Archive for November, 2012

Mother Mary full of grace, help me find a parking space

Posted in Uncategorized on November 24, 2012 by Misanthropic Mom's Group

I have a lot of friends who are atheists, but most of them aren’t atheists like me. I was actually raised this way. I NEVER went to church, any church. When I was little I was aware that there was such a thing, but it seemed so ridiculous as to be, quite literally, beyond belief. In preschool I had a friend who was a Jehovah’s Witness, which didn’t matter very much to me until I learned that this meant that in order to invite her to my birthday party my mom had to put on all the invitations “Please do not bring presents.” I’ve since learned that she also did this because several of my friends were too poor to bring me presents, but at the time I blamed it on the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is really the only way I can now explain the following incident.

When I was little I was so shy that at least one teacher thought I was autistic. I did NOT speak to people, particularly adults. Plenty of parents at the preschool thought I COULDN’T talk, and they tended to get a big surprise if and when I would suddenly turn and speak to them in complete sentences. When, on her first day of school, Miss Tuki told her teacher that A was for antidisestablishmentarianism, I was proud not JUST for producing a little smart-ass, but for passing something along. Something lasting.

But anyway. It so came to pass that my little Jehovah’s Witness friend whose name has passed into the abyss of memory must have told her parents that she had a friend who didn’t believe in God, or didn’t go to church, or something. And they must have told their Jehovah’s Witness Juju Witch Doctor (I’m not clear on the terminology of the sect), who was concerned enough to COME TO OUR HOUSE. My mom was apparently pissed and upset when this perfect stranger showed up and demanded that they take me to church. My dad has always been harder to rattle, and just told the man to ask me what I wanted. By all rights and historical averages this should have gone badly. The chances should have overwhelmingly favored my hiding behind my mother’s leg and crying. But it has passed into the family lore that this is not what happened at all. I am told that four year old me calmly told the man, “No. I don’t believe in God.” And he went away.

To be fair, I don’t remember it at all. And my dad has never been one to let facts get in the way of a good story, but my mom confirms it, so I am guessing it is at least mostly true. I do remember being a first grader who was not shy about denouncing theism to anyone who got in my face about it. I was quite an absolutist when I was seven. I remember because it very nearly got me beat up by one girl named (deliciously) Romy, in a miniature playground version of the Spanish Inquisition. I was saved by having a much older friend who let it be known that I was under her protection, but even she was confused by my rabid anti-theism. I thought that this was utterly unfair as she was the one who had told me at five that there was no Santa, which was a far more tangible and believable idea than Jesus in my mind. Santa actually gave you stuff. So far as I could tell Jesus just made you get up early on the weekend.

Anyhow, if the theists had just been content to leave me alone I probably never would have cared very much what it was that they got up to when they gathered for their weekly chanting or snake handling or whatever it WAS that they got up to, but they never DO leave one alone. I went to public school from kindergarten through college, and I never once attended a graduation ceremony without a Christian prayer in it. I was acutely aware of being required, every day, to recite what amounted to a prayer witnessed by Yahweh to worship an idol made up of red, white and blue cotton. Although to be fair it WAS the 70’s, so the flag was likely made of polyester.

So I developed an interest. There was never a moment when I was tempted to actually believe any of it. It was always too obvious to me that the conflicting sects were just that, conflicting. I couldn’t see any compelling reason to choose any one faith over another. They all seemed equally made up to me, but on the whole the Judeo-Christian angry desert god was probably the least appealing. The Greek and Norse gods had better stories, and the Native Americans had talking animals. Coyote has a sense of humor. Yahweh is just a jealous ass. I drifted in and out of agnosticism, not because I actually thought any of it was literally true, but I could see that there could conceivably be more under heaven and earth than was dreamt of in my philosophy. Eventually I settled on the idea that I would just live by my own conscience and if it turned out that I was somehow wrong, and that one of these myriad imaginary friends was actually real, then they would have to just accept my best or they wouldn’t be worth worshipping anyway.

