Tuesday, June 29, 2004

democracy in Iraq - Bush's Pipe Dream

I think Senator Ernest Hollings stated it best:

Peoples the world around have a history of culture and religion. In the Mideast, the religion is predominantly Muslim and the culture tribal. The Muslim religion is strong, i.e., those that don't conform are considered infidels; those of a tribal culture look for tribal leadership, not democracy. We liberated Kuwait, but it immediately rejected democracy.

What the media are calling "insurgents" in Iraq, are, in Iraq, freedom fighters whose holy aim is to rid their land of the infidel.

Consider if America had been invaded by a foreign (Muslim) force. What would you have done? What, good Christians, good conservative FOCUS ON THE FAMILY Christians; what would you have done?

Dubya just doesn't get it. For every Iraqi insurgent that is killed, there are a hundred times a hundred Iraqis or other Muslims to take his or her place.

God bless America. What have you done to my country, Dubya!


Pride Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 27th. Gay Pride day in Denver. Beginning in Cheesman. Always beginning in Cheesman. Ending in Civic Center Park wedged, there, between the City and County Building and the State Capitol.

Cheesman. It has, for me, always been there. From the moment I stepped deliciously from the U.S. Army and into my life, my queer life, Cheesman has always beckoned, welcomed, soothed, loved. And, the men, the many, many men I have met over the years in Cheesman have, to a man, beckoned, welcomed, soothed, loved. Cheesman has always been the warm and comfortable bosom of a loving mother of beautiful sons.

Cheesman always seemed to cajole us to examine the worth of the world with the heightened sentience of our pathological selves, our queer selves. Cheesman was always grandmother's house where the cookie jar was never put on a high shelf but left, there, on the kitchen table for us to explore and savor, bulging with what in other circumstances, other surroundings were denied us as indiscretions, infractions, sins, aberrations.

Cheesman demanded a deeper commitment from ourselves, our queer selves than just the obvious, the sensuous, the frantic, addictive, consuming craving for cock and ass. Cheesmann demanded a rejection of the insouciance of tea rooms and downstairs orgy rooms. Cheesmann demanded a recognition of the essential worth of our selves. Or, so I believed then, so many years ago.

Now, thirty years after having first stepped into Cheesman, I do believe times have changed. Duh!

I remember the joy of entering Cheesman near dusk and sitting there on the knoll below the pavilion -- as so many others did -- waiting for the sun to set, there, behind the purple juts of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. And there would be others; boys so beautiful that you wondered if you had not stepped into some magical queer kingdom where the conspiratorial glances we exchangedd with one another surely became the rite, the key to entry into the kingdom itself. Oh, we shared a queer conspiracy then. A pristine and exciting queer conspiracy against the rest of humanity; against the mere lives of the non-queer.

Being queer in those days was exciting; an adventure that, today, has all but disappeared.

And, now, today, Cheesman, is simply the place where the Pride parade begins ... as it should; as it always should.

We had a wonderful day with our friends John and Fred, beginning the day with bloody Marys at Cary's new condo. We watched the parade make it's way down Colfax and we visited the menagerie of booths set up at Civic Center. We then, David, John, Fred and I had lunch at Racines.

Gay Pride. Yes, I am proud to be who I am. Parades are good things to affirm the essence of who you are.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Reagan's Sorry legacy

Collective Amnesia or Collective Alzheimer's:
America 'Remembers' Ronald Reagan

by Paul Douglas Newman

To remember Ronald Reagan as one of the greatest Presidents of the twentieth century, to replace FDR on the dime with Reagan's profile as Republicans wish to do, we are being asked to forget too much.

We are asked to forget Lebanon, where Reagan decided to "cut and run" after hundreds of Marines perished when a suicide bomber invaded their compound.

We are asked to forget the arms for hostages deal.

We are asked to forget El Salvador, where the right wing ARENA, armed with Reagan money, Reagan weapons, and Reagan military training from the School of the America's at Fort Benning, Georgia slaughtered more than 80,000 civilians in the "War on Communism."

We are asked to forget the Iran-Contra Scandal, an event that he evidently "could not recall" in response to more than one hundred questions during the Congressional hearings.

We are asked to forget the groundwork laid for nuclear disarmament by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Nixon.

