Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Hurricane Irene swept up the East Coast of the United States last weekend, striking in the mid-Atlantic Region last Saturday, August 27, 2011. Although downgraded to a Level 1 storm by the time it reached landfall in the Tidewater area of Virginia, it nonetheless managed to deliver severe damage throughout the eastern part of this state and the northeast U.S.A.
In Virginia alone, almost two-thirds of the state lost electrical power, including yours truly. As a matter of fact, I am still, five days later, without electricity at home. And, if that wasn't incovenient enough, my broadband provider is experiencing difficulties providing service in the aftermath of the Hurricane Irene. Some are predicting that power will not completely be restored in the state until early next week. Hence the title of this article: when it hurricanes, it pours!
Irene did indeed pour quite a bit of inconvenience upon us all. However, most of us remain healthy and slightly irritated regarding the hassles. All in all, considering the alternatives, it could have been much worse than it actually was. In the meantime, I'll publish here as I am able. As you can see from the picture here, I'm patiently waiting for all circumstances to return to normal.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Friday, August 26, 2011
Finally, it's once again Friday and the advent of another weekend! Another two days of carefree time and the ability to enjoy the joys and pleasures of the summer season. An opportunity to spend quality time with friends outdoors and appreciate the best that sunshine and hot weather has to offer. It's the last weekend in August and that fact alone accounts for the multitude of activities crowding our calendars.
Personally, it's going to be a busy and chaotic period. Despite the 5.9 Richter scale earthquake that surprised our area this past week, there's yet another major weather event that may or may not impact on the region: Hurricane Irene. These are the reasons for the confusion and uncertainty about what influence, if any, that we potentially may suffer.
Next, there are the public festivities surrounding the dedication of the Rev. Dr. King's Monument on the National Mall in Washington, DC. These activities typically assume a life of their own and can play havoc on anyone's schedule. Often, the best planned are the one's that frequently run off track and behind. Of course, the weather can impact any and/or all of these.
Then, there are the obligations with friends. Some of these include the Dr. King celebrations. There are, however, several social gatherings that require a minimal appearance. One of these is a naked pool party that is also at the mercy of both the approaching hurricane and the punctuality of the Dr. King activities. Another is a reunion of sorts of a nude volleyball team that I played with in the past. One of our former teammates is back in the area for a few days and we all wanted to get together for old times sake.
Whatever the weather delivers, it's going to be a crazy weekend. It likewise promises to be fun and interesting. And what's with the retro nude dudes that are pictured here? How do they fit into the equation? It's simple: as a reminder of the days when all I had to do was to hang out with friends on the weekend! Friends are what's important, right?
I intend to have a great time with my friends this weekend. So much so, that I'm creating a long weekend for myself. I'm taking off Monday and will return here on Tuesday, August 30. Be safe!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Today is Thursday, August 25, the final Thursday of this, the last full month of Summer, 2011! Where did August go and what the hell happened to our summer season? As usual, it all passed too fast; proving the adage true: time flies when we're having fun! All too soon, it all comes to an end.
Until a few years ago, this realization would always cause panic in my heart and usually bring on a mild state of depression. At that time, I decided to turn this knowledge around and put a positive spin on this situation. Make the waning days of August serve as warning that there were still three-to-four weeks weeks of ideal outdoor nudity weather left in my region and now was the time to make the best of the remaining opportunities. There's no time like the present to plan ahead so as to ensure optimum pleasure.
This year, I finally had a rocket-scientist moment and understood that I needn't wait until the end of August in order to arrange for the final details of naked summer frolics. These plans could be made earlier than late August and permit me the chance to double-check my calendar and have the option of filling any remaining gaps. The result is that I now have a few evenings free for local trips and events.
My advice to anyone interested, get out your calendars and triple-check your dates. Look for any loopholes and schedule accordingly. The long cold days of winter may seem far away at the moment; but, they are approaching. A careful review of the free time that you have left may serve you well. You might discover that you may be able to do more that you know!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
This upcoming Sunday, August 28, 2011, marks the 48th Anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Civil Rights and the memorable "I Have A Dream" speech by Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. At 11:00 a.m., the Dr. Martin L. King Memorial will be dedicated on The National Mall, Washington, DC, the site of that address. This service is the culmination of years of fundraising, planning and countless volunteer efforts in order to enable this achievement. The Dr. King edifice is located between the Lincoln and Jefferson monuments adjacent to the FDR memorial.
This event marks an extraordinary moment for those who struggle for equality throughout the world. It represents a nation finally, officially acknowledging, honoring, owning and recognizing past enslavements, horrors, injustices and murders based on greed, hatred, ignorance and religion, while sanctioned through repressive laws and by a largely apathetic society. The placement of this landmark to Dr. King's life and legacy on such prominent national real estate is a tribute to his ideals of brotherhood, equality, social justice for all and peace. This ceremony and monument is a symbolic step towards national healing, reconciliation and unity.
The Rev. Dr. King dedicated his entire life and work towards the goals of dignity and freedom for everyone, everywhere. He was an advocate for both human rights and for nonviolent protests. He was a staunch believer in forgiveness, tolerance and understanding. A Baptist minister, he adhered to the basic teachings of Christianity through universal love all the while accepting, embracing and respecting the followers of all faiths and religions, regardless of their age, ethnicity, gender or race. He was a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace. He rejected and spoke publicly against hatred and exclusion.
