And That is What’s Important

Yesterday as I drove the state vehicle to my coworker Lavonda’s house in the boonies, I was apprehensive about seeing her daughter for the first time since the accident. The vehicle had rolled throwing Megan 30 feet, doing some serious damage. She has since emerged from a coma, cheating death but the word now was that she has limited movement on one side of her body, short term memory loss, and trouble with her vision. As I pulled up to the house, I was afraid for what might have happened to her appearance. One girl I knew in high school is now totally jacked up to look at after an accident. Yes, that’s a medical term. But when I rang the doorbell, I wasn’t sure what I’d find.

The first thing I found upon entering was a horse flying at me. Well they said it was a 120 lb American Bulldog but I was too busy running and screaming to really pay attention. When they finally were able to reign it in, I jumped in a seat in the living room to examine my wounds. Besides having been slopped with dog saliva, I was pretty much still intact. It was then that I peeked up at the girl doing some writing at the kitchen table. It looked like Megan who I had met several times before but I had anticipated a lot of damage and this girl looked so normal I was unsure. Rather than ask directly, I simply began conversation with my coworker, keeping an eye on the girl at the table.

Lavonda talked about the accident and her whole experience of dealing with it her daughter’s near death experience. She addressed the girl as Megan so I knew then it was her. Megan didn’t say much but it was natural since she doesn’t know me that well. Lavonda asked Megan if she’d met me before. She looked at me and said “I think so.” That was the right answer.

By now she has use of both sides of her body, albeit with an evident limp. They also showed me some samples of her handwriting and it appeared jagged, but legible. It was just like mine. I didn’t address her directly but I said funny stuff to Lavonda and Megan laughed at the appropriate times. In fact after a while I had them both rollin’ with laughter. Maybe, I thought to myself, she’s going to be ok after all.

She does have to wear these funny glasses that are designed to correct her vision. Initially she was seeing double or triple but hopefully they will get that squared away as well. Lavonda expressed thankfullness that her daughter survived but later on she remarked on Megan’s nerd glasses. “Hey, that’s all right” I said. “Thank God she’s still here. That’s the important thing.”

I say that with my mouth, but deep down inside, I know the real important thing is that she doesn’t look jacked up. People say it’s what’s on the inside that matters but I never understood that. Who wants to see the liver and spleen and appendix and junk? Sick ass weirdos. It’s what’s on the outside that counts. And all protestations to the contrary, it always has been that way.

Texas Judge Throws a Party

I tell everyone I know the judicial system in Texas is tougher than lion meat. A story I read this morning just confirmed that. It seems a Texas judge threw a party in his courtroom for the return of a fugitive and then sentenced him to life in prison.

The party was complete with balloons, streamers, and a cake. The defendant had been on the lamb for a year after having been convincted in absentia for choking his girlfriend unconscious and he had an extensive prior criminal record. Yet and still the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct might look into the matter to see if any ethical standards were breached. My gut feeling is he’ll get the most minor type of censure if anything. Then all the judges will get together and grill a cow and have drinks. So in effect all you’re really gonna end up with is another party.

One thing I’ve never been able to figure out: In 1960-something my father was pulled over in Texas with a dead body in the trunk of his car. He was tried and acquitted! How in *%@ did he manage that???? Red handed and Mexican to boot? Don’t get me wrong, thank God he was acquitted because this was before I was conceived, but what the hell? The jurors must have had trouble with the butterfly ballot.

(I’ll be dadburned! I thought I voted guilty but it turns out I voted for Nadar!)

Stephanie Works the The Double Deuce!!!!!

Stephanie was a waitress that made me lose my mind a while back. Then she disappreared off the face of the planet but now she’s back in new and improved form at the Double Deuce Saloon 4519 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. She makes all the other women I’ve ever met look like football players.

Nightmares

I finally got the movie “The Shining” because my children are into scary movies and we’re making a point of watching all the old classics. We watched it in the light of day when it was safe I wouldn’t be scared out of my wits. The movie began began fairly well although I thought the denoument was kind of dumb. There were, however, some unnerving shots that hit you on a visceral level, like the scenes with the spooky twin girls saying “Come play with us!” I didn’t think that much of the movie but those scenes must have stayed with me because I had nightmares all night.

The first involved me leaving a bar at four in the morning abandoning a pool game in progress because people were acting too stupid. I was hurrying home with a buzz trying to avoid the police as I didn’t want to be taken in for being intoxicated in public. There were cops everywhere and three quarters of the way home I realized I had left my cue stick. Then I saw somebody throw a cue stick on the sidewalk. I run over to it and examine it. Nope, wrong cue stick. That really is a nightmare.

