Friday, December 21, 2007

A spark

To act as a muse, a source of inspiration, a point of departure, a spark, to stir the conscious, to unsettle, to promote curiosity here lies the goal: to be a question catalyst.

"onceonlyhuman", evanfetty, 2007


During the past week, I've managed to have the same conversation with Evan, Kelly, Will and Billy - well, similar but different at least :). I've noticed that even though each of them is very creative, they all have their own process for seeing the world around them, being inspired to do something and then representing that in a final product - a painting, sculpture, tilework, jewelery or a photo. It seems like such a "duh" statement that creative people are going to forge their own path to get from point A to point B, but for someone who had immersed themselves in business for so long, with all it's more formal structures and rules, it really was one of those moments that it hit me that I should have realized it before.

The other big revelation for me was that exploring a more artistic side of me isn't a new journey, it's a continuation of one that I seem to have buried from my past. I'd constantly been telling myself that I wasn't artistic; always amazed and awed at those who could express themselves in that manner. But it simply wasn't true. And I'm not sure why I thought I had to bury it over all these years - was there some definition of success or maturity that I was adopting where being artistic didn't fit? The easy answer would be that I simply didn't have time to pursue that type of activity because I was busy with other goals - but that doesn't really explain why I was totally forgetting things in my past.

I'm not sure exactly when it started to come back to me, but a doorway in my mind cracked enough for me to explore and remember - I used to love sketching - usually it was buildings or details of them. Crayons or pencil didn't matter, when I doodled it was always the structures around me. I can remember sitting bored in classes and drawing the room or the windows (all the little details of the hardware and seams but not normally what was outside the window) My continued interest in architecture, building and remodeling all this time has kept this one alive, but I failed to identify it as "artistic".

But even more striking was remembering other interests - my mom teaching me to crochet and do things with yarn, beadwork - both as jewelery and dressing up clothing, leatherwork - with all the special tools to carve intricate designs. Calligraphy - including a 7' long scroll of "Stairway to Heaven" in Old English script complete with twisted vines and flowers, color and gold leaf. I can remember studying how hieroglyphics had morphed into cuneiforms into letters (if only I had had access to Wiki back then, who knows what tangents I might have taken) as I worked on that project.

Wood working in shop class, which included metal work - I recall making a sand mold to pour molten metal (in 7th grade!! can you imagine a school doing that today?) and forming some sort of wall sculpture of medieval knight heads or bending and hammering and welding flat metal to make candlestick holders that I mounted on wood that I'd cut with a bandsaw and stained.

I remember a stained glass project and working in the school's graphic arts department to learn typesetting and kerning, offset printing and burning a negative into a metal plate with acid to produce a newspaper. String art and colored sand paintings - things everyone did in art class at school or camp that I enjoyed enough to go home and keep doing for my own pleasure.

There were a couple of years of macramé' - hanging flower baskets and even a pair of kitchen curtains (now I'm really wondering where all this stuff would up - probably in the dump as we moved from place to place and it was deemed "junk - the roots of my current pack rat behavior perhaps?)

How sad to think I put most of it away during those puberty years when I started trying to reform myself into a straight guy - enjoying these things wasn't masculine enough and someone might have figured me out. How wonderful to be re-discovering them, like old cherished friends. How interesting that it's been almost a decade since I came out and I'm still finding ways that my own self-hatred kept me from enjoying and living my own life. How fascinating to picture a world without closets and to wonder what great ideas have never come to fruition because of that bigotry.

When some of that hits and you find yourself bawling your eyes out over the loss of what might have been or the anger that surges over allowing some fear of what others would have thought rob you of joy from your life, you can't help but sit there rocked to your core. And then you remember the friends who helped you get it back and your heart swells large enough to push all that negative out and it's a better day than it started.

So a big thanks to you who keep questioning me until I examine and change. And to those lending your support in so many ways. May your lives always be filled with sparks as well.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What color is your day?

People are always sending along things that other's email them, sometimes goofy, sometimes fun - occasionally thought provoking.

Developed by a Color Behavioralist (how do people come up with these titles?), this little quiz is all about the order that you pick colors in to tell what's on your mind. Not 100% accurate, but closer than most I'd have to say. More specific than a tea leave reader, and certainly enough to make you wonder how they can tell that much.

Free personality analysis from
Generated on Mon Dec 17 07:11:05 2007.

Your Existing Situation
Imaginative and sensitive; seeking an outlet for these qualities--especially in the company of someone equally sensitive. Interest and enthusiasm are readily aroused by the unusual or the adventurous.

Your Stress Sources
Has an unsatisfied need to ally himself with others whose standards are as high as his own, and to stand out from the herd. This desire for preeminence isolates him and inhibits his readiness to give himself freely. While he wants to surrender and let himself go, he regards this as a weakness which must be resisted. This self-restraint, he feels, will lift him above the rank and file and ensure recognition as a unique and distinctive personality.

Your Restrained Characteristics
Feels listless, hemmed in, and anxious; considers that circumstances and forcing him to restrain his desires. Wants to avoid open conflict with others and to have peace and quiet.

Remains emotionally unattached even when involved in a close relationship.

Feels that things stand in his way, that circumstances are forcing him to compromise and forgo some pleasures for the time being.

Your Desired Objective
Seeks the determination and elasticity of will necessary to establish himself and to make himself independent despite the difficulties of his situation. Wants to overcome opposition and achieve recognition.

Your Actual Problem
Needs to be valued and respected as an exceptional individual, in order to increase his self-esteem and his feeling of personal worth. Resists mediocrity and sets himself high standards.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

These are the people we need to preserve the country for?

Holy fucking shit - where (besides their collective asses) have these folks had their heads?

OMFG, this is the future of our country? No Child Left Behind? No Stupid Idiot Left Out either. No wonder all these other countries are kicking our asses in almost every category you can name, from health care to manufacturing jobs.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

w00t is the new word of the year ?!?

It's that time of the year - when everyone out there is trying to make themselves seem more important by publishing lists of "the best of", "greatest".... blah, blah, blah. Now 108% of this is just silly junk, it's not like any of it makes a difference in our lives - just a further reflection of the mind-numbing dribble that has become our 24 hour a day news cycle. It used to be that content formed a stable foundation for the advertising platform, but once they realized they could spoon feed happy-news pablum and we'd still buy as much shit as before, all bets were off.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Expect cheers among hardcore online game enthusiasts when they learn Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year. Or, more accurately, expect them to "w00t."

"W00t," a hybrid of letters and numbers used by gamers as an exclamation of happiness, topped all other terms in the Springfield dictionary publisher's online poll for the word that best sums up 2007.

Merriam-Webster's president, John Morse, said "w00t" was an ideal choice because it blends whimsy and new technology.

Monday, December 10, 2007

And then they came for the artists: Haven for artists burned in Dunedin, FL

And then they came for the artists: Haven for artists burned in Dunedin, FL
Haven for artists burned

The Imago Art Gallery building at 464 Douglas Ave., in Dunedin burns early Sunday. Authorities found evidence of accelerants. By JOSE CARDENAS & DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD December 10, 2007

 DUNEDIN - The Imago Art Gallery in this town known for its embrace of the arts was home to 15 working artists. But early Sunday an arsonist set fire to artists' studios and hundreds of their paintings, sculptures, jewelry and other works, investigators say.

As news of the 3 a.m. fire spread, some of the artists gathered at the charred and gutted building on Douglas Avenue south of Main Street.

"What is there to gain from burning our work and a building like that?" said Denis Gaston, a contemporary mixed media artist who lost 80 paintings and drawings. "These people lost everything."

Harry Williams, a glass blower who turned the building into studios for fellow artists seven years ago, said that fire officials put the loss around $1-million.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office estimated the loss to the structure at $500,000.

