Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What I'm Listening To #40

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Smooth, jazzy, soft, lyrical, acute, powerful....

John Legend is.

The Central Question...

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
...of this election is really rather simple. Will white Americans vote for a black man to be president?

There are dissertations a-plenty awaiting the answer to this question, but for now I give you this photograph from Obama's visit today in Reno, Nevada. Over 10,000 mostly white people would seem to suggest that the answer is YES.

It may still be NO in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Nebraska (as the polls overwhelmingly imply); however, if it is YES in Nevada, then it's finally YES in Iowa, and YES in Virginia, and (dare I hope for it?) even YES in North Carolina. And for now, that's good enough for me.

Is it so bad to want to live in a nation driven by ideals that create opportunities for everyone? Instead of a nation filled with empty rhetoric where the haves spend their energy protecting their own and audaciously blaming the have-nots for all their calamities? Are we not a better people than this?

If our nation doesn't embrace and stand for this, then how can we expect anything other than to continue to implode upon ourselves? Lincoln paraphrased it from the Bible, and it remains just a true today: A house divided will not long stand....

NGA Is Art

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
One of the great aspects of the National Gallery of Art in D.C. is the East Building itself. Designed by I. M. Pei, it's a prescient aesthetic gift to this nation given the present expression of Sino-Ascendancy in global art.

I just love the interplay of light of shadows...

Jack Pot!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
No School for the holiday--it's good working for an enlightened public school system.

So after planting bulbs for spring, I cleaned up and went down to the Mall in D.C. There's a little show at the National Gallery of Art that I visited briefly recently with a couple of friends, and I wanted to have some time with it alone as well as pick-up the catalogue. I'll share more about it specifically soon.

When you go the National Gallery it's two separate buildings joined by an underground concourse. The concourse features a large buffet driven cafeteria and one of the two shops. It's the one that features books. If you go there you'll discover a sale table. And if you're lucky there will be something sitting there with your name on it. Today, I was lucky!

"A Century of Thai Cinema" compiled by Dome Sukwong & Sawasdi Suwannapak is a collection of all things Thai movies. It's peppered throughout with commentaries and contains hundreds and hundreds of images of actors, stills, posters, theatres, recordings, scripts, and all sorts of memorabilia. Written in English, it was published in Thailand. I can't wait to absorb it all!

Rosh Hoshanah

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Happy New Years!

Monday, September 29, 2008

What I'm Watching #163

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"In The Arms Of My Enemy" is a powerfully intimate film by Micha Wald of Belgium.

It's set in Eastern Europe in the mid-nineteenth century. It's the world of peasantry, or Cossacks, of horse thieves. A world in which loyalty and family ties represent survival.

The story is one of two pairs of brothers. How their random encounter, how tribalism, how vandalism, how the very will to survive clash like sabers in a barren forest. And how only the will to renounce and break free from all of these forces can bring change.

It's a powerful, austere, tender, and in many ways understated film. Time well spent.

Sodahead Asks......

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
On the cusp of the Thursday's VEEP debate in St. Louis between Sarah and Joe, Sodahead dares to ask the question.

In a recent (9/27-28) Sodahead.com poll 2,070 people from across the United States responded to the question: “Is Sarah Palin the Messiah for John McCain?” Only 370 said, “yes”--a scant 18%. slightly more of those opposed the questions responded without comment (19%), but 63% left their thoughts to the statement starter: “I think that Sarah Palin is....”

Here’s a random sampling of the most recent replies (I read about 100 of them and found none that were supportive, if even occasionally the writer was nice).

I think Sarah Palin is....

...not good for America. She is a JOKE.

...a self-deluded, irrational, opportunist with MILTF-fantasies

... Why would any American want a dim wit in the White House. We have all had just about enough of that with Bush.

...a good looking mother of five, but sadly as dumb and unqualified to be VP as George Bush is to be POTUS. But then Americans seem to want a President as dumb as dirt.

