First Gay President Stars in M/M Fiction Bestseller

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.

Ridiculously Photogenic Guy Becomes Front Runner in GOP Presidential Primary

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?

The Story Behind "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes

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.

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.

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?

Coming Out About Whitney Houston to Your Friends

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!”

Word Up Wednesday: Celebrity Caulker

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?

Pedro Almodovar to Direct 'Steel Magnolias in Outer Space'

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.

Alexis Carrington vs. Nellie Oleson

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.

The Other Side of Stalking

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.

Paula Deen to Star in Remake of Last Tango in Paris

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.”

Crimey, It's a Gaggle of Yanks

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.