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.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Classic Shacks: Whitemarsh Hall

There are lots of lovely historic mansions in the world, but it's not easy to find floor plans for them. In the case of the lavish Whitemarsh Hall near Philadelphia, someone has been good enough to dig up the floor plans and put them online - which adds a great deal to one's understanding of how those great spaces were used - but alas, the house itself has long since vanished, replaced with a suburban housing tract.

Whitemarsh was built between 1916 and 1921 by investment banker Edward T. Stotesbury and his wife Eva. It had 147 rooms, 45 bathrooms, and - get this - 100,000 square feet of floor space (larger than the White House) spread over its six stories (three above ground, and three below).   It took 40 indoor staff and 70 gardeners working full time just to keep things running smoothly.  You can read the Wikipedia article if you want more mind-boggling details, but here's some pictures to stimulate your imagination - click to enlarge, of course:

Front with portico and porte-cochere, reached after a mile-long driveway

The rear terrace and formal gardens


First floor plan
 

Second floor plan

More pics and links, and a couple of videos, after the jump.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Love Free or Die


Love Free or Die (a play on the state motto of New Hampshire) is a new documentary about Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, whose consecration in 2003 has effectively, if not formally, split the Anglican Communion into schism.  Gene attended his consecration wearing a bullet-proof vest and has lived with death threats every day since.  Even if you're not religious, you should admire his courage and his integrity in the face of overwhelming condemnation and vituperation from religious conservatives, both in and out of the Episcopal Church.

Filmmaker Macky Alston discusses his motivation for the documentary:




Gene gives a sermon during Gay Pride in New York City, entitled "Act of Commitment":




A heckler disrupts Gene's sermon during the Lambeth Conference in England, 2008 (Gene was pointedly disinvited from this gathering of all the Anglican bishops in the world, but went to England anyway to meet with supportive clergy and laity):




Saturday, January 28, 2012

Radar

French public prankster Rémi Gaillard gets his comeuppance in this video he made while impersonating a speed-trap camera. It made me laugh out loud.

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: The Tall Men


Steve Hayes reviews the 1955 film:
Clark Gable, Jane Russell, Robert Ryan and Cameron Mitchell battle Indians, stampeding cattle, the elements, and each other in Raoul Walsh's tale of a cattle drive to Montana, THE TALL MEN. Shot on location in Technicolor and Cinemascope, the action never stops and neither does the chemistry of Gable and Russell in two of their best roles. It's a rowdy, rip-snortin', hell-u-vah time taking you on a long and arduous journey through countless obstacles and revealing what the Old West was really like. It'll keep you fascinated and on the edge of your seat from beginning to end and grateful to be sitting on a couch and not on a saddle. OUCH!




Catch more fabulous movie reviews at Steve's YouTube channel.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Waitin' for the Weekend


Get a fuller perspective here.



Stating the Obvious


In an earlier time - before all the hippified 70's psychobabble people eliminated the word shame from the public vocabulary in this country - Americans would have felt embarrassed to have the world witness the insane clown car spectacle that is the Republican party - which is glaringly obvious even to outsiders, as witness Fidel Castro's observation this week:
The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is — and I mean this seriously — the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been.


I couldn't have said it better myself.


Update:  Alan Grayson, former Democratic Congressman from Florida, as usual gets right to the point about Gingrich's racist campaign:




And the stats he presents here are both eye-opening as well as nauseating:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Past in Living Color


Sanna Dullaway, a Swedish artist, has made a speciality of very carefully colorizing old photographs of famous scenes and people. Here's a couple of breathtaking examples that bring famous faces to life again - click to enlarge.


More here.



Honk to David Mixner.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

That Bor-ing Gay Agenda

Unretouched photograph of actual homosexuals caught in the act of
promoting the gay agenda

Coming soon to your town, courtesy of Randy Roberts Potts, grandson of televangelist Oral Roberts, and his boyfriend, Keaton Johnson.




Randy's Gay Agenda page is on Facebook if you want to check it out.

The State of the Union, 2012


Tax reform should follow the Buffett Rule. If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes. And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right: Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires. In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up. (Applause.) You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. You’re the ones who need relief.

Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.

