Monday, June 30, 2008
I love her.
She loves Luke and Noah.
What can I say?
See what I mean?
And so it goes,as the world turns.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Aside from Barbara Cook, this is the best performance since Michael Callen spoofed it some 20 odd years ago. Yes...that Michael Callen.
Life has come to this, and I am easily entertained, so sue me.
And so it goes.
Big Dog’s performance and attitude during the primaries has left an ice cold feeling in my stomach and now this from the London Telegraph:
Bill Clinton is so bitter about Barack Obama's victory over his wife Hillary that he has told friends the Democratic nominee will have to beg for his wholehearted support.
Mr. Obama is expected to speak to Mr. Clinton for the first time since he won the nomination in the next few days, but campaign insiders say that the former president's future campaign role is a "sticking point" in peace talks with Mrs. Clinton's aides.
The Telegraph has learned that the former president's rage is still so great that even loyal allies are shocked by his patronizing attitude to Mr. Obama, and believe that he risks damaging his own reputation by his intransigence.
A senior Democrat who worked for Mr. Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr. Obama could "kiss my ass" in return for his support.
Well, so much for Mr. Clinton being touted as the “First Black President” – his behavior during the primary campaign has been that of a privileged, spoiled brat, as well as borderline racist.
Read the whole thing EREHEREHERE HERE.
And so it goes.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
On this date in 1970, the first ever MARCH (not parade) was held in New York City. We were a relatively small group of a few hundred - nothing like the extravaganzas of today. This was not a celebration, but a march for civil right for GLBT people. It was a scary experience, actually. We were given one lane of Sixth Avenue to march up to the sheep meadow in Central Park while traffic whizzed past us a foot or two away.
People joined the march along the way, but we were still apprehensive because the cops were taunting and spitting epithets at us all the way. We drowned them out by chanting Gay Pride affirmations and singing. There were no floats, no bands, no advertising by supportive companies because they didn't exist. It was only us - alone - vulnerable - afraid, but not willing to run anymore.
The real surprise and most exciting visual I remember, is that when we arrived at the Sheep Meadow, there were already hundreds of people there (too afraid to march perhaps, but supportive enough to be present for the culmination of the day.
As I stood there, I was amazed by the number of people who continued to stream into the park. I felt so proud. It was quite a day.
NYPD was present in the riot gear of the time, and they were stunned by the speeches and responses of the crowd. There would be no discord in that place that afternoon. They weren't happy, but they listened and some understood what they had done to us for so many years.
I lived in SoHo at the time and I remember walking home; staggering as if drunk. I had never felt so loved or empowered as on that day. This was the beginning of a community the likes of which had never been seen before in modern times.
I marched every year after that until it became a "parade" and taken over by beer and liquor companies which was well into the 1980s. When it lost direction as a march for equality and became a celebration of commercial consumption, I no longer felt welcome.
Many of those who join the "parade" today have no idea of it's beginnings. No knowledge of our history and how we got to this point. Really. Sad. They have no clue as to the many shoulders they stand upon to be where they are today.
And so it goes.
Friday, June 27, 2008
A Pragmatist's view on FISAAll the hubbub is in reality a molehill that they're attempting to make into a mountain. This is scarier than I originally thought possible. Go and read the entire piece.
I'm a former criminal defense appellate attorney. Most of my cases turned on constitutional issues: search and seizure, interrogation methods, ineffective assistance of counsel, police and/or prosecutorial misconduct, and the like. The issues that dominate the news and the blogosphere today are the issues I worked with in the grit and grist of real defendants, real victims, real crimes, real facts.
So please bear with this pragmatist and follow over the jump as she explores why this FISA bill is, to quote the Bard, "sound and fury, signifying nothing."
Folks, if you think FISA is the last bastion of the Fourth Amendment, I have bad news for you. If FISA is indeed the last bastion, the Fourth Amendment is already gone. The current bill will not fix the problem, no matter whether telecoms are given the affirmative defense of acting under color of law. The problem exists in the USA PATRIOT Act, not in FISA.
First a bit of history on FISA. The act was passed in 1979, in the wake of the Church Hearings and other congressional action that exposed and shut down the FBI's COINTELPRO domestic spying program. From the late 1940s through the early 1970s, the FBI was spying on tens of thousands of American citizens, with little or no oversight. What began as a search for communist inflitrators widened into surveillance on political groups, right and left, that were seen as threats. After Watergate and the end of Nixon's "imperial presidency," as it became apparent that the FBI had been used as a tool to stifle dissent, Congress put an end to COINTELPRO with a series of statutes that forbade electronic surveillance except by means of a search warrant.
Bottom line is the Fourth Amendment is no more. Think about that for a minute, or two.
And so it goes.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Laundromat: Arrived at 6:45 to find the place jumping; an Hispanic couple, two Amish men, and two older women all in various states of getting the job done. They must have been waiting for the place to open.
