Category Archives: Liberal ideas

The Childhood Brain Thinking Naked

Children, especially young children, are natural nudists. So it seems to me, who was once a child and remembers being one, once dealt with sisters and cousins, once worked at a daycare center with children below the age of five, spent 24 years teaching middle school students, mostly 7th graders, raised two boys and one girl of my own, and for a few years had a backyard pool fenced in for skinny-dipping. Every child I ever knew went through a period of liking to go naked. (Though I have to admit that I never saw a middle-school student naked, nor would I ever want to, but only know about their nudist ways from talking to them and reading their journals where they often talked about things so personal it shocked me a bit and made me wish to un-know it.)

During my own preschool days, I loved taking a bath, especially with Mr. Bubble or other bubble-bath soap in the tub with me. I liked the feel of it all over my naked self. It was a sensual experience that I reveled in. But one time at Grandma Beyer’s house my nudist’s enthusiasm got curbed after bath time was over. I went out into the living room naked without my pajamas. My Grandma Beyer knew how to say, “No,” to children. But she had never threatened corporal punishment until that time.

“Put your clothes on, or Grandma will spank you,” she said. And that is all she said. She used that old farm-wife voice that promised painful hyde removal if I offered any defiance. She had never threatened me with discipline before, that I could remember, And she never did again that I know of. Nor did she have to. The message was conveyed. And from that moment on, I was led to understand that enjoying a state of personal nakedness was only the most private of things. If that had not happened when it did, then I think I would have been a lot less shy about nakedness as I grew.

And then there was the time when I was routinely being babysat after school at my Uncle Larry’s farm along with my two sisters and my baby brother while Mom worked as a nurse on the 3 to 11 shift. Dad didn’t get home until 6. I was probably 8.

Uncle Larry had a barn. And I was allowed to play alone in there as long as I stayed away from the hogs who could be dangerous and didn’t get cow poop on myself. The hay loft was a wonderful place to get naked and play around, jumping from the top of a high stack of bales into the pile of scattered hay below. The straw was always rather scratchy and unpleasant if you plunged into it butt first, but the thrill of flying and spinning through the air naked was glorious.

But, the clan on my mother’s side of the family was made up of mostly girl cousins, there being seven of them between me, the eldest cousin, and the other two boys, one of whom was my baby brother. And girls, especially evil cousin-type girls, glory in embarrassing boy cousins. My sister and the oldest of Uncle Larry’s girls caught me with no clothes on in the hay loft one day. I scrambled and dressed myself faster than I ever had dressed myself before. My face changed colors in ways I had never done before either. And both of the girls tried to further embarrass me by pulling down pants and underpants to show off their girl parts. I hid my face and pretended not to look. But I also learned that I liked naked girls that day. I did sneak a few peeks. It was, of course, a couple of years before my friend Wilford told me the facts of life (though that probably didn’t matter since most of what Wilford revealed to me was totally false information.)

It occurs to me now, 58 years later, that it probably would’ve been better to get the real facts from my Mom, the registered nurse, or from my Dad before this all happened. We could’ve maybe innocently played naked in the hay together knowing full well what not to do and what was really bad in that situation. But as an innocent child, curious but clueless, all I could do was fumble about and worry that I would burn in Hell for doing what I was told was wrong, but I really enjoyed doing. (My Mom could’ve told me the facts of life, but she assumed it was my father’s place to do that. And Dad thought Mom would take care of it since she had the medical training. That’s my excuse for being ignorant, and I’m sticking to it.)

Looking back on it now, with the full knowledge of a well-read adult, I think it is a fact that children have a natural affinity for nudism. And like the many other things like creativity and wonder that we train out of them before they reach puberty, maybe we should be encouraging it instead.

Now that I have offended you and made you swear off my blog forever, let me remind you. This is a humor blog. But that doesn’t mean I don’t really believe some pretty crazy stuff.