We are asked to forget the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaties I and II.

We are asked to forget the re-freezing of the Cold War following the Nixon thaw, when Reagan bellicosely denounced the Soviets as the "Evil Empire," and then joked on his weekly radio address that our missiles were ready to launch.

We are asked to forget the silly invasion of Grenada following the Lebanon disaster, and the reversal of goodwill gestures made to the Caribbean made by previous administrations, including the return of the Panama Canal.

We are asked to forget the Soviet Union's internal move to Perestroika, a groundswell that occurred over decades resulting in a generation of new Communists by 1985 who were not manufactured by Reagan's bravado, but were products of the "Evil Empire."

We are asked to forget that Reagan presided over the worst recession since the Great Depression.

We are asked to forget the enormous cuts to social welfare programs and the Veterans Administration, moves that led to such an enormous rise in the homeless population, especially evident on the streets of Washington, D.C., that even comedians felt that they had to do something to stop the bleeding with "Comic Relief."

We are asked to forget the policies that enriched agri-business at the expense of small farmers, continuing the decline of the family farm to the point that recording artists were the only ones left to uphold the Populists' mantle with "Farm-Aid."

We are asked to forget that he slashed taxes for the wealthiest, raised taxes on the poor, and then bailed out the corrupt Savings and Loan industry at taxpayer expense.

We are asked to forget that his SEC presided over such a corrupt and over-inflated stock market that the Dow saw the largest one-day crash in its history, greater than in 1929.

We are asked to forget that Reagan's economic policies effected a reversal in the trend toward greater distribution of wealth begun by Progressive Republican, Democratic, and Socialist politicians in the early twentieth centuries, and have led us to the greatest concentration of wealth today since the days of Andrew Carnegie and James Pierpont Morgan.

We are asked to forget the enormous and outrageous military contracts, for which American taxpayers paid hundreds of dollars for nuts, bolts, and toilet seats, and the nation saw defense-spending rise to astronomical heights.

We are asked to forget the Reagan Administration's opposition to the Civil Rights movement, their blocking of busing programs and cuts to Head Start meant to bring equality of opportunity to American education.

We are asked to forget that Reagan considered ketchup to be a vegetable in federal school lunch programs.

We are asked to forget "government cheese."

We are asked to forget jelly beans, splitting wood, bad b-movies, McCarthy-ite participation in Hollywood blacklisting.

We are asked to forget our history.

We are asked to forget, and forget, and forget.

And by the looks of the New York Times and Washington Post's memorials to the "Great Communicator," it appears that what historian Studs Terkel has referred to as "America's collective amnesia" is still acute.

Perhaps it is more serious than that.

Perhaps we have a national case of Alzheimer's Disease.

Perhaps our ability to remember relatively recent events has eroded, and our capacity for rational thought has diminished as well.

Perhaps we are becoming a danger to ourselves and others.

Perhaps we need admittance into a managed care facility for nations.

Perhaps we are "riding off into the sunset." How else do we explain our descent into Bushism?: our quick repetition of past economic and foreign policy blunders, our re-visitation of failed policies to solve current problems, our persistent dementia that results in trying the same things and expecting different results? As of now, there is no cure for Alzheimer's Disease, only management of the symptoms and provision of comfort until death.

Hopefully Studs Terkel is right, and we've just suffered another blow to the head from which the American people will recover, and remember, and remember, and remember.

Paul Douglas Newman (paulnewman52868@hotmail.com) is Associate Professor of American History at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, PA

Saturday, June 26, 2004


Dog Posted by Hello

Calvin was a one-hundred and thirty pound Alaskan Malamute who David had rescued at the age of about three months from what, apparently -- and would later manifest itself to have actually been -- an abusive home. (The manifestation of the abuse would reveal itself whenever David or I would raise our hand over Calvin's head. Any raised hand would bring a duck and cower from Calvin. He had obviously been hit or slapped on the head when he was very young.) Suffice it to say, a fellow worker of David's was in the middle of a bad divorce from her husband and the husband (undoubtedly suffering from SPC -- Small Penis Complex) had gone out and purchased two full-blooded Alaskan Malamute brothers and couldn't care for them both. Thus, David's rescue.