...an insult

...not qualified to hold any position of importance in the National government. Certainly NOT Vice President of America!

...not a good VP choice at all. She is NOT qualified for the post. If McCain dies, I cannot see her as the leader of the free world.

...a huge mistake!!

...the most scary thing to happen to this country ever! For McCain to choose her, is an unbelivable insult to America and our friends around the world!


...an idiot who should not be in a position of power, period.

...palin is very, very scary.......she has extremely bizarre religious beliefs.

...an empty shell. She doesn't have the foreign or executive judgement needed for the role of Vice President. She is a "puppet" of Karl Rove...and she's not event [sic] good at that.

...Messiah? probably not, swan song, undoubtedly

...I think his choice was a joke. She is not prepared to lead our country through one of the most trying domestice [sic] circumstances we have witnessed since the great depression. As far as her foreign policy. She doesn't have one.

...looks to be a nice person but not President. But good luck to all.

Ah...restores my faith in Americans. Thanks, Sodahead!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bâton de Berger

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I know I once waxed appreciative to the designers of the uniforms that wrestlers wear, so lest I be a one song wonder: here's kudus for the designers of the new swim suits. They're really superior to the skimpier speedos on so many levels.

What I'm Watching #162

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I have to say, there are some really good movies coming out of Thailand. They have high production values, excellent acting, lush scores, quality cinematography, and consistent, stylized direction.

In fact, "Beautiful Boxer" (WIW #4, 12 NOV 05) is on my all time top 10 movie list.

Bangkok Love Story would make the top 25. It's the mesmerizing stylized story of a hired killer from a poor neighborhood who does what he does to support his mother and younger brother, both of whom are HIV positive thanks to the brutality and rape of a man who once lived with his family. His latest mark is a cop, whom he trails and then kidnaps to deliver to his patron before killing him. "Cloud," the assassin, never knows anything about the people he kills and believes that they are bad people.

This time, when he learns the mark's identity, he refuses to kill him, "Stone". A shoot out ensues in which Cloud is mortally wounded but manages to escape with Stone's help. Away from danger, it is obvious that Stone cannot return home, and Cloud will die unless someone attends to his wound and nurses him back to health. What at first seems to Stone as a debt owed to Cloud becomes an obsession that unleashes in him his own hidden sexuality...and from here the film is a tour de force of emotions (a true melodrama in all of this genre's glory).

The performances are powerful, the writing spare at times (superceded by the images) and beautiful at others (revealing the motives and confusion of the characters). But it's the full package of the cinematography (lighting, camera angle, film speed, point-of-view, color palette) that really shines in this film. Even if you're averse to sub-titles, this is a film worth experiencing on so many levels.

Autumn Gardens #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Spent the morning planting pansies in the raised flower bed around my ancient maple in the front yard. I added the bed two summers' ago to set up a buffer between the tree and the synisterly persistent English ivy. Now I'm imagining a pathway around the raised bed to act as a buffer between it and the ivy!

And I know it doesn't look like much, but I did plant 72 pansies in the space of about an hour. Now, if only the deer won't see this as a buffet.....

Senatorial Races 2008 #04

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
It's been awhile since I posted regarding the political races for the 112th Congress' senate members. And 2008 is shaping up to be a repeat of 2004 only even stronger for the Democrats.

In 2004, it issue was control of the Senate. The mandate was national anger over the war in Iraq. Republicans were on the defensive, and 7 seats were in serious play: Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. Minnesota was an open seat that the Democrats wanted to keep, Tennessee was an open seat that the Republicans wanted to keep, the rest were races against sitting Republicans. When the dust settled, the Democrats were sending freshman senators to Washington, D.C. for six of the seven seats; only Harold Ford from Tennessee remained at home. Republicans made no gains in 2004.

