Friday, March 31, 2023

Pic of the Day


Today's Plans


The picture above is my plan for today. It's not only been a busy week, but it's also been a busy three weeks, and I need a day to just be completely lazy. I hope you all have a good Friday and a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Pic of the Day


While I have thoroughly enjoyed having my VIP speaker here, I will be glad to drop her off at the airport this morning. She is a truly lovely woman, and she gave a fantastic talk. I'm just tired. I worked from around 9 am yesterday until just after 9 pm last night. Being a good host to our speakers is one of my favorite things about my job, but it is a lot of work. Every speaker I have ever scheduled for a program has been a very nice person, so it is a joy for me to make sure they have a good experience while in Vermont. At dinner last night, my speaker said that we were the "gold star" of all the museums she has spoken at. She said all of them have been nice, but none treated her as well as we did. So, it sounds like I must be doing something right. After I drop her off at the airport today, I'm going to have lunch with a friend and colleague of mine in Burlington. I have not seen her in nearly six months, so it will be nice to catch up. After lunch, I will probably head back home to collapse on the couch.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Pic of the Day

Playing Host

I am hosting a VIP speaker for the museum this week. This is part of my job that I absolutely love, but it's also one of the most exhausting things I do. I picked her up at the airport around lunchtime yesterday and took her to lunch on Church Street in Burlington. I showed her Church Street Marketplace, and she wanted to see Lake Champlain. So I took her down to the lakefront, and we walked along the path. Then I took her to the Vermont State House because she has an interest in state capitols, especially the small ones. The Vermont State House is the smallest state capitol. It's a beautiful capitol with a gold dome topped with Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. The legislature was in session, so we did not get a good look at the House or Senate chambers, but it's always nice to walk around the state house. We didn't have time for much else, so I took her to check into her hotel. I left her for a little while and then came back to pick her up for dinner. We had a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant, and I returned her to her hotel. I left home around 7 am yesterday and arrived back home around 7:30 pm. It was a long day. Today will be similar. I will get to relax for a bit this morning, and I will pick her up a little after 9 am to take her to the museum, where I will give her a tour and then set her up for her talk. I'm not sure what I will do with her after her talk, but tonight, I will take her to dinner. This is likely to be a longer dinner than last night's. It's at a restaurant that moves along at a much slower pace, but the food is excellent. Tomorrow, I will take her to the airport, then I am going to lunch with a colleague and friend in Burlington who I have not seen in a while, so it will be good to catch up. I have a little bit of shopping to do while I am in Burlington, then I am off work until Monday and can just relax, which I am very much looking forward to doing.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Pic of the Day

This Is Just To Say

 This Is Just To Say

By William Carlos Williams - 1883-1963


I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox


and which

you were probably


for breakfast


Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold


About the Poem


"This Is Just to Say" (1934) is an imagist poem by William Carlos Williams. The three-versed, 28-word poem is an apology about eating the reader's plums. The poem was written as if it was a note left on a kitchen table. It has been widely parodied.


The poem appears to the reader like a piece of found poetry and has an odd structure. The poem’s meter or rhythm exhibits no regularity of stress or syllable count. Except for lines two and five and lines eight and nine, no two lines have the same metrical form. The consonance of the letters "Th" in lines two, three, and four, as well the consonance of the letter "F" in lines eight and nine, and the letter 'S' in lines eleven and twelve give rise to a natural rhythm when the poem is read aloud.


A conspicuous lack of punctuation contributes to the poem's tonal ambiguity. While the second stanza begins with a conjunction, implying a connection to the first stanza, the third stanza is separated from the first two by the capitalized "Forgive." In a 1950 interview, John W. Gerber asked the poet what it is that makes "This Is Just to Say," a poem; Williams replied, "In the first place, it's metrically absolutely regular... So, dogmatically speaking, it has to be a poem because it goes that way, don't you see!" Critic Marjorie Perloff writes, "on the page, the three little quatrains look alike; they have roughly the same physical shape. It is typography rather than any kind of phonemic recurrence that provides directions for the speaking voice (or for the eye that reads the lines silently) and that teases out the poem's meanings." Additionally, this typographical structure influences any subsequent interpretation on the part of the reader.


