You're young, you're gifted, you're gay. Keep away, dude. You ain't nothin'. Under the law, you still can't get married, can't file a joint tax return, can't adopt kids, and maybe the ultimate insult, as well as a senseless rebuff that makes pariahs of a whole class of people can't donate blood to help victims of natural disasters.
When a Bloodmobile paid New Times a visit last week, a technician urged staffers to contribute. Plasma supplies have been depleted by Hurricane Katrina, he said, and there's a desperate need for new donors. But when a gay New Times employee stepped up and offered his blood, he was turned down. Here's the catch: Any man who's had sex with another man since 1977 is not allowed to donate.
Tailpipe realizes there are people for whom AIDS will always be a "gay disease," despite the fact that there are probably more HIV-positive heterosexuals in the world than homosexuals. But the 'Pipe thought the issue of infected blood had been dispensed with among enlightened people in the mid-1980s, when highly effective screening techniques were developed.
Not as far as the federal government is concerned. It's federal regulations that are allegedly protecting the nation's blood banks from all that tainted gay blood.
"We are not being prejudicial against the gay community," Bruce Lenes, medical director for Community Blood Centers of South Florida, insists, "even though we may appear to do so." The feds are just as particular about other groups, he adds. For example, Lenes' organization can't accept blood from people who've visited Europe for six months or more in recent years because of the theoretical risk of transmitting Mad Cow Disease from eating British beef. "Probably 0.00001 percent are at risk," says Lenes, yet the guidelines eliminate even that thin possibility.
Still, antibody screening tests for HIV-1 have been in use since 1985. In 1996, even more effective antigen test kits were approved by the Food and Drug Administration. What about those? Is it possible that Community Blood Centers is not testing all of its donated blood?
"It's all discriminatory and has been for 20 years," Mark Ketcham, former president of the Gay and Lesbian Community Centers of South Florida, says dismissively. "If you even look lustfully at another man, they're not going to take your blood. I think that's why blood donations went down after AIDS started. All gay men stopped giving blood."
Lenes suggestion: Stop bitching and do something constructive. Recruit someone in your place, he advises gays, and "you've been every bit as socially responsible as if you'd rolled up your sleeve."
Ketcham finds Lenes' notion that gay men will round up all of their nongay friends and wrangle them down to the blood bank laughable and a bit callous.
"I'm not HIV-positive, and neither is my partner," he says, "but we never try to give blood, because who wants to go through that?"
Those Miami-Dade cops are a testy bunch.
The Dade County Police Benevolent Association recently told its cops to stop talking to Channel 10 reporters for the next year, Channel 10 reporters say. The dictate came after a report by the station's "problem solver," Jeff Weinsier, who cornered a few cops who had parked in front of hydrants and in fire lanes. One even denied that he had parked illegally, then got into his cruiser, which was parked in front of a hydrant. The report got at least one cop in trouble his patrol car was taken away and spurred an angry response from the PBA.
There's now a 1,005-word article posted on the PBA's website by general counsel Blanca Torrents Greenwood. Next to the posting is a caricature of a devil with Weinsier's head on top. Greenwood's message warned cops against talking to Weinsier. "No doubt he is trying to get a reaction and will do ANYTHING to do so," Greenwood wrote. "At one point during his little story, he appears to get insulted that a cop would lie to him. Please! Who the heck made him so reverent?"
For his part, Weinsier (who lives in Broward) says the PBA's anger is misplaced. He's done plenty of stories that helped cops, he says. One of his reports, on a homeowner's association policy forbidding cop cars in driveways, got the Attorney General's Office to intervene on the part of the officers. "After doing problem solvers, I have some pretty thick skin. They can call me a douchebag or whatever they want," Weinsier says. "Any publicity is good publicity, but when you say I'm out to make police officers look bad, that's just plain wrong, and libelous."
Weinsier says Channel 10's vans have now become targets of ticket-writing cops. He says a recent violation had a message that read: "This is payback."
John Riviera, the PBA president and a Miami-Dade sergeant, says Channel 10 asked for it. News vans have always parked illegally, so if they want to call out cops for doing so, then they'll be targeted too. Says Riviera: "He could have done that story without the venom he extracted."
