Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Funeral for a Friend

Funeral for a Friend

When "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" was released I missed it.  I was steeped in classical music.  But I do remember listening to the Album when I was driving along Route 17 in the Catskills.  It was the fall of 1974.  The Album opens with "Funeral for a Friend" and includes "Candle in the Wind."  It was less than a year since my best friend had been killed in a car crash.  Both of these songs tore at my heart and I listened to them over and over.

John Franklin Delelys and I were friends in high school went to The State University of New York at Geneseo together. We graduated together (Rod Serling was our commencement speaker) and started teaching elementary school in 1973 at different schools in the Rush-Henrietta School District... from which we had graduated in 1969.

We were unlikely friends.  John was handsome, popular and talented.  I was a social misfit, a gay kid in high school 40 years before Glee. We shared a love of theater, but I still am at a loss to know what John saw in me or how we became friends.  I know I admired him.  He was an idol for me. As we become friends, it stunned me to find out that he was really more shy and insecure than I could ever imagine being.

When John died it was the second great loss in my life.  My father had died in January of my senior year.

This Saturday I turned 60 and today John would have been 61.  I was feeling a huge sense of loss as I approached this decade.  The time that I had been given to live that was denied John was weighing heavily on me. More personal was the realization that my already faulty memory was becoming worse.  I really couldn't conjure up much about John.

He and I went camping on Middle Saranac Lake the summer of 1969.  I remember the place where we camped.  It was so serene. I remember that John was incredibly patient with me when we climbed Mount Ampersand.  John ran track, I was a couch potato.  But he saw me to the stony top and that incredible view.  To this day, given a choice of a sunny beach or a mountain, I will choose the latter.  That's just one of the things that I now realize that John gave me.

I took a picture of John there and turned it into a oil painting.  This summer I saw John's sister Johanna for the fist time in many. many years.  She still has that very primitive work in her house.  I connected with John's younger brother on Facebook this summer as well.
But the memories were so dim.

Enter Sharon Manna (then Sharon Davey).  Sharon dated John at Geneseo and we both sang with Geneseo Chamber Singers.  I have kept in touch with Sharon very occasionally.  Our lives went in very different directions and the only common denominator in our lives was our love for John.

Two days before my birthday an email arrived.  Sharon sent me some wonderful pictures but more importantly Sharon sent me memories.  She reminded me of a Mickey Mouse watch that I gave John.  (Last year at Disney World I bought one for myself, without a conscious memory of the gift.)  Sharon reminded me that he was much fonder of my mother than I was... and much more.

Sharon reminded me of things I had forgotten and told me of things that I still can't remember.

This year I got and iPad and wonderful dinner, a chance to see Billy Elliot on stage... all wonderful gifts.

But the best gift was the reminder of how wonderful my friendship, cut tragically short, was.  The reminders of how lucky I was to have known John Franklin Delelys.  Thanks, Sharon.  You gave me a gift beyond value.

And thank you, John.  God gave me the gift of your friendship. God gave me your example of innocent, unconditional love.

I miss you.


A picture I took of Sharon and John at Geneseo

Sharon Took this of John at Panther Mountain.  It reminded me of Ampersand.

Sharon's picture of John rowing.  I remember that too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Church of England Civil Unions Progress, Nigeria... not so much.

Taken from a GLAAD newsletter:

In the United Kingdom, the Church of England announced that they will not force vicars to perform civil partnership ceremonies. The two-page briefing note (PDF) cites that Church premise may be used to approve of the registration of civil partnerships without a formal endorsement from the General Synod. The Archbishop of Westminster came out in support of civil unions, all the while maintaining that there is something distinctive in the nature of marriage that sets it apart as the foundation of family life. The Scots may beat the Brits to the punch, however, as they begin their consultation on civil marriage equality this week as promised.

In Africa, Nigeria’s senate passed a broad scope anti-gay marriage bill. Under the proposed law, marriage or participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony, public displays of affection would be considered criminal acts.

