Category Archives: society

Building up and being creative

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, ‘Love your enemies.’ It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I really wasn’t going to talk about this latest shooting. I wasn’t. Coming as close on the heels as it did to the last one. Things have been depressing enough. Also, when I was waiting for one of my most recent job interviews, one of the major networks had their morning show on, and they kept reporting there had been a shooting at a “sick” temple. A sick temple! Not a Sikh temple. I mean, yeah, sure, it’s not a word maybe you say every DAY, but I’d think you might want to research how to pronounce it before you go on national television and rub salt in their wounds by pronouncing the name of their religion wrong over. And over. AND OVER. Seriously, it wasn’t just once. It was repeatedly. And it was MORTIFYING. (If I don’t get that job, I’m blaming the CBS morning show for throwing me off my game by mispronouncing an important word seconds before I had to go into an interview. Do you hear me? I WILL SUE YOU, CBS.)

(Update: per one of my commenters, apparently, it is SUPPOSED to be “sick,” and it’s my public school education and every OTHER network that had it wrong. My most abject apologies. And, well, you go, CBS News, for being the only network who was saying it correctly.)

Anyway, no. I wasn’t going to go into it. I really wasn’t. Because we’ve all had enough pain and misery and heartbreak. I don’t know what’s in the air or what’s been going on. Is it Mercury retrograde? Because that’s July 14 to August 8, and even though I don’t REALLY believe in that stuff…that’s just about when things started to go to shit in Amy-ville. If that’s the case, are things going to start looking up on Thursday? (Oh, for those of you who have no idea what this means – Mercury retrograde is an astrological term for when all the bad shit goes down. People start acting all haywirey; your brain feels all fritzy; the tiniest things make you INFURIATED…basically, it’s crazy-town in star-ville. If you believe in such things. Which I both do, and I don’t. I’m one of those people who’s eminently practical, except for when I’m not at all. I’m an enigma, what can I say.) Is it just a bad time overall for all my friends and loved ones and acquaintances and strangers and such? What the hell is happening? Maybe an alien released some sort of cloud of evil in the air, I have no idea. I just know most people I know are having a tough go of it right now, which is weird.

Damn you, you mercurial planet!

Anyway, then today I read this article. Sikh temple shooter hoped to inspire a wave of hate crimes. Apparently, the shooter was a white supremacist who played in a bunch of white power bands (that’s…a thing? I could happily have lived the rest of my days without knowing that “hatecore” was a thing) and he’s been online for years, encouraging other white supremacists to get out from behind their computers and go out into the real world and practice what they preached. And what do they preach? Again, something I’d be happy living the rest of my life not knowing: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” These are apparently called “the 14 words” and are the core belief system of a hate group called The Order.

I know I live with my head in the sand like an ostrich most of the time, because it’s a happier, quieter, and less-hatey place to be. Sometimes I pop out of my safe sand-hole and see things like this, or movies like American History X, and back to my hidey-hole I go.

OK, yes, it was an amazing movie, but it made my stomach hurt, ok? I’m a delicate flower when it comes to violence like this.

This man not only killed 6 people (and wounded three others), but he apparently did it in the hope it was inspiring. That it would charge others to go forth and do the same thing. A lot of people were saying that he targeted the Sikhs because they look like Muslims, with their turbans, but now it’s looking like it was less of a religious thing and more of a color of their skin thing.

And I absolutely don’t get this. Not at all.

I guess, if forced to do so, I can, on some level, understand why some people, across the board, hate people of other religions. Because those people DARE imply, by believing in their God and individual belief system, that the religion of the person who is doing the hating is wrong. Also, it’s ingrained in us to dislike and mistrust what is different from us. Different = scary! And scary = bad! So, although I don’t agree with it, I can see where that’s coming from. Then add to that the fact that people assume ALL Muslims (and I guess, although I didn’t realize people didn’t know there was a difference, Sikhs) are responsible for ALL terrorism, and there’s that hatred, too. Again, don’t agree with it, but I see where the genesis is.

But I have never, and will never, get the “hating someone because they are a different skin color” thing. (Am I going to get a whole bunch of scary comments because of this? Don’t bother. I moderate and I’ll delete them. I’m not perpetrating your hate speech here.)

Apparently, they’re scared they’re stealing our jobs, and our women, and I don’t know, polluting our gene pool, or something? Well, shit, the gene pool over here before we got here was all Native American, what the hell did we do when we first showed up? We stole ALL the jobs (well, we created them, and the need for them, too, I suppose) and the women that we didn’t bring with us and we made a whole NEW gene pool. This wasn’t even a white country to START with! What the hell? It’s not like we’re preserving something that always was. What am I missing?

The people on this map look mighty not-white to me. Maybe I need a new eyeglass prescription?

And since when are they “our” jobs and “our” women and, well, hell, “our” country? Who died and left it to us just because we’re pigmentally challenged? I think the jobs should be going to the most-qualified and the women (not being property) should be choosing who they want to sleep with, or not sleep with (me, I’d sleep with, oh, I don’t know, THE PERSON IN THE EQUATION WHO ISN’T A TOWERING RACIST DOUCHECANOE) and as for the country…well, it’s here, you know? No one OWNS it. It’s not a barrette or a pair of flip-flops or a can of creamed corn. It’s a COUNTRY. We can SHARE it. We’re a friggin’ melting pot, we didn’t get that name because we were all the same damn COLOR and SHAPE and SIZE. What’s wrong with you people?

Also, and this is what bugs me the most, I think – it’s not like you’re born brown or black or white or yellow or pink and you’re immediately A DIFFERENT PERSON. We’re all the same under our skin. We all have the same things that drive us, even if we look different from the outside. We all want to be loved; we all want acceptance; we all love to laugh; we all want enough money to be comfortable; we all want happiness in our lives; we all fear pain and loss; we all have quirks and peccadilloes. We’re all people, dammit. I’ve said this before. I’ll say it again. We all have the same genetics. We just come in different packages. You can take the same exact product and put it in five different boxes and guess what? IT’S THE SAME PRODUCT. Why are you being fooled by packaging? You must be a shitload of fun to take grocery shopping. None of us are better than anyone else. None of us is superior, based on something as random as what color our skin is, based on genetics.  I’ve actually read that in the future (the far-off future, I don’t even remember how far off, but, far) this won’t even be an issue, because we’ll ALL be Star-Bellied Sneetches. We’ll all have cross-bred so much that we’ll all be a beautiful light-brown color, and no one will be able to claim “I AM BETTER THAN YOU KAPOW GENETICS!” because we’ll all be the SAME.

In the future, they will all have stars upon thars.

