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No Fence Will Hold The Sentient

Dear Alcohol, I QUIT.

I'm really proud of this post.
Check it out: http://wp.me/p1yko1-wr. :-)

Moved to WordPress
This LiveJournal has been imported to my WordPress blog at jimbo702.wordpress.com.

I'm thinking about getting into serious blogging, as a segue to maybe a little freelancing for...anyone who'll let me freelance for them. I'm one opinionated dude and feel I have a good enough grasp of my native language to express myself in a pretty entertaining way.

I dunno. Just playing with the idea...done! http://jimbo702.wordpress.com/about :-)

Laura Bush comes out...SO WHAT?
I got a hold this video from the Facebook community Being Liberal:

Like Cindy McCain did before her, Laura Bush came out on Larry King Live in favor of gay marriage and reproductive choice. My immediate reaction was, "Cool! Another conservative's wife has come over to the Dark Side." That is until I found out she has always had this stance. cris_nicewelts (I love you, dear) made a good point about this...WHERE WERE FOLKS LIKE LAURA BUSH AND CINDY MCCAIN WHEN THEIR HUSBANDS WERE IN THE SPOTLIGHT????

As you've probably surmised, this post has nothing to do with gay marriage or reproductive choice. It has to do with a human being's right to her own goddamn opinion.

I used to disparagingly refer to Laura Bush as Doormat In Chief due to her conspicuous silence on almost all issues during her husband's tenure in the Oval Office as compared to her predecessors - Hillary Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt come to mind. Laura Bush isn't alone, though. I have a couple of theories as to why the inevitable, even if only occasional, disagreements that all married couples have to face are conspicuously absent from the President/First Lady dynamic - or that of any prominent man and his spouse.

First of all, society is uncomfortable with their leaders and idols being too connected with reality. We hold our prominent politicians, celebrities, and other public figures to a ridiculous standard, as if they're superhuman. Reality TV and tabloid shows are so popular because we have an obsession with watching those figures fall from grace and show a human side - as if there is some shock value to seeing a human being behave like her/is own species. It's a fascinating dichotomy. Still, the most idealistic part of us is disappointed to see the fall. That's probably why so many people who are in the spotlight are so private. I don't know how well we could handle knowing that Barack and Michelle got into a marital spat, but we all know damn will it happens to any couple that stays together long enough. There will invariably be disagreements and mis-communications between two human beings living close to each other. We need to accept that and apply it universally - and stop being so shocked by it - because it really isn't that big of a deal. We'll save ourselves a lot of disappointment in the long run, and we'll put the purveyors of reality TV out of business.

Secondly, our patriarchal society cannot cope with women having their own opinions in the first place, let alone the wife of as prominent a politician as a U.S. President having opinions that are not in lockstep with her husband's. Something tells me that the First Husband wouldn't have to deal with bullshit like this. I mean, it is 2011 and all. When do we stop pretending that women don't have minds of their own? Think about how much grief did Hillary Clinton get when she presented her health plan back in the early 1990's. She was vilified and presented as this ball-buster wife with whom Dirty Willy just couldn't cope in the wake of the Lewinsky scandal. All this for daring to have an opinion. The reality is nothing was wrong with the now very dashing and Presidential Secretary of State. She wasn't a ball-busting nag. She was, and still is, a competent adult (link). Many of her male counterparts find that threatening. I say if their manhood and egos are that fragile, perhaps they should spend less time criticizing Clinton and more time looking in the mirror.

While it's good that Laura Bush and Cindy McCain are speaking out now - it's too little, too late. Society needs to get a damn grip and accept that women have their own opinions and ideas and that sometimes...*GASP* they may not only differ from those of their husbands but may even be completely independent of them. We need to accept that couples, even those in the spotlight, will not always agree.

F&^%$NG Neo-Confederates.
I'm gonna post some quotes here. Apparently, a southern transplant here in Nevada took issue with a seasoned newscaster talking about the Civil War and ad-libbing a reminder that the North won.

That's right. The North won. Your detestable cause lost. Shut the fuck up, put your big boy pants on, and deal with it. On with the post...

MY comment reads:
"I'm southern - Georgian, to be exact. I don't subscribe to the god concept, but I'M GLAD THE NORTH WON. It acted as a catalyst to free millions of human beings from bondage.

More importantly, I'm American. The South fought for a detestable cause, plain and simple. Spin the facts all you want. Call it 'heritage not hate.' We're not buying it. The CSA is a former enemy of the United States. As a former United States Marine, I TAKE OFFENSE TO SEEING THE FLAG OF A DISSOLVED ENEMY NATION FLOWN OVER MY OWN FATHER'S HOUSE. I feel about the Confederacy similarly to how your average German feels about the Third Reich. It is a shameful part of our history, as southerners, and should NOT be celebrated.

Also, how dare YOU tell another adult, not to mention a LEGEND in local journalism, they need any kind of "training?" Who the hell died and left you in charge?"

The Civil War ended nearly 140 years ago. The CSA lost. Get over it.

'Amusing Ourselves To Death'
VERY IMPORTANT comic under the cut because it is HUEG.
Read more...Collapse )

The Myth of Militant Atheism | Psychology Today - StumbleUpon
http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1Bi8OD/www.psychologytoday.com/em/55708 (via shareaholic)

Nine bullets fired from close range ended the life of Salman Taseer last month, making the Pakistani governor the latest high-profile victim of religious violence. Taseer had the audacity to publicly question Pakistan's blasphemy laws, and for this transgression he paid with his life.

Taseer joins a list of numerous other high-profile victims of militant religion, such as Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas abortion doctor killed by a devout Christian assassin in 2009, and Theo Van Gogh, the Dutch filmaker whose provocative movie about Islam resulted in his being brutally murdered in 2004.

With this background, it is especially puzzling that the American media and public still perpetuate the cliché of so-called "militant atheism." We hear the disparaging term "militant atheist" used frequently, the unquestioned assumption being that militant atheists are of course roaming the streets of America.

In fact, however, while millions of atheists are indeed walking our streets, it would be difficult to find even one who could accurately be described as militant. In all of American history, it is doubtful that any person has ever been killed in the name of atheism. In fact, it would be difficult to find evidence that any American has ever even been harmed in the name of atheism. It just does not happen, because the notion of "militant atheism" is entirely fantasy.

When the media and others refer to a "militant atheist," the object of that slander is usually an atheist who had the nerve to openly question religious authority or vocally express his or her views about the existence of God. Conventional wisdom quickly tells us that such conduct is shameful or, at the very least, distasteful, and therefore the brazen atheist is labeled "militant."

But this reflects a double standard, because it seems to apply only to atheists. Religious individuals and groups frequently declare, sometimes subtly and sometimes not, that you are a sinner and that you will suffer in hell for eternity if you do not adopt their supernatural beliefs, but they will almost never be labeled "militant" by the media or the public. Instead, such individuals are called "devout" and such churches are called "evangelical."

The lesson here is clear. If you're an atheist, shut up about it. If you are open or vocal about your atheist worldview, you are a "militant atheist." Be silent, even though that same standard does not apply to those who passionately disagree with you.

This, to be sure, explains why so few Americans openly identify as atheist. The American Religious Identification Survey conducted by Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, indicates that only about 81 percent of Americans affirmatively believe in a god (about 69 percent believe in a personal God, while about 12 percent believe in some kind of "higher power"), meaning about 19 percent do not. Yet despite the fact that almost one in five Americans don't affirmatively believe, only a tiny fraction of those dare to identify openly as atheist.

