Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Don't Ask, Don't Tell....Don't Compel!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
This is from a French BLOG and the translation is not perfect (OR well edited), but I think you get the picture!

"A Chemical Weapon To Make The Enemy 'Gay'"

The American army reflected in the Nineties on a chemical weapon intended to cause homosexual behaviors among enemy soldiers. According to an ONG, this project was still being studied in 2001. To weaken the enemy forces while stimulating, by means of a chemical agent, homosexual behaviors. The idea seems absurd, it was however proposed in the middle of the Nineties by a laboratory of the American Air Force. The spokesman of the Defence Department, the lieutenant-colonel Barry Venable, declared Monday that” one had not taken action pursuant” to this proposal “advanced at a meeting of brainstorming” at the laboratory of the base of the US Air Force Wright Patterson, in Ohio, one of the most important bases of the United States Air Force.

The declaration of the American officer followed upon a report of the laboratory, whose non-governmental organization The Sunshine Project, obtained a copy via the Freedom of Information Act, an organization fighting for the transparency of programs of the chemical and biological weapons.

Powerful aphrodisiac: This report suggested developing “chemicals affecting human behavior so that the discipline and the moral unity of the unfavourable units would be affected”. The report thus quotes the case of a chemical “particularly unpleasant, absolutely not mortal, but acting like a powerful aphrodisiac which can start homosexual behavior”, likely to weaken the enemy forces. Information suggests that it would have “with incredible 95%” compliance, declares 1st Lt. Armand Lattes, director of research at CNRS and specialist in the chemical weapons. “It’s the remain 5% which must concern the secrecy defense,” he adds.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Room With A View Of Winter

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
This view of winter taken from my dining room around noon. Nearly 4 inches of snow burden my azaleas and filegree the limbs of my massive sugar maple.

Time for a Haiku!


Winter solitude—
in a world of one color
the sound of wind.

> Basho
1644 - 1694
translated from the Japanese by Robert Haas

Home Sweet Home

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
My Home after 1 inch of snow this morning.

Four and a half inches eventually fell by 2:00 PM.

"Oh the weather outside is freightful....But in here, it's so delightful!" I have a big pot of bean soup on the stove, so "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

Art I'm Seeing #18

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington is a lovely regional Museum that recently underwent a renovation and expansion. Having been there several times before the modernization, I was eager to see the results. So yesterday I drove up and spent a couple of hours enjoying the new DAM.

Renowned for its Pre-Raphaelite collection, it was my good fortune that those works were still on tour! And so they were able to show off some of their other strengths. They are lousy with John Sloane works and many were on display that I had never seen before, later works that had evolved beyond his nocturnal ash can school days. Some other highlights included two amazing Charles Burchfield’s, a John Marin watercolor of NYC that was poetry in motion, and a luscious Reginald Marsh painting entitled, "Atlantic City Beach".

In addition, there's a rather large gallery dedicated to the work of American illustrator Howard Pyle. Exhibits touring at the museum were a trinity of James Tissot portraits of young women, and a variety of works created by members of Philadelphia's "Center For Emerging Visual Artists" called "Fever Pitch", which was very interesting.

It's an easy day trip from DC, Baltimore or Philadelphia. There's a nice onsite Cafe. Looking for something to do on cold winter day? I recommend the Delaware Art Museum.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Our Latest American Hero #67

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Army Sgt. Buddy J. Hughie, 25, of Poteau, Okla.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 180th Infantry, Oklahoma Army National Guard, Ada, Okla.; died Feb. 19 in Kamdesh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

"Oklahoma Soldier Killed In Afghanistan"

OKLAHOMA CITY— An Oklahoma Army National Guardsman from Poteau was shot and killed Feb. 19 in Afghanistan during a skirmish with enemy forces, the Oklahoma Military Department confirmed Feb. 20.

Sgt. Buddy Hughie, 25, and his unit were conducting a joint mission with the Afghan National Army and the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division in the country’s Nuristan province when the group came under enemy small-arms and rocket-propelled-grenade fire, the department said in a statement.

After two Afghan soldiers in the group were wounded, Hughie left his position to provide medical assistance when he was shot and killed, according to the statement.