Anyway, back to topic. This guy wanted to generate a campaign of hate. He wanted people to look up to him and say, huh. Look at what THAT guy did. I could do that, too! What an inspiration! But here’s what I propose. A counter-measure.

Let’s fight that with a campaign of love.

Our campaign is easier to carry out. You don’t need to stockpile an arsenal. You don’t need to hide guns under your jacket, or buy bullet-proof clothing. You don’t end up dead at the end of our campaign, shot to death by the police protecting the citizenry.

In our campaign, our artillery is something you use every day: words. Words and deeds. Even better: they’re free, and there’s no waiting period or background check.

Be kind to people. Tell people you love them. Support someone who needs it. Instead of leaving a passive-aggressive comment on a blog or a Facebook post: choose to take the high road and don’t leave anything at all. Write a blog post encouraging love. Remember that everyone you meet is struggling with something, and even if it’s not the SAME something you’re struggling with, it’s equally as difficult for them as your things are for you. Don’t make their burden heavier than it already is. If you can? Take some of it on yourself. Everything is easier to carry if you share the load.

If you have money to donate, donate it to a charity that supports something you believe in that will further the cause: a kickstarter for a struggling artist. A fund to keep arts in the schools. A homeless shelter. A food bank. Teach your children that tolerance and love are the answers to things, not hatred and impatience. Use words that build up, not words that tear down. Smile more. Frown less. Laugh often. Be kind to yourself, because if you’re happy, it’s easier to let your love out for everyone else to enjoy it. Let everything you do, no matter how small, come from a place of love.

But Amy! Some people are very hard to love! Yep. See the quote at the beginning of the piece. I know they are. Sadly, those are the people that need us to beam the love onto them the most. I know, it’s tough.

But Amy! This sounds like crazy hippie-dippie kumbaya shit! Yep. I know. Can you think of a better fix? Because I can’t. They’re going to try to pump gallons of hatred all over the world. Can you think of a better way to combat that? I’m listening.

And if we all use our collective power to put all the love we’ve got into the world – well, maybe it doesn’t fix everything that’s wrong. I’m not that naive. But that much love out there, that much positive energy out there, you can’t tell me that’s a bad thing. We’ve already made a difference. And it’s a ripple effect, all that love. It dominoes. It goes from you, to the person you touched, to the person they touch, on and on and on. It doesn’t stop. I don’t remember a lot about physics, but I do remember the Law of Conservation of Energy. Energy might be able to change form, but it can’t be created or destroyed. We put that energy out there, all that love-energy, and it STAYS out there. It’s not GOING anywhere. And maybe along the way, it transforms some of the hate out there into love, who knows.

Don’t let the hate win. Don’t let the badness take over. We’re better than that. They might have their 14 words, but I propose we do, too:

All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)

Love you guys.

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Aaah, a marriage made in heaven. A frog and a pig. We can have bouncing baby figs.

One of my readers, the lovely Angela (hi, the lovely Angela!), upon reading my post about our sad young friend in Bali who fell very much in love with a very seductive cow and then lost his love to some angry villagers and a watery death, thought that further investigation needed to be done into interspecies marriage, because listen, that article was totally not in-depth enough. We both felt bad for the poor cow, and were wondering if the drowning happened pre- or post-nuptials, and in what language the nuptials were conducted? Balinese or Cow? And what language IS cow, anyway? Does it even have a name, or is it just called Cow? Because I can’t imagine that’s the case. That would be like if all human language was just called Human. That seems…speciesist, somehow. We aren’t living in the Tower of Babel, here.

THE TOWER OF BABEL! COW-LANGUAGE! HUMAN-LANGUAGE! ALL A’SMISH-SMASH!

Anyway, in honor of Angela – do not let it be said I do not love my readers! – I did EXTENSIVE RESEARCH into interspecies marriage. I am NOT going to go into interspecies CONSUMMATION of the interspecies marriage; because, well, ew, and I don’t want to become the place where people go for all manner of bestiality advice and/or information. I’m sure there ARE such places people can go for such things. There’s EVERYTHING on the internet. I just don’t think it needs to be HERE. I mean, sure, I’m all for new readers. I just don’t think THAT sort of readers. Because they’d just get disappointed if they came back a few times and realized I wasn’t supplying a constant source of animal pornery.

SO, due to the WONDER of the INTERNET, I have researched interspecies marriage for you. Surprisingly, there wasn’t as much out there as you might think. I know! It’s kind of shocking.

EXAMPLE THE FIRST

A Very High-Profile Interspecies Relationship

For over thirty years, a very high-profile interspecies relationship has been going on RIGHT UNDER OUR NOSES. Right under them! And according to my VERY IN-DEPTH RESEARCH, they MAY WELL BE LIVING IN SIN, you guys! SIN! This cannot stand, I mean, come on, now. Sinful sinfulness! This couple had their own television show, shoving their liberal agenda down our throats for years. Once their show ended, they continued their hippie-dippie love-in shit with movies. MOVIES! Not only that – MOVIES THAT WE SHOW OUR CHILDREN! I know, you’re all probably shocked beyond belief.

Who’s involved in this relationship, you’re asking yourself? AND HOW CAN WE STOP THIS?

Yep. I know. It’s pretty horrifying. A PIG. And a FROG.

According to this strangely in-depth and really well-researched entry from something called “Muppet Wiki” (yep, who knew? That’s totally a thing) Kermit and Miss Piggy have been telling differing stories about their relationship for years. Sometimes they say they’re married; sometimes they say they’re living in sin; sometimes they say they are very much in love; sometimes they say they’ve broken up. They have their ups and downs, those two. Well, what can you expect from a cold-blooded and a hot-blooded species? They’re not meant to get along. Also, not to get disgusting (I KNOW, I promised I wasn’t going to go into this) but male frogs climb on female frogs’ backs and fertilize their eggs as they lay them. I’m pretty sure that isn’t going to satisfy someone as high-maintenance as Miss Piggy. Hi-ya! (Also, she doesn’t seem like someone who’d want all that mess. She seems very…I don’t know, cleanly.)

STOP TOUCHING ME THERE, FROGGY.

I know some of you are saying, “AMY! I know they’re married, I saw them get married!” Well, my little strawberry shortcakes, if you remember correctly, that was a dream sequence/part of the musical (I don’t remember, it’s been years since I watched that – wasn’t it part of the musical, but Miss Piggy hired a real minister to make it real, or something?) in The Muppets Take Manhattan.

So there you go. Damn hippies trying to FORCE INTERSPECIES MARRIAGE down our THROATS. Don’t even get me started on Gonzo and those chickens. Although I don’t think he ever married any of them, and also I don’t know that Gonzo is an animal. What the hell IS Gonzo, anyway? (Huh. The internet says he’s an alien. Also, be careful, babes. If you don’t specify and just Google “what is Gonzo,” you get a page called “What is gonzo porn?” and then you of COURSE have to READ that, because you’re CURIOUS like a CAT, then you imagine how FUNNY that might be to WATCH, then you’ve lost 30 minutes.)

