Monday, September 27, 2010

Repression is not Morality

¡Hola! Everybody...
Unless you’re living outside the USA, you have by now been treated to countless stories of Eddie Long’s “alleged” sexual predatory behavior. He is a major religious figure, known for his staunch, homophobic views and conservative, “family values” stance. the accusations leveled against him have rocked Christianity and the Black Church in particular, with many expressing shock, denial, and anger at his actions. This post is not about Eddie Long specifically. It is, however, an attempt to understand the roots of sexual repression, it’s consequences, and why it’s always bound to fail.

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-=[ The Consequences of Sexual Suppression]=-

Repression is not morality

First, let me point out that individuals who score highly on psychological metrics measuring homophobia, often demonstrate an attraction to homosexual acts. A university study seems to confirm the belief that most homophobic men have repressed homosexual desires:

The study showed that the men who scored highest on a homop[hobic measure were most sexually aroused by gay porn. (An alternative, but much less likely, explanation is that the homophobic men's erections were caused by anxiety during the experiment.) I believe that any attempt to repress Eros (which is part of our humanity) relegates it to the dark recesses of our collective psyche where it becomes warped and controls our behaviors.

Eddie Long’s behavior is not the work of the “devil” but the consequence of sexual repression. The correct clinical term here should be reaction formation, but for my purposes here I'll term it repression.

From birth we are taught to be ashamed of and fearful of sex -- all of us to some degree are repressed muthafuckas. Even those of us who claim to be sexually “free” oftentimes use language to describe that experience that leaves me wondering. In many cases it’s a past framed as remorse and “youthful indiscretions.” This isn’t the language of sexual freedom, it’s repression personified. People mistakenly link sexual repression with lack of sexual activity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Repression is a defense mechanism we use to push things out of our conscious awareness where they often gain total subconscious control over our actions.

I have traveled to many places and I have never come up against the sheer depth of sexual hang-ups that I confront with in this society. We fear, loathe, and at the same time crave sex. We are outraged if, god forbid, a child sees a breast (though there is no evidence nudity is harmful to children), but have nothing to say when we willingly allow our children to be subjected to literally tens of thousands of violent images and marketing strategies aimed at making them mindless consumers (see the most recent example of the Katy Perry Sesame St. flap).

I have previously written about the two-thousand year Christian campaign against sex. Add to that three centuries of Puritanism and... welcome to sex in America.

Eroticism is considered an outlaw energy in this culture. I don’t know exactly why. Perhaps it’s because it’s a reminder of taboo Goddess worship, or because of the sheer power of sexual energy, or because limitations on sexual behavior made sense thousands of years ago. Whatever the reason, Eros is a forbidden fruit and our society spends huge sums of its precious resources every minute of every day to undermine, co-opt, channel, manipulate, ridicule, and distort it.

And we all pay a price for this.

When religion fails to recognize our basic human need for pleasure and uses its power to influence what is considered normal in order to repress our God-given right for nurturing and sensual and erotic pleasure, the consequences are violence and predatory behavior. When we diminish sex to its lowest form and ignore the vital sustenance we can draw from the sexual rainbow of playful, loving, and intimate union, we distort our human nature.

Numerous studies of child abuse, for example, indicate that parents who abuse their children were often deprived of physical affection during childhood, and as adults experience extremely unsatisfying sexual relationships. Studies of child-rearing practices across cultures, and evidence of neurological damage in anti social humans demonstrate that deprivation of bodily pleasure during infancy and adolescence and the repression of pleasure promote adult violence. A case in point is the U.S. Compared to other industrialized democracies, The United States has some of the most repressive legal sanctions against sexuality, and yet we have the highest sexual crime rates. That’s a fact, not a belief.

Patriarchal religions (i.e., Christianity, Judaism, and Muslim) that emphasize a high God who actively punish deviations in human behavior commonly endorse anti-women, anti-sex and anti-pleasure value systems. As part of their anti-sexual values, these religions promote negative attitudes about the physical nurturance of infants and children. They also severely punish adolescents and adults who engage in erotic pleasures considered outside the norm.

Deprivation of body pleasure throughout life -- but especially during the formative periods of infancy, childhood, and adolescence -- is very closely related to the amount of warfare and violence in a society. Conversely, societies that promote nurturing in child-rearing, that are comfortable with the body, and with sexuality and pleasure, produce adults who have little sexual dysfunction, who promote gender and social equality, and a society that does not glorify slavery or war.

There is a strong argument for the notion that failure to celebrate the pleasures of the Divine presence in our erotic lives creates the compulsion to conquer and achieve pleasure elsewhere. One can see a clear causal link between patriarchal (Father-like) religions that deny the power we draw from erotic pleasure and the anti-sex, anti-pleasure belief systems of religious fundamentalism and fascism.

Religious fundamentalism of any type relies on literal and patriarchal interpretations of texts that determine what rules guide human behavior and spell out punishments for those who deviate from those rules. Fundamentalism thrives when individuals become terrified of thinking outside cultural norms. For me, fundamentalism is patriarchy gone mad, fascism is the ultimate expression of father-dominance. Within this framework, moralizing and condemnation become more important than celebration and play. Self-centeredness and a preoccupation with power and laws that maintain it become a substitute for adventure, pleasure, wonder, and a living, spiritual ritual.

One only has to look at the Christian rationalization of slavery. Christians used the bible to justify slavery, for example. Look at the early Christian support for Hitler which agreed on his attacks on contraception, pornography, and sexual permissiveness. More recently, Christians have supported neo-fascist attacks on gay marriage, sex shops, and abortion clinics.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. we’re in the midst of a tidal change terrifying to many people around the world. There are fundamentalist forces clamoring for a return to the “good old times.” There are forces calling for a return to their ways (their “country”)You know the good old times: the times when women were little better than property, where people of color “knew their place,” and gays were kept in the closet.

There is a culture war in full effect in these United States and there are those who want to drag us back to the Dark Ages where dialogues about sexual identity and alternatives to sexual monogamy didn’t exist. Fortunately, we can’t go back -- as much as these ignoramuses would like. We are in what the famous anthropologist Margaret Meade called a prefigurative stage. All the myths and symbols that gave meaning and direction to our culture have lost much of their significance (and with good reason), and we are only beginning to create a new cosmology, a culture that respects sex, pleasure, and sensuality, new myths and icons that provide relevant models for a new consciousness of ourselves and of the earth.

The other option, to cling to an outmoded book full of outdated myths, is to choose to destroy ourselves. and you can get a glimpse of that destruction personified in the Eddie Longs, the Taggarts, and Swaggarts of the world...


Sunday, September 26, 2010

How It's Done

¡Hola! Everybody…
I just had to repost the following from one of my contacts, 2 Political Junkies. I once had a public relations consultant tell me that about 70-80% of the “news: is actually publicity. This example shows how now the media is wholly corporate-owned:

From today's Sunday Pops at Richard Mellon Scaife's Tribune-Review:

More than 300 economists have signed a letter stating that failure to extend the Bush-era tax cuts will devastate growth. Obamanomics hasn't worked. What a novel idea -- return to fundamental economics. [Bold in original]

I know you're all chomping at the bit with some questions; What letter? Who sent it? Where can I see it?

