Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bush Drops the Ball

Here...not to mention during the past six years.

(cute news anchor, btw)

The LTR and Me

This is the LTR and me. I've posted this picture here before, but it's my blog and if I choose to be narcissistic get over it (the very nature of blogging is narcissistic, I think. We bloggers post items about our opinions or lives thinking they have merit when mostly it's just noise. But I digress).

Anyway, this year we will have been together two decades. 20 years. And we actually still talk to each other. Someone close to me is losing the man she loves because he's leaving her and watching her heartache makes me realize all the more how lucky I am.

People sometimes ask "what's the secret?" I don't think there is one. I do think that love is not enough...that sometimes it comes down to making a choice to be together. And managing expectations is part of that. We've learned that although our relationship fulfills each other's basic needs it can't fill every single one. That knowledge takes a certain amount of pressure off the relationship. And, after 20 years, we repeatedly learn that communication is key and that good communication even between people who know each other intimately doesn't just happen. You have to make it happen.

Our relationship is not a perfect one. But it's a damn good one. Love you, honey.

Missy Manners

Missy Mattydale discourses on manners in the city. Quote of note:

An average ride on the Metro usually involves several attempts from fellow passengers to make their way around others with no use of two simple words... "excuse me" or the ever popular "pardon me." And then we go to the opposite end of the spectrum: the wackadoos who yell at you, "MOVE IN SO I CAN GET ON!!!" This usually happens when the train is so packed that you could not fit a piece of scotch tape between my ass and the person standing beside me.

To his list of bad behavior I'd add this one: people who litter. It's the number two thing on list of things I hate about living in the city (the constant sirens being number one). People who litter show ultimate disrespect not only for mother Earth but also for the people whose property they deface.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Tomb of Christ?

I can understand why Christian leaders are reacting with umbrage over the forthcoming documentary by James Cameron that purports to have found the tomb of Christ.

The real question for me, at this point, is what does the science say? My hunch is that this is junk science. But we shall see.

Life's Little Lessons

1) Put in your contact lenses before you brush your teeth.
2) Put on your tie after you brush your teeth.
3) Empty the lint trap in the dryer before you put in a load of wet laundry.

Monday, February 26, 2007

NASA Image of the Day

The "Krispy Kreme Nebula." No, it's not really called that. But it should be. From NASA:

A fast and powerful wind from a hot young star created this stunning bubble-shaped nebula, poised on the end of a bright filament of hydrogen gas. Cataloged as N44F, the cosmic windblown bubble is seen at the left of this Hubble Space Telescope image. N44F lies along the northern outskirts of the N44 complex of emission nebulae in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a mere 160,000 light-years away.

Pulling Punches on DC Marriage Equality -- Part II

I wrote last week of the panel discussion on "the state of the [GLBT] movement," including this comment by attendee Rick Rosendall, one of the leaders of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance here in DC:

The conversation became heated when Rick Rosendall, a local activist and vice president for political affairs for the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), angrily declared that despite the fact that the majority of gay rights supporters are Democrats, he feels that the majority of members in Congress strongly oppose same-sex marriage rights.

''In Congress it would be insane to push marriage rights now because Congress has a long history of stomping on the District of Colombia,'' he said.

(source: Metro Weekly).

Background: DC's laws are subject to oversight by Congress. Any law or action taken by the DC government can be overturned at will by Congress, where we have no official vote or Representative. End Background.

Since Rosendall's outburst, several Wyoming state Republican legislators have shown themselves to have more political cojones by opposing a ban against recognizing legal same sex marriages from other jurisdictions. As I noted earlier, thanks to the Republicans, Dick Cheney's Wyoming is now more progressive on marriage equality than the District of Columbia, where the per capita incidence of gay people is much higher, one assumes, than in Wyoming.

Chris Crain, former editor of the Washington Blade, has made a strong case for why RosendallGLAA are wrong:

Our new Mayor has expressed support for marriage equality.
A clear majority of the DC Council supports marriage equality.
GLAA's objections might have made sense when the GOP led Congress.
Now, the Democrats have control and chair the committees with jurisdiction over DC.
Democrats don't have to back gay marriage to block efforts to overturn it in the district -- they can support state rights and DC home rule which are longstanding planks in the Democratic Party platform.


The counterargument articulated by GLAA from their Web site:

GLAA’s strong support for equal civil marriage rights for gay citizens does not blind us to strategic considerations. The U.S. Congress retains complete legislative control over the District. Until the Congress and the President are willing to allow us to recognize same-sex marriage, the District will not be able to do so.

For this reason, GLAA advocates, well, I'm not sure what. What if Civil Rights leaders had said in the 1960s, you know, it's just to dangerous to march or insist on our rights, let's just stay at home until America decides it's okay for us to be full citizens.

To Crain's arguments I would add my own:

What is GLAA so afraid of? If the worst happened and Congress did block gay marriage here, it could be undone by a future Congress. We don't risk a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage here in the District -- which is undone with much more difficulty than Congressional fiat. That makes DC one of the most logical places to make a stand, because we avoid that risk.

Further, I don't know how GLAA intends to move public opinion if we don't engage. In the same document from GLAA quoted above, GLAA notes that it will not endorse any candidate who does not equivocally state their support for same sex marriage. In other words, candidates have to commit to a vote GLAA is not willing to ask them to make.

At the leadership forum that spawned this long post, there were representatives from a diverse group of GLBT organizations. If they came together, organized a coordinated strategy that focused national organization energy and resources and grassroots and online activism in a coordinated way, we could move the needle for marriage equality not only in DC but in other targeted states. Wyoming has shown it to be possible. It's a shame some of our gay leadership refuse to see the possible, being overshadowed instead by fear.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Perfect Afternoon

What better way to spend a snowy afteroon than in the presence of family and friends.

This is the scene off my front porch today -- much more snow than had been predicted. The LTR, my mother and I went next door for brunch in front of my neighbor's fireplace. Joining the fun, besides us were my neighbor, his British girlfriend, his son, his daughter and her partner, and some random cute guy and his Russian girlfriend.

When we returned home we found our Indonesian neighbor's kid playing in our front yard. A very Mayberry, RFD afternoon, dontcha think?

