Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Every Day



Every Day
Written by Jeffrey Steele and Alissa Moreno
Recorded by Rascal Flatts

You could've bowed out gracefully
But you didn't
You knew enough to know
To leave well enough alone
But you wouldn't
I drive myself crazy
Tryin' to stay out of my own way
The messes that I make
But my secrets are so safe
The only one who gets me
Yeah, you get me
It's amazing to me

How every day
Every day, every day
You save my life

I come around all broken down and
Crowded out
And you're comfort
Sometimes the place I go 
Is so deep and dark and desperate
I don't know, I don't know

How every day
Every day, every day
You save my life

Sometimes I swear, I don't know if 
I'm comin' or goin'
But you always say something
Without even knowin'
That I'm hangin' on to your words
With all of my might and it's alright
Yeah, I'm alright for one more night-
Every day
Every day, every day, every day
Every day, every day
You save me, you save me, oh, oh, oh
Every day
Every, every, every day-

Every day you save my life


Jeffrey Steele, one of the song's co-writers, was inspired to write down the title after meeting singer Sarah Buxton at a restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee. Buxton told Steele about her roommate, saying "Every day, she saves my life". Steele then went home thinking about a lyric. Later on, while at a songwriting seminar in Colorado, Steele met songwriter Alissa Moreno, who was playing a melody on the piano. Steele then sang the title that he had written alongside Moreno's melody, they worked on the lyric and melody, and the song was completed. He then sent the song to record producer Dann Huff, who recommended the song to Rascal Flatts. The group then recorded it for their Still Feels Good album, giving Moreno her second outside cut as a songwriter.

A friend sent me the lyrics to this song in a very sweet card.  In the card, he wrote about all the reasons he thought this song described me.  The thing is, it really describes him from my perspective.  He's always been there for me when I was down.  He's always been their encouraging me to be a better person, and I really do try.  I value our friendship and though my friend may say that every day, I save his life, he's the one that saves mine everyday by being my friend.  Through thick and thin, he's a true friend.  I love you, my friend.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Gone with the Wind



'Gone With the Wind' to celebrate 75th anniversary with theatrical screenings showing the movie as it was originally shown seventy-five years ago.  I took my mother to see GWTW, and it was worth every second of the five hours we sat in that theater.  Though the movie has a running time of 238 minutes (with overture, intermission, entr'acte, and exit music), the theater where we saw it apparently didn't know how to run a movie.  The intermission should have been 15 minutes, but due to technical difficulties was over 45 minutes.  It was still worth it to see my mama enjoy a movie that she has loved since she was a teenager.

TCM is presenting screenings of Gone With the Wind on Sept. 28 and Oct. 1 in movie theaters across the nation. If you are a fan of the movie, it is worth the price of the ticket to see it (even if ticket prices are more than the $10 that was the cost to see the originally premiere in Atlanta with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in the audience).

Because we still give a damn: Long considered among the greatest films ever made, Gone With the Wind starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland celebrates its 75th anniversary this month.

Here are the details from Fathom Events, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and TCM:
Scarlett O’Hara won and then lost Rhett Butler, Atlanta burned and the antebellum South was shown in all its splendor and decimation in one of cinema’s most treasured and most successful films, “Gone With the Wind.” And now, as part of the festivities to mark the 10-time Oscar©-winning film’s 75th anniversary, Fathom Events is joining with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Turner Classic Movies to bring “TCM Presents: Gone With the Wind” back to its original home in select theatres nationwide and presented in its original aspect ratio so audiences can experience it as it was originally shown 75 years ago. The film will be exhibited on Sunday, September 28 and Wednesday, October 1 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time.
In addition to the classic film, which starred Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, Olivia De Havilland as Melanie Hamilton and Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes, “TCM Presents: Gone With the Wind” included a specially produced introduction by  TCM host and film historian Robert Osborne.

As any fan of classic films or American literature surely knows, “Gone With the Wind” is the Epic Civil War drama about spoiled southern belle Scarlett O'Hara. Starting with her idyllic life on the plantation Tara, it traces her unrequited love for Ashley Wilkes, her tempestuous relationship with roguish Rhett Butler and her struggles as Atlanta burns, her family home is decimated and she vows to never go hungry again. As has been evident from the enduring devotion that fans have for the story – on film, on the pages of Margaret Mitchell’s original novel, on TV and home entertainment formats – frankly, they DO give a damn about Scarlett’s triumphs, travails and ultimate will to survive.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

God Is Love



Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:7-21

Let’s look at how the Bible describes love, and then we will see a few ways in which God is the essence of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a). This is God's description of love, and because God is love (1 John 4:8), this is what He is like.

Love (God) does not force Himself on anyone. Those who come to Him do so in response to His love. Love (God) shows kindness to all. Love (Jesus) went about doing good to everyone without partiality. Love (Jesus) did not covet what others had, living a humble life without complaining. Love (Jesus) did not brag about who He was in the flesh, although He could have overpowered anyone He ever came in contact with. Love (God) does not demand obedience. God did not demand obedience from His Son, but rather, Jesus willingly obeyed His Father in heaven. “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31). Love (Jesus) was/is always looking out for the interests of others.

