Charity, Assistance, & Helping Others………A Division In Outlook

I have been arguing with a family member today about extending a helping hand to others.  At some point it became clear to me that in this, as in politics, & religion, & pretty much our entire world-view, we would never see eye to eye.  If he weren’t family, I doubt we would even have any impetus to talk at all.  Thinking about it afterwards, I think his viewpoint and mine can be fairly said to represent the extreme ends of the Left/Right spectrum.

It seems to me that the majority of far lefters and Liberals are impassioned and moved to pay forward without conditions or strings, or at least with minimal ones.  We do not want to dictate terms or hold up hoops to jump through.  We don’t necessarily expect to induce those we aid to conform to our ideologies, and we are not very concerned with alternate or opposing viewpoints in the face of tragedy.  If we see a need or a place to lend a hand, we want to do just that.  We also do not expect reciprocation or immediate return, because our investment is in humanity in general.  We want to make things better for everyone, everywhere, not just ourselves & our own interests.

Far righters & Conservatives, on the other hand, seem to me to be far more driven by control issues.  Public works and other assistance programs are viewed with distrust and resentment.  This could be because when aid is given through these channels, each individual contributor (either by taxation or donation) is a step removed from decisions regarding perceived worthiness.

In conversations I have had with my mostly Republican, far right, Conservative family and friends, I see a fairly consistent theme in regard to who deserves help.  The main thing they all seem to agree on, and I totally oppose, is the sentiment that no help should be given until the cause, or person or persons, in need submit to qualifying standards.  It would seem, at least from them, that being in need is not enough.  You must prove to be sufficiently needy, and your need must be of an acceptable nature.

This is a fairly good reason why having sane, rational, reasonable Moderates from both sides is so important.

As a fairly extreme Liberal, I recognize that I and those like me occasionally need a gentle redirecting hand to help us do the most good for the largest group.  We can be easily diverted and spend an enormous amount of time and resources in areas that perhaps could have been better used elsewhere.  That in no way negates what good we might do in those ares, and it in no way means we should not continue to try to lend a hand wherever we can, but we need a balance.

Likewise, Conservatives need a nudge to be less interested in exactly what the needy do in their private lives, and more concerned with the actual benefit derived from the action of giving.  Assistance should actually be assistance.  It should not be a lever to force obedience, nor should it be a method of weeding out or penalizing those who disagree with you.

We need someone to bring us together, and to force us to play nice in the world’s sandbox.  Clearly, we won’t ever do it on our own.

Score 1 For The Big Giant Head………

I’ll be damned.  Another soundbite from Maher I can totally get behind.  Usually when I want to get behind him, it’s just so I can push him in the closet to shut him up.  I say it again…..even pompous, rude, big giant heads CAN make valid and just points.

maher quote

Yes, indeedy, they certainly do. Then they look at you like it’s your fault the floor is dirty.


* thanks to the Facebook page of  Americans Against The Tea Party from whom I borrowed this picture, and also thanks to Liberal Info With Samuel & the Facebook page of Satire With Samuel from whom it originated.

Those Who Cannot Reason, Cannot Be Reasoned With………..

Pretty much, yeah.

intellectuals to idiots

The sad thing is that school is , if not totally mandatory, at the very least strongly encouraged in at least SOME form. Last time I checked at my local schools, stupidity and shortsightedness were not part of the regular curriculum.

To see what is going on around me makes me really quite sad.  When did logic, reason, & common sense disappear, to be replaced by super-concentrated fear, hate, and rhetoric with no factual basis?  At what point did folks ability to engage in intelligent discourse vanish?  Somewhere between many & most of the conversations I have nowadays seem to fall into three depressing categories [1] Yeah, you may be right, but what difference does it make?  Nothing can be changed. [2] I don’t care, everybody is crooked, and everybody lies. I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff. [3]  No, you are wrong!  You are going to HELL because your beliefs go against my personal beliefs!  Sometimes it is just so depressing to live in the deep South.  Sigh………


picture borrowed from the Facebook page of Liberal Hippie Nerd

Logically Illogical Logic

If you believe, believe with all your heart.  If you have a strong faith, and it uplifts you and makes you happy, that is a wonderful thing.  But if you want to convince and convert others to your point of view,  you are just going to have to make some sort of sense.  Statements like this, uttered with total conviction, simply do not have the effect you are striving for when talking to me.  I am not mocking your belief, but I can’t respect it much, either, when it sounds this silly.  I certainly can’t take you seriously when you claim to speak for a creator that endorses your silliness.

