I AM...

I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.


Sunday, July 31, 2011


"Homosexuality," Plato wrote, "is regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them, because it is apparently not in the interest of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love-all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce." This attitude of Plato's was characteristic of the ancient world, and I want to begin my discussion of the attitudes of the Church and of Western Christianity toward homosexuality by commenting on comparable attitudes among the ancients. 

To a very large extent, Western attitudes toward law, religion, literature and government are dependent upon Roman attitudes. This makes it particularly striking that our attitudes toward homosexuality in particular and sexual tolerance in general are so remarkably different from those of the Romans. It is very difficult to convey to modern audiences the indifference of the Romans to questions of gender and gender orientation. The difficulty is due both to the fact that the evidence has been largely consciously obliterated by historians prior to very recent decades, and to the diffusion of the relevant material.

Romans did not consider sexuality or sexual preference a matter of much interest, nor did they treat either in an analytical way. An historian has to gather together thousands of little bits and pieces to demonstrate the general acceptance of homosexuality among the Romans. One of the few imperial writers who does appear to make some sort of comment on the subject in a general way wrote, "Zeus came as an eagle to god­like Ganymede and as a swan to the fair­haired mother of Helen. One person prefers one gender, another the other, I like both." Plutarch wrote at about the same time, "No sensible person can imagine that the sexes differ in matters of love as they do in matters of clothing. The intelligent lover of beauty will be attracted to beauty in whichever gender he finds it." Roman law and social strictures made absolutely no restrictions on the basis of gender. It has sometimes been claimed that there were laws against homosexual relations in Rome, but it is easy to prove that this was not the case. On the other hand, it is a mistake to imagine that anarchic hedonism ruled at Rome. In fact, Romans did have a complex set of moral strictures designed to protect children from abuse or any citizen from force or duress in sexual relations. Romans were, like other people, sensitive to issues of love and caring, but individual sexual (i.e. gender) choice was completely unlimited. Male prostitution (directed toward other males), for instance, was so common that the taxes on it constituted a major source of revenue for the imperial treasury. It was so profitable that even in later periods when a certain intolerance crept in, the emperors could not bring themselves to end the practice and its attendant revenue.

Gay marriages were also legal and frequent in Rome for both males and females. Even emperors often married other males. There was total acceptance on the part of the populace, as far as it can be determined, of this sort of homosexual attitude and behavior. This total acceptance was not limited to the ruling elite; there is also much popular Roman literature containing gay love stories. The real point I want to make is that there is absolutely no conscious effort on anyone's part in the Roman world, the world in which Christianity was born, to claim that homosexuality was abnormal or undesirable. There is in fact no word for "homosexual" in Latin. "Homosexual" sounds like Latin, but was coined by a German psychologist in the late 1 9th century. No one in the early Roman world seemed to feel that the fact that someone preferred his or her own gender was any more significant than the fact that someone preferred blue eyes or short people. Neither gay nor straight people seemed to associate certain characteristics with sexual preference. Gay men were not thought to be less masculine than straight men and lesbian women were not thought of as less feminine than straight women. Gay people were not thought to be any better or worse than straight people-an attitude which differed both from that of the society that preceded it, since many Greeks thought gay people were inherently better than straight people, and from that of the society which followed it, in which gay people were often thought to be inferior to others.

If this is an accurate picture of the ancient world the social structure from which Western culture is derived-then where did the negative ideas now common regarding homosexuality come from? The most obvious answer to this question, and the one which has most generally been given in the past, is that Christianity is responsible for the change. There is an historical coincidence that seems to lend some credence to this idea- namely that when Christianity appears on the scene that this tolerance spoken of earlier disappears and that general acceptance of homosexuality becomes much less common.

It should be obvious, however, that Christianity alone is not likely to be responsible for this change. (One notes, for instance, that the places in the world today where gay people suffer the most violent oppression happen to be the very places where Christianity is also least welcome.) First of all, I would like to dispose briefly of the notion that the Bible had something to do with Christian attitudes toward gay people. From an historical vantage point, it is easy to do so, but I realize that for people who live by the Bible more must be said about it than what an historian can observe. An historian can simply note that there is no place in the writings of the Early or High Middle Ages where the Bible seems to be the origin of these prejudices against gay people. Where any reason is given for the new hostility. sources other than the Bible are cited. As a matter of fact, from an historical perspective, the Bible would be the last source one would look at after examining growing hostility toward gay people, but so many people have a feeling that the Bible is somehow involved that its teachings on the subject matter must be addressed in detail.

Most serious biblical scholars now recognize that the story of Sodom was probably not intended as any sort of comment on homosexuality. It certainly was not interpreted as a prohibition of homosexuality by most early Christian writers. In the modern world, the idea that the story refers to the sin of inhospitality rather than to sexual failing was first popularized in 1955 in Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition' by D.S. Bailey, and since then has increasingly gained the acceptance of scholars. Modern scholars are a little late: almost all medieval scholars felt the story of Sodom was a story about hospitality. This is indeed, not only the most obvious interpretation of it but also the one given to it in most other biblical passages. It is striking, for example, that although Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned in about two dozen different places in the Bible (other than Genesis 19 where the story is first told), in none of these places is homosexuality associated with the Sodomites.

The only other places that might be adduced from the Old Testament against homosexuality are Deuteronomy 23:17 and Kings 14:24, and­-doubtless the best know n places Leviticus 18:20 and 20: 13, where a man's sleeping the asleep of women" with men is labelled ritual impurity for Jews. None of these was cited by early Christians against homosexual behavior. Early Christians had no desire to impose the levitical law on themselves or anyone else. Most non ­Jewish Christians were in fact appalled by most of the strictures of the Jewish law and were not about to put themselves under what they considered the bondage of the old law. St. Paul says again and again that we must not fall back on the bondage of the old law, and in fact goes so far as to claim that if we are circumcised (the cornerstone of the old law), Christ will profit us nothing. The early Christians were not to bind themselves to the strictures of the old law. The Council of Jerusalem, held around 50 A.D. and recorded in Acts 15, in fact took up this issue specifically and decided that Christians would not be bound by any of the strictures of the old law except for which they list - none of which is related to homosexuality.

