Monday, February 27, 2006

Random Quote #42

"You have made God in your own image when God hates the same people you hate."

~ Fr. John Weston, 1963 -

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Random Quote #41

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
". . . I was at a party feeling very shy because there were a lot of celebrities around, and I was sitting in a corner alone and a very beautiful young man came up to me and offered me some salted peanuts and he said, 'I wish they were emeralds' as he handed me the peanuts and that was the end of my heart. I never got it back."

~ Helen Hayes, 1900 - 1993

Friday, February 24, 2006

Senate Races 2006 Analysis #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"Hawaii Is a Democrat Thing...So Far"

(As previously promised, my politiphile, progressive analysis of races for the US Senate in 2006)

In 2006 the race in Hawaii seems a very safe seat for the Democrats in the Senate. The present incumbent, Daniel Akaka, is one of the most parochial members of the Senate. He has managed to represent the state for nearly 20 years. The state's governor on the occasion of the then Senator Spark Matsunaga's untimely death first appointed him to the office in April 1990. 2006 will be his forth attempt to win his seat in the US Senate.

Senator Akaka will actually turn 82 on the day of the election. While this doesn't best former Senator Strom Thurmond--R, (SC) or present incumbent Senator Robert Byrd--D, (WV), it does place him in the upper echelons of Senators vis-à-vis age. Yet, wisdom comes with age, and he's not displayed any of the troublesome signs of dementia that other Senators like Jim Bunning--R, (KY) and Patrick Leahy--I, (VT) have been accused of.

Senator Akaka holds the distinct honor of being the first person of native-Hawaiian ancestry to be elected to the US Senate. A fact alone that gives him tremendous support in his state. Along with colleague, Daniel Inouye (D-HI), he is one of two Asian/Pacific Islanders in the Senate, which is a higher percentage than the House can boast.

To date, no republicans have risen to challenge him. His only opponent appears to be another Democrat. Second district House representative, Ed Case, has thrown his hat into the ring. Representative Case was first elected to replace representative Patsy Takemoto Mink after her untimely death in early 2003. After which he won re-election to the seat in 2004.

Representative Case is a native Hawaiian of European-American Ancestry. His roots are fresher, more tender in the political soil, even as his experience in the process extends all the way back to Senator Spark Matsunaga, under whom he served. He also seems to be building a resume on a fast track that extends beyond the little islands of our picturesque 50th state. So this move against Akaka is frought with potential ramafications.

So how do I see this portion of the race settle down? Tradition vs. Modernity. Asian-American vs. Euro-American. Parochial concerns vs. national aspirations. I have no idea. Without an opponent from the Republican Party, I am not sending any money to either of them before the primary.... It will be very interesting to see how Hawaiians decide between these two candidates. And it seem like the senate seat in Hawaii will remain BLUE.

There are 33 seats up for grabs. And at this point I calle Dems 1, Reps 0; net change: Status Quo.

Our Latest American Hero #5

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
These posts in this new series are only a sampling of the thousands of heroes who have given their lives for you and me.

Marine 2nd Lt. Almar L. Fitzgerald, 23, of Lexington, S.C.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; attached to the 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward); died Feb. 21 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, of wounds sustained Feb. 18 when an improvised explosive device detonated during combat operations against enemy forces in Ramadi, Iraq.

“Marine Who Appeared in Documentary Dies”

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Marine 2nd Lt. Almar Fitzgerald, a Lexington native, has died from injuries sustained in a weekend roadside bomb attack in Iraq, the Marine Corps confirmed Thursday.

Fitzgerald, a 2004 graduate of The Citadel, died Tuesday in a military hospital in Germany where he was being treated. He had been in Iraq about six months and was scheduled to return home next month.

The Citadel says Fitzgerald is the 11th graduate to die in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is the 35th service member from South Carolina to be killed, according to a count by The Associated Press.

“He felt like it was something he had always wanted to do,” said Maj. Ken Boes, a tactical officer on The Citadel staff who helped Fitzgerald get in Officer Candidate School. “He wanted to serve his country ... and he wanted to challenge himself.”

