Unfair and Unbalanced: My comprehensive guide to everything that everyone is mad about

Have you been trapped in the polar vortex recently, unable to get any news?  Or maybe you’ve purposely tuned out because the cacophony became too much for your delicate sensibilities. Now you find yourself in a jam, with a meeting or social event coming up in which you will be required to have at least some background knowledge on the important issues of the day; from who’s not drinking Coke to who died of heroin and who is the biggest dope in the news right now.

opinion41You could spend your day reading multiple sources and viewpoints, but there is no time for that.  I’ve comprised a list of every single key issue that will bring you up to speed AND tell you what I think about each issue.  Because what’s reporting without editorializing?  I wouldn’t know….there are so few examples anymore! But when you need an opinion and you need it fast, I’m your gal.

You could also consider this blog can be a time capsule for future generations to look back on and read through their gas masks while in their nuclear fallout shelters and realize how trivial the problems were in “the good old days.”  Many of the issues below are completely asinine and will fade from memory quicker than a Snapchat can self-destruct.  But there are a few that  have a bit more gravitas.  In fact, I’ll rank  them in order of completely not-newsworthy to downright heavy, so you can jump in wherever you’d like.

And guess what?  If you still feel like you need to express your OWN opinion at the end of the blog, you are in for a treat.  Presenting the first ever interactive blog, in which you can chime in with your own thoughts on these captivating topics, which will in no way change my opinion, but make for some interesting stats about who reads this stuff.

81095772-0546-346a-a838-4d5a66f0fea7Justin Bieber
Oh Justin, you disappoint me. I used to be a Belieber. I liked you in a non-creepy, wholesome, mom-nostalgic-for-boy-bands kind of way.  You reminded me of the innocence in music and childhood.  And then you started banging Brazilian hookers on film, egging houses, drinking, driving and acting like an all around spoiled punk with no boundaries and too much money.  I don’t know if there is any hope for you.  You’ve gotten too much too fast, and that is almost never a happy ending in Hollywood.  Even though we all know how much you like happy endings, Justin.  America wants to deport you, but hold up. I say we ruined you with fame, we should at least bear some responsibility in the rehab.  But you have to meet us halfway.  And by firing everyone around you who ever tells you “no” isn’t a good start. So if the rehab doesn’t work, maybe we can dress you like Amanda Knox and send you to Italy.  Two birds, one stone.

richard-sherman-instagramRichard Sherman
The guy is probably smarter than anyone who takes issue with him, in both his formal education and media saavy. When you stick a mike in a guy’s face after a big win when the adrenaline is pumping, you are going to get raw emotion.  And guess what…ESPN runs miles of tape in boring interviews to get a snippet like that.  It is gold.  Classless thug?  Why? He never even used profanity. I’ve seen soccer moms lose their minds and manners in ways much worse than this. I am sure those same people were fine when Representative Grimm threatened to throw a reporter off of a balcony.  When things calmed down I think he more than redeemed himself….not that I felt he even had to.

coca-cola-released-its-new-super-bowl-ad-campaignThe Superbowl Coke ad
There was a reaction to this?  OF COURSE there was a reaction to this. Oh beeeeaaaautiful for spacious skies and amber waaaaaves of DERP.  America the Beautiful sung in different languages doesn’t sound like it would be controversial, but we forget that the internet has an unusually high contingent of people who are either fans of Ted Cruz or illegitimate children of Ted Nugent, hence the explosion of ZOMG, Cokes hates America.  As I tweeted earlier: “People singing “America the Beautiful” in different languages: NOT A PROBLEM. People chanting: “Death to America” in different languages: PROBLEM. Let’s focus on problems.”

philip seymour hoffmanPhillip Seymour Hoffman
I rarely comment on celebrity deaths unless they are someone I was REALLY fond of in real life, for example; Kidd Kraddick. I was a long time listener and genuinely saddened by his passing. However, and I don’t mean to sound callous, actors aren’t in a special category of people whose deaths are more tragic to me BECAUSE they are actors. That seems disingenuous to me.  I can name a few Hoffman movies and I think the guy was incredibly talented.  Very sad, very untimely passing, but  I hate the whole post-mortem elevation to untouchable glory that even mediocre actors receive now.  I also hate the rush of “concern” over whatever killed the person; in Hoffman’s  case, I saw at least 5 articles on heroin usage today, as though this was not a problem brought to light before.

