January 19, 2015

The Real Heroes

Filed under: Idiot Box,Think About It! — Katrina @ 7:07 pm

So I just got back from seeing the movie “Selma”. It was amazing. Brought me to tears a few times. Made me cringe a few times at the horrible racial violence. Powerful. Highly recommend it.

And it had better win Best Picture, damn it!

Not only because I like it when a movie I’ve seen wins Best Picture, but because it’s damn good. And also because I don’t want American Sniper to win.

Just to be clear, I have not seen American Sniper. I don’t particularly want to. I just read through a plot summary of it. Seems to be your run-of-the-mill soldier movie.

Soldiers are commonly referred to as heroes, and I suppose they are, or at least they’re really brave for putting themselves in that position. Not going to dispute that. And we have two holidays for them, Memorial Day for the dead ones and Veteran’s Day for the living ones. “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers and other such items are ubiquitous. After all, they’re the ones out there protecting our freedom, right?

Er, no, that one I will dispute. For one, their mere presence in many areas is pissing off the locals and thus encouraging support for the terrorists who might attack us and lead to more restrictions on our freedoms in the name of safety. Mostly it’s that the greatest threats to our freedom are internal.
(more…)

December 25, 2014

С Рождеством!

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 9:25 pm

Oh, have I run out of Roman alphabet languages already? Er, no, there’s a few more. Next year, next year…

Well, nothing all that unusual about this Christmas. Same stuff. Work early on Christmas Eve, which was cool, not because I had to work but because I actually have a job at Christmas time for the first time in three years. Then cookie baking. Then putting up with family. Then church and Silent Night. Then wrapping presents. Then finally in bed at almost 6am, having been awake nearly 22 hours.

Anyway, it’s Christmas Day. Today is for joy. For love. For peace. For hope. For generosity.

We’re a bunch of assholes to each other much of the year, in many ways. But for this day, let’s just try not to be. Let’s at least be the peace we want the world to be. Let’s put kindness and understanding first. Let’s forgive and be together and be happy. Let’s put aside differences and annoyances. Even if just for this day. So that even when we go back to our normal rotten selves, we’ve at least had a taste of what could be. So we know it’s possible, at least in theory, at least in small doses.

Or, well, that would surely be nice. Anyway, I’m stuck with my family today. Excuse me while I get back into the fray. *cocks shotgun*

Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2014

Background Music

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Musical Musing,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:48 pm

You know what’s fun about listening to Christmas music? Well, a lot of things.

One thing is that it makes everything you do seem like it’s part of your very own Christmas special. That mundane actions suddenly become festive.

Filing paperwork? Meh. Filing paperwork with “Sleigh Ride” in the background? Festive!

Driving to the grocery store? Meh. Driving to the grocery store with “Jingle Bell Rock” in the background? Festive!

Stuck in traffic while in a hurry? Meh. Stuck in traffic while in a hurry with “Carol of the Bells” in the background? Festive!

Sitting around eating cookies? Delicious. Sitting around eating cookies with “Holly Jolly Christmas” in the background? Still delicious. And festive.

December 19, 2014

Collateral Damage

There’s a lot of collateral damage in activism. When making points for change, you need to be careful. Who is getting thrown under the bus in your talking points?

In youth rights, we sometimes make the case, when someone goes on about how “undeveloped” teens’ brains are, that studies have shown that, despite this, teens’ brains function better than those of people over age 60. Which on its face is a good point, showing that we’re not so fussy about this same metric in another context. But I’m generally uncomfortable with it, because a “solution” to the double standard might be then to restrict the rights of the elderly. Though the intention is to expand the rights of young people, the flip side is the point throws the elderly under the bus.

A couple months ago, I saw at an event about climate change a print-out from some old article on Mother Jones. I don’t feel like looking for it, because fuck that article, but basically it was demonstrating how people in wealthier countries use up more resources than those in poorer countries (which is a major “no shit, Sherlock!”). And a lot of its points were basically about keeping the population low, so there’d be fewer people to use up resources and generate greenhouse gases. Points included: praising China’s one-child policy (you know, the one with the forced and sex-selective abortions and infanticide that resulted in a severely skewed gender ratio), implying that countries with the most unrest are in turmoil because such a huge portion of their population are young adults (you know, because young people just do nothing but start wars, right?), and even some completely ridiculous points about how apparently TV families are getting larger (their entire basis was the existence of the Duggars), and a few more that were just rotting my brain cells with each letter.