A confidant and fellow civil rights activist of Rev. Dr. King was Bayard Rustin, a known homosexual (in the language of that time). Mr. Rustin was one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington. Despite constant urgings of his aides to distance himself from Mr. Rustin, lest his sexual orientation damage the credibility and momentum of the civil rights movement, Dr. King remained faithful and loyal to his friend and refused to abandon him. In doing so, he was steadfast to his values of equality, inclusion and justice.
Martin Luther King's efforts weren't restricted to the boundaries of this country alone. His messages influenced numerous millions of people across our globe. He inspired both dreams and hope throughout the world for many of his contemporaries and for successive generations. He was and is a true international hero and an instrument of of social change and progress.
The Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Memorial is the only monument on The National Mall that honors an individual who was not a U. S. President. It is also the first one dedicated to an African-American, a descendant of slaves. It is fitting and right that Dr. King's life and memory receives this singular distinction. He sacrificed his life because of his beliefs in the struggle for freedom from oppression. He gave his all for the better future of us all! Let us all join in this national celebration of his life, his legacy and his love!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The trial of Jonas, age 19, and Franky, age 20, began last Friday in the city of Yaounde`, capital of Cameroon. The two were arrested after leaving a bar on July 25, 2011, for "appearing feminine." The duo were jailed, tortured and otherwise abused by police prior to being charged before a magistrate on August 1, according to Association pour la Defense de l'Homosexualite (ADEFHO), the group handling their defense. A third man, initially detained with Jonas and Franky, was released as he was "masculine acting." Under Cameroonian law, a detainee may be held up to 48 hours before being charged in the presence of a magistrate or judge. The two were held a week prior to being formally arraigned.
Despite protests from the UN, the EU, the British Commonwealth and human rights groups, the west African nation of Cameroon continues to arrest and imprison persons suspected of being homosexual. Under Section 347a of Cameroon's Penal Code, homosexuality is a crime that is punishable with up to five years in jail. In March, 2010, the United Nations Human Rights Commission recommended that Cameroon should decriminalize consensual homosexual conduct.
"Police in Cameroon are arresting people for supposedly looking homosexual, which is absurd and also violates Cameroon's constitution as well as international law," said Alice Nkom, Director, ADEFHO. "They are relying on a discriminatory statute to punish people simply for the way they look."
In March of this year, another man, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede, was convicted of being a homosexual and sentenced to three years in prison. In that case, as well as this more recent one, no evidence was offered to support any criminal conduct aside from being gay. Since March, Mbede's health has declined and he has suffered violence as a result of his homosexuality. Both Jonas and Franky face a similar fate if convicted and imprisoned.
"Cameroon's law criminalizing homosexual conduct is a tool of persecution that is used freely by the police and the judiciary against innocent people," added Nkom. "A conviction against Jonas and Franky will send a frightening message that people in Cameroon can be tortured and jailed just because of the way they look."
Sources: Human Rights Watch media release; Reuters;
In the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin L. King, Jr: "As long as one of us are oppressed, none of us are truly free." Now is the time for us all to work towards human rights for everyone, everywhere.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Monday, August 22, 2011
As discussed in the previous post here last Friday, skinny-dipping is a treasured national tradition. It is one filled with joys, memories and thrills. Yet, despite all its pleasures, it does come with at least one obvious pitfall. There's always the possibility that some prankster is secretly lurking in the shadows who has no problem with stealing and/or hiding your clothes. Unfortunately, this crime is real and not imagined.
Don't let this threat of theft deter your enthusiasm for the honorable sport of skinny-dipping. There are some preventive measures that we can use to protect us against this capital offense against this American custom. First is the obvious, post a "designated guard" ( a buddy to sit out and watch our pile of clothes). In all fairness, this designation should be alternated so that one poor sould doesn't miss all the fun.
A second possibility is to keep your clothing and valuables locked inside one of the vehicles. Have the key on a chain/lanyard that the owner wears as a bracelet or necklace. Short of breaking into the automobile, this removes the temptation from the would-be thief and keeps our articles secure. The only drawback here is that the key somehow gets lost. Have a backup available.
A third option is a variation of the second one. Have everyone bring along a spare pair of shorts, shirt and shoes and lock those inside the car, as with any other valuables. Once again, let the owner wear this around his neck or wrist. Have a spare key available.
The above suggestions aren't the only precautions we have. Each of us can be as creative as we want in devising our own solutions. We can all think of what works best for us in every situation. The important item here is to take a bite out of crime and eliminate ourselves as a potential victim.
Go out and skinny-dip! One simple act of prevention can give us peace of mind and allow us to fully appreciate this tradition on the remaining hot and hazy afternoons of August!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Friday, August 19, 2011
The "dog-days" of August are perfect for that great American tradition: skinny-dipping. Having fun on a hot, summer afternoon by getting together with friends, visiting a local lake, river, pool or beach, stripping off the clothes and jumping in! A great way to beat the heat of the day, the monotony of routine and just being carefree! After all, it is the summer and it is the time to frolic and play outdoors. And as August marches froward, there aren't many of those days left. It won't be long now before we all once again find ourselves adding layers of clothing and searching for the ice scrapers and snow shovels.
