Monthly Archives: March 2014

Friday Funny: Texts From Dog

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Most of you know that I am not a huge dog fan. I prefer cats. Since I was a little kid, dogs have scared me. It’s not an all consuming fear, but I’m still uneasy around dogs. However, the other day, I came across one of the funniest things I’ve seen on the Internet in a long time. It was a Tumblr blog called “Texts from Dog.” Reading through them, I laughed until I hurt. The three below are three of my favorites, but there are so many. Some are a bit crude, and there is a fair amount of potty humor, but let’s face it, it can be pretty darn funny at times.

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I think the reason that I included this one above should be obvious.

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While it’s true that some people should never wear Lycra (me included), there are definitely some men out there that should wear Lycra, and I guess the dog in me comes out when I see one of these men, because I too “NEED TO BITE HIS ASS.”

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A few weeks ago, my cat HRH had a heat spot that was an abscess. It was a nasty place on her back hip. I took her to the vet, and they had to put a cone on her. The poor old girl kept bumping into stuff and never could get her balance good with it, and yes, when she sat down, she looked like a desk lamp. I felt sorry for her, but it was only for a week. She’s better now. I will admit that HRH wearing a cone was a bit funny to watch. Every so often she would shake her head and it’d cause her to get off balance and she’d fall over, or she’d fall asleep and not realize the extra weight on her head and fall off the bed.

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I hope you will check out Texts From Dog. You might even want to buy the books Texts from Dog or Texts From Dog II: The Dog Delusion both by October Jones.

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The Key To Success

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Is Turnabout Fair Play?

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What happens when you constantly preach hate until it gets to the point that it’s too far even for you? Well, apparently you get kicked out of that organization. Fred Phelps has been excommunicated from Westboro Baptist Church according to his estranged son, Nathan Phelps.

Nathan Phelps announced on his Facebook page that his father had been excommunicated in August 2013 and is gravely ill. Nathan Phelps, who left the church and became an LGBT and anti-child-abuse advocate, did not indicate in the post why his father was excommunicated last year or what he was dying of. His post offered mixed feelings about his father, whose former church was famous for leading protests at the deaths of war veterans and waving signs that say “God hates fags.”

Nathan Phelps wrote, “I feel sad for all the hurt he’s caused so many,” but also “I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved.” He also stated “I’m bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their goodbyes.”

The big story from Natan’s Facebook post doesn’t seem to be that his father is dying but that he was excommunicated from the church he founded. Though WBC has been tight-lipped about his membership status and the reasons behind his reported banishment, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that he was thrown out for “advocating a kinder approach between church members.”

According to a recent interview with Nathan Phelps, who left the church 37 years ago, Fred Phelps was ejected from the group following a power struggle between a board of male elders and longtime spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper. After the elders defeated Phelps-Roper, Fred Phelps reportedly called for “kinder treatment of fellow church members,” a sentiment which was ill-received.

WBC spokesman Steve Drain declined to comment on Phelps, saying “We don’t discuss our internal church dealings with anyone.”

A media FAQ page set up about Fred Phelps simply said, “Membership issues are private.”

Speculation about the funeral arrangements for Phelps may be pointless, as a WBC member previously told The Huffington Post that WBC does not believe in having funerals or memorials because “We don’t worship the dead in this church, so there’d be no public memorial or funeral to picket if any member died.”

Since he was excommunicated and WBC is so well known for its “God hates _____” signs, I wonder why they have not been holding up signs that say “God hates Fred Phelps.” Considering that he was excommunicated, WBC must feel that God does hate Fred Phelps. Maybe WBC should be picketing the hospice where he lays dying with signs ” God hates Fred Phelps” or maybe “Burn in Hell, Fred Phelps.” But then again, the WBC has never realized their own hypocrisy.

When the Bible actually discusses hate, it only says that when you hate you cannot know God:

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

Sadly, the WBC fosters hate instead of the true message of love in the Bible. Fred Phelps taught hatred as a way of life. When he felt it might have gone too far, when he asked the WBC elders to show mercy to church members, the elders did just as they had always been taught. They showed the hatred that was spewed by their former leader.


