Monthly Archives: April 2013

His Kiss

The poem is from

The Disadvantage of Spring

I blogged about the beautiful flowers of spring on Monday and Tuesday.  It is the most beautiful time of year in Alabama, but there is one major disadvantage.  POLLEN!  Pollen is the worst culprit and along with spring weather in which Mother Nature acts as if she has multiple personality disorder, you have a bitch of a season for you sinuses.  The weather has been going from the 30s to the 80s back and forth.

I woke up yesterday morning not understanding why I was in such a pissy mood, then the headache and sinus pressure began, and I fully understood the reason.  My nose began to burn, my head felt like it would explode, and I found my temper to be getting shorter and shorter.  I never feel that a sinus headache is a reason to miss work, so off I go to teach again today.  I doubt my mood will get any better today than yesterday.  I will do my best though to keep my temper in check and not take it out too much on the students.

Shakespeare’s R & J

I am a lover of Shakespeare.  My English Lit students get more than their fair share of my love for Shakespearean sonnets and plays.  I’m always interested when I discover a new adaptation of one of his plays such as Scotland, PA based on Macbeth or Were the World Mine based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I recently came across another adaptation, Shakespeare’s R & J, based on Romeo and Juliet.  As with each of these there is a unique twist.  Scotland, PA takes place in a fast food restaurant, whereas Were the World Mine is a retelling using a high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Shakespeare’s R & J is a refreshing contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy by Joe Calarco.  We all know the story–it’s everyone’s story. Romeo and Juliet has endured 400 and more years because it’s a story about love; in fact, it’s about that rarest of all things: first love. Shakespeare’s R & J is said to be an arresting, vibrant and hot-blooded adaptation of Romeo and Juliet that pulsates with an adolescent abandon and electricity of which Romeo himself might approve. 

Taking place after curfew in the world of a parochial boarding school for boys, four repressed students discover Shakespeare’s incredible love story. What starts off as a lighthearted reading of the forbidden text gradually becomes more dangerous as these young men are allowed to explore their pent up energy and adolescent passion which has been boiling under the surface all along. 

Their experiment ends in an impassioned and honest performance of the play without the restrictions of gender, race or sexuality. With no set, no costume changes or props (except a piece of red fabric), this retelling of Romeo and Julie sounds like it would be a wonderful play to watch.  I hope one day, I will get to see it.

Mauckingbird Theatre Company remounts its critically acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s R & Jat the Caplan Theater, The University of the Arts, 211 South Broad Street, Philadelphia on Friday, May 3 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 4 at 5 and 8 p.m. The play is being produced for Equality Forum 2013. Directed by Artistic Director Peter Reynolds, the play features four exciting young actors in this hot-blooded reimagining of Shakespeare’s masterpiece.  If I were in the Philadelphia area, I would love to see it.  If anyone who is in the Philadelphia area goes to see it, please let me know how it was, or if anyone has seen it before, I’d love to know what you thought.

To purchase tickets, click here.

The Daffodils by William Wordsworth

The Daffodils
by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
   That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
   A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
   And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
   Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
   Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
   In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
   In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
   Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (also commonly known as “The Daffodils”) is a lyric poem by William Wordsworth.    The inspiration for the poem came from a walk he took with his sister Dorothy around Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater, in the Lake District. Wordsworth would draw on this to compose “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” in 1804. It was inspired by Dorothy’s journal entry describing the walk:
When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seed ashore & that the little colony had so sprung up — But as we went along there were more & yet more & at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about & about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed and reeled and danced & seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever dancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here & there a little knot & a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity & unity & life of that one busy highway — We rested again & again. The Bays were stormy & we heard the waves at different distances & in the middle of the water like the Sea.
—Dorothy Wordsworth, The Grasmere Journal Thursday, 15 April 1802
At the time he wrote the poem, Wordsworth was living with his wife, Mary Hutchinson, and sister Dorothy at Town End, in Grasmere in England’s Lake District. Mary contributed what Wordsworth later said were the two best lines in the poem, recalling the “tranquil restoration” of Tintern Abbey,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude
the entire household thus contributing to the poem. Nevertheless Mary Moorman notes that Dorothy was excluded from the poem, even though she had seen the daffodils together with Wordsworth. The poem itself was placed in a section of Poems in Two Volumes entitled Moods of my Mind in which he grouped together his most deeply felt lyrics. Others included To a Butterfly, a childhood recollection of chasing butterflies with Dorothy, and The Sparrow’s Nest, in which he says of Dorothy “She gave me eyes, she gave me ears”.

