Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Looking for some good books to read over the upcoming months? Of course you are. Summer won't last forever, and you've got to start exercising that brain again. Here are a few books you should be pre-ordering now.

First Person Plural
by Andrew W. M. Beierle

Coming August 28: Your Labor Day Weekend Reading

Andrew Beierle -- whose first novel, The Winter of My Discotheque, won the 2002 Lambda Literary Award for Best Romance -- is back with one of the more interesting concepts in gay fiction. Owen and Porter are twin brothers who share everything as they come of age. They have to: they're conjoined. One thing they don't share, however, is a sexuality. Can straight Porter and gay Owen make peace with their divergent desires? Buy the book and find out, and stop by Andrew's website for a sampling of what's in store.

UPDATE: Here's an advance review of First Person Singular Plural (my bad!).

When You Don't See Me
by Timothy James Beck

Coming September 25: Your Early Autumn Reading

They're baaack! The four three (now) brilliant writers who are Timothy James Beck -- two of whom are the wonderful Becky Cochrane and Timothy J. Lambert -- will warm up your autumn with their fifth TJB novel. I don't have to tell you (well, I hope I don't have to tell you) what a delight this series is: sharply-drawn characters, plotlines that draw you in, deft humor, and enviable writing skills. If you haven't been following this series, do yourself a huge favor and order them all. You will thank me later.

When the Stars Come Out
by, uh... me.

Coming October 30: Buy 30 Copies and Finish Your Holiday Shopping in Just a Few Minutes!

When the Stars Come Out is released in trade paperback on October 30, so if you were a cheap bastard last year and didn't want to spend $23 on a Lambda Literary Award-winning gay comic romance that earned advance praise from Publishers Weekly, now you can buy it for less money. Meaning you can buy even more copies!

And remember: Reading Is Hot!

Just, you know, in case you want to join us.

And even though this month has not yet ended, congratulations to the unstoppable machine that is player Dexter, the July winner. (That's an easy prediction: none of us are going to finish within 100 points of him.)

Play the game here.

Get some playing tips here.

Good luck to you! And to me, too.

Adam Sandler and his You Don't Mess With the Zohan film crew are messing with the FARB. I am getting sick and tired of 14-year-old PAs telling me that I cannot approach the intersection of Park Avenue and East 52nd Street, forcing me to backtrack and walk blocks out of my way. Die, Adam Sandler, DIE!

Okay, I feel better now that that's out of my system.

But seriously, what is the best way to KILL ADAM SANDLER?!

Monday, July 30, 2007


Ingmar Bergman, 1918-2007

Friday, July 27, 2007


* I may have all kinds of very special news for you next week. Or the following week. Stay tuned.

* Whenever I worry about slow book sales, I'll have to remember to reread the sidebar to this article. Suck it, Musto! Ha-ha! Uh... seriously, though, would it kill you people to buy a book that isn't Harry Potter?

* When I started this entry, I had three things I wanted to mention. But I am very old, so now I only remember two of them. Sorry.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Told you so. Almost eleven months ago, as a matter of fact.

Exhibit A: the update to this entry from September 5, 2006

Exhibit B: In Their Own Words

The lesson? Never doubt me. Even when I make shit up I am always proven right.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dateline: Schenectady, NY (and no, that's not the set-up for a joke):
Both candidates for the 105th Assembly District say they are opposed to gay marriage, yet how they would vote on same-sex legislation could provide a deciding point for some voters in the special election next week...


"If it does come to a vote, I will vote that way because that's the way the majority of my constituents want me to vote," said the 51-year-old Democratic Schenectady County Legislator. "I have to vote according to the way my constituency feels."

Libby Post, who lives in Menands and is a nationally syndicated columnist on lesbian and gay issues, said [Republican George] Amedore is "not in tune with the electorate."

She lauded [Democrat Ed] Kosiur for his stance.

