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Don’t Challenge Him May 30, 2007

Posted by flyingsirkus in Dad, Jesusitis, Who Am I?.
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My dad and I didn’t always have a rocky relationship. I learned to question from him. I learned to love math and science, German and literature, bluegrass and classical, the pleasures of hard work and the pride of supporting the underdogs of society, all from my dad. Then somehow we got parabolaed, and instead of zooming along, parallel to his life and experiences, we collided head-on and sped off, Newtonian, in equal and opposite directions. And oh, how opposite.

The point we bent around was Christianity. He found Jesus and his followers, warts and all. I found it all repulsive, angels and all. And that point is beating his plowshare into a sword, and my sword into a plowshare.

Our views on Christianity color our relationship like green mold on a vivid yellow lemon. I cannot really fathom what he thinks of me and my empirical approach to life, although I do know from the analogies he uses that he thinks I personally am dangerous to all he holds dear. Our last discussion turned ugly as he threatened to use his gun against me and “all my liberal ilk.” The prompting for this death threat? My body language. He didn’t like how I held my wine glass when I talked hard science back to his pseudoscience.

We can’t have any kind of discussion. Everything leads back to fags, liberals, and…well, fags and liberals mostly. He follows the Fundamentalist Christian Party Line like it was handed down from his Master Chief. I can’t understand how someone who understands a concept like Chain of Command so thoroughly won’t understand a simple evolutionary flowchart.

My uncle, who is also my dad’s older brother, had a few quiet moments with me at my niece’s birthday party last week. I know my dad talks to my uncle, and I also know that Dad was either avoiding me at the birthday party or he was genuinely interested in what was going on outside. Anyhow, my uncle started by identifying with me. He told me he was a Democrat, and that there were just things he didn’t say anything about in conversation with my dad. He said he respects my dad and the decisions he’s made, and so he just doesn’t say anything about anything political. Then, he quietly urged me to do the same. “Respect him,” said my uncle, “don’t challenge him.”

And therein lies my current family dilemma. I don’t argue with my dad to prove my intellectual superiority, or to strip him of his religious beliefs, or to get my Freudian rocks off. I argue with my dad because I love him, and I hate to see him fight with the deliberate stupidity with which his pastor arms him. I know my dad is better than that. I know this, because he was my teacher whom I did respect.

That’s probably the best analogy I can come up with. Let’s pretend you had a favorite teacher in school who taught, say, English. The teacher taught you to love English, to love language and to care about the words you choose, to devour books that are worth spending time with and to be able to recognize the flaws and the greatness of a piece of literature. Then, one day, the teacher (who had always spoken Pig Latin as a hobby) decides she wants to speak nothing but Pig Latin for the rest of her life. Okay, yes, you respect her decision as an intelligent adult to be a speaker of Pig Latin, but that doesn’t make her decision any less ignoble.

So fine, my dad wants to take some guy’s interpretation of a holy book and base his whole worldview on it. Even when the facts prove his worldview is seriously flawed. Now, if this were someone you loved, what would you do? It would be easy to brush him aside, to say “whatever” and change the subject to the weather and everyone’s health.

I love my uncle. I love my dad. And I just can’t do it.

I can’t sit quietly while he spouts off about how ridiculous it is to spend tax money on education. I can’t sit quietly while he makes up or quotes bizarre information. I can’t sit quietly while he praises Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in one breath and calls young black men “coons” in the next. I can’t sit quietly while he mischaracterizes the context of every political issue his pastor finds important enough to preach about.

I don’t bring up anything remotely religous or political around him. That’s as far as I can go. But, as my dad himself taught me, it does no good to limp alongside a lame man. My mistake is in thinking that the facts will convince him, but really the only thing that will convince him is for tragedy to strike him right where the pastor says it shouldn’t hurt.

I only hope he’s not aiming his real-life guns at me when tragedy strikes.


