Monday, August 21, 2017

Black or White



The Michael Jackson song says, "It don't matter if you're black or white." Since Barack Obama became president, racism has surged in America. With the election of Donald Trump, racism has come to a head. He has empowered those who are most racist. It is his greatest crime as president. America is made up of immigrants and people of different races. It is probably the most diverse country in the world. It's our blessing and our curse. There will always be those who believe that America should be dominated by the white race, they will always be wrong. America's original motto was E pluribus unum, Latin for "out of many, one." It remained the de facto motto until 1956 when an act of Congress changed the motto to "In God We Trust." The fact is though that our Founding Fathers chose "out of many, one" as our motto because they believed it took many different people to make one great nation. They may not have believed that included African-Americans at the time, but I believe they would today. America made a great mistake when they allowed slavery to exist on this continent. America has not had a perfect history with minorities, far from it, but no country can claim to have perfectly treated minorities. We can be better though, and we need to rid ourselves of a president who lends credence to and empowers racists.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Faith Is the Victory




For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. - 1 John 5:4


Faith Is the Victory
by John H. Yates 1891


Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise,
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.


Refrain:
Faith is the victory!
Faith is the victory!
Oh, glorious victory,
That overcomes the world.


His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God;
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind’s breath,
Swept on o’er every field;
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.


On every hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array;
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray.
Salvation’s helmet on each head,
With truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble ’neath our tread,
And echo with our shout.


To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be giv’n;
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in heav’n.
Then onward from the hills of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus’ conqu’ring name.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Phone Calls



My mother finally called back. As usual, she acted as if nothing was wrong. She didn't even acknowledge that she'd basically hung up on me a few days before. She called about something she saw on TV. I did get a chance to tell her how disappointed I was that they weren't coming. She let me know that it was my father that didn't want to come up here. He said she could fly up here but he wasn't coming. Mama won't fly up here by herself. I guess I can understand that.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What Were They Thinking?



I stayed up last night watching results from the Alabama US Senate race primary. Y'all know I'm from Alabama. I have family and friends there and so I have a vested interest in this race, even if I'm no longer a voter in Alabama. I was glad to see that Doug Jones won the Democratic primary, or at least it looked that way when I went to bed. Jones is a US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. He's a good solid Democrat who is well respected. Can he win a general election? I doubt it.  What I don't get though is the Republican primary. It looks like Roy Moore will be in a run off with incumbent Luther Stange or less likely Representive Mo Brooks. Moore though has the most votes, but thankfully not a majority. I don't like to wish ill of people, but I wish Roy Moore would die already. He's a fucking moron who is one of the leading opponents of LGBT rights in the country. After being removed from Cheif Justice of Alabama twice for judicial misconduct, he shouldn't be able to run for dog catcher, let alone the US Senate. He's a laughing stock, yet the people of Alabama want to vote him in, just like they did Trump. It's absolutely abhorrent in my opinion.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Lazy Day



A Lazy Day

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

The trees bend down along the stream,
Where anchored swings my tiny boat.
The day is one to drowse and dream
And list the thrush’s throttling note.
When music from his bosom bleeds
Among the river’s rustling reeds.

No ripple stirs the placid pool,
When my adventurous line is cast,
A truce to sport, while clear and cool,
The mirrored clouds slide softly past.
The sky gives back a blue divine,
And all the world’s wide wealth is mine.

A pickerel leaps, a bow of light,
The minnows shine from side to side.
The first faint breeze comes up the tide—
I pause with half uplifted oar,
While night drifts down to claim the shore.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Mothers



My parents were supposed to come visit me this fall. I wanted them to see how beautiful Vermont is at that time of year. A few weeks ago, my mother informed me that they were going to North Carolina instead. When I asked why they weren't coming to see me, she replied that they didn't have time. My feelings were terribly hurt, but she doesn't seem to care. Even when I tried last night to tell her that she'd hurt my feelings, she just said goodbye. I guess she didn't want to hear it. She may not care but that hurt my feelings even more. Why do parents treat us this way? One minute she wants me to move home because she says she misses me and the next she won't come to visit because she doesn't have the time. I just don't get it. My parents are both retired. They have plenty of time to do what they want, but I guess seeing me is not what they want.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sexual Wholeness As Justice Work



"He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8


Pursuing sexual wholeness is a radical act of justice. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the church has a problem with sexuality. Many of us can quote the statistics and cite the scholarship. We can tell heart-rending stories of hurt and anguish as we wrestle with death-dealing, conservative theologies that keep many of us suffering in silence.


