photo by Sheri Dixon

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Forget the Turkey- Pass the Nog

Ahhhh...Thanksgiving Weekend.

The turkey's been picked over, the pies decimated, the side dishes are serving second duty as full lunches of themselves, and now I have a few minutes to give my commie pinko socialist treehuggin' way.

I am thankful that Obama has finally managed to turn this nation into a cesspool of communistic socialism. The proof can be read by the crash of Wall St., the failure of the big banks and the loosened hold of the weakened and gutted power of the corporations.

Oh, wait. Wall St. has never been happier or had numbers quite so big, the big banks are bigger than ever with less regulation than ever and took home huge bonuses after taking home lots and lots of taxpayer dollars so they wouldn't fail, and corporations are still considered 'people'. Don't give me that, "Corporations ARE people, my friend" bullshit- corporations are man-made constructs set in place for one reason- to make money. Their existence remains no matter who is in charge: people die, my friend- corporations don't.

I am thankful that our blessed Muslim Kenyan leader has finally managed to enact a complete and total government takeover of the nation's healthcare and school systems. الحمد الله (That's "Praise Allah!" for you 'Old American' losers).

Oh, wait. The ACA (also known lovingly as Obamacare by those who spit after saying it- I'm sure the sweetness of the word just is too much for their delicate tastebuds)is not anything remotely resembling Universal Health Care, which would have been one health care program for all Americans no matter if they could afford it or not. The ACA isn't a health care program at all- it's a warehousing of private for-profit policies that people can choose from- before this you needed an insurance agent to do that. So the website is really just a guy in a bad suit and gel in his hair. What the ACA does do is make it illegal for the for-profits to do things like deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and offer insurance policies that are dirt cheap and useless as tits on a boar hog. In order to do that, they did something that they borrowed from the insurance companies themselves-

See, the reason big companies like Blue Cross and Aetna can get away with paying hospitals $9,995 for something like a heart bypass surgery while people without insurance have to pay $250,000 is that they went to the hospitals and said, "Look- we're giving you VOLUME so you're going to cut us a deal". The ACA gives the insurance companies volume- a large amount of healthy people to help defray the cost of actually paying for the sick people who need health insurance. It's already working, and would be working a hell of a lot better if the states with Republican governors had actually accepted the free Medicaid expansion that includes all the people not poor enough for Medicaid now, and not rich enough to actually pay full price for a good policy that actually does shit. In Texas that's over a million people Rick Perry is fucking over 'on principle'.

And the schools? From what I've been reading, all this 'common core' hoo ha is trumped up bullshit. I know- shocking, right? Because far from a 'gubment takeover' of the school system, the standards give the desired outcome- what a student should know at each level- and give the states and even school districts (right down to the teachers themselves) full leeway on how to teach it- including what books to read and use as texts. It stresses 'teaching critical thinking skills' though, so I can see where that would be a very real threat to today's conservative bowel movement. Because every state's schools should be able to turn out students as illiterate as they choose as long as they don't teach EVILution.

Well, at least I can be thankful that Literally Hitler Barry Sotero has been able to completely disarm American citizens!

Oh, wait. In spite of the worst mass shootings in our history, in spite of a clear and very vocal majority of Americans wanting stricter gun purchasing and owning regulations (91%...including a majority of NRA members- no shit), the big scary government has done jack fucking shit about it. Jack. Fucking. Shit. But that doesn't stop the NRA and gun manufacturers from whipping their hapless, clueless followers into a frenzy every few months or so. Seriously, dudes- even a mentally challenged dog stops falling for the 'fake frisbee throw' after a while. We're going on six years of OH MY GAWD OBAMA'S COMING FOR OUR GUNS BUY UP ALL THE AMMO whenever the gun manufacturers want some extra dough and a good laugh at your expense (literally). I guess what it boils down to is that our president is actually the Worst Kenyan Muslim Commie Socialist Pinko Treehugging Dictator Hitler Ever.

Sigh. That's OK. I've still got almost a month of "THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS" and "JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON" ahead of me. There is clearly not enough rum in my nog.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Turkey Day Gift To You

Yanno what really kicks off a holiday season?

Being horrified by the sight of gingerbread peeps in the candy aisle along with the candy canes and peppermint kisses. That's always a shocker that says, "Thank god the licorice black cat peeps are gone but DAMN".

Other than that, though.

Betwixt and between the holiday preparations and cleaning and shopping and stressing, the best little way to kick off a holiday season is with a fun, quick, 'escape the overload of cheerful psychosis' book to read. Especially if it's something you can read in one good sitting- long enough to get away for a bit, but not so long that the kids are able to actually pound the door down with their strident yet pitiful cries of "We're hungry! We're bored! The cat puked on the kitchen counter!"