EXAMPLE THE SECOND

It’s Not All Bollywood and Nose-Piercing Over There

In India, it’s a custom (not a COMMON custom, but a custom nonetheless) to marry a dog for a variety of reasons.

Ooh, look, a MANUAL.

In 2003, a girl in India married a dog to ward off an evil spell. How did they know she had an evil spell cast upon her? Because she had a tooth that wouldn’t come out of her upper gum. Don’t ask any further questions than that. It can only lead to madness, I’m sure. So in order to break the evil tooth-spell, she had to marry the village’s stray dog. Because that’s a thing that they do. I’m not here to judge. She doesn’t have to do anything ICKY with the dog. It’s a ceremonial thing. And she’s free to marry a human when she grows up. So it’s a cultural thing, I guess. Also, dogs are pretty awesome.

VERY dapper.

Then a man in India in 2007 married a dog to atone for the fact that he murdered two dogs years before, and HE was under an evil curse. (I’m tending to believe more in the dog-murder curse than the tooth-gum curse, to be honest.) He was a total dickweed and he stoned two dogs to death and HUNG THEM FROM TREES (he’s totally being haunted by dog-ghosts and GOOD, you GO, dog-ghosts, eat his WHOLE FACE OFF) and then he was all, “Damn, I feel like I’m under a little black raincloud, HOW TO FIX THIS?” and then he married the town’s stray dog. I feel like, based on these articles, Indian villages may have a lot of stray dogs. That they marry. For curse-reasons.

You may kiss the bride! A wet, sloppy kiss.

Then, in 2009, an infant in India had to marry a stray dog because otherwise in the future, it was predicted he’d be eaten by a tiger. Again, he can marry a human when he grows up. And he WILL grow up. Non-tiger-eaten. Because of his marriage to a dog. I would include a link to my source material on this one like a REAL GROWNUP JOURNALIST but MSN pulled the article and I cobbled it together from the comments on their pulled article and the Wikipedia. You can probably find it if you’re crafty. Or just accuse me of lying, I’m down with that.

No eatin’ by a tiger! Not for THIS baby!

FINALLY, in dog-marriage news (but NOT in India) a man married his dog in Australia a couple of years ago. “What curse was HE under, Amy?” you’re asking. None. He just really, really, REALLY loved his dog. (I’m really hoping in a bro-way, and not anything else. I refuse to think of anything else. NOTHING ELSE.)

EXAMPLE THE THIRD

Too Shocking for Springer. TOO SHOCKING FOR EVEN SPRINGER!

In 1998, Jerry Springer had an episode titled “I Married a Horse.” It was considered TOO SHOCKING FOR TELEVISION, and not allowed to be aired. (Also on the episode along with the horse-dude were a lady who was in a very…um…graphic relationship with her Schnauzer and a man who was an equal-opportunity dog-lovah and hadn’t settled on any specific special lady yet. Or, bitch, I guess.)

Because THIS is much less offensive than HORSE MARRIAGE.

The horse-dude also had a documentary made about him. (Best comment on that post? The one about the “stable” relationship. Heh. I’m a pre-teen boy with my sense of humor.)

The moral here? America is down with baby-daddy-drama and people ripping out each other’s weaves and a lot of bleeped cussing, but NOT ok with animal…um…husbandry.

EXAMPLE THE FOURTH

You Can’t Always Expect Goat-Marriage

I’m kind of poaching on Ken’s territory here. Because, you remember, right? You remember the rule?

And also, “you can’t always expect goats” is totally Ken’s thing. Look, he’s the first thing that comes up when you search that on Google and everything. As it should be. But this very all-inclusive research piece I’m doing on behalf of the BETTERMENT of the WORLD would not be complete without mentioning this.

In Sudan (or is it “the” Sudan? Because we don’t say “the” America or “the” Finland or whatever) a man was startled while performing goat-loving. “When I asked him: ‘What are you doing there?’, he fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied him up,” the owner said.

The owner left the goat-aficionado tied up, and went to the “council of elders” (um, AWESOME, I want a “council of elders,” even better, I want to be ON a council of elders, I would be VERY MERCIFUL, most of the time) and the council of elders said (if I may paraphrase, because it’s like this might be my audition for the council of elders) “Dude! Don’t go to the po-po. Make him pay you some sweet dinero, and then make him marry the goat, since he’s already used her like a wife, yo.”

Aw. So pretty! White is totally her color.

SO THAT HAPPENED.

The guy married the goat, and they lived in wedded bliss for about a year, until the goat died of VERY suspicious circumstances (“choking on a plastic bag” which I think is a Rough on Rats excuse if I’ve ever heard one) and the best part of the Wikipedia entry is “The goat was survived by a 4-month-old kid.” Well. That means the goat either a., cheated on her husband, or b., the man and his goat had an interspecies BABY.

EXAMPLE THE FIFTH

Marrying dogs and turtles = marrying the person you love

According to some very progressive politicians* (*not at all progressive) we’re all one step away from marrying animals anyway.

You see, here in the United States, we have six states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York – YAY NEW YORK – and Vermont) that allow same-sex couples to marry, and recognize their marriages with the same rights and privileges as any other couple. AS EVERY STATE SHOULD FOR THE LOVE OF PETE. Cough. Cough cough. Sorry. My politics slipped in. Pardon MOI.

BUT, with each state that allows same-sex marriage to happen, we’re closer to the total breakdown of society. And that total breakdown comes in the guise of marrying DOGS and TURTLES.

Per Rick Santorum:

“In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality.”

And per Bill O’Reilly:

“Bill O’Reilly again theorized that the legalization of gay marriage could lead to interspecies marriages, stating to Margaret Hoover, ‘[Y]ou would let everybody get married who want to get married. You want to marry a turtle, you can.’ O’Reilly has previously suggested that gay marriage could ultimately allow for a person to marry a goat, duck, or dolphin.”

Well! Goats, ducks, dolphins, turtles, and dogs! That’s quite a damn petting zoo of marriage. Dammit, gays! STOP RUINING SOCIETY WITH FORCING ME TO MARRY ANIMALS! Oh, what, wait, you’re not…your marriage is not forcing me to marry an animal? And it’s a civil rights issue and no one’s telling me I can’t marry the person I love, were I to actually find someone to love, AND it totally injects all kinds of money into my state’s economy? Well, shit, marry it up, gays. Marry. It. Up. I’ll run the risk of duck-marriage, and since goats are Ken’s, he’s in charge of that situation.

