Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Pic of the Day

My Birthday

I'm 45 today. Time is marching on. This birthday has hit me a little differently from others. What have I done in my 45 years on this earth? I feel like I have either failed in life or waited too long to try to have a life. Fear has always kept me back. For most of my life, I was shy and insecure. To a certain extent, I still am, but I am becoming more confident, at least in some ways.

 

I'm 45 years old, and I'm still single. I've never had a relationship that has lasted much over a year. My two or three other relationships lasted a lot less if you can even call them relationships. I feel like I wasted so much time worrying about what my family thought about me being gay that life and opportunity passed me by. I wish I didn't care what they think. I’m closer to the point of not caring anymore, but it feels too late. My parents have been married for 50 years, and my sister has been married for over 25 years. I’m still single, and I fear that will never change. 

 

I feel like I should be able to see retirement in my future, but it still seems a long way off. My mother was 47 when she retired for the first time, and my father was just over 50 when he retired for the first time. They both went on to work in other jobs for another ten years. However, I couldn't afford any retirement savings or a retirement plan until I started working for this university seven years ago. Financial security has always seemed just out of my grasp.

 

Then, there is my health. Yes, it could be worse, but I still suffer from chronic migraines )probably always will), and my eyesight is not as good as it used to be. I have to wear reading glasses in addition to my contacts, but I was told that comes with being older. I guess the encouraging parts about my health is that I have lost weight, and my diabetes is under control. In fact, my doctor says he will probably take me off my diabetes medication when I return to him in January and declare me a "diet-controlled diabetic."

 

I know I am bemoaning being 45, and as my father has always said, "It beats the alternative." I am happy with my job and more confident in my sexuality. I have wonderful friends, and I have this blog, which I am quite proud of. Still, what do I have to show for the last 45 years? So, please excuse me for being a little melancholy on this, my 45th birthday. 


I know I’m being silly about this. There really isn’t a reason for me to be in a bad mood about my birthday, but I am as real as I can be on this blog. I didn’t want to be falsely cheerful when I don’t feel that way at all. It would just be dishonest.


I’m just going to treat today like any other day. I usually try to do something special for my birthday, but this year, I am not in the mood. I have the day off from work and no plans. I’ll probably spend the day on the couch watching TV and spending quality time with Isabella.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Pic of the Day

A Happy Birthday

A Happy Birthday

By Ted Kooser - 1939-

 

This evening, I sat by an open window

and read till the light was gone and the book

was no more than a part of the darkness. 

I could easily have switched on a lamp, 

but I wanted to ride this day down into night,

to sit alone and smooth the unreadable page 

with the pale gray ghost of my hand.

 

 

Tomorrow, I will turn 45. Somedays, I can’t believe I am 45 years old, then other days, I feel every minute of my age. However, the depiction of “A Happy Birthday” in this poem by Ted Kooser, sounds like a pretty good way to end a day.

 

 

About Ted Kooser

Poet Laureate of the United States, 2004-2006

 

Ted Kooser was born in Ames, Iowa on April 25, 1939. He received his BA from Iowa State and his MA in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he is currently a visiting professor in the English department. 

 

He is the author of twelve collections of poetry published from 1980 to as recent as 2018. He has written several fiction and nonfiction books including Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (Bison Books, 2002), which won the Nebraska Book Award for Nonfiction in 2003. His honors and awards include two NEA fellowships in poetry, a Pushcart Prize, the Stanley Kunitz Prize from Columbia, and a Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council. In the fall of 2004, Kooser was appointed the thirteenth United States Poet Laureate.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Pic of the Day

Monday, Monday

I have a busy week ahead. Mostly, it’s going to be one meeting after another with a few classes scattered in on a couple of days. At least I have Wednesday off, for two reasons: 1) it’s my birthday, which I always try to take off, and 2) I have to work on Saturday, so it’s also my comp day. Most everything I’m doing at work this week is in the mornings. I don’t think I have anything in the afternoon all week, though I do not expect that to stay true. Anyway, I hope y’all have a good week. 

