Category Archives: News/Politics

Just Stop

Everybody needs to read this. No, don’t tell me it’s too long. Just go.

Okay, short version: Just because a girl likes “boy things” does not mean that she is “transgender”. And here are a few of the best parts:

I wanted to be a boy. Desperately wanted to be a boy. I thought boys had more fun. I felt like a boy in the way that our society views genders. I liked blue and green more than pink and purple. I remember sitting up as high as I could climb in our huge mulberry tree, bow & arrow in hand, trying to kiss my elbow (a neighbor lady had told me that if I could accomplish this, that I would turn into a boy, which was what I wanted in that moment, as a child, more than anything.)

Thankfully, my parents didn’t adhere to the archaic stereotypes that “boys like blue” and “girls like pink;” that “boys play with dinosaurs, and girls play with dolls.” Had they told me that liking these things made me a boy, I would have concluded that I was a boy.

They just let me be me. They let me be a girl who wore jeans more often than skirts. They let me play with slingshots rather than princess wands. They didn’t conclude that I was gay, or transgender. They didn’t put me in a box that would shape my future, at the expense of my own free will.

[* * *]

In this day and age, I probably could have been labled as transgender. They would cut my hair off short (because, all boys have short hair, right?) I would be given “boy” clothes to wear, blue walls in my room rather than pink, and be told to pretend to have a penis, at least until I could have one surgically added. Had this happened, I can not even imagine how traumatic puberty would have been for me.

I still love some stereotypical “male” things. [* * *]

But I also love being a woman. I love to feel beautiful, especially when I have an event with my husband. I love putting on an apron and creating elaborate meals for friends and family. I love nursing my babies. I looooove going to the spa.

[* * *]

These things don’t make us gay or transgender, they make us unique human beings.

I have been hearing since the 1970’s that traditional notions about what is masculine and what is feminine are outdated, that women and girls can like trucks and football and hunting and all those traditionally guy things and still be all woman. Doesn’t anyone else see what is happening? Now being “progressive” involves defining kids by those same old-fashioned notions of masculine and feminine. Trucks and football and dirt are “boy things” so if a girl likes these things she must be transgender. This is the same nonsense feminists have been fighting against for decades, just in a shiny new wrapper.

I like football, (sort of) I drive a pickup because that’s what I prefer; I like action movies, hate romantic comedies; and I think bugs are kind of fascinating and I can’t help feeling a little bit of contempt for women who are afraid of them. But I also love wearing dresses; pink is my favorite color; I like sparkly, shiny, girly things, and I am so glad I was born female.

I’m not saying anything against actual transgender people, just that parents should not rush to decide that their child is transgender based on the toys and activities the child likes or on temporary childish wishes to be something they are not. Each child is a unique individual with a unique set of interests that can include all “boy things”, all “girl things” or a combination of both. If they turn out to be transgender, fine. Continue to love and support them but don’t rush to define them when they are barely out of diapers.

Political Thoughts

I typically shy away from talking about politics in public because, while I normally get almost no comments, I fear that as soon as I say something political all kinds of crazies will come out of the woodwork like cockroaches in the dark. But nothing even remotely like that has happened to me in years and I have a blog and I have opinions so…

Let’s get this one out of the way first: Donald Trump. Trump is a showman. A lot of people like him because they think he “says what he thinks,” and I totally get that. Ask a politician a yes or no question and they will talk for two minutes and never really answer the original question. We are all so tired of that, so when a guy comes along and says things that are generally considered unacceptable gullible people assume he is “saying what he thinks.” He is not. He is doing what every politician does: saying what he thinks people want to hear. We have little or no idea what he really thinks. The disturbing thing is that so many people do want to hear the crap Trump has been saying.

As for what kind of president Trump would be, I think the only thing that is certain is that his policies would strongly favor corporations. The rest is unknown. Maybe he is serious or maybe he is just putting on a show for the lowest sort of voter. But I do hope he wins the Republican nomination because I’m pretty confident that either Clinton or Sanders could beat him. Hopefully I’m not putting too much faith in Independents and moderate Republicans. In the (hopefully) unlikely event that he is elected President, I don’t think he will be very effective at all. Depending on how crazy he really is, I don’t think he will get much cooperation from Congress. I think he will have trouble even with some Republicans. So it would be an interesting four years.

