To be fixed

Maybe it's lame to have a blogspot now. I don't know. Often, I forget this exists. And I doubt anyone really still reads this. But I had a thought yesterday, that turned into a story today.

I saw someone on fbook post a picture of Caitlin (formerly Bruce) Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. If you don't have any idea what I'm talking about, look it up. But in a nutshell—the former olympian Bruce Jenner came out as trans a little while ago, and now she is Caitlin Jenner. And she looks stunning.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this, because while on one hand, my heart is encouraged by the outpouring of fbook, internet, and media support for her decision to embrace who she is—I'm also skeptical of the sincerity behind most of it. It is really really easy to give a shout out to a trans woman who looks beautiful and feminine. When I see that sort of support for trans women who don't look so feminine or beautiful (as well as trans men), I will start to believe that my warm fuzzies are warranted.

But, even a base level of acceptance is a start, for many people. Because there are many others who still say things like this:

"God doesn't make mistakes, and he didn't make one when he made Bruce Jenner."

Which was a comment that was posted on the above mentioned fbook post.

This immediately sent me into angry mode. Because that very attitude is a large part of what contributes to the forty-plus percent lifetime suicide attempt rate for trans people. And yes, you heard me correctly—over forty percent of people who are transgender attempt to take their own lives at some point. Why? Because people apparently can't not be shitty, and judgmental, and make them feel like they are disgusting, or evil, or mentally defective, and so on.

Despite wanting really badly to crush the above commenters logical cherry picking (what if someone is born blind, or deaf, or with a cleft pallet? Do we not fix those if we can, because "God doesn't make mistakes?) I refrained. Instead, I had an idea for a short story, which I sat down and penned today.

I have to admit, I don't exactly believe in Jesus (or at least his divinity, anyway). But I grew up with a picture of Jesus in my mind, that evolved as my faith changed. But even as a so-called "unbeliever," I felt compelled to portray the way my heart thinks Jesus might have been, if he were indeed divine, and the son of God, and had the experience which follows.

A man shuffles down the dusty road, bent from the weight of mental torments too great to bear. His clothing is tattered, yet he doesn’t care—it’s the wrong clothing anyway.

His feet are filthy, and visible to all since sandals hide very little. His soul feels just as dirty, and he is grateful it is less bare than the leathery, worn skin wrapping the bones that carry him nowhere that matters. He pauses at a small, nearly dried out puddle of mud. Alone, he makes eye contact with a stranger, through the ripples. God, I wish I were beautiful.

He immediately feels the burn of shame, as his discordant thoughts fill him with near-crippling guilt. I just want to be free of this. I just don’t want to feel this way. I want to be fixed.

Which is why the man walks in this particular direction, away from the solitude of a self imposed isolation. Remaining hidden away from the majority of humanity, most of the time, is one way he avoids the almost constant, evil, unnatural desires. Their beautiful hair. Their shape. God, their shape. The man instantly feels disgusting for wanting something so forbidden. 

He’d heard the rumors. There is a man who performs miracles. Who heals. He casts out devils, makes blind men see. He had even heard that now a once dead man walks the earth, his limbs quickened once more. If he can rip a man’s soul out of heaven and put it back in him, surely he can tear the demon out of me. 

The man has grown so tired of the conflict. Of feeling sick inside. Of feeling wrong. Only his fear of an even worse fate, and a punitive eternity somehow even more full of torment than the punishment of his earthly existence, has kept him from freeing his lifeblood to fill the cracked, dry earth in a flash-flood of crimson.

Maybe this man can do it. Maybe this man can free me from the desires I cannot let go.

The man approaches the village. The closer he gets, the more frequently he finds himself pitifully hiding his face within the folds of his threadbare cloak. He scans the horizon. The sun is about an hour from setting behind the village dwellings. There. The crowd is there. That must be where he is. In this moment, his eyes meet those of the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. His chest wells with a desire so strong it is painful. Her full lips. Her high cheekbones. The man tears his eyes away in anguish, loathing every disgusting part of himself. I am evil. I know I am. How could I want something so wrong? He buries his face behind rotting cloth, and sets out at a stumbling half-run towards the man who can fix him—who can take it away.

He approaches the crowd, and slows. The thought of wading amongst so many normal people is too much to bear. Surely they will sense the wrongness in him, the awful sin. The few people in whom he’d ever confided his dark secret told him he was an abomination—that the God of Abraham didn’t make mistakes. That his desires were sinful.

These were the weights that bent and broke him more surely than any lifetime of slave labor ever could have. I didn’t choose this. But they told him it was a test—one he was choosing to fail. Choosing to give in to the Adversary. 

I didn’t ask for this. They told him his faith wasn’t strong enough. That God could take away the sickness of his mind if he merely prayed harder.

But the man can no longer take it. This man is my last chance. They say he is the son of God. They say he forgives sins. If he can do that, he can surely fix me—and I can feel like a man.

The sun begins to dip below the rooftops. He sees the Master, sitting upon the earth. All but a handful have begun wandering away. I can’t do this with anyone to witness my shame. He remains in the shadows, as one by one, the last few take their leave. What if he looks on me with abhorrence? The man, awash in terror and uncertainty, slowly approaches the Master.

The man kneels in the waning light, eyes cast down.
Why will you not meet my gaze?
Because I dare not. I am disgusting, Lord—an abomination. I am not worthy to look upon you.
Who has told you this?
Who are they to decide whose eyes I may meet? Please—look at me.
The man looks. He feels as though the Master is looking upon his soul, and his breast fills with terror and shame.
What is your name?
The man tells him.
The Master looks confused. That seems odd.
The man withers, shrinking into himself.
What would you ask of me?
The man hesitates.
I want to be clean, Lord. Fixed.
The man’s shame rises to a crescendo. 
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be someone else—someone who isn’t sick— Who doesn’t have desires that God hates.
The Master looks perplexed.
Who ever gave you the idea your Father hates anything about you?
Again—what would you have me do?
The man crumples in a heap, body racked with sobs. His left hand, trembling, probing, slowly reaches out, stuttering across the dirt, and clasps the Master’s bare foot.
Please, Lord. I don’t want to feel like a woman anymore. I want to feel right. I want to feel     fixed—for my soul to match my skin. I don’t want to hate myself anymore.
The Master reaches down, and tenderly rests his hand on the man’s own.
My dear child. The pain you’ve suffered is immeasurable, and my heart weeps.
The broken man slowly raises his head.
Please Lord. If there is any mercy left in you, fix me. Take away this burden, for I can bear it no longer. Change me into the person I am meant to be.  

Time seems to stand still. Through the chaos of pain and emotion, the man dares wonder what it would be like to not feel like a woman, trapped in a man’s body. To feel masculine. To feel like he belonged in his own skin. To not look upon every woman with envy, but rather desire. To feel whole. 

The man feels 2 hands, heavy upon his head. His breathing catches, stops. He holds his breath for seconds, an eternity. He feels the Master’s hands leave his head. 

And his heart sinks, as it feels no different.

He feels a hand gently cup his chin. It softly lifts until he is looking into eyes full of love.

Daughter. Arise, and be whole.

Instead, she wept.