And yet the prophet Micah begs us to consider what the Lord requires of us.


The Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon, a black womanist theologian and ethicist, suggests that misunderstandings about sexuality send more people to the grave than any other issue. If there were one aspect of our humanity we wrestle with the most, then it is being in our very blessed and yet problematic bodies. From the time we are born until the day we leave this earth the pressing issues of our existence seems to be what do we do with our bodies, how do we treat the bodies of others, and what in this relating is good?


Beloveds, we have a problem with embodiment—plain and simple. When we survey the social-political landscape and we point our eye to prevailing issues of immigration, education, poverty, voting rights, LGBTQ equality, fair housing, and transgender visibility, it becomes crystal clear that we have an issue with our flesh, and with the very embodiment of humanity. And when we are honest, the church in general, and the black church in particular, has not been the most helpful, nor the most truthful, nor the most kind, nor the most just in dealing head-on with the very true reality that we are embodied spirits and inspirited bodies.


This is why my sisters, brothers and siblings, I suggest that sexual wholeness—the coming together of being sexually faithful and faithfully sexual—is a justice issue.


The question, then, is what do we need to do if we are going to be Jesus-loving justice workers in the world?


I am so glad you asked. The prophet Micah helps us by giving us three simple yet profound considerations:


1. Do justice. "Do" is a word that conveys our intentions for completing an action. And so, as Dr. Cannon would say, “Do the work your soul must have.” This means that we must engage in the living, working, and sharing of life that makes us come alive. And then we must ground that work in the character of God that is just.


2. Love kindness. The art of being kind is often lost on ourselves. And so to love kindness is to stop and take a moment to care for yourself even as you care for others. In fact, Dr. Cannon suggests that in order to be a justice worker in the world, we need a disciplined devotional life.


3. Walk humbly with God. Move in this world with awareness that our connection to God is experienced in our relationship with others. How can we rightly relate to others if our walk with God is not right-sized? Dr. Cannon suggests that, in order for us to ethically relate to others, we must see the imago dei—or the image of God—in ourselves and others.

Therefore, Beloveds, engage in the work of becoming sexually faithful and faithfully sexual.


Do this work knowing full well that it is what the Lord is requiring of you.

Because pursuing sexual wholeness is a radical act of justice.


Originally published by Many Voices as part of Revolutionary Rhetoric, a nine part sermon series.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Friday, August 11, 2017

Looking Back



Looking back on this week, it's been a long week. I have several projects I'm working on at work, and they seem to be never ending. They will get done though, I just need motivation to finish them. These projects are not the most exciting things that I work on, but they have to be done, and I will get them finished eventually. Thank goodness it's Friday, and I have the weekend to look forward to.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Benjamin Bradley



Benjamin Lemke once went by the name Benjamin Bradley. He was a popular performer in the mid-2000s for companies like Falcon Studios and Buckshot. He also posed the underwear company Ginch Gonch. 

In a sad turn of events, Lemke has found himself in middle of a fight for his life. He’s dealing with his second bout of Non-Hodgekin’s Lymphoma. 

Lemke has a large metastatic tumor in his neck that is growing larger and has begun pushing up against his jugular. In addition to that, he has developed several cavity lung lesions. As a result, he has been in and out of the hospital for the past month. 

His partner, Alfred Robles, has started a YouCaring fundraising campaign to help cover Lemke’s expenses. 

“He currently has exhausted all funds for cancer treatments, and we have maxed out all credit cards paying for his medical expenses and covering his health care needs,” Robles writes. 

So far, Robles has raised about $8,600 of his $12,000 goal. 

“If you have ever met or known Benjamin, you have been touched by his upbeat, loving, one-of-a-kind personality,” Robles says. 

Here’s wishing Lemke a full recovery.