Buses Behaving Badly Part Two

More from the WaPo on DC's ambassador's of death (a.k.a Metro bus drivers):

...a reporter rode some of Metrobus's busiest routes for a day and observed drivers speeding, running red lights, talking on cellphones and engaging in many other unsafe practices that some bus riders and pedestrians call typical.


Count me as one of those pedestrians who call such practices typical.

The story made me think of a close call I had with a car being driven by a uniformed Metro police officer. I was riding home, pedalling north on 14th street one afternoon, and there's a block under construction where the construction fence protrudes into the bike lane. I moved over to the left, edging into the car lane. I few seconds later I was jolted as something hard struck my elbow. It was from the car's passenger-side mirror striking me because the driver either didn't see me or didn't move over a few inches to avoid hitting me.

We both stopped, and he was cursing at me. He got out of his car -- in his Metro uniform -- and came over and looked at his mirror. He did not once look at me or ask if I was okay. Seeing that his car was undamaged he got back in and sped off. "Don't worry, I'm fine," I called after him.

This was a DC Metro police officer, in uniform, striking a bicyclist and not giving one ounce of concern, except for his car. What does that tell you about the culture of safety among DC Metro employees?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Everyone Behave Yourselves

My mother is here.

Motorin' Mayor Puttin the Brakes On?

DC is buzzing this morning about our own Mayorlicious Adrian Fenty using his security detail -- sirens blaring, lights flashing to get from event to event. It a practice eschewed by most big city mayors. Both WaPo and WTOP radio have stories (WTOP even has video of the mayor's motorcade. The practice extended to a political fundraiser hizzoner attended a few weeks ago (which most take it outside the statute of limitations for spending tax money on political events, because when Mayorlicious was asked about it on WTOP he said, "oh, well, yes, that was a few weeks ago) and to the Mayor's wife, who showed up in such a motorcade at one function, according to the Post.

Hmm. There's a word I'm thinking of that may describe the early days of the Fenty administration that covers the surprise and sudden announcement of the new policie chief, inability to get the streets plowed and his cavorting event to event. The word is "reckless."

Random Male Call

Chad Michael Murray.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A Wyoming Republican Makes a Stand -- for Fairness to Gays

I wrote earlier of the vote in Wyoming to defeat a ban against recognizing same sex marriages from jurisdictions where they are legal. It failed due to the opposition of three straight Republicans, including the Speaker of the House.

One of them, Rep. Dan Zwonizter (that's him, at left), made an impassioned speech against it, knowing full well his pro-gay rights position may lose him his seat.

Think about that. How often I've heard my dyed-in-the-wool Demcrat gay friends make excuses for lacluster pro-gay rights action from major Democratic leaders because it would cost them votes.

I'll quote from Rep. Zwonizter in a minute. As you read his words consider this -- that leading gay activists won't even try to get gay marriage considered in the District of Columbia (even though the mayor and majority of the council support it) because they are too afraid to demand support from the DEMOCRATS who control Congress.

Also consider the words of Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend:

What makes Zwonitzer inspiring and so deserving of praise is that the risk he took, in Red State America, as a straight ally. He was willing to put his neck and political career on the line to do what is right -- he is a Republican doing so at a time when Democrats in much more favorable political environs are spineless, calculating and treating us like ATMs and pariahs as it suits them. [Emphasis hers]


Here, then is an excerpt of Zwonitzer's remarks. Full version is available from Pam or Michael Petrelis (a "no" vote is the pro-gay position):

It is wrong for one segment of society to restrict rights and freedoms from another segment of society. I believe many of you have had this conversation with your children.


And children have listened, my generation, the twenty-somethings, and those younger than I understand this message of tolerance. And in 20 years, when they take the reigns of this government and all governments, society will see this issue overturned, and people will wonder why it took so long...


...I echo Representative Childers concerns, that testifying against this bill may cost me my seat. I have two of my precinct committee persons behind me today who are in favor of this bill, as I stand here opposed, and I understand that I may very well lose my election. It cost 4 moderate Republican Senators in Kansas their election last year for standing up on this same issue. But I tell myself that there are some issues that are greater than me, and I believe this is one of them. And if standing up for equal rights costs me my seat so be it. I will let history be my judge, and I can go back to my constituents and say I stood up for basic rights. I will tell my children that when this debate went on, I stood up for basic rights for people.


I can debate the specifics of this bill back and forth as everyone in this room can, but I won’t because the overall theme is fairness, and you know it. I hope you will all let history be your judge with this vote. You all know in your hearts where this issue is going, that it will come to pass in the next 30 years. For that, I ask you to vote no today on the bill. Thank you.

No Nutz for Maryland Drivers

In a ballsy move, Maryland state Delegate LeRoy E. Myers, Jr. has introduced a bill that would ban those fake testicles from truck hitches (here's an example). He's serious, according to WaPo:

"People are making a joke out of it,"


Myers said testily.

"But I think it's a pretty serious problem. You have body parts hanging from the hitches of cars. We've crossed a line."


Myers is a Republican. I wonder how he'd feel about the fact I've spotted a truck with Texas plates and the faux nutz parked near the White House in an area reserved for White House staff? Wonder if he'd want to give him the sack?

One thing I don't think you'd ever see -- a pair of those things on a truck with a rainbow sticker. This is strictly tacky hetero humor. We gay boys don't hang our balls from truck hitches. We pierce them. Among other things.

Friday Hottie of the Week

Actor Adam Brody

What's Happening in the Scott-o-Verse

Taking a quick tour of the Scott's Take world:

Andrew reveals a beard fetish.

Bill finally gets a chance to say "look at the tits on that one!"

John recalls catching mom and dad doing "it" when he was eight.

Christopher has a new job.

Michael's warning of a germ-covered asteroid that will hit Earth next year, while also denying rumors he's already dead.

After mulling over giving up Internet porn or masturbation for Lent, Curtis has settled on fish.

Mattydale is stalking Gabe Demos (from 6 Feet Under) look-a-likes on DC's Metro system (hey Mattydale -- update your blog sweetie, or I may have to de-link you).

And A.D. laments being further on the "wrong" side of 40 -- hey at least you're on the "right" side of the ground.

And me? I'm preparing for my mother's annual visit-a-thon, which commences tomorrow.

Happy Friday!

