I Want My Gay TV: Will the Real Drag Queen Stand Up?

Ongina. Jeannie. Are they one and the same? Maybe siblings? They not only look alike, they act alike and sound alike.

It’s probably a good thing my vacation is almost over.  I can only stand being a sloth for about a day and a half, and there’s only so much daytime (and night time) TV that I can endure.

I’m even beginning to think that those Prop. 8 supporters that say same-sex marriage will ruin opposite-sex marriage might have a leg to stand on.  (Could it be the middle leg?)  I’ve been watching more than my usual share  of Property Virgins and House Hunters on HGTV.  I won’t say that my gaydar is all that great, but there seems to be a good percentage of buff, Polo-wearing husbands on those episodes that show more interest in stainless steel appliances and granite countertops than in work benches in the garage or the size of the yard.

Jeannie (or is it Ongina?), host of the Style channel's "How Do I Look?"

Keep flipping through the channels and you discover that there are any number of shows that are trying to change some poor woman’s image from “frumpy” to “humpy”.  This is nothing new, but after I saw one of these transformation shows called How Do I Look? , I was sure that one of the drag queens had abandoned Logo for the Style channel (mystyle.com).

Ongina (or is it Jeannie?), on the right, with co-"profes" Raven and Jujube, from "Rupaul's Drag U"

Supposedly, the host of this makeover program is Jeannie Mai, but appearance-wise, it could be Ongina, one of the contestants in Rupaul’s Drag Race, and now one of the “professors” in Rupaul’s Drag U, both from Logo.

And when it comes to Logo, I opted for a higher-priced package on DirecTV, just to be able to get a “gay” channel, but whenever I click 2-7-2, what do I get?  Nine-five percent of the time, it’s either a re-run of a Drag U (and so far they’ve only shown three new episodes) or Buffy–The Vampire Slayer.  Can anyone tell me what’s so gay about that show?  I know one of the characters is supposed to be lesbian.  Maybe Logo is trying to attract people that are so hot for the Twilight movies.

When it comes to daytime TV, at least the “Judge” shows are good for a few laughs, even if you do have to suffer through ads for ambulance-chasing lawyers.

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Nathan Adrian Beats Out Cesar Cielo for Gold in the Pan Pacific Swim Championships


Two one hundredths of a second isn’t a lot of time, but it was enough for Nathan Adrian of the U.S. to beat out Brazil’s fast guy, Cesar Cielo, in the 50M Freestyle at the 2010 Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships that finished up over the weekend in Irvine, California.

Adrian also won the gold in the 100M Freestyle which you can watch on the Vidbox on the right sidebar.

Use Fresh Summer Peaches To Make This Easy and Delicious Pie

 

Peach Crumb Pie--a delicious, homemade dessert that even a beginner can make!

 

It goes without saying that summer is the time for fresh fruit.  Even in the supermarkets at this time of year, there’s a much better chance of getting some local produce, instead of something shipped in from halfway around the world.  I had been looking through my recipe box just to check out pickle recipes–yes, the okra are still coming–when I ran across a pie recipe that my mom made and is one of my favorites.

I used to avoid baking in my apartment because I didn’t like making the AC have to work against the heat that filled up the kitchen.  However, here in my house, the venting from the oven works well and my kitchen stays cool.  Therefore, yesterday when I saw some nice looking peaches at the store, I knew exactly what I would do with them.

This is an easy recipe and much tastier than anything from the frozen foods department.  (If making the pie crust is not your thing, you can use a store-bought pie shell.  Normally, I like making the pie crust, but today I used Mrs. Calendar‘s, and it was OK.  My usual homemade pie crust recipe is here.)

Peach Crumb Pie

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

4 C. fresh peaches, about 6-7 peaches

2 1/2 Tbsps. dry tapioca (not the pearl type)

3/4 C. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice

Peel and slice the peaches.  Mix together with the other ingredients in a large bowl.  Set aside for 5 minutes or the time it takes to make the topping.

Topping

1/3 C. packed brown sugar

1/4 C. flour

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 1/2 Tbsps. soft butter

Use a fork and cut the dry ingredients into the butter until it all becomes soft little balls about the size of a pea.  Then put the peach mixture into an unbaked pie crust.  Even out the peaches in the crust so that there are no gaps.  Sprinkle the topping over the peaches.  Bake at 425 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

This is a very forgiving recipe.  Even if you have never made a pie before, you can make this one and have a dessert that looks elegant, tastes delicious, and is homemade!

A Glimpse of Galveston Almost Two Years after Hurricane Ike

Balveston Seawall and beach after a shower on a Thursday afternoon.

An old post indicates that it had been more than a year since the last time I went to Galveston.  Today I took another road trip, heading down to the coast, just to enjoy the day.  On the drive down, the skies were mostly cloudy with enough of a shower here and there to get the wipers going.

Just when I got to the causeway (the bridge that connects Galveston Island with the Texas mainland), it really started to pour, and I thought I might just have to turn around and head back home.  However, when I got to 61st St. and turned to go over to the seawall, the rain gave up, and it was just overcast the rest of the time.