Along the way to that decision, though, I read a lot about religion. And it is fascinating as a cultural artifact. I’m sure that those in the faith based community will see my interest as a longing of the soul, a sort of pressing of the nose against the window of a restaurant whilst shivering and starving on a snowy January. Assuming they are capable of thinking beyond a prurient delight and anticipation of a sinner’s future punishment. (Don’t blame ME if that is how you seem to those of us on the outside. I don’t make you act the way you do.) But from my point of view it is more like peering through the windows of an asylum. Or in many cases a 19th century textile factory. Because SOMEBODY is getting rich off of this crap, and it is surely not the toiling masses inside.

That reminds me. I had a point when I started this… now what was it? Oh yeah. So given that I have an interest, and a bit of education, and like to look at things in a historical context, I was talking to my husband today about the concept of the Trinity. I find the Trinity hilarious. It is such an obvious software patch. How do you move from the old testament  idea of “no gods BEFORE me” to the idea that there is only one god, but still reconcile worship of Jesus as the son of said god. Well, you can’t unless you come up with a theological mind pretzel in which the father and the son are both separate and entire, with a holy ghost thrown in because three is just a much more emotionally satisfying number. Plus otherwise if you leave it at just two (but still one), they might fight it out. And we can’t have that. So the Nicenes get it all worked out in a way that is too complicated for anyone to really make sense out of, and then just yell “Faith!” Plus it works out really well for a professional priest class, because if you make it too complicated for the masses they are more likely to just go along with whatever you say. “Well, I don’t really get it, but that must be cuz I’m not as smart and holy and educated as y’all are. Here’s some money.”

Me? Jaded? We knew that. Moving along.

Because here’s a really funny part. Once they worked out a way to worship more than one god at a time without worshipping more than one god at a time, the Catholics blithely moved along to the most amazing proliferation of idol worship one can imagine. Got boils? There’s a saint for that! Just tell us your problem and we will supply a gilded statue for you to light a candle to. And the candles are quite reasonably priced. Want something a bit more heavenly than some guy who lit himself on fire for his faith 200 years ago so that he could spend the afterlife curing gout or overseeing the accuracy of the Russian nuclear weapons program? No problem. You can worship angels. There is a wide range of angels. You have your cherubim and seraphim, your dominions, your virtues, your powers. You can have an angry angel of vengeance with a flaming sword. You can have a cute, fat baby angel… for no apparent reason at all that I can tell.

But my favorites are the Marians. If you are feeling a bit shy about going directly to God with your petty problems… and Jesus? Well, he just seems so BUSY these days… why not call up Mary? She is much more down to earth. Or at least she WAS, before bodily ascending into heaven. Basically she seems to be the Holy Receptionist. She will listen sympathetically. And maybe, if he’s in a good mood, she’ll pass it along to her boss. Plus if it is just a little thing, she might be able to just take it out of petty cash and handle it herself. She understands how these things go, cuz she is a mom. But, like all good secretaries, she is also a virgin. Completely devoted to the Big Guy. But totally tapped in to all the gossip. Want to just bypass the regular channels? Call Mary, she’ll hook you up.

So yeah… religion.

I’m sure there is an ap for that.

Imagine there’s no Heaven

Posted in Uncategorized on November 23, 2012 by Misanthropic Mom's Group

So I blame it all on Jim Wright.

First he wrote a blog entry on racism that turned my stomach and made me realize that no matter how much I think I am a jaded, bitter, bitch who can never be surprised at the foul reality of stupid people today… I am a sheltered San Franciscan naif who knows not the depths to which they can stoop. Or slither. Or tunnel. I couldn’t even look at half the shit he referenced. Because I am afraid that no matter how bad I might think they will be (and then mentally double it for insurance), I expect that the reality is worse.

But that is what Jim does, and he does it very well.

But then, because I am sortof a fangirl of his, I was looking at his Facebook page on Thanksgiving while the bread was baking and he made a reference to an old WKRP in Cincinnati episode where they drop the turkeys from the helicopter. Which is not only one of the best moments of that show, but possibly one of the funniest moments on TV evar! So I had to find it online and watch it again. And post it on Facebook so everybody else could watch it again. And it got me thinking about how good that show was, and how it was a predecessor to current shows like Parks and Rec, and how maybe the kids would like it. Which naturally made me look to see if it was available on DVD. (The answer is a disappointing sort of, in that it is there, but cut and redubbed with bad alternative music because of rights issues. Which sucks.)