Transgender people kill themselves, because they don't feel loved. Transgender people kill themselves because they don't feel accepted. You don't have to "believe" (whatever that means) that men and women sometimes really, actually feel like they are stuck in the wrong body, but if you are a decent human being, you ought to at the very least acknowledge that the feeling is very real to them. 

If you are treating them with anything but love and acceptance, then you are part of what is literally killing them. If you actually believe in Christ, then start acting like it. You just worry about you, and trust that this all-powerful being you believe in can work shit out on his own, without you having to inform people whose lives don't fit in with your specific world view, that they aren't living rightespecially when that entails who. they. are.

Just love people. It's really, really simple.


Let's talk about rape culture

*trigger warning.  I'm going to talk about rape.

I think it's time to start having some really serious, systemic conversations about rape culture.

I teach girls.  No boys, just girls.  And I like that.  I don't have much patience for, nor do I relate well to, the stereotypical fighting-farting-butt-jokes-agro-posturing that one who teaches males inevitably has to deal with.  Also, my only real experience teaching boys was mostly sex offenders.  And to be honest, I had a really hard time setting that aside and simply teaching them.  It was hard, especially when they were misbehaving, not to think about how much they had hurt girls, or children.  Which ultimately made me feel guilty, because they, nearly without exception, had been sexually hurt themselves long before they ever exhibited predatory behavior.

I think the concept of rape culture has really probably only been on my radar for a couple of years.  And I'd be lying if said that working with and teaching girls wasn't something that largely opened my eyes to the importance of feminism.

In case you aren't familiar with what exactly rape culture is, let me first tell you what it isn't.  Rape culture is not a culture in which everyone thinks rape is super awesome.  It isn't a culture in which, upon hearing about a rape, people high-five each other.  It isn't a culture in which men are taught to condone, support, or not be disgusted by the boogie-man-in-the-bushes-sneak-attack-rape-at-knife/gun-point archetype.  So again, if you aren't familiar with the idea of rape culture, wait a moment before you get defensive and think/mentally yell "rape culture?  Yeah right!  Rape is not condoned in our culture!  Rapists go to prison and get raped and beaten by other prisoners!  Everybody hates rape!"

By the way, if you think that people who go to prison—regardless of the reason they go there—deserve to be raped, you should probably reevaluate your system of morals.

Here is what rape culture is: a society in which rape is a pervasive problem, (check) where the majority of sexual assault occurs with impunity, (check) where rather than teaching young men and women what consent truly means, and that, for the most part, rape is committed by a person known and trusted by the victim, (check) we teach women to protect themselves from rapists (check.)  A society in which victims are nearly always drilled with questions about clothing choice, level of inebriation, location, what sort of sexual signals were given (check.)  A society in which we typically meet out a measure of the blame to a victim of rape (check.)  A society in which violent acts of rape are a normal part of our media experience.  Where "blurred lines" and acts of sexual coercion and male entitlement are the norm (check.)  A society in which girls are taught to dress modestly because they might cause men's loins to stir, and everybody knows men have very little control over their penises (CHECK.)  A society in which women are objectified in pretty much every way, where the burden of sexual responsibility is placed upon women, where men feel as though they are entitled to women's bodies, where a POTUS can get a blow job from an intern, and carry on a prestigious career, but had a FPOTUS blown a man, she'd have been utterly destroyed and called a whore, a slut, whatever (checkcheckcheckcheckcheck.)

That is rape culture, and that is what our girls have to grow up in.

Some say the number is 1 in 3.  Other places, I've seen 1 in 4 or 5.  1 in 3-5 girls in the United States of America will experience sexual assault during their lifetimes.  And that is fucking unacceptable.  The reason why these statistics exists, is because of all of the things I listed above.  1/4 of the women you and I and everyone else loves and cares about will not be assaulted by the proverbial boogieman in the dark.  Most of these women will be assaulted by people they know.  Because we aren't teaching men (and women, for that matter) the myriad faces of rape.

Her boyfriend said he wanted to.  She said no.  She said no again.  She said no again.  And again.  And again.  And again.  Then she didn't say anything.  He did what he wanted.  That's rape.

I don't have daughters.  But I have sisters.  I have nieces.  I have girl friends.  I teach a lot of teenage girls whom I can't help but see as little sisters and nieces.  And it breaks my heart that this is a reality for the women in my life.

I've seen someone I loved and cared about, moments after a rape.  I remember very few details of that year of my life.  But I vividly remember the devastation, the hysterical tears like I've never seen before, nor since.  It's a moment that has been etched upon my soul.

I suppose this is on my mind, because of this recent killing spree committed by this 22 year old kid who felt entitled to "hot babes'" bodies to the point where his frustration drove him to murder.  Go ahead and call it a "mental health issue."  Call it a "gun control problem."  This goes much deeper than that.  While his views are on the extreme end of misogyny, they are a product of the component of rape culture that teaches men to objectify women, and feel entitled to their bodies.  In most cases where things go too far, this leads men to do date rapey things.  Or to push girlfriends farther than they want to go.  Or to avoid calling it rape if it "seemed like she wanted it," but then said no.  Unfortunately, in this particular case, it was mixed with mental instability, access to a gun, and exploration of misogynistic "men's rights" groups, (whatever the hell those are) that then lead to the murder of 6 people.  But it's all a product of the same rape culture.

You're fooling yourself if you simply blame this on "bad parenting," or a "lousy home life," or even "mental health issues."

I hope someday to have a daughter.  But god, I'm terrified to bring one into this world.

And that is why we all have to be feminists.  If you hear the word "feminist" and immediately think of men-hating, abortion-loving militants—please stop watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh.  Being a feminist simply means that you want equal rights and equal treatment for women.  That you want women to be as safe as men.  That you support equality in politics.  That you value women's contributions equally to men's.  That you aren't an asshole.  That you believe women can be just as powerful as men.  That you believe that a woman's ideas can be just as good as a man's.  That you believe that our girls should be taught that they can do anything, rather than confined to a narrow mold. That you believe that women, rather than men, should be making social and political choices that affect women.

Feminism doesn't mean men don't matter.  Feminism doesn't mean that all men are shit.  Feminism, to me, means that we are simply striving for a world, and a country, in which women are as powerful, as successful, as influential, and as safe as men.

It's time that this conversation be had in every home.  It's time this conversation be had in public schools (because inevitably, it won't be had in many homes.)  We must drill this into boy's heads.  And girl's heads.  This has to become systemic.

1 in 3 is atrocious.  1 in 4 is hideous.  1 in 5 should shame every. single. one of us.  1 in one thousand would be unacceptable.  But it will never change until we change.  It's time for feminism to quit being a buzzword, or a derogatory term, or a special status.  It's time for feminism to be the expectation.


Why everybody gets "tattooed mormon girl" wrong

I've noticed over the last year or two, lots of posts in the Mormon fbook-social-media-blogosphere regarding "Tattooed Mormon Girl."  I'll go ahead and refer to her as TMG from here on out.  I think that [lots of] Mormons love TMG because she is visual proof that a person's past can be exactly that—just the past.  That anyone can be clean, repent, and leave an old life of sin behind.