The greatest expression of God's love is communicated to us in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Romans 5:8 proclaims the same message: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We can see from these verses that it is God's greatest desire that we join Him in His eternal home, heaven. He has made the way possible by paying the price for our sins. He loves us because He chose to as an act of His will. Love forgives. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

God is Love, and His love is very different from human love. God's love is unconditional, and it's not based on feelings or emotions. He doesn't love us because we're lovable or because we make Him feel good; He loves us because He is love. He created us to have a loving relationship with Him, and He sacrificed His own Son (who also willingly died for us) to restore that relationship.

Can anyone really comprehend "unconditional" love? It seems the love that parents have for their children is as close to unconditional love as we can get without the help of God's love in our lives. The problem is that even that is not conceivable to many of us as unconditional because many of us have been rejected by our families because of our sexuality.  One of the greatest things my father ever did was to remind my mother when she found out I was gay, that I was their son and that she would always love me no matter what.

If I ever had children, I'd continue to love my children through good times and bad, and I wouldn't stop loving them if they didn't meet the expectations I may have for them. Many parents may be able to love their children unconditionally, but as gay Christians we often find the conditions and limits of their love. God's love for us is different.  God's love transcends the human definition of love to a point that is hard for us to comprehend.  He will never reject  us or put conditions on His love for us, even if other people will do,so in His name, but those people merely prove that they do not know God.

The passage from 1 John above has one of my favorite biblical passages, "If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother."  It is so clearly stated and yet there are constantly people who proclaim that they love God, but in the next breath will tell you all the people they hate and the myriad of reasons for their hate.  It bothers me even more when someone says that God hates someone or some group.  God is love, therefore hate does not exist for in him.

I hope that one day, the message of God's love is spread throughout every man's heart.  In that day, the world will be a better place.  We can begin by showing our love for mankind as God does.  We should lead by example, and we should pray for those who have lost their way to come back to the heart of the message of God. 

I want to end today's post with a beautiful song that exemplifies what I wrote about today.

God Is Love
By Seth Wells

Come, let us all unite to sing:
God is love!
Let Heav’n and earth their praises bring,
God is love!
Let every soul from sin awake,
Let every heart sweet music make,
And sing with us for Jesus’ sake:
God is love!

God is love! God is love!
Come let us all unite to sing that God is love.

O tell to earth’s remotest bound,
God is love!
In Christ we have redemption found,
God is love!
His blood has washed our sins away,
His Spirit turned our night to day,
And now we can rejoice to say:
God is love!

God is love! God is love!
Come let us all unite to sing that God is love.

How happy is our portion here,
God is love!
His promises our spirits cheer,
God is love!
He is our sun and shield by day,
Our help, our hope, our strength and stay;
He will be with us all the way;
God is love!

God is love! God is love!
Come let us all unite to sing that God is love.

In Canaan we will sing again:
God is love!
And this shall be our loudest strain:
God is love!
Whilst endless ages roll along,
We’ll triumph with the heavenly throng
And this shall be our sweetest song:
God is love!

God is love! God is love!
Come let us all unite to sing that God is love.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Moment of Zen: ____________



I will let you fill in your own blank for the subtitle of this Moment of Zen.  I don't think it will be hard to imagine why I find a certain perfection and tranquility in this picture.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Life Can Make a Liar Out of You


In my post on Wednesday, I discussed how I haven't been able to take a nap in the afternoon, even though I was tired.  Well, by the time school was over yesterday, I was so exhausted, I could barely hold my head up.  I think I might be coming down with something because I ached all over.  This was not just a headache, it was body aches. I wasn't running a fever though, which was good.  I got home, got undressed, and went straight to sleep.  I woke up a few hours later to check my phone for messages and to answer a phone call, then tried to go back to sleep, but this time I could only lay there.  I eventually got out of bed and got something to eat, then I went back to bed.  I did some reading, some work, and watched some TV.  Eventually, I fell back to sleep.  I hope I continue to feel better today.  I really don't want to be sick.  Sunday, I am supposed to go with my mother to see the 75th anniversary showing of Gone with the Wind.  I'm excited to see it in the movie theater, and to see my mother see it in the theater again.  She saw it on the 25th and 50th anniversaries.  It's her favorite movie and these tickets were part of her birthday from me this year.  So I need to be feeling better.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Callipygian Pygophilia



The English word of Greek origin "callipygian" indicates someone who has beautiful buttocks. However, the qualities that make buttocks beautiful or well-formed are not fixed, as sexual aesthetics of the buttocks vary considerably from culture to culture, from one period of fashion to another and even from person to person.

Pygophilia is the sexualization of the buttocks. According to Wikipedia, which apparently knows everything, “[w]hile female buttocks are often eroticized in heterosexual erotica, men’s buttocks are eroticized in gay male circles. Much of gay male sexuality centers on anal intercourse and penetration, so the buttocks are eroticized due to their proximity to the anus and the genitals.”

That’s not exactly right, somehow, but close enough.  Generally speaking, when it comes to pygophilia, the bigger the bootie the better… within reason.  Enter the bubble butt.

Bubble butts have long been a desirable trait. In fact, when tightly packed into jeans, they often translate into free drinks at the bar, lots of bad pickup lines, and some serious grab-ass as the night wears on. An ample arse on Manhunt often elicits messages of “nice butt, man,” or “hot ass, dude,” and other more explicit enthusiasms.

