Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Random Quote #99

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things."

~ John Burroughs, 1837 - 1921

The Amazing Mr. Roscoe

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
In a close-up from my sun room, Mr. Roscoe checks out a golden butterfly Christmas gift from my friend, M.

Mr. Roscoe was purchased sometime in the autumn of 2007 and lived in the 2nd grade classroom of Ms. L. She placed him in a cup while packing away her classroom in June, and inadvertently left him in her closet over the summer. He was rescued in less than an inch of water after 9 weeks of absolute darkness and deprevation.

Thoughout the autumn he has lived in round bowl in the Library, and I brought him home over the holidays. Now he has a new home, large and roomy and complete with a source of nutrition.

Mr. Roscoe is an amazing little guy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nature AND Nurture

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Two gay penguins at Polar Land in Harbin, China have been stealthily stealing eggs from straight couples and replacing them with rocks. Brilliant!

But the deception has been noticed by other penguins at the zoo, who have ostracized the gay couple from their group. Now keepers have decided to segregate the pair of three-year-old male birds to avoid disrupting the rest of the community during the hatching season.

"One of the responsibilities of being a male adult is looking after the eggs. Despite this being a biological impossibility for this couple, the natural desire is still there," a keeper told the Austrian Times newspaper.

"It's not discrimination. We have to fence them separately, otherwise the whole group will be disturbed during hatching time," he added.

Well, if straight penguins are too neglegent to notice that their egg is now a rock, I say gay penguins might make better parents. You go "Happy Feet"!

Art I'm Seeing #34

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
In honor of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec, the Canadian Embassy is hosting a wonderful little exhibition of maps, prints, and manuscripts. "Champlain's Dream/Le rêve de Champlain" features artifacts from the John Carter Brown library based in Rhode Island. To look at maps drawn over 400 years ago is to discover and admire an art form rarely presented for public consideration.

The exhibit retains a wonderfully Canadian point of view, with many references to "flawed" American players, and "undisciplined" American troops and leaders as it traces the history from Champlain's monumental explorations to the Battle of Quebec more than a century after Champlain's death.

This was my first visit inside the Canadian Embassy, the most prominent foreign outpost in the capital with it's unique assymetrical neo-classic/post-modern style. I don't think it will be my last.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our Latest American Hero #129

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Marine Lance Cpl. Thomas Reilly Jr., 19, of London, Ky.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; died Dec. 21 while supporting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq.

"Marine From Kentucky Killed In Combat In Iraq"

A 19-year-old Marine from Kentucky was killed in a surprise attack in Anbar province, Iraq, his mother said. Lance Cpl. Thomas “T.J.” Reilly Jr., of London, died Dec. 21 during combat operations, according to the Department of Defense.

His mother, Gina Bray, said her son joined the military after graduating from South Laurel High School last year.

“I didn’t want him to go. He wanted to go. But I didn’t want to crush his dream,” Bray said.

But on Sunday, Bray said Reilly’s unit came under a surprise attack, and he was killed instantly.

“He was on a mission. There was a hostile situation, and they just hurt my baby. And they took him,” Bray said.

Bray said Reilly had a knack for baking in home economics classes and he had wanted to enter culinary school after the military.

“They used to tell him how good he made cakes,” Bray said.

One of Reilly’s former teachers, Mary King, said she kept in contact with him after he was deployed to Iraq over the summer.

“Needless to say, we have been heartbroken,” King told The Times Tribune in Corbin.

King said Bray was given the news of Reilly’s death at a hospital in Harlan, where her daughter Regina had just given birth.

“She’s had ups and downs over the past few days,” King said.

“He was very, very close with her, very tight with his mother, and so she is really struggling.”

King said Reilly was attracted to the opportunities in the military.

“He saw (the Marines) as a place he could excel and be a leader and be someone who could be in charge and move on up in the ranks,” King said.

