Monthly Archives: December 2015

2015: A Year in Review

  

In the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, there has been many ups and downs. I think though that in many ways, it will be remembered as a year of crossroads. In January of last year, I was in a miserable job that was getting more miserable each day. I was teaching high school. I had students who didn’t care nor did they want to try. I was more of a babysitter who felt like he was herding cats than a teacher. From January to April, I suffered from one long chronic headache which had actually begun the previous November. At times, the pain was unbearable, but I was finally correctly diagnosed with cluster headaches instead of migraines. I was given the correct treatment, which seemed to work. I was pain free for the first time in six months. I still experienced minor cluster headaches, but nothing like what I’d previously experienced. I was feeling more hopeful.

Then on the last teacher workday of the school year, I was called into my headmaster’s office and told that my contract would not be renewed. So instead of enjoying my summer off, like all teachers are entitled to because of the horrors and stress of the school year, I had to hunt for a job. The job hunt became a full time job in itself. I worked on applications from the time I woke until I went to bed. I made the decision though to get out of teaching. I still applied to some college teaching jobs but after looking for seven years already, I didn’t see much hope in that direction. However, I made the decision to move into the museum field. I began to volunteer at a local museum to gain some experience. My volunteer work was the highlight of my summer.

With the love, support, and advice of my readers and some dear friends, I made it through the summer. In July, I set up a GoFundMe site to help pay for new training in museum studies, and to get a new laptop to help with writing a novel I began to write. More on that later. Without those donations, I’m not sure I would have been able to make it through the summer or had the money to ove and begin a new life in the fall. I receive so much help from many of you that I can’t thank you enough. I had days and weeks when rejection letters poured in, and I became despondent and sunk into a deep depression. I kept faith though that God would guide me to the right job. My faith took me through that ordeal.

In August, I was checking out a new job posting site when I came across a job that seemed ideal. They were looking for someone who had my qualifications, and I even met the preferred qualifications. If you’ve ever been on a job hunt, you know how hard it can be to fill all of the requirements for a job. Jobs often post a wish list as opposed to what they really need. I turned out to be this museum’s wish list. It took a month, but I finally got called for a phone interview, which went well. Then I got called for an on campus interview. The last call was to hire me for the job. I accepted immediately and began packing to move to Vermont.

The drive up to Vermont wasn’t what I expected. As I was driving through Knoxville, Tennessee, I hit something on the interstate that ruptured my gas tank, and I was stranded there for a few days while a new gas tank was found and installed. I finally made it though safe and sound and moved into my new apartment. I fell in love with Vermont immediately. I’m still in the honeymoon phase. As I settled into my job, I found out just how perfect a job it was for me. Yes, there have been challenges. The two people who had the job before me couldn’t have been more different, so I’ve been working to standardized the job and get things in order the best I can. I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful group of people to work with though. They have been so accepting, supportive, and kind.

Just as I was settling into my job, my world came crashing down again. My best friend and closest confidante who I loved like the brother I never had was suddenly killed in a car accident. I’d been devastated when I lost my job, but the loss of my best friend was world shattering. With the loss of my job, I had faith that God would guide me on the right path, but the loss of my friends tore holes in my faith. I couldn’t understand (still can’t) how God could allow this to happen. Why God didn’t save him. My days have been lost without him. I’ve had friends who have offered tremendous support, and I’ve received some wonderful words of wisdom from my blog readers. I’m finally able to discuss my friend without bursting into tears, but my depression has grown and the frequency of my panic attacks have increased. Also, my cluster headaches are back, and while the medicine that I take to prevent them somewhat lessens the intensity, they are back to waking me in the middle of the night. They’d begun again before my friend’s death, but had only come on weekends, but for the past month since his death, they have been constant. Pain relievers help for a few hours, but there is only so much pain medication you can take without it becoming a problem.

