Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Haunted St. James

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The St. James hotel stands watchful over Selma, Alabama from its perch on the Alabama River banks. Both the St. James and Selma went through a spell where much of the area was depressed, dilapidated, and forgotten, but local groups and the government have been working to revitalize the area, and their diligence seems to have stirred up more than they bargained for.

The St. James Hotel in Selma, Alabama, is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Alabama. Many visitors to the hotel have reported accounts of hauntings and paranormal events. Located in the center of the historic district, overlooking the famous Alabama River, the building was constructed in 1837 and opened as The Brantley.

During the Civil War, the Brantley was occupied by Union troops during the Battle of Selma. Due to its concentration of Confederate arsenals and factories, the occupying army burned much of the city. Fortunately, the St. James and other structures on Water Street were spared. Together they form the heart of the revitalized historic district and represent one of the finest collections of antebellum industrial buildings in the South.

Following the war, the hotel was operated by Benjamin Sterling Turner; the first African American ever elected to the United States Congress. He reportedly hosted the legendary outlaw brothers Frank and Jesse James in 1881. In 1892, the hotel fell upon hard times and ceased operations.

The doors were closed on the building, and were not reopened for a century. A group of investors purchased the old hotel and after putting in approximately $6 million in restorations, they were able to officially reopen the doors of the establishment in 1997 as the St. James Hotel.

Since its reopening, two of the most reported “hauntings” in the hotel include Jesse James and his girlfriend Lucinda. Several have claimed to have seen the apparition of a man dressed in attire that was common for a man in the late 1800s. He is most often seen in the rooms in which he typically stayed – rooms 214, 314, and 315. However, he also has been sighted at a certain table in the bar.

Many things are known about Lucinda. For one, she enjoyed the scent of lavender so much that when someone smelled the scent, they knew she was near. Today, several witnesses claim they are able to smell lavender with no logical explanation. In other instances, a full apparition of Lucinda is said to be walking the halls of the structure.

In the area of the courtyard, many strange events have been reported. First, several witnesses have observed what appears to be residual hauntings of individuals who are fully clothed in dress that was common to the 1800s. They seem unaware of the “living” surrounding them.

Additionally, the sounds of apparent ghost dogs can be heard in the area. Jessie James, some have said, once owned a black dog that was his companion for many years. Many guests at the St. James have reported hearing a dog running up and down the halls. Also, guests in the hotel would often complain about a dog that would bark non-stop in the courtyard. When management would look into their complaints, no dog was ever found in the courtyard.

Psychics and investigators have been brought into the St. James to give the current management a better idea of what is happening in the hotel. Interestingly, they have picked out more than just these 3 entities. Psychics have described groups of apparitions in the inner courtyard, dressed in 1880′s clothing, going about their business and unaware of the living. Perhaps it is these ghosts of the past that cause the odd, inexplicable sounds heard from that space. Mischievous entities will bang glassware together until told to stop, a man has been seen sitting on a bench in the drinking room, and in room 304, a cook who was staying in the room complained about the curtains moving for no logical reason and bright flashes of light. A psychic claims to have spoken to that specter and discovered that the entity was angry that he passed away before finishing some business he wanted to do.

The most amusing occurrence happened in the Brantly Ballroom. A team of paranormal investigators had been tape recording the room hoping to get an Electronic Voice Phenomenon. They asked the question “Is anyone here?” When playing the tape back later on, they quite clearly heard a gruff voice reply “Well, that’s a stupid question.”

Whether you believe in the supernatural or just enjoy visiting beautiful historical landmarks, the St. James Hotel should be added to your list of must-see Alabama locations.


13 Gayest Halloween Movies Ever

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Dark, twisted tales that feed our need for revenge. Sexy scenes with hunky young bucks all desperately yearning to get laid. Gory sights and demented deeds that are so over-the-top they border on camp.