Source: Queerty.com

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Broadchurch



I've gotten hooked on a new-to-me television series, Broadchurch. It's a great British mystery series. Once you've seen a few episodes, you'll be hooked. I'm currently watching season two on Netflix, but you can catch all three seasons, including what's aired of the third season on the BBC America app. I have a Roku TV that I love and BBC America is one of the app channels that you can access and watch shows on demand. Anyway, here's a teaser for the series:

When the corpse of an 11-year-old British boy, Danny Latimer, is found bloodied and dirty on an idyllic beach, a small Dorset community becomes the focus of a police investigation and media madness. Out-of-town Detective Inspector Alec Hardy gets the point position over Detective Sgt. Ellie Miller -- who feels the job should have been hers. Now she must engage in an efficient working relationship with taciturn Hardy. Slowly, more members of the community of Broadchurch are drawn into the investigation, with a telephone engineer drawing great attention when he admits to a special connection to the case. While dealing with so much unwelcome attention, Danny's family tries to cope with its grief. When a suspect is named and charged, the ensuing trial sees the defendant promising to expose more of the townspeople's secrets.

Thanks, Susan, for talking me into watching this show.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

August



August
 by Helen Hunt Jackson


Silence again. The glorious symphony
Hath need of pause and interval of peace.
Some subtle signal bids all sweet sounds cease,
Save hum of insects’ aimless industry.
Pathetic summer seeks by blazonry
Of color to conceal her swift decrease.
Weak subterfuge! Each mocking day doth fleece
A blossom, and lay bare her poverty.
Poor middle-agèd summer! Vain this show!
Whole fields of golden-rod cannot offset
One meadow with a single violet;
And well the singing thrush and lily know,
Spite of all artifice which her regret
Can deck in splendid guise, their time to go!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Game of Thrones



If you have not watched the latest episode, read no further. There may be spoilers ahead.


Holy hell, last night was intense. The attack on King's Landing/The Loot Train with the dragon was marvelous. No wonder there was no preview description before the episode. 


Each previous episode has left me feeling down. The defeat of the Greyjoys and the Dornish, then the defeat of the Tyrells, ending with Lady Olenna's death. They left you feeling helpless, but last nights episode gives you hope.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Great Commandment



And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." - Mark 12:28-31


Below is a statement from Believe Out Loud. While it sums up their mission, it also sums up what I am trying to do with my Sunday posts on religion.


Since the advent of the modern gay rights movement, Christians have raised their voices for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. We have long looked at discrimination in our culture and wondered how is this injustice consistent with Jesus’ message to love our neighbors as ourselves?


Throughout the years, we found support with other like-minded Christians. Together, we gathered to study, pray, struggle and grow while embarking on a mission to make our churches and communities reflective of the inclusive love Jesus teaches.


Today, forty years after the first openly gay man was ordained in a mainline Christian church, we are a diverse, thriving rainbow representative of the entire Christian faith. We are moms and dads, city dwellers and farmers. We are middle of the road, strictly sidewalk and off the beaten path. Different but alike, we find unity of purpose in our Christian faith: to spread the joy and justice of LGBT equality.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Less Tense



I don't know what happened overnight, but cooler heads prevailed yesterday. The office seemed to go back to normal. It was so much better than on Wednesday. People were actually talking to one another and were in a cheerful mood. It may have been that the audit went well, or just that cooler heads did prevail. I think it was a little bit of both. My boss is off today, so things should be fairly quiet in the office today. I have a few special projects to do, so my head will be down and I will be busy most of the day.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Tension



There is so much tension at work. My boss and our secretary are at odds with each other and it has all of the rest of us on pins and needles. My office sits between their offices, so I am smack in the middle of it, exactly where I don't want to be. I'm just keeping my head down and doing my work. I hope tomorrow is a better day, though I doubt it. We have some kind of insurance audit tomorrow which I am not part of, thank goodness. So we will see what happens. I'm just praying that there is less tension in the office tomorrow.


The picture above has nothing to do with the post, but I think it's cute. The cat looks like Isabella, so I call it Darth Bella.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Gym Shorts



There's just something I love about gym shorts. I love the way they hug an ass and leave little to the imagination up front especially if the person is freeballing it. Even if they are wearing underwear, a nice butt in gym shorts is a thing of beauty. I remember a coach that I used to work with wore gym shorts most days, and I loved walking behind him. I loved to watch his butt cheeks move up and down as he walked. It was a thing of beauty.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

L'Envoi



L’Envoi

 by Willa Cather


Where are the loves that we have loved before

When once we are alone, and shut the door?

