Sunday, June 25, 2006

Summer Means Real Estate


legorowhouses
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Summer is finally here and that means I have time to be mentally creative and playful. This freedom can take several forms, but it usually includes Legos!

Inspired by the amazing row houses in DC, here's a snapshot of my most recent creation. There are six units, and only two of them are occupied. The end of the block houses a lovely French cafe. And all above ground units include a nice deck on the rear side. There are also two basement efficiencies available for very reasonable prices.

Guess me secret's out!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Que Lastima~!


mexicovargetnina
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
In one of the best games in the 2006 World Cup to date, Mexico was eliminated by Argentina in overtime 2:1! Inspite the a couple of the members of the Argentine team's attempt to block more than the soccer ball during a penalty kick (center photo!), the Mexican's hard fought attempt to move into the quarter finals failed. And my heart goes out to my Mexican friends, who have been so jazzed by what many consider Mexico's exceptional showing on the world stage up to this point.

There's always mañana....cold comfort tonight, though.

What I'm Reading This Summer #1


braidedcreek
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"Braided Creek" is a wonderful little book that chronicles a friendship in poetry. For many years the poets Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser sent one another notes containing snippets of ideas. Poems not unlike haiku. What follows are three of them with pictures from my gardens. Enjoy.

Garden Shot #1


beebalm&moonflowers
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"While my bowl is still half full,
you can eat out of it too,
and when it is empty,
just bury it out in the flowers."

Garden Shot #2


stfrancis&yellowflowers
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"The imagination's kisses
are a cloud of butterflies."

Garden Shot #3


annualseasterlilies&cat
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"Each time I go outside the world
is different. This has happened
all my life."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Dipsticking It

Okay the news of Ghana's victory was great.

And Great news is most welcome in light of the finale of the Episcopal Church's triennial convention in Columbus, Ohio.

Yeah, we elected a woman to lead us, and I was certainly more than thrilled to support her leadership at first.

But then this happened. The first act of her reign was to support the discrimination of all non-heterosexual persons in ECUSA in the failed hope of appeasing the ass-backward, mysogynistic, homophobic bishops in the wider Anglican Communion. And their response -- via their unofficial leader, Bp. Akinola of Nigeria?: NOT ENOUGH!

Like many rightwing neo-NAZI, proto-Facists, it's NEVER Enough if it means compromise, it's ALL or nothing.

SO I am to be a sacrifice, and what do we gain? I'm tired of being a martyr. Let the other bastards die for a change!

World Cup Update: You Go Ghana!!!


wolrdcupghana
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Many congratulations to Ghana. A World Cup under-dog from the often neglected continent of Africa. You beat the US 2-1, and we deserved it! And you've earned the right to move into the next round. Believe in yourselves! My heart and prayers are with you!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

My Bishop Speaks

June 18, 2006
 
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The election today of Katharine Jefferts Schori as the 26th Presiding Bishop is once again an indication that, even with our difficulties, the Holy Spirit is active and alive in the Episcopal Church.

The process of election in the House of Bishops is informed by prayer, collegial fellowship, silent reflection and hymn singing.

The environment was apolitical and focused on the process of election and discerning God's will.

The result was unexpected by all, and yet Katherine's election reaffirms a significant commitment to claiming the diversity of who we are as a church and empowering this diversity for global mission and reconciliation.

In Christ's Peace, Love, and Power,
The Right Reverend John Bryson Chane DD

Oh MY God!


newpbofecusa
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
And by that I mean MY GOD.... since we all create a God that fulfills our desires.

My church, Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA) elects a new leader every nine years. The past two leaders (Presiding Bishops) have been rather interesting. From 1991 to 1997 we were shepharded by the Rt. Rev. Edmund Browning, former Bishop of Hawaii. A gentile and intellectually acute man, who preached the and live the mantra, "All Are Welcome" at Christ's table. He is a saint and personal hero of mine.

He was succeeded by the Rt. Rev. David Griswold, former Bishop of Chicago. Griswold was seen as a compromise candidate and he certainly didn't disappoint. Some times he was Lion, and other a Sacrificial Lamb. And today he must be breathing a sigh of relief.

For today my church chose a new leader to take us from 2006 to 2015, and she is the NOW former Bishop of Nevada, Katharine Jefferts Schiori. This picture of her is from a mission trip that she took to Kenya in 2003 -- all other images from her diocesan website seemed to have been removed.....

