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Archive for the ‘poor poor pitiful me’ Category

Remember when I used to come up with clever titles for blog entries? Those days are gone, my friend. I SOOO could not think of what to call this post. Although I do think it’s high time we turned July 5 into a lesser sort of holiday, kind of like Boxing Day. That way there’s not all this pressure on the 5th to get out and do something elaborate, but you do have a sanctioned excuse to rest. I just read a bunch of books set in Ireland and they were forever going on about Boxing Day as though it were some beautiful rest cure for Christmas. Then they also have Easter Monday. I think. Anyway, someone has “Easter Monday”. And it’s not official but we’ve got Black Friday as the “day after Thanksgiving.” Now, that’s kind of backwards, though, at least around my house, because Thanksgiving is the quiet and restful day, while Black Friday is the day of going to the mall to watch other folks lose their minds. It’s become a sport for us. Maybe this year we’ll even place bets on which people are gonna crack.

Sorry. None of that was what I meant to write about. My brain just got stuck in this loop. Moving on…

Yesterday was the best Independence Day I’ve had in awhile. We got to go to Casey’s house to watch his fireworks display. Let me tell you all something right now. That man takes his fireworks seriously. And by seriously I mean that I live 3/4 of a mile from Nashville Shores. Three times a year (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day) I take my Adirondack chair to the end of my driveway and watch their show for 15 minutes. Casey’s show was more impressive AND it lasted for two hours and change. For real.

Before the fireworks I had the creepiest thing happen. I met this guy named **Declan** (That’s not his real name, but I don’t hand out real names on the internet. That’s bad juju.) Anyway, meeting Declan was both cool and weird.

Because Declan is just like me, if I were somehow turned back into a ten year old. And turned into a boy. (At least I think he was 10. He may be 9. It’s hard to tell with kids like us. Because we’re tall and we talk like miniature adults.) Declan and I apparently both got the “don’t talk about politics” speech before the party, so we were banished to the kitchen where we–yes–freely discussed politics. The best non-firework related party moment was when he asked me if I ate only liberty. See, he’s a vegetarian and so the natural assumption would of course be, upon hearing that I was a libertarian, that I ate only liberty. And anyone speaking to me for any length of time and familiar with KIBO will know that yeah, it would seem like I eat liberty.

So that was cool.

Also cool, yet weird, was finally getting to talk to Casey in person. Do you all know how odd it is to have exchanged long emails with people for more than a year, have long debates in comment sections, follow their every move on Twitter and then finally say “It’s nice to meet you”? Yeah. The Internet sure has made life odd, don’t you think? Casey is very cool in person, and also very into explosives. So that could either mean that he’s genuinely cool OR that I’m afraid he’ll blow up my house. In this case we’ll go with genuinely cool.

So this 4th July was awesome. It beats other 4th of Julys hands down. I didn’t even have to come up with a new Epic Movie Marathon. (Other years we’ve done LOTR, Star Wars & Jurassic Park. Prior to Casey’s invitation this 4th was looking more and more like Tarantino’s year.)

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According to the Entertainment Weekly I was just reading in the bathroom, there is a big writers’ strike looming on Hollywood’s horizon.   Like everyone else in America, the Writers of Great TV (Vanished. Twenty Good Years) do not believe they are properly compensated for their work.   They are going to go on strike to show the Big Corporations how badly the Corporate Bottom Line will be affected by the loss of Great TV (Pirate Master.  Six Degrees. The Nine.)

The article–which I tried to find on the Internet, but failed–talks about how much ground the Writers lost during their last big negotiation in 1988.   But the really good part, the part that made me laugh out loud in the bathroom at 5:30 in the morning, was where this one dude said something along the lines of “now the Internet is here, and with YouTube revolutionising the distribution models we the writers no longer need Big Corporations to distribute our product.”

Ha!

That’s extremely funny.  Writer Dude, I can’t even find this news article online.  The Internet is a big place.  It’s a big place chock full of talented writers who are hoping and praying and typing their fingers to the nub that they even get looked at by an agent.   There are not many–if any–writers out there pulling down big bucks by putting their homecrafted sitcoms on YouTube.

