Monthly Archives: November 2010

Autumn Fires

100 Bonfires always remind me of fall.  The big bonfire before the homecoming game.  Sitting around a bonfire telling stories.  Ghost stories around the campfire.  All these things remind me of autumn.  I just never got the chance to run around them naked, what about you?  Do bonfires remind you of autumn?  Have you ever run around one naked.
 
Autumn Fires
Robert Louis Stevenson (1913)

In the other gardenspic28
  And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
  See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
  And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
  The gray smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
  Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
   Fires in the fall!
beck04

art a6


To Reserve the Right to Execute Gay People

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I saw this on Stuff That Makes Me Hard!  How sad is this?

To reserve the right to execute gay people:

The Maddow Blog: A new U.N. resolution [which] condemns the arbitrary execution of whole classes of humanity, from street kids to indigenous groups, was to have included sexual minorities, but a bunch of nations balked at protection for LGBTs. The U.N. General Assembly then approved an amendment that removed them from the list. The vote was 79-70. Here’s the list of countries that want to reserve the right to kill the gay:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Sala, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

via: The New Yorker


Friends: Can’t Live with Them; Can’t Live Without Them

I have some great friends in my life and I love them all.  Most of them know one thing for sure or figure it out fairly quickly, I don’t particularly like to talk on the phone.  I don’t like calling people, because I always feel like I am intruding on whatever they are doing.  Now if I am in the mood to talk on the phone it is one thing, if I am not, well I am more than happy to just sit and listen to you.  I do love communicating with friends, don’t get me wrong.  It is great to have someone to tell your trouble and your triumphs.  A great friend, you can talk about nothing and everything all at once and have a great conversation.  Other times, you can just sit quietly with each other content in the knowledge that you are together.

My best female friend is often one of these people.  We get along very well and when times are good they are really good, but we can also get on each others nerves very much.  She is like a sister to me, in fact, I am probably closer to her than I am to my own sister.  However, sometimes I need to just complain about her.  Most of you guys don’t really know me (other than through my blogs) and none of you know her, so you are the perfect people to complain about her to.  Even if you don’t read all of this, I at least get to put my feelings out there.

This friend of mine has moved away from where we used to live in the same town, and I have also moved away, so we are even further apart.  There are several main things that she does that get on my nerves.  First of all, she has a job I would love to have, and though she says she loves her job, she constantly complains about it and hates doing all the extra administrative stuff that comes with the territory.  She’s a teacher and believes that all she is supposed to do is teach.  Anyone who has been in academia knows that you not only have to serve on committees, serve as advisors, perform certain community service activities, etc., you also have to teach.  All of that is part of the job.  I would love to be doing what she is doing.  She only teaches two different classes (though she teaches 5 in all).  I teach 7 different classes, all different preps.  She has two.  I have to serve on the same sorts of committees, actually a few more, go to teacher training conferences, which she has to do also, get paid less than she does, and have to mostly deal with high school students, when she deals with college students.  I know the grass is generally greener on the other side, but while I struggle constantly to find a job that I want and feel is rewarding, along with finishing a dissertation, and all of the other stuff that goes along with life, she has a fairly stable job (she is on one year renewable contracts, that probably won’t end), she only has a master’s degree, and has no worries about tenure or scholarly publications.  She just has to deal with students and administrators and I have to deal with students, administrators, and PARENTS. She doesn’t have that much to complain about in my opinion.

