gonna play Sun City." The sun (ORANGE) is a pretty obvious symbol of life; Chase is trying to say that, in the refusal to "play Sun City," Tony Soprano's character has rejected the apartheid that is his divided life between his family and his Family. "Family Guy," an animated comedy on Fox, blows. And there you have it: Tony Soprano is blown away at the end of the episode.I couldn't have said it any better myself. Mostly because I don't have nearly enough time on my hands. But bravo to Balk* for the best satire I've read in hours.
* -- Praise sincerely offered even though there hasn't been any Gawker linky goodness to this blog in months. Possibly because, in the interim, a new Managing Editor has come along and is making me pay for this; more likely not, and I'm merely no longer amusing.
Oh fuck... now I've made myself feel bad...
UPDATE: I should have read the Gawker-linked article first, although it takes nothing away from the brilliance of taking that over-analysis to its absurd extremes.
THE SADDEST STORY
As you probably know -- because you've been hanging on every word in this blog for almost four years -- in an earlier career, I spent more than fourteen years working for the New York State Assembly.
I physically left that job slightly more than a decade ago, but my heart left it a few years earlier. Read The New York Times and learn why.
Albany in the 1980s and early '90s... a lot of good times and great memories. Now? I imagine that New Yorkers have a somewhat more open, clean, and honest state government, but I could never go back there again.
Adieu to the Beverwyck. Adios, P.D. Ladd's. Sayonara, Jack's Oyster House. I knew ye all too well...
Friday, June 15, 2007
Can't. Write. This. Week.
Seriously. I have written six or seven partial drafts, but can't seem to finish one. I spent a half-hour scratching out a comment in response to this (general agreement, but having a hard time with the anti-'middle-aged gay men' meme that has been taking root on this issue) but couldn't get the right words out, so I deleted it. I'm in literary paralysis, and it sucks. Especially when you're a writer.
And if you think this is sad, you should see what I look like when I'm on deadline.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
GAYER THAN REALLY GAY GAYDOM
So if the Oscars are the Gay Superbowl, and the Tonys are the Gay Oscars, what are the Gay Tonys?
These are the types of questions that keep me up at night.
THE BIG SQUISH
Don't you hate it when an SUV runs over...? Uh... I'll stop right there, if you promise not to read any further if you want to avoid spoilers from last night's Big Television Event that wasn't the Tonys.
Twelve hours later, I'm still not quite sure what I think about the grand finale of The Sopranos. Like everyone else who was watching HBO last night, I reacted to the black screen with (1) confusion; followed by (2) "What the fuck?!!"; followed by (3) the realization that I'd have to make up the ending for myself.
Basically, I'm okay with that. The black screen could mean almost anything, and for a show that has twisted and turned and dropped plot lines and red herrings for seven years, it seemed appropriate. Was it the abrupt dark silence of sudden death that Tony and Bobby had speculated about earlier in the season? Was it nothing more than a David Chase head game, designed to make the viewers crazy with speculation? Were those guys in the diner killers? Or were they just guys in a diner? Does life go on for the Soprano clan?
I'm going to have to watch the final episode again, because I'm sure there were clues that I missed. Barring any huge revelations, though, we're left with what they apparently gave us. Tony -- who may or may not be dead -- likes onion rings; Meadow -- who may or may not be dead -- can't parallel park; and Paulie -- not dead -- is spooked by the cat, which is probably the first time I've ever felt an affinity with Paulie Walnuts.
The rest of the episode, well... it was average, at best, with a few outstanding moments. I think I expected too much after last week's nail-biter. Still, there were highlights:
* Agent Harris rooting for Tony's family like they were his favorite sports team;
* the poignant moments between Janice, Tony and Uncle Junior, where we see the once-powerful mobster reduced to a shell of his former self;
* and, of course, the crowd reaction to the indignity that befalls Phil after he's killed in the gas station parking lot.
I'm going to miss that show. But at least I get my Sunday nights back.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
45 SECONDS OF MY LIFE I'LL NEVER GET BACK
This is probably the stupidest use of the Internet ever, but tell me you don't enjoy smacking Paulie Walnuts in the forehead with a wooden spoon.
YOUNG AT HEART
My New York age is 29
This New York age puts you into a middle category between young and old (but not "middle age" per se). Be proud. You've got a nice balance between going out hard-core and staying in. You care about culture but also like some quiet nights. Keep it up, but think about expanding your horizons in the other directions. Head to Studio B or Anthology Film Archives for the first time, or finally check out the Village Vanguard or Elaine's for a dose of old-school NYC.
MYSTERY EDITORS GO A-BLOGGING
They're here, they're (apparently) queer, they're editors, and they've just started blogging.
I have no clue who the mystery men (women?) behind Best Gay Books are, but hopefully they'll be gentle. Well, with me, at least.
But even if they trash me -- which is possible, although I intend to bribe them and offer them the names of other candidates, if I have to -- I can't argue with their mission: "we just want you to enjoy more books."
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
MEET THE CRY-BABIES
Good God. These people don't need book deals; they need sharp slaps across the face, followed by repeated kicks in the ass.
If they were me -- you know, actually writing books, instead of whining about 'the process,' and putting in 55-hour weeks at a day job in the process -- they'd probably be dangling at the end of a cord tied to a ceiling beam within three weeks.
And this 27-year-old allegedly creative writer [see page 4] who's crying because he can't get a deal, yet still felt comfortable 'harshly' dismissing his agent? Trust me, loser: I'm sure your agent welcomed having more time to spend on his or her income-producing clients. Here is a free clue: (apparent lack of talent) + (arrogant attitude) * (not making a dime in publishing) = "would you like fries with that order?"
