Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Phantoms for Which Clothes Are Designed



The Phantoms for Which Clothes Are Designed
by Chase Twichell

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

and adjusted over the decades by the Industry.

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

which is to say no one,

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

She doesn’t need any more dresses.


About This Poem

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

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

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Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates men and women who died while in military service to the United States. First enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the American Civil War, it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.
Memorial Day often marks the start of the summer vacation season, and Labor Day its end.
Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the civil war, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not.
History
Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_DayBy 1865 the practice of decorating soldiers' graves had become widespread in the North. The first known observance was in Boalsburg, Pa on October, 1864, and each year thereafter. The friendship between General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who helped bring attention to the event nationwide, was likely a factor in the holiday's growth. On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic – the organization for Northern Civil War veterans – Logan issued a proclamation that "Decoration Day" should be observed nationwide. It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle.
There were events in 183 cemeteries in 27 states in 1868, and 336 in 1869. The northern states quickly adopted the holiday; Michigan made "Decoration Day" an official state holiday in 1871 and by 1890 every northern state followed suit. The ceremonies were sponsored by the Women's Relief Corps, which had 100,000 members. By 1870, the remains of nearly 300,000 Union dead had been buried in 73 national cemeteries, located mostly in the South, near the battlefields. The most famous are Gettysburg National Cemetery in Pennsylvania and Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington.
The Memorial Day speech became an occasion for veterans, politicians and ministers to commemorate the war – and at first to recall the atrocities of the enemy. They mixed religion and celebratory nationalism and provided a means for the people to make sense of their history in terms of sacrifice for a better nation, one closer to their God. People of all religious beliefs joined together, and the point was often made that the German and Irish soldiers had become true Americans in the "baptism of blood" on the battlefield. By the end of the 1870s the rancor was gone and the speeches praised the soldiers of both the Union and Confederacy. By the 1950s, the theme was American exceptionalism and duty to uphold freedom in the world. In 1882, the name of Decoration Day was formally changed to Memorial Day in "memory" and 'honor" of those who gave their lives fighting for a common cause, America.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Grace Works For Us Too!



"Grace Works For Us Too!"
By Pastor Charles Curtiss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

Cake



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

 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Legend of the House of LeMay



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

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

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

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


 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Drag Queen Bingo



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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trees



TREES

by JOYCE KILMER

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

Alone at Work



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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

23rd Psalm



23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Boston MFA



The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is amazing. They had a Botticelli exhibit that was truly out of this world. The Venus above is an example of what was there. We also went to the American gallery where they had an exhibit of John Singer Seargent. Wow, that was some beautiful art, such as the nude below.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Answers


In yesterday's blog...

Susan wrote:

While an understandable emotion in this situation, in fact you have nothing to feel guilty about. You stated you love your job so the issue is its non-permanence. Anyone in this predicament would seriously consider trying to find employment elsewhere. No employer can or would expect an employee to work under the threat of eventual job loss. If your leaving would put them in a bind, then perhaps they should reconsider the status of your position. Good luck with your search. <3 

Anonymous wrote:

The shortness of your blog entries and the lack of any enthusiasm for life in small town New England makes clear that your present job, while it rescued you in the nick of time, is not what you want or need. If the funding for your position is at risk, then you have a full justification for looking for another post of the same kind, for which you now have experience. 

The above were my two comments from yesterday's post entitled "Guilt." Let me address Susan's first. I know I shouldn't feel guilty. I'm a loyal person though and it bothers me that I may disappoint my current coworkers. However, my job is uncertain at this point and who knows where I will be in two years. This job came open and I had to apply. In my opinion there was little choice in the matter. Besides, I just need to get over myself because the other job may not even consider me a worthwhile candidate.