And what better way to finish the year than with the start of a new series of books?

Introducing the introductory introduction to a new heroine- a little bolder than my usual character, a little wyrder and a lot more sexy. And the story line is a little more edgy and more readily points pointy fingers at the actual perpetrators of our societal collapse.

Spoiler alert- it ain't the fault of the 'gun-grabbing godless libtards'. I know. Shocking. Unless you're not deluded in the first place.

Anyhoo- hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Ward said he needed smelling salts, but I think he meant it in a good way.

"Wyrd Justice- Weekends in Dystopia/Book One- Hammered! Pounding it Home for Liberty"
"Butch lowered the Estwing, and turned around slowly- holding his breath as though afraid she’d be gone…just a figment of his imagination.
And yet, there she was- even more beautiful than her reflection. Butch cleared his throat, raised one eyebrow nonchalantly while his eyes played over her from top to bottom and back again…slowly and appreciatively.
Her hair wasn’t so much a color as an aurora of copper and bronze and gold; it moved on its own in undulating waves of sensuality. Brown eyes flecked with green nestled on either side of a seriously straight yet dainty nose and over full soft lips that were devoid of artificial color or moisture, yet pulsed with sexuality. Butch wanted those lips- wanted to feel them slowly exploring every inch of his body and his jeans were suddenly too tight for him.
She was outstandingly fit and muscular, yet soft and supple and just a few inches shorter than he was. Her kid leather vest laced just to the top of her lace camisole. Breasts rising and falling with her slow steady breathing showed only a dew of perspiration; just enough to intensify and carry her scent of leather, and sunshine, and Black Orchid to him where it wafted up into his sinuses and took root in his brain- where he’d never forget it.
Her jeans were cut low and there was just an inch of perfect flesh between the bottom of the vest and the top of the faded and form-fitting Levi’s.
Her feet were bare; her toenails polished blood red in direct contrast to her fingernails, which were as unadorned as her lips- on her ring finger of her right hand was a band of silver set with a single moonstone. She wore no other jewelry.
He was accustomed to being met with blushing breathlessness or offended surprise after his predatory inventories, and was taken slightly aback to lift his eyes and meet her unwavering and slightly amused gaze.
Their eyes locked for one earth-shattering second and then she was gone."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ho Ho Hold Up a Minute...

"So...what happened between the two of you?"

People ask me that question quite often when they find out not only am I not a Christian, but I don't believe in any Supreme Being at all.

Because it hasn't always been this way. I was raised up Lutheran and taught Sunday School for years. I was a good practicing Christian who spent the few weeks between the birth of my first two born and their baptisms in mortal (if mostly veiled) terror that something would happen to them and they'd be sent to hell...because they would die unbaptized.

I'm over that now. Alec is completely free of any contact with holy water.

And that's it in a nutshell.

Over time I just got over the whole religion thing.

There wasn't a defining moment when I dramatically shook my fist at the heavens and denounced the god of my family. No pit of despair that I wallowed in and then determined that There Is No God. Just a slow progression towards...adulthood.

Think about all the terminology associated with the American Christian religion- God's children, Our Father, sheep who need a shepherd...all that stuff that doesn't allow us to grow up and take responsibility for our own lives and the direction they may take.

Of course, there's the whole 'free will' thing, which sort of negates the 'being a sheep' thing, but that's the beauty and mystery of the bible, right?

That's also part of it- the book was written by many different men over many generations and it's not cohesive. At all. But instead of saying, "We piecemealed this together- chew it up and it should taste like Faith", the more fundamental Christians are all about literalism. As in, "The bible is literally word for word the word of god". Which is ridiculous.

Because there's a huge difference between Faith and Blind Faith.

Blind Faith caused the holocaust and every other atrocity mankind has been clever enough to conjure up.

You say, "God works in mysterious ways" and I say, "Shit just happens. Life is a crap shoot".

I like things to be as stable as possible because life is by nature unstable and impossible.

So when Ward would be in the cancer hospital getting better and I heard, "AMEN! To God go the glory! God is so good!" and then sometimes minutes later Ward would be in grave danger of not ever leaving the hospital and I heard, "God works in mysterious ways..." I would not accept that. Because that attitude was demeaning and non-helpful.

If Ward got better it was because of his system and the treatments working together as they were supposed to, and if he got knocked on his ass again something went wonky in that physical actual combination and environment.

To think that there is a man in the sky with the equivilent of a voo doo doll and who randomly stabs needles into it for no damn good reason other than to watch the puny humans either lavish praise on him for allowing them to live or to cower in fear at his wrath is creepy and offensive.