Analyze those numbers all you want, but the inescapable conclusion is that millions of Americans are in the closet about their religious skepticism. This, in turn, only serves to validate and legitimize the religious right, because it suggests that there is something wrong with a secular worldview. By keeping atheists closeted, the religious right can claim the moral high ground and influence public policy more than it should.

Therefore, maybe it's time to end the myth of militant atheism?

About "Skins," Pr0n culture, and good old-fashioned American stupidity...
Oh! Teens have sex! The HUMANITY!(via shareaholic)

But, why sell a show about it? It's just sex. It's like farting, only a lot more fun.
Okay... hold on a second:

The media does not educate my kids about sex before I get to them first. Cris and me are responsible parents in this respect. Our fifth and third graders can both explain, in precise anatomical terms, the mechanics of reproduction. They have a bullshit filter on at school when they hear kids whose parents haven't told them much of jack shit yammering on about every porn-based misconception known to humanity when it comes to sex. See, the problem is not so much teens having sex, is the inaccurate depiction of sex and all the responsibilities that come with it by the media - the wholesale misinformation of an entire culture. What's the result? Men who have no idea what a woman's clitoris is, how her anatomy works, and one who expects that every woman will fall to her knees on command and let him defile her face with his semen. Women who think their first and foremost contribution to humanity is their ability to incite erections. Scores of teens and young adults who know more about Call Of Duty or Gossip Girl than they know personal sexual protection. It's teens having sex who haven't the foggiest fuckin' idea what they're doing, how it works, or what responsibilities are attached to it. These are problems perpetuated by the media and the parents' lack of action in response to it - in case you've been living under a rock the last twenty years.

The headline is right to an extent: Sex is not as big a deal as the media makes it out to be. My argument is not so much that OMG THIS SHOW IS PERVERSE AND SHOULD NOT BE ON TV but that making a TV show, even remotely, about sex is akin to making a TV show, even remotely, about bowel movements. Why bother? Why waste the money and resources? Human beings reproduce sexually...it's a goddamned bodily function which is why it amuses me that we are so obsessed with it. Sure, it's fun. So what? It's just as natural as farting. What's the big deal? Teach kids about reproduction in health class, let them know to protect themselves from the risks if they insist on fucking, and get on with your life. It's a simple solution, were it not for puritanical morons who are under the delusion that evolutionarily programmed creatures are going to wait until they're under the auspices of a socially-constructed institution to do what they are evolutionarily programmed to do. Fuck it. Teach it anyway. The puritans will get over it, and their kids will be prepared rather than ignorant. It's programmed in our DNA to further the species, marriage or no marriage.

Furthermore, sex is something that is spiritual, intimate, delightfully satisfying and a very personal thing to me. I'm not cool with it being commodified like a pair of socks or the latest crop of Tupperware. Sex sells. What does that say about us as a species?

Evidence of right-wing violence and insurrective rhetoric.
Following is a list of evidence of right-wing rhetoric concerning armed-overthrow, killing of political opponents, and ACTUAL ACTS thereof.

I'm sick of seeing people I care about living in denial. The threat is real:

**#The rising tide of right-wing threats and insurrections - alt.fan.rush-limbaugh

** 10/22/2010 GOP congressional candidate states violent overthrow of government is on the table

** 3/24/2010 - Palin joins in a chant to "reload" Do you really think she's referring to ballot boxes?</a>


** A blogger implicates, WITH LINKS TO THEIR WORDS AND DEEDS, several right-wing figures in the Arizona massacre

The blogger goes on to list specific examples of violence fueled by said rhetoric. Go on, goddamn it! Read it! Read it all. Then come back and tell me right wing paranoia and violent rhetoric...and the very acts that follow them... are no threat. Try to tell me that I'm crazy to hold the Tea Party and their ilk responsible for the deadly and seditious rhetoric. Tell me I'm wrong for calling a spade a goddamned spade.

...and FINALLY, read this genius piece by a U.S. Navy Petty Officer about how we don't live in a vacuum, and tell me the shooter, and the shooter alone, is responsible for the violence. Tell me that he couldn't have *possibly* been encouraged by the Limbaughs and the Becks of the world.

Tell me all you want. Back-peddle, rationalize, get angry with me. One thing I assure you you'll never do is convince me that this isn't an issue that should be dealt with. You have the freedom to say what you wish, granted. I, likewise, have the freedom to hold your ass responsible for it. It's called discourse. Put on you big boy/girl pants and deal with it, because none of us are beyond reproach. The First Amendment has never - and will never - guarantee that.

So, rest assured, if you threaten to kill me - even metaphorically - I'm calling the fucking cops. Period.

The world is running out of gas.
Something y'all may want to note: HYDROCARBONS ARE A FINITE RESOURCE!

An ex-president of a major oil company is predicting $5/gallon gas by 2012. Okay, worth a look, but what if this doesn't happen until 2020? To that I say, so fuckin' what? The point of my little tirade here is that we will begin to run out of oil and that it will happen in my lifetime.

Oh, but we're American so we don't have to worry about it. We'll just go knock over another oil-producing country's regime in the name of "freedom," and take all their resources, amiright? It's worked since WWII, why wouldn't it work now?

Well, there's fatal flaw with this way of thinking.

Sure, we have the most powerful military in the world, but we're losing the economic and geopolitical influence to back our military might up, rendering it worthless. Our republic is circling the drain because we've spent the last seventy years pursuing war and overconsumption instead of progress and prudence. As a result, we'll have to compete just like everyone else.

The only solution to this problem will come too late. Brace yourselves. I'm only glad I have such a short commute to work.

Writer's Block: Wintertime is here
How do you feel about the winter holidays? Has your opinion changed over the years?

I enjoy the allotted traditional time off to spend with my family in relaxation. I celebrate them without the religious and consumerist trappings.

The Singularity - a point at which all that we have known is rendered obsolete.
This is a subject for which I've been in deep thought.

"It is a point where our old models must be discarded and a new reality rules. As we move closer to this point, it will loom vaster and vaster over human affairs till the notion becomes a commonplace. Yet when it finally happens it may still be a great surprise and a greater unknown."

I would like to see a lot of our current values and systems discarded and replaced. Traditional gender roles, homophobia, our patriarchal society, religion, racism, war, unsustainable energy, and our monetary system are just a few examples of ideas and systems that have become useless to humanity at best, harmful to our species at worst. I think we're smart enough to find more effective alternatives, but that we're too intellectually lazy to see those alternatives come to fruition.

Yeah. Good luck with that. haha
The repugnicans have the House. So effin' what? I don't see them getting anything they want through the Senate without a big hassle and across the President's desk without a big fat VETO.

We've still got this. We won't get jack squat done for at least the next two years - but NEITHER WILL THEY. :-D

Yeah, GOP, you've got the House. Good luck with that. haha

Ghosts and goblins and demons, oh my!
"A Rational Look At Ghosts: A Scientific Explanation For A Worldwide Paranormal Belief"

"This survival of alert and suspicious ancestors, and death of those that didn't notice a danger until it was too late, has given today's population the tendency to see and hear things that are simply not there.

Young children desperately tell sleep-deprived parents about the monster outside the window. Grown adults stare towards the corner of the room, convinced they've just seen something in the corner of their eye.