During his senior year, Fitzgerald served as executive officer of Company M, 3rd Battalion and worked as a supervisor for a cadet-run phone bank soliciting donations for the state’s military college.

“He had such a contagious personality,” said Rachel Meuser, the college’s assistant director of annual giving. “He genuinely cared about people.”

Fitzgerald appeared in a documentary produced by Marine Corps Times called “Making of a Marine Officer” and spoke about the realities of military life. He told an interviewer about a table at Officer Candidate School covered with photographs of Marines killed in battle.

“The purpose of that is to be basically a reality check,” he said in the interview. “This could be you in the next couple of months — just a picture.”

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Rent, PS

A final couple of thoughts...I love these lyrics. They should have gone with the alternate ending. I'm so glad that they included it in the DVD 2-disc package....

From the alternate finale:

"There is no future....there is no past --
Thank God this moment's not the last!

There's only us,
There's only this,
Forget regret, or
Life is yours to miss.

No other road, no other way,
No day but today!

Will I loose my dignity?
Will someone care?
Will I awake tomorrow,
from this nightmare?

There's only now,
There's only here,
Give into love, or
Live in fear.

No other road, no other way,
No day but today!
(I die without you...)

No day but today!

"And Now, Jose?: a Blog with Cultural Bulimia"

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
A final thought tonight: check out my friend's blog: And it may be a stretch to call Jose a "friend," but this amazing chronicle of culture, art, perspective, and life will quickly leave you feeling like a friend, too. And for anyone who loves Brazil, it's a must book site.


"Our Shame" OR "Repent Now"

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I am so full of ideas tonight. So many things I want to share. I hope the gravity of this post will not be deflected by the previous one.

The president says that he's mad because the truth has come out yet again regarding the torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The president says he's a Christian. But when was the last time he went to church? When was the last time that he read the Bible? Has he EVER read it?

Permit me to help him out, if but a little:

"Blessed are the Peacemakers! They will be ranked children of God."
~ Matthew 5:9

"I tell you, my hearers, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you: bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If a man strikes you on the one cheek, offer him the other as well; give to anyone who asks you, and never ask your goods back from anyone who has taken them. As you would like others to do to you, so do to them."
~ Luke 6:27-31

"Never think, "I will treat him as he treated me. I will pay back the man for what he did."
~ Proverbs 24:29

"When the Eternal bends from his sacred height, and looks from heaven to earth, to hear the prisoner's groan, and to release the doomed; let this be set down for future generations, that people yet unborn may praise the Eternal, rehearsing his fame in Zion and praising him at Jerusalem, when realms and nations gather there to worship the Eternal."
~ Psalm 102:19-22

"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.'
~ Luke 23:34a

"Treat one another with the same spirit as you experience in Christ Jesus."
~ Philippians 2:5

Now you've been to church.

I know that proof texting arguments with the Bible are so distasteful. It's mostly abused by those who seek to justify their own hearts desires and opinions -- an utterly wicked discipline. And I know that the Bible says enough stuff that most ideas can be justified AND condemned with equal vigor.

SO my litmus test falls on one question: What's easy to do? The easy thing is the thing that my human nature desires...and in this instance, the easy thing is "revenge;" therefore, the right thing is "forgiveness." Period.

Icon Exerpt

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
This from an interview by Charles Purdy posted on Peter Berlin is probably the quintessential gay glamor boy icon from the 1970's. He's like a slightly softer and more exotic Jeff Stryker or Ryan Idol (I date myself here, I'm sure!) I thought what he had to say about the penis very interesting....

CP: When did you first realize how beautiful you were -- the power of your beauty? And what was that realization like?

PB: I don't know how old I was. But I was looking in the mirror, and I just liked what I saw. That was sort of when puberty set in, and I was so surprised by that, and so scared -- for five seconds. And then I said, "OK, nobody has to know about it but me." But it was sort of . . . I saw something that I liked. It's not that I ever thought of myself as so beautiful -- but . . . in the pictures, I do the best with what I have to work with. Once I looked at a [self-portrait] I'd done, and I said, "Oh, I would like to look like that."

