I Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself

I don’t often publish unoriginal material on my blog.  I also, don’t often publish political material on my blog, though it has been known to happen.

I just read this article on DaveRamsey.com and had to share it.  Dave Ramsey is a financial guru with his own radio show and books and stuff.  One of my all time favorite bill boards is one on 5th street, in Oakland.  It’s for Dave’s radio show and features a huge picture of Dave’s mug and the tag line says, “Act your wage!”  I think that’s brilliant.  A few years ago, I read a book by Dave called The Total Money Makeover.  It changed my life.  It would change my life more, but I haven’t done a really good job of following it’s recommendations.

Anyway, Dave has some comments regarding the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and the off shoots that have sprouted up around the country and while I have not said anything about them because I have nothing nice to say, this article from Dave’s website helped to put into polite and friendly words, all the things I’ve been thinking for weeks but couldn’t think of a nice way to say.

Here is a link to the original article.

By Dave Ramsey

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Yeah, that’s great. But what do you want? What are your goals? What are your demands? What result are you looking for?

The beauty of being vague is that anyone who has any emotion can get caught up in the excitement and join your crusade. They’ll just get mad at something and assume that you’re both mad about the same thing. Put a few hundred of these people together, and boom. You’ve got a crowd, a headline and a lot of attention … but no message.

A lot of people on Twitter are saying I totally agree with the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) demands and goals. The only problem is that I have no idea what their demands and goals are. And neither does anyone else.

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The Hardest (And Most Important) Thing I’ve Ever Done

Have you seen this?

Karin and I talked about it the other day.  She said it brought a tear to her eye.

I said, “hmmmm.”

“Didn’t do anything to you?” she asked.

It didn’t.  As we know, I’m not quick to emotional reactions to things.

But I admit, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  And I watched it again, that day.

And again the next day.  And several times since then.  I don’t really know how to explain how the video affected me, but it did affect me.

On Sunday, I sent the following e-mail to my sister:

I don’t think it will come as a surprise to you to know that when I think about our family, you are the person who means the most to me (well, you and your kids.)  You are the ones that I care the most about.  And you are the ones that I would most hate to lose.

Because of this, I have felt for some time that if I was ever going to share what I am about to share, you would be the one I needed to tell first.

I hope that what I’m going to tell you won’t change things (though I imagine it will), but for the last two years, ever since I asked you if you and David had a guardianship decision in place for your children, I have felt like it was only right for you to know this…

In the next few days I’m going to send the following e-mail to mom.  For the most part, though, I wanted to say all the same things to you… just… first.  Here goes…

There is something I have wanted to tell you for a long time, but I’ve been too afraid of how you would react.

It has seemed like it’s been more important not to upset or offend you, than it has been to be honest with you.  But now, somehow that seems wrong; it doesn’t seem fair to you and it is certainly not fair to me.

I want you to know that I love you very much, and it is because I love you that it has been so hard for me to tell you that I am gay.

I’m not going to drag this out.  I know you don’t approve.  I know you think it’s wrong and all I can say to that is that I did a lot of soul-searching, research and praying in the process of coming to terms with this for myself and I did not arrive at this conclusion easily or take it lightly.  I believe that I am right with God.  I do not believe that to be gay is a sin, an “abomination”, or that he will condemn me for it.  While I know you strongly believe that your perspective is the right one, I strongly believe that mine is and I’ve finally reached a point where I’m ready to accept that we will disagree on that.

I know that you are disappointed.  You’re hurt and you’re probably angry.  I’m sorry for that.  I know that this is something that you’re going to need some time to get used to.  I wish this were easier for both of us.  I only hope that you can still love me and show me that love, in spite of this disappointment.  That will be for you to decide, though.

For the record, I still want to be your children’s designated guardian, but I realize I’ve just made it a much tougher decision…

I love you.

~~~~~

I sent the e-mail to my sister around 6:00 yesterday evening hoping she would e-mail a response.  I put the computer down and went about doing some household chores.  About 30 minutes later, she called me, but I didn’t answer the phone.

I hoped she would send a response via e-mail since I didn’t answer the phone, but she did not.

Around 10:30 last night, when it was clear I would get no response from my sister that night and before I could change my mind and wimp out, I sent the e-mail to my mother.  I knew she wouldn’t see it before this morning and while I hoped she, too, would e-mail a response and not telephone me, as of now, I’ve not heard from her at all.  While I realized it’s possible she simply hasn’t seen the e-mail, the much more likely answer (and what I should have anticipated to start with) is that she won’t acknowledge it for a couple of days while she “mulls over” the “correct response.”

Erin called me again this morning, first my cell phone, then my work number.  She finally left a message on my work phone in which she said she wasnt’s sure she still had right numbers for me since she hadn’t reached me, that she had received my e-mail and that she wanted to “visit” with me so I should give her a call when I had time.

I sent her a text message and said, “Call me a wimp, but for the moment, I would rather have you say what you have to say in writing.  I don’t regret telling you, but you can’t begin to imagine how difficult this is for me.”

Her response was, “So does that mean you are ignoring my calls?”  😎

“Some of them.  Others I wasn’t around for,” I said.

To which she replied, “Wimp!   OK, I’ll e-mail you as soon as I can.”

