August 29, 2005

Hurricane Katrina
God’s Wrath


That’s what some of my evangelical neighbors here at THE BIG NEEDLE are calling Hurricane Katrina. And, New Orleans is “Sin City,” sort of like Sodom and Gomorra. “Why, all those prostitutes, homosexuals, alcoholics, and other drug abusers deserve to be punished.”

It’s always someone else who deserves God’s wrath. Many of the folks here in PRICKLY MANOR are “God’s chosen” and therefore safe from the big mean and abusive parent in the sky. And, I do make the distinction between the conceptualization of a New Testament God - Jesus Christ’s message is one of love and compassion - who desires good for all his/her children, and a vengeful (Old Testament) God, who would punish his children to the death for transgressions, large, small, and/or imaginary. I suppose it’s comforting for my smug (no-it-all) neighbors to be so sure of themselves. They never have to worry about any of their actions. Their interpretation of the Bible tells them it is always others who are wrong or bad, and whom God will punish. However, I would give anything to have them suddenly thrown into my body and mind, and have to listen to such pontifications from my position.

In fact, that is the problem. The evangelicals are self-centered anachronisms, throwbacks to the Middle Ages and a geo-centric universe - all time and space must revolve around them.

The possible destruction of New Orleans, and three major oil refineries is a random act of nature that threatens the life-blood and economy of the United States of America and all her people. It is not the act of a vengeful God who seeks to punish his bad children.

Unless of course, he is tired of listening to his pontificating evangelical children and wishes to destroy the country they live in.

Have I made my point?

* “Hurricanes,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: US Department of Commerce. . August 4, 2005, 5:30 PM EDT. Viewed Monday, August 29, 2005 AM. EDT.

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August 25, 2005

Iraq Looks Like Vietnam!
What a novel remark made from within the Ranks of the Republican Party. Prospective presidential candidate, Chuck Hagel, Senator from Nebraska, made the observation. He has two Purple Hearts and other awards because of his Vietnam military service. Almost sounds like Senator Kerry’s twin to me. I wonder if Senator Hagel took umbrage with that war during the counter culture revolution of the 1970’s as Kerry did. However, it seems to me that this observation is not particularly astute, since I and other fellow Democrats were making the same observation when Mr. Bush decided to invade Iraq two and one half years ago. Nevertheless, I’m glad a Republican Senator has finally said it too.

Does Mr. Hagel think that such a remark will endear him to the “neo-con” hawks? Of course it doesn't! Hopefully his stance marks the beginning of a new period of sanity and ascendancy among Republican moderates who understand that we are not The New Rome and that an evangelical God has not decreed that we are to conduct a new crusade against the Arab World at the risk of Armageddon.

“I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur.”*


Once again, I include my
“No War!”
Poster. Anyone who wants it is welcome to copy it and use it.

*Daniel, Douglas K., AP. “GOP Senator Says Iraq Looking Like Vietnam.”,, Sunday, August 21, 2005, 9:30 AM EDT.

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August 21, 2005

Stroke!: Part II
I have been to visit Jim at Lancaster General Hospital every day since his stroke, and he seems to be doing extremely well. Evidently the fact that he was rushed to the hospital and surgery during the event not only saved his life, but also limited the damage to brain cells. He has physical therapy every day, and is walking with the use of a cane. He does have a limp and is weak on his left side, but his doctors are extremely positive and think that he will regain the complete use of his left leg and arm.

We lose people on a regular basis here at the BIG NEEDLE, which is to be expected because we are old farts. I was afraid that Jim would be the next to go.

I am relieved!

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August 18, 2005

My good friend Jim is in the hospital. He had an ischemic (caused by a blood clot) stroke yesterday as he left his apartment. Fortunately, one of the aids was wheeling one of our wheelchair patients past his apartment when it happened. As she passed Jim fell back against his apartment door, slid to the floor and said, “My head hurts like hell” The aid told him not to move and pushed her panic button, which automatically starts a chain of emergency procedures including summoning stretcher, EMT’s and an ambulance. I understand Jim was still talking when they put him on the ambulance, though his speech was slurred.

Because I have breakfast in my apartment I was not out and about, and didn’t find out about Jim’s stroke until lunch with Peter. By way of explanation, usually Jim, Peter, sometimes Myrtle, and I have lunch and dinner together in the main PRICKLY MANOR dining room. Often we have cocktails in one or the other’s apartment before dinner, and it seems that may bode well for Jim. See the article at, “Moderate alcohol consumption may protect against stroke”

I haven’t been able to get much out of the administrator, nurse, and aids here, so I don’t know how Jim is doing. However, they did tell me that he is able to have visitors, so I’ll go to Lancaster General and visit this afternoon.

* Leduc, Marc, “Stroke Prevention,” Newsletter. © 2002 (viewed 10:34 AM EDT, Wednesday, August 10, 2005.)

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August 14, 2005

Jim and Peter Are Stunned!
I make breakfast and some of my other meals in my apartment kitchen when I’m busy working on projects, like this journal. However, Jim and Peter are my best buddies here at Pine Needle Manor, and we meet for lunch and dinner in THE BIG NEEDLE dining room at least 5 days a week. These two guys know I’m gay and are very accepting unlike most of the evangelical and fundamentalist residents at PRICKLY MANOR. That’s another subject I’ve written about in the past. Anyway, we were eating lunch yesterday, and during the conversation I mentioned that I was thinking about making another trip to Florida this fall.