Sometimes people really piss me off...
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
YOUR 'EEK' MOMENT OF THE DAY
Hillary Clinton... Elizabeth Dole... and...?
In this blog's grand tradition of starting but not following through on things, you were probably not expecting me to update you on the Lambda Literary Awards, the subsequent adulation, the parade in my honor, et cetera.
Truth be told, you were almost right about that. I started to write up the past few days several times, and each time I hit a block. I am such a stereotypical author...
My recap from last Friday pretty much sums up my Lammy experience. It was an amazing night, and the shock lingered for a few days. It was also a very humbling experience on several levels.
Frankly, it's awkward to be singled out as 'best' when you're in competition with so many people you respect. I conceptually understand why we have competitions -- they do help heighten interest, and, well, someone's got to separate the wheat from the chaff -- but the opinion of a select group of judges in any art form is hardly an objective measure of talent and/or story-yelling abilities. I mean, I think Titanic was a great special effects movie, but Best Picture? You must be fucking kidding me.
It was also beyond humbling to stand on that stage on the same evening men and women like Martin Duberman, Joe Keenan, Robert Westfield, Kate Clinton, Alison Bechdel, Christopher Rice, Greg Herren, Charles Flowers, Bob Smith, and so many other prominent figures in LGBT writing and publishing stood there. That is not the company I keep, and -- in a sense -- I felt as if I was intruding at a party where I didn't belong.
Lest you think any of this went to my head, let me assure you that, by the weekend, life was back to normal. I was cleaning the apartment, dining on elegant tuna fish sandwiches, drinking cheap wine, and reading bad reviews of When the Stars Come Out on random blogs. (Thank you, asshole bloggers, for helping to keep me grounded.)
Here's what I really treasure about this weekend: the opportunity to finally meet Becky Cochrane and Timothy J. Lambert; to see Greg Herren and David Puterbaugh again; to spend time with the gang from Kensington Publishing and Hastings Entertainment; to get acquainted with Ted Gideonse, Rob Williams, and a number of other people; and to maybe make a bit of an ass of myself at the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony, which ordinarily wouldn't be something to treasure, but it came from the excitement, so at least it was an honest reaction. That moment that Greg Herren (now official rid of his title as the Susan Lucci of the Lammys) and I emotionally embraced as I walked off the stage is burned in my memory, and we probably wouldn't have even gotten yelled at for disrupting the ceremony if Becky hadn't gotten involved. I can't remember what she was doing, but it must have been noisy and very distracting to the other 300 people trying to pay attention to whatever was happening back on the stage.
Oh, and I have something to say to Becky and Tim: next year, in West Hollywood, I will be the first person applauding when your names (and that of co-writer Jim Carter) are announced as the authors of the Best Gay Romance 2007 for the next 'Timothy James Beck' novel. It was a pleasure to meet you both, and I hope I didn't scare you too much with, you know, the casual alcoholism and rampant narcissism. You didn't think that was just an act I was putting on for readers of this blog, did you?
One last thing before we bring these reflections on the Lambda Literary Awards to a close. Stolen from Becky (one of these days I should learn to carry a camera; follow her link for more pictures) is this photo of the actual award, festooned with my well-traveled-but-never-used badge from Saints & Sinners. Enjoy!
Monday, June 04, 2007
SPEAKING OF ICE-PICKS
In keeping with the adage that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, I will merely note that it's nice that Joey and Amy now have a couple to double-date with.
WOKE UP THIS MORNING...
I cannot tell you how much I loved The Sopranos last night. I was on edge from the first garroting to the last shotgunning. Do I really have to wait six days for the finale?
My favorite part was probably when that politician -- "Louis D" -- hired 'waste management consultant' James "Jimmy Gales" Galante to 'pay a visit' to that guy who he thought was slapping around his granddaughter. Now that was great television!
Oh. In that case, my favorite scene was when Silvio ice-picked Dr. Melfi. Uh... was I suppose to warn readers about that spoiler?
Friday, June 01, 2007
THIS IS WHY TELEVISION NEWS ISN'T IN WRITING
From the New York 1 web site:
“Who is not going to recognize Judy Garland,” said James. “It's a distinct sound, like Betty Davis.”The transcriber has a bright future in closed-captioning. In the meantime, NY1 News should be heard, and not seen.
The list of divas that James impersonates goes on and on. The spotlight is on his favorite voices: Patsy Kline, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, and Eartha Kitt.
STRANGER THAN FICTION
When I woke up this morning my first thought was, Bradykins feels so small and cold and hard and glass-like.
Then I realized I was cuddling with a Lambda Literary Award.*
Then I remembered I won a Lambda Literary Award.
Then I remembered that I was attacked last night by one of the other finalists in the Best Gay Romance category.
Okay, seriously, this was not expected. I'm friends with several of the other finalists in the category -- especially Teej and Becks and Andy Zeffer -- and I had planned on applauding wildly as they took the stage and accepted their well-deserved award.
But... I won. Go figure. And suddenly there I was, on the stage and unprepared and babbling out thanks to whoever I could remember to thank, and totally blanking on people I should have thanked or things I should have said.
More later. Right now, the entire experience has still left me a bit stunned. And gratified, of course. (I might feel a bit conflicted, but I'm not giving the fucking thing back.)
Oh, one last thing: Christopher Rice? Every bit as adorable in person as in his author photo. Just sayin'.
* = not really. That would be too wrong even for me.