To the Virgins, to Make Much of Wooden Horses

My Instructor's remark.

My Instructor's remark.

This is my second reading and response for Paul Verlaine (read the first here). The poem I chose to read and respond to was “Wooden Horses”  (1874), wherein Verlaine takes aim at using a carousel as symbolic for life. While this could have been his best of the lot, the didacticism of his Victorian mores is as sophomorically simplistic as it is blatant. “Wooden Horses” has all the subtlety of a sixteen-pound sledgehammer wielded by a bridge troll.

He uses gross stereotyping to create a strawman version of hedonistic pleasure, with as much negative imagery as humanly possible. I was particularly annoyed by “… the fattest maid / riding your backs as if in their chamber”, roughly translated into modern English as “the big fat ho / fucking the wooden carousel horse like nobody’s business”. Could he be anymore derisive or crass? I found it offensive in the extreme, what with my modern feminist sensibilities and all. That kind of crap is uncalled for in any time period, though it’s pervasive in the writings of fuckaphobes throughout history.

Fuck you in your dead ass, Paul.

I cannot stress enough how much I disliked reading Verlaine. Trite and unimaginative, puritanical and offensive. These are not the traits I look for in a decent writer, much less a poet. Fortunately, we have moved on through Mallarmé and now we’re on to Chekhov, writers with a bit of sense and perspective.

The poem by Verlaine (again translated by C. F. MacIntyre) and my response in rhyming couplets lies below the fold.

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Sir, You Do Not Know the Moon

My instructor's remarks.

My instructor's remarks.

Paul Verlaine was a French poet whose 19th century work sort of straddled the Romantic and Symbolist movements. Critics seem to love the guy, but I found his stuff rather uninspiring. While the case has been forwarded that Verlaine only sounds trite and prosaic now because it’s old and been done over and over since then, I would argue that it had all been done before by better poets (The Bard of Avon comes to mind).

Our assignment for World Lit was to read two of the five offered (translated by C. F. MacIntyre) selections and write a paragraph in response to each. As I was bored to tears with him and his shallow fling, I went a bit creative with my responses. About the only thing I found interesting about Verlaine was the progression of his style over time.

For my first response, I actually read and addressed two related poems, “Moonlight” (1869) and “The White Moonglow”  (originally untitled from 1870). Those poems and my Sonnet in response lie below the fold. (Read the second reading and response here in another post.)

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Donna Hughes and the War Against Whores

I Support Sex Workers' Rights

I Support Sex Workers' Rights

What do anti-sex crusaders and the sellers of creationist bullshit have in common?

I mean besides quotemining, deliberate conflation, obfuscation, and general disregard for reality. Well it turns out they’re both examples of scum sucking dirtbags.

Look, two academics squaring off against other academics, including one who HAS been an actual supporter of sex workers, and one who does listen to what we have to say, over what, you might ask? Prostitution in Rhode Island.

Read the rest at Renegade Evolution, because I don’t even want to repeat the fucking dishonest, disgusting, filthy garbage that Donna Hughes put out. I just don’t have the stomach to print that pile of shit, so read it at Ren’s.

Boss Lady

To wit:

Chew On It, by Lou FCD @ Flickr

Chew On It, by Lou FCD @ Flickr

Jane had to help open a new store up in Mt. Olive, NC the other day, and since she was to be there late that evening, the company paid for a hotel room for the night. She was kind enough to indulge my photographic nagging.

More photos of Jane from the hotel room below the fold.

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Clutching Pearls

Woman Clutching Her Pearls. 5th Ave - MDPNY20090617, by mdpNY @ Flickr

Woman Clutching Her Pearls. 5th Ave - MDPNY20090617, by mdpNY @ Flickr

I recently received a bit of a hat tip from a teacher of 18 years who is just dipping her feet into the blogosphere. I always appreciate a mention and a link when someone finds something here at Crowded Head that they like or find informative. Peggy apparently did, and said so. I sort of got conflated a bit with Brian Switek who led the discussion in the conference session about which I blogged, but there are certainly worse people with whom to be confused, from my point of view. (I’ll let Brian speak for himself on his end.)

In any event, Peggy found some interesting points that she thought might be useful to her as a teacher and pointed them out as part of an assignment for her ITED 511 class.

One of her commenters though, not so much.

This is a comment about the first blog entry – “Teaching College Science: Blogs and Beyond”

How do I say…what I am about to say…and be politically correct? There is too much sex referenced on the web page. It distracted me from the blog. It also gave me credibility issues. In one sentence the blogger talks about his excitement with teaching high school students, while several sex-related ads run in the margins.

Or am I misunderstanding the sex part? Please come to my rescue here.

I hope I’m wrong.

I presume that Linda meant that my blog gave me credibility issues, but I’d argue her statement is more accurate as it stands.

I of course was a bit bewildered, thinking perhaps my blog had been hacked or something and immediately checked, looking for “several sex-related ads run in the margins”.

Um.. yeah.

