Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holy Crap, Batman!

Palin and Graham This morning I read an article about Sarah Palin making a stop while on her book-burning book-signing tour. She was in North Carolina and stopped by to have lunch with Billy Graham. Graham's son, Franklin, said that his father has "followed her career and likes her strong stand on faith...Daddy feels God was using her to wake America up." Hmm. It might surprise you to know that Billy Graham is a registered Democrat, so I wonder if he meant his comment in a way other than how it appears on the surface? Franklin also said that Palin "quizzed Graham what the Bible says about Israel, Iran and Iraq. "

The latter is what really gave me pause. I really don't give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut what Sarah Palin believes when it comes to religion. As far as I'm concerned, she can roll around on the floor and speak in tongues to her stony little heart's desire. She can wrassle with rattlesnakes, if that’s what she wants to do. In fact, I think that’s actually a pretty good idea. C’mon, Sarah, you’ve got the faith!

Well, I can't say that I have a God-shaped void in my heart and soul. And I'm not seeking something beyond what I can see and touch or understand intellectually here on earth. I'm not like you, Sarah, and I know a lot of people who feel the same way I do. I also wonder at the faulty logic of seeing the beauty of nature and making the leap to knowing that someone had to create it. Science, be damned! Take your proven theories and get out of my face! Stoopid scientists, tryin' to make sense of the world by using sound principles, research, and investigative techniques instead of relying on superstition and faith to explain phenomena. Besides, "thunder is God bowling" is so much cuter than all that babble about lightning producing enough heat to cause a shock wave, don't you think?

Jesus Saves But like I said, I really don't care what she chooses to believe. That is her business. However, I do not want anyone in a position of leadership who chooses to base their foreign policy on what the Bible says about places like Israel, Iran, and Iraq.

That bears repeating. I do not want my legislators basing their foreign policy--or any legislative decisions, for that matter--on the Bible. I know this will piss some people off, but so be it. I do not believe that the Bible is the word of God, and it should not be treated as anything more than a religious text. It most certainly should not be a source of political decision-making.

I've had a similar discussion with my Dad. I love him to pieces, but he asked me once about school prayer. "Don't you think kids should be allowed to pray in school?" Well, of course, they should, if that's what they choose to do, on their own time. But there should be no school-led prayer. President Obama took a lot of flak for saying that we are not a Christian nation. I'm glad he said it, because we are not. We are a nation of many different religions, and yes indeed, even people with no religion, and our government has no right to legislate anything to do with that. Believe what you want to believe, but keep your religious views out of my government. Especially if you are anxious for Armageddon so that you can be taken up in the Rapture, or whatever that timeline is. Some of us aren't so keen on experiencing Armageddon, thank you very much.

Dirty whorish mouth On a related note, I recently received some feedback saying that I was bashing Christianity. I have to wonder...if someone feels that way, why they are still reading? Maybe getting a little thrill out of my dirty whorish mouth? How many times have I said this? If you don't like what I have to write, or if you just plain don't like me, no one is forcing you to read. And you know what? I don't visit your blog and leave comments about things that you write, no matter how insipid or mistaken I think they are. If I disagree with your viewpoint, I just move along and leave you to your opinion. You have the right to yours, and I have every bit of the same right to mine.

I have a long history with religion and problems that it has caused, in my own life and around the world, for thousands of years. I have not gone into these things here, because it's my business, and I share it with people on a personal level if and when I want to. But it's this kind of persecutional paranoia that is one of the reasons I have grown increasingly disenfranchised. I believe you have the right to believe what you want, and I also have the right to believe or not believe what I want. Your sanctimonious irritation at my personal opinion on my own blog only reinforces the feelings I've developed over the years. The hypocrisy I've seen, the belief that anyone who doesn't believe exactly as you do is going straight to hell, the sure and steadfast knowledge that those who love others of the same gender, no matter how wonderful, kind, and decent they might be, are going to burn in the fiery all leaves me cold, and I want nothing to do with it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A quickie

ReddiWip I need to get to bed pretty quick here, but wanted to write a couple of things and post a couple of pictures.