These are the staples of fright flicks, and though society may suspect that gays shy away from horror and violence, the truth is that we love it in films that speak to our unique sensibilities. So in honor of Halloween I compiled a list of our 13 favorites.

So sit back, cuddle closely with your man (or bestest girlfriends) and enjoy the show.

Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
It’s the weird and wonderful as newly engaged couple Brad and Janet encounter a problem when they car halts in the rain. They both look for contact only to find themselves at the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter a transvestite. A place to stay is offered, but will Brad and Janet want to remain there? Especially when a large group of Transylvanians dance to the ‘Time Warp’, Dr. Frank-N-Furter builds his own man and a whole host of participation for the audience to enjoy. This movie is high camp horror at its best.

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Mortimer Brewster is a newspaperman and author known for his diatribes against marriage. We watch him being married at city hall in the opening scene. Now all that is required is a quick trip home to tell Mortimer’s two maiden aunts. While trying to break the news, he finds out his aunts’ hobby; killing lonely old men and burying them in the cellar. It gets worse.  Who could not love this movie?

Rope (1948)
Inspired by real-life convicted killers (and lovers) Leopold and Loeb, Rope is Alfred Hitchcock’s gayest film ever. It features a gay couple (played by John Dall, and bisexual Farley Granger at his most luminous), a dinner party, witty repartee, and a body hidden in a stylish piece of furniture. Sounds like summers in Fire Island to me.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Cast two gay icons—Bette Davis and Joan Crawford—as crazy / tragic protagonists, then have them abuse one another while performing at level 10, and you’ve got one of the most camptastic movies ever made. The dialogue is deliciously mean, the hatred between these two actresses leaks off the screen, and because the characters’ bitter back-story creates a strong foundation you have a solid film rather than one of those “so-bad-it’s-good” features gays love so much.

Best served in a crowd of drunk gays who can truly appreciate the dark humor.

Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
If Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? makes the list, this movie is also a must.  Charlotte Hollis, an aging recluse deluded into a state of dementia by horrible memories and hallucinations, lives in a secluded house where, thirty-seven years before, John Mayhew her married lover, was beheaded and mutilated by an unknown assailant.  Plus, there is always the back story behind why Joan Crawford refused to make this “sequel” and the why Vivian Leigh refused the role (Leigh famously said “I can just about stand to look at Joan Crawford at six in the morning on a southern plantation, but I couldn’t possibly look at Bette Davis.”)  Also, Agnes Moorehead is in this movie, not only was she the mother on Bewitched, but she was also a well-known lesbian.

Carrie (1976)
Along with Baby Jane, Mommie Dearest and Showgirls, Carrie is one of the films with dialogue most quoted by gay men. Gems like “I can see your dirty pillows,” to a screeching “They’re all gonna laugh at you!” and “They’re called breasts, and every woman has them…” have become part of the secret language of gays. And Carrie’s prom night-mare has become pop culture shorthand on TV shows from Ugly Betty to RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
New Line Cinema’s second schlep up to Elm Street is bursting at the seams with homoerotic imagery and undertones. It features openly gay actor Mark Patton as Jesse, a teenage boy Freddy Krueger tries to possess in order to leave dreamland and continue his killing spree in the real world.

Even before the film’s writer, David Chaskin, admitted to including the screenplay’s gay subtext in the 2010 documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, Nightmare 2 had been herald as the ultimate homo-horror flick for years by countless fans.

A film about a boy struggling to repress “something” inside of him would have been enough to brand Nightmare 2 as an obvious gay allegory. However, it’s the moments following Jessie’s trek into a gay leather bar—where he discovers his P.E. coach—that rank this film among the gayest of all time. After all, tying up your coach in the locker-room showers and snapping his bare ass with a towel before you kill him from behind will earn you that kind of reputation.