Took a few seconds, but here's the letter. It's posted at the National Taxpayers Union website.

Guess who (c'mon, just frickin guess) is a huge financial supporter of the NTU?

That's right, Richard Mellon Scaife - owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

According to mediamatters, in fact, the Sarah Scaife Foundation offered up the single largest financial support of the NTU, with $1.23 million in support from 1991 to 2007. This does not count the $275,000 in support from the Scaife-controlled Carthage Foundation from 1993 to 2003 or the

* $50,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation in 2009.

* $75,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation in 2008.

By my calculations, that's $1.63 million in financial support over the years.

Considering the fact that Scaife is more than likely among those wealthy who'll see their taxes go back to up Clinton-era levels once the Bush-era tax cuts end, he stands to benefit personally if the tax policy positions suggested by those 300 economists are implemented.

His foundations supported the NTU, the NTU posted the letter saying the tax cuts should be extended, his paper lauded the letter as the right thing to do.

The circle jerk continues.

* * *

And we’re swallowing it.



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Siren Song

¡Hola! Everybody...
Gentlemen: Imagine for a moment that through some random evolutionary adaptation, our penises grew from our foreheads instead of between our legs (after all, it makes more sense from a woman's pleasure perspective). Now, imagine how it would feel if every time you went out in public, women would make untoward remarks about the size (or lack thereof), shape, attractiveness, or unattractiveness of your penis. Complete strangers commenting on something highly personal, something you have mixed feelings about (because ti's either too small or too big, or bent at the head, etc.). Imagine that as soon as you reached puberty (and even before) women would make cruel, oftentimes publicly humiliating remarks about your penis. If you can imagine how this would feel (and let's be real: most of you would die if a woman so much as pointed at your penis and laughed), then you have a very small idea of what it feels like to be a woman and do something as mundane as take a walk.

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-=[ Listening to the Songs of the Sirens ]=-

Excerpted from Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears

By Pema Chodron

Ulysses, the hero of ancient Greek mythology, exemplifies the courage it takes to consciously choose staying receptive and present when the temptation to get swept away is intense.

When he was making the sea voyage home to Greece after the Trojan War, Ulysses knew that his ship would have to pass through a very dangerous area that was inhabited by beautiful maidens known as the sirens. He had been warned that the call of these women was irresistible, and that sailors couldn’t help but steer towards the sirens, crash their boats onto the rocks, and drown.

Nevertheless, Ulysses wanted to hear the song of the sirens. He knew the prophecy that if anyone could hear their voices and not go towards them, the sirens would lose their power forever and wither away. This was the challenge that compelled him.

As his ship neared the sirens’ homeland, Ulysses told his men to put wax plugs in their ears and to tie him tightly to the mast, instructing them that no matter how hard he struggled and gestured, no matter how wrathfully he appeared to be ordering them to cut his ropes, they were not to untie him until the ship reached a familiar point of land well out of earshot of the sirens’ song. This story, as you might expect, has a happy ending. The men followed his instructions and Ulysses made it though.

To a greater or lesser degree we will all have to go through similar discomfort in order not to follow the call of our own personal sirens, in order to step through the open doorway to awakening.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

The Friday Sex Blog [The Happiness Cock]

¡Hola! Everybody...

I was going to write a full-fledged exploration in the rape-culture mindset of those defending the football players in the Ines Sainz incident, but --really, people -- if you’re excusing sexually predatory behavior, where does it stop? Are we going back to saying rape victims ‘asked for it”? For the men who fail to see this, I just don’t have any words... However, you definitely won’t be hanging with me anytime soon!

OK! Normally, I ignore most of what evolutionary psychology has to say because they are utter pan-adaptationists. Some have even used this proclivity to “rationalize” rape and other seriously fucked up behaviors. However, I couldn’t let this one go... you have my dear friend (genius cum hot cougar) Nina, to blame for this shit!

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-=[ My Semen can Cure Your Depression ]=-

Or: Why Swallowers are Happier

Most of my female readers are probably familiar with the “McClintock effect,” also known as the “dormitory effect.” It’s the discovery of the phenomenon wherein the menstrual cycles of women living in close quarters tend to synchronize. This phenomenon has been observed in women living together. It has been found in roommates, close friends, and most strongly between mothers and daughters. It has also been noted in mice, hamsters, and rats. It as suggested that ovulation (process of releasing egg from ovary) is socially regulated and this leads to what is called menstrual synchronicity. In other words, women who live together will have their periods at the same time (there's even a FB page dedicated to this effect)..

It’s a remarkable finding. And this is where my post today starts. The story is connected to a whole chain of events, all of which I will not attempt to duplicate here. If you’re interested in a much more in-depth look at the research I cite in this post, take a look at this article (click here), or if you’re able, download the cited paper (click here).

A couple of researchers developed an interest in the psychological properties of semen as a result in their exploration of menstrual synchrony. Gordon Gallup and Rebecca Burch, evolutionary psychologists from the State University of New York, had stumbled onto data showing that, unlike heterosexually active women residing together, sexually involved lesbians failed to show evidence of the “McClintock effect.” Since olfactory signals (called pheromones) are known to mediate menstrual synchrony, the authors found this peculiar.

They wanted to know what it was about heterosexual females that promoted menstrual synchrony, or conversely what is it about lesbians that prevented menstrual synchrony. It occurred to them that one feature that distinguishes heterosexual women from lesbians is the presence or absence of semen in the female reproductive tract. Lesbians have semen-free sex.

Some of you know I have written about a phenomenon I call the Squeaky Vagina Syndrome. Of course, we all know vaginas don’t actually squeak, but my post, while an attempt at humor, was founded on the research showing that there is muscle atrophy in women who aren’t sexually active. It’s a riff off the old adage: if you don’t use it, you lose it (BTW, if your kitty is squeaking, run, don’t walk, to the nearest hospital!).

Back to my story... Gallup and Burch hypothesized that chemicals in human semen affect female biology in such a way that women who have condomless sex literally start to smell different from those women who do not -- or at least, their bodies emit the pheromones that neurologically imprint menstrual cycles among cohabitating women. Gallup and Burch quickly discovered that although much was known about basic semen chemistry, virtually nothing was known about how these chemicals might influence female biology, behavior, and psychology

It has been known for a very long time that the vagina is an ideal route for drug delivery. An impressive vascular network surrounds the vagina: arteries, blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels abound, and -- unlike some other routes of drug administration -- chemicals that are absorbed through the vaginal walls have an almost direct line to the body’s circulatory system. Taking this into consideration, Gallup and Burch surmised that, as with any artificially derived chemical substance, semen might also have certain chemical properties that affect female biology.

