Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Don't Ask Don't Tell Won't Save Your Ass....

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"Ties To Gay Choir Cost Music Director His Job"

Having a church music director who also led a gay men’s chorus did not sit well with some parishioners at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Roeland Park, Kansas.

So they asked the pastor to remove Joe Nadeau from his church post.

Nadeau’s last day leading the music for the church’s worship services was May 21.

He says he was asked to leave because he denied the pastor’s request to stop leading the Heartland Men’s Chorus, to say he would be celibate, and state that he agreed with church teaching that homosexuality is a disorder.

The pastor, Monsignor Gary Applegate, won’t discuss what happened.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #22

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Isn't even an American.....

"Two Members of CBS Crew Killed, One Critically Wounded and Clinging to Life"

Two members of a CBS News team, veteran cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, and soundman James Brolan, 42, were killed and correspondent Kimberly Dozier, 39, was seriously injured Monday when the U.S. Army unit in which they were embedded was attacked.

A U.S. soldier was also killed in the attack, and six others were wounded.

The CBS crew was on a patrol with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, when their convoy was hit. They were reporting a "routine" story, covering American troops for Memorial Day. The trio was only planning to be out for a few hours, in order to get back to the CBS Baghdad bureau in time to edit their piece.

Dozier, Douglas and Brolan got out of their armored vehicle in the Karada neighborhood of Baghdad when the U.S. troops they accompanied stopped to inspect a checkpoint manned by the Iraqi army. That's when a nearby car packed with explosives detonated. Douglas and Brolan died at the scene.

Dozier sustained serious injuries and was flown to a U.S. military hospital inside Baghada's Green Zone, where she underwent surgery. She is in critical condition, but doctors are cautiously optimistic about her prognosis.

The attack was among a wave of car and roadside bombs that left about three dozen people dead before noon Monday, including one explosion that killed 10 people on a bus. Nearly all the attacks occurred in Baghdad.

"This is a devastating loss for CBS News," said Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports, in a CBS statement. "Kimberly, Paul and James were veterans of war coverage who proved their bravery and dedication every single day. They always volunteered for dangerous assignments and were invaluable in our attempt to report the news to the American public."

"Our deepest sympathy goes out to the families of Paul and James, and we are hoping and praying for a complete recovery by Kimberly. Countless men and women put their lives on the line, day in and day out, in Iraq and other dangerous spots around the world, and they deserve our utmost respect and gratitude for the work they do," McManus said.

Douglas, 48, had worked for CBS News in many countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Rwanda and Bosnia, since the early 1990s. He leaves behind a wife, two daughters and three grandchildren.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

What I'm Watching #21

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
This 2000 film from Japan was an interesting story about a boy sent to an orphanage after the death of his father. It explores the themes of adolesent angst, the possibility of a reality beyond this life, and the domestic terrorism movement in Japan in the mid-1970's. All of these themes seem to be treated sincerely, if sophomorically.

And so I am completely flumuxed by the design treatment of the DVD cover! Clearly the designer is GAY. Probably a fan of the whole Godzilla ouvre. And completely out of touch with the sensibility of the actual movie! Okay, it's schmaltzie and melodramatic, but it never crosses the line into "Camp". On most levels it promises much more than it can deliver, and on others, it provides sweet little moments to endear it to one's heart.

Random Quote #50

"Of all the sexual aberrations, perhaps the most peculiar is chastity."

~ Remy De Gourmont, 1858-1915

What I'm Listening To #12

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
My he get's better with every album. Paul Simon's insightful and artful lyrics are only the tip of his genius. "Surprise" is nothing less than welcome.

Certainly no track is more amazing than "Once Upon A Time There Was An Ocean." If you enjoyed "Graceland" and "Rythym of the Saints," you'll most likely revel in this latest gift from Mr. Simon.

"The light through the stained glass was cobalt and red.
And the frayed cuffs and collars were mended by haloes of golden thread.
The choir sang, "Once Upon A Time There Was An Ocean."
And all the old hymns and family names came fluttering down as leaves of emotion.
As nothing is different, but everything's changed...."

Stanley Kunitz Has Died

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
On May 14, 2006 to be exact. He was living in his 101st year of life at the time.

For those who do not know, Stanley Kunitz was an American treasure, and his poems will remain our gift in his absence.

