I couldn't have said it better myself . . . though I certainly tried in two previous posts. Below, is a commentary from cnn.com by Lou Dobbs. I love it! It's fantastic! It's brilliant. It's snarkiness at its best!! Enjoy.
Dobbs: A tree grows in Seattle
POSTED: 3:01 p.m. EST, December 13, 2006
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Merry Christmas! That's right, Merry Christmas. Whether you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, agnostic, pagan, barbarian or whatever, Merry Christmas!
It's what most of us say in this country come this time of year. It's about who we are, where we are and where we've been. And all the namby-pamby, little sensitive darlings among us who can't handle this verbal assault on their delicate senses should immediately begin seeking emergency psychiatric care.
This week we were treated to the spectacle of an easily offended and highly offensive rabbi who walked into an airport, gazed upon Christmas trees all around him and suddenly was overwhelmed with an immense, and apparently irresistible, urge to sue the management of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport because nowhere among all the Christmas trees was a single menorah. Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement of Seattle even delivered to the airport's management a draft of a lawsuit he would file if they didn't sprinkle menorahs around the Christmas trees.
Political correctness in this country reached an entirely new level of absurdity some years ago. But occasionally, and the situation at Sea-Tac is just such an occasion, we exceed ourselves. The militant fundamentalist rabbi so flummoxed Sea-Tac management with his threat and their perceived obligation to be "politically correct" that, rather than think rationally or simply tell him to stuff it, they started hacking away at all those artificial Christmas trees and quickly descended into a public relations nightmare in which they managed to offend reason, cultural values and the vast majority of Americans.
As CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin told me, "The Supreme Court has held since 1984, the famous 'Reindeer Rule,' that if a symbol of Christmas is mostly secular, like a reindeer or a Christmas tree or Santa Claus, that is not a violation of the separation of church and state."
The irony that escaped the rabid rabbi and the timid Sea-Tac management team is that the Christmas tree's likely origin dates back to pre-Christian pagan cultures. The Christmas tree is not by any means a religious symbol, and when we're honest about it, the tree's become a purely commercial symbol more closely associated with shopping, roasting chestnuts and guzzling eggnog than a nativity scene with baby Jesus.
And hang on, Christians, because you're in 21st Century America, and our culture celebrates your holiest day of the year with such insensitive gusto that our economy would suffer a serious setback if your religious sensibilities were as easily offended as those of the litigious rabbi.
More than 140 million shoppers spent an average of about $360 on Black Friday alone, the day after Thanksgiving and the unofficial kickoff to the Christmas shopping season, according to the National Retail Federation. And all those Christmas shoppers are expected to spend nearly a half-trillion dollars this shopping season.
Now if I were a fundamentalist Christian, that might strike me as a little politically incorrect. And I think all of you folks should think about suing somebody. You know, get in the spirit of the season.
This mindless movement of political correctness at all costs is one of the most un-American and crazy twists in our culture as anything we've witnessed. Remember, we're Americans, and we have freedom of speech, that whole life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness thing. Or at least we did.
And I hope you'll celebrate the Christmas season by offending someone. If you're Jewish, how about a hearty "Happy Hanukkah" to a good Christian? If they're offended you've revealed a fool, not such a good Christian and someone you shouldn't waste your expression of good will upon. But get ready for a few robust "Merry Christmas" calls to be thrown your way as well.
The operators of the Seattle-Tacoma airport quickly righted a potentially dreadful wrong. The rabbi decided not to file a suit, Christmas trees have sprung back up throughout the concourse, and no, not a single menorah has been spotted. I can only hope this is the beginning of a major movement in America, one that regards thinking as paramount to phony feelings and heightened self-centered sensitivities. Common sense and judgment should always reign supreme over political correctness, no matter what the current trend.
And, my gosh, even Wal-Mart this year has abandoned its generic, politically correct "Happy
Holidays" greeting in favor of "Merry Christmas." I'm starting to think this may be the season to be jolly after all. Ho, ho, ho.
To all, a Merry Christmas. OK, and a Happy Hanukkah, too.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I couldn't have said it better myself . . . though I certainly tried in two previous posts. Below, is a commentary from cnn.com by Lou Dobbs. I love it! It's fantastic! It's brilliant. It's snarkiness at its best!! Enjoy.
Posted by Scott at 2:45 PM
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
December 12, 2006
Damn, give a situation a little time, and it resolves itself. The Christmas tree – at least for this year – no longer hangs in the balance. See below story!
SEATAC, Washington (AP) -- Christmas trees are going back up at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Pat Davis, president of the Port of Seattle commission, which directs airport operations, said late Monday that maintenance staff would restore the 14 plastic holiday trees, festooned with red ribbons and bows, that were removed over the weekend because of a rabbi's complaint that holiday decor did not include a menorah.
Airport managers believed that if they allowed the addition of an 8-foot-tall menorah to the display, as Seattle Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky had requested, they would also have to display symbols of other religions and cultures, which was not something airport workers had time for during the busiest travel season of the year, Airport Director Mark Reis said earlier Monday.
Port officials received word Monday afternoon that Bogomilsky's organization would not file a lawsuit at this time to seek the placement of a menorah, Davis said in a statement.
"Given that, the holiday trees will be replaced as quickly as possible," he said.
Davis added that the rabbi "never asked us to remove the trees; it was the port's decision based on what we knew at the time."
There were no immediate plans to display a menorah, airport spokesman Bob Parker said, saying restoration of the trees was expected to take place overnight Monday.
"A key element in moving forward will be to work with the rabbi and other members of the community to develop a plan for next year's holiday decorations at the airport," the port statement said.
The rabbi has also offered to give the port an electric menorah to display, said his lawyer, Harvey Grad. "We are not going to be the instrument by which the port holds Christmas hostage," Grad said, emphasizing the rabbi never sought removal of the trees, but addition of the menorah. The rabbi had received "all kinds of calls and emails," many of them "odious," Grad said, adding he was "trying to figure out how this is consistent with the spirit of Christmas."
Thirteen trees had sat above foyers that lead outside to the airport drive. The largest tree, which Reis estimated to be 15 or 20 feet tall, was placed in a large lobby near baggage claim for international arrivals.
After the removal, some airline workers decorated ticketing counters with their own miniature Christmas trees.
Customer service agents with Frontier Airlines pooled their money Monday morning to buy four 1-foot-high Christmas trees, which they placed on the airline's ticketing counter. Atop a Delta counter, workers put up a tree several feet tall.
The airlines lease space for ticket counters from the airport, and can display trees there if they want, Reis said. (cnn.com - 12/12/2006)
It appears that the human spirit, the desire to protect the beleaguered Christmas tree, to bring it back out into the light for people to see, is stronger than I originally thought. Perhaps even more moving is the fact that, in protest of the shabby treatment of the Christmas trees at the Seattle airport, airline employees fought back in their own way. Bravo to the human spirit!!!
In the end, no matter a persons beliefs – Christianity, Judaism, Hindu, Paganism, etc. – the Christmas tree is a just a tree. It is not a weapon to beat down other religions. It is a memory of childhood, of lying beneath the tree and looking up at all of the lights. It is a memory of scuffling across the carpet in sock feet, stopping in front of the tree, and tentatively reaching out with one finger – waiting, knowing – and watching that single, silvery strand of tinsel leap out to give a slight (sometimes big) electric shock. It is the memory of the smell (before artificial trees) of pine filling the room. It is so many things, and yet today, in 2006, the Christmas tree has become far more than it ever should. It is not an object to fight over, or sue over, or to demand it bear a different name to reflect a multi-cultural society. It is not a Hanukah bush, or a Kwanza tree. It is not a holiday tree. It is a Christmas tree and it should be allowed to remain just that, for time immemorial.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good life!!!
Posted by Scott at 9:55 AM
December 11, 2006
Why do Christmas trees threaten people? They have been around for centuries, part of various cultures for centuries, and yet in recent years it seems that Christmas trees are under attack! Why? What has a poor Christmas tree ever done to somebody? Have they committed murder? Have they robbed a bank? Have they abused a child? Have they run for political office and made promises they were not ever going to keep? No!
