Category Archives: Video

Unusual Way

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Unusual Way
by Maury Yeston

In a very unusual way one time I needed you.
In a very unusual way you were my friend.
Maybe it lasted a day, maybe it lasted an hour.
But, somehow it will never end.

In a very unusual way I think I’m in love with you.
In a very unusual way I want to cry.
Something inside me goes weak,
Something inside me surrenders.
And you’re the reason why,
You’re the reason why

You don’t know what you do to me,
You don’t have a clue.
You can’t tell what its like to be me looking at you.
It scares me so, that I can hardly speak.

In a very unusual way, I owe what I am to you.
Though at times it appears I won’t stay, I never go.
Special to me in my life,
Since the first day that I met you.
How could I ever forget you,
Once you had touched my soul?
In a very unusual way,
You’ve made me whole.

Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/john-barrowman/unusual-way-lyrics/#IowuxcTvFJZ5KEiY.99

I came across this song the other day when listening to John Barrowman songs. The music video below is scenes from the movie “From Beginning To End.” The song itself is from the musical “Nine” by Maury Yeston.

I don’t often post songs for my poetry Tuesday posts, but this song really gripped my heart. It reminded me of the friend of mine that I lost. The first thing I thought when I heard this song was to send it to him, but of course I couldn’t do that. We had an extremely close but somewhat unusual friendship. So much of this song described our friendship. As the song ends:

How could I ever forget you,
Once you had touched my soul?
In a very unusual way,
You’ve made me whole.


Don’t Look Back

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The song playing at the restaurant I was at for lunch had the following lyrics:

Oh Lord, why have you forsaken me?
Got me down in Mississippi where I don’t want to be.

Switch Mississippi for Alabama and that was me 6 months ago. It was ironic because I went yesterday and got my new Vermont license plates and driver’s license. I am now an official citizen of Vermont. I was even able to register to vote as part of my driver’s license application. The bad thing is Becoming a Vermont citizen is quite expensive and I still have to pay for my car to be inspected and to get holes drilled on my front bumper to be able to mount the front license plate.

I’d planned to get them back on my birthday but had forgotten some of my documents and had to go home. By the time I got home, it had been almost 24 hours since I’d heard from my best friend and I tried desperately to get in touch with him only to find out that night that he’d died in a car accident. It has taken me this long to be able to go and try again. Plus, I had the afternoon off today.

Back to the song above, I had no idea who the artist was or the name of the song. I did some searching and found out that it is by The SteelDrivers and is called “Ghosts of Mississippi.” Here are the full lyrics:

Late one night behind corn whiskey
I fell asleep with a guitar in my hand
I dreamed about the ghosts of Mississippi
And the blues came walkin’ in like a man

Without a word I passed that guitar over
He tuned it up like I’d never seen
A crooked smile was his expression
Then he closed his eyes and began to sing

(chorus)
Oh Lord why have you forsaken me
Got me down in Mississippi where I don’t want to be
Oh Lord why have you forsaken me
Got me down in Mississippi where I don’t want to be

(repeat chorus)

When I woke up I looked into the mirror
I saw no reflection for a while
But as my eyes came into focus
I recognized that crooked smile

(repeat chorus)

Late one night behind corn whiskey
I fell asleep with a guitar in my hand
I dreamed about the ghosts of Mississippi
And the blues came walkin’ like a man

(repeat chorus)


Do I Sound Gay?

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Confession: I’ve always been self-conscious about “sounding gay.” It’s one of the main things that “gives me away” as gay. I knew that my anxiety came from my internalized homophobia telling me: Gay = bad, so sounding gay = bad. A compelling new documentary is bringing together some of the biggest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) celebrities to discuss a question that probably crosses the mind of every gay man at some point in his life: Do I sound gay?

From director David Thorpe, “Do I Sound Gay?” aims to present an intelligent and and provocative cultural analysis of the “gay voice.” Throughout this process, Thorpe talks to linguists, celebrities, historians, voice coaches and total strangers to share their own thoughts and experiences surrounding the idea of ‘sounding gay.’

