Monthly Archives: November 2012

St Andrew’s Day

St. Andrew’s Day is the feast day of Saint Andrew. It is celebrated on November 30 in Scotland.    Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew’s Day is Scotland’s official national day. In 2006, the Scottish Parliament designated St Andrew’s Day as an official bank holiday.

There are many people with birthdays today, including yours truly:

Clay Aiken, born November 30, 1978 Singer.
Ben Stiller, born November 30, 1965 Actor.
Bo Jackson, born November 30, 1962 Football, baseball.
Billy Idol, born November 30, 1955 Singer.
Dick Clark, born November 30, 1929 Entertainer.
Winston Churchill,  born November 30, 1874 British Prime Minister.
Mark Twain, born November 30, 1835 Writer.



Tab and Roddy

This vintage celebrity beefcake moment is brought to you by some genius of a studio exec at Warner Bros. who thought it would be a good idea to do a publicity photo shoot of Tab Hunter and Roddy McDowall together for Movies magazine. The photo above shows them cooking up wieners wearing nothing but shorts. See the full spread for Calling All Girls from June 1953 here.

Although McDowall never officially came out, the fact that he was gay was one of Hollywood’s best known secrets.  Overwhelmed by the Hollywood publicity machine, Hunter struggled to keep secret the fact that he was gay. Hunter came out publicly in 2005 with his book Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star.



Dolly Is a Doll

generation-defining gay icon, Dolly Parton has faced a number of rumors about her own personal life.
As she promotes her new memoir, “Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You,” the 66-year-old country superstar hopes to put that tabloid speculation to rest in her signature candid way.
On allegations she was secretly gay and romantically involved with a childhood friend, Parton (who has been married to husband Carl Dean for 46 years) compared herself to another woman who’s faced her own share of rumors, Oprah Winfrey.
“Like Gayle [King], her friend, Judy, my friend…they just think that you just can’t be that close to somebody,” Parton said. “Judy and I have been best friends since we were like in the third and fourth grade. We still just have a great friendship and relationship and I love her as much as I love anybody in the whole world, but we’re not romantically involved.”
The star of hit films like “Steel Magnolias” and “9 to 5,” Parton also dishes about that time she entered — and lost — a drag queen celebrity lookalike competition. “They had a bunch of Chers and Dollys that year, so I just over-exaggerated — made my beauty mark bigger, the eyes bigger, the hair bigger, everything,” she said, laughing. “So I just got in the line and I just walked across, and they just thought I was some little short gay guy…and I got the least applause!”
She then added, “It’s a good thing I was a girl or I’d be a drag queen.”

Long Day

Yesterday started when I left the house before 7am and did not end until I returned home at 10:30.  Other than the total of maybe 45 minute of eating all day and an hour or two of driving, the rest of the day was spent teaching, preparing for class, directing theater practice, and a few other extra faculty duties.
And yet, this poem is now stuck in my head.  I think I have heard it too may times in the last few weeks:
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote, 
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, 
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur 
Of which vertú engendred is the flour; 
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth 
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth 
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne 
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne, 
And smale foweles maken melodye, 
That slepen al the nyght with open ye, 
So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages, 
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, 
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes, 
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes; 
And specially, from every shires ende 
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende, 
The hooly blisful martir for to seke, 
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke. 
“Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales

In modern English if you wish to read it:
When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,
Quickened again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun
Into the Ram one half his course has run,
And many little birds make melody
That sleep through all the night with open eye
(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.
And specially from every shire’s end
Of England they to Canterbury wend,
The holy blessed martyr there to seek
Who helped them when they lay so ill and weal


Southern Discomfort

I’ve been thinking of sharing this book with you guys, and quite honestly, I couldn’t remember it’s name, only that Rita Mae Brown wrote it and that it took place in Montgomery, Alabama.  So I looked up Brown’s bibliography and searched through the books until I found it.  I checked out this book a few years ago at the public library when I was in graduate school. I absolutely fell in love with it.  Southern Discomfort is my favorite Rita Mae Brown book. The characters in this novel are so vivid and well developed you’ll finish the novel feeling like you know them personally. Fast, smart, funny and ultimately heartbreaking, this is definitely a must for any fan of Rita Mae Brown.

