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Issue XII, Vol. XXVI, No. 313

News and happenings for, by, about and affecting the LGBT Valley.
Project of Community Link, Inc: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Service Organization. 
EST. September 1995

Smoke

Community Link Projects

 
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GRAY ALLIANCE NEWS

Gray Alliance is a group for LGBTQ+ seniors, and we get together for potlucks the last Sunday of each month.

We will have a potluck Sunday August 29th at the First Congregational Church Fireside Room from 2-4 pm. It’s located at the south end of the church at 2131 N Van Ness Blvd in Fresno.  Please note that although we are using a church facility, Gray Alliance has no religious affiliation.

 

If you have any questions, please contact John Richardson at 559-260-1565.  Hope to see you soon!

Youth Alliance News August 2021

David McGee
 

Summer days are upon us! We’ve had multiple days of triple-digit temperatures, and just to top it off, we are dealing with the soot from fires in our hills. The combination of hot weather and smoke particulates is overwhelming for those with the best of health! Luckily for our youth, the meeting room at the Big Red Church that we are once again utilizing for our youth group meetings is air conditioned, and it cools off rather quickly!

Yes, we’ve begun to meet in person, once again! Our numbers are low, but we are meeting, and many of us are seeing each other face-to-face for the first time in a year and a half! It was good to see the youth group members who have been meeting on Zoom since the department of health recommended that folks not meet in person. We are still trying to provide a Zoom meeting room for those who cannot meet in person, but we’re having a lot of trouble making Zoom work in the building.

Last week, three adults tried to connect laptops to the church’s Wi-Fi connections. It seemed like it should be an easy task, but it turned out that the church’s Wi-Fi router must be located too far away for us to connect with it. And then we tried using phones as a hot spot, which worked better once we figured out how to use a hot spot. Maybe we should have asked the youth for their assistance! The experience was both maddening and hilarious at the same time!

While the adults tried to get an Internet connection, Rachel, AKA Banana, provided the youth with paper and pens, and each of them made a list of attributes they possess, from A to Z. Then, they read their list to the group. After all the kids shared, our Grand Poobah, Jeffery Robinson, gave his list of attributes without writing them down—he just recited his list off the top of his head! After making their lists, our participants were asked how their friends might describe them in one word and how they would describe themselves in one word. Most of the kids in our group are already close friends, but the process of describing themselves gave them more information about each other!

The fall semester started for our youth last week. When many of us attended school, the fall semester started in September, after Labor Day, but now, schools start earlier so that the kids can have a longer winter vacation. None of our youth were particularly excited to be starting school, but they were mostly bored at home, too. Most are doing some sort of hybrid process of both in person classes and home schooling. We will be checking in with the team weekly to see how they are doing!

The Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance is meeting once again in person in The Fireside Room at the Big Red Church! But we will continue to open a Zoom meeting weekly, as well! We will be sure to publish the meeting number and the password for our Zoom meeting on Facebook, and now that we’ve got our Instagram account going, we’ve published on Instagram, also! We urge any and all school-aged youth to join us at the church or on our Internet platform, on Friday nights at 7 PM! We may even manage to have a potluck on the last Friday of the month, like we used to do!

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The Youth's "I AM" Writing Exercise Answers

I AM
("Carlos" Asexual, 17, He/Him)

Asshole
Bitchin'
Competitive
Determined
Egg-hater
Fergalicious
Gore

Hot Garbage Fire
Introverted
Jalapeno
Krafty
Limon
Mean (on occasion)
Not that smart
Open minded
Perfectionist
Queer
Resourceful
Scatterbrained
Turtle
Ugly
Very-ugly
W
X
Y

Z

I AM
("SnazzyBabe" Straight, 18, She/Her)

Ally
Busy
Controlling
Disclosed
Educated
Faithful
Getting that shmoney
Hissing
Intuitive
Juice lover
Killing roaches
Latina
Mud eater
Nervous
Odd
Punching nazis
Quacky
Romantic
Stressed
That bitch
Up front
Vampire
Wicked
X-mas loving
Yam hating
Zoinked

