Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back Home...For A Few Days

I'm back home for the rest of this week.  I'll have to go to school on Saturday for a workday.  Hopefully,  my classroom will be painted.  All I have to do is supervise parents, but I still have to go in and get things ready for the new school year.

Then Monday, I will be taking my niece to Six Flags with my parents.  I love spending time with my niece, my parents drive me crazy though and I'm not a big fan of amusement parks, especially the rides.  I'm not much of a thrill seeker.

On the same day I get back from Six Flags, I will be heading to Dallas.  Then it's just one week before school begins.  Where has my summer gone?!?!?  It came and went in a flash.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When We Two Parted

When We Two Parted
By George Gordon Byron

 When we two parted 
   In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted 
   To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold, 
   Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold 
   Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning 
   Sunk chill on my brow-- 
It felt like the warning
   Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken, 
   And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken, 
   And share in its shame.

They name thee before me, 
   A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o’er me--
   Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee, 
   Who knew thee too well--
Long, long shall I rue thee, 
   Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met--
   In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget, 
   Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee 
   After long years,
How should I greet thee?--
   With silence and tears.

In a letter to a friend in 1809, Byron wrote (probably facetiously) that he was going to Turkey to do research for a treatise "Sodomy simplified or Paederasty proved to be praiseworthy from ancient authors and modern practice". Like all jokes, this must have had an edge of truth to be funny.

At Cambridge, Byron had fallen deeply in love with a choirboy, John Edelston. Byron wrote several poems that scholars believe were written to and about John, calling him "Thyrza". One of the Thyrza poems, written after John had died, indicates in the words: "The pressure of the thrilling hand, the kiss, so guiltless and refined, that Love each warmer wish forbore", that their physical contact had been restricted to hand-holding and kissing. He later referred to it as a passion "violent though pure". Even much later in life, after the "Thyrza" poems had become very famous and popular, Byron refused to say who they were addressed to and changed the pronouns from masculine to feminine to conceal that this doomed but lifelong passion was for a man.

After two years of being Byron's "almost constant associate since October 1805", John had to move away from Cambridge to London and Byron wrote to a woman friend, Elizabeth Pigot, about his heartbreak, saying that he was planning to live with his "protégé" after he had completed his studies, which would "put Lady E. Butler & Miss Ponsonby to the Blush, Pylades & Orestes out of countenance, & want nothing but a Catastrophe like Nisus and Euryalus, to give Johnathon & David the 'go by' ". These are all same-sex passionate relationships.

However, some time later John wrote a very courteous and formal letter to Byron asking for his help in getting a job. They had never met again.

While Byron was on his travels in Turkey, Albania, and Greece he wrote to Matthews frequently about his sexual conquests of boys using a coded term based on Latin "plen. et optabil. –Coit." (Frequent and desired intercourse). He reported that he was amusing himself with "a Sopha to tumble upon" with a Greek boy called Eustathius who had "ambrosial curls hanging down his amiable back".

It has been argued (with very little evidence)that while in the East, Byron was a lover of Ali Pasha or his son, Veli Pasha, rulers of Albania and the Peloponessus. They were very friendly and hospitable to Byron and Veli Pasha did give him a beautiful white horse.

Byron's relationships with friends of both sexes seem to have been shadowed by jealousy and possessiveness. John Cam Hobhouse considered himself to be Byron's "best friend" and in many ways was, travelling with him, assisting him legally and financially and finally burying him. There is no trace of sexuality between them.

Byron and Shelley became very close friends in the summer of 1816 in Switzerland. They sailed around Lake Leman together visiting the locations of a romantic novel written by Rousseau called "La Nouvelle Heloise". One afternoon they exchanged roses. This was rhapsodically memorialized by Shelley in his journal where he referred to Byron, anonymously, as "my companion".

While he was visiting Byron in Venice several years later, Shelley was shocked by Byron's ostentatiously erotic lifestyle and remarked in a letter to a friend in England that some of his street pick-ups had "lost the gait and physiognomy of men". This has been interpreted to mean they were cross-dressers. Shelley was also outraged that Byron bargained with parents for the services of their daughters.

The last poems Byron wrote were found among his papers after his sudden death. They indicated that he had fallen painfully and guiltily in love with a fifteen year old Greek boy named Loukas Chalandritsanos. Byron gave him money, fancy uniforms and the command of a regiment. As far as is known there was no physical contact between them.

Byron is known to have had sex with at least 300 women.

So the verdict is bisexual, although such distinctions were not explicit at the time. I think "hyper-sexual" covers it.

I'm heading back to Alabama and I guess back in the closet for a while.  It's been a good vacation, but it's time to go back and face reality.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Down the Bayou

I'm still down in bayou country.  I had planned to head back yesterday, but my friend begged me to stay a few more days, so I'm heading back home on Tuesday.  It's gonna make for a busy week once I get back, but it will be okay.  I enjoying my stay and being able to hang out with one of my best friends and see a few other friends during the meantime.

I'm not sure what the plan is for today.  It was mentioned that we would do something, but no specifics were mentioned.  I guess we will play it by ear.  I kind of enjoy a vacation in which nothing is expected and you can just go with the flow.  Whatever we do, we will have a great time doing it, even if it's just relaxing at the house.

