Friday, July 8, 2016

If Mermaids were fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Well - it is confession time. This is where I expose a dark and geeky part of my misspent youth.

I LOVE the Rocky Horror Picture Show. My friends and I would go into the University District in Seattle every Saturday night to attend the midnight showing of RHPS. I know all the words to all the songs and almost all of the dialect word for word. And yes - I even got to the point where we would go in character and in costume.

For those who have never seen the RHPS - well, Google it. It would take several other posts to fully explain the movie, plot and subplots. You only need to know that the iconic song, and dance, is called The Time Warp as seen in this movie clip below.





"That is all well and good" you say, even as you are a bit bemused by what you have just seen if it was your first exposure to it, "But what does any of this have to do with Mermaids?"

To answer that I have to pass the buck to a local artist I know. A very gifted woman with a strong attachment to all things mermaid. She posted a draft of some new mermaids she had drafted a while back - Columbia, Magenta and Janet with a comment "...It's just a swim to the right .. " And then she noted that her significant other was trying to come up with more mermaid appropriate lyrics for the song.

As most of you know, I enjoy re-writing songs and stories in my own weird way. Which is how I came up with changing the Time Warp into The Mermaid.





The Time Warp
The Mermaid
It's astounding
Time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll

But listen closely
Not for very much longer
I've got to keep control

I remember doing the Time Warp
Drinking those moments when
The blackness would hit me
And the void would be calling

Let's do the Time Warp again
Let's do the Time Warp again

It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
With your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight

But it's the pelvic thrust
That really drives you insane
Let's do the Time Warp again
Let's do the Time Warp again

It's so dreamy
Oh, fantasy free me
So you can't see me
No, not at all
In another dimension
With voyeuristic intention
Well secluded, I see all

With a bit of a mind flip
You're into the time slip
And nothing can ever be the same
You're spaced out on sensation
Like you're under sedation

Let's do the Time Warp again
Let's do the Time Warp again

Well I was walking down the street
Just a having a think
When a snake of a guy gave me an evil wink
He shook-a me up, he took me by surprise
He had a pick up truck and the devil's eyes
He stared at me and I felt a change
Time meant nothing, never would again

Let's do the Time Warp again
Let's do the Time Warp again

It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
With your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight

But it's the pelvic thrust
That really drives you insane
Let's do the Time Warp again
Let's do the Time Warp again

It's astounding
Tides are fleeting
Currents take their toll

But listen closely
Not for very much longer
I've got to keep control

I remember doing The Mermaid
Drinking those moments when
The blackness would hit me
And Poseidon would be calling

Let's do The Mermaid again
Let's do The Mermaid again

It's just a flick to the left
And then a tail to the right
With your hands on your scales
You bring your gills in tight

But it's the dorsal thrust
That really drives you insane
Let's do The Mermaid again
Let's do The Mermaid again

It's so dreamy
No seaweed can cage me
Starfish cannot see me
No, not at all
In another dimension
With crustacean intention
Well secluded, I see all

With a bit of a tail flip
You're into the scale slip
And nothing can ever be the same
You're spaced out on salinity
Riding waves into infinity

Let's do The Mermaid again
Let's do The Mermaid again

Well I was swimming in the Gulf
Just a having a think
When an eel of a fish gave me an evil wink
He shook-a me up, took me on an Orca ride
He had tentacles of fire and the devil's eyes
He stared at me and I felt a change
Tides meant nothing, never would again

Let's do The Mermaid again
Let's do The Mermaid again

It's just a flick to the left
And then a tail to the right
With your hands on your scales
You bring your gills in tight

But it's the dorsal thrust
That really drives you insane
Let's do The Mermaid again
Let's do The Mermaid again

I Am Tired of Gray






It has been a difficult month in the news. And while there is no denying that such events touch people in different ways it can get to the point where a person begins to just feel numb. The ability to process negatives and seemingly unexplainable events overwhelm our spirit’s resources and we feel ourselves shut down as a means of self-defense.

Others see this and think we care not about this group, or that event. When in truth we care too much. We may not identify with a specific gender, race or other qualifier but as cliché as it may sound – our spirit has responded to the disturbance in the “force” or the life force in all of us.

I have read several social media postings today urging peace, using hashtags, or taking a political position. And if that makes the author feel better I am not going to say they are wrong. What they believe is as valid as what I believe.