I’m hoping that on a whole, 2016 will be better. While I’ve made a new home for myself in Vermont and it’s been a tremendously positive change, so much of the rest of 2015 was unexpectedly horrific. I went to my doctor’s office here in Alabama yesterday, and I was given medicine to help with the headaches as well as a new antidepressant that will help with the one I am already on. Hopefully, the combination of the new medicine and the therapist I’ve been seeing will help alleviate the depression, which in turn I am hoping will help end this new cycle of cluster headaches.

I have a lot of hopes for the new year. The novel is still in the works, and I expect to finish it sometime in the coming year. It will be dedicated to the friend that I lost not only because he was the greatest friend I’ve ever known but he was the one who encouraged me to write a novel and he read and helped edit the parts of the novel that has already been written. I see great thing on the horizon for my new job and my new life in Vermont. I’m also working to lose weight and get in better shape. I got a Fitbit for Christmas. Since I’ve been in Alabama, people have already told me that I look like I’ve lost weight. I don’t know that I have but maybe there’s been some fat replaced by muscle. I have two years until I turn 40 and I plan to be in good shape when I hit that milestone year.

This past year will probably always live in my memory for two reasons: a beginning of a new life and the loss of the life of my friend. If I could, I’d trade my new life for that of my friend’s lost life in a heartbeat. I’d do anything to have him back, but unless time travel is invented, I cannot change what happened. I can’t bring him back, no matter how much I wish I could. The year has also been a dichotomy of faith. My faith brought me through losing my job and finding a new and better one; however, the loss of my friend has cracked my faith. It hasn’t shattered it, but it has caused me to question some of my long held beliefs about my faith and God’s role in our lives. I’m working through those questions. I don’t expect answers, but with the help of some very good friends, I hope to work though my current crisis of faith.

May you all have a wonderful 2016!


Once You Snap, You Can’t Go Back

  
Monday, I wrote about how Millennials are doing their best to hide their nudity in the locker rooms, but on the flip side, they are all too willing to trade naked selfies with one another, be it through texts, snapchat, or various other ways. A growing numbers of youngsters are swapping naked selfies. When I was teaching one of the first things that the computer teacher taught was that once an image is uploaded online, it is there forever. Kids may think they can delete it or that a SnapChat is only there for a few seconds, but once there, someone can always find it if they know where to look.

As a teacher, I heard a lot of students talking when they didn’t know I was listening, or didn’t care that I was listening. One of the things I heard a lot was that so and so sent a naked selfie on SnapChat or they would talk about other students sending often naked or revealing pictures of themselves in text. It was happening earlier and earlier. I’d heard of this with kids as young as fifth grade.

When these Millennials get to college, they are even freer about sending nude selfies. Take a look on Twitter any day and at all the “Anon” accounts and there are constantly headless pictures of nude or nearly nude guys. I have no doubt that it is the same with women, but I don’t particularly want to see that. Anon Twitter accounts will often show their face with these pics for a limited time and then delete them, but the picture is already out there. 

The same is true with webcams. With sites like Chaturbate and Chatroulettle, people do all sorts of things for others to see, often showing their bodies but not their face. I guess this is the big difference, they don’t mind showing off to others as long as they don’t show their face. Others though don’t have a problem showing their face, and even when they don’t show their face, most everyone knows their friends SnapChat name, so whether it shows their face or not, their peers know who it is and they are showing off what they are hiding in the locker rooms.

Celebrities and non-celebrities alike often have no problem showing their nude butts, especially men (women it often comes down to their breasts), but butts have become so commonly shared that they are almost not considered nudity anymore. Let’s face it, mooning has been a thing for high school and college students for many, many years. It is the penis that is most hidden, and celebrities with particularly large ones will often allow themselves to have very brief frontal nude scenes or they “allow” their own nude selfies to be leaked online. It is always claimed to be an invasion of privacy, but once you take those pictures or videos of yourself, you have to realize that the possibility of it being leaked online is quite high.

