Adam Rippon: Giving Us the Sassiest

Vice President Mike Pence (who didn’t even stand when the host country’s athletes entered during the Parade of Nations – yeah, we all saw it) tried to pretend he wasn’t a homophobic bigot but Adam Rippon wasn’t having any of it, and I’m happy to report he hasn’t backed down from that powerful stance. Pence made overtures to meet with Rippon (dude, get off his jock already) but Rippon quickly pointed out Pence’s anti-gay voting history when refusing a sit-down with the awful man. (It’s on record, so when Pence pretends otherwise it’s an easily-refuted lie.)

I’m more excited about Rippon’s Olympic performances. He just skated a perfect program for the USA’s Figure Skating Team Event (and was robbed by, ahem, the Olympic Athletes from Russia – that’s their moniker being that the country cheated so much and was basically banned from the Olympic games – look it up). But beauty and talent will always defy points and scoring systems, so Rippon can rest assured that he soared over his competition. He competes in the individual events today and tomorrow, and it promises to be mesmerizing. 

 

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Olympic Hunk of the Day: Morgan Ciprès

French pairs skater Morgan Ciprès makes his Hunk of the Day debut just as he finishes up his Olympics experience. If his tight skating trousers weren’t enough to nudge him into Hunk status, a robust shirtless Instagram presence certainly is. 

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The Unexpected Valentine

Wednesdays are usually dark here, but for Valentine’s Day I’m putting up an extra post just for you. That’s just the kind of romantic I am. On this particular Hallmark Holiday, I’m posting a song that features a kiss and a fool – two topics of which I’ve had relatively extensive experience. Interlaced among the lyrics are links to former Valentine’s Day posts, for better or worse. Happy Heart’s Day!!

You are far
When I could have been your star
You listened to people
Who scared you to death, and from my heart
Strange that you were strong enough
To even make a start
But you’ll never find
Peace of mind,
Til you listen to your heart

The night was frigid. An Ithaca winter is no joke. It’s why people jump off bridges and other crazy shit. I was visiting Suzie and the good company of 121 A College Avenue, staying on the ratty couch that even Chris found disgusting. I didn’t mind it. In fact, I loved it. Being around old friends, and making new ones, made that time in my life a thrill, no matter the less-than-luxurious surroundings. We didn’t care about such small matters then. In some ways, I wish I still didn’t. (As one ages, creature comforts become necessary.)

It was Valentine’s Day and we were all going to a fancy dinner at Davio’s. In my mind, this jazzy George Michael tune played, a sultry bit of longing and desire, a semi-sad tale of unrequited love that at the time was the only kind of love I knew. I wore an enormous fake fur coat in gray and black, a pair of red satin pants, and a multi-colored sequin vest. My hair, recently buzzed, was the only understated part of the proceedings. On my chest, a large gold heart hung from a golden chain. Without a boyfriend, or even the prospect of one on the horizon, I was surprisingly (for me) not despondent about this supposed day of love. In fact, I was in good spirits. I’d just made everyone watch Madonna’s Oscar-night performance of ‘Sooner or Later’ to put people in the Valentine mood. When you’re in your twenties, sometimes a night out with friends is better than any night in with a boyfriend. 

People
You can never change the way they feel
Better let them do just what they will
For they will
If you let them
Steal your heart from you
People
Will always make a lover feel a fool
But you knew I loved you
We could have shown them all
We should have seen love through…

We piled into someone’s car and made the quick trip to the restaurant. The brief walk on the sidewalk was painful, so cold was the air, so biting was the wind. But we huddled together, and together we entered the cozy warm space. There were eight of us, and we had a reserved table against the wall. Intimate and tight, we were warm and safe, and even though we couldn’t muster a date between the lot of us, it didn’t matter much. Someone had given me a red rose somewhere along the way, and I felt its velvety petals in my hand. 

Fooled me with the tears in your eyes
Covered me with kisses and lies
So goodbye
But please don’t take my heart
You are far
I’m never gonna be your star
I’ll pick up the pieces
And mend my heart
Maybe I’ll be strong enough
I don’t know where to start
But I’ll never find
Peace of mind
While I listen to my heart

Our server came along to offer an introduction and a wine list. He smiled sweetly at me, maybe a little longer than was necessary, or maybe that was just my heart imagining how I’d like things to be. I suddenly felt ridiculous in my sequin vest and red satin shirt, but just as soon as the feeling came over me it passed and I gave in to the ridiculousness of the night. And the ridiculousness of love. 

