Sunday, September 30, 2007

Racism Fact #3

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Tonight as you and I lay our heads down upon our pillows for a good night's rest there is a fact that we should ponder. The number of Black men between the ages of 18 and 23 who will join us in this nightly ritual from Prison cells far exceeds those who will lay their heads down in College dormitories.

I find this completely unacceptable. It shames me as an American, and I only wish I could add that it shocks me, but it doesn't. It's just one more legacy of our Racist History. A history that needs to be actively reversed by national initiatives and reparations!

There was a time when we appeared to be moving in the right direction; but no more. We are now at war with ourselves on so many levels: poverty, culture, race, sexuality, gender....that our nation has become officially stagnent in it's progress to achieving it's highest ideals, and practically obstinant on an individual level.

If this "shoe" were on a white foot, can you imagine the effort we would extend to find, demand, and create a solution? That's why this is first and foremost about RACISM.

Bitter-sweet Dreams......

What I'm Watching #109

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I'm into a mini-series as far as episode of 6 of 13. "I, Claudius" is one of those milestone mini-series, like "Roots". It's played out by some of the best Shakespearean actors that England had to offer back in 1976. From the likes of Derek Jacobi, Siân Phillips, and Brian Blessed to Fiona Walker, Patrick Stewart and James's just a who's who of British Thespians. About the only one's of merit who do not make appearances are Helen Merrin and Judy Dench!

After six episodes, a lesson arises. Fools are made to be leaders, because fools have ideals that can be manipulated by evil people. In the first 6 episodes of this landmark BBC production the evil people have triumphed consistently. The virtuous and the innocent have been disposed of one by one; and even the fools have ended up the victims of the evil ones. And perhaps this is the essential genius of Claudius, perceived a fool, profoundly virtuous and innocent, he time and again escapes the notice (and thus the wrathful intent or nefarious purposes) of the evil forces that swarm all around him.

But I still have 7 episodes to go, so who knows where this will lead?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mid-Week Funny

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Yup. He called it 'rosebud'...."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I am a charter member of this amazing institution. And they annually send members a calendar as a token of their appreciation. This year the calender is called "Art as Witness", and it outdoes all the others.

Congratulations, Mozel Tof!

Monday, September 24, 2007

You Go Girl!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
This is not simply must see TV -- this is BRILLIANT politics. I hardly know where to begin. Could Chris Wallace have been more of a total freaking stooge? From the first assinine question on, Hillary did three masterful things.

ONE: When he asked the ignorant, partican, neo-con endorsed questions, she fucking laughed! That was brilliant my friends. She laughed because FOX TV is silly, it's inane, it's honestly becoming more and more irrelevant as a news source, and more, frankly interesting as a comedy channel!

TWO: She spoke intelligently and forcefully to the issues. For example. she turned Chris' characterization of her health care plan as "government coersion" into "shared responsibility" and "a moral imperative."

THREE: She didn't let the little toad cut her off. In fact, she clearly intimidated his sorry little puppet heinie!

So I say, "YOU GO GIRL!"

And see for yourself at:


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Art I'm Seeing #20

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Edward Hopper is in town, fresh from his recent visit in Boston! And he's magnificent.

The show is at the National Gallery of Art through January 21st and then he's off to Chicago. And although today was my first visit with the master, it won't be my last. There is so much about his works that I want to study while I have this chance.

First impressions: 1) He was the consummate outsider by his own choosing, and yet his connections to other artists both past, contemporary, and present is fascinating. From Winslow Homer and John Singer Sergeant to Rockwell Kent to Richard Deibenkorn and even Chris Van Allsberg. 2) His utter mastery of the duality between inner and outer spaces and worlds, both natural and psychological is both hypnotic and enigmatic. And, 3) The works are just so damn beautiful!

More later, perhaps...

What I'm Watching #108

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
It's been a real DVD weekend. "2 x 4" is essentially an Irish film shot in both Dublin and New York, but set in New York. It was produced in 1998; but feels like something out of the 1970's. The plot is another pshycholoical/sexual struggle. The lead bats for both teams, but due to a dark secret from his childhood spends most of his time on the bench.

It's a so-so film. The lead is played by its writer/director/producer...which explains a lot. Sometimes one man's dream is genius and sometimes it's just myopic.

Sunday Funnies #8

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Well, since you got the sermon yesterday, today's time for a couple of funnies.

"Yes, Doctor, I'd agree; the bowel blockage seems to be completely gone!"

Sunday Funnies #9

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
So that's what happened?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What I'm Watching #107

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
It's turned out to be a film day. My second flick was "Boy Culture". It's being marketed as a hyper sexy gay love film.

It's gay, there are sexy moments, and in the end love trumps other considerations. But it's really a nice story. The leads are very sexy men: Derek Magyar, Jonathon Trent, and Darryl Stephens (the supper hot, Noah from Noah's Arc). If all you want is eye candy, this film delivers; but if you want an actual compelling and interesting story, you just might be pleasantly surprised.