“Sgt. Buddy Hughie was a great American,” said Lt. Col. Bobby Yandell, commander of the 1st Battalion, 180th Infantry. “Sgt. Hughie was one of those soldiers that you did not have to worry about; he always did the right thing. We mourn his loss, but celebrate the life of a great soldier.”

Hughie, who previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2002-2003, volunteered to return to the country, Yandell said.

The 180th deployed to Afghanistan last summer as part of a multinational task force whose mission is to train and mentor soldiers in the new Afghan National Army. Members of the 180th Infantry are providing security for the international coalition of trainers and the Afghan trainees.

What I'm Watching #66

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Like a brother? Is incest no longer a crime in France!

Just a thought.

This relatively short film was both interesting and a little enigmatic. It left me without any real sense of how I should feel about it. I passed it off to my ex- this afternoon. He's a notoriously devoted Francophile. Perhaps he can help me make better sense of it!

Friday, February 23, 2007


Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Okay, first it’s the word “scrotum” on the first page of the latest Newberry Award Winning children’s book that has everyone in an uproar. And now this proposed legislation in the Maryland House of Delegates! What the hell is going on with this new fascination over testicles? I mean what’s the BIG deal? They are what they are, get over it!

I, for one, think this is what happens when a society transitions from a predominently “Rural” ethos to an Urban/Suburban experience. There’s no missing “Balls” on a farm! Be it Bull, Boar, or Stallion! I even remember the time I helped my cousin, who operated a dairy farm in Bedford County Pennsylvania all of his life, castrate one of his copious Tom Cats...and that little bruiser had quite a pair of “papa peanuts!”

When will things sexual stop being considered “dirty”? When will we finally, FINALLY, grow up!? And realize that our neo-puritanical leanings are no one's idea of a “joke!" either?

Fake Private Parts Are No Joke, Myers Says
"Delegate Wants to Ban Vehicle Displays of Plastic Genitals"

Maryland Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr. to truckers: If you've got 'em, you don't need to flaunt 'em.

As the General Assembly debates global warming and the death penalty, Myers (R-Washington) has something else on his mind: the outsized plastic testicles that truckers dangle from the trailer hitches of their pickups.

To some truckers, they are manly expressions of rural chic. But Myers, who says his Western Maryland district is brimming with giant fakes on the roadways, calls them vulgar and immoral -- and filed legislation this week to outlaw them.

"People are making a joke out of it," Myers said yesterday. "But I think it's a pretty serious problem. You have body parts hanging from the hitches of cars. We've crossed a line."

His bill would prohibit motorists from displaying anything resembling or depicting "anatomically correct" or "less than completely and opaquely covered" human or animal genitals, human buttocks or female breasts. The offense would carry a penalty.

A hunter could still throw a freshly killed and uncovered deer in the back of his pickup, though, because the deer's body parts would be real, Myers said.

Myers, 56, said he's trying to match the standards of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), who has pledged to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. "We have a governor whose agenda is, 'Let's make us the best,' " the delegate said. "So let's clean up what our children are seeing on our roads."

Myers, a general contractor with four grown children, represents Washington and Alleghany counties in Maryland's most rural corner. He said he acted at the request of a constituent who was distressed by what he saw as he drove down a highway.

Since Myers submitted the bill Tuesday, it has been the brunt of jokes from radio and TV interviewers. "But my office has gotten 100 phone calls from grateful parents," he said.

Civil libertarians say the bill is misplaced. "The solution to speech we don't like is more speech," said Meredith Curtis of the Maryland American Civil Liberties Union. A sticker of the Venus de Milo statue would be illegal if the legislation passes, she said.

Myers's fellow lawmakers seemed bemused. "Hmmm. Is this what the framers had in mind?" Del. Tom Hucker (D-Montgomery) asked jokingly.

The truck ornament industry is not amused. "It's not a perverted sexual thing at all," said David Ham, founder of Your Nutz, a San Diego-based business that sells more than 200 kinds of fake testicles. "It's a sense of humor. This lawmaker is looking out for two or three old women in tennis shoes. He's got too much time on his hands."

Ham said he shipped about 100 orders last year to customers in Maryland and Virginia. He said those who support a ban would do well to recall that 50 years ago, many people in the nation lived on farms. "Did all the little donkeys and sheep walk around with their panties on so children wouldn't see their bodies?" he asked.