The human brain sees and hears things that are not there, because they have evolved to be over-cautious. With this in mind, stories of ghostly apparitions, foot-steps in the middle of the night, objects that change position, and whispering voices in a deserted churchyard suddenly have a rational, psychological explanation.

Add to this mix a culture of scary Hollywood movies, a wide-spread belief in the paranormal, and various religious sensibilities that assume the existence of ghosts and spirits, and the result is a population with a natural tendency to sense things that aren't there, coupled with an enormous amount of fuel for the imagination."

I must explain my end of this. I don't believe ghosts exist. I'm not the guy who will point at a believer, laugh, and say "You're full of shit! HAHAHAHA!!!" No. Perhaps folks who have "encountered paranormal activities" really do encounter what they encounter. Just like our ancestors encountered lightning and thunder and attributed it to the mythological entities and other paranormal odds and ends, even developing entire stories to support their theories, folks who encounter modern "paranormal" events are, in all probability, encountering natural phenomena. I don't agree with the stance the article takes, per se. I don't think that all people who believe they encounter "paranormal" phenomena are delusional (though some really are and are in need of professional psychiatric intervention). I think we're taught to label certain things we encounter a certain way as youngsters and that if such encounters indeed occur that the way we're taught to label these encounters is, at best, inaccurate.

The article touches on the human brain's fight-or-flight response which I think makes a pretty solid theory, but this does not account for the stories of people who are convinced they saw/felt/smelled what they encountered. The human brain is a tricky organ. We know less about our own minds than we do about outer space. Human perception is very easy to manipulate. Couple that with the ease at which human beings can be influenced to do or believe just about anything. Alas, we have scientology, the Jim Jones cult, and various military experiments to prove that. With that in mind, how can a reasonable person say that we cannot be influenced by our culture to believe things that aren't true or to incorrectly attribute what are likely perfectly natural phenomena? This leads to my theory about ghosts, demons, etc...

Knowing that the brain and human thought processes are so easy to manipulate by many different entities, I speculate that the human mind that perceives a "paranormal" phenomenon could be under the influence of any number of forces. Barring the influences of mind-altering substances, legitimate psychiatric illness, and human-induced brainwashing, one can only assume it's natural phenomena.

Let me explain:

The human brain conducts electricity. The magnetic fields of the earth and the moon are known to influence animal behavior. Solar flares and severe weather can wreak havoc on any electronic device in their path. Seeing that the brain is actually a highly complex mass of neurons that are constantly conducting information in an infinite variety of patterns, my theory (I'm no scientist, by any stretch) is that one of these phenomena affect the brain in such a way that we perceive what is known in our collective consciousness as paranormal activity.

Remember the thunderstorm analogy? We're doing the same thing when it comes to the paranormal. We perceive something and give it a name, even though we haven't verified what it really is.

I'm okay with not knowing, and I certainly won't be losing any sleep worrying about if, when, or where I will encounter some anomaly. What if I do? I'll cross that bridge when I get to it, but expect me to approach it with a critical mind and a healthy amount of skepticism. If I hear voices or see weird shit, I'll promptly report to the men in the white coats. I'll worry about, and take the necessary precautions against, that meth head roaming the streets that just might invade my home or the fact that I just might get in an accident next time I drive to the supermarket. I will examine these concerns and their statistical probability and act appropriately, but I refuse to live in fear. The Dark Ages are gone.

Middle school... something I have no intention of reliving except for...
I dedicated Hole's "Rock Star" to my eighth grade class in a facebook post yesterday. Here is what it said, in full, for the purpose of archiving on lj so it'll be easier to find should I want to pull it up again:

"Truthfully, I feel a profound sense of spite toward some of the folks that shared classrooms with me during the 1990-1991 school year. I was ostracized, rejected, and loathed (perhaps that was some of my own doing, IDK). In spite of all tha...t went down, I turned out okay. But the unfounded rejection? Seriously, I kick the crap out of myself for ever spending a second on trying to fit in with anyone in that little fish barrel of a town. With some of those folks, though, I have made amends. Some people grow up and get a bit of sense about them.

Still, fuck it to hell, I am bitter - and for all the right reasons. There's no good reason for people to act like that. My kids are being raised to treat all human beings with respect, regardless of their last name, economic background, frequency of church attendance, or lack of conformity with mainstream regional culture. They will know more than two races, two possible lifestyles, and more than one religion, if any religion at all.

And they will never, ever know what it's like to have an open mind and be stuck in Albany, Georgia. Never. I wish that emotional horror on no one. The years that encompass my passage into full adolescence are a complete, socially awkward, hormonally-charged blur to me, for reasons that most of you will never understand. That's fine. Just figured I owed an explanation to those of you who were cool with me back in the period of my life to which, at the ripe-old age of thirty-three, I still insist on bidding a giant FUCK YOU. Some of you share my sentiment. Some of you are reading this and wonder what hit you.

Many folks say they wish they could be a kid again. I am not one of those people. 1986-1991 are all years that I've taken most of my adult life to put behind me. Why would I want to bring them back?"

Hey, I like what I write. Sue me. :-)

A reminder for those of you who use facebook - I can be found here: facebook.com/jrmartin.lv

Writer's Block: High school musical
If you had to choose a theme song for your middle or high school years, what would it be, and why?

For middle school, I would choose "Olympia," by Hole. Middle school was a horrible experience for me. There was ALWAYS a group of white kids that got their rocks off by randomly ostracizing people. Of course, I was on their list, since I didn't fall in lock-step with their social order. I caught a lot of flack. I maintain my personal integrity to this day, though. I've perused some of their profiles on facebook and have found that a vast majority of them have maintained their ignorance.

For high school, I would choose "Ramble On," by Led Zeppelin. I was unwilling to leave such an accepting environment, but accepted the fact that it was time to move on. I still love all of them to pieces and can't wait until all our schedules and finances coincide for one, kick-ass 20-year class reunion. Anyone who is part of Monroe Comprehensive High School's class of 1995 knows what's up!

Police: Can't Truss 'Em

This story really pisses me off. I'm very suspicious of cops. The ones here in the Vegas valley are opportunistic, lazy, reckless, thuggish, and sometimes just plain scary. Worst of all, they only seem to serve the portion of the community that most benefits them. My in-laws were stopped in MY CAR once because of "a broken tail light." I inspected the vehicle when they got home. None of my tail lights were out. Just so happens, I have a Citizenship Project license plate - one that uses an Aztec calendar in its motif.

And that wasn't the first time this sort of thing happened. I simply can't trust cops. Period. So, spare me the bleeding-hearted "they-lay-their-lives-on-the-line-every-day-for-you" rhetoric. Please. Spare me. They don't lay shit on the line for me, or mine. They do it for those from whom they benefit most.

How deep does this mistrust go? I found out today that this guy that works out at my gym is a cop. I already found him quite menacing anyway because he's a rather imposing figure who carried himself in that "I'm-an-authority-figure-so-my-shit-don't-stink" elitist sort of way. Now I know why. Perhaps he doesn't realize what he's doing. Perhaps he's a good guy. Admittedly, I have no intention of even speaking to the guy, let alone getting close enough to him to find out. Truthfully, I'm not sure why I still call 911 when I hear a domestic incident going down. What's going to happen, really? Usually, nothing. Nevada's laws do little or nothing to protect the victims of battering (another topic altogether), and the police usually won't lift a finger to investigate. In fact, if we ever have a break-in the only reason I could see us calling is for them to pick the unconscious intruder up off our sidewalk. We have lots of bats. And mace. Lots of mace. Two former Marines live in this house. Do the math.