TMG gives Mormons [the ones who aren't so uptight and un Christ-like as to shun her outright for covering parts of her temple with [IMO] beautiful artwork] the chance to say, "see?  We include even someone who looks super worldly on the outside, but what really matters is her faith, yadda yadda."  The reason this bothers me, is because it is ultimately a phony sentiment.  So many pat themselves on the back for "looking past" her tattoos.  So you can interact with a tattooed human, and not reduce her to the ink on her arm?  BFD.  Congratulations.  She's a damned convert, and you're not an awful human being.

The convert part is sort of what gets me.  Because seriously—you aren't a good person for not judging her for having tattoos.  You're just not a shitty person.  Because ask yourself this—what if she weren't a convert?  What if she were the same in every respect—spiritual, faithful, intelligent, not-super-evil, etc, but yet had chosen to "graffiti" her temple anyway?  How would you look at her then?

She wouldn't be on the cover of LDS living mag, that's for certain.

I read a blog post written by her husband today that really got under my skin.  I don't know why I read such things, and I really don't know why I even care.  The most bothersome line was as follows:

"How do you look past the tattoos she has, knowing that people will stare?' Some would even applaud me on marrying her, because of her past and how her past is so visual. I mean really? Serious? Hearing that use to bother me. Not once have I ever noticed or even cared that she has tattoos, I just don't see them when I look her. Sure, I know they are there, but its not something I have ever cared about."

Here is the thing.  I get the point he is trying to make—that her tattoos do not define her.  That he looks on her heart, rather than at her skin.  But what he is in reality doing, is not completely accepting his wife for how she is.  If he truly loved all of her, he would very much see them, and love them, because they are a part of her [and they are actually quite beautiful.]  They aren't merely relics of a wicked past. They are a part of who she was, who she is, and what made her the person she is today.  Don't get me wrong—I'm not questioning the guy's love or devotion to his wife.  I simply think that he is misguided in the way he is presenting TMG.  

Instead of being an actually really valuable, progressive teaching lesson: "I love my wife.  She has tattoos.  Also, she is an incredible person.  Her tattoos don't change that, and maybe even add to it," he is reinforcing the very stigma that people who applaud TMG are accidentally not overcoming at all.  Instead of teaching "people can have tattoos, and still be good people, and good Mormons, and it isn't your damned business to judge them anyway," he is teaching "people who got tattoos in their past can be good people and good Mormons, after they repent, and once we can get ourselves to just ignore them and not look at them."

The lesson is really this: nothing has changed.  Tattoos are still stigmatized, and people with them still stigmatized.  Only now some people, instead of looking at them as currently sinful, look at them as proud battle scars of sin.  Proof that bad people can become good.  

So please stop patting yourself on the back for not judging TMG.  If you can get to a point where you can look at her and think, "that is some beautiful artwork on that awesome Mormon girl's arms," then go ahead and start patting.  Because maybe, just maybe, you're starting to set aside meaningless dogma, and getting to the heart of what the gospel is really about—loving one another. 



I'm feeling oddly overwhelmed in this moment with something I'm going to, perhaps, refer to as gratitude.  Although, I sort of hate the word gratitude, in this context.  Gratitude implies that something has been given to me, deserved or not.  Gratitude connotes some sort of a blessing, or a gift.  Some thing has been bestowed upon me by some person or being or system with the capacity to give, with some reason to do so.

I think I prefer luck.  I feel very lucky.

23 year old me could have probably never fathomed that (damn nearly) 32 year old me could possibly be anything other than the most wretchedly miserable being in existence, having watched the moon wax and wane around 380 times with zero eternal marriages to show for it.

25 year old me couldn't have imagined doing a thing for money that feels like doing something positive in the world, something that matters.  Something that makes peoples' lives better.  Something that doesn't feel like work.  A work where I sometimes cry, because I get to love and give a shit about humans for a living.  Because I get to watch people overcome the most incredible obstacles, while I meander through my lucky, lucky life.

I did nothing to deserve this.

I have a family who loves and accepts me for me.  I have beautiful friends who make my life in this city, in this world, lovely.  I work with people who do what they do because they love what they do.  I get to do a thing where sometimes a girl who is terrified of men will hand me a package of Mambas with a note that says "You are like Mambas to me because Mambas made me realize not all chew candies are bad."

I don't deserve this.

And this is why I can't be grateful.  Because I'm just lucky.  I'm lucky I wasn't born into a piece of shit family.  I'm lucky I've never been abused.  I'm lucky I was raised in a white, middle class family.  I'm lucky I wasn't born in Afghanistan.  I'm lucky I have friends and people in my life I can count on.  None of these things are blessings, because this implies that others who aren't so "blessed," somehow deserve what they don't get.  Or all of the things I have, people who don't have them don't deserve to have them.

  I'm just really lucky, and I can't fathom why.


Etch these moments upon my soul

I've just had two weeks of mostly beautiful moments.

Throwing my body into roiling, frothy rapids, shoved down stream between rock walls, nearly tepid water begging me stay out of the wind.

Dragging myself ashore, the cold wind erupting gooseflesh over every inch of my body.  Plodding over to my backpack, and then returning back into the warmth, Ranger IPA in hand.  The undulating flow of the river rushing against the rock shelf upon which I sit, creating a natural whirlpool which threatens to roll me over, and fill my can with liquid I dare not drink.

Black clouds masking the sun, spewing fat raindrops that pock the already broken water around me, hitting me in the face as I gaze at the ominous heavens.

Sitting in a lawn chair, next to fire, the windless night allowing the indecisive flames to reach directly upwards, towards the dark expanse.  Reading with the heat on my side, waiting for moments when the fire burns low, my gaze wandering to the stars not hidden by gas station lights and overly illuminated Walmart parking lots.

Climbing a trail I last hiked 19 years ago, as a young scout, which prompted this journal entry:

"About two weeks ago, I went to scout camp for the first time.  I had a great time.  The mesquitos [sic] were thick.  The first day we had to pull up 100 lb deer carts up the mountain.  That night we, well most of us went fishing.  I caut the first fish.  The next day I caught another fish (I caut the first two fish) There was a 20 foot cliff above the water that we would jump off of.  One kid in my scout group jumped off, counting all the times, he jumped off 38 times.  I only jumped of 17. The water was very, very, very, very, very cold.  By the end of the week I had made several new friends and we were all dead tired."  

31 year old legs carrying me up the path, in Chacos and sans deer cart.  Marveling that we ever pushed those things up the jagged, rocky, nightmare of a path; wondering where the mosquitos were.

Standing atop the rock, off of which I had hurled my body so many years past, watching the Earth Mother's breath race across the water, creating patterns and shapes too beautiful to describe.  Contemplating my journal entry of long ago, and wondering if the chill would be the same.

Flying through the air, arms pinwheeling, breath catching in my throat, every muscle tight as a knot in preparation for the shocking cold.  Slowly drifting upwards, the lake's chilly embrace releasing me to the surface; face breaking into the mountain air, and faintly realizing that 17 times wasn't that impressive.

Sitting next to a raging fire, the remnants of the arms of trees felled by the pine beetle's deadly habitation burning, popping, and forcing us to scoot ever farther away.  Dozens upon dozens of moths, confused by the unordinary brightness, circling like things possessed, until an innate desire forces them into the consuming wall of flames, wings burning away, tiny bodies falling to rest on the coals, to blacken and disintegrate.

