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

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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Edie Windsor, whose Supreme Court victory has made and will make
a fabulous difference in the lives of many.

Well, it's been quite a watershed year for gay rights in this country, and at the moment same-sex marriage is legal in 18 states plus the District of Columbia. Something that was just a figment of the imagination when I came out, 34 years ago - an impossible dream. It all comes too late to do much good for me, but I'm glad I have lived to see this day, knowing full well the difference it will make in the lives of millions of gay couples now, and in generations to come.

From Texas to all my truckbuddies around the nation and the world, here's wishing each of you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.  I'm taking a little time off from blogging, so in the meantime, keep sailing gaily forward - and enjoy your life.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 12/30/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Flight from Winter

To Florida via DC-3, circa 1940:

If you are ever in Florida, boys, you certainly should not miss taking a glass-bottom boat ride at Silver Springs, or strolling through the beautiful grounds of Cypress Gardens. Just lovely - or at least they were forty years ago, when I visited.

Where does the time go?

The Queen's Christmas Broadcast, 2013

This is quite beautifully done, both in form and in words - one of Her Majesty's best, I think.

When the time comes that The Queen is gathered to her ancestors - which God delay - Britain and the Commonwealth will have lost something very rare and very, very precious. I wonder if her people truly know that, and reflect upon it.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: The Awful Truth

Click to enlarge.

Steve Hayes reviews the classic husband-and-wife comedy:
Cary Grant and Irene Dunne are at their zany best and will have you on the floor with holiday laughter in Leo McCary's classic screwball comedy THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937). Playing a couple about to divorce, they do everything possible to stay together and the result is non-stop hilarity. Ralph Bellamy lends excellent support as a hick Texas oilman and Cecil Cunningham is fabulously deadpan as Dunne's mischievous, matchmaking Aunt Patsy. Here's to love, laughter and Happy Holidays from the entire team at "STEVE HAYES: Tired Old Queen at the Movies."

Merry Christmas!

You can watch the whole show on YouTube here.

Steve don't know much about geography, and can't tell the difference between Texas and Oklahoma, but he shore does know his moo'm pitchers. Catch more fabulous movie reviews at Steve's YouTube channel.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Eva Cassidy, Silent Night

A poignant rendition from an angelic voice stilled much too soon.

From small-town Texas, your Head Trucker says Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013: A Historic Year for Marriage Equality

The American Foundation for Equal Rights reviews the highlights of this landmark year for the right to marry:

And this afternoon, word comes from Utah that District Judge Robert Shelby has denied the state's request for a stay of his ruling legalizing marriage equality; the state is appealing to the Tenth Circuit. So marriages continue in the Beehive State - as Joe Jervis puts it, "Meanwhile, hell has frozen over and pigs are FLYING in Utah."

Oh, the irony - after the Mormon Church worked so hard and spent so many millions to whip California voters into a frenzy over Prop 8 in 2008 - and today, they have hundreds of gay couples jamming the courthouse in Salt Lake City and other counties to get hitched. I wonder if the so-called Apostles of the Church will announce a sudden email from God about this change of plans, the way they did over black people?

Reporter Jim Dalrymple of the Salt Lake Tribune is posting live tweets and pics of the scene as couples marry in Salt Lake City, where the line wraps around two floors of the courthouse atrium.  The county clerk has announced that 225 couples have been spliced already today.

The Boy Scouts - get this - brought pizza to feed the county clerks, who were apparently too overwhelmed with marriage applications to take a lunch break.  The Apocalypse has arrived!

And in North Carolina, Fort Bragg hosted its first same-sex union on Saturday, with Army Major Daniel Toven and Jonathan Taylor being united in an Episcopal rite of blessing, witnessed by about 100 friends and family. Afterwards, the couple walked through the traditional gantlet of crossed sabers:

And finally, federal court rulings in Ohio and Virginia open the way to eventually overturning those states' bans on same-sex marriage. Ya know, guys, it's all over but the shouting - we just might see marriage equality nationwide by the end of this decade, I'm thinking now. Even in Texas.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Drive: The King's Singers, Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

For Advent IV: a fantastic a cappela performance:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Guest Post: Hirsute Pursuit

Contributed by my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain:

Tim's Take on Spain:
Hirsute Pursuit, or Are Spanish Men Really Hairy?