Florence Williams's (Williams's wife) ''reply'' to This Is Just to Say is included as a 'Detail' in the partially published Detail & Parody for the poem Paterson (a manuscript at SUNY Buffalo) first appearing in 1982. Since Williams chose to include the ''reply'' in his own sequence, it seems likely that he took a note left by his wife and turned it into a ''poem."

About the Poet


William Carlos Williams was born on September 17, 1883, in Rutherford, New Jersey. He began writing poetry while a student at Horace Mann High School, at which time he made the decision to become both a writer and a doctor. He received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania, where he met and befriended Ezra Pound.


Pound became a great influence on Williams’s writing and, in 1913, arranged for the London publication of Williams’s second collection, The Tempers. Returning to Rutherford, where Williams sustained a medical practice throughout his life, he began publishing in small magazines and embarked on a prolific career as a poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright.


Following Pound, Williams was one of the principal poets of the Imagist movement; though, as time went on, he began to increasingly disagree with the values put forth in the work of Pound and especially T. S. Eliot, both of whom he felt were too attached to European culture and traditions. Continuing to experiment with new techniques of meter and lineation, Williams sought to invent an entirely fresh—and singularly American—poetic form whose subject matter was centered on the everyday circumstances of life and the lives of common people.


Williams’s influence as a poet spread slowly during the 1920s and 1930s, overshadowed, he felt, by the immense popularity of Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” His work received increasing attention in the 1950s and 1960s as younger poets, including Allen Ginsberg and the Beats, were impressed by the accessibility of his language and his openness as a mentor. His major works include Imaginations (New Directions, 1970); the five-volume epic Paterson, first published by New Directions in 1963 and rereleased in 1992; and Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (New Directions, 1962), which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.


Williams’s health began to decline after a heart attack in 1948 and a series of strokes, but he continued writing up until his death in New Jersey on March 4, 1963.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Pic of the Day

First Crush

Picture it, August 1989… 

It was homeroom, and I was in middle school, seventh grade to be exact when I first saw him. It was the first day of school, and he was the new kid in our class. This incident happened before I fully understood that I was attracted to guys. I told myself it was admiration and a desire to be like the guys I had “crushes” on. I wouldn’t allow myself to think that I could be gay. I dated girls all through school and even the early years of college.


On that day many years ago, someone in my class called me a faggot, queer, or some other derogatory term for sissy or gay. I was constantly bullied and called gay slurs from probably fifth grade. They would mock my voice and exaggerate my mannerism that they thought were sissified. When I think back now, I doubt they knew what gay was or even what they were saying. None of us did. Like me, they just knew it was terrible and reserved for those less masculine than what everything seemed to teach us about what a man should be, and I was not the most masculine of guys. I was tall and, I would say, non-descriptively handsome. I had brown hair, brown eyes, and an olive complexion. I was the smartest person in my class, automatically making me a queer nerd. 


Anyway, a group of guys were calling me names and bullying me when I heard a masculine voice tell them to stop. I looked to see a vision of beauty, not by everyone’s standards, but he was so handsome and my definition of masculine beauty. He was tall, with blond hair, blue eyes, and that pinkish complexion that comes from fair skin guys who don’t tan but burn in the sunlight. He was also as masculine as a middle schooler can be. Without realizing it, I had my first boy crush from that day forward. I basically worshipped this kid. He was my hero and a genuinely good guy. I fell in love, but it was not something I understood. He never had any idea that I had a crush on him, and as far as I know, he never did. We became friends, or really just acquaintances. We didn’t hang out all the time or anything like that, but he was always friendly to me and took up for me when guys were bullying me. He was not a bully, but people still respected him. He was a genuinely nice guy. 


