Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.
-- Tom Robbins, not necessarily writing about me at that particular moment.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

For months the Obamacolytes have seen the unshakable, unquestionable inevitability of the Gentleman from Illinois's campaign for the presidency and wondered why Hillary Clinton was hanging in there. Why wasn't she bowing to the will of the, uh, them? It was a foregone conclusion that Barack Obama would and should be nominated, wasn't it? The old, morally-compromised cow should shut up and get the hell out of the way.

Thing is, they forgot something: Clinton's been around a long time. True, that means she's had decades to accumulate a walk-in closet's worth of skeletons, but it also means she's seen 'inevitability' and 'invincibility' come and go a few hundred times. Remember when President George H. W. Bush was sworn in as president in 1980? Or how he romped on his way to a second term in 1992? Yeah, good times...

And -- in 2008 -- so much for inevitability. Hell, even Michael Dukakis sees that.

The fact is that Barack Obama is a politician, and people who fail to see or acknowledge that are fooling themselves. Sorry to be blunt, Obama fans, but it's true. You don't become a United States senator and, possibly, president without being an adept politician. You probably can't even get elected to the town board without being an adept politician.

Let me add that 'politician' is not necessarily a bad word. It was, at one time, my career of choice. A good politician knows how to mesh his or her principles with effective persuasion. A good politician knows how to prioritize, and that at times when has to lose a battle in order to win a war. And above all else, a good politician knows that his or her agenda doesn't play out in a vacuum.

You can hate this fact all you want, but Ted Kennedy and Tom Coburn each get the same number of votes in the US Senate... which happen to be the same number given the senators Obama, Clinton, and McCain. Lofty rhetoric isn't a bad thing, but it is not a substitute for hard work and principled negotiation.

[As an aside, for an example of ineffective political leadership skills see the case of the former governor of New York State. Forget the hookers; this guy trounced his opponent and won office with almost 70% of the vote, then spent the following 15 months thinking the vote gave him a mandate to demand, instead of govern. End of story: if the hookers hadn't brought him down, his self-righteousness would have. He managed to lose support of the legislature and the public... and when you make people pine for the Pataki Era, you have failed. Remember that the next time you hear a politician make a 'my way or the highway' type of statement.]

Here's the thing: I really could not care less about the Reverand Mr. Wright's rantings, and I like both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as prospective Democratic nominees. One of the reasons I like them, let me add, is because they make no secrets of the friendships and working relationships they have forged with colleagues from across the aisle.

However, I'm not sorry to see this flare up for a few days, if only because it will force some of the more self-righteous Obama supporters to wipe those smug grins off their faces.

Welcome to the way things are, kids. Barack Obama already knows it; his supporters should, too.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Here's the latest from the ever-cartoonish Q-Word:
"Can you express yourself in witty cartoon form?
Then Queerty wants you!"
Witty? Well, that, at least, would be a nice change.

By the way, they are almost as good at math as the staff of Gawker. If it takes you more than two seconds to figure out what's wrong with this sentence, I'm going to have to ask you to leave this blog:
She married Frances Gottaschalk back in 1980, but decided to become a woman in 2005, fifteen years into their marriage.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The FARBdex: April, 2008
(I know I should wait until the end of the month to index the fun we've had in April, but you'll live...)

