Update: Assembly Candidate Forum at UAA

So, I posted some rather kind things to Liz Vasquez, before remembering why this woman is on the liberal shit-list. I removed what I had said from the previous blog, but I will give the woman props for one comment.

She said that legislation like Ordinance 64 is in the Justic Department’s court, and I actually kind of agree with her there. Legal action should be brought court, and she is right, strictly legally speaking. Of course, I am as outraged as anyone at what happened with that debacle, but personally, I know that those in favor could have, and really should have, brought the issue to court. The ball kind of is in the Justice Department’s court, if the people wanted it to be. So that is why I said some kind things about the woman, and said I backed her.

But then, I looked at what she stands for, and I realized why she was originally on my shit-list.

Peace out,

Maverick

Assembly Candidate Forum at UAA

I got to be a part of something tonight that was very special for me.  It was an event that I had been a part of planning with the group that I am a part of- the UAA College Democrats.  The event was an amalgamation of the UAA College Democrats, the UAA College Republicans, and the Political Science Association.  A lot of people worked really hard to put this event together, and I was very pleased with the turnout.  I would like to give some credit to John and Heather Aronno, who head up the UAA College Democrats, for being a large part of this.  Of course, many people were able to help, but I like to give a shout out to John and Heather whenever I can, because those two bust their asses for what they believe in.

This event was actually special for a number of ways.  For one thing, and I think that this is pretty huge- Dave Bronson, a man who almost never goes to these kinds of events, showed up.  This was quite the accomplishment.  I don’t know who got the guy there, but still, nice work.  There were 14 members who showed up.  It was quite the forum.  The moderator of the forum was Jason Lamb, a reporter from KTUU.  He was very professional about his responsibilities at the Forum, and took them very seriously.  He made a point that he would make sure that those involved would stay within the time limit. 

This year’s election, as I covered in a previous blog, is a big deal for the liberal community, since the balance of power in Anchorage is on the line.  If the conservative candidates win this election, it spells huge problems in the weeks, months, and potentially years to come.  This is a huge problem.  Forums like these are to help get the word out to those who are in the districts of these candidates about what these people stand for, and why they should vote for them.

The major candidates that I am backing are Mike Gutierrez, Harriet Drummond, and Elvi Gray-Jackson.  I wrote about them in a previous blog.  While it is commonly regarded that Elvi is a shoe-in to win, it was pointed out to me that even she is not in a secure position.  This really is anybody’s race.  Since only an average of 20% of registered voters show up to vote in municipal elections, this couldn’t matter more.  I have my issues with the voter turnout, but we already had this discussion in the blog linked to above.

The forum began with the opening statements.  The major conservative candidates like Dave Bronson and Adam Trombley both had their pointless bullshit messages of cutting government spending an lowering taxes.  It is like these people don’t realize that if you cut taxes, and lower spending, you still have to find ways to bring money into the government.  Sometimes I seriously wonder if these people even have the slightest clue what they are doing.  Then there was one guy who nobody I was sitting around knew of- Ron Alleva.  This guy opened with an angry speech calling out the person he was running against.  He was rude, stand-offish, and seemed rather unpleasant.

The opening statements of Elvi, Mike, and Harriet were splendid.  They were big on keeping the government of Anchorage accountable (that includes Mayor Sullivan, who has had his crazy ideas going through), working on the city’s infrastructure, and increasing revenue opportunities for the city.  Gutierrez talked about increasing public safety, which is pretty interesting, given how Mayor Sullivan has police detectives checking parking meters.  Of course, all the major conservative candidates talking points were about decreasing spending, and decreasing taxes.  They also talked about how the government is too big (blah, blah, blah).

After the opening statements, there was the Q & A session which focused on the questions from the internet.  The first question was to Gutierreze and Trombley- what do they believe is the main issue?  Gutierrez believed that it is energy prices.  He makes a good point, since the technology to get alternative sources of energy is becoming more and more available.  Another really great issue that came up was whether Ordianance 64 should come back to the table.  Vasquez said that this is a question for the Justic Department, and she is absolutely right.  Drummond pointed out that she is completely behind the passing of Ordinance 64, and that it was the mayor who vetoed it. 

