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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gay Thursday: Bells Are Ringing

There probably won't be any bog deal made of homosexuals tying the knot until the general election when same sex lovers will once again be demonized. In the meantime, we've had Al Gore's endorsement and now this to keep the homefires burning:

30th January 2008 13:10
Gemma Pritchard

Actor Colin Farrell is to be best man at his brother's civil partnership ceremony.

Eamon Farrell, 35, is planning to marry his 23-year-old boyfriend Steven Mannion after a proposing to him in New York last year.

According to the Mirror: "Eamon proposed before Christmas. The pair share a love of art and this is what brought them together.

"Eamon is a respected dance teacher who set up the National Performing Arts School in Dublin more than 10 years ago.

"And Steven is a really talented artist who has been welcomed into the Farrell family."

The younger Farrell brother is best-known for his versatile performances in a string of hit films such as Phone Booth and Alexander.

It is rumoured Colin, 31, helped Eamon choose a diamond and sapphire-studded ring for his boyfriend.

The brothers are very close, and have bought houses next door to each other in Sandymount, South Dublin.

The couple have not yet decided where they will exchange vows - but it won't be in the Republic.

The insider told the Mirror: "With Irish legislation the way it is at the minute, the wedding can't be here.

"But the couple could go to the North or England for a civil partnership ceremony there.

"It's more likely though that they'll get married in the States so Colin's whole family can be there."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Word: McCain

There is a very thin veneer. Some people after the veneer wears off start to wear thin themselves.

Main Entry:
or pre·tence Listen to the pronunciation of pretence Listen to the pronunciation of pretence \ˈprē-ˌten(t)s, pri-ˈ\
Middle English, probably modification of Medieval Latin pretensio, irregular from Latin praetendere
15th century

1: a claim made or implied; especially : one not supported by fact2 a: mere ostentation : pretentiousness b: a pretentious act or assertion3: an inadequate or insincere attempt to attain a certain condition or quality4: professed rather than real intention or purpose : pretext 5: make-believe fiction6: false show : simulation

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday Talent: A Beauty Contest

Florida is in many senses the land of beauty contests. Anyone who has spent any time in South Beach knows that. Hillary Clinton, of all people, won one this very evening. On the other hand, what went on from the Republican side of things had nothing to do with beauty. John McCain who puts a smiley face on war mongering among other atrocities won a narrow victory on the prettiest of the candidates of the Republican ilk. It says a lot about him that he actually respects the likes of Rudy Giuliani ...

Let's not reflect on the ugliness of Florida politics. Al Gore could very well tell us there's no satisfaction in that.

The most disconcerting part of all of this is that over achiever Chris Matthews will get increasingly shriller as the cycle goes on. Will someone please call his AA sponsor?

The real beauty of it all is that Jon Stewart will sharpen his wit and Mr. Colbert will sprint in an even more lively manner while waving the banner of parody.

In the meantime, we post here someone whose true talent is beauty. He's not an actor. He's a model and a skateboarder.

If beauty were the actual ticket to the nomination and winning elections, this guy is the emperor of the universe. Thank you, gods, for Josh Wald.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Moonday Tarot

Two of Pentacles

From www.learntarot.com: In readings, the Two of Pentacles lets you know that you can juggle all demands made upon you. In fact, you will relish the excitement of every hurdle. If you do not feel this level of confidence right now, this card asks you to believe in yourself. You have all you need to meet your every goal and more. Embrace the challenge.

The Two of Pentacles also reminds you to be flexible. Lancelot could not have navigated the swords walking in a straight line. He had to move freely and lightly in all directions as needed. You too must be supple if you want to prevail. Don't force your way through or you will be cut down. Now is not the time to be rigid. Know that sometimes a side step, or even a back step is the surest way forward.

The Two of Pentacles is also a symbol of fun, laughter and good times. It is definitely a high-energy card. If you are feeling tired or depressed, this card may be a sign that greater vitality will be yours. If you are feeling revved already, the Two of Pentacles could be a warning against overstimulation. Be sure you get the rest you need so that you can enjoy the up energy of this card.

Jungian interpretation: Reorganization from within and the product of ambition and of individual genius. The energies are very favourable to those in public occupations and in positions of of authority--to all who need to act with creativity and with certainty ... This is a very strong card which describes change without values implied. What emerges is not necessarily better--it is simply different from what it replaced.