I AM
("Lucas" Bisexual, 18, They/Them)

Angry
Bitchy
Curious
Dyke
Elephant
Fagged
Genuine
Hair
Impatient
Jinxed
King Kong
Laughable
Mediocre
Nymph
Obscene
Prince(ss)
Queasy
Ratty
Sardine
Talkative
Unraveled
Vocal
Wiggly
Xanax
Yucky
Zoo

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Local

 

Review: Fear Street 1994: Part One
Valencia Marquez

Fear Street is the first installment to a three-part trilogy. It includes some popular names such as Maya Hawk of the popular Netflix show Stranger Things, Kiana Madeira of Netflix’s Trinkets, as well as Benjamin Flores Jr. from the Nickelodeon show The Haunted Hathaways. Right off the bat, the Film begins with an eerie vibe as teen Heather Watkins (portrayed by Maya Hawk) closes up shop at the mall she works at. After this scene it is a little while before we see any more action as one of our main characters, Deena Johnson (Kiana Madeira) struggles with giving a box back to her ex-girlfriend, Sam since the two of them are broken up.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t come for the sapphic main characters, but I did in fact stay for the creepy factor the movie gave off incredibly well. In my opinion, it was a great mix of scary and romance, there is even a steamy scene hidden in the movie—but don’t worry, no spoilers here! The movie did have a bit of gore in it so beware of those that aren’t comfortable with that sort of thing. There is one thing the writers did really well on was making us believe everything was okay in the end and then switching it on us at the last minute. It made me sad for them because I thought the beloved, and fearless main characters had made it out safely but that was definitely not the case. I am excited to see the next part of the trilogy that comes out July 9, 2021. So, to wrap the review up, if you love horror movies that include lesbians, century old witches and curses, with a hint of gore and romance here and there then I think this film would be the perfect one to watch—not to mention the actors themselves giving us a wonderful performance.
Give it a watch! You won’t regret it.

 

Feeling kind of Ordinary
Tim Evans


Last year I reached 65 years of age. I have been wondering for a while now what that means to me, how I truly feel inside and what lies ahead. I struggled in my youth with being gay and fought valiantly to act straight and fit in. But was I really kidding my family and friends? I did nothing overtly “straight” like play sports and date girls, but I also did not do the stereotypical “gay” things either. I was not in drama club or worked on artsy projects or sang in a school chorus. I was just kind of existing. I had friends who were school athletes, and we would do the usual high school shenanigans with alcohol and weed and sometimes stronger drugs. But all the time I would secretly pine away for the leader of the pack. After high school I did not go to college and drifted and wore a mask until I found a steady job, moved away from my hometown and began an ordinary existence. Work, weekends, friends, drinking, hiding my true self and then back to work on Monday. There is no doubt it wasn’t all bad and I had some fun times, but the drinking got out of hand, and I knew inside I was trying my darndest to appear straight and not fooling anyone, though no one asked me if I was gay. Along the way I had a tryst with an equally confused guy, and I turned on him with all my internalized homophobia.

Years turned into decades, jobs came and went. I gingerly came out of the closet in my late 30’s and met a man who I dearly love and have married. I no longer hide my gayness, but life is still ordinary, and I wonder where I fit in? Do not get me wrong, life is good, and my husband and I enjoy our jobs and our adventures and our orange dog, Cali. But I often wonder where in the gay community do I fit in, where do I find family?

I like to follow the festive gatherings of the radical faeries and dream of going to one myself. But, really, at 65, would I now don feathers and boas and dresses? Would I need to? But if I didn’t, would I be shunned? The bar scene is loud and probably filled with buff young men dancing shirtless. My husband and I would stick out like a couple of overweight old queens. I am self-conscious enough as it is. Well, what about the bears? I could probably pass in the bear scene. I wear a beard; I am heavy set and love Levi jeans and flannel shirts.