The point that I am trying to make is that live and in person Millennials don’t want to show off their bodies and they hide behind their towels in the locker room, but these same guys who do the towel dance will send out naked selfies to all their friends later that day. While certainly not everyone, or probably even a majority, send naked selfies, a large number of Millennials do. While SnapChats, tweets, texts, and the like might be contained with just a few people, often those they hide from in the locker room, all you need to do is check out a dating app to see more dick pics than you might ever want to. Granted, dating sites are a different beast than all the others, but it shows that they don’t mind showing off the “goods” as long as a face isn’t attached or if it will get them laid.

I think that nudity is probably less an issue for gay men than straight men, but it is more of a body conscious issue with gay men. However, the SnapChat and texting phenomenon that I heard so much about as a teacher was with guys and girls (mostly guys) sending out pictures of themselves to both genders. It was a joke, at least that’s the way they saw it. Of course, like the celebrities who have their pictures leaked, there are always people who are proud of their goods and have no problem sending out dick pics. I had one incident when I was a teacher of a kid whipping out his penis to a girl in class. From what I was told, for a small guy he was quite large and quite proud of his size. In another such incident, the guy claimed that he’d been scratching his balls when it just flopped out when he removed his hand. Both instances were ridiculous, but the point is they had something they wanted to show. 

Not all guys are that brazen. Many, if they can get away with it, will post dick pics online anonymously to get a response and see how they measure up. Without the more free nudity in locker rooms, guys don’t necessarily know the vast array of penis sizes. Even when there was more nudity, I don’t think many understood the difference between growers and showers, because that is a secret you only find out with an erect penis. It is one of the advantages to being a gay man, we get to see the penis at all stages from flaccid to erect.

I have a feeling that the selfie is here to stay. With all things people will get more and more extreme with the selfie and the headless nude shot will become ever more common, while the towel dance will continue in the locker rooms. Privacy it seems is something that is only desired in live interaction, but behind a camera, privacy means very little as long as you can hide your face.


The Feast of Stephen by Anthony Hecht

I
The coltish horseplay of the locker room,
Moist with the steam of the tiled shower stalls,   
With shameless blends of civet, musk and sweat,   
Loud with the cap-gun snapping of wet towels   
Under the steel-ribbed cages of bare bulbs,   
In some such setting of thick basement pipes   
And janitorial realities
Boys for the first time frankly eye each other,   
Inspect each others’ bodies at close range,   
And what they see is not so much another   
As a strange, possible version of themselves,   
And all the sparring dance, adrenal life,   
Tense, jubilant nimbleness, is but a vague,   
Busy, unfocused ballet of self-love.
II
If the heart has its reasons, perhaps the body   
Has its own lumbering sort of carnal spirit,   
Felt in the tingling bruises of collision,   
And known to captains as esprit de corps.
What is this brisk fraternity of timing,   
Pivot and lobbing arc, or indirection,   
Mens sana in men’s sauna, in the flush
Of health and toilets, private and corporal glee,   
These fleet caroms, plies and genuflections
Before the salmon-leap, the leaping fountain
All sheathed in glistening light, flexed and alert?   
From the vast echo-chamber of the gym,
Among the stumbled shouts and shrill of whistles,   
The bounced basketball sound of a leather whip.
III
Think of those barren places where men gather   
To act in the terrible name of rectitude,   
Of acned shame, punk’s pride, muscle or turf,   
The bully’s thin superiority.
Think of the Sturm-Abteilungs Kommandant
Who loves Beethoven and collects Degas,
Or the blond boys in jeans whose narrowed eyes   
Are focussed by some hard and smothered lust,   
Who lounge in a studied mimicry of ease,   
Flick their live butts into the standing weeds,   
And comb their hair in the mirror of cracked windows
Of an abandoned warehouse where they keep   
In darkened readiness for their occasion   
The rope, the chains, handcuffs and gasoline.
IV
Out in the rippled heat of a neighbor’s field,
In the kilowatts of noon, they’ve got one cornered.   
The bugs are jumping, and the burly youths   
Strip to the waist for the hot work ahead.   
They go to arm themselves at the dry-stone wall,   
Having flung down their wet and salty garments   
At the feet of a young man whose name is Saul.   
He watches sharply these superbly tanned   
Figures with a swimmer’s chest and shoulders,   
A miler’s thighs, with their self-conscious grace,   
And in between their sleek, converging bodies,   
Brilliantly oiled and burnished by the sun,   
He catches a brief glimpse of bloodied hair   
And hears an unintelligible prayer.
The Feast of Stephen