The earlier Lyrical Ballads, a collection of poems by both himself and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, had been first published in 1798 and had started the romantic movement in England. It had brought Wordsworth and the other Lake poets into the poetic limelight. Wordsworth had published nothing new since the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads, and a new publication was eagerly awaited. Wordsworth had, however, gained some financial security by the 1805 publication of the fourth edition of Lyrical Ballads; it was the first from which he enjoyed the profits of copyright ownership. He decided to turn away from “The Recluse” and devote more attention to publishing Poems in Two Volumes, in which “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” first appeared.

It is generally considered Wordsworth’s most famous work. In the “Nation’s Favourite Poems”, a poll carried out by the BBC’s Bookworm, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” came fifth. Often anthologized, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is commonly seen as a classic of English romanticism within poetry, although Poems in Two Volumes was poorly reviewed by Wordsworth’s contemporaries.

Monday, Monday

Well, it’s Monday again.  Yuck!  The weekend was not long enough, and there was just too much to be done this weekend to get much rest.  But there is also not much to blog about today.  I hope you are all enjoying the beauty of spring.  The South is one of the most beautiful places in the world during spring when the flowers are blooming and fragrant.

Keep in Step with the Spirit

I have been teaching the history of Christianity to my world history students this week. Therefore, more so than usual, I have had my Bible with me at all times.  Teaching at a private school, I have full control of my lesson plans and objectives, so I use the Bible to teach about the foundations of Christianity, i.e. the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I can use the source material notepad of using the usual textbook, and the students enjoy it quite a bit.  With my Bible close by, I picked it up and began reading it when I had a particular difficult time with one of my other classes.  So I opened up the Concordance and looked up “patience.”  When I came across Galatians 5:16-26, I knew this was the verse I was looking for and would be the subject of my post today.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Galatians 5:16-26

The Holy Spirit empowers us, guides us, and enables us to grow and endure in our relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ. Often the most misunderstood member of the Trinity, the Spirit should be of great focus and attention today.

When we talk of being led by the Holy Spirit we need to make it clear he directs us primarily through the Scriptures he inspired. Through them he brings revelation, guidance, correction, vision, conviction, answers, encouragement, challenge and freedom to our lives as well as principles and doctrines we can build our lives on.  All of this helps us to grow in relationship with God and keep in step with his will for our lives.

The Holy Spirit never bypasses the Holy Scriptures he inspired. This means we cannot be led by the Spirit if we undermine or undervalue his book. For this reason an open heart with an open Bible reveals and expresses a persons desire to be led by the Spirit. Likewise a closed heart and a dusty Bible reveals and exposes a persons desire not to be.  The Holy Spirit and my open Bible led me to contemplate patience this week.  One of my students once made me a sign that hangs on the wall of my classroom, “God, please grant me patience, because if you grant me strength, I might hurt someone.”  Thankfully, God does grant me patience.  I could not be a teacher without patience.  Thankfully, the fruit of the Spirit includes love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control along with patience.

Moment of Zen: Matt Lanter

He is just such a beautiful young man to look at and this picture just has a calming effect on me.

Would Reagan Have Supported Gay Marriage?