The difference is that what I believe does not teach me to kill those who do not agree with my beliefs. What my beliefs DO tell me is that there is dignity in ALL other people as God’s creation. What I believe is:


  •  There is ONE God, ONE Redeemer and ONE Holy Spirit.

  •  I acknowledge that no group of people has ever acted perfectly and is without sin. The Crusaders acted in a way that would not be tolerated today. Various civilizations throughout history have enslaved, tortured and targeted entire groups of people for elimination. Wars, conquests and atrocities have been committed in the name of Kings, Queens, Gods and Ideologies. Chinese, Muslims, Germans, Aztecs, American Indians, Romans, Goths, Celts – all have had moments in their history where they felt themselves better than those they encountered. And yet humans still survive as a species on this speck in the universe.  

  • Being born Black, White, Female, Blond, missing chromosomes, having a physical abnormality or being born into a culture I cannot support is not permission for others to seek to hurt you.

  • While I consider heterosexuality to be God’s ultimate design for human sexuality I do not hate people simply because they express their sexuality differently. It also means I do not have to support their lifestyle, I can leave the decision about the right or wrong of their actions to a much wiser, higher power.

  •  Guns are not the problem. There are cheaper ways to kill people if murder is your goal. Just like a car, a computer or a hammer – they are just objects. Cars kill far more people every year but they do not carry the stigma a firearm does.

  • The police are not the problem. If, as some commentators have suggested, every police officer in this country was as blood-thirsty and filled with hate as claimed – wouldn’t that mean everyone should stay in their house and never leave for the store, work, or errands?  Yet there are peaceful traffic stops, arrests that do not involve beatings or shootings, police manage to direct traffic and escort funeral processions without drawing their weapons or taking pot shots.


Unfortunately people seem to have forgotten that for all their training, police officers are still just people. And they are stressed and feeling threatened as many other citizens are as well. I am not making excuses for the actions of any one officer, but I know it is a job I would not do. We would like to believe that the cops are always able to rise above personal feelings or stress – but no one can do that all of the time. And I am not so certain that the accounts the media forces upon us of how every person shot by an officer was a “nice boy”, “upstanding citizen”, “never would hurt anyone” is even close to the truth about half the time.  Hell, I am not sure a lot of people under the age of 30 even know how to speak respectfully to anyone – even their own grandparents.

·        And while it does seem that a disproportionate number of confrontations happen between non-white civilians and non-black officers – it is not accurate or fair to claim that the recent spate of violence is only racial in nature.

What I believe is that a lot of the root cause for the violence, intolerance and denigration of other people is a SPIRITUAL matter – not a political one. There are contributory factors in a lot of prior political decisions and initiatives: Welfare, Housing, Food Stamps etc. But I feel as if they are merely symptoms of the larger lack of moral balance.

I think we have had almost two generations of parents who only recognize the word as a noun and not a verb. It takes more than depositing sperm, or becoming pregnant, to make you a parent. As witnessed by the self-congratulatory, what’s-in-it-for-me, when-do-i-get-stock and what-do-you-mean-i-cannot-ripped-jeans-and-and-cropped-tops-into-the-office candidates I see come through here. I see a lack of manners, etiquette, respect for other’s time, and a lax work ethic. People who care more about how their lunch looks on Instagram than being able to hold a conversation with those at the table.

I don’t see young people being taught how to think and reason – only how to pass tests so their teachers don’t get fired. I see too many kids with no boundaries on their behavior. I have been cussed at and called foul names in my own neighborhood by spawn who clearly have never been taught anything different – because if daddy IS around he probably says the same things to mommy.

But mostly I see a society that has turned away from God and His teachings. Where life is being treated as cheaper by the year and wanting something you see your neighbor with doesn’t make you work harder to get your own – instead you try to take it by force.  There seems to be no sense of consequences for your actions anymore either. And when you get caught doing something wrong – no one seems to take responsibility for themselves. It is always “someone else’s” fault.

·        The schools for not teaching you – even though you skipped most of your classes to hang out with friends and smoke


  • You have no job skills – even though there are many programs available for free to train you for work. Or you can join any branch of the military and they will train you.

  •  It’s the government’s fault for not giving you free housing, clothes, cell phones, cars, cable, vacations or spending cash just because you are Navajo/Black/Latino/Illegal Alien/Druid etc.

  • It’s the media’s fault for telling me that everyone must have A, B or C and that I am entitled to whatever I want even if I don’t work for it and cannot afford it.