If you are interested in seeing the complete short film by James Franco based on this poem, it can be found at the following link: http://m.sinemalar.com/mobileweb/movieInfo/169207. It’s only 4 min. long and is quite interesting.
You may know of this poem if you are a huge James Franco fan.  He used this poem as the basis for a student film he made in college.  When he was at NYU, he made three short films based on the following poems: “The Feast of Stephen” (Anthony Hecht), “Herbert White” (Frank Bidart), and “The Clerk’s Tale” (Spencer Reece).  Of the three poems, he said that this was the one that had the least character development. It has characters in it, and there is a progression, but until the last stanza, the characters are described as a group, rather than as distinct individuals. The first two stanzas, set in a locker room and a basketball gymnasium, describe boys coming into their new bodies. The boys are not differentiated. Sometimes there is subtle distancing from these boys, like the last two lines of the second stanza that seems to be describing the gym from a distance. Even when the boys are described as inspecting each other, it doesn’t sound as if the voice of the poem is their voice. It is too sophisticated, the metaphors are too advanced, the diction too high. There is another kind of consciousness present, even if it isn’t described within the actual substance of the poem. 
In the third stanza, there is a sharp change in the development of the poem’s subject. The pubescent and exploring boys are now described as violent. They are compared to an SS officer and are at an ominous hangout where there are cracked mirrors and weapons like gasoline and knives. The members of the group are not distinguished from one another, but the group’s identification has changed. The boys have become evil and potentially destructive. 
The last stanza finally differentiates some of the characters. The description recalls the martyrdom of St. Stephen, described by Luke in Acts 6–8. The character of Saul functions on two levels. In the context of the poem, he is the witness who observes and does nothing to stop the violence. Without Saul, the attack would unfold at a distance, with no possibility of outside intervention. To have him there but doing nothing places the reader there as well, asking us to consider occasions when we have stood by in the face of injustice. The boy who is being beaten is another new character freshly differentiated from the group. He is compared to a martyr. It is not clear why he is being beaten, although the first two stanzas lean heavily on homoerotic descriptions, suggesting that violence is homophobic in nature. If the first stanzas show the boys in a state of discovery and uncertainty, the later stanzas could be read as moments after the boys have decided that the innocent observations that took place in the early stanzas were wrong, that that kind of behavior should be punished.
Anthony Hecht
One of the leading voices of his generation, Anthony Hecht’s poetry is known for its masterful use of traditional forms and linguistic control. Extraordinarily erudite, Hecht’s verse often features allusions to French literature, Greek myth and tragedy, and English poets and poetry stretching from Wallace Stevens to John Donne. Hecht, who died in 2004, was often described as a “traditionalist.” George P. Elliott contended in the Times Literary Supplement that “Hecht’s voice is his own, but his language, more amply than that of any living poet writing in English, derives from, adds to, is part of the great tradition.” Though his early work was often slighted as ornate or Baroque, his collection The Hard Hours (1967) is generally seen as his break-through volume. In that book, Hecht begins to use his experiences as a soldier in Europe during World War II. The often unsettling and horrific insights into the darkness of human nature told in limpid, flowing verse that characterize the poems in the collection would become Hecht’s trademark. According to Dana Gioia: “Hecht exemplifies the paradox of great art…He found a way to take his tragic sense of life and make it so beautiful that we have to pay attention to its painful truth.”  
Anthony Hecht was born in New York City in 1923. Though a self-described mediocre student, he nonetheless counted his first three years at Bard College some of the happiest of his life. His college career was interrupted, however, when he was drafted into the army to serve in World War II. As an infantryman, he fought in Germany, France and Czechoslovakia. His division also helped liberate Flossenburg concentration camp. Ordered to collect evidence from the French prisoners, the experience marked him for the rest of his life. Hecht returned to the United States and finished his degree at Kenyon College where he studied under John Crowe Ransom. At Kenyon he also formed friendships with poets like Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Tate and Randall Jarrell. Hecht’s first book, A Summoning of Stones (1954) displays great technical skill, but for some critics, the style seems mannered and dated. 
A longtime professor of poetry at the University of Rochester, Hecht also taught at institutions such as Georgetown, Yale, Harvard and Smith College. He was the Poet Laureate Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1982-1984, and won many of America’s most prestigious poetry awards, including the Bollingen Prize, the Ruth Lily Poetry Prize, the Wallace Stevens Award and the Frost Medal. His collected poems were published in two volumes, Early Collected Poems (1993) and Later Collected Poems (2005). His death in 2004 was marked by a great outpouring of tributes and eulogies. In the New York Times, David Yezzi offered this praise: “It was Hecht’s gift to see into the darker recesses of our complex lives and conjure to his command the exact words to describe what he found there. Hecht remained skeptical about whether pain and contemplation can ultimately redeem us, yet his ravishing poems extend hope to his readers that they can.”