Forward to now. The issue is the economy. In 2008, Republicans have again virtually no chance of gaining a seat in the Senate from a Democrat. Their one time best shot was Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, and her most recent polling has her beating her Republican challenger with 54%--in politics, a very comfortable margin. I see the Democrats picking up 8 seats this time around. Open seats in Colorado, New Mexico, and Virginia; Up-sets in Alaska, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Oregon.

The polls in Minnesota have been 1 and 2 points apart for months now. Al Franken will benefit in the end from the votes of thousands of newly registered and young first time voters to squeak out the closest victory of the 8.

Alaska is the most amazing takeover. It's incumbent is the longest serving Republican senator in the history of the state and congress, and Ted Stevens is in no mood to retire; however, he's also on trial for Federal corruption charges -- a similar circumstance benefited the victory of Jon Testor in Montana in 2004.

North Carolina is the flip flop that no saw from the outset. Many thought of Libby Dole as a sort of Republican aristocracy, but challenger Kay Hagan has successfully run a campaign exposing Senator Dole's weak, lap-dog voting record that has taken the sheen off of her tiara. It's been a dirty campaign with some of the highest undecided voter percents across the nation. Hagan has other things going for her, too. Obama is doing surprising well in the Tar Heel state, large numbers of first time and young voters who's demographic is tracking decidedly more progressive, and one of the largest influxes of Hispanic immigrants in the nation.

Other contests to watch are in Mississippi, Kentucky, and Georgia.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What I'm Watching #161

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Writer/Director Casper Andreas (Slutty Summer, 2004) is back with a second story from the world of New York City (mostly gay) bohemians. Building on the lives of three of his characters from the first film, "a Four Letter Word" continues the journeys of Marilyn, Luke, and Peter.

Marilyn finds love as she struggles with sobriety. Peter learns how to begin letting go of his own need to control his world in the midst of his budding relationship with Derek (Tres HOT). And Luke? Well, Luke put the "slut" in slutty summer...and this time around he is challenged by two men: one to form a relationship, the other to form a social conscience.

"a Four Letter Word" is just as delightful as the first film--A lovely reunion with quirky, sometimes conflicted, funny, and ultimately endearing characters.

What I'm Watching #160

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Soulmaid" in a word is BAD.

But, wait, that's not my usually fair self. It deserves two words: VERY BAD.

Presidential Race 2008 #15

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Obama continues to edge ahead, and 7 key states teeter between the two candidates. Two that weren't on most people's presumed "battleground" state watch lists are Indiana and North Carolina.

So here’s this weeks state-by-state results:

Obama states that are hardening: +43
Michigan 17, Minnesota 10, New Mexico 5, Pennsylvania 21

Obama states that are softening: -0

Obama pick-up states: +13
Virginia 13

States going into neutral: 0

McCain states that are hardening: +6
Arkansas 6

McCain States that are softening: -5
West Virginia 5

McCain pick-up states: 0

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Originally uploaded by Randuwa

I feel like the character from "Network" who tossed open his office window and shouted to the world below, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more!"

Republicans have played us as morons for way too long, and way to many us have accepted membership in their dysfunctional family. In rebutting this it's hard to know where to begin, but the hypocrisy and cynicism of choosing Sarah Palin to be McCain's replacement is as good a place to start as any.

Sarah was a member of the Assembly of God church, and now a non-denominational "Bible" church. Participants in these groups are spirit filled, emotionally predisposed, intellectually gullible, and driven by a faith that has more to do with prosperity than sacrifice, seeking forgiveness than taking responsibility, desire than suffering. I know this because I've done that/been there. It's an utterly irrational worldview that believes God is responsible and intimately involved in everything, until God is ascribed ownership of evil. At which point the omnipotent Divine becomes magically impotent, and a fallen, defeated angel named Lucifer takes over the show while God sits back waits for his fallen creation to repent (yet again) and return to abject devotion.

Is this the sort of mindset that the majority of Americans want in charge? It is the sort of individual that lives a life of delusion and one that allows hypocrisy to flourish, because there's always a way out of your lies and an imaginary foe to place the blame upon. A perfect example is this recent affair sussed out by the reporters at the National Enquirer (Between this and the John Edwards thing, I hope they win the next Pulitzer!)

