Wednesday, May 5th, 2004
Today I received an unexpected e-mail from a student at Universität Lüneburg. Actually, getting the e-mail was unexpected but that it was from Lüneburg was not because I'm going to go to Germany for several weeks this summer.

As I intimated at the end of my post about observing at Stivers, I've been thinking about being able to teach German in addition to or instead of English. In Ohio at least, you have to have a bachelor's degree in a subject in order to be able to teach it, which means that my minor in German wouldn't be enough. I looked into what it would take to major in German in addition to English/Integrated Language Arts, and I wouldn't need that many more classes. So I'm going for it, putting off graduating for a year and taking the additional classes I'll need.

If you've checked my classes pages, you know that I've taken classes every summer since returning to college. Wright State doesn't offer German classes beyond 201/202 in the summer, which makes sense given the lack of demand. However, Wright State is a part of the University Studies Abroad Consortium, as is Universit&aauml;t Lüneburg. So I'll still be taking classes this summer, but I'm going abroad to do it.

Of course studying in a foreign country is a great experience for anyone, especially someone who wants to become fluent in a foreign language. Meine Deutschsprachkenntnis ist nicht schlecht, but several weeks of having to speak German all the time should improve it a lot. I've been to Europe once before, to Belgium, France and the Netherlands in the summer of 2001, but that was as a tourist, and I got by on English. I did speak some French in Paris, but for some reason most people I spoke to told me to just speak English. I doubt that will be happening in Lüneburg (unless I tried speaking French there).
Saturday, May 8th, 2004

Pointless meme of the day:

  1. Go into your blog archives.
  2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to it).
  3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
"At any rate, he's a good singer, so go see him yourself."
(from this post, Saturday, November 9th, 2002)

I also saw a fun movie, Good bye, Lenin!, at Neon Movies. Dieser Film war auf Deutsch, which is good practice; I understood a lot, but not all, of the German, so it was good it had English subtitles.
Sunday, May 9th, 2004
I posted an ad on a German gay site. The site's similar to but of course is auf Deutsch. I'll let you find the ad on your own, but you can see mein Profilcover below (profile covers are a cool feature the German site has that does not):

Here's what it says:
In June I'm traveling from Dayton, Ohio, USA to Lüneburg, Lower Saxony, Germany in order to be an exchange student at University of Lüneburg. If you live in Lüneburg and want new friends, contact me.
Monday, May 10th, 2004
I'm taking two classes at Universität Lüneburg this summer. One is Advanced German Grammar and Composition; the other is Government and Politics in Germany.

The fine people at USAC sent me a letter last week confirming my registration, and they included a form indicating the books I need, which I can order from their bookstore. Being the smart person that I am, I realize I can order the books from and get free shipping instead of paying the $6 for the first book and $1 for each additional book that the University of Nevada, Reno bookstore (UNR provides administrative services for USAC) charges.

The books came today. But now that I've got them I realize they're for a June session class, The Expanding European Union: Politics and Culture, that I'm not taking. Guess I'm not so smart after all.

I did order a fun gay novel though.
Monday, May 17th, 2004
Mondays are my long days since I have my observation at Stivers, followed by a class at Wright State (EDS333), followed by Dayton Gay Men's Chorus practice. Still on the way home I decided to stop by Neon Movies to see Latter Days.

  Some critics complain that Latter Days is just "an old and reliable screenplay formula" with two boys instead of a boy and a girl, that the film plays off gay stereotypes too much or that the two main stars are too buff and cute.

Well sometimes a gay guy can use a little buffness and cuteness, and Wes Ramsey and Steve Sandvoss certainly can provide that. The film is fairly predictable, but sometimes a gay guy just needs a happy ending in which the guy gets the guy. And sometimes a gay guy just needs to see some tight twink ass, and both Ramsey and Sandvoss can provide that as well, in abundance. Mmmm.
Friday, May 21st, 2004
This evening I went with some friends to A World A'Fair, an annual event held at the convention center that I've attended even before I moved downtown. We got there in time to see the opening parade of nations featuring people in various ethnic costumes (Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin marched too but not in ethnic garb).

Although the parade is fun, the point of the event is the food. We started with some Riesling from the South Slavs (even during various wars and peaceful divorces in Europe, immigrants from Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia here in Dayton always continued to get along). I had a cheese triangle pastry thingie (I forget what it's really called) from Greece, bul go gi (marinated beef) from Korea, plantain chips from the Philippines and a cannoli from Italy (yum!). And of course no World A'Fair is complete without some Appelflappen from the Netherlands (although this year they are 2 for $1 instead of 3 for $1).

