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Posted by Saliek Ruffin

It is not unusual, in this day in time, to hear Black people calling themselves and other Blacks, the ‘N’ word. Some of us have become so accustomed to using this foul word, that we seem to have forgotten what it really means as opposed to what we want it to mean.

No matter how you spell it. No matter how you pronounce it. It is still the same word with the same meaning it was given hundreds of years ago.

For those who are not aware, the ‘N’ word was created by Europeans (Whites) who enslaved Africans (Blacks), during slavery. It was a word used to degrade and ultimately define Black people as being ignorant and inferior. To be called a ‘N’ word meant that you were the most disgusting thing on planet Earth. Actually, less than a dog.

This entire piece started off pointing the finger at those of us stupid enough to take this racial slur and hurl it on ourselves.

It’s no secret that at one point in time, the US Constitution valued a Black person’s life less than that of a whole human being. Three fifths of a person, to be exact. The Three Fifths Compromise… Compromise!? Don’t get me started. I will save this rant for a separate piece. Stay tuned.

We call ourselves the ‘N’ word today and expect others, particularly those outside of our race, to respect us. You ever check out the facial expression of a white person in earshot of a black person referring to themselves or their friends as “N’ words? Utter disbelief and disgust. Can you blame them?

I can’t, and I won’t. The blame is on us. I say us because I have fallen victim to this exact same ignorance. I sometimes will use the ‘N’ word when I write. But, I will spell it NI99A. I guess the 9s make me feel less ignorant. Go figure. When I used to rap, I would use it when I recorded in and out of the booth. I would say it with the ‘a’ on the end instead of ‘er’.

Of course, this entire piece started off pointing the finger at those of us stupid enough to take this racial slur and hurl it on ourselves. Yes. I’m guilty. But, I’m working on it. I want to change things for you and me.

Call a dog a cat long enough and the dog will begin to meow. The ‘N’ word was used to describe us so long that we started using it on ourselves, as a term of endearment.

Before we can expect others to respect us, we first have to respect ourselves. That has to start with us no longer calling ourselves or our friends the ‘N’ word. We have to stop this vicious cycle. End this self disrespect. Put an end to this syndrome. We need to stand on the shoulders of giants. Be all we can be. Without being disrespectful to ourselves.

There’s nothing ‘slick’ about calling yourself or your friend the ‘N’ word. We don’t hear whites calling themselves crackers. We don’t hear Puerto Ricans calling themselves spics. No other race does this. It’s got to stop.

I heard it said before that oppression dehumanizes. In other words, people who are oppressed and held in low esteem will eventually internalize their oppression and resort to doing things that reflect and perpetuate their degradation and dehumanization. Well, calling ourselves the ‘N’ word is just one more example of how our oppression has caused us to degrade and dehumanize ourselves. There’s a saying that describes this to a Tee. Call a dog a cat long enough and the dog will begin to meow. The ‘N’ word was used to describe us so long that we started using it on ourselves, as a term of endearment.

So, the next time someone calls themselves or you, for that matter, the ‘N’ word, think about how degrading that is. Think about how dehumanizing this is. Think of how a much more appropriate word can be used.

My friends and I started using the phrase ‘proud black man’ in exchange for the ‘N’ word. We started this way back in the nineties. It hasn’t caught on globally, yet. But, I’m patient.
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The post Language That Could Fry Bacon: Watch Your Mouth! appeared first on The Good Men Project.

Why Our House Doesn’t Have Netflix

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:00 pm
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Posted by Nathan Timmel

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I’m a comedian, which means I travel for a living. When I get to a city, one of two things happens: the comedy club puts me up in a hotel, or a “comedy condo.” The comedy condo is an apartment owned/rented by the club, and is the less preferred of the two options. Ratty furniture, no Internet, no television … these are the corners comedy clubs cut when providing lodging.

On rare occasion, the comedy condo can be very nice, and I was recently put up in one where the manager informed me: “We have Netflix hooked up on the TV.”

No cable, no satellite, “just” Netflix.

Now, I do not live in the dark ages; I’ve known of Netflix since its inception. I’ve watched it grow and turn into a powerhouse of distribution. I’ve seen it lead the way in streaming technology, and now it’s entered the realm of production.

The thing is, even as I’ve watched Netflix develop I’ve never purchased the service. I gave it a trial run back in the DVD-mailing days, but that’s about it. I enjoyed the trial run, but also noticed I didn’t always watch the DVDs that arrived in my mailbox.

Thus, I never signed on as a full-fledged customer.

Because of my lack of Netflix, it was with joyous excitement I sat down to fire up and watch something I’d missed out on for over a year: Season 4 of Arrested Development.

During my brief relationship with the service, I completed one entire series—all fifteen episodes of Arrested Development—and nine episodes of Kimmy Schmidt.

I was immediately hooked. Not just on the show, but also the format I’d heard so much about over the past couple years: binge watching. When one episode ended, the next started automatically. I didn’t have to do anything except acknowledge that yes, Netflix, I was still watching several episodes later.

(For the minority as unaware as I was, auto-play does occasionally wonder if you’ve left the television on while you’ve wandered off to the store.)

When my run of AD ended, I started in on a program I’d been hearing about, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It was as funny, original, and captivating as all the reviews I’d read.

Two days later, my run at the comedy club ended, and I was forced to call it quits with Netflix. During my brief relationship with the service, I completed one entire series—all fifteen episodes of Arrested Development—and nine episodes of Kimmy Schmidt.

That is a lot of television.

Too much television, in fact.

If each episode was roughly twenty-five minutes, that means I watched ten hours of TV over two-and-a-half days. Even worse, I hadn’t even dipped my big toe entirely in the waters that is Netflix; Orange is the New Black, House of Cards… I didn’t have the time to start either of those beloved shows. And that’s why I think I’m going to have to take a pass on the wonderful service: there’s just too much good TV out there these days.

Parenthood is the real killer of quality television time, trust me.

I have to confess, and I state this with embarrassment, I have not seen a single episode of The Walking DeadThe Sopranos, or Mad Men. I watched a couple episodes of the first season of Breaking Bad, and I really, really liked it… but then life got in the way and I fell behind. As it built in popularity, I felt like I was missing out, but what could I do?

I was busy working, writing, and becoming a father.

(Parenthood is the real killer of quality television time, trust me. There’s no firing up the DVR to watch Tony Soprano swear and bump off rivals with young eyes at your side.)

Kids aside, the thing with good TV is that it’s must-pay-attention-to TV, not background noise. These aren’t shows you put on while you Facebook or make dinner, these are shows that you must and want to pay attention to. Today, my wife and I are pressed to find the time to watch Jeopardy, and that’s on DVR with me fast-forwarding through the commercials (sorry advertisers!)

No longer can people complain “There’s nothing good on,” because there’s actually too much good out there. To try and take it all in would be to leave no time for anything else.

Good television is like a drug; you get wrapped up in it and it offers an incredible high. I get why people binge watch, and I’d really like to become one of them. The problem is, I know my limits, and I fear my lack of self-control. My son needs his diapers changed; he can’t sit in his crib waiting because Daddy wants to know what Frank Underwood is going to do next.

For now, Netflix will have to be an affair I had. It was a delicious treat I allowed myself when trying to maintain a diet of productivity.

I’m not happy about it, but c’est la vie.
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Posted by Lacy Cooke

Hurricane Maria, Maria, Puerto Rico, Category 4, Category 4 hurricane, hurricane, hurricanes, storm, storms, weather, wind, winds, landfall, Atlantic

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico earlier today as a Category 4 storm. While it had weakened from a Category 5, officials still warned the hurricane is dangerous – forecasters said there could be life-threatening winds blowing for 12 to 24 hours. Governor Ricardo Rossello told the Associated Press, “We have not experienced an event of this magnitude in our modern history.”

