Monday, August 25, 2008

Moving day!

So it turns out blogger has a severe lack of features that are marvelous. There are very few marvelous features here.

So I'm packing my bags, pulling up stakes, and heading elsewhere.

Tune in to the new and improved Enemy Combatant Trail Mix Club and wait with bated breath and clenched fists for the second installment of "A Tale of Two Drunk Skeptics in Loon Town."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Afternoon Delight, With the Discovery Institute

**Note: This really ought to have been posted weeks ago, when I was fortunate enough to in fact, have a little bit of afternoon delight at the Discovery Institute.. But I'm lazy as hell. So. Here we are. **

I don't know how many of you know what the Discovery Institute is. And I do mean what it is as opposed to what it purports to be. A quick refresher course can be found here.

If you're reading this, I'm going to assume, for the sake of brevity, that you've got a decent idea of how it is I might feel about an organization such as that. So, when my good friend, Cuddly Atheist ,
suggested that during her visit to Seattle, it might be fun to pay them a visit and see about a little tour, I, when done giggling madly, got right to scheduling the visit. Or attempting to. I emailed them to see about a tour, but never received a response. I'm not sure if that's because they are as incompetent at clerical duties as they are at debate, rational thought, and the interpretation of law, or if it's because my email address fairly well identifies me as a godless liberal. Either way, no response was forthcoming.

Fast forward a week or two, to the day of Kate's arrival in my fair city. I picked her up from the airport, proceeded to a bar (or two), and plotted. Or, at least, we plotted to plot. The furthest we got was, drink the rum, go knock on their door, see what happens. We were fairly certain that we would just collapse into giggles, pointing and asking for Michael BWAHA, instead of Michael Behe.
So. After a drink (or three), we made our way downtown, and after some searching, found the very small and discreet door that marks the entrance to the fabled Discovery Institute. Several attempts to open the door met with resistance, until eventually we spied an intercom mounted by the door.

Hold your breath for episode two, where you'll encounter the voice behind the door, why evolution shouldn't be taught in schools, the reason for the season, and even possibly such luminaries as the charming Casey Luskin.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

When Oregon was Burning

Look underneath the house when I’m gone. Look underneath the house, but only when I’m gone, and when am I ever not gone?

Look under the house, crawl into the tiniest spaces you can find, under the house, and try as hard as you can to see something that has meaning to you. I want to guarantee you it’s there, I want to paint pretty pictures of what it might be, tantalize you with the mystery of what I’ve hidden under the house for you, just for you and not really for anyone else at all. I can’t do that, but I want to. I want to always promise you whatever you want to believe in.

I want you to look under the house after I leave, and I want you to see what I’ve left behind. I want what I’ve left behind to be everything I wanted you to give me. I want to give you all those things I so desperately needed from you, I want to leave you a pile of understanding. If I could only give you a piece of what I was hoping for every time you gave me nothing, it would be enough. The foundation would buckle and your knees might give, looking at all the pieces of everything I had to go without for so long.

I want you to have all of those things. I want you to never be rid of them. I want you to look at them under the house and know that you have to pull them into the light, and display them on the highest and brightest shelves you have. I want to fill your rooms with these pieces of wholes that were never all that big to begin with, and I want you to look at them every day. I want you to have so many examples of what I needed from you that you have no room for anything else, and no time for anything else, and no energy for anything else.

I want everything in your world and mind to be how easy it would have been to give some of this. To give me some of this somewhere along the way. I want you to always know that giving just a tiny bit of what was needed could have lightened your burden considerably, but it has gone beyond too late now.

I want you to never dream again without my miniscule desire being what wakes you. I want you to be covered in night sweats and consumed by regret when the bits and pieces of need fall on your head from the overloaded shelf.

I want the end to never be the end, for you.

So look under the house when I’m gone.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Really? All of them?

I'm going to be posting at length about intelligent design, and my visit to the fabled Discovery Institute soon, I swear, but in the meantime, here's an actual sentence uttered by an actual human being at dinner tonight, on the topic of teaching intelligent design in schools:

"Well, all points of view are equally valid. No, they ARE."




I deserve a shiny gold enormous medal for not laughing so hard I did a spit take. That conversation had some lunatic moments, including but not limited to the statement made by one person that they trust science less than they trust the government, the inevitable invoking of Pluto in defense of that statement, and the repeated and ever more insistent declaration that all points of view about everything ever are equally valid and must be respected.


Kate and I spent HOURS making jokes about that this weekend, so I could hardly believe my ears when someone said it in seeming earnestness. Wow.

Onward and upward, friends.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Crocodiles will stone cold eat a bitch

But not a leopard. Lesson learned.

So I'm completely obsessed with these pictures, and the video. It's the first time a leopard winning in a leopard v. crocodile conflict has been photographically documented, and I can't help thinking of it as this epic battle between a superhero and the villian-y-est of villians. Kind of like this:

CROC: I'mma eat you like the scary real life monster I am. Bwahahah!
Leopard: NO! Fuck YOU, scary real life monster! I'mma eat you, and FURTHERMORE, I'mma eat you in front of a camera like NOM NOM NOM! How you like me now? Where my superhero cape, bitches?"
CROC: *silence, crocodile is dead*

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bring on the wolves, please.

I’m doing that massively busy and therefore copping out by posting a few perfunctory lines about what’s been going on with me, and what’s coming up. A thousand “I don’t cares” to those who find this boring.

Last weekend featured a number of lovely things. Friday night one new friend said goodbye with a show I’d like to praise, but can’t, and other new friends were made and made closer. After an evening full of precisely the kind of ridiculousness that should precede such an event, we made it to the Egyptian in plenty of time to catch the midnight showing of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. That film will never cease to amaze me. Every time I watch it, I catch a million tiny things I don’t remember noticing before, but probably have. Every time I watch it, I’m reminded of every thing Hunter S. Thompson wrote and lived that makes him the closest thing to a person I would idolize that exists. Even if he had just been the drug fueled lunatic he so frequently portrayed, he’d have been fantastic beyond the ability of words to convey, but the fact is that he was so many astounding things. An amazing writer, sure. A lunatic, absolutely. The most important thing he was, to me, is a man that believed in truth above all other things, and a man who understood that it was absolutely right to take any action necessary to facilitate the illumination of truth, no matter how deceptive or subversive those actions might be on the surface.

Sunday was lazy and perfect, spent with one of my oldest, most marvelous friends. Coffee, boats, sparkly jesus pins obtained on the sabbath, and a whole lot of laughs. Anything that went wrong afterwards is insignificant and irrelevant.

This week is packed with: The finalization of a close friend’s divorce, visitors from strange universes (read: Idaho), birthdays, drinks, dreams of Mexico, plans for Kenya, kites, more drinks, a tiny touch of hope and advance plans for Block Party.

Enjoy the summer, kids. It’s going to end sooner than you’d like. Your couch is an illness.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

George Carlin is in Hell. Fred Phelps Cannot Properly Comprehend the Definition of Words.