There were still many empty washers, so I threw the clothes into one, close and lock the door and feed the thing 10 quarters. Nothing happens. The machine is dead. I remove the clothes to another machine and, again, this one is dead. I am now out $5.00 and nothing is wet yet. The third time is the charm. Finally the machine whirrs into action and the pre-wash cycle begins. When it kicks into wash cycle I add the detergent only to find that the water is ice cold. I had set the selector knob for HOT!! It is only then that I was informed that there is no hot water. Everyone is washing in cold water only. Someone suggested that the absentee owner was saving money by not having to heat the water. I shot back that he was making plenty of money by not repairing broken machines. And there are no refunds.
These machines are designed so that one cannot know if they are working, or not. You see, once the machine starts the door cannot be opened. This means you must put the clothes in, lock the door, insert the $2.50 and - - pray! The door will not open during the washing process.
The dryer worked well, however, the greedy owner changed the drying time from 9 minutes per quarter, to 7. Nice
This was to set the tone of the morning. At every stop I was met with obstacles and barriers that were dead set against allowing me to continue and complete the items on my list. I couldn’t even get cash out of the ATM!
I am going to attempt to vacuum the pool now. I don’t know of anything that could thwart my efforts, but if there is something, I’m sure it will.
And so it goes.
Having been pressed into service at the store for 5 days in a row – a schedule that wreaked havoc with my back and hands – I am off for the next 3 days. I’ve set aside one day to devote to laundry, cleaning, and cooking, though with the current heat wave and high humidity, that last one may be put off a bit. I have 2 books to read, and I borrowed 2 DVDs from a friend, so I think I am set for the next few days.
I’ve made my “to do” list and devised the most efficient route to accomplishe everything in the least amount of time.
I’ve been asked by my landlady to help with the pool maintenance in lieu of a rent increase. Me, a pool boy!!! Hell, I could be three pool boys at my age. So, I’m learning how to use the vacuum and skimmer and to check for any rogue frogs and turtles who may decide to leave the pond to take a dip and try to get them out before they die.
As we all know, the cost of everything has gone through the roof, not the least of which is the cost of electricity here. It’s more than doubled. My little apartment is very efficient, but the main house is anything but. Cathedral ceilings and huge ornate light fixtures that will not accommodate energy saving fluorescent bulbs have her in a technology trap and I’m trying to help out with ideas that will undoubtedly mean a change of lifestyle for her.
Well, it’s time to head out to do laundry; they open at 6:30 am, and that will keep me on schedule for the rest of the day.
And so it goes.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Here's the website.
And so it goes.
Monday, June 23, 2008
These guys never cease to amaze.
And so it goes.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
It all started when I attempted to shower and shave getting ready for work this morning. There was no electric power, which translates to no water. The water source is a well and the pump runs on electricity. It would follow that even if the power came on soon, there may be no hot water – or very little - to accomplish both necessities.
No chance for eggs or even oatmeal today, I had to settle for Cheerios with a banana.
A half-hour later and still no power so I ditch the idea of shaving and since I showered before bed last night, I figured I’d not offend anyone today. I have plenty of time before I have to be at work so I decided to head into town to check my mail. Upon arriving at the second block from the ocean, there are no parking spaces to be found. WTF? Must have been one hell of a Friday night blowout because it seems everyone stayed over.
With no parking spaces on the avenue, I decided to park in the lot behind the post office where everyone is allowed to park while checking their boxes.
After retrieving the mail I head back to the lot to come upon a meter maid beginning to write out a ticket.
Me: Um, what are you doing?
MM: you’re parked illegally.
Me: No, I parked here in order to retrieve mail from my PO Box.
MM: (smirking) The post office is closed and there is no way you could retrieve your mail at this hour.
OK, now I know she ain’t from around here. The RB post office lobby is open 24/7 except during holiday weekends.
Me: I’m afraid you’re mistaken. See, I said (waving my fistful of bills in front of her face), I just pulled these from my box.
MM: Oh, come on…(she’s getting nasty) you expect me to believe that?
Me: Yes. In fact, you can take a walk with me to the front door to see for yourself.
MM: That’s not necessary.
Me: Oh, yes it is if you’re to continue writing that ticket. Now, it’s about a hundred feet from where we are to the front door and your choice is to accompany me, or I can summon the RB police and you can make a fool of yourself.
She drops her arms to her sides and follows me around the corner and up the steps to the front door where I point out the sign displaying the PO hours. I invite her inside where the AC has been working overtime to cool the place because so many people forget to close the front doors properly.
I can see that she’s really pissed about being called out on this; she says nothing. As we make our way back down the steps and around the corner to the parking lot, she draws herself up full height and blurts out: “ well the next time you won’t be so lucky” and I am stupefied.
I turned to face her; her face was a deep red. Clearly she was livid at having been topped and she was attempting to save face.
By this time I was in no mood for games. I got nose to nose with her and I said, girlfriend, you have just been called out and you lost. Now you could have apologized for your mistake and moved on, but you’ve chosen to play the bully card. Let me tell you something, I have noted your badge number and your name. You could have thanked me for teaching you a bit about RB customs and traditions. You didn’t want to hear, or believe any of it. It’s sad that RB felt the need of hiring someone outside the community and neglecting to teach them the most important courtesies.
I got into the car and headed for work, leaving her standing in the lot.