If you’re really looking, there’s still some evidence of the havoc Ike wreaked upon Galveston.  There are still a few restaurants and shops at the far end of Seawall Blvd. that never re-opened and look rough on the outside.  The Flagship Hotel, which sits on piers out over the water, has the same gaping hole and looks much the same as the last time I was there.  However, for the most part, the businesses appear to be back to about the same as in the pre-Ike days.  In fact, there are a few new hotels and shops, and a lot of the old ones have spruced up.

There were a lot of people enjoying the beaches near the San Luis Hotel, but the numbers began to dwindle very quickly not far down.  It was, however, a Thursday, and had just rained.

Murdoch's, restaurant and souvenir shop, rebuilt after Hurricane Ike.

Four-wheeling alongside the waves.

Nobody to save on this lazy afternoon

Flagship Hotel, a bit desolate and glum.

A new hotel nearing completion, just about one block from the Flagship.

Some new construction mixed in with the older houses just a block or so in from the beach.

On the Road Home: Aladin and Gays Cause the End of Humanity

I really know better than to go to the super market on Sunday afternoon.

If you’re intrigued by the title of this post, I’ve succeeded.  Not long ago, I decided to start a new series of posts called “On the Road Home.”  I had been having trouble writing posts, so I wanted to put down some of the thoughts of the days, especially during my evening commute.

I know today is Sunday; actually, I’m on vacation; therefore, maybe I’m stretching to make this work, but Sunday as it was, I had some errands to run and so I’m gathering here some of the pieces of the day.

I like eating at home (now that I have my own house), but I’ve decided I need to try some places in my new part of town.  A couple of months ago, a new place opened about a mile or so up the road.  It’s called Aladin, and the sign said, Mediterranean and Indo/Pak Buffet and Grill.  Today I had had no breakfast, so by noontime, I was ready for almost anything.  As I drove up the road, I decided to try the place out.  Just a couple of cars were in the parking lot, and when I got inside, I found that I was the only customer.

However, the place smelled good, and everything at the buffet tables looked appetizing.  Some of the Arabic foods, I knew, but I assume quite a few of the hot dishes are of the Indo/Pak cuisine.  I tried a bit of many things.  The salads, the hummus, and some kind of eggy squares were especially good.  The best, though, was the gyro, filled with tender, tasty meat, which they made and brought out, after I had already filled my plate.  If you’re in the Houston area out near 529 and Highway 6, try this place.  The food and the service are very good.

After I had eaten I decided to pick up some groceries.  I know if I go on a Sunday, I’m just a glutton for punishment.  The HEB I went to on Barker-Cypress was jam-packed.

Getting used to shopping out in the suburbs hasn’t been easy.  Everybody out here seems to have kids, and they have to bring them along when they go to the super market, which only adds to the traffic congestion in the store aisles.

One of the arguments that some of those against gay marriage is that if gay marriage is legalized, it will be the end of humanity.  They surely have to hold their own noses to their own “stinkin’ lyin'” when they say that.  As if gay people getting married would stop opposite-sex couples from having kids.

Gay marriage is already legal in a number of U.S. states, several European countries, South Africa, and now Argentina.  All I can say is that so far it hasn’t had any effect on all those people with kids at the HEB that I went to today.

Usually, when I’m waiting to check out, there is a family in front of me with at least one kid screaming, “I want this,” while pulling at the innumerable candy bars and other baubles on either side of the checkout aisle.

The little girl in front today had a bit more game.  Picking up a plastic package with a glittery brush inside, she looked at her mother, and coyly asked, “Would this work on my hair?’  Her mother barely shook her head without even looking at her.

Then the girl pointed at another item hanging from the many hooks, “Would this work to sharpen pencils?”  Her mother shook her head again.  At that moment, the girl looked back at me, and we both knew that she needed to try some new tactics, because obviously, Mom had already heard “Would this work?’ too many times, and that line definitely wasn’t going to work.

After crossing the scorching parking lot and packing away my groceries, I was glad to be inside the quiet of my car even if I did have to wait for the AC to start blasting out some cool air.

Taking a Drive Out 529: Leaving Suburbia for the Open Road, a Bit of History, and Adam Lambert

F.M. 529 in Waller County, the cars are far and few between.

When I was a kid, sometimes on a Sunday afternoon, my dad would say,  “Do you want to go for a drive?”  We’d all pile into the car (the “we” that I recall most was just Dad, Mom, and me, because I was the youngest and the last one left at home) and head in some direction from the farm.  I suppose there were times when Dad had a particular destination in mind, but often we’d just take out and go wherever the car, and our whims, decided, driving for a couple of hours, looking at the  “sights”.  On some drives, we’d drop by a relative’s house or get an ice cream cone, but usually, we just drove, finally arriving back home.

I still like taking drives.  Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve often gotten into the car and just headed out without a clear destination, just enjoying the countryside and small towns I pass through.  Even though I now live in the suburbs, I still enjoy driving where the houses disappear and in their place are lines of trees, open pastures full of grass, and cool streams snaking through the countryside.