Sometimes it feels like kicking a puppy, this pointing out how completely ridiculous people like Fred Phelps can really be, but some puppies are ugly, and really, you want to kick them a lot. Like, you know, poodles.

And again, it seems somewhat unnecessary to point out that a man who begins his little shows with graphics proclaiming things like "god hates fags" might just maybe not be the kind of guy whose opinion is worthwhile, maybe. But you know, just maybe.

So I'm not really going to devote a ton of time to explaining what Fred Phelps is. Fred Phelps is, in the simplest, truest possible terms, a cunt. There is absolutely no redeeming quality in the man, and I almost wish there was a hell, because I assure you, if there were, it would be men like Fred Phelps who populated it.

What I am, however, going to point out, is that apparently, in addition to being an absolutely worthless and disgusting hatemonger, Fred Phelps is unable to understand how words and their definitions work.

While explaining to us that George Carlin is in hell, Fred Phelps does a lot of name calling. Among the "doody head, poopy face" style insults he heaps on a recently diseased man who was talented, intelligent and will be missed, was the following little tidbit:

"filthy blasphemer obscene potty mouth skeptic agnostic profane atheist."

Cool. Some of that was probably true, even. Definitely a blasphemer, definitely a potty mouth, definitely skeptical, absolutely profane. Here's where I want to help Phelps out a bit.


Adjective: . related to or characterized by or given to atheism; "atheist leanings"
Noun: someone who denies the existence of god

Adjective: of or pertaining to agnostics or agnosticism.

Noun: a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

The fact that the two are different, and, hey-o, even conflicting worldviews seems pretty obvious to me. So obvious in fact, that I'm not going to explain it even further.

Fred Phelps: If you're going to be a revolting, foul waste of flesh who spews hatred and lies every time you open your nasty sewer of a mouth, could you do me a favor and at least grasp the basics of the language and concepts you're using to attack people? That would be rad.

Further, towards the end of your charming little rant there, you announce that you're going to be picketing Carlin's funeral. You've picketed other funerals, including those of men and women who died in combat. It isn't my hope that when you die someone pickets your funeral. That is the language you and your followers speak, that is an attack you'll have prepared them for, and that would be the essence of lowering ourselves to your level, a task beyond Herculean in it's implications.

No. It is my simple hope that you die quietly. That you die quietly, and soon. That you die without a bang, without a whisper, and that no one ever need speak of your foulness again.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

America the Illiterate

I shouldn’t be surprised. I shouldn’t be at all surprised. I don’t know why I am. Americans in general, and the Supreme Court in specific have shown an amazing dearth of reading for comprehension skills where many issues are concerned. Where this specific area of the Constitution is concerned, they’ve demonstrated time and again that it may as well have been scribbled in crayon on a bathroom wall in pidgin Swahili. They comprehend it as well as if it had been.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Guess which bit of the above is rarely mentioned, and even more rarely understood, especially by the highest court in the land, apparently?

If you guessed the bit that clearly indicates that the right to keep and bear arms is not, in fact, constitutionally mandated on an individual level, you get a shiny new puppy. It is beyond my understanding how so many people can consistently fail to comprehend a sentence that is, frankly, just not that complex.

Let me lay it this out as simply as I can (although I’ll state again that I feel the original wording is pretty goddamned easy to understand). Listen, people. Listen reeeeeaaaaaaal close. I’ll try not to stutter.

The right for a well regulated militia, necessary for the security of a free state, just does NOT MEAN that you have a constitutional right to stock a handgun in every room of your suburban split level, your slum apartment, or your rusty trailer. It couldn’t be clearer or more simple.

I guess what I’m saying is that the whole “constitutional freedom” argument can kiss my ass. I’m getting ready to mail packages containing smart food and Hooked on Phonics to every single Supreme Court Justice as we speak. So let’s move on.

Next, I’d just like to point out that the Constitution was adopted in 1787. We’ve made an amendment or two to it since then. Why? Um, how about because we know a few things then that we might not have been able to forsee then. I’m not advocating riding roughshod over the Constitution. Far from it. I’m just pointing out that on even if it did guarantee the right of the individual to bear and keep arms, (which it patently doesn’t. Please don’t forget that simplest of facts) it would still be possible that given the knowledge we have now*, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for us to make a tweak or two.

But hey, you know what? I should calm down. What am I even so worked up about? It’s not as though there’s a gun violence problem in D.C. Or, for that matter, the entire country. Yeah. It’s not at all as though people are dying in increasing numbers as a result of gun violence, and it’s totally not as though this idiotic Supreme Court decision has completely kneecapped the gun control movement.

I am so fucking out of this country as soon as humanly possible. Until then, I’m on the internet, pricing bulletproof outfits for every occasion.

*Namely, that giving people guns? Considerably ups the probability that people will shoot someone with a gun. Cause rumor has it, it’s a touch harder to shoot someone when you haven’t a gun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gay Update!

The video above is Klaus Nomi's pretty fantastic cover of Leslie Gore's "You Don't Own Me" . It's charming, offbeat, and a crazy lot of fun to watch. It's also a pretty good representation of the character of Nomi's artistic output during his all too brief life and career.

You know what else it is? It's the song Rush Limbaugh often uses to begin his "Gay Update."

Now, we all know that Rush Limbaugh is a fucking idiot. If, in fact, you do not know this, please, I beg of you, just google him and choose, at random, any of his quotes to read or radio shows to listen to. That ought to clear up any confusion nicely.

We also all know that Rush Limbaugh is a homophobe and a bigot of many colors. Here are a couple of Rush's warm and fuzzy quotes about gays.

The difference between Los Angeles and yogurt is that yogurt comes with less fruit.

“When a gay person turns his back on you, it is anything but an insult; it's an invitation”

So, knowing what I know, I shouldn't have found it surprising that Rush uses Nomi's cover of the song as his theme song for the Gay Update.

But somehow, I did find myself surprised. I will never get used to seeing people do blatantly hateful things for no apparent reason. I will never be immunized and desensitized to it. Whether Rush Limbaugh approves of the lifestyle Klaus Nomi lived or not, I can't understand how he would fail to understand that playing that song while reporting on what he considers to be immoral and unethical acts by immoral and unethical people is sick. It's sick. Klaus Nomi died, at age 39, of AIDS. He was a great performer, a brilliant man, and he died far too young, one of the first casualties of an illness we didn't yet, and still to some degree don't, understand.

Even if Limbaugh believes the man's lifestyle to have been disgusting, how can he not see that this man was a human being, someone's son, someone's friend, someone's lover, someone's brother? How can a person sleep well at night while essentially saying, every time they play this song over hateful words about a part of the singer's life, a part of who he was, that they are glad he's dead? That they believe he got what he deserved?

One does have to wonder what Rush would think if someone started playing a recording of one of his shows every time they started denouncing drug addicts? Especially if they took up that practice only after he had passed away from drug related issues? I'm not saying, at all, that I'd be glad to see Rush Limbaugh die of a drug overdose, or that I'd say he deserved what he go...well, hold on a second.