One issue that I personally loved was the question of whether or not churches should be good places for voting to take place at.  Bob Lupo (a reasonable enough candidate) said the answer is no, which is great.  He stated that there should be a seperation of church and state.  Another question was what Gutierrez and Trombley thought about the homeless problem.  Gutierrez said that this was a problem which there was no clear solution, and thought that the a housing-first model to deal with the problem is a good place to start.

Elvi really made me smile when she was asked what she thought about what had happened with the unions in Wisconsin.  In her words, “I think what happened in Wisconsin is a working person’s worst nightmare.”  If one follows how this story is continuing to unfold in Wisconsin, she is absolutely right.  Bronson, on the other hand, thought that while he was against stripping away all bargaining rights, he thought that the “process” was a problem (nice way to be conservative but keep the union’s good side).

Before the Q & A from the audience, Elvi had to leave early.  She made a closing statement, saying that she is a big advocate for public transportation.  She wanted to see work done to improve Anchorage’s infrastructure, which is a great thing.

The first question from the audience was put to Gutierrez.  He was asked if he considers himself fiscally conservative.  He responded that if cuts need to be done, he’ll do them, but he wants people to think critically about the issues.  He also wanted to see the money to toward positive goals.  In his words, “you’re paying more, you’re getting less.”  He’s right about that much.

A rather interesting point is that Adam Trombley said that among his personal heroes were Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney.  Un-fucking-believable.  Yeah, his personal heroes are an idiot and a sadist. 

The closing statments were pretty good.  I have a quote from each of my favorite player’s.  Gutierrez said, “Mr. Trombley, you’re no Dan Quayle.”  He, of course, meant that in a non-insulting way, which got a few laughs (I wonder about Trombley, but that is a different issue).  Lupo said, “it takes money to operate a city.”  Drummond said, “so few people have see nthe candidates.”  She also mentioned that the UAA campus was being mistreated by the state, which is a FACT!  Kenny made a good point when he said, “we have to be globally competetive.” 

This was a great night, and I am glad that I attended.  A lot of work went into this, and I am glad that I have been able to be a part of it.  I am glad that I was able to help, and I want to tip my hat to the UAA College Democrats, UAA College Republicans, and the Political Science Association.  A lot is riding on the elections on April 5th, and for all you liberals out there who don’t want the infrastructure of this city to go to shit, I suggest you get your liberal friends off their asses and get them to the polls.

Until next time, a quote,

“That infers that union workers aren’t taxpayers,”  -Mike Kenny, in response to the question of if he favors unions over taxpayers (and a damn good point).

Peace out,

Maverick

Simplifying the World

There is this odd habit that people in this country seem to have.  People want to over-simplify the problems that face our world.  For real, everybody does this.  Everybody looks for the simplest, easiest, more direct answer to the problems that they have, often ignoring all the parts involved.  There are some pretty major examples of this in our lives. 

The worst comes from a group of people who basically choose to step outside of society.  It is the reason that I HATE conspiracy theorists.  I hear people all the time making some pretty crazy-ass arguments.  I remember when I was with AFACT, there was this one guy who is skeptical of the truth about 9/11.  My stance on 9/11 Truthers is the same as my stance on people who think we faked the moon landing- this government is too incompetant to have a scheme that big, and a cover-up that large.  For both of those concepts, the cover-up would have to have been enormous, and I genuinely refuse to believe that our government is as clever as all that.  I’ve just seen too much evidence to the opposite to believe that.

That’s the other big conspiracy- that we have the “shadow government” or that the corporations are all secretly running the world.  Ladies and gentlemen, it isn’t that simple.  While I am totally on-board with the fact that the corporate world does have kind of a strangle-hold on this country, it isn’t so simple as them just owning us.  There are all sorts of elements that make our rather inefficient government run.