Consuming mild barley drinks, discussing the oft alogical nature of religion, and the futility of hiding and distorting history; the paradox of the simultaneous promotion and utter discouragement of truth seeking.

Walking between giants; living things with such age, mass, and size as to make one question the sanity of humanity, in removing all but 10% of them.  Feeling the rough bark beneath my fingers, sometimes stained black from our Earth Mother's previous attempts at cleansing her skin with fire.  Wondering if any human heart ever broke after felling one of these redwoods.

The 10 minute commute from 80 to 55 degree weather, the turgid mists from the sea ensconcing the land in a blanket of white and grey.  Driving along the coast, the sun occasionally burning through the mist and seemingly setting the trees on fire; only to dive back into the damp fog but moments later.

Visiting brewpubs not rendered impotent by theocratic laws.  Sitting in a coffee shop in a little town called Bellingham, jolting from my seat as the sound of thousands of pounds of plastic and steel careen into each other, 30 feet behind.  Passing the myriad herbs growing in place of flour beds along the walkway to the entrance; thyme, sage, rosemary, basil.  Glancing one last time at the wrecked bumpers.

Riding a boat across a deep blue lake framed by the Tetons.  Hiking through vast meadows divided by glacial streams, watching a mother moose tend to a pony sized baby.  Neck sore, from staring at the impossible peaks that I wished were 200 miles closer.  Bloated drops of rain falling through brilliant beams of sun, in a seemingly absolute contradiction.

Sleeping on the earth.  Showering never.  Leggings, not pants.  Chacos, not shoes.

What the hell did you do for the last two weeks?


The screaming makes it hard

Even though I love my job, it's nice to get to take a little vacation now and then. Especially after this last week; like a million graduations, and saying goodbye to a lot of people I really didn't want to say goodbye to.

The worst part of my job is saying goodbye. And crying like an ass in front of a couple hundred at a graduation.

Flying on planes is weird. As the shitty US Airways flying death trap made a bunch of weird noises right before take off, I thought about what I would do, if my plane were spiraling toward the earth.

Probably nothing useful.

I think my first thought was to pull the pillow out of my satchel, cram my face between my knees, and create a meat/bone/pillow helmet dome out of my arms and said pillow.

But then I thought that I probably also needed to have a good handle on my calves, or else my head/upper body might violently snap back due to the incredible multi-directional forces that would no doubt be attempting to flail me every direction. And I didn't have a meat/bone/pillow helmet dome for my face.

Then I thought, "either way, that seems pretty futile. Maybe I should get my phone out if we're crashing."

I figured I'd have maybe like, a 30 second window during the portion of the terrifying free fall, known as "the final service" zone, which I just named it. I wonder how high the AT&T towers reach? I don't know. It can't be too high. It often barely reaches me on the ground.

I then started thinking about who I would send my final message to, before I ended up in a broken, burning heap, hopefully not in shitty Nevada. I mean if I have to suffer screaming scary death by plane, please god don't let it be in Nevada.

I thought maybe I'd text my mom. Maybe say sorry? I don't know. Then I thought maybe I'd get on Facebook, where I could reach a lot of people at once. And maybe I'd make a really good plane crash joke, which would later make everyone ridiculously sad when they learned the truth.

As I sat there, I kind of settled on that maybe I'd just think about all the reasons that I wished that plane wasn't crashing. Like the people who weren't going to be in my life anymore. And the lives I wouldn't get to be in anymore. And maybe I'd just, in my own little heart, say goodbye.

Which, ultimately, would be easier than saying goodbye to everyone this last week; I wouldn't have to watch anyone that mattered cry. And I wouldn't have to hope they will be okay.

Wait a minute. What am I even thinking? I probably wouldn't be able to have any coherent thoughts, because screaming is LOUD.


I kind of wish

Sometimes my heart breaks to be a human.

We hurt the most vulnerable.  We break the weak.  We carve shit that doesn't matter into our Earth Mother's bones, into her skin, to mark some fleeting unimportant moment, to leave a relic for nobody else in existence, ever, to care about.

Walking in the desert is a dream.  Feet grinding the myriad hues of red, brown, orange, and every color in between, I can't help but marvel at the tenacity of the desert.  Everywhere a drop of water might possibly fall, through the seemingly martian soil erupts life.  Tiny plants like an afterthought to the sage, deep purples or green hues so easily missed and crushed under foot.  The desert speaks to my soul.

Some humans explode other humans.  Other humans force themselves upon some humans.  Some humans exploit other humans.  Other humans suppress and oppress some humans.  Most humans do most of those things to our Earth Mother, in one form or another.

I kind of wish we were getting better about that.  But...ya know...money.


As sagely as i can manage

I had the opportunity today, for the first time, to say a few things at a student's graduation.  The typical format is as so: student gives intro, teacher speaks, principal speaks, associates speak, house parents speak, therapist speaks, girl speaks, program director speaks.

Today, things were a bit different.  A student was leaving our program graduating academically, but not officially completing the program.  There were just some issues that had occurred that precluded this student from a full program graduation.

I will admit, over the last couple weeks, I had very little patience and sympathy for this particular student.  I felt in many ways that she had sort of "dug her own grave" as it were, and that she most definitely didn't deserve to graduate as was the norm.

It was really easy to focus on some of the terrible things she had done, and ways she had hurt others.  What I found myself not being, was a very sympathetic human.

I'm not sure what it was, but over the last couple of days I began to feel really guilty about that.  Whenever a student leaves us, as the academic staff we give our girls a children's story book that reminds us of her.  We all sign it, and someone presents it at the graduation. I think part of my change of attitude had to do with a quote that I wrote in it.  "Each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done." -Bryan Stevenson

I believe that.  I really do.  And with this student in particular, I'd been having a difficult time remembering that.

I wanted to do something meaningful.  I wanted this student to feel that, in spite of everything, we really have hope for her.  That we really do care.  That it really does matter to us that she succeeds.  That despite everything, we do love her.  So the history teacher and I both came up with lists of...life advice.  Just things we wished we had maybe known, or learned sooner, or have maybe learned recently.  We created our lists independently, but they had a lot of similarities, and inexplicably meshed together incredibly well.  We took turns, reading our pieces back and forth.  I wish I had her list.

I don't know how much of this advice she will take, and I don't think any of it is that life altering.  But I want to believe that, if nothing else, she felt like I gave a shit.  Because I do.  I give so. Many. Shits.

General Life Advice
By me.

Love yourself.

Love others.

Trust others.

Don’t take college classes before 9 am.

Take thursday classes.  Seriously; no school from Friday-Tuesday is a dream.

Don’t put off assignments until the night before they are due.  Start at least one day before that.

Don’t waste money at coffee shops, except for occasionally.  Buy a coffee maker.

Grind your coffee beans; don’t buy them pre-ground.

Drive the speed limit.  Tickets aren’t worth saving 5 minutes.

Discover a new band every week.

Go to every concert you can.

Choose friends who are easy to “be good” around.

Don’t get credit cards.  YOU DON’T NEED THEM.  NOBODY NEEDS THEM.

