Thursday, February 28, 2013

Obama Administration to Back Gay Marriage in Prop 8 Case

Image and Wooty Woot via Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration will urge the Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriage to resume in California, Pete Williams of NBC News reports. Thursday is the deadline for the administration to submit a friend-of-the-court brief in the Proposition 8 case, which will examine whether California voters had the right to ban same-sex marriage.

The precise language and scope of the amicus brief is unknown, but is expected to be filed later Thursday afternoon. It is unclear whether the brief will take the position that it is unconstitutional for any state to ban same-sex marriage or whether it will only speak to the specific circumstances in California, where voters narrowly voted to end gay marriage in 2008.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia filed an amicus brief earlier on Thursday urging the Supreme Court to strike down Prop. 8.

President Barack Obama has stated that he personally believes that same-sex couples should be allowed to be married but has also previously said the issue should be left up to the states.

Midday Beau: We Were Our World's Greatest Heroes

Via Towleroad

Alternate Universe Wolverine in a passionate kiss with "omnisexual" Hercules.

It seems everyone is coming out of the superhero closet.

Macklemore Speaks Out Against Homophobia

Via Towleroad

Father Tiger's Head Hung Low

Via Towleroad

Click at your own risk...I haven't actually listened to this, but if the music sucks, just turn the volume's still pretty.

Boston Fraternity Helps Raise Money for Frat Bro's Transition Surgery

Via Towleroad

A Boston frat is demonstrating exactly what the word fraternity means, raising money for their transgender brother Donnie Collins's surgery. As of this posting [2/26], they've raised $6,862.

50 Shades of Grey Book Discussion

Via Librarian Problems

Actually if 50 Shades is any indication, most of our clientele is deeply unsatisfied in real-time.

Transgender 6-year-old accepted by everyone...

...but her School Board.

Via Queerty

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund has filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division on behalf of a 6-year-old who has been barred from using the girls’ bathrooms at her elementary school.

Coy Mathis, a transgender first-grader at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, Colorado, has used the girls’ room for over a year. But in December, the school district told Mathis’ parents she would have to use the boy’s room after winter break.

Alternately, they were told, she could use a staff restroom or the bathroom in the nurse’s office.

Mathis, who appeared on Katie this week, has presented as female since she was 18 months old, and has been accepted as a girl by classmates and teachers since she started at Eagleside. She is currently being home-schooled until the issue is resolved.

“We want Coy to return to school to be with her teachers, her friends, and her siblings, but we are afraid to send her back until we know that the school is going to treat her fairly,” said Coy’s mom, Kathryn Mathis. “She is still just six years old, and we do not want one of our daughter’s earliest experiences to be our community telling her she’s not good enough.”

Michael Silverman, TLDEF’s executive director, says the school “has the opportunity to turn this around and teach Coy’s classmates a valuable lesson about friendship, respect and basic fairness.”

Especially in Gay Years...

Via BuzzFeed

My relationship with Jason is not only an amazing love story; in some ways, it's historic. I thought about this while watching the Season 5 premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race in January, during which Logo aired an HIV-awareness "Puppet Service Announcement" (PSA) starring characters from the Broadway musical Avenue Q. In this one-minute video, Rod (the conservative banker puppet) and Ricky (the muscle gay puppet) are just back from a date, and Rod is inviting Ricky up to his apartment for the first time. Ricky is surprisingly demure. When a distraught Rod presses the issue, Ricky discloses that he is HIV positive. Rod assures Ricky that he still wants to have sex and is fine with condoms. Overjoyed, Ricky explains that he is on medication and has an undetectable viral load, which means his risk of transmitting the virus during protected sex is extremely low. Rod and Ricky rush into a smoochy embrace.

I picked this paragraph from the entire article, which you should read, btw, because I don't know how many times I've had to come out of this particular closet, and how few times, I've gotten Rod's response. Or course, the rarity of a positive response (forgive the pun) is such that when I do get it, it's better than winning a very large lottery!

Thursday Beau

Via A soft male collection

There is something that I don't particularly like about this photo. Either he has been left behind and he's looking longingly at his leaving lover, thus making me said. Or he's possibly imprisoned, but thankfully he's been left with quite a selection of magazines and oversized art books. Or there's the slightly whiff of mime going on here. You decide.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Have Pants...

...will dance.

My new favorite song and video via BuzzFeed

Over the Hump of Hump Day

Via The Penis Soliloquies

We're nearing lunchtime, so that means we are almost over the hump of Hump Day!

Enjoy the nosh.

