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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gay Dads in Penney's Catalog and Other Milestones

Dallas dads Ted Koch and Cooper Smith feature in an ad in the latest catalog from J. C. Penney, along with the two kids they adopted at birth, Claire and Mason.  Sweet.

My word, how times have changed. The family lives in the Oak Cliff gayborhood and was featured in a 2009 article in the Dallas Voice.

Among other reflections it makes me remember, more than forty years ago now, some painful Sunday mornings as a young teenager, already aware of my sexuality, listening to preachers rant on and on and on about the homosexshuls and how totally evil they were, drug addicts all of them, and rapists and molesters and thieves and murderers too, all of them depraved and deserving of death and eternal condemnation, yada yada. I reckon most of you guys know the drill.

And I remember sitting there, in the silence of my heart saying NO! That's just not true, it can't be true. It certainly wasn't true of me. But I had no evidence at the time about anyone else, didn't know and never saw any other gay people - but that's where I began to realize the difference between the truths I was taught and the truth that was within me.

Thank God, today's teens don't grow up totally isolated and disconnected as I did; and there's now plenty of evidence against all that ignorant, hate-filled, fundamentalist bullshit. So gay kids today have a much better chance of happiness than we did, and I'm glad.

The law is following, slowly, the change in attitudes as well: today another federal circuit court held DOMA to be unconstitutional, violating the Equal Protection Clause. It was a very cautious ruling - overly so, I think - but it adds to the weight of evidence and argument that our side will present to the Supreme Court, which is where this issue, so vital to our fundamental civil rights, will be decided. Soon, I hope.  (PDF of today's ruling here.)

And one other milestone:  Retiring Congressman (D-Mass.) Barney Frank came out 25 years ago today, which had to be a damn scary thing to do, but aren't we glad he did:

Don't Get on Granny's Bad Side

Regal in rose:  one of the best news photos of the Queen I've seen in a long time.

A charming snippet of an interview with Prince William about his royal grandmother:

The high point of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee celebrations comes this weekend, with a 1,000-ship flotilla on the Thames on Sunday, a rock concert in the grounds of Buckingham Palace on Monday, and climaxed on Tuesday with a carriage procession to and from a Thanksgiving service at St. Paul's Cathedral, followed by an appearance on the palace balcony. 

The only other British monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee was Queen Victoria in 1897, which likewise was an occasion of great rejoicing throughout the British Isles and the Empire.  Whether you are monarchically inclined or not, this weekend's events are historic, and promise to be quite colorful too, so give them a look.  A detailed schedule, with British times, is listed here; subtract 5 hours if you're in the Eastern time zone, 6 hours for Central time, and so on.

I've known this day would come for many years, ever since I did the calculation when I was still a teenager in college and the 21st century seemed so very, very far away.  Hard to believe the day has come round at last - and I'm all that many years older.  It's also quite remarkable to see the great change in British attitudes - for a while there after Diana died, I really thought they might do away with the monarchy.  But now nearly everyone high and low, including former hippies and punkers and radicals of all stripes, seem to be singing a chorus of high praise for the Queen.

As well they should.  It's a lousy job, truly horrible - just stop and think about it for a second - but she's done it, and done it well, never complained, just got on with things, did what she promised to do, and never put a foot wrong.  (Your Head Trucker, for one, would have set heads rolling long ago - trust me on that, fellas - and no doubt mine would have very shortly followed.) 

Britain, or any other nation, could do much worse than to have such a careful and dutiful figure at the head of things.   And it doesn't hurt to have some one higher and better to whom every politician and every magnate must bend the knee or bow the head, you know?  I say, God bless her, and long may she reign.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

From the Washington Post:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Review: American Gospel

In lieu of a hymn today, your Head Trucker would like to post this excerpt from a brilliantly written book by Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer-prize-winning historian and former editor of Newsweek, entitled American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation, published in 2006.  In this thoughtful, well-balanced survey of the relationship between religion and reason, faith and freedom, from the birth of the Republic down till today, Meacham (who is, by the way, both a Tennessee boy and an Episcopalian) conducts the reader through a fascinating summary of the twin poles of American thought, beginning with the Founding Fathers, who were indeed, most of them, of a religious cast of mind, but widely varied about the details and application of religious principles.