You know, no matter how much I might support a cause, I just can’t get behind the ridiculous hyperbole and fearmongering and outright lies that a lot of them resort to. Especially when, as said, some of this causes damage to other causes for human rights and whatnot.

And ultimately it’s self-defeating. It’s hard to defend your position on an issue when most of the points and info you’ve been given to use are full of shit. You have to spend so much time weeding out the bullshit to find the one tidbit that’s actually valid. And if most of what there is to defend the cause is so exaggerated, it discredits what’s real.

All of it is to make a serious problem look worse than it actually is. So the organizations and other entities working on it can get more support and funding. Like I mentioned before about how groups talking about child marriage in certain parts of the world are using a rather loose definition of “child marriage” in order to inflate the number of “victims” to make the problem look even worse than it already is.

The groups who do this know they’re doing this and are often proud of it. There’s usually the “yeah, that video is fake and the facts are pulled out of our ass, but it truly really is a serious problem and needs your attention!” They don’t seem to care that all they did was expose themselves as shameless liars.

For God’s sake, these causes and movements are only necessary to fix a problem. They are a huge waste of time in the long run. But these people turn it into a morbid self-promotional tool in and of itself. Where doing good for people comes second to making damn sure you look like you’re doing good for people. 🙄

December 17, 2014

Coventry Carol 2

A couple years ago I wrote about Coventry Carol and what I realized about the lyrics.

About a tiny child, presumably Jesus, being referred to as a youngling.

And that Jesus, therefore, is a Jedi.

But just recently I learned some more about the song, in that said tiny child actually isn’t Jesus. The song is about the Massacre of the Holy Innocents. When Herod went looking for Jesus in order to kill him and ended up ordering all first born boys under age two to be killed.

The song is a mother singing to her soon-to-be murdered baby.

Oh.

Well, this doesn’t change anything. It just means that the Bible forgot the part where Obi-Wan shows up and walks among the slain sadly, saying “Not even the younglings survived.”

December 13, 2014

Male Privilege

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,Think About It!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 2:53 pm

Privilege is a tricky concept to explain. People have a way of never using examples or never adequately explaining what they’re talking about, so the privileged ones who feel attacked act accordingly and everything turns into a completely pointless mess.

But a while back, I found a pretty good example of male privilege, and it was on the radio. No, it wasn’t 97.1 WASH this time! It was DC101, the rock station. There’s this thing they do weekday afternoons where they play a song that used to be played all the time but now isn’t played at all. They usually do one song but sometimes two or three. On occasion, they do more than that on certain special days.

This was one of those days. They played two songs, both of which had male lead singers, and a third one had a female lead singer. The fourth also had a female lead. At this point, the DJ was apologizing for making the set of songs too “girly” for playing two consecutive songs by female singers, and that apparently a couple of people tweeted or texted him commenting on that. So the DJ decided to make up for it and the fifth song was by an all-male band who, the DJ said, were “proudly misogynist”. And the next two songs were also sung by men.

So that’s seven songs, two of which were sung by women, and the other five by men. And somehow this was “too girly”. Even though the male-sung songs were still the majority. The fact that two of the songs were not sung by men, and that they were done consecutively, and that after they were done, the songs were two by men and two by women, thus even, this was considered “too feminine” and thus offensive.

And that, there, is male privilege. That when things are equal between the genders by the numbers, it is not perceived as equal but of a sign that men are losing out on something and that women have too much power. Even when they are equal. Even when, with the whole seven song set, the men still have a strong majority. Somehow, even in this case women still have “too much power”.

December 12, 2014

The Right to Privacy

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Christmas Time!,Teh Interwebs,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:24 pm

How can people honestly worry about their right to privacy in this age of social media? People tweet constantly. People share their meals on Facebook all day long. They share their exact locations whenever they migrate to a different location. How, oh, how can people do all this while worrying about the government or police or whoever spying on them and knowing where they are and what they’re doing at all times when they share all this info freely anyway?

Easily.

Because the important difference with all the social media sharing is that it is freely chosen. Not everyone shares all these details or is interested in having a wide audience for these things. Some people do. And those people retain the right at any time to no longer share these details.

