Monthly Archives: February 2015

Moment of Zen: Waking Up with Your Man

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Jack Falahee: Inquiring Minds Want to Know

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The two hour season finale of “How to Get Away with Murder” aired last night. There were many OMG, OMFG, WOW, and WTF moments in last night’s episode. We got to see a little bit more about Connor and Oliver’s relationship, but sadly we haven’t gotten any steamy sex scenes since the first half of the season.

“How to Get Away with Murder” star Jack Falahee, who’s been steaming up TV screens with his gay sex scenes as Connor Walsh, expounded further on why he’s not announcing his sexual orientation any time soon. His approach to this question is quite interesting, and to a certain degree, I understand it. Even though, my curiosity is up too. Jack is incredibly sexy.

In a recent interview in Out that received lots of social media attention, he’d said it “seems reductive” to note his sexual orientation publicly, explaining that he doesn’t think it ”accomplishes anything other than quenching the thirst of curiosity,” and opined that, ”no matter how I answer, someone will say, ‘No, that’s not true.’”

Speaking with me on SiriusXM Progress, Falahee, who replied “Yeah, sure,” when asked if it’s important for young LGBT people to see out actors and celebrities, further explained his thinking on why, in his case, he’s not discussing whether he’s straight, gay or bisexual.

“I was basically trying to say [in that interview], for me it’s like asking an actor who plays an alcoholic what their relationship is with alcohol,” he explained. “It’s not necessarily — I think we’re projecting onto actors in a way. I think we’re expecting them to be their characters when, at the end of the day, this is my job and I’m an actor portraying a role on a fictitious television show.”

But an actor who plays an alcoholic might be asked what he brings to the role and if he’s had that experience in his life. If people ask what an actor like Falahee, whose character, Connor Walsh, had lots of hook-up sex with various men last season, what he brings to the role of a gay man, isn’t the interviewer simply asking what he brings to the experience?

“Right, but that wasn’t the question,” Falahee replied. “The question was, ‘How do I define my sexuality?’ And that’s a very different question than asking — actually we were in Atlanta, for the ATL TV Fest, and a young woman, she actually had a really great question. She said, ‘What personal experience do you bring to portray — what did she say? — a ‘manwhore’ homosexual on television?’”

“And you know, I was like, that is a great question,” he continued. “That is a different question than how do I define my sexuality. And to answer that question, I would say, well, you know, I went to NYU, and the Tisch School of Drama, and there we studied Stanislavski-based acting techniques. And while I have dabbled in the Lee Strasberg method of sense-memory and using your own experience to portray a character, I found that that was a fast track, maybe, to therapy. And so, I fell more into the Stella Adler method of acting camp, and create fictitious circumstances….I’m creating circumstances in which Conor exists to accurately portray him..I just think it’s interesting because I have a body of work before Conor Walsh that is primarily heterosexual and yet people want to ask — you know, no on asks any other man, or woman, on my show, about their sexuality, and that’s what fascinates me.”

He then added, “We don’t ask the actor playing James Bond what his sexual preference is. So I don’t know what it is, really, with trying to out actors who portray gay characters on television. But it is some sort of fascination in society.”


Blogger and Censorship

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Note: This is a back-up/mirror blog for my original Closet Professor Blog at closetprofessor.blogspot.com.

Google has announced a new adult content policy for Blogger. Starting March 23, 2015, bloggers won’t be able to publicly share images and videos that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity on Blogger. Google says that they will “still allow nudity if the content offers a substantial public benefit. For example, in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts.” Bloggers says that if an existing blog doesn’t have any sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video on it, that you won’t notice any changes.

If an existing blog does have sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video, the blog will be made private after March 23, 2015. Blogger says that no content will be deleted, but private content can only be seen by the owner or administrators of the blog and the people who the owner has shared the blog with.

Several years ago when Blogger began to shut down many gay blogs, I decided to remove anything I deemed overtly sexually explicit or contained graphic nude images or videos from my blog. At the same time, I also removed the adult content warning. However, I do still post some nudity on my blog, but mostly only male behinds. I never post an exposed penis, nor an erect penis.