We have this one coach at school who has the most amazing butt.  It's truly mesmerizing and since he often wears athletic shorts, I have a greater appreciation for the way shorts can accentuate a man's behind.  I often have to tear my eyes away from his cute behind, mainly because I don't want to get caught staring.  Sometimes you just have to take in the beauty from behind.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Naps



Sometimes an afternoon nap is exactly what you need, at least I do.  I know there are some people out there who can't nap, but I love them.  I used to come home each afternoon, snuggle with HRH, and, many days, take a thirty minute to an hour nap before it was time to start cooking supper.  I haven't napped much in the last week or so because she hasn't been here demanding that I be still.

Last night I came to my room after supper, and I laid down.  It had been quite an exhausting day.  So I laid down, quite similar to the picture above (I did peruse a little porn), and tried to "cat" nap.  I just couldn't.  I knew I didn't want to nap long because I wanted to watch the new NCIS: New Orleans.  However, sleep never came, so I got up and went and watched NCIS, which I never do, and waited for NCIS: New Orleans to come on.  It wasn't too bad, and I will give it a shot and at least watch a few episodes of it.  I always love seeing New Orleans, though I'd rather be there in person.

Naps are not a luxury I have right now.  I hope I will be able to nap again soon.  At some point things will have to slow down, and I will have tog,et used to not snuggling with HRH.  I usually sleep better at night, if I've had a nap, and it certainly helps by making it easier to wake up the next morning and start a new day, though a shower and coffee also does wonders for that.

By the way, I know this post is kind of random, but does this week feel like it is going by incredibly slowly.  I kept thinking all day yesterday that it was Thursday.  I was so sad when I realized that it was only Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Amendment



Amendment 
By Christina Davis

The love of each of us
for some of us,

                        of some of us

for all of us—

                        and what would come if it were
                        welcome, if learning were
                        to prepare “a self with which to

welcome”

            the in-

admissible,        stranger

whose very being gives
evidence of
a discrepancy. School of our just

beginning to think
about this,        I believe
the seats will be peopled.


About This Poem

“The idea that emerged through the poem was that each generation enlarges what we as a people are capable of receiving, that the amendments to the Constitution recognize an increase in what we constitute. Though each generation confronts a new concept of what is strange, the task remains the same: when I look back on the progress of America (and other nations and peoples) it takes the form of this incremental admission, and when I consider future progress it is likewise this reception of the heretofore strange.

The original version of the poem had the word ‘education,’ but I changed it to ‘learning’ because learning is continuous throughout our lifetime and I did not want to limit this progress to the young.

I’d also been thinking of poetry itself, both the struggle of poems to integrate and include and also the way in which poetry is often called ‘inaccessible.’ Whereas I would suggest that the limitation has to do with its reception: it is treated as the ‘inadmissible,’ not what won’t let us in, but what we refuse to allow too near. Imagine what would come if it were welcome?”
—Christina Davis


Christina Davis is the author of An Ethic (Nightboat Books, 2013). She is the Curator of the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University and lives in Cambridge

Monday, September 22, 2014

Another Monday




It's another Monday, and I just wish I could stay in bed.  Back to another week of school and spoiled kids who don't care about learning, and rotten parents who think teachers are there to pass their kids.  Not all of my students are that bad.  In fact my first three classes of the day are pretty good; however, my other  three classes are mostly rotten.  They just don't want to learn. I will whip them into shape, or they can choose to take my class again next year.  I have no illusion that people are going to like history and English, but they don't have a choice.  All of the classes I teach are required, and if the students don't pass, they don't move on to the next grade.  It makes it difficult at times, but I do my best to make it as interesting as possible.







Sunday, September 21, 2014

Love Is Life



For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
1 John 3:11-15

John begins the next section of his letter with his central theme -- love:

"For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." (3:11)

It's amazing that Christians need to hear the message, the command, of love so often -- and still many people who claim to be Christians don't get it. Our churches are full of selfish, bickering people and people who teach hate. The world knows the church for its judgmentalism and rigidness, not for its love and joy. How very sad, and especially so for LGBT Christians.  Jesus would embrace the churches that preach love, and He and John would call those who teach hate the antichrists, for as I said last week, they are the opposite of Christ.

It's likely that John's opponents in Ephesus were characterized by their hatred of the faithful, orthodox Christian community. But it's also likely that the true Christians were responding in an unloving manner, too.

John begins this teaching by exploring the relationship between love and hatred, and between hatred and the spirit of murder.

"We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you." (3:12-13)

John refers, of course, to the ancient and familiar story of the brothers Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:2-8). Cain was a farmer; Abel was a herdsman. When it came time to make an "offering" to the Lord, Cain offered the fruit of the ground, while Abel offered an animal sacrifice.  We're not told why Cain's offering was rejected while Abel's was accepted. There seems to be no inherent reason in this instance why a cereal offering would have been inferior to an animal sacrifice. The reason Cain's offering was rejected seems to stem from his unrighteous actions, his sins, since God exhorts him:

"Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:6-7)

Cain hadn't repented of his sins, but is angry and jealous that God favors the sacrifice of his righteous brother Abel. In a fit of jealousy Cain slays Abel -- and that is John's main reason for introducing the story here.  This story is probably more allegorical to what anthropologists believe were the first wars between herders and farmers over land and grazing ground, but that a whole different issue.