Happy Hump Day

Via another country

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Books

From the beloved and best-selling author of Plainsong and Eventide comes a story of life and death, and the ties that bind, once again set out on the High Plains in Holt, Colorado.

When Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and his wife, Mary, must work together to make his final days as comfortable as possible. Their daughter, Lorraine, hastens back from Denver to help look after him; her devotion softens the bitter absence of their estranged son, Frank, but this cannot be willed away and remains a palpable presence for all three of them. Next door, a young girl named Alice moves in with her grandmother and contends with the painful memories that Dad's condition stirs up of her own mother's death. Meanwhile, the town’s newly arrived preacher attempts to mend his strained relationships with his wife and teenaged son, a task that proves all the more challenging when he faces the disdain of his congregation after offering more than they are accustomed to getting on a Sunday morning. And throughout, an elderly widow and her middle-aged daughter do everything they can to ease the pain of their friends and neighbors.

Despite the travails that each of these families faces, together they form bonds strong enough to carry them through the most difficult of times. Bracing, sad and deeply illuminating, Benediction captures the fullness of life by representing every stage of it, including its extinction, as well as the hopes and dreams that sustain us along the way. Here Kent Haruf gives us his most indelible portrait yet of this small town and reveals, with grace and insight, the compassion, the suffering and, above all, the humanity of its inhabitants.

In other news, I plan on attempting to read all these books listed on The Millions' list of most anticipated books of 2013 - Benediction being one of them.

We've been getting so many good graphic novels lately! YAY!

When Nicole Georges was two years old, her family told her that her father was dead. When she was twenty-three, a psychic told her he was alive. Her sister, saddled with guilt, admits that the psychic is right and that the whole family has conspired to keep him a secret. Sent into a tailspin about her identity, Nicole turns to radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger for advice.

Packed cover-to-cover with heartfelt and disarming black-and-white illustrations, Calling Dr. Laura tells the story of what happens to you when you are raised in a family of secrets, and what happens to your brain (and heart) when you learn the truth from an unlikely source. Part coming-of-age and part coming-out story, Calling Dr. Laura marks the arrival of an exciting and winning new voice in graphic literature.

"Part coming-out" I sense lesbians admidst these pages?

PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash turns again to Appalachia to capture lives haunted by violence and tenderness, hope and fear, in unforgettable stories that span from the Civil War to the present day.

In the title story, two drug-addicted friends return to the farm where they worked as boys to steal their former boss's gruesomely unusual war trophies. In "The Trusty," which first appeared in The New Yorker, a prisoner sent to fetch water for his chain gang tries to sweet-talk a farmer's young wife into helping him escape, only to find that she is as trapped as he is. In "Something Rich and Strange," a diver is called upon to pull a drowned girl's body free from under a falls, but he finds her eerily at peace below the surface. The violence of Rash's characters and their raw settings are matched only by their resonance and stark beauty, a masterful combination that has earned Rash an avalanche of praise.

The extraordinary story of a young man’s plunge into the unique and wonderful world of the circus — taking readers deep into circus history and its renaissance as a contemporary art form, and behind the (tented) walls of France’s most prestigious circus school.

When Duncan Wall visited his first nouveau cirque as a college student in Paris, everything about it — the monochromatic costumes, the acrobat singing Simon and Garfunkel, the juggler reciting Proust — was captivating. Soon he was waiting outside stage doors, eagerly chatting with the stars, and attending circuses two or three nights a week. So great was his enthusiasm that a year later he applied on a whim to the training program at the École Nationale des Arts du Cirque — and was, to his surprise, accepted.

Sometimes scary and often funny, The Ordinary Acrobat follows the (occasionally literal) collision of one American novice and a host of gifted international students in a rigorous regimen of tumbling, trapeze, juggling, and clowning. Along the way, Wall introduces readers to all the ambition, beauty, and thrills of the circus’s long history: from hardscrabble beginnings to Gilded Age treasures, and from twentieth-century artistic and economic struggles to its brilliant reemergence in the form of contemporary circus (most prominently through Cirque du Soleil). Readers meet figures past—the father of the circus, Philip Astley; the larger-than-life P. T. Barnum—and present, as Wall seeks lessons from innovative masters including juggler Jérôme Thomas and clown André Riot-Sarcey. As Wall learns, not everyone is destined to run away with the circus—but the institution fascinates just the same.

Brimming with surprises, outsized personalities, and plenty of charm, The Ordinary Acrobat delivers all the excitement and pleasure of the circus ring itself.

