That was interesting.
I just got back from a pizza party for my grand-daughter. My son is the manager of a pizza place, and so we all went there. It is kind of a venture into the city for us. But they have great pizza. Pantera’s, have you heard of it? No longer in business, but independent owner/operators retain the name and the recipes. By the way, before Pizza Hut had their chicken wing pizza, my son had his. In fact, he thinks they stole it from him, but he has no real proof–just that he had been doing it way before they ever came out with one. Woof–! I ate too much.
But we had gathered in a closed off set of booths and tables, kids and pre-teens at one end, adults at the other, trying to talk over the din. A woman walks up and begins talking with my wife. They hug and begin to converse. Oddly familiar looking. . .
She glances at me, then gets up to leave. I get up to go ask my wife who it was. I know who it was, but I wasn’t sure, and the name hadn’t come to me yet. Just then she returns, with a man in tow. Literally, I mean. She guides him up the two steps, and he walks with an odd fraility about him. She comes to me and says, "Well, I don’t know. You might not remember me."
And I did. Her name is Ruth, and the man is Perry, her husband. We had last seen them about nine years ago, shortly after our daughter’s birth. And not since then. We sat for too briefly and caught up before they had to go. They were a couple much like my wife and I, slightly older woman, younger man. Perry had been a vibant, healthy man before. What happened?
Well, I’m not sure what the order was, but testicular cancer, kidney failure, virtual blindness. He is taking dialysis daily. It was so good to see them, and yet unsettling. At first I had the usual, this could have been me syndrome, but mostly concern for both of them and how could I help? We live 50 miles away from them. What can I do?
Perry used to be a photographer. We have a family portrait done by him. We were beginning to be friends when we kinda fell away from church, and didn’t have much, if any contact with anyone after that. Part of me wants to believe that this meeting was for a reason, and it would be good for my wife. She has few friends, and I would like for us to have an "excuse" to go back to church. And another part of me feels the real regret that Perry must feel, even though he keeps it inside, and was smiling and good-natured, and happy to see us. The kind of regret where–you know what you wanted to be when you grow up, and this is not it.
The words from Ruth’s lips stayed with me, on the long drive home, as I tried to separate the background noise with all the children from the several people vying for my attention, while I strained to hear what Perry, in a very soft-spoken manner, was trying to say—Ruth said, softly, matter-of-factly, and through closed teeth (And I will get to that in a minute, this isnt a cliffhanger or anything. One thing that I thought about later, was that Ruth still, after all the years and miles between them, valued my wife’s friendship, and didn’t put on airs or try to be politely distant, but said this thing that you would only say to someone close, someone whom you knew you could go to for support.)–
–"It’s been very hard these last three years."
But ironically, the one I have been developing in my mind recently, I chose to bring to the master of Webdisaster, DJ Jazzy Young Scott fiddy cent. Yo.
Sorry, totally off topic. (That is my nephew’s website, webdistaster.net, my cherry in the posting and internet what-have-you. My point is about the blog universe, the blogsphere. I can not only post my own, but also see recently updated blogs, and the opportunity to visit them. I have read many different ones. Of course, the majority of them are not even in English. I thought that was the universal language of the internet. Isn’t that what Al Gore promised us?
Then, most of the ones in English are by 12-14 year old girls. Not really a pedaphile, so they hold little interest for me. But those are just the same crap–how much they love a boy one day, how much they hate him the next. Pictures of them and their boyfriends and girl friends. I give them the benefit of the doubt, and realize they are still developing personalities, and their blogs, while out on the world wide web, are really just intended for the neighborhood wide web. Some don’t even have a written blog, they are just a place people put their pictures online.
So then, after you wade through those, you find a few gems. Like mine. Uh, I mean, like some of the ones I’ve found. So you really have to look through them. I found a young lady in Lithuania who is a fabulous artist and poet. And she has a friend. An interesting med student in New Jersey. A lady from South Africa now Living in New Orleans. A gay man in Maryland. A few young people in New Mexico, Montana, Oregon, California. People throughout the land, spilling their creative hearts out onto the blogsphere.