As a rule, skinny-dipping usually occurs locally, within our immediate geograpical area. Therefore, it doesn't require an enormous amount of advance planning. The logistics involved are minimal and generally include only transportation, water and willing participants.
All that's really necessary are cooperative weather conditions and by this time in August, that isn't a problem. Simply select a day with heat and humidity and start making contacts with your partners in boredom and crime. Text your co-conspirators a place and time to meet. Grab water and snacks and clear your work obligations. Next stop: the rendevous site. Hook up with your cohorts, decide who's driving and then off you go to your destination. If only everything else in our life could be this basic and easy.
Upon arrival, pandemonium ensues as it's a mad dash for everyone to be the "first-one-into-the water." The essential elements needed are already present: a body of water, naked bodies and a sense of frivolty and fun. The afternoon is complete and mission accomplished! An uncomplicated way to celebrate the August "dog-days!" Rarely does life ever get any better than this!
A word of caution is needed here. This behavior can be addictive. Extreme caution is advised; especially as it concerns bosses and envious co-workers! Participant discretion is encouraged at all times. Proceed at your own risk!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Can you believe it? It's already past mid-August, 2011; the last full month of the summer season. At this time, most of us have attended a number of socials poolside, enjoying the company of friends in a fun atmosphere. One of the many benefits of this time of year is the ability to get outside and not have to worry about uncomfortable weather. After all, it's always possible to cool off beside a pool. Combined with companionship, good food and beverages, and our shared nudity, there's no better way to relax and appreciate the best the season has to offer. That's probably why summer is known as the greatest time of the entire year!
One of the challenges we encounter as hosts/sponsors of pool parties, especially this late in the season, is how to prevent our event from simply blending in with all the others. How to make our aquatic social different and memorable from all the rest. What to do to keep ours "special" in the eyes and minds of our guests.
Theme parties are always popular; but, let's be honest, we can do Hawaiian or Polynesian only so much (no disrespect towards Hawaiians nor Polynesians). Body art is fun for Halloween or Mardi Gras; however, what happens to all that body paint once we enter the pool? And who wants to swim in the pool after all that paint has washed off? So, what's left to do to add that unique touch to our gathering?
Rather than concentrating on an overall theme, focus instead on the actual content. Games and activities can make or break the ocassion and create lasting memories. They require minimal preparation and effort. Besides, often, one game leads our guests to develop another using whatever items are available. Many times, the spontaneous become more outrageous and hilarious than the ones planned.
Relay races, specifically team relays, generally involve practically everyone present and serve as an excellent icebreaker/get acquainted exercise. Once, I attended a splash party where we had to put on a pair of over-sized boxer shorts, swim the length of the pool (keeping the shorts on), discard the boxers and pass them on to a team-mate who had to repeat the same. Variations can include using over-sized T-shirts, "flip-flop" style samdals, etc. Another suggestion is the use of old neckties along the same routine. The possibilities here are unlimited.
Any of the above team relays can be modified into individual games. Additionally, diving for submerged objects are options. A few other ideas include timed races, water-charades (charades played in the pool)and other skill competitions. The sky is the limit here once your imagination and creativity come into play. Be as innovative as you like.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
All the activity in Iowa over the past week has finally yielded to top contenders, at this point, for the 2012 GOP presidential bid. Leading this circus of madness and extremism is Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, followed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and lastly, the newbie and just declared Texas Governor Rick Perry. The truly sad and scary reality is that all three appear to be reading from the identical script. There is very little difference between the three. It's almost as though the trio are sharing the same speechwriter.
Aside from shared presidential aspirations and shared speechwriters, there are other characteristics that these three, Bachmann, Perry and Romney, have in common. They are all virulently anti-equality (that is, anti-gay), have a dangerously missionary agenda to "Christianize" the United States and have a blatant ignorance of the U. S. Constitution. And that, my friends, is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
Granted, the bigoted and discriminatory rhetoric of hatred and exclusion is no surprise. This is, after all, the GOP: the republican party (intentional lower case "r." They need to earn my respect). This political group has a long history of marginalization of the same gender loving citizens (and others) of this country. It's obvious that this message of prejudice against our community has become an enshrined tradition and a part of the basic tenet of the republican platform. They hide behind this as a means of disguising their entrenched dogma of racism, sexism and isolationism.
This collective dismissal of our citizenship, dignity and humanity has become all too comfortable for both this party and its leadership. As a matter of fact, it is now customary and routine. However, that doesn't excuse the reality that it's also disrespectful, disgusting and insulting. They're talking about us as though we're all invisible and not there to hear/read their messages and words of evil and hate. It's like, it's okay to disparage us all because, we're only queer, after all. Politically and publicly, it all boils down to the truth that we're faggots and therefore of no consequence.
None of this excuses the fact that these potential candidates are collectively abandoning both their constitutional and social responsibility even before they receive the nomination for the office they seek. The political position that they hope to attain requires that they "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution of this nation. That same document guarantees us all, regardless of sexual orientation, the rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Essentially, they're lying even before they openly swear the oath. If we're denied any legal protections, how can we possibly expect happiness?
Another link between this unholy triumvirate is their acknowledged subscription to the beliefs of evangelical Chritian fanaticism. Bachmann, Perry and Romney all espouse their goal of leading the United States back to God and traditional Christian values (whatever those really are). Unfortunately, the version of pseudo-Christianity that they embrace is so corrupted by greed and power that it hardly resembles the ideals and goodness on what that faith is originally based. Instead of compassion, hope, inclusion and love, the opposite is now the accepted norm and value.