And, OF COURSE, the author is gorgeous! (Lips-barely-moving-whisper: bastard.)

Eventually, I'll be living on air and mung beans.

From a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter at The New York Times comes the explosive story of the rise of the processed food industry and its link to the emerging obesity epidemic. Michael Moss reveals how companies use salt, sugar, and fat to addict us and, more important, how we can fight back.

Every year, the average American eats thirty-three pounds of cheese (triple what we ate in 1970) and seventy pounds of sugar (about twenty-two teaspoons a day). We ingest 8,500 milligrams of salt a day, double the recommended amount, and almost none of that comes from the shakers on our table. It comes from processed food. It’s no wonder, then, that one in three adults, and one in five kids, is clinically obese. It’s no wonder that twenty-six million Americans have diabetes, the processed food industry in the U.S. accounts for $1 trillion a year in sales, and the total economic cost of this health crisis is approaching $300 billion a year.

In Salt Sugar Fat, Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter Michael Moss shows how we got here. Featuring examples from some of the most recognizable (and profitable) companies and brands of the last half century — including Kraft, Coca-Cola, Lunchables, Kellogg, Nestlé, Oreos, Cargill, Capri Sun, and many more — Moss’s explosive, empowering narrative is grounded in meticulous, often eye-opening research.

Moss takes us inside the labs where food scientists use cutting-edge technology to calculate the “bliss point” of sugary beverages or enhance the “mouthfeel” of fat by manipulating its chemical structure. He unearths marketing campaigns designed — in a technique adapted from tobacco companies — to redirect concerns about the health risks of their products: Dial back on one ingredient, pump up the other two, and tout the new line as “fat-free” or “low-salt.” He talks to concerned executives who confess that they could never produce truly healthy alternatives to their products even if serious regulation became a reality. Simply put: The industry itself would cease to exist without salt, sugar, and fat. Just as millions of “heavy users” — as the companies refer to their most ardent customers — are addicted to this seductive trio, so too are the companies that peddle them. You will never look at a nutrition label the same way again.

Around the globe most people get their calories from "annual" agriculture - plants that grow fast for one season, produce lots of seeds, then die. Every single human society that has relied on annual crops for staple foods has collapsed. Restoration Agriculture explains how we can have all of the benefits of natural, perennial ecosystems and create agricultural systems that imitate nature in form and function while still providing for our food, building, fuel and many other needs - in your own backyard, farm or ranch. This book, based on real-world practices, presents an alternative to the agriculture system of eradication and offers exciting hope for our future.

And here's a review from Permaculture Design Review.

E.B. White, the author of such beloved classics as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan, was born in Mount Vernon, New York. He graduated from Cornell University in 1921 and, five or six years later, joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine, then in its infancy. He died on October 1, 1985, and was survived by his son and three grandchildren.

Mr. White's essays have appeared in Harper's magazine, and some of his other books are: One Man's Meat, The Second Tree from the Corner, Letters of E. B. White, Essays of E. B. White, and Poems and Sketches of E. B. White. He won countless awards, including the 1971 National Medal for Literature and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, which commended him for making a "substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."

During his lifetime, many young readers asked Mr. White if his stories were true. In a letter written to be sent to his fans, he answered, "No, they are imaginary tales...But real life is only one kind of life — there is also the life of the imagination."

Though I typically do not like bestsellers, or if I do read them, I end up feeling like I've eaten nothing but store-bought candy for weeks on end, I imagine a book about bestsellers - in other words, a book about books - would be quite enjoyable.

What is it about certain books that makes them bestsellers? Why do some of these books remain popular for centuries, and others fade gently into obscurity? And why is it that when scholars do turn their attention to bestsellers, they seem only to be interested in the same handful of blockbusters, when so many books that were once immensely popular remain under-examined? Addressing those and other equally pressing questions about popular literature, Must Read is the first scholarly collection to offer both a survey of the evolution of American bestsellers as well as critical readings of some of the key texts that have shaped the American imagination since the nation's founding.Focusing on a mix of enduring and forgotten bestsellers, the essays in this collection consider 18th and 19th century works, like Charlotte Temple or Ben-Hur, that were once considered epochal but are now virtually ignored; 20th century favorites such as The Sheik and Peyton Place; and 21st century blockbusters including the novels of Nicholas Sparks, The Kite Runner, and The Da Vinci Code.
Vibrant and volatile, the punk scene left an extraordinary legacy of music and cultural change, and this work talks to those who cultivated the movement, weaving together their accounts to create a raw and unprecedented oral history of punk in the United Kingdom. From the Clash, Crass, Henry Rollins, and John Lydon to the Sex Pistols, the Stranglers, and the Buzzcocks, this reference features more than 150 interviews that encapsulate the most thrilling wave of rock and roll pop culture ever seen. Ranging from its widely debated roots in the late 1960s to its enduring influence on modern bands, fashion, and culture, this history brings to life the energy and anarchy as no other book has done.