I have several issues with Blogger’s explanation of the new policy because it is too vague and ambiguous. There needs to be a specific policy to explain what Google/Blogger will determine as what will be deemed not to “offer substantial public benefit.” Who will determine what is substantial? The answer most likely is that it will be either google workers or some computerized search technique they will use. I’ve had a few problems with Blogger in the past with their AdSense revenue sharing program. It never produced much money, but a little here and there always hoped. However, AdSense, even though I conformed to their policy, decided that my blog was in violation of their policy. Though I emailed them numerous times, I was never given an explanation. I’m afraid they will do the same with their new policy.

Some of the blogs I read daily, do contain sexual content. Steve’s “All Natural and More” is one of my favorite blogs. I follow it and check it out each day. I love the pictures that Steve shares, but I also love the newsworthy items that he shares on his blog. Since I am a follower of Steve’s blog, will I lose access to this blog if it is deemed “pornographic” or will I have to ask for permission to follow his blog or other blogs that are made private that I follow? Will blogs that are converted to private still appear on my Dashboard? These are just some of the many questions that Blogger should be answering, but is remaining silent about.

It is simple censorship. A blog (a truncation of the expression weblog) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries; others function more as online brand advertising of a particular individual or company. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic, sometimes those topics are sexual in nature. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of a blog. I’ve met many great people through blogging.

What upsets me is that a blog is an extension of your personality. Often bloggers are anonymous so that they can freely express a part of their personality that they may not be able to express to the public world around them. This is especially true of closeted gay bloggers. By censoring us, of what Google/Blogger may or may not deem to offer substantial public benefit, they are taking away a large part of what blogging is about. I do not believe that my blog is in violation of their new policy, but if one day they deem it to be in violation, please remember my dear readers that I have a mirror blog at closetprofessor.wordpress.com.

UPDATE:

Writing for Google’s Blogger Team, Social Product Support Manager Jessica Pelegio said that users whose blogs were consistent with Blogger’s existing policies (including the labeling of adult content) would not need to make any changes.

“We’ve had a ton of feedback,” Pelegio said, “in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities. So rather than implement this change, we’ve decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn.”

Semen: The Natural Antidepressant

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It seems like our little swimmers help elevate our moods. A new study has found that semen is good for your mental and physical health. Whether it enters the body orally or via unprotected sex, the “mood altering chemicals” contained within seminal fluid reduce depression, increase affection, and help you sleep.

The State University of New York study found that women who regularly have unprotected sex are less depressed. Medical Daily points out semen contains mood-elevating estrone and oxytocin, cortisol, melatonin, anti-depressant prolactin, thyrotropin releasing hormone and serotonin.

The study surveyed the sex lives and mental health of 293 women from the SUNY-Albany campus. Researchers also asked respondents to complete the Beck Depression Inventory, which is commonly used to measure mood disorders. The results revealed that sexually active women who “never” used condoms showed significantly fewer depressive symptoms than those who “always” or “usually” used condoms.

The findings, which were published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour journal, also found women who described themselves as “promiscuous” yet used condoms were as depressed as women who practice abstinence

The team says this suggests it is semen, not just sex, that makes women happy. It comes in the same month Gordon Gallup, a psychologist at SUNY-Albany, proposed semen also helps women suffering from morning sickness. Gallup theorized that pregnant women often feel nauseous because their bodies are rejecting the semen’s genetic material as alien. It thus follows that ingesting the same sperm would allow the body to build up a tolerance, The New York Daily News reported.

Considering that this test was only done using female subjects, I think there should be a study using gay men. Let’s pass out the pineapple juice guys and get started. I think I’d much rather lift my mood this way than taking Prozac. It certainly sounds like a lot more fun, and tasty (just don’t forget the pineapple juice).


The Dream

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The Dream
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love, if I weep it will not matter,
And if you laugh I shall not care;
Foolish am I to think about it,
But it is good to feel you there.

Love, in my sleep I dreamed of waking, —
White and awful the moonlight reached
Over the floor, and somewhere, somewhere,
There was a shutter loose, —it screeched!