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Filed under humor, Liberal ideas, nudes, Paffooney

Naked is Funny

I have lived a life of irony. As a child, I was traumatized by a sexual assault, and it left me afraid to be naked in the presence of others. It was a nightmare in junior high and high school. But even though the physical education showers at the end of every P.E. class were a nightmare dance of towels and hands strategically being flung about because of the other sweaty boys present with mocking eyes and cruel comments, I slowly conducted a personal war within myself to avoid becoming a nudist over the entire course of my teaching career. And then, when I retired, I lost that war. And I became a nudist. I am now a member of the AANR Southwest. And I have been to nudist parks more than once.

You know how practically everyone has that nightmare where they are suddenly at school, in front of the class, and completely naked? Yeah, I had that dream about being both a teacher and a student. I have to say, I eventually learned that all students and all teachers are basically mentally and emotionally naked in the classroom all the time. Students can’t control themselves enough to wear mental clothing. And teachers can’t effectively teach with such barriers in place. Of course, education could not go fully nude without a total restructuring of society and a re-training of all teachers and kids from a very early age.

I can use myself as an example of why “naked is funny.” There is a lot of humor in life that stems from our need to keep certain things secret and the inevitable moment when we fail to keep others from seeing and learning the naked truth.

The picture here is me as I imagine I would have looked naked at ten, showing you everything I was terrified of having girls see, especially the dangly bits that would wiggle and waggle as you walked about naked. I actually wrote a poem about walking about naked as a seventh grader with a wiggling wiener. I, of course, tore that poem up into pieces that I distributed to three different trash cans so nobody could tape it back together. I was aware even back then that I was destined to be one of the world’s worst poets.

I did enjoy being a naked child before I was assaulted. I liked to ride my bike naked at the Bingham Park Woods south of town. There was never anybody else there to bother me. Whether or not anyone ever saw me there, I do not know. Nobody ever said anything about knowing my secret. And after I was attacked, I was always too afraid to try it again.

But being seen naked in nature was not what worried me the most. That naked-in-school nightmare was the one that actually embarrassed me and exposed my dangly bits to girls who knew me.

In P.E. Class once when I was a sophomore in high school, we were standing in a circle on the wrestling mat while the two wrestlers were grappling each other. The girls’ P.E. Class was sitting in the bleachers supposedly listening to whatever the girls’ coach was rattling on about. Of course, we could see they were really all watching the boys wrestle. I was worried that if it got to be my turn, the boy I had to wrestle, being better than me and on the wrestling team, might wrestle my pants off as sometimes happens with certain takedowns. There were cheerleaders in the bleachers that day. Oh, Lord preserve me!

But Jerry Kornbluth and Tom Klotny had an intense match going on… and on and on and on… and the coach was watching them intently as they each countered the other so well that no points were being scored. It lasted long enough that I was in no danger of having to wrestle Nelson, the former State champ in the 110 weight class. So, I stupidly let my guard down.

Boob Eekleboy was a bully and weird-sense-of-humor aficionado. He also was lurking behind me without me being aware of it at all. He was older than me. He was bigger than me. He was weaker than me. (I beat him in a wrestling match the week before, giving him a need for revenge.) And he had an evil mind.

When he took hold of my gym shorts, he apparently got his fingers under the straps of the athletic supporter.

The time between my pants going down and my face turning red as I pulled them back up was probably only about seven seconds. But my dangly bits had been totally exposed. And somebody who might’ve been a cheerleader giggled and squealed about something. Of course, I had that secret trauma that I was suppressing that nearly destroyed me at the time.

My mental problems didn’t let me enjoy this big reveal in any way at the time. But looking back on it, I can see the humor in it. I can actually laugh at it now, gobs of time having healed most of what ailed me then. And I would learn from a third-hand source that one of the cheerleaders that saw it happen liked what she saw and told others about the liking.

So, naked can be funny. I have come to accept that long ago. And it would fuss up some of my novels because they were supposed to be humorous, and I may have planned on using the naked thing a lot.

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Lazy Sunday Thinking

The tradition I grew up in was that you spent the early morning reading the Sunday paper, the Des Moines Register and Tribune, pouring over the Funnies while Dad read the news, society, and sports pages… along with Parade magazine. And we would eventually trade, me releasing the Funnies to Dad in return for the sports page. Then he would give in to the nagging of my sisters and let them read the Funnies before him while he reread Parade magazine.