Yet, the poor, beleaguered Christmas tree is under attack again, this time by a Rabbi in Seattle, Washington. Now, after years of faithful service to the Seattle Airport, nine, loyal trees have had their lights dimmed, their decorations hidden away in some dark and dank storage unit, and been put away in their boxes, possible to never see the light of day again. This did not happen in the light of day, but in the wee hours of night, with few people around to witness one more step in the eradication of the life of the Christmas tree! It was as if the trees were horrible criminals, shunted away in the dark of night, a hint of communism suddenly in the United States. Christmas trees beware, your days are numbered!
There is an old saying: you cannot please all of the people all of the time.
The Christmas tree is a perfect example of this. I mean, once upon a time, it was just a simple tree. It lived its life in the forest, home to birds and squirrels, its falling needles nourishment for the ground. Then, one day, so far back that no one truly remembers when, someone began to decorate the trees and called it a Christmas tree. For centuries, it lived up to this domestic abuse by the humans who willing cut it down to build shelter or provide warmth for their families. It suffered the indignities of having lights strung through it, tinsel wrapped around it, and a lack of water so severe that its needles fell off and remained forever in the carpets of millions of houses worldwide. Then, at the end of the season, it was tossed to the curb without a second thought, some tinsel still remaining to flutter in an icy wind. Oh, the indignities suffered by the Christmas tree, and yet it never complained. It never spoke out and said, “Hey, do you mind, I’m pretty comfortable out here in the wild, with the sun shining down and the wind in my boughs. I’d rather you not chop me with an axe or cut me with a saw. Yes, I know, it gets cold out here, and dry in the heat of summer, but it’s a life, and not a bad one at that.” No, the Christmas tree suffered in silence and bore the decorations of generations. The Christmas tree stood tall and proud in Rockefeller Center, in the White House, in businesses and airports, in banks and grocery stores, and in homes both small and large. It did not ask for the honor, but accepted it none-the-less.
Now, in a multi-cultural society, the tree once again fears for its safety. It does not fear the bite of the axe or chainsaw, or the possibility of drying out, or the ravages of wildfires set by humanity’s carelessness. No, it fears a society that sees the Christmas tree as a threat to their beliefs.
In 2005, a movement (and yes, equivalent to some other stinky movement, I think) began to have the Christmas tree called a Holiday Tree to embrace all cultures. Now, a Rabbi in Seattle protests and nine trimmed trees suddenly find themselves shipped off to storage. Isn’t it about time that humanity gave the poor Christmas tree a break? Why should the Christmas tree have to change its name? Why should the Christmas trees in the Seattle Airport have to be removed in the wee hours of night with few people around? Why can’t we all just leave the poor Christmas tree alone? It is just a tree after all; a pine tree really, that once a year takes on a different name: Christmas tree. It is not a Holiday Tree, because it does not celebrate all Holidays, just one holiday – Christmas. And yet this grand tradition teeters on the edge of a great chasm.
It is not too late, to save the poor Christmas tree.
One voice – a Rabbi in Seattle – decided the fate of nine Christmas trees. Please be aware, the Rabbi did not make the decision to spirit the trees away, but his actions alone caused the airport authorities to make the decision.
A time of indecision is upon the world, upon the lives of Christmas trees everywhere. If we, the loyal followers of the Christmas tree, do not do something, then who will? The Christmas tree cannot speak for itself. If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound? If nine trees are spirited away in the night, with no one to see, has it really happened? If other business across the land fail to put up Christmas trees next year, did Christmas trees ever really exist?
I do not know the answers to those questions, but I know that the idea of a Christmas tree hangs in the balance.
Posted by Scott at 9:53 AM
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Mary Cheney is pregnant. The Conservative firestorm has begun.
Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America calls the pregnancy “unconscionable”. I firmly believe that Janice Crouse’s statement is “unconscionable.” What right does she have to decide whether a pregnancy is conscionable or unconscionable? What right does she have to be part of a group that promotes allegedly narrow-minded thinking and outright discrimination against other humans? I really do not have the answers to those questions. Janice Crouse, and others like her, have the right of free speech, and she does have the money behind her of other allegedly narrow-minded people so that her voice (not necessarily a wise voice) is heard over the voices of others.
Janice Crouse also made the following statement: It’s very disappointing that a celebrity couple like this would deliberately bring into the world a child that will never have a father.
Why? My sister raised her two children on her own after her husband left her. They grew up just fine without a father. He was a peripheral presence in their lives. My sister taught my nephews about love, respect, the difference between right and wrong, and the acceptance of responsibility. She did a fine job. Both my nephews are currently on the road to serving our country. My own father was a peripheral presence in my life. My mother taught my siblings and me the same thing my sister taught her children. My mother raised us, not my father. He worked for a living. He provided the home. He was a distant figure in our lives. He was not integral to who we each became as adults. A father is not a necessary figure in a child’s life. A mother is not a necessary figure in a child’s life. Love is the necessary figure. Has Janice Crouse considered the fact that some fathers physically abuse their children? Has she considered the fact that some father’s sexually abuse their children? Has she considered the fact that some mothers do the same thing? I really do not think so. Her statement appears biased, and based on limited information, rather than factual information.
The thing that bothers me most about Janice Crouse’s statements, and other individuals like her, is the fact that they willingly discriminate against people. Consistently, the conservatives deny equality to people. Consistently, Janice Crouse and other like-minded individuals, feel that their views should take precedence over the views of others. It is the year 2006, and yet we might as well be in the 1800s when women had few, if any rights, African Americans were fourth-class citizens, and the idea of equal rights was nothing but a dim illusion not likely to happen any time soon.
Discrimination is wrong, no matter how you color it, and no matter how a person justifies the discrimination. Mary Cheney and her partner have just as much right to have a baby, as Janice Crouse, as any Conservative, and as any human does. To call a pregnancy ‘unconscionable’ is a matter of free choice, but to promote discrimination, to promote the denial of equality, is the truly unconscionable act.
Posted by Scott at 8:08 AM
Monday, November 13, 2006
Recently, the residents of TN had an option to define marriage as between a man and a woman. It was a simple choice really: 'yes' = define and 'no' = do not define.
My main question is, what are we really voting for on Amendment 1?
The sanctity of marriage? Or, the sanctity of ignorance?
Is it right to deny equality? Does not the Constitution of the United States guarantee equality? If so, then where is my equal right to marry whomever I please, man or woman? It does not exist in today’s society. It will never exist in society because humanity – for the most part - is not capable of equality. Humanity – for the most part – is only capable of superiority. Humanity is not capable of acceptance. Humanity is capable of discrimination. Humanity is capable of ignorance. Humanity – for the most part – is not capable of intelligent thought. Harsh? Snarky? Perhaps. In the end, the ignorant will – again – prevail. Equality – again – will exist for a select few, those deeming themselves and their beliefs superior to all others. In the end, discrimination will continue unabated, and the United States will continue its descent into ignorance.
So, vote ‘Yes for No. 1’. Vote ‘Yes for Ignorance’. Vote ‘Yes for Discrimination’. Vote ‘Yes for Inequality’.
Or, dare to be different and vote ‘No for No. 1’. Vote ‘No for Ignorance’. Vote ‘No for Discrimination’. Vote ‘No for Inequality’.
The end result (like there was ever in doubt), ignorance won out. The next battle resides in the courts, with the unconstitutionality of Amendment #1 the topic of discussion. Why the 'unconstitutionality'? That, dear readers, is fairly simple: separation of church and state. The ideal of marriage is Bible based, i.e., religious based, to create a definition based on the Bible and incorporate that definition into the State constitution, creates no clear separation between Church and State, which creates the whole issue of the unconstitionalality (probably not a word, but necessary) of Amendment 1.
In the end, as with many things, the definition will become a non-issue, but not before countless dollars are spent by both sides in a dual fight: one for equality (a noble fight) and one for ignorance (no parenthetical explanation needed).
Posted by Scott at 12:47 PM
Are manners dead? Here’s why I am asking this question – for the past few weeks on the way to work, normally at the same spot, there is an older man taking his morning walk. He waves at all the passing cars. I wave back. I did not wave back at first. I have noticed that not many people wave back, which brings me to the pivotal question: are manners dead? A secondary question: would it kill somebody to wave back? Is it asking too much?
Obviously, since very few people are waving at the man, it must take a strenuous effort that might well kill a person. I mean, what other reason could people have for not waving at somebody . . . other than rudeness?
