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Archive for April, 2006

Because My Family Knows the Way to My Heart is PRESENTS

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

So last night my totally-awesome sis came to hang out for the evening and also get me to help her with a Powerpoint presentation for a class.  We had a blast making it, and I would've done it regardless, but to thank me for my help she showed up with the latest Sims Fun Pack, Family Fun Stuff; something I've been wanting since it came out.

That was so effin cool.

We spent the rest of the evening just hanging out and talking about everything from cats to Killer Klowns from Outer Space.  I have the best sister in the world, guys. I just don't know what I'd do without her.

She's going through a rough time right now, and at the same time she's about to graduate college (the first on this side of the family to do so!) and start out into the working world.  I'm extremely, beyond-words proud of her and wish she could enjoy her accomplishment unfettered by the heartache.

She's just so awesome and amazing and I see her doing great and exciting things with her life.  It's just hard seeing your younger siblings going through growing-up pains that you've experienced; no one wants to see their loved ones experience pain.  (Unless they're evil and you can't stand them...hehe).

There's no real point to this other than to say I love my little sista, and I feel so blessed to be sharing this trip around the sun with her.  Love you, sis.

God Hates Westboro Baptist Church

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

So what are everyone's godhatesfags.com-boasting pseudo-Christians up to these days? Tormenting the mourning family members of our brave young, men killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That's right. Not only are they positive god hates fags, he hates U.S. soliders as well...don't ask me to explain their logic. It fails even me.

Anti-gay church hounds military funerals

Julian Borger in Washington, Tuesday April 18, 2006

New laws have been passed in the United States to counter the activities of a bizarre church that has been disrupting military funerals with anti-gay protests on the grounds that the soldiers died fighting for a land that tolerates homosexuality.

Since last year, the Westboro Baptist church, based in Topeka, Kansas, has been picketing funerals of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, waving signs saying, "Thank God for Dead Soldiers", "Thank God for IEDs [improvised explosive devices - roadside bombs]", and "God Hates Cripple Soldiers", while yelling that dead US troops will rot in hell.

The church - which consists almost exclusively of Fred Phelps, a 76-year-old preacher, and 75 members of his extended family - is definitely not a peace movement. Rather, it celebrates the violent deaths of soldiers and marines who died, it says, defending a licentious nation.

Today, it is planning to picket the funeral of an army sergeant, Daniel Sesker, from Ogden, Iowa, who was killed by a roadside bomb on April 6, near Tikrit.

"Where in God's name did he get the idea that it was noble to fight in a fag army for a fag nation that's on the short path to eternal destruction?" asks the church's website, www.godhatesfags.com. "That's right: his parents, his family, his 'friends', his state and his country; they are to blame for the fact that Sesker is now in a million pieces, the appropriate punishment for their filthy manner of life."

Horrified at the church's activities, nine states have approved laws that impose restrictions on demonstrations at funerals and burials. More than 20 other states are considering similar legislation, and the US Congress will be asked to consider possible federal laws next month.

None of the new laws involves an outright ban on funeral protests, as that would clash with the constitution's first amendment, guaranteeing free speech. Instead, most stipulate that demonstrators must stay a certain distance from a funeral, and limit their protests to an hour before and an hour after the ceremony. Some laws prohibit the display of "any visual image that conveys fighting words".

Similar laws have been passed in the past to stop anti-abortion protests outside private homes or family planning clinics, and have survived supreme court challenges. The Westboro Baptist church says its constitutional rights are being trampled by the new laws, and claims it is thinking of ways to challenge them.

It claims to have conducted 25,000 pickets since its formation in 1991, almost all of them anti-gay. Mr Phelps first drew national attention when he protested at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a gay man beaten to death in Wyoming in 1998.

The church reckons its spends $250,000 (£140,000) a year on air fares and other protest expenses. The bills are paid by the family, which includes 10 lawyers among Mr Phelps's 13 children. Three of his offspring have broken ties with the family. One, his daughter Dortha, told the Knight Ridder news agency: "I felt like I was being controlled, and I didn't have any freedom."

Before the new laws were passed, several thousand bikers, many of them Vietnam veterans, formed a group calling itself the Patriot Guard Riders, to attend military funerals and form a cordon around the protesters to shield them from view of the mourners, and to drown out their shouts by revving their engines.

Mr Phelps seems to relish the fury he stirs. He likes to quote from the Gospel according to St Luke: "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the son of man's sake."