Hurricane Maria, Maria, Puerto Rico, Category 4, Category 4 hurricane, hurricane, hurricanes, storm, storms, weather, wind, winds, landfall, Atlantic

Maria hit the southeast coast of Puerto Rico this morning with 155 miles per hour (mph) winds, and could destroy power infrastructure and homes, compelling the government to rebuild dozens of communities, according to the Associated Press. Rossello said, as of Tuesday night over 4,400 people and 105 pets were in shelters. That number increased to 11,229 people and 580 pets by 5AM, according to a tweet from the governor.

Related: Category 5 Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever

Hurricane Maria, Maria, Puerto Rico, Category 4, Category 4 hurricane, hurricane, hurricanes, storm, storms, weather, wind, winds, landfall, Atlantic

When the hurricane is measured by wind speed, Maria ties for the eighth strongest storm in the history of the Atlantic. Hurricanes tend to move north or south of Puerto Rico, so the island often avoids a direct hit. 1932 was the last time a Category 4 hurricane made landfall there, and in 1928, the island experienced the strongest storm to hit it: San Felipe, with 160 mph winds.

The Washington Post said Maria had already blown over islands to the east with over 160 mph winds – on the island Guadeloupe, officials attributed the deaths of two people to the hurricane. At least two people were reported missing near the island of Desirade.

As of Wednesday morning, the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane warning was in effect “for the Virgin Islands, the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas, where Maria is expected to bring dangerous wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall.”

Via the Boston Globe and The Washington Post

Images via NASA/NOAA GOES Project and National Hurricane Center

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Posted by Nicole Jewell

Julian Melchiorri, Breathe chandelier, algae chandelier, algae chandelier that purifies the air, algae lighting, london design festival 2017, green lighting, innovative lighting, london design week, green lamps, green chandelier, green interior design, sustainable lighting, eco lighting,

Lighting design has come a long way. Julian Melchiorri, a London-based designer and engineer, created this extraordinary living chandelier that not only lights up the room, but also actively purifies the air around it. Currently on display at the V&A Museum for London Design Week, the Exhale Chandelier features glass leaves filled with green algae that absorb CO2 and release oxygen.

Julian Melchiorri, Breathe chandelier, algae chandelier, algae chandelier that purifies the air, algae lighting, london design festival 2017, green lighting, innovative lighting, london design week, green lamps, green chandelier, green interior design, sustainable lighting, eco lighting,

The living chandelier is not only an amazing eco-product that’s beneficial for the environment, but its sophisticated design makes for a beautiful lighting source for any atmosphere. Its modular format allows the chandelier’s green-hued leaves to be configured in a wide range of shapes, adding versatility. The lamp can be used indoors or outdoors – wherever air purification is needed.

Related: 13 groundbreaking lighting innovations from NY Design Week

Julian Melchiorri, Breathe chandelier, algae chandelier, algae chandelier that purifies the air, algae lighting, london design festival 2017, green lighting, innovative lighting, london design week, green lamps, green chandelier, green interior design, sustainable lighting, eco lighting,

Melchiorri is not only a design-engineer, but also a leading biochemical technology researcher. The innovative chandelier design is the result of his many years developing and crafting his unique “artifical leaf’” technology. Working with microbiological life forms, the designer’s bionic-leaf is based on the basic principles of photosynthesis, harnessing the power of converting CO2 into oxygen and integrating it into one very beautiful product.

Julian Melchiorri, Breathe chandelier, algae chandelier, algae chandelier that purifies the air, algae lighting, london design festival 2017, green lighting, innovative lighting, london design week, green lamps, green chandelier, green interior design, sustainable lighting, eco lighting,

Although the chandelier is a prototype at the moment, the designer envisions integrating his photo-reactive cell technology into future buildings, freeing them of harmful emissions.

+ Julian Melchiorri

+ London Design Festival

Photography by Mike Chino

Julian Melchiorri, Breathe chandelier, algae chandelier, algae chandelier that purifies the air, algae lighting, london design festival 2017, green lighting, innovative lighting, london design week, green lamps, green chandelier, green interior design, sustainable lighting, eco lighting,

Julian Melchiorri, Breathe chandelier, algae chandelier, algae chandelier that purifies the air, algae lighting, london design festival 2017, green lighting, innovative lighting, london design week, green lamps, green chandelier, green interior design, sustainable lighting, eco lighting,

Julian Melchiorri, Breathe chandelier, algae chandelier, algae chandelier that purifies the air, algae lighting, london design festival 2017, green lighting, innovative lighting, london design week, green lamps, green chandelier, green interior design, sustainable lighting, eco lighting,

Make America Good

Sep. 20th, 2017 01:00 pm
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Posted by Jackie Summers

As the grandson of immigrants, I’ve never questioned America’s greatness.

The wealth, cultural influence, and scientific contributions this country has made have changed the world.

Nothing can change this.

Equally irrevocable are the horrific foundations upon which this great nation was laid: genocide and chattel slavery, combined with the dehumanization of people of color, so as to justify the horrors required to Make America Great.

When I–and folks of color–hear the phrase “Make Donald Drumpf Again”–we know intrinsically this isn’t a desire to live up to the noble (if unrealistic) ideals of the founding fathers. It doesn’t express a desire to return America to some lost greatness, as much as it yearns for a return to the process by which this country became great.

Living in America means acknowledging you can be pretty fucking great and problematic as fuck, simultaneously.

Manifest Destiny and the Divine Right of Kings are what built America. Concepts of superiority that legitimized wholesale genocide of the indigenous population and brutalizing natives and African slaves: these are the values craved by those who want to Make America Great Again. Fortunately as this country grew to greatness, those archaic ideals have been abandoned for a more enlightened morality.

Political incorrectness is nothing more than the lost right to be an unapologetic asshole.

Living in America means acknowledging you can be pretty fucking great and problematic as fuck, simultaneously. Wealthy. Culturally diverse. Militarily powerful. And finally making some long overdue civil rights progress. Not that we don’t have some fairly serious problems, but there are enough people (like me) who believe in this country–black, white, asian, latin, native, LGBT–to never stop pushing for moral equity, to ensure that our virtue rivals our technological and financial achievements.

You want your country back? Come pry it from our dead, cold fists.

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Posted by Thaddeus Howze

Thaddeus Howze explains how he took decades of work experience and created a list of advice that he would have given to his younger self.

 Reasonable men adjust themselves to their environment. Unreasonable men attempt to change their environment to suit themselves. Therefore all progress is the work of unreasonable men.

– George Bernard Shaw

*Guest Post* – Originally appeared on A Matter of Scale

I was asked to give a short presentation to a group of young people who were trying to get to the straight and narrow path that a career might offer. Some of the young men had fallen from the path of education, of self improvement and had been convinced by the efforts of a dedicated few to return and try again. All previous sins forgiven, all that was required was a re-dedication to the efforts to improve their lives. I was asked to speak to them about taking some coursework in IT done at an accelerated rate in an effort to prepare them for a summer internship in the middle of next year. I became involved with mixed feelings.

Not because I do not think it is a worthy cause. On the contrary, I believe it is the worthiest of causes; without such efforts, my own redemption at an earlier point in my life would not have ever occurred and I would likely be dead, or in a state such that death might be a preferable condition. My trepidation came from having to tell these young men the truth about my occupation; or at least, as I knew it. I love what I do. I have done it now for over twenty five years; not the same job, but the same industry, information technology and communications with overlap into the publishing, banking, government, technology, game design, publishing, retail, small business and educational sectors.

