To hit the website of Sisyphus Quarterly [the little literary magazine edited by yours truly, truly dears], Click Here. To review and order a copy of Sisyphus Quarterly, Click Here. To review and order a copy of the poetry collection The Faithful Heart at production cost of $4.95, Click Here.To review and order a copy of The Whole World Calendar Book of Holidays Around the World 2015 at production cost of $5.36, Click Here. And to visit/friend me on Facebook, Click Here. - Chris (aka CCF; aka Christopher Corbett-Fiacco)
twofer wednesday. or something.
all because a big bully who happened to be a black 18 yo stole some cigarellos (?) from a bodega, grabbed the little asian proprietor by the throat and shoved him into the gumball machines, then made a threatening "don't think about it" motion toward him as he rebounded, refused to get out of the street when a cop told him to, reached into the cop's window and tussled with him in some way, ran off when the cop got out of the cop car, refused to stop, even when being shot at in order to stop him from running off and getting away with assault on a police officer and potentially harming somebody else, stopped and made the decision to run at full speed toward the cop, refused to stop when told to do so and was shot at in order to stop him, and was ultimately shot dead as he barreled toward the cop who doubtless feared that if he was tackled, the big angry guy who happened to be a black 18 yo could get ahold of his gun and kill him as well as anybody else he happened to be pissed off at at the moment. and ALL WHILE MICHAEL BROWN'S BLACK 18 YO FRIEND STOOD ALONGSIDE HIM AND REFUSED HIS PROFFER OF ONE OR TWO STOLEN CIGARELLOS, DIDN'T INTERACT WITH THE LITTLE ASIAN MAN, GOT OUT OF THE STREET WHEN THE COP TOLD THEM TO, DIDN'T TUSSLE WITH THE COP, DIDN'T RUN OFF OR RUN TOWARD THE COP, AND LIVED TO TELL THE TALE WITHOUT HAVING BEEN PHYSICALLY HARMED AT ALL. but the cop is the devil and michael brown is the poor little angel baby sent to heaven too soon by the evil racist cop. and i wonder if any african american parents have taught their kids to not steal, not walk in the street, not reach into cop cars and tussle with cops, and not run toward cops who have guns and are telling them to stop. i wonder how many instead have taught their kids to not allow those cops, especially those racist white ones, to try to tell THEM what to do, because white authority figures telling african-americans what to do is racism, plain and simple. and i wonder how many of those kids will likewise flout the rules, tussle with cops, and also procure hero status when they get themselves killed while their -- what, pansy friends? -- abide by the rules, don't get in trouble, don't tussle with cops of any race or gender, and don't get shot and killed and beatified by 'the community.' are black kids getting stopped and shot and killed? yes. trayvon martin. are there cops who are out of control and need to be reigned in and fired? ab-so-fuck-ing-lute-ly. is racism still rampant in this country? you-fuck-ing-know-it-is. re the immediate situation at hand: should michael brown be a hero/saint who is the face of racist profiling and 'black lives matter'? no. should trayvon martin be? yes. so wtf, you know what i mean?
.i was at starbucks the other day and a small group was chatting and laughing and as one went for the door, she passed someone she knew, who inquired as to what they alls were chatting and laughing about and she said, "the lion dentist, transgenders... and suicide." et voila, as the french would say in french:
did i get the attitude right? proper misspellings and whatnot? i'm not a staight guy, of course, but i might wanna maybe one day play one on tv.
okay, i'm now pretty much convinced that her transition is real and isn't some strange grab at the media attention and million$ she's seen her former kuntdashian step-daughters rake in -- although i still say that without sexual reassignment surgery, which pretty much 'guts' the penis and inverts it as a vagina, as well as the removal of her testicles (which i honestly cannot imagine ANY woman wanting to have/keep ['hold onto'?]) she can at any point in time simply stop taking her estrogen, in which case the testosterone which her ‘nads are still producing (albeit in small supply [or being chemically prevented from producing]) will very shortly bring her testosterone levels back to normal in a very period (no pun intended) and she can very very simply have her cheek and breast implants removed without any/much visible scarring (the cheek implants are done through the inside of the mouth and these days breast implants are inserted through a one-inch or so incision under the pecs and filled with saline through a small tube until they're full, and then that small incision is stitched up) and of course have a modest nose re-do and forego the makeup and whatnot and hair, and she'll pretty much be the bruce jenner we saw before she started the transition -- a middle-aged man whose testosterone level isn’t as high as we last remembered ‘him’ in his prime, and she can simply say that it was her lifelong desire to live as a woman but that at this age, at this stage in life, after having lived her whole life as a man and living as a woman for a year or whatever period of time the media continues to glom onto her and her tv show(s?) and various other projects (which will apparently shortly include writing a column for one or more of the gblt [low-fat turkey bacon with cilantro and sliced heirloom cherry tomatoes on toasted artisan bread with brie (the cheese as well as sometimes the tranny [is 'tranny' considered a pejorative? i hear trans-persons use it at times]) and a side of avocado] magazines...) -- did i use my various parentheseses correctly thereaboots? and note the punctuation inside the parentheseses when the full sentence/stmt is an 'aside' whereas the ‘close paren’ is inside the punctuation when the sentence/stmt/phrase in parentheseses is within the non-parenned sentence as a whole -- yeah, yeah, i know, 'who's the hole?'...?]).)... uhm… yeah, so, anyhows, it’s like, uhm… y’knewwww… uhm… she can say that she wasn’t aware of how fundamental the change within ‘herself’ would be etc yadda yadda yadda and that ‘caitlyn will always be a treasured part of me yadda yadda yadda’ but that she needs to live out the remainder of her life as bruce, after all, although of course she honors and celebrates and beatifies with beatitudes the transgendered who live their lives every day… and bruce would have alllls the monies which caitlyn is now raking in, and then some (as if the media would drop jenner’s story at that point in time?) and then s/he could write ONE LAST BIG MEMOIR about the entire storyline… and whatever… so, uhm, yeah, okay, I’m now pretty much convinced, but not entirely, as she has clearly left herself three helluvan ‘outs’ (literally – her penis and her testicles). meanwhile, nobody is ‘doubting the intentions’ of the transgender ‘kids out there’ – we’re doubting YOUR intentions, ms j, exactly because we’ve seen what you and your ‘reality tv’ ilk are capable of, and I for three (chris the daddyman, chris the sonnyboy, and chris the holy-shit-what-a spirit!) will only be convinced of your intentions when you (a) have that male outie turned into a female innie (and off with the ‘nads!) or (b) die as the woman you’ve been living as these past few weeks of your sixty-five years. (meanwhile, ‘caitlyn’? you wanted not only to be a woman but a woman your granddaughter’s age? did you consider for even a moment such as ‘elizabeth’ or ‘constance’ [well, maybe not that one] or ‘grace’? they’re all age-appropriata, whereas, just sayin’, how many 65 yo caitlyns does anybody out there know?... (ccf 07/17/15)
a facebud posted a link to the article @ countercurrentnews and, well, y'all know me by now, eh?
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY INDEPENDENCE DAY IN YE OLDE USA!!
I HOPE IT'S A SAFE AND OH-SO-SATISFYING HOLIDAY FOR ALL!!
meanwhile, not to bring anybody down, but from my book "Happy Holidays 2016" (just to keep in mind that one people's celebratory saturday may be another's commemoration of troubled times:
The Birthday of the Queen of Norway is celebrated on the anniversary of the 1937 birth of Sonja, queen consort of King Harald V. The Kingdom of Norway is located in Northern Europe, where it occupies the northern-to-westernmost coast of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Its capital city is Oslo, which is translated from Norwegian into English as “The Meadow of the Gods.”
The Commemoration of the Jewish Genocide is a day of mourning in Latvia for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust on the anniversary of the 1941 murder of 400 Jews in the nation’s capital city of Riga, when the synagogue into which they had taken refuge from Latvian fascists was set on fire with men, women and children burning to death inside while those who fled the building were shot to death outside. The Holocaust is the term used to describe Nazi Germany’s intentional mass killing of an estimated 6,000,000 European Jews (which represented 70 - 75% of the Jewish population in Europe, and 50% of the Jewish population worldwide at the time) and 3,000,000 - 5,000,000 secondary targets who included the Roma, the disabled, the mentally ill, and gay men. An accounting of all who died in the Holocaust as the result of Nazi persecution, starvation, forced labor, torture, medical experimentation and execution puts the death toll at between 9,000,000 - 11,000,000 people. The Republic of Latvia is located in northern Europe with a 120 mile western-to-northwestern coastline along the Baltic Sea. Its capital city is Riga, the origin of whose name is open to debate.
Independence Day in the USA is more commonly known as The Fourth of July and is celebrated on the anniversary of the nation’s 1776 Declaration of Independence from Great Britain during the American War of Independence of 1775-1783. The United States of America is comprised of a mainland of forty-eight contiguous states located on the continent of North America with an exclave state, Alaska, which is situated at the northwestern-most tip of the continent, bordered to the east by Canada, and a fiftieth state, Hawaii, which is comprised of hundreds of islands in the central Pacific Ocean 2,000 miles west of the mainland. Its capital city is Washington, DC, as named for the nation’s first president, George Washington. With a total land area of 3,794,101 square miles, the US is the third- or fourth-largest country in the world (after Russia and Canada) as is the People’s Republic of China, depending upon the inclusion or exclusion of disputed territories.
Liberation Day in Rwanda is celebrated on the anniversary of the 1994 victory of the Rwandan Patriotic Front over government forces in the nation’s capital city of Kigali, which put an end to the Rwandan Genocide, the 10 week long mass murder of 800,000 - 1,000,000 members of the minority Tutsi tribe by the Majority Hutu tribe. The Republic of Rwanda is a landlocked nation in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa whose capital city is Kigali, which is translated from Rwandan into English as “Hills.”
Except for the fact that the 1967 decision was unanimous, what’s the fuckin’ diff?
“Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.” - Chief Justice Earl Warren writing for the majority in “Loving v. Virginia” (decided June 12, 1967) which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage in the United States of America.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” - Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority of 5 (Justice Kennedy, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor) in “Obergefell v. Hodges” (decided June 26, 2015) which invalidated laws prohibiting marriage between two persons of the same gender in the United States of America, in which Justice Kennedy also wrote the following:
“The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.”
“The ancient origins of marriage confirm its centrality, but it has not stood in isolation from developments in law and society. The history of marriage is one of both continuity and change. That institution—even as confined to opposite-sex relations—has evolved over time. For example, marriage was once viewed as an arrangement by the couple’s parents based on political, religious, and financial concerns; but by the time of the Nation’s founding it was understood to be a voluntary contract between a man and a woman. See N. Cott, Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation 9–17 (2000); S. Coontz, Marriage, A History 15–16 (2005).”
“In Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S. 1, 12 (1967), which invalidated bans on interracial unions, a unanimous Court held marriage is ‘one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.’ The Court reaffirmed that holding in Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U. S. 374, 384 (1978), which held the right to marry was burdened by a law prohibiting fathers who were behind on child support from marrying. The Court again applied this principle in Turner v. Safley, 482 U. S. 78, 95 (1987), which held the right to marry was abridged by regulations limiting the privilege of prison inmates to marry. Over time and in other contexts, the Court has reiterated that the right to marry is fundamental under the Due Process Clause.”
“A first premise of the Court’s relevant precedents is that the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy. This abiding connection between marriage and liberty is why Loving invalidated interracial marriage bans under the Due Process Clause.”
“The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.”
“Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same-sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate. The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.”
We have overcome this day.
- ccf 06/26/15
meanwhile, not to bring anybody down, but a facebud shared this link, i followed it up, and felt it would be not only appropriate but necessary in some way to share this as well today:
Remembering the UpStairs Lounge: The U.S.A.’s Largest LGBT Massacre Happened 40 Years Ago Wednesday
June 24, 2013 by Terry Firma (from patheos.com)
Just before 8:00p, the doorbell rang insistently. To answer it, you had to unlock a steel door that opened onto a flight of stairs leading down to the ground floor. Bartender Buddy Rasmussen, expecting a taxi driver, asked his friend Luther Boggs to let the man in. Perhaps Boggs, after he pulled the door open, had just enough time to smell the Ronsonol lighter fluid that the attacker of the UpStairs Lounge had sprayed on the steps. In the next instant, he found himself in unimaginable pain as the fireball exploded, pushing upward and into the bar.
The ensuing 15 minutes were the most horrific that any of the 65 or so customers had ever endured — full of flames, smoke, panic, breaking glass, and screams.
MCC assistant pastor George “Mitch” Mitchell escaped, but soon returned to try to rescue his boyfriend, Louis Broussard. Both died in the fire, their bodies clinging together in death, like a scene from the aftermath of Pompeii.
Metal bars on the UpStairs Lounge windows, meant to keep people from falling out, were just 14 inches apart; while some managed to squeeze through and jump, others got stuck. That’s how the MCC’s pastor, Rev. Bill Larson, died, screaming, “Oh, God, no!” as the flames charred his flesh. When police and firefighters surveyed and began clearing the scene, they left Larson fused to the window frame until the next morning.
Thirty-two people lost their lives that Sunday 40 years ago — Luther Boggs, Inez Warren, and Warren’s sons among them.