The Passionate Freudian to His Love

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The Passionate Freudian to His Love
by Dorothy Parker

Only name the day, and we’ll fly away
In the face of old traditions,
To a sheltered spot, by the world forgot,
Where we’ll park our inhibitions.
Come and gaze in eyes where the lovelight lies
As it psychoanalyzes,
And when once you glean what your fantasies mean
Life will hold no more surprises.
When you’ve told your love what you’re thinking of
Things will be much more informal;
Through a sunlit land we’ll go hand-in-hand,
Drifting gently back to normal.

While the pale moon gleams, we will dream sweet dreams,
And I’ll win your admiration,
For it’s only fair to admit I’m there
With a mean interpretation.
In the sunrise glow we will whisper low
Of the scenes our dreams have painted,
And when you’re advised what they symbolized
We’ll begin to feel acquainted.
So we’ll gaily float in a slumber boat
Where subconscious waves dash wildly;
In the stars’ soft light, we will say good-night—
And “good-night!” will put it mildly.

Our desires shall be from repressions free—
As it’s only right to treat them.
To your ego’s whims I will sing sweet hymns,
And ad libido repeat them.
With your hand in mine, idly we’ll recline
Amid bowers of neuroses,
While the sun seeks rest in the great red west
We will sit and match psychoses.
So come dwell a while on that distant isle
In the brilliant tropic weather;
Where a Freud in need is a Freud indeed,
We’ll always be Jung together.

On August 22, 1893, Dorothy Parker was born to J. Henry and Elizabeth Rothschild, at their summer home in West End, New Jersey. Growing up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, her childhood was an unhappy one. Both her mother and step-mother died when she was young; her uncle, Martin Rothschild, went down on the Titanic in 1912; and her father died the following year. Young Dorothy attended a Catholic grammar school, then a finishing school in Morristown, NJ. Her formal education abruptly ended when she was 14.

In 1914, Dorothy sold her first poem to Vanity Fair. At age 22, she took an editorial job at Vogue. She continued to write poems for newspapers and magazines, and in 1917 she joined Vanity Fair, taking over for P.G. Wodehouse as drama critic. That same year she married a stockbroker, Edwin P. Parker. But the marriage was tempestuous, and the couple divorced in 1928.

In 1919, Parker became a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, an informal gathering of writers who lunched at the Algonquin Hotel. The “Vicious Circle” included Robert Benchley, Harpo Marx, George S Kaufman, and Edna Ferber, and was known for its scathing wit and intellectual commentary. In 1922, Parker published her first short story, “Such a Pretty Little Picture,” for Smart Set.

When the New Yorker debuted in 1925, Parker was listed on the editorial board. Over the years, she contributed poetry, fiction and book reviews as the “Constant Reader.”

Parker’s first collection of poetry, Enough Rope, was published in 1926, and was a bestseller. Her two subsequent collections were Sunset Gun in 1928 and Death and Taxes in 1931. Her collected fiction came out in 1930 as Laments for the Living.

During the 1920s, Parker traveled to Europe several times. She befriended Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, socialites Gerald and Sarah Murphy, and contributed articles to the New Yorker and Life. Dorothy Parker’s biting wit made her a legend, but it also masked her lonely struggle with depression and alcoholism and attempted suicide.

In 1929, she won the O. Henry Award for her autobiographical short story “Big Blonde.” She produced short fiction in the early 1930s, and also began writing drama reviews for the New Yorker. In 1934, Parker married actor-writer Alan Campbell in New Mexico; the couple relocated to Los Angeles and became a highly paid screenwriting team. They labored for MGM and Paramount on mostly forgettable features, the highlight being an Academy Award nomination for A Star Is Born in 1937. They divorced in 1947, and remarried in 1950.

Parker, who became a socialist in 1927 when she became involved in the Sacco and Vanzetti trial, was called before the House on Un-American Activities in 1955. She pleaded the Fifth Amendment.

Parker was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1959 and was a visiting professor at California State College in Los Angeles in 1963. That same year, her husband died of an overdose. On June 6, 1967, Parker was found dead of a heart attack in a New York City hotel at age 73. A firm believer in civil rights, she bequeathed her literary estate to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Upon his assassination some months later, the estate was turned over to the NAACP.

