Wednesday, September 09, 2009

News and Pop Culture

Fitness model Trevor Adams comes into his own—and comes out

A good ol’ Texas boy at heart, Trevor went to seven different high schools, 13 schools in all. The constant moving from place to place made it nearly impossible for him to plant roots and build friendships. “I wasn’t really a social kid growing up anyway. Going to almost two high schools a year, you meet a lot of people, but you’re so used to moving, you don’t make relationships. Even now, I’m always on the go. You make a lot of friends, but you learn to move on,” he says. “I’ve never been close to my family, unfortunately,” he adds. “My father’s an alcoholic, my mom’s kind of schizo, and my brother’s learning-disabled. I’m kinda close to my brother. With my dad, it’s kind of off and on, depending if he’s drinking or not. And my mom and I do not talk. I know I’m not exactly the poster child for the magazine,” he says with a laugh. “My life is a little bit different than everybody else’s.” Not having a family support system certainly made it difficult for Trevor to come to terms with his sexuality. Fortunately for him, there was someone in his life to provide the connection and example he had been unknowingly seeking. Read more at Instinct.

Lesbian U.S. army deserter appeals for refugee status in Canada

A lesbian who deserted the U.S. army argued before the Federal Court in Ottawa on Tuesday that she should be allowed to remain in Canada as a refugee. Pte. Bethany Smith, also known as Skyler James, is seeking a judicial review of a decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board to reject a refugee claim. Smith said she feared for her life due to the treatment she received in the army as a result of her sexual orientation. "I had to endure not only verbal and physical harassment, but death threats and harassment letters on my door every day," Smith told reporters Tuesday outside the court. Following the hearing, she said she was staying positive and hoping for the best. Smith, who now lives in Ottawa, said she was treated as "less than human" by other soldiers at the base in Fort Campbell, Ky., after they saw her holding hands with another woman at a local mall and found out she was a lesbian. One soldier who worked with her on the base's fleet of vehicles would pick her up, shake her and throw her to the ground on a daily basis, she told CBC News. Read more at CBC.

American energy usage drops in 2008

Americans used more solar, nuclear, biomass and wind energy in 2008 than they did in 2007, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The nation used less coal and petroleum during the same time frame and only slightly increased its natural gas consumption. Geothermal energy use remained the same. Last year saw a significant increase in biomass with the recent push for the development of more biofuels including ethanol. "This is a good snapshot of what's going on in the country. Some of the year-to year changes in supply and consumption can be traced to factors such as the economy and energy policy," said A.J. Simon, an LLNL energy systems analyst who develops the energy flow charts using data provided by the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration. Read more at Science Daily.

South African runner, Caster Semenya unveils glamorous look as she learns she'll keep gold medal

South African Athlete Caster Semenya has learnt that she will be entitled to retain her 800-metre gold medal regardless of the results of tests to ascertain whether she is really a man or a woman. Ms Semenya who won the medal at the Berlin International Association of Athletics Federations (IAFF) World Championships has also revealed her glamorous side in a makeover for a South African magazine. Ever since she arrived at the Berlin Athletics contest there were rumours that her apparent facial hair and rather masculine appearance might actually be because she is a man. Rumours became so intense that the International Association of Athletics Federations have asked Athletics South Africa (ASA) to carry out a "gender verification" test on her. Read more at UK Pink News.

Germany overturns Nazi-era treason verdicts

Germany took two cautious steps toward dealing more openly with its military history Tuesday, overturning Nazi-era treason convictions and honouring soldiers who died during the postwar era. More than six decades after the end of the Second World War, Germany's parliament unanimously overturned Nazi-era verdicts convicting people of treason. Treason convictions carried the death penalty and were handed down in Nazi Germany for any act deemed harmful to the nation or helpful to the enemy. Under that umbrella, people were convicted of treason for political resistance, aiding Jews, helping prisoners of war, selling products on the black market and scores of other acts. Recent research by military historians Wolfram Wette and Detlef Vogel has shown that ordinary soldiers were often sentenced to death for treason. "By rehabilitating all so-called war traitors, we restore the honour and dignity of a long-forgotten group of victims of the Nazi justice system," Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries said. "This is also an important signal for the relatives." Before Tuesday's blanket ruling, challenges to treason convictions had to be handled on an individual basis, with a prosecutor weighing whether each one should be overturned. Some members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's (pictured) conservative Christian Democrats and Bavaria's Christian Social Union had initially been against a blanket measure overturning the convictions, arguing some of those sentenced may have harmed their comrades. Read more at CBC.

Two female monkeys make four babies

Scientists in Oregon have produced four monkeys using the genetic material of two females, a breakthrough that could lead to the same technique being performed in humans. Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University replaced most of the genes of one rhesus macaque monkey with genes from another, according to The Washington Post. They then implanted embryos (fertilized with sperm), into the uterus of another monkey, who gave birth to four healthy offspring. The experiment is a step toward helping humans prevent genetic deformities in their offspring. Defects in mitochondrial DNA can produce disorders including seizures, diabetes, and Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases. Read more at Advocate.

