A Scene for You, and For Me

This I write for her, much as I used to do.  Now, I write this for all of you, to flex my creative muscles, which seemed to have atrophied over the last few months.  I called this a Scene, back when her and I used to write often.  I haven’t done a scene in a long time.  I am hoping to do them again.  After what happened yesterday, I just wanted to write this, so all of you would know, and maybe, just maybe, so would others, when our time comes.  When our days are done, and we can finally rest.  Rest for eternity.  That said, here goes.

Close your eyes

You look up at the sky.  The clouds of intersteller dust that are lacing the stars almost seem to be moving as you walk down the road.  The road is paved, and easy to walk down.  A cool breeze passes by overhead as you continue to travel down it.  You know your destination, but for reasons you can’t explain, you feel absolutely no compulsion to get there quickly.  It is like all the stresses and reasons that make life work have suddenly vanished, and you feel comfortable like that.  It is like you are all that exists in the universe.
A bird calls in the distance.  It is a sad call, like it is looking for something or somebody, but can’t find them.  The trees bow to the breeze, as they always do.  It always seems that the trees are bending over and doing whatever the breeze tells them to do.  Not very rebellious trees, are they?  Of course, where would one find a rebel tree?  The breeze keeps going, seeming to pick up speed.  It is directly at your back, which feels like it is somehow trying to urge you along.  Why would the breeze care where you are going?
Your destination is a long way from here.  You really shouldn’t have started walking there at night.  The parents used to warn you that there are lots of monsters out in the wilderness.  Maybe there are!  The moonlight suddenly appears behind the small cloud that it was hiding behind.  It filters down into the trees.  It bathes you in glowing light, and feels good.  Sure, it’s only relfected sunlight, but it still makes you feel good, and that’s something.  There are no signs of monsters in the woods.  There is a wolf, in the distance.  The two of you make eye-contact, but it just keeps going, not caring that you are there, which admittedly makes you feel a whole lot better.
There is a lake on the other side of the trees.  It is shimmering in the moonlight.  A breeze on the water makes the moonlight spread to all parts of the lake.  It is the most beautiful thing that you have ever seen.  There is the sound of a loon on the lake, calling out as if it were saying goodnight to the world.  It couldn’t have picked a better night.  Pity it had to go to sleep.  There was so much to see on the lake tonight.  The lights of a house on the lake are also going out.  It is a pity that they had to go to sleep as well.
You turn your gaze to the grassy hills in the distance.  The moonlight is bathing them as well.  You can see the herds of deer that roam the hills sleeping.  There is nothing wrong in this world tonight.  It is so calm and nice.  Where exactly were you going, again?  You suddenly don’t have the foggiest idea where.  This is an uncomfortable feeling.  It stops your steps.  You stand there, looking very confused.  It is like something has been sucked out of your mind.  The feeling is actually making you very uneasy.  Traveling a dark road, at night, not knowing where one is going, it is a very chilling feeling indeed.  There may be nothing wrong in the world tonight, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing wrong with your situation!
Suddenly, there is a buzzing sound.  It is coming from your pocket.  It has a feeling accompanying it- a kind of vibration.  You reach in and pull out a small black object.  It has a screen on the front that tells you something.  It is a message- 1 new text!  You touch the screen, and up pops a brighter screen- where are you?  It is a message from a good friend of yours.  He has been waiting for you.  That is why you were on the road tonight, going to see an old friend, and to have a good time.
You get a bounce in your step as you realize that there isn’t far left to travel.  Your journey is almost done.  The paved road is going downhill, almost like it is trying to hurry you along.  The breeze is on your back again, also trying to hurry you along.  It feels pretty good.  It is a beautiful night.

That was for you, my distant Valentine.  Of course, I doubt that you’ll ever see it.

Until next time, a quote,

“The only real voyage of discovery is not seeing new places, but in having new eyes.”  -Marcel Proust

Peace out,

Maverick

Embracing Faith, Rejecting Knowledge

There are a lot of people who get on me because I am an atheist.  For real, it happens most every day.  Nobody will do anything crazy, because they don’t want to get on my nerves, but they still think that my atheism is wrong.  They also get on me because I am a bisexual atheist.  But most of all, people get mad because I am very vocal about how religion is wrong.

Now, before you get all mad, let me say this- I am against organized religion.  Religious texts are filled with lies, misinformation, and bigotry.  But rather than focus on that, let’s focus on people who tend to believe these things.  There is one story that I would like to open with.  It is a story that I was told couple weeks ago.  I won’t say who the story is from, because I’m just not that type of person.  But the story shows something that I have been thinking for a very long time- that religion truly does encourage ignorance.

I have a friend.  He and I are about as far on the religious meter as it gets.  We have some pretty good discussion about the issues of faith.  He does not like the modern day atheist leaders like- Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Chris Hitchens, and people like that.  He doesn’t like them because, in his mind, they are hating on religious people and not giving religion a chance.  He says that they have a too literal reading of scripture and they aren’t taking the books with a grain of salt.  But the story about him, or rather, why he believes, is what I want to focus on.

He told me this story a couple weeks ago.  To be honest, when I heard the story, I was a little freaked about.  Not by the facts that he was describing, but the fact that he believed it so willingly.  He told me a story about how him, his mother, and his grandmother (I think she was in the story, but I can’t remember exactly) had seen a figure go over to a lamp, and slowly, very slowly, turn it off.  And that is the reason that he believes in God.

As you can imagine, I was more than a little skeptical.  But he retorted that I know him to be of sound mind, and he assured me that his mother was of sound mind.  He said they were all of sound mind, and then put it to me that there was no other way to explain it.  This brought something to light in my mind- when you want to believe in something with religious faith, you see what you want to see.  An invisible person doesn’t have to turn off a light.  It could very easily have been an electrical short, or a bad bulb, or the bulb ran out, it could have been many things.  Maybe the lamp was broken.  But his lack of willingness to hear of any other ideas was what interested me most.