Furthermore, she is becoming more and more selfish in my opinion.  She got angry with me for taking my current job as teaching because she wanted me to move in with her, work at Wal-Mart or some other such job, and help her pay her mortgage and bills.  I love to teach; it is my passion.  My job may not be the ideal situation, but don’t dismiss it or change the subject every time I bring it up, because you don’t see the joys of teaching, when you yourself are a teacher.  She also wants me to drive the 7 hours to visit her, but will not come visit me, when she actually has more time to be able to do so. She always has an excuse.  When she calls me now it is usually to complain about one of two things: general complaints about her job or people she knows or to complain to me about why I don’t call her more.  I don’t call her more because she never wants to listen about my life, but to tell me all about hers, which is fine, but I think it is a two way street.  I also don’t call because she is rarely at home.  She goes out with friends or out drinking a lot (I tend to think she drinks too much and calls in sick with hangovers too much).  She won’t see that she potentially has a problem, even though I have seen the same thing in many other people.  They let the bars run their life.  I admit, I love to go out and have a good time.  I enjoy drinking and getting drunk on occasion, but I never do it if I have to teach the next day or have something else important that I have to do.  I certainly would never go out drinking until 3 or 4 am when I have a 7:30 am class the next day, and I know that I would still be drunk when I got to class or would have to cancel it because my hangover was so bad.  Yet, she still does this.  She worries about her contract not being renewed, yet she doesn’t take initiative to do better about her job when she knows what the bare basic requirements are and only complains about them.

I started writing (ranting) this when I got of the phone with her.  Hence the first part about my often dislike of talking on the phone.  My feelings were already hurt by her this week.  I had surgery on Monday, and not until I messaged her Happy Thanksgiving on Thursday and subtly reminded her that I had not spoken to her since my surgery, did she ask how I was doing.  Then without waiting for a reply, she began another subject. (She also has forgotten my birthday, when I mentioned something about it last week, she asked when it was.  It’s coming up in the next few days; I have never forgotten her birthday since she told me when it was.)  She did ask today when she called how I was doing, but that was only after I mentioned not getting much sleep last night because I was having some pain.  I had thought she had called to ask how I was doing, but the real reason she called was to tell me that her sister had been in a wreck (she’s ok, btw) and that she was really tired and sleepy and needed someone to talk to to keep her awake while she drove to see about her sister.  I was more than happy to sit here and listen even though I am very tired and was getting ready to take a nap. (Part of the reason I am writing this is to get out the frustrations, so that it will be off my mind when I take a nap in a few minutes.)  The problem is instead of talking amicably, she started to complain that she couldn’t hear me very well.  I told her that her phone was breaking up, and I could barely hear her, but she never thinks it is her phone.  Now does anyone have AT&T Wireless?  I used to, and I know very well how crappy their service can be and how many times it would drop a call.  I never have that problem with Verizon.  But just to satisfy her I said for her to call me on my land line. So she said something, which I couldn’t understand, and hung up.  Then she called my land line.  I may have an independent rinky dink local telephone company, but I get damn good service, yet she began complaining again that she couldn’t hear me.  When I said, “I think it is your phone.”  She snapped back at me, “Nope, it’s only you.  Everyone else I can hear fine.”  I’ve heard her talk to other people on the phone, this conversation goes on with each of them too.  I don’t understand why she can admit it.  She has an iPhone, it doesn’t mean she has the greatest piece of telecommunications technology in the world.  It’s AT&T Wireless.  It sucks (BTW, I have major problems with AT&T, but that is a whole other story.  So yes, I am biased against AT&T.)  Then the conversation ended with her saying, “I’m going to just let you go.  You obviously just need a nap.”  Meaning that she thought I was in an ill mood.  I had tried to be nice, but everything I had said she turned back on me.  I hate it when you are trying to be nice to someone and all they can do is point out every little thing that is wrong with what you say.  There is not pleasing them.  Then she hung up.  I can’t take a nap when I am mad, so I decided to calm down and get my frustrations out on this blog.

Sorry that this post is so much the opposite of my earlier post today, which was all about optimism.  I try to keep my optimism, but sometimes we all need a good rant.  Well, here was mine.  Thanks for reading. 

I love her, she is my best friend, but damn she can get on my last nerve like no other.


A Glass Half Full

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By the way, next week is my birthday.  I will be thirty-three years old.  Since last week was Thanksgiving, and this week is my birthday, I thought I would take an assessment of my present situation and remind myself all the reasons I should be thankful.  Hopefully, I will also have some bubbly on my birthday (though I hope it is something better than Ballatore Gran Spumante, like the model above).  I love champagne, sparkling wine, Asti, and prosecco, any of the before mentioned will do (Moët White Star is my favorite).  While in France, I learned the dangers of cheap champagne. (Note: never, ever, ever, and I mean, never, buy a €1 bottle of champagne in France.  It will be the worst hangover you have ever had, no matter how little of it you drink.)

