I have a lot of things to say
June 30, 2008, 8:57 am
Filed under: Current Events, daily

I’d like to comment on The Big News week of last week- namely, Big Kimmy’s staged explosion of his nuclear program, and the Supreme Court’s reaffirmation of 2nd amendment rights.

I’d like to talk about the dog that we might acquire this week. His name is Banjo.

I’d like to talk about how much I am enjoying library school.

I’d like to talk about the weather- thunderstorms every day for how long? Are you kidding me?

I’d like to talk about how all the freshmen appearing on campus for their PittStarts look like wee little babies.

I’d like to talk about a lot of things, because I have a lot of things to say.

But I can’t. My Grandma has decided to die. There’s nothing wrong with her. The woman is in astoundingly good health for being 93. But she’s done being alive, and is desperately unhappy about being alive. So she’s refusing treatment for a simple infection, and that’s that.

I can’t write about that, because right now it just hurts too much. I can’t write about how much it hurts, because then it hurts to think about how unhappy she is, and how selfish I’m being by talking about how much it hurts. I can’t write about anything else, because all I can write about or think about or pray about is how much it hurts.

I’ll be back when it’s over.



Announcement
June 23, 2008, 12:52 pm
Filed under: daily | Tags:

We have decided to acquire a dog.

That is all.



People will never lie to you, part 3.
June 19, 2008, 9:07 am
Filed under: Current Events | Tags:

This, I believe.

I believe that it is our obligation in our lives to do our very best to ensure that we help people who are less fortunate than ourselves. I believe this not just because of my faith, but also because I know it is the right thing to do. “Those to whom much is given, much is expected.” This, I believe.

And yet, I am of a conservative mindset. I do not believe in taxes, welfare or government-mandated income redistribution. This should be a paradox, correct?

If you believe that, then you don’t really understand conservativism.

Think of this: If you have an income that falls below the line to receive welfare, you have an incentive to not get a job. Say the line for you is $15,000 a year. You make about $14,000. Your welfare checks give you an extra $5,000, bringing your total income to $19,000. That’s still a very poor situation to be in, frankly. You are given the opportunity to get a slightly better job, one that pays you $16,000. With that job, you would lose your welfare benefits. You would have $3,000 less per year. That’s substantial. That can be the difference between barely scraping by and having to turn to drugs or prostitution to provide for your family. So, you don’t take the better job. You stay on welfare. You never get ahead because you’re literally being paid to remain in poverty.

We are paying people to stay poor. That’s immoral. You can twist and spin it, saying that welfare is only temporary and that they provide training opportunities. But when you really boil it down, we are paying poor people to stay poor.

This, I believe.

I also don’t agree with the cap and trade idea, or carbon limits. This isn’t because I am a greedy oil man. This isn’t because I want to be able to spew carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, or waste precious fuel joyriding in my huge Hummer. In fact, I don’t even own a car, and I’m hoping that when I get a job, I will be able to put off car ownership for a long time by using public transportation.

Instead, it is because I believe that those kinds of limits will crush the poor. The countries that produce the greatest amount of pollution and greenhouse gases are those that are developing, because their technologies are primitive. If you put limits on them, you will limit their ability to grow and prosper in any way close to what developed countries have. You will force them to stay 3rd world, poor, desolate places. You will force them to continue dying of diseases we eradicated years ago. You will force their babies to continue to starve to death.

Yes, it will effect us as well. But the higher your income is, the smaller the proportion of it will have to go to deal with higher energy costs. When a poor person has to deal with high energy costs, that percentage cuts into their food, shelter, and health care budgets. Limits on energy will first hurt the desolate poor people in foreign countries. Then it will effect the poor in our country. Either way, it hurts the poor the most. That is immoral.

And then there’s healthcare. If we were to switch to universal health care, the quality of health care would go down. Along the border of Canada in New England, there are a number of high quality health care clinics. They mostly serve the rich Canadians who are willing to pay cash for MRIs, surgery, etc. Things that they would have to wait in line for months to receive in Canada under their socialist system. That means that the poorer people who can’t afford to drive to Maine and pay out of pocket for care are getting substantially worse care than the rich. Again, this affects the poor more than it affects the wealthy. That is immoral.

And yet, I am of the evil, selfish, greedy sector of the political spectrum. It’s funny how these things play out.

People will never lie to you, not if you really pay attention. There is a certain group of people in our country who say that they want to help the poor, close the gap between the rich, help the middle class. They want to do these things using methods that are obviously going to hurt the poor far more than they will hurt the rich. They aren’t lying to you, not in their actions. They are deceiving you with pretty words, but they are totally honest when you look at their behavior.

This, I truly believe.



Cancer?
June 18, 2008, 1:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

This week has not been a great week here at PotPie Central.

