Saturday, May 31, 2014

Moment of Zen: Coming Home

Today is the last day of the cruise.  I will no longer be seeing such sights as above, but we will be docking this morning in New Orleans.  If we get off the ship early enough (and energetic enough) we will walk down to the French Market to Cafe du Monde and have beniegts and cafe au lait.  It's always delicious, and though always crowded, it never fails to be one of the highlights of any trip to New Orleans.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Pool Time

Today is my last full day on the cruise.  Hopefully, I will be sitting by the pool checking out some beautiful men.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Today, our cruise takes us to Cozumel, an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatán Channel. I'm not for sure what we will be doing today in Cozumel, but I'm sure it will involve some souvenir shopping.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Chichen Itza

Today on my cruise we will be in the port of Progresso, Mexico.  One of the excursions this day is to the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, a place I have longed to visit and will be doing today.  Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities and it was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities, or Tollans, referred to in later Mesoamerican literature. The city may have had the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site.

The ruins of Chichen Itza are federal property, and the site’s stewardship is maintained by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History). The land under the monuments had been privately owned until 29 March 2010, when it was purchased by the state of Yucatán. Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico; an estimated 1.2 million tourists visit the ruins every year.  My mother and I will make up two such guests today.

Mayan history and culture has always fascinated me for many reasons.  One of those reasons is that historians who research pre-colonial Central American cultures have found evidence that homosexuality was considered acceptable by the Mayans. In fact, noble families would allow their sons to have relationships with other boys as a part of the process of growing up, ultimately leading up to their wives. According to "The Origin and Role of Same-Sex Relations in Human Societies," some men continued to date men as they got older. Some scholars are suspicious of the claim that gay relationships were acceptable to the Mayans, pointing out that the source of much of this information is the Spanish conquerors, who may have had a vested interest in making these cultures seem backwards to those in Europe.

In his field work in the Yucatán Peninsula, Walter Williams found the Maya people to be very accepting of homosexual behavior between young men and teenagers. Historically, homosexual bonds were considered normal among young men, a pattern which continues to this day.

Williams wrote "After my arrival in Yucatán, I soon learned that the society provides a de facto acceptance of same-sex relations for males. It did not take long to establish contacts, and my informants suggested that a large majority of the male population is at certain times sexually active with other males. This usually occurs in the years between thirteen and thirty, when sexual desire is strongest, but it also involves men older than that. Marriage to a woman does not seem to have much effect on the occurrence and amount of homosexual behavior."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Travelin' Thru

Travelin' Thru
Lyrics by Dolly Parton

Well I can't tell you where I'm going, I'm not sure of where I've been
But I know I must keep travelin' till my road comes to an end
I'm out here on my journey, trying to make the most of it
I'm a puzzle, I must figure out where all my pieces fit

Like a poor wayfaring stranger that they speak about in song
I'm just a weary pilgrim trying to find what feels like home
Where that is no one can tell me, am I doomed to ever roam
I'm just travelin', travelin', travelin', I'm just travelin' on

Questions I have many, answers but a few
But we're here to learn, the spirit burns, to know the greater truth
We've all been crucified and they nailed Jesus to the tree
And when I'm born again, you're gonna see a change in me

God made me for a reason and nothing is in vain
Redemption comes in many shapes with many kinds of pain
Oh sweet Jesus if you're listening, keep me ever close to you
As I'm stumblin', tumblin', wonderin', as I'm travelin' thru

I'm just travelin', travelin', travelin', I'm just travelin' thru
I'm just travelin', travelin', travelin', I'm just travelin' thru

Oh sometimes the road is rugged, and it's hard to travel on
But holdin' to each other, we don't have to walk alone
When everything is broken, we can mend it if we try
We can make a world of difference, if we want to we can fly

Goodbye little children, goodnight you handsome men
Farewell to all you ladies and to all who knew me when
And I hope I'll see you down the road, you meant more than I knew
As I was travelin', travelin', travelin', travelin', travelin' thru

I'm just travelin', travelin', travelin', I'm just travelin'
Drifting like a floating boat and roaming like the wind
Oh give me some direction lord, let me lean on you
As I'm travelin', travelin', travelin', thru

I'm just travelin', travelin', travelin', I'm just travelin' thru
I'm just travelin', travelin', travelin', I'm just travelin' thru

Like the poor wayfaring stranger that they speak about in song
I'm just a weary pilgrim trying to find my own way home
Oh sweet Jesus if you're out there, keep me ever close to you
As I'm travelin', travelin', travelin', as I'm travelin' thru

Monday, May 26, 2014

Bon Voyage!

A friend of mine sent me this picture as a "bon voyage" for my cruise, and I thought it was absolute perfection for this post.  As this post publishes, I will be on my way to get on the ship.  I am very excited.  I've never been on a cruise before, even though I was supposed to go on one back in January.  I keep feeling that something is going to stop me from going this time, bus so far so good.

Though I am going on this cruise with my mother, I do hope I can get away from her occasionally to explore the boat on my own (and explore some of the men on the boat).  One friend told me, "Have fun.  If he seems hot and fun, fuck him for me."  Another friend suggested I find a nice gay couple to have a ménage à trois with.  I think both seem like a good plan.  I will just have to see how it goes.  I am trying to be bolder and more adventurous,this I am trying to get out of my shell a little.  That doesn't necessarily mean sex, but maybe I will meet some fun people onboard.