And now excerpts and commentary stolen from another blog:

According to The NATIONAL ENQUIRER, three members of the man’s family, including one by sworn affidavit, have claimed that Palin engaged in an affair with husband Todd’s former business partner, Brad Hanson.

Hanson owned a snowmobile dealership with Palin’s husband Todd, who terminated the partnership after he heard stories about the alleged romp in 1996. This was around the time that Palin was mayor of Wasilla.

“Sarah was elected mayor of Wasilla, Brad became a city council member in the nearby town of Palmer, and they started an affair,” says Jim Burdett, who was described by the Enquirer as a “Hanson family insider.”

“Todd found out about the affair and was so mad he broke up their partnership at the snowmobile dealership.”

The NATIONAL ENQUIRER says that Burdett has gone on the record with the details of the affair and even passed a “rigorous” polygraph test. Another source, who The NATIONAL ENQUIRER did not identify, provided the magazine with a sworn affidavit attesting to the Palin-Hanson report.

“I’ve known about Brad having had an affair for a long time, but it wasn’t until just recently that I learned his affair was with Sarah Palin,” Burdett tells The NATIONAL ENQUIRER.

Rumors of Palin’s alleged secret booty call have been circulating the ‘net. Coincidentally, Hanson has reportedly filed a motion to have his divorce records sealed in Alaska.

Apparently, she's a sucker for the goatee.......

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Our Latest American Hero #125

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army 1st Lt. Mohsin A. Naqvi, 26, of Newburgh, N.Y.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry, Fort Benning, Ga.; died Sept. 17 in Gerdia Seria, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Sgt. Joshua W. Harris, Capt. Bruce E. Hays and Staff Sgt. Jason A. Vazquez.

"Family Recalls Soldier’s Patriotism"

WAPPINGERS FALLS — Nazar Naqvi’s son was not a Muslim soldier. He was a soldier who was a Muslim.

“First he was American,” he said of his son, Mohsin. “Then he was Muslim.”

The regular Friday prayer service at the Mid-Hudson Islamic Association on All Angels Hill Road paid special tribute Friday to Mohsin Naqvi, 26, of Newburgh, a second lieutenant with the U.S. Army.

He was among a group of five soldiers killed while on patrol in Afghanistan Wednesday. He leaves behind a 20-year-old wife, Raazia.

After Friday’s regular service, mosque members comforted Mohsin’s brother and father, and an imam led an informal prayer service specifically for the soldier.

Mohsin Naqvi had served a tour in Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan, and family members said his Muslim faith was a constant source of taunting.

“He was being picked on any time they wanted,” his father said. “He still wanted to be in the Army.”

But Nazar Naqvi said he never questioned the allegiance of his son, who emigrated from Pakistan with the family when he was 8 and became a U.S. citizen at 16.

“When he came to this country, he took an oath to be loyal to the United States,” Nazar Naqvi said.

Hassan Naqvi, Mohsin’s younger brother, knelt at the Friday afternoon prayer service, Mohsin’s dog tag hanging from a chain around his neck, and wiped away a tear.

He called his brother “the most patriotic person I know.”

Mohsin Naqvi joined the Army reserves days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Once in Afghanistan, he would converse with prisoners of war in his native language, Urdu, but his common ground with the captured Taliban fighters ended there. The version of Islam they were preaching didn’t resemble his own, he told his family.

“As far as he was concerned, he wasn’t fighting against Muslims,” Hassan Naqvi said.

“Before he left for Af-ghanistan, I asked him if he was scared,” Hassan Naqvi said. “He said he wasn’t, because that was where he was needed most.”

After the service, Mohsin Naqvi’s uncle, Anwar Naqvi, said his nephew died defending against acts of terror and a violent interpretation of Islam the vast majority of Muslims denounce.