Oh -- and Ted Haggard is still gay. He just won't admit it.

Wyoming to Recognize Gay Marriages from Other Jurisdictions

Dick Cheney's Wyoming now has a more progressive policy on legally married same sex couples than the District of Columbia, which has one of the highest percentages of gays and lesbians in the population of any city in the country.


Ain't that ironic.

The Wyoming state House rejected (by one vote) a measure that would have denied legal recognition to same sex couples legally married elsewhere, such as in Massachusetts or Canada.

Casting the deciding vote against the measure: the straight Republican Speaker of the House, Roy Cohee (R-Caspar). Cohee was joined in voting against the measure by two other Republicans. From Wyoming Capitol Outlook (via Michael):

Several citizens and legislators defended the rights of gay couples. Rep. Pat Childers (R-Cody) spoke proudly of his gay daughter, “who was born that way,” and Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-Cheyenne) said that his study of American history revealed an ongoing extension of liberties and freedoms, “and if it costs me my seat…I can say I stood up for basic rights, and history can be my judge.”

I agree with Michael Petrelis' assessment:


What a magnificent development this is for us gays and our allies who endorse full marriage equality, that in Cheney's home state, we have not one, not two, but at least three straight GOP legislators to thank for delivering us some very good news!

Many thanks to both Rep. Childers in standing up for his lesbian daughter, and to Rep. Zwonitzer, who is willing to risk his seat for gay equality. If that ain't bravery, I don't know what is.



Senate to Repeal Authorization for War?

From today's WaPo:

Senate Democratic leaders intend to unveil a plan next week to repeal the 2002 resolution authorizing the war in Iraq in favor of narrower authority that restricts the military's role and begins withdrawals of combat troops.

That can't be good news for the Clinton campaign.

Speaking of the Clinton campaign, I'll weigh in on the recent Geffen-Hillary-Obama flap. I know many have given points to Hillary on that exchange, but I think anytime the press is printing stories reminding everyone of the worse things about the Clinton campaign (the midnight pardons, cigars, intern blow jobs, etc...) it's not a good media week for Hillary.

And now this move by the Senate is going keep Hillary's vote on the 2002 resolution alive along with speculation about how she will vote on the new resolution...if the Democrats can pull it off, which is also doubtful.

Buy Britney's Hair

Yes! The ultimate Britney Spears experience. You can be the proud owner of Britney's shorn locks for the low-low price of $1 million dollars!

Oh Lord. What idiot would spend that much money for crap like this. Oh wait...they're throwing in Britney's Bic lighter and the can of Red Bull she was drinking at the time. Now you're talking!

Seriously, someone of a higher power needs to stop all this and get poor Ms. Spears back on track. Higher power. Hmm....Oprah, where are you when we need you?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Prince of Egypt: When You Believe

From the animation musical Prince of Egypt...the music when the children of Abraham are in exodus from slavery in Egypt. A great song. And the symphonic band I conduct is doing it with the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington at the Kennedy Center in June. (yes, yes, shameless plug).

The Worst Way to Leave Your Lover

From the novel, Shameless, I'm reading.

1) Invite your partner of five years to meet you at a trendy gay bar for drinks.
2) Fail to show up.
3) Stood up partner waits around (you have a bad habit of being late) and finally gives up several hours later.
4) When parnter gets home, he reacts in alarm that some of the furniture is missing. He think's he's been burgled until he discovers only your clothes are gone while his are still in the closet.
5) Finally, he finds your note in which you tell him you're dumping him for someone else and you don't love him anymore.

Later, of course, he finds out you've left him for an Italian rent boy.

Gay Community Pulling Punches for Marriage Equality in DC -- Part I

I missed a great forum last night (by all account) called "The State of the Movement," a panel discussion by several leaders of gay organizations and notables in the community. Pam Spaulding, of Pam's House Blend, participated and has a good summary here.

I was struck by this exchange as recounted by Metro Weekly (Who's editor Sean Bugg moderated the event). The following occurred when audience member Lane Hudson asked the following:

''I understand with conversations with people that there is no conversation going on about [same sex civil marriage] in the district of Colombia, why isn't there? And can we go ahead and get that conversation started?''

The conversation became heated when Rick Rosendall, a local activist and vice president for political affairs for the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), angrily declared that despite the fact that the majority of gay rights supporters are Democrats, he feels that the majority of members in Congress strongly oppose same-sex marriage rights.

''In Congress it would be insane to push marriage rights now because Congress has a long history of stomping on the District of Colombia,'' he said.

Forum attendant Michael Crawford, a former HRC staff member, responded by calling out that Rosendall and other people's ''old school mentality'' is to blame for the lack of progress in marriage rights in D.C.

''When will be the right time? At some point we have to politically man up,'' he said.

So it would appear then the leadership of the Gay Activists Alliance would rather quake in fear at the booth at Annies Steak House rather than join the fight.

Part II later

Light from Afar

This is an image of a Jupiter-sized planet just detected that is a million times farther away from us than is Jupiter. It is so far away that the sun it orbits cannot be seen by the naked eye on Earth. Scientists are able to gather enough data from the infr-red image they get to determine elements of its atmosphere. The hope is we can advance the technology that enables us to peer so far into the cosmic gloom to be able to detect smaller, rockier planets that may support life.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

American Idol: Ryan

Is it me or is Ryan Seacrest getting just a bit gayer with each passing season of AI?

Is it weak to say I hope he's sportin a little 5 O'clock shadow on the show tonight?

Family Pride: Outloud

Via Guy Dads I've become aware of a national organization called Family Pride, which, according to their Web site is fighting for the equality of gay (and the rest of the alphabet of letters that follow "g") families by training them to be visible and effective spokespersons ("discrimination" out. "Hurting," in).

According to the Family Pride Web site:

The national speakers bureau for family equality, OUTSpoken Families, is loud and strong! LGBTQ parents, extended family members and caring allies have all committed to being a part of this groundbreaking and very powerful ensemble. Over 800 people in 39 states, the District of Columbia, 1 US territory and 3 countries have signed on to be OUTSpoken.


This is so needed. It's harder for people to hate what they know. It's easy to be against the "homosexual agenda" but harder to hate Susie and Mary and their kids Tom and Lynette down the street.