Bear in mind that although they are often erroneously mistaken in everyday language, “semen” is not the same thing as “sperm.” In fact, only about 1 to 5 percent of the average human ejaculate consists of sperm cells. The rest of the ejaculate is referred to as “seminal plasma.” So in discussing the chemical composition of semen, it is the plasma itself, not the spermatozoa, that is at issue. It turns out that, in fact, that semen has a very complicated chemical profile, containing over 50 different compounds (including hormones, neurotransmitters, endorphins, and immunosupressants) each with a special function and occurring in different concentrations within the seminal plasma. The most conspicuous of these compounds is the bundle of mood-enhancing chemicals in semen. There is much good in my jism, it seems. These include, but are by no means limited to, cortisol (known to increase affection), estrone (which elevates mood), prolactin (a natural antidepressant), oxytocin (also known as the “love chemical” which elevates mood), thyrotropin-releasing hormone (another antidepressant), melatonin (a sleep-inducing agent) and even serotonin (perhaps the most well-known antidepressant neurotransmitter).

Given the composition of semen, and this is just a small sample of the mind-altering drugs found in human semen, Gallup and Burch, along with psychologist Steven Platek, hypothesized that women having unprotected sex should be less depressed than suitable control participants. To investigate whether semen has antidepressant effects, the authors rounded up 293 college females from the SUNY-Albany campus, who agreed to fill out an anonymous, written questionnaire about various aspects of their sexual behavior. Recent sexual activity without condoms was used as an indirect measure of seminal plasma circulating in the woman’s body. Each participant also completed the Beck Depression Inventory, a commonly used clinical measure of depressive symptoms.

Now, I think you know where I’m going with this, right? LOL

The most significant findings from this 2002 study were that even after controlling for frequency of sexual intercourse, women who engaged in sex and “never” used condoms showed significantly fewer depressive symptoms than did those who “usually” or “always” used condoms. Significantly, sexually active (non-condom-using) women also showed fewer depressive symptoms than did those who abstained from sex altogether. By contrast, sexually active women, even really promiscuous ones, who used condoms were just as depressed as those practicing total abstinence. In other words, it’s not just that women who are having sex are simply happier, but instead happiness appears to be a function of the ambient seminal fluid pulsing through one’s veins.

My cock, dear ladies, is a happiness drug dispenser! LOL I’m kidding! Let me add that similar studies looking into oral and anal sex (heterosexual and homosexual) resulted in similar findings. This lends credence to my assertion that “spitters are quitters.”

Sorry, I just can’t help myself.

So! What do we get from all this (aside from the realization that you can call me for some serotonin)? Well, that in addition to getting "squeaky” you might also experience some depressive episodes if you’re getting your fair measure of semen. Don’t you just love it?!!

Of course, much of this literature is rightfully framed from the perspective of safe sex practices. It doesn’t follow that just because Joe Knechbone’s cock might be an anti-depressant faucet, that you should engage in the exchange of bodily fluids within a non-monogamous relationship.

Well, that’s it for today, boys and girls! Remember: sex is good for you!




Bering, J. (2010 September 22). An ode to the many evolved virtues of human semen. Scientific American, 31, 289-293.

Gallup, G. G., Jr., Burch, R. L., & Platek, S. M. (2002). Does Semen Have Antidepressant Properties? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31(3), 289-293.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Critical Thinking: Questions 101

* * *

-=[ Questions ]=-

You see things that are and say 'Why?'
But I dream things that never were and say "Why not?

-- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

I have learned that questions are the very substance of who we are and what we do. I have learned that almost everything we do, every decision we make, is a response to an inner question. It’s unfortunate, I often think, that “Questions 101” is not a regular feature in our classrooms. But then again, does the status quo really want to create critical and questioning human beings?

One of my favorite sci-fi novels, Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, deals with this very issue of questions. In it a massive supercomputer is designed to give the ultimate, the absolute answer, an answer that would explain “God, life, the universe, and everything.” But the computer takes seven and a half million years to come to an answer, and by that time, everybody has forgotten the question. LOL So, nobody remembers the ultimate question, but the ultimate answer is: 42.

This is amazing! Finally! The Answer! So wonderful is the answer that immediately a contest is held to see if anyone can come up with “The Question.” Many profound questions are submitted, but the final winner is: “How many roads must a man walk down?”

Reflecting about “God, life, the universe, and everything” is pretty much what my life has been about -- the unexamined life, in my book, is an unworthy one. Of course, the answer may be not as clever as “42.” Perhaps the answers deal with matter, life, mind, and spirit, and the underlying evolutionary currents that seems to unite them all in a pattern that connects. The “Web with no Weaver,” as the integral philosopher, Ken Wilber, puts it.

For some time now, I have tried to embody this spirit of questioning. I guess part of my personal mission is to prod others to question, to look for the unasked questions and to try to understand who decides what questions will be asked and why. I think that’s part of my motivation -- I want people to ask, to question, to investigate their lives. If I were to die today, I would like to believe that I made some difference in the lives of the people I touch. I would want people to say something along the lines of, “He was a crazy motherfucker, but he cared, and he touched my life (or some private parts ::wink::) in a special way.” Or something like that.

In this crazy world all we can be sure of is the punch line to this grand Cosmic Joke we call life -- death. In the midst of all this uncertainty, we grope for meaning or something that gives us a foundation of sorts. Sometimes this clinging is the core of our pain, sometimes having no meaning in one’s life is a key component to pain. So then, this is my meaning -- my mission: to rattle the cage a wee bit, to ask the unasked question and to ask you, dear reader and friend:

Why not?

My endeavor is to be part of a an ongoing process where the curious, the apathetic, the wounded and fragmented, the lonely and the happy can meet to create meaning together. Where we can all come together and tell our stories without censure and to ask the questions that need asking and then support each other somehow when the answers are too harsh or too painful to bear.

I remember a time when that was called community…



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Breaking News: Traced Slur May Have Originated from Senate Staffer

¡Hola! Everybody...
I was hanging out on the comments page of one the blogs I follow, Joe.My.God, a blog dedicated to LGBT issues.

The author says that someone left the following comment on his post: “All faggots must die.”

of course, we old school flame warriors know this par for the course in the blogoshpere, except that Joe added:

“The above comment was left today by “Jimmy” on my post about the DADT cloture vote. The IP address *appears* to resolve to the neighborhood of GOP U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ Atlanta office. The ISP is “United States Senate.” I’m confident that the JMG internet sleuths can get to the source.

Here’s the IP: Get busy, geeks!”

Check out the blog for updates. At least one reporter from the Atlanta Journal Constitution has picked up on the story (click here) and people are busy tracking down the origin of the comments. If this is from a senate office, hopefully someone will get reamed.


Cuckoos and Neocons

¡Hola! Everybody...
If you’re throwing stones at Ines Sainz (for having to experience sexual harassment), then perhaps you suffer from a rape mentality. I’m sorry, what a woman wears never excuses sexually predatory behavior. Besides, sexual harassment and rape are still against the law.

* * *

-=[ Of Cuckoos & Neocons ]=-

Facts are stupid things.

-- Ronald Reagan, 1988

The best analogy I’ve heard regarding the neoconservative movement is the one using the nesting habits of the cuckoo bird comparison. Cuckoos employ a rather interesting reproductive strategy involving what is known as “nest parasitism.” Briefly, the female cuckoo lays an egg in the nest of another species of bird (after first removing an egg from the host’s nest). Upon hatching, the baby cuckoo goes on to banish the remaining eggs and hatchlings of the host, at which point it becomes the sole focus of the host parent’s interest.