As for Anonymous's comment, it is true that my blog posts have become shorter since I moved here. There are several reasons for that. When my friend died 18 months ago, I lost my muse. He was very good at giving me suggestions to write on or sparking something inside me to compel me to write about that. Now that muse is gone. Second, small town New England is quite boring. There just isn't that much going on, and to be truthful, though I love my coworkers, they aren't a really exciting bunch. There are topics I could go on and on about such as Donald Trump or what I miss about the South, but then my blog would have a negative feel to it and I don't want that. I would miss a few things about up here. For one I love how close I am to Montreal. I've only been once but I've been planning to go back. I have some vacation time I need to take.

Anyway, there you have it. I'm off to Boston this morning. I won't be back until tomorrow, but I'll post something for tomorrow's blog.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Guilt



This week, I applied for a new job. I love my job, but I wish it was closer to home. Also, my job may turn out to be a temporary project, so there is no guarantee that I'll have a job in a few more years. So I applied for a new job closer to home. It would be at one of the best universities in the South. I don't know why I feel guilty about applying, except I'd leave my current employer in a major bind. However, I may not even be considered for the job I applied for. In the meantime, I'll probably still feel guilty until I find out one way or another about this other job.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Instructions on Not Giving Up



Instructions on Not Giving Up
by Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

About This Poem

“It was a hard winter. My whole body raged against it. But right as the world feels uninhabitable, something miraculous happens: the trees come back. I wanted to praise that ordinary thing as a way of bringing myself back too.”
—Ada Limón

Ada Limón is the author of Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions, 2015). She teaches in the low-residency MFA prog

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monday



Yet another Monday when I don't want to get out of bed. It's going to be a long week.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

flw 604743_slonecznikowe-pole
The Virtues of a Woman/Mother 
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.  
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.  
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.  
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.  
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.  
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.  
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.  
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.  
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.  
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.  
She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.  
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.  
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.  
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.  
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.  
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  
"Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all."  
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.  
Proverbs 31: 10-31
I hope that we all think of our mothers today. I love my mama, but like all mothers, she drives me crazy sometimes. She has been in a long period of depression since she found out I was gay, but that was relieved somewhat by the birth of my niece, so she now has the grand-baby she always wanted. She is still convinced I am going to hell, but she doesn't say it as much anymore. As long as it is a "don't ask, don't tell, don't discuss" situation, we get along great.

So even if your mother drives you crazy, I hope that you still have a good relationship with her and tell her how much you love her today.

I love you, Mama.

(She would surely die if she ever saw this blog, but I did choose a picture of sunflowers because they are her favorite.)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Trump Card



I have not talked much about America's (hopefully) soon to be ex President. The reason is that if I talk about all the things I disliked about the man, this blog would become one long sad political diatribe. I don't want that for my blog. My heart aches that this man is president. He's an imbecile and a low down rotten crook who lies with every word out of his mouth. I am still in shock that he won. I still can't believe America was so ignorant as to elect him. I understand that Hillary was not the ideal candidate, and I always thought Bernie could do better. I'm glad I got to hear Bernie speak in person recently. He's quite a dynamic speaker. Could he have won? We'll never know, but anything would be better than what we got. I hate that Pence is next in line because I think the man is a sniveling weasel who will do his best to unravel LGBT gains. The next in line Ryan is no better because he has no spine. Let's face it, America's leadership has gone to shit and our only hope is the 2018 midterm elections when we must make sure the  Democrats retake Congress.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sleep



I fell asleep before I could write a post last night. It was a busy day.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Dreams



Dreams
by Helen Hunt Jackson

Mysterious shapes, with wands of joy and pain,
Which seize us unaware in helpless sleep,
And lead us to the houses where we keep
Our secrets hid, well barred by every chain
That we can forge and bind: the crime whose stain
Is slowly fading ’neath the tears we weep;
Dead bliss which, dead, can make our pulses leap—
Oh, cruelty! To make these live again!
They say that death is sleep, and heaven’s rest
Ends earth’s short day, as, on the last faint gleam
Of sun, our nights shut down, and we are blest.
Let this, then, be of heaven’s joy the test,
The proof if heaven be, or only seem,
That we forever choose what we will dream!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Busy Week



