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RJW Invites You to Acadiana Progressive ‘Kickoff for Candidates’ July 8, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Politics.
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2011 Kickoff for Candidates

Please join us on Thursday, July 14th in Lafayette, LA for a fantastic opportunity to meet & speak with progressive candidates running for office at all levels of government.   There will be free food and music, too!

This event is sponsored by Acadiana Progressive, a group of action-oriented Lafayette-area residents eager to reenergize progressive ideals throughout the region and the state.

Click here to like Acadiana Progressive on Facebook!

RJW Recalls Weaving Charlotte’s Web July 6, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Arts & Theatre.
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While going through some of my old things, I’ve run across several items that I simply must share.  I’m not quite a hoarder, but I manage to keep my fair share of sentimental items…

Here’s the short story of one keepsake I rediscovered this afternoon.

There’s no doubt that I’m a theater person, but I used to be far more directly involved than I’ve been in recent years.  I’ve acted in, directed, designed, and produced over 25 shows in my brief-ish career, and have various trophies and awards that document my time trodding the boards.  But nothing beats a really great review…

In June of 2002, I directed, designed and played a small role in E.B. White’s classic “Charlotte’s Web” for the Denham Springs Area Community Theater.

Weaving Charlotte's Web

Photo Credit: Carol Stuart/The News

Denham Springs News writer Carol Stuart had this to say about me:

…in his DSACT debut as a quiet country lawyer in ‘Crimes of the Heart’, Wilson’s energy simmered under the surface.  Audiences saw that frenetic force unleashed in his direction and portrayal of Zack in ‘Is There a Comic in the House,’ and barely under control in his role as Speed in ‘The Odd Couple.’

Those of you who’ve never performed onstage may not appreciate the sense of validation such words can bring, but it’s so nice to hear words from nearly a decade ago at a time when compliments have even more meaning.

RJW Loves “The Magician King” UK Cover Art May 24, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Books+Lit, Design.
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As I mentioned before, I’m reading The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

Author Lev Grossman

Everyone Looks Better in Rome

It’s turned out to be a fantastic tale and I absolutely love the dystopian grown-up trip to not-Narnia.  I should finish the final chapters tonight before sleep overtakes me, but in the meantime, I’ve run across the UK cover to the forthcoming sequel “The Magician King” on the author’s blog.

I think it’s absolutely beautiful!!  Take a look for yourself and DEFINITELY click to embiggen.

The Magician King UK Cover

Stunningly beautiful. Kudos to the artist!

Too bad that the U.S. is going with this okay, but far less appealing version.  Embiggen if you must:

The Magician King US Book Cover

This is the work of artist Didier Massard, who also did the cover to The Magicians

RJW Wants Green Lantern’s Power Ring May 24, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Comics+Superheroes, Movies+TV.
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I have a modest collection of replica props and other superhero trinkets; here are the ones I wear most often:

Smallville Journey Memory Pendant  This one’s pointy.
El Family Crest Necklace

Smallville Superfan

Kryptonian Symbol for Hope

I wear this almost every day.

Most are dedicated to my #1 hero, Superman, but I’m so completely excited about the upcoming Green Lantern movie that there’s one particular item that I simply MUST have:

The Green Lantern Power Ring!

And not just the goofy one for kids that comes with the action figures, either.  I want a metal one with all the cool detailing just like in the movie.

Green Lantern Power Ring

This makes me get all Larfleeze… "MINE!!"

Most of my stuff came from ReplicaProps.com, but I’ve also picked up an item or two over at The Noble Collection.  Here’s hoping they include some GL items in their upcoming catalog…

I know that there are some cool Green Lantern rings already on the market, but I want an official movie one.  Surely there’s a way to create a cool silver or pewter chunk ring with green enamel?

In the meantime, COME ON, JUNE 17th!!!

Green Lantern Movie Poster

WE ARE THE CORPS!!

RJW Questions Police Directing Traffic for Churches May 22, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in General, Religious Nonsense.
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Today we passed through Baton Rouge at about the same time that The Healing Place Church was letting out.  I counted no fewer than four East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s vehicles and at least five deputies.

