SB 142 Is Just So….Gay.

In a country based on personal and religious freedom, I find it interesting that we, as Americans, even entertain such concepts as the one presented in SB 142, the Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act.  Last Thursday, constituants congregated on the Capitol steps to protest the bill, which allows business owners and various service providers to deny service to patrons whose actions/lifestyles defy their respective religious tenets.  While stating that race, gender or ethnicity cannot be a factor in refusal of services or goods, the bill specifically omits guidlines regarding members of the LBGT community, and would serve to protect business owners in lawsuits resultant of denied service.

The business owners in question are largely comprised of Protestant/Evangelical backgrounds, and have proposed this bill in response to a growing number of LBGT patrons…but give or take a religious nuance here and there, a protestant background would preclude services rendered to adulterers, those practicing sexual relations outside of marriage, single parents, divorcees, felons, non-teetotallers, doctors who have performed abortions or prescribed birth control, drug users, etc. Some religious denominations would even prohibit services to be rendered to women who wear pants or have short hair, or men with long hair, or people who swear or smoke. And let’s break it down to the basics…the Ten Commandments are pretty universally agreed upon, so what about people who’ve stolen? People who’ve coveted? Lied? What about war veterans or police officers who’ve taken lives in the line of duty? Consider gluttony, greed and laziness. According to 2011 statistics, 64.5% of Kansas residents are obese.  Are proprietors planning on discriminating against 64.5% of their current patrons? Doubtful.

Religious freedom should be exactly that. Freedom. But let’s face it. There has never been such a thing. Protestant pilgrims burned those practicing witchcraft at the stake, slaughtered Native Americans for refusal to convert to Christianity. But is it so out of the realm of possibility to expect the American people to have progressed beyond discrimination, for anything? We’ve been the last horse to cross every civil rights finish line, and we should be ashamed, not proposing bills that invite further international derision resultant of our idiocy.  One could further argue that by passing this bill, the Senate is supporting specific religious beliefs and practices, which directly violates the idea behind separation of church and state, does it not?

The relationships people have with one another should be the business of those two individuals. In the same way we praise a faithful marriage or a good relationship, we should support others who have made an alternative decision, instead of further barracading the already rocky road which relationships cause us to travel.  Religion has been through the ages a monsterous thing, that makes aggregious and unlawful the natural desires we have as human beings. I always laugh a little when I see the phrase “When did you choose to be straight?” Most of us didn’t. I certainly never did.  It just was, like always having liked pizza or hating the color brown. And if someone were to assert that I have to start liking women because their God said so, I’d wonder why he created me with the desire for men in the first place. Especially if this person also claimed said God made no mistakes…

This bill is…to say the least, assinine. What happens when an emergency services company gets to discriminate against people? Hospitals? Private practices? Law firms? Sercurity agencies? Schools? This bill protects intolerance. It promotes an idea that goes against the very thing for which this country claims it stands. Religion, by it’s very definition, is a personal belief. As a personal decision, it cannot be grounds for refusing to treat with equal respect, a person who does not share said beliefs. Currently, the bill has been passed 91-33 at the House, and is currently awaiting further legislation.

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Ann Romney Addressing Women’s Issues Makes About as Much Sense as Asking Prince William What it’s Like To Be Poor.

As Ann Romney celebrates her 63rd birthday, she has had recent occasion to call her decision to be a “stay at home” mother into question.  Hillary Rosen, a democratic commentator, suggested last week in a CNN interview that Romney might have difficulty relating to the female American public, as she has never been employed.  She went on to criticize Mitt Romney’s decision to use his wife an a guide for addressing issues and hardships prevelant with stay at home and carreer mothers alike.

In 2008, the Census Bureau estimated that there were 84.5 million American mothers, but that only 5 million are stay at home mothers.  Is it conceivable that Romney, who is part of a less than six percent slice of the American matriarchal pie, could really find a sense of kismet with an average mother?  Probably not.  I disagree with the Democratic party’s collective move to distance themselves from Rosen, because what she said is plausible.  Romney can speak from a tremendous amount of politcal experience, sure. But when it comes to balancing motherhood, a career, and spouse or significant other, or even more challenging, carrying these burdens alone…Romney has no valid opinion, and most mothers don’t have the luxury of her option.

