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Nominal Me

I'm falling in love with my camera and taking photos everywhere I go. That, combined with my passions for politics, sports, religion and other things we all agree on, makes this blog persist.

My Photo
Location: Astoria, New York, United States

I'm born in Manhattan and raised in Queens.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Random Web Stuff

Here's some stuff on the Web that's caught my eye lately:

The Road to Sefdom, in cartoons.

Here's a post about a wild party, with guys and girls in a shower. And this isn't a porn site.

Here's the future of America.

New York is returning to its drug dealing roots.

Talking Tina talks about being a catholic, and says something about savage Muslims. It's a compelling read. Check out her response to some hate mail.

Looks like Terri Schiavo's husband took a shot at her parents on her gravesite, according to this blog.

A schoolkid asks "what is homosexual"?

Here's a website that aims to design the perfect war video game.

Tom Cruise is a SITH LORD!

Well, this guy doesn't give up easily.

Other Random Web Stuff

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Happy Birthday To Me

Today is my 33rd birthday!

I've been tagged by Janet at the Art of Getting By. It's all fair since I tagged her on the movie thing.

5 Things I Miss About My Childhood (in no particular order)

1. Breaks. Summer breaks. Christmas breaks. Afterschool breaks.

2. Cold War movies. They just can't make stuff like Red Dawn anymore. You don't have a ready-made bad guy by just giving him a Russian accent today.

3. New Wave music. It was once cool to listen to New Order and Depeche Mode.

4. Crushes. Liking girls seemed a lot less complicated back then than liking women does today.

5. School. Yeah, I said it. I hated learning back then, but I think I want to go back and start learning stuff again.


Your Birthdate: June 29

Your birthday on the 29th adds a tone of idealism to your nature.

You are imaginative and creative, but rather uncomfortable in the business world.

You are very aware and sensitive, with outstanding intuitive skills and analytical abilities.

The 29 reduces to 11, one of the master numbers which often produces much nervous tension.

This is the birthday of the dreamer rather than the doer.

You do, however, work very well with people.

More Personal Stuff

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Q&A With State Senator Serph Maltese

New York State Senator Serph Maltese is the subject of today's Q&A.

In addition to serving New York State's 15th senate district, Serphin Maltese is the Queens County Republican Chairman.

Why should Tom Ognibene be mayor of New York City?

Because I believe he would be an articulate advocate for all the people of the City of New York. He would ensure the so-called "outer boroughs" get a fair shake and fair deal. He would be a compassionate, involved mayor with the experience and background of a true representative of the people. I also believe he would have a good working relationship with the law enforcement officials, unions and the blue collar middle class families of our City.

Who are the best Republican prospects in New York for the 2005 city and 2006 state elections?

Mayor: Tom Ognibene
Queens Borough President: Philip Sica
City Council: Dennis Gallagher, Peter Beduvas, Jim Oddo, Andrew Lanza
Staten Island Borough President: James Molinaro

You recently made headlines opposing the Log Cabin Republicans entry into the Republican State Committee's Executive committee. Why do you oppose their involvement?

I do not believe that a place on the Republican State Executive Committee should be granted solely on sexual orientation, but rather by Republicans who have paid their dues and earned a place on that top new York State Republican governing body.

In addition, the Log Cabin Republicans have shown their disloyalty to the Republican Party by making the biggest media buy in their history (according to their own website) in the critical election state of Ohio during the week prior to the November '04 election attacking President Bush for his defense of marriage and opposition to same sex marriage.

They have also attacked Karl Rove, as well as many other top advisors, terming them "right wing reactionaries". I have no objection to the inclusion by the State Chairman, as he has every right to do, of a gay or lesbian individual who has earned a place on the Committee by virtue of service to our party.

What would be the best makeup of the committee?

The best makeup of the Executive Committee would be the old fashioned way - by appointing those who earned it through party activity and civic and community involvement, as well as loyal and dedicated service. The County Chairmen of the 62 counties should continue to have a position on the Executive Committee by virtue of their election by their Republican constituents to that post and they then can continue to elect their officers.

I would also favor a role for the President of the New York State Women's Republican organization. Beyond that, while I do favor reaching out to all ethnic groups, I Believe there are sufficient activists within all the groups that they could achieve membership on their own merits.

What does the executive committee do?

The Executive Committee is responsible for day to day party activities at the state level in between meetings of the full party representatives. They also are responsible for reaching out to statewide candidates for office, as well as setting policy for New York State in national conventions and meetings.

What are your biggest legislative priorities in the coming two years?

