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Archive for February, 2007

February 28th, 2007

Well I See The Blue Noses Haven’t Won Yet…

The following opening sentence, taken from a genuine newspaper story, is brought to you as a public service of the Society For Laughing In Robert Bork’s Face:

A jazz musician was injured Friday after jumping from a burning motor home driven by a one-time roller skating stripper from Lodi.

As long as there is Jazz there will always be an America…

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

Still On The Line…

I first heard Wichita Lineman when Glen Campbell recorded it back in 1968.  Something about its aching wistfulness just grabbed me, even back then, well before I had any interest whatever in the dating and mating game. In 1968 I was in Junior High School (they call it Middle School nowadays…). I was 14 that summer, and already starting to get teased for my utter indifference to the opposite sex. But thanks to a really brutal sex ed class taught by our gym teachers, who loaded our little adolescent brains with a ton of horrific lies about homosexuals, I knew I couldn’t possibly be one of those. Girls just weren’t all that interesting, and the guys who big deal out of sex were morons.  I was above all that crap.

Yet even then, something about songs of loneliness and longing spoke to me.  Maybe it was because my family had just moved, again, and I’d had to leave another group of hard won friends behind.  Maybe it was that best friend who said he’d write and he never did.  Maybe it was seeing all the guys start turning their attention towards girls, and something deep down inside of me just knew, somehow, that I was going to have a much harder time of it then they would.  Yet, I very seldom paid any attention to the lyrics of a song.  My ear always treats the vocalizations as just another part of the music.  Lyrics are just too literal for the place where I go, when the music sweeps me up.  Railroading was the first context I’d heard the term ‘lineman’ used, and so for years I vaguely thought Wichita Lineman was about a train engineer, working a lonely branch line somewhere in Kansas. But it’s about a telephone lineman…

I am a lineman for the county and I drive the main road
Searchin’ in the sun for another overload

It’s a Jimmy Webb song.  A lot of the popular radio songs I used to listen to once upon a time, have turned out to be Jimmy Webb songs.  By the Time I Get to Phoenix.  Wichita Lineman.  Galveston.  Brad DeLong said of MacArthur Park that one of its many great beauties is that "…the schmaltziness of the metaphors and similes is so extreme and unbelievable that they deconstruct the ideas of "schmaltz" and "kitsch." Nobody could use these metaphors with a straight face. Yet the narrator of the song somehow does."  I’ll never listen to Galveston again the same way, after DeLong pointed out on his blog that it was about a solider in Vietnam, cleaning his gun for the next battle, knowing he would die before his love back home could see him again.  Webb’s father was a Baptist minister and ex Marine.  His mother died when he was still a teen.  All of his most popular songs were all composed when he was between 19 and 21 years of age.

I hear you singin’ in the wire…

The song is about a lineman who randomly hears a person’s voice while he is working on the lines, perhaps while he was testing the lines with an earphone, but considering the lyrics it’s more likely he’s hearing induction of local radio station signals directly into the wires. The radio and TV stations on the great plains are allowed to use considerably more power then here on the coast, for obvious reasons. Sometimes, those long stretches of copper wires will actually serve to rectify a strong signal, making them sing…

…I can hear you through the whine

That wistful whining of the strings in the Glen Campbell version of this make a lot more logical sense when you know all this, and yet you don’t need to know it at all: the sound works perfectly as music.  It evokes, at least for me, the emotion the lyrics speak to.  I have traveled the great plains just about every year I could by car, and it’s even more lonesome there then the southwestern deserts ever get. The Big Empty is how I think of it, beautiful though it is.  And far from the noise of the cities and the Interstates, it’s Quiet.  So quiet sounds normally masked to you begin to come forward.  You hear the wind gently rustling the tall grass.  You hear grasshoppers jump from one blade to the next.  Stand out there long enough, perfectly still, and you can start to hear your own heart beating.

And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

Picture someone working those telephone lines alone in that gently rolling sea of tall grass. In 1968, long before cell phones and the internet and satellite TV, those long stretches of copper wire vaulting from one horizon to the next were all that kept the people of the plains in any sort of direct contact with the rest of the world.  His job is important to his people. He is keeping them connected to each other.  But what of him?

I know I need a small vacation but it don’t look like rain
And if it snows that stretch down south won’t ever stand the strain

Working high on the telephone poles in the middle of The Big Empty, you could easily imagine yourself the only person on earth. Yet the wires in your hands are alive with the high pitched confused noise of busy human chatter. The sound rises and falls as you work, like the quiet hiss of waves washing gently up on a shore, and then drawing back into the sea. The human race is having a conversation with itself. But its all jumbled together, out of phase, mixed with random harmonics and radio frequency heterodyning. All you hear is a gentle whine coming off the wires. But the human ear, like the human eye, tries to discern order within chaos. The lineman hears, or he thinks he hears, a voice…and it beguiles him.