I am certainly glad that a few years ago, I decided to change my attitude about life and become an optimist.  I keep the motto that everything will work out in the end, because it is God’s will, not mine.  I could easily be a pessimist, like many people I know, including my mother.  I am still in graduate school, though I wish that I were finished by now and if I had not procrastinated and things had not gone against me several times, I might be done by now.  I have a job I really don’t like at a small private academy teaching middle and high school students, with some subjects outside my field and making very little money.  Five days a week, I deal with spoiled brats who have very little respect for elders, and I deal with an administrator who has a completely different philosophy than me when it comes to education.  I have to deal with parents, who think their children do no wrong and that I show favoritism to other kids, which they see as a bad thing unless it is their kid that they see me showing favor to.  Furthermore, my parents know that I am gay and refuse to accept it.  They insist on a total don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t discuss policy toward my sexuality.

So what am I thankful for?  First of all, in this economy, I have a job doing what I love to do: teach.  It may not be a perfect situation and on many days it may be frustrating, but at least it is a job and it is a teaching job. 

Second, even though the income is not great, I found a wonderful little house to rent with a ridiculously low rent from the sweetest landlady who is not nosy in a small town of busybodies.  This also means that I am no longer living with my parents.  I have my freedom to come and go as I please, with no questions asked.  It may not be a lot, but it is something.

I also have a college class that I teach two nights a week that keeps me sane.  My students are older and are an absolute joy to teach.  Even after a long trying day teaching middle and high schoolers, my college class can lift my energy and spirit like nothing else.  I wish everyone had the chance to find that much fulfillment in a job that only takes two and a half hours a week.

Furthermore, though my parents may not like my sexuality, nor fully support it, at least they did not disown me.  They still love me no matter what and maybe one day they will accept the situation for what it is.  Until that time, the don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t discuss policy is working fine as a sort of armistice. At least it keeps questions from being asked all the time.

Also, I have not given up on graduate school.  I will get my PhD eventually, I just have to finish this damn dissertation.  I think I am on the right track finally, and I just need to learn how to manage my small amounts of free time better.  Whether that means working on my dissertation during my planning period at school or learning to get enough sleep.  Maybe I am somewhat caught up on my sleep after this week where I have done a lot of sleeping during my recovery from surgery.

Lastly, since I started my blogs, I have made some wonderful new friends.  Those friends I cherish as much as the flesh and blood friends I know in my personal life.  You guys are just as real to me as those flesh and blood friends (after all, you are made of flesh and blood).  I love hearing from you guys through comments, emails, chatting, text messages.  All of you are dear to me, though some I may not keep in touch with like I should, I still love you guys and think about you.  Thanks for being my friends.

Oh, and one last thing.  I have made it to my thirty-third year (well almost, here’s hoping, LOL).  Now if this just means that I am only a third or a fourth of the way through my life, then I have a long and happy life to look forward to.  So my advice, look at the things you can be thankful for, not what you might find depressing.  Look on the bright side, and be an optimist.


Moment of Zen: A Relaxing Afternoon

Here is the original:


Hey Guys: An Update

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Thanks for all the well wishes as I have been recovering this week from my surgery.  I am finally truly feeling better.  I had abdominal surgery to fix an umbilical hernia, which if you have ever had abdominal surgery you know that the pain feels like you are constantly being kicked in the balls.  Yesterday was a bit rough because I still had a lot of swelling and therefore could not eat much.  Plus, I found out the pain medicine was giving me terribly headaches, so I quit taking it, as it wasn’t helping a whole lot anyway.  The swelling seems to have gone mostly down and I am at least able to roll over on my side and flex my abdominal muscles again (the last part important for being able to get my rocks off and have a wonderful orgasm after holding it for several days, LOL).  Thanks again for all of your well wishes, I will try to answer some of my comments and emails tonight and tomorrow.