....."I'm numb. I'm confused," said Williams, 56, who now lives in Odessa with wife Louies, an acrylic painter. "It was our retirement. It's my life savings." The 5,200-square-foot, bright yellow building was a fixture in the local art scene. Painters, sculptors, stone carvers and other artists included John Lowe, Sultana Volaitis and Dorothy Briccetti.

 ..... Investigators used a dog during the investigation. They determined the fire was arson based on witness statements, burn patterns and "the presence of accelerants," said state Fire Marshal Detective Curt Clendenney. .....

From the "Jesus loves US way more than He loves You" files...

It's really hard not to feel that five atheists feeding people in the soup kitchen have more Christmas spirit (and "Christian love') than these folks. Once more, they really don't get it, do they?

Mega church spends $1 million on Christmas Pagent
Commercialization of Christ? Church Puts On Lavish Production
First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale Spent More Than $1 Million on Its Pageant

A Florida megachurch has garnered national attention with its annual Christmas pageant. The First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale's production is filled with extensive pyrotechnics, live stock and a bevy of actors.

"We're having to compete against many theatrical things around the country, whether it's MTV or the Rockettes or any show you might see on Broadway," said the Rev. Mike Jefferies of the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale. "We have made a conscious decision to pull out all the stops."The play rivals some Las Vegas-style productions, and Broadway producers choreographed the show.In fact, more than 600 actors dance through the aisles during the play.

The church's pageant is a lot more extravagant than the more traditional productions many have become accustomed to, where bed sheets act as shepherd costumes and tinfoil serves as an angel's halo.

According to the church's senior pastor and show's executive producer, Larry Thompson, the production pales in comparison to the actual events."I really believe it is such a great story. I'm sure we couldn't actually compete with what really happened 2,000 years ago," he said on "Good Morning America Weekend Edition" today.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I'm in stitches!

Went down to visit Madelyn yesterday, hadn't seen my sister for over a month. I'd mentioned all the wool we had from the sheep up at Labrador Ridge and how I wanted to do something with it. Bless her soul (isn't that a good Southern expression?) - she volunteered to teach me to knit.

So she started me out with the big fat needles, some soft pinkish and purple yarn and proceeded to teach me the two stitches that make up knitting. After a few hours of practice, we headed for home where I could work on the yarn made from the Jacob wool. It just seems fitting to be there for the beginning, the cut hands as we sheared them and now to actually make something from that product. A labor of love if you will.

Here's what I've learned so far:

  • I can't decide if it's more like macramé with chopsticks or very, very slow weaving.
  • Never stop in the middle of the row, no matter how badly you have to pee.
  • Masturbation would still be my preferred method of making myself blind.
  • When you screw up one stitch, fix it. When you do 3/4 of the row, call it artistic license.
  • Tight is not a good thing.
  • It can take as long to roll the yarn into a ball as it does to make the project.
  • In spite of their diversity, every friend walking in the door gives the same look as they say "You're knitting?"
  • Rustic can describe more than just cabins.
Seriously, I'm enjoying the hell out of it. Maybe by next Christmas, I can make Shayla a sweater.

How do you begin saying goodbye?

I'm at a new place when it comes to someone leaving. Before, I've always been the one to move on - and the excitement of new adventures has always tempered the feeling of loss at leaving someone important in my life.

But now it's different - I'm going to be the one sitting in the same familiar places - remembering things that happened when we were together. Things that made me mad, or bought a smile to my face. Things I could talk about that I never mentioned to anyone else. Things that made me laugh out loud.

Most people probably learned to deal with it when they were 10 or 11, how did I possibly get this far and never had to? I guess that's why I've had this strong need to be around others so much lately.

I feel like there's a huge loss barreling down the tracks at me and I'm powerless to move out of the way.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

When life knocks the fuck out of you

Ever notice how life keeps you on track? Seriously, when you're down and thinking that life just sucks for various reasons in your life, did you ever notice how things happen to put you back together?

Sometime's it's spending the evening talking to someone about their relationship with someone else and you find yourself being honest in spite of your feelings about that same person - sometimes it's finding out that your personal space is filled with people who think that being devious is more important than honesty - but no matter, life is still going to throw you for a loop that says it really doesn't matter so much.

You get an email from a friend who is nursing their partner towards death. You're reading through their comments about how the medical people who are major players in their day to day lives - including the comments about not making it until Christmas, or the family members that they still have to deal with who are selfishly more concerned with themselves.

Big changes are on the horizon. When, how and where are still unknown, but this much I know. I'm not dying. There are people who genuinely care about me without any strings or requirements. They have no agenda, no requirement to be devious for whatever satisfaction some people get from that. So I'll survive. And maybe find out that I made a difference for someone, in spite of

Unlike my friend - who has done all that, but probably won't be here to celebrate Christmas. At least he won't die lonely, surrounded by people. Surprising how much that matters.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cross-dressing state lawmaker blackmailed following late night tryst

Headlines just don't get much better than that one. One more hypocritical "family values" Republican - vote against anything pro-homo - and buying rent boys while out of town - ah, I love the stench of hypocrisy this early in the morning:

SPOKANE -- State Representative Richard Curtis says he's not gay, but police reports and court records indicate the Republican lawmaker from southwestern Washington dressed up in women's lingerie and met a Medical Lake man in a local erotic video store which led to consensual sex at a downtown hotel and a threat to expose Curtis' activities publicly.

A search warrant unsealed Tuesday morning disclosed that State Representative Richard Curtis (R - La Center) had sex in his room at the Davenport Tower with a man identified as Cody Castagna, 26, of Medical Lake, who he met at the Hollywood Erotic Boutique on October

Curtis, according to a search warrant unsealed Tuesday, went to the Hollywood Erotic Boutique on East Sprague on October 26th at approximately 12:45 a.m. The store clerk, who had talked with Curtis, referred to him as "The Cross-Dresser" and said that during their conversations he confirmed he was gay and was married with children at home.

During his visit to the video store Curtis was observed wearing women's lingerie while receiving oral sex from an unidentified man in one of the movie viewing booths inside the store.


The two met at the Davenport Tower around 3:34 a.m. and police reports confirm Curtis and Castagna had anal intercourse after which Curtis fell asleep. Castagna, according to court records, then allegedly took Curtis' wallet out of his jacket pocket and left the room.

Around 7 a.m. he called Curtis and told him he knew he was a member of the Washington State House of Representatives and was married, that he had taken pictures of Curtis with a camera on his cellphone and he offered to return the wallet in exchange for $1,000. In police reports it is claimed that Curtis offered Castagna that sum of money in exchange for having unprotected anal intercourse.

Curtis, during an interview with a Spokane detective, claimed that he gave Castagna $100 for "gas money" and insisted that the money was not payment for sex. During that phone conversation he claimed he only had $200 and left the money in an envelope at the front
desk at the Davenport Tower for Castagna in exchange for the return of his wallet.

more details at the link

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Here's one for the Beatles fans

Looks like it will be an awesome movie, especially if you grew up loving their music

:: :: Reviews :: Across the Universe (xhtml)
Here is a bold, beautiful, visually enchanting musical where we walk into the theater humming the songs. Julie Taymor's "Across the Universe" is an audacious marriage of cutting-edge visual techniques, heart-warming performances, 1960s history and the Beatles songbook. Sounds like a concept that might be behind its time, but I believe in yesterday.

This isn't one of those druggy 1960s movies, although it has what the MPAA shyly calls "some" drug content. It's not grungy, although it has Joe Cocker in it. It's not political, which means it's political to its core. Most miraculous of all, it's not dated; the stories could be happening now, and in fact, they are.