Nonetheless, here's her low-down:

Biographical Information
Age 51
Ordinations:
Priest – 1994
Bishop – 2001

General Convention 2003 Votes
- Voted AGAINST B001
- Voted FOR the consecration of V. Gene Robinson

General Facts
- Jefferts Schori is the first woman selected as a nominee for Presiding Bishop.
- Serves on the Court for Review of a Trial of a Bishop.
- Appointed by Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold to serve on the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.
- Encouraged passage of a resolution that implicitly approved recognizing ceremonies to celebrate relationships of “mutuality and fidelity” between same-sex couples.

And this from a friend who was there: Katharine Jefferts Schori, bp of Nevada, has been elected by the  House of Bishops on the fifth ballot the 26th Presiding Bishop of the  Episcopal Church. The House of Deputies concurred in a vote by  orders, lay 94 dioceses to 15, clergy 98 dioceses to 13, then rose to  their feet with an overwhelming roaring burst of lengthy applause.  She is the first woman ever nominated to this office. An Associated  Press reporter told me they'd been planning simply to report this  election in the usual way, but on learning of Bishop Jefferts  Schori's election had been alerted to elevate the story to their  absolute highest priority.

Bishop Jefferts Schori, 51, speaks over five languages, holds her PhD  in oceanography from Oregon State University, an MDiv from the Church  Divinity School of the Pacific, and is an active instrument-rated  pilot with more than 500 hours logged. She has written numerous books  and articles. Her husband Richard is a theoretical mathematician  (topologist). Their only child Katharine Johanna is a second  lieutenant and pilot in the U S Air Force.

This place is alive with joy.


I am Proud to be an Episcopalian today!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

World Cup Update


johnmensahghana
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Lots of games and perhaps none more important that Ghana's victory over the Czech Republic. It sets up a very interesting Group E final, coupled with the US teams tie (1:1) today with Italy. The group stands as follows:

Italy 4
Czech Republic 3
Ghana 3
USA 1

The US is OUT of any contention. The final matches are Italy vs Czech Republic, and Ghana vs US. And everyone in the Group BUT the US has a chance to win the group and move forward.

When a man in a local store told the sales woman behind the counter who was ringing up my order about Ghana's vistory....my transaction ended! And only began again after we'd all celebrated by jumping and screaming and crying with joy -- I mostly watched sympathetically and patiently.

In other news: Group C is a contest between Argentina and the Netherlands; And in groups B & D Paraguay, Trinidad & Tabago, Angola, and Iran are heading home.....

He did it: CONGRATULATIONS!

Read All About IT! @

http://debriefingtheboys.blogspot.com/2006/06/i-did-it.html

Friday, June 16, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #25


benjaminjplymouth
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Or is he actually #2,500? Our government announced this dubious milestone today.

Army Pvt. Benjamin J. Slaven, 22, of Plymouth, Neb.; assigned to the 308th Transportation Company, Army Reserve, Lincoln, Neb.; died June 9 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Diwaniyah, Iraq.


“Soldier From Plymouth Dies In Roadside Bombing In Iraq”

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Benjamin Slaven's family has a long history of military service, and his father said his son knew the risks of going to Iraq.

Bruce Slaven says Benjamin was enthusiastic about working on the front line of the war on terror as a member of the U.S. Army Reserves.

On Friday, just short of three months into his tour of Iraq, Pfc. Benjamin Slaven was killed after a roadside bomb detonated near his Humvee in Ad Diwaniyah, Army Reserves spokesman Col. John Bryan said Monday.

Slaven had gone to Iraq with the Lincoln-based 308th Transportation Co. He was the first Nebraska member of the Army Reserves and 30th U.S. service member with Nebraska ties to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since the beginning of military operations following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The 22-year-old from Plymouth was the fourth Nebraska serviceman killed in the last month.

Lance Cpl. Brent Zoucha, 19, of Clarks, also died Friday in an explosion in Iraq.

Army Pvt. Tim J. Madison, 28, of Bellevue, 28, was killed Thursday at Fort Carson, Colo., when a machine gun accidentally fired.

Army Sgt. Lonnie Calvin Allen Jr., 26, of Bellevue, died May 18 in a roadside bombing in Iraq.

