Saturday, September 23, 2006

Orlando: City on the Move

Over three weeks ago, travel blog Gridskipper (which, despite the fact that I never intend to stay in a luxury hotel in Buenos Aires, I find occasionally useful), announced a contest to assist the City of Orlando in choosing a new slogan. It seems that "You'll Never Outgrow It" isn't working anymore and Orlando needs something really snappy in order to compete with Vegas (as if there is any possibility of competing with "I joined a threesome").

But then Gridskipper apparently forgot about this contest... (or decided to postpone it in favor of their "World's Sexiest City" contest--in which, strangely, Orlando doesn't figure...).

So, I'm thinking that because
A) I spent a few minutes coming up with some suggestions, and
B) One of my best friends lived in Orlando for five years (he worked for Sodomy Camp!), and
C) I have spent a surprising amount of time there,
this contest should be revived here on "Fosco Lives!"

So, here are my suggestions for Orlando's new slogan:

  • Orlando: Come for the casinos, stay for the beaches.
  • Orlando: Orange you glad to be here?
  • Orlando: Visit Grandma.
  • Orlando: Ride Kills Woman at Epcot
Commenters, post your own and let's see if we can save Orangetown USA!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Words of Wisdom for Jordan Catalano

Ok, so I'm a little late on this one...

So there's this Jared Leto who used to play a hunk on "My So Called Life" and who now has a band and who, possibly, has experienced Lindsay Lohan's vagina.

On the one hand, he wears eyeliner, which I like. On the other hand, as a serious artiste, he has a beef against blogs:

The blog is yesterday’s parachute pants. It’s here now but it’s gone tomorrow.
Oh Jordan, blogging may be a fad, but remember Fosco's First Rule of Fads (with apologies to Fight Club):

On a long enough timeline, everything is a fad.

The crucial question then becomes: will blogging outlast 30 Seconds to Mars? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Good News / Bad News

Today was the first day of classes at the U, which means there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that Fosco now, for the first time in five years, has health insurance! Hooray! When I woke up this morning, I could already feel an invisible forcefield of protection around me. But although I am now protected (and, luckily, I did not get cancer in the last five years. Whew.), I still can't believe that a civilized country can allow large numbers of its citizens to go without health insurance. It is SHAMEFUL.

Also, now I can go ask a doctor about these suppurating sores. [That's a joke, my friends.]

The bad news is that now Fosco has real responsibilities and schoolwork to occupy his time. This could mean that my communication with you here at "Fosco Lives!" will become a bit less frequent.

No, I didn't say that I'm leaving you--I just won't be here as much.

Well, that's because I don't really know what "as much" means. I'm not trying to be evasive--I just don't know yet how much time I'll be able to spend with you. We'll have a better idea after a couple of weeks.

I know that you'll miss me, Champ, but I have to go to work. I just can't spend all day here talking to you--as much as I would love to. Somebody has to pay the bills around here.

Yes, but did it occur to you that Caleb's favorite blogger may be independently wealthy? I can't afford to spend all day blogging, even if Caleb's favorite blogger can.

Well, why don't you just go read someone else's blog then? How about that? Maybe they'll be "there for you." Jesus Christ...

I'm sorry. No, don't cry--I shouldn't have said that. I didn't mean it. It's just that... well, I wish I could give you all of my time but I can't.

I know it's not fair, but that's how the world works.

C'mon, let's go get some ice cream. You'll feel better after you eat some ice cream and get a good night's sleep. Gimme a hug, Buddy.

[Seriously though, if you need to find other things to read while I'm unavailable, I would recommend you head over to John Mackey's Osti Music and read his Journal/Blog. His "Talk Like A Pirate Day" post has the most remarkable pictures of Lego pirate battles. Yar.]

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Chow: Comfort food for homosexuals (and their admirers).

[The latest of Fosco's weekly restaurant reviews.]

As Fosco spent a not inconsiderable portion of last week in San Francisco, it is only right that he would review another San Francisco eatery. This time it's Chow near the heart of San Francisco's gayborhood, The Castro.

