Saturday, November 26, 2005

Songs of the Gorilla Nation

I just finished reading a book by Dawn Prince-Hughes, Ph.D., titled Songs of the Gorilla Nation which is about the author's journey to healing and wholeness through her interaction with gorillas she meets and later works with in the Seattle Zoo. The author who is diagnosed at age 36 with the condition know as Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, has a powerful way of communicating with the reader who these gorillas really are-seemingly humans with souls. Somehow through her association with these gorillas especially the dominant male gorilla at the zoo named Congo who instinctively and with great success takes care of not only the other gorillas in his family but also gives emotional sustenance to his human caregiver who at times is emotionally overwhelmed by her situation in life.

No one will ever look at gorillas the same way after she or he reads this book. The poetry that is interwoven throughout the memoir adds intensity and clarity to the story that the author weaves about her life and the direction in which she is going. I was very moved and uplifted by the courage, honesty, and great homage this book is not only to these gentle and wonderful gorilla humans but to all living beings especially those in bondage or in danger of extinction which includes all of us that live and breathe. There is a Lesbian aspect to gorilla nation that will surprise and delight a Gay readership. I will not spoil the story by spelling out the details.

Sharon Raphael

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Vatican Scapegoats Gay Men

The Vatican will be issuing a document (Nov., 2005) that will state "the Church, while deeply respecting the people in question, cannot admit to the seminary and the sacred orders those who practice homosexuality, present deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or support so-called gay culture."

"Those people find themselves, in fact, in a situation that presents a grave obstacle to a correct relationship with men and women. One cannot ignore the negative consequences that can stem from the ordination of people with deeply rooted homosexual tendencies,”...

quotes cited:

This narrow minded policy is a continuation of Catholic church doctrine on “homosexuality” which runs against popular scientific opinion and reinforces the Catholic Church’s negative view and practices concerning Gay people in general. The new document is part of the the Vatican's answer to the Church’s involvement in the monumental number of child abuse cases that has received center stage in the media the last several years. The Church is trying to redirect attention away from the child abuse cases and focus its attention on its useful scapegoat “homosexual men” who plan to apply to be in the clergy or are already members of the clergy as some kind of warning for them not to ever “come out of the closet”.

The Church seems to be confusing pedophilia with Gayness as though both were one and the same thing which it is not. Most pedophiles (persons who have sex and prefer sex with under age children, usually pre-teens) do not care what sex their victim is and if the victim of the abuse is of the same sex it is still an issue of pedophilia not gayness. It is also my understanding that most of the cases that were or are being investigated that were perpetrated by priests were against young girls but of course, the cases involving boys were more readily covered in the press, as they were more sensational and juicier stories to sell to an unwitting public.

The immorality involved in picking on a group that is already stereotyped and vulnerable to misinterpretation by the public is monstrous. There is obviously not even a piece of moral filber left intact at the higher levels of the Church and for those involved in pulling off this cheap act of diversion at the expense of persons, the vast majority of whom, would have been and probably continue to be, although I do not understand why, loyal followers of the Catholic tradition and rituals.

Instead of scapegoating “ good people” the Vatican should have just said, if applicants for the priesthood cannot follow the precepts of celibacy, leave the priesthood or do not join in the first place. Sexual orientation should not have been made an issue. The Church will only be further weakened by its continuing hypocrisy on the topic of Gays in the priesthood.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Oldest Turtle on Earth Turns 175 !

"Harriet the Giant Galapagos Land Turtle celebrated her 175th birthday yesterday at an Australia Zoo. Harriet was collected by Charles Darwin in the year 1835, and is recorded as the worlds oldest living animal.Wouldn't it be great to see her live, and maybe ride on her back !?"

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bob Barr re Chavez's Citgo Heating Oil Deal, "Nobody Dies".


Interview of Bob Barr and Larry Chretian by Kyra Phillipps of CNN re Citgo home Heating Oil Deal (Nov. 23, 05)

I heard Bob Barr, an attorney and a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Georgia debating with Larry Chretian representing the interests of people in Massachussetts who will soon benefit from a deal Democratic congresssmen made to provide low cost heating oil which will be purchased from Venezuela's Citgo gas company, a deal worked out under the auspices of President Chavez of Venzuela. The deal which will help low income people was criticized by Barr as wrong as he says it is an attempt to embarass the Bush administration. The other guest on the show, LARRY CHRETIEN, from MASSENERGY CONSUMERS ALLIANCE, was asked by anchor Kyra Phillipps if the mainstream oil companies like Exxon Mobil had been asked to help out by supplying cheaper oil to low income people and the speaker said they had been asked year after year and responded in the negative. Then Barr added that "Nobody Dies" from not having this problem solved. It sounded very much like France's Antoinette saying "let them eat cake",, perhaps, worse. I was appalled but not surprised at Barr's remark. He also mentioned that these oil companies should be allowed to make as much money as they can get and obviously at the expense of all of us.

We have known for a long time in whose pocket Barr resides. Barr is just representative of most Republican thinking. When it comes to having to hurt somebody, protect the rich and let the poor and lower income people hang in the wind, even die if it comes to that. He may say that no one has died from being too cold or think that public utilities gives people a fair shake when they can't afford to pay for their heat but anyone with any brains know this cannot be true. Public health officials have reported thousands of deaths that are related to insufficient heating or no heating at all.; also see

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


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Monday, November 21, 2005

Mike Lane, Cagle Cartoon of Jack Murtha and Cheney

Marine Colonel, War Hero, Congressman, Murtha, is depicted in this cartoon as a giant turkey threatening the likes of Cheney who is standing firm behind staying in Iraq and objecting to criticism about how the war is conducted. Murtha has pointed to Cheney's lack of military service as a vulnerability, taking the ax to his incompetent running of this war and his seeming insensitivity to the many unnecessary caualties the war has inflicted upon US servicemen. Later on Murtha softened his comments regarading Cheny's lack of military service but I thought his remarks were right on target. Some think the tide on the Iraq War is changing in part as a result of Murtha's stepping into the firestorm on this issue. Given Murtha is a conservative Democrat serving on an important congressional committee on military matters and given he is a hawk on military issues, this is very good news for those of us rooting for a quick pullout or at least a major shift toward peace and a pull away from a failed war policy which Murtha also pointed out in his remarks this week Nov. 05.