Of course, our moral training would follow (the parts that didn’t come from the Funnies, I mean.) Then we would go to the Methodist Church for an hour of Sunday School followed by a service and sermon from the Methodist minister.

That’s what Sunday thinking was all about. Somebody else would tell us what to think about morality, religion, and events in the world. And as I got older, and sometimes skipped going to church, there would also be Meet the Press and NFL Today. Always somebody who was not me telling me what to think.

It is always easier to let someone else do the thinking for you.

This Sunday I let Anand Giridharadas do the thinking for me. For those of you who don’t know the man with too many syllables in his name, Anand is an Indian-American born in Shaker Heights, Ohio who rose to fame as a columnist for the New York Times and is currently a political pundit who writes incisive criticisms of the current Capitalism-obsessed world.

He was a guest on Jon Favreau’s Sunday program Offline.

They were talking about how Republican extremists are not waving the American flag as much after the January 6th Insurrection. And he made the point that the more peaceful side, those of us who are more progressive and want to heal the country without resorting to violence, need to take ownership of being flag-flying patriots more.

After all, he said, we are doing something in this country that no other democracy in the world is trying to do. Germany, France, England, even Sweden are primarily white-race-dominated democracies trying to provide peaceful, prosperous life for all citizens, while we in America will soon be a minority-dominated democracy. If we succeed in ruling the ultimate melting-pot society peacefully, we will be exceptional because no one else is doing that.

That is an incredible thought. I am glad he did that thinking for me.

We all need to be saying, “Black Lives Matter,” not because white lives don’t matter anymore, but because, “All Lives Matter, Including Black Lives, Because We Are All Brothers and Sisters Together.

Sometimes the most important thoughts come about because, on a lazy Sunday, I let somebody else think for me.

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Children of the Land

Children are a resource that we, as a people, cannot live on without.

If we stop having children, nurturing children, raising children, providing children discipline and education, entertaining children, guiding children, and, most of all, loving children, in eighty or so years, human beings will be extinct in this universe.

How many universes are there with humanity being extinct in them? It is impossible to answer. But if there is more than one universe, there is more than one.

When I was a child myself, family farms were still the rule in Iowa. Couples would try for lots of kids to help with the farm work. Chores! I fed animals. I went with my grandfather to the feed store, the hardware store, and the hatchery. I drove a tractor. I walked bean fields and pulled weeds. I mucked out a hog house once (and believe me, once is enough for a lifetime.) I have slopped hogs. I shingled a house and a garage. I painted the family house (in town, not Grandpa’s farmhouse.) As a child, I helped my uncles who were farmers, and worked for other farmers in the area. I was just as important as fertilizer to the maintenance of the world I lived in. (I did not say I was important to USE AS fertilizer. They would’ve had to kill me to use me that way. But my work was a part of what made the land yield plenty.)

I was left, as a child, with the distinct impression that we were meant to live in the land as a part of the land. Nature was our friend. We didn’t cut down all the trees and pave over everything like the city folks did. The kid who never went skinny dipping was rare indeed.

There once were people who knew they lived with the land, and they were good stewards of the land. They knew if the land was not living well and healthy, then neither would they live well and healthy.

But I am not arguing that we should go back to the world of the 1960s. The work I did in the land back then is now mostly mechanized and done by machines, computers, automation, and factorization. But we can teach our precious children the values of old to use in new ways. If we don’t, well… I hope the AI Terminator Robots of the future will have a happy life without us.

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Don’t Give Up!

Yes, I am philosophically a pessimist. I expect always that the worst outcome is the one I will have to live with. Hence, I was not as devastated by Donald Trump’s election as some who were too confident that Hilkary would win. And the climate crisis seems to be good reason to prepare for the worst that can happen. Some of it is already happening, already here.

But you really should listen to what this career futurist has to say about it.

The near future is, as documented with evidence in the video, far worse than we think it is. “Just doom, nothing else,” as Robin Williams declares. But too much pessimism at this point is the death of us. We have to keep trying. We can’t just give up.