I must admit there was an ulterior motive in my selection of Chow. After Fosco reviewed Bocadillos last week, an influx of Rachael Ray-loving visitors appeared on the site (thanks to Everything Rachael Ray, which does a weekly "RR in the Blogosphere" wrapup). I've already explained my feelings about RR (see the "Bocadillos" post above) and have enjoyed the two previous SF restaurants that she has guided me to and, well, I like to have new readers, and so I decided to try another of her recommendations (as per this episode of "Tasty Travels").

I really liked Chow. It's actually surprisingly large (the storefront is deceptive), but extremely intimate and cozy. There is a gorgeous back patio (with heaters, if necessary) that seems like a secret garden in the middle of the city. My dinner companion JennyT (see previous post) and I sat on the patio on a (surprisingly) nice afternoon and it was grand.

In remarkable contrast to last week's restaurant, the service was so friendly. We were greeted by three or four different waiters/bartenders/busboys on the way to our table. What a nice atmosphere! Our waiter was friendly and helpful, but in no way pushy or inappropriate. Good work, Chow staff.

As for the food, it is good. Not exceptional, but good. They have an excellent menu of what might be considered "comfort food" but with metropolitan style: spaghetti and meat balls, wood-fired pizza, pork chops, burger royale. It was pretty difficult to choose from the excellent menu, but I ended up choosing the fennel sausage pizza. The wood fired crust was mostly good, but was a bit soggy in the middle. The homemade sausage was good, though. JennyT had a delicious bowl of fusilli with a tomato cream sauce and sausage. The portions were large, but not overwhelming. I will return to Chow again as soon as I can and I will post an update on future entrees I try.

Thanks, Rachael, I will keep trying your recs!

Yarr. San Francisco. Yarrr.

I thought maybe I was done driving to San Francisco for a while, but then I got an email from my most delicious friend from grad school at UVa, JennyT. (N.B., she finished her PhD and so she is "Dr." JennyT. I did not, and so I remain "Count" Fosco.) She works for a company that designs space-age parachutes or something and was going to be in San Francisco on business this week. How could I resist hanging in SF with one of my main hags? I couldn't, and so I drove to SF on Monday afternoon.

And did I have a treat for JennyT... When we were in grad school together, we used to enjoy all things piratical (and this was before Johnny Depp made it sexy). So, naturally, I surprised JennyT with a visit to the Pirate Supply Store at 826 Valencia (which I had also been wanting to visit since, like, forever).

Although it is small, the Pirate Supply Store at 826 Valencia is now my favorite place in San Francisco. It made me feel like a small child, filled with excitement and wonder! They carry all of the typical pirate supplies (lard, message bottles, eyepatches, glass eyes, flags), as well as some more exotic items ("Sea Loaf" canned bread, beard trimmings, back issues of McSweeney's). Fosco bought a little bit of everything, including the sign that you see to the left. It will live above Fosco's desk at school to remind him (and his students) about the importance of goal-setting and plundering.

JennyT and I then had a lovely mid-afternoon lunch in the Castro at "Chow." Look for the separate lunch review right here, baby.

JennyT always has wonderful ideas and after lunch, she suggested that we should have cupcakes and coffee. So we headed up Market St to the shopping district and climbed to the top floor of the Virgin Megastore to get dessert at Citizen Cupcake. I had a Mocha Roka cupcake (with buttercream filling!) and JennyT had the signature Citizen cupcake. (See pic at right.) Thrillingly, our lattes were served in big bowls--the increased surface area allows for so much more delicious foam! The space is actually pretty cool, too, with big windows looking out on the street on on parts of the skyline. As JennyT and I talked, I contemplated the crown of the (previously-discussed in this blog) Federal Complex. It turns out to be quite compelling, at least the top of it.

It was so comforting to see JennyT again (I hadn't seen her in over and year and our best conversations are always face-to-face). It turns out that we are both starting to become sensitive to the small betrayals of our friends vis-a-vis their youthful ideals. Sadly, our friend who said she would never drive anything but a Civic has bought an SUV. And the friend who promised to limit herself to two kids is now expecting her third. And so on and so on. JennyT and I have pledged to remain true to our ideals: she and her husband will not have kids, and I will never earn more than $100,000. Oh, and I won't have kids either. We're going to do it, even if no one else does.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"My truth is that I am a gay American."