Leno on gay marriage, Ryan Phillippe's gay face, Jeff Whitty & more

Jay Leno: "I honestly felt like Jeff [Whitty] blew it way out of proportion. I had Ryan Phillippe on and he said he played a gay man, and I said, "Give me that look." I've said to other males stars like Antonio Banderas, "Show me that sexy look you give when you're trying to hit on a woman." And they make a face, and that's obviously where I was going with it. When it sort of backfired in my face, I didn't mind apologizing. That's not what I meant at all. This is a big time show. We have a lot of gay employees on the show. Some are married, some aren't. It just seemed a little unfair. And I say that to you as a representative of a gay magazine, and I don't mean to whine and complain about it, because I did apologize, and I realize it was wrong, but to keep beating on it just seemed a little unfair to me." Read more at Afterelton.

Legendary Variety columnist Army Archerd dies at 87

The legendary reporter told stories about Hollywood for over half a century. Army Archerd, a prolific reporter who chronicled the personal and professional lives of Hollywood stars and moguls for more than half a century from his columnist's perch at Daily Variety, and rocked the entertainment world when he announced in 1985 that actor Rock Hudson was suffering from AIDS, has died. He was 87. According to Variety's website, Archer died Tuesday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical of a rare form of mesothelioma, "a cancer thought to be the result of his exposure to asbestos in the Navy during WWII." Over the years, as the relationship between entertainment journalists and movie stars evolved from fawning to sometimes harshly objective, Archerd, perhaps best known for his televised job as official greeter of stars each year outside the Academy Awards, remained a respected figure by generations of industry insiders who praised him for his integrity, truthfulness and kindness. Read more at Zap2it.

Pain led Melanie Griffith to rehab says husband Antonio Banderas

Actress Melanie Griffith's recent admission to a rehab clinic isn't something husband Antonio Banderas is going to sweep under the rug. "It's not a rumor, but let me explain to you," Banderas, 49, tells Ellen DeGeneres in an interview to air on Wednesday's The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "It was said actually in some magazine that I said that I gave an ultimatum to my wife. That I present the matter of divorce because she has been involved in addictions and blah, blah, blah," says the actor. "Melanie has been addicted for many years and we always came out. We said it out loud. It was okay, we were never embarrassed of the situation but what happened she was clean and sober for six years." But six years of clean living was endangered after Griffith, 52, had a skiing accident in Aspen, Co., a year and a half ago. Three operations in her knee required her to use narcotics – and come face-to-face with her demons again. He added, "I am very proud of my wife." (People)

South Carolina lieutenant governor Andre Bauer, says that the question about his sexual orientation has no place in politics

South Carolina lieutenant governor Andre Bauer dismissed widespread rumors that he is gay on Friday, telling a Charleston news station that the persistent question about his sexual orientation is “silly.” During an interview, WCBD-TV news anchor Carolyn Murray asked Bauer why he bothered to respond to the rumors -- the lieutenant governor has denied being gay. Bauer replied that he wanted to make sure the speculation did not linger, so that he could advance state business and “not continue to dwell on some silly question in the first place.” “I sure hope it ends the issue because it’s not important,” said Bauer. “It’s not something we should be talking about in politics. But I don’t want people to dwell on it. I don’t want to continue to have to hear about it. I want to nip it in the bud and move forward real issues that can improve South Carolina.” Read more at Advocate.

Victoria's secret: royal bloomers join collection

A set of roomy bloomers that once belonged to Queen Victoria are back in royal drawers. The underwear — which has a 56-inch (142-centimeter) waist — has been added to Britain's Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection at Kensington Palace. The undergarments have a matching chemise, are embroidered with a "VR" and are believed to date from the 1890s. Queen Victoria had a 20-inch (51-centimeter) waist as a young woman. But curator Alexandra Kim said Tuesday that "over the years, particularly having given birth to nine children, that changed entirely." The collection purchased the bloomers for 600 pounds ($993) earlier this summer. Kim said it's likely they were handed down to a servant after the monarch's death. There are about 12,000 items in the collection, housed at Kensington Palace in London. It includes photographs, prints, sketches, diaries — and famous outfits. Among the sartorial treasures are the tweed suit made for the 1981 honeymoon of Princess Diana, a safari suit sported by Edward VIII — later the Duke of Windsor — and a silk waistcoat worn by King George III before his death in 1821. The collection has been recognized as being of national and international importance by Britain's Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Historic Royal Palaces said in a news release. Queen Victoria lived from 1819 to 1901. She became queen at age 18 and was Britain's longest-reigning monarch.

Sex and the Superhero

What do you get when you mix Sex and the City and Queer as Folk with Superman and the Hulk??? READ MORE.