July 29, 2007

Of Course You Would do Careful Diplomatic Feelers Before Talking to Fidel Castro, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, or Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Barack Obama’s comment in debate this past Monday evening that he would meet such leaders without precondition has sparked so much debate. Was it naive? Was it ill conceived? Was it simply framed so as to contrast with the current administration’s refusal to communicate? Was it intended to spark controversy? Will it hurt Obama? The answer to all these questions is “probably.” However, I personally like the fact that Obama is willing to take a stand in contrast to the other Democratic candidates. Hillary and most of the others seem to be answering questions with “diplomatease.” I’m tired of the status quo, and I have a hunch that, like me, many American’s are looking for new, and bold answers.

Dinner with Peter Friday Evening

He looked tired, and had little of substance to say. There were long, awkward silences, and I finally asked if he was dating anyone special, and he said, “No.”

“Playing the field, huh?”

“Yes,” he said.

Changing the subject, I asked if he had read any interesting books of late, and he said, “No.” The silence and monosyllabic answers were driving me mad, so I excused myself and pretended to putter around in the kitchen.

I prepared beans and rice, corn and apple salsa made from sweet Georgia corn sliced fresh off the cob, and jerk chicken. The menu was good and so was my cooking. However, my conversation was boring, and I don’t feel as though the evening was a success. Peter left before ten o’clock.

I’ve spent the weekend feeling depressed.

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July 26, 2007

Peter’s Telephone Call


He was with a group of people, because I could hear voices and music in the background. He sounded a bit juiced as well. Someone interrupted him, and he said, “It’s okay,” and I told him to call back when he could actually talk to me.

“I can talk, Isaac. At least enough to tell you that I should have called you sooner.”

“Don’t worry about it, Peter. I’m a big boy.”

“When can I see you?”

“When is good for you, Peter? I have nothing pressing in my schedule.”

“How about tomorrow evening?”

“Do you want to come over for dinner?”

“That would be fine.”

“Come about six.” There was raucous laughter in the background and the music had gotten considerably louder.


“Six,” I shouted into the phone. “Come over at six.”

“Oh, okay. I’ll see you then, he said.” And, at that point he was interrupted by someone saying that they were ready to leave, and was Peter coming with them?”

“I’ve got to go, Isaac. See you tomorrow evening.” The phone line went dead, and I couldn’t help but feel that Peter had squeezed that call into a busy social evening, almost as an after thought. At the same time, I felt my heart leap. I know it skipped a beat or two. Could we be good friends now? Or had Peter learned to love the young gay social whirl so much - being sought after and fawned over in the bar and club scene - that he wouldn’t have time for his old friend? Had a chasm opened between us? Or could we renew and make better a friendship that had become muddied and awkward because of an unhealthy physical attraction on my part, and an insalubrious eromenos-like (ancient Greek student/lover) attraction on Peter’s part?

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July 23, 2007

Senator Vitter and the Prostitutes

Once again we have an evangelical Christian who wants to deny first class citizenship to gay and lesbian couples, but finds his own Christian marriage to be a matter of convenience. Senator David Vitter (R- Louisiana) denies having had relations with a series of New Orleans prostitutes while admitting that he had dealings with Deborah Jeane Palfrey’s prostitution ring in Washington D.C. Thus, one more male evangelical has demonstrated the belief that he is immune to transgressions against his partner. If evangelicals sin, God will forgive them their transgressions. At the same time a long-standing gay or lesbian relationship may not be recognized because (supposedly) God does not approve. In other words, God, who is perfect, made a mistake because he created a world in which two loving homosexuals must remain separate and gay, because their love is unequal to the love of heterosexual evangelical couples.

In fact, God does not care about our sexuality. As science demonstrates, God made many animals with multiple sexual preferences. He also made man with multiple sexual preferences. I’m tired of evangelical’s Bible quoting snobbery. The Bible is God's word as understood by men who lived in various places, around the Eastern Mediterranean, at various times though all removed from the present by thousands of years. Their understanding of God was based in the cultures in which they lived. Evangelical understanding of the Bible is also based on the institutionalized prejudices of the subculture in which they live. The entire point of the Bible is that God did not make man perfect! Man does sin. So many stories in the Bible are demonstrations of men’s transgressions against one another and/or God, and they demonstrate God’s constant ability to forgive those transgressions. Yes, ancient writers made mistakes when writing. Evangelical men and women make mistakes when interpreting the Bible. Evangelical men and women make mistakes in their lives and their marriages. Gay and lesbian men and women make mistakes in their lives and relationships. However, God created all of us. At least here in the United States, our forefathers had the sense to write into our constitution that all “men are created equal.” Women had to fight another two hundred years to gain suffrage, though suffering today from the evangelical idea that men are better than women. The primitive pagan idea that the seed of a man must be allowed to grow to fruition within a woman still lingers in the evangelical Christian lexicon. It thrives even if the outcome is death for the woman, and/or a child who may be denied love and happiness. I suppose it is too much to expect such people to accept that in God’s eyes, we are all equal, brothers and sisters, born of this earth.