Highlights from the speech:




Enhanced version with graphics and stats, from the White House:




Full text here. And something new this year, a "making of" video:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Saved

You never can tell. Sometimes even when you're far out to sea and there's no help in sight, a miracle happens, beyond all odds.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Knock at Midnight


Midnight is a confusing hour when it is difficult to be faithful. The most inspiring word that the church must speak is that no midnight long remains. The weary traveller by midnight who asks for bread is really seeking the dawn. Our eternal message of hope is that dawn will come. Our slave foreparents realized this. They were never unmindful of the fact of midnight, for always there was the rawhide whip of the overseer and the auction block where families were torn asunder to remind them of its reality. When they thought of the agonizing darkness of midnight, they sang:

   Oh, nobody knows de trouble I’ve seen,
   Glory Hallelujah!
   Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down,
   Oh, yes, Lord,
   Sometimes I’m almost to de groun’,
   Oh, yes, Lord,
   Oh, nobody knows de trouble I’ve seen,
   Glory Hallelujah!


Encompassed by a staggering midnight but believing that morning would come, they sang:

   I’m so glad trouble don’t last alway.
   O my Lord, O my Lord, what shall I do?


Their positive belief in the dawn was the growing edge of hope that kept the slaves faithful amid the most barren and tragic circumstances.

Faith in the dawn arises from the faith that God is good and just. When one believes this, he knows that the contradictions of life are neither final nor ultimate. He can walk through the dark night with the radiant conviction that all things work together for good for those that love God. Even the most starless midnight may herald the dawn of some great fulfillment.

This excerpt from Dr. King's great sermon "A Knock at Midnight" spoke to me this week, and helped me, here in my own particular midnight.




Honk to Grandmère Mimi at Wounded Bird.
Night street scene of Stanley, Virginia, by O. Winston Link, 1956.

Sunday Drive: Softly and Tenderly

Josh Turner is a new young country artist who's made a name for himself in the last few years with his deep-velvet voice, and I do mean deep.  Here he puts it to good use with an old, familiar hymn that everybody knows in these parts, I think you fellas will like it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Waitin' for the Weekend

Standard Time: Frenesi

Nothing much worth writing about at the moment, so here's a favorite tune of your Head Trucker's. First, the definitive 1940 recording by the great Artie Shaw and his orchestra:



Which I dearly love. But oh look how a great singer can infuse it with Latin flame, as demonstrated by the beautiful Linda Ronstadt:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Second Class Citizens

Trailer for a new documentary on the gay rights movement, still in development, on the gay rights movement, by Ryan James Yezak. Details here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Key Largo


Steve Hayes reviews the 1948 classic:
In Maxwell Anderson's hit stage play, KEY LARGO, John Huston directs an all-star cast headed by Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson in a dark film noir set in the Florida Keys during a hurricane. Rounding out the cast are Lauren Bacall in her last film with Bogie, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Gomez, and Claire Trevor in an Oscar-winning role as Robinson's drunken moll. Shot in beautiful black & white with an atmospheric score by veteran Max Steiner and under Huston's typical fast paced and crisp direction, it's a suspense-filled drama that's not to be missed.




Catch more fabulous movie reviews at Steve's YouTube channel.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Drive: Just a Closer Walk with Thee



This guy is a truly fabulous piano player, reminds me of some things my late husband used to play. Catch more of Allen's playing, including many secular old standards, at his YouTube channel.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Shit Homophobes Say

Brought to you by the good folks at Lambda Legal:




Just to balance things out, here's some comedy relief:




And this:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bro Has My Back in NH, But Canada Stabs Gay Couples in the Back

I guess you fellas know that New Hampshire Republicans are trying to repeal the state's equal-marriage law, which came into effect on January 1, 2010. But in one family, at least, family values are proving stronger than party loyalty. The story goes like this:
Craig Stowell fought with the U.S. Marines in Iraq in 2004 and now is fighting for the right of gays, like his brother, to marry in New Hampshire.

"My brother and best friend, Calvin, was tormented all the way through high school because people knew he was gay," Craig Stowell, 30, said in an online petition seeking to pressure New Hampshire legislators not to repeal the state's 2009 law that legalized gay marriage. . . .