But the problem with simplifying the world is that it isn’t right.  It is a way for people who don’t have a fucking clue to believe that they do.  Probably the greatest example is religion.  Religion has a gift at giving people the ability to believe that they know something, when the truth is that they don’t.  Like they believe, and some claim to know beyond any form of doubt, that when they die, they are going to some sparkly paradise that they will live in for all eternity (eternity, the dumbest concept of all).  But the truth is, they don’t.  They don’t know.  And you know how I know that they don’t know?  Because I don’t know, and you do not possess powers of thought that I don’t. 

Religion is mainly about simplifying the world into something that is much easier to understand.  What I don’t get is, why would you want to do it?  The world is such an amazing thing.  It truly is a place of marvel.  But people want to simplify that down, to make it so that they don’t have to think too hard.  If you look at a beautiful sunrise and say that God did it, the world becomes a simpler place.  But God didn’t do it.  Forces of nature did it, and the forces are incredible to learn about.  The irony is that what makes a beautiful sunrise and sunset is actually toxins in the environment which affects the light and how it is seen by us.  Nature is so fascinating, and so beautiful, but so many people seem to just want to say that it is God, and that is all that matters.

Another reason that religion’s need to simplify things is a problem is because of some of the really horrible shit that happens in this world.  There was an article published in Rolling Stone magazine about a group of soldiers in Afghanistan called “The Kill Team.”  These guys are basically a group of soldiers who decided that they wanted to kill an Afghan civilian.  At least, that’s where the problem started.  It ended with them photographing their episode of psychocir murder.  For real, these guys went a spree of killing Afghan civilians and mutilating their corpses, and posing in pictures with their corpses.  Originally, this story was leaked to a German newspaper, and now, it is a massive scandal with this country.

How many religious people are going to say that this is the Devil’s handiwork?  Does that make it any better?  Does it make it any better.  It doesn’t with me.  I don’t feel better knowing that there is a God who will judge them.  I don’t care.  I honestly don’t give a shit what will happen after these guys die.  It’s here on Earth that is what matters.  It’s the war-crimes that these guys committed that is what matters.  It is the fact that we have people in this country who go out into towns and villages in Afghanistan and just decide that they should brutally murder and mutilate other people, and that people in this country will defend these psychos!  These guys thought it was a good thing to do!  They genuinely believed that nobody would give a shit.  These maniacs thought that killing a bunch of innocent people would be fun.

The simple fact is that nothing in this world is simple.  Ask anybody who is an expert in any particular field and they’ll tell you that nothing about this world is simple.  It’s a complicated mess.  Life is a complicated mess.  And people who want it to be simple- like that God is all things, or the corporations run America, or the moon landing was faked, or Obama is a Kenyan socialist marxist Nazi, or any of the other stupid-ass things that people tell themselves in order for the world to be a smaller place, these people are not realizing just how wonderful and how complicated our world is.

But where there is wonder, there is also sadness.  Like with these soldiers.  Everybody in their Company knew what these guys had done.  They killed 4 people, and were planning even more heinous shit.  One of their ideas was to get into town in their armored vehicles and throw candy out to children, and then mow them down as they came to grab the candy.  Americans thought this!  These were Americans who had this idea!  My god, what diseased people.  And how many are going to try and simplify this?

The world isn’t a simple place.  And those who try to simplify it are people who want to believe that they are endowed with some kind of sacred knowledge that the rest of the world lacks.  Socrates had a rather nice quote about trying to understand, and not being willing to seek out the truth.  Pity religious people don’t listen.

Until next time, a quote,

“It’s better to know that you do not know, than to think you know, and not know.”  -Socrates

Peace out,

Maverick

Liberals Need to Step Up or Step Off

Originally, I had been planning to do this blog post about people wanting things in life to be simpler, and that is why there are all these conspiracy theories, but after what has happened tonight, I just can’t focus on that.  My thoughts are elsewhere.  My thoughts are in a very dark place, thinking about the future, and about the things that people in this country claim to be for, but seem to never be willing to stand up and defend.  There is a dissidence in this country between how the liberal community believes, and how ready they are to defend it. 