Calvin wasn't more than six months old when his back legs appeared to collapse and he fell. Xrays revealed an early onset of hip problems. A triple pelvic osteotomy (they cut the pelvis in three places and reposition it with screws and wires) was performed to correct the problem. The first surgery was a failure and the same surgery was performed a second time which proved to be a success. Recovery from the surgery was a nightmare. It was so terribly, terribly painful for Calvin. We had to separate him from our other Malamute, Melissa, which was probably the most painful part of the recovery for him to bear. (His right hind leg would, thereafter, turn slightly inward whenever he stepped down on it).

Six years later, we noticed that Calvin kept blinking his eyes which appeared to be red, irritated. The first visit to the vet resulted in a diagnosis or conjunctivitis and drops were prescribed. When that didn't help, a second visit to the vet revealed swollen lymph nodes in the neck (why the vet didn't check the lymph nodes on the first visit is a mystery). So, a biopsy of the lymph nodes was performed and, yes, it was lymphoma. This was December 23, 2003.

We had a great Christmas that year.

Off to the oncologist we went, Calvin and me, only to be told that because of the ocular involvement (Calvin had developed swelling and hemorrhaging in the eyes) that chemotherapy would provide maybe three months of remission -- this after six months of chemotherapy. And, because of his size, chemotherapy would cost about $5,000.00.

We went home with prednizone.

And, until March 14, 2004, we had our baby with us, slowly failing; slowly giving up the vibrancy that so defined who he was. On March 14th we had the vet come to the house and end Calvin's days ... here, on earth.

I know Calvin is chasing rabbits with Eddie, our friend John's beloved greyhound, there, somewhere in the magical space and time that we may be blessed to become a part of someday.

We miss you honey.

Friday, June 25, 2004


Now, after just having posted Ironic? the blue banner is advertising bug spray from Amazon and links to West Nile information, both of which were subjects of my West Nile Blues post.

Okay. I think I get it now.


My first contribution to this blog was entitled: "The Trouble With Dr. Laura." It was not a complimentary piece. As a matter of fact, I really don't like the hateful little woman at all. But, AGH!, the blue banner that is the first thing which pops up when my blog is visited is a link to Dr. Laura stuff! And, AGH!, I don't think I can do anything about that.


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

West Nile Blues

On May 28th, I sent the following email to the City Councilman (Rick Garcia) who represents the district in which I live:
Can you tell me or direct me to where the information resides with regard to what the city is doing to combat mosquito infestation of Berkeley and Rocky Mountain Park lakes? What is the city doing in general to combat West Nile?

On June the 7th, I emailed a few comments to a Denver Post reporter on a story he had done and included the following:
I run at trails around Berkeley Lake or Rocky Mountain Lake in Northwest Denver pretty much every day. I run at about 6:30 every morning which, you may be aware, is a time when mosquitoes are more active than at other times. I am naturally concerned about West Nile. So, I thought I would get some information from my Councilman, Rick Garcia, about what the city is doing to combat West Nile. So, I emailed the following to Mr. Garcia on May 28th: "Can you tell me or direct me to where the information resides with regard to what the city is doing to combat mosquito infestation of Berkeley and Rocky Mountain Park lakes? What is the city doing in general to combat West Nile?
Thank you."

To date, there has been no response or even an acknowledgment that my inquiry has been received.

Well, sure, it's only been about nine days since I asked the question. But, I wonder, Jim, if it had been an inquiry from a reporter at the Post if an answer would not have been forthcoming probably on the same day the email was transmitted?

I did search the city's web site for an answer to my question and finally found a press release from the Department of Environmental Health which did answer my question ... sort of.

So much for representative government.

On the same day I sent the comments to the Post reporter, I, coincidentally, received the following from Councilman Garcia's office:
We are following up to see if Parks and Rec responded to you on this issue as it was forwarded on?

There will be an article in the North Denver Tribune about the bat houses that were installed on several of the trees on the S side of Sloan's Lake as a project of a class from Brown Elementary partnering with the Zoo and wilderness parks and Rec. This was the classroom's proactive response to the mosquito dilemma.

I will send you the response from Roger from another inquiry by separate e mail.