“I am proud that my nephew, he basically ...” Anwar Naqvi said, pausing to regain his composure and fight his tears to speak, “he laid down his life in the line of his duty. He was doing what he was supposed to do.”

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What I'm Watching #159

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
It was an "Eating Out" mini-marathon!

This sequel curiously happens without the talents of the first movie's creator. Additionally, it lacks all but three of the orginal cast, none of the previous sets, and no mention of the main character from the first film....with all of this going against it as a sequel, it comes across as a critter of its own making. Somewhere between a stale infomercial and an after school movie of the week.

It is an average, blurred little movie whose most endearing moments are blatant references to the first film and the full-frontal gratuitous moments of male nudity. For example, the new focal point, has one well-propotioned penis and quit a pair of low-hangers! Just sayin'.....

What I'm Watching #158

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Is another indi gay-themed film with marginal production values called "Eating Out". As usual, I'm a sucker for sincerity, and this film has lots of that. It also makes a point of giving it's male characters a fleeting moment of gratuitous full-frontal nudity.

As a comedy it's sweet, and there are a few truly funny lines, but there are flaws, as well. The most glaring is the character of the protagonist's little sister. She is both utterly annoying and superfulous to the plot.

In the end the Boy gets the Girl, and the Boy gets the Boy. All's well that ends well.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Presidential Race 2008 #14

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Another wild ride week for the polls -- did you feel your tummy flip? Softening, switching, hardening by states; Obama moving forward in the national amalgamation. But as we know, we don’t live in a nation where one citizen equals one vote. The game that counts is the state-by-state ECVote tally. And the magic number is 270.

So here’s this weeks state-by-state results:

Obama states that are hardening: +26
Colorado 9, Oregon 7, Washington 10

Obama states that are softening: -31
Maine 4, Minnesota 10, Pennsylvania 21

Obama pick-up states: +20
New Mexico 5, North Carolina 15

States going into neutral: 13
Virginia 13

McCain states that are hardening: +11
South Carolina 8, South Dakota 3

McCain States that are softening: -30
Florida 27, Montana 3

McCain pick-up states: 0

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fridays with Frangela

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
FRANGELA IS FRANCES CALLIER AND ANGELA V. SHELTON. And they join Stephanie Miller on Friday during the 3rd hour of her radio show.

They are Fabulous, darling!

Check 'em out: http://frangela.com/

Arg! It's National Speak Like A Pirate Day!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

How much does a pirate charge to do piercings?


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Party On!

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Looking for something to do on Saturday, September 27th?

My friend is having an Obama 'o8 party, so come on out and join in!

The festivities start at 7:00 pm, include the music of "Baytop Franklin & Summerour", and munchies!

Your entrance is a mere $35...and includes full access to the fun.

Party Hosts:
Marty and Nannette Horan
144 Little Quarry Road
G'burg, Maryland 20878

For particulars, call: 240/418.6347

Get off your ass and join in with those of us who are hinky to make a difference!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Boldly Going Beyond

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Lt. Sulu marries!

As a child fan of this amazing series, George Takei's legal wedding to Brad Altman after only 21 years of being a couple, thrills me to no end.

May you both continue to prosper and live long.


LOS ANGELES -- George Takei and his longtime partner, Brad Altman, have agreed to live long and prosper together.

Takei, 71, and Altman, 54, were married Sunday in a multicultural ceremony at the Japanese American National Museum that featured a Buddhist priest, Native American wedding bands, a Japanese Koto harp and a bagpipe procession.

The couple, both clad in white dinner jackets with black pants, made a grand entrance to the tune of "One Singular Sensation" from the Broadway musical "A Chorus Line." They stepped into a circle of yellow roses and lilies, where they shared a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and were wed by a Buddhist priest.

The couple, who have been together for 21 years, wrote their own vows.

Altman said that he had called Takei many things during their two decades together "life partner, significant other" but that their marriage represented "a dream come true for me."