In the tradition of funny-but-serious first-person movies like Supersize Me, Roger and Me and Good Hair, Thorpe encounters a colorful cast of linguists, historians, voice coaches, speech therapists, friends, family, and total strangers on the street, gay and non-gay, who share their wisdom and touching, funny stories about the “gay voice.” There are also intimate confessions and hilarious anecdotes from LGBT icons – Margaret Cho, Tim Gunn, Don Lemon, Dan Savage, David Sedaris and George Takei – as they open up about the “gay voice.” Over the course of three years, Thorpe did 165 interviews in four countries.

Here are five reasons. David Thorpe gives for making this film and a few comments from me:

Reason No. 1:

Some gay men are self-conscious about “sounding gay,” even famous ones like David Sedaris. Let’s start hashing out this whole “sounding gay” thing, so we can all be OURSELVES in this small but crucial way. It’s something about me that I’ve come to own and make it my own.

Reason No. 2:

“Sounding gay” is still a trigger for mockery, bullying and violence. LGBT kids are far more likely to commit suicide or drop out of school because they feel unsafe. Zach King, one of our brave young subjects, was viciously assaulted at school. I was always made fun of for my “gay voice,” sometimes I still am, and it has always, even to this day, raises my hackles.

Reason No. 3:

Hard to believe, but nobody has comprehensively explored the phenomenon of “sounding gay.” Voice and sexuality – two fundamental features of human existence, and yet most people don’t have a clue how they’re related. Instead, we have stupid stereotypes. Let’s toss ‘em in the trash. Knowledge is power.

Reason No. 4:

A lot of people think it’s okay to be gay as long as you don’t act – or sound – that way. The daily pressure to cover, hide or “pass” affects many minorities. Let’s relieve the pressure.

Reason No. 5:

Our title isn’t just a title. Combined with our rainbow tongue logo, it’s an empowerment icon, a sneaky, fun, viral way to say it’s OK to sound – and be – gay. When the movie gets made, you’ll see rainbow tongues everywhere, asking, “Do I Sound Gay?”

The film is currently engaged in a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund post-production. Visit the project’s Kickstarter for more information.


All-American Boy

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A friend of mine sent me a link to the video below, and I think it’s pretty fantastic.  I was raised on country music, in fact I’m going to a concert tonight (the group Alabama).  I wouldn’t say I’m a huge country music fan, because I tend to like older country music.  Most of the time when I listen to the radio in the car, I am listening to NPR, not music.  I tend to like funky alternative rock more, but I do like some country music.  When my friend sent me this video, he said, “Since you like country music you are going to enjoy this video.  It’s got a surprise twist.  And the singer is so damn gorgeous and so aptly named.  It is making its rounds on gay sites so you might have seen it already.”  I had not seen it, but I couldn’t pass up an introduction like that.  You guys may have already seen it, if not I hope you will watch it.  Let me know what you think.
Steve Grand  is out to be a country music star, and an out one at that. He’s got the whole package – great voice, musically talented, incredibly hot, and fearless, as you can see in his video for “All American Boy” which he created out of pocket, as he doesn’t have a label yet. The hopelessly romantic singer falls for a guy in a heterosexual relationship in the video. The two spend time together leading to skinny-dipping in a river and a kiss. Unfortunately, the attraction is only held by one of the characters. His lyrics are quite dreamy for his crush “He smiles, his arms around her but his eyes are holding me, just a captive to his wonder, ohh I say we go this road tonight.” Steve produced all his own music, as he does not have a manager or label. He raised funds to pay for everything on his own by playing piano at a local joint and at a church. 
 
He’s ready to be upfront and honest from the start of his career, “time to be brave. the world does not see change until it sees honesty. I am taking a risk here in many ways, but really there is no choice but to be brave. To not tell this story is to let my soul die. It is all I believe in. It is all I hold dear. We have all longed for someone we can never have… we all have felt that ache for our ‎#allamericanboy.”

 

Gay country music artists do not have a good track record.  Josey Greenwell ended up recording a pop song, and k.d. lang left country music, at least for the most part.  I love to hear all of them sing, but I love k.d. more as a jazz artist.  She has a beautiful voice.  I hope Josey goes back to his country music roots and finds success, just as I hope Steve Grand has success.


Thank you, Steve Grand, for having the courage to make the music you want and to be a voice for thousands, in a music genre that may not support you. 

If You Have Not Seen This Video, Please Watch It

I’m not going to make any comment other than to make sure that you watch the whole video.

