Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Open Letter to Conservadems

¡Hola! Everybody...
No, I didn't watch, listen to, or pay much attention to the “Whitestock” parade of fools that occurred this past Saturday. Suffice it to say that ignorance was on parade for the whole world to see and right now, I’m not taking any phone calls from my European friends, who have had a field day (at my expense) for at least the last ten years, what with Dumb Fuck Bush and now the Teabaggers*.

I will say this much: last Saturday’s “Restoring Honor” epic failure was nothing but pure unadulterated ignorance being manipulated by some crafty people (and no, Beck nor Palin are crafty). They will be gunning for us this November, and taking into consideration that the Obama administration has thrown progressives under the bus, and has spent most of its time heeding the advice of the corporate wing of the DNC, be prepared for major losses. Consider the teabaggers as a final fitful death rattle from a demographic pining for the Stone Age of Jim Crow, xenophobic anti-immigrant fervor, forced closeting of the GLBT community, perpetual war, and the subjugation of women. And they will get their last gasp, even if it means destroying the very freedoms they claim to hold sole ownership of...

The following is something I picked off a comment thread. It's been altered to suit my purposes, but if you’re an intelligent progressive (professional or otherwise), if you believe that going back to a time that never was to values that pertained only to 9mostly male) whites is the wrong way to go, then pay heed and pass it around. It needs to be heard.

* * *

-=[ An Open Letter to Progressives and conservadems ]=-

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.
~William E. Gladstone, 1866


This is for Liberals and progressives for when the fuckin “clowns” come around. BTW, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to send this to the corporate wing of the DNC. They’re sucking major dick and throwing progressives under the bus (again).

Grow a pair. A huge pair. A huge pair of balls (Testicles) or Eggs (Ovi). Let the Goobers know we ain’t playin'.

Confront conservative propaganda! Their polices have been utter failures. Mention that fact often (and forcefully). It’s easy to support. Whether in education, economics -- almost every social policy sphere -- conservatives are epic failures. To the Conservadems: If you really want to run a successful campaign to win re-election, you need to denounce the lies that the American public has been subjected to by the extremists on the right (and essentially all conservatives). Why vote for a fake conservative Goober when there many real goobers waiting to take over?

  1. When a dumb teabagger/ conservative/ troglodyte calls you a “liberal,” it’s time to let the world know that progress is not a dirty word. Progress is moving forward. It’s in synergy with evolutionary forces -- what got us out of caves and made life more enjoyable, convenient, and comfortable
  2. Conservative is another word for the desire to live in the same caves mentioned in #1 above.
  3. When the wingnuts claim Democrats are the “tax and spend” party, you need to nail home the concept that republicans are the “Borrow and spend” party. Every record deficit of the modern era has been the result of wrong-headed conservative ideas. Again, this is easy to support. Mention it often (and forcefully).
  4. Liberals need to be ballsy about stripping away the lies of conservatives. The Democratic Party, if they are to be the party of the common people, needs to get behind that idea.
  5. Do you really feel the need to cater to morons that think President Obama is an “elitist,” a Muslim, and un-American? Those people are not going to change their racist minds -- no need to bother attempting to alter the minds of people that belong in an asylum. Conservative ideology is all about authoritarianism. It’s taking us to certain utter failure. If you don’t believe me, then check out if wages for the middle class have kept up with the times. Then after you do that, take a look at the wealth gap between CEOs and the common worker.
  6. While on the topic of racism, it was the Texas republican organization that was selling “Obama Waffles” at their convention in 2008. It was a right wing conservative group that portrayed Michelle Obama as a monkey in a photoshopped photo, as well as the Obama White House with a foreground of a watermelon patch. The wingnuts are a bunch of racists -- time to call the goobers out. You have little time to do so; I suggest you get on the ball. Historically, conservatives have fought tooth and nail against every progressive ideal, including the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, and struggles of the LGBT movement for equality.
  7. For some bizarre, inexplicable reason, liberals and the corporate wing of the Democratic Party just allow this stuff to become reality by not denouncing it on an hourly, daily basis.
  8. Call a spade a spade or, a “moran” a moron. People will stand up and listen when you have the fuckin cojones to call someone out. I mean, “death panels”? Are you serious? Who in the world would ever believe America would have “death panels,” other than a fuckin inbred idiot that couldn’t find his own asshole with two hands? But you allowed the republicans to control the conversation. Which brings me to point #9
  9. Control the Terms of Debate. Do not let a conservative set the terms of the debate. Question their played out metaphors; for once you frame the debate. You define the terms. The Democratic Party has allowed the goobers from the right to hijack the agenda and have failed miserably on this count, so expect significant losses come the November elections. Not to fear, grow a set/ few and we’ll get it back -- if we vote for liberals with BIG BALLS and BIG EGGS.

Yours,

Eddie

* The original Tea Party crowd was not after independence but was willing to settle for a few seats in Parliament. If the Tea Party had been successful we would still be a colony of Great Britain.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I did it first behind the stairwell...

¡Hola! Everybody…
I had my second piece published by my fave online mag, Subversify. If you haven’t check out Subversify, I would highly recommend it (and not just because they published two of my pieces). There are some interesting articles there offering points of views rarely encountered in the mainstream. If you read my piece (here), please feel free to leave a comment.

On another note, the extremist, intolerant, racist faction of the USA will be on view for the whole world to see today at the nation’s capital, where they will be smearing the memory of one of the greatest historical figures and social movements of the 20th Century. They shame us all...

Saturdays are for aesthetics here at [un]Common Sense

* * *

-=[ Yesterdays ]=-


I did it first behind the stairwell.


It was The Games

that prepared us all for

the brinkmanship of seduction.


You ran, you zigged and zagged,

you shook a little and you

Scored.


A series of challenges

that demanded a new game

when skill and boredom

combined to exhaust the

outer limits of tenderness,

as if preparing us all,

children in this

Cold War with women,

for our ultimate purpose:

seducing free games

from those patient and wise

young girls

who might have become

our best friends

if only the rules had allowed.


Friday, August 27, 2010

The Friday Sex Blog [Goal-Oriented Sex]

¡Hola! Everybody...
I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend…

* * *

-=[ The Futility of Goal-Oriented Sex ]=-


Too often sex resembles a contest. If there ever was a metaphor we need to do away with it has to be the “war” of the sexes. In a zero-sum society, where the mentality of “winner takes all” rules, it's no wonder that sex resembles a race or competition: who can have the most intense orgasm, who can “do” who, who can suck dick better, who can last longer, etc.

