Update: Brand NEW Posts Coming Soon!!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Putting a Little Electric into the Holiday

This New Years will be just like the last two New Years, in that I will be single. That’s not the end of the world for me. In fact, single usually doesn’t bother me until SOMEONE ELSE points it out via a question about my single state. The familiar question that I get when I reconnect with friends I haven’t seen in a while is “So are you seeing anyone.” I have come up with all matter of sarcastic jokes to respond to this question. I’m used to single and have resigned (okay sometimes inured might be a better word) myself to it. But there is something about spending the New Year single that kinda nags me. No, I’m not going to go out and rent a date. No, I’m not going to make it a resolution to find a boyfriend because the whole relationship thing, at least in its modern form, seems masochistic to me. Perhaps it has something to do with that saying that goes however you spend your New Year will be how you spend your entire year—or something to that affect. But I think more than likely it has to do with those horrible horrible couples you see everywhere this time of year. They are in the mall holding hands. They are buying each other cutezy wootzy presents. They are cuddled up on the coach at the New Years Eve parties or they are making out in the streets to bring in the New Year.

You just can’t avoid them this time of year. On New Years, everybody’s dating, holding hands, and smooching it up. Couples don’t realize how incredibly sickening they really are. That’s why in my last couple of “relationships”(way way back a long time ago) I have tried to be as low-key as possible and as respectful to my single friends as I could be, but most couples have not learned this art--the art of chilling out on the public displays of affection and saving that business for PRIVATE. That is why this New Years, in anticipation of the dreaded nauseating couples I have elected to buy a taser! That’s right. So the next affectionate-I’m-so-in-love folk I see acting all disgustingly besotted will receive a little electrical shock (a few volts should do the trick) followed by a “Happy New Years” from me. They will always remember that on New Years of 2008 they had a positively shocking experience. Maniacal Laughter!!!!! SCREW ALL OF THE YUCKY CREATURES and their temporary romantic bliss.

***Please don’t write me. I’m only joking about the taser. The idea sounds great, but in reality those things hurt people and have even been responsible for hundreds of fatalities. I’m not a fan of tasers.
***Rather than buy a taser my plans this New Years are to spend time in an environment where there won't be many couples. Less couples=happier me.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Argument Against Pregnancy

Everyday I have something reinforce my belief that people shouldn’t have children. I’ve written about why poor people shouldn’t have children in two blogs back in July, suggesting that I believe in (at least on some minuscule level) government-mandated sterilization and government regulated pregnancies. My rationale is simply that if one has to be licensed to drive a car, to practice a certain profession, or to fly a plane how much more important is parenting than these things and we allow anyone—and I do mean anyone—to have children. You need no credentials, no abilities, and no skill to have a child. You don’t even have to take care of it after you bring it into the world if you don’t want to. Of course, I can’t reconcile my ideas about eugenics (in my case that only some small percentage of people should have children) with my Christian beliefs in the sanctity of life and the sovereignty of God so I’m always playing with these ideas in my head, almost the same way that someone would try to put together a jigsaw puzzle. Of course, I agree that such a system would undermine the democracy and equality I’m always preaching about. Of course, I understand that eugenics taken to the extreme can produce the same hate and prejudices that spawned the Holocaust. Just think, Hitler and his followers were doing more than exterminating the Jews, they were actually trying to play God by attempting to create their own race of people! Because I understand these things all too well my ideas, at least for now, are strictly hypothetical. Take that as my disclaimer, before I proceed.

The other day I watched a news story that made my stomach turn. According to the National Center for Health Statistics the fertility rate has soared to 2.1 “the first time since shortly after the baby boom ended that the nation has reached the rate of births needed for a generation to replace itself." So essentially not since the baby boom 40 years ago have we had such a dramatic shift in our fertility rates. There are several implications of the increased fertility rates, most notably that we are seeing a consequence of immigration as immigrants have statistically more children than native born Americans and that this will inevitably lead to “Overdevelopment; sprawl; environmental degradation; competition for good jobs, education, and so on.” It’s insane that in a time of economical insecurities, weapons of mass destructions, wars on terror, and mass uncertainty people have decided to procreate like rabbits. Oh and please don’t think that the increase in births simply refers to adult women, teen pregnancy, which had been declining over the last 14 years, is up 3%! And we all know what competent parents teenagers make, right? Depressing!

