Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Pic of the Day


Vaccines

I got my first dose of the monkeypox vaccine yesterday. When the vaccine was first being distributed in Vermont, you could basically only get the vaccine if you had been exposed to monkeypox, although I always thought that would be too late, but there is obviously something I don’t understand in that logic. Recently, they started allowing all gay men to get to get the vaccine. In Vermont, the easiest place to get it is at Planned Parenthood, so that’s where I went yesterday. It was a really pleasant experience. Everyone was very nice and the shot did not hurt at all. The doctor who gave it to me was quite impressed that I watched and didn’t even flinch when she gave me the vaccine. Not only do I prick my finger every morning to check my blood glucose, but I’ve also become quite familiar with needles after all those Botox injections for my migraines.if I can take 38 shots all over my head and shoulders, I can take a little monkeypox vaccine.

My arm was a little sore, but not bad. I did have a headache, though whether that was from the vaccine or just my usual state of being, I’m not sure. Anyway, I was not feeling very well last night because of the headache, and I’m staying home today because I woke with a bad migraine. I’m very photosensitive today and basically can’t stand even the slightest amount of light this morning 

I go back in four weeks for the second dose. In the meantime, I need to get my flu shot and the new COVID booster. It seems like every time you turn around, you need another vaccine, but thank God for vaccines. Taking a shot, is much better than catching one of these diseases.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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Two October Poems

October

By Robert Frost - 1874-1963

 

O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

To-morrow's wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call;

To-morrow they may form and go.

O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow,

Make the day seem to us less brief.

Hearts not averse to being beguiled,

Beguile us in the way you know;

Release one leaf at break of day;

At noon release another leaf;

One from our trees, one far away;

Retard the sun with gentle mist;

Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow, slow!

For the grapes' sake, if they were all,

Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,

Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—

For the grapes' sake along the wall.

 

In “October,” Robert Frost urges nature to slow down—before the leaves fall and the chilly weather begins. Frost has been hailed, and quite correctly in my opinion, as the “the poet of New England.” Like in many of his nature poems, Frost was inspired by New England’s beautiful scenery.

 

As with many of Frost’s poems, it is a simple and elegant poem which in this case describes a beautiful crisp October morning. With his usual graceful prose, Frost sets the scene of a quiet morning in early October, much like this morning was (though it was chilly at 27 degrees here). The air is silent but for the distant sound of crows.  He speaks of the ripened leaves of fall with their multitude of colors-green, red, gold, and brown. It is a simple scene rendered instantly familiar to anyone whose experienced New England in the fall.  You don’t have to look any further than that, but like all of Frost’s poems, it is more complex than simply setting a scene.

                   

In truth, October is a grimly solemn poem, dealing with topics far heavier than a mere fall morning. Simply put, October is about death, a fact that becomes uneasily apparent upon closer inspection. Frost offers us the first hint of this within the first few lines when he references the crows that may “form and go” tomorrow. This works in two different ways. First and foremost, it must be noted that the crows are specifically brought up in order to point out their oncoming departure. However, just as significant is the fact that Frost particularly noted that they were crows, birds that are associated with death.

 

This said, Frost primarily relies on the oncoming winter to represent death, something he then contrasts with day, which serves to represent life. Rather than setting the two as enemies, he is content to ask only that the morning “Begin the hours of this day slow” allowing him as much time as possible before the cold finality of winter sets in. 

 

The Native American poet Evalyn Callahan Shaw wrote a poem with the same title. It’s a popular name for poems. There is one by the African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar; another by Massachusetts native Helen Hunt Jackson who wrote a poem for each month; and Louise Glück, Poet Laureate of the United States from 2003-2004 also wrote a poem titled “October.” I am not going to use the ones by Dunbar, Jackson, or Glück, but I do want to include the one by Shaw. Evalyn (sometimes listed as Eva, Evelyn, or Jane Evylin) Callahan Shaw was born around 1861 and lived in Wagoner, Indian Territory. She was the daughter of Samuel Benton Callahan of the Creek Nation.

 

October

By Evalyn Callahan Shaw

 

October is the month that seems

All woven with midsummer dreams; 

She brings for us the golden days

That fill the air with smoky haze, 

She brings for us the lisping breeze

And wakes the gossips in the trees, 

Who whisper near the vacant nest 

Forsaken by its feathered guest. 

Now half the birds forget to sing, 

And half of them have taken wing, 

Before their pathway shall be lost

Beneath the gossamer of frost. 

Zigzag across the yellow sky, 

They rustle here and flutter there, 

Until the boughs hang chill and bare, 

What joy for us—what happiness 

Shall cheer the day the night shall bless? 

‘Tis hallowe’en, the very last 

Shall keep for us remembrance fast, 

When every child shall duck the head

To find the precious pippin red.

