Playing the “Woman Card” and Coming In Hot

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I VOWED not to spend one second of my life doing anything but mocking Donald Trump. The hair, the Eastern European model wife, the name splashed so big on buildings it screams “I have a tiny penis!”  But then I heard two words: “woman card” as in playing the. I can even prove the two words came flying out of his sushi hole.  (Thank you, CNN.)

I snapped. What a dick. What a stupid dick to disenfranchise more than 50% of the population. It was a bad strategy. But he’s a red-faced blurter and that’s a really really bad thing. For anybody, but especially politicians. I am sometimes surprised he can even hold his pee in at the lectern.

Women have quite a card to play, Donald, and you need to shut up:

Rape and murder since the beginning of human time.

White slavery, prostitution and child pornography.

Pay inequity and unpaid child support.

No voice in politics or economics for centuries.

Got the vote after freed male slaves.

Live under threat of punishment for a medical procedure THAT IS COMPLETELY LEGAL.

Members of the GOP in our vaginas, the worse indignity of all

And despite all that horror, no one plays the “woman card.” They get up in the morning and climb in their fighter to fight ISIS and keep his big pink butt safe. They run for President and no doubt will win. (I want him to get whooped by a girl). These women are mothers and teachers and doctors and lawyers. They don’t play the woman card. The show up, and every day that they do, they are in effect saying “shove it up your ass, Donald.”

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MY COLLEGE ROOMMATE -MY BODY GUARD

My College Roommate — My Body Guard: A Story and Review of My College Roommate’s New Novel, HAIR CLUB BURNING an Interracial Comedy

GUEST BLOGGER: Lisa Shanahan, “Coffeelicious”

 

th.jpegVanderbilt University

Come for the wisecracks and the sex scenes. Stay for the message.

The funniest woman I’ve ever known is my college roommate, Beth Wareham. Her new book with co-author, Jason Davis, about a housewife from Westchester County and a gangbanger from Harlem getting it on in hilarious circumstances, is a beautiful thing, y’all.

Another beautiful thing? The real-life story of Beth and me.
I was one angry young woman by the time I met Beth my senior year at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. I’d arrived freshman year a sheltered, naïve, seventeen-year-old from an all-girls high school with a progressive bent.

Y’all see, society on the Vanderbilt campus in the late seventies didn’t work the way my Sunday School teachers at East Ridge Baptist Christ in East Ridge, Tennessee, told me all my life that they did, as in the song that goes: “Jesus Loves the Little Children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow. Black and white. They are precious in his sight. “Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

Jesus may love them, but in college, I learned that people do not love all the little children. A codified social system based on the Greek letters of the alphabet stacked everybody up in fraternities and sororities against one another according to gender, race, and creed. And that’s for starters. There were other markers for dress, wealth, and social standing. The Greek system that dominated social life at Vandy, which was accepted as the way things were, awakened this little believer, who had almost zero prior knowledge of sororities and fraternities, to the injustices in the world.

By senior year, heartbroken and pissed off at the world, I was living in a single in the stoner dorm, the result of two life-altering decisions I made junior year.

Number one, I’d deactivated from my “exclusive” sorority following a year of acting out after an officer told me my friend, who was rushing sophomore year, couldn’t join our sorority because she was Jewish and wouldn’t represent our Christian ideals. Angry, aghast, shocked that this officer had gotten an entirely different message than I had out of Sunday School. I never participated in the sorority at the level they required again. After a year of cutting meetings, of not caring, they asked me to leave. I’m still ashamed of myself for not quitting that day I found out what all my former sorority represented, for acting out childishly instead of protesting and demanding answers.

Number two, my pivotal junior year, I switched majors from Molecular Biology, from being a pre-med, to English, but that’s a long-form story for another day.

Thus, long story short, I wound up alone, in a single, in the stoner dorm senior year — gladly rid of my sorority status, but bittersweet about leaving my group of pre-med grinds.