Tuesday Beau

Which honestly looks a lot like Wednesday.

Via Filthy Otter

Monday, February 25, 2013

I Went Looking...

Image via Poetry Foundation

After posting the previous excerpt of the Wendell Berry poem "The Farm," I remember a comment a blogfriend made pointing towards Berry's views on sexuality. At the time, the comment seemed to suggest that I wouldn't like his views. So today, I googled "Wendell Berry on gay marriage" and found the following.

Via apb News

Christian opponents to same-sex marriage want the government to treat homosexuals as a special category of persons subject to discrimination, similar to the way that African-Americans and women were categorized in the past, cultural and economic critic Wendell Berry told Baptist ministers in Kentucky Jan. 11 (2013).

Berry, a prolific author of books, poems and essays who won the National Humanities Medal in 2010 and was 2012 Jefferson lecturer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, offered “a sort of general declaration” on the subject of gay marriage at a “Following the Call of the Church in Times Like These” conference at Georgetown College. Berry said he chose to comment publicly to elaborate on what little he has said about the topic in the past.

“I must say that it’s a little wonderful to me that in 40-odd years of taking stands on controversial issues, and at great length sometimes, the two times that I think I’ve stirred up the most passionate opposition has been with a tiny little essay on computers (his 1987 essay “Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer” published in Harper’s led some to accuse him of being anti-technology) and half a dozen or a dozen sentences on gay marriage,” Berry said.

Berry said he could recall only twice before when he commented publicly on the issue, in a single paragraph in a collection of essays published in 2005 and in an interview with the National Review in 2012.

“My argument, much abbreviated both times, was the sexual practices of consenting adults ought not to be subjected to the government’s approval or disapproval, and that domestic partnerships in which people who live together and devote their lives to one another ought to receive the spousal rights, protections and privileges the government allows to heterosexual couples,” Berry said.

Berry said liberals and conservatives have invented “a politics of sexuality” that establishes marriage as a “right” to be granted or withheld by whichever side prevails. He said both viewpoints contravene principles of democracy that rights are self-evident and inalienable and not determined and granted or withheld by the government.

“Christians of a certain disposition have found several ways to categorize homosexuals as different as themselves, who are in the category of heterosexual and therefore normal and therefore good,” Berry said. What is unclear, he said, is why they single out homosexuality as a perversion.

“The Bible, as I pointed out to the writers of National Review, has a lot more to say against fornication and adultery than against homosexuality,” he said. “If one accepts the 24th and 104th Psalms as scriptural norms, then surface mining and other forms of earth destruction are perversions. If we take the Gospels seriously, how can we not see industrial warfare -- with its inevitable massacre of innocents -- as a most shocking perversion? By the standard of all scriptures, neglect of the poor, of widows and orphans, of the sick, the homeless, the insane, is an abominable perversion.”

“Jesus talked of hating your neighbor as tantamount to hating God, and yet some Christians hate their neighbors by policy and are busy hunting biblical justifications for doing so,” he said. “Are they not perverts in the fullest and fairest sense of that term? And yet none of these offenses -- not all of them together -- has made as much political/religious noise as homosexual marriage.”

Another argument used, Berry said, is that homosexuality is “unnatural.”

“If it can be argued that homosexual marriage is not reproductive and is therefore unnatural and should be forbidden on that account, must we not argue that childless marriages are unnatural and should be annulled?” he asked.

“One may find the sexual practices of homosexuals to be unattractive or displeasing and therefore unnatural, but anything that can be done in that line by homosexuals can be done and is done by heterosexuals,” Berry continued. “Do we need a legal remedy for this? Would conservative Christians like a small government bureau to inspect, approve and certify their sexual behavior? Would they like a colorful tattoo verifying government approval on the rumps of lawfully copulating parties? We have the technology, after all, to monitor everybody’s sexual behavior, but so far as I can see so eager an interest in other people’s private intimacy is either prurient or totalitarian or both.”

