Saturday, July 7, 2012

I am at the beach

No place is as sure to make me happy as here.  I am so very glad to be here.

I'll write more tomorrow, but for now, I will leave you with two more pictures from the fireworks show, this time courtesy of Derwood.  As always, click on a picture to see a larger image.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A video of our Fourth show

Warren was nice enough to take this, add music, and post it on YouTube.  It should serve to give you a taste of our show.  Enjoy.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The sky screamed with light

It did, it really did.  I stood under it and screamed in joy. 

Gina's pictures freeze moments in silent time.  Enjoy--and click on any that you particularly like to see a much larger version.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What we were, what we could be

We all know these words.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
We also know that this is all fine and good unless in the course of your pursuit of happiness you feel the urge to marry someone of the same gender, or to have a group marriage.  No, those pursuits, so many of our states have have decided, are off limits. 

I understand and respect the need for limits. Those whose happiness comes from killing others, to pick but one extreme example, most certainly need limits, and it is society's job to place and enforce those limits.  That job, though, is necessary only when the acts of one person hurt others.

Whom does it hurt for two men to marry?  Two women?  Five people of whatever gender? 

If you want to make the discussion economic--think of the impact on small businesses!--fine, we can talk about that.  We can work that problem. 

In the end, though, the stupid limits, the laws like my own state's recent amendment, don't pass for rational reasons. They pass because people are afraid that letting others pursue their happiness by marrying differently will in some way hurt them or undermine the institution of marriage. 

It's nonsense, and I'm embarrassed of my state for embracing it.

On a day I love, the Fourth of July, I want to be proud of my country.  I want to be proud of my state. 

What I don't want is to have to meet a young gay man at a party--at my party--and know that he has to leave this state if he wants to marry his lover, yet that is exactly what I did today. I hate that.  I rage against it.  We all should. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A song for your listening pleasure

In a comment on an earlier post, Dan Higdon suggested that I try out this song by Scout, a new group to me.  I did, and I rather enjoyed it.  I hope you do, too--though I apologize in advance for the creepy image that never leaves the video.

Now, if they'd just put out a CD.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Saint-Jacques takes a step up

As regular readers know, I've been a fan of Raleigh's Saint-Jacques French Cuisine restaurant for quite some time now. The other night, a group of us went to check out its new summer menu, which featured some interesting dishes we'd not seen before.  I'm pleased to report that owner Lil Lacassagne and the chef team have added to their strengths in traditional French dishes a bit of welcome--and well-executed--new touches.

My steak tartare appetizer, for example, came topped with a single salt-heavy, thick, waffle-style chip that was a perfect complement to the meat.

Two of our group tried the tomato basil bread salad, which featured delicious heirloom tomato dices, garlic croutons, a dressing, and house-made mozzarella in what amounted to a chopped up bruschetta.

Most interesting was the Lobster and Scallop Duet, which in addition to being beautiful, as you can see here,

was an amazing combination of tender lobster and spicy scallops in a shell sitting on a salad of chilled lobster, strawberry chunks, and cucumber pasta. Lil said a friend's experimentation with lobster and strawberries had encouraged him to try the combination, and the result was certainly a win. 

Lil and his chefs didn't stray far from their French roots, and all the dishes clearly came in the French style, but the small experiments they tried were all both delicious and lovely.  I look forward to them continuing to expand their culinary range while maintaining their French roots.

If you haven't eaten at Saint-Jacques, you should.  If you have, go back and check out the summer menu.  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Magic Mike

Curiosity about the film.  Being a fan of Soderbergh since Sex, Lies, and Videotape.  Curiosity about whether the predominantly female audience would be as rowdy as I'd heard.

Those reasons and more led me to join a group of women in seeing Magic Mike last night.  I don't regret going, and the movie certainly offered some of Soderbergh's trademark flourishes, but I also can't recommend the film without serious reservations. 

The movie's story is dumb.  I won't even bother to summarize it, because, let's face it, no one is going for the plot. 

The characters are worse.  There's not a single human being in this film I would want as even a casual friend. The smartest characters are fairly dumb and venal, and the dumbest are far worse.

The acting ranges from okay to horrible.  Matthew McConaughey gives the best performance of the film as the head of the strip team. Channing Tatum displays three expressions: stonefaced dumb, slight smile, and confused dumb. (Yes, the two dumbs are slightly different.) Fortunately for him, the lead actress, Cody Horn, is so amazingly bad, such a sucking vacuum on screen, that Tatum looks almost like a real actor in the scenes next to her.  The only other good performance comes from Olivia Munn, who not coincidentally has the most interesting character to portray.

None of those things mattered to our theater's audience, however, because they came to see mostly nekkid men dancing around on screen.  When the men were dancing--and grinding and humping and grinding and humping--a great many of the eighty or so women in the theater (though none of those in our group) screamed almost as if they were at a live strip show.  The men definitely looked good, with body's ranging from Alex "the Kid" Pettyfer's "I wish I were that thin" physique, to Channing "Magic Mike" Tatum's "I'm juicing but only a little, and I hate ab work" body, to Joe "Big Dick Richie" Manganiello's "Holy shit, hard work and a ton of steroids really pays off" awesome build.

If Soderbergh wants to make the DVD a hit, all he has to do is offer all the dance scenes in full and, if possible, uncut, and those seeking nekkid hot men will flock to it. To paraphrase one of our group, "When your boyfriend dumps you or treats you badly, grab a pint of Chunky Monkey, pop in that bad boy, and watch the dances."

Watching hot men strip does nothing for my crotch, but if you're a woman or man who goes that way, I expect you will forgive the rest of the movie's many shortcomings and enjoy it. 

If you're expecting to like anything other than the dances, though, you may want to consider an alternative entertainment.


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