Photos of gay service members make statement about policy

 

6a00d8341c730253ef0133f5e141ae970b-800wi(CNN) — A soldier and his shadow sit alone on wrinkled sheets. With his knees pressed tightly up against his chest, he wraps his arms around his legs and bows his head.

In another photo, a soldier stands before a mirror. His raised hand covers just enough of his reflection to protect his anonymity.
But it’s not photographer Jeff Sheng from whom these men are hiding their identities.6_photo-2
It’s the military.
Sheng’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” exhibit, two years in the making, conveys the stories of the gay and bisexual men and women who serve in the U.S. military. And because his subjects are forced to keep their sexual orientations under wraps in order to serve, Shen’s photos are portraits without faces.
The Los Angeles, California-based artist said many of his subjects were grateful for the opportunity to make a statement “without fully revealing themselves and losing their jobs.”
“If this person got outed, they would lose their pension, their retirement benefits — their 20 years of service in the military would be gone,” he said.
6a00d8341c730253ef0133f1b8f56a970b-800wiSheng asked many of those he photographed why they continue to serve despite the inequality.
“I asked, ‘Why do you still serve with this policy in place? Why would you do it?’ ” Sheng said. “And they all looked at me and said, ‘Because it’s serving the country. It’s the most honorable thing that I can think of doing right now in my life.’ ”
20091220RicoSheng is also the creator of “Fearless,” photographs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered high school and college athletes who are public about their sexual identities. He is working on a project focusing on undocumented Americans.
The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” photos were exhibited last week in Washington at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters, and Sheng said he hopes to bring them next to Chicago, Illinois.
Bryan-finalThe exhibit couldn’t have been unveiled at a more relevant time.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to suspend enforcement temporarily of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Though a lower court has deemed the law unconstitutional, the controversial policy will remain in effect until the appeals process is complete.
President Obama is on record favoring abolition of the policy but has said he wants the issue to be decided by Congress, not in the courts.
Oliver-finalThe new commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos, opposes repeal of the policy. “There is a risk involved,” Amos told reporters in San Diego, California. “I’m tring to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness.”
Ryan Vincent Downing, a former Air Force captain and one of the 60 service members Sheng photographed, said he has confidence “that people in the military can handle change.” He is no longer in the service and said hiding his sexuality took a toll.
Tristan-and-Zeke-final“I found myself making up lies, and then making up more lies to cover the lies I had told before,” Downing said.
Sheng said he hopes his photographs open eyes to the way the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy affects closeted service members who are fighting and dying for their country.
“This idea that they’re hiding, in many ways … they can’t reveal who they are,” Sheng said. “[It] has a really profound effect on the way that people see these images and think about the issue.”
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This was originally published online by Chuck Conder of CNN on November 15, 2010.


Happy Thanksgiving!

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What are you thankful for this year?


Gay Pilgrims

PLYMOUTH – In the summer of 1637, two working men at the English colony at Plymouth faced the possibility of execution, convicted of what the law books said was a grave moral crime.

gaypilgrimsGay Pilgrims would have never looked this happy.

John Alexander and Thomas Roberts had been caught in a homosexual relationship.

Court records from their case, and from a handful of others, are the only keyhole through which researchers at the Plimoth Plantation museum can peek backward through time to imagine the lives of the colony’s gays and lesbians.

On this date in 1637, John Alexander and Thomas Roberts were changed with and convicted of “lude behavior and unclean carriage one with another, by often spending their seed one upon another, which was proved both by witness and their own confession; the said Alexander found to have been formerly notoriously guilty that way, and seeking to allure others thereunto.”

John Alexander was sentenced to a severe whipping, then to be burned in the shoulder with a hot iron, and then to be permanently banished from the Colony.

Roberts was sentenced to a severe whipping, but was not banished. He was prohibited from ever owning any land within the Plymouth Colony “except he manifest better desert.” He was returned to his master and forbidden to hold any lands in the future.

Sodomy, usually homosexuality, was considered a capital offence but rarely punished as such. These punishments, while harsh, still lacked the full force of the law.

At the Out at Plimoth Plantation event, the living museum of Colonial and Native American history presents special programs on gay history of the 17th and 18th centuries in early American culture.

