Twist Tie

As I’ve been filling trash bags with the debris of my life, I’ve also been clearing my head of the same.
I’m not laboring under the misconception that this move to California will suddenly result in a “new me,” but I certainly hope that it is a start in a new direction. And throwing away faxes, discs filled with emails and IMs, and other evidence of past relationships is proving to be more cathartic than I realized.
I’ve kept things like this since 1992 when I first fell in love with Jann, thinking that it was romantic and that one day it would be sweet to look back at the beginnings of our relationship. Of course, that relationship didn’t go in the direction that you’d expect in the first blush of love, and I rarely ever looked at the stuff. The same goes for the stuff from B. that I’ve kept in a little box; I think those items will meet the trash can soon as well.
I think that I have finally realized the futility of keeping these things. I still have years of memories swirling around in my head, memories that mean so much more than the mere evidence of paper and computer disc. It’s all been baggage, both figuratively and literally.
Maybe the discs, entombed in a plastic bag in a landfill, will survive to be dug up by a future generation, who will still remember how to access the data; when they read the love letters filled with double entendres and outright smut, they’ll imagine — like I did — the torrid love affair that must have lasted a lifetime.

House Mouse

When I’m awakened in the middle of the night by cats, it usually means one thing: they’ve brought me a gift, generally a snake, a bird, or a mouse. Four nights ago, it was the latter. So, at 1am, I was up and trying to catch a fast moving field mouse around the house, desperate to corner it and get it back outside.
It was too fast for me. And the next night, despite the strategic creation of a corridor with boxes, it once again evaded me.
I knew it was still in the house by the constant vigil of the cats, who indicated that it was somewhere in my bedroom, but I couldn’t see it. Last night was quiet, I sadly decided that it must have died and that I’d search for it in the morning.
But just a few moments ago, the cats were sitting together with their noses under my bed, just watching and not making any moves. I shooed them away and discovered the little mouse, hiding under the bed very still. He moved slightly and I knew that he was still alive, but he was no longer running — when he walked, he tipped over as if drunk or dizzy.
The poor thing had spent four days without food or water, and I was heartbroken — finally I caught him, scooped him up, and took him outside, where he barely moved. I took him over to a puddle, hoping he’d drink… he didn’t but he mustered enough strength to climb over the curb and up into the grass, where I finally decided to leave him, to walk away and stop urging him on. I’m back inside the warm house, worried about the small mouse outside in the cold.

A Culture of Life

I know I wasn’t going to post about the Schiavo case again, but the hypocrisy is running so thick and deep that I’d be remiss to not point it out.
Let’s see what one of those so-called “Christian,” “pro-life” nutcases is up to:

Friday, the FBI said a North Carolina man, Richard Alan Meywes, was arrested for allegedly placing a $250,000 bounty “on the head of Michael Schiavo” and offering a $50,000 reward to kill the judge who ruled against the Schindlers, though the judge was not identified.

Kirk was right, it’s silly for me to decide to become an athiest because of what these other “Christians” are up to. Because what they are doing and espousing — from claptrap to hate speech — is not what being a Christian is about. Frankly, it seems that they have little real faith at all.

The Aha Moment

In every controversial issue, things start out somewhat normal — and then one little fact comes out and makes you suddenly suspicious. Then another, then another, until you start to realize that there’s much more to the story than anyone wants you to know.
In the Terri Schiavo case, I twigged when it was disclosed that she had an eating disorder; a syndrome that is generally accompanied by parental mental abuse and control issues.
Then yesterday, without comment, I heard on NPR the following phrase: “Schindler family spokesperson Randall Terry…” Bing bing bing! The bells started ringing in earnest. Randall Terry? The founder of “Operation Rescue,” an anti-abortion group that advocates murdering doctors? (Oh, he’s also one of those ultra right-wing fundamentalists who has a gay child that he hates.)
As in all of these “aha” situations, each new revelation about the Schindlers diminishes their position. And the fact that they have made such ridiculous claims despite all evidence — that their daughter is conscious, laughs at their jokes, and can eat; that Michael Schiavo is a monster — and now they have enlisted the services of a man who says things like:

“Our goal is a Christian nation. … We have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism. … Theocracy means God rules. I’ve got a hot flash. God rules.”
“If a Christian voted for [former President Bill] Clinton, he sinned against God. It’s that simple.”

