I fell asleep last night as I was getting ready to write my post for today, and I could barely keep my eyes open to type this. Have a wonderful day.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I knew a man, a common farmer, the father of five sons,
And in them the fathers of sons, and in them the fathers of sons.
This man was a wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of person,
The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his hair and
beard, the immeasurable meaning of his black eyes, the richness
and breadth of his manners,
These I used to go and visit him to see, he was wise also,
He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old, his sons were
massive, clean, bearded, tan-faced, handsome,
They and his daughters loved him, all who saw him loved him,
They did not love him by allowance, they loved him with personal
He drank water only, the blood show'd like scarlet through the
clear-brown skin of his face,
He was a frequent gunner and fisher, he sail'd his boat himself, he
had a fine one presented to him by a ship-joiner, he had
fowling-pieces presented to him by men that loved him,
When he went with his five sons and many grand-sons to hunt or fish,
you would pick him out as the most beautiful and vigorous of
You would wish long and long to be with him, you would wish to sit
by him in the boat that you and he might touch each other.
Monday, April 21, 2014
There is just something about the rough and rugged country boy. Someone who's worked hard and is dirty and sweaty with the musculature only hard manual labor can provide and the gym can't. These men are the men of fantasies and can make a man like me weak in the knees. Some might be classified as a cowboy, others as a farmer, and some might even be called a good ol' boy or redneck, but those are loaded terms.
The term redneck has expanded in meaning beyond the poor Southerner to refer to "a bigoted and conventional person, a loutish ultra-conservative." It is often used to attack white Southern conservative. And while as a general rule this may be true, I've known many a Southern man who had a rough and rugged exterior, but a heart of gold. Not all of them are quite so conservative either. As the world changes, so do the rednecks. The younger generation is more accepting of gays men and especially gay women (not for the lesbian fantasy but because they are often very hard workers and can out man a lot of men). Religion sometimes gets in the way of this progress, but I think we will see that change as well. Religion used to be one of the factors behind racism, but that is disappearing as well, and is in fact, almost non existent. I think the same will happen with homophobia.
The term redneck and good ol' boy is also used broadly to degrade working class and rural whites that are perceived by urban progressives to be insufficiently liberal. Living in a rural area myself, I can attest to some of the small changes. It's slow progress, but the South has always been slow with progress. Even the Progressive Movement in America itself came to the South twenty to thirty years after the rest of the country. And though they are still catching up, they will. Progress comes slow, but I have the hope and faith that it will continue to come to the South.
At the same time, some white Southerners have reclaimed these words, using it with pride and defiance as a self-identifier. If you come to the South from a more liberal area, you won't see it. You have to see the more subtle changes, but it will happen, if you get to know the people and don't judge them. If you want to see the real change, look at the profiles on Manhunt, Grindr, or any other gay hook-up site in the South and you will see more of redneck gay culture than you'd expect. These gay men are men you'd never suspect to be gay, but they love the country life. They love their rural surroundings, and they love a sexy man in a pair of Wrangler jeans.
Don't dismiss the South or other rural areas. They will come around. It may just take a while. Those sweaty, dirty, calloused handed, country boys are the stuff of legend. Save a horse, ride a cowboy.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"-and that he had said these things to her.John 20:1-18
Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead, is Christianity's most important holiday. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn't fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar.
For Jesus' mother, his disciples and his followers, Jesus' death was a tragedy. You can imagine that all hope was naturally gone. We today can face the same feeling. Many times in life, with homophobic politicians, the increasing rise of anti-gay homophobic groups, and everything that is going on in the world — war, famine, disease, natural disasters, discrimination, and hate — there can be a loss of hope and faith. Yet the resurrection gives us hope that no matter what has happened in our lives, no matter how much faith and hope we have lost, we can experience hope, we can overcome and regain whatever we have lost in our lives.
Our hope includes the knowledge that evil does not win. – Sometimes today, it seems that the bad guy often wins. Sometimes it seems that the one who cheats, the one who lies, the one who steps on others to get ahead, is the one who prospers. Far too often, I read of this person cheating or that one (or catching a student cheating) or another kid, gay or otherwise, who has been bullied, lost hope, and committed suicide. How often do we read of politicians cheating, or working to make sure their businesses get the good contract? It seems that there is no hope for the little guy, the one who lives right, to ever get ahead.
With a positive attitude that through God we can accomplish anything, we truly can make the world a better place. With hope that springs eternal, just as the flowers in spring show the rebirth of the earth, we can be assured that God's promises will deliver a better day, a rebirth our faith. The promise that Jesus would rise from the grave on the third day is remembered every Easter Sunday, it is the greatest sacrifice God could give for our sins. When we are baptized, it is done in symbolic reverence as our old body dies in its watery grave to be reborn and rise from the dead as Christ did for our sins.
