Guest Column: A ‘Smart’ Ride for good

By : Chris Rudisill
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Chris Rudisill-2010

Chris Rudisill

In 2010, I was still relatively new to Florida. My first year in St. Petersburg was spent getting immersed in the LGBT community, enjoying the beautiful sunshine and beginning to find joy in the immense cycling opportunities throughout our area.

In doing so, I heard other riders and new friends talk about this SMART Ride event—a two-day, 165-mile bike ride from Miami to Key West. Having never been to Key West before, my partner and I started to train for the 7th Annual SMART Ride, or Southern-Most AIDS Ride Twenty-ten.

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Technology offers instructions and options for a healthy 2014 for free

By : Steve Blanchard
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There’s little doubt at least one of your New Year’s resolutions involves healthier living.

Whether you want to drop weight, add muscle, complete a marathon or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, beginning on the path to a happier, healthier you can be intimidating. At least it used to be.

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Senator Rubio blocks nomination for first openly gay federal judge

By : Staff Report
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Miami-Dade – Senator Marco Rubio has blocked the appointment of the first openly gay judge to the federal bench in South Florida despite the fact that he supported the initial nomination less than a year ago.

Judge William L. Thomas

Judge William L. Thomas

Rubio interviewed Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge William Thomas and supported President Obama’s nomination of him. Nominees must secure the approval of both U.S. senators in their home state. Senator Bill Nelson offered his approval the month prior. The Federal Judicial Nominating Commission then officially recommended Judge Thomas to become a Federal District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida.

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Ten out Olympians medal in London

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While hundreds of metals were earned by athletes from around the world during the XXX Olympiad earlier this month, 10 from four countries have the special recognition of being openly gay medal winners this year.

The United States, Great Britain, Germany and The Netherlands all have openly gay Olympians who brought an extra souvenir home after the world-wide sport spectacular.

Gold medalists include Seimone Augustus, a member of the USA women’s basketball team; Carl Hester, Great Britain’s equestrian who, along with his two teammates, won Britain’s first-ever Team Dressage gold; Marilyn Agliotti, Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel, Kim Lammers and Maartje Paumen of the Netherlands women’s field hockey team; and Megan Rapinoe, of the USA women’s soccer team, Rapinoe had two big goals in the semifinal match and team coach Pia Sundhage is also out as a lesbian.

One out silver medalist finished the London Games and that was Judith Arndt of Germany, who took second in women’s cycling. She was the first out athlete to medal this year in the road race time trial.

And out bronze medalists include Edward Gal of the Netherlands Equestrian team, which placed in Team Dressage; and Lisa Raymond, a USA tennis doubles player who medaled with partner Mike Bryan on the court.

This year’s Olympics had 23 out athletes participating. The 10 medals won by those athletes translates to 43% of out athletes walking away with Olympic hardware in 2012.

Monday Ripples: Happy Birthday, Ian!

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“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'” — Mary Anne Radmacher

I've been lax in writing for you, particularly when it comes to your Monday Ripples. Let's just call it one of the charms of blogging and be done with it, okay? I would like to say it is â┚¬Å”life getting in the wayâ┚¬Â but lately my time has been about making a buck and whether that has to do with life or not is debatable.

I hope you'll let bygones be bygones, so we can get down to the great work at hand: Rippling. Below you'll find a few links that I hope you'll click and be inspired by in your week ahead. Maybe together we can make this week about more than paying bills.

Hottie with a Heart
Ian's Birthday
Remember Ian Somerhalder in The Rules of Attraction? Hot as fuck and playing a gay guy so effortlessly that I was surprised to find out later that he isn't gay. (A disappointment second only to finding out that Dermot Mulroney doesn't smoke sausage, after seeing his wonderful performance in Longtime Companion.) He popped up on Lost and is now all the rage in Vampire Diaries. I like to imagine Ian is a huge fan of Scottie Saves the World, so I'll refrain from giving a critique of VD â┚¬â€œ suffice to say he is the reason to watch. Anyway, Ian is turning the spiritually significant age of 33 and he has a birthday wish for you to send money to his foundation. As you can see from the link, Ian Somerhalder Foundation is just 11 months old and has already made a difference in the world.

Attitude Check for Two
Are urban bicyclists just elite snobs?
An intriguing read from Slate taking a look at the politics of cycling. Do cyclists have an elitist disposition or are they simply a victim of circumstance? Are Tea Party politicos behind the demonizing of cycling? Do demographics play a role in where bike lanes wind up? Peruse Will Doig's article â┚¬â€œ I think  you'll find it sticks with you.