The other Republican candidates – I have to confess that I haven’t been paying very close attention. I’ve heard a few crazy things from some of them and I was surprised to find myself thinking that Jeb Bush sounded like the most sane of the Republicans, after I had at first thought, “No no no no! Not another Bush!” But I guess a lot of other people were also thinking, “Not another Bush,” because he never did well and he’s out now. I have to remind myself that most politicians aren’t quite as crazy as they sound while they’re trying to get elected but the Republicans scare me a little bit.

On the Democrat side, I like both Clinton and Sanders but I also have problems with each of them. I think Hilary could be a very good President. I like that she’s moderate. But she also has baggage and some possible ethical issues. Perhaps more importantly, I’m not sure she could beat Cruz or Rubio if one of them gets the Republican nomination. But then, I’m not sure Bernie could either.

My first thought about Sanders is that he has nice fantasies. I have serious doubts that he could get any of these fantasies past Congress to make them come true. His age is also a concern. 70 is not as old as it used to be. People are remaining active into their 80s and in some cases even 90s but the presidency is a tough job. Age is maybe not a huge concern but it is a concern. What about electability? I think he has an excellent chance of beating Trump and probably a pretty good chance of beating either Cruz or Rubio but less certain. Older voters may be afraid of the “socialist” label but he is owning the label and trying to turn it into something positive and that’s a plus.

So… I don’t know. I want it all to be over. I’m going to miss Obama as president but it is right that no one can be President for more than eight years. His time, sadly, is almost up. When you think about it, it was kind of a miracle that he won – twice – so maybe we will get another miracle and elect the right person again. I’m just not sure which one – Bernie or Hilary – is the right one. But either one will be okay, I think.

Everyone be nice now.

Out of Words

So… Paris. I am out of words for this sort of thing. All I can do is fall back on the much repeated line, “Terrorists are like cockroaches.” You’ll never be able to kill them all but you have to keep killing all of them that you can find.


I have never been in a Starbucks but now I almost wish I liked coffee. I would like to support them and tell them how much I like their lovely red cups – so bright, so simple, so Christmasy. Some people are actually angry about Starbucks’ seasonal cups. Frankly, I don’t get it. Red is still a Christmas color, isn’t it? Did someone change that and not tell me? So how can bright red cups be an attack against Christmas? If red is no longer a Christmas color what does it represent now? I know! Communism, right?

I am getting extremely tired of every little thing being perceived as part of a “War on Christmas” or “War on Christianity”. There are countries where Christians are oppressed. I suggest that any American Christians who think they are being oppressed go to one of those countries and live there for a while to get a more realistic perspective. You’re not really worried about losing the freedom to practice your religion; you’re just pissed off because it’s not the only religion in America.

Yes, there are some instances where political correctness goes too far. This is not one of them. This is not even political correctness at all. Red is a Christmas color, with or without snowflakes and pine trees. And it is okay for people to say “Happy Holidays.” Christmas is a holiday. I have been seeing “Happy Holidays” on Christmas decorations and Christmas cards all my life. People never used to get offended by those words. Why would you be offended by them now unless you wanted to make certain that everyone understands that Christmas is the only legitimate holiday to celebrate in December? And why would you care what other people are celebrating? Many Christmas traditions, including the date itself, are actually pagan. You are actually celebrating ancient pagan holidays without even realizing it. And you’re getting upset about a simple red coffee cup? How bizarre.

* * *

It doesn’t matter where our holiday customs come from, but it’s fascinating (and fun) to trace their various origins. Some of them are only a few hundred years old or less, and some are literally thousands of years old. Decorating with holly doesn’t suddenly make one a Pagan, nor does using the word Christmas make one a Christian. Christmas is a confluence of religious traditions, capitalism, story telling, and the human need to simply connect with those we love. Christmas is more powerful because it reflects a wide range of influences.

It’s Bad For Us and Good For Us

I told you so. I know I’ve said it more than once. I’ve probably said it here and if I wanted to spend a couple of hours searching through all my old posts I would post a link to where I said it but, trust me, I know I’ve said it. If we wait long enough sooner or later someone will decide that bacon is actually good for us. That day has come!

