22 February, 2007

Only in America...

(Being The Story of a Tempest in a Pee-Pee-Pot)

Only in America would there be such an infernal uproar over a single word in an award-winning book.
I'm referring to the children's book The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron, judged the most worthy contribution to children's literature for last year by the American Library Association and thus awarded the Newbery Medal. This despite the word "scrotum" on the very! first! page! after a dog is snakebitten on the...uh...well, here's the quotum (sorry):

“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much,” the book continues. “It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”

I like that imagery. I've had the flu and coughed so hard I'm pretty sure I did bring up a scrotum or two. Green, no less. Besides, I've always thought that was a weird, neat word. Say it with me, now: SCRO-TUM. Neat word.

How ironic that a book written by a public librarian is now being banned in libraries all over the United States, solely on the basis of a single word denoting a part of the body shared by every male human being (and dog) on the planet. Ironic, but hardly surprising. After all, we're talking about the same country that went temporarily insane over a nipple on television. Nipple: you know, the thing that kids far too young to read are intimately familiar with?

The Higher Power of Lucky was written for a fifth and sixth grade audience. At that age, I'm pretty sure I had no idea what a scrotum was: I called that body part my bag. As in, "Ow! He bagged me!" I would have been gratified (and, let's face it, a tad amused: scrotumscrotumscrotum!) to have a real honest-to-goodness word to describe my nut sack. I wouldn't have been scared of the word, or scarred by it: I had read Where Did I Come From long before that, and been exposed to 'penis' and 'vagina' ("rhymes with North Carolina") without incident.

I'm pretty sure most other kids my age--yes, even then--would have been the same way upon learning what a "scrotum" was. It would immediately have become an insult to be hurled, of course: a word that unique pretty much has to be, especially since it seems to upset adults so much. But it would still be just a word. "There are no bad words", says George Carlin. "Bad thoughts....bad intentions...and words." Scrotum is not a bad word. How can it be? It

(a) comes directly from the Latin (cognate with Old English skrud, "garment": just imagine yourself dressed in a shimmering floor-length scrotum!);
and (b) describes a part of the human body--the same body, for those devout Christians most likely to object to the very notion of a scrotum, "made in the image and likeness of God": does God have a scrotum?

Now, of course, there's a better-than-average chance some girl has seen your fifth or sixth grader's scrotum. At the very least. I can certainly understand the discomfort that thought might cause. But this uproar about the word, not even the picture? Ridiculous, in that way that only Americans ever seem to be.

Q. What's a yankee?
A. It's a quickie, only you're alone.

19 February, 2007

Did I just read that? Holy sweet zombie, I did.

So I'm reading Hansard -- something I'll do every once in a while. I won't watch Question Period on CPAC, ever, mostly because I'd have to throw a brick through the television and my wife would then pick up the brick and throw it at me. And probably hit me and make me even more "special" than I already am. But in text, the petty panderings, platitudes, and pantomimes of Parliament seem ever so slighly less asinine, somehow. Maybe it's because Hansard omits all the stomping and screaming that goes on in the background all through Question Period. Personally, I'd use duct tape.

There's a real brouhaha brewing over Stephen Harper's proposed method of appointing judges, to wit: he wants police input. For this, Harper has been attacked at every turn, just as he is every time he tries to get tough on crime in any meaningful way. .

Harper is right to be suspicious of judges. I'm sure many Canadians share his suspicions. The Liberal Party, though, has suspicions of its own, as shown by this exchange between Harper and Michael Ignatieff on Valentine's Day:

Harper: "We want to make sure we're bringing forward the laws to make sure we crack down on crime, that we make our streets and communities safer. We want to make sure our selection of judges is in correspondence with those objectives."
Ignatieff: "Mr. Speaker, this has just confirmed our worst suspicions."