In fact, do you even get what YouTube is?  It’s a bajillion videos of people’s cats playing on the curtains with purloined Dave Matthews music as the soundtrack.  It’s a vast wasteland of copyright violation–a no-man’s land of stolen work product doled out piecemeal.   All those  “quality shows” you have been paid princely sums to write have their funniest three minutes aired for free on YouTube.   The only people making any money out of the “YouTube Phenomenon” are the two guys whose idea it was.  They sold that enterprise to Google for a sum approaching the net worth of the entire continent of South America.   Google still hasn’t figured out how to make YouTube pay for itself.   They certainly won’t give you piles of cash for your sitcom.

Here’s the thing.  If you’ve been lucky and/or good enough to score a writing gig for Network Television, and the show you wrote is now being sold online at the Apple Store or Amazon UnBox, then by skippy you should get a portion of that revenue.  Absolutely.

But please know that you look silly when you threaten to take your ball and go to the Internet for big writer money.

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It’s silly to let your life be rocked by little things, perhaps, but oh well.  That’s who I am and that isn’t gonna change.  Eat the last Pop-Tart and it’ll make me cry (just a little).   Cancel my tv program and I’ll be miffed for two days.

So how do you think I’m handling the news that my Sunday School teachers have quit and our little class is being disbanded?  Not well, I’ll tell you that.   I’ve seen this day coming for about six months now, and I’ve not been happy about it.   I like our teacher and his wife.  He’s very good and I’ve learned a lot from him.  What I don’t understand is why this means we must disband our little class.

Southern Baptists (over)use a phrase for church involvement:  Plugged-In.   It bothers me because it’s jargon-y.  Like “out of pocket” and “tipping point”, it’s one of those phrases that communicates “We all read the latest Management Technique Book!”    When a person comes to church, much is made about getting that person “plugged in”–choir, helping in the nursery, going to Sunday School.   My email last night said that they hoped we’d all find a new class we’d like to “plug into”.    It makes me feel as though we’ve shorted out a circuit-breaker or some such thing.   There were only a few of us, to be sure, but we are plugged in.

Oh well.  Someone has unscrewed the outlet from the wall, I guess.   Time for me to find a new socket.

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Jeffrey started this conversation over at his blog, not knowing that he’d strike at least three of my nerves simultaneously. How can I ignore any conversation that deals with

  1. The heresy of the “health and wealth”/”name it and claim it” false teachers
  2. The death of mysticism in the Christian Church
  3. The complete misunderstanding of the nature and practice of Wicca and paganism

do you have any insight as to where the idea that if we “all pray together”, “pray enough times”, etc, about something that those things somehow have an affect on whether God honors that prayer or not?

Ohh boy. Don’t get me started on a tirade that will go into why I think Frank Peretti’s “This Present Darkness” is a hideous malformation of Christianity [1] or why so many Christians mistake God for a cosmic vending machine that just occasionally eats your change.

The modern church has managed to be both far more pagan and far less spiritual than it should be. In our rush to sanitise the Church from being sullied by any actual religious experience we’ve turned it into a cultural ghetto.

Our relationship with God is intended to be just that. A relationship. Paul talks of Jesus being our High Priest. Those aren’t just words. Jesus’ death created a mystic bridge whereby we humans can engage directly in a communication with the Divine; hence some of Satan’s anger with us. He strove to be like God and failed. We, ironically, have a closer communication with God than Satan ever could.

Unfortunately in our rush to strip all mysticism out of the Church, we’ve also stripped most of the power out of our relationship with God. We’ve turned God from a mystical communicant into a sort of sugar-daddy.

Prayer always gives us answers, but mostly by opening our minds to that bridge of communication with the divine. We aren’t to be praying toward humanly-directed outcomes. “Ask and it shall be given” is often misunderstood to mean that if you ask hard enough, long enough or loud enough for a car or a pony or a baby or a new job you will get those things–and if you don’t get them, well, you just didn’t do your best askin’!!!

That’s wrong. Very wrong. The act of asking is an act of engaging God. In talking WITH God (as opposed to yelling AT God) you achieve an understanding about what He wants for you. You may not get the car or the pony or the baby or the new job, but you will see how your life is a better one for you than what you thought you wanted.

Many of the “health and wealth” teachers of this present false age have seized upon this heresy. As a devout Christian with chronic illness I’m convinced by God that one of the very purposes of my illness is to act in testament against the false teachings of those who would say that you are only sick because you didn’t pray hard enough. Or that you are only poor because you didn’t ask God for money.