First of all some bad news. I’m afraid our promised guide for this post, Iker Casillas pictured above, the much-loved Captain of the Spanish Football Team, has had an accident! Whilst assisting me in exhausting research the poor lad has suffered a painful RSI. (Don’t you mean exhaustive? – Ed. No, I know what I mean! – Tim). Here he is, flat on his back again, but thankfully as cheerful as ever. And yes, he’s left-handed!

However, looking at poor Iker, I noticed that even when in hospital, he has an almost careless way of keeping his designer stubble and lustrous hair looking great. It’s all those grooming ads he does and also very typically Spanish.

There is an image abroad of the swarthy Latin lover, chest hair spilling out from his open shirt against which a large gold medallion nestles. The macho mullet, think Burt Reynolds in his early days, no, wait, he still looks like that! The pistol packing swarthy bandit, his white silk shirt carelessly unfastened to the navel exposing the thick, dark, rug below. Arms and legs so hairy they would make a gorilla blush. But is any of it true? Just how hairy are Spanish men? So I thought, let’s forget the countryside for a change and take a tour around the hairier parts of the Spanish male anatomy. A light-hearted and purely subjective look at some of my favourite destinations, based on many, many years of keen observation and personal fact finding.

In particular I shall concentrate on the 18-40 age group, think Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black . . .ooh, hold that thought! And whilst we’re travelling, we might find time for some general observations on Spanish culture and the male psyche in particular. Iker has arranged for young Carlos Villar to be our guide in his place. It’s difficult to find a single model to capture the look I want to show you. Iker, for example, is relatively hairless for a Spaniard. For the most part I think Carlos embodies the Hispanic look very well. See what you think when we finish our ride.

Now since its Christmas time and I’m feeling festive, I’ve written a special ode for the occasion, and before you start, I apologise beforehand to any and all poets!

Hairy Christmas

Oh, ‘tis the season to be jolly.
Come, enjoy my follicle folly.

Just like snow, the hair gel glistens,
and for a change the barber listens.

Sleigh bells ring and candles glimmer,
just be careful with that trimmer!

Log fires burn, and so does stubble,
waxing give you far less trouble.

And if your party is falling flat,
come warm your hands on my welcome mat!

Find your presents, come rain or hail.
Just remember to follow that treasure trail.

And as the Yuletide draws ever near,
How ‘bout singeing the hair in your ear?

So dye it or style it, just have a ball.
A Hairy Christmas to one and all!
© Timbo Productions 2013
We’ll start at the top and work our way down. No, I’m sorry, we can’t start in the middle, this is meant to be a travelogue you know, getting from A to Z. However, M’s pretty interesting and a good place to stop for a break! Seat belt fastened? Let’s go! Oh and by the way, I’ve put in some Spanish words for Nikolaos who’s learning the language - Hola, quĂ© tal Nikolaos?

Continued after the jump:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Married in Salt Lake City

Newlyweds:  Michael Ferguson and Seth Anderson tweeted out this photo with the caption, "Me and my new husband!  My polygamous Mormon great-grandparents would be so proud!"

My stars, yesterday New Mexico, today Utah - when it rains, it pours.  The Salt Lake Tribune reports on today's breathtaking development in the Beehive State, the heart of Mormonism:
A federal judge in Utah Friday struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

"The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason," wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby. "Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."

Ryan Bruckman, spokesman for the Utah Attorney General’s Office, said its attorneys plan to appeal the decision and were currently drafting a motion to seek a stay of the ruling "as quickly as we can get it taken care of."

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued this statement late Friday afternoon: "I am very disappointed an activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah. I am working with my legal counsel and the acting Attorney General to determine the best course to defend traditional marriage within the borders of Utah."

Several hundred people descended on the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office Friday afternoon to get licenses.

The decision in full:

However, on the other side of the world, the Parliament of Uganda today passed a bill imposing life in prison for "aggravated homosexuality"; citizens who fail to snitch on their gay relatives or neighbors can be imprisoned as well.

Update, 7:55 a.m., 12/21: Utah has filed an emergency request for a stay of the District Court's ruling with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Marriage Equality Comes to New Mexico

As of this morning, New Mexico - a next-door neighbor of Texas - is the 17th state to legalize same-sex marriage, hooray!  The Albuquerque Journal reports:
The New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of same-sex couples, granting them all the same rights of marriage enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

The court’s 31-page opinion states, in part, that: “All rights, protections, and responsibilities that result from the marital relationship shall apply equally to both same-gender and opposite-gender married couples.”

