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AC Benus

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AC Benus last won the day on October 30 2018

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About AC Benus

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    San Francisco
  • Interests
    Love, cooking, history, classical writings, Queer politics, chatting with friends, finding more in common with everyone than I thought possible, architecture, design, dogs, Airedales

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  1. Ran into this one this morning...


    Last Words


    “Dear Charlie,” breathed a soldier,

    “O comrade true and tried,

    Who in the heat of battle

    Pressed closely to my side;

    I feel that I am stricken,

    My life is ebbing fast;

    I fain would have you with me,

    Dear Charlie, till the last. […]


    “Come nearer, closer, Charlie,

    My head I fain would rest,

    It must be for the last time,

    Upon your faithful breast.

    Dear friend, I cannot tell you

    How in my heart I feel

    The depth of your devotion,

    Your friendship strong as steel.


    “We’ve watched and camped together

    In sunshine and in rain;

    We’ve shared the toils and perils

    Of more than one campaign;

    And when my tired feet faltered,

    Beneath the noontide heat,

    Your words sustained my courage,

    Gave new strength to my feet.


    “And once – ‘twas at Antietam –

    Pressed hard by thronging foes,

    I almost sank exhausted

    Beneath their cruel blows –

    When you, dear friend, undaunted,

    With headlong courage threw

    Your heart into the contest,

    And safely brought me through.


    “My words are weak, dear Charlie,

    My breath is growing scant;

    Your hand upon my heart – there,

    Can you not hear me pant?

    Your thoughts I know will wander

    Sometimes to where I lie –

    How dark it grows! True comrade

    And faithful friend, good-bye!”


    A moment, and he lay there

    A statue, pale and calm,

    His youthful head reclining

    Upon his comrade’s arm.

    His limbs upon the greensward

    Were stretched in careless grace,

    And by the fitful moon was seen

    A smile upon his face.

    Horatio Alger,[i]




    [i] “Last Words” Horatio Alger Grand’ther Baldwin’s Thanksgiving, with other ballads and poems  (Boston 1875), p. 90 https://archive.org/details/grandtherbaldwin00algeiala/page/90/mode/2up





  2. . Translation of Shakespear in seinen Sonetten by August von Platen Shakespear in seinen Sonetten[[i]] Du ziehst bei jedem Loos die beste Nummer, Denn wer, wie du, vermag so tief zu dringen In's tiefste Herz? Wenn du beginnst zu singen, Verstummen wir als klägliche Verstummer. Nicht Mädchenlaunen störten deinen Schlummer, Doch stets um Freundschaft sehn wir warm dich ringen: Dein Freund errettet dich aus Weiberschlingen, Und seine Schönheit ist dein Ruhm und Kummer. Bis auf die Sorgen, die für ihn dich nagen, Erhebst du Alles zur Apotheose, Bis auf den Schmerz, den er dich läßt ertragen! Wie sehr dich kränken mag der Seelenlose, Du läsest nie von ihm, und siehst mit Klagen Den Wurm des Lasters in der schönsten Rose. ---------------------------------- Shakespeare in his Sonnets With him always, you play your ace in the hole, For who but you penetrates so deep each time As you pull all your stops and deploy your rhyme, Hushing us like mutes while you your songs unroll. No girlish whims rustle your sleep and cajole, Because in friendship you wrestle hot in your prime: Your friend saves you from the female paradigm, While his beauty’s the fame and grief of your soul. You’ve power to lift all to its apogee, Except the nagging sorrows in you he sows; Except the pain for him you bear by decree. You won’t leave him, ever going where he goes, And though the soulless shall ever sicken thee, You’ll lament for their vice in the fairest rose. _ [i] “Shakespear in seinen Sonetten” August von Platen Gedichte (Stuttgart 1828), p. 172 https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_Zvg-AAAAIAAJ/page/n177/mode/2up?q=
  3. Lovely and evocative, you hit all the senses, including the one for the carefree days of one's youth
  4. https://www.psypost.org/2021/07/large-study-finds-covid-19-is-linked-to-a-substantial-drop-in-intelligence-61577

    Knew it all along. That's why I think I won't be able to write another novel after Carême... I can't keep all of it in my head at one time anymore... just can't 

