Archive for June, 2012

Supremes Week

It was the Supremes all week, exceeding exceedingly low expectations. They struck down most of Arizona’s obnoxious anti-immigrant law on Tuesday, and on the same day found that mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles are 100% unconstitutional.  Yesterday, a bare majority including extra-conservative Chief Justice John Roberts upheld Obamacare.

Good thing. The Transgender Law Center pointed out that the  Supreme Court’s affirmation of the Affordable Care Act means the provisions protecting transgender people from discrimination based on gender identity remain in place.

As for the rest of the decision, remember that the ACA did not reform health care; it reformed the health care insurance industry. Reforming health care itself would have thrown the insurance companies out altogether, but that was politically impossible, so the ACA started with the assumption that insurance companies would continue to play a central role in the U.S. health care system, and tried to make that industry a little more fair and affordable.

Though I’ve developed a tic in my left eye – not covered – from dealing with health insurance companies, there’s nothing inherently horrible about insurance.  In fact, insurance is built on a profoundly moral notion.  Read more…

Holley Mangold is Awesome

And so are you.

Holley Mangold is 22 years old, 5’8”, 350 pounds, and headed to the 2012 Olympics.  She’s also awesome.   This is her being awesome.  Here are some of the reasons she’s awesome:

1. She seems to always lift in a City BBQ t-shirt, where she works as a caterer.

2. She was a starter on her high school football team…as an offensive lineman.  About which she says: Since I was such a huge little kid, I could just plow over people, just killing people, I loved it.

3. She has a 320 pound clean & jerk.

4. When asked at 4:05, Where did that confidence come from? she just says the T-R-U-T-H truth:  You’re the only one who controls whether you’re confident or not. People tell me that it’s not as easy as turning on a switch…but it kind of is.  If you start thinking that you’re awesome, other people are going to start thinking it too.

Awesome. Now go do something awesome, and tell yourself “I’m awesome” while you’re doing it.  Make it something awesome enough that you get to tell yourself “I’m awesome” at least 10 more times through the rest of the day. Then say to yourself ten times through the day, “I’m awesome!”  Then tell us about it in the 100 Days of Phys Ed.


A Happy, Focused Snatch

A late post, and a short one.  But one you’re going to read to the end just because of the headline.

Re: the happy and the focused: scientists, writing in Science magazine about a scientific experiment on happiness, discovered something about the science behind being happy. In an experiment involving thousands of volunteers stopping what they’re doing at random points of the day to answer questions on this iPhone app, these researchers discovered that “a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”  The opposite is also true – a focused person is a happy person.  The top four  high-happiness activities, which correlated with the top four high-focus activities? In order: Read more…

Happy Freedom Day!

Today is Juneteeth, commemorating the day in 1865 immediately after the Civil War when the end of slavery was announced in Galveston, Texas.  President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation three years earlier, but the Texas planters hadn’t exactly passed the word along.  When Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston to claim Texas back from the defeated Confederacy, he read out General Order No. 3, which managed in under 100 words to be both astoundingly grand (declaring “an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves”) and crushingly meek (“The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages.”).

Formerly enslaved African Americans in Texas did two things in rapid succession: threw a series of big ass parties across the state, and then for the next few years pooled money to buy communal land (now Emancipation Park) in the heart of Houston.  Emancipation Park was the site of massive Juneteenth celebrations for the next seventy years.

Compare, if you will, to what people say they will do if they win the lottery.  Read more…

Bodies in Protest

Today, the Dreamers won.

President Obama announced a few hours ago that he will issue a directive giving Dreamers – undocumented immigrants who came into the country as children, and who are currently under 30 – two years of deferred action (making them safe from deportation) and permission to work.  This includes nearly all of the youths who have been at the forefront of the fight against HB87 here in Georgia, and those who have been fighting for legalization across the country.

The Dreamers did not win because they signed online petitions and made phone calls – though they certainly did flood immigration officials with phone calls whenever one of them was placed into deportation proceedings. The did not win because they wrote well-researched op-eds about the impact of deporting these young people who are American in everything but legal status – though they certainly did get the message across, eloquently and well.

They won because they put their bodies on the line.    Read more…

The Four Monster Barriers to Fitness

My favorite organizer – who also happens to be my sweetie pie – believes that the natural reaction of people who are being screwed over is to organize.  When they start to organize, though, they’re confronted with barriers, many of them imposed by the forces doing the screwing over.  Understood this way, the work of an organizer is to remove those barriers, so the organizing that people are naturally inclined to do can get done.

So, in honor of the fabulously ferocious first class of BOLD (Black Organizing for Liberation and Dignity) being in town this weekend, here are the four monster barriers to fitness…and what you can do to remove those barriers and get damned fit.

4. Sitting still.  That couch you’re sitting on is monster barrier number four to your body doing what it wants to do, which is to be in motion.  A body in motion stays in motion.  A body in an office chair stays in an office chair. And that sh*t will kill you. Here’s a stat: people who work jobs that have them sitting still have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people working jobs that have them moving around. Read more…

Fidget Monster

In Tallahassee to help my brother move back into the family home this weekend, I watched my nephew do what 3-year olds do best: fidget.  Felix is not unusually fidgety. If anything, he’s less fidgety than most kids, able to sit for an hour at a restaurant without having to squirm out of his seat to run across the dining room into the kitchen then out the door to do a little dance on the sidewalk.  Not more than once, anyway.  But all kids fidget, and that, apparently, is one of the great secrets to fitness. Read more…

Hula hooping whilst singing to the queen

So the current Queen of England managed to be born into royalty and then sat on the throne for 60 years without being deposed or beheaded.  For this, she got a 12,000 person Diamond Jubilee party this weekend, with Elton John, Annie Lennox, one-fourth of the Beatles, Madness, and other former greats dusting off their vocal cords and singing her their greatest hits she’d never heard of.

But who cares about all that? Your Monday inspiration – woefully late, but it’s still Monday for another hour or so – comes from Grace “Pull Up to the Bumper” Jones.  Sixty-four friggin’ years old, and not only does she come out on stage in a black & red, hard plastic suit of armor cut by Speedo…but she is she balancing a headdress that Achilles would’ve worn if he could have embraced his gayness…and she is singing Slave to the Rhythm…while hula hooping.   The hula hooping starts at 0:33. Around 1:50, the violinists are going “what is happening?!” Did I mention Grace Jones is 64? Read more…

Pontiac’s war was not about a car

Tomorrow marks the 249th anniversary of Pontiac’s War, North America’s first multi-tribal resistance to European colonization, and the 29th anniversary of the birth of Moya, quirky black girl crunk feminist queerfitter extraordinaire. We celebrate both with a special workout that needs you to make go go go.

The multi-tribal resistance of the Pontiac War is remembered only in bits – smallpox-infested blankets, scalping, a game of lacrosse acting as cover for the opening surprise attack – and I am oh so eager to give my usual Asperger-fueled mini-history lesson, but alas, I am on multi-contract deadlines and so must resort to linking to: this short piece in American Heritage that traces the origin of the war to the execution of an unnamed Ottawan woman, hanged for killing her master; and this fantastically weird video set to the tune of Black Eyed Peas’ Where is the Love? featuring the lyric: The indigenous community banded together, fought back hard and gave it all they had, worked as a team (team! work!)

I mean, what else is there to say? It has 49 views. If you make it 50 views, you know the drill: click play, stand up out of your chair, and do squats! Team! Work!

See you tomorrow at our usual spot in the mini-park just north of the Inman Park MARTA station, 10:00 sharp.  Don’t forget to bring your sweater vest, weight vest, and friends. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s workout.  Awesome doesn’t start to describe it.