May 152012
 

Pres­i­dent Obama made his­tory twice over the past week:  First, for declar­ing his sup­port for gay mar­riage, and, sec­ond, for being the sub­ject of a best­selling slash fic­tion novel enti­tled Barack Hard, a steamy romance between an African-American Pres­i­dent of the United States, Barack O. Bama, and an Asian-American Secret Ser­vice Agent, Chuck E. Chan.

M/M fic­tion, a genre of fan fic­tion that tells sto­ries about roman­tic and/or sex­ual rela­tion­ships between male media char­ac­ters.  The major­ity of the read­ers, and the authors, are het­ero­sex­ual women.  Jill Favors, the author of Barack Hard, said she was first intro­duced to M/M fic­tion when she ran across a Cana­dian Star Trek novella enti­tled Beam Me Up the Bum, Scotty.  “It was hor­ri­bly writ­ten and edited, but the scenes between Kirk and Spock were so ten­der, yet so hot, that I couldn’t get them out of my mind.  I started read­ing all the M/M fic­tion I could find, and even­tu­ally began writ­ing my own.”

Accord­ing to Favors, Her Pres­i­dent Barak O. Bama is just a reg­u­lar bira­cial guy who hap­pened to grad­u­ate from Har­vard Law School who wants world peace, the occa­sional pick-up game, and some­one to watch HGTV with, after a long day in the Oval Office.  Chuck E. Chan, is a Secret Ser­vice agent who likes to restore clas­sic cars, cook French cui­sine, and knows the words to every Barry Manilow song, who is assigned to pro­tect the Pres­i­dent on a trip to pay his respects to the Prince of Trik­istan, who just came out as gay to his father, and accom­pany him to a Madonna con­cert in Dubai.  At first, the Pres­i­dent and Agent Chan hate each other, but things begin to heat up by the time they land in Dubai.  How­ever, before Madonna can return to the stage for an encore of “Hol­i­day,” ter­ror­ists kid­nap the Pres­i­dent.  It’s up to Chan to kick ter­ror­ist butt, save the Pres­i­dent, and enter into a pick-up game for life with the man he loves.

The rea­son that I chose to make my pro­tag­o­nist slightly dif­fer­ent than Pres­i­dent Obama is because I like the First Lady,” said Favors.  “I mean, I couldn’t kill her off.  I also didn’t want to send her off to visit her mother or go shop­ping in Italy, so I set my story in an alter­nate universe.”

Barack Hard had already been writ­ten, sold to Tes­terone Squared Pub­lish­ing, and was being edited when Pres­i­dent Obama voiced his sup­port for gay mar­riage.  The pub­lisher rushed to make the title avail­able as an e-book the next day and sales went through the roof.  Up next for the Gay Pres­i­dent is Barak­back Moun­tain, which is due out before the end of the month.

Apr 102012
 

Just when it appeared that Mitt Rom­ney has the Repub­li­can party’s nom­i­na­tion for Pres­i­dent of the United States in 2012 wrapped up, Ridicu­lously Pho­to­genic Guy has sur­passed him to become the front run­ner in the GOP Pres­i­den­tial Primary.

Ridicu­lously Pho­to­genic guy, a New Yorker by the name of Zed­die Lit­tle, has become an Inter­net sen­sa­tion after ama­teur pho­tog­ra­pher Will King ran­domly took his pic­ture while Lit­tle ran in the Cooper Bridge Run 10K race in Charleston, South Car­olina.  King posted the image to his Flickr account, where a friend dubbed Lit­tle “Mr. Ridicu­lously Pho­to­genic” and Little’s vis­age went viral.  How­ever, no one can really explain why.

He has such a nice smile.  It’s so hope­ful,” said Melody Mead­ows, 27, a den­tal hygien­ist from Franklin, Ten­nessee.  “Boy, what I wouldn’t give to clean his teeth …”

It’s the hair, dude,” said Joe Lun­quist, 23, a Dough Boy at Uncle Vinnie’s Piz­zaria in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  “Any man who can run a 10K and still have every hair in place is the kind of guy I know I can count on to stay cool in a crisis.”

God, what I wouldn’t give to be his sweaty jock­strap,” said Tyler Kerr, 32, a per­sonal trainer and gay porn actor from Des Moines, Iowa. “Any man I’d be will­ing to let set on my face and wig­gle has my vote.”