It's a Mistake

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
As the United Nations prepares to kick off another year of being .... um, well whatever they do, leaders from all over the world travel to New York City to participate and pontificate. Among them will be Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. He's a very charismatic, good-looking, and at times (when things are going his way) congenial fellow. Just the kind of guy you'd like to sit down and toss back a beer .... er, falafel with. (Sound like any other leader you know?)

He's a little self-centered at times and says crazy things to insight the support of his base. Bold-faced lies even, like the holocaust never happened, and Iraq has weapons of mass destruction -- OOPS! scratch that last one, it was one of the other leader's bold-faced big ones....

Anyway, we have a question regarding the Iranian president on the table: What is to be made of his request to visit ground zero? It's not really a question cause we already no the answer. "NO, you can't go."

I doubt Gordon Brown, or Andrea Merkel, or Ehud Olmert would have been told that it was "too dangerous". They'd have donned hard hats and had the photo-op of their dreams. But they are not the president of the last standing member of the "Axis of Evil."

Therefore the real question is, should that matter?

And that's where I have say, NO, it shouldn't. It's a mistake not to allow Mr. Ahmedinejad to visit Ground Zero. It's a mistake because it demonstrates to him and the world that the United States is acting like a hypocrite. It affirms that we have been acting more and more that way since 9/11. We talk about freedom, but we deny freedom left and right. We gut the Constitution one signing statement at a time. We hide formerly open information one government agency after another. We treat one another as guilty and in need of proof of innocence. We've turned freedom on its "Bushy" little pin-head!

London was hit. Madrid was hit. In both cases by bombings that scored relative to their populations damage and death on a par with the World Trade Center horror. Did either of these nations declare a war on global terrorism? Did either of their leaders seek to curtail or suspend tenants of the most basic rights of their citizens like trial by a jury or habeious corpus? Where those guilty of these acts apprehended by massively invading other countries and bankrupting their economies for generations to come? Did thousands, nay even hundreds, of their troop have their lives sacrificed in the effort? IF Spain and the United Kingdom can get it right, why can't we?

Under this despicable regime lead by the twice un-elected George-the-Lesser we humble Americans have fared far worse for the wear by comparison. And this latest jab at a tyrant is just one more spit in the eye of our precious ideals. Because you see, the very genius of our Constitution is that it favors no one. And when applied rightly everyone is protected and given freedom, and ESPECIALLY the freedom that is NOT available in Iran.

Now a word to you about the Iranian people. It's a personal word, and my experience is admittedly limited. I've never been to Iran. I'm sure Iran has it's fair share of idiots and despots; however, I've never met any of them.

I have met the families of boys and girls whom it has been my privilege to teach over the years: the Bhamini's, the Cherenghani's, the Rahimi's and the Kashani's to name but a few. And no other single ethnic group has been kinder, more supportive, or more generous to me. I have enjoyed lavish meals in their homes to celebrate the end of a school year, and have even been given gifts years after their children have moved on. At no time and in no way was I ever given anything in a way or at a time that could be construed to represent a bribe or an attempt to influence my assessment of their child's progress. What I have been given consistently is respect and support.

The carrot will win friends and change minds every time more effectively and profoundly than the stick. In my humble, American, and Freedom-loving opinion, we should have offered Ahmedinejad a carrot.

Our Latest American Hero #101

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army Spc. Aaron J. Walker, 23, of Harker Heights, Texas; assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Vilseck, Germany; died Sept. 18 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire during combat operations.

“Friends Remember Harker Heights Soldier”

The family and friends of a fallen soldier from Harker Heights say he was a light in this world, a light that is now shining from heaven.

23-year-old Aaron J. "A.J." Walker was killed Tuesday in Iraq.

"I am off to Iraq. I am finally allowed to do what I believe is right," Walker had written to family and friends when he left Harker Heights in August.

"I told him, well, I'll guess I'll see you in a few years. And he said, 'Alright, we'll hang out then.' It's tough to know that he's not going to be able to come back," friend John Hails said.

Walker was killed by small arms fire during combat. He leaves behind a wife, his parents, and a brother and sister. But take one step inside Grace Christian Church, and you'll find that Walkers' family doesn't end there.

"I have one son. And I'd like to consider him another one," friend Roscoe Parr said.

"I love the guy. He was a brother, more than a friend," John Holz said.

Walker played the drums in the church band. He also helped his father, who is the church's youth pastor.

"He was always a good leader if someone is straying. If they're having a hard time, someone they can talk to," Parr said.

"He taught me a lot about life. Life lessons, you know. What it means to grow up," Holz said.

The youth group that Walker loved taught kids to take out their anger in healthy ways, like beating up junked cars. Walker decided to direct his anger toward the world's greater evils. And he decided joining the military was the best way to do it.

