Hunk of the Day: Gregory Nalbone

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Vocalist and entertainer Gregory Nalbone’s many talents may be slightly overshadowed by his many physical endowments – but don’t discount his attributes just because of how good-looking he is. Give him a chance in spite of such beauty. A turn as Hunk of the Day, however, demands a collection of sultry poses. Here is Mr. Nalbone doing that quite well.

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Apathy Breeds Beauty

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Many years ago, I convinced my parents to buy me a Butterfly amaryllis for Christmas. At the time, it was a new introduction to the market, and was priced accordingly. Billed as a rare South American import, I cradled it lovingly in my hands before potting it up and setting it up in a prime southern-exposed window, beside a humidifier that kept the room in a near-tropical state. The plant promptly sent up two spindly leaves, the ends of which soon curled and burnt. It survived, but never thrived, despite my extra administrations. As for the exotic blooms, they never came. Eventually I gave up and it went the same way as other plants I’ve pampered and fussed over – such as a lady’s slipper orchid from White Flower Farm (the most expensive perennial I’ve ever purchased – dead after two years of watering with dechlorinated water. You try keeping that shit up in the heat of a Northeastern July).

Sometimes, the more you coddle, the less you get. And vice versa – as seen in the photos of this Oncidium orchid. I picked it up from Trader Joe’s on a whim last year, to accentuate the new kitchen, and I’d planned on throwing it out once its bright blooms faded. After that happened, however, the foliage remained bright and green, and it seemed in good health, so I put it in the front window near the other houseplants and soon forgot about it except to water it once in a while.

This past summer, when remembering to water it again, I saw it had produced a flower spike that was just about to start blooming. I almost missed it. Then, just last week, the same thing – another flower stalk already in bloom. I quickly added a bit of Miracle Gro to its monthly watering, and felt a little bad at my apathy toward such a strong performer. (Plants get me all anthropomorphic – even more-so than animals.) I’m not sure what I’m doing right, as the humidity in the house is typically low at this time of the year. I think it’s a combination of unintentionally sparse watering habits, and a slightly potbound situation (a number of plants will only bloom once their roots start crowding in on themselves.) Whatever the reason, it’s pretty – and beauty is a harbinger of the upcoming season. At least indoors…

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Hunk of the Day Redux: Matthieu Charneau

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This marks Matthieu Charneau’s second appearance as Hunk of the Day, but being that his first one is, in comparison, rather skimpy, I’ve beefed up his presence here for reasons that should be all too apparent. The French model and actor is still setting photo spreads afire with his edgy good looks and perfect pouty mouth – look for his mustached homage to Freddie Mercury in a few of these shots. Who ever said it was easy being a male model? Not these guys. Or this guy. Or him. Or him. Or them. Or even them.

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The Party in My Pants (You’re Invited!)

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For all of my life, I’ve had an image problem. It seems that I come across as way too serious and mean than I actually am. Mostly, it has served me well, keeping otherwise annoying bits of humanity away from my vicinity. Yet it doesn’t really offer a window into my soul, which is sort of the point of this whole blog. To that end, I let my hair down here as much as possible, throwing out superficial, if sexy, hunks with wild abandon, and posting lengthy diatribes on Tom Ford Private Blends and Madonna as if they were tenets of the Pillars of Life. (I totally just made that last part up – I don’t even think there is such a thing. See, I’m a freaking hoot and a half!)

The point is, the humor and fun in my life is largely lost here at times (as a wise woman once said, ‘What’s the point of sitting down and notating your happiness?‘) but every now and then I get painfully silly, because if you can’t poke fun at yourself, or enjoy when others take the piss out of you, then there’s not much point in going on, and now we’re back to suicidal tendencies and losing the point of this whole post… [Sigh] To get us back in focus, I offer this delectable bit from Julie Brown’s parody of Madonna’s ‘Truth or Dare’ entitled ‘Dare to Be Truthful.’ It came out at the height of my obsession with the original, and as such I watched it almost as much as the OG, rocking out to ‘Party in My Pants/Vague’ like… well, like a prayer.

If anyone takes herself too seriously sometimes, it’s Madonna, but rumor has it that she enjoyed Ms. Brown’s skewering. Some of us have to take the punches. After all, if you’ve never gotten punched, how do you know you matter? There, a tear to go with your laughter. Salty buns, baby.

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Hunk of the Day: Jason Cameron

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It turns out that my idea of a Man Cave differs from the DIY Network’s idea of a Man Cave, but that’s another story for a racier blog. For now, the Hunk of the Day is Jason Cameron, host of the DIY Network series ‘Man Caves’ (as well as ‘Desperate Landscapes.’) I recall Mr. Cameron from his early days as the hunky carpenter of ‘While You Were Out’ on TLC (back when they had semi-decent programming), as well as his print work in Men’s Fitness and Men’s Health (both of which I read solely for the articles.)