King of Pentacles

From www.learntarot.com: In readings, the King of Pentacles asks you to take the kinds of actions he might take. For example: keeping a commitment, fixing something that's broken, making money, or sponsoring a new enterprise. This King can also represent a man or woman who is acting as he does, or an atmosphere of steady, reliable competence. In a reading, he tells you that his special energy has meaning for you at this time. Let yourself be inspired by this King in whatever form he appears in your life.

The Jungian interpretation: The King is an extremely independent and assertive man, one who is strong and uncompromising, and who holds prominence and enormous responsibility ... always willing to listen, yet egocentric and demanding, always believing that whatever he decides is right ... he asks of others the same dedication that he demands from himself. He is a man of considerable integrity, but when cornered, or in a bad situation, he may act with ruthlessness, a disregard for others, and even cruelty.

Seven of Wands

From www.learntarot.com: The Seven of Wands stands for aggression and defiance because they are two sides of the same coin. You attack; your opponent defends. He counterattacks; you defend.

Some battles are worth fighting, others just cause trouble. If you are involved in a conflict, ask yourself if it's worth the struggle. Is it important? Does it have value? Will the outcome serve you or others? If so, be bold and aggressive. Defend your position. Refuse to yield! If not, then consider letting the conflict go. Be honest with yourself about this. You will be tempted to hold onto your position, especially if you have invested much time and energy into it. Don't let battle lines be drawn unless the war is worth fighting.

The Seven of Wands can also indicate strong convictions. In order to take a firm stand, you must believe in your position and yourself. You'll need integrity and strength of character to see you through. If your cause is just, use the energy of the Seven of Wands to make a difference.

Jungian interpretation: The energies of this card are exciting. Love and money may come like a tidal wave, but be wasted. There is here the possibility of loss of love, money, or friends, through one's own excesses. This is a card by which we learn to 'watch the watcher,' by which we analyze the very essence of our inmost desires. It helps us to consider the nature of raw passion, desire which can control us if we are not careful.

These cards were drawn once again in the moment of contemplating how change would take place. They are powerful cards, no nonsense cards with commitment and responsibility being driven by passion.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Songs of the Week: Remembering and Letting Go

It wasn't all that long ago that Heath Ledger made a lasting impression, if on no one else, on many a gay man who very much understood what went on in his creation of Ennis. There isn't much that one can impart if what he captured then and there was not absorbed by the observer. Still it is universal in that what this young man who was all of twenty-five at the time was able to express.

So we'll re-post Brian's heartfelt reflection on Brokeback Mountain as a way to bid farewell to Mr. Ledger. He was more than Ennis Del Mar, but it was his creation of Ennis that brought many of us into his ambit. It is difficult to let him go, but we must as all things must pass. Hence, the songs you hear this week.

I consider myself a logical, analytical person. I approach life in a reasoned manner, assuming that, no matter what happens, I can separate the wheat from the chaff, separate what's real from what my emotions want me to believe is real.

But as it happens logic sometimes doesn't serve; sometimes only deeply-felt emotion will do. And that's the way it is with Brokeback Mountain. So rather than this being a film review, an analysis of themes, a comparison of strengths and weaknesses, it's a very personal gathering together of feelings.

In the last fifty years I've probably only cried five or six times and of those, perhaps only 2 or 3 in public. Credit, or blame, my Irish-Canadian WASP heritage and maybe the era in which I grew up, but men aren't supposed to cry, so tears do not come easily.

A death, a personal loss or some rare convergence of event and memory that tripped an emotional trigger – that's it. Otherwise I'm the rock that other people lean on, the person they come to when they want to share their innermost pain. I sympathise, I empathise, but they know I won't cry with them and that's what they want.

And yet, today . . .

Today I bawled my eyes out in a movie theatre. I managed not to cry on the subway, but I cried in the car on the way home. I cried as I started to write this. It makes no sense, it's only a film. A story told by two-dimensional characters on a screen. Nothing more than moving pictures on a wall.

And yet, today . . .

Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal make the pain and longing, the frustration and helplessness, the brief days of joy and the unbearable months of separation, so immediate, so heartfelt that Ennis and Jack and the lives they lead take on an intense reality such as I have never experienced in a film before.

They come alive only when they are with each other. In existences stifled by convention and boxed in by fear, they must always hide an essential part of who they are - except from one another. Apart, they are generally detached, almost preoccupied. Following their separated lives is like seeing them through a camera that is always slightly out of focus. When they are with each other, they become whole. And eventually they are, as Annie Proulx wrote of the two shirts Ennis found in Jack's closet, "…the pair like two skins, one inside the other, two in one."