That fall John Lennon was shot. I was eating next to nothing after a nasty breakup with my long-time, on-again/off-again boyfriend over my summer romance in London with an Irish boy. I was listening to the Steve Winwood album Arc of a Diver over and over. I visited my high school boyfriend in Chapel Hill in a lame, failed attempt to recapture my past. I wrote an emo-style paper for an independent study on e. e. cummings that my professor called “oddly elliptical.” A cute frat boy, one with a mind and a heart, in my Medieval Literature, class came to visit me in my single, but only wanted help with his homework.

Right before Christmas, a friend and former roommate — bless her — invited me to live in her suite with five other girls the next semester. I’d be in a double with a girl I’d never met. “Yes, please,” I’d said, afraid that I was living in an unhealthy way, knowing I had to stop ruminating on my lost pre-med status, my nasty break-up, my lost Irish boy, the stigma of having de-activated from my sorority and take on the motherf’ing world that did not love all the little children. I was a privileged person — a young, educated white woman from a supportive family that’d risen in the world by starting a business. Moaning and moping anymore about my “aloneness,” I felt, would’ve been ridiculous.

Enter my new roommate. Beth Wareham. A six-foot-tall Texan outfitted with a gorgeous tan, a mane of blond hair, and a sharp-shooting wit that mowed down frat boys within a hundred yards.

That last semester at Vanderbilt, I still felt the sting of being a persona non grata in my former circles, since I’d lost my labels, since I didn’t dress to conform in preppy pink and green, since the whole scene pissed me off, but I have to hand it to Wareham. That girl was my tonic — this little nonconformist’s bodyguard, the first badass I ever knew. With her, screw ’em, I was back to walking the brick byways of Vandy with impunity. Y’all see, Beth was her own woman, had never pledged a sorority, was solely the product of her convictions; and I was proud to be her new roommate and friend.

We could’ve fit in if we’d wanted to, but we didn’t want to. We didn’t want to conform when so many others didn’t even have the choice.

After graduating, I moved to Boston to work in publishing, an idea that’d germinated during my hiatus in the stoner dorm. Beth joined me for a year, but then moved on, on her own journey, ending up in Manhattan in publishing, where she lives today with her husband, a former music critic for The New York Times.

For the past decade Beth and her co-writer Jason Smith — a Blood, O.G., as in the gang in Harlem and the Bronx, now a writer and father who mentors at-risk youth — have been friends. Beth says she and Jason cause a bit of a stir out together in New York. Feeling the camaraderie, the empowerment I’d felt with her, I imagine them striding the concrete canyons of Manhattan — friends, blood brothers — slaying the haters.

In Beth and Jason’s stylishly hilarious new book, Hair Club Burning: An Interracial Comedy, Marianne — a Westchester County real housewife — takes down her low-down, no-account, bastard-of-a-husband with the help of Jay — a gangbanger from Harlem — who perhaps needs Marianne as much as she needs him. A match made in heaven, Marianne and Jay burn the f’ing house down. Y’all will be amused, delighted, shocked, enthralled in the company of these funny-as-shit badasses, who discover love is, indeed, color-blind.

Come for the wisecracks and the sex scenes. Stay for the message.

“Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow. Black and white. They are precious in his sight.”

7.jpgAmen.

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COMEDY AND RACISM

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Excerpt from HAIR CLUB BURNING by Beth Wareham and Jason Davis

“That went well,” Rachel Rosenthalerheim said as Mary Ann drove her and Archie back to the train station.

“I thought it best to stop where we were,” Arch reported.

“Good call, Arch,” Rachel said as Mary Ann sat next to her, staring at the road ahead through the steering wheel, tears without beginning, end or sound on her face.

Rachel and Arch continued to talk back and forth as if she wasn’t there. She made it through two more stoplights before pulling into the parking lot of One World Liquors.

No one would mistake it for a holy spot but it’s where Mary Ann let rip her confession: “I beg both your forgiveness. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I used to have control.”

 

“It’s called grief, Mary Ann,” Rachel Rosenthalerheim said.

“It’s beyond that. My rage is so complete that when I saw him, it had nowhere to go. I actually think about murdering him when I’m not thinking of fucking this black guy. That’s the only two thoughts I seem to have.”

As the words ‘fucking this black guy” filled out the interior of the car, a strange smell floated about. Mary Ann now added sound to her tears.

