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Who knows of Tommie Smith and John Carlos?

unless you were living and watching the 1968 summer olympics, you probably have no idea who either of these men are. for me, watching them on the medal stand –for the 200 meter dash, with black gloved hands raised in the black power salute– was a true learning experience. i realized i lived in a seriously and dangerously racist society. after their imbroglio of the olympics, the story of tommie smith and john carlos was rarely mentioned. (to learn more about these two brave men, read this terrific article from GOOD magazine.)

[below, the medal stand for the men’s 200 meter dash. l2r: peter norman (australia) silver medalist, tommie smith (usa) gold medalist, john carlos (usa) bronze medalist.]

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it’s 2012 now, and one would hope racism would have ebbed by now; unfortunately it’s resurging and rearing its ugly head even more dangerously. with the presidential election coming up, i am seeing and hearing (i live near atlanta, ga) things that make me want to sit in a corner and just CRY. people i know are saying very racist and scary things on facebook. they don’t say them out loud or in conversation as there is an unwritten rule in the south: no one talks about religion or politics. it’s considered “impolite.” on facebook or unsaid, the racist undercurrent is like tinnitus: you can still hear the shrill sound that doesn’t end.

in 2008 i had such optimism about the future. i watched the inauguration of President Obama and the parade following, sobbing through hours of televised coverage. i was crying because i was so happy that FINALLY something happened in the united states with which i could connect, of which i could be proud. the country had elected a black president, and he and his family were smart, beautiful and likable. hope.

my biggest question about racism (then & now) is WHY?? why is racism still so prevalent? why is a black president so threatening to so many people? why do people think the color of one’s skin is equal to one’s worth? we should have learned by now. we should have left this nasty business behind long ago. for those still clinging to this outrageousness, i ask you to take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself WTF? give yourself an opportunity to stop hating. please stop hating.

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prescience is best

to say the fifty shades of grey triology has sparked a sales spike in erotica is an understatement. of course all the assorted bits and bobs that go along with bdsm have realized sales increases too, but that’s to be expected. what is wonderful is that people are reading and reading and reading. and after reading, they want more.

my prescient friend brenda knight, (associate publisher of cleis press in san francisco) is quoted in TIME magazine as saying “we’re having a kinky moment”, referring to the sales increase at the sex-focused publisher. their sales have tripled in the last five months alone. the flood gates have now opened and people are “out” about reading erotica (even if they do purchase the e-book version.)

e. l. james’ (author of 50 shades) recent appearance at sdcc or comic-con, is further proof the erotica genre is now out and in the open. there are rumors she is writing another triology, this time from christian grey’s viewpoint. and then of course, a movie (or movies) are in the works: bret easton ellis in talks to write a screenplay for the wildly successful trilogy (my pick for christian grey: henry cavill and for ana steele: anne hathway.) and of course, hotels are offering 50 shades packages. (i understand there are satin ties and lubricant involved.)

this trend, i hope, will signal a change of heart amongst those who look at coitus as a purely procreative act. to reduce sex to such a myopic viewpoint does everyone a disservice. and i’m kinda thinking those people who preach it loudest are the same ones who could really use a good, long screw.

read more of the TIME article here: summer reading

below: some of cleis press’ best sellers of the moment. purchase here

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doping, schmoping

with the london olympics just a kiss away, much attention has been paid to  performance enhancing drugs. so much is asked of athletes nowadays, it wouldn’t surprise me if they ALL doped. it’s sad competition is so hyper-firece that everyone seems to be doing it and an honest athlete doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning whatever contest in which they may be entered.

to wit, frank schleck, cyclist from luxembourg, tested positive for the diuretic Xipamide, which can be a masking agent for performance-enhancing drugs. he finished third in last year’s tour de france and his brother, andy, won the 2010 contest. at the time of the drug test, schleck was 18 minutes behind the leader, bradley wiggings (from the uk) and 12th in the overall standings. so if schleck *is* doping, and not even in the top 10, are the leaders doping more? or are they really better athletes?