And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

Perhaps the voice fades back quickly into the whine and he never hears it again.  Perhaps it comes and goes.  The song does not say.  Perhaps the lineman hears it randomly from then on while he works out on the lines.  A beautiful, beguiling voice, keeping him company while he gets on with his life out in The Big Empty.


Highway 64, Near Guymon, Oklahoma – June 2006


by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

February 27th, 2007

Remember, It’s “Thou Shalt Not”, Not “I Shalt Not”…

Homosexuals are destroying the moral fabric of society and the church…Part I:

…I believe this is a vital issue in the life of the church. The hope of wholeness and holiness of life is integral to the Gospel message. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to save us from throwing gum wrappers on the sidewalk or using the wrong fork to eat our tofu, he died to save our deepest selves from our darkest sins. And, because we are created with human bodies full of hormones and fallen psyches full of what my friend Bill Stafford calls "disordered affections," many of those deepest sins will involve our sexuality. We are not given new life and new power in Christ so we can do what we darn well please. We are not our own, we are bought with a price, says St. Paul. Therefore, he says, we are to glorify God with our bodies.

In August of 21003, ECUSA’s General Convention created an uproar when it decided to endorse and bless the consecration to the office of bishop a man publically and proudly living a homo-erotic relationship. This unprecedented decision–made in the face of international pleas that it not take place–created an uproar in the whole Christian and, indeed, the entire mono-theistic world. The Anglican Communion, under the direction of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, created a commission to explore how the communion could and should respond to this provocative, unilateral action by one small branch of the Anglican Communion… 

The Episcopal Church needs to be called to just the sort of repentance and humility it says it believes. Only that sort of clear, forthright repentance can lead to reconciliation…


Part II

Anglicans fire conservative Clay priest

Church ousts him after ‘inappropriate relationship’

An Orange Park priest and leading voice in the theologically conservative Anglican movement in America has been stripped of his clerical credentials after having "an inappropriate relationship" with an adult female church member, the parish’s top lay leader said Monday.

The Rev. SAMUEL C. PASCOE was removed Feb. 10 from his position as senior rector at Grace Church (Anglican) and lost his ministerial license as a result of the relationship, said David Nelson, senior warden of the former Episcopal congregation.

Pascoe, who is married with three sons, said he couldn’t comment on the situation and referred all questions to Nelson.

Pascoe, 56, for several years has been an outspoken critic of the Episcopal Church USA for what he and others see as the denomination’s increasingly progressive interpretation of Scripture and its growing acceptance of homosexuality.

When the denomination elected an openly gay priest as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, Pascoe helped lead a movement that resulted in his and several other parishes quitting the denomination and its Jacksonville-based Episcopal Diocese of Florida. He sharply criticized Florida Bishop John Howard for refusing to quit the national church.

"He’s known nationally, for sure, and he’s probably the biggest player in Florida," said David Virtue of, an Internet-based Anglican news and commentary site with about 4 million readers.

Pascoe led his parish into the Anglican Mission in the Americas, then orchestrated a $4 million fundraising campaign to build new facilities after the congregation left Grace Episcopal property in 2006, Virtue said.

Virtue said the tragedy isn’t for the Anglican movement but for Pascoe and his family.

"He is a godly evangelical who struggled for the faith, led his parish out … and started all over again, and then suddenly this," Virtue said. "It defies all reason."

The Rev. Kurt Dunkle, a spokesman for Howard and the newly installed rector at Grace Episcopal Church, said the diocese has no comment.

Nor did the Rev. Neil Lebhar, a spokesman for the Anglican Alliance of North Florida and another leader of the region’s Anglican movement.

Nelson said the parish was informed of the relationship and Pascoe’s status during Ash Wednesday services last week and again in services Sunday.

"It’s a painful thing that has taken place," Nelson said. "And it’s difficult for Sam given the comments he has made" on issues of sexual morality.

Ah…just blame the homos.  That’s the routine in that glass house you call a church isn’t it?  It isn’t Sam’s fault, whatever he did that was…inappropriate.  It’s ours…right?   Because Gene Robinson became a bishop poor Sam just lost all his moral bearings and he couldn’t help himself.  Blame Gene Robinson.  Sam’s a righteous man of God so it can’t be his fault he’s a jackass.  It has to be the gays fault.  Blame us.  That’s what you think we were put on this earth for after all, isn’t it?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Remember, It’s “Thou Shalt Not”, Not “I Shalt Not”…


They say that fundamentalism springs from fear of the unknown. They say it’s a retreat from reality into the comfort of dogma: a mental padded cell where no doubt ever disturbs the peaceful tranquility. It is a place they say, where there are no questions, no doubts, only comfortable certainties. A place where you don’t have to think for yourself, and most importantly, where you are not responsible, only forgiven.

I disagree. Fundamentalism I believe, springs not from fear of the unknown, but from fear of the people next door. Fear that they can cope with the world as it is, better then you can. Resentment of their courage in facing a world that you cannot. Envy that turns into hate. Fundamentalism doesn’t so much give you a place to hide from the world that the rest of us manage, somehow, to go on living in, as give you permission to put your thumb into our eyes.