For a film that is almost wall to wall with music, it has a full-bodied plot. The characters, mostly named after Beatles songs, include Lucy (the angelic Evan Rachel Wood), who moves from middle America to New York; Jude (Jim Sturgess), a Liverpool ship welder who works his way to New York on a ship, and Lucy's brother, Max (Joe Anderson), a college student who has dropped out (I guess). They now all share a pad in Greenwich Village with their musician friends, the Hendrixian Jo-Jo (Martin Luther McCoy), the Joplinesque Sadie (Dana Fuchs) and the lovelorn Prudence (T.V. Carpio), who loves women but doesn’t feel free to express her true feelings.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Talk about Freeway blogging!

My hat is off to these guys. Hung a banner from a crane in downtown Charlotte, and two of them repelled off it to steady the sign. Just wow. Closed down traffic in a major intersection for a long time tis morning. They were with Rain forest Action Network.

article here:

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Us as screens and the stars projectors?

Just got in from watching the meteor shower. I tend to forget or take for granted what a great area I live in. I'd originally thought we'd go up on the parkway for the best view, but Chris made it quite clear he'd rather have sleep and I decided I'd go up in the development area behind the house to watch instead. It turns out that I didn't need to go up higher at all - we're ringed in here with enough peaks that it blocks the light from both Boone and Blowing Rock, and while not true dark skies, it's dark enough and there isn't any traffic coming by at that point to mess up your night vision either.

Sitting there with the dog (who is very patiently waiting for me to get up and continue walking even while she's giving me those "I left a nice warm bed in front of the fire for this?" looks) I was reflecting on how I was doing something mankind has done since he first walked this planet. Looking out there into the vast unknown and thinking about life - everyone's and my own as well. Both how did it all begin and how did I get to this point at the same time.

Easy enough to see how religions got started - the various diverse (but similar on so many levels) ways that people looked at the universe around them and wondered how they fit into something so big. I was sitting there thinking wouldn't it be interesting if we were each one of those stars and that the lives we were living here on Earth were actually projections from up there. How many other world's could we simultaneously inhabit? What would those lives be like? Or maybe the same world but with the ability to see the outcome of each of the choices we have made along the way - show me what would have happened if I had said no that one time that I said yes or took the left turn instead of the right. Sitting there wondering why no one had written a book or movie with that theme until I realized that it would never have an ending - you could "what if" forever. But we aren't given that much time, so we have to make it all count as much as we can now.

What is it about strolling alone at 2 am that clears my head - sure, tons of thoughts going on and processing, but not in the normal frantic tangle that it usually is. Lack of distraction? No phone or anyone to talk to? What I'd originally hoped to be a shared snuggling event turned out to be an equally satisfying solitary one instead.

Sleep well Orion, sweet dreams hot stuff. Thanks for a great night out underneath the stars.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Living Possom Style

Just read an interesting book - POSSUM LIVING HOW TO LIVE WELL WITHOUT A JOB AND WITH (almost) NO MONEY by Dolly Freed. Written by a 19 year old girl living with her father just outside of Philly, it was published in 1978 and contains alot of practical advice on how you can live off the land, even in the less rural parts of the world. While she advances some ideas I have no intention of following through on, the text will certainly make you think about how we all live today, what it costs us and ways that we can do more with less.

Do you remember the story of Diogenes, the ancient Athenian crackpot? He was the one who gave away all his possessions because "People don't own possessions, their possessions own them." He had a drinking cup, but when he saw a child scoop up water by hand, he threw the cup away. To beat the housing crunch he set up an abandoned wine barrel in a public park and lived in that.

The central theme of Diogenes' philosophy was that "The gods gave man an easy life, but man has complicated it by itching for luxuries."

Apparently he lived up to his principles. But despite that handicap he seems to have had the most interesting social life imaginable. He not only lived in the center of the "Big Apple" of his day (5th century B.C. Athens), he also had the esteem and company of many of the most respected, rich and influential citizens, including that of the most expensive prostitute in town.

When Alexander of Macedon, the future conqueror of the known world, was traveling through Greece, he honored Diogenes with a visit. Alexander admired Diogenes' ideas to the point of offering him any gift within his means. Diogenes, who was working on his tan at the time, asked as his gift that Alexander move aside a bit so as to stop shading him from the sun. This to the richest and most powerful man in the Western world.

Parting, Alexander remarked, "If I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes." Diogenes went back to nodding in the sunshine.


Autumn is busy, but pleasantly so. I guess we average about five hours each of work per day, but living possum-style there is often no clearcut differentiation between one's work, leisure, and recreation. When you're out on a beautiful day gathering nuts for food and bird watching for recreation at the same time, for instance, how much of the time spent is work? It's as anthropologists say about hunting tribes--hunters don't need hobbies, their work is their hobby.

Not having to go to school, I had time to actually learn something interesting and useful such as how to make moonshine, how to buy a house at a sheriff sale, how to make money in business, how to repair a house, and even how to read and write--these last two being more than you can say for 14.29% of the 1976 high school seniors of the Philadelphia, public school system. What would I have learned if I had stayed in school? Exactly what the slowest member of the class would have learned, because that's how they teach. And the subjects! Social studies, forsooth! And new math, where you learn all about "sets" and graduate not knowing how to balance a checkbook. And home economics, where they teach you to be as uneconomical as possible--Betty Crocker propaganda. We take a do-it-yourself approach to education same as any other subject. If we want to learn something, we go to the library, get a book on the subject, and study it. Or we ask questions of someone who really knows the subject, which leaves out most professional teachers.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn't Want You to Know - Esquire

A must read article.

The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn't Want You to Know - Esquire
The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn't Want You to Know Two former high-ranking policy experts from the Bush Administration say the U.S. has been gearing up for a war with Iran for years, despite claiming otherwise. It'll be Iraq all over again.
In the years after 9/11, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann worked at the highest levels of the Bush administration as Middle East policy experts for the National Security Council. Mann conducted secret negotiations with Iran. Leverett traveled with Colin Powell and advised Condoleezza Rice. They each played crucial roles in formulating policy for the region leading up to the war in Iraq. But when they left the White House, they left with a growing sense of alarm -- not only was the Bush administration headed straight for war with Iran, it had been set on this course for years. That was what people didn't realize. It was just like Iraq, when the White House was so eager for war it couldn't wait for the UN inspectors to leave. The steps have been many and steady and all in the same direction. And now things are getting much worse. We are getting closer and closer to the tripline, they say.

"The hard-liners are upping the pressure on the State Department," says Leverett. "They're basically saying, 'You've been trying to engage Iran for more than a year now and what do you have to show for it? They keep building more centrifuges, they're sending this IED stuff over into Iraq that's killing American soldiers, the human-rights internal political situation has gotten more repressive -- what the hell do you have to show for this engagement strategy?' "

But the engagement strategy was never serious and was designed to fail, they say. Over the last year, Rice has begun saying she would talk to "anybody, anywhere, anytime," but not to the Iranians unless they stopped enriching uranium first. That's not a serious approach to diplomacy, Mann says. Diplomacy is about talking to your enemies. That's how wars are averted. You work up to the big things. And when U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker had his much-publicized meeting with his Iranian counterpart in Baghdad this spring, he didn't even have permission from the White House to schedule a second meeting.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Right or Left Brained?,21598,22492511-5005375,00.html?from=mostpop

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies


uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Pumpkin Carving with the Crew

Yesterday afternoon we had a pumpkin carving party with the kids so we could decorate the Chalets and Inn. I had no clue when I jokingly suggested it how excited they would get by that idea, so off to the store we go for pumpkins and supplies (there isn't a pumpkin patch around where you can go pick your own)

Gathering in our normal place - we head out on the back deck with new Dremel tools, knives and plenty of wine. The joking started right away, the laughter a perfect music to the atmosphere with Chris in the kitchen doing what he does so well and everyone else wearing these very intense looks of concentration as they planned and carved and sculpted. I'd offered a gift certificate prize to the bookstore or Intimate Apparel shop that just opened - you can imagine what this crew unanimously decided. I just sat and watched, thoroughly enjoying everyone enjoying themselves and each other.