It's going to be a busy week. Today I have a meeting in the afternoon and then I have to leave early to get my rental car for a trip Tuesday. Tuesday, I'm driving down to Worcester, Mass. for a workshop. Wednesday I will be driving back from Worcester and returning the rental car which should get me to work sometime around noon. I'm not sure what's in store Thursday or Friday, but if the first part of the week is any indication, then it should be busy also.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Quotes for the Day

 

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:18
 
Save those who persevere and do good works. For them is forgiveness and a great reward.
Qur'an 11:11
 
Turn yourself not away from three best things: Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds.
Zoroaster
 
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?
Hillel the Elder, Pirke Avot 1:14
These four passages speak volumes. Let's look at each one. In 1 John, we are told not to love only throughout words, but to love truly and in what we do. So many people claim to love their fellow man, but they don't do anything about it. They don't show their love and it is not a love in truth. John 3:16says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son." God loved the world and he did something about it, he brought us a Savior to wash away our sins and to make us one with God. If we are to emulate God, then we must show our love in deed and truth in the same way he showed us. Sometimes that means we must sacrifice something of ourselves to make the world a better more loving place.
 
Likewise, the Qur'an says that if we persevere and do good works, then we shall have great rewards. That reward is forgiveness; forgiveness of our sins, because we need God's forgiveness to have eternal life. Remember, God gave his only Son so that we may have that eternal life so forgiveness is the greatest gift he can give us. It is why I begin all prayers with "Lord, forgive me of my sins and help me to be a better person." It should be first and foremost in our thoughts and deeds. Not only should we ask God for forgiveness but we should also forgive our fellow man for his transgressions. We must show forgiveness in order to attain forgiveness.
 
Zoroastrianism can be summed up in this phrase, "Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds." God tells us if we think of a sin, seriously contemplate it, then it is just as sinful as doing it. We must have good thoughts, not only for ourselves but for other. We must speak good words for if we are truthful in our speech then we can make a difference if we only speak good words. And of course, none of this is worth anything if we don't also do good deeds to back up our good thoughts and good words.
 
The last quote if from the Pirke Avot translates to English as Chapters of the Fathers. It is a compilation of the ethical teaching and maxims of the first period of Rabbinic writings. It says that we must be our own advocates because you cannot count on others to advocate for you. In turn, you cannot only advocate for yourself but for others as well, because if you do not advocate for others then you will lose who you are. In the last part of this quote, it tells us we must do this now, for if not now when will we have the chance.
 
These four scriptures/quotes tell us that we must love truthfully and with all our heart, not just showing that in words but also in deeds. They tell us if we do this and do good works then our reward is forgiveness and eternal life. The best things in life are good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. Also, we must not only advocate for ourselves but for others as well. These four quotes came from a book I am reading about a woman who worked to get an Iranian woman off death row for stabbing a man who tried to rape her. Her actions are summed up in these four quotes as she was an advocate for others, and showed love in truth and deed through good works. Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.
 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Moment of Zen: World Naked Gardening Day





Get ready for the Annual World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD)! People across the globe are encouraged, on the first Saturday of May, to tend their portion of the world's garden unclothed as nature intended. 

Gardening has a timeless quality, and anyone can do it: young and old, singles or groups, the fit and infirm, urban and rural. An elderly lady in a Manhattan apartment can plant new annuals in her window box. Families can rake leaves in their back yard. Freehikers can pull invasive weeds along their favorite stretch of trail. More daring groups can make rapid clothes-free sorties into public parks to do community-friendly stealth cleanups.

Why garden naked? First of all, it's fun! Second only to swimming, gardening is at the top of the list of family-friendly activities people are most ready to consider doing nude. Moreover, our culture needs to move toward a healthy sense of both body acceptance and our relation to the natural environment. Gardening naked is not only a simple joy, it reminds us--even if only for those few sunkissed minutes--that we can be honest with who we are as humans and as part of this planet.