New Mexico joins 16 other states, the District of Columbia, and several Native American tribes in recognizing same-sex unions.

After eight of the state’s 33 counties began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples earlier this year, county officials petitioned the court to provide a state-wide ruling.

The court ruled that county clerks must issue marriage licenses to couples regardless of gender, and that licenses issued to same-sex couples prior to the ruling must be recognized. More than 1,400 same-sex couples have been issued marriage licenses in New Mexico since August.

Here's the ruling itself:

Updated marriage map from Freedom to Marry:

Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

In Memoriam: Clara Cannucciari, 1915-2013

Clara Cannuciari, star of the YouTube series Great Depression Cooking, is dead at age 98.  The series, produced by her grandson Christopher, is a warm-hearted look at Clara's life and recipes from an earlier time. Some of the recipes and ingredients seem a bit foreign to this Southerner, but really they are all as simple and straightforward as the meals my own grandmother used to cook, and the finished dishes all look mighty tasty to me.  I am sure Clara's family and friends will miss not only her cooking, but also her good cheer.

You can see all of Clara's videos at her YouTube channel. Just for an appetizer, here's a sample one from 2007:

Kudos to Christopher for sharing his grandmother with us in this beautifully produced, charming series, and thereby also creating a wonderful record for her family to remember her by.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 12/16/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Also, the Social Security Administration announced today that it will begin paying survivors benefits to gay widows and widowers.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Where Does Morality Come From?

Dr. John Corvino is chair of the Philosophy Department at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

North Texas is just now recovering from a hellacious, icebound week, and your Head Trucker couldn't leave the house from Thursday till Tuesday, with four inches of hard, slick, frozen snow on the porch, the steps, and all over the yard.  But that's all receding now, and here's a happy little dream of summer and speedos to compensate:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Boy Who Loved Beauty

Magnolia and Irises, Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1908.

A PBS biography of Louis Comfort Tiffany, the prolific artist and designer - his story about "the boy who loved beauty," starting around the 43:35 mark, is particularly revealing, I think:

If you don't have time for the whole documentary, this brief summary of his work from Tiffany & Co., founded by Louie's dad, may pique your interest:

Also worth a quick look: a small collection of gorgeous Tiffany lamps and windows on Flickr.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mississippi Love Story

Promo for "a short documentary that takes a poignant glimpse into the lives, relationships and politics of life-partners Eddie Outlaw and Justin McPherson, at a time when citizens in Mississippi and across the nation were watching and waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Defense of Marriage Act case. The time to leave Mississippi has passed for Eddie and Justin. They are committed to staying and making Jackson a thriving place for the gay community to live and, hopefully, in which to marry one day." - from the Vimeo description page.

Via Towleroad.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas 1940-something

Home movies over several years of Christmas morning with one apparently well-off family and their kids. Rather charming to see how the kids grow from year to year. There are actually two sets of parents here - I wonder which kids belong to which, and what the relationship is.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 12/9/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

In Memoriam: Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

"Madiba," by Kadir Nelson.

The world has lost a great leader and a great man. I have nothing of my own to add to the many eloquent tributes being made all around the world, but three that you might want to consider are these:

1. Rachel Maddow gave an excellent summary of Mandela's life and career, followed by an interview with American civil rights leader John Lewis. Her videos are no longer embeddable since MSNBC moved the show to a new website, but you can find it over on Towleroad.

2. Archibishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who also struggled against the apartheid regime in South Africa, remembers his friend Mandela in this essay.

3. South African novelist Nadine Gordimer's memoir of her fellow countryman in the New Yorker.

Unfortunately for South Africa, as this Time article makes clear, greatness is not heritable.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

With Bells On

I reckon everybody has seen the Kmart Joe Boxer ad already.  Here's the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles with a fabulous response:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Winter Storm Warning - WTF?

I don't often check the weather reports - your Head Trucker is of the old school that prefers to look out the window and see if it's rainy or sunny. But it does seem that just a day or two ago I glanced at the forecast and it was all 40s to 60s and clear. Last night I had some reason to look again, and OMG a shitload of icy nastiness is bearing down upon my locality.