When we got mostly finished carving, Chris has dinner ready - a pumpkin and duck stew that he's got in baby pumpkin bowls along with a chocolate/pumpkin/pomegranate dessert that was out of this world. I was completely blown away, not so much by his cooking skills, but that he could do something some terrific out of an ingredient he doesn't like. If we could pair him up with the right crew, Iron Chef would be getting an audition video.

Chris picked the cannibal that Kelly did as the winner.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Campfires, smoked oysters and good friends

Throw in a bottle of good wine, a very clear sky and lots of good food and conversation and you have all the makings for a fantastic night.

Will, Evan and I went camping over Fall Break on some land that Will is taking photos for to produce the sales literature for the development. We went up yesterday afternoon and got some shots of close up things they may be able to use in some ways, but overall there wasn't much to be seen that showed off the land. The streams were dried up with the drought, kudzu is still overgrowing much and the leaves haven't changed colors. The email instructions from the marketing company referenced a few shots they wanted, specifically a sunrise over Mount Pilot. Well, we rode around looking for that particular view and never could find it, so finally took a break to make camp and gather firewood around 8. Which meant it was about 10 when we finally ate, but it was worth the wait. While it would have been fun if the whole crew had gone, the three of us talked on the smaller level that wouldn't have been possible with a big crowd.

Will crashed first saying we were getting up at 4:30 to get the sunrise pictures, Evan and I tossed more wood on the fire since the temps had dropped into the mid 30's and the wind picked up - never once questioning why we were going to be waking 2 1/2 hours before sunrise. That part never dawned on either of us until Will had already gotten me up and Evan asked from the burrows of his sleeping bag just what time the sun was coming up as we were waking him. Fortunately Bella had decided that sleeping on the head of my sleeping bag was as close as she was going to be able to snuggle and I slept nice and warm.

Not to be detered, we went along as Will went scouting for the perfect shots and watched as he did some neat lighting effects with the taillights against the tall grasses. Evan and I took turns (from the warmth of the Honda) pushing brakes or flickering headlights and dozing while Will worked. On returning to camp, we fixed breakfast and I got to experience eating oatmeal with chopsticks - a highly entertaining way to have a morning meal.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm such a first class asshole

Angry because of the way something was handled (actually not handled) and wanting to be by myself and crank up music - so I'm being rude to someone else who's here to work and had nothing to do with it.

Ten minutes later she has something really wrong as opposed to my petty little selfish bullshit. What a reminder that my life is pretty damn charmed compared to pretty much everyone else's and here I am getting drug down on the stupid shit. Off to apologize in person...

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The illusion of democracy

“It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts... For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it.”
-- Patrick Henry

The illusion of freedom in America will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre.
-- Frank Zappa, 1977

Free speech zones, a Federal government telling states that they can't legalize certain drugs for medicinal reasons, or even feeding the homeless is against a law now? And people are still stupid enough to claim that we live in a Christian Nation?
Man's Trial Over Feeding Homeless Begins
City Says Charity Can't Serve More Than 25 People At One Time

Fla. -- A jury was seated and opening statements were set to begin on
Monday in the trial of a man who was arrested for feeding homeless
people in Orlando.

Eric Montanez was arrested several months ago
on suspicion of serving more than 25 homeless people, which Orlando
police said violates a city ordinance forbidding large group feedings.

The ordinance states that a charity can feed up to 25 people at a time.

Montanez, the first person to be arrested under the ordinance, said he doesn't regret it."This is not about me. This is not about an iconic figure. This is about
hunger and the homeless," Montanez said. "The people are hungry. That's
the honest-to-God truth."

Where are we? How did we get here? The richest country on Earth, leader of the Free World, Greatest Nation ever..... allowed to sell it's soul for a bigger SUV and cheaper prices at WalMart

Any common sense would change that headline to Man's Trial Over; Feeding Homeless Begins

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Walking in the wee hours

I need to find an insomniac friend. Another 2 am wake up, in spite of pushing myself to stay awake later last night. Bored with reading or being online, what else is there to do? I'm sure as hell not going to turn on the TV and watch infomercials.

Go for a walk. It's late/early, it's dark. It's not going to disturb anyone. It's beautiful out there, once your eyes adjust. It's quiet and the stars are out.

Me alone with my thoughts, the ones that seem so strange sometimes until I
remember that plenty of people have different ways of looking at the
world - thankfully.

I find myself amazed again that I am comfortable alone. I can remember points in my life when I was surrounded by people, but terribly lonely.

Thinking about people, those I know and even those I don't

The little I did start to read this morning left me with the depressing thought of how many people in this world still hate one another. Mostly because they don't know each other and they've been taught or manipulated into thinking that way. Wouldn't it be great if everyone could meet each other, even if it was just once? If everyone got to sit down in some "time out" zone where they had a few minutes to confess to everyone else, with brutal honesty, the things that they kept hidden about themselves. More than focusing on our differences, most would be able to focus on our similarities. How could we judge others if we'd just told all of our own interests, no matter how taboo?

I should be tiling, there's so many projects to finish. I just don't enjoy doing that by myself. It's boring to have no one to talk to while doing something that isn't challenging enough in it's own right to keep my mind occupied. And it's not like I have ever needed much reason to procrastinate - I make it a point to tell everyone what a slacker I really am, they just don't believe me because all this stuff gets done.

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Cemetaries and Cubicles

It was a "field trip" day - the plumbers didn't show up again and Evan & Kelly were here to work - and everything we could have done would have problems if we started before the plumbers got done. Add the much needed rain which eliminated outdoor work and we almost had a dilemma.

Coffee chat turned up that we still needed to pick out the fabric for curtains and accessories for the furniture that also remained to be selected and bought back. 15 minutes later and we're on the road to Hickory for a scavenger hunt.

The ride down the mountain discussing a book Evan's gotten at the library called Hide. Somewhere along the way, I drew the comparison between cubicle dwellers (breathing) versus the cemetery (same neat little rows, same quiet atmosphere and not much difference in attitude or productivity.

A comparison between current working conditions and pure Marxism. Which leads to more discussion about how to intentionally create that same family business atmosphere in Portland.

We hit the furniture Mart for a quick run through the Mitchell Gold outlet, several possibilities if the sizes will fit. Off to the Chinese buffet for lunch, which surprised both of them given my fondness for buffets - until I explained that Chris had taken me there before, which is the ultimate endorsement. Little piggies with chopsticks.

Off to the fabric store with Kelly firmly in the lead but her still telling Evan he had to pick out x, y and z for his chalet. Me again standing by in awe of how someone else's brains work. To see what isn't there yet, to put together colors when half of the finished product only exists in their minds.

Hit a thrift store and Hickory's ReStore to see what might be available for both the chalets and what they'll need for their Halloween costumes. Peter Pan and a court jester. So fitting on so many levels!

Then off to the wine shop since I felt like I always get to do all the fun stuff while Chris is stuck in a job he hates. Of course the suggestion is to get him a nice Oregon wine. While talking to the lady behind the counter, we decide our own private tasting is in order - so we each order a glass (based on the type wine, the grape or even the design of the label) and head outside to sit in the sunshine and taste each of them in turn. All were good, some would pair better with various meals and I need to ask Chris how to bring out the licorice that we could all find in the one.

