Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stem Cell Breakthrough May Mean Biological Children for Gay Couples

This is interesting. A breakthrough in stem cell research by scientists at Cambridge University and the Weizmann Institute in Israel has found human sperm and eggs can be created from stem cells derived from adult skin, regardless of the donor's gender. Which also means it would be also be possible for same-sex couples to have their own biological children.

Lgbtqnation, citing Medical Daily and the journal Cell, reports that "While this breakthrough could help men and women who have been rendered infertile by disease, gay groups have also expressed hope that this project will eventually lead to the creation of children made from stem cells derived from same-sex parents.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Cell earlier this week, stressing that it’s early days for this type of research.

Dr. Jacob Hanna, an investigator with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, told ABC News that the team will now attempt to complete the process by creating fully developed artificial sperm and eggs, either in a dish or by implanting them in a rodent."

According to Dr. Hanna, creating a baby using these methods could be possible in as little as two years.

Obviously it'd be wonderful if gay couples could have biological children of our own. But this will also need to be extremely well regulated to avoid ethical and safety issues. Imagine some greedy lab worker selling sperm and eggs to the highest bidder? Or unstable person snatching the skin of some famous athlete or musician to create sperm so they can technically have a baby by them and subsequently get paid (it probably doesn't help that I'm knee deep in a Law and Order: SVU marathon as I post this).

What do you think?

WATCH: Phantom Roadmap to LGBT Discrimination

They're getting craftier.

Gifs That Give

Monday, February 23, 2015

Looking Season 2 Ep. 6 Recap: “Looking For Gordon Freeman”

Photo Credit: HBO

Oh Paddy. Paddy, Paddy, Paddy.  After seemingly starting the process of getting his shit together last week, Patrick spends much, if not all of “Looking For Gordon Freeman,” losing said shit. That his half-hour unraveling plays out over the course of a Halloween night is apt, because Patrick plus alcohol plus a karoke mic equals hella scary.

Then again, his decision to go as Gordon Freeman should have been a clue all was not right. According to Patrick, Freeman--the most popular video game character of all time (I guess he never heard of that slacker Mario)--revolutionized first-person shooters because he blended in so well it made it easier for players to imagine themselves in the action. Um, yeah (and I say that as a pretty accomplished gamer). Agustin's response better hits the psychological mark: “So your idea of a fun gay is a character with so little personality he's basically nothing.” It'd be a stretch to say Patrick has no personality; however, he is someone who cares deeply what others think, to the point where he often suppresses his true feelings in an attempt to project a certain image.

And the image he wants to project in “Looking For Gordon Freeman,” is a totally together fun gay who  throws fantastic Halloween parties. The last bit is true, as everyone appears to be having a good time. Except Patrick that is. True to form, he simply can't relax and enjoy himself, micro-managing the party playlist and karoke sign up sheet and repeating ad nauseum that it's “fun gay party.” What makes the episode both great and so excruciating is watching Patrick slowly but surely dig a hole for himself with practically everyone he encounters. He ignores James, a potential rebound Eddie brings to the party, then drunkenly tries to kiss him after watching Agustin and Eddie and Richie and Brady cuddle. He further embarrasses himself by trying to debate Brady on his upcoming piece on Truvada without even bothering to have read the article.

But the real coup de grace is when he spots Kevin and John all hugged up on the dancefloor. He lights into Kevin for showing up (a fair thing to be upset about; even though he did invite him, it was more as a social gesture), stops the music, grabs the the mike and proceeds to utterly and completely show his ass, summoning his best WASP nice nastiness to throw everyone he cares about under the bus. Taking up an offering for Dom's “chicken window?” Check. Putting Agustin's lack of income and drug exploits on front street? Check. Mocking Richie and Brady's-- or  Patrick calls him, ”the gay Dr. Ruth”--relationship? Well, you get the picture. Things continue to spiral downward until he starts in on Kevin and their affair, as Dom and Agustin prove they're really good friends by snatching the mic away and saving Patrick from himself.

