Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Luke

Today, this little guy celebrates his 8th birthday!
Luke
l to r - 2yrs, 6mos, 1st Birthday w/ me

Luke

September 2006

I remember when this little guy, as an infant, would look at me without expression while I would change his diapers. Huge blue eyes looked upon me, just soaking it all in. I always thought he might be thinking "Who are you?". And within a few moments, he would look away and let out a big sigh. "Wonderful", I thought, "here he's just a baby, and he's already depressed about his life and his family!" Well, a few weeks into his very young life, he came alive and I haven't quite been able to keep up with him since. He's now one pure bundle of energy, joy and laughter. Whether he's happy or sad, you can see that he feels it completely...throughout every ounce of his being. And like I've mentioned before, he's the sentimental one.

Happy Birthday Luke. I love and miss you with every ounce of my being.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Becca


Today, I have had my mind on an old classmate. I remember Becca well. She was a Junior, I was a Freshman & we were both members of the high school speech and drama class.

I haven't seen her in years, but anyone who was a part of a high school thespian group knows what I mean when I say that we knew each other well. The class took on the feel of a second family, so to speak. By the end of the year and having been through countless speech tournaments, one act play competitions, a mid-year production and finally a very large year-end show, the members were even more tightly knit than when the school year began.

I'm searching the memory banks to see if I can recall exactly what Becca and I did together on-stage. I'm thinking it may have been Arsenic & Old Lace. Reader's Theatre is a given, as there were MANY of them. But gosh, it's been a while.

Yesterday, my sister was telling me about a story in the news that she had read a couple of weeks ago. Becca and her husband were out walking on a Friday evening with their two small children. All four of them were hit by a drunk driver as they crossed a street at a marked crosswalk. Becca and both her children were killed. They were living in Denver & many hundreds gathered for her_funeral.

Today, I've been kind of sad.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Craig IS Ian Fleming's Bond



After months of questioning whether the Broccoli Gang would EVER get their crap together & finally find a Bond for the screen that would live up to Fleming's concept, we finally got our 2.5 hours' worth of him last Friday. My boys and I loved every minute. Daniel Craig, 38, makes Brosnan, Moore & 'that other guy' look awfully wimpy. Hey, I loved Remington Steele back in the 80's, but Brosnan is NO Bond. At least no Bond of mine.

Is the Metrosexual an endangered species? I sure as hell hope so.

Craig has tolerable levels of 'suave', 'refinement' & 'articulateness' to still be qualified as a member of real men. What sets him apart even more is the natural grittiness we haven't seen since Connery. Ever since Sir Sean himself was retired from the role, the men that have been cast have always been, more or less, in Connery's shadow. It is likely this will also be the fate of those who will now come after Daniel Craig.

There was one scene in particular that I thought was very well done, and does Fleming's writing justice. The screenwriters should be congratulated. It takes place in a shower after Bond's gov't appointed chaperone witnessed three quick and brutal assasinations. Obviously shaken, she sits in the shower alone, fully clothed-and Bond comes in to check on her. I'll let you see it for you to draw your own conclusions, but the scene is exquisitely done. It stirred my inner yin and yang...and gave me goosebumps.

Frankly, I could use another 2.5 hours of Daniel Craig without the boys. Aside from obvious reasons, two bathroom breaks and one popcorn/soda refill can challenge even the most predictable of plots. Hey, I can say I read the book, but it's been ages and ages ago...so I need to fill in the gaps I missed.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Goodbye Letters

Friday, I picked-up my kids from school. Each of them had backpacks stuffed full, along with many other boxes and bags full of items from their lockers and desks. They would not be coming back to this school again. While I helped to load every little item that marked their presence at this school into my car, their mother and step-dad were hastily making the four-hour trip to close on what will be their new home.