"And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you." (3:12-13)

John is explaining why the opponents hate the believers -- and why the world hates them. They can see the stark difference between the believers' righteous behavior compared with their own. John's teaching echoes Jesus' words:

"If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.'If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me." (John 15:19-21)

The world says that it hates Christians because they are "holier than thou" and a bunch of hypocrites. And these charges are often true of many people who claim to be Christian. But the real reason for the hatred is that when Christians seek to live righteously, it exposes the sin and corruption of those not committed to Jesus, stimulating both shame, anger, hatred -- and persecution energized by a spirit of murder.

Don't miss the important link here between anger and murder. That's why John calls on the story of Cain and Abel.

Love, says John, is a mark that we are different from the world.

"We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers." (3:14)

There's an echo here of Jesus words:

"Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me ... has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)

Notice that this love first manifests itself in the Christian community itself, "because we love our brothers" (3:14). This, too, echoes Jesus' words:

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:12-13)

Sadly, churches are so often loveless places. We sing, we pray, we worship, but we do not love. I have no complaint with the rise of large churches, but unless people connect with a small group within these churches, they are doomed to a loveless model of the Christian congregation. We cannot afford the outward show of success, if at the core of the church we are missing the essential element of "love for the brothers and sisters."  I remember going to church with a friend of mine while I loved in Mississippi.  They had large screens in front of the church to show what were basically advertisements about happenings at the church.  Later those screens were used for the words of the hymns.  However, in this large church, no one spoke to each other before or after the service.  They merely stated up at the screens.  It was so sad to me.  There was no community in that church.  I grew up in a very small and intimate rural church of Christ.  We have always had between a dozen and three dozen members.  We talk and get to know everyone and how they are doing.

Now after speaking about brotherly love, John goes back to murder that he introduced with the story of Cain and Abel:

"Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him." (3:15)

Certainly there's a difference between hatred (an attitude) and murder (an action). But the spirit that underlies both hatred and murder is exactly the same spirit. Recall Jesus' own troubling teaching on this from the Sermon on the Mount:

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment...." (Matthew 5:21-22)

This hits home for us when we begin to catalog the people with whom we are angry. Inside we seethe with anger when we suffer unrighteousness -- or even blows to our pride. Anger, of course, is a common, God-given response to cause us to take action. Vital, but dangerous.

Anger comes and goes with the situation. But when we hold onto this anger, it becomes a resident bitterness within us. It produces an unforgiving spirit that Jesus warns us against. Following his teaching on the Lord's Prayer, Jesus says:

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:14-15)

Of course, full forgiveness can be granted when there is full repentance (Luke 17:3). But we are required to flush our souls of the unforgiveness that manifests itself in harbored anger -- which is in us the spirit of murder. We must! So long as we hold anger towards another, we cannot love him or her as Jesus calls us to.  I hope and pray that the community of Christians in this world will understand the true nature of God's love and the love that he command us to have for our brothers.

John says that if we teach hate then we teach murder.  I don't believe anyone, at least anyone sane, would believe that murder is acceptable.  If we don't see murder as acceptable, then how can we see hate as being acceptable.  Love is life; hate is death.  Don't be turned away by Christianity because some teach hatred, bitterness, rigidness, and judgmentalism.  Instead, embrace the love God gives us, and rejoice in the joys of life.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Moment of Zen: Procrasturbation



Procrasturbation [pro·cras·tur·ba·tion]: A similar experience to masturbation, it feels good while you're doing it but afterwards you realize that you just did yourself; Doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones; Masturbating as a form of procrastination. 

Ex: "I didn't feel like working on my project so, instead, I just laid around procrasturbating." "Your first tip is to avoid procrasturbation." "Man, I love procasturbation!"

I suspect we have all been guilty of procrasturbation at one time or another.  You know you have things to do, but you get that tingling sensation in your penis that says, "I want to play.  Give me a quick solo, and then you can go back to what you're doing."  The only problem is that once you are finished procrasturbating, then you are spent and of you are like me, then you want a nap. Happy procrasturbating!

Friday, September 19, 2014

An Accidental Outing?



Julianne Hough might have just outed "Mean Girls" star Jonathan Bennett.  The "Dancing With the Stars" judge appeared on "Extra" to talk with Mario Lopez about Season 19 of the reality competition show. The conversation turned to a discussion about Bennett, who is a contestant this season.

"He tweeted me last year and said, like, I had a nice butt, but he also tagged my trainer," she said. "And so I was like, 'Oh, he's hitting on me. I should try to go on a date with him.'"

"What happened?" Lopez asked.

"He's gay," Hough responded. "So, I was like, that's not gonna work."

Some blogs have dubbed him a gay man and he was rumored to have once romanced "Kyle XY" actor Matt Dallas, according to Out magazine. Even his Wikipedia page says "Jonathan Bennett is openly gay," but has since been edited to remove that line.  The 33-year-old actor has not publicly come out.  My thought is simply this, he hasn't confirmed or denied rumors, and he not on a crusade to have any mention of him being gay erased from the Internet.  Colton Haynes' publicity people went on a campaign to remove pictures of him and his boyfriend from the Internet, even though they can easily be found (including an earlier post on this blog).  Bennett has done no such thing.  

