Monday, November 29, 2010

Bumper Stickers that Really Should Not Be

So I was driving home this morning and I was behind an old Ford Explorer that had a bumper sticker that reads (I kid you not) "Two's Company, Three's a Fantasy."   And it got me thinking - who puts that on their car?  I mean seriously, is that guy so insecure about his sexual prowess that he needs to announce his threesome fantasies to the world on the back of his old beat up white SUV?
Which leads me to some other bumper-sticker-related thoughts:
  • We just got out of an election cycle so I guess I can forgive the political ads like "Bennet for Colorado" or "Ken Buck Senate 2010" stickers, but even the political ones have gotten a bit out of hand.  Take "It's the $pending, Stupid" - a republican favorite, or "We're Findin More Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill 'Em" with the Iraqi, American and Chinese flags - an idiot favorite. And the "Deport Obama - If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention" presidential criticism style (also idiot favorites, I might add). I would just like to point out, nobody else gives a shit what your personal political views are, and all the bumper stickers in the world aren't going to sway a single person's vote.  Save that $5 (or better yet, send it to help Haiti or some other charitable cause), and get your ass to the ballot box to tell us how you really feel.
  • While no one else on the planet gives a shit if your child is on the honor roll, I guess I can understand the proud parents who sport those "Mile High Scholar" stickers on their cars.  Lame, yes, but not particularly offensive.  But I don't get the "My Child Beat Up Your Honor Student" one.  Hopefully the idiots that deface their own vehicles with that dribble don't actually have kids, but let's assume, for the sake of argument, that at least some of them do.  What's the appropriate reaction to this news?  ...uh...Congratulations?
  • Then there's the "I'm better than you and you're an idiot" variety that also seems to be popular -- the "Hang Up and Drive" style of condescension.  My father-in-law used to have that one, and he lent us his car one summer years back.  Recognizing that beggars and choosers don't go hand in hand, I made no comment at the time, but I always felt like a bit of an asshole driving that car.
Which leads me to my sage advice on the topic -- "Just Say No" to bumper stickers as a whole.  They're stupid, and if you affix them to the back of your car, you probably are too!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday and Whatnot

I just don't get the whole Black Friday thing.  It's very bizarre.  And I still can't believe that Walmart checker got trampled to death two years ago.  Is there really any item sold at Walmart that's worth rioting over and stampeding the doorway?  And then people kept shopping, even after they heard that a person had died.  GROSS!  It makes me a little sad for the state of humanity, but still we carry on the tradition.
This year Macy's opened at 4AM.  Seriously?  Four in the morning?  I can't help wondering who the f*** goes to Macy's at 4 in the morning, but I know there were lines outside the mall, which means that there were more people than I care to count. 
Which leads me to my conundrum...why am I feeling the pull of the mall this day-after-Black-Friday-afternoon?  What the hell is wrong with me?
And while I didn't succeed in my Walmart Project (I think I was off blogging at the time, but for a brief while this spring and summer I was only buying things at Walmart on the premise that if they don't have it at Walmart, you probably don't need it...which is true, but as I have said to my friend Sue for years -- shopping is not about need!) 
Nonetheless, I am trying not to be an over-consumer this year, but somehow every year Thanksgiving rolls around and Black Friday is right on its tail and I get swept up in all the hoopla that is the "holiday season" in America. Frankly I feel kind of good to have waited until now to get into the shopping frenzy, given that this year my local Sam's Club decided mid-October was a good time to start putting out the garland and getting set up for Christmas.  Next thing you know there will be Christmas stockings lying next to the pencil cases in late July for the back-to-school-get-a-jump-on-your-holiday-shopping-frenzy.
But seriously, every year I imagine that I'll be "better," setting parameters for shopping like just getting one big gift for the kids, or just giving homemade items to friends and neighbors, but invariably I end up filling my carts with a bunch of shit to stuff into stockings or madly wrap on Christmas eve.  I'm not good at this low-key Christmas thing.
My mom is really a good Christmas shopper.  She will actually go to after-Christmas sales with an eye toward the next year and somehow she's able to get thoughtful, well received gifts a year in advance.  When I try to emulate her by getting an early jump on shopping, I just end up buying 10 times more shit than I otherwise would have because I somehow seem to forget that I have 2 closets full of presents just waiting to be wrapped up and placed under the tree.
I think I need a holiday intervention.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Morning Morals Question - Is it sometimes worse to apologize?