- from The Guardian

You know I'm all about free speech and letting people do and worship as they please...do as you will as long as it harms none, yada yada. But this is horrible - why put these families, who have lost their loved ones, through such pain? Surely the W.B.C. freaks don't believe in a god that would ordain causing such suffering and needless pain?

They do, though. They really do. They pray to a petty, cruel god; a wrathful, vengeful god of the Old Testament's fire and brimstone era.

Going after the gays because you think the Bible opposes it is one thing. Attacking the families of American soliders who were killed at war because you believe they fought for a nation that supports that-whole-gay-thing-you-think-the-Bible-opposes is a pretty askewed concept; and that's putting it nicely.

(In other words, the W.B.C. is a bunch of fucking cold-hearted wackjobs.)

I see on their little site that they plan to attend the funeral of a local fallen solider, Lance Cpl. Derrick J. Cothran in Kenner, Louisiana. The flier, asking fellow freaks to attend, reminds you that "God Himself Has Now Become America's Terrorist, Killing Americans in Strange Lands for "Brokeback Mountain" Fag Sins".

I've half a mind to drive down to Kenner tomorrow morning and picket them! But it isn't the time or place; not this young man's funeral. He should be laid to rest in peace, his family left to mourn in the same fashion. I'd be no better than them if I turned it into my own battle against what they stand for.

It's futile to rant about them, I know. But it hurts me - it hurts me to see them hurting so many innocent people. And the best I can do, I feel, is to love them. That's hard - that's damn hard - but people with that much hate inside of them obviously *need* love. And how else can we fight them? What else can we do? Love them - pity them - hope they find some peace inside one day; pray that they learn that LOVE, not hate, is what it's all about.

Yet Her Heart Beats Still

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

This week I spoke with an accquaintance who had recently made his first post-Katrina trip down to New Orleans. He's a New-Orleans-at-heart kinda guy, like myself.

"The Quarter looks okay," he said. "You almost don't know anything happened. But once you step past that...the devastation is horrible."

"I haven't been back yet," I answered, quietly. "I'm still not ready."

"Don't," he said, his voice sorrowful. "Don't go see it. It will break your heart."

There's no doubting that. Pictures of my ravaged city and her surrounding areas still bring tears to my eyes. I still can't bear to think of the numerous places that held special memories for me completely washed away forever from Biloxi; I haven't been able to visit there, either.

I don't know when I'll be ready to set my own eyes on the aftermath of Katrina...maybe I never will be. Perhaps I just need to do it and begin to move on.

New Orleans, her culture and her people, still need help. Perhaps if you have a few extra dollars this, or next, month you might could contribute to a worthy NOLA cause? Here are just a few of my favorites:

New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief

Rebuild New Orleans Public Library

New Orleans Museum of Art

She calls to me, and I feel I must go to her soon. I only hope I am strong enough to see her so broken.

Mom, You May Have Been Right After All

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

In some of my random web-surfings, I came across the story of a teenage boy - Jonathan Capewell - who perished after over-deodorizing his body with anti-perspirant.

Surely this is one of those Internet-urban-legends, I figured, and started doing some Googling. It was not:

A teenager from Oldham died from deodorant fumes because of his obsession with personal hygiene.

An inquest heard that 16-year-old Jonathan Capewell had 10 times the lethal dosage of propane and butane in his blood.

He became obsessed with smelling fresh and would cover his entire body in deodorant at least twice a day.

The schoolboy died after suffering a heart attack. It is believed the gases built up in his body following months of repeatedly spraying himself in the bedroom of his home.

Coroner Barrie Williams recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Normal, healthy boy

He said: "The 16-year-old was a normal, healthy teenager who was not indulging in any form of substance abuse. He was simply overcome by excessive use of anti-perspirants.

"There was an exceptionally high use of deodorant for personal hygiene. It was used in a fairly confined space against the advice of the canisters."

A post-mortem found that Jonathan had 0.37mg of butane per litre in hs blood, and the same amount of propane. A level of 0.1mg per litre can be fatal.

Jonathan's death is believed to be the first by accidental inhalation in the country. There have been more than 130 deaths from intentional inhalation of anti-perspirants and deodorants in the UK since 1971.

Better warnings needed

Jonathan's mother Louise called for better warnings on aerosols.

She said: "You just get up in the morning and spray it on, but who expects it to kill you?

"Companies spend all that money and time on advertising how exotic it smells, but they don't do enough to warn you of the dangers."