In my next nightmare I get home and there’s a message on the answering machine from Lauri. She’s laughing and saying “Just called to say that my team is sooooo gonna kill you guys today! And I’m going to beat you all three games! Just wanted you to know that!” Then I’m thinking oh my god, my team is playing them? (incongruous because we play on different nights) Then I’m thinking she probably is going to beat me all three because she keeps getting better and I keep playing the same.

I had a series of other nightmares but the ones about pool are the ones that stick with me the most. And this morning when I wake up it doesn’t get any better. I discover that I can’t find my pool schedule so I have no idea where and who we’re playing today.

If nothing else I know it can’t possibly be Lauri’s team.

Needle on the Record

When I was eight years old in the late ’70s I was like this generation is the shit! We are the coolest era ever. We have all the right style (long hair and afros), hip vernacular (I can dig it), and the best music of all time. How can all other generations have been so wrong, with their fuddy duddy short haircuts, long dresses, and archaic doo-wop music? I’d put the needle on the record and the speakers would deliver Boogie Nights (or something) along with the cheerful crackling of background static and I remember thinking we have arrived.

The older generations were irrelevant and left hopelessly in the dust with their outdated morals from the Leave it to Beaver era. Kids in school wanted to be Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali, or Dr. J . Richard Pryor and Cheech and Chong were cutting edge icons that shocked many and changed the way we think about comedy. They were breaking ground and everything was changing.

Then the ’80s arrived and things got cooler still with the advent of rap which many people dismissed outright as a flash in the pan gimmick that would quickly fade away. The new decade also brought crack rock and AIDS along with a resurgence of gang activity and the older generation was even more out of touch. They don’t know nothin’ about this I thought as I made my way through my first year of high school (1984). I wondered if my generation would one day become outdated and if the new generation would be infinitely cooler than ours. We were cool as hell. It seemed inconceivable.

It’s now 2004 and I have a son in his first year in that very same high school. As I sit here blogging on my desktop he is gaming on his laptop. Our music is a little different but that’s because I’m blasting old school raps and he’s jamming to the new junk. My slang might be a little outdated but dammit it’s still cool.

His generation is cool but it’s not cooler than mine. Music didn’t get better, hoop teams maybe did but so damn what. I don’t have any of my old records and if I did these chumps would probably think it was a frisbee. We’re all into the computer thing so we are not left in the dust in that respect. I don’t feel old.

When I was at my daughter’s middle school choir concert on Friday night (held in the Waverly High School auditorium), we were awaiting the beginning of the show when I was struck with a sudden urge. I said “I wanna shoot this rubber band off into the crowd.” This guy in the seat in front of me turned around and said “Do it!” I laughed but restrained myself. My daughter would be mortified if I started a riot at her choir concert. But it was my first inclination. I can’t get around a high school without getting the inclination to clown. School conferences oughta be a blast in the near future.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere. People keep hitting the blog so I feel obligated to write. So in summation, twenty years after high school we’re still cool. Not a whole lot has changed. The old music is still cool, but we don’t have vinyl records anymore, it’s coming from the computer now. Maybe one day when I’m 80 I’ll be old and irrelevent, venting at the new generation that they’re all whippersnappers as I listen to my classic rap NWA music collection.

More Debate

Aidan posted again and I am pleased to see some well articulated debate. I still disagree with his viewpoint but now that we’re getting more content out there I can say exactly why. I’m posting it piece by piece:

People in the states get some kind of pension or superannuation after they retire, right? Pundits are saying Bush’s deficits are DESIGNED to destroy the so-called welfare state. I.e., he’s running up such massive deficits that social security will inevitably ‘collapse’. That isn’t good news for you as a future retiree. (You’re slaving your ass at a job you hate — and there isn’t even going to be money to pay your pension/ superannuation entitlements):

Hosanna! Social security is a pyramid scheme and needs to die. Ditto anything that can be described as an entitlement.

I am not in favor of defecits however. The right runs up deficits with war. The left would do the same thing in the name of health care reform. In a perfect world we would have neither. This is not a perfect world so it looks like we have to choose which road to deficit we want to take. The thing than turns the tide here is that war might eventually end. Learned dependency on government does not.

“In domestic policy, Bush has been Newt Gingrich without the candor. Like Gingrich, he envisions stripping away many of the welfare-state protections that shield economically vulnerable Americans from the vagaries of the free market (while insulating corporations ever more from those same forces). But, rather than explicitly opposing popular government programs, as Gingrich did, Bush has pursued a more duplicitous strategy: He is eviscerating the government’s ability to pay for them. His tax cuts, while sold as short-term measures to revive the economy, actually represent long-term assaults on the progressive tax code. If allowed to fully take effect, they will substantially shift the tax burden from unearned wealth to income, dramatically increasing inequality.