Beetlejuice (1988)
Aside from featuring Alec Baldwin at the height of hotness, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice has enough camp to be welcome at any homo-Halloween haunt. The film’s quirky style has held up amazingly well since it debuted over 23 years ago, and Winona Ryder’s Lydia Deetz is a queer cinema classic. From the interior decorator played by the late openly-gay actor Glenn Shadix to outrageous musical numbers, there isn’t much about this film that isn’t gay.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)
The Queen of Halloween’s first feature film has become a gay camp-classic for all the reasons that made Elvira one of the biggest gay icons of all time. Over-the-top in every way possible, from the costumes and sassy one-liners to the big musical number ending stuffed with hunky shirtless male dancers, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is the Showgirls of Halloween movies.

Check it out.

Hocus Pocus (1993)
This poor film has a bad reputation, and some of it is deserved. The movie is about time-displaced witches who fly on vacuums and sing songs, and the kids who must set things right. But it’s also a delightfully fun bad movie, comes from Disney and director Kenny Ortega (famous for the High School Musical franchise), and stars gay faves Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy (fresh of her stint in Sister Act). No, it’s not brilliant filmmaking, however it works for babysitting, if you’re in the mood for something light, and if you can mix a potion of vodka and… well… anything… to go along with your screening.

The Covenant (2006)
Abercrombie & Fitch goes supernatural in this good warlock vs. bad warlock fantasy/horror flick starring models-turned-actors Steven Straight (10,000 B.C.) and Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights), as well as a pre-shag Chace Crawford. Between that and this picture, do you need any further explanation on why you should rent it?

Hellbent (2004)
Two gay men on a date are murdered the night before Halloween in West Hollywood, California. Eddie and his friends Joey, Chaz and Tobey are going out the following night to the West Hollywood Halloween festival when they encounter the psycho, who sets his eye on them. The killer stalks them through the festival as Chaz parties, Joey chases his jock crush, Tobey tries dressing in drag, and Eddie pursues Jake, the bad boy he wants to get to know better. Not until the very end do you find out who dies and who survives their night of terror.

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Haunted Houses

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Haunted Houses
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 – 1882

All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.

Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.

These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—

So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the “Fireside Poets,” wrote lyrical poems about history, mythology, and legend that were popular and widely translated, making him the most famous American of his day.

I’ve always loved a good ghost story. Do you think ghost stories are silly or interesting? Do you have a favorite? Do you believe in ghosts?

I find ghost stories fascinating, and I do have a few favorites. And, I do believe in ghosts. I think some souls just have a hard time moving on in the afterlife.


Halloween Costumes

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My favorite holiday of the year is Halloween. Since Halloween falls on a Friday this year, I may even try and do something special for my students. I will try and make it a fun week for my students. I know my English class will be reading Macbeth, which has the wonderfully evil witches. I’m not sure what I will do special for my history classes, but I might tell some historical ghost stories. The kids love them.

Halloween the day when we usually don’t have to wear our masks anymore. I think that this is the reason why it has long been a favorite holiday for gay men. My best friend had her annual Halloween Party this last weekend, but since she loves in Louisiana, I can’t make it down every year, but when I go, it’s always a blast. This Saturday, I will be going to a Halloween party hosted by a co-worker.

In an effort to wear a fairly simple costume, I decided that this year I will go as Clark Kent. I won’t look anywhere near as good as Derek Hough does above, but I will go as an out of shape Clark Kent. So do any of you have Halloween plans? Will you be going in costume? If so, what will be your costume?


Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

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The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Deuteronomy 33:27

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms is a hymn published in 1887 with music by Anthony J. Showalter and lyrics by Showalter and Elisha Hoffman. Showalter said that he received letters from two of his former pupils saying that their wives had died. When writing letters of consolation, Showalter was inspired by the phrase in the Book of Deuteronomy 33:27.

Isn’t it a great thought to think that God is supporting us, and that His arms are strong enough to hold us during difficult times? That truth should provide a refuge for us. In times when relationships disappoint us or finances fail us, it is encouraging to know that there is one who is everlasting and whose arms are there for us to lean on.