Anyway, it's not that I think all cops are bad apples. A couple that I've encountered were actually quite professional and courteous. It's just that enough of them have crossed the line around here that I'm really leery of them and do everything I can to minimize my contact with them. Even though the guy in the article I linked was drunk, belligerent, and threatening, throwing a handcuffed man to the ground for calling you corrupt is bullshit - especially if it turns out you really are corrupt.

Police are getting out of control. They should answer to the community they claim to protect and serve, rather than terrorizing it. My two cents. Maybe you don't like it. I don't care.

I'm reacting to what I observe. If you haven't observed the same thing or are selectively blind to it, there's no use in debating this issue with me. Shut up and move on.

Men can benefit from feminism.
So says Gloria Steinem. A lot of the points she made at a talk during a gender studies conference at UT Dallas made sense to me. Peep the whole article.

Top 10 Ways that Men
Benefit from Feminism

Structured like a David Letterman countdown, Steinem’s list of benefits to men included the following:

10. Through feminism, men are liberated from stereotypes, too.

9. Women’s skills are required to raise children. But, men have them too.

8. Men have been shortchanged by being told to marry someone who can cook rather than someone who can be a companion. “I’m sure that men who have been trained essentially to marry their housekeepers were lonely,” Steinem said.

7. The women’s movement can increase a man’s life by an average of four years. Steinem said that if men were to eliminate causes of death typically attributed to masculine roles, including deaths from violence, speeding and tension-related disease, their life expectancy would almost equal women's.

6. Boys can remain close to their mothers.

5. If men aren’t hooked on dominance and hierarchy with other men, they are saved from the self-loathing that comes from the need for control.

4. Laughter can once again become commonplace, even in serious rituals. “In ancient cultures like Wilma’s, seriousness and laughter are not separate,” said Steinem.

3. Men can continue discovering talents, without being divorced from them.

2. Sex and race are intertwined. You can’t uproot one without the other. “There’s really no such thing as being a feminist without being an anti‑racist,” she said.

1. Eliminating the sexual caste system – the cult of femininity and masculinity – eliminates the root cause of almost all violence.

I'm down with that.

Priorities, people. Priorities.
"Injustices survive, not merely because the rich exploit the poor but because, in their hearts, too many of the poor admire the rich."

This is why no matter how successful I am in life you'll never hear me brag about the things I have - or admiring the flashy, overpriced, fashionable, and utterly useless material garbage other people have. I am indifferent to these because I know what they represent - materialism. Materialism and conspicuous consumption are two things for which I have no use. I feel neither adoration nor envy for the "haves." Rather, I wonder why anyone should give a shit if this guy has a nice car, if this lady has a big house, or if that guy is a flashy dresser. Be advised folks: no matter what the obsessively competitive and the voraciously consumptive have to say about life and what our pursuits should be, MY PRIORITIES WILL ALWAYS BE DIFFERENT FROM THEIRS.

My pursuits are love, happiness, patience, fairness, justice, compassion and, finally, knowledge for knowledge's sake. So, please understand where I'm coming from when I let you know that I'm not impressed when you rave about "how nice the houses are in this area."

My sentiment comes not from a place of disdain or envy, but frustration with the fact that people refuse to accept my indifference and their blatant intolerance for folks with different priorities such as myself. "B-b-but all people want these things, amiright?"

No, they don't. Sorry you didn't get the memo.

If only this could be broadcast so every extrovert knows what's up.
This. A trillion, trillion times. This.

And while you're at it, read it again.

Homophobe PWNAGE
Courtesy of Glee.

Stop using the flag for your own selfish political ends. Pricks.
I wrote on the station's Facebook wall (which they deleted within seconds) and sent the same in an e-mail. The blockquoted version is what I've sent two other, more responsible stations that employ journalists who actually do their frickin' jobs (ups to George Knapp and John Huck).It concerns yet another jackass who thinks he's being sly by violating U.S. Code for his own selfish political ends:

Since KVBC was unwilling to take up this issue:

In reference to "Stan," a local man who has elected to desecrate our national ensign for his own selfish political ends - the man is in direct violation of U.S. Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Section 176 (a), which states:

"The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property."

No one is trying to kill Stan. Neither he, nor his property, are in extreme danger. He might have to pay a couple more percent in taxes. Maybe. If this is "dire distress" to him, I suggest he rethink his priorities, if not his sanity. "Stan" is in direct violation of U.S. Code, and should be ashamed of himself.

As an honorably discharged Marine, it really pisses me off to see someone disrespect the Colors like that for their own cynical ends.

Semper Fidelis.

Now, I have as much of a problem with this shit coming from the left as I do seeing it come from the right. Have your dissenting opinions - and engage in your discourse - but leave the National Ensign out of it. Got that? Outstanding. Too many people have sacrificed a lot for what the flag represents for people to be misappropriating it for their own political ends. The flag belongs to no party, no ideology, no belief system, and no creed.

The United States Flag represents all of us. Period.

As such, you have no business wrapping yourself in it - let alone inverting it - as if it's yours and yours only, Stan. You selfish prick.

Why, I no longer use pr0n (though I don't care if you do)
I have my reasons for not using porn. Not that anyone else shouldn't, because that's their business. I found an article on AlterNet today, wherein the author hits the nail on the head - for me - as to why I no longer use porn:

"...we now found it disturbing and distracting to the soul-stirring physical love we regularly enjoyed. The dialogue in porn didn't make us blush, but the interactions seemed increasingly humiliating and violent, with behaviors such as a man ejaculating on a woman's face becoming more common. Rather than inspire, pornography appeared to compromise one's private erotic imagination and values, blurring boundaries between fantasy and reality and lowering standards for sexual interaction."

Some folks I know argue that porn has been recommended by therapists to aid in sexual relationships - to add "spice." This article, however, advocates a contrary opinion. The author goes on to explain why she as a sex therapist could no longer prescribe porn to aid in relationships:

"The clearer I became about conditions necessary for experiencing healthy sexuality—consent, equality, respect, trust, safety—the more doubt I had about advocating pornography as a sexual-enhancement product. How can I support something that portrays sex as a commodity, people as objects, and violence, humiliation, and recklessness as exciting? What am I doing encouraging people to condition their arousal to self-centered, sensually blunted, loveless sex? Do I really want to be advocating a product that's associated with causing sexual harm and relationship problems?"

"My primary concern about porn wasn't that it was sexually graphic, explicit, or hot: it was that porn conveyed harmful ideas about sex and could lead to hurtful and ultimately unrewarding sexual behaviors."

She does offer an alternative that sounds great to me:

"One day, my concerns about pornography reached a tipping point. I grabbed the box of pornographic novels I'd kept in my office closet, marched outdoors, and tossed it into a trash bin. No regrets! From then on, I felt that personally and therapeutically it was best to avoid pornography. I made a commitment to obtain and clinically recommend only sexually explicit materials that educate and inspire while honoring respectful, responsible, and caring conditions for sexual interaction."

Yes. Because sex without intimacy sucks. It really does.

Read on.

I'm about 60-70 percent fluent.
"Bestow great attention on the Spanish language, and endeavor to acquire an accurate knowledge of it. Our future connections with Spain and Spanish America will render that language a valuable acquisition. The ancient history of a great part of America, too, is written in that language."