Colby Melvin on Coming Out and Politics

A few months ago, I posted about the model Colby Melvin.  If you don’t know who he is, then I think you should. Born in the deep South, Colby Melvin was brought up to be a gentleman, but his mother taught him early on that to make a difference in this world, you need to be a little bit “hell raiser” too! So, it isn’t surprising that Colby has quickly become one of the most public activists in the fight for marriage equality across the country. Colby holds fast to his core beliefs of sincerity, civility, honesty and kindness and has used them as the basis for his commitment to raise awareness for LGBT issues. Combining his passion for politics with his love of entertainment, Colby emerged as a top spokesmodel for Andrew Christian. Soon after, he began working with Full Frontal Freedom, a coalition of independent artists and media executives – using their talent and creativity to raise awareness and enhance civil discourse. It was his first video with Full Frontal Freedom, a parody of a popular One Direction hit, that garnered Colby national attention for his willingness to publicly fight for the causes he believes in. The “Disclosure” video became one of the most watched political videos of the 2012 campaign cycle and resulted in Colby receiving the Human Rights Award for Political Performing Arts from the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club in New York.

As outspoken as Colby has become about LGBT issues and the fight for marriage equality, his journey was not always easy. After graduating from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, Colby went to work in the oil and gas industry. The oil spill of 2010 found him in a major management position helping in the Gulf Coast recovery. It was during this time that Colby’s “secret” was discovered by a superior. After tolerating the corporate bullying, Colby made a decision – he would not hide who he was. Colby left his job, came out to family and friends and began working towards his dream of becoming a force in the LGBT community.

I am a great admirer of Colby, even more so after I saw this video about his experience coming out that was posted on the Underwear Expert blog on National Coming Out Day.  This is such a touching video, from the photos to the story Colby tells, that I had to share it with you guys.  I especially identified with is answer to the question, “Did you always know you were gay?”

Colby’s message is of acceptance and courage, friendship and trust; an important message indeed. And coming from a guy that’s come so far in so little time, it’s especially topical. Being gay behind closed doors is sometimes what we need, but being who we are and proud of it isn’t just about opening one door — it’s about opening door, after door, after door because when we are true to ourselves self, anything is possible.  While my job doesn’t allow me to come out and be as open as Colby, I admire him.  My coming out experiences were not like his, but it does show that there is hope for the LGBT community in the South.  There are accepting people in the South, and I have known many of them.  They are also generally the ones that I am out and proud to.
Colby is also actively political and it shows in many of the charities he is involved in, especially concerning gay marriage equality. He produced and starred in a music-video parody of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” earlier this summer. The video, released by Full Frontal Freedom, a campaign to increase political awareness of LGBT issues and promote LGBT equality, showcased rewritten lyrics urging Romney to release his tax returns. That video has received 3.4 million views, by the way. Melvin is to present the video later this month at the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club’s Pre-Election Reception in New York on Thursday, October 25, 2012.

A handful of models, including Andrew Christian faves Colby Melvin and Quinn Jaxon, have teamed up with Full Frontal Freedom, an “Independent pro-equality movement not affiliated with, endorsed by or sponsored by any state campaign.” The collaboration produced a winning political parody of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” Starring a sexually mixed (half-straight, half-gay) and underwear clad cast of characters that includes Colby Melvin (who’s also the face and spokesmodel for the coalition), Quinn Jaxon, Brandon Brown, Jonathan Myers and David Brackett, the video asks Romney to show what’s down below:  

Colby Melvin told The Underwear Expert, “The whole purpose of Full Frontal Freedom is about using different forms of media and artists so we can promote political engagement and just get people to give a sh*t.” And how exactly do you do that? Get ultra viral underwear models to get involved. “We get tons and tons and tons of views on our pictures and videos, so many comments and likes,” Colby continued. “We can actually use that for good to get people involved in the issues.”