In addition to his chiseled good looks, Cameron holds a BS in Criminal Justice and was a competitive bodybuilder in his 20′s. In the little spare time he has, he enjoys working out at the gym, mountain biking, hiking, and playing volleyball and softball, which goes a long way towards explaining how he keeps fit.

But back to the Man Caves. In the odd event that Mr. Cameron gets to see this, I’d like to suggest my friend Skip Montross for a Man Cave make-over. He’s been struggling with turning his cellar into an appropriate guy get-away  (as lovely as his wife and two kids are) and so far all he has are two sad man candles. Maybe Mr. Cameron can work his magic on Mr. Montross’s down-below.

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A Pre-Holiday Recap

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This is the week it begins for real: the holiday season. Unofficially kicking off at the Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Celebration, the holidays are now in full effect, as Turkey Day is already upon us. There are still a few days before things get hectic however, so let’s have a calm and peaceful look back at the previous week (where I admit to having gotten slightly lazy and letting the Hunks have their say – not that anyone seemed to mind.)

This post won’t get me on Santa’s good side, but I’ve long since given up any hope of that. Besides, it’s too funny not to share again. As ‘NSync once said, ‘Bye Bye Bye!’

The male model was a mainstay of most days this past week, starting with Josh Kloss.

You can quote them on this.

Fare thee well, firelight. (Watch out Flutterbye!)

Derek Yates makes a play to be Ellen’s gardener.

The age-old battle of long hair versus short hair on a male model. (I think the FaceBook verdict was that short hair was better.)

My mind’s playing tricks on my memory.

Jesse Metcalfe tried his best to fix the internet that Kim Kardashian broke by posing in his skivvies. I think it worked.

Country singer Ty Herndon came out as a proud and happy gay man and was promptly named Hunk of the Day. (I came out as a relatively cranky one back in 1997.)

Male model Parker Hurley, and that’s all that needs to be said as the photos speak for themselves.

The most important outfit of the year bears another look.

As the holidays begin, I find it helpful to pause and reflect.

Would it surprise you to know that I once dabbled in basketball?

The genetically-blessed Broderick Hunter.

Onward to Thanksgiving

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Hunk of the Day: Broderick Hunter

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Before you get all lovey-dovey and swoon over Hunk of the Day Broderick Hunter, here’s a little tidbit of information that might tip the scale to bitterness and envy (and let’s not even talk of what’s tipping my scale these days, cause it’s too much): Mr. Hunter doesn’t work out. He plays some basketball and goes on a jog once in a while. In the words of Madonna, that’s one of life’s little fuck-overs. Unless you’re Mr. Hunter, then it’s nothing but a blessing. The rest of us mere mortals can only sigh. Congrats to Mr. Hunter on being named Hunk of the Day!

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My Days of Basketball Glory

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It might surprise some of you to know that I once dabbled in basketball. Stop shaking your heads in disbelief, it happened. I may not be your average basketball player, being about half the height of most basketball players, and to be honest I didn’t actually play the sport, but I was a “manager” for the girls’ basketball team at Amsterdam High School. Junior Varsity, of course. It was in ninth grade, and by “manager” it meant bookkeeper and scorekeeper, though in the end I turned out to be more of a cheerleader and entertainment-provider than anything else.

I still remember when Kate and Missy approached me in the hall and asked if it was something I would consider doing. I didn’t know if it was their idea of a joke, nor did I know the first thing about basketball, but I accepted because I wanted to add to my extra-curriculum activities to get into a good college. Yes, I was fun like that. Still am.

I suppose part of it was that I was starting to feel lonely, and the reaching out of a friend or two meant a lot.

On the radio, Billy Joel sang, ‘We Didn’t Start the FIre’ and it seemed the perfect catch-phrase for a fourteen-year-old at any point in time, when blame was all we had and the beginning of adolescent angst settled in.

Back to basketball. I got to attend the games at home and, more excitingly, away, when we’d board a bus and I’d be the only guy in a pool of girls and feel perfectly safe and happy. Even back then, I was one of the girls, and I relished the role and trust implicit in my accepted presence there. Missy was the other manager for the Junior Varsity team, and she had done it all before. Thank God, because I had no clue what was going on.

There were a few times when she couldn’t make it to the game, and I was on my own. I could keep track of the fouls that each player had, but not much else. At one of the home games, someone foolishly left me in charge of the big scoreboard, and let me tell you, people get so bent out of shape if one little point is given to the wrong team. They will let you know as soon as it happens. Like, from all the way across the gymnasium. It’s palpable. Every single time. I never understood that – there are so many points flying left and right, what’s the big damn deal?