Rarely do you see such candour in politics. Ignatieff, and by extension his party, doesn't want a crackdown on crime, doesn't want safer streets, and doesn't want judges who want those things for Canadians.
We've long known that, of course, though I don't think it's ever been admitted so succintly. It was Liberals who gave prisoners the right to vote, knowing that only the insane ones would vote anything other than Liberal. It was Liberals who stacked the court with judges disguised as cuddly teddy bear social worker types (it's only partisan when Conservatives do it; when it's done by Liberals it's done according to "Canadian values".) It is Liberals (and their NDP and Bloc colleagues) who are against any bill that might possibly get tough on crime.
What we don't know, what's missing, is why. Why do Liberals care more for the criminal than his victim? Why do they suggest that police officers are not capable of selecting judges--only lawyers (who have a vested interest in seeing the same criminals over and over and over again) can do that? Why do they see no problem with a "justice" system in which house arrest is a perfectly acceptable sentence for murder?
Perhaps Mr. Ignatieff will deign to tell us. I'd really like to understand. This whole soft-on-crime business is the biggest reason I can't bring myself to vote Liberal (well, that and the fact they're not sorry for the whole sponsorship scandal, only sorry they were caught).

But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for an answer from Ignatieff or anyone else. One piece of candour is enough for this year.

17 February, 2007

Change is afoot


The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself...
---Abba, "Waterloo"

Ten years ago almost to the day, my life took one of those sudden screeching turns I've always dreaded. My boss, a real bitch-monster, had left the scene not long before. She had been replaced by a gentleman named Mike, whom we all learned to call Mac. At the time I couldn't imagine a better manager, and not just in comparison with Jo, either.
With practically no warning, certainly with no rhyme or reason, just as Mac was growing into his role and our team was meshing, he was transferred to another 7-Eleven on the other end of town.
Viewed from north Waterloo, Doon was seven kinds of paradise. I had subbed in there often enough to know. The sports bar in the same plaza rarely disgorged drunks, and almost no student drunks. Used to the frantic, frenetic pace of store 25067, I was stunned to discover that at Doon I had time to read a newspaper on the night shift. The atmosphere, even before Mac arrived there, was relaxed. Morale was high.
Meanwhile, back at my King and University store, we awaited our new manager with some trepidation. I worked night shift--as I almost always did--on her first day, and put as much effort as I could into my job that night.
Most of the jobs I have had through my life have involved cleaning, at least in part. Being a man, I am, as Dave Barry has noted, unable to see dirt until it can sustain commercial agriculture. It is so frustrating to polish everything around to a fine sheen, only to miss one little spot...which of course screams out to all and sundry, "Here I am! Look at me! I'm filthy!" And it hasn't escaped me that women tend to hear that scream more keenly.
This woman toured her new domain to a cacophony of little screams, inaudible to Mac, some of them inaudible to even Jo. She then turned them full force upon me, making me feel like my four and a half years' experience on night shift had evaporated.
Shortly thereafter I requested...and was granted...a transfer to Doon, Mac, and sanity.
Ten years ago almost to the day. As wonderful as this change was even to contemplate, it was still a change, and I didn't (and don't) handle change all that well when it's forced upon me. Or when I force it upon myself, for that matter.
There was, for instance, the matter of a 100-minute commute each way, on airless, packed hells disguised as Kitchener Transit busses. Half that on one of these things leaves me weak and gasping for breath; even with a book to lose myself in, the full 100 minutes was insupportable. That meant moving--again--and the only place I could find on short notice was a tiny basement room with walls that might have been constructed out of rice paper. There was no woman in my life at the time. Truth be told, that was something of a relief. I couldn't in good conscience show anyone the hellhole I was living in.
But I had my transfer.
I threw myself into my job with a will. Night shift ceased its drunken torments and became something to enjoy. In the solitude of three in the morning, in the lit oasis of a 7-Eleven, I could almost imagine my life going someplace.
Then came the letter, attached to a paystub, from Head Office informing me that in six weeks my store would be closing.
I was offered employment at yet another store in Kitchener, one I had worked maybe twenty shifts in over the years. The drunks there were serious, hardcore, downtown drunks. It was the kind of store where I'd have to pull the Listerine off the shelf every night lest it be bought or stolen. It was also the kind of store one could easily imagine being knifed or shot in.
No, thank you.
I will never forget the ensuing six weeks. The community reacted with shock and confusion when it found out we were closing due to lack of business. "But I'm in here all the time!" was the oft-spoken refrain, usually from the mouths of people we'd never seen before.
The shelves ran down far past the point of absurdity. In the middle of the night I imagined I could hear them begging to be refilled. There was an almost overwhelming compulsion to just stop trying, to tell 7-Eleven's upper management--I believe their names were Benedict Arnold, Delilah, and Judas Something-Or-Other--exactly how we felt. Every customer couldn't help but notice the sad emptiness and we'd have to explain over and over that yes, we were closing and no, there wasn't a damned thing in the world we could do about it. We felt like we were letting the neighbourhood down.