Locker Rooms 

  
Early in my blog, I did a post called “Naked Male Camaraderie,” which has been the most popular post on this blog. A friend recently shared a New York Times titled “Men’s Locker Room Designers Take Pity on Naked Millennials.” One of the things I talked about in my previously mentioned blog post was that guys these days don’t like being naked in front of each other, which was part of this NYT article. In the article, it states:

But gyms are still unable to provide the one thing younger men in particular seem to really want: a way for them to shower and change without actually being nude.

Each day, thousands upon thousands of men in locker rooms nationwide struggle to put on their underwear while still covered chastely in shower towels, like horrible breathless arthropods molting into something tender-skinned. They writhe, still moist, into fresh clothes.

If you’ve been in a locker room recently, you know how sad and true this is. When I was in grad school, I used to frequent the gym there. In the locker room they had the gang showers (which was supposedly a major gay hook up area), three private showers, and a sauna. I never saw anyone use the group showers unless they kept a swimsuit on and most guys kept a towel on in the sauna, the only exception being Asian guys. Except for the swimmers who’d shower in their swim trunks the guys who wore speedos tended not to have a problem with being fully nude. So with the exception of swimmers wearing speedos and Asian guys in the sauna, most other guys did the towel dance. 

  
According to the NYT article, this is because:

Showering after gym class in high school became virtually extinct in the ’90s. And if Manhattan’s high-end gyms weren’t riddled with ab-laden models or Europeans (or both), there would be few heterosexuals under 40 who have spent any naked time with other men.

A generation ago, when most schools mandated showers, a teacher would typically monitor students and hand out towels, making sure that proper hygiene was observed. In schools with pools, students were sometimes required to swim naked, and teachers would conduct inspections for cleanliness that schools today would not dare allow, whether because of greater respect for children or greater fear of lawsuits.

In a striking measure of changed sensibilities in school and society, showering after physical education class, once an almost military ritual, has become virtually extinct. This is beginning to change, especially with athletes in schools, as health officials are increasingly warning that not showering after gym class leads to MRSA infections, the potentially deadly staphylococcus infection that is resistant to most antibiotics. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has practical advice on preventing staph infections. Showering right after exercise is at the top of the list. 

