Sunday, January 30, 2011

Black and White Thinking and the Various Uses for a Corncob

So it happened again today. I had another one of those bizarre, frustrating and altogether comical interactions with my son.

Let me just play the scene out for you:

Upon going to the bathroom I realize we're out of toilet paper. I announce this to the house.

My husband (do I have to point out to everyone that he was joking?) responds with, "Time to pull out the corncobs!" To which I reply, "I don't think I want to fight the chickens for those!" (Yes, we have chickens, and so should you.)

My Aspy teen looks at me in bewilderment. "Why do you have to fight the chickens for the corncobs? What will you do with the corncobs?"

I take a deep breath, count to five in my head, and then forge into an explanation for him, "Well, honey, in the old days the pioneers didn't have grocery stores, let alone toilet paper, on the frontier. What do you think they used when they had to wipe their butts?"

My son stares at me blankly. Much like a chicken.

"Honey," I say, "they used corncobs."

My son's eyes grow wide. "Really?"

"Yes, dear. Really."

He stares at me for another agonizing second before saying, "I think there are some corncobs on top of the chicken coop."

My husband, working in his office, doesn't hear this whole conversation. The only thing he hears is my adamant response: "GABE, I AM NOT WIPING MY ASS WITH A CORNCOB!!!"

To my husband's amused cackling, my son says, "What?"

And THAT, my friends, is what it's like to live with someone with Asperger's Syndrome.




What Is the Value of a Human Being? Well, That Depends. Do You Have a Uterus?

"Tussling Over Jesus" by Nicholas D. Kristof

I could go into a long tirade over why it is WRONG to refuse medical care to a person based on their gender and/or church affiliation.

I could go into a long tirade over why it is WRONG to let Christian dogma trump Christian tradition.

I could go into a long tirade over why it is WRONG to ex-communicate a hospital because it saved a life.

I could go into a long tirade over why it is WRONG to value one human life over another.

But this is just so much easier and I think (sadly) the general public will understand the concept in pictures better than in words:

So when the Catholic Church chooses to denounce a nun, as well as various hospitals, for making the  difficult decision to save a mother's life rather than that of her compromised fetus I am left with only one question:

Why is an adult female life of less value than that of a pre-born or new-born child?

After all, she was once pre-born and newborn herself.

Okay, so one MORE question:

When did I lose my right to live simply because I have a uterus?

January 30, 2011 UPDATE:

If we could get our heads out of our asses, turn off Glee, and maybe keep up on current events we'd realize that the "freedoms" the GOP promises are only a promise of freedom from autonomy.

Because they just don't know when to STOP.

February 1, 2011 UPDATE:

I received e-mails today from Feministe and MoveOn.Org regarding the new federal bill we're being threatened with via the GOP. They further describe how detrimental this bill will be to women's rights/HUMAN rights, as well as offer a way that we may each, individually, do our part to thwart the bill. Follow the links:

Waiting on Palin to Wag Her Dog

Palin Doubles Down on 'Sputnik' and 'Spudnut'

Apparently she's standing by her original ignorant statement about how Sputnik affected change in America's race to win the Space War.

Now I'm just waiting for one of her typical bouts of circular logic, a la her claim of being victimized for using the term "blood libel". I am predicting, through crystal ball, tea leaves, tarot cards, and the entrails of a dead chicken, that she will eventually blame Sputnik NOT ONLY FOR THE FALL OF THE SOVIET UNION but also for her further ruin as the best Presidential Candidate of 2012.

The Evil Stepmother Strikes Again

I am the proud inheritor of three precocious stepdaughters. They are amazing. They are beautiful. They are intelligent. They are daunting. And I love each of them as if they were my own.

Being a stepmother of children who are already half grown up (they range in age from ten to sixteen years) has made me realize an awful truth: I have limited time in which to share my knowledge and wisdom with them in a way that will enhance their adult lives.

I'm not suggesting that they are not already well equipped to tackle the world. They made sure I understood their power right from the beginning. They are strong, and amazing, and intelligent, and daunting . . . Wait, I already said that.

However, I really DO want to help them understand, in a very gentle way, that the world is not all about waiting for Prince Charming, that the Twilight novels are not the Modern Girls' Bible, and that the color pink and small yippy dogs that fit in your purse are not the only accessories a woman needs to prove her status and level of success.

