C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lovelight: Oh My God

If this don't warm your tootsies up, better call a doctor, son - you ain't right. 



I have no idea who these guys are but OMG sure wish they'd had TV shows like this when I was young.  Woof.

Good night guys, sweet dreams.

Sunday Drive: It Is Well with My Soul



With thoughts and prayers this morning for the victims of the Chilean earthquake and tsunami.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Car Porn: Rolls Royce Phantom

Like my mama always said:  if you're going to dream, you might as well dream big.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Afternoon Drive: Insatiable

A cold, wet, rainy, nasty day here in Texas, and the weekend has arrived not a minute too soon for your Head Trucker.

But here's some shades of gray that just might warm you up a good bit:




Y'all have a good one, see you down the road.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On a Personal Note

I've now lived two days longer than my late husband Cody did.

Strange thought.  Strange feeling.

There's nothing to be said about it, I just wanted to tell someone that.

Oklahoma Denies Gay License Tag

Keith Kimmel is suing the state of Oklahoma for turning down his requested vanity plate:  IM GAY.

The 28-year-old student from Norman says the state has issued tags like STR8SXI that publicize the owners' heterosexuality, so he's taking the discriminatory action to court.

While I applaud Kimmel's bravery, I do wish he'd brush up on his fashion sense.  Check out the video and tell me if I'm just old-fashioned, or what.

Hypocrisy Check

Sullivan, as is his wont, celebrates the news that more Boomers - now senior citizens - are using marijuana to ease the aches and pains of old age.  He also quotes approvingly this line from Bill Maher:
"I want to live in a country where being stoned is a good thing, not a bad thing."
Now let me see if I get this straight:  No adult gathering, large or small, is complete without plenty of beer.  Wine sales are enormous.  Hard liquor is advertised on television now.  And more and more grayhaired grannies and grandpas are toking up without the slightest tinge of conscience.

But you look down your nose at me for lighting up a Marlboro as I've been doing every single day for nearly forty years.

What's fucking wrong with this picture?

Twelve


That's the age of consent in Vatican City.  I'm not making this up.

It's 14 in Italy proper.  Go figure.

Monday, February 22, 2010

WTF: Uganda Protects Polygamy

How.Very.Interesting.  I had no idea.  Honk to Box Turtle Bulletin for this gem from the Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor:  "Government Asks Court to Protect Polygamy."  Spelling as given in the original:
The state on Thursday moved to protect the principal that a man can have more than one wife.  The Attorney General’s office has responded to a petition seeking to nullify the practice of polygamy by arguing that polgymay is protected by the Constitution under Article 37.

The Attorney General’s defence of the practice that allows a man to marry more than one wife follows a petitioned filed by human rights group, Mifumi Uganda Ltd, on February 8, 2010 asking the Constitutional Court to declare that the practice violated the right to equality between men and women and therefore was unconstitutional.

But Attonery General Khiddu Makubuya stated in his response to the petition, that the law does not stop two consenting adults to choose the marriage of their choice.  He said polygamy was protected under Article 37 of the Constitution which gives everyone the right “to belong, practice, enjoy, profess and promote any culture, tradition and religion of his or her own choice.”
The utter and obvious absurdity here, in a country considering a law to execute gays and lesbians even for merely talking about their sexuality, is so great that anything I could say would seem superfluous.

Cock Talk and Fowl Language

Farm animals


Watch your mouth:  even you big city boys aren't so far away from the farm.  Peter Lennox, science professor and chicken raiser, via Andrew Sullivan:
Watching chickens is a very old human pastime, and the forerunner of psychology, sociology and management theory. Sometimes understanding yourself can be made easier by projection on to others. Watching chickens helps us understand human motivations and interactions, which is doubtless why so many words and phrases in common parlance are redolent of the hen yard: "pecking order", "cockiness", "ruffling somebody's feathers", "taking somebody under your wing", "fussing like a mother hen", "strutting", a "bantamweight fighter", "clipping someone's wings", "beady eyes", "chicks", "to crow", "to flock", "get in a flap", "coming home to roost", "don't count your chickens before they're hatched", "nest eggs" and "preening".
The rest of his essay is quite amusing, and quite philosophical too.  A good read.

Today's Quote: John Aravosis

Americablog:
If we breathe, the GOP will complain that we're breathing. It's what they do, it's how they play the game.
Bonus:  Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin:
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) will introduce a bill into the Senate that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the ban on open LGBT people serving in the military. By all rights, this bill should have the wind at its back. A new CNN poll shows that 69 percent of the public favors repealing DADT, including 62 percent of registered Republicans. But in the current political climate in which the minority would fillibuster the sun’s rising in the morning and force the Democratics to consider exempting Nebraska from the earth-rotation mandate, I have a feeling it won’t see smooth sailing.

Dreamhouse: Ragley Hall

When you daydream, what do you dream about?


One of my pastimes when I've got nothing better to do - or, er, perhaps when I'm avoiding something I'd better be doing - is looking at pictures of wonderful old houses like Ragley Hall.  England is full of magnificent stately homes, but Ragley takes the cake in my book for the perfect symmetry of its plan, and the exquisite modesty of its grandeur:  not too much, not too little. 