It’s absolutely mind-boggling...

What happens, in my view, is that sex becomes something people do mindlessly, often in the darkened corridors of their shame.

What would happen to the simple of act of touching, for example, if we took the goal-oriented mindset away from it?

What if a man or woman simply touched you?

What would it feel like if your lover simply bathed you with no expectation of sex? Imagine being caressed for a long period of time, being bathed , towel-dried, massaged, pampered, touched, looked at, explored sensuously, lovingly, intimately -- without sex being the endgame.

What would that do to your comfortability with intimacy, touch, and nudity -- to have your lover drink in your body with his or her eyes like that? Just for the sake of looking?

The first casualty of long-term relationships is often the loss of sexual expression in the form of excitement, playfulness, spontaneity, and seductive touching. Perhaps we all need a re-orienting toward pleasurable sensual feelings. Without sensuality there is no real sex, and without sex, there's no genuine intimacy. Emphasizing a creative-type exploration, in a relaxed, non-goal oriented manner, the sensual pleasure you can derive from touching and being touched, is a sure-fire path to sexual healing or re-awakening.

Lovers develop assumptions (often based on misperceptions) and fall into ruts, creating awkwardness toward asking for a different type of touching.

Try the following exercise

Exercise: Non- Genital Exploration/ Pleasuring

For this exercise, one partner should be the giver and the other the recipient. Interestingly enough, many men feel less comfortable as a receiver.

It’s important before beginning to sit down and talk for a little while -- perhaps over coffee or a small meal. Some might prefer a drink, but keep in mind that alcohol is a sexual suppressant. Recall an experience when you felt close and intimate. Express this feeling.

Gradually, allow your partner to caress your hands. Notice the differences in size and texture. Hands can communicate a lot.

If you choose to shower, experiment with different types of sprays and temperature. If bathing, try a new bath oil or soap.

Soap your partner’s back, caressing it as you do so. Trace the contours of the muscles with your fingers, gently massaging. Do the same with the front of your partner’s body. Soap his or her neck; skip the breasts and genital area. Soap your own body. Take in your lover’s body as if you were looking at a new person.

Slowly, gently towel your partner and then move to the bedroom. The room should be comfortable and slightly dimmed. You should, however be able to see your lover’s body. Have some soft music playing on the CD player.

Have the receiver lay face down. The recipient has three tasks. The first is to be passive and receive pleasure. The second is to keep their eyes closed throughout the exercise so as to be able to concentrate on the physical feelings and sensations. The third is to be aware of what parts of your body and what types of touch are sensuous.

The giver’s tasks are to provide the recipient with a variety of experiences so s/he can increase awareness of sensual feelings. The giver can enjoy exploring various types of touching and experience their body in a new way. The emphasis here is on exploring rather than attempting to arouse the partner or prove anything sexual. It’s important to feel comfortable and enjoy the experience.

Beginning with your partner’s feet, caress and hold your partner’s body. Notice the length of the toes, of the legs, the texture of the skin. Place your palms on the many curves and arches of your partner’ body, use your fingertips to follow the contours of your partner’s body. Slowly move up the leg, take time to explore the soft area behind the knees. Examine and explore the thighs and gently massage. Move to the buttocks and massage both simultaneously. Many people feel negative about this area because of the association with defecation and social taboos. The buttocks and anal area can be one of the most sensuous parts of the body; they comprise an erogenous zone with a multitude of nerve endings. Remember to touch in a manner that is enjoyable and sensuous.

When you have finished providing non-demand sensuous exploration, switch roles and repeat the exercise. Remember, this isn’t a tit for tat game. The focus is on exploring, enjoying, touching, learning, comfort and safety, and sensuality. Throw away the “agenda” and just be yourself.

After, sit together and over a drink or coffee, discuss the experience and share your feelings. It’s best not to talk while doing the exercise, because talking tends to take you away from your body, from your felt sense. Encourage sharing with one another in an open and joyful way. I guarantee you that if you incorporate this type of intimacy in your relationship on a regular basis you will be rewarded in ways you’d never imagine.

Love,

Eddie

Thursday, August 26, 2010

James Baldwin on Obama?


¡Hola! Everybody...
I've beebn terribly busy this summer. This summer's been no fun at all and if it weren't for the Russian Kitten from Little Odessa, it would've gone down as a compolete utter fail.

Anyway, I wanted to leave a quick note...

Today I bought my first Ebook ever (I purchased a Nook) and it's the book I've been waiting for all year: Baldwin's "The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings." (stay tuned for a post next week on my ebook/ Nook experiences)

I am a HUGE Baldwin fan, the man has been a life-long mentor. In any case I came across the following passage (written in the early 60s):

"Bobby Kennedy recently made me the soul stirring promise that one day -- thirty years, if I'm lucky -- I can be president too. It never entered this boy's mind, I suppose -- it has not entered the country's mind yet -- that perhaps I wouldn't to be and in any case, what really exercises my mind is not this hypothetical day on which some other Negro "first" will become the first Negro president. What I am really curious about is just what kind of country he'll be president of."

MUTHAFUCKA!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Baroque Interlude

¡Hola! Everybody…
I had a piece published in the online magazine, Subversify, yesterday. I have never had anything published before, so I would appreciate it if you took a couple of minutes to read my piece (here) and also take the time to explore the magazine. The magazine offers a wide range of writing from “outside the box.” I mean that in the most positive sense: opinions, essays, fiction, and non-fiction from a perspective rarely encountered in the mainstream. I believe most of the freethinkers who read me would enjoy it.

* * *

(Photograph: Wendy Whitelaw, Park Avenue, July 1981)

Nows [XV]



Like some baroque interlude
the notes of your passion
take me down winding streets,
visiting all those bizarre boutiques
of our shared and secret fantasies.

A thousand corners
I will turn with you,
your partner in an
endless exploration of
the side-streets of sensation,
those horny highways of adventure,
that will forever open for us,
beckoning us toward
the joyful madnesses of
our shameless bliss.

all rights reserved

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Friday Sex Blog [Women Who Gotta Have It]

¡Hola! Everybody…
I’ve been writing about sex, moral panics, and the harm they cause children, but I haven’t been able to finish … It will probably have to chopped down to tow or three posts. I should have the first part up next Friday.