Agustin definitely proves he's turned over a new leaf by sitting with Patrick after his breakdown. The old Agustin probably would've unleashed a vicious passive-aggressive read or let Patrick hang himself by revealing his affair with Kevin. But having been the self-destructive asshole, he sees Patrick is flailing and offers support instead. Kevin comes outside, and Patrick tells him he doesn't he want things to be weird or for him to move back to Seattle. Once John comes out though,  Kevin jumps up from Patrick like he has Ebola and flips back into boyfriend mode. I'm surprised he isn't bleeding to death from the daggers Patrick shoots at him.

“Good luck in Seattle. I hope everything works out the way you want,” he says as Kevin makes a hasty retreat. It's likely their last interaction, and underscores the nature of their relationship; Patrick lays his feelings bare, Kevin appears to be open, but shuts down once John enters the picture. As the party winds down, the remaining guests boogie to a remix of “The Monster Mash,” while Patrick rests in the arms of Dom, a.k.a. He-Man, while Richie stares at him with a look that says “You're incredible,” in both the best and worst sense of the word. Happy Halloween Gordon Freeman.

Other Thoughts:

--Aside from stopping Patrick from completely blowing up his life, Agustin continues to pursue Eddie, who in turn continues to playfully brush off his attempts to take their relationship to the next level. Underneath all the good humor, Eddie is clearly wary of entering into a new romance, and it'll be interesting to see how long he'll hold out, or how patient Agustin will be until he lays down the gauntlet.

--Doris is unsurprisingly freaked out by her relationship with Malik, who has no problem playing the Cher to her Sonny or throwing out the “L” word. For a woman who applies sarcasm like moisturizer, being with a man so emotionally available is understandably going to throw her for a loop. Hopefully she'll heed Dom's advice and let him in.

--Johnathan Groff was on his absolute A-game this whole episode, and his epic meltdown speech was the cherry on top. You knew from the second Patrick climbed on top of that chair and slipped into his “gay voice,” that shit was about to get real.

--“I only believe in three things--that's Rupaul, Hilary Clinton and you kids.”

--“What's not fun and gay about being a Golden Ghoul?”

=Agustin: “You dressin' up tonight?” Eddie: “Does a bottom howl at the moon?”

Gifs That Give

Monday Man Candy

Via Sexy Ass Black Men

Friday, February 20, 2015

Scandal Season 4 Ep. 13 Recap: 'No More Blood'

Photo Credit: ABC

No more blood. That's the promise Huck makes to Quinn, still shaken after hearing about his latest torture excursion, and after she had to listen to him describe in graphic detail how whoever buys Olivia in the black market auction would literally use her body as a bargaining tool--piece by piece.

While her request is understandable, it also feels like one diametrically opposed to Scandal's mission statement. When has Scandal or its characters ever exercised restraint? True, much of this season has been a kind of course correction, a rebuilding of the show's world after the turned up to 11, off-the-rails insanity of season three. But this by and large is still a series driven by unbridled desire--for power, for revenge, justice, sex, love--and an almost compulsive disregard for the consequences of pursuing these things. Huck does keep his promise not to spill blood, albeit in a fingers-crossed sort of way,. Later, we see him injecting a shirtless, saran-wrapped Andrew with a liquid makes him pass out and develop symptoms resembling a stroke after Elizabeth visits OPA's offices and pushes him to make him pay.

Huck's actions could be viewed as a slippery slope on the way down to being possessed by the inner beast Jake refers to (who sets off plenty of alarm bells himself with his rhapsodizing of warm blood on his hands and breaking bones in just the right spot). But taken in the context of the episode, they could also be looked at through the lens of one of the series' favorite themes: individual freedom vs. the greater good of the nation. Elizabeth (and Mellie) clearly wanted revenge, but their retribution against Andrew is also a reminder that no one abuses the good will of the American people for purely selfish gain and gets away Scott-free. Lie? Blackmail? Fix an election? Sure, but in better be in service of the republic.

“No More Blood” hammers this point home by having every character accept this fact on some level and act accordingly. Everyone that is, except Fitz, who is still utterly convinced he can save Olivia, blinkering himself to the idea he might have to order her death if she's turned over into enemy hands. Not deluding himself is Cyrus, who meets with the CIA behind the president's back to talk about “neutralizing” Olivia. Abby puts two and two together and calls him out on it, but Cyrus quickly reminds her job description entails putting the political before the personal.