Even Jefferson, the most secular-minded of them all, wrote, it must be remembered, the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom, a ringing declaration of Americans' liberty to believe everything or nothing at all, without coercion or penalty by government - a principle later incorporated into the Bill of Rights.  And yet, as Meacham demonstrates in his masterly synthesis of American history and thought, the separation of church and state has never meant the complete eradication of one or the other, for liberty as we understand it in this country depends upon the complementarity of both to sustain what Meacham calls the "sensible center."

I hope this short excerpt, which displays to your Head Trucker the thoroughly Anglican ethos of the via media, the middle way, will whet the appetite of some of my truckbuddies to read the book, which is partly viewable on Google Books, or can be had for about five bucks in print form from Amazon, or for twelve bucks on Kindle.

Remarkably, upon publication Meacham's book was praised by critics and commentators on both the right and the left, deservedly so.  It's quite pertitent to today's headlines, and I recommend it very highly it to all of you.  Click to enlarge these screen captures, where Meacham is speaking about today's poisonous divide between the ultra-religious and the ultra-secular:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Technical Difficulties

A little heads up, guys: my Sunday Drive feature, among other things, may be delayed this weekend - yesterday, in the middle of a video I was watching, YouTube suddenly stopped working. Despite numerous attempts with numerous videos, it's still not working either on YT or here on my blog.

Sometimes after much clicking around I can get one video to play, but then the next one I try won't. Don't know what the deal is, but I am totally pissed.

I keep getting a message to download a beta version of some Web player thing - which is ridiculous, I don't want to fool with some experiemental something that the FAQs say can screw up the rest of your stuff. And my Flash and other usual Windows stuff are all updated already - so being without any young children here to sort it all out, I'm stymied.

Is it just me, or all the rest of the world, too?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Waitin' for the Weekend

Alejandro de la Guardia

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Pork Boys Do My Birthday

The festive board awaits.

Even though it wasn't the actual date, last night my best friend M.P. employed all his considerable talents of cookery to make a fabulous birthday dinner for yours truly, and went out his way to prepare some rather elaborate dishes that are particular favorites of mine, or just things he thought I would like, and he was right. He made nearly everything from scratch, too. We didn't take many photos of the food, mainly because it was too damn good to wait for a camera! But here's some pics of his lovely table setting and such, and I'll give the menu as we go down:

Candle and flowers

We began with the hors d'oeuvre, coconut shrimp soaked in coconut milk, of course, and dredged in shredded coconut as well as homemade panko breading - although M.P. has discovered a secret process for making the latter, which I'm not at liberty to reveal. But I can tell you that the finished product looks and smells and tastes exactly like what you would expect to find in a very nice restaurant. For dipping, we had two sauces: hot buttermilk ranch dip, and sweet pineapple sauce. Oh my, fellas - if he hadn't cooked another blessed thing, I would have been more than satisfied with just that plate of delectable shrimp, I tell you what.

Table setting with new soup bowls of an old bamboo pattern
and flowers from M.P.'s garden

Next came the appetizer: hibiscus soup, accompanied by homemade egg rolls stuffed with pork and assorted vegetables. Yes, I said hibiscus soup, with tiny pieces of dried hibiscus petals and some egg noodles in it. Like nothing I've ever had before, and in a word: marvelous. I highly recommend it.

English crystal, Bavarian china, French tureen; the center plate was a favorite
of M.P.'s mother's, and he recently found the two matching plates to go with it

Next came the entrée: one of my all-time favorites, a scrumptious serving of General Tso's chicken, with a generous helping, straight from the wok, of steaming fried rice, of course, and homemade dim sum rolls served with little ramekins of melted butter on the side.

The last peace rose from my garden made a lovely complement
to the pink roses M.P. had in this simple vase

At length, several hours after we began to eat - the Pork Boys are very French in their attitudes toward food, and believe strongly in the virtues of lingering over every dish and truly savoring things - came the main course: the mouthwatering treat of a whole crisply-roasted duck stuffed with assorted herbs fresh from M.P.'s garden, with my favorite little green lima beans on the side. Slow-roasted for hours, the duck was as tender as could be and simply melted in the mouth. Oh my, believe me fellas when I say it was beyond good. Oh, and I must not omit to praise the lovely lemon gravy that came with it, made with some pan drippings from the roasted duck. Larruppin' good!

After we had eaten all the duck we could hold, and before dessert, a delightful palate cleanser: a single pink scoop of homemade sorbet, made with apple juice and pomegranate, among other ingredients, all whipped together by hand and frozen slowly in the 18th-century manner. Like nectar of the gods, truly.

