Sunday, April 30, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #17

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Army Sgt. Robert W. Ehney, 26, of Lexington, Ky.; assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died of injuries sustained April 23 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Taji, Iraq. Also killed were: Cpl. Jason B. Daniel and Cpl. Shawn T. Lasswell Jr.

“Lexington Soldier, 26, is One of Three Killed by Bomb near Baghdad”

Sgt. Robert W. Ehney of Lexington was one of three soldiers killed after a homemade bomb hit an Army Humvee on Sunday near Taji, Iraq, northwest of Baghdad.

"He was proud to be a soldier and proud to serve his country," his father, William Ehney of Lexington, said last night. "But he was very concerned about the younger kids in the unit" and how they would handle combat.

Robert Ehney was 26.

The other two soldiers killed were Cpls. Jason B. Daniel of Fort Worth, Texas, and Shawn T. Lasswell Jr. of Reno, Nev., according to the Department of Defense. Both were 21.

When Ehney joined the Army at 23, several soldiers in basic training -- most of them 18 or 19 -- affectionately gave him the nickname "Pops," his father recalled.

Robert Ehney was the gunner in the Humvee filled with soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas.

This was Ehney's second tour in Iraq. His first began about three months after the war started, and he returned in December.

He took up target shooting as a boy and he continued as an adult, though he was not a hunter, his father said. He also enjoyed riding motorcycles, using computers and playing with his 4-year-old son, William Ehney said.

Robert Ehney attended Eagle Crest High School in Centennial, Colo. He left school but eventually earned his GED.

The family moved from Aurora, Colo., to Casper, Wyo., where Robert married at age 20. About nine months later, the Ehney family moved to Lexington.

Robert Ehney's first marriage ended in divorce, and he was engaged to be married again, his father said.

Ehney's father, mother and son were notified at their home Sunday night. He is also survived by his grandmother and sister.

"There were two soldiers (who came to the home), and you knew what they were there for," William Ehney said.

Quilting Again

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Or actually finishing some quilts which were started months ago! For me, the consumate INFP, the doing's the thing, not the getting done.

This quilt is a retirement gift for a long time colleague of mine at school. She is Jewish and so I wanted to choose a motif that speaks to this most important aspect of her life. Additionally, by creating an abstract representation of the Star of David, I was also able to very subtly emphasize one triangle over the other one, thus imposing upon the Jewish symbol a symbol of gayness. Both symbols which were brutally used by the Nazi's and both symbols which now represent more than ever a sense of pride and identification with community.

The fabrics are batiks. The dimensions are approximately 62" x 52".

Christmas Zebras

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
This is a baby quilt, called "Christmas Zebras". The black and white pattern around the boarder is faux zebra stripes and there are tons of little zebras within the 3 brightly colored "snail's trails" in the center. This quilt is headed for the firstborn son of my dearest friends. It's dimensions are approximately 48" x 38". This is an example of me taking a traditional pattern and doing something playful and perhaps a little wild with it.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

What I'm Re-Reading #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I first encountered the works of the German writer, Hermann Hesse, when I was in college. And this particular book has been a favorite of mine ever since.

There are moments in everyone's life when some incident or experience plants itself upon our brains in such a way as to never be forgotten. A memory whose recollection is always pleasent and welcome. Passages of SIDDHARTHA are among these sorts of memories that I hold dear.

And none more so than this exerpt from the first chapter, when we are introduced to the exceptional Siddhartha, and his faithful friend, Govinda.

“There was happiness in his father's heart because of his son who was intelligent and thirsty for knowledge; he saw him growing up to be a great learned man, a priest, a prince among Brahmins.

“There was pride in his mother's breast when she saw him walking, sitting down and rising: Siddhartha--strong, handsome, supple-limbed, greeting her with complete grace.

“Love stirred in the hearts of the young Brahmins' daughters when Siddhartha walked through the streets of the town, with his lofty brow, his king-like eyes and his slim figure.