911, necessity to call before being killed (4/02)
ANGER (4/01; 4/10; 4/14)
BALLS, desire to kick someone in (4/01)
BONO, Sonny, murder of (4/04)
BRAZIL, and the waxing of elderly men (4/24)
BYRNES, Famous Author Rob, and Canadianess of (4/02); as Child of the Raven (4/02); as drunk (4/09); as life-partner of Mario Lopez (4/02); as Master Detective (4/04); as Old and Out of Touch (4/10; 4/18); as Stud (4/07; 4/08; 4/09); as Stud who nailed the Paper Boy (4/07); too amused by own cleverness (4/02)
CORNING, Ron, and outing by tag cloud (4/14), fired (4/16)
COWS, sex with (4/23)
GAWKER, and second-grade mathematics (4/11)
“GREASE” and ho status of Sandy (4/20)
HILTER, Adolf (4/18)
LOPEZ, Mario, as life-partner of Famous Author Rob Byrnes (4/02)
MOTORCYCLES, as portable death machines (4/07)
OREOS (4/03)
QUEERTY (4/24)
ROCHESTER, NY; and mass transit (4/04); and The Paper Boy (4/07)
SEARS, as location for bathroom sex filled with all kinds of hotness (4/23)
TOWNHOUSE, The, as depicted in underappreciated fiction (4/18)
ZOMBIES, vegan dietary restrictions of (4/23)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Someone stole a story from The Onion:
Environmental campaigner Harrison Ford has had his chest waxed in an effort to showcase the pain involved in deforestation.... (Ford)subjected himself to the painful beauty treatment in a bid to raise awareness about the conversion of global forested areas.

Frankly, I would have been much more impressed if he got a Brazilian to protest deforestation of the rain forest.

(Via Fark)

From the Q Word:
We all know the proverbial “rubber-necking a train wreck” saying. That is, we know that something will end badly and possibly cost us our lunch, but we indulge anyway. The law doesn’t apply to just disasters and celebrities. It can be projected upon articles, as well.
And the reason I won't mock is because I have also typed sentences that don't make any sense at all -- individually or together -- when I've been so drunk I couldn't stand.

What? They weren't? Oh. In that case, WTF?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I believe Mike Shallow. Because I, too, often play games on my phone when confronted by scary masturbating men in the bathroom at Sears.

Chant with me: Free Mike! Free Mike! Free... okay, that's enough.

By the way, here are the mugshots from the Great Sears Men's Room Sting. It doesn't exactly look like a male model convention was in town that week... Hey! Is that Meat Loaf?!!

... it would have read: Moooove Along, Nothing to See Here.

Also, look at that guy's picture and tell me they shoudn't have seen it coming.

Being a vegan zombie.


Sorry, got nothing for you. I burned out this past weekend on writing, and I'm fried...

Oh wait! A vegan zombie could stumble around the countryside moaning, "Graaaaains."

I know what you're thinking. How come I'm not famous more Famous. I know, I know... it's sort of a mystery to me, too.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

In the song "Summer Nights" from the musical Grease, we are led to think that bad boy Danny is lying to his friends, while nice girl Sandy is telling the truth about their chaste romance. But what if Danny is really telling the truth, and Sandy is actually lying, trying to cover up the fact that she's a cheap ho?

Discuss. Use an extra sheet of paper if you require more space.

Friday, April 18, 2008


(From here via here)

Or, Cooper and Billy go to The Townhouse Penthouse.
“Can I buy you a drink?!”

Startled, I turned to see an older man, his mouth just millimeters from my ear. He had recently dyed his hair an unnatural shade of black, and if I wasn’t mistaken in the discreet lighting he was also wearing an application of make-up over his pale cheeks, giving them an unearthly rosy glow....

“How’s it going, George?” Rick said, but the old man just turned and skulked away.

“Who was that?” I asked.

“His name is George, but we call him the Evil Mime. He’s, like, eighty years old, and once upon a time he even worked with Marcel Marceau. He actually made a career out of being a mime, if you can believe that. If you give him five minutes, he’ll tell you all about it.” Rick paused, then added, “The key is not to give him those five minutes.”

What can I say to the rookies? Just that they should have first read the definitive book. That's not just my not-so-humble opinion; it's the opinion of everyone who works there.

Related: The Townhouse Magical Mystery Tour

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hurray for Becks, who just mailed the completed manuscript for her next novel -- A Coventry Wedding -- off to Kensington. Pop over there and give her some love.

She also has "Some Words to Struggling Writers" that you should read and take to heart. Frankly, I think she's sunnier than I would be, but that's probably because she's done, and I'm not. In another two weeks, my feelings about the business will no doubt be more upbeat.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Talk about coincidence. Monday I was joking about the absence of Ron Corning from the MyFox New York website (and also his tag cloud), and late last night a friend e-mailed me to tell me this news. Which sort of explains that sudden vanishing from the website. Just another reason to hate Fox.