Finally, the pièce de résistance

Finalement, when the night was far gone, came the last and prettiest creation of all: M.P.'s divine French fruit cake, topped and layered with very thin slices of pineapple, peaches, and strawberries, and covered with a cream-cheese icing. Boys, it's not anything like American fruit cake, which I despise, and all I can say further is this: you ain't never had anything this good in your mouth.

I brought White Zinfandel, Budweiser, coffee, milk, and cigarettes - which was the least I could do.  M.P. wouldn't let me help with a thing otherwise.

And so ended the prettiest, most delicious birthday meal I can ever remember. Thanks, M.P. - merci mille fois pour tout, mon ami.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Half-Naked Sailors Swarm Up Greased Pole

In an annual tradition, members of the freshman class of 2015 at Annapolis yesterday climbed the 21-foot-high Herndon Monument, which was previously lubed with 200 pounds of lard by upperclassmen. The lads strained every muscle to get up there, and with a lot of sweaty teamwork succeeded in 2 hours, 10 minutes.

What they did afterward with all those well-lubed bodies is not stated.

Judge Judy Comes Out for Gay Marriage

Forget Obama. When Judge Judy says it's the right thing to do, you know it's gonna happen.

While we're on the subject, former Secretary of State Colin Powell (who once argued strongly against having gays in the military and helped craft DADT) has also come across and is on the side of the angels now, saying the gays he knows "are as stable a family as my family is":

And finally, the President has made a campaign video narrated by actress Jane Lynch that reviews all he has done for gay rights as a "strong advocate." Your Head Trucker has to agree - just consider how much of this stuff would have happened under McCain and Palin, eh guys? - but since the Prez has worked my nerves so long with so much foot-dragging, I'm going to refrain from comment while I go take a sedative:

Children reading about the Second Civil Rights Era in history books many years from now will think it all happened in a trice. I'm here to tell ya, future young'uns - it didn't, and it isn't.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Harvey Milk Day

Just so you know, Save California, an anti-gay group, has put out this bucket of hate to mark the occasion (parental discretion advised - so call your mom and get her OK before you watch):

See also the updates I just posted to yesterday's story about the North Carolina preacher who wants to put us all "queers and homosexuals" in concentration camps until we die out, behind the electrified fences.

By way of contrast, here is California State Senator Leno explaining the day to his colleagues three years ago, when the state senate first authorized it:

Also, give a listen to the moving testimony of Dustin Lance Black before the state senate education committee:

And President Obama's remarks upon awarding Milk a posthumous Medal of Freedom in 2009:

Enuf said.

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Out of the Past

Steve Hayes serves up a hot cup of steamy film noir in his latest review:
Robert Mitchum lands his first starring role and, along with Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas, creates one of the landmarks of Film Noir in Jacques Tourneur's classic, OUT OF THE PAST (1947). Based on the novel Build My Gallows High, Mitchum plays a former detective sent on a mission by a sinister gangster (Douglas) to find and retrieve his former girlfriend (Greer) who not only shot him, but also stole $40,000. Greer plays her like the pretty girl next door, who just happens to be homicidal. Mitchum falls hard, and as a result, is crossed, double-crossed, and framed for a coupla killings . It's a murderous trip down memory lane you won't soon forget.

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

Monday, May 21, 2012

56 Up is Now Showing!

That's the good news. The bad news is, only in Britain, and nowhere else for the indefinite future. Which sucks big time.

I had never heard of this fascinating once-every-seven-years documentary, but a few years ago I came across it on Netflix and spent a day or two in rapt attention getting all caught up with the first seven episodes. It resonates with me because those kids - these adults - were and are about my own age. An ingenious idea, which if you've never seen the previous installments, just do it. Now. You won't be sorry.

The earlier segments are also on YouTube. Below is part 2 of the first episode: for fun, check out the two boys with their arms around each other about the 5:35 mark. One says, "I don't love her, I love him." And gives the other boy a little smooch on the cheek. Other boy says, "I don't love you, I love Christopher."

Unfortuntately, those two boys are not part of the group followed in later years. Don't you wonder, though, how they turned out, hmm?

Tip:  Don't go read the Wiki article on this series, it will spoil the lastest film for you if you do.  I took a quick look and backed out fast.

Dharun Ravi Sentenced in Clementi Case

The gay blogosphere is full of arguments today over the 30-day sentence, plus community service.  Your Head Trucker expected something more like 90 days at least; but it's a hard thing to judge, and that's what we elect judges to do on our behalf, with all the facts laid out before them, and after hearing both sides of the story in depth.