ME TOO!

EXAMPLE THE SIXTH AND FINAL

A Very Strangely-Written Folk Tale

According to this Cheyenne folk tale, which I believe has lost something in translation or writing or whatever, a chief’s daughter had illicit relations in the middle of some very dark night on her hands and when she hugged him, she put red handmarks on his back. The next day, at a dance, she looked for the man with red handmarks on his back (because…no one bathed there?) and none of the men had red-handy-backs. BUT A DOG DID DUN DUN DUNNNNN. The chief’s daughter was mega-sad that her lovah had been a dog. (Nowhere in this story was it mentioned that she’d had sex with a shapeshifter of some sort. How did she not KNOW it was a dog? Was he not furry with a tail and smaller than a human? CONFUSING.)

J’ACCUSE!

Because she was sad (or a psychopath) she took the dog into the woods and beat it but it ran away. (Um, yeah. OF COURSE IT DID.) Then she gave birth to seven puppies. As you do.

She hated her puppies and told her mom to KILL THEM KILL THEM ALL but her mom was all “those ma grandpuppies, yo!” and took care of them. Their mom eventually was like, “Huh, I guess I don’t hate my litter as much as I thought. I guess I can throw a tennis ball around with them a little or whatever.” BUT! Once they were old enough, their dad showed up and took them away LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.

Aw, MOM. Why don’t you love us? Boo.

The chief’s daughter was super-sad and was all, “Hey, mom, make me a bunch of puppy-moccasins, I’M GOING TO GET MA BABEHS” and then chased them down. They were in a tent with a young man who ignored her. (Probably because when he was a dog, SHE KICKED THE SHIT OUT OF HIM?) She fell asleep, and when she woke up, the kiddos and her ex-lovah were gone. This went on for 3 more nights. On the fourth night, she could not find them, and thought to look up in the sky (I don’t know why) and saw her puppies, which were now the constellation the Pleiades.

There are only 7 stars in this. Where did the shapeshifting dad go?

What is the MOST confusing about this is that it’s called “The Girl Who Married a Dog” and she CLEARLY did not marry a dog. She had some SEX with a SHAPESHIFTER who was either always a dog, or masquerading as one, and then gave birth to a litter of star-puppies. Also she was an animal abuser and a negligent mom.

This is a very confusing folk tale.

There! Angela, ALL THE RESEARCH into interspecies marriage! I don’t know if we know any more than we did when we started, and we’re still not any further along in understanding why they drowned that damn cow…but! ALL THE RESEARCH! ALL FOR YOU DAMIEN!


He was different, he wasn’t cool like me

The news has been very, very depressing lately. I KNOW, it’s ALWAYS depressing. But it’s more depressing than usual. Am I the only one that’s noticed this? I can’t be, right?

Even this pug wearing clothing is super-depressed.

OK, first, this whole thing about the bus monitor in Rochester that was bullied by middle school kids has me insane. INSANE. I tried to watch the video and I absolutely could not do it. I watched approximately a minute and a half and had to turn it off. Yes, yes. I know. The world stepped right up and donated her a ton and a half of money, because if there’s one thing people are good at, it’s throwing money at something that makes them sad to make themselves feel less sad. (Sorry. That’s rude. I’m sure people have the best of intentions.) So far, as of the writing of this post, the fundraiser to send her on a vacation has raised about $668,000. That’s a hell of a vacation. I’m not judging, and it’s not sour grapes, but there are a lot of people saying she “deserves” this money. Really? There are a lot of us who were bullied that much or more by children. Other teachers, even, according to my friend who teaches junior high. Do we also deserve that kind of payout? I don’t think anyone in the world deserves anything. I know, that’s kind of insanely conservative, coming from me, right? I’m a big fat enigma, what can I say. Is it nice that she’s gotten all these donations? Sure, it’s nice. Is it DESERVED? Debatable.

Whew! NOW my conscience is appeased!

That’s not the point. The point is, middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL. Those children were, what, 12-14 years old? What the HELL are we teaching our young adults that they think it’s ok to verbally harass a senior citizen to the point of tears? Did you watch this? Did you all watch this? I think everyone’s watched this, right? I’d link to it but I don’t want to. I just don’t even want to. You know how I feel about bullying, you know that. I know how cruel children are to each other, of course I know that, but when did children stop having even a little bit of respect for an adult in authority? None at all? Really? I mean, sure, we were all kinds of eye-rolly at adults when we were children, sure we were, but we didn’t taunt adults to their faces until they cried. Is it the mob mentality? Like, these children weren’t really all that bad, but as a group they all just got meaner and meaner and meaner and spurred each other on? Or are they? Are children this bad now? My teacher-friend says they are. I don’t want to think they are. I can’t think that, I just can’t. Not without my head exploding.

See? THIS is how I want to imagine junior high kids. All shiny-happy-people. DAMMIT LET ME HAVE THIS.

I don’t know what the solution to this is. First, we didn’t have bus monitors when I was a kid. I asked my parents, and they said this is a thing now. Well, good. The buses were a NIGHTMARE when I was a kid. Just complete and utter chaos. Like, Lord of the Flies but the island was a moving motor vehicle. People were beaten, having sex in the back seats, things were thrown at each other, out of the windows, at the busdriver – and our bus was worse, because it had kindergarten through senior year on it, so you can’t tell me those little five-year-olds were safe with senior year hooligans around them. So, yeah, a bus monitor is a good idea. But apparently not in this case. What was HAPPENING on this bus? This shit kept happening? The busdriver didn’t stop it, or stop the bus? Did this woman report these kids? It’s obvious she wasn’t able to do her job as bus monitor. So were all the other kids she was supposed to be protecting unsafe, because she wasn’t even able to protect herself? I am kind of flummoxed by this entire situation. This couldn’t have been a one-time incident, right?

Look at this shit. This is what happens on the bus, don’t think otherwise. Buses are UTTER CHAOS. On WHEELS.

And listen, I was not an angel-child by any means. No no no. I was often quite cruel. Mostly because I was dealing with a lot of personal shit and I lashed out inappropriately. I don’t think it’s called PTSD when you’re currently experiencing the trauma. Current-traumatic stress disorder? I don’t know. Anyway, I’m just saying, whatever the reason, I wasn’t always nice. Far from it. I was often mean and sarcastic and bitter. Middle school kids are terrible. Just terrible. All those hormones? It’s lunacy.

SO MANY EMOTIONZZZ!!!!

