Category Archives: Men

Bob Shell: No Nudes is Good News

Topless. Photo by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

Photography and Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

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No Nudes is Good News

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As far as the Virginia Dept. of Corrections is concerned, that is. They came out with a new OP (Operating Procedure) a couple years ago, banning all nudity in publications, with no exceptions. The OP bans any depiction (photo, drawing, painting, sculpture, even cartoon) of a female human breast unless it has a “fully opaque covering” of the nipple and areola. Huh? Yep, you read that right. Isn’t it illegal to discriminate based on sex? But bare male breasts, like Vladimir Putin’s, are OK. And what about the breasts of a hermaphrodite, or a transgender person, born with male genitals, but through hormones or surgery has fully developed breasts? What about men with gynacomasty, who just develop large breasts for no known reason? Like most things they do, the DOC issued this OP without thinking it through. I’m particularly affected by this policy because it prohibits me from having copies of most of my own photographs and most of the books I wrote. A friend tried to send me a copy of my Pro Guide: Mamiya Medium Format Camera Systems and it was disallowed due to one small bare breasted photo in which the breasts in question were tiny. Must have gone through the book with a magnifying glass looking for nipples or areolae! How silly! I saw the actual breasts when I took the picture and it’s now going to harm me in some way to see the photo years later???

And, when they find a single offending picture, they don’t black it out or cut it out, they disapprove the entire publication. This in spite of the Supreme Court saying that books and other publications must be considered as a whole, and not disapprove for a single image.

Thankfully, the Virginia ACLU has gotten involved on behalf of the American Humanist Association because an issue of the American Humanist magazine was prohibited for containing a famous painting of Adam and Eve by Peter Paul Rubens, one of the great old masters of art. The lawsuit over this is currently in federal court.

For any Virginia agency to prohibit showing of bare breasts is particularly silly because the official Great Seal of Virginia has depicted the Amazon warrior goddess Virtus, whose tunic bares her left breast, since 1776! This seal appears on all Virginia Governmental stationery, including the DOC’s, as well as on the state flag, calendars, signs, guard badges, and. in numerous other places. Am I supposed to avert my eyes from all these things lest I be harmed in some unstated way? Must the state stop using its official seal on anything that might find it’s way into a DOC facility?

Has exposure to this bare breast driven all Virginia politicians mad? The whole thing is just stupid and silly!

When I first came into the DOC system eleven years ago, you could subscribe to Playboy, Penthouse, etc., and they showed us “adult” movies on the TVs. Since then they’ve grown more and more prudish and puritanical. But those are religious proscriptions based on perverted misogynist versions of Christianity to which I do not subscribe. My personal religion contains no such proscriptions. Does the DOC have the right to shove their religion down my throat?

If you think I sound angry about this, you’re right. I’m sick and tired of having my magazines disapproved because someone thinks they can see a tit! Just this week I had the latest Rolling Stone disapproved for nudity. I subscribe to Rolling Stone to keep up on music and politics, not for the chance to glimpse Lady Gaga’s nipples. That’s why one issue was disapproved. She was covered, but the blouse wasn’t “fully opaque,” and with a lot of imagination you might have just made out a nipple. I know this because disapproved magazines go to the DOC’s Publication Review Committee and in that case I got the magazine after they approved it — months later! Not much good for a news magazine! Most magazines disapproved at the institutional level are eventually given to me, but the process is slow. I did eventually get three issues of Rangefinder,, but not until a year later. So much for new product news.

Apparently the people who wrote this policy have an unhealthy breast fixation. Were they all bottle fed as babies? There’s something very wrong with a person who cannot look at a bare breast without being consumed by deviant thoughts, and assumes that everyone else is just as perverted. Human breasts are natural, normal, and beautiful. These people should visit European beaches, as I have, where bare breasts are proudly displayed, or just public parks and walking trails where encountering nude hikers, male and female, doesn’t even raise an eyebrow. Even in stodgy old England there are public nude beaches dating back to Victorian times. I know because I’ve been there. What’s the big deal about nudity, anyway? Were these folks born fully clothed in opaque fabric? Equating all nudity with sexual titillation is just plain sick!

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 11th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here: http://tonywardstudio.com/blog/bob-shell-political-correctness/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

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Katie Kerl: Weed the People

Dr. Matt Roman. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

 

 

Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2019

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Weed the People

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We the people with medical marijuana cards demand the right to bear arms. Our second amendment rights are being stripped because we are legally prescribed a natural alternative to medications that otherwise cause addiction, and a plethora of other horrible side effects, and are continuing to feed our corrupt medical system in the United States. The second amendment states, “ A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. “ As pot legalization spreads across the nation, state governments have not come to a conclusive agreement in the up and down responses to a federal law that makes it illegal to possess both a federally banned substance, and a legal fire arm. 