It's good to see a national gay organization doing more than raising money for the Democratic National Committee.

Random Male Call

In honor of all you Tottyland readers who have popped over here I'm starting a new feature called "Random Male Call" to just post pictures when I come across them, instead of waiting for the Friday Hottie of the Week. This pic has been sitting unused in my blog pix folder. From the NYC FD calendar, of course.

Humility Campaign

My partner (the LTR to those of you just joining the story) has decided to embark on a publicity campaign to highlight his humility. He feels he has a bad rap among friends as being "arrogant." (He once famously said, when a friend called him arrogant, "I'm the most fucking humble person you've ever met.")

To change his image, he's decided he's going to issue a press release each day outlining some act of humility on his part.

Somehow, I don't think that's going to do it.

Reading List

I just finished Doris Kearns Goodwin's wonderful book on Lincoln, "A Team of Rivals." Yes, I'm a Civil War "buff" in general and a Lincoln nut in particular. No, I don't think Lincoln was gay as some have argued.

Since the Goodwin book was lengthy and "serious" (though riveting to me) I decided to read a novel. I just ordered fellow blogger Christopher Scott Sarno's book "The Absence of Space and Time" from Amazon (after checking with my local gay bookstore Lambda Rising to see if they had it. They don't -- sorry, Chris).

While at the bookstore I went ahead and picked up Paul Burston's book, "Shameless."

I also recently read a book by local DC gay writer Alex MacLennan entitled "The Zookeeper," set here at the National Zoo and DC. Metro Weekly did a story on him here. It was a good book, though not exactly a page turner and the ending was a bit ambivalent. I guess life is that way too. But I kind of like things to get wrapped up by novel's end.

Laugh of the Day

via Debriefing the boys.

TEOTWAWKI*

*The End of the World As We Know It.

There are people who beleive that the world will end sometime later this year through 2010. Here are a few theories:

According to the Weekly world News for 2001-FEB-13, the rapture will occur on the 7th hour of the 7th day of the 7th month of the Hebrew calendar year that corresponds to 2007 CE. Jesus will appear simultaneously in Jerusalem, Baghdad, Washington, Moscow and in every other capital city of the world.

2008-MAR-21: After a lengthy calculation based on the Bible, a British group, The Lord's Witnesses, has concluded that the start of Armageddon will happen on this day. Three quarters of the world's population will die during the subsequent war. This will be preceded by the United Nations taking over complete control of the world

2009-AUG-29: John Dutchman claims to be an astronomer at the Mount Wilson Observatory. He allegedly believes that a small star is passing through the Oort Cloud, the area surrounding the solar system where comets originate. He says that the gravitational pull of the star is forcing at least a third of all of the comets into the sun -- over one million. He predicts that the earth will be hit by from one to many hundreds of comets, ranging in size from 100 meters to near 600 miles in diameter. He expects the collisions to happen on 2009-AUG-29.


2010: Phil Stone of Bible Time interprets the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 symbolically. He computes the date of the second coming of Jesus as being 2,000 years after Jesus' visit to the Temple at the age of 12 in the year 12. Because the Biblical calendar is slightly shorter than the Solar calendar, we hit the 'two day" mark in 2010..." Actually, the situation is even more dire than he computes. Most theologians believe that Jesus was born between 4 and 7 BCE. This means that Jesus could return at any minute.

Uh-oh. Look busy.

Via Religious Tolerance dot org

Sunrise


Reflecting off row houses near mine.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Water Sports

Via Totyland

And Here's Frank Kameny

The death of Barbara Gittings (see below) has inspired me on a early gay hero kick. Here's an HRC video of Frank Kameny, who began his gay activism in the 1950s. He's still around and still active and I find him personally very inspiring.

Brief Gittings Video

And more on gay history at www.gayhistorymonth.com

A Gay Pioneer Dies

Barbara Gittings, a lesbian activist from the 1950s and onward, has died at 75.

Long before Stonewall, Gittings was one of a handful of gay Americans who started leading a community out of a dark veil of fear and shame. With Frank Kameny, she helped get the American Psychiatric Association to drop homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

Obit here (via Andrew)

I never met Gittings, but I have met and done some work with Frank Kameney. I expect she harbored the same defiance and inner spirit and (I do not use this overused term lightly) pride. If you ever meet a revolutionary it's hard to forget that experience. At a time when many in our community think of actors, pop stars or models as "leaders" in the gay cause, it's sad to see the passing of a true giant. Sadder still that many younger gays will meet the news with, "who was she?" Although I hope many will use news of her death to learn more about the people who laid the groundwork evertyhing that's positive in the community today.

A good book, btw, on gay history in the 20th century, is this one.

Counterfeit Man

Richard Cohen sticks it to Mitt Romney today, calling him a counterfeit man, saying :

If he were a coin, a vending machine would spit him out.


I think the voters will ultimately spit him out, too. But Cohen's larger point, that our system allows extremists on both sides (the radical right for the GOP, unions for the Dems "economic pressure groups like teacher's unions" -- although in 2007-8 I would argue the fringe on the left is the Move-On-Out of Iraq-now crowd) to dictate who the nominees would be.

In playing that game, Cohen points out, Romney is showing his true cynical self. Concluding, he writes:

Since all politicians, like lovers and mattress salesmen, lie a bit, we do not expect purity. But Romney has taken things too far. I don't know whether he has any respect for himself, but he sure as hell has none for us.

Monday, February 19, 2007

NASA Image of the Day

This is the "Eskimo Nebula." You may ask, why do you post these pictures (in other words, you keep writing about naked Harry Potter but you have yet to post his picture here!)?

I post these pictures because it is a reminder that the universe is vast and beautiful and the things we blog about are infinitely small. I post them as a reminder that the race of homo sapiens is just now barely sticking our toes into the cosmic water.

And yet...I wonder. There's a wonderful line in Moby Dick where Ahab says (if memory serves), "Come, let me look into a human eye. Far better than to gaze upon God or sea or sky." There's something to that too.