There's a pretty big difference between Limbaugh's publicized struggles with prescription drugs, and Klaus Nomi's homosexuality. What's the difference, you ask?

Personal responsibility and choice. Anyone with half a brain in their head knows that being gay is not a choice, whereas being an over privileged, middle aged, fat headed bigot of a junkie? Is. In fact. A choice.

It's amazing to me how blind people like Limbaugh are to the fact that all of their misdirected hatred and nastiness is obviously going to come back on them, owing largely to the fact that they, like everyone else on the planet, are not perfect. They are human beings, and thus they are flawed, and as they put themselves in positions of high visibility while spewing viciousness and cruelty, they are much more likely to have those flaws spilled onto the public canvas for all to see. Rightly so. Keep on popping those vicodin, Rush. Maybe next time the entire world gets treated to a peek at how very, very flawed you are, you'll reconsider your policy of being a heartless, spineless, conscience-less bully.

Before I go, I'd like to add a few more adjectives to the ones I've directed at Rush Limbaugh. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

- Foul, fuckwit, toadlike, hammerhead archetype, coathanger bait, idiotic, moron, fucktard, wackaloon, jackass, worthless, asshat, assclown, dickhead, prick, turd, bigot,
accidentally unaborted fetus of a man. - Again, please feel free to add your own, as my list is extremely limited and in no way goes far enough to describe the skidmark that is this man accurately.

I'll end with a final treat from the singularly talented Mr. Nomi.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fun with Fundies!

I procrastinate. It's just how I roll. I spend countless hours finding ways not to write, not to work, not to deal with personal situations, not to clean, etc. The amount of time I spend actively not doing any given task outweighs the amount of time it would take me to do that particular task tenfold, easy.

Today, I'm not writing. I'm also not working. While not doing these things, I stumbled upon one of the most delightful and infuriating distractions I've found recently.

I got there using a pretty convoluted path, starting with research on the John Freshwater situation in Ohio. (I feel I should mention that I was singing "once, twice, THRICE an idiot" as I read). From there, I felt a quick visit to JREF was in order, to clean my brain, and somehow, I ended up at the lovely FSTDT site, and spent far more time there than I would have needed to spend to complete my work for the day.

Continuing to hop along my procrastination path, I landed at what is clearly my true home. These? Are my people, obviously. Pack a bag, kids, we're Rapture Ready.

I think the best/worst thing about all this is that even if they're not joking, (and I'm pretty sure they aren't), they are still undeniably hilarious.

I've decided to register for an account. I haven't yet hammered out the details on where I'm headed with this, but visions of PZ's poll crashing were dancing in my head as I signed up, so stay tuned.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Let's Do Learning!!!!!!!

Life Lesson for the day: If you are super nice and cute when ordering insane coffee drinks, you will get them inexpensively, and the cute boy making them will turn your absurd drink into two!

I ordered a frappucino (fuck I hate that word) with 6 additional shots, and the aforementioned cute boy massively undercharged me, and then made my drink in two cups, because there were too
many shots to fit into one comfortably.

Yes. I know. This will probably be the death of me, but, oh, what a lovely time I'll have on the way to the grave!

Of Crocs and Cameltoes

Scene: Walking down Union on my way to work, just before eight AM on this fine, sunny Friday morning in June. I spy a woman, dressed decently enough for work, apart from the goddamned Crocs she's wearing. Not just Crocs, bright coral Crocs. There should have been ominous background music, because clearly? Shit was about to go down. I reach the crosswalk at the same time as my Croc wearing foe, and there's a moment of quiet prior to the following exchange.

Me: Is it worth it?

Croc-ashit Wearing Chick: Excuse me?

Me: Is it worth it?

CWC: What?

Me: You look fucking ridiculous in those shoes. So I just have to know, are you SO fucking comfortable that it's worth looking that stupid?


Okay. So here's the thing. I know that was mean of me. I get it. Not only do I, owing in part to never wearing Crocs, not LOOK stupid, I'm actually NOT stupid. So I know that saying that to a perfect stranger nice and early on a lovely Friday was not the nicest thing in the world to do.

BUT. If you take a longer view of the situation, I think you'll see that I did her a favor. Say there's even a 10% chance that she'll go home and throw away those shoes, now that she knows that they are so offensively awful that a total stranger just had to comment on them. Well, then not only have I done HER a favor, but I've done the whole city one as well, since there's at least one less pair of godawful shoes wandering the city that we have to look at.

I mean, if you were wearing something ridiculously ugly, you'd want one of your friends to tell you, right? If, say, your beloved new pants gave you some serious cameltoe, you'd want to know? I propose that this is no different.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I don't usually do this, but this seems important.

Barbara Forrest is sending this message out everywhere — they need concerted public action to forestall a dreadful legislative disaster that is looming large in the state of Louisiana. You can help!

We in the LA Coalition for Science have reached the point at which the only possible measure we have left is to raise an outcry from around the country that Gov. Jindal has to hear. What is happening in Louisiana has national implications, much to the delight of the Discovery Institute, which is blogging the daylights out of the Louisiana situation.

SB 733, the LA Science Education Act, has passed both houses of the legislature, and the governor has indicated that he intends to sign it. But we don't have to be quiet about this. There is something that you and everyone else you know who wants to help can do:

The LA Coalition for Science has posted a press release and an open letter to Jindal asking him to veto the bill. The contact information is at the LCFS website.

It is time for a groundswell of contacts to Jindal, and this must be done immediately since we don't know when he will sign the bill. The vote in the legislature is veto-proof, so any request for Jindal to veto the bill must stress that the governor can make this veto stick if he wants it to stick. Please contact everyone you know and ask them to contact the governor's office and ask him to veto the bill. Please blog this. If you have friendly contacts in your address book, please ask them to also contact the governor's office.

We want people all over the country to do this, as many as possible, since Louisiana will be only the beginning. Their states could be next. Here are the talking points:

Point 1: The Louisiana law, SB 733, the LA Science Education Act, has national implications. So far, this legislation has failed in every other state where it was proposed, except in Michigan, where it remains in committee. By passing SB 733, Louisiana has set a dangerous precedent that will benefit the Discovery Institute by helping them to advance their strategy to get intelligent design creationism into public schools. Louisiana is only the beginning. Other states will now be encouraged to pass such legislation, and the Discovery Institute has already said that they will continue their push to get such legislation passed.

Point 2: Since Gov. Jindal's support for teaching ID clearly helped to get this bill passed in the first place, his decision to veto it will stick if he lets the legislature know that he wants it to stick.

Point 3: Simply allowing the bill to become law without his signature, which is one of the governor's options, does not absolve him of the responsibility for protecting the public school science classes of Louisiana. He must veto the bill to show that he is serious about improving Louisiana by improving education. Anything less than a veto means that the governor is giving a green light to creationists to undermine the education of Louisiana children.

You can pull additional talking points from the LCFS press release and our online letter if you want them.