"I will not live in a world where evil prevails!" Walker wrote to loved ones. "If no one else will stand up against evil, then let the righteous be called upon, let them answer the call, and let the people of oppression be set FREE!"

"He was the type of person who would stand up for what he believed in, and he died standing up for what he believed in. He's a hero," Holz said.

And even though he's no longer here, that hero still manages to
conquer sadness with his happy memories.

"He never had the greatest voice, and he said that one day he's going to be able to sing with the perfect voice. And now I get to smile because I know he's singing with the perfect voice," Holz said.

What I'm Watching #106

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Juste une Question d'Amour" is that rarest of birds: A French film with a happy ending!

It's the story of Laurent (played by increadibly sweet and sexy Cyrille Thouvenin) whose character is a perpetually petulent and depressive college student who spends all his best energy pretending to be straight for his parents and other relatives. Well, that is until he meets Cédric (Stéphan Guérin-Tillié) and falls in love. Then poor Laurent twists between his affection and his deception.

It's a well told story without neat conclusions, but an ending that answers the question. Love is more powerful than either fear or hatred. Bravo!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Art I'm Owning #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
A new strand, yeah!

I like art. I like original works of art. To that extent I have purchased a wide variety of artworks over the years. Like the famous postman from NYC who created an amazing collection of modernist/post-modernist works...I fantasize about having a collection that some day is note worthy. I also, an more importantly, exist in a home full of art that daily edifies my soul.

Today I picked up two of my latest members of my art family from my framer. This particular work is a duo of photos taken by Todd Boebel from a series of photos that he took back in the 1990's. He is from Akron, Ohio, and this series of industrial works was produced by exploring the grounds and rooftops of abandoned/closed factories. They reference the works of both Charles Sheeler (1883 - 1965) and Charles Demuth (1883 - 1935). And this particular set more even than others.

Todd is a gifted artist and lives and works in NYC. You need a photo. He works professionally, so check him out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Midweek Political Prognostications

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
In a normal election cycle, talking about the make up of a Senate with over 15 months to go would be premature in the extreme. But this is not a normal cycle. We've already waded through more debates between the candidates for President than ever before in a "normal" campaign season.

Some credit this early jump-start to the profound desire of Americans to send Bush-the-Lesser packing and on his way. To that sentiment, I add my hearty, "AMEN!" And to that zeitgeist I place my faith in this prediction.

Any party needs 60 senators to control the game. In the last election the democrats secured 49; which allowed them majority with the support of the two independents (Bernie Sanders - VT, and Joe Lieberman - CT). This gave them control of the agenda. But with Lieberman squawking and voting like a loyal Republican; holding the agenda turned out to be "window dressing": a chance to brag about how much they want to do without doing much of anything!

For the record, the bar used to be a simple majority. The most recent and current crop of Republicans redefined it as a 60/40 margin to maintain their control over the outcome. It's frustrating, but it's also short sighted. History is not a fool; those who live by the sword will fall upon its double-sided blade...

And to that end I'm predicting the following in 2008 vis-à-vis the United States senate:

1) All of the 11 currently held Democratic seats will remain safely in the BLUE column. I believe this will happen even if Senator Biden of Delaware retires. And thanks to Senator Vitter's sexual hypocrisy, Mary Landrieu has moved from the most vulnerable democratic incumbent to a poster child for Integrity. Whoa whoa!~

2) The currently 3 open seats (CO, ID, VA); all formerly Republican will flip to Democrats. It’s a function of demographics. The Rocky Mountains are moving into the progressive camp and Virginia's power base is moving to the metro north -- not to mention that they have an incredibly powerful democratic candidate in former Governor Mark Warner.

3) I count another 5 Republican seats that are very vulnerable. They are (OR, AK, TX, MN, NH). Three of the incumbents are among the most incompetent members of the senate, one is entangled in a corruption campaign up his whazoo; and the other is a conservative Mormon in an increasingly progressively atheistic state.

4) Now the fun. There are another six presently held Republican seats which I believe are in "GOP" jeopardy. And the bottom line in all of them is the war. They are my "referendum" states: ME, WY, NE, KS, KY, & NC. They represent a hodge podge of realities and circumstances. Some have high profile senators (NC, KY, ME & KS); one has an open seat, and one a nearly open seat (NE & WY).

Of these, there will be no two more higher profile contests than those of Mitch McConnell of KY and Susan Collins of ME. Given the last cycle surprises in both New England and Kentucky, I wouldn't put a plug nickel on either of them!