One might argue that 30 days is too light in the balances against a young man's life.  But on the other hand, Ravi had no way of knowing that Clementi would kill himself.  He did not say, for example, "Why don't you go jump off a bridge, faggot."  Which would be a very different case.

As the judge said, Ravi was indeed guilty of "colossal insensitity," to say the least.  Nobody, but nobody would want their private love life - behind closed doors - broadcast to all and sundry in the dorm.  Eighteen is pretty goddamn stupid as a rule - but even at 18, we all know that's totally crossing the line.

Well, whatever people may think of the verdict, and the judge's recommendation that Ravi not be deported back to India, it is certain that he is paying a tremendous penalty above and beyond what the law has imposed:  I find it hard to imagine that he will ever be able to complete college, much less get some high-paying job, in this country.  Maybe back in India, or somewhere else in the world, but not here.  So even if you think he should do more jail time, just remember that he will be paying for his callous cruelty the rest of his life, in notoriety and lost opportunities.  Bad karma, for sure.

Nevertheless, fellas - it's important to retain a sense of balance, and to remember that there are degrees of sin.  If you want to see an indisputable hate crime in process, look at this horrific photo of thugs jumping on the spine of the leader of Kiev Pride, who is already on the ground and helpless after being blinded by pepper spray to his eyes - and this happened just seconds after he called off a planned Pride march, in full view of the press and the police:

And too, for an example of perhaps more sheer willful ignorance than sin, consider this clip, described at Towleroad this way:
In a sermon blasting President Obama for his same-sex marriage support, Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina, offered a novel — and horrific — solution to the so-called gay scourge: build an electric fence . . .

Which is so horrendously backwoods ignorant, it almost seems like a parody - I can't help chuckling, thinking what Leslie Jordan could do with this role, you know?

Notice that what would have come out as "nigger lover" fifty years ago has been updated to "homosexual lover." But even fifty years ago, and I was there, no preacher would have ever said the former in church, at the pulpit. Nor "I'm gonna preach the hell out of it." Uhn-uh. Would have been totally unacceptable in the House of God - which shows you how far manners and mores have sunk, even among the "saved" in this day and age.

It does remind me, though, of an incident back in the mid-90's, and I may have blogged about this before - I used to have a standing lunch date with a lesbian friend once a week at a Shoney's convenient to our places of work. One day while we were eating, a great crowd of sheriffs in coats and ties, dress boots and 20X felt Stetsons came in and filled the joint - there was a statewide sheriffs' convention in town - and while they were waiting to be served, one of them near us loudly observed to his tablemates: "They say homosexshuls are born that way. I reckon if we lined 'em all up against a wall and shot 'em, we'd find out in another twunny years or so if that was true." Which clever remark was followed by a great burst of laughter and nodding of heads and "that's right!"

My friend and I just looked at each other. What can you say that would make any difference to an asshole like that?

Update:   Another Baptist minister rebukes Worley on Anderson Cooper's show:

But Worley's parishoners stand behind him, saying he speaks nothing but the truth, and is just trying to save your sorry, puke-inducing gay soul from Hell:

In Memoriam: Robin Gibb, 1949-2012

Now only Barry is left.  Sad.  My condolences to the family.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Rahther Keen on Old Dick"

Happened to come across this amazing clip from the 1936 Australian film (they made movies in Australia?  who knew), Rangle River.  And it's w-a-y g-a-y for the thirties, y'all.  Check it out:

Victor Jory (at right), btw, played overseer Jonas Wilkerson in Gone With the Wind - you remember, the guy who after the war came rolling up to the front door of Tara with that white-trash Emmie Slattery, wanting to buy the place. And Scarlett threw a clod of Georgia red clay in his face.

Sunday Drive: Bells Across the Meadows

I heard this some years ago on the classical station late one Sunday night - when they play the really unfashionable music - and at once fell in love with it. By English composer Albert Ketelby, 1921:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

What's Your Personality?

Are you really as butch as you look, or just a big ol' queen?  Before you answer that, stud, take this 1948 personality test from Look magazine, from Copyranter via Joe.My.God.:

Click to enlarge.

I scored 10, with two split scores - what about you?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beach Bums, 1951

I think my truckbuddies will smile at this ultra-fashionable collection of men's swimsuits from 1951.

The first model, Raymond, is totally studly.  I'd do him.

