Friday, July 02, 2010

Writing With Horsepower

Until this week, I had never heard of Taylor Mali, but thanks to some serendipitous Youtubing, I found him. Echo base, I found him.

This "spoken word" performance about being a teacher brought me to tears:

And look, he was on Def Poetry Jam, too. One of the things I like about him is that he starts out with humor, makes you laugh and think you're just going to get all comedy. And then he takes this hard turn towards seriousness, and by the time you're done, you realize that what you had just witnessed was no joke.

But sometimes he just wants to have a playful laugh, like this one. If you ask me, this one qualifies as "brilliant." Mali manages to read it literally, pronouncing every misspelled word as written instead of as intended, but he's also reading it as if it makes perfect sense. Like I said, brilliant.


I've been having a bit of a...ahem, loneliness problem lately. I've been depressed, moribund, amusing myself with witty little lies like, "I can count all the people who care about me on one hand...and that would be true even if I was missing a few fingers!"

You know, typical feeling-sorry-for-yourselfism. I'm no stranger to depression, so I've been enduring it like a champ. (But enduring it nonetheless.) I mean, my dog died, work has been a nightmare, I had a months-long recurring health scare. And then there's other stuff...

Most of my time is spent alone. I don't have a single person involved in my day to day life except for me. Family? Friends? Yeah, they're involved. But if I were to die suddenly, they'd find out when my boss called to find out why I didn't come to work. I know, I know...they'll deny it. In fact, I'll probably catch hell from various friends and family members for writing this. (Next week, they'll say, "How come you wrote that thing on your blog?" Then they'll protest, "But I never know when you're working because your schedule is always changing." Yes, that's true. My schedule does change...every three months or so. What's the Latin phrase for "You proved my point?")

And you know, part of this is my fault. I'm not the most social dude in the world. I'm not into meeting "new people." (What if they're like the "old people?") I'm not on the phone calling people. I don't put myself out there. And who knows? Maybe people just don't like me. I know I'm an opinionated, godless, pessimist, but I'm not the only one, nor am I the worst.

Or maybe I am.

Reason #48758792 Why I'm Not a Republican

From the official platform for the Republican Party of Montana:
We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.
Yeah, I'm sure you do. Not because you hate homos or anything (uh-huh...), but because you're moral cowards hiding behind "the clear will of the people."

I guess Montana's GOP isn't all that big on "small government" stuff...but then again, in that respect, they're not unlike the rest of the GOP, who think of "small government" as a slogan and little more.

Mandate health insurance. Fascism! (Or socialism...or some kind of very bad -ism.)

Make homosexual acts illegal? Why, that's just democracy.

Cowards and hypocrites. Winning combination there...

Question and Answer

What does cross-border violence between drug gangs have to do with illegal immigration?

Not very much...

If your problem is with people who flout the law to leave their home country and start a new life in the United States, then why are you complaining about drug smugglers? They're not going to steal your job or sign up for food stamps. They're going to sell your kid some weed and go back down to Oaxaca to grow some more.

The solution to this problem isn't more "border security" or giving Joe Arpaio more authority. The solution to this problem is the legalization of marijuana.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eating Healthy

Once again, Colorado is the skinniest state in the union. And looking at the map, there doesn't seem to be a reason why. The mountains...maybe. Utah and Montana are on the lighter end of the scale.

But look at the Northeast. Also on the lighter end of the scale. Alpine recreation can't explain that. (Although I suspect Hollywood and California beach culture accounts for the west coast.)

Also curious is the "Fat belt," a pretty obvious streak right through the Bible Belt. My first instinct is to chalk it up to the BBQ, but where's Texas, Missouri, and South Carolina? Tennessee BBQ can't do all by themselves.
So says the makers of the map:
The report highlights troubling racial, ethnic, regional and income disparities in the nation’s obesity epidemic. For instance, adult obesity rates for Blacks and Latinos were higher than for Whites in at least 40 states and the District of Columbia; 10 out of the 11 states with the highest rates of obesity were in the South — with Mississippi weighing in with highest rates for all adults (33.8 percent) for the sixth year in a row; and 35.3 percent of adults earning less than $15,000 per year were obese compared with 24.5 percent of adults earning $50,000 or more per year.
I'm sure if you crunched the numbers, you'd find the racial disparity has more to do with the income disparity than, say, skin color or culture, but such is life in these United States. Race isn't always about "race."

It makes me think of the Lump, the dude at work that gets under my skin. Because of the blood thinners he's on, he can't eat any leafy greens. (It's true...sounds like bullshit, but I looked it up. The vitamin K interferes with the drug.) So what does he do every day? He goes to McDonalds. This dude's lives that movie Super Size Me, eating there every day, not for 30 days, but for life.

And then he tells me about all the medication he's on and how crappy he feels, which leads me to ask him, so why don't you eat something healthier? There's a lot of room between leafy greens at one end of the spectrum and McDonalds at the other.

Eating healthy costs too much, he says. No, it doesn't. You can get a bag of apples for the price of a Value Meal. The apple? Some nice tree spent months making it just for you. Your Value Meal? Slapped together in ten seconds, already falling apart by the time you unwrap it.

Just because they call it a Value Meal doesn't make it so...

Words...Not Using Em Right

While I was drinking my morning coffee, I started working on a post about "The New Agnostics," a response to the "New Atheists" no one seems to like. Well, that post didn't exactly work out... (Story of my life, man...)

Anyway, that post is gone...but this quote has been echoing around in my head all morning:
Faith-based atheism? Yes, alas. Atheists display a credulous and childlike faith, worship a certainty as yet unsupported by evidence—the certainty that they can or will be able to explain how and why the universe came into existence.
First, it's the easiest thing in the world these days to say atheists practice some new religion. Never mind that you have to skirt the actual definition of atheist (atheist: Noun, one who believes that there is no deity) to get to the "atheism is a religion" idea.

Let's just go with what this dude is saying are the tenets of our "faith." We "display a credulous and childlike faith" in science. Um, that's not faith, bub.

Which definition of faith are you using here? The "believing in things with no evidence" one? ERRRRTTTT! Science provides the evidence. And if you meant the other definition of faith --meaning loyalty to a particular idea of God-- then you're a little warmer. "There is no God" is definitely an idea about God, but it's this close to saying "the idea doesn't exist." Contrast that with the idea that God loved the world so much he sent his only son, or there's only one God and Muhammad is his messenger.

You see how it works? Ignore what words mean and you can say anything!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Making Light

You know what's funny about depression?

The knock-knock jokes.

"Knock-knock." "Who cares?!"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Just the Right Light

A scene from my block last night. All I did with this photo was stick my camera out the window of my truck at a stop sign and click it. Nature did the rest.