“Govinda, his friend, the Brahmin's son, loved him more than anybody else. He loved Siddhartha's eyes and clear voice. he loved the way he walked, his complete grace of movement; he loved everything that Siddhartha did and said, and above all he loved his high vocation. Govinda knew that he would not become an ordinary Brahmin, a lazy sacrificial official, an avaricious dealer in magic sayings, a conceited worthless orator, a wicked sly priest, or just a good stupid sheep amongst a large herd. No, and he, Govinda, did not want to become any of these, not a Brahmin like ten thousand others of their kind. He wanted to follow Siddhartha, the beloved, the magnificent. And if he ever became a god, if he ever entered the All-Radiant, then Govinda wanted to follow him as his friend, his companion, his servant, his lance bearer, his shadow.

“That was how everybody loved Siddhartha. He delighted and made everybody happy.”

Now you know...I am really quite the "Romantic" at heart.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Thursday Morning Garden Moment

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
My neighbor has described my style as "wild," and the accusation translates for me into a compliment that I choose to describe as "natural." Here's an example: European Hawkweed (yellow), Virginia Blue Bells (blue), Variegated Ajuga (purple), and Azaleas (pink). The foliage of both wild geraniums and columbine are also present in the image.

So one man's "wild" is another's "natural!"

Our Latest American Hero #16

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
This one representative from the bloodiest month of the year, and one of the bloodiest of "war".....

Army Pfc. Joseph I. Love
22, of North Pole, Alaska; assigned to the 94th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy), 8th Sustainment Command (Theater), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; killed April 9 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during convoy operations in Balad, Iraq.

“Schofield ‘Son’ Liked Iraqi Kids”

Pfc. Joseph I. Love completed basic combat training in July, was assigned to Schofield Barracks that same month, and left for Iraq in December, Army officials said.

On Sunday, the 22-year-old became the first 84th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy) soldier to be killed in the brief time the unit has spent in the country.

Trained as a combat engineer, Love was serving in Bravo Company as a carpentry and masonry specialist. He died in Balad when a roadside bomb hit his Humvee during convoy operations, the Pentagon said.

Battalion commander Lt. Col. Mark Toy said in an e-mail that the loss reminded all how dangerous the mission remains in Iraq.

“I feel an enormous sense of loss, for in my heart, all of the soldiers in my unit are my sons and daughters as well,” Toy said. “My heart goes out to Joseph’s family during this tremendously difficult time.”

A memorial was held for the North Pole, Alaska, soldier on Monday at Logistics Support Area Anaconda north of Baghdad, where the battalion of nearly 500 soldiers is primarily based.

Love’s father told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner he was a little surprised by his son’s move to join the Army, but supported the decision.

The family kept in touch via e-mail. Love didn’t talk much about work, but commented on the Iraqi children he encountered.

“He liked to see the kids’ faces,” his stepmother, Nisha Harris-Fowler, told the newspaper. “He liked to see them smile.”

Love graduated from Fairbanks Youth Academy, an alternative school. His father told the News-Miner that part of the reason he joined the Army was to eventually attend college and study architecture.

Toy said Love will be remembered.

“We will never be the same without him, but through this tragedy we will grow stronger as a unit,” he said.

The battalion lost two soldiers on a 2004 deployment to Iraq. Staff Sgt. Oscar D. Vargas-Medina, 32, of Chicago, and Spc. Ramon C. Ojeda, 22, of Ramona, Calif., were killed on May 1 that year when their convoy came under attack.

What I'm Watching #18

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Looking at the DVD cover, remembering the advertisements, and the movie trailers...and you'd think you were in for non-stop slap-stick fun! Wrong!!!

This movie was nothing like I thought it would be, and in a way that was very refreshing. The serious outweighs the light-hearted. Yet fun and enjoyable hold equal status with harsh and bittersweet in the lexicon of adjectives that all aptly describe this film....this labor of love.

Take the risk. Be surprised. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Random Quote #47

"Thought is the essence of where you are now. You do understand the danger, don't you?"

