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

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