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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Killing In The Name Of

When someone discovers that he or she is infected with HIV, the person might be scared, confused, or in outward denial. When it comes to HIV/AIDS, quack alternatives can end lives early, but if the wealth garnered by folks like Peter Deusberg is any indication, decent people still buy into various HIV/AIDS lies.

Among the false-cure culprits are religious fundamentalists. The Synagogue Church of All Nations is located in London, United Kingdom. It is an evangelical church which the faithful flock to in search of cures for everything from bunions to the aforementioned retrovirus. While there are several churches that have reportedly claimed to cure HIV through prayer, Sky News caught SCOAN's Rachel Holmes in the act, telling the Sky reporter (who is HIV+ herself) that the church had a 100% cure rate.

The church states that after the person is healed through God, he or she must stop taking medications and is free to have unprotected sex with his or her partner. According to British authorities, at least a half-dozen people have died and several partners have become infected due to the church's message, which even includes documents stating that the person is healed.

Watch and wretch:



It may be easy to blame the sick in this circumstance, but I'd caution against it. Religion sells hope, and people desperately want to believe that a Creator can wash away what the sufferer may believe is a product of sin. SCOAN is a wealthy, multinational religious corporation with thousands of adherents- people who genuinely revere their God and want to believe that he can do anything.

If SCOAN was a clinic that dispensed drugs that its proprietors knew were fake, heads would roll. There would be arrests and fines and sanctions. The medical professionals would lose their licenses and the building would be sold to compensate the wronged individuals. But it's not a medical office. It's a church, and churches can do whatever the fuck they please, up to and including giving out letters stating that they have magically eradicated one of man's most feared infectious diseases through the power of prayer.

In every crisis, there are opportunists; people and organizations eager to exploit desperation in exchange for power and currency. If all of the recent scandals have taught us anything, it should be that religious groups and their leaders can be greedy, self-serving, sociopathic, and just plumb wrong. Faith so-called healing may not be as overt a grenade, but the result is still the same. Some people get rich and others die for the crime of believing a lie.

News at 11.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Visual Aid Of The Day

In Israel, a land of awesome foods and textiles, this is Chumus


It's cheap, delicious, and even has a Twitter account.

On the West coast of Vancouver Island, chumus means sweet, like candy. However, the word has generally lost it's original meaning. Amongst young-to-middleaged locals, chumus refers to this:

weed Pictures, Images and Photos

It's semi-legal, super-smelly, and is even featured on a license plate. (If someone can get a picture of the blue Plymouth with the CHUMUS plate, he or she will be rewarded)

More often than not, inhalation of item #2 will result in the consumption of vast quantities of item #1

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Process And Pronouns

As most of you may know, November is Prostate Awareness Month; however, some of you may not know it is also Transgender Awareness Month, and as such, I'm going to give you a quick lesson on pronouns and transgender faux-pas:

The correct pronouns for a female who was assigned male at birth/ male-to-female trans human: she, her, hers, herself.*

The correct  pronouns and their declined forms for a male assigned female at birth/ female-to-male trans human are: he, him, his, himself.

These are to be spoken and written as such, no quotation marks please (i.e.: "she") ; no dehumanizing pronouns like it sil vous plait. Most of all, if you use the term he/she to describe a trans person or deliberately assign the pronouns of the person's birth gender, you will come across as stupid at the very least, with the most likely interpretation being that you're an asshole. If you're in doubt, quietly inquire.

Most transitioning folks will understand if a person makes the odd pronoun mistake, particularly if you've known him or her for a long time and this is a new deal, but some will be pissed. Personally, I think in degrees of malice- if none is intended, I take no offense; if pronoun fuckups are repetitious and done to belittle me or emasculate me in public, I'm probably going to leave and/or avoid any further darts matches.

 Also, never call a trans person a tranny- the term is along the same lines as faggot. In many circles, it implies that the person is a prostitute, which is probably not the implication you're trying to make. Furthermore, if you think you "see" a transgender person when you're out in public, don't run up and talk to him or her like the person is a circus freak. Gender expression is varied, even amongst folks who were born in their desired gender, so you may be making a mistake, and in real life Jenny may get a little pissed if you tell her you think she used to have a penis. We don't live on the set of Maury Povich. If you would be uncomfortable with a stranger asking about your nethers, it's safe to assume that the person you are approaching would be as well.

  Finally, if someone you know is trans, don't announce it out in public. Transgender people are frequently raped, maimed, murdered, and arrested without cause. (There is an old study that stated that 89% of young trans people had been assaulted or threatened with violence. I think that estimate may be low.) Even if none of the harsher things occurs, you're publicly shaming someone and making the person feel threatened, and that makes you an idiot. Also, most people don't want to know if their hairy-assed plumber used to be a pretty girl named Anita. If you're curious about something related to someone's transition, address it privately.

  So how do you treat a trans person? Like a human first and foremost- like your neighbour or friend or kid. The person is still the same even though the exterior may have had a few upgrades.

  When we begin or continue to treat all people in a manner consistent with the way we wish to be treated, we further the growth of our species and pass along a little decency along the way. Whether we are fat, thin; young or old; male, female, or anything in between, we are all cells that make up the glorious human condition. And our actions are what determine how close we really are.

*There are acceptable neutral pronouns like zie, hir, etc. used amongst some groups of LGBT people to describe trans-identified people, but a lot of folks who are stealth won't dig them. Plus, they aren't adopted by all people; I am not a fan because they remind me too much of female pronouns, and I identify as a binary male.

Bullshit Pledge Of the Day

  The 2012 American election dickswinging parade is in full session. It's the time where governors fail to govern because they're too busy campaigning for another office and good bills become stifled by hot-button issues like abortion and gays existing. 

  And on the subject of the big gay threat that consists of roughly 3% of the population, the State of Minnesota will have a vote determining not whether or not gays should marry, but whether the state Constitution should be amended to ban it from occuring in the future.

  One of the groups that wants to ensure that Church and State intertwine is the inappropriately-named Minnesota For Marriage, who wants to affirm their right to wedded whatever while making sure your sister can't marry her college sweetheart. FMF has even taken to giving out prizes to those who are unfortunate enough to sign their useless hate pledge.

Just so you know it's a MONTHLY drawing, the fact is mentioned 3 times, with the fact that a month runs from the first day to the last clarified for those who may not have deduction skills.


Here's the deal- if your idea is so revolutionary; so awesome, you shouldn't have to give out prizes. Besides,  it's not like someone is required by law to vote in a specific fashion by signing one of these things. The only result of putting pen to this paper is that you're going to have to move to Saskatchewan to get rid of the crazy religious bozos. Once they've got your name, you'll be called upon to sign every Christianist wackadoodle pledge these yoyos come up with. They'll enjoy annoying you and you'll deserve it.

Just like those phony sweepstakes put on by timeshare companies, the offering of a prize is a scam to get your name on a mailing list. And in this case, you are signing your name to a pledge that attacks freedom.

This applies to not only this document, but everything else in life: If you don't take time to read the fine print, you might just wind up buying something you don't want.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Evil Is

Many judges find their names smeared on the internet, where accusations of corruption are permitted to fly with fairly little consequence. One such guy is William Adams, an Aransas Cty, Texas Judge, who has been accused of giving custody to abusive fathers, colluding with attorneys (one of whom is an admitted child abuser), threatening those who speak ill of him, and a ton of other things. This dude doesn't seem like the greatest cat, but sometimes members of the law profession are unnecessarily targeted. However, if seeing is indeed believing, Judge Adams is a genuine, festering, piece of judicial shit.

