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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Feast of John the Beloved

Et Verbum Caro Factum Est et Habitavit in Nobis. And the Word was Made Flesh and dwelt among us. The Word that came forth from God was made Flesh. Exegesis of ancient philosophy and thought places much emphasis on the power of the word. The Word that came from God took form in humanity. That’s what Jesus is supposedly all about: God and humanity as one and the same entity.

John, the Beloved Disciple is the attributed author of the above quote which is essential to the Liturgy of the Word in Roman Catholic ritual, and is part of that ritual on Xmas. John was the one whose head rested on the chest of the Lord during the Last Supper. John was the one to whom the Lord entrusted his mother when he was dying. John is usually depicted as a young handsome man. He is the Beloved above and beyond the rest of the disciples.

A type of intimacy was attributed to and recorded about John's relationship to Jesus. Let it be said here and now that Jesus Christ, according to the accepted Sacred Gospels, one of which was accordingly written by John the Beloved, said absolutely nothing that directly condemned same sex relationships.

The theology that John’s writings exhibit has to do with the Divine inhabiting and becoming flesh and eventually overcoming the mortality of the flesh. It is the cornerstone of Xtianity.

It is John who is the only disciple who survived martyrdom and lived to a ripe old age. It is John who had numerable mystical visions that gave the world the Book of the Apocalypse, a.k.a. Revelations. It is John who points the way to overcoming the ravages of the Beast upon humanity. It is John and his relationship with the god-made-man that may very well point the way to acceptance of all human beings being exactly what God made them in all their glory.

John’s Feast is December 27th and celebrated during the Octave of Xmas.



Speaking of beloved John, was Jesus gay?

The Full Moon 05:32 DEcember 28, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

www.demandaplan.org

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Solstice


With the Sun’s light comes fresh energy and renewed vitality. Especially after a hard time, we can once again see the beauty of life and the interconnectedness of all things. By shining, the Sun shares its happiness with others. The message is clear: as we approach the light: enjoy this wonderful life. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Goodnight, Sweet Prince


It is with great sadness that I spread the word that Spencer Squeaky Cox, a true hero and one of the sweetest people, has died. A founding member of the Treatment Action Group immortalized in this year's How To Survive A Plague, millions of people are alive today, living with HIV because of his work. The gay world is completely different because of his work. If you did not know Spencer, honor him by seeing this film and understanding how he helped change the world. Such a sweet man. If he had done nothing at all it would still be as great a loss. ~ Jeff Campagna

Monday, December 17, 2012

President Obama's Address to Newtown: The Transcript


THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Governor.  To all the families, first responders, to the community of Newtown, clergy, guests — Scripture tells us:  “…do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away…inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”
We gather here in memory of twenty beautiful children and six remarkable adults.  They lost their lives in a school that could have been any school; in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could be any town in America.
Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation.  I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.  I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we’ve pulled our children tight.  And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide; whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it.  Newtown — you are not alone.
As these difficult days have unfolded, you’ve also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice.  We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school’s staff did not flinch, they did not hesitate.  Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy — they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances — with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.
We know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms, and kept steady through it all, and reassured their students by saying “wait for the good guys, they’re coming”; “show me your smile.”
And we know that good guys came.  The first responders who raced to the scene, helping to guide those in harm’s way to safety, and comfort those in need, holding at bay their own shock and trauma because they had a job to do, and others needed them more.
And then there were the scenes of the schoolchildren, helping one another, holding each other, dutifully following instructions in the way that young children sometimes do; one child even trying to encourage a grown-up by saying, “I know karate.  So it’s okay.  I’ll lead the way out.”  (Laughter.)
As a community, you’ve inspired us, Newtown.  In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you’ve looked out for each other, and you’ve cared for one another, and you’ve loved one another.  This is how Newtown will be remembered.  And with time, and God’s grace, that love will see you through.
But we, as a nation, we are left with some hard questions.  Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.  With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves — our child — is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice.  And every parent knows there is nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm.  And yet, we also know that with that child’s very first step, and each step after that, they are separating from us; that we won’t — that we can’t always be there for them.  They’ll suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments.  And we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear.
And we know we can’t do this by ourselves.  It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself.  That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation.  And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we’re all parents; that they’re all our children.
This is our first task — caring for our children.  It’s our first job.  If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right.  That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.
And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations?  Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm?  Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return?  Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?
I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no.  We’re not doing enough.  And we will have to change.
Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting.  The fourth time we’ve hugged survivors.  The fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.  And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America — victims whose — much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We can’t tolerate this anymore.  These tragedies must end.  And to end them, we must change.  We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true.  No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.
But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.  Surely, we can do better than this.  If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.
In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.  Because what choice do we have?  We can’t accept events like this as routine.  Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?  Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?
All the world’s religions — so many of them represented here today — start with a simple question:  Why are we here?  What gives our life meaning?  What gives our acts purpose?  We know our time on this Earth is fleeting.  We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain; that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it’s wealth or power or fame, or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped.  We know that no matter how good our intentions, we will all stumble sometimes, in some way.  We will make mistakes, we will experience hardships.  And even when we’re trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.
There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have — for our children, for our families, for each other.  The warmth of a small child’s embrace — that is true.  The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves, and binds us to something larger — we know that’s what matters.  We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness.  We don’t go wrong when we do that.
That’s what we can be sure of.  And that’s what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us.  That’s how you’ve inspired us.  You remind us what matters.  And that’s what should drive us forward in everything we do, for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this Earth.
“Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them — for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Charlotte.  Daniel.  Olivia.  Josephine.  Ana.  Dylan.  Madeleine.  Catherine.  Chase.  Jesse.  James.  Grace.  Emilie.  Jack.  Noah.  Caroline.  Jessica.  Benjamin.  Avielle.  Allison.
God has called them all home.  For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on, and make our country worthy of their memory.
May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in His heavenly place.  May He grace those we still have with His holy comfort.  And may He bless and watch over this community, and the United States of America.  (Applause.)


Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/12/16/full-transcript-obama-speaks-to-newtown-vigil/#ixzz2FHl25qU3

Friday, December 14, 2012

There are no words ...


Embrace your children

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds

It's that time of year when light is celebrated in some form or fashion. Today's feature is put aside in honour of tradition. The tradition honoured is that of neo-paganism Hence, the post from two years ago:

The Immaculate Conception (Feast Day: December 8th) is one more nod of Holy Mother Roman Church in the direction of Goddess Worship. Non-Catholics and Catholics alike tend to believe that it has to do with Jesus Christ rather than his Mother but that is not the case.
 
Mary, the Gate of Heaven was according to dogma in the Roman Apostolic Tradition conceived without the taint of original sin, that very human burden passed on to the other children of Eve. It is no accident that mariologists and other theologians refer to her as the New Eve. She is by virtue of her motherhood and the absence of sin as called Co-Redemptrix which doesn’t make her a stage door mother precisely but does place her very close to the divine level like her son and his Father.  The religious concept of the Goddess giving birth to the God in a cyclical ritual that parallels the seasonal changes did not originate with Xtianity but it was Xtianity that put a different spin on it.
 
 
The Immaculate Conception, however, is not the Virgin Birth it is Mother Mary’s actual conception without the taint of Mother Eve’s sin. It is a common scriptural tale of the barren womb suddenly becoming fertile; in this case it is Saint Anne’s womb.
 
 
‘Tis noteworthy that Mary’s Conception Feast is celebrated in close proximity to the Feast of Saint Lucy, December 13th , a Goddess revered in such disparate places as Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.
 
 
Lucina, the Goddess of Childbirth was incorporated into the Roman Martyrology as Saint Lucy the Virgin whose eyes were plucked out before her martyrdom. Coincidentally there was a statue of the mother Goddess Juno whose eyes had been made of rubies and were stolen right out of their sockets.
 
 
Digression, as interesting as it is does take this narrative away from its focus – coming into the light which is what a good Goddess of Childbirth helps us do, eyes or no.
 
 
Many, if not all, of the world’s major religions base liturgies, rituals and celebrations on the natural progression of life and the Seasons: December in the Northern Hemisphere, it is well noted is the darkest time of year and it is the time when humanity yearns for yet celebrates light at one and the same time.
 
 
The mythology and rituals associated with Lucina (Lucy) vary from place to place but always involve light. Without delving into the concept of the Solstice and the shortest day of the year which occurs in about a week, suffice it to say that Lucina as a Midwife of sorts and a Mother will shed light on the Human Mystery which is one of the many things spirituality does.
 
 

We are reborn on a regular basis and Lucina’s influence leads us in the direction of self-realization no matter what stage of life we find ourselves.
   
 
The more we see ourselves the more we evolve. It is Lucina who sheds light on our “higher” selves.



