Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Pic of the Day


Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 - 1822

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

In antiquity, Ozymandias (Ὀσυμανδύας) was a Greek name for the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II. Shelley began writing his poem in 1817, soon after the announcement of the British Museum's acquisition of a large fragment of a statue of Ramesses II from the thirteenth century BC, leading some scholars to believe that Shelley was inspired by this. The 7.25-ton fragment of the statue's head and torso had been removed in 1816 from the mortuary temple of Ramesses at Thebes by Italian adventurer Giovanni Battista Belzoni. It was expected to arrive in London in 1818, but did not arrive until 1821. Shelley wrote the poem in friendly competition with his friend and fellow poet Horace Smith (1779–1849), who also wrote a sonnet on the same topic with the same title. Smith's poem was published in The Examiner a few weeks after Shelley's sonnet. Both poems explore the fate of history and the ravages of time: even the greatest men and the empires they forge are impermanent, their legacies fated to decay into oblivion.

Horace Smith, 1779-1849

In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desart knows:-
'I am great OZYMANDIAS,' saith the stone,
'The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
'The wonders of my hand.'- The City's gone,-
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.

We wonder,-and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

A central theme of "Ozymandias" is the inevitable decline of leaders of empires and their pretensions to greatness. The name "Ozymandias" represents a rendering in Greek of a part of Ramesses' throne name, User-maat-re Setep-en-re. The sonnet paraphrases the inscription on the base of the statue, given by Diodorus Siculus in his Bibliotheca historica as "King of Kings am I, Ozymandias. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works."

Monday, July 30, 2018

Pic of the Day

Love, Simon

I have been wanting to see this movie since it came out. I finally got to see it on the plane from Chicago to Burlington. I happen to love romantic comedies, and I love gay movies. This is the perfect combination. The Hollywood Reporter said, “Love, Simon, a sweet, slick, broadly appealing YA adaptation (Becky Albertalli’s 2015 novel was called Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) touted as the first major-studio-backed romantic comedy with a gay teen protagonist.”

There are two things in the movie that I loved. One is the process of coming out. It is different for everyone. For some it is easy, others it’s hard. For some it’s accepted, for some it’s not. The coming out process in this movie is not one of the easiest ones, but it’s not so difficult either. It definitely pulls at the heart strings.

The other thing is the love affair over the internet. You can get to know the most intimate things about a person online when it’s anonymous than you often can in person. Some people feel freer to talk online with someone than in person. It can bring two people very close. The internet can surprisingly bring an honestly that is amazing. I know sometimes it’s the opposite, but when you truly find a good person, the honesty can be so rewarding.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Pic of the Day

Whoever Pursues

He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour. (KJV) ( Proverbs 21:21

In our excitement, we try to push people to do things we want them to do.  We cheer, goad, and even manipulate them into taking action or performing better.  Despite our great efforts, they may not move an inch.  It is in these times, it's most important to love and value that person, especially if they do not take action in the way we want them to.  It's more meaningful to love them with an unfailing love.  Are you showing unfailing love to those you are persuading to joining you? 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Pic of the Day

Moment of Zen: Chicago

I’m still in Chicago. Day 2 of my class is today. I learned a lot in day 1 and I suspect I’ll learn a lot in day 2. This is actually going to be short today because I fell asleep last night because of a headache and I’m actually writing this post this morning.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Pic of the Day


I’m in Chicago for my Museum Studies class. It should be a great class, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s from 9-5 today and tomorrow. There’s a lot to learn and not much time to learn it.

In the meantime, I’m also working on my class that I’m teaching. I thought I’d gotten everything graded, but apparently I didn’t properly engage the students, so I’m having to go back and do that. It’s really maddening.

Also, thanks for all the well wishes with the new job.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Pic of the Day

Big News...Drumroll, Please

Most of you know that I have been feverishly searching for a job for most of the past year. I’ve had a number of interviews but nothing came of them. Finally, one panned out. At my current museum, they decided to hire an educator to do educational and public programs. Since I am formerly a teacher, they decided that I was the best person for the job. It’s been in a kind of limbo for the past two weeks as they went through all the formalities, but today, they officially offered me the job. It will finally be a permanent position with a roughly 10 percent raise. I am very excited because it was the type of position I have been looking for. So for the time being, I will be staying in Vermont. My next big step will be to buy a new car. That’s a couple of weeks away, but I’m just as excited about that.

Oh and I almost forgot, I’m heading to Chicago today. I’ll be there through Sunday for a symposium on museum studies.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Pic of the Day

What a Week !