My middle child is the most sentimental of the three. He will turn 8 at the end of this month. Once we arrived at home, he wanted to pop the trunk, so he could look through his things and show me something he thought was special. I went into my bedroom to kick-off my shoes and lie crossways across my bed for just a few golden moments, and he soon entered the room with his hands clenching these new highly valued assets. He then crawled upon the bed with me, and handed me -one by one- the handcrafted goodbye cards that were made for him by each of his classmates. By the time I reached the third card, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. They were beautiful.

Twenty-two sheets of construction paper in various colors, all folded, penned and illustrated by 2nd graders who appeared to be losing the favorite boy in their class. Twelve of them stated in one way or another, that he was their very best friend ever. But what touched me most, was the way these kids seemed to be able to say "Have a great life", and even though I know they must have felt a loss, they also seemed to be able to rebound and deal with the situation so efficiently.

"You have been the best friend I ever had. I hope you have a good life. I will always remember you..." Yes, that one really got to me. Yet the tension was broken upon opening the card to reveal the author's illustration of stick men, semi-automatic weaponry and military tanks. Most of the girls in the class drew un-happy faces...many with tears...but many also included happy faces, hearts and flowers upon opening them. As if to say 'on the outside this feels very sad- but you will have a good life and I'm glad I had the chance to know you'.

I was saddened to come to the final card. Upon reading it and folding it closed again, my son and I held each other in a tender moment. One that I will never willingly forget. And of course as soon as it had begun, it was over. He had been very sentimental, making sure to comfort Daddy 'just enough' and within seconds was outside on his bike...having the ride of his life. Again.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Drawing Lines #3

We have a gay brother in need.

Just weeks ago, Mike Jones risked his life and livelihood to come forward and out the most powerful force in American evangelism. To this day he still recieves threats upon his life, and his livelihood...well, let's say it has been stripped from him as quickly as Dobson ripped his support from Haggard. The nation's most prominent gay rights organizations have congratulated Mr. Jones for his courage, but as far as helping him with up & coming legal bills, et al, no help has been directed to him. He also cannot seem to find any support through prospective employment either.

Little did we know that Haggard's fall from Grace would have such an impact on the Religious Right...and the mid term elections. One of my favorite bloggers Joe.My.God. has revealed to us today of Mr. Jones' predicament...and has helped call all of us within this unique band of brothers to action. A Pay Pal account has been set up in honor of our unfortunate hero. One small act of kindness can change the world...it's a mantra I try to live by.

We can all show the Religious Right that they do not own exclusive rights to 'Compassion' nor 'Family Values'.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What Have You Done, Governor?

What have you done Huck, to make yourself proud?

Was it your venemous outbursts (we're used to them now) towards members of the media this week? They were simply asking for the details of you and your twice married wife's recent Bridal Registry at Dillard's and Target. We thought perhaps you and Janet were getting married yet again. It wouldn't be any more absurd than when you did it a second time. Oh wait, that was a grand-standing technique in light of the Arkansas Marriage Amendment, so you could prove that 'you could'...while dozens of both gay and straight protesters stood outside Alltel Arena on that Valentine's Day evening. It was rather pubescent, if you ask me. But we're used to that, too. Did you intend on being the first governor to help pen discrimination into the State Constitution? Does that make you proud? Really? Wow.

Has it been campaigning for president you've done for yourself while still being chief of state? All those air-miles flown on the state plane...to Iowa? Oh wait, that was because you wanted to get some name recognition during the mid-term elections. After all, you realize you'll have little chance, don't you? Perhaps if these friends that 'still owe you' after you leave office buy you a round of Anger Management Classes, rather than new china and silver, you may have a chance to squeak-by in the primaries. Of course, you have made members of the Arkansas Media your best worst enemies...so they'll follow you everywhere you go in hopes of getting you to turn into that nasty little pit viper we so often see. They'll only be showing everyone else the side of you that we already know.

Was it losing all that weight and penning a best selling book? Of course the book sales were plentiful and helped you buy that expensive new home in North Little Rock. Too bad you didn't put some back so that you could buy Janet the appropriate furnishings and household items, and not depend on the kindness of those who still owe you for political favors. I can imagine it is quite a transition to now have to pay your way.