I think the crux of the matter is that we live in a mannerless society. We (a glaring generalization that any English teacher would surely frown upon) live in a fast-paced society that does not allow time for social niceties. Bull-you-know-what!!! The fact is, a good majority of people are just rude. They just cannot be bothered with smiling at someone, saying thank you, opening a door for somebody, or waving at the man on his morning walk.
Society, for the most part, is on a downward spiral. Or is it? Is there hope for redemption? Is there hope for 100% of people waving at the man on his morning walk?
How often have you (generalization, be damned) bumped into someone and not said . . . excuse me or sorry? How many times have you not held the door for the person behind you? How many times have you not smiled at someone who smiled at you? Once? Twice? Twenty times? A hundred times? How much effort does a simple act of kindness, of manners, cost a person? Does it take a minute off of your life? Is the price so high that rudeness is the easy way out? Or, is it pure laziness on the part of humanity? Will we become no better than the Neanderthals of the past, fighting for survival, with no time for a complimentary grunt toward our neighboring cave dweller?
So, next time somebody waves at you, I dare you to try something different, something outrageous – wave back!
Posted by Scott at 7:37 AM
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
As someone recently pointed out, it's been forever since I updated my blog. It's not for lack of material - trust me, current society provides plenty of material for rants . . . but more for a lack of time on my part to put words to my rants and find the time to post them.
Picture it - August 1, 2006. I decide to write a rough draft of a manuscript in 30 days. My goal: 50,000 words. I met the goal in 14 days - rough draft, beginning to end, and more than 50,000 words. I knew it was possible to do this in 30 days since I did it last November. I did not realize I could do it in 14 days. The words on this project have flowed from Day 1. The clarity of vision is unbelievable. I cannot remember a time when the words flowed so easily, or when a project consumed me so completely. I think about this project all the time. Hell, I dream about this project. I keep a pad of paper in the car with me and a journal next to me in bed. I jot down notes at stop signs and red lights, and in the parking lot before coming into the office. I wake up in the middle of the night, reach for the journal, and more notes. It is incredible.
August 15, 2006 - I begin the 'first' draft of the project. I start to revise the chapters, make sure things flow, omit needless sections, and make additions if needed. My original goal: a chapter per day. The problem: the story wasn't finished, or at least it was, but there was another story waiting to be told as well . . . a sequel, perhaps, but from different perspectives. Now those words consume me as well, the notes in the car, in the middle of night, a quick email to myself, and pieces of paper scattered everywhere. I revise a chapter in the first manuscript and then work on the new manuscript.
This project is different. This project is everything. This project is what I know, fact and fiction melded together. Where is the fact? Hidden in the fiction. Where is the fiction? Woven over the fact.
Some might say, and others might not, why start a new project before finishing the first? Because the second project is only an extension of the first project, but from a different perspective. Two ideas: the first 50,000 words was Part 1, and the second 50,000 (or more) would be Part 2. Then, it made more sense just to separate into two manuscripts. It makes sense. It does not diminish what I accomplished in two weeks time. Writing is a process. A rough draft is just the bones of the finished project. It changes. Characters are created. Characters are eliminated. What I first imagined for a character sometimes changes totally by the end of the rough draft, the first draft, the second draft, and how many ever drafts come into existence before the end. Part 1 (aka Book 1) told one story. Part 2 (aka Book 2) tells another story, filling in some gaps, but showing things from a different perspective.
All I know, is this project consumes me like no other. It is the breath I breathe day after day. It is the last thing I think about at night and the first thing I think about in the morning. The project gives me goosebumps.
So, my rants may suffer, I may not post for a long time to come, but it is not because I do not care, it is not because my subject matter has diminished - like that will ever happen, it is because right now there is nothing but the project that flows through my mind almost every second of every day. It is a good feeling.
Posted by Scott at 7:26 AM
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Three-century-old Virginia Witch is Exonerated
Grace Sherwood was convicted through trial by water in 1706
VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (AP) -- The Witch of Pungo is no longer a witch.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine gave an informal pardon Monday to Grace Sherwood, who 300 years ago became Virginia's only person convicted as a witch tried by water.
"I am pleased to officially restore the good name of Grace Sherwood," Kaine wrote in a letter that Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf read aloud before a re-enactment of Sherwood's being dropped into the river.
"With 300 years of hindsight, we all certainly can agree that trial by water is an injustice," Kaine wrote. "We also can celebrate the fact that a woman's equality is constitutionally protected today, and women have the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams." (www.cnn.com July 11, 2006)
I just love it when ignorance is rectified, and it only took 300 years. The problem is, the same ignorance that condemned innocent women to death 300 years ago, still prevails freely in our society, as evidenced by current battles for equal rights by gays/lesbians. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a world of difference between what happened 300 years ago and what is happening today, the same basic ingredient – ignorance – is involved. 300 years ago, because of ignorance – well, you might want to add spite, jealousy, envy and a few other undesirable emotions into the mix – many innocent women were put to death under the false guise of witchcraft. Today, in an entirely different comparison, those same emotions seem to guide lawmakers in their decisions to deny equal rights to gays/lesbians. I can only hope that it does not take 300 years to rectify the situation. Just a lovely thought for the day.
BTW - Grace Sherwood's guilt was proved by throwing her in the river. Since she floated, it was a sign that pure water would not contain evil and she was convicted of witchcraft. If she had not floated, ie., drowned, then she was not a witch. Talk about your scientific ways to prove guilt. She did spend some time in jail, she was not killed, and in time was released and regained her land. Still, she went through life under the stigma of being a witch. Guilty until proven innocent. My, how things stay the same 300 years later.
Posted by Scott at 7:47 AM
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Here’s what I don’t understand: the judgments seem more based on personal bias than actual law; even though the law makers will cite case law after case law to support their personal bias. But, if the decision is based on personal bias, can the individuals not sue the court systems based on personal bias? It seems quite logical to me. I just wonder why no one ever considered the idea before. The fact is, decisions regarding law should be free of personal bias. I know, it is impossible for personal bias not to influence a court’s decision totally, but 98% of the decision should have law on its side.
Of course, we live in an imperfect world, so the words I type are meaningless. Personal bias will always figure in the decisions made for/against gay marriage. It is too hot a topic not to have personal bias involved. I just wish that the lawmakers – judges, senators, congressmen, the President – would just admit that they are making their decisions based on personal bias, rather than coming up with every other excuse they possible can to try and disguise what is obvious to most people.
Posted by Scott at 10:38 AM
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
CBS Stations: Sex Fines Without Merit
CBS affiliates filed a motion on Tuesday to have the $3.3 million worth of fines levied against a Dec. 31, 2004, Without a Trace rebroadcast — which, the FCC says, depicted "numerous sexual activities" and "sexual conduct" amongst teens — tossed out because not one of the 4,211 complaints about the episode came from anyone outside of the websites operated by two conservative advocacy groups, the Parents Television Council and the American Family Association. "Permitting enforcement reliant on a national mass e-mail campaign is akin to permitting the [FCC] to single out programming it dislikes, in the absence of any viewer complaint," argue the affiliates. (tvguide.com – entertainment news)
My comment: no duh.
My other comment: Obviously, the members of the above referenced organizations have nothing better to do with their time than create unnecessary work for lawyers. Because a small percentage (and perhaps, allegedly small-minded) group of people find a show ‘objectionable’ to their tastes, not necessarily the tastes of the millions of people who viewed the show that night, CBS affiliates are fined $3.3 million. Let me put that number into percentage perspective: .004% people found the show objectionable, if figuring that only 1 million people watched the show that night. So, CBS affiliates get fined $3.3 million because .004% of people find the show objectionable. Give me a break, people, and get a life. If you don’t want to watch the show, don’t watch it. If you don’t want your kids watching the show, then don’t let them watch it. The majority of cable boxes allow responsible parents to block a channel. My advice: block it and get a life.
I cannot even believe I am doing a blog entry based on the above news item. Technically, it is a waste of time. Importantly, it is not. The public at large needs to stand up against organizations that feel they have the right to censor, in any way, shape or form. One voice can make a difference. I understand the need to stand up for convictions – I’m doing it here and now. I understand the passion of convictions. The only passion about censorship should be a passion against censorship.