I’ve seen similar use of public resources at other churches on regular Sunday services, and I wonder if taxpayers foot the bill for this or if the churches are required to pay for what is essentially their logistical issue, which I’m sure incurs a significant expense.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

RJW Recounts a Quietish Night in the Quarter May 19, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Health & Medical, Travel.
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Today was a long day.

We started at home just outside of Opelousas, LA and drove into Metairie for my partner’s son’s doctors’ appointments.  He got some really good news (no cancer) and a far more positive prognosis than we’ve had in a while.  This took up most of the day, but with news like that, who can complain?

Joe and I already planned to spend the night in New Orleans, so after the visit to Ochsner’s, we drove into the French Quarter toward our hotel and it was so nice to be in New Orleans traffic again.  We haven’t been here for well over a year, and it’s been far too long.

We checked into the hotel and headed to Acme Oyster House on Iberville where I had a super-delicious fried shrimp po-boy and Joe got a roast beef po-boy–along with a handful of napkins.  It was glorious!  There are po-boys in Acadiana, but something about eating them in the French Quarter makes them taste so much better.

After that it was disco nap time.  Don’t judge…  We’d driven two and a half hours, then spent around four hours at Ochsner’s.  It was definitely time for a little shut-eye.

Once we rejoined the world of the living, we moseyed along the broken sidewalks to our first destination: a den of debauchery known as The Corner Pocket.  Suffice it to say that this is a very niche-market establishment, and not even I’m quite in the niche.  So after a bit of bokka and some seeing of sights, we headed to our usual FQ HQ: Good Friends.   I love Good Friends because it’s so casual and friendly, lacking much of the pretense of the other gay bars in the Quarter.  Following my Cape Cod, I indulged in a Separator–an ice cream-style beverage with copious amounts of liquor, whipped cream and a cherry.  It was precisely what the doctor ordered, though I happily gave Mr. Joe my cherry.

Eventually, I laid waste to the Separator and we moved on to the next night spot, an even more lascivious lounge called Rawhide: 2010.  I’m not sure what the whole “2010” bit is about, but there were indeed raw hides.  The instructional videos are always informative, but we really went for the peanuts.  That’s not a typo.  Eating peanuts from a dog bowl in a gay bar should break at least twelve of my ordinarily OCD food issues, but inhibitions have a way of dissipating once you cross Rampart Street.  We chatted with a nice gentleman who lived in Atlanta for 17 years and recently moved back.  After a drink or two, and having put as many nuts in our mouth as we cared for, we called it a comparably early evening and made way for the hotel.

Tomorrow is likely to be a similarly low-key day, however I doubt there will be a blog post detailing our activities of the evening…  It’s for the best, really.  One must maintain a measure of mystery.

RJW Giggles Over Gingrich Glitter Protest May 17, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in LGBT Issues, Politics.
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Glitter is the most fabulous substance on the planet.

This guy puts glitter to great use to make a peaceful point to serial philanderer, hardcore bigot and Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

Special hat tip to JoeMyGod.

RJW’s Reading These Books May 17, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Books+Lit.
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Novelist John Saul

Super Sexy Mr. Saul

John Saul's Faces of FearI’m in love with mystery/thriller writer John Saul.  He’s a gorgeous gay man with a knack for spinning unique tales that are as entertaining as they are hair-raising.

I’ve enjoyed several of his books, and am in the process of reading Faces of Fear.  I’ve only just started the book, but so far its exposition is setting the stage for what I’m sure will be a fun ride.

Lev Grossman's "The Magicians"Next up on the reading list is a book I wanted to pick up soon after it came out, but the dang thing was nearly $30.  Lev Grossman’s The Magicians looks like a great read.  Here’s the official description from the web site:

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. He’s a senior in high school, and a certifiable genius, but he’s still secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to that, anything in his real life just seems gray and colorless.

Everything changes when Quentin finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the practice of modern sorcery. He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. But something is still missing. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he thought it would.

Then, after graduation, he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real.

RJW Picks James Pickens, Jr May 15, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in General.
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We’re watching Just Wright with Queen Latifah and Common, and I can’t get enough of Queen’s Daddy.  Mmm!!

James Pickens, Jr.

Let's play doctor…

Y’all know him as Chief Webber from Grey’s Anatomy, but I know him as the sexiest man of color since crazy-hot Richard Roundtree–and I’m not talking about during his time as Shaft, either.  He’s like the black Sean Connery––only gets better with age.