No Internet access until I get back on Saturday, so I have scheduled my regular posts throughout the week.  I have a post set up for Saturday, but if I am able, I will do a quick post when I'm back in port.

Love you all.  Have a wonderful Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lift Your Eyes Unto the Hills

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, 
     from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, 
     which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: 
     he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel 
     shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: 
     the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, 
     nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: 
     he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out 
     and thy coming in from this time forth, 
     and even for evermore.
Psalm 121

We all travel at some points in our lives, and a prayer for when we travel is important to be sure God knows we want His hand in our vacation, trip or in any journey in which we travel. We all may be good enough in our driving, much aware that there are important travel safety tips we can follow to protect ourselves away from home, but one of the most important is to pray for God to be with us. 

Life itself is often a challenging, dangerous journey, with no clear idea what is over the hill in front of you.  You "lift your eyes unto the hills" and ask from where will help come.  We will all need help and courage in getting over those hills and this can only be fulfilled with the grace of God. 

Only The Lord can direct the steps and can provide peace throughout the trip. I know whenever I am away from home there are some people back home praying the whole time for my return. For all of my family members, relatives and friends I would express my humble thanks, and request to pray for my journey of life as well. One thing I have gotten to know is the point that no matter where you go and whatever you might experience, God is always their watching over you.  May God watch over me this week, and may he watch over all of us in our travels through life.

What Would You Do?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:14-17

Many of us have stories about old couches — particularly ones we had in college, or shortly after. But not many stories are like the one three roommates in New Paltz, N.Y., can now tell.

After the trio realized their beat-up couch was stuffed with more than $40,000, they decided to return the money to its rightful owner.

It all started when roommates Reese Werkhoven, Cally Guasti and Lara Russo realized that the lumps in their couch's pillows were actually envelopes stuffed with money. Just two months earlier, they'd bought the couch for $20 at a Salvation Army store.

"It had these bubble wrap envelopes, just like two or three of them," Werkhoven tells CBS New York. "We ripped them out and [I] was just like freaking out, like an inch and a half of $100 bills."

Or, as he told SUNY, New Paltz student-run blog The Little Rebellion, "I almost peed."

They kept finding more envelopes in the couch, pulling money out of it like an upholstered ATM.

Werkhoven added, "The most money I'd ever found in a couch was like 50 cents. Honestly, I'd be ecstatic to find just $5 in a couch."

The discovery was like a dream for the three friends, all of whom are either in college or recent graduates.

As they counted the money, they talked about what they might do with it; Werkhoven says he wanted to buy his mom a new car. But then they spotted a name among the envelopes, and realized they were faced with an ethical puzzle.
"We had a lot of moral discussions about the money," Russo tells Little Rebellion. "We all agreed that we had to bring the money back to whoever it belonged to ... it's their money — we didn't earn it. However, there were a lot of gray areas we had to consider."

They asked their parents for advice; don't spend the money, they were told. A phone number led them to the family that had donated the couch — and to answers about why it was full of money.

The roommates drove to the woman's house in what The Little Rebellion calls "a rustic home in a rough neighborhood."
"I think the part of this whole experience that cleared away my prior thoughts and worries was when I saw the woman's daughter and granddaughter greet us at the door," Werkhoven tells the blog. "I could just tell right away that these were nice people."

It turned out that the money was socked away out of the woman's late husband's concerns that he wouldn't always be there for his wife (she has chosen to remain anonymous). It represented decades of savings, including wages from the woman's job as a florist.

For years, she also slept on the couch. But recent back problems led her daughter and son-in-law to replace it with a bed, meaning that the couch had to go.

"This was her life savings and she actually said something really beautiful, like 'This is my husband looking down on me and this was supposed to happen,' " Guasti tells CBS NY.

After they returned the money to the woman, Guasti, Russo and Werkhoven received $1,000 as a reward.

What would you do if you found $40,000 in a Salvation Army couch?  I honestly think that I'd do the same as these roommates did, because they found the name of the person to whom it belonged.  If I had no idea of who it belonged to and no way of finding out, I would have given part of the money to the Salvation Army and done something good with the rest if it.

In addition, Reese Werkhoven looks pretty sexy in the picture above, this story makes him all the sexier to me.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Moment of Zen: Jeep Guys

I was driving home yesterday from my niece's graduation, when I spotted my favorite thing about summer:  hot shirtless guys in a Jeep.  Usually, you don't see this unless you're at the beach, but I'm guessing these guys were on their way to the beach.  There are few things that I find sexier during the summer.

Friday, May 23, 2014

School's Out for Summer

"School's Out" by Alice Cooper keeps playing in my mind:

No more pencils no more books
No more teacher's dirty looks
Out for summer
Out till fall
We might not come back at all
School's out forever
School's out for summer
School's out with fever
School's out completely
Alice Cooper - "School's Out"

Today is my first official day of summer.  Since I don't have to go to school today, I actually get to go to my niece's kindergarten graduation.  She doesn't know that I'm coming, so it will be a big surprise, especially since her sorry ass father would rather go on a motorcycle ride than see his daughter graduate from kindergarten. I'm so excited to get to go, because I am usually in school when they have special programs and such, but I will finally be able to go to something of my niece's.

Then tonight, I have a wonderful date planned.  Dinner at a Thai restaurant and then a relaxing evening hanging out with my date.  It should be a nice night.

