Saturday, September 30, 2006

Random Quote #56

"Nobody realises that some people extend tremendous energy merely to be normal."

~ Albert Camus, 1913-1960

A Found Image & Poem

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I do not know where this image comes from. I found it online and made a copy of it without including any source references... Bad me.

But I really like it. It's a study in perspective and color with potent results. I've often struggled with apprehending the idea of the sublime in art, but this photo crystalizes the concept for me.

Back in the early years of this millenium, when I was still living with my ex-, I began a series of poems built around snatches of conversations we were having. At the time it was just an impulse, and now I think it clearly represented something much larger in the evolution of our relationship. Like most of the ideas which grab us from somewhere within, it was another iceberg of the soul.

This image reminded me of one of those poems, and I am ready to share it with you now.


Did I ever tell you that I love you?

Yes. It scares me.


It’s too big. It’s like falling into the sky.

We sit at the red light, waiting to proceed.

Debussy fills our stillness from the radio
in my pick-up, and I
can see a stranger speaking
to the driver of the car next to us.

My hand draws circles on the inside of your
left thigh, slowly.

Where is all of this light coming from?

Life is such a mystery. Little wonder that we struggle to discover meaning, and our place in it, with something as amazing as poetry!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Congrats to Señor R.!

Julio1 2006 todosnuevos 001
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
This is my dear friend, Sr. R. with his new co-workers.

I have known Mr. R. for nearly 3 years; and our meeting was one of happenstance in a chat room. As it turned out, he became a TV personality in Mexico. For the past two years, he's co-hosted the nationally syndicated morning talk show "Revista 4" out of Veracruz. The show was good, but the producers wanted more. SO they've recast the show, up-dated the format, and dumped the former crew. Well, most of the former crew....they kept R. as the center player in the new show.

SO, FELICITONES muchos a Sr. R!

Random Quote #55

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"Naturally, the common people don't want war, but after all it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and its always a simple matter to drag the people along... All you have to do is tell them they're being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism. It works the same in every country."

~ Hermann Göering, 1893-1946

A Thing of Beauty....

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
From the blog: "L'homme Est Un Concept."

Sunday, September 24, 2006

What I'm Listening To #17

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Rosanne Cash's album, "Rules of Travel" is just another amazing work of love and art.

If you haven't figured it out yet; I like #1 Diva's (Jazz, Country, Blues, Zydeco, Pop, Alternative, Iternational, uncatagorizable!), #2 Boychick Bands! (the more self-involved, sullen and angst ridden, and ecclectic..... the better), and #3 sultery, jazz oriented men with full voices that have the power to be either distiguished or nuanced--or both (from today and yester-year!).

Rosanne is clearly in column #1 with lots of the qualities from #3!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Must See, TV!, YouTube! I mean

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I love the democracy that a site like promotes. Anyone with half a wit of reason can create video footage of themselves and post it. Most of it is, of course, pure crap! But there are gems among the manure. Por exemplo, check out this video by "Ok Go."

Makes me want to go out and buy a treadmill....or two, or four...or eight!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #37

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Merideth L. Howard, 52, of Alameda, Calif.; assigned to the 405th Civil Affairs Battalion, Army Reserve, Fort Bragg, N.C.; killed Sept. 8 when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near her Humvee in Kabul, Afghanistan. Also killed was Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul.

"Former Bryan Recruit Becomes a Casualty of the Afghan War"

The first woman to become a firefighter in Bryan died last week in Afghanistan, where she was serving in the Army.

Sgt. 1st Class Merideth Howard, 52, who lived in Waukesha, Wis., was killed in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday, when a suicide car bomb exploded next to the Humvee carrying her and 15 others during a patrol, Army officials said. Another Army officer, Robert J. Paul, also died in the explosion.

In 1978, Merideth Howard became Bryan's first female firefighter after graduating with a master's degree in marine resource management from Texas A&M University. Howard, 52, died Friday in Kabul, Afghanistan, becoming the oldest female soldier killed in action.

At 52, Howard became the oldest female soldier from the United States killed in action since military operations began in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The grim designation joined more heralded accomplishments Howard achieved during her remarkable lifetime, friends said.

Howard, a Corpus Christi native, graduated from Texas A&M University in 1978 with a master's degree in marine resource management. That same year, she became the first female firefighter in Bryan. In college, Howard was a member of A&M's first women's tennis team. She also was the second woman to complete an eight-week recruit academy at the Brayton Fire School.

David White, who now is the publisher of Industrial Fire World magazine, was Howard's instructor at the fire school and kept in touch with her throughout the years.