I realize that some Churches of Christ may not celebrate Easter, but it has always been the major religious holiday at my church. It is a day which has a date for us to celebrate, and it has the most meaning for Christians. It is the day when the Old Testament prophesies of the Messiah were ultimately fulfilled. It is he day that Christ rose from the dead. The resurrection is the most important of the miracles. When I was a child, our church had dinner on the grounds, and everyone brought a dish and the kids had an Easter egg hunt. It was always a wonderful day of fellowship. We no longer have dinner on the grounds because we once had a preacher (he didn't last long with us) who was extremely hardcore and did not believe in having dinner on the grounds. I think he believed the only meal that should be taken at church was communion. Though he is long gone, we never revived the tradition of dinner on the grounds. I find it quite sad, since early Christian services were often centered around the dinner table where fellowship, worship, and food were part of the gathering. Our church did have a gathering and Easter egg hunt last Sunday at the home of one of our members.
My family and I will have a big Easter dinner (or lunch as the Yankees say) today. It will be a big meal with a ham, a roast chicken, dumplings (with no chicken, just the flavor because my niece requested them that way), green beans, butter beans, macaroni and cheese, deviled eggs, potato salad, congealed salad, a cake and a pie. All of that should be enough food. I'm sure it will be more than enough, but some of the people from church may come too, so we want to have plenty, and I love to cook.
I hope that all of you have a wonderful Easter. Does your family have any traditions for Easter? I, also, hope that each of you feels the hope of the rebirth that Easter brings to us today. May God's love eternally bless you.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Friday, April 18, 2014
I just finished Frat House Troopers by Xavier Mayne, which might sound like a silly name for a book, but considering that State trooper Ethan Brandt's new assignment is to infiltrate a sex-cam operation that puts him in a very uncomfortable position, especially since he'll have to perform naked on camera for his audition. Fortunately his partner and best friend, Donnelly, has his back—whether that means helping Brandt shop gay boutiques for sexy underwear or offering Jäger and encouragement while he researches porn.
Despite his mortification, Brandt gives the audition his best "shot"—and becomes an overnight sensation. But to meet the man behind the operation, he'll have to give a repeat performance, this time live on webcam opposite the highest bidder. Donnelly makes sure to win that auction for his partner's sake, but their plan has a flaw: faking it is not an option.
In the aftermath, Brandt is a humiliated mess trying desperately to come to terms with what he's had to do for the job and his own mixed feelings. But Donnelly has been on a journey of discovery of his own. Suddenly everything the two men thought they knew about themselves and each other gets turned inside out. Meanwhile, they still have a case to solve… but it may not be the case they thought it was.
The "frat house" mentioned in the books title, seems to be based on fratmen.com's web-cam house Fratpad. As Fratpad describes itself on its website, "There's nothing quite like the FRATPAD. It's the liveliest, sexiest, frattiest cam house in Cyberspace. No fake frat rituals here. Just a house full of college age guys walking around, working out and chatting on webcams, mostly naked, all day long. They create 24 hours of new content every day and there are 36 stationary cams all around the house so you can spy on them when they think you're not looking." This seems to be a pretty good description of the "frat house" in the book, as well.
But that's not all the book is about. Officers Brandt and Donnelly are on a journey of discovery about themselves. Are they the firmly heterosexual men they've always believed themselves to be, or is there more to it? Can a man be straight one day and gay the next? Or do some gay men grow up like I did believing that there was no other choice until that day when our sexual awakening begins? In today's day and age, young men have seen homosexuality more and more in the mainstream. The Internet is a great way to research things and feeling you don't understand. I think for many young gay men, the option of following your desires are more acceptable. I think this book has a fresh perspective to show on this subject of sexuality. Though you might not be able to tell it from the title, there is something deeper than the superficiality of a very sexy story.
Furthermore, the descriptions of sex are quite fantastic. Mayne certainly has a way with words and knows how to describe sexual tension in a masterful and thoughtful way. Mayne is also able to write sex scenes in a way that doesn't come across as pornographic, but the scenes are not chaste either. There is some incredibly hot sex scenes in this book, but this book by no means would be one that I would classify as gay erotica. They story and the emotional tensions contained within, far outweighs the amount of eroticism. It's an almost perfect balance for a book that is just plain fun to read.
Xavier Mayne is the pen name of a professor of English who works at a university in the Midwest United States. Versed in academic theories of sexual identity, he is passionate about writing stories in which men experience a love that pushes them beyond the boundaries they thought defined their sexuality. He believes that romance can be hot, funny, and sweet in equal measure. The name Xavier Mayne is a tribute to the pioneering gay author Edward Prime-Stevenson, who also used it as a pen name. He wrote the first openly gay novel by an American, 1906's Imre: A Memorandum, which depicts two masculine men falling in love despite social pressures that attempt to keep them apart.
I hope that you will read Frat House Troopers and hopefully you will become so hooked that you will do as I am currently doing, and read the sequel Wrestling Demons.