I had the privilege to hear him read at the Folger Library back in 2000. Before the event, my ex- and I went to an eccentric little Capitol Hill Restaurant, Thai Roma's, for dinner. And to our delight, Mr. Kunitz, his chaperone from the Folger and his young niece chose the same place for dinner.

To this day I regret not picking up the check for them....especially after being so entertained by his consternation over the staff's inability to get his martini order right. No doubt a result of the fact that they were employed by a Thai-Italian restaurant!

The evening at the Folger was delightful, and Mr. Kunitz will be sorely missed. At the risk of a law-suit, I offer you this sample:


Miss Murphy in first grade
wrote its name in chalk
across the board and told us
it was roaring down the stormtracks
of the Milky Way at frightful speed
and if it wandered off its course
and smashed into the earth
there'd be no school tomorrow.
A red-bearded preacher from the hills
with a wild look in his eyes
stood in the public square
at the playground's edge
proclaiming he was sent by God
to save every one of us,
even the little children.
"Repent, ye sinners!" he shouted,
waving his hand-lettered sign.
At supper I felt sad to think
that it was probably
the last meal I'd share
with my mother and my sisters;
but I felt excited too
and scarcely touched my plate.
So mother scolded me
and sent me early to my room.
The whole family's asleep
except for me. They never heard me steal
into the stairwell hall and climb
the ladder to the fresh night air.
Look for me, Father, on the roof
of the red brick building
at the foot of Green Street—
that's where we live, you know, on the top floor.
I'm the boy in the white flannel gown
sprawled on this coarse gravel bed
searching the starry sky,
waiting for the world to end.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

So, What IS Gay?

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
This cyber advert from New Zealand will give you a crash course!


but skip it if you are language sensitive....

Advocate of Freedom of Expression Dies

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
His name was Andrew Martinez, but most people called him the "Nude Guy." Andrew Martinez, 33, died on Thursday, May 18 while incarcerated at the Santa Clara County jail. He had been held there since January 10 on charges of battery and assault with a deadly weapon. His death is being investigated, but appears to be a suicide.

In the early 1990's, Martinez pushed the limits of the University of California at Berkeley's reputation as a bastian of liberal and progressive ideas when he proposed to attend class 'au naturale' as a statement of freedom of expression. The university was not amused. The tug-of-war continued into the following year when the university revised its code of conduct to ban naked students from attending class, and Martinez was expelled. His initial action led to a semester of sporadic nudity on campus, as well as, the city of Berkeley passing a city ordinance against public nudity.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend 2006

IS a great time to be in New York City. And here are just 3 reasons why!

Reason #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
It's "Fleet Week" in the city. Thousands of lonely (horny) sailors are let loose on the "Big Apple" each looking to take a bite.

Reason #2

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Lot's of Gay "cowboys" trying to Back Mount and end up Broke!

Reason #3

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Gay Rugby! It's the annual Bingham Cup tournament of Gay Rugby.

For more information, go to:

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Random Quote #49

This one's a little different. It comes with a recent scenario (so it's not that "random" after all.....)

On March 1st, 2006 in Annapolis, Maryland at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit civil marriage equality, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at American University, was requested to testify before the Maryland State Senate. He did so.

At the end of his testimony, a highly reactionary Senator Nancy Jacobs ( R ) asked:

"Mr Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man & a woman. What do you have to say about that?"

Raskin replied:

"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn't place your hand on the Constitution and swore to uphold the Bible."

The room erupted into applause.

Our Latest American Hero #21

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
May is quickly turning into as bloody a month as April for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and tonight one Minnesota family has been asked to bear the unbearable. My prayers are spinning outward for each of them.

Marine Lance Cpl. Robert G. Posivio III, 22, of Sherburn, Minn.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed May 23 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Anbar province, Iraq. Also killed was Pfc. Steven W. Freund.

"Soldier Is Second Brother To Die In Family"

SHERBURN, Minn. — A Marine from the southern Minnesota town of Sherburn was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, a spokesman for the family said Wednesday.

Lance Cpl. Robert Posivio III died Tuesday while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in the Al Anbar Province, said Tom Hawkins, Posivio’s godfather.

Hawkins said Posivio was a passenger in a high mobility multipurpose vehicle that was hit by an improvised explosive device.