The severance package I was offered was more than fair, especially since I had rejected what, to the company, was a perfectly legitimate alternative. I felt I could quite easily get another job before my money ran out, so I didn't bother applying for employment insurance. In my foolish, foolish mind, I equated E.I. with welfare. I'd already done the welfare thing and was ashamed of myself for it. Besides, the next job would come along tomorrow.
It wasn't. Nor was it the next day, or for a very long succession of days after that. In the end I was reduced to applying for a market research job...where I was interviewed and hired by the woman who would one day be my wife.

Almost as if I was being steered.

Fast forward to this morning. I've been in the same job now for almost six years. I know what a hoary old cliche this is, but it's still apt: the people I work with constitute a family. A remarkably close-knit family, given the climate of change that governs the grocery industry: many of the people who are with us, including much of the management, have been there for years.
Our little family is ruled over by a man named Larry Dobbs, who has been there almost since the store opened. It was his store until just recently. A better boss would be hard to imagine, let alone find. His loyalty to his employees inspires loyalty to him (the secret to effective management, and one far too many managers never learn). He's approachable, always quick with a joke, and most of all he understands the job is just a job. You're expected to care about it, but it isn't to rule your life. That's another secret many upper management types don't often bother with, incidentally.
We went corporate seven or eight months ago to repeated assurances that any changes would be invisible to us employees. My wife, knowing human nature as she does, told me that, to the contrary, things would only go downhill from here. But up until this morning, it seemed that sense would prevail. The team that had built our store up from nothing into the busiest Price Chopper in the city would stick together.
I have been incredibly lucky not to have to work weekends since I came to this store nearly six years ago. It wasn't anything I had asked for, but my schedule has been a fringe benefit, one almost as valued to me as my boss. Nevertheless, I've taken to coming in Saturdays for at least a couple of hours, just to make sure everything is running smoothly. That's what I did today. I had an order to write, but before I could get to it Larry took me aside and announced a "powwow" upstairs.
I have a guilty conscience. Always have had. I racked my mind furiously to determine what I'd done to get my ass fired, and came up totally empty. When Larry began to gather all the present members of our management team together, I threw my brain in reverse. Mental tires spun and smoked. Either Larry was retiring or--
"You're getting transferred," somebody said.
Larry nodded, struck nearly mute.
I almost thought I saw the lights dim.
The sense of shock, of shellshock, was palpable. Tears were shed, epithets were hurled, and we all looked at each other, uncertain. Larry's going to the Price Chopper equivalent of Doon, a store so dead the running joke is that it's closed and the employees just don't know it yet. He assures me they won't close the store with him in it, but I've seen that done before. Besides, they had assured him he would never be transferred.
That store should thank its lucky stars. They're getting a great manager...and a great man.

Meanwhile I don't know what we're getting. But there's a possibility I'll be finding myself another job soon. If what I bring to bear on my job isn't appreciated, I mean. That's a terribly scary thought for me: I'm well entrenched in my career at this point, and finding something open commensurate with my skill level, not to mention my level of pay, is an unlikely proposition. So I'd be looking at not just a change of job, but a change of career.

I told Larry I'd follow him to his new store. And I would, even if they did close it in eight or nine months. But there's no place there for me.

Stay tuned. I sure as hell will.

10 February, 2007

The Battle of the Bulge

Last year, on a low-carb diet, I managed to lose just over thirty pounds. I had more energy, much less stomach irritation, and just all around felt better.
So why'd it all come back?
Several reasons, really. Although I had found low-carb foods I enjoyed, there was the not-so-insignificant matter of all those other high-carb foods I enjoyed. Because I wasn't having them, I convinced myself I enjoyed those high-carb foods more. Didn't take much convincing, either.
Then there's the matter of price. I've discovered that no matter what road to healthy eating you may take, your wallet is forced to diet right along with you. It's perhaps understandable in the case of a low-carb diet, which goes against most prevailing dietary wisdom (eat steak, cheese, eggs, and cream...and lose weight? Yeah, right!) There's no denying it worked for me...until the money situation tightened a few notches. Then my belt loosened a few notches.
But never mind low-carb: even a diet infused with plenty of yucky vegetables (healthy, for sure, but yucky, for surer) gets pricey. If you want to eat cheap, go for the bread, rice, and potatoes...but for the sake of your waistline you'd better be prepared to walk everywhere. Or better yet, run. Backwards.
Is it any wonder that, statistically speaking, the poorer you are, the more likely you're obese?
But the biggest problem, for me, at least, has nothing to do with what I eat and everything to do with how much I eat. Simply put, I'm a pig. By the standard serving sizes printed right on the box, bag, or can of whatever the hell it is we're scarfing, I suspect most of us are. Hands up all of you who eat eleven potato chips and stop eating.