With other entities spying, it is outside of one’s control. It is invasion and coercion at that point. It is the removal of one’s autonomy.

Autonomy is so undervalued. :pissed:

December 8, 2014

Social Justice Is a Waste of Time

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Decrees!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:57 pm

I hereby decree…

(See title.)

*trollface*

But seriously, yeah, it kind of is when you think about it. In the same sort of way that changing a tire after you get a flat is a waste of time. In that, yeah, changing the tire is necessary, but it was only necessary because some idiot left nails on the road.

Really any movement against oppression has only been necessary because some assholes decided to, well, be assholes. And they were assholes so much in particular ways that we got to the point we didn’t recognize many things as being the work of assholes and just called it normal. So now people who are hopefully not assholes must clean up the assholes’ mess.

And when I say hopefully not assholes, well, that’s wishful thinking. So many activists are most definitely assholes who are causing more mess for some other activists to clean up. So often they’re under the delusion that being assholes to the right people is going to further their cause. While many are assholes simply out of habit or convenience, these activists are being assholes out of believing it is helping the world. But in the end, it’s all still people being assholes to each other. What has been accomplished? How has the world or humanity advanced?

Hey, I’m not saying “asshole activism” isn’t sometimes effective. But in those cases it’s a side effect. It’s not something to strive for. We should be striving for… people not being assholes to each other. If that’s not your goal, then you’re just wasting everybody’s time.

We have science and art to do, damn it!

December 7, 2014

Prince Hans

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,Think About It! — Katrina @ 7:45 pm

You’ve seen Frozen, right? Of course you have.

Better have anyway, because after this sentence are SPOILERS!!!

So, in the tradition of countless Disney princesses before her, Anna falls in love with Prince Hans upon meeting him, they share the movie’s love song, and they rush off to her sister Queen Elsa for permission to marry. Elsa, breaking from tradition (in this and at long last being a Disney princess who was promoted to queen! and being a Disney queen with more than three lines of dialogue who isn’t a villain!), tells her that she can’t marry someone she just met.

Shortly after this, Elsa’s ice powers are revealed, and in fear and shame she escapes into the mountains, inadvertently freezing her whole country in the process. Anna goes off to look for her and leaves Hans in charge. Hans steps up and helps out the freezing citizens (who should be used to this, since this takes place in Norway, which is covered in ice like 10 months out of the year anyway, but whatever), and when Anna’s horse returns sans Anna, he leads a group out to look for her and Elsa, imploring them to not harm Elsa even though they all think she’s an evil witch now or something (probably because it’s a Disney movie, which up until this point Disney mostly painted queens as evil or at least unpleasant). Later, Elsa is captured and imprisoned, and then Kristoff rushed Anna back to the castle for Hans to kiss her, because Elsa accidentally cursed her again and only an “act of true love” can save her, which is assumed to be a “true love’s kiss” from the prince, because, again, Disney movie.

But in a whiplash-inducing twist, Hans refuses to kiss her and reveals that all along he’d been playing her in order to usurp the throne of Arendelle, and he locks her in a room to die.

Whoa! They go through the whole love song and his whole looking-at-her-lovingly-as-she-walks-away only to reveal it was all a lie? And that he’s actually the villain? That… doesn’t even make sense.

Actually… it makes perfect sense, if you read between the lines.

When Kristoff and Anna visited the trolls after she was cursed, they initially thought she was Kristoff’s girlfriend and tried to force-marry them in that annoying Fixer Upper song. Kristoff finally yells that she’s engaged to someone else. The song resumes and includes the following line: “So she’s a bit of a fixer upper. Her brain’s a bit betwixt! Get the fiancé out of the way and the whole thing will be fixed!”

Up until that song, he’d seemed perfectly okay. That line in the song implies the trolls intend to remove Hans from the picture because they so badly want Anna to be with Kristoff.

So what I’m trying to say is that the trolls cursed Hans. Perhaps cursed Anna actually so that the moment he was about to kiss her, he had the sudden change of heart. Cursed him with a frozen heart, I suppose. So when he went to kiss Anna and the curse took effect, any love for her was gone and he became greedy and backstabbing.

There’s a couple of ways to look at that. The trolls were worried primarily about Kristoff and Anna getting together that they didn’t realize this curse on Hans nearly got Anna killed. Or maybe they saw far enough ahead that it was now-evil Hans’s attempt to kill Elsa being thwarted by Anna sacrificing herself (surprise! said act of true love was sororal love, not romantic!) that solved pretty much every problem. Though that part could still have been luck.

