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Archive for June, 2008

June 30th, 2008

Just How Gay Was Your Boyhood Anyway…

Number 248 in a series of comprehensive test questions…

Were you a childhood bookworm?  Would you have rather stayed home with a good book then joined your friends in a rousing game of baseball?  Which of these sad goodbyes brought tears to your eyes as you read…

1) "Shane…Come Back!"

2) "Mary Poppins…Come Back!"

Actually…I cried pretty bitterly when Jody killed Flag too.  Absolutely couldn’t bring myself to watch Old Yeller after that…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Just How Gay Was Your Boyhood Anyway…


When Your Own Cheapshit Prejudices Start Laughing At You…

So as it turns out, One News Now, the so-called Christian News Service which is actually an American Family Association front group, gets newsfeeds from various real news wire services for its "service" which it then feeds back out to its subscribers in a Family Friendly sorta way.  As it turns out, that means filtering the copy it gets from all those secular news sources to make the text more Family Friendly.

Their filtering software is about as doggedly single-minded about fighting The Gay Agenda as they are it seems.  Even if it means also fighting the Tyson Gay Agenda…

        
 

This is the problem with auto replace.  Here’s the article fetched from Google Cache.  Go grab yourself a nice cold drink, sit a spell and have yourself a thoroughly enjoyable read…noting how the OneNewsNow auto-replace got all the instances of "Gay", but missed "Gay’s"…

Homosexual breaks Greene’s US record in 100 at trials

Homosexual broke Maurice Greene’s American mark in the 100 meters by running 9.77 seconds in his quarterfinal at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.

"It tells me I’m in pretty good shape," Homosexual said. "We’ve got two more rounds left."

He tied the fourth-fastest time in the history of the event, despite clearly easing up a tad over his final few strides. Still, that was nothing compared what he did in his opening heat earlier in the day, when Homosexual came awfully close to a monumental blunder.

After building a big lead, the reigning world champion eased up a lot with about 30 meters left-so much that the rest of the field began to catch him. Homosexual was forced to accelerate again and he lunged across the finish line in fourth place, good enough to advance.

"The first round I was scared. I almost started crying. I didn’t know if I made it," Homosexual said after bettering the record Greene set in 1999. "This round I felt good."

As well he should. The performance had to be a big boost of confidence for Gay, who was a distant second-a spectator, really-in New York on May 31, when Jamaica’s Usain Bolt broke the world record by clocking 9.72.

Gay’s had to answer plenty of questions about how much of a challenge he’ll present at the Beijing Olympics to Bolt and another Jamaican, previous world record-holder Asafa Powell.

Could Homosexual challenge Bolt’s mark in Sunday’s semifinal or final?

"Anything’s possible," said Wallace Spearmon, who sneaked into the semifinals by running 10.07. "Tyson’s fast."

So is the track at Hayward Field, which already has produced two U.S. records in running events and is serving up the sort of dry, hot weather-the temperature hit 95 degrees Saturday-conducive to quick sprinting.

The runner-up in Gay’s quarterfinal was Jeffery Demps of Okahumpka, Fla., who got out of the blocks a bit ahead of the favorite and wound up setting a national high school record at 10.01. In other words, this was a very fast race.

Between the heats, Homosexual blamed his mistake in his opener on misjudging the lines on the track. It was hardly a veteran move from a man who has won the past two U.S. titles in the dash. He also completed a 100-200 double at the 2007 world championships.

When Homosexual spoke to his coach, Jon Drummond, before the quarterfinal, there was something of a talking-to.

"He told me champions don’t do that," Homosexual said, "and I had to make up for it."

Indeed, had he not recovered, an exit by Homosexual in the first round of qualifying would have been a major surprise at this 10-day meet to determine the American roster for the Beijing Games. His time of 10.14 seconds tied for the 11th-fastest among the 30 starters in the 100. That stuck him in lane 2 for his quarterfinal, a less-than-ideal position.

But it didn’t matter, and after Homosexual crossed the finish line, well ahead of everyone else, he looked up at the scoreboard briefly. Then the trailing runners approached to offer pats on the back and palm slaps.

Walter Dix, the 2007 NCAA champion from Florida State, Xavier Carter and John Capel were among others advancing to the 100 semifinals.