Fortunately for me, all three girls are readers. So I was happy this morning to discover this really cool website:

I'm a smart cookie myself; I'm not going to ram a feminist agenda down their throats (only further corroborating their theory that I'm the crazy wicked stepmother), thus creating the opposite of that which I am attempting to foster. I am simply going to buy them these books, one by one, and let their own brilliant minds fill in the gaps for themselves. 

Like the old saying goes, I plan to quietly plant the seed and walk away. Cuz that's how we wicked stepmothers roll.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Illuminati: Frenchy DeSoto

Illuminati is a memorial page celebrating the lives of extraordinary people who have passed. It is dedicated to those enlightened souls who are a rare beacon of hope in an imperfect world. We are grateful for their efforts, their sacrifices, their passion and their accomplishments. Though they are gone they will always be an inspiration to us. Their selflessness, bravery, tenacity, and compassion are all examples of the human spirit, examples we can live by, thus allowing those listed within the Illuminati to shine on forever.

Adelaide Keanuenueokalaninuiamamao
"Frenchy" DeSoto, 
Hawaiian Rights Activist
This first dedication is made in honor of a woman who's grandson is a friend of mine. I only met her once, very briefly, and wish I could have known her more.

One of her grandsons, describing her as a "compassionate warrior", shared these words with me:
My grandmother Frenchy DeSoto was my buddy, my mentor, and my source of inspiration. It hurt me to lose my mother to cancer 10 years ago and it hurts me to lose my grandmother now. To many she was a political icon but to me she was just someone who protected me, loved me, helped me think, motivated me to go to college, and made me laugh. She always gave to the homeless even when she had so little and she couldn’t bear to see the maltreatment of child or elderly person. Thanks to those of you who are paying your respects and condolences. I've been cutting and pasting your kind words as I am putting together a scrap book for myself and my family . . . Like the rest of my family I am grieving but grateful to my grandmother and I am proud.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

“That's metaphysics, my dear fellow. It's forbidden me by my doctor, my stomach won't take it.” ~Boris L. Pasternak

Ain't that the truth!

It's time to get real, which means I'm going to talk about poop. Everyone in my family knows this about me: I talk about poop. I try not to but it just always seems to happen anyway. I suppose it is a part of me that I should just stop denying. On a psychological level it does make one wonder what the hell is going on in my subconscious?!?! Frankly, I refuse to go there.

So the whole point of this post is that I wish to keep a journal about my foray into the world of the gluten-free diet. The reason for this foray has everything to do with my bowels, which have been in an increasing revolt over many years.

For as long as I can remember I have suffered from IBS. Most of my life I have simply ignored it . . . Until about two years ago when I woke up in the grip of such extraordinary pain I found myself going to the one place I do not ever want to go: a hospital emergency room.

Many pokes and prods and laboratory tests later it was surmised that I suffered from colitis, an inflammation of the colon. Why couldn't I have some graceful or glamorous disease? Why can't I simply tell people I "have the consumption". Maaaaan! Colitis? Really? People don't mind talking about arthritis or benign tumors or diabetes but NO ONE wants to hear about an inflamed colon, not even me!

I was supposed to see a gastroenterologist but quickly put the nix on that when I was told they wanted to perform a colonoscopy. How much degradation could I possibly take? I'm sorry, but getting a tube shoved up my butt has the immediate effect of making me run in the opposite direction. Sorry, man, that's an exit-only orifice. My mother hates when I refer to it as the tube-up-the-ass. She insists I call it a "colonoscopy" and recognize it as a medical procedure. Sorry, mom, you spent way too many years telling me to respect my body and treat it like a temple. There isn't a dinner and flowers out there expensive enough to convince me to let anyone violate my most unholy of holies.

For the past two years I have dealt with the colitis pretty well. Except for a few small incidents I have been pretty much functioning "normally"; however, about three weeks ago I went into a colitis fit badly enough to actually consider returning to the dreaded E.R..  Instead of giving in to this consideration I did what any practical American would do in a time of crisis: I started researching my ailment on the internet.