As for the weight loss... I congratulate you. 100 pounds is a lot, and I am sure as heck glad that I don't have to see nearly as much of you anymore.

Getting Out"FOX"ed

Fair and Balanced.

Yes, let me hear yet another punch-line to that line of bullshit. Seems that one handy outside press 'insurgent' grabbed himself a copy of an internal memo at FOX News.

It's there for all to see...attack the Democrats for wanting to end the unwinnable war. Of course, to those who don't know otherwise, it's NOT a war. It's an occupation. And until the Dems can now uncover the real reason we went over there in the first damn place, W and Cheney... and Fox News will keep playing their same old tired card.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Brothers Klitschko

The boxing champion brothers, Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, if laid end-to-end, would measure 13'2". Look at those chiseled Ukranian features...

Vitali

& Wladimir, sigh...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Happy Birthday Chris

I had a wonderful evening out with two of my best friends. Chris & Mike. It seems it's been ages since we've seen each other. Chris is celebrating...and yes, I'm telling...#49.

They enjoy coming to Hot Springs, so we met at Brau Haus for dinner. To kill a couple of hours before going to Jester's Club, we came back to my condo and finished watching Arkansas' football team annihilate Tennessee.

Tonight was a fundraiser for Hot Springs' AIDS Advocacy, and we were happy to join in. What is it though, about the South and Drag Shows in gay clubs? This will forever be a mystery to me. We did enjoy the show, still. Several past Miss Gay Arkansas' were present...many of which are from Hot Springs. Mike and I attempted playing pool-doubles-with a couple of very friendly guys...who were also MUCH more practiced than him and me. It was a blast.

What was pleasing to me was to see so many non-gay folk amongst everyone else. Times are really changing.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Goodnight Jack


Jack Palance 1919 - 2006

Meet Kathy Webb




Arkansas' first openly-gay person ever elected to state office.

She is the new representative for Arkansas House District 37. Understandable, since this district encompasses Little Rock neighborhoods such as: Hillcrest, Stifft Station, Fair Park, the Medical Center campus, Normandy & the heart of downtown, north to The Rivermarket. Congratulations are in order for Kathy and campaign manager, Alice Lightle.

Kathy's popular_WestEnd_restaurant has always been a regular hang-out for the more progressive crowd. Gosh, I'm craving me some Hong Kong Chicken right now.

Get Those Red Drapes Out of Here....NOW!


I would imagine this would be Nancy's reaction to the decor of her new office by that "Republican interior decorator" the president made reference to in his address last Wednesday. Kinda looks like she's bout to hurl. You know, as if Double-U could even think that he has better resources for interior decorators than the Representative from San Francisco County. Please!!

And boys...we've GOT to get her a better mascara. Pronto.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Wright and Jones - A Timeless Friendship

Frank Lloyd Wright & E. Fay Jones - 1958 - Drake Field, Fayetteville, Arkansas

These two visionaries met personally when Wright guest lectured in Houston at Rice University for Jones' architecture students. The year was 1953, and Jones was invited to Wright's Taliesin-West for a winter workshop. It is there that Jones became a Taliesin Fellow. Many more visits between the two occured until Wright's death in 1959. In the photo above, Wright is Jones' guest, in touring the University of Arkansas and its School of Architecture, where Jones would teach for the final time.

Stoneflower Cottage

E. Fay Jones - 1975 - on Eden Isle, Heber Springs, Arkansas

The architect and his final artistic rendering.

A small airy cottage set upon a boulder-covered piece of woodland above Greer's Ferry Lake. Seems that in my research, I have discovered that this very unique cottage is for_sale.

I remember being in this house many years ago. It boasts only one bedroom, but the spatial aspect is breathtaking. The most unique feature is the bathroom, which is situated against the natural rock embankment...and the shower is actually a waterfall that cascades from high above. Quite a buy, in my opinion, at $350K. This home is on the National Register of Historic Places.