I think I like being ordinary and I like being at home with my husband and dog. I realize as I write that I am stereotyping the gay cultures I mentioned. I mean no disrespect and I love that they exist and watch from the outside wishing I belonged. When I go to pride events, I love the colors and diversity that dances and swirls all around me. Dykes on bikes, bears, faeries, trans folk, ordinary queers like me, all of us are one and absolutely no one will take that away from us. In the end though, I struggle with where do I fit in? Where is my adopted family? My biological one is distant to say the least. At the age of 65 I find that there is much that doesn’t matter to me anymore. I don’t follow fashion trends and I wear jeans or cargo shorts and t shirts most of the time. I love my tattoos and large gauged ear piercings. To me they are symbols of my personality. They represent a spirit, a celebration of who I am and what I enjoy. In cooler weather I like to wear a vest with a sparkling brooch pinned on it. I don’t care what other people think because this is what I like and compared to the rest of my biological family it is most certainly not ordinary! So maybe, in the entire spectrum of gay culture, I am making my own statement about who I am. I know my family is out there. I’m 65 years old and loving my life.

Kampout Returns
Janet

After having to cancel the 40 th Anniversary of Kampout last year due to COVID, the Kampout Committee has begun preparations for the celebration of 40 years in the pines. Kampout 2021, A Hike Down Memory Trail, will be held the weekend after Labor Day, September 10 through 12 at our site across the road from Texas Flat Campground.

The theme this year is your favorite theme…and there are a lot to choose from. From the Stone Age to the 60s, from under the sea to outer space, Kampout has gone to the movies, Vegas, the wild west…just about everywhere and everything has been covered…and we’d love to see your favorite on display.

The cost for the weekend is still just $40. Kampers who arrive early will be subject to a $10 a day per person charge. The cost of admission covers your kampsite, 2 beer busts, the Progressive Kocktail Party, 2 breakfasts, Saturday dinner and
much, much more. You can relax by the creek or join in all the fun and games and compete for prizes. There’s the Yacht Regatta, Needle in the Haystack, and the always popular and hilarious Kamptown Races. Don’t forget the Kampstravaganza Show on Saturday night where you can compete for the titles of Kamp King and Kamp Kween. We encourage everyone to participate in this fun show.

Camping in the Sierras can cost around $30 a night, just for a place to pitch your tent. At $40 for the whole weekend, Kampout is the best bargain for your entertainment buck. This year, in accordance with government guidelines, proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test dated 3 days prior to arrival will be required. There will be no exceptions to this.
The health and safety of our kampers is #1 priority.
So, mark your calendars...celebrate our anniversary…we hope to see you all.
For more information, see our website at www.kampoutfresno.com
You can also visit our Facebook page and join our event.

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Pride Ride
Jason Scott

Today, LGBT Fresno announced free transportation to LGBT+ individuals in need. This program was launched in an effort to help address the epidemic of violence against the LGBT+ community.

Our goal is simple — provide reliable and immediate access to transportation for LGBT+ people, a community that has been disproportionately impacted by discrimination, stigma and violence. At the end of the day, this initiative aims to save lives.

This initiative is sponsored by Hedrick's Chevrolet.

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On a monthly basis, Hedrick's Chevrolet will provide funding for rides. If those funds are exhausted, LGBT Fresno will fund rides with a set monthly amount of earmarked funds.

"We thank Hedrick's Chevrolet for their support in funding the carrying our community members to events and their essential appointments." Jason Scott, Executive Director of LGBT Community Network / LGBT Fresno.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating, please submit a request online.

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Acclaimed Stonewall Uprising art exhibit travels to West Coast (Press Release)

 

Fresno, Calif. - In 1969, a routine police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, ignited a six-day clash between police and civilians that many see as the birth of the modern LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. Fifty years later, a groundbreaking art exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum reflected the rallying cry “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow” by transgender artist and activist Marsha P. Johnson.  

 

The critically acclaimed 2019 exhibition is now opening for the second time to give audiences on the West Coast an opportunity to learn and reflect. 