* * *

-=[ She’s Gotta Have It ]=-

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.
-- Mae West


I’ve been reading literature on women’s sexuality and I’ve come across some interesting findings. For too long, mainstream research has dealt almost exclusively with how often and how successfully young (but not too young), white, middle class, able-bodied, heterosexual couples complete the act of sexual intercourse. Following a male bias, the literature almost exclusively isolates sex as physical and intimacy as emotional. It focuses exclusively on a few inches of mucous membrane in which achieving orgasm is described in terms as if it were mountain climbing, complete with ropes and hammers.

What this leaves out is what newer research is uncovering and what women have been telling us for too long: what’s most important about sex, I have heard woman say countless times, is a sense of connectedness.

I would like to summarize some of what I’ve been reading, but that will have to wait. For today, I want to elaborate on some findings via a personal experience.

Perhaps some of my readers remember an incident I reported regarding a former lover’s difficulty with sex. I had written that she had developed a tension in the body that was centered around her genital area and which made sexual penetration extremely painful for her. Eventually, working together, we were able to ease that tension, resulting in a sexual opening or awakening for both of us. For her, it was liberation from strict and repressive morals, for me it was the dawning of an awareness to the range of women’s sexual responses.

My friend, who I will call Pandora, was raised in a strict, conservative, and religious home. At the time, she was 30 years-old and recently divorced. Her only lover was her former husband, part of a marriage of nine years.

I was in my mid-twenties, during the height of an era of sexual liberation and exploration. I discovered early on, that women would be more open to me if I were honest about my intentions and open to my emotional life. Pandora, though conflicted, took me as a lover, though she had mixed feelings.

Looking back, I can better understand how we were able to open to one another and reduce the tension that made sex so painful for her. The first time I attempted to enter her, it was almost impossible. She was very tight, tight the point that sexual penetration was almost impossible. She cried the first time -- partly because of the physical pain, partly because of shame.

As we got to know one another, she related a sexual history that made it easy for me to understand her sexual unease. She grew up in a family in which sexual pleasure was considered sinful. As a result, she was a virgin when she married her husband. Her husband controlled almost all the aspects of their sexing. She would wear what he told her to wear. The lights were turned to the level that he liked. Their sexual lives resembled a rigidity -- clockwork at a certain day of the week at a certain time. For Pandora, sex meant only one thing: a mad rush to orgasm (for her husband).

Because of my penchant for exploration and my curiosity, sex was a little different with me. I wanted (as I have always wanted) her to “open” to me -- to be fully present, surrendering the deepest recesses of her sexuality to me.

Yes, I have issues.

My desire to be engulfed by her cunt compelled me to talk to her, hold her, and kiss her in places she had never been kissed before. Oftentimes, in the beginning, we talked more than we fucked. When I told her that many women don’t respond to sexual penetration alone, she was shocked. She didn’t believe me. All her life, she was taught sex from a male point o view that caused her confusion when she didn’t respond in the way her husband wanted her to respond.

And it wasn’t that he didn’t kiss her, or didn’t perform cunnilingus on her -- he did. The thing with Pandora was that it seemed that everything about the sex act was geared toward achieving the big “O.” She needed to be related to, not just merely fucked. My willingness to talk to her openly about sex (I used to love to tease her by using “vulgar” terms, such as pussy, cunt, cock, etc.) served to open her up. And her sexual exploration became the erotic ground on which we built our sexing. We would visit sex shops and browse through the different toys. I would explore her body, and slowly, she came to trust me enough to tell me what she liked and didn’t like.

Eventually, Pandora took charge of her own sexual awakening and once she opened (mostly to herself), there was no holding back. I still remember the moment her pussy yawned open for me, hot with sexual desire, slippery with her want. I think she yelled something out, I don’t remember what, but we laughed about it later. I would often tease her that we had created a monster. LOL

Pandora would explain that all her life, she was trying to conform to a male model of sexual pleasure and when she “failed” to conform or live up to that model, she was told there was something wrong with her, that she was frigid, or sexually defected. What she discovered, she told me, was that what was she was missing from her sexual life was a sense of connectedness. When she eventually took control of our sexual exploration, she became of my guide for the map of her body. This was a form of liberation for both of us.

Anyway, that’s all I can write today. I have a busy day ahead.

Love,

Eddie

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Sermon [Love]

¡Hola! Everybody,
It’s still summer… ::arches eyebrow::

* * *

-=[ Love ]=-

Love is a remembrance


Yup. You read that right: the Big “L.”

The word we all are scared to admit to it even when we’re feeling it in the very fiber of our being. Some people will go for most of their lives and hardly ever utter the word to those they most love. It’s even scarier in romantic relationships.

We worry and go strategic:

What if I tell her I love her? Will she reject me? Will she use it against me? Will she think me to clingy? Will he say he loves me too? And what if he doesn’t say it?!!

Yup. The Big Hairy Nasty Obscene “L” Word.

We’re all afraid to say it. Or if we do say it, we’ll play semantics with it.

We’ll draw distinctions, for example, between loving someone and being in love. Apparently, there is a difference. LOL! No, I’m not that dense. I realize that when people make that distinction, they’re pointing out the difference between the attraction of the feeling of love and actually committing to it and letting it flower.

Or maybe not. I don’t know.

Personally, I’m a complicated man and so I have to keep things simple. For me love is an action word, it’s something you do. When I tell you I love you it means I’m going to work at loving you. It means I am committed to loving you by acting – by my behavior. That means that I will attempt to accommodate your feelings, be considerate, protect you, make love to you, compromise with you, do the things I know makes you feel wanted and valued (and yes, probably drive you to distraction *grin*). That’s what the Big “L” word means to me. When I tell you I love you, it means I’m walking alongside you on this journey called life and all that that implies.

So, I don’t know if there’s a huge difference there for me between love and being in love. For me it’s like being pregnant: you’re never half pregnant. You’ll never hear a woman say, “I’m pregnant, but not in pregnant.” That’s why I stopped making that distinction. When I love, it’s with my soul, nothing held back, caution thrown to the wind. Believe me, in this life it’s the only risk worth taking. Of course, it doesn’t mean I ain’t shitting in my pants the whole time because, yeah (duh!) it’s fuckin’ scary opening up like that.