It’s hard to argue that bacon isn’t one of the most delicious foods in the world. Unfortunately, due to some bad science, bacon’s reputation has been damaged over these past few decades. For most people, bacon is considered more of a guilty pleasure than part of a healthy diet. However, bacon is actually much healthier than the brainwashed Medical Establishment would lead you to believe…

The article goes on to give us 10 reasons to eat more bacon. But wait. The Anti-Delicious Food Movement will not give up without a fight. They will not be satisfied until we are all eating nothing but roots and berries that we gathered ourselves and even then they will probably find something to preach about. The World Health Organization made a “big important” announcement this week that processed meat, including bacon, causes cancer. As if we hadn’t heard that one before.

I first heard about this latest Big Important Announcement on the CBS evening news Monday. They presented it as a huge, Earth-shaking news story the same way they would a category 5 hurricane or extraterrestrials landing on the White House lawn. They did also mention that eating one hot dog a day would only raise your risk from 5% to 6%, but it was mostly just this huge, dramatic, “OMG! Bacon and hot dogs will give you cancer! And we just now found this out!”

If you eat meat you probably do eat some processed meat every day – hot dogs, bacon, sausage, cold cuts, the pepperoni on your pizza. And add any red meat to that, processed or not, since they mentioned that too. If you added it all up it might be more than you think – likely more than a single hot dog’s worth. Still, I’m getting tired of being told what to eat and not eat. Almost everything is bad for you. Life will ultimately kill you. The best advice is still, “All things in moderation,” but that doesn’t make a good scare headline and it doesn’t sell supplements and diet plans so when they do mention moderation it’s always downplayed. It’s practically buried underneath all the scary, “OMG! You’re gonna die if you eat this!” drama.

So just eat a little less of the “bad” stuff and a little more of the good stuff and not too much of anything and stop worrying. There are some who say worry will kill you and maybe they’re right but what’s more important is that worry makes life so unpleasant. You know… if worry will kill you, maybe we should all stop watching the news.

Lalalala… I can’t hear you!

I’m already tired of the presidential campaign and it’s not even election year yet. If I was running things the rules for elections would go something like this: (Yes, I know I’m being ridiculous. Shush. This is my fantasy.) There would be a list of questions (50? 100?) that all candidates would be required to answer in writing. Answers would be limited to 140 characters because that’s about the attention span of the average voter. Even if answers go over this limit only the first 140 characters of each answer will be printed. Copies of these questions and answers will be mailed to all registered voters. The visually impaired and anyone else who can’t read for whatever reason will get a machine-read (so there will be no biased human inflections) recording of the questions and answers. From the moment the candidates announce or even hint that they are running they will not be allowed to speak in public, or to advertise, except for two speeches of no more than 15 minutes each – one to be given when the candidate announces that he or she is running and the other to be given within four weeks before the election. I’m still trying to decide whether candidates should receive an electric shock if they go over the 15 minute time limit.

I don’t know much about the current presidential candidates yet except for the two big ones and probably not really enough about them. Donald Trump is a buffoon and should be required to wear a sign that says, “For entertainment purposes only,” but I actually understand his appeal and it’s something other candidates should seriously consider. People are extremely tired of politicians who never give a straight answer to any question, who talk and talk and talk and never really say anything, and who are quick to apologize and try to explain away anything they say that draws a negative reaction. People like Donald Trump because he is offensive and they think that means he is being “real”. The truth is, it’s all for show and we can’t tell what he really thinks or what he will actually do if elected any more than any of the other candidates. It’s just a different kind of act.

I am neither a fan nor a hater of Hilary Clinton but I actually think she could be a good president. I worry that her baggage and the fact that so many people do hate her might keep her from getting elected. It just depends on who she runs against. If it’s Trump I’m pretty sure she’s in. He might be popular now but the swing voters will get tired of him by election time.

For the last several years I’ve been seeing a lot of appealing quotes by Bernie Sanders; at least, they appeal to me. But would he be a good president? I think he could be but any president is only as good as Congress allows him to be. He can have the greatest ideas and intentions but Congress can totally shut him down and he, not Congress, will get most of the blame.

The other candidates? I don’t know much about them. I don’t think most of them matter. Even this early we have a pretty good idea who will be nominated, at least down to two or three possibilities on each side. I already know I will vote for the Democrat unless something really extreme comes up and I will not vote in the primary because Oklahoma’s primary is not open to Independents. So, really? How much do I need to know about these people at this point?