Back on the road, we hit 3 more thrift shops before heading back up the mountain. The highlight was Kelly wrapping a chain belt around my neck and holding it like a leash. (I know at least 2 of the straight boys reading that are having some major fantasy envy over that one!) Even more embarrassing was the comment about it being long enough to loop over my (non existent) PA. Crimson would have been so low on the color palette of my face...

The night wrapped up with picking up Larry and heading over to ArtWalk where we all ran into Nick & Zack, Billy and Cassie. Just as funny was the look on Nick's face when he saw that I was wearing the chain as a necktie. Not a late night, but a very nice wrap up to a terrific day.

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The culmination of the Selfish Class

Mark Crispin Miller, the author of “The Bush Dyslexicon,” once made a striking observation: all of the famous Bush malapropisms — “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family,” and so on — have involved occasions when Mr. Bush was trying to sound caring and compassionate.

By contrast, Mr. Bush is articulate and even grammatical when he talks about punishing people; that’s when he’s speaking from the heart. The only animation Mr. Bush showed during the flooding of New Orleans was when he declared “zero tolerance of people breaking the law,” even those breaking into abandoned stores in search of the food and water they weren’t getting from his administration.

more here

After years of wondering if these people could really be that blind to the mis-fortunes of others, I guess I no longer need to speculate. Their philosophy "I got mine, fuck you" is really the only thing that fits into their mindset.

Can you imagine any of them born into a middle class family in St Louis, San Antonio or Des Moines? I'm not even suggesting the heart wrenchingly poor - simply the everyday 2.4 children having, Chevy driving, apple pie eating, baseball watching American that our marketers so love. Seriously, can you even fathom George the Dunce actually going out and doing something as routine as filling out a job application? Or trying to "put food on his family" by toiling away for others?

They really have no clue what it is like for others, no idea that such exists even in their midst. Or, in many cases, that their government and business philosophies have been a significant factor in where those people are today. Who would have ever thought that I'd be sitting here missing the Goldwater Republicans - didn't have to always agree, but never had to question their basic humanity either.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

So the trip is a go

Airlines booked - leaving town the 5th to stay over in Charlotte and get 6something am flight to Pittsburgh, staying/speaking at The Priory , dinner with friends Tuesday night at either Eleven or Soba

Catch a 6 pm flight to Portland on Wed night, getting in around 10:30 their time. Staying a few places, but the bulk of the nights at the 4 Points on the Waterfront - Next to the MAX station, blocks away from the NorthWest Food & Wine Festival(which we had no idea was going on when we set our dates) and I have no clue where to eat - the choices are phenomenal- I'm going to really be fat by the time we get home. Chris usually does a better job picking out the food and drink, I just kick back and enjoy it.

Our last night there isn't booked yet. Part of me is leaning towards staying on a yacht on the Columbia river with a dinner cruise, another option is a revamped hotel from the 20's called Ace or maybe Northrup Station The biggest hold up right now is trying to figure how far from the airport some of those would be for an early Monday morning flight and if they hotels have any of the rooms with private bathrooms available, sharing a bathroom with anyone besides Chris just isn't in my game plan and I @#$#$3 hate hotels that don't allow online booking, c'mon people, it's 2007 for crying out loud. Most places I can do a search, book my rooms and get GPS mapping to it all within 5 minutes on my cell phone! I know, I know - it's that whole delayed gratification thing again, but the only place that ever works out good for me is orgasms.

So everything is booked and paid for, now we get to simply go and relax and explore.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hippies 'R Us ?

Spent an hour or so on the phone with another Innkeeper last night organizing my speaking trip to PA in November. She'd heard all about the "kids" from Ashley and wanted to know more. I wound up sending her pictures and talking about how great it is to have them around, the energy levels and dedication to what they are doing and now she wants to hire a few of them to work on various projects.

Woke up this am and started trying to put together our Portland trip as a piggy back from Pittsburgh, skimming blog feeds while waiting on the various hotel and airline searches to complete including some reports about the West Coast Green conference. Which started me thinking again about what do I want to do in Portland? While I have no doubt in my ability to make a living, I have only some broad stroke ideas of what I'd like to do.

Something in sustainable development/living, something small biz scale with no more than 10 employees - I like the family business feel. Or more like employee-owners, give everyone a stake. Producing something from thrown away, or reusing something in a different manner. A blending of the practical "pays the bills" along with the creative "kindergarten fun". What if some did this full time while others worked part-time or took Sabbaticals to pursue other interests and travel?

I would imagine that sounds impossible to many reading this, but we've already created most of that here by accident, just imagine if we worked on doing it intentionally. Just last week Evan commented how it sort of took him by surprise to get a paycheck, that it doesn't normally feel like working.

After talking about making the glass for the outdoor lamps out of wine bottles last week, Ryan said to think of what else could be done with the kiln we're building. He was talking art, I instantly think business. The thought that has come to mind is hunting down the glass that is going into the recycling bins. Making tiles from it and selling them, along with using some to make mosaics, decorative borders on photo frames and mirrors, wind chimes and suncatchers. Crush some down and blend it with concrete to make countertops and sinks and tabletops. Maybe figure out a way to use all the scrap paper in the process.

Buy an old warehouse and convert it to retail/studio/living/loft/teaching space so we can 'recycle' a building. Take the building beyond green or Platinum into a "Living Building", that sustains itself. Solar & wind on the roof, net zero energy, along with a rooftop herb and vegetable garden, water catchment for irrigation, water gardens to filter the grey water, solar dehydrators to cook off the black. Materials from local sources or created on site from throw away materials. And do it at the same or lower cost than traditional building, what a model for people to see what's possible.

Billy suggested that I meet his instructor who is going to head the SD program - and also mentioned that they were developing classes in Sustainable Entrepreneurship. I think I just came up with a new business along with what courses I should be taking next semester.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Teenage girl beaten, expelled and arrested...for dropping cake

via Feministing


This is going to ruin your day. A young woman of color in Los Angeles had her wrist broken by a school security officer after not cleaning up a piece of dropped birthday cake to his satisfaction. During the attack he said, "hold still nappy head."

The girl, 16 year-old Pleajhai Mervin, was subsequently expelled and
arrested for littering and battery. Because as you can clearly see from
the video still above, this teenage girl was battering the shit out a
full grown, beefy security guard. Uh huh.

But it gets worse. When the girl's mother went to the school to complain and rightfully demand that this guard be arrested--she was arrested and suspended from her job with the school district.

Students at the scene captured the assault on their cell phones; one such student was also beaten.

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Hiking to waterfalls

Sunday was going to be a beautiful day out and I told Chris I'd take the day off in spite of pending deadlines for way too many projects. Between Larry being gone for two weeks, parties, school, remodeling and the upcoming busy season - we were really, really overdue for some "us" time.

Decided to go down to the Wilson's Creek area in Pisgah National Forest, an area neither of us had been to yet. I'd found some info online with great comments, photos and directions call When we got there, we started down one trail and realized less than a 1/4 mile in that there was still significant damage from the fires earlier this summer, so we turned back and found another trail.

The one we wound up on was North Harper Creek #266 which was a beautiful mixture of everything - gentle hills, steep climbs, totally enclosed under the trees to sudden, surprising openings that only showed blue since there wasn't a cloud to be seen for miles. Small, quiet streams to loudly rushing water. A time to talk or not, to hold hands and enjoy one another.

Further down the trail, I hit a wet spot and do my own version of water-sliding, bruising more to my ego than my ass - but the jeans did mostly dry out in the hours we were out there.

