Category Archives: Food for Thought

Just the news…please.

Not too long ago, I had a ritual.  I would wake up, stumble to the corner café, read the news, and get high on coffee.  Coupled with the amazing people-watching, it was a spiritual experience.  I don’t know for sure when it happened, but something ruined my high.  I still go to the café and get high on coffee, but I can’t tolerate reading the news.  It’s not just that it’s so negative.  It’s that, on top of the negativity, the news has been dramatized.

It has been said that I enjoy drama.  This is a truth.  I do love a great drama.  But the joy of escaping into an intense drama (books, movies, or otherwise) has always been deeply tied to the inevitable return to reality.  That’s what makes the drama enjoyable–it’s not reality.  But, I need reality.  We all do.  We all need to be connected to the reality of the world around us.  The problem is that we no longer can get the news without the drama.  Front page articles in major US newspapers are reading more and more like editorials and op-eds.  Less and less it seems that we are just given the facts and allowed to develop our own opinion.

The result is that I must read a wide variety of articles covering the same topic in order to get all the facts.  This isn’t a bad practice.  It’s just time consuming.  And, it means that I have to also sift through a lot of crap.  And, let’s face it, I just want the news.  I don’t want a writer’s opinion of the news.  Or a worse trend, writers filling their space with opinionated quotes from people.  Just the facts, please, just the facts.

I think this is a huge part of the downfall of American journalism.  They’ve lost the ability to investigate or report.  The newspaper companies like to blame the internet.  But, in reality, the newspapers are failing because they are crap.  People no longer trust them for the news.  The very fact that papers can be clearly divided into a liberal or conservative groups, is proof that good journalism is dead.  In addition, the belief of the reader that they can only read papers that have the same political sway as them is proof that we’ve settled for this truth.  Journalism is dead.

The whole situation has left me feeling frustrated with and apathetic about the news.  We don’t need to make the current issues seem any better or worse than they are.  They are what they are.  So please just report them that way.

This is just my opinion.

Advertisements

Shit, Fuck, Asshole, and Other Various Stress Relievers

Shit, Fuck, Asshole, and Other Various Stress Relievers.  That was my first attempt at titling this post.  I immediately rethought my choice of words.  Not because I have a problem with putting swear words in the title of a post, hell no. It just seemed a little, eh-hem, how to do I put it nicely…well, gay sexual.  Obviously, I don’t have a problem with gay sex.  But, I didn’t want to mislead readers into thinking that I was writing about how sex can relieve stress.  I’ll save that for later.

I’m once again writing about swearing.  I found a very interesting article online.  It discusses the reasoning behind our swearing.  Check it out.  In case you don’t care to read it, let me break it down for you:  Swearing helps relieve pain and stress; the benefits decrease if you do it too much.  There you have it.  FUCK!

I sure do feel better.

I should perhaps refer you to one of my earlier posts on swearing entitled, @$%#! It’s one of my all-time favorite posts.  And, it gives you a little history of me and swearing.  SHIT! Sorry, I was feeling a little tense all of a sudden.

I think that swearing is one of the biggest guilty pleasures of most Christians.  Many won’t admit to it.  But, it is an amazing stress reliever.  When I was in Bible College, my friends and I would throw out a “shit” or a “bitch,” possibly an “asshole” every now and then.  You know, behind closed doors.  It was a guaranteed laugh.  There was something just wonderfully inappropriate about it.  Oh yeah, another great stress reliever that many Christians will not admit to enjoying is porn, soft and hardcore.  But that really should be saved for another post.  🙂  I can’t wait to see if anyone is brave enough to admit to that one in my comment section.  And not in a “I used to struggle with porn” sort of way, but a “yeah, I like porn” sort of way.  I doubt it.

Now that I’ve officially offended, pissed off, or lost half of my readers, I can safely say this, “Congratulations, fuckers, you made to the end of my post.”  Don’t hold in that nice and juicy expletive that has been building up for days.  Get creative with it.  It very well may be the remedy for what ails you.  SHITFUCK, ASSHAT, BITCHY BITCHERSON!