"She was one tremendous firefighter," White said. "She was a good, dedicated, hard worker. She wasn't just a get-by person. She always did more than what she had to do."

White said Howard was a respected firefighter and easily fit in to the male-dominated job.

"As a firefighter, it's always like, can you physically do the job?" he said. "You've got to carry the hoses and raise the ladder. You are not going to find a frail, 100-pound person doing it - man or woman. [Howard] could do it. She might not have had all the strength, but determination made up for it."

During her time as a firefighter in Bryan, Howard served at Fire Station 1 as an engine driver for about 3 1/2 years. Bryan Fire Department Chief Mike Donoho said he remembers working with Howard, and he, too, respected her for her dedication and hard work.

"Some people had apprehensions about it within the organization," he said about Howard being the department's first female firefighter. "But she fit in very well within a short amount of time."

Donoho also remembered Howard as an intelligent person who was eager to help implement improvements within the department. He said she helped establish an on-site air system that allowed the department to fill its own respiration tanks. He also said Howard helped organize the department's first Muscular Dystrophy Association benefit car wash - an effort that has evolved into the "Fill the Boot" campaign.

Donoho said there are no female firefighters in the Bryan Fire Department now, but several have filled the ranks since Howard.

"Being the first female firefighter, [Howard] did open doors," he said. "By doing a good job and gaining respect, it gave everyone else a better chance. They had an easier road ahead of them because of what she established."

After working as a firefighter in Bryan, Howard and her husband moved to California, where she worked as a fire protection specialist, designing construction specifications and inspecting fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems and fire pumps. In 1988, she joined the Army Reserve as a medical equipment repairer.

Last fall, she was recalled to active duty and was assigned as a civil affairs sergeant with the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade out of Portland, Ore. In April, she was deployed to Afghanistan, where she helped rebuild roads, schools and infrastructure.

"She joined the Army because she thought it was something she should do," White said. "She was just one of those people who inspires you."

Howard's husband, Hugh Hvolboll, released a statement about his wife earlier this week chronicling her love of the ocean and travel and her passion for firefighting and fire safety.

"Merideth was a loving, affectionate and outgoing wife," he said. "She gave the shirt off her back to help each and every friend she had. She is greatly missed by her family and friends across the country."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Viva el Espaigne!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I posted when the first RCMP same-sex couple wed, and so here's another first from across the pond:

Two airmen became the first gay Spanish military couple to marry on Friday, accompanied by a fire-cracker chorus of flamenco clapping, guitars and a crowd of hearty-voiced well-wishers.

Alberto Linero, 27, and Alberto Sanchez, 24, both privates in the air force, wore dark blue dress uniforms with red and gold epaulets as they exchanged vows in a reception room at Seville's town hall - the first known wedding among same-sex members of the military since Spain legalized gay marriage last year. They were watched by friends, family and well-known gay personalities.

"I just hope everything goes well," said a nervous-sounding Sanchez as he was pursued along the streets of the Andalusian capital by a media throng.

They shed a tear as they hugged and kissed effusively as another flamenco chorus was played at the door of the town hall.

The Socialist government has shaken up some long-standing codes in Catholic Spain with measures such as legalising gay marriage, making divorce easier and diminishing the role of the church in education.

The Catholic Church had close links to the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, backed by the army, which lasted almost 40 years.

Some 4,500 same-sex couples have wed under the gay marriage legislation, which took effect in July 2005, according to the Justice Ministry.

The wedding is believed to be the first marriage between two same-sex members of the Spanish armed forces, said Beatriz Gimeno, president of Spain's Federation of Gays and Lesbians.

She welcomed the wedding as something the military and Spaniards in general have to get used to.

"I don't think the army in a democratic society has to be conservative," Gimeno said.

Besides Spain, the Netherlands, Canada and Belgium have legalized same-sex marriage, while Britain and other European countries have laws that give same-sex couples the right to form legally binding partnerships.

In the United States, only the state of Massachusetts allows gay marriage, while Vermont and Connecticut permit civil unions.

What I'm Listening To #16

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
This is "Rivo Drei." ~ one Hot German trio. You can see their videos at:

It's a subject line full, so I recommend cut and paste if you don't get a link. They are plaintive and passionate music makers. Young and foolish enough to be free and unpretentious. I especially enjoy "Wei Flugzeuge".

The fact that they sing in German, a language that I do not know but a couple dozen mostly disjointed and useless words in, did give me a momentary reason to pause; but then you know, I really do like that. I listen to El Zol 99.1 in Spanish all the time, I stream Radio Batanga on the internet at my office, I exercise to O-Zone's Disco Pop in Moldavian and Romanian, Have a growing collection of Brazilian jazz and pop in Portuguese (one of the most melodious languages on the planet). And so why the hell not German alternative/pop?