After several moments, Rachel spoke first, “in the city, interracial couples are becoming the norm. Many people on the subway, well, it is impossible to determine the color of their parents by looking at them. I myself have dated many men of color in my life: They are just attracted to me for some reason. Neither Arch nor I are surprised by your words.”

“Speak for yourself, Rachel. You have a shelf butt and more black man have dug you than all the trenches in Georgia. As you can see,” Arch turned to address the back of Mary Ann’s head,  I come from people who feel strongly about purity.”

“That’s what Hitler said,” Rachel said. “With that kind of white bullshit….”

“PLEASE. I can’t take it,” Mary Ann sobbed out. “You don’t think it feels weird to me to lust for the one thing my Mamma and Daddy taught me was the low-est form of lust a women could have?”

 

“You were raised by racists?” Rachel whispered. “No! They weren’t racists!” Mary Ann yelled. “They weren’t racists!” Mary Ann continued yelling. “They were an insurance salesman and a school teacher who told me to never go to the Negro part of town.”

“Awk! Did you say ‘negro?” Arch yelled from the backseat. “Even I wouldn’t do that and I’m Hitler, apparently.”

“Look who is falling into an outdated vernacular,” Rachel said, staring at Mary Ann.

“Did you say ‘vernacular’ to me?” Mary Ann asked. “Who DOES THAT in the middle of an argument?”

“A lawyer with Vegas hair and a huge rear end, apparently” Arch said.

“Oh, so now my hair is on trial rather than my sex life,” yelled Rachel Rosenthalerheim.

“How did we get on hair?” Mary Ann asked, looking up and sniffing.

“Stupid discussion,” Rachel’s car voice had returned. “Look, I’m gonna pop in here so I’ll have my wine without having to go back out when I get to the city.”

“Good idea,” Arch agreed. “I’ll join you. I love a good blended scotch, a deeply unpopular idea among some of my clients. But there you have it. I’m the man of the people, I guess…”

Mary Ann was dumbfounded. She had just confessed to her legal team her most hidden, lurid thoughts and they had ended up gleefully shopping for cheap liquor just outside New York City.

 

The association Mary Ann didn’t quite make inside her mind that day was that the ‘negro part of town’ was now the ‘hood, and she was beginning to benefit from its ways.

******************************************************************

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A SEXCERPT FROM HAIR CLUB BURNING

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FROM HAIR CLUB BURNING

Ahead of her was an average-issue apartment building door, dividing two astonishing sights. To the left was a plate glass window with a brightly lit living room spread open to the night. On the right was a brightly lit bedroom spread open to the night. In each room, a man, a man who was black, a man who was black and young, a man who was black and young and very muscular, was in some stage of undress.

Her jaw went slack. She glanced around to see if anyone was watching, looked down, then turned back to the house.

She was in the dark and far enough away from the front door for either man to see her. Dashaun was in the living room to the left, bent over and hopping around on one leg while trying to get the other into his clean pants. His dick seemed to brush the floor with each jump. She gasped. It seemed so long and she saw pink at the tip. Fairly bright pink too. It hung from a finely de- fined line of muscle that ran hip to hip, almost like a Greek statue. Jair’s pubic area flashed in her mind like PTSD, a white looking pouch stretched downward by unaroused, nubby dick: It was more inverted, jiggly mound than anything.

Once Dashaun’s pants were on, he turned his back to the window and began to pull the t- shirt over his head. His traps and delts stretched out and every tiny muscle on his back popped and moved. The white of the t-shirt on his latte-colored, heavily roped arms made her—and any other woman who ever saw them—long to be rocked to sleep after a good hard fucking.

 

He put on the red shirt and flipped his long dreads back and arranged them into a thick ponytail. A clean- er pair of red Chuck Taylor high tops finished the look: He was ready for The Banker and moved out of the room.

In the other window to the right of the door, a second personal porno was streaming for Mary Ann. It was Jay, completely naked, and combing his hair back into the low ponytail he favored. She could see his hands working and the flash of his diamond rings. His back arched into a high ass, almost like an adolescent.

 

His skin was deep black, his scars shining like strips of moonlight across his skin.His torso came down to the V she had buried her nose in at Starbucks, but now she could see every articulated muscle. He turned and bent and everything was working in his back; there was simply no fat to cover it. He came upright and turned and then she saw it.