Maybe he takes the philosophy of Thomas More.  More relied on the legal precedent and the maxim "qui tacet consentire videtur" (literally, who (is) silent is seen to consent) to attempt to save him from his eventual death at the hands of his friend King Henry VIII for treason.  Bennett may understand that he cannot be, does not want to be, or does not care if he is labeled by his sexuality, and he therefore just does not answer questions regarding his sexuality.  Bennett's representative declined to comment on the actor's sexuality or the Hough incident when contacted by the media.

Bennett starred in 2004's "Mean Girls" (an entertaining movie) as heartthrob Aaron Samuels.  Bennett knows firsthand how mean people can be.  Bennett supports the Love is Louder project and uploaded a video of himself talking about the bullying that he had gone through. Bennett stated, "Of all people, I know how mean people can be to each other. I mean, we made a whole movie about it [referencing "Mean Girls"]. It happened to me in high school, it happened to me in college [and] it still happens to me today. And I’m not gonna lie, it sucks. Sometimes it really sucks. But it doesn’t have to forever because there are people out there who love you, and love is a lot louder than hate.”

I love that quote, and I wholeheartedly identify and agree with him.  In my opinion, I don't think people should act as if this is big news.  Julianne Hough obviously didn't think it was, and then again she could just be an insensitive woman.  It seems that Bennett's sexuality is not really a secret and he has done nothing to keep it a secret (unless he changed his Wikipedia biography).  I can completely understand why celebrities often do not come out.  There is a great deal of media attention, both good and bad.  I can also understand why someone would not want their sexuality to be the main fact people know about them.  Each of us is so much more than our sexual orientation.

I would love for him to acknowledge his sexuality, but I can understand why he doesn't.  The more people who come out, the easier it will get for each subsequent generation.  



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pitch Perfect: It's Aca-Awesome


Pitch Perfect is an enjoyably snarky campus romp that’s both wildly nerdy and somewhat sexy, which makes it totally my kind of movie. Set in the unlikely world of a cappella singing, this snappy, smart-mouthed comedy with tons of great one-liners and fantastic music, offers choice opportunities for a bunch of young performers to pop out of the crowd while playing game characters searching for modes of self-expression. Girls, gays and music fanatics represent the core audience, but the good times also should go down easily with a wider in-the-know crowd.  Think Glee in college.  And to add a little eye candy for the gay crowd there are plenty of sexy guys in this movie along with a few dorky types. 

A too-cool-for-you smarminess sheathes the cutthroat competitiveness at Barden U., where, on club recruiting day, The Bellas, an all-female a cappella group, urgently need new blood to have a chance of beating male rivals The Treblemakers, who prevailed in the national finals the previous spring.

Debuting feature director Jason Moore, best known for having staged Avenue Q on Broadway, sets a quick but not frantic pace and keeps it there; one easily could believe he goosed the actors before every scene, so alert are they to everything going on. The unusually attractive cast, which is consistently filled with performers well over college age, is fun to watch. Among the Bellas, Anna Kendrick's Beca appealingly blossoms from wary outsider to the one everyone counts upon; Anna Camp's Aubrey seemingly would rather die than take off her self-imposed straitjacket; Brittany Snow's Chloe receives some of the knocks she needs to begin straightening herself out; Rebel Wilson's Fat Amy has a hilarious arsenal of quips, looks and moves; Ester Dean's Cynthia Rose shows the kind of right stuff you always want on your side; and, for maximal eye candy, Alexis Knapp's Stacie is always towering voluptuously and informing everyone how much sex she has. You get the feeling all of these talents will be heard from more decisively in the near future.

Scarcely five minutes of screen time goes by without music, be it in rehearsals, impromptu challenges or regional competitions leading up to the national finals at Lincoln Center in New York, and the bulging soundtrack calls upon oldies, newbies and everything in between to be rendered vocally without instrumentation, with normally arresting results unless it’s supposed to sound bad. The choreography is similarly sharp without tipping over into the outlandishly professional.

As I was reading about this movie, I came across a review from a "religious" site called Dove Family Friendly Movies that reviewed it as "Not Recommended for Families."  Well, as Aubrey says to one character, "It's time to get your head out of your ass, because it's not a hat."  Yes, there is some language but nothing that's not regularly on television.  Dove Family Friendly Movies was too funny not to read their review.  At one point they state, "The music is really quite good and except for one line uttered by a lesbian, 'I’ll make you my queen,' the soundtrack might be considered family friendly."  To top off their stupidity, this is what they said about nudity in the film, "close-up of boy in a speedo swimsuit; cleveage [sic]; two girls and a guy talking while naked in the shower (nothing shown on screen); girl with see-thru t-shirt; girl rips open blouse during performance."  The thing is there is absolutely no nudity in the whole movie, and "close-up of boy in a speedo swimsuit" just made me want to see it more.

A friend had sent the movie when he found out that HRH had passed.  He said that I needed something that would help cheer me up.  After watching this movie last night, I can honestly say it worked.  I haven't been in this good of a mood in nearly two weeks.  Even before Victoria got sick, I had suffered from a three day migraine.  So this movie was just what I needed, and I laughed a lot, something I haven't done in a while.  One of the ladies at school told me that she missed my smile.  She understand though why I have been sad.