The Apostle Paul tells us about a weakness he had in 2 Corinthians 12. He referred to it as a thorn in the flesh. (I have heard of some scholars that speculate that it was homosexuality, since Paul was Greek and his relation to Timothy was thought to be pederastic. However, this is pure speculation and remains a 2,000 year old mystery.) Paul prayed that this weakness would be taken away. He prayed 3 different times, and God chose not to remove the “thorn.” He then tells us about an important spiritual truth. If the “thorn” was Paul’s homosexual urges, then I would speculate that God did not remove the thorn because God did not see it as a thorn or a weakness.

Whatever The perceived weakness was, the truth is that God uses our weaknesses, our flaws, and our personal challenges, and does something extraordinary. He takes His strength and our weaknesses, and He does something awesome with that combination. He allows us, in weakness, to share in His glory and power. Paul then makes the following statement “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” What an amazing statement! Delight in weaknesses? insults? hardships? persecutions? and difficulties? To be honest, I struggle with having that kind of mindset, even though I know it is truth.

Sources:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaning_on_the_Everlasting_Arms
http://hymnoftheweek.net/?p=432


Moment of Zen: B&B

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A bath and a book: what could be more relaxing?


Arin and Katie’s Stories

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Katie Rain Hill and Arin Andrews received international attention last year because of the unique nature of their relationship at the time: They are both transgender and dated while supporting each other through their transitions. A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about Arin and Katie and their amazing story. I was touched to see that they have each published a memoir: Rethinking Normal by Katie and Some Assembly Required by Arin. Huffington Post said that the “books are beautifully written and incredibly personal, with neither of them shying away from sexual content, which may be seen as somewhat controversial due to our society’s fascination with transitioning, trans bodies and the way trans people have sex.”

“I wanted to be the most authentic way I could explain it without getting too sexual because my grandma is going to read it, my aunt is going to read it, my little cousins are,” Andrews told The Huffington Post. “So I wanted to find a way to explain it that was still able to share my story without sexualizing it a lot and I think I found that way. It was just really important to share that because there’s issues that go into that with the trans community… it’s a very complex thing.”

Hill noted, “I thought, No one else is talking about it, so why not me? … Someone has to step up to the plate and address these things because these are questions everyone has… We might as well be straight up and honest with these people.” She added, “I know it’s going to help people because I have so many people who say to me, “Oh wow! That’s what it’s like.”

I have to admit, when I think of transitioning transgendered people and sexual reassignment surgery, I have wondered how it all works. I doubt anyone can honestly say that they haven’t thought about it. That being said, I always wanted to know more about each of their journeys. I will be buying tune books and reading them, and you can be sure that I will let you know in a few weeks what I thought of them.

Though Arin and Katie are no longer a couple, they do remain good friends. Each have gone their separate ways with college and since they were not seeing much of each other they decided to remain friends but no longer date. Also, Katie has undergone full reassignment surgery, whereas, Arin is continuing to hope to have the bottom half of the surgery done sometime in the future. I hope both of them the best can’t wait to read their memoirs.


Behind the Curtain

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Right now, my favorite author is Amy Lane. I’m finishing up the Promises Series, and will review them as soon as I finish the last one. It is not out in audiobook, so I actually have to find time to read it, instead of listening to it on my way to and from work. I love to read, but I rarely have time to stop and do so (at least not something fun). I’ve also started on the Johnnies Series. I just finished the first one and can’t wait to read the next. However, in between the Promises and Johnnies books, I read a sweet little Amy Lane book called Behind the Curtain. The last time I’d written about Amy Lane, I’d mentioned that the ending to Locker Room drove me crazy because it kind of left you hanging, and someone sent me a note that Behind the Curtain contained some closure. I fully admit, this was the main reason it made it to my next listen list. I’d had it in my wish list for a while, but it had been on the back burner as I planned to read other things. I need that closure though. So I read it. Here is the blurb for the book:

Dawson Barnes recognizes his world is very small and very charmed. Running his community college theater like a petty god, he and his best friend, Benji know they’ll succeed as stage techs after graduation. His father adores him, Benji would die for him, and Dawson never doubted the safety net of his family, even when life hit him below the belt.