And that thirty-second clock? What a nightmare. Who has the sense and wherewithal to reset that thing over and over again? But people will pay attention to that too. Eventually (well, in short order) they took me off the scoreboard part of things, and I went back to keeping track of fouls with a pencil and paper. I’m always better old-school.

It obviously wasn’t the basketball part of the experience that appealed to me, nor, in the end, was it the addition of another extra-curricular activity that thrilled me, but the simple relaxed friendships I made with girls. Far less treacherous than my tricky dealings with boys, my friendships with girls were easy and fun. Girls may be awful to each other, but as a boy I had some bit of protection from that drama. I was also too small and well-dressed to be much of a threat or object of desire. They could confide in me (and too often did, something that I didn’t always honor, to my eternal shame) and I could count on them to appreciate my sense of style and humor.

For a young gay guy, there was safety with girls, something that was always in question in a locker room of guys. Being part of the girls’ basketball team saved me in ways I wouldn’t realize until later, forming a bedrock of security that would be missing from some of my own family sometimes. It was an acceptance that was unhesitating and sure, and when you’re fourteen and unsure about everything, that was of paramount importance. Those of us who have trouble as adults are usually missing that foundation. I was lucky to find it when I did – on the girls’ basketball team.

(Just don’t ask me to keep score.)

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A Bridge to Boston… And Beyond

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The hour is dawn. The road is mostly empty. Ahead, a bridge rises, high over a river, somewhere before the border between Massachusetts and New York. On my way to Boston, in the early morning light, I speed along the Thruway and turn the music down for a moment. The hum of the Mini Cooper and the faint drone of its heater rise slightly above the rush of the road.

It’s one of those moments when I remember to pause and listen to the quiet. I don’t do that as much as I should. There was a time when I drove through cemeteries, turning down the stereo to honor the dead, and restoring the soul in such stillness and silence.

At first it is a bit unnerving. So much noise and background chatter informs the bulk of life now. We are so scared to be silent. Yet it is so necessary, especially as the holidays approach, as our lives become ever busier, as the mayhem of living catches up with us all. As I get older, the riot of my heart may be somewhat diminished and assuaged, but other concerns take its place. The demands of a relatively new job, the ticking of the almost-40 clock, and the simple fact of being alive at this strange, dismal, wonderful, deafening time all take their toll. Finding peace is not always as simple as turning down the music and sitting quietly, but it’s one way to start.

As I cross the bridge to another day, I hasten to see the rise of the sun. In too many ways, it’s easy to be jaded and cynical and weary of the world. A sunrise like this, in a moment of quiet between two worlds, restores the order and quells the chaos.

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The Most Important Outfit of the Year

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The biggest social event of Albany’s holiday season, at least for Andy and myself, is the Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Celebration to benefit the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York. We’ve been attending for the last thirteen years or so, and it traditionally marks the beginning of all the holiday excitement, as well as a chance to catch up with friends we don’t get to see every day (and make fabulous new ones too.)

Of course, it’s also an opportunity to dress up, which for me is no mean feat. A few years ago, a lovely woman came up to me and whispered that she always looked forward to seeing what I’d be wearing at the event, and since then I’ve put in a little extra effort into making sure that the ensemble for the festivities was worthy of such notice. This year, the inspiration was Tom Ford’s Atelier d’Orient line of Private Blends, specifically ‘Fleur de Chine’ and ‘Shanghai Lily.’ Once you have an inspiration point, the rest is easy.

Unintentional planning for this night actually began a number of years ago, when my friend Stephen (Suzie’s brother, for those of you who know the players) was visiting us. He was living in Hong Kong at the time, and had brought back one of those ubiquitous headdresses that girls wore (based on a traditional Qing Dynasty headdress.) While it was intended for his niece, I begged him to bring one back for me the next time he visited. A holiday or so later, he had a gift for me. With a few additional embellishments, it was the perfect focal point for the ensemble. Once you have that pièce de résistance, the rest is even easier.

The next part consisted of a silk kimono I’d found in a Japanese shop in Cambridge, MA. I was in Boston for New Year’s, and on a cold morning I hopped on the T to Porter Square to find a bowl of hot noodles. After warming myself with some soba, I stopped in a nearby shop and found a richly-colored kimono, lined with red silk and awash in flowers. At the time, I used it as a robe, and filed it away for future possibilities.

Being as this was scheduled to take place on one of the colder days we’ve had this season, a pair of pants would also be required. (I mean, this isn’t a garden party.) I had a colorful pair with a shade of aqua that would go nicely with the make-do obi I fashioned out of a long piece of sea-foam-hued fabric (this mish-mash of Asian-inspired accents lost any and all sense of authenticity when I looked to Tom Ford for inspiration.) The pants were actually what I had worn for our post-wedding-celebration brunch.