Okay, hands down, all you bullshitters.

Or take those Lipton Sidekick side dishes. Those are supposed to be split four ways. Try that next time you prepare one: you'll find a serving constitutes about three mouthfuls. Barely a taste.
Ditto Kraft Dinner. I mean, I knew a box was too much, but half a box is also too much. Here's a question, and I'm only half joking: if you abide by all these serving sizes, how do you not gnaw your own arm off out of sheer ravenousness?

To make matters worse, I was sabotaging myself with plates the size of monster truck tires and bowls like rain barrels. We bought these things because we liked them, but even the oversized portions I'm used to consuming looked relatively puny; correct serving sizes make your supper look like it came out of one of those nouveau cuisine places where they give you three carrot sticks and charge you a hundred bucks for the honour. Oversized flatware is getting more and more common these days, have you noticed? It's frustrating.
"Hey, I like this pattern!"
"Yeah, but you'd have to saw it in half. Oh, wait a second, that's supposed to be a saucer. Can you break in in quarters?"
"Okay, what about this one? It's a reasonable size."
"Yeah, and it looks like gangrene. Put it back."

And, of course, there's the matter of exorcism...I mean, excercise. I don't get enough. I'm actually pretty certain that all this foofarow about low-fat, low-carb, low-cal, high-fibre is pretty much a moot point. You can eat whatever the hell you want so long as you're willing to exercise it off. Consider the Amish. Their food is rich and tasty and spectacularly unhealthy by the standards of the modern dietician. But they work thirty-nine hours a day. You'd be skinny too.
Face it: the only diet absotively GUARANTEED to work is to eat fewer calories than you burn. I admit, I'm pretty partial to the Ken-diet, to wit: eat whatever you want, and just don't swallow anything...

So: life changes. I'm trying very hard to regard food as fuel, not fun. That's a bitch of an attitude adjustment when my whole diet has always been planned around what I like to eat. We're gradually, as money permits, introducing more organic stuff into the diet (and there's another wallet-killer! Organic eggs range between 1.5 and almost three times the price of regular eggs, and I'll bet you most people can't taste a difference. And eggs are among the cheapest organic items, relative to their non-organic counterparts.

We'll get serious about this when we return from southern climes. Cue the Premier Fitness jingle:

I don't wanna be a fat guy
Rubbery flubbery blubbery out-of-shape dude.






08 February, 2007

I really must apologize for my snarkery lately. I must be off my meds or something...little things are annoying me beyond all reason. The slightest poke sends me off into a rant: at least most of the time I'm able to keep it silent.
I sat down tonight to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs play Nashville. The Leafs have been playing above their heads lately, and they came to earth with a thud tonight against the best team in the league. I should have known this was going to happen: the anthem singers in Nashville performed O Canada as if it was some kind of funeral dirge, out of tune, and with little grace notes that grated on the ear. Ugh.
Of course, over on the Leaf forum, the whole reason we lost the game was because of the refs. Now, I'll admit the officiating in the NHL is wildly uneven, and tonight's game wasn't the best-reffed game I've seen by any stretch, but the fact is the Leafs were outclassed, penalties or not, and they deserved to lose. But try telling the people on tmlfans.com that and you'll be flamed out of your pants. Nice fans.

Turned 35 a couple of days ago. I figure I'm halfway through my life, or at least close to it. Unless I die next week. Anyway, this is the first birthday I've had since my teens that gave me a real sense of having aged. Odd feeling, hard to classify. It's definitely not unease of any kind: I'm not one of those people who dreads the approaching birthday and dissolves into tears at the mere thought of getting older. Those people are almost invaribly female, I've noticed. It's funny, the difference in the genders when it comes to aging. Women, stereotypically at least, freak out whenever the very concept of "age" is mentioned, but they internalize getting older and seem to cope better the older they get. Men, by contrast, rarely even mention birthdays, seem to have no problem with the whole aging thing, and then BANG! suddenly they've divorced the wife and bought a Porsche.
Little chance of any of that happening here. I'm reasonably comfortable as I reach this milestone of life, all things considered. Whenever I am having a bad time of it, I take a deep breath and think of some nice, positive music. Something like Great Big Sea:

Way-hey-hey, it's just an Ordinary Day
And it's all your state of mind
At the end of the day you've just got to say it's all right.