By now you’re probably asking why the host parents don’t push out the alien egg before the troubles begin, or at the very least abandon the parasitic baby cuckoo once it has grown to a size far larger than host parents themselves.

The problem, of course, is that birds lack the thinking skills necessary to recognize the parasite. They take note of the eggs, of the sight of a baby bird’s features and cries, and follow a “care for egg/hatchling in nest” instinctual pattern. It does not demand much of a masquerade on the part of the cuckoo to abuse the host’s instincts. All that is necessary is the initial neural imprinting by the parent host on the baby parasite’s signals.

One cannot help but be struck by the remarkable parallels between the nesting line of attack of the cuckoo and the infiltration of the conservative movement beginning in the 1970s by the neo-conservatives or “neocons.”

Just as the parasitical cuckoo bird ingratiates itself into the nest of an unsuspecting host, eventually driving out the rightful offspring, so did the neocons come to dominate, to the point of exclusion, what passes today for “conservatism” and “the right.”

Intelligent men and women assure me that there are reasonable conservatives capable of logic, so this will be the only point I will cede on their behalf. I’m told by good sources that republicans were once conservatives -- a political philosophy which literally encompasses the notion of conservation. Those Republicans wanted to conserve important things -- like the public infrastructure, the rule of law, public education, and even our environment. During the last 30 years, though, like my cuckoo birds, the GOP has systematically dumped these classic conservatives from office, replacing them with right-wing, laissez-faire parasites. The neoconservative movement, which bloomed during the Reagan years, is a warped mutation of true conservative ideals. Furthermore, neo-conservatism grew out of racist and classist ideology. Modern conservatism is characterized by a resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality; and some of the common psychological factors linked to it include fear and aggression, dogmatism, and an intolerance of ambiguity.

First, I have to begin with the Biggest Lie -- the myth of Ronald Reagan. I have had it up to here

::grabs testicles::

... with the constant idolization of what was in fact an incompetent (and very likely cognitively impaired) president. In the pantheon of the neocon iconography, Reagan is only slightly lower than the Baby Jesus.

Even Reagan disciples like David Stockman have long since admitted that no one was home at the Reagan White House, that then-Vice President George Bush the Elder was out of the loop, and who today in the right mind could deny that the “Trickle Down” approach to tax reform was a disaster? Today, the Randroids, starting with Greenspan, admit those policies were ineffective and destructive. Even Reagan shill Peggy Noonan admitted in her book “What I Saw at the Revolution,” that he didn’t “really hear very much,” and that his appearance of constant good humor was connected to his deafness. He missed much of what was not said directly to him, but he assumed it was good.

In other words, he was not all there -- nobody home!

Now, I don’t say this to poke fun at a very serious disease, Alzheimer’s. I know people struggle with this disease and I am aware of the suffering it entails. However, we had a president who was quite likely not all there and his adherents constantly attempt to paint him as something great when in actuality, he set in motion many of the dynamics that have contributed to the collapse we’re now experiencing. It didn’t start with Bush the Younger, it started with Reagan.

Hopefully, historians will prove less easily convinced, I dunno...



Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Madness: The revelation Will Not be Televised

¡Hola! Everybody...
In view of the unprecedented number of religious whackos running for office this midterm (click here and here for just two examples), I thought re-posting the following apropos...

* * *

Sinner Ines Sainz' sinful backside: blame for grown men to lose minds

-=[ The Revelation Will not be Televised ]=-

Or: Quick! Look busy -- Jesus is coming!

Pretend you’re a big time Hollywood executive and I tried to sell you a story with the following pitch:

“Okay, let me start with some context. It’s the 21st century, but millions of people believe in this invisible Super Ghost who lives somewhere way, way up in space. You see, he created everything, sees everything, knows everything -- everything that had ever happened or will happen. think: something like a huge security camera in the sky.

“The people who believe in him think of him as a magic helper who protects and watches over them. It’s a take on the Santa Claus thingee -- he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, and engaged in terrorist or masturbatory activities and so on.

“Yet even thought this ghost has, like, all the superpowers of all the superheroes rolled into one, he’s in actuality very insecure. He demands that you follow him or else you get an eternity burning in a non-stop, super-duper fire, boiling in lava-like shit and being constantly stabbed by devils with pitchforks. Oh yeah! I almost forgot, two thousand years ago he sent his only son back to earth in order to redeem humanity from their wickedness by getting hung on a cross and, you know, that whole gospel-according-to -Mel-Gibson-let’s-hate-Jews treatment.

“Now, bear with me because this is where the story gets interesting: after two thousand years of watching humanity slaughter itself, getting really fucked up on drugs, and having wild orgies, and basically just slacking off, the son plans to return to earth from outer space. But before he does, he’s going to beam up to Heaven all those people who believed in him, yup, levitate them right out of their clothes, wherever they are -- on an airplane, asleep, having sex, on the toilet, and -- get this! -- in the freaking grave! Yup, corpses and cadavers blasting out of the ground! Think: Saw meets Night of the Living Dead, with some touches of Superman.

“Meanwhile, the people left behind are freaking out. I mean imagine you’re on an airplane to Puerto Rico and suddenly the fuckin’ pilot disappears -- flies right by your window seat! Dang!

“While looking out the window you see hundreds of naked people whooshing by. Of course, we’ll make them up to be fine babes (think: an army of Ines Sainz look-a-likes and maybe throw in an old dude just for laughs). And then the plane just nose-dives, crashes smack into the side of a mountain. Families are broken up and companies have to close because, like, the entire sales department just flew out the window through the AC vents!

“Meanwhile, the people left behind are really freaking out and CNN is blaming it on the Muslims and Fox News is blaming Obama. The president is pissed because he thinks it’s some secret pentagon weapon and he wasn’t informed. Cut to Rahm and he tells him, ‘Muthafucka!, it’s the Rapture.’ The president doesn’t know what the rapture is, they didn’t teach the rapture at his childhood madrassa and the secret service sweeps him away to an undisclosed location where they fill him in on the Rapture.

“And this is just the first seven minutes! In the rest of the movie, the people left behind are going to suffer a seven-year nightmare of wars, plagues, attacks from supernatural creatures, asteroid collisions, and rivers of blood… ”

what would your reaction be? Would you buy a pitch like that? Well, considering the really inferior crap that gets produced (the Rocky and Die Hard franchises come to mind), maybe a studio would produce such a story. But mostly you would have probably called security and have me kicked to the curb, right? Right?!!

As many as a hundred million Americans believe in this story, which is known as the Rapture, a scene lifted out of the last book of the Bible. Yeah, the crazy, hallucinogenic part. The part with the Apocalypse and its Four Horsemen, the Whore of Babylon, a seven-headed dragon, and crap that looks straight out of a badly crafted segment of Lord of the Rings.

It’s Jay-sus (!) on steroids out here to kick some major fuckin ass!