But nothing prepared him for falling on Jared Emory’s head.

Aloof dance superstar Jared is a sweet, vulnerable man and Dawson’s life suits him like a fitted ballet slipper. They forge a long-distance romance from their love of the theater and the magic of Denny’s. At first it’s perfect: Dawson gets periodic visits and nookie from a gorgeous man who “gets” him—and Jared gets respite from the ultra-competitive world of dancing that almost consumed him.

That is until Jared shows up sick and desperate and Dawson finally sees the distance between them concealed painful things Jared kept inside. If he doesn’t grow up—and fast—his “superstar” might not survive his own weaknesses. That would be a shame, because the real, fragile Jared that Dawson sees behind the curtain is the person he can see spending his life with.

Amy Lane is known for her angst ridden books, and I have to admit, this one is low on the angst. I don’t believe I cried even once. This is not a bad thing. It was just a beautiful story. Furthermore, as the advisor for my schools drama club (I knew nothing about theater before being given the task), I found the technical aspects of being behind the curtain and the emotional aspects of being in front of the curtains very intriguing. I couldn’t identify with either aspect because I’ve never acted, and my little hundred year old stage doesn’t even have electricity (we use makeshift lights and extension cords, covering the lack of lights with onstage lamps and hiding the utility lights that we end up using). We are low tech in the extreme. But I think my little club does a fantastic job with what they have, and I do the best I can. I’ve even written a play for them next semester. But I’ve gotten off topic….

The book was heartwarming in many ways, and it had a little angst in there, just not much. Take a virgin gay boy who is cute but awkward and goofy and put him together with an absolutely beautiful superstar ballet dancer, plus their friends, and you have a wonderful cast of characters. Some characters you might not like at first until you get to know them, but by the end, you’ll love them all and root for each one.

There was one other reason why I fell in love with this book. I have a dear friend, who lives quite a ways away from me, who just graduated college in May and has been trying to find a job. He has a boyfriend and finding a job may take him away from his boyfriend if he has to move for the job. As much as it hurts, he and his boyfriend realize that for each of their careers, they may be separated for a little while. It breaks my heart because they wonder if their relationship is strong enough to survive a long-distance relationship. I firmly believe their love for each other is strong enough to pull them through. Honestly, they were made for each other, and I don’t want anything to pull them apart. I told my friend that he had to read this book. I don’t want to give it away, but it does show that while there are ups and downs in long-distance relationships, love and faith can keep them together. I hope when he does read this book, he will see that it can work.

You may think, “It’s just a book, Joe. It’s not real life.” However, as my friend, who also loves to read Amy Lane, pointed out to me recently, Amy Lane is a master of understanding the human psyche and emotions. Her understanding of human nature reminds me a lot of Shakespeare’s understanding of human nature. When I teach Shakespeare, I mention that one of the things that make him great is his mastery of the range of human emotions, the understanding of the human mind, and the nature of humanity. However, I sometimes find Shakespeare’s characters to be unreal, but I find Amy Lane’s characters to be very real in many way. Her characters are flawed, not as in a bad writer flawed kind of way, but in the way humans are flawed.

Amy Lane is a master when it comes to writing and character development. I just absolutely love her. I would love nothing more then to be able to just sit and talk with her for hours. Maybe she could even teach me to knit. Knitting is often a therapeutic exercise for some of her characters, and reading about knitting just makes me want to learn how. I see how much it helps her characters be calm and sometimes, I wish I could have that tranquility.


Rome at the Pyramid of Cestius Near the Graves of Shelley and Keats

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Rome at the Pyramid of Cestius Near the Graves of Shelley and Keats (1887)
By Thomas Hardy

Who, then, was Cestius,
And what is he to me? –
Amid thick thoughts and memories multitudinous
One thought alone brings he.

