Month: February 2015

The Fellowship of the Commute

Today was one of those days.  One of those days when I had to take the train downtown.  One of those days when I had to stand on a windy train platform in the suburbs and then walk through several blocks of wind once I arrived downtown.  I should point out here that since it’s February and it’s Chicago, it wasn’t exactly a tropical summer breeze – no.  It was COLD.

But I wasn’t the only one, obviously.  The sidewalks were crawling with people who were just as cold as I was.  You guys – why are we all suffering alone?  What if we huddled together for warmth like penguins?  Oh okay sure – I suppose there’s niggling little issues like “personal space” and all.

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But think how much warmer we would be!

I suppose I should be grateful that I don’t have to do this very often.  Last time I went downtown was right at the beginning of February and it looked a lot like this –

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Insert adventurous soundtrack here

Yup – that’s me.  Well, except for the elf and the wizard and the hobbits.  But other than that it was pretty spot-on.  I would have felt sorry for myself having to walk in all of that, except I was too busy feeling sorry for everyone who was driving – I was actually moving faster than they were!

Oh well.  At least I had my coffee to keep my company.  And that’s another thing – what does it say about our commuter culture when you order just a regular cup of coffee and they ask you if you want a shot of espresso added?  I mean, obviously YES I do (and it was delicious!) but the fact that they just knew to ask that worries me.  How many other people perpetually don’t get enough sleep because of their commute?  How many other people are just used to a certain level of daily misery because of their commute?

At any rate, I’m sitting on my couch now in a sweatshirt and yoga pants.  I think I’m finally thawed out.  Until next time.

Cheers!

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#Muslims4Lent

This just warms my heart!

After all the terrorism and finger-pointing and fighting and speculation and profiling and racism and ignorance … all of that and more, I’m completely humbled by this and so very appreciative.

While we were arguing about whether Duke can play the Muslim call to prayer, other Christians were fasting with their Muslim brethren during Ramadan.  Before ISIS beheaded 12 Coptic Christians, other Muslims formed a human shield around Egyptian Catholics attending Mass.  And Christians formed a human shield around Muslims praying.

It makes my heart ache that there are places in the world where violence and death and torture is a very real possibility, but in the middle of all this darkness there is light.  There is hope.

Yes, we CAN treat each other like brothers under the same God.  We CAN.  And we WILL.

Helpful hints for life

Free of charge!  Provided by your friendly neighborhood blabbermouth blogger.

– Theoretically salvation is accessible to people who lack the intellectual capacity for logic.  After all, Christ did die for ALL men.(*)  So if you have faith and that’s all you have, fine – go on about being your bad self.  Just don’t break any civil laws and don’t hurt anyone and we’ll be cool.  That said, don’t pretend you have logic and history on your side, because you don’t.

– And don’t pretend you’re being attacked and persecuted when someone invites you to logic and you fail miserably.

– If you don’t know how to logic, methinks you ought to think twice before trumpeting about the superiority of your education.

– I know it’s scary when someone challenges the foundation of what you think and believe, but you really ought to be able to answer and explain how and why you believe what you do.  Even if that answer is, “Let me get back to you – I read up on all this once upon a time and it’s not fresh in my mind anymore.”

– Obviously you don’t owe me or anyone else anything, but if you issue a challenge like “prove me wrong” and then someone does just that, well then you have some work to do.  Work that involves something other than “Well I wasn’t talking to YOU anyway.”

(*) Despite what the new Eucharistic prayer says effective 11/27/11.  I refuse to believe that English-speaking Catholics all converted to Calvinism.


FAQ’s:

Q: Da fuq?  It almost seems as if you’re directing this at someone specific, but I see no names or links or anything – why is that?

A: Why yes, this was inspired by someone specific!  How very perceptive.  Unfortunately, as you may have picked up, this person fails at logic, so I can guarantee you all of the above will be completely lost on them.  And they do seem like a sweet kid, so I don’t really want to be mean and hit them in the face with it.  I’ll just vent here and leave it be.

Q: You COMPLETELY lost me when you started making obscure references to Catholic liturgical practices.  I don’t even know what to ask because that was confusing as hell.

A: My apologies – I forget sometimes that not everyone can read my mind.  The long and short of it is that back in November 2011 (if memory serves), the Catholic Church came out with a new English translation of the Mass.  I hated it then and I still hate it now; it has some real issues.  I’m actually working on a post that goes into more detail; if you happen to catch that one hopefully you will see what I mean.

Q: How can logic POSSIBLY lead someone to Catholicism?  Atheism is the one that has logic on lock-down; it’s a known fact.

A: Known fact, eh?  See my post “Sexism is ugly” for clarification on how I feel about “known facts.”

That aside, this is a great question, and it’s really too big to fully answer here.  Besides, other people have done a much better job than I could possibly hope to do.  Like this guy, or this guy or this guy (if you prefer your people to be alive), or many, many others I won’t link to.  Google “Catholic apologetics” if you really want to get lost.