Arrived at work; 6:45 am , unlocked the door, and as I disarmed the alarm system I was confronted with an unusually dark store. The security lights are out. Something is beeping in the back…I realize that we’ve no power and no phone service. This, however, is not related to the loss of power at home.
It appears that some vacationing dolt – loaded out of their mind – decided to catapult their vehicle through one of the high power poles on the highway. They did a great job knocking down the entire pole and all it conveyed – electricity, cable, DSL, and phone service. Some might say this was irresponsible; I say I hope whoever it was doesn’t breed.
I set up the store, put out all the jewelry – IN THE DARK – then with nothing else in my power to do I sit near the front windows and read until power is restored which doesn’t happen until about 11:15 am.
However, there is still no phone service; meaning the credit card terminal is useless. Many stores around ours are still without power.
Telephone service is restored at 2:30 pm. Big Whoop!
Suddenly there is a cacophony of deafening sounds; sirens, whistles, honking horns, and flashing lights as 4 (count ‘em) rescue vehicles and six fire trucks from all over the area descend on the parking lot. A Very good way to insure people don’t shop today. It has something to do with Applebee’s restaurant. There is no smoke, but 8 firemen are poking around on the rooftop, while two rescue units move in, gather up whomever, and depart lights flashing and sirens wailing.
My head hurts, my ears are ringing, and I really want to be home and in a hot shower. My replacement finally arrives at 4 pm, so I gather my things and head for home.
Forgetting that because rain was in the forecast and I closed the apartment windows before leaving this morning, I am greeted to a veritable hot house with a temperature over 95 (there is no marker beyond that) and high humidity.
Turned on the AC, changed out of work clothes, and here I am.
Dinner is heating on the stove, and I am about to prepare a festive cocktail. After dinner a nice shower will help as I (hopefully) drift off to sleep.
And so it goes.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Five Things In My Freezer
1. Ice Cream
3. Boneless Chicken thighs
4. Pork Ribs
5. Breakfast Sausage
Five Things In My Wardrobe
1. Clothes (duh!)
2. Shoes & boots
3. Cameras and Lenses
4. Two small cabinets containing summer shorts and tee shirts
5. Collapsible Luggage
Five Things In My Car
1. Road Atlas
2. Reusable grocery bags
4. Cell phone charger
5. Quarters for parking meters (a must here at the beach)
Five Things In My Bag
1. Daily Planner
2. Small digital camera
3. Check Book
4. Bottle of Aspirin
5. Large umbrella
Five Things On My Bedside Table
1. Clock radio
2. Cassette player
3. Book of the week
4. Cordless phone
5. Pen and pad for writing down dreams.
Lots to do today, working all weekend.
And so it goes
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The calm, confident, and eyes straight into the camera says it all.
And so it goes.
I love that the 'mum' is dressed like an NYC deli man.
And so it goes, sweet cheeks!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Visited the Chiropractor who decided that I ought not have an adjustment, but continue to rest and continue alternating heat and ice at hourly intervals. It seemed to help last night.
The weather was perfect; clear sky, light breeze, and temperatures in the low 70s. I toyed with the idea of taking a walk on the beach, but decided against that idea because of the back.
Ran a few other errands then headed back to the apartment to get off my feet and take the pressure off the back. Iced and heated, and read until I had to hit the road again. I'm getting in a lot of reading these days
Had two meetings this afternoon and have just returned with the back screaming in pain.
I was supposed to have dinner with friends tonight at a Greek restaurant, but by now, they are finished and on their way home...Maybe next week.
Checking email I was happy to receive messages from two friends spearheading the NOLA reunion event. Seems they have secret plans for us and will not offer a clue. I am grateful to have such friends - they know me well.
I am looking forward to meeting one, possibly two NOLA bloggers at their local haunt, and my two beautiful Italian ladies are up for the adventure.
Yes, I know there are twenty eight days before I board that aircraft to NOLA, but I am rehearsing what and how to pack what I am carrying on with me, while still trying to work out how I can take the D70 with me.
"Is a puzzlement!"
And so it goes.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
LOS ANGELES - Cyd Charisse, the long-legged Texas beauty who danced with the Ballet Russe as a teenager and starred in MGM musicals with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, died Tuesday. She was 86.Cyd Charisse was always there; present, ready, in control with the ability to go beyond the call of duty. Read the whole thing HERE.
Charisse was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Monday after suffering an apparent heart attack, said her publicist, Gene Schwam.
She appeared in dramatic films, but her fame came from the Technicolor musicals of the 1940s and 1950s.
Classically trained, she could dance anything, from a pas de deux in 1946's "Ziegfeld Follies" to the lowdown Mickey Spillane satire of 1956's "The Band Wagon" (with Astaire).
She also forged a popular song-and-dance partnership on television and in nightclub appearances with her husband, singer Tony Martin.
Her height was 5 feet, 6 inches, but in high heels and full-length stockings, she seemed serenely tall, and she moved with extraordinary grace. Her flawless beauty and jet-black hair contributed to an aura of perfection that Astaire described in his 1959 memoir, "Steps in Time," as "beautiful dynamite."