Excuse me? Equality is when we all chip in five bucks on a pizza. In the progressive tax system, the so-called wealthy pay for half the pizza, the middle class pays for the rest of it, and the poor get “earned income” money back that they didn’t pay in the first place when the pizza man arrives. And what is unearned wealth? If I become wealthy due to hard work and innovation, do I not have the right to bequeath that to my children? I would dare anyone to call it unearned.

And they will produce what Bush’s former Treasury secretary, Paul O’Neill, has privately called a “fiscal crisis”–a collapse in government revenue just as the baby-boom retirement sends Medicare and Social Security costs skyrocketing. This crisis will sap America’s ability to wage the war on terrorism–since government will lack the funds to adequately safeguard homeland security or expand the military. It will create enormous pressure to eviscerate the government protections that guarantee poor and middle-class Americans even the meager economic security they enjoy today. And it will be entirely by design.”

Both parties will spend like crack addicts. So what’s new?

And that was written by folx on the conservative side of the political divide:

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20041101&s=editorial110104

All the fiscally conservative, small-government, small “c” conservatives are coming out against Bush, and in many cases FOR Kerry:

[snip a bunch of links]

You vote for Kerry, not because you like him or what he stands for, but because you HOPE that during his 4 years he will be able to repair some of Bush’s damage (he’s a “balance the budget” “pay as you go” financially responsible kind of guy, remember?) and you can’t afford to risk another 4 years of Bush (for your own financial future, if for no other reason.)

If Suzy has herpes it does not necessarily follow that Mary has a clean bill of health. I think both these *%$#@es are sick!

As for Proposition 2, it is so broadly worded it will (almost certainly) impinge on the rights of heterosexuals in domestic partnerships (in addition to same-sex couples in domestic partnerships). So it may affect you directly, at some point. Read the FAQ I posted. Have you seen the “The Simpsons” episode ‘Much Apu About Nothing’ where the stupid angry mob is whipped into a frenzy over illegal immigrants? (Homer votes for Proposition 24 and Apu is threatened with deportation). Do you really want to be part of that mob stupidity? Whether or not gay people have domestic partnerships has no influence on your well-being what-so-ever and marriage for same-gender couples is already illegal in your state anyway. That Proposition 2 is just mean-spirited (it will make domestic partnerships benefits illegal for same-sex couples — that is going to have a big effect on people’s lives — thousands of people are going to lose their health care, insurance, etc.) Frankly, I don’t see how you could support it and not be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

That’s the best argument you could have come up with. Apu is my dawg. I’ll have to think about this one some more.

So what does everyone else think?

No

School says Halloween disrespectul to witches.

Personally I don’t celebrate Halloween. Dressing up as something scary does not seem exciting to me and I don’t like panhandlers no matter how clever their custumes. I also don’t think schools overseeing events for kids to parade around in costumes is a good use of time so if they want to cancel all the Halloween activities, fine by me. But the rationale that Halloween is disrespectful to witches MAKES ME MAD!!!!!

There are few things in life that bring me real joy. I spend lots of time doing things I have to do, boring unpleasant things like work, laundry, cooking, and stuff like that. One of the few joys I have left is my right to point and laugh when somebody tells me they’re a witch! Now we have to extend them respect???

Come freaking ON!!! Wiccans aren’t real people! They’re otherworldly creatures here for our amusement, kind of like midgets and people who die in really funny ways. Don’t take away my right to point and laugh. Those things are protected free speech. Where would we be without that? Without that we wouldn’t even have blogs.

Hissy Fit

HAHAHAAHA!!! I did it again! My blog elicits a hissy fit from Aidan. Rather than respond in yesterday’s comments where this might become buried, I will address them in today’s entry. Aidan’s first comment:

Get a clue. A vote for Libertarian is, in practice, a vote for George W. Bush. Why do you think Michigan Republicans collected 45000 of the 50500 petition signatures on behalf of Nader for a ballot spot? It’s Kerry or Bush — make a choice, you pathetic wishy-washy Bush enabler.

Why do Kerry’s people keep insisting that a vote for a third party is a vote for Bush? That doesn’t follow. They don’t take the third party votes and award them to either candidate. If you had a choice between Hitler, Stalin, and Mr. T and you ended up voting for Mr. T, that should not be interpreted as a vote for either of the other candidates. That conclusion must be based on pure emotion, devoid of intellectual thought. I had that when I was like two.

(Let’s not forget — you and your homophobic & racist Muslim buddies put him into office in the first place — got what you wanted, asshole?)

What I wanted was for innocent Iraqis to stop dying. The hot war against Iraq has resulted in fewer deaths of innocents than Bill Clinton’s US led sanctions against Iraq that led to more than two million deaths of Iraqi civilians. Not Iraqi military, not Sadaam Hussein or the Fedayeen. Babies and the elderly. It was not much of a choice in 2000. I could not in good conscience go with Gore as he was Clinton’s henchman in this crime. Either side was going to war against the Iraqis. The only real choice was to target the Iraqi civilians (Democrats) or the Iraqi military (Republican).