Remember, public nudity is legal in Vermont.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Beach



My parents are leaving Saturday on a cruise of the Gulf of Mexico. They are sailing to a couple of ports on the Mexican Riviera. I wish I was going on a cruise, really it wouldn't matter to where. I'd just like to be on a boat for a few days. But no cruise is in sight for me. I'd at least like to go to the beach. The closest beach is Cape Cod and that might not be too bad. It looks like, however, that the only trip I'll be making any time soon is down to Worcester, Mass. for a workshop. I go down on Tuesday and it hasn't been decided yet if I will spend the night or go and come in the same day. It's a three hour trip down and back, so that would be having me in car for 6 hours, not something I relish. Anyway, I'd rather go to the beach.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May the Fourth



May the Fourth be with you. It's Star Wars Day.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May Is Masturbation Month



Although it’s not officially sanctioned by any government, since 1995, May has unofficially become Masturbation Month. The idea is for people to recognize masturbation as a normal part of their lives and to help them put an end to negative emotions they’ve been taught to associate with masturbation (in particular feelings of guilt and sexual inadequacy).

To fight the negative ideas around masturbation, you should take advantage of this month’s theme to talk openly about it. This is important since masturbation is unfortunately an act that few feel comfortable discussing even though it is an established favorite for many. Masturbation should not be scorned or disparaged, just as it doesn’t need to be glorified. Masturbation simply needs to be recognized as a natural and regular behavior… and you can do your part in this by making sure, whenever you can, that the subject of masturbation is brought up in a respectful manner.

Of course, you could celebrate by engaging in masturbation more frequently in May… but for many it’s not really possible to masturbate more than we already do! After all, masturbation is a part of our life, and our life has many other facets too! Yet, if you usually refrain from masturbating for all the wrong reasons, including guilt, you can use this month’s theme as an opportunity to work on being at ease with masturbation. Allow yourself to masturbate: it is normal and natural!

Isabella sometimes gets in the way of my May celebration. When I'm laying on the couch checking out porn on my iPad, she likes to curl up and sleep right on my crotch. It's like she knows I want to masturbate, but she doesn't want me to. She's like a little furry chastity device. She does this all the time, so I don't get to celebrate May in the way I'd like.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Afternoon on a Hill



Afternoon on a Hill
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

I will be the gladdest thing
    Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
    And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
    With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
    And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
    Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
    And then start down!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mondays



Are Mondays anybody's favorite day? It means we return to work after the weekend off. At least that's the way it is for most of us. I'll be honest, I'd rather have another day off. Thank goodness there is coffee. At least that will give me a little boost. I'll need that little boost to get through the day. There is a lot going on at work today, so I need to be at my best.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Warning to the Wealthy



Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
James 5:1-6

The greatest commands are to Love God and love your neighbor.  These cannot be separated; they go together and impact each other.  Whatever God blesses us with, He intends for us to share it with others.  If we are blessed with wealth, it is for the purpose of blessing others with our resources.  If we are blessed with talent, we should use that talent to benefit others, If we chose to hoard our wealth or other blessings from God, then God becomes very displeased.

James has already chastised the “rich” of looking down on the poor, and he had rebuked them for the arrogance of making plans without considering what God wants them to do.  James attacks this issue from two different angles at once.  first, the issue of hoarding, which means that we are not sharing God’s blessing with others who need it much more than we do, and second, on the Day of Judgment, all things with be made right, justice will be done regarding all inequities.  By not sharing God's blessings, this is interpreted as pure defiance towards God.

To me this is saying that those that do not help others, that always worry about themselves, making sure they are taken care of and treating the ones that are ‘below them’ with hatred, harshness, callousness, and like they are trash.  They try there best to cheat people so they won’t have to pay the full price for what they truly deserve.  Like they are nothing and not worth the time.  They hired them so they should pay them fully.  They are defying God's wishes. 