Your Head Trucker grew up further south, where snow just doesn't happen - a couple of flakes once every ten years or so, maybe, which sends everyone into a great panic. Otherwise, it might get cold but no ice, no sleet, no hail, no snow. Which is just the way I like it. Somehow though, the road of life led me to this place of exile out on the prairie, so I have to bear it. Just hope I have enough essential provisions to get by until the ice melts again.

And yeah, I know I sound like a total wuss to all you big, bad dudes who grew up in the frozen North - but then, you guys totally wimp out in the summer heat down here, so there.

Speaking of warmer climes, I ran across this charming compilation of home movies from about 1940 - some jolly tourists from up Nawth are vacationing at a resort on the Atlantic coast of Florida.  They must be pretty well fixed because they traveled on the all-Pullman, extra-fare Florida Special. No sound, thank God - I hate cutesy, anachronistic soundtracks added to silent films - but it's quite intriguing to me.  Who are these people, where are they from, and what are they talking about, thinking about?

It's also pretty amazing to see people on vacation lounging about and walking the beach in suits, ties, and smart frocks. Nowadays, not even the super-rich do that; but with all the comfort we've gained by relaxing the dress codes, what have we lost, I wonder?

P.S. - Even in Miami, further south from where these people stayed, it's much too damn cold to go swimming in the wintertime - the air temp is okay, but the water temp will turn your balls blue in a hurry. And then when you get out of the water, you really start to shiver as the ocean breeze evaporates the water on your skin. Your Head Trucker knows because he tried it on Christmas Day in Miami Beach one time, back when he was young and stupid.  But the Yankees in this film seem to be having a big time - they must think it's warm.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Today's Quiz: Justice Joslin

Straight or gay?

Or does anybody care?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: The Adventures of Robin Hood

Steve Hayes dishes up a review of the 1938 Technicolor classic, which if you've never seen - you should, if only for the delight of watching the athletic swashbuckling of superstud Errol Flynn:
Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland make movie magic in William Keighley and Michael Curtiz's 1938 spectacular, The Adventures Of Robin Hood. Sumptuously shot in Technicolor and featuring an unbelievable supporting cast featuring Claude Rains and Basil Rathbone at their villainous best, along with Alan Hale, Eugene Pallette, Una O'Connor and a cast of hundreds, it's the action/adventure epic of a lifetime and a perfect way to celebrate Thanksgiving with the whole family!

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

Monday, December 2, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 12/2/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

And from makeitequal.org:

Click to enlarge.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

World AIDS Day 2013

I posted this video a couple of years ago, but I like it so much, I'm posting it again. I can never forget when my first husband and I visited D.C. to see the Quilt displayed in 1992 - as soon as we arrived on the Mall and I saw all those acres of panels spread across the grass, I burst into tears, and wept off and on all afternoon. My best friend Tommy had died of the plague a couple of years before, and of course we knew others who were soon to die.

It seems to be a forgotten issue now, since there are the pills to control the virus - but I've known people who have to live with that pill routine, which means taking handfuls two or three times every day, and dealing with all the side effects too. It may keep you going, but it's not a great way to live.

Of course, that's if you can get the pills. Millions all around the world can't. So the fight goes on - do something if you can.

For Tommy and all the others--

Update, 12/2: President Obama today announced the launch of a $100 million initiative to find a cure for AIDS:

Sunday Drive: Jesse Cook, Azul

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Homosexuality and the Bible, Part 2

Dr. John Corvino is chair of the Philosophy Department at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

Ya know fellas, I'm an old man now and it's gotten to be a chore, combing through porn pics trying to find some good ones to post each Friday. Jeezus, I never thought I'd say that, but hey - it could happen to you.

These YouTube vids aren't all that great, I know, but it's the best I can come up with these days. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Pork Boys Do Thanksgiving 2013

Actually, we had our feast on the 19th due to work and family schedules, but M.P., whose favorite meal is turkey and dressing, did it up all right and proper and totally fabulous, as he always does. Wish you boys could have been there - it was something to write home about, for sure.  Click to enlarge any of these:

Les hors d'oeuvres:  roll-ups of very thin ham and corned beef with cream cheese, green olives, black olives, and the Pork Boys' perennial favorite, deviled eggs.