Building began in 1680 but was not completed until the 1750's; the red salon has been maintained to look exactly as it did when decorated in 1780, with only two refurbishments of the upholstery and wallpaper, in 1870 and 1970.


The great hall is breathtaking:  70 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 40 feet high. 


And the tromp l'oeil murals by artist Grant Rust took 14 years to complete (1969-1983), but the results are more than worth the effort.  Check out this video of his work at Ragley, and set the video to play at 480 pixels.  Wow is all I can say.



Home to the Marquess and Marchioness of Hertford, the house and gardens are open to the public if you're ever in the neighborhood.  Believe it or not, there are plenty of even grander houses over there, but none prettier that I've seen or heard tell of.

I know, it's not the kind of shack you'd ever expect to find an old shitkicker like me in.  But still, it shore is purty to look at, ain't it boys?

Motion and Intertia



In an interview on NBC, General Petraeus said he has served in combat with gay and lesbian fellow soldiers.  He also said "I'm not sure" that today's troops give a fuck about their comrades' sexuality.

Interesting comments.  We'll see how all that goes down when he and other top commanders testify before Congress.  Just don't expect this to be a short process:  the military is totally anal retentive methodical about everything it does, from ordering paper clips to building battleships.

But at least the process has started - finally.  And about damn time.

I didn't blog this last week, but guess you guys know that Lt. Dan Choi was called back to duty with his National Guard outfit; an unexpected and highly indicative turn of events, I think.

Now if only we could get some motion going on healthcare reform.  Why, with a Democrat majority in both houses of Congress, and a Democrat president, nothing - just nothing - can be accomplished on that is beyond my ability to comprehend.

You know if it were a Republican idea, and they had the majorities, you'd already have your Medicare ID card in your hand by now, don't you guys?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lovelight: I Will Be



I don't recognize any of the TV shows these clips are taken from, but once again I am struck with amazement that these images can even be seen on television.  I remember so well a time when there were no images in all the world of men loving each other, just none to be found.  They existed only in the secret places of the heart.

Goodnight guys.  Sweet dreams.

Sunday Drive: Bridge Over Troubled Water



I cannot believe how ooooold these guys look.  But then, I can't believe how old I look, either.

Jeezus, where does the time go?  Life is so short, and youth is so fleeting.

Enjoy your time while it lasts, fellas.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Afternoon Drive: Cowboy Casanova



Y'all have a good one, see you down the road.

Gays in the Conservative Movement: The Debate



The full debate at the Cato Institute on gay conservatism is now available on Sullivan's blog.  Can't find a way to embed it here, but it's well worth watching.  And Maggie Gallagher's cavalier answer to the gay man from the audience - married to a man, raising a daughter - will make your blood boil.  She sure raised Sullivan's temperature in a hurry.

The debate occurred on Ash Wednesday, and Sullivan obviously must have gone to Mass before the debate, and is still wearing ashes.  Not something I think I would have done; but I do understand the symbolism, especially when confronting the likes of Gallagher, another Catholic.

Also worth noting:  Gallagher claims in her speech that "openly gay" people work for her NOM outfit, which is fighting hard in every state they can to prevent or overturn equal marriage laws.  Yeah, that's right:  openly gay people working to strip other gay people of their civil rights, so the lady said.  She coyly refused to identify them, of course.

Hmm.  I suppose it's possible there were some few Jews who voted for Hitler too.

And then of course, there are people like this:



It's not a joke.  His website is here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Deranged Plane Attack on IRS in Austin

What a fucking idiot.



The guy left a rant against the government, the IRS, Wall Street, and the Catholic Church on his website; you can read it here.

Problem is, it's not possible to feel any pity for someone who feels no pity himself for other people's lives.  Two dead, two critically injured; all to feed one sorry sonofabitch's pride.  How sad, how utterly, utterly selfish.  How utterly infantile.

The Austin IRS center is where millions of tax returns from several states are filed.  Anyone could have been in that building today, along with the workers:  all innocent of the "crimes" this guy was so enraged over that he didn't care who he hurt.  God bless the victims and their families.

You want to get respect, you have to give respect; you don't love anyone, why should anyone love you?  You don't value other people's lives, yours has no value either.  No matter how hurt or angry you are.  That's the way it works.

She's Over It

Remember Obama Girl, who caused a bit of a stir with her sexy "Crush on Obama" video during the 2008 campaign?  Now she says the thrill is gone:
"If I had this crush on him the same way as I did in the beginning, I'd be the fool. You know, it's like a relationship. When you get into a relationship with somebody they're all great and perfect, they say all the right things," she said on Fox. "And then once you're in the relationship it's like, OK, they're not that perfect."

