Howl of the KweerWolf

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Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Doing my part to irritate Republicans, fundamentalists, bigots and other lower life forms.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ex-Reverend Lonnie gets off on hustlers and technicalities

Back in those carefree days before most of us had heard the name Ted Haggard, (or, if we had heard it, we had no idea he was experiencing "the sins of Sodom" first-hand with a hustler who was also supplying him with crystal meth) There was only Oklahoma's Rev. Lonnie Latham to make fun of.

Rev. Lonnie, for those who don't recall, was a Southern Baptist preacher and leader who was picked up in a prostitution sting outside Oklahoma City's notorius Habana Inn for propositioning a hustler. (The full story is here ... just scroll down to the bottom on the page on the link.) Lonnie tried to explain it away by claiming he was conducting a new sort of Baptist sidewalk ministry to save those pitiful homo-seck-shuls from the hellfire of eternal damnation.

Poor Lonnie! He had to step down from his church and his leadership position within the Southern Baptist Convention. Southern Baptists, it seems, don't take kindly to the fellas they look up to for moral guidance getting down on their knees for any reason other than prayer. While the Baptists shunned him and gays made him posterboy for denial, he did make a few friends like those godless, pro-commie, pro-abortion, pro-gay rights folks at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Makes you wonder which caused Rev. Lonnie more embarassment: getting caught in a prostitution sting at an infamous gay hotel or being defended by the ACLU?

Rev. Lonnie had his day in court recently and, unlike his interupted business transaction/sidewalk ministry with a young hustler, this time Lonnie got off.

According to an article in

An Oklahoma judge on Wednesday acquitted a former Southern Baptist Convention leader accused of propositioning an undercover male police officer, but did not address whether the lewdness statute under which he was charged is unconstitutional, according to news reports.

Latham's attorney last month filed a motion to have Oklahoma's lewdness statute declared unconstitutional, based on Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that states cannot make it a crime for consenting adults to engage in homosexual acts.

Unlike other suspects arrested in the Oklahoma City sting operation, Latham reportedly did not discuss exchanging money. If an act isn't criminal, attorney Mack Martin argued in a two-week non-jury trial, it shouldn't be illegal to discuss it.

Martin told the Tulsa World that Latham was ecstatic about the verdict when he spoke to him Wednesday afternoon. The Associated Press added that Latham is not bitter about the case. Latham reportedly did not return phone calls to the newspaper Wednesday afternoon.

So Brother Lonnie got off on a technicality instead of a hustler ... all because he didn't discuss the idea of paying for the services of the hustler.

That's kind of a weak vindication, Lonnie. It doesn't mean you weren't trying to get the guy up to a room for a little "service" of your own. In fact, based on the Southern Baptist preachers I've known, it's probably much more likely that Rev. Lonnie was looking for a little freebie to ease the tension of conducting his sidewalk ministry. And if the business deal had been concluded, Rev. Lonnie would have no doubt found a way to write it off on his taxes. Doesn't screaming "Oh Gawd! Oh Jay-Zuz! Ah'm comin'," amount to conducting a church service?

If these was justice in the world, Rev. Lonnie would step up and announce that he is gay ... that he's always been gay ... that he was born that way ... and that despite all his prayers, he's still gay.

That's not likely to happen though. As the EthicsDaily article continues: "As a spokesman in media, he reportedly supported the SBC's position that homosexuality should not be tolerated but rather overcome through religious faith and counseling aimed at changing sexual orientation." So instead what we'll likely see is Rev. Lonnie coming back in a few months to announce that he's completely cured of his perverted urges and if you'll just send him enough money and sign up for his "Pray Away the Gay" seminars, you, too, can be healed!


Sunday, March 11, 2007

A (mostly) undistinguished history of music appreciation

Without the benefit of any formal musical training - apart from a singularly uninspired year of trombone in the seventh grade - I have doomed more careers of musicians than the most persnickety Rolling Stone music critics.

Even as a child, I could hear a song I really, really liked on the radio, go out and buy the album (back in the dark days when music came on flat, vinyl discs), and the musician who recorded it would drop right off the charts and into the oblivion of one-hit wonders.

Want proof? Anybody heard of Susan Jacks and the Poppy Family? The first time I heard them sing "Which Way You Going, Billy?" on the top-40 AM radio station, I just had to get the album. A week of chores and lawn-mowing for neighbors gave me enough money to rush out and buy it. The result is history ... or non-history, as the case may be. Susan Jacks and the Poppy Family is now barely a footnote in the history of rock-n-roll.

Flash forward a few years and I can take credit (or blame, depending on one's point of view) for the death of disco. I was 19 and it was the nation's bicentennial and I was enamored with the first song I heard on my first trip to a gay bar. (For the record, the bar was The Dover Fox on Main Street in Kansas City which exists as a vacant lot today.) So I rushed right out and bought not one, but two disco remixes of classic '60s songs: Santa Esmerelda's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and "House of the Rising Sun." The house that disco built collapsed almost overnight.

The era of MTV arose from the ashes of disco and my poor luck with picking music continued unabated. The only difference was that now I was working and had more disposable income with which to demolish musical careers. Quarterflash, Bertie Higgins, Haircut 100, Gary Numan and Thomas Dolby all disappeared overnight, never to be heard from again outside of those K-Tel music collections sold on late-night infomercials.