Jay’s cock was not only long, it was fat, like those pepper grinders they always point at you in restaurants. It moved in the opposite direction he moved, suggesting he was moving fast or it was too heavy to make the turn with him. He bent forward to put his leg in his pants and it too almost brushed the floor. His perfect round high ass was up in the air and she felt a kind of “whoosh” pass through her entire being.

Mary Ann had no words for what she was seeing, feeling. It was if she had to describe the blue of an iceberg, a huge cat contracting in long yellow grass, gold shining up through mud, birth. These male images were hitting her so deep in her gut she had no words. She felt the giant red monkey butt swell and envelope her. She knew she was going down.

Men could look like this? Men weren’t nubby and pink? She was shocked, felt strange and somehow humbled. After all, she’d been fighting to save a marriage to old pink tits and look at the riches laid before her. She wasn’t sure Jay’s penis would fit but she figured if a kid had come out, they should give it a whirl. She could do this and it would change her. Forever.

 

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3 Simple Ways to Choose a Book

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All writers and editors and publishers are people who read and read a lot. I am no exception. In my constant need for comparative titles, new ideas, before-bed reading and the like, I spend a lot of money on books each month.  I finally put myself on a “book budget” and it was harder to stick to than buying clothes, eating out and likker.

Right now, the world feels like a pile of books. Millions dance around on the templates of amazon and landing pages of New York publishing – God love them – who keeps publishing into a void of fewer readers, no retailers, and a press so locked into election coverage,  only a political book can make it on air or even have a chance at a mention in articles and blogs.

So how is a reader to navigate this black hole? With three simple ideas:

  1. Read all the descriptive material on amazon or Barnes and Noble or wherever you are buying the book. How is the writing on the exterior? Since all writers – even those with large publishing companies – now write just about everything on the book, it gives you a sense of their style and what they think the book is about.
  2. Do not pay $30 for a hardcover. You are paying for the office rent of the publisher and usually an overly large advance to the writer.  (My favorite was Mrs. Clinton’s high priced autobiography that name-dropped for hundreds of pages. She’s lucky I’m still voting for her name-dropping ass.) Books simply aren’t that expensive to make.  (Publishers publish hardcovers because the New York Times, New Yorker, et al still will not accept a paperback for review. Another sad circumstance.) Invest in a kindle as books are considerably less pricey in that form. You should now, with books, adopt the old adage NEVER PAY RETAIL.
  3. Don’t be a lemming. In book publishing, everyone seems to be reading and reviewing the same book at the same moment: You Before Me, The Fault is in Our Stars, Gone, Girl and on and on. Get out of the herd and start exploring the rising number of Indies and their ground-breaking books that are winning awards worldwide. This is where the next great voice will probably rise from….and you’ll be there to hear it.

You are in the middle of a revolution and renaissance in the art of writing and distributing words. Use it to your advantage. The prices are low, the world complex, and more information is going to make you smarter, faster, and stronger than virtually any activity on Earth.

It’s your brain. Feed it and grow strong.

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TRADING WORDS FOR A GLOCK

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To order Jay’s book, click here

My co-author, Jason Davis, is – as he would be the first to admit – a work in progress. His body is covered with the scars of a street warrior, a gang banger, a King on the streets of Harlem. At one point, Jay was the OG (Old Gangster) running a sett (a gang unit) of more than 450 young men.

If all that were not enough, Jay is also a cutter. A psychological construct most associated with young white women, Jay took to slicing into his own body when the stress of his life overwhelmed him. Those scars criss cross his arms and legs over the deeper, more professionally inked and burned tattoos of the Bloods.

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Here is Jay’s story about trading in guns for words:

I became a Blood in October 16, 1996. 20 years later I currently remain a Blood, it’s for life for me.

The gang life: no one can truly prepare you for it. There are many ups and downs but most of all, there are the constant deaths.  I lost countless comrades and close friends because of the life. I have gotten my bottom lip bitten/severed off, stabbed in my ear drum and stabbed in my calf twice,protecting another member from getting killed. I have also gotten in trouble with the law several times and had to run as a fugitive from multiple states. I was on Delaware’s most wanted list for 4 and a half years.