Beyond that the other main concern is economic theory and the size of the government. Since it is clear at this time that both parties want giant government (rhetoric notwithstanding), I can only go with the Libertarians. A vote for Bush is a vote for Bush. A vote for Kerry is a vote for Kerry. I can in good conscience go with neither.

Don’t forget to vote NO on Proposal 2 on the Michigan Nov 2 ballot — You selfish homophobic asshole.

Yes I’m selfish. That other word (homophobic) is a nonsense propaganda word used to attack anyone who’s not wearing leather pants and waving a multi-colored flag or at least clapping their approval on the sideline.

Politics and the Office

I will not discuss politics in the office. The nature of this office (public health oriented, extremely liberal) does not allow for free thinking or dissent of any kind. Some other workplaces are slanted extreme right, this one just happens to veer to the extreme left. Free thinking is not allowed.

One guy in particular goes on a rant every other staff meeting. The enemy is always ‘the republicans’ and the entire world is painted black and white. There are no in betweens. Who in their right mind (no pun intended) could possibly ever fall lockstep in with every issue of either party, I don’t know, but this guy manages to do it.

Once, just to be funny, I drew a word bubble over a newspaper clipping of Congressperson Debbie Stabenow. I had her saying “Tax and spend!” I was more making fun of political polarization and generalization than I was taking a stab at her. But this guy didn’t see it that way.

“IS THIS WHAT YOU REALLY THINK ABOUT DEMOCRATS?” he boomed in the entranceway of my cubicle holding the offending newspaper clipping.

“No Bob” I rolled my eyes. “I was only making a comment about'”

“YOU WOULDN’T EVEN HAVE A JOB IF IT WASN’T FOR THE DEMOCRATS!!”

That did it. I turned my back and put my headphones back on before things got ugly. For some people sheer volume and extreme emotion are proof that they’re correct. SEE MY ANGRY FACE?? DOESN’T THAT TELL YOU HOW RIGHT I AM??? (no, it just shows you’re angry) And what does that about my job mean anyway? The HIV office wouldn’t exist if not for the democrats? Or that I’m the product of affirmative action? See that’s what’s wrong with letting them consescendingly toss you a bone. Next thing you know they figure they own you. But damn it all, the office is not the place for a bar brawl.

And to be totally honest, I’m going to cast my vote for the libertarian party this year. I am aligned with neither side. But I’ll be damned if I’ll be pigeon-holed on account of my race or my job.

Today Bob comes over and starts griping about someone in our office who he just found out is going to vote republican. He looks at me and says “Can you imagine we have closet republicans here?” He wanted a response from me. I just looked away. This is not the place for independent thought.

Cussing

Last night I was having a discussion with someone when a female aquaintence looked over with a grimace and said “Stop cussing!” I backtracked in my head for a minute and then said “I didn’t cuss, did I?” I was stumped. She said “Yes you did.” I backtracked again and said “Oh, right. I said the MF word!”

This was in a purely social situation and I would not speak like that in a work environment or around children, but in my circle the MF word is most often not intended as a cuss word. It’s usually just a pronoun, like saying ‘he’ or ‘she’.

I will distinguish for a minute that there is a difference and a reason for using the MF word rather than a conventional pronoun. There is another implied meaning, usually a slight derision of someone’s actions or abilities. “We get to the checkout lane and this motha**** forgot the money!” This isn’t used to degrade. He is still my homey or my brother or whatever. It’s just that he made a mistake. It denotes the same thing as dude but the connotation is different.

Then there is the proverbial mothafucka. He is also not a cuss word; he is more the standard by which all other things can be judged. He falls within the range of normalcy, such as a dude between 5′ 5″ and 6′ 5″. Any taller than that, then you are abnormally tall (taller than a mothafucka.) Ditto if you’re shorter. The same can be said for all other normal human attributes. There is also a white version of this generic stand too. He’s the ‘minimum daily adult’. You don’t usually hear too much from him though. He’s the guy they test all the food products on so they can put the results on the packages. But I disgress.

In the most abstract sense, the mothafucka is not a person at all, its is just a range. That sh** was more fun than a mothafucka! See, we’re not talking about a person any more. It’s just a concept. Or “I’m colder den a mothafucka!” That could go either way. That could be understood in the sense of a standard or it could mean there is literally a mothafucka freezing his ass off next to you saying “You more cold than ME!”

In summation, people should realize that not all instances of cuss word uses are intended as derogatory. There are inflection and abstract issues at hand also and to realize this is a step closer to tolerance and wisdom. So remember this and be not quick to judge the next time you hear certain words, for every instance of cussing is not intended to be vulgar or slur. You mothafucka you!!!