"I think he generally wants to reflect the will of his constituency and that's laudable," Post said.
No, it's not laudable, and I think Libby Post knows better. Is she really calling for our elected officials to be spineless rubber stamps for majority rule? Does she really believe that cowering before 51% of the voters is preferable to political courage?

If I still lived in Schenectady-- wait a second... no, I can't even finish that sentence.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'd be voting for Kosiur if I lived in that district, in part because he would be another vote for gay marriage legislation. But I deplore his reasoning, not that it's uncommon. It is politispeak for "I'm a wishy-washy wimp and would rather grovel for your vote than tell you what I think."

Not to mention that it is absolutely contrary to the underlying principles of representative government.

It always pisses me off when I hear elected officials and candidates (full disclosure: including past employers) straddle the fence this way. I know that not every issue is equal, and not every person cares equally about those issues, but candidates and elected officials have an obligation to express their positions honestly when they do have an opinion. "I have to vote according to the way my constituency feels" is not a valid answer.

More disturbing is that Ms. Post (and almost certainly other LGBT advocates) would support this deference to the tyranny of the majority. That is an arguement that has been and will continue to be used to against gay equality by spineless politicians who are afraid to do the right thing, and her words have just given a lot of them a free pass. The ends don't always justify the means.

If you want to read about a profile in courage, check out this article about Republican New York State Assembly Member Teresa Sayward. Hers is the story of a politician who has risked a career to do the right thing.

Ms. Sayward's courage is what we should be lauding.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ron dies and Harry is paralyzed below the waist by a spell put on him by Hermoine, who we learn has been evil all along.

There. I just saved you all kinds of time and money. Thank me later.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I am proud to announce that random citizens are taking an increased interest in my Wikipedia entry, adding bits of information and linking my name into appropriate categories.

I am even prouder to announce that, in the LGBT Stubs category, my name can be found directly beneath 'Buttock Augmentation.'

Ah, the glamorous life of a Famous Author. Does it get any better than this?

Friday, July 20, 2007

The scene: ten minutes ago, at the corner of Third Avenue and East 53rd Street in Manhattan.

The players: twentysomething girl on cell phone; another twentysomething girl on cell phone; fortysomething man on cell phone.

The action: our three players enter from different directions, yakking on their cell phones and oblivious to each other and pretty much everything else that isn't pressed against their ears. As I look on in giddy, this-can't-really-be-happening awe, our three players collide violently with each other at the exact same moment. To compound my joy, the man and one woman drop their cell phones, and the batteries detach.

It was a beautiful moment. The only thing that could have made it better would be if they were all carrying scissors or steak knives.

I hate oblivious idiots on their cell phones. Can you tell?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It occurs to me that I never updated you on what I did over my long weekend in beautiful West New York, NJ, which I think we all agree you Really Need To Know.

* Two hours at the pool. Start color: Lapp White; end color: Reasonably Healthy Dane in February
* One hour in the gym. “Hey, I think I gained a pound.”
* The Necessities: laundry, XTube, liquor store
* 4:00 Ferry to Manhattan to get a jump on Happy Hour; resulting carnage ensues

* Three hours at the pool. Start color: Healthy Dane in February; end color: Lobster Boy, fading overnight to Close-to-Normal-Caucasian
* Book: start Dana Vachon’s Mergers & Acquisitions
* One hour in the gym. “Hey, I think I lost a pound.”
* The Necessities: liquor store, Mad TV reruns, Saturday Times crossword puzzle (XTube cancelled on account of presence of boyfriend demanding to know why it is preferable to the real thing)
* Visit friend even deeper in New Jersey, meaning he lives 100 feet from the Hudson River as opposed to my 20 feet. Stay until dark, then walk home through dark underbrush along Palisades and hope New Jersey ruffians don’t, uh, ruffian me.