~ Eric Menyuk "The Traveler"; Star Trek: Next Generation, episode #8, season 1 - "Where No One Has Gone Before"

When fiction and reality collide......

Sunday, April 23, 2006

What I'm Listening To #11

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Blessed Sunday to all.

Having slept much earlier and probably headed for a lazy sleep-in morning, I am none-the-less up and singing along with one of the most amazing gospel/bluegrass albums ever recorded. "Angel Band" by Emmylou Harris takes the most quintessential gospel songs and presents them with a clarity and sincerity that rivals any of the Jazz Songbooks assembled to honor Ella Fitzgerald's otherwise incomparible genius.

This is an album worth it's cost....priceless!

Baby, Won't You Light My Fire?

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
But seriously! Here's a story and a website worth checking out.

It all started when Mr. "196 & Dropping" a.k.a. Specialist James Rea had his cholesterol tested and discovered that it came in at a heart stopping 350+. His fellow fire fighters joined together and made a decision to go vegan together. In only 21 days, their imperilled friend dropped over 150 points on his cholesterol count.

The website is:

And if nothing else, they have posted some of their favorite recipes!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Gay Persians Seek Dignity

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I would recommend this website to you as a place of education and enlightenment.

And if your heart's as tender as mine can be -- still go, but take a box of kleenex with you.

Once there, clip on "English" and then

Next, I would suggest to you that the following links are particularly enlightening and hard to read: "Mehdi an Iranian Gay speaks out," "Place of Martyrdom," and "Amir was recognized as a refugee." Others are more directly hopeful: "Iranian Christian deportees get reprieve," and "Iranian Christian deportees get reprieve."

Friday, April 14, 2006

Tulips from my Gardens!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Art I'm Seeing #4

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I also toured the Frans van Mieris exhibit while I visited the National Gallery of Art, today.

Van Mieris (1635-1681) was a Dutch painter mainly of genre works and portraits. He studied under Gerritt Dou, and was a contemporary of Johannes Vermeer. The exhibit is a joint concoction between the National Gallery of Art and the Mauritshuis in the Netherlands. It's displayed in the three small galleries at the NGA known as the Dutch Cabinetry galleries. An intimate space that is just perfect for this show.

The works are relatively small, amazingly detailed, and full of rich technique and delightful imagery. Can you tell I'm a fan? Which kinda says something, as I'm that enamored with the painters from this place and period. Don't get me wrong, I have my favorites (Maes, Dou, Vermeer), but it's a rather exclusive club in the overall world of my artistic aesthetic. Today, add to it, Frans van Mieris.

Take the painting at hand. It's title "The Brothel". And this is just a detail from the whole painting. Looking at the technique you have an ability to portray fabric that is stunning. The light, the perspective, and the subjects: all symbiotic. And the subject...a brothel, hmmmm…two people otherwise engaged in playful conversation. So what confirms the brothel status? The dogs humping!, of course. When I noticed that, I laughed out loud -- to the chagrin a woman standing next to me, who proceeded to comment on my action to her husband in Dutch... I hope she didn't think I was ridiculing her countryman...because, in fact, I was thoroughly enjoying everything about him!

Art I'm Seeing #3

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Andy Goldsworthy is a Scottish artist who has this wonderful installation at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The domes are made of Slate from Alabama and they inhabit the former Japanese sculpture garden in the East Building. Their carefully crafted forms meld into each other, and when they encounter a barrier (a wall, a window) they seamlessly extend beyond it.

Goldsworthy uses organic or natural materials to explore universal and prototypical forms. The work is intensely intimate and meticulously crafted. This photo is taken from a second floor window looking down on the domes in the sculpture garden.

There is also a wonderful documentary about the artist titled; "Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides, Working with Time" which I recommend to you.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #15

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Army Spc. Dustin J. Harris, 21, of Patten, Maine; assigned to the 172nd Brigade Support Battalion, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; killed April 6 when an improvised device detonated while he was conducting dismounted patrol operations in Bayji, Iraq.