About the only musical groups whose casettes I could safely buy were already established groups whose fame made them mostly immune to being relegated to the one-hit wonder status my curse bestowed on so many musical groups. But with the still new MTV introducing me to so many new groups back in the day when MTV actually played music instead of focusing on dumb "reality" shows, I was so tempted to risk dooming a group to the Wal-Mart bargain bin by purchasing their casettes.

One group I'd been following since I first saw MTV was the Irish rock band U2. I can still remember the music video for "New Year's Day" from the early days of MTV, but I resisted buying their music. Afterall, I made the mistake of buying the first album from Asia, rumored to be the first supergroup of the '80s, and the band promptly broke up. But in a moment of weakness, I bought U2's Joshua Tree album.

I loved that album ... every song on it. When it wasn't with me in my car stereo, the casette was in my home stereo. Surely this was tempting fate considering my luck at picking bands. I expected to hear any day that all the members of U2 died in a fiery plane crash on their way to a concert or were killed in a Northern Ireland bomb blast.

When no tragedy happened, I began to wonder if the curse had been broken. With every subsequent release of a U2 album, my fears that my mere touch could doom a band faded. I watched as the band became even more popular - even if lead singer Bono could be insufferably sanctimonious on occasion.

I was thinking back on U2's The Joshua Tree album just the other day when I stumbled across one of those "This Day in History" triva fillers on a web site. The Joshua Tree was released 20 years ago Friday ... and despite my curse, U2 is still around and making music.

My casette of The Joshua Tree is long gone and replaced later by a CD and most recently downloaded onto my iPod. Songs like "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Where the Streets Have No Names" still speak to me with as fresh a voice today as when I first heard them two decades ago.

Maybe that's the definition of good music. If I were to hear Quarterflash singing "Harden My Heart" or Bertie Higgins singing "Key Largo" today, I'd smile about the memories and how the songs brought back a particular place and time. But The Joshua Tree album has a timeless quality that speaks to me in a new voice every time I hear it.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

IHOP, home of the 'Rooty-Tooty Fresh 'n Fruity,' wants diners who are less 'fruity'

"You must remmember this/a kiss is just a kiss ..." Or so sang Dooley Wilson as the piano-playing Sam in "Casablanca." That was back in 1942. Sixty-five years later, a kiss is just a kiss only if it's involves a couple of the opposite sex.

If you're talking, say, girl-on-girl action, kissing can get you kicked out of the International House of Pancakes. At least it can in Grandview, a run-down, backwards, pit of a town just south of Kansas City where they apparently like their pancakes hot and their same-sex smooches not at all.

Last week, so the story goes as reported by one of the local TV stations, a small group of lesbians gathered at the Grandview IHOP - as they had been doing on Friday evenings for years. (I'll leave aside any snarky comments about why any gay or lesbian would actually want to eat at an IHOP.) One of the women arrived late and when she came to the table, she kissed her partner. That when the trouble began. According to news reports from FOX4 (yes, I said FOX) the only news outlet to actually cover the story:

The women said they met up at IHOP Friday night around dinner time. When one of the women's partners showed up, they greeted each other with a kiss. They said there was another kiss on the cheek later, but they said it was nothing outrageous. The restaurant's general manager said he got a complaint and asked the women to leave.

The women said they've been going to the IHOP off 71 Highway in Grandview for years and they've never had a problem until Friday.

"We were being disruptive by having a common kiss like any normal straight couple would have," Blair Funk said.

"He said it's just that we've had complaints and it's unacceptable and as a family restaurant we don't accept that and don't accept you and she said maybe we should go," Jackie Smith said. "He said I'm going to have to ask you to leave and not return."

The general manager told me he had a complaint because one of the couples french kissed and were touching each other. He said he told them this is a family restaurant and their behavior was unacceptable. Blair said she and her girlfriend weren't doing anything outrageous

"My significant other had her arm around me on the back of the bench or whatever and we did kiss and then I maybe kissed on the cheek but it was nothing too intense," Funk said.

"And it was after we left, he flat out asked us to leave because we were gay," Smith said.

Smith wrote a letter to IHOP's corporate office and got an email response Tuesday that said, "we're sorry to learn about the difficulties you encountered at this location."

It's not hard to imagine some Grandview diners being scandalized by actually seeing a lesbian liplock up close. Grandview, by the way, is the home for the delusional "ex-gay" snake-oil salesman Andrew Comiskey. No wonder he feels so at home there. No doubt there's lots of pressure exerted to make sure IHOP remains a bastion of family values ... just as long as the families are made up of a heterosexual couple of their statistical 2.3 children.

You can be sure that a hetero version of the same display of affection would have passed without notice.

While I've never been to the Grandview IHOP, I have been to other IHOPs, including another suburban one on Shawnee Mission Parkway. I can recall seeing two straight couples sharing a booth in which one of the teen couples was engaged in some serious making out. They weren't just pecking each other on the cheek. They were playing full-on tonsil hockey. And yet no one complained to the manager.

It makes me wonder what would happen if I would have called the manager over and told her, "Those kids over there with their tongues down each others' throats are offending my sensibilities. Please ask them to leave."

It would make an interesting experiment to conduct if I ever go to IHOP again. But I seriously doubt if I will; at least not until they issue an apology to the group of lesbians they kicked out and adopt a policy that they will not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

(If anyone else is moved to contact IHOP and express their opinion about how IHOP treats its LGBT customers, the company's contact information can be found here.)