If you’re a Christian and never heard of the Rapture, then shame on you (you didn’t read the Bible all the way to the end!). In any case, this book isn’t for believers of the rapture. It’s for you! Heathen! Unbeliever! Doubter! Satanist! Secular Humanist liberal democrat! If you’re curious about what 100 million people find so compelling about the Rapture, then this book will do the trick. If you’re the kind of person who values reason rather than superstitious thinking, then this book will make you smile smugly.

Quick! Look Busy!



Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Sermon [Your Personal Song]

¡Hola! Everybody…
It’s another beautiful day here in The Center of the Known Universe…

Here's a hilarious take on sexually repressed, right-wing extremist teabagger candidate Christine O'Donnell:

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-=[ Your Personal Song: The Power of Listening ]=-

Sometimes we don’t look at things as much as overlook them. The most important tools to our happiness are right there in front of us waiting. But like an old friend who now suddenly appears as the person you have been looking for all along, we see the power in things we take for granted if we take the time to simply pay attention.

Being present, or paying attention, is a good example of what I’m talking about. We spend so much of our lives lost in the tangle of things past or plotting for a future, that we have no time for the present moment. The fact is that without now, we can’t do anything. We can’t even love without being fully present. Love in the past is merely a memoory; love in the future is a fantasy.

The NY Lottery has an ad campaign with the slogan, “You gotta be in it to win it.” And so it is with life.

Most of us don’t pay attention; we’re too full of assumptions. We don’t actually see our loved ones, we see our own projections. Most of all, we don’t really listen...

I had a teacher who used the following story to highlight the power of something as simple as listening. Some of the details are sketchy, but I think I’ve been able to preserve the essential message.

In an east African tribe (I forget which) a child’s life is counted not from the day it’s born, nor on the day its conceived, as in other cultures, but on the day the child is a thought in the mother’s mind. As soon as the mother realizes she wants to have a child, she will go off alone somewhere, under a tree, for example, and she quiets herself and simply listens. Not listening for anything, or asking for answers or anything like that -- just listening. Simple, bare attention...

She waits to hear the song of the child who wants to be born in her heart. And as she hears this song, she sings it to her herself. When she returns to her village, she teaches the song to her husband. In that way when they make love, when they unite, they sing this song to invite this child to be born. Later, when she conceives, she sings this song to the child in her womb.

She teaches the song to her neighbors so that the first thing the child hears when it is born is its song in celebration of its birth. Later, as the child grows, if it falls and scrapes its knee, an adult will soothe the child’s cries by singing its song. When the child grows into adulthood, the song is sung in celebration of their rite of passage. When there is a marriage both songs are sung.

Finally, when that individual grows older and passes from this existence the song is again invoked.

Imagine living in a society in which such attention and listening skills were truly valued. A world where stopping and being present is like a hit song we all celebrate and dance to...

What would your song sound like? What would our communities look like... ?



Friday, September 17, 2010

The Friday Sex Blog [Tantra]

¡Hola! Everybody…
Before I forget, please be sure to check out my article on the importance of stories over at (click here). There's something there for everyone:

What's America coming to? The David thinks it Oligarchy; W.D. Noble covers the Koch brothers, the Tea Party, and a future America; Edward-Yemíl Rosario reminds us why stories are important; A.B. Thomas defends gamers everywhere; A collection of Poems from Bill the Butcher and Karla Fetrow continues her Luke Maverick series in "Clovia" all at

Apparently, a tornado touched down here in Brooklyn not too far from my neighborhood. I was hanging out in the City when it all came down and didn’t notice anything…

Today’s blog photo contributor wishes to remain anonymous, but GAWD! I can fall in love with an ass like that! What an altar that would make... If I woke up to an ass like that, my first act every morning would be to kiss it. LOL

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-=[ Tantra ]=-
Every woman’s nature is to be a priestess, to be an initiator. Only when a man knows how to give her pleasure will she be radiant, devoted, loving, satisfied, and able to be in the fullness of the whole relationship.
-- Margot Anand

I keep trying to write a piece on Goddess worship and it just doesn’t come out… What follows is a very brief and very inadequate attempt to elaborate on tantra.

Sex lies at the root of life, and it is crucial that we learn reverence for it. By reverence I don’t mean to say that sex should only be practiced under certain conditions and only with certain individuals. By reverence I mean that we must come to the realization that sex is an energy – a divine and transformative energy – and that we must learn to revere and cultivate that energy.

Orgasm brings us closer to the divine than any other experience. This is why organized religions have always tried to control sex: because ecstatic people are a free people. In the moment of orgasm, a bonding between the right and left hemispheres of the brain occurs. When the creative, intuitive right side of the brain fuses with the center of logic and thinking on the left side, an akashic field (“zero-point”) of total connection can be accessed. The ego walls come tumbling down, time and space cease to exist, and you become one with energy and consciousness.

This form of sexual practice transcends mere ego needs so often heard in popular culture: songs wailing about “Baby, I need you,” and “I can’t live without you.” Sabotaged by ego needs (the “Mini Me”), sex becomes a quick exercise in tension and release. It obstructs the free flow of energy.

Sexuality is a very natural instinct, a powerfully creative force. From the tantric perspective, each of us can put that force to work in the service of healing, transformation, and the realization of our potentials. Yet, in many ways, we are conditioned to think about sex that confuses us. We straddle the two extremes of viewing sex as something natural that should not be interfered with, or the perception of sex as something hidden, dirty, and taboo. Of course, that last part is what sometimes makes it so interesting and brings violence and exploitation into sex. In this country, we find it so difficult even to talk about sex without defining it in deviant terms, we have to fight through all the cultural taboos to have a good time, it seems.

I write this Friday Sex blog mostly because I feel the damage caused by the condemnation of sex can’t begin to be measured. Instead of celebrating sex as a creative force, we turn it into a shameful, guilt-ridden affair. Religions want to make people believe that a priest is necessary in order to have a relationship with the divine. They discourage any direct attempt to have an experience of “God” on their own. Religious institutions, for the most part, do not want us to wake up to our natural ecstasy. The moment they wake up, a person becomes a free thinker and for those in power, a free thinker is a dangerous individual.

Tantra developed as a rebellion against the repressive moralistic codes of organized religions in India around 5000 b.c.e. It developed particularly as a response to the widespread notion that sexuality had to be denied in order to attain spiritual enlightenment. Tantra means “weaving,” in the sense of bringing together the many and often contradictory aspects of the self into one harmonious whole. Tantra also means “expansion,” in the sense that once our own energies are understood and unified, we grow and expand into joy. Truly, Tantra is the “yoga of love.”

Characterized by what the Tibetan Tantric tradition calls crazy wisdom, Tantric masters scandalized mainstream society and were often condemned and persecuted. Crazy Wisdom is a tradition in which the teacher uses paradoxical stories, seemingly absurd questions, and unexpected behavior in order to tease, jolt, and provoke people to drop mainstream conditioning and conventional attitudes so that they may embrace the whole spectrum of life, with no conflict between the sacred and the profane, the spiritual and the sexual.

