Saturday, June 13, 2009

The pink triangle stole - updated

Here you go, my patient puppies.

In order to make up for my oversight, I took the stole and my camera to a group dinner at the home of friends and had the host take this shot. The robust tan you see is my face almost glowing from hours of sun today. Fortunately, I tan more than burn.

Now for some stories behind the stole (as opposed to stories told "under the stole").

I pieced this stole for Pride Day 1997, I believe. At that time I was the interim priest at St Aidan's, San Francisco. I wore the stole as the St Aidan's contingent marched in the parade on Market Street that afternoon. I also wore it that morning at Mass. At the end of the service a colleague announced that the Diocese of California had one more lesbian and I put the stole on her. So an emotional coming out is tied to this stole, along with wonderful memories of the good people at St Aidan's.

Yes, Susan S., I got soppy recounting this tale along the parade route when we had come to a stop. What can I say? I'm a tenderhearted guy.

It occurred to me that some guests to this site might not know the significance of the pink triangle. In a nutshell, it is one of the symbols of the gay rights movement drawn from the history of Nazi Germany. A pink triangle was worn by gay prisoners just as yellow stars of David were worn by Jewish ones. Many gays suffered in the holocaust, along with Jews, Poles, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others of whom the Nazis disapproved. You may learn more here. Like the cross, it is a symbol drawn from a history of cruelty to be transformed into a mark of identity. And pride. It also reminds us of solidarity with those before us who have suffered and died.

--the BB

Une fleur du désert

--the BB


06/11/09 :
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ricky L. Richardson Jr., 33, of Franklin, Mo., died June 10 while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group...


Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack in Baghdad

Sacramento Bee
15 months after bloodbath in Iraq, young veteran takes his life
On March 7, 2007, Army Spc. Trevor Hogue was inside his barracks in Baghdad, describing his morning on the battlefield...He saw the bodies of half of the men in his platoon torn apart...But Hogue never really recovered. Last week, he committed suicide by hanging himself in the backyard of his childhood home. He was 24 years old.

Sadly, we read more (from the Granite Bay Press-Tribune):
Local vet: depression common among comrades
By Nathan Donato-Weinstein |

In the years since he returned from Iraq, Cody Conway has seen 10 of his comrades take their own lives.

“It’s one of the untold things that people don’t talk about,” said Conway, a United States Marine Corps sergeant who returned to Roseville in 2003.

The death of well-liked Granite Bay’s resident Trevor Hogue last week has focused local attention on the issue of soldier suicide.

Statistics show he’s not alone. A 2008 report by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs says an average of 18 veterans in this country commit suicide every day, and the number is rising.
You can learn more about Trevor here.

May he and all who reach that dark place rest now in eternal light and rise in glory.

St Mike's at ABQ Pride 2009

Parishioners greeting us from the sidelines and cheering us on.

Marching down Central Avenue.

Tom used his lovely convertible for this. I walked about 3/4 of the parade route and then got tired and overheated. So I got in the car and did the Betty Windsor "smile and wave" routine.

There were so many smiling faces along the parade route that I got a little soppy. If we had 364 other days a year to be who we are, happily and without fear....

Sorry, no pics of me in the pink triangle stole. This was not deliberate; I just forgot to have someone take a photo of me. My mind was much more on getting there, keeping up, and getting home at the end. We drove right into the NM Expo grounds and thus even had free admittance but all I could think of was getting home.
--the BB

Friday, June 12, 2009

Le Weekend

Tomorrow is the Pride Parade in ABQ. I have not done anything related to this since moving here but plan to join the parish contingent and march tomorrow morning. I have pulled out my pink triangle stole (hot pink at that). I will share photos, but probably not until Sunday evening.

The photo is of the Sandias viewed from the 4th floor of the building where I work.

Dinner with friends tomorrow evening, church Sunday morning, gym after church, writing when I can. (Nobody needed all that boring detail but perhaps it will disabuse those who think I lead a glamorous life. LOL. Are there any of those poor souls out there?)

I only got about three paragraphs written today but proofed about 20 pages of what I had written earlier. Glaring inconsistencies help humble a body.

