Some recent site changes

I've made some changes to the site that will hopefully be well received.

I decided to turn the Guestbook on again.  I originally turned it off almost a year ago because I had other areas of the site that I wanted to focus on.  As fate would have it, I finally realized that the Guestbook could be a great way for people to communicate with me in a more public manner than the contact me page allows.  I'll watch it for now and, if it turns out to be unnecessary, I'll turn it off again.  Please note that, due to its having been turned off for so long, I cleared the original Guestbook entries so that there wasn't such a large date range with no activity.

I've also created a new Archives block on the left side of the site pages that should show links to the previous 10 articles (those which have most recently been bumped off of the front page).  I hope this is an easier way to see recent posts without digging through the whole Archives section or the individual Topics trying to find recent articles you may have missed while they were on the front page.

Finally, I've turned the comments function on again.  This enables you to leave public comments on my posts.  I'm hoping this will provide another public forum for discussing or commenting on the site content.  I'll watch this closely to ensure that it doesn't get abused.  If it turns out to be unnecessary, I'll turn it off — again.

Note that comments will only be available for new articles as I have no intention of editing all of my previous postings in order to turn it on.

Kako gets a gallery update

I finally got a chance to get another gallery update done.  This time it's Kako's turn for a makeover.  Read on to see the highlights.

I'm still working through the pictures I have and am updating the galleries as I get a chance.  I just finished going through all of Kako's pictures and have put plenty of new pictures in her gallery.

Standing on the refrigerator happily waiting for some attention. (103_0334)

Kako likes to get on the refrigerator and the cabinets above it.  Almost every time she gets up there, it's to get attention.  Once I go over there, she'll eventually jump down to my shoulders for some up-close and personal attention.

She's dancing (that's what we call kneading while standing) on the refrigerator. (106_0630)

Here she's dancing on the refrigerator.  Dancing is what we call it when she kneads while standing up.  It looks like she's shuffling her feet, so it must be dancing!

She and Grendel are the only two who really like to sleep in the cat hammock. (113_1358)

Kako and Grendel are the only two who actually sleep in the kitty hammock.  Here she is hoping to be undisturbed.

Sleeping on my lap during a quiet evening in front of the boob tube. (115_1507)

Kako likes to sleep on my lap when I'm sitting on the couch.  She normally attaches herself to your legs with her claws until she's sure you're not going to throw her to the ground (referred to around here as being evicted).

Lying on her back in front of the fireplace. (115_1590)

When we first started using the fireplace, Kako hated it.  She would run from the fire and would go as far out of her way as possible in order to avoid being near it.  Well, she eventually learned to like the fireplace and to enjoy roasting herself in front of it.  Here she is in her favorite position (on her back) in front of the fire.

Either she likes the fire and warmth or she likes looking at her reflection -- I think it's the latter. (116_1648)

Once again in front of the fireplace, this is one of those pictures where it's difficult for me to know for certain what it is that she's doing.  You see, Kako likes to look at herself in reflective surfaces (mirrors, glass, etc.).  I can't decide if she's enjoying the warmth of the fire or if she's looking at that supa-fine kitty looking back at her in the glass.

She likes to sleep in the tube at the top of the cat castle. (117_1755)

Here she is sleeping in the tube at the top of the cat castle.  She and her brother Kazon are the only two who will sleep in the tube.

You can see many more new pictures of Kako starting on page 3 of her gallery.

The whole gay marriage thing

I'm not an activist.  Let's get that out of the way right now.  I don't march in parades, there's no rainbow bumper sticker on my car, and I don't go to political rallies.  Having said that, understand that I do believe in full and equal rights for everyone.  But I'm going to lay aside my normal apathy toward the "gay agenda" and take a moment to voice my opinion on the whole gay marriage thing.

As a gay man living in America, I've grown up with the understanding that I am less than a fully protected citizen of this country.  Until the US Supreme Court struck down the sodomy laws in Texas (along with every other state with similar laws), I lived in a state where my private sexual activity was illegal despite the fact that it harmed no one and took place between consenting adults.  And that's only one example.