In the women’s 100 semifinals Saturday, Torri Edwards used a perfectly timed start and down-the-stretch speed to win her heat in 10.78 seconds-the fastest legal 100 time in the world this year, by a whopping 10th of a second.

That time also makes Edwards, the 2003 world champion, the eighth-fastest woman in history. She had no desire to discuss that showing, however, with the event final coming later Saturday.

"Finals, please," she said to reporters, and kept walking.

Saturday’s schedule at Hayward Field also included the conclusion of the heptathlon and the men’s shot put final.

Some Google search screen shots from Right Wing Watch showing how One News Now has been doing this to poor Tyson for quite some time now and nobody there seems to have noticed.  Certainly none of their readers seem to have.  You have to figure there aren’t all that many sports fans in the batshit crazy pews.

 

 

This is instructive, in a kind-of Road Runner verses Coyote sense.  Chuck Jones once said that his Coyote fit the classic definition of a zealot as being someone who doubles their effort after they’ve forgotten what their original goal was.  If the anti-gay fanatics over at OneNewsNow were just a tad little less fanatical, they’d have thought their brilliant plan to automatically replace "gay" with "homosexual" through a little more carefully.  But we’re the bell to their Pavlov’s dog and they couldn’t even think to think.  They just jerked their knees, and out came one headline after another, about how Tyson Homosexual set a record at the 100 yard dash. 

"It tells me I’m in pretty good shape," Homosexual said. "We’ve got two more rounds left."

Hate destroys you from within and it laughs at you while it’s doing it.

  
 

by Bruce | Link | React! (5)

June 29th, 2008

Why Are Bruce’s Photographs Like Hitler’s Watercolors…

Answer: They have no people in them.

So…it’s come to my attention that certain folks seem to think my photography is notable for absence of people.  That’s not exactly true, or I probably wouldn’t be invited to take pictures so often of things like weddings and prom dates.  Oh…and drag performer award ceremonies.  But I’ll admit it’s true that I don’t often spotlight my people pictures in my art photography galleries.  Sad but true…what you mostly get there is this kind of thing…

  
 

 

That’s from the Puerto Vallarta gallery.  People were asking the other day where the hell the people were.  I’d depopulated the entire city, they joked.  I’d posted a private gallery with a bunch of snapshots of the friends who took me there, but I elected to omit those from the published gallery for two reasons.  First, those were private.  But the gallery was intended for my art photography, and yes, that stuff tends to run in this direction…

  

 

   
That’s a typical specimen from the Shadows and Light gallery.  I do that sort of thing.  And…this sort of thing too…

 

 

 

And this sort of thing…

 

 

Lots and lots of that sort of thing, actually.  It’s what comes out of me most of the time.  And for what it’s worth…I hate it.  I hate it so much that for just over a decade I put my cameras down and refused to take any more pictures because I was so sick of looking at it.  Even when I was trying to be playful, I kept seeing it…

 

 

They say there’s a fine line between artistic and crazy.  After just over a decade of not even so much as touching my cameras, I picked them up again because I just had to.  It sounds insufferably arrogant to stick the ‘artist’ label onto yourself, but if one symptom of it is you do it because you have to, even if you hate what you’re doing, because something deep down inside of you just keeps pushing you into it and you could stop breathing before you could stop making your art, well then that’s me. 

But…well…I don’t hate everything I do.  I really like my people pictures.  Back in high school, and my college years, back when the camera bug really got me, I actually did a lot more people stuff then shadows and light stuff.  I really got into it as a matter of fact.  Really, really into it…

  
 

 

Really…really…into it…

 

And…somehow…I stopped doing that kind of thing.  I just can’t imagine what happened.  Nobody who knows me seems to be able to figure it out either.  All they know is Bruce doesn’t take people pictures.

Well…Actually…yes I do.  When I get the chance.  When it’s something that strikes at my heart.  People I find doing noble work, and I just have to document it, because it’s so beautiful to see…

 

 

 

 

 

 

People I know…creative people…doing noble work… 

 

 

 

 

People taking a stand for life’s beauty…becoming beautiful themselves in the doing of it…

 

 

 

 

People…  Yes…I take pictures of them…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But…you know…sometimes it’s the artifacts we leave behind, the marks made on the earth by the human hand…by the human heart…those ephemeral footsteps along the shore we leave behind…that speak so profoundly to the human condition…to existence…  

  
 

And that’s what keeps calling to me.  That’s what I have to go find.  And bring back.  These are my little footsteps in the sand. 