Here's what NASA says about the "Eskimo Nebula:"

In 1787, astronomer William Herschel discovered the Eskimo Nebula, which from the ground resembles a person's head surrounded by a parka hood. In 2000, the Hubble Space Telescope imaged the nebula that displays gas clouds so complex they are not fully understood. The Eskimo Nebula is clearly a planetary nebula, and the gas seen above composed the outer layers of a sun-like star only 10,000 years ago. The inner filaments visible above are being ejected by strong wind of particles from the central star. The outer disk contains unusual light-year long orange filaments.


Image credit: NASA/Andrew Fruchter (STScI)

"Running Around Naked"

My friend (if I may call him that) and fellow blogger Christopher Scott Sarno used the phrase with regard to actor Daniel Radcliffe nude appearance in Equus "running around naked on stage."

I find that phrase -- which everyone uses -- interesting. I find that when I'm naked I don't move any differently than I do when clothed. I certainly don't feel a need when dropping trou to start running.

And, I think, nudity is a good thing. I don't belong to any clubs for such purposes, but I do enjoy going to nude beaches, particularly Sandy Hook State Park in New Jersey, where it's legal and quite popular. People often say that people who get publicly nude shouldn't -- because they don't have the "right" body for it -- but they're missing the point. You don't go to a nude beach to look at people, you go to enjoy the beach and the water naturally (is there anything more silly than wearing a bathing suit?).

I remember when seeing the New York production of Naked Boys Singing (the DC production was awful) that after the novely wore off I was much more focused on the singer's faces than body (really). The human body is indeed beautiful and I do enjoy looking at the male form but I think clothes often become a distraction and once removed our mind's relax to the perception of the person as a whole.

Romney Backs Don't Ask Don't Tell

He says this:

" 'Don't ask, don't tell' has worked well"

By what fuzzy-headed standard can you make this claim, Mitt?


Haven't you heard of the military's shortage of Arabic and Farsi translators? And this fact (from SLDN):

According to the Government Accountability Office, the Pentagon has dismissed more than 300 language experts under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” including more than 55 who were fluent in Arabic.
If you're going to pander to the religious right, try to do it a bit more artfully than this.

Buses Behaving Badly

In less than a week three people in DC have been struck and killed by DC metrobuses.

Why?

Because DC Metro bus drivers drive dangerously. They aggressively cut other motorists (and bicyclists) off. They run lights. They drive too fast on narrow streets. They block lanes when discharging passengers when they could easily pull all the way to the curb. They block intersections.

As someone who bikes daily on DC's city streets, I've often thought if I'm ever in an accident it will likely involve a pedestrian who steps out between two parked cars to cross in the middle of a street or a metrobus.

Oh, and from the news story about the latest accident:

Lt. John Kutniewski, who oversees the police department's major crash unit, could not say immediately whether the parking lanes on Congress Street had been completely cleared of ice and snow and said the investigation is continuing.

The streets are not clear of snow and ice and have not been for a week, making narrow streets narrower. DC Mayor Fenty's failure to get the streets cleared have made commuting much more dangerous.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Lunar New Year

The LTR and I were near China town today and decided to go buy replacement Chinese soup spoons for the ones he had broken. Probably not a good day to do that, given it was the Chinese New Year. This was the scene in the store:















We happened to catch DC Mayorlicious Fenty giving a speech to the crowd assembled (which was mostly of European descent, like the cute guy in the foreground):















Fortunately the Mayor managed to avoid cliche by quoting Confucius.

Naked Harry

A lot has been made of Daniel Radcliffe (aka Harry Potter, in case you've been under a rock the past decade) going nude in a play in London.

I'm not posting his picture here (he's 17!!). Nor am I going to give him kudos for going nude, as some have done. If his goal was to "lose his Harry Potter innocence" by letting his business hang out on stage, well, then it's a stunt.

But, if he took the character -- nudity and all -- because it was compelling and different from Harry AND he is able to pull it off with good acting (i.e., when watching the play you didn't think, "oh, there's Harry Potter naked" but took the nudity as part of the drama and character) then kudos to him.

One of my favorite actors, Ewan McGregor, frequently does nude scenes in his movies and I admit I find him excessively attractive. But what makes his better movies notable is not his nudity but his ability to become the character he is playing. If Mr. Radcliffe can pull that off he will have a great career.

(And if he can do it nude, well, that's just a bonus).

My Superhero Match

Actually, I'd prefer Keifer Sutherland Jack Bauer.

Gay Powerlifting

My partner (the LTR) is a competitive powerlifter. In fact, he won the silver in his weight class at the Gay Games in Chicago last summer and set the bench press record in his weight class in Virginia last year. Yes, I'm proud!

He's gearing up for a competition later this winter and I'm reminded of the first competition I went to with him in Savannah, GA.

To say that testosterone is ozing off the walls would be no exaggeration. The competitors sniff amonia before a lift (at first I thought everyone was doing poppers). After a lift they lunge up to their buddies and they thump each other's chests as they shout "huh!" Because their singlets are so tight they have to put talcum powder on their bodies to get them on so as they chest-thump clouds of "smoke" seem to smoulder off their bodies.

The LTR doesn't engage in any of these theatrics (although he has a whole "bench positioning ceremony" he employs before a lift). So here I was witnessing all this unabashed male cockiness at this first competition. I was on the edge of my seat as the LTR was disqualified for his first two bench press attempts (for bad form). If he missed his third he would be out of the competition. But, on his third try, he nailed it!

He came sauntering up to me in the bleachers, and I stood to greet him, puffed my chest out and made ready to chest thump and get thumped. Instead he walked up to me, and eyes welling up, said, "Honey, I just feel so emotional."

So, the gay powerlifters get hugs, not chest thumps, after a lift.

More on gay powerlifters here.

Chris Morgan, a well-known Brit powerlifter, has a great website, chunky muscle.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

NJ to Recognize Gay Marriages from Elsewhere

The skinny:

"Gay couples who are married in Massachusetts, Canada or other places where same-sex marriage is allowed will have all the rights of married people in New Jersey as of Monday, the state Attorney General's Office decided Friday."

Mayorlicious, are you listening? You promised in your campaign to release a memo from the former attorney general which is rumored to support the same policy. You've been in office over a month. Why the delay?

The Internet is for Porn -- Part II

One of two amusing songs from Ave. Q.