"I can add 'my husband' to the list of things I call you," he said.

Takei called his longtime partner an "organized, detail-obsessed, punctuality-driven control freak."

"I'm easygoing with details, so we're a good fit," he said in the trademark baritone recognizable to all "Star Trek" and Howard Stern fans.

"I vow to care for you as you've cared for me ... and to love you as my husband and the only man in my life," Takei said as he held Altman's hands.

The priest then pronounced them "spouses for life." A bagpiper played as the newlyweds walked out, followed by friends, family and a few members of the press.

Takei said he and Altman chose to make their wedding public _ and have been outspoken gay-rights advocates for years _ for the sake of democracy.

"We have a relationship that's been stronger and longer-lived than some of our straight friends, and yet we were not equal," Takei told The Associated Press before the ceremony. "What this does is give us that dignity; (it's) being part of the American system and being whole. We're making the American system whole as well, as America is becoming more equal."

Such activism is nothing new for Takei. He participated in the civil rights movement, served as a Democratic delegate in 1972 and fought for redress for those _ like his own family _ who were forced into internment camps after World War II.

"I grew up determined not to be marginalized," he said. "That served as an incentive for me to be proactive."

He and Altman were among the first couples to receive a marriage license in West Hollywood when the state began granting licenses to gay couples on June 17.

"A quarter century ago, when I first met Brad, (marriage) was the farthest thing from our imagination," Takei said. "But what seemed impossible at one time becomes, over the passage of time, more and more 'what if' and 'why not.' We have to participate in moving society along to be a better democracy."

Wedding guests included "Star Trek" stars Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols, who served as best man and best lady.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What I'm Watching #157

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Sugar" is an indie film out of Canada.

The story is one of two young men: one, from a dysfunctional home who runs away, the other, a hot street hustler and drug dealer. Their relationship ends in a rape for hire that painfully, powerfully defines the essence of each boy's life.

This is a hard film to experience. 'nough said.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Red Geranium

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The previous post reminded of this wall hanging that I made some years ago now. It's an original design both pieced and appliquéd. It's designed around one of my own haiku:

Red geranium
reaching for the autumn sun ~
one more day of life

Spider Tale

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I don't know what it is about spiders and the end of summer, but it always seems like the time of year when you catch them building these amazing webs in your gardens, the woods and fields. Here is a common orb-weaving spider, roughly identified as an araneus cavaticus, extracting the nutrition out of a ladybug in my backyard. The web itself is awesome extending between a crab apple tree and my home for a width of at least 6 feet and a height just a little less than that.

And while I don't especially like spiders, I do try awfully hard to appreciate them.

And now one of my favorite haikus:


With what voice
and what song would you sing, spider,
in this autumn breeze?

~ Basho, 1644 - 1694

Afghanistan Up-date

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
We learned this week that the death tole among U.S. troops in Afghanistan has just past the mark set by the deadliest year to date: 2007. And no sooner had I completed this graph than the DoD announced the deaths of two more soldiers, navy petty officers from Michgan, in Afghanistan.

The half mountain depicts the month by month casualty count which ranges from February's single fatality to June's 28. And with the latest announcement the year to date total is 120.

The bars compare the annual totals beginning with 2001 in red and ending with 2008 on the far right. Both parts of this graph demonstrate clearly an excalation of the conflict.

Both would seem to beg the question: "Is it time for another surge?"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Presidential Race 2008 #13

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Many, MANY, polls this week and by and large they favored the Republican nominees. The only ray of light for the Democrats was a hardening of support in New Hampshire.

