Vicious Queen: The Sad State of Affairs of USA Figureskating


Terry Gannon (I adore the look on his face here); Tara Lipinski, and Johnny Weir. (The first person to comment his name as Johnny Queer gets blocked from fake social media life and real life. We’re going to be better than that today.)

This post will be very, Get off my lawn. Cuz I get it. I’m old. I’m extremely traditional in what I’m looking for in Olympic commentary and review and I am most likely in the minority here. That’s okay. I can deal with that.


Years ago, my daughter and I were jonesing for a burger. It was a Saturday night so not the greatest time to head out on the town for a meal crowd wise, but we decided to go for it. We picked our favorite hamburger joint, Hamburger Mary’s in their old location in Bayview.

Now, we’d been to HM’s many times and in fact, before the gym went up here, it was our post lifting Saturday spot and we always had good luck with the food and service. Now, I will admit, we were the lucky ones. We did see others walk out when they had to sit for 15-20 minutes without even a glance by wait staff but we’d been spared that. One Saturday, Oz and his dad were tooling around town and decided to meet us there. Well, they took longer than expected and we were all finished by the time they got there. We said hello and goodbye and left them in the good hands of our waitress…we thought.

Turns out our waitress was done for the morning and headed home for a break before the night shift. So they got some guy who had just been dumped by his boyfriend and sobbing in the backroom the entire time they were trying to get a burger. After 30 minutes with just a glass of water sitting in front of them, they left. I felt bad.

HM is also known for their drag shows and drag Bingo. I hadn’t made it to either but one burger Saturday, one of the Drag Queens was tooling about (I think her name is Dear Ruthie or something like that) and I asked if she’d take a picture with Matt. She was very gracious and when Matt stood up, her eyes got wide and she commented on how BIGG he really is. It was a cute moment and a great picture. It’s over on the FB somewhere.

Because of our good luck and their tasty burgers, Zandra and I took on HM’s on a Saturday night. While there was a lot of people waiting, it turned out that they were big groups and none could fit in the open 4 top so Za and I were seated right away. SWEET!

Our waitress was busy but did her best and we had a nice meal. There was a group over in one corner who was a bit discontent with their waiter and getting louder by the minutes but we were finishing up and didn’t really pay attention, as much as that was possible. For some reason, their waiter came to OUR table and made a nasty comment while giving us our check and told us to get out of there. Uhhhh, what? WTF dude, we have nothing to do with you. Why you mad bro at us??

I had paid in cash so was waiting for our change from our waitress who had come back and was surprised to see our check at the table. I had told her that a very rude waiter told us to pay and get out. I’m guessing this isn’t the first time that this had happened because she looked sad and apologized profusely. Whatev, no worries, just get us our change please so we can get out of here.

I guess she had told the powers that be that crabby dude had overstepped at our table and I wasn’t happy about it because he quickly hot stepped over to us, grabbed my shoulder and squeezed for a few seconds and said something more nasty. Dude, you just put your hands on a customer who had nothing to do with you. Well, that was enough to get Zandra fumed and she instantly stood up and started barking at our waitress (who must have known this wasn’t going to go well because she was lurking behind our table) that this was completely unacceptable. The waitress apologized and I asked to speak to a Manager.

A manager came over and I asked to speak to him privately and we moved off into a corner. I started to tell him about this bizarre treatment when suddenly, crabby waiter man RAN over to us; brushed me back with his chest and got nose to nose with me screaming at me how I’m a complete homophobic bitch/cunt and fuck me and get out of his restaurant. I just looked at the manager and asked if he were seriously going to allow this and he said nothing.

We left. Obviously. And I torched them on Yelp and sent an email to their management group. But the hits just keep on coming. By Sunday afternoon, they had commented on my Yelp review that they watched “the video” provided by surveillance and actually it showed that I had become aggressive with the waiter and pushed him around. Of course, I couldn’t see such video because it belonged to them. Also, because they were lying.

Needless to say, it was quite distressing. I started to look back on the Yelp reviews and yup, our friend had made impacts such as this for years. There was complaint after complaint about him and how aggressive and mean he was. Uhhhhh, okay, why is he still there?

I asked that question to my Hawaiian clients who have been in the food biz for a combined 80 years and they had two answers: 1. Because he’s probably sleeping with one of the owners and B. HM’s is KNOWN for having vicious queen’s in their restaurants. Uhhhh, what? What’s a vicious queen?  That, they replied. Just what I experienced emboldened by the fact that they get away with it every day.

Yuck. I don’t like vicious queen’s. Nope, they said, no one does.

It was my first experience (not my last) being called homophobic. What was worse, I was physically assaulted by a man who believes that he can do whatever he wants because he’s homosexual and if someone fights back, then THEY’LL be in the wrong for beating on a homosexual. I can tell you this, as a woman who rarely backs down, it was a very distressing situation. I should have called the police, turns out I wouldn’t have been the first.

Fast forward to 4 years ago. Actually, we’ll fast forward to about 45 years ago. That’s when I first remember loving figure skating. I loved everything about it. I loved flying around the ice; I loved watching it; I loved the smell of the warming house; I loved grabbing a shovel and being the first on the ice and having to push the snow off to the side into a big pile you could jump into. I loved the sounds of the hockey game going on next to the skating rink and I loved the tinny music blaring over the outdoor speaker.

