Wednesday, January 31, 2007

We've Lost A Gem, And Gained A Saint

mollyivins, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

This news really makes me sad. Molly was an amazing voice of reason and integrity from the Lone Star State. Her passing into Ancestry is as bitter a transition for the living as were her fellow Texans Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan. This trinity proves the adages, that 1) everything is bigger in Texas, 2) you shouldn't "Mess" with Texas, and 3) all good things come in threes!

These amazing, gutsy, honest, courageous, and articulate women leave us all the better for what they have given us. And Molly leaves us ever blessed by the treasure trove of her articles and ideas committed to pen and archived.

This is the news wire article on her demise:

AUSTIN, Texas - Best-selling author and columnist Molly Ivins, the sharp-witted liberal who skewered the political establishment and referred to President Bush as “Shrub,” died Wednesday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 62.

David Pasztor, managing editor of the Texas Observer, confirmed her death.

The writer, who made a living poking fun at Texas politicians, whether they were in her home base of Austin or the White House, revealed in early 2006 that she was being treated for breast cancer for the third time.

More than 400 newspapers subscribed to her nationally syndicated column, which combined strong liberal views and populist-toned humor. Ivins’ illness did not seem to hurt her ability to deliver biting one-liners.

“I’m sorry to say (cancer) can kill you, but it doesn’t make you a better person,” she said in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News in September, the same month cancer claimed her friend former Gov. Ann Richards.

To Ivins, "liberal" was no insult. "Even I felt sorry for Richard Nixon when he left; there's nothing you can do about being born liberal — fish gotta swim and hearts gotta bleed," she wrote in a column included in her 1998 collection, "You Got to Dance With Them What Brung You."

In a column in mid-January, Ivins urged readers to stand up against Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq.

"We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war," Ivins wrote in the Jan. 11 column. "We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'"

Ivins' best-selling books included those she co-authored with Lou Dubose about Bush. One was titled "Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush" and another was "BUSHWHACKED: Life in George W. Bush's America."

Ivins' jolting satire was directed at people in positions of power. She maintained that aiming it at the powerless would be cruel.

"The trouble with blaming powerless people is that although it's not nearly as scary as blaming the powerful, it does miss the point," she wrote in a 1997 column. "Poor people do not shut down factories,... Poor people didn't decide to use `contract employees' because they cost less and don't get any benefits."

They Do Grow Up So Fast!

hpotterhotter, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

British actor Daniel Radcliffe, a.k.a. Harry Potter is set to star in a production of the Tony Award winning play, "Equus," to be staged at London's Gielgud Theatre. The 17-year-old actor will perform the play's signature scene au natural.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You Go, Uncle Sam!

unclesam2007, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

What I'm Watching #61

Phoenix, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

This is a lowish budget, Amateuristic film that Gay Men will relate to. The themes are Love, Naiveté, Betrayal, and Redemption. Even with weak production values and so-so actors, it holds enough cohesion to be worth the trouble. Just barely, but worth is worth, none-the-less. A lukewarm reception with 1.5 stars!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

December Stats

2006.12BARGRAPH, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Using a Double Bar Graph over time, this is what the 3rd deadliest month for our U.S. soldiers looks like. I'm thinking about up-loading monthly graphs and then you can make comparisons.

Pray with me for peace.


mcnaughtcomet, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

This is a really neat occurance and this photo of it taken on January 19th at the Pucon Calafquen Lake sector of Chile is simply, well....worth repeating -- Magnificent!

Here's some background exerpted from an article on the website Enjoy!

A newfound comet is about to loop around the Sun and might offer skywatchers a rare and fantastic view. But comets are unpredictable, and this one has a wide range of possible outcomes, experts say.

When Australian astronomer Robert McNaught announced Aug. 7 that he had discovered a faint comet on a photograph taken at the Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, it was a distant and inconspicuous object. But its orbital motion at once made it clear that this comet, officially catalogued as C/2006 P1, might grow very bright.

The reason for the great uncertainty stems from the fact that for the past few weeks the comet has been positioned at such a relatively small angular distance from the Sun in the sky that it has been extremely difficult to get good measurements of its brightness. Now, with a little over a week to go before the comet makes its closest approach to the Sun (called perihelion), just how bright it may ultimately get and how long a tail may develop remain to be seen.

Predicting a newly discovered comet's brightness has proven historically to be difficult, especially around the time of perihelion.

BUT! -- Or, "And now for the rest of the story....."

Comet McNaught has become the brightest comet in 30 years, according to the International Comet Quarterly at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Vive le sport!

wrestlersuniforms, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

So who exactly thought up the design of Wrestlers' uniforms? Not that it matters -- what's done is done. Well done, to be exact!