This really annoys me. I loved me my Ron Corning in the morning. I just hope my boy ends up staying in the New York market, because I'd hate to have to move.

Ron Corning

By the way, don't bother reading the comments at the Daily News link. Homophobia is alive and well in the New York metropolitan area. I have no idea if he's gay, but apparently the haters have made up their minds. Fuck them.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A short time ago I went to the MyFox New York website to grab the link for Mike Woods and noticed that the on-air personalities had biographies, and many had blogs. So after making my last entry, I returned to that website to check out the man I have coffee with every morning: Ron Corning. I figured, you know, we'd become blog buddies, and eventually BFFs, since that's what famous Famous People do.

Unfortunately, he seems to be the only Fox anchor without a bio, let alone a blog. So I typed his name into the search engine to try to find him.

I found him. And the Tag Cloud outed him.

Oh, and for the record, I do not have a Tragic Dating Story about Ron Corning. I just want to be clear about that. The guy has a reputation he has to live with.

Radar Online breaks the news about how you're probably getting your daily weather report from teh geighs. And only about a decade after the rest of us figured that out!

Also: no Mike Woods? What, too obvious?

For the record, I hate all of you who napped, watched television, went to the gym, visited friends, got fresh air, went grocery shopping, slept in, rode your bike, went to the park, had sex, cleaned your home, cooked, caught a movie, took a road trip, or did almost anything else over the past 48 hours.

Yeah, it's deadline time again.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Considering they get paid by the page view, you'd think that the folks at Gawker would have better math skills:

Oh, they caught the error moments later, and deleted all those confusing number thingies. But I got the screen cap, so I win!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I haven't been in a library for several decades, but maybe one of you can help me.

Jeffrey Ricker was reading my manuscript the other day -- recommending that I cut 75% of my thats, calling me out on things he hates, mocking my word choices, et cetera -- and made an observation that had not occured to me. At one point, a character is in a branch of the New York Public Library and the librarian escorts him to the card files. To which Jeff asked: Do libraries even have card files anymore?

I suppose I could always walk into a library to find out, but figured maybe one of my brilliant readers would know the answer off the top of his or her head, and save me the effort. NYPL experience would be especially helpful.

If I see any of you New Yorkers wearing one of these, I will beat you bloody.

That is all.

Okay, the public has spoken. Obviously, you want more stories of embarrassment and humiliation from my past. Who am I to turn you down?

In the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, I was drinking a lot. Not to ease trauma brought on by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers... it's just what I do. One night, while I was, uh, 'enjoying myself' at a watering hold in Hell's Kitchen, I met a man. Let's call him (reaches for telephone book and jabs a finger)...


Uh, no, let's call him John. Which, for all I knew by noon the next day, could have really been his name.

John and I hit it off and so, a short time later, we ended up grabbing a cab for his place just off Seventh Avenue in the West Village. Which is when things started getting strange.

Manhattan had a very different, unsettling feel in the days and weeks after 9-11. I had left town for a week on Fire Island on September 9; when I returned, it was to an almost recognizable city. Concrete barriers and military patrols were everywhere... roadblocks and street closures common... and, of course, over everything hung that haze, and a vague smell that reminded me of burning rubber. Those were the elements of the Manhattan night when John and I walked out of the bar.

At first, I didn't think anything of going to his place in the Village, but as the cab travelled down Seventh Avenue, I realized that I hadn't been south of Penn Station since the attacks. And now I was going to witness some of the reality that I had managed, through the miracle of television, to keep emotionally distant.

The cab dropped us off at West 14th Street, the border of the frozen zone for nonessential vehicles. South of 14th Street, the streets were empty, so John and I began our walk to his apartment near Christopher Street, on the way passing St. Vincent's Hospital, which had been turned into an impromptu bulletin board with hundreds of posters seeking the missing, lit in the darkness by dozens of flicking candles.