Tonight, I had an interview with John and Heather Aronno for my story for the newspaper next week.  I won’t deny that it started out pretty professional, but ended not so professionally.  I’m not regretting that for a second, but I will admit that my level of professionalism did lack a bit.  Still, it was a good time.  I enjoy talking to John and Heather.  They are two of my favorite people, and people that I genuinely look up to.  They are the real deal when it comes to being liberal, and they are actually standing up and fighting for what they believe in.  That’s pretty unusual in the liberal community these days. 

The interview was about the upcoming municipal elections, and the forum that is about to happen here at the UAA campus for the assembly candidates.  Apparently, there are a lot of unique things about this year’s elections.  For one thing, Dan Fagan is not on the radio this election cycle.  This is good for the liberal candidates who are the major players this year.  First there is Mike Gutierrez, who is running for Section 5, Seat I, and represents East Anchorage.  Then, there is Harriet Drummond, who is running for Section 3, Seat E, in West Anchorage.  These two are considered the underdogs by some parts of the liberal community.  The third major candidate is Elvi Gray-Jackson, who is running for Section 4, Seat G, in Midtown.  She is considered to be a shoe-in, but John pointed out that that may be an assertion that could prove incorrect.  It truly is anybody’s race this year.

There are a number of issues that are up this year, and a real problem that these elections are focused on, unofficially.  You see, this election is special for another reason- because this is the first time that the mayor of Anchorage is publically backing the candidates who oppose those mentioned above.  Mayor Sullivan is openly conservative, and is openly backing the major conservative talking points- getting rid of unions, cutting taxes while cutting social programs, privatizing public transportation, and he has talked down ideas for bringing in revenue to this state. 

What makes this election so important is the fact that, up until now, there has a been a left-wing majority on the Assembly, which has kept mayor Sullivan’s power in check.  If those running against Gutierrez, Drummond, and Gray-Jackson are successful in defeating them, this will basically give the mayor completely unrestrained power.  It is like giving every crazy idea that enters his dim-witted head a rubber-stamp of approval.  Thus far, Mayor Sullivan has done enough damage.

One thing which actually depresses me is that the police budget has been cut so massively that we have good, hard-working and talented detectives (detectives!) checking parking meters.  We have experienced detectives from narcotics, homicide, sex-crimes, the whole shebang, patrolling the streets.  Crime levels have reflected this pathetic new plan of action implemented by our dear Mayor and his little in-crowd.

This election matters.  This election is important.  This could spell the entire future for the next few years for Anchorage, and you know what?  Around 20% of the fucking population or registered voters of Anchorage votes in MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS!!  This is bullshit!  Last year, roughly 18% of the registered voters in Anchorage voted in the municipal elections.  The year before, 22%.  This is unacceptable.  And it brings me to what I am talking about.

Liberals, you either need to step the fuck up, or step the fuck off!  That’s it.  If you don’t want to get out and make a difference in your community, don’t bitch when things go wrong.  And if the conservative candidates running against those I just mentioned win out, things will go wrong.  It is a guarantee that if Sullivan has the power to basically do whatever he wants, completely unopposed (or may as well be unopposed), it is an understood fact that a lot of programs in this city will go to shit.

There is a disease in this country.  It is a disease that only the liberal community seems to have.  I gotta give some absolute credit to the Tea Party.  As much a bunch of bigoted assholes as they are, they have a gift at rallying their base to get to the voting polls.  My buddy Ceezar told me a story about how he went to a Tea Party rally (I don’t know why he was there, he is a hardcore liberal) and heard the speaker screaming about how they had to vote, or get registered to vote, or else!  These people have a gift at getting their base to vote that the liberals seem to completely lack.

The fact is that in the war between left and right in this country, the conservative community holds all the power.  John made a rather compelling point that in the 90’s, it used to be that there would be all kinds of legislation talked about.  Legalizing pot (which is so dumb that it isn’t already), gun legislation, gay marriage, you name it, all the major liberal concepts that we talk about were actually able to be talked about.  But now, the conservatives had kept these issues completely off the table by making it so that the liberals are constantly fighting it out against the crazy-ass ideas that they are in favor for.  The liberals spend so much time fighting the insanity that the real ideas just fade away.