The whole thing makes me nervous and upset. Do I think the kids deserve punishment? Hell yes. Everyone, no matter how old they are, needs to understand there are consequences for their actions, and that you can’t treat your fellow man in such a way. These kids grew up in a culture where anti-bullying was taught as part of the curriculum. According to the Greece School District Website, they teach using the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.  (I have my doubts that these programs work, really, but they have to be better than not having a program at all, right?) It’s not like these kids don’t know what bullying is. Were they not aware that bullying an adult is the same thing as bullying a peer? Did they just not care? I know they’re minors, but I’d love to hear the kids’ side of this. What led them to do this? Were there thought processes involved, or was it just something that seemed fun at the time (like most things we do when we’re hormone-addled teens?)

I’m thinking about this too much, aren’t I? I do that with things like this. They upset me more than they should. Andreas wrote a very compelling post about compassion in the human race recently, but I don’t think it’s compassion that’s fueling my cyclical obsessive thoughts about this. It’s childhood trauma, and my need to know why. Why did this happen? What led to this happening? How can we stop it from happening again? Can we stop it from happening again?

And then, THEN, political shit has turned the country into lunatics. There is SO MUCH SHOUTING RIGHT NOW.

So, so much. And hating. And the Republicans are at war with the Democrats. WE HATE EACH OTHER SO MUCH. We can’t be friends. Because the Democrats are a bunch of dirty damn hippies who want the government to give them free…well…everything and also hate Merka and complain a lot and hate God and want us all to be vegetarians and also smoke all the legal weed, and the Republicans hate women and poor people and people of color and illegal immigrants and love guns a lot. So of course we can’t get along because we’re like cats and dogs or maybe oil and water and THERE IS SO MUCH SHOUTING. We seem to forget we’re all just people, and when we finish work, we go home, and we all worry about bills and our loved ones and we like to laugh and we sometimes cry and wear shoes, and we sleep, and we are sometimes loud and sometimes quiet and we’re all a little nuts. Nope. We’re not humans. We are DEMOCRATS or REPUBLICANS. Or, I suppose we can be something else, like Socialists or Green Party members or Independents or whatever, but no one takes those parties seriously. Probably because they aren’t shouty enough.

Listen, I love election season.

YIPPEE!

LOVE. I love that it gets all exciting, and that there are debates, and people get on television with charts and graphs and you try to guess who’s going to carry which states, and best of ALL you get to VOTE, which, listen, I love so much, I’ve mentioned that before, my insane love of all things voting-related. I love when the vice-presidential candidate(s) are announced. I love when these SCANDALOUS stories come out like “ZOMG BIRTH CERTIFICATE!?!1?!?” or “Romney was a total bully in high school” or “I can see Russia from my HOUSE” or whatever. Love. It all makes me very excited. I love how our political system works, even though it’s a little confusing even though I’ve totally studied and researched it and I’m quite intelligent. I love that we get a say in it. I love that there are PEOPLE whose JOB it is to decide what COLOR TIE a candidate should wear to best come across as compassionate or diplomatic or intelligent. I love it. All of it.

Listen, Merka. You are SUCKING THE JOY OUT OF MY ELECTION SEASON WITH THE SHOUTERY.

I don’t remember us hating each other this much four years ago. I really don’t. We all started hating each other this much since Obama became president? I’m confused by this. He really doesn’t seem to be doing that bad of a job. I mean, were you all asleep during Dubya’s presidency? The mess Obama stepped into when he entered the White House – I mean, I think if it was me, I would have just put my head down in the Oval Office and wept for like a month. It’s like everyone forgot the Dubya years. I didn’t. I didn’t forget them at all. At least now I don’t have to apologize for the president when speaking to people who aren’t American. I did that a lot during the Dubya years. There was a lot of “yeah, I KNOW, it’s so EMBARRASSING, what can you DO” coming from me for 8 years. A LOT. I haven’t had to say that once in the past four years. Mostly because I’m not embarrassed of Obama. He doesn’t make embarrassing gaffes or stand under big old “MISSON ACCOMPLISHED” signs when the mission wasn’t even accomplished or stare off into space for seven minutes while reading My Pet Goat while his country is under terrorist attack.

This just makes me sad.

Obama’s intelligent. Have you heard the guy talk? He’s intelligent, and he’s personable, and he’s got a sense of humor that’s more New Yorker than frathouse shenanigans. He doesn’t give his staff members nicknames like “Boner” and “Hillbilly Frank.” Is that the problem? Do people resent him because they think he’s smarter than they are? Don’t we WANT a President that’s smarter than we are? I know I sure as hell do. I want the person with his (or her, dammit, her, HER BEFORE I DIE PLEASE) finger on the button to be smarter than I am, and not think kegstands and/or red Solo cups are a good way to spend a Friday night WHEN YOU ARE IN YOUR FIFTIES.

Do you WANT someone like this running your country? I mean, maybe you do. I don’t know your life. But I’m going to hope not.

We’re talking politics. Sorry. SORRY. I know, I try not to do that here.

All I’m saying is, can we stop with the shoutery and the hating? Please? I know. It’s a lot easier to hate someone than it is to put yourself in their shoes for a few minutes and think, huh, if you put aside the politics, we’re just all people. Or if you stop bullying for a minute and look, that person is being injured by what I’m doing, and how would I like it if someone did that to me? Or if (and the kids who did this in Rochester are getting some of this now) people I love saw what I was doing, would they be proud of me right now? What if someone was doing this to my mom? My sister? My grandmother? Would I allow this to continue?

If we all just try to realize that every single person in the world is just that – a person – and trying to do their best, even when they’re being an INSUFFERABLE ASSHOLE – maybe we could just be a little nicer. And then I wouldn’t have to avoid watching the news or clicking on links or talking to my dad about anything but the weather. I need more happy “look, this guy rescued a dog for no reason other than he was a nice man” and less “another kid killed himself because he was bullied into thinking he was worthless” stories. Can we work on that? Any chance? Thanks so much, so appreciated.

This entire photoset is worth seeing. It’ll lighten your day. I almost promise it. Click. What can it hurt?

You know, we really are capable of such amazing things. Why are we wasting our voices and energy on shouting and tearing down when we could be singing and building up?


The Targaryens wed brother to sister, why shouldn’t we do the same?

Whew! We made it to Friday, hooray! Tonight is going-to-see-my-friend’s-play night. It’s at this artsy thing in one of our local towns that I’ve always wanted to go to, so that’ll be fun, right? Look at me doing things that force me to get up off the couch. It’s all very exciting and probably I deserve a medal. Dumbcat, however, is NOT PLEASED, and when I get home does things like “MEOW!” and glares at me VERY POINTEDLY because I was not home for him to squish all up to and dig his claws into. He can try that with a pillow, but the pillow doesn’t go “Ouch, Dumbcat, what the hell? Why so pointy, bub?” and then scritch his head for him. 