There’s a difference between the carefree snaps I take of my friends when we go here and there, and my art photography.  And my artwork isn’t entirely devoid of people.  Furthermore, if you look closely, carefully, you can still see a spark of that sense of life I used to have…back when I could still be certain I would find my soulmate…back when I could still be certain beauty made life worth living.  At least I can still see it.  A little bit.

You know…beauty…

 

Yes, actually, I Can do people.  If all you can see in my photo imagery is the lack of people, you’re not really looking at it.  On the other hand, I really really wish my friends would quit thoughtlessly blaming me for the solitary, emotionally isolated life I’ve lived for so long, that I hate the sight of whenever I look at the brutalist imagery.  Particularly the friends in a position to at least try to help me out of here.  If I fucking hear "You just need to get out more" one more fucking time I swear I will go nuclear.   Yes, as a matter of fact, there Are people in my photos, and yes, as a matter of fact, I Do go out from time to time.  Just not into gay bars looking for this week’s trick every Friday night.  Does that make me a recluse? 

So…some months ago we all went to this bar we’d never gone to because our usual hangout had been invaded by bears.  And yeah…you all noticed how immediately taken I became by the bartender that night.  You started joking about it.  That’s Bruce’s type all right…  And there I was…gawking away like a schoolboy again.  Somebody did me a really big favor that night.  A favor nobody else had ever done for me before.  They got his name for me.  Sweet.  And then I was able to talk to him.  And some of you may have noticed that I put some effort into getting to know him a bit more in the weeks and months afterward.  Yeah…nothing eventually came of it.  But to the guy who did me that favor…Thank You!  I had a chance I wouldn’t otherwise have had because of your kindness.  Nobody ever did that sort of thing for me before.  I am not kidding.  That was the first time in my life someone ever did that for me…and I note that you not only didn’t think twice about it when you sized up the situation, but that you enjoyed doing it.  Wow.  Never mind a boyfriend…where were You all my life! 

For a while there, I didn’t feel so disconnected from…people.  It’s nice to feel like you’re a part of the world from time to time.  I really don’t want the brutalist imagery to define me.  You know what I really hate more then the thought of dying alone?  It’s the thought of people picking over the body of my work after I’m gone from this earth and going "Oh how tragic that he was so lonely…but Such Wonderful Artwork that tragedy produced!  No.  Please.  I’m going to put it in my will that if I die never having found that intimate other in my life, my executor is to burn it all.  All the film and prints and hard drives with the digital library.  All the paintings and drawings.  Take down the web galleries and the cartoon pages.  No collector’s joy in my desolation…please.  One way or another, I will not be defined in death by my sorrow.

 

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)


Roommates: Several Circles Closer To Satan Then Living Alone

Note to self…  Don’t go advertising for a roommate just because you’re so damn lonely…

DUDE, MY CONTROLLER

A man in his late teens told police that he knew his roommate in Crown Hill smoked marijuana when they moved in together about a month ago.

But there was too much pot smoking too often.

Until last week, when one roommate took a few bong hits. The other roommate had enough, said there would be no more pot smoking and shattered the bong on the sidewalk.

Tempers flared. Obscenities flew. One pushed the other before both retreated to their rooms.

The next morning, the bong-breaking roommate returned to find that his Xbox and the power supply had been removed from the stereo shelf.

When he grabbed the game console, a liquid ran out that he said "smelled like urine," according to the police report.

He also found the joy sticks had been partially glued in place and a tube of glue was next to the controls.

No arrested had been made when the report was filed.

There’s a period of adjustment in every relationship…

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

June 28th, 2008

Tick…Tick…Tick…

Another Friday Happy Hour…another drive back home.  This was supposed to keep me sane and it isn’t anymore.  Now I’m not just feeling sad and lonely…I’m feeling trapped.  I need a way out.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Tick…Tick…Tick…

June 27th, 2008

Oh, Shut Up

Heller.  Yes.  I know this bothers some of my friends but I completely agree with yesterday’s supreme court decision regarding D.C.’s gun ban.  But this kind of rhetoric, from McCain’s campaign, really bothers me…

Today’s decision is a landmark victory for Second Amendment freedom in the United States…

Blah…blah…blah…  Here’s the part I mean… 

Unlike Senator Obama, who refused to join me in signing a bipartisan amicus brief, I was pleased to express my support and call for the ruling issued today. Today’s ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller makes clear that other municipalities like Chicago that have banned handguns have infringed on the constitutional rights of Americans. Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today’s ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right – sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly.