And just a word of warning to anyone who might visit south Louisiana and Cajun country, if something ever says hot and spicy, it's always has more than just a little kick to it.  I enjoy spicy foods, but I like to be able to taste the food, not have my taste buds burned off with the first bite.  However, if you are a lover of hot and spicy foods, you will no doubt love Cajun cuisine and the heat they add to nearly all other foods.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Walking in Sunlight

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:5-10

Heavenly Sunlight
by William Kirkpatrick and Henry Gilmour

Walking in sunlight all of my journey;
Over the mountains, through the deep vale;
Jesus has said, “I’ll never forsake thee,”
Promise divine that never can fail.

Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
Flooding my soul with glory divine:
Hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine.

Shadows around me, shadows above me,
Never conceal my Savior and Guide;
He is the Light, in Him is no darkness;
Ever I’m walking close to His side.

Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
Flooding my soul with glory divine:
Hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine.

In the bright sunlight, ever rejoicing,
Pressing my way to mansions above;
Singing His praises gladly I’m walking,
Walking in sunlight, sunlight of love.

Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
Flooding my soul with glory divine:
Hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine.

This is one song and biblical text that I believe needs no further explanation.  God is light and he will never forsake us.  And when we see the beautiful sunlight, we should sing his praises because he is shining down on us.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Moments of Zen: Daiquiris and No Closets

One of the great things about cruises and Louisiana is that there is lots of sugar and where sugar cane is grown, there is usually lots of rum.  And when it's hot and humid, the best thing is a rum filled fruity and frozen daiquiri.  We went through a drive-thru daiquiri place in Thibodaux called Norm's, which makes delicious daiquiris.  We laughed and giggled over many of the names: buttery butt, bend over, pink panty pull down, etc.  Nearly all of them are delicious.  I had the Pixie Stick, which was a mix of grape and cherry and actually tasted like a pixie stick.

Anyway, it's always great down here, because I never have to worry about being openly gay.  Everyone I know here knows. There's no reason to hide it, and I can totally be out and in the open and say and do whatever I want.  I can have a fruity drink if I want without someone questioning my masculinity.  I can flirt with men and when a hot guy comes on TV or walks by us, I can actually say, "Mmmm, damn" and my friend just says "Ooh, you made the Joe noise.  I miss that."  I can be myself and that's the greatest moment of zen I can imagine.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hank Williams Special

Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me oh, my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh, my oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya, a-crawfish pie the file' gumbo
'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma chere amie-o
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou

Thibodaux to Fontainebleau, the place is buzzin'
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style, and go hog wild, me oh, my oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya, a-crawfish pie the file' gumbo
'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma chere amie-o
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya, a-crawfish pie the file' gumbo
'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma chere amie-o
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou

"Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" is a song written and recorded by American country music singer Hank Williams that was first released in July 1952. Named for a Creole and Cajun dish, jambalaya, it spawned numerous cover versions and has since achieved popularity in a number of music genres.  Yesterday, my friend and I went to have lunch at a restaurant in Thibodaux called The Half Shell.  I've had lunch there many times and my favorite thing to order is the "Hank Williams Special," which of course is a dish of jambalaya, crawfish pie, and file gumbo.  It is always absolutely delicious. I love the little fried crawfish pies which have a creamy crawfish sauce on top.

Williams' song resembles "Grand Texas", a Cajun French song, in melody only. "Grand Texas" is a song about a lost love, a woman who left the singer to go with another man to "Big Texas".  However, "Jambalaya", while maintaining a Cajun theme, is about life, parties and stereotypical food of Cajun cuisine. The protagonist leaves to pole a pirogue – a flat-bottomed boat – down the shallow water of the bayou, to attend a party with his girlfriend Yvonne, and her family. At the feast they have Cajun cuisine, notably Jambalaya, crawfish pie and filé gumbo and drink liquor from fruit jars. Yvonne is his "ma chaz ami-o", which is Cajun French for "my good girlfriend" (“ma chère amie” in French). Williams uses the term "ma chaz ami" as one word, thus the "my" in front of it. The "o" at the end of "ami" is a poetic/lyrical device making the line match the phrasing of the previous line and rhyme with it.

Williams composed a sequel to the song from the female perspective, "I'm Yvonne (Of the Bayou)", with Jimmy Rule. It was not as popular. As with "Jambalaya" there is speculation that Williams may have purchased this song from Mullican.

Later researched by a member of Moon Mullican's family, a story emerged about how the song came about in the first place, and it was said that while visiting a small bar located just south of the Choupique Bayou and owned by Yvonne Little, the song "Jambalaya" referred to some truly wonderful times had there.

Thibodaux, where I am this week, is mentioned in Hank Williams's "Jambalaya (On The Bayou)". It is not the only song that mentions the town of Thibodaux.  In 1972 Leon Russell had the song "Cajun Love Song" in which Thibodaux is mentioned. Also, in the 1970s Jerry Reed song "Amos Moses," in the 1990s George Strait song "Adalida," in Dan Baird's 1992 song "Dixie Beauxderaunt," the 1999 Jimmy Buffett song "I will Play for Gumbo," the 2008 Toby Keith song "Creole Woman," and its name is the title of a song by jazz songstress Marcia Ball.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'm Here

Though traffic was hell yesterday, and I made a few stops along the way, I made it to my friend's house in Thibodaux, Louisiana, just fine.  After I got here, we went out to eat at a lovely restarant called Fremin's.   We got a bottle of wine, and I ordered the duck and andouille gumbo as a starter and had the shrimp artichoke pasta for the main course.  It was truly delicious.

After dinner, we decided to get some more wine and just relax at the house and watch and old movie.  So we watched To Catch A Thief.  Honestly, you can't go wrong with a Cary Grant movie.  After the movie, we were both tired and decided to go to bed.