CP: The look you developed was very different from what had come before in many ways, and very uniquely sexy in a gay way. What inspired you to create that persona and that look?

PB: I had a very definite idea of how a young man, should present himself, and one key element was that the man has . . . a dick.

.... man is running around without a dick since, I don't know when. In the Middle Ages I think they were doing better. But it is just unbelievable how the man castrated himself -- certainly in my lifetime, but I think that goes back a long time. So that's one thing I think I made part of it....

Our Latest American Hero #4

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Army Capt. Anthony R. Garcia, 48, of Fort Worth, Texas; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.; killed Feb. 17 by a gun shot in Tikrit, Iraq.

"Fort Worth Officer Killed in Iraq"

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — An Army officer from Fort Worth, Texas, died from a gunshot wound in Iraq, the Department of Defense said Monday.

Capt. Anthony R. Garcia, 48, died in Tikrit on Feb. 17. The shooting is under investigation because it happened on a military base, said Cathy Gramling, a spokeswoman for Fort Campbell, where Garcia was assigned. No further details were released.

"He loved his kids and doing stuff together," Garcia's wife, Doris, told The Leaf-Chronicle of Clarksville, Tenn. "We'll just miss him so much."

Garcia was a physician assistant assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Aviation Brigade. He joined the Army in August 1989 and was assigned to Fort Campbell in June 2001.

Besides his wife, Garcia is survived by a daughter, Kelly, and a son, Garrick, of Clarksville; and his parents, Monico and Josephine Garcia, of Hudson Oaks, Texas.

Monico Garcia described his son as a "happy person."

"He liked to kid people a lot and do fun things," Garcia told The Leaf-Chronicle from his home in Texas.

Garcia is at least the sixth Texan to die in Iraq this year and at least the 197th since the war began in March 2003.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

"Rent" Redux

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I work for a school that attempts to review it's every move with input that is either a "+" or a "Delta". Pluses are obviously praise centered and Deltas aim to highlight areas for improvement. So let me plus/delta rent:


~ The settings are well crafted. The lighting enhances this and you have a wonderful reminder throughout that you are experiencing something as much theatrical as cinematic.
~ Wilson Jermaine Heredia & Anthony Rapp in particular. Both the characters of Angel and Mark were stand out performances.
~ Broadway cast in general: the fact that so many actors who had begun the process where retained to create this unltimate expression of the work. (I am still pissed over Bebe Newirth's slight in "Chicago"! A great film adaptation made lesser by this decision.)
~ Kudus for the guts to experiment with settings and choreography. Most notably in the numbers, "The Tango Maurine" and "Santa Fe."
~ And the simple dignity given to the moments like "Life Support" and "Will I Loose My Dignity." Both of which left me a blubbering fool...


~ Computer generated breath frost! YUK! It was SO FAKE that it was quickly annoying. Not the feather from "Forest Gump."
~ Missing musical number: What happened to "It's Over?" Too hot? Too Racy? Made me thank God that HBO got dibs on "Angels in America!"
~ Recitative: hated the redrafting of dialogue that lost the music and the rhyme....

Overall, 4 stars, wish it had been 5.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What I'm Watching #8

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Hot off its video release. And a movie that I so longed to see, but whch now I understand why I waited to see on video: The Cry Factor!

More later, perhaps.....

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #3

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I realize that this title is of today, the number of Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command has reached, 2519!

Here's the image of one of the latest and a bit of his story....

Army Cpl. Andrew J. Kemple, 23, of Cambridge, Minn.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.; killed Feb. 12 when his Humvee came under small-arms fire during combat operations in Tikrit, Iraq.

"Minnesota Soldier Killed in Iraq Believe in His Mission"

FOREST LAKE, Minn. — Cpl. Andrew Kemple, the Minnesota soldier killed last weekend in Iraq, believed in his mission there, his family said Thursday.

Kemple, 23, of Cambridge, died Sunday when his Humvee was attacked in the city of Tikrit. His mother, Deirdre Ostlund, said Kemple was a gunner on the vehicle and was shot in the neck.