"Maine Mourns Young Soldier"

PATTEN, Maine — A 21-year-old soldier from Patten who enlisted in the Army following his high school graduation was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, officials said Friday.

Spc. Dustin James Harris from Fort Wainwright, Alaska, was on foot patrol Thursday with elements of the 101st Airborne Division in Bayji, 150 miles north of Baghdad, when the improvised explosive device detonated nearby, the Army said.

Word of Harris’ death spread quickly through this northern Penobscot County town and was confirmed by Gov. John Baldacci and members of the Maine congressional delegation.

Harris was a 2002 graduate of Katahdin High School in Stacyville, where his younger brother is a senior.

“He was just a wonderful young man and we’re going to miss him terribly,” said Principal Rae Bates, who remembered Harris as a good student and outstanding soccer player who was active in his church.

Bates said she had encouraged Harris to go on to college but he decided to join the military instead.

“I asked ‘are you sure you really want to do this?’ It was so soon after 9/11,” she recalled.

Harris’ grieving family said it was not prepared to talk about their son’s death at this time.

Baldacci’s office said flags will be ordered flown at half-staff on the day of Harris’ funeral.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Spc. Harris’ family during this difficult time,” said Baldacci. “James served his state and his nation honorably and all of Maine mourns his loss.”

No other soldiers were injured in the incident.

Harris was assigned the 172nd Brigade Support Battalion, which is part of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team stationed in Mosul.

Harris was a motor transport operator who joined the Army in July 2004. He was assigned to Fort Wainwright in February 2005.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Why are Pansies so oft maligned?

They are among the hardiest of all flowers! They withstand moderate and even cold winters. They boldly proclaim their presence with colors vibrant and proud. No wonder gay men are called "pansies!"

Here's a poem that I wrote under the inspiration of my window box of pansies some years ago.


Perched upon the pot
December darkness obscuring
the world beyond the flower box

where a warm season’s
waning toward the solstice
has preserved the residence

as though it were May
and each day’s new morning
a reason for hope.

And yet, resolute, their
ghostly forms stand erect
little lion faces peering out

into the pre-dawn dark
shaking determined heads
an empathic “no” in the cold breeze

while every other atom of their
pansy-being screams “yes!”
Yes!, to the cat (or the raccoon)

who sets off the automatic floodlights
when passing into the backyard
to scrounge in the compost;

yes!, to the flashes of light white and red
from tail- and head-lights off to early obligations
passing-by on the road below;

yes!, to the ancient sentinels—
flickering sequins in the newly
wintering night. And yes!,

yes!, to the simple joy of existence.

< randuwa


It was the occasion of my 41st birthday....seems like so long ago, now.

Senate Races 2006 Analysis #4

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
So far I've looked at 3 races:

Hawaii ~ 24 February 06
Virginia ~ 7 March 06
New Mexico ~ 4 April 06

And in all three I think the incubents will win. Montana is a different story.

Montana 2006 appears to be shaping up into a race worth watching. It's one of the 5 too close to call/pick-up seats that the Democrat Party is hoping to take in this year's midterms in November. Incumbent Republican senator Conrad Burns currently holds the seat. Senator Burns was first elected in 1988, and has served 3 terms thus far. Eighteen years is a long time in the senate, and frankly I doubt the average American would have a clue as to who Conrad Burns is. He seems to like life below the radar.

Yet, his low-key persona is being challenged by allegations that he conspired with indicted “uber”-lobbyist, Jack Abramov, to deliver votes in favor of Abramov's clients for certain financial “contributions”. The Dem's are portraying Burns as second only to Tom Delay of Texas in this corruption scandal. And who knows? With so many pigs squealing, anything could happen. The cloud around this is enough to make many Montanans sit up and take notice.

And whom do they have to notice on the other side? Two men are vying for the Democrat ticket: Jon Tester and John Morrison.

Both men have deep roots in Montana. Both men are traditional family men. Both men can claim the mantle of Farmer friendly--still an important constituency in this state. Of the two, Tester is the more progressive. He was a former music teacher before entering public office. His farm boasts organic agricultural practices as its evolving ethos. Morrison being more moderate is the apparent pick of the party apparatchik.