Here, Mara Schiavocampo captures Peterson Toscano in a couple all-too-brief passages from his one man play, Doing Time In The Homo No-Mo Halfway House. She intercuts excerpts from Peterson’s play, and an interview with him, with an interview of John Smid inside his little ex-Episcopalian church, turned conversion therapy camp. There’s a moment in the video with that’s telling, and it comes when Peterson explains how he finally had to ask himself one day, what he was doing to himself, and John he insists that The Truth…The Truth…The Truth…has set him free…

The Truth…The Truth…The Truth… Jacob Bronowski in his magnificent book and BBC series on the history of science, The Ascent of Man, devoted an entire episode to the difference between truth and dogma, titled Knowledge or Certainty. He begins with the face of his friend, Stephan Borgrajewicz who, like himself, was born in Poland. And he asks us, how well, how precisely, can we describe this man’s face? He asks a painter to render it, and says…

We are aware the these pictures do not fix the face so much as explore it; that the artist is tracing the detail almost as if by touch; and that each line that is added strengthens picture but never makes it final. We accept that as the method of the artist. But what physics has now done is to show that that is the only method to knowledge. There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy. All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility. That is the human condition; and that is what quantum physics says. I mean that literally.

This episode is the heart of the entire series. In it, Bronowski calmly and methodically rips to bits the view that science is only about dry facts and figures. It is a method of knowledge he insists…a very human one. We are not Gods, we do not have the perfect God’s eye view of reality. So we must approach what we know with humility, and question it, and test it, and verify it, because we do not have that perfect absolute knowledge of Gods. We can be right, we can be wrong, but when we do not test our knowledge against reality, when we set ourselves apart from that need to test our understandings and let nature speak its truths for itself, we open the door to the worst that is possible within us. And that worst has no bottom. Bronowski ends the episode on one of public television’s most powerful, most moving moments, and it ends as it began, with the face of Stephan Borgrajewicz, many years younger, taken when he was imprisoned in a concentration camp…

We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power. We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act. We have to touch people. The truth John, is that you won’t stop forcing gay teens through your program against their will, because it’s the ones that are comfortable with who they are that you need to force your cheapshit cowardly self loathings into the most. The truth John, is that you sold out every moment of pure and honest happiness you could ever have had, for the sake of pleasing a world that Still thinks you’re a pervert. The truth John, is that now you can’t bear to see a happy, well adjusted gay kid, because they remind you of everything you could have been, everything you could have had. The truth is the wall is yellow John. Take a look at it someday god damn you. An honestly lived life isn’t necessarily an easier one, but it’s…you know…Authentic and Real.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Truth

Are You Going To Scarborough Faire…?

Scarborough Fair was a 45 day trading fair held in the seaside resort of Scarborough in medieval England.  In its time it was internationally famous as a place to trade and do business with merchants from all over England, parts of Europe and Scandinavia.  I’ve often imagined that the song that bears its name had its origins in some poor unrequited lover’s ballade.  He was a bumpkin come to the fair from the sticks to make his fortune, or at least a little spending money he could take back home.  But he lost his heart instead.  You have to figure though, that any song humans have sung across the centuries is just ambiguous enough that anyone can imagine themselves in it. 

As the years passed, it gradually became a duet sung by lovers who seemed separated by more then the distance between them…

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Remember me to one who lives there,
He once was a true love of mine.

For me, when I’m in a certain mood, nothing beats hearing Sergio Mendes & Brazil ’66 sing this chorus.  It’s seductive and beautiful. But they only sing the chorus.  There’s more to it, and when you uncover the additional verses of this old medieval song, what you discover is that it is a duet between two lovers who are asking each other to perform simple, yet clearly impossible tasks…

Ask him to find me an acre of land,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Between the salt water and the sea-strand,
For then he’ll be a true love of mine.

Ask him to plough it with a lamb’s horn,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
And sow it all over with one peppercorn,
For then he’ll be a true love of mine.

Ask him to reap it with a sickle of leather,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
And gather it up with a rope made of heather,
For then he’ll be a true love of mine.

Again, it’s all just ambiguous enough that you can see in it almost anything you want to.  Maybe this was medieval England’s 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.  Maybe its a devoted couple having a good laugh together that while they aren’t the perfect lovers of the folk tales and ballades, they’re still happily in love all the same.  Maybe its a couple who’ve let each other down, angrily hurling impossible demands at each other.  Maybe the song is about how love makes us rise above ourselves, brings things out of us that we’d never have known were there, never have known we could do or become, until we met that one person we would do anything for.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,

Perhaps once upon a time there were two people who might have loved, but time and circumstance just made it impossible.  And now all they can do is wave at each other at a distance, smile a little, laugh a little, and ironically give each other these little absurd tasks to win each other, knowing full well it can never be.

Remember me to one who lives there,
He once was a true love of mine.

The songs that speak to us about the human condition across the ages, tell just enough, and leave out just enough, that everyone can recognize themselves in them.  