Today's Sermon #7

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down the musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the

~ Jelalu-Din Rumi
1207 - 1273

Saturday, December 27, 2008

True Colors?

Lord, I've been video crazy lately!

And this one is a commercial that is playing in Sweden for the company founded by tennis legend Bjorn Borg. Serve. Match. Set!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Oh, Santa Baby.....

A Puurrrrfectly melancholy way to end this day. (What must it be like to die on Christmas? That's gotta be right up there with Adams and Jefferson croaking on the 4th of July!) And who orchestrated this fabulous video with the drag queens? All the details are completely with it, baby.

Mrs. Claus keep a kean eye on your man!

What I'm Watching #178

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I went with my ex- and his grandmother, my beloved M., last weekend to see one of the latest computer generated animated cinematic features, "The Tales of Despereaux".

It's a delightfully rendered film, not too far from the original book in it's spirit and story.

The most curious aspect of it for me was it's inability to tug upon my heart-strings; something that the book was able to do... Something that most stories do to me! So, I cannot fault this film in any technical way. The voice cast is absolutely stellar. The images beautifully rendered. Yet, it never got under my considerably thin skin....for what that's worth!

What I'm Listening To #46

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"The Flobots" out of Denver, Colorado, is a hip hip-hop-rap fushion band with a social conscience that demands attention.

These young artists are amazing in both their raw honesty and their lyrical and compositional curiosity. I believe they represent what is new and good about art: the Word.

Check out their break through track....

I Can Ride My Bike With No Handlebars

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
And all through the house.....

The children were nestled
All snug in their beds,
While visions of suger plums
danced in their heads!


What I'm Listening To #45

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Can I just say it? I love Kanye West. This album (808's & Heartbreak) is his most mature and vulnerable work yet. So much a tribute to his mother, so much a confessional; this remarkable young man does his mother proud.

Whether talking to the president or to the heart, he speaks truth to power.

I can't wait to discover what he will teach me next.

My Friend, R.

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
When I first met R. he was working for a university in Veracruz, Mexico. From their he moved on to co-host a nationally syndicated TV morning show (Revista 4) for 3 years, then it was off to Khazakistan with an international pretroleum company for a year, they recently relocated him to West Lafayette, Louisiana, and then last month to Washington state. I really admire his spirit of adventure! And the post cards are a joy, too! ¡Gracias!

¡Feliz Navidad y espero año nuevo felicidad!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our Latest American Hero #128

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Marine Capt. Warren A. Frank, 26, of Cincinnati, Ohio; assigned to the 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liasion Company, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan; died Nov. 25 while supporting combat operations in Ninewa province, Iraq.

“Marine Slain On Mercy Mission”

An Anderson Township Marine who died in Iraq this week was killed during a humanitarian mission, his family said.

Capt. Warren A. Frank, 26, died Tuesday while participating in a food distribution mission north of Baghdad.

His team came under small arms fire by an attacker in an Iraqi soldier’s uniform.

It was not known if the outfit was a disguise or if the Marine was slain by an Iraqi soldier. Many members of the Iraqi military have been trained by U.S. troops.

Also killed in the attack was a U.S. soldier. Several service members were injured.

“Our son wanted nothing more than to make a difference in our world,” said Frank’s father, Warren R. Frank, in a statement sent to the media. “He was not a movie version soldier, but a man who looked forward to loving his children.”

If Frank was killed by an Iraqi soldier, it would be at least the second time since the 2002 U.S. invasion that a Greater Cincinnati Marine has been killed by a member of Iraq’s military.

Frank grew up in Anderson Township.

He is survived by his wife, Allison, and daughters Sophia Lynn and Isabella Grace. They live in Okinawa, Japan, with their mother, where Frank’s unit was based. Locally he leaves behind his father, his mother, Rebecca, and his sister Sara. Frank is a 2000 graduate of Turpin High School and a 2004 graduate of the Citadel.