(SIDE NOTE. In case you were not convinced Dumbcat is really dumb, the other day, he was asleep on the back of the couch and got scared by a ghost. Well, I assume it was a ghost. There was nothing scary I could see or hear. So he bolted up as if he was pinched and then decided I MUST RUN AWAY NOW. But one of his claws got caught in the afghan I keep on the back of the couch in case I get cold.

Evil. Eeeeee-vil.

So he was all WHAT IS THIS MADNESS. Then he KEPT RUNNING. So he was dragging the afghan behind him with one little paw and trying to run and making a noise like he was caught in a snare and knocking everything off the shelves with the afghan trailing behind him and I was like, DUMBCAT STOP I CAN FIX THIS and he was like NO NO NO MOM THERE IS A GHOST SOMEWHERE GOTTA GO. Finally he stopped and just looked at the afghan SO MOURNFULLY like “this is my LIFE now, I have this THING PERMANENTLY attached to my LEG” and I was able to catch up to him and detach him and he looked at me as if I was a goddess sent to him from on high and then I laughed until my stomach was sore. I felt kind of bad about it, but I still laughed. I mean, he’s like the Three Stooges of cats, this cat. He now thinks the afghan is his enemy, and will not sleep on it. He takes care to sleep on either end of the couch, but not in the middle, where that evil, foot-snatching afghan lives. It attacked him once. It might do it again. YOU CAN NEVER TELL WITH THOSE NEFARIOUS PLOTTING-AGAINST-YOU AFGHANS.) 

I have not yet told you about my adventure to get Indian food. It actually isn’t much of a story. It went very well! I did not say or do a single embarrassing thing! (Well, I don’t THINK I did. One would know, wouldn’t one think?) My food was good, and spicy, and there were no onions, garlic, or tomatoes to be found. (Oh, you probably want to know what I ate because people like to hear things like that. I had a little bit of naan that was stuffed with cheddar cheese so it was like the Indian version of Domino’s Cheesy Bread, and Chicken Vindaloo, which is, for people that don’t know about such things, pieces of very tender chicken in a spicy brown thick sauce served over this delicious kind of rice that I’ve never tried before and I’m not supposed to HAVE rice so I only had a little but MAN was that the best rice ever in the history of ever and I could have eaten 47,000 bowls of that rice alone, and it wasn’t even SEASONED rice, it was just longer and skinner than normal rice and had a really nice consistency and I loved it times a million.)

Naan is yum, even though I’m not allowed much bread. I’m down with you, naan!

I drank a lot of water with the spiciness. We talked and laughed a lot. I almost got arrested and/or killed driving illegally on the way home (dear GPS: that U-turn you told me to make? WAS ILLEGAL. That’s a one-way street, my friend. And I was on it before I realized it. Dummy. It’s a damn good thing no cars were coming) but overall, it was great. So look! I can leave the house and socialize with people in small groups without self-destructing or self-immolating or self-whatevering. What a nice thing to realize!  

I found this thing in the news, and I wanted to discuss it with you, but it’s icky. Do you want to hear about an icky thing? Because it is. Totally icky. Also, it taught me a sciency thing, so probably Andreas will be interested. And also disgusted. You ALL will be disgusted. It’s the ickiest. 

Andreas, this is sciency, but also gross. I hope you’re up for the challenge.

OK, so in California recently, a woman was caught having all the underage sex in a hotel room with a sixteen-year-old boy. Yes, ew, these things happen, fine, whatever, gross, that’s not the ickiest part. THAT’S NOT EVEN THE ICKIEST PART. Ready? 

It was her son that she’d given up at birth. AND SHE KNEW IT WAS HER SON. 

Here, you can see pictures of this woman. She looks like one of those Bratz dolls. A real-life Bratz doll! Worrisome. 

I mean, if you’re into plastic and puty duck-lips, I guess, whatever, I don’t want to be judgey.

Apparently she gave up her child at birth, and then she contacted him fifteen years later and started a conversation with him on Facebook which led to naughty texts (as Facebook does) and then they started meeting up in hotel rooms so she could tutor him in math (that’s a euphemism) and his family found out and called the cops. 

EUPHEMISM. Y = Sex.

When the cops questioned her, she said she was not guilty. “But, we have this video your son made, of you playing his skin flute,” they said. (EUPHEMISM. Also, what kind of asshole kid makes a video of it? Ew, THAT IS YOUR MOM.) “No, no!” she said. “You see, it’s not my FAULT. There’s this scientific phenomenon called Genetic Sexual Attraction, where 50% of people meeting a long-lost relative are sexually attracted to them. I am a VICTIM! Of SCIENCE!” 

And then I assume the cops made this face.

Well, setting aside the old “he blinded me with science” defense (which, bee tee dubs, didn’t work, she was sent to jail for 4 years last week) I was all, “WHAT? This is a THING? Being sexually attracted to your relatives is a THING?” 

Yep. It’s totally a thing. Science says so! 

According to science, if, say, you were separated at birth from your sibling, and then you meet up with him (or her) twenty years later, you are more likely to be sexually attracted to him (or her) because: 

You have facial similarities, and people (often without knowing it) seek out partners with a similar facial pattern/look 

Along similar lines, we seek out partners with similar traits and likes/dislikes; scientists agree that some of these things can be hereditary, and therefore the sibling would be seen by your brain as a good mate 

If you were raised by your opposite-sex parent, you “imprinted” on them; the sibling you didn’t know you had will share some similarities to that parent, and your ever-entertaining brain will turn that into sexual attraction (howdy, Oedipal and Electra complexes, nice to see you here!) 

Aw, Ralph. Don’t do it. SHE IS YOUR MOM.

Now, if you grew UP with your sibling (or parent, or cousin, or whatever) the odds of you being attracted to them are slimmer, because of ANOTHER sciency phenomenon called The Westermarck Effect, or reverse sexual imprinting.

Here is ol’ Westermarck himself! He looks sciency, right? And a little like Teddy Roosevelt.

The person this is named after is from FINLAND, which makes me think it MUST be true because all the best scientists and Science Fellows are from/currently live in Finland. 

Producing only the best scientists and science fellows for hundreds of years. I don’t let just any Science Fellow science it up around these parts. I’m SELECTIVE.

The Westermarck Effect states that if you grow up with another child (from about ages birth to six) you become desensitized to later sexual attraction. It somehow triggers a naturally-occurring incest taboo (“incest” being only the label put on it; it doesn’t only work within families. If you are raised alongside a foster brother, for example, you most likely would see him as a sibling and mating with him later in life would also trigger the “incest incest NO NO NO” panic-alarm.) 

Now, this all icked me out to the extreme (mostly the first part of this) but then I thought about it and you know what? Science is totally right here. Still ICKY, but totally right. 

