“No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”
–Boy Scouts of America, excerpt of proposed resolution
Wow! That sounds pretty damn compelling, right? Finally! No more unfair and unfounded criticism for this piece of Americana organization which is a fine and upstanding part of our community and never does anything wrong. This will finally shut up those annoying critics.
Alas, as the rest of the internet has noticed, the proposal only applies to “youth.” Homosexuals are still prohibited from serving as scoutmasters and den mothers.
However, something else about the line of text caught my eye. Do you see it, too? I may very well be the only son of a bitch in the universe to have caught on. Aren’t you lucky to know me? Membership has its privileges.
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As a self-proclaimed “Guru of Negativity” one of my primary areas of interest and study has been, of course, the modern human communicator. And by using the term “communicator” I mean, of course, those who flap their gums creating a great wind. This is also sometimes known as a “giant sucking sound.” By the year 2012 ears had become obsolete as the art of listening had fallen on deaf ears. Or something like that.
As I pondered the notion that we had become a nation of assholes, I was eventually granted the gift of awareness. Abandoning the art of listening is a critical ingredient to becoming a great asshole. In fact, when one learns to stop listening that may be the pivotal moment of assholiness.
Tom’s Law #42
Assholes are persons where self-image exceeds reality.
Ever the optimist, I decided that necessity was a mother that needed nursing. Or something like that. So, in a fit of inventiveness, I hit the drawing boards on a quest to invent something capable of saving humanity.
The syllable gu means shadows
The syllable ru, he who disperses them,
Because of the power to disperse darkness
the guru is thus named.
— Advayataraka Upanishad 14—18, verse 5
The time had come to put my guru powers to good use. And I’m glad to say that I answered the call.
I call my latest invention: Trinary Listening.
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You may not have heard about it in the major news outlets, but earlier this week there was another skirmish in the battle to “defend” marriage.
On December 6, 2010, an “open letter” was signed by 26 religious “leaders.” But let us not divert from the discussion to consider the pompous sanctimony of “open letters.” Perhaps another day.
The letter was entitled “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment” and is significant because of the broad spectrum of religious beliefs held by the signers. A press release from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sang the praises of the diversity of the signers that represented “Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Orthodox, Pentecostal and Sikh communities in the United States.”
As I read the letter, I couldn’t help but wonder: Who out there watches over us atheists? Where is the leader of my flock?
Here’s the text of the letter:
Marriage is the permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman. As such, marriage is the natural basis of the family. Marriage is an institution fundamental to the well-being of all of society, not just religious communities.
As religious leaders across different faith communities, we join together and affirm our shared commitment to promote and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We honor the unique love between husbands and wives; the indispensible place of fathers and mothers; and the corresponding rights and dignity of all children.
Marriage thus defined is a great good in itself, and it also serves the good of others and society in innumerable ways. The preservation of the unique meaning of marriage is not a special or limited interest but serves the good of all. Therefore, we invite and encourage all people, both within and beyond our faith communities, to stand with us in promoting and protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The press release talks about the “unique meaning” of marriage and the letter speaks of the “unique love” between husbands and wives. Logically speaking, what does “uniqueness” prove? Absolutely nothing.
The letter says that marriage is something “permanent.” Ever heard of a little something called the divorce rate? Have we ever seen such a concerted effort to “defend” marriage against that?
The letter says that marriage is the “natural” basis of a family. How is that statement, beyond religious beliefs, proven in any way?
Let’s say you have a family consisting of one man, one woman, and two children. Now, let’s say one of the parents dies. So sorry, family. According to our nation’s religious leaders your family is no longer “natural.”
Personally I think the letter is an insult to anyone who ever grew up in a family without one or both of the “natural” biological parents, or one where the “permanent” marriage was ripped apart by divorce, and let us not forget everyone who was ever adopted. If we accept the argument that the act of procreation is what makes marriage “natural” then by logical extension anyone not raised by their biological parents is in an unnatural family.
Not too long ago there was a person on craigslist in the “politics” section. He was making reasoned arguments that homosexuals were “shit eaters” and “pedophiles” during the act of defending marriage. He even posted appalling pictures of scatological sexual activity (between two men) as his “proof.” How he came into possession of the image one can only wonder.
