Keep It Real

Last night I watched “Is Genesis History?” which my boss recommended. The program tries to prove that Genesis is literal history. It attempts to convince the viewer to believe that yom (י֔וֹם) means a literal day not a period of time. Yom can mean either. It also tries to say that the Grand Canyon was created by the Great Flood of Noah. I just don’t buy it. If Genesis is literal than mankind is only 6,000 years old, but we know from science that mankind has been around for much longer. I believe that Genesis is allegorical. All I have to say to the filmmakers is the same thing on the guy’s shirt above–keep it real.


Disappointment 


I had a major interview set for this week. It was with a world celebrity who happened to get a graduate degree from my school. I can’t say who she is, but know that this was going to be a big interview. To be honest, I was a bit nervous. Disappointingly, she’s had to cancel our interview due to some unforeseen issues. She didn’t cancel it completely, but it just won’t be in person or this week. We will have to do the interview by phone in a few weeks. The phone isn’t the best option because the sound quality is not as good, but it’s better than nothing.


Summer


Today is the first day of summer. The picture above is the epitome of summer for me. Sitting with a friend by the pool eating a juicy watermelon. Yum. Celebrate summer. If it wasn’t so hot, it would be my favorite season.

Last night, I had Chinese for supper. My fortune cookie was a little naughty if you take it a certain way. It said, “Love is like a sweet peach, good to the last drop.” Am I the only one who sees something dirty in this, or is it just my mind in the gutter?

By the way, the “divided peach” is a term for homosexuality in China.  Mizi Xia was the favorite of Duke Ling of Wei (534-493 BCE). One day Mizi Xia bit into a peach and finding it sweet, he stopped eating it and offered it to the ruler. The ruler was moved by his ‘considerate behavior’. From hence came these expressions for homosexuality: “a preference for the leftover peach”, and “the love of the divided peach.”


Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? (Sonnet 18)
William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
     So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
     So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Summer begins tomorrow.


Unproductive Weekend

For most of the weekend, I suffered from a major headache. It meant that a lot of things I’d planned to do, did not get done. I did a little bit of the housecleaning I’d planned to do, but not enough. It was also very hot this weekend which hampers me from doing much besides sit in front of the fans. Most Vermonters don’t believe in air conditioning, and thus my apartment doesn’t have one. I’d planned to go get an air cooling system, similar to an air conditioner but not quite one, however, my headache prevented me from making that trip to Burlington. Hopefully, this week will be more productive.


We Shall Overcome

We shall overcome,
We shall overcome,
We shall overcome, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

We’ll walk hand in hand,
We’ll walk hand in hand,
We’ll walk hand in hand, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

We shall live in peace,
We shall live in peace,
We shall live in peace, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

We are not afraid,
We are not afraid,
We are not afraid, TODAY

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around some day

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

“We Shall Overcome” is a gospel song which became a protest song and a key anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. The song is most commonly attributed as having descended lyrically from “I’ll Overcome Some Day”, a hymn by Charles Albert Tindley that was first published in 1900.

A couple of the usual haters appeared at Knoxville Pride yesterday afternoon to wave their anti-LGBT banners and shout abuse. Not having it was the touring Washington Gay Men’s Chorus, who encircled the haters to deliver a rousing rendition of We Shall Overcome.


 Moment of Zen: Cowboys 


Whitman Sampler

Walt Whitman would have turned 198 years old last month had he not succumbed to bronchial pneumonia way back in 1892.

To mark the occasion, Whitman superfan Hugh Ryan at Broadly has been poring over what appears to be a series of seven nude black and white photographs of a man who bears a striking resemblance to the great American poet.

The photos, labeled simply “Old Man,” were taken 141 years ago by famed artist and photographer Thomas Eakins (July 25, 1844 – June 25, 1916). They depict a slender man (with just a slight ponch) with a long white beard fully naked from several different angles: full-on, in profile, and from behind.

Ryan sent the photos to several different Walt Whitman experts to get their opinions.

Karen Karbiener, a Whitman scholar and professor at NYU, replied to Ryan’s inquiry by saying:

The size fits. He was six feet tall, never had a gut, was always in reasonably good shape even when he was older… I haven’t seen a lot of 80-year-old men naked, but presumably this is good shape for an 80-year-old man!
Not just that, Karbiener said, but Whitman was one of the most photographed men of the 19th century, and he also wasn’t shy about things like sex and nudity, as anyone whose read Leaves of Grass knows.

“I don’t think Walt would have any shame about posing for these,” she hypothesized. “Especially for Eakins. There was a mutual affection and respect there.”

Eakins and Whitman met around 1887 and bonded, no doubt, over their mutual affection for younger gentlemen.
Ryan also approached Ed Folsom, a Whitman scholar and co-director of the Walt Whitman Archive online, about the photos.

Folsom wasn’t sure if the man in the photo was Whitman, so he submitted them to a neurologist. His hope was that the neurologist would find physical evidence of the strokes and other health problems Whitman suffered in the years when this photo was taken. (Whitman had his first of several strokes in 1873.)

The results? Inconclusive.

In his investigation, Ryan concludes:

Whitman would have been 198 years old today; were he still alive, perhaps that photo would grace his Grindr profile. Some might consider it indecorous to commemorate one of America’s literary treasures with an investigation into his penis, but it’s oddly fitting for Whitman. This was a man who loved puzzles, new technology, and—yes—penises. He reveled in the body, and in thumbing his nose at Victorian morality. Sharing this photo, whether or not it is actually of Whitman himself, is perhaps the most Whitman-ic way we could celebrate his birthday.


Technical Difficulties 

Some of my blog followers have let me know that in recent weeks email notice of my daily blog posts have been sporadic. If you signed up on my WP site to follow me, please let me know if you have not been receiving daily email notice of my blog posts.


Rural Women 


Yesterday, I sent in a proposal to present at a rural women’s conference. You might wonder why. Well back in graduate school, I conducted oral histories with a special group of rural women. The conference isn’t until next year, but I’m hoping that my paper gets accepted. It’s a unique story that should be told. If I am chosen to present, I will likely be the only male presenter. However, women’s history was my minor field, so I hope they overlook my gender and allow me to present.


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