The written statement from the family suggested that Frank had done at least three tours in Iraq. It also said that he looked forward to retiring from the service and planned to teach high school history and coach track.

“Our deep sorrow is not in the life we had with him, but in the loss of life we always thought we would share,” wrote Frank’s father.

“He was our son, our brother, devoted husband and an enthusiastic father. He is our reminder that all generations have those who comprise ‘The Greatest Generation.’”

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Today's Sermon #6

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
(And keeping with my recent Lego theme)


There was a man with tongue of wood
Who essayed to sing,
And in truth it was lamentable.
But there was one who heard
The clip-clapper of this tongue of wood
And knew what the man wished to sing,
And with that the singer was content.

~ Stephen Crane, 1871 - 1900

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
This from the collection of e-cards at And you know what? I couldn't agree more!

Good shit for everyone, and to all a good night!, holiday.

Lego Factory Series #9, view 1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Here are two views of the second factory series inspired building. It's a firestation, and the interiors are complete including a rec room with a ping pong table.... You gotta treat firemen with respect!


Lego Factory Series #9, view 2

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

What I'm Watching #177

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Relax... It's Just Sex" is a wonderful little ensemble film about the trials and triumphs of an atypically faithful band of friends. I've belonged to similiar groupings in my life, and in spite of my continuing attempts to maintain cohesion/connection, it doesn't happen. So in that respect this is a bit of a fantasy, too.

And yet, when you think about it, isn't that an almost essential element in any film where the descriptor "romantic" bounces around? The heart wants the world as it ought to be; in this film, a world where all of these delightful characters finds happiness and love.

Jennifer Tilley puts in another endearing performance and her cast mates are more than up for the challenge of matching her talents. I also really enjoyed Lori Petty and Mitchell Anderson's work as Robin and Vincey respectively.

Get this one, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What I'm Listening To #44

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Sigur Rós defined by Wikipedia:

"Sigur Rós (['sɪːɣʏr rouːs] are an Icelandic post-rock band with melodic, classical and minimalist elements. The band is known for its ethereal sound and lead singer Jónsi Birgisson's falsetto voice."

To which I add at times techno, hypnotic, primal, acoustic, AND fascinating.

Happy listening!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lego Factory Series #8

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
My latest inspiration~

My last one took months as I pondered the architectural details and mathematical conundrums present in my concept. This one took only a week. My thinking was far more modular and collective.

Legos are great!

They're Back~

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The deer that is. The doe and her yearling have basically taken up residence in my backyard. They spend their days resting and munching on the ivy -- how desperate for a meal is that?

And I really am torn by what to do about them--if I can actually do anything. Winter's a fine time to lounge in my yard, but spring brings flowers and frankly, I don't fancy my gardens as a deli for the deer!


What I'm Watching #176

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Is a completely wonderful little movie. It's a man's mans' romance. It's sweet. It's sincere. It left me in a puddle of big hearted tears.

If you can stomach the concept, you'll be touched by this treatment of the theme!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Joy to the World!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
There are students you have as a teacher whom utterly enchant you. They are so amazing in their talents, their demeanor, their promise, that you can't help but fall into a Philia-like love with them -- like a secondary parent. J. is that kind of student. So when he gave us a couple of tickets to his holiday concert with a community youth orchestra, my school's librarian and I agreed to go.

For both of us it meant remaining at school late, doing dinner together somewhere, and then making our way to the venue: a United Methodist Church called St. Cecilia's in Damascus, Maryland.

Dinner was pleasent. By contrast, the sojourn to Damascus -- a hellish traverse; Damascus, Maryland is as far away from my home in my county as one can go!

The event was great simply because we both knew how much it meant to J. to have us attend. And it was great because it was really an anthropological experiment of the highest order. Me, the renewed agnostic, my friend, the practicing Jew; trapped in a "Lake Wobegon-esque" reality.

