Posts Tagged humanity

You stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!

Sometimes I just have to wonder if some people have any fucking brains at all. Via ajc.com:

You damn kids get off my lawn!

"You damn kids get off my lawn!" - Fucktard who likes slapping babies

Sonya Mathews, the mother of the 2-year-old child, told police that both were walking in the aisles of the Rockbridge Road store when Roger Stephens, 61, approached and said “if you don’t shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you,” according to a police report.

A few moments later, in another aisle, Stephens grabbed the 2-year-old and slapped her across the face four or five times, according to the report.

Stephens then told Mathews, “See, I told you I would shut her up,” according to the report.

I call myself a pacifist, but if that son of a bitch had done that to my kid I would have beaten the everliving shit out of him. Not so peaceful, I know, but there is a primal urge to defend one’s offspring and damn if that situation doesn’t seem like a good time to give in to it. Slapped her four or five times? And then bragged about it to the mother?!? Fucker is lucky he’s not in the hospital with the woman’s shoe rammed so far up his ass that he’d need to use shoe polish to brush his teeth.

If you want even more stomach-churning ignorant fucktardery on parenting, check out the comments here.

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Pass Health Care Reform For Senator Kennedy

I just signed this petition to honor Ted Kennedy, which will be delivered to senators on Monday:

“Ted Kennedy was a courageous champion for health care reform his entire life. In his honor, name the reform bill that passed Kennedy’s health committee ‘The Kennedy Bill’ — then pass it, and nothing less, through the Senate.”

Will you sign the petition? You can sign here.

Thanks.

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The “Real” Creation Story

One memory from childhood stands out as a pivotal moment in the formation of my beliefs. When I was in the fifth grade (I would have been 9) there was one of those Science Bowl competition thingies. The topic for my grade level was “Endangered Species”. Being the bright kid that I was, my science teacher had selected me to be a member on the team. Not that any of this is important, except to serve as a backdrop for this story.

The real Tree of Knowledge?

The real Tree of Knowledge?

Being part of the team meant that I got to hang out after school in the science classroom, reviewing the material in preparation for our competition. After one of these review sessions we were all standing around talking, waiting for our parents to pick us up. It was your typical classroom with cinder block walls painted a horrid institutional green. I was standing next to the bulletin board, idly examining the way that the wooden frame had been painted over multiple times, since the chips of paint revealed the layers. I don’t remember how the conversation drifted in the direction it took, but the teacher made an interesting observation. She remarked that some people thought it was possible that humans were really aliens who had crashed on Earth. The whole business about the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden was really a story about the crashed ship’s computer that had gotten garbled over the years.

I still have the pillowcase

I still have the pillowcase

Already at that age I was into the science fiction and had a huge Star Wars action figure collection. And Star Wars sheets, pillowcase and blanket. When my friends and I played Star Wars, I got to be Luke because I had blonde hair. So this idea of a space faring people colonizing the Earth was absolutely fascinating to me. It seemed way more plausible than the version that they taught in church. From that point on, any time I heard or thought about Genesis, I couldn’t help but imagine this alternate version of events and what fantasize about what really had happened.

Now, I didn’t actually believe in the literal truth of this alien story any more than I bought into the idea of an omnipotent being creating a golem out of clay. But it definitely introduced me to alternate ways of thinking about religious texts instead of just accepting the “official” position. This memory (and Star Trek) opened my mind to the possibility that the universe was much more fantastic and amazing than boring old god.

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Reminder to enjoy life

Sandra Tayler is a blogger I follow who is also the author of a terrific kids book, “Hold on to Your Horses”. Howard Tayler, creator of webcomic Schlock Mercenary, is fortunate enough to be married to her. I value her insights into parenting as we seem to have children with similar behaviour patterns. This post by her, Learning to slow down made me smile and brought a little happy tear to my eye.

I looked again at the silver head in front of me. There was a fluffy silver head in the passenger seat. I suddenly pictured them as one of those long-happily-married couples. I could picture him opening the door for her and them walking slowly together so that observers can not be sure who is lending balance to whom. Such couples have seen a lot of things in their lives and they have learned the lack of value in most of the rushing.

I hope to be there someday with my own personal Goddess. Read the rest of the post for some good advice.