Religion is about embracing ignorance, and ignoring facts, or skepticism.  Now, does this friend have a point that perhaps modern critics of religion are a bit hardcore about it, but I tend to believe that they are talking about the fact that even though you could take it with a grain of salt, it doesn’t READ like that.  Holy books read to the effect that if you don’t believe in the holy being that it espouses, then that being will fuck…you…UP!  I’m sorry, but it does.  You can choose to look at it a different way, but it doesn’t read that way.

Another interesting thing I wanted to get into is the fact that nowhere in the Bible does it talk about abortion!  For real, nowhere!  It does say that all life is sacred to God, but it doesn’t talk about the concept of abortion.  What pro-life people quote most is that all life is sacred to God, which it is, according to the Bible.  But there is a larger issue that a fetus isn’t a human being.  Rather than taking what was said in context, pro-lifers choose to believe that their arguments are valid because of their personal bias.  They don’t listen to the fact that abortion never comes up one bit in the Bible, they just say all lifei sacred, and ignore all the scientifice evidence that a fetus isn’t a human being.

The thing about modern religion is that people are losing the ability to believe in it because science has caught up to the world of miracles that they believed in.  Science is showing that there don’t have to be miracles for the world to exist.  Instead, science is showing that no existence of a God is needed at all.  So you see the modern religious zealots trying to go back to an old message used during the Dark Ages to keep faith going- fear.

I once posed a question to my mother, Sally.  I asked her, since she doesn’t believe in Hell, why does she worship?  That is my question to all religious people.  If all paths lead to the same ending- paradise, and nothing you do can stop that, why would you choose to go out of your way to believe in a holy being?  Why worship it, if all paths lead to the same end?  The simple fact is that fear is the key tool that religion has at its disposal to keep people in line.

Somebody once asked me- “why do you not believe in God?  Do you want to burn in Hell?”
I responded- “Since, according to the Bible, every great historical and intellectual leader is probably in Hell, why wouldn’t I want to go?  And why exactly would a parental figure of the human race possibly be able to justify being able to send an entire group of people to suffer for eternal torment?”

That’s my question to you parents who are religious- if your kid did something wrong, would you punish them for all eternity?  How do you justify that kind of action?  If God truly is like man, how would he justify it?

But the thing that actually first bugged me about religion was the fact that there is a need for a holy being- the afterlife.  Look, ladies and gentlemen, we can say that we would want to be in paradise for eternity, but I don’t think any of you actually realize how long eternity really is!  None of you, not me, not you, not anybody, can begin to wrap out little human minds around the concept of eternity.  It is a timeframe that simply beyond our ability to comprehend.  And I don’t care how much you love your family, and would want to be with them for all time, you don’t know how long that is, and you would eventually tire of them!  It’s a fact!  Nobody can stay with a person for forever!  That’s just too nuts!  The fact that people want to believe in it is even more nuts.

In my mind, it would eventually be that heaven would be like hell, because eventually, you would run out of things to do.  Eternity is an endless scope of time, and I don’t think that any of us want to really think about it.

I preach a gospel of not knowing.  I do know that if there is a force in this universe able to completely create everything, it probably doesn’t give a shit about what the average man does.  It probably doesn’t care about what the average human being does.  It probably just exists as a force.  The simple truth is that none of us know how the universe got started.  It is part of our journey as human beings- to discover the answers.  When people choose not to look, however, and not to care about the truth, there are not better people, they are far worse, because they open themselves up to being manipulated, lied to, and used.  And for those who are religious but choose to think openly about things, good for you!

But there are other people who are not so open, and they are propagating hate and bigotry, as is so common in religious books, like the Bible

Until next time, a quote,

“I think, a lot of times, when atheist point out that there are all these horrible things in these holy books like- God approves of slavery, or God sends a bear to kill children because they make fun of one of his prophets, or God floods the entire world, men, women, and children drowning, all because they weren’t worshipping him sufficiently, I think that stuff’s pretty fucking crazy.  And not all Christians believe this stuff literally, but that may be the point that a lot of atheists are trying to make!”  -Terroja Kincaid

Peace out,

Maverick

That Girl

I said in one of my previous blog posts that personal identity is important to me.  I call it a “button-issue.”  I have many button-issues.  Personal identity is one of them.  Another issue is keeping my promises.  For real, I am very serious about doing what I say that I will do.  When I make a promise and am unable to keep it, it leaves a very bad lingering taste in my mouth.  It actually does make me feel a weight in my stomach.  So, I have an event that I am going to tomorrow that I said that I would go to.  However, I am suddenly feeling a lot of apprehension.

The girl who asked me to go to this, well, we used to be a lot closer back then.  I earnestly don’t know where we are now.  I don’t even know if we are anywhere at this point.  I have had maybe one conversations (at least a two-way conversation) with her since what I call “The Fall.”  Since that day, I haven’t known what to think.  I keep wondering to myself- does that girl even want me there?  Does she even remember that I made that promise, so long ago?  Does she miss me?  Not the  most productive questions, I know, but still.

All day today, I have had some major-league butterflies all day.  I got to see her, passing through to somewhere else.  I felt a major upset in my gut after I saw her.  My heart started racing, my mind was completely shut down.  I so wanted to talk to her, but I just left.  I had to get to a meeting that I was attending anyway, but I could have said a couple words.  She didn’t see me, I made sure of that, as I left.  I just…I didn’t know what to think.

For those of you who think that this is weird, it is.  I am not usually all that disturbed by things.  This girl has given me butterflies every time I have been going to a place that I know she is in for a very long time.  Seriously, every time that I went to hang out with her, my stomach was doing some crazy things.  It would flip-flop around like crazy.  Every time I was about to call her, I felt my insides turning to mush, and my limbs turn into rubber.  It was like some force in the universe had robbed me of my ability to do anything.  That girl, she had a grip on me, and I can’t describe it. 