What about hospital visitation rights for a loved one who is ill?  What about making health care decisions for a partner who was no longer able to make them?  What about a whole list of rights denied me simply because I'm not heterosexual?

If we are all truly equal under the law, then we are all equal and this is a moot point.  Alas, we are not all equal under the law — at least not yet.

I cannot expect white heterosexual males to understand what this is like.  Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, homosexuals, Arabs, women, and other select groups will have a much easier time comprehending this point of view.  We have, after all, been raised in a society where we were clearly never equal.

So I have been thrilled to see much court action of late specifically targeted at removing this discrimination from our law books.

Then President Bush opens his mouth and dispenses a most disheartening announcement: a constitutional amendment would be the only way to "prevent the meaning of marriage from changing forever."

He also said, "Unless action is taken, we can expect more arbitrary court decisions, more litigation, more defiance of the law by local officials — all of which adds to uncertainty."

How Pat Robertson of you, Dubya.

The right-wing conspiracy to create a perfect society is more than Nazi-esque.  But the Democrats have nothing to say in this matter given their perpetual lies to gays just to get votes.

Look at Clinton and the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.  Gay men and women have been serving in the armed forces for as long as the armed forces have been in existence, and thus far it has not forced the downfall of our society.  After all the promises of equality, the Democrats could only give us more inequality.

Both John Edwards and John Kerry, hoping to be the Democratic presidential candidate, seemed to waver on their support for gay rights as the issue of gay marriage became more heated.

With all the political pandering on this topic, I have yet to hear a valid, cogent and consistent argument against gay marriage that doesn't rely on either a religion that not all of us actually believe in or on sheer bigotry.

Bush's inference that gay marriage would mean the downfall of civilization as we know it is as offensive as it is laughable.  Edwards' and Kerry's backpedaling from the topic is typical Democratic deceitfulness and spinelessness.  Typically disingenuous politicians I say.

Why not simply extend the right to marriage to same sex couples?  Then everyone has the same rights and nobody need feel excluded.

It's impossible for me to put into words what I truly think about the constitutional amendment idea.  It would be the first time in history that we have added discrimination to the Constitution — a document that at its heart is designed to ensure equality under the law.

The chances of an amendment being fully ratified are slim to none.  How can you modify the Constitution in such a way so as to spit in its face?  It does promise equal protection under the law, so any such amendment would be a direct contradiction and violation of that guarantee.

And why is gay marriage such an issue in the first place?  Does it interfere with heterosexual marriages?  Does it cause harm to someone?  Does it truly mean the downfall of civilization?

The honest truth is that anti-miscegenation laws were on the books until 1967 when the US Supreme Court struck them down.  Those laws made it illegal for people of different races to marry.

As with all discriminatory laws, they are based on bigotry and ignorance.  With the anti-miscegenation laws, we believed different races were separated by more than just color differences — we believed they were separate kinds of people who could not biologically mix genetic material without creating some kind of monstrous offspring.  We also believed that mixing races would lead to the downfall of our society.

Despite the fact that there are still people in this country who believe that way, the majority of us have long since realized how truly ignorant and discriminatory those laws were.

Once they were struck down, society began to realize they were wrong, so the mindset behind them began to fade from popular culture.  You can only find support for them now by looking in the most ass-backward places (usually with no electricity, running water, or educational facilities).

The same can be said about any attempt to legalize anti-gay marriage discrimination.  This is truer with a constitutional amendment in that we are attempting to use the document which protects all of us to do harm to a very specific group of people.

What kind of society do we want for our children when we are trying to teach them to hate, to discriminate, to treat those who are different as unequal and unprotected?

We are telling them that those who are different are not even human as they do not deserve basic human rights or protections.

Hitler would be proud.

