Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't Confuse "Normal" With "Healthy"

In a recent Alternet article, Why Straight People Need to Get into the Fight for Marriage Equality , by Joshua Holland, the author wrote of why it's important for straight people to support same-sex marriage.

While reading the comments, I came upon one that irritated me. This comment follows below, with my reponse after it.

The original comment:

Is It Normal?

I wonder if children being adopted by gay couples will grow up in a normal way like other children ( Who's Mom and Who's Dad?).
I know a male child will learn a lot from his father, who's going to shape the character of the daughter (the other guy playing mom!).

My response:

Don't Confuse "Normal" With "Healthy"

Healthy families love and nurture their children by keeping them safe, seeing to their welfare, and educating them into being happy, responsible adults.

Good character is the same for both sexes -- honesty, compassion, responsibility, and so on. It's not necessary to teach a child how to be a good man or a good woman -- we teach them how to be good people. If you're a good person, then you are automatically a good man or a good woman as well. Thus, the number and type of parents involved is a moot point. It's not the form of the parents' relationship that matters, but it's how they treat their children that's important.

There are already adults who have grown up in households headed by same sex parents and they run the gamut of character, just as those raised in families headed by different sex parents do. I can't see how legalizing same sex marriage will change the nurturing of the children in such families from what they've been receiving all along.

It's also interesting to note that these same tired arguments were presented as reasons to oppose interracial marriage -- that it was unfair to bring biracial children into the world because they wouldn't know where they "belonged", that they'd be crushed under the inevitable prejudice, blah, blah, blah. This opinion was repugnant then and the same attitude applied to same sex relationships is repugnant now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Personality Type and Political Orientation

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How Many Ways Are You Going to Hell?

How many ways are you going to hell?

The creator of this amusing sign should count himself lucky that being a half-illiterate dumbass with bad grammar and bad spelling is not on the list of sins or he'd be down there right now serving drinks to Adolf Hitler and Joe Stalin.

Personally, I'd send him to hell just for the rampant apostrophe abuse. And what the hell is "fullutent"? Flatulent? If farting will earn you a one way ticket to hell, at least I'll see everyone I ever knew when I get there.

Out of this lists of "sins", the list below shows the ways I'll be going to hell. Feel free to list the ways you'll earn your ride on the handbasket to hell.

Environmentalist -- I guess he thinks Jesus wants us to trash the planet
Abortionist -- I've never performed an abortion, but I'm pro choice
Feminist -- I'm not a misogynist, so I must be a feminist
I'm not gay, but I'm pro-same sex rights, so I guess I'm a "homo" enabler
Government Recipient -- I've collected unemployment and tax refund checks before, so I guess I qualify for this
Liar -- who hasn't ever lied?

The maker of this sign obviously has no clue whatsoever of what Jesus is supposed to be all about:

Love Your Neighbor

Let's see your "sins".

Monday, October 27, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Since 1940, the Scholastic Weekly Reader, read by schoolkids in classrooms nationwide has conducted an Election Poll every four years, with the poll also being available online since 2000, Students from elementary school on up have chosen the winning candidate all but two times, 1948 and 1960.

This year, a quarter of a million students participated in the poll and the results are in. With a margin of 57 to 39 percent, the vote went overwhelmingly to Obama.

Many people consider the children's poll to be significant, both because they've picked the winner so often and secondly, because their voting patterns tend to mirror what they're hearing at home.

I certainly hope the kids are right again this year.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sometimes A Cigar is Just a Cigar

Once again, Alternet has provided me with blogging fodder. In the latest article, Caveman Sex: How Evolutionary Psych Pushes Sexist Stereotypes , the author makes the point:

The watered-down evolutionary psychology prevalent in pop culture enables some men to rationalize sexist double standards about relationships.

I found the article to be rather simplistic, so I made a comment, which is shown below:

I am one of those promiscuous males the author writes about. However, I don't consider myself "loutish", nor do I have sex with anyone who is not entirely willing.

I find the assertion that men like me are looking for the most fertile women to impregnate laughable at best. Believe me, I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in siring children. Rather, I take great pains to avoid doing so. In 30+ years of my active and varied sex life, I've managed to only sire one child -- and that was during the very brief time I was married.