Bruce Slaven said he and Benjamin's mother, Judy Huenink, both served in the Air Force. Benjamin's sister, Pfc. Misty Slaven, is training to be a medical lab technician and is based at Fort Bliss, Ky. A grandfather and uncle also served, Bruce Slaven said.

"He chose to go into the Army, and I supported his decision 150 percent," Bruce Slaven said. "We were talking once, and he said he was looking forward to going to Iraq if his unit was called up. I told him if he wants to go to Iraq, ŒSaddle up and let's rock.'

"Obviously, I'm proud that he did what he did and served his country and did the mission he was asked to do."

Prior to joining the Reserves 17 months ago, Benjamin Slaven earned his GED and worked at a lawn mower factory, Exmark Manufacturing in Beatrice.

His parents said he was generous and caring.

"He was always giving, and he didn't expect anything back," Judy Huenink said. "He'd give a person his last $20 even if that meant he had to go without something else."

"He wanted to do his part," Huenink said. "He wanted to defend his country."

Slaven enjoyed video games, scuba diving, motorcycles, working on cars and fishing, family members said. He was considering a career in underwater welding after the military, Huenink said.

"He would make any mother proud," she said.

Group A Is Set ~


gervpol&ecuvcrc
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
For a wonderful showdown between Germany and Ecuador. Both teams have beaten the other two members of Group A (Costa Rica and Poland) and now all that remains is for them to face off against one another. The winner will advance.

For those who don't know about the World Cup of Futból (i.e. Soccer), here's a quick in-service. In the finals, there are 8 Groups from throughout the world and multiple games determine the teams that will fill out the groups. Each group is comprised of 4 teams from within it's member nations. Each group (A through H) is configured to include both international powerhouse and regionally strong teams. So each contains teams representing more than one and often 3 different continents.

In the first round of competition there are three games that allow the four teams in each group to play one another. Teams are awarded 3 points for victories, 1 point for ties, and 0 points for loses. Teams in each group therefore can earn a maximum of 9 and a minimum of 0 points.

Both Germany and Ecuardor hold 6 points as they approach their game against one another; which ever team wins will move on. Some back ground: Both teams handily defeated my beloved Costa Rica (4:2 for Germany, and 3:0 for Ecuador); but the matches against Poland were different. Team Ecuador shut them out 2:0; and Germany only barely snatched out a win after the final buzzer with a miracle goal to take the game 1:0.

So this next match brings some especially intense international excitement and scrutiny. Germany the host nation and a clear favorite with hometown crowd advantage versus Ecuador, the "third world" challenger and surprisingly strong competitor...and this just Group A! Stay tuned.

Blessed Pride Month!


bostonprideviamrv
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
This is just the best image I've seen so far of Pride month parades. It's taken by Mr. V. of the parade in Boston.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Here's To My Students


legoicecubes
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
After 21 years of teaching, a career that has engaged in several interations: 1 term as an ESOL teacher in Taichung, Republic of China (1981), 1 year as an English/Social Studies teacher at Colegio Métodista in San José, Costa Rica (1984), 8 years a 6th grade teacher in Jessamine Co. Kentucky (1985-1993), 2 years at the Kentucky Department of Education (1993-1994), and 12 years as a 4th and 5th grade teacher in Montgomery Co. Maryland -- I'm moving into a new postion. And it's a blessing.

But so is everything else that has proceeded it. So many kids, so many incredible, beautiful lives that I have had the awesome opportunity to touch. And they watch, they listen, they touch my life, too.

Yesterday, I received this "thank you" gift: the Lego Ice Tray! I nearly went overboard with gratitude. It's really not the object, but the sense of knowing that it represents. I have received my fair share of useless crap over the years, and this is something that I will always use and reference back to this my final year with a class of children.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Our Latest American Hero #24


carlosepernell
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Army Sgt. Carlos E. Pernell, 25, of Munford, Ala.; assigned to the 46th Engineer Battalion, Fort Rucker; killed June 6 when his camp received indirect enemy fire during combat operations in Ramadi, Iraq.

“War Casualty Hits Home: ‘Everybody Loved Him’”

Hattie J. Pernell's eyes were overtaken Thursday with a sadness no mother wants to feel, as she talked about her 25-year-old son who was killed Tuesday in an indirect fire attack in Iraq.