The bill is now in the House Rules Committee. "I think it's a terrible bill," Chairman Hattie N. Harrison (D-Baltimore) said yesterday, but she agreed to defer to her colleagues on whether to let it die a quick death in committee or assign it to another one for a full debate.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What I'm Watching #65

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
"Crazy....I'm crazy for being your fool....."

Watching this film is NOT crazy, Patsy Cline....

It may require kleenex. It may mean more for gay men with issues around their fathers or brothers. I got neither, and really really enjoyed it and was glad for my proximity to kleenex.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Iraq Geography Primer

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
I have come to realize that most of us don't know all that much about Iraq. We all have preconceptions, but they are more of the color-tinted romantic/exotic photograph from our childhood Rand McNally world atlases type, than from any present day reality. So I offer this little test of your Iraqi geographic prowess! Do well.

Iraq Geography Quiz

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
It's a matching game.

The eight most frequently mentioned provinces are: Anbar, Basrah, Diyala, Erbil, Karbala, Najaf, Ninevah, and Suleimaniyah. Match them to numbers 1-8 on the map!

Iraq's six neighbors are: Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey. Match them to letters A-F on the map.

Good Luck!

Answer Key

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
The Answer Key"

1 - Anbar
2 - Ninevah
3 - Diyala
4 - Najaf
5 - Karbala
6 - Basrah
7 - Erbil
8 - Suleimaniyah

Neighboring Countries

A - Syria
B - Turkey
C - Iran
D - Kuwait
E - Saudi Arabia
F - Jordan

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What I'm Watching #64

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Too many snow days = DVD time!

The Whore's Son - "Hurensuhn" - is a very poignant movie about the relationship between a mother and son. The mother is a prostitute and the son learning disabled. The mother, her sister, and Uncle, are Croatian immigrants to Germany; refugees from the Yugoslavian War. The crux of the story is the conflict between the son and the mother and the son's desire to know his mother's love.

A well acted ensemble piece in German and Croatian with English subtitles. I think you will find it compelling and sad. I did.

Our Latest American Hero #66

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Army Sgt. Russell A. Kurtz, 22, of Bethel Park, Pa.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska; died Feb. 11 of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq.

"Soldier Killed In Explosion In Iraq, Family Says"

BETHEL PARK, Pa. — An Alaska-based soldier from western Pennsylvania was killed in an explosion in Iraq, his family said Monday.

Sgt. Russell Kurtz, of Bethel Park, Pa., who turned 22 last month, was a passenger in a Humvee that hit an improvised explosive device at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, said his mother, Jill Kurtz. Military authorities said they could not immediately confirm the death.

“He was doing what he wanted to be doing,” she said.

Russell Kurtz was interested in military history from an early age and enlisted as a senior in high school, although he had been accepted at colleges.

Jill Kurtz said her son “decided that he had to do something; he didn’t want others over there fighting and dying without him being willing to do the same, and we supported him.”

Russell Kurtz played football and baseball in school and loved the outdoors, his mother said.

“He was stationed up in Alaska, and loved it up there — the skiing and the hunting and the fishing and the mountains and all that,” she said.

Kurtz said her son went through airborne training and was part of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry. He was stationed at Fort Richardson in Alaska and sent to Iraq in October.

“He didn’t tell us as much as some other people. He didn’t want us to worry,” Jill Kurtz said. The last few weeks he described as “pretty much what people envision war being, where he was and what he was doing,” she said.

He only had one complaint about the military: the food.

After military service, he wanted to come back home, go to college and someday work for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“He loved his friends and he loved the Lord,” she said of her son, a Lutheran. “He’s home with the Lord now, so he’s doing better than we are.”

Kurtz also is survived by his father, Roger, and by his sister, Stephanie, a sophomore at the University of Delaware.