Posivio, 22, the son of Robert Posivio Jr. and Patti Posivio of rural Sherburn, had been recently sent back into combat after being injured in a mortar attack on April 13. His unit came under fire in Al Anbar Province near Fallujah and suffered two deaths in the earlier attack.

About three weeks after that attack, Posivio’s mother told the Sentinel of Fairmont that her son had suffered a severe concussion and shrapnel wounds. She said one of the Marines who was killed then, Lance Cpl. Stephen Perez, died while saving Posivio’s life.

A photo posted on a Marine Corps Web site shows Posivio kneeling before a memorial made from a helmet resting on a rifle with a set of identification tags and a pair of combat boots during a memorial service for Perez on April 28 at Camp Fallujah in Iraq.

Patti Posivio told the Sentinel her son was sent back into the field on April 30, and that the family didn’t expect they’d hear back from him until the end of May.

She said Posivio joined the Marines four years ago right out of high school, and that he was in his third tour of duty in Iraq. He was due to be discharged July 28.

The loss is the second in two years for the Posivio family. Robert Posivio’s younger brother, Daniel, 19, was killed in a car accident in July 2004 while on leave from the U.S. Navy.

Is nothing sacred?

Is nothing sacred?
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
US Postage Stamps are to become the newest bill boards for corporate logos....alas. And as Rachel Maddow observed on her radio show, can money be far behind?

This from the Washington Post:

"Stamps to Become a Marketing Vehicle"
By Caroline E. Mayer
Wednesday, May 24, 2006; Page D01

Advertising might soon be pushing the envelope.

The U.S. Postal Service is allowing companies to create their own branded stamps for first-class mail. Instead of flags, you can expect to see a company logo; instead of photos of famous Americans, you might see pictures of your local real estate agent.

It is a test, part of an effort to reverse the decline in first-class mailings. As USPS spokeswoman Joanne Veto said, "We want to make mail more interesting to consumers."

The first company to buy in is Hewlett-Packard, which is using its corporate logo and pictures from its early days -- including founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard -- on mail sent to customers and partners.

"HP views this as an opportunity to extend the brand," said Gary Elliott, vice president of brand marketing in a statement. "It is a new 'brand canvas.' " The cost can be as little as 10 cents extra per stamp. The money goes to vendors who manufacture the stamps.

For the past year, consumers have been able to create personal stamps, with pictures of babies, pets and other loved ones, for about twice the cost of a regular stamp. But advertising was barred from stamps until earlier this year when Congress overturned a 19th-century law barring commercial images on stamps.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"Chasin' The Clouds Away..."

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
It starts with "Sunny Day!" on Seasame Street and ends up with a cutting edge musical bringing to light the state of queer America just off of Broadway. The show is called, "Avenue Q" and it's creator, Jeff Whitty, has written a letter to the current host of the Tonight Show, Jay Leno. It's an open letter, so I freely share it here.

April 20th, 2006

Dear Mr. Leno,

My name is Jeff Whitty. I live in New York City. I'm a playwright and the author of Avenue Q, which is a musical currently running on Broadway. I've been watching your show a bit, and I'd like to make an observation:

When you think of gay people, it's funny. They're funny folks. They wear leather. They like Judy Garland. They like disco music. They're sort of like Stepin Fetchit as channeled by Richard Simmons.

Gay people, to you, are great material.

Mr. Leno, let me share with you my view of gay people:

When I think of gay people, I think of the gay news anchor who took a tire iron to the head several times when he was vacationing in St. Martin. I think of my friend who was visiting Hamburger Mary's, a gay restaurant in Las Vegas, when a bigot threw a smoke bomb filled with toxic chemicals into the restaurant, leaving the staff and gay clientele coughing, puking, and running in terror. I think of visiting my gay friends at their house in the country, sitting outside for dinner, and hearing, within hundreds of feet of where we sat, taunting voices yelling "Faggots." I think of hugging my boyfriend goodbye for the day on 8th Avenue in Manhattan and being mocked and taunted by passing high school students.

