From ‘mama grizzly’ to fantasy cougar?

Sarah Palin: Cougar-licious?

I got an e-mail today from a representative with Cougared.com, “the leading cougar dating website” (I didn’t even know cougar dating websites existed!) telling me that the site has released the results of a recent survey of “cubs” (younger men who date — or want to date — older women). And according to The Cub Report (Seriously, that’s what they called the report on the survey results), “high-powered political hockey mom” Sarah Palin is their “ultimate fantasy cougar woman.”

Palin won out over a “short list” of candidates that included “cougar icons” Demi Moore, Courteney Cox, Madonna, Kim Cattrall and Janice Dickinson — and apparently, even the folks who run the website were astounded, since they wrote in their press release: “The surprise finding was one of several fascinating revelations” to come out of the survey that was “designed to get inside the mind of the modern younger man.”

Here are some of those other “fascinating revelations” (Comments in parentheses are mine, not the website’s or the report’s):

• The perfect age range for a cougar is 41-45 (even if I were straight and tried, I couldn’t be a prime cougar because I am too old).

• 1 in 5 cougar chases have gotten together with a friend’s mother (Eeeeeewwww! That is just wrong!).

• 2/3s say the media and celebrities have an effect; it is “officially less socially awkward” to date an older woman thanks to the media’s coverage of cougars.

• The biggest turn-on for the younger men is maturity (as opposed, I guess to possibly bigger bank accounts?).

• 19 percent have been “cougared” by an older boss or co-worker.

• Only 8 percent said they were looking for a sugar mama. And …

• 80 percent said they wouldn’t necessarily object if their own mothers became cougars.

(Okay, those last two …. let’s just say, I’m not really buying those two.)

—  admin

Key findings and full text of Pentagon report on ‘don’t ask don’t tell’

For your afternoon reading, below is a copy of the Pentagon report on “don’t ask don’t tell” that was released just moments ago, as well as a copy of the Support Plan for Implementation. And here’s a summary of the key findings from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (for another summary, go here):

When asked about the actual experience of serving in a unit with a co-worker who they believed was gay or lesbian, 92% stated that the unit’s “ability to work together” was “very good,” “good,” or “neither good nor poor.”

• When asked about how having a service member in their immediate unit who said he or she is gay would affect the unit’s ability to “work together to get the job done,” 70% of Service members predicted it would have a positive, mixed, or no effect.

When asked “in your career, have you ever worked in a unit with a co-worker that you believed to be homosexual,” 69% of Service members reported that they had.

• In communications with gay and lesbian current and former service members, the CRWG repeatedly heard a patriotic desire to serve and defend the Nation, subject to the same rules as everyone else.

The CRWG is convinced that our military can do this, even during this time of war. They do not underestimate the challenges in implementing a change in the law, but neither should we underestimate the ability of our extraordinarily dedicated Service men and women to adapt to such change and continue to provide our Nation with the military capability to accomplish any mission.

The CRWG found “the risk of repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell to overall military effectiveness is low.”

The CRWG believes this to be the “largest, most Comprehensive review of a personnel policy matter which the department of defense has ever undertaken.”

DADTReport FINAL Hires)

DADTReport SPI FINAL 20101130(Secure Hires)

—  John Wright

Hope & Gloria’s

You think you’ve got their number? Makeover aside, Gloria’s food stays true

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

……………………………..

Gloria’s iconic Super Special
SUPER AND SPECIAL | Gloria’s iconic Super Special is a tasty sampler of Salvadoran cuisine.

OVERALL RATING 3.5 Stars

Gloria’s, 3223 Lemmon Ave. 214-303-1166. Open daily from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. (11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays).

A comforting mix of reliable Tex-Mex dishes and unique Salvadoran cuisine, the success of this Oak Cliff institution and expansion into yuppie haven hasn’t diminished the simple, satisfying, well-priced food.

Overall: 3.5 stars

Food: 3.5 stars

Atmosphere: 3 stars

Service: 3 stars

Price: Moderate

……………………………..

