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.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

Do you guys have any idea how hard it is to find a YT video of hot, hairy men without some screaming queen yelling over a mindwrecking disco soundtrack?

You're welcome.

NASA Says It Gets Better

From the Johnson Space Center near Houston:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

In the Beginning


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Oui, Oui! First Gay Wedding in France

Earlier today, Vincent Aubin and Bruno Boileau became the first married gay couple in France during a ceremony broadcast live from the city hall in the southern university town of Montpellier, the "San Francisco of France." 

The French Parliament passed the necessary legislation earlier this month, in the face of large-scale antigay demonstrations, which did not, however, mar today's historic event.

All good wishes to the happy couple.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 5/27/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Monday, May 27, 2013

Why Marriage Matters

A nervous but determined 18-year-old Riley Roberts testifies about his two-mom family before a committee of the Nevada Senate on May 9th of this year:

A resolution proposing a constitutional amendment allowing same-sex marriage in the state was later passed by both houses of the Legislature. It must be repassed by them in 2015, and if so, a ballot measure will be presented to voters in 2016.

Memorial Day 2013

Marian Anderson, singing at the Lincoln Memorial, April 9, 1939:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Time Out of Mind

Poking around in the attic and back cupboards of the Internet today, your Head Trucker came across this little film about San Marcos, Texas, circa 1946.  It's about midway between Austin and San Antonio, home of Texas State University, and formerly of a popular tourist attraction called Aquarena Springs which offered glass-bottom boat rides there on the cool, clear San Marcos River.  There was also an air base at the edge of town in the forties and fifties, so between the three things the town managed not only to survive but also to prosper during the years of depression and war.

There's nothing spectacular or unusual about the film - but it just struck me as being a particularly nice example of a little Texas town, what one can be at its best.  And of course the patina of the years gives it a certain charm, with people waving or talking into the camera (unfortunately it's a silent film, so we don't get to hear their voices) - like merry ghosts from the Beyond, or the people Harry Potter sees in the Mirror of Erised. Or like the inhabitants of the ideal Jimmy Stewart kind of town in It's a Wonderful Life, who neither know nor suspect your existence, but whom you can call back to life in all their fullness at any moment, as often as you please, with faces as familiar as those of your own loved ones.

I suppose we all need a place like that sometimes, even just to think about. Somewhere you fit in, a place you belong, where all's right with the world. Or right enough.  And where everybody knows your name - in a good way.

Nothing extraordinary here, just the utter ordinariness of a now far-off, quite unreachable place, which touched my heart.  Thought some of you might like to see it, too. I can't embed it, so just click on the link above.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Pope and the Atheists

Pope Francis, in a homily he gave today in Rome (found via Andrew Sullivan):
"The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.”

“Instead,” the Pope continued, “the Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in the depths of our heart: do good and do not do evil”:

"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
This does sound like a different kind of Pope.

A further thought: Turning from the contemplation of these high and lovely thoughts to the utterly barbarous and demonic beheading of a British soldier in the streets of London in broad daylight, your Head Trucker finds no room in his heart to countenance any further shilly-shallying with the violent and the malign among us. This sickening act, like that of the bombing in Boston last month, is beyond all decency, a crime against humanity, and it must be stopped now - by whatever means necessary.

The crazies and the fanatics must not be allowed to roam freely among us and kill us at their whim; the Constitution is not a suicide pact.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Two Prayers Answered

Sometimes grace happens, against all odds.  Oklahoma City, yesterday:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Marriage News Watch 5/20/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Guest Post: He's So Fine, Prequel

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

Everyone is doing trilogies these days:  The Hobbit, Iron Man, Lord of the Rings. Never one to lag behind the times, the Big Blue Truck has commissioned a third ‘He’s So Fine’ because you, dear reader, seemed to like the first two. So welcome to Part 0, the prequel to Part 1, which went back to my adolescent crush Wayne and starred the sexy Steve McQueen . . .