Or maybe they didn’t actually care about what happened to the others. They just wanted to fuck with Hans and know that his curse would wear off while he was in that little jail cell on that ship and he’d be all “wait… WTF just happened?”

They are TROLLS, after all! 😉

December 3, 2014

The Rest of Life

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Christmas Time!,Science,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:28 pm

There’s a quote by Neil deGrasse Tyson floating around, from an appearance with Bill Maher a few years ago, where he recalls noticing that the backgrounds of many Congressmen and Senators is law. And that he wondered “where are the scientists? where are the engineers? where is the rest of life represented?”

I’ll admit when I started writing this, already intending to speak on this quote, I hadn’t heard/seen the quote in context. When searching for the exact text, I instead found the above-linked video and heard his whole spiel. He precedes the above discussing that, with all these politicians having a law background, being trained specifically to argue, they are trained to basically argue their side and never come to an agreement. Okay, I may or may not be summarizing it well. Just watch the video and let him speak for himself!

The context doesn’t change what I intended to say, though. In fact, it just confirms it. He asks where the scientists and engineers are. I’ll tell you where they are… being awesome scientists and engineers and not wasting their time with political bullshit!

You know what’s extremely expensive? Scientific research. Even the smallest simplest research is really damn expensive, let alone the dizzying costs of medical research or the astronomical costs of, well, space exploration. But it’s all worth it, even the research that turns out to be a dead end, because it’s the noblest cause of all. It’s gaining information and developing things with that information to make our lives better, to advance, to reach untold unimagined heights. There is no greater investment in humanity and in, well, all of life and the universe.

By contrast, you know what else is really expensive? Political campaigns. Politicians are always raising money to beat the crap out of their opponent. We’ve got people dying from cancer, Ebola, AIDS, and countless other maladies and afflictions, which many millions spent in research can do something about. What do politicians spend millions on? Running mind-numbing advertisements calling their opponents douchebags.

So I’d say we’re better off with the scientists and engineers continuing to be scientists and engineers!

Of course, before I heard the rest of Tyson’s speech, my point was going to pretty much end there. He’s right, though. It makes sense. Politicians are trained to argue incessantly, so that’s exactly what they are doing, with their campaign funds, with their House and Senate votes. They don’t want to make the world better. They just want to pretend they do in order to get money and votes, in order to beat the Other Guy, to defeat the Other Party.

He’s implying that, if more politicians had backgrounds in science and other fields, we may have politicians who don’t have that urge, who are more interested in facts and solutions and improvement than in demolishing one another. It’s certainly plausible, right?

Then I remember Ben Carson, former neurosurgeon now vocal Tea Partier who may or may not try to run for President in 2016, who equated ObamaCare with slavery.

Yeah, never mind. :irked:

November 28, 2014

Supporting the Rights But Not the Gay?

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 6:19 pm

So over the past week or so, I saw a couple of articles claiming that a survey found that many straight people who support same-sex marriage are still uncomfortable with public displays of affection by same-sex couples, moreso than by straight couples. On one hand, this sounds like just another case of cognitively knowing something is right (equal rights for same-sex couples, in this case) while personally not really caring for it for whatever reasons. Obviously, the latter feeling is not harmless, as this still promotes a heteronormative society and worldview that continues to marginalize LGBT people.

However, I see something more going on here, and it doesn’t surprise me at all. Sure, those who support rights but don’t want to witness “the gayness” might just be uninformed and on their way to greater acceptance. But something like this might call into question why such people support gay rights if they are so uncomfortable with it.

If their support for LGBT rights does not come from support for LGBT people and life, then perhaps it really only comes from opposition to homophobia. Opposition to homophobia, or more specifically the types of people who are or are more likely to be homophobic, is NOT the same thing as support for LGBT people. I mean, it’s an important part of it, definitely. But it’s nowhere near all there is to it. Truly supporting marginalized people involves a lot more soul searching and radical change than simply disliking the correct people.

I’ll touch on this again at some point (it’s almost December, after all!), and have to some degree already, but it’s just yet another example of people confusing hate with love, mudslinging with progress.