M.P. put out the lace tablecloth with an undercloth and napkins of golden silk damask, figured with autumn leaves, that he found on sale at the fabric store. He's right good at sewing, and as you can see, at napkin folding too.

The table setting from the side, with a wicker cornucopia centerpiece and the paper chain from our Halloween dinner charmingly redisplayed.

A view of the living room and electric fireplace, all decorated with seasonal things.

The perfectly browned bird, steaming fresh out of the oven and ready to carve.

The groaning board awaits us.

The menu:  turkey, stuffing, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, twice-baked sweet potatoes, spinach and cheese soufflĂ©, and featherbed biscuits - made with potato flour, they are marvelously light and delicious.  And of course, some white zinfandel to add good cheer to a delectable meal.

Two kinds of pie for dessert, both homemade:  cranberry mousse and ground pecan.  Lovely.

I hope all my truckbuddies eat as well today, with such good company.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Julia and Jacques Cook Turkey Dinner

Last week, the Pork Boys had a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner - no pics yet but my best friend M.P. nearly outdid himself on turkey and dressing and giblet gravy and twice-baked sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and pecan pie and cranberry mousse pie - and also some extra delights like asparagus spears with Asiago cheese and homemade hollandaise sauce, wrapped in freshly made crepes. Damn, boys - it was some kinda good, I tell you what.

M.P. is feasting with his grown kids and a new grandbaby tomorrow, but I came home with plenty of luscious leftovers that I'm still working on, so I'll be just fine. In case you fellas are planning on dinner guests tomorrow but not sure how to proceed, here's the Pork Boys' two most favorite chefs, Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, to show you how it's all done. Watch it even if you're an experienced cook yourself - you just might learn some handy tips.

Have a good one, y'all.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 11/25/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports - this week, with a delicious observation at the very end:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Homosexuality and the Bible, Part 1

John Corvino is chair of the Philosophy Department at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

Fifty Years Ago

Yes, I know what day it is, but no, I don't want to write about it. I was there - not in Dealy Plaza, but in 1963, staying home from school with the sniffles and sitting up on my parents' bed watching TV when the first bulletin broke in on a soap opera - and the dark story slowly unwound itself across the screen all that long November afternoon, brilliant with southern sunshine. I remember it all quite clearly, the four days of sadness, and though I did later read several books and many articles about it all, now the trials and tribulations of my own life across six decades have left me too familiar with sorrow to want to borrow any.  It was a tragedy, not a piece of entertainment to be endlessly revisited.

RIP JFK. If the gaping crowds will ever let you.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Address at Gettysburg

The Address as engraved on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial.

One hundred and fifty years ago today. An excerpt from the Ken Burns masterpiece, The Civil War:

Lincoln's last portrait photograph, February 5, 1865,
colorized by Sanna Dullaway for Time magazine.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 11/18/13

I would post Matt Baume's regular marriage news roundup from AFER here - but I've been trying to open YouTube for thirty minutes now, and I keep getting an error message and a lot of gobbledygook, even after rebooting my machine. Is it just me, or has the end of the world started and nobody told me?

Meanwhile, rejoice that today is the 10th anniversary of the Goodridge decision in Massachusetts, which ordered the first same-sex marriage laws in the United States - and led us to where we are now, with 16 states and a third of the population living in marriage-equality jurisdictions.

Or if that doesn't get a rise out of you, maybe this will - provided as a public service by your Head Trucker:

Update, 5:40 p.m.: YT finally came back to life, so here's Matt.

Should I take down the butt pic now?

Update, 11/20/13:  Governor Pat Quinn signed the Illinois same-sex marriage bill into law today, making Illinois the sixteenth state to allow such unions. Marriages will begin when the law goes into effect next June 1.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Drive: Grieg, Adagio from Piano Concerto in A Minor

Another contribution from my truckbuddy Tim.  Wait for the exquisite piano part that begins at about the 2:30 mark - lovely.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

The Prince of Wales at 65

Prince Charles, who was born on November 14, 1948, at Buckingham Palace, celebrated his 65th birthday yesterday in a modest fashion at the British High Commission (read: embassy) in Colombo, Sri Lanka:

After years of wholly unjustified criticism about his opinions on organic farming, environmental awareness, and even the ugliness and dehumanizing effects of modern architecture, among other things, it seems the world - or at least the mainstream media - have finally come around to his way of thinking, judging by the many laudatory articles that have appeared lately in the British press.