Swung in the wind, — and no wind blowing! —
I was afraid, and turned to you,
Put out my hand to you for comfort, —
And you were gone! Cold, cold as dew,

Under my hand the moonlight lay!
Love, if you laugh I shall not care,
But if I weep it will not matter, —
Ah, it is good to feel you there!


“Stay weird. Stay different”

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Last night I watched the Oscars. I usually don’t, and I have to say, they were a bit dull and disappointing. I expected better of Neil Patrick Harris as the host, but he does a much better job with the Tonys. I thought that the most elegant speech of the night was that of Julianne Moore for Best Actress. I think Moore is a classy lady and she showed just how classy the Oscars can be.

However, the best speech of that night was by Graham Moore. Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Imitation Game,” and he used the win to give a powerful speech about suicide awareness and depression.

“I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I’m standing here,” he said. “I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.”

I was that weird and awkward kid when I was sixteen. I even tried to commit suicide, and I thank God each and every day that I was not successful. I may not have the life I’d expected to have, but it’s not over yet. There are many teenagers, especially gay teenagers, who have faced depression and attempted suicide. Sadly, far too many are successful. We have to make this world a better place so that teenagers who face depression and suicidal thoughts can understand that the world is a better place. The phrase “It gets better!” may be a bit cliche these days, but it really is true. It does get better.

On Saturday afternoon, I went to see “The Imitation Game.” If you’re not familiar with the movie, it is about the life and achievements of the late Alan Turing, the British mathematician and cryptanalyst who helped solve the Enigma code during World War II. After the war he was prosecuted for homosexuality in Britain and died by suicide in 1954 at 41 years old. I’ve written about Turing before on this blog, and this movie was a great movie. I honestly thought it deserved much more recognition than it received last night. If you haven’t seen it, I hope you will.


Ask and You Shall Receive

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“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Matthew 7:7-8

Jesus’ statement “Ask and you shall receive” occurs several times in the Gospel accounts in various forms. It is a saying that has often been misinterpreted by those who do not understand the verse in its context, but rather assume that Jesus’ meaning was “ask for anything you want and I’ll give it to you,” a basic tenet of the prosperity gospel and word of faith teaching. Sadly, the faith of many has been shipwrecked on the rocks of unanswered prayers that were prayed because of a belief in the faulty assumption that “ask and you shall receive” is a blanket promise with no conditions.

Perhaps the most famous instance of “ask and you shall receive” is found in Matthew 7:7-8 where Jesus tells His disciples during the Sermon on the Mount that whoever asks receives, whoever seeks finds, and to whomever knocks, the door will be opened. We cannot gain a full understanding of Jesus’ meaning without reading the entire passage. Jesus goes on to say that God will not fail to give His children good things. Luke 11:9-13 repeats this message, but replaces the words “good things” with “the Holy Spirit.” This means that God will give good gifts to His children, and the best example of a good gift is the Holy Spirit. When combined with John 14:14, where Jesus tells His disciples that whatever they ask for “in His name” will be done for them, we begin to see the two-fold purpose of prayer—to give us deeper understanding of what God calls “good” and to cultivate a desire in us for that which God calls good.

Our prayers to God are not unlike our requests of men. They are based in a relationship, just as Jesus points out in Matthew 7:8. When we ask our earthly fathers for something they know will hurt us, those things are denied. A child may be frustrated and unhappy when his father denies his request for something bad, but he still trusts his father. And when a request is for something that the father knows is good for his child, he will provide it willingly and eagerly because he loves his child. This relationship is further alluded to when Jesus follows His promise in John 14:14 with verse 15: “If you love me, keep My commandments.” Loving Jesus, obeying Him, and praying according to His will are all part asking in His name.