I had all sorts of fantasies about him. I never contemplated being gay until college, although I had fantasized about a number of guys once I’d had my sexual awakening. However, that new kid in seventh grade was the person who almost always fueled my sexual fantasies. Thinking back on it, he probably fueled my whole sexual awakening. I was utterly delusional, though. I had no awareness I was gay. I rarely ever fantasized about girls, and when I did, it was because I thought that was what I should be fantasizing about. However, the fantasies always ended up centering on a guy, not the girl. In fact, by the time I reached climax, no girl was in my thoughts. I had crushes on several guys, and they were always the guys who were nice to me. Being kind was and still is a sure way to my heart.


As we grew older and made our way out of middle school to high school, he became more built and handsome. He was the star jock at our school, playing football, basketball, baseball, and running track. I couldn’t compete with his athleticism and never was very good at sports. I refused to play football but played basketball, track, and golf for our school. I always wanted to play baseball, but my eyesight and coordination were never good enough to see the ball let alone hit or catch it. I think this is part of why I find baseball players so sexy. By our junior year of high school, we were the top guys in our class. I was the smartest; he was the best athlete. He was always very popular, and I was mostly just tolerated. He played sports, and I did all the other extracurricular activities.


During our senior year, the baseball team all got a buzz-cut. We were either at lunch or on break, and someone, probably his girlfriend, said something about how soft his hair felt being cut so short. How I did it, I’ll never remember, but I got up the nerve to ask if I could feel it. I then ran my hand over his head, feeling the soft short hair. It was one of the few times I ever got to touch him. Guys weren’t touchy feeling back then, and no guy would have been seen touching or getting touched by the gay kid. I admit it; the feel of his soft blond hair was my main fantasy that night. It still turns me on to run my hands over the head of a guy with short, buzz-cut hair. When I was in grad school and out to everyone, there was this one guy who I played poker with. He always let me flirt with him even though he was very straight. He had short blond hair. I always loved standing behind him after I’d lost all my chips, of course, and run my hands over his head, but he’s a story for another time. There were a few guys during that time in my life when I flirted unmercifully with a few straight guys who were good sports about it.


Anyway, let’s get back to that first crush. When I lived in Alabama, I’d run into him occasionally. Now, I just keep up with him and his family on Facebook. He is beefier than he used to be but still a fine specimen of manhood. Good Lord, he still makes me weak in the knees. We never forget our first crush, do we? 

Who was your first crush?

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Pic of the Day


For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

—Romans 12:3


Probably no part of our inner life is more fragile and important than our self-concept. Parents must wisely help children develop a healthy concept of self. With the laws being passed to deny transgender children the healthcare they need and deserve, it is more important than ever that parents encourage their children to develop a healthy concept of who they are. All of us, in all stages of life, are shaped by our self-concept more than we often realize.


In the verse above, Paul cautions us, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought." It's easy for us to think highly of ourselves—or at least to sound as if we do. We can express pride so easily. It seems to me that there are also many times when we think too lowly of ourselves. I know I am guilty of this more so than thinking too highly of myself. A lack of self-esteem is a struggle for many of us. We remember so well what we can't do or what we haven't done well. We quickly look at others as they have superior abilities and feel inadequate.


It's more than self-esteem, though. It is harder for children and young adults to have self-esteem and accept themselves if they are not encouraged by parents, teachers, and others who are crucial in forming their identity. It takes a leap of faith to accept ourselves, especially those who are LGBTQ+. Brian G. Murphy of Queer Theology wrote, "When LGBT people come out, we step into the unknown. For many, it is a daring (and sometimes dangerous) act of faith." If those who are important to us reject us, it diminishes our faith. It causes us to question our relationship with God, and that rejection can have devastating consequences. That is why it is so important that parents and mentors support children and young adults, especially those of the LGBTQ+ community.


