Copyright 2000 Lake Edun Foundation, Inc.
Official Publication of the Lake Edun Foundation, Inc.
February 1, 2003
Box 1982; Topeka, KS 66601 Voice Mail: 785-478-BARN e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.lakeedun.com
Ice Skating At Lake Edun
Each year, we can almost count on at least one weekend suitable for ice skating at our favorite lake. However, weather at this latitude is sufficiently unpredictable that it is almost impossible to forecast when that one weekend may be.
January 25 was the weekend this year. Weather had been cold for over a week and our lake was solid. On Friday, we sent an email to members and those who are interested in keeping current inviting them to join other Eduners for an afternoon of skating and fun. Three Eduners joined for fun on the ice, skating all around the north end of the lake. What they lacked in number, they made up for with enthusiasm. By the time the sun was headed toward the horizon, it was difficult to find a large patch of ice that had not been scratched with a skate.
After the exercise, no one was particularly interested in sitting around a fire. May next year someone will bring some hot chocolate, marshmallows and a hot buttered rum.
Don't miss future events like this because you are not on our email list. Add your name at email@example.com.
February 23rd Celebration in KC
Join with Heartland Naturists in Kansas City for a celebration on February 22. We are promised good dancing, good darts, good conversation all around and some of the best music you have ever heard.
Festivities begin around 7 pm and end somewhat later than that. Bring something for the potluck table as well as whatever you choose to drink and, of course, a towel. Directions are enclosed for members.
February is a great month for celebration. It is the month of Valentine's Day for everyone. In addition, we have our Wichita party on the 15th and a Kansas City party on the 22nd and saunas on the 8th and 23rd. We hope all Eduners can take advantage of at least one of these events.
Spotlight On More New Board Members
by Dee Merrifield
As was noted in the December Bare Facts, we have several 'relatively new' members who have graciously volunteered to serve on our board of directors.
We are fortunate, once again, to have two more new members who are willing to lend a hand. John and Susan offered to work as a team to further our educational and outreach goals.
Trying to educate the public about the healthy benefits of living a clothing-free lifestyle, is what we are all about. If we all pitch in, we can get the job done.
Thank you John and Susan for giving of your time. We appreciate your involvement.
We have received word on the untimely passing of our president, John Ritter, early in the morning of February 3, 2003. It was difficult for anyone to visit our special place without meeting John and admiring him for his tireless efforts on behalf of Naturism and also Lake Edun.
John's discovery of Naturism was like so many of our members. He first contacted us in 1999, but waited about a year before he actually visited. Once he discovered how relaxing life can be at Lake Edun, he became an enthusiastic supporter.
John could be counted on to for a friendly greeting to members and visitors alike. Throughout the season, he was busy mowing and making many improvements. In the off-season, he made plans for the coming year. His tireless efforts on behalf of all Eduners will be missed.
Those for whom we have an email address will receive funeral notification when we learn of it.
Valentine's Day Party In Wichita
Eduners will be celebrating Valentine's Day with a party of their own. Join us in Wichita on Saturday, February 15, for this special event at Dale's home. From advance billing, it should be a great time! Dale is offering ping pong, air hockey, and a 14' shuffle board table. In addition, we will have our traditional Eduners' pot luck.
Notify any friends you have in the Wichita area and join us for this trip down the turnpike. It will be a great opportunity to see Eduners again before they become strangers and to get more of our Wichita brethren involved in the clothing-free lifestyle.
Members will find directions enclosed. Others should contact us for directions. Festivities will begin at 7 pm. Dale has room for members to crash in sleeping bags on his floor. So, if you are driving a distance, plan on spending the night.
Activities designated HN are sponsored by Heartland Naturists
Feb 8; Sat; 4-6; Board of Directors Meeting
Feb 8; Sat; 7-9; Sauna
Feb 14; Fri; 8-10; HN Swim in Lenexa
Feb 15; Sat; 3-?; Valentine's Day Party - Wichita
Feb 22; Sat; 7-?; HN Party - Kansas City
Feb 23; Sun; 6-8; Sauna
Mar 8; Sat; 4-6; Board of Directors Meeting
Mar 8; Sat; 7-9; Sauna
Mar 21; Fri; 8-10; HN Swim in Lenexa
Mar 29; Sat; 7-9; Sauna
Items We Need
Word From The Chair
Members have received an email previously concerning the untimely death of our President. Details concerning this sad event are elsewhere in the Newsletter. John's loss is a terrible blow to LEF. More importantly, all of us will deeply miss him. We are sending our condolences to his family on behalf of the organization.
Several of you have inquired about the date for Return to Edun. We always try to arrange to have it near a full moon. The most likely dates are currently the 2nd weekend in either June or July. We still have some outstanding commitments we are trying to solidify. As I pointed out last month, there will be a Return to Edun this year.
On the legal front, there is still much happening. I had hoped to be able to report to you in this Newsletter. As with all things legal, it is turning out to be occurring not quite as rapidly as we hoped. Soon there will be some exciting news that I am looking forward to passing on to you.