Hillary Speaks at UN Human Rights Conference

Please take 30 minutes at listen to this entire speech. It will surely be quoted out of context and used by those opposed to equal rights for LGBT people. Only if you are prepared can you help to put it in context.

It makes the point that minority rights have never been won without strong, visible support from those who are not a part of the affected minority. So even if you are not lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, your support is crucial, indeed, especially if you are not LGBT, we need your voice. We need you to be informed.

Thank you, Hillary. We even forgive you a bad hair day.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Getting Stoned on the Great Wall

It really is GREAT when you are stoned.

Toronto and Niagara Falls

Oh Canada! Our trip started with a success story. Although Mike left his passport in Sacramento we got into Canada to see the Bills trounce the Redskins at the Rogers Centre.

The next day was Halloween. Loads of fun on Church Street and Kyle and I dressed up as bartenders at Woody's.

The next best costume was this nice lady being devoured by a great white...

Then off to Niagara Falls:

From beneath the falls...

And the next morning from our hotel room overlooking the falls...

Friday, October 21, 2011

What you see is not always what you get...

What is this? Are you sure?

Openly Gay and Hot Straight Ally

We love Ben Cohen so much. Brit Rugby star Cohen (below right) has become a the straight jock voice for LGBT inclusion, especially in sports. On the left is Billy Bean, pro baseball player who came out after he retired. That the usual sequence that Cohen is working to undo.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Obama Can Do No Right

Qadaffi is dead. Republican response: Great, but if we had only acted more boldly and quickly fewer lives would have been lost.

So we should have handled this more like Iraq? Gone in with guns blazing?

We all know that Obama can do no right.

One reaction, I think from Marco Rubio, was that we should have acted more quickly and with bipartisan consent of congress. Seriously? Does anyone else see that as an oxymoron with the current congress?

What about, "We managed achieve our objective by supporting local forces without any troops on the ground. Congratulations, President Obama, Commander in Chief."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mac Support for Disabled Users

I was searching for a cheat sheet of commands that Apple's iPhone recognizes. (I can't afford the 4s with Siri). I found my answers on ATMac, a site for disabled Mac Users. I was very impressed and enlightened. One article specifically highlights games that are not time dependent. They do not depend on the users speed or coordination. I am not disabled, nor am I tremendously coordinated, but I found this site very cool.

Apple has been ahead of the curve on building accessibility into their devices.

On thing that happened when the 4s released that is disturbing. A app which did what Siri does was removed and disabled. I hope that Apple at least makes this available to the disabled community without having to buy a new 4s.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Today's Unknown Iris 10/11/11

I have quite a few irises in my garden that are an unidentified cultivar. Some came from sources that named them as something they clearly are not. Others just got lost in the days before I was careful about labeling. Some were just beautiful bloomers from Dana Borglum that might well be random seedling that are the work of happy bees.

I'd like to put them out there for my readers (both of them) to help me to ID. They are probably nothing brand new, and probably fairly common.

Here's the first to bloom in my garden. It is clearly a standard dwarf bearded (SDB) iris.

Comment below or send me email at


Monday, October 10, 2011

Mormons and Cults and the Constitution

I am not a big fan of the LDS Church. This is because they spent big bucks to support Prop 8 in California and in less than honest ways to boot. Much of the money was funneled through the Roman Catholic Church because it would be more acceptable. These two faiths have one thing in common. They both claim to be the "one true faith." There has been little love between them because of this mutually exclusive tenet, but decided that the oppression of the homosexual menace was more important. My enemy's enemy is my friend.