Ah, those famous words. Words that will be someday be etched onto the walls of the James McGreevey Monument in Trenton. Or, at the very least, scribbled on the wall of a bathroom stall at Rest Stop 59 (maybe with a phone number?).

Former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey's book is out today. It's titled The Confession and, judging for the excerpts printed in the Sunday Times, it is indeed chock full of confessing.

Here's a naughty bit:

I visited bookstores in New York and New Jersey and had sex in the small booths there until I became too famous to risk discovery. I lurked around parkway rest stops, exchanging false names and intimacies with strangers.
And here's another:
Moonlight squinted through the stained-glass windows into our garden, catching an inviting eye or a face stretched in ecstasy. I looked forward to my visits there, sometimes two or three a week. I quickly learned whom to approach and whose advance to wait for, when to move quickly, which posture said “no thanks” and which said “please.”
Oh yeah... now who's bringing sexy back?

[By the way, did anyone actually edit this book? "Moonlight squinted?" Ugh.]

And about all that corruption (you know, that non-gay reason he had to resign)? Well, that's mostly his staff's fault:
I tried to stay as naïve about this horse trading as possible. But I allowed my staff to intimate things to donors.
Intimate things? Like what, Jim? That you could get them Streisand tickets?

Strangest of all, it seems that the book doesn't even acknowledge that McGreevey picked up and killed all those teen vagrants. [Hint: follow the link, read the story, laugh at the joke.]

Seriously, though, isn't it amazing that the Oates story appeared only one month after McGreevey resigned? That woman works fast.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Constitution is bringing sexy back.

It is a sad commentary on our times that Congress can pass a law requiring Constitution education for college students and I would want to make fun of it. What could be wrong with compelling universities to teach the Constitution on this day? I don't know yet, but I suspect the execrable David Horowitz is involved somehow. And as for making fun of Constitution education, according to yesterday's Times Magazine, it's the Way We Live Now.

Of course, I would never deny that there is widespread ignorance about (and apathy toward) the basic principles of the Constitution. Or, as UCSC Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal so laconically writes:

More students have greater knowledge of pop culture versus the United States Constitution.
I'm no expert on the students of today (because, goodness knows, I certainly don't understand this whole shaved pubes thing), but I have to wonder if students don't pay attention to the Constitution because it's a bit... well... dry.

And so, what if we were to "punch it up a bit"? We could do a bit of amending to make it a much more interesting document. After all, if we're going to amend it every time homosexuals get a little too uppity, then why not spice it up in other ways? Just a suggestion.

As Fosco is dedicated to the education of the today's youth, he would like to offer four things you may or may not know about the US Constitution:
  • Sections of the Constitution (also called "Articles") are allowed to have "groupies" and sometimes these groupies blog.
  • The 12th Amendment is the source of most of the lyrics to the recent hit song "Sexyback."
  • Although the Constitution provides for "checks and balances" on the power of each of the three branches of government, one of them is actually intended to be a lot cooler than the others (hint: they wear black muumuus).
  • The opening word of the Constitution are often confused with other important texts in American history. Let's clear up this confusion now:
    • The first words of the Contitution are "We the people..."
    • The first words of the Declaration of Independence are "When, in the course of human events..."
    • The first words of the Gettysburg Address are "Fourscore and seven years ago..."
    • The first words of Lolita are "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins."

    Don't miss this on the exam.
Happy Constitution Day everyone!

"Mom, Dad, I shaved off my pubic hair!"

When Fosco was in college, Playboy did a pictorial feature of the "Girls of the Ivy League." My organic chemistry lab partner ended up being one of the two featured models from the Big H (and she's a doctor now). One day I ran into her in the Science Center and she crowed the news (and showed me the polaroids from her session). I never quite understood why she wanted to do it (and her quotes in this Crimson article make it seem even more confusing--posing nude isn't that much different from posing semi-nude). But it was actually fascinating to see a person that you see everyday (and who doesn't actually look that much like a model, although she's cute) airbrushed into full pinup glory.