“Why would you want to do that,” they said in unison.

“Because I want to look for a place to live during the winter.”

“Why,” said Jim.

“Because it’s cold here.”

“But Isaac, remember how exhausted you were last year after your trip to Sarasota.”

“It was a good tired. I enjoyed myself.”

“But your family and all your friends are here,” Peter said.

“ Ruth and Samuel are here. All the other children and grandchildren have all moved away. You guys and Tillie are my only real friends here.”

“But you don’t know anyone there.”

“I’ll meet people. Perhaps I’ll even meet some gay and lesbian people.”

“Sh-h-h-h-h-h,” said Jim. “They’ll hear you.”


“You know how crazed folks get around here when you talk about being gay.”

“Do I get upset when they talk about their assignations and liaisons?”

“There what?”

“Never mind.”

“I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to live right here in God’s country,” Peter said.

“First, as I’ve said before, everyone everywhere thinks they live in God’s favorite part of part of the universe. Second, God created Florida a lot warmer than he did Lancaster County. Instead of fussing and fuming, you guys should think about coming along with me”

“You know my heart won’t allow me to travel,” Peter said.
“My son would throw a fit,” said Jim.

“Why? He doesn’t bother to visit you anyway.”

“He worries about me.”

“Then why doesn’t he come to see you more often.”

“He would if he weren’t so busy with work.”

“At least Ruth visits me, though I wish she wouldn’t.”

“You don’t appreciate Ruth enough.”

“No. I don’t.”

And, so it went, round and round, spirals of conversation, spinning out of control, the same refrain, and the same laments as last week and the week before. It bores me to tears, and there’s another reason for me to think about leaving THE BIG NEEDLE. I like these guys, but we never talk about anything interesting. Sometimes I think they’re just sitting around waiting to die.

Florida waits. I will meet new friends there. I will know people who have lived their lives true to the way God created them, as gay and lesbian men and women.

Florida waits.

I can make Florida daydreams real!


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August 11, 2005

Seven Pennsylvania National Guardsmen Killed in Iraq

I know it is not considered politically correct or patriotic to say the following. However, I've been saying it since this war started, so I might as well say it again.

The Iraq war is wrong, and the neo-con idea of the preemptive strike is wrong-headed!

August 08, 2005

August Dog Day Thoughts of Winter


I am picturing blue-green transparent water

  • It has been so hot this summer. I can’t remember when last we had so many ninety-plus degree-days. My friends here at “Pine Needle Death Watch Camp” refuse to go outside. I have to take my morning walks solo. So, why am I dwelling on the cold dark days of winter? It’s because I dread the winter solstice, long algid night, trapped inside for weeks with bitchy old straight folk who don’t understand that the world doesn’t always work according to their own personal vision of it. The blinding (and to some beautiful) white light of the ‘snowscape’ is no comfort to these old eyes.

    Remember my trip to Sarasota, dear Journal? I’m thinking of a return trip. However, I want to go to the southeast coast this time, Miami, or Fort Lauderdale, or a bit further north. I’ve got my maps out, gone on line, and checked books out of the Lancaster County Public Library. According to The Weather Channel on line The average high temperature in Fort Lauderdale in January is 76 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average low is 59 degrees. However, in Sarasota the average high temperature in January is 72 degrees, and the average low is 51 degrees. While I love the city of Sarasota because there is so much happening culturally there, I want to be in the warmest location possible.

    So, as Florida daydreams drift in my mind, I’m planning a trip South to scout the southeast coast as soon as the summer heat fades. In my mind's eye, I picture blue-green transparent water, a coral rocky coast, sunlight flashing in crystal sparks from the waves, and a beach with aqua water and puffy white clouds.

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    August 04, 2005

    Bolton and Roberts
    The Bush appointment of John Bolton to U.N. Ambassador demonstrates our president’s arrogance once again. Mr. Bush knows that he can fool, cajole, browbeat and bully the people of our nation into accepting almost anything. He also knows that for some reason we do not seem to care that we are being used as a people to serve this president's very personal agenda.

    As to the appointment of the other John to the Supreme Court, I’m almost certain that Mr. Bush will once again get his way. I fear that Roe v. Wade will fall before this president leaves office.

    Why do I fear that?

    I’ve spoken to women relatives of the Republican persuasion (my daughter Ruth, for instance) who are pro-choice, and they do not seem to have made the connection between this president’s ideological Supreme Court nominee and the very real possibility that they will lose control over their own bodies. Also, Republican friends here at THE BIG NEEDLE have told me on a number of occasions that they “do not agree with everything that Mr. Bush is doing, but that his administration at least has a plan that makes them feel safe in the face of the terrorists.”

    I answer, “Adolph Hitler had a plan for world domination. Did that make the world safe for democracy?”

    I am told that my comparison is specious.

    Check out the following links:



    14 U.S. Marines Died in a Roadside Bomb Blast Wednesday

    The total number of U.S. Armed Forces Deaths now stands at 1812.

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