Its so good to be free at last. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

TMI Questions: Memorial Day Weekend - The Official Start of Summer

I don't do these TMI posts from Sean at Just A Jeep Guy every week, but on occasion, I see a topic that I can't resist.  Since I'm looking so forward to this summer for so many reasons, this one was a no brainer.  I had to answer the questions. I hope you enjoy my answers.

1. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance but it also signifies the "Official" start of summer. What are your plans this weekend?

Today is the last day of school.  We finished our last exams yesterday, and today is just a teacher workday, so not so bad.  No students unless they have to retake or make-up exams.  Friday night will be a date night with the new man in my life, which will be loads of fun, even though we've decided that it's best to slow things down a bit.  

With school out, I will spend the weekend packing for my cruise.  We leave on Monday (Memorial Day) and will return to port on Saturday May 31st.  What a way to start the summer!  I'm not for sure what I will be doing the rest of the summer, but when I get back from the cruise, I plan to continue exploring my new boldness (something I plan to do on the cruise as well).

2. What is your most and least favorite thing about summer?

My favorite thing about summer is...wait for it...NO STUDENTS.  No real surprise there.  I love teaching, but if the students need a break from school, teachers need more of a break from them.

Living in Alabama, my least favorite thing about summer is the heat and humidity.  I hate that when you walk out the door, you break into a sweat.  The only relief is the pool outside and the air conditioner inside.

3. What do you think of when I say "Bar-B-Que?"

When I think of Bar-B-Que, I think of the Fourth of July.  Each summer when my granddaddy was alive, he barbecued pork ribs over a large pit of coals, mopping it with a blend of butter, salt, vinegar, and water.  Inside my grandmama would be making the barbecue sauce.  She and my mama disagreed on this, but since mama was grandmama's daughter-in-law, she deferred to grandmama.  Grandmama's barbecue sauce was a mix if store bought barbecue sauce and ketchup.  Mama made hers completely from scratch: ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce.  She never had specific amounts (Grandmama did with hers), but mama went by taste and instinct, and it was always delicious.  However, what made it real barbecue, is that the barbecue sauce has to be added at the end of the cooking process to candy a little on the meat.  Adding sauce after, is just not good enough.

By the way, along with Bar-B-Que, you need coleslaw, baked beans, and corn on the cob cooked on the grill with barbecue sauce added at the end just like with the meat.  Of course there needs to be sweet tea and homemade lemonade.  And there must be myriad of deserts with sometime around mid-afternoon the ice cream churn is brought out for some old fashioned homemade ice cream.

That's what Bar-B-Que means to me:  good family, good food, and good fun.

4. What is your favorite summer food?

My favorite summer food is cold fried chicken.  It brings up wonderful memories of family vacations.  Mama would get up early on the morning we'd leave and fry a chicken and out it in the cooler.  When lunch time rolled around, we'd stop and eat the fried chicken cold with potato chips and a Coke.

As for overall summer foods, I tend to like colder more refreshing dishes, such as sushi or even a pasta salad.  There is a particular bacon and ranch pasta salad I love to make with chicken, broccoli and carrots added to it that is so filling, yummy and refreshing.  

I also love a good cold sandwich.  When I lived in Mississippi there was a little restaurant called the Spicy Pickle. I used to love to get their sandwich called The Med which had chicken, feta, kalamata olives, cucumber, pepperoncini, red onion, lettuce, tomato, Greek dressing served on ciabatta bread (I always requested no olives or tomatoes though).  Served with a cold spicy pickle spear, a bag of chips or pasta salad and a sweet tea and you had a wonderful and refreshing lunch.  Sadly, the location in Mississippi closed and the closest location is now Houston, TX, but luckily, the sandwich is easy to replicate.

5. Are you is swim suit shape yet?

No, I'm not, but who the fuck cares.  We have the bodies we have and we should take pride in them.  I plan to work on getting in swim suit shape this summer, but it's not a quick process.

6. Given the choice, which do you prefer: ocean, lake or pool?

I prefer a pool.  Lakes and rivers are full of snakes.  I hate snakes.  The ocean has sand, which gets in a lot of unpleasant places.  The pool is clean and refreshing.  So I prefer the pool.  Don't get me wrong though, I do love to go to the beach, but the pool is also much closer.

7. Which summer blockbuster movie are you most looking forward to seeing?

“Maleficent," the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic “Sleeping Beauty,” sounds the most promising. (I'm also hoping to see Captain America and Spider-Man 2.)   The description of "Maleficent" sounds like a good movie:

A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal—an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom—and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.

8. Summer reading: What? Recommendations?

 To begin with, I plan to read Country Mouse and City Mouse by Amy Lane, The Romano and Albright books by LB Gregg, and Husband Material and The Accidental Cupid by Xavier Mayne.  Once I get those read, I will probably read the Maze Runner series.

As for recommendations, I would suggest the two Brandt and Donnelly mysteries by Xavier Mayne, Frat House Troopers and Wrestling Demons.  The Men of Smithfield collection by LB Gregg is also a fun read.  I tend to suggest light reading over the summer.

I might read some more serious books over the summer, such as the newest Donna Leon book, By the Book, which I am currently reading.  Maybe even a good history or two if I come across one.

9. Vacation Plans? If you can't, what would you do if you could?

Besides the cruise next week, I am tentatively planning maybe a trip to South Carolina and/or possibly a trip to Orlando.  I've also considered a trip to St. Louis over the summer.  It's halfway between where a dear friend of mine lives and where I live.  