Both the Parents Television Council and the American Family Association are allegedly attempting to reshape society in their – allegedly – narrow-minded vision. I applaud their efforts. They have every right to stand up for their beliefs. They do not have the right, at least in my opinion, to infringe upon my beliefs, or deny me the right to choose what I want to watch or do not want to watch on television. If I don’t want to watch something, I change the channel or turn the television off. It’s a simple enough process that requires almost no effort on my part. If I find a book objectionable, I don’t buy it. Again, simple enough. I do not send out mass emailings – though, I guess this blog could be considered a mass email – so that the CBS affiliates are fined an inordinate amount of money for a show that was only objectionable to members of the aforementioned groups, and a .004% at that. Technically, based on the actual viewership numbers for that episode, the percentage is probably far less than .004%.
The true question here, is how many people in that .004% actually watched the show? Or, is the simple fact, that only one person watched the show that night, and then sent out a mass email to all the members of that group and requested that they send the emails to the FCC? I think my scenario is the actuality of the situation. Perhaps, the FCC should subpoena all 4,211 people who sent the emails, put them under oath, and ask the simple question: Did you watch Without a Trace on the night of December 31, 2004? Hmmm . . .
As an addendum to the above: please note that - as was pointed out to me earlier - not all the members of the above-mentioned groups are narrow-minded indivduals . . . only some of them, and, again, that is only my personal opinion. I was wrong in not adding the word 'some' to the earlier portions of the post. People are not easily definied into a simple stereotype. I have ranted against that idea before; unfortunately, I fell into the same stereotyping calamaity. Sorry.
Posted by Scott at 9:57 AM
Thursday, June 08, 2006
I just want to add that the proposed Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage failed . . . as the parties proposing the amendment knew it would. So why propose it, if you knew it would fail? The obvious (and, unfortunately, most likely) response is: to appease the constituents who provide the most money for their political campaigns. It is an election year folks, and certain members of a certain political party are currently running scared because of a certain approval rating for a certain high placed government official that is - luckily so - rubbing off on the rest of the party. The proposed amendment was nothing more than political b.s. to show the allegedly moneyed constituents that the people in power are doing their jobs. HA! Isn't that a joke.
What needs to be remembered, is that while the proposed amendment did not succeed this time, it might succeed at a later date. We the people have the power to stand up and fight such an amendment. We the people have the power to hold the people in power to a higher standard. Perhaps it is time that we the people became more actively involved in the political arena and began to demand answers from the people we put in power. Perhaps we need to review their voting records and match them up to the political promises (i.e., meaningless words told to get elected) they made during their campaigns. Perhaps we need to take a more careful look at all those currently up for election and running for office and see if a change needs to be made.
Lastly, why the heck do people vote along party lines? Why don't people vote for the best person suited for the job, rather than someone who is either a Democrat or Republican? When people vote along party lines, it becomes the blind leading the blind. Just because someone is a Democrat (or Republican, for that matter) and running for office, it does not necessarily make that person the best candidate for the job. A Republican (or Democrat) might be the better candidate, but people fail to realize that fact, vote along party lines, and then wonder why things are going to hell in a proverbial handbasket? Grow up, people. Get a life. To vote along party lines is to vote in favor of oppression and ignorance. Information is but a few keystrokes away. Take a few minutes, google a name, and find out about both candidates running for a particular office. Be bold, be daring, and vote for the best qualified candidate, and not the party candidate you feel obligated to vote for. In the end, we might have a better country. I'm just saying . . .
Posted by Scott at 7:32 AM
Friday, June 02, 2006
Okay, I seem to have a theme, but after giving the 'Batwoman is a Lesbian' post some more thought . . . and I still stand by my comments about Wonder Woman . . . I would say that the majority of Superheroes have . . . shall we say . . . gay tendencies? I mean, really, how many hetero men do you know would be comfortable wearing tights and a cape? What about Batman's leather outfit? Robin's short shorts, tights and a cape? Not to mention the name. It is clearly obvious that the majority of Superheroes have gay tendencies. I'm just saying . . .
Posted by Scott at 7:10 AM
Thursday, June 01, 2006
In a bold move, DC Comics is bringing back the character of Batwoman . . . with a twist: she's a lesbian. The Internet community is in a frenzy over this announcement. The New York Times has reported on this story. Why? I just don't get it. So Batwoman is a lesbian. That's great, but is it deserving of so much Internet usage and media print? Not really, but who am I to question the fervor over this announcement. I really think it's great that Batwoman is a lesbian. I always thought Wonder Women made a good lesbian - technically a lipstick dyke since she's so beautiful - but whoever conceived of Wonder Woman decided that she needed a male love interest. Please, a good woman would have been a better love interest for her. : ) In the end, does it really matter that Batwoman is a lesbian? Is it worth all the time spent on Internet message boards denouncing or supporting the decision. In a word . . . yes. It creates discussion, it creates thought and it creates dissent. It shows that humanity is not a totally careless - though ignorant might be an apt word - society that no longer pays attention to what is happening. Then again, it also shows that the narrow-minded nature of some portions of society are still in existence. Just because Batwoman is a lesbian does not make her any less human. In my personal opinion, perhaps it makes her more human because she can relate to both her feminine and masculine aspects. Just a thought.
Posted by Scott at 1:35 PM
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
I'm going to weigh in on a potentially, but not necessarily, touchy subject: the immigration wars. Well, it's not a war yet, but proponents and opponents are gathering their forces and it looks to get mighty ugly in the coming weeks/months/years/whatever! My personal opinion on this touchy subject: send the illegals back. It's plain and simple. It's straightforward. There is no need for debate. They are in the country illegally. Send them back.
According to research, there are 11 to 12 million illegal aliens currently in our country. This means, there are 11 to 12 million people not paying taxes, yet they are utilizing the resources of this country. My personal opinion - you can like it or not - is that if they want to be in this country, they need to be legal and they need to pay taxes. If they can't . . . send them back. If they won't . . . send them back. There should not be a debate on this issue. There should only be the simple solution of sending illegal immigrants back to where they came from in the first place.
Now, I understand their lives might not be so great wherever they came from - this is pretty much a given; but, a good percentage of these illegal immigrants are allegedly sending their money back to Mexico (or wherever) and not back into the country they are sponging off of in the first place. Send them back.
Now, for you detractors out there, the proponents of 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States and not paying taxes (while at the same time forcing the institution of Press 1 for Spanish), your opinion is just as vital as mine. I understand the emotions involved in sending 11 to 12 million people back to wherever they came from in the first place; but there are other legal options. Those options should be considered, but 11 to 12 million people not paying taxes should not be an option. A solution should be found, but just waving a magic wand and saying 'okay, you 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants, we're going to make an exception this time and let you stay in our country' is really not an option. It sets a precedent that should - again, in my personal opinion - not be set. The United States Government needs to stand firm, send the 11 to 12 million back to wherever they came from and enact laws to keep them out of the country on an illegal basis. Money needs to be spent ensuring that our borders are safe. It is a plain and simple solution and one that should have been done 20 years ago before there were 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants in the country.
Posted by Scott at 9:30 AM
Monday, March 06, 2006
I think I'm going to start a new organization called 'Freedom from Ignorance'. Why, dear readers, am I making this statement? Well, it all started in the aftermath of the Oscars last night and a simple statement. See below:
Others weren't surprised that the gay-themed films found mixed success at the Oscars.
"I think America sent a message to those in the industry that this isn't something that they're interested in, and hopefully this was something that weighed heavily on them as they voted for these pictures," said Alan Chambers, president of Orlando, Florida-based Exodus International, a Christian organization that promotes "freedom from homosexuality." (http://www.cnn.com – Entertainment – Mixed Oscar Results for Gay, Transgender Themes – 03/06/2006)
So, according to Alan Chambers, president of Orlando, Florida-based Exodus International, a Christian organization that promotes “freedom from homosexuality”, ‘Crash’ won the Oscar for best picture, not because it was an excellent/brilliant film, but because it did not have a gay/transgendered theme. Now, I’m sure Mr. Chambers would love to argue with me about that statement, but he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning such an argument. He made a clear and simple statement about why ‘Brokeback Mountain”, ‘TransAmerica’ and ‘Capote’ did not win the Oscar for Best Picture. The inevitable conclusion to his comment are that ‘Crash’ only won because “America sent a message to those in the industry that this (meaning films with gay/transgender themes) isn’t something that they’re interested in”. In other words, and in my interpretation only, if the other films had not been of a gay/transgender theme, then ‘Crash’ probably would not have won.