I can still recall the first time I ate at a Gloria’s. It was at the original one on Davis Street, a diner-y looking box that was crowded with regulars and had typical Oak Cliff charm, i.e., fast service, no fuss and tasty, unpretentious grub. I probably ate the Super Special, a sampler of pupusa, tamal, yucca, plantain and a few other items, which cost $8. I came out to a co-worker that day, the first time I’d come out to anyone other than a guy I was hitting on. It’s been a favorite ever since.

It became even more of a favorite when the restaurant began to expand — first to Lemmon Avenue, across from Uncle Julio’s. That brushed concrete L-shaped space had (has) a smallish bar/waiting area, a patio and an acre of simple floorspace. Then one opened a few blocks from my house on Greenville Avenue. Again, cavernous but quaint, with a bigger bar area and roomier patio.

And all along, the food remained consistently, wonderfully the same.

Until.

A few years back, they tweaked the menu. Just a bit, but noticeably. You could tell the difference between some dishes depending on which locale you went to.

Then about a year ago, the Greenville Avenue locale underwent a makeover: An even bigger bar. Moody lighting. More TVs (a sad, inevitable reality of many restaurants, even fine dining ones). In style, you can hardly recognize it from where I ate that first coming-out meal. (The Super Special also costs $11 now — but is still a bargain.)

Now, the latest location — the company’s 13th — arrives, and the transition from neighborhood eatery to yuppie destination is complete. The deco urinals flush themselves. The hand dryers are Dyson-automatic-blown-air-thingies (I couldn’t even swear they had a toilet in the original all those years ago). The bar is humongous, with many hi-def TVs and elegant lacquered chairs and French doors that open onto an even more impressive patio.

All of which means everything we liked about Gloria’s is gone, right? Not at all.

As with Susan Boyle, a bit of lipstick and a fashion consult has altered the look but not the soul of the place. The seating is nicer, the finish-out more polished. But Gloria’s is still Gloria’s. At the new location, on Cole Avenue near east-bound Lemmon, service remains quick and friendly. (I spent more time looking over the newly designed menu, trying to decide what to order, than it took for the kitchen to send it out.) And the food is still the food.

I fairly judge most Tex-Mex restaurants by the quality of the complimentary chips-and-dip that accompany the menus, and Gloria’s has always stood above most. There are always two: The traditional tomato-based salsa, and a black bean puree that is so addictive, I’ve always just assumed its laced with black tar heroin. The chips are good, too — crisp and salty and sturdy enough to withstand a voracious scoop or two.

The redone menu card is another example of form over substance: It’s harder to find the old favorites, but they taste the same. The cuisine includes familiar Tex-Mex dishes, but among the best are the Salvadoran specialties. Pupusas (especially plain ol’ cheese ones) are still one of my favorite comfort foods: little pockets of grilled, filled tortilla goodness served, always, with a laconic tuft of slaw. Simple, delicious, satisfying. Likewise, the carne asada — grilled skirt steak served in a slab — is a meat-lover’s dream of hearty food.

The chocolate flan is another enduring highlight: Brown as a kid at the beach, sloshing lightly in a shallow pool of caramel.

Gloria’s version of a chile relleno is not as heavily breaded in a cocoon flour, but served, for want of a better term, open-faced, with bits of well-done steak swathed in cheese and spilling out. It’s a spicy concoction. Blander is the red sauce on one of their chicken enchiladas; the cheese enchilada, or one dressed with sour cream or salsa verde, is better. Their version of guacamole isn’t among the tops in town, either.

As with many Tex-Mex restaurants, combination plates abound. (Combo No. 2’s spinach quesadillas, beef enchilada and especially crisp chicken tostada hits the spot while watching a game and tossing back a margarita. On the other hand, there’s not much a la carte ordering — if you want a single enchilada or taco, you have to ask, and you should specify between refried, black or borracho beans with the platters. No recommendation there — all are good.

In fact, that could be the motto across Gloria’s: Old, new, yuppie or barrio, it’s still like home.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 12, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Hear ‘Holly is a Homophobe’ live at Trees tonight

Straight local band Bible Fire hits with ‘Holly is a Homophobe’

Clearly, you should watch what you say around Rob Halstead or it could turn into a song.