There’s no way I could do justice to the Tantric vision in a one-page Word document, but I will say that the Tantric vision accepts everything. There’s nothing forbidden in Tantra. Everything that a person experiences, regardless of whether it is judged as good or bad, is an opportunity for learning. For example, a situation in which you experience sexual frustration is not viewed negatively in tantra, it is viewed as an opportunity for learning.

The best way I’ve heard tantra described is through the use of the metaphor of weeds. While weeds, if left unattended can bring a garden to ruin, one can also use weeds to fertilize the soil and make it richer. In this way, Tantra utilizes energies usually judged as negative as a path toward growth.

I guess I will have to write a part two on this tantra thingee. LOL

According to Tantra, sex is first a matter of energy, and Tantra views energy as the movement of life. For example, the nucleus and electrons of an atom have a certain rhythmic movement. The same goes for molecules, cells, and organs of the human body. Each organ -- the heart, diaphragm, intestines, lungs, brains -- pulsates to the rhythm of life. The vibrations from these rhythmic movements generate bioelectric currents that stream continuously through the whole body. They also generate energy fields that surround the body, and our moods and emotions generate specific vibrations that alter these energy fields as well.

One last thing, Surrender is an essential aspect of Tantra. There is, however, much confusion about what surrender means. People are suspicious of this term, which is often equated with loss of free will and personal power. In fact, they are confusing surrender with submission, which is (to me) a passive attitude that implies giving up responsibility for one’s behavior. True surrender, at least within the Tantric tradition, is a conscious choice made from free will. It means opening your heart and trusting the person you are with.

Tantra is about wholeness, of embracing everything, because every situation is an opportunity to become more aware about who you are and about how you can expand your capacities. Because Tantra embraces wholeness, it embraces opposites, seeing them not as contradictions but as complements. The concepts of male and female therefore are placed apart, forever divided by a gender gap, but are viewed as part of a continuum that meet and merge in every human being. Tantra recognizes that in each individual there exists both a masculine and feminine quality.

Practice: Cultivating Sexual Energy

Man: Sit comfortably on a pillow with your legs crossed.

Woman: Sit on top, straddling your partner with your legs.

Man: Hold your arms around your partner to support her back.

Looking into each other’s eyes, breathe through the nose down into the belly. It is best if your bellies are touching. With the breath, find the same rhythm. If you desire, you can start to rock your hips in movement with each other. Feel into each other as if wearing the other person’s body.

Man: As you enter your woman, feel your strength entering her as a gift. Fill her with your conscious presence. As soon as you start to feel a buildup of energy in your genitals, stop moving, breathe deeply, and have the intention to spread the concentrated energy throughout the rest of the body. If need be, tell your partner out loud when you need time to recirculate the energy.

Woman: Feel the gift of your man’s energy entering you, receive it in your womb, and draw it up into your heart. Give it back to him as love and nurturing through your breasts. Keep focusing on this as an act of worship and giving. You will inevitably get caught in feelings of physical pleasure. There is no need to try to stop them, but do not get stuck there. You will also get caught in strong personal emotions. Allow them, but go deeper. Allow the gifting to pass throughout, not from you. If you continue circulating the energy and allowing it to give through you, after some time your partner will become an invitation into something vast, something much bigger than the personal.

Man: As you keep giving to her with your body, you will start to feel that you are giving through her, to all women, to all of life.

Woman: As you pour love into your partner through your breasts and your heart, and keep opening your womb to receive more freely in undefended surrender, draw this up into your infinitely open heart, and you will feel through him to all men, to the Divine Source.

Unlike sex that is only for physical pleasure and release, the need to reach orgasm may lessen in this kind of sexual meeting rather than grow. Instead of climaxing in an orgasm, keep circulating the energy until you come to a place of absolute fullness and stillness. Remain there without moving, and feel the great union, one you could never feel alone. This is the union of you and your partner, of masculine and feminine, of energy with itself. When you know union in this way, you come to the realization of why there is life.



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Demonizing the Poor: Welfare Myths (and Facts)

¡Hola! Everybody…
Note: I got this from a new friend, Jamie Roads (
click here). I definitely appreciate her efforts, especially now, as the right wing sets to reply the same crap they put out there in the 80s and 90s. I haven’t done the research since before Clinton’s Welfare Deform, so I’m grateful for the updates.

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-=[ Don't Believe the Hype ]=-

Or: Beating Up On The Poor

TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Average Payment/Benefit: Poverty Guidelines for most of the U.S. (-Alaska, Hawaii) is for 1, $10,830; for 2, $14,570; and for 3, $18,310. The average payment or benefit for Welfare Recipients averages NO MORE THAN 25% of poverty guidelines for a family of 3... That is $4577.50 (Per Year for a family of 3!!!) or approximately $381.46 per month (again, for 3 people!). One state (CA) does better by just under 50% of poverty levels (click here: pgs 9-11 ~ Map on page 11 is best breakdown!).

So this is an attractive, alluring way to survive how? Who is being lazy on this per month?

Can you collect forever? No (45/50 states). There is a 60 month lifetime limitation. Very few exceptions. Some states (8), like Connecticut have set their limitations lower (in their case, 21 months). This is regardless of the dollar amount you received (for example, if you collect $1.00, then that is 1/60 months). Some (12) are intermittent (i.e. 24 months on, then time required before can utilize again). Some states (only 5 -- Massachusetts, Michigan, NY, Oregon, Vermont) have no lifetime limits and move to state plans after federal has ended. Only 12 allow for assistance to children after that 5 year period (after adult has reached 5 year limits)

Would someone CHOOSE to be on welfare: Likely not, when you consider the average monthly payment for a family of 3 is under $400.00 and the average monthly cost of living is $1050.00 For the simple essentials (Based pretty low on $400.00 Rent, $147.00 Utilities, $249.00 Food, and $254.00 Transportation... per link above, pg 15). Most people WITH jobs struggle to maintain expenses month to month.

Qualifications: Must be a citizen and in most states, a resident. SS# must be provided, Proof of ages of ALL people in home, Income is based on state and specifics. In general if net income - expenses is less than Local Min. Income Figure in your area you may qualify. (I know locally, it doesn't take very much money at all to lose these benefits... unemployment will do it!

Additional Requirements on TANF: Depending on the age of the child, Recipients are required to attend classes, job seek, etc. 20-40 hours each week. They are required to show proof of job search (etc) and this is also followed up on (workers call and verify they are doing this, or expect documentation!)

Makes sitting 'on your butt' kinda difficult right?!

Who deserves Credit for much of these time limitations and added requirements: Bill Clinton.


Don’t Trash Talk the Poor: Clearing Up Misconceptions About “Welfare” (click here)

Policy (click here)

The Misconception About Welfare (click here )

TANF: Failing America's Poorest Children (click here)


Consumer Expenditures 2007 (click here)

Cash Assistance from TANF (click here)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

¡Ask a Nuyorican!

¡Hola! Everybody...
It’s National HisPanic Month (or something like that) and as the resident Nuyorican, I’ll be posting almost exclusively on things Latino/a over at my blog.