 

The Center for Creativity and the Arts (CCA) at Fresno State will present Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall,” Aug. 19 through Oct. 31 at the Phebe Conley Art Gallery. During the exhibition, the gallery will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and by appointment Sunday. Admission is free. The exhibit and auxiliary events will follow COVID-19 protocols

 

“At Fresno State, our core values are diversity, distinction and discovery. Without a doubt, ‘Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall’ reflects those values and provides a strong educational platform to learn and be curious about Fresno’s own history and participation in significant cultural legacies such as LGBTQ+ civil advocacy and the Feminist Art Movement,” said Dr. Cindy Urrutia, CCA director.  

 

The exhibition features artists born after the uprising whose work questions how moments become monuments while grappling with the political and cultural conditions of our time. Examined through these artists and their mediums are themes of revolt, commemoration, care and desire. 

 

“Stonewall meant not just their survival but also their claiming of space for queer life and joy for themselves, for me and my generation, and the continued resilience and resistance ... of queer and trans communities into the future,” said A.L. Rickard, independent curator/co-curator of the exhibition and former curatorial assistant for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.  

 

In addition to works displayed at the 2019 Brooklyn Museum exhibition, the CCA has worked with the Brooklyn Museum to include local and West Coast artists. A catalog of the exhibition will be available through the center. 

 

“California, in particular, has been a powerful site for movements led by people of color, low income, women and femmes, and queer and trans communities,” said Lindsay C. Harris, co-curator of “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow” and teen programs manager for Brooklyn Museum. “As a land with many Indigenous, colonial, enslaved and migrant histories, there is activism literally in the soil.” 

 

Los Angeles artist Marcel Alcala agrees “I grew up in Santa Ana, and my grandparents have a long history of working the fields up north by Fresno. It keeps me connected and grounded to show my Latinx queer work in this kind of environment.” 

 

Throughout the exhibit, there will be complementary events, including:  

  • Constellating Care Networks, Fresno City College and Center for Creativity and Arts co-sponsored satellite exhibit, Sept. 2 through Oct. 8 at the Art Space Gallery, Fresno City College. 

  • Public Reception, 5 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Phebe Conley Art Gallery. 

  • Female Impersonator Show, 5 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Phebe Conley courtyard. 

  • CineCulture virtual screening of "Carlos Jáuregui: The Unforgettable Fag." The event features an online screening October 18-22 and a Zoom discussion with director Lucas Santa Ana at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 22. 

  • Concert and Poetry Reading, featuring members of the LGBTQ+ community and led by Professor Benjamin Boone, details TBA. 

  • Panel Discussion, details TBA. 

“I hope that visitors to the exhibition at Fresno State are able to spend time with the glorious works of art and to take in the range of artistic approaches,” said Margo Cohen Ristorucci, co-curator of “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow” and public programs manager for Brooklyn Museum.  

 

The Fresno State showing of “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall” is made possible through a generous grant from The McClatchy Fresno Arts Endowment of The James B. McClatchy Foundation. Founded in 1994, Susan and the late James B. McClatchy envisioned an organization that would address two issue areas important to California: the needs of English learners and the protections of the First Amendment in free speech, freedom of expression and a free press. Since then, the James B. McClatchy Foundation has made grants across its footprint in the Central Valley and strives to make bold investments for long-lasting impact. 

 

Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 years After Stonewall” was organized by the Brooklyn Museum and curated by Margo Cohen Ristorucci, public programs coordinator; Lindsay C. Harris, teen programs manager, education; Carmen Hermo, associate curator, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art; Allie Rickard, former curatorial assistant, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art; and Lauren Argentina Zelaya, director, public programs, with assistance from Levi Narine, former teen programs assistant for InterseXtions and special projects at the Brooklyn Museum. This presentation was adapted by CCA at Fresno State. 

