Saturday, July 28, 2007

Law & Order's 18th Season

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
is shaping up. Eighteen seasons?! It's amazing. And as I am a relatively new devotee of the series, I can say that it's just amazing and intelligent story telling.

As a show, it's kind of famous for it's revolving cast members. And now a new shift will prove very dynamic. Our long time Executive Assistant District Attorney, Jack McCoy (played by Sam Waterson) will be elected D. A. A role that has previously been rather marginal. Replacing the seasoned actor in the pivital role of Exec. Asst. D. A. will be the British actor, Linus Roache.

I find this very exciting as he portrayed the Gay Priest in the British series, "The Priest" back in the mid-90's. It was a courageous choice for him then, and I am eager to see how such courage might translate into this new opportunity.

The AP briefly reported the following:

"Linus Roache to Join NBC's 'Law & Order'"

"Law & Order" criminals will face a new prosecutor next season.

Linus Roache is joining the cast as assistant district attorney after Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) vacates the job to serve as New York district attorney, NBC announced.

The English-born Roache starred last season in NBC's short-lived "Kidnapped" and appeared in the films "Batman Begins" and "The Chronicles of Riddick."

"I think he and Sam are going to raise the bar and add intellect and passion" to the "order" half of "Law & Order," series creator and executive producer Dick Wolf said in a statement Tuesday.

McCoy is taking over from New York D.A. Arthur Branch, who was played by Fred Thompson. A former U.S. senator, Thompson asked to be released from the drama as he weighs a bid for the Republican nomination for president.

Friday, July 27, 2007

We Are Not Alone

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Inspite of the dissolution of the "Coalition of the Willing". The recent change of leadership in the United Kingdom not withstanding. In Iraq there remains a modicum of other nationals serving under the auspices of "Operation Iraqi Freedom". First among the remnant remains the British. Bless them one and all!

Here are four English soldiers who have been killed in Iraq recently.

Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Senior Aircraftsman Christopher Dunsmore; Senior Aircraftsman Peter McFerran; Senior Aircraftsman Matthew Caulwell; and, Lt. Cpl. Timothy D. Flowers. They were killed in and around Basra between July 19th and 21st.

And here's what I have found most interesting by way of comparing their deaths with those of our men and women; the press releases announcing their deaths start with the following phrases:

"It is with profound sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of ..." and "It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of..."

Why are the Brits so sad? So torn up over the deaths of their young soldiers? While we won't even allow photographers to record the arrival of the coffins of our dead?

Do they love their military more than we love ours?

Our Latest American Hero #93

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army Spc. Daniel E. Gomez, 21, of Warner Robins, Ga.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany; died July 18 in Adhamiyah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked by enemy forces using an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire. Also killed were Sgt. 1st Class Luis E. Gutierrez-Rosales, Spc. Zachary R. Clouser and Spc. Richard Gilmore III.

Family members of fallen soldier Spc. Daniel Gomez said Monday they are “devastated” by his death.

Gomez, 21, died Wednesday in Adhamiyah, Iraq, from wounds sustained when a vehicle in which he and three other soldiers were traveling in was attacked with an improvised explosive device and small arms fire, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The other three also died.

Gomez’s parents, Juan and Juanita Gomez, are originally from Port Isabel, said his aunt Refugia Leal, also from Port Isabel.

“(Gomez’s parents) are so devastated,” Leal said. “We tried to talk to them, but every time we try to talk, they break down.

“We are devastated too. With this war going on and how we feel about this war, and here we are,” Leal added. “He was so young. He was only 21.”

Leal said that although Gomez did not live in the Rio Grande Valley, he visited his grandmother, Enriqueta Gomez in Port Isabel, whenever he could.

“(Gomez’s grandmother) is very upset,” Leal said. “He was the favorite grandson. He was in Georgia on leave about a month and a half ago and (Gomez’s grandmother) talked to him to ask him how he was doing.”

Leal said that Gomez’s family has lived in Warner Robbins, Ga., for the past couple of years, but they spent much time living in the San Antonio area. Juan Gomez worked for the Kelly Air Force Base until it closed and was relocated to Warner Robbins.

Daniel, who was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Schweinfurt, Germany, graduated from Warner Robins High School in Georgia in 2004.