Ronald Reagan’s son may just expressed his fervent opposition to same-sex marriagein an editorial, but his sister has a much different view. So, evidently, would his father.
Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis, 60, tells The New York Times that her father — who had a checkered history with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community during his presidency — would have supported marriage equality and “been puzzled” by the opposition to same-sex marriage.
Davis cited Reagan’s “distate for government intrusion into private lives,” as well as his Hollywood connections and close friendship with a lesbian couple that his children affectionately referred to as their aunts as reasons she believed her father would have been in favor of gay marriage, according to writer Sheryl Gay Stolberg.
Reagan “did not believe that gayness was a choice,” Davis noted, but added, “as a straight man and an old-fashioned man, it’s not like he understood it.”
You can’t read the rest at The Huffington Post.
Michael Reagan responded to his sister’s comments by saying his “father gets dragged into too many” present-day political discussions, Reagan noted, “Back in the 1980s when he was president, no, he wouldn’t have [supported gay marriage] … It’s easy to say he would do or not do something when he’s not here to answer.”
As much as it pains me to do so, I have to agree with Michael Reagan.  Patti Davis, like her brother Ron, is known for holding liberal viewpoints, which clashed often with her conservative father. For example during his presidency it was already known to the press that she held a pro-choice viewpoint on abortion, supported gay rights, and opposed nuclear weapons.  I believe that most likely she is doing her best to soften her father’s image on LGBT rights.  In other words, she is being a revisionist.  And, sadly, it just doesn’t hold water.  I cannot believe the Reagan would have been a supporter of same-sex marriage. It just does not fit with his neo-conservative image.  The only way that I can see Ronald Reagan supporting same-sex marriage would be if the Soviet Union had announced it as the greatest evil of a capitalistic society.  

Thoughts on Marriage Equality From a Bible Thumper in the Deep South

Robin O’Bryant is an award-winning humor columnist and stay-at-home-mom to three daughters born within four years. She finally figured out where babies come from and got herself under control. Robin survives the hilarity of motherhood by making fun of herself in her weekly column, Robin’s Chicks and on her blog by the same name. Visit to learn helpful tips such as: how to breastfeed behind your back (only applies to lactating women with a DD cup or larger), how to talk to your daughters about man parts, and how to write a proper gold fish obituary.  She tweets compulsively as @robinobryant.
The following article was posted on her blog Robin’s Chicks and I wanted to share it with you guys.  With people like Robin, I think the South will eventually change, though change will be slow.  Tell me what you guys think.

Marriage Equality: I Can’t Be Switzerland Anymore

My Facebook feed is worse than it is during football season right now. Lots of indignation and passion and red signs for equality, lots of red crosses– which oddly confuses me because I don’t know if those people are against same sex marriage or just pro-Jesus or what? 
I don’t want to write this post. I want to be Switzerland. I want to keep my mouth shut. But I made myself a promise– I promised that I wasn’t going to hold back anymore. That I wouldn’t let fear of what other people think of me, keep me from speaking my truth.
I don’t WANT to be controversial, but here is the thing: I have gay friends. Good friends. People I love.  And if I was sitting at a table eating lunch with one of them and you walked up to them and started saying things like, “You are disgusting. God is disgusted by you. You shouldn’t be able to be next of kin for your partner. You don’t deserve to be a parent. A child would be better off in foster care than being raised by you.” 
If you were saying these things, to one of my friends? To their face?? I daresay that I would STAND up from the table, take my earrings off and tell you where to step off.
Maybe you don’t have any gay friends. Maybe you don’t know anyone who lives a lifestyle a little different from yours. That lifestyle might not be the same as yours in one significant way, but I’m willing to bet my bootie and the booties of all the booties that MUCH of that person’s life IS the same as yours. Because, you know, it’s a human life. They have a story and a family and struggles just like you.  And maybe, just maybe, if you got to know someone who is a little different from you, instead of labeling them, you’d start to see how beautiful, vulnerable and human they are, too. 
So here’s the thing. I know this isn’t going to win me any cool points– especially in the South– but I’m not going to sit at the table while people yell stuff at my friends and not say anything. Lately, I’ve found that I’m having a hard time making eye contact with them because I’ve been sitting on my hands saying nothing. 
I don’t believe same-sex marriages are a threat to my marriage. I believe same-sex couples can and do raise healthy, happy and beautiful children. Sometimes even better than heterosexual couples and INFINITELY better than the foster care system can.
And y’all know I am a Bible thumper, right? I sort of came out of the Jesus closet here in the last few months and promised you and myself that I wouldn’t hold back anymore– so here’s the thing– WHO CARES!? I get it. I know what the Bible says, and even if that’s what you believe WHY would you spend so much time fighting against something you disagree with instead of fighting FOR something you are passionate about? 
Last time I checked there were still a ton of kids in this country and all over the world who are starving and orphaned. People are still homeless. There are people hurting in our communities, people who need to be loved unconditionally, who need a friend. And sadly, for the church, a lot of those people are in the gay community because the church as a whole has made it CLEAR that they aren’t welcome or wanted here unless they repent. 
And all I’m saying is, I’m really glad that’s not how Jesus loves me.  
We need to remind ourselves that this issue isn’t being put before the church. It’s being put before the Supreme Court and I, for one, am thankful that our country was founded in a way that how someone else feels or believes, doesn’t affect my right to live my life the way I choose. 
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” In my Bible that’s in red print ’cause Jesus said it and I want to be like Him.