Then and Now

On this date fourteen years ago my now teenage grandson was not quite two years old. My next door neighbor, probably the best neighbor we’ve ever had, had just passed away three days earlier. On this date fourteen years ago the weather was sunny, warm with a hint of fall; I was going about my normal morning routine. Then that thing happened and, as we say so often, “the world changed forever.”

But the world is always changing forever. Everything that happens changes the world – sometimes just a little, sometimes a lot. The world is definitely different now than it was before but can we blame that entirely on 9/11? We are more afraid now. Afraid of terrorists, certainly, but now, fourteen years on, I think we are less afraid of terrorists than we are of our food. And disease. And vaccines. And allergens. And offending someone. And of being offended. And the weather. Literally, afraid of the weather. We are afraid of everything.

What does any of this have to do with September 11, 2001? Why are we afraid of so many things now, even things that are not new, that we were not afraid of before? Fear becomes a habit, I think. And for many people it’s a tool for controlling others. The people who are telling you that GMOs are bad for you and bad for the environment, and the people telling you “you can’t say that” because it might be hurtful to someone, and anyone telling you “this stuff will kill you,” whatever that stuff happens to be, are using the same tool that terrorists use: fear. No, I’m not saying they are a kind of terrorist, but they are using the same tool. Because it works. That old, much repeated saying, “All we have to fear is fear itself,” Has never been more true than it is right now. Never believe anyone who is selling fear. Stop being afraid. Just stop.

A Long Overdue Correction

The latest uproar over nothing is that President Obama has “renamed” Mt. McKinley to Mt. Denali. I really hate this wording, which is in all of the articles I’ve seen about it. This is not a renaming; it is a correction. The mountain has always been named Denali. A prospector from Ohio decided it should be renamed for President McKinley (who was not yet president at the time) and somehow got official acceptance of the name. But William McKinley had absolutely no connection to Alaska and Alaskans have always called the mountain Denali.

Of course, Republicans, especially Ohio Republicans, see this as more evidence that President Obama is evil. Of course he is. Everything he does is just evil. He could personally discover a cure for cancer and the Republicans would somehow find fault with it. To say they are being childish is an insult to children but I can’t help saying it one more time (and I’ll say it again) Grow up already!

Get a Grip!

There are times when I wish I was a celebrity, or at least that this blog got several thousand page views a day, because I have something I want to say to everyone in America, something I want everyone to hear and listen to. Oh well, I’m going to say it anyway: Everyone just get a grip! (And read the whole thing, not just the parts you like or the parts you don’t like.)

I have things to say to people on both sides of the Confederate flag issue. First of all, you all need to understand that it means different things to different people. I keep seeing images of the flag on Facebook with the words, “If you are offended by this you don’t know history.” That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen. If you can’t understand why some people find it not merely offensive but also deeply hurtful then YOU don’t know history. In fact, if you don’t understand that, you are shockingly, impossibly ignorant of history. Or else, you’ve just made up your own fantasy history or you are choosing to believe someone else’s fantasy history. Or, at best, you are picking and choosing the parts of history you like and ignoring the rest.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if you are one of the people who are offended by the Confederate flag, you need to understand that not everyone who displays it is racist. To some people it is a precious symbol of their culture. It’s not an exclusive culture and certainly not racist. Most of its members would be happy to let you in if you have a fondness for dirt roads, pickups, country music, hound dogs, cowboy boots and the like. And if not, they will still treat you decently even though they may not understand you. Most people who display the confederate flag really and truly do not care what race or ethnic group you belong to. Many of them come across as ignorant because they have had too little contact with people of other races but they are not intentionally racist.

Just because a lunatic carrying a confederate flag shot up a black church does not mean that every person who displays it is hateful. The U.S. flag has often been waved by people who believe that all Muslims should be murdered, gay people are going to Hell, all immigrants should be sent home, and all women should stay barefoot and pregnant and everyone understands that does not mean everyone who displays the U.S. flag is hateful. I know! I know! That is different. It really is. The Confederate flag carries a history that is undeniably one of racism and hatefulness but to the majority of the people who display it, it no longer holds that meaning. That is what you need to understand and accept.