And, no, thank you very much, I do not have Tourette’s.

p.s. I decided to leave the title as is. It just gave me too much joy.  Which, in turn, is another great stress reliever.

Give me that phone…So I can whack you over the head with it!

I’ve been rather silent on my blog lately.  We’ve established that.  For those of you that remember, I have lots of issues with electronics–cell phones in particular.  I love electronics, but I hate the way people abuse them.  Instead of linking you to my past posts, I have created a nice bullet list of my biggest peeves…

  • Please, please, please do not talk on your phone while you’re in a public restroom.  Especially if you are two feet from me, don’t say, “No, I’m not doing anything…”
  • If you’re going to text, at least have the consideration to step to the side of the sidewalk.  Definitely don’t try to cross the street and text at the same time.
  • Why would you ever drive and text?  I don’t care how good you think you are at multi-tasking.  eh-hmm.
  • Just because you are talking on your private cell phone does not mean that you are in a private place.  Conversations, including break-ups, should wait until you are alone.  The worst place to break-up with someone over the phone is while you are on a public bus.
  • If you are in a movie, just turn the fucking thing off.  Really? You are going to pay $12 to watch an average movie, not to mention the $10 for snacks, and you are not even going to watch it?

Oh, that always feels so good to get it out.  Good therapy.  I’ve really been working at just minding my own business.  I really have.  This one issue just gets under my skin.  It’s the worst on the airplane, which is probably source of these issues anyway.  I’ve taken to just ignoring those who ignore me.  If you have your cell phone to your ear while you walk on the plane, talk to ya later.  If you aren’t willing to take your earbuds out of your ears when I am trying to get your drink order, and you just keep saying “what?”  Next. If I have time later, I’ll come back.

I’ve decided that since I can’t change anyone else’s behavior, I’ll change mine.  It’s my goal the next time someone decides to talk on their cell in the neighboring stall to develop a bad case of the dry heaves.  I mean gut-wrenching.  That’ll shut him up, right?  If someone wants to talk about their girlfriend’s weird-shaped vagina on the J-Church MUNI train, fine.  I’m going to record it with my new voice recording app on the iPhone.  And, yes, there’s an app for that.  I may even post it on this blog, we’ll see how juicy it gets.  Perhaps that was a bad choice of words…  I totally just grossed myself out.

I’ve already asked numerous people in the row in front of me to stop texting or talking on their phone during the movie.  If that doesn’t work, I move.   I’m up for suggestions.  I think we are a creative bunch of people.  Let’s take down these rudey-rudersons one cell phone at a time!  The one thing I would like to do the most is grab their phone out of their hands and whack ’em over the noggin with it.  But, that would be rude.

Don't Do It!!! :-)  Seriously.

Don't Do It!!! 🙂 Seriously.

UPDATE:  I no sooner finished this post when I came across this gem.  MSNBC reported on a girl who fell into an open manhole while texting.  I’d to hear your comments on this one–both raunchy and G-rated.  The possibilities are endless.

I’m ready…and medicated.

I’m medicated.  Yeah, that’s right, I said it.  I’m not even embarrassed.  But, it’s true.  I’m a pill popper.

For some reason there is a stigma attached to taking anti-depressants.  I don’t understand it.  People don’t usually judge you if you tell them you are taking medicine for a headache or to help you sleep or for a rash.  (Well, they might judge you for that last one…) But, they do for depression.  I think it has to do with society’s view of depression, in general.  Depression is real, folks.  And it’s not the same thing as laziness or apathy or boredom or low energy.  Depression may cause some of those symptoms, but it’s offensive to tell a depressed person that they are just being lazy.  You know, “You just need to get out and do something!”  It shows a complete lack of understanding.

While “doing” things can help with depression, (i.e. exercise, getting sun) sometimes it requires more than that.  Pills.  Are anti-depressants abused?  Sure.  Just like people abuse any other medication.  Do doctors prescribe too many ADs?  Probably.  But, frankly, I’m just concerned about myself, not the problem of over-prescribing in the medical world.  The wonderful thing is that it has freed me up to do the other things that help with depression.  Things like getting outside and doing things. I’ve dealt with varying levels of depression for so long that I had forgotten what it feels like to want to get out do, well, anything.