Homophobia being what it was, several families declined to claim the bodies and one church after another refused to bury or memorialize the dead. Three victims were never identified or claimed, and were interred at the local potter’s field.
When the Rev. William Richardson, of St. George’s Episcopal Church, agreed to hold a small prayer service for the victims, about 80 people attended, but many more complained about Richardson to Iveson Noland, the Episcopalian bishop of New Orleans. Noland reportedly rebuked Richardson for his kindness, and the latter received volumes of hate mail.
The UpStairs Lounge arson was the deadliest fire in New Orleans history and the largest massacre of gay people ever in the U.S. Yet it didn’t make much of an impact news-wise. The few respectable news organizations that deigned to cover the tragedy made little of the fact that the majority of the victims had been gay, while talk-radio hosts tended to take a jocular or sneering tone: What do we bury them in? Fruit jars, sniggered one, on the air, only a day after the massacre.
Other, smaller disasters resulted in City Hall press conferences or statements of condolence from the governor, but no civil authorities publicly spoke out about the fire, other than to mumble about needed improvements to the city’s fire code.
Continuing this pattern of neglect, the New Orleans police department appeared lackluster about the investigation (the officers involved denied it). The detectives wouldn’t even acknowledge that it was an arson case, saying the cause of the fire was of “undetermined origin.”
No one was ever charged with the crime, although an itinerant troublemaker with known mental problems, Rogder Dale Nunez, is said to have claimed responsibility multiple times. Nunez, a sometime visitor to the UpStairs Lounge, committed suicide in 1974.
two years ago today, the best friend i've ever had in my entire life (for 23 yrs), former lover (the first 6 yrs) and love of my life, ramon antonio vilches, drowned drunk after stumbling into the in-ground pool at his house in tallahassee the day before he was scheduled (by himself that very day) to go into rehab the next morning, as he'd apparently finally accepted the fact that he was an alcoholic. myself with 15 yrs clean and sober at the time, i was excited about helping him with his recovery and even initiated talk of him moving to san diego in a year or so and potentially getting back together for the sort of 'second time around' middle-aged-into-silver-and-golden-years relationship/marriage that often works quite well for two people who've felt kicked around the block a tad by life, and only really need the basics in life and a few extras like love and a comfortable home port in the storm. his death kicked off the worst two years of my adult life, but with the help of resumed proper medication for manic depression and anxiety, as well as a renewal of actual recovery through a.a. as distinct from mere sobriety with periods of dry drunk... i am at peace again, not only generally but with my life as it has been lived and as i'm currently living it, and with my place in the world. i have a new studio apartment back in san diego, just adopted two sweet sweet cats (sisters about 10 years old) and am moving 'gaily forward' once again. at 54 and with 17 yrs clean and sober now, i know how lucky i am for having (and having had) so many good things and people in my life, most especially family and friends whom i love and who love me and are much more helpful and necessary to my life and my well-being than they probably have any clue whatsoever, and am actually, honestly grateful for that. i believe the one thing i've learned in the past two years is that i really do want to live more than i want to die, and that i really will go to any lengths to attempt to ensure not only my continued survival, but my life, a life worth living, because although many things have hurt and even harmed me, most especially perhaps my own brain chemistry, i know that no matter how horrible my life ever is, and no matter how badly i'd like for it to end -- eventually, if i continue to live and do what i have to in order to continue to live, my life always gets better, i always feel okay again, and even good, and then even happy, again. and while life can be a strange and sometimes even horrific ride, it's about the most interesting thing i think i've ever experienced. (don't you kinda feel the same way about yours?) HERE’S HOPING EVERYONE HAS A GOOD DAY TODAY!! -chris
so a judge today officially sentenced to death muslim-american dzhokhar tsarnaev for killing 3 white americans and injuring over a hundred other mostly white 'assorteds' via marathon bombing at age 19 in what has always been described as an act of terrorism. let's see what 21 year-old white american dylann roof gets in ye olde amrican souf for having wanted to start a race war by shooting to death 9 african-americans in a church in what has yet to be 'officially determined' to have been either (a) a simple premeditated murder; (b) a hate-crime; (c) an act of terrorism, or (d) an accident (as described by republicanazi former texas governor and presidential candidate rick perry).
06/16/15: a facebud posted the image and i replied and signed the petition. you should, too, eh?
HEADLINE: Senator Bernie Sanders to Announce Run for Democratic Nomination for President on Thursday
to which i say... RUN, BERNIE, RUN!!!!!! which is to say -- RUN, EVERY OTHER DEMOCRAT WHO HAS ANY CHANCE WHATSOEVER OF SNATCHING THE PRIZE FROM HILLARY RODHAM NIXON LIKE FIRST-TERM SENATOR BARACK OBAMA DID BECAUSE WE MIGHT NEED YOU AS THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE INSTEAD OF HILLARY CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT THERE JUST MIGHT BE EMAILS AND WHATNOT OUT THERE THAT'LL BLOW HER PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRATIONS AND OURS FOR THE DEM OUT OF THE FUCKING WATER B4 THE ELECTION ITSELF & LET'S FACE IT BARACK OBAMA HAS BEEN A BETTER PRESIDENT THAN SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN OR COULD POSSIBLY BE MOST ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT SHE WOULD HAVE AND WILL IF ELECTED BE MORE HAWKISH AND MILITARISTIC THAN ANY MAN BECAUSE SHE'LL FEEL THE 'NEED' TO PROVE SHE'S GOT BALLS, WHICH, FRANKLY, NOT ALL WOMEN CANDIDATES OR PRESIDENTS WOULD FEEL THE 'NEED' TO DO AS SHE DOES. So...
RUN, DEMS, RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In Porto Loko, Siérra Léoné, Sweetie Sweetie had no choice.
MawMaw gone and Papa gone and Dada dead and Sissis
and now Mama coughing bloody
-- rollypolly eyes ablaze, aglaze, all agoggy heavenward --
body all akimboherkyjerk.
When the white car with the pritty blinky red light came
they lifted Mama in
and Sweetie Sweetie climbed behind,
pulling Mama’s hot hand to her cheek.
A pox on her house
they said sadly
-- openly --
and whispered them
behind cupped hands
as if to ward it off
And though Sweetie Sweetie still was bright as daylight,
-- not even Auntie Bee or Auntie Vee or Uncle No --
In Porto Loko, Siérra Léoné, Sweetie Sweetie had no choice.
So when the white car with the pritty blinky red light came,
they lifted Mama in
and Sweetie Sweetie climbed behind
and Mama coughing bloody spittle
and her rollypolly eyes agoggy heavenward and all akimboherkyjerk
-- pulling Mama’s hot hand to her chapped lips --
Sweetie Sweetie wouldn’t meet their eyes.
bright as daylight
Sweetie Sweetie had no choice: none
-- not even Auntie Bee or Auntie Vee or Uncle No --
MawMaw gone and PaPa gone and Dada dead and Sissis
and now Mama’s trembly hot hand at her chapped lips
in the white car with the pritty blinky red light
Sweetie Sweetie wouldn’t meet their eyes.
Sweetie Sweetie had no choice.
-- But --
strong and certain
gods and she would see that Mama smiled again, and laughed,
and drenched a thick thick slice of black bread in that gravy
from that big pot
deep into the little blue bowl that was Sweetie Sweetie’s
little blue bowl
Sweetie Sweetie had forgotten
in the fumbling tumbling hurry to the white car with the pritty blinky red light
the little blue bowl -- her little blue bowl
-- But --
surely Auntie Bee or Auntie Vee or Uncle No would go
and get her little blue bowl
Sweetie Sweetie would again have at a thick thick slice of black bread
drenched in Mama’s gravy from that big pot
Mama smiling -- laughing -- when they get home
even if they hadn’t come for Sweetie Sweetie
in Porto Loko, Siérra Léoné
everybody needs a bowl.
04/12/15: why the doughy, pasty-faced bush retread named jeb will (a) not be the rupuglicanazi nominee for president in 2016 because repugs in the amrican souf will not vote for him in the primaries when they’ve got other candidates they can vote for (candidates who are genuine conservatives with lily white families) or (b) will be the repuglicanazi nominee for president in 2016 but will not capture the prize as he’ll be so distasteful to and disliked by southern and swing-state repugs that they will not make a special point of going out in droves to attempt to make sure he beats the democrap (even if s/he is [probably] hillary rodham nixon – unless of course ms rodham nixon’s erased emails pop up during the general election campaign and actually prove that she has lied to congress and the american people and the rest of the world about bengazi [if indeed she has lied – and who amongst us knows that she hasn’t – or feels entirely secure in believing that she hasn’t?] – which, let’s face it, could happen – she has, after all, just like tricky dick – and before even being president – or even the party nominee for president – ensured that previously recorded material has been erased from the ‘recorder’ – email on the hard drive being the 21st century equivalent of voices on 1970’s era reel-to-reel tape recorders)…
(a) he’s married to a mexican – not a born-in-the-usa mexican-american latina, but a woman who was actually born in and is from mexico – and looks like it (although of course she’s been an american citizen for years – ever since marrying him…) and he’s the one who fathered ‘the little brown ones’ and, while i’m no racist/ethnicist, personally, how likely is it, really, that repugs in the amrican souf are going to vote for the guy who’s married to a mexican so she can become first lady and, along with ‘the little brown ones’ (no matter how handsome the oldest boy is – thanks entirely to that latin bloodline – let’s be honest) they can become the first family of the usa and speak spanish to all of the ‘illegals’ out there – right from the white house rose garden?...
(b) he’s a flip-flopper just like daddy ‘read my lips no new taxes’ bush – who signed a tax increase during the 2nd or 3rd year of his first and only term in office… and a political bumbler just like little bro gee dubya of the ‘mission accomplished’ banner (but not president while bumbling, which makes a diff) and he has most recently (and most piss-off-ing-ly to southern repugs) flip-flopped with regard to indiana’s so-called ‘freedom of religion’ law by having praised it on the tuesday preceding the wednesday fan-hitting shitstorm, and then, on thursday, proceeded to praise the repug governor for himself flip-flopping by ‘assuring’ the nation and the world that the law was ‘not intended to’ and would be amended such that it would not, discriminate against them homoshekshules (fuckin’ please, huh?)…
(c) most recently (and there’ll be more reasons, i am sooo shuuur – i’m just riffing a bit today) – this amusing and (as an old friend used to say) jeeeeee-U-cy little tidbit for his fellow repuglicanazi presidential wannabes and their minions to play around with TEEEEEEEEE hee heeeeeeeee…
from a column by ruben navarette this past week, entitled, “What’s Spanish for ‘oops’?”
“As an assimilated Mexican-American, I have no idea. But I bet Jeb Bush does since his Spanish is much better than mine. The former Florida governor went to Twitter this week to claim that he simply made a mistake when he filled in the bubble and identified himself as ‘Hispanic’ on a 2009 Miami-Dade County voter registration application. Sure, compadre. Whatever you say. This story won’t do much to assuage the concern of nativists that the likely 2016 presidential candidate is soft on immigration and not worried enough about the Hispanicizing of the United States…”
oh, and did I mention?...
02/03/15: a facebud asked, “do you ever feel like you want to follow Ramón - either consciously or subconsciously?” to which i replied:
“few weeks ago i wrote a poem i titled, 'i turned a corner' -- and i have. i almost never cry anymore when i think of him or even the manner of his death, i almost always remember him with absolute happiness and delight at who and what he was and that he was in my life and loved me so much and i loved him as i never had anyone else. but late yesterday afternoon i was watching a couple of little birdies on my balcony picking at the stuff i'd thrown out there for them after the big snowstorm, and it was a delightful tiny moment i wished i could have shared with ramon because he loved non-human animules as much as i do, and i did start crying again because i not only truly miss him and because my life is emptier in a way i'd never known before, not even being able to call him up and talk to him, but i realized that it's still true that, even believing as i do that we are organisms which happened somehow to have evolved and that when the organism (the body) dies, the consciousness dies too and there's no afterlife, there's nothingness and we no longer exist in any form (i hope that's not true and that there's some form of consciousness -- i'd personally just like to sort of mingle with the consciousness of those i've loved, but i don't think so) i realized that it's still true that, even believing that, as i do -- if i knew that i could live a decent life to age 100, which is 47 yrs from now, i would trade it for one minute, just one full minute, snuggling ('spooning') in bed with ramon, him sleeping soundly and me snuggled up behind him just listening to him breathing soundly, no words, no counting off seconds, just lying there with him fully appreciating and experiencing that moment, and then i could just disappear into nothingness and that would be okay. i'm tearing writing and thinking about it, but that's the case. i hope that one day i'll think about it and say, 'no, i really wouldn't trade the rest of my life for that' and i anticipate that will probably be the case one day (if i live to a ripe old age, at any rate) but now i honestly understand how widows and widowers (against whose loss mine doesn't even compare) still cry and miss the spouse yeeeeeeeeeeears later, even sometimes for the entire rest of their lives. my grandma corbett married my grandfather at 26 and was widowed at 52, died at 76 and we've always found it interesting that she lived 1/3 of her life single, 1/3 married, and 1/3 widowed, and she had almost half a dozen men propose to her in her widowhood but she never went on a date or was interested in any of 'the old bucks' as she called them (she was a wonderful storyteller -- probably where i get it from -- if indeed that's what i am and not merely verbose) and now i wonder if, even 25 yrs later, she cried at times over his loss. he was there to 'give away' only 1 of his 4 daughters and saw only 1 of an eventual 17 grandchildren, so i can only imagine that her loss, not having him beside her for almost every major life event after 50, was profoundly sad. and so it goes, eh?