When I think of gay people, I think of suicide. I think of a countless list of people who took their own lives because the world was so toxically hostile to them. Because of the deathly climate of the closet, we will never be able to count them. You think gay people are great material. I think of a silent holocaust that continues to this day. I think of a silent holocaust that is perpetuated by people like you, who seek to minimize us and make fun of us and who I suspect really, fundamentally wish we would just go away.

When I think of gay people, I think of a brave group that has made tremendous contributions to society, in arts, letters, science, philosophy, and politics. I think of some of the most hilarious people I know. I think of a group that has served as a cultural guardian for an ungrateful and ignorant America.

I think of a group of people who have undergone a brave act of inventing themselves. Every single out-of-the-closet gay person has had to say, "I am not part of mainstream society." Mr. Leno, that takes bigger balls than stepping out in front of TV-watching America every night. I daresay I suspect it takes bigger balls to come out of the closet than anything you have ever done in your life.

I know you know gay people, Mr. Leno. Are they just jokes to you, to be snickered at behind their backs? Despite the angry tenor of my letter, I suspect you're a better man than that. I don't bother writing letters to the "God Hates Fags" people, or Donald Wildmon, or the pope. But I think you can do better. I know it's The Tonight Show, not a White House press conference, but you reach a lot of people.

I caught your show when you had a tired mockery of Brokeback Mountain, involving something about a horse done up in what you consider a "gay" way. Man, that's dated. I turned the television off and felt pretty fucking depressed. And now I understand your gay-baiting jokes have continued.

Mr. Leno, I have a sense of humor. It's my livelihood. And being gay has many hilarious aspects to it -- none of which, I suspect, you understand. I'm tired of people like you. When I think of gay people, I think of centuries of suffering. I think of really, really good people who've been gravely mistreated for a long time now.

You've got to cut it out, Jay.

Jeff Whitty
New York, N.Y.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Random Quote #48

"Fascism will come to America wrapped in a flag and bearing a cross."

~ Sinclair Lewis, 1885-1951

Monday, May 22, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #20

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Marine Lance Cpl. Hatak Yuka Keyu M. Yearby, 21, of Overbrook, Okla.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; killed May 14 while conducting combat operations in the Anbar province, Iraq.

“Three Kane'ohe Bay Marines Killed”

In the first two months of its deployment to Iraq, the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment had lost three Marines out of its 1,000-member unit.

That number has doubled over the past five days.

Two Marines were killed Sunday while conducting combat operations, and a third was killed Friday in a "nonhostile" incident, the Pentagon said yesterday.

Lance Cpl. Jose S. Marin-Dominguez Jr., 22, of Liberal, Kansas, and Lance Cpl. Hatak Yuka Keyu M. Yearby, 21, of Overbrook, Okla., died while conducting combat operations in western Iraq.

Lance Cpl. Adam C. Conboy, 21, of Philadelphia, was killed by nonhostile fire, Conboy's mother said....

News of the three deaths came as about 200 Marines with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment from Kane'ohe Bay were expected to arrive home last night after five months in Afghanistan.

"As joyous as it is with our Marines coming home from Afghanistan, we still need to remember the three Marines that were lost this weekend and their families. They will be with us in our thoughts and prayers," said 2nd Lt. Binford Strickland, a base spokesman.

Yearby's family told KTEN TV in Oklahoma that he was a Native American dancer who performed around the world. They were notified early Sunday morning that his Humvee had struck a land mine.

Yearby was a warehouse clerk. He had joined the Marines in May of last year and reported to Hawai'i in October.

On a myspace.com account, Yearby described himself as a 5-foot-7, athletic Native American. Under a heading for children, he wrote, "some day." He said his interests were fishing, camping, spending time with his wife, family and friends. He listed his mother and father as his "heroes."

On May 11, three days before he died, his wife, Lindsey, wrote on the Web site: "Hey, baby ... can you believe that we have been married for 3 months and 1 day!!! I am soo happy you are in my life ... I can't wait for you to come home!!! I love you hubby!!!"

Above that, in an entry dated yesterday, a friend named Cody said, "Hey man, we had great times, parties at the river and even fun at work ... you will be missed greatly man. I'm sorry I didn't go with you. God man, I am so sorry. Please forgive me."

It's No Wonder

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Why I love "The New Yorker". It always cuts to the chase. We live in a world where WATER is far more precious than OIL.

Let's talk.....