William Adams, like a lot of guys, has a wife and kids. Actually, it should be had because his wife left him after a couple of decades of severe psychological abuse and hopefully the had will also apply to his kids, because he's even more evil to them. See, not only does this foul stain on humanity make his living calling abused children liars, he likes to beat down on little girls. What you will view here is real. It is a recording of Judge Adams beating his cerebral palsy afflicted daughter for several minutes. His excuse is that she downloaded a video game, but it becomes apparent that he garners some type of sociopathic joy from inflicting suffering upon his family.

Warning: If you have an iota of empathy, you will cry



I know what it feels like to be this child. My stepdad was a brutal bastard and my mother's enabling was such that she denies everything a decade after his death. I know what it's like to utter "dear God, please stop" and get some more whacks for using the Lord's name in vain. When you're getting beaten like this, you're afraid that you're going to die. You can't just lie there and take it because whether or not you struggle, you're still gonna get strapped til the perp gets his fill.

William Adams is not just a bully, he's a sadist who should be locked up for a very long time with some very mean men. The man who abused his own and enabled the abuses of others deserves nothing more than to have his freedom removed, to be the rabbit among the wolves of the worst penal institution in Texas. A man who abuses that title deserves to lose all dignity.

Between you and me, I'd like to personally bootfuck the bastard, and I'm shocked that all of the decent men of Richardson, Texas haven't lined up to deliver this walking necrosis some real justice.

Vlog: Hey Bully!




The website I'm referring to, not that the bully needs free publicity.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The song In My Head..

..is for a tough young gentleMAN. And I am a fan.

Dylan Smith fought his heart out until it was his time, never bitching about his pain, just hoping for those who loved him to live on in his memory.

December man, I salute you.



Dylan C. Smith 1996-2011

A Picture Says A Thousand Dirty Words

These three winners are grad students at Florida State.


The name of the character that the potzevateh in the middle is dressed as?

Anne Skank, of course.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Great New Product

Animal lovers, set your eyes on this fantastic waste of your money.



The Thundershirt, sure to keep your freaked-out furbag from getting depressed when you leave him alone for a whole day without letting him pee. And it is bullshit.

It's a dog shirt, and an ugly one at that. If involuntary wearing of a shirt did anything to alleviate anything, 95% of Chihuahuas in Los Angeles wouldn't vibrate like they're palsied.

My cat is a typical awesomely entitled furry little fucker. He hates the vacuum, leaf blowers, and anything else that sounds like work. He is a man of leisure who knows his place as king of the castle. Now what, oh what, does Mr. Doda do when some offensive sound pollutes his precious and serene aural spectre? He gets up and moves. The laziest companion animal this side of Morris The Cat gets up and moves to a place free of the offending noise. This solution not only works for him, but also myself, because if I tried to put a fucking shirt on him, he'd claw my bloody eyes out. The cat would be 100% justified in doing so because he's an animal with an independent thought process, and guess what, people? So are dogs.

Also, did you notice that one of these trolls mentioned that her dog and others don't need to be medicated anymore? Dogs need to have their fight or flight instinct well intact. It's what keeps them from becoming a coyote's lunch or a tomcat's bitch. A Rottweiler is supposed to be really fucking annoyed if you stick it in a cage for the 12 hours you spend at work. It's also supposed to bark if there is a threat or one of the cows gets out of order. It certainly doesn't need Paxil or Valium or whatfuckingever. If you wouldn't medicate your kid...oh neverfuckingmind, if you would buy this, you probably do already.

Whether it's Prozac, evil shock collars, or the false hope that the Thundershirt provides, it boils down to a few things- things that are wrong with humans and not dogs. Humans are lazy and self-centered. We want to have a pet when we want him. The "perfect" dog must be quiet when we demand, tolerate solitary confinement for long periods, be terrorized by bratty kids without reaction, able to resist the temptation of delicious-smelling sneakers, and able to withstand any manner of psychological abuse without exhibiting any sign of distress. We reduce social, proud beings to vacant objects and bitch and scream when they show any sign of objection to forced servitude.

Companion animals do try to communicate with us. They struggle when we try to doll them up and become depressed when we lock them up. We deny them everything that is natural to them and yet, they will die for us. We take their loyalty and trust as signs of dependence and weakness when we'd give a man a medal for holding the same values. We learned this week what exactly can happen when a man sees himself as superior to the beasts. Almost 50 of the Earth's finest creatures lost their lives because one man decided for himself that he could have domain over scores of animals that would never naturally encounter each other. It was an extreme example of what millions of us try to do on a daily basis.

We need to stop trying to invent new ways to control animals and learn to coexist with them. We should be honoured that they meet us at the door and care enough about us to bark at the bear in the backyard. Bingo will go mano-a-mano with a Grizzly to ensure your safety and certainly doesn't deserve humiliation as a reward for his brave service.

My cat just brought in a snake, and I'm not going to give him shit for it, nor force him to wear a straightjacket. Why? Because he's not a fucking doll.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Robbing Peter To Pay Pat

In today's financial times, it is certainly difficult to feed, clothe, and entertain a family while managing to keep a roof over head. The once-proud are often found lining up at food banks and are increasingly living without adequate heating and comforts once taken for granted such as internet and telephone service. Today's poverty stretches across all ethnic and religious lines, which may result in a family simply not being able to afford their usual gifts to charities and religious organizations.

However, it is the lack of gifts to the church that Pat Robertson simply finds reprehensible, and here he explains his objection.



In Pat Robertson's eyes, poverty is simply a series of poor management decisions and not tithing is robbing God. But is it really? Churches were built by men and the gifts by common people to them have made some men, like Mr. Robertson, fantastically financially wealthy. Religious adherence has certainly blessed Pat, and I can understand his desire to see the contributions coming in, but Pat's not God- in fact, he's not at all like the God he professes to worship.

The Christ God was a champion of the poor, commanding his followers to feed his flock, that being those too poor to receive God's commands. (John 21:15-17 and many others). As we know today, children who are malnourished often fail to thrive in educational settings. The family that Mr. Robertson is chastising for "robbing God" is not comprised of thieves, in fact, they're obviously nice enough to at least ask if they can put a hold on tithing until they can afford to do so. Tithing is supposed to be a gift to the poor, and they are the poor. It is not supposed to be a collection fund for a mega-preacher's new Porsche.

It could be argued that the tithe is some sort of payment for spiritual guidance, but the Bible clearly states  "freely you have received, freely give". (Matt 10:8) Telling the poor to give money to the rich may be part of the GOP platform, but it's far from in line with the god that they claim to worship, and there are multitudes of verses to support this. Whether you believe or do not, a fundamental part of the Christ story, as well as that of many other prophets and saviour gods is aiding those who suffer. Good works do matter, and if you can't afford to give monetarily, you can certainly aid physically by volunteering at a soup kitchen or whathaveyou.

Pat's selfish attempt at guilting the poor into giving their last dollar to a church building is abhorrent. No God would command this because it's patently absurd. I sincerely hope that this person prays to their God and comes up with the answer that it's far better to be alive and healthy than to go into ruin mailing in contributions to people that Jesus claimed would have less of a chance entering the garden than a camel passing through the eye of a needle.

