Holiday Gift Guide — last-minute suggestions!

Christmas is almost here, and that means you are screwed. What to get for those people on your list who really deserve something great… but you have no ideas what to get them?

Fear not, dear last-minute shoppers! That’s what we’re here for — with clothes, shoes, food, drink and gadgets to chose from!


Dress to impress. You know the cliche that every woman needs a gay man to dress her? Well, it’s a cliche for a reason: The gays have a good eye for fashion. But if you don’t, no need to panic. Two companies owned by gay men have done all the hard work, and you benefit.

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-9-59-17-amBlade + Blue, the baby of San Francisco-based Peter Pappas, produces limited-quantity clothing in hipster-chic styles: Flannels, plaids, skinny ties (like the charcoal chambray tie, $59, pictured, paired smartly with a pattern shirt), exudes a vintage look with modern tailoring. Shipping is free with $100 purchase, and you can get a 15 percent discount with the code SAVE15.

garnet-2-full-resolution-1Also out of California, Shaun Rosenstein and Krijn Mossel with King & Stone have come up with some sexy-fun styles for men’s shoes that are sure to appeal to the footwear fanatic in your life. Several styles come out each season, in amazing colors, like the eye-catching garnet-and-olive colored comfort-fitting Adamair ($125) style, pictured, with rubber soul. Like them all? Sign you sweetie up for the subscription service and never have him worry about shopping for shoes again.

Uncommonly involvedCommon Ground designs shoes, but really, they are trying to make the world a better place. The footwear company is as devoted to social justice as to foot comfort, with these comfortably, slip-ons that promote gender equality and marriage ($70). Or maybe you screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-12-52-42-pmfeel strongly about immigration or gun violence? They have a pair for those causes, too. You can really start a conversation with these shoes … and look cool doing so.


fn-hot_hot_salsaSalsa!… And we don’t mean the dance. This is Texas — we like our chiles, our spices, our heat. Remember those TV ads about salsa from “New York City”? Well, F.N. Hot Salsa — supposedly named for “forgetful Ned,” but we know what it means — is a Texas-based purveyor of salsa with some heat. Of course, you can get it in a mild format, but why would you? And while you’re at it, why not check out their habanero jelly, which turns a cracker into a firecracker? We love this stuff, and your Texas honey will to.

Available at Central Market. $4.99.

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-12-44-45-pmSomething’s brewing. If you’re gift-ee is more about liquid heat than spice on the tongue, the folks at Krups have killer products for the caffeine addict. The sleek EC314 Coffee Maker can brew a perfect pot of java… or a perfect cup. Fully programmable, and with Krups’ legendary quality, the machine gussies up any kitchen countertop. And throw in the F203 spice and coffee grinder to let them create the ideal grind of beans for their taste.

Available online at locally at Bed Bath & Beyond, JCPenney and other retailers.

All tea, no shade. Our friends at The Cultured Cup do a great job of combining excellent food items (teas, coffees, sweets) with quality products and kitchen goods (storage tins, kettles, infusers) for the “epicurious” person on your list. From a Breville milk frother to their “French Collection” assortment of teas inspired by French wines and perfumes, you’re sure to find the perfect gift.

Happy holidays!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

What’s Brewing: Leppert lies to National Journal, claims he was never asked about gay marriage

Former Mayor Tom Leppert shakes hands with spectators along the route during the 2007 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, Dallas’ annual gay Pride parade.

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. In an interview with the National Journal’s Hotline on Call blog that was published Thursday, former Dallas mayor and current Senate candidate Tom Leppert addressed his recent shift to the right on LGBT issues, claiming his views haven’t changed:

Leppert insists that he has not pivoted to the right in preparation for his statewide run. Observers simply mischaracterized his beliefs in the past, he said.

“My positions that you’ve seen that would put me clearly on the conservative side, they’ve never changed,” Leppert told Hotline On Call. “I was somebody that got some things done and somebody that could bring people together. Sometimes that got labeled a certain way.”