Now we have to get the message out to people. People can contact the governor and and also contact their friends, asking them to do the same. We need to create a huge network of e-mails asking people to do this. Where they live does not matter at this point. What is happening in Louisiana has implications for everyone in the nation. The Discovery Institute does not intend to stop with the Pelican State.

You can read the open letter to Jindal; you can call him at 225-342-7015 or 866-366-1121 (Toll Free); fax him at 225-342-7099. Anyone anywhere in the country should hammer the message home.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Love Octopi

You know what you get when you take one me, add a more than full time job, several deadlines, personal relationships to manage, and a key injury? You get odds and ends blog posts, now brought to you in fabulous Technicolor. By Technicolor, I, of course, mean bullet points.

  • Or do I love octopuses? There seems to be some disagreement over which is the correct plural for octopus, octopuses or octopi. To be honest, I cannot imagine caring about something less than I care about this. What I DO care about, however, is the adorable plush octopus I got from a supplier at work. We were meeting, and the male sales rep kept trying to sell me on the adorable baby deer, but as soon as I set eyes on good old Bartleby, as I've decided to call him, it was love.
  • I'm starting physical therapy this week. Although I know that my physical therapist's name is Jim, I cannot help that the picture in my head is of a terrifying, large woman named Gertrude, decked out all in white. I am not looking forward to this, but if it'll make the pain stop, and get me off the pain medication, full steam ahead, kids. See, the painkillers reduce my ability to drink heavily, and I don't think I need to tell you how I feel about that.
  • Travel ahead: I bailed out of Chicago, because flying right now? Sounds horrifyingly painful to me. It still made me really sad, as I cared about this trip, and I have a couple of good friends in Chicago that I'd have loved to catch up with. I am, however, greatly looking forward to a possible trip to NYC in August, and Rome in October. Another trip is possible in October, but I'm trying out this new thing where I don't talk about things until they're solidified. Closest I'll ever get to that whole "don't announce until the second trimester" thing.
  • Spencer Moody's new band? Was incredibly disappointing. I hit the first night of the Georgetown Music Fest with a couple of friends on Friday night, and while Helms Alee were amazing, Bronze Fawn were pretty damned good, and the rest of the bands just didn't matter to me even vaguely, I was, I'm not ashamed to admit, a little heartbroken by just how much I didn't care about Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death when I saw them. He rhymed cognition with recognition, which was my cue to leave. Before that, it was just an all around listless and boring performance of listless and boring songs, by a musician I used to simply adore watching. Spencer, you're too old to sound that angsty, and too young to seem so tired on stage.
That's all for now. I'm going to go rub aloe on my sunburn (again), and think about actually writing some of those things that actually, I don't know, make me money from time to time? Yeah.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Reading for Comprehension

I'm not at all convinced that John Mccain knows how to read for comprehension. I'm referring to the possibly mistaken idea I've got that a person running for president has at least read the constitution, and possibly a touch of the history surrounding that document.

If, in fact, John McCain has read these things, then he has a serious inability to divine the meaning of anything that he's read.

I propose that this inability may be the result of a long undiagnosed learning disability, and that we should see clearly deluded and backwards statements such as his in the video above as a cry for help. Let's all get behind the cause, and see if we can't get John McCain some long overdue educational support, shall we?

Sunday, June 1, 2008


We all have family and friends who have failed to receive the Good News of the Gospel.
The unsaved will be 'left behind' on earth to go through the "tribulation period" after the "Rapture". You remember how, for a short time, after (9/11/01) people were open to spiritual things and answers. (We are still singing "God Bless America" at baseballs' seventh inning stretch.) Imagine how taken back they will be by the millions of missing Christians and devastation at the rapture. They will know it was true and that they have blown it. There will be a small window of time where they might be reached for the Kingdom of God. We have made it possible for you to send them a letter of love and a plea to receive Christ one last time. You will also be able to give them some help in living out their remaining time. In the encrypted portion of your account you can give them access to your banking, brokerage, hidden valuables, and powers of attorneys' (you won't be needing them any more, and the gift will drive home the message of love). There won't be any bodies, so probate court will take 7 years to clear your assets to your next of Kin. 7 years of course is all the time that will be left. So, basically the Government of the AntiChrist gets your stuff, unless you make it available in another way. You can also send information based on scripture as to what will happen next. Each fulfilled prophecy will cause your letter and plea to be remembered and a decision to be made.

"WHY" is one last chance to bring them to Christ and snatch them from the flames!

So. I don't even really know what to say about You've Been Left Behind.

I mean, on the one hand, I'm pretty firmly in favor of capitalist society, and have no real problem with fools being parted from their money. I'm not certain you can find a foolier fool than the sort of person who would buy into the nonsense this company is peddling, so I should be fully comfortable with this. Really, it's a pretty solid business model, right?

Get religious folks to hand over their money using a fear and shame based argument? Hey, isn't that what churches and televangelists do every day?

You know what? I AM fully okay with this. The only thing I hope is that this company is actually run by a really hilarious and slightly evil atheist. I mean, no matter what, this money isn't going to people's hell bound loved ones when the rapture comes, what with the rapture not ever coming owing to it's non existence. And I have to think that whoever is running this little business knows that, because otherwise, how the heck does the business model work? I mean, anyone who is christian enough to care about other people this much, and sets up a company of this type is obviously going to be taken up during the rapture, right? So if that's the case, who distributes the money and power of attorney and whatnot following this rapture?

What, no. I know. That's logic and thinking and one of those silly atheist tricks. I totally know, guys. I'm just thinking like they think, because, you know, they think...what. God, guys. Jesus totally died for your sins, so, um, give us your money and we'll make sure those awful atheists that you are christian enough to love anyway get it when you're dancing amidst the flowers and clouds and cotton candy and puppies in the sky. No, seriously. We will.

I can totally picture the founder of this company trouble shooting possible customer service questions, and coming up with the above.

I really, really hope that the person or people that are going to profit from this profit big, and spend it on humanist or atheist education. This is one of those things that make atheists feel as arrogant and superior as we're constantly accused of being. Because? You can't convince us to give you our money and financial documents by reminding us that one day we're just going to disappear from our cars and workplaces and homes, and be beamed up to the happy dance in the sky.

Oh man, I'm leaving you with just one phrase from this site. Just the one.

Document storage and "Rapture" triggered email messaging system.

Cramming weeks of neglect into a few paragraphs...

Seems to be what I'm doing, so first up, a bit of housekeeping type news. I'm heading into another of my insanely overscheduled periods, as the release of the book approaches while I'm still editing and making changes, the screenplay is back on, I'm possibly taking on not one but two review writing projects, and am desperately hoping to pull off interviewing this guy at some point this week: . So, what I'm saying is, it's not unlikely that I'll fail to take your calls, and show up at events looking like a fucked out, drugged up zombie due to lack of sleep and a growing sense that I'll never have anything to show for the work I've been putting into this "writing" nonsense. Oh, yes. Additionally, I had a fit of whimsy combined with nostalgia this weekend and decided it really wouldn't be a terrible time to reacquaint myself with that whole making art thing. I think I hate myself somewhere deep down. It's the only way to explain the sleep deprivation I'm subjecting myself to lately.