Via Americablog Gay.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Letters from the Wall

Hadrian's Wall, ruins of Milecastle 39

A few years ago I came across the site of the Vindolanda Tablets, a huge cache of what we might call postcards written by Roman soldiers and their families who were stationed along Hadrian's Wall in the north of England.  And it's an absolutely fascinating story, this astonishing find of all sorts of everyday communications between Roman citizens in the heyday of the Empire, at a remote outpost on the far frontier. 

Party invite from Claudia Severa to her sister, Lepidina

And yet, as humans always manage somehow to do, they made the most of it.  Here's a link to one of the most charming messages, a note from one officer's wife to her sister, saying in effect, "Do come to my birthday party, it'll be fun."  These are everyday messages, not formal inscriptions or ponderous manuscripts, but scratched out with pen and ink on little thin slips of wood:  nothing meant to be saved for the ages, although by great good luck, they were.

On that same site is a little crib sheet to help you decipher the Roman cursive handwriting - one of their least successful inventions, I might add - and I have to tell you, fellas, it was a real hair-on-end moment when, poring over the letter with the help of the crib and my long-ago high-school Latin, I suddenly realized I was able to actually read it - and in that moment, the veil of antiquity fell away and it seemed the lady herself was right in the room with me, no distance between us.  Sperabo te soror:  "I'll be looking for you, sis."

If your Latin is even rustier than mine and you can't make heads or tails of the letters, here's a very cool BBC video that gives you the whole picture of where and why the wall was built, and who lived there and how they lived - which was pretty comfortably for the times, with running water, central heating, designer shoes, and everything.  Enjoy.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Big Doritos Factory

I've never heard of columnist Tommy Christopher before now, but here's an amusing piece by this presumably straight dude I just came across while surfing from hither to yon:
I used to be a bigot, by that definition, on this very issue. When I first heard about the idea of gay marriage, in the early 90s, it just sounded absurd to me, like jumbo shrimp, or compassionate conservative. I thought it was a capricious demand, something gay people wanted just to have, like a paraplegic demanding a bicycle just because someone else has one. What possible use could they have for it? I just did not get it.

At that time, I said all the stupid things people like that say, like “Well, they can get married, just not to each other, and I can’t marry a dude any more than they can. Boom. We’re equal.”

The first step in my “evolution,” as the President calls it, was to realize that it didn’t matter if I got it. They’re either equal human beings or not, endowed with the same rights, or not, whether I understand or approve of them or not.

Eventually, I came to understand that, duh, gay people want to get married for the same reasons anybody does; because they love each other, they want to raise children together, they want to spend the rest of their lives together and/or bitterly divorce after ruining each other’s lives. My personal view on marriage has evolved, too. Now, I’d advise anyone to run the other way, but I wouldn’t try to make a law against it. If you must get married, just make sure you have an open bar and a decent beef dish at the reception. And I’d like to be able to do some karaoke, if that’s possible.

To be clear, I don’t think a personal view of marriage as between a man and a woman is necessarily bigoted; if you don’t ever want to marry someone of your own gender, you should never have to, and you will always think of marriage that way. Lots of religions strongly prefer that you marry within your faith. That’s fine, as long as you don’t try to make a law about it. If you think same sex relations are yucky, that’s cool; lots of them think we’re gross, too. Just think of it all as a big Doritos factory: it’s nacho business.

"Love Makes a Family"

Came across this today, which I wish I could have posted for Mother's Day: an interview with Zach Wahls, who last year at age 19 made a poised and ringing defense of same-sex marriage before of committee of the Iowa House of Representatives.

Below, his speech in full:

Zach's book, My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family, is now available at Amazon and other booksellers. He also has a website, if you want to learn more about this remarkable young man and his family.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"I'm Their Mother . . . and Their Father"

Perhaps today it's appropriate to give a little shout out to all the gay parents who are doing such a great job raising kids - many of whom would never have had father or mother otherwise.  A quick peek at one amazing family in Arizona:

Read more about how this family grew - and grew - and grew - in this article from their hometown newspaper: 2 Gay Dads, 12 Happy Kids.

Sunday Drive: Don't Take Your Love from Me

Mama in her glamour days, circa 1945

I can still remember when I was a wee lad my mother singing her favorite old forties songs to me as lullabies.  This one was a particular favorite - so this is for you, Mom:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

BREAKING: Your Parents Made You Gay!