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Pic of the Day

Jesus at the Gay Bar

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

—Genesis 1:27

 

Jesus at the Gay Bar

By Jay Hulme

 

He’s here in the midst of it –

right at the centre of the dance floor,

robes hitched up to His knees

to make it easy to spin.

 

At some point in the evening

a boy will touch the hem of His robe

and beg to be healed, beg to be

anything other than this;

 

and He will reach His arms out,

sweat-damped, and weary from dance.

He’ll cup the boy’s face in His hand

and say,

 

                        my beautiful child

there is nothing in this heart of yours

that ever needs to be healed.

 

About the Poem

 

I saw this posted on Wilson Cruz’s Instagram (@wcruz73), and it just grabbed my heart and nearly brought tears to my eyes. It is such a beautiful poem and a sentiment that we should all remember: “my beautiful child / there is nothing in this heart of yours / that ever needs to be healed.” Genesis 1:27 tells us, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” It does not say God created man in the image of other men or what other men want you to be. He said we were created in “His own image…male and female He created them.” It’s a beautiful thing to remember. No matter what others tell you that you should be, remember, you are who you are because God created you that way, whether that is gay or straight, cisgender or transgender, male or female, or any of the colors of the rainbow, God created you that way.

 

About the Poet

 

Jay Hulme is an award-winning transgender performance poet, speaker, and educator. Alongside his writing and regular performances, he teaches in schools, performs sensitivity reads and consults, and speaks at events and conferences on the importance of diversity in the media, and, more specifically, transgender inclusion and rights. In 2017 he gave a TED talk and was featured in Nationwide Building Society’s “Voices” advertising campaign, with him and his work appearing in both TV and radio adverts. 

 

In recent years Jay has worked alongside and/or consulted with Amnesty International, The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, Stop Funding Hate, and The Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards, among other groups, on inclusion and diversity in literature, especially YA and children’s literature, and has performed confidential inclusion and sensitivity reads for a number of large publishers, improving the quality and accuracy of transgender representation in a number of books.

 

Jay is currently Poet-in-Residence at ‘The Poet’s Church’, St Giles-in-the-Fields in Central London.

 

Writer

 

Jay performs his poetry across the country regularly, as both stand-alone sets, and as part of larger events. He occasionally writes essays as well as poetry, and his work has been published in a number of magazines and journals, as well as anthologies by both independent and well-known publishers, including Bloomsbury and the Ladybird imprint of Penguin Random House.

 

He has been focusing, most recently, on poetry for children and young adults, and the five-poet collection “Rising Stars”, of which he was a part, was Highly Commended in the 2018 CLiPPA awards - the UK’s biggest award for children’s poetry collections.

 

His most recent collection, “Clouds Cannot Cover Us” is aimed at teenagers, was published by Troika Books in October 2019, and has been nominated for the 2021 Carnegie Medal - ‘the UK’s oldest and best-loved children’s book award’ (their words).

 

Speaker

 

As a speaker, he has given a number of high-profile talks, almost all of which also included the performance of one or more of his poems. Most notably, he’s spoken at 2019’s London Book Fair, the 2018 Children’s Media Conference, and 2017’s TEDx Teen. He has also spoken in Parliament about trans rights, alongside Stonewall and PinkNews, and has worked with large and small companies on LGBT inclusion, as well as working with a number of NHS Hospital Trusts, giving talks and staff training focused on ensuring transgender patients are provided with dignity and adequate medical care.

 

Educator

 

As an educator, Jay has taught poetry to adults and children and has worked in libraries and a number of schools, primary and secondary, state and private, working alongside the curriculum to not just expand the pupils’ knowledge of poetry but to generate enthusiasm and excitement for a form that is so often seen as difficult and intimidating. Pupils often express how their perspective on poetry has changed, and their teachers report that their enthusiasm for and engagement with poetry remains long after their visits. Jay also teaches poetry to adults through lectures at universities and through workshops, at venues as varied as libraries and theatres, and at festival sites and pubs. He has also been the coach of the Durham University Slam Poetry Team since its first year. The team has, under his tutelage, won ‘Slam of the North’, and come third in ‘UniSlam’, the UK’s biggest team poetry slam competition.