1. A pigeon pooped on me last Thursday. I don’t think I’ll ever recover.

2. My brother’s mother (yes, I have a brotha by anotha motha. Except, for real. We have the same dad, but he is the product of the first marriage, I am the product of the third) was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer of something. She won’t tell him what kind of cancer, but it’s stage 3. He’s distraught, and has already started remodeling his basement bathroom so she can stay with him when Things Get Bad. Blah.

3. My mother was diagnosed with early squamous cell carcinoma. She had a suspicious mole removed. It was barely suspicious, really. So unassuming in its cancerness that the dermatologist came very close to declaring it not a problem and leaving it alone. Except it was suspicious, because it is SCC. As they found out when they removed it and biopsied it.

I looked it up on The InterWeb, which told me this: “Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer, with over 250,000 new cases per year estimated in the United States.  It arises in the squamous cells that compose most of the upper layer of the skin. Most SCCs are not serious.  When identified early and treated promptly, the future is bright.  However, if overlooked, they are harder to treat and can cause disfigurement.  While 96 to 97 percent of SCCs are localized, the small percentage of remaining cases can spread to distant organs and become life-threatening.”

So, she’s ok. She already has it cut out, and she’s going to go back to be Very Closely Examined (which is going to take a while. I know the woman- she’s got tons of moles and weird spots all over her skin), and will probably have more chunks of skin taken out of her.

But I’m not going to lie- the words “cancer” and “mom” do not belong in the same sentence in my world. The placement of them near each other sucks the breath right out of me. I know it could be worse- my brother’s mom is in stage 3. We don’t know what kind, but stage 3 generally means its moved into at least another organ. I know it could be so much worse for my mom. I feel terrible for my brother, but I am thankful that my mom’s cancer has already been removed and is not of a serious concern. I know that that makes me a terrible person, but so be it. She’s my mom, and I get to be a terrible person when it comes to wanting her around more than wanting his mom around. I just won’t mention that to him.

This means that I now have all the risk factors for skin cancer: fair skin, prone to burns, blue eyes, light hair, and a history of skin cancer int he family. So excuse me while I go dip myself in a vat of sunscreen.

My mom and I discussed this actually. She was born before any real sunscreen existed. She remembers getting terrible burns, repeatedly, as a child, to the point of sun poison. I have gotten mild burns regularly, but my mom only remembers one time that it was a truly bad burn when I was wee little. I am already in a good place in terms of being protected.

But still.

I don’t like this at all.

(Public Service Announcement: Wear sunscreen. Wear it every single day. Wear even more when you’re going to be out in the sun. Put it on everywhere. Dip your babies in it. Repeatedly.)



People Will Never Lie to You, Part 2
June 13, 2008, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Current Events | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m tired of “Bush Lied, People Died”.

Oh sure, it’s very clever. It rhymes and everything. Good job on that.

But I am tired of it. It is blatantly false. This is why.

1. It is referring to the “benign” time that Clinton lied. Sure, he only lied about whether or not he was having an affair with Monica Lewinsky. No big deal, right? Wrong. He did it under oath. That’s really bad. That’s illegal, in fact. HE COMMITTED PERJURY. Perjury is a very serious crime, and if the Big Dude in the United States of America can’t see how very very very wrong perjury is, to the point that he is willing to commit it over something minor like a blowjob, then imagine how very fluid the rest of his ethics are.

That’s why he was impeached by the House.

2. Bush didn’t lie. Saddam Hussein lied.

Let me say that again, in case you missed it. SADDAM LIED, not Bush. Why were we so convinced that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? We had some photos, that maybe implied WMD. But more importantly, we threatened Saddam that if he didn’t let UN inspectors in to see whether or not there were WMD, we would go to war. We told him this repeatedly.

He knew he didn’t have them. Why didn’t he just let them in? He could have avoided this whole mess, right? It seems stupid to have played like he had them when he really didn’t, right?

No, not really. During the 1st Gulf War, we threatened to go in and take out Saddam. In fact, we Bush the First promised the Kurds that if they started revolting, we would swoop in, save the day and knock out Saddam.

We sort of did that. We swooped in. We stayed a few days. We left Saddam Hussein in tact.

If you want to talk about a Bush lie, that’s the one you need to be pissed over. After we scooted away, patting ourselves on the back, Saddam systematically gassed the Kurds for their treachery. The treachery that we instigated, the treachery that we did not back up in the form of ousting Saddam. He punished them for believing Bush’s lies.

So, Saddam really didn’t think this Bush was going to change his behavior. He figured there would be some bombing, but that he would be fine, because he was last time.

With that thought in mind, he was concerned that if he announced that he didn’t have WMD to the world, that he would put himself in danger.

Danger from whom, you might ask? Iran. If Iran knew that he was defenseless, they would have no problem flying in and taking over. And THAT would be a disaster.

So: if your choice is an unlikely attack by the benevolent USA, or a guaranteed, brutal, violent attack by your major enemy, which would you pick?

This is why he pretended that he had weapons he knew he didn’t have.