Things I Never Thought I’d Say To My Students

When I was a kid, there were a few phrases I swore I would never say to my a kid.  I did not want to sound like my parents, but I find myself saying these things to my students.
Oh, I had a plan.  I would reason with my kids. I would explain to them why they needed to do what I tell them and how it would help them be a better student. Learning can be fun, if you just give it a chance.  We are all part of our school and must contribute to the classroom because we are all in this together, and I should never, ever, have to threaten them.
We would be so close. I would be so understanding. They would respect me. I wouldn’t have to threaten them. I was going to be that good.
In one of those curveballs that life likes to throw, I’ve heard some of the things that have come out of my mouth lately. I’ve realized that I’m saying things I never even anticipated having to have to say to my students.  Here are twenty things my parents used to say that I catch myself saying:
  1. I don’t care who made that mess, I’m telling YOU to clean it up.
  2. Don’t ask me to repeat myself! I will repeat myself three times.
  3. Deal with it. I don’t have the time or patience for your complaining.
  4. Go to your room, or in my case “Go to the office!”
  5. Stop it.
  6. Hurry up!
  7. Say “please.” or say “thank you.”  (I live in the South, I should not have this problem, but kids are not raised the same way I was.)
  8. Shush! Or more likely “SHUT-UP!!!”
  9. What did I just say? or What did I tell you?
  10. When I was your age…
  11. You’ll understand when you have kids.
  12. Because I said so.  (Why do kids always have to talk back.  I used to always talk back to my parents, but never a teacher.)
  13. My Classroom, My Rules! (The way my dad used to say this is “My house, my rules.”
  14. As long as you are in my classroom, you will follow my rules!  (The way my dad used to say this is “As long as you are under my roof, you will live by my rules.”)
  15. Were You Born in a Barn? Just shut the door.
  16. It’s Not My Problem! (The other way of saying this is, “I don’t want to hear your excuses!”
  17. Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?!  (I’ve also caught myself saying, “Don’t turn away from me when I’m talking to you!”)
  18. 1, 2, 3 … Though I usually just hold my fingers up.  (By now they know I don’t even have to verbalized it.)
  19. Listen to me!
  20. Huh?  (My mother always has the habit of half listening to me and then when I want an answer, she says “Huh?”  I catch myself doing that too often.)

Top four things I wish I could say, but can’t:
  1. Quit being a smartass!
  2. Shut the fuck up!
  3. Get the hell out of my room!
  4. Quit your bitching!