I never want to be someone who stops growing and discovering and embracing something new. I do not want to live in a world where anything is foreign. Perhaps it is the height of arrogance on some level, but I reject a world made up of "us" and "them". We are all US.

So check out Rivo Drei and discover another part of ourselves!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Blog Worth The Time

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Discovered in my waste of time afternoon.....

How Did You Waste, Er Spend Your Sunday Afternoon?

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
With many things pressing me for my time, I just chose to Veg!

And I did this by just surfing the Web. Allowing one site to lead me to another. Eventually happening upon a site that contained dozens and dozens of links to sites with male or gay interests. NOT porno. Sites of artists, bloggers, advocacy groups from around the world.

It's a blog site of its own:

It's based in Portugal, and I have spent the better part of three hours just scratching the surface of its linked riches. The image here is titled, "Little Red Riding Hood" and it's the creation of a graphics design studio out of Italy, Studio Dronio. I think they also did the graphics work for the Moldavian Techno Band, "Ozone", and their mega hit, "Dragostea Din Tei".)

The original site must be in Portuguese, and I immediately chose to have it translated into English via Google's translation software. Well, it's not a perfect venue to understanding! I've been really working at reading stuff that can for a time be completely reasonable and then suddenly swerve into non-sense land!

Here's an example from an article that was original written in English for the Scottish edition of the English newspaper The Observer about actor Eric McCormack's woes in finding work post-"Will & Grace".

"I Can't Shake Off My Gay Image, Says Will"

Lorna Martin, Scotland publisher
Sunday August 27, 2006
The Observer

He is blessed with dazzling good looks and starred in one of the most successful sitcoms on television. But when you've spent almost decade playing the most famous gay man in America, it's not easy you branch out you pastures new, the Erics McCormack is finding out.

McCormack, who played Manhattan to lawyer Will Truman in the hugely popular Will and Grace, would like you moves in you films and an actor Emmy-award winning, with perfect comic timing, undoubtedly has the ability you of so. But in one will hire him.

“I have this big pink cross you bear,” he said yesterday in Edinburgh where he was attending the International Television Festival. 'I absolutely loved playing Will. There was nothing hard about it. It was wonderful. But the only downside is the aftermath.

“I meet all these film executives who tell me how much they loved Will and Grace and say they to never missed an episode. Then they say, “so what can we of will be you it” What they could of it will be me is hire me you play someone else.”

I've been reading up on Autism today, as well, as I am dealing with many students who are Autistic at school--and want to be as prepared as possible to help my staff deal with and understand these unique and demanding children. I've learned that every 166th child born in the United States has some form of Autism. From 1990 to 2000, the US population increased by 13%, the number of Americans with Diabetes increased by 16%, and the number of Americans with Autism increased by 172%!!!

So now I'm reading these websites that time and again present me with strange and confusing syntax; moments when all meaning goes awry. And I think about the autistic children that I, and my colleagues, are interacting with more and profoundly more.

Not that the two are in anyway authentically linked, but it's been interesting pondering how slightly shifted to incomprehensible the daily world of these kids is in light of my adventure with Google's translator!

Maybe it wasn't a waste of time after all.....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

What I'm Watching #30

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Just got the DVD last week. Queer as Folk is a seminal TV event from the BBC who's quirky and daring productions now legendary in the US include: "Monty Python's Flying Circus," "Up Stairs, Down Stairs," "The Vicar of Dibley," and "The Office" to but barely scratch the surface. And like so many other BBC originals, "Queer as Folk" spawned a copy-cat series here. But there's nothing like the original.

And there's nothing like "Queer as Folk" before in the history of TV productions! To watch a man rim another man without the tricks of artiface or inuendo--nothing up my sleeve! was utterly mind-boggling the first time around.

This is the third time I've seen the first series, and it's just as amazing a set of characters, circumstances, events....the joys of discovery the sorrows of fate's tragic side...this is just damn good story telling. Kudus to the BBC and all involved.

Little Nathan, All Grown-Up!

Charlie Hunnam
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
You ever enjoy a movie or TV show that has a child or teenage cast member and not see them again for years and wonder what's become of them? Will Wheaton of Star Trek the Next Generation or his co-star in "Stand By Me," Jerry O'Connell, for instance. And Google Jerry, you won't believe how that caterpillar blossomed!