Nor is my choice of partners dictated by what the media tells me I should find attractive -- I use ALL my senses when choosing partners, not just my eyes. I've been with women of all types: short, tall, fat, thin, in-between, stereotypically "beautiful", average, plain, and "homely". Essentially quite a few women between 18 and 65 are game to me. My ideal partner is open minded, intelligent, and, obviously has a healthy interest in sex.

Nor do I believe that women are necessarily "coy" and choosy. I've had several hundred lovers over the years and I think I'd have had a harder time finding willing women if the "coy" theory was uniformly true. I don't think women are any more naturally monogamous that men are, but rather, they've learned to be that way because they've traditionally been punished more severely for straying than men have been.

In conclusion, I'd say that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and that some people, male and female, are promiscuous simply because we like frequency and variety in our sex lives.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Socialism Bugaboo

I've heard many Republicans say that they won't vote for Barack Obama because they believe he is a "socialist". Though I believe that he's more conservative than that, I have to wonder why such people have such horror and fear about socialism. From what I've read some conservatives consider it to be practically communism.

But is it really?

Let's take a look at the countries that have practiced socialism and those that have practiced communism. The "communist" countries, past and present, can't really be called "communist", using a pure definition of the word. Rather, they have all been dictatorships, totalitarian states.

The socialist nations, of which the Scandinavian countries are a prime example, are free societies with free elections. They all have a high standard of living and also boast the highest life expectancies on the planet (no doubt due to socialized medicine!). Doesn't sound too awful to me.

It seems as if there's not a whole lot of sameness when you compare communism to socialism, after all.

But conservatives have a long history in mixing things up, which is because of their tendency toward black and white thinking. They're the ones who are against gay people teaching young children, because they've got homosexuality mixed up with pedophilia, which is akin to saying that Arnold Schwarzenegger must be a Nazi because he was born in Austria like Adolf Hitler was.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Monogamy Is Monotony

On Alternet this morning, I read an article, Why Relationship Sex is Boring, by Esther Perel, author of the book "Mating in Captivity". In this article, she makes the point:

The very things that nurture love -- comfort, stability, safety -- can extinguish sexual desire.

I pretty much agreed with what she had to say and my comment on the article follows below:

Monogamy is Monotony

I think the author pretty much hit the nail on the head.

I've found that once I get to know a partner completely and that there are no more surprises left, nothing new to learn about this woman, then boredom sets in and desire flies out the window and the sex becomes routine and mechanical. And all the sex books and new positions and new settings in the world don't change the fact that I'm having sex with the same old partner.

It's quite similar to what would happen if you decided to eat your favorite meal 3 meals a day, 365 days a year. What was once your favorite meal, quickly becomes "the same ol' thing", no longer anything special.

After a brief failed marriage in the 80s, I decided that marriage and monogamy were no longer for me, as it wouldn't be fair to me or to any woman I might marry. Since that time, my relationship/sex life is to have several "friends with benefits" relationships going concurrently, with the occasional one night stand thrown in for added variety. I live alone, maintaining my own space.

There's no domestic dailiness to kill the desire, living apart keeps us from knowing every small detail about one another, and having several relationships at once keeps excessive familiarity away longer. And when any one of these relationships runs its natural course(they typically run from one to five years), I tend to remain friends with them.

I only had the one child from the failed marriage and had no desire for more, so my life didn't upset the lives of children, as I've kept my relationship life separated from my role as a parent.

I can't advise anyone else how to conduct their lives, but I can say it works for me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Trickle Down Economics: Pissing on the Poor

Conservative Republicans have traditionally been against the rich paying higher taxes, believing that tax breaks for businesses and corporations will ultimately help those further down the economic ladder. They believe that businesses receiving such breaks will presumably pass the good fortune on by creating more jobs, giving employees better pay and more benefits, which will in turn further stimulate the economy.

This sounds very nice on paper, but real life is quite a bit more complicated than that. The one essential factor left out of the trickle down fantasy is greed.

We must remember that businesses do not exist to help people to make a living. Businesses are started to help the business owners MAKE MONEY, period. Business owners consider the salaries paid and whatever benefits provided to employees as unavoidable business expenses -- and every business owner wants to minimize expenses, while maximizing profits. Thus, business owners seek to pay employees as little as they can get away with, as well providing the fewest benefits possible, all in the interest of minimizing expenses.