But more than that, it is the 18% of voters who actually vote in municipal elections here in Anchorage that just pisses me off.  It pisses me off so much, because I hear people complaining all the time about how things are in this country, but how many of them go out and vote?  I hear liberals all over whining and complaining that things in this country are bad, but I have heard a lot of the same liberals saying tha thtey don’t vote because they don’t like the party system, or they think that the government is corrupt, and that they are making some kind of grand statement by not voting.  That’s bullshit!  You’re not protesting the system by not getting involved, you’re just making it easier for those who want to turn this country into the magical land of the 1950’s a golden ticket into seats of power.

On a national level, shit is fucked up, but here, on the local level, people can actually make a difference.  And that difference can travel up the chain, if people will stick with it.  Fighting power is possible, if people are willing to elect in the people that we know want to help.  And the liberals who say that they are liberals, but don’t vote because of bullshit this or bullshit that, need to just shut up.  If you aren’t willing to get into the ring and fight for what you believe in, I don’t want to hear it.  Seriously, to all you left-of-helpful liberals out there, fuck you.

Until next time, a quote,

“The reason that voting doesn’t work is because nobody does it.”  -John Aronno

Peace out,

Maverick

Finding a Place to Belong

So, everybody has this habit.  We pretty much do everything that we do to seek this particular concept.  It sounds pretty small, but in the broad scheme of things, it is actually pretty huge.  The concept is finding a place to belong.  To find a place in the scheme of things that you are able to fit into, and that you are comfortable being a part of.  Like I said, it sounds simple enough, but the truth is that this concept is pretty huge.  It is the biggest concept of them all, in my opinion.  The ability to make money, the seeking of a career, they all are truly a part of this concept.  In fact, I would venture a guess that all things that people do are a part of this concept.

Belonging is defined as being accepted as a natural member or part of a group, tribe, family, etc.  Like I said, it sounds simple enough.  But think about it- how simple is it?  For some people, there is nothing in this life more complicated.  There are vast pieces of literature from various psychologists, philosophers, novelists, pretty much every sect of society, because it affects every sect of society.

In the world of careers and business, one’s need to belong actually does have a price.  If one is completely out of place at a job, they are usually singled out, and that can lead to some pretty serious problems in their career paths.  Those who don’t belong, but are able to get out of the limelight are the lucky ones, but not everybody has that benefit.  Being picked on is something that happens in all walks of life.  In the world of careers, finding a place to belong is more akin to finding a social or occupational circle that you fit into.  For most people, this just means finding a job that you are able to do well at, and not being too out-of-place.

In the world of family, this concept can be kind of complicated.  For me, family has never really mattered all that much.  The bulk of my family are people that I will see maybe two or three more times for the rest of my life once I have left Alaska.  I keep being told that family is something that you just care about because of the fact that they are family.  I hate to break it to you, but for me, that isn’t the truth.  There are several family members that I have met maybe six times in my whole life, and I will probably never see them again.  I just don’t care all that much, and I have no compelling reason to.

Plus, in the construct of family life, it is considered often a necessity to belong to follow the usual family paths- ie. having kids, getting married, etc.  I see no reason to do any of those things.  It is part of my general belief that I will never really belong in any particular group, but I’ll get to that later.  People just think that there is something wrong with you if you don’t want those things.  For real, I have met a ton of people who think that having kids and getting married is just the best thing.  Those people seem kind of small-minded to me.

Another aspect, especially here in America, is the need for religion to belong.  I have a reader of my blog who has commented on all the good things that the belief of God has gotten him.  I won’t lie, I don’t get it.  I personally think that people who need a completely absent character to be watching over them to feel like they are somehow worthwhile, or that their life means something, are people who are afraid of things that they can’t understand.  Religion is a concept that, in my opinion, was partly invented as a means of not feeling so alone in the context of the very large universe.

The sad fact is that everybody does pretty much everything that they can do in order to find a place in the world that they can fit in to.  It isn’t the strange, when you think about it.  The need for community is nothing new.  The nice thing about the advent of the internet is that people are able to find those who are of the same mind and way of being as they are.  For instance- via my blog, I am able to connect with fellow atheists and those who are into politics.  It is a nice time to be alive in that regard.