 

The center’s mission is to engage the public with the arts through dynamic interdisciplinary programming that highlights local topics that have global perspectives. As an institution, the center is committed to contributing to the intellectual, social and artistic life of the University and the Central Valley and seeks to create an environment where the arts function as a catalyst for intellectual and creative conversations that are grounded in the everyday life of the Central Valley. 

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National

 
Mobile Phone

Heroic mom grabs phone from man following her trans son to the bathroom to take pictures of him

"What bathroom are you going to use, tranny?" the ex-trans activist shouted. That's when mom intervened to protect her 17-year-old son.
Alex Bollinger
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com

 

A Texas mom saw an ex-gay and ex-trans activist following her transgender son to the bathroom to record him, so she swooped in and deleted pictures from his phone.

Lauren Rodriguez was a the Texas Capitol in Austin this past April, one of many transgender equality activists, parents, and children who spoke out against Republican lawmakers’ attempt to criminalize the parents of transgender children. And she went with her 17-year-old son Greyson.

continue reading at LGBTQNation.com

After years of delay & billions of dollars, Charlotte NC finally passes LGBTQ nondiscrimination law
Bil Browning
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com

 

Charlotte, North Carolina has passed an ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity after years of delays and billions of dollars.

Five years ago, when the city tried to pass an inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance, Republican state legislators reacted with a series of anti-LGBTQ laws that prohibited cities from passing nondiscrimination ordinances and banned transgender women from public restrooms.

continue reading at LGBTQNation.com
Restroom Sinks and Mirrors
Teacher Writing a Formula on a Blackboard

Teacher quits in tears after being told she can’t misgender trans students anymore

Laura Morris sobbed as she told the school board that she can't respect transgender students because she's "a believer in Christ."
Alex Bollinger
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com

 

Citing her identity as “a believer in Christ,” a teacher in Virginia quit in a tearful speech in front of the school board because her district was going to require her to use trans students’ correct names and pronouns.

“School board, I quit,” Laura Morris said, sobbing and complaining that her “dissenting opinion is not allowed” in the district anymore. “I quit. I quit your policies. I quit your trainings and I quit being a cog in a machine that tells me to push highly politicized agendas on our most vulnerable constituents – the children.”

continue reading at LGBTQNation.com

Pat Robertson plans to live to be 120

David McGee
 

Televangelist Pat Robertson announced to his 700 Club viewers recently that he plans to live to be 120, the same age as the prophet Moses when he died. Robertson, currently age 91, told viewers that he just “feels the spirit of God” come over him, and prophesied that he will live to be 120.

Robertson, who has prophesied that Donald Trump would win the 2020 election and prayed on-air for Satan to stop making people believe Joe Biden had won. Robertson believed that Trump’s re-election would spark the End Times and lead to Armageddon. Since Robertson has had such a bad run with his most recent prophecies, there is hope that he won’t make it to 120.

Source: lgbtqnation.com

Man adopts his daughter’s best friend who was rejected when they came out
David McGee
 

Australian actor Mat Stevenson’s family just grew a little bigger after he adopted Bell Bambi, his daughter’s best friend. Both teens are transgender. Bambi’s father rejected Bambi when they came out as transgender, but Stevenson stepped in to right the wrong. Stevenson’s child, Grace, and their friend Bambi posted on the Internet that they are now sisters.

Source: lgbtqnation.com

Lil Nas X is revolutionizing hip-hop as an empowered gay star

David McGee
 

After his success in 2019, Lil Nas X decided to take a small break in order to work on an album. But he found himself becoming sad and crying most days when COVID-19 hit. He felt isolated and alone.

“I think I spent all of the pandemic making music and crying—no in-betweens,” the 22-year rapper/singer announced recently. He said he never left the house for over a month after most states were shut down due to COVID-19. Now he’s breaking out into videos, photos, TV appearances, and Instagram.

Source: nbcnews.com

Former PFLAG president Paulette Goodman dies at 88

David McGee
 

Paula Goodman, a nationally recognized advocate for LGBTQ people and their families, died August 15, 2021, of natural causes at her residence at the Rider retirement community is Silver Spring, MD. She was 88. During her lifetime, Goodman worked tirelessly to advocate for LGBTQ rights. A PFLAG statement about her passing said, “It was her understanding, passion, and success with PFLAG Metro DC… that led PFLAGers to vote her in as president of the national organization.”