 

In Shaw’s “October,” she presents the month of October as “woven with midsummer dreams.” She says the month brings us “golden days,” “smoky haze,” the “lisping breeze,” and “gossips in the trees.” Shaw talks about how half of the birds have left while the other half forget to sing. For Shaw, October also represents the coming death of the year. The golden days of October give way to the boughs that “hang chill and bare.” But instead of ending with the death of the year, she speaks of the joy of Halloween with children bobbing for apples (the precious pippin red). For me, Shaw’s October is as beautifully written as Frost’s, but where Frost ends with him asking nature to slow down its march to the death of the year, Shaw ends with the joyous festivities of Halloween and children playing. Personally, I like them both. I love a melodic poem that rhymes, and both of these do that, but Shaw’s seem a bit more optimistic in its ending.

Monday, October 3, 2022

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Bros Review

As I mentioned on Friday, I went to see Bros, “A Boy Meets Bro Love Story,” as the tagline says. The consensus on Rotten Tomatoes was that “Bros marks a step forward in rom-com representation -- and just as importantly, it's a whole bunch of fun to watch.” I wouldn’t go that far. It was worth it to see Luke Macfarlane, who I love as an actor. If you look at his Instagram, you’ll see he’s a bit of a “gay bro” in real life. There were certainly parts that were fun, but there was a whole lot of angry speechmaking by Billy Eichner’s character. A little bit of an angry rant on occasion can be funny, but not when it’s 75 percent of the movie. I realize it’s the part he was playing, but give it a rest. I was really hoping for a lighthearted romantic comedy. Yes, it should have a little angst, but that should be between the main love interests, not Billy Eichner vs. the World. There were enjoyable parts to the movie, such as when they are in Provincetown. The actual love story is also nice, but it gets a little bogged down by Billy Eichner’s constant rants.

 

I would still recommend you go see it. After looking at the reviews, I can only assume I am in the minority. Sadly, it also flopped at the box office this weekend. My friend and I were literally half the audience at the theater. The movie sold $4.8 million in tickets, about 40 percent less than expected. As the New York Times said, “There is no easy way to say it: When the reviews are this sensational, the marketing support is this substantive and the theatrical footprint is this wide — and ticket sales are nonetheless this low — it suggests outright marketplace rejection.” I think if the movie had been a less angsty rant and more romantic comedy, it might have done better at the box office.

 

With that being said, I got mostly annoyed with the subplot about the LGBTQ+ Museum. Eichner’s character is supposed to be the museum’s founding director, though his background is not as a museum professional. The real executive director of the American LGBTQ+ Museum is a lovely man named Ben Garcia, who I saw speak at a conference back in May. He is a much more likable person than Eichner’s character, Bobby Lieber. The movie’s portrayal of a National LGBTQ+ Museum is a disgrace. It was meant to be funny but horrifying from a museum professional’s opinion. Then there is one of my greatest pet peeves with LGBTQ+ pop history. They always want to portray Abraham Lincoln as the first gay president (if he was LGBTQ+, then he was bi), but Lincoln would not have been our first gay president. That honor goes to James Buchanan, who no one wants to acknowledge because he, up until TFG from 2016-2020, was considered the most failed and disgraceful president. Buchanan is responsible for letting the Civil War get started and doing nothing to stop it. Yet, he had a well-documented, more so than Lincoln, love affair with America’s 13th Vice President William R. King. A few letters between the two survive, and Buchanan never married. During their lifetime, Andrew Jackson called King "Miss Nancy," and Buchanan's Postmaster General Aaron V. Brown referred to King as Buchanan's "better half," "wife," and "Aunt Fancy."

 

My pet peeve is that Lincoln was very doubtfully gay. Though it is wishful thinking and a historical stretch, it pops up in Bros. It’s a comedic plot, but the whole idea of Lincoln being gay is history taken out of context. The rest of the museum is absolutely cringe-worthy. You’ll know what I am talking about if you see or have seen it. The museum is not the only thing I found cringeworthy in the movie, but it did drive me a little crazy. It might have been more enjoyable had it not been for the museum subplot. At least it did get a little publicity for the coming American LGBTQ+ Museum, but I wonder if it was good publicity. I hope the real museum is nothing like the one in the movie.  As the New York Times wrote in its review, “As a partial answer to these questions, the board creates a Hall of Bisexuals where Amy Schumer and Kenan Thompson play goofy, grinning holograms of Eleanor Roosevelt and James Baldwin. Let scholars argue about the display’s accuracy. It accomplishes what ‘Bros,’ like every other rom-com, aims to do: charm audiences with a spirited, corny facsimile of life.”

 

I hope if any of you saw the movie that you enjoyed it. I’ll admit that I did not go into the movie in a good mood. Going to Olive Garden beforehand was a major mistake. They were out of more than half of the menu. Also, the food and staff were subpar. So, the night was not off to a good start. Therefore, my mood may have influenced how I reacted to the movie. There were a few places where I did laugh out loud, part of that was due to Dot-Marie Jones’s character. For a movie with a nearly all LGBTQ+ cast and crew, it’s a beginning for what I hope will be better things in the future, but with the box office receipts that it got this first weekend, I’m not seeing a bright future for another gay romantic comedy anytime soon.