I fell in love for twenty minutes… May 29, 2007

Posted by flyingsirkus in Individualism, Who Am I?.
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At first, it wasn’t that she was fifties pin-up gorgeous. I work in Las Vegas, and see beautiful, confident women every minute of every day at the casino where I work. It was the spiraling march of letters and punctuation that snaked around her upper arm like an Egyptian bracelet, black as her hair, that snagged one of my heartbeats and claimed it for their own.

She was chatting with the bartender, her smile so big her molars winked at me while her eyes were elsewhere. I was dressed in the unstylish all-black drab anonywaitron uniform that sucks away personality faster than prison stripes. There was a break in the bartender’s flirtatious conversation, and I grabbed it.

“I couldn’t help but notice your tattoo,” I began, my own originality spiraling away in the black void of the uniform. “What does it mean?”

She smiled, and this time her teeth full on and literally blinded me with science. “It’s a mathematical formula explaining how heat and light are transferred as energy in the atmosphere.”

‘Wow!” I said, and I walked away. I wanted her to know that I thought it was the most interesting tattoo I had ever seen in my life, and to see it on someone so achingly gorgeous was tantamount to an Old Testament miracle. It was like she’d walked straight out of Douglas Adams’ brain and into my bar. I didn’t want her to think that I was some random table-waiting idiot, and I wanted quite badly for her just to talk to me some more.

I totally forgot what I was walking away to do. I know I was busy, but at that point I could have had hoardes of angry customers snapping their fingers and glaring at me, giving me the “Miss!!” hiss, and I would have been just as oblivious. I walked back over to her.

“Did you get that just to piss off the people who think global warming is happening because they think the sun is getting hotter?” I asked her. I think it was the right thing to say. It sparked a conversation.

“You know, I never expected my tattoo to be so political,” she confided in me. I felt like I was swimming in caramel; warm and gooey inside and outside. “I used to be a physicist, and this was a formula I used often. I wanted an original tattoo, and I’ve never met anyone who has one like this.”

I knew how she felt. On a much more superficial level, I have three earring holes in one ear and one in the other. I have always wanted to meet someone else with the same combo. The closest I’ve come is a dear friend who has three in one and none in the other, and when I found that out it just made me feel closer to him kinshipwise, even though it’s a very silly club to belong to.

When she said that, I knew I was out of her league. I knew there was someone out there with a tattoo that would blow HER mind, and that would be it for her. But it never hurts to flirt, right? So I replied to her, “I’d like to get an Infinity Cat in my armpit one day.” Maybe not the best sentence to offer to further a flirtation, but I had a feeling she’d get it. I was right. It made her smile.

“You should!” she encouraged me. We chatted for a minute about global warming. It was weird for me to actually have a conversation with someone who agrees with the science I’ve read. Most of my conversations about global warming end up being debates. It made me feel awkward, like all of a sudden she started stripping off her black-and-white spaghetti strap dress. She showed me a little bit of her mind, and it was breathtaking.

I had to walk away. What was I going to do? I’m an unhappily married woman, and she was just driving a spike of fascination into my heart that I couldn’t bear to be driven in one more time. One more interesting conversational tidbit from her and I’d start falling into insanity. Life would stop making sense.

I retreated to the other end of the bar to fold napkins. I watched her intermittently. Two of my fellow waiters started chatting her up. Neither of them can use a sentence without calling the person they’re talking to “Dog.” She was having a great time talking to them, laughing at their jokes and making witty comments at their conversation. Then she was gone, off to attend a friend’s wedding, then back on a plane to Massachusetts.

I’m a pretty girl myself. I’m not shy, and I have a big laugh. I think I’m pretty smart, and a good conversationalist. And my body, while not her caliber, is really not bad. I’m no bloated egotist, but I think I’ve created an interesting person out of the life I get to live. I wonder if I’ve ever made anyone fall in love for twenty minutes?

I remember her, and I’m happy.

