Monthly Archives: February 2015

Early to Bed, Early to Rise…

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I had to get to bed early last night and be at school super early today, so not much time for a blog post. I’m not a morning person, so I’m not so sure I believe in the Benjamin Franklin proverb “Early to bed and early to rise makes and man healthy, wealthy and wise.” I tend to think early to rise makes me grumpy, grouchy, and a bit foggy, especially without my coffee. With that being said, you might wonder what’s up with the picture I used today. Well, yesterday was Mardi Gras. Sadly, I didn’t get to go this year, but it’s always been fun when I did go. The gay sector of Bourbon Street is always a lot of fun, and you never know what you’ll see. Even if it’s Ash Wednesday and the good times have rolled, laissez les bon temps rouler!


O Captain! My Captain!

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O Captain! My Captain!
Walt Whitman, 1819 – 1892

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack,
the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up- for you the flag is flung- for
you the bugle trills,

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths- for you the shores
a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Since yesterday was Presidents Day and I’ve never featured this poem, I thought it would be a wonderful tribute, as this poem was meant to be. When President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, a war-weary nation was plunged into shock. The last great battles of the Civil War were still a recent memory, and the murder of the president seemed to be a bloody, pointless coda to four years of conflict and instability. There was a great outpouring of grief across the country, and poems and songs were written mourning the nation’s loss.

One American who grieved for the fallen president was the poet Walt Whitman. Whitman had lived in Washington for most of the war and was a great admirer of Lincoln, whom he felt embodied the American virtues of plain-spokenness, courage, and “horse-sense.” He often saw the president riding around town on horseback, and the two men sometimes exchanged cordial bows.

Lincoln’s death inspired Whitman to write one of his most memorable works—a simple, three-stanza poem of sorrow that bore little resemblance to his other, more experimental writings. “O Captain! My Captain!” was published in New York’s Saturday Press in November of 1865, and was met with immediate acclaim. The poem’s evocation of triumph overshadowed by despair spoke to readers throughout the shattered nation, and it was widely reprinted and published in anthologies. “O Captain! My Captain!” became one of the most popular poems Whitman would ever write, and helped secure for him a position as one of the greatest American poets of the 19th century.

Whitman was very particular about the appearance of his poems and paid careful attention to every detail of spelling and punctuation. When Whitman noticed several errors in one edition of “O Captain! My Captain!” he mailed the page to the publishers with his corrections marked in ink. As you read this version of the poem, look at Whitman’s notes and ask yourself how his changes contributed to the poem’s impact.

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MCM: Scott Eastwood

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Well helloooo, Scott Eastwood!

Proving that good genes are in fact man’s best friend, Clint Eastwood’s gorgeous son channels his famous father’s sexy squint in a photo shoot for Town & Country.

The 27-year-old shows off his movie star good looks in the nautical-themed shoot, which has him smoking on a cigar, posing shirtless, wearing summer whites and flaunting his toned legs in navy shorts.

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But the hottie’s life hasn’t always been this glamorous despite his famous last name.Eastwood told the magazine that he has worked every job imaginable from bartending to working construction.

“People assumed that I would have everything handed to me, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he says. “I was on my own just doing the grind.”

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But his filmmaker father, who had Scott with flight attendant Jacelyn Reeves, helped him find work in Hollywood for roles in Eastwood-directed “Flags of Our Fathers,” “Gran Torino” and “Trouble With the Curve.” He can also be seen in the Brad Pitt movie “Fury” and the upcoming movie “The Longest Ride” based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name.

Do you think Scott looks like dad Clint?

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Love Is Our Nature

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So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1 John 4:16

There is an old fable about a saint and a scorpion. I’m not sure where it originates from, though it sounds somewhat Indian in origin to me. It goes something like this. One day there was a saint meditating near the river. After he had finished his meditation, the saint opened his eyes and saw a scorpion floating helplessly in the water for his survival. As the scorpion was washed closer to the tree, the saint quickly stretched himself out on one of the long roots that branched out into the river and reached out to save the drowning scorpion. As soon as he touched it, the scorpion stung him. Impulsively the saint withdrew his hand. A minute later, after he had regained his balance, he stretched himself out again on the roots to save the scorpion. This time the scorpion stung him so badly with its venomous tail that his hand became swollen and bloody and his face contorted with pain.

At that moment, an onlooker saw the saint stretched out on the roots struggling with the scorpion and shouted: “Stupid man, what’s wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?”

