Cyborg & Wonder Woman Are On A Cereal Box: Why It Matters

Honey Nut Cheerios with DC Comics

Breakfast of diverse superheroes?

At the grocery store with my 9-year old this weekend, we scanned the aisle for cereal and she exclaimed, “this comes with a free comic!” Part of me was as delighted at the thought of a free comic as my child, but the other part, the responsible-Mom one, was saying I shouldn’t make a food choice based on product placement. (There is always an exception though, like when I had to buy cereal for the free Star Wars pen!) My ultra-picky kid actually likes Honey Nut Cheerios, and it’s one of healthier choices in the cereal aisle, so we bought them. Yay free comics!

I really didn’t need another reason to appreciate the Cheerios brand, but I now have a couple more. This morning, we opened the box of cereal, my daughter inspecting the box and finding her free comic inside. She gleefully pointed out Wonder Woman on the front and then Cyborg on the back, adding: “See? This is what he looks like for real.” She recently has become obsessed with Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go! show and Cyborg in particular. She read her Walking on Fire comic, featuring Cyborg as the main character, while eating her breakfast. Not a bad way to start a school day; she was quite happy.

#MicroblogMondays: I Love New York Except…

NYCnov14 (2)I love New York except when the rent is too damn high and continues to soar and there’s no way I’ll ever be able to afford to live there.

I love New York except when the MTA continues to raise its fares and traveling across a borough with my kids becomes too expensive.

I love New York except when the practices of law enforcement are racist and biased, their actions continue to do harm to those they are being paid to protect, and the NYPD has yet to build any trust within the communities they are supposed to be serving.

I love New York except when I’m tired and cold and sore and stressed out and have a million worries on my mind (like Saturday when I took this picture).

New York, I love you, but…

Thanks, as always, to Stirrup Queens for always giving me a reason to post something on Mondays!

#MicroblogMondays: The Perfection Monster

Tea Bag Wisdom

Ah, the wisdom of tea bags. I need to write this quote on my wall so I see it throughout the day. The Perfection Monster sneaks up on me, prevents me from calling a new piece of work (whether visual art or writing) done. I’m constantly seeing something else that could be added or tweaked. If I let the Perfection Monster get to me, I’ll never get anywhere. (Yes, I just looked over at a painting that took two years for me to call “finished” and contemplate what lurks in my drafts folder…) Sometimes, we just have to say “DONE!” (or, alternatively, “fuck it!”) and sign that canvas, hit the “publish” button, without criticizing every last brush or key stroke.

I have found a couple things that help keep the Perfection Monster at bay:

1. I read major publications or other works I respect, and find typos. The grammar nerd in me is aggravated by any error I find, from dinner menus to magazine articles, I’m often appalled that something made it past editors paid to check for mistakes and hit the printer. However, if I pull back for a second, and simply acknowledge we all are just humans doing this work, none of us perfect, I realize my writing never needs to meet the infinite (and ever-climbing) bar I place upon myself.

2. When I head to a museum or gallery, I seek out pieces I’m attracted to or works by artists I have deep respect for. I stand in front of the picture and stare, looking for the mishaps, seeing where paint never hit the canvas, where a line was accidentally blurred, where a touch-up calls too much attention. I see that even the Masters, artists I look up to, aren’t perfect either. It’s an important acknowledgement: we aren’t machines. We breathe, we feel, we create. We make things, and a lot of times those things are flawed.

The fact we’ve opened ourselves up to create anything at all, that alone is beautiful, flaws and all.

What ways do you keep the Perfection Monster away? 

Thanks again to Stirrup Queens for #MicroblogMondays. I missed last week, but was really looking forward to coming back to it today. I went over the 8 sentence limit rule, but what can I say? Rebels gotta rebel.

#MicroBlogMondays: 4 Little Girls

The 16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham

The 16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham

51 years ago, four young black girls were killed in Birmingham when their church was bombed by the KKK. I had the opportunity to visit the church last summer on my civil rights trip. We have made progress, yes, but I look around and find it devastating about how very far we’ve yet to go.