In the New Testament we find no citations of Old Testament strictures. We do, however, find three places­-I Corinthians 6:9, I Timothy 1:10 and Romans 1:26­27­­which might be relevant. Again, I'll be brief in dealing with these. The Greek word malakos in I Cor. 6:9 and I Tim. 1 :10, which Scholars in the 20th century have deemed to refer to some sort of homosexual behavior, was universally used by Christian writers to refer to masturbation until about the 15th or 16th century. Beginning in the 15th century many people were bothered by the idea that masturbators were excluded from the kingdom of heaven. They did not, however, seem to be too upset by the idea of excluding homosexuals from the kingdom of heaven, so malakos was retranslated to refer to homosexuality instead of masturbation. The texts and words remained the same, but translators just changed their ideas about who should be excluded from the kingdom of heaven.

The remaining passage - Romans 1:26-7 - does not suffer by and large from mistranslation, although you can easily be misled by the phrase "against nature." This phrase was also interpreted differently by the early church. St. John Chrysostom says that St. Paul deprives the people he is discussing of any excuse. observing of their women that "they changed the natural use. No one can claim, Paul points out, that she came to this because she was precluded from lawful intercourse or that because she was unable to satisfy her desire....Only those possessing something can change it. Again he points the same thing out about men but in a different way? saying they 'left the natural use of women.' Likewise, he casts aside with these words every excuse, charging that they not only had legitimate enjoyment and abandoned it, going after another but that spurning the natural, they pursued the unnatural." What Chrysostom is getting at, and he expounds on it at great length, is the idea that St. Paul was not writing about gay people but about heterosexual people, probably married who abandoned the pleasure they were entitled to by virtue of their own natures for one to which they were not entitled. This is reflected in the canons imposing penances for homosexual activity, which through the 16th century were chiefly directed toward married persons. Little is said of single people.

Perhaps the most significant element of the passage is that it introduced into Christian thought the notion that homosexual relations were "against nature." What Paul, however, seems to have meant was unusual not against natural law, as it is so often interpreted The concept of natural law was not fully developed until almost 1,200 years later. All that Paul probably meant to say was that it was unusual that people should have this sort of sexual desire. This is made clear by the fact that in the same epistle in the 11th chapter, God Himself is in fact described as acting "against nature" in saving the Gentiles. It is therefore inconceivable that this phrase connotes moral turpitude.

One may well ask whether the thundering silence on the subject in the New Testament does not indicate something about the attitude of early Christians toward homosexuality? As an historian, I would say no. Most of the literature of this period, especially legal and moral guidance, is silent on the purely affective aspects of human life. In the New Testament Jesus, St. Paul, and the other writers are generally responding to questions regarding social and moral problems posed to them by a predominantly heterosexual society. People asked them questions about divorce, widows, property, etch and they answered these questions. Most of Jesus' moral commentary, especially about sexuality is in response to specific questions put to him. Jesus does not appear to be giving detailed guidelines on all aspects of human life, especially not affective life, but rather to be offering general principles. There is almost no comment anywhere in the Bible about loving your children; there are few comments about friendship; and there is not a single comment about what we know as "romantic love," although this is the basis of modern Christian marriage in our own church as well as the entire Christian community.

There are some reasons for the hostility toward homosexuality which now seem characteristic of the Christian community, and I want to mention them. First of all, I want to dispose of what might seem the most likely primary reason for hostility toward homosexuality-namely, general opposition to non-procreative sexuality. There was indeed on the part of many early Christians a feeling of hostility toward any form of sexuality which was not potentially procreative. This cannot, however, be shown to stem from Christian principles. Among other things, there is not a word within the Old Testament or the New about non-procreative sexuality among married persons, and, indeed, most Jewish commentators have agreed that anything was licit between husband and wife. It is a well-established principle in several social science disciplines that there is, however, a class ­related prejudice against non-procreative sexual acts, and one would expect to find this among lower class Christians as among any lower class group of the society. Among theologians, explicit rejection of all non-procreative sexuality, does not relate directly to attitudes toward gay people. The theologians of the early church were attempting to impress on all Christians that they had to see every act of heterosexual intercourse as the potential creation of a child. No effective means of birth control was known in this world (except for abstinence)-not even the rhythm method. The only way to avoid having children was to kill or abandon them. Theologians therefore wished to persuade Christian parents that they had to be responsible for the creation of a child every time they had sexual pleasure. The only other alternatives in their world-the world in which the early theology of the church was formulated-were morally unacceptable. Now the original aim of this approach, it appears, was only to protect children. It was not to attack homosexuality. Indeed, it was a very long time before this notion spilled over into homosexuality, but it eventually did.

As late as the eleventh and twelfth centuries, there appears to be no conflict between a Christian life and homosexuality. Gay life is everywhere in the art, poetry, music, history, etc. of the 11th and 12th centuries. The most popular literature of the day even heterosexual literature, is about same-­sex lovers of one sort or another. Clerics were at the forefront of this revival of the gay culture. St. Aelred, for instance, writes of his youth as a time when he thought of nothing but loving and being loved by men. He became a Cistercian abbot, and incorporated his love for men into his Christian life by encouraging monks to love each other, not just generally, but individually and passionately He cited the example of Jesus and St. John as guidance for this. 'Jesus himself," he said, "in everything like us. patient and compassionate with others in every matter, Transfigured this sort of love through the expression of his own love. for he allowed only one - not al l- to recline on his breast as a sign of his special love; and the closer they were, the more copiously did the secrets of their heavenly marriage impart the sweet smell of their spiritual chrism to their love."

After the twelfth century Christian tolerance and acceptance of gay love seems to disappear with remarkable rapidity. The writings of St. Aelred disappeared because they were kept locked up in Cistercian monasteries until about eight years ago, when for the first time Cistercians could again read them. Beginning about 1150, for reasons I cannot adequately explain, there was a great upsurge in popular intolerance of gay people. There were also at this time violent outbursts against Jews, Muslims, and witches. Women were suddenly excluded from power structures to which they had previously had access-no longer able, for example, to attend universities in which they had previously been enrolled. double monasteries for men and women were closed. There was suspicion of everyone. In 1 180 the Jews were expelled from France.

