Notable Quotable:

Notable Quotable:

Remember, folks: whenever a woman says "die for me because you are a man," just look her in the eye and say "my body, my choice."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jane Austen Fight Club

So, am I the last person on the planet to see this?

This was how we started staff in-service day at the library.  The training that followed was useful, but somewhat less amusing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


 Tolerance is not a virtue. It's not something to be proud of, it's a default position taken with gritted teeth.  We tolerate that which we cannot, will not, or should not accept. We tolerate for the sake of love and civility. It’s expedient and necessary, but it is not inherently virtuous. When you tolerate, have a good reason for not accepting.  Sometimes there are good reasons, sometimes, not so much.  Tolerance is usually one tiny step above contempt....own it.

 - apropos of recent battles with my pride, and of course, the Wet Snow.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Recovering Catholic Part 3

...or more accurately Part 1.5, as I actually wrote this before the last post.

            Several years ago, after exploring a number for churches, I gave up on religion.  I knew I wasn’t an atheist, yet agnosticism didn’t quite fit; it was a little too ambiguous for me.  Too neutral?  Purposeless?  Maybe I need to believe in some form of universal goodness?  I don’t know, but at the end of the day, I do subscribe to the principles of Christ, in their simplest terms.  And I believe he died for our salvation.  I’m pretty sure he was a real person, and unless he was flat-out crazy, why else would he do what he did?  Call me complacent, but it suits. 
            So, I guess I’m a Christian, but for years I didn’t want to admit it.  I don’t like modern   Christianity, and I don’t identify with those people.  Somebody said I might be a 21st century Christian, so I’d better look that up and see (snark!)  I am a founding member of ThruWay Christians, which is scary for me - I’m not a joiner.  We’ll see how it goes.  My “personal” Christianity is highly streamlined: I believe divinity exists.  I believe God is divine.  I believe Jesus is God, and his sacrifice was an expression of a love I can’t begin to comprehend.  That’s about it.
            I don’t believe the Bible is “inerrant”.  It was written by wise men with (mostly) good intentions.  Period.  I don’t believe I have the right to judge anybody.  Nobody has that right, and this is where I differentiate between judgment and justice.  Justice is a necessary human invention, based on actions and the intentions behind those actions.  If you take what’s not yours, you give it back or pay for it, one way or another.  It’s a simple concept and it works, but God’s not part of that equation.   I’ll ignore you if you tell me God will punish me for my sins.  On the contrary, I believe He will forgive me.  Punishment is a matter for us humans. 
            Do not quote Scripture to me if your purpose is to contradict the teachings of Christ.  There may be a bit of hearsay involved, and translations are suspect, but His message is fairly clear.  He loves us all, and He wants us to love one another as we love ourselves.  This world is full of people I can’t or won’t love, for a lot of justice-related reasons.  If I tried, maybe I could disapprove of their behavior and love them anyway, but I don’t try very hard.   That is MY weakness, not theirs.  If nothing else, I have the guts to admit that.  I sin, and I’ll continue to do so, but somebody please slap me silly if I ever justify bigotry with “God’s word.”

            Spirituality should not be separate from everyday life; it should make sense, and should mesh with the real world, not contradict rational thought.  What’s the point of having ideals if they can’t be part of reality?   

Friday, January 21, 2011

Recovering Catholic Part 2

The following is a comment I made on John Shore's blog, to an angry young Christian fundamentalist who was attacking ThruWay Christians.  I can't quite bring myself to condemn her because I pity her.  She is a classic example of why I stopped calling myself a Christian, even though I believe.  Which is bullshit!  I'm taking back my faith, and putting Christ back at the top of Christianity.  The Fundies will call me a radical and a heathen, and they can kiss my lumpy ass.  Like everyone else, I sin, and will surely do so for the rest of my life, but I vow I will NEVER commit a sin against God's children, in His name.  My sins are mine alone, without justification.