Today I am thinking of Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair. My heart goes out to the family and friends of the four girls lost that day. Too many black children have had their dreams and their potential ripped away from them. Violence and terror from racists, hate groups, the police, and the PIC must end.

It is my hope that in 51 years from now, I can speak of these crimes and heartaches in historical terms only. Maybe, just maybe, we will have learned our lessons and will no longer leave so many mothers to mourn their children.




Ramarley Graham was 18 years old when he was shot and killed by a police officer. Ramarley was unarmed. Ramarley had not committed a crime. In 2012, on the afternoon of February 2nd, NYPD cops kicked in the door to Ramarley Graham’s home, without a warrant. They murdered Constance Malcolm’s child, in the afternoon, in front of his grandmother and 6-year old brother.

It has been over two years since Ramarley died. Two years of possibility that should have belonged to him. He should still be here. His mom should have the opportunity to see her son grow into an adult, set out on his own, and live his life. Ramarley should be here planning his future. His little brother should still have his big brother around. His little brother, now 9, should not live in fear of also being murdered by the police. (more…)

Things I Miss This Week: writing, video games, tv, gazing into the abyss, my bed…

From May 12, 2014

From May 12, 2014

So, as I’ve promised myself to write here at least once a week, I’m doing a quick check-in. Oh and yeah, I have some BlogHer news, if the picture didn’t give it away. I’ll get to that in a minute. I’ve been spending nearly every waking hour doing some training for an at-home job that would have regular weekly hours and would sure be a help getting my finances in order. Being an unemployed single mom does not have its privileges. Things have been pretty rough lately, so I’m keeping my fingers (and toes!) crossed this gig works out. I’ll find out next week. I’ll take all prayers, luck, vibes, meditations, what have you…

I have a lot of stuff that’s waiting to be written, either lurking in my head or half-drafted. This week is just not one to put much time or energy into writing. I will hopefully return to my regularly scheduled soapboxing next week. In the meantime, if you are new here, hello and thank you for checking my blog out. You can find me on Twitter and (new!) “LIKE” me on Facebook. There’s a bunch of other places you can find me listed over on the side bar as well. Oh and look, you can also help me pay my bills and save enough funds to buy a desperately needed laptop. Sorry, had to mention it!

I was delighted to receive an email last week from Deb Rox, Entertainment Editor at BlogHer, telling me they would be featuring my piece about diversity in comics. If you haven’t read it yet, please head over to BlogHer and check it out. Just as exciting, was seeing my quote and name in BlogHer’s newsletter on Monday. That news surely helped to lift my spirits. And not to be all cheesy by making a pun, but, Deb Rox really rocks. I’ll show myself out now…

More pieces coming next week, including pictures of the zoo cake I made. Until then, be well. Thank you again for coming by!

The FDA Hearing and The Judge Rotenberg Center: What You Should Know

[CN: abuse, ableism, torture]

Photo: Canton Community TV

Imagine being electro-shocked for getting out of your seat without asking permission. Imagine that the reason you were being shocked was simply because you may become aggressive, and all of it was legal. Imagine wearing the electrodes on your skin 24-7, knowing you could be shocked at any moment. Imagine witnessing your peers be shocked as well. Imagine that all of this is ignored because the public barely, if at all, acknowledges your existence.

This isn’t fiction, nor is it in some far away place or just a shameful part of history. This is happening in America, in 2014. The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) uses “aversives” as part of their treatment program. Aversives can vary, but some of the aversives used at JRC include electric shock (which is not ECT), mechanical restraints, and food deprivation.  Aversives are used for behaviors the staff deem “inappropriate” or “disruptive,” ranging from blowing bubbles with saliva to not maintaining a neat appearance. In addition to electro shocks, JRC practices isolation and physical restraints as per multiple reports (including former employees and members of the New York State Education Department review team). This is a difficult read (major TW for severe abuse, death), but necessary if you want to truly grasp the horror that goes on at the Judge Rotenberg Center.