I've got a smile on my face and I've got four walls around me...

Or David Meece:

No matter where we've been
No matter what we've done
Today can be our Once In A Lifetime
For yesterday is gone
Tomorrow may not come
Today can be our Once In A Lifetime

(David Meece is a remnant of my Christian past, one I'm not willing to give up. Most of his songs aren't overly preachy and they're loaded with pop hooks that snag me every time I hear them. Another remnant, just as welcome, is early Amy Grant.)

Whenever I'm really down, I invariably find myself turning to John McDermott. Which is kind of funny, at least if you ask my wife, since she finds his music almost unbearably depressing. While it's true many of his songs deal with the pains of war, loss, and--yes--growing old, there are many I find uplifting. Here's one:

Steal Away

Steal away, let's steal away
No reason left to stay
For me and you
Let's start anew
And darling, steal away

Steal away and chase some dreams
And hope they never find us
The dreary days
The empty nights
We'll leave them all behind us

We'll leave behind the city streets
The gloom and desolation
The rain, the cold
The growing old
God knows, it's a hard old station

We'll leave with just a memory
And make a new beginning
We have to choose
To win or lose
And it's time we started winning...

And if that hasn't done it, I have one last-ditch failsafe song that works every time. It's performed by Secret Garden; the tune is loosely based on Danny Boy; and I think of Eva as I sing:

When I am down and, oh, my soul, so weary;
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still, and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit a while with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains.
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas.
I am strong when I am on your shoulders.
You raise me up...to more than I can be.

There is no life--no life without its hunger.
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder
Sometimes I think I glimpse eternity...

I don't know where my world would be without music in it.


04 February, 2007

G-g-g-lobal warming

Boy, it's a good thing global warming is now an undisputed reality. Otherwise I'd be a Kensicle right about now.
Temperature: -17, a shade above zero on the old scale. Windchill is currently -27 and it'll get colder overnight.
For you Nunavutians and Saskatoonies this sort of thing is referred to as "balmy". Here in Southern Ontario, not so much. There are blizzard warnings a couple of hours north of us, snowsquall warnings all around us, but we just have this wind chill warning. For once, Environment Canada's warnings are justified: the news tells me snowplows have been taken off the road up north on account of their operators can't even see their own plow blades.
A watermain on our street broke today...the second time in about eight weeks. Along came a plow and sloshed all that water into the snow at the bottom of our driveway. I was out there almost immediately to shovel, but almost immediately was far too late: by some weird alchemy the snow had turned to something approaching the hardness of the concrete beneath it. The best I was able to do was to level out the driveway somewhat. Sigh.
So: global warming. Or more properly, given the frigidity gripping much of the second-largest country on the planet, "climate change". According to the report issued in Paris last week, it's real, we're responsible...and most alarmingly, it's unstoppable. We're past the pivot point: no matter what we do now, temperatures will continue to increase for centuries.
Nice to know they can predict climate over centuries and still can't even guess what next month's weather has in store.
Oh, I'm not disputing their conclusions. I'd still like to think that most scientists are objective and impartial enough to have arrived at the correct proofs without concern for such things as funding. But I do object to the sudden politimedihysteria, not least because problems "solved" hysterically never remain solved for long. It calls to mind a song by the Canadian group the Arrogant Worms:

Malcolm solves his problems with a chainsaw
Malcolm soves his problems with a chainsaw
Malcolm solves his problems with a chainsaw
And he never has the same problem twice.

Everybody on Parliament Hill is trying to outgreen each other. Normally I'd suggest this is a good thing, as politicians rarely take any notice of anything environmental. But concentrating on greenhouse gas emissions, when Canada--globally speaking--provides a mere two percent of same and the country immediately to our south, which leads the world in emissions, has no intention of reducing theirs, makes little to no sense. And speak to me not of Kyoto, which Harper rightly called a socialist wealth redistribution scheme. What else can it be, since the developing world can utterly disregard it without penalty? And never mind the craziness of classifying China, on the verge of becoming the world's largest economy, as a "developing" nation.
If we're going to get serious about greenhouse gas emissions, we should all get serious, from America to Zimbabwe. Any development in the Third World should be as green as the First World can help make it. And while we're at it, we should substiantially green what used to be called the Second World--the countries that used to be under the Soviet sphere of influence (and will be again, the paranoid in me insists on adding).