-- Thomas Jefferson, in writings to Peter Carr, 1787.

Drop my party affiliation?
I'm considering dropping out of the Democratic Party and refusing to affiliate with any party at all. None of them match my views completely anyway. The major parties are way too tied in with the kleptocracy to be any good to anyone. I've aligned with the Democratic Party in the past because they have at least somewhat matched my views - more than I can say for the GOP. My problem is that these days both parties vote strikingly similar when it comes to issues involving Big Business. That pisses me off. There's no REAL accountability or transparency - just a bunch of empty lip service. Don't get me wrong, there are some good folks in politics, but the party system is rubbish. I dream of the impossible: elected officials who truly represent us instead of cowering behind a party flag. I want people who consider the issues on their own merits instead of worrying about what the party has to say about it and representatives who answer to the people.

Besides, who deserves more loyalty? Is it the people, or a god damned party?

Alright, I've had it.
...a comment to LasVegasnow.com's facebook page, in response to this SB1070 shit:

The fact that the maniacs are coming out of the woodwork on this one is proof positive we do NOT live in a post-racist society. They swear up-and-down their views aren't steeped in racism, but their behavior indicates otherwise. The group that authored this bill has connections to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a known white supremacist ... See Moregroup. There is a gentleman (and I use that term loosely) on the board of directors of FAIR that once wrote that non-whites are less intelligent that whites and that the two should be separated. If you support SB1070, and YES I'VE READ IT, you are supporting racial profiling, plain and simple.

I find the misconceptions about immigrants ("illegal" or otherwise) amusing, mostly, but sometimes appalling. Looks as if some folks haven't left Sun City or Summerlin long enough have any idea what in the hell they're talking about. Have you ever met a Latin American immigrant? If not, you cannot definitively say - let alone even loosely determine - what their intent is in the U.S. without making a blind, baseless assumption steeped in fear, misinformation, paranoia, and bold-faced stupidity. You exhibit classic xenophobia and are making fools of yourselves. "Oh but it's not about racism, it's about legality." Right. Have you ever examined immigration law? Do you know how rife with corruption the system is? Do you know how much it costs? Oh, no, you don't care. Right. Because you don't have to. I'm willing to bet this "Gabriella" person got in the way she did because she married the right person. That's about the only way one can "legally" migrate here, by being wealthy or knowing the right people. How come none of you are questioning the way the laws are written? Oh, just sweep the little brown people under the rug, that'll fix everything, right? As long as YOU don't have to deal with it. As long as YOU get to remain in your ivory tower and dictate what should and shouldn't be to the rest of us pee-ons.

Oh, and don't give me this crap about how crime somehow magically increases with immigrants (not racist, right, but somehow the complaints are invariably about Latinos). This is a classic tactic that dates back to the KKK to arouse paranoia. Get your facts straight. Most of these folks (and I know a lot of them, trust me) are here to make an honest living. The only law a vast majority have broken is one that should be stricken from the books. Call this ad-hominem, call it what you will, but you know it's true: most of the people who support SB1070 are only afraid of whites becoming a minority. Period. Oh, you'll swear, once again, that this isn't about race. The Confederacy said the same thing, as did the Nazis, at least at first. When does it stop?

Oh yeah. I am white, was born in Ohio, raised in Georgia, and speak FLUENT Spanish. *gasp* What a concept! I actually took the time to LEARN about my neighbors. How un-American of me!

Grandpa Joe
Since my grandmother's death, my grandpa - who she married when I was eight, so we're not technically relatives, genetically speaking - has been acting strange in the realm of someone who is mourning. Two weeks after he interred my grandmother's ashes down in Pensacola he packed all his belongings and moved up to Columbus, thus isolating himself from all family - his and Granny's. I'm not sure what to make of his decision. I did get an explanation - he did not want to encounter any memories of Granny back in Albany and has decided to move on with his life. To tell the truth, that's the way Granny would have probably had it. She wouldn't have wanted him to mourn for too long.

Now, Grandpa Joe and me go way, way back. Like I said, he married my grandmother in 1985 and pretty much assumed the role of Grandpa for me as well as his only other grandchild at the time. A retired gunnery sergeant who was generally a nice man but had unpredictable bursts of onerousness, Grandpa Joe was (and still is) a man who says what he does and does what he says. Most people find his straight-laced nature and his social quirkiness unbearable. I accepted them as part of the whole package, complete with a boundless charity, mounds of respectfulness (once I was an adult, at least), and a pretty sharp sense of humor. He helped me enlist in the Marine Corps, essentially launching my career as it is today. Plus, he treated my grandmother like royalty. Never had I seen her as happy as she was in her final years.

Suffice it to say, I have a profound emotional attachment to Grandpa Joe.

Enter Granny's death back in October and her internment on what would have been her seventy-second birthday. Things have changed, whether we like it or not. Grandpa Joe has moved on as aforementioned and I, as well as others in the family to include my mom, am not sure what to make of it. Mom is angry with him. Hurt, no doubt. I'm not sure how the rest of the family feels. Perhaps they're indifferent. Perhaps they have more pressing matters. Perhaps I don't know what I'm talking about, but I don't feel any of them were as close to him as I, at least not on Granny's side.

I can tell you one thing for sure. The rational side of me is begging me not to fault Grandpa Joe. First of all, we all have our own ways of dealing with loss. Who are we to judge Grandpa Joe for how he deals with loss, just because it's different from how we think we'd handle the same situation? How many of us have lost a spouse? How about two, like he has? Secondly, I have to remember that what Grandpa Joe decides to do with his last days is not about us. He has no obligation, as far as I'm concerned, to continue anything with anybody. I sure wish he would and hope he does, but that's not my, my mom's, his daughters', his sons', or anyone's but his call. He's seventy-four years old, so I can guarantee he understands the consequences of his actions on a deeper level than any of us could probably grasp. Finally, I strongly believe that Granny would have wanted him to move on, even if not in the same way he has chosen. Given the nature of their relationship, I'm certain they discussed, in explicit detail, what should or shouldn't happen if one of them were to pass before the other. I know this because I've been eyewitness to some of these discussions. If we were willing to listen they wanted us to know, to understand, and above all else to have the maturity to accept their decisions. The reality is that any decisions made between them are not about us or our wishes. Ultimately, Grandpa and Grandpa alone has to deal with his personal crisis in the best way he knows how.

His manner of doing so is out of our control, so there is no use in fretting about it. Granny would have wanted us to move on, as well. Do I think she envisioned the rift that is developing now? Probably not, but it's still not our decision how Grandpa handles his grief.

Frankly, I wish Grandpa Joe the best in his twilight. I hope that when his ashes are placed next to Granny's in Pensacola (he hasn't lied to me yet, so I know this will come to fruition) that he'll have passed on happy and content because Granny would have wanted the same thing. If our ties are severed, I have forgiven him already.

Besides, he knows where to find me. Take care, Grandpa Joe, and thank you for everything. I may be uncomfortable with you moving away from the family, but I accept that it's your way and refuse to impose my own will on you. You will always be dear to me - and you will always be Grandpa. Semper fi.