 

Jay gained a BA (honours) degree in English Literature and Journalism in 2018, focusing, in his final year, on Victorian Sensation novels, and how they informed and reflected the morality and social mores of mid-19th century British society. He has also taken part in short training courses in order to develop his own practice and educational skills, including a course with the National Literacy Trust focused specifically on working with primary school students, and a course run by Pop-Up Projects and Historic Royal Palaces on the use of heritage sites in literary education and as stimuli for creative writing, something which is very much a passion of his.

 

Bio was taken from his website.

Website: https://jayhulme.com

Twitter: @JayHulmePoet

Instagram: @jayhulmepoet

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Pic of the Day

Moment of Zen: Apples 🍎 🍏

I actually prefer apple cider (hard cider, sparkling cider, or regular cider) above actual apples, but cider doesn’t make for good pictures.


Friday, November 25, 2022

Pic of the Day

Black Friday

For those of you in the United States, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. For those of you in other countries who don’t celebrate the holiday, I hope you’re having a nice week. A lot of people will be out shopping today. There are always loads of Black Friday sales. I doubt I will be one of them. My plan is to stay in and be lazy. Isabella gets to be lazy everyday, so I’m going to take a page out of her playbook. I doubt I’ll sleep like she does, but I plan to just relax.

By the way, my Thanksgiving dinner turned out very nice. I wish I’d had someone to share it with, then maybe I wouldn’t have eaten too much of the dressing I made. Cornbread dressing is one of my favorite part of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Pic of the Day



Happy Thanksgiving 🦃

There is a lot to be thankful for. I have a much more open and honest life in Vermont as an out and proud gay man. I don’t have to constantly hide in the closet like I was forced to do in Alabama. I have a job that I love, and that I think is rewarding. While I may complain about my job sometimes, I love what I do. I am very thankful for leaving full-time teaching to be a museum professional. I love working in the museum world, and I wish I could have discovered that earlier in my life, but I am thankful I have found it now. I am also thankful for my faithful companion, my beautiful Isabella. She brings me so much joy, even if she likes to wake me up at 4 am to be fed.

 

More important, I have some wonderful friends. One such friend is Susan. I don’t know what I’d do without her love and support. She’s been there for me when I needed someone the most. I’m also thankful for all my blog friends out there. As long as you keep reading, I plan to keep writing. I’ve made some really wonderful friends through this blog. Some are no longer with us, and I will miss them every day for the rest of my life. They made their way into my heart, and they will always live on in my heart and memories. Thankfully, there are those of you who are still with us, and I always look forward to your comments and emails. I may not always be able to answer my comments, and I may take a while to answer emails, but I read and cherish every one of them.

 

I’m also thankful for the beautiful meal I am preparing today: roast chicken with croutons (I prefer chicken to turkey), cornbread dressing (the recipe for the cornbread will be at the end of this post), collard greens, and dulce de leche lava cakes for dessert. I made the cornbread and prepared the dulce de leche for the lava cakes last night. I’ve already started the collard greens (they take a while to cook), and I’ll soon mix up the dressing.

 

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday? 

And what are you planning to eat today?

 

 

 

Recipe for the Cornbread for Dressing 

It’s a little different from how I usually make my cornbread—it has more seasonings.

 

Cornbread for Dressing

Adapted from feastandfarm.com

 

Ingredients

1 cup self-rising cornmeal mix (not just plain cornmeal)

¼ cup self-rising flour

1 ½ Tbsp butter

⅞ cups buttermilk or regular milk (Start with 1 cup of liquid if you are using regular milk and

add the rest as necessary)

½ tsp celery salt, or to taste

0.75 tsp onion powder (you can use one small yellow (or Vidalia) onion instead)

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional

⅛ tsp of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste

¼ tsp of sage (or Bell's seasoning), or to taste, optional

½ tsp of poultry seasoning

 

Preparation Steps

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Melt butter as the oven preheats in an 8" x 8" pan.