How do you distill that into something someone can use? It’s impossible to write something technical that would be useful to someone who has never even done IT, so I decided to write down the things that I learned along the way; stepping stones that have to be touched on the stairway to occupational success. Thinking about these things, I decided these would be the things I would tell myself if I could meet myself on my way to my first IT job interview.

These are the fundamentals. If you aren’t careful, violation of these rules can cost you your job.

  1. Pick your battles. Sometimes you have to lose a battle to win a war. Keep your eyes on the war. Give up some things to gain everything. Outlast your enemies. Just because you did not make them your enemies did not mean they did not declare war on YOU.
  2. What got you to the top, won’t keep you there. Don’t get complacent. Stay frosty. Sharpen that saw!
  3. Previous success is just that; what you did before. It has no bearing on your present circumstance other than it appeared on your resume. Succeed in a different way this time! Innovate, create something new.
  4. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a tool and a quite necessary one.
  5. You learn nothing from success. (You got it right the first time!) Failure teaches and the world’s greatest minds learned best from this harsh schoolmaster.
  6. If you work somewhere you cannot fail or failure is a punitive event, leave. They are not doing anything important there anyway.
  7. Real innovation is risky. When forced to choose between innovation and efficiency management, the long-term win is in innovation.
  8. Know the difference between being effective and being efficient. The first deals with deciding the right things to do and the other deals with doing things right.
  9. Hire the guy who came in second. He tries harder. Persistence is the real talent. Plus he will love you for taking that risk and work even harder to prove he’s worthy. It has always paid off for me.
  10. Be right. But don’t be an ass about it. Do your research; know your craft. Be right but if you make everyone hate you because of it, you won’t last long there, even if you were never wrong. Sometimes it is better to be heard than to be right.
  11. Never compromise your work. Stand up for what you know, through dint of your effort, research and intellect to be the right thing to do. Find a way to get it done. IT that is compromised serves no one well and costs everyone.
  12. When you become master of all you survey, allow your team to innovate and fail. The things they succeed with will amaze you. Empower your team. Give them the ability to make decisions on the things they work on. Less paperwork for you, more autonomy for them. Make them responsible for their work, because, well they are.
  13. Insist on diversity. Hire people smarter than you. (Don’t be afraid. They don’t want your job. If they did, they would certainly have it already.)
  14. Hire people who don’t look like you. Avoid groupthink. Give your team the power to tell you that you are wrong. This may be the second greatest thing you ever do for yourself. The first was hiring someone smart enough to tell you that you are wrong.
  15. Just because everyone says it can’t be done, does not mean they are right. Believe and do it anyway.

Those core rules are non-negotiable and will likely work for any occupation. These are my IT-related truths. They too may be applied to any occupation. Adjust as necessary.

Read the rest of ‘On the Path Enlightenment’ here.

Read more Thaddeus Howze here.

Please share this with friends, enemies and temporary allies alike.

Thanks for reading, sharing and commenting!


Flickr image via shannonkringen

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The post A Conversation With My Younger Self: On the Path to Enlightenment appeared first on The Good Men Project.

Rickrack blouse DIY...

Sep. 20th, 2017 05:45 am
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Posted by Joy

Rickrack blouse DIY

We're all about simple ways to change up your wardrobe lately. Whether it's an old top or a new, yet inexpensive, one...today we're sharing this super simple rickrack (AKA wavy fabric ribbon) blouse DIY. Here's how...

Rickrack blouse DIY

You'll need:

- shirt (similar)
- rick rack (gray, gold, white)
- no sew glue
- scissors

Rickrack blouse DIY

Here's how:
1. Measure ric rac all the way around the torso of the shirt and cut.
2. Adhere with no sew glue.
3. Add additional detailing vertically from shoulders to bottom of the shirt.
4. Adhere with no sew glue. Let dry 1 hour.

Rickrack blouse DIY

{Photos by Lily Glass, styling by Julia Wester, crafting by Jess Hong.}

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Posted by Amanda Froelich

Kreisel Electric GmbH, Elon Musk, Tesla, electric, electric vehicles, green technology, green transportation, renewable energy, economy

Tesla may be the best-known electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, but its grip on the industry isn’t certain. The Elon Musk-founded company has plenty of competition, including the Austrian startup Kreisel Electric GmbH – backed by former California governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar and his nephew. Having experienced sweeping success in the past two years, Kreisel is moving into a $12 million research center and battery assembly facility where it will test new battery technology.

Kreisel Electric GmbH, Elon Musk, Tesla, electric, electric vehicles, green technology, green transportation, renewable energy, economy

Since 2014, Kreisel Electric GmbH has been operating out of a three-door garage. Now the startup is moving into a $12 million facility where its technology to improve upon its promising technology. “In the past two years, battery development has really taken off, and it’s now becoming incredibly dynamic. We have a different way of going about developing the technology, and we don’t carry any baggage,” said co-founder Markus Kreisel.

Now that licensing deals have been signed, the startup’s battery technology will enter production lines with carmakers in 2020. The Austrian company has experienced rapid growth primarily because it promises to squeeze an extra 65 percent from standard lithium-ion batteries using its own patented laser-welding and thermal-cooling techniques, according to Bloomberg.

Kreisel Electric GmbH, Elon Musk, Tesla, electric, electric vehicles, green technology, green transportation, renewable energy, economy

Kreisel has received backing from not one, but two Schwarzeneggers. Patrick Knapp Schwarzenegger, Arnold’s nephew, led an investment round in the start-up, and Arnold hired the brothers to add an electric drivetrain to his Mercedes G-Class off-roader, according to Bloomberg.

Kreisel Electric GmbH, Elon Musk, Tesla, electric, electric vehicles, green technology, green transportation, renewable energy, economy

Though changes are afoot, the startup still faces challenges. So far they have only secured charging infrastructure cooperation with Porsche Holding Salzburg and VLD Groep in the Netherlands, for whom they need to deliver 2,000 electric powertrains and battery packs. The brothers must proceed carefully, though, as 95 percent of technology companies working in the electric and autonomous car spectrum will likely fail, according to BMW’s development head Klaus Froehlich.

Related:  Ukraine’s leafy green ‘Tunnel of Love’ is a passageway for trains and lovers

Kreisel Electric GmbH, Elon Musk, Tesla, electric, electric vehicles, green technology, green transportation, renewable energy, economy

One of Kreisel’s tactics to “survive” the competition is to focus on the development of technology and leave mass production to Tesla’s challengers. Markus Kreisel said, “Our goal isn’t to get into large-scale production of batteries but to help carmakers with the development of the technology.”

Kreisel Electric GmbH

Via Bloomberg

Images via Kreisel Electric GmbH

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Posted by Nicole Jewell

Nature lovers looking to construct their own sustainable off-grid getaway are going to love the new flat-pack Surf Shack shelter designed by the Backcountry Hut Company. The new pre-packed assembly system is similar to the company’s previous models, but now offers a variety of cladding options as well as the possibility to install a fully-glazed wall and a beautiful deck space, all designed to make living in the wilderness a breeze for those wanting to reduce their footprint.

Leckie Studio Architecture + Design, Backcountry Hut Company, wilderness shelters, diy shelters, cabin designs, surf shack, diy shelters, off grid shelters, flat pack shelters, prefab shelters, shelter design, prefab cabins, off grid cabins

Vancouver-based Leckie Studio Architecture + Design founded the Backcountry Hut Company in 2015 in order to give people the ability to build their own flat-pack eco-shelters that have little-to-no ecological impact. Founders Wilson Edgar and Michael Leckie based the company’s ethos on the IKEA model of providing affordable, well-designed products for the masses. Instead of providing flexible furniture for tiny apartments, however, the BHC focuses on creating simple, recreational structures that can be installed in virtually any remote location.

