July 31, 2004

The Party's Over


Now that the Democratic Convention is over there are several observations I would like to make.

  1. John Kerry made a good speech. He was stiff as always, but he warmed up as he went and became quite impassioned toward the end.

  2. Being patrician and / or from an old upper crust family should not be viewed as negative. So many Republican and Democratic pundits have stated so concerning Kerry’s lineage that I want to vomit. Lest we forget, "G Dubya’s" lineage is just as crusty though you’d never know it listening to him talk. It should be kept in mind that the best of old patrician families have histories of social and political involvement with dedication to helping others to achieve in our society.

  3. I gained an understanding from the convention about the party’s platform that I like tremendously. It is that diversity is welcome here. Division is not.

  4. Corollary to that is the idea that religion should inform one’s behavior, and need not be worn on one’s shoulder, and that specifically Christian practice should be used to unify, not to divide us.

Overall, I enjoyed watching my party reclaim it’s heritage as the party of the people; the party that brings social change, the party that unifies, and the party that stands for the United States of America’s actual moral base of values.

*The waving flag came from Matthew O’Malley’s home page and is documented below.

* “News 10 Printalbe American Flag,” News10, “http://www.news10.net/public/american-flag.htm” (Saturday, July 31, 2004, 10:16 AM EDT)

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July 28, 2004

Political Interlude

Democratic Convention: Day 2


Last night I listened to Theresa Hines Kerry, Barack Obama, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, and Ron Reagan speak to the convention delegates and I can say enthusiastically that I am so proud to be a Democrat. Obama is a marvelous, thoughtful public speaker, and a rising political star. Hines Kerry was almost beatific. I don’t get the negative hype. Ron Reagan’s plea for non partisan help to undo the ban against stem cell research was just that, non partisan. Scripted or not, these are the ideals and values I have thought historically reflect the actual American spirit. They are the opposite of the divisive politics the Republican Party, the United States Congress, and the unholy triumvirate (Cheny, Ashcroft, Bush) have been espousing during the past four dark years.

It’s time for closet democrats everywhere to come out and speak out!

*“Democratic Donkey,” We-Exist.com - Gift Shop for the Busy Executive, “http://we-exist.com/” (August 28, 2004, 11:29 AM EDT)

*Sean Laughlin, “Theresa Heinz Kerry promotes Women’s Voices,” CNN.com, “http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/27/dems.teresa/index.html,” Tuesday, July 27, 2004, posted 11:57 PM EDT (July 28, 2004, 10:04 AM EDT)

July 27, 2004

Political Interlude: The Democratic Convention, Day 1


Wow! What a speech, Bill.

Now I remember why the Republicans fear and hate you so-o-o-o much. Too bad you handed them the cracked mirror and cigar which allowed them to besmirch your image and stamp on you simultaneously. And, they continue to so with new cartoons, charicatures, and diatribes to this very day. There’s a contemporary Shakespeare play to be had by someone as soon as we are far enough removed from the last decade of the twentieth century.

My favorite line from last night’s speech, “Strength and wisdom are not opposing values. They go hand in hand... ...and John Kerry has both.”

President Clinton also reminded us that while we must deal with the threat of terrorism we can’t afford to forget the value that we Democrats place on “good jobs, good schools, health care, safe streets, and a clean environment.” He then identified all of these things including the mitigation and reduction of the terrorist threat as the concerns that John Kerry, John Edwards, and the Democratic Party are best equipped to actualize.

Both before, and after Bill’s speech, I listened to the repeated comment of the pundit-talking heads that went something like the following. “While many Americans are dissatisfied with Mr. Bush’s performance, they don’t know enough about John Kerry to be interested.” Quite frankly, I don’t get it. During the Vietnam War John Kerry turned into enemy fire in order to save the lives of men in his charge. What a defining moment! Start there, and go with it. At the end of his speech, Bill Clinton described John Kerry as always ready to be involved. Using the metaphor of ships captain, he described Kerry with hands on the helm, and convinced me that John Kerry will be ready to redefine and correct the nations course. He created a litany of John Kerry’s strengths and values, and at the end of each, he had John Kerry say, “Send me.”