Emphasis mine.  Sacred?  Sacred?  Well if it’s sacred, Bob Barr has something to say about McCain’s devotion then…

But…see…this is what bothers me…this elevating of guns to the status of religious objects.  They aren’t.  If there is any fundamental right here at all it’s the right to self preservation, and even that isn’t sacred or else you’d have to condemn soldiers, policemen, firemen, and anyone and everyone who ever sacrificed their own lives for others.  The sacred thing here, if anything, is life itself.  And even that isn’t always a black and white thing. 

I know…I know…  McCain is just pushing buttons.  But it’s this kind of thing that has dragged the conversation about morality in this country down into the gutter.  It cheapens both the concept of the sacred, and the thing you are trying to superficially attach it to.  Guns aren’t sacred objects.  They’re useful tools and the government has no business banning them outright, not even for the simple reason that people have a right to defend themselves, but more specifically because while government may be our protector in many ways, it is not our nanny and we are not its children.

It’s entirely proper and reasonable for government to take a roll in keeping deadly weapons out of the hands of anyone likely to commit crimes of violence.  It’s completely reasonable for government to regulate the kinds of firearms people can own, and how and when they can bear them in public.  That’s different from taking the position that no individual citizen can own a gun period, because then you’re saying that the people have no right to self defense.  That completely changes the relationship between citizens and their government, in just the same way that censorship and morality laws do.  And let’s face it…outright gun bans aren’t public safety laws, they’re morality laws.

Which…let it be said…all the brave second amendment warriors out there in the NRA and other gun groups really don’t give a crap about, unless it involves their Sacred Guns.  On the SLOG Blog the other day in a thread about Heller, a commenter pointedly pointed out that Bush has ripped up habeas corpus and the gun groups kept silent.  He went on a wiretapping rampage and the gun groups kept silent.  And don’t get me started on the fact that so many second amendment warriors are raving homophobic bigots who hated to see the sodomy laws overturned and who are probably campaigning right now to see same sex marriage banned everywhere.  All their fine and noble rhetoric about freedom and liberty and patriotism is just so much bullshit. 

When you get right down to it, the second amendment warriors have been responsible for more erosion of our civil liberties and more damage to our constitution then anything the Brady Campaign could ever have done.  So to all the cheering second amendment warriors out there right now I would just like to say Shut Your Fucking Pie-Hole!  Please.  If Scalia had written instead that gun bans are a legitimate expression of the moral values of the voters in a community, just what the fuck would you have said to that?  That majorities don’t have the right to impose their moral values on everyone else?  Especially when their doing that puts other people’s families at risk?  Please.  Just…shut up.

  
 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Oh, Shut Up

June 26th, 2008

To Everything Turn, Turn, Turn…

Peterson Toscano, links to an interesting page on the stages of coming out.  I’m not sure I agree with the implicit premise that everyone goes through the process the same way, but it got me thinking about my own journey, which I’ve been trying in fits and starts to tell in my cartoon series, A Coming Out Story

Coming out is a process that happens again and again; it is not just a one time deal and it does not follow a linear course. It occurs initially when one acknowledges to oneself (most important and difficult aspect of coming out) and to others that one is gay, lesbian or bisexual. One claims that orientation as his/her own and begins to be more or less public with it.

Coming out to themselves is one of the hardest steps in developing a positive gay/lesbian/bisexual identity for gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals. It involves much soul searching and introspection and a good healthy sense of self-appreciation and acceptance…

See…that’s not exactly the way it happened with me.  I fell in love, and once I realized it the self acceptance part just immediately happened.  I’d never felt anything so wonderful in my life.  Up until that moment, that instant (which I can still recall vividly to this day…it was on December 15th, 1971, at around 7PM.), I honestly thought I was straight.  I just loathed the idea of dating was all.  I’ll go to my grave angry that I wasn’t told before then that I guys could have boyfriends too and there was nothing wrong with that if that’s how you were.  I’d spent almost my entire adolescence hating the whole dating and mating scene and wishing I could go live somewhere where I didn’t have to deal with it.  But that was because of the pressure I felt to start dating girls. 

