30 January 2006

beside myself...

This Alito business has got me going. I didn't have any doubt he'd get confirmed. What's got me going is the hopeless Democrats who have now let the entire country know they have no plan, no agenda and NO spine.

For the entire vehement retorts to start see:


Daily Kos


Their "comments" are all numbering in the hundreds tonight. I'm not the only one peeved.

At least Durbin and Obama, my senators, voted against cloture. Obama actually pulled himself up out of the fire with me. Yesterday, he said he wasn't going to vote no.

Now, why can't ALL of the Democrats, during the actual vote on confirmation, start the unity of the party back on the right track?

just asking...

29 January 2006

Brokeback Mountain II...

I still haven't gotten to see Brokeback Mountain with a straight suburban audience yet because of a couple of reasons beyond my control. I still want to do this.

The photos below are from the scene that haunts me the most.

BrokeBack I

Brokeback II

The scene haunts me for its sensitivity, its softness, its intimacy but most of all for its normalcy. Ennis and Jack wanted normalcy but couldn't have it. A quiet moment holding and being held by someone you love can't be much more normal. Everyone wants to love and be loved, to have a connection to another person, to feel safe....

this is the real & only agenda>...

26 January 2006


While on vacation last week I made several art purchases at an auction. I expressly went for this piece.

serge by Tomazs Rut

It is an intaglio on paper by Tomasz Rut entitled "Serge." The minute I saw it, it spoke to me. I wish that all of its emotion and intensity could come across through posting it here, but you have to see it in person to fully appreciate it.

You can see more of Rut's work here: Tomasz Rut Fine Art

There is always something ethereal about art work that speaks to some people and misses for others. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The auction also had Peter Max's, Dali's, Picasso's, & Rembrandt's, and a number of others. This is a range of works - from classical to pop.

Though I can appreciate Peter Max, I wouldn't say his work is something of which I'm fond. Overly colorful. Exaggerated.

The Dali's, of course, make one think deeply because of their seeming absurdity. Melting. Floating. Unreal.

Picasso reinvented art into a new direction, not once but a number of times - cubism, line drawing, his blue period. Simplicity. Complexity. Thought provoking.

Rembrandt is the classical realist in portraiture. What I find interesting in his works are the stories behind each one. A soul. A person. His grandmother.

There is an entire realm of possibilities in art that can make us laugh, cry, retch, yawn.... All responses are accurate.

"Serge" will be delivered in a few weeks. I haven't decided where exactly he is going to go. I have a number of nudes, mostly female bronzes, and he will be a beautiful addition. He will have a good home.

... I wouldn't mind meeting the real Serge either!

24 January 2006

Book Game...

Borrowed from Naked Boy Chronicles:

Here are the rules:
1. Grab the nearest book
2. Open the book to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences (#5,6,7) on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it. Just grab what is closest. No cheating.

But classical Islam, developed in the seventh and eighth centuries, contains few of the ideas that we associate with democracy today. Elie Kedourie, an eminent student of Arab politics, wrote "The idea of representation, of elections, of popular suffrage, of political institutions being regulated by laws laid down by a parliamentary assembly, of these laws being guarded and upheld by an independent judiciary, the ideas of the secularity of the state... all these are profoundly alien to the Muslim political tradition."

Certainly the Quranic model of leadership is authoritarian.

from The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria

20 January 2006

a little farther away...

here is the reason no one has heard from me lately....

Caribbean Sunset
off the coast of Cuba in the Caribbean...

oh, by the way, I'm posting this from the middle of the Caribbean Sea right now. Unbelievable...

09 January 2006

Point Foundation Announces 2006 Scholarship Applications Available...

The Point Foundation Press Release announced two very important things: the Scholarship Application process for 2006 is now open and a new collaboration with the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

This year, the Point Foundation will partner with the Matthew Shepard Foundation to offer a slate of new named scholarships, awarding $10,000 to three Matthew Shepard-Point Foundation Scholars. The Matthew Shepard Foundation was founded by Dennis and Judy Shepard in memory of their 21-year old son, Matthew, who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in Wyoming in October 1998.