Manhood Redefined.
Shed the silly John Wayne facade, man. This is 2010. Women are now (supposed to be) our equals and can be expected to pull their weight in society. They no longer need us to be their heroes. They need us to be their partners, teammates, and coworkers - their allies. Gone are the days of the Marlboro Man (dead of cancer), the caveman (extinct about 20,000 years ago), Mr. Cleaver (obsolete), and the Mad Men (also obsolete - not to mention most of them are dead). We are at a crossroads, boys. We are responsible - first and foremost as individuals, and eventually as a generation - for defining what it means to be a man in the twenty-first century. We have collectively neglected this responsibility for far too long. We have allowed the hipsters, the porn hounds, the "make me a sammich" set, the retrosexuals and metrosexuals, the frat boys, the meatheads, the losers who buy wives from Cambodia and lock them in the basement, and the "Mad Men" dominate the landscape long enough. That stops now.

Note that everything it means to be a man is also what it means to be a woman. Note that our actions shall, from here on out, be judged by their usefulness rather than how they fit into the old masculine/feminine dichotomy. Note that everything we were ever taught about gender roles is probably wrong, lacking in details, or otherwise deficient. It's time to take the responsibility for carving out our meaning in this life out of the hands of society, religion, tradition, and our friends' opinions. This is where we, as men and women, start to determine your own meaning and carve out our own niche - and finally think for ourselves. We do not identify with any of the common definitions of manhood. We refuse to put women "in their place," because their "place" is not for us to determine. They are not objects put here for our pleasure. They have bigger fish to fry (no pun intended) than our opinion of them. They owe us nothing.

Now that we have that out of the way, time for some rules I've come up with:

1. Real men are not intimidated by a self-determined woman. He in fact considers her an ally and an asset to society, even if her opinion differs from his. Real men have no fear of losing their manhood if women are equal to them. Besides, where is the threat? Really?
2. Real men have no quarrel with homosexuality. In fact, some of real men are homosexual, bisexual, and otherwise.
3. Real men don't need a metaphorical "card" to prove their manhood. Any individual man does not owe any other man any explanation about their decisions. We mind our own business. Oh, and we will never ask for your "man card." Ever.
4. Real men don't give a flying fuck who you slept with last. In fact, sleep with whomever you wish. We won't judge you or impose our standard of beauty on you. Again, we mind our own business.
5. It doesn't matter what kind of car you drive. You can drive whatever the fuck you want given you do so in accordance with #6.
6. Most of you will agree with this: Real men act with justice, judgment, responsibility, equanimity, courtesy, compassion, enthusiasm, determination, generosity, loyalty, moderation, self-control, patience, integrity, courage, bearing, and utility in mind - rather than what another person's opinion will be of their actions. Furthermore, not one of these traits is exclusive to our gender.
7. Real men can make mean sandwiches. We can cook like a mofo, too.
8. Call me partial, but real men are existentialist. In fact, real thinkers are existentialist.
9. Real men treat everyone equally - with dignity and respect - even if they don't "deserve" it.
10. Real men don't blame nature for their inadequacies. We know evolutionary psychology is bullshit pseudoscience that is overused to put women in their "place" and justify the most dishonest of male behavior.
11. Real men either choose monogamy or they don't. In other words, if they're prone to sleeping around, they don't get into life-long monogamous relationships only to fuck them up. They are up front about who they are.
12. Real men are there for their children, and I don't mean just bringing how a paycheck. They talk to them, smile at them, and hug them once in a while.
13. Real men don't need to engage in self-destructive behavior to prove their manhood, because they know it is counter-intuitive to do so.
14. Real men know they're not perfect and will admit when they are wrong.
15. Real men know that rules are made to be broken, traditions to be abandoned, and norms to be violated; especially if they're unjust, ineffective, obsolete, or otherwise useless.

I am a real man. If you disagree, you can call the law offices of Tuff and Schitt (to quote D.C.), because I don't have to prove anything to you. Keep in mind, fellas, that these "rules" I have here are just a few examples. Manhood shall be fluid and dynamic. Manhood shall be whatever it needs to be in any given scenario. Manhood shall be personhood with a 'Y' chromosome. It shall be held as no more sacred than any other state of human existence.

Manhood is the state with which I most identify, being male and cisgendered and all, but that's all it is. This manifesto of sorts is for the folks out there that understand it and identify with it. If it ain't for you, I don't care to hear what you have to say about it, because you're clinging to a bunch of bullshit for which I no longer have a use. I ain't mad at ya, but agree to disagree and leave it alone.

...a response in a forum thread about relationships, by Yours Truly
What shapes my mentality of the way a partner in a committed, romantic relationship should be?

In a nutshell - twelve years of trial and error with an amazing person. We are two very stubborn, very determined people who love each other dearly. We have figured out what works... or at least what works pretty well for us. Much of what makes our relationship tick is mutual courtesy and respect intermingled with feminist, humanist, and egalitarian principles. Our roles in our relationship and within the household have become so fluid and dynamic that an external observer will see an absence of the old, tired-ass senior/subordinate dichotomy, mostly due to the aforementioned mutual courtesy and equal division of responsibility. She does the stuff she's good at, I do the stuff I'm good at. We meet in the middle and compromise when necessary - and take responsibility for our own shortcomings. If one isn't willing to compromise, s/he shouldn't get married. If both partners aren't willing to assume responsibility for themselves and the relationship, any endeavor to commit will fail - and fail miserably.

The Civil War officially ended in 1865, but...
SpeakEasy: If You Think the Civil War Ever Ended, Think Again

Yes, ma'am, because some of my fellow Southerners can't accept the fact that the CSA LOST 145 YEARS AGO and move the f**k on, already. Don't even get me started about the reprehensible cause for which the CSA fought. Mention the Confederacy and all I hear is slavery, hatred, and treason. I see no good reason to be pro...ud of the darkest, most morally depraved part of Southern history, let alone COMMEMORATE it. We, as Southerners, should condemn the Confederate era as the average German condemns the Third Reich, and put the Confederate flag in the museum where it belongs.

The diet industry is a racket.
It always has been.

Alternet: Is Our Obsession with Weight Misguided? Here's What Really Matters When It Comes to Good Health

The whole fat=unhealthy thing is bullshit. When you read "studies" that "indicate" otherwise, they're usually only giving you part of their findings. It's all a ploy, like most health-related scare tactics, to sell you drugs and products you don't need, and that are worse for your body than the extra weight. The diet industry, cosmetic surgery industry, and Big Pharm are reaping billions in profits as a result of our gullibility. Don't believe the hype.

haven't done a survey in a while... so....
1. Do you have the guts to answer these questions and re-post as "The Controversial Survey"?
it's just a few questions. for once it's not about dumb shit like "what is your favorite flavor of bubble gum"

2. Would you do meth if it was legalized?
no. I understand it turns your brain into swiss cheese. I like my brain the way it is - convoluted and primed to receive more information.

3. Abortion: For or against it?
I don't have a uterus, so I'm pro-choice. Take that as you may.If you do, abortion is a decision YOU have to make. Not me. And not the other y-chromosome-carrying jokers on Capitol Hill.

4. Do you think the world would fail with a female president?
Not any more than it already has with all the male presidents we've had.

5. Do you believe in the death penalty?
My problem with the death penalty is its uneven enforcement and the possiblilty of mistakes. Guarantee me it doesn't matter what race you are, how much you make, or your understanding (ie-mental health or iQ) then ok. (Agreed, libco)

6. Do you wish marijuana would be legalized already?

7. Are you for or against pre-marital sex?
It comes with its risks like anything else. As long as one understands the risks and takes the necessary precautions, I say go for it.