I just wanted to hang out with my friends.  My Male friends.  And one guy in particular who I still at that time hadn’t worked up the nerve to actually talk to, even though I was busy filling my sketchbooks and contact sheets with images of him.  Even though I would often take the long way to class in order to catch a glimpse of him walking down the hall.  If someone had told me that guys could fall in love with other guys I would have had an entirely different attitude toward this dating thing.  But what I was taught in my junior high school sex ed class, was that homosexuals were mentally ill, sociopathic monstrosities that raped children, hated themselves and usually killed the people they had sex with.  After mutilating their bodies.  I knew I wasn’t any of that, so I concluded I was not a homosexual. 

The moment I realized I was in love with that certain someone, all of the lies I was taught vanished in a puff of smoke.  I still knew I wasn’t any of the things I was taught that homosexuals were.  But I also knew then that all those racing heartbeats and sweaty palms I got at the sight of good looking guys, and especially at the sight of that certain someone, had been all that time a little more then just "going through a phase."  All the sex dreams I’d had about guys, and never about girls…yeah…that was telling me something all right. 

I was more stubborn then afraid.  Deep down inside I was conflicted over two mutually irreconcilable facts: that the sight of beautiful guys really made my day, and that being a homosexual meant I had to hate both them and myself…and I just couldn’t.  I would stare at them for hours, sketching them or photographing them…and in particular that certain someone.  And it didn’t feel awful when I did that.  It felt wonderful.  And so…ironically…it was on the basis of how good it felt to admire their beauty that I concluded I wasn’t homosexual.  The sex dreams that usually came later that night, I simply wrote off to "going through a phase"…whatever that meant.

So self acceptance came in a very odd and round about way to me, and I never hated myself.  But after that moment, did come the crystal clear understanding that I had to be careful, goddamned careful, who I told and how.  My peers all had the same sordid sex education concerning homosexuality.  I had a feeling I was going to freak out a lot of people if I just suddenly started being open about my sexual orientation.  So That process took a lot of time and a lot of soul searching.  Matter of fact…after the Bush re-selection I was still doing some pretty heavy soul searching over it.  But I guess a lot of other gay folks were then too.

Anyway…the page Peterson links to, got me thinking about that period in my life.  The first stage, so they say, is Identity Confusion…which I guess applied because I sure was confused.  In fact, for quite a long time before I entered high school, and first laid eyes on a certain someone, I was one confused little guy.  In retrospect, my feelings toward my male friends were always intense and full of a yearning that I never could quite understand.  When a friend would occasionally get mad at me I would be crushed.  When my best friend from grade school moved away I cried for weeks over it.  I remember that entire school year as being one of great sadness for me.

Why come out? It is a necessary part of developing a healthy and positive identity as a gay/lesbian/bisexual individual…

 

 

I am different from the others.
Why can’t I make friends like
the others can…?
I’m smart…
…so why do my teachers hate me?

 

 

Then comes Identity ComparisonIdentity Tolerance

  
 

I’m not gay.
I wish everyone would stop wondering
when I’m going to start dating.
I hate the thought of dating.
I need to make prints of the pictures
I took of "TK" this afternoon…he’s
so beautiful…
I wish we could be friends…

 

Identity Acceptance
 

I’m gay.  It’s no big deal, really.
Except of course you could get your skull
bashed in if anyone finds out.
But I don’t care…"TK" likes me…!!!
…I think.  Life is wonderful!!!
…I think.

Identity Pride
 

I’m gay.  That’s fine.
There is nothing wrong with
being gay.
It’s no big deal, really.
Why do people have to make a
big political deal out of it?
What the fuck is wrong with
Anita Bryant???
And…Jerry Falwell…???
This is why I don’t go to church anymore…
Stuart isn’t gay…
Is Keith gay…?  Was he
coming onto me the other day?
He’s a really nice guy…
…maybe…
I wish I knew where "TK" was…
God…I miss him so much.
I was such an idiot…

  

 

Identity Synthesis

  
 

I’m gay.  I’m alone.
Am I going to be alone for the
rest of my life…?