The change was rapid. In England in the 12th century there were no laws against Jews and they occupied prominent positions, but by the end of the 13th century, sleeping with a Jew was equated with sleeping with an animal or with murder, and in France Jews, according to St. Louis, were to be killed on the spot if they questioned the Christian faith. During this time there are many popular diatribes against gay people as well, suggesting that they molest children, violate natural law, are bestial? and bring harm to nations which tolerate them. Within a single century. between the period of 1250 and 1350, almost every European state passed civil laws demanding death for a single homosexual act. This popular reaction affected Christian theology a great deal. Throughout the 12th century homosexual relations, had, at worst, been comparable to heterosexual fornication for married people, and, at best, not sinful at all. During the 13th century, because of this popular reaction, writers like

Thomas Aquinas tried to portray homosexuality as one of the very worst sins, second only to murder.

It is very difficult to describe how this came about. St. Thomas tried to show that homosexuality was opposed to nature in some way, the most familiar objection being that nature created sexuality for procreation and using it for any other purpose would violate nature. Aquinas was much too smart for this argument. In the Summa Contra Gentiles he asks, "Is it sinful to walk on your hands when nature intended them for something else?" No, indeed it is not sinful, so he shifted ground. This is obviously not the reason that homosexuality is sinful; he looks for another. First he tried arguing that homosexuality must be sinful because it impedes the reproduction of the human race. But this argument also failed, for, Aquinas noted in the Summa Theologica, "a duty may be of two sorts: it may be enjoined on the individual as a duty which cannot be ignored without sin, or it may be enjoined upon a group. In the latter cases no one individual is obligated to fulfill the duty. The commandment regarding procreation applies to the human race as a whole! which is obligated to increase physically. It is therefore sufficient for the race if some people undertake to reproduce physically." Moreover, Aquinas admitted in the Summa Theologica that homosexuality was absolutely natural to certain individuals and therefore inculpable. In what sense, then, could he argue that it was unnatural? In a third place he concedes that the term "natural" in fact has no moral significance, but it is simply a term applied to things which are strongly disapproved of. "Homosexuality," he says, "is called 'the unnatural vice' by the common people, and hence it may be said to be unnatural." This was not an invention of Aquinas'. It was a response to popular prejudices of the time. It did not derive its authority from the Bible or from any previous tradition of Christian morality, but it eventually became part of Catholic theological thought. These attitudes have remained basically unchanged because there has been no popular support for change in the matter. The public has continued to feel hostility to gay people and the church has been under no pressure to re-­examine the origins of its teachings on homosexuality.

It is possible to change ecclesiastical attitudes toward gay people and their sexuality because the objections to homosexuality are not biblical, they are not consistent, they are not part of Jesus' teaching; and they are not even fundamentally Christian. It is possible because Christianity was indifferent, if not accepting, of gay people and their feelings for a longer period of time than it had been hostile to them. It is possible because the founders of the religion specifically considered love to transcend accidents of biology and to be the end, not the means. It may not be possible to eradicate intolerance from secular society, for intolerance is, to some extent ineradicable; but I believe the church's attitude can and must be changed. It has been different in the past and it can be again. Plato observed of secular society nearly 2,400 years ago that "wherever it has been established that it is shameful to be involved in homosexual relationships, this is due to evil on the part of the legislatures, to despotism on the part of the rulers and to coward-ism on the part of the governed."

I don't think we can afford to be cowardly. We have an abundance of ecclesiastical precedent to encourage the church to adopt a more positive attitude. We must use it. As a gay archbishop wrote in the 12th century, "it is not we who teach God how to love, but He who taught us. He made our natures full of love." A contemporary of his wrote, "Love is not a crime. If it were wrong to love, God would not have bound even the divine to love." These statements came from the Christian community, from Christian faith. That community can and must be reminded of its former beliefs, its former acceptance. And we must do the reminding.


Saturday, July 30, 2011




"Rhythm Nation" is the second single from American R&B and pop singer Janet Jackson's fourth studio album, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814(1989).

The song became the second of the historic seven top five singles released off the Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 album. Jackson composed the lyrics while Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis composed the music, which featured a sample from Sly & the Family Stone's 1969 song "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)". The song preached racial unity and harmony among nations and in promise of "looking for a better way of life" and a way to stop "social injustice". The song became as famous for its countdown in both the song and the video as it was for its message. It peaked at number two on the BillboardHot 100 (behind Phil Collins' "Another Day in Paradise") and number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs during late 1989 and early 1990.

The song inspired the name of English DJ Trevor Nelson's BBC Radio 1 show "Rhythm Nation". Nelson told Jackson this during their 1998 interview which aired on the same show. The show also spawned several compilation albums under the same name.

The famous black-and-whitemilitary-inspired dance video was directed by Dominic Sena in August 1989. It was the finale in the Rhythm Nation 1814 Film. Famous for its high-octane choreography in an abandoned factory, the video won for Best Choreography (shared by Jackson and choreographer Anthony Thomas) and was nominated for Best Dance Video at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards, where Jackson also received the MTV Video Vanguard Award.[1][2] "Rhythm Nation" ranked thirty-seven on VH1's Greatest 100 Videos and forty-four on MTV: 100 Greatest Videos Ever Made. The video features a young Tyrin Turner.

Through her choice of Anthony Thomas, a black American street dancer, as her choreographer, Janet Jackson secures a threefold achievement: she satisfies the dictates of commercial pop music industry by creating a dance image which is significantly different from her earlier work; she demonstrates that, despite fame, she is still in touch with contemporary youth pop culture and its fashions; and finally, she utilizes, not the dance traditions of the Hollywood musical which, although often black in inspiration, remained very much under the control of white choreographers, but the work of a black young man who's training is outside the institutions of Western theatre and clearly an Afro-American cultural expression of the late 1980s.

—Stephanie Jordan and Dave Allen, Parallel Lines: Media Representations of Dance, 1993[3]

During MTV's first ever mtvICON in 2001, singers PinkMýa, and Usher each paid tribute to Jackson by performing dance moves from Jackson's earlier hits including "Pleasure Principle", "Miss You Much", and "Alright". At the end of the performance they all gathered together and performed "Rhythm Nation".