So no. I'm not angry at god. To be angry at someone you have to actually believe they are there.

We were discussing Santa the other day and the wheres and whens of when our kids stopped believing in him.

None of my kids had a problem with it- they just saw holes in the whole concept and figured it out for themselves. The two older ones were going to school so had lots of other kids to bounce this stuff off of and never brought me into it. One day they believed, and the next? Adults.

And it's OK. We're all OK. Life is not horrible and pointless; it's beautiful and precious.

We do good not because there's some man in the sky (or at the North Pole) watching us and taking notes; we're good because it's the right thing to do.

Ward being here after all he's been through IS a miracle- a miracle of science and technology and the miracle of courage and tenacity and deep abiding human love.

God didn't do that stuff- it happened because everything worked out to make it happen. Good things and good people line up just right and good things happen. And they don't line up just right because god orchestrates it- they'd line up that way anyway. That's why sometimes good things happen to bad people.

Bad things trip you up when you least expect them not because you're taking the lord's name in vain or not attending church or not praying hard enough but because sometimes shit just happens.

Presents appear under the tree not because some old fat guy trespasses after stalking children all year but because their parents love them and make financial sacrifices to see the smiles on their little faces.

Seriously- which of those scenarios is what you want to believe in?

The bible is a book written by men to explain things they had no explanation for and to make sense of things that seemed random and senseless to them. They did the best they could with the knowledge they had. It was (and is) also a pretty handy way to elicit obedience from large quantities of people.

Like telling children who are all hyped up about Christmas on cookies and wish lists that they need to simmer down and behave because Santa is watching them.

Same concept.

So what happened between god and me?

Not a thing. I just grew up and stopped believing in him. Like Santa.

When I was 4 I believed in God and Santa.

When I was 14 I believed in God.

When I was 24 I believed in God and my kids believed in God and Santa.

When I was 34 I was questioning God as my kids questioned Santa.

By the time I was 44 both God and Santa were out of my life for good. Literally.

At 54 I'm still more than OK with that.

My apologies to both God and Santa if that hurts their feelers...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Driving Me Insane

No, I did not learn to drive in a Flintstones car, but I've been driving a while. Thirty four years, give or take.

Yanno what makes me crazy?

Feeling something poking my foot from the inside of my sock and taking the sock off eleventy seven times to see what the hell it is- even turning the sock inside out and glaring at it from that side, feeling every inch and not finding anything, putting the sock back on and *poke* there it is again till I take off both socks and toss 'em into the hamper figuring whatever it is will make its way into someone else's socks down the drain and into the universe. That makes me crazy.

But that's not what I'm talking about here.

It makes me crazy to have someone else tell me how to drive.

It makes me INSANE to have someone not even in my goddamn car and who's not only not aware of where I'm going, but who's never seen me before and will never see me again TELL ME HOW TO FREAKING DRIVE MY CAR.

I am speaking of the 'Come on- I have evaluated the situation and you are safe to proceed now, Little Lady' motion that men make to women drivers. I have never seen a man do it to another man and I've never seen a woman do it at all. Ever.

You know what I'm talking about.

Sitting in the driveway of a parking lot and waiting to turn out into traffic there will be this guy waiting to turn in. Doesn't maatter if you're turning right (which would affect what he does exactly ZERO PERCENT) or left, this man will make sure you know when HE thinks you should be turning.

Seriously. If I'm turning right, scratch your balls or something- it doesn't matter to you when the hell I turn.

If I'm turning left, you have no idea where I'm going. Do I need to get directly into the right turn lane from the parking lot after I turn left? Where am I going? How good is the pickup of my vehicle? I fucking promise you I've taken these things into consideration. I am not just stopped there...paralyzed by fear and uncertainty...just WAITING for a BIG STRONG MAN to tell me when it's SAFE for me to turn this big honking rolling pile of possible death out into scary horribles traffic. THANK GOD YOU FINALLY GOT HERE!

And I know you're doing it out of the kind and chivalrous nature of your heart, since I know (and I'm assuming you also know) that even if I'm turning left, I have a stop sign here between the parking lot and the road, and you don't have one in the turn lane meaning you have the right of way, Good Sir. And, ummm...your ridiculous big-ass small-penis-compensating truck is obscuring my view of oncoming traffic anyway so TURN INTO THE FUCKING PARKING LOT ALREADY I HAVE PLACES TO GO.

Honestly, I have great capability (some have even called it a 'gift') towards passive aggressiveness. I know. You're shocked. Shocked and stunned. Shut up.