3. Add cornmeal, self-rising flour, and seasonings in a bowl and mix with a fork. Make a well

in the center of the mixture for the butter and buttermilk.

4. Add the butter and buttermilk to the well.

5. Mix until combined.

6. Spray pan with additional butter-flavored PAM. Pour batter into the baking pan.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and set.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Pic of the Day

Date Night

I had a date last night and did not get home until just before my bedtime. I didn’t really have time to write a post. I’m not going to really say more about my date until I see where this possible relationship is going. I don’t want to jinx it, but I will say it was a second date, a nice dinner, and good conversation.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Pic of the Day

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

By Edgar Guest - 1881-1959

 

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice, 

An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice; 

An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they 

Are growin' more beautiful day after day; 

Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men, 

Buildin' the old family circle again; 

Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer, 

Just for awhile at the end of the year. 

 

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door 

And under the old roof we gather once more 

Just as we did when the youngsters were small; 

Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all. 

Father's a little bit older, but still 

Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will. 

Here we are back at the table again 

Tellin' our stories as women an' men. 

 

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer; 

Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there. 

Home from the east land an' home from the west, 

Home with the folks that are dearest an' best. 

Out of the sham of the cities afar 

We've come for a time to be just what we are. 

Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank, 

Forgettin' position an' station an' rank. 

 

Give me the end of the year an' its fun 

When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done; 

Bring all the wanderers home to the nest, 

Let me sit down with the ones I love best, 

Hear the old voices still ringin' with song, 

See the old faces unblemished by wrong, 

See the old table with all of its chairs 

An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.

 

 

About the Poet


On August 20, 1881, Edgar Guest was born in Birmingham, England, to Edwin and Julia Wayne Guest. The family settled in Detroit, Michigan, in 1891. When Edwin lost his job in 1893, eleven-year-old Edgar between working odd jobs after school. In 1895 he was hired as a copy boy for the Detroit Free Press, where he would work for almost sixty-five years. His father died when the poet was seventeen, and Guest was forced to drop out of high school and work full time at the newspaper. He worked his way up from a copy boy to a job in the news department. His first poem appeared on December 11, 1898. His weekly column, "Chaff," first appeared in 1904; his topical verses eventually became the daily "Breakfast Table Chat," which was syndicated to over three-hundred newspapers throughout the United States.

 

Guest married Nellie Crossman in 1906. The couple had three children. His brother Harry printed his first two books, Home Rhymes and Just Glad Things, in small editions. His verse quickly found an audience and the Chicago firm of Reilly and Britton began to publish his books at a rate of nearly one per year. His collections include Just Folks(1917), Over Here (1918), When Day Is Done (1921), The Passing Throng (1923), Harbor Lights of Home (1928), and Today and Tomorrow (1942).

 

From 1931 to 1942, Guest broadcast a weekly program on NBC radio. In 1951, "A Guest in Your Home" appeared on NBC TV. He published more than twenty volumes of poetry and was thought to have written over 11,000 poems. Guest has been called "the poet of the people." Most often, his poems were fourteen lines long and presented a deeply sentimental view of everyday life. He considered himself "a newspaper man who wrote verses." Of his poem he said, "I take simple everyday things that happen to me and I figure it happens to a lot of other people and I make simple rhymes out of them." His Collected Verse appeared in 1934 and went into at least eleven editions. Edgar Guest died on August 5, 1959.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Pic of the Day

Worried

I’m not really in the mood to write much today. Yesterday was a rough day. I am very worried about a friend of mine who I haven’t heard from in several day. I haven’t been able to get in touch with him, and I’m just afraid something has happened. All I can do at the moment is pray that he’s okay. I tried every way I could to get in touch, but to no avail. Please say a prayer that my friend is fine but just not able to respond for some unknown reason.

UPDATE: I finally heard from my friend. He's safe and sound. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Pic of the Day

What Would Jesus Not Do?