If I could choose anywhere to go on vacation during the summer and money was not a problem, I'd love to go to Europe.  I have a friend touring Norway right now, and the pictures he's sent me back look beautiful.  However, if I had my first choice, it would be Italy or Greece. I'd also love to go visit a dear friend of mine in Hawaii.  I've never been to Hawaii, but I've only heard great things about it.

10. Did you ever have to go to summer school?

Um, no.  I'm The Closet Professor.  It should be implied that I never had to attend summer school.  However, during graduate school, I did sometimes take summer classes, and I'm officially one of the teachers qualified to teach summer school at the high school where I teach.

Sex on the beach?

I think it's a tasty drink.

And if you want real sex on the beach, you might want to try Pensacola Gay Memorial Day Weekend 2014.

Florida's westernmost city, Pensacola is near the tip of the state's northwest panhandle and has long had a reputation as a religiously conservative Navy town as well as a popular family resort area. If this doesn't sound like an obvious destination for gay and lesbian travelers, it isn't - at least most of the year. But in late May, during Memorial Day weekend, Pensacola is the site of one of the nation's larger GLBT gatherings, a combination gay circuit party and regional gay pride event. The dates of the four-day Gay Memorial Day Weekend party are May 22 to May 26, 2014, and as many as 150,000 attendees from throughout the South are expected to attend this year, which features some brand-new parties and events in Pensacola Beach.

Here's a look at 2014 Pensacola Memorial Day Weekend - check out the official calendar of events for more details:

As it has for many years, the city's popular - and very fun - gay nightclub, Emerald City (406 E. Wright St., 850-433-9491), hosts a series of Pensacola Memorial Weekend parties, beginning on Thursday night and lasting until Monday evening (these include everything from the opening party on Thursday to an underwear party later in the weekend).

The main daytime events are the Splash Beach Fest celebration, held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 am until 7 pm at an 11,000-square-foot pavilion in Pensacola Beach at Park East, a little over a mile east of Portofino Resort and Spa. Admission is free (you must be over 18), and guests are advised to bring tents, cabanas, and beach gear, but food, cocktails, and beer will be available. Each of these three days, there are parties during the day led by top DJs. The biggest nighttime event is be Saturday night's WAVE Beach Party - it takes place from 10 pm until 4 in the morning. You can purchase tickets to WAVE Beach Party online or in person at the gate or the Memorial Day Weekend welcome center.

Pensacola's other fun gay bars (such as the Roundup and The Cabaret), restaurants, hotels, and shops fill up with gay folks during Memorial Day weekend. The organizers of the Emerald City parties have GLBT-friendly hotel information on Pensacola (preferred properties include the Hilton Pensacola Beach, Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach, Paradise Inn Pensacola, and Pensacola Beach RV Resort), and you can also find more GLBT information on the region at Gay Grassroots Northwest Florida. Other resources of note include New Orleans-based Ambush Magazine.

For basic travel and tourism information on the region, you can also look to the Pensacola Bay Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. But think of his organization as a general guide to the area, not as a supporter of the event - the organization makes no mention of the Memorial Day Weekend party on its site, nor does it provide any information specifically geared to gay and lesbian visitors.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


The following is excerpted from Suzanna Danuta Walters's article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, "The Incomplete Rainbow." Suzanna Danuta Walters is a professor of sociology and director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern University. Her new book is The Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Intentions Are Sabotaging Gay Equality, just published by New York University Press.  She offers and interesting and thought provoking look at the meaning of tolerance.  After reading it, I had to share it.  This is not the whole review article, which can be found at:  "The Incomplete Rainbow." 