The Raven

The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door;
Only this, and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost Lenore,.
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore,
Nameless here forevermore.
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
” ‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door,
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door.
This it is, and nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is, I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you.” Here I opened wide the door;—
Darkness there, and nothing more.
Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word,
Lenore?, This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word,
“Lenore!” Merely this, and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, something louder than before,
“Surely,” said I, “surely, that is something at my window lattice.
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore.
Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore.
“‘Tis the wind, and nothing more.”
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven, of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door.
Perched upon a bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door,
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven, wandering from the nightly shore.
Tell me what the lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore.”
Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning, little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door,
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”
But the raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered;
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Other friends have flown before;
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master, whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster, till his songs one burden bore,—
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of “Never—nevermore.”
But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore —
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
Thus I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl, whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o’er
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee — by these angels he hath
Sent thee respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, O quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the raven, “Nevermore!”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!–prophet still, if bird or devil!
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted–
On this home by horror haunted–tell me truly, I implore:
Is there–is there balm in Gilead?–tell me–tell me I implore!”
Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil–prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that heaven that bends above us–by that God we both adore–
Tell this soul with sorrow laden, if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden, whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore?
Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”
“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting–
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! — quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”
And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming.
And the lamplight o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!
The Raven is my favorite Poe poem (second is probably The Bells).  I absolutely adore the rhythm of Poe’s poetry, and I always here Vincent Price reading it in my mind when I read it.
Edgar Allan Poe wrote an essay on the creation of “The Raven,” entitled “The Philosophy of Composition.” In that essay Poe describes the work of composing the poem as if it were a mathematical problem, and derides the poets that claim that they compose “by a species of fine frenzy – an ecstatic intuition – and would positively shudder at letting the public take a peep behind the scenes.” Whether Poe was as calculating as he claims when he wrote “The Raven” or not is a question that cannot be answered; it is, however, unlikely that he created it exactly like he described in his essay. The thoughts occurring in the essay might well have occurred to Poe while he was composing it. 
In “The Philosophy of Composition,” Poe stresses the need to express a single effect when the literary work is to be read in one sitting. A poem should always be written short enough to be read in one sitting, and should, therefore, strive to achieve this single, unique effect. Consequently, Poe figured that the length of a poem should stay around one hundred lines, and “The Raven” is 108 lines. 
The most important thing to consider in “Philosophy” is the fact that “The Raven,” as well as many of Poe’s tales, is written backwards. The effect is determined first, and the whole plot is set; then the web grows backwards from that single effect. Poe’s “tales of ratiocination,” e.g. the Dupin tales, are written in the same manner. “Nothing is more clear than that every plot, worth the name, must be elaborated to its denouement before anything be attempted with the pen”. 
It was important to Poe to make “The Raven” “universally appreciable.” It should be appreciated by the public, as well as the critics. Poe chose Beauty to be the theme of the poem, since “Beauty is the sole legitimate province of the poem.” After choosing Beauty as the province, Poe considered sadness to be the highest manifestation of beauty. “Beauty of whatever kind in its supreme development invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears. Melancholy is thus the most legitimate of all the poetical tones.”
Of all melancholy topics, Poe wanted to use the one that was universally understood, and therefore, he chose Death as his topic. Poe (along with other writers) believed that the death of a beautiful woman was the most poetical use of death, because it closely allies itself with Beauty. 
After establishing subjects and tones of the poem, Poe started by writing the stanza that brought the narrator’s “interrogation” of the raven to a climax, the third verse from the end, and he made sure that no preceding stanza would “surpass this in rhythmical effect.” Poe then worked backwards from this stanza and used the word “Nevermore” in many different ways, so that even with the repetition of this word, it would not prove to be monotonous. 
Poe builds the tension in this poem up, stanza by stanza, but after the climaxing stanza he tears the whole thing down, and lets the narrator know that there is no meaning in searching for a moral in the raven’s “nevermore”. The Raven is established as a symbol for the narrator’s “Mournful and never-ending remembrance.” “And my soul from out that shadow, that lies floating on the floor, shall be lifted – nevermore!”


The Ancient Olympics

ancient-olympics When I took my first history class in college, I did a research project on the Ancient Olympics. I had always been fascinated with the thought of athletes competing in the nude, but I also was in by the Summer Olympics that year, which were being held in Atlanta. My family and I actually went to the Olympics that year since it was close by and had a great time. I was thinking today about doing another history post and I was thinking about all the conversation we have been having about circumcision, and the idea of the Ancient Olympics came to me.