But, in the case here, it might in fact just be, as said, people still on their way to better understanding how to be properly supportive of LGBT people who haven’t quite gotten there yet. And even just supporting the legal rights is still hugely helpful. It’s just important to keep in mind that proper support for people cannot be based on hate, and to be careful that growing support doesn’t veer into that direction. It’s a sad place to be and ultimately defeating.

September 9, 2014

Metrication

Filed under: Science,Think About It!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 9:21 pm

Why the hell do we say “a thousand kilometers”? Why don’t we say “one megameter”? Because it sounds weird? It only sounds weird because it’s not in common use. The metric system comes with all these lovely prefixes for whichever power of ten off the basic unit you’re using, but for some reason we limit ourselves roughly to kilo and milli, if that. Centi only gets to shine when followed by meter. I see 10 milliliter containers and such quite a bit, but never once is it called “one centiliter”. Why not? That’s what it is, isn’t it? Even considering the circumstantial necessity of keeping decimal places constant, you’d think it might show up at least sometimes. And I never see any big vats of things labeled as “one kiloliter”.

Distance from Earth to the Sun? About 150 million kilometers? Pfft. What do you need all them extra decimal places for? Try 150 gigameters!

Why should bytes have all the fun?

Don’t even get me started on the sheer neglect suffered by all 10 centimeters of the decimeter. Or of all 100 meters of the hectometer, who only seems to show up when squared. You know, it’s a hectometer and it’s a square so it’s a… wait for it… hectare! I totally get it! 😀

Although metric ton does sound more badass than megagram. Metric ton is also the basis of the fun-to-say metric fuckton. Does megafuckgram have the same ring to it? These are the important questions.

Isn’t this fun? Hell, I haven’t even gotten to our lovely little friends micro and nano, who make some tiny scientific appearances, such as the ever-present 200µL (that’s right, mu not u!) pipette tips. But these prefixes get their attention where warranted. They just don’t come up often in common use because things tend to be bigger than that. They’re just hiding out at the cellular and molecular levels. Biding their time.

So, yeah, that’s the beauty of the metric system. For the super super super big and the super super super small, there’s a prefix to fit your measuring needs! Yay metrication!

Now if only we could go the whole nine ya- er, the whole 823 centimeters, and give some of these prefixes more attention.

Failing that, might as well be using imperial! Maybe I’ll start referring to a thousand inches as a kiloinch… :cute:

July 28, 2014

Offend the Offensive

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Think About It! — Katrina @ 7:31 pm

Quick! Define “offensive”.

Okay, okay, okay, shut up…

Whatever it is you just said, my answer would be different. So would everyone else’s. What is offensive is subjective. And, whether some want to admit it or not, absolutely everyone is offended by something.

There are a number of things that tout themselves as being proudly “offensive”. South Park was once a prime example. These days, there are a number of Facebook pages with taglines saying something like “If something on this page offends you, ha ha, too bad! Go punch your parents for having raised a pussy.”

Such messages tell me nothing about what is on that page. Why do they think one might find their content offensive? They say “fuck” sometimes? They mention sex? Irreverent humor? I’m not offended by any of that. Hell, the things that offend me are often found in places that deem themselves inoffensive. The radio station I wake up to is the local generic Clear Channel light pop station (97.1 WASH here in DC), and it offends me quite a bit. This is a station that cuts the word “screwed” out of Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know”, and yet, I still find some of the DJs’ commentary offensive. Almost entirely, what’s offensive is their remarks are grossly anti-youth.

And here’s the other thing. It’s worth looking into WHY something is offensive. Sometimes it in fact is someone being oversensitive, as there are some pretty damn stupid things people find offensive. My being offended at ageism is unusual, in that not too many other people find it offensive, and they might consider me oversensitive. Well, there’s a reason I take offense at ageism, and that is not only that ageism is wrong, but not enough people know that, and hearing ageism promoted so much just encourages and perpetuates it. Of course, the real harm and wrongness of ageism is what a complaint about such commentary would be based on, not simply the fact that I find it offensive.

If someone says something is offensive, the correct response is to ask why, not to simply say “shut up, you’re oversensitive”. That’s the difference between communicating and being an asshole.

Some that say they’re proudly offensive turn out to mean they’re proudly bigoted. Or maybe not necessarily bigoted, but they might frequently use racial or other slurs jokingly in their posts and images. They might take shots at women or the disabled. Basically, anyone who isn’t an able-bodied white straight cis male. Funny how that works out. They think they’re so badass espousing prejudices that most people already have.