I feel like I have my life back.  (Cue the shot of me walking on the beach, pants rolled up, laughing at something really funny…oh yeah, and don’t forget the acoustic guitar music)  And, I’m enjoying it.  At the end of July I decided to take a trip to NYC by myself.  I cannot tell you how excited I am.  I’ve been to NYC a bunch of times and I love NYC.  Who doesn’t?  Anyway, I’ve never gone by myself.  It’s an independence thing.  I’m gonna just hang out at cafés,  go to museums, go to the park, and have a good time.  Fun!

But back to depression.  Several times I’ve mentioned to various friends that I’m medicated and “feeling great!”  I’m surprised by the awkwardness that follows.  It’s as if I just told them that I’ve been shopping for a good dildo.  You know, something nice?  (which I am, but that’s another story…)  The inappropriateness of it all.  Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that, for many, depression is a deeply personal issue.  But, I don’t think anyone should be embarrassed by it.  That only perpetuates the stigma.

On the other side of things, I do have several friends that, evidently, are pill connoisseurs.  They want to know what I’m taking, how it works, all the details.  You know, for documentation purposes.  They’ve tried them all and want to know the latest and greatest.  Good for them.  Me, I’m just happy to have one that works.  To each their own.

The God Who Wasn’t There

It’s been a rough couple of weeks.  Multiple reasons, none of which I’ll go into on my blog.  Anyway, I’m just being honest.  Shit rains down on all people regardless of…well, frankly, regardless of anything.  Sometimes, some days are just shitty.  And, as I always say, when times are shitty you have 3 options:

  1. Laugh.
  2. Cry.
  3. Kick someone.

It’s one of my mottos for life.  Most of the time it works for me.

Anyway, focus, Tyler.  Bad couple weeks…ahh yes.  Well, you see, over the last Decade or so since I left the Church, I have had a hard time finding community.  It’s something that I really miss about being part of a church.  In fact, I personally believe that that is the number one reason people actually go to church.  Community.  People crave the social aspect of church.  Sure, there are other religious or spiritual reasons people go to church.  But, in my opinion, people want to hang out with like-minded people.  I enjoy diversity, but I also love to hang out with people who think like I do.  Give me a group of former-Christian, agnostic, left-winged, homosexicals and I am set.  Seriously.

I should clarify my position as an agnostic.  I say “agnostic” because I’m not completely ready to say that I am an atheist.  I’m still being just a tad non-committal. And, since it’s my life, I’ll call myself whatever I want to call myself.  When you say that you are an atheist, it’s a bold statement.  Especially if you grew up going to church and then went to Bible College and became an ordained music pastor.  It’s almost like saying “fuck you” to all the Christians that were part of your earlier life.  That’s not how I intend for it to come across.  Many people take my agnosticism as a personal attack on their own beliefs.  There’s not much I can do about that.  It’s similar to the way many feel that their own family is threatened by same-sex marriage.  Or family in the general sense of the word.  If I can call my husband, children, and I a family, well then, that means just anyone can call their family a family.  pshaw. I would hate to be responsible for tearing someone else’s family apart.

To be honest I can relate more to atheists than I can to just about anyone else.  There just isn’t much organization amongst atheists.  I’m hopeful that that is beginning to change.  Slowly people are beginning to accept that it is actually OK to admit that you don’t believe all the crazy things that you were taught as a child.  There are even small gatherings of non-believers popping up around this God-fearing land of ours.  I think it’s great.

This past week I watched a short documentary called The God Who Wasn’t There, which was very interesting.  It was directed and narrated by a guy who, like me, grew up in the Church and, after years of questioning, decided that he was an atheist.  After several weeks of feeling pretty miserable it was just incredibly nice to relax and watch something that was able to put words to what I felt.  I really am not alone in what I believe.  And, when you are having a bad time in life, it’s nice to know who aren’t alone.