“He believed he was bringing help and freedom and protection to other people, and so he did not die in vain,” Ostlund said at a family home here with Kemple’s sister, Andrea Kemple, at her side. “His death meant something, and he is a hero.” Kemple, who was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Ky., is the 35th person with strong Minnesota ties to have died in connection with the war in Iraq.

Is That A Rocket In Your Pocket?

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
It's always the sweetest children who manage to surprise you the most.

Another moment of levity/honesty from my classroom! These images are from a mini-book written by S.

The project grew organically out of the reading to my class aloud of "Lunch Money" by Andrew Clements.

As an aside, Mr. Clements IS my read aloud author of the year, and to date we have devoured, "The Report Card," "The Landry News" (which spawned competing classroom newspapers), "School Story," "The Last Holiday Concert," and, of course, the progenitor of them all, "Frindle." We are currently reading "A Week in the Woods." Every novel is a story of conflict between adults and children, realistic drama. And every novel ends with children who have made tough choices and left adults wiser and more compassionate as a result. I confess, there are many places in each story where I fight back tears. That's how well written they are! And the endings? -- I fain allergy attacks, dust in my eyes, choking name it, but I think the kids understand. I'm a lousy actor! Mr. Clements has found a powerful formula for empowering children and humbling grown-ups. Can you tell that I love his work? But I digress....

So here is my little S.'s offering. A tale called, "Space Ball." Like the hag/damoiselle illustration in my previous post, what do you see?

I'm often asked if I (as a gay man) can tell the orientation of my students. And frankly, I can't. I don't believe that feminine characteristics or masculine ones determine anything. (One of the greatest "Sissies" I have ever know is a happily married man with 7 children!) I do know that I knew (even if I could not have articulated it to save my life at the time) when I was in kindergarten that I was different...and then that I was gay. And so I do know that children have sexual lives. Even if they are confusing, incomplete, and unarticulatable. I also belive that most children grow up thinking that this part of themselves is shameful, and therefore they begin to repress it early on. Our society/culture does little to shed any healthy light on this.

But like placing an old garbage can lid on "Old Faithful," such efforts are futile. I hope S. saves a copy of this little tome, someday his therapist may appreciate it -- no matter which way his door ends up swinging!

Friday, February 17, 2006

School Tales #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Amidst all the learning there are moments of levity, and sometimes they are personal and penitrating!

An initiative I have in my classroom to promote reading is "Strive for 25" in which every student who reads 25 chapter books by the end of the year will celebrate with a pizza party. To prove their completion of each book, students fill out a form and then color a "block" with the book's title and images to be placed upon an evolving bar graph.

C., one of my MOST conscientious and sweet little girls turned this block into me. Like the optical illusion of the Victorian woman and the old Hag--what do you see? Look again.

Oh, yes..... The Pen is a mighty instrument, too.....

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Celebrate Good Times! ~ Come On!!!

Mr.'s L-W & H
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Blessings to my friends Mr. H and Mr. W-L who have just held their Civil Commitment Ceremony in London! They are wonderful men, who's public expression of love and fidelity could not possibly threaten anyone else's marriage.... The fact that they have to call it something else only testifies to society's limitations and prejudices, while that fact that they can do this much at all speaks volumes to the United Kingdom's desire to embrace the reality of modernity.

In the pic presented are Mr. W-L and Mr. H on the bottom row; Ms. K (public witness #1), Mr. C (public witness #2) & his partner, Mr. R.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Another Winter Photo.....

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Ice cycles off of my roof as seen from my bathroom window with the moon through the trees. And I am reminded of this poem...but we both know that the end of this little experiment will be both an utter surprise and probably our doing!


Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

~ Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Winter Wonderland

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
An image from this morning. Snow as thick as foliage adorned the trees of my suburban DC neighorhood. It was so lovely.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Art I'm Seeing #2

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
It's Cezanne in Province: A focus show at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, of the artist in the geographical venue of his world. Lot's of Mont Saint-Victoire. Lot's of Jas du Bouffan.