When a day-job co-worker of the Bible Fire songwriter went on a hostile rant against the gays, Halston ripped her a new one by putting it to music.  The result was “Holly is a Homophobe,” a single from the local band’s new album The Pursuit of Imperfection. Unexpectedly, when the group performs, it’s one of their most requested and popular songs.

“Holly is this girl me and Grant [Scruggs, the band’s guitarist] both worked with,” Halstead says. “She’s an enigma to me because she’s so nice and caring and then prejudiced all the way around.” An example of the lyric: Holly is a homophobe / Disdainfully, she told me so / Her biggest fear is turning queer / And I just thought that everyone should know.

Read the rest of the article here.

DEETS: Trees, 2709 Elm St. Sept. 16. Doors open at 7 p.m. TreesDallas.com

—  Rich Lopez

Break it down

Straight local band Bible Fire has a hit with ‘Holly is a Homophobe’

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

STRAIGHT NOT NARROW | The Bible Fire bassist Rob Halstead, center, wrote about a gay-hating colleague despite few ties to the gay community; the band’s drummer, Chris Isaacs, left, has many gay ties.
STRAIGHT NOT NARROW | The Bible Fire bassist Rob Halstead, center, wrote about a gay-hating colleague despite few ties to the gay community; the band’s drummer, Chris Isaacs, left, has many gay ties.

THE BIBLE FIRE
Trees, 2709 Elm St.
Sept. 16. Doors open at 7 p.m.
TreesDallas.com

Clearly, you should watch what you say around Rob Halstead or it could turn into a song.

When a day-job co-worker of the Bible Fire songwriter went on a hostile rant against the gays, Halston ripped her a new one by putting it to music.  The result was “Holly is a Homophobe,” a single from the local band’s new album The Pursuit of Imperfection. Unexpectedly, when the group performs, it’s one of their most requested and popular songs.

“Holly is this girl me and Grant [Scruggs, the band’s guitarist] both worked with,” Halstead says. “She’s an enigma to me because she’s so nice and caring and then prejudiced all the way around.” An example of the lyric: Holly is a homophobe / Disdainfully, she told me so / Her biggest fear is turning queer / And I just thought that everyone should know.

After a misunderstanding, Holly had a freak out when she thought someone called her a gay slur. According to Halstead, she went on a rant that took him and Scruggs by surprise. He can see, though, she is sort of a victim to the usual checklist of items: “Country girl from out in the boonies, a generic Texas town, religious parents, ignorant.”

It’s not hard to hate someone you’ve never met / But face to face and still you’ve no regret / Holly, there’s a reason that nobody agrees with you.

Interestingly, Halstead admits to have little exposure to gay the community beyond his wife’s brother who is out and some curious treks to Oak Lawn in his younger days. But homosexuality isn’t an issue with him per se.

“My stance is, it’s your life,” he says. “It doesn’t affect me personally, but I’m not saying I don’t care, I just can’t care if I’m not directly involved.

It’s like I feel I can’t have an opinion on abortion because it’s a woman’s issue and something only women experience and understand.”

He makes it make sense. Straight men may not relate to gay issues, but Halstead doesn’t feel that’s reason for anti-gay (or fill in the blank) rhetoric.  “I Just have problems when people or religion are hurting people or affecting rights.”

He adds, though, that his wife is a huge advocate for gay rights because of her brother and even “punched a dude in the nose,” for spouting off.

By contrast, drummer Chris Isaacs does have a strong connection to the community. The best man at his wedding was his gay best friend, and he’s lost friends to AIDS. Even without contributing to the creation of the song, it rings loudly with him.

“This runs deeper for me because my wife and I have had so many gay friends,” he says. “We really detest this kind of behavior.”

You’ve got trauma, overprotected / Odds are adding up to gay or molested / A baby raised in ignorance, passing on hatred / Rise above, write it off, recalculate it.

Perhaps Holly herself is a way-closeted lesbian, but Halstead doesn’t figure that to be the case.