The director was a petite and mousey women in full Mennonite head-dress who was home schooling her own children to save them from the evils of a secular world, and founded the orchestra to give them a chance to play their instruments (an orchestra open to all). Her co-directors were her mom and dad, both retired music teachers from my school district. Most of the selections were arranged by her father, and she meekly reminded us of this ad nausea!

The evening opened with a prayer, and I kept my eyes open out of respect for my Jewish friend, she closed hers out of respect for the assembled mob.

The orchestra was large and their prowess impressive for the ramshackled nature of the enterprise. Time and again, we were encouraged to sing along with the carols. My friend is a Jew who enjoys holiday carols!

After all but the finale was performed, the young director interrupted the show to thank those who helped her. This turned into a surrealist nightmare before we knew it....seconds became minutes, and minutes rambled into "hours" (how long does it need to take to name everyone who has ever done anything for you?) -- at one point I threatened to stand up with the next gracious acknowledgement of something someone supported to make this incredible moment possible--just to see what the assembled crowd would do. We both agreed that this home-schooling mom desperately needs to get out more! And, in spite of our best desires, we slipped out after a little more than an hour to face our commutes home.

I told my friend just prior to our escape that this reminded me of an episode of Star Trek Voyager when an away team was trapped in an alien culture.....

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas....Everywhere we go....

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Family Tree?

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
We would seem to be the "poor relations"....

Surely we can do better.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Random Quote #98

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"There are people who have said that I'm being brave for being openly supportive of gay marriage, gay adoption -- basically of gay rights -- but with all due respect I humbly dissent. I'm not being brave. I'm being a descent human being."

~ Anne Hathaway, 1982 -

Lego Factory Series #7

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
This is actually my 3rd creation inspired by the new Lego Factory series of city buildings. It's two buildings in modular construction with 7 removable sections. The corner store with the 3 quarters round copula is inspired by many such buildings here in Washington, D.C. and west in San Francisco. One I remember particularly well is on the corner of Haight and Ashberry.

I designed it's neighbor as an ice cream shop.

I have plans to fit out the interiors, as well. The corner store will be a bookstore/cafe a la Kramer's Books here in D.C.

Never under estimate the power of imagination coupled with creativity and a desire to problem solve. If I could buy only one gift for a child, it would be Lego. And if I could tell adults everywhere one aspect of the secret of youthfulness, it would be to never forget what it is to have been a child. To not be afraid to play like a child.

Tattoo Dreaming #6

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Seven from UrbanInk.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's The Economy, Stupid!

After all!~

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Today's Sermon #5

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

In heaven,
Some little blades of grass
Stood before God.
“What did you do?”
Then all save one of the little blades
Began eagerly to relate
The merits of their lives.
This one stayed a small way behind, Ashamed.
Presently, God said,
“And what did you do?”
The little blade answered, “O my lord,
Memory is bitter to me,
For, if I did good deeds,
I know not of them.”
Then God, in all His splendour,
Arose from His throne.
“O best little blade of grass!” He said.

~ Stephen Crane, 1871 - 1900

Art I'm Seeing #33

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The National Gallery of Art has a couple of new major exhibitions for the holiday season. "Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered" is an expansive retrospective of the works of this Rembrandt contemporary and friend.

Unusual in its compliment of drawings and prints along with oil paintings, the show really gives you a broad perspective on Meister Lieven's talents. He worked in the shadow of the master, and his works reflect the status of a junior partner.

Excelling in the depiction of the portrait and the face, its attachment to the rest of the human form is at times more awkward. Clumsy in the details does not mean without genius. However, it does explain why Jan Lievens has remained undiscovered for so long.

The show has venues in Milwaukee and Amsterdam -- catch it if you can.

What I'm Watching #175

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Not much of one to see movies in theaters these days, I've finally joined the rest of the human race by seeing Disney/Pixar's "Wall-E." What can I add to the chorus of praise? Beep, urp, rup, urp, zzzziiz, zizzzz. Whooooooooooosh!

