Monthly Archives: May 2017

Alone


In a comment yesterday, an anonymous commenter asked how last week went when I was alone at the office. In one brief word…boring. I did get a lot of work done on the book that I am writing as part of my job, but there wasn’t a lot else to do. The book by the way is a book of oral histories. Anyway, my boss came in long enough for us to do a tour of the museum for a group, but other than that it was just me and a student we have doing research in the museum, so technically, I wasn’t all alone. He’s quiet though and is a hard worker, so it was like being alone. Sometimes it’s nice to be in the office by myself. Yes, it gets boring, but I can get work done undisturbed. So there you have it. While I accomplished some of the work that I needed to get done, it was mostly just very boring.
PS Can anyone tell me what the model in the picture is holding in his hands?


The Phantoms For Which Clothes Are Designed

The Phantoms for Which Clothes Are Designed

by Chase Twichell

Sewing patterns are designed for imaginary
people, based on average measurements
taken in the 1930s by the WPA

and adjusted over the decades by the Industry.

I sew a Misses 14, designed for a woman
5’5” to 5’6”, 36/28/38,

which is to say no one,

so I alter the pattern to fit a phantom of me
instead of a phantom of her.

She doesn’t need any more dresses.
About This Poem

“I do a lot of sewing (clothes). Construction is easy compared to fitting, which is basically math coupled with anticipating how a fabric will behave in 3-D. I’ve probably made a hundred dresses that are perfect on the hanger but don’t fit well enough to wear into the world.”—Chase Twichell


Memorial Day

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Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates men and women who died while in military service to the United States. First enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the American Civil War, it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

Memorial Day often marks the start of the summer vacation season, and Labor Day its end.

Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the civil war, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not.

History

Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_DayBy 1865 the practice of decorating soldiers’ graves had become widespread in the North. The first known observance was in Boalsburg, Pa on October, 1864, and each year thereafter. The friendship between General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who helped bring attention to the event nationwide, was likely a factor in the holiday’s growth. On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic – the organization for Northern Civil War veterans – Logan issued a proclamation that “Decoration Day” should be observed nationwide. It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle.

There were events in 183 cemeteries in 27 states in 1868, and 336 in 1869. The northern states quickly adopted the holiday; Michigan made “Decoration Day” an official state holiday in 1871 and by 1890 every northern state followed suit. The ceremonies were sponsored by the Women’s Relief Corps, which had 100,000 members. By 1870, the remains of nearly 300,000 Union dead had been buried in 73 national cemeteries, located mostly in the South, near the battlefields. The most famous are Gettysburg National Cemetery in Pennsylvania and Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington.

The Memorial Day speech became an occasion for veterans, politicians and ministers to commemorate the war – and at first to recall the atrocities of the enemy. They mixed religion and celebratory nationalism and provided a means for the people to make sense of their history in terms of sacrifice for a better nation, one closer to their God. People of all religious beliefs joined together, and the point was often made that the German and Irish soldiers had become true Americans in the “baptism of blood” on the battlefield. By the end of the 1870s the rancor was gone and the speeches praised the soldiers of both the Union and Confederacy. By the 1950s, the theme was American exceptionalism and duty to uphold freedom in the world. In 1882, the name of Decoration Day was formally changed to Memorial Day in “memory” and ‘honor” of those who gave their lives fighting for a common cause, America.


Grace Works For Us Too!

“Grace Works For Us Too!”
By Pastor Charles Curtiss

All I heard while growing up as a kid was that salvation was attained through faith in Jesus Christ. One must believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary and rose again on the third day so that we might be saved from sin. Apparently, this truth applies to all but the homosexual. In spite of the fact that many Gay-Lesbian people embrace this truth by faith, they remain lost, according to so many, because of the fact that they are Gay or Lesbian. If only they were or had been born heterosexual, THEN they could have easily been saved. Foolishness! I have believed this wonderful message since I was a child, and my being Gay has not changed that fact one bit! The same stands true for millions of Gay people the world over.

I have seen this absurd contradiction all my life. I remember, even as a young man, called to preach at the age of 8, that I had a problem with the notion that God’s simple plan of salvation applied to some but not to others. You see, the fundamental problem with this “selective salvation” teaching is that it assumes that one’s sexual orientation is enough an issue to prevent them access to God’s love and grace. It also assumes that believers are somehow made perfect, and somewhat extra-human, after they have been converted from unbelief to faith. This notion is erroneous and idiotic. Faith in Christ does not make one perfect, it puts us on the role so that one day we might be perfected!

I hate to see Gay-Lesbian people roped into the false notion that grace does not apply to them “as long as they remain in their sinful lifestyle.” The Lord Jesus Christ Himself clearly taught that divorce was a man-made device that had no part in God’s original plan for humanity, from the very beginning, yet what churches today tell divorced people that they cannot be saved as long as they have been divorced? EVERYONE alive remains in sin, so long as they have breath in their body and are subject to earth’s gravity. What we become immune to are the penalties and jurisdiction of sin, by faith in Christ. It’s not that we no longer live with sin, but like a foreign diplomat in his host country, we are not subject to the laws of that country, but rather to the laws of our own! That is a fact. Even the apostle Paul acknowledged this reality.

Romans 7:14-25
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

If sin, according to the Bible, is defined as the “transgression of the law”

1 John 3:4
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

…and for one to be guilty of one transgression of that law is the same as being guilty of transgressing all the law,

James 2:10
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

…then the sad reality is, we cannot ever fully satisfy the law in total, regardless of who we are or how holy we perceive ourselves. This then is why the Word of God clearly states that “all our righteousness is as filthy rags.” Our best efforts don’t even begin to amount to the least possible effort in the eyes of God.