Other recent events include lovely trips to Portland, getting my brain candy fix via the Sex and the City Movie (please note, future filmmakers of America - there is never any way for it to be okay to subject me to graphic displays of pubic hair, so DON'T DO IT), making plans to start performing again (which terrifies me, so if you see me at any readings around town, please feel free to mock and heckle me. It helps me feel right at home, I swear), and working, a lot. Work really does consume pretty large portions of my time and brain right now, but that's alright. I love my job, and that goes a long way toward making long days seem less wrenching.

In injury news, I haven't hurt myself in over a week. I'm due.

Also, I'd like (since there's this little black corner of my heart) to mention that last week was some bizarre schadenfreude edition of down home week for me, and gee was it ever satisfying. An old co-worker who tormented me and essentially was the reason I had to leave my last job applied for a position with my company and was soundly rejected, and, my old boss, the one who was horrid to work for and eventually lost his job for stealing from a children's charity? The guy that I tried, time and again, to point out to superiors was doing bad, bad things? I ran into him outside the courthouse, looking rather the worse for wear. It was a lovely, lovely sight. I may sound like a jerk, but it warms my heart right down to the cockles to see bad things happen to bad people.

Alright. Back soon with more coherent babble for you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

In injury news...

So, I appear to be the most frequently broken person on the planet. Yesterday, while opening a beer during the Friday Wii bowling tournament at work, the bottle I was opening broke and I cut my finger. I wasn't terribly concerned, and just wrapped it in a paper towel. When it bled through that towel, I wrapped it again. I repeated that process three times, and then stuck a band-aid on it and called it good.

This morning, I took the band-aid off and honestly? I'm vaguely concerned. There seems to be a not insignificant portion of my finger that isn't really attached to the rest of my finger.

How, you ask, did I not realize this was a touch more than a paper cut?

I have this bizarre tendency not to panic when injured. When I got hit by a car, I called my mother, and had the following conversation.

Me: Hey. I'm not dead, or hurt, or anything. But I just got hit by a car, and so I think maybe I shouldn't take the bus home. But I mean, I can. I just think maybe it would be better if you came and got me. So, is that an option?

Mom: incomprehensible screaming.

Me: Okay. So you'll call me back?

Likewise, when I stabbed myself in the foot recently, I stood there and stared at it for quite some time, before saying simply, "Huh. That probably isn't good." Then, I pulled it out, looked at the blood for a moment, wrapped a towel around it and went about my evening.

Most of the people in my life seem to think this is an enviable trait, this seeming inability to panic or freak out in the face of painful and possibly severe injury. But I'm starting to see how it really has some pretty negative side effects.

The worst of those side effects? Is the fact that nothing ever gets treated or fixed. Nothing. Ever.

The cut on my finger? I really think I probably should have had stitches. The stab wound in my foot? Only very recently healed, likely because it should have been seen and dealt with by a doctor. I had to be coaxed into going to the ER when I got hit by a car.

I wonder how long it's going to take for my finger to heal.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A great many of you here are going to burn in hell...

I know it's somewhat long, but wow. And please, while watching, remind yourself that he's speaking to youth. Youth.

(click on title)

I genuinely find myself baffled when confronted with the kind of hatred and ignorance contained in this sort of nonsense. Baffled, sad, and enraged.

Friday, May 16, 2008

What did he DO?!

I'm way too lazy and in pain to write anything about this right now, other than: You all need to watch Chris Matthews bend this right wing Scooby Dooby Douchebag over the table and make him his bitch. It'll make you equal parts apoplectic and giggle filled.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rerun - Las Vegas, Foam Hands, and How Did We Get Here?

Las Vegas, Foam Hands, and How Did We Get Here?

I watched the Super Bowl today. Actually, there's more to it than that. I left work early, after missing the entire first half and realizing I was actually upset by that, and raced home to watch the Super Bowl today. With my dad, some curry powder popcorn, a beer, and a lot of enthusiastic shouting.

As little as three years ago, I cared more about Britney Spears' latest drama than I did about sports, and you all know how much of a flying fuck I've ever given about that.

So how did we get here? It seems like an awful long leap. How did I go from being a person who not only didn't care about sports in the slightest, but was proud of that fact, to being an actual fan? Not a person who would casually watch a game if drinks were on offer, but a fan. Someone who cares. Who goes out of their way (sometimes WAY out of their way) to watch a game, to find out the scores, to rehash a particularly good (or bad) game with likeminded people?

I think it started in Las Vegas. In fact, I know it started in Vegas. For my twenty third birthday, I went on a lovely weekend trip to Vegas with Jalene and Patty, who are both huge sports fans. This trip happened to be during the MLB playoffs. Patty is a Red Sox fan, and Jalene a Yankees fan, mainly because her husband is. As both teams were in the playoffs, they insisted on frequent stops by the ESPN bar in New York New York to check up on things. This was an incredibly boring prospect to me. Until. To kill the mindnumbing boredom, I decided to make this into an epic struggle, in my head, not between the Sox and the Yankees, but between Patty and Aaron, J's husband. I took a side, Yankees, as you could all guess by now, and against all odds, found myself oddly emotionally invested in the outcome.

Once we were home, I slowly began asking Patty, Aaron and Jalene, my sports loving friends, the occasional question about baseball. This eventually led to my going to a game with my dad ( I got rockin' free tickets from work, and was loathe to let them go to waste.) Prior to going, all I cared about were the following two things: The fact that I was able to TEXT MESSAGE the waitress to bring me beer, and obtaining a gigantic foam hand. However, I found myself doing this very strange thing: Caring. About the game. The outcome, and even, slightly, the mechanics.

A few months later, these same friends wanted me to go to a football game. I had absolutely zero interest in football, and was only convinced when they promised me bloody mary brunch before the game and beer at it. Sitting in their very expensive, 6 rows behind the endzone seats, that strange feeling of being...interested came over me again. During the game and for the next several months, I asked ridiculous questions, and my friends were kind enough to indulge me.

So now we've clearly stepped away from the stance of "caring less than you would think possible". But. We're not yet anywhere near fandom. This is about becoming a fan. This is about how it is I ended up at a dear friends house one night, refusing to hand over her remote until I saw the score on the Seahawks AND the Steelers game, while she yells at me to "Turn that shit off". How did I become a person who actually bailed out of work to go watch a game? And screamed themselves hoarse during that game? How am I a girl who has to be yelled at to rejoin the conversation because I noticed that the hockey game I was interested on is showing on the television nearby, and I can't help but pay attention? I always pictured those girls wearing sweatpants and scrunchies, swilling beers and belching. I never thought that I would be jumping up and down in heels and a skirt, hair and makeup perfect, while screaming "Holy fucking SHIT, did you SEE that? Did you even SEE what Manning just did? Are you paying attention? Are you fucking dead? How do you not react to THAT?" That. Was not something I ever could have imagined myself doing, and really, neither could anyone else who had ever met me. Ever. Even if they'd only met me once, this was not a fathomable happening.