Pat Robertson is not a holy man, but an opportunist. He has made untold riches exploiting the poor in African diamond mines and right at home on cable television. He is the ultimate preacher caricature, telling the Good News with a hand in the pockets of those just looking for something to believe in. Rev. Robertson takes money from the poor and accuses them of holy crimes when they cannot afford the price for teaching that is supposed to be free.

Even though I don't believe in Pat's god or any other presented before me, I firmly believe that no person needs to be spiritually abused in the manner that Pat Robertson and his cohorts so blatantly do. If I'm wrong and there really is an all-consuming hellfire which awaits unbelievers and the cruel, I am certain that I'll be roasting alongside the evil men who steal in the name of god.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Holy Shit

When one of our forefathers invented this phrase, this is exactly what he meant.

How this broad acquired a PhD is a mystery that may only be solved by her BJ skills.

Quick Question About Grammar



With the number of Conservative men trying to establish combat positions in them, it may become prudent to know whether they are fighting over the uteri or uteruses of others. 


Personally, I'm a fan of uteri.


Discuss.

The Song In My Head

   I was 3 when this record came out, but tracks from Candy-O were still relevant when I was buying my own records. I'm sleepy, but this song will never be tired.

Enjoy

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Song In My Head

  How many of you smoke marijuana? It's kind of a rhetorical question; I'm not doing a survey, but chances are that you or someone you know uses grass to cope with pain or simply relax after a hard day's work.

  I smoke pot. I'll admit it to all of you. I don't smoke a ton of it, and sometimes I eat it. The weed that foreign governments have executed people for possessing doesn't harm me one bit, but helps me tolerate tremendous pain that has resulted from far too many untreated or poorly treated injuries and some not-so-fine genes. Additionally, it does help me unwind, and when I'm calm, I'm at my creative best. 

  When I was a kid, there was a cop who would come to our school to educate us on the supposed dangers of mind-altering substances. He held up a display case of pouches which contained all of the various things we were supposed to be afraid of. There was LSD and crack cocaine and Quaaludes out there for all of the kids to see, with the urging that one should rat out anyone who may possess them. And also displayed were the various cannabis products - grass, oil, and hash- all lumped in with the hard drugs that would surely cause you to turn into a schizophrenic or worse. Some kids giggled and others were truly terrified, but the message got across that drugs- all drugs- were very, very bad.

  Later on that day, when I went home, the phone rang. The voice on the other end of the line said that my mum and stepdad has been arrested for marijuana possession and that I was going to be picked up and everything. Needless to say, 10 year old me was scared shitless. As it turns out, the call was a prank orchestrated by my eldest sister Una. This was a decade or so before the invention of call display and her buddy had called from a payphone. So, I learned two lessons: First, drugs are very, very bad and, secondly, my sister is a sadistic asshole. 

  As it turns out, my parents did indeed smoke grass. My mum was a mechanic and my stepdad an electrician. They were normal taxpayers who smoked herb. And they weren't the only ones. A lot of grownups got together to smoke and bullshit and went back to their jobs doing average everyday things.
And despite all of the tax money wasted on law enforcement, incarceration, and ridiculous propaganda, they still do. Everyone from tired construction workers to the parkinsonian elderly enjoy the bit of relief brought by a weed that has been used medicinally for thousands of years. All of the fear of old has been replaced by an educated public that ranges from college kids to octogenarians who'd rather have a spliff over a scotch and who would like to see government money spent on  apprehending and prosecuting society's true meanies, particularly in these lean economic times. 

  In an age of supposed fiscal conservatism, Prime Minister Harper not only wants to stop attempts to legalize marijuana, but thinks his american buddies will admire harsher penalties for even simple possession. Under the new Omnibus Crime Bill, an AIDS patient who grows pot will spend more time in jail than a child molester, the cost of a pardon will quadruple, and mandatory minimums will handcuff judges and send people away for long sentences in prisons designed for violent offenders. What's more, Canada's facilities are already so beyond capacity that the Elizabeth Fry Society says they violate Charter rules regarding cruel punishment. It should also be noted that, while crime rates are at an historic low, the cost of Corrections Canada has more than doubled since Harper took power 5 years ago. And the tab could get high enough to bankrupt the country.

But Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and his parade of merry big-government Conservatives aren't simply content with tossing granny in the clink, but they seek new powers of Internet surveillance, citizen's arrests, and other grotesque violations of personal freedoms. Yes, if the Big Nick has his way, I could have my home searched simply for writing this post. I'll likely be arrested and incarcerated in one of those privately-run hellholes that you just know Harper is dying to build with taxpayer money. He'll get full blessing from big liquor who'll figure that fear of jail will get us all back to good old booze.

Big-government Conservatism is just as ridiculous as it sounds. It's oppression that's bought and paid for by corporations and their front groups. It uses fear and moral indignation to try and create a mindless, homogenized culture that locks up those who refuse to be subjugated. The new crime bill is not about punishing society's most brutal beings, but terrifying anyone left of completely batshit into submission.

Right now, we're seeing big government crush not only America's liberties, but her economy. Due to ridiculous laws and minimums, there are simply not enough incoming dollars to cover the tab. Penal institutions were never designed to be businesses, and the middlemen-from-hell that run them must be paid, giving worse conditions for more dollars spent.

There's an adage that stupidity is defined by repeating a mistake with the expectation of different results. The Conservative Party of Canada has a front-row seat to the big government shitshow going on down south, yet seem perilously determined to mimic the policies that have turned individual liberties into collective catastrophes.



Legalize It by Peter Tosh. Buy it legally HERE

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What CAN You Do Today? How The Terrible Case of Cece McDonald Can Change The Way We Think

What would you do if it happened to you? What if you were out for a walk with friends and wound up fighting for your life in a jail cell? You're a good person with a good life, but it still could happen to you. And what on earth would you do? How would you feel if it happened to you?

On June 4th of this year CeCe Mcdonald was a pretty, 23 year old college student. She took care of some other young people, had fun with friends, and was making the most of her working-class, African-American upbringing that wasn't always kind to her as she had been born biologically male. Still, in the eyes of her friends and the Minneapolis youth crowd, she was an awesome example of hard work done right.

However, it's when we cue to the next day that her life truly changed  forever. CeCe was walking with some of her mates to score some food when they walked past a bar. Three white folks began using racial epithets, as well as homophobic and transphobic slurs, many of which I would feel incredibly uncomfortable even typing. One even involved a reference to rape, one of humanity's most heinous of crimes. It was then when one of the folks then broke a glass of liquor on Mcdonald's face, resulting in a complete-thickness cheek laceration which went so far as to damage her salivary glands, among other injuries.

More people joined in, resulting in a dangerous brawl, in which Mr. Dean Schmitz, 47, died from a stab wound. It was stated in witness reports that he had began the verbal barrage and, along with his friends, caused the initial assault and that it's not certain who caused the fatal blow to Dean Schmitz.

CeCe Mcdonald was arrested the same night on a most serious charge of Murder in the Second Degree.  Initially, Ms. Mcdonald claimed to an interrogator that Schmitz lunged into her scissors, but has since said in a letter that someone else must have done the stabbing. Ms Mcdonald has since additionally stated that the liquor within the weapon was of a strong enough concentration to seriously alter her vision and that she was incapacitated by the blow to the head and doesn't know what actually occurred.  Despite the fact that a knife was also recovered from the scene, nobody else has been charged in connection with the death.