I can recall no word
Of anything he did;
For me he is a man who died and was interred
To leave a pyramid

Whose purpose was exprest
Not with its first design,
Nor till, far down in Time, beside it found their rest
Two countrymen of mine.

Cestius in life, maybe,
Slew, breathed out threatening;
I know not. This I know: in death all silently
He does a kindlier thing,

In beckoning pilgrim feet
With marble finger high
To where, by shadowy wall and history-haunted street,
Those matchless singers lie . . .

–Say, then, he lived and died
That stones which bear his name
Should mark, through Time, where two immortal Shades abide;
It is an ample fame.

The Protestant Cemetery of Rome, now officially called the Cimitero acattolico (“Non-Catholic Cemetery”) and often referred to as the Cimitero degli Inglesi (“Englishmen’s Cemetery”), is located near Porta San Paolo alongside the Pyramid of Cestius, a small-scale Egyptian-style pyramid built in 30 BC as a tomb and later incorporated into the section of the Aurelian Walls that borders the cemetery. The presence of Mediterranean cypress, pomegranate, and other trees, and a grassy meadow suggests the more naturalistic landscape style of northern Europe, where cemeteries sometimes incorporate grass and other greenery. As the official name indicates, it is the final resting place of non-Catholics including but not exclusive to Protestants or British and Americans. It contains the graves of many Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians. It is one of the oldest burial grounds in continuous use in Europe, having started to be used around 1716.

The Cimitero Acattolico di Roma contains possibly the highest density of famous and important graves anywhere in the world. It is the final resting-place of the poets Shelley and Keats, of many painters, sculptors and authors, a number of scholars, several diplomats, Goethe’s only son, and Antonio Gramsci, a founding father of European Communism, to name only a few.

When you visit this cemetery in Rome, one of the first sites you see is the Pyramid of Cestius. I have to admit, the Protestant cemeteries in Rome and Florence were two of the highlights of my research trip to Italy several years ago. Not only are cemeteries a great source of research, but also the gravestones are often more than just markings for the dead, but works of art. One of those pieces of art is the Angel of Grief, an 1894 sculpture by William Wetmore Story which serves as the grave stone of the artist and his wife Emelyn Story. The grave is now used to describe multiple grave stones throughout the world erected in the style of the Story stone.

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If you are ever in Rome, you really should visit the Cimitero Acattolico di Roma.


The Secret Life of a Teacher

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So where do we go, all the teachers, when the bell rings at 3 o’clock? Students don’t really think we go anywhere. Except home, maybe, to grade papers and plan lessons and think up pop quizzes.

And when students find out otherwise, it’s a strange experience. Many people remember it vividly: the disorienting feeling of encountering your teacher in the grocery store, or in the line at McDonald’s, talking and acting just like other grownups. A jarring reminder that teachers have lives outside the classroom.

But of course teachers go off and do all sorts of things: They write books and play music and run for office and start businesses. For some, a life outside the classroom is an economic necessity. In many states, more than 1 in 5 teachers has a second job.

I currently don’t have a second job. I used to teach adjunct at a local college, but because of cutbacks and changes in administration, I no longer teach there, though I’d very much like to be in the college classroom once again.

However, one thing my students don’t know is that I do actually have a social life. I sometimes go to the movies, I go shopping (when I have the money), and I write this blog. Through this blog, I have friends all over the world, which is something hat would shock my students to no end. I also read a lot, which is something my students expect of me. Many though would be surprised to know that I cook nearly every night. I love cooking and it’s one of my hobbies, so is occasionally doing arts and crafts.

To be honest though, my life is often pretty boring. School takes up a lot of my time. Even when I’m not home, I really am sometimes grading papers, making quizzes, and preparing lesson plans for the week. Being a teacher is not an easy job, and we have to find our own rewards for it. More often then not, students don’t see the work that goes into balancing a life and being a teacher that does their best to provide them with the best education possible.


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