I don’t normally engage on craigslist, but I decided to take a shot. I knew it would be waste of time, though, especially for one anyone who expressed such illogical thoughts. Call it an “open letter” of my own, if you will. Here’s what I wrote:
There is a person trolling here using homosexual bashing as bait. If you can’t recognize the pure unabashed trolling for what it is then perhaps you have a problem as well. Trolls are best ignored.
Sexual orientation is NOT the act of having sex or engaging in a particular type of sexual activity. The picture of scatological sex that was posted recently falls into the category of deviant behavior, i.e., it violates our society’s cultural norms. It would be equally deviant if it was two men, two women, or a mixed-gender couple. Therefore you can’t simply show the same picture where one of the participants is female and declare, “See! Heterosexuality is sick!” It doesn’t work that way.
You can have a sexual relationship between two gay men that doesn’t involve anal sex. That doesn’t mean the men are straight.
You can have a sexual relationship between a mixed-gender couple that does involve anal sex. That doesn’t mean the people involved are homosexual.
Orientation is what you are. It is a preference. It is how you feel and what you are attracted to. It is not what you do. Or don’t do.
Naturally my post was flagged down and removed from craigslist in record time. Luckily, as the author, I was able to preserve a copy.
I had a friend named Klaus. One time he expressed this thought: “I don’t believe you can find love in another man’s hairy asshole.” Yes, Klaus was an eloquent fellow. And that opinion fit his worldview and beliefs. But I think it’s safe to say that the opinion is not universally shared. And that’s what makes freedom so special. We each get to make up our own minds.
To me, the big travesty here is a simple one. It is the fact that so many spend so much time and effort try to legally control and quarantine the actions of other people. Adults engaged in mutually consensual behavior should leave each other the fuck alone.
If you leave faith and religion out of the equation, what proof remains that supports the “defense” of marriage?
It was a dark and stormy night. My wife and I were going to bed. Suddenly, a shot rang out.
This is the true story of last night.
We were fluffing our pillows and on final approach for nitey nite. Then my wife did something that happened to irritate me. No, I don’t remember now what it was. That isn’t germane to this tale. But I do remember quite clearly what I said in response.
“Just for that I’m going to close my eyes and repeat the name ‘Jessica Alba’ over and over again as I drift off to sleep.”
Hey. Never once have I ever claimed to be mature! A little directed dreaming as a method of revenge. What can I say? That’s just the way I roll.
I’m still baffled by what happened next, but this actually seemed to irritate my wife. The next thing I heard was my wife gently and quietly repeating these words as I was falling asleep: “mom … your mother … Beatrice.”
She was trying to push Jessica Alba out of my dream. How rude.
This morning I woke up and realized that I did dream and I actually remember it. It went a little something like this:
I had gone back in time with Kirk and Spock. A terrible future was waiting for us and we had one chance to make things right. It was decided that I would be disguised as a Romulan and would sneak onto a Romulan ship. Meanwhile none of us were aware that Jean-Luc Picard was also planning a trip to the same moment in time, and was about to accidentally interfere with our plans. We were going to have to adapt quickly or it would be the end of the universe…
I’m not making this up. That was the actual dream. I must have woken up because that’s all I remember. I do remember thinking while I was dreaming, though, “I’d better remember this, because this shit is good. This will make an awesome movie!” Then I woke up and I have to admit, it all sounds a bit lame.
So I guess now we know what happens if you compromise between mom and Jessica Alba. Your mind doesn’t know how to cope so it settles on Star Trek as a defense mechanism.
Please enjoy the musical selection that our chef has paired with this article.
Episode 99, THE GERBIL STRIKES BACK: It is a dark time for Parental Forces. Although The Key to The Nest has been reclaimed, the Rebellion, led by The Gerbil, has continued its onslaught unabated.
Using daytime nocturnalism powers, the Gerbil has established a hidden rebel base to engage Parental units in an ongoing campaign of terror and harassment.
Emboldened by a strange phenomenon known as a “job,” the Gerbil is seeking to stockpile vital supplies of cigarettes, energy drinks and drugs while continuing to avoid all forms of responsibility…
Alrighty, then. Where were we? Oh yes. The gerbil had obtained a job and had even voluntarily chosen to hand over the source of his powers, The Key. (The key to our house.)