If there's no one behind me, I will wait out Mr. Helpful. Flat pretend not even to see him, gaze to either side of him, maybe even up into the sky for a moment or three. If I'm feeling especially prone to reinforcing his perception of female drivers, I may even pull down the mirror and apply lipstick. One time I even got out my CD case and opened it up in full view...perusing the contents and trying to decide between Aretha and the Dixie Chicks while Mr. Confederate Flag pickup was having apoplexy in the turn lane. Don't judge me.

And these guys don't even have to have, yanno...a vehicle wrapped around 'em to tell women how to drive.

Last Thursday I was coming up on a red stop light at a busy intersection. There were already several cars stopped in each lane. A man was walking across the road (six lane major road) and, there being no one behind me, I slowed down to let him cross in front of my car. Dude stopped in the lane next to me and MOTIONED ME TO COME AHEAD. Because apparently, even tho pedestrians have the right of way, (I can't even finish his thought process on this one...the light was RED, I wasn't missing anything by letting him cross in front of me. What the hell?)

Yesterday I was backing out of a parking place and a man came around to the passenger side of his truck (so between his truck and my side of my car) and MOTIONED ME TO COME AHEAD. This is a tiny lot with less than ten spaces. I could SEE the entire area, and nothing was moving except his little traffic cop director's hand.

Seriously? It's like they think we need their guidance and permission to move our vehicles because "Women drivers __________".

Here's the thing, guys.

I've been driving a long time.

I've been in four wrecks and none were my fault. Three of those wrecks were caused by men.

So, thanks for your superior judgments and all, but I think I'm good without ya'll.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Congratulations- You Are Free to Play in the Street, Now

Lets get this out of the way right now, because there are people who would love to pounce on a parenting analogy to scream, "THE PRESIDENT IS NOT MY DAD!!! HE CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!! NANNY STATE NANNY STATE NANNY STATE!!!"

So just don't, m-kay?

I'm extremely disappointed in the 'Keep Your Insurance' law that was signed by the House yesterday. Because here's what happened- here's what's been happening all along with the ACA (that's Obamacare, for those who only watch FOX and read World Net Daily).

Because the majority of Americans are aware of how broken and inaccessible and totally fucked up our current for-profit health care system is in this country.


No, I don't lie. America DOES have the best health care in the world. Top hospitals and doctors and technology- we know that, We are intimate friends with MD Anderson in Houston- best cancer hospital in the world. There's a huge difference between 'health care' and 'health care access'. Because at MD Anderson, if you have good, name brand insurance- Blue Cross, Aetna, can be treated and cared for. If you have sub-par insurance (even with a name brand company)or no insurance at all, the amount you need to present in advance at the business office for your first week of consultations (not treatments or drugs or scans, mind you- consultations) is $28,000. No checks. Everything else? Pay as you go, in advance.

And we know that, too- for a fact, because 2 years into Ward being an active treated patient there, he was fired for 'missing too much time off for that cancer thing' and even though he was immediately approved for Medicare disability (you do NOT need a lawyer to get approved- go to the Social Security office first) once you're approved for disability, you must wait a year for Medicare to start up. A year. So he had no insurance for a year. Eight months into that year, he needed a scan because there was a suspicious spot right where his 'locally aggressive and problematic' cancer had been. We called for an appointment, assuming that because we were already current patients, had had insurance for all previous treatments and were GUARANTEED insurance in a few more months they'd offer us some sort of payment plan.

No dice. Payment up front- over $5,000 please. No checks.

When I asked the chickie babe in the business office what we were going to do because we don't HAVE $5,000 lying around, she asked when Ward's Medicare was going to start and I told her October. This was in May. She thought a minute, then said, "Well...he probably won't DIE before that, right?"

Do not speak to me of American Health Care.

*No- he didn't die before October- our loving friends and family kicked in (again) and we presented cash the morning of the scan. Then we had to WAIT over an hour until the business office posted it and UNLOCKED THE ACCOUNT for the lab. I shit you not.

But I digress.

But I have to because otherwise I'm accused of being a sheeple who listens to all that liberal media and eats up everything the Kenyan Usurper dishes out. Which is bullshit. Both the assumption and the fact that I have to justify why I feel how I feel and even when presented with example after example about what a REAL death panel looks like (it looks like a chickie babe in the business office, it looks like a 'treatment/medication not covered by your policy' letter or phone call but it does NOT look like Universal health care) people STILL look at me like I'm lying to them. They'd quicker believe Rush or Sean or Bill before someone they know and see every single day.

And then they ask me, "Why are you so angry and frustrated?"

I'm angry and frustrated because a portion of the American people are fighting tooth and nail against their own interests. They SAY they'd rather 'die a free man' than 'submit to socialized medicine'. You know what I think?