But, "Obama Girl" concedes, her infatuation with a presidential candidate and ensuing reality check could have been a lot worse: "Well, at least I wouldn't be the 'Edwards Girl', right?"
Once again showing that straight or gay, romance is always a crapshoot, right fellas? Here's a replay of the video to refresh your memory of those warm and tender feelings.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

True Fasting



Thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:

Shout it aloud, do not hold back; raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion, and to the house of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.

"Why have we fasted," they say, "and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?"

Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter; when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? . . .

If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
Andrew Sullivan has written a must-read post today on this nation's use of torture, and those who now boast their approval of it - even in the name of God.  Do go and read the entire post, which is entirely relevant to your belief in American values, regardless of what your religious convictions may be.  An excerpt:
To have lived in an America where its former vice-president can boast of supporting the torture of human beings is tragic and terrifying enough. For me and many others, this is not America. As a former president [George W. Bush] said of the abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib,
“This is not America. America is a country of justice and law and freedom and treating people with respect.”
But it is more than disturbing, especially as we begin Lent, to watch a Catholic cable channel, EWTN, present a self-described Catholic, Marc Thiessen, defending torture on Catholic grounds as compatible with the Magisterium of the Church. . . .

Continued after the jump

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gay Sex Causes Earthquakes

. . . according to the Talmud.

Jeezus, that would be awesome, wouldn't it, fellas?

¿Como te gusta Steve Hayes?

Joe.My.God. has been posting clips of Tired Old Queen at the Movies, and I love 'em.  Here's a recent one on a movie starring my all-time favorite, Bette Davis - and if you've never seen The Letter, you should, as Steve Hayes explains:



Steve is a smart, highly talented riot, and this tired old queen is gonna be a big fan of his from now on.  I thought he seemed vaguely familiar, and I just discovered why:  he sang the funny "Como te gusta mi pinga," a highlight of Trick, a cute gay movie from 1999 - also worth watching.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love and Respect

There's nothing I need from anyone except for love and respect.  And anyone who can't give me those two things has no place in my life.
My truckbuddy Frank reminded me in a comment of the wonderful Torch Song Trilogy, which to me still seems as fresh and cuttingly relevant today as it did when it was released. Here's the climactic scene between Harvey Fierstein and Anne Bancroft, two incomparable actors.

Minnesota Moves to Ban Loveless Marriages

Too funny.


New Law Would Ban Marriages Between People Who Don't Love Each Other

Honk to Andrew Sullivan.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lovelight: Unchained Melody

If I have faith enough to move mountains but have not love,
I am nothing but sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

Years ago when I was a good little churchgoer in my late teens, I became good friends with a woman from church, the widow of a man killed in Vietnam.  Though her three young children and church activities kept her quite busy, it was obvious that the loss of her husband still grieved her even after nearly a decade.  B. was in her mid-thirties, a lively personality, and became sort of like a big sister to me:  a close friend and confidant.

She was one of the very first people I ever disclosed my sexuality to, one of the few people I thought I could trust with that information.  And not only that but also my very deep wish to find a man one day to love and cherish forever.

But I had not reckoned on the intensity of B.'s religiosity.  Back came the angry exclamation she spit out of her mouth:  "But those people can't love each other!"  Not like her and her husband, oh no.  Most certainly not.  That was real love, you see.  The only possible kind.

"They can't love each other!"  The words cut like a knife. 

And hung there in my heart for many a long year to come.  Perhaps they still do.

And perhaps in hoping so much to prove her wrong - even long after we had lost all contact with each other - perhaps I sometimes tried too hard with one man or another to make things work, when there really was no way they could.

But of course I now know what my 20-year-old self, isolated and afraid, did not know, and you boys know it too:  of course two men can love each other, as deeply as any man and woman ever could. They can and they do. 

And I'm here to testify to the fact of the matter, for any sonofabitch who cares to listen.

That's part of the systematic destruction and deconstruction of all that we are, every part of our experience.  That's what justifies keeping us out of sight, out of mind, and invisible to the eyes of the law.  Likewise, I'm sure back in slavery times, there were people who said, Oh the nigras don't really love each other, look at how they shack up without even being married. 

Which of course was a prime example of circular reasoning because the laws didn't allow them to be married; and even if they were, in rare cases, the high and mighty white folks, good Christian people, thought nothing at all of selling wives away from husbands and children away from parents - forever.  With no more remorse about it than selling a horse or a dog. 

And prided themselves on living in a great Christian nation.

But of course the real honest-to-God truth is that every human being, black or white, straight or gay, has the capacity to love and be loved.  It may sometimes be thwarted or frustrated, or even forbidden - but you can no more deny that than you can deny that all men and women feel hunger or thirst.

Love is a great big part, maybe the biggest part, of what makes us truly human.  And you fellas know that as well as I do.  Something to be celebrated, not shunned or despised.

So I'm sending out this little valentine to all my Truckbuddies in celebration of the love of one man for another - and how I wish I could show this to my younger self, so lonely and so uncertain of the future.  Enjoy.



Goodnight guys.  Sweet dreams.


Special thanks to my truckbuddy Ultra Dave who very kindly contributed some sweet pics to this project.