Our Latest American Hero #63

brianallgood, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Here are five more American Heroes. A little bit about their lives, relationships, accomplishments and dreams. Heroes #'s 59 to 63 have a tall bill to fill. They represent the now more than 30 Americans who were killed over the weekend while prosecuting our "War on Terrorism". In just five stories, you will see how those who represent us, and give the ultimate sacrifice for us, deserve to be called our best and brightest citizens.

Feel free to weep with me.

“He Was Very Brilliant”

A Colorado Springs native serving as the top American medical officer in Iraq died in a Sunday helicopter crash in Baghdad, the Pentagon announced today.

Col. Brian D. Allgood, 46 and a 1978 graduate of Air Academy High School, was a doctor in the Army before becoming the command surgeon of Multi-National Forces Iraq, the American military command in Baghdad, his mother Cleo Allgood of Colorado Springs said.

He was one of 12 soldiers killed when a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed at 3 p.m. Sunday in northeast Baghdad. The crash remains under investigation, but Iraq security forces leaders have said it was likely shot down by insurgents.

The son of an Army doctor and Vietnam veteran, retired Col. Gerald Allgood, Brian Allgood decided in his junior year at Air Academy to follow the family tradition. He won an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point and excelled academically, earning a slot in the University of Oklahoma medical school.

“He was very brilliant,” Cleo Allgood said.

But Allgood wanted to be more than just a doctor. He was a top-notch soldier who served as a battalion surgeon in the 75th Ranger Regiment and parachuted into Panama in the 1989 Operation Just Cause.

His mother said the stint with the Rangers, some of the nation’s toughest airborne troops, fit right in with Allgood’s competitive streak.

The hard-charging Allgood tempered his personality with a quick wit and an easy smile, she said.

“He had a very good, dry sense of humor,” his mother said.

He rose through the military ranks, becoming a full colonel in 2002 and serving in top medical posts in Korea and Germany before he was ordered to Iraq.

“He was looking forward to doing the job and from what we hear he was doing a great job,” Cleo Allgood said.

Brian Allgood was married to another West Point graduate, Jane Allgood, who is living in Germany with their son, 11-year-old Wyatt.

“Brian was a wonderful human being,” his mother said. “He was a wonderful brother, son, husband and father. He just was a giving person who served his country.”

The family plans a memorial service at Fort Carson. The date of that service is pending.

The crash killed seven other passengers and four crew members. All were identified Wednesday by the Pentagon.

Also killed were: Staff Sgt. Darryl D. Booker, 37, of Midlothian, Va.; Sgt. 1st Class John G. Brown, 43, of Little Rock, Ark.; Lt. Col. David C. Canegata, 50, of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; Command Sgt. Maj. Marilyn L. Gabbard, 46, of Polk City, Iowa; Command Sgt. Maj. Roger W. Haller, 49, of Davidsonville, Md.; Col. Paul M. Kelly, 45, of Stafford, Va.; Staff Sgt. Floyd E. Lake, 43, of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Cpl. Victor M. Langarica, 29, of Decatur, Ga.; Capt. Sean E. Lyerly, 31, of Pflugerville, Texas; Maj. Michael V. Taylor, 40, of North Little Rock, Ark. and 1st Sgt. William T. Warren, 48, of North Little Rock, Ark.

Our Latest American Hero #62

andrewmatus, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

“He Was A Good Kid”

WEYERHAEUSER, Wis. (AP) -- A Marine from northern Wisconsin has been killed in Iraq, family members said.

Lance Cpl. Andrew Matus, 19, graduated in 2005 from Weyerhaeuser High School and had already signed up to be a Marine before that, his father Gary Matus of Chetek said when contacted Monday evening.

He said he had been told his son was shot in Anbar Province.

The Pentagon had not yet released any details on the death.

The family was informed of the death Sunday, relatives said.

"He was a good kid," said the Marine's grandmother Virginia Matus of Bruce. "He wanted to go. That's what he wanted."

Gary Matus said many family members have served in the military. He said he and his sister are Army veterans, a brother served in Vietnam and his mother and father also served.

As for his son, "he wanted to be a Marine, mainly," he said.

He is the 68th Wisconsin member of the military to die in the Iraq war.

Matus played football in his sophomore year of high school and enjoyed weightlifting, mechanics, hunting and fishing, his mother, Donna Matus, said.

Teachers at Weyerhaeuser said he was creative and good with his hands and was named "Technology Education Student of the Year" there in 2005.

"He's probably the best mechanic I ever saw," said Richard Manor, a technology education teacher at Weyerhaeuser. "If you needed a part, he'd make the parts. He was very talented."