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Are You Going To Scarborough Faire…?

February 26th, 2007

Their Blood Is Upon Them…

Via Pam’s House Blend…  In a blog post titled, Is San Diego’s Gay Community Experiencing God’s Judgment – Violence, Disease & Death Overwhelming Local Gay Community, Professional Ex-Gay James Hartline makes it clear that as far as he’s concerned, homosexuals bring violence down on themselves, simply for existing…

While the vast majority of Hillcrest’s gay population rejects the Bible, it may prove useful to them to at least consider what the Bible has to say about the self-destructive choices they are making. The Book of Deuteronomy reveals the high cost to a community or group of people who reject God’s commandments and laws:

"But if you refuse to listen to the Lord your God and do not obey all the commands and laws I am giving you today, all of these curses will come and overwhelm you: You will be cursed with confusion and disillusionment in everything you do, until at last you are completely destroyed for doing evil and forsaking me. The Lord will send diseases among you until none of you are left in the land you are about to enter and occupy. The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, fever, and inflammation. These devastations will pursue you until you die.  The Lord will cause you to be defeated by your enemies. You will be oppressed and robbed continually, and no one will come to save you."

…and so on.  Ever get the feeling when you hear people reciting those verses that they’re not so much warning their neighbors about God’s wrath, as cheering it on…?   Anyway, Hartline’s post is pretty long and rant-rambling as you might expect from a babbling bible thumper, but here’s a couple passages from it that I think get to the meat of it.  First, Hartline recounts his crusade against the annual San Diego (his hometown) Pride Day festival, and how the defiant San Diego gays just kept listening to Satan rather then the prophet Hartline…

During the San Diego City Council hearing on July 25, 2006, over 90 gay activists and their supporters showed up to influence the council’s decision to issue a proclamation to honor the San Diego Gay Pride organization and its annual events. Rather than acknowledge the terrible decisions that the group had made the previous year when San Diego Gay Pride had hired the network of sex offenders, the multitude of gay activists used the city council hearing to lambast Christians opposed to the pornographic gay pride events. In speech after speech, gay and lesbian gay pride promoters attacked Christians and their beliefs. It had now become perfectly clear that there would be no repentence on the part of those gay leaders who have been so determined to continue their rabid quest to indoctrinate San Diego’s youth into their crusade of sexual anarchy.

Well of course they only have themselves to blame for what happened next…

Several days later, the San Diego Gay Pride Festival turned from a celebration of homosexuality and pornography into a tragic blood bath as several gay males were severely beaten outside of the gay pride festival grounds ( The assaults were so severe that one of the victims, Oscar Foster, remained in intensive care for two weeks due to a fractured skull and mutilple facial injuries. Baseball bats and a knife were used in the horrific attacks. James Allen Carroll received eleven years in prison for attempted murder on the victims after accepting a plea bargain with prosecutors. Two other adult attackers also received lengthy prison terms for their roles in the heinous attacks.

Yes…he’s saying their that God sent those thugs to beat the living crap out of the homosexuals to punish them.   A little further down Hartline makes it specifically and abundantly clear:

While there may not be any apparent moral conviction for embracing such anti-christian discrimination, is it possible that these same gay leaders will ever consider that their actions are reaping a judgment from God on their community? Is it actually possible that God is angry with their mockery of the Bible that has become a cornerstone of the gay community in San Diego? If so, will there be any reconsideration by San Diego’s gay community for their anti-god, anti-christian behaviors? Is Hillcrest being warned by God? What will happen if they don’t heed such warnings?

Although leaders of the San Diego homosexual movement have rejected any Biblical references to homosexuality and lesbianism as being a sin, perhaps it is time for them to rethink their conclusions. The Bible teaches a premise that the wages for sin include death. While most in the gay community reject that premise, is it possible, that in doing so, they could be wrong? Is it possible that God does judge those that harm children? Is it possible that God is now judging San Diego’s homosexual community for its continued promotion of rebellion against the Bible?

The wages of sin are death…  But it wasn’t God striking down peaceful festival goers that day, it was a gang of gay hating thugs acting out in an atmosphere that had been charged for months with Hartline’s venomous accusations that San Diego Pride was facilitating pedophilia, and indoctrinating children into homosexuality.   Hartline stoked a climate of hate in San Diego in which violence toward homosexuals attending Pride Day became practically inevitable.   And now that it’s happened, he’s telling gay bashers yet waiting in the wings that they’re not responsible.  Even if the blood of gay people is literally on their hands, Hartline says as far as God is concerned, that blood is upon the gays themselves.  That club isn’t in your hands…it’s in God’s hands…so swing away because you’re only doing God’s will…God smites them through you…   Black market arms dealers selling explosives to terrorists for money probably give more thought to the human lives they’re putting at risk then Hartline does. 