And to those of you who are crying about the impending disappearance of your beloved symbol of the South: News flash! The Confederate flag has not been banned! Get a grip. Some states have decided to stop flying it in front of their state capitol buildings. So what? It has not been an official symbol of anything for over 150 years and does not belong in front of any official building. And several retailers have decided to stop selling it. So what? Retailers decide to stop selling products all the time, for all kinds of reasons. Given it’s popularity, there is no doubt that other businesses will spring up overnight for the express purpose of making and selling Confederate flags. And if you happen to think that it should be banned, you need to get a grip. Banning anything only makes it more popular. If you don’t know that then you really don’t know history.

Personally? I am from the south but I have no fondness for the confederate flag. I guess you could say that I find it slightly offensive. Even aside from the race issue, and in spite of the innocent things it represents to some people, I see it as representing a kind of willful ignorance. I would like to see people voluntarily give it up. But they won’t and that’s okay. Mostly, I think everyone should just leave everyone else alone. Let everyone have their symbols and don’t take anything too personally. After all, they’re only symbols. They don’t really mean anything at all.


So, have you heard about everyone being all in a tizzy over Spokane NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal pretending to be black?

First of all, I want to make it clear that I get it. I really do. I get why this upsets people and why so many people think it is “not okay”. I know that much history. But at the same time isn’t it a little ironic (Is that the right word? Ironic?) that this is going on at the same time that people are also spun up about Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn Jenner and we are all supposed to be completely supportive of that change? (Yes, yes, I know – that’s different.)

I’m not quite sure how I feel about the Rachel Dolezal issue. On the one hand, aside from any matters of race, she lied. She misrepresented herself. But on the other hand, try to imagine a world in which it is completely okay to define ourselves any way we like – a world in which anyone can truly be anything they want to be. If we could all be any race we wanted to be would race even matter? Isn’t that what we’ve always wanted? A world in which race doesn’t matter?

“Just Shoot ’em”

The husband and I spent this morning doing what we call “running around,” which means, “going to a lot of stores and only buying stuff at a couple of them.” When we were done with the running around, we noticed that it was a few minutes after noon and decided to stop at a fast food restaurant for some minimally nutritious tummy filler. Among the few other people who were eating in was a pair of not sweet, not little, old ladies who were forgetting to use their inside voices as they conversed about all manner of topics, about which they knew more than anyone else in the entire world, at least according to themselves. Though the volume made it a little difficult, we tried to ignore them and have a conversation of our own and were partially successful but a couple of sentences stood out: “Anyone who runs from the cops oughta be shot,” and “Just shoot ’em and get it over with.” One of the women repeated the last one several times.

Let’s start with the first statement: “Anyone who runs from the cops oughta be shot.” I’m not a saint. I will confess that the thought has crossed my mind that, “If you run from the cops of course you’re going to get shot. Don’t run! Duh!” But let’s consider the reasons a person might run. 1. He (or she; that’s the last time I’m going to say it) is guilty of murder. I don’t have any statistics to back this up but I’m guessing that this is the least likely reason. 2. He is guilty of a crime that does not carry the death penalty – for example, robbery, drug possession, being in the U.S. illegally, failure to pay traffic fines, etc. 3. He is not guilty of any crime but has been raised in an environment where he has learned to fear the cops. So, what these women were saying is that running from the cops merits the death penalty regardless of whether or not the runner has committed any other crimes. Further, they are saying that every cop has the right to be judge, jury, and executioner in all situations.

Now regarding the second statement, a notion which the woman seemed particularly proud of: “Just shoot ’em and get it over with.” In a certain kind of mind this is perfectly logical. If they’re obviously guilty why waste time and money on a trial? Make the world a safer place for law abiding citizens by taking the criminals out quickly and efficiently. But, aside from the obvious moral problem with this, in places where this is the way it’s done, the crime rate is not lower than in countries where it is left up to courts and juries to decide who is guilty and how the guilty are to be punished. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’m sure these two old bats are confident that they would never have to worry about getting shot by the police because, “obviously,” they are not guilty of any crime. This attitude is, at best, extremely naive. It’s been a long time since those two were in school and I’m thinking they have forgotten everything they learned in history class, if they were even paying attention in the first place.

As we were leaving the restaurant, the husband made dire threats of what he would do if I ever turned into that kind of old lady. He needn’t worry. However, there’s a distinct possibility that in another ten or twenty years I might turn into the kind of old lady who doesn’t hold back from giving other old ladies a good tongue lashing when I think they need it. Right now, I’m actually thinking it’s too bad those two old biddies will almost certainly never read this.