A cheerleader who is not me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not the right person to be elected head cheerleader on this issue. I have given in to despair and weeping on more than one occasion already. Since the election of Trump, the conservative pillaging of the Supreme Court, the roll-back of EPA guidelines and restrictions, the erosion of fundamental voting rights (soon to be followed by other rights,) the mismanagement of the economy, the Covid crisis, wildfires in the West, the insurrection after the election of Joe Biden, and more and more things that signal doom and possible Armaggedon, we have to battle the urge to lie down and die.

Here is where the optimism of the Reverand Peale is critical.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, also definitely not me.

If we stop trying, our loss and subsequent death is insured. It is only by continuing to fight that we will have a chance to save ourselves. And this is beginning to happen everywhere.

In 2020 we turned out against the Evil-Clown President in record numbers. We wrested the control of the government out of the hands of the corrupt elephants and put it back in the hands of the hard-working but mostly stupid jackasses. Biden’s donkey-like devotion to following through on the work that needs to be done got us through the rest of the pandemic, getting ourselves vaccinated and acclimated to life with the reality of the new deadly virus.

We need, like the faun, to be one with our environment.

We have tried hard and kept at it to achieve much-needed climate-control legislation. The fossil-fuel industry has made it difficult, and we nearly gave up on the Build Back Better program, but it seems through perseverance that we may have finally gotten a critical piece of that over the hurdles after all.

One thing definitely indicated is that we will need to turn out to vote in the midterm elections again this year. If we don’t, the elitist elefantiasis party will take away all our gains and punish us again, playing their golden fiddles while the world burns.

We will never have the magic we need if we don’t try to conjure it.

But despair is still not warranted here. We know what we can do to solve the problems that face us. We have done similar things before, with the Cold War, World War II, and the hole in the ozone layer in the 1980s. What’s more we have the tools we need already, and what we don’t have is quickly being developed. There are plans in the works for mountain-sized storage batteries, massive solar-power arrays, and wind farms (many of which are already built and operating.) We can rebuild and upgrade the entire power grid, not just in the USA, but for the whole world. It needs, of course, to all be weather-proofed, meteor-proofed, solar-storm-proofed, and, hopefully, greedy-Republican-idiot-proofed.

We are not beaten if we don’t give up.

And as the futurist tells us in the video you didn’t watch, pessimists prepare us for disaster, but only the optimist can make us successful in living through it to a brighter future beyond.

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Filed under angry rant, battling depression, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, healing, health, humor, insight, inspiration, Liberal ideas, magic, Paffooney, pessimism, philosophy, politics, strange and wonderful ideas about life

A Collection of Rather Evil Men

You wonder how they do it, these corrupt and evil men.

They fight for their own interests and act like clowns every now and then.

And still, retain their power while holding the bloody knife

They used to stab constituents in the back and take their pain-filled life.

No deed done for a dollar has consequences when they’re judged,

And every good in bills they kill is evilly begrudged.

They seek to lead this nation through insurrection and conflagration,

And they raise their fists of power, yet run and hide within the hour.

And when you finally defeat them and undo their evil schemes,

They break whatever things they can and pee on all your dreams.


Filed under angry rant, clowns, conspiracy theory, feeling sorry for myself, grumpiness, humor, insight, Liberal ideas, poem, poetry, politics

What We Are About to Lose

The world is on fire. The heat is getting worse than it has ever been (in the time we limited sentient creatures have knowledge of.) There is a very real chance that the end of life on Earth is actually a short time away in the near future (a thing some religions have been predicting unsuccessfully for thousands of years.) What will it actually mean for us to be at the end of time (realizing that we are only talking about our pale blue dot in the near-endless universe?)