Learn to cook.  For yourself.  And then cook for others.

Eat out less than once a week.  *see the above cooking advice

Respect your mother.

Don’t ever buy a new car.

Don’t ever get a car loan that is longer than 4 years.  

Buy a car that costs less than 10k.  

Actually, no more than 5k.  You won’t be sorry when you own it.

Be wary of student loans.  Take out as little as possible.  It isn’t free money.  It isn’t even close to free money.

Always work, even when you are taking out said loans.

Don’t speak ill of bosses and/or coworkers on facebook.

Don’t post things of facebook that you wouldn’t want your parents/Jesus/bosses/anyone who you ever might want to have a good opinion of you to see.

Probably just delete facebook.

Did I mention love yourself?

Go hiking as often as you can.

Make friends who don’t look like you; i.e. don’t dress like you, don’t like music you like, don’t like all the same things you like.  You’ll be shocked how many really awesome humans exist who are different than your typical friend choice.

Buy Apple computers.

If you ever have to get internet, or cable, and you sign up with a promotion, once your promotion ends, NEVER PAY ANY OTHER PRICE.  All you have to do, is tell them you like the price you have, and will disconnect otherwise.  They will send you to “customer retention” and you will often actually, inexplicably, get a better price.

Don’t be punishing.  Even if people deserve it.

Don’t yell at people.  Ever.  If you have to yell, it isn’t worth saying, and they probably won’t be listening anyway.

Don’t be a turd.

Always lock your doors.  People steal things.

Wear ear plugs at concerts always.  Just take them out during your favorite songs.

Remember that if you get a pet, its like a 10 year commitment.  That’s like, almost a kid.

Don’t have a kid, anytime soon.

Being single is okay.  You don’t need a man to be happy. 

Read lots of books.

When people give advice, at least consider it.

You aren’t always right.

It’s usually okay to go an extra 500-1000 miles without an oil change.  But make sure there is still oil in the car.

Listen to NPR, as often as you can.

Don’t cheat in college.  EVER.

Study things that interest you, as often as possible.

Be kind to others.

Don’t let things rot in the fridge.

Don’t let things rot in the sink.

If you use a computer to take notes in school, disable ichat, or fbook, because you will NEVER pay attention.

Budget your money.

Eat healthy food. But also sometimes eat super unhealthy food.

Volunteer in school.  Get behind causes that matter.

Vote.  Always vote.  Encourage others to vote.

If it seems like you could get arrested doing it, don’t do it.  Who cares how fun it sounds.  

Be proud you’re a woman.  Women are amazing, and you’re lucky to be one.

Be kind to others.

Love yourself.  

Be kind to yourself.

Good luck, kiddo.  I hope if you ignore all the rest, you pay attention to the last four.


28 more

I slowly drove up the hill, navigating my car between parked vehicles on both sides of the road.  At the crest, I heard the NPR reporter announce, in a monotonous tone with which I’ve become so familiar, that at the top of the hour they would be giving an emergency report about the elementary school shooting.  My heart immediately sank to the pit of my stomach.  Another shooting.  Again.  I pulled over in front of my house, and sat in my car, engine quietly idling, staring blankly ahead.  

I waited the last few moments in silence, as the seconds turned to minutes, and the minutes finally turned into noon.  Please, I thought.  Don’t let this be a really bad one.  Which thought completely turned my stomach; as though there could ever be a shooting in an elementary school that wasn’t a really bad one.  

28 dead, they thought.  Mostly children.  Children.

I was awash with emotion.  I felt glued to my seat, incapable of moving.  The simultaneous dread, horror, heartache, and rage weighed down upon me like some impossibly heavy force.  I imagined this instant unbearable burden that we as a nation were suddenly and cruelly forced to endure upon our souls.  And I realized it was nothing as compared to what the people of Newtown were feeling.  And would be feeling.  And would forever feel.  The soul of Newtown had been destroyed.

My first reaction was to naturally think of gun control.  But very quickly, my racing, emotion driven thoughts strangely and solidly coalesced into one painful conclusion; this is our fault.  Sane people don’t shoot 20 children.  Somehow, as with millions of others in this country, we as a society have failed this young man who committed this despicable act.  And in failing this young man, we have sacrificed 20 young children upon the alter of indifference.   

We care when children are harmed.  We care when students are massacred.  We care when Congresswomen are near-fatally shot.  We care when triggers are squeezed, and fiery hot rounds explode through barrels seeking to pierce flesh, rend organs, and steal the lives from those we love.  Or don’t love.  From those we know.  Or strangers.  We care when tragedy strikes.  But in between mass killings, and as millions of mentally unhealthy people languish in jails, we turn a blind eye.  We worry more about self inflicted heart disease and diabetes, than mental illness over which people have no control.  

We wait for the next massacre.  

And then we do it again. And again.  And again.

When is enough, enough?  When will we wake up, and realize that mental health education is an  issue tantamount to physical healthcare?  That without more available care, we will continue to inundate our prisons with the mentally ill?  How many Newtown’s, and Littleton’s, and Virginia Tech’s, and Columbine’s must there be, before we take care of those who are most stigmatized and disadvantaged in our society?  

We owe it to these people to do better.  We owe it to ourselves to do better.  But most of all, we owe it to every single victim who has died by the hand of someone who fell through the gaping cracks in our mental healthcare system.  

We owe it to 20 first graders, and the 6 heros who loved, taught, and died with them.


The blackest of fridays

The existence of Black Friday and genocide convinces me of one of three things:  
either a) there is no god
b) god doesn't like anyone very much
or c) god is as bipolar and wrathful as evangelicals think he is

I must say, I hope for option c the least.  

As part of my "take back my life from crippling high interest debt" plan, I have been moonlighting as a Best Buy home theater "specialist."  I've always been cognizant of the horrors of Black Friday, in the same sense that I've been, via the media, aware of the hideousness of genocide.  Youtube videos of humans devolved into something worse than feral, pathetic animals, clawing and scraping and herding for some piece of shit something made in China, have always caused my stomach to writhe with loathing and disgust.  And I say worse than animals, because I've never known animals to trample other animals to death over some unnecessary frivolity.  And last time I checked, we are capable of moral cognition.  

Animals: 1  humans: 0

On Thursday night, I was finally able to experience first hand the moral genocide that is Black Friday.  

Thanks to glorious, holy consumerism, Black Friday has been slowly encroaching upon Thanksgiving. Which is the absolute epitome of contradictions.  And is probably testament to the devolution of Thanksgiving in and of itself, into a holiday which revolves around gluttony and football, rather than any sort of thanks giving.

So, I found myself at Best Buy, around 10:50 pm, having risen from a hasty nap, heart more full of dread than I recall ever experiencing in relation to a job.  As I walked quickly past the seething multitude of greedy humanity, I had this mantra on a loop in my head: "Don't get fired.  Don't get fired. Don't get fired.  It's just 12 hours.  Don't get fired.  Don't get fired.  Don't get fired....."

Upon arrival, I discovered that it was my duty to go out and hawk a 55" Samsung TV on sale for $799, to people waiting in the line.  Which is apparently what we were doing with most of our major door busters.  As I began wading amongst the throng, I discovered that the majority of people only really had interest in 1 thing; a 40" Toshiba on sale for like, $180, down from 5 or 600.  