People
You can never change the way they feel
Better let them do just what they will,
For they will
If you let them
Steal your heart
And people
Will always make a lover feel a fool
But you knew I loved you
We could have shown them all

We made some flirtatious banter. Exchanged a few more smiles. He was older. No one seemed to notice. And whether he was doing it for a few more bucks in his tip, or the holiday at hand, or simple human decency, it was sweet, and sweetness aways spoke to me. On this night, however, surrounded by friends in what might as well have been the coldest city on earth, I felt warm and loved, and the quite-possibly-entirely-imagined adoration of a server held no sway or power over my typically-foolish heart. 

But remember this
Every other kiss
That you ever give
Long as we both live
When you need the hand of another man
One you really can surrender with
I will wait for you
Like I always do
There’s something there
That can’t compare with any other

As we were leaving, I paused at the door. Looking over my shoulder for one more smile or one more signal, I waited just a bit before the wind pulled me out for good. I laughed a little to myself at the nonsense of love, and this silly holiday of hearts and flowers and pink and red. Before getting into the car, I made everyone pose for a photo. This was all the love I needed. 

You are far
When I could have been your star
You listened to people
Who scared you to death, and from my heart
Strange that I was wrong enough
To think you’d love me too
I guess you were kissing a fool
You must have been kissing a fool.
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A Mid-Olympic Recap

The Winter Olympics are in full-figure-skating swing, and every year I promise not to get so obsessed with the thing. I failed miserably, and I am once again enthralled with the quads and the triples and the spins and the falls. This site is a bit obsessed with the Olympics, as you will see in this recap. If you’re not, there’s still some fun posts in between the athletes. Watch and see. 

We began with a little Hanky Panky – cause there’s nothing like a good spanky. 

A cleaning frenzy brought about a bout of nostalgia

The list of Winter Olympic Hunks was long, and it included a naked Matteo Guarise, a naked Apolo Ohno, a shirtless Chris Mazdzer, a shirtless Andrew Kurka, and a spandexed Tucker West.

A drag queen named Milk

My nostalgia kick continued in earnest with this post and that post

Hunks of the Day were also mostly made of Olympic athletes, including Patrick Chan, Steven Langton, John Daly, Michael Lucas and Asa Stackel (proving that one of these guys is not like the others). It’s time to play our game. 

 

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The Light in God’s House

Mesmerizing.

Transfixing.

Magnificent. 

Words pale in comparison to the enchanting way light passes through the stained glass windows of Washington National Cathedral. It must be seen to be believed and appreciated. 

Stained glass time lapse, Washington National Cathedral from Colin Winterbottom on Vimeo.

Here’s the write-up that explains some of the beauty:

This time lapse video — part of the exhibition “Scaling Washington” at the National Building Museum — highlights the movement of stained glass light at the Washington National Cathedral. Photographer Colin Winterbottom was making fine art and documentary photographs of earthquake repairs at the Cathedral when he noticed the beautiful spray of colored light moving through scaffolded work spaces. He had little experience making time lapse, but thought the phenomenon had to be captured, especially as it moved over surfaces across time.

The final video shows movement of light through areas of the Cathedral familiar to visitors as well as through temporary work spaces with limited access. Most of these vantages could only be accessed while scaffold was in place. The opening and closing images, for example — with the west rose window centered straight ahead within the nave — cannot be recreated now that scaffold is down.

 

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Olympic Spotlight: Andrew Kurka

Paralympian Andrew Kurka is participating in more events than I even knew existed: Downhill, Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G and Super Combined. Based on the ‘Downhill’ part I’m assuming these are all ski events of some sort. Mr. Kurka started out in his childhood as a wrestler, before an ATV accident damaged his spinal cord. Undaunted, he moved to the monoski, on which he has been garnering awards, accolades and a slew of championship medals. 

