Sunday, December 14, 2014

Molon Labe

This is not a funny post. It's likely to cause me some hate mail (or hate-facebooking, I suppose). Ah well.

I am completely NOT shocked, nor even mildly surprised, about the CIA torture report. What DOES dishearten me are the variations of "This is why I don't give a fuck that we tortured terrorists" memes on social media. No, I'm not posting any examples, because I won't give credence to the idea. It disheartens me that many of the people whose opinions I value to at least some degree are willing to jump on the "it's ok to do anything to get results" bandwagon.

When you reduce a person to a label or pull an "ends to means" justification to excuse horrific brutality, have you not just proved you're no better than the enemy you're fighting? I would challenge any supporter of torture as an appropriate means to an end to read detailed descriptions of what happened in medieval torture chambers, and examine whether the rack or hot pokers are humane. Then read accounts of what happened to POWs during the Civil War or WWII or Vietnam (or, really, any other war). Torture hasn't changed much in the past few thousand years except in sophistication: in fact, as humans we've gotten BETTER at it.

Humans have gotten BETTER at breaking another human's psyche and spirit through physical and psychological pain without actually killing them. This is not an accomplishment we should be proud of as a species.

Here's the thing. I am not, at my core, a gentle person. In the words of a t-shirt I will soon own, "I am comfortable with violence."  I don't advocate peace at the expense of freedom, and, perhaps more importantly, I don't advocate standing by when someone else is attacked. As such, I'm both pro-military and pro-law enforcement in general. I get that it seems counter-intuitive to some of my really liberal values, but those who protect us are important to me. I admire those who serve because they do jobs that, by their very nature, chip away at the soul. They sacrifice immensely on our behalf. There are certain situations, both personal and as a member of humanity, in which violent response is the only available answer. I understand many will disagree with my position: I'm ok with that. The point of writing this isn't to advocate for my ethics: it's to give you a framework for what I'm about to say.

The moment you endorse the torture of another human being, even if you're not doing the torture yourself, is the moment you choose to kill a piece of your own humanity. Maybe it's just a little piece. Maybe you have humanity to spare. Maybe you truly feel justified that your response is fair retribution. Let me be painfully clear:

If you think it heinous and depraved for the ENEMY to shock American prisoners' genitals with electrodes, to repeatedly drown and revive them, to pull fingernails out, to refuse food and water and sleep, to force them to stand for days on end in joint-breaking positions, but you think it's acceptable for US to do so under the fallacy of getting "information," you have failed your argument

I don't agree with the Abrahamic religions' idea that everyone, even the most evil, have some bit of good to nurture. There is a level of depravity and cruelty in the world that, to my mind, deserves no quarter. No second chances to cause additional damage. I don't have a problem with the death that comes with war. It's part of war. I don't have a problem with the death penalty for certain levels of criminals. I don't have an issue with carrying guns or defending ourselves from violence done upon us. But if death is the response, it needs to be a clean, humane death.

There are people who are the equivalent of rabid dogs attacking individuals and society. The response to a rabid dog is NOT to become rabid yourself.  I think inflicting death upon another soul, taking someone or something's life, is already a serious and soul-damaging act. Inflicting pain because the judgement is made that the pain is "deserved" is both unjust and creates a dark, unclean space in the spirit.

I work, hard to cultivate compassion and empathy for others. Yes, this is a direct countermeasure to my ability to consider violence as an option. The better I am at seeing both sides of a situation, the more likely I am to be able to DE-escalate.  Empathy leads to finding a point of common ground, which can lead to a point of understanding between two otherwise contentious parties. Empathy leads to compassion for others' situations, and maybe, just maybe, empathy and compassion can provide a single moment for a person to step back and look without judgement. Imagine that: a break in the cycle of "you hurt me, so I'm going to do worse to you and yours."

Every attempt toward compassion is worthwhile. Every moment of empathy achieved is a step toward making your life more positive. And when it fails, as it most definitely will fail on many occasions, there is a choice. Choose to keep trying, or to give in to the negative, vengeful, destructive side. It's HARD to look at a situation from the other party's point of view.  But in my opinion the work is worth the effort, the failures, and the frustration, both personally and in hopes that I can make a little corner of my own universe a little less dark.

I'm not giving up my empathy and compassion to anyone, especially not to propaganda and a false sense of vengeance perpetrated by misinforming social media garbage.

Molon Labe

Friday, December 12, 2014

"Mrs. Titts" isn't an empty title, people.

Today, I was coerced by a pushy coworker to PARTICIPATE in group "fun" activities. I think work fun activities should involve alcohol and the ability to watch people make idiots of themselves.

Well, I suppose I got half of that. We were "festive" and made gingerbread houses. Because what's better at an insurance company than a bunch of accountants, underwriters, and IT folk making rickety-ass candy houses that fall apart and are generally unsound?