In 2011, the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) ruled that licensed facilities can no longer use “behavioral interventions” such as “electric shock, long-term treatment, or aversives that post risk for psychological harm” on new admissions. Essentially the treatment program JRC has long proclaimed as a success is now deemed unfit. The problem is, this ruling is only for new admissions. Any students previously admitted and receiving aversives as part of their program, however harmful, are still being shocked. This is troubling. Most people are unaware that there is no federal law banning the use of aversives, even shock devices, even on children, even in schools, even on people with disabilities. State laws vary and it can be illegal to use such aversives in some, but no federal law yet exists to protect our citizens against a human rights violation. There is a lot of work to be done here. (more…)

I Support Shanesha Taylor

Update 4/12/14: Please join the virtual petition asking Bill Montgomery to drop charges against Shanesha Taylor. URGENT, please sign before Tuesday!!!!

Desperation. That is where Shanesha Taylor undoubtedly found herself last week when she left her children alone in a car so she could attend a job interview. I’ve seen support for Shanesha in the days since her arrest, and that compassion has warmed my heart. I’ve also seen a lot of finger-wagging, many a “how could she,” and doubt that she had no other options. These responses have saddened me. It’s easy to look at someone else’s situation and play Monday morning quarterback. You can revise someone’s life and say you’d have done this job training or received this college degree or not had kids or given them up or made sure their father stuck around or found family or friends to help out or do any number of things you’re positive would exempt you from ever having to make the decision to leave your young kids in a car with the windows cracked.

Perhaps some of those who have the answers, who know exactly what steps Shanesha Taylor and others like her could have taken to be in a different place, maybe they do know better. It’s possible those people did make all the right moves and will never find themselves homeless. I applaud them. I also think, with the exception of those with trust funds, it’s careless to say it could never happen to you. Life can shake anyone down, and without a safety net, any of us could be Shanesha Taylor. Until you have been there, deciding between leaving your children in a parked car for an hour or not taking the interview that could help move them out of that car and into a home, take a seat. (more…)

I #StandWithJamilah

If you were away from the internet and television (and by TV, I mean specifically Fox News, which for your sake, I actually do hope you abstained from viewing) over the last 24 hours, you might have missed what went down between Ebony Magazine Senior Editor and writer, Jamilah Lemieux, and Raffi Williams (wait…who?). Actually, more like what went down between a bunch of misinformed RNC-supporters and racist trolls (often one and the same, from what I see), as they spewed a lot of hatred at Jamilah. There was also, as one would expect at this point, a lot of “you’re racist!” being thrown out by people who clearly have no concept of what racism is. One of the more creative definitions I saw was from Moira Fitzgerald who explained racism was “an obsession with race even when race is not at issue.”

Once again, conservatives, mostly white, took something and made it about them. They were offended. Gee, this sounds familiar. Suddenly, Jamilah was “racist” because she was denying a white man his opinion.


A Measles Primer

[This is an edited version from a piece I wrote in April 2008 regarding measles. Following this latest report, I felt it relevant to repost here. I don’t blame McCarthy exclusively for the rise in measles or other diseases preventable by vaccines. People were claiming vaccines caused autism before her, and the anti-vax movement was in full force before she started speaking out and writing books. However, she brought the anti-vax agenda to the mainstream, her television appearances and interviews were widely seen. She lent her celeb status to campaigns that otherwise may not have received airtime or funding. McCarthy does have some responsibility in the rising rates of these cases, and in persuading those who’ve been convinced to not vaccinate because of unfounded and false autism connections.]

“Give my son the measles. I’ll take that way over autism any day.”

“In a heartbeat,” she adds later on. [That’s an actual quote from Jenny McCarthy when she was on the Larry King Live show in 2008] (more…)