Here's what I discovered: colitis is not the disease, it is the symptom. Which leads to the all-important question: symptom of what? Half of what I read would have convinced me that I'm going to die. Fortunately for me I am a natural skeptic. Besides, I have already come to grips with the fact that sooner or later we're all gonna die. So I let that crap (ahem!) go. Eventually I found a disease that matched all my symptoms, including ones that I never realized could be colitis related: anemia, fatigue, weakness, IBS, colitis, arthritis, unexplained infertility, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, irritability (wouldn't you be irritable too if you suffered from all this stuff?), neuropathy, pallor, vertigo and voracious appetite.

The sites I covered suggested that one see a gastroenterologist and have the tube-up-the-ass treatment and a colon biopsy to ascertain (I made an ass pun!) whether or not one indeed suffers from Celiac Disease. If one has been positively diagnosed with Celiac Disease then one is immediately put on the gluten-free diet (as the disease is connected to an allergy to most major forms of wheat and whole grains). Upon streamlining one's diet on the gluten-free regimen one should cease and desist having any and all symptoms associated with the disease.

Which lead me to wonder: why would one condone the tube-up-the-ass treatment to find out they have the disease when one could simply start the gluten-free diet to see if any and all symptoms cease and desist? Oh yeah, the medical industry wants to make money.

To hell with that, on top of the tube-up-the-ass (I can hear my mother's voice in my head, "it's a colonoscopy, for Christ's sake!"), I'm supposed to take an enormous medical bill up the ass as well? Like I said before, it's exit-only, baby.

So on Monday (after a weekend of researching what it means to be gluten-free) I started the gluten-free diet. At first I thought it would be tricky. Actually it's pretty easy! On Monday I enjoyed grits with butter, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for breakfast, complimented with a cup of coffee which contained my typical amount of milk. During the day I also ate a spring-mix salad with cheese sprinkles and a gluten-free dressing, corn tortilla chips with salsa and cheese, porkchops cooked in garlic and topped with sauteed mushrooms in a butter sauce, gluten-free greek yogurt, a banana, and salted peanuts. For dessert I was delighted to find out that my Breyer's All-Natural icecream was indeed gluten-free!

Yesterday was much the same, except we had baked chicken breast for dinner with parsley potatoes and mixed-veggie-broccoli for the sides.

Hey, this isn't so tough at all!

As for my health, I am already beginning to see a change. As of yesterday afternoon all my stomach pain has dissipated. Also, I am back to one b.m. a day (better than the ten I suffered through on Saturday!). Ive also noticed that my arthritis flare-up has gone away and I am now only suffering a slight stiffness and soreness, rather than the category 5 hurricane of pain with which I typically try to cope.

The fatigue is still there, but I have noticed the vertigo is disappearing. My appetite is still voracious and I'm still pallid. I will have to ask the hubby about the irritability, as I know my own opinion is biased.

I am also going to start a vitamin regimen. Hey, it can't hurt (unless someone tries to shove them up my ass, which I would not recommend trying).

So it's only day two but I am seeing results. It will be an interesting journey and I'm looking forward to seeing how much different I feel after a month of this. It definitely beats being anally violated, that's for certain!

My only gripe: I am now required to avoid whiskey and beer. Dude, that is just wrong!

460w x 60h (1) Gluten-Free Mall for Gluten-Free Foods

Dealings With an Asperger's Teen

My son has Asperger's Syndrome. Sometimes it's a challenge, sometimes it makes me sad. Sometimes it's a struggle. It's always illuminating and sometimes it's just plain funny.

Here is a recent conversation with my Aspy-teen:

Gabe, do me a favor, please. Go out and see if there are any eggs in the [chicken] coop.

Okay, mom.

(A few minutes elapse before Gabe comes back into the house.)

So, how many eggs are there?


Where are they, Gabe?

In the coop.

Why didn't you bring them in?

You said to see how many there were, you never said I should bring them in!


It is fascinating to me how Aspy's take everything quite literally. I have had to retrain myself in how I say everything  and anything when I talk to him. It is also the distinct reason I have learned never to say to him, "One of these days I'm going to unscrew your head and hand it to you." The one time I said it (a family tradition of the mothers in my family) I immediately regretted my poor judgment. Oops.

Combine Asperger's with typical teen quirkiness and it's always a day at the carnival.