1b0dbc91-9ac4-36ff-a2f2-30472cae059cWoody Allen
Ugh. Do I have to? Yes.  Don’t like the guy.  REALLY DON’T LIKE THE GUY.  Don’t like his movies, don’t like his weirdo marriage to his stepdaughter-or-whoever-she was and let’s face it….he just LOOKS like a creepy pedophile. Guilty in the court of public opinion?  Absolutely. Guilty in real life?  If I were on the hypothetical jury, I’d say yes.  But I’ve read so much on him that it is hard to know beyond the shadow of a doubt. When a person comes out with allegations suffered as a child, it is true in most cases. Multiple allegations….even MORE credible.   But the timing of Dylan Farrow’s letter is suspicious and that is the ONLY reason I hesitate. I know it is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but in this case, I’d rather err on the side of caution and be proven wrong, that err on the side of compassion for Woody…and be proven wrong.  I wish this could be proven or disproven once and for all so that all involved can have some peace. And I’ll say this….it is DESPICABLE that Allen’s been given what seems like a “pass” on these allegations for so long because of his artistic genius (which is overrated IMO, but that is besides the point).

Sochi-2014-Olympics-829732The Olympics in Sochi
Who picks these locations?  Couldn’t we just find a place more neutral?  What about Switzerland?  Isn’t there snow there?  I hope I am wrong, but I have a foreboding sense that something bad is GOING to happen. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

logo3St. George Breakaway
Section of EBR Parish not happy with school system.  Section breaks away and forms independent school district. School district thrives, those left in the urban core take the hit. It is a story that is now on its’ 4th incarnation with the recent petition from St. George. I’m supposed to be on the “progressive” side of this and say: NO…..the divisions hurt the whole. It’s true that I hate the idea of secession in general…it is a very “tantrum” solution to a set of problems.  But you’ve set a precedent EBR.  If you’ve let Baker, Zachary and Central go, then prepare for the inevitable. These little fiefdoms are known used to pitching fits and getting their way, whether it is for a larger portion of the pie with BREC, extra (and unfunded) routes from CATS or an independent school system. And with they success (for the most part) that they have demonstrated in doing so, you can’t blame St. George for wanting the same. If I were a parent in that district, my focus what be: “What’s better for me and my family right now?”  Because EBR schools aren’t going to improve during the time that my kids would have to spend in the school system.  Especially when you are wrought with inept leadership and lowered expectations such as “unlimited test do-overs” now available in some EBR schools. And besides, I’d rather keep kids in a SOME kind of public school system, rather than have them migrate to Jindal’s unregulated, dinosaur-pony education compounds.

vitterDavid Vitter’s bid for governor of LA
This guy.  This. Freaking.Guy. Just go away man, you give me the frissons.  Seriously, I don’t even know how he got his seat back in the Senate.  I guess there are enough people willing to look past his “sins” because of the shameless pandering he does for his base.  Hefty funding and endorsements from the Family Forum helps too. And I do mean shameless….as if we needed a U.S. Senator’s opinion on Duck Dynasty.  Seriously, while Mary Landrieu was working on conservation and coastal issues, this clown is defending Phil Roberston.  I hardly think that politicians should be held up to some choir boy standard of personal ethics.  It is the hypocrisy. The goddamn hypocrisy of a “Family Forum” endorsed, family values hawking liar that gets me bent out of shape. Don’t you dare presume to make judgments, much less laws on womens’ or gay rights while on the phone with your madam ON THE HOUSE FLOOR.

thAQV1LMR1Death Penalty and return of the electric chair
This combines both a local and national issue here.  Let me split my thoughts on the two.  First….I am pro-death penalty.  It is one of the few issues I will actually side with conservatives on.  No…scratch that…I am damn near BIBLICAL on this, as in “eye for an eye.”  Because if one of my children is ever hurt, I don’t give a shit if the whole world goes blind in my quest for revenge.  I am thankful there is a system that will deliver death to a perpetrator. And yet, our SYSTEM in applying the death penalty is by no means perfect.  It is rigged towards executing criminals who most likely cannot hire better lawyers. Does that make them any more innocent? No.  It just means having more money will most likely get you a better sentence. I hate the idea of an innocent person being executed, but with the science of DNA now available, and the DNA proves guilt, then adios. But in local news today, there was a story about bringing back the electric chair.  Apparently there is a shortage in drugs that can deliver death?  I find that hard to believe. Regardless, I do think that the ounce of humanity we CAN show murderers that sets us apart from them is to ensure a quick and painless death, which is much more than they give their victims in most cases.