We have to be comfortable in our own skin and have self-esteem before we can grow into the person God wants us to be. The author Thomas F. Shubnell wrote, "You will never be who you want to be, until you are happy with who you are." I have long felt that much of my life was wasted because I was not encouraged to be myself. I was made to be ashamed of being a gay man. It has taken many years to come to terms with my sexuality and faith. I was taught that the two were incompatible, but they are more than compatible; my sexuality and faith are part of who I am. We can't let shame keep us from being ourselves. The American playwright Edward Albee said, "What could be worse than getting to the end of your life and realizing you hadn't lived it."


Accept yourself! Believe in yourself! Enjoy your life! Be you!

Friday, March 24, 2023

Pic of the Day


It's so good to be home and back to sleeping in my own bed. I really did not like the hotel I was staying at. The front desk people were rude; they acted like it was a burden to help you. They never cleaned my room, even though their description of the hotel says, "We clean rooms daily." Hilton hotels have become no better than a run-down Holiday Inn. The last time I stayed at a Hilton, I found a bedroom slipper in my bed, which was disgusting since it meant they had not changed the sheets. Also, the elevators did not work. When I got there, only one of the three elevators was actually in operation, and it didn't always stop on your floor or take you where you wanted to go. No matter which floor you were going to, it always made a stop at the lower lobby and the second floor. I have no idea why it always went to these floors because no one ever got on or off at those floors. Also, the beds were not comfortable, and the pillows were flat.

The best part about being home though is not just my bed but being back with Isabella. She met me at the door when I came home and has not let me out of her sight since. She's been very chatty too. She's normally a very quiet cat, but she meowed for an hour or so once I got home. I guess she wanted to tell me she was glad I was home and that I should not leave again. I've had cats in the past that won't have anything to do with you when you have been away, but not Isabella. She lets you know how happy she is that I am back home.

I am off work today and plan on being very lazy. I just want to enjoy being at home with Isabella. I'm sure I will watch Picard and The Mandalorian again at some point. I might even watch a movie. I'm pretty sure I will take a nap at some point.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Pic of the Day

On the Road Again

I’m driving back to Vermont today. This trip has not been as bad as I’d feared it could have been. The workshop was actually very interesting, and I met some very nice people. The hotel wasn’t great. For a Hilton, it was badly lacking with elevators that didn’t always work and terrible customer service. However, I did have a few good meals, and one truly awful one.

I’ll be glad to be back home with Isabella. I miss her when I’m gone, and I know she misses me. I’m not looking forward to this drive, but I’ve got some audiobooks to listen to, and if I time things just right, maybe the traffic won’t be too bad.

And I also want to wish my friend Susan a very happy birthday. 🎂 ​

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Pic of the Day


In my “Moment of Zen: My Type” last Saturday, I mentioned my first crush, and someone asked me to write about him. I had every intention of doing so in this post; however, after driving down to Connecticut on Monday and being in a workshop yesterday afternoon, I was exhausted. It also didn’t help that I’d eaten at a truly awful sushi restaurant for dinner. Anyway, the point is, I was just too tired to really write anything last night, and I didn’t have time this morning. I have to be at a day long workshop today, and without Isabella waking me up, I’m able to sleep a little extra. After getting ready and having breakfast, there just isn’t much time left before I have to leave. I will, however, get to the story of my first crush at some point, just be patient.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Pic of the Day



By Aaron Smith


I can’t remember my dad calling me a sissy, 

but he definitely told me not to be a sissy.

I secretly (or not so secretly) liked all the sissy

things. We had a hunting dog named Sissy.

Really: Sissy. My father nicknamed my sister: Sissy.

Still, he says, “How’s Sissy?” and calls her Sissy

when she goes home to visit him. Belinda (Sissy)

is one of the toughest people I know. My sissy

(sister) has kicked someone’s ass, which isn’t sissy-

ish, I guess, though I want to redefine sissy

into something fabulous, tough, tender, “sissy-

tough.” Drag queens are damn tough and sissies.

I’m pretty fucking tough and a big, big sissy,

too. And kind. Tough and kind and happy: a sissy.