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One of the things I learned during that research project on the Ancient Olympics is that men were not allowed to compete if they were kynodesmecircumcised, which meant that during that time Greek Jews were not allowed to compete in the Ancient Olympics. I also learned that in order to protect their penis during wrestling matches and other contact sports, the men would tie a string around the tip of their foreskin enclosing their glans, thus keeping them safe. The kynodesme was tied tightly around the part of the foreskin that extended beyond the glans. The kynodesme could then either be attached to a waist band to expose the scrotum, or tied to the base of the penis so that the penis appeared to curl upwards.

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The ancient Olympics were rather different from the modern Games. There were fewer events, and only free men who spoke Greek could compete, instead of athletes from any country. Also, the games were always held at Olympia instead of moving around to different sites every time.

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Like our Olympics, though, winning athletes were heroes who put their home towns on the map. One young Athenian nobleman defended his political reputation by mentioning how he entered seven chariots in the Olympic chariot-race. This high number of entries made both the aristocrat and Athens look very wealthy and powerful.
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There are numerous myths about how the Olympics began. One myth says that the guardians of the infant god Zeus held the first footrace, or that Zeus himself started the Games to celebrate his victory over his father Cronus for control of the world. Another tradition states that after the Greek hero Pelops won a chariot race against King Oenomaus to marry Oenomaus’s daughter Hippodamia, he established the Games.

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Athletic games also were an important part of many religious festivals from early on in ancient Greek culture. In the Iliad, the famous warrior Achilles holds games as part of the funeral services for his best friend Patroclus. The events in them include a chariot race, a footrace, a discus match, boxing and wrestling.

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The footrace was the sole event for the first 13 Olympiads. Over time, the Greeks added longer footraces, and separate events. The pentathlon and wrestling events were the first new sports to be added, in the 18th Olympiad.
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Click on any of the event names to see a description of a particular sport:

olive-wreath-ancient-olympicsThe victorious olive branch. The Ancient Olympic Games didn’t have any medals or prizes. Winners of the competitions won olive wreaths, branches, as well as woolen ribbons. The victors returned home as heroes – and got showered with gifts by their fellow citizens.
Here are two videos the History Channel did about the Ancient Olympics. Too bad, they have them wearing modesty pouches.

By the way, for those interested, here is an explanation of women’s role in the Ancient Olympics:
Married women were banned at the Ancient Olympics on the penalty of death. The laws dictated that any adult married woman caught entering the Olympic grounds would be hurled to her death from a cliff! Maidens, however, could watch (probably to encourage gettin’ it on later). But this didn’t mean that the women were left out: they had their own games, which took place during Heraea, a festival worshipping the goddess Hera. The sport? Running – on a track that is 1/6th shorter than the length of a man’s track on the account that a woman’s stride is 1/6th shorter than that of a man’s! The female victors at the Heraea Games actually got better prizes: in addition to olive wreaths, they also got meat from an ox slaughtered for the patron deity on behalf of all participants! Overall, young girls in Ancient Greece weren’t encouraged to be athletes – with a notable exception of Spartan girls. The Spartans believed that athletic women would breed strong warriors, so they trained girls alongside boys in sports. In Sparta, girls also competed in the nude or wearing skimpy outfits, and boys were allowed to watch.
Another side note, Spartan marriage rituals are quite fascinating, if any one is interested I will do a straight post about Spartan sexuality and the marriage rituals. It will have some about gay sex, these were the Spartans after all.


In Honor of Memorial Day Weekend

This post is for all the soldiers who died fighting for our freedoms. More than we will ever know, we’re gay soldiers who fought even though they were banned from doing so because of their sexuality. Now soldiers can finally serve open and honestly and those deaths were not in vain.


Footage of a heartwarming reunion between a gay U.S. Navy seaman and his boyfriend is making the blogosphere rounds.

The sailor, identified in the video simply as Trent, had been deployed on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson for nearly six months, according to Towleroad. Waiting for Trent amongst the friends and family at the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, Calif. was his boyfriend, Lee.

As he waits, an “ecstatic” Lee nervously checks his phone repeatedly before finally greeting Trent with a passionate smooch — yet another poignant reminder of the progress made since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” last fall.

When the narrator asks Trent what he plans to do when he retires from military service in 10 months, he gleefully replies, “Go to Disneyland!”


U.S. Air Force Academy Graduates First Openly Gay Cadets

In yet another historic, post-“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” moment, the U.S. Air Force Academy graduated the nation’s first group of openly gay cadets this week.