I think they're full of shit. Oh, there are always going to be people so delusional that they'll let their kids die from things that are an easy fix because 'god says so'. But the vast majority of the vocal minority that say they'd rather die than get FUCKING MEDICAL CARE if it's coming from the 'evil government'? Full. Of. Shit. On accounta they really only mean that when it's about other people. When THEY or their families get sick or hurt it's a whole different story, baby.

I'm angry and frustrated that the original ACA had no public option- you see there IS no such thing as 'Obamacare' as in, "Now I'm FORCED to sign up for Obamacare". What the ACA does do is tell the insurance companies that they may not discriminate against, yanno...sick people or people who are in a group more likely to need medical care- children, old people, women. They have to take everyone. The website is a warehouse- to shop around for the best plan for your family.

What the hell? People who will make seventy-eleven stops to get the best buy on bread, ice cream and canned veggies are pissed off that they have to spend some time price-shopping their own health care? Shut up.

And glitches? There is not a program or even a product that comes out perfectly and without glitches. Good lord, every time a new gadget comes out there are glitches and people get pissed but accept that shit's gonna happen and wait for the bugs to work out. Get a fucking grip.

I'm angry as hell that the asinine GOP keeps poking that bear and angry as hell that the President got up and said, "You know- I should've made sure that bear was magical and perfect, even though I'm not an IT guy, I'm the freaking president of the bad". Bullshit.

I'm angry and frustrated and so very sad that people who have truly crappy 'insurance policies' are being goaded (again with the GOP) into clutching those useless-as-tits-on-a-boar-hog policies to their patriotic breasts and fighting like crazy to keep them even though if they actually get sick or hurt those policies will do NOTHING.


See above about what the ACA actually is. Simmer down and look at what subsidies you are qualified for because of the ACA, know that 'fines for not being insured' come to about $90 per year and are uninforceable. I'm very sorry if your home is only worth $90, dude.

Also, those policies do exist. I moved here to Texas and had no insurance for the first time in my life. So I found what I could afford and it was total crap. Low premium, but no coverage at all. It was a 'reimburse' policy- I'd have to pay up front for whatever I needed and IF they decided it was worthy, they'd pay me back a PORTION of it. These are rampant and being sold by the big names as well as the small names and they are the worst type of scam. They are also the vast majority of policies being cancelled because they don't actually qualify as meaningful insurance. Get it, now?

Here are some more fun facts for you-

-Once you choose your plan (and you don't have to get through the website- signing up by phone has been easy and quick according to people I actually know. In person- not those people on the tv) and see what subsidies you'll get and what you'll actually be gaining- seriously- have your current policy in front of you to compare, then get back to me. ***Not with stories of 'people that were on FOX News saying their premiums are now $6,000 a month, either- I want YOUR experience, honest and true. You just might be pleassntly surprised. Don't worry- the president will still be black- you always have that to fall back on.

-About that website. Every state is supposed to have their own, yanno. And states with their own are substantially less glitchy than the big national one (less traffic/less glitches- even *I* know that). If your state doesn't have its own exchange, that means your state has also refused the FREE expansion of Medicaid- that little thing in the law that will ensure that those who are too poor to pay their premiums (lots of people are too poor to afford quality insurance- the answer to that should NOT be 'here- have this crappy policy', the answer should be something like...the ACA) (Actually the lasting answer is to go to universal health care but we're OBVIOUSLY not advanced and intelligent enough going down the slippery slope to whatever hell THAT leads to- RIGHT, SWEDEN???) So if you have no state website your premiums will probably be high. That's not the ACA or its Satan Obama Author you need to blame, it's your selfish bastard GOP governor. Because every single state that is denying FREE help for their uninsured citizens has a Republican Governor sitting in their capitol. A Republican governor who has government health care, by the way, so no skin off THEIR noses.

But these are all old frustrations.

Today's frustration and anger is watching the president say "I'm sorry I lied to you". Because he DIDN'T lie. DOES he lie? Of course he does. He's a politician. I think he's basically a good guy and I wouldn't have his job for all the cocoa in the world, but he's done some things I'd like to slap him upside the head for, and some things that I believe are just wrong, wrong, wrong- things a Republican would do.

It's watching him say, "With the 'Keep your Insurance' law, you'll be able to keep your policy another year".

Here's what that did.

It's allowing people to screw themselves for another year with do-nothing 'insurance' policies. But that's freedom, baby- we are as free to be as stupid as we wanna be, right?

More importantly- and tucked into the back end of the speech and articles is what it does for the insurance companies.

Because the ACA made (past tense) the insurance companies stop selling the crappy policies and actually cover shit. Made them stop denying people for getting sick or hurt or having pre-existing conditions. They can now keep doing all of that- all of it, for another year. It gave the insurance companies another year of fucking over desperate people who cannot afford good insurance. Because not only can current policies continue...they can continue to sell new ones. New crappy policies.