Eventually we come to one of the slowly trickling falls that drops down into the most still, deep pool so clear you can see to the bottom. Not another soul around for who knows how many miles. One of those moments where the pressure to leave society and it's associated clothing pressures behind as you get back to nature becomes a call of nature, not to be ignored. And you reconnect in such strong form that you only realize how much you'd needed this trip afterwards. Chris was right though (big surprise there) the water really was way too cold for skinny-dipping.

Definitely an area to get some maps and take more time to explore. Both the nature of us and the nature around us. Anything that can inspire all of those emotions along with me quoting poetry is an activity we need to make more time for in our lives.

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Venison burgers, mason jars and bonfires

How could it really get any better than that?

Billy invited us to come to a locally grown pot luck on Saturday night, so we packed up some locally grown wine and headed out to the countryside. What a beautiful location, from the sunset on the way out to the stars you could see once it got fully dark. Was funny to realize upon pulling up that I'd known Billy's house longer than I'd know him. I'd been there before some while back. One of the guys who worked for us back when we were doing the siding on Labrador Ridge used to live there and was rumored to have been in town and stopping by later than night; unfortunately we never did get to see Josh before it was time to go.

His roommates seem like great guys, solid and stable but fun to hang out with. Would have loved to talk politics more with Haiz, but he had his hands full - literally, grinding up venison and chicken? (and someone jokingly said groundhog) to make burgers. We wound up hanging outside around the fire, drinking wine from mason jars (don't ever apologize for your glasswear dude, it's part of the whole experience and was terrific!)

It's amazing how often we are finding ourselves with others of like mind, even when they aren't of like age. Mostly sharing interests that we've discovered we have in common, occasionally sitting back and observing how the future still has the potential to be more than the past - and the hope for tomorrow that continues to build from that.

Seriously, we had a great time, thanks for including us.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Government shuts down NetBank

Mortgage defaults cited as FDIC named receiver, ING takes over deposits

WASHINGTON - NetBank Inc., an online bank with $2.5 billion in assets, was shut down by the government on Friday because of an excessive level of mortgage defaults.

It was the largest savings and loan failure since the tail end of the industry's crisis more than 14 years ago. Federal regulators appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. as a receiver for Alpharetta, Ga.-based NetBank.


The FDIC said NetBank had $2.5 billion in total assets and $2.3 billion in deposits as of June 30.

The FDIC insures bank deposits of up to $100,000.

NetBank had $109 million in deposit accounts that exceeded the FDIC limit. Those customers will become creditors in NetBank's receivership, the FDIC said.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Last night, my partner and I were sitting in the living room and I said to him, "I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

He got up, unplugged my computer, and threw out my wine.

He's such a bitch.....

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This (mis)Administration in one simple paragraph

The Bush-Cheney administration has surrendered much of Afghanistan to the Taliban and much of Pakistan to al-Qaida. They have turned most of Iraq over to Iran, creating the very danger over which they now threaten another disastrous war; they have strained the U.S. Armed Forces to the point of exhaustion, turned the Defense Department over to private contractors, the Justice Department over to the Republican National Committee, and the national debt over to foreign creditors, while leading a party whose single most basic belief is supposed to be that individuals must take personal responsibility for their actions. And they dare to lecture us on national security?

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Making soap, tile as art and shifting my paradigms

Well Sunday turned out to be a day of knocking Scott as far out of my box as possible.

It started out by playing with a soap making kit at the Inn as we waited for guests to check out. It was different for me partly by doing something that would normally be handled by writing a check, but more so the conversation as we did it, questioning thoughts and things known in certain ways to looking at them from different perspectives. That is certainly one of the things that draw people to Evan - there's this unspoken challenge in him, innocent and humble even, from him just standing there listening that makes you pause and re-evaluate what you're thought process is and what outside influences have gone into it already. There's something about his desire to stand outside the mainstream that just provokes you to question why you aren't as well.

Heading back to the Chalets, I was still mulling over that conversation with all it's various twists and topics and walked into something I had no time to prepare for. Kelly is putting together her tile mosaic on one of the new jacuzzi tubs and I was instantly hit with the visual of what she described in words to me weeks beforehand. The words she had spoken to try to paint this image for me came rushing back and I instantly 'got it'. I know my reaction was almost physical, it stands out as one of those rare times that I've seen something and appreciated it's beauty before trying to evaluate it's usefulness.

I quickly changed into work clothes and asked what I could do to help. She looked around and then lit up - her face showing a very self satisfied smile as she explained how she wanted me to install the back border and how there was a randomness to it that had to be continued. We joked about it, but truthfully it was going to be a challenge for me to do something in defiance to my natural tendency to have everything symmetrical and balanced. I had a physical tensing up reaction to not having nice square edges to butt together in neat little rows. And as I adjusted to that, I realized I was having a blast.

How could I have forgotten how much fun I had in kindergarten doing fingerpaints? Where had that joy gone? I was on a high, I wanted to go splash in puddles, I wanted to create. Somewhere the concept of getting glass made to fit into the outside light fixtures became "why don't we make the glass ourselves out of the wine bottles that we empty?" Somehow the technical aspects have morphed into "why don't we get Billy to rig up some way to power them from the river?" and "why don't we build our own kiln and make the lights right here?"

And just like that, it's in the works. I've taken pride in other projects that I've done before, but I can see now that they really aren't in the same league. Before I was simply figuring out how to go to Point B if I started at Point A. Not to downplay that, it's a skill in it's own right. But now I can see that what I've done up to this point is the same type of difference in baking a cake from a box to making a cobbler from scratch from blackberries you grew yourself. Both are baking, but miles could fit in between them.

It seems as though there should be an ending to this tale, but it really is more of a beginning, isn't it?

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gay youth still killing themselves

It's so weird, Evan and I were talking this morning during breakfast about how much easier it was for people to come out when he was in school than when I was. The fact is that 2 of the guys that I was friends with (who were in my wedding even) were gay and closeted - not to mention the groom.

And yet, here we are still with young people killing themselves - because somehow they aren't good enough to live as they are. How pathetic, how sad. That anyone now a days has to think that they aren't good enough to live.

In the gay community, youth suicide continues to be a persistent problem, experts say.

Among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youths, as many as 40 percent are likely to attempt suicide, said Cassie Blume, youth programs coordinator for the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center in San Jose. The national data is derived from several studies, Blume said.

"They are three times more likely to attempt suicide" than straight young people, Blume said. "Our work can be just about keeping them alive."

University of Minnesota pediatrics professor Gary Remafedi's book, "Death by Denial," found that 30 percent of gay youths said they had attempted suicide at least once as a teenager.

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report from 1989 concluded that gay youths are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than straight teens. Gay and lesbian teens accounted for about 30 percent of youth suicides, the department found.

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Neo-Nazi group publishes addresses and phone numbers of Jena 6 families

I read that headline and article and had my own violent reaction to it. I'm not reposting it here because it really is offensive, but if you want to read it click through on the bottom links.

But I'm amazed and disgusted that anyone in 2007 could still feel this level of hate for another human being. Calling for other racists to take up guns, surround the protesters and throw Maltov cocktails at them? Publishing the families' phone numbers and addresses on the internet while calling for lynchings and telling people to "get in touch, let them know justice is coming"

Shamefully, my first reaction was to hope they throw the asshole in jail with as many large African Americans at they can fit into one cell, knowing what would happen to him. And then I bought myself up short realizing that here I sit, wishing violence to happen to someone I don't like because they are different from me in some way.

Are we really that much different? Or simply choose different targets? I'd like to think that the difference is that mine is directed to people who choose to be a certain way, rather then his hatred being directed to people who are born a certain way. But that's still pretty weak, a justification for something that shouldn't be in the first place. Sadly, I also realized that I probably won't see all of this hatred for those who are different gone from this world in my lifetime. I can only work on me and hopefully influence some of those around me.