Flowers are Just Flowers

I hate when people take an ordinary thing and make it a symbol. Now it seems sunflowers are controversial. At least they are in China. I hope this won’t spread to the U.S. just because a pop star happened to bumble upon a political symbol. Though the Taiwan flag bit didn’t help matters any.

By the way, in response to the Chinese fan who said, “These performers who intervene in other countries’ politics are the most annoying.” (And I really wish that person and anyone else who feels that way could read this.) No, what is really annoying to you is that other people are allowed to have opinions that are different from yours. Having an opinion about other countries’ politics is not the same thing as “intervening” in other countries politics. Grow up and get over yourself.

But, ordinary things as symbols… That really gets under my skin. Now, flags are symbols. They were purposely created to represent a particular country, state, people, or ideology. A flag is a legitimate symbol. Colors and plants are not. Green is just green. Pink is just pink. And flowers are just flowers. If you need a symbol stop being lazy and create a flag or a logo and just let the natural world be.


No Surprise

Last night on CBS news they had a segment about McDonald’s severely declining profits and mentioned some vague “plan” to lure back customers which probably doesn’t even come close to what they really need to do: get customers’ orders right! I haven’t been to a McDonald’s in a number of years (5? More?) for that very reason. (That and the food is mostly okay but not that great. If I’m going to eat something that bad for me it’s going to be really outrageously delicious.) Literally the last five times we went there at lunch or dinner time* they got our order wrong. Usually it was something minor, like the wrong size drink or something but still, every time no matter which McDonald’s location I go to. (*To give them some credit, they do seem to be able to not screw up a sausage biscuit and orange juice.)

Well, this morning I saw this: Woman shoots at a McDonald’s because there was no bacon on her bacon burger. OMG! No bacon?! Seriously, I totally understand. But, even more seriously, punishing McDonald’s employees for incompetence is not worth going to prison. Just go somewhere else. A lot of other places have bacon burgers and most of them are better than McDonald’s. It might not be as immediately satisfying but there’s no better or more appropriate punishment for a business than taking your business elsewhere. One might think that if enough people stop eating there they will finally get it but, realistically, if they haven’t figured it out by now it’s hard to believe they ever will.

And Another Quote

I started to include this in my usual Quotes post but I decided that the part I want to quote is rather long for that so here it is, all by itself. From this Interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Now, where the rubber hits the road is, since we are a free country where belief systems are constitutionally protected — provided they don’t infringe on the rights of others — then how do you have governance over “all” when you have belief systems for the “some”? It seems to me that the way you govern people is you base governance on things that are objectively true; that are true regardless of your belief system, or no matter what the tenets are of your holy documents. And then they should base it on objective truths that apply to everyone. So the issue comes about not that there are religious people in the world that have one view over another, it’s if you have one view or another based on faith and you want to legislate that in a way that affects everyone. That’s no longer a free democracy. That’s a country where the few who have a belief system that’s not based in objective reality want to control the behavior of everyone else.

Thought for the Week

Thinking about incidents in the news… actually thought about writing something about it… but what I had to say really just boils down to this and it doesn’t apply only to one particular incident or people.

Like it or not you are a representative of your group. We all belong to groups: your race, your religion, your political party, your home state. And even if you’re not religious or don’t support any particular political party those are groups too. You don’t necessarily put yourself in these groups. It also can be what other people see you as. Whatever group or category other people identify you with, you are a representative of that group. What you do affects how people who are not in your group think about people like you. If you are a religious person and you support candidates who say they will pass laws that will take away the rights of some citizens, people may think that members of your religion are closed-minded and don’t care about other people. If you are an atheist and you swear a lot and generally break the rules of decent society, people may think that all atheists are immoral. If you happen to be a cop and you shoot an unarmed person several times, people who are not cops may fear and hate cops because of what you did. If a member of your group suffers an injustice and you and a few other members of your group riot and loot, people who are not members of your group may think that people in your group are more likely to be thugs and criminals. If you threaten, intimidate, and kill people and you talk about your religion a lot people who are not of your religion will think that believers in your religion are more likely to be terrorists.