“He will be buried in San Antonio,” Leal said. “That’s what my nephew had picked. But the body is still en-route. Last time I heard, his body was in Maryland.”

Gomez was the oldest of three siblings, Leal said, leaving behind his sister Mari Anne Gomez and his 15-year-old brother Louie Gomez.

"Right now we're kind of at a loss for words," Gomez's sister, Mari Anne told the Macon Telegraph newspaper Sunday night. "But I think Daniel's life was like a lesson. All the things he's been through in such a short time ... what we learned from this one situation was that you're here one day, you're gone the next. We hate to say it, but we're another statistic."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ominous Update

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
This from today's "Naked News Daily Up-Date": according to the infamous Dr. Anthony Fauci, we are loosing the war on the AIDS pandemic. In an address that he delivered to the 4th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenises and Treatment in Sydney, Australia, Dr. Fauci represented the loss in this way: "while progress has been made, the problem is that more people are being infected with HIV than are being treated."

Alarmingly, according to Dr. Fauci, for every one person who is put into a therapy protocal, 6 new people are infected with HIV.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Truth Revealed!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I know there's been a lot of speculation as to the findings during George Bush the Lessor's recent colonoscopy. Well, I have found a source that reveals the true nature of the so-called "five pollyps".

Quel suprise!

Friday, July 20, 2007

What I'm Watching #95

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Okay, first of all, I selected this DVD on the recommendation of Hugh Dancy from an online interview that I read after seeing his wonderful performance in "Evening". One of the few wonderful things about that movie.....

And I have to admit that I found this film unusually interesting. It both fits a mold and breaks some new ground.

The mold is, of course, the "road film" genre made most popular by Crosby and Hope back in the 40's. Enter the first break: a Korean and an Indian take on the protagonists' roles. Hope and Crosby were always off to some exotic place. Break two, the "exotics" are off to a quintessentially American place: White Castle. And so goes the treatise all the way to some yahoo's Ph.D., I fear.

As a movie, it was sophomoric, moronic, infantile, inane....and, frankly, funny. At times really fun, at others only funny cause you knew what they meant. Fred Willard was very funny! Brad Borbridge wasn't funny, but you understood why he was supposed to be.

And in the end, all the pre-determined elements are met for a strangely, nostalgically satisfying ending.

Now, I understand that a sequel is coming out in 2008; which is cool. Well, except that if Neil Patrick Harris returns as himself...he'll need a car full of hunky near nude guys to fondle instead of the buxom beauties he faux-f@#&ed in this movie! And what kind of a mess will THAT leave on Harold's back seat? Oh, my!

Our Latest American Hero #92

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army Spc. Roberto J. Causor Jr., 21, of San Jose, Calif.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died July 7 in Samarra, Iraq, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire.

Causor is survived by his father, Roberto Causor Sr., and his mother, Maria R. Causor, both of Rio Rancho, N.M.

Capt. Buddy Ferris, commander of C Company, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, said Causor will be missed.

“Spc. Causor epitomized the words of courage, selfless service and honor; he was a paratrooper that represented all that is great about America,” Ferris said in a statement.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What I'm Watching #94

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I bought this Danish film back at the same time when I bought the Dutch film, "Antonia's Line" (What I'm Watching #92). Both can easily be described as women's stories. Both deal with women who in the company of other women discover grace and strength, and so it's no surprise that having originially seen both of these films many years ago, I conflated their individual success as cinematic art.

My review of "Antonia's Line" clearly expressed the fact that I had forgotten just how amazing that movie is. Alas, every yin has it's yang.....

"Babette's Feast" is a dog. It's pandantic in it's treatment of theme, it's lugubrious in its creation of atmosphere, and it's infantile in its spoon-feeding of storyline. The acting reminds one of a compitent high school performance of an Ibsen or Chekov play--Everything happens like it's supposed to, but none of it engenders any emotional or aesthetic involvement from the audience.

As to the positive reviews from reputable sources found on the trailer feature, they all left me dumbfounded. It must be a sentimental attachment to the orginal short story by Isak Dinesen; otherwise, these people are idiots.

Never one to hold back....and you know I usually enjoy something about whatever movie I make the time to see. Bottomline, skip Babette's feast, call Papa John's. You'll thank me in the morning!