About This Poem


Aaron Smith explains his poem: “As a queer person, I’ve had the word ‘sissy’ leveled against me as an insult. In this sonnet, I challenged myself to use the word ‘sissy’ as the ending word for each line in an attempt to reclaim the word, celebrate it, redefine it—as I say in the poem—as something ‘fabulous, tough, tender.’ I also wanted to celebrate drag queens. RuPaul [Andre Charles] is a national treasure.”


I came across this poem the other day, and it was one of those poems that really spoke to me. Like Smith, my dad never called me a sissy, but I heard more than once, “Don’t be a sissy.” I remember when I was in grammar school, all the boys played flag football at recess. I had no interest in playing football, so I spent recess with my friends, all the girls. My dad came to pick me up from school one day (recess was at the end of the day), and he noticed that I was not playing football with the rest of the boys. He told me that I had to play with the boys and “not be such a sissy.” So, from then on, when he would pick me up at school, I’d have to play flag football.


Years ago, I read a book, Mississippi Sissy. The book is a memoir by Kevin Sessums, a celebrity journalist who as the Amazon description says, “grew up scaring other children, hiding terrible secrets, pretending to be Arlene Frances and running wild in the South.” As he grew up in Forest, Mississippi, befriended by the family maid, Mattie May, he became a young man who turned the word "sissy" on its head, just as his mother taught him. In Jackson, he is befriended by Eudora Welty and journalist Frank Hains, but when Hains is brutally murdered in his antebellum mansion, Kevin's long road north towards celebrity begins. In his memoir, Kevin Sessums brings to life the pungent American south of the 1960s and the world of the strange little boy who grew there.


There are words that haunt me because of the pain they caused me growing up: sissy, queer, faggot (fag), etc. I know many gay men use these as empowering words, such as Sessum and Smith do in their writing. Others celebrate their sexuality and gender non-conformity. As the poem says, “Drag queens are damn tough and sissies.” But it’s not just drag queens that are celebrating gender non-conformity. Many of us live our lives these days without the fear of being called a “sissy.” Though, there are still many like me who continue to care what others think. It’s difficult for us to break free from the traditional gender roles that were forced on us when we were young. Maybe more of us should realize that we are “pretty fucking tough and a big, big sissy, too. And kind. Tough and kind and happy: a sissy.”

About the Poet


Aaron Smith has an MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Smith is the author of three books of poetry: Primer (University of Pittsburgh Press); Appetite (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012); and Blue on Blue Ground (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. His other awards include fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and Mass Cultural Council. 

Smith is an associate professor of creative writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Pic of the Day




“For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” 

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

—Matthew 25:35-40


I saw the following story on Facebook, which probably means there is no truth to it, but it is a good story with a worthy message.


A pastor transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the church, where he was to be introduced as the head pastor that morning. He walked around his soon-to-be church for thirty minutes while it was filling with people for service. Only three people said hello to him; most looked the other way. He asked people for change to buy food because he was hungry. Not one person gave him anything. 


He went into the sanctuary to sit in the front of the church and was told by the ushers that he would need to get up and sit in the back of the church. He said hello to people as they walked in but was greeted with cold stares and dirty looks from people looking down on him and judging him. He sat in the back of the church and listened to the church announcements for the week. He listened as new visitors were welcomed into the church that morning, but no one acknowledged that he was new. He watched people around him continue to look his way with stares that said you are not welcome here. 


Then the church elders went to the podium to make the announcement. They said they were excited to introduce the church's new pastor to the congregation. The congregation stood up and looked around, clapping with joy and anticipation. The homeless man sitting in the back stood up and started walking down the aisle. That's when all the clapping stopped, and the church was silent. With all eyes on him, he walked to the altar and reached for the microphone. He stood there momentarily and then recited these verses from the Bible so elegantly.

“For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” 

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’"

After he recited this, he introduced himself as their new pastor and told the congregation what he had experienced that morning. Many began to cry and bow their heads in shame. "Today I see a gathering of people here but I do not see a church of Jesus. The world has enough people that look the other way. What the world needs is disciples of Jesus that can follow His teachings and live as He did.” He then dismissed service until the following Sunday as his sermon had been given.