I loved making pom poms for my skates and giving them to my friends. I loved skating with friends, and I loved skating alone. By the time I was 8 or 9, I could walk to the rink by myself (which I’m actually kind of surprised about because I had to cross a four lane super busy road but such is life growing up in the 70’s) and I’d spend hours there. One evening, it was too cold to skate and the warming house was closed. So I just laced up in the snow and did my thing. I don’t know how long I was out there but I DO remember my mom pulling up and screaming at me to get off the ice and into the car and do I want to freeze to death?!!!! I mean, no I didn’t. I just wanted to skate.

Of course, my favorite days were the Olympics.


Dorthy Hamill. I always loved how athletic she seemed.

A whole week with skating on TV. With commentators Dick Button and Peggy Flemming. Maybe even an appearance by Janet Lynn. They’d talk about the beauty of Sonja Henie in hushed, revered tones. You knew when Dick Button gave compliments, they were special. Cuz Dick was tough. I remember that. It’s probably why they sat Peggy Flemming next to him. To soften some of his criticism. Before that, Chris Schankle gave his calm play by play while Dick kept us abreast as to what was happening style wise. (Also, I miss the easy scoring of 5.8 or 6.0. The “new” scoring takes the audience out of the excitement. Again, GET OFF MY LAWN.)

But he was always succinct in his criticism. He always explained WHY a skater stumbled without stumbling. You understood what he said and could go back and watch the rerun of the skate and it made sense. He was never unkind, he was a technician. Still is actually. More on that in a minute.

Okay, back to four or so years ago in Sochi. I was instantly put off by the over the top pair of Tara and Johnny commentating. I dunno. They just seemed young and immature and wanted ALL the attention that belonged to the skaters. They were mean, but more importantly, they didn’t explain their criticisms. They said things like, “that was just horrible.” Okay, that’s not helpful. WHY was it horrible? Was the whole thing horrible or just the obvious fall? Basically, they took substance and threw it out the window and we were just supposed to be entertained by his lipstick and pearls and jabs at overweight skaters.

No thanks. See, the vicious queen from HM’s had the same qualities. You have to respect me and listen to me because I exist and if you don’t, you’re homophobic. Uh, no Johnny. I don’t like listening to you because you are mean and unhelpful and want to hog all the attention only because you ARE a vicious queen.  I chose not to watch.

So I don’t. Or at least I try not to. I did watch some of the US Nationals and I will say that both Johnny and Tara were far more subdued than past “performances.” One of my favorite Sochi ice moments was in studio when NBC gave Doc Emrick head mic with Tara and Johnny relegated to side chairs and clearly looked out of their element around real, respected commentators. Also, Tara looked as if she had been drinking hard for the past 12 days and didn’t even try to hide it anymore and Johnny just looked scared. I loved it. See, they KNOW that they are head queens in just one avenue of sport. But Doc can walk in and take over not because of his ego, but because of his skill. Well done, Doc, well done.

Any of my Olympic watching this year has been on NBCsn. Where the commentators explain the sport and what to look for. Where stupid interviews that begin with either, “What does it mean for you to be here…” or “Tell me how you’re feeling…” are non-existent.

OH, and to the little Johnny in training who, honestly, wow’d me with his program at Nationals but when announced to the Olympic team instantly started bashing politicians for being Anti-Gay but then when said politicians reached out to them to sit down and talk about accusations, quickly retreated to the “this is about the athletes” and then went on to joke about needing booze and Xanax from the judges to relax before his program…well, I’m just out. By the way, those are banned substances. So you know. So joking about taking banned substances on a live interview was super funny. You funny guy. Of course, if any weightlifter had publicly joked about needed booze and blow before they lifted AFTER they lifted, well, that may not be so adorably received.

But such is the state of affairs. As long as you’re not intolerant (which I am), you can accuse and joke about anything and are untouchable by the compliant media who just want to talk about how good North Korean dictators actually are and really anything else that is Anti-American.

OH! One perk of the Olympics is the heat the American media keep getting into because they say such moronic statements like the Dutchies actually skate on frozen canals to work or the Koreans really respect the Japanese in spite of brutal occupation. See, this is our snowflake media who are used to saying whatever they want in America and as long as it’s Anti-American or Anti-Trump, they are never called out on fact checking. But when exposed to the world, well, not so much. Then other countries have something to say about it. Hey Dutchies, welcome to our world.

So the vicious queens have ruined hamburgers and figure skating for me. Oh well, I’ve enjoyed luge and curling and biathlon and cross-country sprint races. Last night NBC had the audacity to barge their way into NBCsn for pairs figure skating so I had to listen to moments of the dud duo for seconds while I searched for the remote to turn the channel.

And oh, by the way? Dick Button is still teaching…

Get ready for the live events tonight. If you’re watching the ladies or the ice dancing, try to watch their feet instead of their fannies. It’s the edging that counts!

He threw this out there on his FB page on Saturday. Also, Scott Hamilton and some blonde have great preview commentary on NBCsn. But I guess great commentary isn’t what NBC is looking for.



About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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