I think that I have fallen for her.  Believe it or not, I really don’t want that to be the case.  I don’t want to be longing after a girl that I know that I can never and will never have.  It hurts me so much, thinking that I will never see her again.  But every time I do see her, I only ever seem to hurt her.  I don’t try to, I swear!  I have only ever wanted to be a good friend, who could do right by her.  I have always only ever tried to be somebody who could be kind, and make her feel good.

It all started with me trying to find somebody that I could hang out with.  I have made some philosophical statements, but the truth is that it is actually as simple as that- I just wanted to hang out with her.  I just wanted somebody that I could chill with.  She seemed so kind and so nice.  That’s how it started, anyway.  For years, I had barricaded myself behind a million and a half walls that I used to keep people at a distance.  With her, I felt that I could trust somebody again.  It all started so innocent.

I think I realized how I really felt last Christmas, when everything started to fall apart.  The idea that I would never get to see her again, I couldn’t breathe!  When I confronted my subcouscious about how I felt, I felt so unbelievably ashamed of myself.  This girl was taken, and she had told me that she had been used too many times before to easily trust a person.  I felt like I was using her, and that only made it worse.

I didn’t know what to think, and to be honest, I still don’t.  But a long time ago, I promised her that I would be there, and I don’t break my promises.  I asked her if she still wanted me to come, but she never responded.  I am choosing to take that with hope in my heart, and think that maybe she wants me to be there.  I am going to go, and all I can do is hope for the best, and that her boyfriend isn’t there.  I hope she wants me there.  I hope she wants to see me. 

I know it all sounds so cliche, and it is.  I don’t want it to be that way.  I don’t want for her to suffer.  I think I inflicted suffering on her.  Emily…Valentine, my dearest friend.  I don’t know what to think.  But I keep my promises.  If everything goes well, good.  If it goes unwell, well, that sucks.  If it doesn’t go anywhere at all, I guess that’s how it is.  I made a choice a long time ago, that I would sacrifice how I felt for the greater good of our friendship.  Now all I wish is that my butterflies would go away.  That’s all I want.

Until next time, a quote,

“It’s just…I think I love you more than I should!”  -Kaye Canon, Love and Suicide 

Peace out,

Maverick

Brave Brave Brave Sir Obama!

I was one of the many people, back in 2008, who was excited to see Obama become President of the United States.  There was hope in the air, and rightly so.  It was a great time to be alive, and so much potential could be seen.  We all sat there, watching his victory speech, where he said that a new day had come, that America was going to be headed in the right direction.  He said that victory belonged to al of us, and we were all going to head into a brighter future.  He said these things then, but my question is- what happened now?

I don’t think I have seen anybody in government who is as big a coward as our President.  I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be nice about this.  I have heard a lot of people who are saying that he did the best he could, and got all he could get, but that is bullshit!  They say that we aren’t supposed to have battles in this country, we are supposed to work together, and so that is what we did.  Right and wrong!  They are right, we aren’t supposed to be having battles in this country.  We are supposed to work together, and accomplish things for the good of everybody.  But they are wrong if they actually believe that is how it is.

It is a war, ladies and gentlemen.  It is a war in this country.  It is a war between Democrats and Republicans.  It shouldn’t be this way, but it is!  We have two sides who are at war.  But it seems to me that the Republicans are the ones doing the bulk of the fighting, and the Democrats are always just bending over and taking it (up the ass).  They did so all during Bush’s term, where he made real legislation to actually strip away American rights (remember The Patriot Act, anyone?), or when he decided to get into a pissing match with Iraq.  The Democrats have so often been seen to be a bunch of cowards who do nothing!  Or at least, very little.

Now, Obama was supposed to rise above that.  He was supposed to lead the fight.  When he started his presidency, he had a super-majority in both the House and the Senate.  He had this majority, and when his first major battle came up- Healthcare Reform, he folded so quickly that it hurt.  He dropped the single-payer and the public option with barely a bit of resistance.  The fact that they also dropped the medicare buy-in was even worse!  Let’s face it, it was capitulation, plain and simple.  It was blatant cowardice from a man who said that he would be fighting with all of us, if push came to shove.

And it keeps getting worse.  The Wall-Street Reform bill was even more pathetic.  It may have passed, but it didn’t break down the banks to get rid of Too Big To Fail.  We still have TARP.  The new “watchdog” group, the Financial Protection Bureau, that Elizabeth Warren is kind-of sort-of heading up is a joke.  This woman, Elizabeth Warren, is the best possible thing that the middle class could have on its side.  She should have been heading up a watchdog with massive teeth who could kick some serious ass, instead, we have another toothless government group, like a million and a half other bureaus who are under-funded, under-manned, and aren’t able to really do all that much.  It’s a joke, everybody, and that is something that the Democrats and Obama all basically folded on.

But then there was the Bush Tax Cuts debacle at the end of last year.  I have made several blogs about this, and how these things should run out.  I was one of the people who said that all the Bush Tax Cuts should have run out.  Yeah, it would increase it for everybody, but when you have a debt problem, and a lack of money problem, like this country clearly has, you do what you have to.  But when the idea came to not increase it for the middle and lower class, but let them run out for those making over $250,000 a year, I was pleased! Rep. John Boehner said once in an interview that if he had no other option, he would have voted to let the tax cuts run out for the rich.  Of course, Obama gave him another option.

What kills me about the constant capitulations of our current Coward-in-Chief is that he gets all pissed off that people don’t just sing his praises, day and night.  That we all don’t think that he is the greatest thing to ever live in this history of America.  And he gets all pissed off at liberals!  He gets pissed off at the people who helped him get into office!  Now, most people were saying that the President did what he had to with the taxes.  There was little to no time, and unemployment was about to run out.  But he had methods at his disposal to bargain with Republicans.  It wasn’t like he didn’t have wiggle-room. 