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Olympic Spotlight: Tucker West

With a name set for All-American marquee glory, Tucker West is making a more prominent name for himself on Team USA, hurtling to greater recognition by way of the luge. He joins fellow Team USA mates Nick Cunningham, Adam Rippon, Nathan Chen, Chris Fogt, Shaun White, Steven Langton and John Daly in getting a gratuitous shirtless post during these Winter games. The show is not even close to being over…

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Hunk of the Day: Asa Stackel

We take a break in our string of Olympic Hunks to bring it back to the local Capital Region level and honor Asa Stackel as our Hunk of the Day. Mr. Stackel recently joined returning favorite Subrina Dhammi as co-anchor of NewsChannel 13 Early Today and Today.  BuzzFeed saw fit to propose him as the Sexiest Anchor Alive, and who are we to disagree with BuzzFeed? A passion for CrossFit only adds to his Albany allure. Congrats to Mr. Stackel on his new anchor gig, and his official entry into immortal Hunkdom. 

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Olympic Spotlight: Chris Mazdzer

He was an Olympian in 2010, and he’s currently in South Korea doing it all over again. His sport is the luge and his name is Chris Mazdzer. As of this writing, he’s on the precipice of earning a medal, but anyone who makes it to multiple Olympic games is already a champion in these parts. Congrats to Mazdzer for always exhibiting Olympic spirit. (Especially when he takes his shirt off.)

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Indulging In Nostalgia 2: I Don’t Wanna Wait

So open up your morning light
And say a little prayer for I
You know that if we are to stay alive
Then see the peace in every eye…

The class of ‘Dawson’s Creek’ was a year or two younger than us, if I recall correctly, but we’ll use this winsome theme song nonetheless. (We were actually the same age as the fictional class of the original ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ and practically went through the exact same things. (I almost cut a chunk out of my eyebrows to be more like Dylan. NOT.)

By 1995, I had grown into myself a little bit more. It was pretty much the year I finally began to acknowledge that I was possibly, shock of shocks, the slightest bit gay. (A couple of dicks in my mouth would soon confirm it, as would these lace sleeves.)

I don’t want to wait for our lives to be over,
I want to know right now, what will it be?
I don’t want to wait for our lives to be over,
Will it be yes or will it be…sorry?

Not quite twenty years of age, Suzie and I didn’t do much in the way of drinking or drugging, choosing to get our kicks off Route 66 and in a matching pair of velvet shirts from Bonwit Teller. I distinctly remember this day – it was a sad gray one in March, the kind that personify Ithaca and its litany of suicides over the years. Suzie and I had gone to visit one of the bridges from which students occasionally jumped, and it set a pall over the already-depressive proceedings. March is always a difficult month for some of us, and this day in particular was trying, so we did what we often do: found a shopping excursion, bought a stupid clothing item, and laughed our way away from the crying ledge. Only Suzie could do that (with a little help from Bonwit Teller).

You look at me from across the room
You’re wearing your anguish again
Believe me I know the feeling
It sucks you into the jaws of anger(oooooooh)
So breathe a little more deeply my love
All we have is this very moment
And I don’t want to do what his father,
And his father, and his father did,
I want to be here now.

Sometimes I marvel at how we made it through that time in our lives. Everyone marvels at the past at some point, and all that they’ve been through. We all go through patches where it feels too forlorn and hopeless for there to be much sense in life. Somehow, if we’re strong enough, if we’ve found enough love in the world, we keep going. 

I was lucky enough to have the right friends and family to see me through the dark stretches. 


So open up your morning light,
And say a little prayer for I
You know that if we are to stay alive,
And see the peace in every eye…
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Indulging in Nostalgia 1: These Are Days

THESE ARE THE DAYS.
THESE ARE DAYS YOU’LL REMEMBER. 
NEVER BEFORE AND NEVER SINCE, I PROMISE, WILL THE WHOLE WORLD BE WARM AS THIS. 
AND AS YOU FEEL IT, YOU’LL KNOW IT’S TRUE THAT YOU ARE BLESSED AND LUCKY. 
IT’S TRUE THAT YOU ARE TOUCHED BY SOMETHING THAT WILL GROW AND BLOOM IN YOU.
 

It isn’t often that I find myself looking back over the years that came before, at least not in the extensive archives of photo albums that I’ve amassed in the last two decades. (Remember, I’ve been doing this long before digital photography was even a thing.) Every once in a while, however, usually when I’m cleaning (as was the case here) I pause to thumb through an old and yellowed album, and I remember…

The photos here are from 1995, and the start of my very first “tour”: ‘Chameleon in Motion: The Friendship Tour’ – back when it was a more innocent time, and the world a more innocent place. At least, it feels that way now. Maybe we were just better at hiding how awful humanity was. Maybe we simply didn’t want to see. Instead, we had fun and silliness and the general tastelessness of our college years.