    1. Zombie


      Interesting. Didn’t know you had had COVID. Seems there are a lot of known unknowns and unknown unknowns including whether such an effect might be permanent or temporary - hope it’s the latter for you. Surprised the writer included “handedness” in “other factors” - that seems bizarre! The UK is now in “live with it” mode having offered vaccinations to all “eligible” adults (some exclusions for medical reasons) and incentives for younger ages to get jabbed. Time will tell…

    2. Ron


      Well, you know, there's a lot more going on than just the disease, right? We have been dealing with a deficit of personal interaction and on a physical level, which, as I'm sure a lot of us are aware, also has been proven to affect people in a negative way cognitively, among other sources for these ailments of the mind. So, there are more sources affecting our reasoning and thinking and remembering beyond the infection itself which we should allow for. Time may be your friend @AC Benusand time along with some semblance of normality may be fruitful for all of us. I hope this might offer some peace of mind for you and those who have worried about this issue. I, too, am not immune to feeling less than my usual self.

  5. Michael Tippett: String Quartet No. 1 - II. Lento cantabile Musical love at first sight Meeting with Wilf was the deepest, most shattering experience of falling in love; and I am quite certain that it was a major factor underlying the discovery of my own individual musical ‘voice’ – something that can’t be analyzed purely in musical terms: all that love flowed out in the slow movement of my First String Quartet, an unbroken span of lyrical music in which all four instruments sing ardently from start to finish. Sir Michael Tippett[i] 1935 [i] “Musical love at first sight” composer Sir Michael Tippett on his relationship with painter Wilfred Franks. See: Those Twentieth Century Blues: an Autobiography (London 1991), p. 58 https://archive.org/details/thosetwentiethce0000tipp_y4e1/page/58/mode/2up
  6. In case you're interested :yes:



    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. AC Benus

      AC Benus

      Thanks @George Richard, @dughlas, @ancientrichard, @chris191070, @Drew Payneand @Parker Owens-- if you click on the link, it will take you to the Prologue of the book. Any and all 'likes' and/or comments are greatly welcome :)  

    3. Drew Payne

      Drew Payne

      I will, just give me a little while. Suddenly I have a lot of things happening this week.