Richard Roundtree

Yes, sirree! Mmmm!

RJW’s FAVORITE Green Lantern Toy May 15, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Comics+Superheroes, Movies+TV.
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UPDATE:

I totally bought this yesterday and I can’t quit wearing the mask.  The ring is way too small, which sucks, but it’s still super awesome.

**********

The Green Lantern movie is coming June 17th and even though there are TONS of awesome toys, this is the one that I want the most.  It’s so super awesome that I can’t even stand it.

I WILL be wearing this and my GL symbol t-shirt when we go see the movie.

Green Lantern Mask

IN BRIGHTEST DAY…

Quote of the Day: Louisiana Rep. Badon May 13, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in LGBT Issues, Politics.
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Louisiana Representative Austin Badon, (D) New Orleans

Author of Louisiana's Safe Schools Bill, The Honorable Rep. Austin Badon (D), New Orleans

“Who in the hell gives you the right to decide what is ‘different?’ I am glad I don’t have that kind of hate in my heart. … I am not trying to promote anything. I am trying to make our schools safe for all students.”

Rep. Austin Badon (D), New Orleans, author of The Safe Schools Bill (HB 112) defending his anti-bullying measure against opposition from alleged Christian organizations including the Louisiana Family Forum and the Louisiana Southern Baptist Convention.

Truth Wins Out captured the essence of the opposition in their post entitled Religious Right Continues to Put Kids Last in Louisiana.

RJW’s Questions About Battlestar Galactica May 13, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Movies+TV.
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Battlestar GalacticaI just finished watching the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series on Netflix and absolutely LOVED it.  I’m usually about five trends behind everyone else, and I have no idea how this particular show managed to completely escape my notice until well after it was over, but I definitely loved being able to watch marathon episodes at my leisure.

Having watched the entire series, which felt as fulfilling as reading a really great book, I’m left with some questions that are bothering the hell out of me.

SPOILERS AHEAD!! IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED ALL OF BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, DO NOT PROCEED!  YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!

  1. If Hera’s blood healed Laura Roslin’s cancer one time, why wouldn’t they try it again?
  2. WTF was Kara Thrace when she returned from Earth?  And why was Lee so okay with her just disappearing like that?
  3. Am I the only one who thought it was weird that Admiral Adama “married” Laura Roslin only after she died?  I mean, what was THAT about?
  4. Wouldn’t a ton of the issues faced by the Cylons have been resolved if they had been fitted with a simple email client?  I mean, homeless people have access to Yahoo! IM, so why not super-evolved cyborgs?
  5. If the “skinjobs” (a term that always made me giggle) were part robot, then how come there was no indication of that in their physiological makeup?  Where were the wires or metal, or anything that would indicate that they were something other than human?  Along the same vein, how in the world would Hera have been “Mitochondrial Eve” if she was part cyborg?

RJW Says Vote Cafe Breen for Times of Acadiana’s Best of 2011 May 12, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Food+Cooking.
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The Fabulous Cafe Breen

VOTE CAFE BREEN!

Please support the super-fantastic restaurant CAFE BREEN in the Times of Acadiana’s Best of 2011!!

RJW Elated Over LA Safe Schools Bill Passing Committee May 12, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in LGBT Issues, Politics.
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FANTASTIC news from the Louisiana Legislature, via Forum for Equality:

Forum For Equality Logo

First hurdle jumped but the race has just begun!

In an eight to four vote, the Louisiana House Education Committee passed an all-inclusive anti-bully measure. The Forum For Equality wants to thank Rep. Austin Badon and all our allies who showed up to testify and support the measure. Without your response to the Action Alerts, your letters of support and your physical presence in the committee hearing room, we never would have prevailed.

There were some moments when the future of the measure was in doubt. While the friendly amendments were well received, there was a move to strip from the bill the list of those personal characteristics that research shows are most likely to be bullied or harassed. Thanks to the testimony of our experts and witnesses who spoke from the heart and shared the truth about the need for this important legislation, the measure was left intact.

Our opponents showed their true colors by spewing hate and lies. They accused “homosexual activists” of hijacking the bully statute and tried to dismiss the need for setting minimum standards and guidelines.

