Into the Ring

I have now filed papers to become a candidate for the office of State Representative for Indiana District 26.  It turned out to be fairly easy to do.  I’ve got a basic web page up and a Facebook page for the campaign started, and I’ll be getting a Twitter account and perhaps running a separate blog.  I’m running as a Democrat, although the local Democratic party never really got back to me after I declared my interest, so they may have another candidate running.  I kind of hope they do, so that I have something to do leading up to the primary (it’s in May in Indiana). 

I’d originally intended to run for Congress in the 4th District, but some obligations I still have kind of persuaded me that I didn’t have quite enough time to take on that large of a task at this time; and the craziness coming out of the Indiana Statehouse started to seem more urgent than the craziness in Washington.  So I’m running against incumbent Republican Randy Truitt in a district that has been severely gerrymandered to insure that his incumbency continues.  We’ll see.

Wish me luck, and if you live in my district and can stand my politics, be sure to vote for me!

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Why I’m Missing the Super Bowl

I’m not a huge football fan, but I’ve always followed my local teams (Chicago Bears and, in more recent decades, the Indianapolis Colts) and usually watched the playoffs and always the Super Bowl.  This year, with the Super Bowl in my own back yard, I’m taking a pass.

There are a number of factors contributing to this.  Early in 2011, I dropped my TV cable service in order to save money.  There wasn’t that much I ever watched on TV anyway – Dr. Who and a couple of SyFy shows, some sports, the Weather Channel (of course!) and Survivor.  Most of these I can watch on the Internet, although since there’s a 24 hour delay on Survivor, I have to be careful what I read during the interval.  So I haven’t watched any football at all this year, which is probably just as well, as the Bears weren’t stellar and the Colts came out at the bottom of the league.

Still, there are plenty of venues to watch the Super Bowl.  But I made a prior commitment this year, in full knowledge that it would keep me from watching.  More on that in a moment.

The one thing that pretty much chilled any interest I had in the Super Bowl this year was this:
http://www.inquisitr.com/189811/human-trafficking-at-the-super-bowl/

Yes, the big secular holiday in the US, the premiere sporting event on our calendar, is known for attracting not just the standard sex trade, but its absolute dregs; people forcing children into prostitution (not women, and not just girls, as the story implies).  And this is a suppky that is meeting a demand.  The Super Bowl attendees are the market.  And they want to fuck children.  People who can afford to blow thousands of dollars to attend this event are a major market for the sexual exploitation of children.

It’s good that having the Super Bowl in Indiana drew attention to this issue, because Indiana’s laws against human trafficking were laughable; for example, parents of children couldn’t be charged with forcing their children into prostitution.  (!!!!!!!).  At least they have been improved because of this – they were signed into law just days ago, with this event in mind.  But it has really taken away any possibility of enjoying the Super Bowl this year for me.  Maybe next year, when it is somewhere else and improving some other state’s human trafficking laws.

What I’m doing instead, the prior commitment I spoke of, is teaching (or facilitating, as we are supposed to call it) a sex education class at the church I attend, the Unitarian Universalist Church.  They have developed a curriculum, with modules for various age groups, that is frank, open, tolerant and promotes sexuality as a positive while covering all of the necessary precautions and affirming personal choice and responsibility.  I and my co-leader Kat do the curriculum for junior high/middle school ages.  Today, among other things, we’ll be having a panel of people across the gender/preference spectrum – gay, trans, bi, queer (don’t worry, I’ve got straight covered like a rug painted green).  Hopefully, we are helping to produce young people who can accept and be open about their own sexuality, and avoid the ignorance, fear and shame that lead some into the exploitation of others.

All in all, I don’t feel any regret at missing Super Bowl X-whatever.

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Bodies

 

I followed a link to this page from Facebook today: http://ninamatsumoto.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/athletic-body-diversity-reference-for-artists/

Thanks to Nina Matsumoto for taking the time to put this together.  Her points about the sequence are worth reading, but I was taken enough with the photos to want to add my own.

It’s an impressive array of body types, to begin with.  The first point I take away from it is the enormous overlap between male and female body types.  One can’t deny certain innate differences in the genders, but it becomes so slight as to be hardly worth talking about.  Yes, men are shifted to the taller/broader end of the spectrum, and at the same height and weight tend to have broader shoulders and narrower hips, but it’s not universal and the differences are minor.  People is people.  Gender is a variation, not a sub-species.

Even given the marked variations of weightlifters and sumo wrestlers, it’s clear from this series that people in general (at least in the US and other developed countries) carry too much weight.  Not all of these athletes have washboard abs, and some clearly have a layer of fat, but all of them (with some exceptions as noted) have a very low body mass index compared with most people you see.  I still struggle to keep my weight around 200, and that’s 15 pounds over what I consider ideal (25 over what charts say, but I know my body better than the charts, and I need that extra ten pounds to be at my best).  We need to eat less and exercise more, folks.

I thought it was cool to have so many folks proud enough of their bodies to be photographed in near nudity for a graphic artist.  It’s kind of sad, though, that they couldn’t, or wouldn’t be photographed entirely nude, because there are body image issues that go beyond weight (or height), and it’s always nice to challenge the notion that the body has “naughty bits”.  No part of the body is lewd, or even for that matter exclusively “sexual”.

What struck me as most significant was that none of these bodies are the way they are simply because of genetics.  These bodies have been shaped by the individuals for a specific purpose, through intensive training and diet.  This is the mind and will of humans at work, creating their own desires in the flesh.  It’s amazing what we can do with a fairly straighforward and standardized body plan.  I enjoy seeing what people can do who devote their lives to the physical just as much as I enjoy (and benefit from) what people can do who devote their lives to the arts and sciences.  And not just athletes; male and female models, often derided, put as much work into their bodies as these athletes.  I’m impressed by anyone who can concentrate on a specific thing for so long and at a price of so much effort, because it’s not a strong point with me; I’m always juggling several things at once, and have never been able to perfect any of the things that interest me because of this lack of dedication to a single purpose.  I wouldn’t change, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate those who follow a different path in order to get as close to perfection as they can.

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