8. Do you believe in God?
no, but I acknowledge that I can neither prove nor disprove any deity's existence.

9. Do you think same sex marriage should be legalized?
Civil unions, regardless of the sexual orientation, gender, race, etc of the human beings involved, should be recognized by the federal government and all state governments. Marriage is a religious institution.

10. Do you think it's wrong that so many Hispanics are illegally moving to the US?
No. In fact, the laws that make it illegal should be stricken from the books.

11. A 12 year old girl has a baby. Should she keep it?
Not my decision. Were it me, I'd say no - for reasons that are quite obvious.

12. Should the alcohol age be lowered to 18?
"Absolutely. First of all, it's not like people are waiting to 21. Second of all, someone can volunteer to fight and die for this country (or worse, get drafted to fight and die for this country), but they can't go out and have a beer after work? That's just not right. Old enough to fight and die, old enough to drink." (h/t libco) Furthermore, banning something never works. Bans create black markets. Bans create crime where it wouldn't have otherwise existed.

13. Should the war in Iraq be called off?

14. Assisted suicide is illegal. Do you agree?
If we have the right to live as we choose, why should we not have the right to die as we choose? I don't want to be a vegetable. DO NOT RESUSCITATE.

15. Do you believe in spanking your children?
Only for the most severe of offenses. Explaining yourself to a child never hurt anyone, if you're not to damn lazy to do it.

16. Would you burn an American flag for a million dollars?
I don't know. It's just a flag.

17. Who do you think would (have) make/made a better president? McCain or Obama?
I voted for Barack Hussein Obama. I stand by that choice.

18. Are you afraid others will judge you from reading some of your answers?
I am only responsible for my actions, which are influenced by my views. I assume no responsibility for how people judge me, but will take on the responsibility of being understood.

Why I'm not into the chivalry thing.
This should clear up any confusion about my problem with "chivalry," versus common, mutual courtesy and respect in a relationship:

feministing.com: "Mandating Chivalry Is Mandating Sexism"

"Now, let's be clear - there's a big difference between chivalry and manners. Being a nice person that opens doors for others (regardless of their gender) and being respectful is something that we should encourage in all people. That's being kind; it's mannered and it's nice. Chivalry, on the other hand, is straight up based on the idea that women are weaker need to be taken care of. It's insulting. It's also a trade-off - one that we're supposed to be grateful for - for being at the shit end of the patriarchy.

Feministe.com: "I’ll take voting rights over a knight in shining armor, thanks."

"There’s a difference between being chivalrous and being nice or polite. Opening a door for someone because you got to the door first is both nice and polite; making a huge production of opening a door for a woman in the hopes that she’ll see what a chivalrous dude you are and f**k you (and then getting all pissy when she doesn’t respond how you want her to) is not polite or nice. And that’s the thing with chivalry: It always demands something in return. If you’re being nice to me because you like me and you’re the kind of person who is nice to people you like, then that’s great. If you’re being nice to me because you’re hoping to get something out of it, or if you think you’re entitled to sex or a relationship with me because you were nice and “chivalrous,” you can go f**k yourself. See how that works?"

It's understandable that a couple wants to make each other feel like a million bucks, but it's worthless unless it's mutual. So, let's say a man "respects" you by pulling out a chair for you, or helping you put your coat on. Twenty minutes later, he talks down to you when you ask him a question, then patronizes you when you demand an apology. What manner of "respect" is this, other than superficial. I've seen men, including myself until I reached the age of reason, use chivalry to compensate for his lack of genuine respect for his partner. I want no part of that. Sadly, too many men fall into that trap - a lot of men think that if they're chivalrous, their partners owe them something.

Respect should be mutual and unconditional. If it isn't, you're both wasting each others' time. Fix it, or move on.

Funny joke about tea partiers and our forefathers.
Courtesy of Jeremy Richardson:

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and a tea party patriot walk into a bar. The bartender says, “I... See More’m surprised to see you guys together!” The tea party patriot says, “Why are you surprised? All of my beliefs are based on the principles of the Founding Fathers!” Jefferson says, “Indeed, I wrote, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’ while schtupping my slaves.” Washington says, “I too was a slaveholder. And as ‘father of our country,’ I led the military against my own citizens in the Whiskey Rebellion because they refused to pay taxes.” And Franklin says, “Yeah, I pretended to be a Puritan, yet rarely attended church and fathered an illegitimate son.” The bartender says, “So what you have in common is that you’re all hypocrites?” “No,” says Franklin. “What we have in common is that we’re all living in the 18th century.”

The Commandant of the Marine Corps is a homophobe. *facepalm*

"I would not ask our Marines to live with someone that's homosexual if
we can possibly avoid it," Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway told a
Web site in an interview posted Friday.

Right, sir. Right. Because homosexuals aren't real Marines. With all due respect, General, please STFU. A LGBT Marine is still just as goddamn much a Marine as the rest. S/he would have earned the title the same way everyone else did. How about a better idea: eradicate homophobia (and sexism) from the military with real education that addresses the root of the problem - ignorance.

Where are you on Richard Dawkins' belief scale?
On Richard Dawkin’s scale of beliefs form 1-7 (from his book, "The God Delusion"), where in the spectrum do you fall?

  1. Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.

  2. De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.

  3. Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.

  4. Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.

  5. Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.

  6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.

  7. Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.

I fall at about 4.5 on this scale. Dawkins himself is about a 6. Where are you?

Facebook folks surfing in, feel free to leave comments either here or on my wall. :-)

A better alternative to the Tea Party.
The Coffee Party:

The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.

Existential Crises
"People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain."

--Jim Morrison

I feel pain for what my father is going through. He has a step-daughter and a step-son-in-law who cannot seem to get their collective shit together enough to raise their own children. For the past five months (probably longer) he has been in an embittered battle, he with his current wife, trying to run two households simultaneously. Meanwhile, I'm here wondering why he never has time to talk to me on the phone. Now I know I was being selfish rather than understanding. Now I only wish there was more I could do to help, but there's only so much can accomplish from just shy of 2000 miles away. So I'm left with no choice but to wait and hope for the best - for him, for my nieces, for my sister who has moved up to where he is from near Albany, for everyone. I have to admit there is a considerable amount of guilt eating away at me, for the fact that I'm not there. It lingers not only for Pop, but also for Mom, my step-dad (who is also near and dear to my heart), my little brother, Uncle Glynn, Aunt Sara, Grandpa, Granny (rest her soul), and many others too numerous to mention. I want them to know that I established a new life on the other side of the country twelve years ago because I wanted to be my own person, not because I felt any ill will toward them.

That's another subject altogether. Suffice it to say, I feel powerless. But is it for me to help fix everyone's problems while I have issues of my own? How concerned should I be about what is going on in Georgia when I have a family to take care of (and who takes great care of me) right here in Nevada? Where do I even begin to help folks there comprehend that trying to live in Georgia again for me would be like a fish trying to live on land? I've established my life here. It's not that I've forgotten where I come from. It's that I decided against staying there.

So, that's my existential crisis today. Take care, folks.

Yeah. Pretty much.