This is how the game is played below the radar of the mainstream news media, that accepts at face value the protestations of the main religious right celebrities, that they love the sinner, and only hate the sin.  It isn’t true.  To a man, they all believe what Hartline so blatantly shouts there in that blog post: that violent attacks on homosexuals represents God’s judgment upon them…that violent attacks on homosexuals fulfill the will of God.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Their Blood Is Upon Them…

February 25th, 2007

I Can’t Draw…


Unforgettable…That’s What You Are…
Unforgettable though near or far
Like a song of love that clings to me
How the thought of you does things to me
Never before has someone been more

Nat King Cole is singing on my iPod and it’s drizzling freezing rain outside and I’m nursing a glass of Kahlua and there is a face and a name that I just can’t get out of my thoughts, and it’s been like that for days now and I’m sorry.  I had a couple of cartoons I wanted to get finished before today and I just haven’t been able to put pen to paper for days now.  This is why I stopped drawing, stopped painting, stopped working with my cameras, for over a decade…it’s why I’m a software engineer now, and not the graphic artist or photographer everyone from Woodward assumed I’d become someday…this bundle of feeling that I have to deal with every time I walk into that space inside of me where all my creativity comes from.  There’s a piece missing from what should have been my life and before I can sit down and do anything in my art room I have to deal with that and sometimes I just can’t.  There’s a bit of that loss, that quiet, waiting, life-on-hold emptiness, in Everything I’ve Ever Done since 1975 and by the late 1980s I just got so sick of seeing it staring back at me from my artwork that I just stopped doing anything…I took my easel down, put my oils, my pens and charcoal sticks, my drawing pads away, put my cameras away, and just plinked on a computer (just like I’m doing now) for creative release. 

I want that part of me back.  I really want it back.  But it’s a struggle.  I have my ups and downs now…and this week has just been particularly bad.  I’m sorry.  Nothing more for now.  I just can’t.  I guess this is why I’ll never be a professional cartoonist or artist.  I’m sorry.  I just can’t.  I’m sorry.

I remember skies
Mirrored in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you
Think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on I Can’t Draw…

Random Ten…

Since all the other kids seem to be doing it…   Here’s the first ten I get when I do a shuffle play on my iPod:

Woodsong – R. Carlos Nakai
Nixon In China, Act I, Scene II – John Adams
Looking At Heaven (Tombstone) – Bruce Broughton
Up The Cathedral (Batman) – Danny Elfman
Rachmaninov – Symphony #1 First Movement – Andre Previn
Silbelius – Tapiola op.112, Largamente – Herbert von Karajan
In The Bath (Pleasantville) – Randy Newman
In The Bulrushes (The Ten Commandments) – Elmer Bernstein
Marcia Without Hope (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) – Ennio Morricone
Points To Port/End Titles (The Blue Lagoon) – Basil Poledouris

(shrug) From Batman to Rachmaninov to The Ten Commandments to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly…that’s me…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Random Ten…

Buttermilk Pancake Recipe #2

I’d just bought readymade pancake mix until recently, when I decided to try my hand at mixing up my own.  For the first time Fanny Farmer let me down with one of her recipes.  I just didn’t like the buttermilk pancake one she had.  So I tried a little experimentation.  My second try was pretty good, so I’m sharing…

1 cup all purpose four
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
1 egg (I use jumbo from free range non-drugged chickens)
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter
Some whole milk

Generally, I try to get the best organic non-chemically treated basic ingredients I can find.  Usually that’s at Whole Foods.  I think that’s particularly important when it comes to the dairy stuff here…

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.  In another, beat the egg in the buttermilk.  Then mix the dry ingredients with the wet and add the butter.  Add just enough whole milk to make the batter the right consistency…not too thick or thin. 

Fry over medium heat until the bottoms start turning golden. 

You can probably substitute your favorite sweetener and non-butter-butter if the calories here are disturbing to you.  But I’m still doing alright on my diet, which is really more a just-watch-what-you-eat-from-now-on kinda thing then an actual diet.  On a cold weekend morning, if I’m doing pancakes I will usually make myself a small stack with a side of eggs (over easy) and sausage links.  I use maple syrup but not so the pancakes are drowning in it.  That’ll be my big meal for the day.  The rest of the day is light eating.  I can eat stuff like this on weekends and still maintain a decent weight (I’m down to 148 pounds now…I had been 170 a few months ago), simply by not snacking on junk food between meals. 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Buttermilk Pancake Recipe #2

Loving The Sinner…(continued)

For those of you who have been following it (which is likely only those of you who read the gay news sites), the 72 year old gay man who was beaten with a pipe the other day, by a man on his bus who asked him if he was gay, has died…

Anthos, Capitol’s ‘dome man’, dies after attack

Andrew Anthos died Friday of injuries sustained during an attack last week outside his downtown Detroit apartment building. Family members said he was a victim of an anti-gay hate crime.

Anthos was on a city bus Feb. 13 when a man asked him if he was gay. The man followed Anthos off the bus at the stop in front of his building and beat him with a metal pipe.

Anthos, whose family said he was gay, was taken to a hospital and later fell into a coma.