Matus also designed and built furniture and games to raise money for community programs.

"If anybody ever asked him to do anything, he'd be more than happy to help out," Todd Solberg, the school's principal, said.

Our Latest American Hero #61

marilyngabbard, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

“She Has Touched So Many People”

POLK CITY - Command Sergeant Major Marilyn Gabbard was one of the soldiers who died Saturday when a Blackhawk helicopter crashed northeast of Baghdad.

Command Sergeant Major Gabbard started her 27-year career in the Iowa National Guard as a Private. And the Polk City resident rose through the ranks to become a top enlisted leader.

Command Sergeant Major Gabbard died along with 11 other soldiers in an area northeast of Baghdad.

Army officials still aren't sure if a mechanical problem or gunfire brought the helicopter down.

Guard members do know they lost a highly-respected, top enlisted leader.

"If you look around this room, she has touched so many people in so many different ways within our organization," said Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood, Iowa National Guard.

Lieutenant Colonel Hapgood says Gabbard was the first member of the Guard Headquarters staff to die in Iraq.

She began her first tour just before Christmas and was in charge of a National Guard affairs team in Baghdad.

As Iowa's first female command Sergeant Major, she was a mentor and example to other women in the guard.

"She was the second female ever promoted to Sergeant Major and first Command Sgt. Major, and that gives the rest of the females in the Guard, the knowledge they can do it too," said Sgt. Major Renee Blodgett, Iowa National Guard.

Friends remembered her organizing skills and that included helping out at an American Legion post in her home of Polk City.

"She was a great lady, she'd do anything for the post, anytime we'd ask her to assist, just one outstanding member," said Lee Booton, American Legion Post #232.

Navy Petty Officer Jamie Jaenkie of Iowa Falls was the first Iowa woman to die in combat in Iraq last June.

Command Sergeant Major Gabbard's death now brings the Iowa death toll for all military services in Iraq and Afghanistan to 50.

Our Latest American Hero #60

tobyolsen, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

“Soldier Dies Who Nurtured Dream Of Being An Artist”

A former Mililani resident died Saturday in Iraq, one of four soldiers killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near their Army Humvee in Karma.

Army Spc. Toby Olsen, 28, a 1997 graduate of Mililani High School, is the 128th person with Hawaii ties to be killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003. He was based in Fort Richardson, Alaska, and deployed to Iraq in October with the 3rd Battalion, 509 Infantry (Airborne) Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Olsen's death came 13 days after he returned to the war zone from a two-week holiday visit with his family in Germany, said his uncle, Robert Olsen of Mililani. Toby Olsen's father, Army Col. James "Mike" Olsen, is an ophthalmologist at the U.S. Army Hospital in Heidelberg. It was the first time Toby, his father, mother Lis and sister Tanya were together since he joined the Army in late 2005, said Robert Olsen.

In a message to his family before he returned to war from his Christmas leave, Toby Olsen wrote that he planned to pursue his dream of being an artist, saying, "I now conform to ideas instead of imagine, and destroy instead of create."

He had "a newfound level of respect for the freedoms I once had," he wrote. "Hope I live long enough to enjoy them again."

Robert Olsen said: "Toby was here for junior high and high school, then he went off to school at the Savannah College of Art (and Design) in Georgia. He definitely intended to return to Hawaii to teach art.

"He was reserved, but when he knew you, a friendly, witty guy. He was more of an artist, poet, philosopher," said Robert Olsen. "We couldn't understand him taking the path (the Army). He was trying to make ends meet; it was something to give him a further education."

Robert Olsen said his nephew's best friend, a member of the same Alaska-based unit, was killed while Toby was on holiday leave, the 3,000th American victim of the Iraq war. He was Spc. Dustin Donica, 22, of Spring, Texas.

Toby Olsen is the grandson of John C. and Hiroko Olsen of Wahiawa. His survivors include uncles Robert of Hawaii and John of Texas, and aunt Sharla Beil of San Francisco.

The Army announcement of the Jan. 20 deaths listed Olsen as a resident of Manchester, N.H. Also killed in the explosion were Sgt. Sean P. Fennerty, 25, of Corvallis, Ore.; Sgt. Phillip D. McNeill, 22, of Sunrise, Fla.; and Spc. Jeffrey D. Bisson, 22, of Vista, Calif.

(And from a complimentary source, this exerpt in Specialist Olsen's own words.)

“Soldier Was Driven By Creative Expression”

Army Spc. Toby Olsen wrote about his desire to return to a creative life as an artist. In a message to relatives when he returned to the Iraq battle zone, he wrote:

"Happiness, in the broadest scope of the word, encompasses the feelings which personally give us as individuals fulfillment and joy to that which just takes the pain away for a little while. I believe in life, you need contrast too. I think you can't be truly happy until you have been truly unhappy.