A proper get-up like this requires a very special coat, and though the coat is usually seen the least, for me it’s often the most important piece of the outfit, especially when it gets this cold. Besides, the most fun part of the evening is sometimes the ride to the gala, when the excitement and anticipation is high, second only to the ride home, when you get to talk about all that transpired during the evening. And if you’re doing it in a fancy coat like this, it makes all the difference.

This was a coat I’ve been wanting to wear for the longest time, but was never quite able to locate its perfect purpose until this evening. It was a SoWa Market treasure, one that was excavated in the middle of summer, with an eye for a winter unveiling. A thick embroidery of cranes and flowers, with a rich floral brocade of gold thread was backed by the most vibrant red, and spritzed with a little ‘Fleur de Chine’ and ‘Shanghai Lily’ – and its sumptuously oversized proportion allowed for all the excess silk of the kimono sleeves to nestle cozily and comfortably inside.

In case you haven’t noticed yet, everything that had gone into this outfit was something I had already owned. The shoes and socks, however, were the brand-new additions that brought it all together. Procured from Seattle, they were the riskiest part of the entire operation, as walking in them proved challenging. (And standing on wooden stilts all night is murder on the heels.) They were more than worth it though, as no other shoe I owned would have worked. (Cinderella knows this.)

Thus ends another Beaujolais Nouveau outfit – and thus begins planning for next year’s sartorial assault…

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Hunk of the Day: Parker Hurley

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It turns out that Jesse Metcalfe isn’t the only man who can channel rough-trade sexiness, turning the lascivious into the luscious, and the bulging into the breathtaking. Allow me to introduce male model Parker Hurley, the Hunk of the Day, in his first appearance on this website. You never forget your first time, and Mr. Hurley makes a delectable splash in his. Talk about your fancy crotch rocket… oh wait, that’s Harley, not Hurley. Nevermind.

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Hunk of the Day: Ty Herndon

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One of the best ways to secure a Hunk of the Day nod is to come out as a gay man. Witness the crownings of Adam Lambert, Neil Patrick Harris, Tom DaleyRobbie Rogers, Jason Collins, Josey GreenwellMatthew Mitcham, Chris Salvatore, Gareth Thomas, Nate Berkus, and Cheyenne Jackson for just a spattering of those proudly gay men who were named Hunk of the Day – and add country music man Ty Herndon to the list. Mr. Herndon has been making music for two decades, and recently came out publicly. In a genre like country music, that’s not the easiest thing to do. Congratulations to him on that – and on this!

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The Underwear-Clad Jesse Metcalfe

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Finally, an image to fix the Internet that Kim Kardashian’s greasy ass supposedly broke a while back. This is Jesse Metcalfe in some gritty, raw and rough poses. It’s the only known antidote to the Kardashian Curse. Mr. Metcalfe has been featured here previously, in nothing but his underwear, and in his very first Hunk of the Day crowning.

And a brief glimpse at how he gets a body like that.

HARD WERQ.

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Throwback Thursday Memory Lapse

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The featured photo of this post goes back to 2004 or 2005. You see, my memory falters after about 2003 or so. I can remember what happened in November of 1989 better than I can remember what happened in November of 2013. It’s a sad reality of the aging process (appended by my new bifocals.) Back in 2004 (or 2005) I crouched in the backyard as the sun went down, and waxed all contemplative.

A single strand of bamboo rises on the right side of the photo, while dried miscanthus, already devastated by the frosts and the winds of late fall, backs the middle and left. A wooden fence, bright and relatively new at the time, lends a bit of structure to the goings-on. It’s been about a decade since this was taken, and I’m not sure which has aged worse – myself or that fence – both are pretty worn. Yet still we stand, season after season, struggling with the rough days, basking in the good ones, and meeting in a mostly happy and fortunate middle.

Today I look out the window and study that wooden fence, as one might study the lines in their face, or the gray in their hair. The wood is lined with water stains, gray with age, and haggard with edges torn by the claws of scurrying squirrels, yet it’s a testament to the test of time. Eventually, it will fall – all things do – but another will rise in its stead. Good fences make good neighbors, someone once wrote, and we all could stand a couple of boundaries in our lives. The biggest one I’ve found is time, and no one ever surmounts it.

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Hunk of the Day: Bart Grzybowski & the Long Hair vs. Short Hair Debate

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This is the perfect example of how drastically a haircut can change a person’s appearance. Meet Hunk of the Day Bart Grzybowski. In the first few photos, he is shown with his trademark long locks. Long hair has never been a personal preference of mine (I grew up in the era of Fabio and never quite recovered.) But it works on Mr. Grzybowski, I’ll allow that. I think, however that his shorter do in the final photos works much better. As always, I’ll leave it to the viewer to decide.

We’ll have the same debate regarding People’s Sexiest Man Alive, Chris Hemsworth, another day.

Chop chop, clip clip…

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