THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WANZIE: What I did over the summer

By : Michael Wanzie
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School is back in session so as routine dictates it’s time to report – What I did over the summer:

I’m not a student, so the only thing that made me aware school was out in June was my inability to skip haphazardly though a theme park with carefree abandon – as I have been known to do from time to time. Instead I was reduced to a vigilant crawl carefully navigating and calculating every step so as not collide with another god damned stroller. Never-the-less, I thoroughly enjoyed my “Flight of Passage” on the back of a banshee in the new land of Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I must admit all my pent up resentment over the fact the ride was nothing more than a cross utilization of the already existing “Soarin’” technology was quickly allayed about five seconds into this spectacular experience. It was actually worth the 90-minute wait.

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Positive Living: Our staunchest political friend needs our help

By : Greg Stemm
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It was the summer of 1983 and I had just moved to St. Petersburg from Columbus, Ohio.

St. Petersburg? Yuck, they said. “God’s waiting room.” “Home of the newlywed and nearly dead.”

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Trans of Thought: Transphobia

By : Melody Maia Monet
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Hello, I’m a transgender woman and I am mentally unstable. My well being is propped up on a razor’s edge by hormones, complicated and expensive medical procedures, as well as therapy.

I am a ticking time bomb and cannot be trusted around your children, women in the ladies’ room, or to do my job in combat situations. I suffer from a mental illness that deludes me into thinking I am a woman, but in actuality I am the sick byproduct of a patriarchy compelled to undermine female power and invade their spaces. I entrap straight men into committing unwitting homosexual acts and trick lesbians into sex with men. I am a deceiver and counterfeit with the intent of forcing the world to reject common sense views on gender and sexual identity. The only positive aspect of my existence is that I am part of a group so small that my rights as a human being can be conveniently disregarded by society based on the slimmest of suspicions, but without any basis in proven fact.

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The Other Side of Life: All That Freedom, And a Bag of Chips (eh?)

By : Jason Leclerc
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“We don’t need two bags of chips,” I scowled, “but, I reckon they’ll keep.” Who was I to turn down a Publix BOGO sack of Ruffles. I expected full well that they’d be devoured in time for the next week’s grocery trip; all we had to do was pay full price for the first bag.

We started with the All-American Classics then scoured the shelf for the gimmicky “get-one.” Four curious eyes zeroed in on the maple leaf-decorated ‘All-Dressed’ flavor. Since our autumn visit to Toronto, we were open to things that our northern-nation neighbors had to offer. We joked, right there in the snack aisle, about poutines-as-fake-nachos. We laughed about how a kilometer was only two-thirds of a mile and how a loonie was only three-fourths of a dollar. Even their easy-on-the-eyes leader is a scaled-down version of our own odd, party-sized POTUS.

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Ladyfingers: Crazy cat lady

By : Sabrina Ambra
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In light of the recent news that Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc., is filing for IPO after being backed by Ashton Kutcher (oh, you didn’t hear?), I have decided to come up with a chicken noodle recipe of my own. Happiness, inspiration and hope are great and all, but gloom, reality and pessimism have the potential to be so much funnier.

Also, the thought of the Chicken Soup roundtable reading my story while huffin’ and puffin’, and/or dry-heaving makes me giggle like the adorable little troll I am. Plus, double-plus for the millennials, they would never let me say “fuck” in there. As far as I’m concerned, the most valuable lessons that life will teach you involve the word “fuck” in some form or another.  So with that, I present to you: Chicken Soup for the Asshole: You’ve Cat to be Kitten Me.  

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: President Pants on Fire

By : Michael Wanzie
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Where is even one Republican in Congress with the spine, conscience and courage to stand up and say, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore?”

Apparently they don’t yet exist.

The Wall Street Journal has called for the Trump regime to immediately engage in “radical transparency” as the only means by which they might save themselves from the heavy weight and potentially dire consequences of the Russia probe. This would be sound advice if, and only if, Donald Jr. and the Trump administration had nothing to hide.

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Ladyfingers: An ode to Jim Philips

By : Sabrina Ambra
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Mind if we take a drive down “Let Me Get Real With Ya” Boulevard real quick? Sometimes I find myself scrambling for topics when it’s time for me to write my next Ladyfingers entry (#giggidy).

