In the latest development from Russia with regard to the anti-gay law that has sparked outcries from many parts of the world, a letter was sent from Russia stating that there would be no discrimination, according to the rules of the Olympic Charter. However, a good deal is still unclear, and Russia stands by its anti-gay law.
The letter still leaves open the question of what would happen to Olympic athletes or fans if they made statements or gestures that could be considered propaganda.
Couldn't a simple rainbow pin be considered propaganda?
The law has provoked harsh international criticism ahead of the Feb. 7-23 Winter Olympics in the Russian resort of Sochi. Some activists have called for a boycott of the games, though President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have ruled that out.
As I've said before, if this were any other minority in the world I have a feeling we would be boycotting and most would be agreeing with the boycott. But because it's LGBT oriented and the shame and stigma associated with being LGBT is still there, we don't receive that kind of treatment or respect. Not even from our leaders who claim to support us.
You can read the piece in full, here.
Free Excerpt Doughy Joey
Most of the back listed books I've been re-releasing this summer have been fairly simple from an editorial POV. All were professionally edited at the time of the original release. But with Doughy Joey I'd never received an arc from the publisher and all I had was the original file in raw form. So I've been editing all day, and I figured I would put up an excerpt here for the weekend. It's not available yet, but will be next week as a .99 e-book. I did have to self-censor a little for blogging reasons, however, the uncensored version will be be released in full.
Joel Roman did not eat carbohydrates. On the day of his thirty-fifth birthday he announced to all his friends he was starting one of those all protein diets so he could become ripped, as he’d read in the fitness magazines. This was five years earlier and he hadn't touched a single starch or sugar since then (well, you couldn't really count the occasional piece of chocolate).
So was it any wonder one of his oldest friends in town, Gerry, was shocked to see him enter the new soft pretzel shop on a Saturday afternoon in mid-January. "Soft Philly Pretzels", said the shiny green and gold sign on the small, two lane highway, "We Bake'm Better". Though this wasn't actually in the city of Philadelphia; more like the far northern suburbs where city people took day trips to visit expensive candle shops and admire the leaves in autumn.
"I knew this would happen one day," Gerry said. His cheeks bulged, vigorously chewing a soft pretzel on his way back to the car. "You'd finally go off that protein diet and eat ten pounds of mashed potatoes and four dozen soft pretzels in one sitting." His round face still flared red from the cold wind and there were feathery wisps of salt and pepper hair sticking out beneath a navy knitted cap. His weighty body was zipped and snapped right up to the bottom of his double chin in a puffy red ski jacket with a faint white goose feather sticking out from the shoulder.
Joel smiled and slipped his hands into the side pockets of his smooth black leather (always a short jacket so other guys could check out his butt in tight jeans; it had never happened, but Joel liked to imagine a guy would one day walk up from behind and slither a firm hand down his pants). Though Gerry sounded as though he were joking around, he'd always been slightly jealous that Joel looked more like thirty than forty. "I'm here for the hot sausage," Joel said. "Someone told me they have these hot sausages wrapped in pretzel dough that are fantastic. I figured it would be simple enough to pull the wrapping off and just eat the sausage."
"Ah, well, I don't think the dough of one small sausage wrap…"
Gerry was about to say he didn't think a little soft pretzel wrapping would cause Joel to gain any weight because he was so trim and fit already, but he didn't get a chance to finish because of a loud crash toward the back of the store. This was one of those completely open bakeries, where the ovens and freezers and wooden work stations are exposed. You couldn't miss that the young guy who was working had just dropped a full tray of frozen pretzel dough onto the red tiled floor.
There was a lot of white noise; fans and ovens and freezer motors all running at the same time. "Are you okay?" Joel shouted to the guy.
"Oh, yeah," he said, "I'll be with you in a minute; I'm the owner…I can't get fired." He bent down, giving his gray sweat pants a jerk at each knee, to pick up the doughy mess as though this was a perfectly normal occurrence, but his bright red cheeks suggested chagrin. At a glance he couldn't have been more than eighteen or nineteen years old.
"I've gotta run," Gerry said. There was a small white piece of wet pretzel stuck to the bottom of his bulbous chin. "Now don't you go crazy and eat too many pretzels. Haha."
"I promise," Joel said, as awkward Gerry guffawed and loped toward the exit door. It occurred to Joel that although they both were the same age, Gerry looked more like fifty than forty (too many soft pretzels, no doubt).
But the baking pretzels did smell so good on a brisk winter day: doughy and floury and fresh. The ones already arranged on the warming counter were covered with specks of white salt; next to them rows of small plastic containers filled with melted cheddar, soft butter, and several cream cheese mixtures were dwarfed by a quart sized yellow mustard dispenser filled to the rim (in Philadelphia yellow mustard was the topping of choice). All of a sudden Joel was starved. If he could have made a quick exit out the door he would have driven down the road to the Gourmet Just Food and bought a small salad instead. But the guy behind the counter had already seen him; he had to buy something.
You could tell this guy was new at running a business. He should have just left the mess and taken care of Joel. It would have served him a good lesson if Joel had actually walked out. But when he took a closer look, while the young guy swept loose flour into a dust bin, it occurred to Joel there was something quite attractive about this young man. He wasn't tall, no more than five eight in running shoes. Though his body was thin, and you could see from the outline of the white t-shirt he wore he wasn't a body builder, he had that natural, messy type of sex appeal. His dark brown hair was longish and wavy…parted in the middle; all one length and cropped bluntly at the middle of his neck. Dark shocks kept falling in front of his face when he bent over. When he spread his legs and squatted to pick up the aluminum tray the fabric of loose gray sweat pants stretched.
He rinsed his hands and then jogged back to the counter to wait on Joel. "Sorry you had to wait. What can I get you?"
His eyes appeared hazel: small and dreary without much light. And his features were thin with that turned down look of a turtle face. But there was something about the entire package that caused Joel's heart to beat a little faster.
"Ah, I think I'll try one of those hot sausage wraps, and maybe a dozen pretzels," Joel said. Oh well, he couldn’t just order one tiny little sausage wrap like that. How would it have looked? The poor young thing didn't have tons of people knocking down the front door for hot pretzels, after all.
"Coming right up," said the pretzel guy. His voice flowed forth like the hum and buzz from an old transistor radio; deep and low, yet soft and pleasant, too. He wore no underwear. The outline of his junk kept protruding through the gray sweat pants.
While he awkwardly shoved a dozen salted pretzels into a brown paper bag his expression remained blank, as though he wasn't quite sure whether or not he liked running this new business of his. The poor guy worked fast; his arms flailing bags and pretzels and napkins, as though there were fifty people standing behind Joel, when in fact no one had entered the shop the entire time Joel had been there. There was a thick glass warming shelf next to the cash register. When he reached inside for a hot sausage wrap, Joel noticed his thick, strong fingers. They were meaty and firm just like the hot sausage he placed into a foil wrapper.