Q: But religion is anti-science!  It’s a known fa … errr … established history.

A: The idea that the universe is a rational, orderly place that can be explored and discovered through logic and scientific experimentation actually came from the Catholic Church.  The idea is that if it is the nature of God to be infinite order, then those portions of His creation that do not have free will must also be orderly.  Such a framework not only allows for but encourages science as a way to better understand God’s creation.  For starters – the guy who proposed a helocentric model of the solar system was a devout Catholic, the father of modern genetics was a friar, and the guy who proposed the Big Bang Theory (the science, not the TV show) was a Jesuit priest.

Q: We’re getting off track.

A: Agreed.  Here’s where I was going with this –

At any given point, keep in mind the following –

– What do I know?

– How do I know it?

– What is the most likely explanation?

– What merit is there (if any) to dissenting thoughts?

That last question is by far the trickiest.  There has always been an issue with false / misleading information and the internet has done a great job at giving EVERYTHING a wider audience, both the good and bad.  But the good news is that, like I said, the good stuff has a greater audience, too!

Here’s my suggestion: do your best to have a good command of what you believe and generally why you believe what you do.  I’m talking the very VERY foundational things.  Do you believe in God?  Why?  Do you subscribe to a particular religion?  Why? Where does authority for doctrine and discipline come from?  How do you know?

If you have a grasp of WHY you believe these foundational ideas, you are better able to engage or fact-check yourself and others when someone challenges you.  Who knows – you might learn something.  Maybe you were wrong about some things.  At the very least you will stretch your brain and learn how to logic better, which is a very important life skill.

Sexism is ugly

I am very angry at the moment.

I bet you think you know what I’m going to say here – I mean, as the devoted reader of my blog that I’m sure you are, it’s no secret that I’m a staunch feminist.  I’m basically a pro-life feminazi(*).

But that’s not what I’m going to talk about today.

My husband got yelled at for being an inadequate parent.  What did he do?  Oh he’s a stepdad.  That’s it.  That’s literally the reason he’s an inadequate parent.  Never mind that the biological father, the “real” father, of the child in question is an asshole (which is, incidentally, why I don’t even talk to him anymore after the divorce).  Never mind that it was my husband who potty-trained this child, who tried to teach her ABC’s before kindergarten, who drives her to school when she oversleeps and misses her bus, who taught her how to do laundry and dishes, who taught her how to cook mac n’ cheese for herself, who keeps a secret stash of pop tarts in the house for her(**), who plays the Wii-U with her, who taught her how to work through frustration and bad sportsmanship …. No.  None of that matters.  Because he’s a step-dad.  He’s not a “real” parent.

And we all know how men just aren’t any good with children that aren’t, you know, theirs, right?  It’s just a universal biological fact, totally hard-wired in, and we just can’t expect men to do what doesn’t come naturally, right?  Except when they actually do things that blow this awful stereotype out of the water, and then we don’t believe what we’re seeing.  Can’t be possible.  I don’t need to look at the evidence because the evidence doesn’t matter anyway.  It’s just a known fact.

In other news, it’s “just a known fact” that the world is flat and that the sun revolves around the earth.  But here’s the difference – the earth isn’t offended because of faulty assumptions about it.  It just keeps on being (roughly) spherical, rotating and orbiting around the sun and generally being its bad self.  It’s one of the perks of being, oh I dunno, a planet that doesn’t have to actually interact with people to do its job.

But when you make assumptions about my husband, you hurt his ability to be an effective parent.  You question everything he does and you tell him he’s wrong just because he’s a stepdad, you don’t just hurt him.  You also hurt me, because I need him to be effective in his role in order for me to be effective in my role as a provider and breadwinner.  You also hurt my children, because they see that it’s okay to treat their dad like that, and because you tell them that he’s not “really” their dad, despite the fact that he’s a better dad than the person you would consider the “real” dad.

No one questions my ability to be a parent.  Because I’m female.  Because I’m their mother.  As if there’s some something magical in my ovaries that grants me the ability to be a parent.  Here’s a clue:  you know why I’m a good mother?  Because I have actively worked at doing things a good mother does every day for the past 12 years.  Practice makes perfect – THAT is what makes me a good mother.  And I get lots of practice.  But here’s the thing – my husband has had a lot of practice being a dad.  It has been his full-time job for over 6 years now.  He knows what he’s doing and I trust him.

How dare you assume that you’re going to have a different conversation with her mother?  How dare you assume that he and I didn’t decide things together as her parents and caretakers?  What kind of an idiot rants and raves about the supposed limits of men’s capabilities and then verbally skewers the embodiment of the person who is better than apparently every man they have known?

I have a radical idea – how about we interact with people as individuals instead of judging them on what’s between their legs?  Never ranted about that before or anything.

(*) I have always thought the term “feminazi” has a lovely ring to it, ever since I heard it on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show as a kid, and I will probably never retire it.

(**) I’m not supposed to know about this, so SHHHHHH!!! Don’t tell my husband.