The saint turned his head. Looking into the stranger’s eyes he said calmly, “My friend, just because it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save.”

The moral of the story is that most of the time we changed ourselves due to the nature and attitude of the other person and loose our own unique identity. I think oftentimes as LGBT Christians we do this ourselves. We struggle with our sexuality and our faith because we are too often taught that they contradict each other. However, it is only because we do not have faith enough in God to guide us along the correct path. If we had faith in God’s infallibility, then we would realize that God created us homosexual. He would not have created us that way merely in order for us to fail, but it is human nature to have doubt, when we should look to God for faith instead.

Human nature is that which makes us distinctly human. Our nature is distinct from that of the animals and the rest of creation in that we can think and feel. One of the chief distinctions between human beings and the rest of creation is our ability to reason. No other creature has this ability, and there’s no question that this is a unique gift bestowed by God. Our reason enables us to reflect on our own nature and the nature of God and to derive knowledge of God’s will for His creation. No other part of God’s creation has a nature capable of reason.

The Bible teaches that God created human beings in His image. This means that He enables us to have some understanding of Him and of His vast and complex design. Our human nature reflects some of God’s attributes, although in a limited way. We love because we are made in the image of the God who is love (1 John 4:16). Because we are created in His image, we can be compassionate, faithful, truthful, kind, patient, and just. In us, these attributes are distorted by sin, which also resides in our nature.

Originally, human nature was perfect by virtue of having been created so by God. The Bible teaches that human beings were created “very good” by a loving God (Genesis 1:31), but that goodness was marred by the sin of Adam and Eve. Subsequently, the entire human race fell victim to the sin nature. The good news is that at the moment a person trusts in Christ, he receives a new nature. Second Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Sanctification is the process by which God develops our new nature, enabling us to grow into more holiness through time. This is a continuous process with many victories and defeats as the new nature battles with the “tent” (2 Corinthians 5:4) in which it resides—the old man, the old nature, the flesh. Not until we are glorified in heaven will our new nature be set free to live for eternity in the presence of the God in whose image we are created.

Therefore, as LGBT Christians we have a further step, a further test, than most Christians. We can follow the steps of salvation, but we must also have faith that God created us in his image. We must have faith that God created us to be attracted to and love those of the same sex. No matter what the flaws of man may be, or the sin that mankind tempts us with its doubts, we must be strong in out faith and believe that God made us who we are and know that He is love.


Moment of Zen: Happy Valentine’s Day


Same-Sex Marriage and Alabama

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There has been one major advantage to being out sick this week with the flu, I have been able to be glued to the television and internet news coverage of same-sex marriage coming to Alabama. A few years ago, I’d have never thought this day would come, and up until last month, I thought Alabama would be the 50th state to recognize same-sex marriage, but I am glad that I was wrong. I wasn’t wrong that it would happen with Alabamian officials kicking and screaming and trying to relive the conservative, states’ rights “glory days” of the 1960s.

Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban began crumbling in January, when U.S. District Judge Callie Granade found it unconstitutional. At the request of the state attorney general, Granade put a two-week stay on her ruling so the state could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and delay it even longer. On Monday morning, however, the Supreme Court declined to get involved, and Alabama became the 37th state where gay marriage is legal.

Despite the ruling, dozens of probate judges around the state have refused to comply with Granade’s ruling. According to the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, as of Thursday afternoon, only 23 of the state’s 67 counties were issuing marriage licenses to all couples.

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Their defiance is due to instructions from Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R), who sent an order to the state’s probate judges Sunday night not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He argued that they were not bound to follow the federal ruling.

To further the confusion for Alabama’s probate judges, the state’s Attorney General is refusing to advise county probate judges in the matter of issuing same-sex marriage licenses. AG Strange claims that it is not part of his job to advise elected officials in the state concerning the law. First of all, Strange is a dumbass like so many officials in the state and he apparently has no idea what his job description is. The Attorney General in Alabama is the chief lawyer of the state. He is called upon as the chief defender of the laws of Alabama, the lawyer for state officials and represents the state in all matters brought before a court of law or tribunal. The Attorney General also provides advisory opinions to local and state governments when questions arise about the constitutionality of proposed laws and regulations. Therefore, when Judge Grenade ordered him not to enforce Alabama’s same-sex marriage bans on the grounds that they are unconstitutional, that seems pretty clear to me that she ordered him to advise county probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

Furthermore, the governor is playing dumb, as he usually does and refuses to make any comment. At the same time that he wants to prevent same-sex marriage, he doesn’t want to go down in history as the George Wallace of the LGBT rights movement. Governor Bentley is merely a fence sitter. He has made only one clear decision in his time as governor and that is to refuse federal aid for ObamaCare, which any healthcare worker who deals with the poor will tell you has been a major mistake, since it left many Alabamians uninsured because they couldn’t pay the high cost of health coverage and they did not qualify for Alabama’s income level for Medicaid. He has been wishy-washy over casinos and every other issue before the state. He’s useless.