So this post requires a little back story, which I will get to, but first allow me to reintroduce myself to the cyber-world.  I know, you've all missed my rants terribly and I am sure you've been starved for my witty banter and cheeky commentary, but for at least today...I'm back!
And, I also know that it's Monday night, not morning, but the fact that I'm here on a Monday at all is, frankly, one step in the right direction -- and I went to yoga today, so that should count as another step in the right direction -- so I'm celebrating my small victories in this ongoing battle between my good intentions and inertia.
So here's the moral it sometimes better to forgo an apology for events in the distant past and simply let things be, or should we seek out those we may have wronged and apologize for transgressions from long ago?
I have my superhero cyber-vision on and I can tell that you're all wondering - what the hell is she talking about and why would I care?  So allow me to explain.
This evening Alex and I were talking as I tucked him in, and he made a comment about a kid at school who eats his boogers (yes - I, too, gagged when he mentioned it), but then he went on to say how all the kids at school were afraid of "Jace Germs" and were frantically running around shrieking "Watch out for Jace germs" and the like. (Jace is apparently the kid's name...I've never heard that name before either??)  But I was taken aback by the comment, and I remembered something from when I was a kid that I am really not proud of...
There was a girl at my school named Leah.  For whatever reason that I can't even remember now, she was kind of an outcast kid.  She was always a bit different, and to be fair, she wasn't very nice herself, but when we were in elementary school, kids were just plain mean to her. -- 1970s  throw rocks at each other politically incorrect MEAN kind of mean.
They'd call her "Leah Pee-ah Diarrhea" and run away from her on the playground shouting "SPRAY YOURSELF WITH LYSOL."  There'd be comments about her mom and her intelligence and anything else you can think of.  Mean, mean, mean, mean, mean!
And while I was never the instigator, (and I don't specifically remember calling her names myself), I know for sure I never stood up for her, I never said stop, nor did I even just quietly say I was sorry when no one else was looking.  I didn't do anything, which as far as she was concerned, was probably just the same as me having done everything.
So I told Alex this and related it back to Jace, and then I told him that I felt bad that I had never apologized to her.  I said "I don't want you to be 40 looking back at your life wishing you hadn't been mean to this kid or some other.  Live your life in a way that ensures that you will never regret what you have done."
And then I told him that I was going to apologize to Leah via Facebook tomorrow, which he seemed to think was a good idea.
But after I left his room, I started thinking about it -- who is this supposed apology for? Leah? or ME?  If an apology isn't going to make the wronged person more "whole" (or at least make them feel a little better), what's the point?  When it comes down to it, really the only person who might feel better from an apology is ME, and how selfish is that, really?
Let's face it, even I'm not so self absorbed as to think that 25 years later, Leah is still nursing hurt feelings over what I did (or didn't) do to her on the playground in elementary school.  Realistically, she probably doesn't even remember...and if she does, she's probably just as well off thinking we were just a bunch of assholes rather than letting us off the hook now.  She doesn't need to be reminded of it all by me in my self-serving desire for catharsis. She probably just wants to move on -- and who could blame her, really?
So I've decided that I'm NOT going to apologize.  I'm just letting bygones be bygones - water under the bridge and whatnot. And I'm not giving myself the satisfaction of feeling like I made some big magnanimous gesture to set things right from the past.
But at the same time, I'm also denying her the opportunity to know that someone (i.e. me) actually did care about how she was treated.
So it's a double-edged sword, but I'm sticking with this plan for now.  Is that wrong??

Friday, September 10, 2010

Reverend Terry James Saw My Post

Apparently the good Reverend in Gainesville reads my blog, because he has called off his stupid Salem Witch Trials book burning set for tomorrow.  I feel good knowing that my influence is being felt around the world today.  Proof positive that I should keep on bloggin!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Burning the Quran ? Really? Finally found a reason to step back up on my soapbox!

In case you haven't watched TV in the past week, a couple of really scary things are happening out there.  The first is a wildfire that's burning out of control in Boulder County.  As of now, 92 structures have burned, 1000 families have been evacuated, and with winds approaching 100 miles per hour, the fire is still 0% contained.  Please say a prayer for the brave men and women risking their lives to save the lives of others.  Update - a light rain and cooler conditions last night helped to get the fire 10% contained, but high winds and low humidity today present new problems. 
But an even more dangerous thing is cooking up in Gainesville Florida, where Reverend Terry James and his congregation of 50 plan to burn the Quran on September 11 as a way to commemorate the tragedy of that day.  Seriously?  This is a fire that can be put out before it's even started, and I keep hoping against hope that it will be.
Religious intolerance is no new thing here in the US.  Despite the fact that our earliest settlers sought refuge from religious persecution in England, even they have found a way to oppress and discriminate based on religion.  Protestants waged war against Catholics in colonial Maryland, Quakers were tortured and executed in Massachusetts, Mormons were forcibly removed from Pennsylvania, and let us not forget the thousands of Native Americans who were slaughtered for their "heathen" (read: not-Christian) ways.  
Travel forward in time to the mid-20th Century and you find mobs attacking Jehovah's Witnesses, the Japanese internment, and continued persecution and suspicion against Mormons and Jews.
Take another leap forward to modern day discrimination -- as of 2009, religiously motivated hate crime passed even racially motivated crimes against blacks.  This is still a very real problem in the land of the free! (Racially motivated hate crime generally is still the largest category - accounting for half of all hate crime in America.)
There are striking parallels between the white supremacists and the religiously motivated Islamic Shi’a fanatics in the Middle East. Both groups transform abstract political ideologies and objectives into a religious imperative. Violence is not only sanctioned, it is divinely decreed. Hence, the killing of persons described as 'infidels' by the Shi’a or as 'children of Satan' by white supremacists becomes a sacramental act.
But I still haven't come to the danger in all of this.  I think General Petraeus summed it up well when he said: "Images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence."  We still have thousands of American troops in Afghanistan and throughout the middle east.  Do we really want to make their jobs more difficult, more dangerous, and diminish their moral credibility?  Does that make any sense at all?
Already we see examples of outrage, like this rally in Afghanistan where a crowd is burning a figure of Pastor Terry James wrapped in an American flag.  Imagine the scene after their holy book has actually been burned.