If showering can help prevent a deadly disease from spreading to school children, why aren’t more schools making showers mandatory? There are several reasons, which seem as varied as insecurities about body image, heightened sexual awareness, and a lack of time in a busy school schedule. The lack of showers in schools leads to a shyness about bodies that is virtually nonexistent in older generations. Old men seem to have no problem walking around locker rooms naked but young men do.

  
In March 2015, Men’s Health had an article about locker room etiquette called “Are You the Gym Locker Room A**hole?” in which they outline their do’s and don’t’s of locker room etiquette. Here’s the problem with this article, they asked a woman about male locker room etiquette. What does a woman know about men’s locker rooms? (No offense to the women who read this blog.) Two of the things she warns against are nudity and conversations in the locker rooms. Really? According to her, men should not be nude in the locker room nor should men talk to one another. I find that utterly ridiculous.

Nudity in America is so puritanical that it’s nearly nonexistent. The NYT article makes some interesting observations about what gyms are doing to attract more members. The main thing is providing more privacy. Men are afraid to see each other naked. They are afraid they won’t measure up, whether that is with whether they are a shower or a grower or whether they are just insecure about the way their body looks as a whole. Men need not fear being naked in front of one another.

  


Lost

  

12 What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.  Matthew 18:12-14 (NRSV)

You may have noticed that there was a different post here earlier. For several different reason, I chose to delete it. I started these Sunday posts to better understand my relationship with God, and I have lost my way. I feel as if I am the lost sheep mentioned above, but that my Shepherd has left me to the wolves. That feeling was all to apparent as I sat in church this morning. I felt so disconnected and sad, and it horrified me. With very rare exceptions, the church I grew up in has always been a source of comfort. No matter how far away I may have roamed, I could be in that church and feel closer to God. Today, I didn’t. Today, I only felt sorrow and abandonment. The music did not ease my heart as it has in the past. The sermon offered no comfort. I even got choked when I took communion. I so wanted to feel God within me after I took communion, and I almost did for a few short moments, but it quickly faded. I couldn’t bring myself to sing along. When we sang the song “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be,” I cried and tears flowed down my face.

The friend who I lost was not perfect, none of us are. He had his problems like we all had, but he’d always believed me when I told him that God would always be there to love him and care for him. I believe that he is with God right now. It’s the only comfort I can take from all of this. I feel as if God did not protect my friend as He should have. Few people in this world are truly selfless and giving but my friend was. I know that he is blessed in the hereafter, and that I will see him again but I needed him here longer. He needed to be here longer so that he could fulfill all the wonderful things he was going to accomplish. My friend still had a lot of love to give, and I am sorry that he won’t be able to do so. I am making it a point to carry on his legacy. I want to be as giving and as loving as he always was. I don’t expect to ever be able to fill his shoes, but I will do my best.

By the way, if you think that I am exaggerating on the goodness of my friend, then you’d be wrong. If he thought someone needed it, he’d literally give them the shirt off his back. If you were upset, no matter what his problems were, he made sure that you were okay first. If there was something you needed, he’d either get it to you, often without taking credit, or he would help you get it. I’ve honestly never known a more selfless and loving person. While some may think it was just the way he was with me, I don’t know of a single soul who truly knew him that didn’t love him and feel the same way. That is one of the reasons that this has been so difficult to deal with.

Maybe one day I will be back to being more idealistic and optimistic about God, but I have a lot of issues to work through right now. I have not given up, nor will I, but there are a lot of things to work out and reality can be a bit too harsh at times. One of the hardest things has been my feeling of separation from God. I miss my friend, and I miss my relationship with God. While my therapist may help me deal with the loss of my friend, I need someone to help guide me spiritually. I am begging someone to help me.