As Liv gets transported to the drop off point, Cyrus and the CIA director (who you might recall played Otis Williams' mother in The Temptations TV movie back in the day. Ain't nobody coming to see you Otis!) go back and forth over whether to launch a missile that will blow Liv and everyone else to smithereens. Cyrus recognizes one of the men in the Russian group that Gus gave Olivia over to, and oh snap! It's Stephen Finch. Yea, season one Stephen Finch. Definitely the last person you'd expect to come to Olivia's rescue. Thank Abby, who kept in touch after Stephen took off. In an uber boss move, she manages to protect both her friend and her country.

However, if things had gone the other way, she would've bit the bullet the same way Cyrus was prepared to. It's a concept Olivia believes in as well, even when it comes to herself. The emotional barn burner that is the final scene uses that belief to turn her and Fitz's dynamic on its head. As soon as Olivia is alone in her apartment, Fitz is at her door. It's a scene that has played out over and over again throughout series. But rather than collapse into his arms or tumble into bed for some “thank god I'm alive” gratitude sex, Olivia lights into Fitz in a way we've never seen. It's Cyrus' daydream rant come to waking life; she invokes herself and the names of people--Mellie, Cyrus, Jerry Jr.--who have sacrificed everything for his legacy, only to have him make the wrong choice by declaring war and sending young men and women to die instead of sacrificing her.

It's a stunning end to the episode, one that leaves the audience, like Fitz, shell-shocked. Vermont and jam never seemed so far away.

Other Thoughts:

--After Huck, Jake and Quinn bid the whole kit and kaboodle for Olivia but come up empty, Jake goes to see Maya and she instructs him to go to Prescott Lake, where Papa Pope is currently residing. Jake expects to find some compassion and a plan of action, but instead gets a shady extended metaphor/sermonette about fishing and why it's more reliable than expect Jake and Co. to keep Olivia safe and sound. I guess Liv truly is on her own.

--Liv's idea to snatch a pair of keys off the table and tries to make a run for it, before (literally) being smacked down by Gus wasn't exactly her best plan, though her desperation to escape was understandable.

--Jake: “This isn't a high school soccer match. There are no ties.”
--“You're not a person Liv. You're a small country.”

Monday, February 16, 2015

Looking Season 2 Ep. 5 Recap: 'Looking For Truth'

Photo Credit: HBO

“People get pissed when you keep them waiting.” Richie definitely has a knack for hitting the nail on the head, doesn't he? Last week's “Looking Down The Road,” ended with Patrick and Dom as single men, after a willingness to confront the truth about their relationships with Lynn and Kevin led them to walk away from increasingly toxic situations. “Looking For Truth” continues to explore the concept of honesty, as the episode shows Patrick and Agustin allow themselves to be vulnerable and open to new possibilities, both platonic and romantic.

Part of what makes “Looking For Truth” intriguing, aside the deeper look we get into Richie's world, is the way it teases at conventional romantic comedy twists but flouts them in the name of realism. After Patrick gives Kevin the cold shoulder at a work function celebrating the success of a new game (where there's t-shirt making and beer), Kevin sits alone in his office playing the Top Trump cards he and Patrick bonded over, and calls up John. You assume he's about to do what he couldn't last week--confess his affair and break up with John. A purely dramatic move would be for Kevin to somehow find Patrick, who uses the rest of his work day to help Richie pickup an ice cream truck in his old neighborhood, and make an impassioned plea to take him back, despite the fact he would have no way of knowing where Patrick went after he left the office.

Instead, John comes to the office and Kevin chickens out again (assuming he ever even intended to attempt to tell John this time) and snaps back into doting boyfriend mode. It'd also be easy to have Richie take in the day spent with Patrick--in which he takes Patrick to meet his hilariously blunt cousin Ceci, plays water tag while washing the truck, learns the affair with Kevin is over  and receives sincere advice on dealing with his estranged father--and somehow take it as a sign they should get back together. But to go that route ignores the fact his relationship with Patrick has made Richie wary of  getting carried with his feelings, especially when it comes to Patrick.