My son has helped me to grow in so many ways. He has opened my eyes to facets of the universe I would have otherwise never known existed. For this I thank him. For himself, I will always love him with all my heart.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Because It Was Earned, Not Given

Pharyngula: Make Don Mcleroy a Star


Because it is wrong to rewrite Civil Rights history as a means to celebrate the "majority" for "giving the minority their rights". Because people fought, sacrificed and risked it all to win the rights to which they were naturally entitled, and for this they should be celebrated. Because history teaches us how not to repeat the same mistakes of the past.

Because every scientific accomplishment was achieved through a rigorous process, not because a burning bush or a large rock "told me so".

Because dinosaurs were not on the freakin' Ark (except the one in Kentucky) and teaching our children this drivel in school is not just stupid, it is irresponsible.

Because Texas makes the largest order for public school text books in the United States which means that all text books in the USA will be fashioned to meet the demands of the Texas Board of Education.

Because this is not a small matter; it affects every child in our country as well as our future as an influential nation in the global theater.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Tea Party Message

Tea Baggers keep griping about how they're oppressed. Oppressed from WHAT? After having examined their agenda I can only come to this conclusion:

How dare people oppress our [the Tea Party's] ability, dare we say our RIGHT, to oppress them!

'Nuff said.

Update: apparently Jon Stewart has the same view:
Petty Woman

"There must be a word for complaining vociferously about a wrong being done to you, whilst casually committing said wrong yourself with no awareness. 
If it's not a word, let's come up with one. 
Let's call it an Anchorage Steamer." ~Jon Stewart

Monday, January 17, 2011

What HAS America Become?

I am so damned tired of having this editorial shoved in my face. I have had four different people enthusiastically e-mail it to me and I have seen it pop up on Facebook half a dozen times, at least. Why? The people who post it to me know my political/ethical leanings and yet they still send it to me. Do they read it and, in their soft-brained way, think to themselves, "Yeah! That says it all! I'm gonna send it to Judi, cuz she won't possibly be able to argue against this cuz it's SO STRONG!" Idiots.

This kind of crap scares me because most people who read it don't think. It is just so easy to eat it up, to let it feed their hate and their lack of understanding and consciousness. And it's crap. They're eating crap. And they like it. Did I say idiots? Because I mean IDIOTS. The general response (and I hate to say it . . . the typical response) by most Americans who read Ken Huber's editorial is full proof that the major problem with America is not any one of the issues Mr. Huber raised, rather it is a problem with Americans having lazy brains.

So here's my response:

I don't see anyone tolerating lies from Congress or any other branch of the government . . . except those who choose to remain willfully ignorant. Our government is still under the scrutiny of the people, as evidenced by our constant posts on sites like Facebook, personal blogs, news media, etc.

Disliking anybody solely on the basis of their ethnicity is ignorant and hateful.

The government, while still lacking in perfection, does have a legal system and law enforcement system that spends millions (if not billions) of dollars a year in an effort to apprehend criminals and provide justice for victims. If this weren't so we wouldn't be the country with the most criminals behind bars than almost any other country in the world.

A public school is run through public taxes. Therefore there is no room for God in public school unless it is taught academically as a form of religious study (and counterbalanced by a study of other comparable world religions). If you want your children to learn about God then do it on your own personal time. Is that not why they invented churches? Is that not why churches have bible studies and bible schools? School is a place to learn academics so that one may be able to sustain one's self in life as an adult. Teaching about (sexual orientation) tolerance is not a bad thing. It doesn't promote homosexuality, rather it's aim is to teach people not to be hateful and violent against that which they don't understand.

Abortion is a personal issue and should be left to the person who's body and life it affects. If the fetus you save is that of a welfare mother's you can't rightly complain about those on welfare anymore. If the fetus you save is gay will you still fight for it's rights? Abortion is a moral issue, not a legal issue. Leave the issue alone. It's none of your business if it doesn't affect you personally. Don't believe in abortions? Then don't have one. For more information on my opinion regarding human beings versus zygotes, please check out the following link:  pharyngula

As for the execution of criminals:  it is not necessarily a bad idea in theory; however, our criminal justice system is set up in such a way that it ends up costing tax payers more to execute a criminal than it does to keep the offender in prison for life. If one wanted to further the argument, one has to wonder how two wrongs ever make something right and how killing someone (who is already permanently behind bars) is going to teach them a lesson?