She was held on a hefty bond for months in solitary confinement and denied medical treatment for what, after 2 months of no intervention, had become a massive facial abscess. She spent some time in a men's criminal psych unit to be returned to solitary and has been returned only recently to the psych unit for her safety.

As it stands right now, she's reasonably safe, yet still in a psychiatric cell in a men's jail on $75, 000 bail and her trial date is January 9th of next year. The judge who lowered her bail a few days back deems her to not be a threat to anyone, yet she lingers, enduring harassment and intense isolation. Still, she keeps her head up for the time being, knowing that her kids are indeed paying attention. The media has portrayed this fine lady as a man, the courts have done so, and even the prison has. And in my humble opinion, it ain't a game, it's a crying shame.

I cannot even claim to know what it is like to a transgender African-American woman living in Bachmann's Minnesota. While I know that every time I step outside, I could be taken out, it's vastly more terrifying to be CeCe Mcdonald or anyone like her. In recent years, up to half of all murders of American LGBT people have been of transgender women. Throw in the obvious racism and initial physical attack and you have a situation in which Ms. Mcdonald had reason to believe her life was in danger.  If she stabbed him by accident, or if she did  in self-defense, or a friend did, or even a bystander did it, it doesn't warrant a hold for second-degree murder, and certainly not for CeCe Mcdonald.

The fact of the matter is that neither African-American, nor the gender-nonconforming are treated with fairness in the American legal system. Whether it comes to policing, incarceration, or prosecution, transfolk and people of colour are not treated the same as a middle-aged white fellow. We know these things.

CeCe Mcdonald was making a difference in her community, and was looked to to lead young people, and as she hopes for release, still inspires others. There are bigots and she knows it, and on June 5, she was physically attacked by such people, and one of the assailants wound up dead. It's a tragedy that anyone should have perished, and CeCe Mcdonald is highly aware of this, but the thing is, nobody knows who killed Dean Schmitz or even how. The State's case is all resting on DNA evidence that won't even be processed until at least December.

In this case, we are not simply speaking of evidenciary burden, but the conditions to which Ms. Mcdonald continues to be subjected to. Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity prior to and during trial. To begin with, trans women should not be housed in facilities designed for macho men. Some states have special yards for trans and/or gay folks or house them with women, which alleviates the some of the fear associated with detention. Either of these would be appropriate, and accepted by Ms Mcdonald, but all she's received is solitude and medical care that would make the guys at Gitmo bitch.

I have no idea why the entire LGBT community isn't losing their minds over a the plight of a bright young American citizen such as CeCe. I'm absolutely perplexed by the overall lack of media attention this is getting, and as much as I am sometimes bemused by the causes the major activist groups take on, I thought this would be one of them. In reality, all she's got are a Wordpress site and a hundred or so Minnesota college kids. That's right- no ACLU, no Advocate, nor screaming Jane Velez-Mitchell. Just a surprising and creepy quiet when it comes to the plight of CeCe Mcdonald, save for a few intensely transphobic blog posts.

 I hold no doubt in my mind that CeCe Mcdonald will eventually see justice. Either the case will be dropped for lack of evidence or she'll get her day in court in front of a judge and jury that are hopefully not as blind as the overzealous police and prosecutors. Hopefully they'll see a scared young lady and her friends who were fighting for their lives after being attacked on a summer night in South Minneapolis; they'll see someone who didn't choose to be involved with bigots; a human being in search of a snack and who wound up in solitary.  If they don't, they'll see a white man killed by what Dean Schmitz called a freaky 'nigger' and 'faggot' and she'll get 15 to life upstate.

Gentle readers, I do encourage you to further research CeCe's case, and if you'd like to support her, you can drop her a line HERE. Please keep in mind that her facility does not accept parcels. Just put 60 cents on an envelope containing some posi-thoughts to give one misunderstood human hope for a new and brighter day.

On what Ms. Mcdonald would call a most serious note, she was also supporting 4 youths who have since become displaced and they do need toiletries as well as larger items like beds. If you can help these kids, email HERE for more information. If you'd like to skip the fuss and provide a cash donation to help the kids, secure a bondsman, help with legal costs or medical expenses, you can wander over to Paypal and donate.

Empathy should be a part of the human experience, and just as CeCe Mcdonald has given support to so many young people, we should offer her a hand up in her time of need. Even if one cannot afford a monetary donation to every person who suffers from undue harassment or even incarceration, you can assist in reducing the problem by not engaging in bias against those you encounter.  CeCe Mcdonald never set out to cause an issue, nor would ever wish death upon the most jaded; for when one is still alive, they can still be redeemed.

When we treat those we do not know, or may not even understand, with the same degree of respect that we would a neighbour, we epitomize humanity at its finest. It is within us that the human condition does not have to become a disfiguring disease.

"Everybody should just be treated like human beings, no matter who they are." : Chrishaun "CeCe" Mcdonald

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Those who know me, know I'm a fan of dogs. Big, small, mutts, purebreeds- I love them. However, a special place in me is reserved for tough but misunderstood pooch love.




To find out more about the amazing pit bull, check out these fine sites.

Hug A Bull  My favourite rescue group, which can also be found on Twitter

The Working Pit Bull 

Pit Bull Rescue Central of North America

National Canine Research Council

Law Dogs USA

Sign Of The Times

In the heated debate known as church versus state, opinions can go to extremes.

With absolutists on one end telling everyone that they're surely going to hell and those on the other certain that religious nuts are going to cause hell on Earth, sometimes it's nice to see something that simply conveys succinctly what most of us really do think.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Facebook-Related Post Of The Week

For those of you who are freezing your balls off on Neptune, Facebook is a social network. You may not have an account, but you absolutely know someone who does.

The internet is awesome. I preferred the old MySpace layout (before it got all fucked up with too many Zynga apps), but Facebook is okay too. I don't use it often, but when I do, I often see people posting laughable rumours such as these generally grammatically-poor pleas :


FACEBOOK JUST RELEASED THEIR PRICE GRID FOR MEMBERSHIP, $9.99 PER MONTH FOR GOLD MEMBER SERVICES, $6.99 PER MONTH FOR SILVER MEMBER SERVICES, $3.99 PER MONTH FOR BRONZE MEMBER SERVICES, FREE IF YOU COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. WHEN YOU SIGN ON TOMORROW MORNING YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR PAYMENT INFO... IT IS OFFICIAL IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IF YOU DO NOT PAY.


Here's the thing, kids- even if Facebook were to shift to a pay-for-play format, a screen would ask you for money like they did with the $237 you spent on Farmville. There is no law stating that you must have a Facebook account- your boss might even prefer if you didn't have an account, so his wife couldn't see him drinking shots of a stripper at the Super Bowl party. If Zuckerberg takes the money and runs and they want to charge you for their services, you can do your own thing. No social network is vital for human survival.

However, Facebook pledges to be free, so your aunt can continue posting pictures of you when you were an awkward teenager. The story is fake so please Google something before you copy and paste it. There are viruses being spread this way.