Here’s what we face. The greenhouse gasses, particularly carbon dioxide, are keeping the heat from the sun from radiating back out into space. Temperatures have already passed what a few years ago was described as the point of no return. The permafrost in the northern hemisphere is melting, releasing increasing amounts of methane, an even worse greenhouse gas, and creating a feedback loop that makes the problem overwhelming. The glaciers in the north and the ice shelf in Antarctica are melting, and sea levels are rising. Major coastal cities are not preparing fast enough for being underwater. Huge populations will be displaced and become refugees. Food-production systems will break down due to drought and unrest amongst workers in both farming and the distribution of food. The mounting expenses of battling these unbearable problems will destroy economies. More wars will break out to add to the misery Putin has already caused by war crimes in Ukraine. Eventually, nuclear weapons may cool the Earth with nuclear winter and stop the production of carbon dioxide by obliterating all manufacturing and depopulating the northern hemisphere. The cockroaches will inherit the Earth. Hopefully, as the dominant species, they will do a better job of managing the environment. But one never knows how they will handle it once they reach their own industrial revolution.

The probable next dictator of the American Fascist Union of Republican States.

Politically, the party with the power denies the existence of the climate crisis. They are concerned with expunging any record of white-people guilt for any crimes against racial groups caused by slavery, Jim Crow laws, genocide against Native Americans, lynching, and any of the other fruits of racism from the history books. They are, after all, quite comfortable in all-white conservative bubbles of thought, and are easily offended by any defense of the Black Lives Matter group. They also focus on removing any suggestion of sexual ideas or knowledge from school books and libraries, because anything but Bible-touted notions of love and sex is pornographic, perverted, or somehow related to lifestyles they certainly don’t want to have anything to do with and prefer to legislate away. So, every effort they are willing to make to avoid the things in that previous killer paragraph involves loudly saying “No!” to any possible solutions to the problems that are going to kill us. Hopefully, the cockroaches won’t become Trumpist Republicans when they take over, giving their rise to intelligence and civilization a better chance of thriving.

It is probably still within our power to stop this relentless life-extinguishing future from happening. There are definitely people who understand both the scientific challenges and the value of all the things we will lose if we sacrifice the entirety of our future for short-term corporate profits (the things all the Republicans we will continue to elect will vote for because of where their priorities really lie.) The human population has shown repeatedly throughout history that they are resilient and inventive, and can overcome all sorts of evil if the will to do so is truly there.

I am a pessimist, which means I always prepare for the worst possible outcome. Fortunately, that way of thinking means I am usually pleasantly surprised at the outcome, and if it does turn out bad, at least I am prepared for that outcome.

So, if we are going to destroy our world and ourselves, I have to ask myself, was it worth it for us to have ever existed?

Can you look at the smiling face of a child and say the existence of the human race on planet Earth was not worth the effort?

And there are reasons to be glad we are here and we have a history that came before us. The Civil War and World War Two were both terrible things. But one eliminated legal slavery. The other eliminated fascist genocidal regimes from Europe and Japan.

We are able, as a species, to laugh at our own foibles, to create humor and music and literature and poetry. We were able to produce Shakespeare, Mozart, Rober Frost, Red Skelton, Robin Williams, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, Beethoven, Kurt Vonnegut, the Beatles, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Elvis, Goethe, Socrates, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, T. S. Eliot, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julie Andrews, Johnny Carson, and the list could go on for days…

We were able to rise up from the ground, fly through the air, and eventually land on the Moon.

We were able to survive the Black Death, Small Pox, Ebola Virus, AIDS, and Covid 19.

We unleashed the power of the atom. We observed and learned about the far reaches of the galaxy and the many other galaxies in the greater universe beyond the Milky Way using only telescopes, mathematics, and the scientific method.

Is it enough to justify the existence of our race? You tell me. I foolishly think we are worthy to live on into the future, even if I myself will soon no longer be able to keep living. I hope to die of non-climate-crisis causes with peace in my heart. But I realize, too, that it depends on a lot of other people besides me. And I do not have confidence in all of them.

If there is a God who can help us, He is certainly welcome to make an announcement in the comments. But barring Divine intervention, what are you willing to do to move the question forward? I am doing what is within my power.

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Filed under angry rant, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, humor, irony, Liberal ideas, pessimism, philosophy, politics

Thinkology – Who Thinks for You?

I know you will responId right away, “I think for myself!” After all, everyone believes this even when it is not true.