Her wit was legendary, especially her one liners. Here is one of my favorites:

I require only three things of a man. He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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Following weeks of back-and-forth negotiations, the organizers of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade have once again decided to prohibit LGBTQ groups from marching. As a result of the prolonged unpleasantness, several corporate sponsors have ended their support for the parade.

Back in February, under pressure from Boston’s new mayor, Martin Walsh, it seemed that LGBT Veterans for Equality would be permitted to march as long as they refrained from broadcasting their orientation in any way. (In other words: No homosexual propaganda.)

But on March 3, officials from the Allied Veteran’s War Council, which organizes the event, claimed that statewide LGBTQ advocacy group MassEquality had lied about the number of veterans who would be marching with the gay group, and it withdrew permission. AWVC has repeatedly accused MassEquality of “using a ploy to enter this parade under false pretenses.” Essentially, it suggests that MassEquality manufactured the gay veterans group just so it could march.

Corporate sponsors have taken note, and many have said “Slán go fóill!” to the South Boston parade. Earlier this month, the parade’s website prominently featured the names and logos of the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, Sam Adams (Boston Beer Co.), and Gillette as primary sponsors. When Westin and Gillette officials denied their support for the march, their company logos were removed from the website. Sam Adams was listed as a sponsor until yesterday, when the brewing company formally withdrew its support. Currently, the parade’s sponsor page says, “We’re updating our supporters, thank you for your patience.”

Irish-American communities, particularly in Boston and New York, are known for being cohesive, having a strong community spirit, and, despite tilting Democratic come election, for being socially conservative.

Back in the Ireland, however, they stand accused of being bigots. Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny has come under fire for agreeing to participate New York’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, because it bans marchers carrying posters promoting LGBT rights. Kenny has attempted to walk a political tightrope on the question of identity, saying: “The St. Patrick’s Day parade is a parade about our Irishness and not about sexuality and I would be happy to participate in it.”

Nonetheless, a series of gay rights groups, supported by prominent campaigners and a trade union, have asked Kenny to cancel his plans to attend the “exclusionary” parade – something the city’s mayor, Bill De Blasio, has already said he will do – or at least wear a rainbow pin badge in solidarity with gay groups.

Ireland’s attitudes are changing when it comes to LGBT rights. David Norris, an Irish senator and former professor, has been at the center of the Irish gay rights movement for four decades. In fact, it was his lawsuit against the country in the European Court of Human Rights that resulted in the country’s 1993 decriminalization of homosexuality. Norris wrote, “I find it extraordinary that Irish Americans can be so far behind the actual inhabitants of the island of Ireland; that 10 years ago the gay float won first prize in our national St. Patrick’s Day.”

Ireland was slow to see the march of gay rights, but much changed in the last two decades. With a yes vote in this year’s referendum on gay marriage considered a foregone conclusion, Ireland is drifting ever further from the Catholicism-dominated days of yore.

Mr. Norris sees the issue as being founded in a sectarian dispute. “As an Irish man who through my mother has direct descent from the ancient kings of Ossory, Leinster, and the High Kingship of Tara,” he says, “I find the claiming of the parade as an exclusively Roman Catholic festival – despite being originally founded in the US by exiled Irish Protestants – completely ridiculous,” he told the Christian Science Monitor.

HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY!!!


Rock of Ages

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Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:19 (KJV)

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Safe from wrath and make me pure

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgement throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

“Rock of Ages” is a popular Christian hymn by the Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady written in 1763 and first published in The Gospel Magazine in 1775. Traditionally, it is held that Toplady drew his inspiration from an incident in the gorge of Burrington Combe in the Mendip Hills in England. Toplady, a preacher in the nearby village of Blagdon, was traveling along the gorge when he was caught in a storm. Finding shelter in a gap in the gorge, he was struck by the title and scribbled down the initial lyrics on a playing card.

This morning, I will be the song leader at church. Our usual song leader has a slight case of laryngitis and is unable to conduct the service. I was the song leader before I moved away for graduate school, but I was never very good at it. I’m just not a loud enough and confident enough of a singer to lead a congregation, let alone a small congregation where every singer counts and there is no musical accompaniment since it is a Church of Christ. However, “Rock of Ages” is one of those tried and true songs that everyone knows, which makes it an easy song to lead. I tend to use traditional songs because they are the ones that I know best. If you follow my Sunday posts, you will see that occasionally I do post the lyrics to hymns, and the past songs that I have listed will most likely make up my song service for today.


