Thursday, February 28, 2008

Our Latest American Hero #114

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army Sgt. Conrad Alvarez, 22, of Big Spring, Texas; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Feb. 20 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device on Feb. 19. Also killed were Cpl. Albert Bitton and Spc. Micheal B. Matlock Jr.

“Texas Soldier Among Three Killed In Iraq”

DALLAS — A West Texas soldier was one of three killed in Iraq from injuries suffered in an explosion this week, the Pentagon said.

Sgt. Conrad Alvarez, 22, of Big Spring, Texas, died Feb. 20, a day after being injured when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device in Baghdad.

His colleagues, Cpl. Albert Bitton, 20, of Chicago, and Spc. Micheal B. Matlock Jr., 21, of Glen Burniem, Md., also died.

All three were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

Alvarez entered the Army in March 2005 and arrived at Fort Campbell in August 2005

He is survived by his wife, Maria, of Oak Grove, Ky.; daughters Celeste and Alyssa, of Sweetwater; his mother, Belinda Alcala, of Big Spring and his father, Arthur.

What I'm Watching #139

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Fun Down There" is the story of a young gay man who runs away from home to find himself in the epicenter of gaydom -- New York City.

Filmed in 1988, it has sincerity on its side. Not much else. Shame, really. Another in a recent string of films destined for limited viewing in GLBT film classes.

Get college credit before investing in this one.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ecco Homo

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I chanced upon this photo and then forgot the details.... I know it's a photo of two members of the German Synchronized Diving Team.

And it's so much more. The moment captures a composition as powerful and as beautifully balanced as any classical work of art. Move over Mona Lisa, scooch to the right David....

Hump Day Sentiments

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Anonymously provided from the "post secret" project.....

What I'm Watching #138

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
WTC View is a play about the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack on NYC. It's a play that was turned into a movie with the same cast and wonderful integrity.

It'll make you cry, make you think....

More than worth the time.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Moon Struck

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Two amazing images of the recent Total Lunar Eclipse.

Notice the jetliner in the bottom photo.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What I'm Watching #137

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
A delightful way to spend a quiet and gloomy Saturday afternoon! Micky Rooney is a treasure.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lego Factory Series #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
You know I've loved Legos ever since my distant cousin gave me his bricks back in 1968! And like Lego, I've come a long way since then.

As a company, Lego divides it's models into series, and recently they introduced a new series of hyper detailed models of classic buildings called the "Factory" series. The models are modular and so you can buy more than one and extend the height/width of the original model to fit your needs.

This image shows the result of combining multiple models of the Hotel (center), Market Street (right), and my own creation (left).

More pics to follow!

Lego Factory Series #2

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
This is a close-up of the street "Lego Factory" built. The photo's quality is limited, but you can clearly see that there is a tremendous attention given to architectual details.

Lego Factory Series #3

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
This image shows the hotel with my construction. It gives a scale perspective of the 2 models.

Lego Factory Series #4

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
So this is my offering, standing alone. Constructed in the same fashion as the other factory models. It is modular in 4 pieces. The design is derivative of the embassies up on Massachusetts and New Hampshire Avenues in Washington, D.C.

There's a way to upload designs on the Lego site. If I can find the time, I would like to do that.

Viva la Vida Cubano!

Looks like things might finally be changing in Cuba. Here's a little appreciation for the vitality, tenacity and sensuality of the Cuban people!

AiA Has A Sense Of Humor

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Well, probably not. But it is an interesting choice for the cover: Richard Prince, "Best Man".

The text reads: "I went to a wedding at a nudest colony. It was easy to see who was the best man."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Art I'm Seeing #28

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Went down to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in DC this morning specifically to see the three piece retrospective of video portraits by Jeremy Blake. Blake was actually a native of my adopted town of residence, Takoma Park.

His works run about 15 minutes a piece and consist of a continually morphing montage of images (both collage and drawn) with audio accompaniment both musical and narrative. The narration is provided by the videos' subjects. The works are lush and mesmerizing.

knowning that Blake committed suicide this past June, also lent an air of hallowed mystery to the venue--a large blackened gallery illuminated only by the reflected psychodelic splashes of color from the three huge screenings. Headphones were provided to allow viewers to listen to each work in turn.

At the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. through March 2nd.

Man O Man!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Now we've really done it! We (meaning humankind) have taken a geological process, one that usually takes tens of millions of years and involves the formation of fossils, bands of sedimentary rocks, etc., and we've reduced it to a mere 10,000 years! What am I speaking about? The creation of a new Epoch, of course. The Anthropocene Epoch to be exact.

It seems that we've chopped the present Holocene Epoch off at the sprout. And here's why:

Among the major changes heralding this two-century-old man-made epoch:
• Vastly altered sediment erosion and deposition patterns.
• Major disturbances to the carbon cycle and global temperature.
• Wholesale changes in biology, from altered flowering times to new migration patterns.
• Acidification of the ocean, which threatens tiny marine life that forms the bottom of the food chain.