It was an impressive speech, and with it Bill Clinton eloquently passed the torch to John Kerry.

* “Democratic Donkey,” Democratic Underground.com, “http://www.cafepress.com/du_store/33194” (August 28, 2004, 11:36 AM EDT).

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July 24, 2004

Spiritual Eroticism

I drove to Pittsburgh and stayed the two weeks in order to peruse my Varnastrama Journals, now in The Professor’s care, the son of a (expletive deleted)! I photocopied sections to bring back to Lancaster with me because I wanted to look back at the spiritual component that runs through my sexuality as evidenced in those journals. You see, dear (new) journal, I think that most of us have a spiritual strand that runs through our sexuality whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or heterosexual. In our culture it is not proper to think of our sexuality as containing a spiritual component, much less having experiences that are spiritual when we have sex. At the same time, I have often thought -- this might be disturbing to some Christian persons -- that the “Martyrdom of Sebastian” by Antonello da Messina demonstrates a spiritual ecstasy based in pain that resonates with (perhaps more appropriately, projects) sexually erotic tensions. In fact, when I searched Google for the image, I turned up a series of art works that implies a tradition that includes erotic tension to the point of being denied access to some of the images without a requisite password. Additionally, I believe that one who lacks the spiritual component in his or her sexuality is not quite human.


Martyrdom of Sebastian

This last demands the understanding that I separate the terms “spiritual” and “religious,” as I should. The terms “religious,” and “spiritual” are related, but are not synonymous. Spiritual feelings and understanding can pertain to any religious practice. So, it is possible to be spiritual without practicing a particular religion.

I have touched on this subject in the past, for instance on September 7, 2003, when I wrote about my love for both Rebecca and Peter in the entry titled, “What’s That Have To Do With Love Anyway?” I wrote more specifically about “Love, Spirituality, and Sex” on September 9, 15, 19, 21, and 23, 2003. The section quoted below is from my journal entry dated September 9, 2003.

To clarify my thoughts about sex - in this case, having it - It does consume one’s physical and emotional person at the time. I’ve even been transported outside self-awareness by incredibly good sex. That is, at the moment immediately before and during climax I have lost the sense of ego. During such an orgasm, the “I” does not exist for seconds. Strangely, those seconds are empty. I can not describe them for there is nothing to describe. At such moments, sex has approached the spiritual. Perhaps this is what some persons of the fundamentalist persuasion are fearful of. Heaven forbid that sex isn’t just for procreation. Not only can it be fun, but it can be spiritual as well. Oh, and an old queer man has discovered the spiritual part. Egads!

* Even More Boys in Fine Arts, “http://kevinclain.20m.com/moreboys.html,” (Saturday, July 24, 2004, 8:58 A.M. EDT)
I will find other images from the visual arts that resonate with this idea about erotic spirituality and use them for each entry on the topic, dear Journal.

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July 22, 2004

My Visit as a “Tourist” to Pittsburgh: An Over View of the City


Some Interesting Facts About Pittsburgh

  1. Pittsburgh, the Steel City, is the largest inland port in the United States.

  2. According to the 2000 census Pittsburgh had a population of 369, 879, people.

  3. The downtown area of the city is located on a triangle of land (Golden Triangle) at the confluence of the Monongahela and the Allegheny rivers.

  4. Among the many colleges and universities for which the city is famous are Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Duquesne University.

  5. Andy Warhol was from Pittsburgh. I spent the most interesting day of my entire visit to Pittsburgh at the Andy Warhol Museum.

  6. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Opera, and Ballet theater are world class. So are the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

  7. The city is home to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, and Riverhounds.

  8. For an absolutely fabulous view of this beautiful city, take the historic Duquesne Incline to the top of Mount Washington.