You're No Longer Welcome Here.
I've let many a great, pleasant thing and feeling pass me by; making room for bitterness, rage, and resentment to cast their moans. Loved ones bear the same load I carry - to no avail - this festering cesspool irresolutely boils inside me. I erupt and spew my poison indiscriminately. Misery and pain have been my constant companions, and scorn the god I serve. For years I have given these demons refuge because I've been too chickenshit and lazy to confront them. I have a problem with chronic anger that usually manifests itself in my saying something really mean to someone in an overbearing tone, slamming a door, pouting and talking shit under my breath, etc, etc, etc, ad frickin' nauseum. My wife has had it up to her neck with it. My family walks on eggshells around me. Not cool.

Well, it's high time I say no more.

I think I know the root of my chronic, explosive anger. Those modifiers are written in there to make a distinction between normal, everyday, human-nature type anger and my, chronic, explosive, irrational anger - an anger that is rooted (1) in my clinging to bitterness from times past, (2) ridiculously unrealistic expectations of people and the world around me, and (3) the way those expectations not being met fuel the aforementioned bitterness. This anger is invariably far more intense than the stimulus that triggered it. I think there is a lot more detail to uncover, seeing that this type of anger is a very complex problem. Complex problems will require complex solutions, right?

I know this is going to be a lot of hard work, contemplation, and self-examination. I've promised many times I'd deal with this, but failed to address it properly.

I refuse to quit, though. I want my freedom and peace of mind. I've given these demons refuge for far too long. Time to serve the little bastards their eviction notice. Time to challenge my notions and assumptions about everything.

Certain Vegas locals have their chones in a wad over President's remarks
I have to admit I'm amused with the my local officials' and business leaders' reaction to the following remarks from President Obama:

“When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices.
(emphasis mine)

Yeah, they have their little chones in a wad. Why, though?

First of all, what did the President say that wasn't true? People come to Vegas as tourists because they have the money to do so. All President O was saying is that it's not wise to blow money on luxury items and trips when you don't have enough to pay your frickin' bills. All anyone is talking about is the fact that he dared name Las Vegas in his remarks. No one wants to talk about the context in which Obama was speaking. I appreciate the revenue tourists bring to our economy as much as any local. I also understand that, in these times, I can't expect them to keep coming when their homes, livelihoods, and financial standings are in jeopardy. When you're broke, splurging is a bad idea, whether it's in Vegas, NYC, Asia, Europe, or wherever. Furthermore, a dad from Ohio blowing his kids' college savings on strippers and blackjack would be tragic, am I right? Sorry, but the President nailed this one.

However, Senator Reid made a good point, seeing as this is Obama's second time invoking Las Vegas as an example of irresponsible spending. "The President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn’t be spending their money,” he said in his statement. Okay, true that. I agree with him, though you won't hear me pissing and moaning like some local officials are.

Example? Our own mayor, Oscar Goodman needs to grow the hell up already.

"Oscar Goodman, the Mayor of Las Vegas and an independent, described Mr Obama as “a real slow learner” who had a “psychological hang-up” about the city.

“He has to step up right away and say, you know, he wasn’t thinking.

Sometimes when he’s not using his monitors and reading what he says, he doesn’t think. And this is one of those times he didn’t think, and he should straighten out the record because he’s been here, he knows Las Vegas is a great place.”

Last year, Mr Obama apologised and during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas said that it was good to get out of Washington and “there’s nothing like a quick trip to Vegas in the middle of the week”.

But Mr Goodman said that this time an apology wouldn’t be enough. “I’ll do everything I can to give him the boot.”

Yeah, Mr. Mayor, real professional. I generally agree with him - as well as his policies - but he can be a real douche-bag sometimes. This is one of his bad days.

Folks around here should settle down because I seriously doubt the President's remarks are going to keep those who can afford it from visiting.

Happy MLK Day!

Two words:
Mixed. Market.

Tomorrow would have been Granny's 72nd birthday. Instead, she will be interned at a national cemetary in Pensacola. I can't stop thinking about her. Today would be the day I'd normally give her a call. :-(

Lots on which to reflect.
I'm a year older today. I wish I were a few years wiser.

for teh lulz
1. Elaborate on your default icon.
It was taken right outside the garage in December 2006.

2. What's your current relationship status?
Married for eleven and a half years

3. Ever have a near-death experience?

4. Name an obvious quality you have?
i'm chubby

5. What's the name of the song that's stuck in your head right now?
Bite the Bullet by 64revolt

6. Name a celebrity you would marry?

7. Who will cut and paste this first?
No idea

8. Has anyone ever said you look like a celebrity?
Robert Downey (?) and Jim Breuer

9. Do you wear a watch?

10. Do you have anything pierced?

11. Do you have any tattoos?

12. Do you like pain?
hate it

13. Do you like to shop?
not particularly

14. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
a gatorade

15. What was the last thing you paid for with your credit card?
door locks

16. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

17. What is on your desktop background?


18. What is the background on your cell phone?
a pic of my kids

19. Do you like redheads?
matches are pretty useful

20. Do you know any twins?
not anymore

21. Do you have any weird relatives?
define "weird"

22. What was the last movie you watched?
I'm watching Snow Dogs right now

23. If you had $100 to spare, who would you give it to?
Me I'm broke and selfish

24. What was your favorite book as a child?
Encyclopedia Brown

Happy HOLIDAYS. All of them.
Yeah, I said it -

Happy Holidays.

Not Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Eid Al Atha, or anything else exclusive to any one creed. I wish the best to you all for any of the dozen or so holidays you may be celebrating based on your faith - or lack thereof. To me, it's not politically correct to say Happy Holidays, but COURTEOUS. It leaves room for everyone at the table - anyone who may be celebrating one or more holidays this time of year. Whether you're celebrating Christmas, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving (some countries), Kwanzaa, Eid Al Atha (islamic new year), Hannukah, Saturnalia, Solstice, etc, etc, etc, you all deserve a place at the table. Just because you don't agree with someone's beliefs doesn't give you the right to deny their right to have their beliefs. Whatever your holiday/diety/non-diety/lack-of-diety of choice, please keep in mind that there are hundreds of religions and belief systems - probably right in your back yard. We all have the right to our beliefs.

That's why I say HAPPY HOLIDAYS, unless I know what your particular belief system is. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc. And I don't care what you say to me.

I know it's the thought that counts - and I appreciate it.


Go back through your journal over the past year. Take the first sentence from the first entry of each month throughout the year and copy it.

Maybe it's my point of view talking, but I like it here so far. (of Mexicali, BC)

There's comprehensive list up of what the Republicans consider "wasteful" in the Democrats' economic stimulus bill.

How many skinny people do I have to eat to find a size 44 belt?

Ropes, Chains, Walls, Bars cast a moan
they yield to the pending collapse

Mom is 55 years young today.

Among those overrides were a bill that funds K-12 education for the next two years and on that extends the rights enjoyed by legally married couples to those with domestic partnerships (long-term, living together), to include same-sex couples (the bill specified that). (of the congressional super-slap our incompetent sorry excuse of a governor received.)

Seriously, Jenny and Blake, WTF?

Well, it's about time to go on back, but we've experienced a lot of things on this trip we'll treasure.

Imagine the worst of human nature coming out.

Laura at Daily KOS breaks down what it means, and what it's done for victims/survivors of domestic violence.

Reading this again solidified my notion that Rand was a raving lunatic and that objectivism is sociopathy written into a mad person's political philosophy.

I think "skeptical" is a good word to describe how I feel about this plan, chiefly because these religious extremists don't only exist in Afghanistan.