Researchers at the University of Leicester, U.K. and the Geological Society of London based their conclusions on the work of Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen.

A google search on this one will yield lots of interesting reading.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Only Gay In The Village

After my most recent movie review with the nympho, hypocritical Anglican priest's wife, I recalled another presentation of modern day Anglicans. This from the popular sketch comedy troupe "Little Britain".

Online Videos by

Friday, February 15, 2008

What I'm Watching #136

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I bought this movie out of curiosity for the performance of Rupert Grunt, and respect for the quality of Laura Linney's ouvre. It's an odd, interesting little film. Rupert plays a plausible drowned puppy, and Linney must have enjoyed her role as an adulterous, evangelical, nymphomaniacal, Anglican priest's wife who helps the poor and betrays the trust of her son and husband because the Lord told her to. Who wouldn't?

Catch if you can, but don't feel compelled to go out of your way....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What I'm Watching #135

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Dangerous Living: Coming Out In The Developing World" is a 60 minute documentary that wraps its narrative around the arrest and prosecution of 52 men in Egypt who were discovered doing nothing more provocative than dancing together on a night club boat on the Nile. From there you meet and waltz your way through the lives of activists from India, Pakistan, Hondurous, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and members of the Egyptian persecution.

It's smart, factual, thought-provoking, and poignant. And you'll learn and thing of two, too. What better way to spend an hour?

Random Quote #85

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Just living is not enough...One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower." 

~ Hans Christian Anderson, 1805 - 1875

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Our Latest American Hero #113

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Navy Petty Officer 1st class Luis A. Souffront, 25,of Miami, Fla., died Feb. 7, from wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device while serving in combat operations in Iraq. He was assigned to an East Coast based SEAL team.

"Miami Man Killed In Iraq"

A Miami man was killed in combat in Iraq last week, the Department of Defense announced Saturday.

Navy Petty Officer 1st class Luis A. Souffront, 25, died from wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device, according to a statement released by the Defense Department.

Souffront's cousin, Oscar, who lives in Miami, said the family was in mourning and declined comment on Saturday.

Souffront was the 22nd service member who was either listed by the Department of Defense as being from Miami-Dade County, or who had strong ties to the county, to be killed in Iraq including active military, reserves and National Guard.

There have been 14 from Broward County and at least 172 service members statewide killed in Iraq.

Souffront, an explosive ordnance disposalman, was assigned to the Defense Department's Naval Special Warfare Group II, which is based Virginia Beach.

He was part of a Navy SEAL team that had gone into Iraq on an assignment that injured six of his comrades, the Virginian-Pilot reported Saturday.

The newspaper reported that Souffront was the third combat death this week among personnel assigned to that unit.

Defense Department officials did not disclose details of the operation that led to Souffront's death.

''Petty Officer Louis Souffront was an outstanding EOD technician. Respected for his skill and courage, he was valued as a teammate by the SEALs he fought beside,'' said his commanding officer in a statement released by military authorities in Virginia Beach. The officer was not identified.

''His service to our country represented the highest ideals of our community and his loss affects us all. I extend my deepest sympathy to his family and friends in this most trying time,'' the officer said.

Souffront enlisted in the Navy July 24, 2000. After completing boot camp, he attended several specialized training schools and completed Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal School at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in July 2002.

Democratic Party Primary Results #2

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Another way to color the map is county results wherever possible. And where it ain't done that way (some of the caucus states), it looks like this

Alaska by 74%
Kansas by 74%
Nebraska by 68%
North Dakota by 61%
And today in Maine by 57%

New Mexico by 49%

Via counties, it's clear that Obama is winning among most urban voters. In states that he lost, he still dominated in Sacramento, San Francisco, Reno, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Newark, Trenton and Boston. And arguably his victory in Missouri was thanks to voters in Columbia, Kansas City, and St. Louis.

And Hillary has also cities: places like Little Rock, New York, Buffalo, Rochester, Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego. The difference being that she also won the states. Where she lost the states, she by-and-large lost the cities.... She came up short in Seattle, Boise, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Denver, Des Moines, Chicago, Shreveport, New Orleans, Birmingham, Montgomery, Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, Hartford, and Duluth.

What I'm Watching #134

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"The Bubble" by Eytan Fox is a film from Israel. Shot in Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles, it's the story of three young Israeli's and a chance encounter with a young Palestinian. Our Protagonists Noam and Ashraf fall in love, but the worlds they were born into won't allow even the happiness of love to last.

The "Making of...." featurette that accompanies the DVD is also powerful. Fox shot the film in 33 days and used locals as extras. In a scene shot at a boarder crossing, he used palestinians as extras, halfway through the day, he received a phone call that one of the Palestinians home had been accidentally bombed by an israeli air strike and his daughter was injured.... The movie grabs you just like that.

It's a powerful, amazing, and poignant film. Everyone should see this one, and have your box of Puff's at your side.

Democratic Party Primary Results

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
A picture says 1000 words....

But I'll add a few more.

Hillary has won 11 states
by an average of 53.5% of the vote.

