Saturday, October 30, 2010

Near the Beginning...:
#47: The Answer

Near the Beginning: The Answer
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

About That Sparrow...

Driving home from work today, I saw that once again the Lutheran church on Mountain Road decided to try to sound catchy and witty by placing once more some little mind-numbing witticism on their billboard out front. Granted, most of them make me laugh so hard I veer a little around the S-curve (like the fact that every summer they put up "You think it's hot here?"). But today's just made me think, "I thought his eye was on the sparrow? Damn..."

Today the sign proclaimed, with great pomposity:

"God is watching you."
I lead a pretty boring life--I like it that way. When you grow up surrounded by drama, you find solace in those quiet moments, when soft music is playing on the stereo, the dog is laying by your feet, the phone is unplugged, and your time is your own to ponder things like this. I go to work (AKA Micro-managed Hell in a Building) and sit at a computer and deal with emails that say things like "Where's that PDF? We need it now!" or "Here's 600 corrections to this awful author's latest novel--we need it by the end of the day, is that okay? Thanks." I come home, eat some dinner, watch a little television, read a book, what-have-you. Nothing very exciting or drama filled. Why would God bother?

But then a Sunday school flashback strikes, and I cower at the stop sign briefly as I shudder at this hateful time of learning about the "love" of Jesus. God, supposedly, is everywhere. (How'd you like the smell of those intestinalized taco's, big guy? Makes you wish you weren't watching in the toilet, doesn't it?)

But--wait a moment... If God is everywhere... And I'm supposed to think "it's hot here,"...

Reminds me of that line from The Birdcage, when Robin William's character says "So this is Hell... and there's a crucifix in it." Classic.

But then, I thought the whole concept behind hell was the absence of God's presence...? So God couldn't be everywhere, could he? I'm sure some Jesus-hugger has come up with some clever ill-logically-thought-out scenario in which sky god is present while also allowing us to not have his presence while we slowly become human Hot Pockets for eternity, but it does seem only fair that if he's going to make us spend eternity in an Easy-Bake Oven for something we didn't even do (when was the last time a snake offered you some fruit?), he should be frying for eternity as well.

Of course, if we continue this train of thought, and sky god really is everywhere (and we all know how the fundies like to take everything so freakin' literally), then God is also in your shit, your snot, the aroma of your fart... He's there in the cum that the rapist spews into his victim's vagina, in the knife that cuts the throat of the hostage, in the water that drowns the people in the path of the tsunami... Which means that God is also a part of things that are evil, or morally wrong, in the eyes of society. And for a God in which John claims there should be no fear in the love of (1 John 4:16-21), the whole thing not only becomes very disconcerting but also hypocritical on a whole new level. So what's a Christian to do? (besides continuing to ignore every other aspect of their religion that makes no sense?)

Of course, if one reads Isaiah, God fully acknowledges that he is at the very core of evil, chaos, destruction and death (so much for "God is Love"; see Isaiah 45:7 and Lamentations 3:37-38). As, it follows that if sky god is claimed to have created everything, and everything is inclusive of evil, the whole thing is really just God's screwed-up fault. And it follows in my mind that, why would you want to worship someone or something that fucked up so badly? Even if it was not his intention (which would negate omnipotence, mind you), you now have a God that not only can't control what the hell (this part you can take literally) is going on, but the best idea he could come up with to try to make things right was to kill his kid? (You know, the "one and only begotten"?). Wasn't it worth it to him to kill himself? If he was so upset, distraught, and overcome with emotion at what he created, why not put his own life on the line? I mean, Holy Casper and Jesus would still be there to carry the weight of the world (if you also buy into the whole Trinity fiasco), so why kill the kid? Talk about not taking responsibility!

So where does that leave us? With an irresponsible, non-omnipotent God who, even if he is everywhere, is an active participant in the evil he created, whether of his own volition or not. Oh, and he's a murderer (but we'll just keep blaming ourselves for that, right?).

Yeah, great God you got there. But at least you have the comfort of knowing the next time your taking a shit, it's like communing with your lord and savior... Literally.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Near the Beginning...:
#46: Biology 101

Near the Beginning: Biology 101
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

And Now for Something from the "Otherwise" Category... Bedbugs! (And a Guest Blogger!)

Since I continue to be under the weather, which translates to lazy as fuck, imagine my delight when someone requested to write a guest post for yours truly!