Our Latest American Hero #100

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Represents the nearly 3,800 men and women of our armed services who've paid in their faithfulness to their duty with the ultimate price. He comes from a small and essentially rural community in Michigan; the same sort of place that I grew up in. I find the words of his former High School principal profound and deeply moving. They cause me to wonder yet again: How much more of this gratuitous and deceptive "war" are we to endure before someone steps up and speaks the truth? How many more extraordinary Americans will be sacrificed upon the altar of greed, huberous, obfuscation and incestuous largess before those responsible for this evil are called to task? Without further ado.....

Army Spc. Todd A. Motley, 23, of Clare, Mich.; assigned to the 6th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Sept. 14 in Baghdad, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle during combat operations. Also killed were Staff Sgt. Michael L. Townes, Spc. Jonathan Rivadeneira and Pvt. Christopher M. McCloud.

"Fallen Soldier's High School Goal Was To Enlist In Army"

Todd Motley returned to his high school last year to tell students not to give up on their goals. He came back as more than a 2003 graduate of Pioneer High School. He returned as an Army specialist -- the sum of his ambition since first walking through the doors of the alternative high school in 2001.

Motley, 23, of Clare died Friday in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, when a bomb exploded near his vehicle during combat, the U.S. Department of Defense said Monday. Muqdadiyah is about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Motley entered the Army in March 2005 and was assigned in August 2005 to the 6th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood in Texas.

"Todd was one of your once-in-a-lifetime kids -- everything you put in came back," Pioneer Principal Lori Enos said.

"We're all very empty right now. The impact of his death ... has surprised all of us. It makes the world very, very small."

Enos described Motley as creative, loyal and "outgoing but not obnoxious."

She said his character was evident the day she handed him his diploma and Quality Student Award -- an honor decided by the staff and given to only a few students at the school in Clare, about 130 miles northwest of Detroit.

"The face that I can see was a quiet sense of satisfaction," she said. "When you looked at his face, you knew he was proud of himself, but he was humble about it."

She also was impressed by the maturity with which he handled his relationship with his high school girlfriend, Karen, who became his wife.

"Karen and Todd had a very mature relationship -- it was like what you'd hope that adults would be more like," Enos said.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What I'm Watching #105

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
First off, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Toni Collette. From "Muriel's Wedding" to "The Hours," she's just simply an amazing actor from Down Under.

And as Carla, in "Connie and Carla" she is the perfect sidekick for the talented Nia Vardalos. Add to that all the showtunes you can stomach, and a fast passed plot full of comedy, sight gags, and even a little poinancy, and you have a good movie. Top the creation with the talents of David Ducovny, Steven Spinelli and Debbie Reynolds; and good can become great!

This is a one sweet film.

A Solution!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
With my new sunroom comes the question of use and then furniture.

The uses I have for it are 1) Plants, 2) Writing, and 3) Reading. I have purchased a small secretary from IKEA to act as a writing center, and the plants are a no-brainer, but the reading piece has proved more illusive. I have been shopping for chairs/love seats with no success. And then I stumbled upon this idea: A porch swing.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Let's Go! ~ My, Lego....

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
After skirting the edge of ruin a couple of years back, Lego continues to reach new heights. Literally, as this 4 foot + tall replica of the Eiffel Tower testafies.

Vive le Lego!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My Quilting Ways #02

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
After completing my first, over-the-top, "Wordsearch," appliqué quilt....and surviving the experience; I decided to look into the process of quilt making as an art form and hobby.

My second quilt is this one. The pattern is called "Ohio Tipsy Star". I used some of the fabrics from my first extravigant production; but purchased both the subtly patterned white background and equally subtle green fabric which forms the lionshare of "stars" as unifying elements.

The "quilting" of this quilt was accomplished on my sewing macine with a very intricate pattern. It's mind boggling now how I ever managed such a feat: like someone looking back on a youthful athletic victory and thinking that someone else must have done that!

Sunday Funnies #7

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Er....has anyone actually seen the Statue of Liberty today?

Not A Choice

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
This is a poster for the "International Day Against Homophobia" back on May 17th. The message: "Sexual Orientation is not a choice."

I missed the day, but not the reality. Being gay for me is NOT a choice.

I can choose tons of things. I can choose what to wear, what to eat, how fast to drive, what CD to listen to; but I cannot choose the orientation of my sexual desire. I can ignore it. I can suppress it. I can deny it. I can hate it. I can indulge it with reckless abandon. But I cannot make it be something that it is not.

And because it is not what either most human beings experience or what many in my culture demand, it is not something that I can simply live out (The way I imagine that the majority of my fellow human beings can be heterosexual without fear or guilt).

It therefore is a confusion. It is a dilemma. It is a burden. It is a catalyst on the road to self-actualization. It is a gift in the pursuit of enlightenment. It is an opportunity for empathy. BUT IT IS NOT A CHOICE.

You straight amongst us, can you imagine what your life would be like if your sexuality were so pervasively complex? I doubt we'd be worried about the over-population crisis!