Valentines from All Over


Honk to Joe.My.God., where I swiped borrowed these from.

First up:  a gay kiss-in for Valentine's Day from the Place St. Michel in Paris, where demonstrators assembled after a couple hundred Christianists threatened to bash their heads in at their original venue, in front of Notre Dame.  Way to go, mes amis.  Vive la France!



And here's the official release of We Are the World 25 for Haiti.  Your Head Trucker is getting to be so antique now, I haven't got a fucking clue who the vast majority of these people are.  Streisand I recognize, of course, and the obviously immortal Tony Bennett, and Celine Dion, and maybe Stevie Wonder?  Aretha? 

Some of those young folks can sing pretty good, it's a fact; they should keep up with that, maybe they'll get a career in the music business one day.



Worth noting:  Canadian lesbian kd lang opened the Vancouver Winter Olympics with this rendition of a Leonard Cohen piece.  She also sang at the Calgary games back in 1988.  Hmm, has there ever been an out performer sing at a major sporting event here in the US of A, I wonder?  Not embeddable, but see the clip on NBC here.

Finally, a slap-you-silly valentine to all the military homophobes.  Never heard of Bryan Safi before, but the boy gives the definitive answer to the fear that has all them big, tough, macho soldiers peeing in their pants:  the prospect of what Joe Jervis laughingly calls "a non-stop homo rape-a-rama" if DADT is repealed.  Which btw, even Dick Cheney came out in favor of overturning today.  He may be a fascist, but he does have a gay daughter, you know.




So what did your Valentine give you today, huh?

Sunday Drive: His Eye Is on the Sparrow



If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.


The great Ethel Waters sings an old-time favorite, from The Member of the Wedding (1952):

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Who Says It's Not Natural?

Vielpunkt and Z, gay Humboldt penguins at the Bremerhaven Zoo in Germany.


Ran across this feature in Esquire about gay life in the animal world, including rams, swans, bonobos, macaques, dolphins, whales, and koalas. Pretty cool, check it out.

And if you want more documented examples, see the Wikipedia article on homosexual behavior in animals.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Afternoon Drive: Whatcha Do to My Body

Call it love. Call it lust. Whatever.

We'll work out the details in the morning.





Love or lust, hope y'all all have a great Valentine's weekend. See you down the road, boys.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The 10 O'Clock Report

Your Head Trucker updates you on the Texas weather situation this evening. Part 1:

video

Part 2:

video


By the way, fellas - I ain't trying to be no big Hollywood director, so don't judge me too hard on these little amateur productions. Though there is a lot of work involved. Believe it or not, after all the filming is done, it takes me about 4 hours to download, upload, convert three different ways, edit, and synchronize a five-minute video.

Why do I do it? Oh well, guess I got nothing better to do. It's fun and creative in a way. And then too sometimes it's nice to just pretend there's somebody to ride with me and talk to in this far outpost here.

So just smile when you watch. At least it keeps me off the streets. Grin.

Snow Day in Texas

You East Coast boys, don't feel all alone; we're getting hit with the white stuff too. Your Head Trucker will be reporting live from the scene here in North Texas shortly.


We interrupt this blog for a live report from your Head Trucker:

video

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Way It Was

From The Advocate via Joe.My.God:  the 1967 CBS Reports:  The Homosexuals.

Homo = pervert = sick = dirty = disgusting = miserable = doomed:  this was the world I grew up in and remember so vividly.  The attitudes and prejudice and total condemnation that drove a lot of guys to suicide, and deeply wounded those of us who survived - wounds that still hurt and still deeply affect our lives all these years later. 

I didn't see this show when it was first broadcast, and that's probably a good thing, but I do have a memory from just a couple of years later that I want to share with you.

When my father died unexpectedly in my junior year of high school, an older lady I'd never met before, some friend of the family, started a conversation with me at the viewing.  She pulled a photograph out of her purse and said, "This is my grandson, we just buried him a few months ago.  He killed himself with a shotgun in his car one night.  Look at his picture:  he was such a handsome young man, smart, athletic, popular.  I just can't understand why he would do a thing like that.  Can you?"  I suppose because I was nearly the same age as her grandson, she perhaps hoped I would have some younger-generation insight into this unfathomable mystery that obviously grieved her deeply.

I looked at the photo, his senior portrait:  yes, a smiling, goodlooking guy with wavy blondish hair, neatly dressed in sport jacket and tie, the kind of guy who might have been elected class president or won a scholarship to an Ivy League school.  The kind of guy who would have been popular in school, who could have had lots of friends, and plenty of girls lined up to date him.  I had to tell her no, I couldn't understand it, either.

But years later, I remembered:  and it flashed on me.  What if he was gay?  And then it all made sense:  the fatal sense of guilt, the inward shame, the disgust with one's self, the need to hide and pretend, the unanswered prayers, the hopelessness.  The knowing that you would never be what everyone thought, what everyone expected you to be.  The despair.  The unremitting pain.  The one way out.

There was no hope for small-town guys back then.  Do watch this and learn just what the world was like for us gays not so long ago, just in my lifetime; and notice that some straight people's minds have not moved one inch forward in the forty-three years since then.