If people really understood biologically what could go wrong from conception to birth I’m not sure we’d be seeing such a surge in baby-making. One slight genetic mishap and baby could be born sick, deformed, or dead! The smallest most microscopic genetic happening could result in a child that’s strong and viable or frail and disfigured. Suppose a baby turns out healthy, then in all probability it will have genetic predispositions to certain diseases (e.g., diabetes, schizophrenia, high blood pressure, alcoholism.) None of us has perfection, so none of us can pass perfect health on to our offspring. So for the rest of a child’s life he must grapple with the curses and blessings his parents have passed on to him. If that sounds unsophisticated remember I’m not a biologist. My degree is in the realm of social science (that’s not to say I’m ignorant to all things biological; biology played a good part in my education as all of the sciences are interconnected at some levels) so I’m usually looking at the environmental consequences of our behaviors. Understanding environmentally what can happen to a child is more than enough to deter me from having any. Regardless, of how good or bad a parent you may be, invariably your child is going to look at you one day and ask the hard questions. Why people die? Why people commit heinous crimes? Why bombs are dropping in some obscure country? Why perversion runs amok? Just imagine how difficult it is to explain to an innocent child a tragedy like 9/11. To make matters worse regardless of how much you shelter a child sooner or later he’s going to get sick, he’s going to cry, he’s going to have his heart broken, and yes he’s going to eventually die. Life is relentless and cruel, why would any loving individual want to intentionally bring children into the world in order to share in its misery?

I remember a conversation my aunt had with my niece who was just in elementary school at the time. “If anyone touches you in a bad place or in a way that makes you feel bad you tell me, no matter what they say. Even if they threaten you!” My aunt delivered this speech delicately with the kind of love that only a mother can exemplify, but what upset me wasn’t the nature of the talk, but that the talk was necessary in the first place. Innocence dies younger and younger these days. For every practical way that we invent to safeguard our children some malevolent person comes up with a more depraved way to harm them. What harsh realities to bring children into.
Yesterday I had a brief but telling discussion with a friend of mine to which he surmised that only the good-looking people should be allowed to breed so that the unattractive people would ultimately fade out. This isn’t the first time I’ve listened to his pontifications on eugenics. No doubt he considers himself one of the good-looking genetically superior people, which of course puts wholes in his own theory. Ultimately, who decides what’s attractive and what’s not? How would we determine such criteria, given the diversity of beauty? Is it possible to even comprehensively define it? Do we, for example, say that only a certain height, skin color, hair texture, etc is attractive and that only those with such traits should be allowed to have kids? See how subjective that becomes? Isn’t it also the case that attractive people sometimes have sick and or unattractive children and that the opposite proves true that unattractive people often produce attractive and viable offspring? Also notice the assumption that an attractive person is worth more than an unattractive person without even considering the other traits and characteristics that a person may have which makes him worthwhile. Implicit in my friend’s summation is a theory of a human hierarchy to which I cannot ethically subscribe.

On the environmental side of things, aren’t many attractive and genetically robust people criminals, murders, and child molesters? If one wishes to establish a paradigm for eugenics it certainly can’t be overly simplistic or too narrowly focused on subjective characteristics. My friend must have understood these issues, at least on some fundamental level, because he hinted that many should just elect not to have children at all. In this way we don’t have to establish paradigms, we don’t have to threaten democracy or infringe upon personal freedoms. We lose nothing and we don’t have to risk having dangerous Darwinian ideas that ultimately lead to atrocities like slavery, miscegenation laws, mass extermination, and superman-making.