Your Head Trucker has always thought the Prince of Wales a very fine man: highly intelligent, conscientious, and deeply concerned about people and the earth. He will make a fine king when the time comes. He is not, and never has been, just idly sitting around, twiddling his thumbs until the crown plops down on his head; as this interview with the Duchess of Cornwall reveals, the man hardly ever stops working on projects to benefit others - which the mainstream media rarely bothers to report on.

The business about Diana, well - all that is over and done now, and life goes on. So I send a birthday cheer of good wishes to HRH from Texas, and I hope all my truckbuddies will join in.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hawaii Says Aloha to Marriage Equality

Marriage equality is coming soon to Hawaii, as the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports:
The state Senate, as expected, overwhelmingly approved a marriage equity bill today, sending the measure to Gov. Neil Abercrombie who has vowed to sign it and make Hawaii the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

An invitation-only bill-signing ceremony is set for 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Hawaii Convention Center's Liliu Theater. The event will be streamed live at http://governor.hawaii.com.

Today's 19-4 vote, while historic, was a somewhat anti-climatic end to the legislative special session that began Oct. 28 and included more than 55 hours of public testimony, followed by two day-long sessions in the House where lawmakers approved the bill late Friday night in a 30-19 vote.

"I look forward to signing this significant piece of legislation, which provides marriage equity and fully recognizes and protects religious freedoms," Abercrombie said in a statement after the Senate vote.
The law will take effect on December 2.

Update, 11/13:  Gov. Abercrombie signed the bill into law at a ceremony in Honolulu this morning, making Hawaii the 15th state to embrace marriage equality, closing a circle that began with three Hawaiian same-sex couples in 1990.

Climate Change = Extreme Weather? NASA Says No

Is the frequency of extreme weather events a sign that global warming is gaining pace and exceeding predictions?

Bill Patzert, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says the evidence that extreme weather events have been more frequent in recent years is definitely to the contrary:

So now you know. Climate and weather - even extreme weather - are two different things.  Besides, as everybody knows - its teh gayz who are causing all them nasty hurricanes and such!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 11/11/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Meanwhile, the Hawaiian House passed its marriage equality bill on Friday, which goes now to the Senate on Tuesday; the Senate already passed an earlier version by a wide margin, and Governor Neil Abercrombie is eager to sign the bill into law.

Despite the fuzzy video, a must-watch today is this wonderful speech by 24-year-old state representative Kaniela Ing (D-South Maui), who though straight is a solid ally and, among other things, said:
Some testifiers have spoken about this bill ushering in an onslaught of 'gay lifestyle'. And they challenged your committee members: 'Mr. Speaker - would you wish homosexulaity upon your own kids?'

So I really thought about this. If the gay lifestyle they speak of pertains to the highly successful physicians, attorneys, economists, a world-renowned microbiologist and psychologist that we've seen testify - if this gay lifestyle pertains to the inspiringly commited couples who have been together for decades but are still viewed as strangers in the eyes of their government, if this gay lifestyle that they're referring to pertains to these brave people boldly standing in the face of hate to fight for equal rights for all - if that's what the gay agenda will bring - if that's how my gay children will be..then hey, sign me up. I'll take three.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Drive: Elgar, Chanson de Matin

Recommended by my truckbuddy Tim, who has such good taste in music:

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Blitzkrieg on Shooters Hill, London

Happened to run across this 2008 British program, which really brings London's darkest days to life through archaeology of the not-so-distant past. It's what Winston Churchill was talking about when he declared, just after the debacle of Dunkirk:
We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender . . . .

Friday, November 8, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hadrian's Wall

I might have posted this one time before, a long ways back, but it's still pretty cool stuff for a lot of reasons, especially the recovered Vindolanda tablets. If you remember a bit of your high-school Latin, you can pull those up online and give them a read.  Mine is rusty as hell, but still the hair on the back of my neck stood up when I realized I could read a sentence that a Roman citizen scratched on a little piece of wood nearly two thousand years ago.