My viceral impressions. I like Cezanne more now. I know him better. I never understood how lonely he was until now. I also love trees.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Our Last Best Hope #00

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Forgive me for plagiarizing someone with this title, but it's honestly how I am feeling these days. The map depicts the states where senatorial elections are occurring in November of this year. The Senate IS THE LAST possible check on the power of our current president. In the hands of the members of his political party, it has become a rubber stamp for his (the party's) agenda. Even when someone realizes that things are not kosher and speaks up, they are quickly subdued and then tow the line.

For this reason, America MUST re-establish a bi-partisan political system.

And this can best be done in the Senate, so I am now inaugurating a new series that will look at the members of congress up for re-election in the Senate. This post will include a complete list of the current class I senator (those with seats to be re-elected this year) and then one by one I will offer my thoughts on each.

SENATORS (and senatorial seats) UP FOR RE-ELECTION:

1) Akaka, Daniel K.- (D - HI) Class I
(202) 224-6361

2) Allen, George- (R - VA) Class I
(202) 224-4024
Web Form:

3) Bingaman, Jeff- (D - NM) Class I
(202) 224-5521

4) Burns, Conrad- (R - MT) Class I
(202) 224-2644
Web Form:

5) Byrd, Robert C.- (D - WV) Class I
(202) 224-3954
Web Form:

6) Cantwell, Maria- (D - WA) Class I
(202) 224-3441
Web Form:

7) Carper, Thomas R.- (D - DE) Class I
(202) 224-2441
Web Form:

8) Chafee, Lincoln- (R - RI) Class I
(202) 224-2921
Web Form:

9) Clinton, Hillary Rodham- (D - NY) Class I
(202) 224-4451
Web Form:

10) Conrad, Kent- (D - ND) Class I
(202) 224-2043
Web Form:
11) Dayton, Mark- (D - MN) Class I
(202) 224-3244
Web Form:

12) DeWine, Mike- (R - OH) Class I
(202) 224-2315
Web Form:

13) Ensign, John- (R - NV) Class I
(202) 224-6244
Web Form:

14) Feinstein, Dianne- (D - CA) Class I
(202) 224-3841
Web Form:

15) Frist, William H.- (R - TN) Class I
(202) 224-3344
Web Form:

16) Hatch, Orrin G.- (R - UT) Class I
(202) 224-5251
Web Form:

17) Hutchison, Kay Bailey- (R - TX) Class I
(202) 224-5922
Web Form:

18) Jeffords, James M.- (I - VT) Class I
(202) 224-5141
Web Form:

19) Kennedy, Edward M.- (D - MA) Class I
(202) 224-4543
Web Form:

20) Kohl, Herb- (D - WI) Class I
(202) 224-5653
Web Form:
21) Kyl, Jon- (R - AZ) Class I
(202) 224-4521
Web Form:

22) Lieberman, Joseph I.- (D - CT) Class I
(202) 224-4041
Web Form:

23) Lott, Trent- (R - MS) Class I
(202) 224-6253
Web Form:

24) Lugar, Richard G.- (R - IN) Class I
(202) 224-4814

25) Menendez, Robert- (D - NJ) Class I
(202) 224-4744

26) Nelson, Bill- (D - FL) Class I
(202) 224-5274
Web Form:

27) Nelson, E. Benjamin- (D - NE) Class I
(202) 224-6551
Web Form:

28) Santorum, Rick- (R - PA) Class I
(202) 224-6324
Web Form:

29) Sarbanes, Paul S.- (D - MD) Class I
(202) 224-4524
Web Form:

30) Snowe, Olympia J.- (R - ME) Class I
(202) 224-5344
Web Form:

31) Stabenow, Debbie- (D - MI) Class I
(202) 224-4822
Web Form:

32) Talent, James M.- (R - MO) Class I
(202) 224-6154
Web Form:

33) Thomas, Craig- (R - WY) Class I
(202) 224-6441
Web Form:

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #2

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Keeping with this new theme....

Army Pfc. Scott A. Messer
26, of Ashland, Ky.; assigned to the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Feb. 2 when his Humvee accidentally rolled over during convoy operations in Ashraf, Iraq.

Slain soldier joined military for a better life

FROM the Associated Press

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — A soldier from eastern Kentucky who died in Iraq joined the military to give his family a better life, his wife said Saturday.