01/26/2015: a facebud posted the article below, to which i replied: what we really need to do, and if that rand mcnally or whatever his name is, were to suggest such a thing, i think he just might get elected... stop all foreign aid for one full fiscal year (sorry, friends, we really do care, it's just that we really kinda need that money here this year, but i'm sure y'all be fine without it for a while) and contemplate/rejigger the numbers in order to try to figure out exactly what we're getting for all of that money spent and ratchet it down -- what's going to happen, they're all going to go fleeing into the arms of vlad the impaler putin? israel's nukes will go bad? methinks not. meanwhile, also, i've been saying for ages, floating a modified flat tax in which all income is income and there are deductions only for children and one mortgage/rent, period. then everybody is treated exactly the same within each tax bracket -- tax bracket's being necessary so as not to take 10% of somebody's income of $10,000 leaving them with $9,000 to live on while taking $100,000 of $1,000,000 and leaving them with $900,000 while, let's face it, nobody's salary/earnings are based upon any constitutional framework and nobody earns money in a vacuum (the ceo of this or that company earns what s/he earns because the workers are working well, or not, and americans are spending their money there, or not). if hillary said such a thing, i think she'd be a shoo-in. (a) graduated flat tax, and (b) one-year cessation of foreign aid with review. shit, i'd be willing to bet a candidate for president running with just those two promises would garner 60% or more of the vote, ayum.
UN SLAMS ISRAEL'S DEMOLITION OF PALESTINIAN HOMES - by Renee Lewis [01/24/15]
The United Nations has slammed Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and unfair, after a series of demolitions this week left dozens of Palestinians—mostly children—homeless.
"In the past three days, 77 Palestinians, over half of them children, have been made homeless," the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement issued late Friday. "Some of the demolished structures were provided by the international community to support vulnerable families."
"Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel's obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension. They must stop immediately," said OCHA.
The demolitions occurred in the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Jericho and Hebron, as well as East Jerusalem.
Last year, Israel carried out a record number of home demolitions in parts of the West Bank designated as Area C, which are under full Israeli military control, according to OCHA. Other parts of the West Bank, Areas A and B, are occupied by Israel but under the civil administration of the Palestinian Authority.
"In 2014 ... Israeli authorities destroyed 590 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 1,177 people — the highest level of displacement in the West Bank since OCHA began systematically monitoring the issue in 2008," the U.N. office said.
Israel did not respond to a request for comment by Al Jazeera at the time of publication. However, sources told Palestinian news site Ma’an that the demolitions were for "security purposes" and because the homes were constructed without permission.
Israel has justified past demolitions by stating that the targeted homes were built without the required permits — which only Israeli authorities can issue. But Palestinians and rights groups allege that Israel routinely denies Palestinians permits so as to force them to leave desirable areas, including East Jerusalem. These Palestinians say they are essentially forced to build homes without authorization.
“The occupation simply does not want us here. We are not welcome in our own city, Jerusalem,” Rebhi Dari, one of the recently displaced homeowners, told The Jerusalem Post.
“They are fighting our steadfastness – that is why they ask for large amounts of cash for some paper work,” he added. “Approving an application for a construction permit takes years and ends up being denied.”
In its statement on Friday, OCHA echoed Dari’s concerns about housing discrimination in the occupied Palestinian territories.
"The planning policies applied by Israel in Area C and East Jerusalem discriminate against Palestinians, making it extremely difficult for them to obtain building permits," the statement said. "As a result, many Palestinians build without permits to meet their housing needs and risk having their structures demolished. Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met."
In contrast to Israel's restrictive housing policy for Palestinians in Area C, Israeli settlers "enjoy expansive allocations of land, detailed planning, hookup to advanced infrastructure and a blind eye regarding illegal construction," Israeli rights group B’tselem has said.
"From 2002 through 2010, only 176 construction permits were issued to Palestinians [in Area C], at least 15,000 residential units were built in settlements during that same period, with or without permits," said a statement on B'tselem’s website.
All Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and other territories occupied since the Six Day War in 1967 are illegal under international law. Their continued development has been a longstanding obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Today, there are more than 100 Israeli-government-sanctioned settlements and 100 unsanctioned settlement outposts in the West Bank, housing an estimated 515,000 Israelis, according to B’tselem.
January 23, 2015: if the government insists upon continuing to be hardheadedly intent upon spending what will end up being millions and millions of dollars over the course of the next twenty years just to execute this pathetic mixed-up teenaged terrorist murderer of 3 people (the usa doesn't execute people for assault -- even for blowing people's limbs off -- so that's the actual victim count with regard to crimes committed for which, when -- let's face it, it's not a matter of 'if' anyhow -- he's convicted, he'll face the death penalty) instead of accepting a life-without-parole plea deal which will very shortly render him a forgotten nobody (be honest, when was the last time you actually thought of this kid or the bombing itself?) instead of an islamic extremist cult hero and martyr -- then they've at least got to agree to move this trial, probably out of massachusetts itself, where he cannot possibly get a fair trial with regard to a bombing in front of the boston public library which every schoolchild in the commonwealth of massachusetts has visited at least once -- the site of the finish line of the perennial marathon watched around the world year after year, which EVERYBODY in massachusetts obviously knows about intimately as it really does capture the world's attention as well as entrants from around the world and falls on the state holiday known as patriot's day, on which almost everybody has the day off to enjoy and check in on the status of the marathon if they don't actually actively follow its course and progress (this non-sportsman lived in boston [wonderful city, marvelous historicity and gorgeous architecture but, let's face it, socially problematic and horrific in winter], so he does know whereof he writes). just sayin'. - ccf
SURVEYS SHOW BIAS OF POTENTIAL JURORS IN BOSTON BOMBING TRIAL [by Katharine Q. Seelye / NYT 01/22/15]
(Boston) One potential juror said she was biased against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev because he is Muslim. “I already feel that he’s guilty,” she said.
Another choked back tears as she said she was a neighbor of Martin Richard, an 8-year-old boy who was killed in the 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon, for which Mr. Tsarnaev is standing trial.
A third seemed too eager to serve, as if seeking celebrity for participating, while a fourth, a biologist, told the judge he doubted he had “the personal constitution” to consider the death penalty — even for Boston’s most loathed suspect.
Jury selection in the Boston Marathon bombing case is proving to be far more complicated than anticipated: A spokesman for Federal District Court here said Thursday that the target date of Jan. 26 for opening statements was “not realistic” because many potential jurors must still be questioned about their views.
Confronted with the difficulty of finding impartial jurors, Mr. Tsarnaev’s defense team asked the court on Thursday, for the third time, to move the trial from Boston. Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. has rejected their previous requests, but this time, Mr. Tsarnaev’s lawyers presented some startling statistics about the jury pool.
Of the 1,373 prospective jurors who filled out screening questionnaires this month, the defense said, 68 percent said they already believed that Mr. Tsarnaev was guilty.
“This kid is from another country and kills innocent people!” one person wrote.
The defense also said that 69 percent of the potential jurors had said they had a personal connection to the case.
One of them, the defense said, was an emergency room doctor who treated Mr. Tsarnaev after he was apprehended. The doctor also treated Mr. Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, who is believed to have participated in the bombing and died after a night of mayhem.
“My friend was there and got blown up,” another prospective juror wrote in an answer on the questionnaire. “Additionally, her child was severely wounded and is still dealing with residual surgeries.”
Yet another wrote that a friend had lost both legs and that the friend’s daughter had been hurt, adding, “Wore Boston Strong sweatshirt to jury duty today.”
At this rate, the defense wrote, “prejudice and personal connections are so pervasive, the remnants from which a jury can be cobbled together are not representative of the community in any sense.”
Judge O’Toole has said that if finding an impartial jury proves too difficult, he will reassess his position on moving the trial. He also criticized the defense team, saying that its disclosure of information found in the confidential questionnaires was improper, and he ordered sealed the motion that included responses from the jurors.
Judge O’Toole had planned to question 40 prospective jurors a day, or 200 in five days. But Thursday, after the first five days, just 72 people had been interviewed. It is not known who among them may have been excused permanently or might be recalled for further questioning.
The process is particularly slow because the trial is a high-profile federal death penalty case. It requires close questioning of potential jurors for prejudice.
A death penalty case comes with an additional catch: Jurors must be willing to sentence the defendant to death. They are not required to, but they must be open to it. Anyone who firmly opposes the death penalty therefore cannot serve on the jury.
Massachusetts has little experience with modern death penalty cases. It is one of 18 states that have abolished capital punishment, and the last execution here was carried out in 1947. Mr. Tsarnaev is charged with 30 federal crimes, 17 of which carry the death penalty if he is convicted. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
“Eastern Massachusetts has a long and well-chronicled history of opposition to the death penalty,” said Daniel S. Medwed, a law professor at Northeastern University. “So this means that many of the remaining acceptable people who are not dismissed on the basis of having an opinion or having a connection will be disqualified because of their moral opposition to the death penalty.”
He called this problematic. “It means that people who are informed and interested in what’s going on are considered to be ill-equipped to evaluate it,” he said.
In its motion to move the trial, the defense said that 26 percent of the initial jury pool had written in their questionnaires that they thought Mr. Tsarnaev should receive the death penalty; 22 percent said he should not and 46 percent said they were not sure.
Of the 72 potential jurors questioned orally so far, perhaps a third or more have indicated that they oppose the death penalty.
But rather than dismiss them outright, Judge O’Toole has often questioned them further to see if their opposition is absolute or if they might reconsider under certain circumstances.
“The only thing I could think of is if someone killed one of my children,” a retired dental hygienist said Thursday. “Then I’m not so sure.”
Another potential juror, a theologian who teaches at a Catholic college, said he could not impose the death penalty “under any circumstances.” He said he worried that if he were selected, he might be denied tenure if his colleagues thought he had voted to sentence Mr. Tsarnaev to death. “They would wonder what I know about Catholic social ethics,” he said.
Judge O’Toole has also questioned jurors extensively on other topics. Many people were interviewed at length, including those who said they believed Mr. Tsarnaev was guilty and wanted him put to death. Yet another concern cited by Mr. Tsarnaev’s lawyers were stealth jurors who might have an agenda — becoming a celebrity or writing a book — and who seem eager to be picked.
One woman questioned appeared overly enthusiastic. “I’m ready to do this,” she said brightly. Another woman said that she and her boyfriend had planned an R.V. trip but that they could stay in town. She even offered to park the R.V. near the courthouse so she could be readily available.