Isaiah 64:6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Many Christians have deceived themselves into believing that they are somehow perfect. They have allowed themselves to believe that their heterosexuality alone puts them in a better standing before the Lord then their Gay or Lesbian neighbor. This is nothing short of absolute deceit! No one stands before God perfect, before or after conversion! No one is capable of earning salvation, before or after conversion. No one is fully able to live above the influence of sin. It is not possible. But what faith and obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ does do for humanity is this – It allows us to stand perfect and holy before God today in anticipation of the day when we shall do so in reality, after our very nature has been changed and we appear before the Lord recreated in His likeness, according to man’s original design.

Psalms 17:15
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

1 John 3:2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Thankfully, while we do not yet appear as we shall one day appear, our loving Heavenly Father looks upon us as though we did. He sees in us that which He Himself has promised to make us. Because His Word cannot possibly fail, and He has promised us, if we will walk in faith and obedience to His plan of salvation, that we shall one day be made to look just like Him. And today, because of our faith, He already sees us in that light and not in the context of the sinful, failing, frail human creatures that we are.

I know the struggle of going back-and-forth, trying to satisfy family and the church. I have been down that road where one tries so hard to not be Gay, even going so far as to marry a woman. But as I try to tell Gay-Lesbian believers all the time, “IF YOU THINK THAT YOUR BECOMING STRAIGHT IS SUDDENLY GOING TO THRUST YOU INTO THE REALMS OF PERFECTION, ACCEPTANCE, AND APPROVAL WITHIN THE CHRISTIAN WORLD – YOU ARE SO VERY WRONG!” The truth is, many Gay-Lesbian people try so hard to do this in an effort to win the church’s or their family’s approval, only to find in the end that the church still is not satisfied with them. The preacher is still preaching their unworthiness. The church is still inventing new rules, regulations, and standards that they must yet arise to meet. So in the end, they finally realize that their self-loathing and inability to understand and accept God’s grace for them as gay-lesbian believers is only a small part of the overall problem. That problem being, a failure on the part of God’s church to fully and truthfully understand and apply the truths of love and grace! Many will then become so discouraged and despondent that they will simply stop trying to even serve the Lord at all. But the sad part of this story is, it was not at all necessary that they even go down that road to begin with!

There is not a heterosexual Christian on this planet who does not recognize that they have sin and issues within their own lives which they cannot change, no matter how hard they try. And these same Christians will come to the place where they reconcile their faith with their humanity, and learn to accept the grace of God for themselves. But, they do not want to extend this same courtesy to the Gay-Lesbian believer! For one thing, looking at the issue of homosexuality as this huge sin and horrendous transgression helps to reduce the size and scope of their sin, at least in their own feeble eyes. The worse they allow Gay-Lesbian people to appear in their eyes, the better they appear in their own site, even with their faults, failures, weaknesses, and sins. So the Gay-Lesbian population becomes a tool whereby they are able to reduce their own failings and elevate themselves, by putting the other down!

Dear reader; the requirements for salvation are applicable to one and all. There are no exceptions. If you can believe the message of the Gospel and have the faith to obey it’s simple mandate, you can be saved. Who you are is not an issue with God. What you believe is!


Moment of Zen: Superman


Cake


I’m so excited. Tomorrow night, I am going to see Cake in concert. Cake is my favorite band. I’ve seen them twice before: once in Birmingham opening for No Doubt and once by themselves in Montgomery. Tomorrow night’s concert will be on the Green at the Shelburne Museum. I really do love their music. If you too are a fan, what is your favorite song? Mine has to be “Sheep Go to Heaven,” but their are so many songs to love, such as “Pehaps, Perhaps, Perhaps,” “The Distance,” or “Short Skirt, Long Jacket.” I own all of their CDs, if I just knew where they all were.


The Legend of the House of LeMay


From humble beginnings at the Hot Damn Trailer Park in Beaver Pond, Vermont, Amber & Margaurite, the Sisters LeMay, have been entertaining for over ten years with silly songs, witty banter and outrageous costumes.

Over the years, a few extra trailers have moved into the park. Not far from the sisters’ double wide you can find the home of Lucy Belle LeMay, their “pretty” southern cousin. Lucy Belle holds the title of Miss Beaver Pond, and has won Best Drag Queen and Biggest Hair at Provincetown’s Carnival Week Drag Bingo. And not to be outdone, Margaurite has won Most Outrageous Drag Queen.

Down the road a piece from the LeMay’s trailer rests the Edna St. Vincent LeMay Memorial Laundromat, Community Center and Lint Museum. The laundromat is often the center of the goings on in Beaver Pond, and is well worth the visit. You’ve never had cleaner underwear!

Amber hosted Drag Queen Bingo, but Lucy Belle was there as well. Lucy Belle was so kind to her fellow southerner. She gave me a copy of their video, Slingbacks and Syrup, which tells the story of the Sisters LeMay.


Drag Queen Bingo 

Last night I went to Drag Queen Bingo with my boss and a coworker. We had a blast. I got in really late though, so I’ll have to tell you about it another time.


Trees

TREES

by JOYCE KILMER

“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”


Alone at Work 

For most of this week, I will be alone at work. Because of a screw up in HR, most everyone is taking off this week because they’d lose their time otherwise. Because I am paid through a different program, this didn’t affect me. I still have all my vacation time. So while everyone enjoys a week off, I will be holding down the fort. We do have one part-time employee that the HR error didn’t affect. She may be in some of the week, but she might be working out of the office too. Even so, most of the week, I will have the office to myself. I have a few minor projects to work on, but nothing to keep me busy the whole week. I will definitely be doing some reading while everyone is gone.


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