And they screamed for it. They demanded it. The people demanded it.

So congratulations, people who have sorry-ass policies. If and when you need them, you will realize that you should've burned your premium money, even tho it was less than a Ben Franklin a month. Should've flushed it down the toilet. Should've spent it on beer and cigarettes. Because your policy will do squat to help you.

And I'm pre-emptively frustrated and pissed because when people realize this, they'll holler about how the president isn't protecting the 'Merikan people because he 'let' the insurance companies screw them over and why didn't he do something???

So what should he have said?

He should've said NO.

He should've held firm.

He should've told people clutching their shit-policies, "Just look at the exchanges- see what they can do for you- it's going to be OK- because what you have right now is like playing in traffic- I don't want to see the American people playing in traffic and here's a way out of the street".

But he didn't. Because he's human and he's frustrated and angry, too,

So he said, "Fine. Congratulations- you are free to play in the street for another year. Have fun with that".

Yanno what? Just go. Go play in the street. But be sure there's a nice big semi truck coming because if you just get hurt getting hit by a Kia, your insurance will not cover your injuries. And then you'll be in the emergency room mooching off the rest of us RESPONSIBLE Americans who have insurance.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Camo Confusion

I grew up in Wisconsin and migrated to East Texas almost 20 years ago. Even though most of my relations are of the fishing persuasion and not the hunting persuasion, I am not a stranger to the Hunting Culture.

I understand the concept of 'camo'. I can see (or can't see, because that's the point, isn't it?) the benefit of 'breaking up your silhouette' so the deer/turkey/hog/bear/antelope/pheasant/ducks/whatever can't see you right quick.

You're looking for a, "Hey, Vern! What's that moving shadowy broken-up-silhouette over yonder? Looks like maybe a hun..." *BANG* moment of confused consternation from your prey. Just long enough to squeeze the trigger and bring home dinner.

Speaking of Trigger, up north I had a friend with three chestnut horses (also known as sorrel to those quarter horse people). Every hunting season she'd get out the blaze orange spray paint and write H O R S E in big orange letters on both sides of her babies...just to make sure.

Sort of anti-camo, that blaze orange. If I remember correct, hunters are all to wear just a bit o'the orange on their persons so other hunters don't, yanno- shoot 'em dead for thinking they might just be camo-wearing wildlife. Because, "Hey! Somthin's movin' in them there bushes- I'm gonna shoot it!" is totally OK. It just takes so loooooong to be sure that what you're shooting at is your target. Because the beer back at the lease shack won't drink itself, yanno.

Actually, 100% of the hunters I know would never do that. But there are some who would...hence the bit o'the orange.

And here's where I get confused.

Because you wear the orange to stand out, and the camo to blend in.

So how come every damn thing at Gander Mountain is done up in camo?

Regular camo, mountain camo, desert camo, winter wonderland white camo, even freaking pink camo (for sissy woods, I guess).

And not just pants and shirts, boots and hoods, gloves and mittens.

We're talkin' underdrawers and bathing suits, jammies and dinnerware, actual life-sized trucks and dog collars.

I can see (or not, because again...the point) being proud of being a hunter. But there are some items I have a problem with being camo.

Wallets, flashlights and vehicles.

First of all...why?

Are you so damn lazy you're not even getting out of the truck to shoot something? You wanna just park it and shoot from the open window while listening to Hannity?

And how about when you're sitting in your deer stand, and suddenly from over the crest of the little hill there, a huge trophy buck regally minces his way in your direction.

What's the first thing you do?


No. The flashlight and wallet will remain in your ALREADY CAMO PANTS POCKET until you either shoot the deer or he bounds away flashing that pretty white tail.

And here's what I don't understand. I've spent years hiking and living in the woods. Most of my life and I'm pretty old.

If I'm out in the woods and been hiking around a pathless maze of Mother Nature's living room, I'm gonna want all the help I can get to find my ride out of there quickly and with a minimum of cussing and panic. I want to see the truck.

If I'm out in the woods and I drop my flashlight and/or my wallet, the LAST thing I want is for the damn things to blend in and not be seen. I WANT to find my flashlight and wallet if I drop them. I want to find them quickly and with a minimum of cussing and panic. Those babies should be bright, glow in the dark orange.

And speaking of babies.

There are racks and racks of...camo baby clothes.

Think about that.

If there's one thing I want to find quickly and with a minimum of panic and cussing even MORE than my truck and my flashlight and wallet


You know what I saw at Tractor Supply tonight?

Blaze orange toilet paper.