. . . and a precursor to Part 2, with the gorgeous Cam Gigandet doubling as a more recent crush, my friend José. Good news about José by the way: he has a motorbike again, so my fiery Spanish stallion has not been put out to retirement just yet!

This prequel takes us even further back in time than Part 1, back to some of my earliest memories and childhood heroes. This is another voyage of discovery for me, and hopefully it will be for you too. It stems in part from some discussions Russ and I have had on at what age you first realise you are gay, in your infancy or teens, or if, as some think, that you are born that way, the gay-gene theory. Was I gay at birth or at 5, or was it, as I have always previously thought, at puberty? Currently I’m not quite so sure, so by going back to analyse earlier thoughts and recollections I hope to shed more light on the subject. It’s also a good excuse to look back at some of the hunks and heroes that appeared in children’s TV all those years ago; which in itself is no bad thing. Who were your heroes?

If you sit down and list your childhood favourites I think you’ll be surprised at how many there are. From my own list of 10 or so all-time favourites, far too many to include in one post, I have whittled them down to my top three. They cover my age from 3 to 16, which hopefully will provide a good basis for my analysis. I’ve put them in chronological order to help you follow my development, and because it’s easier to write that way!

Continued after the jump

Friday, May 17, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

The Right to be Ordinary

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, writing in the Washington Post:
Nine years ago Friday, same-sex marriages started happening in Massachusetts, and the time since then has proved wonderfully unremarkable. The sky has not fallen. The earth has not opened to swallow us up. Thousands of good people, contributing members of our society, have made free decisions about whom to marry. Most have been joyful and lasting. Some have failed. Ho-hum. And even as this principle of government treating people equally spreads to 11 more states and the District of Columbia, even as mean-spirited politicians stoke discord over marriage equality in election years, people just keep on being people, choosing their life partners by the same old mysteries, regardless of sexual orientation. Gays and lesbians, like blacks and whites a generation ago, want nothing more than to be ordinary.

As our nation’s highest court considers two cases addressing same-sex marriage — one challenging the ban on equal marriage in California and the second challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — I hope the justices consider the Massachusetts experience. If our constitutional democracy doesn’t mean that people come before their government as equals, then democracy itself is up for grabs. And the impact of affirming that principle, by striking down the California ban and DOMA, is to let a large part of our population keep their personal decisions private.

Our court’s 2003 decision in Good­ridge v. Department of Public Healthwas clear-eyed about that. The majority opinion, written by then-Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, remains an urgent call to justice. It also offers a timeless and eloquent description of marriage that transcends sexual orientation.

“Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family,” Marshall wrote. “Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.”

When the “self-definition” people seek is to be ordinary, government ought to step back and let them be.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Love Your Enemies

Nikiforos Lytras, Antigone in front of the dead Polynices (1865)

From the Sermon on the Mount:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Your Head Trucker feels old and weary, and not up to writing a lengthy, well-polished post today, so I will just throw out some thoughts and leave it up to you fellas to connect the dots, if they mean anything to you.

It's a gray, drizzly day here in Texas, where last night, several counties away from me, tornadoes destroyed a subdivision, killing or injuring scores of people. Which seems only to be expected somehow, in a week when the news has been brimful of scandal, crime, murder, outrage, and every kind of horrible mayhem. Too much to take in, and far too much to dwell on: it seems the veneer of civilization is worn through in many places, and the ugly, bloody, barbaric core is bleeding out. I suppose awful things have always been happening somewhere, to someone, every day of mankind's existence on this planet; but whereas news used to travel slowly and partially, now it comes roaring at you in living color at all hours of the night and day. Too much to bear. All one can do is look away, and occupy the mind with puttering around the house, and tending one's own narrow garden.

As much as I applaud the recent advances for gay rights and marriage equality that I often feature here in the Blue Truck, I also have to say that I can hardly help despairing for the future of the world, and to be honest, I am glad that whenever it is my time to depart from it, I will leave behind no posterity to worry about. "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity," Yeats wrote a hundred years ago, and it is even truer now than it was then.