Depressed yet?  Time for some fun. You could drop me a line in the comments, OR you can do a quick and painless survey of the issues here:


Things that rocked, things that sucked and happy birthday to me: 2013 REVIEW

As many of you know, yesterday was my birthday…36…or as I refer to it, the downsides of my 30’s.  Four years until 40 (kill me now).   I absolutely dread getting older and when my husband toasted me to another 36 years, I muttered “Or not.”  Not that I don’t want more years with my family or friends….I just don’t want to LOOK older and I also fear getting achy/sick and all of the crap that comes with aging.

For the record, I’ve always hated that my birthday is sandwiched between Christmas and the New Year because  that week has historically been a week of bad luck for me.  I don’t know if it the feeling of the approaching end and the beginning of what I refer to as the “dead months” (January-March) because nothing of note occurs at that time, the anticipation of Christmas is over and summer is nowhere in sight.

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Birthday Invigoration

HOWEVER…in spite of all that, my hubs went all out and really made this one of my best birthdays in recent memory. He reserved a grand suite at my favorite NOLA hotel, the Roosevelt (because of the out-of-this-world holiday décor) and dinner at Antoine’s….a premier “old New Orleans” restaurant in the French Quarter. But all of that isn’t what made it wonderful….it was simply getting sway, by ourselves for exactly 24 hours and being able to talk (or not talk and just enjoy the silence) that made it so wonderful. I can’t lie…we barely spoke the whole way up. Not because we were angry….we literally just don’t know how to fill the space anymore when kids aren’t there to do it for us. Then we got the hotel and fought the urge to crash on the bed and sleep the rest of the day away.  So, we got dressed in our best and headed out.  We hung out in Antoine’s bar, had a few drinks and just….TALKED.  Of course we talked about the kids a lot, but also old times, the future and just the people around us. We both were feeling pretty good by the time our table was ready and we giggled all through dinner.  He surpised me with a dozen roses at the table, but we were too tipsy to try to carry them back to the hotel, so he wound up passing 11 of the roses out to the customers sitting around us and we had everyone laughing.  I think the waiters were sad to see us go.  We strolled all over the quarter visiting quaint little bars, looking for ghosts (well that’s just me…I’m always looking for ghosts in the Quarter) and ended the evening sobering up with beignets at Café du Monde. We returned, crashed until 10 the next morning and had brunch at the hotel restaurant.  We were still so happy that our waitress thought Brent was my “boyfriend” which made us laugh (and reflect on people’s perception of marriage). She could not believe that we have been together 18 years and have 2 kids.  Let me reiterate….this is not always the case.  We are usually tired, fighting through dinner with whining and spilled Cheerios and wishing we would have just stayed in.  We rarely get out alone…and it is really true that couples need to do that sometimes to keep their sanity….and remember what you are doing in this crazy life in the first place.

2013 Highs and Lows

Pride and joy, not necessarily in that order

Pride and joy, not necessarily in that order

Which brings me to a last glance at 2013 and looking forward to 2014.  I cannot complain about 2013…it was really a great year.  I watched my baby girl go from an infant to a toddler, learn to crawl, walk and say her first words.  My son started kindergarten and continued his karate training earning several new belts. Our family dynamic has changed quite a bit because Brent took a new job on the first of the year which required him to be away from home 3-4 days a week (and 2-3 nights)….so a lot more of the daily child and household duties has fallen to me. This was a hard adjustment, but I have developed a routine that make it a bit smoother and we really enjoy our time together when Brent is home. As for me, I’ve grown my business, especially in the website development area.  I took the year off of teaching but plan to return beginning January 2014.  I’ve also developed stronger friendships with a select few people in my life. I’ve also met a few very, very cool people on facebook who are now part of my everyday dialogue and I appreciate these connections and the richness they bring to my life. Lastly, I’ve become much more involved in my church by accepting the role on the small but dedicated social media team.  We volunteer our computer and marketing skills to get the word out and get more people involved. I also participated in the 2013 Marriage Equality March on the capital for the first time with my church and that was a very eye-opening experience.