Here’s a simple place to start. The Bible is NOT “cut and dry,” (sic) as you said. Open it. Read it, page by page, not just the passages you hear in church. The Bible contradicts itself at every turn, and for a very good reason: it was written, edited, interpreted, and translated over many years, by many people. And no human in history (except Jesus) can EVER comprehend the true nature of divinity. Yes, these men may well have been inspired by God, but to believe they could truly understand Him is to take away His divinity and equate Him to us puny humans. If God is in your heart, He’s speaking to you, but He doesn’t need words. Language is a human invention and really, a pretty pathetic little tool. All of our tools are small.
Do you really believe that the prophets could explain God’s will with mere words? If so, try this experiment: Sit in a dark room with someone you don’t know well, maybe an acquaintance from church. Have that person describe the word “red” to you, using as many words as they want. Next, both of you, separately, go to the paint department of your local Wal-Mart and pick out the exact shade of red that was described. Unless you cheat, I guarantee your reds won’t match.
If words can’t precisely convey something as relatively simple as a color, how can they possibly convey the glory of God? They can’t. If you read the whole Bible, though, God’s message comes through, doesn’t it? It boils down to a very few points, the single most important of which is that HE LOVES US. All of us. He doesn’t want us to hurt each other any more than you want a bully to hurt your child. Anything you do to hurt one of God’s children, hurts God, and is a sin. Your man-made church uses bits and pieces of the Bible as proof that you have permission to hurt God’s children. 
Don’t think for a minute that permission comes from God.
Nobody’s asking you to drop your faith and buy into someone else’s “religion.” All I ask is that you allow yourself to assume that you might be wrong, that your accepted interpretation of Biblical passages may be inaccurate. Cover your ears, block out the noise, and trust the conscience that God gave you. Admit that “The Bible” might be wrong when it tells you that you must kill your own child after he talks back to you twice. (After the first offense, you must merely beat him.)
God gave you everything you need to serve Him, and He gave the same gifts to people who have never even heard of the Bible. You have a brain; use it to think critically. You have a conscience; use it to guide your words and actions. You have a mouth; use it to express love. You have two hands; use them to end and prevent suffering EVERYWHERE you see it.
I’ve got big news for you. The leaders of your church may have more experience than you. They have more knowledge, and even more wisdom, than you, but they ARE NOT closer to God than you. They do not know His will better than you. God does not speak to you through them, He speaks directly to your heart. 
I'm finding it a little difficult to click on "Publish Post."  I've always kept my faith rather private.  It feels like I'm about to hang my undies on a clothesline in the front yard.  Here goes!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Me, Being Morally Superior and a Bit Smug

            Somebody did something mean (not to me, thank God - there would be blood...) and it really got under my skin.  I have no deep seated loyalties here, as I barely know only one of the parties involved, yet I am truly appalled.  Long story, short:  A woman I’ll call “Martha” was out drinking with her boyfriend (not worthy of even a fake name).  No biggie, right?  Except on this occasion, Martha made a rather vulgar, somewhat slutty public spectacle of herself, and the boyfriend participated.  And someone took pictures.  Then Martha’s friend “Betsy” saw fit to send the pictures to Martha’s ex-husband.
            Why?  Seriously, WHY?  There is NO excuse for this behavior.  All knee-jerk reactions (“What a bitch!” or “Wow, what did he do to piss her off?”) aside, what on earth did they hope to accomplish?  I say “they” because I’m pretty sure Martha and her (so-called) man were aware of the camera, and knew the pictures would get out.  I don’t know if Betsy offered sympathetic words with the pics, but frankly, it doesn’t matter.  Only a malicious bitch would do such a thing.  Period.  No excuse.  Martha’s malice is a little sneakier, but it’s malice all the same.  If criticized, however, she will likely play the victim card.  She has suffered.  She’s going through a difficult and confusing time in her life.  She’s entitled to a life of her own.  That’ll be her excuse, probably offered with a chip on her shoulder.  Ever notice that tone of juvenile defiance in such excuses?  Especially from people who know full well they’re out of line? 
            Yes, a divorced woman is entitled to find love again, even with her ex-husband’s ex-friend.  Yes, they are entitled to carry on their relationship in public.  And yes, they’re even entitled to drink in public. However, she and her boyfriend really ought to stay behind closed doors for their fantasy role playing.  If the need for public exhibitionism overwhelms them, they should take it someplace anonymous - no friends or cameras.  Martha is a rather well-known member of the community, and a grandmother, not a drunk twenty-year-old at a frat party. She’s old enough to know better.  Nothing good could possibly come of a stunt like that.  At best, it was a lapse in judgment. At worst it was a very public “fuck you” to a man she already kicked when he was down.  Martha and Betsy should be deeply ashamed.  The boyfriend is beneath contempt and apparently HAS no shame.  Vulgar, immature, cruel, all of them.
            One more thing, slightly off topic (but not really...)  Martha, if you don’t want to live with a drunk, you might want to consider dating someone other than your now-sober-ex-husband’s Ex-Primary-Drinking-Buddy.”  Then again, maybe you deserve each other.   

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Childhood Revisited

I love Facebook.  I only have about 40 friends, and nearly all of them are family, close friends from high school or college, and a few of PFC's buddies.  This past week, my sister and I shared a dialog, using very few words, and a handful of video clips.

(My introduction to opera:)

(I don't even remember what movie followed this:)

(Who knew puppets could have such expressive faces:)

(...and finally:)

This all started when an old friend posted the first one;  I NEVER would have thought to look these up and e-mail them.  I know FB has a lot of detractors, and for some good reasons, but it's like any other tool.  It's all in how you use it.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011