Some quotes from Mike Wallace:
“The average homosexual, if there be such, isn’t interested in or capable of a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage. His life, his love life, consists of series of chance encounters in the clubs and bars he inhabits, and on the streets.”
“Homosexuality is, in fact, a mental illness.”
“The church has a great deal of sympathy for those who are handicapped in this way.”
“[Being a homosexual] automatically rules out that [the man in question] will remain happy.”

The men (no mention of lesbians is ever made) who aren’t on camera as representatives of fledgling gay rights groups at the time, like the Mattachine Society, are interviewed in shadow or behind plants, and say things like, “I know I’m sick inside . . . immature.” And then comes the segment on a 1955 homosexual witch hunt in Boise, Idaho, one that apparently turned the whole town upside down with fear and paranoia, with a close-up of an op-ed piece in the Boise newspaper titled “Crush the Monster.”
On a related note:  here's a trailer for the 2006 documentary The Fall of '55, about the Boise witch hunt:



It's available from TLAvideo here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'd Be a Big Football Fan If . . .

. . . they played the game more like this.


Honk to my truckbuddy David at Midwestern Malaise.

Today's Quote

Andrew Sullivan, referring to the debate on Don't Ask, Don't Tell:
Rich says that it's no big deal to live hiding one's sexual orientation. If you're straight, try it for one day.

Try never mentioning your spouse, your family, your home, your girlfriend or boyfriend to anyone you know or work with - just for one day. Take that photo off your desk at work, change the pronoun you use for your spouse to the opposite gender, guard everything you might say or do so that no one could know you're straight, shut the door in your office if you have a personal conversation if it might come up.

Try it. Now imagine doing it for a lifetime. It's crippling; it warps your mind; it destroys your self-esteem. These men and women are voluntarily risking their lives to defend us. And we are demanding they live lives like this in order to do so.

Yes, Admiral Mullen. It is about integrity. It's also about a minimum of human respect.
And I would add:  it's not merely about integrity and respect.  It's about your very right to exist, not merely as an American citizen, but as a human being.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lovelight: I Will Always Love You

Whatever else may happen in my life, this I can say:  I loved, and I was loved.

This is my testimony to the world:  the story of a life together.

Two men and a little fuzzy dog, no better than they ought to be, in a tiny Texas town far out on the prairie, far from the madding crowd.  Wanting nothing more than to be left alone, to live out their lives together in peace and happiness just like everybody else.

A small house, a small town, a small, obscure life.  Nothing the world noticed, or cared to know about.   Nothing that anyone will remember a hundred years from now. 

But it was ours, and this is our story.

A love that will never grow old.


Sunday Drive: In the Garden

There are some who would say these pictures represent an intrinsic moral disorder, a great and abominable evil in the world.

Oh really?  Look and judge for yourself.




Today's text is from the book of Isaiah, chapter 5, verse 20:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.

Let popes and preachers rant, wave their Bibles and spout their creeds.

What does all that foolishness matter, and how shall it weigh in the balances against a life lived together in love?


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Five Years



My Cody won the Texas Piano Guild competion when he was 15, and placed sixth in the nationals.  Although he preferred the organ because its complexity was more challenging - he went on to obtain a bachelor's in organ, with minor in harpsichord - he could play the piano like nobody's business.  Just like this.

One of his old piano teachers played this nocturne at his funeral, and it sounded to me as if Cody himself were playing.  This (by some other artist than the one in the video) was one of a handful of recordings I played over and over again in the weeks and months after his death.

Music was his great passion, his raison d'etre. It brought me great comfort to think of him playing more and more glorious music somewhere, unimpeded by the limitations of this mortal coil.  He used to complain that it was very difficult to master a piece by Chopin or Liszt - they must have had such huge hands! he would say.  But he was a cowboy too, and master them he did.

Five years ago today, I awoke a widower.  That awful day.

It's hard to believe five years have gone by already.  We had only a little more than five years together.

A great loss; but better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all, as Tennyson said.  And I know that Cody loved me:  something no one can ever take away from me.

The cosmic irony is that we both had already loved and lost before, one way or another.  And when we found each other, at rather a late age, we neither of us dreamed that fate could be so cruel to us again, so soon. 

But it was that cruel. 

Or yet should I say, fate was that kind:  to allow us both a time of love and healing, of comfort and joy, before the dark waters parted us again.

I'm not writing to gain anyone's sympathy here; the time for all that is long past now. 

I'm just sharing a lovely memory, which sustains me to this day.  And the lesson that all in this life is temporary.  All of it.

So enjoy what you have, whether little or much - enjoy it today, fellas, and be grateful for it.  Because you never know what smiles or tears the morrow will bring.

Cody at our first meeting in New Orleans, November 1998.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Waitin' for the Weekend


Fur, n., the thick coat of soft hair covering the skin of a mammal, serving the important functions of warmth, protection, identification, and decoration.