The House of Representatives Speak: Redux

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
The Vote in the House is history. This is the Resolution:

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that –

(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and

(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

How utterly pathetic our Federal Congress is, that such a milktoast resolution requires days of rhetorical oration and fanfare. It’s the old “sound and fury, signifying NOTHING.” And yet it meant enough to some members of the opposition junta to cause them to cross the aisle, so here are my kudus for the following 17 Republican members of the 110 Congress of the House of Representatives. They are:

Michael N. Castle, Delaware, Delegate-at-Large
Howard Coble, North Carolina’s 6th District
Tom Davis, Virginia’s 11th District
John J. Duncan, Jr. Tennessee’s 2nd District
Phil English, Pennsylvania’s 3rd District
Wayne Gilchrist, Maryland’s 1st District
Bob Inglis, South Carolina’s 4th District
Timothy V. Johnson, Illinois’ 15th District
Walter B. Jones, North Carolina’s 3rd District
Ric Keller, Florida’s 8th District
Mark Kirk, Illinois’ 10th District
Steven C. LaTourette, Ohio’s 13th
Ron Paul, Texas’ 14th District
Thomas Petri, Wisconsin’s 6th District
Jim Ramstad, Minnesota’s 3rd District
Fred Upton, Michigan’s 6th District
Jim Walsh, New York’s 25th District

And to be fair, there are 2 Democrats who deserve raspberries for their ass-kissing aisle-crossing nay votes on this lousy resolution. They are:

Jim Marshall, Georgia’s 8th District
Gene Taylor, Mississippi’s 4th District

And then there were the 6 Representatives not present for this vote. I hope that they are well...fighting a sinus infection for the past week or so myself, so I can sympathize to a degree. But I’d really like to think that it would take more than personal illness to keep away from this one.

Brian Baird, Washington’s 3rd District
Jerrold Nadler, New York’s 8th District

Charles W. Boustany, Jr. Louisiana’s 7th District
Jo Ann S. Davis, Virginia’s 1st District
Denny Hastert, Illinois’ 14th District
Frank LoBiondo, New Jersey’s 2nd District

Night Wandering

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
There lives in me an innocent voyeur. The child who is content to sit on the sidelines and watch. And perhaps content isn't really the right word, because there are times when I really enjoy being witness to a world that I am not participating in.

It's been a weird week. The snow and ice storms that ripped across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and New England states on Tuesday/Wednesday have given teachers in Montgomery Co. Maryland the week off. And I have used the time to work on a quilt, read a couple of collections of poetry, re-introduce myself to my kitchen and enjoy cooking real food again. But mostly stay warm and indoors. The bitter cold that followed the snow compacted it and transformed a mere ice crust into a solid cap smooth, slick, treacherous. Just getting my garbage to the curb on Thursday evening was quiet the production!

In times like these, when I have no expectations placed upon my time, I begin to live like an astronaut in outer space. Though the sun continues to rise, it doesn't exert an exact power over my temporal sensibilities. I nap when I'm tired, and rise and think and read and cook, etc.; when I'm not. As a result I am often in bed in the early evening and up in the middle of the “night”.

And so it was Friday morning that I arose around 2 AM and was ready to be awake, but felt the cabin fever of my home. So in spite of the icy blanket covering my yard, and the bitter cold, I bundled myself up and decided to go for a drive. At first I really didn't have a plan, and I needed gas. I headed over to route 1 near the University of Maryland thinking that I could find an all-night service station or convenience store. And to my surprise the main strip was hopping with activity. At 2:30 AM, with a wind-chill in the single digits, hoards of coeds milled about on the snow encrusted sidewalks (some without even the benefit of a jacket, let alone a coat). And I thought, this is what I missed by attending college in a “dry” county at a school where drinking was verboten!

The gas was found, and with proximity to 1-95, I set my sights on Baltimore and merged onto the highway in the company of a semi-truck at 2:44 AM. Cruise control set, El Zol 99.1 providing a steady stream of Latino Pop/Reggeaton as background, I was free to think and wonder. Baltimore is actually only about 40 minutes north of me, so it was far enough away to count and close enough not to become a burden. I decided to tool around to the north side of town and then return south via Charles Street from Towson. A very familiar route.

Now to return to my original thesis: Voyeurism. Have you ever toured a city in the dead of night? It's a fascinating thing to do. And Baltimore is a fascinating city. Towson is actually not Baltimore, but a suburb that sits on the northern apex of Baltimore. It's a college town anchored by a series of shopping malls, government buildings, Federal Court I think, and solid middle class homes. I actually began my visit on York Road and after passing through the heart of Towson, made the easy merge onto Charles Street.