But there is one area of belonging that people don’t think about- romantically.  With the war against homosexuality still going on, people who are in love with those of the same gender are treated like monsters or degenerates in some sects of society.  And then there are those who just need to feel like they belong by being in a relationship.  I know somebody who recently had that problem.  She eventually realized how bad it was for her, but that doesn’t mean that the loss of it didn’t hurt her.  I have another friend who I think needs the same thing.  Her relationship is bad for her, but she won’t think about it, because thinking about the fact that she is hurting because of it doesn’t give her what she is looking for.

The simple fact is that the need to belong drives people to do whatever they can to fit into a group.  Often, this leads to people betraying their sense of self in order to believe that they have a place to exist.  Myself, I don’t think that I have any place to belong in this world.  Sure, it sucks, but there are worse things.  Sometimes, there are those who are just meant to be in that place, destined to fade away into dust.  Sure, I can write well, but honestly, I just get bored with all the groups.  I am not like anybody in my age group.

To be honest, I belong in a different world.  In a world where people just want to do right by one-another.  But I’m not part of that world.  I doubt that I ever will be.  Good people end up alone, seeking a place to belong.  In the end, all it does is break you down.

Until next time, a quote,

“You’re not normal, House, you have never been.  You’re a guy who lives on the fringe somewhere.  Hell, I’m your best friend, and half the time I don’t understand you.”  -James Wilson, House 

Peace out,

Maverick

Proving Atheism is True? Really?!

There has been a rather interesting pattern in some of my discussions with religious people that I thought I should bring up.  It was mirrored by a rather famous YouTuber named ShockofGod.  The argument that they made was for atheists to prove that their stance is true.  There have been some rather awesome responses to his challenge.  I recently was asked in person, by a guy who has a rather unpleasant demeanor toward me, to do the same thing. 

Let me start by saying that people who want me to prove atheism is true are idiots.  They have a simple lack of understanding of the English language.  For one thing, the only thing that a person can learn from one’s position of atheism is that they lack a belief in God.  That’s it.  That’s all it means.  His challenge for atheists to prove atheism as true was a completely lacking challenge.  And people who echo it are just as misinformed and foolish.

My position of atheism means nothing beyond the context of me not believing in God.  That is as far as it goes.  People who don’t get that are intellectually dead.  And it is the same for all the other people who are of an atheist mindset.  Some of the responses to ShockofGod’s challenge were awesome.  My personal favorite YouTuber, TheAmazingAtheist, made the best.  Of course, there was another favorite of mine, tooltime9901 made a great response as well.  The fact is that people who want prof that atheism is true- it exists!  That’s as close to the context of the question as an answer can possibly be.  Asking for proof that it is true is basically asking for proof that it is real.  For real, that is as close to the literal useage of the word “true” as I can be without going off into Never-Never-Make-Senseland.

I gave that same response to the guy who got in my face about my lack of belief, and he took this as a sign of surrender.  Basically, I was admitting that I couldn’t produce evidence, and all of his exclamations were bullshit.  For one thing, the burden of proof for the existence of a supreme being is not, and has never been, in the hands of those who don’t believe.  For real, it isn’t.  I got a comment on a previous blog post that I did from a man who asked me to produce evidence of the lack of a God.  I responded that I could not do this, because there really is no evidence of a lack of a God, much the same way that there is no evidence of a god existing anyway.  When a group of people claims that they believe in something, it is up to THEM to prove the merits of their belief, not those who disbelieve.

That has been one of the key things that I have been having a problem with- religious people clinging to the fact that atheists cannot prove that there isn’t a God.  I hate to break it to you, religious people, but that’s not on me to prove.  The burden or proof is on all of you, and to date, there has been NO concrete evidence that can withstand a skeptic’s challenge.  Every time religious people try and furnish scientific evidence for their claims, a REAL scientist comes in and proves them dead-wrong. 