    4. chris191070


      Looks amazing  

  7. . There is still much work to do, but I'd like to share with GA readers a foretaste of my 6th (and probably last, lol) novel. Here is the blurb I'm toying with for the back cover: "Times of environmental disaster, political upheaval and endless wars… 1816 is relevant to the world we find ourselves surviving in today. Antonin Carême, the world’s greatest celebrity chef – with his rockstar salary and good looks – heads to an open-ended engagement at the Prince Regent’s seaside home. What, though, are his true motivations for going? What about all the deaths and attempted killings unfolding at the Pavilion while he’s there? Who is this mysterious doctor who draws him into the investigations? A mystery novel with elements of espionage, and liberal doses of mouth-watering food, “Carême in Brighton” is one book you’ll never forget reading." And, in case this has whet your appetite, here is the in-development Prologue. Let me know what you think. Prologue -- "Carême in Brighton" Producing a cold, wet and murderous atmosphere, not a soul who lived through it would ever forget 1816 as “the year without a summer.” The bad weather served as allegory for notoriously uncertain times. Napoleon may have been taken down by the Allies the year before at Waterloo, but little feeling of relief accompanied it within the mind of the Everyman. For the ordinary people, there were no rainbows in the sky to promise a liberated and stable world, as God’s vow to Noah had been, but a return to oppression and brutalism. The status-quo-enforcing Congress of Vienna had seen to that. No, instead of the assurance of forgiving portents, after the tumultuous flood of twenty years of war, there was nothing but an ominous, starvation-producing vault of air overhead. It was such that with the constant chill and damp, the people felt as if they were on the verge of a shiver that would not come; of one they could not shake. It rained in Paris as two men sat in the Hôtel Galliffet. “These are dark, dangerous times,” Prince Talleyrand was saying while tapping his foot. “Dark and potentially explosive.” The Grand Chamberlain of France – Her highest Minister of State – carried every one of his sixty-two years as crease lines around the large blue eyes that peered from his otherwise alabaster face. He was a survivor and more than wily enough to occupy towering positions in each of the consecutive Administrations of France. First under Louis XVI, then the Revolutionary Government, the Terror, and the Directoire. But it was over Napoleon’s Empire he held the power that allowed Talleyrand to fenagle ‘continuity’ and remain the leverage behind the incoming Louis XVIII. It was shrewd, ever-calm, eternally unflappable Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord who was in control. The far-younger man sitting across from the Chamberlain in his private office was pivotal to his plotting possible deviations for the course of history. Theirs was one final, pre-mission conference before the agent was dispatched overseas. As for the would-be provocateur, he had met with Talleyrand any number of times but never felt comfortable subjected to the minister’s unflinching gaze. It was made all the worse by the fact the man hardly ever regarded a person with anything but half-raised eyelids. The stare never parted from anyone beholden to the Prince Chamberlain, and that was nearly everyone. The operative said, “Leaving Paris will be bittersweet, but I shall not miss this strange July with its smog, produced by all the coal-fueled parlour fires choking the city.” Disinterested, the minister replied, “It’s human nature. Every one of us scrambles for just a bit of warm and dry.” “Yes, it’s true. But I will be loath to remove myself from our city, as she’s beating gastronomic heart of Europe. I do not want to miss any important innovations while I’m playing the exile.” With bone-dry wit, the Chamberlain retorted, “Take some of your passion to Brighton. I’m sure they need it there, amongst their damnably greasy mutton and turnips.” Behind his thin smile, all joking aside, he gloated silently about his accomplishment. He’d groomed in the man before him now an asset so deeply covert, not even the professional’s closest of colleagues knew of any connection to the powerful minister of international affairs. But the Prince wasn’t shy of reminding the other of his allegiance to Talleyrand. “As you go about your mission, monsieur, I trust you will bear in mind who plucked you from obscurity and placed you where good fortune could best discover your talent. Talents, I’m assured, worthy of the great name attached to you.” For the one sticking his neck out for France, the snakelike hiss of implicit threat rattled in his ears. Hypnotic and dark, the effect was like of a mouse under a cobra’s spell. “Oui, seigneur. I shall not forget the power you have wielded and may yet wield.” The blow was struck. “And do not worry while you are absent – your Agathé and Marie, left behind in Paris, will be under my constant watch and supervision.” He grinned. “They’ll never leave my sight.” The other man chilled. He walked a tightrope, and although motivated by a deep-seated patriotism, he was never allowed to forget he acted under compulsion. “Thank you.” “Well”—the Chamberlain cleared his throat—“leaving thoughts of Paris behind, I can tell you the same rain and saturated conditions, the same coal-choked smog plagues London. In addition, the tripling of the price of fuel there is only adding to the cause of the English revolutionaries. The stench of revolt – of a coming forced change – is in the air. The place is a tinderbox where the people merely wait for a spark to detonate.” “If such an explosion comes, then the Roast Beefs will feel their empire reduced to match an armless France.” “Right you are, monsieur. And it is well under way. Graffiti slogans appear overnight all over the city, for even on the walls of Carlton House – the Royal residence – it is painted: ‘Bread or the Regent’s Head!’ And this fat George is pelted with stones, mobbed and jeered wherever his carriage dares to go in public, even on the day he slipped on his rented crown to open their Lordly Parliament.” “Is this then why,” the agent enquired, “the Regent spends so much time by the sea, in Brighton?” “Presumably, for it’s action fit a coward who runs from the reality of his starving people to live like Genghis Khan in his pleasure dome, swaddled in all manner of exotic luxury.” The other scoffed. “And such a man is credited with defeating our mighty Napoleon. Preposterous!” “Yes, my friend, and we know it’s not over yet. Even a dying stag can gore its hunter to death.” “At least I hope to be away from unhealthy air at the English seaside.” “Speaking of which, you and your companion’s travel arrangements have all been made. You will leave by private coach this afternoon for Calais. Once you have settled into your new positions, your coded intelligence reports will get from Brighton to Paris via secret fishing-boat handoffs. Use the designated drop off location and times, but never be seen doing it.” “Oui, seigneur.” “You will be my eyes and ears in the English court, so report everything you hear, even if you think it’s inconsequential. All intelligence can lead to leverage of the most appalling variety.” The Grand Chamberlain rose, extending a hand to be grasped. The operative stood and shook it. “Remember,” said Talleyrand, “Whitehall’s empire is cracking under the weight of independence movements growing in Dublin, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Soon, these capitals will declare sacred sovereignty over the inactive and costly bureaucracy of England. So, bon chance, monsieur. Au revoir!” The younger man let go his hand, barely able to mutter, “S’il doit étre.” ~ _
  8. After spending more than three years and three months on it, I can finally say the rough draft of my sixth (and probably last) novel is complete. Why do I work this hard...?