Related: Backcountry Hut Company designs rugged flat-packed cabins for wilderness enthusiasts

Leckie Studio Architecture + Design, Backcountry Hut Company, wilderness shelters, diy shelters, cabin designs, surf shack, diy shelters, off grid shelters, flat pack shelters, prefab shelters, shelter design, prefab cabins, off grid cabins

Like their previous models, the new Surf Shack is a flat-packed system that’s designed to be assembled on site. The prefab “kit of parts” consists of an engineered wood post-and-beam skeleton infilled with prefabricated panels, and an easy nail-on window system. However, the new and improved “shack” comes with alternative cladding options such as faded cedar siding. It’s also possible to install a fully-glazed wall, as well as an outdoor deck that extends from the interior living space.

Leckie Studio Architecture + Design, Backcountry Hut Company, wilderness shelters, diy shelters, cabin designs, surf shack, diy shelters, off grid shelters, flat pack shelters, prefab shelters, shelter design, prefab cabins, off grid cabins

Designed for easy assembly, the system can be erected on any site that is accessible by truck or helicopter. Once delivered, the parts can be put together by lifting the prefabricated walls and roof panels into place and using a simple pulley and winch system to hoist them into place. Since they are modular, various packs can also be combined to increase the floor area, add bedrooms, etc.

+ Leckie Studio Architecture + Design

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Posted by Wilhelm Cortez

Embed from Getty Images
Even with the increased visibility of specific police officers killing unarmed black and brown people, the wide-scale demonstrations of outrage and protest traveling throughout the country like those currently underway in St. Louis, and investigations by the Justice Department under the Obama administration into allegations of racial bias in policing, and while many law enforcement agencies are assessing procedures in an attempt to improve relations with the communities in which they are meant to serve, the killing continues.

Allegations of racism in the hiring practices, policies, and attitudes in police departments, however, represent in microcosm much larger forces evident in our country. We must not and cannot dismiss police killings of black and brown people as simply the actions of a few individuals or “bad cops,” for oppression exists on multiple levels in multiple forms.

These officers live in a society that subtly and not-so-subtly promotes intolerance, imposes stigma, and perpetuates violence. We must see these incidents as symptoms of larger systemic national problems.

Stigmata Imposed on the Body

Officials in 17th-century C.E. Puritan Boston coerced Hester Prynne into permanently affixing the stigma of the scarlet letter onto her garments to forever socially castigate her for her so-called “crime” of conceiving a daughter in an adulterous affair.

Stigmata include symbols, piercings, or brands used throughout recorded history to mark an outsider, offender, outcast, slave, or an animal.

Though Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter is a work of fiction, members of several minoritized communities continue to suffer the sting of metaphoric stigmata forced onto their skin, birth sex, sexual and gender identities and expressions, religious beliefs and affiliations, countries of origin and linguistic backgrounds, disabilities, ages, and many other areas of their identities.

Many overt forms of oppression are obvious when dominant groups tyrannize minoritized communities. Prime examples include the horrific treatment of people of color under the system of apartheid in South Africa and Black Africans in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the mass slaughter of Jews and other stigmatized and marginalized groups in Nazi Germany, and the merciless killing of Muslims during the Christian “Crusades.”

Many forms of oppression and enforced stigmata (as well as dominant group privileges), however, are not as apparent, especially to members of dominant groups. Oppression in its fullest sense also refers to the structural or systemic constraints imposed on groups even within constitutional democracies like the United States.

Stigmatized groups live with the constant fear of random and unprovoked systematic violence directed against them simply because their social identities. The intent of this xenophobic (fear and hatred of anyone of anything seeming “foreign”) violence is to harm, humiliate, and destroy the “Other” for the purpose of maintaining hierarchical power dynamics and attendant privileges of the dominant group over minoritized groups.

For example, on February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader in Sanford, Florida, shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Martin was walking on the sidewalk talking on a cell phone to his girlfriend and carrying a can of ice tea and a small bag of Skittles when Zimmerman confronted and shot him, and then he claimed self-defense. By most reports, Martin’s “crime” was walking while being black in a predominantly white gated community visiting family and friends. His stigmata included his black skin and his youth while wearing a “hoody.”

Black parents from all walks of life throughout the country engage with their children in what they refer to as “the talk” once they reach the age of 13 or 14 instructing them how to respond with calm if ever confronted by police officers. Parents of these young people know full well the stigmata embedded into their children by a racist society marking them as the expression of criminality, which perennially consigns them to the endangered species list.

There is a long-standing tradition in our western states of ranchers killing a coyote and tying it to a fence to scare off other coyotes, and to keep them from coming out of their hiding places. That’s what Matthew Shepard’s killers did to him in 1998 outside Laramie, Wyoming.

Black parents from all walks of life throughout the country engage with their children in what they refer to as “the talk” once they reach the age of 13 or 14 instructing them how to respond with calm if ever confronted by police officers.

Shepard’s convicted murderers, Russell Arthur Henderson and Aaron James McKinney, smashed his skull and tied him to a fence as if he were a lifeless scarecrow, where he was bound for over 18 hours in near freezing temperatures. The message to the rest of us LGBTQ people from these killers was quite clear: stay locked away in your suffocating and dank closets, and don’t ever come out.

Though 2016 marked the highest number of trans people killed in the United State with 27 known instances, with the vast majority being trans women of color, at the current rate, 2017 portends to be even worse. Murderers of trans people react in extreme and fanatical ways at the direction of the larger coercive societal battalions bent on destroying all signs of gender transgression in young and old alike in the maintenance of socially constructed gender norms, with stigmata imposed on all who transgress.

In these times of declining social mobility, and as the gap between the rich and the poor ever increases, dominant groups attempt to divide the dispossessed by pointing to scapegoats to blame. For example, vigilantes sometimes calling themselves members of the so-called “Minutemen” movement target and hunt down anyone suspected of being undocumented.

We are living in an environment in which property rights hold precedence over human rights. In this environment, the political, corporate, and theocratic right are waging a war to turn back all the gains progressive people have made over the years. One tactic they use is to inhibit the development of coalitions between marginalized groups.

To disengage and reverse stigmata once imposed can be difficult but certainly not impossible. Whenever white LGBT people, however, view black and Latinx people through the stigma of criminality, whenever heterosexual black and Latinx people view LGBT people through the stigmata of sin and abuse of youth, whenever we view Muslims through the stigma of terrorism, whenever any group views any other through lenses of stigmata, this horizontal stigmatization and oppression only further entrenches the vertical hierarchical power structures.

Metaphorically, oppression operates like a wheel with many spokes. If we work to dismantle only one or a few specific spokes, the wheel will continue to roll over people. Let us, then, also work on dismantling all the many spokes in conquering all the many forms of stigmatized oppression in all their many forms.

In the final analysis, whenever anyone of us is diminished, we are all demeaned, when anyone or any group remains institutionally and socially stigmatized, marginalized, excluded, or disenfranchised, when violence comes down upon any of us, the possibility for authentic community cannot be realized unless and until we become involved, to challenge, to question, and to act in truly transformational ways.

An essential element of liberty is the freedom to define oneself!

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Posted by Thaddeus Howze

With the Republican lead Congress prepared to vote to repeal or replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) with the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, the possibility of 14 to 22 million Americans losing what healthcare they current possess is in the hands of 50 Congressional representatives.