The general good vibes threaten to get squashed when Patrick reveals he and Kevin slept together the night he and Richie broke up. It's genuinely tense moment, as things could go either way. In the end though, Richie decides he wants Patrick in his life, despite his faults. Patrick has made much ado about being friends with Richie, and much of it has felt like a smoke screen for a desire to rekindle their romance. But his willingness to tell the hard, ugly truth and let the chips fall where they may opens a new door for them both, and suddenly the idea of these two being buddies doesn't seem so forced.

Agustin continues to be on his best behavior, bringing Eddie some soup after he visits the shelter and hears he's taken a sick day. Turns out Eddie is playing hooky, so they settle in for a day of toking on joints and dancing. Agustin asks how Eddie contracted HIV, and after some charming shade (is that an oxymoron?) about how he should stop trying to replace Barbara Walters, Eddie says he got the disease serving as a courtesy bottom while high on meth during a dungeon sex party. True to his acerbic style, he pulls the rug from Agustin, and reveals he actually became positive after sleeping with a guy who said he was negative but wasn't. While he was kidding, the fact he got it from having sex with a boyfriend rather than during a drug-fueled orgy fits into the episode's (and Looking's) choice to forgo shock and awe and portray life as it usually happens.

Later, while shaking their aforementioned groove thangs to Cece Peniston's “Finally,” Agustin plants a kiss on Eddie, who playfully punks him again before returning the favor. Even though Eddie made it clear their hookup didn't make them a couple, it doesn't change the fact that, like Patrick, Agustin was willing to put himself out there and risk being rejected. And like his best friend, his risk was rewarded.

Other Thoughts:

--No Dom this week, which was probably for the best. I say this not because I find his story lacking, but between Richie and Patrick, Kevin and John and Agustin and Eddie (who we honestly needed to spend more time with), the episode would have been overstuffed with characters.

--Love that the writers acknowledged the cultural differences between Richie and Patrick and how it impacts their relationships with their families, but ultimately had them connect over the universal desire to be their true selves around the people they love.

--“It's like if the Addams Family had an ice cream truck. And were pedophiles. Although Uncle Fester was definitely a pedophile.”

--Patrick: “I'm sorry, but isn't that a little bit racist?”  Ceci: “Which part?”  More Ceci please.

-- “You chose John. That's it. End of story. We're both grownups. We don't have to make a big deal about it.” A thick skin looks good on Paddy.

Monday Man Candy

Via Sexy Ass Black Men

Friday, February 13, 2015

Scandal Season 4 Ep. 12 Recap: 'Gladiators Don't Run'

Photo Credit: ABC

A plan never quite comes together on Scandal does it. It all seemed so simple: Ian would sell Olivia to the highest bidder, while she would do everything in her power to make sure said bidder was the United States and the Fitz administration.

But along came Gus--the dude Liv knocked out at what will be referred to as the Guantanamo Bay simulation--is still alive, and he's trying to convince Ian working with the hostage, a.k.a Liv, is bad business. Ian doesn't listen, so he decides to put a bullet in him and take over, which given that he decides to stay on once the auction begins, doesn't make much sense. I mean, violent, lawless tendencies aside, Ian seemed like a pretty fair-minded dude, the kind who may take the biggest cut for himself but wouldn't think twice about splitting cream with his team. But I guess we'll never know now.

Gus taking the reins understandably puts Liv in a precarious position, since Gus wants vengeance for her shooting his friend. Of course Fitz wants in on the auction for, so the government hooks up with a terrorist to bid for them. Huck, Quinn and Jake throw their hat into the ring as well, and if you immediately wondered how these three could swing $200,000, let alone the millions being thrown around for their boss, Huck lets everyone he's got it covered.

Turns out, Huck took the money funneled from B6:13--more than $2 billion dollars to be exact--and lined his pockets with, regarding it as backpay. Still, all the dollars in the world can't get them a seat at the black market auction, which through much whispered riddle babble Huck describes as a very private party only known terrorists are invited to. Jake knows just the person, and before you say “girl you need to move on,” with your best resting bitch face, we see Maya leaning back in her orange jumpsuit, drolling “this should be good,” and growling like she was Eartha Kitt's long-lost daughter.