I know, my logic is brilliance in motion. I suppose Mr. Chambers feels that his logic is brilliance in motion as well, i.e., freedom from homosexuality. I’d love to start an organization that promotes freedom from ignorance, but I truly do not think there is enough money in the world to fund such an organization.
I guess there is no end to illogical thinking on the part of people against homosexuality. I also guess there is no end to Mr. Chamber’s alleged ignorance either. I mean, awards did go to gay/transgender themed movies: Philip Seymour Hoffman won for ‘Capote’, Ang Lee won for Best Director, for ‘Brokeback Mountain’; that movie also won for Best Score and Best Adapted Screenplay. If, as Mr. Chambers’ states, “America sent a message”, then why was it not a complete message? Was there a breakdown in communication? Did somebody not get the memo? Or, as is the more likely event, is his statement totally without merit? Did ‘Crash’ win for the simple reason that it was an excellent film that deserved an award? I think that is the case, but that the allegedly deluded people in the world cannot accept such a basic truth and must, therefore, create their own truth.
In the end, the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender community made great strides this year by having so many gay/transgender themed films receive so many nominations. The door is open, Mr. Chambers, and there’s nothing you can do about it. We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re everywhere. We are not going away because you don’t like us. We are going to continue to make our presence known, day after day, year after year, into the next millennia and beyond. Get used to it. After all, I’m somewhat getting used to alleged ignorant people, if only for the fact that it creates activity for my brain cells and gives me something to write about. Ciao!
Posted by Scott at 1:13 PM
Thursday, March 02, 2006
DISSED-HER CHRISTIAN: Michelle Williams' Oscar-nominated turn in Brokeback Mountain has earned her a failing grade from the Christian high school she attended. "We don't want to have anything to do with her in relation to that movie. Michelle doesn't represent the values of this institution," the Santa Fe Christian School headmaster tells the San Diego Union Tribune. "I hope we offered her something in life, but she made the kinds of choices of which we wouldn't approve. Brokeback Mountain promotes a lifestyle we don't promote. It's not the word of God." But selling M&Ms for $5 a box as a fundraiser, that's cool with Him. (TVGuide.Com – Entertainment News – 03/02/2006)
Here we go again!!! It’s amazing to me that alleged Christians continually pick and choose which Biblical passages to base their life on, rather than taking the Bible as a whole. Had the Sante Fe Christian School been following the passage that reads “thou shall not judge, less thou be judged” part, perhaps they would have kept their prejudicial views to themselves rather than JUDGING Michelle Williams for choosing a stand-out role in a ground-breaking film.
I know the world is imperfect. I know the world is full of ignorant people. I know that some people are never going to accept the fact that homosexuality is not a choice, but genetics. I know that alleged Christian groups are going to continually do everything in their power to oppress homosexuals, and their supporters. It is a sad fact of life that I can do little about, other than express my extreme distaste and disappointment in my personal blog. It will have to be enough.
I could pray for enlightenment for the allegedly ignorant, but I think that’s one prayer that’s not going to get answered. I could ask for acceptance from the allegedly Christian people out there; but again, I don’t think that is going to happen. Humanity seems to have an ingrained trait for oppression and degradation against those they feel are deviant or different. History is full of examples, dating back to the earliest days of human history, of this nasty, but indelible, trait within the souls of humanity. The prime example would be Hitler’s rampage against the Jews, but there are so many more examples out there, that it is not even funny. A good portion of humanity does not seem to learn from the past. It seems easier to repeat mistakes rather than find a way to fix them.
In the end, no matter what I write or say, the human trait of oppression, degradation, of alleged superiority, will not disappear. The alleged Christians will continue their promotion of hate and intolerance against homosexuals, and any who don’t fall within their religious parameters, no matter what I write or say. It is in their nature. They cannot escape the web of deceit they have woven for themselves, believing that their way is the only way! Now I will add that not all Christians follow this seemingly predetermined way of life. Many Christians accept people at face value and do not unnecessarily judge them. It is only those who allegedly follow a path of narrow-mindedness that seem stuck on the path of oppression and degradation; attempting to put the needs of the few, over the needs of the many. It is those Christians wherein my problem lies.
In a world where hope seems futile, I will continue to write this blog. In a world where the intelligent must stand against the ignorant, I will continue to write this blog. In face of the fading hope for acceptance of all, no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc., I will continue to write this blog; for one candle alone can hold back the darkness.
Posted by Scott at 9:45 AM
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Here’s the question of the day: when will people just get over it? It does not matter if someone is gay, straight, bisexual, transsexual, trisexual or transgendered: it does not make them any less of a person. I do not understand society’s obsession with categorizing somebody and demeaning him or her by that category.
What started me on this rant? Oh, dear readers, click on the lovely link and read the article that set my mind ranting:
For the hundredth time (really the thousandth, but hundredth sounds better), sexual orientation is not a choice. It is genetics. I know there are a huge number of people out there that disagree with me on that; but none of them have lived my life, and very few of them really care to understand the truth (at least the truth as I see it). I did not wake up on a Tuesday, look outside, see the sun was shining (and it was a perfect day for rabbit hunting according to Snoopy) and decide ‘hey, I think I’ll become gay’. I did not make such a choice, any more than someone claiming heterosexual status made an obvious choice to become heterosexual: it was just the way they were born, i.e,. genetics.
I understand that people have a problem with the whole gay, transgendered, whatever, thing, but to deny its existence and to . . . well, I probably shouldn’t go here, but . . . attempt to shield their children from the psychological ramifications . . . oh, please, just get over it and get a life. As I previously stated, we’re everywhere and we’re not going away. I just wish the rest of the ignorant minded (sorry, but if the word fits, the word fits and I’m going to use it) could be as accepting as my sister (not that she didn’t have about 12 years of denial, but that’s a whole other story). Not too long ago my 2 ½ year old niece (and she probably asked this because she has a little brother now) if little boys wore dresses. Without blinking an eye, or probably (and you’ll understand this in a few seconds) thinking about what she was going to say, my sister said: No, only girls and drag queens. My niece’s response was “Okay, Momma” and that was the end of the matter. I can probably guarantee you that few parents would have made such a statement to their 2 ½ year old daughter. Nevertheless, my niece has two gay uncles, and my sister will not hide such a fact. It is just a natural part of life. My niece and nephew will be one of the lucky ones, growing up in an environment where they are not taught prejudice or hate, and where ignorance is not allowed. I only wish the rest of the world could exist in such an environment. Alas (I just love that word), such a state of being will probably never exist in this world. It is easier to hate than love. It is easier to nourish prejudice than acceptance. It is easier to wallow in ignorance than ask the necessary questions to live in knowledge.
My ranting is done, only for the moment, and the flow of words is beginning to slow. I have no more words of wisdom to offer or sage advice to give. In the end, people will choose ignorance over knowledge and hate over love/acceptance. It is easier.
Posted by Scott at 2:37 PM
Friday, February 24, 2006
I think the world would be a better place with a more ample use of duct tape. I think the majority of the world’s problems would not exist . . . with a more liberal use of duct tape. Duct tape is the cure all for the world’s problems.
Okay, for those of you wondering, I have not totally lost my mind; but I have had it to the nth degree with negativity. Let me spell it out for you: N – E – G – A – T – I – V – I – T – Y! There is too darn much negativity in the world and the simplest solution is – yes, you’ve guessed right – DUCT TAPE.
I think that any time somebody makes a negative comment about somebody else, that somebody should take a piece of duct tape seal off the negative comment maker’s mouth. It is a simple solution, and fairly cost effective as well. The next time a politician lies, pull out the old duct tape. The next time somebody insults somebody – with or without cause – pull out the duct tape. The next time somebody makes a cruel or insensitive remark, pull out the duct tape. Soon, semi-fully knowing the propensity for negativity in today’s society, there would be silence.