Moment of Zen: Spring

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Even though Spring is officially still a week away, and some of you still have snow on the ground, here in Alabama, Spring had sprung. Bit it is springing elsewhere too. A friend of mine in Minnesota sent me a message the other day, because he finally some grass after months of only ice and snow. He was very excited and reminded me of just how much I love Spring and all of its beauty. The signs of Spring are always exciting to me, and for my friends in the North, I am sure that the first signs of spring are very exciting, especially after a winter that some are saying is the coldest it’s been in decades.


Porn Equality

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MAP OF % OF GAY PORN USERS BY STATE

Pornhub recently got together with Buzzfeed to gather some of the latest porn statistics. They asked us if the same might be true about gay married couples? Do the states with legalized gay marriage watch more gay porn than the states where it is still illegal?

The quick answer: yes. At 4.41%, states with legalized gay marriage watch 7% more gay porn than states without at 4.13%.

The results get trickier once you start looking at the map, state by state. The majority of states with a high percentage of gay viewers is in the South, where gay marriage is illegal in all states. Dixie loves dicks so much, that the percentage of gay viewers for every single state in the South is higher than the average of the legal gay marriage states.

In number one, holding a record 5.58% gay users, is a state where anal sex is still illegal: Mississippi (though I have to say, that never stopped me from breaking the law quite a few times when I lived there). Louisiana is closely on its rear at 5.44%, and Georgia with 5.38%.

As for the States with legalized gay marriage, there’s no big surprises in the top 3: Hawaii at 5.38%, followed by notoriously liberal New York at 5.27%, and California with 5.27%.

Finally, like in all things, there must be a top and a bottom. In this case it’s Alaska, Montana, North Dakota and Idaho that have the lowest percentage of gay porn users, all below the 3% mark.

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MAP OF LGBT POPULATION % BY STATE

If you compare the map of gay porn viewers with the percentage of adults in the United States who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), you are likely to see an interesting correlation. The numbers range from 1.7% in North Dakota to 5.1% in Hawaii and 10% in the District of Columbia, according to findings from a new study released by Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar, Gary J. Gates, and Gallup Editor-in-Chief, Frank Newport. The study is the largest population-based survey ever conducted that includes measurement of LGBT identification.

While LGBT communities are clearly present in every state in the union, their visibility is generally higher in states with greater levels of social acceptance and LGBT supportive legal climates. With the exception of South Dakota, each of the states with populations 4 percent and over has laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These states have also taken steps toward more LBGT equality by recognizing same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. Iowa is the only state among those with the lowest LGBT populations to extend similar rights. In fact, six of the ten states with the lowest LGBT populations are among the most conservative states in the country.

With that being said, you are likely to notice that states with lower LGBT identifying populations have the higher percentage of those populations watching porn. I think the conclusion is obvious, when the LGBT population is small, we (and I say “we” because I live in a southern state with a small LGBT population) tend to turn to porn to satisfy some of our sexual appetite. It is also where we can satisfy some of our curiosity about gay sex. I think the two maps above make a lot of sense when put together.


Tea Partier Actually Thinks The Common Core Will Destroy ‘Traditional’ America

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I wasn’t aware that the Common Core State Standards had anything to with homosexuality or religion, but Alabama Tea Party leader Dr. Terry Bratton seems convinced the new education measure has a specific and radical agenda. By the way, even though I teach at a private school, we do follow state curriculum standards, so I am quite familiar with Common Core, so I have been following this debate on the news. However, an article on the Huffington Post pointed out Bratton’s lunatic rant about the Common Core.

Bratton spoke to the state Senate Education Committee about his fears on the Common Core at a public hearing Tuesday. The committee was considering, and eventually approved, a bill that allows school districts to opt out of the Common Core, according to Right Wing Watch.

In case you don’t know, the Common Core is a set of new education standards that have been adopted in more than 40 states, including Alabama, in an effort to make sure students around the country are being held to the same benchmarks. While the Common Core Standards are designed to emphasize critical thinking and deeper learning and aim to better prepare students for college and careers, they do not take a stance on homosexuality or religion.