After being approved for my own medical card last year it saved my life. I had never thought about that as an answer for my PTDS, or for my CHRONIC pain (pun intended). I met Dr. Matt Roman at work. He needed some furniture for his office. I wouldn’t have even asked what he did for a living if he wasn’t playing a harmonica, had bright colored hair, and happened to be wearing a shirt promoting his medical marijuana clinic. Nature’s Way Medicine here in Philadelphia. 

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Dr. Matt Roman. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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Part of me can see why this is becoming such an issue. Before I met Matt, I was downing whiskey like it was water. The winter was the worst. I’d rather hibernate than go out with wrist to elbow metal plates in my arm that never fully healed correctly. Causing me extreme pain once the temperature drops below 50. 

I visited Matt’s office; it was a $200 visit that I had no problem paying because it was cheaper than a new patient trip to the psychiatrist, or pain management doctor. After already having gone down that road; I was prepared to be a drunk and in pain the rest of my life. Not to mention what the actual prescription would cost after the visit with no health insurance that I cannot afford. I was done with that and needed something to give.

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Dr. Matt Roman. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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Matt was really nice explained the whole process to me. I was approved though my medical records after coming in to talk with him. Dr. Roman showed me how to register though the state to receive my card. Ten days later it arrived in the mail. 

Before using anything I made sure to do my research. Once you are approved through the state you then go to the dispensary, register with them, and they help you find what works for your issues. You receive a patient number and prescription label on medical marijuana. Just like any other medication you have. I’ve learned the hard way that the strain called  Sativa, is not for my personal anxiety, and pain issues. I use a higher THC percentage (the psychoactive part of pot), or an indicia strain which is more to fight those kinds of physical/mental pains. Including RSO’s (Rick Simpson Oil; the edible highly concentrated THC oil) just like regular medications with long and short half lives; RSO oil has a very slow onset and is the only thing to deaden the pain I experienced in my arm. Micro dosing (taking one hit of my vaporizer) through the day completely calms any racing thoughts I have due to anxiety. Also enough to relax me, and sit through a movie which is something I could never do before. I am more creative and writing flows more fluidly being I am not overly critical and can be my true self.

Fast forward a year later, I had to make my renewal appointment. Just like at a regular doctor, the medical marijuana program is basically the same. They check on you, make sure you are still qualified, and re-certify you through the state. Upon arriving to the clinic I noticed Matt wasn’t the doctor who would be seeing me. After asking him why I could not fucking believe the story he told me.

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Dr. Matt Roman. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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I had come in to see the person who changed my life in ways he probably never realized, and to say thank you for giving me my quality of life back. No other traditional medical practitioner had been able to do that in a decade.

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Dr. Matt Roman. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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Only to later find out, In November Matt had filed a law suit against the Trump Administration claiming the federal government was preventing him from exercising his Second Amendment right to own a handgun. In his complaint, Dr. Roman said the law prevented him from buying a gun for his own safety. Matt previously had a license to carry before he left the country for medical school and gave it up. Becoming a medical marijuana patient himself automatically disqualified him from being approved. The gun dealer he tried to purchase from denied him because a 1968 law that forbids anyone who uses marijuana from owning a firearm.

Matt did not give up the fight though. The consequences of that led to the state government evaluating Matt with their own doctors who had not been treating him, or qualified him for the card. They said he had a medical marijuana addiction, put his medical license on probation, and he was no longer able to practice. He was subject to embarrassing slander in the news, narcotics rehabilitation, and weekly drug tests. He also had to pay for all of it out of his own pocket.

When Matt started to tell me the story of what went down I immediately felt sick. 

Someone who changed my life for the foreseeable future can’t chase his true passion anymore. Dr. Roman just wanted to help patients out of the traditional corrupt medical community, and turn to a more natural answer. 

Dr. Roman attended medical school in Poland. Being of Polish decent he spoke the language, so it just made sense for him to go there. Not to mention medical school in Poland is $13k per year, and you get FREE HEALTH CARE. As opposed to the $ 50-70 thousand dollars it cost in the United States, on top of paying for your own health insurance as a student. Leaving you in crippling student debt.

Matt started his medical career as a hospitalist. After realizing how bankrupt people were becoming due to insanely high medical costs; he decided he wanted to do better and open his own medical marijuana clinic. 

Since this was still a pretty new concept he went where it was already legal. He opened the first clinic in Delaware. It was an uphill battle that at times seemed impossible. Matt said to me, “can you imagine going to medical school, becoming a doctor, and having to apply for food stamps!?” That’s what he had to do in order to get his dream off the ground. When it didn’t quite take off as he anticipated in Delaware; Matt moved the clinic to Philly that next year. 