To make things worse, I become unbearable because sometimes I really want to sabotage the whole thing and in that way not have to do it. I jump, then in mid air, I’m screaming like a bitch because I’m thinking: why do I do this love shit, GODDAMIT! And yet I still take the risk because if I outlast my usefulness and they finally come for me to put me in some decrepit nursing home where the nurses will refuse to wipe my ass for hours, I don’t want to be laying there in my shit regretting that I didn’t love in that way -- that I didn’t take the risks.

I think the core issue with love is that it will enter into any mind that truly wants it. Your task is not to seek love, but instead undo the barriers that you erect against it. I’ve heard it said that “Love waits on welcome, not on time.” When you want only love, you will see nothing else. If you could agree with me that love is in part a form of sharing, then how can you find it except through itself? I say, offer it and it will come to you because Love is attracted to itself. Offer hostility or contraction and love cannot exist, for it can only live in a space overflowing with peace.

I have learned that Love is already in me and that I need only to extend it outward. Going back to my perspective on Love as an action for a moment -- that is the action: extending what is there already inside of me. As M. Scott Peck defines it, love is an act of will for the benefit of another. What a fuckin’ awesome revelation.

Love is the most sacred mantra you can ever chant, for Love is the Divine and you could never know one without the other. Integrated, you could never again be unaware of love and Love would never fail to recognize you. And in this recognition, you will live in grace because Grace is the acceptance of Love within a world of hate and fear. In Love you will find gratitude because gratitude is the ring bearer of Love. Where there is one the other must be found.

Love laughs at the foolishness of my defenses for that’s what they are. Love demands we lay down all our weapons. Love without trust is impossible. People always ask me about my motivation for writing in this way. I guess my aim is to offer an example of remembrance -- of reminding people to remember what they really are -- to emphasize that there is no difference between your essence and Love.

If all you did today was catch a glimpse of that remembrance you will have advanced on your path in an immeasurable way. Seek the Love in you, and you will see it everywhere because it is everywhere.

Love,

Eddie

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Friday Sex Blog [Childhood Sexuality]

¡Hola! Everybody...
I have to work this weekend (again!). But I do look forward to visiting with my mother, as I haven’t seen in quite some time.

* * *

-=[ Childhood and Sexuality ]=-

Truth, Fictions, and Myths

We do great harm to children when we withhold sexual information from them. Today, thanks to Neanderthal conservative voices, sexual education is a joke. Sex Ed, under the new Victorian era, has been reduced to reading from a two-line script: “Don’t do it. Get married.”

This is a crime...

Freud saw childhood sexuality as a relentless quest for knowledge. The desire for information didn’t play as a substitute for physical pleasure, it balanced it. From the very beginning, sexuality seeks a language to explain itself. Freud was treated as an outcast for daring to endorse providing children with that language -- with information about their body parts and how they worked, about how babies are made and born.

At the beginning of the 21st century, as AIDS still threatens and kids need information most, the pendulum has swung toward telling them less. A strategy of censorship has emerged and it wears a particularly scary disguise: advice to parents to speak more, to embrace their responsibility as children’s primary sexual teachers. This is a “family value” that the conservatives can get behind and very few can disagree with. However, a seemingly harmless parent-friendly idea can have a less than child-friendly effect.

I expect the sexual prudes who rally against school-based sexuality education are aware of what would happen if the task of sexual enlightenment would be left entirely to parents: almost nobody would do it.

And the studies bear out my suspicions. Parents do talk the talk: most agree that sex education is their job. However, when it comes to talking the sex talk, few can bring themselves to do it. One survey by the national Communication Association showed that parents identified sex as the subject they were least comfortable talking about. Similar research with kids shows that they rate their parents’ efforts less generously than their fathers and mothers. The first pattern that stands out is the difference between the perception of parents and teens, one study showed. When interviewing both generations of the same families, the kids consistently remembered talking about fewer topics than their parents did. One longitudinal study found that more than half of teens believed their parents understood them pretty well. The bad news was that almost half thought mom and dad got it somewhat or hardly at all.

Even someone such as myself, “Mr. Sexual Freedom” himself, didn’t have a problem-free sex pass. I remember once entering my son’s room full of 12-13 year-old males and bringing up the subject of masturbation. My son never forgave me for that one. LOL! Which leads me to state that while teens might tell researchers that they wish their parents would discuss sexuality more, I believe given the choice, they would rather talk to a different confidante (an “aunt” or other trusted adult, for example). I chalk it up to the incest taboo: children don’t want to know about their parents’ sex lives (or masturbatory tendencies LOL!) and, from the minute they might conceivably have a sex life, they usually don’t want their parents (ewwww!) to know about theirs.

What’s interesting is there is little talk about the dynamic of how trusted adults become substitute sex education teachers for children. I know that if I hadn't been able to get through my son I would’ve welcomed a trusted friend or family member to step into that role. In fact, sex education teachers are the professionalized version of trusted adults.

Children absorb their attitudes toward love, their bodies, authority, and equality from their families. They are trained in tolerance and kindness or their opposite. Few live in families comfortable enough to discuss the nitty-gritty details of sex. And when we (we meaning all of us -- society) don’t teach our children, guess who they learn it from? They learn it from others who are themselves ignorant (i.e., their peers) or those who may not have their best interests at heart.

So, if parents aren’t talking and federally funded sex educators aren’t being allowed to talk, to whom will our children turn? I’ll tell you where, on the internet or on the street. And most of the information there is geared toward selling sex. In other words, sex on the internet is mostly treated as it is elsewhere in our society: as something to use to buy and sell -- a commodity.

Then you guys bitch and moan about the supposed lack of moral character our children? Pfffft!

The myth that exposing children to sexual information before they are ready is detrimental to them was exploded when I took the time to actually listen to and talk with kids. People? They get it. Some of them get it better than you, believe it or not. Kids get the wide range of emotions embedded in concepts such as jealousy and desire, for example. Why not prepare them? What consequences do we suffer as a society when we choose to leave the most important discussion about the most powerful force known to humankind to random chance?

Love,

Eddie

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The 3,000 Mile Wide Bubble

¡Hola! Everybody…
Today… we take a glimpse behind the veil. Just a little.

* * *

-=[ Orphans of the Bubble ]=-


Once as a child my class was taken on a school trip. One morning, we all boarded the yellow school bus and headed to the Aquarium. I was fascinated by the menacing shark with the predatory smile. But even as a child, I understood that the shark lived in a world of its own, with its own reality.