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-=[ Ask a Nuyorican]=-

Being a Primer on How to be a Nuyorican via Cuss Words, Sex, and Everything Else

So, I was reading ¡Ask A Mexican! by Gustavo Arellano and I found it hilarious. I was thinking that since the messakins have such a reference source, then the second largest Latino/a demographic, people of Puerto Rican descent, should be similarly honored. After all, in the northeast and in places like Chicago, Puerto Ricans are most likely the majority of Latino/as you will run into. Shit, we even have a tight-knit clan in Hawaii, part of the unintended result of Operation Bootstrap. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here and I don’t want to give anyone a headache.

Notice the word in my title, Nuyorican? Well, a Nuyorican is a person of Puerto Rican descent or birth who was born or raised in New York City. Lots of Dominicans and Cubans ad assorted other Latino/as try to pass themselves off a Nuyoricans, but you can tell us apart right away: we’re the first ones to speak up.

Now, if you’re from the South or the West Coast, you might not even know what a Puerto Rican is or that Puerto Rico is a colony of the good old U.S. of A. Yup, that’s right. Puerto Rico, a small island in the Caribbean, is one of the oldest colonies on the planet (a distinction we share with our Irish brothers and sisters).

As a result of the Jones Act, we are citizens of the USA. Not that we asked for it. In fact, we had nothing to do with it, since our little islita was part of the spoils of the Spanish-American War. But in any case, we are US citizens, so all you black and white Americanos who are too stupid to know your own country’s geography and who are about to ask me for my green card -- I got yer fuckin’ green card...

::right here::

I once had to set a Southern educator straight while attempting to register my younger brother in school, dumb fuckin’ hick. A teacher should know American history/ geography, right?

Now that we got that out of the way... we can move on to the juicier stuff! Let’s start with language. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I hope to continue adding to it, but it will have to suffice for now...

¡ <-- See that upside-down exclamation point? That’s how I usually start my blogs... It’s usually used in front of an exclamatory sentence. ¡Ho sweat! Your ass is showing!

There are other important punctuation issues, such as the upside-down question mark and the tilde which transforms an n into something that sounds like enye (ñ) (like Enya, the gringa singer, except with a short e sound at the end), but I’m not getting into that today. I want to get to the important shit, like cuss words and shit. Now, some of these cuss words won’t have the same effect or meaning with other Latino/as. Bicho, for example means mosquito for a Cuban. You hear Cubans all the time talking about that bicho is bothering them, or how they want to swat a bicho away.

::blank stare::

However, for a Nuyorican bicho means penis, dick, cock.

Alguinaldo: Puerto Rican jibaro (“hillbilly”) music. Often uses the cautro, a guitar of Puerto Rican origin.

Ame-Rican: Another way of saying Nuyorican.

Americano: an Americano is anyone from the US regardless of skin color. Nuyoricans use this term instead of the Mexican preferred gringo. Most Nuyoricans wouldn’t be caught saying something as corny as gringo (or “esai” for that matter!). If you ain’t Latino/a then you’re an Americano.

Ay Clean: A Spanglish word meaning “ice cream.” The correct word is mantecado.

Barrio: Neighborhood, community -- analogous to da 'hood in ebonics.

Bellaco/a: A lustful or horny individual. That Eddie es un bellaco malo. Or, that girl has the eyes of a bellaca!

Bicho: A term used to denote a penis (also called a pinga).

Bolas: Literally “balls” but used to refer to a man’s testicles (also called huevos)

Bomba: An African-derived rhythm indigenous to Puerto Rico.

Borinquen/ Boricua: Borinquen is the original name of the island christened Puerto Rico by Christopher Columbus. A Boricua is someone from the island Borinquen. However, the terms have a more important psychological function for Nuyoricans. It’s the psycho-spiritual birthplace of all Puerto Ricans, whether they were born there or not. Some Nuyoricans use Borinquen to describe parts of the Bronx. Nuyoricans like to say, “I wasn’t born in Puerto rico, but Puerto Rico was born in me.”

The word Borinquen translates to “the great land of the valiant and noble Lord.” Boricua has been popularized in the island and abroad by descendents of Puerto Rican heritage, commonly using the phrase, Yo soy Boricua (“I am Boricua,” or, “I am Puerto Rican”) to identify themselves as Puerto Ricans. Another variation which is also widely used is Borincano which translated means “from Borinquen.”

Cabron: A cabron is literally a castrated goat, but if a Nuyorican calls you a cabron you should take umbrage because it means that your wife is fuckin' another man, you know it, and put up with it.

Callejero: A street person. Someone who hangs out in the streets of el barrio. Often an individual who lives on the margins of society.

Cano: A light-skinned Puerto Rican. A PR with European features.

Cachapera: A lesbian. I forget the etymology but I think its origin has to do with a word meaning to rub, because the homophobic stereotype of two women rubbing their chochas together. Don’t ask...

Cariño: love, affection.

Chancleta: a house slipper, but also a Nuyorican mother’s preferred tool for corporal punishment.

Chancletazo: Getting hit by a chancleta.

Chichar: To fornicate.

Chiclet: A Spanglish word of Nuyorican origin meaning bubble gum. Taken from the company of the same name that produces bubble gum.

Chingar: Same as chichar. Nuyoricans do not use chinga in the same way messakins do -- as in chinga tu madre (motherfucker). You would never hear a Nuyorican say something like that, we consider it provincial. More likely, a Nuyorican would say, Vamos a chingar, negrita linda (“Let’s fuck, you sweet thing you.”)

Chino/a: Literally “Chinese,” but chino/a is a phrase Nuyoricans use to denote all Asians regardless of their country of origin, and even Latino/as who look Asian. It’s also used as a term of endearment.

Chocha: A term used to denote a vagina (also called a toto).

Chulo/a: A term of affection -- someone who is sweet and attractive.

Cocolo: In the USA, this is a pejorative term for African-Americans. In PR, it’s a term for PRs who embrace their African roots (or like salsa). So, you can be light-skinned and still be considered a cocolo.

Come Mierda: Literally “shit eater.” Denoting a person who’s full of shit and kisses excessive ass. Often used by Nuyoricans in reasoned debate. Also used by Nuyoricans as a pejorative for Cubans and other conservatives of color.

Conflei: Spanglish for morning cereal (“corn flakes”)

Coño: The Spanish vernacular for “damn.” Nuyoricans use this as often as messakins use the word chinga. It’s an all-purpose curse word. It can be used when you experience pain: Coño, that shit hurt! or when something fascinating or superlative happens: Coño! That shawtie has a big culo!

Creeka: I’m not sure if the spelling’s correct (it’s slang, so who knows), but it means vagina. Of all the words meaning vagina, this one is probably considered the most coarse. It’s often used to describe someone in a bad way, as in cara 'e creeka (creeka face).

Cuero: Literally meaning the cured skin of an animal, like a leather. Used as a descriptor for a woman considered loose -- a woman of low morals. Esa mujer es un cuero.

Culeca/o: A horny or overly flirtatious person.

Culo: Every Nuyorican man’s obsession.