"You okay?" he asked, and his voice seemed to echo in the silent streets.

"Yeah," I said. "It's just so overwhelming."

"No, I asked because you're weaving."


I didn't get to see much of John's studio apartment when we finally arrived. In fact, I don't think we even bothered with the light switch. It was straight to the bed and pull off clothing and wrestle around and...

You know what? This time, I'm not going to censor the adult part of the narrative. I am going to give you every little detail.

And here is every little detail: I passed out fell asleep. Before the real exciting stuff even started. Don't you hate when that happens?

You know that bright light you're supposed to see when you (a) die, or (b) get abducted by aliens, just before the anal probe? Well, the next morning I opened my eyes and everything -- everything -- blinded me. The sun spilled through the windows, making every surface of the room glare. The fact that everything -- bed, sheets, walls, furniture -- was white didn't help.

"Ugh," I moaned and closed my eyelids. I wanted to call out my host's name, but the process of forgetting was already well underway, so I had to settle for, "What time is it?"

No answer.

I gathered my courage and willed my eyes to open again. When my left one finally obeyed, I realized I was alone in the room. For that matter, I seemed to be alone in the apartment.


Yes, I was definitely alone. He had brought me home and eventually abandoned me.

I walked to the bathroom -- a white bathroom, of course, with white fixtures and white towels and a white shower curtain -- to throw some water on my face. Since I was alone, I also decided to snoop in the medicine cabinet, hoping to find a clue to his name. Or at least some aspirin.

The mirrored door to the cabinet opened, revealing row after row of tiny shampoo, conditioner, and lotion bottles, all bearing the same label and neatly aligned. Nothing else; just shampoo, conditioner, and lotion.

I returned to the main room and opened a closet. As I expected, it was empty. So was the nightstand drawer.

At that point, I had two immediate thoughts:

(1) What the fuck? and,

(2) I have a feeling I'm not supposed to be in here, so I'd better get the hell out before someone catches me.

I was dressed and out within four minutes, and began my trek back up the eerily deserted Seventh Avenue. As I walked, I wondered how someone could just vanish like that... vanish as if he had never existed.

Passing St. Vincent's -- past the posters that had stopped advertising hope and now memorialized loss -- I recognized that some vanishings are worse than others.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Yesterday's entry made me think that it might be amusing to blog about the men from my life with some degree of frequency. At least I'd be guaranteed content for the next few years. Although it would probably put my tolerance for self-embarrassment -- not to mention self-incrimination -- to the test.

Should I do it?

Monday, April 07, 2008

... Shut the hell up and get your portable death machine off the road.


Or, what I would have written if I was the Albany Times-Union's Transportation Answer Man.

As I was writing about a very young, very forward character this weekend, this slice of real life popped into my head. As an offering to the Gods of Self-Deprecation, I will now share it with the world.

The date: years ago, at an unattached time of my life. The place: Rochester, Upstate New York, aka South Canada.

I was out with a group of friends when a younger man approached, which tends to be the type of man that interests me. Yes, I kow that makes me The Pervy, Creepy Old Guy, but facts is facts.

We talked, and it was clear he was also interested. Maybe it was the inappropriate PDA at the bar that tipped me off. And so -- being single gay men -- we did what single gay men who are attracted to each other often do, and broke the sound barrier racing back to the place where I was staying. This is where my story fades to black, because none of you want to think about a naked FARB. Let's just say that for the next few hours, he did a phenomenal imitation of both Hamm Brothers, and I did a lot of thinking, Oh my God, I scored a hot 23-year-old who's doing a phenomenal imitation of the Hamm Brothers! I rule!

Also, he wanted to spend the night. Double score!

It was during post-coital cuddling when we got around to last names.

"Byrnes," I said.

He looked at me. "Do you spell it B-Y-R-N-E-S?"

"Uh... yes."

"Did you used to live in Charlotte?" Which is the neighborhood in northern Rochester where I grew up.