And remember: IT IS NOT A CHOICE.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Our Latest American Hero #99

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Last week a transport vehicle was involved in a non-combat related accident in Iraq. No big deal, eh? I wish that were true, because this time the end result was 7 U. S. soldiers killed. My 99th random representative of the nearly 3,800 men and women in the military who've given their lives for us in this War on Terrorism, was on that ill-fated vehicle. He's also one of the thousands of troops in our military who come from places that the United States administers, but does not enfranchise with the same rights (OR responsibilities) as citizens who live in any of the 50 states.

A role call of dead from these "colonies of the United States" looks like this: American Samoa - 8, District of Columbia - 5, Federated States of Micronesia - 3, Guam - 7, Marianas Islands Protectorate - 4, Puerto Rico - 35, U. S. Virgin Islands - 6. On there face, with the exception of Puerto Rico, relatively small numbers. And "relatively" IS the key. Base those numbers on the miniscule populations of these places and then compare them with state-side totals, and members of our military from our "colonies" are paying a MUCH greater price in fatalities. American Samoa holds the top spot for per capita military deaths while serving in the War on Terrorism, for example. Citizens of these far flung locales are "American" enough to die for our "Commander-and-Chief's military perogatives, perhaps it's time that they were "Citizen" enough to VOTE for him/her?

Without further ado....

Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Rivera-Santiago, 26, of St. Croix, Virgin Islands; assigned to the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Sept. 10 in Baghdad of injuries sustained in a non-combat-related vehicle rollover. Also killed were Staff Sgt. Yance T. Gray (of MT), Sgt. Michael C. Hardegree (of GA), Sgt. Omar L. Mora (of IL), Sgt. Nicholas J. Patterson (of IN), Spc. Ari D. Brown-Weeks (of MD) and Spc. Steven R. Elrod (of NC).

"Deadliest Year For Soldiers From The Virgin Islands In The War"

Staff Sgt. Gregory Rivera-Santiago, 26, of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, was an Infantry Team Leader 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

"Staff Sergeant Rivera was a squad leader in my platoon in 2005," said Capt. Patrick Koucheravy, a fellow soldier. "He and I deployed to Afghanistan together in the fall of that year to support Operation Enduring Freedom. What I remember most is his unique sense of humor and the high esteem the men of his squad reserved for him."

Rivera-Santiago joined the Army in August 1999.

“His squad really looked after each other and I believe this was a direct reflection of the way Staff Sergeant Rivera treated the soldiers under him," added Koucheravy. "He would go to bat for his men in a second, no questions asked."

Rivera-Santiago is survived by his wife, Brooke Rivera; his son, Gregory Rivera, IV; his daughter, Xiomara; his step-daughter, Ayani Bowling, all of Fayetteville, N.C.; and his mother, Carmen Santiago, of St. Croix, Virgin Islands.

What I'm Watching #104

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"The Great Water" is a Macedonian movie based on the novel "Golemata Voda" written in the 1970's by Yugoslavian author Zhivko Chingo. The novel is described as a children's book, but honest to God, I can't imagine giving this story to a child. And had not Macedonian filmmaker, Ivo Trajkov, moved heaven and earth in a labor of love to adapt it to cinema, I doubt I would have ever heard of it. Bless you, Mr. Trajkov.

'The Great Water" is a stunningly stylized film set in an orphanage at the end of World War II. An orphanage established in an abandoned factory whose explicit purpose is to reprogram the children of the former bourgeoisie of now formerly independent Macedonia. The story is told in the dying dreams of the main character, now an old man in contemporary Yugoslavia, but then a child trapped in this world of conflict and ideology; An innocent surrounded by archetypal characters who's essential roles intertwine with the very elements of the life force (wind, fire, earth, water....) to tell a tale of morality, of sin, of forgiveness. At times the film is painfully beautiful; while at others I literally jerked and shuttered and turn away from the screen, averting my eyes from the incomprehensible cruelty or inevitable sacrifice.

The front of the DVD case quotes critics who call the film "exquisitely crafted" and "stunning". And for once, I cannot disagree. Good luck finding it. It's a treasure worth the effort.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Global Warming/Personal Frost-Bite?!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The internationally celebrated photographer of all things collectively, humanly, naked -- Spencer Tunick -- is at it again. This time for the cause of Global Warming.

Mr. Tunick is to collective nudity what William Weigman is to fancy dressed Weimar dogs. He has photographed legions of naked people against public squares in Latin America, airport-parking garages in Amsterdam and quiet, nay inconsequential streets, in New York City. He loves to portray anonymous human flesh against both nature and architecture.

Enter this photo shoot involving 600+ people on a soon to be disappeared Swiss glacier. Bless the models, one and all... and Mr. Tunick for his political (and artistic) sensibilities.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy New Year~

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The sun is down. Shana Tova! Happy New Year!

What I'm Watching #103

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
And now for something completely different....