The Internet is for Porn

Friday, February 16, 2007

Oh What the Heck

Here's Mathieu...I'm trying to avoid posting pics of models but I found him too irresitable. (via Casual in Istanbul)

Connecting the Dots in Monty County

WashBlade editor Kevin Naff connects the dots between a tragedy and an outrage happening in Montgomery County, a neighboring county to DC in Maryland.

The tragedy is the apparent double suicides ofRachel Crites and Rachel Smith, two Mont. Co. teens who went missing and then were found dead in a car in the woods, from carbon monoxide poisoning. Crites' father released a diary entry by his daughter that said:

“Wherever I end up laying, whether buried or cremated, I want to stay with my true love, buried next to her. This is my choice. I’m sorry.”

And now the outrage: conservative groups in Mont. County are pressing the state board of education to overturn Mont. County's recently adopted gay-inclusive sex ed curriculum. The conservative groups include PFOX, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, who recently were distributing flyers at Mont. Co. schools about "quashing" same sex attractions.

Concludes Naff:

We don’t know if “the Rachels” were romantically involved or if they were ever exposed to PFOX’s message. But there’s no doubt that other teens in Montgomery County who are in the process of sorting out their sexual identity are subjected to the “ex-gay” myth in their schools.

These anti-gay crusaders have no shame. County officials should denounce their efforts and fight the curriculum appeal to its defeat. Let us hope something positive can come from this horrific tragedy and that other young people feeling alone and confused will find understanding and compassion from adults in their community instead of hateful and reckless propaganda.

PFOX: This isn't about opposing the "gay agenda." It's not about scripture. It's about teen age lives. Get it?

Fighting for His Deceased Partner's Final Wishes

A gay Baltimore man is fighting the parents of his late partner, Russel Groff. Groff specified in his will he wished to be buried in Tennessee. His parents lost an initial case to move the body to their family cemetery and are now appealing.

Quote of note, from Meredith Curtis of the American Civil Liberties Union, regarding the case:

“Certainly, we think that Mr. Olive’s [Groff's partner] case exemplifies all the myriad problems that can result when the law treats gay partners as legal strangers,” she said, “when in fact they’re not strangers at all.”

There's that term again "legal stranger." I've been on the receiving end of it, from a judge talking about me and our son.

The lack of legal recognition of gay families hurts real people, as in this case.

Friday Hottie of the Week

A random contestant at a Peruvian gay club in what appears to be amateur strip night -- but I could be mistaken as my Spanish is pretty malo. You can see more here. (much more, in some photos, not entirely safe for work.)

I thought this guy was handsome.

I discovered gayperu.com as I'm researching our trip to Peru later this year. You can read about Jose, the owener of the Web site, at globalgayz. (scroll down to the heading "Voice of a Moderno Gay"). He is described as an emerging class of out Peruvians, a "moderno," in contrast to what we would call here guys on the down low.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Backpacking

The LTR and I are making a return to backpacking, after 10 years of not doing it. We used to backpack extensively in the Shenandoah...then we bought a boat (well, actually, I bought a boat and then we fought about it for a number of years until we finally got to the point where we could both enjoy it...about which time we both got so busy that we rarely had time to take it out. So we sold it a few years ago).

Since selling the boat we've enjoyed a return to hiking a lot but we usually stay in PATC cabins.

Now we're planning a trip to Peru, which includes a four day backpacking trip on the Inca Trail, so we thought we'd start backpacking here at home to start getting ready.

So last weekend we went and bought a new tent and packs and other paraphernalia. This weekend we're going camping on Assateague Island, a barrier island off the coast of Maryland. Yes, it will be cold. But we are rugged men. Besides, we can cuddle at night.

I decided to set up the new tent tonight to make sure everything was in working order. It filled our living room.

A Navajo Education

I have a small but unique connection to the Navajo. My sister-in-law Louise is a Navajo, married to the LTR's older brother.

Louise's older sister, a teacher in the Navajo Nation in Arizona, was in town this week for the National Indian Educator's Association legislative conference. She got in touch with the LTR (who she had only met once, at his niece's high school graduation) and he invited her over for dinner. Which happened last night.

Along the way to dinner Louise's sister Marie invited another teacher friend and her principal. All three teach at a K-7 school in the middle of the Res. While here they met with staff of their Congressional delegation and met with Rep. Patrick Kennedy.

I was impressed by their passion and dedication to education. I've been involved professionally in bringing "real people" to Washington to do what they were doing but have never known anyone personally who did it -- nor have ever known anyone who did it because of their passion and not because it was more or less expected by their boss.

Their visit gave me renewed hope in our education system. If there are people like those three in our schools, there is hope.

There was also an interesting subtext given that these three were entering an openly gay household. The LTR was nervous about this and consulted his brother and sister-in-law before extending the invitation, making sure that there wouldn't be a problem because we are gay.

There wasn't.

Since last night, I've googled "gay Navajo" and have come across evidence of a nascent but visible GLBT Navajo community, and a complicated portrait of traditional Navajo (and Native American) views of homosexuality vs. acculturated views. Like this one. It's an interesting story.

The best thing about last was the invitation Marie extended to Dave to visit her on the reservation. And she made a point to turn to me and say, "you too, Scott."

After all, we're family.

Hardaway Hates Gays

What causes this? It goes beyond mere prejudice -- I could understand a "pre-judgement" that all gay men are sissies, for example. I don't understand the hatred. At its root is insecurity, I'm sure. I just don't understand why a successful straight man like Hardaway (ironic last name, given the circumstances) would be so insecure. Unless he's got some feelings for men deep down he is too frightened to face.

Mixed Reviews

for Mayorlicious. And my street has still not been plowed, two days after the storm started.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Swelling Up Here

God I feel like a slug! Between weather and work I haven't been able to ride my bike or go to the gym. And tonight the LTR and I threw a dinner party (more on that tomorrow) and I am stuffed to the gills. Purge! Purge! (I'm supposed to go to "shirtless night" tomorrow!)

Anti-Valentine's Day


A contrarian view.

Happy Valentine's Day

To partners and friends everywhere.

DC Slow to Dig Out

Usually within 24 hours of a snow storm the DC mayor's office announces that all major roads and some secondary have been plowed or treated. Thus far silence from the Fenty administration.

The LTR (who drove to work this morning) said that as of 7 am Connecticut Ave. had not seen a plow. If Conn. Ave is not a major road in DC, nothing is.