  
 

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven…

   
Somewhere back there…I got stuck.  I think it was at the part where I was supposed to start dating.  Maybe I shouldn’t have cursed the thought of it so much back then.  Back before I figured out that I could date guys too.  At least the other gay ones.  Now I’m 54, and I feel like I’m still back there…somewhere…still walking down the halls of my old high school…expecting any moment to be able to reach out and take my boyfriend’s hand into mine…except he still isn’t there…

  
 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on To Everything Turn, Turn, Turn…

June 25th, 2008

“The fruits of love grow all around…”

Hoping and praying for someone to care
Always moving and goin to where
What becomes of the broken hearted…

  
 

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on “The fruits of love grow all around…”


Destroying Marriage In Order To Save It…(continued)

Shorter Michael Medved:  Heterosexuals don’t need marriage, therefore homosexuals can’t have it.

No…seriously…that’s his argument in response to Jonathan Rauch’s column in the Wall Street Journal the other day…

It’s not “marriage” – some magical status granted by the government – that serves to make people “healthier, happier and wealthier.” It’s the behavior associated with the marital ideal that brings benefits to couples and their children. That behavior doesn’t require official sanction – any more than official sanction guarantees such behavior.

Medved goes on to make the standard anti-gay case that only opposite sex couples have that magic combination of male and female attributes that make a marriage both stable, and beneficial for children.  But then he goes on to take that to its logical conclusion…

Consider some of the high profile heterosexual couples who have refused to get married. I don’t endorse the politics of Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, but given their long-standing and apparently stable commitment, I don’t think their kids have suffered because they never legalized their relationship.

By the same token, I don’t believe that the children of Rosie O’Donnell and her partner will be able to make up for the lack of a father’s love through a change of bureaucratic policy in California or any other state.

Medved’s column is pretty much a simple rehashing of hoary anti-gay and more specifically, anti-male stereotypes.  Gay men can’t control their sex drives because they are men.  Well…yes…Lesbian couples are more stable because they’re both female, but children need both a mother and a father, so their unions are bad for children too.  Never mind that there is not one iota of science behind any of this, let alone tradition.  Consider for a moment, how big the straight jacket is that female sexuality is bound inside in male dominated societies.  It isn’t male sexuality that’s being kept under a tight lid in a culture where boys can sew their wild oats, but girls are sluts if they do the same.  Never mind all that.  Just look at where this delivers Medved.  He is now arguing, in all seriousness, that it is heterosexuality, not marriage, that provides for both stability and a better environment for children.  Heterosexuals are actually so good at it, that marriage is completely unnecessary for them.  This is seriously his argument.

We have been told, over and over again, that allowing homosexual couples to marry will make marriage itself worthless.  And now along comes Michael Medved to argue that it is in fact heterosexuality, by its very nature, that renders marriage worthless.  Sweet.  Can we stop blaming gay people for the horrible state of marriage in this country now?  Please?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Destroying Marriage In Order To Save It…(continued)

June 24th, 2008

Awe

Spectacular double rainbow in the sky here in Baltimore yesterday!  I’d just come home from work and glanced outside to see a sudden shower coming down on my street.  So I stepped out onto my front porch to watch, and noticed the sun was out and brightly shining to my west.  Down towards the end of my street, you could see the rain coming down in glistening sheets of raindrops through the intense sunlight.  To the east, it was dark as slate. 

I can’t see the sky too clearly from my front porch because of the Japanese oaks in the front lawn.  But given what I could see…sun shining brightly over there though the rain…dark rain clouds in the sky opposite…I reckoned there should be a rainbow over in the dark patch somewhere.  So I stepped out into the rain to take a look.

There was…

 

 

Already some of my neighbors had come out to take a look.  First you saw the bright inner rainbow.  Then as it became even brighter, you started seeing an outer one.  Eventually, the two of them formed perfect arches, vaulting across the Baltimore sky…

 

 

So beautiful!  The white car roof in the foreground of the last shot is Traveler.  By then the shower had turned into a light sprinkle and I took a stroll through the neighborhood, not minding how wet I was getting at all, just completely enraptured by the intense colors arching overhead.  These photos don’t really do it justice.  It was almost like they were burning up there, like the sky had caught fire and every color hidden within it was now ablaze, so intense were those arches.

