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Showing posts from March, 2016

Riches and Real People

I don't want to be rich.

There. I said it. Even thinking that thought feels somehow blasphemous in this society where lotteries are commonplace and people's characters are often judged by their bank accounts: "to get a loan, you must first prove you don't need one".  But all I have ever wanted -- at least since I grew up -- is enough. I define "enough" as "sufficient to keep me connected, to let me hold up my end of multiple friendships, with something left over to fund occasional breaks from the world".

I don't play the lottery. To me it's a tax on the innumerate. If I did play, and won, I would give a great deal of my winnings away to people less fortunate than I am. But in all honesty I would dread the exercise. How do you decide at what proximity of relationship the money should be cut off? And how much goes to each person without making everyone else feel as if you shortchanged him or her? How many friends will stick by you after …

Easter musings

There's a post going around Facebook -- again -- which looks like this:


I see it every year, shared enthusiastically by rational people who also share an antipathy towards religion.

It's wrong. Wrong several ways, from trifling to fundamental.

The trifling: Ishtar  is pronounced ishtar. MAYBE "eeshtar". Not "Easter".

Ishtar was indeed an Assyrian and Babylonian goddess, a very important one. Her domains were love, sex and war. She and her roles went by different names in different societies in the region over millennia: Inanna, Astarte, and Isis. She makes an appearance in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest surviving great literary work (from which the story of Noah and several other Biblical narratives ultimately derive). Like more than a few gods and goddesses throughout history, she comes off as a real bitch.

Her symbols were the lion, the gate, and a star with eight points. Not rabbits, not eggs. Though both of those things ARE symbols of sex and fertili…

The Last (Poly) Post

There is a widespread belief among straight people -- older males, especially -- that being gay is all well and good as long as they don't have to look at it. "You don't see straight parades", is the common refrain.
You do, of course, see straight parades. Every day. You don't notice them because they go on beneath the radar. We don't feel the need to support straight people, so the crowds that form around these parades are utterly unaware of them: indeed, they become part of them. Any time a boy hugs a girl or a woman kisses a man in public, that's a float in the Straight Pride parade.

But why is there so much nudity in gay pride parades? You don't see butt-naked straight people walking down the street!

First, let's remember that (contrary to widespread straight opinion) you can't tell who's gay just by looking...unless of course they're doing something gay at the time.  (I'm speaking of course of gay men--we all know that women c…

Nice Guys And Misplaced Assumptions

You choose your words
Careful voice
In the end I'm not the first choice 
You say you want someone just like me 
So then why am I your plan 
Why am I your plan 
Why am I your plan B?
--Marianas Trench, "The B Team"

So this caught my eye the other day.

I just love it when people share something that's utterly devoid of context and make up their own context so they can judge it, harshly. 

A man named Matt Collins posted the following on Twitter:

OK ladies, I get it.
You don't want a pleasant evening chat.
You don't want a gentleman to walk you to your car.
You don't want a friendly dude to help carry your groceries...or hold open the door...or crush the life out of other men who would do you harm.

Fine -- fear the good guys. I guess we'll just have to suffer watching you get trampled over and over by the SCUM you think you love. 

But I want you to know it's not easy, and it hurts to see you fall. 

Give the good guys a chance to help you be less afraid of the world.

Snapshot: Us

Administrivia: I am sorry for the paucity of posts. This has been a crazy month and there's no letup in sight. The details are boring unless you're me -- a guy with a sudden herniated disc and a need for bifocals (with friends and family considerably worse off), making strides at work while dealing with the traditional pre-Easter craziness, and on the good side, lots of visits to and from loved ones to liven up life.

One detail, though, may be of interest to you, and it can be summed up thusly: DON'T GO ON DISABILITY. And if you do have to go on disability, DON'T GO OFF DISABILITY. In fact, it's probably best to just avoid the entire thing.

What's best is not always what's possible. A thing many people don't know about disability benefits is that mental or physical ailments are not sufficient grounds to access them. No, you must be financially disabled as well. They make certain of it. And then going off disability: well, you need to cultivate the attit…

Core beliefs

"You have no core beliefs?" she asked. "Sure. A short list, as vague as I can make it, not written down anywhere. Let's see. Kind is better than cruel--I'm sure of that. Loose is better than rigid. Love is better than indifference. So is hate. Laughing is the best. Not laughing will kill you. Alone is okay. Not alone is way better. That's about it...and in my life so far there's not been a single one of them that's always been true." --Spider Robinson, "Very Bad Deaths"
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I used to be strange.
I mean, I still am, but I used to be, too. My strangeness has...evolved somewhat over time, is all. 
Very little of me survives from my teenage years. A few things have come back after disappearing for a while--I was tight-assed with money back then, went through my twenties bleeding money from every pore, and have regained fiscal sanity, for instance--but much of what made me me is irretrievably gone, and good riddance.
Let's see. I u…

Living Around Anxiety

I am not qualified to speak on living with anxiety. Although I am something of a worry wort, worrying about things isn't the same as generalized anxiety disorder any more than being down in the dumps is like clinical depression. But I'm well versed at this point in living around anxiety, and I'd like to share with you what I've learned.

I've learned that this is hard. Not near as hard as living WITH the disorder, of course, but hard, nonetheless. It's especially difficult when generalized becomes specific: when YOU'RE stressed, yourself. Just imagine: if you feel like this, HE's feeling ten times worse most of the time, and there's no on/off switch you can toggle.

I've learned some tips. I'll start with the nevers.

Never tell someone having a panic attack to calm down. If she could do that, she would, believe me. Likewise, never ask why he's crying. Odds are pretty good that he doesn't know, and if he does, his answer won't be an…