Yup, it's all the fault of dear old Mom and Dad for not teaching you how to behave.  So says Tony Perkins, who gets promptly bitch-slapped by Chris Matthews - and Barney Frank rips him a new one.  You'll love this, guys:

Honk to Rob Tisinai.

This Old House

New Yorker cover by Bob Staake - "Spectrum of Light"

Friday, May 11, 2012

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama Comes Out of the Closet at Last

Well fuck me to tears, he went and done it.  And about damn time, too.

Well, hooray. Thank you, Mr. President.  Now I might have to revise my predictions back by a decade or so.

But it's still not going to be an overnight thing, fellas, getting marriage equality nationwide, mark my words.  Despite an encouraging word from the White House, it's still all in the hands of the courts and the legislatures.

P.S. - You do know, despite all this talk of "evolution," that the man endorsed gay marriage in writing back in 1996, don't you?

Just sayin'.

Update:  Rachel discusses Presidential attitudes towards the gays, past and present:

And Rachel gets Barney Frank's views on where it all goes from here:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Solid South

Even Billy Graham came out of retirement to speak against the gays. 
So there was no way in hell that amendment could pass.
Billy is to North Carolina what the Pope is to Italy.

Yesterday, North Carolina voters approved by a 3 to 2 margin a constitutional amendment prohibiting not only same-sex marriage but also all other forms of same-sex unions.  (See map of results by county here.)  This makes the Tarheel State the final brick in the solid wall of Southern states to pass a constitutional amendment against marriage equality (N. C. already prohibited it by statute). 

Nationwide at the moment there are 31 states that prohibit same-sex marriage by statute or by constitutional amendment; six states and the District of Columbia allow equal marriage, and in June, Washington State will also.  The rest of the states have either a strong civil unions law or a weak domestic partnership law, with the exception of New Mexico, which doesn't deny or recognize anything officially, so far.

Meanwhile, after the flap over Vice-President Biden's remarks on Sunday's Meet the Press (you go, Joe!), the President has scheduled an interview with ABC later today to "clarify" his phony position on marriage equality.

What I Say:  Boys, you don't need to be expecting any big change on this issue anytime soon.  Neither the President, nor the Supreme Court, nor the Congress is going to get very far ahead of those 200 million good country people in the heartland who are dead-set against lettin' them damn perverts flaunt their sexshul acts in everbody's faces and ram it down our throats.  That's just the reality of politics.

I don't doubt that Obama's broad intentions are good; but fellas, the Prez is and has been playing us for his own ends, and his one concern right now, to the exclusion of all else, is to get re-elected.  And he will do and say just about anything he thinks he has to for that.  Your rights do not enter into the equation; trust the old man on this one.

If you asked him why, the gist of his answer would most certainly be that his good accomplishments can't continue unless he gets re-elected, and to do that he needs the goodwill even of millions of homophobic voters; and there is a pragmatic truth to that. Even if the truth sucks.

We still have to vote for him come November, of course - make no mistake on that, boys. There is no alternative. And you damn sure don't want leather-bottom-twink Romney in the White House, letting the Bushcheneyites and Tea Partiers in the back door, now do you?

What Obama will do in his second term remains to be seen; he did get DADT repealed, and he has stopped defending DOMA in the courts, among other good accomplishments for our community, so we can't say he's not a friend; but he is a politician first and foremost, and not about to be a martyr for the gays, or anyone else for that matter. 

Your Head Trucker has polished off his crystal ball, and he predicts that if and when Perry v. Brown gets to the Supreme Court, Justice Roberts and crew will not issue a sweeping judgment making same-sex legal across the land.  The best we can hope for is that they will make it legal in California again, or maybe in the Ninth Circuit; but even that is very iffy.

Other cases like Golinski may well open up some more cracks in the wall at the federal level; and I wouldn't be surprised if the federales contrive some sort of registered status at that level in the next few years to cover things like immigration rights, insurance benefits, social security and veterans benefits, joint returns on income taxes, etc.  Not a marriage or civil union - just a status, a form to fill out and get notarized, like when you apply for a passport.

Elsewhere in these United States, yes the tide of history is flowing in our favor - in favor of equality and justice for all - but it's a slow tide, ebbing in and out gradually.  Problem is, we're not ever going to get marriage equality at a single stroke nationwide, as in Canada and other countries, and I'll tell you why.  In Canada, for example, their Constitution specifically gives the federal government the power and authority to regulate marriage.  In other countries that already have same-sex marriage, there's either the same principle at work, or they are unitary governments, not federal ones; therefore it takes only one vote in the national legislature to make it happen.