Charisse arrived at MGM as the studio was establishing itself as the king of musicals. Three producers — Arthur Freed, Joe Pasternak and Jack Cummings — headed units that drew from the greatest collection of musical talent. Dancers, singers, directors, choreographers, composers, conductors and a symphony-size orchestra were under contract and available. The contract list also included the screen's two greatest male dancers: Astaire and Kelly.
Astaire, who danced with her in "The Band Wagon" and "Silk Stockings," said of Charisse in a 1983 interview: "She wasn't a tap dancer, she's just beautiful, trained, very strong in whatever we did. When we were dancing, we didn't know what time it was."
She first gained notice as a member of the famed Ballet Russe, and got her start in Hollywood when star David Lichine was hired by Columbia Pictures for a ballet sequence in a 1943 Don Ameche-Janet Blair musical, "Something to Shout About."
Although that film failed to live up to its title, its ballet sequence attracted wide notice, and Charisse (then billed as Lily Norwood) began receiving movie offers.
"I had just done that number with David as a favor to him," she said in "The Two of Us," her 1976 double autobiography with Martin. "Honestly, the idea of working movies had never once entered my head. I was a dancer, not an actress. I had no delusions about myself. I couldn't act — I had never acted. So how could I be a movie star?"
She overcame her doubts and signed a seven-year contract at MGM. She also got a new name, the exotic "Cyd" instead of her lifelong nickname Sid, to go with her first husband's last name.
The 1952 classic "Singin' in the Rain" marked a breakthrough.
Whether working with Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire, she adapted to her partner's way of working and the proof ended up on the screen.
Thank you Cyd, for bringing so much joy to my life. My childhood fantasy was to dance with you; to lift you high, and bring you back down to "engage" in the dance.
Thankfully, your image and talent remains on film. You will always be with us.
Thanks for everything.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I was awakened by a sharp pain in the back. Took the painkiller too early last night, I suppose. All attempts to fall asleep earlier than usual failed miserably; sleep wouldn’t come.
Excited, anxious, and a bundle of nerves? You bet. My brain was still processing various scenarios that could have played out today when the muscle relaxant must have kicked in because the next thing I remember was waking to that pain.
Arriving at the home of our hosts I was happy and surprised to find two friends from my previous church excited about seeing the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time, and a few others from the community that I volunteered with for various charities.
Tables set up on the driveway were laden with fresh local fruit, tea, donuts, cold soda, and bottled water – all provided by the hosts – but I was too excited to consume anything other than bottled water.
Our names were checked off a passenger list as we arrived and told we could store personal things on the bus on the seat of our choice. We hit the road at 7:10 a.m. and everyone was giddy with excitement and we got to know one another easily by sharing our plans for the day. Some were going to the theatre, others were going shopping, and I was going to spend the day with a friend from childhood, another I’ve known over 50 years, and meeting new ones for the first time. This drew lots of attention, for some reason.
By 8 a.m. a couple of women traveling together and a gay couple revealed that they had brought (among other goodies) the makings for Mimosa’s and Bloody Marys and promptly started on their mixology thingies. Mind you, one of them even brought along plastic champagne flutes, and tumblers. Things got rowdy among those four and (lucky me) two were seated behind me and the other two directly across from me…what fun.
By 8:45 a.m. those four were in rare form. The laughter was contagious. Then began the inevitable “are we there yet” taunts at our driver. Not from the youngsters onboard, but from the boomers. It would have been embarrassing if it wasn't such fun.
When Manhattan came into view I had a flashback to the first time I saw that skyline followed by a rush of memories. It was pretty much unchanged since the twin towers weren’t even being considered back in 1963. Hell, Lincoln Center wasn’t even finished.
We arrived on 47th street in front of the Barrymore Theatre, directly across from the Brooks Atkinson, at 10:20 a.m.
And as we left the bus going our separate ways many people offered wishes that my day go well. Maybe they were prayers; Did they know something I didn’t???
As I made my way up 8th avenue to my childhood friend’s apartment I experienced very strange sensations related to the smells, sounds that live within me to this day. It was bizarre, but also quite comforting. Sorry, I have no other words. This was my home from age 16 to age 34.
I arrived at the apartment building at about 10:45; my presence was announced and I took the elevator to his floor. Conveniently, his apartment was directly in front of me as I exited. He couldn’t have made this easier. I rang the doorbell and was greeted with the brightest smile and a pair of the most beautiful baby-blues I have ever seen. It was David, my friend’s partner (use your own word here) and I don’t remember if we hugged, or not. By this time I was a mess. Dennis (my friend) was still pulling himself together and would join us shortly. I felt comfortable in their space. A good sign.
Though Dennis and I spent over an hour by phone playing catch up and preparing ourselves individually for this moment I sensed a bit of apprehension on his end, but for me it was as if life separated us for a while, but we were still on the same page about to pick up where we left off. We did.
Note: Dennis and I share the same birth date, same birth year, are left-handed, lived 10 houses apart, and each other’s hero growing up. Though we didn't share this last part until today.
About 20 minutes into our “back story” Dione arrived adding her own memories to some of the back-stories. This was a helluva lotta fun.