Marriage Equality March 2013.

Marriage Equality March 2013.

2013 wasn’t without its’ disappointments, which mainly come in the form of the bouts of anger or depression I experience when I feel as though there is social injustice or political tension in amongst my friends or throughout the world in general.  People tell me not to get so worked up about these matters and maybe that is sage advice.  In fact my husband asked me recently “Why do you let this stuff get to you, what are you trying to do, change the world?”   (By stuff I mean: racism, gay-bashing, sexism, child abuse, animal cruelty, poverty, educational inequity, etc…can be cross referenced with Paula Deen, Phil Roberston, Robin Thicke, Melissa Bachmann, Obamacare outrage, Sarah Palin and pretty much the entire Tea Party.) I guess my life would be more peaceful if I ignored these people and their (often fabricated) “scandals.” I take the bait every…single…time. But I don’t feel right sitting by apathetically. I don’t want these people’s voices to be louder than mine…or the collection of those who see differently and hope for better. So, in whatever tiny sense that I can, I am trying to change the world.

2014….What’s in Store? Well……

And looking ahead….I think 2014 will be challenging, but I am looking forward to it.  The rather large challenge I am struggling with at the moment is my return to teaching.  In the 3 years I’ve been an adjunct instructor at LSU,  the course I taught was structure in such a way that the class I taught was focused entirely on teaching design software, which I am very comfortable with ( I never had to prepare lectures or stand and talk while people stare at me).  However, I returned to discover the class has been completely rebuilt and will require plenty more preparation in the form of lectures, project development, etc.  In other words…I now have complete autonomy and it scares the shit out of me. On the bright side, I can get really creative and implement some of the things I’ve wished I could have in the past. So, for the next 2 weeks, I have purchased textbooks and plan to hunker down and develop my syllabus, projects and put a few lectures in the can.

Becoming a mermaid....not your typical resolution, but mine nonetheless.

Becoming a mermaid….not your typical resolution, but mine nonetheless.

I don’t like making resolutions because I think I subconsciously will work against them out of some kind of inner rebellion in my head. What I’d LIKE to do is lose (again) the holiday weight I’ve accumulated…I’m always battling 10-15 pounds.  I recently ordered a mermaid tail and it will be arriving in about 2 months…so I want to look lithe and not like a beige bean bag stuffed in a fish tail, so there you have it; my fitness motivation.

Lastly, my heart is heavy right now with thoughts of a few friends who are struggling right now.  Whether it is with family issues, financial or health problems, 2013 has claimed it share of hard knocks. I sincerely wish that that 2014 will bring them peace and happiness that they so desperately deserve. In the meantime, I want to be the kind of friend I would want if I were in that situation.

Happy New Year to each of you, and THANK YOU for being part of my life!!


Big money, bigger egos and their cost to the environment and our humanity

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bachman17n-2

bachman17n-10

I haven’t blogged in a while, so you know that this topic has really struck a chord with me. Several weeks ago is when I first heard of Melissa Bachman and her penchant for killing exotic animals in South Africa and around the world. She is quite the superstar in the world of hunting, and her social media pages are filled with selfies and the magnificent beasts she’s killed (with perfect hair and makeup in each shot which is suspicious in and of itself. I suspect there is some pro-gun/hunting/whatever group sponsoring her in these faux hunts, but that is a whole other issue.) Bachman’s website reveals a “trophy room” showing her next to slain animals  including deer, zebra and crocodile. She also stars in the “hardcore-style  hunting” show “Winchester Deadly Passion.”