Thank you for you interest and please let us know if they do not get back.

We also have a pamphlet on west Nile Virus I could mail to you but do not have you in out data base.

My response:
Thank you. I did see the article in the Tribune and I did finally locate a press release on the city's web site that was issued by the Department of Environmental Health with regard to the city's activities re: West Nile.

The Councilman's Office response:
Good research. I did copy Parks and Rec because they were to respond to you from your forwarded messaged from Rita in our office.

Well, I've never heard from Parks and Recreation; I've never received the "...response from Roger..." by separate email, and AND the only affirmative, proactive steps the City is apparently taking to protect its citizens from West Nile is to attach three "bat houses" to trees on the southern side of Sloan's Lake, which, incidentally, was an elementary school's class project -- not the City's idea. The North Denver Tribune carried the story with a photo showing the elementary school kids and Councilman Garcia smiling in the background.

Of course, three small "bat houses" on the southern side of Sloan's Lake does nothing to combat mosquito infestation of Berkeley and Rocky Mountain Lakes. (Probably doesn't do much for Sloan's lake either.) I mean, three small "bat houses" is the grand plan for the City?

The information from the Department of Environmental Health is certainly helpful. But, damn, is that it? Isn't the City going to spray or something? Just something?

I use so much DEET every morning that I can feel my genes doing flip flops. I'm probably turning into a bat. At least I'll have a little house to live in overlooking the southern shore of Sloan's Lake.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Dubya's Folly

The Washington Post reports that Dubya says, "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda [is] because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."

Okay. Well... Hmmmm...

Apparently -- according to Dubya's own 9/11 Commission -- the relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq and Saddam had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 or weapons of mass destruction.

But, Dubya needed a war and, by God, he got one. I guess -- since he's doing God's work -- he'll have his reward in heaven ... right behind all the Islamic fundamentalist who are also doing God's work in attempting to rid their country of the Great Satan.

Oh, what folly this has become...

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Same Sex Marriage: A State's Rights Issue?

An editorial in the Rocky Mountain News on March 7th of this year entitled, “Who decides gay marriage?” was not so much peculiar in its reasoning as it was just plain absurd by its lack of historical perspective.

The editorialist suggested that “…local opinion…” should be the deciding factor as to whether or not a state sanctions gay marriage. The editorialist further advised that the “…immediate threat…” to democracy is judicial activism trumping the legislative process. And, incredibly, the editorialist proclaimed that, “Taking an issue such as abortion or gay marriage out of the democratic domain and settling it by judicial fiat only inflames the passions of those on the losing side.”

One wonders what the state of American democracy would be if local opinion had been relied upon to determine who could sit where on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama after 1955? Talk about inflaming “…the passions of those on the losing side.” Indeed, if local opinion had ruled the day, would the United States Government have had any interest whatsoever in desegregating the University of Alabama in 1963? And, what about local sentiments prevailing in Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia and Delaware when Brown v. Board of Education was brought to the Supreme Court?

One wonders how the editorialists at the Rocky Mountain News define local opinion? If the Rocky perceives local opinion to reside within the Colorado State Legislature, then, perhaps, the Rocky’s editorialists should get out of Denver and move to Lamar where local opinion is, I'm quite certain, mirrored by the Colorado State Legislature.

Gay men and lesbians are due – as all Americans are due – the equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Period. If the Catholics or the Baptists or the Muslims or any other religious entity does not want to perform same sex marriages, then that’s their prerogative. However, the American experience is littered with the ignoble attempts of the self-righteous to impose upon us all cultural values that contradict the essential promise of this nation which is the respect and protection of each person’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The Rocky’s editorialist’s peculiar pirouette on this issue – quite clearly denouncing Congresswoman Musgrave’s pitiful legislation to amend the Constitution while, at the same time, placing same sex marriage into the state’s rights arena – is witness only to the hypocrisy extant with this particular polemic. Because the polls say what they say, the Rocky becomes the champion of a constitutional amendment to deny equal protection of the law to a specific segment of the American people by letting the states decide who may and may not get married.

I would like to believe the Colorado Legislature would not follow in the footsteps of the likes of George C. Wallace and Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond and Trent Lott . But, I wouldn't bet on it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Dr. Laura Redux

The following was sent to me by a friend. It, apparently, was a post on the internet somewhere and is an exquisite argument; a thought-provoking piece.