So I thought, what's happened to the precocious, Nathan (Charlie Hunnam, né 10 April 1980), from "Queer As Folk?" Well, he's become a man. He's the kid on the left in the top image and the bottom two photos speak for themselves. He's enjoyed magazine features in GQ, Elle, Interview, Details, L'uomo to name a few; and been an Abercrombie and Fitch model. He's acted in a major film or TV series every year since QaF, the ones most familiar to US audiences are "Cold Mountain" in which he played Bosie, and "Nicholas Nickleby" were he was none other than Nicholas Nickleby, himself! He's in pre-production work on the film "Memroires of Hadrian" with Antonio Banderas and Paz Vega. He portrays Antonius.

I didn't join the fan club, but I'm glad he is healthy and doing the things that bring him fulfillment.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
My "nephew". James Sebastian S. Born on November 8, 2005.

When the news of the world makes me sad, his smile restores my joy. As a gay man, I will never father a child of my own. As a teacher of 22 years, I have been a serrogate dad to hundreds of children from Kentucky to Maryland, from China to Costa Rica! And many's the parent who's thanked me over the years for my influence, guidance, and caring for their children. Many of my students have expressed similar feelings. But no one else has said to me, if we die, we trust you to raise our son.

You know, he's getting extra raisins in his fruit cake!

Do You Know?

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Who this man is?

Why he's giving a speech?

What holiday today is?

Don't feel bad if you don't, I don't image very many Americans do!

He's Marine General Peter Pace (still doesn't ring a bell? ~ then shame on you!). He's OUR chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He's giving a speech on the occasion of the National POW/MIA Recognition Day, September 15th. Not a very high profile or personally significant holiday. The mail arrived on time. Banks and schools and stock markets were open for business. Why, even flags flew at full staff.

It's the perfect holiday in the age of a war on terrorism where no matter what happens Americans must not be personally inconvenienced, and only psychologically intimidated long enough to further the neo-facist agenda of the present incumbent powers that be....

Hail, Bush!!! (Or more true to the Homeland, "Bushgruß") Ouch! I gotta get back into Tae Bo, so I'm in shape and ready to Goose Step for my allegiance.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #36

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Army Staff Sgt. Angel D. Mercado-Velazquez, 24, of Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died in Yusifiyah, Iraq, on Sept. 1 of injuries suffered from mortar fire during dismounted combat operations.

“They Will Bury Soldier In Sabana Grande”

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – A serviceman from the U.S. Caribbean territory died of injuries suffered in a mortar attack in Iraq, a military spokesman said Sunday.

Sgt. Angel D. Mercado Velazquez, 25, died Friday in Yusifiyah, Iraq, Army spokesman Jose Pagan said in a statement.

Mercado, from the southwestern town of Sabana Grande, is survived by his wife and parents, Pagan said.

It was not clear when his remains would be returned to the U.S. territory of roughly 4 million people.

Sonia Santiago, who heads Mothers Against the War – a Puerto Rican group made up of mothers of soldiers serving in Iraq – expressed her condolences to his family.

To date, 52 Puerto Rican–born soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Mothers Against the War.

An estimated 200,000 Puerto Ricans have enlisted in the U.S. Army since 1917, when the United States required them to serve in the military. More than 3,000 Puerto Ricans, who are American citizens, have died in battle.

“Sepultarán soldado en Sabana Grande”

SABANA GRANDE – Sin conocer a su primogénito, nacido hace apenas un mes, el sargento puertorriqueño Angel D. Mercado Velázquez, de 24 años y natural del barrio Cerro Gordo de Sabana Grande, murió el viernes en Irak, informó ayer el Ejército de Estados Unidos.

Sus familiares trataban ayer de asimilar la trágica noticia de la inesperada muerte de “Ñoñoco”, como le conocían.

El joven soldado murió el pasado viernes en Yusifiyah, Irak, a consecuencia de las heridas recibidas cuando estalló un mortero, informó José Pagán, portavoz del Ejército en Puerto Rico.

Con su muerte se elevaron a 51 los soldados puertorriqueños caídos en los conflictos bélicos en Irak y Afganistán.

“Nunca esperamos esto. Su madre está muy afectada”, expresó Miguel Mercado Lugo, padre del joven soldado, quien pertenecía a la Compañía del Cuartel Batallón 325 de Infantería, con sede en el Fuerte Bragg, en Carolina del Norte.

Mercado Lugo sostuvo que su hijo guardaba la ilusión de conocer a su primer hijo en diciembre cuando saldría de Irak, donde estaba desde julio.

El bebé nació hace un mes en Carolina del Norte.

Destacó que habló con Mercado Velázquez por última vez el pasado martes, cuando lo llamó para despedirse antes de emprender una misión.

