Category Archives: Rants

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.

Stinky

I must have mentioned before that my least favorite part of my job is not dealing with difficult passengers.  It’s dealing with difficult flight attendants.  The passengers come and go, but when I work with someone that is difficult, I’m stuck with them for 3 days.

Usually the problem is laziness.  It’s like pulling teeth to get certain co-workers off their asses to do anything.  They just want to sit and read.  Or worse, stand in the galley and talk about themselves.  They’ll make sarcastic comments like, “Oooo, look at the super stew.” This is the response I get for answering a call button immediately instead of letting the passenger sit and wait and re-ring it several times.  To their credit, they are so tuned-out that they didn’t even hear the call button.  But, this wasn’t the problem with a male flight attendant who shall be known as Stinky.

Stinky falls into the category of flight attendants who have personal hygiene issues.  Stinky is a nice guy.  He really is.  I have flown with him before and enjoyed it.  Clearly, for Stinky, things have changed.  On my way to the gate, I saw Stinky and didn’t even recognize him.  His hair is grown out and rather unkempt.  He has a beard.  And the uniform…  Oy.  Ill-fitting and dirty.  He was wearing slip-on athletic shoes that his roommate left behind, “They looked fine to me, so I took ’em.  They did have an odd smell though…(chuckle, chuckle)”

And did they ever.  Stinky was wearing what I can only assume were decades-old, white socks.  I’m not sure if the smell was coming from the socks or the dirty brown shoes.  But, he was completely unfazed by them.  He insisted on crossing his leg with his foot pointing directed at me.  Despite my vigorous fanning with a safety information card, he never seemed to get the clue.  I like this guy, actually, and I just didn’t have the heart to practice my recent decision to be more direct.  I tried.  I just couldn’t tell him.  What can I say, I’m a work in progress.  That’s why I blog.

On top of the shoes, Stinky used an old-school brown hanky to blow his nose into and then stuff back into his pocket.  He did this several times a flight.  That is something my grandpa would do.  I thought it was gross then, and now it just seems downright unsanitary.  Although, considering that he picked his nose on the jump-seat and hocked loogies into the trash while he was pouring drinks, I don’t know why I didn’t expect him to also reuse the same hanky for three days.  I mean, it only makes sense.

I totally forgot the best part about stinky.  He cross-dresses.  Talk about an interesting mix.  He is an über-dude with a mountain-man beard, unkempt hair, poor hygiene, who likes to duct-tape his man-breasts together to make some cleavage and put on a fabulous pair of pumps.  eh-hem. Nobody puts baby in a corner…  or a box.  Stereotypes be damned!  Maybe this is why I like the guy.  He just is.  Take him or leave him.  Although, that doesn’t mean he has chosen an appropriate career path.

My airline is in the process of changing our uniforms a bit.  They are making the futile attempt of making the flight attendants look nicer.  One of the changes is that we can no longer wear brown dress shoes, only black.  Stinky informed me that he had a nice pair of combat boots at home that he probably was going to wear.  They were black after all.  Oh Stinky, he’s trying.

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.

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.

A semi-final word…

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have an announcement to make. I am in a relationship. It’s something really special. No, we didn’t make a mad rush to the courthouse to get married before election day. But despite the devastating outcome of California’s Prop. 8 (same-sex marriage ban), my relationship is still valid. I guarantee it is real. I’m not just pretending. Jeff is a real, live person. He and I have been together for over three years. He is a man and I am a man. We are a couple. No amendment to the state constitution can change that.

I first came out about 10 years ago. I came out to friends and family about 8 years ago. Yet, after all this time, I am amazed at how many people still don’t take it seriously. Folks, I’m gay. Sure, I went to Bible College and even “dated” a few girls, but, let me be clear: I am gay.

In reflecting over the last 16 years since I went to college, I felt like many of my friends from that time deserved to know what happened with me. After all, I spent a lot of time in college lying to myself and to them. We all deserved some honesty. Why did I leave the Church? How could I be gay? Over the last several years, I have spent a lot of time explaining myself to my friends from Bible College. For the few that actually read this blog, let me say: I’m moving on. No more apologies for past lies. No more sugar-coating things to make you more comfortable. With the passing of Prop. 8, I’m officially done. I tried to do the right thing and apologize for any hurt I may have caused. I’ve realized that you cannot always trust people to do the right thing. Now, hopefully we can trust the court system to protect us.