Leppert said he worked together with gay rights groups and other typically liberal constituencies in order to successfully run the city of Dallas. But he maintained his beliefs have never wavered, regardless of public perception. Leppert explained that he was never asked for his position on gay marriage during his City Hall tenure.

“As mayor I thought it was my responsibility, and I think I did a good job, in leading the city where I engaged all groups,” Leppert said. “On a lot of the issues I would disagree with the folks, but I would still find common ground.”

Leppert’s assertion that he was never asked about same-sex marriage while mayor is patently false. I posed the question during an interview with Leppert about his first year in office in 2008. And I posted his response on Instant Tea:

“I don’t know, to be truthful with you,” Leppert said when asked if he supported same-sex marriage. “It hasn’t come up. It hasn’t been an issue that I’ve spent any time on. I don’t know. I’d probably have to give it some thought, to be truthful with you. I would see pieces on both sides, to be truthful with you, so I haven’t thought about it.”

2. The Texas Legislature refuses to protect gays from workplace discrimination, but Tarrant County Republican State Rep. Bill Zedler has filed a bill that would protect creationists.

3. A majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll. Support for same-sex marriage has gone from 36 percent five years ago to 53 percent today.

—  John Wright

Sen. John Cornyn calls Reid’s plan for vote on DADT repeal ‘cynical and politically transparent’

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told The Hill on Tuesday that he believes Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to consider a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” as part of a defense spending bill  is “a cynical and politically transparent move.”

Cornyn didn’t say whether Republican senators plan to filibuster the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act over the DADT repeal provision, or whether he would join such a blockade.

“I know that leadership is asking members about their inclination, and I don’t know that that’s been whipped yet,” he told The Hill.

A spokesman for Cornyn, who’s never cast a single vote in support of LGBT equality, told Dallas Voice in June that he would oppose the DADT repeal measure.

“Sen. Cornyn believes that readiness must remain the highest priority of our military,” Cornyn spokesman Kevin McLaughlin said. “Right now, the Pentagon is studying how repealing DADT would affect military readiness, and this careful review is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Sen. Cornyn believes Congress should not to act on a possible repeal until that review has been completed.”

Cornyn has accepted an invitation to appear at the Log Cabin Republicans’ National Dinner in Washington later this month, and he has pledged to seek “common ground” with gay members of the GOP.

But if that common ground doesn’t include repealing a policy that 78 percent of Americans oppose, we’re at a loss as to where in hell it could possibly lie.

Actually, no we’re not. We’re pretty sure that by “common ground” Cornyn means “money” and “votes.” Talk about politically transparent!

—  John Wright

Cornyn to seek ‘common ground’ with Log Cabin — 6 weeks before the Nov. mid-term elections

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who famously compared gays to “box turtles” in the draft of a 2004 speech, now says he wants to find common ground with LGBT Republicans.

Cornyn, who happens to be chair of the GOP’s Senate campaign committee, reportedly plans to visit a Log Cabin Republicans reception before the group’s national dinner in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 22, about six weeks before the critical mid-term elections. From the Standard-Times of San Angelo:

“Some things we won’t agree on,” Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said. “But I think it’s always better to talk and then try find those things we can agree on rather than just assume there’s no common ground whatsoever.”

Cornyn said same-sex marriage is “absolutely” one of those things he and LCR members don’t agree on, but he’s happy to talk to them.

“I don’t want people to misunderstand and think that I don’t respect the dignity of every human being regardless of sexual orientation,” Cornyn said.

We’re sure some will try to argue this is a sign of progress, but we mustn’t forget Cornyn’s strong support for a federal marriage amendment, his vote against hate crimes last year, his stated opposition to DADT repeal, and his all-but-certain vote against ENDA if it ever reaches the Senate floor. Cornyn has received a zero on every Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard since he took office.

So, until Cornyn puts his votes where his mouth is — and he very well might get a chance when DADT repeal comes to the Senate floor the same month he’s slated to visit Log Cabin — we see this visit as nothing more than pandering for votes and money from gay Republicans across the country. When the GOP platform in your home state calls for imprisoning gays, where can the common ground possibly be?

—  John Wright