"I am an artist, I strive to create and enjoy almost nothing more than to sit having all the time and freedom in the world and create. I hit a point in life where though my art wasn't fulfilling anymore, it felt empty. I suddenly had too much freedom and too much time, so took the most opposite direction I legally could with my life: I joined the Army.

"Now my time is run by the minute; there is almost no room for creativity. I now conform to ideas instead of imagine, and destroy instead of create. The contrast thus far has led to a strong resurgence of my former drives and desire to create, as well as a newfound level of respect for the freedoms I once had.

"Hope I live long enough to enjoy them again."

Our Latest American Hero #59

jonathankingman, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

“It’s Like A Bad Nightmare”

SHELBY -- Another Ohio family is preparing to say goobye to a fallen soldier.

Army Sergeant Jonathan Paul Kingman was supposed to turn 22 this spring and return home to his wife and three children. But his family's plans were shattered this weekend; the Sergeant was killed in Iraq on Saturday.

"It seems like I'm living a dream and I can't wake up," says Kingman's mother, Margaret Kingman who couldn't help but shed tears when talking about her son. "It's like a bad nightmare. I want him back so bad."

Kingman grew up in Shelby, enlisting in the Army at 17. Months later he married his high school sweetheart from Ashland, and they started a family.

"It kind of broke my heart, because I didn't want to let him go," says Margaret. But she says he became a wonderful father, husband, and soldier.

"I'm proud of him, very proud of him and what he was doing. He died with honors."

The Army is not releasing where in Iraq Kingman was killed, or how he died. But his family says he was doing what he loved.

"He knew the sacrifice he would have to make, he knew," says Kingman's sister, Elizabeth Kingman. "He was just so proud to do this for his country."

But even though Kingman knew his sacrifice his family wasn't ready for the knock on their door. Margaret Kingman wants to make sure no other family has to hear it.

"I think there are enough soldiers who've already died," says Margaret. "I think they should come home now."

Jonathan Paul Kingman graduated from Mapleton High School in 2003. Funeral arrangements are not yet been made.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Random Quote #61

suntzu, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

"Thus it is said that one who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be endangered in a hundred engagements."      

~ Sun Tzu, 544 - 496 BCE

More Tarot Art

tarot2, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Another of Stevee Postman's digitally rendered Tarot Card images for his "The Cosmic Tribe" tarot card deck. It's all such beautiful design. Google the main words to find the details. And the design is what I find interesting, the magic is, well, like magic.....

Bloody Hell: My Thoughts Tonight

abc_troops_070121_nr, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

The third deadliest day in this conflict without any definable end, no tangible benefits, and in the most generous words I can find, dubious provocations. The Bible tells us that where there is no vision, a people perish. But it fails to reveal the fate of a people who place their faith in the hands of an obstinant, avaricious, fool. Perhaps we are writing a new book of Holy Writ--an expanded treatise upon fools and the evils of their folly.

Yet, what price?

The lives of our best and brightest? The reputation of our nation? The future of life on this planet? And all as cavalierly as running a baseball team or oil company into the ground and then selling it off like old issues of National Geographic at a garage sale....

And what of the casualties? How I pray for their souls and weep for their families and friends. How many wars without nobility of cause are we going to see before war is declared obsolete? Or will the oceans rise up and drown us first?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

What I'm Watching #60

beachcafe, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

This Morroccan based, French language film is essentially about the desire of a young man to be accepted by an older man: a "Father Figure," if you will. It's about an architypal desire that ultimately goes unfulfilled in this flick.

In the meantime, there are beautiful images and two amazing performances to enjoy. If you can find "Beach Cafe," watch it. It's well worth your time.

New Fabric

newfabric, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

The Muslims have Mecca. The Jews Jerusalem. Biker Dudes have Sturgis, South Dakota. Breast Lovers with a penchant for fun have Dollywood in Gaitlinburg, Tennessee!

So why shouldn't quilters also have a taste of heaven on Earth?

We do! It's called, Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, New Hampshire. For the mainline quilter, they have it ALL. I've actually made the pilgrimage. The shop is a large chalet on the northern shore of picturesque Lake Winnipesaukee.

The illustration is a medley of fabircs that I purchased via the internet from their most recent catalogue today. I am entranced by batiks of late and my latest creation is a quilt with a decidedly Afro-centric theme and fabrics. As to the butterflies? The possibilities are endless!

Check it out: @ or call for a catalogue @ 1-800/865.9458. This is a totally unsolicited recommendation, and I ain't getting even an inch of fabric for the trouble!