Source: washingtonblade.com

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International

 

Countries urged to offer refuge to LGBTQ Afghans

Taliban has said it will execute gay men
Michael K. Lavers
Reposted from washingtonblade.com

 

Advocacy groups have urged the U.S. and other countries to offer refuge to LGBTQ Afghans after the Taliban regained control of the country.
 

“As Afghanistan falls to the Taliban, members of the LGBTIQ community are among those at greatest risk of suffering under Taliban rule,” tweeted the Organization for Migration, Refuge and Asylum on Tuesday. “The international community must act quickly and decisively to aid all those fleeing persecution.”

continue reading at washingtonblade.com
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Enlighten Me

 

The lesson of the fly and the invisible barrier

 

The other day, I saw a fly in my house trying to get out through the window. The fly kept hitting against the glass over and over seemingly unable to find a way out. The glass had become an invisible barrier preventing freedom and imprisoning the fly. To assist, I opened the window to let the poor fly out.

 

Surprisingly, the fly did not recognize the new opening as a path to freedom. It just continued its old ways of banging against the unseen obstruction. Finally, with some gentle nudging from me, it found the exit and ventured out into the world. Whew!

How often do we find ourselves in a similar predicament? For some reason, we are not able to find our way out even though an alternative path may be right in front of us. This type of concrete thinking is an inability to think outside the box. We seem to lose the insight needed to come up with creative alternatives. So often, we have fixed concepts about how things should be or have always been.

It’s like we lock ourselves into only one perspective. And that perspective is usually our stubborn point of view. In our minds, our opinions become the truth as if they were facts. Then we conclude that since our opinions are true for us, they must be true for everyone. So, of course, if anyone disagrees with our truth, that person must be wrong. And we all know that people who are wrong deserve punishment, right? Watch out! This type of thinking is how fanaticism, intolerance, and bigotry start.

Take religion for example. (Yea, that’s a safe topic to discuss, right?!) Your perception of the Creator was probably shaped, to a large degree, by fixed images and concepts which were handed down to you as a child by your parents and religious leaders. In other words, your concepts about God are most likely the result of religious programming and cognitive conditioning. You may think of yourself as a free spirit which functions independently, but face it, chances are you learned not to question the concept of God—lest you be deemed wrong and subject to punishment!

So here you are now still walking around with preconceived ideas about the Giver of Life that limit your mind’s ability to see a broader spiritual perspective. Take a moment to do some personal reflection. What sort of limiting concepts do you have about the concept of God? Do you think of this deity as male? Why is that? Is that a reflection of your upbringing? Is your male concept of God based on ancient religious teachings and scriptures? If so, who wrote those scripture, men, women, or both? Doesn’t it make sense that the people who wrote (and rewrote) those scriptures had a gender bias in their favor?

So how does all this affect how you think of men and women today? What role do you think men should play in our society? What about women? Are those roles different? Why is that? Where did you get those concepts? Are they limiting beliefs? Are those beliefs holding you back from progressing to a higher spiritual plane?

Just as the fly on the window needed some gentle nudging to escape the invisible barrier, you, too, may need to seek out an open-minded spiritual sage. This person may be able to give you a little nudge of encouragement to break free from those unseen (and often unspoken) conceptual barriers.

How do you know who a compatible, enlightened, spiritual mentor for you is? Your spirit will tell you. Let your inner wisdom guide you. Learn to listen to that soft voice inside you. In time, the voice will grow stronger and clearer.

Something to meditate on today. Find a place in nature where you can have some privacy to do some spiritual work. Any natural setting will do—the beach, woods, City Park, a stream, or even your backyard. Once you have found a quiet place free from interruptions, stand up tall and extend your right arm with your index and ring fingers pointed out like a dagger.