If you have not seen Pitch Perfect than you really should.  It's a fun and wonderful movie.  I plan to watch this movie over and over again. This movie is perfect for putting me in a good mood, and I recommend anyone who has not seen it to run to the store and buy it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Someday...



Paw Print On My Heart



Paw Prints On My Heart 

You came into my life one day, 
So beautiful and smart, 
My dear and sweet companion, 
I loved you from the start. 

And though I knew the time would come, 
When we would have to part, 
You'll never be forgotten, 
You left paw prints on my heart.

HRH did truly leave paw prints on my heart.  From the time she was a kitten until her final days, she would lay, not in my lap, but lengthwise across my stomach and chest with her paws over my heart.  We spent many an hour like this or with her laying under the crook of my arm, her paws on my chest and her head nuzzled to my chin.  When I was sad or sick she'd come to comfort me.  When a storm would hit she would run to me for comfort, but always act as if she wasn't scared.  

As most cats do, she refuse to show fear or embarrassment.  I remember her once falling off the bed, actually between the headboard and mattress.  I tried to catch her but couldn't move fast enough.  I worried she'd hurt herself, and I looked under the bed.  When I looked up she was in the doorway to my bedroom acting as if she'd been there the whole time. Even in her final days, when I know she was scared and in pain, she refused to show it.  Only when she was sedated and in such agony did she let her guard down and it broke my heart further.

The poem above and below are both anonymous.  I'm not sure I've ever posted an anonymous poem before on my Poetry Tuesdays.  So this is a first.  I just felt they were so beautiful and touching.  I couldn't resist.

Beyond the Rainbow Bridge

As much as I loved the life we had and all the times we played,
I was so very tired and knew my time on earth would fade.
I saw a wondrous image then of a place that's trouble-free
Where all of us can meet again to spend eternity.

I saw the most beautiful Rainbow, and on the other side
Were meadows rich and beautiful--lush and green and wide!
And running through the meadows as far as the eye could see
Were animals of every sort as healthy as could be!
My own tired, failing body was fresh and healed and new
And I wanted to go run with them, but I had something left to do.

I needed to reach out to you, to tell you I'm alright
That this place is truly wonderful, then a bright Glow pierced the night.
'Twas the Glow of many Candles shining bright and strong and bold
And I knew then that it held your love in its brilliant shades of gold.

For although we may not be together in the way we used to be,
We are still connected by a cord no eye can see.
So whenever you need to find me, we're never far apart
If you look beyond the Rainbow and listen with your heart.

The story goes that just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.  When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals like HRH, who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes will be intent. Her eager body will quivers. Suddenly she will happily run from the group (she never liked other animals anyway), she will fly over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... I know I will see my beloved Victoria and Calico again someday.  I'm sure there will be other special animals in my life as well.  Most likely said animals will be cats.  Calico was my first real pet, but she was as much a family pet as mine.  Victoria, however, was a vat I picked out and took her home. She was loyal to me and I to her above all others.

I promise this will be my last post about HRH.  I know it is sad, and I am dealing with the grief which is hitting me hard.  I don't want this blog to be a downer, so I will move on to happier topics.  Thanks again for all of your love and support.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Wandering Mind



I probably shouldn't admit this, but unless I'm taking notes my mind tends to wander a lot.  I kept focused in school by always taking notes, but my mind tends to wander when I don't take notes, especially in church when I'm just listening.  The preacher was giving a lesson on Psalms 46, particularly "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).  The message was about how busy we get in life, and how sometimes we just have to stop and realize that no matter how busy we are God is there with us.  Just because we are busy, God still loves us and we should do our best to glorify Him.

So there were two particular thoughts that I had while in church.  Two of the couples that attend my church had their grown sons there today.  I will just say this, one I know from the years his family has been coming to our church, but he now lives in North Carolina, the other I'd never seen at church before.  My NC friend is pretty hot, just saying.  He's very nice and so good looking.  If only he was gay.  The other guy was not bad looking either, so I may have had a few impure thoughts in church.  Ok, so I did have a few impure thoughts.  I couldn't help myself.  Not the best thing to be thinking about, but like I said, my mind wanders sometimes.

My other thought was how wonderful it would be to have a boyfriend sitting next to me in church.  I always sat on the bench with my grandmother, with my parents in front of me, and my aunt behind me.  Since my grandmama passed away a couple of years ago, I sit on the bench by myself.  Our song leader always says come back next week and bring someone.  I'd love to take someone to church with me.  A friend is a friend, and honestly, no one would have to know it was anything more.  But as my mind wandered, it thought how nice it would be to have a man I love sit next to me in church and enjoy the wonderful message our preacher delivered and to sing along with him and beside him.  One of the things I love most about church is the wonderful singing.  There is no sound more beautiful to me than a church of people singing a cappella.  I'd love to share that with someone I loved some day.

I had two brief relationships over the summer, but both dissipated for whatever reasons.  I continue to search for the right man, though I fear that I won't find that man until I am moved away from here.  I'm still searching for a better job opportunity, and hopefully something will come up, and it will allow me to live a more open life.  Until then, I will not stop dreaming.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Warnings Against Antichrists



Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us-eternal life.I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie-just as it has taught you, abide in him.
1 John 2:18-27

Now and again a story appears in the news about the passing of counterfeit money. Often counterfeit bills are discovered when an unsuspecting consumer tries to use one, not realizing that the money is in fact worthless. Usually the differences between real and counterfeit currency are so subtle that none but experts can tell them apart. And yet one isn't even worth the paper it's printed on, while the other can be redeemed for its face value--whether $10 or $100 or $1,000.