Charles Street on the northern side of town begins its path in the midst of decidedly upper middle class homes. Tawny little strip malls and private schools run by Catholics and Quakers. You pass the Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen and scarcely a mile further an apartment building designed by Mies van der Rohr. In between the two is the campus of Loyola College of Maryland and St. Mary's Seminary and University. I have driven past these building dozens of times, but in the middle of the night I was struck by their grandeur, scale, and openness. Stories of glass that when illuminated from within exposed worlds cloistered from view by the light of day. And there were people conversing, reading, and engaging one another in the middle of night, in the warmth of the interior, safe from the bitter cold of the winter world.

The next notable feature along with way is the campus of Johns Hopkins University and the grounds of the Baltimore Museum of Art. By now it was 3:15 AM and again I watched young people trekking along sidewalks transformed by rock hard snow, laughing, embracing, oblivious to the sober reality of the moment. Jealous?'s a voyeur's prerogative.

Once you pass JHU, Charles becomes a one-way street heading north and so you are shifted onto the neighboring street that is one-way southbound. This takes you through neighborhoods of row houses and corner shops in an area of town friendly to Gays and right around Northern Avenue, Koreans! Go figure. Here I passed a police van that was slowly shadowing an ill-clad black man who was stumbling along the street. In my review mirror, I saw the police stop and engage the man. No good night for anyone to be out wandering alone.

I passed Union Station on My right (a classic American rail passenger depot), and then I came to the west side of Mount Vernon. The street I was on afforded me a passing glance at the Washington Obelisk that crowns the Mount Vernon neighborhood, and then the backside of The Walters Museum of Art (Baltimore's other's traditional art museum). A block or two further and I was waiting at the light at the corner of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe. It's an amazing building, and here I turned left to get on the other side of Charles Street for my final descent into the business district and inner harbor.

Stopped again at a nearby light, I saw two men leave a hotel embrace and kiss before heading in opposite directions. At the next light a lanky black man crossed in front of me allowing his gaze to linger on my car. A block away from the harbor, I encountered the signs indicating the path back to the expressway. Following them, I passed a deserted and well lit Camden Yards baseball complex, various stoplights operating for nobody's benefit but my own.

Once on the highway again, I set my accelerator to cruise and drifted back to DC. By now it was quarter to 4 AM, and traffic was picking up. Yet without incident I was back home and ready for a nap by 4:20. Today it feels like a sort of waking dream, and not unlike the story line of my dream world. It's also the sort of thing I do when I've been reading poetry!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

What I'm Watching #63

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Movies have all kinds of dimensions that capture our imaginations. There are production values, sets, costumes, special effects. There are incredible storylines, and amazing performances. But there is one that I think really can trump the others: Heart. Take a descent story, find the cast who's ensemble qualities click, place it in an authentic setting and stand back.

This is must see independent cinema. The performances are endearing, the leads: Jesse Garcia, Emily Rios and Chalo González are a joy to watch. And if you're half the man I am, you'll need lots of kleenex!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

2008 Senatorial Primer

2008ussenatorialelections, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Seems like a good thing to offer after my last post.

There are 33 seats up for election in the US Senate in 2008. Eleven belong to Democrats who all apparently plan to run (although there is some speculation about the seat of Joe Biden from Delaware). Twenty-one belong to Republicans who plan to run (although, again, a growing body of possible retirees are being speculated about and they include: Chuck Hagel of Nebraska--who may be up for a presidential run; Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Pat Robertson of Kansas; and Pete Deminici of New Mexico) And there is one seat open, Colorado which is presently Republican.

My early thoughts: This is gonna be a good year for Democrats. America is awake again and the pendulum is swinging toward the Big D. Democrats need to win 10 seats in the Senate to affect real and positive change. It's a rare event when any political party is given such a mandate, and there's no guarantee that this is an election cycle that will produce such a mandate. It usually comes after the party in power has totally fucked up governance and/or presided over a time a national crisis either blamed on them or over which they have clearly failed. (Like Hoover and the Great Depression.) Need I suggest more?

So here are three of my early thoughts:

Republicans are in trouble!

MINNESOTA: There are now 7 Democratic candidates in the race to unseat Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. He's in some real deep S#@%...err, Snow!