This bothers me on so many levels. First, how on Earth could anyone see such a creature in the wild (a rare opportunity indeed) and has the inclination to kill it?  What kind of completely selfish, arrogant, narcissistic asshole does this?  I would absolutely love to travel to Africa and witness these animals in their natural habitat. But unless one was coming at me full speed would I ever consider taking it’s life.  This was not the case here.  This woman pays plenty of money (or her sponsors do) to enter countries and hunt the native species.  Many times it is in “canned environments” where the hunter has the full advantage because the animal is within an enclosed area and the hunter is taken to a spot where it feeds, etc.  In addition, counties like South Africa are now cashing in on tourists with big egos and even bigger wallets by actually raising these animals and releasing them in such environments specifically for paid hunts.   I had a visceral reaction to the picture of her with the dead lion the moment I saw it.  It is so clearly wrong that I truly don’t understand any defense of it. People will say it is legal and that it is a tourism industry that helps South Africa.  But at what cost?!  To the environment and the people?  It may be legal, but it is certainly not moral.

I grew up in a family of hunters, and although I have a distaste for it, I am not bothered by hunting if one plans on eating what he/she has killed. But to slay an animal for the sake of Facebook likes or to mount the head on your wall is reprehensible. Does one need to so desperately prove their status as the top occupier of the food chain? Our desensitization to the killing of both animals and humans is appalling….and quite possibly, linked. Wildlife management as practiced by government agencies is largely the use of public dollars to provide recreate to a tiny segment of the  public at the expense of ecosystem health, animal welfare, and public safety. Hunting has NOTHING to do with conservation – that’s merely a line that the  hunting lobby has been using for decades to make a barbaric form of recreation  seem palatable to a justifiably disgusted public.

I believe that we should have respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. I hope you will read more for yourself and I encourage you to sign the petition. It may not bring about change, but it will at least bring about awareness. Thank you.


Here we go again

There is a sad little effort afoot in which sore losers gather on overpasses to promote an “Impeach Obama” movement.  This is nothing new….just the same blockheads who couldn’t get rid of him with the birth certificate bruhaha or convince people that he was a Muslim anti-christ are re-gifting their hate.  Now, we have no idea exactly what grounds they would like to impeach Obama on but “hey, it sounds all official and stuff so why not?”

My message to these people: GIVE IT A REST.  You lost.  Twice.  Obama is not going away for another 3 years.  And likely, he will be followed by another Democrat.  Because your party can’t get its shit together.  THE COUNTRY JUST ISN’T THAT INTO YOU.   The youth, the minorities, the educated…you know, people outside of your regular circle don’t want to turn back the hands of time.  So by all means stand on overpasses.  I hear the place they will see you the best is right in the middle of the road.

And of COURSE this little movement has made its way like lightning to my own little parish of Redneck, Louisiana.  While taking my daughter to daycare this morning, the overpass near my house had this sign taped on it.  Not anymore though…because you know….litter.  Gotta do my part.

Keep trying losers

Keep trying losers

 


Bringing “Blurred Lines” into Razor Sharp Focus

I want to punch this dude in the throat when he blows smoke in the girl's face.

I want to punch this dude in the throat when he blows smoke in the girl’s face.

I know you’ve heard this song, whether you realize it or not.  It’s been at the top of the charts all summer and I will admit it is pretty catchy.  I’ve even sung along with it without even realizing what it was about.  And then this article caught my eye: “Blurred Lines,’ Robin Thicke’s Summer Anthem, Is Kind of Rapey.” 

Wait…..WHAT?  What exactly was I singing along with?  So I googled the video.  And then I googled the uncut video.  And then I got pissed.   There was so much that annoyed me; the fully dressed men telling the naked women how much they “wanted it”  as well as the the innuendo regarding rape, drugs and even bestiality.  But the pomposity of this Robin Thicke…. a man so full of himself he feels the need to spell out in balloons just how well he is endowed, grossed me out the most.  He is the embodiment of that sleazeball  who tries to sneak up and dance behind you and your girlfriends in the club.

I have been struggling in my mind all week trying to nail down some sentiments on this.  Turns out, one of the ministers at my church, Reverend Nathan Ryan of the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, had just offered a reflection on it last week.  I am sorry I missed it, because boy, it would have been timely.  But he was kind enough to email it o me tonight after I posted an article about the song on Facebook.  Nathan perfectly sums up what is wrong with the song, the attitude and the acceptance of such attitudes about women and sex.