The Congressional Budget Office has not managed to find a single version of these plans which offers the limited protections the ACA does regarding pre-existing conditions. Is the ACA perfect? No, but until the idea of single-payer catches on, it may have been the most supportive form of medical legislation since the creation of Medicaid and Medicare.

Recent attempts by the GOP to elicit horror stories about the value of the Affordable Care Act have backfired only revealing just how many people have been able to talk about how it has helped them avoid bankruptcy and to gain affordable healthcare.


We want to hear from you: If you hate the Affordable Care Act, that’s understandable, there are still provisions that would be better under single payer, but we want to hear about its success stories.

What good has the Affordable Care Act brought into your life? If it were to go away tomorrow (a real possibility) how would you manage your medical needs? Would your costs go up? Would you be able to afford your medications?

Do you get your medical care from your job? Have they talked to you about possible changes in your care? If you are a part-time worker, how do you manage your healthcare needs?

Medical workers: (because we know you’re out there) share some of your stories with us. We will keep your name out of the paper. What do you think of the Affordable Care Act? Do you think the new proposals are an improvement?


When you’re ready to submit, click the red box, below.


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Posted by Simona Brankovska

Bad mental health habits are behaviors that have a negative effect on the way we think and the way we feel about ourselves.

We often believe our mood and our mental health are solely dependent on external factors and we only have little ability to control them. We often wonder why we get so easily irritated, upset, sad, lethargic, and bored in life. As a solution, we try to improve our mood and cope with stress by engaging in unhealthy behaviors. This, unfortunately, makes our mood even worse.

Yes, our mood is affected by our brain chemistry. But, remember this:

Our brain chemistry is largely affected by our behaviors and habits in life. If we treat ourselves with care and know what makes us happy, we are going to have a more balanced brain chemistry.

Here are a few common bad mental health habits that are making you unhappy and unsatisfied with your life:

Bad Sleep Routine

bad sleep routine

Even if you get enough sleep, having a regular sleep routine matters a lot.

Going to bed early promotes more happiness and energy in life. Studies have shown that going to bed late may be linked to depression and poorer mental health in general. The reason could be that negative thoughts are more likely to appear in our mind at night.

So, by staying up late, you get more and more overwhelmed with worries and negative thoughts. Also, by being a ‘night owl’, you socialize less with people and may start to feel isolated over time. You’ll also be less productive and less energetic the next day.

See Also: Get Strong, Sleep, Repeat: The Importance Of Sleeping

Not Taking Time to Relax

Many of us live with a lot of stress and have a lot of thoughts going through our minds on a daily basis. We may have a stressful job or suffer from anxiety or other problems. Most of us may be hyperactive and constantly seeking new stimuli without realizing that they are making us feel worse.

Taking some time during the day to relax and be with yourself without distractions can significantly improve your mood and well-being.

Lack of Physical Activity

It is a well-known fact that physical activity is necessary in order to maintain a healthy body. But, exercise has huge benefits for your mind, too.

When you exercise, your blood flow improves and your body releases feel-good chemicals. You are also releasing the tension build-up from excessive stress and anxiety. Your muscles feel and work better.

Spending a Lot of Time with Toxic People

We all know people in our lives that just make us feel bad whenever we are interacting with them. They may put us down, undermine our success, not respect our boundaries, and find ways to ruin our mood when we are happiest.

If you are continually trying to change those people, you are just wasting your time and making yourself more miserable. So, try to avoid toxic people as much as possible.

See Also: 8 Types of Toxic Friends That Are Holding Your Happiness Hostage

Lack of Personal Goals

Goal-oriented behavior is what activates our reward system. This has a huge influence on our mood and happiness. If you don’t push yourself to achieve your goals, even small goals, you will not feel fulfilled and you are likely to seek unhealthy ways to activate your brain reward system.

Also, not focusing on achieving your goals leaves you feeling like you are stagnating in your life and that can easily trigger poor mood and depression.

Excessive Use of Technology

excessive use of technology

Most of us enjoy our computers, phones, social media and we naturally want to watch the news and see what is currently happening in the world. Even though those tools are great at making our lives and work easier, they can also be great tools for distraction.

They also promote inactivity and tend to be overly stimulating to your brain. Your brain doesn’t like too much stimulation and you may find it more difficult to relax and unwind after spending hours on social media.

Not Being in Touch with Your Emotions

Our emotions often feel too intense and too difficult to deal with, so we tend to suppress them. We distract ourselves with all kinds of unhealthy behaviors.

The problem with that is that we don’t get to process our emotions and face our real problems. We fail to find out through attention and awareness what truly makes us unhappy, anxious, angry or sad.

Poor Nutrition

Our nutrition affects everything in our body, including our brain chemistry. A deficiency in certain nutrients can cause imbalances in our system. Even if we don’t have any serious deficiencies, our eating habits can still affect our mental health. Overeating and not eating enough are both unhealthy behaviors that can affect our relationship with food and our overall mental health.

The post 7 Unhealthy Behaviors That Affect Your Mental Health appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Posted by STAND Magazine

Success in your career depends on many factors but one factor that is underappreciated is the need to get to know an important person in your life. Your knowledge of this person will help you gain some clarity, focus, and direction in your career.

So, you might be wondering, just who is this important person you should get to know? Perhaps it’s the CEO of your company? Or the Human Resources Director?

It’s a good idea to know the decision makers in your company but the person you need to know before all others is yourself.

When you have a clear sense of who you are, the strengths and skills you possess, and your interests and mission in life, you’ll have the ability to make focused and healthy career decisions for you and your family.

To get a better understanding of yourself consider the following.

Check out the Myers-Briggs Test

The Myer-Briggs Type Inventory (or MBTI) is a popular test that provides you with some information about your personality. The results of the test will place you in one of sixteen personality types that can help you better understand yourself, how you interact with others and perceive the world, and provide some insight to help you communicate more effectively with other personality types. There are also versions of the test you can take online.

Take a Skills Assessment

You can find many tests to assess your skills and these can be beneficial to help you better understand what it is that you are already good at and how you might apply those skills to a career. Many tests will link up your skills with relevant jobs and this can be a great way to consider a job or career you hadn’t thought of before.

Meet with a Therapist

Sometimes meeting with a therapist one on one can be the best way to come to a better understanding of ourselves and to figure out what is holding us back from success in our life and career. We might carry with us negative patterns of behavior or thought that we don’t even realize and a good therapist can help us work through these issues.

Ask for Feedback

We often have people in our lives who know us well: a spouse or partner, good friends, family, a boss. Take the initiative and be courageous and ask for some feedback about your strengths and weaknesses. The more specific the feedback is the more helpful it will be for you.

Get a Mentor

A good mentor can support you in many ways, including providing knowledge and wisdom gained from their experience, providing you access to their network, and encouraging you to persevere. Mentors can provide you with a better understanding of who you are and which direction to head in your career.

When you gain a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses you can become more effective at surrounding yourself with the resources you need to be successful in your career and in life.


The post The One Person You Need to Know to be Successful in Your Life and Career appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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Posted by Anthony Carter

Some things money cant buy photo by giumaiolini

Anthony Carter suggests you ask yourself “What can you offer that will change someone?”


Valentine’s Day came and went a month ago, and along with it a host of disappointments and hurt feelings. Americans love big, grand meaningless gestures especially if there is some food involved. I love chocolate and any reason to eat it and be extra sweet to my sweetie.

What matters most is not the large, commercial and social expectations that are quickly forgotten about. What matters are all the little gestures and points of contact before and between all of the big showstopping numbers. As India Arie says: gimme some Stevie, gimme some Donny.

It really is about all the little things we do all day everyday.