Americans are a lot like that old shark -- they don’t see the people outside the glass. It’s as if America is a gigantic terrarium, and immense biosphere or bubble which has cut it off from the rest of the world. How else can we explain the characterization of a center-right, pro-corporate, pro-war president as a “socialist” a “communist” and a bone-the-nose bootleg video-selling Nigerian fascist? Only in the insular bubble of contemporary America could such a conservative president be deemed “radical” in any sense of the word. And I won’t even get into the whole “Iraq as menace” meme, which everyone else dismissed, but which we swallowed whole.

It seems to me that the only explanation for gap between reality and America’s perception of it comes from the film, The Truman Show. The plot of the movie revolves around the affable but na├»ve protagonist who goes about his daily activities without being aware that he is, in fact, in a gigantic soap opera. His hometown is actually a set for a TV show and from birth, he has been manipulated and controlled by the producer and the director. The gullibility of the American public would be better understood if we were all living on a stage set in a town called Freedom Fries and threatened by a roving hoard called Evil Brown People.

Not too long ago, it was the “Axis of Evil.” Americans believed, as they often do when instructed by their elected leaders the Television Machine, almost every scary reason cooked up by the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Powell. The rest of the world laughed. Their amateurish attempts at mass deception contained awkward truths that were surprisingly childish for a group that had access to the most massive propaganda machine the world has ever known. But they only had to utter their latest lie to be cheered by their subjects and disbelieved by non-Americans everywhere.

As a former con man, I can appreciate a good scam. I know how hard it is to pull off the Big Con. Rationalizing a war can’t be easy and takes a lot of skillful finessing and this one was complicated. There was the bait (“terrist”), then the switch (weapons of mass destruction), then another switch (kill the despot, make the world safer), and yet another (regime change).

Whew! That’s a whole stack of lying right there!

But these amateurs failed and they failed miserably. If you going to pull off the Big Con, the lie must be simple and it must repeated -- often. These neocons, already having proven their incompetence in matters economic (and almost everything else), fumbled, and their build up to the Iraqi invasion broke every rule in the con man’s game. Bush and his handlers fell into the trap of elaborating, backtracking, and adding on. Instead of the Big Con, simple and effective, their lies grew more and more elaborate and complicated. The result being that instead of one good reason to go to war, piles of bad reasons were offered, which gave the skeptics in other countries the opportunity to unmask the fables.

The other option for a good con is to refuse to offer evidence (where there is no evidence, there can be no refutation). Bush offered shit piles of it. He asserted that he had proof of warehouses full of evidence. Of course this evidence consisted of tons of soiled toilet paper and used Kleenex. Once exposed, the smoking gun was really a dribbling water gun. Most embarrassingly, there was the spectacle of Colin Powell, who a year earlier had said that Saddam was not a threat and “has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction,” explain to the security council that a photograph of what looked like a trailer park trailers were actually mobile war germ factories. These trailers he told the world (most of whom were probably pissing in their pants from laughter) were making biological weapons of mass destruction.

Adding insult to injury, he pulled out another photograph of what he said was an Iraqi airplane bearing Saddam’s deadly germs and lethal chemicals. To every non-American in his audience the object looked like the balsa wood model airplane boys glue together and fly in the park. After that came the aluminum tubes for non-existent nuclear factories, forged documents out of Africa, and fables of spies meeting in Viennese cafes. The more Bush and his handlers piled it on, the less the world believed them.

Americans, however, deep-throated the whole smear…

You might say this is old news and in our attention-span-challenged society, you are probably correct. But I mention all this because, like bad porn, the construction of American social policy is predictable. Last summer it was that Obama was going to kill granny, and “drill, baby, drill.” This summer Mexican immigrants are the new “terrists.” The weapons of mass destruction this year are brown people who come here to spread their infections and “drop” litters of future cop-killing, sex-crazed, drug-addicted sociopaths. But if one looks past the bubble even a little, you become aware that the hype about immigration is really today’s version of the Iraqi invasion, which, by the way, we’re still borrowing from the Chinese in order to fund it.

Americans can’t see past the bubble and it will be our undoing.

-- Eddie

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Sermon [Who Was Jesus?]

¡Hola! Everybody…
Many People from fundamentalist Christian backgrounds will find the following offensive and even shocking. Their traditional view of Jesus as the redeemer who died to save humankind from eternal damnation is what holds their whole world together.

I have no quarrel with religious beliefs, especially beliefs that help make people kinder human beings. My advice for people who think they may be offended is to leave this blog immediately. Others may find what I have to say eye-opening or maybe even refreshing (or not think of it at all). Whatever the case, the choice to read is yours. However, the choice to think critically is yours… and mine.

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-=[ Who was Jesus and What Did He Say ]=-

What shall it profit a man if he gains the world but loses his soul?
-- Jesus of Nazareth

Contrary to current popular opinion, Jesus wasn’t a Red State Republican. ::grin::

Jesus was born and raised a Jew. He lived and thought of himself as a Jewish teacher. All of his direct disciples were Jews. He felt that his job was to teach Jews about God and about the right way to live (though his teachings are truly for all people).

He did not intend to begin a new religion. He wouldn’t even have known what the meaning of Christian. In fact, Christian is a word that appeared after he died to describe people who believed some things that he himself never believed.

He wouldn’t have recognized the name Jesus Christ. His name was Yeshua or Yeshu (rhymes with day shoe), which is Joshua in English and Jesus in Greek. He didn’t have a last name. No one did in those days. Men were called “So-and-so son of So-and-so,” or “So-and-so from Such-and-such a place.” Whatever the case, Christ isn’t a name, it’s a title. It’s the Greek word for mashiakh, which is a Hebrew word that means “The Anointed One.”

Jesus once or twice referred to himself as a prophet. But he never thought of himself as the Messiah. The Messiah is a figure in Jewish legend that will supposedly appear one day to make the world perfect. Jesus never thought of himself as the son of God. True, he called God father, but that was (and still is) common in Jewish prayer. He didn’t mean that he was literally a son of God. He knew that he had a human father. He didn’t think that a male God had come down to earth and impregnated a human female, who had given birth to a hero, as in Greek and Roman mythology. What he meant by “son of God” was someone who takes after God, just as a son takes after his father. What he intended to teach was that if you truly love God, and treat your fellow human beings with respect and compassion, then you are a child of God.

