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When it’s time for the end to begin

Playwright and writer Topher PayneMy husband doesn’t know he does this, but when he introduces a game-changing conversation, it invariably begins while I am preparing food. I have no idea why that’s his arena of choice. I have knives, right there. But he takes his position at the bar, and exhales deeply. It’s the equivalent of the podium in a briefing room.

If he’s coming directly from work, he will either change into his jammies before the official statement (big news, but not life-shattering, keep chopping), or he will enter and go directly to the bar while still in his business casual (big news causing possible breakdown, let’s put the knife down.)

On this night, he came straight to the bar.

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Outspoken: Rachel Maddow, Darren Criss, Boy George and more…

Actor Darren Criss on the hit Fox show

“You know just because you don’t like the way it sounds when I say it or you don’t like my haircut or you don’t like that I’m gay, it does not mean that what we say is not true. If you squint a little bit, it is true I do sometimes look like a dude, and I am definitely gay.”

Rachel Maddow, host of “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC, denying claims that she erred in reporting on the Wisconsin labor union controversy. (On Top Magazine, Feb. 27)

“Obviously, there are social-political connotations of playing a gay character, especially as a straight actor, but I really find it no different than … Max Adler, who plays a homophobic football-playing bully, which couldn’t be farther from who he is, and Heather Morris, who plays, you know, like a dumb cheerleader, also a character."

— “Glee” actor Darren Criss (pictured) on playing gay student Blaine Anderson, who Criss says is ready to kiss gay student Kurt Hummel, played by Chris Colfer. (Access Hollywood via On Top Magazine, Feb. 28)

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Confessions of an unapologetic insomniac

Playwright and writer Topher PayneI’ve never particularly cared for sleeping. It’s a ghastly waste of time, all those hours spent doing nothing, discovering nothing, accomplishing nothing.

When I was in Mrs. Martin’s kindergarten class, we would follow our snack time of Kool-Aid and Nilla Wafers with “rest time,” which was a flawed plan from the start —pump a bunch of five year-olds full of sugar and tell them to go lie on the floor. But each day, we’d all unfold our paper-thin vinyl mats and have our restful moment.

Twenty of us, lying prone on the floor, a tableau of tiny bodies littering the linoleum like the victims of a sniper attack. And I would lay there, wide awake, amazed by the classmates who were able to actually go to sleep in public. In what sort of homes were they being raised that they were allowed to just drop to the floor and lose consciousness? We were not housecats. This was not something to be encouraged.

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Outspoken: Ann Coulter, Jimmy McMillan, Donald Trump and more…

BBC 1 radio DJ Scott Mills

“Like many of you, I was always a friend of the gays ... and then liberals come around with some idea that no one has thought of for a thousand years: gay marriage. ... The left is trying to co-op gays and I don’t think we should let them. They should be on our side. We’re for low taxes, we’re for low crime, we’re against the terrorists that want to kill gays. Gays are natural conservatives.”

— Conservative pundit Ann Coulter, who last year headlined a gay conservative conference called Homocon but opposes gay marriage and gays in the military, speaking Feb. 12 at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington. (On Top Magazine, Feb. 13)

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Sex & Dating: Learning to negotiate sex after marriage

Playwright and writer Topher PayneA few years ago, on the road trip leading up to our marriage, I made a significant sacrifice. It happened on the New Jersey Turnpike. That was the moment when I deleted all the pictures of penises from my phone.

It wasn’t much of a collection. My pal Mandy has an impressive menagerie of penis pictures sent to her over the years. Men love photographing their junk. The reason we’ve seen such rapid improvements in the cameras on mobile devices is because guys over at iPhone keep asking, “How can I take better photographs of my junk?”

Although I didn’t have many junk photos, each never failed to bring a smile to my face, amongst other physical reactions. Removing them was a symbolic gesture, making clear I had selected the manly parts I would like to gaze upon for the rest of my life. I could go in the kitchen right now and request to view Preppy’s junk, and though he might be confused by the sudden demand, I could score a quick peek if I asked nicely.