Dr. Laura Schlesinger is a US radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative.........

Dear Dr. Laura

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them.

1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in
Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual cleanliness - Lev.15:19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus
35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than
homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I
have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading
glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 1 9:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing
garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester
blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really
necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town
together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan,

Monday, June 14, 2004

Cops and Politicians

As I was growing up, my father used to tell me that the number of honest politicians in Denver wouldn’t fill the back seat of his car. He was fond of big-ass vehicles, so I figured that he was probably talking somewhere in the area of four or five people. And, I figured he was probably right.

At the completion of my own twenty-three career with the City of Denver, I can confirm that the concepts of honesty and integrity are lost to most politicians. Politics does not well accommodate the honest man or woman who is passionate about maintaining a conscience which, of course, leads to behavior and decisions based upon integrity rather than political expediency. Not that the two are always mutually exclusive … just maybe, oh, ninety-nine percent of the time.

My father spent twenty-six fucking nasty years on the Denver Police Department, ending his career with four-and-a-half years as Chief. No offense meant here with the fucking nasty comment, folks, but please understand that I know what I’m talking about: a cop’s family lives that cop’s life as intimately and intensely as the cop himself. Or, at least that was my experience. And, it wasn’t fun.

Give me a minute here with the cop thing.

I really need to tell you that there are good cops and there are bad cops. There are cops who give a damn and there are cops who don’t. Cops are as much a part of the bureaucratic imperative as the data entry clerk at the computer. (The bureaucratic imperative is something I'm writing about in depth.) But, of course, there is a difference. And, you might get a small hint of that difference if you take a look into the eyes of old cops who’ve been around a while. It is in the eyes of old cops where you might see a seriousness that is cold and hard and, perhaps, accusing.

If you look deeply into those old eyes you might also see anger, suspicion, hate, fear and, yes, regret.

And, if you look still deeper you may see the macabre images which that old cop holds, secret and secure, in the most inaccessible recesses of his or her mind. And, the images are of a life spent dealing with all the vileness and degradation human beings inflict upon one another; of victims who have been cut and sliced and who, lying deadly still in their own blood, can only silently swear that another human being was responsible; of children abused, black and blue, from the hard knocks of parents – PARENTS! – who could not deal with themselves much less their children, much less an unkind, complex world; of drunks and derelicts lying lice-infested in gutters with matted hair and urine-soaked clothes … vomit stained shirts and no shoes; of hookers and pimps plying their trade; of pre-pubescent boys and girls whose bodies were sold for the price of a meal; of automobiles wrecked beyond manufacturer recognition encasing four or five or six dead young bodies who only wanted to have a good time at 110 fucking miles an hour; of dopers and pushers and good outstanding pillars of the community high as kites after snorting or shooting or popping or drinking their particular ticket to nirvana; of the homeless and sick wandering the streets babbling to themselves and cursing the unseen demons that haunt their souls; of ten-thousand filthy, disgustingly sad, sad images which, in one way or another, the old cops not only dealt with but were expected to deal with over and over and over again and again by a society that, in spite of its humanity, delegates to one class of people – the cop – the job of handling its failures.

Yes, in the eyes of old cops there is a bitterness which, when the uniform is taken off for the last time, bespeaks of a society which simply doesn’t understand the price a cop (and his or her family) pays for serving it; which simply doesn’t understand why, in the eyes of old cops, there is little sympathy or compassion or love; which simply doesn’t understand that a cop’s humanity is wrenched from him or her almost immediately after putting the uniform on for the first time.

The cop who is able to protect, preserve their humanity in spite of the unkind world they are expected to confront and tame; calm and pacify day after day after day is a lucky cop, indeed.

Yeah, and I’m thinking there’s more than a few beefed-up, hard-as-nails, trigger-happy sonsabitches who never, ever should have been given the blue and the badge and the gun; I’m thinking there’s more than a few of these guys and gals puffing their chests up and gritting their teeth and saying, “No sir! No how! I don’t regret a goddamned thing about being a cop. I’m not bitter about nothin’! Not a fucking, goddamned thing…”

And, I rest my case. There are good cops and there are bad cops.