Yup, that’s the way to change the minds of the 70% of Americans who disagree with you.
Strangely, I think that I have more of a Christian belief than the “religious” zealots in this case. My view? Terri Schiavo is already dead. Her soul is gone. People are fighting over her body. Her parents don’t seem to understand or want to accept that their daughter is gone, and they are giving far too much of their own souls to protecting a body. Doesn’t Christianity teach us the difference between our soul, our selves; and our body?
This will be my last Schiavo post. I swear.

Suffer the little children

Oh, my — how come I never noticed this before it was brought to my attention by Fark? From my own neighborhood comes this extremely unfortunate logo design:

image

This is a public service announcement from a Creative Director to you: always hire a good designer. There’s more to logo design than you realize.

Let the panic ensue

It’s no secret that I am terrified of this upcoming move, but today I started getting various estimates for the major stuff.
First, the moving itself. Looks like it might run as high as $3500 to move what paltry items I am going to take; the storage space will cost $250 per month.
I ordered carpet today which looks like it will cost another $3500.
And boom, just like that, all my savings are gone.
On top of that, I’m beginning to despair of finding a high paying job out there; it’s just that the huge number of jobs that I saw last month all seem to have disappeared, including the one that I really wanted.
I still have so much ahead of me to do — throwing out so much junk, painting every room, cleaning up the backyard and doing some landscaping, finding a home for the cats… I’m overwhelmed and feeling so much pressure that I want to explode.

[Oops... no wonder I've been shaking with fear. I got my math wrong as usual. I did my measurements in square feet, the pricing is in square yards and I divided by 3 instead of 9. So the carpet should only be a little over $1000. Thank goodness.]

It’s all been done

I have often mused, in an unserious way, of having my Prius key implanted in my person so that I wouldn’t have to carry it in my pocket. Imagine just having the car open and start because it recognized the RFID chip implanted in you.
Someone’s done it.

That “liberal media” again

Eric Boehlert points out in Salon a curious thing:

Recent polling data, in outlets from Fox News to the Washington Post, shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans back the position of Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband, that he, and not his wife’s parents, should have the final say about removing the feeding tube of his wife, who has been severely brain-damaged and incapacitated for the past 15 years. The polling data seriously undercuts the notion that Americans are deeply divided on the Schiavo case. Yet ever since March 18, when Republicans began their unprecedented push to intervene legislatively in a state court case that had already been heard by 19 judges, the press has all but disregarded the polls.

The Schiavo episode highlights not only how far to the right the GOP-controlled Congress has lunged — a 2003 Fox News poll found just 2 percent of Americans think the government should decide this type of right-to-die issue — but also how paralyzed the mainstream press has become in pointing out the obvious: that the GOP leadership often operates well outside the mainstream of America. The press’s timidity is important because publicizing the poll results might extend the debate from one that focuses exclusively on a complicated moral and ethical dilemma to one that also examines just how far a radical and powerful group of religious conservatives are willing to go to push their political beliefs on the public.

Imagine how differently the televised debate would have unfolded over the past few days if journalists had simply done their job and asked Terri Schiavo’s pro-life proponents why an overwhelming percentage of Americans disagree with them about this case.

I wonder how many people realize that so many others agree with their view? How many people think that their opposition to the Federal intervention is in the minority because they haven’t heard otherwise? With the media largely ignoring the voice of the people, it’s no wonder that the right wing runs roughshod over more thoughtful and centrist voices; keeping us out of touch with people who think the same way is just one more way to stay in power. Ask the communist party in China about it, or Kim Jong Il… after all, they are experts at keeping like-minded people from communicating and forming any opposition.

‘Cos God said so

The more I hear from religious people, the more I become an athiest. Frankly, every time they open their mouths, they tend to sound delusional. For instance, there are people praying in vigils for God to “intervene” in the fight over Terri Schiavo. What does this mean? Do they think that the hand of God will descend from the heavens and insert the feeding tube?
No, what these people really do is assign credit or blame to the chaos of life in order to make themselves feel that everything is going according to a plan. If the courts rule — again — in favor of ending her suffering, then it will all be blamed on “liberals” or “heathens” who are subverting God’s plan; if a ruling comes down reinstating the feeding tube, then it will be chalked up to God. Ridiculous.
I was thinking today about the inherent contradictions and outright bullsh*t involved in being a religious fanatic, things that pretty much clinch my assertion that evangelical religious nutcases are insane because they have absolutely no logical foundations for anything that they claim. Let’s take a look at one simple example.
If Terri Schiavo is not brain dead, if she is still cognizant and alive inside a vegetative body… in other words, her soul is still there; how can the religious community reconcile their belief that her useless body be kept alive as a prison for her conciousness and her soul? If she is still in there, how can anyone countenance keeping her locked up there, unable to communicate, unable to live, unable to do anything but experience purgatory?
If on the other hand, she is dead — her soul has departed her body — why would a religious person see any need to keep that body functioning when the soul has gone to heaven (or wherever it goes).
Basically, if the religious argument here is that she is not dead, how can they be so incredibly heartless as to let her continue this hellish existence?
In either case, I can see no reason for what is happening. Except politics and the ever-present need of the religious to foist their insane beliefs upon everyone else around them.