Let’s take a look at Romney’s statistics…She attended Cranbrook, a private boarding school (cost: $230,000+), Brigham Young University (on average 5-10k per semester), and later, Harvard (average 2-5k per semester).  She is an avid, medal-winning equestrian, and her horses alone are purported to be worth more than $100,000 each, not including the enormous costs of their upkeep and training.  This is obviously not an ordinary “stay at home” mother.  Is it just me, or did her slice of the average American pie just become exponentially smaller?  Her statistics also beg the question, where did all this money come from?  She was the daughter of a heavy machinery magnate, who later served as a mayor of one of the wealthiest areas in the state.  She then married, straight out of college, and continued to garner support from both her father and her husband.  So one must take some offense when Romney makes statements such as “there is no tougher job than being a stay at home mother”.   There are far tougher jobs, such as being a stay at home mother without a household staff and a steady, rather exorbitant income, which she does nothing to facillitate.

Rosen was grounded in her statements, in those regarding Mrs. and Mr. Romney.  Rosen was publically critized for not only her remarks towards Mrs. Romney, but she was also chastized for suggesting that Mr. Romney does not look at women as equals.  But is that really a statement so far out of the realm of believability?  Romney is an avid, active self-proclaimed member the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose current (and that’s a whole other can of worms…) practices encourage women to be stay at home mothers, and teaches that they have a specific role as nurturers and family caregivers.  In the past, men were allowed to practice polygamy, while women were not. Women were held to very specific guidelines regarding chastity and religious practice that men were not.  How can these people make any sort of legitimate claim towards equality with or understanding of their average constituant?

Politicians and their families, especially those backed by a church boasting Time Magazine’s label of “one of the highest grossing religious organizations per capita”, cannot, and should not take offense to largely accurate allegations as to what and who they are.  Nor should hardworking journalists and political figures be denounced or be made to apologize for having the courage to address the issues currently on the mind of John, or perhaps more accurately, Jane Q. Public (see Rosen’s fantastic rebuttal article here).  Suggesting that a woman who has, in fact “never worked a day in her life”, is unqualified to address women’s economics, is an accurate, albiet somewhat insulting, assessment.

I find it interesting that Ann Romney felt the need to create a twitter account and christen it with the somewhat defensive first tweet of: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys.  Believe me, it was hard work”.  I also find it difficult to muster any sympathy for the woman.  The cost of her education alone is far more than I’ll make in a lifetime.  And after all, what would I know about living on an almost unlimited budget, with a full-time staff to plan meals and care for my children, while I’m out riding horses and planning charity events?

The Thing Is…

So the roomie and I went to see “The Thing” this weekend, and while I have to give them props for not trying to remake it, and doing a whole “prequel” angle…Seriously. It was disappointing. The only improvement over the last one was that it didn’t feature Wilfred Brimley.

I don’t understand Hollywood’s attitude towards movies. It’s like, if I, a completely untrained observer, can pick out 87 discrepansies in your movie that irritate me to the point of complete disinterest, why can’t you? Don’t insult my intelligence by expecting me to just give some sort of indie hipster excuse as to why your movie makes no sense…

The Thing.

  1. So…you’re digging around in some ice, you find an alien ship, you find a frozen alien. You extract said alien, and everybody is so busy parading around with their oversized extraterrestrial popsicle, that no one stops to wonder why the biopsy they performed produced a non-frozen specimen. The only way it wouldn’t be frozen is if…oh my gawd…it’s alive. And even then, fuck, why wouldn’t you notice the cells weren’t dead? I mean, I had a goldfish that froze once, and the same thing happened. Totally fine once it thawed out. And my goldfish wasn’t the size of God with giant claws…
  2. The invading aliens can’t replicate anything not organic, but yet, the people are all replicated wearing synthetic materials, watches, shoes… And everybody made a big deal about checking for metal. OMG, he has no fillings! Alien! But…the human body contains metals and minerals. Whatever.
  3. You’re telling me three people hollowed out a cavern, in solid ice, the size of a football field?
  4. Where the fuck did people in Antarctica get a keg? You’re in the middle of a remote tundra, in a mostly abandoned outpost, but there’s an abundance of nonskunky beer and a keg. Totally realistic.
  5. The only black dude hears a noise, in the room with the alien, and goes alone, unarmed, to check it out. Seriously, bro? You’ve never seen a horror movie before? Or Star Trek, even? The black dude always goes first.
  6. Shit hits the fan, and suddenly, everyone and their mother has a flame thrower. Can I get a job in Antartica? Shit. Hook a kid up. And hitting a thing that survived in an ice cube for 100,000 years with a short burst from a flame thrower probably isn’t going to kill it. Not to mention that fact that the thing ends up burning like it’s covered in eu de lighter fluid, but what is burning? Wouldn’t it just be charred? It’s not wearing clothes, and last time I checked, meat doesn’t really catch on fire, it just cooks.