Now, as a world full of people with duct taped mouths might present somewhat of a problem, a needs for duct tape removal exists. I think the duct tape should stay on until the following happens: a) the person realizes they made a negative comment, told a lie, made a cruel or insensitive remark, or both for that matter and b) apologize for aforementioned remark, no matter the category. The duct tape should be kept readily available for the next instance of negativity or whatever, because it is going to happen again with better odds than winning the Power Ball or a bird excrementing upon you in a parking lot. Yes, I know excrementing is not an official word, but the usage fits, and I’m using it. Now, in the second instance of negativity, two pieces of duct tape should be used, and so on. In time – perhaps, but highly unlike with today’s devolved society – people might learn the true impact of their negativity, their lies, their cruelness and their insensitivity; but the Magic 8 Ball says “DOUBTFUL”! So, the duct tape makers shall get richer, and more and more people will appear in public with duct tape across their mouths.
I have vented . . . for now. What brought this up, some may wonder and others may not? Sit back, dear readers, and I shall regale you with tales of negative comments . . . or not. Suffice it to say that negative comments are harmful in all ways, and rarely helpful. I received a negative, totally (at least in my opinion) unjustified negative comment recently and realized it was but one upon many such comments. The comments are not necessary and I think the silent rule should apply: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. If that rule cannot apply, than the duct tape rule should apply: if you can’t say anything nice, someone’s gonna slap some duct tape across your mouth.
Posted by Scott at 12:23 PM
Friday, February 17, 2006
There are some nights when the words flow so easily when I sit down for my nightly writing session; then there are other nights where it is a struggle to find the right words. Last night was a flowy night. The words flowed smoothly from my brain to the paper. I had no doubts or struggles. I sat down, began writing, and 1,400 words later I had amazed even myself. Trust me, that's not an easy thing to do. I did not set out to write what I wrote last night, but obviously other parts of my brain had other ideas. My original intent was to edit a chapter. Instead, I began a new, and obviously necessary, chapter. 1,400 words equals out to about 5 pages. It is not a long chapter, but it fills in some blanks and provides necessary information. As I was writing the chapter I truly intended it to be longer than 1,400 words. Sometimes things happen. I wrote the perfect sentence. It was the perfect end to the chapter and the perfect lead in to the next chapter (the one I was supposed to edit last night). So the lengthy chapter I wasn't initial planning on writing, but somehow I started writing, suddenly became a much shorter chapter. Such is life.
I no longer question my talent. I no longer fully question my ability to write, though sometimes those pesky doubts form in my mind. It is easy to disregard them now than before. I guess that comes with age. Perhaps it comes with growing into the person I am now. I don't know. I don't care. I just know that last nights the words flowed freely. Sometimes, writing is akin to ecstasy. Yes, strange comparison, but I can tell you that there are times when I finish writing that I am breathless. I am satisfied. It's not quite sex, but close enough sometimes. I feel content after an excellent writing session. I feel at peace. Even as a writer, I don't think I can really put those words into writing to truly express the feelings I have after an excellent writing session.
Well, the real world is calling me right now. I do have bills to pay and since I haven't yet submitted anything to publication, it's off to my real job (which, btw, is the best job in the world).
Posted by Scott at 7:10 AM
Thursday, February 16, 2006
I really have nothing new to rant about at the moment, so I thought I'd just provide an update on my life. I know, probably very few people out there give a rat's hairy @$$, but that's the genius of blogs: you can write what you want, when you want, and you really don't care if the audience is interested or not. Is that too cynical? Too harsh, perhaps? Probably so, but it is one of those days where I'm on a roll.
Valentine's day has come and gone. The chocolates are half-eaten (if not totally gone) and the flowers are wilting, soon to be gone. The cards have been put away and the obligatory sex is done. The stores already have the St. Pat's items out, the marketing frenzy begins anew. Holidays have no meaning any more, it's all about shopping, going to the store. Oh, someone help me, I've begun to rhyme.
Okay, forget Valentine's Day, and holdiays past and future yet to come. Life is pretty good right now. Some personal doubts have been set aside and resolved for now. There is a sense of hope, and relief, as I continue with my life. My writing is going well. I have completed the edit/revise of the first 17 chapters of the current manuscript I am working on. I cannot believe that almost three months have passed since I began the edit process, and only four months have passed since I began work on this current project. It all began with National Novel Writing Month: 30 days, 50,000 words. It was a simple goal. I exceeded the limit by 250 words with 2 days to spare. I wrote what I call the 'shell' of a novel in those 30 days: beginning, middle and end. I created/crafted characters and situations, told a story, and answered all questions posed. The last 2 1/2 months have been spent refining what I wrote, adding characters and situations, and fleshing out the story so it makes more sense. There have been major deletions as well, and major revisions of certain locations. I have added over 20,000 words to the initial 50,000, and there will probably be at least 10,000 more words before all is said and done.
I guess what is most scary for me right now is what to do when I finish the process. Will I get up the nerve to search for a publisher? Will I just file it away with countless other manuscripts?
The simple answers are: yes and no. I am determined to succeed. I don't know why this year is different. I just know that the days of fear have to end sometime, and that time is now, rather than next year or the next. I might well fail. I might be told my writing is crap. So many things might happen, but I can no longer sit back and do nothing with my writing. I have to try. If I fail, so be it, because there is always the next time and the next time and the next time and the next time . . . and I hope you get the point by now.
Life is not about living in the future. It is about living in the present. Today. Not tomorrow, for tommorow might not come. I look at the stack of disks and CDs, the typed pages filing up storage box after storage box, of my writing, and I realize I should have done something long ago. I just don't think I was ready back then. My writing has changed so much over the course of the years. I needed the time to hone my talent, to find confidence in myself and my writing. I needed to have others read my writing and give me their comments, both good and bad. I have done that and now my excuses 'not to' do something are gone. In the famous words from 'Rent', there's only now!
Posted by Scott at 9:25 AM
Sunday, February 05, 2006
I dreamed last night, or rather early this morning, that my book was published. I do not know the name of the book – as is the way of dreams, the writing is sometimes not readable in the dream state; though I have read writing clearly in my dreams before – but I held it in my hand and say my name printed on the cover. I guess it is odd that I saw my name in writing, but could not read the title of the book or the names of the chapters even. Only my name was clear. Shivers up my spine, an odd sense of a future about to happen – presentiment? Premonition? Bullshit? I do not know. I only know that never before have I dreamed – shivers again, an odd sense of . . . something – of being published. Perhaps – damn, wish those shivers would stop – it is the fact that I recently made a huge decision regarding my life. Perhaps it is the fact that I have stayed so focused on the novel I have been working on since November 1, 2005. Again, I don’t know. I just know that writing is what I want to do most in this world, whether that is writing essays or fiction. I want to write. The words explode from within. I have – in the words from the musical Le Miserable – dreamed a dream. I have – fingers and a few other things crossed – dreamed the future (and I hope it is the very near future). I held the book in my hand and saw my name in print on the cover. I showed the book to my friends and family. I was published.
Posted by Scott at 10:45 AM
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Today would have been my father's 90th Birthday. As I have done ever since I left home, I would have called him sometime today and had a very brief conversation with him. I will not do that this year, nor did I do it last year. My father passed away September 10, 2004. Last year was a strange, melancholy day. This year is pretty much the same. I wonder, though, how long such feelings will last on January 21. Will time erase the melancholy? More importantly, will the day soon hold no significance what-so-ever? I think that is what I fear most, that my life will move forward and soon January 21 will be just any other day. I will not raise a glass that night each year in silent toast to my father. I will not remember that once upon I time I used to call him and wish him 'Happy Birthday' on January 21 each year. January 21 will be just any other day.
I am not psychic nor omnipotent, and I do not know for sure what will happen. I can only hope that I always remember and that a year does not come when suddenly it is the end of January and I have totally forgotten about my father's birthday.
As I write this blog, this entry into my life, and a remembrance of my father's life, I think back to an earlier time - not so long ago - in the Spring of 2004 when I was taking a class called The Psychology of Aging. It was a neat class with a fantastic professor, and I learned a hell of a lot in that class. It was a fairly easy class with only two assignments: a journal and a term paper. The journal was fairly easy because throughout the class the professor mentioned topics that could be included in the journal and each student only had to write ten journal entries.
Below is the first entry of the journal. This entry holds great irony for me, and sadness, for in many ways, I think it was almost a psychic moment.