Many new believers have experienced a disappointment about this reality, thinking, “But what if what I want / need is not in God’s will?” But when we think about it, this promise can never disappoint us. First, if what we want is not in God’s will, we really don’t want to receive it, because, though it might seem to be what we want, God knows it isn’t good for us and is faithful and loving to say “no” to that prayer. Second, inherent in the promise is the guarantee that the things we truly need will always be given to us when we ask for them. God will always give us good things. Our job is to understand what is good, so that we know what to ask for. The natural mind does not understand this, but, according to Romans 12:1-2, renewing our minds, which can only be done through His Word, will help us understand what God’s will is. Then, asking in faith, we will have all we need for life and godliness and fullness of joy (John 16:24). This is not intuitive for us, but it teaches us humility, and it draws us near to God, who is the Source of our joy.

All other verses about prayer must be interpreted through this lens. Matthew 21:22 tells us that we will receive whatever we ask for in prayer, if we have faith. The question is faith in what? Again, it is faith in His Word to tell us what is best and faith that He will give us what is best. If we ask for healing, and that is the best thing for us, we should not doubt that He will do it. But if He does not heal, we must assume that not being healed is a necessary part of a larger plan that is ultimately for our good.

Consider Psalm 37:4, which says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” We know that this verse doesn’t mean “if you pursue God you will get what you want” because of what we already know about asking according to His will. This verse does not give us a way to manipulate God, nor does it mean that, if we obey, He will see it and be pleased and then give us whatever we are craving. Rather, it means that when we delight ourselves in God, truly loving Him and pursuing Him for His sake, then everything we want and need will necessarily be in Him. The issue here is a change of heart—when the heart seeks the Lord, it is satisfied with what it finds there, and its true desires are realized in Him. But loving and desiring God is far from natural for us.

Therefore, the first and most important prayers in the life of a Christian are “Make me love You above all else” and “Make me want what You want” because when we truly desire God and long to see the Kingdom of God realized in our lives and in the lives of others, when we are passionate to see His will and His work in this world, and we ask for the things that bring Him glory and increase our closeness to Him, He is eager and willing to give us anything we ask for. Sometimes the things that glorify God are pleasant things, like a marriage or a child. Sometimes they are difficult things, like a failure that humbles us or a physical weakness that makes us dependent upon Him. But we must never doubt that, when we pray for what is in His will, we will receive it, and that what we receive from Him will always be that which is best.


Moment of Zen: Tennis

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I have a date today to go watch the Blue Gray National Tennnis Classic. I love watching tennis, and what I love even more is sexy teen is players. Yum!


Rally for Marriage

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I never listen to the radio in the mornings. I used to listen to NPR every morning on the way to school, but occasionally they get on a story and they are as bad as all the other news sources and just go on and on ad nauseam. So, I usually listen to an audiobook to and from school. But this morning, I was having trouble with the phone syncing to the radio and it kept playing the actual radio station, which happened to have “The Rick and Bubba Show” on the station. I used to listen to Rick and Bubba fifteen years ago back when it was largely a comedy show and they still played music, but since then they have gone so far to the Christian Right politically and religiously that I can’t even begin to listen to it.

The less than two minutes I accidentally heard the show, it was like listening to a racing lunatic on the radio. Rick Burgess has such a blind hatred of President Obama and all things liberal that he sounds like a religious fanatic, which he is. This morning he was ranting about how Obama decries any criticism of Islam while chastising anyone in support of Christianity. It was a load of shit. Rick would say the same thing about me. I hate when other people are ignorant and dismissive of a religion just because it is different from theirs and they don’t understand it. I probably didn’t hear more than 20 seconds of the show and in that time, he raged against Obama’s “hatred” of Christianity and got on the topic of same-sex marriage in Alabama.

Rick Burgess happens to be a fanatical supporter of Alabama’s Chief Clown Roy Moore. Burgess last week sent out a message on Twitter stating that Alabama probate judges claiming to be Christians should make a stand and refuse to sign same sex marriage license. Then, in a follow-up statement to AL.com, Burgess urged judges to follow the example of King in fighting unjust segregationist laws.

“If you are a Christian and a probate judge do you condone a version of marriage that goes against God even though it’s the current law of the land? Martin Luther King Jr. in his letter from a Birmingham jail covered this when explaining to fellow pastors why he would continue to break “unjust” laws.”