* Three hours at the pool. Start Color: Close-to-Normal-Caucasian; end color: Ricky Martin Brown
* Book: continue Mergers & Acquisitions
* Ninety minutes in the gym. “Hey, this time I didn’t even feel like passing out!”
* The necessities: liquor store, empty dishwasher, Sunday Times crossword

* One hour at the pool. Start Color: Ricky Martin Brown; end color: Ricky Martin Brown. It was only an hour, okay?
* Book: finish Mergers & Acquisitions
* One hour in the gym. “Hey, this is my fourth straight day. Am I trying to prove something?”
* The necessities: laundry
* 1:00 ferry to Manhattan because I’m a dumbass and scheduled a meeting on my day off, but I stayed in vacation mode anyway by going to the office in shorts and boat shoes. Happy Hour followed and Happy Hour carnage ensued

* 5:45 AM alarm reminds me that my mini-vacation has come to an end, so I text my staff and tell them I’m extending it by one day. I justify this by noting that I took a Monday afternoon meeting, not mentioning the shorts and boat shoes
* Because I promised to write two proposals and two RFPs during my long weekend, and didn’t, I started work on them at 7:30 AM. By 11:00 AM, I was done
* Two hours at the pool. Start Color: Ricky Martin Brown; end color: Can’t-Enter-Gated-Community Dark Brown
* Book: start Bricktop by Bricktop, who, incidentally, had lighter skin than I have at the moment
* Ninety minutes in the gym. “Hey, I’ve lost five pounds! Now if I just lose ten… fifteen… twenty… ah shit.”
* The necessities: liquor store, fresh flowers, manscaping

* 5:45 AM alarm reminds me that my mini-vacation has come to an end, Part II. So I text my staff and…

I wish. But, no, life is now back to what passes for normal.

Do you think my lifeguard misses me?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Today my blog celebrates its fourth anniversary.

I'm worried about it. It doesn't seem to be developing at the same rate as the other four-year-old blogs. And it stares out the window at nothing for hours.

Oh, wait. The window thing is me...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Remember my problem with Arbor Books? Well, I never did hear back from The Times, but I note that Arbor has removed the 'buy-a-review' option from their website. So let's chalk that up as an unqualified victory for the good guys. And remember that you read it here first.

The very fact that they were engaged in this practice in the first place still means that the people behind Arbor Books are sleazy scum-suckers, but at least they're no longer advertising that fact.

THIRTY SECONDS LATER...: Sorry, I was premature. The sleazy, scum-sucking, immoral assholes at Arbor Books are still advertising their lack of ethics. They are just being slightly more subtle about it. Now, instead of telling aspiring writers that they can write their own Times reviews, they state that the paid ad can be used as follows:
• Use the ad as a cover blurb for your book.
• Use the ad on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as a selling point.
Here's the deal. If you are a writer of any competence and possess even a third-grade education, you realize (as, no doubt, do the sleazy scum-suckers at Arbor Books) that an advertisement is not a fucking blurb! It is a fucking ad! If I pay $1,500 to tell the world that my used tissue is the best thing since Fitzgerald, that doesn't mean I can slap a label on my tissue claiming that The New York Tiumes Book Review says it's "better than Fitzgerald!"

Ugh. Arbor Books makes me sick. Just when you think you've seen the sleaziest publishing practices, some half-assed vanity press like Arbor will find a new level of sleaze. And the problem isn't just that they prey on the dreams of the untalented; these fake reviews also defraud the consumer.

I'd say that the people at Arbor Books should be ashamed of themselves, except they clearly don't know shame.

Oh, and to answer the question that's forming in your head: yes, I frequently linked back to their website on purpose. I want them to find me, and I want Google to send people who are researching them to this entry.

R & R
I'm feeling a little burned out in 9-to-5-land these days, so I've decided to give myself a four-day weekend. It will be a working weekend, but I'm confident that it will be much more relaxing writing RFPs and white papers by poolside, rather than at my desk. And there will be plenty of time for the gym, pleasure reading, fiction-writing, bathroom-cleaning, and XTube.

It will be divine.

Maybe I'll even blog. Who knows?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Come on, people! I've just read almost 200 comments posted over the last two hours, and one important name has not appeared at all.