Jesus knew he wasn’t the only son of God. On the contrary, he wanted everyone to become a son or daughter of God. His message was that no matter how poor, stupid, or confused we think we are, all of us are capable of becoming children of God. He explicitly stated that anyone that acts with unselfish love is God’s beloved child. The second part of his message was that it is equally true that everyone is God’s beloved child and that God’s love is always present for us, no matter how selfishly we act.

The composition of the Gospels is an extremely complex subject, but what follows are some brief discoveries.

Jesus never wrote anything himself. The earliest account we have of him is the Gospel According to Mark, which dates about 70 years after Jesus’ death. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke probably date 20-30 years after, and the Gospel of John probably a little over a 100 years from Jesus’ death. None of these books were written by a direct disciple of Jesus. Jesus did have disciples named Matthew and Mark, but they weren’t’ the authors of the Gospels attributed to them. The Gospels were written in Greek, a language Jesus may, or may not, have known. His language was Aramaic, which is related to Hebrew. His original words, in original Aramaic, may never have been written down; if they were, they have been lost.

Seventy years is a long time; ninety or a hundred years is even longer. During those years, many stories were told about Jesus, and there were many reports of what he said. Some of these were handed down orally from Jesus’ own disciples, who lived with and knew him, even if they always didn’t understand his teachings. Disciples of disciples, who never knew the actual Jesus, made other stories and reports up much later.

Some people faithfully attempted to repeat the words he taught, and others added very different teachings, according to their own interpretation of what was true.

When the Gospels finally came to be written, their authors inherited a mixed collection of teachings and stories, only part of which originated in the life and teachings of Jesus himself. Thomas Jefferson, a deeply religious man and author of the Declaration of Independence, once said, “There is internal evidence that parts of the Gospels have proceeded from an extraordinary man, and that other parts come from very inferior minds. It is easy to pick out the diamonds from the dunghills.” Imagine a president saying something like that today! Eventually he would spend a winter distilling what he thought was contradictory and created what is now called the Jeffersonian Bible, or The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.

And there are passages in the Gospels that seem to contradict the authentic teaching about God’s love, as in the end of Mark’s Gospel, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever doesn’t believe will be damned.” Such sayings make Jesus sound ignorant and small-hearted. I think Jesus would have been amused to hear such words put in his mouth.

Another example, Jesus teaches us not judge (in the sense of condemnation) but to keep our hearts open to all people. Later scriptures have Jesus as the final “judge,” who will float down on clouds for the world’s final rewards and condemnations. Jesus cautioned against anger, taught the love of enemies, but the later “Jesus” calls his enemies “children of the devil,” and attacks them with savageness and contempt.

Which Jesus are we too follow? I think the task for an earnest spiritual seeker of any faith is to separate the diamonds from the shit. Like Jefferson, I don’t think it’s that hard to see through the political motivations of later interpretations.

I do not identify as a Christian, but I believe the real Jesus was one of the most beautiful men who ever lived. He himself would probably have not considered himself beautiful or even special. He would have said that we are all beautiful; we are all special because -- he definitely said the following:

We are all children of God.

Love,

Eddie

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Hiroshima Maidens

¡Hola! Everybody...

Yesterday was the anniversary of one the most horrible atrocities in human history: the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I first came to know the truth about Hiroshima and Nagasaki when I returned to school and discovered the Hiroshima Maidens…

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The Tree of the Knowledge of good and Evil/ Hiroshima Maidens

60"x80" Oil on Canvass/ Wood, 2003

The central image of this painting is a representation of the tree of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The side panels are taken from displays in the Hiroshima Peace Museum showing the aftermath of the nuclear bombing of that city.

-=[ The Hiroshima Maidens ]=-


The Hiroshima Maidens is a group of twenty-five Japanese women who were seriously disfigured as young women as a result of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima on the morning of August 6, 1945. They have dedicated their lives to telling the story of the Hiroshima bombings and the horror of nuclear war.

My curiosity piqued after listening to their talk, I investigated further and what I discovered wasn’t pretty, to say the least.

The accepted rationale for Hiroshima and Nagasaki is that if the atomic bomb had not been dropped, the war would have continued and more lives would have been lost. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Many nations have tested nuclear weapons, but only one has ever used them. That nation, of course, is the United States; the bombs it dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 1945 incinerated more than 100,000 residents and left perhaps twice that number dying slowly from radiation poisoning. However, politicians at the time and conventional historians still maintain that those acts were justified. Short of a full-scale invasion of Japan, its leaders would not have been convinced to surrender, and that, the reasoning goes, would have resulted in an even higher death toll.

How many lives would have been lost in such an invasion is not clear. While President Truman threw around figures from 500,000 -- one million dead, at least one historian wrote that the figures the military planners projected put the number at between 20,000-46,000. However, the disturbing issue here is not the discrepancy in numbers, but the fact that neither an invasion nor a nuclear attack was necessary to make Japan surrender.

By June 1945, whole-scale bombing of Japan’s six largest cities had substantially wiped out Japan’s infrastructure and countless lives. In March of that year, as many as 1 million Tokyo residents were left homeless from the bombing raids. No oil shipments were getting into the country, which was utterly dependent on foreign oil, and by late July 90% of Japanese merchant shipping had been destroyed.

While it is true that some Japanese factions were resisting the notion of surrender, the leaders in charge were on the verge of calling it quits. The only point deterring surrender was the Japanese concern that the emperor would be allowed to maintain his title. The US forces, of course, eventually accepted this condition.

A US government report issued in 1946 concluded that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs did cause a Japanese surrender. The report cited documentation that as early as May 1945, Japanese leaders had decided that the war be ended even if it meant complete acceptance of Allied terms. The document cites the conclusion that Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped and even if no invasion had been planned or completed.

Another 1946 document, a recently discovered secret intelligence study by the army’s top planning and operations group came to the same conclusion: an invasion “would not have been necessary” and the A-bomb was not decisive in ending the war.

This view wasn’t some radical lefty bullshit; key military leaders echoed it. “The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender… In being the first to use [the atomic bomb] we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages,” said William D. Leahy, who was the president’s Chief of Staff and the nation’s senior military officer. The same opinion was offered by Dwight D. Eisenhower and Winston Churchill.