I can almost see the responses to this idea. Someone somewhere reading this is thinking BUT OH NO! IF we don’t have children than we will die out!! I find this idea dubious, because even if scientists and leaders confronted people with the undeniable facts in support of my radical anti-pregnancy ideas, there will always be some know-it-all nonconformists who will fornicate like a rabbit on steroids. After all we have access to abortion, contraception, and prophylactics and teenage births are going up! In this day and age no one really has to have a child if they choose not to, but we continue to choose to have children. My guess is that we will even if we could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the effects could be detrimental! But let’s pretend hypothetically that everyone supported my ideas and that every person on earth decided against having children. The world would die out. But please tell me why that’s necessarily a bad thing especially considering the conditions that this wretched planet is in? For clarity’s sake, no I don’t support the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT) goals (humans intentionally dying off in order to preserve the environment), but I can’t dismiss their methods (no procreation) without analyzing them thoroughly.

I know I’m going to get this argument too so I may as well address it here. But OH no doesn’t the Bible command us to be fruitful and multiply! Yes but it doesn’t say fornicate thy way into overpopulation and lack of resources either. You have to remember that when God gave this wise directive he was talking to a world that only had two citizens (and later when he spoke the words to Noah the earth had 8 citizens), now we have a populations of over 6 BILLION! Just as having no children would result in a decline in the human race, so would having zillions, in that our world only has but so many resources and currently we a pushing them to the limits. Ultimately, we could just as easily procreate ourselves into extinction too.

What can we take from all this discussion? Time and time again has proven that eugenics can only lead to destruction. Most recently, the worlds most respected geneticists and Nobel Prize winner James Watson made comments that blacks are less intelligent than whites. If one subscribes to theories of racial hegemony than it’s not a far stretch to accept that some groups should rightfully subjugate others. Dr. Watson has dedicated his whole life to such an approach, arguing that women should be made more attractive via genetic engineering, and that babies should be aborted if tests could show that they would grow up to be homosexual. Soon we’d have abortions based on not liking the child’s eye color or hair texture, which is morally reprehensible. I certainly don’t advocate that. But since we will never be able to ethically argue in favor of eugenics for all of the reasons cited above, and because the truth is we have insurmountable sociopolitical challenges and innumerable biological deficiencies, perhaps the only humane solution is not having children at all.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snow Day

Today I woke up, squinted to look out of the window and saw that snow covered every inch of the pavement. This is the first snow of the season, but it certainly won’t be the last. In fact, I think we’ll probably have an insufferable winter to make up for the “mild” one’s we’ve been having. I like snow; I just don’t like the accompanying cold weather. If only I could have one without having to deal with the other.

When it snow’s like this I don’t really mind it. This kind of snow is a light, wet, fluffy snow. It doesn’t have any ice or sleet or any other precipitation mixed with it so the streets aren’t that slick (at least for now they aren’t) and I don’t have to spend hours in subzero temperatures trying to dig my car out (my car only took me 5 minutes to sweep out today). When we get the first snow of the season I still get a little excited. Today was no different. I got up, grabbed my camera, and dashed outside to take pictures. Unfortunately, my camera obscures many of the brilliant details. The experience itself is a whole lot more vivid. I liken it to being inside of a snow globe. You know, the ones that have the little sceneries inside. When you shake them the little world encapsulated in the globe comes to life with sparkles and powdery little flakes.

My life of late has been a hellish little existence. No money, tons of bills. The little Avon business that I have to sustain me while I am unemployed hasn’t been doing well. To top it all off I have these graduate school applications that have been a thorn in my side for weeks. Two of my professors still haven’t turned in letters of recommendation. I’ve called them, emailed them etc. I still have to drive to the other side of town where my undergrad college is so that I can retrieve my transcripts. I have to re-edit a manuscript and take it to Staples to be copied and bound so that I can send it to those schools that requested a writing sample. And then yesterday I learned that on top of the personal statement I’ve already written (the one that took me weeks write, the one that nobody had time to proofread so I had to submit it anyway because my deadlines are fast approaching), yeah THAT wretched personal statement, I have to write a 2,000 word essay for one of the programs I’m applying to. Did I mention I just learned this yesterday! Of course they told me AFTER I submitted a nonrefundable $60 application fee.