Now here's the other type we're going to discuss today. It is the internet bedbug that nourishes itself on your sense of empathy:

15 year old girl holds hands with her 1 year old son. People call her a "slut", no one knows she was raped at age 14. People call another guy "fat", no one knows he has a serious disease causing him to be overweight. People call an old man "ugly", no one knows he experienced a serious injury to his face while fighting for our country in the war. Re-post this if you are against bullying and stereotyping. I bet 88 of you won't,the other 22 arent heartless and will.
Hi, my name is Amy Bruce. I am 7 years old, and I have severe lung cancer . I also have a large tumor in my brain, from repeated beatings. Doctors say I will die soon if this isn't fixed, and my family can't pay the bills. The Make A Wish Foundation, has agreed to donate 7 cents for every time this message is sent on. For those of you who send this along, I thank you so much, but for those who don't send it, what goes around comes around. Have a Heart. Put this as your status.



The first problem with this one is mathematical. 22 fewer than 100 is 78, not 88. While there is a theoretical possibility that the "girl" was using a fraction of 88/110, it just isn't likely. Next, children are not exactly susceptible to lung cancer- asbestos and cement workers, firefighters, pavers, and roofers, sure, but not 7 year olds. Additionally, brain cancer is not caused by being beaten. It is an insult to the thousands of children with traumatic brain injuries and suffering from all other types of abuse to perpetuate this fallacy.

However, the most grotesque slam is to the Make A Wish Foundation, one I personally dig. The amazing staff help kids enjoy what may very well be the last awesome moments in their too-short lives. And they're not the only ones who care. Between Medicaid, a request from Make-A-Wish and plain awesome humanity, most children are given medical intervention in America. Moreover, neither Make-A-Wish or Facebook would participate in a scheme where a girl's wellbeing was held hostage in exchange for promotion. Not only are you doing a disservice to other people in exchange for the chance to post some complete farce, you are potentially libeling Make-A-Wish. Think about that for a second.

Facebook can be fun, but please think before you automatically repost everything you see but not read. One day, you could accidentally post that the head of the company you work for is a jackass or that you want to kill all Latinos. It probably won't be that extreme. Mainly, you'll just look stupid, particularly when you don't put apostrophes where they are supposed to be. And the ramifications will be your fault because you didn't pay attention before cosigning something seen by a billion people.

Spreading false stories are internet cancer. And unlike the thousands of real-life Amys out there, we actually have the cure.

Your Monday Bullshit- The Unfriendly Skies Edition


 In a ridiculous case of Monday morning bullshit, mighty fine actress and musician Leisha Hailey and her paramour were kicked off a flight because they voiced their disapproval with being discriminated against on a Southwest Airlines flight.

  On the flight, the attendant noticed the gay couple showing some sort of affection and they were warned not to kiss because, of all things, Southwest is a family airline. You see, in the FA's myopic viewpoint, gay families aren't the real deal. Naturally, Ms. Hailey didn't take the blatant bigotry sitting down, and voiced her displeasure, which was apparently caught on camera. (I don't have the video, kids. sorry.) It was then when they were forced off the plane, just as Southwest had done with film director Kevin Smith when they determined him to be too fat to fly.

  On Southwest's website, they claim to be the go-to airline for gay-friendly travel, proudly stating that they are the official airline of GLAAD, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, and the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Nowhere on the site did I find anything that states that Southwest kicks queers to the back of the plane.

  While I'm aware that there are 3 sides to every story, it is still a surprise in today's enlightened day to think that an airline that makes so much bank off of the gay community would endorse an attack on any group, let alone this one. Besides, who knows how many average, taxpaying families their staff have put through hell before they nailed someone well-known enough to have a voice?

  I, for one, won't be flying Southwest's unfriendly skies. I also think that GLAAD and other gay groups should no longer endorse Southwest. While I understand that Southwest is paying all of these groups, it's not worth selling an organization's integrity down the shitter for some free flights and ad revenue. The question now is if GLAAD has the balls to stick it to Southwest.

 The honchos at Southwest are probably wishing they bought Maytag because they're going to need approximately 34289365 spin cycles to wash this stain out.

  By the way Southwest- your planes are hideous. If you were friendlier to gays, maybe one would offer you a proper colour scheme.
 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Yummy Treat: The Kitchen's On Fire Edition


Stoners and others, feast your eyes upon these. What I thought was a packet of toaster pastries was in fact a box of six individually packaged 'chicken' cutlets that you heat in your home toaster. A lady upstairs says they're wonderful, but she heats them in her George Foreman grill. Personally, I'm incredulous as to why these even exist.

Has anyone really thought this through? Although I realize the mechanically-separated chicken pucks are precooked, but they're still a frankendelicatessen item. How are you supposed to make sure you don't get Salmonella every time you use your toaster to defrost a bagel after you've used it for chicken ? It's chicken. And it's factory-farmed chicken. It either has salmonella or has been cleaned with ammonia. (or both) It's the shit your mum always told you to clean your hands after handling.

Anywho, you're taking scary mechanically-separated, genetically-modified, factory farmed animal fragments and sticking them in an appliance not suited to the purpose because you're too lazy to cook. And it sounds motherfucking gross. You can't disinfect a toaster without electrocution, or at least a very large autoclave.

Seriously, kids- is this what we have come to? This 'Chicken Krispy Toast' doesn't even resemble the animal which gave it's life for your fat kid to 'cook' in a toaster. The poor, dead creature doesn't even get the dignity of being waited for while safely cooking in the oven for 45 minutes.

This post began as something tongue-in-cheek, but there are obviously some serious things to consider when we even have a market for shit like this. We can't go blaming America here- Olymel is one of many Canadian companies who make millions annually selling us sodium-laden meat subsidiaries because they know that many people like their food to not have a face, or leg, or muscle structure really.

When you divorce yourself food at its fundamental forms- whether it's meat, or dairy, or fish- your body will stop recognizing it as food. And we're wondering why our kids are smellier, bitchier, and fatter than we were. Look at what the fuck we're feeding them! I'm not a nanny-stater by any means, but I am into people being permitted to be aware. Corporations will only sell what sells. It's simple- if customers wants something different, companies will adapt to suit. It's why the mustard they sell in New York is different from that sold in the midwest.

What we're talking here, though, is about a little more than the balance of spices. We're talking about what we ingest as a power supply for our personal powerplants. Oil messes shit up- it clogs your arteries, gives you kidney stones and does a host of weird things to your intestines. It doesn't build you up like protein, it doesn't give you the immune awesomeness that fruits and veg do, it doesn't give you the energy to run a few miles like carbs do. Oil's gross and it's present in life-altering amounts in most processed foods. This stuff has 12 grams of fat per single little slice, but it's far from the worst offender.

With this specific product, it boils down to the absolute absurdity of the concept. (****insert Showman voice***) "Yes folks, if horribly abused chicken dunked in bread crumbs made from pesticide-laden wheat and 4 other modified starches cooked in genetically-modified oil from a made-made species didn't sound disgusting enough, now we're going to tell you to cook it in a Chinese-made, possibly electrically iffy but certainly unsterile toaster."  It sounds ridiculous because it is. 

Today's Soylent Feed isn't made of people, but it's made by people, to consume and be consumed by other people.  It's crap but it seems all modern and convenient, so we'll try it just this one time, and we'll try the next brand that comes along just once until we become too lazy and useless to know any better. We have no business eating things that are determined to eat us from the inside out, but we all have the freedom to do so, and if you want to eat it, I won't stop you.

