This, That, and My Mother

•May 9, 2010 • 1 Comment

“So, I have been misusing the word “misnomer”.  Irony, much?”  Me, via Twitter.

Wow.  I cannot believe how long it has been since I last wrote.  How is it possible for someone to have so much jetsam and flotsam floating around in their brain without skimming the waters from time to time? So, here is the stuff I have thrown over the rail and the stuff I tried to fish back out of the sea….

The Inadvertant Racist

Anyone who has known me for more than a minute knows I have no tolerance for racism.  Call it a pet peeve if you will but just because you and I both tend to burn before we tan does not mean I want to hear your ignorant rants and sotto voce slurs. 

I was thrown smooth off my high horse, however, by a casual Facebook post by a friend. 

Susan refers to herself , with a wink, as a Chinadian (Chinese-Canadian).   Incredibly smart with a cutting edge wit that I absolutely adore, I first met her when I started visiting her coffee-house.  On my second or third visit I walked in and Susan greeted me with a loud and enthusiastic, “You’re on Facebook!”.  And it was on. 

Then she posted the following:

Please stop speaking so slowly and so loudly at me. ai no engrish.

This is typical Susan. Wry and hilarious.  But it was her friends posts that got to me.   Apparently many in the Asian community have been offended by the term “ni hao ma”.  Strictly speaking it means Hello, how are you, (roughly) in Chinese. However, the Urban Dictionary defines it as:

   ni hao
 
Hello in Chinese. Most commonly used by non-Chinese people to show off the only chinese phrase they know to a Chinese they just met, who can speak fluent English ironically.
“Hey I have learnt some Chinese from another Chinese friend…ni hao.”
“Oh, wow. That’s great. I wish I know how to say hello in your language.”

This is SO something I would do.  Guilty guilty guilty.  Granted, I would never assume that someone did not speak english without first speaking to them, but I love to try out little blips in other languages; “Uno mas cervesa, por favor,”  “Konnichiha, watashi ni nomimono o kōnyū suru?”, “Ēka acchā cīzabargara mila sakatī hai?” (okay, THAT one is offensive, but funny).

It never occurred to me that someone would be offended.  Then I started thinking about other little verbal tics I have picked up over the years.  Es no bueno for shit.  Ghettoblaster, (this is what we always called boom boxes. My mother, however, took offense and informed me this was actually a racist statement.)  It wasn’t all that long ago that I found out Oriental is also a slur. (This time it was my sister, “Deanna, a RUG is oriental, a PERSON is Asian!” Did I mention that the whole anti racism thing runs in the family? No? Well, it does.) An Eskimo is now an Inuit.

In most cases, referring to someones racial heritage is irrelevant.  However, when circumstances warrant (such as when writing an article on the racial makeup of a jury for a minority defendant), I am still unsure in many cases.  Do you prefer black, African-American, or person of color? Latino/a, Hispanic or ChicanoAsian or country specific (Korean, Japanese, Chinadian)? I realized that in my effort to be respectful of culture  I may have instead offended.  For this I truly and sincerely apologize.

Yes, dear, they actually said that….

”I’m blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up.”

—Ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, in an interview with ‘Esquire’ magazine

”I didn’t really have a good answer, as so often — is me. But then somebody sent me the other day, Isaiah 49:16, and you need to go home and look it up. Before you look it up, I’ll tell you what it says though. It says, hey, if it was good enough for God, scribbling on the palm of his hand, it’s good enough for me, for us. He says, in that passage, ‘I wrote your name on the palm of my hand to remember you,’ and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m in good company.”’

Sarah Palin, on writing notes on her hand during her Tea Party convention speech

”We had no domestic attacks under Bush; we’ve had one under Obama.”

—Rudy Giuliani, Mr. 9/11, forgetting 9/11,

”Now, they’re saying I groped a male staffer. Yes, I did. Not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe and four guys jumped on top of me. It was my 50th birthday.”

—Ex-Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY), talking to Glenn Beck after resigning amid allegations that he sexually harassed his aides

”This will play right into Obama’s hands. He’s humanitarian, compassionate. They’ll use this to burnish their, shall we say, ‘credibility’ with the black community — in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It’s made-to-order for them. That’s why he couldn’t wait to get out there, could not wait to get out there.”

—Rush Limbaugh, on Haiti earthquake relief, Jan. 13, 2010

Things My Mother Taught Me

And finally, in honor of Mother’s Day, a few things my Mom taught me.

The love of reading is the greatest gift you can give your child. 