As the New Hampshire Legislature prepares to vote on whether to repeal the law, HB 437, Craig Stowell -- who serves as the Republican co-chairman of Standing Up For New Hampshire Families -- has launched an online campaign to keep the law as it is.

"If HB 437 passes, same-sex couples will no longer be allowed to marry," he says in an online petition he has posted at www.change.org. "This mean-spirited attack is nothing more than state-sponsored bullying."




In other news, remember all those gay and lesbian couples who got hitched in Canada after equal marriage became the law of the land in 2005?  Well now a Canadian lawyer in the Justice Department of Stephen Harper's Conservative government, which won a huge majority in last year's parliamentary election, has argued before a court that foreign couples who could not marry in their home countries cannot legally marry in Canada, either - which would make several thousand gay and lesbian couples now totally unhitched, their marriages null and void.

Dan Savage, who married his husband Terry Miller in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2005, commented this morning: 
When I got out of bed, I was a married man and as soon as I got on my Twitter feed I realized I had been divorced overnight.
A shocked Olivia Chow, member of Parliament for downtown Toronto and widow of the late New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, says Harper's government has used a "back-door way" to attack same-sex marriage, and has hugely embarassed the nation with this about-face.

Video report here from the CBC, which won't let me embed it.


Update:  Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and Freedom to Marry have issued a joint statement on the news from Canada. Excerpt:
No one’s marriage has been invalidated or is likely to be invalidated. The position taken by one government lawyer in a divorce is not itself precedential. No court has accepted this view and there is no reason to believe that either Canada’s courts or its Parliament would agree with this position, which no one has asserted before during the eight years that same-sex couples have had the freedom to marry in Canada. . . .

The message for same-sex couples married in Canada remains the same as it is for same-sex couples validly married here in the United States: take every precaution you can to protect your relationship with legal documents such as powers of attorney and adoptions, as you may travel to jurisdictions that don't respect your legal relationship. There is no reason to suggest that Canadian marriages of same-sex couples are in jeopardy, or to advocate that people try to marry again elsewhere, as that could cause these couples unnecessary complications, anxiety, and expense.

Nother update:  Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Friday that equal marriage is still cool - and, most importantly, legal - in Canada, no matter where you're from:
I want to make it very clear that, in our government’s view, these marriages should be valid. We will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren't recognized in the couple's home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada. This will apply to all marriages performed in Canada. We have been clear that we have no desire to reopen this issue – both myself and the prime minister consider this debate to be closed.
Well, that's a relief for lots of folks, I'm sure.

Through Thick and Thin



Thanks to my truckbudy Frank for his blog post about the case of Mark and Frédéric, who are fathers of four and facing the destruction of their family by the inane immigration laws that make no provision for same-sex couples.  The couple were among the subjects of the documentary film Through Thick and Thin, made a few years ago, which the clips above and below are from.

An excerpt from Mark's blog, where he details what they are up against:
Although we are both the legal parents of four American children, and both the state and federal government recognizes our status as parents, it will not recognize our marriage because of the Defense of Marriage Act. According to the U.S. government, I am the father of our four children, and Fred is the father of the same four children, but we are legal strangers to each other. Our marriage, our nearly 22 years together, all of that amounts to nothing. Fred has no right to stay in the United States beyond the expiration date of his visa. And that day was rapidly approaching. At the same time, while France would recognize our relationship under its less-than-optimal Civil Solidarity Pact (“PACS”), and it may even permit me to reside in France legally as an immigrant on the basis of our relationship (but not our marriage), the French government refuses to recognize the adoption of our children, because under French law same-sex couples are prohibited from adopting children. We are trapped by U.S. law that refuses to see our marriage, and French law that refuses to see our children.
Mark and Frédéric are seeing U.S. immigration officials this week in yet another bid to get permission to keep their family united in this country.





It would be a good idea to let your Congresspeeps know how you feel about the Uniting American Families Act, which has been introduced in every Congress since the year 2000 but has not yet been passed, thanks to the Republicans - you know, the family values party. Immigration Equality has details on how you can help.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Until I Die

A sweet little compilation of, um, highly suspicious photographs from the past. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Judy Tapes

From Judy's legendary concert at Carnegie Hall in 1961

Just came across this poignant 20/20 report from a couple years back on the incomparable Judy Garland and thought I'd share it with you guys. It features selections from never-before-heard audio tapes Judy made when she was trying to write an autobiography; sadly, she never finished the book. But her glorious legacy goes on and on.







As a follow-up, here's the first segment of A Tale of Two Sisters, with Liza Minelli and Lorna Luft, which aired in Britain in 2004 (you can follow the YouTube links to watch all four parts):




And just for fun, here's Judy with Fred Astaire in their glory days, from the 1948 film Easter Parade. Of course, these two masters of song and dance make it all look effortless . . . but if you think it's easy, grab a partner and just try keeping in perfect step and rhythm:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Banned from the Superbowl

Too funny:




See more gay-themed TV commercials from around the world here.

The Comic Side of Marriage Equality


The Archie comic book series has had a gay character, Kevin Keller, for some time now. In the latest issue of Life with Archie, Kevin marries his fiance, Dr. Clay Walker.

Wow.  Your Head Trucker is speechless at the thought of how far we have come from the days when I was a kid reading those comics - and the only choice a guy had was between Betty and Veronica, or Ginger and Mary Ann. Some changes since, huh?



Psst:  Hey guys, I think I missed the last memo from Gay Headquarters, so clue me in: is this part of our United Nations plot to make half the world population homosexual within the next 20 years?

And where can I get my own gay marriage, is there like a sign-up sheet or something?

The Pork Boys Do Christmas-New Year's-Kings Day-Whatever

An approximation of the ham we had last night

Last night the Pork Boys got together at my place for their long-planned holiday feed, and boy howdy, was it good.  Unfortunately, due to ongoing technical difficulties at both ends of the line, I'm still not able to post any pictures for you guys to see, so I had to rely on a stock photo above to give you an idea of the main course.

But just for the record, the menu went like this:

Appetizers:

* Chips and onion dip
* Cheddar and Jack cheese cubes on Ritz crackers
* Smoked oysters, ditto
* Duck liver paté with bacon and mushrooms (made by M.P. with livers he saved from the roast duck he made for his family Xmas feast)

Main course:

* Baked picnic ham with orange glaze
* Mystery Dream Casserole (a collaborative effort:  see below)
* Baked sweet potatoes
* Blackeyed peas with bacon
* Hot rolls and butter
* White Zin

Dessert:

* Homestyle vanilla ice cream on warm slices of chocolate cake, with chocolate and caramel syrups
* Champagne
* Coffee

After all of which, we were moaning and groaning with stuffed bellies and damn near unable to get up from our chairs.  But oh my, it was good.

Now about that mystery casserole, which came about in a very peculiar way.  A week or so ago, in the middle of a sound sleep one night, I dreamed I was watching someone cook an unfamiliar dish, with just a few ingredients:  a sort of yellow cornmeal-looking mush that I interpreted as grits; some chopped leafy vegetable like spinach or turnip greens; two or three eggs; and a fourth element that seemed like cheese.

Somehow I knew - in my dream, but also in a sort of half-conscious way - that I had to tell M.P. about this, so I forced myself to repeat the ingredients, "Grits, greens, eggs, cheese," the rest of the night every time I had a half-waking moment.  Well, subsequently I called M.P. and told him about it, just for laughs, as it resembled no recipe I'd ever heard of.  However, he being a very skilled and knowledgeable cook, immediately recognized that the "grits" I was describing sounded a lot like something called polenta.  (Your Head Trucker admits he ain't too familiar with all them furrin-soundin' dishes, being just a plain home cook as you can tell by the menu). 

The end of the story is, he decided to try making it, with some collard greens instead of spinach, to bring to our dinner last night, and what do you know:  it's totally yummy!  The polenta is smooth and creamy, lighter than grits would be, and makes a great side dish.  Now he can't wait to make it again to serve at his next family get-together.

An approximation of our Mystery Dream Casserole

Which is absolutely the strangest damn thing.  I have never dreamed up a recipe in my life before.  First time for everything, I guess.

But where in the world did it come from?  I don't cook much myself, and I never try inventing new recipes.  Strange.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

With You

A feature-length documentary has been made about Mark Bingham, the gay businessman and rugby player who died on Flight 93, and his mom, Alice Hoagland, who has turned his legacy into her life's work.  Here's the trailer:



Excerpt of an interview with Hoagland last summer:
When my son first told me, my subconscious mind just rejected it. I acknowledged and believed it on an intellectual level but it took me a while to really come to grips with it and accept it. And when I did, in a matter of months, I guess, I became grateful then that Mark had enough confidence in me and love for me and thought enough of me that he wanted me to be one of the first people in his life to know something very fundamental and true about himself. Even though he knew that my attitudes towards gays was vague and not accurate. I would say that I was vaguely antigay –imbued with stereotypes. I’ve had to fight through that. I am one of those lucky human beings that has done an about face and rejected a lie and embraced the truth. But I wish I had had the courage and goodness of heart to do that on my own.

But it took my son to do that for me by acknowledging, by telling me – challenging my stereotypes and telling me, “Mom, I’m gay.” Because of him, I have gone on a different journey in my life. And with all the important things in my life – and all the accomplishments that I have – most of them have been because I had a little boy who grew up to be a man who set me on an important life’s quest.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

This November, Elect Canada!

A timely message for all Americans in this election year:

TV Legends: Dick Clark

It's just come to my attention that Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve is now forty years old.  My God . . . where does the time go?  When you are young, the future seems to stretch out ahead to an infinite distance; but when you are old, you realize the road was not a very long one at all:  more like a few blocks down a wide, busy boulevard.  Which is why you should certainly enjoy your youth while you have it for that wonderful moment.  Don't be an asshole, but don't be a monk, either.  You will certainly live to regret either one.

Your Head Trucker hasn't watched television for nearly twenty years now - by deliberate choice, though I have rented plenty of videos, and now use Netflix - so it really hadn't occurred to me to wonder whether Dick Clark was still doing the New Year's Eve show.  I just pulled up a tape of this year's program, and was shocked - I had no idea he had had a stroke.  But God bless him, he's still keeping on keeping on, a real trouper.

Here's a short clip from a long interview with Clark in 1999 at the Archive of American Television, where he discusses the creation of the show, back in 1972:




(Confidentially . . . I still miss Guy Lombardo.  Anyone else remember the Royal Canadians?)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Temps Perdu: 1948

.
The New Yorker, October 9, 1948
Click to enlarge.

This might become a new feature here on the Blue Truck:  a picture or two, perhaps with an audio/visual clip, from a bygone era.

The truth is, guys, your Head Trucker just doesn't want to write about the modern world much these days.  I'm aware of the major news stories, and I more or less keep up with the coverage of politics and especially LGBT issues highlighted by the blogs I list in the righthand sidebar for your convenience.

Yet even though the progress towards full equality continues apace, by halting steps - and here I might add, the general progress of the world, too - still, in this day and time, there is a certain nauseating sourness mixed into the stream of life, a hatefulness and nastiness that I'm sick of reading about and thinking about.

And it is wreaked not merely by the well-known bad guys who may be leaping immediately to your mind:  it's endemic in the modern world, a coarseness and harshness that pervades all levels of society; something none of us can help being tainted with, to some degree or other, just by being alive at this period. 

Of course, there has never been a Golden Age upon the earth, exempt from ignorance, folly, selfishness, self-righteousness, cruelty, and outright brutality.  But perhaps we are more aware of it all now, if we are paying attention, than ever before because of the widespread ease of communication - perhaps too easy in some ways - of this much-vaunted Information Age.

Then too, when you reach a certain age, as your Head Trucker has, long observation as well as painful disappointment have opened your eyes to what human nature is, and how the world really operates.  Even the nice people - beloved by friends and family alike, pillars of the community or just good neighbors - even the nicest people are, at bottom, and more often than not, actuated by self-interest rather than genuine love:  and thus even the very nicest people are capable of quiet cruelties and callous ruthlessness.

I could say more on this topic - a lot more - but to dwell upon a fact of life so large and so irremediable is deeply distressing, more than I can tell you.  And my voice is so small and weak, that of a lone sparrow in an immense forest, that it would serve no purpose to explain further.  Never complain, never explain, is a very good rule; when I was young, it made no sense to me, but now I understand completely.

Instead, I propose to blog more on pleasant things, and less on hateful ones.  Of course, sometimes one can hardly help speaking out on a subject one feels strongly about; but even if the dike is crumbling and the waters will drown us all one day, one might as well spend the meantime cheerfully.  I'm an old man, or nearly so, and I'm just tired, very tired, of raging against the storm.  Which does no good as far as I can see.

But here, just for the sake of beauty and good cheer - and what can we offer one another, if not that? - are a few random things of interest I came across today, from the year when Harry Truman was making his whistlestop campaign tour, the Berlin Airlift was in full swing, and television was still a novelty, unseen by 9 out of 10 Americans.  Perhaps one or more of the following will raise a smile on your face.

Programming schedule from TV station KTLA, Los Angeles, 1948.
Notice that it operated only a few hours a day.


Motorola advertises the 1948 version of home theater in this ad.
But those early TV screens ranged from only about 5 to 10 inches diagonally.

India was only a couple of days away via a beautiful Constellation,
and Ireland just 13 hours from New York - imagine!

A good hat always adds to a man's studliness, a fact that our
hatless modern age has forgotten.  Pity.


That year, running boards were out, and automatic transmissions were in:




And believe it or not, here's Ronald Reagan lambasting outrageous corporate profits and lying Republicans - before he went over to the dark side, obviously.




And I saved the best for last, if you're still with me this far. From Canada, the CBC radio women's editor Kate Aitken gives a short chat on homely things like a scrumptious-sounding sour cream chicken recipe. Nothing earthshaking here, and I can't embed it; but do go listen to this lovely voice from home in a more civilized time:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Mogambo


"This is a fun movie," Steve says of the film. Watch the review and find out why:
Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, and a cast of thousands head for high African adventure in John Ford's MOGAMBO (1953). Shot on location in Technicolor, it's the next best thing to an African safari, with Ava and Grace, both in Oscar-nominated roles, vying for the attentions of a love-starved Gable. Ironically, this was a re-make of RED DUST, a picture Gable had made twenty years earlier with Jean Harlow and Mary Astor. Loaded with action, scenery and sex appeal, anyway you look at it, MOGAMBO is "Afri-colossal!" Happy New Year!




Catch more fabulous movie reviews at Steve's YouTube channel.

Can You Dig It?


I had no idea that there is a major, ongoing archaeological dig at "Historic Jamestowne," i.e., Jamestown, Virginia, site of the first English colony in North America.  Archeologists have dug up more than 2 million artifacts there - most of them tiny fragments, bits of wood or metal or bone or pottery that you and I wouldn't look twice at, but the experts are able to use them to construct a vivid picture of colonial life.  Check out these short clips of recent finds, and see more of them at the project's website.

Never been there myself, but it would be fascinating to spend a day having a looksee, there and at nearby Williamsburg. The earliest ancestor I've been able to trace in the direct male line was born about 1700 in Surry County, Va., which I believe is just south of there, across the river. Who knows, some of my ancestors may have helped build that colony in its early days.







Monday, January 2, 2012

Occupy Christianity?

From the Baptismal Covenant in the Book of Common Prayer:

Celebrant:  Will you proclaim by word and example the Good
News of God in Christ?
People:  I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant:  Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving
your neighbor as yourself?
People:  I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant:  Will you strive for justice and peace among all
people, and respect the dignity of every human
being?
People:  I will, with God’s help.




Honk to Wounded Bird

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year Brings Progress towards Marriage Equality

A 2010 map of relationship recognition laws in the fifty states:
For an updated map, visit HRC's map page.

This year of grace 2012 began with a handful of couples in two states, Delaware and Hawaii, entering civil unions just after the stroke of midnight last night.  So progress comes in with the New Year, little by little and step by step.  It seems agonizingly slow to us old codgers - who were all of us at one time unconvicted felons, you might say, in the decades before the sodomy laws were struck down in 2003 - but I suppose every little advance is worth the wait. 

A hundred years from now, if the world holds together that long, no doubt future generations of gays and lesbians will take marriage equality as a given, and wonder what all the fuss was about.  Well, that's what we are looking forward to, even if us old geezers don't live to see it.  All good wishes to the happy couples joined today and hereafter.
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