With sup­port like this, it’s no sur­prise that some­one would nom­i­nate him to run in the Repub­li­can pri­mary.  Even though Lit­tle did not reg­is­ter months ago, Repub­li­cans have been keen on bend­ing the rules for Lit­tle.  “Just look at that face,” said Selma Dobbs, 52, a retired feral poo­dle tamer.  “How could you not want to see that smile in the White House?”

Anony­mous sources have estab­lished a Super Pac for Little’s race, whim­si­cally called The Fanny Pac.

Call me crazy,” said Ed Wojoski, 49, a polit­i­cal pun­dit from Pueblo, Col­orado.  “But I think this guy may be able to pull in 1,144 del­e­gate votes at the Repub­li­can National Convention.”

So far, there’s no word from Ridicu­lously Pho­to­genic Guy as to whether or not he will run for Pres­i­dent of the United States.  Sources close to Lit­tle say that his main focus at this time is to break into the pub­lic rela­tions indus­try and to suc­cess­fully put together a book shelf from IKEA, using only the Swedish instructions.

What do you think, read­ers?  Can a Ridicu­lously Pho­to­genic Guy win the elec­tion to be Pres­i­dent of the United States?

Mar 302012
 

Kim Carnes released her cover of Jackie DeShannon’s “Bette Davis Eyes” on March 27, 1981. (DeShannon’s record­ing was from 1974.) The sin­gle was a world­wide smash, chart­ing at #10 in the U.K. Sin­gles Charts, and top­ping the U.S. Bill­board Hot 100 for nine weeks. “Bette Davis Eyes” was the most suc­cess­ful sin­gle of 1981 and, accord­ing to Bill­board, the sec­ond biggest hit of the decade. The song won Gram­mys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 1982 Grammy ceremony.

Bette Davis was actu­ally a fan of the song. She thanked Carnes for mak­ing her her part of mod­ern times, which led to a friend­ship between the two women until Davis’s death.

Ver­sions
Bette Davis Eyes 3’47

Kim Carnes’ Version

Jackie DeShannon’s Version

Music Video
The music video for “Bette Davis Eyes” opens with Kim Carnes under a black shroud, which slips off as she sits up, reveal­ing her vis­age in dark sun­glasses. Mean­while, the shad­ows of female dancers strike Bette Davis-esque poses on the wall behind her. Next, Carnes sings with a band in a dance hall. Dancers in New Roman­tic garb appear and the women slap the men in time to the percussion.

I miss the time when videos were really this sim­ple. An inter­est­ing idea is still bet­ter than a big bud­get, in my opinion.

Mem­o­ries
I grew up out in the coun­try where we couldn’t get MTV, so I didn’t see the music video until years later. How­ever, I remem­ber the song being all over the radio and in the media. I still recall the morn­ings when my older sis­ter, Vicki, and I would hear “Bette Davis Eyes” on the radio on our way to school and she would turn it up loud and we’d sing. This is prob­a­bly one of the songs that really turned me on to synth-pop, because when­ever I hear it, I just have to stop what I’m doing and strad­dle the present and the past and bask in this mid­dle place.

What are your mem­o­ries of “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes?

Mar 052012
 

I remem­ber Susan and I dri­ving in her Isuzu truck, the blue one that she had scratched the “I” and “U” off of, so it would read “SUZ.”  I wanted to share some­thing with her, but I was scared that she would reject me if I told her the truth.

We were cir­cling the park­ing lot of Irv­ing Mall, search­ing for a park­ing space, so we could do a bit of Christ­mas shop­ping.  The sky, a wet, winter-gray, reflected my mood.

As Susan parked, the radio began to play Whit­ney Hous­ton singing “I Will Always Love You.”  It had just been released, and the movie, The Body­guard, wouldn’t be released until Jan­u­ary.  I shifted on the seat.  Susan cleared her voice.

“I, um, kind of like this song,” she said, then quickly looked out the window.

I closed my eyes and grabbed the dash­board.  As the tight­ness in my chest dis­si­pated, I laughed.  “I do, too,” I said.  “In fact, I bought the whole soundtrack.”

Susan turned to me, relief in her eyes.  “Really?”