Army Sgt. Carlos Eugene Pernell, who enlisted shortly after graduating from Prattville High School in 2000, was building housing for Iraqis while serving his second tour in the war zone when the attack occurred in Ar Ramadi, Iraq.

He is Autauga County's first war casualty since 1968.

Flags throughout Prattville will be flown at half-staff until Pernell's funeral Thursday.

Another soldier was also killed in the attack, and three more were injured. All five soldiers were members of B Company, 46th Engineer Battalion at Ft. Rucker. Their names have not been released.

"He was working, and they got ambushed," Hattie Pernell said. "His commander said he died a hero because he put his soldiers first."

Pernell shipped off to Iraq in October 2005 for a year-long deployment. His family last saw him in March for a two-week leave.

"He was in good spirits because, he told me, he was halfway there," his mother said. "He didn't want to go (to Iraq), but that was his job."

Pernell played football for Prattville High School for four years, wearing No. 2 in front of the crowds at Stanley-Jensen Stadium.

"Carlos was part of our first team I had here as head coach in 1999," head football coach Bill Clark said. "That's a special class to me because it was my first class. He was a good boy, always had a smile on his face and was a good player for us."

Pernell called and wrote letters to his family in Prattville often.

"He would say he missed us, and he was doing good, and he couldn't wait to get home," Hattie Pernell said.

The family got word of Pernell's death around 10:25 p.m. Tuesday.

"They knocked at the door, and my daughter opened it, and I could see the uniforms," his mother said. "It felt like my heart stopped, because I knew something was wrong."

Pernell knew the dangers he faced in Iraq, but he promised his family they would see him again.

"He would call, and he'd say, 'I'm coming back one way or another. I'd prefer to walk, but I'll be home,'" Hattie Pernell said.

While stationed at Ft. Rucker, Pernell met the love of his life, Tiffanie Pernell, who was also in the Army. The two married in August 2005, not long before his deployment. Their daugher, Kassidie Pernell, is 14 months old.

"(Tiffanie) was up here with us when we got the news," Hattie Pernell said. "Oh, it was hard. I felt so sorry for her. They're so young, and they had their whole lives ahead of them."

More than anything, Pernell loved his daughter.

"His baby was his heart," Hattie Pernell said. "He called her his little pretty girl. He didn't want to go back to Iraq, but he was going to look on the positive side and go and get back to his family."

Though Pernell's mother said she never supported the war in Iraq, those feelings are even stronger now.

"I feel like it's nonsense," she said. "The Iraqis don't want them over there, and more soldiers are getting killed than when they first started out."

Pernell's father, Eugene Pernell, felt his son had good intentions in joining the military.

"I felt like that was his choice, and whatever he did, as long as it was right, I went along with him," he said. "I was proud of him as long as he was doing something that was right."

Hattie Pernell said her son planned on continuing his military service until he reached retirement.

"He said he was going to make it a career, because he could retire and still be young enough to get another job," she said. "I didn't believe him at first when he said he was going (into the military), because he used to joke a lot with a serious look on his face."

Clark admired Pernell's decision to join the military.

"That was something he was really looking at as a career," he said. "I was real proud of him."

The current football team said a prayer and had a moment of silence during practice Wednesday.

"It hit close to home," Clark said. "It always seems like it's somebody else, not somebody you know. It's just awful."

Life will never be the same for Pernell's family.

"He was my baby," Hattie Pernell said. "The only thing I can say is I'm going to miss him. He was an all-around person. He was happy and funny. Everybody loved him."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

An Important Transition


julioboccadanseur
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
On June 22nd of this month, Julio Bocca, the Argentinian born principle dancer of the American Ballet Theatre will dance in that role for the last time. Born in 1967, initiated into the world of classical ballet by his mother in 1971, turned professional at the age of 14 in 1979 (The year I graduated from high school.....), and appointed as ABT principle dancer in 1986, Señor Bocca has had the career of dreamers. He's danced to critical acclaim all over the world. He's worked with the best and he's well liked by all.