This Old House #2

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The first phase of work on renovating my poor little sun porch is complete. The front column is repaired, and I dare say, it's actually better than new. The original column was hollow, this one has a treated 2 x 4 up the middle to give it more strength. The exterior of the column is exactly like the original, even though that took a little more effort on my carpenter's part. In addition, the facia boarding around the top along with a section of insect damaged interior beams have been replaced. Finally, the orginal copper gutter is back in place with new support spikes and it's both sealed to and flush with the new facing to hinder future water damage.

Needless-to-say, I am pleased with the work and care that C & A took on it. C will call me on Monday to begin plans for phase 2.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Summer House Painting #3

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Well, you saw what I imagined the door would look like using my computer, so now here's the real thing. The back door of my attached garage.

I must be doing something right, because between the renovations on the sun porch and painting, my estranged neighbor has decided to undertake a sort of detante. We hardly speak and haven't spoken in....well, shame to say it....years. I hear about his criticism of me from my other neighbors, so I know he knows I exist; but who in life needs another critic? -- especially one that lives right next door...

Anyway, he's brought peace offerings, 4 lovely hostas; or as much of them as our neighborhood deer had not yet eaten -- they resemble what I imagine hostas look like in Morticia Adam's garden, but it's the thought that counts. He also shared how he thought the light green of the trim reminded him of a house in the town where he grew up. He refered to it as pistacio ice cream colored-house; which I have to admit, is pretty right on.

Who knows where these home improvements could lead?

Monday, July 16, 2007

June Casualty Statistics

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Sorry that I'm late with this. The trend remains troublesome in spite of Bush's optimistic view of increased casualty numbers....

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What I'm Watching #93

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The cover of the "Cote d'Azur" DVD describes the film as "A sex comedy of errors". That's really far too ambitious a subtitle for this little French film. To start with, it wasn't funny. At no point did I even have the slightest urge to giggle, let alone laugh. Once, at the very end, I cringed and fought back an urge to ralph; but that's as close to any emotion as I came.

The nauseating moment was when the cast suddenly appeared and broke into an inexplicable "dance" and "song" number. And I put both art forms in quotes for a reason.....

And here's the real shame. It's not a halfway bad little movie. It could have been a nice story that dealt with some interesting just needed someone, preferably a grown up, to edit it a little bit...okay, an adult director would have been a plus, too. I will give it one star for "le derrière du plombier".

Friday, July 13, 2007

Summer Painting Continues

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The door on the left was painted in blue and shades of sienna in 1995. The blue was in honor of my ex-'s favorite color, and I have to admit, I really liked it, too. And at one point in the process of painting my home, a neighbor who was a complete stranger to me stopped her SUV while I was working and shouted out of her window how much she loved the color, too!

A few of the reasons why I've been struggling to discover the next color scheme for my home.

And I'm frankly still apprehensive about my choices, but I am committed. The nearly $300.00 price tag at Home Depot was a bit of a Rubicon for me in this campaign. And here's how I imagine the exterior of the Kitchen and Garage doors to be transformed.

Bella, si?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Time To Paint

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The last time I painted my home's exterior was in 1995. I used very high quality paint, and so my incentive to paint again isn't based on need as much as opportunity. The renovation of my sun porch will eventually require painting and as much as I like the present color scheme, it's time to take my home to a new place.

Here are the colors that I'm currently working with. The middle two form the basis for all of the windows and roof trim (my home is sided with brick). The coral and pine green will be accents on the doors and shutters. The garage door is a major feature on the front of my home.

So, what do you think?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

This Old House #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Work on my aging sunporch has begun! And it's so long over due.

Example #1: The exposed boards indicated Insect damage. Ergo, I am now an additional 4-figure sum lighter in my bank account, but one-year guaranteed against further damage by Carpenter Ants and Termites.

The infestation didn't surprise me. The price tag, did; but I have neglected this problem for nearly a decade, so I also count my blessings and pay my debt to grace.

And, today, the second day of my contractor's repair work was drawn to a close early thanks to a thunder storm that caused a two-hour power outage.

But after so long, patience is just part of the process.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Racism Fact #2

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
A corner stone of any democracy is the fairness of it's legal system. We've recently seen that concept completely flipped on it's head by our president and his self-serving, preferential treatment of Mr. Libby. Apparently, lying to a Grand Jury is only a crime when it involves covering up fellatio; while treason gets a pass.