I cried for all kinds of reasons.

I cried because of the lives that were wasted, because Jack died, because all Ennis had was a couple of old shirts and a postcard, because they never got to say goodbye, because they could never be together, because neither got the one thing in life they deserved – to share every day with each other.

I cried because loving someone isn't always enough, because who we are, what others require us to be, can keep us from who we should be, because sometimes all we are left with is memories we can't share with anyone.

I cried because too many of us lead lives of quiet desperation, lives that we have made or that have been forced upon us, lives where we can only love in the wilderness, lives that drift and end unfulfilled, surrounded with regret.

And maybe I cried a little bit for myself. Because it reminded me that I too have a Brokeback Mountain in my past. That one person of whom I can think and say, "Maybe things would have been different, if only . . ."

Logically, I know this is just a story, that these are just fictional characters and, logically, I should be able to reject that it and they should have the power to do this to me. But as I said at the beginning, logic has nothing to do with it.

"I Will Never Let You Go" -- sung by Jackie Greene

When I feel that lonesome prairie wind
I let my soul get back to you again

And I will never let you, I will never let you,
I will never let you go

Even though this wasn't meant to be
It's gonna break my heart to watch you leave
But I will never let you, I will never let you,
I will never let you go

Why I'm feelin' so, so low
I will never let you, I will never let you,
I will never let you go

Why I'm feelin' so, so low,
I will never let you, I will never let you,
I will never let you go
Why I'm feelin' so, so low
I will never let you, I will never let you,
I will never let you go
I will never let you, I will never let you,
I will never let you go

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday Beefcake: Nightcap

Something to accompany the cognac.

Saturday Beefcake: Three Meals

One can only wonder if most people eat three per day. In the US, often it seems like many are partaking in more than that. Well, if there are three meals to be had, it is suggested that the three pictured here be on the menu.

Breakfast and lunch for most, it would seem, is make shift and quick. It's usually the evening meal that gets all the focus. If the beefcake below is too much for you ...

... try this:

Almond Chicken

Chicken Breasts, three, cut into bite sized pieces
Soy Sauce, three tablespoons
Chicken Broth, one cup
Coarse Salt, one tablespoon
Cornstarch, one and a half tablespoon
Mushrooms, sliced, one and a half cups
Onion, one medium, sliced
Bell Pepper, one cup, diced
Snow Pea Pods, one package
Green Onion, chopped, half cup
Almonds, sliced (8 oz package)
Olive Oil, two tablespoons

1. Marinate the chicken in the soy sauce for twenty minutes.
2. Brown the chicken in the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the broth and let simmer.
3. Mix the cornstarch and salt in water in order to make a paste. Mix the paste into the chicken and broth. Let it thicken slowly.
4. Add mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, and green onion. Stir.
5. Add pea pods and heat all ingredients thoroughly.
6. Add almonds and serve.

That should do the trick.

Saturday Beefcake

It wasn't until the third posting of this feature that a recipe started to accompany the beefcake. It was, of course, a recipe for:

Spiced Beefcake

Spiced beefcake is a traditional meat loaf recipe using minced beef.

Lean Beef, 400 grams (about a pound) fairly finely minced
Bacon, 225 grams(about a half pound) minced
Onion, one medium-sized, minced
Mushrooms 75 grams(about a cup)minced
Mace, Cloves, Cayenne, Allspice, Black Pepper, powdered and all mixed together, about a handful
Sea Salt to taste
Red Wine, 750 ml
Egg whites of two eggs for binding
Preheated Oven 325F/160C

1. Mix all the ingredients together except the egg whites and let the mixture marinate an hour or two. Then mix in the whites.
2. Pack the mixture into a baking dish of any shape. Bake it, uncovered, in a bain-marie for two hours. (This definition from busycooks.about.com -- "A bain marie is a utensil and a cooking technique. One container with food to be cooked is placed in another, larger pan containing water that is at the simmering point. This method of cooking surrounds the food with very gentle heat and is used for cooking delicate dishes like custards or white sauces, or melting chocolates." While the above recipe could hardly be called delicate. This method is very good at getting it well cooked uniformly.)
3. If you intend to eat it hot, cook it with a weight on top or it will become impossible to slice.
4. Serve it with the juices that have come from the meat, fat removed.

The sensual dish pictured was the inspiration for the redux of what is a very sensual meaty recipe on its own. It was also re-posted in honour of all you meat eaters.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Oops, It's the 27th: The Main Event!