Our case is just the opposite:  the power to regulate marriage has always resided in the states, not in the federal government.  It's possible for the Supremes to overrule the states, as they did in Loving v. Virginia; but fellas, you have to remember that didn't happen until 1967, when there were only 15 states left that prohibited interracial marriage, and all of them were states of the former Confederacy, which by that time had shocked and outraged all the rest of the nation with their resistance to integration, marked by mass arrests, beatings, bombings, murders, and general reluctance to get out of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. 

The Supreme Court at that time was reflecting the values of the majority of the country - which if you read your history books, you will see that it nearly always has, and probably always will.  The mule can't go any faster than the wagon, and vice versa.  Justice proceeds by fits and starts - look at how long the blacks had to wait for full equality, and women too, and other groups.  Our cause is just as right as theirs, but we must endure as they also endured.

When you hear pundits glibly say, "A majority of Americans now support
same-sex marriage," remember that this is the reality.

Above you see one of several charts that the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has prepared, showing the glacial movement of public opinion yea or nay on marriage equality.  Now your Head Trucker has done some cypherin' on these figures, and he can't see the pro side getting above 60 percent until at least 2020 - and it would take at least that level of support across the board for any nationwide changes to be possible, he believes, if not 65 or 70 percent.  It wasn't until support for repeal of DADT got up to nearbouts 75 percent that we finally got that wicked law changed, and even then there was a shit load of bitch-squawking from the rightwingers, as you remember.

But nationwide marriage equality, recognized everywhere in every state, no questions asked - not until somewhere between 2040 and 2050.  There may be various stopgaps and almost-nearly things before then, but actual seamless marriage equality from sea to shining sea as the straights now have it - not before then.  Remember, fellas, you heard it here first.

So we'll see what the Prez has to say later today, and I'll update you here - but don't be expecting a dramatic, earth-shaking bulletin; ain't gonna happen

Meanwhile, I'm sure you guys have seen this already, but here's a replay of Biden's delicious remarks that caused such consternation back in the West Wing:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Queen and Country

A charming little behind-the-scenes story of the Queen's visit to Dorset and Wiltshire just last week.  (The Queen is in the process of visiting all parts of the realm for her Diamond Jubilee - she's letting the kids cover most of the colonies dominions Empire Commonwealth, which who can blame the old girl for that?  She's 86, you know.  Though still going strong, as you can see here.)

The charm lies in the stories of the people who come to see her, and what they have to say, which gives a different perspective from the usual media coverage by cynical city types.  As I understand it, this is a very rural part of the country in the West of England - no big cities, lots of small towns, many of them quite ancient.  Which makes me think of rural Texas, of course, and I can see the similarity - down-to-earth folk who work hard, get on with things, and love their country and their Queen - who to them is like Old Glory and the Constitution and maybe the Statue of Liberty all rolled up into one living, breathing symbol of the nation and all they hold dear.

Or so it seems to me.  For a long while there after the whole tragedy with Diana, I wasn't sure they would keep the monarchy very long, but all seems sorted out now.  See what you think.

Bonus:   A bit more on Allen Parton, the disabled vet, and his Hounds for Heroes program. So amazing, what a wonderful story.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: All About Eve

Steve celebrates his 100th movie review with this tour-de-force performance of the great Bette Davis, one of your Head Trucker's favorite films too:
Bette Davis gives the performance of her career in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's classic ALL ABOUT EVE, the quintessential film on life in the theatre. Winner of multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor, George Sanders. It also boasts Oscar-nominated performances by Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm and the incomparable Thelma Ritter, as well as solid support from Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlow and up-and-coming starlet, Marilyn Monroe. One of the wittiest and most sophisticated comedies in motion picture history, it stays with you long after the first viewing, and the unforgettable Oscar-nominated Bette Davis, as the aging actress Margo Channing, is not to be missed!

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

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Drive: Beautiful Isle of Somewhere

This lovely old hymn was a favorite of my Papaw's, and I had it played at the funeral of my darling Mama, who died eighteen years ago this week.

Somewhere the sun is shining,
Somewhere the songbirds dwell.
Hush then thy sad repining,
God lives and all is well.

Somewhere, somewhere,
Beautiful isle of somewhere,
Land of the true,
Where we live anew,
Beautiful isle of somewhere.

Somewhere the load is lifted,
Close by an open gate.
Somewhere the clouds are rifted,
Somewhere the angels wait.