Jackson has performed "Rhythm Nation" on all her tours, including Rhythm Nation 1814 Tourjanet. TourThe Velvet Rope TourAll For You Tour and Rock Witchu Tour. She performed Rhythm Nation on the Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour and the janet. Tour she was dressed in a military suit. When she performed the song on The Velvet Rope Tour, she was dressed in an army suit. When she performed it on the All For You Tour, she performed the song while dressed in a black catsuit. When she performed it on the Rock Witchu Tour, she was dressed in a black body suit and underneath was a white blouse with a black tie.

Jackson also performed the song at the half-time show of the Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, just before the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" incident.

Jackson included the song in her current tour, Number Ones: Up Close and Personal.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


“Oh, baby, you’re the best!” In our fantasies, we’re always in bed with a guy who knows just how to push our buttons. He’s neither too rough nor too cautious. He knows all our hot spots.Maybe he even shows us some nerve endings we didn’t know we had. He knows just what to do. It’s as if he can read our mind.

“OW! Watch the teeth, okay?” In everyday reality, we find ourselves in bed with someone who can’t read our mind and who doesn’t know where our hot buttons are unless we tell him.  He makes missteps – just like we do. If we’re lucky he’s enthusiastic and attentive. Sometimes were not so lucky. If getting your erotic needs met feels like going to a pot-luck dinner – you take what you get; maybe it will be better next time – it’s time to learn new ways of communicating your desires with your partner....

Talking about sex can seem…unsexy. If we embarrass easily or if we don’t really know just what we want, the whole topic can make us anxious. We worry about sounding stupid or demanding. Worst of all, we worry that talking about sex will spoil the mood. Instead of getting what we want, we may not get anything at all.

Some conversations are easiest to have away from the bedroom and well before you and the object of your affection are naked.  “I always talk about safer sex stuff before we get to my place,” Joe says. “It’s easier to ask about how he feels about condoms over dinner than when we’re between the sheets.” Joe’s other tip: he lowers his voice, looks his partner in the eye and tells him how much he wants to ride his partner’s dick all night long – if they can wrap that rascal first. Who could resist an invitation like that?

It’s easier to talk about problems outside the bedroom. “I would really like us to take it slower” is easy to hear over a glass of chardonnay at dinner. “Hey, slow down!” in an irritated voice when you’re getting pounded in bed is more likely to bruise your guy’s feelings. No one wants to feel like a klutz in bed.

Feelings are easy to bruise, especially around sex. Be kind rather than accusatory. See if you can frame requests in a way that is positive. “You know what would drive me crazy? I’d love for you to…” Try to make only one request at a time. If you bombard your partner with suggestions he may feel you are telling him he’s sexually incompetent. No one wants to hear that. Instead, be encouraging. Give him compliments if they are sincere. Sit close; maybe touch him gently and reassuringly.

And when you are getting it on and you get what you want, let him know it. Tell him “Yeah, that’s it!” or moan and sigh, move around, smile. Psychologists like to say when a certain behavior is rewarded, it happens more often. Compliment your partner often (without going overboard). Catch him doing something right, and let him know you love it. Building up his erotic self-confidence is good for you, too. This is one time when it can be very good manners to talk with your mouth full!

Take responsibility for your desires. Make “I” statements rather than “You” statements. There is a big difference between “I’d love you to get more forceful with me” and “You aren’t aggressive enough.”

Almost every man has had the experience of losing an erection during lovemaking. This is not fun. It can be pretty embarrassing. Talking about it is difficult, but discussing your concerns with your partner can be the path to resolving the issue. “I decided I shouldn’t be having sex with anyone if I was afraid to lose an erection with him,” Jorge says. “If I couldn’t feel secure enough for that, I was putting to much performance pressure on myself.” Letting his partners know that his body was sometimes slow to respond even if he was really enjoying himself helped him relax and be less distracted.

Ever heard the advice that to be considered a good conversationalist, you really need to be a good listener? It’s the same with sex. Often we give someone what we hope he’ll give us. We like having our nipples played with, so we play with his – even though it seems to annoy him. This isn’t likely to get you what you want, and it’s also not the way to be the most skilled lover around. You would be much better off telling him what you want and touching him the way he wants to be touched.

Ah, touch. There are so many ways to make physical contact with someone. Touching or being touched in exactly the same manner all the time can become irritating. Enough of exactly the same touch and our brains shut down – you will stop feeling the touch altogether. This is not pleasant. Better to vary how you make physical contact, alternating light touch with firmer, fingernail scratches with holding, teasing with squeezing.

If you are going to try to get more of what you want, it’s only fair that you give your partner more of what he wants, too. Ask him about particular turn-ons or fantasies. What gets him going? What turns him off? Don’t be defensive. You might even see if you can be sexy or playful when you initiate this conversation. You are telling him that he’s important and you want to give him pleasure. This is can be very different from a clichéd what-are-you-into conversation.

Don’t be afraid. Speak up. You will be imperfect and make mistakes. So what? Taking the initiative is masculine and sexy, and makes it much more likely that you will get what you want and deserve.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Gay couples have taken marriage vows for the first time in New York this past Sunday, as the legalisation of same-sex marriage officially came into force in the Empire State.

More than 800 couples are expected to have married after the first 24 hours, with many opting to marry at the very first opportunity, including Kitty Lambert, 54, and Cheryle Rudd, 53, who became among the first to tie the knot at Niagara Falls soon after midnight.

Gay marriage legislation was passed on 24 June after the state Senate voted 33 to 29 in favour of the measure, enabling New York to become the sixth and most populous state to allow the same-sex union. But the policy could not take effect for 30 days, meaning couples could apply for marriage licenses but not marry until Sunday.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry group told the New York Times: “New York really reflects and signifies that the centre of gravity on this question [same-sex marriage] has shifted.

“It gives us tremendous momentum for continuing the journey the country has been on toward fairness.”

Meanwhile, the Williams Institute gay think-tank has estimated that the decision to legalise gay marriage in the state will bring in $155 million (£95 million) by way of tourism to New York in the first year alone. 

As reported by The Advocate, the organisation said in a statement: “The estimate is based on the experience of the five previous states that have extended marriage to same-sex couples and new Census 2010 data for New York released just last week.”