Luckily for me, I had a few mother figures who watched over me when my real Mom was not around, and who kept me more or less in line (or at least gave me a fighting chance).

There were other mother figures around, not pictured here, but I saw them again peering out from the sticky old pages of the album – Funzie and Janice were there, both gone now – and my heart ached at how time had plucked them from our world. Grandmothers were captured here too – Suzie’s and my own – and I paused as this song from the 10,000 Maniacs played in my head.

THESE ARE DAYS YOU’LL REMEMBER. 
WHEN MAY IS RUSHING OVER YOU WITH DESIRE TO BE PART OF THE MIRACLES YOU SEE IN 
EVERY HOUR. 
YOU’LL KNOW IT’S TRUE THAT YOU ARE BLESSED AND LUCKY. 
IT’S TRUE THAT YOU ARE TOUCHED BY SOMETHING THAT WILL GROW AND BLOOM IN YOU.
 

There’s no need to dissect the fashion going on here. All I can say is that it was the height of the 90’s. CK One was everywhere (except on my bathroom shelf) and I was probably high on all its unisex pervasiveness. I took my sartorial cues from the International Male catalog, for worse and worser. It was all about the Gothic drama, the velvet vests, the satin pants – and if I could incorporate sequins or feathers into it so much the better.

That outfit with the red pants, silk boxers and sequin top is the infamous one that got me mistaken for a clown by some child in Ponderosa. There are a lot of things wrong with that sentence, and Ponderosa is one of the lesser ones. Let’s shift the focus to that other youthful guy – my pal Chris. You may not recognize him with all that unruly stuff on his head, or the bear in his hand. I can only be blamed for the latter (and I know he misses the former).

Up next is a special photo of my Mom in front of the Minskoff Theatre marquee, where we saw the original Broadway production of ‘Sunset Boulevard’ near the end of Glenn Close’s first run. That was one of our first Broadway theater weekends, and still one of my favorites. (And we’ll end this first nostalgic post with a look to the future, as I’m currently plotting out this year’s Broadway adventure…)

THESE ARE DAYS. 
THESE ARE THE DAYS YOU MIGHT FILL WITH LAUGHTER UNTIL YOU BREAK. 
THESE DAYS YOU MIGHT FEEL A SHAFT OF LIGHT MAKE ITS WAY ACROSS YOUR FACE. 
AND WHEN YOU DO YOU’LL KNOW HOW IT WAS MEANT TO BE. 
SEE THE SIGNS AND KNOW THEIR MEANING. 
IT’S TRUE, YOU’LL KNOW HOW IT WAS MEANT TO BE. 
HEAR THE SIGNS AND KNOW THEY’RE SPEAKING TO YOU, TO YOU.

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Olympic Hunk of the Day: John Daly

His sport is the skeleton race, and this will mark his third Olympic Games. He came out of retirement not only for that, but also to earn his first Hunk of the Day status. This is John Daly, who is heading to Pyeongchang to seek the quickest runs of his career. (No longer will Steven Langton be able to claim the Hunk of the Day honor to himself.) 

 

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Apolo: Naked Olympic Champion

Olympic champion and current commentator for the Winter Olympics, this is Apolo Ohno, and it looks like he skated so fast all his clothes fell off. (Not an easy feat, given those extra-meaty thighs.) Naked Olympians are nothing new in these parts, as witnessed by the clothing-free shenanigans of Gus Kenworthy, Matteo Guarise, Greg Louganis, Evan Lysacek and Michael Phelps.

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Olympic Hunk of the Day: Steven Langton

American bobsledders are making a big splash in this year’s Olympic Games, thanks in large part to the muscled mass of athletes like Steven Langton, who earns his first Hunk of the Day crowning. Here’s wishing him speed, safety and some golden glory. 

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Milk: It Does A Body Good

[POSSIBLE DRAG RACE SPOILER!]

Polarizing Drag Race contestant Milk was eliminated last night from RuPaul’s Drag Race, and though the general consensus was one of relief, many didn’t believe he as the weakest queen. (Personally, I thought he was fabulous, nervy, dramatic and fun.) This post is not about to engage in that divisive convo, however, but rather to celebrate the kind of body that Milk results in. (Well, his history of figure skating doesn’t hurt either.) Best of all, this post sets up Dan Donigan as a future Hunk of the Day – all it will take is a sexy photoshoot or two. Big & Milky indeed.

 

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