Pfc. Scott A. Messer, 26, of Ashland, was killed in Ashraf, Iraq, on Thursday, when the Humvee he was riding in accidentally rolled over during convoy operations, the Pentagon said Friday.

He was one of five members of the Fort Campbell-based 101st Airborne Division killed in Iraq since Wednesday in three separate incidents, the Pentagon said.

Messer was assigned to 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

His wife, Jennifer, said Messer was “a little nervous” about leaving her and their two daughters — 4-year-old Hailee and 1-year-old Natalie — to deploy to Iraq.

“He didn’t want to leave us, but he was pretty strong about it,” she said.

Messer’s mother, Joyce Johnson, told The Independent of Ashland that her son was at home for 15 days recently after spending six months in Iraq. She said he had been back in Iraq for about two weeks when he was killed.

“When he was at home, he talked about how much he liked being a soldier,” she said. “He said he wanted to re-enlist at the end of his time and go back in the medical field to help the wounded.”

Three other soldiers were killed Wednesday when a roadside bomb exploded near their Humvee, the Pentagon said. A fourth soldier, a member of the same combat team, died in an insurgent attack, also on Wednesday.

The three soldiers, First Lt. Garrison C. Avery, 23, of Lincoln, Neb.; Spc. Marlon A. Bustamante, 25, of Corona, N.Y.; and Pfc. Caesar S. Viglienzone, 21, of Santa Rosa, Calif., were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

Spc. Anthony C. Owens, 21, of Conway, S.C., was also killed on Wednesday when his unit was attacked by insurgents using grenades and small arms fire.

Messer joined the Army in September 2004 and arrived at Fort Campbell in February 2005. He also is survived his parents, Victor Messer of Bellefonte and Joyce Johnson of Westwood.

Avery joined the Army in May 2004 and arrived at Fort Campbell in June 2005. He is survived by his wife, Kayla, of Clarksville, Tenn.; and parents, Gary and Susan Avery of Lincoln, Neb.

Bustamante joined the Army in April 2003 and arrived at Fort Campbell in August 2003. He is survived by his wife, Danielle; twin boys, Gabriel and Xavier; and a daughter, Annalyse of Fort Campbell.

Viglienzone joined the Army in October 2004 and arrived at Fort Campbell in January 2005. He is survived by his parents, Dennis and Norma Viglienzone, of Santa Rosa, Calif.

Owens is survived by his parents, Ronnie and Carrie Owens. His sister, Veronica Owens, lives in Conway, S.C.

There have been 117 soldiers from Fort Campbell killed in the Iraq war.

Hope Springs Eternal OR "A Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted"

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Yup, I bought a ticket. Only $5.00 bucks, but if you never hear from me again, you'll know it was money well spent!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

What I'm Watching #7

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Like a blast from the past this movie enters my life old friend. Amazing at the time, and kudus to Kate, Harry, and Michael, who all put their chips on the table for this one. Today, we might think it quaint, but in 1982 it was nothing short of radical!

Hear me little ones, for I speak the truth! I remember feeling like I needed to "sneak" into the Kentuckian Theater in Lexington, Kentucky for fear of being seen and outed...the first time I dared to watch this film.

Again I say, Broke Back Mountain?...been there, done that! Ever ready to renounce my past and burn my closet!

Dear "Friends of Dorothy" who've never heard that phrase before, check this piece of Gay historical "personhood" out and laud these courageous actors.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
For some time now I have faithfully followed the lives and stories of the men and women who have died in our behalf and in service to our nation in the war against terrorism. I am now presenting some of their images and stories from local newspapers.

ALBUQUERQUE — Paula Gonzalez had only one question when Army officials showed up at her Las Cruces home: Which of her two sons was killed in Iraq?

“When you have two over there, it’s like hurry up, say which one,” she said by telephone from her home Sunday as the family looked at pictures of the slain soldier, Cpl. Jesse Zamora, 22, her youngest son.

On Friday, Zamora was killed when a roadside bomb blew up near his Humvee in Beiji, Iraq. A piece of shrapnel flew up and hit him, she said.

As he slipped away, Zamora asked one of his friends to hug him, Gonzalez said.