KANSAS: A known conservative (R) Representative was just unseated by a moderately (D) conservative (Nancy Boyda) in the state's 2nd congressional district. And known conservative (R) Senator Pat Robertson is about to be challenged by a moderately (D) conservative and safely supported mulit-term Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who is very much in the more moderately, pragmatic, Kansas traditions of Robert Dole and Nancy Kasselbaum.

Democrats weakest link:

SOUTH DAKOTA: By and large, Democrats are in high cotton as the saying goes. But life intervenes and in this case, it was as capricious as gracious. Senator Tim Johnson's sudden "Aneurysm?" of the brain was a wicked twist on the political scene that has thus far been met with courage and fortune. He's making amazing progress. He's not simple alive, but clearly determined to restore his physical and cognitive powers. Kudus to Senator Johnson! But let's be real. No one in his position should be expected to run for a national political office. Life has dealt him a regrettable blow and taken his political career and aspirations in a different direction. It's time to groom a replacement, and I am completely behind the state's sole U.S. Representative, Stephanie Herseth.

My pontification.....

My First Endorsement for the 111th Senatorial Races in 2008

alfranken, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Stewart, Al Franken! Okay, bad joke, but he's best known as a comedian, after all! Yet believe me, there's so much more to this man than Saturday Night Live alumnis. For the past 4 years he's hosted a nationally broadcast talk show on the nacent Air America syndication network. He's impressed me through and through by his passion for all things progressive and truly AMERICAN. He's demonstrated a powerful intellect and revealed a tender heart.

My check book's out again. I encourage you to join with me, but before you take my word for it, go to the source. and listen to or read his candidacy statement. Every word of it rings true to the American I've come to know and respect via my local progressive talk radio station.

And don't think his candidacy isn't being taken seriously in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes". Last week 7 U.S. Senators from the Republic party reversed their initial stance to oppose all debate on the non-binding Iraq War resolution; They were Snowe and Collins of ME (the last two remaining New England "Rockefellar Republicans"); Warner of VA and Hagel of NE (Two well established Hawks, Warner who co-sponored the debate bill in the beginning, and Hagel who publicly denounced the Armed Services Sub-Committee for not having the courage to debate the issue only one week earlier---i.e. no surprise), and finally, Gordon of OR, Voinovich of OH, and AND Coleman of MN! All three face relection in 2008. Gordon has got to see how anti-war his constituents in Oregon have become; Portland being one of the top U.S. cities for troop casualties per capita. Voinovich has seen the tide turn in Ohio! Or was that a tsunami?

And then there's Coleman. Good old boy Norm Coleman. A true milk toast in the life of the U.S. Senate. A complete and total rubber stamp for the Bush Administration. After four years of shoving his proverbial tongue so far up the President's tuckus that he can actually flick it across the backside of George's teeth.... What on earth would cause him to suddenly grow a spine? Two words: AL FRANKEN!

Give 'em Hell, Al!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My Latest Quilt, Finale

AfricanTrunkQuilt, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

I'm past the blocks now (and the blocks of blocks)!~

Here's a very imperfect image of the front panel of my latest quilt. The theme was Africa (A celebration of the preciousness of this too oft misunderstood/misinterpreted part of our world). Enjoy!

Our Latest American Hero #65

jennifermparcell, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Marine Cpl. Jennifer M. Parcell, 20, of Bel Air, Md.; assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan; died Feb. 7 while supporting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq.

"Fifth Female Marine Killed In Iraq"

A 20-year-old corporal who lists her mom as her hero in an online profile was identified by the Defense Department as the fifth female Marine killed in Iraq since 2003.

Cpl. Jennifer M. Parcell, 20, was killed Feb. 7 “while supporting combat operations” in Anbar province, according to a Feb. 8 Defense Department release.

Parcell, of Bel Air, Md., was assigned to the Okinawa, Japan-based Combat Logistics Regiment 3. According to her profile on the networking Web site, Parcell was a landing support specialist.

Parcell had headlined her MySpace profile with “going to be chillin in Iraq for awhile,” and described herself as a 5-foot-2-inch yoga enthusiast who loved to “have fun doing nothing at all.”

Parcell last logged onto the site Jan. 29.

Four other female Marines have been killed in Iraq, according to Defense Department statistics.