Yesterday a Baptist pastor, Robert Jeffress, referred to Mormonism as a cult. He was a guest on Chris Matthews today, and all in all, I was impressed by him. I agree with him on little but he really seems to be a straight shooter. He stuck with his characterization of LDSers as cultist, but stood some unfair attacks by Mr. Matthews fairly well. He handled Chris's clarification that he did not mean a Jim Jones, or Charles Manson type of cult by saying "no, that's not the type of cult I mean..." Really isn't a cult any group of people with a particular set of beliefs that aren't yours? Isn't religion and cult interchangable, especially if your are an atheist? OK, hold on ... I am on the internet! I'll be right back.
10 seconds later...

Good old Wikipedia:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article gives a general cultural account of "cult". For its usage in the original sense of "veneration" or "religious practice", see Cult (religious practice). For its use in a scientific, sociological context see New Religious Movement. For other uses, see Cult (disambiguation).
The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre.[1] The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices.

So I hold on... let's check out the second part since pastor Jeffress seems to have indicated he did not mean the current cultural reference.
10 more seconds...

Cult (religious practice)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article discusses cult in the original and
typically ancient sense of "religious practice" (from the Latin cultus
In traditional usage, the cult of a religion, quite apart from its sacred writings ("scriptures"), its theology or myths, or the personal faith of its believers, is the totality of external religious practice and observance, the neglect of which is the definition of impiety. Cult in this primary sense is literally the "care" (Latin cultus) owed to the god and the shrine. In the specific context of Greek hero cult, Carla Antonaccio has written, "The term cult identifies a pattern of ritual behavior in connection with specific objects, within a framework of spatial and temporal coordinates. Ritual behavior would include (but not necessarily be limited to) prayer, sacrifice, votive offerings, competitions, processions and construction of monuments. Some degree of recurrence in place and repetition over time of ritual action is necessary for cult to be enacted, to be practiced"[1]

Cult is embodied in ritual and ceremony. Its present or former presence is made concrete in temples, shrines and churches, and cult images (denigrated by Christians as "idols") and votive deposits at votive sites.

By extension, "cult" has come to connote the total cultural aspects of a religion, as they are distinguished from others through change and individualization.

The comparative study of cult practice is part of the disciplines of the anthropology of religion and the sociology of religion, two aspects of comparative religion. In the context of many religious organisations themselves, the study of cultic or liturgical practises is called liturgiology.

Oops, looks like I am part of a cult too. Truth to be told Mormons are less "culty" than the Episcopal Church. But the CJCLDS is a cult by the traditional definition. However, to be fair, Pastor Jeffress should point out that they are less "culty" than many mainstream churches and way less that the RCs. Baptists, as I understand them are really low on the cultiness, but there must be a little. I suspect he knows that.

Where I think Chris Matthews missed the mark and Pastor Jeffress scored big was on the Constitution. In discussion of how religious beliefs might be used as a litmus test for voter, Matthews quoted Article 6, paragraph 3 which concludes:

... no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

Mathews was clearly implying that this would make it wrong for Jeffress to consider the beliefs of a candidate when we enter the voting booth. Jeffress called him on that, and Matthews would have been well advised to concede.

It is logically incorrect for anyone to vote for or against anyone based on their religion. It is especially incorrect for someone to vote for someone who professes their Christianity, as many do, and then lives out a life and hold beliefs that would most like give Jesus the shivers. But the Constitution does not dictate for whom anyone can vote. The Electoral College was originally intended to insulate the election of a President from an ill informed electorate. That however is no longer its raison d'ĂȘtre. Now it just keeps politicos in business and confuses many.

Bottom line. Cult members can run for President. If you're an American you can vote for anyone for whatever reason you like and be as ill informed as you like. Makes me proud.

Watch Matthews and Jeffress on Huffington Post

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

It seems so personal. Apple has been such an important part of my life since my first Apple II+ with 48K of memory. That's right. Not 48GB. Not 48MB. 48K. The word processor displayed everything in uppercase letters. Caps were displayed in inverse and printed in upper and lower case on the dot matrix printer. The hard-copy printed at rates of minutes per page, not the othe way around.