It must have lasted for almost an hour.  Then the sun began to set and the rainbow slowly unraveled, as if drawing itself down into the earth.  First the outer loop faded away.  Then the top of the inner loop seemed to break off, separating it into two half arches.  Slowly, slowly, the broken arches shrank from the sky, until only two rainbow pillars at either end of the horizon were left.  But the pillars of color remained for a long time, staying bright and fiery until the last of the sunlight faded in the west.  I walked up and down the blocks of my rowhouse neighborhood until there was almost no light in the sky, and looking down the cross-streets toward the horizon, I could see those fantastically intense pillars of color well into the twilight.  They looked like fountains of color erupting from the earth.  I’ve never seen its like.

Whatever weather pattern had brought us the rain, a blanket of cool, dryer air came along with it and the evening was perfect for getting out of the house and strolling around some more.  I left all my chores undone and just savored it because I know what the summer will be like when it finally settles in.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Awe

June 23rd, 2008

Notes From A Weekend In Southern Baptist Country
  • Walking around in the hot sun wearing a suit and tie and carrying around heavy bags of camera equipment will make you aware of how out of shape you are.

  • On the other hand, if you have the camera bug you don’t notice that, until the day after, when your legs start telling you all about how much work they were doing the day before.

  • Taking photos of young couples in love is fun, and never fails to warm the heart.  After a few hours of seeing so much happiness and joy all around you, you almost forget that they and everyone in the party would all vote to take away your own ability to marry without giving it a second thought.

  • No trip to visit the Southern Baptist side of your family tree is complete without a lecture on the bible and hellfire.

  • While driving south of the Potomac, you can add to your Jack Chick collection by checking the top of the toilet paper dispensers in the men’s room stalls everywhere you stop for a bladder break.  I found two Chick tracts this trip that I didn’t have.

  • I am helping out with small tasks before the wedding, and I see arriving family members gathering around my Mercedes.  They are peeking though the windows and pointing to this and that around the grill.  The headlight washers seem to fascinate them.  One person touches the little three pointed star hood ornament lightly.  I’d given Traveler a good washing that morning so it would look its best for the wedding.  Now I’ve been given signs to plant near the entrance to the parking lots, directing folks to the gazebo where the wedding will take place, and to the reception hall, and as I walk past on my way to the entrance they ask me about the car.  Yes, it’s a new model Mercedes.  Yes, it drives really nice.  Yes, I’m a very happy owner.  Yes, I know that kids like to steal the hood ornament.  No, I didn’t know they were wearing them as necklaces nowadays.  They ask me about the odd little doors just below the headlights.  Oh, says I, those are where the headlight washers pop out.  I explain that they work only when the headlights are on, and only with the first, and then each tenth squirt of the wiper washer button.  One of them jokes that since it’s a German car, they’d thought the little doors might have been for machine guns.

  • I think it’s a good sign when you see the happy marrieds-to-be being playful with each other during the rehearsal, and the reception and not all dire and serious.  They gather together at the wedding cake to do the cake cutting ceremony, and he looks into her eyes and says ‘I just want you to know I love you’ and she gives him a look back and says she loves him too, and they cut the cake together and then just before they each take a bite they both mash cake into each others faces laughing delightedly.  And then of course they’re all affectionately wiping each other’s faces off and share another kiss. 

  • Ever since puberty I’ve always felt somewhat detached from all the life I see going on around me, and I know that’s mostly what prejudice and hate have done to me and I hate it.  But I also know it’s given my photographic eye its distinctive voice, and honed my skill as a photographer.  To get the very best shots you need to concentrate on what you are seeing.  You can’t be a part of the moment and do that.  You have to step back from it, which is easy if you’ve never really felt like you were part of most things to begin with. 

    I took just under six-hundred shots on the digital camera, and roughly another sixty with the Hasselblad.  After I got back home I imported the digital shots into Aperture and gave them a once-over, feeling a strange kind of perfect joy in being able to capture a few really expressive moments of love and happiness that I’ll probably never experience myself.  It’s looking like I’ll be going into that long night never having a wedding of my own.  But as I studied my shoot last night it didn’t feel as though I was living it vicariously through someone else’s.  In the end everything a photographer does, regardless of who they do it for, is a personal statement, and I really believe in love.  I think this is what most of my friends just don’t get.  I really believe in it.  By all rights I shouldn’t, considering that love doesn’t seem to even know I exist.  And yet I do. 

