Monthly Archives: January 2016



This blog post was written for three reason: 1) I like the three pictures in this post and wanted a way to use them (even if only one is black horse like Bucephalus), 2) Alexander the Great has always been a hero of mine since he was both a gay man and military genius and I’m a gay man and a military historian, and 3) I like this story.

Bucephalus was Alexander the Great’s horse and is considered by some to be the most famous horse in history. Alexander and Bucephalus’ initial meeting was unique but demonstrated the true character of one of the greatest generals in all of history. Initially, Bucephalus was brought to Macedonia and presented to King Phillip II (Alexander’s father) in 346 BCE by Philoneicus of Thessaly. With a price tag almost three times the norm (13 talents), the beautiful black horse stood taller than the normal Macedonian steed but was considered too wild and unmanageable, rearing up against anyone who came near him. Phillip ordered him led away.

Alexander sat in the audience with his mother Olympias watching the spectacle before him. As the attendants tried to lead Bucephalus away, Alexander rose calling them spineless. According to Plutarch’s biography of Alexander, the young prince said, “What as excellent horse do they lose for want of address and boldness to manage him.” At first Phillip ignored the challenge, but finally said to Alexander, “Do you reproach those who are older than yourself, as if you were better able to manage him than they.” Alexander, ignoring his father remark, repeated his challenge and said he would pay for the horse if he, Alexander, were unable to tame him.

Amid wild laughter, Alexander approached the horse he would name Bucephalus calmly. He had realized something the others had not — the horse was afraid of his own shadow. Turning Bucephalus toward the sun so his shadow was behind him and slowing taking the reins in his hand, Alexander mounted him. The laughter of the crowd turned to cheers as Alexander rode off. 

According to Plutarch, as Alexander returned to the arena with Bucephalus and dismounted, Phillip said, “O my son look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee.” Historians claim this taming of the wild Bucephalus was a turning point in the young prince’s life, demonstrating the confidence and determination he was to show in his conquest of Asia.

Bucephalus and Alexander were inseparable; only Alexander could ride him, and indeed he did, into every battle from the conquest of the Greek city-states and Thebes through Gaugamela and into India. After the final defeat of Darius, Bucephalus was kidnapped while Alexander was away on excursion. Upon returning and learning of the theft, Alexander promised to fell every tree, lay the countryside to waste, and slaughter every inhabitant in the region. The horse was soon returned along with a plea for mercy.
Although historians disagree on the cause of the horse’s death – some claim he died from battle wounds – most agree he died of old age after the Battle of Hydaspes River (326 BCE). While Plutarch spoke of both possible causes of death, he cites Onesicritus, a historian who accompanied Alexander on his conquests, as stating the horse died of old age. However Bucephalus died, in mourning, Alexander founded a city in his beloved horse’s memory and named it Bucephala.




 I’m still not feeling 100 percent, so I thought I’d do something a bit different today. I want each of you to look at this picture and tell me what comes to mind. It can be one word, a sentence, or even a paragraph. 
For those of you who this picture evokes no particular thoughts, I’m going to give you a prompt. It obviously looks as though he is thinking something, pondering, you might say. What is he thinking about?

I obviously like this picture, but I want to know: What does it say to you? What feelings/emotions does it evoke? Do you even like the picture?

Feel free to answer one, all, or any number of the question. I’d like to hear your thoughts today.

To Hope

To Hope
By Charlotte Smith

Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes!
How shall I lure thee to my haunts forlorn!
For me wilt thou renew the wither’d rose,
And clear my painful path of pointed thorn?
Ah come, sweet nymph! in smiles and softness drest,
Like the young hours that lead the tender year,
Enchantress! come, and charm my cares to rest:—
Alas! the flatterer flies, and will not hear!
A prey to fear, anxiety, and pain,
Must I a sad existence still deplore?
Lo!—the flowers fade, but all the thorns remain,
“For me the vernal garland blooms no more.”
Come then, “pale Misery’s love!” be thou my cure,
And I will bless thee, who, tho’ slow, art sure.

Charlotte Smith published “To Hope” as a part of her collection of poems she called “Elegiac Sonnets.” She basically blends together two types of poetic form: the elegy, or a sad, mournful poem, and the sonnet, which is traditionally a love poem. By combining the sonnet form with the elegy, Smith made a revolutionary move in poetry for 1786, when the only sonnets most readers were familiar with had been written a couple of centuries before, by William Shakespeare and by the Italian poet Petrarch. Charlotte Smith pretty much single-handedly re-popularized the sonnet form, even if she’s a largely forgotten poet today.

A sonnet is a 14-line poem that is usually, but not always, in iambic pentameter. Also, a sonnet is usually, but not always, about love. (“To Hope” is an exception to this.) Now, there are two types of traditional sonnets. The original is the Petrarchan sonnet, which was invented by the Italian Renaissance poet Petrarch. William Shakespeare imported the sonnet form to England, and he changed it up a bit.

So, Charlotte Smith had a choice: she could use the imported English (a.k.a. Shakespearean) sonnet form, or she could go to the roots of the form and use the Petrarchan sonnet. She chose Petrarch—maybe because she wanted to re-popularize the form in England, but didn’t want to do it in the same way that Shakespeare did.


About 7pm last night, I got a bad case of the chills and was running a fever. I went to bed soon after. The fever is gone but I still feel like crap.