This coming from a man who we all know doesn’t hate Obama because he’s “not a Christian” but because Obama is part African-American. All southern (and most national) conservatives don’t hate Obama solely because he is a Democrat but at least 75 percent of their hatred is because he’s “black.” It pisses me off that someone like Rick Burgess will hate a man because he’s black and then turn around and used Dr. King as an example for judges to hold themselves to a “Christian” standard.

Honestly, I can’t understand why anyone would listen to the dribble that comes from the mouths of Rick and Bubba. Not only will I not find myself accidentally listening to them again, but I will never tune to that radio station again.

By the way, I’d also love to be attending the Rally for Marriage in either Birmingham or Mobile tomorrow. I wish they were holding one in Montgomery, but maybe I will head to one of the rallies. If you are around Birmingham or Mobile, I encourage you to go. Show your support for the Alabama probate judges who are doing the right thing and for the right for gay people to marry and have some equality in Alabama.


Gong Hei Fat Choi: Happy Chinese New Year!

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Today is the first day of the Chinese calendar, and we welcome the year of the goat (or sheep or ram, according to which translation you choose). The year of the goat is part of an ancient tradition in which the Chinese zodiac, Shēngxiào, attaches animal signs to each lunar year in a cycle of 12 years.

It reflects a similar concept in western astrology and means “circle of animals” – and remains popular in Asian communities around the world.

But as we bring the year of the horse to an end, where did the animals of the Chinese zodiac come from and what do they mean?

It is known that the animals of the zodiac have been popular since the Han Dynasty, between 206 BC and 220 AD. Pottery artifacts dating back to the Tang Dynasty, 618 to 907 AD, show the animals were popular at that time – but they have also been found on relics from the Warring States Period, 475 to 221 BC.

According to some historians, the animals of the Chinese zodiac were brought to China via the Silk Road, the central Asia trade route that brought Buddhism from India to Han China in the 1st or 2nd century BC.

Others argue that the belief predates Buddhism and has origins in early Chinese astronomy that used Jupiter as a constant – due to its 12-year orbital period around the earth. Some suggest the use of animals in astrology began with ancient Chinese nomadic tribes, who developed the calendar for agriculture and hunting.

Red is the predominant color used in New Year celebrations. Red is the emblem of joy, and this color also symbolizes virtue, truth and sincerity. On the Chinese opera stage, a painted red face usually denotes a sacred or loyal personage and sometimes a great emperor. Candies, cakes, decorations and many things associated with the New Year and its ceremonies are colored red. The sound of the Chinese word for “red” is in Mandarin homophonous with the word for “prosperous”. Therefore, red is an auspicious color and has an auspicious sound.

The translation of the Mandarin word “yang” (since this is technically the Year of the Yang) – a “horned animal” – has led to dispute over whether the Chinese New Year will bring the year of the goat, sheep or ram. But folklorists say it is the western translation which is the problem, as the “yang” can mean either animal, depending on what Chinese character it is paired with.

Experts say it does not matter which animal the zodiac sign refers to, as the emphasis relies on the connotation of the animal. According to Zhao Shu, a researcher with the Beijing Research Institute of Culture and History, “This ‘yang’ is fictional. It does not refer to any specific kind of sheep or goat.”

The animal choice can depend on which area of Asia the person is from, as different regions of China have their own interpretations. According to Google, the phrase “the year of the ram” is most commonly used in India, followed by Canada and the United States, while the Philippines had high search levels for the “year of the sheep”.

The Year of the Goat has been predicted by Chinese astrologers to be a sign of a bad year. However, it is the eighth character of the zodiac and eight in Chinese sounds similar to their word for prosper. The Chinese commonly regard sheep as an auspicious animal, and the Year of the Sheep, therefore, heralds a year of promise and prosperity, so I’m not sure why some astrologers are expecting a bad year. To improve your fortunes this year, it is advised that people to wear black and blue, and to carry sheep talismans or accessories to help ward off bad luck.

Whichever you choose to use, Gong Hei Fat Choi, which loosely translates to “Congratulations and be prosperous,” and is a traditional greeting of the new year.


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