I am always amused when I see people wet their pants getting worked up about their agreed upon plans that always include spending money. I have know and dated several men from various socioeconomic backgrounds. No matter how little or how much each of these men had there were times that they felt compelled to show their care by doing something lavish and pricey.

I have never been able to get men to understand that the things I crave are simple.


In this culture, we are taught to look down on and disrespect the simple and uncomplicated particularly if it involves not spending money.

I was sick around the Christmas holidays. I have made the decision that my yuletide infirmaries are directly related to this mass consumption exercise that has nothing to do with Christ. According to the tale of Christmas, the parents of Christ and those surrounding them were not throwing hissy fits because there were no playstations available.

Whatever people feel about this story and the holiday that it created, the point remains: give from the heart.


All of the men I’ve dated spend money that they either couldn’t afford or could have been put to better use. There are many things that I love and cherish that cost very little or are free.

NYC, with its exorbitant rental properties and sky high cinema adventures is a great place to learn what is really important. I still have fond memories of eating cheap hot wings with friends or spending hours walking in and wandering into free galleries and then hitting Chinatown for cheap eats.

Why is it that we feel the need to make every proclamation loud, brash and expensive?

When I remember all of the best times with friends and family not one memory is linked to an excessive amount of money that was spent.

Whether lamenting with my best friend over our piss poor choices in men while snarfing down a stack of chocolate chip pancakes or trying to figure out a tricky scene in Macbeth before watching a Richard Pryor concert amidst hot wings with my director friend, Michael, none of these events took place in a grand fashion.


I was recently at a breakfast cafe and witnessed a father attempting to create some special time with his daughter.

Dad spent the entire meal with his head in an electronic device only looking up to grab the silverware. I wanted to scream at him and shove that phone into the orange juice. While she prattled on about their next stop (which involved spending more money), I gallantly fought back the urge to butt in and offer some brilliant insight.

I would have loved to say: What are you doing ? In five years, she’ll be gone and you’ll be begging her to talk to you.

Throwing away money on a meal that you’ve only looked up from once is not the best and brightest use of your money.


One of the worst fights I had with my dad was over money.

During a highly over the top spending spree that happened to coincide with XMAS, my dad asked me why I had done no Christmas shopping and wanted to remind me that I was “running” out of time to shop. His concern was not how we could better our relationship or how I could be a better son or he a better father.

The only solution: spending money and going into debt. This was the American way and I better get with the program.

I still can’t believe the strong-arming that was attempted in an effort to get me to go along with the crowd.

If we could all learn the power of simplicity and how to gift one another from the heart the world would change.

I often remember my most challenging circumstances and how what sustained me was a great conversation, a library book, a cup of coffee or tea with a trusted friend.

No amount of money can replace someone showing up for you while you pack and prepare for the very real possibility of eviction.

We must understand that we are more than things.

We can give ourselves. We can offer a kind word or smile. A knowing nod that says: me, too.

What can you offer that will change someone ?

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The post Love, Money, and Conquering the World One Change at a Time appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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Posted by Christian Clifton


Christian Clifton doesn’t have kids yet, but he already knows he wants to be involved in teaching them to love learning

I am not a father yet, but I know someday that will change because I really do want kids. Obviously that is a big commitment so I have spent some considerable time thinking about what that future will look like and just what kind of parent I want to be.

This last year I began teaching math at a local charter school and so this has greatly impacted how my mind currently processes the idea of having kids. Many of my students come from single-parent homes or even homes where mom and dad are not around, which utterly breaks my heart. I grit my teeth daily trying to get the students, who have all but given up, through concepts and lessons and it has given me an appreciation for the parents who really get involved in their children’s education.


We all know how important proper schooling is for children of all ages; it is something that, if done correctly, can bring about countless opportunities and brighten futures in many ways. However, I think there needs to be something more than just a focus on sending my kids to a building eight hours a day for fifteen years, because chances are high that my kids will be the stereotype that will dislike school at some point. I have made a plan with my wife to focus on more than just this type of learning with our children.

Parental involvement can be more important than the school your kid goes to, the money you have to invest in them, and even their own abilities.

We have agreed that when we have children, and they are old enough to understand, we want to have a tradition of talking with our kids at the end of the day about their learning. Many parents do this in the form of “What did you do at school today?”, but I don’t think this is enough. I don’t want to train my children into thinking that learning is only found within a school or book.

Instead I plan on asking my children a broader question—“What did you learn today?”—and emphasize that this does not have to be something from a classroom. It could be something they learned from television, play time, about themselves, or anything in this great big world we live in. I want to hear from my kids that they can appreciate learning in any form, something I am so thankful that was instilled in me and still serves me to this day.

I will not settle for one or two word answers in these discussions. I want to unpack and discuss their lessons, giving depth and an open ear to their ideas and questions. I know teachers aren’t always able to give every student an open ear about different ideas and that is going to be one of my jobs. I know firsthand that the feeling of not being heard is one of the most toxic things to a desire to expand knowledge, and I desperately want to be an antidote if that ever happens to my kids.


Albert Einstein believed that “Once you stop learning, you start dying” a quote that perfectly embodies the importance of lifelong learning.

As I said, I am a teacher and what I see all too often is that students view school as a waste of time, and usually this stems from a general lack of desire for learning. To them, they know everything they need to know and so there seems to be no point in continuing an education. I find myself lost for words and feel helpless at times when met with this mentality. I don’t want my kids to ever reach that point; I want them to embody a lifetime of learning.

There have been countless studies that show parental involvement is a key to success for student success. Parents that are more involved give their kids a leg up, and it is greatly appreciated by teachers and administrators alike. My time in education has taught me that parental involvement can be more important than the school your kid goes to, the money you have to invest in them, and even their own abilities at different subjects. I teach math, everyone’s favorite class, and even the students who struggle with it do much better when they get some kind of involvement outside the doors of the school.

I know I am not the best teacher in the world. I try my best but I will still fail. After all, I have over 150 students to contend with in a day, it would be foolish of me to think I could give each one of them the same one-on-one attention that a parent could. My plea is to all parents to be involved in their children’s education—Be willing to help out and lend a hand to their teachers who only want their students to succeed. New standards and greater funding can do wonders but pale in comparison to the benefits parents can bring to the table.


Albert Einstein believed “Once you stop learning you start dying”; a quote that perfectly embodies the importance of lifelong learning. He was a man of great intelligence but even he knew the real importance was in continuing to ask questions and then figure out the answer. It was this mindset that firmly planted him in all of our minds as one of the smartest men ever. If he had stopped seeking new things after school, he would have remained a patent clerk with crazy hair.

I want to extend my involvement in stimulating my kids intellectually beyond textbooks and standardized test.

As a human, I am inquisitive, I ask questions all the time, and I truly believe that to cease seeking answers to those would be a sign that something is seriously wrong. I make it a point to learn something new every day; it may not always be something useful but that doesn’t stop me. My wife is the same way. Sure, her learning is usually more useful—she reads a lot of psychology and self-help books whereas my stuff is usually random articles from the internet—but we spur each other with new knowledge on a regular basis. It’s one of the reasons we fit together so well, and this love of learning is something we both desperately want to share with our future children.


I truly think the world would be a better place if everyone was more excited to learn, especially if we were more open to learning about things we disagree with or are uninterested in. I do my best to spark it in my students, even if they hate my class (math), I want to challenge them at their preconceived notions and I will do the same for my kids one day. I may not be able to change the world but, if I my love of learning can rub off and change just one life, I’ll count myself accomplished.

While it may be years until they are born, I am already planning on being fully involved in my kids education. Parental involvement is the only surefire way to fix our struggling educational system. It is good to ensure our children go to school and get good grades, but I don’t want to stop there. I want to extend my involvement in stimulating my kids intellectually beyond textbooks and standardized test. My wife and I may not always have the financial means to do this, but we will always have our own minds and a love for our children, which, if applied correctly, can more than make up for a lack of money.