In contemporary times, we speak of a tolerance to something as the capacity to endure continued subjection to it (a plant, a drug, a minority group) without adverse reactions. We speak of people who have a high tolerance for pain or worry about a generation developing a tolerance for a certain type of antibiotic because of overuse. In scientific usage, it refers to the allowable amount of variation of a specified quantity—the amount let in before the thing itself alters so fundamentally that it becomes something else and the experiment fails. So tolerance almost always implies or assumes something negative or undesired or even a variation contained and circumscribed.
It doesn’t make sense to say that we tolerate something unless we think that it’s wrong in some way. To say you "tolerate" homosexuality is to imply that homosexuality is bad or immoral or even just benignly icky, like that exotic food you just can’t bring yourself to try. You are willing to put up with, to tolerate, this nastiness, but the toleration proves the thing (the person, the sexuality, the food) to be irredeemably nasty to begin with.
Tolerance is not an embrace but a resigned shrug or, worse, that air kiss of faux familiarity that barely covers up the shiver of disgust.
But here’s the rub: If there is nothing problematic about something—say, homosexuality—then there is really nothing to tolerate. We don’t speak of tolerating great sex or a good book or a sunshine-filled day. We do, however, take pains to let others know how brave we are when we tolerate the discomfort of a bad back or a nasty cold. We tolerate the agony of a frustratingly banal movie that our partner insisted on watching and are thought the better for it. We tolerate, in other words, that which we would rather avoid. Tolerance is not an embrace but a resigned shrug or, worse, that air kiss of faux familiarity that barely covers up the shiver of disgust.
Tolerance is not just a low bar; it actively undercuts robust integration and social belonging by allowing the warp and woof of anti-gay animus to go unchallenged. Tolerance allows us to celebrate (hysterically) the coming out of macho professional athletes as a triumphant sign of liberation rather than a sad commentary on the persistence of the closet and the hold of masculinist ideals. Tolerance allows religious "objections" to queer lives to remain in place, even as it claims that a civilized society leaves its homos alone. Tolerance pushes for marriage equality and simultaneously assures anxious allies that it won’t change their marriages or their lives.
And there you see the crux of the tolerance trap: If an ostensible concession doesn’t challenge straight lives, it’s not very radical, and if it does challenge them, it’s not a concession gays and lesbians will win. The marriage assurances are similar to gay responses to right-wing attacks on queer parents: Researchers and advocates argue that "no harm" is done to our kids, that there is no difference between gay and straight parenting. But couldn’t we imagine the strong case? Shouldn’t we argue, instead, that our progeny would/could grow up with more expansive and creative ways of living gender and sexuality? Shouldn’t we argue that same-sex marriage might make us all think differently about the relationship between domestic life and gender norms and push heterosexuals to examine their stubborn commitment to a gendered division of labor?
Difference does, well, make a difference. But when difference is erased in the quest to make us more tolerable to those heterosexuals who get to do the tolerating, when the messiness and fluidity of sexual desire and identity are put into the straitjacket of biological inevitability, when queer challenges to gender rules and regulations are morphed into nuptial sameness, and when queer freedoms are reduced to the right to wed, we all lose out. President Obama’s moving second Inaugural Address links Stonewall to the great lineage of American social movements. But then it modifies that sweep by signifying those rights as marital: "For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well." The history of Stonewall and other queer riots and rebellions is then reduced, dulled, narrowed.
Americans are rightfully outraged at Kremlin-style homophobia and horrified by the possibility of death sentences and flogging in several African countries. But we would do well to take a closer look into our own "tolerant" heart. Much has changed in America. Dedicated community activists, gender-bending queer youth, and even some of us retro radicals a bit long in the tooth do often sidestep the (almost) all-encompassing discourse of tolerance and immutability. But the time for easy celebration is not yet here. Anti-gay animus is not a remnant of a transcended past, nor is it the province of passé nations "over there." It runs through our cultural waterways in pure red, white, and blue. The road to a real Oz is still littered with land mines, and Dorothy’s rainbow seems more and more like a dream deferred.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


By Sabrina Miller

Sometimes I forget to breathe.
What will not reach my voice
Shimmers with fury in my eyes.
I open the dusty cupboards
Holding thoughts upon their shelves.
Inward. Incessantly inward.
The fulcrum of confession
Keeps the ingredients in place.
I dare not move them.
It is but illusion.
I start again.
The roots of this emotion
Dig deeper and deeper,
Pooling in chasms of liquid;
Just because I want it.
Just because I let it.
It reaches the very core of me.
I confront the frustration
Of what I cannot speak
As reason imprisons my words.
Not yet…
It takes me by the trembling hand
Teaching me to understand.
It validates the prior view
Before I could conceive of you.
Depth synchronized.
Veiled and shaded,
Over anticipated,
It snapped in loaded tension.
The resplendent flight
Of this will, this light,
Builds a bridge across the fracture.
You crawl upon the chambered web,
Closer – quieter – closer.
What awaits the center?
The silvery fibers;
Distortions of age;
A poet's cognitions
On an intimate page?
Pointing at my picket fence
While your fortress casts its shadow
Across the untouched valleys.
Inward, deeper still,
I forge my way across the hill.
In constant quest;
My truths – undressed,
Returning silence to its sheathe.
And sometimes I forget to breathe.

About the Poet

Love is the essence of pure thought.
There is nowhere that this thought is not.

Sabrina Miller is a dreamer and a poet navigating the creative waters of inspiration. She grew up in a small, conservative community in Oklahoma, just beyond several gypsum plateaus and miles of desert sand. Miller began writing poetry when she was 11 and never stopped. Words formulated a stream of consciousness that acted as a mental and emotional schematic to help her sort out and understand her experiences. Braving snakes, aggressive dogs, religion, homophobia, isolation and renegade tumbleweeds, she decided to make a major life change. Miller relocated to the Catskills to answer the call of creativity. With a deep sense of appreciation for the therapeutic and consciousness-raising qualities of art, she hopes to help others by documenting her experiences through words and imagery. She has been working with a group called Inspire Art (created by musician, Sarah Fimm) for a few years and am currently expanding poetry into video projects.
You can find more of Sabrina Miller's poetry at her Tumblr blog, Sparkled Poetics.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Beginning of Summer

Being a teacher (and living in Alabama), summer starts for me before the actual date of June 21.  In fact, summer will begin for me this Friday.  We have exams this week on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, with a teacher workday on Thursday.  Then I will be out of school for the summer.  I will have more time to explore a budding relationship more and see how well it progresses, which I am very excited about.  This summer holds so much promise, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Next Monday, I will be leaving on a cruise for five days with my mother.  I am very excited.  Going with my mother was not my ideal vacation, but she had planned to take one with her sister, but this is the sister who died the day I was scheduled to leave on my cruise back in January.  My sister is pregnant and wasn't able to go (she's due to have my nephew in July), and Daddy said that he would never go on another cruise.  So Mama and I are taking this cruise together.  I think it will be a nice way to start my summer.  

After that, I'm not so sure what I will be doing all summer, but I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Way of Love

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Real love is not proven through spectacular performances. Rather, it is demonstrated in much smaller things we do in everyday life: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

This is a description of God himself, and this is the life that the Father, Son, and Spirit enjoy with one another. This is the life God wants us to enjoy forever—and the life he wants us to have now, as well.
Love “does not dishonor others,” Paul says. “It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” God encourages us to participate in this life now: freed of selfishness, fits of anger and grudges.