Sweet dreams, my clever cassowaries!

--the BB

The story line we have been led to believe ... is false in every one of its dimensions

Senator Whitehouse delivered a powerful speech in the Senate on June 9. You may read the full text from The Congressional Record here.

An excerpt:
From open source and released information, here are some of the falsehoods that have been already debunked. I will warn you the record is bad, and the presumption of truth that executive officials and agencies should ordinarily enjoy is now hard to justify. We have been misled about nearly every aspect of this program.
Imagine my surprise. Not.

Dan Froomkin discusses all this here.

--the BB

I love where I live

West Mesa, southwest Albuquerque
(click to embiggen)

This was taken "just up the road" from where I live. I don't know how long it will be like this. At my back as I took this picture after work today is Atrisco Heritage Academy, the new high school in our neighborhood, still under construction. For now, however, I have lots of untouched land to drive through and past.

Sandias viewed from Sen. Dennis Chávez Ave. & 118th

This was taken from very near where the top photo was shot only looking to the northeast instead of the southwest. I live in the neighborhood in the far right foreground. I see this when I drive home each evening.

--the BB

Heart thread - 06/12/2009 - updated (2x)

Susankay sends a request:
Paul -- request prayers for my next door neighbors (and frequent adversaries in various suits) Kathy with COPD and worries over Dan with pancreatic cancer which has developed into bone mets. We have fought about so much but they are now hurting and in need of our prayers.

I ask your ongoing prayers for Ellie who faces many challenges.

Update on my nephew Jay below.

UPDATE #2 from my sister Iva this evening:
Thank you!
for your prayers, also those of your prayer partners.

News flash! Aunt May is in Selma hospital, will be going to rest home on Monday for "a week or two" to gain strength. Also Shirley [our sister] took a fall tonight in a restaurant. She is home and I will check with her in the morning and keep you informed!
Nighty night!
We have some good news.
From Roseann:

I just talked to Gary's surgeon and everything went really well. They put a pain blocker in his shoulder so he didn't have to be put deeply under and he's waking up now. I'll bring him home in about an hour.

Thank you so much everyone for all the prayers. You're the best!

(I nicked Roseann's update from Mimi. The next two are also from Mimi.)

Let us continue to remember Mimi's niece:
It is cancer - about the size of a dime - totally encapsulated - he took out extra tissue. She has to go back next week for chest x-ray, MRI and blood work - and they'll take some lymph nodes from her armpit? I think next step after that is radiation. She's handling it pretty well.

UPDATE: Please add KJ, his sister, and his father to your prayers.

My sister heads towards the conclusion of chemo next month, and is doing well. She has been the primary support person for my dad in his battle with colon cancer. I can't remember if I reported that it is stage 4. Chemo has been complicated by low white blood cell count. Fortunately, he's a tough old bird.
For Joel and Margaret.

Continued healing for Diane's arm.

Offering thanksgiving for Gallito Mescalito's healing.

For Erik von Brunn, son of alleged killer James van Brunn, who wrote this:
For the extremists who believe my father is a hero: it is imperative you understand what he did was an act of cowardice. To physically force your beliefs onto others with violence is not brave, but bullying. Doing so only serves to prove how weak those beliefs are. It is simply desperation, reminiscent of a temper tantrum when a child cannot get his way. Violence is a cop out; an easy answer for an ignorant problem.

His actions have undermined your "movement," and strengthened the resistance against your cause. He should not be remembered as a brave man or a hero, but a coward unable to come to grips with the fact he threw his and his families lives away for an ideology that fostered sadness and anguish.
Duh! Continued prayers for my sister-in-law Janet's healing. And ongoing recovery for my friend Kathy.

"One Love" for our hearts this evening:

--the BB

Pray for the People of Iran

Iranians flood to polls for pivotal election - ‎22 minutes ago‎
Iranians have gone to the polls in large numbers today for a crucial presidential election that has polarised the country and unleashed mass opposition to the hardline incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

This election will influence the stability of the world in the years ahead.