And it reminded me of a time, in the distant past–about 1976-79, when, during the height of the CB craze–remember those? We had one in every car, a base station in the house, illegal amplifiers and giant antennae on the house. With modification to the base unit, we had additional channels, near and into the Ham radio band of frequencies, and we were able to talk to people all over the world. We received postcards confirming all the different people we talked to, in Canada, New England, Australia, England, California. In fact, I recall a vacation we went on to New England that included brief stops with people in Massachusetts and in Maine, people my dad had gotten to know over the radio. My dad would be up early in the morning, sitting in his underwear, drinking coffee, and listening to the CB, occassionally changing channels–surfing–and listening to people chatter about things.
Sound familiar? Do you see the correlation I’m trying to make here? That’s my whole point. I was a part of it then, and I guess I am a part of it now.
It used to be called a "handle," now it’s a user name. It used to be open channel over the air waves, now it is on the open web, over the wire, in chat rooms and web sites and blogs. It used to be used to as a pick-up place occassionally, for illicit sexual liasons, and now it’s . . . much the same, there. Required certain equipment, then and now. Much like my father did then, I sit at the computer in my underwear. The similarities are striking.
People everywhere, want to make some kind of connection to other people. (With my blog) I’m just trying to help that, because, after all, I am a unifying force in the world. I have seen pictures of people and their friends and family, all over the world. Pictures of a kid’s horse in Montana. A birthday party in Argentina. Friends gathered before a prom in Georgia. A girl from Canada’s vacation pictures from Belgium. The lady in New Orleans showed us pictures of her daughter in South Africa (very pretty, btw). I feel a part of the whole of humanity. The great collective social conscious, if there is one. All of us, reaching out, wanting to hear, wanting to be heard, wanting to be known, and be special for someone in the world. To create, to tell our story, and have people be interested, and care. . . . .
the grain on things like that, but this occurred to me, so I will get it out of the way, and unless something extraordinary happens
or I just change my mind, this should be the last Christmas article until next year.
But no one really asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year. Maybe everyone I know assumes they know what I want, or else they don’t care what I want (insert violin music here), or they . . .
Yeah, I don’t know.
The Christmas season this year is going better than last year, I feel, or at least I feel more connected to it. The Christmas spirit, that
elusive butterfly, I have caught fleeting glimpses of it. So I guess I am happy.
Just. . . . wistful.
But I know what I want, and I also know I’ll never get it, either. Maybe the feeling, the desire, will go away, but right now it per-
meates my every waking thought. We all want to change something about ourselves. Sometimes it’s a psychological or emotional thing, and sometimes it’s a physical thing.
I am fairly content with my psychological makeup–every one else is insane, not me. I have proof. Emotionally, I am pretty happy most of the time. Things don’t get me down. Except for this one thing, and it’s a physical thing. People are always trying to change themselves physically. Diet, exercise, surgery.
Surgery. I’ve come to the realization that surgery is my only hope for a solution. Plastic surgery. This would really help my self-esteem. And I know other people do it, other people get it, and it has changed their lives. Fixed horrible scars, removed wrinkles and things, all manner of fixes and corrections. If someone can afford it, I say they have every right to it, especially if it makes them feel better about themselves. Is that so wrong? I just want to feel better about myself, to feel attractive, to feel special. To have people look at me with admiring eyes.
I want a pouch made in my belly, like a marsupial.
I have had this problem, this medical thing going on, for most of my adult life. Which, to be fair, even though I am forty, has only been going on for about five years. Males mature later in life than females. I stand by that.
Anyway, this thing I have is skin tags. Barely noticeable and easily forgettable at first, over time they have grown in both size and number to become a real nuisance, albeit a non-life-threatening one. Right now I am torn between writing this and not, because how do you make something like this interesting, never mind funny?