You can find the entire press release and other information on the Point Foundation website: The Point Foundation.

I had the pleasure of meeting a few of the scholars at an event the Point Foundation sponsored in Chicago recently.

Christopher Kawasaki
Harvard University,
Kennedy School of Government

Tanene Allison
Uncommon Legacy Point Scholar;
Harvard University,
Kennedy School of Government

Both Christopher and Tanene graduated from Harvard in December on a Point Foundation Scholarship. If these scholarships had not been available to them, who knows what would have happened. All Point scholars have very high standards to meet. The two most important are to maintain a 3.5 GPA and to design and complete a project that will serve and contribute to the community.

Tanene left her desolate unaccepting home in the Southwest and went to San Francisco . She worked for the city government in San Francisco while working another job and going to school - all while being homeless. She received no support of any kind from her family. She attended graduate school at Harvard with the Point scholarship.

For her project, Tanene right now is crossing the US with a film crew gathering information directly from people all over the US and their views of the LGBT community with the intent of not only gathering data but producing a documentary. Her thoughts and ideas impressed me beyond belief.

Most, if not all, Point Scholars are throw away kids! Their families have abandoned them, in some cases depriving them of their college funding and withdrawing not only the financial support but also emotional and spiritual backing. These young people are resilient in their advocacy for themselves and the community. They each can tell you a personal story that will tug at your heart, but the thing you notice the most is their irrepressible hope and positive outlook on the future. They are accepted for who they are and what they are capable of doing, not what they are.

If you know of a young person who might qualify for a scholarship invite them to explore the website or download the application and give it to them. [Application deadline is March 1st.] If your are involved with a local LGBT center that supports young people, become familiar with the Foundation and make others aware of it.

I strongly urge everyone to explore the Point Foundation website and to open up your hearts and pockets to this phenomenal foundation. They are not only in need of funding but each has a mentor from the foundation to support them personally. There is information on the website about mentoring.

A you can tell, I am really a supporter of The Point Foundation. I think it is one of the most important areas that the LGBT community can support. In the very short time of its existence the Foundation has grown by leaps, but the people behind it have a high goal. A college education is expensive. Within the next few years they would like to be able to support hundreds of scholars. With our help, they can do it.

These young people are our future and our children.

07 January 2006

great website...

I have been ROTFL with this website for about a year now. [I don't know why I never put it in my links. It's there now.] Here is an example of a couple of the comics on it. They're recurring characters. Cedric & Gerard are my favorite. There are also great videos that these guys do. Always hilarious. Always irreverent. I love it.




oh, by the way, this is "Shit Week" on their website! Every week has a theme.

be sure to check it out...


06 January 2006

prada, gucci, oh, my...


"Men will always be men --
no matter where they are."

Henry Mudd
"Mudd's Women," Star Trek: The Original Series

...queer eye for the _____ guy?

05 January 2006

Iraq and Viet Nam...

Some parallels between Iraq and Viet Nam are prevalent. In Viet Nam the US went in to fight what they knew to be a conventional war. The North Vietnamese didn't do things by the "rules of war" as they were known in the 60's. They dug tunnels, sometimes miles and miles long; they transported materiel underground; they used tactics of deception and surprise; and they did things that were not conventionally "expected." The Viet Cong waged a "terrorist hit and run" war and they learned it from the very best: The American Revolutionaries!

The Colonists waged a guerrilla war that they learned from the Native Americans. Instead of standing out in the open in formation as the British and the rest of the "civilized" world fought wars at the time, they hid behind trees, they picked away at small pockets, and they made the decision where the right place was to have a major battle. In other words, they fought unconventionally for the norms of the day.

In Iraq the new unconventional method of warfare is really not that different than the American Revolutionaries or the Viet Cong. It is guerrila/terrorist war and does not follow what is thought of as the conventional type of warfare. The allied forces in Iraq are much like the British standing out in the middle of the field fighting for space - to keep a foothold.