Isn’t it past time we stopped putting  up with this behavior and started as a society practicing some Tough Love? And how about we, and here I mean especially Christians, stop apologizing for what we believe. Stop being silent for fear of being labeled a hater or racist. Stop doing the politically correct dance and start calling sin a sin, and that there is black and white in a society that only wants to see gray.

Start by standing up for what you believe – and think – and know in your heart to be the Truth. Other groups have no problem getting in our face and yelling their beliefs at us. Why do we duck our head and turn away? Why do we shy away from posting scripture onto our social media pages? Or religious icons and symbols?

I am tired of being part of the silent, spineless millions who would rather keep quiet rather than risk offending anyone. You know what? Christ was confrontational, as were the Apostles and the early Popes. To follow Christ required real backbone in the early days. If our ancestors were willing to risk being mauled by lions then why are we afraid of words on a screen?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Is Ignorance Bliss ……. Or Just Denial?






Here is a fun little exercise for you.

During a time of grieving, therapy, healing and stress -  write up some questions about how you come across to other people and ask several people you know to answer said questions honestly. Then sit back, wait for the answers and be prepared to feel as though you were kicked in the head.

To be fair, I did ask for honesty. And those that responded were not mean, nasty, or out to hurt my feelings. In fact most of them commented on how “brave” I was to even ask the questions as they did not think it was something they could do themselves. But that does not mean their answers were easy to read. 

First, the questions I sent:
  1. When we met, specifically our first face-to-face meeting, what was your first impression of me?
  2. Overall what would you say is the most positive aspect of my personality, what would you say people find most appealing?
  3. What trait or habit do you think people find least attractive about me? Or most off-putting?
  4. Would you say that there was any particular thing about me that would want someone to keep me out of their personal circle?

 
I am sure some of you are thinking: “Why in the world would you even ask people these questions?” Well I do have a good reason. This last year has been very difficult after the death of my mother. She was my best friend and my greatest sounding board. I came to realize that for several reasons I often find it difficult to connect to other people in the ways I would want to. This is not just in the wake of my loss but is tied to events and experiences over many years. After my counselor suggested asking someone I trusted to give me some feedback I decided to act on that idea.

Of course being ME you know there were spreadsheets involved. Names of selected respondents, columns for gender and how long in years I had known the person as well as their responses under a header of each query. The numbers break out as follows:

  • 9 responses out of 15 requests – 60% response rate
  • 7 Females & 2 Males
  • 3 each for the number of years category: 0-5 / 6-10 / 10+
 
My first surprise was who did, and who did not, respond, some of these I found very unexpected. Individuals who I had thought to get a sentence or two wrote well thought out paragraphs with specific examples and occurrences. Three people who had promised to respond, and in fact gave me specific time-frames, I did not hear from at all.

The second thing that caught me off guard was the theme of the answers to Question One. The way I was described from their perspectives was incredibly similar (especially given most of them do not know each other). Yet their observations and memory of that first meeting are the polar opposite to what my recollection was and how I was feeling at the time, regardless of how it came across.

Some responses made me cry, some made me defensive and some made me question I really should ever be around other humans. There were days when I began to feel like some sort of monster, or social cancer, and I understood why no one wanted to be around me. But I read them multiple times and usually that sick, panicky feeling in my gut would calm a bit – each review decreasing the feeling that I wanted to just throw-up.

I will say again that in spite of the common themes and words I read in each answer I am still a bit in awe of the disconnect between how I feel about myself and how others see me. Some of which may come from their own filters as well as my learned behaviors.

The questions now become:

  • Do I WANT to change who I am? Is it even possible?
  •  If so, how much change are we talking about? Do I have to learn an entirely new persona and personality in order to achieve what I thought I wanted?
  • And if I do change that completely will I still be ME? What will I lose in the process? Can I maintain my own sense of self and integrity if I change that much to make others more comfortable? 
  • If I change nothing whatsoever can I handle the loneliness, solitude and sense of isolation that prompted the questions in the first place?
     
  • Have I just not discovered “my people”? Or is it perhaps that the window to form the types of relationships I want has closed?


I don’t have any concrete answers yet so there is no pretty and neat ending to this post. Just more questions and more work.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Personal Choices in the Workplace



I find several things about the Hobby Lobby decision, and the comments from people I know, to be very interesting on several levels.


First, in my opinion a lot of this would not ever have had the media coverage it has if the subject was not related to sex. Not "sex" as in gender, but as in the physical act. As they say in advertising "Sex sells". And people feel more emboldened to rant and rave about sex than say astigmatism.