I have plenty of reservations about being a dad one day; in fact, I am terrified at the notion. However, when I focus on all the wonderful things that kids can be and do, my confidence is bolstered. There is something indescribable about watching a kid’s face light up with wonder about the world and I get giddy thinking about the day I will see it in my own child’s eyes. Look out, future children, because it’s a big world, but our family is going to dive headfirst into it together and figure it out.

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Rock Salt Blues

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:30 am
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Posted by Todd Mauldin

“I was almost killed by men with shotguns, on a raft, down a river.” Sounds like the start of a blues song to us.


ROCK SALT BLUES special to the Good Men Project by Todd Mauldin, August 2011

Click to download

Ah, the age-old question: Do age and experience really overcome youth and vigor? I never believed that it did, when I was young and vigorous. But the older I got, the more it seems to make sense. Or maybe I’m just whistling past the graveyard. Because, of course, to really evaluate it, you’ve got to survive your youth and vigor to acquire any age and experience.


All I know is, this is a true story: one time when I was a teenager, I went duck hunting with some friends of mine. The ducks were on private property, on a ranch where they wouldn’t let us hunt. So we decided to get on a raft and float onto their property to hunt, commando-style. We loaded up these two old trucks, left one downriver below the ranch and drove the other upriver above it and got on our inflatable raft with our shotguns and beer and started floating down. It was all going fine until we came to where the ranchers had strung barbed wire across the river, I guess to prevent people from trying what we were trying, I guess. Fortunately, we had wire cutters. We cut their fence and kept on floating. We didn’t have a care in the world until those buckaroos came riding out of the willows on the bank, shooting at us.


Now friends, those of you that didn’t grow up around ranches, particularly around ranches in northern Nevada, you may not know that it’s fairly common practice for buckaroos and ranch hands to carry shotguns loaded with rock salt shells. They use them to get the attention of cattle that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, or aren’t where they’re supposed to be. The rock salt doesn’t penetrate cowhide, but it stings enough that even those stupid beasts have to pay attention.

So these cowboys come riding out of the bushes, blasting away at us with rock salt. They were far enough away that it didn’t penetrate our hides (speaking stupid beasts) but it was hitting plenty hard enough to get our attention. In fact the attack was so noisy and painful and sudden that none of us remembered we ourselves were armed, with something a lot more dangerous than rock salt, and we never returned fire. We just yelled and screamed and begged them to stop and paddled like hell, and they just kept shooting at us, reloading, and laughing.

We finally got away from them, around a bend, and cut another fence across the river to make our escape. Remember what I said about rock salt not penetrating cow hide or even teenager hide? Well, turns out it DOES penetrate inflatable raft hide. So, we sunk about 500 yards from our getaway truck. We made it out alive though, soaking wet, covered in welts, and wiser for the experience.


That’s what it gets down to, doesn’t it? We built some character that day, if you want to call it that, and we had the youth and vigor to come up with that brilliant idea and execute it, but not the wisdom and experience to anticipate the outcome.

I think of this story every time I hear about somebody who’s got all the answers, or some new hotshot artist or politician or preacher or pundit. I think about how I was one of those guys once. Now, I’m not, I’m just a guy not standing in anybody’s way. Like my buddy says: You can do anything you want, once. I say, “Yep… but just watch out for the rock salt.”

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Posted by Lacy Cooke

Florida, Florida Power and Light, Hurricane Irma, Irma, hurricane, hurricanes, power outage, power outages, electricity, energy, natural disaster

Millions of Florida residents lost power after Hurricane Irma raged through the state. But homeowners with solar energy installations couldn’t use them during the outage – or they’d be breaking the law. State code requires people to connect their homes to the local electric grid – and when parts of it were damaged after the hurricane, even those homeowners with backup solar power were legally obliged to sit in the dark.

Florida, Florida Power and Light, Hurricane Irma, Irma, hurricane, hurricanes, power outage, power outages, electricity, energy, natural disaster

Florida Power and Light (FPL), which is one of the state’s major suppliers of electricity, has lobbied against letting people power their own houses with solar panels, according to Miami New Times. On their website, FPL says, “Operating your renewable system without the bi-directional meter can result in an inaccurate meter reading causing your bill to increase.”

Related: Garbage from Hurricane Irma will now help power Florida

Yes, including me. I even have solar panels but can't get juice from them during a blackout because of FPL's rules. https://t.co/w6jX32FqYH

— Michael Grunwald (@MikeGrunwald) September 12, 2017

Up to 40 percent of Floridians lost power after the hurricane. Residents were angered because under FPL’s rules, if its system goes down, solar power systems must be shut down as well. According to Miami New Times, state rules say customers must install a switch so their solar systems can be disconnected from FPL’s systems. But residents can’t flip the switch to power panels during a disaster. FPL can even disconnect solar panels from the grid without warning homeowners.

Florida, Florida Power and Light, Hurricane Irma, Irma, hurricane, hurricanes, power outage, power outages, electricity, energy, natural disaster, solar, solar power, solar energy, solar panels, solar array

Under FPL’s net metering guidelines, “Renewable generator systems connected to the grid without batteries are not a standby power source during an FPL outage. The system must shut down when FPL’s grid shuts down in order to prevent dangerous back feed on FPL’s grid. This is required to protect FPL employees who may be working on the grid.”

Another reader emailed me complaining her daughter's utility wouldn't let her & her 8 y/o son power their home with solar panels after Irma pic.twitter.com/eYQIYHlEej

— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) September 14, 2017

Miami New Times says people have criticized FPL for spending money on lobbying rather than on hurricane-proofing grids. The Energy and Policy Institute found a FPL lobbyist drafting anti-solar laws for Republican state representative Ray Rodrigues this April. FPL contributed $15,000 to Rodrigues’ campaign. According to the Miami New Times, the Sunshine State trails behind other states in solar adoption due to power company influence.

Via International Business Times and Miami New Times

Images via The National Guard on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Posted by 30dB

Source: 30dB.com – %23Cassini

But this was no catastrophic disaster for NASA. In fact, it sent the probe on its crash course, destroying it to make sure it wouldn’t slam into Saturn’s moons once fuel ran out. The fiery end for Cassini marks a mission that gets top grades from Social thanks to all the discoveries it made. Cassini delivered the Huygens probe to Titan, discovering a world of methane lakes, and also explored Enceladus, a prime candidate for life beyond Earth. In addition, it analyzed the rings of Saturn, and during its final moments, Cassini sent back invaluable data about Saturn’s atmosphere. “Most of what we have in science textbooks about Saturn comes from Cassini,” Mike Watkins, director of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said last week. Because of those discoveries, 73 percent of the online conversation around Cassini is positive, and Social says “job well done.” –Hugo Guzman

Republished from 30dB


better world

The post Planet Social is Grateful for Cassini’s Discoveries appeared first on The Good Men Project.

Please Don’t Gender Police the Kids

Sep. 20th, 2017 05:30 am
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Posted by Marie Franklin

painted nails

painted nails

Marie Franklin’s daughter paints her grandson’s nails, and she doesn’t understand why people have a problem with this.


I raised my kids pretty well, one boy and one girl. I am very proud of them both, especially for their acceptance of various gender and sexuality issues and orientations, and their general love for people of all kinds. My daughter has two kids, also one boy, 3, and one girl, 6.

She is such an excellent parent! I’m so proud of her, and of my beautiful grandkids. She also picked a wonderful husband.