Josh over at The Conjecturer in a post entitled "The Importance of Ideology" outlines an argument that the reason behind warfare today has shifted from one based on geopolitics [eg WWII] to ideology [fundamentalist Islamism].

With WWII, Hitler needed to expand the fatherland to maintain his idea of superiority because Germany was not limitless in resources. He also had the support of the German peoples due to his charismatic war machine. Japan followed the exact same thinking. Both fought to expand their sphere of influence in order to keep their civilization from demise. The Allies needed to stem the expansionistic plans of the two first, to stop the physical growth and second, to check the ideological growth of totalitarianism on the part of the Reich. By far, the first reason was tantamount. The second came from a hatred of dicatators.

Today, Al-Queda and all fundamentalist Islamists are fighting for the spread of everything Muslim and specifically Sharī'ah, Islamic law and government. They are not fighting for an expansion of land, per se. They are fighting a jihad to promote and expand what they believe is ordained by their god. What their god wants, in their minds, is a world based solely on his wants. They do not believe that anything secular promotes Sharī'ah.

As a result, the "insurgents" in Iraq, or whatever anyone wants to call them, have taken the next logical step in the ideological (r)evolution of warfare. They have taken it to the people or, rather, at the expense of the people with direct attacks on the populace, trying to wear the citizenry down, encouraging fear at all costs, turning the "liberators" into monsters, and making life more miserable than ever. Of course, WWII saw the beginning wholesale attacks on the general population rather than just on the military with the Blitz, Dresden and Hiroshima, the ultimate attack. Territory was gained either to stop or continue the onslaught or to end the war. Killing civilians has gone from "collatoral damage" to de riguer.

The Iraqi insurgents are not conducting war to gain territory. They want much more than that. The small attacks we are seeing now are meant to "wear down" rather than eliminate or conquer. This acts not only as a psychological deterrent but as a type of slow collective mind control. They want Islam to be the prevalent theocracy in the world.

Their rhetoric encompasses rebukes, condemnations, vilifications, and tirades against all things secular and non-Islamic. They assail what they believe to be against the will of Allah and Mohammad based on their own interpretation of the Koran, and they see all things Western and, especially, American as evil and to be eliminated. They are a small number of people trying to sway the course of a current that has taken over the world ever since WWII - to become all things Western.

The problem fundamental Islamists have is a dichotomy between what they want and what the people may want. The citizens of Iraq have repeatedly shown they want things Western. [The recent vote might be an indication of that.] But, how free do the people feel to express that?

I have often found in travels and in readings that everyone else in the world wants to be "ideally" like the US. The Soviets would pay exorbitant amounts of money for Levi's jeans. The French want the McDonald's and Pizza Huts. The Italian designers have extravagant homes in the US. What exactly is behind all of this? Do they want to become the US? Would they give up their history, customs and heritage to be mini-americans? I'm not sure this is what is behind the "adoption" of US mainstays. They're all an outward manisfestation. I don't believe it's what people are really after. They aspire to the premises and promises behind the semiotics of Western culture. The freedoms to design, create and possess these things.

For many decades, US politicians have talked and acted on exporting democracy. The mistake they've made too often is thinking, no matter how much they argue to the contrary, that only the US form of democracy should be used. I agree completely with Josh's idea that, What we should be pushing is liberalism.

The ideology of liberalism means that each individual is as or more important than the whole. Others see the promise of freedoms that we enjoy but don't see the struggles we endured or continue to have to keep it alive. They see change happening violently all around them where we change slowly, over time, in a cascade of dicussion, discourse and non-violent actions and elections. We have also had our John F. Kennedy's and Martin Luther King's who sacrificed the ultimate to keep us on the right track. The rest of the world also doesn't realize that we don't believe that what we have is perfect but actually alive and constantly changing.

Sadly, we, the West, sometimes take all of this for granted. We don't have to fear that someone is going to be on the bus with us wearing a bomb like in Isreal. We don't have to be careful that our funerals won't cause more death because we belong to the wrong faction or tribe like in Iraq. We don't have to worry that the "thought" police are going to ban our favorite weblog because it goes against the party line like in China. We don't actively particiate in the struggle liberalism is to maintain.