His is a charmed life and a hard earned life; a life that has brought joy and insight to countless others through the power of his art. Bravo! And may he continue to do that which he is so passionate about long into the future.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Wow! This Is Amazing


chileanpresident
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
The recently elected PROGRESSIVE president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, is an alumnus of my school district! This is so cool. I was so thrilled by her election. Clearly Diabold isn't providing voting machines in Santiago! And now to discover that she spent her childhood and adolescence in schools in Montgomery County Maryland is like really special icing on the cake of her rise to power.

I have taught people with connections in my career: the son of the minister of labor in Costa Rica, and the granddaughter of a former Costa Rican president; the daughter of bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs, and the daughter of bluegrass singer Dudley Connell. And kids are kids, no matter their lineage. I never sought to treat any child differently and never was treated differently by parents with fame. But still a small piece of me thinks such things are cool. On some barely conscious level it makes me feel special.

From the school website: "President of Chile Visits Westland Middle School"

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, a student at the former Western Junior High (now Westland MS) and Wood Acres ES, visited her former junior high on June 8. The Westland band played the national anthems of Chile and the United States; students and their families who come from Chile offered special greetings; staff and students from both Westland and Wood Acres participated in a program that included a question-and-answer session.

Here's the Man!


tomasrosickycze
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Tomas Rosicky of the Czech Republic is the man of the hour for the Czechs. He scored 2 goals, a tournament high thus far (tied with Miroslav Klose of Germany, and Tim Cahill or Australia), in leading his team to victory of the United States. And why's this worth blogging? Well, it's World Cup trivia, but it's also a great photo, and that's the point of this post.

Few sports really match Futból for the way in which it's players display the sheer beauty and prowess of the human body. I can only think of two others, figure skating and gymnastics. Granted basketball is interesting but rarely demands the utter intensity of muscles already strained to the breaking point, and track and field does have it's moments, but they are comparative brief in my humble opinion. Soccer is a sports photographer's nirvana.

Bad Hair Day?


bighats@worldcup
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
There are other options! I love these photos from the opening ceremonies at the World Cup in Germany. Two of the many performers who paraded and danced in the stadium for the crowd.

Thus far, not too much to be surprised about, which is unfortunate for the US team. Shut out by the Czech Republic and next to face Italy fresh off of their victory over Ghana.... As these things usually go, the group E winner will probably be Italy or the Czech Republic. My joy is presently found in group D and Mexico. I had such a joyous conversation with my friend Mr. R. in Veracruz after their victory over Iran. We in the US really do fail to comprehend just how exciting this is for the rest of the world.

I imagine a rather predictable final four: Germany, Brazil, Argentina and France. And since the likelihood of getting all four of these correct is unlikely, I'd love to see Mexico up-set Argentina, or the U.K. rout Germany.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A Fever Unknown in the US


worldcup200g
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
It's called World Cup Fever, and it's sweeping the rest of the world. And unlike the feared "Avian Flu" this pandemic will likely not lead to the annihilation of millions...

The sport is soccer. Something that every elementary school child in the US knows about, and like Barbie Dolls and Legos, swiftly forgets upon entering adolesence. An amnesia that does not happen in the rest of the world! There, soccer takes on the pre-eminence that sports like basketball, football, and baseball assume in our country.

SO, now it's WORLD CUP time. The time when years of games lead some teams to rise into a competition for the global title. For those of us in the US, this is but a blip on the foreign news coverage if it's a "slow news day" in sports. For the rest of our human family, it's nothing short of WAR ~ and the good kind, where only pride dies and NOT people.

So here's To the nations whose teams are in the first round of competition: Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Croatia, Colombia, Czech Replublic, United Kingdom, France, Ghana, Germany, The Netherlands, Iran, South Korea, Paraguay, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Spain, Mexico, Cote D'Ivoire, Japan, Italy, The United States, The Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Trinidad & Tobago, Togo, and Switzerland.

May the best players win!

In Memorium


mr.s&me1996
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I live in a wonderfully diverse neighborhood on the northern edge of the District of Columbia. We are gay and straight, married, single, partnered, black, white, asian, speakers of English, speakers of Spanish, or Chinese, Japanese and French. The diversity that we represent only enriches our lives. I know that it has often made mine more interesting.

Tonight, I learned of the passing into ancestry of my neighbor's father and my friend, Mr. S.