For one thing, Republicans have NEVER gone so far as to let unemployment run out, because there would be hell to pay, and they know that.  He could have taken that fact, and broken them with it.  Instead, Obama did his usual routine of begging for more, and getting table scraps.  That’s how I view it, what he has gotten so far from his efforts- table scraps, the bare minimum of legislative dinner.

Now look, I fully understand that when you negotiate for anything, you start by asking for WAY more than you know you’re going to get.  That’s okay!  But Obama didn’t do that here.  He dropped single-payer and the public option like that (snapping of fingers).  He didn’t even try to put up a fight for them.  And what’s more, he didn’t use the super-majority that he went into office with!  This was not good, ladies and gentlemen.  This was a man who had the potential to make something amazing of his presidency, and instead, he has shown himself to eitehr be a total coward, or another of those politicians who is just looking at the next election.

But let’s get a differen angle of Obama being a total coward.  You know, Ed Schultz isn’t exactly my favorite political commentator on MSNBC.  I have always kind of viewed him as the liberal option to Rush Limbaugh.  Not in message, of course, but delivery.  He talks like the man, with all the same gusto as the man, and it kind of grated on my nerves.  But he made a rather good point yesterday, talking about how sometimes, even us liberals have to give some “tough love.”  I am a liberal man, and it pisses me the fuck off that I have to watch this happen, watch the man I helped elect turn into a worm.

On the campaign trail, Obama had said that if the collective bargaining rights for unions was ever in dispute, that he would, “put on a comfortable pair of shoes, and join you on the picket line!”  He said this.  He said those words.  Yet, he has been eerily silent since this debacle in Wisconsin has happened.  It is spreading, and he is still silent.  Oh, I know, he said something a week ago, but that was a week ago!  In this country, that is a week too long, and for this debate, that is a week too long!  We need Presidential action now!  Americans need to know that the man who said he would stand with them is standing with them NOW!  Not a month from now, not two years from now, right now!

But I think that may be asking too much.  I helped elect this man.  I regret that decision most every day when I listen to more bullshit come from this man’s mouth.  He folds on his campaigh promises, gets pissed at liberals, and is willing to call total capitulation success.  That’s now how I see it.  Is that how you see it?

Until next time, a quote,

“The economy is surprisingly simple- if the rich won’t spend, and the middle class can’t spend, the only factor left to keep pushing money into the insatiable maw of capitalism is the government!”  -Keith Olbermann

Conservative Stupidity: Pwnage

Alright, so I have made a lot of blogs about all this, but I have to speak up right now, because I have a firm belief that if we all don’t start talking about this now, we may never get another chance.  The youth of today need to speak up, because now may be our only chance.  We need to speak up because the collective consciousness of this country is really looking very dumb.  The youth of today have to rise above the weapons of mass distraction and start pwning conservatives, because they really need it.  That said, let me begin to show you the stupidity of the modern conservative party.

Let’s start with their rising star- the Tea Party.  These people are so pathetically insincere that it actually does warrant a bit of my loathing, which I give out quite freely.  There was a recent debate on their champion network, FOX News about how the Wisconsin protestors are thugs, and how they have never been that bad.  Yeah, like when they have signs that say- Obama=Hitler, COME ON LET’S TEA BAG THE D-BAG, SPEAK FOR YOURSELF, Real Americans Only Bow Before GOD, and a million and a half others like it. And this is just the tip of the conservative stupidity iceberg.

Let’s move now to FOX News, and their lovely idiocrisy that they feed.   I will only feed you a couple examples of how these guys are complete fools and unethical idiots.  In case you didn’t see the latest bout of dumbassery that Glenn (the Loony Tune) Beck has spouted, he decided to compare political activists to Reform Judaism.  He also went on to compare Reform Judaism to Radical Islam.  It only gets better.  When Lawrence O’Donnell called him out on his bullshit schtick and the fact that it is racist as all hell, he actually got an apology.  Well, it was sort of an apology.  He basically said that he said something wrong, but wasn’t wrong.

And this is only the beginning of the dumbness.  FOX News is a treasure trove of lies, misinformation, and stupidity.  The same MSNBC political commentator, Lawrence O’Donnell, made a point about how dumb Bill O’Reilly is.  O’Reilly has had a massive campaign of insults and pwnage associated with his repeated comments about the fact that he made statements that he didn’t know where the tides came from, therefore, they must have come from God.  It was endlessly and rightly mocked by every single comedian.  And then, when it was proved how dumb he is, when a multitude of people said that it came from the moon, or rather, the process happened because of the moon, he proceeded to make an even stupider video asking where the moon comes from.  Like he thought the rest of us were so dumb that we wouldn’t notice that he made an even stupider assumption.

And now we come to the best of all.  YouTube has been a bumper-crop of videos showing the stupidity of conservatives.  My personal favorites have been from my favorite YouTuber, TJ Kincaid, also known as TheAmazingAtheist.  He has produced a wide array of videos showing how conservatives in this country are just plain dumb.  One conservative YouTuber that he pwns is Steven Crowder.  Crowder and a buddy of his made videos talking about how the protestors for union collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin are “thugs,” while saying that the Tea Party has never been so thugish. 

Here’s a fact, ladies and gentlemen- conservativism is not in favor of the people.  When they talk about taxing the poor, it is American duty, while taxing the rich, that’s class warfare.  It is a pathetic mouthpiece for big corporations who have realized that there is a massive explosion of stupidity in this country that is just looking to be exploited. 

And the truth is evident in how they can spin reality to look like they are the ones who are being hurt, like they are the ones being oppressed.  Here in Wisconsin, we have a group of people who are actually in danger of losing something here, and for no other reason than Gov. Walker wants to get rid of unions.  He called his state, “the first domino to fall.”  Yeah, the first in an ongoing battle to stick it to the people who are trying their best to make a life for themselves. 