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Outspoken: Jonathan Knight, Cyndi Lauper, Tiffany and more…

NKOTB's Jonathan Knight recently announced he is gay

“I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay. Apparently the prerequisite to being a gay public figure is to appear on the cover of a magazine with the caption ‘I am gay.’ I apologize for not doing so if this is what was expected.”

Jonathan Knight of the now-reunited boy band New Kids on the Block, responding to questions after ‘80s pop star Tiffany, who he once dated, discussed his sexual orientation in a recent television interview. (MSNBC.com, Jan. 31)

“He became gay later. I didn’t do it. I had issues with that. I was thinking maybe I did. Now looking back when we were dating, he was so much fun. We used to do facials together. He was so easy to talk to.”

— ‘80s pop singer Tiffany, discussing former boyfriend Jonathan Knight from boy band New Kids on the Block, on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live.” (MSNBC.com, Jan. 31)

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The fight moves to print on a lawless snow-covered street

Snowpocalypse turned out to be a welcome vacation at our house, for at least the first few days. Unencumbered by work responsibilities and forced to clear our calendars, my husband, my dog, and I settled onto the sofa and got caught up on TV shows.

There are some programs we watch together, and then there’s each other’s favorite shows that we just can’t agree upon — like my love of National Geographic’s Lockdown, which he can mock all he wants, but if we ever wind up in prison together my working knowledge of the hierarchy in The Yard is gonna come in mighty handy. I’m learning potential life skills here. I’ve learned how to make a shiv out of almost anything. Just give me some downtime and a few raw materials.

While my husband might not share my interest in getting to know prison gangs, he does monitor another unstable posse closed off from society: The Kardashians.

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Guest Editorial: Threats can and do lead to violence

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Tuscon and continues her recovery

Only someone who’s never had to fight for their civil rights could wonder if there’s a connection between words and deeds.

As I watched the news of the violent attack on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), I was shocked. Not only at the horrific events, but at the commentators who questioned whether, as Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, “toxic rhetoric can lead unstable people to believe [violence] is an acceptable response.”

Ask the kid who looks a little different than his peers, and he’ll tell you how it works: first the jokes, then the taunting and then the physical bullying. “Boys will be boys” he’s told, as those who should be paying attention dismiss the ramp-up to violence.

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Outspoken: Jane Lynch, Michael Jones, Dire Straits and more…

Actress Jane Lynch sees straight actors continuing to play straight roles in Hollywood

“I’ve never been turned down for a role because I’m gay. I’m a character actor, and that’s probably why. I don’t find Hollywood, in my own experience, to be homophobic. … But I do think the straight folks will continue to play the straight roles.”

— Actress Jane Lynch, who currently plays cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on “Glee,” explaining that studios still want straight actors in straight romantic leads (AfterElton.com, Jan. 12)

“How nice that [Chick-fil-A COO Dan] Cathy’s parents are celebrating their 63rd year of marriage. Know any gay couples celebrating their 63rd year of marriage? Nope. And you won’t until 2067 at the earliest (63 years after Massachusetts first legalized same-sex marriage in 2004). And that’s because many of Chick-fil-A’s friends work hard day in and day out to ban same-sex couples from getting married.”

— Change.org editor Michael Jones, responding to a video posted by Dan Cathy to defend the Chick-fil-A chain from controversy over its donations to groups working against gay marriage (Change.org, Jan. 12)

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Outspoken: Kathy Griffin, Sir Elton John, Natalie Portman and more…

Comedian Kathy Griffin sounds off on Bristol Palin

“In 2011 I want to offend a new Palin. [Willow Palin] called people a [faggot] on Facebook a couple of times. You don’t throw around the f-word without hearing from me about it.”

— Comedian and vocal gay rights supporter Kathy Griffin on her New Year’s resolution, which is to offend Sarah Palin’s 16-year-old daughter, Willow, who previously used anti-gay slurs on Facebook. (Hollywood Reporter, Jan. 1)

“Everyone was so worried about who was going to want to see this movie. I remember them being like, ‘How do you get guys to a ballet movie? How do you get girls to a thriller?’ And the answer is a lesbian scene. Everyone wants to see that.”

— Actress Natalie Portman on the brief sex scene she shares with Mila Kunis in the film “Black Swan,” in theaters now. (Entertainment Weekly, Dec. 31)