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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Jane in Gray

Jane in Gray, by me ©2009, all rights reserved

Jane in Gray, by me ©2009, all rights reserved

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Jane in Gray by me ©2009, all rights reserved.

The Writing is on the Wife

Sexy Hand

Sexy Hand

I love my wife.

That is all.

Haggard’s Sexuality is “Complex”, He Says Amidst New Scandal

Ted Haggard, infamous for being caught doing meth and a gay prostitute while preaching his raving diatribes about his god’s hatred of homosexuality, turns out to be polyandrous to boot.

While cashing in on his super-infamy by having HBO shoot a documentary of his life, he told an Associated Press reporter that his sexuality was “complex”. Yeah, I’d say so.

While it’s unlikely that anyone not brainwashed by his mega-money machine was shocked to find out Haggard is gay, or that his incessant attacks on other gay people was anything more than a manifestation of deep-seated self loathing, it may be a minor surprise to find out he is also non-monogamously gay. Ok, probably no surprise there, either.

Turns out he’s also a predator, using his megachurch pulpit as a means of access to at least one young man in the pews.

DENVER – Disgraced evangelical leader Ted Haggard‘s former church disclosed Friday that the gay sex scandal that caused his downfall extends to a young male church volunteer who reported having a sexual relationship with Haggard — a revelation that comes as Haggard tries to repair his public image.

Brady Boyd, who succeeded Haggard as senior pastor of the 10,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, told The Associated Press that the man came forward to church officials in late 2006 shortly after a Denver male prostitute claimed to have had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard.

Boyd said an “overwhelming pool of evidence” pointed to an “inappropriate, consensual sexual relationship” that “went on for a long period of time … it wasn’t a one-time act.” Boyd said the man was in his early 20s at the time. He said he was certain the man was of legal age when it began.

And of course Haggard’s integrity is above question, right?

Just for a little icing on the cake, the church paid the young man’s college tuition, and got him ‘counseling’, probably of the ‘fixthehomo’ flavor. Of course, the church claims the money wasn’t hush money.

“It wasn’t at all a settlement to make him be quiet or not tell his story,” [current pastor of Haggard’s old church, Brady] Boyd said. “Our desire was to help him. Here was a young man who wanted to get on with his life. We considered it more compassionate assistance — certainly not hush money. I know what’s what everyone will want to say because that’s the most salacious thing to say, but that’s not at all what it was.”

One has to wonder then why there was a stipulation that he not talk about it.

Boyd said the church reached a legal settlement to pay the man for counseling and college tuition, with one condition being that none of the parties involved discuss the matter publicly.

Oh, well then, move along, nothing to see here.

h/t: MoJoey

Buh Bye, Fluff Fluff

Mark Dybul, the man the Bush administration has relied on to spread its fundamentalist sectarian dogma of disinformation and ignorance, has been unceremoniously dismissed.

Sworn in as Secretary of State just yesterday, Hillary Clinton wasted no time cleaning house at the vast department she runs. Today, we have heard, Mark Dybul was asked to submit his resignation as US Global AIDS Coordinator, head of the office in charge of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

This is a huge first step to ensuring the health and rights of all people at risk of HIV and AIDS: Dybul oversaw the last several years of abstinence-only programs funded by PEPFAR, hob-knobbed a bit too closely with the far right, and never saw a law or policy restriction he could not make even more restrictive. Curious for a self-identified Democrat? Not so curious, I guess, if your career is dependent on pleasing the far right, and if your desire to be Global AIDS Coordinator outweighs your desire to stand up for what is right.

Given the fact that this kind of propaganda is known to have led to the deaths of untold numbers of people, I only wonder why there were no handcuffs involved.

h/t Elizabeth Wood

Forced-Birth Lemmings

This video is profoundly enlightening. This is what happens when people just mindlessly repeat what their preacher/priest/witchdoctor/shaman tells them, without thought. The glaring underlying theme of the video, “I’ve never really thought about it”, is horrifying and appalling. The protesters in the video admit to having spent years in the forced-birth movement, and then seem (only) momentarily struck by their own lack of cogitation on the consequences of their goal.