I realize that very few of my college friends actually live in California and couldn’t even vote on the proposition. But, many have made their feelings clear anyway. They don’t want equality. They don’t even want to validate gay relationships. They do this every time they call Jeff my “friend,” every time they suggest that I “date Jesus.” Whenever someone whispers “gay” as if it’s an inappropriate or dirty word only to say it loud and clear when they are using it to mean “stupid” or “dumb,” that is offensive.

Please understand that we will eventually have the right to marry. One day it will be considered completely normal for some people to be gay and society will not force that same part of the population to make unrealistic and devastating decisions about their sexuality at such a young age. I hope that when it happens and you feel for the 1,000th time that this country is falling apart; I hope that you remember you contributed to those struggles. I hope that you look up and see your weapon of choice, the Bible, aimed aggressively at me. Maybe then you’ll realize that you can’t make everyone see the world as you do.

Actually, I’m not asking for your acceptance or support. You don’t even need to agree with my beliefs. I’m just asking for you to cease fire. Stop attacking in the name of God, country, and, family. I can’t think of anything that would be more productive to your cause.

I should mention that some of the most supportive and loving people that I know are friends from Bible College. I am so thankful for those few. You right the wrongs with your love and kindness toward the gay community. Thank you.

Please take 6 and 1/2 minutes and watch Keith Olbermann’s eloquent, passionate, and powerful commentary on the passing of Prop. 8.

Focus Folks, Focus.

texting Pictures, Images and Photos

I know, I know. Two posts ago I said we should all leave our electronics off now and then. Well, the article was more about properly using them. Know when to say when. I fully support texting. I do it often. I am just curious about the language people use when they text. So, I thought that I’d write a post in all text lingo. I had to use a translator (seriously) to accomplish this. I found out that it’s not as difficult as I originally thought; there are just a couple of rules you must follow.

1) Use all caps.

2) Overuse the exclamation mark, in fact, only use the exclamation mark for punctuating!

3) In general, mistype.

4) Overuse the abbreviations WTF, OMG, LOL.

5) LOL. Type phonetically–well, sort of.

Here is what the translator produced:

SO I D3CIEDD 2 WRIET A POST IN TEXT LNGO!!!!!! AFTER AL Y NOT!!!!! MAH 13 YAAR-OLD NEICA TYP3S THES WAY!1!!1!11 OMG Y SHUDNT I!!!! WTF LOL I CANT TAKE AL DA CR3D THOUGH!!11111 WTF I ACTUALY HAD 2 UES THE ANGLISH-2-12-OLD-AOLER TRANSLA2R 2 ACOMPLISH IT!1!111!! OMG WTF LOL I GU3S TEH KAY IS 2 NOT UES ANY PUNCTUATION 3XCEPT FOR LOTS OF AXCLMATION MARKS!1!11!!1! OMG WTF LOL ALSO ITS ESENTIAL 2 UES AS MANY WTFS AND LOLS AS POSIBLE!11!11!!! WTF LOL

My original idea was to actually write the entire post in text lingo. It became clear immediately that this was going to induce either rage or seizures, one of the two, so I had to stop. I think my point is rather clear in the one paragraph I was able to compose in text lingo. I mean, seriously, WTF!?!

The origins of text lingo can be found in phones that pre-date itapen or t9. I’ve read several articles written by linguists that suggest it dates even further back to the days of Morse Code. It took several key punches of varying lengths to get a single letter. You probably can remember having to hit the #7 button 4 times to get an “s.” So, you needed to find ways to abbreviate and choose your words wisely. Interestingly, now that most phones have this feature, or better yet, now that there are phones with full keyboards, people still use these same words. My 13 year-old niece types her emails in a similar, yet different, way–she uses no caps and no punctuation.