“Plimoth Plantation as a museum has always been a place that has tried to recover every life,’’ said Richard Pickering, the museum’s deputy director. Pickering quoted the poet and author Paul Monette, who wrote that most of gay history “lies in shallow bachelors’ graves.’’

“We’re telling the audience that we’re going to talk about all those uncles and all those aunts who have fallen off the family tree,’’ said Pickering. “Their stories may be lost, so let’s contemplate those lost lives.’’ Though the historical record is sparse, “we can get a sense of what the options of the past were,’’ and provide some sense of history to a modern gay community “that really doesn’t have a strong sense of its past much before 1960.’’

Back in the 1600s, homosexuality was thought to be a behavior that could be learned due to a lack of “proper’’ examples of traditional relationships, said Pickering. Being gay or lesbian at the time was not a sexual identity as we think of it today. Gays and lesbians “did not have the opportunity to pursue the kind of lives and identities that modern social structures allow,’’ he said.

Yet the prosecution of Alexander and Roberts for homosexual conduct reveals layers of complexities in Colonial life, despite the scant court records. Though the maximum penalty was death, neither man was executed.

Alexander, who was perceived as the seducer and therefore was considered more responsible, was branded with a hot iron and banished from the colony, said Pickering.

Roberts was allowed to stay, though the court forbade him from owning land or participating in the political process, Pickering said.

“At first glance you would think that 17th-century New Englanders would be very harsh,’’ said Pickering. But both men were spared execution, and in time Roberts was allowed to own land and to vote. “Even though there are statutes, in the enactment of the law they are much more gentle.’’ It may have been that the colony needed every pair of hands and couldn’t afford to lose both workers, or that in a tiny community of a few hundred, the judges would have known the defendants personally and were reluctant to send neighbors to their deaths.

Plimoth Plantation began researching the gay history of the colony about 10 years ago, in preparation for bringing its replica of the Pilgrim ship Mayflower to gay-friendly Provincetown.

The role players at Plimoth Plantation wear period costumes and never come out of character while they’re on the job. In a recent interview, for example, Pickering had to leave the “village’’ for a private room to speak as a modern man. In that spirit of authenticity, the museum researched gay Colonial history to educate its staff in case one of the role players got a question about same-sex relationships while in Provincetown.

The museum last year presented that research to visitors at its first Out at Plimoth Plantation, a conscious effort to reach out to the gay community. “For a while the museum just assumed it was known that everyone was welcome here,’’ said spokeswoman Jennifer Monac. “History is everybody’s story. We realize we need to make it relevant for everybody.

“We wanted to create a day where same-sex couples could attend like any other family and not have to worry if they hold hands or show affection,’’ she said.

The museum’s website is www.plimoth.org.


Two Male College Students Break Guinness World Record, Raise GLBTQ Awareness

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The Guinness Book of World Records may have a new entry.

Matty Daley and Bobby Canciello, both gay men, have apparently broken the record for the world’s longest kiss after locking lips for nearly 33 hours. The record was formerly held by Nicola Matovik and Kristina Reinhart, a German couple.

As they said on their website, “After years of fighting bigotry and discrimination, it’s time to put down our words and demonstrate otherwise. When there’s nothing left to say, say it with a kiss.”

While most college students spent their weekend with friends or catching up on homework, Daley and Canciello, both students at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), stood kissing from Saturday morning to Sunday night. The kiss was streamed live on the Internet, with thousands of viewers watching. Neither Daley nor Canciello ate, slept, sat, or used the bathroom for the duration (and as per official Guinness rules, neither wore adult diapers or sanitary napkins).

Daley and Canciello stood for the entire kiss under a small tent set up in a central part of the TCNJ campus in full view of people passing by. An audience gathered for the “finale” Sunday night, after which Daley and Canciello took a bow.

Officials from Guinness World Records will now review the taped material to determine if the record has in fact been broken. The record would be published in the 2012 print edition of the book, because the 2011 version was just released this month. If entered into the Guinness Book of World Records, the best-selling book series under copyright of all time, Daley and Canciello will be the first same-sex pairing to hold the record for longest continuous kiss.


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