And on FOX News, even their hard news is bullshit!  They openly fabricate evidence.  They fabricated a story about how a train was “running to nowhere, from nowhere,” when it fact it was running through northern cities in California like San Fransisco and Sacramento and then go to souther cities like LA and San Diego, and just happened to hit Madera and Corcoran on the way past.  On  FOX and Friends, their lovely little worm Brian Kilmeade used a statistic from a USA Today gallup poll, where they directly reversed the statstics on Favor and Oppose for the new law in Wisconsin. 

Now, the fact that they are all idiots is one thing.  It is pretty stupid, and really immature, and a good laugh, sometimes, but there is a definitely more serious side to all of this.  The side that is actually a lot more frightening than people give it credit for- the side the endorses killing.  Now, this point has been kind of beaten to death in some circles, but I would like my chance to say my peace.  Keith Olbermann made this point hit home in a Special Comment that he did on Countdown.  In it he seemed to believe that he was the only one who was taking responsibility for what he said, and he was right!

After Sarah Palin was busted for her graphic being out of line, she said she was the victim of a “blood libel.”  When Joyce Kaufman was called out for saying that bullets were going to do the job of settling political differences, Allan West stood right up and defended her.  Sure, when Glenn Beck makes a nasty comment, and there is a potential of violence, he suddenly cries for peace, but then he comes back a few days later, at it again!  There is constant threat, sometimes implicitly, and sometimes explicitly that if they don’t get their way, blood will be shed.

So while we can all laugh at the stupid bullshit that these idiots spew, take a moment and realize that there are real consequences, and when you say to do violent things, there are going to be people who take this kind of stuff seriously!  And it is time for this nation to grow up!  We aren’t children anymore, you morons, and saying that you’ve got a bigger toy (more patriotism) than the other kid sounds really immature!

Until next time, a quote,

“So let’s recap- if you are a paraniod, delusional bastard protesting a false version or reality, where Obama is Hitler and low taxes are high taxes, then Lee Doren and Stephen Crowder will fawn over you like the megalomaniacal dipshits they are, but if you are an AMERICAN worker with genuine real-life grievances with your politicians, and you decide to protest, then these two morons are not on your side!”  -TJ Kincaid

Peace out,

Maverick

Personal and Professional Life: The Ultimate Lie (Cont.)

In my previous blog, I had talked about the fact that there seems to be a rather ugly world of spying that potential employers do using social networking media in this country.  It turns out, several of my classmates knew what I had to say about this, but I was actually surprised by the lack of support that I got on this concept.  I am being serious, I was actually legitimately surprised by how people were on the side of the establishment with this issue.  I actually believed that I was making a valid point and that people would back me up.  Instead, it gave me a rather serious and very ugly look into the way things in this country actually are.

I take personal identity VERY seriously.  In fact, I would say that it is actually the thing that I take the most seriously.  Ever since my accident, where I was on death’s doorway, I have made a point of not bending to anybody’s whim in order to secure some kind of future.  To do so always seemed Orwellian to me, and it is.  However, according to the people I talked to today, that is actually a perfectly acceptable standard. 

I brought up a hypothetical situation- if you were a boss, or a person who has the power to hire and fire people, and you are interviewing people for a job.  You have an applicant or potential employee.  This person’s resume shines.  They have letters of recommendation that are perfect beyond compare.  Their references couldn’t be better if they tried.  This person is the absolute perfection.  In fact, you can’t imagine hiring a better person.  But you look on Facebook, and you see that they have some pictures they were tagged in of them being shit-drunk.  Their bosses say that their work performance is wonderful, and that is something that happened on their own time.  So, my question was to them, and now I am asking all of you- what would you do?  Would you hire this person or not?  They are perfect for the job, but they have a couple of pictures on Facebook that you don’t like.

And the responses that I got legitimately depressed me.  One young woman, a young woman who I look up to and admire very much, and consider a very good friend, remarked that if this person was in the public eye, they would absolutely not hire the person.  If they were never seen by the public, then sure, but if he was in the limelight at all, not a chance.  And this made me feel actually kind of sad.

We live in a world where now people are going to be afraid of every little thing.  And where does this end?  If a boss sees a picture of you at SeaWorld, are they going to get all pissed?  How much judgment has to go into it?  One could make the argument that it all depends on the company, but for me, that isn’t enough.

You see, if I were hiring somebody, I can say that I earnestly wouldn’t care if they looked like a poster-boy.  I really wouldn’t.  Credentials and history and a sign that they are good at what they do are all that I need.  So the fact that people are so shallow and judgmental actually does depress me.  We are supposed to have our personal lives be our personal lives.  As long as your personal life doesn’t get into your work life, that is all that matters.  But now, thanks to the Internet, and social networking, that has past.  Now, employers can judge you based on the life you lead outside your job.

There was a question in my Media Ethics class that was posed to us- should a person’s private life reflect on their public life?  The context for this was that a woman was dating a cop, when she was on the police beat.  She never used the guy she was with as a source, and there was never any real conflict of interest.  But the question was, since he later became a conflict of interest and she requested to be taken off the beat, should she have told her bosses right off the bat?

This was an interesting question for me.  I was on the side of saying no, she shouldn’t have.  One can say that in ethics, there are no right answers, but I can’t see any other way for this to be a good thing.  If all of our bosses somehow need to know, or think that they need to know our private lives, should they know what kind of toothpaste we use?  Should they know if we like anal or not?  Should they know if we belch when we are at home?  Where does the line end?

Now, the aforementioned friend brought up that if the person is in the limelight, that is a problem, and Facebook or Twitter can be a problem?  So then, what does that mean you should do?  Tailor your life?  Should you only allow pictures of you that are perfectly granola?

In my mind, that is called creating a narriative, which is a form of lying.  For real, that’s all it is to me.  It is a lie.  You are lying both to your employer, and to yourself.  Who you are on your time is who you are on your time.  As long as you can do the job, that is all that should matter.  But it isn’t, and that is tragic as all fuck to me, because to me, personal identity means something.  Now, we have all these methods at our employer’s disposal on which to spy on other people. 