The bigots didn’t win today but we will need all of you to remain steadfast and strong in the battle NEXT WEEK to protect Louisiana’s youth.

We must have at least 53 votes to pass this measure on the floor. We need you to contact your elected representatives to make sure that they will be on the right side of history. Please connect with your friends, family, favorite teacher from school and welcoming faith members to bring all our voices together to make Louisiana’s schools safer.

Stay tuned for further updates.

The fight isn’t over and we will DEFINITELY need your help.

Here are some online resources to help express your support for schools that are safe for ALL of our children:

I’ll post more information on how to keep our schools safe for all kids as it’s made available.

RJW: Lafayette’s Sucker Tax May 7, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Politics.
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No-bid contract costs Lafayette, LA taxpayers big money.

RJW’s All-Time Favorite Broadway Songs (Abridged) April 10, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Music.
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There’s simply no way I could list the sum of songs that litter the lot of my thespian thoughts.

But these…are a few, featured in no particular order and influenced in no small part by their availability on YouTube.

Endless Night from The Lion King, performed by the late artist Jason Raize

Corner of the Sky, from Pippin, performed by William Katt

Enchantment Passing Through, from Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida, performed by Adam Pascal and Heather Hedley

Bring Him Home from Cameron Mackintosh’s Lés Misérables, sung by Alfred Giovanni Roncalli Boe

One Song, Glory from Jonathan Larsen’s RENT, performed by Adam Pascal

Embraceable You from George & Ira Gershwin’s Crazy For You, performed here by Idina Menzel

Even though I’ve never seen this in person, I love the song Defying Gravity from Wicked, performed here by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth (I think…)

Here’s the version from Fox’s Glee that made me love this song, performed by Lea Michele and Chris Colfer:

That’s enough for now…  Hope you enjoyed this!

RJW Finds Fun, Fantasy in Fablehaven April 4, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Books+Lit.
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My latest literary obsession is the fantasy series Fablehaven by Brandon Mull.

Sure, I’m aware that the target audience for this series is kids 9-12 years old, but that doesn’t mean that a 30…um, something year old can’t enjoy a childish magical adventure every now and again.

Very much in the mold of Lewis and Rowling, Mull’s tale takes place on a preserve for magical mythical creatures, detailing a hierarchy of these fantastical beasts and the humans who care for them.  Brother and sister Seth and Kendra Sorenson join their grandparents on their secret preserve and unwittingly become embroiled in epic battles that grant them great powers and teach them the value of responsibility and honor.

I’m in the opening chapters of series finale Book 5, and I’ve completely enjoyed the fun and frolic of this world and its familiar yet sometimes surprising inhabitants.  I’d be lying if I said I was eager to leave the fun and magical world of Fablehaven for more age-appropriate tomes, but anyone with even a last vestige of imagination could identify with the peace afforded by harmless escapism.

Click the cover images to be brought to the Barnes & Noble page for each of the books.

Fablehaven Book OneFablehaven: Rise of the Evening StarFablehaven: The Grip of the Shadow PlagueFablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon SanctuaryFablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison

RJW’s Cousin Named Top Teacher April 4, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in General.
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Amy Carrier

St. Landry Parish Junior High Teacher of the Year 2011

My fantastic cousin, Mrs. Amy Castille Carriere was named St. Landry Parish’s Middle School Teacher of the Year!

An article in the Opelousas Daily World shared information on how the selection was made:

All three teachers had to submit their portfolios and videos of themselves in the classroom for review by a panel of judges. The finalists were chosen for in-person interviews and from there, the winners were chosen.

But there’s more:

The next step for the three winners will be to compete at the regional [level]. Winners will go on to the state, then national competitions, said Martha Wilhite of the St. Landry Parish School Board central office. The portfolios and videos are reviewed by judges outside Region IV, the region to which St. Landry Parish belongs, together with Lafayette, St. Martin, Evangeline, Acadia, Iberia and Vermilion parishes. Regional winners will be notified by April 21; state winners will be notified by May 6.

Here’s what the Daily World had to say about Amy:

Amy Carriere, Middle School Teacher of Year

Everyone has a favorite teacher at the end of his or her school career. For many Park Vista Elementary students, that teacher is Amy Carriere, said Principal Ulysse Joubert.