My Beloved Magazine Strikes Again!

nyercover22jan07, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

With such poignantly satyrical covers, why wouldn't you read The New Yorker?

Ich Bin Ein Neue Yorker!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Our Latest American Hero #58

iancanderson&suzanne, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

This is another post in this series with an atypical image. Given the article that accompanies the DOD announcement, I just couldn't take Suzanne out of the picture. May light perpetual shine upon Ian's soul, and may Suzanne find some measure of comfort in the fact that he is an American Hero....

The Department of Defense announced today the death of four soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.  They died Jan 15 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle during combat operations.  The soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
Killed were:
Army 2nd Lt. Mark J. Daily, 23, of Irvine, CA
Army Sgt. Ian C. Anderson, 22, of Prairie Village, KS
Army Sgt. John E. Cooper, 29, of Ewing, KY
Army Spc. Matthew T. Grimm, 21, of Wisconsin Rapids, WI

“Prairie Village Soldier Dies”
His wife, who also is serving in Iraq, is heading home to be with their 3-year-old girl.

The day before her husband died was one of the best days that Suzanne Anderson had with her young Army husband, despite that they were living in Mosul, Iraq.

It was their last day together.

Sgt. Ian C. Anderson, 22, from Prairie Village, was killed Monday morning, along with three other soldiers. A bomb blew up near their Humvee.

His wife, Suzanne Anderson, 21, who is also in the Army, has left Iraq. She’s traveling home to Kansas, but bad weather is making her journey home even longer.

Both Andersons served in the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, out of Fort Bliss, Texas.

Ian Anderson just turned 22 the week before he died. This was his second deployment; he’d already spent a year in Korea. He entered the Army from Prairie Village on Oct. 23, 2002.

“They were in the same unit together,” said Suzanne’s mother, Debby Mason of Prairie Village. “She was determined to join after he did. She wanted to be with him.”

The two attended Shawnee Mission East High School, but they didn’t know each other then, Debby Mason said. Her daughter met Anderson after they’d left high school through their brothers, who are friends.

The Masons heard the terrible news early Monday morning, when their phone rang at 3:30 a.m. Their daughter told them. The Department of Defense released his name officially to the media Wednesday.

“She’s doing well,” said Debby Mason. Her daughter “is a strong woman.”

His son-in-law was “a really good guy,” said Terry Mason. “I couldn’t have asked for a better one …. He was a super, good guy.”

He was the handsome boyfriend, standing 6 feet tall, who asked his girlfriend’s parents permission to marry their daughter, marrying at the Johnson County Courthouse wearing his dress uniform.

He was the husband who didn’t want his wife to join the Army, but supported her when she did.

He was the father who loved his family so deeply that he trusted his most precious gift — the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Lillian — to the care of his in-laws for at least their one-year deployment, knowing Lillian would be loved and cherished the same way his wife was.

“We don’t know what to say to Lillian,” said Debby Mason, as the toddler was gurgling and laughing in the background. “Suzanne told us to let her do it.”

The grandmother sighed. “She’s a great mom, and she’ll handle it the right way.”

The grandparents grow sad when they think about what to tell their granddaughter when she asks about her daddy.

“I’ll tell her that he was a really great guy,” said Terry Mason. “Gosh, I had a crush on him too, he was so great.”

And he laughs, one of the few between his tears.

Debby Mason said she’s hugging her granddaughter a little tighter, a little longer.

“And there’s only one more thing I really need to do,” she said.

“I want my daughter home in my arms. …I just want her home.

“This is so unreal.”

What I'm Listening To #20

inbetweendreams, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

On the back of the recent previous posting of his video, I'm really enjoying Jack Johnson. His style is accoustic and open. The lyrics are thoughtful, if a tad bit cumbersome at times. Yet, he's a laid back philosopher troubadour. Very nice; like floating though a lazy summer day in the shadows of mango trees while the crystal sea laps methodically on a pristine beach.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Happy MLK Jr. Day! Remember, Resist, Return To Our Communities!

This is the blog that I was looking for today, even before I knew that it existed. Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr.!

Love Is The Answer! Amen,

jack johnson - better together (live)

I really liked this one. I can relate to the song's message on many levels. enjoy!

Monday, January 15, 2007

An Unsolicited Recommendation

computerassistant, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Over the weekend I had a cascading set of issues with my computer. My efforts to trouble shoot were in vane. So I realized that I needed help. I started by calling The Geek Squad. The deal with them was a minimum of one hour (@ $249); and in the end they could not find a single technician within a 100 miles of me willing to travel to Takoma Park or able to work on a MAC! Geez, this is Washington, D.C. after all.....