Don’t look now, but it’s another busy week. It seems like all my weeks are busy these days. Today, I have to get all of my grading done for the week, because tomorrow I fly out to Chicago for a special museum studies symposium. Also, today I have to go get my hair cut and then pack for my trip. I’m looking forward to my time in Chicago, but it keeps me from home, and I’ve got a ton of stuff to do around the apartment before a friend of mine comes to visit next week. Plus there is some big news to come out of the museum, but until it’s official, I can’t say anything because I might jinx it. Hopefully, I’ll have good news soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Pic of the Day

A Utilitarian View of the Monitors Fight

A Utilitarian View of the Monitors Fight.

By Herman Melville 

Plain be the phrase, yet apt the verse,
More ponderous than nimble;
For since grimed War here laid aside
His Orient pomp, 'twould ill befit
Overmuch to ply
The Rhyme's barbaric cymbal.

Hail to victory without the gaud
Of glory; zeal that needs no fans
Of banners; plain mechanic power
Plied cogently in War now placed -- 
Where War belongs -- 
Among the trades and artisans. 

Yet this was battle, and intense -- 
Beyond the strife of fleets heroic;
Deadlier, closer, calm 'mid storm;
No passion; all went on by crank,
Pivot, and screw,
And calculations of caloric.

Needless to dwell; the story's known.
the ringing of those plates on plates
Still ringeth round the world -- 
The clangor of that blacksmith's fray.
The anvil-din
Resounds this message from the Fates:

War shall yet be, and to the end;
But war-paint shows the streaks of weather;
War yet shall be, but warriors
Are now but operatives; War's made
Less grand than Peace,
And a singe runs through lace and feather.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Pic of the Day

Oh Well...

I went to bed last night then couldn’t go to sleep. After about thirty minutes of laying there, I realized, I’d forgotten to write my post for today. It had been a busy day yesterday. I had to go into the office because my internet and laptop wouldn’t cooperate for me to get my final grades in for he class I’m teaching. I’m also doing some house cleaning because next week a friend of mine is coming to visit. She’ll be staying for nine days. I don’t know what I’ll do with her for nine days, because I can’t take the whole time off work, especially since I’m taking off this Thursday and Friday to go to Chicago for a museum studies class. This is a special symposium offered by my program. It’s going to be a busy week between getting the apartment ready for her visit and getting all my grading and schoolwork done for the class I’m teaching and the one I’m taking. I hope it all gets done as planned.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Pic of the Day

Give You Rest

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (KJV) ( Matthew 11:28-30

With so much going on in today's world, we take on more stress and anxiety than ever before. While we should always perform our best and make a difference where we can, there are many areas where we don't have control. Instead, leave those worries to God and put all of your trust in Him.  Make a choice today to trust God with all your might and He will answer with peace and love that you can pass on to your family. 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Pic of the Day


I miss having a swimming pool. I used to have one in Alabama, but few pools exist up here in Vermont. I guess even in the summer the water stays too cold. Some people around here seem to even wait until August to go to the beach because the water has finally warmed up some. Of course, people who are used to it up here don’t seem to mind the colder water. I guess they’ve never experience what it’s like to have a day so hot that you sweat as soon as you step out the door and then go plunge into a cool, but not cold, pool. Of course, with that type of pool, your body acclimates to the temperature and it just becomes heaven. Oh well, maybe I just need to experience the waters up here. There are a few gay swimming holes in Vermont. Maybe one day I’ll get into shape and brave the cold water.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Pic of the Day

Neil Rafferty for Statehouse

Well, here’s some slightly good political news during what is proving to be an otherwise very bleak week in American politics…

After a tough primary followed by an even tougher runoff, a former U.S. Marine and openly gay man running for a House seat in Alabama’s 54th district has just won his party’s nomination.

Neil Rafferty announced his bid for a seat in the Alabama House back in February of this year.

The seat is being vacated by Democrat Patricia Todd, the state’s first gay legislator, who announced in January that she would not be seeking reelection.

Yesterday, Rafferty won the Democratic runoff election, receiving 2,531 votes, or 67.12 percent, of the vote. His opponent Jacqueline Gray Miller, an environmentalist and marketer, trailed behind him at 32.88 percent.

So how did he celebrate his runoff victory, you wonder?

By going to a bar, of course!

After the results came in yesterday evening, Rafferty, who works as the director of research and development at Birmingham AIDS Outreach, took to Facebook to invite his friends and supporters to celebrate with him at Crestwood Tavern, a local dive bar.

But today it’s back to work for Rafferty. He needs to prepare for the general election in November, where he will face off against Independent Joseph Baker.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Pic of the Day

A Tempest in a Teacup

A Tempest in a Teacup
by A. Van Jordan


Assume, just for a moment,
I am denied a job
in the factory of my dreams
under the fluorescent lights
of a porcelain white foreman.

It’s orderly and neat.
I feed my family.
No one questions my face.
I raised my son in my likeness,
so he would never go unseen,

bobbing on a wave of expectation,
I set in motion with my back
put into my work, praying
for my country, blessed
with more of me, never worrying

about those who might die,
or those who did, trying
to stir a storm, trying
to stand where I’m standing.