Both men post bios on their websites that read like an Abraham Lincoln log cabin great American story. Being more progressive, my heart is with Tester; but be that as it may, I will be cutting a check to support the winner of the primary.

From My Gardens

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I love what light does to flowers; especially the spring ones. The way it causes daffodils and jonquils, tulips and even irises to radiate -- not as one that reflects light like the moon, but like one that creates it like the sun.

This little clutch of daffodils brought another image to mind, as well: that of angels ascending. And from their my mind is ripe with connections. One was this snippet from a poem by the Polish poet, Anna Swir (1909-1984).

Lapsed into a silence in mid-move,
hushed in mid-breath,
to the very blood,
they listen with their bodies
to the sprouting on their shoulder blades
of the first little plume.

It is from her poem "Youngest Children of Angels" and this version was translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan. She's a wonderful poet, worth the dime and the time.

Our Latest American Hero #14

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
According to DoD press releases March was relatively low key month for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were only 38 casualties.... After the first 6 days of April they have announced the deaths of 19 soldiers.

Marine Cpl. Scott J. Procopio

20, of Saugus, Mass.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed April 2 while conducting combat operations in Anbar Province, Iraq. Also killed were: Lance Cpl. Jacob W. Beisel, Lance Cpl. Kun Y. Kim and Staff Sgt. Eric A. McIntosh.

“Fallen Saugus Marine Believed in Mission in Iraq”
By H. J. Collins ~ Lynn, Massachusetts “The Daily Item”

Marine Cpl. Scott Procopio was not registered to vote and he did not enlist nearly two years ago because of any political involvement.

Scott Procopio's brother, Michael, said after Scott's first tour in Iraq everything was clear to him.

"There is no doubt that Scott would tell you today that the job in Iraq has to be finished," Michael Procopio said Monday on the lawn of Town Hall about his 20-year-old brother who was killed Sunday. "Scott felt very strongly about what had to be done in Iraq and fully supported it. I used to pity anyone who had a different opinion about Iraq than my brother."

Procopio, a machine gunner, was killed when a roadside bomb detonated as the convoy he was with traveled about 40 miles from Baghdad. Procopio had returned to Iraq for his second tour less than three weeks ago.

Inside Town Hall in a display case is a flag that flew over Camp NAMA, Iraq, which was dedicated to the town by Air Force Reservist Michael Pietrantonio.

The certificate with the flag reads, "As this flag was flown, it symbolized the sovereign power of the United States of America and the unshakable resolve to keep our country safe."

The certificate ends with the quote by President Bush from March 15, 2002: "I realize we are fighting a ruthless group of murderers and we have no option - No Option! - but to hunt them by one. And that's exactly what we are going to do."

"Joining the military was never a dream for Scott, it was just something he wanted to do and he simply walked in the recruiting office and told them he wanted the Marines, and he wanted infantry," Michael Procopio said. "That was the way Scott did everything. If he was going to do something he would always do it to win and he always liked a challenge. That is why he picked the Marines and the infantry. That was the biggest challenge for him."

Scott Procopio was a 2003 graduate of Saugus High School and was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq. His first seven-month deployment ended last August. When he returned home he married Saugus resident Kristal (Cerbone).

"We are all extremely proud of Scott and the job needs to be finished," Michael Procopio said. "I lost my best friend. My brother. He gave his life for other people."

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What I'm watching from TV#1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
One of the most amazing and powerful TV series ever was "Homicide: Life on the Street". It was produced by award winning motion picture director, Barry Levinson, and it was shot largely in Baltimore, Maryland. It was a cop drama in which the cases, as compelling as they were, took a back seat to the relationships between the cops.

It broke new ground in so many ways, and it won widespread critical acclaim. I own the entire series. Tonight I popped in the disc with the first episodes for season 5. HLotS started off it's 5th year with a double episode centered on a hostage taking at a middle school.