Did you know the "icing" is a LIE LIE LIE. Dear Gingerbread House Kit Makers: "icing" contains at least a modicum of sugar. That shit was PASTE, and tasted like kindergarten only without the stinky full-pants-kid sitting next to you at the arts and crafts table. I suppose that's a plus of doing arts and crafts as a work teambuilding thing, right? No poop. Just paste.

FYI: the faucet in the kitchen at work was busted today. So everyone is covered in paste with no way to wash hands. Yeah. Awesome.

Anyway, my team's house is here. Please note the red, sugar-tipped, askew and slightly sagging nipples. I did not put them there. But you can be certain I not only noticed, but immediately pointed out that our house is now Old Lady Sugartits Nipples.

Is it cold in here? I think my pasties fell off...
Personally, I think Santa would be a happier guy if his doorbell knocker was a set of knockers. Maybe perkier ones, though.

So this whole ridiculousness reminded me of a story I foolishly told the same coworker.

When I went to my first prom, as a foolish 16 year old dating a senior, I sat on my boyfriend's lap in a big comfy chair in the lobby outside the DECC ballroom. I was cocky and feeling ALL THAT in my fancypants boob enhancing halter dress (and foofoo hair...let's not forget the foofoo hair and makeup. It WAS the early 90's, after all. There were bangs. Big ones. And I don't mean the fun kind). Yeah. I was 16 and stupid: get off me.

Anyway, his dad had given him a crisp new hundred dollar bill for the occasion. Hey, we were teenagers in Duluth, MN of all places. Our lives weren't terribly exciting in general, and neither of us had ever SEEN a hundred dollar bill.

I thought I'd be all smooth and sexy. Yes, I know...but just let me share the gravity of the failure there.

I put the hundred down the bodice of my dress, in my first-allowed-lingerie strapless bustier.

THE FUCKING MONEY DISAPPEARED.

We tore the goddamn chair apart. He freaked out and was livid at me most of the evening. The money never did turn up.

So basically what I'm saying here is: when I was 16 I discovered my boobs are apparently an interdimensional portal. I imagine that money is on the floor of some random space station warehouse along with somebody's keys, all the missing socks from the laundry, and apparently pieces of people's souls which go galavanting around without permission (remember the Soul Retrieval lady? Yeah, she's in Duluth, MN too...WEIRD SHIT HAPPENS AROUND THAT, LAKE PEOPLE).

Um, just to be clear, I'm not saying socks, keys or souls get lost in my boobs. Just that single bill, as far as I'm aware.

Holy Christ, what might've been lost while I sleep? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Oh Skymall...you dirty dirty bird...

I went home (to the tundra) last weekend. It was an adventure.

First, I was hit on by the dude next to me, Chad from downtown Minneapolis, on the plane. Chad insisted I'm 10 years younger than I am. Score.

For me.

He did not score.

Bummer for you, Chad, but you were quite charming and I am thoroughly amused.

And then I found THIS in Skymall, and all conversation ended, because I can't NOT MAKE INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS.

ADULT PLUSH BALLS.
What the fuck else can possibly be said about this?
OBVIOUSLY I need the Unicorn, because my balls aren't plush enough. Or horny? And it comes with it's own pump...I mean, self pumping unicorn balls?? Come ON!

Yeah, you can see why Chad stopped talking to me. I'm a whole new level of crazypants, and maybe it's better not to get in them, dude.

So...then I spent the weekend at my Grandma's house outside of Duluth. Everyone in Houston was bitching and freaking out about 40 degree weather (OH MY GOD IT'S THE APOCALYPSE! WEAR YOUR PARKAS!!). This is what I woke up to (along with -10 degree temps) Saturday:

Ignore the rocking horse and focus on the FROSTED WINDOW.
Yeah. I was cold.

Well, Helloooooo Winter, you not-yet-welcome Fall party crasher.
During the shenanigans there was hay in an eyeball, babies held, stories told, bad songs sung (there really is no rendition of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" that rivals my aunt singing "turn around, fart eyes" in a really wavery voice), and lots of laughing. I didn't pee my pants, but it was close. I DID wheeze and squeak and cry. My belly hurts.

And then, I got to see the kiddos.

Han was moving too damn fast for me to get a good pic, but I did spend some time working with Evil. She was somewhat unimpressed with me.

"Mother, get this thing off my head IMMEDIATELY."
Han got jealous and took my hand very earnestly, tugging me toward his room (where a 2 year old can escape the little sister who takes up Auntie Jess's attention). I was his  (CRAWL, AUNTIE JESS!) until I had to catch my flight back to toasty warm (upper 30's...it's still Houpocalypse down here: winter hats/scarves/mittens/parkas) Texas. Little dude wore me the hell out...I slept the whole flight.

I saw and spent seriously excellent time with some of my favorite people (but not all...I WILL rectify that on the next trip). People I love deeply and dearly, and whom I miss terribly and think about daily.

Y'all know who you are, dontcha? Sure ya do.

We'll be back up at Christmas...and THAT trip won't be a super secret surprise for anyone...so I'll set up a plan to hang, peeps.

In the meantime, someone buy me the adult plush unicorn balls!!