Without further ado:

Obama states that are hardening: +3
New Hampshire 3

Obama states that are softening: -64
Colorado 9, Michigan 17, Oregon 7, Pennsylvania 21, Washington 10

Obama pick-up states: 0

McCain states that are hardening: +45
Florida 27, Georgia 15, Montana 3

McCain States that are softening: 0

McCain pick-up states: +36
New Mexico 5, North Carolina 15, North Dakota 3, Virginia 13

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our Latest American Hero #124

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army Pvt. Vincent C. Winston Jr., 22, of St. Louis, Mo.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Sept. 4 in Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

"St. Louis Soldier Dies In Afghanistan"

A St. Louis family is mourning tonight. Army Pvt. Vincent Winston has become the latest casualty in Operation Enduring Freedom. He died September 4 in Afghanistan.

His mother, Angie Little says, “He was a baby hero. He wasn’t nothing but 22. So young.”

The life of Vincent Winston was cut short in Afghanistan. He enlisted two years ago, but this was his first deployment.

His mother says, “He had just went over there. He just went over there. He couldn’t have been in Afghanistan, what, two whole months.”

According to Little, Afghanistan was a tough adjustment. Winston was just settling into his job as a mechanic when it happened. He and four others were riding in a Humvee when a roadside bomb exploded nearby. Winston died from his injuries.

Angie Little says, “I’m so sad. I’m heartbroken. I’m mad at him and I’m proud of him.”

For Winston, joining the military was family tradition. He was following in his father’s footsteps.

Angie Little says, “He wanted to go in the service and I told him not to because it was during the war. He said ‘I want to mom to get off the streets.’”

His aunt Betty Little says, “We’ve got a dark cloud in our heart. We are so sad. We are hurting.”

Relatives hope Vincent Winston will be remembered as a leader, a role model and a good man.

Betty Little says, “I want them to remember the smile, to remember Vincent as Vincent.”

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Olympics Redux Gold

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I'm not so good at finishing the things I start, but here's an exception and third installment of my Beijing Olympics salute. Like those of Bronze and Silver medalists, the Gold medal winners are probably faces that you didn't see much of on the national coverage in the United States.

May their success shine in their home nations and inspire others to excel no matter the odds.

Top to Bottom/Left to Right:

And the GOLD MEDAL goes to:

Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain
Men's Track & Field
1500 M

Tia Hellebaut of Belgium
Women's Track & Field
High Jump

Francoise Mbango Etone of Cameroon
Women's Track & Field
Triple Jump

Mijain Lopez of Cuba
Men's Wrestling
Greco-Roman 120 Kg

Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic
Women's Shooting
10 M Air Rifle

Irakli Tsirekidze of Georgia
Men's Judo
90 Kg

Abhinav Bindra of India
Men's Shooting
10 M Air Rifle

Maria Del Rosario Espinoza of Mexico
Women's Taekwondo
over 67 Kg

Valerie Vili of New Zealand
Women's Shooting
25 M Pistol

Irving Saladino of Panama
Men's Track & Field
Long Jump

Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon of Thailand
Women's Weightlifting
53 Kg


Ous Melouli of Tunisia
Men's Swimming
1500 M Freestyle

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Is blessing us with lots of rain! The heart of the storm should skirt me this evening around 5:00 pm. A great day to watch some videos!

Presidential Race 2008 #12

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
After weeks of creeping Republican gains, this week shows the Democratic candidates continuing their rebound. Even as the ECVote count slide in McCain's direction....It's hard to say what effect McCain's selection of Palin will have as we get to know her better. Of the 7 polls released since her speech at the convention, only Alaska moved in McCain's direction. Prior to her speech, Florida went from two points in Obama's favor to one point in McCain's--a true swing state!

This map also reflects information provided through Zogby polls, as well. Currently I peruse the work of Rasmussen, Survey USA, Research 2000, CNN, CBS/Washington Post, Quippiaq University, and other groups affiliated with various universities. I'm also looking into Gallup and Mason-Dixon. Where Zogby influenced this map, it's polls were released on August 22nd, but were more recent for those states than the existing representation on the map.