Mercado Lugo, quien es maestro en la escuela intermedia Julio Víctor Guzmán de San Germán, dijo que recibió la llamada de su hijo a las 9:00 de la mañana.

“Dejé de dar clases y le dije a los muchachos que iba a hablar con mi hijo. Se despidió de mí porque iba a una misión que tenía pendiente. El llamó a todos sus hermanos y a su madre. Le dije que se cuidara. Estaba un poquito triste, porque no pudo ver a su hijo que tiene un mes”, relató Mercado Lugo.

Agregó que trató de consolarlo al decirle que había tomado unos días para ir a conocer al nieto en noviembre durante la semana de Acción de Gracias.

El maestro describió a su hijo, quien cumpliría 25 años el 25 de octubre, como un muchacho bueno y respetuoso. Antes de ingresar al Ejército en el 2002 estudiaba para maestro de educación física en la Universidad Interamericana, al tiempo que trabajaba en mantenimiento en una dependencia del Centro Médico de Mayagüez.

Destacó que luego del ataque terrorista a las torres gemelas en Nueva York en 2001, el joven se empeñó en ingresar al Ejército.

“El decidió irse pero yo le dije que si fuera por mí, él no se iba. Como ya era mayor, le dije ‘tu decisión es la que cuenta, pero si tú me dejaras tomar la decisión, yo diría que no’. Estuvo cuatro años y firmó por cuatro más”, relató.

Agregó que su hijo se entusiasmó tanto que pensaba hacer una carrera militar.

Además de sus padres, su hermano y dos hermanas, a Mercado Velázquez le sobreviven su esposa, Sheila Colón, y su hijo, Angel A. Mercado Colón.

Aún se desconoce cuándo llegarán los restos a Puerto Rico, pero el sepelio se llevará a cabo en el cementerio municipal de Sabana Grande, se informó.

Light and Shade

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I. Specimen Days
140. Sundown Lights

"May 6, 5 P. M.—THIS is the hour for strange effects in light and shade—enough to make a colorist go delirious—long spokes of molten silver sent horizontally through the trees (now in their brightest tenderest green,) each leaf and branch of endless foliage a lit-up miracle, then lying all prone on the youthful-ripe, interminable grass, and giving the blades not only aggregate but individual splendor, in ways unknown to any other hour. I have particular spots where I get these effects in their perfection. One broad splash lies on the water, with many a rippling twinkle, offset by the rapidly deepening black-green murky-transparent shadows behind, and at intervals all along the banks. These, with great shafts of horizontal fire thrown among the trees and along the grass as the sun lowers, give effects more and more peculiar, more and more superb, unearthly, rich and dazzling."

~ Walt Whitman, 1819-1892

My bathroom sink would be another one of those places....

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11, 2006

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
The U.S. Department of Defense announced the deaths of 7 more soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan on this gloomy and damp September day in the Washington, D.C.:

Army Sgt. Luis A. Montes, 22, of El Centro, California
Marine Cpl. Johnathan L. Benson, 21, of North Branch, Minnesota
Army Sgt. Nathaniel B. Lindsey, 38, of Troutdale, Oregon
Army Sgt. 1st Class Merideth L. Howard, 52, of Alameda, California
Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul, 43, of The Dalles, Oregon
Army Sgt. John A. Carroll, 26, of Ponca City, Oklahoma
Army Pfc. Anthony P. Seig, 19, of Sunman, Indiana

None of these men died today, it takes the DoD a few days to report the names of those killed, owing to the need to contact the family first. The DoD has reported a total of 26 soldiers who have lost their lives in the first 9 days of September. This on the heels of an August that saw 73 men and women in our brave military die in our war on terrorism.

I don't know about you, but I have yet to be asked to sacrifice an ounce for this war. I have yet to feel even a centimeter safer. I have more questions everyday than answers. And hope is not high on my list of sentiments these days.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Senate Top 12

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Here are 12 important Senate Seats to take or keep. At present, things are looking good for the Democrats in the poles. Yet poles are only as good voting machines....But let’s pretend that elections are still fair. Here are the candidates. Investigate them, and give some money! I have: McCaskill (MO) & Lamont (CT) presented here, and Ashdown (UT) & Mfume (MD) in other races.

The next three who will receive my monitary support presented here are Ford, Whitehouse, and Menedez.