I for one won’t create a narrative.  I won’t become a lying tool, like all my classmates seemed to be in favor of doing.  I still have a lot of respect for the girl I mentioned before.  It’s just…now I have gained a new perspective, and to be honest, I don’t really like it.

Until next time, a quote,

“And if you have managed to live your life like the Dalai Lama, they’ll make shit up!”  -Sean Parker, The Social Network 

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: La Bohème

I had never actually been to an opera before tonight.  This was a completely new experience for me.  I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into this performance, but I am happy to say that I went to this one first.  It was La Bohème.  My cousin-in-law, Kyle Gantz was in this performance, and I am so glad that I went.  Tonight was an amazing night.

So, a little personal background, Kyle and I are pretty tight.  I don’t want to sound rude, because I’m not hating or disrespecting anybody, but Kyle is definitely my favorite of the spouses of the Broady family.  He is a pretty cool guy.  We may be pretty different in the things we value, but we still are able to have a good time when we hang out.  Now that I think about it, we live in the same town, and we don’t see much of one-another.  I will have to change that.  But back to the opera.

La Bohème was written by Giacomo Puccini.  It is an opera of four acts, telling the rather tragic and touching story of two lovers who, even after all that happens between them, feel that same love for one-another until one is taken away from the other in a rather tragic circumstance that made you feel for them.

The story goes- briefly, that a poet named Rodolfo meets a young woman named Mimi (who doesn’t know why people call her that).  The two are quickly smitten with one-another, and a love starts that ends so tragically.  After a while, Rodolfo becomes horribly jealous.  However, this jealousy is a smokescreen for how he really feels.  Rodolfo knows that Mimi is terribly sick, and fears that she will soon perish.  The two break up, and for a time, he seems to be back on his feet.  Sure, he is saddened, and wishes she would return, but he is getting by.  However, he finds out that she left the man that she had gone with, and her illness had gotten worse.  She arrives at Rodolfo’s home, only to die there.  It is a tragic tale, marked by some brilliant Italian song.

One of the things that struck me as most entertaining about this was the fact that the most normal sounding conversations came to life not because of the way they were said, but because of the fact that they were music, and the music sounded beautiful to hear.  From Kyle’s character, Schaunard, telling of his exploits to get lots of money from an Englishman, to Marcello and his lover, Musetta fighting, they are told in the same wonderfully expressive way, and it is a joy to hear.  There was a wonderful mixture of humor and tragedy.  It isn’t often that these two concepts can come together without the whole performance not seeming to make any kind of real connection.

As I saw things, this was an amazing performance.  It is always cool to see Kyle on stage.  He always seems to be having a great time.  In this, his character seemed kind of whimsical and never seemed to take too especially much seriously.  Rather, he seemed to like the more entertaining things in life.  The vast contrast between romantic stories is also part of the joy of this.  Rodolfo and Mimi are so tragically bound, and hearing their story makes you want to reach out them and take their pains away.  However, this is in direct contrast with Marcella and Musetta, who are hating on one-another.  Musetta is a hopeless flirt, and this doesn’t bode well with Marcella at all.  The contrast of humor and tragedy is almost a little much at times, because during one scene, these two concepts are over-lapping.  They did manage to pull it off, however.

The fact that an opera is in a different language has never been much of an issue for me.  Subtitles have never been a problem, and I honestly liked and could figure out what they were talking about from how they were saying things and what their actions were.  I actually like things in different languages.  Things are so easy to gauge when they are in English.  You hear and actor speak, and it is pretty easy to follow.  Foreign languages, however, have a lot of nuance, and they are pretty intriguing.  It actually leaves it a bit in your own mind, to figure out what you think they were saying, and what the feeling was behind it.

This was my first opera, and I hope to be the first of many.  Kyle was fantastic, as was the entire cast.  It wasn’t the long, and part of me wishes it had been longer.  It seems that most of the live performances that I have seen lately are that way.

Until next time, a quote,

“Theater is, of course, a reflection of life.”  -H.R. Inge

Peace out,

Maverick

Professional and Personal Life: The Ultimate Lie

I got to have a guest speaker in my Research Methods class.  It was a very involved lecture, and for the most part, kind of dull, but then I got to the part that actually hurt my feelings.  It hurt me as a person, because what was said was basically heartless in the worst way.  It showed me a very horrible truth- that it doesn’t really matter.  Your personal and professional life are not completely mixed.  Thanks to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, employers can now judge you before even meeting you, and they can basically show you the door before even giving you a chance.  Whether or not you are qualified to do a job means nothing.  I have never felt so depressed.

I have come a long way, since I was an invalid in the hospital, barely clinging to life.  After today’s events, I wish that I had stayed in that coma.  I was happy there.  I had nothing but time, sure, but it was time well-spent.  I miss the tranquility, the peace of mind that I had in that place.  Sure, I split my own sub-conscious in half so I had somebody that I could talk to, but otherwise, it was pretty nice.  The second mind that I made in that place is actually quite the companion, and I value the council that comes with it.

For a long time, I have been working really hard, to get back to the place that I wanted to be, to get back on my feet and to be working toward a better future.  It has been hell, getting back on my feet.  And now, now that I am back, and now that I am working toward that future, I get to find out that it is all just a farce.  People who have the power to hire and fire people can basically write you off by seeing a picture that they don’t like of you on Facebook.  It is that simple.  People who are supposed to be looking out for their employees are doing nothing more than just making judgments and not getting the facts.  Does it matter if they can do the job?  Are they qualified?  Do they have the skills needed?  Apparently, that doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that you don’t see a picture of them out at a party on their fucking time.

This just pisses me off.  And I, for one, am not going to be a part of it.  I can only be me.  I can’t be anybody else.  I am pretty happy with this guy that I have become.  And if an employer is judging me for what I do on my time, not in any kind of professional capacity, and writing me off because it, well then, I guess that’s just how goes.  When I am at a job, I am completely professional, but this is my time.  This is my life.  This is who I am.  If employers don’t like it, then I guess that is their problem.  Yes, this particular blog may lose me a lot of opportunities, but you know what, I don’t care!  I am me, and I am damn-proud of this guy that I have become!  I have come a long way since I was an invalid in the hospital.