Obama states that are hardening: +43
Colorado 9, Iowa 7, Minnesota 10, Michigan 17

Obama states that are softening: -4
New Hampshire 4

Obama pick-up states: +18
North Carolina 15 and North Dakota 3

McCain states that are hardening: +0

McCain States that are softening: -70
Arkansas 6, Indiana 11, Missouri 11, South Carolina 8, Texas 34

McCain pick-up states: +30
Alaska 3, Florida 27

Friday, September 05, 2008

Snarky Rebuttal

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
One comment I've heard post Sarah Palin's Republican Convention speech follows, and I thought it both snarky and apt!

During the speech she criticized Barack Obama's experience as a "community organizer" even as she touted her experience as a governor. Over all of this is the implicit sense that she somehow lays claim to a moral superiority by virtue of her personal Christianity.

The comment:

"Jesus was the ultimate community organizer and Pontius Pilate was the Governor...." Clever, and yet, all to say, such comparisons are feeble and miss the point. Cheers!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Feeling Generous?

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Looking for someplace to dump some excess cash? Let me suggest the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington, D.C.

Here's a exerpt from a recent article about the W-W Clinic:


Clinic Likely to Confirm at Least One Percent of All New Infections in U.S. during 2008

WASHINGTON - Whitman-Walker Clinic highlighted new findings and trends in the fight against HIV based on its data from the first half of 2008:

~ The Clinic confirmed a total of 266 new HIV diagnoses, a 232 percent increase over the number of new diagnoses confirmed in the first half of 2007;

~ One-third of all newly-diagnosed patients have full-blown AIDS when they first seek care at the Clinic; and

~ New infections are primarily found in two groups—gay men and African-Americans—which track closely with recent Centers for Disease Control’s report on HIV incidence.

“Our experience mirrors the CDC’s findings, and we are seeing an increasing number of gay men and African-Americans with new HIV infections,” said Dr. Raymond Martins, chief medical officer for Whitman-Walker Clinic. “However, we have experienced more than a three-fold increase in the number of new HIV diagnoses for the first half of 2008 without an appreciable increase in HIV testing. These are troubling statistics that warrant more aggressive education, prevention and testing initiatives.”

Tattoo Dreaming #5

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Beautiful head.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

L'homme et la Mer

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
It's called "shrinkage," sugar. You'll survive!

Monday, September 01, 2008

YES, I believe in YOU!

Can I get a witness?

This is what my life is all about!

Our Latest American Hero #123

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army Pvt. Tan Q. Ngo, 20, of Beaverton, Ore., died Aug. 27 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, when his mounted patrol received small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, Hohenfels, Germany.

[I found no newpaper report of this soldier's death that was anything more than a rehash of the information provided in the DOD press release (above)].

Labor Day, 7 Views from the National Arboritum ~ View #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa


water lily asks
for nothing more than what
I cannot provide

National Arboritum, View #2

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The best entrance into the bonsai collection is this shady pine lined pathway.

National Arboritum, View #3

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The bonsai collection is divided into 4 pavillions and displays between 80 and 100 specimen. This Blue Atlas Cedar is a relatively new kid on the block having begun its training in 1950. The oldest member of the club that I found was an Asian Pine whose bonsai career began in 1795. If you love bonsai, this place is paradise.

National Arboritum, View #4

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Wysteria covered loggia flanks this garden of ornamental boxwoods in part of the herb garden. Pots on both sides of the pathway contain scented geraniums.

National Arboritum, View #5

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Asian Valley in the area known as the Asian Collection is a sunny respite in an otherwise very wooded area. It's lined with a variety of bushes and filled with ornamental grasses, like the red blood grass prominent in this view.

National Arboritum, View #6

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Many butterflies: swallowtails, skippers, even a checkerspot, but, alas, no monarchs.....

National Arboritum, View #7

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Fern Valley is just one of several walking trails. This one skirts a little run and boasts a variety of ferns, native trees, bushes and flowers. The posted signs describe a couple of extremely rare species which bloom in late March, a good reason to return. It's a great place to hike on a hot, dry Labor Day.