“I’m afraid so,” I said, stum­bling over my words to get the truth out.  “I kept telling myself that I was just buy­ing the CD for the Lisa Stans­field song, but–the truth is–I just like ‘I Will Always Love You’.”  Then I spoke, with author­ity, as if I were address­ing an Alco­holics Anony­mous meet­ing.  “I, Jef Blocker, like a Whit­ney Hous­ton song.”

“Me too!” Susan said.  “I’m so relieved to hear you say that.  “I was afraid that you wouldn’t want to be my friend, any­more, if you knew that I liked a Whit­ney Hous­ton song.”

Me too!” I con­fessed.  “For the life of me, I don’t know why I like it so much.  I mean, it’s not Bana­narama, Depeche Mode, or the Pet Shop Boys, is it?”

“Hell no, it’s Whit­ney Hous­ton,” Susan said.  “But it’s okay, isn’t it?”

“I guess so.”  I was sud­denly unsure again.  “I think we’re fine as long as we don’t buy any of her remixes or anything.”

“Yeah, I would never buy any of her remixes,” Susan said.

We smiled at each other, our friend­ship still intact, in spite of Whit­ney Houston.

“Come on,” I said, “Let’s go inside and buy some Doc Martens!”

Feb 222012
 

Celebrity Caulker (noun) \suh-leb-ri-tee kaw-ker\ — An indi­vid­ual who is obsessed with caulk­ing the win­dows of celebrities.

Exam­ple:  Cher appre­ci­ated her celebrity caulker tak­ing care of the draft in her pent­house apart­ment, but the break­ing and enter­ing was get­ting her wig in a tangle.

Can you use celebrity caulker in a sentence?

Jan 102012
 

Film­maker Pedro Almod­ovar has signed on with 20th Cen­tury Fox to direct a reboot of Steel Mag­no­lias, star­ing orig­i­nal cast mem­bers Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Dar­ryl Han­nah, Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Par­ton, and Julia Roberts.

Hol­ly­wood hopes that Almod­var will be able to pro­duce a movie that will attract mem­bers of the Big Four: males 13–29, females 13–29, males 30-death, and females 30-death.

Every­one knows that teenage males require spe­cial effects, gore, and top­less actresses, while teenage girls pre­fer angst-fueled teenage vam­pire boys with greasy hair. Older males go to the movies for car chases, naked women, and middle-aged men who try to recap­ture their youth by streak­ing, while older females like to watch older women find them­selves by learn­ing how to make straw­berry pre­serves or love affairs with younger men with long hair,” said Ted Mor­ri­son, a motion mar­ket­ing expert. “Hol­ly­wood believes that a flam­boy­ant gay Spaniard is the one man who can pull them all in.”

With a work­ing title of Steel Mag­no­lias in Outer Space, our favorite ladies from Chin­quapin Parish find them­selves on the other side of the uni­verse when Truvy’s beauty shop is sucked through a worm­hole. Annelle attempts to con­vert the aliens to Chris­tian­ity while doing really good hair. M’Lynn clones Shelby via a locket with her daughter’s hair in it, but suc­ceeds in pro­duc­ing an ever grow­ing Pep­to­bis­mol pink set of lips that suck the life out of any­one who talks about them like they’re not there. Mean­while Ouiser and Clairee attempt to to save the moth­er­ship from the Planet Pig­gly Wig­gly by push­ing it back in orbit with an 18-booster rocket while pro­tect­ing them­selves from the solar flares with a giant sun­hat. Finally, Truvy must do a makeover on a black hole before it sucks the entire planet into a maw so dark that not event high­lights can escape.

The screen­play is writ­ten by Her­mor­pha­dité Jones and Twins, an upcom­ing trans­gen­dered mother and fra­ter­nal boy/girl writ­ing team. When asked where they found their inspi­ra­tion for the story, Jones responded that she just wanted to hear Dukakis and MacLaine refer to them­selves as muther truck­ers. Her daugh­ter assures us that there will be horses in space, and her son says that when the audi­ence sees Julia Roberts explode onscreen, it will blow them away.

A release date for Steel Mag­no­lias in Outer Space has ten­ta­tively been set for July 2013.

Oct 112011
 

In an effort to lure adult audi­ences to the Dis­ney Chan­nel, pro­duc­ers Jay and Lena Horowitz have cre­ated a mash-up of TV clas­sics Dynasty and Lit­tle House on the Prairie. How in the world did they come up with such an idea?