Nathan has graciously agreed to allow me to share it on my blog. Thank you Nathan.  You are yet another reason I know I am in the right place and among the right people at UCBR.
Here is the full context:

Blurred Lines Reflection
by Reverend Nathan Ryan

I tried every different way to not write a reflection on this song. I saw that the Macklemore song, Same Love, was number 10, that’s the song we used at the Pride Service in June, and I toyed with choosing that one.

When I talked with Steve about the song I picked he asked me if I was sure that I wanted to take that on. Maybe I should have listened to him. I met with the youth last week to ask which pop songs they found challenging. They had a lot of good answers, but I didn’t heed their advice.

I asked Facebook if they could find anything redeeming about this song. Most of the responses were “It’s fun to dance to” and “If you can ignore the words it’s a fun song to sing.”

So to start with, this song is the number one song on most charts right now, and officially the song of the summer, whatever that means It is called Blurred Lings and by the artist Robin Thicke. He is the son of Growing Pains actor Allen Thicke, but I digress. So that you are more familiar with the song, here is the intro.

If you notice, there are no words. That is because I had a hard time finding words that were appropriate to share. Some of the more timid lyrics include “You’re a good girl, can’t let you get past me, you’re far from plastic, I hate these blurred lines. I know you want it.” It continues on for quite a while essentially telling the woman that because she is attractive, she should want to have sex with the singer.

The real challenge for me in this song is not that it is overly explicit. It isn’t. It’s not that it describes an overly shocking or vulgar view of women. Its misogyny is just subtle enough to allow it onto the Today Show, and commercials, and into our day-to-day lives. And maybe that is the part of the song that I find the most offensive – that it is reflective of where we are as a culture – that it reflects how our commercials and media and art make women two dimensional flat characters, how it tells women that their value is based on their looks.

This song has been widely criticized. The song tells women what they want and comes close to advocating forcing it onto them. In no way does this represent a consensual interaction between genders. It casts women as the objects of a male-centric desire. It certainly is not the description of a healthy relationship like those we teach in OWL, our comprehensive sexuality education curriculum.

I want you to hear loud and clear from this pulpit that no woman, or man, should be treated or spoken about as is done in this song. This song taps into a part of our culture that is not holistic or healthy. It is a highly commercialized, refined processed down pop music designed to sell the status quo.

This years theme isn’t “Whats wrong with the world” or “Tell us things to be unhappy with” or “listen to Nathan rant about the failings of popular culture.” It is “Going Deeper.” It means exploring questions like: If this song is so bad, why is it number 1 on the charts? Why talk about it here? What is the religious challenge of this song?

I don’t believe in a secular world that is separate from the religious world. I believe that both cultures work off of each other. I decided to reflect on this song because it is challenging.

A church and a religion worth its salt doesn’t just focus on the good in the world, or it doesn’t just condemn the bad, but it takes it all in. It would be easy for us to preach each week about how to see the world as good and its flaws as something like “part of God’s plan.” We could tell you that everything will be ok, but we will have failed you when you get that life altering diagnosis, or when someone you love dies.

If we don’t give you the tools to go into the world Monday through Saturday, if we don’t equip you to look at the world from a religiously holistic perspective, we aren’t doing our job. And this song right now is all over our world.

The creator of the song, Robin Thicke,was asked about this before a performance on the Today show. He defended his song as fun and playful. He said “For us we were just trying to make a funny song. Sometimes the lyrics can get misconstrued when you are trying to put people on the dance floor.”

He then continues to say “that’s what great art does. It stirs conversation its supposed to make us talk about what’s important, what are the relationship between men and women. If you listen to the lyric, it says, that man is not your maker. It’s actually a feminist movement. It’s saying that women and men are equals. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a good girl or a bad girl, you can still have a good time.”

It’s going to be hard for me to ever stretch my definition of feminism or equal rights to encompass this male view of women. But he does bring up two good points. First, this song illustrates animportant value to religious progressives – freedom. When he says that man is not your maker, he is saying – and yes I’ll ask you to ignore the hypocrisy of a man telling a woman this – that a woman should be who she is, and not because a man wants her to be that way. Second, this song is saying that we need blurred lines between what it means to be good and bad.