April 2004 - The Day Old Came for a Visit and Did Not Leave
For the majority of his eighty-four years my father lived a good and active life. At the age of sixty-eight he finally retired (his last child having graduated high school - that would be me) and began to truly enjoy life. He played golf four to five times a week, took long walks on the days he did not play golf, and stayed active at night with his wife in various bridge groups (and even took up square dancing). If you asked him about his age, if he felt old, he would just laugh and say 'no'. He was definitely an active and energetic man and it seemed that age truly had little effect on him.
In January 2000, the year of the false Millennium, my mother and father got a bacterial/viral flu that pretty well put them both in bed for a week. My mother recovered just fine, but my father was a different story. He will tell you today, four years later, that he never felt old until after that strange bout with the flu. From that point on, old came for a visit and would not leave. He never regained his energy and never again played eighteen holes of golf. Within six months of the flu he was no longer playing golf at all. If that was not bad enough, other problems began to settle in - neuropathy of the feet, among other things - that began to diminish his once active and energetic life. He had to have special braces made to help him walk.
During the course of the last eighteen months, my father got to the point where he was barely eating and needed a cane (sometimes a walker) to get around. The children - myself, two sisters and one brother - came in more frequently; sensing, perhaps, an inevitably, a prelude to death. Well, stubborn as my father is, death might be knocking at the door, but my father is not answering. He is currently on prednisone - the miracle drug as my mother calls it - and his appetite has returned and he rarely needs either the cane or walker to get around. He still feels old, will now admit that he is old, and he will tell you that he misses playing golf everyday of h is life, and yet he seems in no hurry to answer that faint knock on the door.
Lastly, in my most recent conversation with my mother she said, "You're father is now looking for things to do. He even cleaned up the kitchen the other night." I guess miracles do happen, and old dogs can learn new tricks, for my father never cleaned up the kitchen after a meal . . . until old settled in and would not leave.
In a strange way, I could not know that I was eulogizing my father in the months before he would die. I wrote the journal entry in April. My father entered the hospital in July and never came home again, going from there to a nursing home and then on to the great beyond. The journal entry became a legacy of sorts, an ode to my father. I could not have known when I wrote the journal how soon death would claim my father. I only knew that the class brought many things to mind and all I could envision at the time was my father's determination to survive. He promised my mother he would make it to their 50th anniversary. He did.
On June 26, 2004 my parents celebrated 50 years of marriage. Within two weeks my brother, sisters and myself, along with our mother, wondered if that was Dad's last hurrah. My father was in the hospital, unable to walk and his mind slipping away. It is a horrifying reality to see a once vibrant person strapped into a hospital bed. It was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life to spend the night in the hospital with my father, trying to make him understand where he was and what was going on. In his mind, he was anywhere but the hospital. It was a strange and terrifying time and one I will not soon forget. He was not the man I saw two weeks before on the weekend of his 50th wedding anniversary.
My father was a more vibrant man that weekend and I truly don't think any of us realized how soon he would be gone from our lives. My mother commented on the day of their anniversary how alert he was that day, and how long it had been since he had been taht alert. The greatest memory I have of that weekend is the afternoon of their anniversary. We were all sitting on the screen porch late that afternoon, having a glass of wine before dinner, and Dad was in his usual spot: the living room getting ready to watch the news. He came out to the screen porch and sat down with us and then toasted my mother and wished her a happy anniversary. Dad was not old that day. He was the father I remembered, maybe not as spry as he once was, maybe a little older looking, but at that moment I could not imagine him not being a part (distant, but still a part) of my life.
Now, more than a year later, I struggle to hold on to the hope that I will always remember his birthday, and that it will not just become another day. I have learned that life is too precious and that most people do not live their lives, but rather exist through the days of their lives. We do what we have to, more often than not, and not what we truly want to do. We put off the phone calls and visits, the invites out to dinner, because there will always be tomorrow. We fail to tell the people that mean the most to us, that we love them. If my father taught me anything, he taught me that life is what you make of it and that you must live life, not just exist through life. He might have failed to do many of these things during the course of his life, more concerned with providing for his wife and children, making sure there were no debts and no worries if something were to happen to him. It was only after the last of his children graduated high school that my father truly began to live his life and do the things he wanted to do. So if this blog serves any purpose, let it be to teach people to live life today and not wait for tomorrow, because there's always the chance that tomorrow just might not happen.
This blog is in memory of my father:
Vernon Smith Mitchell
January 21, 1916
September 10, 2004
Posted by Scott at 10:32 AM
Monday, January 16, 2006
I guessthis post today (perhaps a rant, but perhaps not as well) is about the lack of proper editing in books today. In the past six months I have read quite a few books and not one of them was free from an editing error. The main error I am talking about is sentences that do not make sense because the writer typed the wrong word (trust me, a very easy mistake to make) because they were typing too fast and their thoughts moved faster than their fingers could keep up. It is a simple mistake and one easily corrected with proper editing. I cannot begin to tell you how many times that I have typed a wrong word - there instead of their, or any other similar words, or completely left out a word or two from a sentence. It is understandable. It is easy to do. The problem seems to be that neither the author nor the editors are catching these errors. Again, I sometimes read through my stuff four or five times and I still miss an error. It happens, but I am not a published writer. I do not pay editors to catch these simple mistakes. I just think that it is sad that books being published today are coming out with such easily correctable errors.
The main problem with such simple errors is that they disrupt the flow of reading. I have to stop, read over the sentence again, and possibly again, before I can continue my journey through the pages of fiction. It is a speed bump in the middle of a great story. It takes away from the story because my brain has been jarred from the fictional world to the real world. The pace is interrupted. The pace should not be interrupted. Reading a book should be like sailing down a smooth river with clearly flowing water and no rapids whatsoever. The reader should not be jarred suddenly. This is what irritates me most.
Now, as to my second problem with writing today and, again, I can sympathize and understand for I have done the same things myself. I just finished reading an excellent book. From the first sentence I was hooked and had a hard time putting the book down. The flow was great from beginning, through the middle and up until I was 2/3 of the way through the book. It was then that I hit a major BUMP. Not a small bump like a misplaced word, but a major BUMP that grounded the boat. I had to stop reading and flip back to the first third of the book and look page after page for one, simple thing: the name of a peripheral character. You see, dear reader, the author - brilliant as she was - committed a horrible writing faux paux: she forgot the name of a character and renamed him in the last third of the book. I'll grant you this, the character was minor and only took up a few paragraphs in the start of the book, but a name had been mentioned. Fast forward to the last third of the book and the character is mentioned again, but this time the first name had changed. To me, this is unacceptable. I almost put the book down. I almost gave up reading this fantastic story because of this mistake on the author's part. It was more than jarring. It completely stopped the flow of reading. In the first third of the book (I'm changing the name, etc.) the boss of a major character was introduced as Jim Stockman (again, name changed). Later on in the book, a secondary character associated with Jim showed up, but his boss was referred to as Mike Stockman. The characters were one in the same - Jim/Mike was still the major character's boss, but he had somehow undergone a name change. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Was any explanation given? In order of appearance the answers are: I don't know, I don't know, and hell no.
I have changed the name of charcters midstream when working on a manuscript. I have made it through the third draft sometimes before I realized I had not corrected the name in certain sections. It happens, but it is correctable. That's why I re-read my writing time and again to find all the mistakes, though I know I will miss one or two. But when the day comes that my work is published and I'm paying someone, or however the heck that works, than I hope that no errors are in the book when it hits the shelves of the local bookstore.
Okay, my rant for the moment is done. To some, it might seem insignificant, but to me, it is of the utmost importance.
Posted by Scott at 11:12 AM
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
I don’t know about the rest of America, or the world for that matter, but I am perfectly capable of making my own choices without undue influence from outside sources. I do not need some alleged do-gooder group to tell me what movie to see or what television show to watch. I am perfectly capable of doing so for myself. If I find a show offensive or boring, I do one simple thing: flip the channel. It is not up to some alleged watchdog group (with their own alleged agenda) to make that decision for me. I am not a child. My days of innocence and naiveté are long since gone; the rose colored glasses have been set aside.