Local and national gay rights groups condemned the attack. Police told The Detroit News in story published Friday that the department was investigating whether the attack was a hate crime.

Dig it.  His attacker asked him if he was gay and then followed him off the bus and beat the living crap out of him with a pipe so badly it left him paralyzed from the neck down and then he died, but we’re not sure it’s a hate crime.  But…never mind.  Actually, it isn’t a hate crime in Michigan, It can’t be, because sexual orientation isn’t covered in Michigan’s hate crime statutes.  Somewhere, Richard Cohen is nodding approvingly.

This is what Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin, looks like in practice, or as one of Bill Donohue’s nemesis, Shakespear’s Sister, points out

This shit doesn’t happen in a void. Like the sexualization and objectification of women in the media being psychologically damaging to girls, the constant drumbeat of negative stereotypes and exploitative hatred issued by the GOP and social/religious conservative leaders is dangerous for members of the LGBT community. And the hatemongers’ faux-naïveté at the reality that you can’t continually put a target on someone’s back but expect no one to shoot at it is growing really goddamned old. The hate-the-gays schtick isn’t just infuriating and spiteful and wrong; it’s irresponsible.

But it’s effective.  It keeps winning them elections.  It keeps the cash flowing in.  And it keeps the gays fearful.  A fearful homosexual is a good homosexual.  Not perhaps, as good as a dead one, but it will do.

The reference to "Dome Man" comes from Anthos’ campaign to light the Michigan Statehouse dome in red, white and blue colors one night a year…

Photo by Lansing State Journal file photo


So he loved his country, and he loved his state.  Too bad they couldn’t have loved him back.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

February 24th, 2007

Ice…Again… Now How Much Food Do I Have On Hand…?

Ugh.  More sleet and freezing rain early tomorrow morning and then sleet and freezing rain all day tomorrow and then some more Monday morning.  I’m serious…I’d rather have three feet of snow then half an inch of ice.  Snow you can at least shovel.

That last batch of sleet and freezing rain left a ground cover that looked like just a little snow but was as hard as concrete and slippery as all hell.  You just couldn’t walk on it…you got zero traction.  There’s still patches of it out there now as I type this, but the streets and sidewalks had just gotten clear enough that you could move around outside almost like normal.  Now it looks like it’s going to happen all over again. Urgh!  I hate ice!

I spent the day at the grocery store and Costco stocking up on non-perishables, and at Whole Foods for a few things that will last a few weeks: a couple blocks of aged Vermont Cheddar…the jumbo brown free range eggs I like, and some buttermilk and regular milk so I can make some pancakes while I’m stuck inside…some lean ground beef and some deli meats.  Olive Oil for cooking.  Some peanut oil for the deep fryer.  I also restocked on all purpose flour and some other baking stuff.  But it isn’t entirely the pending ice storm that’s driving it.

Every November I buy a lot of bulk items so I won’t have to hassle with the crowds at the supermarkets every time there’s a snow forecast.  I’m not into that survivalist thing, I just hate crowds.  After I buy all that stuff I just feed off it until my stocks are back down to normal levels again in the spring.  But it’s stories like this that have made me consider making that four month supply of food and sundries a permanent feature here at Casa del Garrett.  Obviously I’m down to late February levels here…I normally only plan on having my overstock last through March.

I’m typically very skeptical of all the doomsday scenarios that scream at me from the papers.  But my maternal grandmother used to tell me stories about the great flu epidemic of 1918 (she was a nurse’s aid back then) and maybe that’s why I’m a tad nervous about this one.  During the cold war I always figured those of us who lived near Washington were all toast anyway if the missiles starting flying, and my folks and I never got caught up in that fall out shelter craze.  Nobody I knew bothered with it either.  Now I’m seriously thinking about keeping a four month supply of food here at home all year long.  Welcome to the twenty-first century.  Lets hear it for Spam.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Ice…Again… Now How Much Food Do I Have On Hand…?

So Many Roads To My Door…

I was checking over my web server logs recently and was pleasantly surprised to see that for another year This Cartoon got a lot of hits from people searching for Valentine’s Day cartoons.  It’s still somewhat of a puzzle since there is no text on the page identifying it as a Valentine’s Day cartoon, and even the image filename, "by_the_way.jpg" doesn’t give any indication.  Yet it turns up pretty reliably in the Yahoo search engine for Valentine’s Day cartoons.  Either they’re OCR-ing the image itself, or they’re keying on the link to it on my archives page, which does say "Happy Valentines Day".

You can see the search strings people use to get to you in the server logs, so I know that many folks who found the cartoon, were searching on the string "valentine’s day cartoon".  However, there were also a few cranky grouches in the mix:

homo valentines day
fuck valentine day
pervert valentine cartoon

Let’s just say none of you will be getting Valentine’s Day cards from me anytime soon.  And then there was this from someone who needs a lover worse then I do: 

valentines day on drugs

Oh, cheer up. 