We all had a great time today, and it was fantastic to see my "niece-in-law" Jen! She totally cracks me up, and we always have a great time together. I also have a new great-nephew, Jordan Sterling, born last night. Needless to say, he couldn't make the scene, but I'm guessing he'll be there next year! It was great to visit with everyone, and there was, as always, plenty of food! (My Li'l Deviled Eggs were eaten up pronto...nom nom nom. Guess they were good enough!) Oddly enough, I didn't have any turkey. Just a couple of pieces of ham. I seem to be eating less meat in general lately, and there were plenty of other things to eat! It was all good, but I know when to stop eating, especially if I want to leave room for...pumpkin pie!

That's right, I got my piece of pie today, and when I asked my sister Diana "Do you have whipped cream?" and she said "Yes!" I was a very happy girl! For whatever reason, I've been craving pumpkin pie lately, and I got my fix today. It was delicious! As you can see, I got into the spirit of things, as did my brother-in-law. Thanks for giving me devil horns, Tom. Like I needed the help. Whoops, got a little on my nose!

ReddiWip2 We had a blast playing Rock Band! Early on, some of us were playing with my great-nephew Jared and my great-niece Maddie...she does great on the drums, and it was so cute watching her. She was totally getting into it, bopping up and down! Jared does great on guitar and he also sang a bit, too. Guess they didn't mind playing with us geezers, and do you know why? Because we rock, that's why!

I suppose that I should also mention that at the tender age of ten, Jared is taller than I am. Of course, that's not hard to do. Argh.

People eventually left, and it was down to us, my sister and her husband, and Jen. We kept playing, had a lot of fun, and dang, I'm tired! As I was leaving, we got a picture of Jen, Diana, and me. Jen and I were flashing peace signs, and Diana was doing the rock devil horns. She couldn't quite decide where to go with that, and we got a four-finger wave. What the hell, Di? What is that supposed to be? She corrected it quickly, and here is wishing you all and everyone around the world...peace. As Elvis Costello said, what's so funny 'bout peace, love, and understanding? Seems like a great idea to me. Peace, beeyotches!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

When Black Friday comes

Black Friday Here's wishing everyone a fun Thanksgiving! My Li'l Deviled Eggs are chillin' in the fridge, and I'm chillin', too. I'm looking forward to seeing family, and I hope you all have a wonderful time with you and yours!

Personally, I've got such a hankering for pumpkin pie, and there had better be whipped cream to go along with it! I don't often eat dessert, but I can tell you that I will make sure I have room for a piece of pumpkin pie with a big blob of whipped cream on top! Yummy!

Of course, Friday is the big shopping day, one of the biggest of the year. I think there's a day in the week leading up to Christmas that's bigger, but Black Friday is when all the stores offer deep discounts, and open up at the freakish hour of 4 am or sometimes even earlier.

I don't like shopping on normal days, and I can tell you that I'd rather eat a bullet than go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Gahhhh, people standing in line waiting to get into stores, pushing and shoving each other, trampling others to get some stupid sweater or this year's Cabbage Patch Kid or Tickle Me Elmo. If I'm going to stand in line, push, shove, or trample, it's going to be for a concert, not to fight some muffin-topped broad for that last Frozen Margarita Maker at 75% off. Everyone knows that margaritas are better on the rocks, anyway, you silly bitch.

The Rock Band USB hub seems to be fried, and since we're planning on playing it with relatives on Friday, someone might have to venture out Friday morning to buy a new one. That someone is not named Beth, I can tell you that! Ha! Hell, I don't think I'll even step foot outside the house on Friday. I would just sense the intense shopping vibes in the air, and that would make me highly uncomfortable and anxious.

I'm guessing that this will be a big day for retailers. Everyone needs to get some good bargains this year, and I hope it will give a little boost to the economy, or at least bode well. (Things do seem to be looking up.) I applaud anyone who has the stones to go out on Friday, but count me out. Hey, I do my part throughout the year, so cut me some slack.

Enjoy some Steely Dan. Who doesn't like some Steely Dan once in a while?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Santa Turkey, put some giblets under my tree

Don't eat me turkey Well, I'm making progress on the cleaning, but have more to do. Nothing major (although I'm not a huge fan of vacuuming) and I look forward to getting it out of the way so I don't have to worry about it anymore!