About This Poem

“This poem is part of a series of poems in which characters from The Tempest become composite characters who wrestle with the tensions around how we talk about race today, particularly when that talk is gendered. Prospero represents the older, straight white male who fears the cultural shift in America, without seeing the benefits of that shift both for America and even for himself.”
—A. Van Jordan

A. Van Jordan is the author of four poetry collections, including The Cineaste (W. W. Norton, 2013). A professor of English and literature at the University of Mich

Monday, July 16, 2018

Pic of the Day

Another Monday

Yes, it’s another Monday, and time marches on. I had stuff to do over the weekend, but very little of it got done. I have a busy day today catching up. I hope I don’t get drawn into things at work and can get caught up. This online class that I am teaching is murder. What they expect of me is insane. Online teaching is not supposed to be this hard. Thankfully, I’ve looked ahead, and it does seem to get easier than the first two weeks. It’s maddening though. It will all get done though. I have my online class that I’m taking to deal with too. This week’s assignment is fairly easy, so I can get it done quickly.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Pic of the Day

Everything You Do

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, (KJV) ( Titus 2:7 ) 

It's easier to tell someone what to do than it is to lead by example.  Modeling our beliefs is much more impactful and makes the value ingrained deeper in all who see our example.  Telling others what and how to react takes the choice away from them.  God will speak to them and show them the error of their ways through your behavior alone.  Set the example and let all you do be a reflection of Him. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Pic of the Day


What is it about a man in a towel that makes him so sexy? Is it because he just has his body partly covered? Of course, he looks hotter when the towel comes down. I remember back in grad school, I’d been working out one day and went into the locker room and took a shower. When I came out there was this gorgeous guy standing before me. He couldn’t have been much older than 18, and it was obvious he had just been swimming in the pool adjacent to the gym. Just as I walked out of the shower, I was stunned by his beauty. Then he dropped his towel. I was shocked partly because he’d done it on purpose, most young men do the towel dance and will do anything not to be seen completely naked. What really shocked me was what was underneath. He was definitely a shower, if you know what I mean. It was one of the most gorgeous pieces of manhood I’ve ever seen in real life. And there it was right in front of me. Nothing more happened. I went on and got dressed, but the vision that had been in front of me has been ingrained in my mind ever since.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Pic of the Day


Quite honestly, I don’t want to write anything today. Yesterday was a long day at work. I went to bed early, and didn’t want to get up in the morning. Duty calls though, and off to work I go.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Pics of the Day

R.I.P. Tab Hunter
I know it’s a little late, but I wanted to post something in his memory.

Neighbor Kid

I grew up out in the country. We were about fifteen minutes from the nearest town. We grew up next door to a family that we knew fairly well, but didn’t have much contact with. They’d once owned much of the land on our country road, but over the years had fallen on harder and harder times. They also used a lot of foul language which my mama didn’t like.

A couple of years ago, I was on Grindr. One of the few ways to meet people in Alabama if you’re gay. Anyway, the neighbor kid popped up on my Grindr feed. We started chatting, really before we realized who we were, and then he told me where he was and what his name was and I put two and two together. I told him we’d been neighbors growing up. He was shocked that I was the sexy kid next door. His words not mine. Anyway, he thought I was sexy. He was cute in a scrawny little kid way. He was a number of years younger than me.

We dated for much of that summer. None of our dates were that exciting. The sex was good though. He gave a great blow job and had a huge penis.  But things happen. We kind of drifted apart, for reasons I’d rather not discuss here. I’ve seen him a few times since and he’s always very friendly.

The point of this story is that I was talking to my mother last night. Mama told me that he has developed a very aggressive form of cancer and has been given two months to live. I was able to keep it together with my mother on the phone because she has no idea that we dated. I wrote about it on this blog, and the guys parents knew we were hanging out together, but no one really knew we were dating.

I will be praying for him. There isn’t much more that I can do.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Pic of the Day

The Poet

The Poet

  by Yone Noguchi

Out of the deep and the dark,

A sparkling mystery, a shape,

Something perfect,

Comes like the stir of the day:

One whose breath is an odour,

Whose eyes show the road to stars,

The breeze in his face,

The glory of Heaven on his back.

He steps like a vision hung in air,

Diffusing the passion of Eternity;

His abode is the sunlight of morn,

The music of eve his speech:

In his sight,

One shall turn from the dust of the grave,

And move upward to the woodland.

About This Poem

“The Poet” was published in Selected Poems of Yone Noguchi (The Four Seas Company, 1921).

Yone Noguchi, the first Japanese-born writer to publish poetry in English, was born in 1875 in Tsushima. His first book of poetry in English was Seen and Unseen, or Monologues of a Homeless Snail (Gelett Burgess & Porter Garnett, 1896). He died in Toyooka-mura on July 13, 1947.