However, if one of you guys catches your kitchen on fire trying to cook chicken in a toaster I will fucking laugh.

the End.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Harper Government: What's In a Name

In an interview with CBC News, to be broadcast tomorrow night, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper asserted that 'Islamicism' is the biggest threat to Canada. While the P.M. believes that foreign Muslims are a threat, he also believes that homegrown Muslim radicals are something the government keeps an eye on.

The conversation with award-winning journalist Peter Mansbridge details Canada's international security situation, and while Harper states fully that Canada is more secure than it was prior to September 11, 2001, he still wants to bring back so-called anti-terrorism clauses that were in force between 2001 and 2007. The main clauses that were points of contention are:


  • One which allowed police to arrest suspects without a warrant and detain them for three days without charges if police believed a terrorist act may have been committed.
  • A second, which allowed a judge to compel a witness to testify in secret about past associations or perhaps pending acts under penalty of going to jail if the witness didn't comply.

While it should be noted that nobody from my knowledge was arrested under these codes, it is worth noting that, as the politics down south become a deep red, Mr. Harper's ambitions continue to become more grand. also, now he doesn't have a minority government like the one which he held when the laws were repealed by a unified vote of three other major parties.

But here's the thing-the average Canadian Muslim really wants nothing to do with Jihadis. He or she probably has average kids who go to average schools and hang out with other average Canadian kids. Muslims generally come to Canada to escape extremism. They may go to the mosque every week or once a year. They might buy halal beef from Alberta or snack at McDonald's. The mere suggestion that Muslims should have separate family courts was quashed by Muslims themselves, as the vast majority of Canadian Muslims want absolutely nothing to do with anything that might even appear to be preferential treatment, let alone Sharia Law.

However, the Prime Minister is banking on getting white Canada to eat up his fear by the bowlful so he can enact draconian laws to enable him to spy on and detain citizens without just cause. Under these laws, anyone really could be detains, but the likely targets would be Muslims and others with 'suspicious' complexions and/or associations. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms declares that all Canadians are to be treated equal regardless of race, creed, or religion. It too declares that Canadians shall have Freedom of Association and Movement. Unfortunately, we also have the Notwithstanding Clause, which gives the powers that be the right to ignore the Charter whenever it sees fit.

The more I think about it, the more Stephen Harper sounds like a Teabagger. Add in his alleged insistence on the Conservative Government be termed the Harper Government, his mishandling of those ridiculous G conferences, ridiculous security spending with matching tax cuts for corporations, and social program cutbacks and he sounds spot-on.

What it boils down to is fundamentalism. There are fundie Muslims and there are Evangelical Christians, like a fair chunk of the Harper Government. There are extreme Sikhs and hippielike ones. But, most members of most faiths are average taxpayers, free of sinister agendas. To be honest, we should be glad that there are fewer crazy Muslims than crazy Christians; the Muslims don't even have a political party and the Christians have several.

Stephen Harper is leaning further to the right because he figures that he'll have an ally come 2012, but if Americans look up and see what mayhem ultraconservatism can do to a profitable nation, one of the world's great nations, they'll see the Harper Government of Canada.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Educated Guess

 
Michele Bachmann does indeed tow the Tea Party line, waving the Constitution in the air whilst demanding adherence to antiquated religious models. On Monday, she addressed Jim DeMint's forum, specifically attacking the Department of Education, with this statement:

"The Constitution does not specifically enumerate nor does it give to the federal government the role and duty to superintend over education," Bachmann said. "That historically has been held by the parents and by local communities and by state government. To put that into the federal government as we saw a Department of Education in the late 1970s has eviscerated the constitutional understanding that the control of education truly lies with the parents."


  Mrs. Bachmann has experience with educational authorities herself, as well as the Constitution. In fact, after discovering that one of her foster kids' homework seemed too fun, she founded a charter school with six others. She was forced to resign in less than six months because the publicly-funded school was aggressively forcing a Christian-based curriculum down the throats of students in contravention of state law and the U.S. Constitution. 


  Anyone else think that she might just be a tad bitter? I mean, her speech was consistent with tenther-Tea Party doctrine, but last time I checked she resided in the United States of America. Personally, I think she's just a pissed-off, bitter beast who luckily stumbled on the perfect platform, one that parrots all of her old resentments and paranoid feelings. 


  As they say, timing is everything.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Michele Bachmann Is An Idiot Of The Day: The Phyllis Schlafly Edition

  Some days, it is really too easy to pick on GOP Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, but today is not one of those. Today is a necessary slam, not because she eats a corndog funny, but because of who she professes her idol to be.

  In a webcast, Representative Bachmann and Rep. Steve King heaped several minutes of praise on Eagle Forum founder and preeminent anti-woman of the last 50 years, Phyllis Schlafly. Rep. King lauded her for defeating the Equal Rights Amendment and keeping evil feminists at bay.

  Mrs. Bachmann chimed in with this lengthy endorsement:


"If I could just say a couple of words about Phyllis Schafly, she is my heroine and my example as a forerunner. As a young bride and a young mother, I read faithfully "The Phyllis Schlafly Report;" she was my lifeline to what was happening in the world.
She truly is the mother of the modern conservative movement ... I think she is the most important woman in the United States in the last one hundred years.
Whatever Phyllis Schlafly says, it's important that we listen because she's there on every issue, on every front. She is our hero, our heroine, our stalwart and I absolutely adore her. So God bless you, my dear mentor and the person that I hope to be some day. So thank you very much, Phyllis."
 While I encourage you to listen to the entire thing, I'll let you in on a few things about Phyllis Schlafly, for those unfamiliar with one of the most prominent anti-feminists of the last 3 generations.
Phyllis Schlafly did stop the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. She used popular homophobia and sexism under the guise of women's rights to convert minds and prevent ratification of an amendment that consisted of these sole points:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Here are some smart kids spelling it out for you:


Secondly, Mrs. Schlafly believes, to this day, that women cannot be raped by their husbands. In 2007, while giving a speech at Bates College, she uttered the following:

"By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape.


She didn't back down from the statement, in fact, she affirmed it in 2008, when Washington University bestowed an honorary doctorate on her. In an interview with the student newspaper, she reiterated her prior statement.


"I think that when you get married you have consented to sex. That's what marriage is all about, I don't know if maybe these girls missed sex ed."


  Phyllis Schlafly has all kinds of other crazy ideas too. From blaming the Virginia Tech massacre on the English department to calling for the impeachment of a Justice who voted to bar minors from receiving the death penalty, old Phyllis is the proud queen of the ultraconservative lobby. She also believes in men's supremacy, with a strong belief that men should avoid career women at all costs, and even the fact that women deserve less pay than men in order to encourage them to pursue their Christ-approved position as wives and mothers of many children: “we want a society in which the average man earns more than the average woman so that his earnings can fulfill his provider role in providing a home and support for his wife who is nurturing and mothering their children”.


She doesn't believe in women holding management positions, wage equality, or discrimination protection in the workplace for women because such protections might give women overtime work or promotions that interfere with her far more important domestic duties. To this day, the 87 year old Queen of Mean is at the forefront of movements against women's health care, gay rights, and fair divorce. 


Michele Bachmann desires to go to the White House with the teachings of her headmistress firmly at the forefront of her policies. Phyllis Schlafly is one of the meanest women in the public eye, and Bachmann wants to be a bigger, badder, louder version of her.