By now, I shouldn't have to ask. You should just know.

Thank you.

Monday, July 09, 2007

I'm not Roman Catholic, so forgive me if I have this wrong, but I think this guy has to wait for Benedict to die before announcing his candidacy, doesn't he?

(Yeah, I know. But it's freakin' hot in New York today, and that's the best you're getting out of me.)

I am in denial about a lot of things -- e.g., the long-term health effects of emptying out the reserves of the Napa Valley every weekend -- but every now and then something comes along and slaps me with the harsh steel mail glove* of reality. This weekend, that slap came in the form of this photograph taken at a rooftop party on Friday night:

The picture itself isn't horrible, really; I've taken far worse. But I spent the weekend obsessed with the fact that my forehead is becoming a fivehead. That right temple (your right; my left) wasn't bare a year ago, and I'm not liking this follicular regression. Granted, it could be worse -- I could be the friend I cropped out of the picture, who sports a positively Britneyesque head of non-hair -- but it's still not the direction in which I'd like to see my hairline go.

The balding, obviously, is symmetrical, but you can't really see it on the other temple because the hair has fallen over it, which is what hair is supposed to do. Which gave me two ideas on how to hide my expanding forehead:

1.) Yesterday's experiment was to cut back on the product. My hair lays straight and flat without help, but I'm the first to admit that I tend to overdo the gel. Using half the usual amount, my hair did tend to fall forward and cover that huge, gaping open spot, but it was also unmanageable.

2.) Today's experiment is to try to move my part a bit and brush the hair on the offending side forward. This way, I hope to equally distribute the forelock and hide the hairline at both temples.

If neither of these strategies work, there is always prayer. And Minoxidil.

Reasonable people might ask why I'm so obsessed with this, yet I'm so nonchalant about hitting the gym more than twice a week to try to get rid of these twins I seem to be carrying. To them I say: screw you.

I have my priorities, and hair comes first. And as soon as I get this situation under control, it looks like I'll have another emergency, since last night my boyfriend informed me for the first time that my nose is asymmetrical.

It never ends. With every year that goes by, I understand Joan Rivers just a little bit better.

* By the way, if you type 'steel mail glove,' then wonder if, in fact, such things exist and Google the phrase for confirmation, don't be surprised to end up here. Marginally NSFW. Those wacky Californians!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Question: What is most wrong with the following post from craigslist?
Reply to: [redacted]@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-07-05, 4:45PM EDT

a.) It sounds too desperate. Which would make it too much like having sex with ourselves.

b.) It's all in caps. Stop shouting, sexy man. Also, commas are not interchangable with periods and question marks.

c.) He's too old for this sort of horny silliness. Or is that silly horniness?

d.) 'Circunsided'? What is this, LOLm4m? Upload again after you buy a dictionary.

e.) He lives in Murray Hill.

Answer: Murray Hill. Duh.

Why are we fighting in Iraq? Hillary Clinton — or at least her computer — knows why:
I, along with a majority of Americans, expect the President and his Administration to take responsibility for the Reverend Harris assurances, faulty evidence and mismanagement of the war.
Get ready for Gitmo, Rev.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

From craigslist:

Ive always been gay curious. Recently ive had
a fantasy where a guy comes over, gives me a
little bit of money so i dont feel as gay

Does this mean that Matt Sanchez is back in business?

Monday, July 02, 2007

A few days ago I was browsing in my friendly neighborhood bookstore and stumbled across this book... mostly because the author's last name put his book near the spot where my book would have been, if the name Byrnes had been on the shelf. Uh... they were sold out, no doubt. Yeah... sold out...

Anyway, the book is about a gay romance in 1920s New York, and since that is part of the plot of one of my works-in-progress, I was intrigued. The deal was sealed, though, when I read the review from The New York Times printed on the book jacket:

The New York Times Book Review
The most exciting book about New York in the 1920s to be written in years! Not simply a novel about the swanky, secret underside of old Broadway, but real literature—heart stopping and soul stirring above the rest!
Hmmm, I thought, thinking -- as I tend to do -- in italics. If it's that good, I'd better buy it.