    And speaking of work, now the hard part begins as I start the first edit - yikes 

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. AC Benus

      AC Benus

      I can only hope a few people, @dughlas, will read it

    3. Parker Owens

      Parker Owens

      I’ll be first in line to read it! 

    4. AC Benus

      AC Benus

      I think I'll type up the Prologue and post it as a sneak peek :) 


  9. wow, I'm speechless and saddened... good night, Wayne... Bryn Terfel - "All Through the Night"
  10. [[Wow, the hets keep so much from us!!! Sadly, Gandhi turned anti-gay from western hatred of and suppression of same-sex love in all of its forms, and actively sought restrictions on LGBT civil liberties. Ain't it always the same...]]


    The following historical blurb is from a June 25th, 2020, entry on the Facebook page "LGBT History India." The pictures are of Gandhi with the love of his life, a German bodybuilder he met in South Africa, as explained in the article.     

    A former executive editor of @nytimes & @pulitzerprizes winning author Joseph Lelyveld, has written a ­generally interesting book about ­Mohandas Gandhi, titled Great Soul; Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India, which triggered a controversy at the time of its publication with Gandhi’s kin, and historians arguing that it was an attempt to sensationalize the life of the “father of the nation”.
    The crux of the controversy seems to be the talks of two subjects on which Indians have strong views: Gandhi & [his orientation].
    The love of his life it seems to be that was a German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder named Hermann Kallenbach, for whom Gandhi left his wife in 1908 during their stay in South Africa. Gandhi wrote to Kallenbach about “how completely you have taken ­possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance.” Gandhi nicknamed himself “Upper House” and Kallenbach “Lower House,” and he made Lower House promise not to “look lustfully upon any woman". The book was banned in different parts of India, like in the state of Gujarat by @narendramodi, which is Gandhi’s home state -the site of his ashram.
    Interestingly, in the 1930s, both Gandhi & Jawaharlal Nehru attempted to erase all traces of the Indian homoerotic tradition from Indian temples as a result of their systematic campaigns of “sexual cleansing“. It was Rabindranath Tagore who opposed Mahatma Gandhi in this regard, saying it was a completely stupid proposal.
    The really [important] thing is that Gandhi’s letters to Kallenbach -- which have been in the public domain for nearly 20 years -- shows very clearly that Gandhi had a deep love for his Jewish friend and wanted him by his side for the rest of his life. Interesting to know that the speculation over the Mahatma’s [orientation] drove the Indian government to shell out over a million dollars for the Gandhi-Kallenbach papers. The India’s @ministryofculturegoi said at that time that experts reviewed the letters and recommended the government obtain them as a matter of “highest priority,” claiming that the acquisition was purely to aide research into Gandhi’s philosophy .
    --Alfredo De Braganza (2013)


    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Drew Payne

      Drew Payne

      Someone should write something about this on GA.

    3. AC Benus

      AC Benus

      @Zombie - Not my intent. I'd see people in history like Gandhi as victims of 19th century disease-models of what Gay people are about. They suffered, and yet managed to love as they should (like Lord Kitchener). But still to this day, the het-enforcing view that there were no Gay people in history -- except for the disease-modeled monsters -- needs to be foremost in LGBT minds today so we are not "surprised" to learn who in history loved whom.

      I'd leave Gandhi statues alone (and tear down any to figures of British Empire in India ;) )

    4. Drew Payne

      Drew Payne

      I couldn't agree more about the British Empire statues, and don't just stop in India.

      But we need to write stories about LGBTQ+ history, remind people about where we came from and to remind us to fight anyone who wants us to go back there. This is such a great story, Gandhi's life in South Africia, but I'm a white, protestant Englishman, I don't think I'm the right person to write it. But I am researching gay life in Victorican England.

  11. Some high-strung fireworks for your day :)



  12. Thank you, @Parker Owens, for reading and commenting. When I was writing it, I did not personally see 1927 images in Lorca's words, but ones relating to Gay life in 2021 It's interesting to re-abstract them into black and white pictures, as your Stieglitz reference has me doing. Thanks again
  13. Thank you, @Lyssa, for reading and commenting. If you happen to get a clear of idea of what Lorca meant speaking about a tambour, let me know. That one still escapes me
  14. "I know in the tomorrow to come, Loves shall be as boulders

    and Time but a sleepy breeze to rustle branches."



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