And then there was the IIe, the IIgs, the first portable and the Newton (those last two belonged to the school district). I never had the monochrome box, but I did own a "Bondi Blue" iMac. Now I am on my third laptop. And of course the string of iPods is impressive. It wasn't until iPhone 4 was released that I finally lined up at AT&T.

Now, as Steve Jobs is remembered I watch and remember as the designs unfold.

Steve Job's vision of design being a functional extension of the human mind was elegant genius.

Certainly Jobs will join the likes of Edison and Ford in the history of the United States.

Thank you, Mr. Jobs.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Married! So?

I know we have been legally married in Canada for 3.7 years and in New York since the summer. All that has been pretty abstract.

Last week we went to the DMV to get enhanced licenses. NY issues these for travel to Canada. They contain an ID chip which makes them acceptable for travel to Canada and Mexico, cost less and arrive faster than a Passport.

When we arrived the first time the DMV was not happy with Kyle's birth certificate because it was falling apart. This time we both arrived with rand spanking new birth certificates, but no proof of current residency. That means a current bill or pay stub. We thought we were doomed.

One of the employees suggest that we could swear residency for each other.

Here is the first legal document that used our new new status...

It was nice to legally use the word "husband."

It's a little thing, but maybe others of you think it's important to introduce the person you love as the person you legally share your life with.

If you do, and you haven't told someone else that you think it's important that all Americans deserve that right, maybe you should. It's the way we change others. One person at a time.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Dana Borglum & The Randolh Perry Medal

The Randolph-Perry Medal is awarded annually by the American Iris Society for the best Species X Iris hybrid. Species X is a cross between two species. In this case a cross that was previously thought impossible... but the bees did it on Dana Borglum's Iris Farm.

'Ally Oops' (Borglum, Registered 2000) SPEC-X, height 18" (46 cm), blooms Early Midseason. Standards and style arms light blue; Falls yellow, blue veining; foliage tall, ribbed center. Parentage unknown --- presumed siberian X Iris pseudacorus . Borglum 2002. Randolph-Perry Medal, 2010.

Iris pseudacorus is commonly known as a "flag."

And the winner for 2010 brought his medal to the GRIS (Greater Rochester Iris Society) meeting last Thursday.

Dana Borglum and Randolph Perry Medal

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Last Iris Planting of the Year

These from Nola's Iris Garden...

Keeping Up Appearances
Black, 2000

Ghio, 1997

Gay Parasol
Schreiner, 1973

Fimbriated Space
Sutton, 1998

Milk On Apricots
Niswonger, 2000

Wills, 1943

Ghio, 1982

Devonshire Cream
Sutton, 1999

Barbara My Love
Maryott, 1988

Hot Gossip
Blyth, 1992/93

My Friend Jonathan
Miller, 1984

University of Michigan Spectrum Center PSA

This is featured at today's Michigan game.

The Spectrum Center: "Huddle Up" from Filmic Productions on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

May First GRIS! ...and an unknown

I am going to my first meeting of the Greater Rochester Iris Society meeting tonight. I have soe many questions...

Here are two pics of one of the mysteries in my garden. It's the same plant, but the light sure makes a difference. First is a sunny day, second is overcast. It's a beauty for those who like vivid. When purchased in a group from one of the big online garden plant suppliers, it was ID'ed as "Too Sweet"

The Identification of an unknown iris cultivar with certainty is next to impossible. Given the 10's of thousands of named cultivars that's not surprising. Recently I sent off a picture of one cultivar that clearly was not what I had been calling it. "Too Sweet" seemed like a great name for an iris with a fuschia-pink self (Standards and falls of the same color) and brilliant tangerine beards. It seemed "too sweet" in the literal sense of a candy that is cloyingly sweet.

Here is the real "Too Sweet" according to Dave's Garden. It's not on the AIS Wiki.