--the BB

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Your nightly tease

Oh dear, language!
T. seemed to be listening with one ear when reports of the south came in. He looked out the window rather than at those addressing him and cracked his knuckles repeatedly. That his sister- and brother-in-law would not stand up for him was a bitter blow.

“That miserable drengturd thinks he will rule [].”

Not that T. had ever seen a dreng, much less its scat, for drengs were creations of the dark arts known only in legend. No [sorcerer] was likely to conjure them or acknowledge knowing how to do so. Still, the expression evoked powerful disgust, as T. intended.
There are no drengs in this tale (at least I don't think there will be). But they appear elsewhere in the chronicles. Think of a cross between a hamster and a piranha--furry but very nasty.

I started chapter 37 today but have not written a word this evening. On the way home I stopped and bought memory cards for the camera (the twit forgot to remind me I needed some when I bought the camera, so that meant a second trip to Costco). Then to the gym for 30 minutes on the stationary bike. I caught the second half of Colbert tonight. Read a little, prayed a little, blogged a little. Now to bed. I'm bushed.*

Sweet dreams, my virtual voles!

--the BB

* Yes, unfortunate choice of words. Not gonna tax my brain rephrasing.

Heart thread - 06/11/2009 - updated

I ask your prayers for my nephew Jay and his mother Iva (great grandmother of the twins). I got an update from my sister today. She said diabetes has taken over their lives. They went to the mountains and Jay fell. Only three weeks later did they find out he'd broken a bone. Jay has bad tremors and life is a big challenge for him and his mom. They have got his blood sugar down to reasonable levels. Visit to the ortho group tomorrow morning first thing.

UPDATE 6/12/09:
Doctor says let him walk on it. It's is beginning to heal and will hurt for six or eight weeks. He had to have twisted it when he fell , it was not a clean break. Sort of on an angle but did not hurt his ankle. Good news! Take him back in a month and x-ray again.

Tomorrow is Gary's surgery, so prayers for him and Roseann.
(Thanks to Mimi for reminding me; I forget so quickly.)

More sleep for PJ and happy teeth for Kirstin (who just went to the dentist).

For Euna Lee and Laura Ling, imprisoned in the DPRK.

JN1034 reminds us:
Yesterday's shooting at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC took the life of 39-year-old Special Police Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns (photo). Let us pray for him, his family, loved ones, and friends, and for all whose service to public security always stands before the imposing risks of harm and death.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us, unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
--The Book of Common Prayer

--the BB

There is a naked woman in my living room

The lovely nude, painted by the Rev. JoAnne Bennett, adorns my living room. I love it. The shot above is not a close-up, it is detail from the shot below.

So no, Mimi, my toy is not a new vacuum cleaner. I have one that works quite well, if the vacuumer does not. It is a new camera. I have been craving more detail, more options, etc. in photography for some time.

You might not notice a huge difference in some of these shots, though I sure do, until we go zoom in.

These are from among my very first shots. It took me a while just to figure out how to point and shoot (hooray for menu instruction on the LCD screen).

I don't talk "camera" so you experienced folk should not expect any discussion of technical details. But I do take photos and share them. (It's a Canon Eos 500D "Rebel T1i" and that's as techie as I am going to get.)

I plan to splurge further on a telephoto lens and I already have a tripod. I think this falls into the category of indulgent spending that makes sense: something I enjoy immensely, will actually use, and can share with others. (Well, that's what I tell myself, anyway.)

For those who don't know it already, The Cunning Runt is one of my big heroes. His eye and sensibility, combined with good cameras and lots of effort and technique, bless us almost daily with the most amazing shots of nature. They truly nourish my soul.

--the BB

Heart thread - 06/11/2009

Continued prayers for Mimi's niece who is scheduled to get the biopsy results today. May the news be good and her heart centered in love.

For my SIL Janet as she continues to recover.

For the people of Iran as they prepare to vote.

A blessed St Barnabas Day to you all.

Please add your own requests and thanksgivings in the comments.
--the BB


06/10/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Eduardo S. Silva, 25, of Greenfield, Calif., died June 9 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, of a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


My typical pattern of impulse buying is to think about getting something for a while and then, when out shopping, see it and grab it.