God loves us when we love one another, no matter who we are.

God loves us, each and every one.

God even loves Senator Vitter.

It is that simple.

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July 19, 2007

July Whitehouse Iraq Report

President Bush says, “I’m in charge of this war.” When confronted with Congress’ wish to draw down forces in Iraq.

However, It shouldn’t be about how fast we want to withdraw our forces from Iraq. First, we need to acknowledge that the war was a mistake from the start. Once that has been done, and we allow the nation to digest the (no longer sub-text) fact that this president and the nation made a horrendous mistake four and one half years ago, perhaps the Congress, Senate, and President can put together a reformed policy that can actually accomplish a phased withdrawal from Iraq that involves international cooperation (reads United Nations peace keepers), that will prevent a complete collapse in Iraq, and generalized war in the Middle East.

Most importantly, such an admission will allow us to begin discussions at a philosophical level designed to obtain an understanding of the workings of fundamentalist religious practices, and the roll of poverty in the West and East, both of which are at the root cause of terrorist activities in Iraq and elsewhere. Once such a discussion has taken place, we must make ourselves completely aware of the knowledge gained from these discussions and incorporate it into a set of objectives and specific activities designed to meet goals designed to end the global terrorist threat posed by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Only by doing this thorough job of introspection can we solve the problems we have created by invading Iraq, as well as meeting the actual and very real problem of worldwide terrorism head on.

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July 16, 2007

Ho-Hum, Peter and My Health


It took the entire day to work up the courage, but I finally called Peter last night. He wasn’t home, so I left a message. I hope he returns the call, because I don’t want to go through another approach avoidance conflict marathon.


I took a walk on the beach early yesterday morning. As usual I had my camera with me, and I took some pictures. I include one here. It was terribly warm and humid and I huffed and puffed quite a bit. I had to stop and rest over and over again. I do not have the stamina I had a year ago. I’ve also noticed that I am increasingly forgetful, I lose my train of thought when reading, and I’m having trouble balancing my checkbook. I’ve always done that with great ease. I complained about my difficulties to Adam on the phone, and he made me promise to visit the doctor.

“What can he do at my age,” I said.

“He can run some tests and you will at least know if there is anything wrong, Grandpa.”

“I just have a bad feeling. What good is knowing, if there is nothing to be done?”

“You don’t know anything at this point, including whether or not something can be done about a hypothetical ‘something wrong.’ Go to the doctor,” he said, punctuating the sentence by adding spaces between each word. “Promise me you will make an appointment as soon as we hang up.”

“Okay, Adam. Relax. I promise.”

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July 12, 2007

Move On Organization and Live Earth

This past Saturday, I attended a “Save the Planet Party,” one of over 1300 held around the country as over 2 billion people around the world worked to raise awareness concerning the global warming crisis. The parties were part of the Live Earth concert sponsored through Al Gore’s efforts to make global warming the number one issue of the 2008 presidential race. The Live Earth concert and associated parties were sponsored by a group of organizations including The Alliance for Climate Protection, Live Earth Organization, and Move On. The Twenty-five attendees at one of the villas in my community socialized during a potluck dinner and while watching the Live Earth concert on television. We listened to Al Gore make a speech in which he outlined his 7 point pledge to curve global warming, and we watched the Move On Organization’s Town Hall Video in which presidential candidates answered questions given them by Move On Organization members about global warming.

Of the candidates I personally thought that Bill Richardson, (governor of New Mexico,) had the most forceful and thoroughly thought out plan to deal with the global warming crisis, though voters on the Moveon.org Website voted John Edwards the best. All at our party agreed that this should be a bipartisan concern, but that so far, it seems to be primarily a concern of progressive Democrats. I was encouraged that two billion viewers of the Live Earth Concert worldwide demonstrate that the concern is more universal and not just a Democratic Party concern. Unfortunately, I have since watched FOX News belittle those who are concerned with global warming, so I guess that the concern shall remain progressive and Democrat.