Police departments are an interesting bureaucracy. Most of the time, most politicians – honest or not -- take great pains to soapbox their commitment to the men and women in blue who through legislative fiat have been given the responsibility to handle society’s failures; to protect us all and our property from the threat out there, everywhere, around literally every fucking corner. Yes, and our cops are the enforcers of such a prolific, sometimes complex, sometimes absurdly incongruous mass of ordinances and statutes and policies and procedures that politicians who’ve empowered them to be our enforcers and protectors just get downright giddy when dealing with cop issues.

I’ve never known a Denver politician that didn’t have a really, really oddly intense fascination – negative or positive – with cops.

Go figure!


This past Saturday, David (my partner of twenty-one years) and I and our friends Leesa, Brian and Mark attended a commitment ceremony for John and Fred. John and Fred are our dear friends who, after four years together, wanted to affirm their love and devotion to one another within the warm and caring clutch of their families and friends.

The ceremony was at John's and Fred's home in Golden, Colorado. John had worked and worried the details of the ceremony for weeks (months), even making fifty fabric napkins; a three tiered cake (red, white and chocolate); getting up in the earliest hours of the morning to water (in violation of draught restrictions) spots in their lawn that might not be green enough for the big day.

Well, Saturday was the big day and it was absolutely perfect. The Great Maestro (if you'd prefer, call Her/Him God) released -- there at the base of the Colorado Rockies -- a ferocious wind, a cleansing rain and a mild sunshine; strutting Her/His stuff in honor of the big day.

I think one of the most poignant moments was when, as the rain abated, John's mother said, "The rain has blessed this day."

Having the Sony Handycam, I recorded the actual ceremony and the eating of the cake -- John stuffing some of the red cake into Fred's mouth and Fred spitting it out as soon as John had turned his back.

At one point, John stood on a chair and, with champagne in hand, toasted us all, beginning with the acknowledgment of David's and my twenty-one years together. What a classy thing to do.

We love you John and Fred.

"Love conquers all things; let us too surrender to Love."
Virgil (70 BC - 19 BC), Eclogues

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Mayor Hickenlooper AWOL

Seems hizzoner has gone missing but, then, that's really not surprising. What I've noticed about our mayor is that he wishes to be all things to all people. And, if that's not possible; if he can't stand center stage and please everybody, then he ends-up missing in action. That's pretty much what happened with the $1.3Million payoff to the family of Paul Childs for what, most Denver police officers believe, was a justified shooting which followed policy/procedure to the letter -- tragic though it was. Seems as though hizzoner hid-out on that one, too, letting his City Attorney, Cole Finegan and others, take center stage.

Hizzoner ran for mayor on a platform that centered on a convenient issue which captured the hearts of an enormous block of Denver's citizens: parking management and the bureaucracy that lorded over it. Yessir, a reformation of the bureaucracy was in order and John Hickenlooper -- private sector entrepreneur that he was -- was just the guy to do it. Little did he realize that being mayor of a major American city really doesn't dovetail nicely with a failed career as a geologist and operating seven? or eight? or nine? eateries and a mini-brewery. Being a millionaire doesn't help much either.

It is axiomatic that there are essential differences between the running of governments and the operation of a business in the private sector. One of those difference is that if you're the CEO of a private sector business you can pretty much hide out whenever you want to. When you're the mayor of a major city, hiding out on major issues is just plain dereliction of duty. It may even be evidence of a wee bit of pusillanimity -- (some cops have come to refer to hizzoner as chickenlooper). What's more likely is that Hickenlooper's team has become quick studies in the artful dodger style of politics: coat the boss in Teflon, keep him out of harm's way when the heat's on and, by all means, don't do anything without a committee or commission to blame if a decision happens to backfire.

"All politics is applesauce!" said Will Rogers in 1924. The word applesauce in 1924 was slang for "attractive nonsense."

Friday, June 11, 2004

Reagan Remembered - One More time

Matthew Rothschild writes in the Progressive (published June 9, 2004, that, "...In a way, Reagan was W's father. The macho swagger, the studied anti-intellectualism, the infatuation with military spending, and the overriding concern for corporations and the rich -- all these Bush has inherited from Reagan.