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He did much better here. He even had a YouTube channel educating people about his practice, and also vented some of his own life struggles. To me I would rather have a relatable Doctor than someone who thought they were better than me because of their profession.  Every week Natures Way Medicine gave, and still gives away a $200 consultation to someone that cannot afford it.

In today’s society the only way to promote your business and have a voice for FREE is by using social media, and becoming a character. Plastic surgeons do that. They use their own products in videos demonstrating their success stories. It is also a field where people get addicted to surgery and controversial issues with over doing it. You can get mentally addicted to anything. Not only is it shameful to take away his license to certify patients for being a medical marijuana patient himself. Matt was also abused as a child and suffered from severe PTSD. Using medical marijuana that he was prescribed and licensed by the state got his dreams stolen. Why are we not taking away doctors licenses that are on heavy psychiatric medications, and pain pills that are licensed to carry as well?

While Matt is not able to certify his patient’s any more, he still runs his clinic with part time doctors that saw what happened to him. They give their time after seeing him treated like an addict, all because he fought for his right to a gun. Since being put on probation and the media slander, Matt changed his life. He started working out, became closer to his family again who did not like the idea of him running the clinic, and he hopes to open the first opiate recovery center in Philadelphia treated with medical marijuana. The traditional AA/NA court mandated religious based treatment centers are why people fail, and are horribly outdated. Understanding everyone needs something to believe in and hope; god does not have to be pushed on anyone to recover from addiction. Matt hopes to have that up and running in the next year.

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Dr. Matt Roman. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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Now, had I done this particular article sooner, I may have had a varying opinion on his fight against the government. I unfortunately had a home invasion while I was asleep a few weeks ago. We lived on one of the nicest blocks in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. I was supposed to be at a birthday that night, but decided to stay home just getting over a cold. The bedroom was on the third floor. I was very lucky screaming bloody murder had to have scared the people away who cut my screen, kicked in my door, and went thundering through the first floor of the townhouse.

To my dismay after running around the block the landlord did not do much about it. In fact I was told to get the fuck off her door step at 10:30 pm with two police officers behind me. They were waiting to see if our cameras were live above the door to the house. No attempt to help me or fix the broken door, or common decency for human life. For now weeks now, I have been staring at the broken door frame reliving that traumatic event daily as I walk in the house. Not much shakes me up, but that was enough to make me want to go get a gun. Now I cannot exercise my right as an AMERICAN to protect my home. All because I have a state issued medical marijuana card. I am not willing to give up the only thing that has improved my quality of life for a gun. I should not have to choose between the two in the HOME OF THE FREE. No matter what you cannot carry any kind of narcotic with you on your person at the same time as you are carrying a gun.

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Dr. Matt Roman. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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What happened to Matt will happen to other doctors who openly talk about their personal medical marijuana use. He advises to keep it to yourself if you are a medical practitioner. You will end up in a rehab taking drug tests weekly, made to feel like an incompetent addict, and fighting for your medical license you worked so hard for.

We are all prisoners of the U.S.A.

There is nothing free about this country.

Not the health care system.

Not the Judicial system.

Not the higher education system.

Most certainly not the right to bear arms.

If you are interested in knowing more about Dr. Matt Roman go to his web site:

www.natureswaymedicine.com

Nature’s Way Medicine

131 N. 4th st, Philadelphia, Pa 19106

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Katie Kerl. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living  in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached  on Instagram @kerlupwithkate 

For collaboration e-mail: Kate.kerl32@gmail.com

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To access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click herehttp://tonyward.com/katie-kerl-falling-for-philly/

 

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Gilles Berquet: I’ll Be Your Mirror

Exhibition Announcement: Paris

PRESS RELEASE:

Gilles Berquest: I’ll be your mirror

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43 rue de Montmorency – 45003 Paris, France

Du 2 au 30 Novembre 2019

vernissage le samedi 2 a partir de 16hr

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Julian Gabriel Ward: The Hero In Me

Julian Ward: Indoor Champion, Marion Anderson Center, Philadelphia.

 

Poetry by Julian Gabriel Ward, Copyright 2019

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THE HERO IN ME

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You pushed me hard

You lift me up

I smile today because of your love

 

You’re stuck in your head

Replaying the tape

Negative thoughts

That can’t be erased

 

The heart is broke

Cracked in half

Selfish and fearful

How long will it last

 

One day the hero inside of me

Will get me back

Where I need to be

 

No fear, no anger, no pity in me

Let go and let God know

I need him back

The hero that felt pain

Who fought his way back

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About The Author: Julian Gabriel Ward is a professional soccer trainer and coach based in Philadelphia.

Also posted in Blog, Documentary, Environment, Family Legacy Project, Friends of TWS, Health Care, lifestyle, Philadelphia, Poetry, Popular Culture, Sports, Travel

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