Bought myself a new toy tonight, I did. I'll share in a few days.

(Yep, total tease.)

A big indulgence. Very naughty.

When I came home I logged in to transfer funds to cover it. Hooray, paycheck arrived today and so no overdraft. Thank you, Jesus. My life is all cash, check, or debit card. Zero credit.

But not a new Jaguar. Hope MP's having a good time.

And I hope I can learn to drive this puppy.

--the BB

The Black Lion, the Old Witch, and ain't nobody in the closet, thank you very much

He was not in the room with her but sitting on a stone ledge, partly hewn from living rock on the uphill side of [town] and partly smoothed by centuries. D. also appeared to be napping but any who spotted him in that sacred location knew to let him alone. It was a place sacred to ... the Eagle of Heaven and goddess of visions. D. came here often to commune with the stars, walking to the edge of the capital, using his one arm to grip a staff topped with an eagle claw.

Today he listened not to deities but to his fellow [person of power]. Her request was disturbing and D. protested, but she appealed to the one who had sent her [north] and D. relented. If this came from the dying orders of the Old Princess then he would do his part.

Their chat completed, D. rose, seized his staff, and headed toward the palace.

“[Sea Goddess] pity me,” he muttered, “the old witch had better be right.”
After about a day and a half with not much writing, I think I am back in the swing of things. A few more of the immediate pieces have fallen into place. There are challenges. I work with the map that has evolved over time, not the map I might wish I had (ah, Rummy, you ass). It would be logistically easier for me to plan a war among three or four neat territories but it is a combination of geographic affinity AND marriage alliances that determines where the loyalties lie and so the factions are scattered and intermingled. Makes it much harder.

I do like the challenges, however.

The topographical map above gives you some idea of how real this world is in my imagination. This is NOT where the current story takes place, though the young duke did travel through this part of the world in the opening chapters. The copper and aquamarine necklace came from these islands. (Yes, every island, river, and town has a name.)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll just head back to the 8th century.

[Yes, David, I am a tease.)

--the BB

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


06/09/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Maj. Rocco M. Barnes, 50, of Los Angeles, died June 4 in Afghanistan of injuries sustained during a vehicle roll-over. He was a member of the Tactical Command Post, 40th Infantry Division, California Army National Guard...

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Whittle, 20, of Downey, Calif., died June 6 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force...

Not much posting today

1. I got home late
2. I am not very high energy
3. I am about to watch Stephen Colbert in Iraq
4. It will then be bedtime

Last night I was up waaaaay late printing off a hard copy of pages 1-80 of the current book to date so I could review and proofread it. Reading large chunks in one or two sittings helps one note major inconsistencies that crept in when watching leaves instead of the forest. The eyes also catch things a bit differently than they do reading onscreen.

I did notice that a character in a recent battle had allegedly fallen to the plague four years earlier. I clearly did not have my genealogies in synch there! I think I will switch one of those references with a sibling.

Falling asleep already.

Sweet dreams, my frolicking froggies!

--the BB

Monday, June 08, 2009

Because I can't deny Mimi....

... a "cute" fix, here are the twins from Saturday.

A comment on their blog reminds me: though they were born three months ago, they are newborns in developmental terms.

We now return to our regular posts on torture, injustice, ecclesiastical horrors, and fictional wars.

--the BB

Sunday, June 07, 2009

"Save your children."

Č. had to remind herself to breathe yet nothing could stop her from entering those great eyes, falling into their depths, sensing herself lost in an ocean of knowing, of understanding, of boundless compassion. The knotted place within her heart, her womb, her throat—carried from her agonizing nightmare into this frightful day—was present, as though she had been able to reach deep within herself and pull it forth and offer it to those all-seeing eyes. Č. felt herself drowning in honey yet knowing it was all right.

As I promised, the nightmare is followed by an encounter with a goddess. Grandmother Tortoise, the deity of wisdom and compassion, comes to the princess to explain the dream and point the path.

If only saving the children of F. were simple.

Sigh. I have come to this point in the narrative and am falling asleep. It is time to go to bed. I wish I could completee the scene, and with it the chapter, but tomorrow is another day.