Of course you’re most interested in people who remind you most of yourself. Even if you’re not aware of it. You might say “opposites attract” but how often are you with someone who is your COMPLETE OPPOSITE in ALL WAYS? That would be like me dating a man who hates the arts, is a conservative politically, who isn’t at all funny and also doesn’t think I am, who’s very, very religious, who doesn’t believe in equal rights for women and same-sex couples, who hates animals, who hates the city and would never consider living anywhere but a tiny town, who likes women who are quiet, who hates reading, who hates television, books, and the internet, and who doesn’t think bathing is a super-big priority. THIS SOUNDS LIKE MY PERFECT MATE. Oh, wait, no. No, it doesn’t. I mean, sure, maybe I’d find something about him attractive. Maybe he has really nice eyes, or he’s really kind to his children, or he really likes neon Post-Its, I don’t know. But those differences would make it awful hard to continue any sort of relationship. Even if we were like, “let’s make a go of this!” and decided not to discuss them, eventually they’d come up. Things always do. You can’t sit on stuff like this forever. These are fundamental differences, you know? 

These types of opposites attract, though. Just ask any kid who’s rubbed a balloon on their sweater then stuck it on a wall. SCIENCE BABY.

I don’t know about the similar facial pattern. I have kind of a lady-face. I don’t know that I look for a man with a lady-face to complete me. But the article did say it was unconscious, so maybe my reptile brain can translate my lady-face into the male equivalent and is looking for that for me, I don’t know. As for the whole Electra complex – well, here’s the thing. I love my dad. He’s a good dad! He makes me laugh and he’s very protective and he’s smart and he’s wise. As for wanting a mate like him? Well, I’d like a mate with some of his traits. But I’d also like a mate withOUT some of his traits. Because the person I described above who was my complete opposite (other than the funny and the television and the bathing) is my dad. We are very, very different. I love him, but couldn’t live in the same house with him. I go home for a visit and we’re at each other’s throats within a few hours. So, I’m sure the Electra complex is alive and well for some people, and maybe on the same level where I don’t know about the facial patterns, I’m secretly attracted to my dad, but if I am, I’m sure as hell not aware of it. And that’s FINE with me. I DON’T WANT TO KNOW. Because SHUDDER. 

Also, growing up with someone totally makes you non-attracted to them. It’s true. I grew up with a very, very attractive boy. My dad’s best friend’s kid. Blonde. Blue eyes. Smart. Funny. Great guy. Loved him right to pieces. We got along like peas AND carrots, and also maybe some…shit, I don’t know, asparagus or something. I mean, we didn’t grow up in the same house. We grew up separately. But we hung out a lot, because our parents were good friends and we were the same age (he was a month younger.) And when I got to my teens, I thought, huh, maybe I should fall in love with C. Because we know each other so well! And he is wonderful! And our parents are friends! And it would be so easy! But when I would hang out with him, there was just NOTHING THERE. It was like hanging out with my brother. No attraction. None. I could objectively see that he was a very attractive guy (still can); I could objectively see that he’d make a good mate (he did; he’s married now, with a child.) But that spark you need to want to start something just wasn’t there. Even more, not only was the spark missing, the thought of kissing him would make me both giggle and gag a little, because he was the closest person to a relative I had that wasn’t walking around sharing some of my genetic material. It seemed WRONG, somehow. So, my romance with C., which I think probably would have thrilled both of our parents, was not meant to be. I haven’t seen him in years, incidentally. And somehow, he doesn’t have Facebook. C.! How do you not have Facebook? You’re a toolbag, get a damn Facebook account already, I miss your face. No, I know he’s probably not reading this. I’m still saying it, since when has that stopped me from doing something? 

Yep. Totally would have been like this. I always thought this dress was ill-fitting. I mean, I’m all for cleavage, but this just looked ouchy.

So, back to the point of this post, which was the life-sized Bratz doll who is claiming that science made her ride her long-lost child like a childhood Sit-n-Spin. NO. And EW. No amount of science makes that less icky, lady. How are you in your thirties and you don’t know right from wrong? No. No, no no. Impulse control: you need to look into that. Also, NO and EW. 

OK, so there’s your icky report of the day. Oh, I should mention Ken totally blogged about incest a while back. That sounds worrisome but it’s actually really interesting. You’ll like it, there’s a nice photo of Ken’s jolly face. And I just re-read the comments on Ken’s post and realized that after I commented way back then, Andreas commented and MENTIONED the Genetic Sexual Attraction thing. I didn’t even see that then. Huh. Go talk to Andreas, he knows all about this! Because he is SCIENCY and he is SMART and he is from FINLAND, not because he is GROSS. Sheesh.

Also, look how pretty Finland is! Aw, Finland. Someday I will come and visit you and your sciency-ness.


Hey, baby, check out my big old sexy amygdala.

Happy Saturday! I’m at work right now. I’m writing to you from the PAAASSSTTTT. Like a GHOST. Aren’t you so scared? Yeah, thought so. I’m fear-inspiring.

It’s going to be a long day – work, then meeting friends at the theater who are coming in from out of town to see the show we’re doing right now (Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention – I saw a rehearsal a couple of weeks ago and it was wonderful, I can’t wait to see it with all the bells and whistles! And, also exciting to see my friends, haven’t seen them since right after Christmas!) then home and I will collapse into bed like a dead person and sleep and sleep and then back to it on Sunday, blogging and blogging and blogging and then ushering for the matinée performance and then coming home and MORE BLOGGING so I can get ahead of the game a little, because next week is a busy one, too. WHOO! Aren’t you exhausted just thinking about it? I am.

OK, so I don’t know how much I have in me, and this is kind of probably bigger than me, but I thought it was interesting, especially in an election year, so let’s see how it goes.

I found this article the other day about our minds, and why we might be predisposed to be either liberal or conservative. I don’t think it’s the best article – it seems lacking in a few things – but it does raise some interesting points.

It wouldn’t surprise you that Dad calls these the elephant and the asshole, right? Probably not.

The author, Chris Mooney, wrote a book that really doesn’t hide his feelings about whether he rides a donkey or an elephant to work – The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality – thinks that we are more apt to be liberal or conservative based on where we fall on the Big Five Personality Test. I think we’re discussed this test before – it measures extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness.

(Before I get going, here, this isn’t a conservative-bashing post. I promise. I may not be a conservative, but I know at least one good one. So I’m not insulting them here. Totally not. Read! You’ll see!)

According to Mooney, four of the traits tend slightly to measure your tendency to lean left or right, but one is the most telling of all – openness. How open you are to new experiences versus how concrete and black and white you see things. The more open you are to new experiences apparently means you’re more apt to be a liberal, while the more black and white you see things, you’re more apt to be a conservative.