Not that you care what I think, but I believe that when old friends gather to reminisce about various events they all remember different details of the event, triggering further memories in the others that enhanced the experience of that particular incident which then becomes a shared truth.
By the time Dione’s friend Paul arrived conversations were jumping from one thread to two or three more before returning to the original topic…yes that’s what playing catch up on almost a half century can do…especially as there was so little time before the glass slipper would be left behind.
As we prepared to go out for lunch Dennis grew quiet, looking almost sad. No one said anything. I was concerned (of course, imagining that I had said something offensive) and asked him if there was something wrong. His face slowly turned into a smile and he offered the following: "Do you remember when we were in Jr. High and preparing for the annual May Festival whose theme was "Holidays" and you were dancing to Satan Takes a Holiday for Halloween and I was to represent St. Patrick's Day by dancing to the song 'Harrigan'?"
I remembered it, though vaguely.
Dennis continued, "Mrs. Satterley didn't know I wasn't a dancer and asked you to take me out to the cafeteria and teach me how to do the soft shoe - and you did that - and choreographed the entire number for me. I wanted to learn to do that. You were my hero and my life is what it is because of you, your talent and kindness."
We were tearing up. It was my turn.
Dennis was a natural tumbler at a very early age and as we put on "shows" for the neighborhood he would amaze me with his effortless flights through space hardly touching the earth. I got dizzy just trying to cartwheel. He was my hero and I was grateful that he considered me his friend. When he arrived in NYC and Broadway he was one of only 3 tumblers capable of many breathtaking feats that boggle the mind. He has made me very proud.
So, there you have it. Moving on...
After an al fresco lunch at a nearby Mexican place where we sipped margaritas and talked politics (both of which were satisfying, I might add) the skies opened up and thunderstorms sent people scrambling as we returned to the apartment (except for Paul) and the fill-in-the-blanks stories picked up where we left off.
Dione brought along a DVD of a star-studded concert to benefit NOLA and the survivors of Katrina. We watched a bit of that, but I was itching to get back to playing catch up.
As the old saying goes: “time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana” and suddenly it was time to leave. We said our 'goodbyes' to Dennis and David, and in a heavy downpour Dione and I walked to the bus where we parted. The glass slipper was left beneath the Barrymore marquee when the bus pulled out at 7 p.m.
The ride back to Delaware was subdued. We were all soaked to the skin and tired after our adventures. As the thunderstorms and lightening strikes lit up the night sky, we were treated to two films on DVD. The Bucket List – with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson was quite good. The second was National Treasure 2 – one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. Oy.
We arrived at about 10:20 p.m., said our farewells, and drove off as I realized my jeans were still damp. I didn't care. Rainy days in NYC were always favourites while living there. I was way too cranked up from the events of the day, so writing this with events fresh in my mind is helping the coming down process.
Now for a few obligatory photos of the day...
For a brief seven hours my life was beautiful again. More love was shared this day then I’ve felt in a very long time. A blessing that I never dreamed I would receive.
And so it goes.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
What the Beach Test Says About You
You like people, but you're careful about who you get close to. Friendship is important to you... so important that you aren't just friends with anyone.
You don't fall in love easily. It takes you a long time to get used to someone. Intimacy doesn't come easily for you.
You are deeply passionate about several things in your life. You're not passionate about much... and the few passions you have are truly obsessions.
Your sense of humor is intellectual and obscure. Only really well educated people get your jokes.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
However, Obama isn't going to rollover as Kerry did. Nope. His campaign has already launched a site to put the truth out there. Visit Fight the Smears to fact check what the crazies are touting as fact. Essentially the site says "prove it!"
Example: one email insisted that "Obama wasn't born in the Hawaii, rather he was in fact, born in Africa, not an American at all. Oh, and the state of Hawaii doesn't release copies of birth certificates, so just trust me."
Really? Wanna see the certificate? Follow this link.
Like him or not, Obama isn't going to back down and for me, that's a good beginning for 'change'.
So, if you're unsure of the truthiness of some email, you now have the ability to get the facts. Use it and send the correction to the sender of the original email received. They may not believe you (they rarely do) but at least the truth is in their hands and the decision to believe, or not, is theirs.
And so it goes.
To people continuing to live in tents under the interstate, this is just another slap in the face. If you haven't seen the story and want to read the rest, go HERE.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- FEMA gave away about $85 million in household goods meant for Hurricane Katrina victims, a CNN investigation has found.
The material, from basic kitchen goods to sleeping necessities, sat in warehouses for two years before the Federal Emergency Management Agency's giveaway to federal and state agencies this year.
James McIntyre, FEMA's acting press secretary, said that FEMA was spending more than $1 million a year to store the material and that another agency wanted the warehouses torn down, so "we needed to vacate them."
"Upon review of our assets and our need to continue to store them, we determined that they were excess to FEMA's needs; therefore, they are being excessed from FEMA's inventory," McIntyre wrote in an e-mail.
He declined a request for an on-camera interview, telling CNN the giveaway was "not news."
Photos from one of the facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, show pallet after pallet of cots, cleansers, first-aid kits, coffee makers, camp stoves and other items stacked to the ceiling.