Revolution: The T-Dance For POZ Men
January 27, 2008 (Revolution's One Year Birthday Party)
San Francisco, CA

Doors open at 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM and the cost is $5.

Club Eight
1151 Folsom Street @ 7th

Revolution has been going every month for almost a year now. It's the only advertised tea dance in the Bay Area for HIV+ gay, bi, and trans men to meet each other socially and without stigma. It's held at Club Eight in the South of Market area and has been growing each month. One of the cooler aspects about the event is that it has been a great way to reach out to poz men in the Bay Area who are not service seekers and who are generally younger.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gay Thursday III: Ganymede

All that fuss over a play! Perhaps it is best to enjoy the stories and mythological truths of older religions. For example, Zeus' (Jupiter's) love for Ganymede.

"Ganymede is the young, beautiful boy that became one of Zeus'
lovers. One source of the myth says that Zeus fell in love with
Ganymede when he spotted him herding his flock on Mount Ida. Zeus then
came down in the form of an eagle or sent an eagle to carry Ganymede to
Mount Olympus where Ganymede became cup bearer to the gods."

"Upon hearing that Ganymede was to be cup bearer as well as Zeus' lover, the
infinitely jealous Hera was outraged. Therefore Zeus set Ganymede's image among the stars as the constellation Aquarius, the water carrier."

"All of Zeus' scandalous liaisons have allegorical meanings.
Some sources say that Zeus' affair with Ganymede was a (religious)
justification for homosexuality within the Greek culture, yet others
state that this is merely a reflection of Greek life at that time."

This is the week that started with an homage to free love followed by a tarot meditation focusing on the paternal god in the psychic life paving the way for change.

Of course, there was Mr. Ledger's passing which provoked some meditation as well as Mr. Travolta's interesting and endearing expression of sadness--a cinematic god in a sense with his own ganymede.

So what if one were to believe in or meditate on a homosexual Jesus? Would it not be a reflection of today's life?

Jesus, of course--according to the accepted New Testament scripture--mentioned homosexuality not even once. Oh, and he did have a beloved disciple. Just sayin'.

Gay Thursday II: Jesus Gay Christ--Hoc Est Enim Corpus Meum

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A controversial play that depicts Jesus being seduced by Judas and conducting a gay marriage for two apostles has been condemned by church leaders ahead of its opening in Sydney.

The Anglican Bishop of South Sydney, Robert Forsyth, expressed his outrage at the plot of Corpus Christi on Sunday, calling the play "historical nonsense."

"It is deliberately, not innocently, offensive and they're obviously having a laugh about it," he told the Sun-Herald newspaper. "I wouldn't want to go and see it. Life's too short."

Set to open on February 7 as part of Sydney's annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival, Corpus Christi depicts Jesus and his followers as gay, and ends with Jesus being crucified.

Despite critical acclaim, the play provoked protests and bomb threats when it was performed in the United States.

Playwright Terrence McNally received a death edict, or fatwa, from a UK-based Islamic group, which declared it blasphemous when the play ran in London in 1999.

McNally, who is gay, has said he wrote the piece to explore parallels between Christ's persecution and the rejection he faced as a young gay man growing up in Texas.

Sydney Mardi Gras organizers describe it on the festival Web site as "a play that speaks out against inhumanity by providing a witty, contemporary interpretation of Jesus' life" . Director Leigh Romney, who is staging the work in Australia, rejected accusations the play mocks Christ.

Rowney said that as a Christian himself, he was keen to provoke debate.

"I wanted this play in the hands of a Christian person like myself to give it dignity but still open it up to answering questions about Christianity as a faith system," Rowney said.

(Writing by Gillian Murdoch; Editing by Rob Taylor and Alex Richardson)

Gay Thursday I: Magnificent Obsession

John Travolta: "My Tears for Heath"

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In a revealing interview (Woman's Day), Hollywood superstar John Travolta opens up about his devastation over the death of his friend Heath Ledger.

WD: Did you know Heath? How has his death affected you?
JT: I did know Heath and I adored him. I am pretty devastated over this. He was my favourite actor and my favourite talent. It's like losing James Dean. I would give back all my awards and all my nominations just to have him back — I think he is a real loss as a persona and as a talent. And this whole evening is very hard for me. We are celebrating Australia week in the USA — and it's killing me. You know that he's both of us. He's Australian and from the United States, and he means a whole lot. It's bad situation.

WD: How did you meet him?
JT: I wanted to meet him because I was very impressed with him from the very beginning. His agent introduced me to him at a party, and I just fell — I used every accolade. Actors need other actors to be inspired by, and he was "my" actor.