So when you're taking a shit in the woods and go to wipe your ass, another hunter doesn't think it's a pretty white tail twitching in the bushes and literally shoot your ass.

So trucks and flashlights and wallets and babies need to be invisible.

Bare shitting asses must flash bright orange like a glorious Halloween pumpkin.

Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather see trucks, flashlights, wallets and babies.

Guess it's a Hunter Thing.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Devil Made Me Do It

So the Pew Research Center did a little study on stuff people believe in and the results were absolutely mixed.

While it seems that there is an increase in people who have shed their traditional religions (whew), it's troubling to me that there is also an increase in people who believe that a person can literally be possessed by a demon. That the largest increase is among young people aged 18-25 is more than puzzling, it's bizarre.

I mean, what the hell? *Pun most definitely intended*



Now, let me be the first to admit that I believe in many things, both seen and unseen.

I believe in the power of energy- to heal, to lift up, to strengthen, and yes even to harm.

Energy takes many forms- thoughts both positive and negative, spells and curses, prayer- all focused and directed energy.

I believe in lots of things not obvious to most of us mere mortals busily wallowing in our own unimportant dramas- from beings on a different plane than ours who look like ghosts or aliens or angels to other corporeal critters like bigfoot who choose not to be seen because life is easier when the fussy, crabby critters who call themselves human don't know you're there.

I don't believe in any one god.

I believe in spirit. Ours collectively and individually.

But demons?

No way, Jose.

Because in spite of energy and in spite of all the other things that share this existence with us, each of us is still our own person, with our own power of being and who inhabits our carbon-based shell is up to us, not some outsider looking for a soul-sofa to crash.

Some people call it Free Will.

I call it science.

If your own energy (call it a soul if you like) is taking up your body, it's full. Nothing else can come push it out.

Displacement, baby.

Here's what I don't get.

How can you believe in Free Will and still believe in demons?

How can there be a god who must be begged to pay attention to you (unless he's smiting you) but demons can prance in through your nostrils and into your brain?

Of course I believe in the existence of evil. But evil isn't its own person anymore than good is its own person. (And why don't people get possessed of angels? Hmmm?)

Those things come from within each and every one of us.

We cannot be forced to be evil any more than we can be forced to be good.

We may be coerced to ACT evil or good, but to actually BE those things? Only from our own selves.

So to the young people who are backing away from organized religion while still literally believing in the bogeyman... close. You're so close to being grownups.

Question everything. Depend on each other, not on a book that pits people against each other.

We're all we've got. Really.

This life is all we've got- even if we believe in reincarnation, this life is all we have for now, and all we'll remember.

There's no power in the sky or from the pits of imaginary hell that can turn you into anything against your will.

Free Will.

Life is precious and we're only here for the blink of an eye.

Live it freely. Love each other. Help those who can't help you not out of visions of heaven or fear of hell but because it's the right thing to do.

Be not afraid of the dark, for it holds nothing but starlight and harbors nothing but restful slumber.

The monsters are all in our heads.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Shall Not Be Infringed

Tired. So tired.

We've been traveling and running logging hundreds and hundreds of miles and we're not leaving Texas. From Houston to Denton and back and forth and back and forth we're running from homeschool co-op to MD Anderson and back again and repeat. Of course in between there's still the 4 classes I'm taking and work and home.

Then the time changed yesterday and finally in a last act of revolt my body said, "Fuck it" and succumbed to the head cold that Alec has been coughing our way for the last two weeks.

Because I hate the time change. I hate it getting dark mid-afternoon. I don't care if it's dark in the morning- I'm not awake yet and my eyeballs appreciate the lovely dimmed light of pre-dawn.

I got up today and fed the critters then crawled back under the covers till after 1pm. At that point I did get up, shower, and head to town to do what I absolutely had to do- post office, pay a bill, feed store, work for a bit and most importantly, the "MOM- there's no FOOD in the house!" run to the grocery store.

Of course that's untrue. There is plenty of food in the house. Just not what the boys want to eat.

Did I mention that it's cold and rainy? And that we still haven't quite gotten to the home improvement part that says, "pour a load of gravel and some stepping stones where the mire of goose-grease-slick red clay is now...right where the car gets parked"? No? Well, that just added to the charm of the entire day.

I came home, baked chocolate chip cookie bars for Alec and made spaghetti, italian sausage and garlic bread for dinner and came back into the bedroom to be pitiful and snurfly again.

The TV is on, as it always is. I don't watch it, but Ward does.

And I can't help but hear it. Can't help but hear that there's another gunman in another mall...again.

Over the weekend, of course, there was a gunman at LAX.

Those are just the 'big ones' that get the TV coverage. On average, 90 Americans lose their lives to gunfire.