Anyway, there’s nothing quite like looking though the search strings that lead to your web page to give you a somewhat unsettling glance at the human psyche.  So here’s another installment in our What The Hell Were You Thinking When You Googled That series. 

Naturally, I get a lot of hits from people searching for cartoons of one sort or another…

nude cartoon sex
cartoon sex
sex cartoons
cartoons having sex
gay cartoons having sex

I’m sensing a pattern here…

homosexuality cartoon

Okay…I have a few of those…  But I do politics, not pornography.  I think you’re going to be disappointed.

republican gay cartoon

Now that’s disgusting!

Then there are the ones who just want sex, never mind the cartoon…

mothers caught on tape having sex and fucking
niece uncle wimp incest
fucking brides at their weddings story
kink questionaire

Next time some homophobic crackpot starts yapping about how sex is all that gay men ever think about I’ll direct them to my server logs…

"sandra jones" sex
solar woman is stripped and raped fantasy stories

Who the hell is solar woman?  Well at least I’m not getting hit on by Sailor Moon fetishists.  On the other hand, this post will probably attract them like flies now…

does sally fields wear bikini underwear?

If this is about The Flying Nun I don’t want to know. 

"moan during sex"

I’m picturing a cute little geeky guy who just had his first sex ever and noticed his lover moaning and he’s searching Google to make sure that’s what’s supposed to happen.  In a few more years we’ll all be wondering how humans ever had sex before the Internet.  Like these folks who just seem to be searching for a clue as to what its all about… 

having sex

Well that’s been my experience.  If I was better looking and a lot more  shameless it might equal money, but on the whole I think I’d rather sex just equaled sex.  It’s complicated enough as it is.

nude gay boys in a sleeping bag

Have you tried one of Justin Lookadoo’s ex-gay summer youth camps?  Wait…  That you Justin…?

wierd men’s underwear

That the underwear that’s weird, or the men?  Or is it you? 

alien impregnation stories

Okay…we’re in the Twilight Zone now. 

how to undress a client with multiple trauma 

I ran across this one in the server logs and thought, I’ll just assume that’s really a healthcare professional asking that.  Then I thought, why would a healthcare professional be searching for instructions on Google?  Okay…who the hell was asking that? 

Behold the pure randomness of human curiosity…

plans for building reflex water distiller   
free "brochure template", industrial monitoring
sombrero brontosaur

We must be on the alert for illegal aliens from the Jurassic…

can i take my big screen tv apart so it can fit in my basement

Sure.  Try the hammer.  I bet the hammer will work.  Try the hammer.

show paragraph about drafting job what kind is job

Those who can’t write, draw…

inventor of the bowling ally
what do you think about aging

Compared to dying?  Well I’m not all that keen on dying.   Compared to bowling?  I’m not so sure.  Would I rather go bowling or get older?  Hmmmm….   That’s a toughie…

rocket to venus baltimore

Venus Baltimore is that other Venus, where the aliens wear beehive hair-dos, live in a lot of tightly packed rowhouses, keep pink flamingos on their lawns and ceramic cats on their walls and call everyone ‘Hon’.  You from earth, Hon? 

how hamburger pattie is digested in the body

Bile.  Probably.

plot summary of lot mine eyes have seen the glory by anita bryant

Bile.  Probably.

how did ricard nixon abuse power?

Now this person came in from Google…and I just now verified that Google will prompt you with "Did you mean: how did richard nixon abuse power?", yet this individual persisted with "ricard" anyway and they got one of my blog pages in a search result that clearly indicated I was talking about Ricard Wagner.   Yet they clicked on the link anyway.   Go figure.  But here’s a poor frustrated soul who really needs a few lessons in not only how to use a search engine, but when…

i give up all im asking is a simple question.i live in a house with a basement door in the front hallway gas furnace in basement now is it okay for door to be open

Ask.  Your.  Gas.  Company.  Questions.  Like.  This.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on So Many Roads To My Door…

February 23rd, 2007

A Boy’s Toys…

I’ve had the camera bug since I was an elementary school kid, but it wasn’t until high school that it began to get really serious, and the finger candy really expensive.  Luckily mom was pretty forbearing about my turning the one bathroom in our little two bedroom apartment into an occasional darkroom.  She always encouraged my creative outlets.

I’ve been going through my old high school negatives recently for a couple projects I’m working on here and I came across a few shots I took of myself in my bedroom mirror with the latest prized camera.  Here are three documenting my climb up the SLR latter, from my first Petri FT to the professional grade Canon F1 I spent a summer working at a fast food joint to buy. 

The Petri FT, circa 1970. I’m 16.


The Miranda Sensorex, circa 1971.  I’m 17.


The F1, circa 1971.


Note the little plastic film canisters I’d taped to the camera straps.  That was the style back then among us camera kids.  It kept your spare film handy and it made you look hard core.  But when I got out into the world and tried to make a living at it I found that they just got in the way…so I ended up taking them off. 