Among my legislative priorities, I am working to keep violent sex offenders off our streets by enacting the Omnibus Sex Offender Registration Reform Act, which strengthens current law in 25 ways, including: mandatory notification by police when a registered sex offender moves into a community, lifetime registration of all sex offenders, requiring information about all levels of sex offenders to be posted on the Internet, and GPS monitoring for the worst offenders.

As a former Assistant District Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Homicide Bureau, I know firsthand that sexual predators cannot be rehabilitated and the statistics show the highest recidivism rates for these dangerous and depraved criminals.

This legislation will keep our communities better informed and increase penalties for sexual predators who prey on our most vulnerable and precious resource -- our children.

I also am working continually to improve education for our young people at the City and State level.

What can a Republican County Chairman do in an overwhelmingly Democratic town to build a party?

Continue to build an effective party in the face of overwhelming numerical odds. In addition, champion the principles of limited government, low taxes and traditional family moral values.

What does being a Republican in New York City mean to you?

Fighting the good fight, showing the colors and carrying the standard of the party, supporting the President and supporting traditional Republican values.

Why did you enter into politics?

To make a difference and because I thought it was important and enjoyed the challenge. Also, because in our great country, the son of immigrants can enter politics and aspire to elected office.

What do you do in your free time?

Reading, particularly history. My hobbies include collecting antique postcards, stamps, military medals and political buttons.

I'd like to thank the Senator for his time, with special thanks to Victoria Vattimo for handling all of the details.

Other Q&As

Other articles on Religion, Science, and Philosophy

Monday, June 27, 2005

Photo Essay: Gays and Billy Graham

The theme for this photo essay is love. God's love, gay love, and perhaps something in between.

There was no greater example of how diverse and just damn crazy New York City can be than yesterday, June 26, 2005. Within hours of each other, I saw the Gay Pride Parade and Billy Graham's last crusade. Here are some photos of both.

The first thing one needs to know about gay pride is that it's colorful. These guys and gals know how to decorate a minivan.

The most important thing to know about gay pride events is that your eyes can lie to you. That hot girl you're seeing might not be a girl at all. Chances are, if she is, she's not interested in what you can offer anyway. This can be a frustrating experience.

Even the all-American apple pie white picket fence institution of cheerleading is available to you at the gay pride parade.

Even the manly macho institution of biking has it's gay contingent. Nothing is safe from you trying to run away from homosexuals. Beware!

There are even gay cows! Or at least guys (I think) dressed up as one.

But it's not all fun and games. While most of America has moved past the issue, the gay pride movement is bringing the cause of AIDS front and center.

Mama Jean, who apparently was involved in the Stonewall incident years ago, was the grand marshal of the parade. When I took this picture, she said "what do you want?" Nice lady.

Nothing says New York like a guy in a wheelchair with a "I Love Oral Sex" t-shirt. He's talking to a very well built guy with a wig on. See those arms? You go tell him he's a faggot and shouldn't have rights. I dare you.

Politics was a part of things. Mike Bloomberg had supporters there...

...as did Freddy Ferrer. After one person dropped one of the Ferrer signs, one of these guys in this group said "you should have dropped the American flag". Nice.

I learned a lot from this parade. Gay people are nice. They are like friendly Grizzly Bears.

It was a fun time. I even got hit on. The guy had a good, unassuming opening line (he asked about my camera phone) but ultimately had no game. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

One thing's for sure, I wasn't going to get hit on by a guy at my afternoon event...the final Billy Graham crusade. Evangelical Christians from around the tri-state area filled up northwestern Queens.

It took place near Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows Park.

Immediately, I noticed a different style to this event. I couldn't quite put my finger on what was different...oh I know, if someone looked like a woman here, they probably were one.

There were tons and tons of friendly people to talk to.

Just like the gay pride parade, people got dressed up (although with a little less flair..yeah that's handwriting on an undershirt).

They even had protestors (something I didn't see at the pride event). I have to be honest with you, I can't tell if this group is for Israel or against it. I wasn't in the mood to find out. This lady said "god bless you" to me, so she's OK in my book.

The crusade took place near the 1964 World's Fair site, known most recently as the spaceship from Men In Black.

The place was packed. Thousands and thousands of people.

This is about as close as I got to Billy Graham. I was stuck in the overflow section.

One of the highlights of the crusade was a Christian rock band called MercyMe. They brought the house down...or maybe I should say up...with some of their songs. Michael W. Smith also performed.

It was really hot...90 degrees...making some people retreat off into the shade.

No matter how far away we were, people were pumped to see Billy Graham. He was the main event.

Graham gave a sermon on the end of the world. It was a fitting topic for what may be his last crusade. He said "you never know when your last day will be...you may never know how much more time there is to turn to God." He then invited people up to dedicate their faith.