Obviously, we only had like 23 of these, as they are merely a trap to lure thousands of idiots into the store, where they will proceed to give Besty like, a million dollars in a 24 hour period.

So as I'm freezing my ass off, grumpy as...a decent human being, torn away early from Thanksgiving with family, having to* freeze his ass off to help a bunch of greedy shittheads satiate their need to increase credit card debt, person after person is inquiring about this Toshiba.  And I continue to tell, person after person, that I don't know shit about it.

All along the line, people are literally about to come to blows over people cutting ahead.  Some woman grabs my arm, and angrily asks if I have the Toshiba.  In as oily a manner as I can manage, I say, "I sure don't.  It sold out.  SORRY."  And this woman proceeds to tell me how this is bullshit, and she has been waiting in line since 6 pm, and that next year, we need to have people out here by 4, making sure nobody cuts in line, because all of West Valley had cut in front of her.

Pardon the vulgarity, but this is where I was mentally, in that moment.

And I marveled, that this woman had the audacity to tell me that I should tell one of my superiors that several peoples' Thanksgivings needed to be cut short next year, so this manatee of a woman could get her grubby flippers on a discounted TV.  

And that was the theme and feel of the night; a store full of entitled shoppers, perplexed and choleric when they didn't get the exact deals they deserved.  I didn't get physically trampled by the stampede of human animals who burst through the doors like people fleeing machete wielding Hutus.  But my soul felt trampled.  

I like buying things.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't.  But I will never fight other humans for things.  I will never line up for hours in the cold on a holiday, for things.  I will never turn into a raging, angry lunatic over things.  I definitely lost some faith in humanity.

*I realize that "having to" is debatable, as I choose to do this job to get out of debt.  However, there are a lot of people that "have to" do this very thing, in order to survive.


Happy tears

I think it fair to say that most Americans, during this past election, were mainly concerned with economic issues.  I had democratic leaning friends who said they were voting for Romney based solely upon his economic qualifications.  Other people were planning on voting Obams because they felt like corporations as people/a tax code that favors the wealthy isn't a system that will do much good for average Americans.

Ultimately, my reasons for voting came down to social issues.  Eventually, I think, regardless of who is in office, the economy will right itself.  Now, depending upon who you are, "righting itself" may signify different things.  And in the end, I don't really care too much about those things.  But here is one poignant example as to why I give way more shits about social issues than about how many dollars are in my wallet at the end of the day.

As I arrived at school on that lovely Wednesday morning, after the [not so shocking] vote, I couldn't help but smile at the fact that finally, after an entire year, KSL's (a local news station) unmitigated raging Romney boner would finally be rendered flaccid.  Surely, the Lord, by this point, had wearied of all of the local prayers and supplications for Romney's triumphant ascendency to the presidency, so I'd imagine maybe he was smiling too.

I exited my vehicle, and took a deep breath, the crisp cool Erda air filling my lungs with the clean scents of a small town.  No smells of burning decay, despite America's proverbial death the night before.  Life would go on.  And as I contemplated this life, going on, I started attempting to formulate a way I could, (as much as possible) in an unbiased way discuss some of the election results with my class.  Because I was definitely pleased with the outcome.  But I suspected that I had at least one Mittens supporter in my first class, and so would have to choose my words carefully.  And that student aside, ethics require that I at least appear to be somewhat unbiased.

Class began, and the girls filed in.  Immediately, a few of them brought up the election.  After a few moments of discussion, it dawned on me that we had ended the previous class talking about the fact that homosexuality had been included in the DSM until the 70's, when it was shockingly discovered that homosexuals were no less mentally healthy than anybody else.  In this moment, I recalled reading that both Maryland and Maine had passed gay marriage initiatives by popular vote.

I said, "the President stayed the same.  The balance of power in congress largely remains unchanged.  But I think the most significant thing that occurred last night, was the fact that Maine and Maryland both legalized gay marriage, by popular vote, for the first time ever."  As I said this, I had my back turned to the class, because I was writing Maine and Maryland on the board.    I heard what sounded like a sob.  I turned around to see my transgendered student with her face buried in her hands, weeping tears of joy.

I said, "Wait...you didn't know yet?"
She said, "No, I hadn't heard if it had passed."

To add a little bit of context, this is a student from whom I had never previously observed any sort of emotional response—PERIOD—about anything.  And knowing that a majority of people, somewhere, even though far away, had collectively shouted "we don't know you, but we love you, we support you, and we do not fear you," was enough to shatter her emotional barriers.

There was almost a palpable feeling of love in the room, a feeling of pride.  A shared instant of enlightenment.  In that moment, we all knew that somewhere, despite the odious storm of political bullshit that we had all weathered over the previous months, America had done something right, something profound, something beautiful.  I spent the rest of the class desperately fighting back the happiest of tears.

This is why social issues mean something to me.

Because I will never see someone weep tears of joy over a tax break.

Because I will never see someone weep tears of joy over cheaper gasoline.

Because i will never see someone weep tears of joy over being able to purchase assault rifles.

Because I will never see someone weep tears of joy over invading one more oil rich country.

Because I will never see someone weep tears of joy over a government surplus.

Because things are just things.  We can all learn to be happy and survive with fewer things.

My President supports love.  My President supports equality in love.  Sorry 1%.  But I care about love, more than I care about your money.

I support my President.

Sorry orphans

I suppose November is as good a time as any to resurrect this blog, as though it were easter. Or a zombie apocalypse. Either of which is just as likely to occur, in any given November. My life has taken many an odd turn over the last couple of months. I sold my death trap, blew through 8 grand, got a roommate almost twice my age, started working at Best Buy, and lost a best friend.

 That probably requires some explanation.

 As summer drew nigh, the reality of crushing, crippling student debt began to stare me in the face, with its soul withering, 7.8% interest rate face. Which is something maybe not to dissimilar from what it would be like to wake up every morning, in the pre dawn glow, with Steven Tyler staring at you, inches away.   Nobody wants that.

 I began to contemplate what it would feel like to grab 9, 50 dollar bills every month, and set them on fire, in front of starving [insert random poor country] children. Or, better yet, the parents of those children. While setting some candy on fire in front of the children. Or if they have no concept of candy, like maybe a favorite rock, or a stick. Ah, I digress. Anyways, as one would suspect, that thought was much less appealing than the one Obama certainly feels when he is firing his money cannon into outer space, just for the hell of it, thus increasing our national debt.


 I began attempting to formulate a plan, which would render me financially solvent within a year. Which was one hell of a task, with 27k in graduate debt. Since I'm not very good at making methamphetamine, I thought maybe living in a trailer in someone's driveway for a year might be a good idea. Until I thought about it for like 6 or 5 minutes. Where would I empty the septic tank? Would I freeze to death? Would anyone I know allow a homeless human to occupy their driveway for a year? Would I ever manage more than a first date? WWZ[ombie][Wizard]JD?

 Before I had to really contemplate all of the many sad ramifications of living in a trailer, a wonderful, benevolent co-worker offered me a free room. Suddenly, this crazy-assed plan seemed less crazy-assed. All I needed to do then was find another job. And preferably one that wouldn't thrust me to the brink of alcoholism and/or suicide (or possibly suicide by alcohol), with poor tips from ingrate patrons.