"Punish Me" is a German film by the female director, Angelina Maccarone. I purposefully highlight her gender, because it's probably the more seminal factor in why this film both works and deserves to be seen.

On its face, the storyline might appear uncomfortably counter-culture; but in the hands of Frauline Maccarone, it becomes a compelling story and study of the power of feminist identity versus the archetype of submissive maternal instinct. It's a good movie for a discussion group.

The story is that of young masochist delinquent Jan (played by the petulant, seductive Kostja Ullmann) who is placed in the care of middle-age parole officer, Elsa (Maren Kroymann) to be rehabilitated back into society. But unlike her other youthful charges, Jan likes it rough and awakens in Elsa a desire to satisfy him. One of my favorite moments in the film is when her husband ridicules her for conducting a sexual affair with the young man, after which she describes the true nature of their liaison. It's priceless cinema.

Not for everyone, but curiosity doesn't always kill the cat!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Our Latest American Hero #98

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army Pfc. Mykel F. Miller, 19, of Phoenix; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 158th Infantry Regiment, Arizona Army National Guard Phoenix; died Sept. 6 in Zabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained during combat operations.

"Phoenix Guardsman Dies in Combat in Afghanistan

PHOENIX — An Arizona National Guard soldier has been killed in combat in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced Saturday.

Pfc. Mykel F. Miller of Phoenix died of wounds he suffered while his unit was engaged in combat in Zabul province on Thursday. The 19-year-old was assigned to Company B of the Arizona National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 158th Infantry Regiment, based in Gilbert.

Miller’s family, via the National Guard, made the following statement: “Mykel was very proud to serve his country.”

More than 600 members of the 1st Battalion left Phoenix in January for training, then shipped out for a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan in March.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, loved ones and fellow soldiers of Private First Class Miller,” Major General David P. Rataczak, who commands the Arizona National Guard, said in a statement. “This young man epitomized everything good and honorable about being an American and a citizen soldier.”

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Kudus to Leonardo

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Putting aside the petty pains of our day to day lives, we all really need to focus our attentions and resources toward the future. I am as guilty as you in not living my life in this mindset. But I'm just a regular guy. A middle income dude living out the American Dream one pay-check to the next.

I'm not an awarding winning actor with millions of dollars in the bank. And if I was, I wonder if I would choose to invest my wealth in such a way.... Thank god, Leonardo di Caprio is not me; because he has put his money were his heart is in backing this film.

It's stark, it's shocking, it's redemptive, it's full of hope. It places both the facts and future squarely in our hands. May it inspire each of us to be as courageous and generous with our relative wealths so that we consciously strive to be part of a collective solution, rather than just another part of the problem.

Some Keep The Sabbath.... going to church. ~E. Dickinson

Saturday, September 08, 2007

This Old House #7

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
C & A finished the windows and back door, and I am very pleased with the space: It's solid, light-filled and functional. My electricians come on Tuesday to do their part in the process. And before snow falls, I should have a really cool new space in which to hang.

Tattoo Dreaming

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Another exceptional tattoo. Buttocks not withstanding!

A Self-Portrait

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
posted by the blogger tbiet the dynamo behind the blog "L'homme Est Un Concept" -- Man Is A Concept. Tbiet is a hotty!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pardon Me, But Do You.....

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
have any Grey Poupon?

Yeah! Something French that's even better is back. My favorite blog bar none: "L'homme est un concept" is back.

Zut! ~ Those crazy French and their liberal vacations! The blog has been on haitus since June 15th, but happy is me that this prolific and gay centric pantheon of images and ideas is back.

C'est tres bien!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Where's The Money?

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Where do the wealthiest Americans live? North Dakota with its fabled "highest percentage of Millionaires in American per capita"? Old money bastians like Cook County Illinois with it's retail, meat packing, and railroad interests; Malcolm County Michigan home of the Auto Industry magnets and their lumber and copper predicessors? Or Warren County Ohio with it's Oil, Rubber, and Iron Ore Processing industrial base? How about newer money? Places like Harris County Texas (Oil Refining) and Los Angeles County, California (motion pictures)?

Well, of course, I'm leading the witness. It's none of the above.

According to a census report of the top ten counties with a quarter of a million inhabitants and above, and the top ten counties with a population below a quarter million (i.e. Large and Small Counties); ten of the twenty are found in Virginia and Maryland and ring the nation's capital. Of the remaining wealthy counties: central New Jersey hosts 3, New York & California 2 each, and 1 for Colorado, Tennessee and Georgia.

Besides Washington DC, the municipalities that have standing include New York City, Denver, Atlanta, and Nashville.

My county ranks 7th in the large county catagory with a mean household income of $87,624. I am grateful to report that I am able to live here just a scosh above the average. And as a public school teacher (even with 23 years of experience), that's REALLY saying something.

The big picture lesson? Hmmm.... Politics pays? Cheers!