"Uh... yes."

"On Clayton Street?"

"Uh... yes?"

He smiled broadly and announced, "I used to be your paperboy!!"

Nice. The Pervy, Creepy Old Guy screwed the paperboy. Just sign me up for both AARP and the Sex Offender Registry, okay?


A year or so later, I was back in Rochester for a friend's memorial service. I saw The Paperboy across the bar -- this is where I should probably note that the memorial service was held in a bar; 'birds of a feather,' and all that -- and, when he saw me, he made a beeline to where I was standing.

"You want to get out of here?" he asked.

"I'm not sure that's really appropriate. You know, with this being a memorial service and everything."

He looked at his watch. "I have to be at work in an hour, so maybe after my shift ends..."


That's when the mother of my deceased friend walked past us. And it was exactly the worst moment.

It was the moment when The Paperboy stuck his tongue in my mouth.

No, wait, I was wrong. That wasn't the worst moment. The worst moment came five seconds later, when The Paperboy said, loud enough for her to hear, "You gave me a chubby."

As you would expect, the mother didn't have much to say to me for the rest of the day.

Which was fine, because I didn't have much to say for myself.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Lenore Skenazy is absolutely right. And, no, I'm not being sarcastic. For once.

When I was 10 or 11 years old, I was already an experienced -- and unaccompanied -- customer of the Rochester Transit System. Each weekday I'd take city buses to and from grade school, including a transfer through a sketchy neighborhood; on Saturdays, I'd head downtown for a day of wandering through the stores and rummaging through the Rundel Memorial Library... and some days, even at that tender age, I'd just ride one bus route after another, giving myself my own personal tour of the Greater Rochester area.

And in those thousands of bus rides over my youth, the worst thing that happened is that, for a while, I wanted to be a bus driver when I grew up. I got over it.

I'm not buying the "Rochester is not Manhattan" argument. Obviously there are differences in the size of the cities, but they are more than offset by the additional watchful eyes, the compactness, and the order. Skenazy's son's 30-block adventure doesn't begin to compare to the miles of often pedestrian-free, indirect routes I occasionally walked (for fun) as I taught my prepubescent self about the world... or at least my little corner of it.

At 9 years of age, a child should be able to handle this minimal amount of independence. As Skenazy writes:
The problem with this everything-is-dangerous outlook is that over-protectiveness is a danger in and of itself. A child who thinks he can’t do anything on his own eventually can’t.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

I kid, of course. But Acito's new book -- Attack of the Theater People -- is coming out in minutes, and he's created a video to promote it.

I should totally try doing something like this for my next book. Except probably without the roller skates...

And the singing...

And the dancing...

I know my limits.

By the way, Marc will be reading from Attack of the Theater People on Monday, May 12 at the Barnes & Noble at West 82nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan. I'll see you there, right?


And let me add that I will be at the May 12 reading despite the fact that I will have flown home that afternoon from New Orleans, where I'll be attending the 2008 Saints & Sinners Literary Festival. It should be a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to seeing people like Greg Herren, Rich Merritt, and 50% t0 67% of Timothy James Beck, depending on the title, aka Becks and Teej. I'll see you there, right?


And speaking of Timothy James Beck and parts thereof, the new edition of Gay Lifestyle Monthy has an interview with our favorite literary foursome.

I have no 'I'll see you there' tie-in, but their most recent novel is When You Don't See Me, so the theme lives. Sort of.


And speaking of things that come in multiples, remember that Friend of FARB Andrew W. M. Beierle will be reading from his Lambda Literary Award-nominated conjoined twins novel First Person Plural -- hey, I said the segue was lame -- in Manhattan at KGBBar's Drunken! Careening! Writers! on Thursday, April 17. I'll see you there, right?


Finally... uh, I think... remember that Joel Derfner's new book, Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever, will be released in mid-May.

I can't wait for this one.

Okay. Enough.