I’m an expert in over analyzation, procrastination, and self-deprecation. Am I an artist? Debatable. Did I miss my deadline? Absolutely. However, instead of my “occasional” scrambling (I’m sorry; I love you; thank you for your patience), I’m a day late for a completely different reason. As a matter of fact, this time I had no doubt in what, or in this case, who I wanted to write about: Jim Philips.

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The other side of life: Intersections

By : Jason Leclerc
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Over the past year, we’ve tread the intersection of Kaley Street and South Orange Avenue as it’s become a crossroads swollen with mourners, with meaning. It meets the intersection of Christopher and Seventh. It meets the intersection of Pride and unity, where the Rainbow Flag meets an ongoing aggregation of initials. It meets the intersection of politics and partisanship and guns and economic equity.

Even as we make these intersections into hallowed spaces, each carrying the foot traffic of omnipresent ghosts, we are obliged to recognize that history is a gift from the past to the present – another intersection where the crosswalks are overwhelmed by facts and their pedestrian interpretations. The past lives alongside the present.

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St. Pete Pride board member Susan McGrath responds to our St. Pete Pride Viewpoint column

By : Billy Manes
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Though we don’t normally do this – not directly, except in our letters section – we’d like to present this rebuttal to one of our Viewpoints. Not everybody is happy with Greg Stemm’s opinion piece in our Viewpoint section about St. Pete Pride. You can read the original here.

This is Pride board member Susan McGrath’s response.

As a St Pete Pride board member and a 19-year homeowner in Historic Kenwood, I cannot express my level of disappointment in opening the “St Pete Pride” Watermark edition to see a page devoted to substantial misinformation and language that is divisive and unproductive for our community.

Let’s begin with the facts.

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The Evolution of Us: Make Oz Great Again!

By : Dr. Steve Yacovelli
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A little while ago, I had the pleasure of watching the musical Wicked in downtown Orlando. I’ve seen this show multiple times throughout the years since its 2003 Broadway premier, however fourteen years later, and only about 120-plus days into our 45th President’s reign, the show has taken on a crazy new perspective for me. Maybe we can learn a little wisdom from the Land of Oz.

For those who are unfamiliar with story of Wicked, it’s a musical by Stephen Schwartz based on the amazing book by Gregory Maguire that tells the story of Elphaba, the “Wicked Witch of the West” most of us feared from “The Wizard of Oz.” But it’s an origin-story, a prequel, telling how she came from an unloving father; how she became green; how she was shunned for being an “outsider” because of her intellect and her, well, greenness; and the relationships she forged once she attended college and beyond. And, of course, it dovetails into the L. Frank Baum story (see the “L-F-B” reference there?) that we’ve come to know, with Dorothy and the slippers, the Yellow Brick Road, and the house that fell on a woman – Elphaba’s sister to be exact. It also explores how the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Glinda all came into being. It’s a great story that puts what I knew as a kid on its head.

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Positive Living: Thanks, Concern and an Open Mind from a Founder of St. Pete Pride

By : Greg Stemm
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As one of the founders of St. Pete Pride, first let me say “thank you.” Over the past 15 years you’ve taken our concept of a truly grassroots community-driven Pride celebration and transformed it into the largest Pride event in the state and one of the premier LGBTQ experiences in the country.

In doing so, you’ve taken it even one step further and helped to transform St. Petersburg from a sleepy retirement community into a blossoming gay mecca becoming known by many as “the San Francisco of the East.” Make no mistake, we are celebrating 15 years of successful Pride celebrations not because of anything we did as founders or the controversial decisions of the current board, but because you supported it. St. Pete Pride was and is your Pride celebration.

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Finding Our Pulse: We Are One Orlando

By : Buddy Dyer
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One year ago, a deranged killer walked into the Pulse nightclub and targeted members of our LGBTQ community on Latin Night. When the horror was over, 49 of our friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, had been taken from us.

As our community reflects back on the past year, much is going to be made of reliving the tragedy, and retelling the stories of the victims and their families as we honor them.

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