Of course, Mama Pope lives by quid pro quo, and won't just help because, you know, her daughter's life is on the line. She reels off a list of demands--being moved to a minimum security prison, getting cell mates, being allowed to go outside and feel the sun on her face (is anyone else getting Silence of The Lambs flashbacks right now)?--all of which David Rosen shoots down. Quinn comes up with the bright idea of getting Maya a flatscreen that'll hang across from her cell that she can watch from behind bars (basic cable mind you) and things are a go.

Maya goes to work, sending Huck in after a random drug thief who stole from a drug kingpin named Gustavo, and telling him to make waste of him and his men, which Huck does in a way that's disturbing, even by his previous gruesome standards. Jake, who walked in on the whole bloody, dismembered mess, says as much to Quinn, who brushes it off as “Oh, Huck's always been dark and twisted. He'll pull himself back from the brink.” Hmmm, okay girl.

Back at the secret location auction block, Olivia is trying whatever she can to GTFOT, monologuing to the two young techies about how they never imagined themselves working for a man like Gus and promising to protect them if they help the United States win the auction. Judging from Ian's ice cold corpse laying inches away, she ain't lyin'. However, short-haired tech boy, who grew up dirt poor in a shack, has a response of his own--he didn't dream of being courted by venture capitalists, he envisioned being a billionaire, and if he's gotta sell her off and deal with a lunatic, so be it. Olivia looks utterly deflated as he and the other tech guy exchange a hi-five as her price reaches $1 billion.  

Andrew's been knocked down to size, being squeezed out since Liv's flown the coop, Ian's gone rogue and he's consequently lost his bargaining chip. The White House tries to push him out by forcing him to resign, but Andrew's a crafty bastard, and threatens to blow the whistle on himself and Fitz about the treachery involved in going to war with Angola. But Fitz isn't rolling over so easily, and tells Cyrus if they prove Andrew faked his assassination attempt and mislead the country to war, they can get rid of him. Cy immediately saunters over to Elizabeth office and tells her dime out  Andrew in exchange for avoid jail and becoming his lap dog for the rest of her miserable existence.

Andrew still got an ace in the hole though, threatening Mellie that if Fitz doesn't back off, he'll spill tea the whole world that they were having an affair. Which, given her gender and sexist societal norms, would mean her reputation and any political aspirations would both be mud.

I commented on this last week, but it's worth mentioning again; Fitz and Mellie's relationship has reached a strange, if conciliatory place. Now that she's made peace with the fact her husband is in love with Olivia, and he feels free to admit he loves Olivia, there's this new openness, if not downright civility, happening between them. In what amounts to a tender moment with these two, Mellie asks him what he wants that's possible. He says he wants Olivia back safe. After some soft prodding, he asks Mellie want she wants. She wants to be president, which means Andrew gets to walk away rather than get a chance to ruin her.

Later, Fitz steps outside himself, telling Cyrus he wants Olivia, back not because he loves her, but because he's sacrificing the lives of young men and women in this war because he wasn't courageous enough to sacrifice hers. It's a good scene, one that lifts the drama out of petty, selfish desires and political tomfoolery by bringing the very real consequences of all this double-dealing to the forefront.

Back at the OPA offices, the crew has used Maya, or in this case Marie Wallace's, name to secure a spot in the auction. But no sooner that they start bidding that the auction get suspended. Gus has pulled a fast one, selling Olivia off to who he says is Iran out of spite (and because they offered cold, hard cash up front). Huck depressingly points out the reality of the situation (and proves Jake's earlier argument right that he's well, not alright)--whoever has Olivia, they can use her a s a tool, sever a finger to get sanctions lifted, send a limb to get other demands met. He goes on and on until Quinn snaps and calls him a sick freak, but Huck's unfazed.

“Olivia Pope is dead,” he says, and judging from the last shot of Olivia, her head covered by a black sack as she's lead out into a desert, it's hard to disagree.

Other Thoughts:

---So who do you think bought Olivia? My money's on Eli, but that also feels too obvious.

