Saturday, June 29, 2013

"Up On Top of a Rainbow, Sweeping the Clouds Away," Happy Gay Day Everybody!

It's hard to beat this week's New Yorker cover.

Once again, there is a lot to celebrate this year on the marriage front.  DOMA is no more, and marriage equality returns to California!

Plaintiffs in the Prop H8 case, Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier get legally married in San Francisco after working so hard to secure that right for themselves and for thousands of others to follow.

Other plaintiffs in the Prop H8 case, Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarillo are married in Los Angeles by outgoing Mayor Villaraigosa.  Thanks to the both of them for their courage and determination, and best wishes for a happy and prosperous life together.

And now it's time to pass ENDA and make discrimination in housing and employment a thing of the past everywhere from San Francisco to Tyler, Texas.


Blog tradition:


Photo taken last week as thugs and cops break up a small LGBT demonstration in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Let's remember all of our brothers and sisters in places like Russia, central Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and so many other countries who struggle against tremendous odds for the freedom and dignity which we have earned in the USA, the West, and in much of Latin America.  No matter how small they are, that such groups even exist in these places is enormous progress.  Expectations are rising around the world, and nothing can stop them.

The Russian activists are among the toughest in the world, facing down the combined forces of the state, the church, and the mob.  Activists in New York faced something similar 40 years ago, though on a smaller scale than in Russia.  Let's hope that our Russian friends will enjoy the same success, sooner than 40 years, and with our help if necessary.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Getting There, And Back

... by rail on Amtrak.  Below are pictures taken from the train of our long journey from New York City to San Francisco.  All of these were taken with my handy little digital; pardon the shaky hands and the occasional schmutz on the lens.

Our train

Michael riding the train in Nevada

The always crowded observation car; I took most of these pictures from my own window.

Corn and lots of it in northern Illinois someplace east of Galesburg;  the landscape looks mostly like this from Ohio to Nebraska.  Heading east


From climbing up into the Front Range outside of Denver looking back at the Great Plains.  Heading west.

The same view a week later heading east;  we immediately saw huge storms on the plains below.

The stormy Great Plains outside Denver viewed from the slope of the Front Range; heading east.

Downtown Denver disappears in the storm on the upper right.  Heading east.

The Front Range mountains, heading west

The Rockies on the way to the Moffat Tunnel.  Heading west.

Self-portrait in the historic 6 mile long Moffat Tunnel in the Colorado Rockies; heading west.

Mountains near Frazier, Colorado; heading west.

A peak whose name I don't know near Frazier; heading west.

The snows of the Colorado Rockies are the source for some major rivers in the USA; the Rio Grande, the Arkansas, the Platte, and here, the Colorado.  Heading east.

Approaching Byers' Canyon; heading east

Byers' Canyon; heading east.

What makes the Rocky Mountains so rocky; rocks in Byers' Canyon; heading west.

The Colorado River just outside Byers' Canyon; heading east.

Mountains with power lines; heading east.

Horses and wild iris; heading east.

The Colorado was crowded with rafters; heading west.

Colorful geology on the Colorado River; heading east.

Very red rocks; heading west

Geology at its most dramatic and powerful, bending rock layers like taffy; heading east.

Coming into Glenwood Canyon; heading west.

Glennwood Canyon; heading west.

Glennwood Canyon; heading west.

The hot springs at Glennwood Springs;  I swam in its hot mineral waters when I was a small boy and when my Great Aunt Helen still lived there.

Bluffs on the way to Grand Junction; heading west.

Rose Canyon near Grand Junction; heading east.

Looking in the distance toward what I think might be Colorado National Monument; heading east.

Green River, Utah

All of these photos were taken at sunset heading west.

One of many paintings of Green River by Thomas Moran; if he exaggerated, it's only slightly.

Sunset at Green River


The desolation that is northern Nevada on the way to Reno; heading west.

An isolated butte; heading west.

Donner Pass, California

I took these photos from a speeding bus, and none of them are very good.  Because of track work between Reno and Truckee, Amtrak decided to put us all on buses for the last stretch to Emeryville, California right across the Bay Bridge from San Franciso.

The only picture that came out of Donner Lake.

Albert Bierstadt's painting of Donner Lake;  I rode Amtrak over this pass 7 years ago on the very tracks that you see on the right of this painting.  The top of the pass viewed from the train looks a lot like this painting, though I've only seen it in the afternoon and not at sunrise as here.  Missing this view on this trip was the biggest disappointment of an otherwise very successful trip.

The Stormy Midwest

A stormy sunset on the Great Plains just east of Denver;  We had lightning, thunder, high wind, and torrential rain all the way from Denver to Chicago heading back east.  The weather was so bad in places that the train had to stop to let it pass.  We were 7 hours late getting back to Chicago.

Pouring rain outside the train;  somewhere in western Nebraska in the middle of the night, I saw probably the most violent lightning that I've ever seen in my life, at least one bolt a second for about 3 hours.

Strom clouds over Iowa; heading east.


Wouldn't ya know it!  There's 2 Green Rivers, the one in Utah and one in Wyoming.  Thomas Moran painted the one in Wyoming.