Monthly Archives: January 2011

Moment of Zen: Artistic


I have to apologize for the lack of posts this week.  I have been terribly busy with work and have not had the time to get a post ready.

Now Winter Nights Enlarge by Thomas Campion

imageThomas Campion or Campian, 1567-1620, English poet, composer, and lutenist, a physician by profession. Campion wrote lyric poems that he and other composers set to music. His graceful, simple lute songs were published in five Books of Airs (1601-1617). He wrote a treatise on English poetry, condemning the use of rhyme, but he used rhyme freely in his own poems. His treatise A New Way of Making Fowre Parts in Counterpoint (1613) has often been republished.

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Now Winter Nights Enlarge

by Thomas Campion (1617)ctwkpic09

Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours,
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze,
And cups o’erflow with wine;
Let well-tuned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love,
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep’s leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
With lovers’ long discourse;
Much speech hath some defence,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.


Las year when Alabama won the National Championship, I was ecstatic, but I had seen them do it before in my lifetime.  I was ecstatic when the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl, they deserved it.  However, I have never been as proud of a team as I am the Auburn University Tigers.  I literally cried with joy a few minutes ago when they won and my eyes are still moist.


War…Eagle, fly down the field, Ever to conquer, never to yield.
War…Eagle fearless and true. Fight on, you orange and blue.
Go! Go! Go!
On to vic’try, strike up the band,
Give ’em hell, give ’em hell.
Stand up and yell, Hey! War…Eagle, win for Auburn,
Power of Dixie Land!

War Eagle is the battle cry of fans of the Auburn Tigers football team of Auburn University, and fans of other Auburn teams and sometimes Auburn University in general. It is also the title of the university fight song (see below). It is a common phrase in the city of Auburn in general, along with the variation “War Damn Eagle”. Since 1930, and continuously since 1960, Auburn University has also kept an actual eagle as a second mascot for Auburn athletics. However, the official mascot is Aubie the tiger, and Auburn does not have teams called “eagles” or “war eagles”.

I can’t believe that the State of Alabama has had it’s top two football schools win the National Championship and the Heisman Trophy for the past two years.  I wonder if any other state has done the same.


Well, tonight we fucked the ducks.

My Philosophy of History


There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “History is a maiden, and you can dress her however you wish.”  If you’ve read my blog much, you know that I love writing history posts.  I also like to dress up the maiden of history in a beautiful gown that will turn every eye in the room.  Too often historians and history teachers dress up the maiden of history in dowdy and frumpy clothing and it bores us all to tears.  The trick is to let the gossip flow and grab their attention when you walk in the room.

BOTD-073010-003For me, history is the gossip that survived.  The winners right history and only the most interesting get remembered.  There are many things in history that cannot be proved or disproved.  That is where gossip comes in.  The juiciest of the gossip is often what survives, whether true or not. A few examples, the history of the lives of the Roman emperors written by Suetonius is full of  historical gossip, especially of the sex lives of the emperors.  The wildest of the stories that Suetonius wrote are probably not true or at least greatly exaggerated, though the salaciousness is what keeps getting repeated. 

Another example is the death of Empress Catherine the Great of Russia.  The imagestory goes that Catherine had an insatiable appetite for huge cocks, including those of horses.   When she wanted a horse hung man, she went straight for a real stallion.  She had a contraption built that allowed the horse to be lowered over her so that she could, well…you get the picture.  The story of her death is that the harness broke and the horse crushed her.  imageMost Russian historians will tell you that there is no truth to this myth (In reality, Catherine died of a stroke.), but it has obviously survived for some reason.  At the heart of all myths lies some reality, no matter how small.  Most likely the story was first told as a way to discredit Catherine, much like Suetonius told the the stories of the emperors of Rome.  So, Catherine the Great and her horse most likely did not engage in sexual congress.  True, Catherine the Great liked to ride, and she loved cavalrymen (the younger the better). So there was no equine sex, although it must be said that the Empress did enjoy dressing like a man and riding a horse astride her thighs.

History can truly be enjoyable, so I hope that you will continue to enjoy my posts on history.  I hope that the maiden catches your eye and becomes memorable, because no one likes a frumpy maiden.

Study the past if you would define the future.—Confucius

Programming Note

We are expected to experience severe winter weather here in the South over the next 24 hrs.  Rain, sleet, and snow are in the forecast for the ice storm we are expected to experience.  Only twice in my lifetime have we experienced an ice storm here, and that has not been in the last 20 years.  In the event that it is as bad as they are predicting, it is very likely that I will lose power.  In that case, this blog may go silent until I get power and internet returned.  I will set up a few posts in case that happens, but hopefully power will be restored fairly shortly if the lights do go out.  So stay tuned….