So. Back to the journey. After all my questions and occasional interest, I still couldn't tell you who was in the playoffs, of anything. I still could not understand how watching a game on television could possibly be interesting or even fun. But, when invited to a friends house to watch an important game, I went, largely because they have the most well stocked home bar I've ever seen. To my surprise, and pleasure (the pleasure led to more surprise), I had to ask few questions. I understood what was going on. In a football game. I got it. I even found myself shouting a time or two, but I tried to chalk it up to the influence of vodka and peer pressure.

Now I would occasionally note the score of a Mariners game or Seahawks game with pleasure or vague dismay. I was still not a fan. I was a casual observer. This suited me just fine.

However, following both my Vegas experience and going to a game, I had decided that I quite liked the Yankees, and paid attention when I happened to hear them mentioned. This thrilled Aaron, so he got me reading (Which is stellar and hilarious, and responsible for the phrase "fuck the heck", so you should all read it, sports fans or no).

Then, a stroke of luck. Aaron had convinced his wife that they SHOULD spend several hundred dollars on great tickets for the three game series the Mariners were playing at home against the Yankees. On the day of the second game, he got sick, and I was invited to take his place. Three rows behind the Yankee dugout, I discovered what it was like to truly love a game, and to genuinely have feelings about your team winning or losing. I yelled, I cheered, I jeered, and when the Yankees won? I screamed my lungs out and I felt it. I felt every moment of that joy.

So I guess I was a fan. But of baseball only. And I was quick to point that out to any and every person who I talked to about sports. Of course I was. One of the main, if subconscious, reasons I was so proud not to care about sports is that we tend to judge not just the people who play sports, but the ones who watch them, as not terribly smart, and not terribly deep. It's just not an intellectual pursuit, not something that serious, interesting, artistic people spend their time on. This judgement is one I've been subjected to since coming out as a fan, and now it strikes me as fairly hilarious. A friend yelled at me one day, while attempting to convince me that I didn't actually care about sports, "BUT YOU'RE AN ARTIST!!!" That was the moment I realized how ridiculous it is to think that an interest in sports somehow has an impact on a persons intelligence or depth. How is it possible that, at the point I was at, the point of very pointedly letting people know that I only cared about baseball, and not that much anyway, I was still buying into this idea that having varied and diverse interests was somehow a negative thing? I'm not at all sure...but I digress. Back, again, to my journey to becoming someone who knows what a cheesehead is, and thinks they suck.

Now we come to the real bridge. All of these tiny things had been conspiring to make me a fan, but they hadn't succeeded. Not really. They had all occurred months and even years apart, and they had not yet made me truly care. Not just care in the moment that I was paying attention, but actually, genuinely give a damn. Check the scores, know when the game is coming up, understand the whole package, know the standings, care. Just was not, as far as I was concerned, ever going to go that far.

Enter a guy. It's always a guy, right?

One day, much to my surprise, (I tend to be surprised a lot, as I wander around with my head in any number of clouds) I realized that I was, unfortunately, incredibly attracted to someone I had known online for years. I hadn't noticed being attracted to him before, although I'd noticed that he was clever, funny, interesting, and kind. But all of a sudden and seemingly out of nowhere, this someone hit me like a mack truck. I'd tried to get him to talk to me before, because I really did think he was terribly interesting, but I'd always failed. One day, though, we got to talking. One of the most startling things I quickly found out was that he was a sports fan. How could this possibly be, seeing as to how I knew that all sports fans were just not very smart or interesting? Given that knowledge, it seemed impossible that this chemist who had great taste in music and books could possibly be into sports, in a serious way.

But he was.

I saw it as something to talk to him about. I happened to know some things about sports, it was baseball season, the Yankees were doing well. Hell, I was on a roll. I had material a-plenty. But yet again, something very strange was about to happen.

I found that I liked talking to him about sports. I liked knowing things, I wanted to learn more things, and I liked that he was able to teach me things. This was great. My opening gambit became, instead, a genuine shared affection for a thing. For once, shock and shame played no part. I rolled with this. I watched more games on tv. I read more sports blogs. I knew A LOT about baseball, and not just the Yankees. But about the Yankees, man, what did I not know? I knew about the games, the politics, the trades, the A-rod crisis, the Joe Torre situation. And I didn't just know. I cared. I cared a lot. I got genuinely pissed off at the idea of Joe Torre losing his job, and the possible loss of A-Rod struck me as a tragedy too horrible to bear.

But then baseball season ended. Somehow, we kept talking about sports. Hell, that we kept talking at all shocked me, but that we kept talking about sports...whoo. And furthermore, I kept caring. I kept wanting to know more. Now I asked this guy all my stupid questions, and he patiently answered every one, sometimes twice. I learned about football. I tried to learn about hockey, but we soon agreed that would have to wait until we could watch a game together.

Some months after we began talking, about sports and really about a million other things, I flew to Chicago to spend some time with this man. It was lovely, and he did teach me some things about hockey. But lovely things end, and so this one did. We tried to remain friends, but for some reasons I do understand and some I can't even begin to wrap my head around, that was a failed effort.

But I walked away with something. Somewhere between Las Vegas and crying my eyes out over Mr. Chicago, I had become a fan. I can't pinpoint the moment it happened. It may have been the day I rushed home from work to watch the Yankees play in the playoffs, alone, on television. Even alone, I screamed, I cheered, I did a little dance, I said a little prayer. My heart leapt when they won, but all those moments when it looked like they might not felt like tiny tragedies.

It may have been the next game, when they lost, and I found myself slightly angry about it still the next day.

Maybe it was when Abe Frohman (previously known as Mr. Chicago) gave me a rubber bracelet with a Penguins in-joke on it, and I wasn't faking my delight upon receipt. Or maybe even later that weekend, sitting in a bar in Chicago, eating nachos and having watching those same Penguins play while I was taught remedial hockey by the incredibly cute, kind of geeky, chemist/sports freak across from me.

It could have been during the NFL postseason this year, when I not only watched the Seahawks games, but found myself watching other playoff games, and knowing how they impacted the standings.

I honestly do not know when it happened. No light shone down from the heavens, there was no ribbon ceremony, no choir sang as I joined the legions of people proud to call themselves fans.

But I know this: Tonight's game? Was incredible. I lied to my boss to get to watch it, and I have no regrets. Manning made an incredible escape, followed by an amazing catch by his teammate. I watched this game, and it was not just fun. It was a nail biter. It was exhilarating. It was some of the purest entertainment I've ever seen.

I know many of my friends will mock me for this, either quietly or openly. That's fine. I still have a little kneejerk reaction to being passionate about sports. But I am. And now I've taken that last step out of the closet.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Rerun - Left Behind?

Left Behind?