The 'Pipe would never want to suggest that public servants like the Miami cops shouldn't get into childish feuds with TV reporters, especially when it amounts to depriving the public of information. Hey, who wants to risk a retaliatory ticket? Is it too late to send a shoutout to those fine boys in blue?
Eve Still Likes the Apple
Chris Wilson gained international notoriety last month when he expanded his amateur porn site, nowthatsfuckedup.com., to include grisly photos of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, posted by U.S. soldiers who were supplying the gory images in return for access to smut. A few weeks ago, Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, where Wilson resides, decided that the graphic images on nowthatsfuckedup were just too much, and he arrested Wilson on obscenity charges.
Funny thing is, the charges had nothing to do with pictures of mutilated civilians or the U.S. soldiers posing over their charred corpses. It was the sexy stuff that the sheriff found obscene.
Sheriff Judd told the 'Pipe that the nekkid pictures on Wilson's site were "so perverse and so outrageous and so absolutely not normal that I believe that I could take this material to any jury anyplace in these United States and they would find it obscene."
Now, hold on a minute. The 'Pipe has browsed through Internet porn sites just for research, of course and Wilson's site would have to be majorly obscene to stand out from the rest. How bad could it be? Snuff flicks? Horse-on-girl lovin'? What kind of penetration are we talking about here?
"Well, not animals," the sheriff said, to the 'Pipe's relief. "It's instruments, it's beer bottles, it's egg beaters, it's outrageous conduct."
Of all the amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the first has always been this tube's favorite. So Tailpipe delved lightly into the flesh-laden depths of nowthatsfuckedup.com to try to discover just how obscene this obscenity was.
While the eggbeater and instruments pix were nowhere to be seen, there were plenty of beer and wine bottles being inserted into all kinds of orifices. Also, an eye-opening photo of a young brunet bent over with what appeared to be an entire Granny Smith apple stuffed into her rectum, like a suckling pig in reverse.
Judd insisted that the relatively tame photos of naked women fornicating with husbands and boyfriends in a more regular Christian manner were not part of the obscenity charge. "We did not charge [Wilson for] any basic penetration shots," he said. Ditto the gruesome Iraq and Afghanistan pix.
In this humble hunk of metal's opinion, the more unconventional pix weren't obscene, just bizarre. And while it shouldn't be a crime to play with your food, folks should stick to eating apples with their mouths.
A well-known Floridian may have been the latest victim in a spate of constrictor snake attacks, according to police. They're not releasing a name until the victim's lifelong girlfriend is notified. Police described him as "a 77-year-old Orange County resident involved in the entertainment business."
The victim had reportedly traveled to Fort Lauderdale to close the deal on a $2 million penthouse condominium atop the Las Olas River House. He then visited a specialty glove shop at Sawgrass Mills Mall, where his red convertible was later found. Police believe he left the mall and wandered into the nearby Everglades.
Well, you can uncover your eyes now your beloved Miami Dolphins, last year a train wreck in orange and teal, are now 2-3, with the added bonus that they could make a legitimate playoff push if they can keep from imploding. But that's a big if. After five games, the Fins have racked up 61 penalties, putting them on pace to obliterate the former record for penalties in a season, 158, set by the 1998 Kansas City Chiefs. (The infamous Raiders twice garnered 156.) It's a real problem for a Miami franchise that led the league in fewest penalties 13 times, including nine straight years, both NFL records.
Not only are the Dolphins accumulating yellow flags in bulk but they're drawing some truly odd fouls. Among the most distressing:
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Playing the Buccaneers, 10 yards for misrepresenting 63-year-old linebacker Seau as "Junior."
Playing the Broncos, 5 yards for 12 men on the field when tight end Randy McMichael's ego lined up at fullback.
Playing the Bills, 15 yards when receiver David Boston was found to have wagered he could in fact catch a cold.
Post the Jets game, 5 yards for a neutral zone infraction after Coach Nick Saban actually said something interesting in a media briefing. As told to Edmund Newton