Okay, so obviously it’s a horror movie, and supposed to be somewhat cheesy. But people, I didn’t sign up for the Evil Dead trilogy-esq corniness here. If something is supposed to be scary, as The Thing should have been, make it believable. I want to be scared. That’s the whole point. And that is yet another frustrating result of remakes, sequels and prequels. You already get the concept. John Carpenter made his aliens textured, grimy and scary as fuck. None of this CGI bullshit. And don’t even get me started on the sad, wannabe Ripley main character…

Speaking of Aliens, that movie was one of the best sci fi horror movies, period. And when you really think about it, not much happens. But the psychological, suspense, holy shit, what the fuck just popped out of John Hurt, that made the movie. And then of course…the rest of them came out and kinda ruined it. But that was brilliant. Or The Descent. That movie pulled the same jump out and attack like, seven times. But I fell for it each time. Presentation!

The Thing relied way too heavily on gore, limited imagination, and horrible acting. Gore works, but there has to be a psychological aspect to it as well. Aliens had it’s alone in space thing, The Descent had total darkness and being lost, even The Ring had the whole murder mystery thing behind it. Or take 30 Days of Night…great movie, remote location, darkness, whatthefuckarethesevampiremonsters…

Horror movies should be scary. Bottom line. I’m tired of going to movies, remakes or otherwise, and being bored. Somebody make something amazing, imediately. KTHX.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

For those of you who have read my somewhat vague facebook quotes and wondered in what context they’ve been posted, it usually involves something that’s occured at work. An office, at least mine, serves as little more than a breeding ground for drama, bandstanding, politics and personal sabotage. If I wasn’t legally obligated to keep my mouth shut about my everyday goingson, I’d have pitched this shit to a producer ages ago…

But, and this again goes for my current place of employment, there’s an interesting mix of personalities that constantly conflict. Success in this piece can all be boiled down to your ability, or lack thereof, to mimic a sheep. One could also say that it highly depends on your ability to hide your amusement/irritation towards people who, for various reasons (some less valid than others), have been placed in a supervisory position over you…

But let’s talk about that for a second…in my profession, promotions and increased responsibility are meted out almost automatically, given certain timing/proper networking/evidence of easy manipulation. You’ve been a part of the organization long enough? Promoted. You know the right people the right way and they see that they can give you more responsibility while still maintaining total control over the decisions you make? Promoted.

That last part is especially troublesome. Looking at it from a business perspective, as a CEO, supervisor…whatever, which makes more sense? People who will do exactly what you tell them and make everyone they’re in charge of do the same, or people that will think outside the box for new solutions, ways to innovate and streamline existing issues and processes? The latter, right? Wrong. And keep in mind that someone that just does what you tell them is going to continue  “in the box” way of thinking, and effectively squelching anyone under their charge who has any ideas toward the contrary.

Given my natural inclination towards entreprenurialism, I am always trying to make improvements to my life, work, self, relationships, what have you…so when, at my workplace, I try to make improvements, and am met with such responses as “Well, that’s not how we’ve always done it”, or “That might make us look bad”, it’s a little frustrating.  It’s also frustrating when the people offering these feeble excuses are less than admirable examples of professionals themselves.

 That last bit brings me to my point, albeit, a little late in the post…Just because you are my supervisor, doesn’t mean you get my respect automatically. Sure, there’s a modicum of obeisance I’m required to pay you, but as my hero, Mr Putin once said, “only a fool is validated by the respect he’s shown without first checking himself to be sure he’s earned it.”

So try this on for size, world. What if promotions were based off of what the people beneath you thought? Sure, you might say the right things to the right people and do the right shit when the right people are watching, but everyone forgets about the worker bees. Take for instance, a person with whom I share my workspace that has called at least four meetings complaining to those beneath him that he feels he is not being paid the respect he [expects] deserves. I wish I had a mirror to bring so you could see how foolish you look demanding respect.  Respect is about what you do, not what you say you do. Be awesome, don’t speak awesome, and don’t  expect  diamonds when you’re only giving cubic zirconia. And folks, there is nothing worse than cubic zirconia, because its nothing more than a cheap hypocrite.

Earn your shit. Don’t expect it. Just because you get it doesn’t mean you’ve earned it. If you haven’t, realize it and fix it.

“Congratulations On Your Illegitimate Bastard!” Cards. Now Available at Hallmark.

Okay, maybe not, but at the rate some people are going, they should be…

The office was full of congratulations this morning, and it was all I could do to refrain from laughing once I discoverd the reason. It seems one of my co-workers was served with court papers and a positive paternity test yesterday.

"Say what?"