Ideally, we first learn to think from parents, grandparents, and other significant family members (actually related or not.) Not everyone is lucky like I was in that regard. Especially among poorer families that tend to fracture, be violently unhappy, and often malnourished. And also among obscenely rich families who tend to isolate themselves in self-indulgence and ignore and even disdain others. Their children tend to be raised by servants, friends, and television (or YouTube and streaming services for today’s children choking on silver spoons.) I was lucky in the family I was born into, but I have to confess to being significantly impacted by television, though I lucked out there too in that I watched the simpler, more positive TV world pre-Kennedy Assassination and pre-Vietnam War and pre-9/11. It was a time that was far less cynical and less filled with anxiety and anger.

As we grow, we are influenced too by the educational experience forced upon us by society. We are supposed to learn how to think for ourselves in school, though the opposite is actually true. In your third-grade classroom, you are supposed to learn how to add and subtract, multiply, spell correctly, read at least at a third-grade level, and understand the fundamentals of science and social studies. In truth, however, the school experience spends most of its time teaching you to be obedient. You are expected to sit at your desk in orderly rows, open your various textbooks when you are commanded to do so, study and do worksheets quietly, and generally accept that what the teacher tells you is true and should be remembered.

That, of course, is not how children learn. Children learn by doing, playing, and interacting with others, things teachers spend a lot of time punishing. I found as a teacher that you made more progress in educating kids if you do things, talk about things, and turn lessons into playing around with ideas. Basically, allowing children to be themselves, choose which direction the lesson takes, and answering the questions they ask as truthfully as I could without using bad words. These, of course, are things that most principals hate to see going on when they walk by the classroom. Schools tend to be conformity factories, getting kids to think alike, be obedient, and accept what is considered normal, making them perfect future MacDonald’s and Walmart employees.

Happy Walmart employees (a rare species in my experience) only do what their managers tell them to do. And the managers do only what the policy handbook tells them to do. And problems are solved by corporate. Nobody has to think very much.

And there are people who very much want to control what little thinking is done. If you watch news shows, especially on CNN, MSNBC, and infamously, FOX News, they give you a host talking to panels of experts, talking heads that are happy to tell you what to think.

a malevolent, manipulative monkey

CNN and MSNBC attempt to give you a panel of experts with representatives of three or four different positions. A range of people who will gladly give you opposite opinions of what to think.

FOX News gives you a panel skewed towards the radical-conservative viewpoint with “liberal” commentators present in order to mock them, or, if they are real liberals, gang up on them.

All of these are trying to do the thinking for you. A good word for that is “propaganda.” But if they are honestly providing you with a range of competing ideas for you to evaluate and choose between, they are not as toxic and dangerous as the unabashed propagandists behind the radical-conservative movement.

Conservative media is now highly organized into funneling machines which collect non-thinkers and direct them to the ideas that will make them more supportive of top-down control (in other words, fascism.) This is what allows a political group (ultra-conservative Republicans) to dominate the government and create laws and tax breaks that go against the best interests of the general public and impose an order on the country that a majority of citizens don’t want.

The following video explains how the malevolent, manipulative monkeys do what they do.

So, the next question to be dealt with is, obviously, “How do you think for yourself?” Ah, another post on another day.

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Filed under angry rant, education, humor, insight, Liberal ideas, Paffooney, pessimism, philosophy

Try Again, Mickey, Get it Right

Trying and making mistakes is how we learn. Trial and error built empires, created revolutions, and changed the very nature of reality. How do I know this? I tried. I failed. I tried again.

If I am not satisfied with the way things are, I must take steps to change the way things are.

Small steps at first.

But bigger things come along in time.

For today, I try again to get the tall grass cut in the yard. I walk the dog. I plan what I am going to do about the sorry state of air conditioning in the house. Every problem has a solution if only you can find it.

Right now, the world around me is direly concerned with mass shootings and how to control them. Especially after Uvalde lost 19 kids and two teachers to bullets from an AR-15.

Gun laws would help. But a Republican-controlled government refuses to regulate them sensibly.

Voting the morons and the evil, corrupt bastards out of office would be a good start. Men like Representative Louie Gohmert, Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Greg Abbot, and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, one moron and three bastards, have to no longer be in control. And voting in good, capable people like Beto O’Rourke would help. But too many idiots, fools, racists, and evil people have the privilege of voting, while minorities and people of good conscience face increased barriers to voting.