In fact, if you were to point this out to these people, you know how they’d react? That’s right. They’d be offended. They’d pretend they aren’t. They say the idiotic well-worn “I’m offended by those who get offended”. But the idea is they would object, so they would be offended. And for less reason, since saying “your group of people is inferior” is a more reasonable thing to be offended by than “I didn’t laugh at your joke”. So, yeah, who’s the oversensitive one again?

Finding something offensive is not in and of itself a reason for something being wrong. There’s a difference between offensive and wrong, of course. If something is wrong, explain why and how it is wrong. But just because something that is wrong is also offensive doesn’t mean that the person pointing it out is simply being “easily offended”. After all, complaining about someone being offended is not a defense of the possibly-offensive thing in question. 😉

This has been Day 66 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 14.

June 30, 2014

Best and Worst

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Estrogen,Think About It! — Katrina @ 10:18 pm

There’s a popular quote attributed to Marilyn Monroe that goes something like: “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.”

And seeing as it has comes off in even the slightest as empowering for women (even though no gender is stated), there’s no shortage of anti-feminist jerks (the so-called “men’s rights activists” but I don’t like to call them that because men’s rights isn’t something they actually care about) whining about it and calling Monroe a drug-addicted slut who therefore had no business wanting respect. Because a woman wanting respect is oppressive to men somehow.

But I digress. There’s that and there’s an actually reasonable criticism of the statement, which involves responding with “Define ‘worst.'”

If “worst” means “abusive”, then surely one shouldn’t be expected to handle that. Or even if “worst” isn’t necessarily abusive but is still extremely draining and leaving very little of any “best” to speak of, yeah, that’s not a great situation.

Or just take it at face value, in which case “worst” might simply mean sad or sick or stressed or scared. Rather normal human lows, that if you’re going to cast off someone for experiencing, you’re kind of an asshole. Or at least it’s not much of a relationship or friendship or whatever.

Humans are imperfect. It’s not a bad thing to remember. But, hey, why get in the way of some accusatory overthinking? 😛

This has been Day 38 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 14.

December 30, 2013

Potatoes

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Sports!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:54 pm

So the Washington Redskins just fired all their coaches. Well, after a 3-13 season, something needs to change. This is sucky even by Redskins standards! Are the coaches the problem? I don’t know. This isn’t a sports blog. Go watch SportsCenter or something.

But lately, a lot of talk about the team involves the admittedly if arguably racist name. As far as that issue, I find myself pondering a solution. So here it is…

If the Washington Redskins change their mascot and logo to a potato, can they continue to be called Redskins?

But then again, I think the better question would be…

If the Washington Redskins coaches and players were replaced by potatoes, would anyone notice?

December 18, 2013

Unwise Purchases

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It!,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:28 pm

People with Celiac Disease can’t eat gluten. It screws up their small intestine and makes them all kinds of sick. And yet, they are still perfectly free to waltz into any store and buy a loaf of bread.

People with peanut allergies must stay away from peanuts, obviously. In some cases, eating peanuts could kill them. Merely being around peanuts can mess them up. And yet, they are still perfectly free to waltz into any store and buy a can of peanuts.

Stores don’t require you to prove you can safely consume the foods you intend to buy before they sell them to you. They trust you can look after your own self and know what you should or shouldn’t be eating or drinking. Not that that’s really their place anyway.

But then there’s the drinking age. For this, stores are required to make their customers prove they are of legal drinking age before allowing the purchase. Because alcohol is supposedly uniquely harmful to those below that age.

Yet even if this were true, even if the tiniest sip of alcohol could cause someone 20 or under severe immediate damage, why are the sellers made responsible to ensure that the buyers of this product are those who can consume it safely, while they do no such thing for deadly allergens, which do a lot more damage to those with such allergies?

Maybe just throw this on the already gargantuan heaping pile of Reasons the Drinking Age Makes No Sense.

December 17, 2013

Let There Be Peace on Earth

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:27 pm

So we can travel a lot more easily. So we can learn about each other and enjoy what we all have to offer more easily.

Without corrupt governments and politics sticking their asses into everything.