--Quinn: “It doesn't matter how many times you reinvent your identity. Sally Mae will find you.”

--Liv to Gus: “Be careful, I'm in shock. Anything close to my mouth, I might bite it off.” Daughter certainly channeled mother in that moment didn't she.

--”Cable?” Lawd, Maya can even make “cable”sound menacing and glorious.

--Mellie on when she and Fitz's marriage works best: ”We sleep better when she's (Olivia) lying between us.” Dayum, it may be true, but that is just fucking sad.

--Save for the dream where she called much-needed bullshit on her Vermont-jam fantasy, we haven't much of Abby, and “Gladiators Don't Run,” is her first taste of major screen time this go around. The hour shows just how disconnected she's become from her old life,  Quinn and Huck ice her out when she asks Liv's whereabouts, understandably believing they can't trust the White House. Later, she storms into David Rosen's office, reaming him out for not telling her her best friend--her only friend, as she heartbreakingly notes in the night's best monologue--had been kidnapped. David counters as attorney general, he needed to know, but as White House press secretary, she didn't need to know anything. Officially, he's right. But unofficially, he's been an ass, and Abby rightly tells him so. Chastened, he offers her a conciliatory drink and tells her Olivia isn't her only friend. Awww.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Looking Season 2 Ep. 4 Recap: 'Looking Down The Road'

Photo Credit: HBO

“Once it was so right, when we were at our high,” Amy Winehouse once sang. And after the events of “Looking Down The Road,” Patrick and Dom would probably be down for singing backup if the late great diva were still alive, as both men find themselves at an impasse with their respective partners and choose to walk away.

“Looking Down The Road” picks up right where its predecessor “Looking Top To Bottom,” left off, with Patrick sitting down at the kitchen table as a undie-clad Kevin puts the finishing touches on a traditional English breakfast. After indulging in some de rigueur fretting about gaining weight, Patrick brings up the phone call Kevin took from John the night before. Kevin assures him he and John don't have they what they have, but Patrick doesn't seem completely convinced. His fears aren't unfounded; so far, Kevin has appeared to be adept at being both the dutiful boyfriend and suave cheater, and such compartmentalization usually doesn't go with confronting difficult situations head-on.

However, Kevin's veneer of charm cracks after Patrick sees him and John at a farmer's market and hits him with some hard truths; the most stinging being that Kevin has a life with John, one Patrick is simply stealing moments from while fantasizing about building their own life together. Russell Tovey conveys his character's inner turmoil perfectly, in way that instantly makes you realize this affair is taking just as much of a toil on him as it is on Patrick. He's just done a better job of hiding it. But Patrick's  moment of vulnerability pushes him to promise to tell John the truth.

In the midst of all this drama, Richie is still in the picture. Patrick clearly still wants him, despite his proclamations of just wanting to be friends, making a big deal about going to Esta Noche, a landmark gay bar that is closing (and is now closed in real life, unfortunately). That said, talking about his affair with Kevin is certainly something you'd do with a friend, not an ex you're trying to get back with. Then again, Patrick confessed his secret after Richie revealed he was dating someone, so make of that what you will.

“You never wanna be in deeper than the person you're with,” Richie says at one point, which, while an apt piece of advice for Patrick's current predicament, also says something about how he approaches relationships, or at least how he approaches them post-Patrick. Later, at Esta Noche, Patrick tries to put on his best “let's be friends” face, but there he is, making googly eyes at Richie while his new boyfriend Brady chats it up with Agustin and Eddie. A distraught Kevin eventually arrives, but doesn't have good news; he chickened out of telling John, and starts giving excuses as to why—that John uprooted his life to move to San Francisco, that he has no idea any of this has been going on, and so on. It all screams “I'm not ready to do this,” and with that, Patrick's out the door, walking off to who knows where to let his tears dry on their own.