Jonah the Brave
What’s Going On..
It’s possible that you’ve seen this video by now because it has gone viral, but I wanted to share it just in case. It was made by an 8th grader and gives the viewer a heartrending look into the live of a bullied kid. It shows rare courage to have made a video like this, then post it for the world. We owe it to Jonah to nurture a world that is kind. We owe it to Jonah to never stop fighting homophobia. I look at his beautiful face and I see ghosts of people who didn’t make it, wrapping my heart in a heavy  cloak. You do have a millon reasons to stick around Jonah, never forget it.

Scottie's Christmas List
TOMS Shoe Drop Necklace
I know around this time, you begin stressing about what to buy your favorite online columnist for Christmas, so I've decided to give you some clues as we approach the big day.  You're no doubt familiar with TOMS the awesome company that gives a pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair of shoes you buy. I think this charming necklace captures the spirit of this amazing company. Just like the shoes, if you buy the necklace a pair will be donated.

Monday Ripples: Darwin’s Unanswered Question

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â┚¬Å”What this world needs is a new kind of army â┚¬â€œ the army of the kind.â┚¬Â â┚¬â€œ Cleveland Amory

I've been thinking about garbage a lot lately. More specifically litter strewn here and there around my neighborhood. We recently moved to the Colonialtown and the area we live in is an odd mix of industrial and residential. Because of this hybrid factor, more than any other place I've lived, people seem to be comfortable tossing their trash on the ground.

I found a commercial from my youth online and posted it on my Facebook wall. Whenever I see litter junking up my community, the PSA's strong image of a Native American shedding a tear after someone throws their fast food waste at his feet. In the comments under my post, one of my friends stated that the situation was that different cultures viewed garbage in different ways, he had observed this in his travels, and we are after all a melting pot in this country.

I think there could be some truth his hypothesis, which in a strange way gives me hope. Maybe the situation is creating awareness, so that we can change perception. This is a much more positive way to look at the situation than my initial reaction: some people are selfish jerks.

Evolution of Kind
Where does good come from?
Who knew that the origin of altruism is an ongoing debate when it comes to the theory of evolution? Certainly not the author of this here blog! It makes sense that it would be a debate now that I've read this intriguing piece by Leon Neyfakh for The Boston Globe; being nice to another works against the whole idea of natural selection. Thanks to reader Zac Alfson for sharing this on the SSTW Facebook page.

Cycle Wars
BikeBlogNYC
This past weekend, Brendan and I pedaled over to one of our local restaurants to partake of some Greek food. On our ride back, we got in the left lane to turn toward home and a BMW sped past us, honking its horn, then cut in front of us to turn up the same street we were heading on. We shook our heads at the driver, who seemed to be ignorant of the law which requires you to use the lane as normal, if a bike lane isn't available. Automobile driver ignorance is disheartening â┚¬â€œ not to mention dangerous â┚¬â€œ when it comes to cycling. We need to do more pedaling as the price of gas climbs and our environment becomes polluted from our ridiculous dependence on fossil fuels.

Lest you think the cycling crisis is limited to my still young city, take a look at this blog which chronicles the current conflict between bike riders and the police in New York City.

Cup o' Good
Aspire CoffeeWorks
Some unbelievable things are happening in my home state due to a man who seems hellbent on finding his place in history as our worst governor. Recently he was planning to cut funding to programs that help disabled people, until organizers in that field came to him with solutions. I hate to be cynical, but our governor really isn't interested in anything unless it can make him or his friends money. It's disgusting, but I digress. My point being that we can't rely on politicians to change our world; in fact, when we come together, we are often more affective.

Take Aspire CoffeeWorks as an excellent example. In a partnership with Metropolis Coffee Company in Illinois, Aspire is broadening the horizons of people with disabilities by providing them with work. You can support their work by purchasing their fair trade, organic coffee. It'll be delivered right to your mailbox!

A Million Little Pieces?
â┚¬ËœThree Cups of Tea' Author Defends Book
I'm not sure what to think after reading this piece from the New York Times. You may remember that I read Three Cups of Tea and loved it. Its author Greg Mortenson is dealing accusation that parts of the book may not be true. On the heels of that, CBS did a report trying to expose the schools as ineffective. The need for fact checking when it comes to autobiographical material is a valid point, we all have faulty memories and honest mistakes can be made, but I think Greg is a stand-up guy and I firmly believe in him, his story, and his amazing work. Regardless, I'm putting this out there for you to draw your own conclusions, and as a cautionary lesson on finding out the facts behind organizations we choose to support. It’s worth using one of your 20 free clicks to read this article.

Be sure to enter to win the SSTW contest to win a copy of the coffee table book African Cats: The Story Behind the Film. All you have to do is tell us your favorite Disney flick. A winner will be drawn this Friday, Earth Day.