(A couple of other interesting things – conservatives tend to be more extroverted than liberals and have more friends, apparently, and liberals tend to be more neurotic. Heh. No, no, not ME. ARE YOU MAKING FUN OF ME RIGHT NOW?!?!?!?)

There’s a test at the bottom of the link where you can see where you fall – five questions, I got two that made me tend more toward conservatism, one that didn’t matter, one that made me more liberal, and one (the big, important “open to new experiences one” that’s supposed to be the only real one that matters) that says ZOMG AMY YOU ARE A LIBERAL.

Interesting, right?

There’s also this article, which says (and it’s also hinted at in the Mooney piece) that conservatives have larger amygdalas than liberals. NO THAT’S NOT DIRTY. It’s a part of our brain that controls fear and primitive emotions. They also tend to have smaller anterior cingulates, which are the parts of the brain that control courage and optimism.

Look how sciency this is. Don’t you feel so impressed? I know I do.

So this article is saying that conservatives tend to be more fearful and less optimistic, which I guess would be why they want more structure in government, which is what conservative politicians tend to offer. And liberals, alternately, see things a little rosier, so are a little more apt to go for less governmental control. Right?

Aw, beagle with rose-colored glasses! This is a liberal beagle.

Both that article and this one hint at the fact that this is why fearmongering works in politics, and tends to work more efficiently with conservatives. (And that it’s a shitty tactic to use, no matter who it’s used on.)

Now, I find this all fascinating, but I think it leaves some things out. Sure, our brains might come into play – genetics, maybe, how we’re made. I like that idea, that even in the womb, we’re little liberals or conservatives just waiting to make our mark on the world. But I don’t think that’s all there is.

See, when I was young, I was around all conservatives all the time. I don’t think I knew a single liberal. I know you probably think of New York as a hotbed of liberalism, but upstate? They’re as conservative as they come up there. Gun-totin’, camo-wearin’, tobacco-spittin’ conservatives. I was brought up to believe that liberals were bad. Want to guess what Dad thinks about liberals? Yep. Dirty hippies, all. Lazy, dirty, hippies.

So I went off to college. In a big city. Downstate. You know what downstate means, right? LIBERALS LIBERALS DIRTY LIBERALS! And it just so happened that the first year I went to college was the first year I could vote, and ALSO an election year. The first Bill Clinton election year, actually. Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ross Perot. Aw, remember little Ross Perot, all spitfirey and wee? And weird. Also kind of weird.

Seriously, just on looks alone, look at your options. (Also, Bill Clinton? I have such a crush on the man. Even now. Sigh.)

Now, Bush was the incumbent. The incumbent usually wins, right? But Clinton. Do you guys remember how he was kind of cool and magical and, well, shit, hip? (Let’s be frank, Perot wasn’t winning that election. It was cute he was trying, though.)

I was 18, I was in college (I had escaped from my horrifying small town and wasn’t being bullied anymore – I had never felt so free in my life), and I started what I would do every single election year up until now, and will undoubtedly continue to do for the rest of my life – I researched the shit out of those two candidates. (I researched Perot a little, too, but kind of gave up. He was a weirdo. I didn’t want a weirdo running my country, and it felt like throwing my first real vote away.)

I looked at where the candidates stood on the issues. I thought about where I stood on the issues. And I realized – shit. I need to vote for Clinton.

Then – shit. Dad was going to FLIP. DIRTY DIRTY HIPPIES YOU GUYS.

I voted for Clinton. And man, did my dorm celebrate when he won. It felt good. It felt like we were a part of something big. Have I mentioned enough how much I love voting? Probably not enough. Probably not ever enough. Voting is my favorite thing. I’d vote daily if I could. On anything, really.

Oh, and Dad? FURIOUS. SO EFFING FURIOUS. “I didn’t raise a liberal” and “How could you do this to me” and “DIRTY LAZY HIPPIES WHO PLAY SAXOPHONES ARE RUNNING THE WORLD NOW BECAUSE OF YOU.” (He still blames college for “ruining” me. Not even kidding. Because I was SO WHOLE BEFORE I LEFT FOR COLLEGE. Gack.)

Anyway, this has been a really long tangent. What I’m trying to say is, I don’t think it’s all genetics. I think it’s also the people you surround yourself with; it’s what you read; it’s what you watch (listen, don’t even tell me that Tina Fey’s take on Sarah Palin didn’t have an effect on the 2008 elections – yes, Obama probably would have won anyway, but people were pretty fired up about Palin for a while until she started…well…talking, and then Tina Fey came on and, well, were you going to vote for the candidate who could “see Russia from her houuuuse?” No, didn’t think so); it’s the social issues you think are important. I go down the list of where the candidates stand on the issues and I weigh it against where I stand on the issues and I vote for the person that most closely aligns with me.

Seriously, even one of the news channels accidentally used a photo of Tina Fey instead of Sarah Palin around that time. People couldn’t tell the difference. In other news: people are not bright.

So, sure. Maybe it’s genetics. But it’s kind of the old nature vs. nurture thing, isn’t it? Would I still be a liberal if I’d chosen to stay close to home, married someone from there, raised a big old farm family or something (gah gah gah can you even imagine how bad I’d be at that? I mean, sure, there’d be animals, but you’d NEVER get to play with them. You’d have to WORK. And also EAT them. No thanks), was surrounded by all conservatives being all shouty about how the liberals are ruining the country? If I hadn’t moved away, been surrounded by my people, most of whom, yes, were liberals, would I have swum like a salmon upstream and been the one little liberal in a town full of conservatives? I don’t know. I wonder about that. Who you are is made up of not only DNA, but experiences you have. People you meet.

So I’m undecided on this whole thing. I think it’s nice to think it’s hardwired, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. What about you? Think we’re genetically predisposed to be dirty hippies? Or do you think it’s more something we pick up from the people we know and the experiences we have?

This is every liberal ever, when Dad thinks about them. Also, I think he imagines this is all the men I date. HA! Fooled YOU, Dad. I DON’T DATE!

Oh, you probably want to know if Dad’s calmed down about this, right? Well, yes and no. There’s not as much shouting. (About that, anyway.) He’s accepted it. Our joke now is that our votes cancel each other out, so that seems to make him feel a liiiittle better. Oh, and also I found out that (I told you all this, I think?) his mom’s whole side of the family were super-liberals, going back back BACK. So apparently his mom and dad used to squabble about politics all the time. So don’t even tell me, DAD, that I’m the only one EVER with YOUR DNA that voted Democrat, don’t EVEN.

Happy Saturday, all. Have a lovely spring weekend. It’s Tulip Fest here this weekend! Because we’re all Dutch here! Nice, right? Here are some Albany tulips for you. Aren’t you so cheered? Sure you are.


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