Within their belief-system, there is no room for tolerance nor understanding. Compromise and reason isn't part of the picture. It's either their way or the...well, there is no other way. Alternatives and options simply don't exist in their creed nor their world. It's basically all about them and their kind and to hell with everyone else who believes differently. Diversity isn't possible in their environment.
"Love thy neighbor" isn't a commandment in their brand of Christianity. In their narrow and sullied faith, "love one another" and "only those free from sin throw the first stone" are replaced by condemnation, control and judgment. They prefer to use the Old Testament injuctions as opposed to the New Testament lessons, promises and teachings. It's as though their faith totally ignores even the possibility of the existance of the historical Jesus.
This focused religious zealousness by future politicals opens us, as a country, to the possibility of the establishment of a theocracy. A government based on theology, a system of religious beliefs. The last time this happened in the historical U.S. was in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. At that time, 1692-1693, we had the Salem Witch Trials in which 20 individuals were wrongfully executed (19 men and women were hanged; one was crushed by stone). We all learned that this was due to mass hysteria based on isolationism, religious extremism, false accusation, lapses in due process and government intrusion into individual liberties.
In all probability, this is why our Constitution separates church from state. Can someone please school the three-ring circus at the potential helm of the republicans that this division of sacred and secular is a part of our legal instrument of governance?
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
During the week that I co-facilitated my most recent HIV/AIDS prevention class, I shared with you "Why I Am An HIV/AIDS Prevention Educator." I published this here on Monday, August 1, 2011. This posting indicated the personal reasons that I continue steadfast in this effort. Nothing has changed in the several weeks since that original entry. I am still committed to that endeavor.
This article is entitled "Why I Remain An HIV/AIDS Prevention Educator." This post indicates to you the how and the why I am able to keep inspired and motivated to stay dedicated and loyal to this volunteer cause. The last class that I taught was Monday through Friday, July 25-29, 2011. The students were all upperclass collegians from HBCUs who were selected for a summer internship in the Washington, DC, area. We met for seven hours each day.
Considering the fact that this particular phase of their internship was happening during the next to the last week of the program, I was amazed at the enthusiasm and energy of the participants. I was expecting a class of young adults who were borderline burnout and eager to return home for the final weeks of their summer break. Nothing was further from the truth. Both my co-instructor and I were duly impressed with their collective quest for knowledge, punctuality, attention to detail and willingness to accept whatever challenges we presented to them. Their team spirit was remarkable.
We've conducted many classes together in this curriculum over the past ten years and this group ranks among the top three. Not a moment was wasted; all assignments and projects were completed, on time, and exceptional. It isn't often that one encounters such a talented collection of young people. They impacted our lives just as much as we influenced theirs.
Upon the completion of our class, both my fellow instructor trainer and I were each presented with a "thank you" card from the group. They not only signed it, everyone wrote a personal sentiment of gratitude. In the time since, I have received emails from many of the students expressing their appreciation and reiterating what they learned in both content and process.
Here is the content of one that I received that is representative of those sent to me: "I just wanted to say thanks again for everything you did for me, as well as the other interns. The open, non-judgemental environment you created really helped me build my confidence in speaking in front of others. The enthusiasm you showed for being the instructor of our class proved to be genuine and I truly thank you for that. I look forward to keeping in touch with you and letting you know how my outreach activities turn out!"
Gestures as simple as these are what both ignite and fuel my passion! They renew my spirit. They give me the strength and energy to continue to fight for compassion, equality and justice in the arena of HIV/AIDS issues. This is why I remain an HIV/AIDS prevention educator. This is why I continue to volunteer in this cause.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Monday, August 15, 2011
Author's Note: The graphic displayed to the left is the internationally recognized symbol that a particular activity/event provides an interpreter for the Deaf.
Recently, a New York state resident filed a Department of Justice discrimination complaint against the Empire Have Nudist Resort located in upstate New York. Tom Willard, a Deaf nudist of Rochester, is charging the resort park with violating the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing his request for an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. The resort was hosting a nude festival sponsored by the Naturist Society. The ADA mandates that businesses and nonprofit groups provide auxiliary aids and services, including interpreters, at no additional cost to users.
Willard alleges that when he first approached the Naturist Society (months ago), he was informed that he could hire his own interpreter; but, the group denied them free admission to the six-day festival. The event cost was $45 per person plus an extra $17 for each day an individual attended. Willard contends that the total cost of an interpreter far exceeded the admissions and that both he and the interpreter should have been provided free admittance as a compensation for his out-of-pocket expense. An interpreter is paid about $75 per hour.
Willard filed his Department of Justice complaint on July 19. On August 2, the event's opening day, the Naturist Society offered to secure an interpreter but stated that it would need a three-day notice in order to do so. Given the date of notice and the timeline needed to engage the service, this would have translated into only two days to enjoy the festival.