~~~~~

The tone of her texts suggests playfulness (trust me, this is her being playful), but her message on voice mail was less than comforting.  She didn’t say anything about loving me, or not being particularly surprised, or anything remotely encouraging or supportive.

I have to believe that this is not a surprise to either of them, though maybe not what they wanted to hear.  But I also know that, whether they accept it or not, this was the right thing to do.  I’m pretty wrecked over the whole thing right now, but I know that once the initial storm blows over, I’ll feel much better for having done it…

Blow storm, blow!

Disaster and Mayhem In the (Not-Middle) East

A few minutes before 11:00 this morning, I’m sitting at my desk doing my daily Fish Wrangler tournament and pretending to work, counting down the minutes until I can leave.  I’ll go to the gym, but everyone thinks I’m going to my Therapist (or to my ambiguous bi-tuesday-ly appointment) (Deb is off this month.)  Suddenly I receive a text message from my sister who lives in Albany, New York.

“I think we just had an earthquake.  How do I find out?”

I refer her to USGS.gov which is where I always go when I think there’s been an earthquake.  If you look at the map of the US on that website you’ll see literally hundreds of little colored dots all along the west coast.  Depending on the week you might see one or two dots in other parts of the country.  (And honestly?  The vast majority of those dots on the west coast went unnoticed.)

Anyway, I refer her and then I go to look for myself.  Before I even get that far, I see a breaking news e-mail from MSNBC saying “Pentagon and the Capital Evacuated After Apparent Earthquake.”  I click on it and sure enough, 5.8 earthquake in Virginia.

I text my sister back:

“5.8 Earthquake in Virginia.  You have all the fun.  :)”

I start reading the stories, because as we know by now, disaster and mayhem is kind of my thing, (hey did you see that outdoor concert stage collapse?!?) but there wasn’t much to it.  The earthquake was shallow so it was felt over a wide area.

I report to my co-workers on this unusual event.  Unusual, to us, in that it happened on the other side of the country.  Not long after that, K tells me that a friend of hers, who used to live here, but now lives in Philadelphia felt the earthquakes as well.  The friend works with another California native and the two sit and watch as their co-workers decry the end of the world…

Later, K and I have this exchange:

K:  “OMG! Fox news had a new crawl on ‘No tsunami expected after east coast earthquake.’  Really?”
Me: “Of course!  Tsunami’s are all the rage.”
K:  “It’s the new black?”
Me:  “Tsunami’s are the new black.   That’s what I’m going to call my book.  I’m sure I won’t get in any trouble with Jen Lancaster.”

And then:

K:  “They are cancelling schools tomorrow back east, now.”
Me:  “It’s the end of the world you know.  Nobody want’s to be in school during Armageddon.”

Later, I discover that in spite of my making light of the situation, there was indeed some devastation back east; showing here:

Photo found here.

Excuse me while I briefly get political here.  Someone I don’t know was retreated by Wil Wheaton on twitter today when he wrote:

@markos god is punishing VA for not allowing gay marriage. RT by @wilw

It’s really only funny because, let’s face it.  If this had happened in Iowa, Pat Robertson would be saying “God is punishing Iowa for allowing gay marriage.”

I wonder if the rest of the country knows, California is pointing and laughing at them right now?

If I Were A Smurf

If I were a smurf
Even smurf for a smurf
I’d smurf outta smurf in the smurf
And smurf on what I smurfed then smurf
Smurf smurf with the smurfs
And smurf after smurfs
I’d smurf it with who I smurfed
And I’d never get smurfed for it.
Cause they’d smurf up for me.