With a glance of Stoneflower, one can easily see how it influenced the design of Thorncrown Chapel, which was built 6 years later. Long, narrow and tall, it seems to defy properties of space and form to which we are accustomed.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thorncrown Chapel


E. Fay Jones - 1981 - Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Ranked #4 by the American Institute of Architects listing of the 10 most important buildings of the 20th Century & the most important building since 1980.

My first visit to Thorncrown was on a very serene and beautiful Autumn day in the early 1990's, and I was brought there by a longtime bestfriend, Daphne. Knowing the impact this experience would have on me, she and I sat quietly, and became a part of the moment. Even though the chapel was busy with other admirers silently coming in and out, the two of us sat there in the inner solitude that this work of art invokes.

In moments, I was moved to tears. It is one of those life experiences I allow myself to relive from time to time. Such inner peace!

The Farnsworth House

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - 1951 - Plano, Illinois

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My State Feels More Like "Home"

Although I did not vote for him, a Democrat will now be Arkansas' Governor. My candidate, Rod Bryan(I), did better than I had expected, and I was very happy to see his numbers as high as they were. His message was refreshing, his approach unique, and he "had me at hello."

Our Capital Office has been squatted upon for the last ten years, after Jim Guy Tucker (D) was indicted on charges during the ridiculous Whitewater smear. As many of us remember, Congress at that time took a gladiator approach in cutting down any susceptible party associated with the Clintons' rise to power, and that unfortunately included many that did not follow the entourage to D.C. Now, our soon to be former governor, Mike Huckabee, is aspiring to attain the nation's highest office...General Wesley Clark will try again, I am quite sure...and Little Rock will be set abuzz yet again by presidential hopefulls. I can't wait to see the former fat guy get chewed up and spat out. He's been so isolated here, and his ego is in need of deflation.

In other races around the state, Republicans lost every single bid for statewide office. The State House is now three-quarters Democrat, and only the 3rd Congressional District held onto a Republican incumbent. In that particular race, an unknown Democrat with little funding gave Boozman the biggest challenge he has ever encountered.

It is a good day for Arkansas. I am glad to have my state back.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

D.I.G. this...

Sample ballots appeared in The Sentinel-Record today, and by seeing them I am now more than ready to do my personal duty. From the looks of things, I'll be casting a D.I.G. ballot (Democrat, Independent & Green) Nothing like DIGing this GOP out of office! Upon changing my address on my voter registration a couple of weeks ago, I have learned that my new polling place will be "Tower of Strength Ministries". Ugh!....A Pentecostal church!!! Should I wear my HRC button? A rainbow doo-rag? ABearDidTerribleThingsToMe_t-shirt? Will the poll workers/church members set me on fire?

The registrar and I had a good long chuckle when we both reminisced that this church was once upon a time..."The Vapors nightclub slash dinner theatre" ...although I'm sure she was just awaiting my response to the fact that the building was now a bona-fide tongue-speaking, hand-raising, amen-brutha!, full-gospel evangelite worship den before we both mutually agreed how ironic it was for that to happen.

For those of you who are not familiar, The Vapors nightclub was once Hot Springs' place to see and be seen. The likes of Dinah Shore, Rosemary Clooney, Liberace, Phyllis Diller, Tiny Tim, the Smothers Bros., Bing Crosby, Patti Page, Angie Dickinson, Ronald & Nancy Reagan and Tony Bennet all shadowed the thresh-holds back in the day. But once the illegal gaming houses were finally shut down, the big money left and the entertainers had no reason to come back...and the club finally shut its doors for good in the early 1980's after years of struggling to find and keep an audience.


Funny...those globes and ovoid signage still stand...with a different name of course. And when I go inside to vote, I will listen & look for those echoes from the past. Maybe I'll hear a hint of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" while marking my ballot...but I'm not banking on it. All those ghosts are long gone.