But let’s go back. Shortly after I broke up with my old girlfriend (and she is old, too! Ba-dum, ting!) and started going out with my (new? newer? Less old?) current girlfriend, she wanted me to go to the doctor because I had these things growing on my inner thigh. She thought they were genital warts, and blamed my old girlfriend, the skank. Nice. I wanted to tell her that it was probably the girlfriend before that one, because she was a real ho, but realized just in time (before my mouth opened) that women don’t want to hear this. Oh, they think they do. But they really don’t.
I had no insurance at the time, so we went to the county hospital outpatient service. The free clinic.
Typically, you have to wait a long time in a place like that, but it wasn’t so bad. I got in there about nine am, and they got to me by three in the afternoon the same day. I was pretty happy. I was even happier when I saw my doctor. Hot, blonde, female. No lie. Urologist. In other words, a dick doctor.
(And here I have to insert (ha-ha, “insert”) one of my favorite jokes: A gynecologist comes home from work after a long day doing God knows what, to be greeted by his wife, wearing sleek, sheer lingerie, candles lit, champagne on ice, soft music playing. He says to her, “I swear, honey, if I have to look at one more—“)
Imagine a woman doctor in that position, and how hard (tee-hee, “hard”) it might be to impress her. . .
So I take off my pants, as instructed, trying not to think about it too much. I was at this time in my early twenties, when I could do push-ups with no hands at the slightest provocation. She takes the little freezey tool thing, after examining the marks, and says they are skin tags, not warts. Sigh of relief, and a slight stinging sensation as she freezes these things, and we’re done.
I thought we were done. As I stand and then begin to pull up my pants, she says to me, with her back turned to me to hide her smirk, “I need you to take down your shorts now because we check everyone for venereal disease.” So I pull my underwear down as she moves into position, kneeling in front of me. This is known as the honey spot. As I straighten back up and before I have a chance to look at what she is doing and react, she takes a long, thin, q-tip looking thing and grabs my wa-hoo like it’s our fourth date and shoves the thing into MY thing.
I try to argue my point in the most reasonable fashion about the extreme discomfort this is causing, as well as embarrassment for me, not to mention destroying all of my fantasies about this occasion, as well as causing a lasting psychosis about women in this position in front of me, but all that would come out of my mouth amid the screams and the drool was, “Hey! He-Hey! HEY! What the–? HEY!
And then it was over. I sullenly pulled up my pants, realizing I’m not going to get the obligatory what-have-you, and ask, “What the hell was that all about?” She explained that it is best to catch them before they have any idea what is going on, otherwise they won’t hold still for it. She looked me in the eyes, haunting and penetrating, the eyes of a woman who has seen what I have to offer, and is completely unimpressed, and perhaps a little sympathetic. Which I did NOT want. “Am I right?” She asks.
And let’s just leave it at that, shall we? Moving on. . ..
Throughout history, and even now, the most common economic standard that most people have lived with is poverty.
So most poor people are good.
Therefore, any bad people must be rich.
Rich people are evil.
No one in Hollywood counts, because they all came by their money honestly.
Capitalism allows people to be rich, therefore capitalism is evil.
Socialism and Communism spread the wealth (or lack thereof) to all people, therefore, socialism and communism are good.
So socialists and communists are good.
So it follows naturally that some of the best people in history have been Stalin and Hitler and Pol Pot.
A letter that advising I should remove my christmas tree
If I don’t change the name of my tree
A cerified letter
Advising me of statute
And a notice to remove my tree
On the fourth day of christmas, the jewish league said to me
Yes, we are on your side
We’ll send Jackie Mason
2 help get the word out
Because we support your christmas tree
##No christmas show
For we have to be
Sensitive to those
2 people who might be
Offended that we have a christmas tree
We will set up camp here
##Where’s the media?