I've been seeing Christmas crap in stores for a couple of weeks now. I'm tired of it already. Why must it start this early? Of course, I don't really get into Christmas like a lot of people do...a couple of weeks of it and I'm good. And you probably don't want to talk to me on a day that I'm wrapping presents. That ranks right up there with vacuuming for me, and I've learned that beer and Brian Setzer helps. But then that helps most things. Ha!

Not that Brian is dropping by Nutwood to hang out with me while I wrap Christmas presents, although that would be way cool. I just like putting his Christmas CDs on while I wrap.

So what does everyone have planned for Thanksgiving? We'll be going to my sister Diana's house. My niece Jen is in town, visiting from San Diego, and I'm looking forward to seeing her! Yay Jen! The plan is for dinner around 1 pm (my assignment is deviled eggs, 'cause I'm a li'l devil), followed by some Rock Band. Yes, my sister also loves the game, although her thing is Beatles Rock Band. My other sister, Sue, tells me that the plan is to get my parents to sing "Ring of Fire." I have to wonder if they haven't been paying attention for all these years...have they heard our Dad sing?! I'm guessing that Mom might be game, but I'm thinking that Dad will emphatically decline.

Heck, I'll sing it. I've got a low voice, and I love that song. "The taste of love is sweet...when hearts like ours meet." That's good stuff, right there. Too bad the Wall of Voodoo version isn't on Rock Band!

Speaking of Rock Band, it was a tense situation at Nutwood tonight when I tried to play a little right before I started dinner...and Wii was dead.

I tried all the connections, tried a different outlet, tried turning things off and luck. Noooooo! Wii compressions, STAT! Clear!

Finally, I thought about what was different, because it had been working fine. (I didn't troubleshoot lab instruments worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for nothing...all that prepared me for this day.) Yesterday, I hooked up a USB hub so that all the instruments could stay hooked up. I detached that, and voilĂ , Wiizee was back up and running! Stoopid hub. Anyone who uses Wii Rock Band, how do you hook up the mic, two guitars, and drums at the same time, without a hub? Or did I just get a bad hub? Any ideas or recommendations?

Oh, and thanks to my Canadian friends for weighing in on my topic yesterday. I keep hearing the teabaggers talk about how bad things are in Canada, but in talking with people who actually live there, I get the impression that these tales of Canadian health care horrors are merely manufactured by those here whose best interests are served by no reform whatsoever. That's sure not what I'm hearing from my friends. (And you're forgiven for Celine Dion. You can thank Michael Bolton for that. Quid pro quo, Clarice.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

O Canada!

Canadian flag Once again I am getting woefully behind on blog reading, and have even let my writing lapse a bit as of late. I’ve got plenty of cleaning to do before we have some relatives over on Friday, and we’ll be going to my sister’s on Thursday, so blogging may be in fits and starts in the coming week. I’m trying a new dealio, where I sort of let them accumulate and then go through and read everything on a few blogs, then do the same the next day. I’m not sure how it’s going to work out, but I’m trying to find a new way of handling them all.

This entry is a little tribute to my Canadian friends: Darren from Crackbook, Ted from the Godfathers Yahoo group (met up in Chicago for a great show!) and also on Crackbook, and Ziggy, who has been a long time reader here. It is prompted by reading a comment from a friend of a friend on Facebook concerning the teabaggers. After some other stuff, this person wrote “I just hope we ALL fare better than Canada has.”

What? Where the hell did that come from? Having made friends with the aforementioned neighbo(u)rs to the north, I’m pretty sure they’d be wondering the same thing. What does that even mean? I’ve discussed health care with Darren and Ted on Crackbook, and they and Ziggy have left comments here about it. I get the distinct impression that they are more than pleased with their single payer system, and I sense a real puzzlement on their parts that it is such a huge debate in our country right now. I believe I’m correct in saying that every other industrialized nation offers all of their citizens affordable health care. I have to say, I’m starting to wonder about us and our inability and/or unwillingness to do so!

I have another friend whose daughter has a life-threatening illness, and her insurance will be terminated before too long. This friend has investigated moving to Canada, because to continue to live here will almost certainly condemn her daughter to a death sentence.