This isn’t hindsight, these assessments were known by US policy makers before they chose to drop the bombs. In fact, in July, American intelligence had intercepted a cable from Japanese foreign Minister Shigenori Togo to his ambassador in Moscow that referred to “His Majesty’s strong desire to secure a termination of the war… ”

There was no attempt on behalf of the Truman administration to demand surrender. No show of power by, say, dropping the bomb on an unpopulated island. There was no careful consideration. This wasn’t the act of last resort.

So, if there was no true imperative to drop the bombs then why?

There are several theories, but the one I adhere to is that the US was about enter an unprecedented position of leadership in most of the post-war world and the bombs were intended more for the Soviets than anything else. It was a show of power to the Soviets, a nation the military feared. In fact, that the second bomb was made from plutonium, and not uranium as the first one, suggests that the Japanese people were the subject of a gruesome scientific experiment.

The bombs were more of an opening shot in a Cold War that would last for decades.

I write all this because we should never forget... We all should know all those innocent men, women, and children didn’t need to die, as those in power would have us believe.

Love,

Eddie

Resources

Alperovitz, G. (1995) The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth. (New York: Knopf)

Zinn, H. (1991). A people's history of the United States: 1492-present. New York: Perennial Classics.

Loewen, J. W. (1995). Lies my teacher told me: Everything your American history textbook got wrong New York: Touchstone Books.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Friday Sex Blog [Sex and Spiritual Growth]

¡Hola! Everybody...
This summer has been somewhat of a downer me, as I have been working harder than usual. Vacation is out of the question, and I’ll be working this weekend as well. On the brighter side, my mother is in town, so I look forward to visiting with her at my sister’s house… Special thanks to my friend, the "Naughty She Devil" for today's blog photo.

* * *

-=[ Sex as Spiritual Practice ]=-

In the first stage, people use sex for selfish reasons. In the second stage, people share sexuality as a means of loving one another. In the third stage, people use sexuality to open one another to the very recognition of oneness.
-- David Deida


Some of the most sexually repressed individuals I have ever met have been Christianized people of color…More on that some other time.

For some time now, I’ve been posting on Tantric and Taoist sexual/ spiritual practice. Using sex as a path for spiritual awakening is not for everyone. Many Westerners, socially conditioned by the sum of thousands of years of anti-sex propaganda, are at a loss when confronted with the notion that sex could be about anything other than physical pleasure, or that it should even have a place in a “spiritual” discussion. In order to elevate sex beyond the ego, beyond the conditioned habits, takes a conscious and sustained effort. At a basic level, we are hard-wired for pleasure. As humans, we are pleasure addicts, conditioned to contract it down into a small and egocentric agenda. In order to shift this circuitry takes time and commitment.

While there are many paths leading to awakening, sex is one of the most effective because it works through the body, as the bridge between spirit and matter, between our inner and outer life. If you learn how to use sex (instead of the other way around), you will have access to one of the most direct routes to spiritual realization and embodiment.

Margot Anand was one of the first Westerners to explore this sexual territory:

You begin to open up a channel to allow the orgasmic energy to move through your body, beyond the orgasmic explosion of release to an implosive orgasm of expansion of consciousness. You move from the genital orgasm to the belly, to the heart… You don’t fall in love anymore, you arise in love… When you have an orgasm of the heart, an orgasm of surrender, where you become the other and the other becomes you, it’s a tremendous heart-opening. When you have an orgasm of the third eye, you are in total spaciousness and total peace with each other. This is a wonderful art… you have to devote a lot of time to this.

Practices

While the following practices are very simple and easy to learn, they are also extremely powerful and need to be practiced precisely. I offer the following only as a very brief overview. If you feel attracted to redirecting sexual energy in this way, you will definitely need instructions that are more specific. In my personal opinion, I would go further and say that eventually you will need a teacher.

For a Man

The first step for a man is to open his body to allow energy to flow more easily. You can do this through yoga, with qi gong, or just by stretching and opening the whole body.

The next step is to begin to arouse and recirculate sexual energy. It is best to start this alone, before you practice with a partner. Begin with self stimulation until you begin to feel the first waves of sexual energy, and then use breath and intention to draw that energy up through the spine and through the rest of the body. Once you become accustomed to practicing in this way, you can send the sexual energy up the spine, over the top of the head and down the front of the body again.

Your penis will go through waves of being very charged with energy, as though you were close to ejaculating. As you move the energy with the breath, there will be less energetic focus on your penis. Each time you move the sexual energy, your penis becomes less charged with sexual energy, and the rest of the body becomes more energized.

Keep practicing until you can stay aroused without ejaculating for at least twenty minutes. Then you are ready to practice with your partner.

For a Woman

For the woman, the core of the practice is to open the heart, to use the heart energy to open the sexual energy, and then share that energetic alchemy with your partner.

Although the genitals will become fully aroused, the practice doesn’t involve direct stimulation, but rather the circulation of the energy from the heart downward.

First, massage your breasts in order to stimulate and open the heart center. When you begin to feel a warming and concentration of energy in the heart, use the breath to practice drawing energy up from the ovaries to the heart. As this continues, feel the energy in the lower part of the body being drawn up into the heart and flowing out of the heart, particularly from the breast, as a blessing and a prayer.

As you continue drawing energy up into your chest and out through the breasts, feel for your friends, your family. Expand your attention, feeling the whole world, the births, the joys, the wars, the pain -- all of it. Like a prayer, a meditation, you are giving yourself. It is as though you were saying with your body, with your breath, with your relaxation, “I am here, I am giving myself to you, to all of you.” Once the heart is awakened with the flame of loving compassion, let it flow downward and awaken the vagina, draw it all up into your heart, and keep pouring it out as if it were a river of blessing. Feel as big as the universe and beyond, just give everything away through your body.

There are practices for partners to do together, but I won’t post that here.

The whole practice is about balance. The reason why these practices were always guarded in secrecy was because of their potential to create power.

A good place for men to start is Mantak Chia and Douglas Abrams Arava The Multiorgasmic Man. In addition, Chia’s Healing Love through the Tao (written with his wife) is good basic text for women. Chia also offers trainings throughout the world as well as tapes and DVDs. I personally stand by his teachings, having read his books, taken some of his courses, and having applied his teachings in my life. Margot Anand has written several good books that offer guidance in how to enter into sex with a deeper sacredness (click here to visit her website).