On the bright side, at least out Lt. Governor Kay “I have other people to do my thinking for me” Ivey hasn’t seemed to weigh in on the topic. God only knows what stupidity that old woman’s advisors would have her say. Half the time I wonder what the hell she does anyway, but then again, I have no doubt that she wonders the same thing. The other day, I was reading a blog post from Michael-in-Norfolk where he wrote “The batshitery and insanity coming out of Alabama or more particularly the Alabama Republican Party seems to be increasing hourly. As I’ve done before, I cannot help but wonder WTF happened to the state where I lived for four years.” The only issue I have with what Michael says is that, it was just as bat shot crazy four years ago. Four years ago we elected a dermatologist as governor, a man who calls himself “Big Luther” as AG, a state treasurer named Young Boozer, a Public Service Commissioner named Twinkle, who ran on a platform to dismantle the PSC and end the last minor protections we have against public utilities, and Kay Ivey as Lt Governor, who said on her election night when asked about an important issue at the time, and I quote, “I don’t know, I pay people to do my thinking for me.”

They may have closed Bryce’s Mental Hospital in Tuscaloosa a few years ago, but apparently the residents were all let lose to run the Alabama government and right now the loudest lunatic is a clown in black robes named Roy Moore. The voters of the state of Alabama should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. I am totally embarrassed, even though I didn’t vote for a single one of these lunatics. It’s sad to say that I haven’t voted for a single winning candidate in a state or local election in over ten years. Yet, all that most people look at in the state of Alabama is party affiliation not the candidate. Quite honestly, who in their right mind would elect a man who shows wanton disregard for the legal system to head the Alabama Judicial System as Chief Justice. Moore has a history of defying federal decisions. In 2003, Alabama’s judicial ethics panel voted to remove Moore, who was chief justice at the time, from office after he refused to follow a federal order to take down his Ten Commandments monument in the state judicial building. Moore was elected as chief justice again in 2012.

Roy Moore has stated over and over that the lowest federal court does not overrule a state’s highest court; however, the 1859 Supreme Court case Ableman v. Booth clearly states that State courts cannot issue rulings on federal law that contradict the decisions of federal courts. Moore consistently makes up his own laws and opinions to suit his needs instead of following the dictates of his office. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary needs to once again remove him from office. Once removed, this time Moore could never again have the chance to be a judge in Alabama. At 68, he will turn 70 before the next election and Alabama law bars anyone over 70 years of age from being elected to the bench.

HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement yesterday “It is time for the judicial chaos that Chief Justice Roy Moore has caused to end. Both the law and Judge Granade’s action today are crystal clear: refusing to follow the law has consequences. All probate judges should do their duties as public servants and begin to issue licenses to committed, loving same-sex couples immediately.” Warbelow is saying exactly what AG Strange should have said on Monday when the US Supreme Court refused to extend the stay and allowed for same sex marriage to begin in Alabama.

I have been wanting to write about this last week, so if I’ve been a little over zealous in this post, please forgive me. The defiance of federal court rulings is something Alabama should have learned it’s lesson about fifty years ago, yet elected officials still want to show their ignorance and backwards thinking. I haven’t felt like putting my thought together until now, so it all came out at once. Thankfully, I am feeling better. I’ll be heading back to school today. It will be a short day, so I think I can handle it. Thank you all for your well wishes. I think I’m in the clear now.


Out Sick…Still!

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Is this the never ending flu, or what? I’d planned on going back to school today, but I was still running a 102 fever as of last night. My fever had stayed down most of the day, and I thought I was in the clear and on the mend. So much for that. Since we only have a half day of school tomorrow, I will most likely not go in on Friday either. So much work is piling up from being out sick. I dread going back Tuesday. I’ll call the doctor in the morning and see what he says. I had hoped I’d feel at least marginally better by today, but I basically feel the same as I did when I went to the doctor on Monday.