What has started this latest rant, dear readers, some might (or might not) wonder? The Book of Daniel. No, this isn’t in reference to a mysteriously lost for centuries book of the Bible, but rather about a new show on NBC about a “Vicodin-popping priest who talks to Jesus” (Paley et al. 6) . The priest just happens to be named Daniel. Oh, and he has a gay son. What’s the big deal? Nothing, in the Book of Scott, but according to the alleged Book of the Mississippi-based American Family Association the show is offensive and they have mounted a campaign to have the show pulled from the air because of its portrayal of “drugs, homosexuality and other provocative themes within a Christian context” (Paley et al. 6) . So far, affiliates in Little Rock, AR and Terre Haute, IN have caved to the pressure (though they might deny it has anything to do with the alleged pressure from the AFA – actions do speak louder than words) from this group and chosen not to air the show. Isn’t it ironic that the subject matter of this soapbox entry – choice – is a double-edged sword? Well, at least I find irony in the situation and I can give the stations in those areas a slim benefit of the doubt and allow them their choice. My main issue is: who in the hell do the AFA think they are to determine what is right and proper for people to watch?
According to AFA spokesman Ed Vitagliana, the “travails of the Webster family aren’t ‘reflecting any Christians I know” (Paley et al. 6) I feel sorry for Mr. Vitagliana that he does not know any Christians with homosexual family members. I feel sorry for him that he allegedly cannot show acceptance toward reality and lives in a fantasy world where homosexuality does not exist. My mother is a Christian woman. My sisters are Christian women, and the majority of my friends are Christian. Last time I checked, they all loved me and could care less that I was a homosexual. So I have one question for the AFA as a whole: what would Jesus do?
I truly don’t know what would Jesus do. I would like to think he would allow allegedly intelligent individuals to make their own choices rather than apply undue pressure that – in my honest opinion – falls far from the Christian tree. The Christianity I was brought up in teaches about love and acceptance, not hate and ignorance. Choice is a matter of individuality. Choice is not the matter of a group of people deciding that they allegedly know what is best for everybody else in the world. If people do not want to watch a television show, or go to a movie, they have one simple option: free choice. They do not have to watch the show. I personally find the actions of the AFA morally offensive and just plain wrong. There is little I can do about it other than maybe beginning a slow and methodical study of the members of the AFA and just see how Christian they truly are after closer inspection. Hmmmmmmmmm!
All quotes from: Paley, Rebecca, and N. F. Mendoza. "Christian group tries to close The Book of Daniel." TVGuide January 16 2006: 6.
Posted by Scott at 6:37 PM
ASK AND YOU SHALIT RECEIVE: Gene Shalit has made peace with GLAAD, which had taken issue with the wording of the film critic's Brokeback Mountain review, in which he characterized Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack as a "sexual predator." On Tuesday, Shalit responded to GLAAD's request for an apology with a statement saying, "In describing the behavior of Jack, I used words that I now discover have angered, agitated and hurt many people. I did not intend to use a word that many in the gay community consider incendiary. I certainly had no intention of casting aspersions on anyone in the gay community or on the community itself. I regret any emotional hurt that may have resulted from my review." As additional penance, Shalit has agreed to see Aeon Flux a second time. (tvguide.com, entertainment news, 01/10/06)
I would love to say ‘kudos’ to Mr. Shalit, but his apology seems kind of . . . forced. I’m not even sure if that is the proper word. I applaud him – really, I do, my sincerity is overwhelming at the moment (as are my doubts) – for stepping up to the plate and issuing an apology, whether the apology is truly altruistic or forced. It just seems to me it is always easier to apologize afterwards rather than give consideration beforehand so that an apology is . . . well . . . unnecessary.
The question that comes to my mind is this: is Mr. Shalit truly sorry for his words? But I guess my question is truly unimportant. I guess that what matters most is . . . drumroll please . . . consideration. I don’t know how many times – abacus and calculator at hand, and the number is too great (has anyone got a spare super computer handy?) – I have spoken before my brain could stop me and inserted both feet into my mouth. Now, some people will say that I have a big mouth, and that getting both feet in is not a problem, but I have made some comments without truly considering my words so that, like Mr. Shalit and countless others before him, I have had to eat the proverbial crow. Life would be so much simpler if people truly considered their words before speaking them.
I guess that is the point of this soapbox session: consideration. Perhaps the example of Mr. Shalit, and the countless others – including myself – before him, will someday affect a change that will make apologies . . . again, the sound of a drumroll please . . . unnecessary.
Posted by Scott at 2:49 PM
Friday, January 06, 2006
It just must be my week for blogging.
TVGuide.com reported the following news piece this morning:
THINGS GET HAIRY: Mustachioed Today show film critic Gene Shalit has drawn fire from GLAAD for his Thursday review of Brokeback Mountain, in which he characterized Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack as a "sexual predator" who "coaxes" Heath Ledger's Ennis into "sporadic trysts." Deeming Shalit's commentary "gratuitously offensive," "defamatory, ignorant and irresponsible," GLAAD is asking for an apology from both him and Today.
Now, here's my general impression. Number 1 - Mr. Shalit obviously did not watch the movie. In my personal opinion, there is no way he could have watched the movie and made the statments he did, unless he is truly ignorant. Number 2 - sexual predator? Please, Jack is in no way a sexual predator. Number 3 - 'coaxes' Ennis into 'sporadic trysts'? Excuse me, I watched the movie and it sure as hell did not look like Ennis needed any coaxing at all. He did not have to respond to Jack's first postcard, or subsequent postcards. He was also the one who literally pulled Jack into an embrace, pushed him back under the stairwell and kissed him at their first meeting after their experience on Brokeback mountain. Had Mr. Shalit watched the movie, he would have noticed all of this; instead, he only allegedly (I just love that word) half-assed watched the movie and made allegedly inaccurate comments. Perhaps Mr. Shalit needs to retire from the movie critic business since he is unable to do a proper job without allegedly inserting personal, defamatory comments into his reviews.
Okay, my rant is done for the moment, dear readers, and I should journey back to my life. You can click on the above link 'asking for an apology' which will take you to the GLADD website and give a more in-depth article about the review.
On second thought, perhaps my rant is not done because I did not address the topic of the rant: ignorance. There is nothing worse than making a statement without all the facts. I made my statement after reading two news items and actually watching the review (also available through the GLADD website). Ignorance helps no one. Knoweldge is power. Before making his statements, perhaps Mr. Shalit should have really watched the movie, perhaps more than once, to truly understand what was happening in the film. Perhaps he should respond not of alleged personal bias and ignorance, but rather out of knoweldge. I do not expect an apology from Mr. Shalit. I truly do not expect NBC to respond. I believe the old saying is: ignorance is bliss. The only problem, mass ignorance helps no one, and hurts far too many. Perhaps 'Brokeback Mountain' will earn every numerous awarded it has so far been nominated for and prove that the alleged ignorance of some was truly that . . . ignorance.
Posted by Scott at 9:41 AM
Thursday, January 05, 2006
This post (aka rant) is in response to my recent post called Idiocy. I suppose there is a sense of redundancy in the poster responding to their own post, but . . . such is life. This post is also a response to intolerance and ignorance, and it is a response to many other things. I am a gay man. I am gay, not by choice, but by genetics; though, there is a choice involved because I did not chose to deny who I am, but to accept and embrace that entity, that person known as Scott. I could have lived a lie, married, had children and attempted to conform to rules society seems to demand for humanity. I did not choose that path and do not regret the acceptance of myself.
But this post is about one topic - everywhere. To anyone in doubt, gays are everywhere. We are your neighbors, your waiter, your banker, your lawyer, your real estate agent, your hair dresser, your sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters, your aunts and uncles, your cousins and acquaintances. We are walking next to you on the street and sitting next to you on the bus. We are standing behind you at the movie theater and in front of you at the grocery store. We are artists and business-people, we are rich and poor, homeless and non-homeless. We drive Chevys and Fords, Hondas and Hyundais, BMWs and Mercedes, and Hummers as well. We live in apartments and condos, townhomes and mansions. We are the people you try and ignore, but we are not going away. We are a community that understands that the word family transcends the biological concept. We are sometimes shunned by those of our blood, but we are embraced by those of our genetic make-up. We laugh and cry, we bleed and we die. We are everything that you are, no less and no more. So always remember, and never forget (ode to Schnieder on 'One Day at a Time') that the person you're sitting next to on the bus just might be gay. WE ARE EVERYWHERE and WE"RE NOT GOING AWAY!
Posted by Scott at 12:00 PM