James is not just speaking of monetary wealth but also the wealth of God's blessing.  There are also those Christians who look down on LGBT Christians, not making sure that LGBT Christians are met with loving embrace within the church and instead treating   LGBT Christians like they are ‘below them’ with hatred, harshness, callousness, and like we are trash, undeserving of God's love because we love someone of the same sex.  Christians who reject other Christians for whatever reason believe themselves to be rich in God's love, but they are hoarding God's love all for themselves.

Christians should stop hoarding God's blessings and start giving it to some that need it, such as charities, children’s hospitals, etc.  When we die, none of this will go with us, and we will be judged on the things we did, or did not do, while on this earth.  Only God's record of our good works and faith in his love will follow us to the afterlife.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Bernie



Tonight after work, I am going to see Bernie Sanders speak. It should be interesting.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Alabama Senate Race Gets Crazy



In Alabama's most outrageous Senate race, Roy Moore is in

Roy Moore is running for U.S. Senate.

Surprise!

Which means that no less than three candidates - Moore, the Christian Coalition guy and Rep. Ed Henry - will probably seek the "backed by God" mantle.

Sorta like The Bachelor in search of God's rose.

It could get uncomfortable.

This race, the special election for the seat abandoned by now-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and assumed by now-tainted U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, is a downhill sprint that might just end in a heap outside a Sand Mountain Dollar General.

There is Moore, who has name recognition surpassing even the sitting senator. But it ain't all good. The guy has been booted off the Alabama Supreme Court twice. He says it was for standing up for your rights. Rights groups say it's because if you don't fit into his definition of rights your rights are wrong.

Strange would have been the presumptive favorite if not for, well, current events. The downward spiral and subsequent earthly impact of ex-Gov. Robert Bentley didn't just take out the governor, it left Strange's reputation in a smoking pile. The former attorney general is now widely seen as the guy who was willing to look the other way on potential gubernatorial crimes if Bentley would appoint him to his dream job.  

Henry - a guy who hounded Bentley for months - now claims the crown of corruption fighter in chief.  "Trump's going to need help draining the swamp," he said when entering the race. But I'll never stop seeing this "corruption fighter" clapping like a seal on speed at a pep rally supporting former House Speaker Mike Hubbard, the current poster child for Alabama corruption.  

Randy Brinson, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, has also announced his candidacy, bristling against corruption and the "venality of politicians."

Hard to argue that, and this race is case in point.

The wild card - if he's even in this race - is Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, who has made a decision about whether to run but had not, as of this posting, decided to share that decision.

He's a somewhat boring businessman, who along with Hubbard dominated the Alabama GOP for years, although he has managed to do it without becoming a household name. He'll take heat for being a silk-stocking Republican, a part of the Goat Hill status quo. He won't claim the anointing of God but will probably get a sprinkling from the BCA, which in Alabama politics is pretty close to the same thing.

His biggest asset - and this could be a big thing - is that he's not, as far as I know, crazy as a bag of jackhammers.

As a matter of fact that should be his slogan, should he choose to run: "Del Marsh: The practically sane one."

This thing is gonna get hairy fast. The primary election - and in blood-red Alabama the election that counts is the Republican primary - is in August, so name recognition and money will be big.

Strange has already been able to build a campaign war chest of almost $800,000, but he's got as much baggage as he has money.

Moore hasn't been as successful raising money in the past - and his last attempt at governor was a dismal failure - but he has a big name and a committed base. But he, too, has as much baggage as he has base. And Henry and Brinson could peel off some of his votes.

If I had to lay odds now - assuming Marsh makes it into the race -- I'd say Strange finishes third to Moore and Marsh.

And while Moore seems a shoo-in to make the runoff, he could very well lose to Marsh.

But then, maybe I'm putting too much stock in "practically sane."


The pretty picture above has nothing to do with the article but is a palate cleanser since politics can leave a bad taste in your mouth.