I realize that I am a self-diagnosed “over-punctuater.” I love the comma. And, the semi-colon. Oooo, and the tilde (~) that’s my favorite! It really doesn’t have much use in regular language, but I just think it’s pretty, so I use it. It’s a personal style choice. I mostly use it in place of a comma in the greeting of an email. Nonetheless, you can imagine that the lack of punctuation in texting sends me into a tizzy. That and the use of all-caps. IT’S LIKE I’M BEING YELLED AT!!!1!!11!

Argh.

I think my original point wasn’t even supposed to be about the actual texts. I got distracted. It’s about the act of texting. It’s dangerous. This past July in California it became illegal to talk on your cell phone and drive. You have to wear a headset. Initially, they didn’t add texting to the law, although as of this month, that has now been corrected. People were actually texting instead of talking on the phone while they drove, as if it was safer.

It’s insane, really–texting and driving, texting and walking, texting and (insert your activity of choice). It seems obvious to say, but, I’ll say it anyway. You can’t see what you’re doing when you are texting. I don’t care how proficient your thumbs are. I don’t know anyone that can type a complete text message without looking at their screen. Not to mention that you sort of need your hands for driving…both of them. It’s called 10 and 2, folks, remember?

I have certain friends, you know who you are, who refuse to use their voice. I will call them and leave a voice message only to receive a reply in the form of a text seconds later. Really? Use your voices, folks. I know that this all makes me sound like a curmudgeon. I am by no means against technology or texting. I just got the iPhone and one of my favorite features is the texting. But, I use sentences and punctuation. It’s just important to know when to use it.

Well, this is the conclusion of another rather unfocused post. I guess that sums up how I’m feeling this week–unfocused and a little scatter-brained, frankly. Which really does happen to be the point of this semi-rant. Focus. For all the advancements in electronics have brought us, it has made it more difficult to focus on the task at hand. And that’s because we usually have several tasks at hand at all times. Even our leisure has gotten complex. I almost always have my laptop running while I’m watching TV. But, that’s another subject and my brain hurts.

Tree Hugger

I love plants. Don’t forget, I have nine of them. Quick side note here–the baby of the family, Wendla, is blooming! God, they just grow up so fast. OK, so I love plants. Growing things is one of the few talents I developed while growing up on a farm. I also developed my talent for cursing, which I’ve previously blogged about. Even as a kid I loved to plant flowers and watch them grow and bloom. I also love to be in and around nature. Camping, to me, is the best form of relaxation.

So, I have to admit that I am part tree hugger. Not fully a tree hugger, just partially. And, actually just the part that likes trees. I am a firm believer in the use of deodorant, as well as taking regular showers. Basically, I just like to look at trees, not look like I live in the trees.

As you can imagine, I’ve been following the Berkeley tree climber saga. If you are not aware of the situation, here it is. Almost 2 years ago a group of “tree sitters” climbed up into a grove of Oak trees on the UC Berkeley campus when they announced they were going to be cut down to build a sports complex. Since that time they have literally lived in those trees. They’ve built a whole little community up in those trees, complete with pulleys and ropes to lower their feces down to the volunteers on the ground. Yes, I know, those ground volunteers are the real heroes.

All of this to save a few beautiful, old Oak trees. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m all for saving beautiful, old Oak trees. But there are certain ironies in this situation that I can’t ignore. For instance, these climbers obviously don’t have too big a problem with cutting down at least some trees. They are using wood platforms in their little Swiss Family Robinson style of community. Those boards look like they were purchased from Home Depot, so I doubt they went out into the forest and found a few fallen trees to cut up. Second, they are decimating those trees by living in them. I’m not opposed to a well-designed tree house–loved The Swiss Family Robinson! But, come on…really?

They have wasted so many of the resources of that community by trying to save a just a few trees. And, when it came time for them to be forced out of the last tree, they tried to make demands. They wanted to just walk away peacefully. OK, now that part is totally laughable. After costing the city of Berkeley and UC Berkeley millions of dollars, they wanted to just walk away. There must have been some serious weezing going on up in those trees.

So, I guess in conclusion I just wish these tree huggers would have better spent the money that was spent on keeping them up in those trees. I know that the millions spent on them by the city of Berkeley could have planted thousands of new little Oak trees.