Monday, July 25, 2011


For of you that don't know Noel is my partner. He came here in 2007 to study, was done with school 2009 and we figured out ways for him to stay in the Bahamas as he is NOT a Bahamian. It was VERY hard for him not being able to do anything on the employment level and I am SO happy that someone FINALLY saw what he possess and decided that they could use his talents. CONGRATS BABES, KNOCK EM' DEAD!


We've seen a lot of twisted things on this show. That sex scene between Bill and Lorena last season comes to mind. But watching the young women of Hot Shot line up to have their way with a bound, drugged Jason ranks right up there among the most disturbing. "Poor Jason" was trending on Twitter even before that reveal. Let's start there...

Through a fireside chat, we got to hear the lore of the werepanther. Long ago, panthers were king of the natural world. "Sky people" came and turned humans against nature, but two humans, "ghost mama" and "ghost daddy," went to the woods, got a full moon, and said, "Mighty panther, we don’t want to live in the man world, we want to live with you -- in our skins, not in a dream." And so the panther ate the man and the woman, who soaked up its magic while they were in its belly. The panther puked them up (whole or in pieces not specified), and on the next full moon, they turned into panthers. There aren't a lot of panthers left today because of inbreedingbecause nature is pissed at them for letting humans fight her. Young Timbo said nature would be smarter if she turned on man instead of the werepanthers. It would have been easy for the writers to add a line about how she has (tornadoes, floods), but I like that they didn't: Let's pretend there's a chance that nature is on their side.

I also liked how the writers kept Jason's cellphone on his hip -- the werepanthers may be smart enough to tie his hands up so he can't answer it, but they wouldn't be smart enough to remove it from his body and hide it just incase. After listening to Jason's greeting -- if it's an emergency, you can call 911 and ask for him (those operators have nothing else to do in Bon Temps?) -- Andy left him a message telling him he needed his help. How are you feeling about this Andy-is-a-V-addict story line? I'm a fan of the character and want to see him get more screen time, but I also need the payoff to come quick. We saw Andy raise his gun on Sam when Andy thought he might be getting suspicious of his behavior. Will Andy's temper lead to his death? Who will he attack that he shouldn't?

Eventually, Crystal gave Jason what he thought was medicine -- instead it was Mexican Viagra -- and told him that his search for his purpose in life was over: He's going to save her people from going extinct as their new "ghost daddy." When Jason came to again, Crystal was on top of him. In her mind, once she and the young girls lined up in the room raped him and became pregnant, she and Jason could be together. In his mind, he wished he'd never met Crystal. Yes, Jason was known as the stud of Bon Temps, but being turned into a werepanther and forced to father children in a town called Hot Shot (how poetic!) isn't just old-fashioned karma. How does he recover from that? The Rambo-eque Jason from earlier seasons would turn on them when he's finally freed. But could the Jason who'd been looking after these people for a year -- and who may still feel a connection to them if werepanthers are loyal pack members like werewolves -- take mercy on them? (Is there any chance Jason won't get the ladies of Hot Shot pregnant? Crystal assumed it was Felton shooting blanks. Maybe the women have trouble conceiving. Or, perhaps the reason Jason doesn't already have a child in this world is because he's sterile? Lame, right? Someone has to become pregnant...)

With Jason's horror out-of-the-way, let's move on to what is likely many viewers' fantasy: having Eric as an overnight guest. The episode picked up where we left off -- shirtless Eric on the side of the road. He doesn't know what Sookie is, but he knows she smells like wheat, honey, and sunlight. (That made me thirsty for a beer.) I'm not sure how one drives away from a half-naked Alexander Skarsgard, but Sookie tried it. Of course, he caught up with her once she momentarily abandoned her vehicle altogether. She punched Eric, broke his nose, and reminded him that he was a vampire who would heal in five minutes. "I know I’m a vampire, Snooki," he said. Cue the T-shirts on CafePress! Eric remembers what he is, but not who he is. Once he recounted the circle and the witch whose eyes reached into him and took everything from him, Sookie agreed to help him if he promised not to touch or bite her.

We next saw them in Sookie's house, where this kinder, gentler Eric was apologetic for stepping on her rug with his muddy feet. After Sookie called Pam and told her he didn't remember he'd bought her house let alone who he was, she washed his feet for him. The innocent "it tickles" grin made me swoon. Sookie may not be getting quite as much enjoyment out of this new Eric as we are, but you can tell from the little smile she flashes whenever he says "sorry" -- or when he does something otherwise adorable, like shove Pam into the next room and insist she be nice to Sookie -- that she might have agreed to hide Eric in her house even if she wasn't going to get paid for it. Worried Pam did have a point: If the witches wanted to get to Eric again, with her at Fangtasia is the first place they'd look. ("Oh great, now I have to deal with witches?" said Sookie.) Up for debate, however: Was Pam right about Bill sending Eric into that coven as a trap because he'd tasted/"fang-raped" Sookie? ("Oh, sorry," said Eric). Pam doesn't want Sookie to tell Bill about Eric's amnesia because Pam thinks Bill wants to use it to get the AVL to sign off on assassinating Eric. I presume Pam believes Bill would argue that Eric is a loose cannon at a time when every vampire needs to be on his best behavior. That could be why we saw Bill ordering the execution of a vampire who'd been filmed feeding on a human -- something punishable by the true death. (And yes, you can visit the undercover video site What's your gut tell you? We later saw Bill trying to reach Eric on his cell: does that mean it wasn't a trap, or that Bill was simply trying to confirm that it had worked? Bill could have said "to avoid confusion, that is a command from your king" to chastise normal Eric or so clueless Eric would think phoning Bill back was the right thing to do.

Regardless, Eric is now Sookie's housemate. Pam revealed that it was Eric's house, which, after Sookie encouraged him to climb down the ladder to his custom cubby, he believed. How sweet was Eric's voice when he was trying to figure out Sookie's status? "Would you like to be mine?" he asked after she said she wasn't his or anyone else's. "Not really," she told him. "But thank you for asking." His embarrassment when his fangs popped out was equally endearing. Again, she had to crack a tiny smile when he said "sorry."