It seems absolutely certain that I’m going to rot in hell. Now, depending on precisely what flavor of god is your poison, what that hell is going to look like, how many levels it may have, and how long I’ll hang out in purgatory, drinking bad wine and watching reality television, changes. It hardly seems to matter, though, as all the colors of the god/flame-filled, stinky, polyester-tastic hell sound pretty not okay to me. I’d just as soon not rot there. Any of the theres, really. I mean, given my druthers.

So it seems like my only choice is to believe in god. Okay, easy enough, right? Not really a tough task, when stood against some of the mountains life gives us to climb. Believe in smiling, benevolent happy man in sky, avoid rotting in hell. Easy math, easy decision. Right? Right. Riiiiiiight...

But then it turns out it isn’t quite as simple as all that, I guess. First I have to choose which god I’m going to believe in. Apparently, not all gods are created equal and happy and smiling and sitting in the sky wearing sandals and looking disturbingly Jerry Garcia-esque.

Some gods have beards and sandals, some gods have elephant heads, some gods have tridents and some gods apparently have four arms and severed heads and cups to catch the blood.

How to choose?

Aesthetically, I gotta say I dig the severed head/catching cup image. But, I’m not sure how much I love the ritual sacrifice/murderous bitch element. That seems like it could present a problem somewhere down the line.

But if that’s a criteria, hey, even my happy dancing hippie god is a bit of a problem. Turns out he’s a homicidal fuck too, and vengeance is something else these two seem to have in common. Problematic, that. Although it does seem that if I chose the Catholic flavor of happy hippie, I could fuck up just as often as fucking up caught my fancy, and if I did some manner of apology dance, then this funky wacky great thing they call absolution would be granted, and I’d get to skip right on up to heaven after all, upon my death. So far, the Catholic patchouli sniffer is my guy. Although I have little to no desire to rape children and murder their parents, I quite like knowing that I’d be forgiven and would then get to spend my afterlife sipping martinis with a good book, if I decided I just couldn’t get through my day without murder and sodomy. That sounds nice and reassuring. It seems like a handy insurance policy to have on hand.

Which means, if we grant that I’m going to finally settle on some version of anglo-american god image, I can’t then choose the subdivision of Mormonism.

I’m pretty fond of the following things: Coffee, alcohol, pre marital sex. All of these seem to be out within the confines of Mormonism, so I’m out too. Although I have to admit the idea of polygamy is appealing, when I dug further, I found that it was limited to men getting to marry multiple women. That turned the appeal right off, there. I mean, polygamy is only really appealing if it means I get to enjoy a garden of cocks at a whim. I can just imagine strolling through, picking a lily-like cock on Monday morning, and one slightly reminiscent of a rose on Monday afternoon. And hey, couldn’t I also choose a bouquet of cocks, say, on Saturday night? When I felt like getting a little wild? But no. Apparently only vaginas get to be flowers here. Moving on, then.

Muslims pray five times a day, and so much for that, then. I’m a busy girl, and I can’t be expected to get down on my knees in Starbucks, or while I’m having a pedicure, now can I?

That Catholicism I was so enamoured of seems to be out, as well. Upon further inspection, it seems they are not only also opposed to the pre-marital sex I’m so fond of, but also the birth control that will be necessary to keep me from spawning lots of screeching little monkey like creatures that drag my attention away from the aforementioned coffee and pedicures in much the same way that pesky constant prayer would.

This is so much more complicated than I would have thought.

But, to conquer this hurdle, I’ve settled on a nice, vanilla version of god. I’m going to be a non denominational christian. They seem to be okay, generally speaking, with my penchant for getting drunk and then possibly having sex with a man that isn’t my husband, and even with my desire to be on the pill while doing so. Score. I guess this means I have to give up my beloved absolution, but hey. You gotta give a little to get a little, right? I choose martinis and drunken one nighters over child rape and a touch of murder any day.

On to the next hurdle.

How do I, in the face of amazing and vast scientific evidence, choose to believe that we just arrived, shiny and naked and new, one day, on this earth, because some all powerful being (who we’ve just learned I’ve decided it’s okay to just call GOD, as opposed to Allah, Yahweh, Krishna, Zeus, or anything else) decided he was sick of playing chess with stars and needed a new form of entertainment? How do I force my rational brain to cooperate with the idea that this bored god now possesses the attention span to hear and listen to and respond to the prayers of every single praying person on earth all at the same time? Everything all at the same time?

I asked some preachers, I asked some priests, I asked some rabbis.

The resounding and common answer? FAITH. I just need to have faith and everything’ll be all right. No pesky logic, no pesky doubt, no rotting in hell.

Alright. Okay. Let’s say I find some faith.

But what then? What of the times I notice that religion, beyond just not making any goddamned sense, also seems to be causing emotional distress, murder, pain, family splits, and hey-o, even most of the worlds wars?

What do I do about that?

Faith again, is apparently the answer. Take 1 cup faith, add 1 cup faith, stir, then gradually add more faith. Cook until faith. Enjoy, but not without saying grace.

When it’s pointed out, (by me? Noooo, never) to these preachers and priests, that none of this makes a goddamned bit of sense, what do you think they told me?

Do you think they told me to have more faith?

If you think that they told me to have more faith, I think that you probably deserve ten thousand cookies.

In the face of this, the rational mind is, of course, dying a thousand painful deaths, screaming all the while as though guessed it, burnt by the flames of hell.

Prepare my bed. D’ya suppose it’s too much to hope that there will be mints on our pillows, in hell?


Because content is awesome, and also because I'm lazy, I'm going to go ahead and post some older things from the old home of my blog. If this bores you, I'm terribly sorry.

It’s a Tiny Hole, Yeah, But You’d Fit

I've spent a lot of time recently attempting to explain to my little sister why her teacher has been discouraging her from picking "difficult" topics for papers. Why he doesn't, instead, make sure she's aware that she's taking on a challenge, and then commend her for at least trying to do something thought provoking and interesting. It's hard to explain, in large part because I get so angry about it that my head explodes, and then we spend a couple of hours scooping the bits and pieces of my head off the floor and walls, and then spend a few more trying to put my Humpty Dumpty head back together. It's a process.

The best I can do by way of explanation is to point to the larger trend of dumbing things down in American public schools, and try to make her aware of why she shouldn't slide through, doing only what they require from her, which, from what I can tell, redefines the term "bare minimum". Why she should actually put forth the effort to learn as much as humanly possible about the world around her, the world behind her, and the world ahead. It's not always an easy sell, but bless the child, she's actually willing, 99.9% of the time, to go far further than they ask her to.

The other night, while thinking about how stupid our schools are encouraging our youth to be, I saw a commercial. Now, ordinarily, as you well know, I view the discussion of television commercials as a crime punishable by death. It may well be that this is one of those instances, and if you feel it to be, hey, if you know where I live, come dole out my due.

In this commercial, two young women, I'd say early to mid twenties, are sitting in a coffeeshop. They are well dressed, city dwelling folk. The conversation is approximately as follows:

Girl 1: Did you know that McDonald's serves lattes now?
Girl 2: Mcdonalds? That's so...
Girl 2: Now we don't have to come here anymore.
Girl 1: I don't even LIKE jazz music.
Girl 2: I can wear heels again.
Girl 1: I don't even know where Paraguay is!
Girl 2: Finally, a not snobby place to get espresso!