Things between Lynn and Dom came to a head this week as well. It's been a complicated dance between these two, what with Lynn playing reserved father figure and Dom trying to assert himself and break down Lynn's walls. Dom comes over to his house to find Matt (whom we met at Dom's rugby debut last episode) naked and yukking it up with Lynn in his hot tub. Dom is thrown, but quickly gets his bearings and makes a move on Matt. The whole thing had the feel of a power play, a subtle way of  pushing Dom further away (though there are worst ways of doing this than inviting a hairy, muscle-bound dude over for hot tub sexy time. Just sayin').  Dom confronts Lynn about the tightly controlled, “measured” nature of their relationship, to which Lynn basically responds with “I told you from the jump I was an emotionally unavailable cipher, so what's the problem?”

As far as Lynn is concerned, Brian was the love of his life, and now that he's gone, the possibility he'll find another is gone as well. He's taken himself out of the game, and feels the best he can offer Dom, or any other man, is a home on the river, the freedom to sleep around and the hope they'll find their own great loves—but it won't be him. It's a great scene, and confirms the reason for much of Lynn's behavior. However, I didn't feel much empathy for Lynn as he explained all of this. Of course, we're likely supposed to feel more sympathetic towards Dom and him realizing he was essentially falling in love by himself.  But it would've been nice if Lynn could have shown a little emotion when talking about Brian. Then again, maybe that was the point; that that part of him has been closed off for so long, he can't summon any genuine feeling about it. Either way, things appear to be over, allowing Dom to focus all his attention on his restaurant.

Agustin continues to crawl out of the hole he dug for himself last season, accompanying Eddie to the shelter where he works, sitting in on a session with transgender kids and eventually getting a job there. He's being a supportive friend to Patrick, not drugging and drinking himself into a stupor, finding meaningful work to take part in and opening himself up to a relationship. Not for nothing, but it's saying something when Agustin has the best romantic prospects.

Other Thoughts:

--“Queer Jimmy Olsen. That I love.”

--Trans kid: ”So, are you queer?” Agustin: “No, I'm gay.”

--“My sister Meghan was the worst. She called me Fat Fat Frog.” My brother called me Chunky Monkey, so there you go.

--Who else hopes Doris and Dom get around to securing Kickstarter funds for their story of a young gay trick's journey and the hag who loved him?

--Does the fact that Richie's new boyfriend is a ginger named Brady make anyone else think of Steve and Miranda Hobbs' kid from Sex And The City?

Monday Man Candy

Friday, February 6, 2015

WATCH: Madonna "Living For Love"

Madge has rolled out her latest video. The bullfighting theme definitely reminds me of "Take A Bow," while the special effects are giving me "Nothing Really Matters." Watch and judge for yourself.

Scandal Season 4 Ep. 11 Recap: 'Where's The Black Lady?'

Photo Credit: ABC
Well that was unexpected. After last week's superb “Run” ended with Olivia following her warden Ian back to her makeshift prison with a dead-to-the-world look on her face, you'd be forgiven for thinking Scandal was going to squeeze more prison torture drama out of our girl's current situation. But with one conversation—in which Olivia convinced Ian to sell her on the black market--Shonda said “bump all that” and pressed the fast forward button, pushing the show and her heroine into new, tantalizing territory. While being sold isn't the same, as you know, being free, it puts some power back in Olivia's hands, displaying the resourceful, ruthless pragmatism we've come to expect from her.

It wasn't just Olivia though. “Where's The Black Lady?” was an hour chocked full of characters, even loathsome ones (well, most, if not all the characters on Scandal have some pretty loathsome qualities) refusing to be victimized and striking back at forces trying to control them.

The force is in this case being Vice President Andrew Nichols, who is officially running thangs in the White House now that Olivia's in captivity. Andrew's actions have left Fitz is island unto himself, unable to trust anyone in his own administration. Everyone from the secret service down to the maid is “supporting” Fitz, by making sure he doesn't try to find Olivia so she won't be killed and he will follow through on starting a war with West Angola. It's not just West Angola though; Andrew's planning on riding this all the way to his own presidency, at one point putting his feet up in the Oval Office and talking about all the policies Fitz will reverse his position on to shore up lost Republican support.

Fitz does get one wish granted when he demands proof Liv's alive. Andrew complies, and we see a devastated Olivia trembling as she reads from a cue card explaining she hasn't been abused or hurt, but may be in danger if Fitz doesn't declare war within 48 hours.  We've seen Fitz fall apart before, but the fact that Andrew's scheme has crippled him not only personally, but left him utterly useless professionally, made me root for him for the first time in a long time.