Sweet dreams, my twittering titmice!

--the BB

A good day

Magenta petunias and pole beans

I do not usually take photos of the front yard as it is largely uninteresting, but the day lilies are blooming now in abundance. This afternoon when I got home from the gym I got this shot of them in the shade of the plane tree.

On the way home I stopped at Home Despot (as my friend calls it) and picked up 5-gallon roses to replace some of the bare root roses that had done nothing.

This is one of the new roses.
The photo does not show the pale peach color
but mostly the pink at the edges.

In a couple of other spots where bare root roses did nothing
I put bright red penstemon with white throats.

And here you can make out tomato blossoms.
Promise of things to come!

I presided at the Trinity Mass this morning and Deacon Karly preached. Lots of yakking after church, then the gym where I stretched, rode the bike, and sweated in the sauna. Plant shopping (and tomato and rose food), a few things at Staples, then home. I waited until early evening to go out and work in the yard. I planted two roses and two penstemons then called it quits for the day. Tomorrow evening I will plant a white bower vine and a cherry hot pepper that I also picked up today. Oh, and I did a few loads of laundry today also. I call it a productive day and I am feeling a good tired.

Now, back to my parallel world for a while before bedtime.

Just say "No" to twaddlemongers

It just seems appropriate to bring this one back.
--the BB

If we never heard from her again....

... there would be less political pollution in the nation.

I write of Liz Cheney, of course.

I'm not suggested that she be rendered or have a forced laryngectomy, just that she have the decency to STFU.

Not that the Cheneys, père et fille, believe in decency, or the shared standards of civilization for that matter. You couldn't and still tout torture the way they do.

The Stephanie Miller Show had a nickname for Dana Perino when she was Dubya's press secretary: "the lying sack of cute."

Liz Cheney isn't even cute (pace her parents).

MSNBC had the sleaziest rationale for giving her air time, one that does not hold up at all. Turkana did a terrific parody of it.
“We often have repeat guests on, from both sides of the aisle, when they are interesting and engaging. There are many people who appear frequently throughout the day on MSNBC, and Liz is a great guest.”
--Alan Russo of MSNBC

If a producer is made available, perhaps he/she can explain why MSNBC thinks a guest who has consistently lied (without challenge, meaningful or otherwise) is "great." Or maybe explain why none of the anchors who have handed over their platform to her have asked where she got the classified information she talks about.


I love my dad. Can I be on TV?

Granted, my dad was never so incompetent as to allow the worst ever terrorist attack on U.S. soil. He never lied a nation into starting an illegal, immoral, and unnecessary war. He never authorized torture. Simply put: he isn't a war criminal. And he never shot anyone in the face. But he's a great guy, and has done a lot of public good. Which should count for something, shouldn't it?

I'm also a great guest. Ask anyone who has ever had me to a party or for dinner. I'm mostly polite, witty, and a charming conversationalist. I clean up after myself. I usually don't steal anything. And I know a little about politics. Granted, my dad never got me political jobs for which I had no apparent qualifications, but I'm still capable of stringing together coherent sentences, when discussing matters political. And although much of what I say is my opinion, when I do speak about verifiable facts, they do prove verifiable. I'm not a good liar. I hope that doesn't disqualify me!

I just don't need one more person whose words or visage enrage me toward apoplexy.

Yes, I know, my reactions are my responsibility. But really, what reason is there to give major exposure to someone who spouts disproved bullshit in support of torture? It's like saying there are two sides to the issue of serial killing.
It's postmodernism, the notion that there is no such thing as truth. There's only your version of events and my version and Charles' version and Harry's version, and the one that prevails will be that of whoever is the most powerful. This seems to fly in the face of the way scholarship has proceeded for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
--Lynn Cheney, Baby Dick's mama
Huh. Who knew?

Candorville recently speculated that Dick Cheney's secret undisclosed location in 2001-2008 turned out to be 2009.

Almighty God, you proclaim your truth in every age by many voices: Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And fergawdsake, newsoids, challenge people when they lie on your airtime. Sheesh!

--the BB