The reason that God wants us to live this way is because this is the way God already is. He does not keep a record of wrongs—he has already forgiven us for everything we’ve done. He does not tell us to do something he has not already done himself.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Unfortunately, we often fail. Paul is describing a way that we, of ourselves, cannot achieve. But Christ in us has already achieved it, and God wants us to participate with Christ in his perfect life by trusting him and letting him live in us.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Americans Say Yes To Gay Athletes ... Until They Kiss

Americans say they're ready for openly gay players, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted after Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team. But the survey also found lingering discomfort with gay athletes publicly celebrating in a way that straight athletes routinely do.

According to the new poll, 60 percent of Americans said they would approve of their favorite sports team signing an openly gay player, while 20 percent said they would disapprove. Among NFL fans in particular, 65 percent said they would approve and 21 percent said they would disapprove.

The year has seen breakthroughs in two major American sports leagues, with Sam being drafted by the St. Louis Rams last Saturday and Jason Collins becoming the first openly gay NBA player when he signed with the Brooklyn Nets in February.

But although most Americans approve of gay players in theory, many are less comfortable with the reality. Male athletes kissing their wives or girlfriends is routine territory for networks covering victory and other sporting celebrations, but coverage of Sam's kissing his boyfriend after he was drafted has generated controversy. Forty-seven percent in the new poll said it was "inappropriate" for networks to show the kiss, while only 36 percent said it was "appropriate." Seventeen percent said they weren't sure.

The survey likewise found a major generational divide. Americans under age 30 had no problem with coverage of the kiss, by a 55 percent to 29 percent margin. Those between ages 30 and 44 were evenly divided: 40 percent said it was appropriate; 39 percent said it was inappropriate. And a majority of older Americans said it was inappropriate, including 52 percent of those between ages 45 and 64, and 69 percent of those 65 and older.

The kiss between Sam and his boyfriend may have been particularly heartfelt because they had to wait for it: He was the 249th pick in the seventh round of the draft. But those who said they follow the sport were more likely than not to say that Sam got a fair shake. Thirty-four percent of NFL fans said he was drafted at about the right time based on talent alone. Nineteen percent said he was drafted later than he should have been. Only 9 percent said he was drafted earlier than he should have been, while 38 percent said they didn't know enough to judge.

However, the SEC is one of the, if not the best, conferences in college football.  Since the SEC began giving the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2003, all winners but Chad Lavalais (the first SEC Defensive Player of the Year and also two years older than most NFL draftees), DeMeco Ryans (a second round draft pick), and Michael Sam (a seventh round draft pick) have all been first round draft picks, including Sam's co-Defensive Player of the Year for the SEC C. J. Mosley.  Sam should have been a first round draft pick, yet he was one of the last players drafted, and it's not because he got a "fair shake" but because he was gay.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning sounded off on Michael Sam's headline-making news as part of an interview with HuffPost Live this week.  As to how his Giants teammates would've reacted if Sam had been drafted by that team, Manning said, "We have a great locker room, and I think the most important thing ... you're drafted a football player. That's all we care about in the locker room."

Noting that "what you do outside in your personal life is up to you," Manning added, "I was excited for [Sam]. This is a gentleman who's been through a lot ... I'm wishing Michael all the best in having a successful career."

Way to go, Eli, you always show more class than your brother Peyton.  I think the Rams will be lucky to have Sam as a player as any team would be and should have realized.  They certainly need some good players at the Rams.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


My life seems to be going through a lot of changes right now.  I have a new potential boyfriend, actually, I'm pretty sure it's more than just potential.  I have only met  a few people in my life that seems to complete me like he does.

There are three men in my life who mean the world to me and help to complete me.  There is one man who I have been friends with for a few years now. He lives far away, but has been a life saver many times.  He is a truly good man, who I love dearly, even if I don't get to talk to him but about once a week now.  The second man is one that I've known about seven or eight months.  He's cute, handsome, sexy, intelligent, kindhearted, sweet, and loving.  He's every man's dream man, and someone already has his heart.  I'm so proud of him, that my heart wants to burst with pride.  I love him so much.  The third is the new man in my life.  Have you ever met that one person that seems to complete you?  He makes me laugh, he loves my smile, and he puts me at ease.  I'm pretty sure I'm falling in love.  I've never met someone that I had this level of a connection with.

But things are changing in my life and the lives of these three men.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dorothy Parker

As Dorothy Parker once said in response to a letter from her editor asking for more stories during her honeymoon:

I’ve been too fucking busy – or vice versa.

And I will just leave that as that for today, but I will tell you that I'm walking a bit funny. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

In Paths Untrodden

Calamus [In Paths Untrodden]
Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892

 In paths untrodden,
In the growth by margins of pond-waters,
Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,
From all the standards hitherto publish’d, from the
   pleasures, profits, conformities,
Which too long I was offering to feed my soul,
Clear to me now standards not yet publish’d, clear to me
   that my soul,
That the soul of the man I speak for rejoices in comrades,
Here by myself away from the clank of the world,
Tallying and talk’d to here by tongues aromatic,
No longer abash’d, (for in this secluded spot I can respond
   as I would not dare elsewhere,)
Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself, yet
   contains all the rest,
Resolv’d to sing no songs to-day but those of manly
Projecting them along that substantial life,
Bequeathing hence types of athletic love,
Afternoon this delicious Ninth-month in my forty-first
I proceed for all who are or have been young men,
To tell the secret of my nights and days,
To celebrate the need of comrades.