This incident is both unfortunate and unnecessary. The ADA was intended to ensure that such instances didn't occur and equal access to goods and services were available to us all, regardless of ability. As evidenced by the dates of the sequence of events, Mr. Willard met his obligation of advance notification in requesting a reasonable accommodation. The facts demonstrate that his early communication with the parties involved were in a timely manner. His DOJ complaint (after his request was refused) was filed on July 19 , more than two weeks prior to the festival. The second response from the Naturist Society on the initial day of the activity indicates that the DOJ had already begun investigating. Too late for either party to be satisfied.
In fairness, Mr. Willard should never have expected free admission. Neither the sponsor nor host should have to provide a accommodation service for a nonpaying participant. Such an expectation is beyond the scope and reality of the ADA. If admission is charged for everyone, then all are expected to pay equally. Only upon receipt of paid admission is an accommodation mandated.
The belated and weak offer of compliance by the Naturist Society is regrettable a may prove very expensive for that organization. This gesture came only after the DOJ became involved and too late to satisfy the equal access spirit of the ADA. Fines for failure to conform to ADA gudelines can and usually do fall into the $50,000 range for the first offense. The organization hopefully will learn from this potentially costly error and work for total inclusion in the future. Had the Naturist Society been receptive to providing some sort of accommodation from the start, this entire matter could have been put to rest before it escalated and necessitated outside intervention.
As a Deaf nudist myself, I can certainly appreciate and understand Mr. Willard's situation. As naturists who happen to also be Deaf, we want the same opportunities as our brother nudists to experience a complete accessability to activities celebrating our culture of nakedness. A differing ability doesn't justify exclusion of anyone. Our strength lies in our community's diversity.
Had all of the above parties had the chance to communicate in a flexible environment, perhaps an amenable option could have been reached. I have required the services of ASL interpreters in the past at especially large functions. I don't utilize one in basic social nude gatherings as I can use notes and gestures to communicate with my naked bretheren on a one-on-one setting. There are creative solutions possible. I personally am acquainted with a half-dozen certified professional interpreters. The Naturist Society could have offered complimentary festival admission to those willing to provide this service on a volunteer basis. This could have reduced the costs of the resonable accommodation and have provided a comfortable climate for everyone. I would rather have a nude brother as an interpreter as opposed to a textile one. Probably, the same is true for Mr. Willard and, no doubt, other festival attendees.
Many of our clothing-optional and nudist facilities and resorts already offer alternatives for our brothers who employ different means of mobility. It's now time for all to embrace and welcome the remainder of our community with differing abilities into our brotherhood and therefore into our culture.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Friday, August 12, 2011
Another summer weekend is here! Time to get out of the air conditioning and go out and play! Beaches, pools, lakes, and parks are out there and waiting for you. There's no better time than now to go outside and marvel at the wonders of Nature!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I'm well aware of the "dog days" of August. I understand that by the time this month is here, many are tired of the heat, the humidity and all the sun. Most gather to bemoan and commiserate over the weather: the hazy, hot and humid days of August and to wish for a return to moderate temperatures. Why is it that we're never satisfied with the climate at hand and accept it for what it's worth? After all, it is summer, right? This is the season for both heat and the accompanying levels of humidity. No doubt if the opposite happened, we'd encounter an even greater number of complaints. Such is the reality of human nature and the fact that most of us are never happy with what we have.
Personally, I don't buy into this mindset; at least, not when it concerns August. I refuse to succumb to all this madness! Instead, I embrace and welcome every day in the month of August and along with it, all the hazy, hot and humid days that it brings! Why? It's summer and this is the way it's supposed to be. There are always diverse methods to enjoy this weather and to make the most of each precious and special moment. No matter what August delivers to my doorstep, I'll gladly take it, deal with it and move on with my life. Aside from a relocation to Alaska or Antarctica, what other options are available? The physical environment is entirely outside my control.
Now, please, don't misunderstand me. I feel the August temperatures as does everyone else. I'm neither immune nor indifferent to the same sensations as the next man. I simply seek alternative ways to enjoy the heat of the season and to appreciate August. I look to live in the moment and not get caught up in the consenus of complaining. There are countless ways of both beating the heat and savoring the "dog days" of August. And, fortunately, the majority of them can be experienced while nude, although not exclusively.
In the interests of remaining balanced and fair, I own the fact that I do bitch and moan about the weather. Anyone who's followed this blog already knows this. During the depressing and frigid months of late January and February, I habitually am guilty of the same behaviors that I deprecate while having fun in August. Truthfully, I am indeed a "hot August" man!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Many men hesitate about attempting social nudity. What do I need to know? What do I need to do? How can I go about this? These and a multitude of other questions flood their minds and sometimes cause more than a few to abandon the experience altogether. However, this doesn't necessarily need to be the case. There are a few tried and proven steps that one can employ in order to ease their transition into nudity.
It is important to note here that just like other aspects and lessons in life, there are no concrete nor universal step-by-step instructions that work for everyone. All of us are different and have various learning styles. There is no solution that suits all. The following are suggestions that we decide what, if any, may or may not be applicable. If something looks possible, fine. If not, modify or discard and move on. Each of us have our own comfort level and that needs to be our guide.
Don't just think about it. Do it!
It's not enough to contemplate and to wonder about the experience. If it's om your mind, then do it. Get naked. Some of us have grown up being comfortable with our nudity, others haven't. If you're among the latter, then there's no time other than the present to feel your nakedness. Take an extra fifteen to twenty minutes after the daily bath/shower and remain nude rather than automatically dressing. Give yourself time to be clothes-free. Take your own time and discover the feeling of being naked and unencumbered by all garments. Gradually increase the amount of time between the bath/shower and the point where you get dressed.