This is my street, which surely most qualify as a major secondary road, connecting, as it does, DC neighborhoods Adams Morgan with Columbia Heights and Howard University. It was taken at 8 am, and as of 9:30 am still has not seen a snow truck.

UPDATE: As of 4:15, this street is still unplowed.

UPDATE: 8:45 pm. Still not plowed.



An ATM for the Democrats

Former DNC staffer Donald Hitchcock, who was fired from his position as Director of the DNC Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council by DNC Chair Howard Dean when his partner wrote a letter critical of the party, notes in a letter to the Washington Blade that:

After attending the recent Democratic National Committee LGBT Caucus meeting, it reaffirmed for me my reasons for standing up to Howard Dean’s reluctance to treat our community with dignity and respect, an action for which I was fired. I claim that firing as a badge of honor.

Dean barely addressed the LGBT caucus with only five minutes worth of comments and he took no questions from the floor. And unfortunately, his talking points had shifted from the comprehensive plan to address the anti-LGBT state ballot measures offered last year to throwing only “a little bit of money” into the states at the end of the fight...

...At the meeting, gay finance staff and key fundraisers did sit at the caucus table, as before, but what is different is that lately we seem to be treated solely as an ATM for the party, with our civil rights seeming an afterthought or burden.



Romney Sommersaults In

Well, the flip-flopper is in.

What will be interesting now to watch is whether Rudy will also kowtow to the radical religious right and retract his moderate social positions a la Romeny, or hold firm and try and win them over with his credentials on the war on terrorism. I'm not holding my breath, but one can always hope.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Video of Skydiver's Fall After Chute Malfunctions

He survives and lives to show the video from his helmet camera.

Video here on the Sunday Mail Website

Pretty gripping stuff. Right before he hits, he says, "Oh shit, I'm dead. Bye."

Gay (former) Basketball Player Take II

Cleveland Plain Dealer Columnist Bud Shaw echoes a point I made earlier about newly out former NBA athlete John Amaechi. Quote of note:

Bravery in this context is reserved for the first athlete to come out today and go to practice tomorrow. It's not coming out from across the pond - Amaechi lives in England - four years after retirement.

That's not a slam of Amaechi. Those are rough waters to recommend for anyone.
No doubt he feels he has something important to say in retrospect. But his words could have made a far greater impact as an active player who demanded to be treated like any other person in his workplace.


Amen. The real heroes are the gay men and women who quietly and simply "come out" and live their lives with the expectation to be treated like everyone else -- and without the expectation they'll get book royalties for it. Yes, I'm glad Amaechi came out, but I'll be gladder still when just the mere fact of being gay doesn't warrant a book deal. From what I've read, he didn't get the deal based on his talent on the court.

So, meanwhile, America waits for the first non-retired major league player of any sport to come out. Derek Jeter (bottom lower right), it's not too late.

For the background on this pic (all shirtless MLB shortstops) go here.

The Government Closes

It's supposed to get a little icy. Thus far, my street is covered in a slick sheet of slush. The "Winter Storm" thus far has generally done what they predicted, just a lot less of it.

Note to Mayor Fenty -- this neighborhood hasn't seen a salt truck all day.

"Snow Event"

This is the snow event so far in Washington ...pretty tame stuff so far but the Capital of the Free World is a big wuss when it comes to snow. If the terrorists wanted to do us serious harm they'd forget dirty bombs and drop a foot of snow here.

Actually, it's supposed to turn to freezing rain and it could become an "ice event." My god, the schools will be closed until May.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lincoln and the Telegraph

Good piece in today's WaPo about Lincoln and the telegraph.

The Lincoln - Obama Connection

Like so many before him, Barak Obama is trying to wrap the mantle of Lincoln around him, more so as a "gangly" Illinois legislator.

The Barak-Lincoln comparison is facile at best. Both served in the Illinois legislature, although Lincoln was a Representative and Obama was a Senator. Lincoln lost his race for the U.S. Senate, the seat Obama now holds. And Lincoln only served two years as a federal Representative, which Obama has surpassed.

Obasma was born to a well educated family of means, Lincoln was born to abject poverty, hardship and loss, losing both his mother and his sister before the age of 12. Obama received higher education from two of our nation's most prestigious schools, Columbia University and Harvard, Lincoln had little to no formal education and was a self-taught man.

But the most important difference is this: Obama is leading the left wing of his party, while Lincoln strove to unite radical and conservative wings of the nascent GOP, and his success in doing so propelled him to the White House and is what kept the North together. Then, as now, the country was divided by extremists on both sides. Lincoln governed from the center.

And that does not appear to be in Obama's playbook.

In short...I knew Abraham Lincoln, Abe Lincoln was a friend of mine...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Kid Likes Football

I posted last Sunday of my disdain for football, the Superbowl and other organized sports.

Unfortunately, it's not genetic. My son (all of two-and-a-half) was, according to his mother, mesmerized by the Superbowl. And not the commercials, because when they would come on he would cry, "More football! More football!"

Yes, it's cute, but...I can count on one hand the number of times I've thrown a football. I can't count on any hand the number of times the football went where I wanted it, because how do you count "zero?"

It's already hard enough with him growing up 7,000 miles away, how do I relate to him challenged by distance and divergent interests?

Ironic -- I felt inadequate as a kid because I didn't share my father's interests, now I feel inadequate because my son has interests I don't share. There should be a remedial course in catch for gay dads with sports-inspired sons.

But, it's not about me. I'm thrilled he's finding things in life (whatever they are) that catch his interest. I love seeing his personality blossom. I'll never forget the first time -- as a newborn -- he focused on me and his eyes locked on mine and we connected. Although, yes, I harbor fear of how our realtionship will develop, I also feel confident that we will share a unique bond.

And, while watching the football game he announced the action, saying, "two men running, men fall down, men push other men!"

Well, he's commenting on men. That's something I can relate to.

Here he is, watching the Superbowl. Pic courtesy of his mom.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Snow Storm Coming?

Possible significant snow is in the forecast for DC for Tuesday. The weather page at channel 7 says:

Will the snow situation be like the President Day storm of 2003?
The models are trying to zero in on the forecast.