 Turns out, having a master's degree was enough to get me hired at Best Buy, and so I was able to begin an exciting, illustrious part time career talking poors into buying enormous TV's they can't afford. Oh, the cognitive dissonance. And the utter paradox of working your ass off to get out of debt by working your ass off to convince others into acquiring frivolous debt.

 So I was living for free, and shooting a bi-weekly money cannon right into outer space. The first couple of $1000 payments sure felt really shitty. All I could think, was that $1000 is a lot of shoes and liquor. But eventually, I made a mental shift into hating the debt more than I hated lighting thousands of dollars worth of candy on fire in front of hideous orphans.

 I'd also been contemplating, for some time, decreasing the likelihood of ending up with a crinkled spine, and a severely diminished mental capacity, by selling my motorcycle. I couldn't help but think, over the last few months, that ending up as a wheeler with a damaged brain would put a severe damper on my life's goals. And, loading that money cannon with three and a half thousand dollars would sure feel great to launch into the dark abyss. So I sold it.

 And now, 2.5 months have passed, and I've managed to burn about 8000 candy bars in front of weeping orphans. And so, largely, life is pretty okay. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to be in this position. I'm busier than I've ever been, I think. But I feel like I'm making real progress, and putting my life in a position where, in the not too distant future, the adventures and possibilities will be as endless as some metaphor that has a bunch of seemingly endless possibilities.


Today, i'm ashamed to be a utahan

This week, our beloved Utah State legislature has taken an enormous step towards state mandated head-sand-burial, by passing an archaic law that would forbid public schools from addressing sexual education from any angle other than from DON'T EVER DO IT EVER UNLESS YOU'RE MARRIED. Oh, and also mentioning in a class that homosexuality is a thing that some people do, would also lead to a burning death at a stake, surrounded by fiery torch wielding moral-champions from capitol hill.

I understand that, because most members of our state congress are part of a particular religion, that sometimes we are going to get laws that feel very theocratic. But really? This? THIS ONE?

Obstructive, obnoxious laws that make acquiring alcohol either more difficult, or more expensive for those responsible adults who wish to partake of said wicked, vile liquid, are one thing. That is a mere annoyance. Legislating policy that has vast, destructive, life-altering consequences for teens, and the state as a whole, is something on a totally different plane. A really, really embarrassing, unbelievably sad, how-in-God's-name-are-we-having-this-debate-in-2012 kind of plane.

Let me clarify something really important: there is nothing wrong with emphasizing teen abstinence as the best, surest, safest route to avoiding unwanted pregnancies and STD's. HOWEVER—and this is a really big, really important however—some kids are going to have sex anyways. They need to be informed that, should the unthinkable happen, and on prom night, little Bobby forgets that he has to pass the sacrament the next day, and Sarah forgets that she has to give the prayer in sacrament meeting, that MAYBE—just maybe—one of them will remember that "the girl on top can't get pregnant, because gravity saves the day" rumor was debunked in sex ed class. And maybe they will resort to dry humping (Levi-sex, zipper sparking, DFing, whatever the kids are calling it these days), as opposed to the real thing. Which everyone—the state tax payers, the Bishop, the parents, Bobby and Sarah, and all of the potential, unrealized Bobbys blown all over the inside of his pants—can be grateful for.

Rejecting abstinence-only education does NOT mean you support teenagers having all of the sex. It just means you care about the ones whose parents are too stupid or too afraid to explain that if a penis accidentally falls into a vagina, a baby/STD might get in there.

I understand that a lot of people worry about "some teachers injecting their morality into the lessons," and whatever. But how that is somehow worse than the entire STATE forcing a moral blanket to be wrapped around EVERYONE, is beyond my comprehension. I get it—some people don't want their kids learning about sex from a teacher. TOTALLY COOL. YOU CAN OPT OUT. But to bar sexual education from everyone, because some think that an "if we don't talk about it, it will all go away/wont exist" policy is best.

So...should we stop teaching about the effects of drugs in school? Oh no! If a kid hears about the existence of a particular drug, then he or she will DEFINITELY be more interested in using it! We better just pretend they don't exist, and if a student asks about them, say "Sorry. Just don't do them. That's all you need to know."

This bill WILL cause teen pregnancies to escalate. This will WILL foster the spread of STD's.

Let parents and churches teach teens what is moral and what isn't, involving sexuality. But let the schools educate teens about how all that stuff works, so just in case those kids end up accidentally following their natural urges, and have some brief moral lapses, they at least might not create babies, and spread around some really cool diseases.

I teach 15 year olds with children. Children, who have children. Contrary to what common sense dictates, being a teen parent doesn't really help them succeed in life. Many of these kids fall through the moral cracks, as well as the educational. PLEASE—let's not make the educational crack into a gaping pit, welcoming any and all who aren't lucky enough to have parents who give a shit.

Give Herbie a call, or shoot him an email, and let's help him make the responsible choice to veto this bill.
801-538-1000 or 800-705-2464,


That obama again!

If one were to listen to the likes of Sean Hannity, and other pundits, one would expect to see a photo on the evening news of Barak Houssein Obama, standing on the prow of a boat, angrily driving a gleaming harpoon into into the eye of a religious whale, à la Captain Ahab. Maybe that religious whale could be Newt Gengrich. I don't know. But whatever the image conjured, listening to the rhetoric, it was hard not to grab my bible and my gun, and seek out the nearest anti-government militia.

What Hannity et al were sensationalizing, and referring to as "Obama's latest assault on religion," was the Department of Health and Human services requiring most insurance plans to cover contraception. What they typically fail to mention, is that churches and places of worship are exempt. So don't worry Catholics; Obama isn't going to kick down the doors of your local cathedral, and force you by chest-bomb-and-turban-point to give any people you may employ, insurance provided spermacides or cervical sponges. You can continue on with your archaic notion that every sex act should result in a pregnancy.

What the religious right wants, in addition to church exemption (which singularly is totally their prerogative) is employer exemption. In other words, if I am a Catholic employer (or any other religion) and I think providing contraception (which, surprise, surprise, isn't exclusively used for preventing pregnancy, but also myriad other health uses) is wrong, I can dictate, on some level, my employees' access to such. This is no different than, say, a Jehovah's witness refusing to provide employees with an insurance plan that could cover a blood transfusion. Or an orthodox Jew refusing to use an insurance provider that will cover medical emergencies on Saturdays.

It just seems to me, that as an employer, you shouldn't get to force your moral values upon your employees. If you hate contraception—more power (and babies) to you. But why does this have to be considered an assault on religion? Why is EVERYTHING with the religious right an assault on SOMETHING? Gay marriage is an assault on marriage. This is an assault on Religion. Planned Parenthood is an assault on every baby who wanted to live, ever. The Obama presidency is an assault on the constitution. I just fail to see how giving someone the right to choose, is anti-religion.

Yes, people can still choose contraception without it being covered by insurance. But that is assuming they can afford it. I get the fact that, on some level, by you providing the insurance, you are sort of partially paying for it. But, simply by virtue of paying taxes, we pay for a lot of things we don't agree with. And you are also, by providing a paycheck, probably funding lots of things your employees do, with which you don't agree.