John Testor ~ MONTANA

Phone: (406) 454-2006
PO Box 1135
Helena, MT 59624

Amy Klobucher ~ MINNESOTA

Phone: (651) 714-2006
PO Box 4146
St. Paul, MN 55104-4146

Sheldon Whitehouse ~ RHODE ISLAND

Phone: (401) 490-8683
PO Box 40280
Providence, RI 02940

Robert P. Casey ~ PENNSYLVANIA

Phone: (215) 567-4190
PO Box 22469
Philadelphia, PA 19110

Sherrod Brown ~ OHIO

Phone: (440) 282-3314
2280 Kresge Drive
Amherst, OH 44001

James Webb ~ VIRGINIA

PO Box 17427
Arlington, VA 22216

Claire C. McCaskill ~ MISSOURI

Phone: (314) 918-8683
PO Box 6771
St. Louis, MO 63144


Phone: (203) 634-6601
300 Research Parkway, Suite 102
Meriden, CT 06450

Harold Ford ~ TENNESSEE

Phone: (615) 244-6161
209 10th Avenue South, Suite 229
Nashville, TN 37203

Ben Nelson ~ NEBRASKA

Phone: (402) 991-0363
2819 South 125th Avenue, Suite 279
Omaha, NE 68144

Robert Menedez ~ NEW JERSEY

Phone: (201) 271-1661
PO Box 848
Union City, NJ 07087

Debbie A. Stabenow ~ MICHIGAN

Phone: (517) 336-8500
PO Box 4945
East Lansing, MI 48823

Art I'm Seeing #12

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Anselm Kiefer is at the Hirschhorn.

Born a few months before the end of WW II in Germany, Anselm’s entire life has been devoted to the search for meaning. Raised a Catholic, he began the journey from an authoritarian Christian worldview. And to his credit and our great blessing, he did not stop there.

Kiefer is a pilgrim. His works reflect the many ideas that have informed and captivated him along the way. They evolve without rejecting the lessons already learned or the ideas previously encountered. This can be seen in both the subject matter and the materials. And so we are treated to intimate notebooks with scrapes of images cut from popular magazines and monumental volumes assembled of pages crafted in lead and painted with esoteric star charts. We encounter small watercolors simply framed and enormous canvases crafted with lead, paint, dirt, crushed glass and adored with snow skies, bird cages, dried sunflower stalks measuring a easy 12 feet in length!--and very many permutations and combinations of each and more. As an installation alone, the show is amazing.

And the catalogue, (that is another good one from this layman's perspective), culminates with an astounding interview with the artist. It's one of the most enjoyable reads I have ever discovered as part of any collection of exhibition catalogues.

The exhibition is titled: "Heaven and Earth" and I want to end this brief reflection with some of Anselm's quotes from the interview.

~1 "Heaven is an idea, a piece of ancient internal knowledge. It is not a physical construction."

~2 "There is always hope, but that must be combined with irony, and more important, skepticism. The context of knowledge is changing constantly. At one moment we pray from the top of a mountain and the next from a seat in a jet plane or a bomber cockpit. How can we not see that as ironic and skeptical?"

~3 "You don't have to be spiritual to get in touch with spirituality. I't easier, but it's not always necessary. It can happen that someone who does not think about spirituality, does not consider it in his life, can get in touch with the spiritual through circumstances he is not responsible for or aware of."

~4 "All stories of heaven begin on earth."

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The View: Sunset

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Part Two: Nature


THIS is the land the sunset washes,
These are the banks of the Yellow Sea;
Where it rose, or whither it rushes,
These are the western mystery!

Night after night her purple traffic
Strews the landing with opal bales;
Merchantmen poise upon horizons,
Dip, and vanish with fairy sails.

~ Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

Sometimes it's hard to believe that I live in the middle of an urban sprawl that is home to 1.4 million people. Times like this, when I awaken late from a nap and look out the window of my bedroom to see the sun setting.

Random Quote #54

"Vocation is matching our heart's deep gladness with the world's hunger."

~ Frederick Buechner, 1926 -

You Go Girl!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
A Quote from Brad Pitt in Esquire:

"Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the
country who wants to be married is legally able," the 42-year-old
actor reveals in Esquire magazine's October issue, on newsstands
Sept. 19.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Random Quote #53

Have peace with one another
As children of one mother.
Let each defer to other,
And may our hearts be one.

Have peace with God our maker,
In Jesus be partaker,
And Spirit consecrator.
God, three in one, grant peace.

The peace of God possess us,
The love of God caress us,
The grace of heaven bless us,
Peace everlastingly.

St Hilda of Whitby,

Monday, September 04, 2006

Art I'm Seeing #10-11

The following comments reveal my current need to experience meaning in art. No doubt, this is tied intimately to my present feelings about the war and it's dismal, draining, and probably disasterous prospects for the future.

Art gives perspective. Art opens our minds to possibilities. Art defines, and records, and inspires our humanity.