01/22/15: reply to a facebud's post of a poem his mom wrote on the 12th anniversary of his dad's death: "i lost the love of my life 18 months ago in an accidental drunk drowning in his pool (which carries its own kind of pain -- he drowned drunk in the pool the afternoon before the morning he was going into rehab having just realized he was alcoholic -- and i'm 17 yrs sober and was going to help him so much... ugh) -- i dreamed of him last night and it was horrible -- in the dream, i was holding out hope that he wasn't dead and went to the airport to pick him up as he was scheduled to visit me, but he wasn't to be found and then i remembered his mom's voice telling me he was dead, then he was visiting me from the dead and it was so bittersweet i was crying, woke up crying, fell back asleep and had to ask him not to visit me like this anymore because it was too painful for me, even knowing that by doing so, i was sending him back to the blackness of death from which he'd taken a reprieve to visit me. and i can't even imagine losing a spouse. i've learned something close to what widows/widowers know, and for the first time actually feel that i know some of what my grandma corbett must have endured -- she spent 1/3 of her life single, 1/3 married to my grandfather, and 1/3 a widow and a cousin said she remembers attending a mass for my grandfather some 10 yrs after his death and she was standing there just sobbing with wracking sobs her whole body shaking. now your mom tells us that even after this many years, it's still there. i know that my loss is nowhere as painful or heavy as theirs. ramon and i were together for 8 yrs and best friends for 15 but there was always the hope we'd get back together and i believe we would have with his recovery with alcoholism and the ways in which we'd both changed over the years. but to know how painful it still is for your mom and others like her is truly horrible. life is so painful in so many ways. but i'm sure she takes her deepest joy in her children and, probably by now (?) grandchildren. it's all we really can do, huh?" [ccf]
01/20/15: this morning, a facebud posted:
American Film Director Michael Moore Is Back In The News! He recently tweeted these exact words: "My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren't heroes. And invaders r worse" He Also tweeted: "But if you're on the roof of your home defending it from invaders who've come 7K miles, you are not a sniper, u are brave, u are a neighbor." And finally, he twitted: "Hmm. I never tweeted 1word bout AmericanSniper/ChrisKyle. I said my uncle killed by sniper in WWII; only cowards would do that 2 him, others"
to which, i replied:
wow, 100 posts already and it's only 10:00am est. it's always sadly amused and saddened me how the exact same stmt/reality of life can be applauded 'here and now' and booed 'then and there.' re 'american sniper' and the sniper himself as well as nationalism/militarism: (a) is anything and everything a-ok (or at least 'excusable in the crucible of war' if'n when 'our guys and gals' do it to them but horrific if'n when 'they' do it to us? seems so, eh? (b) is everybody in the military automatically a hero deserving of accolades and benes for the rest of their lives while their brothers and sisters cleaning toilets are lucky to get a minimum wage that would have provided a living wage 40 yrs ago but doesn't anymore? or only those who actually fight in a war, or all of those in a war zone during fighting even if many were only in the office in the green zone, or, or, uhm... well, you get my drift, no? (c) is somebody a hero if s/he is an egotistical immature ass who's jumped at the chance to live a real-life video game instead of play-acting from the couch, doesn't know or care much at all about the political situation/ramifications for the nation in the long run, etc, spends a year or two in a combat zone and comes out forever damaged? deserving of sympathy, absolutely, but a hero? (d) isn't there a diff between us invading 'them' (an offensive war in which we’ve actually invaded their country?) and them hitting us first (a defensive war in which we’re protecting us and ours)? there is a difference, isn’t there? (e) thinking about it objectively, snipers are probably the best-protected and least 'heroic' of all fighters -- they're pretty much hiding out, they’re not out in the open fighting, and they basically sit there until they get a ‘kill shot’ and then just shoot somebody in the head – they’re probably actually doing less ‘work’ than the guy/gal back in the office in the green zone or driving the general from meeting to meeting, no? (f) the ‘american sniper’ was murdered by a fellow former fighter whom he’d taken to the shooting range to deal with his ptsd (great idea, huh?) – live by the gun, die by the gun? (g) the entire iraqi mess could have been avoided – saddam was boxed in and while a horrific dictator – he and his horrible male spawn – he wasn’t ‘outside the box’ at all and was in fact, as known to everybody for years (but dismissed by gee dubya and prick cheney and their minions) he was actually NOT allowing al qeada etc into iraq or helping them – he was keeping them out – ‘we’ should have left advisors and ‘helpers’ in afghanistan after bringing down the taliban gommint for their role in 9/11 and moved no further – imagine how much money, how many lives, how fewer terrorists there’d have been and would be today except for gee dubya and prick cheney and their minions’ angry greedy desire to hit saddam just because he dissed old man bush in the 90s – and grab at those literally multi-billion dollar military and oil contracts, eh? (h) finally (sorry to have gone on so long – i’d intended to just make a couple of points but apparently i had more of ‘em in my hay-ed than i'd first thought) my main ‘little lol shaking head’ at the entire situation is that people who believe themselves to be christians are the ones warring and applauding and making excuses etc but no one can actually be a follower or ‘disciple’ of someone or some god(s) if they do what the person/god(s) told them not to do, and don’t do what the person/god(s) told them to do – i’m not the one who wrote or said ‘thou shall not kill’ and ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ and ‘you who are without sin cast the first stone’ and (when specifically asked what one should do when struck on the cheek by another) ‘turn and offer him the other’ and ‘that which you do to the least of them (often quoted as ‘my brothers’ but basically the folks gathered around) you do to me’ and ‘those who live by the sword shall die by the sword’ (and let’s not forget jesus being specifically asked about paying taxes to the roman gommint and saying ‘give to caesar what is caeser’s and give to god what is god’s’ (just a little jab at the angry anti-every-tax-there-is crowd out there) and also said that this life was immaterial because what really mattered was the life to come. and excuse me for saying, in closing, that no, it’s not all good. some of it is really, really bad, isn't it? [ccf]
01/17/15: the gal behind the counter at starbucks yesterday morning asked me, 'are you a professor?' probably because i need a shave and a haircut and apparently middle-aged unkempt guys are always professors on tv. so i said, 'no, i don't profess anything anymore. prison is just too hard on a sensitive disposition. i swear to god, though, if they ever hand me one of those three strikes life sentences, i'll take the whole god damned courthouse down with me... room for cream, please. oh, and a buttermilk bisquit.' -ccf
It's Monday the 13th -- You kids be careful out there, y'heyah?!!
Religious Bias Issues Debated After Atlanta Mayor's Dismissal of Fire Chief
From: Christopher Corbett-Fiacco
Editor, New York Times:
According to the above-titled article in today's NYT, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran is quoted as having said, "I am heartbroken that I will no longer be able to serve the city and the people I love as fire chief, for no reason other than my Christian faith," after having been fired by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed for having distributed a "Christian self-help book" stating that "homosexual acts" are "vile, vulgar and inapporpriate."
To which I reply: No, Mr. Cochran, your religious beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with it. You were fired because you took advantage of your position of authority to spread your religious message around the department.
If your supervisor was an extreme right wing 'Christian' who fervently believed that 'the races must not mix' (and yeah, they're out there) and handed out pamphlets saying so, s/he would also deserve to be fired. Period.
If it's imperative to you that you be free to spread your religious opinions around your workplace, then take responsibility for your own decisions and actions, and forego secular, non-religious employment, because it's not for you.
There are many religious communities which would doubtless welcome firefighters and administrators with religious fervor like yourself, such as those polygamist groups in Texas and Utah with the women (including thirteen year-old 'brides') who dress in 19th century Old West garb. Check them out, you'd probably fit in quite well.
look, i've said it before and i'll said it again: THE TOILET PAPER GOES OVER LIKE A WATERFALL, NOT UNDER LIKE SOME OTHER THING THAT ISN'T LIKE A WATERFALL. (and, again, i am unanimous in that.) -ccf
01/10/15: he goes much further than i would but i share his basic premise -- it may make people feel good to presume 'i am the victim' but (a) not unless you've done exactly what s/he did and suffered the same way and (b) not unless you [the keith olbermans etc amongst 'em] have been willing to use the word 'fuck' etc on camera as often as you do in private and are willing to show/speak about making-fun-of-jesus stmts/cartoons, which you're not because you [and all the rest of us] self-censor all the live long day in the public sphere [and with our parents and grandparents and kids in attendance, no?] and especially today YOU ARE NOT AHMED unless you too volunteered to put your life on the line for other people -- i would never presume to say 'I AM THE DEAD COP' who was executed by a direct shot to the head as he lay on the sidewalk after having tried to thwart the assassins' escape. -ccf
I AM NOT CHARLIE HEBDO
by David Brooks 01/08/15
The journalists at Charlie Hebdo are now rightly being celebrated as martyrs on behalf of freedom of expression, but let’s face it: If they had tried to publish their satirical newspaper on any American university campus over the last two decades it wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds. Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech. The administration would have cut financing and shut them down.
Public reaction to the attack in Paris has revealed that there are a lot of people who are quick to lionize those who offend the views of Islamist terrorists in France but who are a lot less tolerant toward those who offend their own views at home.
Just look at all the people who have overreacted to campus micro-aggressions. The University of Illinois fired a professor who taught the Roman Catholic view on homosexuality. The University of Kansas suspended a professor for writing a harsh tweet against the N.R.A. Vanderbilt University derecognized a Christian group that insisted that it be led by Christians.
Americans may laud Charlie Hebdo for being brave enough to publish cartoons ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad, but, if Ayaan Hirsi Ali is invited to campus, there are often calls to deny her a podium.
So this might be a teachable moment. As we are mortified by the slaughter of those writers and editors in Paris, it’s a good time to come up with a less hypocritical approach to our own controversial figures, provocateurs and satirists.
The first thing to say, I suppose, is that whatever you might have put on your Facebook page yesterday, it is inaccurate for most of us to claim, Je Suis Charlie Hebdo, or I Am Charlie Hebdo. Most of us don’t actually engage in the sort of deliberately offensive humor that that newspaper specializes in.
We might have started out that way. When you are 13, it seems daring and provocative to “épater la bourgeoisie,” to stick a finger in the eye of authority, to ridicule other people’s religious beliefs.
But after a while that seems puerile. Most of us move toward more complicated views of realty and more forgiving views of others. (Ridicule becomes less fun as you become more aware of your own frequent ridiculousness.) Most of us do try to show a modicum of respect for people of different creeds and faiths. We do try to open conversations with listening rather than insult.
Yet, at the same time, most of us know that provocateurs and other outlandish figures serve useful public roles. Satirists and ridiculers expose our weakness and vanity when we are feelng proud. They puncture the self-puffery of the successful. They level social inequality by bringing the mighty low. When they are effective they help us address our foibles communally, since laughter is one of the ultimate bonding experiences.
Moreover, provocateurs and ridiculers expose the stupidity of the fundamentalists. Fundaentalists are people who take everything literally. They are incapable of multiple viewpoints. They are incapable of seeing that while their religion may be worthy of the deepest reverence, it is also true that most religions are kind of weird. Satirists expose those who are incapable of laughing at themselves and teach the rest of us that we probably should.
If you try to pull off this delicate balance with law, speech codes and banned speakers, you’ll end up with crude censorship and a strangled conversation. It’s almost always wrong to try to suppress speech, erect speech codes and disinvite speakers.
Fortunately, social manners are more malleable and supple than laws and codes. Most soieties have successfully maintained standards of civility and respect while keeping open avenues for those who are funny, uncivil and offensive.
In most societies, there’s the adults’ table and there’s the kids’ table. The people who read Le Monde or the establishment organs are at the adults’ table. The jesters, the holy fools and people like Ann Coulter and Bill Maher are at the kids’ table. They’re not granted complete respectability, but they are heard because in their unguided missile manner, they sometimes say necessary things that no one else is saying.
Healthy societies, in other words, don’t suppress speech, but they do grant different standing to different sorts of people. Wise and considerate scholars are heard with high respect.
Satirists are heard with bemused semirespect. Racists and anti-Semites are heard through a filter of opprobrium and disrespect. People who want to be heard attentively have to earn it through their conduct.
The massacre at Charlie Hebdo should be an occasion to end speech codes. And it should remind us to be legally tolerant toward offensive voices, even as we are socially discriminating.
11/25/2014: i guess i might as well put my eighteen cents worth into the mix: every single case is not the same. trayvon martin was stalked by a vigilante who confronted him with a gun and shot him dead when he did what anybody would do -- fight for his life -- and the asshole got away with murder. there HAVE been police shootings (and old-white-fucker shootings) of unarmed and NOT DANGEROUS african-americans and hispanics etc, AND THOSE ARE THE CASES THAT DESERVE THIS KIND OF ATTENTION BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE BEING KILLED WITHOUT HAVING 'PROVOKED' ANYTHING. but this liberal progressive looks at the specific circumstances of each case, and in this case, the most telling thing is that there was another african-american young man RIGHT BESIDE MICHAEL BROWN, so we have TWO PEOPLE WHOSE BEHAVIOR WE CAN SPECIFICALLY LOOK AT AND SEE WHAT LED TO WHAT: michael brown stole a fistful of cigarellos, or whatever they're called, and handed some to his friend, who put them back on the counter and said 'i don't do that' -- mr brown literally grabbed a little asian man by the throat and pushed him back violently when the asian proprietor of the store ran after him to get the items back, and then when the guy came after him again, brown made that 'i'm bigger than you are' aggressive forward movement and the littler man backed off but did call the cops -- mr brown and his friend were both walking in the street and were told by the cop to get out of the street onto the sidewalk (do we all get to walk down the middle of the street, impeding traffic and possibly getting hit by a car which then results in who knows what injuries/lawsuits/police involvement?) -- mr brown's friend got onto the sidewalk and was not injured, arrested, or killed -- mr brown reached into the cop car (never a good idea) and 'tussled' with the cop -- the cop did not attempt to pull him into the cop car through the driver's side window -- no cop would EVER do such a thing -- by reaching into a cop car and 'tussling' with a cop, that's assaulting a police officer -- the cop drew his gun and fired (what would you do? let mr brown assault you through your open cop car window?) and then mr brown ran -- the cop gave chase (that's what they're trained to do, and how safe would any of us feel if cops just let people run off without chase when they've assaulted a police officer after a 'strong arm robbery'?) and by witness accounts, apparently backed up by audio, the cop shot at him as he ran -- mr brown then turned around and (depending on which of a half dozen witnesses you believe) he either (a) stood still with his arms at his side (b) stood still with his arms raised in surrender (c) stood still with his arms out in front of him (d) ran toward the cop (according to AFRICAN-AMERICAN WITNESSES who will NOT want their names released, i'm sure) and the cop shot mr brown in order to stop a robbery suspect who'd just assaulted him, from barreling over him and, what, possibly getting his gun, shooting the cop, shooting other people? I AM BY NO MEANS AN APOLOGIST FOR THE POWERS THAT BE but every single shooting of an 'unarmed' african-american ADULT by a white cop is not exactly the same as every other one, and by trying to make an innocent 'gentle giant' (the first description of mr brown i heard on tv from his friend who was with him in that store and on that street -- before seeing the video of mr brown stealing the cigars and grabbing the little asian man by the throat and pushing him back and then taking a bullying stance) trying to claim that a bully who assaulted a cop was a mere innocent child callously murdered by a racist cop, does not make it so. BIG FACTS TO THINK ABOUT AND EVEN BIGGER QUESTION TO ANSWER, in my humble opinion: (1) what did mr brown do, and what did mr brown's friend/companion do [remember, there were TWO young african-american men standing side by side in that little store and in the street] and (2) where are each one of them today -- and their family members, and the community in terms of what happened to each of them re how each one of them acted? at the risk of losing friends, mr brown's actions led directly to his own death. that cop was not out to 'get' some black kid, and i am absolutely honestly willing to bet that ANY one of us IN THAT COP'S POSITION would also have shot him as he came running toward us after having just assaulted us after having just robbed a convenience store and refusing an order to simply get out of the street and get onto the sidewalk. and i also think that there's a huge risk with the idea that EVERY SITUATION IS EXACTLY THE SAME, because they're not, and the next time there really IS a case in which it's obvious that some white guy, whether a cop or not (or a hispanic-or-otherwise ethnic neighborhood vigilante) just outright kills some black kid, like trayvon martin (also, perhaps, compare his 'movements' and situation with michael brown's 'movements' and situation?), then THAT kid gets lumped in with a guy who stole some piddling shit, bullied the store owner, reached into a cop car and assaulted the cop, etc, and frankly, trayvon martin and others like him WHO HAVE BEEN MURDERED WITHOUT HAVING DONE ANYTHING TO ANYBODY, they deserve better. it also runs the risk of losing the sympathy of other people, whether white or asian or hispanic or whatever-have-you, when another situation like trayvon martin's murder comes around, because they're not all exactly the same. so, for what it's worth, that's my take on it and i'm not going to go on and on (as if i haven't already) except to say that it really is very sad, but that's the way things go sometimes when you tussle with a cop who has a gun. meanwhile, i personally am really VERY interested in reading as much as possible about what the grand jury heard, esp re witnesses, whose accounts are NOT video tapes -- the memory is a very strange thing, and what to do when ten people give you four versions of what happened? the benefit of the doubt in such situations HAS to go to the 'accused' if a bunch of people each tell you they saw exactly what happened, and you get four different stories of what happened.