Our prayers are not about acheiving OUR desired outcome. They are about remaining in constant communication with God. God then gives us the eyes with which we can see Divine Wisdom play out in our earthly circumstance.

[1] Why I Hate This Present Darkness:

(more…)

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Ron Paul, Penn Jillette and I are all “Terrorists” according to the State of Alabama.

The Alabama Department of Homeland Security has recently constructed a website that defines Domestic Terrorists as those who oppose a strong federal government.

Funny, but I thought Domestic Terrorists were people who blew up stuff. I thought Libertarians were just people who wanted to be left alone.

Thanks, Casey, for letting me know.

UPDATE:

Apparently I am also a Godless heathen. Not to mention a big fan of rapists.

Libertarianism breaks down in the eyes of conservatives when the question is presented as to who has the greater right, the habitual rapist’s right to rape or the victim’s right to be free from rape? … Libertarianism doesn’t find much purpose with religion, as liberty and desire trump restraint and social conscience.

All in all not the best day for libertarians. I think perhaps we need to clarify our message.

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I know there are several nurses out there.  And husbands of nurses and wives of nurses.  And other people with experience in the medical field.

I now call upon your expertise.

I have a chronic illness.  I have three doctors.  A GP, an OB/GYN and a Urologist.  I see them as rarely as possible.

But on the RARE occasions when I call their offices, the nurses are always rude.   Why is that?   I’m only following my doctor’s instructions.   They tell me to call in once a month for a refill of my medication.  And every month I get actual panic attacks about having to call the office.  The nurses who answer the phone act as though I’m insane.   I only call them that one time each month; I’m not forever tying up their phones with this or that complaint.

I ask this seriously.  What should I do differently?   Should I mention this to the doctor?

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I haven’t written much about Leslie Bennetts’ The Feminine Mistake because I don’t generally care to promote the various books in the You
Are A Failed Human Being
genre. I assume many people are like me in that they are plagued with frequent moments of self-doubt and fits of wistfullness. I personally have enough night feedings of my worry-baby without some academic or journalist adding fuel to the fire.

The more I’ve read about the book over the last few days, however, the more I realise Bennetts has not written yet another diatribe against Stay At Home Moms, nor has she written yet another paean to female careerism. Bennetts has written the ultimate anti-feminist romance novel.

Now, I’m not a regular reader of romance novels, but I have picked up the odd bodice-ripper for a slice of mental junk food. I’ve also read the back jacket blurbs on countless others–especially since various publishers have been putting thriller-type covers on romances. (Author’s Note: How irritating is it to grab up what looks like a good blood and gore thriller only to have it be the tale of Chase and Mandy’s tryst in Majorica. RRRGH.) The comment element in a number of romances is the Road Not Taken. For awhile there we had a glut of stories where women in early middle age move back to their childhood home and fall madly in love all over again with their high school sweethearts. Then there are the women in late middle age who pursue their dreams of opening a chocolatierie or an Italian restaurant. Heck, I’ve even read books where BOTH things happen.

Women may have the right to choose, but it seems we are often unsatisfied with our choices. I think that’s part of the parcel of woman-worry, the vestigial remains of what made us good at guarding the camp while our men hunted. No matter how good things are, we will always think of what we should have done to make them better. We should have had another baby or we should have used better birth control to keep from having the expenses of the children we’ve got. We should have finished grad school. We should have married when we were younger. We shouldn’t have bought this house or sold that car. We should have blogged less and finished our novel.

In The Feminine Mistake Bennetts provides a pile of dry data and weepy anecdotes about why women should never leave the workplace. Husbands die or divorce you, the career ladders get slippery and crowded in your absence and financial catastrophe looms around every corner. Bennetts’ philosophy is that women open themselves up to vulnerability by opting out of the career market when they choose to raise children. Ah, for the road not taken! Just like a good romance novel, Bennetts spends a lot of time telling you how much better life would be if you made the ‘right’ choice.

She further claims that women’s lives are worth less because they sacrifice their earning power to stay home. Heh. What is life worth? How do we measure that? Is a person worth less because they make less? That seems to be one of Bennetts’ driving points. If only you had stayed in the workplace, your lifetime earnings would be so much higher! Nowhere is there an accounting for the value of a cup of tea drunk at your kitchen table between loads of laundry, or a tangible measure of the value of playing on the floor with your kid.