I'm sorry...what the fuck?

I mean, this isn't really painting McDonald's in a good light, for one thing. They're basically saying, if you are an uncultured, undereducated idiot, please please please come to us, O target audience.

But more disturbing to me is the implication that enjoying jazz and actually knowing basic geography automatically makes people "snobby". I can all but guarantee that the genius behind this hideous ad was not only Republican but male as well. What sane person would actually imply that educated, cultured women don't wear makeup and heels, and cannot be feminine, whereas feminine women in heels obviously wouldn't be interested in anything other than heels and makeup and their husbands dinner?

Ah, media and massive corporations, I do so love how much you contribute to the world, and to the constant progress of the collective consciousness. Because young women are definitely the demographic most in need of reinforcement of the importance of image. Yep. It's also an awesome idea to reiterate that knowledge and intelligence is to be scorned, rather than revered. Yeah. That's superfantastic, folks. Thanks.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


60,000 people are listed as dead or missing in Burma as a result of Cyclone Nargis. Every sane news outlet is quick to point out that the death toll is likely already much higher than the reported numbers, and is steadily rising. It will continue to rise dramatically, due at least in large part to the restrictions the Burmese "government" has placed on receiving aid from foreign nations and the UN.

60,000. That number is fucking staggering, and doesn't even address the number of people left homeless and unable to gain access to food, shelter, clean water or medical aid in the wake of this disaster.

60,000. People. Dead. And climbing. Climbing, climbing, climbing the death toll pop charts.

The situation there worsens daily.

For once, I'm not going to point a finger at the US and European governments and scream j'accuse. From what I've read and understood of the situation, we're actually trying to help. I don't know how pure our motives are, or if we're going far enough in our efforts to assist these people, but I know that we aren't standing by twiddling our thumbs and sipping our lattes while calmly reading news reports. When I say we, though, I mean the government. For once, and just this once, probably, I am not as upset with our government as I am a couple of other entities.

Who, you ask, am I fucking furious with? Made ill by?

First, and to get this out of the way, the junta. Obviously. I'm not even going to launch into the reasons behind that anger, because I believe that if you don't already know and grasp that they are evil, sick bastards who are killing their own people through premeditated neglect, you are an idiot. And you will never understand.

Second, the media. When this first hit, there was very, very little media coverage. I watch the news every morning, switching from channel to channel, and I read the paper, and what I saw, over and over, from outlet after outlet, was the following: Presidential politics, oil prices, presidential politics, 20 seconds of Burma coverage, presidential politics, oil prices, oil prices, presidential politics, sex scandal, oil prices.

It shouldn't surprise me, still, that Americans and really, the English speaking world, care about nothing beyond their own backyard. It shouldn't. But it does. It appalls and disgusts me. That we, as a people, collectively care more about paying 3 cents more at the gas pump and the dogfight between the Democrats than we do about an entire nation helpless and suffering, makes me so sad and angry that I can hardly bear to discuss it. I'm not saying that oil prices, the economy, and the presidential race don't matter. Of course I'm not saying that. What I am saying, however, is that we seem to have lost, or maybe we never had, any sense of perspective.

The comparison I keep coming back to is this. When less than 3,000 people died in downtown New York, we saw nothing else on television for weeks. The news coverage, the outrage, was amazing and relentless.

Now, go back to the death toll that is being reported now from Burma. The death toll that everyone acknowledges is inaccurate in that it will rise. That number. That staggering 60,000. The corpses floating all over the country. The people who have lost their entire families, homes, villages. The sick, the hungry, the dead.

Where is the outrage? Some people will tell you that it's like comparing apples to oranges, that in New York we had someone to blame, a target for our anger and heartbreak, and here we don't. Those people are wrong on so many levels. The first would be that we do, in fact, have people to blame here. The death toll is rising BECAUSE THE JUNTA WILL NOT ALLOW THEIR PEOPLE TO BE HELPED. I can't imagine a better villain at which to direct your rage than that. The next level is more complex, and at the same time, revoltingly simple.

We, and I'll only speak of Americans, as they are the group with which I am most acquainted, simply do not care as much about foreign citizens as we do other Americans. It is as though we cannot force ourselves to remember that they are actual, living, breathing, loving human beings. They have families and jobs, successes and failures, hearts and minds, JUST LIKE WE DO. We forget that we are only where we are and who we are by a simple accident of birth. We forget, to use a phrase that you all know means little to me in the literal religious sense, that "there but for the grace of god go I."

To re-rail my train, let's go back to the media. There is another reason that I wish the media could be represented by one single human form, simply so that I could go to that person and punch them repeatedly in the genitals until they gained some common sense. That reason takes us back to our earlier simple math, "junta = bad, duh." Every media account that you read, watch or hear mentions, repeatedly, that the junta are bad, bad guys who won't let us, the good, good guys, in to help save their people. Okay. It's totally true. And it's a point that should probably be hammered some point. However, incessantly calling them meanie-face douchebags? Is probably not the best way to get them to allow us in to deliver aid. Is all I'm saying.

I don't know how much the average person can do to help with this situation. I do know that there are things that can be done. I know that there are groups in Burma, already on the ground, able to actually reach some of these remote areas and help the people who so desperately need it, and that ten minutes of research would have you in contact with one of these groups. I know that for as much money as you would spend on having a coffee every day, you could send a donation to one of those groups and DO something. I know that, barring a monetary donation, you could spend your time. You could talk about it. You could mention it to as many people as possible, as many times as possible, with the knowledge that increased awareness of a situation undeniably leads to increased action towards resolving that problem.

I hear, in times like these, from many people, that it's too sad to think about, it's too depressing. People simply don't want to think about it, don't want to talk about it. They want to think happy thoughts, because really, their lives are so stressful. To these people, I should direct a gentle reminder that the stress in their lives in no way compares to the stress people in countries like Burma live under every day, even without an event like a cyclone to make things worse, and that now, the stress level the people of Burma must be experiencing simply cannot be described. That's what I should do. I should be gentle and diplomatic and attempt to cajole these people into giving a shit about anything but themselves.

Instead? This is all I have to say: Fuck you. There is a not insignificant part of me that hopes that something horrific happens to those you love, and that it happens somewhere and sometime where it is impossible for you to get help. Then, I want to be able to grin at you and say "Welcome to the rest of the world, you smug, self involved cunt."

But more than that, I hope you wake up one morning and realize that your comfortable existence stands in sharp contrast to a large portion of the lives of the people in the world. And that it might not be the worst idea in the world to help out a touch.

Go even help?


Welcome to me.

No, seriously. Welcome to my innards. At some point in the near future, a tour guide will arrive to show you about town. I suggest you take notes, as there will be a quiz at the end of class. For now, however, please help yourselves to some trailmix, and stand by for instructions.