This weekend I managed to visit exhibits at the National Gallery of Art, The Freer Gallery, The Phillips Collection, The Sackler Museum and The Hirshhorn. For now I will limit my comments to the NGA -- having already posted about the Klee exhibit at the Phillips. I will probably comment on the Anselm Kiefer (and perhaps even the Jim Lambie) at the Hirshhorn, but I need a little more time to process these experiences (particularly the intense exhibition, a mon avis)

Art Piggy-Wootzer?

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Someone's been one! Okay, it's me....

I've spent much of this Labor Day weekend visiting and re-visiting museums in DC.

My first stop today was the National Gallery of Art, where I enjoyed a second tour of "Bellini ~ Giorgione ~ Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting". After my first foray, I purchased and intensely perused the exhibition catalogue. Spending time, in particular, studying images that I found most compelling on my first visit. Additionally, I purchased the audio tour on this visit. The results were such a heightened understanding and appreciation of the works, the artists, and the efforts of the exhibition curators, as it nearly became a graduate study course in my continuing pursuit of art knowledge and experience.

One intense impression: This detail is from a particularly enigmatic Titian in which two handsome young men find themselves so captivated by one another that they utterly ignore two beautiful nude women in their company. The image is only a detail from the whole. And the commentary on the audio tour is so banally heterocentric as to be ridiculous! Thank God for gay curators, and where was even one of them, when this commentary was penned?

And yet, it's no criticism of the exhibition. You have a fleeting 12 days to see it. Don't miss this opportunity!

"The Poetry of Light," 1st View

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Also at the National Gallery of Art is an exhibit of Venetian drawings. It's a great compliment to the Renaissance of Venetian Painting exhibit. It begins with a work by Andrea Mantegna executed in the 1460's and continues into the cusp of the 20th century with works by John Singer Sargent.

This image is by Canaletto who's very name is synonymous with Venice. Here he depicts the city during the Ascension Day Festival in 1766.

It's a nice show; well, worth the effort. Three more images follow....

2nd View from "The Poetry of Light"

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Of all of the artists whose amazing drawings, sketches, and watercolor paintings are included in this exhibition, none were so singularly captivating as those of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696 - 1770). This example is titled: "The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra" from the early 1740's.

I first really understood Tiepolo back in 2001 on a trip to London where I encountered several examples of his ceiling paintings. Works placed in domes and high ceilings which were meant to evoke a sense of heaven revealed. And the particular works that I found most interesting in this exhibit were the ones where "God the Father" was the main character presented in his cloudy home surrounded by angels, putti, and upon one instance the Virgin Mary.

Tiepolo's use of chalk to establish a composition, and then the application of pen and ink with a wash, produces such a rich image. One that I feel the reproductions in this meager publication failed utterly to convey. This technique succeeds whether the subject matter is God, Shakespearian lovers, or a simple cow!

Go see it for yourself! You have until October 1st!

3rd View from "The Poetry of Light"

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Among the works from the 19th century in the exhibit, those of William Stanley Haseltine were among the most compelling to me, but alas, neither of them is presented in the meager catalogue. One from this time period that is, which I also found delightful, is this one by Ludwig Johann Passini. It's titled: "Monks Buying Fish before the Portal of the Madonna della Misericordia". It was executed in 1855.

4th View from "The Poetry of Light"

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Those who know me well can tell you, I will travel across statelines to experience the works of John Singer Sargent. And of his ouvre, nothing sings like his water colors. Few have attained even the right to be compared (Winslow Homer is one, por exemplo).

Born in Italy, Sargent gave special consideration to Venice in his watercolors. The works included here testify to his talents and typify his strategic use of ultra-marine against the siennas and umbers to create luminescence.

In this exhibit I was treated to six of his watercolors. They were the final images, and as such a dessert delightfully indulged!

This one is titled: "Gondola Moorings on the Grand Canal".

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Art I'm Seeing #9

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Went to the Klee exhibition at the Phillips Collection this afternoon.

Klee is so playful and delightful. These works inspire me to play with my fabrics and quilts. The show is nice. Not amazing, but nice.

What is amazing is the renovated Phillips Collection museum. So much more space for art. So many rooms dedicated to the works of one or two related artists. SO MANY wonderful paintings from the vaults of the collection that I have never before seen.... And photographs, too!

The addition includes an intimate space on the back of the museum for sculptures and two were installed at the time of my visit. The more interesting to me was the Ellsworth Kelly piece: a minimalist work in bas-relief.

Planning a trip to DC? Plan to visit the Phillips Collection.