Only Rita Mae Brown, author of Rubyfruit Jungle, could have written a novel as passionately delightful as Southern Discomfort.  Here is a witty, warm and pentrating tale of two decades in Montgomery Alabama–a world where all is not what it seems.  Meet Hortensia Reedmuller Banastre, a beautiful woman entrenched on old money, white magnolia and a loveless marriage–until she meets an utterly gorgeous young prizefighter.  Amid such memorable characters as Banana Mae Parker and Blue Rhonda Latrec (two first-class whores) and Reverend Linton Ray (who wears his clerical collar too tightly for anyone’s good), Hortensia struggles to survive the hurricane of emotions caused by her scandalous love.  How she ultimately triumphs is a touching and beautiful human drama–an intense and exuberant affair of the heart.

Rita Mae Brown’s Southern Discomfort is warm and fuzzy in all the good ways. She earns the pleasurable feelings from her readers through the creation of her dazzling cast of characters and spinning them through a marvelous narrative. I laughed and I cried and sometimes often at the same time. The author writes beautifully and easily allows the reader to soak into the Southern pool of charm she creates. I have enjoyed many of her novels but this is the one that always draws me back. It is the perfect novel for a summer day sipping a mint julep and wondering how eccentric your friends and neighbours could be if only they were Southern.

Biography

Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of the Sister Jane novels-Outfoxed, Hotspur, Full Cry, The Hunt Ball, The Hounds and the Fury, The Tell-Tale Horse, and Hounded to Death-as well as the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries and Rubyfruit Jungle, In Her Day, Six of One, and The Sand Castle, among many others. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia.


Thankfulness

    “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

Psalm 100 

Thankfulness in God’s Word is a major theme throughout. But, the actual first official ceremony of Thanksgiving in the Bible is listed in Leviticus 7:11-15. “And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the Lord. If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried.” God ordained a practice of specific instructions to show gratitude. Clearly, gratitude is the door that opens peace in our hearts. God’s design for mankind is that giving thanks means receiving peace. Giving thanks in the Bible is the formula to peace because when we are truly thankful to God, we are expressing our trust in Him. 

The theme of thanks in the Bible continues from the commanded thanksgiving sacrifices to the beautifully written Psalms of praise and thanks to our Lord. “Praise ye the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.” (Psalm 106:1) And, Thanksgiving in the Bible continues to be practiced with Christ, giving thanks at the Lord’s supper. Paul the Apostle wrote many times of his gratitude to Christ and for his gratitude to the followers of Christ. “I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers.” (Philemon 1:4)

To celebrate a day of thanks is to take a day and clearly honor God in praise for the enormous blessings He has bestowed upon our land. As Thanksgiving facts reveal a Biblical foundation, we know that this holiday must have more to do with honoring God than any other fact. When we look back at history, thanksgiving in the Bible, and the celebration that first took place in this country, we find that God’s people are to turn their hearts to Him, thanking Him for all things in all circumstances. Perhaps one of the most quoted scriptures in the New Testament says it best. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let our request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Let us not only be thankful only one day a year but celebrate the greatness of our God with thanks everyday! 

Moment of Zen: A Beautiful Smile


Black Friday

Did anyone go to the Black Friday sales? Did you find any great bargains?

I stayed home and slept late.  This is really my only day that I have nothing to do, so I decided to be lazy and enjoy it.


How FDR Changed Thanksgiving

How FDR Changed Thanksgiving

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a lot to think about in 1939. The world had been suffering from the Great Depression for a decade and the Second World War had just erupted in Europe. On top of that, the U.S. economy continued to look bleak. So when U.S. retailers begged him to move Thanksgiving up a week to increase the shopping days before Christmas, he agreed. He probably considered it a small change; however, when FDR issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation with the new date, there was an uproar throughout the country.

The First Thanksgiving

As most schoolchildren know, the history of Thanksgiving began when Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered together to celebrate a successful harvest. The first Thanksgiving was held in the fall of 1621, sometime between September 21 and November 11, and was a three-day feast. The Pilgrims were joined by approximately 90 of the local Wampanoag tribe, including Chief Massasoit, in celebration. They ate fowl and deer for certain and most likely also ate berries, fish, clams, plums, and boiled pumpkin.

Sporadic Thanksgivings

Though the current holiday of Thanksgiving was based on the 1621 feast, it did not immediately become an annual celebration or holiday. Sporadic days of Thanksgiving followed, usually declared locally to give thanks for a specific event such as the end of a drought, victory in a specific battle, or after a harvest.