While I doubt this happened, I can believe the parishioners would have been crying crocodile tears. Many modern-day Christians do one of two things when they are confronted with their hypocrisy. They either shed crocodile tears and act sorrowful for their shameful behavior while they would do the same thing the next day, or they double down on their hypocrisy and claim they are right and others are wrong.


Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones, but she said none of those things. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thigh bone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, you die if you break your leg. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. Mead explained that a broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, bound up the wound, carried the person to safety, and tended to the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts.


 The moral of these two stories is simple: We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized and help your fellow man whenever you can.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Pic of the Day

Moment of Zen: My Type

My taste in men varies wildly, as you can tell by the pictures I post on this blog, but since I was 13 years old and first saw the guy that would be the center of my fantasies and dreams all through middle and high school, I have had one particular type of guy that makes me weak in the knees with lust. Hayden Lourd, the guy above, did a few videos for Cocky Boys and then seemed to disappear from the adult industry, as far as I can tell. Cocky Boys’ description of him says, “From the moment we met Hayden, he was cracking us up with his ‘live & let live’ attitude, raw masculinity, sexual energy. We were punch drunk. His sexy smile, at one moment innocent and playful, could just as easily tease and seduce before becoming an evil grin that could melt the pants off a lumberjack!” He sounds just like my type. He has the attitude and look that is my weakness. He is tall at 6’1”, just the right amount of muscles, fair hair and complexion, and crystal blue eyes. The hair and complexion always get me, especially when they are blond and have that pinkish complexion that so easily turns red for any number of emotions. In one video, his scene partner, Levi Carter, says Hayden is big in every way. I’ve seen all of him, and I’d have to agree. Plus, he has an ass to die for. I could watch this man all day. He epitomizes my type and reminds me very much of that guy who was my first crush.


Friday, March 17, 2023

Pic of the Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I got up bright and early this morning. Since it's my day off, I made a nice breakfast. Last night, I mixed up the batter for some Ham and Cheese Scones. I just had to put them in my scones pan this morning and pop them in the oven. To go with the scones, I made some scrambled eggs and sausage. Honestly, I didn't need anything but the scones, but I had eggs left over from the egg wash that I brushed on top of the scones, so instead of throwing it out, I made scrambled eggs. Then, I just popped some sausage links in my air fryer. It was a good breakfast, but the scones were the best part.

When I lived in Alabama, my aunt always wanted corned beef and cabbage every St. Patrick's Day. I am not a big fan of corned beef, though I can eat it. I like cabbage if it is cooked well. When my mother would cook it, she would basically cook it to mush. I like there to be a little firmness to it. To make corned beef and cabbage is a bit much for just me, especially when it is something I'm not crazy about eating. Instead, I plan to make some pork chops for dinner tonight. I have not yet decided what I will cook with them, but it should be a good dinner.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Pic of the Day


I do not want to be awake this morning, and I don’t want to go to work. However, I can handle it for half a day. When I leave at lunch today, I won’t be back to the museum until the 27th. I’m taking tomorrow off, and then, I’ll be in Connecticut next week for a workshop. 

The main reason I don’t want to be awake this morning is because my back was hurting yesterday, and I had a migraine. So, I took a muscle relaxer which helped for a little while, but it makes me drowsy for usually a full day. It’s back hurting now, but not as bad. I’m going to see a physical therapist on March 28. I hope it will help.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Pic of the Day

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day

By Jean Blewett


There’s an Isle, a green Isle, set in the sea,

     Here’s to the Saint that blessed it!

And here’s to the billows wild and free

     That for centuries have caressed it!


Here’s to the day when the men that roam

     Send longing eyes o’er the water!

Here’s to the land that still spells home

     To each loyal son and daughter!


Here’s to old Ireland—fair, I ween,

     With the blue skies stretched above her!

Here’s to her shamrock warm and green,

     And here’s to the hearts that love her!



With St. Patrick’s Day Friday, I thought I’d post a poem about Ireland.