This Old House #6

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Er, Houston; We have WINDOWS! (And a door). My hardware arrived today. C & A came over and mounted the back frame where the door will go -- after making sure that the door would fit. They all look wonderful; in fact, they make the rest of the sashes in the house look their age.... So maybe Anderson hasn't seen the last of me.

I also contracted with my electrician to do the wiring on the 11th.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Resting From My Labors

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I decided to go down and spend the morning (and it bled into the early afternoon) on the Mall in DC. I visited the National Gallery of Art, The National Museum of the American Indian, and the United States Botanical Garden.

The USBG is one of the hidden gems on the Mall. Everyone knows about the Museum of National History (the dinosaur museum), The Air & Space Museum (Wright bros. plane to Apollo capsules), and the Smithsonian castle, among others; but only hardcore enthusiasts would actually make the pilgrimage for the Botanical Gardens. Or so I thought! But today while you could here a pin drop at the NGA and move about the exhibits in sparse company at the NMAI, the USBG was absolutely packed. Not that it's that big to begin with, but...

It was established back the later part of the 19th century and over the years has undergone some dramatic transformations. One sort of glorified greenhouse to another. In 1997 it was closed to the public and underwent its latest and most extensive metamorphosis reopening to public in the spring of 2002.

Within the structure there are permanent exhibit halls, classrooms, and spaces dedicated to a Tropical Jungle (upper right image), a rare species room (with plants from Hawaii currently), a rotating exhibition space (with an exhibit of red hot chili peppers -- the plant not the band), an orchid room, a world desert room, a primordial forest (upper left image), to name a few.

Beyond the building, the gardens continue with a large garden of mostly native species complete with a pond inhabited by a least one little blue gill (the koi are in the stream in the Tropical Jungle). The visit is completed by a series of exterior exhibits along the front and capital facing side of the main building designed by botanical gardens from across the nation. Gardens in Hawaii, Colorado, Oregon, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, New York, etc.

If you're planning a trip to DC, and you have a gorgeous day like today, don't spend all of it inside; check out the USBG.

Best 10 Cities In The World

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
According to "Travel & Leisure" magazine they are:

#1 Florence, Italy
#2 Buenos Aires, Argentina
#3 Bangkok, Thailand
#4 Rome, Italy
#5 Sydney, Australia
#6 New York City, United States
#7 Udaipur, India
#8 Istanbul, Turkey
#9 San Francisco, United States
#10 Cape Town, South Africa

It's an interesting list. I've actually been to half of them myself (#'s 1, 4, 6, 9, & 10). I want to go to 2 others really badly (#'s 2 & 8). And my personal top ten list includes 4 of them (#'s 1, 6, 9 & 10).

My List?


1. San Francisco, United States
2. Florence, Italy
3, New York City, United States
4. London, United Kingdom
5. Cape Town, South Africa
6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
7. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
8. Washington, D.C., United States
9. Baltimore, Untied States
10. Halifax, Canada

But I am not really a city kid. So my top ten places in this world are:

1. Playa Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
2. Point Reyes National Seashore, California, United States
3. Penobscot Bay, Maine, United States
4. Greater Corn Island, Nicaragua
5. Sun-Moon Lake, Taiwan, Republic of China
6. The Great Karoo, Cape Province, South Africa
7. Fundy Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada
8. Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
9. Hwanke National Park, Zimbabwe
10. Jessamine Creek Gorge, Kentucky, United States

Sunday, September 02, 2007

August Casualty Statistics

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Another bloody, deadly month for our military in this "War on Terrorism". The death tole is up 150% from August 2006. 18 of the deaths occurred in Afghanistan (which explains the discrepency between my inclusive total, and the currently batted about total of 81). Deaths are typically officially announced 2 to 6 days after they occur. So it's possible (perhaps even probable) that this total will officially increase.

The War's first front in Afghanistan is increasingly deadly which only begs the question: Where is our "War Czar?" I got some questions, but he's nowhere to be found. Tsk Tsk Tsk.

Our Latest American Hero #96

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
With the rush of a new school year, I've let this strand on my blog slide with regrets. So to catch-up with this sampling I offer you OLAH's #96 & 97. May light perpetual shine upon both of these young men.

Army Spc. Tyler R. Seideman, 20, of Lincoln, Ark.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Aug. 22 in Multaka, Iraq, of injuries sustained when his helicopter crashed. Also killed were Capt. Corry P. Tyler, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul J. Flynn, Sgt. Matthew L. Tallman, Spc. Rickey L. Bell, Capt. Derek A. Dobogai, Staff Sgt. Jason L. Paton, Sgt. Garrett I. McLead, Cpl. Jeremy P. Bouffard, Cpl. Phillip J. Brodnick, Cpl. Joshua S. Harmon, Cpl. Nathan C. Hubbard, Spc. Michael A. Hook and Spc. Jessy G. Pollard.