Trying to Recover

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I’m supposed to be well enough tomorrow to go back to work, but last night I was still running a fever of 101. Since my doctor did confirm it was the flu, he prescribed Tamiflu. It seems to be working, as I do feel better than I did, but damn that stuff is expensive and my insurance doesn’t cover it. Luckily, I had some money stuck back. It seems that every time you save, some emergency comes up. At least though, I am at a point where I can start saving little by little. Anyway, hopefully there will be no more fever today, and I’ll be feeling better tomorrow.


Sick

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Sick
By Shel Silverstein, 1930 – 1999

“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more–that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut–my eyes are blue–
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke–
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is–what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

Oh, if it were only Saturday and I’d be well. Unlike Peggy Ann McKay, I am very much sick.


Gay marriage comes to Alabama over chief judge’s objections

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama’s chief justice built his career on defiance: In 2003, Roy Moore was removed from the bench for defying a federal court order to remove a boulder-size Ten Commandments monument from the state courthouse.

On Monday, as Alabama became the 37th state where gays can legally wed, Moore took a defiant stand again, employing the kind of states’ rights language used during the Civil War and again during the civil rights movement.

He argued that a federal judge’s Jan. 23 ruling striking down the Bible Belt state’s gay-marriage ban was an illegal intrusion on Alabama’s sovereignty. And he demanded the state’s probate judges not issue any marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“It’s my duty to speak up when I see the jurisdiction of our courts being intruded by unlawful federal authority,” the 67-year-old Republican chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court said in an interview Monday.

His stand did not succeed in stopping gay couples from tying the knot. And it brought forth another round of criticism of Moore at a time when the movie “Selma” has reminded many Americans of Alabama’s segregationist defiance of the federal government in the 1960s.

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a major civil rights organization, branded Moore the “Ayatollah of Alabama.”

Moore’s office in the Alabama judicial building is down the street from the Alabama Capitol, where in 1963 Gov. George Wallace promised “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” and vowed to fight what he portrayed as the tyranny of the federal government.

“Moore is using the religion issue to further his political career, just as Wallace used the race issue to further his,” Cohen said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a judicial complaint against Moore accusing him of trying to incite chaos at the probate courts.

On Monday, some counties refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses or shut down their licensing operations altogether, citing confusion about what they should do. But at least seven of Alabama’s 67 counties issued gay marriage licenses, and same-sex couples were wed at courthouses in such places as Birmingham and Montgomery.

In Birmingham, the Jefferson County Probate Office said it had dispensed more than 250 licenses to same-sex couples by midday, with people still arriving. Only three opposite-sex couples had received licenses.

Some of the gay couples who had been lined up for hours exited courthouses to applause, delighted by the opportunity to exchange vows.

“I figured that we would be that last ones – I mean, they would drag Alabama kicking and screaming to equality,” said Laura Bush, who married Dee Bush in a park outside the courthouse in Birmingham.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican and a Southern Baptist, said he believes strongly that marriage is between one man and one woman. But he said the issue should be “worked out through the proper legal channels” and not through defiance of the law.

Bentley noted that Alabama is about to be in the spotlight again with the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed after civil rights marchers were attacked and beaten in Selma, Alabama.

“I don’t want Alabama to be seen as it was 50 years when a federal law was defied. I’m not going to do that,” Bentley said. “I’m trying to move this state forward.”

After the Ten Commandments dispute made a national figure out Moore, he ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006 and 2010. In 2012, he returned to the high court when he got elected chief justice. There has been speculation he might make a third run for governor.

He has been one of the state’s most outspoken critics of gay marriage and homosexuality. Moore called homosexuality an “inherent evil” in a 2002 ruling in a child custody case. On the campaign trail in 2012, he said that same-sex marriage would bring about the “ultimate destruction” of the country.

Late last month, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade ruled that the state marriage ban was unconstitutional and – in a later clarifying order – said probate judges have a legal duty under the U.S. Constitution to issue the licenses. On Monday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the start of gay marriages in Alabama.

Moore bristled at the comparison to Wallace and disputed the notion that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue.

“This is not about the right of people to be recognized with race or creed or color. This is about same-sex marriage. It is not the same subject,” he said.

“Eighty-one percent of the voters adopted the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment in the Alabama Constitution. I think they want leaders that will stand up against an unlawful intrusion of their sovereignty, and that’s what we’re seeing.