Escaping the Darkness

My journey, from wine lover to sober and happy...

Quitting drinking lifted me out of Crapsville. When I drank, I would often ponder why other people’s lives seemed to be so much more productive and together than my own messy, unsatisfying and occasionally frightening existence. I am writing about this today because I noted earlier just how content I am these days, and how long it’s been since I experienced anything or anyone who scared me, threatened me, dragged me down or showed me the darker side of life.

Alcohol brought out so much negativity in both the people I knocked about with, and me. Morals slipped, thoughtlessness abounded, and self-respect vanished all too readily with the same ease it took to withdraw a cork from a bottle.

I found myself caught up in pub brawls, illicit affairs and, on the lesser end of the scale, frequently demonstrating disappointing behaviour that manifested itself in cancelling on people at the…

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Dinner or Dignity: Expecting the Poor to Remain Moral


A few days ago my son and I went grocery shopping. As a general rule, I do not take my baby with me to grocery shop because as any mother of young children – my son turns seven next month – will tell you, a trip for groceries with the children turns into an event laden with begging, tantrums and running through the aisles. This day, however, I wanted to be close to my boy for no other reason than the fact that I adore him, so I let him tag along.

Standing in aisle 5 as my son grabbed oatmeal, an older black woman approached selecting a box of oatmeal, then looking at the price, and finally replacing it. She walked away turning back to advise me, “If you have a car, you need to go to Walmart. Their prices are way cheaper.” I started to say, “I know…

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Handle with Care

developing dad

I sometimes take a picture of you because you’re just so adorable and amazing and beautiful. And sometimes I catch a hint of fragility in what the camera catches. Other times I see huge heaping mounds of it. Giant reserves of delicate. Like you’re a crystal chandelier in the shape of my beautiful boy. And then, in my minds eye, I see all the thousand ways you’ll be disappointed by the realities of life you can’t even fathom at this point. Sculpted from this thing of beauty into another thing of beauty to be sure. But still, that journey is treacherous and full of potential. Potential harm. Potential fortune. Potential damage and grace.

Maybe it’s you. Maybe I’m not just a proud dad that’s just insanely obsessed with my kids. Maybe your specialness, your perfectness is not a function of my pride. Perhaps you are magical and I’m afraid of…

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An Education on Love Between Womyn

Vanessa Mártir's Blog

It started when we left the land. She was riding in her car with her best friend. I was in another car with a friend and my daughter. I hadn’t seen her since the day before, on the land in Hart, Michigan where we’d attended a womyn’s music festival. Where we met. I’d stayed in Detroit. She spent the night in Grand Rapids. We met up somewhere in Ohio, on the road from Michigan to New York. I wanted some time alone with her so I told everyone, the two adults and my daughter, that we were going outside for a few minutes. My friend who is 63 and came out when she was a teenager, who is seasoned and protective, reminded me: “We’re not on the land, V.” She didn’t have to tell me what she meant. I knew and I resented it. I resented not being able to…

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On Silent Black Men: What Have You Done For Us Lately?

I grew up knowing —not believing— Grandma Nan could do anything. She could stoically kill a snake in her yard with an ax and resume tending to her collards in the garden — wearing a chiffon floral house dress. She’d tell my grandfather about it later, probably as they chatted over her homemade veggie soup and Mountain Dew. Sure, Grandma needed Grandfather Walter, but only because she wanted to. He built her house and later on, the garage. He drove the trash to the landfills on trash day (we’re country folks) and fixed every leak. Still, Grandma Nan was The Queen. As were the other women in my family.

My Grandma Nan My Grandma Nan

Men existed in their worlds but didn’t make them go ’round and I felt the strength of women all around me. After all, being strong is the one thing the world will tip their hats off to black women for — sometimes…

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An Open Letter to the Kardashians, From a Sports Fan

Sports and Spices

Dear Kardashians,

I write this open letter to you as a sports fan. As someone who didn’t grow up looking up to fashion designers, but to professional athletes. You know, that group of talented people you ladies love to date, marry, and divorce after 72 days.