My privileged white friends and relatives I knew well in my school years long ago, have developed powerfully potent hate glands from listening to racist fears and hate-filled propaganda from FOX News and various elected leaders who’ve duped them into buying the bull-puckie.

So, what do I do about it?

Remind them who they used to be. Remind them they don’t want school children to die from bullets in their classroom on the next-to-last day of school anymore than I do. Remind them that I am a friend and a relative of some of them who will continue to listen, continue to care, and continue to point out where they are allowing their preferences to become prejudices and their fears to foster cruelty to certain groups of “others.”

Even though I have been retired for eight years now, I am still a teacher. I believe every kid and every adult who was once a kid has value and needs to be treated as an equal and worthy individual. I also believe in responsibility, and holding people responsible, but not in punishing someone for failing to live up to a responsibility… rather, letting them pick themselves up to try again to do it better.

We are not without hope for the future.

We trust that a leap of faith is worth taking.

And though we may fall…

We will live to get up and try again.

Until we don’t.

But at least we are trying to do it better.

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Free to Be Naked

I managed to finally return to Bluebonnet Nudist Park on Saturday. It was a Memorial Day weekend crowd, so I got to meet a lot of naked people. Of course, I only saw one kid the whole time I was there, and he looked to be high-school-aged. So, don’t let the first picture in this post fool you. Most nudists at the park were closer to my age than the girls in the picture.

But it was freeing of spirit to actually gather around a swimming pool and have an all-you-can-eat hot-dog lunch with 50-plus other naked people. I can’t explain why that strange alchemy can work. But it does.

Having been around nudists at different times for the majority of my life, I can honestly say I have observed nudists to be happier people than the rest of us. Of course, that is a generalization, and not true of every individual nudist. But they are comfortable in their own skin and connected to the natural world the way most of us are not. I found that most of these people knew they were nudists since childhood. Like me, if their families did not already embrace being nudists, they sneaked off to the woods when they could to get naked in nature.

Am I alone in thinking that this is not a mental aberration, but rather, a natural instinct that was trained out of us (or in my case, almost trained out of us,) in childhood?

I don’t have any pictures from the nudist park to post, so I use the usual collection of innocent-seeming illustrations and pictures to add a sense of beauty and youthfulness to the idea of going to a nudist park for recreation. You know its not really the way the pictures show it. I am not the exhibitionist-sort of nudist whose whole desire is to be seen by the world naked. I, for the most part, am a solitary nudist. Not too proud of my lumpy, wrinkled, and sore-covered carcass so that I am obsessed with others seeing me, but also not ashamed of my corporeal self to the point of not allowing myself to be seen nude by other like-minded nude people. Most of my nudism occurs when I am alone in private places where only peeping Toms and computer-camera hackers can see me. I am, however, proud that I have now been to Bluebonnet twice and have a membership in AANR (American Association for Nude Recreation.)

While I was there, a journalist who writes books on American culture used in sociology research at the college level, was there taking pictures and interviewing folks. He spoke to us, confessing that it was the first time speaking to a group of naked people, and also his first time speaking to a group while naked. He explained that he was recording and documenting interesting and important social organizations in an area only 100 miles wide, but stretching from the Mexican border to the Canadian border through the middle of the US. He felt that there were important things to learn about American life from the Bluebonnet Nudist Park just as there were to learn from the Dallas Police Department which he had scheduled for the upcoming week (and he specified he would be wearing clothes for that next part.) Even though I was there for his research, I did not get asked to sign any consent forms for photographs or interviews, so I will not be in that book of his in any way.

I am definitely more confident now in identifying myself as a nudist. I never embraced the idea of actually being one while I was a school teacher in Texas. Texans are suspicious of even letting a Democrat be a public school teacher, let alone someone who purposely goes to a public place with no pants on. I know I have lost Twitter followers and Facebook friends who found out I was actually a nudist. And I feel like I may have lost some of my WordPress followers over it as well. They can’t take seriously someone who walks around with no clothes on.

But my answer to that is… Who in the heck takes Mickey seriously anyway? Get real!

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