"And while Reagan consulted Nancy's astrologer for advice, Bush does him one better by consulting the Lord Himself.

"The only difference is that Reagan knew how to read his lines."


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Remembering Reagan

I am perplexed by the idolatry. Oh, heartfelt condolences to Nancy and family. But, I remember Ronald Reagan as a tall, gosh and gee whiz kind of guy who could read what was written for him pretty well and was single-mindedly focused on an agenda that destroyed social programs for the poor and saw almost 21,000 lives lost to AIDS in the six years before he actually took enough interest in what would become a pandemic to actually speak about it. And, he only spoke about it after his friend and fellow actor, Rock Hudson, died from the affects of AIDS. So this and thispretty well sum up some of the remembrances I have of Ronald Reagan which is why I am perplexed by the idolatry. It doesn't make sense. But, then, why anyone would become a Republican doesn't make sense to me either. Being a Conservative is one thing. I can understand someone wanting to hang that moniker around their neck. But, Republican? People become Republicans for strange reasons. I recall a song by John Prine, Grandpa Was a Carpenter in which one of the lines goes something like: "Grandpa voted for Eisenhower 'cause Lincoln won the war." Now, that's a good reason to become a Republican!

The Trouble With Dr. Laura

I suppose if one really doesn't like Dr. Laura, then one shouldn't listen to her. I don't like her, but I used to listen to her faithfully every day.

My problem was that in spite of her whining, judgmental, snippy, hurtful, arrogant radio persona she was grotesquely, absurdly entertaining as were ninety-percent of the people who called her -- something like two-headed pigs or frogs with seven legs which can't help but fascinate us all. I continued to suffer through her baloney at least twenty minutes, five days a week during my lunch hour because, alas, she kept reminding me that all was not well, all was not safe, all was not peachy-keen in a world where so many faceless voices declared it was an "honor" to be able to speak to her. I listened to Dr. Laura because she kept reminding me -- and we all should be thankful for that reminder -- that the idolatry of this hurtful woman is downright scary. Vigilance is required.

And, after having said that, there is another reason I kept listening to Dr. Laura: She was right, sometimes. Yes, I said it. I'm not ashamed to admit it. Dr. Laura was occasionally Right On! Dr. Laura was right when she harped on about kids needing discipline. Yes, and she was right about how gossip and holding grudges and that kind of crap is really wrong and stupid. It's the other stuff she talked about that was hellishly entertaining; and, in being so, guaranteed this hurtful woman her ill-got fortune.

I'm a fifty-five year old gay man who will, this year, celebrate with my partner twenty-two years of companionship, friendship, and love. There are, of course, more nouns I could roll out here to describe what we've shared-- boredom, excitement, joy, sadness, life, death; pretty much just the essence of every committed relationship, man or beast, gay or straight; pretty much just the essence of the sharing of life itself.

Dr. Laura loves me, sight unseen, as a person, but condemns, hates, despises my lifestyle, sight unseen, categorically, necessarily, because I am gay. Sound familiar? Sound sort of Christian?

I believe Dr. Laura became a Jew after having been raised Roman Catholic. I came out as a gay man after having been raised Roman Catholic. Go figure. I guess we all just kind of slip/slide into what we really are; what we were born to be. I am absolutely comfortable with my sexuality which, by the way, I did not "choose." But, Dr. Laura seems to assault her "chosen" religion in some effort to be more Jewish than the rabbi; a kind of God thing; a kind of sitting at the right hand thing; a reasonable replacement for that namby-pamby Christian Jesus Christ. With unabashed temerity, Dr. Laura revels in the if God were here, this is what He'd say persona. Messianically inclined, I'd say.

James Lipton, while hosting the television program Inside the Actor's Studio, ends each segment by asking the invited guest (usually an actor, sometimes a director) a series of pre-formatted questions. One of those questions is, "If heaven exists, what would you want God to say to you as you arrive at the pearly gates?" The best answer yet, came from Robert De Niro. His answer was: "If heaven exists, He's got a lot of explaining to do!" I am fascinated by the image of De Niro standing at the base of His throne, gesticulating wildly while spitting out the questions: "Why Biafra? Why Nagasaki? Why the Black Death? Why cancer? Why war? Why polio? Why crack? Why the infliction of the ten million demons you have visited upon the human race? Why Hitler? Why Saddam. Why Stalin? Why AIDS? Yes, and Why September 11, 2001?" (Do I dare say, "Why Dubya?")