NEW ORLEANS - The FBI is reviewing a white supremacist Web site that purports to list the
addresses of five of the six black teenagers accused of beating a white student in Jena and "essentially called for their lynching," an agency spokeswoman said Saturday.

Sheila Thorne, an agent in the FBI's New Orleans office, said authorities were reviewing whether the site breaks any federal laws. She said the FBI had "gathered intelligence on the matter," but declined to further explain how the agency got involved.

CNN first reported Friday about the Web site, which features a swastika, frequent use of racial slurs, a mailing address in Roanoke, Va., and phone numbers purportedly for some of the teens' families "in case anyone wants to deliver justice." That page is dated Thursday.

Plenty more at

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I've noticed a lull in Republican sex scandals

there hasn't been one for the past 3 weeks now? The repressed hypocrites may be near to hitting a record. My money is still on McHenry.

Mike and I finally had a long overdue sit-down today. For three hours I delineated all the current well-sourced and not-so-well sourced dirt on our youngest Congressman, Pat McHenry of North Carolina's 1oth Congressional district.

(And we didn't even get to his advocacy for ousted College Republican Glenn Murphy, giver of unwanted blowjobs . . . how could we have overlooked that one, Mike?)

Mike tried to chart all of it. He really did. What happened to that chart, Mike? I seem to have misplaced it. It's not on my "action plan." Well, I guess mere words will have to do.

To start with, we've got several financial disclosure reporting irregularities (details to come on that), and nearly $200,000 of improperly reported 527 (Citizens Club for Growth PAC) funding in 2004. Also, Pat takes money from the gay Republican message master Arthur Finkelstein, who is married to a man in Massachusetts, as he foments ill will towards gays in his district and promotes the "sanctity of marriage."

Here's the webpage, click here or on the image below for a larger version:

Then there's a wide assortment of unsavory colleagues, high-level staff with drinking and assorting driving problems (below). Three different documented voter fraud cases starting with his former roomie and staffer. Then there's the repeated co-habitation with men well past his college years.

For this post, I don't want to make only promises, I start with Pat's current campaign spokesman Jason Jent Deans, left. He was Pat's chief of staff from May, 2005 to January 2007. Before that he worked as District Director and on the campaign staff. This is what we've uncovered of the vehicular charges he's faced in North Carolina since 1995 . . . Including death by vehicle.

{plenty more at the link}

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Dollar dropping to historic lows, thanks to the Fed bailout

Thanks to the Federal Reserve bailing out the poorly managed banks, the value of the dollar is dropping to record lows and inflation will be rising. So Americans can now watch the value of their houses dropping by 10's of thousands of dollars a week on top of having to pay more and more for things like milk and gasoline.

What many of them aren't seeing at the moment is the upcoming surge in property taxes to make up for the lower values. Sure the politicians will claim that it won't cost any more, but have you ever seen them monkey with tax rates and it not cost more? We've got Consumer math for day to day living, Advanced math for those working in the technical and scientific fields and Political math which is used to explain how the increase in taxes or spending is somehow not really an increase, usually it's described as "a reduction" from the amount they were originally going to raise them. See that doesn't hurt as much that way....

And today is "triple witching day" - Wall St will probably be on pins and needles up until that final trading hour, with the least little bump setting off ripples of hysteria - it will be an interesting day to watch. And it's also the last day for the billionaire who put all the money into betting the Dow was going to drop at lease 30%. One helluva hedge it would seem, but the amount that's being spent to set off some risk somewhere else is just mind boggling. What could you possibly be protecting on the left hand that's worth enough to spend billions with your right hand?

Canadians Find Better Bargains in US - New York Times
TORONTO (AP) -- Canadians are expressing pride in their economy but might be more inclined to go on shopping sprees in the U.S. after the Canadian dollar reached parity with the U.S. dollar for the first time since 1976.

The U.S. currency also plummeted to a new low Thursday against the 13-nation euro, which traded above $1.40 for the first time since it was introduced in 1999.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

A better father than Dick Cheney....

In reversal, (San Diego mayor) Sanders (R) supports gay-marriage resolution

Mayor Jerry Sanders reversed his position on gay marriage Wednesday, supporting it in emotional remarks punctuated by pauses, shaking sips of water and his wife's hand resting one time reassuringly on his back. Sanders' wife, Rana Sampson, stood next to him as he acknowledged publicly for the first time that his daughter, Lisa, is a lesbian.

I've decided to lead with my heart, which is probably obvious right now, to do what I think is right and to take a stand on behalf of equality and social justice,” Sanders said.

A day after staff members said Sanders would veto it, the mayor announced that he would sign a City Council resolution passed Tuesday that directed the City Attorney's Office to file a brief in support of gay marriage.

As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night I could just not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage than anyone else simply because of their sexual orientation,” Sanders said.


I have personally wrestled with that opinion ever since,” he said Wednesday his voice wavering. “My opinions on this issue have evolved significantly as I think the opinions of millions of Americans from all walks of life have.”

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fears of dollar collapse as Saudis take fright

Saudi Arabia has refused to cut interest rates in lockstep with the US Federal Reserve for the first time, signalling that the oil-rich Gulf kingdom is preparing to break the dollar currency peg in a move that risks setting off a stampede out of the dollar across the Middle East.

Ben Bernanke has placed the dollar in a dangerous situation, say analysts

"This is a very dangerous situation for the dollar," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas.

"Saudi Arabia has $800bn (£400bn) in their future generation fund, and the entire region has $3,500bn under management. They face an inflationary threat and do not want to import an interest rate policy set for the recessionary conditions in the United States," he said.

The Saudi central bank said today that it would take "appropriate measures" to halt huge capital inflows into the country, but analysts say this policy is unsustainable and will inevitably lead to the collapse of the dollar peg.

As a close ally of the US, Riyadh has so far tried to stick to the peg, but the link is now destabilising its own economy.

The Fed's dramatic half point cut to 4.75pc yesterday has already caused a plunge in the world dollar index to a fifteen year low, touching with weakest level ever against the mighty euro at just under $1.40.

There is now a growing danger that global investors will start to shun the US bond markets.

The latest US government data on foreign holdings released this week show a collapse in purchases of US bonds from $97bn to just $19bn in July, with outright net sales of US Treasuries.

{more at link}

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My first official hate mail

Rev. Don Spitz said...

You stupid sodomite sex pervert. All that is saying is that sex perverts like yourself will burn forever in hell fire because you refuse to repent of your sins and obey God. You sodomites sex perverts love to play the victim don't you.

September 19, 2007 12:20 AM

That was the comment from this posting earlier about Right Wing Terrorists

You have to love it, less than 24 hours and already getting a response like that. For those who don't know, the Rev Spitz is one of those publically affiliated with AOG, a hate group who, among other things advocates killing abortion doctors as a form of "self defense". Now, as a gay guy, I don't really have a dog in the fight over abortion, but it does seem to make more sense to let the woman decide what to do with her body than the middle aged white guys in DC. They seem to have enough problems making good decisions about their own bodies (have you seen the median waistline in Congress?)

But to be called stupid by a guy who can't even comprehend the words he'd already used in support of his religion that he contradicts with his own words/actions while exclaiming superior knowledge and an insistence that his dogma is correct is actually rather amusing. If only he realized that I've eaten shrimp more recently than I've engaged in "sodomite sex", he would have known to judge me for the proper transgression.

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Hope for a generation too often called apathetic

Central Kings students wear pink to send bullies a message

Two students at Central Kings Rural High School fought back against bullying recently, unleashing a sea of pink after a new student was harassed and threatened when he showed up wearing a pink shirt.