The warnings against antichrists in 2:18-27 are warnings against counterfeit teachers and the beliefs they are passing out among the unsuspecting. These teachers and their followers may have held beliefs that seemed to differ only minimally and subtly from those of the congregations. But when examined with care against the standard of measure, they are shown to be worthless, cheap imitations of the one real thing of great value: a true and abiding faith.

The name "antichrist," meaning opposite of Christ, is only found in 1 John 2:18, 2:22, 4:3, and 2 John 7. The Apostle John was the only Bible writer to use the name antichrist. Studying these verses, we learn that many antichrists (false teachers) will appear between the time of Christ's first and Second Coming, but there will be one great antichrist who will rise to power during the end times, or "last hour," as 1 John phrases it. He will deny that Jesus is the Christ. He will deny both God the Father and God the Son. He will be a liar and a deceiver.

By labeling these false teachers as antichrists John makes it plain how seriously he regards their offense. If in 2:15-17, John spoke of opposition between God and the world, he now speaks of one way in which that opposition is manifested in a visible and concrete form, namely, in the defection from the fellowship of a number of professed believers.

The antichrist opposes Christ, but not so much by open aggression and hostility as with deceit and falsehood. The antichrist usurps the rightful role of the Messiah, the Christ, and deceives his followers. The antichrist is, in short, a counterfeit Christ. What is distinctive here is that the term is used in the plural, and so in a way this differs from the expectation of the readers. Evidently not merely one figure embodying great evil, but many individuals who manifest that ultimate error have appeared on the scene.

The antichrists of 1 John are those who deceive others through false teaching about the person of Christ and the nature of the Christian life (2:22-23; 4:2). There are genuine theological disagreements between these false teachers and the author, and he will soon deal with the issues. But it is not only disagreement about formulations of doctrine that stimulates John to write. It is impossible not to sense his distress and anger over the actual departure of these people as well. The breaking of fellowship is in itself judged quite severely, and seems to have taken a greater toll on the church than have the actual reasons for it. This sin is as bad as, if not worse than, the actual doctrinal error, because in leaving the fellowship these false teachers have disregarded the cardinal and foundational command of Jesus to "love each other."

False teachers have always been the greatest evil within Christianity.  Google a list of hate groups and look at the number of groups listed that claim to be Christian groups.    We are all familiar with Westboro Baptist Church, but they are just one group of many who profess hate.  Throughout the Bible, the writers speak of God's love. They speak of loving one another.  Not once do I know of does Christ preach hate, except for hypocrites, and that is hate of their actions not the hypocrites themselves.  The most vocal antichrists today are not George W. Bush, Barack Obama, the Pope, or any other individuals mentioned by various Christian pundits who profess to know who the antichrist is, but it is the hate groups who profess their Christianity and preach hate.  They are preaching the opposite of Christ and are false teachers.  They proclaim to know Christ, but they teach the hate of Satan in God's name.  They deny God and gain followers through fear.  They are the antichrists.

We have to resist the hate being taught by so many false teachers.  God wants us to love.  He wants us to love a Christian life of charity and fellowship.  We cannot do that if we preach hate and judgement.  We cannot fight these people, others will come.  There have always been people who professed hate in the name of Christ.  However, we should pray for them.  We must pray for them.  It is our Christian duty to hope that they see the error of their ways and turn to the true teachings of Christ.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Moment of Zen: Friends



Honestly, I almost didn't do a Moment of Zen this week.  For me, moments of zen are things that make me happy, things that having a calming effect.  There has not been much joy or calm this week.  Since Monday morning when I couldn't find HRH, then that afternoon, when it found her outside and had to rush her to the vet, I have done little but worry about her.  Then Thursday, I lost her.  It's been a very difficult and emotionally draining week. A week that will take a long time to get over.

Then I thought about all the comments and emails that I received from readers.  I thought of all the phone calls and texts from people who had found out that HRH passed.  I thought about the way my students and fellow faculty reacted with sorrow and hugs.  Yes, they may have often picked at me a bit about my cat, but they knew how much I cared for her.  Many of them have lost a pet as well.  It didn't make me any less sad, but the love and concern others showed made it a little easier to deal with yesterday.

I wanted to make another mention of a bright spot of the week.  I had written a review of Amy Lane's books, and sent her an email asking a question.  She responded so kindly and generously.  I also heard from quite a number of her fans Thursday, which was a bright spot in an otherwise dark day.  I have to admit though, Amy's books might not be the best to read when you're sad.  Yes, there is usually the happy ending to them, but there is a lot of angst along the way.  

Amy Lane knows how to pull at your heart strings.  She pulled at a particularly recent heart string yesterday as I was reading.  One of the characters in Making Promises, Shane Perkins who is an animal lover, said, "I'm sorry I was late.  I had to put down one of my cats."  I burst into tears.  I'd held myself together all day, but I couldn't contain it anymore. I couldn't read anymore either, especially since I was actually listening to the audiobook while driving.  It's not safe to have tears distort your vision while driving.  Then I decided to listen to a little more before bed.  If I was going to cry more, then I could do so alone.  I didn't though.  Shane described his older regal cat and how sick she had become.  Yes, it reminded me of HRH, but the tenderness of the story helped.  Like I said Thursday, Amy has a way of writing real characters with whom you can identify.