The Roman handwriting is hell on wheels, though.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Illinois Passes Marriage Equality Bill

A marriage equality bill was passed today by 61-54 in the Illinois, followed shortly thereafter by a 32-21 vote in the Senate. The bill is now on its way to the desk of Governor Pat Quinn, who has promised to sign it. Same-sex weddings will begin in the Land of Lincoln on June 1 of next year, making Illinois the 15th state of the Union to embrace marriage equality.

President Obama, who served for nearly eight years in the Illinois Senate, issued a statement:
Tonight, I applaud the men and women of the Illinois General Assembly, a body in which I was proud to serve, for voting to legalize marriage equality in my home state.

As President, I have always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law. Over time, I also came to believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married like anyone else. So tonight, Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours – and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law.

I also commend the members of the General Assembly for approaching this issue in a fair and open way, and for recognizing the importance of our commitment to religious freedom by engaging the religious community in this conversation. Throughout this debate, they’ve made it clear that this is about civil marriages and civil laws, and made sure that churches and other institutions of faith are still free to make their own decisions that conform to their own teachings.

As I said in my Inaugural Address last January, our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. And tonight, I’m so proud that the men and women elected to serve the people of the great state of Illinois have chosen to take us one step further on that journey to perfect our union.

Meanwhile in Hawaii, debate on a same-sex marriage bill continues in the House of Representatives, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 44-7. The Hawaiian Senate passed the bill by 20-4 on October 30. The House proceedings have been held up this week by the Speaker's decision to allow more than 5,000 members of the public to speak for two minutes each in what has been called a "citizens' filibuster," consisting of mostly Bible-thumping conservatives. 

However, some marriage-equality supporters have also testified, and the scientific testimony on the genetic basis of sexual orientation provided by geneticist Dean Hamer is well worth listening to:

Update, 11/8: Governor Quinn has announced he will sign the Illinois same-sex marriage bill on November 20 in Chicago.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 11/4/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Drive: Our House

These guys are still going strong, can you believe? Recorded just last month at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

I never did know how this lovely song came to be, but thanks to my truckbuddy Tim, now I do: a sweet, sad story.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

This week, a blast from the past.  Some of these guys were probably just brothers, or friends, or schoolmates or workmates - but still, it makes you think about the closeted lovers of all ages past, and "the love that dared not speak its name."

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Pork Boys Do Halloween 2013

We celebrated Halloween a couple of days early at my best friend M.P.'s house this week.  I didn't get any pics of the main dishes - a Cajun meatloaf studded with chicken giblets and hardboiled eggs, okra creole, spaetzle with tomato gravy, bananas-foster ice cream and pumpkin-cream cheese pie for dessert, all of it homemade from scratch - but I did get some good pics of the appetizers and of M.P.'s usual fabulous table decorations to fit the occasion.  Take a look:

The appetizers, clockwise from the top:  deviled monster eggs, hot chili & queso dip, tortilla chips and black-bean dip, fresh pumpkin seeds.  M. P. made the butcher-block countertop to fit over a low cabinet, from two kinds of wood painstakingly cut, sanded, glued, clamped, and framed.

M. P. and I both love deviled eggs, and every year for Halloween he comes up with ways of making little monster heads with them - very cute.

M. P. always sets a beautiful table for our little feasts.

The centerpiece of this year's Halloween decorations was the charming border M. P. made out of different colors of construction paper, on the gum-wrapper chain principle - very, very elegant, I thought.  He also made matching coaster rings and napkin rings of the same materials.

Note the other handmade pieces by M. P. in the background:  at center, beyond the dining table, is a witch's hat, and at the far right on the sideboard (and partly out of the frame) is a luminaria of a haunted house, made from a black piece of paper with several painstaking cut-outs for windows and doors.

So pretty.

M. P. also dotted the rest of the room with quite a few other Halloween decorations, as you can see, which adds much to the enjoyment of the meal itself.

M. P. is a trained artist, among other things, and always makes such nice, happy jack o'lantern faces.

The geometric shapes of the jack o'lantern echo those of the table, also made from scratch by M. P., as are all the tables in the living-dining room.

The cozy electric fireplace always adds its cheery warmth to our dinners together in the cooler months of the year - sometimes we like to run it even in summer, without the heat feature, just for the pretty glow of the fire. 
M. P. built the mantel shelf and overmantle himself.
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