Check Your Policy
The Lake Edun Foundation may qualify as a health club and your membership may be covered by your health insurance. A recent item appearing in the newsletter from White Tail Park in Ivor, VA states, "Your health insurance might partially subsidize your membership in White Tail Park because it provided the necessary facilities to provide health benefits."
Check your health insurance policy. Also check with your employer. If they pay for health club benefits such as membership to the "Y" or a health club, LEF may qualify. We offer a sauna, swimming, various game courts, walking trails and exercise equipment. In addition, massage services are frequently available and we often host competitive games.
For the past three years, White Tail reports, one member employed by a multinational company has had $200 of his membership expense paid as an "exercise reimbursement."
Random Thoughts & Reflections
I found an article recently that stated sixth formers [high school seniors, I think] studying art at Weston Favell Upper School in Northampton, England will draw a nude female model in their life drawing workshop. It is interesting to contemplate how such an educational experience would be received closer to home.
Those with access to the internet may enjoy this link:http://120seconds.com/features/011207_naked/011207_naked.html. It has several people who appear to very ordinary talking about their first exposure to Naturism and the impact it has had on their lives. It is both interesting and well done.
Eduners with some extra time this winter may be interested by an offer from the Berliner Volksbuehne, a theater in Central Berlin. They are looking for three ushers to help show guests to their seats at the premier of a new play. The only stipulation is that the ushers must be naked. I doubt that this play will make it to Topeka.
With terrorism and homeland security high on the government's agenda, it is not surprising the state department has issued travel advisories for 45 different countries. These government pronouncements urge our citizens to exercise caution when traveling to other countries.
But, it is interesting to know what hazards other governments are telling their citizens to avoid or be cautious of when visiting the USA. Turns out that foreigners here worry about the same things we do when we're abroad, plus earthquakes, bad roads, puritanism, and other hazards.
Australia and Britain warn their citizens to be "especially alert to their own security" in the United States. Canada notes that "racial tensions and poverty can occasionally prompt riots."
France offers its citizens a tutorial on avoiding shark attacks. It also admonishes its citizens visiting beaches that Americans are tolerant about clothing but forbid even little girls to wear a monokini (the topless bikini invented in the '60's by designer Rudi Gernreich). It goes on to caution parents that children must wear swimsuits and must use toilets corresponding to their gender. The French are wonderfully able to zero in on the important issues.
Times Are Changing
The Wall Street Journal reported recently that when John Mitchell wanted to buy a $56,000 condo in a nudist resort in 1991, he kept getting turned down. But last October, when he wanted to trade up to a $135,000 condo, the Bank of America quickly approved their mortgage.
Central Florida is home to six nudist resorts that attract an estimated 100,000 nudists each year. Local officials used to play down the presence of nudist developments in search of more mainstream visitors. However, now they welcome these free spirits with wallets.
Across the country, in Palm Springs, California, officials credit the Desert Shadows nudist resort with a dramatic revival of the formerly run-down Uptown neighborhood. Palm Springs Mayor Will Kleindienst boasts, "We're very proud of what they've done for that part of the community." Indeed, having a successful nudist venue in town, the mayor adds, could help draw more business visitors. "It could give our convention business an edge," he notes.
With acceptance of nudism coming on both coasts, we can only hope it will visit the heartland of the country someday. Perhaps if we continue with our mission, we can open more minds and hearts to be benefits we all know accrues to Naturists.
Two kids were playing ball outside a nudist resort.
The ball rolled behind the bushes and one of the kids went to retrieve it. When he came back, the second kid asked, "what was behind the bushes?"
The first kid replied, "Oh, just a bunch of people playing volleyball and sunbathing."\
"Are they men or women?"
"I don't know, they don't have any clothes on."
100 Things To Do In South Florida
The Miami Herald in Florida recently ran a piece in an effort to end any excuse a resident might have to claim boredom. Titled, 100 Things To Do In South Florida, it contains a comprehensive listing of sights and activities available around the peninsula.
This observer was particularly struck by two items that made the top 10: Top on their list at the number one spot was South Beach. A vibrent area with arts, wonderful eating and, of course, a great beach. Interestingly, topless bathing is tolerated on this beach.
Even more significant, however, was their fifth entry. Out of 100 sights and activities this entry was ahead of such traditional activities as the zoo, the Everglades, the Museum of Contemporary Art, skydiving, the Buehler Planetarium & Observatory, and numerous eating and shopping opportunities. The newspaper rated a visit to Haulover Beach as #5 in their list of 100.
We have written about Haulover Beach several times inBare Facts in the past. Its record of attracting tourists to South Florida (with their wallets) has been documented. Clearly the community is proud of this resource. Now we see the paper recognizes its value to the community.
By Dave Bitters
"Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty … etc."
Annually since 1994, Americans have celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday (on or about January 20) as a national holiday. His famous "I Have A Dream" speech, delivered August 28, 1963, is a staple of the day's remembrances. You've probably heard at least parts of it many times, particularly if you listen to National Public Radio.
"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
King spoke to the persistent racist tendencies that have been and continue to be part of the mosaic of the American experience. Several weeks ago we watched Sen. Trent Lott consign himself to the backrooms of the political scene if not the ash heap of history by remarks he made at a party honoring Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100thbirthday.