As with all siblings, my grandkids want to play with whatever the other one has or do what they are doing. My granddaughter is the older child so she sets the stage most of the time and her little brother is eager to emulate her.

She is a girly girl, but also a tomboy. She loves dresses and frills but also wants to wear cowboy boots. Like most girls, once she found out what nail polish was she wanted some on her fingernails and toenails ASAP. And when she gets her nails painted, my grandson wants his painted, too.

Why wouldn’t he? His sister is doing it, and it looks really cool. Little kids aren’t homophobic. Unless it happens in their own home, they don’t know that you can be shamed for being a boy and having painted fingernails.

And my daughter and son-in-law aren’t ignorant enough to think that painting your son’s fingernails will “make him gay”.

Even if he does eventually identify as gay, she would happily accept him anyway.  But being 3 and wanting your fingernails painted is not an indicator of a person’s sexual orientation. It is simply emulating the behavior of others, and the desire comes from the fact that nail polish is indeed cool. Body adornment of any kind is fun for kids.

So when my grandson asks to have his toenails and fingernails painted, my daughter’s and her husband answer “Sure son, what color would you like?”


Many moms and dads would say “no”. To which the boy would inevitably ask “Why?” The answer would usually then be, “Because it is only for girls”.

But my daughter and son-in-law don’t believe nail polish is only for girls. In fact where we live, it is kind of a fashion thing for guys to wear nail polish. It doesn’t mean you are gay. It doesn’t mean you are feminine. It is a simple body adornment, a choice anyone can make. It causes no harm, is removed simply, and is really fun.

Does everything we do have to be gender policed?

I have no doubt that there are some adults who see my grandson’s painted nails and think it is a tragedy that his parents would allow this. Yes, there are still people who think something like this can “make you gay”. Or even just that, “Is only for girls, so you are making your son look like a girl,” with the implication that there is something dangerous about doing this. And yet, my daughter does it anyway because it is fun and my grandson loves it. Some glances from other adults trying to shame her don’t matter.

Actually, I think she thinks it is funny that other people feel this way and enjoys shocking them a bit. Little pushes at people’s boundaries are a good thing.

When I see my grandkids and they have both just had their nails done, they can’t wait to show me! Sometimes they have something fancy like every nail painted a different color, or blue on one foot, red on the other foot, purple on one hand and pink on the other.

They get excited about the creative choices they’ve made in nail design.

When they visit me, I paint their nails too, if they want it done. I have different colors than they have at home so it is a whole new adventure.

I know that one day my grandson will encounter someone who tries to shame him about the nail polish, and he might even decide not to do it anymore as a result. That is the real shame, but it will likely happen. He is too young right now to be aware of how mean people can be to you if you don’t conform to gender roles. But like all of us, he will learn the hard way.

Some parents would say “no” to the nail polish on a boy to save him from that potential shame coming from older kids and adults. But my daughter and her hubby are brave souls and are on the leading edge of some important changes we need to see in the world. As parents, they can handle those shaming adults and kids for their son, for now.

When it comes time for him to understand what shaming is and that is can occur for something like a boy wearing fingernail polish, he can decide for himself whether to stand up to the shame or cave in to it. And his parents will honor his choice. But I know they will encourage him not to give power to those who shame us for gender choices, especially something as harmless as painted fingernails.

You might also like:
It’s a Pink Revolution…for Boys!

Little Pink Man

Lego Friends Can Go Straight to Hell, or Why Gendered Toys are Bad for Kids

Yes, I’m Letting My Son Wear Pink Dresses

Balancing Fear and Hope Raising a Gender Non-Comforming Son

How to Tell if a Toy is for Boys or Girls

Parenting Without Gender Expectations Means Accepting All Outcomes

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Posted by Heather Gray


“All your strength. All your power. Everything you’ve got. Right now.” -Duke, Rocky IV


As a therapist, I talk to people about their relationships.

A lot.

What I have come to learn is that many relationships end up being the casualty of lofty expectations. Everyone wants a team player as a partner but many forget what being a team member actually means. Team members show up. They practice. They accept that teams are made of a collection of strengths and weaknesses. Teams don’t expect pitchers to also get home-runs. When someone on the team does well, it’s recognized, even when the person makes 22 million dollars a year to do well. Every success is celebrated and failures are seen as learning opportunities. There’s loyalty. Commitment.

Teams surround themselves with fans that believe in what they’re doing and they have cheerleaders for the nail biting moments. They also have coaches– People who remind them of their skills and that there’s always an opportunity to do better.

If marriages had more fans and there were more coaches encouraging people through the tough times, maybe marriage wouldn’t be getting such a bad rap. Good thing we have our sports movies for when we need a pep talk:

Remember What Your Marriage Is Supposed to Look Like

Coach Gaines on Being Present and Engaged


Being perfect is not about the scoreboard out there. It’s not about winning. It’s about you and your relationship with yourself, your family, and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth. And the truth is you did everything you could. There wasn’t one more thing you could’ve done. Can you live in that moment as best you can with clear eyes and love in your heart? With joy in your heart? If you can do that…you’re perfect. – Friday Night Lights

Gordon Bombay on Sticking Together


Have you ever seen a flock of ducks fly in perfect formation? It’s beautiful. Pretty awesome the way they all stick together. Ducks never say die. Ever seen a duck fight? No way. Why? Because the other animals are afraid. They know if they mess with one duck, they gotta deal with the whole flock.-The Mighty Ducks

Remember That It Takes Hard Work

Tony D’Amato on Why It’s Worth Fighting For

You know, when you get old in life, things get taken from you. I mean, that’s a part of life. But you only learn that once you start losin’ stuff. You find out life is this game of inches. So is football. Because in either game—life or football—the margin of error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early, and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast, and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone around us to pieces for that inch because we know when you add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the difference between winning and losing, between living and dying. I’ll tell you this, in any fight, it’s the guy who’s willing to die who’s gonna win that inch. – Any Given Sunday

Rocky Balboa on Fighting and Getting Back Up

 Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently, if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. –Rocky Balboa

Remember Why You’re Doing It

Annie Savoy on What We Deserve
Bull Durham

MILLIE: “You should be at the game.”
ANNIE: “No, no–I’m fine. Millie, how much time did you and Jimmy spend together before he proposed?”
[Annie holds the dress up to Millie.]
MILLIE: “Five hours. We both just knew.”
[Millie studying the dress]
“Do you think I deserve to wear white?”
ANNIE: “We all deserve to wear white.” -Bull Durham

Billy Chapel on Being Vulnerable and Willing to Apologize
For Love of the Game


I used to believe, I still do, that if you give something your all, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, as long as you’ve risked everything and put everything out there. And I’ve done that. I did it my entire life. I did it with the game. But I never did it with you. I never gave you that and I’m sorry. I know I’m on really thin ice but when you said I didn’t need you…Well, last night should’ve been the biggest night of my life, and it wasn’t. It wasn’t because you weren’t there. So, I just wanted you to tell you, not to change your mind, or keep you from going, but just so you know that I know, that I do need you.”- For Love of the Game


Marriage and commitment isn’t always easy. Interdependence challenges us every day. We all just need a pep talk sometimes–A reminder of what to believe in and what we can accomplish when we join together as a real team. As Jimmy Dugan reminds us in A League of Their Own “If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard…is what makes it great.”


Missing your favorite sports movie quote in this discussion?  Include it in our comments section!


Special thanks to Afshin Chaharmahalian for editing assistance and for giving this piece its own pep talk.  I hope this is just the beginning of your contribution to GMP.

Featured Photo: Screenshot/YouTube
Bull Durham: Screenshot/YouTube
For Love of the Game: Screenshot/Amazon.com

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