Nevertheless, a video of Bratton shows him accusing the Standards of promoting “acceptance of homosexuality, alternate lifestyles, radical feminism, abortion, illegal immigration and the redistribution of wealth.”

“Alabama places a priority on family and Christian values. We don’t want our kids to be taught to be anti-Christian and anti-Catholic and anti-America,” said Bratton. “We don’t want our kids to lose their innocence, beginning in preschool and kindergarten, told that homosexuality is okay and should be experienced at an early age.”

Bratton also railed against what he called ideas of “social justice” woven into the Standards. He said such teachings are “contrary to traditional American notions of justice in the United States Constitution” and claimed they teach kids that “America is an unjust and oppressive society that should be changed.”

However, when asked by Alabama outlet The Anniston Star where he found such ideas in the Standards, he said they were in the “reading lists” associated with the Core’s English standards. According to the Common Core website, the reading lists are meant to “serve as useful guideposts in helping educators select texts of similar complexity, quality, and range for their own classrooms,” but teachers are not required to teach these suggested texts.

Finally, Bratton told the state senators that voting against the opt-out bill could impact them for all eternity.

“Do you want this on your record when you come to the End of Days, knowing the Master Teacher said, ‘As much as you’ve done to the little ones, you’ve done it unto me?’” he asked of the meeting’s attendees.

While the bill passed the Education Committee, Sen. Scott Beason (R-Gardendale) told local outlet Montgomery Advisor that he did not think it would have enough votes to pass the Senate floor. Honestly, there is very little chance that it will pass. The Alabama Education Association, the state teacher’s union and advocacy group is against Beason’s bill. The AEA is probably one of, if not the strongest and wealthiest lobbying organization in Alabama. When they want a bill dead, even the Republican majority legislature can’t stop them, because all Alabama legislatures have their price and the AEA knows it.

And as a fellow teacher told me at lunch yesterday when discussing allowing local Alabama school boards to choose to use Common Core or not, “Well, we all know how good Alabama is at education decisions.” Alabama is ranked 46th in education, according to Education Week. At least we are no longer at the very bottom, but it shows that Alabama is not very good at the whole education business. If you want my honest opinion, there are two main reasons for it, (1) white legislatures do not want to fund education for minority students and (2) the AEA safeguards a lot of teachers who are quite honestly only qualified to teach on paper, but have no business in the classroom.

Although the Common Core State Standards have increasingly faced backlash as states begin the implementation process, a majority of Americans still do not know what they are. According to a recent poll from education reform advocacy group 50CAN, 58 percent of those surveyed did not know what the Common Core was, while 31 percent supported the Standards and 12 percent opposed them.


Dear Reg…

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In 2009, a gaggle of notable personalities were asked to contribute to a book entitled Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self in order to raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation; the idea being for each celebrity to write a letter to themselves, aged sixteen. Below is a charming example of such a missive, written by Elton John in March 2009, to himself in 1963.

I think we’d all love to be able to send 16 year-old selves a letter, and once you read Elton John’s letter to the 16 year-old Reginald Kenneth Dwight he was in 1963, I think you will feel a certain warmth in your heart. There is so much I’d say to my 16 year-old self, but as the saying goes, “Hindsight is 20/20.” What’s the most important thing you’d tell youself of at age 16?

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Transcript

March 8th 2009.

Atlanta,

Dear Reg,

You are a very young 16. you know nothing about sex — you don’t even know what a “queer” is. Trust me when I tell you — you are “queer”; you are a gay boy. I made the mistake of not having sex until I was 23! I loved being with another man and felt relieved that I finally knew who I was. I made the mistake of falling in love too soon because I was naive and romantic. My advice to you is never to chase love — it will find you when you least expect it. Have FUN, have lots of safe sex and enjoy your sexuality. Be proud of who you are and, as you get older and wiser fight for gay rights — I’m 46 years older than you are, and we have a long way to go. In certain countries we are still not treated as equals, especially by the so-called “Christian” Church. I made a lot of mistakes. Stay away from drugs — they’re a waste of time. Stand up for every human being’s rights. Be loving, kind and strong. Set an example. You’re going to have a hell of a life!!

Love you

Elton x

PS. CHANGE YOUR NAME

From: Letters of Note (http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/01/dear-sixteen-year-old-me.html)