“Where's The Black Lady?” finds the dynamic of Mellie and Fitz's uber complicated relationship
has shifted yet again. While getting ready for an event, Mellie blithely reveals to Fitz she's back to banging Andrew like she's talking about going to the market for oranges.  According to Mellie, she and Fitz have reached a new phase where their marriage is less a romantic love story than a political and professional partnership. Andrew makes her happy the way Olivia makes Fitz happy, or so her logic goes; except Fitz doesn't have Liv, so Fitz goes all cold, puts a finger to her lips and says “stop talking.”  So much for keeping it 100 hundred about your infidelity Mel.

However, the partnership Mellie refers to snaps into place during a scene where Fitz tells lets her in on Olivia's kidnapping. He pretends to engage in an intimate moment, pressing his face to hers and leaning in as if they're about to kiss so he can whisper his mistress is in danger and his vice president has staged an epic political coup. But as Mellie takes the news in, something happens between the two of them. Suddenly, their own authentic, twisted intimacy bubbles up to the surface. She encourages Fitz to declare war in order to spare Olivia's life, but only out of a sense of perverse pride that all of the turmoil has to be about another woman her husband loves, not a tryst with a random trollop. These are not two people in love (or if they are, it's buried somewhere deep under all the years of anger and resentment), but if they are bonded together by anything it is secrets, lies, grief and the sheer will to uphold Fitz's legacy, and ensure Jerry Jr.'s death will not be in vain.

Fitz also manages to pull Cyrus into the mix and passes along Olivia's video to Jake, Huck and Quinn after some subtle prodding from Tom. Despite Olivia's best attempt to give clues to Ian's identity—who knew you could be so crafty with a drinking glass?-- though, their efforts to find her whereabouts turn up nothing.

But OPA does get a visit from Rose (Marla Gibbs—hey Flo!) who is “looking for the black lady,” because her friend Lois is missing. Rose drops some relevant knowledge when she explains Lois lives across the hall from Olivia. We know of course, that Lois is the poor woman who was murdered and whose body was used as a decoy to hide her neighbor Olivia. The crew puts two and two together and are back in business, finding the ring Olivia left behind in Lois' apartment and identifying Ian.

Given the list of fake names reeled off, Ian's not new to this international criminal shit. When Huck locates his cell phone, the signal settles on one locale before bouncing randomly across the globe, meaning there's a better chance of finding Carmen Sandiego than Olivia Pope.

Fortunately for our crew Mellie takes one for the team, giving Andrew some, then snatching his cell phones while he takes a post-coital nap and handing them off to Liz, who happily turns them over to OPA to get Huck, who has put his humanity on the backburner again, off her back (literally, if the mangled flesh she flashes to Mellie is any indication). They eventually find Liv is shacked up somewhere in---wait for it—Pennsylvania. Not Pakistan, not Beirut or frickin' Sri Lanka, but Pennsylvania. Anywho, Jake goes to David Rosen, who authorizes their operation while telling him more than once to remember he is saving Olivia Pope.

Except Olivia is long gone. Exercising some supreme mental jujitsu, Olivia exploits Ian's lust for power and money, asking if he wants to babysit her for the next three years until he has to kill her or if he wants to be a boss and sell her to the highest bidder.  And no sooner than she could find a good flat iron and a change of clothes than Liv is flying on a private jet with Ian, saying a quick hello to Fitz over the phone before Ian takes the lead and explains the rules of the game.

Letting the bidding begin!

Other Thoughts:

--Tom sure can beat a reference to death can he? No sooner than Fitz takes the offer of a pardon for killing Jerry Jr. off the table than he's trotting out the Olivia-Helen of Troy comparisons. You'd think with all those hours spent in a cell he'd come up with some new references, hey, at least he was generous enough to give Fitz a hint that Jake was the only person he could trust.

--“I want an Orange Creamsicle for dessert. That's important to me.”

--“Do you see this hat? Use your imagination. I'm wearing a ten gallon white hat.”

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Food For Thought: Langston Hughes

"I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go."

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