(Repeat chorus)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Putting on the Ritz

Came across this amusing little British series yesterday, thought I'd share with you guys just for laughs.  The Ritz Hotel is, of course, maybe the classiest hash joint in all of London, just at the other end of the block from Clarence House and catty-corner from Buckingham Palace, so to speak. 

The thing that strikes me about these two young men - whom I've never seen or heard of before - is how articulate and open they are about expressing their feelings to each other and to the camera in between practice drills.  When your Head Trucker was that age, straight boys were not nearly that open about their emotions.  Or were they, and this old man has just forgotten?  It does seem, though, that the younger generation is in some ways more up front and laid-back about that sort of thing.

As a side note, your Head Trucker finds the "backstage" stuff rather fascinating and educational, having never waited a table in his life.  If that sort of job ever crossed my mind, I immediately rejected the thought, fearing I would just make a mess of it.  So I scrimped and suffered through a number of other kinds of minimum-wage jobs for years until I finally got done with college.  It wasn't until many more years later that someone finally informed me that waiters can make out like bandits with tips and all that.  As in, make in one night what I used to barely make in a whole week.  Huh.  Who knew? 

I would have needed a lot more training and practice than these dudes got, though. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Waitin' for the Weekend

Joe Manganiello

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Classic Shacks: Villa Arnaga

While padding about from here to there this morning on the 'net, I happened across this picture of the studly Edmond Rostand, fameux écrivain in the Belle Epoque of the play Cyrano de Bergerac and others.  I also discovered these pics and clips of his lovely Villa Arnaga in the Basque country of southwestern France, which is not my style - I suppose it falls somewhere along the scale from Art Nouveau to Arts and Crafts, don't you? - but with its formal French and informal English gardens is nevertheless a joy to the eyes and a rest for the soul.  So I thought I'd share this work of art and nature with my truckbuddies this morning - enjoy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Savage Wrong and Right

I suppose you fellas have already heard about the brouhaha over Dan Savage's remarks a couple weeks ago during the National High School Journalism convention in Seattle.  I've ignored it until today, but for the record, here is what Savage said to the assembled high-schoolers:

The thing is, as I may have said before in this blog, at his best Dan is a very intelligent and highly articulate advocate for gay rights.  At his worst, however, he can be a self-righteous prick, as bad as anyone on the right wing of the spectrum - and that goes for some other other gay speakers and bloggers whose names are familiar to you.  Being gay, being a minority, being oppressed - for whatever reason - does not make you infallible, does not mean you can never do anything wrong.

Nor, as my mama always said, do two wrongs ever make a right.

I was, then, pleasantly surpised to learn that Dan is not a total prick:  he has actually apologized in his blog for using the phrase "pansy-assed" - which he was indeed quite wrong in using, for several reasons.  In your Head Trucker's mind, he was also wrong to use "bullshit" to a captive audience of high-school kids.  This wasn't a nightclub, it wasn't even a college crowd.

When you are speaking in public, you must always consider your audience and your purpose for being there - not just saying whatever the hell first pops into your head.  On an occasion when Dan might have opened some young minds to a more insightful view of what it means to be gay in a world dominated by unreasonable prejudice, he may have closed some of those minds forever by being too quick-tongued and too potty-mouthed - which is, in fact, a form of arrogance, despising your hearers.  Whether they are right or wrong, smart or dumb, you have to start with people where they are, or you won't start with them at all, ever.

As a prime example, your Head Trucker is old enough, just barely, to remember when bigshot Mr. Kruschev came to the United Nations and told the West "We will bury you," all the while pounding the podium with his shoe. Yes, I'm not fucking kidding, youngsters - he really did, go look it up.

I'm sure he enjoyed the hell out of that little self-aggrandizing stunt at the moment he did it - the human creature is so perversely constituted that being a prick in public is quite thrilling, and I'm ashamed to say that I can testify to the fact - but what exactly did he accomplish for the good of his country and his fellow Soviets thereby?

Absolutely nothing. There he was, for one golden moment at the summit of the whole world's attention, and he had no more sense of how to use that rare opportunity for the good of the world, or at least for that of his own countrymen, than a dog pissing on a fire hydrant. How.Fucking.Sad.

And yes, your Head Trucker has a pretty damn dirty mouth himself when he gets wound up, but I'm just talking among us guys here.  There's a time and place for everything, ya know.

Here's Dan's own response to the uproar, after the jump:

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