It was encouraging that uttering remarks with racist overtones could topple a powerful politician. During Martin Luther King's day this probably would not have happened.
In the past, racism has had many guises. In the 19thcentury immigrants from Ireland, Italy and China found themselves ostracized as "others" until they assimilated into the population. During World War II, Japanese Americans found themselves herded into internment camps. Today people of Middle Eastern origins sometimes find themselves targets of racial profiling, even though they may be completely loyal to the United States. This is one of the embarrassing aspects of the ambiguous "war on terrorism."
I have in my library several dozen volumes written in the 1930s and later on the nudist movement. Though these purport to describe a humane and joyous social movement, many of them contain offhand remarks that today we would find shockingly racist. But the prevailing attitude during that era (among whites at least) assumed as self-evident that Anglo-Americans (particularly males) were just naturally superior - more intelligent, more civilized, etc. It was part of the culture. Ideas like these die hard.
Modern science provides a rational basis for an idea that's easier to grasp on a cognitive level than on an affective level: we in the greater human family are all pretty much the same. Our similarities far outweigh our difference. A gene here, a chromosome there are all that differentiate us in race, facial characteristics, hair color, size, tendency toward obesity, possibly even sexual orientation. The work of James Watson and Frances Crick in unraveling the DNA structure has led in a generation or so to the human genome project. This undoubtedly will provide the scientific foundation for breathtaking advances in medicine. But it will do more. Using genetic coding and statistical methods, anthropologists are beginning to be able to trace the history of the migrations of mankind out of Africa, into Asia, Australia, Europe and finally the Americas. This has advanced our understanding of how strikingly similar we are - with variations in the genetic code resulting from evolutionary adaptations to local environments.
Another area in which humans are strikingly similar has to do with gender. The Genesis myth posits that God created Adam, and then produced Eve from Adam's rib to provide a companion. It's a charming tale (one that fundamentalists have taken literally to justify centuries of male dominance). But it turns out (according to the DNA evidence) that the Biblical account got it just backwards.
The difference between males and females in most cases involves a single pair of chromosomes. Usually males have an X and a Y chromosome where females have two X chromosomes. (Abnormal cases can involve three or four chromosomes, such as XXY, XXXY, XYY, XXX.)
Until about the 6th week of gestation, the human fetus is sexually undifferentiated - it would be impossible to tell male from female. At that point the Y chromosome triggers an elevated level of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which in turn causes the undifferentiated gonads to fold outward into a penis and testicles. Without the DHT the gonads will fold inward into a clitoris and ovaries. The base case is female. Even if the fetus is genetically male (with the XY chromosomes), without the DHT it will develop as a female. Scientifically, we should speak of Eve's rib rather than Adam's rib.
Cultural conservatives argue (loudly) that there IS a difference between males and females - it's obvious from visual inspection. The conservative Supreme Court majority accepted this line of thinking to justify the legal double standard with respect to covering the female breast.
As often happens, though, appearance and (scientific) reality differ somewhat. The absence of breasts in males has something to do with elevated testosterone levels during puberty. Otherwise a condition known as gynecomastia can result. This is "a benign glandular enlargement of that breast at some time in the male's life. It usually consists of the appearance of a flat pad of glandular tissue beneath a nipple which becomes tender at the same time. The development may be unilateral or bilateral." (http://911papers.virtualave.net/classical_sciences/biology/Gynecomastia.htm). The condition "appears to be related to increased estrogen stimulation, decreased testosterone levels, or some alteration of the estrogens and androgen so that the androgen-estrogen ratio is decreased." (Ibid.) In other words, without the testosterone the pubescent male can develop breasts. The effect usually (but not always) is temporary. It seems that even in puberty males have the capacity to assume some female characteristics. We're really not so different (male from female) after all.
Historically our culture has tended to pass laws that accentuate differences. The post-reconstruction south had its Jim Crow laws, aimed at keeping blacks and whites separated. Indeed, one of the major tests of the "separate but equal" view occurred in Topeka (Brown v. Board of Education).
As we gain greater appreciation that our similarities outweigh our differences, we can hope those cultural taboos and legal prohibitions that reinforce stereotypes and accentuate differences will fade. There's some evidence this process is happening though sometimes with glacial speed.
As our culture becomes more used to appreciating our similarities while celebrating our differences, many of the "isms" of the 20th century may fade into irrelevance: racism, sexism, perhaps even "clothes"-ism. Someday perhaps mandated dress codes, written in our current legal system in incredibly convoluted ways, will seem quaint and archaic. In the process we will have outgrown our national cultural adolescence.
Adam and Eve's "original sin" involved eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Some religious interpretations view this act in blatantly sexual terms. Others see it as a metaphor for the natural curiosity of the human species - along with the problems this can cause.
Eventually this collective curiosity may lead us back to the metaphorical Garden of Eden. Like Joseph Campbell's archetypal hero, we will return to this strange yet familiar place (after great effort, many false starts and not a little suffering) having gained wisdom, enlightenment and understanding along the way. Finally we will be capable of standing in the presence of one another naked and unashamed.
Maybe then we will also realize Martin Luther King's vision, "… when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!' "