"Saint Lucy"            Digital Print, Thomas Wynn 2001
Fleckenstein Gallery
   
 
 
 


This year her feast takes place appropriately on the new moon as Lucy leads toward the light and Th Crone gives way to The Maiden.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The New Moon NYC

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Forever Dusty

From her second solo album. La Springfield "Dusty-fied" this song, rendered a hit by Joni James, tweaking the vocal delivery and even the lyrics. The young Dusty could get righteous with the best of them, channeling Inez Foxx's "Mockingbird" to a tee, for example. I think this shows the edgy nuance she could apply to a song. It is indicative of what deep subtle soul is all about.





Go here for a review of Forever Dusty currently at New World Stages in New York. The reviewer seems to have a good perspective about what Dusty is all about: "In vocal terms Ms. Smith is adequate and occasionally almost convincing. But the smoky sensuality, the breathy vulnerability, the naked emotionality of intonation and phrasing, and the raw white-soul edge that distinguished Springfield at her best are in short supply. And when Ms. Smith tacks a blustery big finish onto Son of A Preacher Man" she’s in direct defiance of an artist who never had to oversell."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Merry Christmas From Boston



Sunday, December 09, 2012

Beefcake All Through the Night


Saturday, December 08, 2012

Beecake Foreplay




Saturday Beecake: Late Cocktails

 


The Bottom Line



 


Bluecoat American Dry Gin is an aromatic gin with a bouquet designed for a defined palate. This is derived from the "secret" blend of all certified organic botanicals, a list which includes the required juniper berries, along with an American citrus peel selection, sweet orange and lemon peel. The result of Bluecoat's small batch process is a divinely pure and natural-tasting gin that makes a fine cocktail base. (from About.com) 






Saturday Beecake: More Cookies



PrincePumpkin's Butterscotch Squares


This is from the old Purity Flour Cookbook from the 1940's.

1/4 cup sweet butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

3/4 cup sifted flour

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (just throw some in)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Optional : 1/4 cup walnuts or any kind of unsalted nut
Pre-heated oven 350
One generously greased 8 "x 8" pan (use shortening to grease the pan, it burns at a higher temp...)
*



1. Never use an electric rotary mixer for this recipe. Better it is poorly mixed (and just moistened) than beaten to death.
2. Melt butter in a saucepan on low heat and while warm, add brown sugar and blend thoroughly.
3. Cool to lukewarm and add unbeaten egg and then beat mixture well by hand with a wire wisk.
4. Mix and sift flour, baking powder, salt, and then add to first mixture; then add vanilla and optional nuts.
5. Spread the mixture evenly like fudge into the greased pan.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
 Look for wrinkles in the top crust to tell you it is done. Outside should be golden-brown, crispy, inside should be fudgy.



7. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into squares.


Saturday Beecake: Our Annual Tribute to Anthony Catanzaro, Our Sicilian Xmas Cookie



One can only hazard a guess regarding Anthony Catanzaro's Italian origins. Sicily may quite possibly be part of it. There's no doubt that many would like to call one thigh "Xmas" and the other "New Year's" and would love to come visit between the holidays.



Something Sicilian: Cucidati/Cucurreddi


Pasta Frolla:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
4 large eggs




Fig Filling:
12 ounces (about 2 cups) dried Calimyrna figs
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup candied orange peel, diced
1/3 cup whole almonds or pine nuts, chopped and lightly toasted
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/3 cup apricot preserves
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves





Egg wash:
1 large egg, well beaten with 1 pinch salt

Frosting:

Confectioner's sugar emulsified with orange juice

Multi-colored nonpareils for finishing before baking

2 or 3 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans covered with parchment or foil




1. To make the dough, in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse two or three times to mix. Add the butter and pulse repeatedly until it it finely incorporated and the mixture is cool and powdery. Add the eggs, all at once, and continue to pulse until the dough forms a ball. Scrape the dough onto a floured surface, then place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a square about an inch thick and wrap it. Chill the dough while preparing the filling.

2. For the filling, in a large bowl, stem and dice the figs. If they are hard, place them in a saucepan, cover them with water, and bring them to a boil over medium heat. Drain the figs in a strainer and allow them to cool before proceeding.

3. In a bowl, combine the diced figs with the rest of the filling ingredients and stir them together. In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse to grind the filling mixture finely. Scrape the filling back into the bowl used to mix it.




4. When you are ready to bake the cucidati, set the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°.

5. Take the dough out of the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on a floured surface. Knead the dough lightly to make it malleable again and rollit up into a cylinder. Cut the cylinder into twelve equal pieces. One at a time, on a floured surface, flatten each and make it into a rectangle 3 inches wide and 12 inches long. Paint the wash on the dough and evenly distribute 1/3 cup filling down its length. Bring the edges of dough up around the filling to enclose it, then press the edges of the dough together firmly to seal in the filling. Use your palms to roll over the filled cylinder of dough until it extends to 15 inches, then cut it into 3-inch lengths. Set the filled cylinders aside while filling, rolling, and cutting the other pieces of dough.