(One of my fondest memories of childhood is being on the porch with my brother Kirk, sitting at rapt attention while Mom read to us from Where the Red Fern Grows.   I cannot remember a time when I was not surrounded by books.  Mom always has a shelf full and my love of the printed page springs directly from her.)

When surrounded and outnumbered, always go for the one with the biggest mouth.  If you can take him down, the rest will fall like dominos.

Watch your speech.  Regardless of how smart you are, if you use the term “irregardless” people will think you’re stupid.

There is no “r” at the end of “sherbet”.

Family loyalty is not optional.  They will be there when no one else is.  We can say whatever we want about each other but if anyone else dares, you had better stand up and set them straight. 

You can make an incredible frosting with just whipped cream and Jello pudding.

The correct phrase is “water heater”.  If it were already hot it wouldn’t need to be heated, now would it?

Dogs are people too. 

Never trust a man who pays his rent in singles.

Look it up.

When a gentleman takes you out for an evening he has had the pleasure and honor of your company. This has more than compensated him for any expense he may have incurred. He is in your debt, you are not in his.

If someone forces you to choose between themselves and another, always choose the one that isn’t making you choose. 

I don’t care what they say, undercooked meat is NOT good for you.

Tattoos are permanent.

And the most important lesson of all:

Always be good to your mother.  She loves you like no one else ever can.

 

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Colloquialisms Gone Wild

•January 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery.  ~Mark Amidon

I’ve lived all over this country and I have picked up a few, um, verbal ticks.  So, if you want to hang in my world, it helps to know the language. Here are a few “must know” words and phrases:

Equeeze me? Definition: I’m sorry? Have you lost your @#%*@# mind? Example: Pat Roberson: Haiti is being punsihed because they made a pact with the devil.  Response: Esqueeze me?

Who’s fucking this horse? Definition: Thank you for your input but I have this under control. Example: Husband: Aren’t you putting a bit too much oregano in the soup? Wife: Hey, who’s fucking this horse?

Prolly: Definition: (derivitive of probably) Maybe, maybe not.  Most commonly used in western states. Example: Question: So, you going to the show? Reply: Prolly, you?

You’re so pretty!: Definition: Thank god you are good looking because you are dumber than a bag of hair. Example: Ann Coulter: I think [women] should be armed but should not vote…women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. Response: You’re so pretty.

Butter my butt and call me a biscuit!: Definition: What a pleasant surprise! Example: Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, look who’s here.

You wanna kiss my what? : Definition: There is no way I am going to do that.  Example: Hey, Deanna, I need you to help me clean this deer.  Response: I’m sorry, you wanna kiss my what? I didn’t hear you clear.

Well, you get the idea.  Sometimes how you say something is as important as what you say.  Others, it’s just fun to see the look on their face.

Love, Hate, and the American Way

•January 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It is well, when judging a friend, to remember that he is judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality.  ~ Arnold Bennett

Hell of a week.  Horror in Haiti.  Thousands upon thousands dead, more missing. Some will likely never be found.  Tragedy tends to bring out the best and the worst in Americans.  The Red Cross, Wyclef Jean, Doctors Without Borders. They all stepped up as did countless Americans who saw a chance to do some good and took it.  God bless them all. 

And then there is the bad.  Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, and sadly countless Americans stepped forward and said, “Hey, why should we help them? They are (choose your remark here – ‘heathens’, ‘devil worshippers’, ‘illegals’) and they are already getting enough of our money, and by the way, send back the ones that are already here, why dontcha?”

Nice.

I had a whole speech planned on introducing Pat Robertson to Jesus Christ, (Pat, this is Jesus, don’t believe you’ve met) but realized that if he hasn’t found him by now, he isn’t all that interested in looking.

I am just trying to pinpoint the moment when the tide turned.  When we became so damned judgemental of everyone in the world.  When did we decide that our way was the only way and that any other way must be stopped, crushed, destroyed?

In my mind the moment was when Sarah Jane Moore attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford.  A man in the crowd saw the gun, risked his life and saved the president.  He was a hero for a day. And then they found out he was gay.

He was outed by Harvey Milk, but that’s a whole other blog.  The point is it was the 70s and being gay wasn’t OK with a lot people.  The man’s name was Oliver Sipple.  He was a decorated Marine, a Vietnam vet.  A bit listless but a good guy by most accounts. 

But now the world knew his secret.  His mother disowned him.  His life went to ruins.  He began to drink.  He took drugs.  He eventually killed himself. 