I would not say  any major incident I  witnessed made we want to stop gang banging. When you’re in the life and you have a true love for the people you bond with and are struggling with, you become more and more  enraged when they are killed,hurt or put in prisons. It builds and builds, that hurt, but my self awareness did not come into play until I matured more as a man.

I learned that you can be within the system of any gang  and not partake in any criminal activity. I learned you can’t chose where or what you are born around, but when you carry yourself as a man first,not just a gang member, you are respected as a man. first. That is my world; yours is different but no less challenging for you.

I also challenged the love that other gang members said they had for me. If they did feel that way – truly – they would have my best interests at heart. The only members not tired of the killing are those that hadn’t banged for very long.

I know what it feels like to grow up confused and be taught a negative way of thinking early in life. And no matter what community you live in, it’s a crime to involve kids in anything that would potentially harm them in any way. That is not how you love someone. That goes for all kids:  white, black, green or purple.

They are innocent and deserve more than what I experienced.

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Jason Davis

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Jason Davis is the co-author of HAIR CLUB BURNING, an interracial comedy. To order, click on the book’s title.

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Why him? How to choose a writing partner.

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As a white middle-aged housewife, I can bore myself pretty silly. Yup, I’ve tangoed with Cuban mops,  rode Swifter picker uppers around the house and done battle with the vacuum bag. I tried to ride the iRobot and broke it. Too heavy I guess. (Me, not it.) I know my world and I know my challenges. I chose a co-writer as different from me as I could. I also know that to handle hot potato race topics, a needed that balancing voice that made the use of the word “nigger” acceptable.

I am a publisher who owns a publishing company. Who doesn’t, right? I also work in film (the slowest drip of a Chinese water torture in modern business) and philanthropies that strike my sense of equality. I help people write. They help me. We thrive.

And I do what I call BRIDGE WORK. Above is Jason Davis, my co-author in HAIR CLUB BURNING, a riot of a ride through racism, bad behavior, stereotypes of ALL kinds, systemic racial prejudice, interracial friendship and love. I believe the government wants to keep black and whites apart. Our future lies in our bonds and all lives matter. Everyone knows that but ISIS. I wanted to know Jay’s story, his heart, his experiences as a Blood in America and there was no better way to understand than through writing.

I published Jason’s poetry 10 years ago when he was on the run for attempted murder. He was under the radar, banging hard and making babies. The call arrived asking for poems and he said, “you’re kidding, right?” He did write them and they were great. You can read them in The War of the Bloods in My Veins by Daushaun Morris, another book I published.

Jason and started writing Hair Club Burning as a way to capture the hilarious reactions of people to the middle-aged white Texas housewife and the gang banger. That is the genesis of the book.

But really, I want you to know who Jason is and how far he has come. He is now a novelist, a book seller, a philanthropist and a teacher. He is raising his 4 kids as a single dad, working the graveyard shift to pay his family’s way. He got his group of Harlem Bloods to lay down their arms and become a group with a civil purpose, a purpose to keep other young people out of gangs. He recently received  an award from Harlem Hospital for his work in the community.

I want you to know Jay. He is the stuff of White nightmares….or is he?   Twenty years of Catholic school training could not keep him from banging on the streets. Banging on the streets led to grave physical and mental distress. Jay entered the care of Dr. David Grand, one of the world’s foremost PTSD researchers who works with populations in Syria, the Balkans, anywhere there is mass murder, war and natural disasters. These gang members where suffering so – threw their actions and the scenes they witnessed together – and  PTSD became the treatment that allowed them to overcome and proceed with their lives.

I am Jay’s bridge. I brought him into the world of writing and publishing and he will soon start his own imprint, OG BOOKS. I am so proud of him and cannot wait to read more black voices in publishing. We’ve heard plenty from the white ones.

Watch here for the continue story of an OG Blood becoming a man of letters. It a beautiful thing: GUNS FOR INK.

To purchase Jay’s book, HAIR CLUB BURNING, click here. IMG_0012-2

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WE CAN DO THIS.

PASS YOUR KNOWLEDGE ALONG.