I’m disillusioned about this whole process. After all I’ve been here before. I’ve been on the other side of a rejection letter. I know how it feels to have your dreams beaten out of you one by one—that’s been my life the last few years. That’s why I’ve branded myself an incurable cynic. I don’t know which one I’m more afraid of: Getting accepted into graduate school or not getting in. Getting in means that I work like a Hebrew slave taking on insurmountable workloads while subjecting myself to racism and discrimination on a daily basis. Not getting in means I continue to live at home with my parents while working unsatisfying, dead-end jobs, until the day I get so tired of the mundane that I lose my ever-lovin mind. (Yeah, I know I'm dramatic).

Life seems brutally cold and unfair. I feel as if someone has sucked all the joy, all the energy, all the good (however little there used to be) out of life and I’m left with the ashes of what once was. What remains? The monotony, the joylessness, and the madness! Outside of me and my problems, I watch relationships fail, dishonesty overwhelm, and integrity melt away into puddles of meaninglessness. I see the perilous situations that those I love must face, the poor choices that they have made, and the unrelenting consequences that follow. I shake my head. Try to keep moving. I stack one problem up atop the millions of others and file them away for another day. Like those math problems we all used to have back in high school--the ones that took a dozen sheets of paper to work out. After all the work trying to find an answer you discover that there is “no solution”. That’s how it all seems.

Today I felt something I hadn’t felt in a while: a twinge of childhood excitement brought on by the experience of the snow. It reminded me of building snow mounds in the backyard, drinking hot chocolate with long lost friends, and jumping up in down in ecstasy upon learning that school got canceled. I ache nostalgically for times long ago of snow angels, fireplaces, cider, promising embraces, and snowball fights. These are the moments that add the flavor to life. Like little snowflakes falling on cold cement, such things are the small treasures that take us outside of ourselves and point us to the Creator. Upon closer examination of the smallest of flakes is the faint realization that the bitter cold brings on wet fluffy blankets of the most breathtaking snow!

You can see the rest of my snow pictures by clicking here.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Snakes On A Stage

Train wreck! It crashed. It exploded into meaningless parts. It died. I am of course referring to the 2008 CNN/Youtube Republican Debate. I watched this thing in its entirety, and I now know just as much about where these candidates stand on the issues as I did before I watched it: zilch. I was looking for an educational experience. I wanted to be objective and fair in listening to the arguments, but alas the debate shattered these desires. The thing was almost un-watchable, but somehow I suffered through it.

In today's post, I will attempt to decipher this thing in order to summarize the highlights. Please bare with me, as I am doing the best I can. Okay I'm taking a deep cleansing breath... So the first 30 minutes (or at least it felt like that) started off as a verbal smack-down between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. The issue was about illegal immigration and it went something like this.

Romney’s accusation: Giuliani created a sanctuary city, by aiding and abetting illegal immigrants when he was mayor of New York.

Giuliani: Did not! But you had them working for you so that makes you worse!

Romney: Prove it! I knew nothing!

Back to immigration, Fred Thompson doesn’t believe in amnesty for illegal aliens. Neither do I, so although I really don’t understand his cryptic logic, I was at least able to agree with him on that one issue.

Next came this issue of Christianity. Mind you, the men are all Christian men of the Lord so when they throw mud, name call, dance around the issues, and lambaste each other it is all for the glory of God. Depending, of course, on how they interpret the Bible and whether God is interpreted in the allegorical sense or in the literal sense or something in between. Why do I say this? Because when they were asked whether they believed in the Bible, Giuliani wasn’t sure and Romney said “uh uh maybe, but the Word is largely allegorical.” Luckily, Tom Tancredo gave the only Christian answer, “Yes I believe, and Yes it is the word of God.” Turns out all of the candidates are Pro-life (except Giuliani) and Pro gun. (What a Shocker) After all, little things like gun regulations infringe on the second amendment rights even though some people really don’t deserve such rights (two words: Virginia Tech). I really don’t understand how they reconcile this with their “Christian” beliefs.