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Move over Mr. Data!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Meet EveR1. South Korea's newest cyber citizen. The article that accompanies this image explains:

"She can hold a conversation, make eye contact, and express joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness."

She is the creation of Baeg Moon-hong, a senior researcher with the Division for Applied Robot Technology at the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH). The science may not be enough to get an android, let alone a woman, on the moon, but it does continue to remind us that we are not alone. And tomorrow's leaders are coming from places like South Korea, India, and South Africa, places formly dismissed at merely third world.

We should spend more of our resources on preparing for the future and less on sustaining the present and vindicating the past.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Road Rage is On The Map

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
As someone who commutes daily for about 2 hours round trip on roads ranging from residential streets to 12 lane interstates and beltways, I found this survey of road rage at the least interesting. Though I am ALWAYS a skilled and courteious driver (ask anyone who has ever ridden with me....my ex- excluded!) [btw Mr. J, that's a joke....], I have seen my fair share of aggressive and mean-spirited events on the highways.

And where are things the worst? Miami, Florida.

Followed by in descending order: Phoenix, Arizona; New York, New York; Los Angeles, California; Boston, Massachusetts, and at Number 6, my own: Washington DC/Baltimore, Maryland. And who of the top 20 cities ended up with the least incidents? Minneapolis, Minnesota. And I can attest that while driving around there in my rented car on my one only visit to the Twin Cities, I was treated with great deference while missing one turn after another....

Other "nice" cities to drive in include: Nashville, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; Seattle, Washington; and Atlanta, Georgia.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #19

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Army Pfc. Brian M. Moquin Jr., 19, of Worcester, Mass.; assigned to the 71st Cavalry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum N.Y.; died May 5 when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter he was traveling on crashed during combat operations east of Abad, Afghanistan, in the Kunar province. Also killed were: Spc. David N. Timmons Jr., Spc. Justin L. O’Donohoe, Sgt. Jeffery S. Wiekamp, Sgt. John C. Griffith, Sgt. Bryan A. Brewster, Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Howick, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher B. Donaldson, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eric W. Totten and Lt. Col. Joseph J. Fenty.

"Worcester Soldier Was ‘Too Young’ To Die, Says Mom"

Associated Press

WORCESTER, Mass. — A 19-year-old Worcester man was among 10 soldiers killed when their helicopter crashed during combat operations in eastern Afghanistan last week, the Army announced Wednesday.

Pfc. Brian M. Moquin Jr. died Friday in the remote mountains of Kunar Province, Afghanistan, after the CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter crashed while on a mission to find al-Qaida and Taliban militants believed to be hiding in the rugged terrain near the border with Pakistan.

Army officials said the helicopter was conducting operations on a mountaintop landing zone when it fell into a ravine. All 10 soldiers aboard the helicopter were killed.

Military officials said the helicopter was not downed by hostile fire. An investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing, Julie Curren, a spokeswoman for the Army, said Wednesday.

Moquin’s mother, Tracy Vaillancourt, said she was in Chicago on a business trip Sunday morning when an Army officer called her on her cell phone and told her of the death of her only child.

“He was too young,” Vaillancourt told the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester. “He just wanted to do something to make everybody proud. I’m very proud of him.”

Vaillancourt said that from a young age, her son had expressed interest in joining the military.

Moquin enlisted in the Army in March 2005 and attended basic training at Fort Knox, Ky.

He was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division in August and deployed to Afghanistan in February.

Moquin had received numerous military awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal and Combat Action Badge.

Can You Hear Me Now?

This from a friend on the eastern shore of Maryland:

"I just called Verizon and asked the hapless service representative if my telephone records had been turned over to the NSA. He responded by reading an email he had just received from headquarters. Needless to say, it said nothing. So, I asked him to send me a copy of their Privacy Policy. He put me on hold while he talked to his supervisor. He reported that Verizon did not have one.

While I was on hold, a voice said repeatedly: "Privacy is your right and our responsibility." 1984 has officially arrived; welcome.

If you would also like to inquire about your own telephone records, the Verizon number is 410-954-6260."

To paraphase the Bible: "When a FREE people lack an understanding of the Constitution, they perish....."