This is Prom Night:

My source for Iris Investigation believes this is the one. I agree on most points. The color is right. The shape is right. The plicata on the hafts and veining on the fall is more pronounced.

What a project it would be to photograph all blooms under exactly the same light conditions. Of course they would all have to be grown with exactly the same moisture, sun and soil conditions....

It's a challenge, but they are still fun to grow and a spectacular flower!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

From Mid-America

Fancy, Paul, Nickel and Thomas

I have posted the irises I ordered from Mid America. Now they are here! One bonus I selected was sold out. Next year I will order "Toronto" but this year I have these two:

2011, Paul Black

TB , 35" (89cm) , Early-Midseason
It is all about color. Rich, glowing coppery terra-cotta flowers have a soft blush of rosy violet around dark burnt red orange beards. Easy grower and rapid increaser. It’s easy to have this colorful iris. It’s a bonus. Check out our bonus offer on the inside front cover of this catalog.
Sdlg. N62A: Romantic Gentleman X Stop Flirting

TB , 32" (81cm) , Midseason-Late

Blushing is a lovely little color gem for smaller gardens. Light buttery yellow standards are infused mid pink over centers. Perky, flared falls are white with wide blended pale yellow margins and peach blushed hafts. Soft tangerine over white beards are the perfect accent. Cute, smaller, compact flowers are carried gracefully on show stalks with 4 branches plus spur and 10-12 buds. Excellent vigor and winter hardiness.
Sdlg. O9YY: Body and Soul X Bundle of Love

They're Here!

Two packages arrived on my doorstep today. One from Mid-America Irises and on from Pleasant Valley. This is live blogging as I open the packages to see what surprises await!

The Richards at Pleasant Valley

Kendall Richard and his family at Pleasant Valley has included 2 gifts

1991, Zurbrigg

'Clarence' (Lloyd Zurbrigg, R. 1990). Sdlg. ZZZ. TB, 35" (89 cm), M & RE (Aug/ NC & VA). S. white, tinted violet at top; F. light blue violet, white center and hafts; cream beard; sweet fragrance. Parentage unknown. Avonbank 1991.

1997, Sutton

This Tall Bearded Iris has standards that are medium rellow over cream/pale yellow falls with bright orange beards and 3/4" yellow horns. This space age iris blooms mid-season and is 35" tall. Hybridizer: Sutton '97

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mid-America Iris Purchases

I treated myself to three 2011 Introducions from Mid America.

Action Packed (TB)
2011, Black

'Action Packed' Sdlg. O177C 36" (91cm) , Midseason-Late

Hybridizer's Comment: Zip, zing, zowie, it’s an Action Packed spectacle that is sure to get you excited. Buff standards are increasingly webbed with wine veins moving from centers toward margins. A nest of showy white veins surrounds orange gold beards on plush purple black falls. Wine and gold striped styles provide that extra punch needed to get your attention. Three branches with 8-9 buds produced by vigorous, clean plants keeps the excitement going. 'Magic Masquerade' X (('Sensual Elegance' x 'Romantic Evening') x 'Snowed In')Mid America Garden 2011

Frontline (TB)

2011, Paul Black

TB , 40" (102cm) , Midseason-Very Late
Frontline takes the reverse blue amoena pattern and adds an exciting new dimension. Instead of solid blue standards, they blend from dark violet blue to icy white with centers heavily veined dark violet blue. They are a pleasing and different contrast to very wide and ruffled near white falls. Subdued tangerine to white beards don’t draw the eye away from the dramatic standards’ pattern. Strong show stalks have 3 branches plus spur and about seven buds. Growth is strong and healthy.
Sdlg. O141A: Gothic Romance X (Cameo Appearance sib x (Lotus Land x Intimidator))