At nearly 60 years of age, few illusions about human nature are left to me; with time and experience, one comes to see people for who and what they really are, not what they pretend to be. It is particularly discouraging to see that the great mass of supposedly civilized Western people - the great majority of them at least nominally Christian - are all in a headlong rush to the worst excesses of barbarism. It feels that way, anyhow.  My second-grade teacher got it exactly right one day, fifty years ago, when she asked why a bunch of us little boys were all stepping on one another's shoes in the cafeteria line. "Well, he did it to me, so I did it to the other boy," was the repeated answer to her question. Summing up her inquest with a wry face and a disapproving shake of the head, she exclaimed, "Monkey see, monkey do."

Man is an imitative creature. You become what you think about, what you idolize, what you adore - which may be something quite different from what you say you do. And it seems to me that nearly everyone is doing their damnedest to behave just like characters in a low-class, scrum-bum reality show nowadays. Hence the decline of manners, of civility, of literacy and of reason. Of course, I have to remind myself that the worst examples are not necessarily representative of the whole in any group, but - "Monkey see, monkey do."

Continued after the jump

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Just Close Your Eyes and Thank God You're in America

Televangelist Pat Robertson piled a shitload of oh-so-pious advice on a woman who is struggling to forgive her husband's adultery. "Men have a tendency to stray," Robertson said by way of defending the dude. He advised her, "Ask yourself, 'Is he a good provider? Is he nice to the children? Is he handsome?'" and other such irrelevant points. Listen for yourself, fellas:

Now your Head Trucker isn't advising anyone what to do or not do if their spouse strays (address those letters with full particulars to Dear Russ, in care of this blog). But I am pointing out the utter, complete hypocrisy of this con artist and all the others who call down hellfire and damnation on the gays - oh but if a straight boy breaks the rules, well that's okay then - "He's a man," after all - no problem. Not a word, not even a hint about his eternal salvation being in danger.  It's just normal behavior.

Compare this screed via Joe.My.God. from Minnesota evangelist and pompous ass John Piper - emphasis mine:
Living in a sexual relationship with a person of the same sex is forbidden in Scripture with terrifying clarity. 'Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God' (1 Corinthians 6:9–10). This means putting a child in the personal care of a same-sex couple would put the child’s soul at jeopardy along with the couple’s souls. The couple would be endorsed by the adoption, and thus their hell-bound pattern of life would be endorsed, implying that we don’t care if they go to hell, which would be unloving. And the child would be taught that a damning behavior is normal and acceptable.
Oh, that good old terrifying clarity!  So the gays are going straight to hell for all eternity. But as for the straight boys - oh honey, just reach out and touch his handsome face, why don't you. And think of all the good times.  You'll get over it, like a good wife should.

Right. What a stinking sack of shit.  Which just goes to show, once again, that the Bible was written by straight men for straight men.  A lot of good stuff is in there - but also a lot of self-serving, self-justifying, self-excusing (remember who gave poor Adam the apple) patriarchal crap.

London in Color - 1927

A delightful glimpse into the past by pioneer filmmaker Claude Friese-Greene:

Be sure to mute the mindless, annoying modern soundtrack, which has no relation to anything in the film - which was a silent film, anyway.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 5/13/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

About 4:15 this afternoon, the Minnesota Senate passed a marriage-equality bill by a vote of 37-30. Governor Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill into law tomorrow, and marriages will commence on August 1st, making the North Star State the twelfth in the nation, plus the District of Columbia, to authorize same-sex marriages.

Update, 5/15: Yesterday, Governor Dayton signed the bill on the steps of the state capitol in front of a cheering crowd:

The City of Minneapolis announced that City Hall will open at 12:01 a.m. on August 1st in order to marry all the gay couples who want to be the first to get hitched in that town. And the city also released this gorgeous photo of the I-35 bridge all lit up like a rainbow last night:

Way cool, and a breathtaking moment in history to your Head Trucker, who remembers when gay meant nothing but merry, and homosexual was not a word nice people used in public, and only whispered in private.