I also found it fascinating that the snakes had to spend hours and hours and hours pretending to answer, but not really answering, the questions posed to them. None of them could stay in their 90 second or 30 second time frame. Poor Anderson Cooper had to keep pleading with them to shut up. And then there were the commercials! Each snake got the opportunity to create his own youtube campaign video/sleazy attack ad. So basically they proved to us that they can’t stand on their own merits. They have to resort to attacking each other or attacking Hillary. You should have seen Tancredo’s glowing countenance when his (dumb) video aired. He just couldn’t stop smiling. Ron Paul had the best video because he didn’t have to insult anyone to make his case. And, by the way, why the attack on Hillary? Although Mitt hated on Edwards a bit, most of the candidates decided to butcher Hillary, who, of course wasn’t there to defend herself. Huckabee went so far as to say he wanted to send her to Mars. Does anyone detect just a hint of SEXISM!

Ron Paul made the most sense although he wants to get rid of the Department of Education, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Energy. Huckabee wants to get rid of the IRS, but supports the (un)fair tax. McCain, however, doesn’t support the fair tax. McCain later challenged Paul, likening him to Hitler and calling him an isolationist. Paul, who doesn’t believe that the US should police the world and who is the only republican candidate who doesn’t support the war in Iraq was booed every time he got the chance to talk (which was for all of 3 minutes during the entire debate). But he packed some good punches and remained on the defense, without having to play politics. He's my favorite out of all of the snakes, because he has the most intelligent, logical things to say. McCain said of Paul, “that kind of isolationism is what caused WWII”. According to McCain our troops don’t want to be pulled out they want to stay and “win”. But how do we define winning? When there is no Iraq left? I guess that’s the kind of "winning" he’s looking for. We also have to remember that because McCain spent Thanksgiving with the troops he knows everything there is to know about what’s best for them.

When asked about using torture as a form of interrogation Mitt seemed pretty ambivalent. He also had no idea what waterboarding was (neither did I til I looked it up but I’m not running for the highest office in the land) but he insisted on not answering the question. Instead he said that he would "seek counsel"[ing]. Okay so I added the counseling thing, but I really think it's a good idea. The consensus on Iraq? Most of them believed that we are all threatened by Radical Islamists who are going to kill us all! That's comforting.

One of my favorite parts of the debate occurred when Hunter says gays can’t serve in the military because they are “bad for unit cohesion”. Apparently, all of our military personnel have strong “conservative Judeo-Christian” beliefs and adding a gay to the mix would destroy their fragile sensibilities! Tancredo agreed saying that homosexuals decrease the morale of the soldiers. Mitt flip-flopped like crazy! He’s actually a democrat masquerading as a republican, but this week he want to be more “republicany” than he was last week. First he’s pro-choice, then he changes his mind because after all “he’s not perfect” (more crap) then he says he supports gays in the military, now he says “it’s just not the time” to have them in there. UGGG! Can he stand by anything that he says? Anderson Cooper got a lil upset about his flip-flopping on gay issues, probably because Anderson is one of the biggest closested gays on earth! Mitt stayed strong and defended his homophobic discriminatory agenda (until of course he changes his mind on it next week.) I have just one question for Mitt, When WOULD be a good time for gays to be in the military if now’s not the time? I suppose the answer is whenever he makes up his mind about it.

Toward the end of the discussion Ron Paul, the only voice of reason on the platform, disappeared. That's when the issue of of space exploration came up. Of course we need to expand the space program although we are TRILLIONS of dollars in debt! At least Huckabee wants us to. Tancredo responded saying "we can’t afford some things and going to Mars is one of them.” I have to agree. Finally, Mitt was asked about his views on the public display of the confederate flag to which he said “That’s not an issue I want to get involved in” and “We are a nation united.” What utopia is he speaking of? He then said that the Democrats, especially John Ewards are the really problem. After all racism is merely a Democrat’s invention used as one of their many ploys to divide the country. I think I dislike him most of all.

There. That about sums it up. I’m tired. I promise to have a more interesting, more coherent post for you next time. I have a political headache now. I don't suppose I'll ever recover from that "tomfoolery" (to quote my good friend). I need to rest my nerves now.