And so I did.

Last night, I opened it up, and forced myself to struggle through the first 30 pages of some of the most poorly-written crap I've read since--- Wait. No, not going there. Let's just say that if The Times thought Heyday deserved a rave review, then we're about two weeks away from seeing Queerty on the Op-Ed page.

Curious about the review, today I searched the Times website and found... nothing. Then I turned to the publisher's (using the term loosely) website and found this page, which reads in part:

HOW IT WORKS: As one of our ghostwriting and self publishing services, Arbor
Books buys an ad that will in part be supported by those authors wishing to
participate. It's called co-op advertising. The limit is 12 books to a full
page. Some ads may be smaller and therefore contain fewer books. You can get
started with a sale-generating $1,500 ad. All layout is handled by Arbor Books
and included in the price.

WHAT THE AD WILL LOOK LIKE: Publishing a novel or autobiography? Write a blurb that will get your book the attention it deserves! Your book cover will appear with a blurb of your choice (limit: 40-45 words on a 1/12-page ad). Then you can use that blurb as an endorsement for your book (on front and/or back cover) like this:

"Whatever you want to say that describes your book and we can help you write it..."
The New York Times Book Review
And it's not just The Times. They are selling co-op advertising in The Times, Publishers Weekly, and several other publications, and claiming the blurbs in the ads are the same as a review.

I appreciate the eagerness these self-published writers must feel, but this is clearly unethical, and free of any gray area. If the book hadn't cost me a mere $13, I'd be marching over to my neighborhood bookstore at this very moment. Instead, I've got to say that this practice smacks of consumer fraud. If Arbor Books or author Michael Viktor Butler don't like that, they can deal with me about it.

Oh, and you know how I make every effort not to speak ill of another writer on this blog? I'm breaking the rule in this case. Any halfwit knows that an advertising blurb isn't a review, and to purposefully mislead consumers to promote your poorly-written dreck is beneath my contempt.

I have already complained to my only connection at The Times, who admittedly has nothing to do with the Book Review. Still, I've started the ball rolling, and if anything can be done to stop this practice at Arbor Books, I'll be a willing partner in the effort.

And hopefully, this will also be the last we ever hear of Michael Viktor Butler and any other writers involved in this deplorable scam.



I should really invest in a crowbar...

(Via Ted)

Please, dear God, don’t let this be true. It’s bad enough that just thinking about it has put me off gay sex for the next month; if it’s true, Exodus International and Scientology are my only hopes.

I cannot believe they are mocking her and making her husband Michael seem like some sort of 'innocent victim'! Every word she speaks is the truth.

Please write to Dianne Williamson and ask her to retract her article. And do it now! If you don't, you'll be getting a visit from my Uncle Paulie.

(via Fark)

Fun for the whole family! Click here for important playing tips, and here to show off your mother lode of brainpower!

Also, I was remiss in not congratulating the winner of May's contest. So belated congratulations to Wayne. Now get off my back.

Now that it is public knowledge, I can reveal that I have joined the team at The Malcontent, instantly numbing their regular readers with a longer-than-it-looked-while-I-was-typing-it first entry.

I know you were all thinking that I was taking over Gawker, didn't you? Nah... too low-brow for me.

Seriously, I am excited about joining Matt and Robbie at The Malcontent. While I don't always agree with them on political matters, I appreciate their irreverency and ability to think outside rigid political orthodoxy. I think the three of us will make a great team, so bookmark their site, sit back, and watch the show.

Plus, this is the best of all possible worlds for me. Now, when I go to the far-right blogs, I'll still be called a 'libtard;' but my Malcontent affiliation will also earn me the 'repuglican' label on the left-wing sites! And nothing gets me juiced up like childish name-calling!

And for those of you who read this and only this blog, don't fret. My own brand of ireverence and irrelevance will continue here at The Rob Log.