Both the Petri and the Miranda had front mounded shutter releases instead of the usual top mounted, which was and is unusual (I don’t think any camera maker does that anymore), but I found I preferred it.  The Miranda had full aperture semi-spot metering and a removable pentaprisim.  But when I saw that first Canon F1 in the store I knew that was the camera I could spend a lifetime taking pictures with. 

The flash you see on the F1 is just for show in this picture.  I very seldom used a flash, even back then.  Once I started developing my own film I pretty quickly gravitated to Kodak’s Tri-X Pan which was high speed for the time, but if you were careful about how you developed it you could get pretty nice not-so-grainy available light images off it.  All these images are from Tri-X negatives.  The only time I every really used the flash back then was when I was covering sports events for my school newspaper (it was called The Advocate… (grin))  Note how the flash hot shoe actually clipped on over the rewind knob on the original F1.

The Petri and the Miranda got sold, each one to help fund the purchase of the next.  But I still have that F1 and I still use it and it’s been with me just about everywhere.  It took all the 35mm color shots you see in my current photo gallery.  That camera’s the best.  I’d sell the house before I’d sell that camera.

Oh…and I still have the little stuffed tiger you see there perched in front of my dresser mirror. 


by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

Why My Irony Buffer Keeps Overflowing

I should just stop reading the news first thing in the morning…

Gay Marriage Critic Tried on Lewdness

The lawyer for a former Baptist church leader who had spoken out against homosexuality said Thursday the minister has a constitutional right to solicit sex from an undercover policeman.

The Rev. Lonnie W. Latham had supported a resolution calling on gays and lesbians to reject their "sinful, destructive lifestyle" before his Jan. 3, 2006, arrest outside the Habana Inn in Oklahoma City.

Authorities say he asked the undercover policeman to come up to his hotel for oral sex.

His attorney, Mack Martin, filed a motion to have the misdemeanor lewdness charge thrown out, saying the Supreme Court ruled in the 2003 decision Lawrence v. Texas that it was not illegal for consenting adults to engage in private homosexual acts.

"Now, my client’s being prosecuted basically for having offered to engage in such an act, which basically makes it a crime to ask someone to do something that’s legal," Martin said.

Both sides agree there was no offer of money, but prosecutor Scott Rowland said there is a "legitimate governmental interest" in regulating offers of acts of lewdness.

Latham’s lawyer has a point.  And as a card carrying member I am happy to see that the ACLU filed a brief on his behalf.  But if the government is poking its nose where it doesn’t belong, its louts like Latham who’ve made that inevitable.  The pulpits bear a heavy responsibility for our culture’s dysfunctional attitudes toward sex and sexuality.  I can see where people might not like having to navigate through a gauntlet of men out looking for sex when they’re just trying to walk down a street or though a park but that’s what you get when you treat sex like its something that’s radioactive, instead of a normal part of our flesh and blood lives.   Here in America sex is either dirty or its cheap, but it isn’t allowed to be wonderful.  And it’s mostly pulpit thumping jackasses like Latham who are to blame for that.  They’re the ones who’ve made sex another three letter word for sin.  They’ve taken what should be a wonderful, playful, joyful, part of our lives, and tainted it with guilt and shame.  Then they cash in on the damage that does.  It’s unforgivable.

I remember watching Phyllis Schlafly on TV babbling about how all you need to teach teenagers about sex is don’t touch anything inside your bathing suits.   Well if that’s all you teach them, then don’t be shocked, shocked, when they grow up to be adults who troll the streets at night for random cheap anonymous sex, because an instinct they never learned how to deal with honorably, that’s hundreds of millions of years older then the human race itself, is dragging them out there by the cords on their bathing suits and they don’t have clue one why they can’t stop themselves.  Just on principal I hope Latham wins his case, but I don’t feel sorry for him in the least.  So called men of God like him have a lot of human misery to answer for.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Why My Irony Buffer Keeps Overflowing

February 22nd, 2007

Couldn’t You At Least Have Offered A Moneyback Guarantee?

…and…a blender?

Here’s Peterson Toscano and Lance Carroll on the Montel Williams show, briefly discussing how they came to find themselves in reparative therapy. Two things are worth noting here: Peterson went in of his own free will, while Lance was forced into it by his parents. Peterson left of his own accord, finally accepting himself just as he was, and remained very close to both his parents. Lance is now estranged from both of his. 

This conversation is all too brief, but I guess that’s the format of the Montel Williams show, to flit from one topic to another to another during the course of an hour. Someone should sit those two down together for a long talk on camera where they can talk about their experiences in more depth, how it felt, what it did to them, what their lives are like now: the one who went in of his own accord out of devotion to God, and the one who was forced in against his will.


And here’s a clip from a Boston Legal episode about a man suing his ex-gay ministry. Great line at the end…

John…are you reading this? Have you given Lance’s parents back their money yet? Bring families together do you? Ever tell Lance you’re sorry? Ever find where you buried your conscience? You had one once…didn’t you? Do you remember what it was like…way back then…to have a conscience…?

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

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