“It’s just incredible how close these guys are. They love each other so much,” she said.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

What I'm Watching #6

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
OMG--I haven't cried so much over a movie with "Billy" in the title since "Billy Elliot"!

Borkeback Mountain?--pish posh! Here's a much more authentic tale of self-inflicted homophobia overcome.

Enjoy! 5 stars!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Never A Dull Moment OR Bomb Squad Determines Suspicious Package A Hoax

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
GAITHERSBURG, Md. - Bomb technicians have determined that a suspicious device in Gaithersburg has turned out to be a hoax.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer said the device had all the markings of an explosive device. But there were no explosives.

Earlier Friday, Piringer said the device appeared different from more routine reports of suspicious packages and said police believed the package was an improvised explosive device.

Students from Rachel Carson Elementary School were evacuated Friday afternoon and taken to nearby Quince Orchard High School.

The suspicious package was found in a park in the middle of Kent Island Circle and the bomb squad was called to the scene around 12:30 p.m., Piringer said. Technicians used a robot to investigate the device.

Thus ends the official report.

The incident began for me when I was attempting to leave the building to get some lunch and was told that the police would not allow me to leave. The reason being that we were about to enter into a Code Red. Instinctually, I went to the cafeteria where the final lunch of the day was about to commence, I knew some children where already in the lunch line and/or sitting down at their tables, while others were on their way. I also knew that my colleagues who had dropped off their children were already somewhere else in the building, and that upon a Code Red being called EVERYONE locks down where they are.

I had no sooner entered the cafeteria than it was called on the intercom and so myself and three other staff members (Ms. M. Special Ed teacher, and Mrs. K and Mrs. V. instructional support staff) began to coax the children in the room onto the stage that rises above one side of the cafeteria. Mrs. G., a Special Ed. IA, and Mrs. S. our Counselor soon joined us. Within 60 seconds we had secured the cafeteria, arranged approximately 110 students in a silent and seated position on the stage behind closed curtains, where we were prepared for what we did not then know. After only a minute, a member of the building services personal entered the cafeteria and said, "Where are they? Where did they go?" To wit, we made no response and the door closed then upon a silent and empty cafeteria. It was a picture perfect disappearance on our part!

This phase of the incident lasted a little over 30 minutes, until an announcement from our assistant principal down graded the situation to a code blue. We emerged from our hiding place and began the process of feeding the children. The 110 who had arrived earlier where joined by the remaining 100 of our 4th and 5th graders, and they had their lunch. And the delayed lunch proceeded relatively normally.

But by the time lunch was over the decision was made to move children from the front of the building with windows facing the “bomb,” as the apparent IED seemed more menacing upon closer examination by the police, to rooms further away from any possible harm. And moments later, we got the word to evacuate the building. Mind you, Rachel Carson Elementary has over 700 students, and appx. 100 staff. We successfully had every one out of harm's way in about 10 minutes. Getting everyone over to Quince Orchard High School was a little trickier as we had to walk the .75 miles and cross a few busy intersections. But throughout the children remained basically calm and everything transpired in an orderly fashion.

On a personal note, I was feeling a little vaclempt regarding my friend, Kimeo; whom I'd only recently gotten on board as a substitute teacher at my school. But he took the whole event in stride and contributed very positively to the successful conclusion of moving students and reuniting them with their often-anxious parents.

I now know how much a cab ride from work to my home costs! $44.40! When we finally had all of the students safely accounted for, it was 5:00 PM, and the security force told us that it was not possible to retrieve our vehicles from the parking lot before the morning. So my principal, Mr. C., very generously turned to me and offered to cover my cab ride home; which enabled Kimeo and a new student teacher, Mr. L, to get home, too. Little things are not so little in times of disruption -- "Thanks!" Mr. C.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Pack Rat Me!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Why does it surprise me that I am a Chinese zodiac rat? the son of a packrat, I am equally predisposed to hoard!

The only difference is that I do not hoard things of plastic and ceramic, but things of paper that tell a tale. Tickets, vouchers, bills, receipts....

This collage of them tells many tales:

Movies, plays. art museums that I have visited...and so much more.