If anyone believes that corporate America actually cares about their employees' well-being, then I've got a bridge in Manhattan I'll be willing to sell to you.

As far as I'm concerned, trickle-down economics is just a euphemism for pissing on the poor.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama Quote of the Day

"My name, Barack, is Swahili. It means 'that one'. And I got my middle name from someone who obviously didn't think I'd ever be running for president."

Said by Barack Obama the other night at the Alfred E. Smith fundraiser dinner. I love it -- It's perfect.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Religious Freedom Doesn't Mean the Right to Dictate to Others

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The "Plight" of Rich People

Friday, October 10, 2008

John McCain and Religious Fundamentalists

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bitchy Kitty

My female cat is twelve years old now. And the older she gets, the more crotchety she becomes.

She has a bad habit of perching on the narrow ledge of windows in the house; the place where the upper and lower windows meet. She's OK there, as long as she's awake and alert. However, she tends to fall asleep on that narrow ledge, contorted into a weird position. And no sooner than she fully relaxes and drifts off to sleep than she tends to fall from her perch, hitting the floor (or the kitchen counter if she's in that window) with a resounding thump.

You'd think she'd learn and find another place to sleep where she'd be more secure. But that is something you'd be wrong about. No matter how many times she falls out of the window, she goes right back to it, only to fall again a few minutes later. I've done all I can to persuade her to perch elsewhere, but she won't even consider it. If I move her somewhere else, she'll just run right back to the damned window.

The other day she fell out of the window and I suddenly heard her hissing and spitting. I looked to see if the tom was hassling her, but he wasn't even in the room. She's fallen from the kitchen window right into a half eaten borwl of soup I'd left on the counter and she was dripping wet. The bowl was a disposable cardboard bowl, so she'd not hurt herself with glass shards.

She was just royally pissed off at me for leaving the soup there and for getting all wet. When I approached her to make sure she wasn't hurt, she just gave me a look that could kill and hissed emphatically at me. If she could have spoke, she'd have told me to clean up the damned mess, already.

By this time, the tom came into the kitchen to see what the hell was wrong with her and she hissed at him, too, for good measure.

Have any of you ever had your cats to verbally complain at you in this manner before?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Political Double Standards

Since John McCain announced his choice of Sarah Palin as running mate, I've watched in both amazement and amusement as many Republicans have performed mental contortions in attempts to get on board with McCain's choice and support Palin. I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

For one thing, we all know that if Palin was a Democrat and Obama had chosen her for his running mate, the Republicans would have been gleefully eviscerating her, making short work of her Jack of All Trades; Master of None resume. Her lackadaisical approach to her education, followed by a resume that is the profile of a capricious dilettante, would have been roundly and rightly criticized. She's a dabbler, not a dedicated public servant.

For another, if Sarah Palin had been Samuel Palin, the same would have occurred, regardless of which party "he" belonged to. A man whose resume implied the bearer as having the attention span of a hummingbird wouldn't have made it as far as governor, let alone to Vice Presidential nominee.

Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and also John McCain all have one thing in common. Their entire careers have been devoted to public service of one sort or another, and have been appropriate preparation for the high office they seek. Sarah Palin's has not. The fact that she's a woman shouldn't mean voters should grade her on the curve; that would be the worst form of sexism -- they certainly didn't cut Hillary Clinton any breaks. And I'm appalled that Republicans who claim to love their country and their party are allowing their party to be dumbed down in this fashion.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Useful Shit

San Antonio, Texas plans to be the first U.S. city to harvest methane gas from human waste on a commercial scale and turn it into clean-burning fuel. The main byproduct of human waste is methane gas, which will soon be converted into natural gas to burn in power plants.

The residents of San Antonion produce about 140,000 tons of shit (more euphemistically known as "biosolids") a year which will convert into enough natural gas to generate about 1.5 million cubic feet per day.

Methane gas, which is a byproduct of human and organic waste, is a principal component of the natural gas used to fuel furnaces, power plants, and other combustion-based generators.

It's just too bad we can't turn our shit into gasoline...