FEMA said some of the items were donations from companies after Katrina, but most were purchased in the field as "starter kits" for people living in trailers provided by the agency. And even though the stocks were offered to state agencies after FEMA decided to get rid of them, one of the states that passed was Louisiana.
Martha Kegel, the head of a New Orleans nonprofit agency that helps find homes for those still displaced by the storm, said she was shocked to learn about the existence of the goods and the government giveaway.
"These are exactly the items that we are desperately seeking donations of right now: basic kitchen household supplies," said Kegel, executive director of Unity of Greater New Orleans. "These are the very things that we are seeking right now. FEMA, in fact, refers homeless clients to us to house them. How can we house them if we don't have basic supplies?
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Work: Had a 5K sale. Where these people are getting the money, I haven't a clue.
Life: Received and read a few emails from some of the old friends I'll be seeing at our 50th anniversary reunion in New Orleans next month. Some really sweet stuff as the excitement builds. After popping the pill and turning on the news, I decided to surf a bit and found this video (God, I love YouTube) just as McSame was performing his best imitation of Dubya yet.
I'm Voting Republican! Enjoy.
Update 2: The pill has kicked in and it isn't as advertised. I wouldn't attempt to drive right now, but the relief is minimal. I'll take it, but hoped for more.
The heat (and humidity) wave finally broke last night, for which we are all truly grateful.
And so it goes.
Monday, June 9, 2008
I've heard of singing cowboys, but few have been opera singers. Anyway, this is from Reuters:
NEW YORK - New York City Opera has commissioned American composer Charles Wuorinen to write an opera based on "Brokeback Mountain," a love story about two U.S. ranch-hands that won three Oscars when it was turned into a movie.
The opera house's spokesman Gerard Mortier said in a statement on Sunday that Wuorinen had accepted an invitation to compose an opera based on Annie Proulx's short story. It is slated to premiere during City Opera's 2013 spring season.
This would mark New Yorker Wuorinen's second world premiere at City Opera. He also composed "Haroun and the Sea of Stories," an adaptation of a Salman Rushdie novel which opened in 2004.
"Ever since encountering Annie Proulx's extraordinary story I have wanted to make an opera on it, and it gives me great joy that Gerard Mortier and New York City Opera have given me the opportunity to do so," Wuorinen, 70, said in a statement.
"Brokeback Mountain" is the story of two men who meet and fall in love on the fictional Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming in 1963 with their complex relationship lasting 20 years.
The story was made into a film in 2005 which won three Oscars. The late Australian actor Heath Ledger, who died in January this year of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs at the age of 28, was nominated for an Oscar for his role.
Recently I read a NYC blog about turning BBM into a Broadway musical, which I thought not such a bad idea. Then I read the comments. Bitchy doesn't begin to describe them.
However, getting right down to it, aside from a short list of tenors, I have seen very few opera singers with, shall we say, the build of a cowboy. We'll see.
And so it goes.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
This says it all for me: WV male voter; "there ain't no white man around here who'd take orders from a black man." Enuf said.
No one in the media has the brass ones to address the real black elephant in the living room. Those Hillary supporters threatening to vote for McSame because she isn't the nominee haven't thought this through, or perhaps have no relatives in Iraq or Afghanistan. Or don’t give two figs about a woman’s right to choose. And how about more judges like Scalia and Thomas? The other reason I see is race.
Understand, I was raised in the segregated south, well, New Orleans doesn’t count, really, but anyway, even in NOLA black folks knew the limits and boundaries when dealing with white folks. In NOLA we were more likely to have black neighbors and there was a good deal of harmony and goodwill. Not to mention great food.
Although there were unwritten societal “norms” I must say they were often ignored.
I moved to NYC in 1963 just as the civil rights movement was exploding in the Deep South. I was amazed at the hypocrisy I found there. Whites would treat blacks cordially and friendly like, and then explode in anger after the encounter.
I remember they were referred to as --- Attitude Niggers! (Blazing Saddles 11 years later referred to “Uppidy Niggers”)
I must say I was surprised to find so many well-educated blacks in the city. Remember, down south everything was “separate but equal” which we all now know was not true. Hell, even in NOLA there were separate, but almost identical beach/amusement parks. The whites had Pontchartrain Beach (on lake Pontchartrain) and the blacks had Lincoln Beach – on the very same late, but miles apart. Both had the same or similar attractions on their respective midways.
My childhood home was a small subdivision, originally built for the military officers at an army base a few miles away, off the thoroughfare that was the only access to Lincoln beach. The home was a block from Lake Pontchartrain and the local airport. In summer, I spent most of my time in that lake snorkeling, tubing (auto tires had inner tubes back then) and as I would make my way back home on weekends the traffic was moving at a snail’s pace bumper to bumper; black families were dressed for an afternoon at the beach or midway and then maybe dinner at a restaurant with views of the lake and sunset.
The drivers were always courteous and many would say, as I darted between cars to cross that two-lane road, that I was one lucky kid to live so near the lake. I knew that. My grandfather and I would go shrimping (yes, that’s what it’s called) and crabbing in the lake. Many great memories, I can almost smell the crabs bubbling in water seasoned with a bag of Zaterains Crab Boil, lemons, and onions.