“For those students who are fortunate enough to go through her class, her name will be on the top of their list,” Joubert said. “She inspires them. She brainwashes the kids. She says, ‘You’re going to be something.’ Naturally it’s productive.”

Carriere, who professes to be a little shy, said she believes her best attribute is consistency.

“The kids know they can depend on me,” she said. “They know that I love them. I work hard to have a relationship of mutual respect, so they don’t mind working for me.”

The Port Barre resident said her upbringing has influenced her in her career. The eldest in her extended family and the only girl of five siblings, Carriere grew up helping her mother care for others and teaching younger family members some of the skills they needed.

That has grown into a career as a teacher.

“My philosophy is that I don’t teach subjects,” she said. “I teach students. I teach kids. I give them the tools to be successful in life.”

We’re all SUPER proud of Amy and this well-earned recognition of her hard work teaching the youth of St. Landry Parish.

RJW Reviews “All Star Superman” April 2, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Comics+Superheroes, Movies+TV.
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All Star SupermanThis weekend I finally watched All-Star Superman, the animated adaptation of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s acclaimed story of Superman’s last days.

As a Superman devotee, I’m naturally inclined to love any- and everything Superman, but when the comics came out, I was less-than-impressed with the inclusion of Frank Quitely’s crude, unpleasant artistic style.  There’s a running joke among comic book geeks that Rob Liefeld can’t draw feet, so he tends to hide them behind stuff or just turn them into oddly-pointed polygons that are vaguely suggestive of feet.  Frank Quitely does that to faces.  His linework is wobbly and uneven, and his faces are strangely out of proportion, all of which makes for a less-than heroic image of The Man of Steel.  So one of my main concerns going in to this movie was the extent to which Quitely’s style would be interpreted to the screen.  Fortunately, the art was smoothed out and the faces appeared more confident and definitely more proportional.

The late Dwayne McDuffie’s screenplay takes the best of the comics and turns a far-flung mess into a cogent and very heartfelt story that explored emotions that even The Death of Superman failed to evoke.  Some of the sub-plots could have gone by the wayside to keep the story tighter and more focused, but I did enjoy the overall scale of the story.  Superman’s ability to fly so close to the sun or pick singing flowers from Alpha Centauri are an inextricable element of who he is, and showcasing that mighty power in a way that retains a measure of Clark’s humanity is no small feat.  McDuffie does that expertly, and we are treated to a wrenching tale of what it might be like to lose Superman to a relatable illness such as cancer.

I give this film ★★★★✩ and encourage die-hard fans to rent it.

RJW Recommends The Fabulous Café Breen April 2, 2011

Posted by Robert J. Wilson in Food+Cooking.
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The Fabulous Cafe Breen

The Fabulous Cafe Breen ©2011 Robert J. Wilson

Located north of Lafayette in the otherwise sleepy town of Opelousas is a hidden gem of culinary delight just waiting to be discovered by discerning palettes.  Café Breen is that rare combination of outstanding cuisine and comfortable ambiance that makes for a memorably delicious night out.

Award-winning Chef Edward Breen uses the freshest of ingredients to make classic fare into his own unique creations filled with rich flavor.  My favorite dishes include his famous seafood and corn bisque and the fried crab cakes–both are out of this world.  But if you stop there, you’re missing out…  Their full selection of “Gangsters”–burgers for the rest of us–feature top-notch taste from bun to bun.

The trick is to not fill up before you’ve had a chance to sample their homestyle desserts.  Cobblers, cupcakes and Mississippi Mud Pie Brownies are just some of the tasty treats on the menu.

The atmosphere of this fantastic restaurant features eclectic artwork, soft music, softer lighting and the buzz of satisfied diners regaling each other with reports on their delicious meals.  You’ll feel at home at Café Breen whether you’re in slacks or shorts, and the welcome you’ll get from the pleasant staff will be like a greeting from an old friend.  In today’s culture of speed and status, it’s nice to know that there’s a business that still hits the right notes of traditional service while serving contemporary flavors.

Café Breen is located at 204 North Main Street in Opelousas, LA.  You can also find Café Breen on Facebook–give ’em a “Like” today!

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