The Grade 9 student arrived for the first day of school last Wednesday and was set upon by a group of six to 10 older students who mocked him, called him a homosexual for wearing pink and threatened to beat him up.

The next day, Grade 12 students David Shepherd and Travis Price decided something had to be done about bullying.

"It’s my last year. I’ve stood around too long and I wanted to do something," said David.

They used the Internet to encourage people to wear pink and bought 75 pink tank tops for male students to wear. They handed out the shirts in the lobby before class last Friday — even the bullied student had one.

"I made sure there was a shirt for him," David said.

They also brought a pink basketball to school as well as pink material for headbands and arm bands.

David and Travis figure about half the school’s 830 students wore pink.

It was hard to miss the mass of students in pink milling about in the lobby, especially for the group that had harassed the new Grade 9 student.

"The bullies got angry," said Travis. "One guy was throwing chairs (in the cafeteria). We’re glad we got the response we wanted."

David said one of the bullies angrily asked him whether he knew pink on a male was a symbol of homosexuality.

He told the bully that didn’t matter to him and shouldn’t to anyone.

"Something like the colour of your shirt or pants, that’s ridiculous," he said.

"Our intention was to stand up for this kid so he doesn’t get picked on."

Travis said the bullies "keep giving us dirty looks, but we know we have the support of the whole student body.

"Kids don’t need this in their lives, worrying about what to wear to school. That should be the last thing on their minds."

When the bullied student put on his pink shirt Friday and saw all the other pink in the lobby, "he was all smiles. It was like a big weight had been lifted off is shoulder," David said.

No one at the school would reveal the student’s name.

Travis said that growing up, he was often picked on for wearing store-brand clothes instead of designer duds.

The two friends said they didn’t take the action looking for publicity, but rather to show leadership in combating what they say is frequent bullying in schools.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007



Working ENDA: Labor Speaks Out to Silence Discrimination

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is moving toward a vote in Congress! It is absolutely crucial for LGBT people to let key swing legislators know that we want the federal government to protect working people against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill, which was first introduced in 1994 but has never gone to a vote of the full House of Representatives, was well received at a hearing held by the House Education and Labor Committee Sept. 5. It is expected to move to the floor for a vote by the end of the month.

Although ENDA has picked up support in recent years, we still need to persuade a few dozen swing legislators to do the right thing and vote for equality. Please add your voice at this vital moment! Go to to learn more. (If you’ve already taken action on ENDA, please pass this e-mail along to one other person – every voice counts!)

While current federal law protects working people from firing or penalization based on race, religion, national origin, gender and/or physical ability, there is no federal law to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers from being victimized in the workplace.

This means that in 31 states, it is legal to fire someone for being lesbian, gay, or bisexual; in 39 states, it is legal to fire someone because they are transgender.

Help Pride At Work change the national landscape with the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Tell Congress to enact this important piece of legislation, which would help put an end to discrimination against LGBT workers, which is still all to common in many American workplaces. An injury to one is an injury to all!

Tell me more by clicking the link at the top.

Send this message to:

* President George W. Bush
* Your Congressperson
* Your Senators
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Right Wing terrorist organization writing threatening letters to GLBT leaders


At least 2 leaders of the GLBT community received these letters on September the 11th.

For those who don't know, the Army of God is a domestic terrorist organization that has participated in bombings of women's health clinics, murder, armed robbery, and sending fake anthrax through the mail.
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The latest daily Republican Scandal (sex with a 5 yo)

The latest Republican sex freak - no wonder they think all the rest of need laws to govern out of control sexual behavior. They are a bunch of closeted freaks who need authoritarian type controls to make them behave, and they assume the rest of us do as well.

Federal Prosecutor Arrested In Child Sex Sting

-- A U.S. Justice Department official has been arrested on suspicion of traveling to Detroit over the weekend to have sex with a minor.

John David R. Atchison, 53, an assistant U.S. attorney from the northern district of Florida, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Detroit Monday afternoon.

An undercover officer posed as a mother offering her child to Atchison for sex, according to police. Prosecutors said Atchison flew from Pensacola, Fla., to Detroit on Sunday intending to have sex with the 5-year-old girl. He was arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

He is charged with enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity.

According to authorities, Atchison made contact with a detective working undercover for the Macomb County Sheriff's department's. The detective, acting as the child's mother, allegedly arranged a sexual encounter between Atchison and her 5-year-old daughter, police said.

In deposition, detectives said Atchison suggested the mother tell her daughter that "you found her a sweet boyfriend who will bring her presents."

Federal Prosecutor Arrested In Child Sex Sting - Print This Story News Story - WDIV Detroit

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Monday, September 17, 2007

And they said sustainable development was a radical, hippie notion

Why is it that the most "common sense" ideas are so hard for the so called experts to grasp? Take NAFTA (please) - shipping good paying jobs overseas to do the work cheaper will enable Americans to buy cheaper goods. Well, besides the fact that I don't see that things actually cost less today in spite of knowing that it's costing the companies much less to manufacture - no one ever really answered the question of how Americans would pay for these cheaper goods after their jobs were outsourced.

Americas Economic Dominance Fades As the US Dollar Continues to Slump
American Consumers are Losing their Crown - With the U.S. Dollar Index breaking decisively below its long-term support level, the sun is finally setting on the golden age of American consumption. As America 's economic dominance fades, so too will the faith in the central thesis that has explained its apparent success and has shaped the majority of recent economic theory.

At issue is the belief that a nation can grow and prosper by borrowing from abroad in order to consume imported goods. To consume at the pace that it has, America exchanges income producing assets, such as companies or property, or interest bearing IOUs, such as Treasury notes or mortgage-backed bonds, for foreign made clothes, toys and electronics. Economists call these transactions “growth”. But rather than discovering a new path to prosperity, America has simply stumbled on a short cut to financial ruin.
How can there be any more simple argument for sustainable development? If you take all the profit out of an area to a global headquarters somewhere else, then it's simply going to drain the area of it's wealth, leaving behind a parasitic community that requires the corporate host to feed from.

They just never bothered to mention that "trickle down" economics was the equivalent of getting pissed on...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Huge Win for the Environment

Now if only the Big 3 would spend more time working on the problem instead of trying to keep from complying with the rules, we might get somewhere. Personally, I have no doubt that they could comply today, but that they have a plan to phase these various new technologies slowly, so they can keep prodding everyone to buy a new car every few years. That's why they hate the idea of the government telling them to do it within a certain time frame.

I know, it's really not enough, fast enough. But it certainly is progress compared to the fighting and denials.

Judge Rejects Carmakers' Emission Suit
By DAVE GRAM, Associated Press Writer

Vermont and several other states scored a victory on Wednesday in their battle to get automakers to comply with rules aimed at reducing global warming.

A federal judge ruled that states can regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, rejecting automakers' claims that federal law pre-empts state rules and that technology can't be developed to meet them.

"There is no question that the GHG (greenhouse gas) regulations present great challenges to automakers," Judge William Sessions III, sitting in the U.S. District Court in Burlington, wrote at the conclusion of his 240-page decision. He added, "History suggests that the ingenuity of the industry, once put in gear, responds admirably to most technological challenges. In light of the public statements of industry representatives, (the) history of compliance with previous technological challenges, and the state of the record, the court remains unconvinced automakers cannot meet the challenges of Vermont and California's GHG regulations."

During a 16-day trial that concluded in May, auto industry executives testified that the regulations — adopted by California and 11 other states and pending in three others — would not stop global warming but would impose devastating new costs on the industry.

Slated to start phasing in as of 2009, the limits would require a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks by 2016, a standard the car makers have maintained would require average fuel economy standards for cars and the lightest category of trucks of 43.7 miles per gallon.