That’s stereotyping. It’s not fair and it’s not right but you can’t end it by just saying, “Stereotyping is wrong. Don’t do it,” because that’s just how people are made. Even people who know it’s wrong are affected by what they observe in the world. They may know most cops are not murderers, most black people are not thugs, most white people are not racists, most Muslims are not terrorists but still notice these behaviors and be affected by them. Whoever you are, you are a representative of your group. Be, at all times, the kind of person you want other people to consider “typical” of your group.

All We Need to Know About Israel/Palestine

I generally don’t do politics but this is too good to pass up: This Land Is Mine. There is plenty of reason for sympathy for both sides and plenty of reason to blame both sides. Most people only see blame on only one side or the other though.

Anyway, both sides are wrong; both sides are right. It’s been going on for thousands of years and there’s only one way the situation will ever be resolved. Aliens. That’s right, aliens invade the Earth and either kill everyone or they go all Mom on everyone and say, “I don’t care who started it. We are going to finish it,” and with technology so advanced it seems like magic to us poor, backward humans, they simply stop all fighting. I know, I know! Shut up. This is MY fantasy and it will go the way I want it to.

Dressing Ethically

Today is the one year anniversary of the fire that killed 1,133 workers in a Bangladesh garment factory. “Who makes your clothes?” As a person who sews I am tempted to feel smug and proudly answer, “I did.” But who made the fabric? The buttons? The zippers? The needle on my sewing machine? I don’t know.

Living ethically is a lot of work and I’m lazy. I care. I really do, but I don’t even know how to find out these things. I have to rely on the media to tell me about things like the fire in Bangladesh so I will know which clothing not to buy. But things get really complicated. Look at the labels. It’s all made in Bangladesh or some other place where children work 16 hours a day for fifty cents and are beaten for complaining. It makes one want to throw up one’s hands and say, “Well, sheesh! Why don’t we all just start sewing together leaves from the plants in our back yards and wear those?”

Thanks to the demand, there are now a few companies producing ethical clothing. (There’s no way I can write that sentence that doesn’t look weird.) If you work at it you can live ethically. But can you trust the claims of people who are trying to make money? And if you buy clothing that is 100% made in the USA are you starving some orphan in Bangladesh who was counting on that fifty cents a day, however hard earned it might have been?

I do appreciate that there are people out there keeping a watch out for this kind of thing. Just by reporting they can force manufacturers to clean up their acts. So keep reporting and I will shop ethically when I can. Just don’t expect me to go nuts about something over which I have no control.

Spring Miscellany

Today is a big day. Well, not really. Today is the first time this year that I am wearing a spring/summer dress. It’s this one, since I’m not planning on going anywhere today. I briefly considered wearing the crazy pink one. Anyway, I love dresses. They feel so free. That’s why this is sort of a minor big deal to me. It’s supposed to be cooler tomorrow though so it’s not quite time to put away the slacks yet.

It is definitely time to start summer sewing (I’m almost finished with a long sleeve cotton blouse, which I hope to be able to show off tomorrow but probably won’t get around to until early next week.) but I just realized that I do not have anything to sew that does not require some notion or trim or lining or something that I do not have yet. So I will have to either go to Tulsa in the next day or two or order stuff and wait a week. The latter is probably what I’ll do. I suppose it’s not a bad thing to take a short break from sewing. I can still work on that darned quilt that I’ve been stalled on for what seems like forever and I’ve got a couple of quilt tops I could be working on. But I’ve got the bug. I have pretty pieces of fabric that I want to sew now.

Remember I was talking about homemade shoes yesterday? Well, I was looking for the soling material and found these Xero Shoes kits. They’re very minimalist sandals. I don’t know… I don’t really like the look. I did also find the Vibram soling sheets at Amazon. That stuff is EXPENSIVE but there are some other brands. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to jump off into shoe making yet but I’m thinking about it.

Interesting article about the Hobby Lobby case. I don’t know what to think about this. I’m not familiar with the site but I’m sure it’s not exactly unbiased. (I saw this on Facebook) I’m not normally a very politically committed person. I don’t make purchasing decisions based on politics. It just gets too complicated. But I have to admit this thing with Hobby Lobby has really bothered me and made me not want to go there anymore. I don’t shop there very often but they have a small sewing department that is a little better than Walmart’s and there’s one closer to me than Tulsa. If what the article says is true it’s still not enough to make me completely change my mind about the case but it goes to show that the issues are more complex than the talking heads make them out to be and people on both sides of the political fence ignore anything that is inconvenient for their side.