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

— Mark 10:45

 

I think we all have heard “What would Jesus do?” or WWJD as the bracelets that were popular when I was in high school said. I recently read a quote from the novel Choke by Chuck Palahniuk, in which he writes, “Just keep asking yourself: What would Jesus not do?” Choke itself seems like an odd book (and was made into what sounds like an odd movie), but it is from the same guy who wrote Fight Club, so take that for what it’s worth. However, the quote had me thinking about what it said.

 

The phrase “What would Jesus do?” comes from Charles Sheldon's 1896 book In His Steps was subtitled "What Would Jesus Do?" Many years before Sheldon, the Catholic Church emphasized the concept of Imitatio Christi (imitation of Christ), which is summarized well in the English phrase "What Would Jesus Do?" In Sheldon's popular novel (it had been translated into 21 languages by 1935), Rev. Henry Maxwell encounters a homeless man who challenges him to take seriously the imitation of Christ. The homeless man has difficulty understanding why, in his view, so many Christians ignore the poor:

I heard some people singing at a church prayer meeting the other night,

 

"All for Jesus, all for Jesus,

All my being's ransomed powers,

All my thoughts, and all my doings,

All my days, and all my hours."

 

and I kept wondering as I sat on the steps outside just what they meant by it. It seems to me there's an awful lot of trouble in the world that somehow wouldn't exist if all the people who sing such songs went and lived them out. I suppose I don't understand. But what would Jesus do? Is that what you mean by following His steps? It seems to me sometimes as if the people in the big churches had good clothes and nice houses to live in, and money to spend for luxuries, and could go away on summer vacations and all that, while the people outside the churches, thousands of them, I mean, die in tenements, and walk the streets for jobs, and never have a piano or a picture in the house, and grow up in misery and drunkenness and sin."

This leads to many of the novel's characters asking, "What would Jesus do?" when faced with decisions of some importance. This has the effect of making the characters embrace Christianity more seriously and to focus on what they see as its core — the life of Christ.

 

It’s one thing to base your decisions on what Jesus would do in the situation, but “What would Jesus not do?” is also an interesting concept. It’s the same phrase just in its prohibitive (negative) form. It’s all well and good to ask yourself what Jesus would do, but have you ever considered what Jesus would not do? Consider this for the moment, Jesus was known to help the poor and downtrodden when no one else would. Growing up in the Church of Christ, we were taught that if it wasn’t in the Bible then we shouldn’t’ do it. A prime example of this is that musical instruments are not mentioned in the New Testament, so we do not use musical instruments in our churches. All singing is done a cappella. So, asking “What would Jesus not do?” would not be part of the Church of Christ theology. However, I stray from that theology sometimes, though at the heart, I follow the basic tenet of having the New Testament as my guide and not adding to what is not there.

 

If you look at much of Christianity today, it is very easy to ask, “What would Jesus not do?” In too many churches, we see hatred and prejudice. We see theology that has no basis in the teachings of Christ. We see churches picking and choosing what they want to follow and making up the rules as they go along to justify their warped religious and political ideology. So, what would Jesus not do? First of all, he would not turn his back on anyone because of their sexuality or race. He would not sit idly by and allow the hypocrites to dictate His teachings while breaking everything He has taught. He would not allow modern Pharisees to butcher a religion in His name. He would not ignore the poor or downtrodden. He would not seek revenge on those who wronged him. He would not profit from His teachings or use the church to make himself rich. He would not take ideas that are nowhere in the Bible in order to harm or subjugate women, minorities, or the LGBTQ+ community. He would not condemn someone because they had a problem with drugs, alcohol, or gambling. Jesus would not hide the pedophiles and rapists that we hear about all the time in both Protestant and Catholic churches. There is a lot that Jesus would not do.