I'm on Fire (IB)
2011, Thomas Johnson


IB , 25 (63cm) , Midseason
Put on your sunglasses to protect your eyes from this brilliantly colored jewel. Standards are bright coppery orange with styles a few shades darker. Vibrant rusty orange falls are set afire by screamingly bright orange red beards. Form that is sometimes a bit quirky adds to its allure and distinctiveness. You’ll see this one from across the garden.
Sdlg. TA113B: Yahtzee X Decadence

While I was raising my total to qualify for 2 bonus selections I also ordered

2004, Blyth

'Decadence' (Barry Blyth, R. 2001). Seedling H83-G. TB, height 38" (96 cm), Mid bloom season. Standards creamy apricot, faint rose midrib flush; style arms creamy apricot; falls light plum burgundy, 1/4" creamy apricot edge; beards tangerine; heavily ruffled and laced. 'Temple of Time' X 'Louisa's Song', Keppel, Tempo Two 2004, 2004/05.Honorable Mention 2006, Award of Merit 2008, Wister Medal, 2010.

Dracula's Kiss
2009, Schreiners

This floral wonder is our entry into the exciting new color class of red bearded dark Iris. Its dusky prune purple standards darken to black purple in the falls. The most outstanding feature is the caterpillar-like bright tangerine beards. These have been inherited undoubtedly from its pollen parent, Local Color. In addition Dracula's Kiss consistently produces 9-12 buds per stalk on a four-branched stem. Seedling # PP 602-A.

Conjuring Cat
2005, Black

'Conjuring Cat' (Paul Black, registered 2005). Seedling J445D . TB, height 44" (112 cm), mid season bloom. Standards warm white, narrow peach-gold band, medium peach at base, green gold veining up midrib; style arms warm white, medium peach fringing on crest; falls warm white, medium violet heavily lined and washed wedge-shaped central area extending from beard to petal edge, buff center line, yellow peach hafts, narrow peach band around lower half; beards bright orange; ruffled, lightly laced; pronounced spicy fragrance. 'Notorious' X 'Blush of Color'. Mid-America 2005.

Can't wait to post the bonuses when they arrive!

Pleasant Valley 2nd order

Email marketing works on me. Pleasant Valley sent me a special sale promotion and I could not resist.

In 2009 I ordered an end of year special from them. Maybe they will repeat it this year. 20 named irises for $40, I think. In the meantime here's what I ordered that I expect to arrive any day.

'Electric Shock'

1996, Messick

'Electric Shock' (Virginia Messick, registered 1995). Seedling M87-37. TB, height 34" (86 cm), Mid bloom season. Standards white, washed dark blue; falls white, washed blue; beards dark blue; ruffled; sweet fragrance. Olympiad X Cosmic Dance. Messick 1996.


1999, Ghio

'Idol' (Joseph Ghio, registered 1998) Seedling 93-2G2. TB, height 38" (97 cm), early, mid, late season bloom. Standards golden apricot orange; falls solid claret red; beards red. 'Chinese New Year' X 'Romantic Evening'. Bay View 1999. Honorable Mention in 2001, Award of Merit in 2003.


1986, Ghio

'Liaison' ( Joseph Ghio, R. 1986). Sdlg. 81-36V. TB, 36" (91 cm), M. S. pink with peach midrib; F. deep velvety purple, pronounced 1/8" pink band; orange beard; lightly ruffled. 'Ringo' X 'Magic Man'. Maryott's Gardens 1986.


1987, Byers

'Lurid' ( Monty Byers, R. 1986). Sdlg. C86-3. TB, 36" (91 cm), M-L. Lightly ruffled white; red orange beard, long horns. A-3-1: ('Startler' x 'Sky Hooks)' X 'Heaven Helped'. Moonshine Gardens 1987.

'Terre De Feu'

1997, Cayeux

'Terre De Feu' (Richard Cayeux, registered 1997) Seedling 89131 A. TB, height 33" (85 cm), early to mid season bloom. Standards bright copper red; falls copper red, large metallic violet heart; beards bronze. Supreme Sultan X Gold Galore. Cayeux 1997.