Thousands of businesses do not offer coverage for vision care or corrective lenses - yet I do no see large groups of near sighted men and women picketing those companies. Though I would love to see that since I like many people do not consider my glasses an "option". In order to work, function, or drive I need to be able to see - and for me and millions of others that means eyeglasses or contact lenses. Yet you do not see us going crazy in the streets when we accept a job with a company that does not pay for those items.

When choosing the insurance plan offered to their employees the HR department is usually more focused on cost than any moral stance. HOWEVER, and this must be taken in account, a privately held corporation does have the right in my opinion to set up parameters that they feel do not violate their owners beliefs.


Secondly, in this age of information accessibility it is easy enough to learn if the company you are considering working for holds owner / corporate beliefs that you would have an issue with. For example: Chick-fil-A does not operate on Sundays and a private Christian school is most likely not going to cover the cost of your abortion. These are just facts based on those two businesses core values. So if you were a strong Pro-Choice supporter why would you take a job with the Catholic Church? I do not believe that abortions should be performed with the frequency they are and for so many of the stupid (in my opinion) reasons many women give as to why they want to end a pregnancy - so my taking a job with Planned Parenthood would not be a great idea as I would be in conflict from Day 1 with their mandate of accessible "family planning" for everyone - even teenagers. Who can have an abortion without their parent's consent or knowledge - yet they cannot get their ears pierced, an aspirin from the school nurse, or teeth pulled without a parent's consent.


Third, I do not agree with some of the comments I have read today that claim this ruling has anything to do with penalizing women financially. There are dozens of generic options for birth control pills on the market ranging in price from $4-$28 a month. Even with insurance and taking a no generic option a woman would typically pay the co-payment of $10-$25 monthly.

As a side note - a box of condoms will run you $8-$20 depending on where you purchase them.


This brings me to my fourth item. I see almost no men up in arms about this ruling. Why? Because birth control for men has NEVER been covered with any insurance plan. Yes, I understand, it is an outer "device" and not a medication. But what about women who choose a diaphragm instead of the Pill? Their option has never been covered either. Or in some cases the initial fitting for the diaphragm is covered but never the spermicidal jelly that goes with it.


What this uproar is really about is abortion. Which has become the single issue litmus test for any political candidate or appointee. Hobby Lobby (Evangelical), Conestoga (Mennonite), and a Christian bookstore chain brought the suit to protest not having to cover birth control such as the Pill or a diaphragm – but four specific forms of contraception: Plan B, Ella and two intrauterine devices - in fact cause abortions by preventing a fertilized embryo from implanting in the womb. 

Heads up NOW – these companies strongly believe, as do many others by the way, that life begins at conception and they are morally opposed to destroying that life.  And before someone chimes in with the old “What about rape, incest or risk to the mother’s life?” argument – I have heard of NO groups coming forward and saying they would try to prevent a woman in those situations from terminating a pregnancy. Legal abortions have always been an option for these situations – even before Roe v. Wade.


I find it increasingly frustrating and ridiculous that a person’s views and beliefs on this ONE topic is what so many people focus on when choosing a mayor, senator or president. As if any one view on a single topic is a good indicator of how a person will perform in all other aspects of their position.

And just in case anyone is still wondering where my stand on the subject is – I am Pro-Life. I have no problem with the use of contraceptives, vasectomies, or hysterectomies. Some people have no interest in being parents. Others have a genetic issue or family history of disease that make them choose adoption or not having children at all. Fine, that is their choice and I respect that. Not everyone can or should have children.

But to those who see abortion as a sort of “Get Out Of Jail Free” card, who do not want to “bother” with birth control or accept that actions have consequences – I do not think we as a society should be making it as easy as it is for them to destroy a life that did not ask to be created. Especially when the woman waits until seven months in to make up her mind about not becoming a mother. If you and/or your partner don’t want children – use something – anything – during sex. Don’t have anything on hand? Then you wait, or better yet – use that hand. Practice a little self- denial and stop treating your body as less than the miraculous creation it is. Stop putting your bodies through the extreme trauma of an abortion because having a baby now was not in your five year plan, or you let your lover guilt you into not using a condom, or you got so drunk you went home with some guy whose name you don’t know and whose face you cannot remember. Take some responsibility for your actions, preferably before you get knocked up. 


References:



CNN / Religion