“The oddest of the strategies to condemn and isolate homosexuals is to propose that homosexual marriage is opposed to and a threat to heterosexual marriage, as if the marriage market is about to be cornered and monopolized by homosexuals,” Berry said. “If this is not industrial capitalist paranoia, it at least follows the pattern of industrial capitalist competitiveness. We must destroy the competition. If somebody else wants what you’ve got, from money to marriage, you must not hesitate to use the government – small of course – to keep them from getting it.”

Berry said “so-called traditional marriage” is “for sure suffering a statistical failure, but this is not the result of a homosexual plot.”

“Heterosexual marriage does not need defending,” Berry said. “It only needs to be practiced, which is pretty hard to do just now.”

“But the difficulty is not assigned to any group of scapegoats,” he said. “It is rooted mainly in the values and priorities of our industrial capitalist system in which every one of us is complicit.”

“If I were one of a homosexual couple -- the same as I am one of a heterosexual couple -- I would place my faith and hope in the mercy of Christ, not in the judgment of Christians,” Berry said. “When I consider the hostility of political churches to homosexuality and homosexual marriage, I do so remembering the history of Christian war, torture, terror, slavery and annihilation against Jews, Muslims, black Africans, American Indians and others. And more of the same by Catholics against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics, Catholics against Catholics, Protestants against Protestants, as if by law requiring the love of God to be balanced by hatred of some neighbor for the sin of being unlike some divinely preferred us. If we are a Christian nation -- as some say we are, using the adjective with conventional looseness -- then this Christian blood thirst continues wherever we find an officially identifiable evil, and to the immense enrichment of our Christian industries of war.”

“Condemnation by category is the lowest form of hatred, for it is cold-hearted and abstract, lacking even the courage of a personal hatred,” Berry said. “Categorical condemnation is the hatred of the mob. It makes cowards brave. And there is nothing more fearful than a religious mob, a mob overflowing with righteousness – as at the crucifixion and before and since. This can happen only after we have made a categorical refusal to kindness: to heretics, foreigners, enemies or any other group different from ourselves.”

“Perhaps the most dangerous temptation to Christianity is to get itself officialized in some version by a government, following pretty exactly the pattern the chief priest and his crowd at the trial of Jesus,” Berry said. “For want of a Pilate of their own, some Christians would accept a Constantine or whomever might be the current incarnation of Caesar.”

I'm quite happy and content agreeing with what was said here, though I imagine the Kentucky Baptist ministers were not. Video of the address can be seen here.

Poetic Moment

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Excerpt of poem The Farm by Wendell Berry: like a tree
That does not grow beyond
The power of its place.
A tree stands in its place
And rises by the strength
Of local soil and light,
Aspiring to no height
That it has not attained.
More time, more light, more rain
Will make it grow again
Till it has realized
All that it can become,
And then it dies into
More life, deserving more
By not desiring more.

Three Graphic Novels

Over the past week, I've had the enjoyment of reading three different (and for Kentucky fairly new) graphic novels.

The first was Richard Sala's latest Delphine, a very creepy story of a young man who goes to his college sweethearts hometown in search of her after she disappears.

Delphine images via Comic Book Resources

Sala's work strikes me as if Expressionism and the Hudson River School got together and had a child...that child being Tim Burton back before he became enamoured of Johnny Depp and the idea that simply being a goth made him interesting rather than being interesting made him interesting. But I digress...

If you are into Rosemary's Baby spookiness, definitely pick this up, also be sure to check out Sala's previous work The Chuckling Whatsit.

The second was Hope Larson's adaptation of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.

Image via BadAss Digest

Wrinkle is one of my favorite books from my childhood. I still have the browned and tattered paperback copy that I bought in grade school, so I was excited to see that we got the graphic novel adaptation. That is, until I had it in my hand, because suddenly I was afraid that Larson's vision of the book would become my own...much as seeing the movie adaptation of a book tends to set what I see in my head reading the book in stone.

But I was happy with Larson's faithfulness to the original piece, and now I plan to pick up the other books in the series...which I've never read.

Then, last night I finished Mark Siegel's Sailor Twain, or the Mermaid in the Hudson.

Over all, I found Sailor Twain amazing. For me, there was only one glitch and that came at the end of the story, and I try to be forgiving of endings, typically because endings are difficult. (However, I give no leeway to Stephen King cause he is prolific enough that he should by now be able to get endings.) Well, in the case of Sailor Twain, it was the ending before the it and you'll see what I mean.

Sailor Twain is the story of Captain Twain who discovers a mermaid who has been attacked trying to board his steamboat the Lorelei. He takes her to his cabin, nurses her and begins to fall in love with her. But he makes her promise that she won't sing to him. But already the arc of tragedy is set as numerous other members of the crew and the boat's owners have already come under her thrall.