Now, as the proving a concept of belief true, that is just so dumb!  It is a state of mind, nothing more.  Proving that it is true is much like saying “prove the fact that you are turned on by the thought of brunettes with big boobs” (there can be some physical reaction for this one, but let’s avoid that, shall we?).  A state of mind cannot be proven true or false because it isn’t an assertion of a fact, or a theory that can be tested.  It is neither physical nor testable.

What really bugs me is the fact that people think that the concept of religion is ordinary because of it being constantly repeated.  It is enormous, and probably the largest concept that there is.  For a concept as large as religion, that must be very compelling evidence for it.  You cannot make claims as massive as the ones that organized religion does and not have compelling evidence.  The fact that religion doesn’t have compelling evidence to back up their claims should say something to people.  But it doesn’t. 

There was a phone call to a program called The Atheist Experience about this.  They originally ignored ShockofGod’s question, because they knew how non-sensical it was.  But when those who bought into the question (and the man himself) pressed the issue on the show, they said the exact truth- the atheist position is that we do not accept the belief system which has, thus far, produced no compelling evidence.  It really is that simple. 

The problem is that people who spout this kind of stuff- challenges to atheists to prove that they don’t believe in God, and to back up their claims that there isn’t a God, are people who aren’t really looking to acquire and real knowledge.  They are really just looking for ego-stroking.  The aforementioned commentor on my blog asked for me to produce proof.  I’m not an idiot.  Asking for things like that is a way to get an atheist to hang themselves, metaphorically.  To hoist an atheist by their own petard with bad logic.  ShockofGod was like the other big-time religious video maker VanomFangX in that he habitually deleted comments on his page of stuff that he didn’t want to hear. 

This brings me to how I tend to view religion.  Religion is a concept that openly mocks people, but is unable to logically refute ANYTHING.  They will implicitly and often explicitly say that they are right, and that if you don’t follow their way of thinking, you will suffer for all eternity in Hell.  They have this belief that they are somehow superior people because of a belief in God, and that the rest of us are just idiots or damned, and are just not worthy of their time and their regard.

Religion and those who are religious are just failing in their campaign againt atheism because they are still unable to meet the skeptic’s challenge, and the disillusionment is becoming more and more apparent.  It is finally beginning to happen more and more here in America, as it has happened in Europe.  Atheism and Agnosticism are growing rapidly, and that is a good thing. 

Religion, I am still waiting on the proof.  Don’t ask me to prove my ideals if you can’t give me proof of yours.

Until next time, a quote,

“I waved the white flag, ShockofGod?!  The only thing I recal waving at you is this middle finger right here!”  -Terroja Kincaid, GOD IS REAL(ly an antiquated social construct that must be eschewed in the name of social progress) 

Peace out,

Maverick

A Symphony for Two: Lucien’s Review

So, I had originally planned at the outset of this evening to write a review of the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra concert which I attended tonight, but after all that has occured tonight, it seems almost insulting for me to just keep my focus so narrow, because tonight was such a completely perfect night that only talking about one part of it seems rather cheap, and cheapens the reason why this night was so wonderful for me.  I normally don’t talk about my daily life, and I don’t mean to start now.  I just want to show why my concept of happiness is so much more practical, and why I am so glad that I have the people in my life that I do.

Let me begin this by saying that I had been wanting to go to the symphony for some time.  I had gone a couple years back, and had been dying to return ever since.  I didn’t get the chance until the powers that be decided that they would lend me a hand.  Lady Luck is a fickle creature.  In any case, for Christmas, Sally gave me two tickets to this show.  I had originally been planning to go anyway, and to buy tickets.  This particular show caught my eye instantly, and I am glad I went. 

In any case, I was given two tickets, so I had free range to invite whomever I pleased.  The person that I went with is my cousin, and one of my favorite people, Mandy.  Mandy and I have been thick as thieves since the day she moved up to the Valley from Juneau.  She and I have always been close.  I remember the days when she would visit, before she moved up here. I would look forward to seeing her like nothing else.  Though we don’t see nearly enough of one-another these days, we are still thick as thieves.