So then I went to an online yellowpages and after several impotent calls (it was Saturday morning around noon), I got in touch with Carol at Computer| She was a breath of fresh air, within an hour she had located a technician who called to speak with me. We made an appointment for 9 AM on Sunday.

He arrived at 9:04, and apologized for being late explaining that his car was on the fritz so he had to take public transportation! No small feat on a Sunday morning from his location to mine. He quickly found the sorce of the two problems on my computer and in 30 minutes, I was good to go. The cost? $125 (an obligatory hours fee for the first hour, thereafter pro rated, IF the job takes longer than that). I guess it's a standard thing.

I don't know how to rate this sort of thing, but I know it's half of the Geek Squad's initial fee. I know he came to my home (against compound odds) at the appointed time. And I know my computer is back in the pink.

So I commend Computer| to you should you need help with a problem. or 1-800-798-0173.

Wonderful Art

tarot1cardimage, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

The friend turned me on to the lucious images created by artist Stevee Postman for use on Tarot Cards. More images can be found at:

The True Legomaniacs!

legoad, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

This ad for Lego is wonderful!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

God, I miss snow!

snowcock, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

But somebody's excited about it!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Our Latest American Hero #57

erictcaldwell, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Army Spc. Eric T. Caldwell, 22, of Salisbury, Md., died Jan 7 in Iraq of wounds sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

“Salisbury Soldier, Who Found Direction In Army, Is Killed”

Relatives of Army Spec. Eric T. Caldwell knew that he rode as a gunner on a Humvee, trying to clear roads southwest of Baghdad. But though he said the streets were more chaotic than he had imagined, he comforted them that he had plenty of body armor and would be safe.

Just last week, the 22-year-old had called home to Salisbury, Md., to say he would be flying to the area this weekend for at least a week's leave.

Three days later, the Maryland native died in Iraq after his Humvee unit was in a firefight with enemy forces, said Defense Department officials and family members.

Caldwell grew up with his twin sister and grandparents in Ellicott City, before moving briefly to Florida, then to Maryland's Eastern Shore. In high school, the twins moved to Gloucester, Va., to be with their mother.

Relatives remembered him as a teenager who lacked direction and never graduated from high school but who grew to be a trustworthy and kind man, who seemed to trust almost everyone he met. He was a good cook, they said, who loved the Wizards, Ravens and Orioles and roughhousing and wrestling with his teenage cousins.

Caldwell's uncle, Vince Cerniglia, said the family learned of his death Sunday as Cerniglia wrestled with his three boys, who had always roughhoused with Caldwell. The teenagers looked up to him as an older brother and depended on him to take them to the movies or buy them a submarine sandwich, he said.

"Eric was looking for some direction, some career in life," said Cerniglia, who helped raise the twins as teenagers.

Caldwell found his direction in the military, first as a member of the Maryland National Guard, then when he was sent for active duty at Fort Hood, Tex. Caldwell, who was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade and 1st Cavalry Division, had wanted to become a mechanic and joined the service for training. But he found himself proud and committed to an Army career.

Growing up, Caldwell had heard military stories from his grandfather, Melvin Caldwell Sr., a World War II veteran who served in the Pacific theater in a B-25 bomber.

The grandson spent more than a year trying to become a soldier. Caldwell had a learning disability, but he spent two months studying to earn his graduate equivalency diploma and a few months more studying to pass written tests to enlist in the military, said another uncle, Melvin Caldwell.

"That's how dedicated he was. He wasn't going to give up," Melvin Caldwell said.

When Eric Caldwell returned home from a boot camp in Missouri during Christmas 2003, the young soldier arrived at 4 a.m. but refused to shower or change out of his uniform because he wanted to wear his colors at Mass.

"That's how proud he was to be a soldier," Caldwell said.

Caldwell is to be buried at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My Response to the President's Speech

(Cover) Rich Man's War - Steve Earle

I love this song. It's so powerful an expression of what's wrong with war. Steve Earle wrote the song, this anonymous guy performs it.

I wish I could play the guitar, hell, I wish could sing. 'Cause if I could, I'd sing this just like this American. Bravo, borther!
Rich Mans War by Steve Earle

Here are the words and Steve's original version. You can find it on the album: "The Revolution Starts Now". I commend it to everyone who's heart is progressive, who's mind wants America to move forward into a better, more inclusive day. Pendulums swing, but trends march ever on. And from the Declaration of Independence (Liberation) until today, we are the people who can and will move this world forward into a more liberal, more liberated, more liberating existence.

A Recommendation

doityourself, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Check this out at:

After hearing our "Commander and Cheif's" speech tonight, you may really want to do this!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Random Quote #60

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"We are all going to heaven, some of us will just like it better than

~ Verna Dozier, 1917 - 2006

San Franciscans' Freedom Of Speech

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I loved this one!