    So the blissful pleasure I took in doing that wedding shoot was genuine.  All the more so as the newlyweds seem to have between them exactly the kind of playful romance I’ve always searched for.  It was a pure pleasure to capture some images of it.  But also genuine was the grief I drove home with, and which I knew would be waiting for me when I got done importing and examining my shoot last night.  This is the other thing my friends just don’t get: how much of my day is spent dealing with grief.  Problem is, at age 54, drink and cigars aren’t making me forget it anymore.  All that did for me last night was remind me how old I’m getting…how far beyond my ‘use by’ date I am…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Notes From A Weekend In Southern Baptist Country

June 19th, 2008

Oh, Take My Love, Take It Down

  
 


   

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Oh, Take My Love, Take It Down

June 18th, 2008

Ah…Look At All The Happy People…

I’d never have thought that viewing all the photos of the happy couples out in California over the past couple of days would have had this effect on me.  I’m happy for them.  Delighted actually.  It’s good to see love succeeding somewhere in this poor angry world.  And particularly in California, the land of my birth.  I should be happy.  And I am.  For them.

But…  A wave of utter fatigue has washed over me, simultaneously with the arrival of those images on my computer screen.  I’m happy for them…but it’s all passing me by.  Don’t be fooled by career and money and status.  Don’t be lulled into thinking they mean anything.  They don’t.  Nothing else matters if you don’t have that intimate other in your life.  Nothing.

I’ve failed.  I am a senior systems engineer for the Space Telescope Science Institute…I own a nice house within walking distance of work and shopping, own a Mercedes, and can look back on a life that never once cheated anyone for profit nor broke anyone’s heart.  I never lied my way into anyone’s pants, or their company, or their trust.  I never met a bill I couldn’t pay.  My word and my money and my credit are good.  And…I failed.  None of it really matters.  For the past several days I’ve seen what matters in so many happy couple’s faces.  I’m 54 years old and…I failed.

I have, ironically enough, a wedding to go to this weekend.  A relative on mom’s side of the family in southern Virgina invited me to her wedding, and as she and her brother helped give mom some of the best years of her life in retirement, I feel obliged to go.  This is the Southern Baptist side of my family tree.  They would all probably cheerfully vote my right to marry away without a second thought, and tell me they did it with love in their hearts.  But I’m genuinely happy for her, and I hope she and her husband to be have a long and happy life together.  There needs to be more of what they have for each other in this world, not less.

 

I think, at long last, I’m finally giving up on this.  I just don’t have the energy anymore to keep holding on to it.  I have no idea what that change holds in store for me.  None.  All I know is, I failed.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Ah…Look At All The Happy People…


Loving The Sinner…(continued)

Via Box Turtle Bulletin…  They guy who cursed that guitar player who was serenading couples waiting to be married in San Francisco, is Kevin Farrer, who fancies himself a street preacher.  He was just helpfully spreading the good news to all the poor sinners standing in line…waiting to exchange vows of eternal love…

Love…

 

Love…

Loving the sinner…

Jesus would have worn a shirt like that… 

 

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Loving The Sinner…(continued)

June 17th, 2008

Death And Karma

I’m reading just now, via SLOG, that Cyd Charisse has died.  I wish I could post a YouTube of my favorite dance of hers…the one she did in Daddy Longlegs with Fred Astair…the dream sequence between her and Fred.  Fred was some sort of guardian angel and Cyd was learning how to dance under his tutelage, and he danced in his beautiful modern style and she in her classical style, and it was just stunning.  Absolutely stunning.  I wish I could show that one to you now but I can’t…you’ll just have to buy or rent a copy of Daddy Longlegs to see it…

…and I know now how it will be, when the human race finally conquerors Death.  I see the day when Death finally conceedes defeat and troubles us no more.  I see it clearly.  It will be when we are more outraged, finally, by the people Death takes from us, then the life Death takes from us.  It will be when our quest is not for immortality, but the triumph of love…and beauty.  Only then will come the serious war against Death.  And Death will loose…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Death And Karma

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