Monthly Archives: December 2014

Boxers or Briefs?

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Just as underclothes are shielded from public view, the evolution of men’s most intimate apparel is shrouded in secrecy. But the story of men’s underwear is about more than which came first: boxers or briefs. Undergarments as we know them today were first sold to promote cleanliness and improve the comfort of wearing clothing. The idea that they might one day be deemed fashionable was not even an after-thought.

During ancient times, the loincloth was the garment of choice. Typically made from wool, linen, silk or leather, material was wrapped between the legs and around the hips. Can you imagine how uncomfortable it was to have wool against the family jewels? Speed up to the Renaissance period to find men who wore a codpiece, a cloth pouch that supported the genitals, and typically was adhered to hosiery and attached with a button for easy access for bathroom breaks. The Industrial Age brought with it a structured type of garment known as a jockstrap, an undergarment that has an elastic waistband and a pouch over the genitals designed for support and protection.

In the 19th century, men’s underwear was closely linked with hygiene; associating these undergarments with athleticism, let alone sexuality, is a 20th-century notion. These shifts paralleled a growing public acceptance of the undressed male body, moving from the chaste forms of the Victorian era to the endlessly scrutinized torsos of today.

Hanes finally came into the underwear game during the roaring 20s, bringing comfort and ease with the creation of boxers. Jockey was introduced during the 1950s and the brief became the underwear of choice. Finally, in modern times with fabric introductions such as spandex and nylon, men’s undergarments have evolved into upgraded versions of the boxer and the brief, including boxer-briefs and trunks.

The men’s underwear game once only had two major players— boxers and briefs—but now there is more opportunity than ever for a man to express his style when getting dressed for the day. Men are no longer expected to declare loyalty to one style. Every style of underwear lends itself to different occasions. Moisture-wicking briefs, trunks, and jockstraps excel in athletic environments, while seamless briefs or thongs will go unnoticed beneath dress pants. My underwear drawer has a multitude of styles to suit my mood for the day, but you won’t find any thongs. If my ass is going to be bare, then it will be in a jockstrap.

While many will offer plenty of advice on what underwear style looks better on different body types, ultimately, the decision should be based on what makes you feel best. Briefs alone offer an extensive assortment of silhouettes for all different types of men—whether it’s the classic, white cotton, fly-front brief, or a low-rise, contour pouch brief in a fashion color. Boxer shorts are now available in a stylish, tailored fit as well as the relaxed fit made popular in the 90’s. Newest to the annals of underwear history, the trunk is a shorter, square-cut version of its predecessor, the boxer brief. And, not to be confined to strip joints and bodybuilding competitions, men’s thongs and g-strings serve a higher purpose in the boardroom—working hard to prevent visible underwear lines beneath your trousers, but I just can’t being myself to wear them.

What you wear beneath your clothes should be as fun and unique as you are, or wish to be. If drab work clothes or uniforms—or company policy—have you seeing drab neutrals every day, start mixing up the styles in your underwear drawer with bold prints, bright colors, and diverse textures and fabrics. Don’t be afraid to get a little risqué—a fashion jockstrap will have you feeling adventurous and daring even when sitting at your computer for eight hour days. Give others a peek at your inner-exhibitionist by flashing a stylish waistband above your jeans. With new fashion styles coming in every season, there’s never any shortage of distinctive new underwear styles for men.

Which do you prefer?

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Contextualization

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Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:12-17

I am far too often guilty of when something sounds good in my head that it doesn’t quite come out the way I intend for it to come out, whether it is written or spoken. It happens, and I try to make amends when I realize it. Part of last Sunday’s post was that way. In that post, I wrote:

We need to let the Bible speak to us, as God intended for it to do. We should not allow our own personal bent to speak into the Scriptures. The propensity for people to take verses out of context and to allow their personal bent to be applied to verses is one of the reasons that homosexuality is condemned by modern Christians. Context matters—God speaks at a particular moment in time, to a particular people group, for a reason.

And rightly so, I was called to task for that paragraph. For me, I think this was simply an example of being unclear in my writing. I’ve been accused of that a time or two and I am sorry. I do believe that the Bible should speak to us personally. I think that is the purpose of the Holy Spirit to guide us as we read and study the Bible. However, with that being said, I think that the central message of the Bible, especially the teachings of Jesus is LOVE, so when someone’s interpretation comes out as hate, then I do think it is wrongheaded.