We’ll call Jerry Fallwell
Here comes Jesse Jackson
We’ll get Bill O’Reilly
To defend you right to a christmas tree
Yes we stand behind you,
No we wont support you
##We dont make waves
4 we have to live
In this community
Just dont show our faces
When the news comes to get a scoop on your tree
It isnt right
For you to celebrate
This is discrimination
##You infidels will burn!
4 all eternity
And we turn to Mecca
2 praise allah
And watch us burn your christmas tree
We want an exclusive
Who else have you talked to?
Has this ruined your life?
Face the camera and smile
##Get the money shot
We dont really care
One way or another
This is for the ratings
Stand and smile next to your christmas tree
Ten counts against you
9 deputies to arrest you
8 minutes to the courthouse
Where you will be arraigned
6 warnings you’ve been given
##This is not my job
4 I have to agree
That this really is
2 much for me to do
All because you have a christmas tree
11 counts against you
10 special witnesses
9 changes of venue
8 cable news stations
7 hundred spectators
6 different juries
##All want you hung
4 not giving in, and in
3 days you get sent away
2 never see the light of day
But first you have to take down the tree
12 years I’ve been here
11 years i have left
10 for good behavior
9 people strangled
8 different trials
7 million dollars
6 years in court
##At taxpayers expense
4 a plea bargain
And a reduced sentence
2 be here with you
Serving life for having a christmas tree
In fact, expect it.
No one has every said that everything in society would be constructed in such a way that all speech, all media, all signage, all thought, all communication will be completely pleasing and bland to all people. There are offensive things in life. Can you agree with me on that? In the universe there are many things that offend me. How do I have the right to demand that they not exist in my sight?
And some of these rights overlap. For instance, the freedom of speech is closely related to the freedom to assemble, and freedom of the press. But these rights should not cancel each other out, should they? What is the overriding freedom? Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or separation of church and state?
Waaaiit a minute–that’s not really a "right" now is it? Or is it? Everyone talks about the establishment clause of the constitution.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, orprohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
This is Straight from the document itself. What is the context? What do they mean? What did they mean? How shall this be interpreted? How can the government be expected to do things in a manner that doesn’t "offend" it’s people? It can’t possibly. Have you seen your tax withholding? What could be more offensive than that? There are too many people, all of them, each with a different set of beliefs, understandings, and morals. To think that all public (i.e., "government") communication of any kind can and
must be crafted to avoid offending someone is not only completely ludicrious but also very obviously impossible. This is not a sterile,
contact-free, perfect society made of drones and automatons. I submit that the same liberties our citizens have, the government should have also.
And specifically they mean offended in the manner that they say it shows the government promoting one religion over others. I’ll even give you that right now, for the sake of arguement, even though I don’t believe it, and I’ll explain why later. But suppose it is true. Suppose it does show the government supporting one religion over another. What religions are being included, and what religions are being excluded? Well, obviously, it supports Christianity in most of it’s myriad forms, and excludes the rest, like Judeasm, Islam,
First of all, 85% or more of this country considers themselves Christian. That doesn’t make us a Christian nation, though, does it? No, but it does give us a long, rich history of following Christian traditions. People from foreign lands who come to this country to make a life for themselves know that beforehand. Many of the Christmas traditions that we have today are actually an amalgam of the traditions from different cultures.
They do not come here and expect this land to cater to their every cultural piccadillo; they know there will be an adjustment. They also know there will be acceptance, regardless of the "overwhelming" Christian culture. Can someone honestly come here from another country and demand that WE change to suit THEM? How does that work again?
If I went to Saudi Arabia and demanded that my religion be respected, the best I could hope for is that the parts of my body be returned to my family.
And if you are already a citizen, born and raised, and you belong to some bizarre cult, or no religion at all–and you feel excluded. Well. I don’t know what to say, except it was your choice. We all drive down the right side of the road here. You want to drive on the left. You are S.O.L. We still have all the freedoms guaranteed for you, but if you feel excluded, that’s too bad. It doesn’t mean you are treated differently. Unless you are trying to change OUR traditions to suit YOU. Then I have a problem. Get your own traditions, and leave mine alone. Let the people, even the people in government, who are just people, have their traditions.
