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Jan. 15, 2011, is a date that I will remember for a while. I will not dwell on it for very long, but it is a day worthy of a story.
Over the years, I’ve been called many different names, in many different languages by many different people. This has happened in many different countries, including our own.
Jan. 15 was just like the day before, nothing earth-shattering, except for the fact that I was called “faggot.” And it really wasn’t that I was called “faggot” that made me look back at the person calling me names. As I said, I have been called names before. The day was different because I was called “faggot” by a handful of Muslims proselytizing on the streets of New York.
And it wasn’t that I was doing anything “faggot-like” either, unless you could say walking arm-in-arm down the streets of Manhattan with Sherman is a “faggot-like” action.
I turned and faced these men, and as I did, the largest of the four called me a “bacha bazi,” which meant nothing to me at the time. With my best manufactured South Carolina drawl, I turned to them and said, “Fuck you.” As those words escaped my lips, two lesbians came up and asked Sherman whether we were OK. Of course we were, but I was left with questions that only Wikipedia could attempt to answer.
That’s because “bacha bazi” is not one of the common names that thugs and bullies call people. That is, unless you are 12 years old, sold into sexual slavery in one of several Arab or Islamic countries and a victim of a particular sort of wickedness: bacha bazi.
From Wikipedia, I learned that bacha bazi, which means “playing with boys,” is a practice that has arisen amid the restrictive nature of being Muslim. Pre-marital sex, adultery and homosexuality are strictly forbidden. In fact, they are grounds to be stoned to death. So where do the Muslim faithful in countries like, say, Afghanistan go for entertainment if they cannot commit adultery or get caught having sex with another man? These men buy boys around age 12, dress them up like women with long hair and makeup, and force them to dance for a crowd of men at, say, a bachelor party. Once the party is over, these faithful Muslim men sexually abuse these young boys.
It should come as no surprise in a city a large as New York that there are adult male Arabs who practice Islam and have come to reconcile their sexuality and their religion. After all, a Baptist or a Catholic can reconcile Christ and the Virgin in their minds.
New York gatherings of LGBT Arabs were the subject of a recent article in The New York Times. This nomadic monthly dance party is called Habibi.
Here’s how Mohammad Shamsi Ali, the imam at the city’s biggest mosque, explains in that article how his mosque has reconciled sexuality and religion in this case:
“Homosexuality is grouped with adultery, fornication, all of them very severe sins, but you don’t need to talk about it,” Ali said. “It is between you and the creator.”
He told the Times that gays and lesbians were welcome at his mosque. “But we don’t need to know about their sex lives,” he said.
At the other end of the spectrum of tolerance, Junaid Aleef, a Muslim blogger, responded to the Times article like this: “They’re actually radical extremist fanatics! Being G.A.Y. is just a cover.”
He goes on: “I think it is quite possible that these people — these so-called G.A.Y. Muslims — are actually not G.A.Y. at all. Perhaps they are extremists radical bad guys with a warped sense of Islam who want to commit acts of terrorism, but they don’t want to get caught so they’ve donned this G.A.Y. cover.”
He finishes with this: “Either way, we sinless, pious, devout and upright Muslims who are heterosexual, monogamous and shun pre-marital sex, lying, cheating, drugs, alcohol, back-biting, missing prayers, cheating on taxes, running red lights and being rude, ought to be outraged by ‘Habibi.’ I know I am.”
While claiming his own piety and claiming to know the mind and will of Allah, Aleef has chosen to ignore the beam in his own eye and instead to try and pick the splinter out of mine. While Aleef spouts hatred and bigotry toward gay Muslims, there are Muslims who rape young boys without fear of punishment.
I find the name “playing with boys” and the forced participation particularly abhorrent considering the age of these boys, the lack of laws to protect them and the sheer nature of this wickedness.
It almost leaves me without words, but I do have this comment. You are free to come to our country and make it your home. You are free to worship any god, goddess, spirit or wild midnight rider you choose. You are free to work in our businesses and shop in our stores. But you are not free to associate gay men with boys who have been lured into your own personal sex dens.
To have sex with boys is really not having sex at all. Well, actually it is. It’s called by many different names — “rape” and “child sexual abuse” are just a few.
To further understand the culture that allows this to happen to the most vulnerable, please visit www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/dancingboys/.
You can read the New York Times story at
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curative has announced that it is currently providing COVID-19 no-cost testing in your area at Metropolitan Community College.
Stay safe and get tested!
You can schedule COVID-19 Test at curative.com, and receive results in 24-48 hours.
Curative is the leading provider of COVID-19 testing in the United States. Curative’s mission is to end the COVID-19 pandemic by providing simple-to-use and painless testing at scale to produce reliable data for patients and health officials. We know that broad access to testing, robust contact tracing, and a vaccine are necessary to end the pandemic.
Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
· Non-invasive cheek swab (video) that is more accurate (~90%) than a nasopharyngeal test (~80%)
· Can be self-collected under supervision by lightly-trained individuals (so no onsite medical professional required)
· Results within 24 hours of receipt at our lab
· Lab capacity to process tens of thousands of additional tests
· Manufacturing capacity to meet any order size
· Minimal PPE requirement due to the test’s self-collected method
Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at email@example.com.