Now don't get me wrong - I know that free speech is important and in some ways I celebrate Dumb-Ass James' right to engage in this sickening act of idiocy.  But I have to ask - how does Reverend Dumb-Ass feel about images of burning crosses? Burning bibles? Burning flags? Burning constitutions?
YES - they have the RIGHT to burn the Quran, but that doesn't make it the right thing to do.  It's stupid, it's irresponsible, and dangerous.  But more importantly - IT'S WRONG!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Morning Morals Questions - Am I a bad person if...???

Holy crap - it's been TWO WEEKS since I last blogged!  I missed last week's Monday Morning Morals Question entirely, and I haven't done Mama Kat's writing prompt in about a month.  But I'm here today so I guess that's a start (one day in a row, as I like to say.)

So, last Monday I was in Vegas, and while I had grandiose plans to do a Special Edition Monday Morning Morals from Vegas, then I remembered that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," so I couldn't.  Actually, that's a lie.  What really happened is that I was too enamored with $22 "Miami Vice" cocktails (which we went on a campaign to rename the "PinaCoLaiquiri") to be getting up and typing anything of substance at all...

But today I'm back with my newest edition -- chock-full thought provoking mind benders really designed to challenge the moral fiber of one and all...or maybe not, but I'm curious nonetheless.

Back story first...I've been playing a lot of tennis this summer.  I'm terrible, but I'm improving and it's exercise, and I really like it, so...blah blah blah...I'm playing a lot tennis.  Anyway, since I was new to the team this year, I was just assigned a partner.  She's a bit older and better than I am, but we play pretty well together and for the most part it's fun...except this one little thing...

She kind of cheats!

It's not like she's taking human growth hormones or releasing killer bees on our opponents or anything.  It's just that every now and again (a couple of times a match), she calls a ball out when it's on the line...and that's cheating.

And now for the moral rub...if the ball's on her side of the court, it's really her call to make.  I don't want to second guess her and I am sure that there have been times when the ball is actually out and I just can't tell from my perspective...but there have definitely been times when it's been IN too, and those are the times that count -- and I haven't stood up to her to say "no, that was in."

So, am I a bad person if just stand by and let my partner call things out that are in?


To be fair, this hasn't happened in a game-defining moment, and I like to think that I would over-rule the call if it did...but it's hard to say, maybe that's just wishful thinking and I'd be as big a wimp then as I have been so far!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Morning Morals Questions - Do key parties and swinging shock the conscience of anyone other than me???

John Cuneo, Esquire Magazine
Apparently the 60s have made their way back to Denver with a vengeance, because I keep hearing that key parties and swinging are all the rage...and let me tell you, I am SHOCKED!!!

Here's how Wikipedia (my go-to source on all topics) defines swinging:

Swinging or partner swapping (sometimes referred to as the swinging lifestyle or simply the lifestyle) is a non-monogamous behavior, in which partners in a committed relationship agree, as a couple, for both partners to engage in sexual activities with other people. As a subculture, the swinging couple regard their sexual activities with other people as a social activity in which they engage as a couple.

Let's ignore the unneeded comma after behavior and get to the point - people are having parties where they go hoping, expecting, knowing that they and their spouses will be having sex with someone else -- AT THE PARTY!  Ick!!

And this is just fine?  This is normal?  What. The. F*%$????

I always thought I lived in this real "Leave It to Beaver" kind of subdivision with white picket fences and neighbors who bake cookies for the new baby next door (which happens all the time and leads to over crowded neighborhood schools and tennis courts on the streets, but that's a different story.)   

Let me show you some examples:

  I don't know who lives here, but they have a cute red door and the white picket fence I was talking about.
 This is my friend Melissa's house.  It's for sale...this progressive new Denver lifestyle/culture was more than she could take!

Do these look like the kinds of places where spouses are playing sex games which include some people who live there and others who don't? 

What would June Cleaver say?

I know what she'd say.  She'd say: What. The. F*$%...just like me!  What do you say?

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