11/05/2014: not that i'm going on a tear or a rant because, frankly, i'm too god damned tired and, frankly, i'll be back on my psychiatric meds as of getting my prescriptions filled today (i'm bipolar2 with anxiety/panic attacks as well as high blood pressure -- and that's just for porpoises of medication, never mind the anal-retentive obsessive/compulsive whatnot -- all of which i often refer to more simply as suffering from opd -- obnoxious personality disorder) but how upset should i be (or would y'all 'allow for' or would y'all be, yourselves) at the following: today's wednesday, so it was a week ago monday that i called the only (the ONLY!) federally funded mental health clinic in albany (albany -- the capital city of the state!) re my situation, having run out of meds after my san diego psychiatrist gave me a 90 day supply right before i left san diego to drive ten days to the new york state debacle which y'all have been reading about and/or ignoring these past 5 months... so this gal who took my call spoke to me for maybe 10 minutes and I could tell she didn’t know a lot of what she was talking about, which I’ve come to realize over the years is not uncommon in such situations, administrative ‘intake’ people either not knowing that they’re talking about (‘but the website says…’) or providing actually incorrect information (‘but if I’m not mistaken, the americans with disabilities act…’) and I’ve come to think that it’s because (a) these places have almost no funding whatsoever (who wants to pay THEIR HARD-EARNED TAXES so that somebody without medical care or without a plan that covers mental health and/or is in a crisis can actually get to see a fucking psychiatrist so as not to blow his or her head off – or somebody else’s? why… why that’s DIRTY DEMOCRATIC COMMIE PROGRAMS!... but I digresss (and don’tchas love it sometimes when I do?...) and so such places can’t afford to hire the job candidate who really is the best or maybe even only better or many even only actually competent; and/or (b) rules change sometimes and the gal (usually) on the phone or at the front desk is working under last year’s rules and regs (but again, that’s kind of related to (a) above; and/or (c) these jobs are often filled by somebody who was once a client who needed a job and a job opened, but that person simply ain’t, how shall I say, the sharpest tool on the shelf? (although not necessarily looking kinda dumb with her finger and thumb in the shape of an ‘L’ on her forehead), but at any rate, she was getting flustered and put her supervisor on the phone, and I spoke with her for probably five minutes, and she not only (a) seemed WAAAY more upset about my being off of my blood pressure meds than my being off of my psychiatric meds and being up and down and back and forth and desperately depressed with sometime suicidal ideation (who else knows that term? It’s the ONE phrase that ALWAYS gets you in rightquick – unless you’re dealing with people such as the administrative gal (above) or the supervisor (currently under review – attack? – no, just ‘review’) but then maybe she’s had somebody in her family suffer a stroke or heart attack re high blood pressure but hasn’t found anybody hanging from a belt in their closet, so who’s to throw stones?... and so, at any rate, this woman insisted that I had to get an appointment with a doctor preagar (i think – I’m too tired to go look up the name again) at something called ‘koinonia primary care, inc’ which is doubtless a native american indian name I’m too tired to look up) in order to get a referral to go to albany’s only federally-funded mental health clinic – which, frankly, did not sound quite right to me – it’s a federally-funded clinic for albany county residents and the website says of course that one does not need health insurance and touts their ‘quality of care’ (although, suspiciously, mentions nothing about the quality of receptionists or reception/intake supervisory staff… hmmm…) and so fine I call that number and am told that I can walk in at any time and complete their intake forms and the doctor will review them the following morning and probably see me the next day or two. okay. and SO… I do that. I drive into albany and I find the address, an old brick building in what people here think of as ‘the iffy part of town’ (please – just because the population is almost exclusively poor black people living amongst a bunch of rundown and boarded up brownstones – because the city was once an industrial giant and both its economy and its population plummeted after its industrial jobs moved down south on their way to india – doesn’t make it ‘iffy’ – I’ve been in such sections of various cities in m lifetime and have NEVER suffered harm IN ANY WAY, AT ALL, PERIOD – but again, I digress (and again, don’tchas love it sometimes when I do? Garsh sakes, you know, sometimes I wish I could be on the reading end of these screeds, but again, who’s to throw stones?) – and so I go there (and that’s where the little story about not leaning against the reception window ledge comes in – if you haven’t read it yet, OMG IT IS A HOOT! Maybe you can find it someplace on my facebook page. Whatever.) and I fill out this LOOOONG ASS SERIES OF DOCUMENTS but that’s fine, they want all the information they can gather, that’s cool, and i spend probably 15 full minutes writing in a brief history of my life re my current situation (the mentally brother who stabbed our oldest, but thankfully didn’t actually murder him, his return to our home after our parents told us three remaining youngest that they wouldn’t bring him back into the house after we specifically asked them because of course we were afraid of him – who wouldn’t be? – the start of the 5 yrs of sexual molestation/assault by a presumed friend of the family who was babysitting us while my parents traded off visits to one son in the intensive care unit and the other being shuttled between the county jail and the mental institution (my having known it was ‘somehow wrong’ and it being, well, rape, and what more to say at the moment about how that feels and damages a human being, most esp a child? But how my societal AND MOST CRITICALLY AND IMPORTANTLY AND ESPECIALLY MY RELIGIOUS UPBRINGING – by a mom who was even then overtly religious but wasn’t yet actually religiously insane – I was told that homoshekshuality was a disgusting sinful abomination against god and nature, and knew from the time I was probably 4 or 5 that I was, indeed, attracted to the older boys and dads instead of the girls and moms – and that homoshekshules ‘recruited’ young boys by molesting them – and so, well, while it felt horrifically dirty and icky and a violation of mind as well as body and spirit and soul… well, apparently, this is how it’s done, so I guess in some way this is ‘normal?...’ AND THAT’S THE DANGER OF TEACHING CHILDREN SUCH SHIT because, in addition, what am I supposed to do about it, go tell mommy and daddy that I’m a dirty sinful little gay boy being ‘brought into the system’ by the homoshekshule adult man who’s molesting me – which is exactly what they’re all saying is the way it happens, anyhow?... (big breath and sigh here – BIG ‘take it in and let it go’ again, Christopher), and all the rest up to the present-day, shaking hands with that brother, who is no longer mentally ill but really is an angry rightwing hater, in my estimation (but who has ‘at least’ moved insofar as his take on the ‘gay issue’ from ‘they all oughta be lined up against a wall and shot’ (late ‘70s) to ‘the church’s stance’ (‘the’ church being, of course, the roman catholic church in which we were all raised, which, as ‘the’ church, has, of course, the ‘real undiluted truth’ etcetra, uhm hmmm…) which is ‘it’s a sin, but hate the sin and love the sinner and let god take care of it – and us) – but and so I digress and digress and lose my way and come back around to his wife of 30 yrs died horribly of cancer a couple of years ago (she was nice enough, although quite frankly she and he pretty much ignored our entire side of the family whilest laying it on thick with hers to the extent that a brother with children hearing her having been eulogized as having been ‘very close to her nieces and nephews’ thought to himself, huh? close to her nieces and nephews? I don’t think my kids ever got a birthday or xmas card or gift… oh, yeah, HER sister’s kids, not any of his brother’s kids… and funny also how the dead are so often AND SO FUCKING QUICKLY beatified – oh my heavens why she was just such a wonderful whatnot – really? I mean, she was nice enough, but… y’know? and y’know me, for saying so, eh?) and so at any rate, said bro, as y’all know, bought this beautifully refurbished old school and was IN THE PROCESS (not ‘thinking of’ or ‘looking for funding to’ but IN THE PROCESS – I seen it myself and the large classrooms were being framed in as one bedroom senior apts, with the offices above set up for refurbishing as office space and/or studio or two-room apts, and a huge basement sports court / auditorium for laundry room and ‘the diane fraumani fiacco memorial hall’ – no, seriously, but hey, it’s a nice touch and a touching thing, for use by community groups such as the boy scout homo-h8ers and senior groups and whonot – i’d even sent a couple of letters with ideas re the HUGE lawn as a sort of ‘private park’ for the residents and hosting a.a. meetings in the diane fraumani fiacco memorial hall and basketball courtyard) and how he shook my hand on my coming back to nys from 12 yrs in san diego, which I loved, and taking over the project and therefore having a job and housing, and how I sold off or gave away or abandoned (because you can’t even sell or give some stuff anymore, there’s so much cheap shit from china out there nowadays) and put my most precious personal possessions, as well as a suitcase of clothing, my two cats in a small dog cage, my 3 gouldian finches, all stuffed into my mustang (which is hardly the most spacious sort of vehicle for doing so) and how I drove TEN FUCKING DAYS to albany (a horrible HORRIBLE trip of endless endless driving and cats having diahhrea on and off in motel rooms from the stress, and having to get up every fucking morning except for the two, I think, during which I stayed another full day in a particular place because I was exhausted – getting up and packing up and stuffing the cats into the cage (which only took two days before they both knew enough to try to get out of the experience by running and hiding, if they could – me trying as gently as possible while having fucking anxiety attacks and getting PISSED OFF but trying as gently as possible to coax and pull a frightened twenty pound cat out from under a bed…) and how I got here to hear my mom do her meak mommy voice ‘oh, well, uhm… that fell through…’ (as I heard that on the telephone just before leaving Michigan on the last 5 hour leg of my ten day journey after asking ‘how does lee want to work this out? Does he want to meet me at the building, or at your apartment, or do you have the keys to the building?’ because – naturally – he hadn’t contacted me at all from xmas through mid-may… my jaw literally dropped – I’m not just using that as a phrase – picture one of those scenes from a movie when the main character (well, okay, maybe just a minor character – at least apparently as far as certain other ‘cast members’ who only ever had to pick up the phone or drop a fucking post card into the mail saying ‘don’t leave san diego until you hear from me/us that it’s all set…’ but who didn’t) my jaw literally dropped and I said WHAT DO YOU MEAN, ‘THAT FELL THROUGH’ – weak excuse re funding which, come to find out, actually apparently means that there’s forty grand available from the state – and that’s just ONE of TWO OR THREE OUTRIGHT GRANTS available for this project – but ‘brother republicanazi’ would have to utilize union labor if he took the money and OOOOOH MY GOD IN HEAVEN WHY HILLARY AND THE DEMOCRATS AND THE UNIONS ARE RUINING THIS COUNTRY!!!!!.... and so, here I am in an apt my parents helped me to fund but without any network of health care or friends etc as I had back home in san diego (which is my home and nothing personal to those who grew up and/or still live here but, this ain’t my home no more, no more, it ain’t my home no mooooore – I’m just a west coast kinda guy) AND SO TO THE STORY I started out telling… I fill out my forms and give them to the receptionist and she says ‘the doctor will review it in the morning and probably get you an appointment in a day or two’ and it’s only then that I turn around and see a HUGE blow-up of a newspaper article, framed and hanging proudly right there on the wall, with a headline re the doctor ‘prays with a patient at the thus-and-such medical center’ who gives ‘spiritual’ as well as medical care… and y’all know that I am not merely ‘not religious’ but that, while I respect everyone’s right to their belief systems and services, etc, it just ain’t for me… and so I think, oh, great, yeah, well, I imagine it’s not something he’s OVERT about… ??? and so I’m scheduled for six days later, and yesterday at 6:40pm I finally got in to see the doctor and they give me another little sheet to fill out asking ‘in the last two weeks’ have I felt this, have I felt that, a psychological questionnaire, and I fill it out marking it appropriately as being very depressed, chewed up by anxiety, trouble sleeping, etc. one question was ‘have you planned your death’ and had only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ option, so I wrote in the truth, ‘not seriously.’ WHELL! The entire thing took almost 2 full hours because first I met with a 1st year med student who took my blood pressure and pulse and some information which was RIGHT THERE ON THE FORMS I’D FILLE OUT LAST WEEK AS WELL AS JUST NOW… but I merely alluded to having answered the questionnaire… and then I had the pleasure of being seen by a 2ND YEAR MED STUDENT (okay, it’s nice that the doctor is doing this for med students but WTF, you know what I mean?) because he basically asked mildly more probing versions of the same exact questions she’d just asked AND THEN I WAIT AGAIN UNTIL THE DOCTOR FINALLY COMES IN WITH THE 2ND YEAR MED STUDENT TRAILING BEHIND who hasn’t even really given doctor preglaw or whatever a very descriptive version of what I’d just spent ten fucking minutes describing to him… but hey, HOPEFULLY his ability to hear the patient, jot notes, and relay the patient’s information to the next doctor down the line – will improve as his education continues… and I digress… and so FINALLY THE BIG MAN COMES IN and he was really a very nice and kind and understanding and listening doctor. He spent about a half hour with me, talking to me re my situation and history and meds, he gave me three prescriptions which I’ll shortly bring to ye olde target re their four buck generic pharmacy plan, and at the end of it all, after I’ve thanked him profusely and he says that I can call to have weekly sessions with him and a psychologist who works with him re mental health, at what is clearly the conclusion of my visit, he says, ‘can I pray for you?’ and I stifle my natural tendency to do what I just did here – roll my eyes (I mean, he’s a fucking doctor, not a minister, and I’ve said not a word about religion myself, and I have never in my 53 yrs had ANY doctor EVER ANYWHERE ask such a question and it actually takes me by surprise even in light of the big poster in the lobby) and so I say, simply, ‘sure, but not in my presence please,’ thinking that he was simply asking ‘can I pray for you’ and not ‘CAN I PRAY OVER YOU?’ and he stands next to me, puts his hand on my shoulder and begins, ‘dear lord, please help chris…’ while the 2nd yr med student bows his head (who knows whether he’s also ‘in on’ the ‘prayer circle’ or is just there trying to get some medical education and is as uncomfortable as me but certainly isn’t going to say anything and so he bows his head respectfully as those do who are sitting at a holiday table but not really participating whilest the host offers the truly by now almost thoughtless reflexive casual ‘bless us our lord for these thy gifts which we are about to receive from the bounty through christ our lord amen’ (which I don’t do anymore because, hey, i’m just sitting there, so I just sit there while my host and/or hostess say their grace and I don’t make any point of ‘NOT PARTICIPATING’ but I don’t bow my head as if I am, I just sit quietly and then participate in the grabbing for food when the prayer is over – as any goodly ungodly guess otter, no?) AND SO THE MAN FUCKING PRAYS OVER ME FOR ABOUT THIRTY FULL SECONDS WHILE I SIT THERE UNCOMFORTABLY BUT NOT WANTING TO MAKE ANY SORT OF SCENE SUCH AS ‘HEY, DUDE, DO YOU MIND?’ feeling as if my older brother the ‘christian’ republicanazi who INSISTS on saying HIS grace at every family gathering regardless of whose house it’s in… and he finishes up and I gather my things and I make a point of saying goodnight to him and the 2nd yr student as well as to the receptionist as I walk out without even attempting to find out whether or not they’re going to ask me about paying (my understand is that he does this evening ‘free/sliding fee’ thing, so I just left). And on my way out of the building down the elevator etc I was not actually fuming – I’ve got my fucking prescriptions and I’m feeling better and I’m actually already shipping my few belongings out to a friend in san diego in prep for my impending leave-taking which will be as soon as I sell my car and gather my funding and ensure two one-way 1st class seats (because sunny cannot fit in any cage that goes under any seat or even in between the seats in coach) etc, and I’m just saying to myself ‘what the fuck?’ WHAT THE FUCK? Why on earth do religious people think that’s it’s not only perfectly okay, but that they’ve got some right – esp of course a fucking doctor in his own office – but hey, he’s a doctor doing some religious-style work, he’s not a minister doing some doctoring – so isn’t there a difference (that those amongst us who are not of his ilk can obviously and clearly distinguish, anyhow?)? but what on earth makes such people think that it’s appropriate FOR A DOCTOR IN A DOCTOR’S OFFICE – NOT A MINISTER DOING SOME DOCTORING – to just casually stand up (WHEN THE PERSON HE’S ASKED ‘CAN I PRAY FOR YOU?’ ACTUALLY SAYS, ‘SURE, BUT NOT IN MY PRESENCE, PLEASE’ WITHOUT ATTITUDE, I ASSURE YOU) what the FUCK makes them think that it’s a-ok to put his hand on me and pray over me? now, I do know that believers will say ‘oh what’s the harm?’ and even some non-believers (although not many, because if you don’t believe, you don’t like to be bothered by the intentional displaying of somebody else’s belief system and religious undertaking – esp when they specifically put their fucking hands on you!) some might say, ‘oh, well, no biggie’ but it’s just so fucking presumptuous and actually rude. Imagine me saying to him, do you mind if I pray for you, and then put my hand on his shoulder and say, ‘dear zeus’ or ‘lord shiva’ or ‘might Aphrodite, please help doctor praegar in his practice of medicine…’ such folks would not only be put off, methinks they’d be insulted if not actually outraged. YOU’RE PRAYING TO ZEUS OVER ME? HEY, WAIT A SECOND, I’M NOT A HINDU. or something. But wtf, it’s a somewhat loverly morn and I’m not quite pissed off so much as mildly disgusted. I have had religion shoved down my throat since childhood, by my mother, by a brother and sister-in-law (who actually mailed me a copy of a book titled ‘the case for christ’ a few years back just out of the blue AND I FUCKING HIT THE ROOF! I wrote back and told them point blank, ‘I’ve had religion shoved down my throat since childhood and I’ll have no more of it – how would you like for me to send you a book titled ‘the case against christ’ or ‘the case for homosexuality’ – their youngest had just come out as a gay man, to which the rest of the family, except for my parents and ye olde roman catholic republicanazi, kinda went HAha!) and so anyhow, it’s just fuckign obnoxious and off-putting and tiresome. I would like to live somewhere where people just don’t mention their religious beliefs except to those who believe likewise. A place where you don’t hear about GOD (and of course there’s only one and ‘he’ is the abrahamic god, dontchasknow) ALL THE FUCKING TIME, every election cycle or news report regarding social whatnot. I don’t run around saying THERE’S NO GOD – JESUS IS DEAD, GET OVER IT! so why do ‘they’ constantly run around shouting GOD GOD GOD JESUS JESUS JESUS! ?? and why is it that those who profess to believe not only in god and jesus etc but in the great paradise of the afterlife called heaven, where they’ll live for all eternity in sunshine and happiness with every loved one (and now, even pets) who’ve passed on before them… seem to be the most afraid of death? food for thought, or just crumbs to wipe off the table so the dog can lick them off of the floor? You decide. Note 11/06/14: The fucking doctor got my most important prescription wrong, anyhow! I'm supposed to take 2 150mg Effexor per day, which of course would equal 60 pills/month, and the asshole wrote it out for 1 150mg/day, so i've only got 30. wtf, i haven't been on it at all in 3 months, so i'm sure it'll do some good and i'll just get back up to 300mg/day when i get back to the gifford clinic in san diego, where i'd been going for 10 yrs anyhow. jayzus not-so-crispy, this whole move has been an abomination against zeus, i sewayah!...
i wish to FUCK that people like this would figure out that every 'i feel violated' IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING RAPED or having had a SEX CRIME committed against them. NO, little miss oscar-winning whozits, your nudies finding their way onto the web IS NOT ANY KIND OF ANY SORT OF ANY MOTHERFUCKING SEX CRIME!!!! and if you and others like you who keep claiming that every time 'i feel so violated' is IN ANY WAY 'like' being raped or having had a fucking SEX CRIME COMMITTED AGAINST AND UPON YOUR BODY, YOUR MIND, AND YOUR FUCKING SOUL, you wouldn't be so motherfucking IGNORANT if not actually STUPID as to make such a motherfucking STUPID statement. it almost -- almost but in no way would i wish such a thing on anybody just because she's young and stupid -- almost makes me wish that YOU actually WOULD become the victim of a sex crime so that you'd know the motherfuckin' difference between 'my nudies went viral' and I WAS FUCKIN RAPED. and every time one of these assholes compares their embarrassment or chagrin or sense of 'i feel so violated' to having been raped etc, it just yanks the rest of us who HAVE been the victims of sex crimes back down into the roiling broiling emotional horror vomit that such victimization shoved so deep down our throats and so far down into our very lives and souls that no one who HASN'T actually been the victim of a REAL sex crime, can't even understand. it cannot be and is never 'gotten over' -- it is 'dealt with' as best we can deal with it when we're reminded of it now and again and again and again and again throughout the entire rest of our lives, usually when we haven't even thought about it for a long time but then something, or someone such as ignorant fucking idiots like this one, make ignorant fucking statements like this one. and i'll bet i'll be the only one to say or post anything like this anywhere around the world. and i'll bet that the happy little miss oscar-winning whozits here will be picking up some sort of "sex crime victims' award" or two somewhere soon -- doubtless in fucking hollywood -- even though she CLEARLY has NO FUCKING IDEA WHATSOEVER what the phrase 'sex crime' actually means. i shouldn't finish up with this, but i'm going to because it's how i feel at the moment: FUCK YOU, JENNIFER LAWRENCE, YOU STUPID LITTLE FUCKING CRYBABY CUNT. your nudies went viral? ooooh, why you've been raped! NOT! stupit stupit stupit. (whew! okay, now i feel a little better. thanks for reading this, if you have. and if you haven't, well, have a happy friday, anyhow, then, eh?!)
and you did, of course, read this here first, no?
if 'the graduate' were to be remade today, the word would not be 'plastics' but 'patients' -- specifically, ALLLLLLLLLL of the patients who have been in need of v.a. medical care for the past 15 yrs PLUS ALLLLLLLLL of the patients who will be in need of v.a. medical care during the next two to three generations as they (a) get back to the states in need of medical care as well as (b) age.
I HONESTLY BELIEVE THAT ANY COLLEGE AGED 'KID' OR PARENT OF A 'KID' IN HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER CONTACTING THE V.A. NOW (via website for just a look or PERSONALLY VIA A V.A. OFFICE IN ORDER TO SPEAK WITH SOMEONE (always the best touch is the personal touch -- except of course when it's sexually diseased, but that's for those who wish to attempt to sleep their way to the top to figure out for themselves, then, eh?...)
FIND OUT NOW EXACTLY WHAT'S WHAT. my own experience in state govt, granted in the 80s and within h.r., convinces me that EVEN WITHOUT A BACHELOR'S DEGREE FULLY COMPLETED RIGHT NOW (and even perhaps with 'merely' an associate's under the belt but 'working on' the bachelor in business admin which every other applicant is also going to have, anyway) THIS IS THE TIME TO HIT UP THE V.A. AS WELL AS YOUR OWN CONGRESSIONAL REPS & STATE SENATORS IN ORDER TO LET THEM KNOW WHO YOU ARE, WHERE YOU ARE, AND HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO HELP...
WRITE A LETTER TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and let him know how much you want to help...
because NO U.S. PRESIDENT, U.S. SENATOR OR CONGRESSIONAL REP IS GOING TO NEGLECT TO REQUEST/ADD MONEY TO THE V.A. BUDGETS OR VOTE AGAINST INCREASING FUNDING FOR THE V.A. WITH ALL OF THE "WOUNDED WARRIOR'S" (and their spouses -- all of whom vote and vote heavy -- in addition of course to their parents etc) WHO ARE MISSING PARTS OF THEIR BODIES AND MINDS as a result of what will be probably 30 yrs or more of our nation's consistent if not actually continual middle eastern warfare.
I MAKE NO JUDGEMENT INSOFAR AS THIS MATTER IS CONCERNED -- THIS IS THE WAVE OF THE U.S. FUTURE, LIKE IT OR NOT, AND THERE ARE JOBS TO BE HAD BY PEOPLE WHO NEED JOBS, and IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A JOB or planning for a future with as secure a job as you might ever be able to hope to get for yourself here in ye good olde U.S.A. -- HERE IT JUST MIGHT BE.
And consider this even if you're not 'into' the military or medical fields -- IN ADDITION TO DOCTORS, R.N.s, P.A.s, PHYSICAL THERAPISTS, MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, the v.a. will require ALL KINDS OF ADMINISTRATIVE PARSNIPS such as ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONALS, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANTS, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE WHATNOT OF WHICHEVER DEPARTMENT OR MEDICAL FACIALTY and...
there will be LOTS AND LOTS of folks involved in developing and producing and outfitting THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS IN and NEWLY or SOON-TO-BE OUT of THE MILITARY with all manner of prostheses and heart valves and medications, etc.