Lena and I were smok­ing a joint one after­noon,” Jay explained, “and sud­denly we thought to our­selves, Wouldn’t it be inter­est­ing if Alexis Car­ring­ton came to Wal­nut Grove.  We laughed, but after devour­ing an entire pack­age of Oreos, it seemed like a pretty good idea.”

They’re not alone, because much of the orig­i­nal cast has signed on for this reimag­in­ing.  Melissa Gilbert will reprise her role as Laura Ingalls Wilder, wife of oil tycoon Almanzo Wilder, and neme­sis to his first wife, Nel­lie Ole­son.  Laura’s sis­ter, Mary, falls off a horse and goes blind.  She wan­ders into the Kit Kat Club where she thinks she’s help­ing under­priv­i­leged chil­dren develop a sense of rhythm but is actu­ally pole dancing.

The Horow­itzes promise lost of glamor and ging­ham at the Wilder Man­sion in Den­ver, Col­orado.  “We’re going down in his­tory as the peo­ple who put Laura Ingalls Wilder in shoul­der pads,” says Lena.  “Of course, every­one is excited about Laura and Nellie’s cat­fight in the lily pond, too.”

Mean­while, back in Wal­nut Grove over a hun­dred years ear­lier, Blake Car­ring­ton runs the town’s gen­eral store with his schem­ing wife, Alexis, who takes an instant dis­lik­ing to the new school marm, Krys­tle.  Pamela Sue Mar­tin will return as daugh­ter Fal­lon, who con­stantly steals candy from the mer­can­tile and their gay Siamese twins, Jeff & Jeff, played by actors Al Cor­ley and Jack Cole­man.  The series finale promises to be a a cliffhanger when Jeff & Jeff are caught in the haystack with the preacher and Krystle’s horse & wagon drive off a bridge into the creek.

Sep 272011
 

I thought I could change Ben and he could love me, too, but I was wrong,” said Mary Roth­schild, 27, a den­tal hygien­ist from Butte, Mon­tana who was arrested for stalk­ing Ben Tan­ner, a per­sonal trainer and gay porn actor.  “Now I under­stand that he needed to be kid­napped to undergo gay aver­sion therapy.”

Roth­schild can­not get within a quar­ter of a mile from Tan­ner before an ankle bracelet she is required to wear acti­vates an alarm on Tanner’s ankle bracelet, which alerts local police to send a squad car to arrest Roth­schild.  “You know, every­one is always talk­ing about the stal­kee being the vic­tim, but it’s always the stalker who goes to jail,” Roth­schild said.

Most of the patients at the office of Ronald Math­ers, DDS, recall Roth­schild as being friendly, chatty, and atten­tive with the den­tal suc­tion equip­ment, there­fore, it came as a shock when they learned that she had been arrested for set­ting Tanner’s house on fire while he was asleep.  “It was all a big mis­un­der­stand­ing,” Roth­schild explains.  “Ben needed res­cu­ing.  How was I sup­posed to do that with­out some­thing to res­cue him from?”  Roth­schild attempted to rush into the burn­ing build­ing wear­ing only a rain­coat, red cow­girl boots, and oven mitts, only to find Tanner’s doors were locked from the inside.  The the sound of approach­ing sirens woke him up, and he was able to jump to safety from his sec­ond floor bed­room window.

I’m not embar­rassed about the arrest,” Roth­schild said.  “It’s just so dis­rup­tive to a nor­mal life, though.  I was tak­ing an Artist’s Way class and I missed a meet­ing.”  She is suing the Butte Police Depart­ment for men­tal anguish and dis­rupt­ing her weekly Artist’s Date and weekly Morn­ing Pages.

What peo­ple don’t under­stand is that stalk­ers are the real vic­tims,” Roth­schild said.  “You always hear how stalk­ers intim­i­date the stal­kees, but did you ever won­der how intim­i­dat­ing it might be to think ‘What if I just hap­pen to get a han­ker­ing for a Nachos Bell­Grande® at exactly the same time as the stal­kee, and we just hap­pen to show up at the same Taco Bell at the same time?  Will the SWAT Team taser the stal­kee?  No, it’s always the stalker who’s being loaded, twitch­ing spas­mod­i­cally, into the back of the patrol car.”