[frank schleck (luxembourg) of team radioshack nissan, below]Image

and cyclists are oddly shaped creatures. they are stick insects with really strong legs. they have to keep their weight down to cycle faster. have you looked at any of them closely? they look emaciated. they look drawn, gaunt and pale. whilst cycling in the tour de france is likely one of the most demanding races ever conceived, one would think they would have the robust and healthy complexion of a superhero. is this pallor an artifact of doping? exhaustion?

i love to speculate. i do enjoy the tour de france, and am a fan of the schleck brothers. they have shown impressive teamwork and brotherly support in past races. it appears this mini scandal will spread and add more fuel to the lance armstrong fire. batten down the hatches, boys, you’re going to be under intense scrutiny.

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so, sarah silverman, stephen covey and marissa mayer.

i posted it on twitter and facebook and i may as well post it here. i wish i had sarah silverman’s balls. she is proposing to sheldon adelson that he donate the $100 million (earmarked for the romney campaign) to president obama in exchange for a sexual favor that includes scissoring. the visuals alone from my words are starting to make me a bit ill. i admire ms. silverman’s fortitude, strength and ability to look the other way when it comes to politics.

on the other side of the ethical coin, stephen covey died today. of course there were tributes pouring in from everywhere, but i’ve never been a fan of the man. the planners and datebooks his retail establishments churn out are quite good, but business advice laced with the LDS morality and values? naw, i’m good. i don’t need seven steps to anything. to be clear, i believe to avoid any unpleasantness, religion should be kept separate from EVERYTHING. (i had to use shouty capitals because the religious right is trying to fold in christianity as part of government and i’m not having any part of that. apparently sarah silverman isn’t game for it either.)

and the best news for women of power everywhere: marissa mayer was named CEO of yahoo! today. she was quite influential as a google executive, where she helped shape the google of today. at thirty seven, this is kind of a big deal for the feminists and business women; she’s young and likeable. and she’s been an overacheiver, it seems, since birth. i wish her well and will watch her management of yahoo! with great interest. oh, and she’s pregnant with her first child! take THAT, glass ceiling!!

and today, my dear friend eorah myers passed away. she’s the friend whom i’ve been boo-hooing about for the last few days. of course i am sad, but she was really sick. she had cancer. and i found out from mutual friends that she was at peace with herself and the world. i was even able to get some messages to her before she passed via my friends mary ianucci and jimmy wilnewic. so she’s gone. but never ever will she be forgotten, as bright sparks rarely are. be upstanding and raise a glass to a dear friend of many: eorah!

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keeping occupied

yesterday’s events are still heavy on my mind. mercifully, i have heaps of hobbies, interests and activities to keep my mind and hands busy. the fruits of my labor:

 

 

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so now i have gotten the technique mastered, and i need to write and illustrate instructions for teaching this to others. actually, pictured are two different techniques (even though the end result is quite similar) so i have a few sets of directions to write. definitely not the fun part of the process, but a good problem to solve.

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fuck cancer and the all the other diseases that take away loved ones

today a friend wrote me on facebook that one of our friends from art school had been in surgery and there was nothing they could do. she never told me she had cancer, and now she is on palliative care.

personally, i think it’s my selfishness that makes dealing with death so difficult. i don’t want people to leave me, or leave the planet. it’s hard to let go of someone. the irony is that i have no control over it, i have nothing to do with it.

and selfishness aside, people are going to die. that’s the only thing in life that is absolutely certain. and death is never going to be pretty. add to that all those pesky regrets…

we just don’t think death comes when it should. as we mature, we think it will be those who are older will go first. what a silly assumption to make, even for a child. people die when they die. no one knows when it will happen, and it’s final. one second a person is alive, the next they are gone for fucking ever. and there are no do-overs. 

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