This Week’s Number One Douchebag

Pope Benedict XVI in all his Douchebagness

Pope Benedict XVI in all his Douchebagness

Just in case there was ever any doubt, Pope Benedict XVI is the single most out-of-touch person in the world.  And when you consider the other religious leaders and politicians that he is in competition with for that title, this is no small feat.  Congrats!

He secured the title during his trip to Africa this week.  In case you missed it in the news, here is a link to one of the articles covering it.  Here’s my summary of what went down:  The current Pope made his first trip to Africa and proved that he is completely out of touch with reality.  He said that condoms are not the way to stop the spread of HIV, they actually contribute to it.

Seriously.  The use of condoms actually increases the risk of HIV?!  What a jackass.  Someone who is this completely out of touch with reality cannot possibly understand the damage that is done by saying condoms make the problem worse.  He clearly is blinded by his own antiquated dogma.

Obviously, yes, with abstinence there is less risk.  If you aren’t having any sex then you probably are not ever going to come in contact with HIV.  But, that’s not the reality.  People have sex.  A lot of it.  Not only is it unrealistic to expect magnetic couples (one person HIV+, one person HIV-) to abstain from sex, it is also unrealistic to expect single people to not have sex.  All religious mumbo-jumbo aside, people are going to have sex.  Period.  So why would anyone actually take a stance that essentially guarantees the continued spreading of HIV?  Who would do such a thing?  A true douchebag.

If you doubt that condoms are a good means of having safer sex, then you only need to educate yourself.  Do your research. My preferred HIV/AIDS resource is at www.thebody.com.  A specific entry on condom use and efficiency can be found by clicking on this link.  The article may be a little old, but it is still relevant.  There are countless other resources that can be found by searching the web or going to your library.  If it is your own personal religious beliefs that prevent you from accepting the use of condoms, then I say to you, please leave that for your own relationship.  Don’t ever suggest to someone else that they should not use condoms or that their only option is to abstain from sex.

In conclusion, please do yourself and everyone around you a favor by not propagating the myth that condoms contribute to the spread of HIV.  And most importantly, please do not listen to the Pope.  He clearly supports creating an environment where people must hide their sexuality and live under a blanket of guilt and shame.  Coming from one you grew up in such an environment, I can say that guilt, shame, and self-loathing are some of the biggest threats to safer sexual practices.

Entertaining the Masses

Many of you may have already seen this clip of a Southwest Airlines flight attendant rapping his opening PA.  Clearly entertaining and creative, David Holmes has generated some cyber-buzz.  Kudos to David!  He’s entertaining people and sharing important safety information all in one.  He’s not the first SWA flight attendant to sing or even to rap.  So I’m not sure why a local Dallas news station found this to be news. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that he enjoys his job and that he works for a company that embraces this sort of thing.  If I had been on that flight, I probably would have been stomping and clapping right along with everybody else.

My issue is this:  Why do people need to be entertained in order for them to listen to important safety information? In the news article someone is quoted as saying, “That’s the first time I’ve ever listened to the emergency instructions.”  What???? I’m not sure that I’d admit to that if I were you.  This is essential information about the airplane and crew to which you are trusting your life.  As a flight attendant, I’ve never understood why people, in general, don’t pay attention.  I guess I should clarify, they do pay attention, but only after they hear about an airplane crash.  It’s sad, but just plain true.

After 9/11 people paid very close attention for a few weeks.  After US Airways flight 1549 went down in the Hudson, they paid attention to the life vest portion of the announcement.  However, if there is anything that we should learn from that accident, it’s that people do survive crashes.  I hear people say all the time that if the plane goes down “we’re all dying anyway,” followed by some other bit of “wisdom.”  That attitude is biggest mistake anyone could make.  I’m providing a link here to a site providing airline crash statistics.  The key fact is that people survive.  So why wouldn’t you want to pay attention?

Again, kudos to David for finding a way to make crucial safety information a must-hear event.  And shame on those of you who had to rely on being entertained in order to pay attention.