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer caught up with faculty members and some of the graduates, each of which shook hands with President Obama during the ceremony in Colorado Springs, Colo. Aside from the fact that openly gay members were among the ranks, most cadets interviewed said the impact from last year’s repeal was relatively minimal.

“It’s pretty much just like any other repeal,” one cadet said. “We just got told that this is what’s gonna happen, and we all need to be adults about it.”

Though several media outlets have noted the lack of rainbow flags or other obvious lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride-relevant symbols during the ceremony, Trish Heller — who heads the Blue Alliance, an association of LGBT Air Force Academy alumni — said the reason was obvious.

“The whole thing is we don’t want to be identified as anything different,” Heller is quoted by ABC as saying. She noted that her group had connected with at least four members of the class of 2012 who had come out publicly as LGBT, though others likely preferred to keep a low profile. “We want to serve, to be professional and to be symbols of what it means to be Air Force Academy graduates.”


School’s Out by WH Davies

“School’s Out” may have been Alice Cooper’s first big hit single but did you know it’s also the title of a poem by a Welsh poet born in 1871? If you left school a few decades ago, you’re probably more familiar with the poet as the author of “Leisure”, with its famous opening couplet: “What is this life if, full of care, / We have no time to stand and stare.” No doubt “Leisure” was once, for many young people, their first encounter with printed poetry. The author, of course, is William Henry Davies, sometimes nicknamed “the tramp poet”.
Davies began writing after a serious accident in which, trying to jump onto an express train in Renfrew, Ontario, he was dragged under the wheels. His work doesn’t usually dwell on the uglier side of vagrancy, but celebrates the pleasure and joy (two emotions which he was at pains to distinguish) to be had from nature and the simple life. His exuberance seems entirely unforced. There is no self-pity, although he endured a good deal of hardship in prisons and doss-houses before accomplishing his dream of publication, and his “leisure” must surely have been painful at times. Limping on a primitive wooden leg, he had good reason to slow down and gaze around him.
Davies delivers homilies in some of his verses, but he is never pompous or pious. He is the poet as everyman, using his eyes, his humor and his common sense; a natural lyricist with a direct line to the rhythmic vitality of our dear unfashionable old friend, the Common Muse.
As often with Davies’s poems, “School’s Out” is glancingly autobiographical. It is not a child’s-eye view, and it was not intended, as far as I know, to be a children’s poem. But then, I’m not entirely sure what a children’s poem is. Before writing for children became an industry, children simply looked over the adults’ shoulders, and found plenty to enjoy.
This little poem could be a medieval lyric: it could be a nursery rhyme or a carol. It’s as timeless as the liberation it delights in. A wry self-mockery reveals to the knowing reader the poet’s personal story: the “old man” he orders to “hobble home” may well be himself. But the dimeter rhythm gives the poem a gusty, bouncing pace, the staccato verses succeeding each other like short sharp flurries of March wind. Everything is in fugue – the children, the animals and birds as they hasten out of the way – and the tramps, at possible risk from so much vitality. Any hint of darkness is banished in the cheery apostrophe of the last two lines. There’s a lovely contrast between the skippety dactyl of “Merry mites” and the surprising, ceremonious spondee, “Welcome”. Perhaps it’s not strictly a spondee, but, in bagging a line all to itself, the word seems to insist on taking two full stresses: well come!
So this Poem of the week welcomes anybody who can remember what Alice Cooper described as one of the best moments in life: “the last three minutes of the last day of school when you’re sitting there and it’s like a slow fuse burning.”
School’s Out
Girls scream,
    Boys shout;
Dogs bark,
    School’s out.
Cats run,
    Horses shy;
Into trees
    Birds fly.
Babes wake
    Open-eyed;
If they can,
    Tramps hide.
Old man,
    Hobble home;
Merry mites,
    Welcome.
I also have to add this cute little poem, though I do not know who it is by:
Great Expectations
It’s time to say good-bye
Our year has come to an end.
I’ve made more cherished memories
and many more new friends.
I’ve watched your child learn and grow
and change from day to day.
I hope that all the things we’ve done
Have helped in some small way.
So it’s with happy memories
I send them out the door,
With great hope and expectations
for what next year holds in store.

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