The work here also reminds me a lot of the Hudson River School...the landscape, the city, the river and the boats...the scenes in which it rains are a miracle. While the characters are very cartoonish allowing for a level of emotionalism that I think would be difficult if they were more realistic.

I enjoyed all three pieces and recommend them to anyone looking for a good read...even if you typically don't read graphic novels.

This Day in Literary Coupling

Via Andrew Wilson's Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted on Brain Pickings

On February 25, 1956, twenty-three-year-old Sylvia Plath stepped into a roomful of people and immediately spotted what she later described in her diary as a “big, dark, hunky boy.” She asked her companions if anyone knew the name of this young man but she received no answer. The party was in full swing and the free-form rhythms of the jazz — the “syncopated strut” of the piano, the seductive siren call of the trumpet — made conversation difficult. Sylvia, in Cambridge studying on a Fulbright Fellowship, had been drinking all night: a lethal line of “red-gold” Whisky Macs at a pub in town with her date for that night, Hamish Stewart. The potent combination of scotch and ginger wine had left her feeling like she could almost walk through the air. In fact, the alcohol had had the opposite effect; as she had been walking to the party she had found herself so inebriated that she had kept banging into trees.

On arrival at the Women’s Union — the venue in Falcon Yard chosen to celebrate the first issue of the slim student-made literary journal the St. Botolph’s Review — Sylvia saw that the room was packed with young men in turtleneck sweaters and women in elegant black dresses. Counterpointing the jazz, the sound of poetry was in the air: great chunks of it being quoted back and forth like rallies in a game of literary dominance and seduction. Sylvia was in a bullish mood that night. One of the contributors to St. Botolph’s Review, Daniel Huws, had sneered at two of her poems that had appeared in another Cambridge literary magazine, dismissing her work as too polished and well made. “Quaint and electric artfulness,” he had written in Broadsheet. “My better half tells me ‘Fraud, fraud,’ but I will not say so; who am I to know how beautiful she may be.” Plath felt justifiably angry; after all, she had been writing for publication since the age of eight and she had already earned sizable sums for poems and short stories from Harper’s, the Atlantic Monthly, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen. She walked up to Huws, a pale, freckle-faced undergraduate at Peterhouse, and said in a tone of “friendly aggression,” “Is this the better or worse half?” Huws, who later regarded the words as a “fair retaliation” for his “facetious and wounding” remarks, did not know quite how to respond. From Sylvia’s point of view, Huws looked too boyish. She was equally as dismissive of the rest of the St. Botolph’s set, describing Lucas Myers, who was studying at Downing College, as inebriated and wearing a “satanic smile,” and Than Minton, reading natural sciences at Trinity, as so small-framed you would have to sit down if you wanted to talk to him (in Plath’s world a short man was about as useful and attractive as a homosexual).

By this point, Sylvia had knocked back another drink, emptying its contents into her mouth, down her hands, and onto the floor. She then tried to dance the twist with Myers and, although her movements may well have been less than smooth, her memory was razor sharp. As she danced, she proceeded to recite the whole of Myers’s poem “Fools Encountered,” which she had read for the first time earlier that day in St. Botolph’s Review. When the music came to a temporary halt, she saw out of the corner of her eye somebody approaching. It was the same “hunky boy,” the one who had been “hunching” around over women whom she had seen earlier. He introduced himself as Ted Hughes. She recalled the three poems he had published in St. Botolph’s Review, and in an effort to dazzle him with her vivacity, she immediately began reciting segments of them to him. In retrospect, it’s ironic that one of the poems she declaimed, “Law in the Country of the Cats,” addresses the violent, irrational sense of enmity and rivalry that can often exist between individuals, even strangers. On first meeting, the attraction between Hughes — who had graduated from Cambridge in 1954 and had a job in London as a reader for the J. Arthur Rank film company — and Plath was instant. But Sylvia sensed something else too. “There is a panther stalks me down: / One day I’ll have my death of him,” she wrote in “Pursuit,” a poem that she composed two days later.