It's worth noting that in Minneapolis on May 18, 1970, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell were the first gay men ever (so far as I know) to apply for a marriage license in the United States. They were turned down by the county clerk, which led them to take a lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court - which, unfortunately, dismissed the case "for want of a substantial federal question." In other words - "Equal rights under the Constitution? You have no rights, faggots." What a difference 42 years makes, huh? Just amazing.

Your Head Trucker remembers reading the shocking story in Life magazine way back then. BTW, Jack and Mike are still together after all these years, retired now and living in Minneapolis.

Updated marriage map from HRC.  Click to enlarge.
Yellow = same-sex marriage; blue = broad civil unions;
green = limited domestic partnerships.

Moms for Equality

From the Human Rights Campaign:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Drive: Dvorak, Humoresque

By the late, great Chet Atkins:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Definition of Marriage

John Corvino is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Wayne State University in Detroit:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

Something different this week: a truckload of cute guys, including the now-defunct DC Cowboys, do a flash mob at Dupont Circle in Washington - which, in case my overseas truckbuddies don't know, is the heart of the gayborhood in the nation's capital. Your Head Trucker visited there once himself.

I like this kind of demonstration, there should be more of that.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

South Carolina Sends Adulterous Liar to Congress

Once again proving that the whole "family-values" bandwagon is just a stinking sack of shit that does not apply to straight boys and girls, the righteous, God-fearing voters of South Carolina have turned out by the thousands to vote for for former Governor and unrepentant adulterer Mark Sanford, giving him their seal of approval as their representative in Congress.

Which was only to be expected.  You may recall that while Governor, Sanford famously told reporters he was "hiking the Appalachian Trail" when in fact he was shuttling back and forth to Argentina at the taxpayers' expense to bang his Latina lover.  But I guess the fine, upstanding, oh-so-Christian people of the Hellhole Palmetto State figured, hey, boys will be boys.

Rachel reports on this hot mess of hypocrisy and prevarication:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Sanford says not to worry about him being all alone up there in his new job: "I'll have plenty of friends in Washington."   See also the Borowitz Report: "Mark Sanford's Comeback Gives Hope to Liars."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Marriage Equality Comes to Delaware

Gov. Markell signs the marriage-equality bill on the staircase of Legislative Hall.

The First State today became the eleventh to legalize same-sex marriage when Governor Jack Markell signed a marriage bill into law just minutes after it passed by a vote of 12-9 in the state senate. "I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer," he told a group of supporters. The bill was passed by the state house, 23-18, a couple of weeks ago.

Democratic state senator Karen Peterson came out publicly during today's senate debate and acknowledged her 24-year partnership, saying:
Neither of us chose to be gay, any more than heterosexual people chose to be straight. Nobody gets to make those decisions anymore than we decide to be tall, short, black or white. We are what God made us. We don’t need to be fixed. We’re not broken. . . . if my happiness somehow demeans or diminishes your marriage, then you need to work on your marriage.
Marriages will commence on July 1, and existing civil unions in Delaware will automatically be converted to marriages then.

Prom Etiquette

It's prom season - is your dance card filled yet? While you're sitting there beside the phone waiting for that special young man to call, fellas, it's a good time to brush up on your prom etiquette. Love the genuine Southern accents in this film, made in the Azalea City in 1961 by the Coca-Cola Company.

Though it's rather sad to think that all these golden lads and girls, if not come to dust, are now Republicans and Rush Limbaugh fans, obsessed with God, guns, and gays. Pity.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 5/6/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, sponsor of the Prop 8 case, reports:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Drive: Strauss, Roses from the South

One would have liked, just once, to go to a real ball . . . .