The thing that DVD's offer that movies don't is the range of extra features. The joy of this film's cadre is the in-depth look at the history of sound effects.

All in all, a wonderful movie.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What I'm Reading #12

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
When Sarah Vowell isn't providing voice-overs for some Pixar classic, or performing her concierge duties on "This American Life," she's writing about the foibles and miracles of American history.

"The Wordy Shipmates" tells the tale of the settling of New England. The book reads with the familiar cadences of her radio commentaries. Her ability to bounce between history and her story enlivens the narrative, which is a dense telling of our puritan founders. There are often more insightful observations in the things she doesn't tell us; and that's her gift to the reader: a trust in our ability to make meaning out of the "Roads Not Taken."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Random Quote #97

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways it can change someone else's life forever."

~ Margaret Cho, 1968 -

Thanksgiving 2008 Dame Fortuna

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
It's hard to turn on the radio or the TV and not find some one declaring what it is for which they are thankful. After all, it is Thanksgiving!

So here's my 2 ¢ for this year: I'm thankful for Fate.

Last evening I found myself on the #16 Ride On Metro Bus on my way to retrieve my car from the auto shop, when this article flashed before my eyes. Only a month earlier, on another #16, 14-year-old Tai Lam was accidentally shot to death by a member of the Latino gang MS-13.

In the back of the bus I was riding on was a group of young African American males talking up shit with lots of "fucks" and "nigga's" and laughter while two young women giggled and shot them glances of disbelief, flirtation, and faux-shock.

I sat behind the driver and across from me were an elderly black woman and a young Hispanic woman with a baby girl in her arms. Half a dozen assorted brown skinned men and women sat around the middle of the bus holding shopping bags, a valise or two, a cane.

Within moments the bus was well past Quebec Terrace and the crime scene. It lumbered up Piney Branch and near a set of formerly public housing apartments, the two young women in the back of the bus rose to exit. As they did they turned to the young men and said, "Please, be safe."

I'm sure when the teenaged son of Vietnamese immigrants got on this bus, he felt safe. He'd taken the bus a gazillion times before. But that night, it was his fate to be first a witness to an argument between rival gang members and then their latest victim.

Fate is not a collective experience no matter how much we work together to achieve a goal. We each ultimately find our life's path to be filled with it's own fortunes, it's only tragedies. Wednesday's bus ride reminded me how diverse and how capricious fate can be.

And even with the sadnesses that have from time to time found their way into my life, thus far, my fate has been benevolent, unremarkable, and fortunate. And on this “Turkey Day” I am thankful for it.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lego Factory Series #6

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Lego strikes again!

This model of the Taj Mahal is simply and utterly amazing. It took me three days to construct. In the end I had some bricks left over that I probably should have used somewhere in the model!

But it's really a wonderful addition to their model line.

Bravo, Lego!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How Far The Mighty Have Fallen...

Our Latest American Hero #127

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army Spc. William J. McClellan, 22, of New Castle, Ind. died Nov. 6 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. from wounds sustained in January of 2008 as a result of an IED. He was a member of Alpha Company, 502nd Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division based in Fort Campbell, Ky.

"Area Soldier Dies From Iraq Injuries"

Army Spc. William Justin McClellan was New Castle native

Heather McClellan thought her husband was recovering from the injuries he suffered in January when his truck hit a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Maybe, she thought, he'd even be home for Christmas.

But Army Spc. William Justin McClellan, 22, a New Castle native who grew up in Indianapolis, died Nov. 6 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

An Army spokeswoman told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his injuries had not been considered life-threatening and the cause of his death is under investigation.

"It's a shock to everybody," his wife said. "I talked to him on the 5th, and he was fine. He just had not been feeling well and had developed a few staph infections. But he was fine."

Their second wedding anniversary would have been Dec. 27.