Saturday, May 13, 2006

We Could Learn A Thing Or Two From Our Supposed "Enemies"

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
In a time when the United States is in a record breaking decline in prestiege and good will among the nations of the world, Hugo Chávez's government in Venezuela sets but one example of how a benevolent people seek to foster goodwill among the nations. This from "Envío," a monthly periodical of Central American political news and analysis.


The Government of Venezuela announced on March 10 that it is bringing its "Miracle Mission" to Nicaragua. Over the next ten years, this initiative will provide free operations in both Venezuela and Cuba for cases of reversible blindness, particularly as a result of cataracts. Nicaragua has an estimated 30,000 blind people, 18,000 of whom have a reversible condition. The Venezuelan program aims to treat between 100 and 200 cases a month, chosen by the Naitonal Ophthalmology Center and prioritizing those least able to pay. While the cost of cataract operations in a private Nicaraguan clinic ranges between $800 and $1,200, those selected for the "miracle" will pay nothing: not only will the operation and follow-up treatment be free, but so will the travel and lodging for the patient, and even a companion, if necessary.

The initiative.... Hugo Chávez's government hopes will create bonds among Latin American countries that extend beyond mere trade. The "Miracle Mission" is already operating in 11 countries. Its overall goal is to return their sight to six million people by 2016.

At the same time the United States sent former UN Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick to Nicaragua to pontificate on the up-coming presidential election, pointing Nicaraguans toward the candidate that favors US policies. A message of intimidation, not lost on the people of Nicaragua. This on the cusp of a very contentious legislative session in which every single law crafted by the Bush Administration to satisfy the requirements of CAFTA were passed by an ultimately limp rag congress. The results of which will only benefit the richest and most powerful agricultural interests in the country -- A country in which even the most specialized Doctor makes a mere $500 per month (one third of the salary that a comparably trained and experience physician could earn in Malawi, for instance!) And we wonder why they dislike our government......

Friday, May 12, 2006

Princes Now & Then

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
While fiddling on the web, I ran across this sweet image of the Princes Harry and William of England. After seeing their images spred taudry upon the grocery store tabloid racks earlier in the day, it was just nice to find them in a simple yet dignified moment.

One is tempted to think "Poor boys" when contemplating the hounding by a snoopy paparatzi that has marked their entire lives.

And then I recalled the memory of a painting by Hippolyte (Paul) Delroche, 1797-1856 that I first discovered at the National Gallery in London. It depicts the young princes Edward V and Charles, Duke of York cowering in their captivity in the Tower of London. They find comfort in the Bible open upon Edward's lap, but no reprieve awaited them. Both were murdered in that tower.

So...Paparatzi vs political assassination? .... well, I guess Harry and William don't have it so bad after all.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Little Orange Houses For You And Me?

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Or as one blogger quipped, "If you paint it....they will come."

I love this story of grassroots activism from the Motor City. I grew up very near to Detroit and of all the American cities that experienced the race riots in the summer of 1968, none remains as devistated as Detroit. My last visit was in the autumn of 2004, and after 36 years the decay, the abandoned homes, and the mantle of hoplessness remained present and tangible.

Enter a few creative people who are fed up, add some Tiggerriffic Orange paint from the Disney line at Home Depot, and voila! These folks repaint condemned homes in a glaring, in your face, vermillion, and the city is shamed into finally demolishing them.

Bye bye crack house, bye bye rat nest, hello Hope.

Many cities which faced the exodus of both industry and people in the latter decades of the 20th century have found a new focus and prosperity in the ought days of the 21st century. Places that quickly come to mind include both Cleveland and my own Washington, DC. Others are moving in the right direction, cities like Chicago and Pittsburgh. But my dear Detroit inspite of many valiant efforts lags...somehow on some profound level still stuck in the shadows of the flames of the summer of '68. May these urban-renewers find a degree of success that has eluded the political power brokers. And may their successes form a foundation for real renewal...the kind that not only transforms lots and buildings, but inspires people to achieve and succeed.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

www.bettybowers.com - America's Best Christian!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
And how do you spell satire? I spell it: B - E - T - T - Y (space) B - O - W - E - R - S.

This is simply cutting edge and relevant humor that anyone who still believes in the Constitution would find, if not hilarious, at least worthy of protecting.