There is exactly one ad and it’s for a charity calendar, unless you count the link to Sex in the Public Square where I am a contributing editor (though calling that an “ad” when SitPS doesn’t sell anything is a bit of a stretch of the vernacular). No racy pictures or nuthin’. (What’s with that, anyway? I really have to spice up the blog sidebars at some point.) A purple banner linking to the 2010 NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar (have you ordered yours yet? Get on that!!) gets poor Linda clutching her pearls. Not exactly what I would characterize as “several sex-related ads run[ning] in the margins”.

Anyway, more interesting than Linda’s apoplexy is the underlying assumption that high school teachers should be asexual, or perhaps at least publicly so. It’s not an uncommon attitude in our society, but exactly where did this supremely bizarre notion come from? Does anyone actually know any high school teachers that are not at all sexual? Is that even possible?

Honestly, I’ve considered writing less about sex here from time to time in light of the medieval attitudes about the subject. I am aware that here in North Carolina school boards and the general public are all about waving their Bibles around and clucking their tongues about other people’s sex lives. (And let me point out here as an aside that the Bible is probably not the best anthology of fairy tales on which to base one’s prudery – have you ever read that thing? It’s not even well written porn, mostly.) Yes, even tangentially discussing human sexuality decimates my hirability here in Jesusland, but that’s exactly the kind of problem I work to correct with what I write. It would be rather hypocritical of me to bow to that kind of pressure when I’m preaching on the other corner about standing up to sexual repression.

I just can’t bring myself to do that.

So for the foreseeable future expect to see posts here on sex and sexuality right alongside posts about my Biology and English classes. You’ll find sexy photos of my wife, and you’ll find write ups of Science Conferences I attend. If a school board I’m considering working for later has their panties in such a wad that they can’t hire me because I’m unashamedly human, then that’s their loss and unfortunately, their students’ loss.

Hell, just for spite I might even let JanieBelle make the occasional guest appearance.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Woman Clutching her Pearls. 5th Ave – MDPNY20090617, by mdpNY, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivative Works license.

Jane Disrobes

Jane Disrobes, by me @ Flickr

Jane Disrobes, by me @ Flickr

I’m really enjoying the new camera. It’s a Canon EOS Rebel XS (AKA the 1000D), an entry-level digital SLR. One of the smartest things I did was to pick up an 8 GB SD card when I bought it. That sucker will hold a ton of pictures before it’s full. A few days ago I went out and about and took 664 RAW format photos, and had plenty of room to spare. I ❤ that.

I’ve been clicking away at anything that catches my eye. I’ve got a couple shots around town that I’d like to think are pretty decent. A handful of my shots of birds and other critters are pretty good, but birds seem to be my toughest targets. I’m working on it.

Mostly though, I’m enjoying taking photos of my favorite subject: Jane. I’ve easily taken a thousand photos of her in the couple weeks we’ve had the camera. Some of them she lets me share on my Facebook page. There are more … grown up… shots on my Flickr page. There are some really beautiful nudes on my hard drive. She’s not ready to let me share those with the world, though. Sorry. (I’ll let you know when she gets a little more comfortable with that!)

This morning some really bright morning sun was being reflected off the neighbor’s car window and through our bedroom window, onto the wall. It inspired me to wake up my sleeping bride, and take a mess of photos as her eyes opened. Some of them came out ok, and they’re on my Flickr page. They start with the morning light on the wall that awakened me (and hence the set is named Morning Light).

Later I talked her into, and then out of, a bathrobe. Jane Disrobes follows the Morning Light shots.

Pop on over for the two sets I took so far today, Morning Light and Jane Disrobes, and leave a comment if you see something you like, or if you have a suggestion on how to improve my pichertakin skilz. Feel free to browse around the rest of my photostream, as well. There might be something half-way decent there that catches your eye. If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Updated: This post has been very kindly featured in Diva’s Friday Foto Fiesta at Best Sex Bloggers. Thank you, Diva.

From whence came the art:

That image is part of the set I took today called Jane Disrobes, and can be found at my Flickr page. The ghostly groper in the image was a happy accident.

Real Women

Reaching, by me ©2009, all rights reserved

Reaching, by me ©2009, all rights reserved

I never cared for Loni. While every boy I knew went on and on about Jennifer’s tits, I was dreaming about Bailey. I did fall for Farrah, but it was a passing fancy. Pam was ok before the mega surgery I guess, and I never thought much of Dolly at all. Diana Prince had a neat secret outfit, but I lusted for Jaime Sommers. More recently, Six was nice to look at but nothing like Boomer or Starbuck. Truth is, all I needed to know about Barbie was that “Math is hard!!” She was plastic, fake, and not very bright.

These days, Carrie Prejean exemplifies everything that turns me off in a woman. Just like Barbie, she’s plastic, fake, and not very bright. I don’t find her attractive at all: not her fake smile, fake beauty-pageant breasts, fake walk, fake hand wave, or fake holiness. Not even if she keeps her idiotic, homophobic mouth shut. I’m just not interested. She’s not pretty. She’s not pretty at all.

I love real women.

(Continue reading, below the fold.)

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