The next day, while Eric slept, Sookie went to see Alcide, who'd moved to Shreveport for a big job that Eric had swung his way after Alcide had done some favors for him last year. I assume he's not talking about transporting Russell for his concrete burial, which had settled the debt Alcide's father owed Eric. So what did Alcide do for Eric exactly? I assume we'll find out. Sookie was as shocked as we all were to find Debbie back with Alcide. Debbie has been clean and sober for nearly a year and wants to earn back Sookie's trust, starting by serving her Vienna sausages. (Those were a staple of my childhood. I would have taken her up on those, history be damned.) Sookie had wanted to ask Alcide to house Eric, but having Eric hide out in a home with a recovering V addict wasn't a good plan. Alcide didn't like the idea of Eric staying in Sookie's home, so there's still some sexual tension between Sookie and Alcide -- which I'm guessing we'll get to see again when he comes to Bon Temps to check on her. How else are they going to work him into the story line this year?

When Sookie returned from visiting Alcide, Eric was nowhere to be found. Later, while reading a Charlaine Harris novel (of course), she heard a noise outside and it was Claudine, who tried to convince Sookie to return to the fairy realm with her again where they could keep her safe. Sookie, understandably, wanted to know how Claudine was there if Mab had closed the portal to this world (we never got an answer). She also wanted to know when Claudine had kept her safe in the past (she'd given Sookie the energy to tighten the chain around the neck of that guy the night she and Bill met). Why had Claudine never saved her from a vampire? Claudine said she couldn't risk them discovering her because they'd kill her. Sookie told Claudine to stay away from her, and whoosh, Eric suddenly had a hold of Claudine and drank from her neck until she shriveled up and evaporated into sparks of light. "You just killed my fairy godmother," Sookie told him. "Sorry," he said, with a face as messy as a child who'd snuck a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup after it'd been left in a hot car all day. My question: Did Eric just hear Sookie tell Claudine to leave her alone, and that's why he attacked Claudine, or did he hear Claudine say that vampires would kill her if they knew what she was and temptation got the better of him? I suppose he wouldn't necessarily piece together that Sookie is part fae just because her godmother is a fairy. Have we established how differently Sookie smells from full fairies? (There's a sentence I never expected to type!)

As for the rest of the story lines brewing...

• Lafayette, Jesus, and Tara have 24 hours to bring Marnie to Pam. Tara was pissed that she'd been back in Bon Temps for two hours and was already attacked by a vampire. And it wasn't just any vampire, as she, Lafayette, and Jesus assured the cocky coven that wants to retaliate for the unprovoked attack on their religious freedom. This was Eric Northman. At first, Lafayette wanted to forget it ever happened. Then, he decided he needed to be proactive and go to Eric and beg for his life -- which Tara and Jesus were firmly against. Lafayette wanted Tara to leave town, but she wouldn't when he was in this much danger. Tara asked Sookie to talk to Eric, but Sookie couldn't tell Tara that Eric wasn't his big bad self at the moment. While Tara went out to do a flirty shot of tequila with Sam -- they both looked even hotter with their anger issues under control, and while acknowledging that they were each seeing someone -- Lafayette paid Terry to cover his shift and bolted for Fangtasia. Luckily, Jesus and Tara knew where he was headed and showed up in time to stop Pam from erasing Lafayette the way the witches did Eric's memory. Tara was packing a handgun with wooden bullets. She doesn't want a life where she's fighting supernatural forces, but she looks good doing it. They told Pam they could bring her Marnie, the only one who had a chance of reversing the spell on Eric. Pam gave them 24 hours to do it, or she will personally "eat, f---, and kill" all three of them. (Another great T-shirt in the making!)

• Marnie is too desperate to be a respectable conduit? So Marnie claimed she had no idea how she got Eric to leave, but apparently she has figured out that a more powerful spirit is using her body to do its bidding. Marnie later did a blood ritual offering herself over to the spirit fully and begging it to make her its servant. We saw the spirit of a woman sitting there watching Marnie, and, if I were that spirit, thinking Marnie is too needy to be a good vessel. Perhaps the spirit will jump to Lafayette, who we've seen is the one who supplies the necessary power to make things happen in the circle. Or, maybe she'll jump to Jesus, who's in closer proximity to Lafayette's power and needs a story line. If she sticks with Marnie, I'll lose respect for this spirit.

• What the hell is up with that doll? I know Jessica and Hoyt have bigger issues. She went to visit Bill for the first time in months to ask him what she should do after drinking from that fangbanger in Fangtasia. Bill told his "vamp pup" to be honest with Hoyt if she loves him; it would hurt worse if he found out about her betrayal from someone else. Jessica confessed to Hoyt, who was almost out the door when she glamoured him into forgetting any of it had happened. That is a slippery slope that Jessica, who's still young enough to sound bratty when she says things like "I hate my life," will undoubtedly spiral down as the guilt gets to her. To me, the more interesting reveal in that scene was that the old doll that came with Hoyt and Jessica's house keeps returning to them after they throw it out. Is that witch's magic or something entirely different? In the end, Jessica gave the doll to Arlene's son Mikey as a present. It's so dirty, Terry said, it won't matter what kind of damage he does to it. Was the doll meant for Mikey all along? Theories?

• Tommy continues to do everything wrong.If I were living with a woman who ordered a Marie Osmond Adora Belle Freida Fright Doll off TV, I would be looking for a way out, too. But it's tough to like Tommy when he's planning on stealing from Maxine. Tommy answered the door as her son "Max" when a man from an energy company knocked and said he wanted to talk to Maxine about buying the natural gas lease rights to her land for a substantial sum per acre plus royalties on whatever they find. She is a dreadful woman, but she doesn't deserve to be swindled from someone who, granted, she's using as a replacement son. Tommy went to Sam, thinking Sam would want to buy the house out from Maxine and they'dmake the deal with the energy company. Sam, of course, said if Tommy didn't tell Maxine about the natural gas lease rights he would. Tommy stormed off. Even though he said he hates Sam's guts, I don't believe he'd actually be surprised that Sam wouldn't join him in that little seedy venture. Where's Tommy headed? How do they keep him interesting? I love that Tommy wants a relationship with Sam, but can he spend the entire season taking baby steps toward him, or does he have to take a leap -- in one direction or the other?