Under the Ministries link we have America's Best Christian sponsoring the following:

B.A.S.H. = Baptists Are Saving Homosexuals (ex-gay ministry)

B.L.A.M.E. = Baptist Ladies Against Media Entertainers

T.R.A.S.H. = Traditional-families Raging Against Sluts & Homos

B.I.T.C.H. = Bringing Integrity To Christian Homemakers

P.R.U.D.E.S. = Patriotic Republicans Unciously Dressing Erotic Statues

And, of course, her latest endeavor: Mrs. Betty Bowers Christian Crack Whore Ministry.

O, mon cher, the next time you need a "tickle box repair" seek a higher power. Place your happiness in the generous arms of Mrs. Betty Bowers: AMERICA'S BEST CHRISTIAN!

Remember, that's www.bettybowers.com Opportunities (to LAUGH) are standing by.....

What I'm Watching #20

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I have a special place in my heart for movies that employ young actors in cutting edge performances. "Central Station," "The Whale Rider," "Stand By Me," and "Billy Elliot" all come quickly to mind. So the standout aspect of this intense and understated film is the perfomance of the "Mudge Boy" himself, Emile Hirsch, as 14 year old Duncan Mudge. An awkward and confused adolescent struggling to find himself and his place in this world in the wake of his mother's sudden death.

In essence the story is about masculinity. About men and boys who are confused and disfunctional. It's about the ways that these males interact emotionally, physically, sexually, and ultimately intuitively with one another. This is not an easy film to experience, and that is it's greatest praise.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #18

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
If only we had but 18 heros to thank. This theme of my blog is only meant to present a few of the men and women who have given their lives in our behalf in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Truth be told, 22 men have died since the first of May in this war without end...

Marine Capt. Brian S. Letendre, 27, of Woodbridge, Va.; assigned to the Marine Forces Reserve’s Inspector and Instructor Staff, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Plainville, Conn.; killed May 3 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Anbar province, Iraq.

“Virginia Marine Killed In Iraq”

A U.S. Marine from northern Virginia has died in Iraq this week, the Defense Department announced Friday.

Capt. Brian S. Letendre, 27, of Woodbridge, Va., was stationed in Plainville, Conn., with the 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment of the 4th Marine Division. He died Wednesday in combat operations against enemy forces in Al Anbar province, military officials said.

Letendre was killed when a a suicide vehicle exploded near him, his family said. It was his second tour of duty in Iraq.

"He wasn't ordered to go back to Iraq for another combat tour, and his unit was not going to deploy there, but he selflessly and courageously volunteered to go help train the Iraqi forces," his family said in a prepared statement.

"Brian just didn't feel right being back here in the U.S. while other Marines were serving overseas, and wanted to get back to the front lines as soon as he could," the statement read.

Letendre was born in California and raised in Woodbridge, where he graduated from Potomac High School in 1996.

He joined the Marines in 2000 after graduating from Milligan College in Tennessee. After completing training, he chose to become an infantry officer. Before serving in Iraq, Letendre was deployed in Okinawa and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He first went to Iraq as part of the initial invasion in 2003 and earned the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a Combat "V" for valor. Letendre returned to train Iraqi forces about three weeks ago, his family said.

His survivors include his wife, Autumn, his 3-year-old son Dillon, his parents, and two brothers.

He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

What I'm Watching #19

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"Stupid Boy" is a relatively new French film about the coming of age of a protected, spoiled, limited young gay man. The acting is wonderful, the story thoroughly French, with one twist...the potential of a happy ending. It was time well spent, but be forewarned, the sex (not gratuitous) was extremely explicit. Eighteen and over only.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Apparently it's true. Tinky Winky is a corrupting influence! What else would explain a "Leather Queen" using an iron?!


Brother, Rest In Peace

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
This past week a great champion of civil rights passed into ancestry. Damu Smith, 1952 - 2006, was a shining voice for dignity and equality for ALL people. He died of colon cancer. He lived as a prophet without the healthcare privileges that those of us who hold traditional jobs too often take for granted. Without resources he let symptoms slide until the disease reached an advanced stage. At 53, his death was unnecessary, and wholely tragic.

I commend to your consideration the following websites:

His biography: www.damusmith.org

His speech at a rally in 2004: clogic.eserver.org/2005/Damu_Smith.html

May Light Perpetual Shine Upon Damu. Amen.