I also think that on of the problems with, not the interpretations of the Bible, but with picking and choosing verses is that they are often taken out of context. When this is done, people often condemn others and show hate for people because they take a verse out of the context of the verses around it. In Matthew 5:43-44, 43 Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Jesus is clear that we should not judge others but show our love and compassion for everyone. The Bible can be very damaging when used as a weapon to condemn. However, we can take hope from various passages, but we should also look at the context of those passages that give us a deeper meaning. In 2 Timothy 3, Paul has been describing to Timothy the difficult times of the last days (3:1-9). He is addressing the question, How can a Christian survive and prosper in such an evil age? In 3:16-17, he reminds Timothy of the reliability and profitability of the Scriptures.

I was raised a member of the Church of Christ, and I was always taught that the Old Testament is history more so than the laws of God for Christians. Jesus came to save us all and to bring a new covenant. The Old Testament laws do not apply to Christians as the did for the ancient Jews. Few, if any Christians, follow all the laws of the Old Testament completely. Christianity is a much more loving and accepting religion than the ancient religion of the Hebrews. God spoke to both Paul and Peter and changed those laws. As a historian myself, I think we should learn from history and take lessons for mankind from it. In the case of last week’s scripture from Jeremiah, we can compare the exile of the Jews to the exile of LGBT Christians. It may not be a perfect comparison, but I do think it gives us a different perspective to look at.

The Scriptures find their origin in God. They are not the result of human religious genius. When I read and study the Bible, I allow the Holy Spirit to guide me in that study, and I have faith that God shows me true understanding. The Bible is not a set of great ideas on which God somehow approved. Rather they are the words of God imparted through the various authors. While God dictated a few portions of Scripture (e.g., the Ten Commandments), for the most part He allowed each author to use his own personality and style. But the final product came from God in the sense that what they said God said, and God guides us in our study of what those men wrote.

The bottom line is that the Scriptures are as reliable as God is. If God is the God of truth and if He “breathed out” the Scriptures, then it is inconceivable that they would contain contradictions or errors. This does not mean that every sentence in the Bible is true: The Bible truthfully records falsehood of its subjects at times. So you cannot lift a statement out of context and claim that it is true or even relevant to our present time (e.g., parts of Leviticus, Job, Ecclesiastes, etc.). But taken in its proper contextual setting, the Bible is an accurate and true record of the very words that God wished to record through the various human authors. It is totally reliable.


Moment of Zen: Massage

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The Tim Cook Economic Development Act

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Alabama is one of 29 U.S. states that currently offers no protection for LGBT employees who are fired, not promoted, or not hired because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Democratic state Representative and Alabama’s sole openly gay lawmaker Patricia Todd, hopes to change that with the introduction of the Tim Cook Economic Development Act which would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Just days before he came out in October, Cook, a Mobile native, spoke to lawmakers in Alabama when he was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor. Cook criticized the state for being “too slow” when it comes to embracing civil rights progress. He said that Alabama was too slow in the 1960s when it came to granting equality to African-Americans, and Alabama was too slow today in guaranteeing equality for LGBT Alabamians. In that address delivered at the Alabama State Capitol, Cook urged lawmakers to “create a different future,” in which LGBT Alabamians cannot be fired for their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

In the days after Cook disclosed in a magazine essay that he was gay, Todd told reporters she would put his name on a bill to bar discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender school teachers and other state employees.

Todd said she was initially joking about using Cook’s name, but her comments were published and came to the attention of Apple. Todd said she received a call early last month from a company official who expressed concern over Cook’s name being attached to such a politically sensitive measure. Of course, politics can be bad for business, so Todd said she told the official she would not name the bill after Cook.

The conversation with the Apple official ended up being reported by BuzzFeed earlier this week, and Todd received a call from the company’s general counsel, Bruce Sewell, who told her Cook would be delighted to have the bill named after him, she said. In a statement provided to Reuters, Apple said: “Tim was honored to hear that State Rep. Todd wanted to name an anti-discrimination bill after him, and we’re sorry if there was any miscommunication about it. We have a long history of support for LGBT rights and we hope every state will embrace workplace equality for all.”

Opponents of Todd’s bill argue that it is unnecessary. The office of Republican Gov. Robert Bentley has told local media that LGBT persons are already protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Is is not surprising considering Bentley’s ability to keep his head in the sand over so many issues. But proponents say that the language of the Civil Rights Act is vague when it comes to LGBT persons and their rights in the workplace. They say it’s necessary to pass such a bill at the state level since LGBT are not explicitly protected by federal law—there is an opening for interpretation in the court of law as to whether or not LGBT are in the same class of protection as gender, race and ethnicity.