Anyhow, everyone welcome Andrew Hall from the (now defunct) My Dog Ate My Blog!

Bedbugs: Tiny, Itchy, Little Horsemen of Despair

Long thought to be a problem of the past, bedbugs have suddenly gone from "bad" to "unbelievably bad" to "much worse than we ever expected," especially in New York, where the situation has degenerated into the city's major calling for the appointment of a "bedbug czar" and movie theaters closing to destroy all of their seats and reupholster following a bedbug invasion. Some New Yorkers have even reported seeing bedbugs crawling on people taking the train, much to their shock and horror. And given how well bedbugs can move, this is unsurprising.

The pesticide-resistant bedbug came from somewhere else in the world following a 50-year hiatus and relocated to New York in the last several years. They can spread far too easily through apartment buildings, as a single contaminated space can lead to the contamination of every apartment in a building horizontally or vertically; bedbugs can even be seen literally crawling from apartment to apartment across hallways. They can spread through plumbing pipes and also through the wiring in apartment complexes, making cleanup obscenely expensive; one building in Ohio lost thousands of dollars eradicating bedbugs from its property.

Bedbugs can come into a property through a number of ways; they can be brought in through bedbug-infested furniture (or books, or clothes, or electronics, or anything, really, made out of wood or offering a spot to nest in), crawl onto clothing when people are out during a day, on animals, or on anyone carrying anything with a bedbug infestation. The evidence of a bedbug infestation becomes increasingly apparent as they multiply and grow in numbers; you'll see bedbug feces - small red spots that smear - on bedsheets, bedbug exoskeletons, which resemble small flakes, and on some people reddish welts. Bedbugs emerge just before dawn and inject a numbing agent into blood sources before they consume, making it difficult to see an actual bedbug. Furthermore, they're extremely small, making screening tools such as bedbug dogs increasingly valuable as invasions increase.

One can get rid of bedbugs by getting rid of the objects they have invested and through vigorous screening processes, but it's extremely difficult, as two survivors can produce 500 more and reinfest. The coming autumn and winter will change little; bedbugs stay inside, where it's warm, and can live for years without feeding, meaning that it's going to take something else before this scourge comes to any sort of resolution.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Near the Beginning...:
#45: Happy Thoughts

Near the Beginning: Happy Thoughts
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Thursday, October 7, 2010


It was on today's date 12 years ago that Matthew Shepard was attacked, beaten, and left for dead, tied to a fence with his own shoelaces.

But the hate continues. In September alone, six young men--that we know of due to the media--took their own lives because they could no longer stand the hate. Spewed at them from classmates, at home, in church, on the television...
  • Tyler Clementi, 18, a freshman at Rutgers, jumped off the GW Bridge after his roommate broadcast a video of Tyler with another guy.
  • 15-year-old Billy Lucas of Greensburg, Ind., committed suicide - an act that was suspected to have stemmed from daily bullying about his perceived sexual orientation.
  • Seth Walsh, 13, of Tehachapi, Calif., passed away Sept. 28 after he attempted to hang himself on Sept. 19. It is reported that Walsh identified as gay and suffered constant hate-motivated bullying from peers.
  • On Sept. 23, 13-year-old Asher Brown of Houston, Texas, reportedly shot himself, which his parents believe came as a result of allegedly unchecked anti-gay cruelty and harassment at his school.
  • On Sept. 29, Johnson & Wales student Raymond Chase, 19, hung himself in his dorm room.
  • 14-year-old North Side High School student Caleb Nolt allegedly killed himself from anti-gay bullying in Fort Wayne.
It's not easy, being a gay teenager. What's even harder today is all the right-wing rhetoric bandied about on the waves: that gays destroy the family, ruin the military, are trying to destroy society... To listen to a sermon (like this lil gem from a moron--oops! Mormon--pastor in Utah right after the media aired a few of the gay suicides this past month...) and hear that you are evil and a tool of Satan? That you want to destroy social institutions? That what you are, that what you cannot stop being, that simply feeling love for someone of the same sex could scare so many, and bring about God's wrath?? Teens should be concerned about what they're going to wear, not if they can survive one more day of being called "Faggot!" in the halls, not of being beaten up for the way you run in gym class after school...

As fellow blogger James McGrath, (and noted professor) stated in a recent post:

Jesus didn't say "Bully people until they commit suicide." [...] If you are a Christian that consider homosexuals and "gay activists" your enemies, then you have two options: love them, or stop pretending you're a Christian. I don't see that you're left with a third option.
I'm reminded of my own dark times as a teen, when I knew that I would either have to spend the rest of my life pretending, come out, or end it all. I risked my family, my friends, my whole world...