First up, the “job.” Yes, through absolutely no effort on the part of the gerbil, he had obtained a job. We had previously tried log sheets where the gerbil was to document his job hunting efforts. After weeks had gone by, the sheet amassed two or three entries of gerbil scrawl with the names of establishments where the gerbil had submitted applications. The entries turned out to be lies, however. Then the gerbil claimed to have emailed applications to a few other jobs. A check of the “sent folder” revealed these were also lies. It seems the gerbil would leave no stone unturned in his efforts to embrace total hedonism and avoid all possible forms of responsibility.
Finally, though, he ended up helping a relative of ours at her place of employment. She took a little pity on him and gave him odd jobs and such out of her own pocket. He was rather rude about this, often not showing up and bothering to call.
Then another other employee at this place of business decided to quit and gave one week notice. They were in a little bit of a bind. Because the gerbil had been hanging around and was already familiar with the operation, the owners gave him a shot. Did he want the job?
Amazingly the gerbil accepted. The job had landed right in his lap to a sufficient degree that the gerbil was willing to give it a try. I guess he figured our anger would know no bounds if he declined. He was right about that.
The first week was iffy and he almost got fired. He was late one day and called in sick on another. Classic. Amazingly, though, to this day, he still has managed to hang onto the job. Inconceivable!
Two things immediately happened. First, the gerbil and our relative decided amongst themselves that our fucking driveway would serve as their personal bus stop. Our relative would pick up the gerbil on the way to work in our driveway. Why in the name of all that’s holy did it have to be our driveway when there is a whole city out there that could serve the same function? I’ll never know!
So every morning now I open the garage door to find our relative’s car in my driveway and blocking my exit. I get to sit and wait while she moves the car so I can go to work. Ever hear of the street? You could park on the curb. I fail to understand why the difference of 15 fucking feet makes a big difference. It just has to be in our driveway. And every day it’s the same routine. Open garage door, she moves her car, I wait. You think it would have dawned on her by now, “Hey. Gee whiz. Park on the street and I won’t have to move the car every time.” Grrrr.
Secondly, every single day this last week, following the return of the key on Sunday, the gerbil has been loitering in our driveway when I return home from work. I open the garage, pull in, then he is in my face. “Can I borrow your phone?” (He has a super fancy phone but never made the payments so it is disconnected.) “Oh, yeah. Can I borrow your mountain bike to get to work?” Like always everything is about what he wants.
His first week after returning the key and we just had five days of gerbil mooching visits. What part of “moving out” don’t you understand?
Lastly, there is one other amusing anecdote to share. The most interesting thing about the gerbil finally landing a job is this – nothing in the physical universe has changed. The gerbil still doesn’t have any money, of course. That would require “not spending” and “saving” acting together in unison. As far as I can tell, the only thing that has changed is that the gerbil now has more energy drinks, more expensive coffee stand drinks, more cigarettes, more alcohol, and (I’m assuming) a lot more drugs. Well whoop-de-frickin-do!
One afternoon this week my wife attempted to engage the gerbil in chit chat. I was not in the room. She wanted to inquire about money and how that was coming along for him. As usual this line of discussion really agitated the little feller. (He owes us about $1,000 by now, money that we desperately need.) I’m told the conversation went a little something like this:
- Mom: So. How are you doing on saving money now that you have a job?
- Gerbil: [angrily] You know I don’t have any money!
- M: Well, I thought with a job you’d …
- G: No! I don’t have any!
- M: Well, where is it all going?
- G: You know I don’t make hardly anything. And every penny I make goes to bills.
- M: So you’ve been working for weeks now and you don’t have any money?
- G: [shrieking] What do you want? Do you want to see me swinging from the end of a fucking rope? Is that what you want? I’ve got nothing!
- M: What? No. God no! Why are you saying things like that?
- G: [angrily stomps out of our house and slams our front door]
I have dubbed this behavior the “proactive conversation blocking technique.” It is a tactic the gerbil employs often. The gerbil knows that nothing freaks out his mother more than dropping vague and angry little suicidal hints. Or, as in this case, not so vague. “Swinging from the end of a rope” is pretty frickin’ clear. So he employs this little tactic and the discussion he finds so uncomfortable is over and he usually follows up with storming out of the house.
I can only hope stuff like this keeps going and going and going and never ends so I’ll always have something to write about. Yeah, that would be good.