WD: How did he respond?
JT: I forget that anyone younger than me grew up with me. He was beautiful in his reaction. I was an idol of his — my reacting that way to his work really blew him away, but he was very modest and almost bashful about the compliment — and didn't want to make a big deal about himself. But he was a big deal.

WD: Did you know of any troubles he may have been experiencing?
JT: As far as I knew he was on top of the world. He had everything going for him and was very serious about his craft, and was looking forward to the best work thrown his way. I know recently there was a separation [between him and Michelle Williams], but the thing is when you have the depth of character and feeling as Heath did — it's a double-edged sword. You are also feeling those things in life. Your sensitivities and perceptions are almost an assault on you. The most beautiful thing you can use in your craft is also the very thing that can make life harsher for you. I would be presumptuous to assume any reasons, it would be inappropriate. My feeling on Heath is I don't want to lose him at any age, 28 or 88, like Marlon Brando. I didn't like his passing, he was special to me, and he was a friend. At any age you don't want to lose someone like that — he was a valuable guy. I am truly sorry and my heart goes out to everyone who knew him and loved him, and actually, my heart goes out to me, I really don't like it. I don't like it… [trails off]

WD: Do you feel for young people in show business now?
JT: I was in a different era, I really don't know. My daughter is starting out in the business and she will be protected by me, and I admire anyone who holds it together nowadays. There are a lot of outside pressures, and then you add the complications of being a superstar — that talent, that depth, and who knows? We would have to be inside that person's head.

WD: What was his most inspirational movie for you?
JT: Well, the first movie I saw him in was The Patriot, but then with Brokeback — I don't think anyone will ever beat that performance, I don't know if it's possible.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Word: Quit

By Hank Stuever
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A young movie star dies and the mind automatically cues up the clip reel and FFs through the footage, even before it occurs to you to simply turn on the television and just watch the actual, endless loop:

Here is Heath Ledger -- fresh and hunky and unknown -- singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and dancing on the school stadium bleachers in a teen flick adaptation of Shakespeare (10 Things I Hate About You, a reworking of The Taming of the Shrew). Here is Heath Ledger caressing that empty, soiled cowboy shirt kept by his dead lover in "Brokeback Mountain." And Heath Ledger as one of the Bob Dylans in I'm Not There, in sunglasses and a dour expression, one of the Bob Dylans who were impossible to be around.

A sneak peek of Heath Ledger from this summer's upcoming Batman movie as the Joker, fully unhinged, erasing in a few seconds any ownership Jack Nicholson may have claimed to that role. Working backward now, here is Heath Ledger in period pieces, wooing women or fighting in the Revolution. Heath Ledger in a knighthood fantasy, with swords. Heath Ledger as the unhappy prison guard in Monster's Ball who shoots himself in front of his father . . .

Edit that, rewind, start again:

Video suddenly from someone's phone of the curious crowd that gathered in the early evening yesterday, the gawkers and stalkers in all of us, at the SoHo apartment where Ledger was found dead at 28 by the housekeeper and the massage therapist. He was naked in a bed, with prescription sleeping pills reportedly found nearby -- fame's tragic tableau mort. Next we carry him to the gauzy and reverential place we reserve for such men: James Dean in a roadster on the highway, River Phoenix at a nightclub.

There can only be so many articles about a young actor's understatement, about his steeliness and cool. These always go with pictures of him in $400 jeans. Here you had a man who got a decent chance at everything a young actor could hope for, starting from Australian TV and leading to an Academy Award nomination for Brokeback Mountain--a part that, by conventional Hollywood wisdom, had just as much potential to kill a leading man's career.

Had he lived to old age, Ledger would have never stopped hearing "I wish I knew how to quit you" jokes, the line uttered by his co-star Jake Gyllenhaal in "Brokeback Mountain." MTV gave the two of them the "best kiss" prize at its movie awards show. What got lost in all that is how good the movie was, and how good Ledger was as Ennis Del Mar, the pent-up ranch hand with a broken heart. (Really it was a role about not talking, about the unsaid. Easier said than done.)

Some of Ledger's movies worked, and many of them did not, but all along, a viewer could sense that he went about the craft with almost too much seriousness, with pain. In almost every interview he downplayed celebrityhood, tried to deny its meaning and place in his life, shrugged the usual serious-actor shrugs -- often while lighting his cigarette, creating a mood of nonchalance. Just a couple of years ago he and his pretty girlfriend moved to the pretty part of Brooklyn and had a pretty baby girl. People (the magazine, and actual people) followed them everywhere. They broke up, and it seemed like a shame, though what sort of shame you can never quite say: Ours? Theirs?