Being the non-bastion of morality that I am, I don’t really care what people do. But expecting people to congratulate you because you impregnated someone who was enough of an idiot not to protect herself (and then decided to file for child support) is just too much.

To top it off, this person is a bonafide fuck up, professionally speaking, and the thought of this person reproducing a legitimate child, let alone accidently with a person that he’s not even in a relationship with, is a bit disconcerting.

Even more disconcerting, we’re apparently hosting a baby shower…and trust that if I bother getting a gift at all, it’s going to be the loudest toy in production, with a broken “off” switch and a stripped battery cover screw.

Still more disconcerting, now this kid is talking about marrying this broad. Call me old fashioned, which I oddly am when it comes to things like this, but marriage should be a union between two people who have been together long enough to prove that they’re willing to work to make it work. And yes, relationships are work. It’s not just “you’re here, I’m here, oh shit you’re pregnant…lets do this!”

What is going on with the random baby/marriage boom?

Perhaps it has a lot to do with the environment I work in, the military does tend to be rather irresponsible in terms of personal actions. And men with unlimited healthcare benefits, automatic housing, and steady paychecks tend to attract needy women with few aspirations other than being a stay at home housewife…

But here are a few things that marriage/babies are not supposed to be:

1) A fix for your already shitty relationship.

You really think inviting a squaling newborn who leaves you no time for yourself, no sleep, and limits your ability to get out and actually do anything fun together is going to help?

2) A means to get out of the barracks.

Oh sure, that contract marriage looks promising now, but just wait until she actually falls in love with you, or your unlimited healthcare, automatic housing, steady paycheck, and refuses to sign the divorce papers. And trust that a social life, or sex with anyone else sans consequences is out of the question. The weird thing about contract wives, is they tend to forget about the “contract” part, and dedicate their lives to making yours a living hell.

3) A reason for your wandering-eyed spouse to not divorce you.

For those of you who think that a baby (or even a puppy or a kitten, seriously, I’ve seen it happen) is enough to make an unhappily married spouse stick around, you are sorely mistaken. He might, for possibly 6 months, maybe a year, but eventually, you’re going to be stuck in single parenthood with stretch marks and severely limited dating possibilities.

4) A surefire way to ensure you have someone there for you when you get back from deployment.

This is the most puzzling of all military phenomenon. Take a very good looking guy, and I guarantee you his wife will be marginally attractive at best. I think the logic might run along the lines of…well, if she’s ugly, she can’t cheat. Please. Think again.

Ipse-dixitisms, and Other Such Nonsense…

When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean…”    

                –Humpty-Dumpty, Through the Looking Glass

Picture the worst, most unattractive human being, in both personality and looks, you’ve ever met. Picture that asshole with no redeeming qualities.  Picture the social pariah, the  grenade, that complete epic fail. Picture the one who, if the furtherance of the human race depended solely on your copulation with this person, would single-handedly cause the extinction of mankind…

…and picture me losing a bet to this person, a bet I was so sure I’d win, that I inadvertantly bet sex.

This person is not actually as bad as I made him out to be, and in all fairness is a decently attractive kid. His attitude, however, completely ruins it, which is why I’ve said “no” everytime he’s asked me out…until he found a little opportunity in the form of a loophole.

So there I was, waiting for a dinner table with some friends, and I happen to see this social grenade standing at the bar, no doubt waiting for an opportunity to explode all over some poor, unsuspecting girl…

Out of pity or some other misplaced emotion, I invited him to join us, perhaps thinking that some civil conversation might positively influence him, and things weren’t actually going too poorly, right up until he said it. The most irritating, most abused combination of letters: irregardless.

Abruptly, I blurted, “That’s not a word!”

“Wanna bet?”

This should have been my cue that something was up. This person isn’t stupid, and he knows I’m not either. But of course I wasn’t thinking, and quickly argued that everyone knows that it’s not a word, it’s a double negative, for christ’s sake. I was so sure about this, that I said, “Oh my god…It’s not a word, Person, I would bet a paycheck on it.”  

Now, I made this argument under the assumption that he, being an educated person, would know that by “word” I meant a standard, proper, prescriptive word…

I assumed incorrectly.

Under the guise of  “Oh, I don’t want to take your money…”, he listed off a couple of things he’d rather have, and me, not paying attention in my extreme  confidence, just said “yeah, sure, whatever. Just let me look it up and prove you wrong already!”

So of course I whip out my handy dandy Android, and summon the almighty God of all things internet, Google (insert angelic chorus here). Every blurb said something to the effect of “not correct, use regardless.

Then it hit me. The last thing he settled on for the bet was “If I win, you have to sleep with me.”