It wasn’t until October 1777 that all 13 colonies celebrated a day of Thanksgiving. The very first national day of Thanksgiving was held in 1789, when President George Washington proclaimed Thursday, November 26 to be “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer,” to especially give thanks for the opportunity to form a new nation and the establishment of a new constitution.
Yet even after a national day of Thanksgiving was declared in 1789, Thanksgiving was not an annual celebration.

Mother of Thanksgiving

We owe the modern concept of Thanksgiving to a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale. Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book and author of the famous “Mary Had a Little Lamb” nursery rhyme, spent 40 years advocating for a national, annual Thanksgiving holiday. In the years leading up to the Civil War, she saw the holiday as a way to infuse hope and belief in the nation and the constitution. So, when the United States was torn in half during the Civil War and Lincoln was searching for a way to bring the nation together, he discussed the matter with Hale.

Lincoln Sets Date

On October 3, 1863, Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation that declared the last Thursday in November (based on Washington’s date) to be a day of “thanksgiving and praise.” For the first time, Thanksgiving became a national, annual holiday with a specific date.

FDR Changes It

For 75 years after Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation, succeeding presidents honored the tradition and annually issued their own Thanksgiving Proclamation, declaring the last Thursday in November as the day of Thanksgiving. However, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not. In 1939, the last Thursday of November was going to be November 30. Retailers complained to FDR that this only left 24 shopping days to Christmas and begged him to push Thanksgiving just one week earlier. It was determined that most people do their Christmas shopping after Thanksgiving and retailers hoped that with an extra week of shopping, people would buy more.

So when FDR announced his Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1939, he declared the date of Thanksgiving to be Thursday, November 23, the second-to-last Thursday of the month.

Controversy

The new date for Thanksgiving caused a lot of confusion. Calendars were now incorrect. Schools who had planned vacations and tests now had to reschedule. Thanksgiving had been a big day for football games, as it is today, so the game schedule had to be examined.

Political opponents of FDR and many others questioned the president’s right to change the holiday and stressed the breaking of precedent and disregard for tradition. Many believed that changing a cherished holiday just to appease businesses was not a sufficient reason for change. Atlantic City’s mayor derogatorily called November 23 as “Franksgiving.”

Two Thanksgivings in 1939?

Before 1939, the president annually announced his Thanksgiving Proclamation and then governors followed the president in officially proclaiming the same day as Thanksgiving for their state. In 1939, many governors did not agree with FDR’s decision to change the date and refused to follow him. The country became split on which Thanksgiving they should observe.

Twenty-three states followed FDR’s change and declared Thanksgiving to be November 23. Twenty-three other states disagreed with FDR and kept the traditional date for Thanksgiving, November 30. Two states, Colorado and Texas, decided to honor both dates.

This idea of two Thanksgiving days split some families, because not everyone had the same day off work.

Did It Work?

Though the confusion caused many frustrations across the country, the question remained as to whether the extended holiday shopping season caused people to spend more, thus helping the economy. The answer was no. Businesses reported that the spending was approximately the same, but the distribution of the shopping was changed. For those states who celebrated the earlier Thanksgiving date, the shopping was evenly distributed throughout the season. For those states that kept the traditional date, businesses experienced a bulk of shopping in the last week before Christmas.

1940

In 1940, FDR again announced Thanksgiving to be the second-to-last Thursday of the month. This time, 31 states followed him with the earlier date and 17 kept the traditional date. Confusion over two Thanksgivings continued.

Congress Fixes It

Lincoln had established the Thanksgiving holiday to bring the country together, but the confusion over the date change was tearing it apart. On December 26, 1941, Congress passed a law declaring that Thanksgiving would occur every year on the fourth Thursday of November.



Thanksgiving’s Gay Secrets

Each year we gather together with our families (blood or created) and give thanks for the good things in our lives (and perhaps for the bad things that aren’t in our lives).
The day centers around food, football, and for many, gearing up for an intense day of shopping on Friday but we here at HuffPost Gay Voices thought we’d do a little digging to uncover the gayer side of Thanksgiving.
From gay Pilgrims to beloved gay turkeys, these are the things that they didn’t teach you about in grade school (or on Martha Stewart’s Thanksgiving special).