godly jealousy

Or, to put it another way…… (as a family member once said to me) “I think THAT bookcase looks more like THAT bookcase, than THIS bookcase looks like THIS bookcase.”

An Awesome Thing

This is a  wondrous and amazing thing.

Crocheting To Change The Planet


So There……..

I never felt I needed an excuse, but it’s nice to know I’ve got one.

Big Girl Panties

That’s my story. I’m gonna stick with it.

Food For Thought

Nice article.  Always interesting to see different interpretations, not only of the Bible, but of the intent behind it relative to modern culture as opposed to the time period(s) it hails from.  The biggest peeve I have with modern organized religion is its insistence in telling me what it means rather than letting me decide for myself.  I am not a small stupid child, and I do not require spoon feeding with whatever agenda-laced doctrine your church is pushing.  I can read, cogitate, and process it for myself, thanks.

Viewing Myself Through Bill Cosby’s “Himself”

When I was very young indeed, I watched Bill Cosby perform his comedy concert “Bill Cosby – Himself” on Home Box Office with my parents.  It made quite an impression on me.  The next several weeks at school my friends and I kept doing bits for each other, aided by a cassette recording of the show I had been thoughtful enough to make while it was on.  Yes, I am that old, folks.  Once upon a time, we had LP recordings of movies, tv shows, and stand-up comedy routines.  Some of the really cool ones came with booklets and fold-outs containing pictures of the act or show in question.  When those weren’t available, the only way we had to listen to them was to tape them.  At this point I would like to offer my sincere opinion that any of you not old enough to have owned a 33 or 45 of “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” or “Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room” just simply missed out.  Listening to those recordings forced us to use our imaginations and engage with the story almost as much as books.  I almost miss it.

Okay, rambling again…….

Back to Bill.

In 1983, at the age of 10, I was floored by his thoughts on visiting the dentist.  That, I could relate to.  I slayed ’em in the school yard with my own performance of the art of conversation with half my face sliding off my skull.  Oh, sure, I could tell the rest of it must have been funny as well, because my mother cackled all the way through it.  My grandmother got practically hysterical during the monologue about children, but it was mostly lost on me.

Flash forward about 4-5 years to 1988-89.  Flipping channels, I stumbled upon Cosby’s special again.  The dentist was as funny as ever, but suddenly the segment about drinking and drugs resonated with me.  Not necessarily because of life experience so much as the fact that I was finally old enough to grasp the concept of what he was saying.  I still remember laughing so hard that I ended up wheezing after he thanked the toilet bowl for being cool on the side.

1992 rolled around.  My daughter was about 12 months old.  This time I found a VHS on my dad’s movie shelf and decided to kill an  afternoon with it.  As before, what had been funny remained just as fresh and hilarious as I remembered it.  Now, however, the funniest bits were his commentary on the ability of small children to seek out and discover cookies and junk food anywhere in the house, and little Jeffery.  I laughed about Jeffery’s mother punching his father in the face for at least a couple of days after that.

The summer of 2000 I noticed “Himself”  on the program guide and set it up to record.  Later that night I re-watched it yet again.  Lo and behold, now the best part was Cosby’s description of the change in his wife during the course of the marriage and after the children came.  The conniption hit almost too close to home for me.  I confess, my own skull has been known to split and let out a green glow………….sigh.  Aw, c’mon, admit it.  It’s funny because it’s true, you know.  I can still hear that stressed, shrill, frazzled voice…..”WHERE did they get the chocolate cake from?” and the stereotypical response, “They ASKED for it.” Then, of course, Bill’s admission — We are dumb, but we are not so dumb.  I always suspected that was true, you know.