“Lincoln Soldier Among Those Killed On The CH-53”

Spc. Tyler R. Seideman, a 20-year-old former Lincoln High School student, died Wednesday in Iraq.

Seideman was among 14 U.S. soldiers aboard a Black Hawk helicopter that crashed in northern Iraq.

Seideman graduated from Lincoln in 2004.

"He was very outgoing ... active ... athletic," said Gail True, whose son, Logan Biswell, was Seideman's best friend in high school and served with him in Iraq. "If there was a choice between sitting around playing video games or going hunting and fishing, you wouldn't find him sitting around."

Seideman described himself and his interests on a MySpace page. "I am a small town country boy from Arkansas. I love to go camping, fishing, and bluff jumping back home on the lake and at the creek, with my best friend Logan. I joined the Army in 2005 and am currently in Iraq," he wrote.

True said her son, despite being in Iraq, was one of the last to know of his friend's death.

"They were both in different outfits," True said. "I just talked to my son (on Friday) and he'd just heard about it. He was still in shock. We all are."

True said her family is working with the Red Cross and senators trying to get Biswell home for his best friend's funeral.

The helicopter carrying Seideman was one of two helicopters on a nighttime operation. The four crew members and 10 passengers killed were assigned to Task Force Lightning, the military said.

Military officials said initial indications showed the UH-60 helicopter experienced a mechanical problem and was not brought down by hostile fire, but the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Wednesday's crash was the deadliest helicopter crash since Jan. 26, 2005, when a CH-53 Sea Stallion transport helicopter went down in a sandstorm in western Iraq, killing 31 U.S. troops.

Our Latest American Hero #97

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army Sgt. Jan M. Argonish, 26, of Peckville, Pa.; assigned to the 55th Brigade, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Scranton, Pa.; died Aug. 27 at Forward Operating Base Naray, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit during combat operations in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Also killed were Maj. Henry S. Ofeciar and Master Sgt. Scott R. Ball.

“PA National Guard Soldier Dies In Combat In Afghanistan”

A Pennsylvania National Guard soldier embedded with the Afghan military was among five people killed in an ambush by suspected Taliban militants Aug. 27.

The ambush in Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan killed Sgt. Jan M. Argonish, 26, of Scranton, along with Master Sgt. Scott R. Ball, 38, of Carlisle, PA, an active-duty Army officer whose name has not been released, and two Afghan soldiers, the Guard said Aug. 28.

Argonish was a corrections officer at the federal prison in Waymart, Wayne County, who saw combat in Iraq and volunteered to go to Afghanistan. He is survived by his son, his parents and two sisters.

He died trying to protect his comrades, said National Guard Lt. Col. Chris Cleaver.

“He was in one of the rear vehicles and where he was found, he was trying to protect his other soldiers in that convoy,” Cleaver told a news conference in Scranton. “If you can imagine, with that number of casualties and fatalities, you are looking at overwhelming opposition fire at your location.”

Violence in Afghanistan is running at its highest level since the U.S. invasion nearly six years ago. Clashes in southern and eastern Afghanistan this week have killed more than 100 militants and more than 10 NATO troops, including Ball and Argonish.

Sunday Brunch

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
A Summer Squash & Chicken Salad


1 pkg Chicken tenders
1 med. Zucchini
1 med. Yellow Squash
1 C. frozen White Corn
2 leafy Celery tops
1 heaping Tbl sp fresh Parsley
1 heaping Tbl sp fresh Spearmint
1 heaping Tbl sp fresh Orange Mint
1 heaping Tbl sp fresh Basil
1 tsp fresh Chives

1 lg Lemon
1 lg Lime
1 Tbl sp course Dijon Mustard
3/4 C extra virgin Olive Oil

Sautee cubed chicken in butter until lightly browned, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes (until tender)

Cube Zucchini and Yellow Squash. Bring pan with salted water to boil and blanch both for 2 minutes, pour into collander containing corn and mix, let stand for a minute to drain thoroughly.

Chop herbs and celery tops. Combine with vegetables in serving bowl. Add chicken when cooking time is complete, and mix all.


Combine juice from lemon and lime with mustard and stir, add olive oil and shake to mix. You may wish to add a little pepper and salt, as well.

Toss dressing on salad and chill for 1 hour before serving. Bon Appetit!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What I'm Watching #102

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

"Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in the World" is NOT funny.

It's a series on MTV's GLBT Logo network (which I don't get, so on the hope that the trailer shown on Planet Out was an accurate depiction of its humor, I bought the first season online...I want LOGO to be successful.). It's a stop-animation styled program with overtones of LEGO's and homage to "South Park". But it’s just not funny.

It's cliché driven, stereotype-gagged-full, and vulgarity-wannabe, shtick.

If you like that sort of thing... it might be funny to you.

But, alas, It wasn't funny to me.