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In Memoriam Sam Widawski

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:01 pm - March 13, 2008.
Filed under: Great Men

I had intended to write some political posts, but after attending the funeral of one of the most beloved members of my former congregation, my mind turned to other things, especially to that great man, a simple man in some people’s eyes, but learned in Torah and the traditions of his ancestors and kind to all he met.

He was, as the rabbi put it in his eulogy, the congregation’s “sexton” or factotum, doing all manner of little things, necessary for the synagogue to meet ritual requirements, for services to run smoothly and do get done anything else that needed doing.

Few, outside his family and that synagogue, knew Sam Widawski, but those who did, delighted in his presence and now treasure his memory.

Sam was born in Poland in the 1920s and survived sixteen Nazi camps. Despite losing his family and witnessing horrors that we cannot even imagine, he never gave up his faith in humanity. He treated us all with dignity.

I recall how he would often greet me after Shabbas services and on holidays by asking if I were “still a Republican.” I knew from the tone of his voice and the expression on his face that his comment was one of affectionate curiosity. Coming to America at age when most Jews were Democrats and most anti-Semites (outside the South) Republican, he must have found the idea of a Jewish Republican a strange novelty.

It wasn’t just that. It was his unique way of acknowledging me. Whenever he asked that question, he made me feel welcome in a congregation he had joined over three decades before I had. (more…)

John Kerry’s Lies Catch Up To Him — Again

Man, this video is completely and utterly priceless.

This is one of the best parts of the blogosphere:  our elected officials on high have to answer to the people and their answers are there for all the world to see.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Is Gun Control a Gay Issue?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 11:45 am - March 13, 2008.
Filed under: Conservative Ideas,Freedom,Post 9-11 America

As I followup to my post wondering whether gun control were bad for gay people, Pajamas asked me to explore the issue in greater depth. They’ve just posted my piece.

I’ll whet your appetite with the first few paragraphs:

Just over two years ago, Jacob Robida, a troubled 18-year-old who lived in a room filled with weapons, Nazi flags, and anti-Semitic writings, walked into Puzzles Lounge, a gay bar in New Bedford, Massachusetts. After presenting a fake ID to the bartenderand finishing off a drink, he asked if it was a gay bar.

Upon learning that it was, he ordered a second drink. Then he went to the back of the bar and started swinging a hatchet at bar patrons, striking two. When others tried to wrestle him to the ground, he pulled out a gun and shot one person in the face, another in the head (twice), and a third person in the abdomen.

After fleeing the scene, he was cornered by police in Arkansas, where he shot and killed a policeman and his 33-year-old girlfriend before being shot and critically wounded by officers. He died later at a Missouri hospital.

The situation might have turned out differently had the bartender or a patron brought a handgun to the bar that night.

To find out how things might have turned out, click here.

Jonna Tamases & the Problem of Hollywood

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 12:53 am - March 13, 2008.
Filed under: LA Stories,Movies/Film & TV

I just returned from a special screening of Jonna’s Body, Please Hold, a film that is wowing audiences at festivals across the land. I had been eager to see the flick, having heard it was in production and having met its star Jonna Tamases several years ago at an entertainment industry networking event. Later, I saw her one-woman show which served as the inspiration for the movie.

That play had so moved me, I came back to see it again, bringing a friend who was slated to direct a short film I had written.

If there were justice in Hollywood, the name Jonna Tamases would be as well-known today as are those of perky young blondes and buxom brunettes who may have the “look” that (Hollywood producers believe) sells movie tickets, but whose acting talents can’t measure up. If they were to perform on the same stage as Jonna, it would be like watching high school cheerleaders next to Meryl Streep. The cheerleaders may be more enticing to straight men, but the actress can make you sympathize with her character and feel her pain.

And that’s exactly what Jonna did, both in her one-woman show and in its film adaptation. She tells the story of her battle with cancer from the point-of-view of her body, anthropomorphized into Pearl, an operator who reminds me of Lily Tomlin‘s Ernestine from Laugh-In.

Just like Lily Tomlin, Tamases is both a talented comedienne and a gifted dramatic actress (Nashville is worth the cost of rental if just to see Tomlin’s Oscar-nominated performance). In Jonna’s Body, Please Hold, Jonna plays herself, the overwhelmed operator fielding calls from various body parts and also plays those parts themselves. On screen as well as on stage, she succeeds in giving each a distinct personality.

Soon Pearl fields unexpected calls from evil French-accented sprites. At first dismissing the calls, she later realizes they are the cancer which has invaded Jonna’s body, upsetting the balance she has tried so hard to maintain. Through the attempts of this increasingly harried operator to try to placate the now increasingly unsettled body parts, we gain insight into Jonna’s own struggle with cancer. It is both moving and amusing at the same time.

Watching it on screen, I was again reminded of Jonna’s amazing gifts, how she could turn her own illness into an inspiring story, reminding us all to listen to our bodies and to delight in just being alive. It wasn’t just this story. It was also her acting. We believed each body part had a distinct voice. As did the operator. As did the character Jonna.

Seeing such a talented actress, I wondered why it was that other women with less talent have achieved more success on the silver screen. Which brings me to the title of this post.

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