Now here we are, 2012.  None of it is any less funny, but now that I have 2 small kiddos whooping through my house, I find that Cosby’s observation about multiple children being a different level of parenting from having one child to be my favorite part.  I laugh every bit as much when I run across it as I ever did, but I do find that the bits about the stories told by his father really make me laugh the hardest.  “Uphill.  Both ways.  In 5 feet of snow.”  Bah-hah-hah!

The older we get, the more life experience we gain, the more layers of understanding we have and thereby the more humor we are able to enjoy.  I love that a special I first watched with my parents still makes me laugh until I cry.  It is a remarkably cool thing that I can still enjoy it with my folks, and see them laughing at things I haven’t even picked up on yet.  I look at my kids laughing and see where I have been.  Then I look at my parents and see where I am going.  Thanks, Bill.

Insert Ridiculously Random Post Here…..

For some reason I cannot fathom, I have had a peculiar little monologue in the back of my head all day today.  A pushy and persistent voice has been cataloging this silly bucket list and for want of a better term……anti-bucket list.  Perhaps if I share, it’ll go and leave me in peace.


Do this.  Seriously, do it at least once, just so you can say you did.

(1)  Drink your coffee outside and listen to the birds waking up the day.

(2)  Sing Opera in the car.

(3)  Use a foreign accent for an entire day.

(4)  Smell a flower.  Inhale deeply.

(5)  Read something by Terry Pratchett.  You’ll thank me later for this one.

(6)  Open up Wikipedia.  Type in any search term you choose, then follow the first highlighted link in the article.  Repeat 7 times.  Read whatever has popped up on your screen.

(7)  Go to the nearest decent-sized strip mall.  Spend the afternoon ducking in and out of random stores pretending you are James Bond being pursued by enemy agents.

(8)  Go on a scavenger hunt in a nearby park.  Search for unusual items, and instead of collecting and disturbing them, snap pictures of them.

(9)  For at least one hour, read articles by those whose viewpoints oppose your own.  Really think about what they say and why they say it.  Perspective is a cool thing.

(10) Cook something you have never made before, that you would never ordinarily eat.  The farther out of your comfort zone you get, the more bonus points you get on this one.

Don’t do this.  These things fulfill no-one and provide no joy.  Plus, some of them are just rude.  And stupid.

(1)  Finish other people’s sentences for them.

(2)  Give any credence at all to beauty/fashion magazines.  Baz Luhrmann said it best.  “Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.”

(3)  Speed up or slow down just to annoy another driver.  Yes, even that guy over there.  If he’s that douchey, someone else will cut him off for you.  Maybe karma will let you watch.

(4)  Leave lights or appliances on when you go to bed.  Seriously, if you are unconcerned about environmental impact, think of the money you’ll eventually save by shutting things down at night.

(5)  Engage in the seat up or seat down argument.  You have eyes.  Use them.  Seriously.

(6)  Borrow a vehicle, change settings and adjust mirrors and seat.  Return vehicle without replacing things as they were.

(7)  Utter the phrase “There ought to be a law” without thinking long and hard about whether you want the same phrase turned on yourself.

(8)  Complain about government without voting or actively working for change.

(9)  Judge.  Ever.

(10)  Forget to do calf pumping exercises when seated for long periods of time.  DVTs and clots are no laughing matter.

I admit it.  I spent half an afternoon not long ago at the local mall pretending I was on the run from the agents of CHAOS.  Am I embarrassed?  Nope.  If you devote one afternoon a week to doing something silly, or out of your comfort zone, you will be a much happier person.  Breaking out of a rut by doing something completely out of character is the best gift you can give yourself.  Even if it means asking random sales clerks where Waldo is.

Ashley Judd Gives the Media a Much Needed Slap

Ashley Judd Gives the Media a Much Needed Slap.

Well, said, ma’am.  We, as women, need to monitor and moderate our own behavior and attitudes.  By drifting along with the current instead of standing up and decrying things that diminish us, we are contributing to the problem.  Passivity is just as bad as overt repression.  There’s no need to be feminazis, but we should defend ourselves and other women.