Finally, I will personally vouch for all of David Deida’s works. His Finding God through Sex was a revelation for me and has been a huge influence on my spiritual path. Before Deida, my spirituality was missing a coherent approach to sex. I have to say that he was a major influence in my way of thinking and spiritual path. I have attended several of his workshops and recommend him highly.

Love,

Eddie

PS: Sex is good for you!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Mother and El Lay-Away

¡Hola! Everybody...
Today it’s my dear mother’s birthday. I love you mi viejita querida… There are so many stories, but I often joke that my mother led a hilarious life with her children in tow. I’ve posted this several times, but it’s just one on the stories that remind me of my mother. Love you moms, and happy birthday!

* * *

-=[ The Case of the Layaway Men ]=-


We were all crying because the bad men were going to take the TV away.

There was little else in that living room, I don’t think there was even a couch. We would sit on the plastic covered kitchen chairs to watch TV. And that’s what we were doing when these two strange men came into the room and started taking the TV away. I couldn’t have been more than five and my two sisters Darlene and Yvette were 3 and 2 respectively.

We were crying.

These two big bad men were taking the TV away.

There were two things I remember most about that Lower East Side five-story walk-up apartment. One was that the bathtub was in the kitchen which made for funny situations during dinner time. The other was that it had this long, narrow hallway. So long, in fact, that I used it to ride a tricycle up and down its length. My mother was obsessively clean and the worn linoleum would gleam with floor wax and we would take a running start in our socks and slide across that long hallway.

But most of my memories of that apartment weren’t so good because it was the first time I would remember my father not being around. And when my father wasn’t around, things were hard for my mother and we had less to eat, less furniture.

But we had this nice, brand new TV and these strange men were getting ready to take it away, so I cried, and my sisters followed suit. And my mother was standing there, not knowing what to do.

Then she started arguing with these men. At first it was more of a plea. She was actually begging these men not to take the TV away. You see, the TV was bought on the ghetto “lay-away” plan which was actually a scam to rip off those who had nothing to rip off in the first place. You would put an item on “lay-away” and that would allow you to take it home. You paid for the item in weekly installments. The thing was that the weekly installments often added up to more than twice the sticker price. In fact, most of what you got on "lay-away" was used -- items that were taken away from other families who had failed to pay the weekly installment.

Aside from the long, narrow hallway, it was the only form of entertainment we had.

Soon, my mother was engaged in an all-out argument with the men, who seemed to care less and weren’t even paying attention to my mother. You have to understand my mother is a petite woman who barely measures five feet tall -- not an imposing physical presence. So the men were ignoring my mother which made her more pissed off, which made us cry more.

“You can’t do this!” My mother yelled.

And everything stopped. We stopped crying because we knew that tone of voice. We had heard that tone many, many times before and it usually meant someone was going to get their ass kicked. So we stopped crying, perhaps hoping it wasn’t one of us. The men stopped because it was a defiant, authoritative voice. I guess they were used to taking orders and my mother had just barked one out that would’ve made a marine drill sergeant proud.

The pause lasted a split second and the men continued preparing to take the TV and we got back to crying, knowing that it wasn’t one of us that was going to get our asses beat down.

I remember my mother tried pleading one more time to no avail and then I got really scared because when I glanced over to her, she had The Look. I can’t ever sufficiently describe The Look. It was the look of death and it actually made my mother look taller, more powerful, but these guys just weren’t getting it, but we knew. We knew some shit was about to jump off. I felt so bad, I almost warned the men, but, having learned even at that early age that discretion is the better part of valor, I chose to stay quiet.

My mother, seemingly defeated and frustrated, left the room...

And when she came back, she had the largest knife she owned in her hands. It was the same knife used for special occasions for cutting a pernil (roast suckling) or something like that, and she had this wild-eyed look in her eyes. I swear her hair was standing up!

“YOU’RE NOT TAKING THAT TV!!!” She roared.

“You will take that TV over my dead body! My children are not going to suffer.” and with that, she yelled her death roar and made her charge, willing to die.

Now, I was really scared because I feared for my mother’s safety. My mother was small and petite and she was a woman. Surely she wasn’t a match for these two big idiots who didn’t even know better to leave. The men, who had until then been ignoring my mother, freaked out when they saw my mother charging them with this huge knife in her hand. They tried to calm her down, but it was too late, I could’ve told them that. She went after them and the funniest thing happened:

The men started to run!

Or rather, they tried to run, but my mother had them pinned down, slashing at them with her knife and she meant to cut them. Through some miracle, they managed to elude my mother’s slashes and make it out the living room into that long hallway, whereupon they slipped and slid through the length of that recently waxed and gleaming long expanse. Somehow they managed to make it out of the apartment, though my mother almost managed to stab the unfortunate one who slipped and fell.

But that wasn’t enough for her. My mother chased those men down five flights of stairs and down the street where they had their truck parked. They almost didn’t make it. By then my mother had ripped open her blouse and was yelling, “Rape! Rape!” at the top of her lungs which caused all the unemployed Puerto Ricans who happened to be hanging out on the street corner that fine summer day to join in on the chase of these two poor men. I know this because I was running behind my mother the whole time. I’m her oldest, after all.

They jumped in the truck making their final escape in a squeal of tires and a cloud of dust, never to be seen again, a mob of oppressed and frustrated Puerto Ricans on their tail.

There we were in the middle of the street, my mother with a knife in her hand, clutching her blouse closed. She looked at me and said, “C’mon, let’s go home.” Somehow, I remember, my mother managed to look regal, her head held high, and no one dared say a word to her...

And that’s what we did; we went home up five flights to that sad almost empty apartment. She put the TV back, plugged it in and told us that we could watch as much TV as we wanted and that no one would ever take our TV away. She left and got some overpriced, stale meat and other things on credit from the corner bodega. It is said that Cuba, the proprietor notorious for refusing credit to his own mother once, took one look at my mother and decided that was not best time to mention her credit was stretched too far. Later she cooked us dinner, with a Blackout Special as a treat.

And we were so happy.

That was the kind of mother she was: ferocious, fiercely protective of her children. Later in life, it was her power of example that maintained me and taught me never to give up when the odds seemed insurmountable. It was also her fierce love that nurtured and protected me, serving as beacon to a path for becoming a better man. I believe that if I were to carry my mother on my back for the rest of her life, I still could never repay her…

I love you Moms

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