McClellan is the 109th soldier with Indiana ties to be killed in the war in Iraq.

The infantryman, based in Fort Campbell, Ky., and a member of Alpha Company, 502nd Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, was critically injured in January in a roadside explosion.

Except for a brief trip for a family funeral, his wife said, he had not been out of the hospital.

The couple lived in Clarksville, Tenn., and he will be buried in Tennessee.

Recent news reports have indicated a high suicide rate among soldiers, but without being asked, Heather McClellan volunteered in a telephone interview that this was not the case with her husband.

"He wouldn't have done that. I know my husband," she said. "He was a fighter, and he would never have given up on anything."

The Army's system of long-term care for wounded soldiers has struggled to keep up with the surge of casualties from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After a wounded Indiana sergeant's fatal prescription drug overdose at Fort Knox, Ky., in 2007, the Army found shortcomings in leadership there and a staff stretched too thin. Problems uncovered at Walter Reed in 2007 were so bad that the secretary of the Army resigned, but officials have taken steps since then to improve conditions.

Born in New Castle, McClellan attended Howe High School in Indianapolis before joining the military and passing his general educational development test.

His parents, Arthur and Lisa McClellan, live in Indianapolis, as do several other family members.

"He loved fishing, music. He loved the outdoors," Heather McClellan, an Illinois native, said about her husband. "He was an adrenaline junkie to the fullest. His family and friends will dearly miss him."

McClellan received a Purple Heart and a Combat Infantry Badge for his actions in Iraq.

His wife said he was driving in a convoy Jan. 10 when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb.

"There were several trucks that had passed over it, but it just so happened when his truck passed, it detonated," Heather McClellan said.

She said her husband steered the truck to safety, and no other soldiers suffered serious injuries.

"When they were taking care of him on the field, he had told his guys to hold his place because he'd be back in two weeks," she said. But his injuries, which she described as shrapnel damage to the head, hand and foot, were more serious than he realized.

McClellan was born Oct. 20, 1986. Besides his wife and parents, he is survived by brothers Arthur, Gregory and Trevor McClellan and Donald Schmitz and sister Tonya Schmitz, Indianapolis; maternal grandparents Charles Foster III and Vinda Foster, Indianapolis; and maternal great-grandparents Charles Foster II and Barbara Foster, Attica.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

2008 Post-Election Senatorial Up-date #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The November 4th election left 3 races for the U.S. Senate's 111th session unanswered. Today only 2 races remain contested.

On his 85th birthday, Republican Senator Ted Stevens received the gift of retirement. Fair the well Mr. Felon. Anchorage Mayor, Marc Begich will be Alaska's junior senator. That's Marc Begich and NOT Sarah Palin. Thank the gods of the aurora borealis for such gifts.

Minnesota and Georgia remain open questions, both will be revealed by mid-December. Both remain too close to call.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Unsolicited Advice

Obama's people have indicated that they will appoint a Republican to the cabinet. Speculation swirls around retiring Senator Chuck Hagle of Nebraska. I would suggest a re-think. I would propose Governor Arnold Schwartznagger of California to the post of Secretary of Transportation. And then rather than bury him in the back bench cloud of irrelevancy that our current Secretary of Transportation (can you name him/her?) resides in -- elevate the post as part of a "Rebuild America" campaign. This would be brilliant, and Arnold is up to the task.

Mary E. Peters.

Er, she's the current holder of this office. Who knew?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Today's Sermon #4

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The image is of Ngo Tien Doan of Viet Nam, an international male model and Mr. Gay Universe 2008.


Some keep the Sabbath going to Church—
I keep it, staying at Home—
With a Bobolink for a Chorister—
And an Orchard, for a Dome—

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice—
I just wear my Wings—
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton—sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman—
And the sermon is never long,

So instead of getting to Heaven, at last—
I'm going, all along.

