Monday, November 02, 2009

News and Pop Culture Round-Up

Gay spouses look like heterosexual couples
A new analysis of Census data shows that same-sex couples who identify as married are similar to opposite-sex couples in age, income and even parental status, regardless of whether they are legally wed. The study released Monday by a think tank based at the University of California, Los Angeles looked at Census data from last year. It also found that Utah, Wyoming and other states that don't offer any legal recognition of gay relationships had some of the highest percentages of same-sex couples who describe themselves as husbands or wives. Gary Gates, the UCLA demographer who conducted the analysis, says the report is the first to compare same-sex couples who identify as married with those that say they're in unmarried partnerships and married opposite-sex couples. READ MORE

Pro-gay San Francisco mayor ends run for Calif. governor
Unable to move beyond his ultra-liberal image and far behind his rival in fundraising, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom dropped his bid to become governor, leaving former governor Jerry Brown as the only Democrat in the race to succeed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger next year. Citing “a young family and responsibilities at City Hall,” Newsom announced Friday that he was quitting the gubernatorial race to spend more time with his wife and newborn daughter. The telegenic mayor tried to connect with voters at town hall forums across the state, but never finessed his message. He excitedly skipped from topic to topic, promising never to blunt his left-leaning positions on gay marriage, the environment, immigration and universal health care to win votes. Newsom’s campaign hinged on his appeal as a progressive, as he attempted to tap into the currents of change that helped sweep Barack Obama into the White House last year. But Democrats appeared to prefer the 71-year-old Attorney General Brown, who has formed an exploratory committee but has yet to officially announce he is seeking the nomination. READ MORE

Researchers to perform sex change operation on papaya
The complicated sex life of the papaya is about to get even more interesting, thanks to a $3.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will fund basic research on the papaya sex chromosomes and will lead to the development of a papaya that produces only hermaphrodite offspring, an advance that will enhance papaya health while radically cutting papaya growers' production costs and their use of fertilizers and water. Papayas already come in three sexual varieties: male, female and hermaphrodite. The hermaphrodite produces the flavorful fruit that is sold commercially. From the grower's perspective, however, hermaphrodite plants come with a severe handicap: their seeds produce some female plants (which are useless commercially) and some hermaphrodites. READ MORE

The battle for Jack Kerouac's estate
The only people for me’, Jack Kerouac famously wrote in On The Road, the book that made his name, ‘are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous Roman candles...’ For Kerouac, the candle burned out all too quickly. When Kerouac died in 1968 at the age of 47, he was a broken alcoholic, his literary reputation so depleted he was unable even to find a paperback publisher for his last novel, Vanity of Duluoz. Unsure of what value to put on his estate, the bank valued it at a nominal $1. Over the years, it would rise to an estimated $20m. The daughter that Jack Kerouac disowned and an apparently forged will have ignited a dispute over the ownership of the writer's estate. READ MORE

Georgetown rallies against hate crime
About 50 Georgetown University students attended a rally on campus on Friday after a student was attacked last week, allegedly because of her perceived sexual orientation. GU Pride organized a rally in less than 24 hours via Facebook, Twitter, text message, and e-mail. According to students who attended on Friday, antigay harassment is common on campus and at college parties. “This stuff happens all the time,” said sophomore Markus Brazill to TheWashington Post, “but a lot of us are afraid of reporting it.” READ MORE

France and U.S. Condemn Ugandan Antigay Bill
The Ugandan embassies of France and the United States publicly condemned Uganda's proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill on Monday, but officials in the African nation plan to move forward with the discriminatory legislation. READ MORE

93 minutes with celebrated actress Lynn Redgrave
Lynn Redgrave wants to go for a walk in the park and not talk about her health. This despite the fact that she overcame breast cancer in 2003 and then, as previews began for her self-penned one-woman show, Nightingale—an imagining of the unhappy, unfulfilled, undocumented life of her maternal grandmother—the Times reported that she was in treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. For what, exactly, she and her reps wouldn’t disclose, saying only that it was not for a recurrence of cancer. But the side effects of her new treatment meant she’d have her script onstage. READ MORE

Boxing Champ: Mixed Martial Arts 'Like Gay Porn'
The former middleweight world champ, Bernard Hopkins, has lashed out at the sport, criticizing its homoeroticism and the men in the spandex shorts. "I don’t want to watch two grown men wrestling with panties on,” Hopkins said in an interview with “I’m from the hood, we don’t play that. To me, I’m not buying a ticket to watch two grown men with panties on, sweating, [with] nuts in their face. That’s not me. To compare that to boxing is ludicrous. It’s a porno." READ MORE

Woman calls 911 to report herself as drunk driver The call came into the 911 dispatcher:"I don't want to hurt anybody. I'm drunk." And with that, Mary Strey, 49, of Granton, reported herself as a drunken driver about three miles northeast of Neilsville in central Wisconsin. Clark County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jim Backus said Monday that Strey's call on Oct. 24 led deputies to cite her for misdemeanor drunken driving with a blood-alcohol level double the legal limit to drive. She makes her first court appearance Dec. 10. Backus said drunken drivers reporting themselves is rare. In the 911 call, Strey said she wanted to report a drunken driver and the dispatcher asked if she was behind the suspect vehicle. "I am them," Strey said. She then followed the dispatcher's advice to pull over and turn on her flashers, telling him she had been "drinking all night long." READ MORE

'Golden Girl' Bea Arthur leaves $300,000 to LGBT homeless youth shelter The estate of late actress Bea Arthur gave a top homeless youth service organization $300,000 for its operations. Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center in New York City, said his organization was "overwhelmed with gratitude that Bea saw that LGBT youth deserve as much love and support as any other young person and that she placed so much value in the work we do to protect them and to help them rebuild lives." The announcement comes after the center released details on a plan to establish a house to accommodate 12 homeless youths and name the building in Arthur's honor. The Ali Forney Center offers food, emergency housing, medical treatment, HIV testing, and educational training for as many as 1,000 young people annually. READ MORE

Boys will be Boys: Idaho team punished for 'strip hockey'
An Idaho junior hockey team was banished temporarily from a city ice rink after players engaged in a game of "strip hockey" — shedding a piece of uniform every time a practice shot missed its mark. As redress for last Wednesday's incident, Boise forbid the Idaho Junior Steelheads team from using Idaho Ice World for four days; one 17-year-old player who shed his underwear briefly was suspended until next week. In addition, police are investigating, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.


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