His father Keith Capewell said: "When we told him he was using too much, he said he just wanted to smell good."

He said that his son was using so much deodorant that "even when we were in a room downstairs we couldn't just smell it, we could taste it".

"You wouldn't have thought that could have been the cause for someone to die. What a price to pay for smelling nice," he added.

Cans of Lynx, Gillette and Right Guard were found in Jonathan's room after his death.

Sue Rogers, from the British Aerosol Manufacturing Association, said it was looking into the matter urgently.

"I have never heard of any accident like this. It is extraordinarily unusual and terribly tragic. The aerosols have warnings about spraying in confined areas and well ventilated places but these are for flammability risks, not about accidental inhalation.

"The circumstances of Jonathan's death are so unusual that it is difficult for us to make a further comment.
"But clearly we are a responsible industry, and we will look into it with urgency to ensure that everything possible is done to maintain good practice."

- From BBC News

There's a reason behind this post, just wait.

I might've metioned before that I'm rather lazy, or that - as I like to say - I suffer from a condition known as "profuse torpidity".

This has always been so. I'm so profusely torpid, that I will do - or not do - things to simply not have to bother with something else. Case in point: towel drying.

At a very young age, someone made the mistake of telling me that you could dry yourself off more quickly by dusting powder on your body; that the powder absorbed the water. This made sense to me. So naturally, my precocious mind being what it was, I then deduced that if you put enough powder on your body, all of the water would then be absorbed - negating that timely and pesky towel-drying business of which I was not a fan.

Telling me things could be dangerous.

Using the power of my young, astute mind against me, my mother - who grew tired of gagging through a veritable cloud of smoke upon entering the bathroom after me and spending ample time wiping the thick cover of white powder off of all standing objects in the room - told me a story she had read about a young baby whose mother used "too much" powder on her. The innocent babe then died, my mother told me, because of all the powder coating its little lungs. Died; suffocated in her sleep. Do you know I haven't put so much as a particle of powder on my body since I was 6 or 7 years old?

When I found out, years later, that this wasn't exactly true, I felt a tad betrayed by 'ole Mom - though I was aware it was probably the only tactic that would have worked on me; telling me not to do something I want to do has always been little more than an exercise in futility.

Yet now, hearing the story of young Jonathan, I realize that maybe - just maybe - my Mom saved my life that day. All this time I thought she just wanted a clear-aired and powderdust-free bathroom (and, most likely, a less weird and headstrong daughter).

Thanks, Mom.

Bright Blessings on Your Journey, Merlot

Monday, April 24th, 2006

After almost four years together, a little fish named Merlot has moved on and over the Rainbow Bridge - leaving his parents, one of them a dear I've met through blogging - obviously upset.

Big hugs and shared tears to Maevyn. Big or small, furried or gilled, it's never easy to lose a friend. Everyone send a big, virtual hug to Maevyn (if you can't comment on her site, you may leave them here where she can see them).

Surfing at Work Ok

Monday, April 24th, 2006

Found this article on Yahoo! News quite interesting:

Judge: Web-Surfing Worker Can't Be Fired

NEW YORK - Saying surfing the web is equivalent to reading a newspaper or talking on the phone, an administrative law judge has suggested that only a reprimand is appropriate as punishment for a city worker accused of failing to heed warnings to stay off the Internet.

Administrative Law Judge John Spooner reached his decision in the case of Toquir Choudhri, a 14-year veteran of the
Department of Education who had been accused of ignoring supervisors who told him to stop browsing the Internet at work.

The ruling came after Mayor Michael Bloomberg fired a worker in the city's legislative office in Albany earlier this year after he saw the man playing a game of solitaire on his computer.

In his decision, Spooner wrote: "It should be observed that the Internet has become the modern equivalent of a telephone or a daily newspaper, providing a combination of communication and information that most employees use as frequently in their personal lives as for their work."

He added: "For this reason, city agencies permit workers to use a telephone for personal calls, so long as this does not interfere with their overall work performance. Many agencies apply the same standard to the use of the Internet for personal purposes."

Spooner dispensed the lightest possible punishment on Choudhri, a reprimand, after a search of Choudhri's computer files revealed he had visited several news and travel sites.

Martin Druyan, Choudhri's lawyer, called the ruling "very reasonable."

Carma Sutra

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

I love gummy bears. I love sex. Therefore, I truly do love Carma Sutra - check it out.