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Guest Post: The Etiquette of Fine Dining, Part 2

or, How I Learned to Start Eating and Bounce the Bomb

A guest post by my truckbuddy Tim from England via Spain:

A week or so back Russ posted a lovely video clip about the trials and tribulations of teenage angst and the difficulties of dining etiquette. Well, here, in Part 2, is my contribution to the problem.

Now as you will know from previous posts, I was a skinny child, painfully thin, and not given to sport. My mother, naturally, was well aware of this, but despite her best efforts I was always a picky eater, and under no circumstances would eat greens or vegetables, no matter how well cooked or nutritious they were. Meat and fish were similarly disdained, along with any accompanying sauces; I must have been a nightmare! Of course, all the usual tricks were employed. ‘No dessert until you’ve eaten your veg, go to your room until you’re hungry, other little children in the world are starving’ - but all these blandishments had little effect on me. Only one meal ever tempted me, that great British staple of the 1950’s, Bangers and Mash – preferably with lots of little green peas and thick onion gravy. Just like this:

Bangers and Mash? - Linked sausages using ground meat, usually pork or beef, with spices or herbs, like your breakfast or country sausages, and potato, mashed and creamed with milk and butter. Possibly one of Britain's favourite dishes since the end of WWI, up until the 1980's, eclipsed only by fish and chips, and now McDonald’s. So popular was this dish in Britain we even made a song about it. Here sung by two up and coming actors of the day: that sultry Latin, Miss Sophia Loren, and the just plain silly Mr Peter Sellers, duetting on ‘Bangers and Mash’:

And if you’re wondering why the sausages are called bangers, it’s because they ‘pop’ and burst from their skins when being fried – hence the bang!

In order to get me to eat this wonderful concoction, Ma had to resort to letting me play with my food, and good etiquette suddenly became secondary to my gaining weight!

Continued after the jump . . .

Friday, May 3, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Steve Hayes reviews the fabulous 1953 musical:
Jane and Marilyn have a comic field day together aided by a supporting cast which includes Tommy Noonan, Charles Coburn and precocious little George "Foghorn" Winslow, who may be the youngest millionaire on the boat, but has an eye for a good-looking girls. Adapted from the hit Broadway show with musical numbers staged by legendary choreographer and Marilyn confidante Jack Cole, it's a lush Technicolor eyeful that will have you laughing hysterically and humming for days.

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

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Marriage Equality Comes to Rhode Island

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signs the marriage equality bill on the
steps of the statehouse this afternoon in a special ceremony.  At left with curly hair is openly gay House Speaker Gordon Fox.

Rhode Island today became the tenth state to enact marriage equality when Governor Lincoln Chaffee signed a bill that passed the state senate last week by 24-12, and passed the state house of representatives today by 56-15. Read the Governor's remarks at the signing ceremony here. Marriages will begin there on August 1, making all of New England a land of equal marriage rights. It also boosts to 16%, or about 1 out of 6 Americans, who live in states where same-sex marrige is permitted.

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, Thomas Tobin, responded by issuing a pastoral letter to his flock, telling them that homos are "immoral," same-sex marriages are "objectively sinful," and attending a gay wedding would "harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others." So if you dance at your gay cousin's wedding, you will burn in hell, fucker - just keep that in mind.

Also in the news: yesterday, Colorado civil unions began taking place.

Updated marriage map from the Human Rights Campaign (click to enlarge):
Orange = marriage; gold = broad civil unions/domestic partnerships;
yellow = limited domestic partnership.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Love Is All You Need?

A powerful little film about a world where straight is gay, and gay is straight:

Father and Son Bike for Equality

It's not uncommon to see moms who are advocates for their gay sons, and that is a fine thing. But dads speaking out and going public, well, that's a little rarer, if not actually astonishing to this old trucker, and it always touches my heart when it happens. As in this story of a father and son biking from Idaho to Texas to confront the Boy Scouts of America:

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