 

Think about the churches today. Too many of them are doing things that Jesus would not do. Too many churches are not welcoming or open to those they perceive to be immoral or against their teachings. They fear truth and intelligence. Jesus would never do this. Jesus would want us to be accepting of all people, to work every day for the betterment of humanity and the earth, and to live by His example, not by the example of men who have twisted His words for their own perversion.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Pic of the Day

Moment of Zen: A Good Pillow

I think we can all appreciate a good pillow for a restful night’s sleep. A soft, fluffy pillow is sometimes the only way I can fall asleep when I have a really bad migraine.




Friday, November 18, 2022

Pic of the Day

Hanging in there!

Rough Day

I came home from work yesterday at 11 am because I had a major migraine. I had wondered if my migraines would still be triggered by weather when we were getting snow instead of rain. Apparently, they will be. We got more snow last night. 

It was also a rough day because I was feeling depressed. It’s probably because of a number of factors, but mostly, this new migraine medication doesn’t seem to be helping much at all. It’s so disheartening because I feel like I’ll never find anything that will work. I haven’t found anything that will conquer them in nearly 45 years, but I hold out hope that the headache clinic won’t give up on trying to find a solution.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Pic of the Day

One Step Closer

The US Senate on Wednesday advanced legislation that would provide federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages, endorsing the measure in a bipartisan vote that moves it closer to becoming law. The 62 to 37 vote for cloture on the bill was a crucial test of support for the Respect for Marriage Act. I know we sometimes hear about cloture, but we don’t always know exactly what that means. Cloture is a Senate procedure that limits further consideration of a pending proposal to thirty hours in order to end a filibuster. Therefore, once the thirty hours are over, the bill will go before the Senate for debate. At this point, there is no longer a need for 60 votes to pass the legislation. 

 

The Respect for Marriage Act is expected to be put up for a final vote in the Senate tomorrow. Once that happens, it will go back to the House of Representatives for another vote. As long as the House does not change anything, the bill will go to President Biden for his signature. I honestly can’t imagine the House trying to change anything. If that were to occur, the bill would have to go to a Conference Committee to reconcile the differing language before being sent back to the House and Senate for another round of votes. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi knows that she does not have time to waste with a Conference Committee. She knows that she has to put it before the House in the same form that it was passed in the Senate because Democrats will no longer have a majority on January 3. 

 

In a speech on the Senate floor before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, "Today, the Senate is taking a truly bold step forward in the march toward greater justice, greater equality, by advancing the Respect for Marriage Act. It's a simple, narrowly tailored but exceedingly important piece of legislation that will do so much good for so many Americans. It will make our country a better, fairer place to live."

 

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican who was among the group of Senate negotiators, highlighted the broad public support for same-sex marriage and noted that for most Americans, marriage equality is a settled question. "We've shown here through this legislation that these rights can coexist, religious freedom on the one hand, LGBTQ on the other hand," Portman said. "It is my hope that with the changes we've talked about today and we've all now agreed to, we can pass this legislation with the same kind of overwhelming bipartisan majority we saw in the Houses of Representatives and therefore settle this issue once and for all."

 

The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act and safeguards same-sex and interracial marriage by requiring the recognition of valid marriages regardless of "sex, race, ethnicity or national origin." The bill was introduced after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. There have been concerns from Democrats that a concurring opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas left decisions from the high court protecting the right to same-sex marriage under threat. The bill easily cleared the House in July with support from 47 Republicans. Though several GOP senators initially expressed support for the plan, Schumer agreed to postpone a vote on the legislation until after the midterm elections after some Republicans worried it would endanger religious freedom.

 

To assuage their concerns, the amendment ensures nonprofit religious organizations will not be required to provide services, facilities or goods for the celebration of a same-sex marriage, and protects religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution and federal law, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It also makes clear the bill does not authorize the federal government to recognize polygamous marriage and safeguards any benefit or status — such as tax-exemptions, grants, contracts or educational funding — of an entity so long as it does not arise from a marriage. 

 

The amendment "recognizes the importance of marriage, acknowledges that diverse beliefs and the people who hold them are due respect, and affirms that couples, including same-sex and interracial couples, deserve the dignity, stability and ongoing protection of marriage," according to the bipartisan group.