Via Fark comes a story about a retired FBI agent who alleges that Sonny Bono was murdered:
"This was an evil plot that was carried out to almost perfection by ruthless assassins." Gunderson tells the Globe.
Makes you kind of wonder where Chuck Barris was that day, doesn't it? Yeah, I think I solved another one...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Parents, please teach your children that if the first bite is minty fresh, no good can come from gobbling down another couple of Oreos.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I'm still poking around in my spare 17 seconds a day in an interesting, if slow, effort to find my roots and discover my nineteenth cousins twice removed, who no doubt include Brad Pitt and Mario Lopez among their numbers, and then after a family reunion I will become BFF with Brad and Mario, and we will share many laughs and homoerotic moments, because even though we're related, we're not that related, and then Brad and Mario will break up with their women and we'll console each other one night and then everyone will have too much to drink and then...

...uh. Okay, anyway.

That's why I was just Googling great-great-grandfather Hugh Byrnes and stumbled across this:
Wickow became the mountainous refuge of the Byrnes clan (chidren of Bran or the Raven) which fought the English for about four hundred years and off, and held out for far longer than any other clan.

The Byrnes, as I have read, were the very last clan defeated and destroyed by the English.

The were closely aligned with the Tooles. The O'Byrne and O'Toole clans combined to fight the English (but maybe fought each other at other time as everyone seemed to not get on well together in the past). I think there was maybe some association with the Kelly clan to the west too, but I am not sure about that.

The O'Byrne and O'Toole clans were both declared to be "beyond the Pale" by the English, sort of like dangerous outlaws or barbarians in English eyes.

And in the eyes of the native Irish, the English had stolen their island of Eire. This is why there was warfare that lasted for many hundreds of years, only now hopefully coming to an end with England largely withdrawn again out of Ireland.
In other words, when I tell you I will kick you in the balls, it would be advisable to believe me. Beware the Byrneses. The Pitts and Lopezes, too.

On a semi-related note, most of my people came to New York State via Canada. In honor of them, I am going to take up hockey and mispronounce words, eh...

I was about to archive my Sent Messages when I came across an e-mail I wrote on October 1, 2004 (meaning, yes, I am way overdue on archiving Sent Messages.) A friend had asked for captions for attached photos now lost to the Gods of Outlook. My submissions:
1. “After seeing a photograph of Gotham City’s newest arch-fiend – Suburban Guy – Batman decided that he could, in fact, afford to take two full weeks of vacation.”

2. “Dude, where’s my dignity?”
I crack myself up, even though I no longer remember what pictures went with the captions. If you have one that would fit, send it to me and we'll try to match these up.

Maybe it's me, but if I were in the middle of murderous carnage -- not to mention being on deck -- I don't think this is the course of action I would take:
As Valentine hacked at his wife, Suarez frantically sent a text message to a relative saying Cuadrado was dead and asking the relative to call the police, a law-enforcement source said.
Then again, I am a fossil. If I were in Suarez's position, I would have written a letter.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Is there some weird-ass astrological thing going on? Because I would like to kick someone in the nuts.

Okay, true, I feel like that a lot at work. I swallow it, and smile, and let the world walk right over me because they pay me a lot of money. But now I'm home, and all I want to do is hurt someone.* Physically, obviously, not emotionally.* Gotta keep the day job separate from after-hours anger!

Ugh. I hate it when "8:00/9:00 to 5:30/6:00" pours over into the evening, when I usually unwind and move past it. This mood is ruining my off hours, meaning I'm going to be a bitch tomorrow, and spiral into a deepening pit of anger and resentment until I do something more inappropriate than my normal inappropriateness, which is usually idiotic comedy, not raw anger.

So... if any of you have a real need/fetish to get kicked in the balls, let me know. I have a feeling this will be hanging on for a few days, and during the day I am centrally located in Midtown Manhattan.

* - not my boyfriend, who is -- as always -- supportive and adorable. Although all of the sudden he wants to GET ON THE COMPUTER WHILE I'M USING IT!!!!!

No, I'm okay. Seriously...