In this nation, the color of one's skin also determines who gets a pass and who doesn't . Out of every 100,000 white males in the United States, 42 are guests of our Federal prison system. In that same number of Hispanics, 748 get their meals behind bars. And of African Americans? 2,207 out of every 100,000 are behind bars.

In other words if you are Hispanic and male you are over 17 times more likely to be incarcerated than your white neighbor. And if you are black, you are over 52 times more likely to be in prison. 52 TIMES!

A society that allows this discrepency is broken.

SOURCE: the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. "Keep Hope Alive" broadcast, 8 July 07

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Like Rats Off Of A Sinking Ship

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I just saw “Ratatouille,” so I guess “references to rats” is understandable, no offense intended. But it’s been a very interesting week in our government’s resolve to fight the “War on Terrorism” in Iraq. Three GOP senators came out against “staying the course.”

Now while Democrats control the agenda, the margin is so narrow that without bi-partisan support, nothing moves very far beyond the “agenda” status. 50 Democrats constitute the right to hold the majority, because the one Independent, Barry Sanders of Vermont, has chosen to caucus with the Democrats giving them a 51 to 49 majority. In voting, this majority is hindered by the absence of Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota as he recovers from his brain surgery and Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who has never recovered from his kiss from George Bush – what a schill! But I digress. My point is that no matter how frustrated we progressives are with our recently elected Democratic majority; their ability to pay-off on our mandate still depends on the epiphany of a dozen or so Republicans.

So we must remember this, Republicans are not the brightest bunch. They really only need to memorize a few talking points and act in a consistent and rote manner in order to gain approval from their leaders, cash from their corporate backers, and media expertise from the GOP Machine Politic. Therefore, it’s really no surprise that after the fall election in 2006, only one member really stuck his neck out. Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska stood up and said, “Enough!” No doubt his own experience in Viet Nam helped to inform his personal outrage. Unfortunately, he had a sudden change of heart and backed off after consultations with the GOP “powers that be.” I like Chuck Hagel; it’s a shame that he predicated his political career on leading a company that created the first generation of computerized voting machines--machines without paper trails, machines which could be tampered with by the average 8th grade computer geek, and machines which were used for the first time in Nebraska when he won his Senate seat against a popular incumbent in the unexpected upset of the century….. Coincidence? Is anything left to chance in politics?

So back to the point: How many rats does it take to sink this rancid ship of war-profiteering, -mongering, and -mania? 12 plays it safe.

And where do we stand today regarding this goal?

Let’s consult the collage. Last week 3 senior senators took sides with us: Peter Diminici of New Mexico (who’s up for re-election in 2008), George Voinovich of Ohio, and Richard Lugar of Indiana. Beside them, I place in their camp the afore discussed Chuck Hagel (who’s up for re-election in 2008), and Gordon Smith of Oregon (who’s up for re-election in 2008). That’s 5. Those who have also expressed their concerns about the Presidents’ present policies in Iraq and I feel our clearly leaning our way are: Susan Collins of Maine (who’s up for re-election in 2008), Norm Coleman of Minnesota (who’s up for re-election in 2008), and Olympia Snowe, also of Maine. Now we’re up to 8. I can get us to 11 with three more opportunistic and/or principled GOP Senators. They are John Sununu of New Hampshire (who’s up for re-election in 2008), John Warner of Virginia (who’s up for re-election in 2008), and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who’s really pissed-off by the way the White House has used him in passing aspects of the “Patriot Act” that are clearly un-Constitutional.

But who will be #12? John Cornyn of Texas? Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina? Larry Craig of Idaho? All of whom are up for reelection and vulnerable.

Patience people. Not only do past elections have consequences, but future ones do, too! You can’t turn an oil tanker on a dime. But given enough incentive, you can turn it.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Originally uploaded by Randuwa
There's a new guest in my gardens. The svelte Cambodian version of Siddhartha Guatama of Kshatriya, a.k.a. "the Buddha," has joined cement casts of St. Francis of Asissi and a cat playing with a ball of yarn (which marks the grave of my beloved "Buster the Usurper"--the truest friend I've ever had.) He sits serenely, nay, majestically, amidst my potted peppers, parsley, and basil, with rosemary, st. john's wart and Michaelmass asters all around. And, frankly, I found him at my local Target for 20% off! An incidental fact that would no doubt cause the original no end of delight.