Shortly after purchasing my home with my ex-, Ms. S. purchased the home directly across the street. We've been neighbors for 12 years. When she was away and a careless contractor broke a window in her basement and left it, I went over and repaired it with the help of our other neighbors Mr. & Mrs. C. When a massive limb from my ancient sugar maple inexplicably snapped off and blocked the street one evening, she joined with the self-same neighbors and worked in the dark of that night to help me dispose of it's debris. We do for each other what needs to be done, because we are neighbors.

And as long as I can remember, whenever her parents visited, we would all get together for a meal at a local restaurant, or in one another's home. At one point, it became a bit of joke how her father would emerge from her car after riding from the airport (and a 23 hour flight with connections from Japan) and immediately cross the street to greet me and deposit a gift.

A retired public official, he once pulled a picture out of his wallet with the explanation that he was photographed with "my guy". The picture was of him and John Paul II at the Vatican. It was taken during a diplomatic visit to the Holy See in which he was the chief representative for Japan. I am not Catholic, but such subtlies were not his forte.

This picture was taken of us on my deck during a visit back in 1996 when my ex- and I hosted him and his family for a barbeque.

The joy of life is always tempered by the sorrow of death. It is a reminder that we must always look out for one another, must always accept the generosity of others, must, MUST cherish each moment. So that when we become no longer a presence in the physical reality, our presence in the hearts of those who remain will be a force for good, a witness of good-acts, and a memory of goodness to be cherished; so that in goodness we each may live on in the hearts and minds and stories of the living.

My dear Mr. S., May Light Perpetual Shine Upon You!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Somewhere Over The Rainbow......Surrender Dorothy!


jgarlandstamp
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
The US Postal service issues another in it's "Legends of Hollywood" series today: Judy Garland. And the timing couldn't be better. Yes, it's her birthday, but it's also the commemoration of another "birthday". The birth of the Gay rights movement with the advent of the Stonewall riots in New York and the death of this precious diva in 1969.

A great essay prompted by this event can be found at:

http://www.nightcharm.com/index.php?p=377

No apology for the graphically gay content that surrounds it.

Happy Pride everyone!

A Prophet In His Own Time


jonstewart
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
The days of the News Lions is gone. The last bunch of kitties morphed into pussies and then left us (Brokaw, Jennings, Rather). The business is a business, now. It's not about facts or principles, it's about profit. And Courric won't change that fact! Yet profits can still include a Prophet. Jon Stewart of the "Daily Show" is proving that.

I may be falling in love......

But seriously, his expansive intellect and keen wit create interviews that cut to the chase, expose the lie, bring a higher demension to issues that are too often debated in the gutter. There's news and then there's NEWS. The old networks half-assedly report it, Stewart exposes and MAKES it! Kudus, Jon!

And check out this recent exchange about gay marriage with serial monogamist, gambling addict Bill Bennett:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkLxVgXSveA&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ehuffingtonpost%2Ecom%2F2006%2F06%2F07%2Fwatch%2Djon%2Dstewart%2Dslam%2Dco%5Fn%5F22479%2Ehtml

Reality Check, Please


june10demographics
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Well, we got Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. And frankly, I am not shedding any tears. Those that live by the sword should expect little more... And this is what worries me.

Since June 1st, the Department of Defense has announced 21 casualties among US troops engaged in our little "war" on Terrorism. 21 men and women dead in 9 days. As to Iraqi civilians....they're dying at an average rate of 34 per day in war related incidents, so that would balance out to just over 300 men, woman, and children in the same first 9 days of June.

And the most distrubing thing of all? That these numbers don't seem to disturb very many of us. That this "War," (never declared Constitutionally, but often invoked by our illegitimately twice unelected president to justify the trashing of the Constitution) has become just another piece of our culture. We're Americans, ergo, we're at war.

It breaks my heart....it really does.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Theology versus Lunacy.....


kievlionesses
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Is this the Ukraine's version of the snake handlers? Pity the poor soul.....


"Lioness In Zoo Kills Man Who Invoked God"

KIEV (Reuters) - A man shouting that God would keep him safe was mauled to death by a lioness in Kiev zoo after he crept into the animal's enclosure, a zoo official said on Monday.

"The man shouted 'God will save me, if he exists', lowered himself by a rope into the enclosure, took his shoes off and went up to the lions," the official said.

"A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery."

The incident, Sunday evening when the zoo was packed with visitors, was the first of its kind at the attraction. Lions and tigers are kept in an "animal island" protected by thick concrete blocks.


God. Hmmm. What a concept. We need a new revelation.....

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What I'm Listening To #13


discozone
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
The O-Zone layer is rocking! And I'm possibly that last person in the world to realize it! ALL of my students know about it. And it all started with a commercial from New Zealand for the vodka 42 Below. The commercial features one of the thousands of self posted lip-synch performances of O-Zone's international hit "Dragostea Din Tei". I apologize that I do not know Romanian (and Babelfish fails to include it as one of their translation options!)

The tune is fun, and the commercial delightful. I found myself singing it to myself in class and bam!--23 nine and ten year old fourth graders erupted into shouts of joy. We eventually turned the melody of the chorus into a way of singing the names of the 50 states! I am NEVER one to miss the teachable moment.

The song is also know as the "numa numa" song. If you have some time to kill, you might want to google it and enjoy some of the vids out there for yourself.

Cheers!

Our Latest American Hero #23


douglasadicenzo
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Army Capt. Douglas A. Dicenzo, 30, of Plymouth, N.H.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany; killed May 25 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Baghdad. Also killed was Spc. Robert E. Blair.


“Army Captian From Plymouth Killed In Iraq”

An Army captain who was a star athlete from Plymouth Regional High School has been killed in Iraq. Capt. Douglas DiCenzo was killed yesterday when his Humvee drove over a roadside bomb, making him the third New Hampshire serviceman killed this month in Iraq.
“He was a quiet leader. He wasn’t a rah-rah guy,” his stepfather, Mark Burzynski of Plymouth, said today.

Burzynski said the explosion killed two people.

DiCenzo, 30, was a 1995 graduate of Plymouth High and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., in 1999. He was deployed to Iraq in November.

DiCenzo was a company commander in the 1st Armored Division, based in Baumholder, Germany.

Dicenzo’s wife, Nicole DiCenzo, 35, and 15-month old son, Dakin were in Germany today. DiCenzo also is survived by his mother, Cathy Crane, 55, of Plymouth; a brother, Daniel DiCenzo, 27, a coach at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.; and his father, Larry DiCenzo, of Charleston, S.C.

“He was such a good kid. He worked really hard at everything he did,” Larry DiCenzo told the Union Leader. “He was really dedicated to serving his country and thought it was his duty to do this.”

At Plymouth Regional High yesterday, guidance counselor Norm LeBlanc told the newspaper DiCenzo was a standout who excelled in sports and academics.

“This is going to devastate our town,” said LeBlanc, who also was DiCenzo’s Little League coach. “Dougie is one of the best. I can sincerely say he is one of the best products of our school in the 37 years it has been there.”

DiCenzo graduated fifth in his high school class, was class president and captain of the football and wrestling teams.

“He was that kid that everyone knows and likes,” said Mike LeBlanc, son of Norm LeBlanc and DiCenzo’s former classmate. “He was the ‘All-American’ kid.”

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Congratulations, Gentlemen of the RCMP!


tree&connors
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Constable Jason Tree, left, and Constable David Connors, right, stand in front of their house in Meteghan, Nova Scotia. On June 30th they will wed, becoming the first same-sex marriage in RCMP history. The marriage follows an eight year long relationship that first began for the couple when they met while attending the same university. In Canada the wedding is legal.

O Canada! -- ye shining light of justice.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Random Quote #51

"The Day I experienced sexuality, my god, what a Creator put that in my life."

~ Peter Berliner, 1941 -

Some Who OPPOSE the FMA Constitutional Amendment

Quotes Opposing the FMA -- the So-Called Federal Marriage Amendment
http://www.hrc.org/voteno/quotes.htm

"The Constitutional Amendment we are debating today strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans. It usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed, and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them, and which they feel capable of resolving should it confront them, again according to local standards and customs."

~ Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ), Senate floor statement, 7/14/04

"Like most Americans, and most Republicans, I think it's important to do all we can to defend and strengthen the institution of marriage. And I also believe it is critically important to defend the integrity of the Constitution. But a federal amendment to define marriage would do nothing to strengthen families - just the opposite. And it would unnecessarily undermine one of the core principles I have always believed the GOP stood for: federalism."

~ Former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY), The Washington Post , 9/5/2003

"Amending the Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman would be unwise for two reasons. Constitutionalizing social policy is generally a misuse of fundamental law. And it would be especially imprudent to end state responsibility for marriage law at a moment when we require evidence of the sort that can be generated by allowing the states to be laboratories of social policy."

~ Syndicated conservative commentator George Will , The Washington Post,
11/30/2003

Leading Civil Rights Leaders Oppose the So-Called Federal Marriage Amendment

"In my view, constitutional amendments should not to be used to restrict or deny freedoms, but to protect and expand freedom. Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civic unions. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay-bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages. Instead of trivializing the constitution, we need some laws that give families the kind of help they really need, like job-training and child care assistance, stronger schools and health insurance coverage for every family."

~ Coretta Scott King, in a speech at Stockton College, March 23, 2004

"As an organization that has, since its inception, fought for and supported amendments to the Constitution to ensure and protect the most fundamental rights for all persons, the NAACP strongly opposes the so-called Federal Marriage Amendment and all other proposals that would use the Constitution to discriminate and restrict, rather than expand and protect the rights for any and all persons."

~ Hilary Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau, Testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, March 3, 2004

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Once Upon A Time....


sehlatsroarcover01
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
The world of Star Trek was a fantasy that I really believed in. And in high school I joined in with Mr. JB and Mrs. TH and together we published a "fanzine" called Sehlat's Roar. (The Sehlat was the bear-like/dog pet of Lt. Cmdr. Spock when he was a boy on Vulcan.)

This image is a scan of one of the linoleum block prints from that first issue. The design and art is that of Mrs. TH. Covers in this first edition were each done by hand with Red, Orange, Yellow, or Gold ink.

I am now contemplating posting a blog dedicated to the contents of this fanzine. It will be called "Sehlat's Roar", if it ever happens.

Anyone interested?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

No Surprises.....Please.


hilaryclinton
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Senator Hillary Clinton announced her re-election campaign today in Buffalo, New York. Buffalo, and not Brooklyn? Would love to be a fly on the wall of her handler's office.... But be that as it may, this is NO surprise. In fact, it's a comfort. While I don't agree with her on all the issues, I do think that she's a worthy successor to Daniel Patrick Monehan.

As to her further aspirations (presidency in 2008, por exemplo), I can only say PLEASE....NO!

I long for the day when we will, as a male dominated nation, like our dick's enough to trust a woman to lead us. And Hillary is totally qualified to do this. I'd vote for her! Honest. BUT, she's the victim of years of Republican vilification. And more than a mere election campaign will have to occur before the nation will choose Hillary to lead us. The first woman ought to be a 'George Washington" or an "Abraham Lincoln" and not a 'Clarence Thomas' or 'George Bush the Lessor.'

Hillary has alread won the most consequential mark in history: a first lady made senator of the 2nd most populous state in the nation. Not since former president Howard Taft was placed upon the Supreme Court has such a power-broker been given the opportunity to effect two branches of government. Her senatorial record ought to be her life's goal. Thus far, it's pretty milk-toast.

Hillary, darling, get re-elected and then make a difference in the Senate, for a change....


"Hillary Clinton en Campaña de Reelección"

NUEVA YORK - Mientras tanto la senadora demócrata y ex primera dama de Estados Unidos, Hillary Clinton, lanzó el miércoles la campaña para su reelección en noviembre, sin pronunciarse abiertamente sobre sus planes para la carrera presidencial de 2008, donde es vista como potencial candidata.

¿Rumbo a la Casa Blanca?

En un acto en la ciudad de Buffalo, al norte del Estado de Nueva York, por el cual es senadora desde hace seis años, Clinton se declaró "honrada" de aceptar la nominación para las elecciones legislativas de noviembre.
  
"Necesitamos pararnos y exigir un nuevo liderazgo que ponga a nuestro país nuevamente en la vía correcta", destacó la legisladora, a quien muchos analistas políticos consideran la más firme ganadora de la candidatura del Partido Demócrata para la carrera por la Casa Blanca de 2008.
 
"Creo que necesitamos fundamentalmente una nueva dirección, y necesitamos trabajar hacia soluciones que nos ayuden a cumplir con nuestros desafíos del siglo XXI de expandir nuestra economía, defender nuestra seguridad y preservar nuestros valores", agregó.