You are what you drive

Anyway.
I dropped off my car at the dealer this morning to have her wonky fuel gauge system fixed, and I’m now driving a loaner: a Toyota Camry.
Ugh. I had no idea how used to my Prius I was until my drive to work, when I felt like a teenager learning to drive for the first time. The brakes are weird. The accelerator is bizarre and I keep jerking it when I step on the gas. I can’t read the spedometer and have no idea how fast I’m going. I keep reaching for the “Power” button. I forget that you have to turn the key to start it. I can’t figure out how to lock the doors. There’s a gear shift instead of a joystick. The radio is confusing. The heat is too hot. I can’t figure out how to move the seat back. It’s loud. And the engine is always running.
The work on my car could take more than a week. I don’t know how I am going to survive.

If at first you don’t suceed

It’s come to this now: we do not live in a civil society, where disputes can be settled — no, we live in a society filled with people who, when they don’t get the answer they want, keep pushing until they do.
How many courts have to side with Terry Schiavo’s right to die? It’s like, what, 20 or so now? And now that the federal judge agrees with the others, her parents are appealing yet again and the administration has gotten the justice department involved. What happens when this goes all the way to the Supreme Court, and they rule that she should be allowed to die? To where will the fundies and the politically motivated turn?
This is a hallmark of our new society: ignore truth and disregard rulings, keep legislating and finding loopholes until you get the outcome you desire.
What a horror that this woman’s life is destined to be forgotten, and instead it will be her protracted death that is her lasting legacy.
By the way, I was reading some postings on a news discussion board early this morning, and of the 3,000+ messages there, a statistically null number — like, 9 or so — were against letting her die. That should tell you the overwhelming opinion of the populace. But the Republicans, as always, are all about pandering to their base. What’s so sad about the Democrats is this: I think the vast majority of people in this nation actually support the platform of the Dems, but the party is so cowed and confused by the Republican strategies that they can’t bring those people together in one place at one time. I don’t think that the Democrats should use this issue for political purposes, even though it’s obvious that’s what the Republicans are doing… and yet, taking the high road is just a no-win situation as well. I can see it now: in 2006, you’ll hear Republicans claiming “the Democrats sentenced a disabled woman to death.” Meanwhile, they’re cutting health care.
Hey, do you ever think that we are living through the complete collapse of American society? Or do you think that this country was always populated by stupid, superstitious, fundamentalist, unthinking, closed-minded, rabid, racist, bigoted morons?

Life and death hypocrisy

More on that legislation that Bush signed in Texas, the law that directly contradicts his supposed position now:

The 1999 Advance Directives Act in Texas allows a patient’s surrogate to make end-of-life decisions and spells out how to proceed if a health provider disagrees with a decision to maintain or halt life-sustaining treatment.

Thomas Mayo, an associate law professor at Southern Methodist University who helped draft the Texas law, told the Associated Press that if the Schiavo case had happened in Texas, the husband would have been her surrogate decision maker. Because both he and her doctors were in agreement, life support would have been discontinued, he said.

Like all the Bush staff, his press secretary spouts out something that resembles an answer, but in fact makes no sense at all in the context of current events, it’s like the excuses that bad liars always come up with:

White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that the law Bush signed in 1999 “is consistent with his views. . . . [It] actually provided new protections for patients.”

Meanwhile, it’s also pointed out that Bush flew back to Washington (at a cost of more than $34,000 per flying hour) to sign the Schiavo bill; when in fact he could have signed it at his ranch. Now that’s what I call political expediency… and fiscally conservative.
I do so wish that this becomes the issue that makes people realize what fanatical ideologues the Republicans have become. That people suddenly understand that the right wing has no interest in limited government or fiscal sanity; that they want the federal government to reach right into your personal life and keep tabs on everything you do; to create a huge Big Brother-style bureaucracy and keep you in line.
Hardly a conservative agenda, if you ask me.