It runs through Sunday at 6pm so you can still go if you're reading this in time.
Saturday, May 22nd, 2004
If you've browsed the books I've gotten lately, you might have noticed The Man Jesus Loved: Homoerotic Narratives from the New Testament. I haven't gotten too far in it since I only read it in bed. I usually read for pleasure just before going to sleep, but not for the reason you may be thinking (the book's not about gay erotic stories, although I do have a book or two of those).

Theodore Jennings' argument is that Jesus' beloved disciple, mentioned thusly only in the Gospel of John, was not only a man but Jesus' gay lover. I've never really considered this before, nor, I'd bet, have most people. Certainly people have considered that Jesus might not have been celibate, but perhaps the best known candidate as a mate for Jesus would be Mary Magdalene, especially given the popularity (notoriety?) of works such as The Last Temptation of Christ and The Da Vinci Code.

I wouldn't be upset if the people who think Mary Magdalene was Jesus' lover or wife are right, but they have some explaining to do about the disciple whom Jesus loved. Jesus did have more disciples than the 12 apostles, and some of those disciples were women, but Mary Magdalene was not the disciple whom Jesus loved. During the crucifixion (see John 19:25-27), Mary Magdalene stood at the cross with, among others, the disciple whom Jesus loved. Jesus then presented his mother Mary and that disciple to each other as son and mother, and Jesus' beloved took Mary into his home. So if Mary Magdalene were Jesus' lover and especially if she were the mother of his children (the Merovingian dynasty?!), why is Jesus sending Mary his mother to live with some man instead of with her daughter-in-law and grandchildren?

Of course there are many theories about Jesus' life, the predominant one being that he was celibate, sinless and divine (How can I consider myself Christian if I consider that just a theory? That'd be a whole other blog entry, if not a book). From what I've read so far Jennings does a pretty convincing job of dealing with these other theories, although he acknowledges that gay people may be predisposed to accepting that Jesus was gay (just as homophobes might be predisposed to reject such an argument).

In the chapter I'm reading now (5, "The Hidden Tradition"), Jennings reveals something that is not only surprising to me but that was also surprising to him, namely that this idea that Jesus and the disciple he loved were gay lovers is not new. For example, at the inquest of the death of Christopher Marlowe, one of the men accused of murdering him tried to justify it by complaining that Marlowe had said that "St. John [who many people, but not Jennings, think was the disciple Jesus loved] was bedfellow to Christ." That's just one example Jennings found. Accuse him of being a revisionist homosexual activist if you want, but he's not the only one.
Tuesday, May 25th, 2004
I subscribe to an e-mail list that distributes gay-related news articles carried in mainstream publications. Letters to the editors of these publications commenting on gay issues are also included. As you might imagine, some of these letters can be quite hateful. A fun thing to do is to look up the addresses of the authors of such letters and send them a Jesus loves you postcard.

Karen Horan of Rapid City, South Dakota is the latest lucky recipient of one. Karen wrote to the Rapid City Journal to say, "I'm so sick of the whole gay issue I could puke! You all should have stayed in the closet."

Poor Karen probably hasn't heard of the Internet and thus doesn't know that her special sentiments have been made available to queers all over the country, and she also probably doesn't realize that her name and address (and phone number, although seriously I would not recommend calling her) are available to anyone who knows how to use an online phone directory.

Boy, won't Karen be surprised when she gets my postcard telling her that regrettably I won't be able to comply with her wish that I go back in the closet. If she hasn't vomited on my postcard after that, she'll see my questions about whether anyone has asked her to become a lesbian or to watch two men having sex and whether she had to march for the right to marry her husband. Lastly, I thank her for being concerned about what God thinks I should do and remind her what Jesus wants her to do, namely to love God and to love her neighbors, and I ask if she thinks Jesus wants her to tell her gay neighbors that she pukes at the thought of them?

What makes the postcard complete is the postscript, which reminds Karen that "Jesus loves you, and so do I!" Who could puke at that? If she doesn't fall to her knees crying and begging Jesus for forgiveness, I'm really going to be surprised.

By the way, in addition to being cheaper to send than a letter or card, a postcard also ensures that the recipient knows that his or her postal carrier has read the message too. Of course, the recipient's children may also see the card, so be sure to keep the message polite and civil.
Sunday, May 30th, 2004
If you don't like words, you probably won't care about this, but I came across an interesting fact today, although I'm a few years late. On February 21, 2000, the American Dialect Society (whose site I read about today in William Safire's weekly New York Times Magazine column "On Language") selected the word she as the word of the past millennium. According to the society, "before the year 1000, there was no she in English; just heo, which singular females had to share with plurals of all genders because it meant they as well."

You might know that English is a Germanic language, and if you speak German you know that deutschsprechende Frauen m?ssen ein Wort noch teilen (German-speaking women must still share a word), not only with plurals of all genders but the formal second person because sie means she, they and you.

Okay, so maybe that's not the most earth-shattering thing in the world, but I liked learning about it.
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