Now a stalker activist, Roth­schild is tour­ing the coun­try, usu­ally turn­ing up in the same cities where Tan­ner is danc­ing at a gay club, to show the doc­u­men­tary she pro­duced, directed, and stars in, I’ll Just Do It Until I Need a Restrain­ing Order.  In the 90-minute video, Roth­schild inter­views other stalk­ers to prove how they–not the stalkee–are the true vic­tims of the jus­tice sys­tem.  She is cur­rently in nego­ti­a­tions to turn her life story into a movie.  “I think that if Julia Roberts played a stalker in a movie, peo­ple might recon­sider how they per­ceive stalk­ers.  I mean, no one thinks they know one, but your hus­band, mother, child–even your dog–could be a stalker.  They’re closer than you think; in fact, there might even be one behind you.”

Roth­schild and I’ll Just Do It Until I Need a Restrain­ing Order will be com­ing to your city soon, usu­ally at a loca­tion just a lit­tle over a mile from where Ben Tan­ner will be danc­ing in a g-string.

Sep 132011
 

Many movie­go­ers cringe when they see a trailer for yet another remake of a clas­sic film, but crit­ics and audi­ences alike are hun­gry to see the remake of Bernardo Bertolucci’s con­tro­ver­sial 1972 film, Last Tango in Paris with that con­tro­ver­sial sex scene between Mar­lon Brando and Maria Schneider.

In this reimag­in­ing of the Ital­ian roman­tic drama, Amer­i­can cook­ing show host and author Paula Deen plays a South­ern woman who opens up her home as a board­ing house after her hus­band dies of car­diac arrest at the din­ner table.  Zac Efron attempts to shed his teen heart­throb image by play­ing a Savan­nah Col­lege of Art and Design (SCAD) stu­dent with food aller­gies who needs a place to stay.  When they meet, the chem­istry is imme­di­ate and they begin a sor­did affair where Deen’s char­ac­ter force-feeds him food deep-fried in ani­mal fat while rav­aging his young, mus­cu­lar, body.

Every­one seems intrigued by this unlikely match­ing of star tal­ent, but where did the idea come from?  “We kept ask­ing our­selves how we could pos­si­bly top Mar­lon Brando using a stick of but­ter to pre­pare to sodom­ize Maria Schnei­der?” said direc­tor, Madonna.  “So when we thought of two sticks of but­ter, we imme­di­ately thought of Paula Deen!”

Due to the gra­tu­itous nudity, graphic sex­u­al­ity, and use of peanut-based prod­ucts, secu­rity has been tight on the set.  How­ever, a close per­sonal friend of the key grip’s best friend’s cousin’s den­tal hygienist’s sis­ter con­fided that elec­tric­ity and the smell of bacon were in the air when Deen and Efron filmed the big sex scene.  “When Paula leaned down and growled, ‘Go, get the but­ter,’ to Zac, I just got goose­bumps all-over.”

When asked what she thought of her stars’ per­for­mances, Madonna said, “After Hol­ly­wood sees this film, I think they’re going to start offer­ing Paula lots of roles she can really sink her teeth into.”

Sep 122011
 

It’s dif­fi­cult to find any humor about the events of Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001.  How­ever, prob­a­bly the most humor­ous and mov­ing expe­ri­ence related to the ter­ror­ist attacks hap­pened on the other side of the world in Australia.

After my employer released me to go home early after watch­ing the twin tow­ers of the World Trade Cen­ter col­lapse on tele­vi­sion, I decided that I would do what any­one would do at such dis­com­bu­lat­ing moment:  I went shop­ping for a beach towel.

Since I was grad­u­at­ing from The Art Insti­tute of Atlanta with an asso­ciate degree in Mul­ti­me­dia & Web Design, I decided that I wanted to cel­e­brate by tak­ing an exotic vaca­tion.  I had always been fas­ci­nated by Aus­tralia, so I con­vinced Jeff, Reid, and Laura to go with me.  Since we were sched­uled to visit Syd­ney (Bondi & Manly Beach) and Cairns (Great Bar­rier Reef), I fig­ured that I prob­a­bly needed a beach towel.  And as I vis­ited one store after another, I’d pick up a towel and con­sider it, then think, Almost 3,000 peo­ple died today and nothing’s ever going to be the same again.  Even­tu­ally, I just grabbed a blue one and paid for it.  I don’t even like shop­ping.  How­ever, I didn’t want to go home, either.  There was nowhere to go, in fact, that you could escape the after­shocks of the ter­ror­ist attacks … and the unknown of what would hap­pen next.