I won’t lie, Mandy was not the first person that I wanted to take to the symphony.  I don’t mean to sound cold, or to sound like I am displeased that I did go with her, because I’m not.  But that wasn’t how it began.  I originally had planned to ask my good friend Emily to go with me.  But a lot of shit happened within the time-frame of me getting the tickets, and so I just didn’t see us being able to go to this, which displeased me greatly, and saddened me.

I spent a lot of time trying to think of who to invite, then it suddenly hit me, and I felt very dumb, because the right name was right in front of me (literally, I figured out to ask her when we went out to dinner at Red Robin’s).  She was very excited from the git-go, because I explained that this concert was not really classical music.  It was american master musicians, mostly the guys who took jazz off the street, dressed it up, and took it the concert hall.

So, the trip began with me picking her up, and right off the bat I could just tell that it was going to be a good night.  The two of us just have so much fun talking.  I truly almost never run out of things to say to her and talk about.  We had a lot of good laughs on the long-ass car ride to Anchorage (being tall is a problem when driving.  Cramps are a bitch).  We had dinner at my favorite place- Pizza Olympia.  The food was spectacular.  The gyros at that place are so worth the amoung of money and the amount of time until it gets to you.

After that, we began the journey to the show itself.  That took a bit more time than I had liked, but it was all good.  For the performance I got to witness, it was so worth it.  The name of the show was American Masters.  It was a performance of the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, but had some guests- a group called Time For Three.

The show began with “Music for the Theatre,” by Aaron Copland.  This was a very vivid and very peaceful performance.  One thing that I love about modern music is the rich harmonies with the strings.  For real, that makes it all worth it to me, but to be honest, both the first and the last piece paled in comparision with the piece that was played in the middle.

The middle was actually a combination of two pieces, but it was listed as one.  The first was that it was the best piece of the night.  The last piece was “Porgy and Bess” by George Gershwin, and although I love Gershwin and his music, the simple fact is that the second piece was so much more involved than that one.

The first part of the second piece was a creation by a modern American song-writer, Chris Brubeck (whether or not he is related to jazz legend Dave Brubeck is unknown).  He created a wonderful combination of the works of Time for Three, a group of four guys- two violin players, a cello player, and a drummer, and the orchestra.  It was rowdy, involved, and very cool.  Then the three main guys, the violin and cello players, stood alone and did a combination of several works by different Russian composers.  The composers weren’t jazz, but these guys made up for that. 

Now, the whole reason that the second piece had so much power was because of Time For Three.  These guys were vibrant, fun, and even got the audience to get emotionally involved with the performance.  They got the audience to laugh at their on-stage performance, which for a symphony production, is incredibly difficult without seeming rude.  But these guys- Nicolas Kendall (Violin), Zachary De Pue (Violin), Ranaan Meyer (Cello), and Matt Scarano (Drums), were able to do it perfectly.  Their performance was brilliant, vibrant, and got a well-deserved standing ovation, with massive applause.

In the wake of that, the wonderful piece by George Gershwin just couldn’t hold its own, which I’m sorry to say, because it is still something that I love to hear.  After the show was over, the two of us began our long right home.  It was during this that my night was truly wrapped up and felt so much better.

Mandy and I are both in a similar place right now.  We are both coming down from some personal hardship.  I have talked in some detail about mine (my saga with Emily), and her’s is honestly none of your damn business.  During the ride home, the two of us got to talking.  We are both heading back onto the straight and narrow path, with a goal in sight again.  Both of us had been on the crooked road, not knowing where to go.

Mandy is one of my favorite people.  She is a person that I love to talk to, and I always can talk to.  And I am hoping to be able to help her, should she need it, in the future.  Both of us are getting back onto our feet, and honestly, I am just happy that the two of us could escape our personal problems, and be in the comfort of people that we know and love.  I love her, and am glad that we could experience this wonderful night together.

Until next time, a quote,

“Remember this- keep close the people who care about you.  Once you start thinking that you’re alone, you are.  And that is the worst place you can be in, trust me.”  -Eli Johnson

Peace out,

Maverick