Get comfortable of yourself in the skin that you're actually in! Take several photographs of yourself completely naked. Take the time to view these images of yourself every day. It's good to see yourself as others may see you. Get familiar with yourself nude and appreciate what is best about yourself. Accept yourself for who and what you really are. Keep in mind that the purpose of these pictures are to increase self-awareness and self-image; they are not a public portfolio (although that is an option).
Regularly do something nude.
In different words, grow accustomed to performing part of the daily routine while naked. Try vacuuming while nude, eating a meal nude, doing the laundry nude, etc. Be naked for a reason, a specific task. This removes nudity from the exceptional and into the ordinary. In doing so, nudity becomes more of the norm and less of the sensational. It is incorporated into the regular schedule. Once comfortable with performimg a certain chore while naked, increase the list to expand the comfort and familiarity.
Actually and honestly, resting while nude is healthier for us all. Our bodies are in their natural state and this produces a more relaxing and more rewarding renewal. Bedclothes are artificial and restrictive for the human body; nudity isn't. Sleeping naked allows our bodies to naturally compensate for any stress endured throughout the day. Many consider this as a strictly summer option. In truth, it can be done all year. Our bodies have a natural way of delivering body heat to any area where it is needed.
As we get comfortable with our nakedness, it begins to feel better and many discover it is preferred over clothing. It diminishes as a stress factor and as a cause for concern. As it becomes a significant part of our daily routine, it starts to become part of our basic selves. This empowers us to easily enter the world of social nudity.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Last Friday, August 5, 2011, for the first time in U.S. history, the nation, as a whole, received a AA bond rating, as opposed to the previous AAA (exemplary) rating. This ranking, from Standard & Poor (S&P), followed careful analysis of the recent month-long political fight over trying to raise the U. S. debt ceiling (limit). What this means is that now, this country represents a less than desirable credit risk. In other words, there is a possibility that this nation might not honor (repay) debt obligations and/or may fail to increase the limit on the national debt (if necessary) in the future.
What this translates into for all of us, as respective borrowers, is a higher interest rate. Regardless of political affiliation, we're all now going to have to dig deeper into our individual pockets in order to borrow in the future. We all suffer at a time when many of us can least afford to pay more. Our economy is struggling to recuperate from the fiscal irresponsibility of eight years of George W. Bush and now we must deal with this financial setback.
What this translates into for all of us, as collective taxpayers, is a higher national interest rate. How this impacts all of us is less tax revenue to support government programs and services and more tax dollars to pay off what we collectively owe to others. A reduction in monies available to offset an economic slump and less to spend in an effort to offer a boost to aid recovery.
The S&P, in their report on the lower credit status for the United States, cited the inability of The Congress to act it a decisive and responsible manner by increasing the borrowing ability of our Federal Government. This inaction fueled concerns and fears among lenders that the country may not respond in an acceptable and favorable manner in the future. This raised the issue of potential national default on obligations. Hence, the diminished and weaker creditworthiness of the national government.
So, what happened to create this fiasco? The House Democrats were more than willing to make deep concessions in order to increase the national debt limit. They even agreed to cuts in service program budgets, domestic and defense spending. The proverbial olive branch was offered in a gesture to forge a bridge with House Republicans in the spirit of bipartisanship. What was expected was the same from House Republicans and an amicable, early and responsible solution of the debt crisis.
The Republicans, on the other hand, failed to act in the best interests of the country. Instead, the party allowed itself, once again, to be manipulated and used by the Tea Party radicals within their own ranks. The Republicans, in unison, collectively abdicated their patriotic duty and chose to react in a selfish and irrational manner.
Since the era of Ronald Reagan, and, perhaps earlier, the Republican Party has consistently championed itself as the party of fiscal conservatism. It clearly has universally abandoned this policy in this instance. The moderate Republicans neglected to confront the Tea Party faction over this issue and demand their adherance to this tradition. The xenophobic fundamentalists of the Tea Party have once again publicly demonstrated their intimidation and fanatical control at the expense of national integrity and the public good. This irresponsibility during a time of a growing global financial difficulty is plainly self-serving and indicative of their counterproductive agenda. It's obvious they are incapable of responsible governance.
Mr. President Obama, to his credit, has steadfastly held to his promise of change and hope for a better America. He has blamed both the Democrats and the Republicans for this financial disaster. He has remained true to his promise to end the partisan division within our political system and to bring everyone together to work as one towards a brighter future. Our President continues to strive to improve both our quality of life and the quality of our government.
Could the Democrats have offered more concessions as a means of compromise? Probably. Would additional concessions have made a difference in the light of Tea Party intansgience and unwillingness to find a workable resolution of this recent crisis? Probably not.
The end result of the Tea Party selfish sabotage of the concept of national duty is that we all, equally, will pay more for less. As individuals and as citizens, we've all suffered and will continue to pay the price. Has our national credibibity and prestige been damaged and undermined in this process? Absolutely. Has the Tea Party harmed us all (including themselves)? Undeniably. Is this unpatriotic or even treason? Hopefully, the electorate will reasonably decide.