Calling upon your creative intelligence, imagine a blue beam of light shooting from your two fingers pointed toward the ground. Turning clockwise, draw an imaginary circle around you with this blue laser beam. Within this protected circle, sit down and let your mind have a conversation with the source of all life. You will be surprised how this experience broadens your mind. (When you finish, don’t forget to take down the circle by turning in a counterclockwise motion before leaving the space.)

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New Wellness

 

 LEFT IN FRONT OF ME 

 

I walked into a local coffee house one afternoon. On a mission every bit as important as Jake and Elwood’s. To find strangers. Meet them. Then get their support for an advocacy project. However, nothing on my visit would go right on that Tuesday. 

 

For years I’d daily been engaging random strangers. One at a time mostly. Talking with them. They’d write support on giant foam boards for my efforts to get to a symbolic goal in New York. 

 

On this particular weekday, I walked up to the first stranger. He chatted me up. Signed a message on one of the boards. Curiously, I noticed he was left-handed. Pretty nifty. Not many folks are. 

 

This fella and I got into a fascinating conversation about famous guys and gals who are lefties. President Obama. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Neil Armstrong. Judy Garland. Mozart. 

 

Over the next twenty minutes, I approached two more strangers. There was a lot more of the same. We share a few laughs. Take some casual selfies. Exchange everyday stories about our lives.  

 

They too write support on a board. I notice something. They too are left-handed.  

 

On each occasion I spent with these divergent individuals, they let me know the unique challenges they regularly face that we right-handers don’t.  

 

Like getting ink on the side of your hand and smudging your work when writing a letter. The difficulties of opening soup with a typical hand can opener. Grappling with finding appropriate scissors back in elementary school art classes.  

 

Those first several random encounters I had on this day were queer in a quirky kind of way. Only ten percent of the population are lefties. So here I was at this point. Bumping into not one. Not two. But three people in a row with this noteworthy characteristic.    

 

The day’s adventure was not over yet. One by one I continued approaching unsuspecting strangers sipping their foam-topped lattes while they scrolled through social media. One by one each person made some time for me and added support on the boards for my efforts.  

  

And one by one I surprisingly recognized that each of those six individuals who consecutively came into my life had something quite unusual in common. They were exceptional. They were all left-handed.  

  

I finally wrapped up my advocacy and headed home. The songs on the car radio faded into just jingly jabberwocky. My mind was focused elsewhere. Namely. What had I just witnessed? 

 

Upon arriving home, I at once dropped my colorful boards and favorite backpack by the door. Hurriedly kicked off my faded black sneakers. Making a spirited dash to the whiteboard. It became a sort of mad scientist moment. Numerical wizardry came alive in my cozy residential laboratory.  

 

I’d been a maestro of mathematics back in my Indiana University days. But that was decades ago. It took a little shaking off of the collegial calculus cobwebs to make headway. Eventually, I was able to come to a conclusion about the series of events from this day that had been left in front of me. 

 

Just to be sure. I contacted algebra teachers and numbers gurus around the states. And oh Canada too. They confirmed my findings.  

 

This was definitely far greater than just a cool coincidence. Meeting six strangers. Randomly. One after another. All six being left-handed. Given that only one in ten people have this ability.  

  

It’s only when common mathematics gets applied that this story gets elevated to mind-boggling. It becomes absolutely, incredibly extraordinary. In such a fun way! 

  

The odds of what I experienced that afternoon in the coffee house were truly…one in a million.   

 

This once in a lifetime story is brought to you by that guy right where you left him. That flabbergasted guy is Ron Blake and odds are he can be reached at rblake5551@hotmail.com

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Uncle Barbie

 
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Your Intellectual Whore
"An effervescently gay advice columnist."