Well, I don’t want to end on a political note but I’m fresh out of relevant and interesting [/sarcasm] things to say at the moment so how about a couple o’ cats. All together now: AAAWWWWWWWW….

False Conflict

I keep finding more reasons why Neil deGrasse Tyson is awesome.

He says several things in this video that I particularly like. At about 3:50 he says that “maybe there is something in the brain’s wiring that prevents some people from becoming atheists.” In a way, I don’t want to believe that because I don’t like to believe that a certain way of thinking (whatever it is) is “pre-wired” but, on the other hand, this explains a lot and, as I (and others) have said before, brains are weird. I also respect him for trying to avoid politicizing science, though that’s often impossible.

I wish I could introduce Neil deGrasse Tyson to my grandmother. Actually I wish I could introduce a lot of people to my grandmother. She was extremely conservative. She thought almost everything on TV was immoral in one way or another. It’s probably not surprising that she objected to I Dream of Jeannie but she even considered The Lawrence Welk Show immoral because when the young ladies on the show danced and whirled around you could see their knees and (gasp!) sometimes even their thighs. From knees to belly buttons to kids smarting off at their parents there was no show so wholesome she couldn’t find something wrong with it. (and we’re talking about the 60’s, when TV couples slept in twin beds) She had similar opinions about real life behavior. You might assume from this that she was an unpleasant person but she wasn’t at all. She was usually cheerful and pleasant and never preachy but when certain subjects came up she would certainly tell you what she thought.

My grandmother read the Bible every day and believed in it and considered it a guide for living but one thing she did not believe was that the world was created in only six days. She understood that the Bible was never meant to be taken literally. I can clearly remember when I was very small she explained to me that both Genesis and evolution were true because the Bible said that to God a thousand years were as one day, which, of course, she also did not take literally. The world was not created in six thousand years any more than it was created in six days.

That one person could believe both the Bible and the true time scale of evolution and that humans evolved from a single cell, up through amphibians, small mammals, primates, early hominids to modern humans, does not compute for some people but I say, “Why not?!” We all believe things that are much more unlikely than that. My grandmother did not care for conflict. She did her best to educate her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews but was content to leave strangers to believe anything they liked, but I know that if asked she would have said that creationists reduce God to human scale because they are not capable of grasping anything greater.

My grandmother was actually very interested in science. To her, science was the study of God’s creation so you had to get it right. I’m sure there are people who would say that she was cheating, that she had been convinced of the scientific truth of evolution but still couldn’t let go of religion. Perhaps there’s some truth to that. So what? People manage to reconcile seemingly conflicting ideas in their minds all the time, maybe because these ideas are not really as opposite or mutually exclusive to one another as some have been led to believe. Maybe someone with an agenda decided that a conflict would be to their advantage, created one, and convinced a lot of other people. Oh man, I wish I had that kind of talent! The talent to convince people. Well, if I can’t maybe Dr. Tyson can – the kids at least.

In Hope of a Just Afterlife

Here’s an old favorite of mine, posted in memory of the “Reverend” Fred Phelps, may he soon be forgotten.

A Pagan died and, much to her surprise, found herself at the Pearly
Gates facing St. Peter. He walked up to her and said, “Hello, and
She stared at St. Peter in complete confusion. “Wait a minute,” she
said. “I was supposed to end up in the Summerlands.” He smiled. “Ah, you
must be one of our Pagan sisters. Follow me, please.”

Peter gestured for her to follow him down a small path which went
through the gates and down a bit to the left. They walked for a short
while, then he stepped back and gestured her forward. Looking past his hand,
she saw the verdant fields and forests of her desired Summerlands. She saw
people feasting, dancing, and making merry, exactly as she expected.
While standing there in wonder, the Pagan happened to glance over to one
side and saw a small group of people near the edge of the Summerlands. The
people in the group were watching the revelers, but not joining them.
Instead, they were screaming and weeping piteously.

The Pagan looked at St. Peter. “Who are those people?”

St. Peter replied, “Them? They’re fundamentalists. They’re a bit
surprised to see you all there, so they stand there and carry on like
that all day.”

“Why? Don’t they have better things to do?” asked the Pagan.

Peter leaned conspiratorially toward her. “They don’t really have a
choice. They’re actually in Hell. God doesn’t like being told what He