De Cachete: Literally “of the cheek,” but meaning getting something for free.

Dumb-in-a-cans: A messed up way of referring to our Dominican brothers and sisters. A play on the word “Dominicans.” Three ethnic enclaves that are closely related culturally speaking are: Cubans, Dominicans, and Puerto Ricans. As with all groups, there are intra-cultural tensions. The stereotype being that Dominicans are the stupid ones, the Cubans are the shit-eaters (come mierdas), and Puerto Ricans are the lazy.

Grifa: A term used to describe people who are light-skinned but have wiry/ wooly hair. Like some Jewish people would be called grifos as well as hinchos.

Hincho: Someone who’s so white, they’re pink.

Hola: A form of greeting, as in “hello.” No, it doesn’t mean, “holla” and it’s pronounced with the h silent: oh-la

Huevos: Literally eggs, but often used to denote testciles (also called bolas).

India/o: A term denoting Puerto Ricans who resemble the original inhabitants of Borinquen -- the Taino Indians. Also used as a term of endearment (PRs use almost anything as a term of endearment).

Jibaro: Literally “hillbilly.” At one time, Nuyoricans were ashamed of their roots and jibaro was used as a pejorative. Later, jibaro became an icon for young Puerto Rican people who were embracing their roots as part of a mass identity movement.

La Jara: Spanglish for the police. The word came about because so many NYC police officers were called “O'Hara.” the J in Spanish has the H sound, so Nuyoricans would exclaim “la Jara, la Jara!” when the police were coming.

Mami: An affectionate form of madre (mother). Nuyoricans also use to refer to their loved ones Mami Chula or women they find attractive, Oye Mami! Oftentimes it’s diminutive mamita is used in this context.

Maricón: Literally an insult questioning a man’s sexual preference, a homoesexual, but often used as a substitute for the Anglo motherfucker.

Maricón sin Tetas: A vile insult literally meaning faggot without teats.

Me cago en... : Literally, “I shit on... ” It’s used most often in the blasphemous context, as in, ¡Me cago en dios! (“I shit on God”), or to let a misbehaving child know what one thinks of his/ her father, ¡Me cago en tu padre! (“I shit on your father!”) Me cago en... is all all-around cuss phrase popular among Nuyorican mothers.

Messakins: A fucked up way of referring to our Mexican brothers and sisters (also called wetbacks).

Mira!: Literally “Look!” but used as an all-around greeting phrase as in ¡Oye mira! (“Hey! Look!” “Yo!”)

Morena/o: Originally used as a term for PRs who looked like Moors (mora/o) darker-skinned folk. In the US, a term also used to describe African-Americans.

Mulata: Black Americanos often find this term offensive, but for Puerto Ricans a mulata is not a bad thing. In fact, there are songs and poems dedicated to mulatas. It denotes a person of mixed race -- which is just about every Puerto Rican you’ll ever meet.

Nalgas: Ass cheeks.

Negro/a: Literally meaning black, but used as a term of endearment by Nuyoricans. Don’t ask me why, I once knew the origins of its use, but have since forgotten. I think it began as an homage to a person’s African roots, a way of calling to it and honoring it, not sure. Whatever the case, you can be white as a fish belly, but if you’re in a relationship with a Nuyorican, he or she will eventually call you negra or negro as a term of endearment. Feel good about it. Other Latino/as (outside the Caribbean) do not use it.

Nena/e: Literally meaning boy/ girl, but also often used as a term of endearment: Ay nene, you suck my chocha so well.

Nuyorican: Originally a pejorative used by Puerto Ricans from the island and other come mierda Latino/as. It was used to denote the poorer, supposedly stupider, more radical cousins of “true” Puerto Ricans. However, many persons of Puerto Rican descent use the term proudly today to self-identify. Nuyorican is part of an identity movement. Studies of Nuyoricans show that we share many cultural traits with African-Americans (which is probably the reason why other latino/as use it as a pejorative).

Papi: An affectionate form of Padre (father) most often used to refer to your object of affection Ay Papi! or Ay Papi Chulo! Who says Freud is irrelevant these days? LOL

Pasteles: A Puerto Rican staple meat dish, made of mashed plantains and root vegetables, and meat, wrapped in plantain leaves.

Pato: Literally a duck, but also used to denote a male homosexual. (As an aside, I found a recent conversation interesting, though I don’t know how accurate it is. It’s said that a maricón is a homosexual who’s a top and a pato is a homosexual who’s a bottom.)

Pendejo/a: Literally a “pubic hair.” It is used as an insult. Leave it to PRs to compare someone to something as insignificant as a pubic hair.

Pinga: A term used to denote a penis (also called a bicho)

Plena: An indigenous Puerto Rican song form.

Puñeta: Normally, it means to masturbate, but like coño, it’s also an all-purpose Nuyorican cuss word. Most often used in anger, as in ¡Puñeta! I told you not to go shopping, cabrona!

Puta: Whore, prostitute, ho'.

Rockero: Assimilated Puerto Ricans (on the island) who’re into rock/ pop.

Roofo: Another Spanglish word meaning, yup, the roof. The correct word is techo.

Rumba/ Rumbero: An Afro-Cuban dance form, but also used by Nuyoricans to denote a party or partier. Vamos a rumbiar! (Lets go party!), or Esa Nina es una rumbera! (that Nina loves to party!).

Sabroso/a: Very tasty, delicious, as in Your chocha es muy sabrosa!

Salsa: an urban folklore incubated in the barrios of New York city that influenced Nuyorican literature, art, and music. Also a genre of Latino/a music.

Sangana/o: This word also has different meanings among different Latino/as, but for Nuyoricans, it means a person who is girlish. A dolt, an idiot, a fool. One who is easily taken advantage of. A naive individual. I often use it to mean the same as “silly.”

Spanglish: A merging of Spanish/ English -- or a form of code-switching -- having its roots mostly in Nuyorican and Chicano communities. Spanglish, at one time considered the parlance of the ignorant, has emerged as an influence in Latino/a literature, influencing many poets and writers of note. There is at least one college course I know of teaching the idiom.

Spanish: Spanish is a fuckin’ language ma’fuccas. It’s also used to denote people who come from Spain. I’m not from Spain, so don’t call me Spanish unless you like being called a cracker or a muthafucka!

Toto: Denoting a vagina (also called a chocha). This is more a kiddie word -- what an adult would instruct a child to call her vagina.

Trigueña/o: Someone with light brown skin coloring -- something like cinnamon or lighter with pelo lasio (wavy-to-straight hair).

Well, I have to run along to work, so this will be it for now. I will continue adding more, so come back and check it out. If you have a question about Nuyoricans, please feel free to ask. The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.

Con Cariño,



Sofrito For Your Soul Online Magazine

Nuyorican cinema

"Nuyorican Power," Current TV program on Nuyorican culture, featuring portraits of Pedro Pietri, Fat Boy, Rita Moreno, J-Lo, Rita Moreno, Macho Camacho and Giannina Braschi;Produced By: Evan B. Stone & Carrie Pyle for CURRENT TV.


[un]Common Sense