Per Day.


And yet, nothing is being done. Not a damn thing.

All we hear is, "Oh- there are 300 million guns in the US- gun deaths are a tiny percentage of deaths in America! You can't take our guns...NONE of our guns! The Second Amendment SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!"

Shall not be infringed.

That phrase that the asshole at the Sandy Hook hearings screamed over the grieving father's testimony.

Shall not be infringed.

Even though the majority- by a huge amount- of Americans want stricter gun laws, these people believe that owning any fucking gun they want to is their right- they parade around in public with them loaded; a sick public relations spectacle that bullies and mocks and then whines, "Why don't you LIKE us???"

Shall not be infringed.

You know what else shouldn't be infringed upon?

A woman's right to what happens to her own body.

How about that one? "Oh, NO! We know it's her body but there is another 'person' involved! We fight for the right of the innocent to live!"

But not the innocent people who are killed by guns every single day. Ninety of them. Already-born and loved and walking around living- now dead by gunshot. Those don't matter, I guess.

You know what else shouldn't be infringed upon?

The right of children to be fed, the right of people who need help to get it- the right to food and shelter and dignity.

How about that one? "Oh, NO! There are some people who abuse The Welfare! We need to make the social safety net so snug and so tiny and so airtight that only those who are really DESERVING get our hard-earned tax dollars!"

Really. Yanno, changing up the gun laws to make it more difficult for people to get weapons that kill people every single day- universal background checks, mandatory training and registration- that would help ensure that only those who are really DESERVING have these dangerous-by-design tools.

You know what else shouldn't be infringed upon?

Every American's right to vote.

How about that one? "Oh, NO! There are some people who vote a dozen times in the same election! VOTER FRAUD!!! It's the only possible excuse for liberal Democrats to win any election anywhere!"

Except voter fraud is almost non-existent. In Texas, where we are now under the most stringent voter ID laws in the entire nation, there were exactly 18 cases of voter the last decade. That's less than 2 a year. Or .005 per day.

So in Texas we've enacted the most stringent voter ID laws in the entire nation to stop .005 cases of voter fraud per day.

Meanwhile, 90 people in the US die every day by gunshot.

Texas has 26 million people, and a gun death rate of 3 per 100,000. That's 780 gun deaths per year.

780- almost the population of our town, every year- dead. That's 2 Texans per day, every single day. A horrifying amount of them children whose parents leave guns just lying around loaded "in case a bad guy breaks in". I got news for ya, Bubba- you're the bad guy and you just killed your child. Congratulations. Feel safer now?

But we're not worried about that. We're worried about .005 voter fraud.

Maybe it's because I'm crabby about losing an hour of daylight for the next 6 months, or because I have a head cold, or because I'm really tired of driving.

But I've got news for the Second Amendment crowd.

I'm sick and fucking tired of only your rights being sacred.

There are other people in this country, yanno. And we all have rights, too.

So unless you're willing and able to take up your goddamn precious arms to protect the rights of ALL Americans-

-to be there defending women going to Planned Parenthood for their annual physicals (fun fact- most of the protests and fires and bombings and threats at Planned Parenthood clinics are at locations that DON'T EVEN DO ABORTIONS, YOU DUMBASSES)

-to be there stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline from snaking a fetid trail across the nation for exactly zero gain to the average American and billions of dollars for overseas companies

-to demand real social change that will lessen poverty, lighten the load of the oppressed and allow for equality for ALL Americans, not just those who are white, or Christian, or straight

Unless you are willing to do all of the above without stipulation or question, you are merely a selfish asshole who wants your toys. You have absolutely no intention of EVER doing anything remotely resembling what you believe the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment for- to protect the freedoms the other Amendments allowed for.

Unless it's the right to have your guns. Then you're all over it.

And about that.

When asked why you need all those armaments, if you answer at all without getting all buggy-eyed and screaming, "Because it's my GOD GIVEN RIGHT to own 'em!!!" what you'll generally say is, "To protect my family".

From who?

From the government? If something happens and 'the government' really does 'come for the guns and the little people' we're all shit out of luck anyway. They've got more, bigger, badder.

From terrorists? Please. Shut up.

Here's the bottom line.

You think you need your guns to protect yourself from other Americans.

Think about that. Other Americans.

Is there another country on the planet that arms itself so rabidly against their fellow citizens?

What if you took all the time and money and effort you spend on amassing your arsenal and instead direct it towards, I dunno...FIXING SOCIETY? Less poverty, more education, less corporate welfare, more support for the middle class.

I know, that's just crazy talk. Must be the cold medicine kicking in.

Ya'll just go on and gear up for the Zombie Apocalypse. Because that's some real shit there.