War On Terrorism Facts #2

When considering the impact of the war on communities, Sourthern California takes the prize. As of September 1st, the six counties (Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino, & San Diego) encompassing the southern fifth of California have experienced 178 deaths of soldiers. They surpass all other states, with the exception of Texas. Los Angeles County has experienced 72 deaths alone, the most of any county, and more than 40 other state's totals! Los Angeles has experienced 26 deaths, San Diego 11, Long Beach 7, and over 35 other communities from 1 to 5.

Blessings upon Southern California; a place that bears a terrible burden for our freedom; May the loved ones of every man and woman who've entered into the realm of ancestry in this terrible war, know both the sorrow and love of every other citizen of the United States.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #35

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
August has turned into quite a month of heros, nearly 70 and the pentagon is still releasing names.....

Marine Cpl. Jordan C. Pierson, 21, of Milford, Conn.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Plainville, Conn.; killed Aug. 25 while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq.

“Marine From Milford Killed In Iraq”

A Marine from Milford who was awarded a Purple Heart after an insurgent grenade exploded and pelted him with shrapnel earlier this year was killed during combat Friday in Iraq, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Saturday.

Cpl. Jordan C. Pierson, 21, became the 32nd serviceperson with ties to Connecticut killed since in Iraq or Afghanistan since March 2002.

Word of the Marine's death reached his seaside hometown by late Friday.

“There were two Marines in full dress uniform standing outside their house when his mother got home,” said Rena Lewis, a neighbor. “I saw them there and I knew what it was about.”

Pierson graduated from Foran High School in Milford in 2003 and enlisted with the Marines that December. He postponed studies at the University of Connecticut to serve in Iraq.

“I'm a newspaper junkie and I keep up on everything that's going on with this war,” Lewis said.

“I've gone around feeling as though it's happening over there, and it's so far away. And here it's hitting me big time all of us, now, it's so close to home with Jordan's death.”

Greg Smith, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7788, said Charlie Company, Pierson's unit, is near and dear to his heart.

Members of the VFW have been sending packages to the company. “Any help that the family needs, I'm sure members of the VFW will provide,” he said. “We're ready to do whatever is necessary.”

For Lewis, that meant bringing to the Pierson family a rotisserie chicken and loaf of Italian bread.

“I didn't know what else to do, really,” Lewis said. “I just wanted to do something. And to tell them how sorry I was for the loss of their son.”

Milford Mayor James Richetelli said he met Saturday with Pierson's mother and father and other family members at the parents' home. “The family is in shock and is trying to process this,” he said.

Family members may be available on Monday to speak to the media and public, said Gloria Amendola, a friend of the family.

A tree in front of City Hall that was lit to honor servicemen and women will be darkened until after Pierson's funeral, Richetelli said. Lights on the tree were lit the day the Iraq war began in March 2003. Pierson has been the only U.S. soldier from Milford killed in the war, Richetelli said.

At about the time Pierson shipped off with Charlie Company for Operation Iraqi Freedom, his mother wrapped a thick yellow ribbon around the widest tree in her front yard.

To her and her neighbors on Whalley Avenue in Milford, the ribbon served as a symbol of hope for Jordan Pierson's return home. “I always noticed that ribbon when I was jogging,” Lewis said. “When I went by a little while ago, it wasn't there." By late Saturday afternoon, it had been down.

Pierson is survived by his parents, Beverley and Eric Pierson; and a brother, Ethan.

Art I'm Seeing #8

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"Bellini ~ Giorgione ~ Titian and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting" at the National Gallery of Art (and soon to come down) is an exhibit that brings together works by the masters and several of their contemporaries. It's a richly contoured exhibition that is just about perfect in its scope and length, so sumptuous are these works that too many of them would surely be akin to gluttony.

Of the three, I found the Titian's to be the most compelling. This image is modestly titled: "Virgin and Child with Saints Catherine of Alexandria and Dominic and a Donor." It's the property of the Fondazione Magnani-Rocca of Parma, Italy and is only being displayed at this venue. The image does not do the painting justice, which really ought to go without saying. The contrast between the lush satins of the Virgin and Catherine's garments against the relative darkness of the canvas is luminescent. I found another Titian also very captivating: "Virgin and Child with Saints Anthony of Padua and Roch" on loan from the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. And that's another thing about shows featuring European Renaissance Masters; works are often loaned from places that are not easily visited by someone of my means.

Among the contemporaries I found the works of Palma Vecchio to be my favorites. And in fact, in the gallery of men's portraits I was delighted to see "The Portrait of a Poet" by Vecchio from the National Gallery in London.

You have until September 17th to see this extraordinary exhibition in Washington, DC, and then it travels to its only other venue, Kuntshistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria (not Virginia!)