People tell you that teachers are incompetent (a few probably are); but it doesn't jive with my overall experience. The teachers I know don't work for the pay (or the plethora of praise! -- as if...) Teachers work because they care. They care about children and the future. And we all want to create a future in which well-prepared children grow into adults who are competent and ready to reach their personal potentials.

And to that end we are tenacious. This double episode of HLotS highlights both the ends to which we will act, and the limits many of us will accept. Anne Meara's performance is utterly stellar!

Having recently spent 30 minutes in ignorance and silence on a stage with 6 colleagues and 150 students mutely cowering in darkness under the call of Code Red, I can somewhat relate. And all I thought at the time was how I was going to use my body to subdue, confuse, and buy time for the evacuation, or these children should someone enter the room with intent to do harm.

Afterwards I was not surprised to discover that all of the other adults on that stage where thinking the exact same thing.

Praise be to this episode, to this TV show, and to Anne Meara, for showing us as we are.

One Nation....With Liberty And Justice For All

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Stand up America. Visit Senator Tom Harkin's website, and sign the petition requesting Senators to support Senator Russ Feingold's censure of President Bush.

Let's show these spineless wonders that we "have their backs".

Thursday, April 06, 2006

What I'm Watching #17

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
And I am watching again! This Argentine film in the genre of "The Sixth Sense" is thoroughly enjoyable. The director makes the most of the artificial and indirect light of the night. The tail is one of life versus death in one night among the denizens who inhabit the streets, restaurants, hotels, cabs of Buenos Aries.

And there is one PG-13 rated sex scene between Gonzalo Heredia (in the image) and Rafael Ferro that's worth the price of admission.

Definitely 3.5...NO 4 stars!, out of 5.

Random Quote #46

"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up."

~ James A. Baldwin, 1924-1987

Our Latest American Hero #13

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Would that it was only 13...and not 2,610 confirmed dead in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Hernandez
47, of Silver Spring, Md.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 318th Regiment, 1st Brigade, 80th Division (Institutional Training), Army Reserve, Fort Meade, Md.; killed March 28 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Taquaddum, Iraq.

"Prince George’s Police Officer Killed in Iraq"

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — A Prince George’s County police officer was killed by an explosive device Tuesday in Iraq, authorities said.

Cpl. Robert Hernandez, a 10-year veteran of the police department, was traveling in a convoy at the time of the blast, police said. He had been stationed in Iraq since summer as a staff sergeant in the Army Reserves.

Further details of his death were not immediately available.

“I’m heartbroken by this loss,” County Executive Jack Johnson said in a statement Wednesday. “It is a tragic loss for our county and the nation.”

Chief Melvin High said the department was hit hard.

“As a police chief, this is an emotional time for me,” High said. “We are a close-knit family.”

Hernandez, 48, who previously worked as an officer in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore and Puerto Rico, was remembered as a hardworking man who won the respect of his fellow officers.

Hernandez joined Prince George’s County police partly because he thought the department needed more Spanish-speaking officers, said Assistant Police Chief Roberto Hylton, who helped recruit him.

He spent his first six years on the force working in the Hyattsville area, which has the county’s highest concentration of Spanish-speaking residents. He also mentored children at an elementary school, said Sgt. Robert Connell Sr., who supervised him for two years.

In 2000, his squad won a citation for organizing care packages for victims of hunger in Mozambique.

Hernandez also was praised for his work as a field training officer, in which he helped new officers graduating from the police academy.

“Those officers have since gone on to become productive members of this department and valued members of this community, and that was a direct result of the lessons they learned from Cpl. Hernandez,” said Maj. Michael Blow.

Officer Kevin Sparks, who was trained by Hernandez, said the 24-year military veteran wanted to go to Iraq and was frustrated that he was not deployed sooner. If anyone could handle himself there, Sparks said, it was Hernandez.

“He always emphasized safety,” Sparks said. “He always said, ‘I want to make sure everyone goes home.”’