About the Poet


Canadian poet and writer Jean Blewett was born in Scotia, Lake Erie, Ontario, in 1872. She began writing at a young age and gained recognition for her poems, short stories, and articles while still a teenager. The author of two popular collections of poetry, Heart Songs (1897) and The Cornflower and Other Poems (1906), she also wrote a novel, Out of the Depths (1890). 

Globe Magazine described Blewett as a “woman’s poet” while calling her the “most conspicuous example in Canada of the class of writers who try to bring the plain people into touch with the highest ideals that are frequently most effectively taught in verse. Her lessons are of self-denial, and of the power of love to mold men and women.” She was popular in the United States and Canada, and the Chicago Times-Herald awarded her a $600 prize for her poem “Spring.”

Blewett died in 1934.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Pic of the Day

When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

—Revelation 3:5


For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

—1 Thessalonians 4:16


When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

Author: James M. Black (1893)


When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more,

And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;

When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,

And the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.



When the roll is called up yonder,

When the roll is called up yonder,

When the roll is called up yonder,

When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.


On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,

And the glory of his resurrection share;

When his chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,

And the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there. [Refrain]


Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun;

Let us talk of all his wondrous love and care.

Then when all of life is over and our work on earth is done,

And the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there. [Refrain]


Written by James Milton Black, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” has always been one of my favorite songs, and back years ago, when I was the song leader in my childhood church, I used to sing this song frequently. It is about not missing out on the eternal salvation of God inspired by the idea of The Book of Life mentioned in the Bible.


Born in 1856 in South Hill, New York, James Milton Black acquired an early musical education in singing and playing the organ. In his early twenties, Black moved to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where he worked with the Methodist Episcopal church. During the week, he would teach music as a song leader while working as a Sunday school teacher and youth leader in his free time. In addition to all this work, he also spent time editing hymnals.


Black loved young people and would help those he could. One day, while passing through an alley, he met a ragged fourteen-year-old girl whose father was an alcoholic. Black invited her to his Sunday school and youth group, and she started to attend. However, one day when Black was making the roll call, he did not hear a response from the teenage girl. Each child was supposed to recite a Scripture verse when his or her name was called. But it was her silence that made Black realize a lesson. He said, “I spoke of what a sad thing it would be when our names are called from the Lamb’s Book of Life if one of us should be absent.” 


The idea of someone not being in attendance in heaven haunted Black, and he visited the child's home. He found out she had pneumonia, so he called on a doctor to attend to her for pneumonia before leaving the girl to return home. When he arrived home, Black tried to look for a song that would fit the thought of a heavenly roll call, but he could not find one. An inner voice seemed to tell him, “Why don’t you write one.” And that is just what he did. Sadly, the young girl passed away a few days later. Black had the heartbreaking opportunity to explain in public how he came to write “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” when it was sung at the girl’s funeral.


The first stanza of the new hymn came to Black’s mind in full. Within fifteen minutes, the two following verses were already written down, and then Black turned to the piano. “I played the music,” he said, “just as it is found today in the hymn books, note for note, and I have never dared to change a single word or note of the song.” The lyrics of the song were first published in a collection called Songs of the Soul. Since then, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” has been translated into at least fourteen languages and sung worldwide in various Christian denominations. There are more than 500 versions available on such sites as Amazon, recorded by various artists such as Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Jim Nabors, and Willie Nelson, to the traditional tune. 


In 1945, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill created a stir in the British press when he quoted the hymn in response to a question about when the Big Three (Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill) were going to meet; the Winnipeg Free Press wrote: "Mr. Churchill, in one of his somewhat puckish moods, replied that he did not know, but, he added irreverently, 'When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.'" The British press expressed surprise at Churchill, an Anglican, being familiar with a hymn more associated with Methodism, Presbyterianism, and other "chapel" denominations or the revival meetings, whereas the Free Press speculated that Churchill might well have heard the "catchy" tune in the street meetings held by the Salvation Army. He might also have remembered the lyrics from the 1941 movie Sergeant York.