Religion depends on the masses shutting down thought and the woman who refers the interviewer to the guy down the street is a perfect illustration of the abdication of both thought and responsibility that is inherent to blind obedience to authority.

Not one of them has given a moment’s thought to what they are doing or what should happen if they achieve success. It is readily apparent that they are doing what they are told and that whoever told them to do it should be obeyed without question.

These people are nothing more than victims and shock troops, charging the hill in the name of Preacher Joe. I pity them in a way.

h/t PZ Myers

What’s It to You?

Pin-up Bloggers!

2009 Sex Bloggers Calendar

2009 Sexbloggers Calendar

A dozen of your favorite New York City sex bloggers and sex educators are joining together to support Sex Work Awareness, a non-profit whose mission statement says it all:

We believe that all sex workers have a right to self-determination; to choose how we make a living and what we do with our bodies.

We aim to empower our diverse community by building the capacity of sex worker-serving and sex worker member-based institutions as well as the skills and resources of sex workers themselves.

We also conduct research about sex workers and the sex industry in order to better understand it, develop public education initiatives, and advocate for the rights of sex workers.

The theme is burlesque. The poses will be sexy. And who will be posing? Take a look, below the fold!

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White House Witch Hunters Watch While We Wank

My Grade on my second English 111 essay

My Grade on my second English 111 essay

I got my second essay back this morning in English Class. I missed one comma, but managed an A+. I’m pretty happy about that as I was concerned about length as well as flow. I didn’t think it flowed as well as it could have.

Mr. Beverage disagreed, apparently.

When I showed him the title, he got a great big grin, and gave me specific permission to break the “No Slang” rule.

The prompt was a definition using illustration.

The essay, in its uncorrected form, lies below the fold.

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This One’s for Hannah

As long as I’m still online in the storm, and my eyes aren’t quite open all the way yet, I thought I’d share a little love, from Roy Zimmerman.

Find all Roy’s videos at his YouTube channel.

Abstinence Only: Reality Denial is an Epic Failure

I am not amused by your pseudo-science.

I am not amused by your pseudo-science.

Cory Silverberg, coauthor of the book I recently reviewed for Sex In The Public Square, The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability, offered up a link to A Portrait of Sexuality Education and Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in the States at the Sexuality Education and Information Council of the United States on Friday, a week ago.

As Abstinence Only Sex Mis-education goes hand in hand with Creationism and other anti-science propaganda, I set aside some time to read through the report. These issues concern me as a parent, and as a person striving to see that the leaders of tomorrow’s world are not handicapped by pseudo-scientific faith-based nonsense.

Because faith, by its very definition, is based on blind obedience to authority, it is the antithesis of science, which is based on reality and evidence. Authority, whether in the form of a dusty anthology of ancient superstition, a charismatic person of great influence, or an invisible zombie in the sky, need not apply. When science and faith collide, science will always provide the better description of reality, and like it or not, we live in the real world. We need accurate portrayals of reality to make intelligent, informed decisions regarding the health and future of the world’s children.

The good, the bad, and the ugly, lie below the fold.

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The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability

My book review of The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For all of us who live with disabilities, chronic pain & illness is now online at Sex in the Public Square.

Introduction

The sexuality of disabled members of our society is perhaps one of the most closeted, or at least overlooked, topics in American public discourse. Rarely is the topic addressed even by the most strident of sex positive advocates. The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability was written to rectify this deficiency in our public square. The authors, Miriam Kaufman, M.D., Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette, take a unique and personal approach to their mission by lacing the book with actual responses from a survey done by phone and internet. These survey responses faithfully guide the book toward its objective.

Read the rest at SitPS.

Xian Xmas Toys

Bible Toys We Didn't See This Christmas, by Tracie Harris @ Atheist Eve

Bible Toys We Didn't See This Christmas, by Tracie Harris @ Atheist Eve

From whence came the art:

That image is taken from Xian Xmas Toys, an episode of Atheist Eve, a webcomic by Tracie Harris.  Click it to see more Bible toys. I think the Christian marketing departments may really be missing the boat by not getting these out there.

Our Kama Sutra

mistranslations

Click the pic to go read more xkcd. Great comic strip.

HT: Berlzebub