“You would think, but no, I really don’t believe she’s closeted,” he says.

Congratulations we commend you / Dedicated hater’s a full time job / Now let’s all give a round of applause to Holly / Holly, take a bow.

Nor did the song really open her mind even though it rips her to shreds. Halstead’s disappointed by this. He had hopes for the tiniest seed to be planted.

“Nothing is going to change people who make up their minds,” he says. “I would like to think it changed her, but I don’t really think so. She does come to our shows, though!”

I know you were born in the middle of a former Confederate state / But your views are two decades behind the times and still running late.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 10, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

I ride because ‘You’re only as old as you feel’

Tammye Nash – Team Dallas Voice

Tammye Nash
Tammye Nash

Last year in October, I turned 49. It wasn’t any big deal, really, and at first, I didn’t think much about it. It was another birthday; considering the alternative, I was glad to be turning 49.

And then a few days later, it hit me: Reaching my 49th birthday meant that I would be 50 in a year. A year! That’s not very long at all in this my-how-time-flies world we live in.

And I was surprised to realize that the idea bothered me. I have never been distressed by any of those so-called milestone birthdays that can send others into a tizzy of depression. But the idea of turning 50 — it was really getting under my skin.

Oh, not because of the number, the Big 5-0. That, after all, is just a number. One more than 49; one less than 51. So what? It wasn’t being “50,” that bothered me; it was the idea of being “old.”

I have always believed that old cliché about age just being a state of mind (“If you don’t mind, it don’t matter”). The problem was, I was afraid that I was going to “feel old” when I turned 50. And I don’t want to feel old. Ever.

But what to do to avoid that? I pondered for a bit and then it hit me: Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.

See, last year in September, I volunteered as an event photographer for the ninth annual Lone Star Ride. Other folks were out there pedaling across North Texas, but my co-worker and co-volunteer photographer, Terry, and I had the hard job. We had to spend two days driving around North Texas in a convertible sports car, taking photos of the cyclists.

And I loved it — every minute of it. Even though I had covered Lone Star Rides in the past for Dallas Voice, last year was the first time I had participated. And I was amazed and awed by the spirit of the people, those who worked to organize the ride and those who rode and those who volunteered as crew.

All those people, strung out across the Metroplex on bicycles and in support vehicles, were all working together for a common goal — the goal of helping someone else. It was such a soul-shaking feeling to know that I was part of that, that I was in my own small way helping to make life better for people with HIV.

I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be a part of Lone Star Ride again in 2010, and Terry and I had already talked about volunteering again as photographers.

But a month later, as I contemplated reaching that half-century mark, I changed my mind. I decided I wasn’t going to volunteer. Instead, I was going to register as a rider.

That way, when mid-October rolled around and I turned 50, I could look back and say with confidence, “Hell no! I am not old! Look what I just did; I just rode my bike for, lo, these many miles to raise money and help someone else. Could an old person have done that?!”

There were other reasons, too, of course. I wanted to participate this year for the same reasons I volunteered last year. I want to help people living with HIV/AIDS today in memory of and in honor of the many friends I have already lost to the epidemic.

I am participating in Lone Star Ride for Dennis Vercher, who I worked with for more than 15 years, and for all the other Dallas Voice staffers we have lost through the years; I do it for people like Bill Hunt and John Thomas, who showed me by example what true activism looks like; I do it for Jessie Waggoner, my “little brother” who made me laugh with his crazy-legged “Fred Flintstone” dance. I do it for all the others, the list of names far too long to fit here in this space.

Yes, I know I could have honored my friends this year the same way I did last year, by volunteering for the crew. I know that without the crew, there would be no Lone Star Ride. And it’s possible that next year, I will set aside the bike and once again be a crew volunteer.

But this year is different. This year, I’m riding. I’m riding to prove — mainly to myself — that I can do it. I’m riding to prove I am not old, no matter what that calendar says. I’m riding to remember. I’m riding because others can’t.

Come join me if you can. And I won’t even ask how old you are.

Tammye Nash is a member of Team Dallas Voice. Donate to her or to another Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS participant at LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens