Sunday, December 30, 2007

P. S. #01

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
A new strand is born from this fascinating project. The caption reads: "I resent the majority of Black Americans.... because every Darfur activist I know is white."

It reminds me of a quote from Erma Bombeck: "Guilt, the gift that keeps on giving."

AVAM Postscript....Post Secret

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Here's a quartet of postcards from Post Secret, a part of the current exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum. They are representative of those I read today. It's like a blog on speed ~ Voyeurism's nirvanah.

From Top To Bottom, Left to Right:

1) "My husband won't have sex with me anymore..... so I masturbated with a cucumber and served it in his salad for dinner."
2) "I only date black men, because my white brother molested me."
3) "We're all so connected. I DESPERATELY wish we knew it!"
4) "I hate being normal, but fear becoming anything else."

You can share you own secret thoughts in the form of post card by sending it to:

13345 Copper Ridge Road
Germantown, Maryland 20874

Art I'm Seeing #24

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
On another grey and rainy winter Sunday, I fended off the 'blues' by visiting one of the most amazing art museums in the world and thus recharging my batteries. The last time I visit the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore: AVAM for short, I was less than impressed by the exhibition titled: "Home & Beast". This time "All Faiths Beautiful" completed restored my faith in AVAM!

The exploration of faith in art is anchored by an amazing collection of anonymously created, composed postcards expressing sentiments of faith. They were really a powerful testimony to the inner lives of people everywhere in relation to God/OR/Not. Within the show other artists are standouts; but having not taken so much as a pen with me; can I recall their names? Pish posh! Yet, I feel compelled to describe at least two of them: 1) A somewhat recluse artist from the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia who's intricate and complex pen and ink with watercolor drawings required magnifying glasses to partake their details fascinated me. He built his drawings around themes of unity and eclectic spiritual traditions. 2) A triptych of panels suspended in a "windowed-wall" to allow viewers to experience all sides. The subjects are Mohammed, Jesus, and Buddha. The medium combined both oil paint applied thickly to permit the crafting of textures and wood tiles laid in a mosaic fashion. They were gorgeous....and I do recall that the artist's last name was Vargas.

Only one space in the exhibit disappointed and that was a panoramic display of pages from the book "The Illuminated Rumi". I love Rumi; I think that the art is valid. BUT the presentation in this exhibit as photocopies from the book was little more than an embedded advertisement for the book; which is on sale in the AVAM gift shop. Tsk tsk tsk.

Otherwise, it's a show that's a homerun in my book. I will look forward to dropping another $12 in future to see it again.

Sunday Funnies #12

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
In a time of increasing competition for everything, it seems like even hitchhikers are willing to go the second mile to catch a ride!

"Er, where to, buddy?"

The Great Gay Sport Debate

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Rages on!

And, okay; this evening wrestling is on top again!

"No, no, no! It's 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3 AND I get to lead this time!"

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Our Latest American Hero #109

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army Sgt. Benjamin B. Portell, 27, of Bakersfield, Calif.; assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas; died Dec. 26 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds sustained from small arms fire during dismounted combat operations. Also killed was Capt. Rowdy J. Inman.

“Bakersfield Soldier Dies in Iraq on Second Term of Duty”

BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—A soldier from Bakersfield who was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq was killed in Mosul when his Army platoon was ambushed.

The Department of Defense says 27-year-old Sgt. Benjamin Portell died Wednesday from wounds suffered from small arms fire.

Portell's pastor Brian Murphy says the soldier had just gotten married this year and was a devoted member of the Riverlakes Community Church.

Murphy says Portell's older brother, Mike, is currently deployed in Iraq and a younger brother Jeff served a term there as well.

What I'm Reading #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I don't think this is actually my first post about somthing that I am reading, but it's been so long since I posted on the subject that I can't actually locate a previous post, so..... And the shame is that I read lot's of stuff; I'll have to work on sharing more along these lines.

"Best New Poets 2007: 50 poems from emerging writer" was one of a few gifts I received this Christmas from dear friends. And what comfort to possess friends who so perfectly know my heart that they never miss when it comes to such a gift.

It's a great collection, and as poetry goes, very promising as a harbinger of this genre's immediate future. If you are looking for a gift for someone who enjoys poetry, this would be a wonderful choice!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Bon Appetit

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
My dear friend K. is in town for the weekend, and we met around noon to tour the Morris Louis exhibit at the Hirshhorn -- I both needed to see it again and wanted to share it with him. We have an easy friendship, one that picks up where it left off like one greets the rising sun after days of cloudiness and never imagines that a morning happened without it. I have a great affection for K.

And so his news that rather than live between two cities, DC and Boston, (as he has been doing now for nearly two years) has grown wearisome to the point of being no longer worth it came as both no surprise and a sad revelation.

After the museum he took me to lunch and introduced me to a new restaurant: Belga Café in SE off of Capital Hill is, as the name suggests, a Belgian Restaurant. K. was jonesing for a pot of Belgian mussels and some Raspberry Beer. I had an amazing poached salmon over a bed of asparagus and escarole in a tart mustard sauce and a mushroom/cheese soup.

4 stars.

Afterward I chauffeured K. to a late afternoon appointment with his doctor. A doctor who shares an office with mine! -- What a serendipitous discovery for me, his directionally challenged friend.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Art I'm Seeing #23

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Morris Louis New: An American Master Revisited" at the Hirshhorn was the perfect way to spend the day after Christmas. I went late in the afternoon as darkness was descended amidst a steady cold rain and found the museum nearly empty: Bad for the museum, excellent for the exhibit-goer; especially, with this exhibit. I can't imagine finding the holiness of these large works in the midst of a crowd.

The show is not super-large and it doesn't give much insight into the first couple of decades of Louis' career. Decades obliterated for the most part by the artist himself, who destroyed as many of the early works, as possible. Rather it picks up with his oeuvre after a visit with Helen Frankenthaler. He witnessed her use of a new technique involving raw canvases and hyper-thinned oils and it was an epiphany that I think not only transformed his expressive life, but also validated Frankenthaler's to the extent that any pupil can rise to become a shadow over their teacher.

The show clearly covers the scope and evolution of Louis' post-Frankenthaler career. And I found the initial works the most compelling. They are like altars defining a space that is spiritual to the visceral sense that you wish you had the courage to kneel before them in an attitude of expectant prayerfulness.

I've seen many Morris Louis works in museums from New York to London, from San Francisco to DC, but until you experience a trinity of them in a space as pure and undistracting as the's like you have never seen one of his works before. The closest analogy that I can think of to this is Rothko, and the Rothko Chapel at the Tate Modern in London. Singularly, the works are beautiful; together, they are transcendental.

You have until January 6th to catch this amazing show.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Final Christmas Thought

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
At the cusp of the end of this season of Light; a season when Jews celebrate the preservation of light, when Scandinavians dress little girls in crowns of light, when Germans adorn fir trees in candles of light, and Latin Americans join in a flurry of pyrotechnical explosions of light to dazzle the streets of Managua, San Salvador, and Guatamala City.....

Imagine the universal joy of light.

When those of us in the United States decorate our homes with millions of miles of little light bulbs to express our joy and give our children a glowing memory of trees, and bushes, and windows, and doors, and wreaths, and menorahs alight.

Imagine how much we are just a part of the whole.

And when the ancient god of Judia and Israel proclaimed through the prophet Isaiah: "The people who dwell in the darkness have now seen a great light; those who were living in a land of shadows, upon them a light has shone. Thou hast richly given them gladness, and an amply joy; in thy presence they rejoice like harvesters, as men rejoice dividing plunder."

Imagine the timelessness of the mystery of light.

Well...what else is to be said?

Thanks be to God.

My Quilting Ways #04

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
This is a topical entry to this oft neglected strand. Meet "Christmas Zebras"! Created in May of 2005 for the son of my dearest friend, I've yet to get the trim on it. Fortunately the child is only just 3, so there's every likelihood that he'll have it before he's got a son of his own!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

22 Views of Pride 2007

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
2007 has been a year of expanding pride. Here are 22 images of pride celebrations from around the world. Places that are Iconic for their gay & lesbian communities like San Francisco and Amsterdam, Small and distant cities like Port Louis, Maritius, emerging places like Bahai, Brazil in which 300,000 people turned out to parade and celebrate.

Places where being gay and marching requires courage and exposes participants to threats and violence, like Istanbul and Jerusalem. And, of course, there's Moscow, where the government bowed to the pressure of the state church and revoked the right to march.

And the missing places..... Cairo, Lagos, Lahore, Beijing, Bangalore....Tehran.

However, these images celebrate and demonstrate a joy at being human, of being safe, and being free to be who and with whom we want.

#1 AMSTERDAM ~ The Netherlands

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#2 ANCHORAGE ~ United States

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#3 ATLANTA ~ United States

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#4 AUCKLAND ~ New Zealand

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#5 BAHAI ~ Brazil

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#6 BANKOK ~ Thailand

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#7 BERLIN ~ Germany

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#8 DUBLIN ~ Ireland

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#9 ISTANBUL ~ Turkey

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#10 JERUSALEM ~ Israel

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#11 JOHANNESBURG ~ South Africa

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#12 LISBON ~ Portugal

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#13 MEXICO CITY ~ Mexico

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#14 PORT LOUIS ~ Mauritius

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#15 ROME ~ Italy

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#16 SAN FRANCISCO ~ United States

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#17 SEOUL ~ South Korea

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#18 STOCKHOLM ~ Sweden

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#19 TALLINN ~ Estonia

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#20 TOKYO ~ Japan

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#21 TORONTO ~ Canada

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

#22 WARSAW ~ Poland

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pentacost Early!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Talk about tongues of fire, and speaking in tongues....


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yoga Schmoga...NOT in a million years

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I've never even been able to touch my toes!

What I'm Watching #121

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I had no memory of this story.

It's based on a real event.

It's Quebequois in production, and French/English in dialogue.

When it began it's resolution of the story over an hour into the film, the facts behind the mystery were so horrific that I screamed out "NO!" and stopped the DVD. Like when the captive African pushed herself off the ship with her infant in her arms in "Amistad," I had seen enough.

It's a great little movie. I hope to someday finish it.

We Three Kings Of TV Are.....

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Well it seems that in this day of instant everything, and use everything to make a buck, and Christmas is the season of using everything to make instant bucks -- there is an exception. Christmas specials made for TV hit their zenith in the year that I turned five! The troika has been established -- the greedy need apply elsewhere.

It all began in 1964 with "Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer." It was stop action animation directed by the Japanese Kizo Nagashima (bet you didn't know that!) It stunned audiences with a talking snowman who as narrator stood both within and without of the story -- an innovation that we today take for granted (and reached it's apex in Stephen Sondheim's "Into The Woods".). The models for show were quickly relegated to the prop room after the production. Rudolf was eventually purchased at an auction and used as a centerpiece for a candy dish by an up-state New York family for years; Cornelius Klondike was "melted down"..... All of this predicated upon an already popular novelty song first recorded by Gene Autrey in 1949. And this song's lyrics began as a poem created by an American advertising executive called Robert May. He was requested to produce a poem that could be given away to children by the Santa Claus employed by Department Stores at Christmas! Johnny Marks was the composer who eventually set the words to music.

In 1965, Charles Schultz's beloved Charlie Brown entered the pantheon. This special banked it's future on the wild success of the Charlie Brown cartoon franchise. And perhaps because of that cache, it dared to break new ground of it's own. 1) It used the voices of actual children. In animation circles in the 1960's this was a radical idea. 2) It told the nativity story using the Bible. This was Charles' idea, and it initiated the very first time that anything in the Bible was presented as animation (Veggie Tales, eat your hearts out!) 3) The score was commissioned by Jazz musician Vince Giraldi. The music was bouncy and yet contemplative which matched the slower pace of the animation. And up until this time, successful TV animation was all fast paced, sight gags, and momentum driven. "Charlie Brown's Christmas" forever changed that.

In 1966, the final member of the trinity arrived in the presentation of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas". Like Charlie Brown it was based on a popular children's literary work....a work that today is a classic. In 1966, the written work had been in publication for 9 years. And with this animation a once popular (then somewhat forgotten) actor was chosen to play the title role: Boris Karloff. It's a hallmark of anything "classic" that aspects of it's place in culture take it's components to new places -- i.e. who can name anything that Mr. Karloff did in his decades of acting in Hollywood that is more well remembered and more ubiquitous that his portrayal of the voice of the Grinch?

And so there you have it. I managed to catch all three of these this year on TV, and cozy on the couch staring into my little TV's glow, it truly Christmas again!

Friday, December 21, 2007

What I'm Listening To #33

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Fall Out Boy

Lyrical, pounding, contageious, creative -- excellent rock!

What I'm Watching #120

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Rock Haven" is an extremely low-budget independent film. The perfected child of its creator David Lewis.

The blurb on the DVD case gives a descent summation: "Is faith stronger than sexual attraction? Beady, an 18-year-old devout Christian, is given that test when he and his mother move to a scenic Northern California coast town where he falls in love with his new neighbor Clifford. There to spread the good word, Brady instead becomes hopelessly attracted to this handsome athlete who is the complete opposite of him: vivacious and free-spirited. There's an instant sexual spark and the two young men must navigate the divide between Brady's beliefs and their budding romance." -- it's mostly accurate.

And now the points that are important:

1) Its production values are not very strong (I'm being generous). The highlights are photographic interludes of the Northern California coast. The MAJOR downer is the incessantly inane adagio score that seems always to accompany the beautiful images of the coastline.

2) The Christian mom played by Laura Jane Coles has just got to be the one and only "Betty Bowers: America's Best Christian!" And how ironic would that be!?

3) As over the top sappy/silly as some of this film is, it still reminds me of my own youthful days of conflict and rings true on many levels. To bad that my "Clifford" turned out to favor playing God's chosen over accepting God's choice for his life!

Every Evangelical Gay Christian should see this film, as well as, those to love them.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday Funny!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
When this kid's mom writes the book on potty training, she'll be a gazillionaire!

Futbol, too!?

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Perhaps I've been too hard on wrestling....

Futbol may be a rather gay sport, too!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Enough Already!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
It began in the groggy pre-dawn hours of Tuesday morning when I was awakened by the chop-chop-chop sound of helicopters hovering in the sky over my home. No "Good Thing" ever comes from the sound of helicopters in the morning! Trust me.

I peered out my bedroom window at 5:50 AM to see a barren New Hampshire Avenue that was glazed with an icy scheen. Ice?--A freak storm? NO SCHOOL?!

No such luck! It was a water main ruptured adjacent to the bridge over Sligo Creek. The 20" pipe was 84 years old -- another victim of an ill-equiped and too long ignored infrastructure. The immediate news report declared that it would be repaired in 6 ours.....

Yeah, right! It's been 65 hours since the rupture and the repair crew continues full tilt!. Oh, the humanity! ;-) Oh, the incessant rata-tat-tat-tat of the jack hammers and back hoes......

Gubinatorial Family Portraits

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The top is the growingly infamous portrait of the Bill Huckabee's, formerly of ARKANSAS. The bottom is from the Christmas card I received from the Martin O'Malley's presently of MARYLAND.

It's hard to know where to begin, so I won't....

Recent Pole Results

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
This from the liberal/progressive website "Daily Kos" which shows a shockingly large lead for John Edwards; and religates Clinton to a 4th place standing....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our Latest American Hero #108

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Gabel, 30, of Crowley, La.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade, Camp Ederle, Italy; died Dec. 12 at Forward Operating Base Curry, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Cpl. Joshua C. Blaney.

“Poignant Eulogy Presages Hero’s Death”

Staff Sergeant Michael J. Gabel was killed in action by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan on December 12, 2007. Gabel, a 30 year old native of Baton Rouge, LA was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.

His brother David Gabel said Michael had planned to re-enlist next year so he could continue to serve in Afghanistan, a country that he loved.

“My brother believed in Afghanistan,” David Gabel said. “He really wanted to see schools, jobs, and opportunities brought to the country. It was his third tour in Afghanistan, and the job there was unfinished.”

Scarcely a month before his own death, Staff Sgt. Gabel had delivered the eulogy for one of three fellow Sky Soldiers, friends all who were killed in Kunar Provence.

Summarizing his feelings, he said: “I will not be bitter. I will not shed any tears of sorrow. I’m proud to have known such a good man and a warrior to the bitter end.”

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Random Quote #81

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world."

~ Nelson Mandela
1918 -

Sunday Funnies #11

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
...with a point. This public service ad from the Deutscher Olympischer SportBund reminds us all: "If you don't move, you get fat."

An over-simplification of sorts, but basically a sound concept!

Something Told The Wild Geese

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
This is the view from the door of my sunroom looking into my backyard. I took it on Thanksgiving Day this year. Now the leaves are all gone and tonight the earlier sleet has been replaced by a steady nearly freezing rain. Makes this photo, with it's ominous sky, seem downright "cozy."

Here's a poem from my childhood; a poem that my school's children will be singing in concert this coming Monday evening (tomorrow).


Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered,—“Snow.”

Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned,—“Frost.”

All the sagging orchards
steamed with amber spice,
But each wild brest stiffened
At remembered ice.

Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly,—
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.

~ Rachel Field, 1894 - 1942

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What I'm Watching #119

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Just finished the second (and I think, final -- Wha wha wha.......) season of the MTV/LOGO channel show Noah's Arc. It grows on you. And dammit, it ended with a cliff hanger never to be resolved....

It's still fun TV in the tradition of "90210" and "OC"; only twist, it's black men...mmm, black GAY men, this time.

Bravo, gentlemen!