Briefly, three of the most important points in Al Gore's pledge ask participants to first, demand that the USA join a global treaty to roll back global warming within the next two years, second dramatically increase the energy efficiency of their homes, and third, fight for laws and policies that expand the use of renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on oil and coal.

Our party host said, “the party was successful because we all feel as though we made connections with like minded persons, did something as a group to further our concerns about global warming, learned more about candidates for President of the United States positions concerning global warming, and had a great time as well.”

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July 09, 2007

I'm Still Missing Peter

I had been so busy with family and my trip north that I hadn’t thought about Peter – well, not as much anyway. However, since I returned to Florida, he has been constantly on my mind. I’m such a silly old man. I pick up the phone several times a day thinking that it is time to call him. I hold it in my hand, stare at it as though it is a foreign object from another planet. What is this I hold in my hand - what strange manner of thing, and I am empty headed. Finally I put the phone down and go work on a photograph or drawing in the attempt to distract myself.

I will work for 15 to 20 minutes before my mind drifts back to Peter, and once again I find myself staring into space lost in beach memories, evening talks about religion, philosophy, and books. Why did he have to be so damn intelligent and interesting as well as magnificently made?

It has been months since Peter and I agreed not to see or talk to one another for thirty days. Surely he has found his sexual freedom - young hunks must be clamoring for dates. He has probably forgotten all about me, and I should leave him alone.

But I can’t get him off my mind!

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July 06, 2007

Al Qaeda and related issues are more and more visible in the news as we draw closer to the 2008election.

Is that because Al Qaeda is more and more active or is it because our political system is taking increasing note as interest in the 2008 election grows? With the current spate of reports that we are being threatened with a calamity much greater than 9/11/2001, I wonder if Al Qaeda or someone isn’t trying to manipulate our political process. Specifically and first, the Internet video posted by an American member of Al Qaeda, Adam Yehiye Gadahn this past month in which he says, “"Your failure to heed our demands ... means that you and your people will ... experience things which will make you forget all about the horrors of September 11th, Afghanistan and Iraq and Virginia Tech."* Analysts say that the threats and warnings are designed to relieve al-Qaeda of responsibility for any of the damage it does. Another article posted on the BBC Website titled “Al-Qaeda seeks unity with Hamas,” describes an audio-tape posted on the Internet by Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden’s number two man that also calls on Muslims everywhere to fight against Israeli and U.S. interests. * Last week, we had the British car bombs, and the rumor that over 300 al-Qaida operatives have infiltrated the U.K. and U.S. with the goal of taking car bombs to targets throughout both countries. Al-Qaeda also continues to be active in Osama bin Laden’s homeland of Yemen where a recent car bomb killed Spanish and Yemenis visiting a Mosque associated with the Biblical Queen of Sheba. I conclude that the sudden spate of articles and news stories about al-Qaeda is the result of someone, a group, or groups trying to influence the 2008 presidential election. Hawks, Republicans, doves, Democrats, News Services, who? Additionally, of course, al Qaida’s goal is to destroy Western civilization.

Americans are such babies these days, myself included. If the presence of such threats becomes pervasive, we will probably panic and immediately begin looking for the biggest Republican hawk to save us from the evil infidel. I guess that’s John McCain. If he should be elected president, the war in Iraq would go on and on, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. The United States would pay even less attention to the actual problem of sabotage by al Qaeda and it’s evil issue from within our borders. Thus, the disruption of our way of life would become inevitable.

We need a candidate for president who has a clear program for international cooperation, with direct involvement of the United Nations policing to remove al-Qaeda from the international theater. Such a candidate would articulate a set of goals that will enable us to work toward peace between the West and Mid-east in order to remove the root cause of terrorism.

But, where is such a person?

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*Johnson, Anna (AP),“al-Qaida Video Threatens Attacks on U.S.,” on Comcast.net. http://www.comcast.net/includes/article/print.jsp?fn=/data/news/html..., posted May 30, 2007, 5:30 AM EDT, viewed: May 30, 2007, 10:21 AM EDT.

Kratova, Katrina (AP), “al Qaida Escapee in Online Video,” on Comcast.net., http://www.comcast.net/news/international/index.jsp?cat=INTERNATIONAL&fn=/2007/05/30/676044.html. Posted May 30, 2007, Posted May 30, 2007, 7:00 AM EDT, viewed May 30, 2007,10:48 AM EDT.

Delio, Michelle, “Al Qaeda Website Refuses to Die,” WIRED, http://www.wired.com/print/techbiz/it/news/2003/04/58356. Posted 040707 at 2:00 AM EDT. Viewed Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 11:03 AM EDT.