• Portia and Bill are getting busy! I don't really want to like Portia Bellefleur, but I'm having a hard time resisting her frank, candid nature and her desire to have sex with Bill in a position that shows off his biceps. Bill met Portia in a restaurant, where we got to see blood served in a small carafe (love!) and a waiter's overt attempt to tempt Bill with his bare neck (hilarious). We learned that Bill and Portia have a functional and successful business relationship that is genuinely friendly, and that she has dated all three men she deemed worthy of her in Bon Temps. One was gay, one was a closet racist, and one sucked in bed. Bill, she said, is the smartest, most powerful man she knows, and she's the smartest, most powerful woman she knows. (Okay, statements like that make it easier to dislike her.) In light of that symmetry, she suggested they add sex into the equation, knowing that if it doesn’t work out, it won’t affect their professional friendship. Bill, to his credit, told her he'd never love her. That takes a young heart to make that leap, and his was old. (So had he not truly loved Sookie, or had she just aged his heart? I assume the latter.) Portia said she could accept that, and Bill said the two words we all could have scripted -- "Check please." The next time we saw them, they were in Bill's mansion, having the aforementioned steamy chair sex. When his fangs popped, she said he could drink from her, but he didn't. We know he had no problem drinking from the redhead on his security detail. So why didn't he drink from Portia? In my mind, he knows they'll be regular sex partners, and if he's drinking from her, it's almost like a relationship -- and he's not ready for a relationship with someone who's not Sookie, and he doesn't want to cloud their arrangement for her. I'd also like to think that knowing how unsatisfied she'd been with human men, he wanted to give her a great night that was as close to a human experience as possible. I'm curious if that interpretation crossed any man's mind, or if that's a motive only a woman would imagine.

Your turn. What did you think of the episode? Are you liking Portia? Are you hoping Marnie remains the vessel? Would you like Pam to send Eric his clothes, or are you looking forward to seeing him in something other than blank tank tops?

Saturday, July 23, 2011




"Vogue" is a dance-pop[1] and house song which has disco[2] influences. The song is written in the key of A flat major and has a tempo of 120 beats per minute.[3] The song also contains a spoken part, where Madonna namechecks numerous celebrities of golden era Hollywood. The accompanying video showed Madonna paying homage to numerous golden era Hollywood actresses. The video was shot in black-and-white. In it, Madonna and her dancers are also seen vogueing.[4]

"Vogue" is a song by American singer-songwriter Madonna from her soundtrack album I'm Breathless (Music from and Inspired by the film Dick Tracy) and was released on March 20, 1990, by Sire Records. Madonna was inspired by vogue dancer and choreographers Jose and Luis Xtravaganza from the Harlem "House Ball" community, the origin of the dance Vogue, and they introduced "Vogueing" to her at the New York City club "Sound Factory". Jose Xtravaganza is featured in the Historic Art Documentary How Do I Look, director Wolfgang Busch. It also appears in a slightly remixed and extended form on the 1990 greatest hits compilation The Immaculate Collection and Madonna's third greatest hits album, Celebration.

"Vogue" has become one of Madonna's biggest worldwide hits by topping the charts in over 30 countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also became Madonna's first multi-platinum single in the United States and has sold over six million copies worldwide. The song has been met with critical appreciation, being ranked as one of the best songs of the 1990s.[5][6][7] In 1991, the song, on addition, won a Juno Award for Best Selling International Single[8] and an American Music Award for Favourite Dance Single.[9] Its accompanying video has also been ranked as one of the greatest music videos of all time.[10] The video won three awards at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards, for Best Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Editing.[11] Madonna performed the song at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards, where she and her dancers wore18th century Marie Antoinette-inspired fashions, as well as on the Blond Ambition World TourThe Girlie Show World Tour, the Re-Invention World Tour and the Sticky & Sweet Tour. The song has left a legacy, being covered by numerous artists, such as Alvin and the Chipmunks on their album, Club Chipmunk: The Dance Mixes, being part of the soundtrack of The Devil Wears Prada, as well as featuring in "The Power of Madonna" episode of American television show Glee. The video brought vogueing, as a dance form, mainstream, being included as one of the greatest "dance crazes" in pop music in a BBC Three programme.[12]

In late 1989, after the album Like a Prayer had spawned three U.S. hits—the title track, "Express Yourself" and "Cherish"—and a top-five European single in "Dear Jessie", its fourth US single, "Oh Father", stalled at number twenty in the charts. Perhaps to ensure that the last single release of "Keep It Together" would fare better on the charts, Madonna and producer Shep Pettibone decided to compose a new song to be placed on the flipside of "Keep It Together" and quickly produced "Vogue". The song and video were inspired by the dance of the same name, performed in New York clubs on the underground gay scene, in which dancers used a series of complex hand gestures, body poses and movements to imitate their favourite Hollywood stars (see the list of the names of the Hollywood stars below), as well as the cover models from Vogue magazine.

After presenting the song to Warner Bros. executives, all parties involved decided that the song was too good to be wasted on a B-side and that it should be released as a single. Although the song itself had nothing to do with Madonna's then-upcoming Disney movie Dick Tracy, it was included on the album I'm Breathless, which contained songs from and inspired by the film. Madonna altered some of the suggestive lyrics because the song was connected to the Disney film via soundtrack.

"Vogue" is a dance-pop and house song with visible influences from disco music. The song has also been noted by Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine to have a "deep house groove".[14] It is written in the key of A flat major, has a tempo of 120 beats per minute, and in it, Madonna's vocal range spans from C4 to E♭5.[15] Lyrically, song has a theme of escapism,[16] and talks about how any person can enjoy himself. Later on, the song has a rap/spoken section, in which Madonna names numerous "golden era" Hollywood celebrities.

The lyrics of the song's rap section includes the names of sixteen stars of the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s (ordered as sung in the song):

Note: As of 2011 the only star alive mentioned is Lauren Bacall.