In the meantime, as Americans, we'll again have to continue to sacrifice more for less. Our quality of life deteriorates as does our economy. Thank you, Tea Party! Your efforts are suceeding where the efforts of those who wish us harm fail!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Friday, August 5, 2011
In addition to the concerns included in Nude Isn't Lewd, Part 1, there is the pressing issue of self-esteem at play here. Many of those who were taught that nakedness is indecent and obscene suffer from a poor self-image. Being raised in this particular situation, a number of men are afflicted with needless anxiety and insecurity throughout their lives. Even after attaining the age of maturity and reason, they are unable to accept and appreciate the natural beauty of the nude human body, especially their own. And the damage simply doesn't end here.
Their inability of self-acceptance produces yet another series of challenges and problems. These sometimes can and do create severe emotional, physical and psychological manifestations that just don't evaporate overnight. The aversion to communal and/or social nudity is a learned behavior that isn't conveniently nor easily unlearned. It cannot be overcome by the proverbial drop of the hat. It doesn't disappear through knowledge nor understanding. All too often, it remains with far too many all throughout their lives.
For many, this upbringing yields only dysfunctional and unproductive lives. The propoganda surrounding negative aspects about our naked bodies is counter-productive and may too often cause antisocial and unhealthy behavior. Sacred and secular santioned prohibitions and taboos against nudity begin to lose their potency and urgency when these potential problems are considered. This loss of status in view of the other growing and impressive list of considerations and issues facing our broader society relax some of the confusion and stress that some of us confront.
Ironically, it is the same institutions that repress nudity and social nakedness, namely: church and state, that offer to us a reminder of the beauty of nudity. These organs/tools of oppression provide us with excellent examples of the classic nude: proud, bold and free of guilt and shame. Apparently, the hypocrisy of this situation completely escapes the attention of the proverbial "powers that be." They seem to turn a blind eye when it comes to the naked treasures that they hold in their possession. And for this oversight we all remain eternally grateful.
Both governments and religions own, maintain and display extensive and invaluable collections of classical and timeless art. Whether in houses of worship or museums, these priceless items feature numerous images of physically fit, healthy and seemingly happy naked men and women. These nude portrayals always manage to depict the perfect human body, all without the artificial adornment of clothing. The ceiling of The Sistine Chapel in The Vatican and Michelangelo's David both immediately come to mind when we think of these environments. If to be nude is indeed to be lewd, why then aren't these treasures vaulted, stored or otherwise concealed from public view? Isn't it entirely possible that their lasting value is the naturalness of their humanity and their nudity? Could that be the ultimate reason for keeping them available to the public?
Of course, we don't need to just look behind the walls of museums and churches for examples of nude pulchritude. In public gardens, public parks and along busy city streets we can find statues and carved reliefs reflecting the attractiveness of the naked body. In most cases, these open and highly visible representations of nudity are popular attractions for visitors in and of themselves. These works of art wouldn't be where they are if it wasn't for official state approval and support, be it municipal, regional or national.
Consider the National Mall, located in Washington, DC, USA, for a few samples of this reality. Adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial and guarding the entrance to Memorial Bridge (between DC and Arlington Cemetary, Virginia) are guilded stauary of nudes on horseback representing specific virtues. Among the Capital Building grounds, also in Washington, are additional nude sculptures honoring what is admirable in humanity.
Finally, the very basis of Christendom itself urges us all to both revere and preserve our bodies. The Bible (and Torah and Qu'ran) teaches us that we were all created in the image of our Creator. Fashion changes throughout time so it's extremely likely that clothing wasn't a part of that image nor equation. These same religious volumes similarly instruct us all that our bodies are temples of our Lord, and therefore, should be treated with respect and honor. Once again, garments aren't part of the larger picture. We've already discussed above the profusion of religious nude art. Why is it that so many religious fundamentalists find naked now indecent and profane?
The mixed message isn't quite so murky and muddled when all the factors are clear and open for examination. Nude is absolutely not lewd, despite what some fanatical and narrow-minded politicians and theologians want us to believe. There is, ultimately, a divine and stately grace and elegance for the human nude. There is truly beauty in our nudity!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Thursday, August 4, 2011
I'm following the tradition of both the season and the region! I'm off for an extended weekend nakation with Twin, Cuz and our partners. I'll be back here on Tuesday, August 10. Have a terrific August weekend!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Residents of the metropolitan Washington, DC, area all know: August is the month to escape and get away. The tourist season is at its peak and scores of visitors crowd the public transportation system and congregate on the National Mall and local shopping malls. The hotels are packed and so are restaurants. So what better time to pack it all up and travel outside the region to enjoy some of the summer delights elsewhere. August is, after all, the final full month of the summer season and those long daylight hours of sand and surf aren't going to last forever.
Many seek refuge at convenient beaches, lakes and resorts. 'Tis the season to celebrate around water and most do just that! Whether its a series of weekend trips, a week-long journey or a month-long excursion, the "A" in August means away from the hustle and bustle of life in and around the nation's capital.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
At first, the task doesn't appear all that difficult: convincing college-age young people to experiment with nudism. We all have the stereotypical image of young fraternity men streaking and dancing naked, especially during Spring Break Week. Yet, as with most stereotypes, the image doesn't necessarily reflect what's real. Evidently, the same is true for collegians and nudism. They're hoping to promote nudism among their peers and to dispel another myth: that all nudists are a bunch of over-age hippies.