Barack has won 18 states
by an average of 61.4% of the vote.

The difference of about 8 points remains even if we remove IA and NH from those percentages because John Edwards had a major influence in both statesr:

Clinton: 54.9%
Obama: 63.5%

As to the state based delegate count (not including MI & FL who's delegates won't be seating because they moved their primaries up too close to the start of the contests):

Clinton: 910
Obama: 1016

This is far from an exacting science; most states have not officially awarded all of their state proportioned delegates and so I apportioned them by the % of votes; and there are hundreds of unpledged “super delegates” that aren’t even in these numbers anywhere.

Bottom line, the race is still on and it's my turn to vote on Tuesday!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

And Then There Are Three...

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
more to come......

Goings On About Town #2

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I know I've shared my appreciation for the photos that accompany the regular feature in The New Yorker magazine titled "Goings On About Town". They are always interesting. Lately, they've been particularly beautiful, too!


Random Quote #84

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"It is not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

~ Henry David Thoreau, 1817 - 1862

Tattoo Dreaming #3

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Random Quote #83

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"We could never learn to be brave and patient if there was only joy in the world."

~ Helen Keller, 1880 - 1968

What I'm Listening To #34

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
(The video ["This Is The First Day Of My Life" ~ 30 JAN 08] sold me on checking out this group further.)

Bright Eye's CD "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" is an odd CD to categorize. There are moments that are intimate, moments that are raucous. Themes around personal thoughts, private actions, and public protests are woven into and out of many tracks. Emmy Lou Harris guests with back-up vocals on three's really a rather fascinated enterprise.

What I'm Watching #133

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
It's the oldest story in the book: boy meets boy, girl meets girl, girl meets boy....well, maybe not the oldest story!

Set in New Zealand, it's really the story of 6 flawed people covering 4 types of sexuality and two generations (aging X and Next) who come together to discover a new trick or two. It's interesting and only occasionally uncomfortable (read: melodramitic).

Saturday, February 02, 2008

What I'm Reading #4

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Since I'm in a blathering mood tonight.....

I took my car into my mechanic to have the oil changed and a headlamp replaced around noon. Then I walked from his shop to downtown Silver Spring where I purchased art supplies, office supplies, and a couple of books.

Leaving Borders, I found a bench along the bustling promenade and began reading this amazing little memoir by one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver. After finishing half of it (and developing a chill as the sun sent a shadow over the bench), I finished it later this afternoon in the comfort of my sunroom on my porch swing.

"Our World" is her gift to her longtime companion, Molly Malone Cook (familiarly known simply as "M." in her poems and essays). Ms. Cook was an artist in her own right: A mover and a shaker in the world of photography as true art. She spent much of her life and energy in Provincetown, Massachusetts as the founder and proprietor of a gallery, then a bookstore, devoted to the promotion of photography as art.

The book shares but a couple dozen of her black and white photos from the 50's & 60's. They are framed with Mary's memoir.

The photos are fantastic. Mary's words are nothing short of her finest poetry. I sat there on that bench, while people past by engaged in the vibrant intercourse of their lives, immersed in the intimate relationship between Mary's words and Molly's photos fighting back tears with every image, every anecdote.

Granted, I have so long loved Mary's poems, that my perspective on this book is already so NOT casual.

I have long wanted to know more about the amazing "M." Yet, I never imagined I would be given this holy glimpse.

If you somehow stumble upon this entry.... Thank You, Mary.


Originally uploaded by Randuwa
These images are from advertisements for the product called "Bufalo" to be used to polish and restore leather products. Hence the water buffalo/sofa and the python/belt. It's clever photoshopping, but to me it's also rather ghoulish.

On a planet in which species diversity is dwindling at dramatic rates, we have to raise consciousness around ideas of preservation, not consumption.

Last evening I went out back to deposit some recyclables in my bin only to discover that all my bins had been upturned! Something was looking for something. And then I felt the eyes. Looking into my neighbors yard through the maze of branches of the defoliated althea hedge that lines the fencerow, I saw a deer. Not an unusual sighting anymore.

She stood still, alert, unafraid. In the graying twilight of a cloudy, rainy day, there was also an air of ill-being about her. I spoke gently and with a soothing voice to her and she responded by cocking her ears and readjusting her stance. That's when I realized that her left hind leg was held up in an awkward manner.

Squinting and trying to get a better look, it was clear that her hindquarter was seriously injured. There was no blood; it was not a fresh wound. Her protruding ribs testified to this.

I retreated into my home and grabbed a head of broccoli, a couple of pears and an apple from my fridge. I returned to find her waiting and gingerly tossed the food in her direction with the technique of a bocce ball player. As they rolled along the ground she retreated a few cautious steps. And then I went inside. This morning all but the broccoli was gone (apparently, she's a Republican!).

I have no great hope that her life remains long on this planet. I also really had no other recourse. The police won't come under such benign circumstances; neither will animal control. A rabid deer? Yes; a starving deer? No.

Perhaps someday, if I find myself in a similar circumstance, some stranger will offer me a pear....