Despite the initial huzzah and marketing by Ledger's publicists -- the Vanity Fair cover eight years ago and the expert chiseling that goes along with that -- the heartthrob thing never clicked for Ledger. He worked another angle, something that is sometimes called "smoldering" when writers are out of ways to describe it. It looked like it was a chore for him to be cute. "He's handsome, but not in a traditional sort of way," Shekhar Kapur, who directed Ledger in the 2002 drama Four Feathers, said about the actor to The Washington Post. "He's a bit craggy, but he's very, very sexy."

Craggy sexy. That was it, and perhaps that was all of it. Craggy sexy is not a lot of smiles and fashion spreads. The result of craggy sexy is that a certain niche of fans winds up swooning, writing letters of adulatory praise to Entertainment Weekly, but not as many people who opt for the more mainstream definition of sexy. Those people like Brad Pitt.

In public, Ledger kept dirtying up, dressing down, adding tattoos, chain-smoking, letting his hair get long and greasy. (Message: I don't care about that kind of thing. Message: Only the art matters.)

But like all of them -- all of these craggy sexy serious actors in search of a good part -- he cleaned up good. The lasting photo is of him in a tuxedo, making his way down the red carpet in 2006 with his then-girlfriend, Michelle Williams. They'd met on the set of Brokeback Mountain. They'd just had the baby a few months before, and named her Matilda. In the carpet moment, Williams is in curry yellow Vera Wang chiffon. The couple do their best to fulfill all the requirements of the carpet, talking optimistically and proudly about his nomination for Best Actor, and also talking about nothing, and looking great.

He didn't win. Hours later, at the Vanity Fair party at Morton's in Beverly Hills, he was drinking with friends. People stood near him and just watched him. It was Ledger, Williams and Jake Gyllenhaal. It was Gyllenhaal's talented sister, Maggie, and her fiance, the un-craggy, heavy-lidded Peter Sarsgaard.

We hovered around them and tried to overhear their conversation. Soon enough they all drew closer and shut everyone out with their body language. They formed an impenetrable circle of young Hollywood cool.

(Chucky from Stonewall wrote on the sidewalk in front of the bar: "Heath Ledger, why did you quit us?" Hence, today's word.)

Main Entry: 2quit
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): quit also quit·ted; quit·ting
Etymology: Middle English quiten, quitten, from Anglo-French quiter, from quite free of, released, from Latin quietus quiet, at rest
Date: 13th century
transitive verb
1: to make full payment of : pay up
2: to set free : relieve release
3: conduct acquit
4 a: to depart from or out of b: to leave the company of c: give up 1 d: give up 2

Definition number two seems to be what it's all about.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday Talent: Goodnight, Sweet Heath

He was a friend of mine
He was a friend of mine
Every time I think about him now
Lord I just can't keep from cryin'
'Cause he was a friend of mine

He died on the road
He died on the road
He just kept on movin'
Never reaped what he could sow
And he was a friend of mine

I stole away and cried
I stole away and cried
'Cause I never had too much money
And I never been quite satisfied
And he was a friend of mine

He never done no wrong
He never done no wrong
A thousand miles from home
And he never harmed no one
And he was a friend of mine

He was a friend of mine
He was a friend of mine
Every time I hear his name
Lord I just can't keep from cryin'
'Cause he was a friend of mine.

Copyright © 1962; renewed 1990 MCA

Monday, January 21, 2008

Moonday Tarot: Livin' the Dream

Three cards were drawn here on the eve of the full moon in Leo. The first of which was major arcane, The Tower.

The Jungian interpretation involves the paternal figure of The Emperor (Jupiter, Zeus, Thor) whose task it is "to sweep away institutions that have become useless in our lives." On one hand there is utter destruction but on the other "peace and conciliation."

It also says that the card has been called: "'The House of God,' to imply that spiritual learning involves the absolute destruction of old concepts and of old ways of life." Not an easy task.

The subsequent draws were (1) the four of pentacles: "Success in an executive career, or in anything involving management of large amounts of money, and of large numbers of people, is assured. Everything seems to work perfectly, achievement and prosperity flow in. Apart from wealth per se ... (interpreted as Jupiter in Capricorn) may suggest an unorthodox approach to religion." and (2) the three of pentacles which, according to the Jungian interpretation is a dark response to conflict with authority. "At other levels, the card suggests an increase in money and finances. It also heralds success in art, in music, or in occupations related to philosophy and religion--all of which tend to delve deeply into unconscious materials, and to bring them down into a world of structure."