Hernandez is survived by his fiancee and three children, ages 8, 18 and 21. One of his sons is also in the Army Reserve, police said. His parents and other relatives live in Puerto Rico.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What I'm Watching #16

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Or perhaps this is the beginning of a new strain? "What I'm NOT Watching #1"!

This movie simply put sucks. The acting matches the script and completely melds with the direction---may everyone involved find a job a Wal-mart! Pronto!

I haven't even a hope of recouping my cost on ebay! "tla releasing," what were you thinking!?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Senate Races 2006 Analysis #3

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
New Mexico is an amazing place. Stark yet stunning as geology rules over vegetation. In 2006, incumbent senator, Jeff Bingham (D) is seeking re-election.

According to "Roll Call" the magazine of the US Congress, his bid is a sure thing. So far the republicans have fostered a variety of candidates...the latest 4 of which appear in this blog. Their primary will winnow down the field to the loser, a mon avis.

While Senator Bingham is no shining star in the US Congress, he's also a straight enough shooter to stay out of trouble nationally and deliver the goods locally. I would like to see him be more aggressive in promoting progressive ideas and initiatives....but I'm realistic enough to be thankful for a senatorial seat and vote that the Republicans are not pursing and the electorate feels satisfied enough to validate in the 2006 election.

What I'm Watching #15

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Dorian Blues has the feel of a gay "Garden State" without the completely lush production values. As I struggled for a quip to encapsulate its essence, I came up with "a brother movie."

And that's the heart of this film. Two brothers (gay/straight) growing up under the thumb of an oppressive father and having a sense of love and honesty between themselves (honest yet imperfect) that is strong enough to endure the father's cruelty and the mother's seeming indifference.

There are also some delightful twists: The night with the hooker that turns into a dance lesson, and the visit to the gay bar in which the straight brother discovers the presence of his peers.

It's 88 minutes well spent no matter how you slice it!

Recommended Reading

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
The other day in the staff lounge, I was asked what magazines I read. What a delightful (and insightful) question. The answer was even interesting to myself as I pondered it's implications.

My answer in order of subscription longevity:

1) Fine Gardening
2) American Patchwork & Quilting
3) Poetry
4) Art in America
5) Virginia Quarterly Review
6) The New Yorker
7) The Gay & Lesbian Review of Harvard University.
8) Envio: A Monthly Magazine of analysis on Central America

I will commend all of these to you. They are thought provoking for the most part -- the quilting mag is purely inspirational.

In particular I have high kudus for VQR. It used to be a run of the mill university literary rag, decidedly B-list! And then they got a new editor and POW! Among its peers, it's the best bang for the buck out there, now: A++++. The current issue deals largely with Darwin and his work versus the psuedo-science of "Intelligent Design". (Why Fundimentalist Christians would ever choose to embrace an idea so ensconced in Deism is beyond me on any level. Are their movers and thinkers honestly convinced that Creationism is a lie? Or are they as opportunist and swindling as so many others (Tom Delay!) in their midst as to promote any idea that will allow them to deceive and corrupt as many others as possible---is this the face of the NEW evangelism?

But I digress, check out VQR. Your mind won't be disappointed!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Is Pornography Damaging Your Brain?

From an AP article by David Crary posted on AOL:

"A tracking firm, comScore Media Metrix, says about 40 percent of Internet users in the United States visit adult sites each month. "The Internet is the perfect delivery system for anti-social behavior -- it's free, it's piped into your house," says Mary Anne Layden, a psychologist and addiction expert...."

A poll on AOL has received 12,806 votes and the public thinks 64% NO it doesn't, and 36% YES it does. In the midst of our facist government, a ray of hope.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

What I'm Watching #14

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
This will be called my cinema phase! And unlike my sexuality, it will probably actually be a phase!

"The Sum of Us" adapted from a stage play is a wonderful and complex movie. The first major film with Russel Crow, and yet the run-away performance is by the actor who plays his father, Jack Thompson. Utterly Aussie, great production values. A must see. Heart-warming and real. A great way to spend the wee hours of a Saturday morning!