Michael Newdow, the newest famous atheist, has a problem with all of this. He feels excluded because he’s an atheist. Therefore he wants to make all of us atheist. He may say differently, but I believe he is lying. Who knows? Well, you certainly can’t deny that he is an asshole. If he claims to have some moral center, from his actions we can determine that it isn’t a good one. He claims he can’t get elected because he’s an atheist. Well, that blows open the entire thesis: The rest of us, the majority of us, are religious, and we will vote for people with religious convictions. The majority rules. It’s not because he’s an atheist he can’t get elected; it’s because he is a whack-job with whom it is statistically proveable that hardly anyone agrees with. You’re upset because you’re an atheist and all the money says "Under God"? If I were you, I’d be more upset about my eventual burning in Hell. That’s just me. Go piss up a rope.
I mean, it is an obvious attempt, a blatant attack on not only Christmas, but Christians. how did some tiny minority get so loud and vocal and powerful? They–whoever "they" are, just want everything to be inclusive. That’s why we have a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree. Wait a minute. What other "holiday" is a tree used for? Or a stocking? Why would you call it a holiday tree, or holiday stocking? What other freakin’ holiday does that? Atheist? Have a freakin Atheist parade. Can I have my Christian float in that parade? How come? You’re not being inclusive.
How come when the gays and lesbians have a parade, I can’t have my anti-gay float in the parade? You’re not supporting all views.
For instance, I just went to the Christmas parade. I hope it wasn’t a holiday parade–I dont think so. Someone offended by it because it excluded them? Have your own freakin parade!
Does the Veteran’s day parade include Easter? Does the Fourth of July celebration include Columbus Day? Make your own celebration! You are completely free to do that! Nobody showed up to your atheist parade? Maybe now you know what kind of support you have. Or maybe they just didn’t believe you were really having one. Continue to do what you want, just don’t block traffic.
Much like the supporters of pornography who hide behind free speech, what’s sauce for the goose–You don’t have to participate. No one is forcing you. Aaah–ahh–what about–what about —government sponsorship? eh? eh? Gotcha there! What about that! Huh?
Yeah, sit there with a smug look on your face. But you are still wrong. It’s an accommodation. To the Majority. Of the population. It’s what every one wants. Except you. People need to understand that organizations like the ACLU, under the noble guise of protecting minority rights are actually trying to chip away and erode the rights and traditions and freedoms of the majority of
Americans, essentially trying to instill fascism–where the minority controls the majority and limits its freedoms. Somehow, "not being offended" has become an unwritten amendment to the constitution? This is the same group that claims pornography is a right, no matter how offensive it is.
It is not establishing a religion. The post office didn’t take down the flag and put up a cross, for crying out loud. You are not denied
government jobs, grants, benefits, et cetera, based on religion. You are not commanded to gather each Sunday morning or face expulsion. Other countries without established religions still celebrate as traditions of the people. Does the majority still rule, or not? Isn’t that the whole idea of democracy what the majority wants? The minority opinion is not the rule. If you are in the minority, you should understand that. Fume, if you like.
The fact that 85+% of the population is Christian means that our believes and our sensibilities must be respected.
If you live in this society, where we have all been taught tolerance and acceptance–why is suddenly the majority practicing their traditions that they have always practiced become verbotten? What is this offense and exclusion that the minority suddenly feels? This didn’t exist a few years ago. It is a made-up mallady, a fallacious illness.
But I have an idea. I know how to let everyone feel included. A new holiday, a feel-good celebration for the people. Not everyone, just the offended ones. Let’s have a holiday for all the offended people, say in June, call it Atheists, ACLU, and Assholes Day, and let them have a parade, exchange gifts, and put up decorations. Stores can have sales.
I will not be offended by being left out of it.
In fact, I may receive a few Asshole Day gifts.