May we all end up surrounded by herbs and on sale!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Everyday Activism

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
As you surely know, I HATE this awful, destructive, manipulative, Self-BUSH-serving war. It's a travesty, built upon lie after lie, profiting only the friends of our President and his Administration Members, and devastating our armed forces, our faithful and earnest men and women who risk their lives in our behalf and under Bush's authority.

But feelings are not enough. And so I spend a great deal of my time actively opposing this impossible to win "war" and helping others to be more aware of it's consequences. I fear that most Americans have little reason to care one way or the other about it.

Enter my latest project: Operation Bill Payment. From now on my bills will go to my creditors in envelops that bear a pair of images of soldiers killed in the war along with their basic stats. The following phrase will adorn the envelop below the recipient's address:

"Their duty was to protect our freedom
Our duty is to never forget their sacrifice."

It's probably nothing spectacular in the pantheon of anti-war protests. But it's also something that I can do to keep the cost of this war front and center in some people's minds. Imagine what would happen if each of us did this?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Summer Time And....

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I'm embarking on a home rennovation project, which will hopefully end in a new and enclosed Sunporch; an extra room, if you will. I have my contractor, he has his crew. I will need to get an electrician, but otherwise the work begins on Monday. I'm feeling a little grown-up tonight. Usually I do everything for myself. Paying someone else is a bit outside of my comfort zone, but I feel it's time to take care of this need, and God knows I can afford to have it done for me.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Our Latest American Hero #91

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I've been posting various images of our brave soldiers who have died in the 'War on Terrorism' for some time now. I regret that it's only a sampling, a representation of the many by the few. Besides an image, and the official DoD announcement, I also include something from the public press or other source that tells us something more about who they were and how their family, friends, and community are responding to their death. Increasingly these stories are portraying people who are more than grief stricken. They are angry at our leaders; and by extension, perhaps, at all of us who tolerate their incompitence. They share stories of their departed hero's own doubts and confusion over this nebulous endeavor. The tide is turning, beware the tsunami....

Army Sgt. William W. Crow Jr., 28, of Grandview Plaza, Kan., died June 28 in Baghdad, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2d Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

“Inglis [Florida] Family Mourns Soldier Killed In Iraq”

INGLIS - It was around 9 p.m. Thursday when Kathryn Mondini drove up to her apartment, tired from driving all day from North Carolina. She had seen police cars in the neighborhood, but didn't think much of it, thinking it was part of a regular patrol.

She went inside and picked up the phone to call a neighbor when someone knocked on the door.

When she opened it, she saw two Army officers.

"I slammed the door and threw myself to the floor,'' she said Friday afternoon, still in a state of shock and weeping when looking at her son's picture.

Sgt. William Wayne Crow, 28, Mondini's only son, was killed in Iraq early Thursday morning when the Humvee he was driving rolled over an improvised explosive device, or an IED.

Mondini held on to Associated Press stories she had printed off the Internet.

She had circled the paragraphs that had mentioned the death of her son: "One American soldier killed,'' while in a combat patrol in eastern Baghdad, it read.

"He was my baby -- he was my lifeline,'' she said.

Her daughter, Candace Hudson, sat beside her in their small living room. Her eyes were red, too, from mourning the loss of her brother.

Her cell phone, and the house phone, kept ringing with friends and family wanting to know what happened, express how sorry they were and ask how they could help.

Mondini, who had not seen her son since February, doesn't have all the answers yet.

"Where's my son?'' she cried. "In pieces?''

Miles away, in Fort Riley, Kan., Crow's wife, Michelle, kept the officers outside her door for 20 minutes early Thursday morning.

"I figured if I didn't let them in, I wouldn't have to know what happened,'' said the mother of four on Friday, her voice sad and monotone on the telephone.

She and Crow got married four years ago. She already had two sons, Chris and David, and with Crow, they have two little girls, Alexis and Kala.

Crow enlisted in the military right out of Belleview High School. He first went to Korea. And then to Iraq.

The last time Crow had come back from Iraq, he told his mother that the war was different this time.

"He said it's like they're fighting a ghost and they were not equipped to fight the ghosts,'' Mondini recalled.