~ Emily Dickinson, 1830 - 1886

What I'm Watching #174

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"3-Day Weekend" is a film about 8 gay men who meet for a long weekend at a "cabin" in the mountains. Three are longtime friends. Two of these are a longtime couple. The other has a relatively new and young companion. Each of these four invite a friend to join them.

The results make for a very authentic and enjoyable film. I really liked this one.

What I'm Listening To #43

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"'Til We Outnumber 'Em" is a recording from a concert held in the honor of the songs of Woody Gurthrie which took place at the Museum of Rock and Roll in Cleveland, Ohio in 1996. Between songs we hear quotes from Woody and testimonials from others. The musicians include: Billy Bragg, Ani DiFranco, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Arlo Guthrie, the Indio Girls, David Pirner, Tim Robbins, and Bruce Springsteen.

This ought to be required listening in every 5th grade curriculum in the United States. It ought to be shared between the Music, Social Studies and English teachers. Not since the prolific catalogue of music produced by Stephen Collins Foster, has America seen a voice so pure and so rampant after what it is to be American.

This collection of artists does Woody proud, and this work is simply "must experience CD." These songs resonate with such a powerful and clarion message of what it means to be alive in this day, in our age--nigh on 42 years after his death. The artists' interpretations demonstrate the universality of Woody's vision and gift.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Presidential Race 2008 #21 (Results)

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
After 20 weeks of Saturday maps with polls, it seemed fitting to post a final map depicting the relative strength of the results. I waited a week for Missouri (and still it's not settled). But I will give it to McCain. And with that in mind, here are the states and their relative strength of support for their chosen candidate.

"Weakly" falls within the pollster's margin of error and here means 1.1% to 4.5%, "Moderately" little more than doubles this and goes from 4.6% to 9.5%. and "Strongly" represents 9.6% and everything above.

The Top Five Democratic States by margin of victory were:

The District of Columbia 86.4%
Hawai'i 45.2%
Vermont 37.2%
Rhode Island 27.8%
Massachusetts 25.8%

The Top Five Republican States by margin of victory were:

Wyoming 32.5%
Oklahoma 31.4%
Utah 28.7%
Idaho 25.4%
Alaska 25.2%

Presidential Election 2008 Redux #10

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
New Hampshire is the final "Captured" state from the Republican to the Democratic column. And it's the only state in which every single county went for Obama/Biden.

Add to this the defeat of an incumbent Republican Senator, and the maintenance of both House seats from their 2006 surprise victories over incumbent Republicans, and one is apt to believe that the last bastion of REDness in New England is now decidedly blue.

What I'm Watching #173

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Half A Person" is a Canadian film about two best friends who have found something essential in one another even though they couldn't be more different in many respects. One is gay, on straight. One is in a relationship, one is a virgin. One is trying to grow up, and one is desperately trying to remain an irresponsible adolescent.

For a low budget film, it's ambitious. The acting and writing more than compitent.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Presidential Election 2008 Redux #09

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Iowa is the first state where more counties went for the Democrats than the Republicans (52 of the 98 counties). Counties with Universities went for Obama, counties with larger Catholic populations went for Obama, counties with concentrations of Hispanic voters went for Obama.

And the lion share of non-Democratic majority counties went Republican in a tepid way. The end result being a 10 % popular vote spread for the Democrats.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Presidential Election 2008 Redux #08

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
North Carolina is the next to last state in this series that was taken out of the Republican column this time around and placed in the Democratic side of the leger.

And it is also the real "squeeker" of a victory in this election; Obama won by only point 4 tenths of a percent. And in a state like New Mexico that margin might have triggered an automatic chorus for recall, but in North Carolina with thrice the population, .4 % of the vote does equal 13,692 votes -- a number that actually exceeds the total voting populace in 28 of the 100 counties in the Tar Heel state on this past November 4th.

Where did the votes come from? 1) Urban areas across the state, 2) university and college towns, 3) African American population centers, and 4) military epicenters. The area around Fort Bragg went heavily for the Democratic ticket.