Maj. Megan McClung, 34, was killed by a roadside bomb Dec. 6, 2006, while escorting media near Ramadi.

Lance Cpl. Juana NavarroArellano, 24, was killed during combat in Anbar province April 8, 2006.

Cpls. Holly Ann Charette, 21, and Ramona M. Valdez, 20, were killed when their convoy was hit by a car bomb June 23, 2005.

F*&# You, Mate!

aussiepmjohnhoward, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Here's another case of a politician commenting on things that aren't part of his perview. Australian Prime Minister John Howard has some thoughts on the candidacy of Senator Barack Obama for the office of President. As a complete and total ass whip for George the Lesser, his thoughts weren't very supportive.


"I think that will just encourage those who want to completely destabilize and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory.

"If I were running al-Qaida in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory, not only for Obama but also for the Democrats."

Well, to be fair dinkkum about it Mr. PM ~ You're thoughts on this matter are not welcome! Just how many troups do you have serving in Iraq? I read it was less than 1,200. Compare that to our forces which are about to breach 200,000. It's easy to stand on the sidelines and pontificate opinions. But until you are able to step into the fray, your thoughts are simply and totally CRAP. And don't forget to clean up after yourself, cause I doubt either Bush or Cheney are walking beside you with a plastic grocery bag in their pockets!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Bravissimo Masculine Geometry

dancefromwpaailey, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

There is no debate regarding the late Alvin Ailey's preeminent place in the world of dance: Mr. Ailey was and remains the most talented African American Choreographer in this nation's history.

This is a photo from his troupe's latest offering now playing in Washington, D. C.

It’s beautiful, masculine, perhaps even a little erotic.....but I am an elementary school teacher in Maryland and so my first thought was: "Ah geometry!" I mean, look at the angles! Straight, Acute, Obtuse, even Right!? Way cool!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

All "Clean" Again!

scrubbingbubbles, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Or so the FABULOUS former-Reverend Ted Haggard claims....

But has he been exposed to this image? Have the electrodes to his genitals been removed, and then has he been showed this image?

I mean honestly. What's the big fucking deal? Why are Evangelical Christians so drawn to the personalities of Gay Men? And why are Gay Men drawn to lives of lies in the realm of Evangelical Christianity? I know a wonderful Evangelical Pastor of a Mega-Church in Omaha, for example, who spent his adolescence being fucked by and fucking his "best" friend. He was, in fact, the first man to ever kiss me on the lips! I'll never forget the wonder of that night.

Yet, he's never acknowledged my existance or communicated with me in anyway after I finally came out in 1991. This after being called for years, his most beloved disciple, and after standing with him as one of his groomsmen at his marriage in 1985.

Sexuality is a complex construct.

Olly, Olly, Ox-in-Free!

johnamaechi, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Former NBA Houston Rockets' player, John Amaechi is about to come out as gay. His teammates reportedly spread rumors of the same because the Birtish born Amaechi often listened to opera in the lockerroom before games. Oh, thank God we live in a more enlightened century!

Check out one of his charity works at:

You Said It, Bwana!

newyorkerfunny, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

I find this cartoon from the New Yorker way too "a pro pos!"

The Decider

gerogethelessor, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Have you seen this image? It's made by re-pixilating portraits of some of the men and women serving in our military who have been killed in Iraq while fighting the war on Terrorism.

Pity this Fool. And God forgive most of the rest of us for accepting his ridiculous reign. Our punishment will surely be his legacy of deficit spending, corporate largess, international estrangement, and a military weakened and once again demoralized in the view of too many of our fellow world citizens. I just can't help but rant when I think about these things.....

Monday, February 05, 2007

U.S. Poet Laureate

donaldhall, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

I went to hear Donald Hall read poems, speak about his life and craft, and respond to audience questions this evening at the University of Maryland. I was a wonderful experience. One that most of the audience appreciated. One that poet Hall was utterly gracious throughout.

Swell time.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Our Latest American Hero #64

michaelmkashkoush, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

For something a little different in this series, I'm honoring this American hero by sharing with you some of the testimonies first published on's forum. Always I want you who read these posts to understand who has given the ultimate sacrifice for us. You probably get that I believe this war to be a fool's errand from which no good thing can come. BUT I AM TOTALLY in awe of and COMPLETELY beyond words of gratitude to express my support for our troops.