I think there are a number of interesting questions when college students pose for skinmags. How can you not be fascinated by the idea of generally enlightened and intelligent college women lining up to pose for Playboy? What is life on campus like for these women? What do their parents think? And, ten years from now, do you worry that it will come back to affect your professional reputation? So interesting!

So let us consider Playboy's "Girls of the Big 12"(link SO not safe for work) pictorial (I don't follow these things, truly, but there's this thing called Fleshbot...). What can we learn from this?
[N.B., I used to have direct links to the individual pix below, but they get redirected. The curious reader will have to go to the "Girls of the Big 12" link above and figure out which picture is being referred to in the items below (it's not too hard).]

  • If you pose wearing only a cowboy hat and chaps, it's important to do it tastefully, according to Texas A&M student Tasia Bauman:
    Bauman said she thinks the photo is "tastefully done," and her parents and grandparents agree.
    You can tell it's a tasteful photo because she's wearing her dress thong. Read the rest of the story in the local newspaper.
  • And what if haven't exactly told your parents that you posed? Oh, and what if you're so worried about their reactions that you don't want to reveal their names? Well, then you probably shouldn't do an interview with the local paper.
  • It seems that future playmates should probably major in kinesiology or exercise physiology. Apparently, knowledge of the physical limitations of the human body is useful when you want to sit in a sink (she's the one from UTexas who is posing with a huge jug of popcorn).
  • Did you know that, in addition to cattle-rustling, naked women also enjoy making out with each other in the snow? Although such behavior is apparently noteworthy enough to merit a column in the Denver Post.
I feel like I've learned a lot from this exercise, but there is still a major unanswered question: why do none of these women have pubic hair? Granted, Fosco hasn't had sex with a woman in a number of years, but he's pretty sure he remembers some hair down there. When did shaving become so standard, so common, that every woman in this pictorial does it? How did this happen?

Heterosexual porn is so strange.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


I don't normally read the "Weddings and Celebrations" section of the Sunday New York Times because, well, I don't like to read about happy people and when those happy people are also fabulously wealthy or quite successful... Well, let's just say that Fosco needs some extra happy pills to make it through the rest of the day.

But, despite the usual envy, I also was moved by today's article about the anniversary of Adam Berger and Stephen Frank.

One of the reasons for my emotion is that I was slightly acquainted with Steve Frank in college (although he knew my roommate much better). And, strangely enough, the fact that he came out after college never made it back to my ears in the last ten years (maybe because he wasn't actually in my class--he was a year or two ahead). As I recall, he was actually a bit conservative (although maybe only economically).

The years since college have been an especially interesting time for me, as I have watched classmate after classmate (including myself) come out as gay. In college, I lived with five other guys and all of us were supposedly straight. Now, at last count, three of us are out and, even though the remaining ones are married or seriously dating women, I'm not going to rule out another surprise (Dr. H****?)

I can't speak for Steve Frank (after all, things seem to have turned out well for him) or for my college roommates, but I still, after ten years, am envious of my peers who were out in college. I think one of the reasons for this envy is that (at least for me) high school and college were the periods of my life in which I had the closest relationships to other men. The college and high school friendships I had with men were really intense and very powerful. But, because I was closeted (and so were so many of my friends), we never got the chance to explore whether that intense friendship could admit/recognize an erotic element. I rarely develop friendships that intense anymore (after all, people in their late 20s/early 30s are busy and tend to be more isolated), and I doubt that any romantic relationship that I have in the future will develop out of a pre-existing friendship.

I think I could have had amazing romantic relationships with several of my male friends from the past, but (at this point) it's maybe kinda too late (although, to some extent, this blog is an extended love letter to one or two of them). The timing for Adam and Steve (*giggle*)seems to have been perfect and that makes me both happy and envious. Mazel tov to them!

Denouement: 9/11-9/17

Last week, while you were feeling betrayed by lonelygirl15, Fosco was