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.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 12/29/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:



Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tim's 2015 Iberian Fantasy Calendar

A guest post by my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain:

Tim’s 2015 Iberian Fantasy Calendar


There, that got your attention! It certainly caught mine the first time I saw it; talk about blowing your own trumpet! Actually it’s someone’s cleverly photoshopped fantasy; and it leads us nicely into today’s topic. However, I have to say that my own meticulous and exhausting research shows that most Spanish Legionnaires prefer to go ‘commando’!

Regular reader Davis (hi there!), apart from being a lover of fine music, also has pretty good taste in men. He thinks I live in an ‘Iberian Fantasy’, surrounded by Hispanic hunks and blond beach-boys. Well, I do, but since it’s the season of giving, I thought it would be nice to share some of them with you as well. So what better way to start 2015 than with an Iberian Fantasy calendar? Twelve images that, only for lack of space, have failed to make it on to the Blue Truck in my guest posts over the last few years. They’re not all Hispanic though; variety is the spice of life . . . and fantasy!

I’ve written a few lines of text to accompany each month’s image, and highlighted some dates that have special significance for us here in fantasy land, or Spain as we locals call it. But first, a little ditty.

There’s a song for every occasion, and this one’s perfect. From 2014, Kevin Cavanaugh sings Calendar Boy. There’s only the LP cover to look at here, so start the fantasy whenever you’re ready.




January


The 6th of January is Kings Day – El día de los Reyes. The Three Kings (those three wise men from the Bible) arrive by ship the night before and magically parade through the towns and villages all over Spain at the same time. Sometimes on horseback, occasionally on camels, but usually on a lorry! They distribute sack-loads of sweets to the watching children as they pass by. If the children have been good during the year, they will awake the next day to find their presents next to them. But if they have been naughty, they will only find a small bag of coal! So be good! I wouldn’t mind waking up to find the king of cool next to me! Well, this is a fantasy: Steve McQueen especially for you, Davis.

Locally, in the nearby town of Mijas, the 17th is St Anton’s day. He is the patron saint of animals, and on that day people take their pets to the little chapel outside the town to be blessed. The unmarried women of the pueblo also take something, three small stones to throw at the statue of the saint. A direct hit on St Anton’s, er, genitals means that they will soon find a boyfriend and be wed! I might try that. Don’t tell Partner!

In rural Spain, particularly here in Andalucia, most children are named after various saints or virgins; and these saint’s name days are celebrated instead of, or as well as, your actual birth date. The Spanish equivalent of St Timothy is San Timotéo; who name is celebrated on the 25th. I like this idea, extra presents (see August)! There is no San Compañero, so poor old Partner misses out!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Bugs Bunny: 8 Ball Bunny (1949)

Somehow I just relate to the little penguin in this picture.




Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Queen's Christmas Broadcast, 2014

At the close of this year of horrific hatreds and violence all around the world, Her Majesty's moving words on reconciliation and forgiveness have a profound significance for us all.




If you are not familiar with the Christmas Truce of 1914 which the Queen made reference to, read more about it here.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Christmas Song

Here's wishing all my truckbuddies a very merry Christmas:



Christmas in France



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 12/22/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:



Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Drive: O Come All Ye Faithful


The Reverend Dr. Jeremy Morris, Dean of King's College, Cambridge, gives the blessing:




The choir performs the carol "O Come All Ye Faithful":




Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Holiday


Steve Hayes reviews the 1938 classic:
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and a brilliant cast ring in the season in George Cukor’s HOLIDAY. Adapted by Donald Ogden Stewart and Sidney Buchman from the play by Philip Barry, it deals with an unconventional young man (Grant) who wishes to marry into a wealthy family without sacrificing his ideals. He meets a comrade in the feisty sister of his fiancée (Hepburn) and her alcoholic brother Lew Ayres, in a brilliant performance. As always, Grant and Hepburn sparkle together. The dialogue is sophisticated, witty and the message as relevant today as it was when it was made. From all of us at Tired Old Queen at the Movies have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a lovely “Holiday”.



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

Supremes Green-Light Florida Marriages

Click to enlarge.

Late yesterday, the Supreme Court once again gave the go-head to marriage equality, this time in the Sunshine State.  The Washington Blade reports:
Same-sex couples may begin to marry in Florida after Jan. 5 as a result of a district court ruling striking down the ban on same-sex marriage in the state, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered late Friday. In a one-page order, the court announced it has rejected the request from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican, to place a hold on same-sex marriage in the state beyond Jan. 5 as litigation seeking the right for same-sex couples to marry in Florida continues on appeal. . . .

Bondi tried to extend the stay on the same-sex marriages as she continued to defend the law in court, but her requests were by denied by the district court as well as the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ordered the stay to be lifted “at the end of the day” on Jan. 5.

In a statement, Bondi said Florida will acquiesce to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the stay to expire after Jan. 5 as initially ordered by the district court. “Tonight, the United States Supreme Court denied the State’s request for a stay in the case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals,” Bondi said. “Regardless of the ruling it has always been our goal to have uniformity throughout Florida until the final resolution of the numerous challenges to the voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has now spoken, and the stay will end on Jan. 5.”

The refusal from the Supreme Court to stay same-sex marriages in Florida is noteworthy because although justices have denied similar requests to halt same-sex marriages in Alaska, Idaho, South Carolina and Kansas, they’ve never done so before in a state where a federal appeals court has yet to rule on the issue. The decision with regard to Florida could be a sign the Supreme Court is ready to rule in favor of nationwide marriage equality no matter what the federal appeals courts decide in the interim.

On the steps of the Old State Capitol in Tallahassee, the plaintiffs in the case of  Brenner v. Armstrong:  from left, Steve Schlairet, Chuck Jones, James Brenner, and Ozzie Russ.

In case you didn't see it the first time, here's a video I posted last August of Steve and Ozzie, who live in Chipley, a small town in the backwoods of the Florida Panhandle:




Friday, December 19, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend





Ho ho ho!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Julia Child: Bûche de Noël

Julia demonstrates the making of a French yule log cake. Also in this episode: Julia copes with twig failure; how to make spun sugar with a broomstick. First aired fifty Christmases ago, in 1964:




Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Animating Popeye

A fascinating 1939 report from Popular Science - in color, too! - of the filmmaking process at the studio of pioneer animator Max Fleischer. Nowadays I suppose there must be software that would allow a child of 8 to make a cartoon - but even though I myself grew up in pre-computer times, it's still mind-boggling to contemplate the vast amount of skilled, painstaking work that was necessary - and which produced such beautiful results.

First, some background from Wikipedia on Fleischer's stereoptical process:
This technique replaced the usual flat-plane, drawn and painted cartoon backgrounds with a circular 3-D scale-model background — a diorama — in front of which the action cels were positioned and photographed. As the character, say, hustled down a city street, the camera operator would rotate the diorama a click with each frame. The result was a constantly changing perspective of converging parallel lines that gave an amazing sense of depth. The process worked most dramatically with pans or tracking shots; for static shots, traditional drawn backgrounds sufficed. It was used to great effect in the longer format Popeye cartoons Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936) and Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves (1937). These series of double-length (two-reel) cartoons were a gradual progression expressing Fleischer's desire to produce feature-length animated features.




And here's the complete film they were working on in the short subject: the two-reel Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp:




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Have Yourself a Happy Little Chrimbo




They have turkeys in Britain? WTF??

Monday, December 15, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 12/15/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Drive: Angels from the Realms of Glory


The canticle appointed for today from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979:

The Song of Mary
Magnificat
Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, performs "Angels from the Realms of Glory":




Saturday, December 13, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The House of the Future

What, no plastic shower curtain?

Monsanto's House of the Future, as exhibited in Disneyland's Tomorrowland in 1957. Gee, wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a house with plastic walls, plastic floors, plastic windows, even plastic dishes? Peach-o keen-o! I don't know why it didn't catch on.



The floor plan; click to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Julia Child: Mousse au Chocolat

The Queen of Cuisine shows us how to make the perfect chocolate mousse, an excellent dessert for the holidays, in this episode from 1971:




And no, I really, truly don't give a fuck if anyone thinks it's "healthy" or not. So don't even go there. Julia herself lived to be 92 and enjoyed every minute of her time on this earth, which is more than the snotty, snobby health fanatics of this self-righteous age can say.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shine, Perishing Republic


And now on top of all the other horrors of this annus horribilis, the CIA torture report - that is, the 500-page executive summary, not the 6000 pages of the actual report, which the righteous, God-fearing Republicans in Congress don't want you to see - not now, not ever.

The New York Times reports:
A scathing report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday found that the Central Intelligence Agency routinely misled the White House and Congress about the information it obtained from the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, and that its methods were more brutal than the C.I.A. acknowledged either to Bush administration officials or to the public.

The long-delayed report, which took five years to produce and is based on more than six million internal agency documents, is a sweeping indictment of the C.I.A.'s operation and oversight of a program carried out by agency officials and contractors in secret prisons around the world in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It also provides a macabre accounting of some of the grisliest techniques that the C.I.A. used to torture and imprison terrorism suspects.

Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.'s medical staff, some C.I.A. prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.'s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.”

The report also suggests that more prisoners were subjected to waterboarding than the three the C.I.A. has acknowledged in the past. The committee obtained a photograph of a waterboard surrounded by buckets of water at the prison in Afghanistan commonly known as the Salt Pit — a facility where the C.I.A. had claimed that waterboarding was never used. One clandestine officer described the prison as a “dungeon,” and another said that some prisoners there “literally looked like a dog that had been kenneled.”

During his administration, President George W. Bush repeatedly said that the detention and interrogation program, which President Obama dismantled when he succeeded him, was humane and legal. The intelligence gleaned during interrogations, he said, was instrumental both in thwarting terrorism plots and in capturing senior figures of Al Qaeda.

Mr. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and a number of former C.I.A. officials have said more recently that the program was essential for ultimately finding Osama bin Laden, who was killed by members of the Navy SEALs in May 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. . . .

The Intelligence Committee’s report tries to refute each of these claims, using the C.I.A.'s internal records to present 20 case studies that bolster its conclusion that the most extreme interrogation methods played no role in disrupting terrorism plots, capturing terrorist leaders — even finding Bin Laden.

Many of the most extreme interrogation methods — including waterboarding — were authorized by Justice Department lawyers during the Bush administration. But the report also found evidence that a number of detainees had been subjected to other, unapproved methods while in C.I.A. custody.

The torture of prisoners at times was so extreme that some C.I.A. personnel tried to put a halt to the techniques, but were told by senior agency officials to continue the interrogation sessions.

The Senate report quotes a series of August 2002 cables from a C.I.A. facility in Thailand, where the agency’s first prisoner was held. Within days of the Justice Department’s approval to begin waterboarding the prisoner, Abu Zubaydah, the sessions became so extreme that some C.I.A. officers were “to the point of tears and choking up,” and several said they would elect to be transferred out of the facility if the brutal interrogations continued.

During one waterboarding session, Abu Zubaydah became “completely unresponsive with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.” The interrogations lasted for weeks, and some C.I.A. officers began sending messages to the agency’s headquarters in Virginia questioning the utility — and the legality — of what they were doing. But such questions were rejected. . . .

Taken in its entirety, the report is a portrait of a spy agency that was wholly unprepared for its new mission as jailers and interrogators — but that embraced its assignment with vigor. The report chronicles millions of dollars in secret payments between 2002 and 2004 from the C.I.A. to foreign officials, aimed at getting other governments to agree to host secret prisons.

Torture, extreme, extended, even unto death in the most grisly, gruesome ways. Secret prisons all around the world. Lies. Cover-ups. Excuses and deceptions at all levels up to and including the Oval Office. And not one member of the BushCheney criminal gang has been made to answer for all this stinking heap of evil. Not one.

Is this the America you grew up in? Is this what your tax dollars pay for? Is this what brings a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye when you salute the flag?

Oh, and you think it can't get worse? In January, the Republican will control both houses of Congress, and 30 states. And in just two more years, as I sadly believe, they will be in the White House too. And do you think they will ever let go of supreme power again, willingly? You ain't seen nothing yet, boys - mark my words. When Republican majorities can no longer be had by democratic means, then will arise a line of American Caesars to be the "protectors of the people" - and that will be the end of the Constitution and the America we know, forever.

I'm too old and too weary to say more, fellas. You can read the report for yourselves, and weep for the death of the Republic as we knew it. But know this: all those wicked deeds, like hateful birds of prey, will come home to roost right here in your hometown and mine, one day. If the President and those under his command can use torture at will against foreigners, with no accountability, no publicity, no justice or law, they can and will use it against American citizens, as long as they think they can get away with it. And then no one will be safe from the whims of the Emperor.

What goes around, comes around. And paybacks are hell. Enough said.


Update, 12/10: Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) responds to the CIA report with a ringing condemnation of torture:




And thanks to Mimi at Wounded Bird for posting this crock of lies from 2007:





What's My Line, 8/17/52

Perle Mesta, the "hostess with the mostest," is the Mystery Guest.



Monday, December 8, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 12/8/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:



Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Manston Memories

A guest post by my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain.


Remember a while back, in a post entitled "He’s So Fine – Part 1", I wrote about a B-17 Flying Fortress coming to my local airfield at RAF Manston in 1961. It was there for filming the movie The War Lover, starring Steve McQueen. Well, this post is about that airfield, and its prominent role in and throughout my life. I set out to write a piece about summer outings in the countryside with my parents when I was a child; but found I kept returning to the old wartime airfield as I wrote the piece. Well, I can take a hint, the countryside tale will have to wait, but Ma and Pa will still figure in this post, and so does Christmas. Tis’ the season . . . etc.

OK, just one more look at Steve. This moody image of him captures the feel of what I hope is a reflective piece today. Unusual to see him with stubble, a nice change though, what do you think?


To set the tale in some sort of historical and geographical context a few words and images by way of explanation first– yes, this is the science bit! My home area is called the Isle of Thanet, in the south-eastern corner of England, facing France and Belgium just a few miles across the grey waters of the English Channel.

Although no longer a ‘real’ island, it was once, being separated from the mainland by a shallow channel called the Wantsum. The Wantsum gradually silted up, aided and abetted by the local Monks who wanted more power which then as now equated to land, and so Thanet made a permanent connection to the rest of the county of Kent, around the time of the 15th Century.


But the ‘Isle’ tag remained, and with it a somewhat insular outlook on life on the part of the inhabitants, typical of most island people. ‘Planet Thanet’ it is called with varying degrees of affection by those who never leave and by those, who like me, have escaped its gravitational pull! With no close family ties remaining after Ma’s death a few years ago, I have little reason to visit it these days, but like my parents, the place always remains in my thoughts. And Manston, in particular, holds a specials place in my affection. Just as my parents provided love and physical nourishment to a growing boy, Manston fed not only my childhood hobbies but also my dreams. Together they inspired my desire to make a career in aviation.


Living on what in effect is now a peninsula, means your freedom of travel is somewhat limited, and because the large airfield at Manston commands a central location on the isle, it was a place you always had to go around to get anywhere else. This was not a problem for ‘young’ Tim and whenever we set forth on a family outing I would insist we either went, or came back, via Manston. Pa never minded, but I suspect Ma was not so enthusiastic about aeroplanes as I was! The airfield site, shaded grey in the image above covers some 800 acres today, and was probably double that back in the 1950’s. The wide single runway remains the fourth longest in the UK. Here’s a bird’s eye view of the real thing.


My first memories, when I was about 3, are of driving past the ‘fairy lights’ at night. All roads then took you close to the runway or the taxi-ways, and the different coloured lights glowed and winked in the dark, just like the lights on a Christmas tree. I don’t think I knew what an airfield was then, but those lights gave the place a magical quality which hinted of further mysteries to be discovered; feelings that stayed with me in the years to come.



As I got older, those mysteries were gradually revealed, and I came to understand what an airfield was, who lived and worked there, and what aircraft flew in and out. The aircraft became my abiding passion and Manston was the means of fuelling it. But the connections were not only physical ones, there were family ties too. Ma’s father had served there as an Admiralty Clerk when Manston first opened in 1916 during WWI as a Royal Naval Air Station. Later on, during WWII, both Pa and his twin brother Fred were stationed there at various times. Such family ties of place and history can be stronger than steel and concrete to an impressionable boy.


-- Continued after the jump --


Friday, December 5, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend





Justice Joslin

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Jezebel


Steve Hayes reviews this classic tale of love and loss in old New Orleans - and your Head Trucker highly recommends it, too:
Steve celebrates Thanksgiving with JEZEBEL! Bette Davis sets fire to the screen and goes on to Oscar glory for the second time in William Wyler’s classic tale of the old South (1938). Directed with consummate skill by William Wyler, it was the first of the three films they made together. With able support from Henry Fonda, George Brent, and Fay Bainter in an Oscar-winning role as Bette’s sympathetic aunt, it’s as close to Scarlett O’Hara as Davis would get, and she gives it all she’s got.



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

Monday, December 1, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 12/1/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Drive: Once in Royal David's City

Altarpiece:  The Adoration of the Magi by Peter Paul Rubens, 1641.


The choir of King's College, Cambridge, sings in last year's Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, a tradition begun in 1918:



The Reverend Dr. Jeremy Morris, Dean of King's College, gives the bidding prayer:



Saturday, November 29, 2014

Millions of Queers (Our Homo America)

There is no chief, sole reason for homosexuals. “God made them, as part of his universe” is still the best and blindest answer to “why”. Don’t call on an M.D.; knock at Heaven’s Gate for enlightenment. . . .

Why is there homosexuality? Because there is pleasure in it. Because it is natural. Because it always was and always will be, as part of the universe. Because God so wills.


--Allen Bernstein, 1940



The other day, while poking around the intertubes looking for something else, your Head Trucker stumbled by chance upon a remarkable document of gay history: Millions of Queers (Our Homo America), written in 1940 by Allen Bernstein, a 27-year-old Jewish gay guy from New England. Although it's a long read at 140-plus pages, I heartily recommend it to all my truckbuddies as a vivid time capsule from our gay past.

And yes, Bernstein uses the word gay, as well as gayness, exactly as we do today - proof positive that the word was indeed current among our kind in the 1930's, and probably well before that.

Why have you never heard of this work before now? Because although Bernstein wrote several essays and some poems on gay subjects, none of them were published in his lifetime. But after he was arrested and booted out of the Army in 1944 with a Section 8 (psychiatric) discharge, as was required by law at the time for anyone discovered to be a homosexual, he immediately wrote to Army authorities appealing the decision.  They turned him down, of course, but he kept on appealing for the next 37 years, until finally the Army relented in 1981 and granted him a retroactive honorable discharge. 

Along with his first appeal in 1944, Bernstein sent a copy of his magnum opus, which was of course ignored - and somehow ended up in the archives of the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D. C., where it was discovered in 2010 by Richard Sell, a professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health. The typescript was published on OutHistory.org last March, along with a biography by Professor Sell and an analysis by gay historian Jonathan Ned Katz.

Bernstein's life story is very interesting in and of itself: born in New Hampshire and growing up in Salem, Massachusetts, after graduating from high school he went on to college and after that to the University of Chicago, where he earned a master's degree in history in 1934. Somewhere along the way, he became familiar with
the nocturnal admirers of the juggling Jackson statue in front of the White House, the inhabitants of Boston's Public Gardens or Common, or of New York's or Chicago’s numerous parks, or the patrons of selected beer joints or restaurants in any large city, or the seatchangers in the grope theaters in every metropolitan area (viz. 42nd St.), many residents in Y.M.C.A. furnished rooms, . . .
and became what society would have called a practicing homosexual. In the introduction to his essay, he credits "a few close friends and many chance acquaintances whose phrases, experiences, or lives are included here."

But while he does limn the outlines of gay life in 1930's America, Bernstein also goes far beyond that. His wide research and reading in historical, literary, and legal sources shine from nearly every page of the typescript in quotations and references where he gives a broad outline of homosexuality in the Western world from ancient times to modern. As far as I know, such an extensive survey of gay life through the centuries was not attempted again until Katz published his landmark Gay American History in 1976, a work I have had on my bookshelves for many years, and I'm sure many of my truckbuddies have too.

Indeed, Katz himself in a review of Millions of Queers remarks:
Reading Bernstein’s rendering of homosexual American history in “Millions” I was personally and deeply moved to realize that he had found and consulted the same old, dusty bibliographies and quoted many of the same old documents that I had to rediscover three and four decades later . . . .
Bernstein's apologia has its flaws, though - as the much-marked typescript shows, it has the feel of a work-in-progress, a little rough around the edges and uneven in tone: sometimes erudite, sometimes slangy, and permeated with views long outdated now in light of our greater understanding of biology and psychology, and the progress we have made legally and socially. Katz observes:
Bernstein accepted many of the negative clichés about homosexuals, but argued that they should not be persecuted under the law. . . .

By calling “Millions” a homosexual defense I don’t mean that it’s a radical gay liberation manifesto of 1969, a liberal gay rights tract of the 1990s, or a 2014 critique of sexual neo-liberalism. Bernstein offers a libertarian argument that homosexuals don’t hurt anyone, should not be criminalized and stigmatized, and should be left alone to work out their difficult, non-conforming lives by themselves. Bernstein argues that the state (lawmakers, police, judges, and jailors), the medical establishment (doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists), the media, parents, and citizens, should stop harassing homosexuals.

Bernstein’s defense will disappoint anyone judging it against today’s dominant defense of homosexuals as “normal” exemplars of “mental health.” He takes seriously many of the damning judgments that cursed homosexuals in the U.S., in 1940. Bernstein’s essay documents an archive of bad feelings, the trauma of persons and a group despised and discounted, that he and other homosexuals suffered and had to transcend to survive
Thank goodness we got beyond all that; but this work, written long before "gay liberation" and all that followed from Stonewall, gives the reader a "You Are There" feeling - yes, you have all your modern ideas and attitudes about who you are as a gay man or woman, out and proud and a little bit loud sometimes - but would you really have felt the same way, truly, had you lived back in Bernstein's time? It's very, very hard to swim against the tide, to be the outsider, often isolated and alone, whom all the world hates and despises and quite literally damns to the fires of eternal hell - as some of us still remember from our youth, though the young people of today have no real clue about all that.

Bernstein married a woman in 1946, and told her when he proposed that he was gay; she accepted him anyway, and apparently they had a happy, harmonious marriage until her death in 1991. They also produced two sons, to whom Bernstein came out after their mother died, who have supported Professor Sell's research into their father's life and writings.

And there's an even happier ending to the story: Bernstein lived to age 95, and was able to see the progress of gay rights and even the first legal gay marriages in this country before he died in 2008. As Katz notes:
In 1940, speaking of the criminalization of homosexual acts and the imprisonment of homosexuals, Bernstein says:
It will probably be continued in most American communities for another century or three; let's be realistic, and stop day-dreaming about repeal of sodomy statutes.
Given his original pessimism, it’s nice to note that Bernstein lived long enough to witness the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, in effect, declaring U.S. sodomy laws unconstitutional.
But really, when you read between the lines of this cri du coeur, you see that, at bottom, Bernstein and his friends way back there in the 1930's felt pretty much the same way about themselves as we do - which I'll summarize as "we're not hurting anyone, what we do is none of your business, so leave us the hell alone." 

Well, enough prologue - go read the essay for yourself, a well-researched and candid contribution to gay history, which deserves to be part of the corpus of required reading for the gay generations to come.

Here's the link to the table of contents page at OutHistory, from which you can find the original typescript or, if you prefer, a cleaned-up, searchable and easy-to-read text version; Katz's critique is also listed on the table of contents. Enjoy.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend





Bob Hager

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Something To Be Thankful For

Due to unavoidable delays, the Pork Boys won't be eating Thanksgiving dinner until Monday; but in the meantime, your Head Trucker joins in the feeling of gratitude and amazement expressed by Freedom to Marry:


Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia, plus assorted Indian tribes - my word, whodathunkit just a year ago? Of course, it's always wise not to count one's chickens before they hatch - but sure seems like we are on track for a full 50 states by this time next year, maybe.

All of which comes too late to do your Head Trucker any good - but it warms my heart to think of all that it means for these happy couples, and all the others we've seen tie the knot around the country in the last few years. In the midst of all that's wrong with the world, do try to keep an attitude of gratitude in your hearts, fellas. It's important.

Because no matter how bad things may seem right now, they could be worse - you could be living in Russia, or Uganda, Iran, Jamaica, or some other hellhole, which but for an accident of birth or the grace of God, you aren't. So enjoy that turkey dinner and the company you keep today - with true thanks in your heart for all that is right in your corner of the world.

Latest marriage map from Wikipedia; click to enlarge.
Legend here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Marriage Wins in Arkansas and Mississippi

Marriage equality came a giant step closer to reality yesterday in two Deep South states, as Freedom to Marry reported overnight. Just amazing to this native Southerner.


1. Arkansas:
Today, November 25, U.S. District Court Judge Karen Baker ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Arkansas, declaring the state's Amendment 83, which limits the freedom to marry to different-sex couples, is unconstitutional. The ruling is staying pending a presumptive appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.

The ruling is the second landmark decision in favor of marriage in Arkansas in less than 6 months, following a May 2014 ruling in state court, which is now currently being considered by the Arkansas Supreme Court. In May, following the state ruling, more than 500 same-sex couples from across the state received marriage licenses over the course of the week before the ruling was put on hold pending the appeal to the AR Supreme Court.

The case today was in Jernigan v. Crane, filed in July 2013 by Little Rock-based attorney Jack Wagoner of Wagoner Law Firm. The case before the Arkansas Supreme Court is Wright v. Smith.
Text of the ruling here.



2.  Mississippi:
The latest in a landmark string of court victories for the freedom to marry came today, November 25, from Mississippi, where a federal judge has ruled the state's constitutional amendment denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples unconstitutional. The ruling is stayed for 14 days pending appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves ruled today in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, a federal legal case challenging Missisippi's anti-marriage amendment. The judge struck down the marriage ban, the 56th court ruling since June 2013 in favor of the freedom to marry. Just four courts - most notably, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit - upheld marriage discrimination. Plaintiffs from the 6th Circuit cases, out of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, are now seeking review from that out-of-step ruling from the United States Supreme Court. The plaintiffs in a case out of Louisiana, where a federal judge upheld marriage discirmination in September, are also seeking Supreme Court review.

The case in Mississippi was brought on behalf of two same-sex couples and the Campaign for Southern Equality by private counsel, including Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Mississippi attorney Robert McDuff of McDuff & Byrd, based in Jackson. In 2013, Kaplan led Windsor v. United States, the case that brought down the core of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act at the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013.
Text of the ruling here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hollywood

This excellent documentary series, produced by Thames Television in 1980 and narrated by James Mason, covers the rise and development of Hollywood from nickelodeon days to the end of the silent era, and includes interviews with many performers, writers, directors, and film crew from the period.  A must-see for film buffs.  Here is part 1:



Monday, November 24, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 11/24/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:




Better late than never: Congrats to Dan Hunter and Randy Paul, who were among the first couples to marry in Butte, Montana, last Thursday, the Montana Standard reports. The guys have been a couple for 22 years.



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Drive: Autumn Leaves

From the album Je m'appelle Barbra, 1966:



Saturday, November 22, 2014

Don't Let the Bullies Get You Down

Ever feel like the world is ganging up on you and biting your butt big time?  Well then, maybe you will take heart from this video filmed by visitors to a game preserve in Zambia last week:



The astonished watchers promptly dubbed the little guy Hercules in admiration for his victory. Yes, he got away safely, with a great story to tell the folks back home.

Moral:  Don't fuck with the elephant, fellas.  He will kick your ass good.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Out in the Country


Country music star Ty Herndon, 52, came out yesterday in an interview with People magazine - read the full interview here.

Ty's warm and oh-so-studly voice was a favorite of your Head Trucker's back in the late 1990's, so I'm glad he's out and proud now. Here's one of his sexier hits, for those of you who aren't familiar with his work:



Sure works for me. Here's what I'm talkin' 'bout:




And there's more: emboldened by Herndon's revelation, 26-year-old fellow country artist Billy Gilman also came out yesterday in a video posted to YouTube:




What can I say but - Yeehaw!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Obama's Speech on Immigration


A very fine address.  I was moved by these words from his conclusion, emphasis mine:
Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger –- we were strangers once, too.

My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal -– that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.

That’s the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That’s the tradition we must uphold. That’s the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless this country we love.
Full text here.

More Marriage News

Current map of U. S. marriage equality per Wikipedia.
Click to enlarge.

Wow, take your eyes off the headlines for just a day, and you miss so much. But here's the skinny:

South Carolina's first same-sex marriage happened Wednesday.

And Montana will soon have them too, if the AG's appeal to the Supremes doesn't work.

Good news - enjoy it fellas, before we plunge into the deep darkness of another fascist Republican era, now fast approaching. All bets will be off then.


Update, 6:15 p.m.:

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied South Carolina's request for a stay, so couples all over the Palmetto State began marrying shortly after 4 p.m., mirabile dictu.

You Yankee boys should understand - South Carolina is deeply conservative, even more so than Alabama or Mississippi.  They have lovely manners, but they are Bourbons who refuse to advance beyond the 19th century.  There's a reason why South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union.  This will fry all their tomatoes.

And in Montana:



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 111714

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:




Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Drive: Tucumcari

Just for fun, here's Jimmie Rodgers singing with the Great Schnozzola in a clip from 1959:




And here's a poignant 2010 interview with Jimmie talking about his struggle with a disabling illness:




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Uniformly Gorgeous, Part 2

A guest post by my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain:

Tim’s Take on Spain
Uniformly Gorgeous Pt 2 – What I did on my day-off!


I thought it was time to have another look at our boys in uniform, and the image of young Mr Gyllenhaal above captures today’s theme nicely – a uniformed man taking some time off. Although most Spanish lads love to wear a uniform, what do they get up to when they have some down-time? How do they look in civvies compared to fatigues? My research suggests that many like to slip into something more comfortable – so read on!

By the way, it’s not always easy to finding matching images of the same person in and out of uniform. Indeed, currently proposed government legislation will make it illegal to photograph members of the military and police when on duty; it’s already a sensitive issue. But I have done my best to find photos that at least capture the right look.

October 12th was Columbus Day, and in Spain it is also celebrated as the Diá de la Fiesta Nacional, a celebration of Spanish values and culture, including its relationship with the worldwide Hispanic community. It is also the national armed forces day, when the serving and fallen members of the armed forces are remembered. My eye was caught by the image of a handsome young soldier in the advertising for the event.


And I did manage to find a better close-up. What a studly young man he is!


Unfortunately, he remains anonymous, but he does appear in this video made to promote the event, appearing at the end of the short clip. (Also look out for a guest appearance by the Editor at 0:12!) So on his days off, soldier boy seems to like the countryside and hiking, but prefers to stay in his uniform. However, with that engaging smile and designer stubble, he would certainly have a great career in modelling, and I’m sure his personal weapon would be very photogenic!



Fortunately for us, other Spanish men in uniform are less anonymous. So let’s see how the police are doing. First we move on to our local bobbies, usually dressed in black and yellow, and wearing the obligatory sunglasses, the Policía Local. These guys are funded through local government in most large towns or municipalities; and are responsible for minor criminal matters, local traffic control, crime prevention and the enforcement of local laws. The officers in my area of Mijas seem to be hand-picked for their looks; it’s rare to see one you wouldn’t mind accompanying to the station. This one is packing something!


Enter local policeman Jorge Martin from nearby Cártama. When not in uniform, he enjoys sport as his hobby, and last year came second in the ‘Mister Model’ category of the Mr Universe competition held in Germany. Jorge is 2nd left – nice abs!


I can only agree with one Cártama resident who said she now wouldn’t mind being pulled over for speeding around the town. And I hope he has his posing pouch as well as his truncheon and handcuffs when I visit. Here’s a close-up of our policeman ‘pumping’ - Woof! And in typically Spanish fashion, even his hair is tanned and ‘pumped’ – LoL!


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