But I remain firmly convinced that, while greenhouse gas emissions are indeed a problem, they aren't the chief environmental problem facing the world today--no matter how many headlines I read.
You don't see much about air pollution any more, do you? Or water pollution, or deforestation, or desertification, or soil erosion, or any other sort of pollution that isn't green house gas emission. What, did we clean all that up while I wasn't looking? Didn't think so. Is any of it somehow less of a problem? Don't think so. But the Kyoto Protocol doesn't even mention any of these used-to-be-pressing concerns. Why is that, I wonder?

02 February, 2007

Prude booed nude dude: "lewd, rude"

Now that's more typical of a Sun headline.
I love reading letters to the editor. Whenever I open a paper, they're the first things I turn to...especially if a provocative article appeared in that particular paper the day before. "Well, I couldn't have said that better myself", I'll muse, or "what planet is this wackjob from?"
One of those latter moments occurred yesterday as I perused the National Post. Regrettably, in my haste to vacate work--bad day, yesterday--I forgot to port the paper along with me. And the online Post doesn't link to letters, other than today's. Still...
On the front page of the Post a couple of days back was a little blurb about Daniel Radcliffe, known the world over as Harry Potter. Seems young Daniel (he's 17) is taking steps to avoid being typecast as a bespectacled wizard the rest of his life. His first step is to appear in the West End revival of a Tony-award winning play called Equus. Some first-rate Hollywood talent has appeared in that play before him: Anthony Hopkins and Richard Burton being the best known examples.Whatever. The play calls for--gasp--nudity. More than that, actually: arousal. The picture that accompanied the Post front-page blurb was thus not of Harry Potter, but of his hairy pot. (Must...resist...urge to...pun...) Actually, the picture was tastefully done--there was just enough skin shown so the casual viewer can note he's all nekkid and bare. (I'm a casual viewer--believe you me, I have no abiding interest in Daniel Radcliffe's bod, not least because he's uncannily like an old friend of mine. Also, I'm not gay, he says as an afterthought. Now, Emma Watson, on the other hand...)

My reaction to the picture went like so:
Hey, that guy's all nekkid and bare.
On the front page.
What's a guy doing nekkid and bare on the front page of a major paper?
(catching sight of the words below) That's Daniel Radcliffe!
[aside: you can count the celebrities I'd recognize (nude or no) on the fingers of one thumb]
Good for him. You can't get much further away from Hogwarts than waving your warthog all over the London stage. Kind of brings a whole new meaning to "Platform 9 3/4".
God, the puns lie thick upon the ground.

And then I moved on to the Letters to the Editor.


Well, the furor.

One gentleman asked the Post to kindly relocate the "salacious" stuff to the Arts and Life section so as he wouldn't have to scramble to hide the paper from his kids. I sat there reading that letter over and over, trying to imagine life in his family. I kept stumbling up against mental walls and banging my head against them.
Boy, those kids must be filthy. You can't very well clean yourself fully clothed.
Wait a sec: You can't change clothes without being at least momentarily nekkid and bare! How does he do it? How does he keep his kids blissful innocence intact?

I'm not sure, of course, but I suspect this parent would have no trouble plopping his kid down in front of a television, where he'll see eight thousand murders before he's out of elementary school.
The logic escapes me. It really does. My God, people, it's just SKIN. We all have it. Clothes are just things we don to get warm. That is their sole function, the sole reason for their existence in a sane and ordered world. Of course, this world is insane and disordered, thanks in large part to Mr. Scramble-To-Hide-The-Skin-From-The-Kids and the myriad people like him.

I'll say it again: if God had meant for us to walk around naked, we would have been born that way.

Now, I am not a practising naturist: I prefer the feeling of being clothed. But it has nothing to do with self-esteem...I am not my body, after all. I can, and have, strolled around comfortably naked. On a sufficiently hot day, of course I long for the option of disrobing, don't you?

It's topics like this that make me feel like I am all alone in the universe.