There are so many beautiful places to see and cultures to be exposed to and foods to taste, yet so many are in unstable environments, rife with crime and misery and poverty, brought on by corrupt infrastructure and political turmoil.

I’d like our relations with Russia to completely improve, and then we’ll build a bridge across the Bering Strait, so then we can drive to Asia. Take roadtrips to liberated China and India. Korean Peninsula could finally get along and then build a bridge to Hokkaido so we can drive to Japan as well. Then with the Middle East peaceful we can drive over there for some quality falafel. The kind they share with their Israeli neighbor friends because they have no beef with each other anymore. And then into Africa, free of corrupt governments and practices and abject poverty, for all the beauty it has to offer underneath all that.

Maybe international borders would just dissolve entirely. No more “illegal immigration” concerns because they would be welcome anywhere and even where they’d be coming from would be pleasant and peaceful and provide them with all they need.

No wars. No starvation. No atrocities.

Just a lot of cooperation and harmony and acceptance of difference.

It’d be nice.

December 11, 2013

Some Opinionated Uncle

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 9:57 pm

With the holiday season comes family holiday gatherings. I see the lamentations of these from some friends and other places that with these family gatherings, they, someone who is progressive and/or LGBT, have to listen to some opinionated uncle rant at the dinner table about those awful queers or liberals. And they have to just grit their teeth and bear it, wishing for it to be over.

Whenever I hear this, I wonder… why is the uncle the only one who gets a say? Assuming it is safe to do so depending on the family environment as a whole, why isn’t the uncle being immediately met with the niece or nephew calling bullshit on all the stupid crap he is spewing? Yeah, the uncle isn’t just going to sit down and shut up if this happens, though he might. But as of now, he’s being given every indication he has a captive and passive audience, one that he has no reason to believe doesn’t agree with him totally. Why not shatter that illusion? Why must the niece or nephew have to grit and bear it rather than argue right back? Will it change the uncle’s mind? Very unlikely, but you feel a lot better getting your word in.

Then maybe he’ll learn to hold his tongue, and he’ll be the one suffering through a family holiday dinner while his enlighted niece or nephew is proudly liberal and gay! 😀

December 9, 2013

Only Human

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:50 pm

You surely know by now that Nelson Mandela died last week. I was bummed to hear it. Of course, you can’t help but be incredibly impressed that he made it to 95, something uncommon even among regular people, let alone such a world-changing activist and politician. Compare that to Martin Luther King who only made it to 39 before his assassination.

There’s a lot of talk about him and his life, obviously. The amazing things he did. And behind all that, of course, are the people making a point to remember any not-so-great things he did (or often just making the good things out to be bad somehow). Just like with anyone else who does great things, their bad things get remembered, too, to remind that they were only human.

To which I say… No shit.

Nobody’s perfect. We all know that, yet we often act so surprised when reminded, and those reminding us act so smug like they’ve stumbled upon great wisdom the rest of us ought to envy.

Definitely not just Mandela. Barack Obama was put on a high pedestal in 2008, by people who must feel rather differently about him now. Martin Luther King was great but had his share of flaws, such as cheating on his wife all the time. Abraham Lincoln had his problems. Susan B Anthony had her problems. Robert Kennedy had his problems. The list goes on. Name a great person in history who was integral in changing society for the better, and they did some bad shit among the great.

This should be taken as encouraging, though. For one, it’s no reason not to continue to see them as great. Also, it’s a reminder that even acknowledging our own faults, we all can be great. We’re all only human.

December 4, 2013

Odometer

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Going Places,Think About It! — Katrina @ 4:48 pm

When I’m driving and my odometer is about to reach a cool number, like a multiple of 1000 or where all the numbers are the same (it just recently passed 55,555 miles), I find myself watching it, waiting for it to change. Waited when it was at 49,999 and saw it switch to 50,000. Did same at 54,999. Did same at 55,554.

So awesome! 😀

And yet, when I’m paying so much attention to the odometer, it takes some attention away from the road. So this really isn’t a good idea. I don’t take my eyes off the road entirely, as that would just be stupid, but I glance back and forth repeatedly.

This makes me wonder… for car accidents caused by a driver simply not paying attention and the reason for the inattention isn’t clear, what were the odometer readings? Was the driver doing like I do and just watching for it to tick over to some round number?

Well, the message is clear… ODOMETERS KILL!!!!! 😮

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