He was never invited to the White House.  He went from Hero to Demon in the turn of a page.

And it was not any of our business.  He did a good thing. Hell, he did a great thing.  He saved the life of the President of the United States.  And all that was washed away because in that time and that place being gay meant there was something wrong with you. 

That’s where it started. And it has never stopped. 

A few other things that are none of our business:

  • Tiger Woods’ sex life
  • A school teacher’s sexuality
  • Anything, and I do mean anything, discovered by the Enquirer.
  • Who fathered Jodie Foster’s children
  • Linsay Lohan’s drug problems
  • Arthur Ashe’s AIDS diagnoses
  • Tom Cruise and Katie Holme’s marriage
  • How much President Obama paid for lunch with his wife.
  • Madonna’s religious beliefs
  • Who smoked pot in the sixties.

Things that are our business:

  • What is happening in Afghanistan
  • What the banks are doing with our money
  • What the hell happened in New Orleans and why
  • Dan Rather not checking his facts
  • The CIA, FBI and NSA spying on Americans
  • The criminal background of our children’s teachers

Morton Downey Jr. Jerry Springer. Tyra Banks. Rush Limbaugh. Glenn Beck.  Survivor.  Oprah.  Dr. Phil. Judge Judy.  We have become a nation of voyeurs.  Unlike your run-of-the-mill peeping Tom however, we seem to think not only do we have a right to peer into the lives of strangers, we have a duty. 

It reminds me of the Salem Witch Hunt.  And I have for one don’t think I could survive the scrutiny.  Could you?

Big Brother is not some omnipotent dictator from the mind of George Orwell.  It is you and me and everyone else.

That should scare the hell out of you.

Looking for God in all the wrong places…..

•January 10, 2010 • 3 Comments

I took a day to search for God, And found Him not; but as I trod, By rocky ledge, through woods untamed, Just where one scarlet lily flamed, I saw His footprint in the  sod.                       ~William Bliss Carman

I have been doing a lot of soul-searching lately.

No, that’s not accurate.

It’s not my soul I am searching.  It’s my mind. 

For most of  my life I have believed that the two had to remain separate.  God is in your heart, in your soul.  Do not question, have faith, believe.  You cannot know.  You can only trust. After all, faith is believing in that which you cannot see. 

But lately the need to know is too strong. 

There is so much I do not understand.  And I am simply not the type of person who can say to myself, “Now, honey, don’t you worry your pretty little head about that.”  Not even close.

I mean why would God tell me, “You are to have no other gods before me,” and then give us Christ as the sole way to Him?

Why does Jesus preach absolute freedom from the law then say we are going to hell if we don’t obey it?

Here is what I think.  I think Christ’s suggestion of total, absolute, undeniable, unrevokable grace scares the hell out people.  Literally.

If you believe the doctrine of grace then all bets are off.   Without the threat of hell, what’s to stop us from going wild? Losing ourselves and our souls in a world of earthly pleasures?  Besides that whole pesky “personal respsonsibily” thing, I mean.

Also, why is it we are to take the apostle’s word as Gospel – literally – and yet praying to them for intervention is idol worship?

The one that gets me, my towering monster of a road block to acceptance of the Christian status quo, is the idea that Ghandi is in hell.  Locks my brain up.  I cannot and will not accept that the Lord rejected this great man of God, his ministry of love, kindness and selflessness that so mirrors that of Jesus, because he did not claim Christ as his personal savior.

In the Old Testament we had to have an intermediary between God and us.  We were too low and dirty to commune directly with God.  Then Christ came, tore the veil, and opened the path directly to God.  Then He put up a velvet rope and positioned  Himself  in front of it as a kind of celestial bouncer at Club Heaven?

We were made pure in the eyes of God. The blood of Christ sanctified us all.  Kinda-sorta.  Really it works more like Harry Potter’s cape of invisibility.  God can no longer see our sins but they are still there, under the cloak of Jesus.  One misstep and that cape may fall from your shoulders, all of your sins glowing scarlet before a shocked and angry God?

This simply does not make sense to me.  I cannot link a loving God who knows every blade of grass and sparrow’s feather to the same God who will toss you into a lake of fire to burn in unending agony for picking the wrong door playing  Let’s Make An Eternity.

How many holy books are there out there?  The Torah, the Koran, The Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao-te-ching, the Samhita, the Book of Mormon.  Those who believe in them believe that they are the divine word of God.  Are they all wrong?

Or all they all right?