Since I’m on vacation right now, but still enthralled with having my own house and not wanting to take a real vacation, today I headed west on S.H. 529, the highway that is about a half mile from my home.

From Highway 290 to near where I live, F.M. 529 (F.M. = Farm to Market.  F.M. highways in Texas are usually shorter than S.H. roads (S.H. = State Highway) is 3 lanes each way, but as I drove west a few miles, it became 2 lanes each way, and once out of suburbia, it’s only a 2-lane road.

When you reach Stockdick School Road, you've definitely left suburbia. I took a detour down that road just because of the sort of provocative name. I didn't find any school, or anything else either.

In Bellville, you find one of the strangest courthouse-highway arrangements; Highway 36 divides to go on either side of the courthouse. There is a quaint shopping area on the courthouse square, but maneuvering this "roundabout" might prove difficult for a driver passing through this town for the first time.

I took some detours here and there, just to check out the “sights”, but finally ended up in Bellville, a cute county seat town about 30-35 miles from my house.  (Bellville is the county seat of Austin County, named for Stephen F. Austin and is steeped in Texas history.)

Despite the heat, the drive was just what I needed to get a taste of the country air and do some thinking.

The bridge passing over the Brazos River between Hockley and Bellville. This spot doesn't make the river look very impressive, but it does appear that this dead end river road is a favorite place for making out and drinking beer.

With the radio playing the whole drive, I  started  remembering about when driving between cities, the only stations that you could tune in were local AM stations playing country western music or the drone of fire and brimstone preaching.  As I was on a stretch of road between Hockley and Bellville (not on 529 then), Mix 96.5 started playing Adam Lambert’s new song, “If I Had You.”  I thought how much things have changed; even a gay kid stuck out in the middle of nowhere at least can listen to Adam Lambert and know somebody gay who is successful.  And that’s a good thing.

This little road trip today was also a good thing.  I didn’t or couldn’t stop every place that I wanted to take a photo; some places there just wasn’t anywhere to pull over and as it got after noontime, the heat made me just want to stay in with the cool AC.

Off of 529 east of Bellville, after driving through a tree-covered country lane, you'll find Pilgrims Rest Cemetery. Many of the stones in this cemetery, which is marked as a Texas historical site, have German and Czech names, some of the inscriptions in the original language. Down 529, there's a smaller, older-looking cemetery of the same name.

A stop to take a look at a historical marker proved to be the discovery of a Texan I had never heard about. Norris Wright Cuney was the son of a plantation owner and one of his slaves. He later became important in Republican politics in the latter part of the 19th Century.

You can read the inscription on this historical marker here.  This certainly gives a glimpse into what was once part of Texas history and politics, and perhaps the remnants still exist.

This old country church in Austin County doesn't appear to have services anymore, but its condition shows that its still being taken care of. You'll also find for-sale mega-mansions located on ranchettes as well as a couple of rural meat markets along this quiet strip of road.

Scattered alongside 529 in western Harris and eastern Waller Counties are any number of small- and medium-sized plants.

All Part of the Weekend Heat: Katydids, El Rey, and Nathan Adrian

Katydid--all that's left is the shell.

The katydids were singing big time last evening when Annie and I took our walk.  (Today I found the shell of one on the leaves of a plant in the backyard; hence, the new banner.)  Aside from the bugs’ buzzing, the neighborhood seemed almost deserted.  I’d say that with all this August heat that everyone was out on the back veranda having a mint julep; that is if people had verandas and still drank juleps.  But by the time the sun is nearly gone, it’s pleasant enough.  There’s a coziness about our little sub-division, as it has it’s own physical boundaries, and the style of the homes and all the mature trees, give it a feel all its own, unlike many of the others out here in the county that just slide from one into the other, without a feeling of being some place.

With all the heat of the day, this morning I was up early to get the plants watered and start the sprinkler for the front grass.  Each week day, I swear to myself that I’ll sleep late on Saturday, but when it’s time for Annie to go out in the morning, every green thing that needs a drink pulls me to the task.

After a shower and some coffee, I was after the Saturday errands.  Even at 10, every stop I made had the sun blistering down and the heat radiating up from the cement.  As I was gadding about, I stopped for lunch at location of one of my favorite Cuban-slash-Mexican places, El Rey.  When I lived in my apartment, I made an El Rey drive-thru run at the one on Washington almost every week.  This one sprang up among all the new shops on the north side of I-10 near Memorial City.

Michael Phelps swimming to victory in the 100 Butterfly.

Finally, I made it back home, and after some time of just soakin’ up the AC, I clicked on the TV.  NBC had on the National Swimming Championships from Irvine, California.  At first, I thought it was live, but after looking for other results, I found out that most of what they were showing was pre-recorded.  Anyway, I got to see Michael Phleps winning the 100 Butterfly and Nathan Adrian beating out Ryan Lochte adn Jason Lezak in the 100 Freestyle.  Both were pretty exciting races.  You can check out all the results and other news about the National Swimming Championships here.

Nathan Adrian prior to his win in the 100 Freestyle in the National Championships.

Adrian all smiles after his victory.