Fast-forward to 1965 and my first visit to NOLA since moving to north. In two short years fishing, crabbing and shrimping were off limits due to “human waste pollution” and the smell off the lake was unbelievable.
I also learned that Lincoln Beach was closed. With the integration of Pontchartrain Beach, I guess it lost business. I drove my nieces and nephews to the Lincoln Beach site (they were always ready for a tiny adventure) and everything was still in place. Turnstiles, buildings, even the skeletal remains of most of the rides and attractions.
Over the years the site remained untouched, undeveloped, and was left to rust away. I have no idea if anything survived Katrina. I know my childhood home did not.
Black New Orleanians opted to take their chances and mingle with the white residents. Now, I have no doubt that initially there were problems, but with Lincoln Beach closed there was no turning back.
That’s how I feel about this election year. There is no turning back.
If bigoted, racist people are willing to accept another 4 years of lies and deception – not to mention the probability of an attack on Iran- well, they deserve what they get. Just remember, WE will be forced to live through those 4 years, unless you have a secret compound in the mountains of Bolivia.
Ask yourself; why are these people adamant saying they would vote for McSame over Obama? Clearly the media isn’t asking, but the subtext is undeniable that voting away our freedoms is a hell of a lot more acceptable than putting a black man in the Oval Office. We deserve better than a lying Bush two and I hope we are strong enough to make the right decision come November.
I don’t want to have a beer with my President. I want responsible leadership and the rule of law to be restored in the land.
Yeah, I’m pissed at the stupidity and arrogance, in pain, missed the Sunday evening dining group, and worked 12-hour day. I am going to post this, have a festive cocktail and put an ice pack on my back.
And so it goes.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
A bit of history:
Never Can Say Goodbye was a 1971 hit for The Jackson 5. Covered by Gloria Gaynor towards the end of 1973, it became a major club hit, despite little support from label MGM. The follow-on long player Never Can Say Goodbye established Gloria as a disco artist. Produced by Tom Moulton the first side of this album consisted of three disco songs - Honey Bee, Never Can Say Goodbye and Reach Out, I’ll Be There, with no breaks in between the songs. All three songs were released as singles via radio edits. Never Can Say Goodbye became the first song to top Billboard magazine’s dance chart.
Played here there & everywhere & covered by heaps of folk it is seen as one of the defining recordings of the disco era. This very soulful single edit at about 3 minutes long is now 34 years old and still sounds mighty fine.
Ah, the memories: 12West, Flamingo, Truck Stop, Chameleon - in only 10 years they and most of the dancers would all be gone. I remember these venues and my dancing queens no longer with us. What a fine time we had. Wednesday and Sunday nights were the best for locals. Friday and Saturdays the places were overwhelmed with out of towners; Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut. I stayed away.
And so it used to be.
Meanwhile my friend Elizabeth (and sister in crime) over at Telling Secrets has begun a fund raiser to help assure the Bishop's safety while in London at the upcoming Lambeth conference. I'll let Elizabeth get into the fine points.
As many of you are painfully aware, the Rt. Rev’d Gene Robinson, duly elected and consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire, has not been invited to attend Lambeth Conference, the once a decade gathering of Bishops and Primates around the Anglican Communion which has, for over thirty years, pledged to be part of a ‘Listening Process’ of the stories of LGBT people.
Never mind. Bishop Gene will be there anyway.
The Incarnation has always been something of a scandal. For some, the Incarnation is a threat that must be silenced or destroyed.
Bishop Gene and his beloved Mark have received constant death threats. When Bishop Gene was in England just a few weeks ago, Mark received two death threats on the answering machine of their home – they were "angry and credible" and a serious concern since that number has been carefully guarded.
It goes without saying that Bishop Gene will need greater security and protection while at Lambeth.
I had the honour and pleasure of meeting Gene and Mark when Gene was a potential candidate for Bishop of the Diocese of Newark in New Jersey when they visited my church. I was a member of the vestry - look it up. He is a kind, gentle, and thoughtful man. A good sense of humor and quick smile are always there for the taking.
It's painful to imagine that anyone would want to, plan to, insist on doing harm to this man. Indifference spreads only more hate while positive action helps to bring enlightenment and love. And isn't that what this is all about?
Go to the Telling Secrets link above for more. And...Please give as you are led.
Friday, June 6, 2008
This arrived in my inbox a few minutes ago. If I wasn't in such pain and my voice didn't quiver, I'd love to be included.
After aggressive contests in all 50 states, the Democratic Primary has come to an end. If we are to elect Barack Obama president in November, as a community, it's important that we come together.
With the unified and enthusiastic support of LGBT Americans, our chance of success is much greater. That's why we need your help to take the next step in supporting Barack.
Tomorrow, Friday, June 6th, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time, our campaign is hosting a national call for LGBT Americans who are interested in helping Barack.
On this call, we will give a status report of our campaign as a whole, discuss LGBT policy, provide suggestions for how you can be involved and answer questions and hear your concerns.