When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. – Psalm 34:17-19

The other day, I received the most beautiful card from a dear friend of mine. She knows how much I have struggled with my friend’s death and how it nearly shattered my faith when it shattered my world. I can’t say that I will ever get over this hurt and anguish that I feel each day as I miss him, but I am learning to live on and it has been friendships and messages like the one below that has helped to bring me out of the deepest of disparity that I felt. The message in the card was titled “I Prayed for You Today” and was written by Donna Fargo. The words inside the card read:

I prayed for you today, give thanks for your life, wished you the best, as the heavens to bless you with good health and happiness…

I prayed for you today. I sent you good thoughts, surrounded you with hope and faith and love. I ask your guardian angels to protect you and keep you safe from any harm and to blanket you with joy and contentment in peace and prosperity. I asked that you be guided with the wisdom to make choices to enhance your life in the awareness to make changes that are in your best interest. I wishes for you a storehouse of opportunities, the ability to meet your goals, and the joy of your own approval and acceptance. I wished for you your hearts desire, every need met, every prayer answered, and every dream come true.

I prayed for you today. I asked that you be prepared for whatever life hands you whatever you’re going through. I asked that your spirit be strong and lead you and guide you each step of the way down every path you take. I asked the universe to confirm for you that you’re someone very special. I asked the earth to be good to you, and I ask God to show you His perfect way. I prayed for you today.

As I was looking for more about Donna Fargo and her writings, I also came across this piece of writing which I hope will help someone else who is also grieving. This one is titled “You Will Get Your Smile Back.”

When you’re feeling off-balanced or puzzled by the detours life puts in your way, trust that things will eventually get easier. Your hurts will melt into lessons learned. There will be peace and possibilities, and you will feel better again.

The twinkle will come back to your eyes. There will be a skip in your step and a big sun in your sky. The melody will play again to the song in your heart. Eventually hope will replace discouragement. There will be answers to your questions and resolutions to your conflicts.

Your smile will come back and things will get better. Just remember…those who care for you are standing with you, praying for you, and believing that there will be a favorable outcome for all you’re going through.

There is always hope still in our hearts and no tragedy can ever take away that hope because one day we will be reunited with our loved ones. As for our sorrow, we can always remember the chorus of the hymn “No Night There,” which says, “God shall wipe away all tears; there’s no death, no pain, nor fears; and thy count not time by years for there is no night there.” The words of this chorus come from Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Moment of Zen: Underwear 

The undies below are my current favorites. The fit is perfect. Can you guess which ones I’m wearing today?



Last night, I had a (sort of) date. I met a guy on Grindr who genuinely interested in being friends. He’s a new grad student at a nearby college. He’s there for a graduate degree in writing and publishing and is from the Middle East. He is a very sweet guy. He’s a poet. Anyway, we went to dinner and then over to the college to listen to a lecture by a children’s author. He will be here for four months then home for summer and then back in the fall. If nothing else, he will be a good friend to go have dinner and such with. It will be nice to have someone to do things with and explore with.

Are you wondering what the above picture has to do with this post. Well they are looking out he window. Looking toward the future, which is what I’m doing.


I went to bed early with a backache. 



Last night, I fell asleep waiting for the State of the Union, Obama’s last one, to begin. First of all let me say, I hate the State of the Union Address. There is far too much political posturing. Speechwriter spit pauses in the speech so people know when to stand a clap. All that standing and sitting has to be annoying. And then there is the opposition party, who sits there looking, for the most part, like someone just stole their favorite toy. Every once in a while the president says something that everyone has to agree on, such as, “Our military is wonderful!” and everyone stands and applauds. If I were giving a State of the Union Address, I would begin by asking everyone to remain seated and hold their applause throughout the speech, and when they ignored that like most people do when similar requests are made, I’d chastise the audience. I would explain that the average American does not enjoy sitting and watching half the chamber sitting and sulking while the other half is giving a standing ovation. It’s just silly political posturing and I wouldn’t have it. We are all going to know what the opposition party thinks when they deliver their response, and we will know what everyone else thinks when they talk about it the next day. I wouldn’t want applauded just to stroke my own ego.

With that being said, I missed the first 20 minutes because I fell asleep, then I watched it for about 45 minutes before I got so bored and disgusted by the behavior of Congress that I turned it off and went to bed. I’d stayed up late the night before and I have an earlier than usual day today. (Staff in-service: woo-hoo. Note the sarcasm there.) By the way, does anyone else agree with me that Paul Ryan looks like a smug bastard. Boehner was bad enough, but he always just looked constipated during the State of the Union, and Nancy Pelosi before them looked bored. Joe Biden mouth and facial muscles must hurt by the end because of all the smiling he does. Dick Cheney never smiled at the State of the Union. Wait, was Cheney allowed out of his secure secret undisclosed location to attend the State of the Union? I guess he was, I don’t remember that seat being empty. 

By the way, did anyone notice that Obama went with a red and white tie instead of the obligatory democratic blue tie. Maybe he’s just an Alabama fan and wanted to show his support for the national championship that they just won in football, though I can’t imagine that he had an orange and purple tie for if Clemson won. I’m going with that he’s an Alabama fan.

Roll Tide Roll!


Yea, Alabama! Drown ’em Tide!
Every ‘Bama man’s behind you,
Hit your stride.
Go teach the Bulldogs to behave,
Send the Yellow Jackets to a watery grave.
And if a man starts to weaken,
That’s a shame!
For Bama’s pluck and grit have
Writ her name in Crimson flame.
Fight on, fight on, fight on men!
Remember the Rose Bowl, we’ll win then.
Go, roll to victory,
Hit your stride,
You’re Dixie’s football pride,
Crimson Tide, Roll Tide, Roll Tide!!


Hey Clemson!
Hey Clemson!
Hey Clemson!
We just beat the hell out of you!
Rammer Jammer, Yellowhammer,
give ’em hell, Alabama!