Not to mention that pathetic hypocrisy of employers who write a person off because of a picture.  I can tell you now that if I met a potential employee and I saw a picture of him smashed at a party that he was at on his time, I would think that he was having a good time, and that that was a good thing.  As long as he is able to do the job, and does the job to the expectations that I have laid out, what they do on their time is their business.

And to those of you who say that what they do on their time reflects on the company- fuck you!  If a person goes out to dinner at a weird restaurant, that doesn’t mean anything.  Does it mean something if they have anal sex with the person they are with?  If we are judging a person by what they do on their time then why not judge them based on if they are heterosexual or not?  Or hey, why not judge them by if they are having sex with a different ethnicity?  Why not judge them based on if they drive a Volvo or not?  Or right, because if you do those things, it’s called DISCRIMINATION!  That’s right, discrimination, you stupid bastards!  It’s called discriminating against somebody else for something that means nothing at all.

I feel so heartbroken right now.  This is just a new way for people’s prejudices to invade the workplace.  I think that’s just how it is.  Whether you can do a job or not means nothing anymore.  Now, all it is means is for you to be able to just wear a smile and live your personal life to a standard that the company you work for finds acceptable.  And what do you really learn from the picture that you see of people on their time?  You see a picture of me in a really nice car, does that mean that I am rich?  Of course it doesn’t, I am definitely not obscenely rich.  It would mean that there is a picture of me in a nice car.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is just pathetic, and we have employers who are coming to classrooms saying that you have to “proofread” your personal life.  That woman made me sick.  She really did.  If I could remember her name, I would be loathing it.  I won’t say it here, because unlike her, I don’t think the internet should be used to judge a person’s character.  I have learned the the reasoning behind what people do is how to judge them.  That woman, she had very bad reasons behind her judgments.  That does say something. 

Until next time, a quote,

“All employees have to put up with their bosses crap!”  -Robert Chase, House md 

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (VPA Production)

So, for my Drama class, I have to go see and review two plays.  I went to the first one of these last Friday.  It was a very pleasant performance, and for the most part, I was very satisfied.  I actually love seeing plays.  I also love the story One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was written back in 1962 by Ken Kesey. 

This play and the original novel were about a man who was admitted to a mental hospital.  His name was Randle Patrick McMurphy.  He was a whimsical and very laid-back, yet animated character who took almost nothing seriously at the beginning, but eventually went on a crusade to save this mental hospital from the insanity and the tyranny of the Big Nurse (as Chief Bromden calls her) aka. Nurse Ratched.  The story of the war between this new patient and the Big Nurse is a powerful symbol of what all of the people in this country should strive for- to fight injustice and try to make a better future.

The characters in this play were very well-cast and very well-performed.  They had Theron Bair as Chier Bromden.  A character who almost never speaks, he has been watching the inner workings of the hospital for a long time.  It is kind of interesting how the VPA used a series of recording instead of Bromden himself speaking his mental monologues.  The character would stand in dark light, and the recordings would play.  It was very authentic, like he was removed from reality.  I personally like that character most in the book and in this play.  The man that they had playing him was a titan who easily fit the description of what Bromden was supposed to look like.  He also did his final escape scene very well, when he tore the panel off the wall and threw it out the window, running into the night.

The man who played McMurphy was Ted Carney.  Everthing about this guy just screamed that he was perfect for the role.  His accent was fun, he was as animated as the character you expected him to be.  He could have given Jack Nicholson a run for his money (that sounds like hyperbole, but it actually isn’t).  The torment of his inner struggle to realize his goal of freeing these people looked real, and when his end came, you felt real sadness for the fall of a good man, but respect, for hte good that he was able to accomplish. 

Another character that I want to mention was played by a friend of mine.  The character is Candi Starr, and she was played by an old friend of mine, Kayleigh Brozik.  I hadn’t seen her in a play since back when we were in high school together and she was in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which was also fun.  She did the job well of a rather bizarre hooker, whose loyalty was rather unclear.  It seemed that she was like most girls, and just wanted to have fun.  I caught up with Kayleigh after the show and she said that she had had a lot of fun playing the role, and I think she did a wonderful job.

The rest of the characters were well-acted.  The Big Nurse was played by a woman who did the role so well that I could almost see her in the story when I read it (I re-read it over the weekend).  She was cold, brutal, emotionless, and seemed to have complete control over the entire hospital.  The scene where she was chastizing Bibbit after he slept with Candi was almost heart-breaking.  You actually felt that McMurphy had done the right thing when he tried to choke her.  She was played by Bianca Purcell, and she did a great job.

The story that was told was one of a war between the forces of a man who initially just wanted to take the easy way out, but eventually found strength within himself that he didn’t actually realize he had.  He saved all of the patients from despair and gave them all back their inner strength.  It was well-performed and I actually was sad that it was as short as it was.  But it was wonderful for the time that it was, and I am glad that this was the first play that I got to review for my Drama class.  I got to see it on opening night, which is, in my opinion, the best show of all.

See the play, and I hope you enjoy.  It is at the Machetanz Theater in Wasilla, Ak.  I hope you enjoy!

Until next time, a quote,

“How can I be big, if you can’t be?!”  -Chief Bromden

Peace out,

Maverick

Islam is NOT the Enemy!

Alright, I have to talk about something that I take a tad bit serious.  In fact, I take it very seriously.  I take this very seriously because it is time for the things that have been said about this topic to STOP!  It is time for America to grow up a little and realize that our country is not some kind of morally superior hub.  And we also need to stop talking about all of Islam like the entirety of the people who worship it are all monsters.  Ladies and gentlemen, this kind of talking is socially corrosive bullshit.