Thank you all for the love and support, the emails and comments, you helped make a difficult situtation better.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sad News






Her Royal Highness "The Queen"
AKA HRH
September 13, 1998 - September 11, 2014


It's with a very heavy and sad heart that I write this post.  Victoria (HRH) took a turn for the worse last night and today.  I took her to the vet this afternoon after school.  There was nothing they could do for her.  I had to have her put to sleep.  I couldn't watch her suffer.  She'd begun gasping for breath, and when they did a blood test today, they knew she was severely anemic.  Oxygen just couldn't get to her tired and worn out body.  She was already in enough pain from the arthritis.  The vet said it could be one of two things, either her kidneys were failing or there was a disease in her bone marrow.  Either way, there just wasn't a treatment for her.  He said I had a choice.  I could take her home tonight, and she may pass away with a great deal of pain in the next twelve hours, or she could live through the night in pain and I could bring her back in the morning, and he'd spend all day running tests.  He said they'd have to let her rest between each test because they'd already almost lost her when they drew blood.

I couldn't let her suffer.  I asked if I could have some time with her, and they let me.  I petted her and stroked her head, talking softly to her and reassuring her that the pain wouldn't last much longer.  We cried together, and then I called the vet back in.  They gave her a sedative, and she did not react well to it, then they gave her the other medicine and she went to sleep.  Victoria passed from this world to the next at 5:35 pm, Thursday, September 11, 2014.  She would have been 16 in just a few days.  

I will always miss Victoria, just as I will always miss my beloved Calico who died in 2003 at the age of 18.  Whereas Calico was always sweet and even-tempered, Victoria could be ornery.  But Victoria loved me and I loved her.  We'd been almost constant companions for 16 years.  We've been with each other and comforted each other through some difficult times.  She will now never suffer again.

I love her, and I will miss her terribly.  Good-bye, Vic.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Amy Lane: Master of M/M Romance




One of my favorite authors at the moment is Amy Lane.  Lane has four children, two cats, a love starved Chi-who-what, a crumbling mortgage and an indulgent spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance--and if you give her enough diet coke and chocolate, she'll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together, which I'd love the chance of hearing.  She'll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.  

Currently, I have read five of her books and working on a sixth.  The first book I read, recommended by a dear friend, was Country Mouse followed quickly by its sequel, City Mouse.  In these books, and all American boy is traveling in London when he meets a self absorbed British man and sparks fly.  My friend and I can't decide if we like the clever banter between the characters or the exceptionally hot sex more.  When you read Amy Lane you become hooked, so on the recommendation of the same friend, I read Clear Water.  Clear Water is about a thirty-six year old college professor/biologist and his romance with a twenty-two year old guy with ADHD.  I happen to be thirty-six and the friend who recommended it is a twenty-two year old guy with ADHD.  Other than the sex (and that my friend has a wonderful boyfriend), the relationship was similar in many ways, and really resonated with me.  Next I read Locker Room, a novel about two basketball players who fall in love with each other.  I loved the book but I don't know if I will ever be ok with the ending. The most recent book I finished was Keeping Promise Rock (which is the inspiration for the picture above since the two main characters meet on a horse ranch).  Currently, I'm reading Keeping Promises, the second book in the Promises series.

I had planned to write a review of Keeping Promise Rock, but I will just say that you really should read it.  Instead, I decided I wanted to talk about Amy Lane as an author.  When Amy Lane first started writing her author bio said she was an English teacher.  As a fellow teacher, this just endears me to her more,  she seems to no longer be teaching and is instead focussing on her writing (and knitting).  I think that one of the most wonderful things about Lane is that her characters really touch your heart.  

My friend calls her Amy "Rip Your Heart Out" Lane, because of the emotional roller coaster that is her books.  She makes her characters so real.  I always see parts of myself in many of her characters or see my friends in others.  You cannot help but care about the characters, and the thing is, their situations are so plausible.  Sometimes you read a book and the characters are just too perfect or there situations are too perfect.  

Some writers write their ideal, but Lane seems to write real people.  I'm not sure I have ever read a reaction a character had to a situation and said, "No one would ever do that."  The reason is that you can see that the character would react just that way.  Yes, there is a lot of pain and anguish at times.  Lane's characters go through many difficult situations but you get to see real human struggles.

Lane also seems to write from the heart.  The bio for Clear Water states that her own son has ADHD.  She describes so well in that book Patrick's ADHD.  It's apparent that by some of the reactions that other characters have ADHD as well.  I will always believe that Carrick from the Promises series has ADHD.  It's never explicitly said, but I would suspect that Lane's son had not yet been diagnosed with ADHD when she wrote the Promises series, which is why I believe it was not specifically mentioned.  This is just one more example of the realness of Lane's characters.

I also love that Lane seems to have a hard time letting go of the characters.  Some books, you'd think would end at a certain point, and many others authors would, but not Lane.  She takes the characters to a conclusion.  She ties up the loose ends and though she leaves you wanting more, you seem to be able to tell that Lane wants more too.  I definitely want more of Amy Lane.