Plath recorded this encounter — now one of the most famous in all literary history — in her journal the next day. Suffering from a terrible hangover — she joked she thought she might be suffering from the DTs — she described the sexual tension that had flared up between them. After she had quoted some lines from his poem “The Casualty,” Hughes had shouted back over the music at her, in a voice that made her think he might be Polish, “You like?” Did she want brandy, he had asked. “Yes,” she yelled back, at which point he led her into another room. Hughes slammed the door and started pouring her glassfuls of brandy, which Plath tried to drink, but she didn’t manage to find her mouth. Almost immediately, they started discussing Huws’s critique of her poetry. Hughes joked that his friend knew that Plath was beautiful, that she could take such criticism, and that he would never have attacked her had she been a “cripple.” He told her he had “obligations” in the next room — in effect, another Cambridge student, named Shirley — and that he was working in London and earning £10 a week. Then, suddenly, Hughes leaned toward her and kissed her “bang smash on the mouth.” As he did so he ripped the red hair band from her head and ravished her with such force that her silver earrings came unclipped from her ears. He moved down to kiss her neck, and Plath bit him “long and hard” on the cheek; when the couple emerged from the room, blood was pouring down his face. As Plath bit deep into his skin, she thought about the battle to the death that Hughes had described in “Law in the Country of the Cats” and the perpetrator’s admission of the crime: “I did it, I.” Hughes carried the “swelling ring-moat of tooth marks” on his face for the next month or so, while he admitted that the encounter and the woman remained branded on his self “for good.”

I'm not quite sure what to make of the "a short man was about as useful and attractive as a homosexual" comment, other than to posit that Plath may have had better Gaydar than I do - that is, if she could actually pick them out so easily.

Monday Beau

Lean forward...erm...thrust. I mean, thrust.

Via oh yeaaah

Sunday, February 24, 2013

End of the Week

Sorry: no Weekend Dick this week. I overslept yesterday and then cleaned and then read most of a script that JamTheCat sent me a while back. So, enjoy this!

Friday, February 22, 2013


NPR has a couple of pieces on LGBT literature this week. The first is Benjamin Alire Saenz's YA-novel Dante and Aristotle Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

"Some boys just know they're gay," writer Benjamin Alire Saenz tells NPR's Michel Martin. "I don't know how that happens. And I think other boys don't know, and then they start discovering that. And that's the book."

Saenz's young-adult novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was a big winner at this year's American Library Association awards for children's literature.

Despite their grand names, Aristotle — who calls himself Ari — and Dante are teen loners who are trying to find their place in the world. "I think when you're 15, you kind of are a philosopher, you are a thinker," Saenz explains. "And I wanted to give their names some weight."

The second is a selection - basically an introduction - to gay characters in graphic novels.

OK, yes: To gay comics fans like me, DC Comics' decision to hire an anti-gay activist like Orson Scott Card to write Superman — an iconic character who exists to represent humanity's noblest ideals of justice and compassion — is deeply dispiriting.

But it doesn't change the fact that today's mainstream superhero comics contain more LGBT characters than ever. Surely this is a good (if, let's agree, weirdly specific) thing. After all, superheroes remain the comics medium's dominant genre, and having the characters who populate that genre more closely resemble those of us who populate the world at large must count as progress.

Northstar. Batwoman. Hulkling. Wiccan. The Green Lantern of Earth-2. Bunker. Midnighter. Apollo. Shatterstar. Daken. Billy the Vampire Slayer. None of them is a household name, yet they're making their way into more and more households as an increasing number of storylines deal matter-of-factly with the sexuality of LGBT heroes. To organizations like GLAAD, which campaign for greater LGBT visibility in pop culture, that's what counts.

But visibility is a first step. And while I'm happy that the superhero genre is finally taking it, it must be noted that creators of manga and independent comics like the ones below have already taken many steps down this road, telling nuanced, compelling and at times discomfiting stories about the varied and complicated LGBT experience.

Songs For the Day

What do these songs mean for me? Maybe it is the recovery that I'm attempting to go through, but I find myself really wanting to leave Lexington. As though I sexed and drank myself into a state of ignoring everything that I COULD do. I've been thinking more about writing and the possibility of making my life focused on that, of getting my life organized so writing would be its so purpose and goal, and everything seems so far away.

I don't know if that means anything. I'm still trying to get my inner life together in a way that it makes sense to me too.

No, It Was Not Me...In Louisville...Masturbating on Firefighter Gear

Via Towleroad: Gay adult film actor Donny Wright arrested for drunken mischief at Louisville firehouse.

In other words, he thought it'd be a good idea to break in and masturbate on the firemen's gear.

Louisville Police arrested a man who broke into Metro Fire House and was found getting busy on the firefighters' gear, WHAS reports:

Metro Firefighters say they heard glass shattering on one of their bay doors and when they went to investigate, they found 27-year-old Nicholas Gonzales masturbating on gear he removed from lockers.