It makes me almost...ALMOST...wish that I believed in the traditional view of Heaven and Hell. Because then I could take some modicum of comfort from the fact that for every man and woman, boy and girl, whose life has been senselessly sacrificed in this war, those responsible for telling the lies that got us here and profitting from the spoils from and engagement in the conflict would at least receive their just rewards. But, alas, I have no faith. Only tears....

Marine Sgt. Michael M. Kashkoush, 24, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, died Jan. 23 from wounds received while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.  Kashkoush was assigned to 3rd Intelligence Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.

Words from D.S. ~

I had the privilege of going to high school with Mike. We had many classes together. I have nothing but fond memories. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Amongst your sorrow you must have an overwhelming sense of pride. You raised a truly special man. Koush was a North Star-an unfaltering, consistent, bright guide for all that he touched. I will always remember him.

Words from M.M.

I was Sgt. Kashkoush's Military Language Instructor at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA.

We all knew him as "Shukri" (his Arabic name in the class). He was easily one of the hardest working students in the group. He would stay after school for an hour or more several days out of each week to speak in Arabic with his language instructors.

I used to see him at the gym when I was working out, and we spotted for each other there a few times. He always put me to shame with the weights, and he challenged me to work hard and do even more with his good-natured ribbing.

He was friendly and hard working. He was always looking out for the other guy. He approached me on several occasions throughout the year to let me know when something was going on with his classmates that he thought I should be aware of, which helped me to be a better MLI for the rest of his class. He never asked me for anything for himself.

It was an honor to know Mike. I can not express the sorrow that I feel upon hearing this news.

I offer my deepest, heartfelt condolences and sympathy.
And Now I Add This: We must all redouble our efforts to both work for and pray for peace. Humble, r.

Tarot Playing!

hermit9, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

I am playing with my Tarot Cards and enjoying reading about architypal images....even as I am skeptical about any occultic power that any card of any kind from any deck could ever possess. Power is in our minds, period.

So anyways....I've randomly picked "The Hermit" thrice in a week. Isn't it a great image? I love the tree. I love trees. And I am a major Meyers-Briggsian INFP. Sorta tied with the F to the T..., the rest is annoyingly accurate. So back to the Tarot. I am inclined toward Hermitude.

Further the moon, even in a sliver, speaks to me of the night. I find the darkness of the night comforting, too. Not in an obsessive way, but the darkness of night doesn't frighten me. And to anecdote this darkness the character holds a lamp. A lamp that's light doesn't change the night. It only illumines an imperfect sphere of it.

Light is one force. It counters another force. But it's no more omnipotent than darkness. And in the quiet of my hermitude, I work to find a balance.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Like We Care What He's Thinking....

bdaythinker, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Or so says the inside of this birthday card from my longtime friend, Mr. L. P. It's hard to imagine that I've navigated 46 years of life on this wonderful planet. Cheers!

Random Quote #62

"A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle."

~ George William Curtis, 1824 - 1892

A P.C. Correct (Penguin Comedy) Cartoon

pccartoon,jpg, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

The kindergarteners in my building are learning with a theme centered around penguins. And so I couldn't resist giving copies of this cartoon to my kindergarten teachers! Enjoy!

January Casualty Statistics.

2007.01casualtybgraph, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

The blue bars represent the accumulating totals across the month, the red bars are daily totals. You may recall how deadly the 20th was. Many numbers were batted around on the news and in the press. In the end, the DoD issued press releases for 24 casualties and declared January 20th the third deadliest day in the war. Certainly the month began hopefully. Six of the first twelve days saw no U.S. military casualties, making it one of the least deadly 12 day periods in many, many months. As a total, 84 is above the monthly average of approximately 65. Of the 84 casualties, 4 were women. And as of the date of this posting, the DoD has yet to release the identities of three of the casualties pending notification of their families.

What I'm Watching #62

gone,butnotforgotten, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

"Gone, But Not Forgotten" is a quirky little story about a park ranger who falls in love with a man whose life he saves and who has amnesia. It's production values are adequate, and it's acting to the standard of any good community theatre company. I don't regret spending the time watching it, but now that it's gone, I won't promise that it won't be forgotten...... 1 star for the good faith efforts of the cast.