But it was a part of my journey, one that many others can probably relate to, and one that others may find foreign and dangerous...

This from 8/5/1998:

[...] I just want to get this all over with. I'm sick of this dragging out and no one at all aware of this inner turmoil. The struggle to gain my gay identity amidst the religious and family pressures & reasonings. Don't get me wrong--I love my family, I even love God in a very distinct way. I also know they ALL (including God) would not agree w/ what I am thinking and wanting to do. I don't blame them, really, either. But how long can the charade go on? [...]
This, a day later:

[...] I see what Q_____ goes through. I try to defend him from the jokes and such, but that brings it's own back on me. I know this is exactly how I would be made fun of & ridiculed if they ever discovered. Why shouldn't they feel that way as the very "life style" I desire goes against all they've embraced, all I've embraced, and accepted as truth?

Which is true, I suppose...

And I still desire it. I am worse than Q____ in at least he has spoken forth about the truth about himself, faced up to it. Of course no one knows about Q___ because then he'd be kicked out of church again.

But they all still know he's gay.

Oh, for such freedom... [...]
And apparently, on 9/6/1998, I agreed to enter "therapy" for my "problem."

[...] Had lunch with R.W. today, and we discussed when I would begin counseling with P.C. Tues. night I call him 'cause R.W. wants to "brief" him first. I said that was fine. :(

[...] I'm not sure this is going to "cure" me anyway. How do you cure feelings, emotions, and desires? How does one even ... Futile. Just futile. What if I am, though, by some miracle, cured? After all the years of prayer, all the nights spent in torment, what if the burden finally is lifted? Doubt clouds my mind, but I think that may be the devil.
And these are apparently my first thoughts after my first night of counseling with P.C.

P.C. strikes me as one who a lot of times neglects the emotional aspect of things and leaps right into "practical application" which can be all well & good at time I suppose.

And what will "therapy" actually do for me? Give me a better understanding of why I have the emotions and desires I do? Help me to cope w/ these thoughts? Make them disappear totally? The last is probably impossible, but P.C. thinks it is possible--I can tell he's never had this "problem."

R.W. suggested my "absent" father, and my desire to have a relationship with him is the root of this evil. And here I thought they always blamed the mother? :) What? A little humor isn't called for here?

If my father thought he was responsible for this it would kill him.[...]
One of my darker moments came a few weeks later, in October:

I hate them all, with their "eternal peace" and their "blameless before God" stance. They haven't a clue, have they? I asked P.C. if he even had a clue as to what I was going through. His reply: "I don't care. It's still wrong."

I must remember to ask him how he would feel if someone were to ask him to give up women, specifically his wife. Would he get a glimmer perhaps? Is it fair to blame them? I suppose not...

[...] They say this is the time of year for most suicides. I can easily believe that. So easily.

Would the family cope better with me dead, never knowing about the evil their son has within him? Would this be a kinder way to let go, and give up this evil burden?

Looking back at my list of benefits and losses, I do see I foresaw my loneliness coming... how wise of me... doesn't make me feel much better knowing I was wise, yet not wise enough, or strong enough, to find an alternative. I suppose I'm just a wise fool...
I survived this dark period, apparently. :D There's much more there, of course, but I thought this conveyed the gist without airing all my dirty laundry on the Internet.

Today is twelve years since Matthew Shepard was attacked and left to die. He was found in the bitter cold, beaten, bloodied, tied to a fence as if crucified. He died on October 12th.

I won't quote statistics at you, but know that this happens every day somewhere in the world. Additionally, every day a homosexual teen takes his or her own life from the verbal, mental, spiritual and emotional attacks that they can no longer live with.

Every. Day.

This post is for you, Matthew, and to all the other gay victims of hate in all its various forms. Someone somewhere is hurting because you are no longer here. You will be remembered.

And to all those who are contemplating suicide, please ask for help. Get in touch with The Trevor Project (866) 488-7386, or look up a number in your phone book! You are not alone, there are many of us who have lived through the hurt and the pain, and we want to help you! Please don't become another news story. Let us get to know you and love you by choosing to live.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Near the Beginning...:
#44: No Fury Like a Woman

Near the Beginning: No Fury Like a Woman
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