While Alabama considers its workplace discrimination bill, LGBT advocates nationwide are still pressing Congress to pass a national employment non-discrimination act—popularly known as ENDA. Versions of ENDA have been introduced in nearly every Congress since 1994. The most recent reincarnation of the federal bill was passed by the U.S. Senate with support from both Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican Sen. Mark Kirk but was stalled in the House, again not surprising since the current House of Representatives has been more divisive and less productive than any Congress I can remember.


The Enigma

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I have been fascinated by the story of Alan Turing for many years. He is a great unsung hero of the Second World War, and he has just recently begun getting some recognition for his genius. He’s often forgotten because he was gay, convicted in England for gross indecency in 1962, and forced to take estrogen treatments to curb his sexuality. He committed suicide two years later. Below is an article from the Huffington Post Gay Voices:

Alan Turing’s Biographer On The Truth About The Troubled Genius And His Tragic Death
By David Freeman

Sixty years after his tragic death, the brilliant English mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) has come back to life, if only virtually, in the new movie The Imitation Game.

The movie spotlights Turing’s work as a codebreaker during World War II. That’s a logical choice given his success in cracking a key German naval code known as Enigma.

The feat, which is believed to have shortened the war by at least two years and saved millions of lives, led Winston Churchill to say that Turing had made the single biggest contribution to the Allied victory over the Nazis.

But if cracking Enigma was Turing’s most tangible achievement, his greatest scientific legacy is his earlier theoretical work in the field now known as computer science. So says Andrew Hodges, the author of “Alan Turing: The Enigma,” the newly republished 1983 Turing biography on which The Imitation Game was based.

“The thing that really singles him out is his theoretical work in the 1930s, published at the end of 1936 [in his famous paper On Computable Numbers], in which he brought up this idea of the universal Turing machine,” Hodges says in a recent interview with The Huffington Post’s senior science editor, David Freeman. “And he said, rather tantalizingly, we can now invent a machine…and that really is the generalized idea of the computer as we now know it.”

Ultimately, the computer visionary and cryptanalyst–who was gay–broke not only the Enigma code but also the legal code of post-war England, which criminalized sexual contact between men. Turing was convicted of gross indecency in 1952. Two years later, in the aftermath of harrowing estrogen treatments intended to curb his sexual impulses, he died of cyanide poisoning.

Some have argued that the poisoning was accidental. But Hodges said it was a suicide he had carefully planned to minimize the emotional pain felt by his survivors.

“He’d been using cyanide in this home chemistry experiment,” Hodges, a mathematician at the Wadham College, Oxford University, says in the interview. “And I have no doubt at all that this experiment was there as a cover which allowed people, especially his mother, to believe that it was an accident.”

Turing received a posthumous royal pardon on Dec. 24, 2013.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/01/alan-turing-biographer-genius-death_n_6205838.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay%20Voices


Early To Bed

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Benjamin Franklin famously said in Poor Richard’s Almanac “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Last night, I went to bed pretty early, and I always have to get up early for work each day. I’m not so sure about the healthy or wise but I’m certain that it hasn’t made me wealthy.

Just as my shoulder began feeling better, my lower back began to hurt. I’ve been having some back spasms. Nothing too severe but it has limited my movements. I’ve had back spasms much worse, but this has been a nagging pain off and on for a week. So last night, I took some medicine that my doctor has prescribed in the past and went to bed early.

Hopefully, it will be better today.


Windows: Two Poems By D. H. Lawrence

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At the Window
By D. H. Lawrence

The pine-trees bend to listen to the autumn wind as it mutters
Something which sets the black poplars ashake with hysterical laughter;
While slowly the house of day is closing its eastern shutters.

Further down the valley the clustered tombstones recede,
Winding about their dimness the mist’s grey cerements, after
The street lamps in the darkness have suddenly started to bleed.

The leaves fly over the window and utter a word as they pass
To the face that leans from the darkness, intent, with two dark-filled eyes
That watch for ever earnestly from behind the window glass.

From a College Window
By D. H. Lawrence

The glimmer of the limes, sun-heavy, sleeping,
Goes trembling past me up the College wall.
Below, the lawn, in soft blue shade is keeping,
The daisy-froth quiescent, softly in thrall.

Beyond the leaves that overhang the street,
Along the flagged, clean pavement summer-white,
Passes the world with shadows at their feet
Going left and right.

Remote, although I hear the beggar’s cough,
See the woman’s twinkling fingers tend him a coin,
I sit absolved, assured I am better off
Beyond a world I never want to join.