Over the years feminism has gotten very good at talking about rights and the value of choice. What’s the point? If we aren’t willing to let free adults make the choices which best suit them and their families, we’re just substituting one hierarchy for another. Now instead of being barefoot and pregnant, are all women supposed to be briefcase-toting pie-chart readers? I somehow don’t think that’s the best idea.

Husbands die and divorce no matter what women do. Life happens. Some choices turn out well, others turn out badly. It’ll be nice when we get away from the practice of pointing at other people’s lives and calling those lives ‘mistakes’.

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I think I may be in a bad mood, but I’m not sure.   It may be one of those moods that seems fine, but then after people spend half the day looking at you with that “geez, what’s YOUR deal?” face, you realise that maybe you got up on the wrong side of the planet.

I’ve realised a couple of things in this odd mood of mine.   Firstly,  Grey’s Anatomy is no longer a show about friends facing life’s problems.   It’s now a show about selfish people steamrolling everyone around them in order to get what they want.   I don’t think I’m at the place in my life where that can be something I look at for entertainment.   I know I said that a few weeks ago, but I really wanted to give them a chance.   They were in reruns for so long that I thought perhaps I just hadn’t been fair.  Last night’s episode really sat on my stomach like bad meat.   The whole ham-handed “penis fish” speech of Izzie’s was bad enough.  But Derek breaking it off with Meredith was a slap in the face to the audience that has made this show.  Now they’re just jerking us around.

The other thing is that it now occurs to me that Cat Stevens’ “Oh Very Young” is really a depressing song.   It’s got a happy little tune, but underneath the happy-jaunty music is a song about how we’re all gonna die and once you get old you don’t care about things anymore so you young people better make a difference.   Wow.  Bummer City, Cat.

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This post over at Bob Krumm’s reminded me of a rebellion I’ve been contemplating.

I’m to the point that if I see that Singing Cowboy ad one more time I’m gonna go buy a pack of the nastiest, most unfiltered stanko cigarettes and smoke em’ all down to their dogends. I, who have never smoked. (Okay, yeah, once I tried someone else’s cigarette to see what the fuss was all about and was not swayed. But I’m not a smoker.)

That ad is so cutesy and pretentious, especially at the end where they put the little dingbat over random heads of those listening in the crowd with the blurb ‘Knowledge Is Contagious’ under it. Seriously, who doesn’t know that smoking is not really a good idea at this point? I know people keep fussing about our immigration problems, but unless we’re importing huge piles of people from Jupiter, I really think that by now we all get that Smoking Is WrongBAD.

Do ads like this do anything except annoy me before various movies, imply that everyone who smokes is lacking in knowledge (ie.stupid) and just generally create a permanent underclass of people in America?

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So yesterday they revealed the Harry Potter cover art on one of those morning shows where people sit around with coffee cups and are far too cheery for anything happening before elevenses.

As part of the Big Reveal, they spoke to Arthur A. Levine who is the editor or publisher or something like that–excuse me for not going to Google right now to get my facts straight. (I always thought he was the publisher but I guess now he’s the editor with his own imprint. Go him.)

Anyway, Arthur A. Levine broke down and cried on the show,** and not because he was up far too early for mere mortals. He apparently cried because Harry Potter And The Everybody Dies At The End was an emotional and heart-wrenching read. I’ve now got much email in my in-box from people who are absolutely certain without a doubt that Levine’s tears are for the dead Harry, Hermione and Ron. It’s as though we’re all fresh off a viewing of Reservoir Dogs and have to assume that every story ends in all the characters splayed dead in a warehouse.

I think people are rattled because they seldom see men weeping openly about fictional characters on early morning television.

Regardless, I’ve still got my money on Hagrid biting it this time out and I’m not too sad about that. He can take his intermittent Scottish brogue beyond the veil and hopefully carry his insanely retarded giant brother with him. But if we lose Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville, Luna or Ginny I’m going to plotz.

**Apparently rumours of Levine’s nationwide weeping were greatly exaggerated as he didn’t cry on the show but rather talked on the show about having cried.    This makes me even happier I missed it, as I didn’t even have the novelty of seeing a grown non-preaching man cry on television.

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