I love this video done by my favorite YouTuber, Terroja Kincaid.  I don’t know if any of you remember the old issue that was going down in New York City last summer, about what was delightfully termed by FOX News as the “9/11 Mosque.”  It was a stupid and pointless issue that brought a lot of what this nation’s right stands for.  Unfortunately, I have actually met people on the left who are of a similar persuasion in their thoughts about Islam.

What people in this country don’t seem to understand is that they are all glorious hypocrites about these beliefs.  The same people who judge all of Islam based on the actions of Al-Quaeda do NOT judge all of Christianity by the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church.  For those of you who don’t know who they are, they are a Christian group who goes around picketing at soldier’s funerals, homosexual gatherings and funerals of famous LGBT people, and basically think that God hates America and how everybody who is a soldier, LGBT, Jewish, and that list goes on and on, deserves to burn in hell for all time!  These people are assholes because that is what they choose to believe and go about telling grieving families that their child will burn for all eternity.  They also bank on it.

That is their little trick, they protest until the people they are protesting against get mad, and then, when they react and make a move against them (usually violent), they sue them for all they are worth.  It has made this group obscenely rich, and they deserve to be condemned for their actions.  But people don’t judge all of the Christian faith by their actions, which is important to recognize because it makes this nation look like a glorious bunch of hypocrits about how we have deal with the issue of Muslim extremists. 

The issue of the “9/11 Mosque” was complete bullshit.  We got to see far too many people come out in support of not allowing it to be up.  I take Terroja’s side when I say that not only did those people have the right to build their community center near Ground Zero, they would have had the right to build it on Ground Zero if they had owned the land.  This wasn’t about petty emotional stuff like Ground Zero, it was about bigotry.  And now we are seeing this country head down another tangent of this again with what is happening in the Middle East.

The Middle Eastern nations are heading toward democracy.  It is truly that simple.  The work of some young people in Egypt to begin a PEACEFUL revolution to thrown down a tyrant has inspired other nations to take up the call.  The biggest story about this is what is happening in Libya, and their own peaceful revolt against the government.  Recently, the Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi ordered his military to begin firing upon the crowd.  I was incredibly proud to see some of the soldiers refusing to take part and defecting to Malta.  It is a sign of good things to come in the Middle East.

Of course, FOX News has decided to have their own angle on it.  In case you haven’t seen the circus on their channel about what is happening, apparently this is a sign of the apocalypse, because apparently, the Muslim Brotherhood is about to take power over their and destroy America!  A lot of them are basically saying that Islam is about to take over there and lead a holy war that is going to destroy the world.  I actually had a conversation with a girl tonight on that very topic.  She believes that the Muslim Brotherhood is going to destroy America.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hate to break it to you, but they aren’t going to destroy America.  They just aren’t.  These people don’t have an army like Hitler did.  They don’t have the resources available to commit a military force the size needed to destroy this country.  They just don’t have it!  Not to mention the fact that these people have their own problems!  They have problems in this own country, removed from America and its involvement in Middle Eastern politics.  It’s just not happening.  But we have people in this country who are saying that they are about to launch a massive campaign that will obliterate this country and destroy the world.

This isn’t political discourse with the Islamic faith, America.  This is bigotry.  This is flat-out bigotry.  We got to see it with the community center in New York, we are seeing it here today.  We are seeing people claiming that all Muslims are monsters who want to kill us all in our sleep.  I hate to break it to those who think that way, but that’s not true!  I have a friend who is a Muslim and he doesn’t want to destroy America.  He loves this country.  He escaped hell with his family in the Middle East to come here, and now that he is here, there is nowhere in this world that he would rather be.  That’s at least one man who doesn’t want to destroy America, and he says that he knows many others who are of the same mind.

And my question to those who have such vehement hatred for Islam- what do you propose we do?  Do you want to exterminate all Muslims for the face of the Earth?  I know Glenn Beck is all in favor of destroying that faith, but is that all the vindication you need?  Would you have this country ethnically cleanse this world of people who think differently?  Do you believe on a moral level that that is okay?  Do you truly wish to have to explain to a child why you killed his/her parents because they aren’t Christian?  What kind of sick ego lets a person think that way?

I won’t lie, I hate Islam.  It has a horrible track record with women’s rights.  There is article after article in the paper about some of the psychotic shit that happens as a result of the Islamic faith.  It has been involved in some horrible things that have happened in this country.  But they aren’t the only ones.  Christianity has its own bad track record.  The United States has its own bad memories that the Middle East has clung onto.  We have bought and paid for Iranian and Saudi dictators to keep the oil flowing.  We have put terrible people like Hamid Karzai in office.  We have stuck our nose where it doesn’t belong.  This is not a good series of baggage that this nation should be carrying with it.

This isn’t good, people.  Islam is not the enemy.  They have the right to have their beliefs.  The same as assholes like those at the Westboro Baptist Church have their right to their beliefs.  The nice thing about this country is that we have the ability to disagree with them, and to criticize them as much as we want and as roundly as we want.  But when you start talking about taking rights away.  When you start labeling a group of people as evil.  When you start saying that the end of the world is coming because a group of people wanted freedom in another country, you set yourself up for history to repeat itself and for some of the most horrible things that have ever happened in our nation’s history to repeat themselves.

I stand with Jesse Ventura in saying that I think the religion is the “root of all evil.”  But that isn’t the issue here.  I think it is the crazy ideals that are the issue.  And I don’t hate all those who follow those ideals.  I hate the ideas themselves.  If we could agree that that is all there is to it, maybe I wouldn’t be so angry at people who claim that Islam is trying to destroy America.  But they are, and I am angry.  And you all should be too.

Until next time, a quote,

“And lest anyone accuse me of being a ‘secret Muslim,’ as always happens when I take this stance- I HATE Islam!  I fucking think that it’s stupid, repugnant, violent, and loathesome!  But I also think it has every right to exist in this world, as does any other fucking idea!”  -Terroja Kincaid

Peace out,

Maverick