I’ve always been fascinated by the symbolism of windows. A window is a spiritual entrance through which your soul can travel. If you choose to let it go, your soul can break the glass boundaries created by the window and travel into the greater world; soaking in the sounds, the smells, the sights. Windows symbolize our senses. Our senses are like windows to our minds and our souls that allow both the negative and positive of the world to enter, making its impression on us thus allowing bright ideas to flourish or dull and dismal thoughts to suppress our potentials.

The soul has a window, as does the mind. The soul is like an enclosed space of our inner world, where our experiences, ideas, thoughts, hopes and dreams are stored and from whence they seek to find a window into the outer world going free, breaking forth and taking flight into the vast expanse of achievements.

A window is a portal; allowing your thoughts to roam around freely. It symbolizes freedom, a passage to and from a space into the vast expanse of the world and the passage, where light, air, sounds, knowledge, objects etc., may pass through, coming and going. However, a window creates boundaries, as your soul can only travel as far as your eyes can see. You cannot move right, or left; you move in an unwavering straight line. As you gaze out the window, you watch life go by, failing to contribute any involvement. It is a passive response. Looking out a window is a means of search for something. It signifies the need to find something missing in your life or a solution to a problem.

It is said that “the eyes are the windows to the soul,” meaning when others engage us our facial expressions, beginning with our eye movements and body language give others a momentary glimpse [a window, an opening] to see into our heart and soul, or our mind and it’s thinking.


Better Than Chance by Lane Hayes

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Gay romance authors have one singular advantage over writers of straight romance, and that is the author has the ability to take the ideal man, split his characteristics up into two parts, add a few imperfections and come up with a perfect couple. Lane Hayes created such a couple in Better Than Chance, her sequel to Better Than Good. Jay Reynolds and Peter Morgan were introduced to the reader as a couple in the first book of Hayes’ “Better Than” series, but she didn’t delve much into their relationship. In Better Than Chance, we get to see how their relationship evolved:

Jay Reynolds has a crush on his project leader at work, but an office romance with Peter Morgan isn’t likely to happen since Peter is straight. Worse, Jay soon fears Peter is homophobic, and his initial infatuation turns to loathing. But one fateful night, Jay is forced to acknowledge things aren’t quite as they seem with Peter. Suddenly, his crush is back and unbelievably, Peter is interested too.

They begin a friends with benefits arrangement, which becomes difficult for Jay when he starts falling for his sexy boss. Peter’s past issues keep him from committing, and Jay has to decide if he can be satisfied with friendship if Peter isn’t ready to take a chance on anything more.

There’s something about the characters in Better Than Chance that makes you like them instantly. Jay and Peter are both beautiful, successful and they have great chemistry. This story is basically a beautiful ‘friends with benefits’ story, but with a twist because from the beginning of the book, you know that they become so much more than ‘friends with benefits’ since it takes place five years before Better Than Good when we meet Jay and Peter are a solid couple. Better Than Chance is not your usual romance, but the characters are just what I want in an ideal man.

I have to admit, I have a thing for well-dressed southern men. Jay is from Virginia, and Peter is from Georgia. Both are successful, intelligent, and handsome southern gentlemen. In many ways, I see a lot of myself in Peter, though I lack the successful job. However, his job is one in which he fights for what is right, which I think I do with teaching. He loves to cook and enjoys science fiction. He also has some of the same family issues that I have. It makes him come across as quiet and a bit gruff, but he doesn’t let anyone get too close. Jay, though, is comfortable in his own skin (at least outwardly); he has great friends; and he has a family that fully supports his sexuality. Basically, Jay is light, open, and proud, whereas, Peter is the quiet, dark brooding type.

Better Than Chance is told purely from Jay’s point of view, and therefore, Peter and all his hang ups are only seen through the eyes of one person which works really well for this story because Peter is a very complex person whose character unfolds slowly as the story progresses, and Jay finds this out as he tries to read Peter’s actions. Jay, of course, isn’t nearly as simple as he wants everyone to believe, and Peter often finds himself totally perplexed as he tries to understand Jay.

I highly recommend this book, even if you don’t read the first in the series, I think you can easily read this one, but whichever of the books you read first, you’ll want to read the other one. I can’t wait to read the third book in the “Better Than” series, Better Than Friends.

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I hope my readers don’t mind my rash of book reviews lately. This tends to happen at times when I read several books in a row that I enjoy, and have the time to sit down and write a book review that will do justice for the book. I often don’t have time to read a lot, but lately I have been listening to audiobooks on the drive to and from school each day. I used to always listen to NPR. But sometimes you just need a break from the real world, and you desperately need an escape.