Paternal Jupiter is indeed in the paternal sign of Capricorn where Pluto the capacity for destruction and rebirth now makes home. (Living the moon in exile in the very sign of Capricorn will make for some very interesting life experiences.)


Doctor King left us before he completed his fourth decade. Imagine if he were still here imparting wisdom as he approached his eighth decade. There was a cover on one of the weekly news magazines prior to that horrendous spring of 1968 that touted Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King as the dream ticket. Who knows what that might set in motion. That year both were cut down. Some thought, "That's what we get for dreaming."
A dream indeed that peace, freedom and equality might be the rule of the day. The more things change the more they stay the same. The Dream nevertheless lives on.

That election year segregationist George Wallace stole the Deep South from Richard Nixon's electoral count almost costing him the election. It was maintaining race as a pivotal issue in presidential politics. After the assassination attempt on Wallace in 1972, the South has remained firmly ensconced in the bosom of the Republican Party.

Al Gore, who is sorely missed this election cycle, once said:

As Dr. King once said, "Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us."

William Jefferson Clinton was once euphemistically referred to as the first Black President, because of his strident and unbridled support in the African American Community. It's hoped that he doesn't destroy that legacy.

It's great that Barack Obama is a viable candidate. It's even better that Black Americans are not falling in lock step and voting for him simply because he is one of them. What is not so great is that political reporting is still very much about the process and polling as opposed to issues.

As an aside, no matter what he says,pandering to who knows who, Obama is no Reagan. (Saints be praised!) Oh, and just because "The Surge" is allegedly working does not make it a good idea and nor does it make the entire Iraq enterprise good. The soldiers need to come home. There need be a closer look at Pakistan, an ever festering symptom of what has been created in that part of the world.

Coining Tom Brokaw's phrase. Please do not stampede the process. Let it play out.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Songs of the Week: Lovin' the One You're With

There are many tags and names for temporary liaisons: tryst, one night stand, trick, and, of course, oh-christ-was-I-drunk-last-night. In Italian it is an avventura, an adventure. The less evolved experience is nothing more than glorified masturbation. The best experiences are truly adventures in creative love making. This post is in praise of that kind of promiscuity.

Part of the liberation that came about on the threshold of the 70s and well into that decade meant for many gay men that it was time to openly participate in finding the love of life, even if it meant only temporarily. While that may sound offhand, it is very true.

There's something to be said for the sweet and sad emotional recollection of a memorable hour, afternoon or night spent with someone. This speaks to a different kind of morality--one which reminds us to celebrate humanity in all of its expressions. It is possible to love someone temporarily.

The 80s crashed with the reality of safe sex. Still safe sex does not mean that the loving need end. This week's music is headed by Joan Baez's hymn to the beauty of loving a stranger. It is followed by Stephen Stills exhortation sung by Jean Terrell with The Supremes and Four Tops. Evie Sands' claim to fame rounds it out, reminding us that love in the traditional sense may have nothing to do with it, but it is love in the end.

Love Song To A Stranger lyrics

(Words and Music by Joan Baez)

How long since I've spent a whole night in a twin bed with a stranger
His warm arms all around me?
How long since I've gazed into dark eyes that melted my soul down
To a place where it longs to be?
All of your history has little to do with your face
You're mainly a mystery with violins filling in space

You stood in the nude by the mirror and picked out a rose
From the bouquet in our hotel
And lay down beside me again and I watched the rose
On the pillow as it fell
I sank and I slept in a twilight with only one care
To know that when day broke and I woke that you'd still be there

The hours for once they passed slowly, unendingly by
Like a sweet breeze on a field
Your gentleness came down upon me and I guess I thanked you
When you caused me to yield
We spoke not a sentence and took not a footstep beyond
Our two days together which seemingly soon would be gone

Don't tell me of love everlasting and other sad dreams
I don't want to hear
Just tell me of passionate strangers who rescue each other
From a lifetime of cares
Because if love means forever, expecting nothing returned
Then I hope I'll be given another whole lifetime to learn

Because you gave to me oh so many things it makes me wonder
How they could belong to me
And I gave you only my dark eyes that melted your soul down
To a place where it longs to be

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday Beefcake

In spite of Column of Life's plush surroundings, there are no in house photographers. Today's recipes are in house recipes and photography, as in the previous two beefcakes are not forthcoming. So, we are serving up photos of some other dishes gathered from the Internet.