Firefighters were able to detain the intoxicated Gonzales until police arrived. When asked why he broke in the firehouse, Gonzales said “because he wanted to.”

Gonzales is aka gay adult film actor Donny Wright. He was charged with burglary, public intoxication and criminal mischief.

While Towleroad seems to accept that this IS indeed gay porn star Donny Wright, Gawker, the source of the article, hasn't made such a declaration, so in the hope of expediting justice, I provide the following...

CSM CLIFF JENSEN and DONNY WRIGHT brought to you by PornHub

Google Doodle Wishes Edward Gorey a Happy Birthday

Via Wired

Gorey would've been 88 today.

Gashlycrumb Tinies via Brain Pickings - click to embiggen and enjoy.

Nicholas Hoult is your TGIF Beau

Via BuzzFeed: A Tribute to Every Beautiful Part of Nicholas Hoult

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday Beau

Ah, Spring: when the boys are out in the field.

Via Boy Meets Life

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lunchtime Beau

Via The Man Crush Tumblr

Call Me a Geek With a Penchant for Redneck Men, but...

...I'd totally tap that.

Via TMZ: Uncle Poodle: Naked Photos on Sale to Highest Bidder

Honey Boo Boo's Uncle Poodle is sending pics of his schlong to random men on the Internet and name-dropping HBB -- all in the name of getting laid -- this according to a man who is now shopping the dong shots to media outlets.

TMZ was offered the pics which show a naked man who appears to be Uncle Poodle ... in the shower. According to the seller -- a man who lives in Georgia -- Poodle sent them earlier this week on the gay social app Grindr.

Poodle -- real name Lee Thompson -- is frequently featured on "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" and is openly gay.

The man selling the pics claims Poodle dropped HBB's name almost immediately during a chat ... saying,"So you know who honey boo boo is? That's my niece."

The seller claims there was no hookup.

We called Poodle to see if he's planning to take legal action, but haven't heard back.

To be clear, I doubt he needs to name-drop Honey Boo-Boo in an effort to get laid: I think Thompson is hot! Having said that, I would also like to disclaim that no, I've never watched the show. At most, I've enjoyed gifs of HBB online and that is all. Really. I swear.

Also, are there only dick pics? Any ass shots? Please?

See What Happens When You Take Things Out of Context

No. I mean, for reals! Watch this shit.

Via Jezebel

If you hadn't heard, there's a slightly enormous kerfuffle unfolding across the pond, after two-time Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel called Duchess Kate Middleton a "shop-window mannequin" with a "perfect plastic smile" and no personality. That rumbling you hear is one million royal-obsessed biddies spit-taking their PG Tips all over the divan. Horrors! But she's so...nice! Only a monster would think critically about something NICE. Mantel's comments, of course, were actually just a small part of a much, much longer, extremely nuanced and measured speech about Anne Boleyn and the Queen and the weight and the weirdness of monarchy. But no matter. SHE'S OBVIOUSLY A JEALOUS BITCH.

Clothes Make the Man Beau

Via A soft male collection

Secure in Their Own Marriage

Via Good As You

I've never particularly understood how anyone married in a world that includes divorce could think that allowing two people of the same sex to get married somehow calls into question their own opposite-sex marriage. But then I remember that we live in a world where people care about the Kardashians, and then I'm all like...oooooh.

It's Debra Messing, You Gays!

Via Towleroad

Man Suffering from Colonial Homophobic Evangelical Blindness Up for Papacy

Via Queerty: Papal Contender Cardinal Peter Turkson Claims African Traditions Prevent Homosexuality

Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed papal frontrunner, Ghanian Cardinal Peter Turkson.

As the Catholic religion is growing fastest in Africa and Asia, many are wondering if the next Pontiff could come from outside Europe. Highlighting these geographical differences, Amanpour asked Turkson if a Catholic priest sex scandal could sweep through Africa as it had through Europe several years ago, to which Turkson replied:

“Unfortunately not in the same proportion that we have seen in Europe. African traditional systems kind of protect or have protected its population against this tendency. Because in several communities, in several cultures in Africa homosexuality or for that matter any affair between two sexes of the same kind are not countenanced in our society.”

CNN notes that according to the American Psychiatric Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” But Turkson, who defended Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, seems blissfully unaware of that fact so maybe he’s got what it takes to be Pope after all.

Whether from Africa, Asia or wherever — you can take the Pope from out of Europe, but it seems you can’t take that good ole-fashioned Roman Catholic homophobia out of the Pope.

Apparently, protecting young women from being raped in an effort to "cure" HIV is not part of this tradition.