"The models are trying to zero in on the forecast." Do you ever wonder who these models are? I did a little investigating.
What I found may surprise you, but explain why the weather forecasts are so often whacky. Here are the models our weather forecasters use:

Gay Commercials

David Paul Robinson has posted a collection of gay TV commercials. My favorite is below. If you click over to see the rest, be sure to look at the one titled "Dance" for the most poignant.

And I must say the rubber gloves in this commercial has inspired my overactive imagination.

So HE'S Behind it All

Inventing the Internet was a hard act to follow...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Hottie of the Week


Better late than never...Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII (after the Atkins Diet) in the upcoming Showtime series. A preview below.












A Volcano from Space

This is what a volcano from space looks like. Courtesy of NASA:

At 3:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time on May 23, 2006, Flight Engineer Jeff Williams from International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 13 contacted the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) to report that the Cleveland Volcano had produced a plume of ash. Shortly after the activity began, he took this photograph. This picture shows the ash plume moving west-southwest from the volcano’s summit. A bank of fog (upper right) is a common feature around the Aleutian Islands. The event proved to be short-lived; two hours later, the plume had completely detached from the volcano. The AVO reported that the ash cloud height could have been as high as 6,000 meters (20,000 feet) above sea level.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Former NBA Player Comes Out

Former NBA center John Amaechi has announced he's gay and he's written a book about it.

Yay.

Now, I must admit I don't think I've ever watched an NBA game and the only center I'm really familiar with is the one inside a jelly donut. Still, I'm always happy when a closeted gay man comes out. And someone like Amaechi, masculine, athletic and famous among people who pay attention to NBA games will prove to be a good role model for gay kids.

But I would hardly call Amaechi's coming out "brave." It would have been really brave of him to come out while still in the NBA, at a risk to his fame and career, as opposed to using his fame to come out and get a book deal. Coming out before retiring would have made him a true pioneer and made his book worth reading. As it is, it sounds like his book will follow the same tired trajectory of Billy Bean's, a former major league baseball player who came out after he left the sport:

In his book, Amaechi describes the challenge of being gay in a league where it's assumed all players are heterosexual. He describes the blatant anti-gay language and attitudes he experienced in NBA locker rooms.
No kidding.

One other quote in the WaPo story about Amaechi caught my attention:

"With teammates you have to be trustworthy, and if you're gay and you're not admitting that you are, then you are not trustworthy," James said. "So that's like the No. 1 thing as teammates _ we all trust each other. You've heard of the in-room, locker room code. What happens in the locker room stays in there. It's a trust factor, honestly. A big trust factor."


Hmm. Which makes me wonder, "what really goes on in those locker rooms?" I may read Amaechi's book after all.

Senate Games Part II

So it appears that the GOP Senate advocates of an anti-surge non-binding resolution will hold up other legislation until they get a vote on their anti-war resolution.

Meaning, the Senate won't do anything until they vote on a bill that won't do anything.

Where have all the serious people gone?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Voice of Walt Whitman

You can hear gay American poet Walt Whitman reading his poem America here.

Remarkable. A gay icon...a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln. Suddenly alive. Fulfilling his prophesy:

Come, said my Soul,
Such verses for my Body let us write, (for we are one,)
That should after death I invisibly return...
Ever with pleas'd smile I may keep on...

If Ted Haggard's Not Gay

...after three weeks of "intensive counselling," then fellow blogger Scott at Reality Cubed has decided he can renounce his "tall identified lifestyle:"

Sure I'm 6'3" but I no longer identify myself as tall. Please do not address me as such.

The power of Jesus has convinced me that not only is my former "tall lifestyle" wrong, it's bad for society.

In short, NOBODY IS BORN TALL!

Read the whole thing here.

He's inspired me. I am no longer identifying as a brown-eyed, middle-aged white gay male. I'm now identifying as Turkish model Burak Ozcivit:

Sanctity of Marriage Watch

Last Sunday's WaPo magazine included vignettes from Washingtonians about what makes life in the nation's capital so unique. Like fans at a Nationals game getting more worked up over spotting Alan Greenspan and wife Andrea Mitchell in their section than seeing Tommy Lasorda. And this one:

In the fall of 1995 , I used my recently acquired college degree to land a fabulously low-paying job for a public relations firm. The company specialized in planning events for corporations wanting to influence Capitol Hill decision makers. As employees, we were expected to make each interaction memorable and always put our guests first.

During one spectacular party, I was asked to chat with the invitees while they waited to receive their name tags. When a good-looking gentleman approached the line, I flashed a smile and said my obligatory welcome. We spoke a few moments, he received his name tag, and I went back to greeting and smiling, moving from guest to guest.

Later that evening, the gentleman pulled me aside and told me I had made quite an impression. He leaned in and whispered, "I look forward to hearing from you." Simultaneously, he slipped me his card, with a number handwritten on the back. I understood clearly the reason he wanted me to call. And being young, single and curious, I wanted to know more about this man I had so impressed. I looked into it. Turns out he was one of the wealthiest men in Congress, with a wife and three children.


My guess: He also probably voted for the Defense of Marriage Act.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Undergear

The Under Gear catalogue (underwear for men with body fat measured in negative numbers)(and low body fat doesn't seem to be the only criteria judging by other certain attributes if you know what I mean and I think you do) arrived today. Many fascinating items of appearal. Like this one -- the high rise running short. High rise indeed.







This outfit also caught my attention. But does anyone really wear this stuff?

Haggard: "Not Gay"

At least, that's what the reports say.

Me either. Nope. No way. Not me.

What's in an (Online) Name?


From my friend Bonnie:

All of these are legitimate companies that didn't spend quite enough
time considering how their online names might appear. Check them out.

1. Who Represents is where you can find the name of the agent that represents any celebrity. Their Web site is www.whorepresents.com

2 . Experts Exchange is a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at www.expertsexchange.com

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at www.penisland.net

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at www.therapistfinder.com

5. There's the Italian Power Generator company, www.powergenitalia.com

6. And don't forget the Mole Station Native Nursery in New South Wales ,

7. If you're looking for IP computer software, there's always

8. The First Cumming Methodist Church Web site is www.cummingfirst.com

9. And the designers at Speed of Art await you at their wacky Web site,