God has come to man in many forms.  In the Bible God appears as Christ, as a Dove, as a talking mule. He is a pillar of fire, a cloud on a mountain, a burning bush.

He wrestled with Jacob, (and cheated – little hip displacement and poof – fight’s over), led Moses out of the wilderness (only to deny him the Holy Land), and gave us freedom through Christ (with a catch).

He doesn’t make sense.  At all. 

And that may just be my answer right there.

Who am I to try to pigeon-hole God?  He has a history of revealing things on a need-to-know basis.  Likely because if we saw it all our head would explode and really, who needs that?

So here are my Articles of Faith:

I believe in God.  I believe He is real and holy and He loves me.

I believe Christ is real. That He walked the earth, preaching love, forgiveness and spiritual freedom.

I believe the earthly realm is filled with spirits of all kinds, angels and demons. 

I believe that Creation and Evolution are not mutually exclusive.

I believe there is much I do not know. Yet.

I believe God comes to us however we need Him to.  I don’t believe one religion is right and all the others are wrong.

I believe in Nats.

I believe that organized religion is a crapshoot and I am tired of playing the odds. 

I will search for God.  In a church, a temple, an Ashram.  He is there.  And I will find Him.

A New Year, A New Decade, A New Blog…

•January 4, 2010 • 1 Comment

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Mahatma Ghandi

SO this is it.  The New Blog.  Ooooh all shiny and fresh.  Nice…

For those who have never read my blog, Welcome.

For those who have there are a few changes, small but significant to me.  In my old blog, I kept a running theme, things to do with me, my family, my friends.  This one will be a tad more expansive.  I will cover whatever is on my mind, personal or not.  Some names may be changed to keep me from getting my ass kicked at the family reunion and the opinions will be wide and varied.  

I will also be adding tabs for Poetry and Photography and Writing. 

There you have it. 

Death called while you were out, so I gave him your cell number.

•November 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Now if you want to get to heaven

Let me tell you what to do

You better grease your foot up buddy

With that ol’ mutton stew

And when the devil comes at you

With them greasy hands

You just slide on over to the promised land

Since The Last Time, (Somebody Died) ~ Lyle Lovett

So, they buried Betty Sue this week.

Sitting at the graveside, slapping away an in-laws roving hands, I started thinking: Well, this sucks.

I do not want a quiet and tasteful funeral. I want a loud, bawdy funeral. Alcohol is a must. Loud music. Police called. That’s how I want to go out.

And here is the playlist:

Spirit In The Sky – Martin Greenbaum

Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf

Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

Church – Lyle Lovett

Since The Last Time, (Somebody Died)- Lyle Lovett

Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-Alot

And, as they lower me in to the ground……

Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust.

Then I want everyone to pile into various taxicabs (drinking and driving? Not at my funeral buddy) and hit the town.

I think, for this occasion, we should rent out the Hunt Club. I mean really, how much could it be? Hire a zydeco band, BBQ and steaks and something nice and veggie for Pet.
And an open bar.
And smoking.
Lots and lots of smoking.
Except around Vidi. She is seriously allergic, whole face swells up. Cut her some slack and give her a seat by a window.

Tell the real stories. The laugh so hard you wet yourself stuff. Like the time I got drunk and tried to cop a feel off a cop, ( I STILL think his ass looked fine in those stretchly little beige britches) or even the time when my date was on America’s Most Wanted. Seriously, we are at dinner, my mom is home watching him. Not good.

And of course, Sweetboy will have to tell the story about Mother’s Day and the sunglasses.

Maybe someone will start a conga line. I’d like that.

Dress code is optional. Come naked if you want. Wear a red dress or flip flops. Hell, won’t bug me. I’ll be dead.

Speaking of which, I don’t care what you bury me in but my feet better be in Vans. I know they don’t put shoes on dead people but by god if they can put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, they can put shoes on me.
(FYI – I still believe Anita Hill – just sayin’.)
I remember a t-shirt once that said, “Live your life in such a way that the preacher doesn’t have to lie at your funeral.”
As for me, I want him to have to lie his ass off.

Fighting Ire with Ire

•November 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

IMPORTANT: This email is intended for the use of the individual addressee(s) named above and may contain information that is confidential privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humor or irrational political beliefs. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email is not authorized (either explicitly or implicitly) and constitutes an irritating social fauxpas. No animals were harmed in the transmission of this email, although the mutt next door is living on borrowed time, let me tell you. (my email signature)

Okay, so I have been in a bad mood all week. Today seems like a good day to vent. Get it all out of my system before the new work week begins. So below is my punch list for things that just chapped my ass recently – in no particular order:

The Mussolini Kitten Poster:

There is a poster on the wall in the lobby of my office. This is nothing new as the building owners allow students and local artists to display their work every month. I am all for freedom of expression. Maplethorpe leaves me nauseated but I respect any artist’s right to display their work just I treasure my right not to pay to see it.