We all know about people trying to get affordable prescriptions from Canada because the prices for some medications here are simply unaffordable for many.

So I take umbrage at the disparaging remark about Canada. As I commented to it on Facebook (I apologize, Dan, for hijacking your thread…although it was just one tiny little comment!), at least they don’t let their citizens die for lack of medical care. Every country has its problems, but I’m guessing my friends to the north would say that health care isn’t one of theirs. So here’s a tip of my toque to my northern neighbours, eh? I couldn’t resist a little Bob and Doug McKenzie. Beertox!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Empath

The Empath When I was reading the Sunday paper (a little late in the day, but I did read it...okay, I skimmed it), it really bothered me to read this letter to the editor:

My neighbors' health care is not my responsibility. Engel [a local doctor] can be generous with his money if he will; he shouldn't project his morality upon me.

While I appreciated the author's correct use of the possessive apostrophe, I was appalled at the sentiment expressed.

I was pleased to see the vote in the Senate this weekend, in which it was agreed that the health care bill would move forward for debate. I was honestly perplexed by all the "nay" votes from Republicans. This wasn't a vote to pass the bill; this was a vote to debate it on the Senate floor. I think that's very indicative of the mindset of the GOP right now: don't discuss, don't propose solutions, simply pull a Nancy Reagan and "just say no." (And we all know how well that worked.) I've come to believe that rather than striving for true reform and working on making things better for all American citizens, the GOP simply wants President Obama and our country to fail. That's...that's really kind of warped, don't you think?

To top off my puzzlement at the "nay" votes, reading this letter to the editor appalled and disgusted me. It made me quite sad, too.

There is a practical aspect to it, as pointed out by my friend Tim on Facebook: it is a matter of public health. It is part of the greater good to ensure that everyone receives proper health care. If your neighbor gets sick, you might get it, too. If your child's classmate has parents that don't believe in vaccination, or simply can't afford to get proper care for their kid, your child is at risk of exposure. If there are millions of people who do not get preventive care or cannot pay for a doctor's visit to check out that pesky abdominal pain or to figure out why they have blurred vision or to have the doctor listen to that lingering cough...we all end up paying more for the care needed when the problem has gone beyond the easily treatable.

But even more importantly to me is something that made me think of an episode from the third season of "Star Trek," "The Empath." In this episode, Kirk, Spock, and Bones encounter a lovely young mute woman, Gem. Gem is a rarity, a true empath; when others are in pain or hurt, she can touch them, take their wounds into herself, and clear them. This takes its toll upon her, causing her great pain, but she cannot stop being what she is. (Sort of like John Coffey in The Green Mile, now that I think about it.) As the story unfolds, we realize that this is an experiment conducted by aliens to see if Gem is willing to harm herself in order to help others. They plan on taking care of her, and will treat her well, but Gem proves herself by being willing to almost die in order to save Bones.

Granted, most of us would draw the line at dying to save a stranger, depending on the situation. Notable exceptions would be soldiers serving their country, or the Secret Service agents who will die to protect their charges. I think most of us would die to protect our loved ones. But we're not talking about giving up our lives here. We're simply talking about finding a way to help our fellow citizens; to help them be healthy and not die miserably because they don't have insurance. Help them not lose their home because they receive a diagnosis of cancer; help them live as pain-free as possible if they have a chronic illness. We are talking about having empathy and compassion for our fellow human beings.

I am dismayed by the lack of compassion for others that I am seeing in this debate. I'm getting an attitude of "Hey, I've got my health insurance--fuck you." What has happened to people that they feel nothing for others? Do they really not care if some kid dies of an easily treatable infection because his parents can't take him to the doctor? Do they really not care if a little girl goes deaf because she wasn't treated for meningitis in a timely manner? Do they not care if their elderly neighbor has to choose between a decent meal and their blood pressure meds? Do they not care if their parents have to make that choice?

I have said this before, and I have not changed my feelings on it: I believe health care reform is not merely a financial necessity for our country. It is a moral obligation. We must not forget our humanity and our compassion for others.

We must remember the concept of empathy.