THIS IS WHERE THE MONEY IS, KIDS, AND WHERE THE MOST SECURE JOB MARKET IS GONG TO BE FOR THIS GENERATION JUST COMING INTO THE JOB MARKET (and possibly even their own kids when those as-yet-unborn kids hit college age) SO GET IN ON IT AS EARLY AS YOU CAN!
having worked almost a decade in state government, again albeit in the 80s, i still maintain that a guy or gal with an associate's degree working on the bachelor's degree (WITH THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE OF THE VERY GOMMINT FOR WHOM S/HE IS WORKING SO LONG AS S/HE SIGNS A CONTRACT STATING THAT S/HE WILL WORK FOR THAT AGENCY FOR A SPECIFIED PERIOD OF TIME -- generally five to seven yrs -- WHO IS ALREADY KNOWN AND WELL-LIKED in the department IS GOING TO HAVE THE EASIER TIME when it comes to climbing the ladder than the guy or gay who will be a resume without a face or personality whom nobody's ever met but who submits that resume along with the LITERALLY HUNDREDS of others submitted for a particular job ALONGSIDE THE GUY/GAL IN THE OFFICE WHOM EVERYBODY ALREADY KNOWS AND LIKES AND HAS 2 OR 3 OR 5 YRS EXPERIENCE IN THE DEPARTMENT -- ESP WITH THE CAREFULLY NURTURED but NEVER obsequiously obtained RESPECT AND ADMIRATION ('what a great kid -- just what this country needs...') of his/her CONGRESSIONAL REP AND STATE SENATORS (plural) REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL PARTY or your personal opinions about them.
and so, in closing -- there are jobs out there and out there, these are going to be amongst the bestest of the best jobs out there, so -- GO GET 'EM, KIDS! the gommint is a GREAT place to work for 95% of the time (unless one happens to be in a particular place with particular problems which are YOUR particular problems...) -- benes out the yin yang, cost of living adjustments, grade upgrades, paid holidays and vacation time, medical leave, family leave, and so on, so long as you couldn't possibly give a fat flying fuck about the opinions of those who don't like gommint (and, puh-leeze, working for the v.a. -- who's gonna give you a plateful of that shit at any party? and surely, you, you who will toil with pride and ability while garnering the respect that will be your due at the v.a. -- you will be not only at the ready at all times for such crap but certainly capable of delivering an appropriately vigorous, direct and sustained defensive retaliatory retort such as, "i beg your pardon? surely you're not against the veteran's administration? surely you're not telling us that you don't support those of us who are trying to help our fellow americans in uniform who have sacrificed their limbs and their bodies and, some of them, for heaven's sakes, their minds, so that you can sit safely at this barbrecue scarfing down pork rinds and swilling your home brew without the threat of some jerking jihadist jumping the fence and beheading us all because we aren't right-wing conservative extremist 8th century islamists? SURELY that's not what you're suggesting?...')
and so, again, in closing -- GO GET 'EM, KIDS!
https://www.facebook.com/christopher.corbettfiacco.7 (09/27/2014): no, i'm not losing my mind, i'm just a tad emotional about certain things, such as abuse of the powerless. and i honestly wonder if (who am i kidding, i honestly think that) i would be content to be one of the hunters who slices the bastards' heads off while asking them, right up close right into their ears, 'you like abusing animals, huh? well, here's some animal abuse for you; how does it feel?...'
i then picture us all singing 'another motherfucker bites the dust' as we dance around the corpse.
but that's just me.
posted to craigslist 09/23/14:
CS reply to CCF: God made man and woman to be fruitful multiply. God did not make man to have babies with other men . Sexuality is only between a man and woman . Sexuality is religious for man and woman . What goes on is between a man and woman . It's a abomination sex with man to man. The word gay is a man made word of sin . Gay is sin . The word gay is sin as Lesbian is a sin. There are no gays in heaven . Sin (gays) are in hell stripped of memory of the things they did on earth . In torment burning but there's no fire they thirst there's no water they scream there's no one to hear. There engulfed in there own sin called gay . They eat there own flesh in hell to end the hunger pains but get sick and there flesh grows back again in repeated eternal torment of horror called hel
CCF reply to CS: and the easter bunny shall lie down with the tooth fairy in the glory of the abrahamic god who instructed the hebrews to invade their neighboring tribal lands, salt the land so that nothing would grow there for generation, slaughter all male humans as well as all female humans who were not virgins, bring back the chattel including the female virgins (who are, of course, chattel, which are, of course, farm animals) from whom he took his share both of cattle and human virgins, undoubtedly not merely for the meat of the cattle but for his own sexual purposes re the virgin female human chattel, just like the men in whose own image he made them and gave dominion over all including the human females who are chattel. your god is a truly horrible being. if he was a neighbor, most people within your community would have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with him. you, however, i am sure, would be one of his most self-righteous accolades doing his bidding insofar as gleefully smiting them who neglect to 'maketh unto the lord a sweet savor' with their barbecued offerings. the bottom line, anyhow, is that zeus is the father of all the gods, and your god is not merely a minor deity, but an asshole, to boot. read your vaunted holy book -- it's all in there. meanwhile, why is it that the religiously insane such as yourself and your brethren engaged in religious warfare in the middle east and other religious 'hotspots' around the world are among the most illiterate people in the world? even if you paid absolutely no attention whatsoever in english class (as was undoubtedly the case) your holy books have been edited for proper spelling and punctuation in the languages in which you read them. ah, well, to quote the great barney frank, 'dumb as a couch.'
09/19/14: not to be either maudlin or pathetic, but do tell the loves of your lives that they are, and laugh at the laughable little shit that should only lead to arguments on old episodes of 'all in the family' and 'the mary tyler moore show.' and don't merely love them but cherish them. because one of these days, and it won't be very far off even if it's fifty years from now, one of you -- unless you're lucky enough to go together, which almost never happens -- one of you is going to find yourself crying to every love song that comes on the radio or cd player, or to any odd little ditty you haven't heard for years, but sang and/or danced to even while maybe making fun of the ridiculous little song, and it might happen even months and months and months and months and months and even months and months after the love of your life has died, and even if you really are certain that s/he did indeed know that s/he was in fact the love of your life, but you're either not sure you ever actually said so, or you know now that you never actually did. 'soul mate'? gimme a fuckin' break. if s/he really is the love of your life, then just say so, and ring all of the enjoyment out of every bit of life's mundane minutia that you can. because one day, one of you is going to lose not only the big happy stuff, but all of the mundane minutia you had together, too. and that is the day you will honestly, actually know what the term 'broken hearted' means. because that is gonna hurt like a butcher knife through your chest wall and straight into your heart, with the tip of it poking out the backside of your heart. and there will be nothing to do at that moment but cry and cry and cry and cry and cry until that particular spasm of loneliness and that particular crying jag are all cried out. and that's all there is to it, because that's life.
091214 comment to facebook friend’s comment to my comment on his original comment re life’s painful paths:
Christopher Corbett-Fiacco i was about to write 'except for starting the day making somebody smile'... but then i realized it's what i do, too. the somebody is my case is my 16 yo cat, sunny. he is the most interesting animule i've ever known, not because he's mine, but because his mind is completely original, he's very vocal and makes all sorts of sounds which i understand about 90% of the time, and he does the most interesting things. those of us who are unlucky enough to have demons, have different ones. same with experiences, as you said. my long story short started off well enough with 4 older brothers, a twin, and a younger brother i adored. then an older brother started having mental illness (i think we've connected re this before) in which he screamed 'i'll kill you all some day' and when he was 17 and i was 11, he viciously stabbed our then 19 yo brother and almost murdered him in his bedroom while my mom and twin and younger brother were there. oy. my eldest brother was in intensive care touch-and-go for 48 hours. he survived, thank goodness. the other brother was in prison/mental hospitals for 2 yrs and then released. my parents had promised us 3 that they would not bring him back into the house but would get him a room at the ymca and he could get his ged etc. about a month after the stabbing, while a presumed friend-of-the-family was babyshitting us 3 so that my parents could visit, on alternate nights, my brother in the hospital (he was there for 2 months) or my brother in jail/mental hosp, the man took the occasion to begin molesting me which included rape, naturally (what pedophile would be content molesting an 11 yo when he could rape him up the ass, eh?). then my brother was released from prison (having committed the crime one month shy of his 18th birthday in 1972, he was automatically legally a juvenile, etc,, so no 'big time in the big house'). what ensued was almost a decade of abolute horror for us 3 young ones growing up in a household in which our parents had abrogated their authority (the mentally ill brother would literally yell 'shut up' from his bedroom if we were too 'noisy' and my mom would literally hush us up -- she is a religious fanatic who actually believes that she is a prophetess of god -- that god has chosen her to prove his existence to the world through a historical novel she's been working on for about 45 yrs now) but abrogated their parental responsibilities in the most egregious manner -- a parent is supposed to protect a child, not enable someone, even another offspring, to endanger that child's existence through his presence in their lives and his literal sometime physical attacks and threats. meanwhile, after 5 yrs of being raped by the guy up the street, at 16 i finally had the guts to say 'no.' and it stopped. meanwhile, i was growing up gay in a world which told me in no uncertain terms that i was a sick and disgusting perversion of nature yadda yadda yadda. suicidal ideation since age 7. manic/depressive 2. anxiety/panic disorder. chronic stress. completely and totally fucked over to the tune of loss of job/housing @ over $40K/yr by a man i not only liked but trusted, so that he could give the jobs to the 4th or 5th young woman with whom he had an extra-marital affair, and then sued me (the case is still pending in california) when i blogged about it, as is my right as it is something which i experienced during my own lifetime. alcoholism/drug addition. 16 yrs clean and sober. than last year the love of my life blows me over by telling me that he had become an alcoholic. long story short, the afternoon before he was scheduled to go into rehab on the wednesday morning, he relapsed and his mom came home from work to find him floating face down in the pool. and i might have even forgotten one or two other things that've happened along the way. bottom line today: i'm in the process of finding an nys psychiatrist and therapist, i'm reconnecting with some family members i'd like to reconnect with and am learning who exactly was a factor in the many factors (mostly being wanting to live in a larger city) as to why i moved away at 20. 4 months into my one year experiment in living back here, i've at least learned that i am not living her beyond my lease end next may. i'll move to the adirondacks or perhaps rhode island or portland (either maine or oregon) or lower northeastern canada, if doable, or northern/middle california. and my priority in life right now is my cat, sunny. i have two writing projects which i'd like to accomplish/finish before i die (my memoirs, which i believe will have meaning not only for me to write, but for certain other people who might find it of interest and benefit) and a book i've entitled (copyright, folks, copyright notice) 'biblical bullshit: why the bible cannot be the literal word of the abrahamic god unless he's an asshole and modern-day christians are heretical blasphemers.' and so making sunny as happy as possible is the only thing which i truly, truly feel i should do and need to do right now. the humans in my life can deal with their lives as best they can. sunny is a cat with the intellectual and emotional capacities of about a 3 yo human. and that's enough for me for now, and clearly enough for me to write here in the comment section of your facebook page/post, eh? happy friday, bud! there's something about friday, isn't there? no matter where you are or what you're doing, or not, friday is friday, and fridays really are a bit of terrific, no? take care. -chris.
09/02/14: In a good mood singing along to the radio on my way home from Starbucks and Sunny met me at the door and followed me into my little office here and lay down beside me to continue his morning nap and I opened the Starbucks CD "Mele O Hawaii / Songs of Hawaii" and just started crying when the very first lyrics of the very first song ("White Sandy Beach") were sung by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: "I saw you again last night / I saw you in my dreams / We were walking hand in hand / On a white, sandy beach of Hawaii / We were playing in the sun / We were having so much fun / On a white, sandy beach of Hawaii / The sound of the ocean / Soothes my restless soul / The sound of the ocean / Rocks me all night long / Those hot long summer days / Lying there in the sun / On a white, sandy beach of Hawaii..." I cried, and am crying still, and listening to the song over and over again in order to continue to remember and to cry until I cry it out again this time, because it brings back to me the most beautiful memory of a white sandy beach in Oregon where Ramon and I stripped down and sunbathed naked because we were the only ones to be seen along the miles-long coastline, and I had known even then, during a weeklong trip we took down and back up the Washington and Oregon coasts when we were living in Seattle, that that was, and would always be, one of the most beautiful and happy moments of my life during one of the best vacations I've ever taken, just driving down the coast, camping out, lying on beaches, driving back up, camping out... It is now fourteen months since the love of my life drowned drunk in the swamp of his Florida swimming pool the day before he was scheduled to enter rehab, and now I'm sobbing, listening to this song over and over again because I've learned that, for me, if I can, this is what to do until this one is all cried out, too. This will not kill me any more than the hundreds of other sob sessions I've endured in my lifetime, including those I wrote about just a couple of weeks ago, when I comforted and petted and sweet-talked into death my adorable and adoring little Bunny the Cat (see below if interested). And so it fucking goes, then, eh? [To see the video and hear the song on Youtube, Click Here.]
the sweetest little girl who ever shared my home died of pneumonia yesterday morning at the grand old age of 12, which actually wasn't a bad age for a feline runt who’d come down with sniffles and colds that’d often turn into upper respiratory infections every few months since the day i adopted her from a san diego shelter as sunny’s little sibling a few months after his litter-mate and brother, sammy, was hit and killed by a car (the last time any of my animules have been outside -- but at least sammy died without really knowing what hit him, as was obvious from the single wound on the side of his head and the ‘testimony’ of the weeping gal who’d hit him just three or four houses away from me and had called and met me where she’d lain him on the grass).
at any rate, i'd taken bunny to the animal emergency hospital on friday morning because it was obvious that the upper respiratory infection which she'd come down with every few months since she was a kitten and was just a part of life with bunny -- vet visits and shots and pills and vitamin supplements (god i loved it when she'd get better and be herself again, esp when she'd bound into the bedroom and jump onto the bed and onto my lap or chest while i was reading or watching tv or napping!).