The Buds get their own gallery

Here's another update to The Kids' gallery.  This time it's Kazon and Loki — The Buds — who get their own gallery along with a few new pictures.

Kazon and Loki have been buddies since we adopted The Twins (Kako and Kazon).  Loki took it upon himself to try to teach Kazon how to be truly evil, but he didn't realize that it's nearly impossible to teach Kazon anything.

Despite that significant hurdle, Loki and Kazon became quick friends and spend much time hanging out — either playing or sleeping or grooming each other or any number of other activities that they share.

Now there's a new gallery specifically for pictures of The Buds.

You'll find some new pictures in their gallery.  For example, Kazon and Loki always help me when I'm in the bathroom.  Regardless of what I'm doing, they'll both be in there with me trying to assist.

You can undoubtedly imagine this isn't always the activity most conducive to actually accomplishing anything, but it is time together with The Kids and something I would not trade for the world.

Loki and Kazon (left to right) coming out of the bathroom after playing under the sink (in the cabinets) for a while. (107_0744)

That's a photo of Loki and Kazon coming out of the bathroom.  In this particular instance they had been playing in the cabinets under the sink.

Kazon and Loki helping Daddy get ready in the morning. (115_1553)

If I'm in the bathroom but not in the shower, this is where you can find Loki and Kazon — on the counter helping.  Whether it's brushing my teeth or shaving or anything else, they'll be there to provide whatever assistance I might need.

In fact, here they are waiting for me to get started so they can help.

Kazon and Loki have a morning ritual -- helping me get ready each morning before work. (115_1554)

You can find more pictures of The Buds in their new gallery.

More gallery updates

I've had a chance to get some additional updates done in the gallery.  This particular update includes new pictures and some organizational changes to The Kids' gallery.

What I decided to do is reorganize all the pictures of The Kids into more specific categories.  For instance, I've moved all of the pictures of Grendel and Loki together into a new gallery called The Boys and all the pictures of Kako and Loki together into a gallery called The Ladies.

I've also started new galleries called The Stepbrothers (Grendel and Kazon), The Twins (Kako and Kazon), The Buds (Kazon and Loki), and The Lovers (Grendel and Kako).  As soon as I finish getting these galleries organized and populated, I'll make them public.

In the meantime, here are some highlights from the most recent gallery updates of The Boys and The Ladies.

Some of the original pictures from The Kids gallery have been moved to the new galleries.  You'll see some of the oldies like this picture.

Grendel and Loki wondering why the bright light keeps flashing inside the house. (the_boys_01)

You'll also see some new photos like this one.

Loki and Grendel (left to right) hanging out on the back of the love seat. (110_1010)

Those are from the new gallery of The Boys.

I then took the same idea and created a new gallery for The Ladies.  You can undoubtedly guess that Loki won't appreciate being called a lady since he's a male cat, but he's always been a prissy cat who spends quite a bit of time worrying about how he looks.  Since he is a beautiful cat and he is quite concerned about his personal appearance, we simply assumed he was gay and therefore wouldn't mind being called female.

In this new gallery you'll once again see some of the original photos like this one.

Loki on the top and Kako on the bottom of the Loki Dream Home

But you'll also see some new photos such as the one below.

Kako and Loki (left to right) sleeping on my bed. This picture is shocking in that these two rarely get this close without some kind of ugliness between them. (120_2018)

What makes that photo so interesting is that Kako and Loki are not known for being nice to one another.  In fact, any time they get that close, there's normally some ugliness between them (some hissing, some slapping, some growling, and so on).  The fact that they could both fall asleep so close together without a cat fight erupting is a rare event indeed.

Part of this reorganization of the galleries is to help me stay better organized and to help you more easily find specific pictures of The Kids.  It's also going to allow me to begin removing some of the older pictures that were originally posted out of a lack of other options.  I want to make the galleries more entertaining by reducing the clutter and leaving the better content in place.

So, take a look at The Boys and The Ladies and stay tuned for more updates and other new galleries.