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Death, depression and delight

I’ve been fairly silent lately on the intertubes. For once it’s not my own laziness that’s caused my brief absence. On Friday May 8th my wife’s 29 year old cousin died unexpectedly. My wife comes from a big close-knit Greek family; this was a huge tragedy for the whole family. We immediately left for Atlanta to help out where we could and just to be there for the family. He was survived by both his parents and his 5 siblings. No parent should have to go through the death of a child. Parents are supposed to die first, that’s just the way it is, the way we expect the natural order of life to progress. Unfortunately, life and death don’t always comply with our wishes.

It was amazing and shocking to experience the emotional shock this event produced within myself. I have a not-so-secret secret to tell: death scares the living crap out of me. The daily anxiety that I deal with is nothing compared to the existential dread that washes over me like an ice cold waterfall when I try to contemplate my own demise.

I really didn’t intend to make this about myself. At times like these we try to be there to support loved ones.  But I think it’s also quite natural during these circumstances to imagine what would happen if you were put in the same situation. When a death occurs, people think about death and about life and what it all means. And since I can’t peer into others’ brains and know how their thinking about it, all I have to go on is how it affects me.

I may have mentioned this before, but I have chronic clinical depression.  I take meds everyday to bring my mood up to an approximation of what a “normal” person must feel like. I envision it like a line graph charting the mood of an individual. You can kind of  find a baseline “happiness” level after normalizing the variable highs and lows. My own baseline is significantly below the standard. My peaks don’t go as high as others’ and my lows are much lower. The meds are supposed to bring my baseline up closer to where the standard is. But it seems like sometimes depression can overwhelm the meds and plummet me back down to those depths. I was shocked at how quickly the death of a close family member dropped me down there. I shouldn’t have been surprised, I suppose. After all, we’re talking about the ending of a life of someone in my family. It’s supposed to be depressing. I guess I just didn’t realize how it would trip me over the edge of what I consider emotional depression into clinical depression. That’s how I think of it, anyway. I’m no neurologist.

At any rate, the most surprising thing was probably the anxiety. I’ve been lucky enough to get to deal with anxiety on a daily basis, so I thought I had a pretty good handle on it; what it felt like, how to deal with it, what kind of effects it would produce, etc. But this storm took me by surprise. By that Sunday I was on my way to a full-blown panic attack. And the sucky thing about it is that one little intellectual part of my brain kept functioning, analyzing my reactions, trying to understand and deal with it but unable to take control over the rest of my brain, which was running around screaming inside my skull. I had never before experienced that kind of deep pain and panic, not even in the past when I would have panic attacks almost regularly. They didn’t have the same almost stabbing sensation of exquisite fear crystallized in the center of my brain.

The human spirit has an amazing capability for recovery. We posses all sorts of mechanisms for getting through traumatic events. My own crisis didn’t last for more than a couple of days. Not to say that his death doesn’t affect me still. I only mean that the irrational fear subsided after a couple of days and I was able to process things more like a real person. The existential dread has gone and now what remains is the sadness of knowing that I will never see him again and the empathy for his family who now have to put the pieces back together and maintain that sense of family with such a large part of it taken away. Even after all this introspection I’m no closer to understanding how I would manage to get through something like this happening to one of my children.

And so, delight. My wife’s aunt, the mother of the deceased, raises dogs. She had a litter of 14 week old puppies just waiting for new homes. Seeing the delight of children in the presence of a puppy has to help to start healing the pain, in some small way. So we came home with a new family member, a four-legged fluffy cotton-ball called Happy. And her presence does help pierce the veil of depression and bring back some of the joy in life that seemingly gets ripped out when a family member dies. And every day a new sun rises, new experiences come our way and it would be a shame to miss them, even the painful ones. They are what remind us that we are alive.

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Shuttle Musings

Mood music

It still gives me a thrill to see that amazing display of human engineering climbing to space atop a column of flame. I was sitting on the bank of the Indian River on the morning of April 12, 1981 watching the very first shuttle mission, STS-1. I remember where I was when Challenger exploded. And Columbia. We have seen humans standing on the Moon. We were able to watch live as one of our creations actually landed on Mars. There are probes gathering astounding information from the outer reaches of our solar system. There is a space station orbiting our planet. A space station. Think about that for a moment.

As a child I marveled at the night sky, recognizing it for what it was; the vastness of the universe expanding to infinity around us. I fantisized about travelling in space. Science fiction has entrenched the ideas of interstellar travel firmly in our collective psyche. And here we are, extending our trembling fingers into the unknown, reaching for the unknown, trying desperately to know.

There are many things happening in the world, some horrible and some beautiful. Human creativity, imagination and determination gave us the opportunity to actually see the entirety of our planet and it is humbling.

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