Virginia Foster Durr: A White Champion for Southern Blacks


Virginia Foster Durr and Rosa Parks

Your Head Trucker once had the privilege to get a glimpse of a great civil rights champion whose name ought to be more famous than it is:  Virginia Foster Durr.

Back in the mid-1980's when I was dating a smart, sexy redheaded guy in Montgomery, we went to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival a few times to catch some plays.  On one of those occasions, as we were walking through the parking lot towards the theater building, he nudged me and said, "Look, that's Virginia Durr."  I turned and saw a very small, white-haired lady conversing animatedly with a friend as they strolled up to the entrance. 

No, I didn't go say hello or ask for an autograph or anything; I'm not that pushy.  Still, it was a memorable moment actually to see someone who, with her attorney husband, had figured so prominently in the civil rights struggle in Alabama.  Among other things, they are the ones who went and bailed Rosa Parks out of jail after her famous refusal to move to the back of the bus in 1955, and he represented her in court.

Well, while sitting here tonight waiting for my supper to cook, I was surfing around here and there, and came across the wonderful oral history interview she gave in 1975, now available through the awesome Documenting the American South online history collection from the University of North Carolina.  Tons of great reading there, if you like history.  Lots of stuff that ought to be required reading in school.

In particular, the extensive Durr interview is fascinating, and I hope some of my truckbuddies will dip into it.  Here I want to present just a little excerpt that illustrates what I was saying in my post the other day about how white Southerners felt about the blacks in their midst.  This excerpt and its continuation are about an incident in 1910, when Durr was a girl of 7, living on her wealthy grandmother's plantation in rural Alabama; but the racial attitudes illustrated by the story were still very much in operation fifty years later, when I was coming up.  Notice the part about venereal disease, which is something I was told, too, in all seriousness.
This time, I was seven years old and I was going to school the next fall. I always had my birthday in the back yard with the black children and we would have barbeque and they would let us barbeque over a little pit that they would dig for us. So, this time, my mother and grandmother and aunts and all said that I had to have it in the front yard and with just the white children, no black children could come to the party. Well, I got very angry about that and the main thing was that I wanted the barbeque. (laughter) You see, they would dig a pit in the back yard, which was sandy, and then the cook would give us chickens and we would build a grill over the hole and build a fire and then we were allowed to baste the chickens and turn them over and of course, by the time that we got through, they were full of sand, but to me, (this had been my usual birthday party) and to me, this was a great event. Here I was presiding over the chickens, you know. Well, anyway, I had a tantrum at breakfast and made strong protest about the party in the afternoon and no barbeque. So, they agreed that I could have the barbeque in the morning and the party in the afternoon. This was the compromise that they reached. . . .

Well, Elizabeth, Aunt May's daughter was there and Aunt May would bring a French maid with her when she came, if you can imagine. You can imagine how happy the French maid was. (laughter) Aunt May, as you could say, really put on airs. Anyway, Elizabeth was always dressed up in these beautiful dresses with sashes and everything matching and her hair curled . . . .

She was a little older than I was, about my sister's age. So, we had the barbeque and everything was going on fine and we were dividing up the chicken and one of the little black girls was tearing up the chicken and she offered a piece to Elizabeth and Elizabeth, who must have felt like an outcast in this group anyway, she all of a sudden said, "Don't you give me any chicken out of that black hand of yours. I'm not going to eat any chicken that your black hand has touched, you little nigger." . . .
Continued after the jump . . . .

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Newsbites

  • In a major reversal of attitude, General Colin Powell comes out for DADT repeal, saying "In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed.  I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen."  As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Clinton, Powell opposed allowing gays to serve openly, and presided over the application of the DADT policy.
  • Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) says if gays are let loose in the military, it will "lead to alcohol use, adultery, fraternization, and body art. If we change this rule of 'Don't Ask, Dont Tell' what are we going to do with these other rules?"  Joe Jervis responds:  "[He's] worried that if DADT is repealed, soldiers will get drunk, visit whorehouses, and get tattoos. Unprecedented!"
  • Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council not only doesn't want the big, bad, drunken, tattooed, rapist gays in the military - he wants Lawrence v. Texas overturned, so homosex in civilian life can be recriminalized
  • Rob Tisinai reacts:  "We see what their position is — and how can you compromise between full civil equality and being thrown in prison? What would that compromise even look like?"
  • The ACLU and Lambda Legal are planning to sue the state of Hawaii over marriage equality, after the Hawaii House defeated a civil-unions bill last week by voice vote - the same bill they had already approved in two previous sessions, and which had passed the Hawaii Senate.
  • Nine Republican senators have introduced a bill to block same-sex marriages in Washington, D. C., pending a voter referendum on the issue.
  • Former Eagle Scout, Air Force Captain, and Congressman, and current Republican Governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford, who came to national attention last summer while hiking the Appalachian Trail some Argentinian tail at taxpayer's expense, insisted on removing the fidelity clause from their marriage vows when he wed his wife Jenny in 1989, Mrs. Sanford has revealed in a Barbara Walters interview that will air this Friday.  They are the parents of four sons; Mrs. Sanford filed for divorce in December.  Governor Sanford has publicly opposed civil unions, same-sex marriage, and gay adoptions.  Of course.
  • And finally, not only does it seem to this old dude totally astounding that the world has changed so much that a Cosmo centerfold can grow up to be a United States Senator; and likewise totally amazing that there has not been one single fucking word of objection to that fact on anyone's part, most specifically the oh-so-holy "family values" right; but it also seems totally pornographic to watch this blonde newswoman getting her panties soaking wet right on national television at the very thought of stroking some good, solid Republican cock, even the plastic kind:



Obviously, for the Republican gals, Brown has that same "starburst" effect that Palin has for the men.  And they all think that's so cute, so funny, so adorable, so Christian.  So "normal."  So "natural."  Oh, yes, all the good Republican heteros are so upright, so moral, so totally on God's side.

But me and my husband and the little dog, living a quiet, obscure life in a tiny town far out on the prairie, we were a "locus of evil" in the world. 

Fuck 'em all, is what I say, the filthy grandstanding hypocrite lying bastards.  And you can quote me on that, boys.

The Party of NO


Rachel hits the nail on the head:
If the Republican electorate is this extreme, what's the value of trying to reach across the aisle? . . . How are you going to make bipartisan peace with people who want to secede from the Union?
Check out the Daily Kos poll of a nationwide sample of 2,003 Republicans. Among other things:
  • About a fourth want to secede from the Union - it's one-third in the South.
  • About a third believe contraception - not abortion, just plain old contraception - should be made illegal.
  • About three-fourths believe gays and lesbian should not be allowed to teach in public schools.
  • A little more than half believe Sarah Palin is better qualified to be president than Barack Obama.
  • And about 40 percent think Obama should be impeached; not for any crimes, but probably because nearly two-thirds believe he is a socialist - and of course, an Al-Qaeda sympathizer who "wants the terrorists to win."
Lord help us all.  The arrogant feeding on the ignorant:  that is the Republican party today, and utterly unfit to govern.

But ya know, fellas, they could be back in power in just a couple of years, if the Dems don't find a way to lead and govern - and improve their image.  Obama said last week he would "rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president." 

And if the nightmare fascist theocratic Republicans get back into office, he might also be the last Democratic president ever.  Not to mention the last freely elected president.

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

LGBT Marriage Research Study

Your Head Trucker has received a request from Cristina Reitz-Krueger, a doctoral student at the University of Virginia, to post this invitation to participate in a research study she is conducting.  I've checked her out and verified that she is indeed a legitimate researcher, so in the interest of advancing scientific knowledge, here you go:
Engaged volunteers needed!

I am looking for volunteers for a study of attitudes towards marriage and parenthood among engaged couples. The study consists of a 25-30 minute online survey. To qualify for the study, you must be 20-35 years old, live in the U.S., and plan to marry or have a commitment ceremony within the next 365 days. You and your romantic partner must not have children, and this must be the first marriage for both of you.

You can:

- Help a doctoral candidate;

- Increase the pool of scientific knowledge;

- Support research on marriage and families; and

- Spend some time thinking about your relationship!

I am working with Dr. Charlotte J. Patterson, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. This study has been approved by the University of Virginia Institutional Review Board #2009025800.

If you and/or your romantic partner are interested in participating or want further information, please email me at survey.couples@gmail.com. I will send you a link that you can use to access the study.

Thanks!
Meanwhile, for those of you who would like to do your own cruising research, seems there's a new iPhone app called Grindr that makes it easier than ever to find tricks subjects for study everywhere you go.  What won't they think of next?

Today's Quote



Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee today:
Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal and professional belief that allowing homosexuals to serve openly would be the right thing to do.  No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. . . .  I have served with homosexuals since 1968.  Everybody in the military has.
And then on Twitter (yeah, Twitter):
Stand by what I said:  Allowing homosexuals to serve openly is the right thing to do.  Comes down to integrity.
Pretty amazing, and a powerful testimony.  Admiral Mullen is the first sitting JCS chairman - the nation's top military officer - to support repeal of DADT.  His predecessors, Powell and Shalikashvilli, have done so after retiring from the job.

Below, a 60 Minutes report on DADT from December 2007.  Good stuff.





Update:  from Daily Kos, McCain shows what a bullshit guy he is:

The More Things Change . . .


African-American and white soldiers at a base in Italy during World War II.

Today there's supposed to be some further news from the Defense Department on Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  Some blogs and news sources are already reporting what they think will or won't be said.

Whatever the case may be, don't expect anything to change overnight.  It always takes time.  To illustrate the point, look at this timeline from the Truman Library, which shows how long it took from Truman's 1948 executive order until the military was fully integrated.

And note also the many committees, reports, studies, and recommendations the military put itself through along the way . . . as well as the foot-dragging and bellyaching and protestations that the military was "not an instrument for social evolution" (Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall, 1949).  Notice also the fulminating reaction in Congress:
[T]his proposed program would adversely affect the rights, privileges, and freedom of the people of all sections and of all walks of life in this country. It stabs at the very heart of the rights and freedom of all races, colors, and sections of our great country. For, if the Federal Government can repeal the poll tax in Mississippi and several other Southern States, regulate employment under the FEPC, punish innocent taxpayers under the Anti-Lynch Bill, and abolish segregation in the several States by usurpation of the sovereign rights of the several States of the Union, then we have indeed witnessed an end of constitutional government as conceived by the founding fathers. . . .

Is it any wonder then, Mr. Speaker, that a revolt has arisen all over our country, from Mississippi on the shores of the Gulf-kissed coast in the South to the stony crags of Maine in the North, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, by southern Democrats and those freedom-loving Americans everywhere, at this attempt to destroy the true civil rights of the citizens of our great and common country? . . .

But now, for the first time in the history of the country, and the loyalty of my section to the Democratic Party, a President of the United States has asked the Congress to enact such a devastating, obnoxious, and repugnant program to the people of that section and their Jeffersonian conception of democracy as this so-called civil-rights program. No President, either Democrat or Republican, has ever seen fit heretofore to make such recommendations. . . .
"Freedom-loving Americans."  Right.  Doesn't the tone of those remarks sound awfully familiar?  Can you say teabagger?

So you see, the decades roll on, but some attitudes just stay the same - only the names are changed.

One more thing I want to mention:  some people who want to keep gays out of the military talk about their disgust at the idea of straight boys having to take showers with gay ones, and all such as that; as if that's the most repellent idea ever, something no decent (heterosexual) male should ever have to be subjected to.

What some of my Yankee truckbuddies may or may not understand - something that is practically forgotten nowadays - is that white Southerners felt an equally strong aversion to fraternizing with blacks.  Speaking from my own personal knowledge and experience growing up in that legally segregated world, a great many white Southerners had an inward feeling - completely irrational, of course, but a strong one - that "Negroes" were somehow simply dirty, if not diseased, and therefore close contact was to be avoided - for example, eating together, or riding public transportation together.  Whites in that time and place felt contaminated by that kind of contact - physically so.

Which is utterly ridiculous - no, asinine - when you realize that they had not a shadow of hesitation about eating anything dished up by black cooks in the kitchen - either at home, or in a restaurant - and served to them by black waiters.  No, that never troubled anyone's mind for a second, not a bit.

You see how people are?

But to have a black person sitting at your elbow, eating off a plate next to your own - that was a horrifying thing, as much so as socializing with a typhoid carrier.   Plenty of people - including my own dear, kind, intelligent, college-graduate parents, I'm sorry to say - believed that "all black people have syphillis" or some such nonsense.  But even if you didn't think about veneral disease, still, as an ordinary Southerner, you usually felt the need to keep your distance from black people in certain public activities. 

I bring this up just to make the point:  no matter how the straight boys and girls foam on now about how awful it would be to shower with teh gayz, et cetera - and how amusing that attitude is, because it's a fact they've been showering with us all these years anyway, without knowing, right? - no matter how they carry on right now, it is a reaction that they can and will get over.

No one in the South now thinks anything about eating in a restaurant with blacks, or riding the bus with them, or sleeping in a motel bed a black person might have slept in the night before - or all the hundred-and-one other things that would have completely horrified white people down here, fifty years ago and more.  It's simply not an issue now, even if some other racist attitudes still linger.

And the homophobes of today will get over it too.  Once the laws are changed and enforced, attitudes will follow.  Just realize that, as with desegregation of the services, the process of dismantling DADT will probably take a few years, no matter what the President and the military chiefs say or do this week.  And just like with the Dixiecrats of 1948, there will be thunder and lightning in Congress too, no doubt - but it will all work itself out eventually, I'm sure.  Just not overnight.

Monday, February 1, 2010

OMG: The Foxx-Floyd Connection Revealed

Why didn't I see this before now?  It's so perfectly obvious.  But first, let me fill you in:

Pam Spaulding reports that Congresswoman Virginia Foxx - you know, the bitch, and I use the word advisedly, who claimed on the floor of the House that Matthew Shepard's heinous murder was not a hate crime but a "hoax" - well, Foxx is whining now like an unrepentant schoolgirl that the President delivered "another lecture" to her party at that Republican caucus last week.

Which didn't stop her one bit from gleefully tweeting to all her followers that she did manage to get the President's autograph afterwards.  Little schizophrenia there, ya think?

Well now we know why.  Kudos to PHB commenter Kat Rose for uncovering the mystery.  Foxx represents Mt. Airy, North Carolina, birthplace of Andy Griffith, and the real-life basis for the town of Mayberry in Griffith's eponymous series from the early 1960's.

In that series, a regular character was the goofy, garrulous, few-bricks-short-of-a-load Floyd the Barber.  Fans of the show will recall that once or twice Floyd makes a passing reference to a wife, but she is never seen, nor any of their presumptive progeny.

There's a reason for that:



As Paul Harvey would have said:  Now you know . . . the rest of the story.
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