Thomas Eakins' The Swimming Hole

Thomas Eakins made several on-site oil sketches and photographic studies before painting The Swimming Hole. It is unknown whether the photographs were taken before the oil sketches were produced or vice versa (or, indeed, whether they were created on the same day).

By the early 1880s, Eakins was using photography to explore sequential movement and as a reference for painting. Some time in 1883 or 1884, he photographed his students engaged in outdoor activities. Four photographs of his students swimming naked in Dove Lake have survived (one is at the top of this post), and bear a clear relationship to The Swimming Hole. The swimmers are seen in the same spot and from the same vantage point, although their positions are entirely different from those in the painting. None of the photographs closely matches the poses depicted in the painting; this was unusual for Eakins, who typically adhered closely to his photographic studies. "The divergence between these sets of images may hint at lost or destroyed pictures, or it may tell us that the photographs came first, before Eakins' mental image had crystallized, and before the execution of his first oil sketch." The poses in the photographs are more spontaneous, while those of the painting are deliberately composed with a classical "severity". Although no photographic studies have survived that would suggest a more direct connection between the photographs and the painting, recent scholarship has proposed that marks incised onto the canvas and later covered by paint indicate that Eakins made use of light-projected photographs

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Boy Next Door

When I was growing up, there was a family across the street. They were good people, but never knew them too well.  The son was a different story, I wanted to know him more.  I never knew him well and he was five years younger, and he did make my gaydar go off.  We just didn't associate much, even though we literally lived across the road from one another.  Though my parents still own our old house, they don't live their anymore, just spend nights there occasionally to check on things.

Over the weekend, I set up a profile on Grindr.  The responses have been pretty good. One of the messages was from a guy who was within 6 miles.  Now when you live in the country like I do, that's pretty damn close.  We were chatting a little and I asked where he was, since it was so close.  Then he named the road that I grew up on.  I looked back at his profile and replied, "OMG, you grew up across the road from me."  His response was basically, "Huh, what are you talking about?"  Then I said his full name and told him mine.  Then it dawned on him, we really did grow up with our houses basically facing each other.

We began to talk about family and what we were doing now.  Then he said he'd always found me attractive and even said that I was "Sexy, very sexy."  I told him I always thought he was very cute too.  He was five years younger than me, which was a huge difference growing up, but I'm glad we've connected now and maybe will become friends.

I've chatted with a few more guys on Grindr, some not worth more than a few words, but others, I'm hoping my turn into more.  One in particular will at least be a good friend to hang out with.  Another, I think could be more; we connected on a deeper level.  Both are very easy to talk to.  One is a few years older than I am, and one a few years younger.  I met the older one for drinks and we talked for hours.  The younger one and I have talked quite a bit on the phone and through texting.  We will get together Tuesday.  I'm very excited.  I am trying to be bolder and take more steps to help myself be happier.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

To Boldly Go...

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

At the beginning of the year, I did something that I rarely event do, which is make New Years resolutions,  they are so easy to break and hard to keep up with and continue.  I have made some excuses and many things have happened in the first four months of this year that seemed to get me down and not follow through on my resolutions.  Hopefully, this will change and I can get back on track for the remainder of the year.  If you do not remember my resolutions, here they are:
First of all, I am going to be more positive and optimistic.  I try to do this anyway, at least for those around me, but it resolve to do this for me as well.  I will eat healthier and exercise more so that I build up my endorphin levels and feel better (this one might be a hard one, but it will try).   My second resolution is to be more proactive in making myself happier.  Which means, I am going to live each day to the fullest, and not shy away from opportunities.  It also means that I am going to be more outgoing and build my self esteem.  My second resolution means that I am going to work on personal growth, and this may be the most difficult of them all.  My last resolution is that I am going to read more.  This is my easiest resolution.
As I said, the last one was the easiest.  I have been reading more and once I got back to making he time to read, I have rediscovered the immense joy it brings me, which brings me to the first resolution.  It has been difficult at times to be positive and optimistic these first four months of 2014.  My aunt's death, HRH's health, other health concerns, my own and others, and the frustration with students, have all a made positive thoughts and optimism difficult.  However, I have some truly wonderful friends whom I love and love me that have continued to bring positive thoughts to my mind and helped me to be more optimistic.

The second resolution was to be more proactive with my own happiness.  For me, I think that means being bolder and going after what I want.  Have I been successful with this? Not as much as I would hope, and that I have allowed myself to blame on the setbacks with my first resolution.  But I am taking some bolder steps, especially in the last week or so, and I do feel more confident and alive.

Boldness is our willingness to venture out and do the right thing at the right time, regardless of the barriers or fears we may encounter. This enables us to speak the truth, and perform a task without fear of the consequences or results, because, it is the right thing to do. It is realizing that God is in control. He is there within, and beside us, and He will take care of us. Therefore, we do not need to fear what others can do; rather, we are to concentrate on our character and call, and do it with passion and conviction.

Cowardice, fearfulness, cynicism, negativity, discouragement, and pessimism are all opposites. These negative traits create a negative attitude that is infectious to others. It causes people not to take the chance to go forward with what God is leading them to do. Thus, the person remains ensnared in fear, allowing obstacles to stop him so that the work our Lord has for us remains undone.

God is calling us to be bold. If you have the tendency to not take chances in life because we are afraid of making mistakes, God wants us to know He's pleased with us when we try. It doesn't matter if you don't do everything exactly right. What matters is that we step out in faith, believing God will help us! 