 

With the amendment, the bill will have to be taken up by the House once again before going to President Biden's desk for his signature. The White House urged passage of the measure.

 

"The right to marriage confers vital legal protections, dignity, and full participation in our society," the White House budget office said in a statement of administration policy. "No person should face discrimination because of who they are or whom they love, and every married couple in the United States deserves the security of knowing that their marriage will be defended and respected."

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Pic of the Day

First Snow

We are expecting our first major snowfall today. They are predicting 4-8” but a lot of it may be slushy snow which is the worst in my opinion. It’s heavy and hard to clean off my car or drive in. I’m feeling a bit under the weather. I think I’m getting a cold. I wish I could just stay home today, but that’s not an option. My appointment to get my snow tires put on is today and if I were to cancel, it would be another month before they could do it, so come hell or high water, I’m getting my tires changed today. I’d wait at the place while they do it, but they don’t have a waiting area anymore. They did away with it during the pandemic. So, my boss is going to pick me up and take me to the museum where I will likely feel miserable all day. I hate feeling like this.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Pic of the Day

[ a subway ride ]

[ a subway ride ]

By Joseph O. Legaspi

 

His artfully unkempt strawberry blonde head sports outsized headphones.  Like a contemporary bust.  Behold the innocence of the freckles, ripe pout of cherry lips.  As if the mere sight of the world hurts him, he squints greenly and applies saline drops.  You dream him crying over you.  For the duration of a subway ride you fall blindly in love.  Until he exits.  Or you exit, returning home to the one you truly love to ravish him.

 

About the Poem

This is not the typical poem that I post. It does not have the usual poetic structure that I prefer. The only structure seems to be that the poem is justified, not aligned on the left or right margin. I probably don’t need to explain this but when you justify text, you give your text straight edges on both sides of the paragraph. Justifying extends each line of your text to the left and right margins. Justifying text might make the last line of text in a paragraph considerably shorter than the other lines. I have to wonder if the justifying of the text is an allegory itself. Sometimes poets use the structure of a poem for a particular purpose. It might be the case with this poem. Maybe the text is justified because the poet is justifying his short-lived obsession with the strawberry blonde he sees on the subway. I think sometimes we feel guilty over carnal thoughts about other men, but we shouldn’t. Yet, the poet describes the man as innocent because of his “freckles, ripe pout of cherry lips.”

 

Then again, the poem may have just come to Legaspi as he was riding the subway and saw a handsome young man near him. Whether there is a hidden meaning or just a fleeting thought put to paper, I like the “story” that it tells. I think the poem itself is self-explanatory. We have probably all been there and had these same thoughts. 

 

About the Poet

Joseph O. Legaspi was born in the Philippines, where he lived before immigrating to Los Angeles with his family at age twelve. He received a BA from Loyola Marymount University and an MFA from New York University’s Creative Writing Program. A Fulbright scholar and two-time NYSCA/New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow, Legaspi is the author of Threshold (CavanKerry Press, 2017) and Imago (CavanKerry Press, 2007), winner of a Global Filipino Literary Award; and the chapbooks Postcards (Ghost Bird Press, 2019); Aviary, Bestiary (Organic Weapon Arts, 2014); and Subways (Thrush Press, 2013). In 2004, he cofounded Kundiman, a national organization serving generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature. He works at Columbia University, teaches at New York University and Fordham University, and lives with his husband in Queens, New York. 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Pic of the Day

The Quest for Ignorance

Last Week after the election, Tucker Carlson of Faux News was spouting his usual drivel by claiming the “Democratic Party controlled media” cost Republicans the red wave they were sure was coming. My friend Susan sent me a post from Joe.My.God that had the quote by Carlson. She said, rather facetiously, she had “Not one freaking clue what information this jackass (Carlson) is trying to impart.” Here is what Carlson said, then I’ll translate.

“In some cases, candidate quality is not actually the most important thing. What is? Well, the mechanics of an election. They matter. In fact, they matter sometimes more than any individual running in the election.