Yeah, those guys.

Those guys whom have worked so hard to reach the peaks of their athletic careers, only to have their accomplishments shadowed by a group of “four sisters” that take the term matriarch to a “whole nother level” (I took both of those quotations directly from your reality show, in case you forgot how annoying you all are to listen to).

Watching the coverage of Lamar Odom is heartbreaking. Not because I feel for Khloe. Not because of Khloe, or Kris, or Kim, or the camera crew that showed up at the hospital today. But because this is a man who has quietly battled drug…

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For Bukowski on his 95th Birthday by Bunkong Tuon

Silver Birch Press

For Bukowski on his 95th Birthday
by Bunkong Tuon

The punch clock rings like a tumor
as he steps into the late afternoon light.
The boarded-up windows hang like terrible
hangovers while plastic bags, soda cans,
cardboard boxes litter the sidewalks.
Mick Jagger screams I Can’t Get No
Satisfaction from someone’s broken window.
Chevrolets parked along broken fences
and graffiti walls. Teenagers watch him
trudge by. Heads down, parents exhausted
from their 9-to-5’s at factories and hospitals.
The little children stop running and screaming,
stare at this man in his sweat-stained shirt,
fascinated momentarily with his acned face,
then return to their hide-and-seek game.
He crosses the street. A car screeches
to a stop. The driver sticks her head out
the window cursing, one hand pressing
the steering wheel, the other holding up
a middle finger. But the man ignores her,
turns a corner, and disappears into a boarding

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Voluntourism – Helpful Aid Or Just A Warm Fuzzie?

Master of Something I'm Yet To Discover

(Source: Google images)

There has been something of an explosion in the travel industry of a new form of travel dubbed “voluntourism”. Part community service, part holiday, participants agree to help out as volunteers as part of their holiday package. The range of opportunities on offer and the number of companies getting in on the action has expanded dramatically over the last ten years.

But is it a good thing?

Most of us would react positively to the idea of helping our fellow members of the human race in some capacity and if we can combine it with a holiday, all the better. And the community we work in benefits from our efforts. It’s a win-win, right?

Except that not all volunteering is created equal. Some offerings are more about providing that “warm fuzzie” moment for the traveller than of providing any lasting benefit to the recipient. Spending a week playing…

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I Want to See the Tower by Laurent Scheinfeld

The Leica Meet Blog

Some of the most rewarding aspects of The Leica Meet are the new friendships and the remarkable talent we encounter. One such person is Laurent Scheinfeld, a Paris based photographer with a unique perspective on that iconic travel destination, the Eiffel Tower. Here he describes his fascinating project.

Millions of people dream to see the Eiffel Tower. Trocadero esplanade, which undoubtly is the best view point for admiring the Tower, counts several millions of tourists from all over the world, every year. Surprisingly, the dream becomes reality and the place then offers a strange ballet of people shooting themselves in front of the Eiffel Tower, playing with its image as if it was a goal in life to get their own picture in a posed or grotesque attitude in front of the Tower. I love my native town Paris and I love the Eiffel Tower. Through a social and psychological…

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“I will revoke the U.S. citizenship of all Puerto Ricans,” says Donald Trump


War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony

– August 22, 2015

The U.S. presidential campaign is turning bizarre.

Earlier this week, Rev. Al Sharpton declared that “people that were from Puerto Rico all would have to go back if their parents were undocumented.” In other words, Sharpton believes that Puerto Ricans are not inherently U.S. citizens.

Then in New York City, while speaking to a group of investment bankers and hedge fund owners, Donald Trump declared that if elected, he will revoke the U.S. citizenship of all Puerto Ricans because they are “not part of the American race.”

The speech was reported in multiple news sites, though some have questioned their accuracy. Here are two reports of this speech:

The reports were also picked up in this Univision Forum:

If these sources are accurate, then Trump is saying that Puerto Ricans can be drafted to die in America’s wars. 

They can sew dresses in…

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