National LGBT Conference Call
Friday, June 6th, 2008
6:00 p.m. EDT
RSVP for the conference call:
As a gay American, I couldn't be more proud to work for Barack Obama. I believe in my heart that he will be a great president with the best judgment to lead our nation. He is a friend and will fight for justice and equality, standing up for our individual rights.
The stakes in this election are very high. A nation led by Barack Obama will stand in stark contrast to that of his opponent.
Please forward this email to others who may be interested in joining the call. If the timing of the call does not work for you, we will schedule another one in the near future.
Join us on the call and learn more about our LGBT program:
I hope you will get involved and join us on Friday.
Deputy Campaign Manager
Obama for America
P.S. -- We've pulled together a few resources for you to learn more about Barack and LGBT issues.
It's going to be an interesting - not to mention scary - election year.And so it goes.
Well, what was I supposed to do, just sit there like a dolt and cheer him on alone?
Together, we were able to move it just enough to get by, but while we gave it one more heave, it happened. I think this snap is worse.
Didn't get a lick of sleep last night and I've been alternately icing and heating the spot all day with no relief. I'll see the chiropractor tomorrow.
Since I have no insurance this could get very expensive.
Prayers are always welcome.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I used to have great respect for the Clintons, but not after this primary season. They seem to have no idea that because of the Internets, a lie, misquote, deceptions, and revisionist history are hitting the world’s monitors and YouTube before either of them has a chance to take another breath.
And I think I can safely say, that at one time or another over the course of the campaign, Hillary committed all of the above - some more than once.
For me it began with her vote for Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and since the campaign gaffs started right out of the gate it’s been a downhill ride. You know what I’m talking about. “Doing well among hard-working white men” was about as blatantly racist as one can get. Racism is alive and well in this country, though in our media it remains the elephant in the living room. One right wingnut posted the following on his blog in a box containing the infamous photo of Obama in native African garb:
“Is THIS the type of guy you want running America? I Don’t!(I have the screen grab, since he has taken that post down. Nothing can be hidden anymore.)
In fact, I’m starting to come to the realization that it may be up to a sole person, acting alone, to make certain this guy is never allowed to hold the most powerful office in the world. Sorry it may have to be that way, but it may.”
There’s a good reason the Secret Service has already been deployed for his protection. This information was an off hand sound bite all but dismissed on the news this morning. No one wants to touch the truth. I wonder if the talking heads at CNN or MSNBC will take note and report it for what it is. I won’t hold my breath.
Oh, and in case you missed them last night listen to Obama’s Speech, then listen to McSame’s and see and hear the big difference. They are all over the web.
And so it goes.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Well, that makes a lot of sense, if you want to keep our troops in an unending, and unnecessary war and continue our arrogant, isolationist attitude to the rest of the world.
Clearly, she has no dogs in this fight. Bitch!
Thanks Jane. I'd love to vote for a woman president, but Hillary isn't the one.
And so the silly goes.
It turns out that Ballard made a deal with the US Navy to use his state of the art mini sub, and well, here’s the story:
When oceanographer Bob Ballard uncovered the world's most famous shipwreck in 1985, he grabbed the globe's attention. But in reality the explorer's search for the Titanic was a cover-up for a top-secret mission for the U.S. government.OK, so the search for the submarines made finding the Titanic easier makes it easy to cut him some slack. He did find the remains of the most notorious, unsolved shipwreck in history. And with a forthcoming video of this adventure from Nat. Geo. who can complain? As for me, all is forgiven Bob, let’s do dinner.
Ballard reveals he was hired to use his advanced robotic sub to check on the status of two nuclear submarines, the USS Thresher and the USS Scorpion, that sank in the Atlantic in the 1960s.
"The Navy didn't want the Soviets to know they were looking for these subs," Ballard said on "Good Morning America" today.
The guise of searching for the Titanic's wreckage provided a perfect alibi for the intensified presence of U.S. ships on the Atlantic. Ballard was under strict instructions for the last two decades not to talk to anyone at the time about how he secretly sought out the two subs.
The Thresher went down in 1963 and the Scorpion sank in 1968. Both were nuclear subs and their locations had never really been mapped, Ballard said.
The Navy made a deal with Ballard. After his submarine search was concluded, it would fund an expedition to find the Titanic and now a National Geographic documentary called "Titanic: The Final Secret" follows the true story of the search and recovery of the 1912 shipwreck.
At the time, Ballard's latest invention was an underwater robot craft which was used to meticulously scanned the seabed of the North Atlantic and track the remnants of the two submarines.
Ballard's team found that the boats' nuclear fuel was intact. "The key was both nuclear reactors had turned off. They call it scrambling and control rods had gone down. So it was a good ending," said Ballard, who is National Geographic's explorer-in-residence.
He also found that the subs had a debris field that spread out for a mile, and used that lesson to help find the Titanic in the 12 days he had left on his Navy contract after tracking the Scorpion and the Thresher.
He realized it would be easier to find the Titanic's debris field than the actual ship.
UPDATE: I've just learned that the video will air tonight on the Nat. Geo. Channel.
And so it goes.
I woke up this morning to find a red fox on the lawn near the marshes (see the picture at left) which is the view from my window. That cheered me up.
And so it goes.