6. To finish shaping the cucidati, use the point of a sharp knife to slash six or eight diagonal cuts in the top of each filled cylinder of dough. Place each slashed cookie on one of the prepared pans, and curve it into a horseshoe shape. Leave about an inch all around between the cookies.

7. After all the cucidati are on pans, paint the outsides lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle them sparingly with the non-pareils.

8. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, or until they are a light golden color. Slide the papers from the pans to racks.

9. Store the cooled cookies between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting cover.


We keep posting with the fond hopes that we will get some



Your Saturday Beefcake Snack with Nick Zano



Maple Lemon Oatmeal Cookies

Rolled Oats, two cups
Whole Wheat Flour. one cup
Shredded Coconut, unsweetened, one half cup (or 1/3 cup more flour)
Baking Powder,  3/4 teaspoon
Raisins, one cup
Almond Slices, one cup
Chia Seeds, three teaspoons
Maple Syrup. 3/4 cup
Ripe Bananas, two large mashed
Vanilla extract.a splash
Sea Salt
Coconut Oil. one half cup
The juice and zest of one small lemon
Zest of 1 small lemon
                Preheat the oven to 375 * F.

1. Mix the first 6 ingredients together.
2. Gradually add all other ingredients.
3. Using a large spoon, place drops of cookie dough on parchment paper-covered cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart.


4. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops begin to brown.

Beefcake Lunch from Men's Health: Quinao Risotto
















                Virgin Olive Oil, one teaspoon
Yellow Onion, one, medium, diced
Garlic, two cloves, minced
Quinoa, one cup, uncooked
Chicken or Vegetable stock, three cups
Peas. one quarter cup
Prosciutto, two ounces, cut into thin strips
Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper
Pecorino, Asiago, Reggianito or Parmigiano for grating




1.Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sautê  the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, about three minutes.
2.Add the quinoa and cook for another three minutes. Add one cup of the stock, using a wooden spoon to occasionally stir the grains.
3. When the liquid has mostly evaporated (about ten minutes), add the remaining stock. Continue cooking and stirring until the quinoa is tender (but not mushy) and most of the liquid has evaporated; the risotto should be moist, but not soupy.
3. At the last minute, add the peas and prosciutto and stir to warm through.
4. Remove from heat. Salt. Pepper. Before serving, grate a bit of cheese over each portion.




Alternate:

Peas and prosciutto are optional. Replace the peas and prosciutto with 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken (or leftover grilled chicken), 1 cup halved or quartered grape tomatoes, and a handful of chopped fresh basil. Add 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms to the pan with the onion and garlic. Before adding the stock, add 1/2 cup red wine.



Or replace the peas and prosciutto with 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree. Stir in a handful of chopped fresh sage a few seconds before you remove from the heat.


Saturday Beefcake: If you're not awake yet, this will do it


Your Saturday Beefcake Breakfast Buffet


Friday, December 07, 2012

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Gay Thursday: La Springfield's Influence




"Dusty Springfield's Son of a Preacher Man had been languishing on oldies radio playlists somewhere between The Hollies' Bus Stop and Petula Clark's I Know A Place. The weight of Springfield's shift from the pop act behind I Only Want To Be With You and Wishin' And Hopin' to the deep soul sound of her 1969 release Dusty In Memphis was a faded footnote in a Timi Yuro or Carly Simon biography.
If Adele's Rolling In The Deep marked the bitter end of a "rubbish relationship," Springfield's backyard walks with young Billy was its giddy, sexy, optimistic beginning. Once the mono-tracked version of Son Of A Preacher Man appeared in Pulp Fiction, it pushed that film's soundtrack into the Billboard 200, saved one of Tarantino's trademark scenes and introduced a generation of dorm room and house party regulars to female blue-eyed soul."

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Tuesday Talent


Monday, December 03, 2012

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Classic Saturday Beefcake Getting You Through the Night


Saturday Beefcake Foreplay II


Saturday Beefcake: Foreplay I




Hey! If you are a wrestler named Pinkie Sanchez, this is where you belong.

World AIDS Day Redux William Gale Gedney


About a year ago, I posted about William Gedney and his trips to Kentucky in the 1960's and 1970's.  Gedney died of AIDS in 1989, so I thought it was fitting on World AIDS Day to have a look at a few more of his photographs from those visits.