  9. The only drawback I can see is the winter cold, which for an old man is worse than Lancaster County. The average temperature in January is 20.8 degrees Fahrenheit.


I will discuss the “tourist” part of my visit to Pittsburgh in greater detail in future entries. However, first I plan to get to the meat of my visit. The reason I visited that wonderful city was, of course, to get to THE PROFESSOR’s museum and find all my stuff from Sanctuary, my studio. If you’ve been following along, dear Journal, you know that Ruth, my daughter in collusion with THE PROFESSOR managed to transport the contents of my studio (lock, stock, and barrel) to Pittsburgh last year. Ruth thinks I’m crazy. I think she’s a “female dog!”

As a result of my trip, I now have material from my own journals to write about, and I plan to explore the works of other artists in relation to my work as both relate to “Spiritual Eroticism.” during the next several entries.

Stay tuned.

*photograph located at “http://www.pittsburgh-cvb.org/,” pittsburgh.org (Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 10:44 A.M. EDT)
*2 information and may be found on various pages, pittsburgh.net, http://www.pittsburgh.net/about_pittsburgh.net/index.cfm (Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 9:31 A.M. EDT)

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July 20, 2004

I'm Back in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country!

Pittsburgh is a beautiful city! I had a wonderful time, but I'm exhausted. I went to the museum and true to THE PROFESSOR's words, I was allowed to go through my catalogued and archived papers in the museum basement. However, the curatorial staff weren't always able to locate the files I requested. I didn't have time to look for all my art work, and I never did locate the fourth volume of my Varnastrama journals. I'm afraid that 80 years of my life will be lost somewhere in a basement below the city of Pittsburgh. I must revisit Pittsburgh and the museum in order to continue my investigation.

I also want to go back to Pittsburgh to see more of it. There's no trace of the dirt from the now absent steel industry. Of course, that's a good thing. But, I wonder - should we have donated our steel industry to the rest of the world? Yesterday we out sourced the entire steel industry, today we allow corporate America to out source other jobs in the service industry. It amounts to the exportation of our ability to sustain a middle class to the nations of the world. Yes, we should help the 3rd World, but not at the expense of our ability to sustain our own livelihood.

I will continue to report on my travels in Pittsburgh and environs in future entries as time allows, dear journal.

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July 02, 2004

Happy 4th of July Weekend America!!!


I'm all packed and I'm leaving for Pittsburgh tomorrow morning. I'll be there, instead of in Lancaster, for my 4th of July fireworks. I'll write about my visit when I return.

Both concervatives and liberals are patriotic!

Concervatives just talk about their own patriotism more.

* “Photos courtesy of Roger Richards and Allen Cook/CompetitionPlus.com,” 2002 ACDelco Canadian Nationals, International Hotrod Association, “http://www.ihra.com/,” (Friday, July 1, 2004, 12:16 A.M. EDT)

July 01, 2004

I’m going to Pittsburgh



I’m going to check out THE PROFESSOR’S museum, and insist on seeing my Varnastrama Journals, and using them. I’ll photocopy all six of the darn things if I have to, one page at a time. They’ll probably charge me a dime per page, but I don’t care. I’ll use all their paper!

I’ll insist on seeing all my drawings, maps, and sculptures as well. I’ll run them raged!

While in Pittsburgh I plan to visit the Andy Warhol Museum, and Fallingwater, Frank Lloyde Wright’s masterpiece built for Edgar J. Kaufmann in 1934 to 1938. I’ll be gone at least two weeks. I’ll write about all this with photographs, etc. when I return. Wish me well, dear Journal.

* “Pittsburgh Picture Gallery,” Visitortips.com, Your Internet Source for Travel Information, “http://www.visitortips.com/destination/gallery.cfm?lid=317&select=51,” (Thursday, July 1, 2004, 10:02 A.M., EDT)

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