More than 1,000 people gathered yesterday at Ocean Beach in San Francisco to spell out the message "IMPEACH!"

"America is a great country," said event organizer Brad Newsham. "But President Bush has betrayed our faith. He misled us into a disastrous war, and is trampling on our Constitution. He has to go. Now. I hope Nancy Pelosi is listening today."

Ocean Beach is located in the congressional district of Pelosi, the new speaker of the House.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Recommendation
Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
....for Poetry Lovers everywhere. The site is called Poetry Daily, and posts a poem each day at:

Check it out. And if it does for you what it does for me; than, by all means, do for it, what I have done for the past 6 years: Cut a check~


Saturday, January 06, 2007

What I'm Watching #59

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"Jargo" is a German coming of age film that is worth the time it takes to read the subtitles!

The story is compelling, the filmography only a step below US Industry Standards. You'll fall in love with the characters and be glad you took the time to experience their tale.

2 stars! And any star is a STAR after all...

My Pledge and Promise

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
You know I am an elementary school teacher with 23 years of experience. So I have said more than my fare shares of pledges in my lifetime!

This one is particularly amazing and powerful. It affirms our credo that we are one nation under one God. The God who created us all. The God who finds us all. The God who has always been incarnational. The God of grace (Budha, Confucious, etc.) and sacrifice (Zoraster, Jesus, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, etc.)

and ps ~ two members are also Buddhist!

It's a new day! A truer day. And it's not war that will be seen as a mere "comma" in the annals of history, but George the Lesser's Presidential Administration! Believe it!!

What I'm Watching #58

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"The Longing" a.k.a. "Saudade" is a child stillborn, a cake only half baked. An interesting idea that just wasn't hatched by a crew of film makers that were up to the challenge.

The story is one of relationships. There are three German young men who live in a paradisical Brazilian seacoast village and earn their keep by performing sex uploaded to their internet sex site. Great idea, eh? That is until one of them murders a local in an attempt to avoid a rape on the beach.

The rest of the film is about the consequences, but by that time any descerning viewer has checked out!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Historic Trivia

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Why was Nancy all decked out in purple on this MOST historic day? Was she trying to promote bi-particanship? Hardly!

Purple was the color of the sufferagettes! And so I gotta say, "You GO, GIRL!"

May the marble fragments not hurt you as they tumble down from that ceiling!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

What I'm Watching #57

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Another old familiar flick. Or at least I thought so. But it punched my heart again like the unexpected powerhouse that it is.

Every American ought to see it. Tom Hanks is simply magnificent.

Be well.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Neo-Con, Christo-Facists Take Another Blow To Their Gluttony Bloated Guts

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I am not a Muslim. I have read the Koran. It really doesn't impress me. I guess I'm sensitive to texts that are filled with violence, mysonginy, homophobia, etc. BUT as a Christian, I am NO STRANGER to such things! My religion is a work in progress, my faith a personal thing (and if you don't see it in my actions, my words on the subject are pure CRAP).

As an AMERICAN, my convictions rise above my religious sentiments. As an American I believe in plurality, diversity, openness of ideas. More is better. We are better when we are open to others.

For this reason, I really love that Keith Ellison was elected to the House of Representatives from Minnesota's 5th Congressional District as the first Muslim to represent the ideals of Islam, as well as, the needs of his constituents back in St. Paul and environs in Congress. The fact that he wants to be ceremonially sworn in using the text of his faith: The Koran. It a shining testiment to the greatness of our nation, the power of our constitution, and (not necessary a badge of honor) the charity of our people.

From the papers:

"First Muslim Elected to Congress Will Use Koran Owned by Thomas Jefferson During Swearing-In"

WASHINGTON —  Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, will use a Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson during his ceremonial swearing-in on Thursday.

Ellison, a Democrat, contacted the Library of Congress about the Koran last month, said Mark Dimunation, chief of the rare book and special collections division at the library.

Dimunation will walk the Koran across the street to the Capitol building for the swearing-in, and then walk it back to the library.

The Koran, an English translation of the Arabic, was published in 1764 in London, a later printing of one originally published in 1734.

"This is considered the text that shaped Europe's understanding of the Koran," Dimunation said.

It was acquired in 1815 as part of a 6,400-volume collection that Jefferson, the third U.S. president, sold to replace the congressional library that had been burned by British troops the year before, in the War of 1812.

Ellison was en route to Washington and unavailable for comment Wednesday, but his spokesman, Rick Jauert, said that the Ellison "wants this to be a special day, and using Thomas Jefferson's Koran makes it even more special."