"Vogue" contains
samples of some songs from the disco era. The bassline is from
"Love Is the Message"
by MFSB.[17] The horns and strings appear in the song
"Ooh, I Love It (Love
" by the Salsoul Orchestra. Some vocal samples from "Love
Break" are also in the 12" remix and dubs[citation needed].
"Like a Virgin" (the intro hook) is also in one of the
dubs. It also contains a slowed sample from the synth start of "Lucky Star"

After its release,
"Vogue" reached number one in over 30 countries worldwide, becoming
Madonna's biggest hit at that time.[18] It was also the best-selling single of 1990,
with sales of over six million copies worldwide.[19][20] In the U.S., massive airplay and sales demand
in response to the popular music video in April 1990 made way for
"Vogue"'s number 39 debut in the week of April 14. The song shot to
number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in its sixth week on the chart,
displacing Sinéad O'Connor's
four-week run in the top spot with "Nothing Compares 2 U".
The song also reached number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart,
remaining there for two weeks. On June 28, 1990, "Vogue" was
certified double platinum by the Recording
Industry Association of America
 (RIAA) for sales of two million
copies of the physical single across United States.[21] To date, it remains Madonna's best-selling
physical single in the country. Since digital sales began in 2005, according
to Nielsen SoundScan,
"Vogue" has sold 311,000 digital downloads.[22]

In the UK, the song
knocked Snap!'s "The Power"
off the number one slot and stayed there for four weeks, continuing a trend of
club/pop crossovers going to number one. It was helped in the UK by
multi-formatting. As well as the 7, 12, CD and cassette singles, the label
released four limited editions: 12 with Face of the 80s poster, 12 with
'X-rated poster and an extra remix on the b-side, 7 picture disc and 12 picture
disc. According to The Official Charts
, the song has sold 505,000 copies there.[23] "Vogue" was also a huge success in
Europe by topping the Eurochart Hot 100
 chart for seven consecutive weeks. Released as a double
A-side to "Keep It Together",
"Vogue" also topped Australian Kent Music Report chart for five weeks
running. The success of "Vogue" boosted the sales of the album I'm
, and combined with Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour,
generated massive publicity for the movie Dick Tracy.

"Vogue" has
received generally positive reviews from critics. Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine claimed
that the song was "Madonna's finest single moment" and that it had an
"instantly memorable melody".[24] In a review of The Immaculate
, Stephen Thomas Erlewine also claimed that the song
was "sleek" and "stylish".[25] Jose F. Promis, in another Allmusic review,
claimed that "Vogue" was a "crowning artistic achievement".[26] In a 1990 review of I'm Breathless,
Mark Coleman from Rolling Stone wrote that, whilst the song
initially sounded "lackluster", within the album's context, it
"gains a startling resonance".[27] Sal Cinquemani ofSlant Magazine, in his review of the album as a whole,
claimed that whilst the "hugely influential" song initially sounded
"grossly out of place", it turns out to be "a fitting
finale" for I'm Breathless.[28] Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly,
in a relatively negative review of I'm Breathless, asserted that
the "finale of Vogue" is "the sole bright spot".[29]

Bill Lamb from commented that the song is "[p]ossibly the
most perfect dance song Madonna, the most successful dance artist of all time,
has ever recorded." He placed "Vogue" at number 10 in his list
"Top 10 Pop Songs of 1990" and 17th in "Top 100 Pop Songs of the
1990s."[30][31] In 2003, Madonna fans were asked to vote for
their Top 20 Madonna singles of all-time by Q-Magazine.
"Vogue" was allocated the #14 spot. In 2007, VH1 ranked
fifth the song on its list of "Greatest Songs of the 90s".[32], furthermore, has also
ranked the song as the 486th greatest of all time.[33]

"Vogue", on
addition, has received numerous accolades. It won the 1991 Juno Award for Best Selling International Single,[34] as well as winning the American Music Award for
Favourite Dance Single. The song, based on the 1990 Rolling Stone Reader's
Poll Awards, was voted Best single.[35] The song was also ranked as the fourth best
song of 1990 on that year's Pazz & Jop poll by The Village Voice.

The video was directed by David Fincher and
shot at The Burbank Studios in Burbank, California on February 9–10,
1990. In 1993, Rolling Stone magazine listed the video
as the twenty-eighth best music video of all-time. It was also ranked at number
five on "The Top 100 Videos That Broke The Rules", issued by MTV on
the channel's 25th anniversary in August 2006.[37] It
was the third time Fincher and Madonna collaborated on a video (the first being
1989's "Express Yourself" and the second
being 1989's "Oh Father").

Filmed in black-and-white, the video recalls the look of films and
photography from The Golden Age of
 with the use of artwork by the Art Deco artist Tamara de Lempicka and
an Art Deco set design. Many of the scenes are recreations of photographs taken
by noted photographer Horst P. Horst, including
his famous "Mainbocher Corset", "Lisa with Turban" (1940),[38] and "Carmen Face Massage" (1946).[39] Horst was reportedly "displeased"
with Madonna's video because he never gave his permission for his photographs
to be used and received no acknowledgement from Madonna.[40] Some of the close-up poses recreate noted
portraits of such stars as Marilyn MonroeVeronica LakeGreta Garbo,[41] Marlene Dietrich,[42][43] Katharine Hepburn,[44] and Jean Harlow.[45][46][47] (Additionally, several stars of this era were
name-checked in the song's lyrics.)[48] Several famous Hollywood portrait
photographers whose style and works are referenced include George Hurrell,[49][50]Eugene Robert Richee,[51][52] Don English,[53] Whitey Schafer,[54] Ernest Bachrach, Scotty Welbourne, Laszlo Willinger, and Clarence Sinclair Bull.[55]

There was some controversy
surrounding the video due to a scene in which Madonna's breasts and, if the
viewer looks closely, her nipples could be seen through her sheer lace blouse,
as seen in the picture on the right.[48] MTV wanted to remove this scene, but Madonna
refused, and the video aired with the shot intact. The video was edited in
Australia for daytime screenings, with the sheer blouse images replaced with
slow motion shots of other parts of the video.

The video features the
dancers for Madonna's then-upcoming Blond Ambition Tour. The
choreography was set by "Punk Ballerina" Karole Armitage.[48] The video world-premiered on MTV on March 29,

There are two versions of
the video, the regularly aired television music video,[56] and the 12" remix, which is the extended
version over three minutes longer.[57] VH1also released a Pop-Up music video version.[58]

"Vogue" music
video received a total of nine MTV Video Music Awards nominations, becoming her
most-nominated video at the award show. It won Best DirectionBest Editing,
and Best