Moment of Zen


I don’t really know why this picture is a moment of Zen for me, but this guy is just absolutely beautiful.

Yankee Doodle

imageYankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony
Stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni.


Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.



Have you ever really listened to or considered the words to “Yankee Doodle?”  imageFor many years, I never understood the why he called himself “macaroni.”  What is a macaroni?  He obviously wasn’t talking about the pasta.  I had always known that “Yankee Doodle” first started out as a song that was making fun of the the colonists as country bumpkins (an awkward and unsophisticated person), because that was how the English regarded most colonials at that time.  The term macaroni actually has more connotations than the song lets on.  Macaroni is a fancy and overdressed (“dandy”) style of Italian clothing widely imitated in England at the time.  Young Englishmen who went on the Grand Tour of Europe to finish their studies (I will do a further post on the Grand Tour soon), spent much of their time in Italy.  They began to adopt Continental, and especially Italian, manners, fashions, and attitudes.


Those young men who returned form Italy with Italian fashion and ways were often made fun of for being effeminate.  imageBeing called a macaroni was not the same as the later terms of fops or dandy, which did not always, though mostly, had negative connotations.  Fop became a pejorative term for a foolish man over-concerned with his appearance and clothes in 17th century England.   A dandy (also known as a beau or gallant) is a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of Self. Historically, especially in late 18th- and early 19th-century Britain, a dandy, who was self-made, often strove to imitate an aristocratic lifestyle despite coming from a middle-class background.  In present day, we often called these types of men metrosexuals.  A heterosexual man who takes on gay fashion and care in their appearance.


A macaroni in mid-18th century England, was a fashionable fellow who dressed and even spoke in an outlandishly affected and epicene manner. The term pejoratively referred to a man who “exceeded the ordinary bounds of fashion” in terms of clothes, fastidious eating and gambling. Like a practitioner of macaronic verse, which mixed together English and Latin to comic effect, he mixed Continental affectations with his English nature, laying himself open to satire:


There is indeed a kind of animal, neither male nor female, a thing of the neuter gender, lately [1770] started up among us. It is called a macaroni. It talks without meaning, it smiles without pleasantry, it eats without appetite, it rides without exercise, it wenches without passion.


Young men who had been to Italy on the Grand Tour imageadopted the Italian word maccherone – a boorish fool in Italian – and said that anything that was fashionable or à la mode was ‘very maccaroni’. Horace Walpole wrote to a friend in 1764 of “the Macaroni Club, which is composed of all the traveled young men who wear long curls and spying-glasses.” The “club” was not a formal one: the expression was particularly used to characterize fops who dressed in high fashion with tall, powdered wigs with a chapeau bras on top that could only be removed on the point of a sword. The macaronis were precursor to the dandies, who far from their present connotation of effeminacy came as a more masculine reaction to the excesses of the macaroni.


In 1773, James Boswell was on tour in Scotland with the stout and serious-minded essayist and lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson, the least dandified of Londoners. Johnson was awkward in the saddle, and Boswell ribbed him: “You are a delicate Londoner; you are a maccaroni; you can’t ride.”


antiquity10More often the not, the term macaroni, fop, or dandy was considered synonymous with homosexual (though homosexual is not a term that comes into existence until the late 1800s and early 1900s).  Needless to say, it was certainly not compliment to say that he “Stuck a feather in his hat; And called it macaroni.”  So the next time you hear the song “Yankee Doodle”  I hope that you will have a different understanding of the song.

An Affair to Remember

Tonight, I am going to sleep with tears in my eyes.  You see, I am a hopeless romantic.  I can’t help it.  I watched one of my all time favorite movies tonight on TCM, “An Affair to Remember.”  Why is it that the greatest movies always make you want to cry at the end?  Not only this movie, but so many others that have so emotional endings, two that I can think of right off hand are “Casablanca” and “Fried Green Tomatoes.”  These are some of my top movie favorites.  If I were going to pick a favorite gay movie that always gets me at the end, it would have to be “Latter Days,” which if you haven’t seen, shame on you.  It is well worth it. 

In honor of the movie, “An Affair to Remember” here is Deborah Kerr singing the song “Love Affair” from the movie:
Deborah Kerr “An Affair To Remember”
Actually the voice is Marni Nixon, who is  a great singer and dubbed the singing for Deborah Kerr in this movie and in “The King and I,” she sounds like Kerr and it the voices were melded together to appear seamless.

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind

Act II, Scene 7 from As You Like It by William Shakespeare (1600)

Blow, blow, thou winter wind.tumblr_kxt79sHs8i1qauc1to1_500
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remember’d not.
Heigh-ho! sing, &c.


I didn’t have time to set up a substantial post for today, so I thought would give you guys a quick post to say that I will try to post more for tomorrow.  Right now, I am totally drawing a blank as to what to post.