"Jefferson's Koran dates religious tolerance to the founders of our country," he added.

Some critics have argued that only a Bible should be used for the ceremonial swearing-in. And last month, Rep. Virgil Goode, a Republican, warned that unless immigration is tightened, "many more Muslims" will be elected and follow Ellison's lead. Ellison was born in Detroit and converted to Islam in college.

Jefferson collected books in all topics and languages, said Dimunation. The Koran survived an 1851 fire in the Capitol building. Dimunation described it as a two-volume work, bound in leather with marble boards.

"As a rare book librarian," he said, "there is something special about the idea that Thomas Jefferson's books are being walked across the street to the Capitol building, to bring in yet another session of governmental structure that he helped create.

Our Latest American Hero #56

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"Family Says Hixson Soldier Killed In Iraq"

HIXSON, Tenn. A soldier killed in Iraq the day before his son's birth was remembered by his mother as "always smiling."

Sgt. John Michael Sullivan, 21, was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo. He was killed Saturday when his Humvee was struck by a roadside bomb in Sadr City, a Baghdad slum, family members said.

Sullivan volunteered for the Saturday patrol because another soldier was out sick, relatives said. The death was not confirmed by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Family members said Sullivan had planned to return home Jan. 10 from his second tour in Iraq to see his son, who was born early Sunday.

Sullivan was injured on his first tour in Iraq by a roadside bomb, but declined a Purple Heart medal because the ceremony would have kept him from returning home on time, his mother, Debbie Sullivan, told WTVC-TV in Chattanooga.

Sullivan's mother said he joined the Army after graduating from Soddy-Daisy High School in 2003 and taking classes in auto mechanics at Sequoyah Vocational School. He lived in Colorado.

His unit was called back to Iraq in 2006, and Sullivan told his mother he planned to re-enlist when his four years in the Army were up. He wanted to eventually go back to Iraq for a third tour.

"I was upset, but that's a decision that he had to make," his mother said. "He said that he couldn't leave his friends over there, and he wanted to be with them."

She said Sullivan loved tinkering with his Chevy S-10 pickup and was "always smiling."

One of Sullivan's former teachers at Sequoyah, Steve Gossett, remembered him as quiet and deliberative.

"He listened a lot more than he talked, but when he did talk, he was on the money," Gossett said. "He was a pretty solid guy. Anything that he did, it seemed like he was always looking at how to do the best that could be done."

Sullivan got married in Colorado in April and again in a wedding ceremony on July 4th while his parents were visiting, said his aunt, Brenda Sullivan. The couple was expecting a baby boy, and they planned to name him John Walker Sullivan, because they liked the name.

His family learned Saturday evening that Sullivan had died. When his son was born the next day, his wife named him John Michael instead.

Faster Than A Speeding Train!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
“Man Is Rescued By Stranger On Subway Tracks”

It was every subway rider’s nightmare, times two.

Who has ridden along New York’s 656 miles of subway lines and not wondered: “What if I fell to the tracks as a train came in? What would I do?”

And who has not thought: “What if someone else fell? Would I jump to the rescue?”

Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker and Navy veteran, faced both those questions in a flashing instant yesterday, and got his answers almost as quickly.

Mr. Autrey was waiting for the downtown local at 137th Street and Broadway in Manhattan around 12:45 p.m. He was taking his two daughters, Syshe, 4, and Shuqui, 6, home before work.

Nearby, a man collapsed, his body convulsing. Mr. Autrey and two women rushed to help, he said. The man, Cameron Hollopeter, 20, managed to get up, but then stumbled to the platform edge and fell to the tracks, between the two rails.

The headlights of the No. 1 train appeared. “I had to make a split decision,” Mr. Autrey said.

So he made one, and leapt.

Mr. Autrey lay on Mr. Hollopeter, his heart pounding, pressing him down in a space roughly a foot deep. The train’s brakes screeched, but it could not stop in time.

Five cars rolled overhead before the train stopped, the cars passing inches from his head, smudging his blue knit cap with grease. Mr. Autrey heard onlookers’ screams. “We’re O.K. down here,” he yelled, “but I’ve got two daughters up there. Let them know their father’s O.K.” He heard cries of wonder, and applause.

Power was cut, and workers got them out. Mr. Hollopeter, a student at the New York Film Academy, was taken to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. He had only bumps and bruises, said his grandfather, Jeff Friedman. The police said it appeared that Mr. Hollopeter had suffered a seizure.

Mr. Autrey refused medical help, because, he said, nothing was wrong. He did visit Mr. Hollopeter in the hospital before heading to his night shift. “I don’t feel like I did something spectacular; I just saw someone who needed help,” Mr. Autrey said. “I did what I felt was right.”