I know that there are ministers and former ministers who read this blog, and I want to ask a favor of you. For now, until I work out my own issues with God, I cannot wrote my usual Sunday posts. I do not feel the guidance of God that I had felt before. Therefore, I beg of one of you to please help me. I would love it if one of you would write my weekly devotionals for me. I need help to be guided back to God and I cannot do it alone, so if you are willing to help, please email me at jec1918@gmail.com. I know that I cannot do this alone, which is why I am asking for help. Many of you have written such encouraging comments and emails, and I know some of you are up to taking over this task for a short while. I cannot write about overcoming grief and dealing with issues of sadness and feelings of abandonment by God any longer. After a while, it is just the same thing over and over, and for my sake and others who read this blog, I want this to be a positive place. I am unable to being that positivity and optimism at the moment. I hope someone will agree to help.


Post Holiday Post

  
Let your imagination run wild with this lovely picture. To be honest, my internet connection is so limited at my parents’ place, where we spent Christmas night, that this post is by necessity brief. I hope that all of you had a very Merry Christmas.

My tradition of Saturday Moments of Zen will return in the new year. I haven’t felt like posting them this month as a way of mourning the death of my best friend in a tragic accident. I haven’t felt many “moments of zen” in the past month. In fact it may be quite a while before I do so again, but my friend loved my moments of zen and he’d be sad that I hadn’t posted any since his death. The new year, 2016, will be just that a new year. I have been so sad since his death, but I know I need to start living again and doing my best to enjoy life, because that is what he would want. I have to honor what he told me once. He said that if anything did happen to him to not be sad for long, that it mean that he was not longer battling the demons of his depression and the trauma of his youth. He knew I’d have a long period of mourning over his death and with his death being such a tragic and sudden accident, it has made it even harder.


Merry Christmas

  
The Birth of Jesus

Chapter 2 

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Luke 2:1-20 (KJV)

When I was young, my mother had a Book of Christmas, I think that was the name, and it had all kinds of Christmas stories and legends. There were three things she read to my sister and me each year at Christmastime: “A Visit from St Nicholas” aka “‘Twas the Night before Christmas,” the editorial from the September 21, 1897, edition of The (New York) Sun commonly known as “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause,” and she would read us Luke Chapter 2:1-20. While the first two, I will always remember in her voice, it seems like I can only ever hear Luke 2:1-20 in the voice of Linus from the Peanuts’ classic ” A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The thing is, I hear the whole twenty verses in Linus’s voice; however, in the Peanuts’ special, Linus only recited Verses 8-14.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and I hope all of you have a wonderful day.


I Made It

  
Merry Christmas Eve, everybody! What a long day yesterday was. I did a few update posts yesterday, and the only highlight was that I got to fly first class to Atlanta. If you’ve never been through the Atlanta Airport then you probably don’t know that the whole place is one big cluster fuck, which is why originally I had been happy to be able to miss it. I should have known I’d end up there anyway.

Anyway, this post is really all about the picture above. You see, my friend who passed away had a special affinity for nutcrackers. Since he was a kid, he’d loved nutcrackers. I had planned it to be a tradition to give him a nutcracker each year for Christmas, but sadly I want able to give him one this year. I will always love him and miss him, but I missed him a little less yesterday. He knew I was terrified of flying, and it seemed like he was with me the whole way home. From the moment I stepped on the first of the two planes I flew on yewterday, it seemed like,he we right there with me and doing his best to keep me calm.  


Sorry, American Airlines 

  
Thank you for upgrading me to FIRST CLASS, so I could get home before Christmas.


Fuck You, American Airlines 

  
Not only did they cancel my flight yesterday and were rude about it, but today when I get to the airport my plane is delayed which means I cannot meet my connection. There are apparently no other possibilities to Montgomery because Delta and American won’t cooperate. My only option was to fly into fucking Atlanta and have my sister and brother-in-law, who hates me, come pick me up in Atlanta. Maybe I should have just made American fly me to Philadelphia and let me spend the holiday there at their expense while I tour the city. I have a feeling this is the last time I’m going to deal with American Airlines.


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