Given the closeness of the end result, the suppression of the strong Republican vote in at least 20 counties also helped to solidify this historic win. What dampened GOP spirits or convinced Republican voters to stay at home or vote Democratic will be the subject of some other soul's Ph. D., but certainly the lively Senatorial and Gubenatorial races didn't hurt. In the end BOTH down ticket candidates prevailed, too. Everywhere the Republicans seemed desperate, angry, spiteful, mean-spirited, and self-serving. How can such candidates expect to prevail?

What are the prospects of North Carolina remaining Blue? To quote the last Democratic Lion in the White House, "It's the Economy Stupid". IF, President Obama and his team can bring hope translated into relief, then Republican's can only hope that their party's biggest concern is whether or not "rename" themselves.

And so I give exception to all of my audacious hopes in Obama over to the precidence of restoring our sound economic footing. Perhaps, I have just articulated the essence of hope behind his victory in North Carolina.

Random Quote #96

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Love is not enough. It must be the foundation, the cornerstone - but not the complete structure. It is much too pliable, too yielding."

~ Bette Davis, 1908 - 1989

Clever Sidewalk Chalk Art

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Julian Beever's beautiful perspective bending chalk art.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Presidential Election 2008 Redux #07

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Nevada's description as a swing state was greatly exaggerated in the final analysis. And while only 3 counties voted majority Democratic, the difference in population numbers gave Obama Nevada's 5 EC Votes with a margin of 12.4%. Obama won Nevada by a greater margin than McCain took his home state of Arizona.

Another way to look at the map is to consider Eureka County in the center right of the map. Dark red and having voted in favor of the Republicans by 75.1% of the vote (the greatest support of any of Nevada's counties for the Republican ticket). However, only 745 people voted in Eureka country all together, or 0.07% of the total number of voters in Nevada. Furthermore, compared to 2004, not a single Nevada county voted at higher rates for the Republicans, they all voted at higher rates for the Democrats on November 5th.

It would seem that Nevada is trending toward California and away from Utah.....

The New Yorker

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Strikes again!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You Go Girl!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The December 2nd (I know, magazine's are fucked up over dates) issue of "The Advocate" sports a cover that declares Rachel Maddow the smartest person on TV. Well, she has been the smartest person on radio for years, so .... duh.

Congrats Rachel! You are one of my most beloved heros.

Presidential Election 2008 Redux #06

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I love analyzing this sort of data.

The 6th state in this series is the land of the "hanging chads" from 2000. And like Ohio, Florida is a symbolic victory for the Democratic Party.

This win is rooted in a cornucopia of constituencies. The Hispanic hegemony of Hialeah and southeastern Dade and Broward counties, the Jewish vote in both that region and greater Tampa Bay area; the youth vote in university cities like Gainesville (University of Florida) and Tallahassee (Florida State University). And who's to say how significant the elder-American vote was given the fall of value in retirement plans due to the economic crisis?

The interesting coloration on the map to me is how deeply Republican the northern teir appears to be; but even there, there were notable trends. In both Pensacola and even more especially Jacksonville, the Democratic vote surpressed the Republican margin of victory to the point that the numbers in counties like Gadsden, Allachua, Flagler, Volusia and Monroe made a greater impact on the outcome.

The margin of victory of 2.5% percent or 204,577 votes might not seem all that significant, but by comparison, it's only 12,500 votes less than the ENTIRE voting population of Alaska, dontcha know.

Monday, November 10, 2008

God Just Might Have A Reason

Originally uploaded by Randuwa Bless America.

I love this image and never thought I'd live to see it. At 47, I now cannot image what awaits my limited imagination into the future.

My parents lived from childhoods were automobiles were amazing contraptions to men walking on the moon. And I have lived to see the beauty and tenacity of the American dream reach a new height and more profound integrity. that I love.