No matter whose the arms that held me fast,

The arms of Darkness hold me at the last.

No matter down what primrose path I tend,

I kiss the lips of Silence in the end.

No matter on what heart I found delight,

I come again unto the breast of Night.

No matter when or how love did befall,

’Tis Loneliness that loves me best of all,

And in the end she claims me, and I know

That she will stay, though all the rest may go.

No matter whose the eyes that I would keep

Near in the dark, ’tis in the eyes of Sleep

That I must look and look forever more,

When once I am alone, and shut the door.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Terrible Migraine



I didn't feel like writing much more than the title.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Rock of Ages



1 Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 

let me hide myself in thee; 

let the water and the blood, 

from thy wounded side which flowed, 

be of sin the double cure; 

save from wrath and make me pure. 


2 Not the labors of my hands 

can fulfill thy law's demands; 

could my zeal no respite know, 

could my tears forever flow, 

all for sin could not atone; 

thou must save, and thou alone. 


3 Nothing in my hand I bring, 

simply to the cross I cling; 

naked, come to thee for dress; 

helpless, look to thee for grace; 

foul, I to the fountain fly; 

wash me, Savior, or I die. 


4 While I draw this fleeting breath, 

when mine eyes shall close in death, 

when I soar to worlds unknown, 

see thee on thy judgment throne, 

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 

let me hide myself in thee. 


From Wikipedia:


Rock of Ages is a popular Christian hymn by the Reverend Augustus Toplady written in 1763 and first published in The Gospel Magazine in 1775.


Traditionally, it is held that Toplady drew his inspiration from an incident in the gorge of Burrington Combe in the Mendip Hills in England. Toplady, a preacher in the nearby village of Blagdon, was travelling along the gorge when he was caught in a storm. Finding shelter in a gap in the gorge, he was struck by the title and scribbled down the initial lyrics.


Friday, July 28, 2017

The History of Gay Porn, Part III

The previous two days' posts were written in 2011. The gay porn industry has changed quite dramatically since then. In 2011, Falcon Studios was mainly selling DVDs; now, Falcon is streaming most of their content. Yes, you can still buy DVDs of gay porn, but how many people actually do anymore? The internet has taken over the porn industry. Sites like Helix Studios, Sean Cody, Corbin Fisher, or Bel Ami are nearly all online now. Sean Cody has been bought by MindGeek, who owns Men.com and is arguably the largest of the studios at this point. Of the studios mentioned, Sean Cody is the only one who does not produce DVDs. Yet, the vast majority of their use is online.

Online companies also have to compete against free sites, such as Pornhub, XVideo or XTube. You also have gay porn blogs. While Blogger has largely done away with gay porn blogs, Tumblr is still alive and well. Tumblr only allows for a maximum of four minutes for a video, but considering that Tumblr is a short-form blog, it is made for quickly getting off. In the four minutes it allows, Tumblr gives you the best parts of a clip. Most of the websites for gay porn have 20-25 minute scenes.

The main thing is that gay porn in the last six years has become virtual. While this trend was begun in the early 2000s, since 2011, it has become more and more web-based. Whether you are into twinks (Helix), military men (Active Duty), college frat boys (Corbin Fisher or Sean Cody), Europeans (Bel Ami), or more masculine men (Men.com), there is something for you. There are even more specialized/fetish sites like Bound Gods, SpankingCentral, and others that are able to produce web-based content to a specialized audience that DVDs just didn’t really allow.

I think the days of big studios producing DVDs is a thing of the past. Falcon, Titan, Rascal, etc., are all producing mostly web-based content. Gay porn is also evolving in other way. You can get Helix and Corbin Fisher on Roku, bringing porn back to your big screen TV. How many other studios will follow and make themselves available on streaming TV, but it is definitely an alternative for those who don’t want a collection of DVDs. Porn has become more portable than ever, and this is a trend that I don't see going away.


Gay porn has also changed in one other major way. It is nearly all condomless these day. PrEP has allowed barebacking to become legitimate in porn again. In 2011, gay porn studios were still using condoms. Only studios on the edge such as Treasure Island Media allowed for condomless porn, but with frequent STD testing and PrEP barebacking is all the rage in gay porn again. Falcon was one of the last studios to start using condoms and it was one of the last to end the use of condoms.