If I were a smurf
I smurf I could undersmurf
How it smurfs to smurf a smurf
I smurf I’d be a better smurf.
I’d smurf to smurf
Cause I smurf how it smurfs
When you smurf the one you smurfed
Cause he’s smurfen you for smurfed
And everysmurf you smurfed got desmurfed

If I were a smurf
I would smurf off my smurf
Tell everysmurf it’s smurfen
So they’d smurf that I was smurfin’ alone
I’d smurf myself smurf
And smurf the smurfs as I smurf
Cause I smurf that smurf’d be smurfful
Smurfin’ for me to smurf smurf (Oh, to smurf smurf)

If I were a smurf
I smurf I would undersmurf
How it smurfs to smurf a smurf
I smurf I’d smurf a smurfer smurf.
I’d smurf to smurf
Cause I smurf how it smurfs
When you smurf the smurf you smurfed (smurfed)
Cause smurf’s smurfen smurf for smurfed (smurfed)
And everysmurf you smurfed got desmurfed

It’s a little too smurf for smurf to smurf back
Smurf its just a mismurf
Smurf I’d smurf you like smurf
If you smurfed I would smurf for you
You smurfed wrong

But you’re just a smurf
You smurf undersmurf
Smurf you don’t undersmurf
Smurf it smurfs to smurf a smurf somesmurf
You’ll smurf you were a better smurf
You don’t smurfen to smurf
You don’t smurf how it smurfs
Until you smurf the smurf you smurfed
Smurf you’ve smurfen smurf for smurfed
And everysmurf you  smurfed got desmurfed
But smurf just a smurf

~~~~~

Guess what I did this weekend?

Fuddy. Duddy.

I love a good fireworks display.  I really do.  Always have.  The kinds of displays put on by professional pyrotechnicians have never ceased to thrill me.  I love the power of the concussive force as the cartridges explode in a myriad of colors and patterns in the sky.  When I was a kid I loved the Fourth of July and could not wait for one or the other of my parents to take me to a fireworks display.

These days, my love of professional pyrotechnics is confined to New Year’s Eve, when I’d sooner suck on a salt lick than sit at home alone, missing the celebrations!  Why a salt lick?   I don’t know.  It’s just the first thing that came to mind.  So many of the professional Fourth of July fireworks shows that I once loved have been called off due to expense and the ones that are still in effect are a lot of trouble to get to for a 20 minute display followed by a 90 minute trip home because of the amount of traffic (on a school night, no less.)

As I write this, I’m sitting naked in my non-air conditioned apartment with the doors and windows open, because it’s been too hot to have the place closed up, and I imagine what it might have been like to live in any number of places in “The Gulf” during our many attacks on the “bad guys”, which is to say that on this night, every year, I feel as though I’m living in a war zone.  It starts in the early afternoon and will continue until well after I go to bed; a constant bombardment of explosions and sizzles and bangs.  Noises that, only because of what day it is, are brushed off (mostly) as the sounds of some unwise, amateur pyrofile getting his (or her) jolly’s, but on any other day would prompt me to pause the television and wait for the sounds of the sirens that one would expect to follow gunfire in the neighborhood.

I hate this, immensely.

Maybe it’s because I remember watching my father holding roman candles IN HIS HANDS while they shot off their seven or eight colored orbs into the night sky.  Maybe it’s because I never got over the fear of being burned while holding a thin wire with sparks shooting off of it in my own hands (what sense does that make, I ask you?)

Maybe it’s because I live in what some might consider the Murder Capital of the United States (certainly of California) and the sound of gunshots is neither uncommon, or comforting, and it can be difficult to differentiate between a hand gun and rampart.

Maybe it’s because I live in a place where most of the time, everything is so dry that it will catch fire if you look at it sideways.  Maybe it’s because I watch the news and hear the stories that are inescapable of the various types of injuries and even deaths that take place every year as unqualified and unintelligent people operate fireworks IN MY FRONT YARD (figuratively.  I don’t have a yard, just a driveway and a crowded street.)

Maybe it’s because I’ve learned enough in my EMT training to not be cavalier about the possibilities on a night like this (and fully expect that if ever I get a job as an EMT I’ll never have the Fourth of July off work again).

Maybe it’s because I’m an egalitarian and amateur fireworks within city limits are simply illegal.

Whatever the reason, I’ve grown to hate this night, in which I will get no sleep (this raucous will continue until the wee hours of the morning) and I will have to fight hard against my nature to become angry because hundreds of people, who I do not know, have decided to take it upon themselves to take away my choice, my freedom (on Independence Day no less) to have a good nights sleep, free of noise polluted disruption, free of fear at whom might be dying from gunshot wounds (the sound of which might be mistaken for fireworks), free of fear that my house might randomly catch fire from a stray, or misdirected rocket, well into the early morning hours.

This  is not what Francis Scott Key had in mind when he wrote “The rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night…”