anyway, by friday morning it was clear that she wasn't getting over this one as quickly as in the past. in the spring she'd lost 2 of her 6 lbs but put back on 1 lb (and i luvluvluved feeding her the moist canned food she luvluvluved and patting her little tiny belly) and this time the sniffles had turned into pneumonia pretty quickly and long story short, after the vet had given her a shot and a round of rehydration and pills, it was pretty obvious to me by friday afternoon that her body probably did not have the wherewithal to rebound. so i did what we do...
first, i made her 'comfortable' in her special spot on the red blanket in the wicker basket under her ‘sun lamp’ (she LOVED lying in the sun, whether natural or artificial!) and i encouraged her to drink and/or eat, which she was not doing, and i even fixed up a slurry consisting of a dab of vitamin gel and a dab of a high-calorie/protein gel and her pill and the beef gravy from a can of cat food, and i mixed it all together in a kitten bottle i’d bought for the occasion (i’d done this before and it’d worked insofar as bringing her around to wanting to eat and drink and put weight back on, but of course she’d never been this bad off and i knew it was a long shot) and i fed her and she drank it and i held her and petted her and told her how sweet she was and how much i loved her and hoped she’d get better, as i always did when she was not merely sick but really sick, and i put her back in her basket because i knew that she wanted to be left alone to sleep in peace.
i had her in bed with me through the night and woke up every couple of hours, the way we do, and she was just so emaciated and spacey, i could tell that her little body had probably gone beyond the point at which it could come back. and when she vomited a gush of watery brownish/green bile that was probably the entire contents of her stomach, i just knew what was coming, and i dreaded it, but i knew of course that i had to help her to as comfortable and ‘loving’ a death as she could have, and deserved to have, not only because she was a fellow being, but she’d given me SO much love and even comfort (when ramon died last year, her and sunny just being there with me), so i cleaned her up and laid her on my stomach and chest the way she loved to lay on my stomach and chest, the way i had of course always loved for her to do (except when it was actually time to turn onto my side and go to sleep, which i’d do so gingerly you’d think i’d have a half-dozen newly hatched chicks on fresh-laid eggs on my chest instead of a little cat who was quite adept at insinuating herself into any position as i changed positions on the nights she wanted to snuggle alongside me, which were probably hundreds and hundreds of nights over those dozen years) and i petted her very very gently so as not to discomfort her, and i talked to her for a while, and i fell asleep a couple of times but each time i woke up, she was still breathing, which has always amazed me when i’ve been in the presence of those who are passing on ‘any time now’ – seems our bodies don’t need to expend much energy when the heart just beats and we just continue to breathe, because it seems sometimes to take SO much longer than it seems it will.
luckily, she was never in any distress or pain, and she drifted in a kind of daze (or maybe she was more-or-less asleep but her eyes were open because cats don’t have eyelids and it takes muscle power to close their eyes and her body simply wasn’t expending that muscle power on closing her eyes, it was utilizing whatever energy it had left just to keep her heart beating and her lungs inhaling and exhaling as it wound down [I often think of animals, including us, of course, as being like those old wind-up toys, when it comes to the energy our bodies have – at birth, it gets all wound up until you can’t wind it another notch, and we’re a wound-up bag of bones and organs that’s wailing and flailing and doesn’t even know where or what it is; and as we age, the wind-up mechanism plays out – we’re kids running and jumping all over the place – we’re teens full of life and love and dreams and lots of whatnot – we’re adults still full of energy and then we’re older adults still with energy and then we’re middle-aged adults with the energy of middle-aged adults and then we’re older adults and older and older until, if we make it, we’re such old animals that our wind-up mechanism can be clearly seen to be winding down and our skin doesn’t have the spring to cling tightly to our muscles anymore and our eyes aren’t really bright anymore and this and that ‘system’ starts to wane and whatnot and ultimately, should we make it, there’s a deathbed on which our bodies just wind down and wind down and wind down until there’s no energy left in the wind-up ‘mechanism of life’ – and at some point, that’s that, the wind-up toy has stopped moving at all and doesn’t have one more little burst of energy to get one more movement out of it, and that’s the end]).
it honestly took hours, and it honestly actually shocked me – i was honestly SHOCKED – at how long a span of time – HOURS – from the time she vomited and was clearly dying, until she actually breathed her last breath. and i was lying there, as you can imagine, literally hour after hour from about 5AM until 11AM, and the sun came up and i heard people about their business, and sunny would come and go, usually lying near the bed, every now and then actually hopping up and coming over, sniffing her, knowing what was going on, i’m sure (their sense of smell is so much better than ours – they can smell water from miles away, an ability which we probably once had, too, but have lost – they can smell disease and decay and that’s often why dogs and cats sometimes either stay away from, or stay with, those who are sick and in the process of dying) and so at any rate, she heaved a few final deep breaths and as i lay there crying, not just for her and my loss of her but for ramon, the love of my life, whose death just last year was brought back to me because there were so many, many times this past year that i’d lay in bed on my back crying for ramon, and for myself, and for my dead dreams of us being together again, and that was the exact position we’d be in – i’d be lying on my back in bed with the sun outside but the blinds still down, and i’d be crying for ramon, and sunny would be somewhere around, and bunny would be on my chest and i’d be petting her and honestly so, SO grateful to have her there on my chest, so sweet, so loving, and there i was yesterday morning and the tears were just streaming from my eyes as i sort of ‘petted her into death’ and when she finally breathed what i knew was her last breath, and i looked and saw that she wasn’t breathing anymore, i just wept, not merely for her or for me or for ramon, whose death seems again so immediate to me and whose loss feels almost as fresh as the week after he died, but honestly, i was crying for all of the deaths which all of us have suffered, and will suffer, since the beginning of time.
i just lay there and i just cried for all of the pain and the loss and disease and the death that we suffer through, being alive. from the first human who understood death and suffered the loss through death of the first human whose death made the others cry, and for millions of others through millions of years up to and including the current round of disease and destruction and death in africa and the middle east and eastern europe and missouri and any other piece of earth with an animal living, and dying, on it. i just lay there and i quietly let the tears roll down my cheeks for my little bunny and for ramon and for myself and for a friend’s little dog who died last week and an in-laws’ in-law who died just a few days ago, and the people and the animals who were dying at the same moment that bunny had just died, and those who’d die five minutes later, ten minutes later, a half hour later, a day later, a week later, and even those who haven’t even been born yet but will one day suffer that pain of the loss through death of a person, whether a human person or a feline person or a canine person or an equine person or a rodent person or whatever other kind of person there is – i honestly felt sorry for every single one of us and was crying for every single one of us and our dying, deceased loved ones.
but my heart kept beating and i kept on breathing, and after a while, unable to sleep (i would actually have liked to have fallen asleep with her on my chest, even knowing it wasn’t really her anymore but her dead body, on my chest, just to be able to feel one last time what it had felt like, because it had always been so sweet; but i couldn’t fall asleep, and i couldn’t lie there with her body on me any longer than i did), i got up and laid her on her blanket, carried her on her blanket into the living room, where sunny was hanging out, and laid her there on the floor and sat beside them both so that he could know what had happened before she disappeared. i’d done the same thing with sammy’s body when he was hit by the car over a dozen years ago in san diego, and sunny did the same thing yesterday as he’d done then – he got up and went over to his deceased sibling, he looked, he sniffed a couple of times, he looked, and he walked off and lay down a few feet away from us, in the same room, but looking away.
i took her collar and tag (a red heart-shaped metal tag – the same as sunny has – with an ‘inscription’ that says, “Hi, I’m Bunny! $100 Reward! Call 619-889-9270” which was my phone number before i changed it last week to an east coast 518 area code) and i put them on the fridge next to the picture of sammy, alongside which i will shortly place a picture of bunny, too. and i wrapped her up in her red blanket and i wound almost an entire spool of string around and around her blanket, and i put her inside of a box into which she fit just right, and (because i don’t have a yard of my own and am not about to ask a family member “hey, can i bury my cat in your yard?” especially as they’ve all got dogs, anyway, and…) i put the box into a dumpster on the property (yeah, i know, but what else to do in the city?) and i figure that her body, which is not my sweet little bunny and i honestly know that, will end up at the dump, and from there, dust to dust.
as i’ve written this, and now finish up and wipe away the tears that have fallen as i’ve written this (as i’m sure you can imagine – and have imagined, those of you who know me well and have stayed with me to this point), my little punkin, who is sometimes known as my little punkinhead, but more often than not just ‘punky’ or more simply, ‘punk’ – as in, ‘hey, punk, what’s up?’ – (because he made a ‘ball’ out of a little pumpkin i’d put on my dining table his first halloween – and i let him keep it because, why not?) and as he was rolling it around the floor, i’d asked him, ‘are you my little pumpkin?” and, of course, without another thought, that’s what he’d become, my little punkin) – sunny – my little sunny sunshine (who is also known as sunny cherry – a story for another time) is sleeping underneath my desk and i am sooooooooo grateful and lucky and happy that he’s been in my life the past sixteen years (!) as healthy and happy a cat as can be. and while I know that his death will be the one non-human death that will REALLY rip a hole in my heart (and let’s be honest, it’ll hurt even more than a lot of human deaths i’ll have to deal with in my time, simply because he’s been my sweetest boy and little buddy for so long and through so much of my life – 16 years of my 53 is almost a full third of my present-day lifetime!) – i will leave that to be dealt with on the day that’ll need to be dealt with, and deal with today as i can.
and today, this afternoon, right now, at this very minute during this particular segment of the time allotted to the life i am living on this little parcel of the world on which i am alive, it really is a lovely afternoon with clouds listlessly rolling around the sun, temps in the 70s, a marvelous breeze, a migraine that just won’t quit, and with sweet music on my little desktop stereo, parents in their 80s whose love and support has never been in doubt, countless other family members with whom i’m reconnecting after thirty years away and, without seeming syrupy (because we all know i’m not that – oh, no, not THAT!) at this very moment, i have 53 years’ worth of gladness and sadness and love in my heart and my head – memories of people and other animals i have loved and been lucky enough to have been loved by, and there’s the blessing.
and, final note, i guess (because the line has been going through my mind for days now – ever since i saw ‘a streetcar named desire’ for the first time from beginning to end, just a few nights ago – and it echoes what i’ve told myself so many times but not in so many words) as eunice tells stella before the stranger has come to take blanche away in the final scene, ‘Life has got to go on. No matter what happens, you've got to keep on going.’
so here i go.
08/12/14: i guess it's also as good a day as any to reveal what i'd only told one person thus far about the drowning death of the love of my life on 06/25/13 (waiting for 'the right time' to just say it and start to talk/write about it), which is that, about a month before his death, ramon had greeted me on the phone with a resigned but hopeful-as-possible, "hi, chris, my name's ramon, and i'm an alcoholic." he could have blown me over with a breath. month-long story short, he'd not only been drinking to excess with a dui and more recent black-outs and a few falling-down-in-the-house or out in the back yard incidents sometimes resulting in mild injury, but had twice had to have his mom take him to the emergency room and spent a weekend and then a week in detox, 'drying out' and testing the waters of rehab. i was actually excited in an odd way -- it would bring us closer and i would help him get sober and stay sober and we would finally have that 'i love you as you are and am committed to you for life and will help you always' relationship we'd tried several times but couldn't seem to get 'quite right' (maybe trying too hard to get it 'quite right'?) -- and we could even, eventually, marry -- the possibility of which was always a dream more his than mine. but within the month of phone calls and encouragement and remniscences and laughter and meandering daydreamy tentative plans for whatever might come our way, on that tuesday that he'd finally come to the conclusion that he actually, really was an alcoholic (it's not something ANYBODY wants to be or admit to being and takes a person as long as it takes that person to actually fully understand it when they realize it as they finally sigh and say, 'yeah, okay, it's true -- i am an alcoholic. so now what?') on that tuesday, after a month or more of not quite really being certain that he was, after all, an alcoholic (and i know that place, and can never blame anyone for taking as long as it takes him or her to move through and beyond it) -- at some point in time after he had clearly, really realized and understood and accepted it, at some point in time after he had called his mom at work at ten in the morning to let her know that he had made an appointment to enter rehab the next morning, he stumbled again out in the back yard and drowned drunk in the in-ground pool that had become a swamp in the back yard. and that's where his mom -- such a wonderful, hardworking woman who'd lived through so much in cuba and here and had come to fear exactly that, and had told him (as he had told me) that that was exactly what she had come to fear -- that's where his mom found him floating face down when she got home from work around 5:30. and i think about him, and about her, every single day. and i know, i really do, that if he had lived through that day and entered rehab on the next morning, he would have gotten sober and maintained his sobriety because he was the kind of stubborn personal promise keeper who succeeds in recovery. and as difficult as it has been and doubtless always will be knowing that the person i loved more than i've ever loved anybody else in my entire life died in an accident which he set into motion because he hadn't yet really understood that he really was an alcoholic, i cannot even begin to imagine how horrible it must be to know that that person actually consciously intentionally ended his or her life because it was too painful to endure another moment, and that's what mrs robin williams is going through, and as difficult as what i've been going through, has been, i don't even want to try to begin to imagine what she's enduring. ho fumbling hum, eh? - chris.