 

Disclaimer: Although the author of this syndicated column holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, the tongue-in-cheek advice given is for entertainment only and is not a substitute for therapy. Barbie responds to all emails...whether you deserve it or not. Send your questions to Uncle Barbie at:
askunclebarbie@aol.com

Fanning the Fires of Romance

 

Hey, Uncle Barbie,

How's it hangin'? As we engaged into a night of "pillow talk" with my companion of almost five years, we began to wonder what happened to my sex drive. We agreed that after the birth of our daughter, my sex drive has gone into hiding. My question is: why does this happen? And obviously it happens to a lot of people because I have heard my fellow co-workers (which are 99% men) complain about the lack of sex with their wives. I don't know if it's because of having children, which by the way happened to me after the birth of my first child with his father. Any insight into how I can bring the romance out of hiding? To add, I really enjoy reading your column. You appear to be very knowledgeable and have some great, long winded, sometimes humorous advice.

Signed, Missing the Drive

 

Hello Miss Drive,

Well, to answer your first question, it’s hanging down to my knees--thank you for asking. It’s not as glamorous as you might think, though. Sometimes I trip over it. So then, I usually wrap it around my waist and use it as a belt. It’s more of a nuisance than anything. Believe me; it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. At times, I need to toss it over my shoulder and burp it. And yet, at other times when it misbehaves, I have to spank it (almost daily). All in all, though, the only real advantage is that during Halloween I can put on a pair of roller-skates (wearing nothing else but my birthday suit) and go as a pull toy!

 

Now to answer your other question. One way that you can rekindle the romance in your relationship is by reintroducing the same elements that you originally had when you were first falling in love with your current partner. Think back to the time that you first really felt that you were head-over heels for this guy. What attracted you to him--I mean physically? Was it his appearance, his walk, his demeanor, his tone of voice; was it the way he treated you, the way he valued you--or what? I suggest that you, both, set aside a special evening just for the two of you--no kids around. Then, do your best to reenact one of your first dates. Wear similar clothes; create a similar setting; serve the same food and drinks; and style your hair in the same way (as best you can). Likewise, make sure that you think the same thoughts. Thoughts can create emotions. So, think about all those wonderful thoughts that you had regarding your partner when you were starting to fall in love with him. Try to recall the topics of conversation that you discussed when you were on that first date. In other words, relive the experience of falling in love. Try it; you’ll like it. 

 

All the Best, Barbie

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Horoscopes

by Eric Biglione
 
Astrology Map

ARIES (Mar 21 - Apr 19)
Good time to start an exercise routine. It will get you out of a comfort zone and will help you to engage with others. It's a subtle transformation. 

TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20)
You are able to handle any work thrown at you. You do it with grace and there are rewards for this. You are very creative now in finding solution to problems.

GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)
You r friends are all talk and no go. It's getting on your nerves. Use the time to take a break and plan. 

CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
You are doing pretty good here balancing work, home and friends. THis is an excellent time to reflect on what has been working for you and what hasn't. Enjoy. 

LEO (July 23 - August 22)
You were the belle of the ball and now it's time to get back to work. You can do this and watch your finance while you do.

VIRGO (Aug 23 - Sep 22)
You have the energy to work but it does not go as smoothly as you like. Maybe you should pamper yourself here. It will be good for your ego. 

LIBRA (Sep 23 - Oct 22)
You are very creative and charming during this period. You even amaze yourself. You just keep pushing ahead. 

SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 21)
Throwing money at a problem will not solve it. Do what you can and be happy with it. You will feel better all the way around. 

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 21)
Others make for a short temper in you. Best to walk away from the madness and indulge in a hobby. 

CAPRICORN (Dec 22 - Jan 19)
This is not a time to kick back but to plan ahead. You need to move forward. Planning will allow you to put your best foot forward.

AQUARIUS (Jan 20 - Feb 18)
You feel like you are back on track. You are consolidating and moving forward. Very resourceful times. Forget the past, move forward.

PICSES (Feb 19 - Mar 20)
You feel like you're swimming upstream without a paddle. Everything moves forward after a while. Enjoy quiet time and reflect. You know what it's all about. 

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Events

 
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Who will be the next Mirror Ball King & Mirror Ball Queen???

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