A week or so later, my travel agent con­tacted me to explain that Ansett Air­lines of Aus­tralia had gone under due to some finan­cial prob­lems from the ground­ing of all flights on Sep­tem­ber 11, so our 1:00 p.m. flight had been bumped to a mid­night flight on Qan­tas Airlines.

As my vaca­tion approached peo­ple began to ask every­one in my group if we still planned to fly to Aus­tralia.  “Aren’t you afraid?” a co-worker asked. “I wasn’t until every­one started ask­ing me if I was afraid to fly,” I said.  “But I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend the rest of my life afraid of doing any­thing.  Now get out of my way, I need to use the copier.”  Of course, that was eas­ier to say before I arrived at the airport.

Fly­ing used to be fun.  You could prac­ti­cally take a rocket launcher onto your flight with­out any­one bat­ting an eye before Sep­tem­ber 11, and after­wards you had to check an ever expand­ing list to find out what was now anath­ema.  Over­all, we didn’t have too much trou­ble until we made it to the secu­rity check point at LAX for our inter­na­tional flight.  We now had to remove our shoes as we went through the metal detec­tor.  I watched a secu­rity guard scream at a man who appeared not to speak Eng­lish and was pre­sum­ably fly­ing back to Mex­ico.  The guard kept try­ing to make the man take off his shoes by scream­ing “Sabado!  Sabado!” and the man looked bewil­dered, because I’m sure he was think­ing, What about Sat­ur­day?  Why do you keep scream­ing Saturday?

Once we made it to Aus­tralia, we spent time in Syd­ney, flew up to Cairns to see the Great Bar­rier Reef and Dain­tree Rain­for­est, then trav­eled to Alice Springs to expe­ri­ence the famous Out­back.  We arrived in the after­noon, dropped our bags off at the hos­tel we were spend­ing the night at, then Jeff, Reid, and I wan­dered down­town.  Jeff talked asked a few Abo­rig­i­nal women if he could take their pic­ture.  They agreed, but then would turn away when started to snap the image.  I had an inex­plic­a­ble crav­ing for apple pie, which is unusual because I don’t like apple pie.  Then we heard a bois­ter­ous “Yoohoo, boys!”  Laura ped­aled up to us on a bicy­cle from the hostel.

Did you rent that?” Jeff asked.

Oh, are we sup­posed to rent them?” Laura asked, before spy­ing a beer gar­den.  “You know, I’m kind of thirsty.”

So the four of us ended up in a beer gar­den in the Out­back, and were chat­ting with a nice Ger­man cou­ple when dis­tin­guished man and woman strode in, fol­lowed by a crowd of pho­tog­ra­phers and reporters.  He smiled and extended his hand to us as the paparazzi sur­rounded us.  “I’m John Ander­son, Deputy Prime Min­ster of Aus­tralia and I want to know we have your vote in next week’s election.”

Then Laura said, in her South­ern drawl, “Well, howdy.  I don’t know who y’all are, but you’re wel­come to sit down and have a beer with us.  This is Dieter and Uta from Ger­many, and they were just telling us how they met.”  It was all I could do not to bust out laugh­ing as media watched John Ander­son anxiously.

For just a sec­ond, you saw a flicker in John Anderson’s eyes where he must have been think­ing, Crimey, here I am drag­ging my wife around in the Out­back with the media to get the sup­port of the typ­i­cal rural Aus­tralian and it’s just my luck that I walk right into a gag­gle of Yanks.  Then he smiled and explained that his posi­tion was com­pa­ra­ble to Vice Pres­i­dent of the United States.  “I just want you know that we feel ter­ri­ble about what hap­pened on Sep­tem­ber 11 and we’re with you.”  With just a few words, some­thing inside me that had been hard and frozen since the ter­ror­ist attacks melted inside me.  Some­times we just need for some­one to say that they’re sorry to make every­thing all right, and in this moment, I just needed to know that some­where, even Down Under, some­one cared.

Imme­di­ately sens­ing that there were no rural Aus­tralians in the beer gar­den, John Ander­son spun on his heel and led his wife and the media onto more promis­ing sound bytes, while Dieter told us all about Uta’s strudel.