“Al Qaeda blamed for Yemen Attack,” AP press release, on CNN.com/world, http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/07/03/yemen.blast.ap/index.html. Updated 1:46 PM EDT, Monday, July 2, 2007. Viewed 9:40 AM EDT, Wednesday, July 4, 2007.

“Al-Queda Seeks Unity with Hamas,” BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6237314.stm, Monday, June 25, 2007, 11:57 GMT, 12:57 UK, viewed 9:31 AM EDT.

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July 02, 2007

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

It felt odd to go back to my old haunts of the 1950’s through 1970’s. I wanted to dress up as the foil man again and roam the North Shore beach, but Adam wouldn’t let me. He said I’d probably get arrested. To see and read examples of, and theory in reference to my past performances as the foil man you can go to my “Family Album,” (see links on side panel) or the following entries here on my journal: August 3, 2003, August 5, 2003, September 4, 2003, December 10, 2003, January 24, 2004, February 28, 2004, March 12, 2004, April 4, 2004.

I slathered up with number 30 DPF suntan lotion and went to the beach with Adam and Stephen one day, though Ruth and Samuel didn’t go with us. Instead, they watched us from the shady balcony of the house Adam had rented. We all drove to the state park at Cape Henlopen one day and visited Fort Miles, the WWII Observation Towers, the old military base there, and walked on the beach just before sunset. The sand dunes on Henlopen are the highest point on the coast between Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras, and the beach is one of the best-preserved natural beach areas on the Atlantic seaboard. The photograph at the top of this entry is on Cape Henlopen.

We ate in most evenings. Ruth and Adam took turns cooking in our well-stocked kitchen. However, one evening we ate out at Adriatico Restaurant. I had eaten there several times in the past during return visits to Rehoboth Beach, and always enjoyed the upscale Italian cuisine. However, this time our meal was a disaster. The drinks as always were excellent. However, my Caesar salad was warm, not room temperature but about 110 degrees Fahrenheit warm. I sent it back, and after 15 minutes, another extremely warm salad was brought to me. I think they put the salad on plates right out of the dishwasher, and the Romaine lettuce was not refrigerated. I ordered gnocchi and they were over-cooked with a glue-like pasty texture. I was so disappointed. Additionally, service was extremely slow, though normally I don’t mind that, as I like a relaxed and leisurely dinner out. I will never return to Adriatico, so why complain? Because restaurants in Rehoboth Beach are pricy with a la cart menus and typical entrees ranging from 15 to 40 dollars. At such prices, food and service ought to be excellent.

I was amazed at the exponential growth at Rehoboth Beach. Everyone wants to live at the beach, but I wonder how it's possible to maintain such expansion. Condominiums, town houses, villas, and single homes are going up on every available scrap of land. At the same time, infrastructure is not keeping up with the real estate boom. Roads are particularly impossible, the system being basically nineteenth century with the exception of Highway One, the only four-lane road near the beach, and it has traffic lights every quarter to half mile. At the same time, Rehoboth Beach is one of the most reasonable resorts to live because local taxes are extremely low. AARP rates it as one of the five most reasonable places to live in the coninental United States.

I took walks on the boardwalk and beach every day, indulging in the contrast between the beaches in Delaware and Florida. The boardwalk itself is a Northern Phenomenon. The beaches in South Florida don’t have them. The sand is finer in Delaware than that in Southeast Florida, though the Gulf side has powder white sand. Delaware sand is pale brown to beige while the sand in Southeast Florida tends to be gray, and composed in part of ground up coral and shells. The ocean itself is different, a dull opaque steel blue shading to greenish-brown in Delaware, transparent aqua to emerald green in South Florida. The Ocean up north looks cold and is cold. The atmosphere is charged with the tension between cold sea and warm land in summer. In winter the contrast reverses, the water being slightly warmer than the frozen land, and Nor’easters rip cold sea-foam into the algid and damp coastal air. On the other hand the warm Gulf Stream helps to level temperatures in Southeast Florida. The water temperature in January runs in the low to mid seventies. When frozen Canadian air does drop down to South Florida it is sucked out over the warm water and returned to the land as a moist and chilly but sub-tropical blanket that protects tender tropical vegetation from frost and freeze. These contrasts make both kinds of beaches wonderful for different reasons, and I love them both.

It would be nice to be able to live near northern beaches and southern beaches.

H-m-m-m-m-m-m, no wonder there are so many snowbirds!

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