Dr. Laura's hurtful condemnation of working parents, gay parents, gay men and lesbians, and just about everything else under the sun that doesn't wreak of apple pie, the flag and Judeo-Christian precepts is a valuable commodity in the curious market of radio airtime. It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that radio talk show hosts are the most prolific whores on the face of earth who revel in humping to death each and every half-baked, bullshit issue that happens to tickle their nose hair. And, in this context, it is notable that Dr. Laura has found her comfortable corner in espousing a kind of megalomaniacal matriarchy where the self-satisfaction of sharing a pervasive feel good mentality ("I am my kid's mom!") does indeed tweak the brain cells of comfortably situated, heterosexual, white Christian folk who have nothing better to do than, yes, feel good about themselves.

Dr. Laura's schtick is kids. Who can argue with her about the worth and value of kids? Nobody. The problem, though, is that if you're not a comfortably situated (good job, nice house, two cars) heterosexual, you just can't meet Dr. Laura's expectations for being your kid's mom or dad. Indeed, how many times has a poor and desperate soul called in to Dr. Laura to relate that 1) she's not married; 2) she's never been married; 3) she's got two children; 4) she's on welfare; 5) she's got to work to keep a roof over her family's heads, food in their stomachs and shoes on their feet; 6) and, AND! her children are in day care. Dr. Laura's response: Stay home with the kids.

"Ah, well, okay, but how am I going to better myself so that I can get off welfare?"

"Get one of those work at home jobs. Use your computer at home to make a living."

"I don't have a computer at home."

"Well, you'll figure it out. Your children need a full-time mother. You're the one who chose to get knocked-up twice without being married."

Oh, our Dr. Laura was clever. I wish I would have thought of getting on the radio and espousing the worth and value of raising kids in a two parent home where God is in His heaven and all's right with the world. I'll bet she's made a gazillion bucks off this tidy, feel good schtick that brings smiles to all godly folk who don't happen to be poor or desperate or sick or not beholdin' to Judeo/Christian precepts which, by the way, is about three-quarters or more of the world.

Lordy, lordy, lordy.

So, Dr. Laura kept babbling and I kept listening. I remember one woman who called her and told her that their family's cat had had kittens and she, the mother, had told her husband and her children -- after giving away all but two kittens -- that they could keep only one of the remaining two kittens and no more. The husband had decided that he wanted to keep both of the kittens. The mother -- while her husband was at work (yes, she was a stayathome mom!)-- gave one of the two remaining kittens away, thus enforcing the decision she had made earlier. When her husband returned from work, he was angry with her for giving one of the two remaining kittens away. Her question to Dr. Laura: "Did I do the right thing?"

Our Dr. Laura was absolutely giddy in affirming that the stayathome mommy's decision had been the right one.

Ah, if only life were really that simple; that easy. Dr. Laura's daily theater of the absurd amused, frightened, and elicited animated verbalizations from me as I would drive to and from lunch every day.

God bless this little snip of a woman and her lovely child and her lovely husband and all that lovely money she's made on the backs of good people just trying to make their way through a world that is not as tidy, as comfortable, as black, as white as it is for Dr. Laura and her minions. Yes, and when Dr. Laura gets to the Pearly Gates, perhaps God -- who is probably a three-hundred pound black dyke who doesn't shave her legs or armpits and just loves little skinny Jewish ladies; perhaps God will stare Dr. Laura right between the eyes and say: "You've got a lot of explaining to do, young lady!!!"

I don't listen to Dr. Laura anymore. I don't drive back and forth to lunch anymore, either. Which, of course, is why I've kind of lost track of her. I know she's still out there. I know there's still a whole lot of tidy households out there with stayathome mommies and working daddies just eating up her particular brand of ignoble nonsense. But, I'm kind of proud of myself for breaking the habit. Oh, I still eat lunch. I just don't ruin it every day with a side of Dr. Laura.