PHOTOS: Rain washes out Lone Star Ride; makeup ride planned for Oct. 21

A weekend of bad weather and other natural disasters wiped out this year’s Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.

The epicenter of the 3.4-magnitude earthquake that hit Irving on Saturday night was on MacArthur Boulevard, just blocks from the NYLO Hotel, the host hotel for the Lone Star Ride. Most riders were asleep when the quake hit and did not feel it. However, others reported the tremors were strong enough to move the sliding bathroom doors in the upstairs hotel rooms.

The earthquake hit after the first day of the ride was canceled due to constant rain. Participants gathered early Saturday in the Microsoft Irving parking garage across the street from the NYLO for a quick breakfast and an expected rideout. But the predawn mist turned into light showers and then steady rain. By 9 a.m., the forecast called for intermittent thunderstorms, and the first day of the ride was canceled.

The planned Cedar Springs pitstop moved to the Microsoft campus. While waiting for lunch, a number of frustrated riders biked in circles on unused decks of the company’s parking garage. Others left to go shopping or see a movie.

Most returned for dinner and entertainment that was also held on the second floor of the parking deck. Awards were given for fundraising. Those who raised at least $1,000 were given a copy of Miscrosft Office. Those who raised more than $2,000 were given a yellow jersey.

Sunday morning the weather was expected to clear, but when new storms moved in over the area, event manager Jerry Calumn called off the second day of the ride and moved the closing ceremony to The Flying Saucer, the planned lunch pitstop, in Sundance Square in Fort Worth.

Lunch was served in the restaurant’s covered outdoor courtyard and “the riderless bike” — which signifies those who’ve been lost to AIDS — was wheeled on stage.

Paul Cross was given a bouquet of flowers in memory of his partner, Jim McCoy, a longtime Lone Star Rider who died of pancreatic cancer earlier this year. At lunch, a butterfly landed at Cross’ table and crawled onto his finger where it stayed. Cross went on stage with the butterfly still on his finger, which he showed to the crowd as a sign McCoy was there with them that day.

A make-up ride will be held on Oct. 21 and will end on Cedar Springs Road.

The Microsoft $1,000 fundraising challenge was extended through that date and riders were encouraged to continue raising money. Other fundraising awards will be given to riders at the Cedar Springs ride-in event.

View photos from this weekend below.

—  David Taffet

Microsoft challenges Lone Star Ride participants to raise at least $1,000

2011 Lone Star Ride in Fort Worth

Microsoft, which became a sponsor of Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS this year, challenged riders to each raise $1,000. The first 100 riders to reach that goal will receive a copy of Office Professional 2010.

On Saturday, Aug. 25, the team Hope Riders is sponsoring a evening of comedy and music at the Interfaith Peace Chapel. Dinner and drinks are included. The first riders to raise their $1,000 will be recognized.

Among the entertainers is Jerry Calumn, who has worked as a professional comedian and is director of the Lone Star Ride.

This year’s Sept. 29-30 ride opens and closes at Microsoft’s Las Colinas campus.

—  David Taffet

NOM calls for Starbucks boycott

After losing a vote on repealing marriage equality in New Hampshire this week — and losing the marriage equality vote in Washington state — the National Organization for Marriage, a group that opposes some marriages, called for a boycott of Starbucks. They even created a website.

Starbucks is based in Seattle and, along with other large Washington state companies, ranks high in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index and supported equality in their home state. Other companies that cheered the Washington Legislature’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage were Boeing and Microsoft.

But it’s not so easy to boycott those companies. Boycotting Microsoft would mean encouraging people to buy Apple. Elizabeth Birch, a vice president of that company, became the president of HRC.

And boycott Boeing? Not many NOM supporters are buying airplanes. And most airlines also rank high on the CEI.

So Starbucks is the perfect target — because for every gay-hating Starbucks-drinking NOM supporter, there can’t be more than a couple of hundred LGBT Starbucks addicts.

Starbucks prides itself on its social responsibility. The company offers health insurance to all employees who work at least 20 hours a week. A company vice president serves on the board of the Greater Seattle Business Association, one of the country’s largest LGBT chambers of commerce.

The StopStarbucks website warns that a portion of every cup of coffee sold funds the corporate assault on marriage. Wow. With more than 17,000 stores worldwide, that’s a lot of funding. If every store gave just a dollar a day to promote same-sex marriage, which they’re not, that would be … well, just $6 million — still a hell of a lot less than NOM is spending to stop, overturn, block and reverse every equality measure that passes. Hey, Southern Poverty Law Center, explain to us once again why NOM doesn’t qualify as a hate group?

—  David Taffet

News: Lady Gag, Serbia, Microsoft, NASA, Claude Chabrol, KKK

 road 52-year-old Kansas City police officer charged with sexually assaulting his son's teenage friend.

 road Surf's up for gays and lesbians in Australia.

Lg  road Camille Paglia is not very keen on Lady Gaga: "Despite showing acres of pallid flesh in the fetish-bondage garb of urban prostitution, Gaga isn’t sexy at all – she’s like a gangly marionette or plasticised android."

 road Such intense hatred of gays in Serbia is common in others parts of the world: "Many places outside the highly developed world – and places within it, of course – remain violently homophobic, and even the most tolerant of countries have shaken off their intolerance only over the past 25 to 50 years. The situation in Serbia is surely not as bad as in Jamaica, for example, or even Russia. Homophobia remains, though, a tremendous problem in Serbia."

 road A Jersey Shore cast member sans hair gel.

 road Meghan McCain recounts her first foray into the world of blogging: “I was so honest and beautifully naïve to many things,” she told me. “I just thought I was doing a fun thing, and that everyone would want to get in on it.” By the time Ms. McCain turned 24 in October 2008, she was blogging from semi-exile. (Her father’s campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, “banished” her and her entourage from the main campaign five weeks before its close for being “too controversial.”).

 road Savannah's holds its first Queer Power March.

 road Microsoft apologizes to a gamer from Fort Gay, West Virginia after finding the name of his town offensive for its Xbox Live. Said gamer: "I thought, 'Wow, somebody's thinking I live in the gayest town in West Virginia or something.' I'm not even gay, and it makes me feel like they were discriminating."

 road Lindsay Lohan is a ginger once again.

Sun  road NASA to "bomb" the sun for samples for the first time: "Slated to launch no later than 2018, Solar Probe Plus will repeatedly plunge through the sun's superhot outer atmosphere, called the corona, coming as close as 4 million miles (6.5 million kilometers) from the star's fiery surface."

 road This can't possibly be true.

 road Former bodyguard accuses Britney Spears of physically abusing her children.

 road RIP French director Claude Chabrol.

 road KKK holds protest in Chattanooga, TN to "condemn illegal immigration, homosexuality, sex offenders, blacks and President Barack Obama."

 road Mario Lopez is now a daddy.

Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright