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, April 19, 2015

Sunday Drive: I'll Be Seeing You

Jo Stafford, the beloved "G. I. Jo" of wartime fame, had one of the loveliest and purest voices of the past century - a great favorite of your Head Trucker's, with a song dear to his heart:




Note to my truckbuddies: Your Head Trucker is taking a sort of spring break from blogging. In the meantime, here's wishing you all sunshine, blue skies, and good cheer.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Before Stonewall: How We Got Where We Are

This amazing half-century:  April 17, 1965, was the date of the first gay-rights picket march in front of the White House, a silent protest led by Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings, which for five years was repeated at intervals in Washington at the White House and the Pentagon, and at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Below are some of Kameny's original signs carried in the 1965 picket line, as proudly displayed at the Smithsonian Institution.


And this week ABC published an interview, not embeddable, with Paul Kuntzler, 73, another participant in the picket march, which you can see here.

It's hard now to recall, and for the young'uns amongst us, nearly impossible to comprehend, the overwhelming homophobia of society in those days, and the unceasing, sweaty-palmed fear of being found out - or merely suspected - as a homosexual.  Here in the Deep South, at any rate, it was the Worst Thing in the World, worse than being a Communist, even: a traitor not merely to your country, but to God and the entire human race. Seriously - that was how people viewed gayness back then - the unmentionable, unforgiveable sin. Even when I came out at the end of the 1970's, all my good church friends who were "just like family" promptly dropped me like a hot potato, and shunned me ever afterwards.

And it truly boggles your Head Trucker's mind to look around and observe the vast difference in public acceptance that has occurred in just one lifetime - mine. We have lived through a slow-motion revolution these fifty years, with results like gay marriage that were merely daydreams, flights of fantasy, when your Head Trucker came out. It's been quite a journey; I'm glad I have lived to see this day.

Of course many others followed in the footsteps of Kameny and Gittings to lead the onward march for equality, justice, and dignity, and we owe everyone who has lent a hand to the struggle a continuing debt of gratitude for the rights and freedoms we now enjoy - and, we hope, will be enjoyed by many generations of LGBT people in years to come.

Here is Frank Kameny, the loud, proud, grand old man of the gay-rights movement, discussing how he came to be an activist after he was summarily fired from his civil-service job in 1957 for being gay, and took his case all the way to the Supreme Court a few years later:




After Kameny's death in 2011 at the age of 86, CBS's Mark Irvine commemorated his lfie and work with this report, which includes a clip of the White House picket line in 1965:




And here is the full 1984 documentary Before Stonewall, narrated by author and activist Rita Mae Brown, tracing the evolution of gay life and gay activism from the 1920's onward: a fascinating look at our people's recent past, the once-unspeakable history which ought to be required viewing for all the young folks before they get issued their pink cards:




As the film makes clear, where once to be gay and be yourself, it was necessary to be a disreputable denizen of the so-called underworld, now we can be happy, ordinary, boring middle-class folks just like our straight moms and dads and brothers and sisters, or for the politically ambitious, even Senators, Ambassadors, and perhaps one day soon, President - a refreshing and long-overdue change in my view.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Art of Blending

This rather fascinating 2008 short explores the many facets of producing and using fine cognac, from vineyard to table.



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Nickel Plate Story (1953)


One of your Head Trucker's favorite railroad films: a well-produced profile of the Nickel Plate Road, one of the smaller Class I railroads, providing a nice overview of freight operations at the end of the steam era, along with charming glimpses of American life sixty years ago - a time of unbounded optimism and limitless resources, or so it seemed.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What's My Line, 8/31/52

Danish-born actor Jean Hersholt, beloved star of the long-running radio series Dr. Christian and related films, is the Mystery Guest.



Monday, April 13, 2015

Marriage News Watch, 4/13/15

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:




Saturday, April 11, 2015

Are You Popular? (1947)

Tip: Don't go parking in cars with boys at night, it will only ruin your reputation. Better to go on a wienie roast with the whole gang.



Friday, April 10, 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Inside the White House

The sublime neoclassical architecture of the White House never fails to inspire and delight your Head Trucker. National Geographic takes us behind the scenes at the Executive Mansion in this 1995 documentary, narrated by Morgan Freeman:






Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rodney Fails to Qualify

There's confusion on the links as a love triangle sorts itself out, in this delightful production of one of P. G. Wodehouse's short stories from 1928, superbly acted by husband-and-wife team John Alderton and Pauline Collins for the BBC in 1975:



Monday, April 6, 2015

Marriage News Watch, 4/6/15

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:




What I Say:  On a tangent matter - Ya know, fellas, as much as I look forward to nationwide marriage equality, I am sick and tired of hearing about the damn wedding cakes. Food, lodging, transportation, employment, and housing are all necessities of life. Wedding cakes are not.

Yeah, yeah, I understand the arguments - but it's possible to win the battle and lose the war, you know? Screaming and crying about cakes is just so unnecessary, in my view, and causes hard feelings on the other side that distract from the big issues - a cake is a tiny thing that can be done without for now.

And as a widower left alone and stranded in small-town Texas with no rights whatsoever when my husband died unexpectedly ten years ago, I would much rather have had legal recognition of our union than any silly cake.

There's my 2 cents.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday, 2015: Jesus Christ Is Risen Today


Performed by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge:



Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Forme of Cury

The late Clarissa Dickson Wright explores some of the recipes in The Forme of Cury (The Forms of Cooking), a 14th-century cookbook written on vellum from the kitchen of King Richard II:



Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday 2015: The Old Rugged Cross

Francisco de Zurbarán, Christ on the Cross, 1627

This poignant old hymn, performed here live by country music great Alan Jackson, has a particular significance for your Head Trucker: a favorite of my Papaw's, when it was played at his funeral when I was a young fellow, it moved me to tears. It still does.



Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Artistic Gardens of France

The final episode of three by British gardener Monty Don. Description:
Monty travels to some of the most celebrated artists' gardens, including the one created by the impressionist Claude Monet, who planted and painted his garden for half his life. Monty also matches the paintings to the garden of Paul Cezanne, as well as visiting several contemporary artistic gardens to see how the use of plants and trees has evolved into new and varied styles.



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wartime Farm, Part 1 of 8

A fascinating BBC series first shown in 2012. Description:
Historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn face up to the challenges of the biggest revolution ever seen in the history of the British countryside as they turn Manor Farm back to how it was run in the Second World War. When Britain entered the war, two-thirds of all Britain's food was imported - and now it was under threat from a Nazi blockade. To save Britain from starvation, the nation's farmers were tasked with doubling food production in what Churchill called 'the frontline of freedom'. This meant ploughing up 6.5 million acres of unused land - a combined area bigger than the whole of Wales.

In this first episode, the farmers find themselves in a new location, a new time period and with a new team member. There is a new farmhouse to modernise, strict new rules to abide by and air raid precautions to contend with.




Bonus:  A charming little teaching film produced in 1941 by the British Ministry of Food to teach home cooks the tastiest way to prepare a cabbage, with no waste of vitamins:



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