 

Now that you have read my Billy Eichner-size rant, did any of you see the movie? If you did, what did you think of it? And a question for BosGuy, did you spot Sergio as an extra? 

Sunday, October 2, 2022

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Heaven Help Us: Mental Health and Faith

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 

 

Many of us struggle with mental health. Yesterday, I checked out for a mental health day. I did not talk to anyone all day, nor did I want to. I had some things on my mind and a terrible migraine. The Bible does not specifically refer to mental health; however, it speaks a lot about a person’s emotions, mind, soul, and heart. Mental health is an extremely important topic that all people need to be familiar with today. In the past, primitive beliefs often taught that mental problems were directly related to Satan and were the result of demonic possession. Many people struggle with mental health problems today, but this does not mean we are possessed or are not good Christians.

 

Anybody can struggle with their mental health, whether the individual is young or old, a believer or an unbeliever. If you struggle with mental health, you are not alone. My mental health issues are always associated with anxiety and depression. There is a myriad of mental health issues out there, including eating disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and PTSD. Each of these illnesses can happen to a person for a variety of reasons. Thus, it is crucial that as Christians, we do not judge, belittle, or condemn those struggling with mental illnesses. Rather than condemning those with mental illness, Christians are to help, show kindness, and love them. John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

The individual’s body and mind are both factors of a person’s mental health. If a person’s mind and body are having difficulties, a person’s mental state will suffer as well. Elijah was a prophet who struggled with suicidal thoughts during a difficult time in his life. In 1 Kings 19:4, we learn about Elijah’s struggle, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!’” God did not take Elijah’s life but rather gave him the strength to keep going. We can see that God helped  in 1 Kings 19:5-8:

Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.

After Elijah had slept and eaten, he was ready to continue with the work of the Lord. Sleeping and eating are certainly not a cure for suicidal thoughts or any mental illness, but a good night’s sleep and a good meal can help to relax us, mind, body, and soul. If a Christian is struggling with suicidal thoughts, they need to seek out medical help, therapy, and most importantly, pray to God about their feelings. There is nothing wrong with seeking help from doctors, therapists, or counselors. God has placed professional doctors, therapists, and counselors in their positions for a reason.

 

Anxiety is a common thing people struggle with. The Bible does specifically talk about anxiety as 1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” God wants us to give Him all our worries, cares, and concerns. Philippians 4:6-7 also talks about anxiety, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Whenever you are struggling with anxiety or fear, pray to God. He can help you let go of anxiety and will give you strength. God is always faithful, and you can always depend on Him. Only Jesus gives the true peace that surpasses all understanding.

 

Depression is very common and can be caused by genetics, internal conflicts, or a person’s environment. God walks alongside us as we struggle with depression. David writes in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” God is always with us — no matter where we find ourselves today or any day in the future.  In the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:3-4)

 

No matter our issues, God can help us. He may send us the people we need to help us or direct us in a way that we can help ourselves. There is an old saying, though not a Bible verse like many think, that says, "God helps those who help themselves." Yes, he does help those who help themselves, but depression, anxiety, and any number of mental illnesses can paralyze us. We may not be able to help ourselves, and that’s when God comes in. He will provide us with the help we need, but we need to be receptive to it. When things seem bleak, try to remember that God loves us and wants the best for us. All we have to do is believe.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Pic of the Day

Movie Night

Tonight, I’m going with a friend and coworker of mine to see the new movie Bros. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a gay romantic comedy that was released yesterday. I don’t go to the movies a lot, so this is a rare treat. We’re also going to do something that neither of us has done in at least a decade (and keep your eye rolls to yourself); we’re planning to have dinner at Olive Garden. Some people make fun of Olive Garden, but I like their salad and their Zuppa Toscano. I haven’t decided on an entree yet.

Anyway, I’m not just looking forward to Olive Garden, I’m also really looking forward to see Bros, mainly because Luke Macfarlane (the one in sunglasses above) is in it. I have such a crush on him and always have, even before he came out. The rest of this post is just a Luke Macfarlane appreciation post.











Is anybody else planning to see Bros?

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Pic of the Day

Slowing Down

After several very hectic weeks at work, things are finally slowing down and returning to normal. I’ve been able to catch up on some of my work on various projects that have fallen behind while I was busy with other duties at work. One of those projects will probably make my life a bit hectic again, but I’m hoping like all the teaching I was doing these last several weeks, it will be enjoyable. Now, if I can just get other people to do their jobs, it would make my life much easier, but I seem to have to keep hounding people to get things they owe me done. Eventually, it will all even out. My job has always been what my mother called “hurry up and wait.” It’s either feast or famine with either too many things going on at once or I’m waiting on other people to do their part and in the meantime there is not much for me to do. Thankfully, the weekend is almost here.