Last week in New Orleans I was trying to describe to some youth the flawed mathematical formula for good and bad. Do you know this formula?

You take the positives and subtract the negatives and find out your total moral equivalency. Take this song: This song is fun, and danceable, and has a good beat and gets stuck in your head. Lets put those on the positive side of the ledger. It is degrading, simple, musically generic. When you total that, depending on the weight you give to each of those issues, you might get a positive two or a negative three on the song’s morality.

But that math formula does not work for Unitarian Universalism, and going deeper illustrates that. No person is entirely good or bad. No person should be stuck in a box. It ignores their humanness, their complexity. We rob each other when we distill people to good and bad, black or white, man or woman.

That is the blurred line of this song. Goods and bads don’t negate each other. Both exist at the same time. This song is both fun to dance to, and it is degrading to women and I’ll add men. The challenge of this song is to see people as both good and bad, to define them neither entirely by their sins nor by their greatness, to see them as fully human.

So if you enjoy this song, great, there’s nothing wrong with it. But it is also degrading and dehumanizing. Both of those realities are alive in this song. And we are spiritually strong enough creatures to have both of those realities live at the same time.

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Now, if you want a good laugh and apt comparison, check out the parody of the video here:


The days are long but the years are short

Hopelessly  I feel like there might be something that I'll miss  Hopelessly  I feel like the window closes oh so quick Hopelessly  I'm taking a mental picture of you now  'Cause hopelessly  The hope is we have so much to feel good about Oh, this has gotta be the good life  This has gotta be the good life  This could really be a good life, good life

Hopelessly
I feel like there might be something that I’ll miss
Hopelessly
I feel like the window closes oh so quick
Hopelessly
I’m taking a mental picture of you now
‘Cause hopelessly
The hope is we have so much to feel good about
Oh, this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life

Time is moving so fast right now. Londynn started daycare this month and Layden starts kindergarten Friday.   SO much change. And I do not deal well with change. I may advocate for it in politics and social issues, but I hate it in my personal life. HATE IT.  Sometimes I get rebellious and threaten to do away with schedules, but the truth is, I’d be a wreck without them.

I’m so tired. And I don’t even know how to gauge my life right now.  Sometimes I can say it is great and other times, I feel like it takes all my energy just to get through the damn day. My mood seems to swing wildly.  If I’ve pushed through a large project or made it through the gauntlet of doctor appointments, housecleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, diapering, karate classes, bedtime stories, laundry, etcetera in any given week, then I feel like, “I’ve got this.”  But something like a sink full of dishes, or a baby’s double ear infection (the ailment du jour) can send me reeling into the land of second guessing and discouragement.  The hardest part is dealing with it alone for several days a week when hubby has to work several hours away.  It really gives me a whole new respect for single parents.

So here we are. My baby needs tubes. I need to lose 20 pounds. My son needs to learn to sleep in his bed. I need to eat better and exercise. I’ve got a year’s worth of scrapbooking backed up.  I’ve got 4 websites that need to be designed and countless other print jobs.  I would not want it any other way.  I don’t say that because I am trying to convince myself of it. I really, truly love every element that composes this crazy life. And I know that the days are long, but the years are short.  As for the work, I’d rather stress about how will I get it done than when will it come in.

Lastly, as if the world knows when you need a lift, I’ve been so very touched by the random acts of kindness by not one but 3 very special friends. Lovely little gifts and messages in the form of cookies, a journal and a unicorn that just made the world at that time seem a bit more bearable.  Even beautiful. I intend to pay it forward, because I know how much such acts can mean.  It makes the difference between choosing to smile and choosing to be unhappy.

To say goodbye to an old friend and spend the day with a good friend. To smell the hair of my sleeping daughter.    To drink a cup of coffee in silence.  To make soup while watching rain. These are the good things.   Stitched together, every day, weaving a good life.