           ...Sometimes you don't need words

Boot Camp Graduation

            I didn’t cry.  Almost, but not quite.  Family day was Thursday, and that was the hardest.  First off, some drill instructor gave us a (tiny but annoying) taste of what our boys went through – ordering us around and telling us how to respond.  Truth be told, some of those families needed the instruction.  I just wanted to see Recruit.  The platoons ran past us twice in one location, then stood in formation in another.  The hardest part was figuring out which kid with glasses was ours (he’s been in contacts since age 14.)  Eventually, we went to the parade deck to see them lined up in front of us, and Better Half managed to identify him, noting the chevron on his arm.  “I see a Private First Class,” were the best words I’d heard all day!  FINALLY, they were dismissed for 4 hours base leave, and I got to hug my baby!!!  And yes, he had that deer-in-the-headlights-look on his face, but it didn’t take him long to get un-twitchy, and relax. 
            Poor kid didn’t even know exactly why he’d been promoted; it was a merit promotion, not a best-in-category promotion.  According to one of his DI’s, he “did what he was told and asked for more.”  See, I’d had this little fantasy that even if he wasn’t the fastest or the strongest or the best shot, they would recognize his character and promote him because he’s the kind of guy the Marines want more of.  And I’ll be damned.  They did just that!  He did earn “expert marksman,” though.  This is a young man who once voiced concern that without any formal training, I was a better shot than him.  So we took pictures and visited with my parents and my uncle, and PFC (yup, that’s his new name) thoroughly enjoyed a very mediocre pizza, a Mountain dew, and his favorite homemade cookies.  He’s no longer a picky eater, by the way. Imagine that.  He texted his pals and sent a phone-pic, and gave us our Christmas gifts – USMC sweatshirt for me. 
            Sadly, during boot, he never got to rappel on The Wall, and part of the Crucible was rained out.  I guess if the trucks can’t make it to the obstacles, the recruits don’t go either, but they did get to camp out in that crap.  Lucky boys!
            That night, Mom and Dad took BH and me to dinner at the Corvette Diner, on the former naval base where Dad attended boot camp in ’45.  Good food, but noisy!  Still on Eastern time and emotionally exhausted, we hit the sack early.  Friday was sort of anticlimactic.  We had an early breakfast and attended the colors ceremony, and finally went back to the parade deck.  Despite the rude family in front of us and the clueless mom behind us (“What are those thingy’s on some of their arms?”  “What do they give promotions for?”) it was a beautiful ceremony.  Very few people were recognized individually, although it was noted that one Coastie finally got it right and joined the Marines.  The Marine band is amazing!!!  Strict auditions to even get in, drill experts (duh) and combat-ready.  An aside:  Musically inclined people tend to have personalities not entirely compatible with those of alpha warriors.  Mad skillz, and then some.  I guess. The mind boggles!  And it was really weird to see them do a Dixieland rag, all relaxed and boppin’ around – in uniform!  I’d watch them anytime, anywhere.
            PFC had lost his ID during the Crucible, so it took us a couple of hours running and waiting (government bureaucracy is alive and well) to get it replaced.  We left the base and had a late lunch at “In and Out,” a burger joint modeled after the early Mcdonalds’.  It was good going in, but awful going out.  I suffered about 9 hours of food poisoning that night; thank God we’d planned to stay Saturday and play tourist.  I slept it off and they guys had several hours of father/son time.  Later in the afternoon, we drove to Point Loma and poked around.
            The trip home was almost uneventful; a woman at the airport had us bypass the line to go through security, so we got to take off our shoes as soon as they opened!  She asked PFC if he was active-duty, and of course he said, “Yes Ma’am.”  She laughed and said, “Yeah, you sound like it.  I don’t get a lot of ‘Huh?’s from military.”  We almost didn’t get out of Denver on our connecting flight; our de-icing was delayed, and by the time we hit the runway, other planes were returning to the gates.  Smooth sailing from there.  Once home, I unpacked, BH went for groceries, and PFC went off with his buddies.  I didn’t see the receipt from the store, but there’s more meat in the fridge than we normally eat in a month!  Oh! And PFC gets 5 more days leave to work in the recruiting office!  Yippee!
            We lost some photos due to a glitch in the digital camera (time for a new one, dammit!) but we still have plenty.  I’ll post one when BH gets them into a file.  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas Cheer

My mood has swung UP.  We did get the lights on the tree before Christmas (was over.)  I think I'm done shopping for the trip, and I've been distracting myself with book research.  Yes, of course I'm writing the Great American Novel.  So now I'm getting the ornaments on the tree.  When I'm done, we'll wrap it in a sheet until we get back home.  Better Half is out in the garage finishing the (truly gorgeous) carved box he's making for Recruit's gift.  He carved the Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem into the top!  He's never tried anything that detailed, and it DOES NOT look like an amateur did it!  I'll post a picture when it's done.

I worked out for 20 minutes on the new rowing machine and nothing hurts!  I've been starting slowly, I know those things cause a lot of back injuries.  I tried a treadmill, but it's not practical, since it's my legs that get weak and tired when my maybe/maybe not fibromyalgia flares up.  I needed a sit-down workout.  Yes I'm pathetic, but it felt great to get some sort of exercise!  Plus with BH outside and the TV off, I'm doing the ipod shuffle.  Does the "Emperor Waltz" go well with Steve Earle and A Flock of Seagulls?  Today it does, and I'm not even drunk!  Yet.  I just poured myself a double.  So which is worse, the 2 shots of Bailey's or the 2 shots of heavy whipping cream I used to dilute it?

Stress makes me spastic.  I want my boring life back.  so anyhoo, Merry Late Christmas Y'all!