This first course has evolved over the years and its current version is a big hit. Every Italo-Americano household has experienced maccheroni with tuna. It is one of the staples of the Friday evening meal. It's simple and to the point. Reinventing it is very satisfying.

Pasta al Tonno alla Giano

Garlic, two cloves, chopped
Onion, one small red, chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tuna, about a cup (imported Italian tonno in olive oil is good, or a portion of a grilled steak)
Anchovy Paste, one tablespoon
Grape Tomatoes, cut in half, one cup
Roasted Peppers, chopped, one cup
Tomato Puree (or even a hearty tomato soup), half cup
Roasted Pepper puree, half cup
Whole Grain Pasta, 500 grams or one pound

1. There is a short cut that you can take regarding the purees. You can use Pacific Roasted Pepper and Tomato soup. You be the judge.
2. As far as whole gran pasta is concerned, if some brands are too dense, use Barilla Plus and Misura's whole grain cooks up nicely to an al dente texture. Just follow the box directions when cooking.
3. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil, when they've reached an aromatic state, add the tuna.
4. Quickly saute the tuna making sure it is coated with the olive oil and then add an ounce and a half of grappa, or enough to reach all the tuna and cook it down to evaporation.
5. Stir in anchovy paste to taste and ad capers (thoroughly drained)
6. Add chopped grape tomatoes. Add chopped roasted peppers.
7. Thyme and Basil to taste, either dry or fresh.
8. Now add the soup and/or purees and stir.
9. Cook for about twenty minutes or until it reaches density.
10. Add the pasta when it is cooked.

This should be enough to get your guests into ecstatic throes. Something like le petit mort. Relax, it's an analogy.

Patate Americane Fortunate

(Lucky Sweet Potatoes)

Sweet Potatoes, four medium
Apple, one medium, peeled and sliced
Onion, small red, sliced
Garlic, four cloves, squashed
Orange Juice, fresh from three medium sized oranges
Broccoli di Rape, one medium sized bunch
Olive Oil
Sweet Pepper, one, red, yellow or orange
Baby Carrots, about a cup
Sausage or Chicken (one pound or 500 grams)
Oven preheated to 375F

This is a dish that can be a main course or a side course. It's hearty winter fare. While there are other many things that can warm the cockles (whatever those are) of the heart, this can warm you all over. And it is relatively heart wise especially if you forego pork sausage.

1. This recipe works best, if it is well attended once it hits the oven.
2. It is in its optimum state when each of the elements are cooked separately before being brought together.
3. Boil the carrots in 3/4 of the orange juice. set aside.
4. in the meantime, bake the peeled and sliced sweet potatoes in olive oil, spritzed with the rest of the orange juice. Add the thyme and nutmeg.
5. Steam the broccoli di rape. Set aside.
6. Saute the apple and onion slices in garlic and olive oil.
7. Slice the sweet bell pepper in long strips.
8. Bake everything in shallow baking dish in olive oil, except the broccoli, which is added right at the end.
9. Stir often while baking.
10. To turn this into a main dish, add sausage, cooked in vinegar and water to the mix--or dark meat chicken.

Enjoy, your favourite dessert afterwords.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday's Main Event: New York AIDS Walk

And fund raising at Prohibition

The staff of Smart + Strong, publishers of POZ, Tu Salud & Real Health invite you to an AIDS Walk New York fundraiser on May 14, 2008 from 5:45 to 9 pm to be held at
503 Columbus Avenue (at 84th).
New York City.

Rich and Ian of Prohibition have once again generously set aside valuable time to support this important effort. There will be a $25.00 donation at the door and a two drink minimum. Table reservations are gladly accepted for those who are dining. The soiree will include entertainment from John Kouri and Tremors with special guest Ilene Kristen of One Life to Live. Thorsten Kaye from All My Children will be on hand to meet and greet the fans who come out. Stay tuned for further celebrity additions.

RSVP: 212.938.2045 (or through this web site)

This effort continues to be a labour of love and the POZ team would like nothing more than to continue contributing to New York’s most significant fund raising event. For over a quarter century now, AIDS has been a part of life. We all have to live as if we were HIV positive--better a red badge of courage rather than a scarlet letter. Fund raising puts us right in the thick of things. It somehow makes us part of the solution. This is the moment. This is when and where we can make ourselves heard, when we can love out loud. It’s about celebrating life. It’s about being who we are and overcoming untimely death.