We have come a long way from Viet Nam being Enemy #1. We have become partners in many areas with mutual interests. Today, we purchase fruits and vegetables that are produced in Viet Nam. We wear clothing that is made in Viet Nam. We use electronics that are constructed in Viet Nam. Travel to Viet Nam is no longer prohibited. Young Vietnamese study in the United States. Thirty-five years ago no one could have imagined this.

My hope is that what is happening in Iraq now will have the same ending as Viet Nam. Can it happen? Only time will tell.

An old Hopi Indian adage says, "When hope is gone, life is over."

[My thanks to Josh for getting me thinking.]

04 January 2006

i can dream, can't i...

Which superhero are you?

My results:

You are Green Lantern
Green Lantern
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Hot-headed. You have strong
will power and a good imagination.
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Thanks for the heads up from Weltanschauung

I certainly am glad it didn't turn out to be Supergirl or Wonder Woman! Though the latter may have fit during my heyday managing a bar!

I'm not sure about the Green Lantern though. He wasn't one of the comics I ever read, so I don't know very much about him. But I found information on Wikipedia about him. Interesting.

it could happen...

03 January 2006

it was true then...

No greater harm can be done than breaking the covenant of trust between the President and the people; between the three branches of our government; and between the country and the world.

For to break that covenant of trust is to dissolve the mortar that binds the foundation stones of our freedom into a secure and solid edifice. And to break that covenant of trust by violating one's oath is to do grave damage to the rule of law among us.

That none of us is above the law is a bedrock principle of democracy. To erode that bedrock is to risk even further injustice. To erode that bedrock is to subscribe, to a "divine right of kings" theory of governance, in which those who govern are absolved from adhering to the basic moral standards to which the governed are accountable.

We must never tolerate one law for the Ruler, and another for the Ruled. If we do, we break faith with our ancestors from Bunker Hill, Lexington and Concord to Flanders Field, Normandy, Iwo Jima, Panmunjon, Saigon and Desert Storm.

Let us be clear: The vote that you are asked to cast is, in the final analysis, a vote about the rule of law.

The rule of law is one of the great achievements of our civilization. For the alternative to the rule of law is the rule of raw power. We here today are the heirs of three thousand years of history in which humanity slowly, painfully and at great cost, evolved a form of politics in which law, not brute force, is the arbiter of our public destinies.

We are the heirs of the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic law: a moral code for a free people who, having been liberated from bondage, saw in law a means to avoid falling back into the habit of slaves.

We are the heirs of Roman law: the first legal system by which peoples of different cultures, languages, races, and religions came to live together in a form of political community.

We are the heirs of the Magna Carta, by which the freeman of England began to break the arbitrary and unchecked power of royal absolutism.

We are the heirs of a long tradition of parliamentary development, in which the rule of law gradually came to replace royal prerogative as the means for governing a society of free men and women.

We are the heirs of 1776, and of an epic moment in human affairs when the Founders of this Republic pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor - sacred honor - to the defense of the rule of law.

We are the heirs of a tragic civil war, which vindicated the rule of law over the appetites of some for owning others.

We are the heirs of the 20th century's great struggles against totalitarianism, in which the rule of law was defended at immense cost against the worst tyrannies in human history. The "rule of law" is no pious aspiration from a civics textbook. The rule of law is what stands between all of us and the arbitrary exercise of power by the state. The rule of law is the safeguard of our liberties. The rule of law is what allows us to live our freedom in ways that honor the freedom of others while strengthening the common good. The rule of law is like a three legged stool: one leg is an honest Judge, the second leg is an ethical bar and the third is an enforceable oath. All three are indispensable in a truly democratic society.

REP. HENRY HYDE, January 16, 1999

Rep. Henry Hyde's (R-IL) closing argument on the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton.

Heads up from
Hullabaloo by digby, January 2, 2006

...and what is the difference now?

just asking...

02 January 2006

a serious question...

Is there any way that Mr. Bush can extend his term of office, constitutionally or legally, short of military tactics?

just asking - curiously...