Labeling progressives as communists and/or socialists is nothing more than Tea Bagger propaganda aimed at getting people's panties bunched up in a modern "Red Scare". If one seriously takes the time to learn what it means to be progressive one can plainly see that there is no communism involved. Progressives are interested in the betterment of the country as a whole, not turning us into Borg. Furthermore, as I said before, it is a Tea Bagger agenda who's aim is nothing more than to raise fear in ignorant people of anything that is not like them. It is exclusionary fear-mongering, rather than inclusionary encouragement. A nation divided is a nation no more. Think about that.

Protesting against the President is always allowed. It is part of the American process. Burning the flag is always wrong. President Bush defiled our Constitution ("Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a goddamned piece of paper."), ripped Habeus Corpus from us, and removed more freedoms through the excuse of national security than have been won in the history of this nation all together. I believe our founding fathers would be horrified at the way the Bush administration abused and negated our Constitutional rights.

Pornography, whether one supports it or not, is something people can choose to ignore, choose not to purchase, choose not to watch on an internet site. It is not "in your face". A public park is public space provided for the good of all Americans, not just Christian Americans. Thus, if you love a nativity scene, set one up in your yard or enjoy the one provided by your local church (of which there are plenty). No one is saying that nativity scenes are wrong, or that they should be outlawed. Simply present them in an appropriate space. (In other words, just as pornography is not appropriate on PBS, please keep your nativity scene off our public parks.)

Human fetuses are not used for medical research unless they were already terminated through miscarriage or some other unplanned mishap; thus, deceased. These medical uses help us to find cures for diseases and other illnesses that end up saving more lives and in no way torture or cause distress to the fetus, as it is already dead. Animal testing, which is performed on live animals, simply to see if a shampoo will really make one's hair more glossy, or to see if Viagra will really keep a man's penis erect for four hours, is completely unnecessary and solves none of the world's problems.

Though there are those who take advantage of government subsidies (welfare, food stamps, unemployment, etc), it cannot be ignored that we are currently in a national economic crisis that has created a huge loss of jobs and suffering for many. Thank goodness for these subsidies, which keep food in our children's bellies and roofs over their heads. Thank goodness we live in a country that has a system set up in which we can be sure we are providing for our children, our future generation. Thank goodness we are not some third world country that allows our women and children to die on the streets, or in the desert, or in the mud.

Yes we have freedom of speech and everyone is entitled to their opinion. But you must agree that there is a problem with our system when it allows groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church to protest at the funerals of our fallen soldiers.

This editorial (by Huber) suggests that people should have their personal rights but complains that parents aren't parenting properly. While I agree that video games and ritalin are not the answers, would the government control of parenting make you any happier? I doubt it.

The Land of Opportunity has been raped by the corporations, which have bought out our lobbyists, our politicians, our jobs and our rights. The impact by those who accept government "handouts" is pennies in the bucket compared to the billions of dollars stolen from us every year by corporations. Research that before you blame the welfare mom (who you encouraged to HAVE THAT BABY!).

After having read my blog post do you not see the many contradictions in Huber's complaint/argument? Did he at any time mention the economy and the corporate attack on America? Did he at any time mention the environment? Did he at any time suggest anything that would have reflected his claim to Christianity and good morals in the way of inclusiveness and tolerance? No, he did not.

Maybe the government wouldn't spend so much time with committees and would spend more time getting stuff done if people were more vigilant and did their due diligence as regards information. You can write a piece like Huber's, which is full of misinformation, allegations, slander, and hate (really nothing more than an empty complaint), or you can actually do something. Gain knowledge, do your homework, and make an effort for real change. Stop whining like a little prima-donna; after all, one Paris Hilton in this world is enough.

It's easy to read this guy's article and agree with him. We all feel like victims these days and we are all looking for someone to blame. He offers us democrats, liberals and progressives on a platter. An easy feast. What he seeks to destroy in us are additives that we don't readily see but all require: tolerance, understanding, care, ethics, and social and personal responsibility. Like a MacDonald's Big Mac, it takes a lot of mental and emotional effort to step away from that food tray and choose a healthy meal instead. That Big Mac smells yummy but it's full of crap that isn't good for your mind, body, or soul. We have become a fast food nation and we demand everything instantly with very little effort involved for our gratification. Just add water and stir up the masses.

"Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood." ~Martin Luther King Junior, from "A Letter From a Birmingham Jail"