 

“The way people vote makes a big difference to the outcome and so, by the way, does access to channels of communication. Why does that matter? Well, because you can say whatever you want, but if no one hears you, you’re not really speaking.

 

“And that’s the case for Republicans so often, as if Republicans can communicate their message unencumbered on a single cable television channel and a handful of relatively low-traffic websites. That’s it.

 

“The rest of the American media amounts to a gigantic filter designed to distort what Republicans are saying.

 

“It’s a campaign apparatus and only the Democrats have it. Now you can whine about that – ‘the media are liberal!’ – but it’s not about liberal or conservative.

 

“It’s about winning elections and Democrats can win because they have that. If Republicans want to win elections, too, they might spend some money to fix that, to achieve parity.” 

Translation: “Republican candidates are stupid, ignorant fools who shouldn’t be elected, but we (Faux News) lie to you about them so you’ll vote for them anyway because more important than anything is that you vote Republican so we can make more money. Intelligent people actually watch real news channels that tell the truth, but we prefer stupid people who we can manipulate.”

 

She thanked me for the translation and said, “He just didn't use the right words.” I responded, “He’s a Republican. If he used the right words some might notice that the man behind the curtain is a fraud.” 

 

In yesterday’s post, I quoted Proverbs 1:7, which said, “But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Carlson and others at Faux News constantly prove my point about how true this really is. It’s a perfect description of the Republican Party and those who support it. If you look at the “Don’t Say Gay” bills, the banning of books in libraries, dictating to teachers what they can and cannot teach, etc., there is no question that they “despise wisdom and instruction.” Even God says they are “fools.” But as James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” All we have to do is be open to the truth. The Republican Party is no longer open to the truth. It has become a party of lies based on the myth of a stolen election (not to mention a Lost Cause).

 

Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels is often credited with a quote that seems to be the current strategy of the Republican Party when he said:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” 

It is an excellent definition of the “Big Lie;” however, there seems to be no evidence that it was used by Goebbels.

 

The World War II American intelligence agency, the OSS, described Hitler’s use of the big lie in his psychological profile:

“His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”

If the Republican Party hasn’t already become a fascist political party, it is quickly becoming one under the leadership of TFG. The common themes among fascist movements include authoritarianism, nationalism (including racial nationalism), hierarchy and elitism, and militarism characterized by a dictatorial leader, centralized autocracy, militarism, forcible suppression of opposition, belief in a natural social hierarchy, subordination of individual interests for the perceived good of the nation and race, and strong regimentation of society and the economy. 

 

The “red wave” was more “like a light pink puddle,” as one friend of mine put it. The Republicans may still take the House, but if they do, it will be a very slim majority, yet enough to be annoying in their quest for revenge. The Senate will remain in the hands of the Democrats with the possibility of gaining one seat. It just shows how important it is to go out and vote.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Pic of the Day

Wisdom

To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion—
A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

—Proverbs 1:2-7

 

I have been a little under the weather the last few days. I don’t think it’s much more than just fatigue. Last week had a lot going on, and I think I’m just tired. The changes in weather due to the remnants of Hurricane Nicole and a cold front coming through have probably also contributed to the way I’ve been feeling. So, today’s devotional will be a bit short. But I do want to point out something in Proverbs 1:7, “But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Has this ever been more true? It’s a perfect description of the Republican Party and those who support it. If you look at the “Don’t Say Gay” bills, the banning of books in libraries, etc., there is no question that they “despise wisdom and instruction.” Even God says they are “fools.” But as James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” All we have to do is be open to the truth. 

 

I’ll leave you with two quotes I saw this week that I felt had a lot of wisdom.

 

"To experience genuine human love, to be part of a community of love is to experience the presence of God."

 John J. McNeill, 'Taking a Chance on God'

 

"Success and failure, ultimately, have little to do with living the gospel. Jesus just stood with the outcasts until they were welcomed or until he was crucified- whichever came first."

Fr. Gregory Boyle, 'Tattoos on the Heart'