Between Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, the U.S. is inching closer toward  a theocratic plutocracy. It's all about transfer of wealth from the lower and middle classes to the wealthy few, but making sure that the privileged caste also adheres to rigid religious regulations regarding day-to-day life. It's oppression in the name of liberty, and it's the same thing that propelled the likes of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the true fascists of Europe into power. You cannot have rights if they can be taken away. What you have are privileges, and today's Tea Party wants to ensure that there are more of them for the wealthy than for the good people whose hard work made the rich who they are today. 


Next year, you will enjoy the privilege of voting with your conscience. It's up to you to ensure that the process continues.


Be well.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Song In My Head

Were he still alive, today would be Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday. MAN, time flies. It's been 20 years since the greatest natural voice rock has ever had died from a disease nobody really talked about. Sure, Rock Hudson and Liberace had passed, but to us they were old. Freddie was legendary, to be sure, but he was still highly culturally relevant when he died. Still, he withered away physically and denied the reason like so many others did.

Now, a lot of people I used to know are gone as well. A much as people will say that some deserved it and some didn't, I'll tell you that there's no "good" way to get HIV. A person sounds the same dying of aggressive pneumonia; Kaposi's Sarcoma looks the same, whether you acquired HIV from a blood transfusion or your boyfriend. Trust me- I've seen it up close and personal dozens and dozens of times. 

Today, people reminisce fondly about Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, but that warmness is not usually exhibited by those who have lost friends, spouses, or kids from the disease. Between Reagan's "ignore the disease because it's just about homos" philosophy to Thatcher's outwardly homophobic policies which made gays even more marginalized, a ton of people got sick and died horrible deaths in the prime of their lives. It took the deaths of people like Freddie to make people wake up to the fact that, as my worn-out ACT-UP shirt says, silence equals death.

Freddie Mercury knew there would be no cure for his condition, but hoped that his final admission could be of some help to someone. If the only afterlife is in the memories of others, Freddie Mercury's had a monumental life after death. Over a billion people watched the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, raising millions of dollars and opening the minds of people across the globe. 

For Freddie, The Show Must Go On. And it continues today.


Buy this on iTunes 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Yo, Believers : Letting Go Of God Part 12

If you're a religious person, you may not empathize with the irritations suffered by atheist/agnostic/skeptical folks around you; in fact you might even try to proselytize to them. You may do so out of genuine concern for their mortal soul, or you might not realize what you do, but every John: blah: blah-blah you send signifies that you have no respect for the non-belief of those around you. This may not be the intended result of your subversive preaching, but quietly annoyed we are.

Non-brainwashed people are expected to somehow try not to offend the deluded. We're supposed to smile and nod while someone rips out a quote about the evils of homosexuality from Leviticus and the next minute claims that it's only the New Testament that matters. It is the believer who angers if his or her crackpot creationist theory is categorically disproven by science. Creationists freak the hell out when it's even suggested that the story of Jesus is identical to Mithra and oodles of previous savior gods and there is no proof of any of them existing. It is always the potential offense of the religious person that it taken into account, even if said religious person is beet-faced and screaming at the top of his lungs that atheists are Satanists and that the only life worth living is one spent in submission to a god they cannot see, hear, or touch; one that loves him, but will send anyone to a screaming, eternal pyre for torture until Satan tires of him.

The thing is, I don't care what you believe in. Whatever gets you through the day without killing someone is fine with me. Your belief is actually of fairly little concern to me if you're not ramming it down my throat, and even if you try, I'll be generally patient enough to change the topic to something that won't cause you to suffer a cerebrovascular accident. I'm nice like that, and I can safely say that most free thinkers are pretty chill when it comes to what you choose to believe.

The problem is, most creationists I have met see my lack of angry reaction to their ridiculousness as a sign that there's a smidgen of belief in there, and this is a sign from god that they need to witness to me. But I'm atheist, which means that no gods or goddesses presented in storybooks have proven themselves worthy of belief, let alone submission to. Neither your preaching nor Youtube videos of Jack van Whatshissnatch will convert me to your illogical view of the world and the heavens. (Don't get too excited; I'm just referring to all of the stars and comets and things that have escaped from the Space Station.)

So, believers, just quit already. You are already sitting in the privileged position where you get to ask atheists a litany of questions per day, but don't take advantage of it. You don't see atheists hammering on your door when you are knocking boots with a hottie, so maybe chill the fuck out. If you stop irritating atheists with your "you may not believe in god but he believes in you" bullshit and unwelcome prayers, we may actually enjoy your company. If we do indeed have souls, mine is not yours to save. What goes on in my noggin or whether or not I pray should be of absolutely zero concern to you, because we are all individuals, and as I have stated before, I am not you. I don't need a god to tell me not to steal my neighbour's chickens; I have common sense and empathy to enable me to come to the conclusion that Bob would be adversely affected by such a selfish gesture. If all that is keeping you from lying, killing, stealing, or banging your brother's wife is the Bible, I'm truly glad for humanity that you do believe. Again, I'm cool like that.

In conclusion, take a quote from your book and love your neighbour. Love your neighbour for who he or she truly is and not for who you wish them to be. Stop trying to convert people to your faith and use the time to take a self-improvement course or go fishing with your kids. Live your own lives to the best of your ability  and stop being annoying, sanctimonious twits. And if you still haven't figured out what really frustrates your usually friendly atheist, maybe you should watch this.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Long And Winding Blog About Gender

I'm going to show you a couple of images of products that you can find in any store. They are manufactured by much-lauded toy manufacturer Fisher-Price and are designed for 3-to-18 month old babies. Take a few second to look carefully, because it is important.



Note, that the Saw and Hammer toys are for a"busy baby boy" and the Purse and Diamond Ring are for "sweet baby girls". Yes, you too can indoctrinate your 3 month old kid into a life of forced conformity- your boy a hardy carpenter and your daughter a twit desperately waiting for Prince Charming to put a ring on it-before they can even form words.

What the blue Hell is going on here?

I know that I may not have been your typical prissy girl, but I certainly wasn't spending all my days and nights waiting passively for Prince Bloody Charming to "save" me from having to work or whatever. I was Little Ms. Busy- zooming around and getting bumps and bruises and hitting my thumb with a hammer. That being said, even though I wasn't into purses or Prince Bloody Charming, I was a pretty sweet kid. I was reasonably thoughtful and kind and quite intelligent. You can even ask my pop, as he frequents this blog.

The thing is today we seem to have completely reversed feminism. We're not only as gender-typed as we were in the 1890s, but we're even more sexist. Sure, you might be Rosie The Riveter in your day job, but when you get home you're expected to change the diapers, prepare all foods including cookies for the school bake sale, (which you will be shunned for not volunteering for because your outside job actually means something to you) serve your "king" his supper in a lounge chair, take his plate away and wash it, etcetera, etcetera. Girls are allowed to be electricians and mechanics, so long as they're sweet and gentle and make sure that their profession doesn't offend Mr. Macho Man.

But it's not just girls who are gender-typed to death, as these products show. Back in the day, there were defined gender roles, but boys' attire was quite similar to that worn by girls. Boys weren't looked at too funny if they wanted to help mum around the house, and as they got older, genuinely respected women for being there. The roles were different to be sure, but men could brag about how amazing their wives were and would open doors, buy flowers, and shower their lady with affection without being regarded as "soft" or pussywhipped for their thoughtfulness. Nowadays, boys are pressured from shortly after birth to be hypermasculine and uncaring, with gentle boys even shamed by other parents. Real men in our age best earn a lot of money, listen to no authority, and make sure that no bitch turns them down or insults their machismo in even the smallest fashion.

