Friday, January 16, 2015

Religious practice versus Respect

I finally got it.  And ironically enough, it was Pope Francis that got whatever synapse firing in my brain.  The whole thing about Charlie Hebdo and free speech.  So here it is and I'm hoping that I can state it clear enough for everyone not in my brain to understand.

It is part of the Muslim religion to not have images of any person.  It is part of their both their orthodoxy and their orthopraxy.  It is only peripherally spelled out in the Koran, which prohibits idolatry.  It was under this orthopraxy that the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas in Afghanistan.

Now the problem with orthopraxy is that suffers from 'mission creep'.  So a ban on idolatry becomes a ban on human images, etc. etc. etc.

So now, Muslims use the publication of images of Mohammad whatever as an excuse to kill people.   And they are saying, and the mainstream media is carrying the meme, that no one should be able to publish pictures of Mohammad.

But here's the kicker.  If someone is not a practicing Muslim, it is not part of their orthopraxy to NOT create pictures or publish pictures of Mohammad.  Buddhist orthopraxy does not prohibit the creation of images of Buddha.  Christian orthopraxy, which also has a ban on idolatry, does not prohibit the creation of images of Jesus. 

So what's going on by all of these people, including the Pope, are saying that no one in the world should create images of Mohammad, is that all of us, by proxy, have to adhere to the orthopraxy of Islam.  Britain is already banning the use of cartoon pigs in children's schoolbooks due to another Islamic orthopraxy.

But guess what, I'm not a Muslim.  I am not going to adhere to their orthopraxy.  I am going to enjoy bacon, keep my head uncovered unless it is cold, and I am going to publish whatever the hell I want.  I am not going to be forced via political correctness to convert by proxy and practice a religion that is not mine. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

9 Things I learned in 2014

These past five weeks have been kind of...  interesting....  between my mom's progressive dementia progressing and my dad's physical and mental condition tanking about two weeks later, it's been a bit of a rollercoaster.  But here's some takeaway from the whole thing in no particular order:

1) Making plans is a futile endeavor.  Good idea if you can pull it off, but also have an exit strategy and plans B and C ready for implementation at the drop of a hat.  Failing that, a good case worker is your best friend.

2) Having someone help field this stuff is invaluable.  I found that my sister and I make a formidable team--each having particular strengths and using them to the fullest.  Listening to her trying to deal with one brain-dead family member had quite a bit of amusement value.

Having backup in the form of Mr B keeping the home fires burning and things under control is the only thing that gave me the wherewithal to be able to concentrate on what needed to be done.  Couldn't have done double-duty.

3) When you are up against the hard wall, when you are crying in the emergency room, when you have absolutely no friggin clue at all what to do--miracles happen, someone steps up from nowhere, and shit gets done.

Some say that G-d only gives you as much as you can handle, some say the gods push you to the edge until you say 'no more' and then give you one more shove to prove to you that you are stronger than you think you are.  Not sure which one is right, but been there more than once in the past month.

4) There are some things that can't be dealt with until you hit a crisis.  See items 1, 2, and 3.

5) Listening to two people with dementia talk about a painting is kind of like being in someone else's acid trip or reading The Illuminatus Trilogy.  It's reality with a side of magic mushrooms.

6) Front doors in modern cars need child locks too just in case someone decides to unlock the door and try to jump out when you are going 40 miles per hour.  Of course you'd need some inkling that this is a possibility in order to implement.  Surprise is sometimes a royal bitch.

7) Sometimes the most unprepossessing of exteriors holds the greatest, most caring staff.  Books/covers.

8) Word in small towns really does fly quickly.

9) Compassion should never be underestimated or discounted. It can lead to small miracles (and sometimes big miracles too).

Sharing some joy! Book of Barkley on Kirkus!

The Book of Barkley, by L.B. Johnson, not only got a sterling review from both the San Francisco Book Review and Kirkus, but also is on the front page of Kirkus for today.  Pop over there and check out the review and, if you haven't already done so, buy the book!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

DirectTV--Can't say their corporate strategy works for me

Here's a slightly edited version of a letter that I am having to send to DirectTV.  This is a hoop that you have to jump through to cancel an account if you're not already on an account as an authorized user.  Which I can see to a point, but they take it to the next level of stupid. 

PO Box 6550
Greenwood Village, CO 80155

To whom this may concern:
Please find enclosed my power of attorney for my father, Midwest Chick's Dad, account number XXXXXXX, address:  parent's address, city, state zip, phone number XXXXXXXXX.

Please add me, Midwest Chick, to this account as an authorized user as soon as possible so that I can cancel this account.  I am told that it can take up to five business days after receipt of this documentation to process.

I am, quite frankly, appalled that I am having to jump through this particular hoop in such a stressful time as my father is having to go into a nursing home, but that it is part of your 'security protocol'.  Because there has to be a plethora of people calling you up with the account number, address, email address, security code, and whatever else you need and are cancelling other people's accounts. 

I find it interesting that the alternative ‘protocol’ would be to have my dad on the phone giving verbal permission for me to handle this account, because yeah, no one would ever just have their husband or a friend stand in for this.  Even if he was on the phone to you, he wouldn’t know the answer to any security questions since he has never handled payments for this bill nor would know anything about it.  Because, nursing home, schmucks.   

Additionally, I find the fact that there is not even an email account or fax number, only a snail mail option, just to make sure that things go as slowly as possible a joke as well.  I do note that it is a PO box as well so I can't send a Fed Ex, only go via USPS.  I hope more people discover your roadblocks to cancellation and start leaving in droves, even if it takes them months to do so.

Please email xxxxxxx, which is the email address already attached to the online account (because I set it up with my dad's permission), when I have been added as an authorized user (although I've been handling it for the last two years) so that I can try to expedite the closure of this account since I am also having to do this long distance.    If you wish to slow down the process further in order to get that one or two more month’s worth of subscriber’s fee, snail mail Midwest Chick, address, city, state, zip.

Bite me,

Midwest Chick

PS.  Please note that this is not to the person who is actually having to do the processing because I'm sure you find it as onerous as I do.  I do hope this makes it up the line a bit.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Unworthy thoughts

I am having to deal with a continuation of an issue that is going to cost me all of my vacation and sick time from now until next June.  When I say continuation, I mean pretty much non-stop for the last two-plus years. 

I am at the point where I'd like to be the not-responsible one and say, "Look y'all, I've done my time and have nothing else to give to this clusterfuck of a situation. It has negatively affected my relationship, my health, and my mental well-being.  You figure it out without me."

 Unworthy and human, I know, but man I wish I could be 'that guy' just once.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

It's hard to name everything for which I'm thankful.  I've got friends, near and far, a warm house, critters who seem to like me above and beyond being their food source.  I'm blessed to know people who are talented, knowledgeable, clever and who enrich my life everyday with their words and thoughts.   I have a partner who is smart, clever, well-read and who makes me think and analyze the incoming barrage of news and events.  Oh, and he makes for great eye-candy too and happens to be a gourmet-level cook.

My heartfelt thanks to all of those who could not be home today because they are standing watch and protecting us and are between us and those who would cause us harm.

Be safe, all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

When you have lost NPR....

So, I forewent my morning conversation with Mr B to some some exploration of radio reporting on Ferguson.  WLS-all over it.  Much to my surprise, NPR, not so much.  They had a lovely piece on the Gulf oil spill and elusive flycatcher birds.

So I figure this silence means one of two things--either NPR is all butthurt because it is clear that Mike Brown was not the choir boy that he was made out to be or else NPR is carrying water for Obama who only now says that the "rule of law" must prevail (oh the irony of that statement coming out of that particular mouth).