Second Timothy 1:7 says "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."—and He wants us to use it! It doesn't take courage to do what we already know we can do. True courage is displayed when we are afraid to do something but we go ahead and do it anyway. The truth is, we don't ever have to fear because we can ask God for His help anytime we need it. 

There are so many people who are so afraid of making a mistake that they don't do anything. Instead, they sit around saying, "What if I'm wrong?" Well, we're human. We're going to make mistakes and look silly from time to time.  We can be so afraid of being judged or criticized or getting laughed at. But the only thing fear does in our lives is stop our progress. 

What matters to God is relationship…not performance. God knows we aren't perfect, and He's totally okay with it. Romans 3:23 says "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." The problem is, the devil knows it too, and he does his best to tell us every step of the way!  We can be going along, serving God, doing good, stepping out in faith and then all of a sudden, without there being any justification for it, we'll have a day or week when we have an attack on our mind about fear. That's when we need to say what God's Word tells us: 
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. — 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
We can care too much about what people think of us to the point where it totally immobilizes us and we are petrified about looking wrong. But do you know what? I think if we are more truthful, we will actually get more respect than we do by trying to hide everything, pretending we're perfect.

We need to stop living in fear of making mistakes, because we will make mistakes—period. God is not asking us to not make any mistakes. He's calling us to be bold—fearless in approaching Him, in stepping out in faith, and in trusting Him to lead us.  I for one plan to be bolder.  Not only in my faith, but also in my personal life.  This does not mean that I will come out of the closet.  No, I need my job, and though people have suspicions and gossip about my sexuality, they do not need confirmation, because then they can use it as a weapon.  However, I can be bolder and not have to fear all the complications that may arise.  I just have to be smart about my boldness and pick the battles I want to fight.  Nothing helps more than turning to God and receiving encouragement from friends who love and respect you and just as God does, wants to see you happy.

As an addendum, actually an aside, today is Mother's Day.  I never let a Mother's Day go by without this post, so I'm adding it to today's:
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.  In fact, on Memorial Day, we will be going on a cruise together, just she and I for four days.  It was a cruise she was supposed to go on with her sister, but when her sister died  she decided she wanted me to go with her.  Also, my sister is pregnant and can't go, and my daddy said he'd never go on another cruise.  So it will just be us, a mother/son vacation. 
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.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Moment of Zen: Getting Naked

I have had the house to myself this whole week and have quite enjoyed stripping out of my work clothes as soon as I get home and remaining naked unless I have a need to go outside.  It's been quite liberating to just be naked and free around the house.  I can cook, clean, sleep all naked and not have to worry about covering up and feeling the restrictions of clothes.

Friday, May 9, 2014

National Masturbation Month

In case you were wondering, May is National Masturbation Month. The celebration of May as National Masturbation Month began in 1995 in San Francisco as a response to the forced resignation of then U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders.

After a speech at the United Nations World AIDS Day in 1994, an audience member asked Elders about masturbation's potential for discouraging early sexual activity. She answered,"I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught."

That was the end of Elders' career as America's first black Surgeon General, but the spark for National Masturbation Month. Offended by Elders' ouster, the ever progressive, pro-sex staff of San Francisco's sex toy and education company Good Vibrations decided to find a way to keep the focus on Elders' unjust firing, and to bring talk about masturbation into the mainstream in just the way Elders had envisioned.

Realizing that large number of folks lacked support and advice to help them enjoy the simple, basic act of masturbation, Good Vibrations sought to provide support, advice, and reassurance for people looking to open their own personal sexual horizons.

And so was born National Masturbation Month. Among the first steps Good Vibrations took was to promote masturbation as healthy, safe and natural way to express one's sexuality, thereby removing much of the shame and stigma have so long colored the act masturbation.

So, is it true, as so many believe that masturbation is so commonplace, natural, pleasurable and healthy that "ninety-eight percent of us masturbate, and the other two percent are liars?" If so, why do we need an entire month to educate people on something they're already enjoying?

The answer is twofold: First, to help those already enjoying themselves to delve further. Second, and most importantly, it looks like plenty of people might still benefit from some encouragement and education.

A recent cross sample study of American adults asked the question: "On average, over the past 12 months, how often did you masturbate?" Only 38 percent of women said they'd masturbated at all during the past year, while 61 percent of men had done so.

2007 article in Sexual and Relationship Therapy notes that masturbation may help men improve immune system function, build resistance to prostate gland infection, promote overall prostate health. Moreover, Australian researchers have shown that frequent masturbation may lower a man's risk of developing prostate cancer.

A survey of men found the more frequently a man masturbates between the ages of 20 and 50, the less likely they are to get prostate cancer. In fact, those who masturbated more than five times a week were one-third less likely to develop prostate cancer.

These findings were the subject of a 2003 Doonesbury panel by Pulitzer Prize-winning Garry Trudeau. In the panel, one character alludes to masturbation as "self-dating."  Nearly half of the 700 papers which normally syndicate Doonesbury did not to run that strip, proving that public discussion of masturbation is still a thorny issue for some, and perhaps attesting to the need for an observance like National Masturbation Month. 

Earlier studies have shown that rates of masturbation are higher for both men and women with higher education, more frequent sexual thoughts, sexual experimentation before puberty, and more lifetime sexual partners. Moreover, masturbation has documented physical benefits for both men and women, to say nothing of likely emotional and psychological benefits.