Gone too soon: thoughts on a tragic week

Kidd Kraddick

Kidd Kraddick

They say death always happens in 3’s.  The anecdote proved true this week.  And what a sad week it has been. At the beginning of the week, I received word that my favorite morning DJ, Kidd Kraddick had died suddenly at one of his charity events in New Orleans.  Now, mind you, I am not one of these people that gets all worked up at celebrity deaths.  Yes, it saddens me, but not in the way that it affects me when someone I know personally died.  And yet, I never met Kidd Kraddick.  But I’ve listened to his show faithfully for the last 13 years. I’ve spent countless hours in the car smiling and laughing at the jokes, bits and personal life stories that he and his crew share daily. I really feel like I know these people personally, and my heart aches for both his morning show friends and his family, as well as the countless listeners across the country who now have a hole in their mornings and in their hearts. Kidd found something to brighten the mornings of so many people, and worked tirelessly doing so. He was also an amazing humanitarian, raising millions of dollars to send disabled or ill children on a dream trip to Disney World each year through his Kidd’s Kidds foundation. We have truly lost on of the good ones.

Scowling and deep in thought...how Greg usually appeared when I looked over at him.

Scowling and deep in thought…how Greg usually appeared when I looked over at him.

Yesterday morning, I received the news  that my former boss and mentor, Greg Peters passed away after an emergency heart surgery the night before. I literally cannot get him out of my mind.  I only worked with Greg for about a year, but that year made a lasting impression on me that was to shape both my career path as well as my personality indelibly.  I was fresh out of college and extremely wet behind the ears.  To say I was naïve about both the business world and the world in general would be an understatement.  Greg needed an “understudy” at GambitWeekly Baton Rouge (his assistant at the time had just accepted another offer). This designer would need to put together ads and minor page layouts while he worked on the cool things like the cover story and his political cartoons.  I did not realize at the time I was working in the presence of greatness. Nor did I realize the lasting influence his mentorship would provide me in my field of graphic design. More importantly, he injected a healthy dose of cynicism and critical thinking skills into this little country “hick” as he often referred to me.

While Greg was infamous for his fury and hostility in his work and even many of his personal relationships, he was always extremely patient with me; dare I say, sweet.  It was as though he handled me with care, not wanting  to jade me so early in my journey; when I still believed there was a general good in most people, while he insisted at times that there wasn’t.  And yet he was just that….an inherently good person always fighting for the little guy, the disadvantaged, the underdog.   The man had an uncanny ability to get to portray the root of political skirmishes and local news in a way that made you laugh, made you angry, made you think….the way only a master of his medium could.  Through Greg, I have at LEAST 50 or so friends, both on facebook and real life that I would have NEVER crossed paths with had it not been for the mutual connection and admiration of this man. And I might add, they are some of the kindest, smartest, funniest and most talented people I know.  My life is richer because of the fact that he surrounded his life with artists, writers and creative people. I spent my whole morning reading through every facebook message he and I have shared through the years.  Through different jobs, shitty bosses, divorce, health issues and also triumph, he never stopped being my mentor and my friend. 

I once asked him in an email that I still have…”Why did you pick me for the job?”  His exact words were this:  “You didn’t have lots of experience – actually I don’t think you had any – but you had a real spark and something told me that if we just gave you the details and let you do it, you’d do something special – your ads, at their best, didn’t look like any other ads in town, and that’s what I wanted. So I’m really glad you’ve done so well. That skinny girl with the hick-ass accent and the toe ring went on to teach design at LSU!” 
Thank you Greg…I owe you so much.

Still reeling from the loss of my friend Greg, I received word today that a sweet friend of mine, one with 2 small boys, has lost her husband very suddenly and unexpected tonight. (I am withholding names until family and friends are notified).  This family is amazingly close and genuinely committed to God and their church. I can’t imagine her heartbreak.  And my own heart aches for those sweet little boys. I hope they rely on the strength of their family, friends and faith to get through this time.

I spent the evening with my family and really tried to feel every moment with them.  This week has left me shaken, and I feel unsteady….as though the rug of perceived safety can be ripped from us at any time.  And that being the case, I sincerely hope that my family and friends do indeed know how much I really, really love them.  I don’t know when my time will come, but if my life is lived half as well as any of these people, it will be a life well lived…and loved.


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