It was a nice sermon. It reminded me of when I saw Joe Montana playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. I knew he was past his prime...but I also knew there wouldn't be another like him anytime soon.

Not everyone was happy to see Billy Graham though. There were some people bashing him. But it wasn't a bunch of liberals doing it. It was some sort of strange sect of Christians from California calling themselves "a true church".

There's nothing wrong with your screen. This sign says "God Caused Tsunami". To the credit of the Billy Graham crusaders, they started arguing with these guys. I'm glad they did. Otherwise, I would have a hard time convincing my friends that not all Christians are annoying.

There's a nice photo of the World Trade Center in flames on their splashpage right now. Yeah, that makes me want to go to church. Nice job. If you don't mind, I'll stick my with my nice feel-good church in Manhattan.

This guy, using Bible passages and a loving heart, said something along the lines of "you are an f'ing idiot". He did it using slightly different language though.

The Californian Christian was being grilled by a cute blonde from Arkansas (tried to get photos of her, but they didn't come out). Anyway, they were arguing the passage that suggested it would be better to pluck out one's eye than to sin.

He responded by saying he considered getting a vasectomy at one time to prevent him from sexual temptation. Way to go guy. You're not going to pick up ladies with that line.

Although chances are there's at least one guy at the gay pride event who might have been into that.

Finally, the cops got sick of these guys trying to start a Jesus freak riot in the park and kicked them out.

Well, after a long day, it was time to go home. I saw the extremes of New York today. After experiencing it all, I think I'll go back and hang out with some moderates for a while.

I wonder how many other people went to both events?

Other photo essays.

Other posts on Religion, Science and Philosophy.

Clinton Honors Graham At Final Revival

Friday, June 24, 2005

Supreme Court Decision Baffles Liberals

A little while ago, a friend of mine sent me a message titled "All Hail the Bush Regime!" that bashed the recent Supreme Court decision that expands the right of local governments to seize private property under eminent domain.

According to the Associated Press:

The 5-4 ruling — assailed by dissenting Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as handing "disproportionate influence and power" to the well-heeled in America — was a defeat for Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They had argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.

My liberal friends were up in arms. They were angry. Clearly the conservatives have too much power in the Supreme Court. George W. must be stopped (nevermind that he has not appointed a Supreme Court judge yet). "Capitalism has gone too far!" they said.

So I looked into which justices decided this issue. The answer is suprising.

Who decided for it:
* Justice John Paul Stevens (born 1920, appointed by Gerald Ford in 1975);
* Justice Anthony Kennedy (born 1936, appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1988);
* Justice David Souter (born 1939, appointed by George H. W. Bush in
* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (born 1933, appointed by Bill Clinton in
* Justice Stephen Breyer (born 1938, appointed by Bill Clinton in 1994);

Those who ruled against it:
* Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (born 1924, appointed by Richard
Nixon in 1971 and elevated by Ronald Reagan in 1986);
* Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (born 1930, appointed by Ronald Reagan
in 1981);
* Justice Antonin Scalia (born 1936, appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986);
* Justice Clarence Thomas (born 1948, appointed by George H. W. Bush
in 1991).

It turns out, that the "evil, conservative, right-wing" trio of Thomas/Scalia/Rhenquist actually ruled to support property rights, as defined by the U.S. Constitution.

The "liberal, liberty-loving, progressive" Ginsberg/Souter, the only two appointed by liberal icon Bill Clinton, did not.

Politics can be interesting sometimes, especially when it comes down to actual laws.

Had I not looked it up myself, I would not have believed it.

Other Politics

HolyCoast writes: Cities May Destroy Your Home to Build a Mall

CNN Reports on the Issue

Stealing, But Getting Away With It

The Moderate Voice Notes That Property Rights Are In Danger

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Photo Essay: The Met

Recently I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my handy Treo 600 cameraphone.

For the first time in years, I stopped by the Robert Lehman Wing Atrium.

There I ran into a great painting my El Greco.

The wing has a nice view of the museum's old original wall.

I also visited their great old midieval armor collection.

I bet this guy could have killed me in his day.

One of the museum's most peaceful spots is Astor Court in the Chinese art section.

Some of the Asian art is impressive in its scope and age.

The range of art in the section spans from wood, paper, stone, etc.

Seeing old objects like this reminds us that we are not as smart and creative as we think ourselves to be.

In the Modern Art Section, this painting caught my eye.

The American Wing is still by far my favorite. The opening doorway is an old bank from downtown Manhattan.

The Egypt section is impressive as well.

The Temple of Dendur is a must see at the museum. It was donated in its entirety by the Egyptian government.

You can walk right up to the art.

Apparently, legwarmers are back in style. Not sure how I feel about that.

Come to the Met!

Other Photo Essays