Then came hit number two. The definition of word is:  

a speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning…

He quickly pointed this out. I quickly pointed out that he was an ass.

Am I a person of my word? Absolutely, but a wager is a thing not to be won by tricks and syntax (technically, one could argue that irregardless isn’t a word because it doesn’t convey a meaning). Its like winning the Superbowl by a fieldgoal. And even he admitted it was  underhanded.

Sorry buddy, no cigar. Take my money if I’m stupid enough to lose it, but sex is not a wagerable situation…especially with that guy.

He did think irregardless was correct for whatever reason (way to cover that up with a shady bet, asshat), and that is inexcusable.  Anytime the suffix –less is used, it denotes without whatever preceeded it. Regard-less is equivalent to “without regard”.  The prefix irr– denotes without whatever follows it, so irregardless literally means “without without regard”.

So sure, technically, irregardless is a word. It’s a word like, wanna, ain’t, stupider, or duh are words. They have meaning because poorly educated people gave them meaning, and the rest of us are forced to interpret our way through the colloquial muck in order to communicate with them.

But irregardless, I don’t wanna use that shit because it makes me sound stupider. Duh!

I will occasionally use what I refer to as a “me-ism”, a word I obviously know doesn’t mean what I want it to, or I’ll jam a new portmonteau (it sounds better if you read that last part in italics ;)) into existence.  I can do this, however, because people who know me, or read what I write,  know that I am intelligent enough to a have a bit of an artistic carte blanche in the grammar department…

Sometimes, it’s for comedic relief, like here  (see starfishing, glitterfucking, ADHD’d), in one of the funniest sites ever. But before you get your ipse-dixitisms on and proclaim nonsense to be “words”, make sure you’ve established yourself as an educated person who can get away with it.   

Why “@” Picture Shouldn’t Be Worth A Thousand Words.

In the 2011 equivalent of a freudian slip, a little tiny keystroke can reveal everything, just ask Anthony Weiner.

In 1998, then President, Bill Clinton, was accused of several acts of misconduct with various women, specifically, an inter-office affair with a Ms. Monica Lewinsky. While it’s still unclear as to whether or not Ms. Lewinsky or her dress had the more valid reason to press charges, John Q. Public didn’t care, and collectively screamed impeachment.  Instantly, the voters discounted an entire presidency, the first in decades to see a budget surplus for the American economy. Unemployment was at an all time low, no major conflicts were occuring, and yet, at the first sign of indescretion, the angry villagers of the American People started collectively boiling their tar and gathering their feathers.

 Since then, several politicians have either stepped down, forcibly or otherwise because of similar indiscretions, most recently, Anthony Weiner. While Clinton had good old fashioned DNA evidence and terrible taste in women to do him in, Weiner had a sad combination of a godawful last name, inept thumbs, and a somewhat “sketchy” twitter following.

But this is where I have an issue. As a congressman, or a president, or any person with constituants, they are elected or nominated because of their connections, people they know…politics. Sure, back in the day, people were nominated based on their morals or their discernment, but these days, it’s all in who you know. If you ask me, if a person has the mental capability and social stamina and influence to get themselves elected to an office, that garners far more of my respect than morals.

Morals are always subjective. Morals have been the reason behind such attrocities as the Crusades, several massacres of native peoples, genocide, intolerance…but common sense, the ability to perform in the job to which you’ve been appointed, that’s admirable. And part of this, for a congressman, is the ability to connect with the public. Not only was the picture he took and accidentally shared condemned, but the people with whom he had chosen to follow or associate with were now condemned as well.

Do people make mistakes? Sure. Do people have indiscretions? Absolutely. Should a person be fired for these things when they have no bearing on their professional competency? No. Clinton’s presidency was brilliant, and an affair cost him everything. Weiner (props the man even got elected with that handle) was a successful congressman, and an “@” doomed him to a swift state of unemployment and social condemnation.

If everyone who took a risque photo was automatically condemned as social miscreant, nobody would get elected. Should we have more discretion with whom we exchange them? Sure. My remedy? Never take a picture I look shitty in. But seriously, people, especially politicians, have an enormous pressure to marry the person that gets the highest approval ratings, that has the right family and the right degrees and no skeletons in the closet. It’s a breeding ground for affairs, for problems, for disasters. Is it right? No, but who’s to say?

The bottom line is this. People make mistakes, but I don’t think it’s worth the attention nor the taxpayer’s money to go through the lengthy process of finding someone who’s going to make the same mistake ten years down the road. When does a person’s life mistake equate to a professional mistake? Simple answer, it doesn’t and it shouldn’t.