Bush didn’t lie. Saddam did. To protect himself from Ahmadinejad. All because the first Bush lied way back when.

By the way, this theory is not mine. It’s from a brilliant writer over at http://www.nationalreview.com, but I can’t remember which one right now, so I’m having a hard time finding the piece. I do, however, believe it to be true. There is no other plausible explanation for why Saddam lied about WMD. When I figure it out, I will link it.

In fact, what I really wonder is why so few people are questioning his lie, and so many are pointing the finger at Bush.

Also, I was pooped on by a pigeon yesterday. Maybe I should blame that on Bush, too.



Those darn kids!
June 12, 2008, 10:50 am
Filed under: daily | Tags: ,

This past weekend, at Bear’s parents house:

Bear’s mom, to his 4 year old niece: Where are your parents, honey?

Niece: Oh, they’re fooling around in the kitchen.

(Niece’s parents were actually just getting their food. They were taking longer than she wanted, hence them ‘fooling around’. As far as I know, no hankypanky was happening in the kitchen.)

Everyone else laughed. Niece looked confused. She laughed awkwardly with us, probably thinking, “These weirdos. They have a strange sense of haha.”

It’s so true, kiddo.



What Women Want
June 10, 2008, 9:19 am
Filed under: daily | Tags:

I am an oversharer.

I know this about myself. I would probably tell the mailman my life story if given the opportunity. And then, I would spend the next 3 weeks telling everyone else the same story.

Roommate! has to hear the same stories repeatedly because of this. Roommate! I am sorry.

But other times, I am an undersharer. I will chew over a problem until it loses its flavor, and then I’ll stick it in my hair (name that movie!). I mull it over and over, turning it over in the back of my head, until it finally comes to a head and I let it out. Usually in one big burst. Tears are involved.

Yea, I’m fun.

Bear is the one who deals with the brunt of this. In 3.5 years, he’s gradually starting to learn the lesson that all men need to learn in order to be able to handle their women without going totally bald.

Men? Listen up. When women come to you with their problems, unless it involves a large spider or a broken toilet, THEY DO NOT WANT YOU TO FIX THE PROBLEM.

Now, read that one more time. Bugs and broken appliances require fixing. I know that your natural inclination, when your lady comes to you crying over something, is to try to fix it. I’m sorry, but you do not have the tools to fix it. The only thing you can do is be there. Hugs are usually recommended, maybe a tissue. Ice cream is always in order.

Most importantly, you need to truly listen. Give her your full attention and talk through the problem with her. What she needs more than anything, more than suggestions or offers of help, is for you to rub her arm and make every effort to understand and really hear her.

Even if she’s behaving like a lunatic.

Bear is getting there. I know we’re young, and we’ve only had 3 years to get where we are.

A few weeks ago, I found myself crying in the Wendy’s in Oakland over my french fries because of an angry phone call from my mother, with yelling and lack of understanding. I decided that I needed to chill out in the sun on Cathedral Lawn before my night class. As I was walking, I saw some people throwing around a frisbee, a fairly normal site on the lawn. As I got closer, I thought, “gee, that guy looks an awful lot like Bear’s best friend.” A few steps closer, and I realized that it was Bear’s best friend. SURPRISE! Bear was there, too. Serendipity at its finest, really.

A few minutes of talking and I started crying again, and Bear extracted himself from the frisbee flinging to listen to me and hug me. We stood there under a tree, me trying to compose myself while he rubbed my back and listened. 2 years ago, he would have offered suggestions and asked questions and tried to fix it.

Such a good display of understanding doesn’t mean that he’s perfect, of course.

Last night, we got into a fight. It was hot as Hades here, so that’s not really a surprise. I was sweaty, hormonal and I have a bug bite the size of a child’s hand on my leg. I’ve also spent 3 years chewing over a problem. I won’t go into it here, I can’t go into it here because I do have some boundaries.

But Bear turned around and called his mom, which is precisely the exact opposite of what I wanted him to do. So then we fought about it more in the park, on the swings. We chewed it out, and I cried a lot (because I’m fun). He just kept going back to trying to tell me to “get over it”, like that strategy was one I hadn’t thought of on my own.

I know I have to get over it. I know it’s my issue that I need to manage. I know that. I know that a lot of it is in my head, but a lot of it isn’t. I know I just need to deal with it, because confronting the problem is not an option. Knowing these things doesn’t make the problem go away.

That’s not what I needed. I needed understanding, and I needed him to recognize that even though he doesn’t think I should be reacting like this, that I’m still feeling it. I needed him to understand me, and to really hear what my concerns are. He can’t fix this. The only thing he can do is hear me and support me.

After an hour, a lot of tears, and one delicious chocolate raspberry milk shake,  I think we’re there. At least, for this fight, we are. We’ll see about the next one.

I’m just going to guess that this is a hurdle that we’ll be fighting for a long time. I’m ok with that. I’d rather be fighting for this with Bear than doing anything else with anyone else.