The South Florida chapter of Vita Nuda, a group sponsored by the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) that is specifically designed for young adult naturists/nudists, is organizing a 5K run/walk to encourage nudity. The event, known as the Streak Sunsport 5K, is scheduled at the Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Resort in Loxahatchee, Florida, on August 27, 2011. In addition to serving as a means to introduce students to nudism, it also is a fundraiser for the chapter. This will be the first nude run of its kind in southern Florida.
The run isn't limited strictly to young adults. Nude runners of all ages are encouraged to participate. Vita Nuda will collect donations of used clothes and shoes at the event to give to local charities.
The group will host an August 25 run preparty and registration for runners at Run And Roll, a local running store. Interested participants can register at a discounted rate. Immediately following the race, the group hosts a pool party at Sunsport Resort.
Registration, which includes resort admission, is $20 for students/military, $25 before August 20 and $30 from August 21 through the day of the event. For additional information visit aquasunevents.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Many men, when contemplating trying a nude beach for the first time, are hesitant. The reasons for this are numerous and vary from man to man. There are some common causes for reluctance that are shared by most which are by and large, unfounded and needless. Primary among them is the fact that for the vast majority, public social nudity is an oddity and disgusting. It is a new experience that brings its own baggage due to the manner in which many of us were raised and taught to believe. It is a disgrace to be seen naked.
Secondly, our society in this country has inherited a twisted legacy from our early Puritan settlers. To be naked is sinful and lewd. It is pagan and therefore evil and immoral. Adam and Eve were naked in the Garden of Eden until eating the Forbidden Fruit, the apple. Afterwards, they were cast out of Paradise as punishment and covered themselves with clothing as a penalty.
These first two reasons are intertwined and are abused by religion and society to enforce regulation and conformity. This inbred and learned outlook causes many to hestitate and suffer anxiety about trying social nudity. The guilt associated with the freedom of nakedness is overpowering. To be naked is offensive and indecent, both in the eyes of church and state. To be naked is a sitiuation to be avoided at all times. There is nothing worse than being naked in front of others. It is the ultimate humiliation imposed jointly by both sacred and secular institutions. Again, to be naked is associated with punishment.
These institutionalized taboos against nudity have become ingrained within the structure of our society. The result is that they are passed from generation to generation and have evolved into a cultural tradition. The overwhelming majority of us are taught this misinformation from our days as a toddler onward. Essentially, the message we receive is that our naked bodies are shameful and dirty. Our nakedness is to be avoided whatever the cost. All too often, this is the environment in which most of us are raised.
This type of climate produces an inordinate amount of anxiety and confusion for our impressionable youth. Unfortunately, many men carry this baggage with them well into adulthood. These misconceptions and myths create an enormous amount of emotional and mental turmoil for us as we mature into responsibility and are forced to arrive at our own concepts of self and values. To be continued.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Monday, August 1, 2011
I initially entered into voluntary HIV/AIDS prevention education as a way of returning service to my community. A tool to make a difference in the world around me. Being a part of a solution rather than a problem. As a means to end needless suffering and death as a result of this new (at that time) global pandemic. At first, my life had not been touched in a personal way by this disease; that would quickly change over time. As HIV/AIDS began to affect me personally, my comittment to this cause intensified and grew.
I paid for my own training and for my own materials. I entered HIV/AIDS education as an unpaid volunteer and have continued as such to this very day. I still cover the costs of my own instructional materials and receive no financial assistance or renumeration for my efforts. In doing so, I separate my passion from my profession. Personally, I prefer it this way as it keeps my educational endeavors from becoming a burden, a "job." It remains a gift to others and a way of sharing my love with humanity. Through facilitating these outreach opportunities with others, I am able to serve and offer an example of humanitarian duty as opposed to a means of financial gain. Please note this is my individual feeling and not a judgment on those working in HIV/AIDS education, research and service.
As the years passed, my experience as a prevention education instructor increased. Eventually, the professional staff of the not-for-profit organization where I volunteered convinced me to progress from an instructor to the role of instructor trainer. My focus would shift from community presentations and outreach to actually educating persons on how to conduct educational sessions. That is the current capacity in which I now serve this same organization.
The role of instructor trainer has offered me some very interesting and unusual opportunities. It has likewise presented more than a few challenging situations that required some fancy footwork and creativity. In this position, I have encountered some unique and exceptional individuals who, in their own special way, have enriched and rewarded my personal life. Each and every time I have facilitated the instructional curriculums, I finish a better man than when I started. I also leave the task knowing that I have had a similar impact on the lives of others.
My experience in conducting this weeklong course this past week proved to be different. Yes, it provided the same rewards and challenges as have all the others. But, it also gave me pause and reminded me of precisely why I decided to get involved in prevention education in the first place. Not only did this class enable me to recall why I chose this path, it rejuvenated my dedication. These particular participants, collectively and individually, inspired me and, at the same time, forced me to re-examine and revisit the reasons I volunteer in this capacity. Upon completing the curriculum this past Friday afternoon, I left renewed and and refreshed, even after a arduous and difficult week. This class had given to me one of those rare and life affirming experiences that happen all too rarely in our lives. I am grateful to have the chance to be a part of their lives and to have their influence on mine. I will treasure this entire week for years to come.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!