That being said; this poster is driving me nuts. It is 3′ x 4′ high with a sunny yellow background and a precious little kitten, (wearing a cowboy hat), sleeping. Underneath this serene image is a quote, “Inaction equals death, Benito Mussolini. “

My first question is, Does this kid have any idea who Mussolini was? What he did? The hundreds of thousands of people he murdered, maimed, tortured and suppressed? I doubt it.

I also don’t consider it appropriate for an office building where workers (Il Duce’s favorite target by the way) do not have the option of ignoring it.

If you consider it art then put it in a gallery, a museum, anywhere but where I have to look at it every time I step off the elevator.

The Great Pee Debate:

I am walking our brand new dog, Buddy, and Charlie, (the troglodyte disguised as my maintenance man), tells me not to let my dog pee in other people’s yards.

Esqueeze me?

Pee? Okay, poop I can understand. Messy, stinky, shoe-ruining. Check. But pee? Come on!

So I protested. He responded with something too stupid for my brain to retain and I walked away.

In a fit of passive-aggressiveness I then proceeded to encourage my dog to pee on each and every yard on our walk and then turned around and let him pee on them again; all in full view of Mr. Charlie.

Troglodyte then started in on my kid, who happened to be driving by at the time, and the last of my patience evaporated. I insulted his manhood, his intelligence and his wardrobe.

He told me I needed to get some.

The Great Pee Debate – Part Deux:

One week later.

My husband, who is gone three out of every four weeks, is now home. My son is outside loading his things into his pickup truck, (A completely different blog – trust me), and who should walk up but the aforementioned troglodyte, live and in a drunk stupor. I mention to my husband that Charlie is outside. “Charlie’s outside?” he asks. “I need to have a talk with him.”

Score! I think. My man is going to defend my honor. Mind you, I grew up during Second Wave Feminism and do not need a man to defend me. That doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t do a little jig when he does.

Except, he didn’t.

When he came back in from his “little talk”, I found out he did not in fact give the man a swift kick, or even a verbal tongue-lashing. Nope.

He gave him….. a job.

Hired him to fix the broken glass in my son’s room.

Nice. Way to be loyal there, babe. Wanna guess who’s not getting some tonight? Yep, that would be you.

Religion and Politics:

They say you should never discuss religion and politics in polite company. Whoever “they” are, “they” are not related to me by blood nor marriage.

I don’t mind a healthy political debate. In fact, I quite enjoy one. Nor do my opinions have to be the dominant ones in the discussion.

My best friend is a Conservative, Baptist, Republican Southerner.

She is also intelligent, well-read, open-minded and reasonable. While we differ on most major points, we do so courteously and with respect for each others input.

Ditto my sister, Vida. Completely different beliefs and we share them with each other all of the time. I learn something, she learns something, life is good.

So why do so many of my conservative friends and family insist on sending me highly inflammatory and insulting emails?

Yes, Dad, I am talking to you.

I will confess I practically worship our new president and I seriously disdained the previous one. I laughed when they made fun of him on late night TV, chuckled at the bumperstickers and t-shirts, and yes, I bought the Out Of Office Countown calendar and put it on my desk.

I did not, however, send the picture of Laura Bush with “I’m with Stupid” emblazened across it to my Republican collegues. Nor did I email them even one of the countless Sarah Palin jokes that, lets face it, were well deserved and often damned funny.

But no more. I am fighting ire with ire. South Carolina republicans alone have given me enough material to piss off my dad for the next year.

So, conservatives be warned, “Don’t start nuttin, won’t be nuttin.” Just sayin’.

Random Extras:

  • Rude clerks
  • Automated phone trees
  • The crazy lady next door who keeps teasing my dog
  • Glenn Beck
  • Rush Limbaugh
  • People who think either of the above actually speak for me
  • When Facebook crashes just after I hit my all-time highest Farkle score
  • Bill collectors calling my house for people I have never heard of then calling me a liar when I say they have a wrong number
  • Tight pantyhose
  • Shoes that feel great in the store then hurt your feet when you wear them anywhere else. What have the got, special never-hurt-your-feet carpeting?

Well, I guess that about does it. I feel much better. Thank you.

 
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