Divine Love Ass Wipes May 24, 2007

Posted by flyingsirkus in Jesusitis.
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I belong to an Atheist parenting board, and for some reason, our membership was recently accosted with a flood of religious scam snailmail from an organization calling itself St. Matthew’s Church.  The letters beseech the recipient to take the offerings it sends for free, like a Miracle Prayer Rug or a Jesus Handkerchief:
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                                                        Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

What kind of snarky atheist mommy doesn’t realize the potential money she could make off of the kinds of people who really believe this shit??  Like, let’s say…the devoutly psychotic followers of Fred Phelps and his phenomenally offensive Westboro Baptist Church! These are the people who hold up signs that say “God Hates Fags” and protest at military funerals, ostensibly because God hates America now for being tolerant of His creation’s propensity for using its apparently God-given volition. Go figure.

Gene Roddenberry once said, “We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.” Maybe all Phelps needs is a good dose of Star Trek.

Anyhow, here is my latest philosophical foray into Separating Fools from Their Money. Sonny!

Dear Faithful One True Christian ™,

I received your name from the Westboro Baptist Church Prayer Chain Directory, and I knew you would be one of the few people on Earth who truly understands the tremendous amount of love God has for His Chosen People.

Recall, for a moment, the story of Balaam’s Ass:

21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his ass, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.
 24 Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.

26 Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. 28 Then the LORD opened the ass’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

29 Balaam answered the ass, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

30 The aass said to Balaam, “Am I not your own ass, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
  “No,” he said.

31 Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.

I give you these passages as a gift, because sometimes we don’t know enough as Christians to not mistreat our own asses, when it is our asses that speak the TRUTH! We should not spank our asses. Our asses were not meant to take such abuse.

We have chosen you because you, as a devout follower of Fred Phelps, have shown incontravertably that you let the Spirit of God come flowing freely from your ass. You let your ass shine. We recognize this, and find you worthy of great reward.

Therefore, in loving reminder of God’s great wisdom and mercy, please accept these Divine Love Ass Wipes. Use them to clean your asses, and to remember always the wisdom that you have that comes out of your ass, inspired by God Himself.

But there are others who have not heard the wisdom that God sends shooting forth from asses like yours. We want you to touch the asses of the unbelievers, make them hole whole and holey holy. We know that it can be very difficult to touch the soul of the unbeliever (or in the case of the atheist, to find the soul at all! ha ha ha).

Therefore, we ask that you send your Love Donation to Saint Bertrand’s Church, so that we can do God’s work in striking the asses of the unrepentant. Don’t delay…God hates to twiddle His thumbs. Or jam them up His ass, as it were.

Your Faithful Friends at,

Saint Bertrand’s Church

Who can send me a seed offering of a Pitney Bowes Home Postage Meter, so that I may commence God’s work?

“There are only two mantras… yum and yuk. Mine is yum.” May 3, 2007

Posted by flyingsirkus in Who Am I?.
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Nice one, Tom.

I’m no Buddhist, but you must have a mantra even if you don’t call it as such. I have two.

One is quite lengthy, but it serves to calm my nerves when I go into a panic or become overwhelmed with some other pesky emotion like anger, frustration, or worry. It’s the entirety of The Nations of the World as sung by Yakko Warner of Animaniacs fame. My co-workers know more about geography than any other waitstaff on the planet.

The other is much simpler. It’s sijadasi. That’s the word Yes in each of the five foreign languages I’ve studied: Spanish, German, Russian, Italian, and American Sign Language. Two notes about its pronunciation:

1. It is pronounced with your clenched fist raised to shoulder level, thumb across your knuckles, and your wrist flexing up and down. If this confuses you, go back and read the list of languages one more time.

2. Its verbal pronunciation is exactly the same as the words “Sea Odyssey,” one of my flimsy romantic fantasies, flimsy because I get seasick faster than the fastest peristaltic roller coaster letting loose with its sour alimentary volleys.

So here begins my personal sijadasi, the spill of my thoughts dislodged by symbolic mantric chanting.