Secret #1: Pilgrims Party in P-Town

While many people think that the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, they actually arrived in one of the gayest towns in the world — Provincetown.  The Pilgrims came to Provincetown in 1620 and spent five weeks there, during which time they created and signed the Mayflower Compact.  There’s no word on whether they had time for tea dances or hanky panky under the docks, but we sure hope so!


Secret #2: Gay Pilgrims


The first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Point in 1621 may have been attended by gay Pilgrims. According to Boston.com, in 1637 two men at Plymouth faced execution because they were “convicted of what the law books said was a grave moral crime” — being in a gay relationship. Richard Pickering, deputy director of Plimoth Plantation, the living museum of Colonial and Native American history, notes gays and lesbians “did not have the opportunity to pursue the kind of lives and identities that modern social structures allow.” Though the maximum penalty for homosexuality was death, neither men were killed. Pickering says that Alexander, who was labeled the seducer and “therefore was considered more responsible,” was branded with a hot iron and banished from the colony. Roberts was allowed to stay but he could not own land or be actively involved in politics.

Secret #3: Native Americans And The Two-Spirit Tradition

Thanksgiving in present day America is a mix of Native American autumnal celebratory traditions and traditions brought to the New World by colonists. The NorthEast Two-Spirit Society notes that there are roughly 400 indigenous Nations in the United States and 155 of those Nations have “documented multiple gender traditions” including those who are “Two Spirit,” or individuals whose spirits “are a blending of male and female.” Harland Pruden and Melissa Hoskins, Co-Chairs of NE2SS, write:
“The Two Spirits’ mere existence threatened the colonizers’ core beliefs; the backlash was violent. Sketches, housed at the New York City public library, depict Two Spirit people being attacked by colonizers’ dogs.”Secret #4: Gay Turkeys
Homosexuality has been observed in many as many as 1,500 species — including turkeys. There is even a YouTube clip in which two male turkeys chase each other around a Massachusetts yard just after gay marriage was made legal in the state.

Secret #4:  Gay Turkeys

Homosexuality has been observed in many as many as 1,500 species — including turkeys. In this clip, two male turkeys chase each other around a Massachusetts yard just after gay marriage was made legal in the state.

 Secret #5: An Awkward Thanksgiving

Going home for Thanksgiving? The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) wants you to consider their hilarious (and delightful) new campaign, “I’m Letting Aunt Betty Feel Awkward This Thanksgiving.” GLAAD writes:

“The LGBT community has a ton to be thankful for from the past year. But we also have a long way to go. And believe it or not, putting down that forkful of stuffing for a minute and just talking about yourself (if you can) this Thanksgiving can make a huge difference. We’ve all had those Thanksgiving dinners where Aunt Betty decides this is the perfect time to discuss a year’s worth of ailments and medical treatments. Well, you know what? If she can talk about her podiatrist, you can talk about your partner. The fact is, while you’re scarfing down mashed potatoes and staying silent while everyone else at the table is freely speaking their minds, you’re missing a golden opportunity to make real, honest progress by talking about your life, and the things you care about. It’s okay if Aunt Betty feels a little awkward at first, it’s important for her to know that someone she loves cares deeply about LGBT equality. And the more we all talk about what’s important to us, the less awkward those conversations will become. Today some LGBT people can’t be open about who they are. But if you do feel comfortable, speaking openly and honestly about your life with your loved ones is one of the best ways for all of us to move forward together.”

Secret #6: Thanksgiving’s Unofficial Fruit

Fresh or fresh out of the can with those weird indentations still intact — no table is complete without cranberries during the holidays. And seeing as cranberries are Thanksgiving’s unofficial fruit — we began to wonder about other fruit, including the word itself and how it became equated with gay men. The term first became used to refer to gay men in 1935, and some believe it was due to the word’s prior association with “a girl or woman willing to oblige.” Gay men have long been connected to slang that serves to emasculate them and “fruit” most likely falls into that category.

Secret #7: The NFL Gets Gayer

For many Americans there’s nothing like a good game of football to finish off a Thanksgiving afternoon. And thanks to a change to the National Football League’s Collective Bargaining Agreement made in September of this year, we might soon be seeing gay football players (or at least the groundwork has been laid for the possibility). The Agreement was altered to include “sexual orientation” in the non-discrimination clause which now reads: Section 1. No Discrimination: There will be no discrimination in any form against any player by the Management Council, any Club or by the NFLPA because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA.


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