Providing insurance is part of a payment package. What the employee decides to do with that payment, should be up to the employee. Just like a paycheck.

Man, I didn't even get to Richard Santorum, stewardship, and the global warming hoax.


Hey guys. i'm still here.

Looks like I'm returning from my hiatus with one of the stupidest topics about which I've ever blogged.

Every time I buy a product that has some sort of a price tag on it, and upon peeling it off, I find that said shitty tag has left white sticky crap on the item, I can't help but be angry that some company, somewhere, is still making tags like that. And that whatever company from whom I purchased whatever thing, is using these asininely developed tags.

The thing I find most frustrating, is that there exist tags that don't even do that thing. The technology for a non-stick residue tag exists, but many companies choose the ones that take up to an assload of seconds to scrape off. Common IKEA, I didn't spend .49 cents on this plate to have to spend more cumulative seconds than the pennies that plate costs to scratch at a sticky spot like I don't live in the United States of America. It just seems like capitalism would have rendered hard to remove, overly viscous sticker producing companies obsolete. Slay those companies with the mighty sword of the free market, o' ye capitalism!

That compelling piece of blog fodder out of the way, I suppose an explanation of my absence is in order. Because I'm sure that all 120-something of you have been checking this blog every single day over the last however many months, wondering why I ceased to enrapture you with such thought provoking material. The truth is, I just sort of forgot I had a blog for a while.

I found that between working as a new teacher, and finishing grad school, doing anything on the interweb besides researching shit and ruining America by stealing music was less than appealing. Also, most of the times when I have had the itch to write something, it has concerned the abominable cesspool of a Republican primary process that has been occurring.

And it seems like those who read this (or who did) would probably tire pretty quickly of my Newt-Gengrich-is-a-fatuous-puerile-narcisistic-out-of-his-damned-mind-crooked-sonofabitch rants. Or maybe how Andrew Jackson was probably also referring to Native Americans when he said, "What do Americans do with our enemies? We kill them." Take that, women and children. Good one, Newt, you slimy tub of lard.

Or maybe how much I hope Richard Santorum will have the opportunity to eradicate the abomination that is contraception, that the earth may literally flood with all the babies that should have been conceived since people figured out how to have something other than just business sex. Or how much I hope that he can stop all the homosexuals from destroying marriage with their pledges of fidelity. Or how much better off we will be keeping those same homos from sullying uniforms and bullets with their infectious gay blood.

Or maybe how the one sane, rational, reasonable Republican candidate just dropped out and endorsed Romney. Or maybe about how I've never know a Rick that wasn't a douche.

Anyways, THAT'S WHY.



3 cheers for death

Sometimes, conservatives, you sure make it hard not to halt my slide into wicked, wicked liberalism.

There were two very poignant moments during the last two GOP debates that further convinced me that the far right wing is a wonderfully hypocritical place to be.

I think that the far right of the republican party can safely be called the party of Jesus. To say that far right conservative views aren't heavily influenced by Christianity would be like saying that the far left isn't influenced by Socialist Jesus, which the far right conveniently forgets existed.

So, what could possibly be more un-Christian, than clamoring for the death of a hypothetical uninsured man, and cheering Richard Perry's execution record?

Last night, as Ron Paul was given the hypothetical question, "What do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn't have health insurance? Who pays for his coverage? "Are you saying society should just let him die?" At this point, you sort of hear a rising grumble in the crowd, that turned into quite a few people yelling "yeah!"

I totally understand the idea and importance of personal responsibility. This hypothetical person (me) should definitely have insurance. And by not having it—if he [I] can afford it (I cant)—he is definitely unfairly putting society at risk for an undeserved burden. Should he have been responsible? Yes. Does he deserve to suffer the consequences (death) of his actions? Not for me to say. Should we HAVE to take care of him? No. But what is the right thing? Cheering for someone's death because it affects your wallet sure doesn't seem like the right thing, and I'm pretty sure it isn't what Jesus would advocate.

The other thing that blew me away, was the wild cheering that occurred during Rick Perry's first appearance at a debate, when he was explaining that over 200 prisoners had been executed under his watch as governor. Seriously, the audience was euphoric that Texas had put its boot down and euthanized over 200 (hopefully) terrible people.

I can't understand how support of the death penalty largely comes from the Christian right (even though, in our country, more people as a whole support capital punishment than oppose it). I am aware that the bible says, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." But the Old Testament also says a lot of other crazy shit. Which is why, if my memory serves, Jesus came along and stripped the gospel of a lot of crazy. And I guess added a bunch of other ludicrous ideas like "love thy enemy." "Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who hurt you." Madness.

Can anyone give me one good argument FOR the death penalty? Just one really good one? Because if your argument is financial, you are dead wrong. It costs infinitely more to execute a human (because of the cost of appeals and whatnot) than to incarcerate one for life. Like, sometimes 10's of millions more.

Because they deserve it? Well, who are you to decide what anyone deserves? Does a human who maliciously killed another human deserve to be in society? Absolutely not. But do we have the right or responsibility to kill that human being? It seems like our ultimate responsibility to society is to keep it safe. That can be accomplished without capital punishment.

Does anyone honestly think that we get it right 100% of the time? That was the thing that first turned me off to capital punishment—knowing that our system is incapable of getting it right, 100% of the time. Can you imagine being on death row, knowing you are innocent, and knowing that nobody in the world believes you, and there isn't a thing you can do about it? All to perpetuate an unnecessary system? It makes me sick, thinking about that.

If the system euthanizes even one innocent human in 100,000, it isn't worth it.

When we euthanize a human, we are also making the ultimate judgement that such a person has no worth, and can never have a change of heart. We are essentially robbing from this person the opportunity to change—the very thing for which he/she is being executed.

Should a murderer with a changed heart be set free? Hell no. But by executing him/her, we are throwing away any opportunity for good that such a person can do for society.

Before a Utah state firing squad shot Ronnie Lee Gardner through the heart, he was working with at risk youth, setting a poignant example of where poor life decisions lead human beings. But, in order to satiate some visceral need for vengeance, we ended his life, and thus any good he could return upon society.

I just have a hard time imagining sitting down with Jesus, and having this conversation:

"Hey Jesus."
"Hey man."
"Who is going to win the Super Bowl?"
"Oh, you! Like I'm telling! But it isn't the Buffalo Bills."
"Oh! By the way. Check this out. There was this dude who killed like, 11 prostitutes, chopped them up, and shoved them under the floor boards of his house. Next week we're scheduled to stick a needle into his arm, and pump him full of chemicals that will render his heart, lungs, and brain useless, thus sending him straight to a fiery hell!"
- high five -
"Yeah! That dude TOTALLY deserved it. Trust me, I know. I've always regretted stopping that stoning a couple thousand years ago. I'm glad you guys are killing him, so you can speed up his judgement. God is just AGOG waiting for this one."
"So, make us some wine to celebrate?"

I am not saying that there exists any perfect, political ideology. There is hypocrisy on both sides. But from the side that uses Christianity as an ideological building block—these issues—or at least the attitudes that accompany them—sure seem to reek of inconsistency.