I was having a discussion with a gent a few days ago. He works in assisted living units for adults and is working on a nursing degree. He loves to vacation in San Francisco and is a very gentle man. So we were talking about life in general and he mentioned the fact that he doesn't have too many guy friends and chilling with his wife's friends isn't some form of torture for him. He's a gender nonconformist, and I think being in the company of someone who also doesn't quite fit may be the reason for the conversation. So, as the chit-chat went on, I mentioned that one of my brothers was considering giving up his job as the manager of a furniture importer to become a nurse as well. Mr. Social Worker pal nodded and said that it was brave for my bro to consider the career change (said brother has also had the macho job of Corrections Officer), but that it's kind of a lonely (yet still rewarding) road for the gentle giants who pursue such a non-traditional trade.

Now, my bro Chris was a gender hero long before passing this new idea through his dome. He was a big and sporting kid who also happened to love ballet. (Try envisioning a 200 pound 11 year old dude doing pirouettes in the kitchen, and you're spot-on) Today's winner of football pools is also very content dusting or cooking or whatnot. He's pretty social and has straight friends and gay friends and some in between. His right-hand man, whom he hired, is a former U.S. Marine dismissed under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Chris doesn't care about what anyone save for his lady thinks of him because he truly believes that all people deserve to be treated with dignity. I think that if we're going to survive as a species, we need more folks like him.

We need to get to a point where we stop seeing pretty things and kind people as being weak. In our age, we still categorize everything as masculine or feminine, with the latter thought of as inferior. A girl born today can do "boy" things in many families without being kicked out of the house or beaten for it, with exceptions given to those raised in religious patriarchies. However, a boy in almost any family will be scolded or worse for even glancing toward that Barbie doll or cookset with fun in his eyes. And speaking of the cookset, have you noticed that the play kitchenettes we had as kids weren't pink? Try finding one today that isn't pink or mauve and you'll be taking far longer on your trip than you expected.

This gender policing comes into effect early, and kids do absorb it. From my nephew saying "I can't be a nurse, silly. Boys are doctors." to Larry King having his brains blown out for wearing a skirt, sexism is beyond alive and well. Girls are sweet, pretty, helpful, and less than boys, who are to be tough, bright,  active, and eventually insecure and cruel.

How is this fair?

This is not an attack on boys-quite to the contrary-but an indictment of our society which forces them to conform to unrealistic so-called norms. Your boy isn't weak for wanting to be an interior designer or hairdresser, but may just have stronger will  than the meanest linebacker. If your son-in-law wants to hang around with his kids and respects your daughter, he's not a wimp or undriven. Hanging out in the garage with dad isn't going to make your little princess into a homo. When we stop portraying our insecurities onto our children and those of others, we will have well-balanced future adults.

I mean, do boys and girls really need separate inhalers?


Thank you to Save On Foods in Victoria, BC for selling such a ridiculous product.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Your Daily Awesome

  Larry Powell started off like any other teacher a few decades back, and through hard work come rewards. Mr. Powell rose to the top of his profession, becoming Fresno County School Board superintendent. The job comes with a benefit package, decent retirement, and a hefty $288, 000 salary. But the thing is, that's just too rich for Larry Powell's blood.

  The 63 year old educator is quitting his job- for one day. He will get to regain his position overseeing the classroom experience for 195, 000 kids, but not at the same salary. Mr. Awesome will make $31, 000, just like any other teacher, because he wants to save preschool and some essential programs that have been cut. What's more- he's donating his statutory minimum salary to charity. Yes, Super Prof is working for the next 3 1/2 years for free. The move will put $830, 000 into his kids' art programs and other fun.

  So, why did he do it? The gentleman and his wife are both teachers and they figure they've been able to live the dream and will be able to live a quality life without hoarding their cheddar.

   When asked, he plainly stated "We basically asked ourselves the question, do you have to have more money  and do you just keep stockpiling it? And we decided that we didn't and that's not what we're all about."

  While I'm sure the move may puzzle Bill O'Reilly and most other rich guys with it's social idealism and all, I think that Larry Powell is close to heroic, particularly in today's day and age of excess on the backs of the poor.

  Cats like this restore my faith in humanity.

Where Have All The Children Gone?

  Remember when you were in school? If you grew up like most of us, your teachers were usually strict, yet friendly, and recesses were spent out on the playground. It was all about outside, where tougher kids might be playing rugby, fast kids played ball or tag, and quieter kids might read on the grass. It was fun and sometimes goofy, and even bullied kids like me enjoyed the break away from structure.

  Nowadays, children don't get to have fun anymore. Kids go to school, come home with piles of homework, are shuttled to ballet and judo practice, and come home and blow their minds out on the computer or gaming machine before collapsing for fewer hours of sleep than we ever had. Twice a week, they see the paediatric psychologist because they're depressed or insubordinate from the poor diet of fast food, Prozac, and little-to-no exercise. Kids get outside less because parents are afraid of the mysterious predator and schools are cutting out recesses under the guise of work proficiency.

  In recent years, 40% of American elementary schools have either reduced or eliminated recesses for various reasons. Some cite budgetary concerns, but many believe that the loss of fun time is due to overemphasis on test scores. The problem existed before the failed No Child Left Behind Act of 2009, but recess reduction has gone full-steam. And it's not just in America, but much of the highly competitive western world.

  Human beings are not hardwired to receive a continuous flow of information for 7 to 9 hours without a break. This is why most workplaces offer breaks to employees. More comfortable workplaces generally enjoy benefits such as better performance, fewer injuries, better overall mental health, and lower numbers of sick days taken. And it works in a similar fashion with smaller members of our species. Children who have no recess, or recesses-in-name-only that involve more schoolwork eventually crack. An overly stressed out young person may grow tired or despondent, with lower scores being the result. And it's no wonder that we have all of these kids with alleged hyperactivity disorders- while I know some are genuinely related to neurological or genetic issues, I believe that a great number of children are simply energetic and want to run around a field and chase the chickens like our grandparents did.

  By inundating children with too much information, too soon, and not giving them a breather, we will create some perfect corporate drones. We can use technology to rot their social skills and then dope them up when they don't fit in or when protest this absolute assault on their natural selves. And of all arguments that can be made, it simply boils down to the fact that all of this is contrary to our very essence. Despite what anti-evolutionists say, we are animals. If you look at the young of all high-order social creatures, you'll notice that they play. We may not always be certain as to why youthful fun affects the adulthood behaviour of various mammals, but it's clear that play produces positive results.

  In the western world, we get to choose our leaders; everyone from school board trustees to presidents sees his or her name on a ballot sheet. We have the right to petition our leaders for better and vote for those who have a record of caring for our youngest and most awesome citizens. Education cuts and miseducational policies are human rights violations against those too young to vote. In most states, provinces, and nations, a tax hike of under 2% would overhaul the education system to the positive, provided we get rid of these ridiculous overachievement standards and stop trying to raise a race of bored Stepford stockbrokers.

  If we let kids be kids again, I promise we'll get better adults. Oh, and boot your kids outside every so often. I'm pretty darn sure that will help too.