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