But anyway, I was thinking about the show and that got me to thinking about other moments in the show that were awesome. And I remembered the one where the intolerant preacher was trying to get the station to censor itself, and at the end Mr. Carlson quoted John Lennon’s “Imagine” to him and asked if that song should be censored. Or course he said yes, and then Mr. Carlson said that the song only asked one to IMAGINE no heaven, and basically threw the guy out.

I was about 10 years old when I saw that episode. Give or take. Now naturally I was also ME at the time, so there was no real question about which side of the issue I came down on. But the thing is that there was no real question about which side most people watching the show came down on. And since this was the late 70’s and there wasn’t much to watch, pretty much everybody watched everything that was on. I don’t know about the nation as a whole, but it seemed to me at the time that, Moral Majority notwithstanding, MOST of us were moving in the right direction. It seemed like bigotry and censorship and such idiocy were dying out. It seemed pretty settled. From my little vantage point in the redwoods of northern California it was apparent that although there was a long way to go, we were at least on the path.

Lately I look around and I’m wondering what happened. I mean most people I know, most people I like or interact with in any way have come down the path with me. But it seems like a whole lot of people not only didn’t come along, they walked the other way. And dug a moat. And stocked it with alligators.

Also they seem to have bred more than we did. And homeskoold there childern.

And somebody let them on the internet. Dammit. How did THAT happen?

So there is this vast mass of people over on the other side of that moat, and they keep lobbing Bibles at us. Bibles that seem to be written in ALL CAPS without spellcheck, or a basic grasp of grammar. And seem to contain whole passages of Ayn Rand. And apparently the Bible contains a lot of verses about Nazis. Nazis who were also communists. AND socialists. Or something. I admit I only read the Bible once in college at UC Santa Cruz, so that was probably not a very accurate copy of the King James… so maybe I am remembering it wrong, but I don’t remember a single bit about Hitler. I thought I remembered something about Jesus loving poor people, but that was probably the commie propaganda the leftist liberal elite professors put in.

So they are over there. And they seem to have most of the guns. And it is scary and sad and makes me wonder if we are heading back into the dark ages.

And then I think maybe it is just the death throes of the beast. There may not be a LOT more of us than there are of them, but there do seem to be a few more. And there are a whole lot of people… sortof on the banks. Folks who may not be comfortable with coming all the way… but who REALLY don’t like the thought of being one of the crazies either. And it makes me hope. Just a little. Because the louder they get, and the bigger and more elaborate their tinfoil hats are, maybe it will make enough other people just want to walk AWAY! Slowly, so they don’t get pelted with dung, but away.

Because hey, I’ve got kids too. And they are not only sane, they can spell.

All you hippie kids! Get off my lawn!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 22, 2012 by Misanthropic Mom's Group

They make you feel so bad and grinchy, like you are kicking a puppy or something. With their big sad eyes looking at you like you are deliberately harshing their buzz, or taking the magic out of the world. Well, okay I am imagining the big sad eyes part because it is the internet and I can’t really see them. But still.

I am not going to stop though. They can unfriend me and take me off their damn mailing lists if they want to. If they send me an email thread about the latest (or usually circa 2003 NOT so latest) health scare I WILL send them back the snopes link saying it is full of crap. I don’t care if they are over 60 and not really clear on the concept of email alerts that have been circulating for over a decade. I don’t care if they are someone’s Nanna. Somebody has to stop the madness, and maybe they will learn to check things out before blindly sending them along. Okay. Probably not, but maybe they will learn to stop sending them to me. If I get fewer cute baby animal emails (complete with the exhortation to forward to 10 people and see something COOL! I tried it, and it really works! My cousin didn’t, and died in a ball of flaming hellfire the very next day! Seriously!) then that is a price I am willing to pay.

Canola oil is not going to make your skin split open. The fact that it is made from the rape seed is a linguistic oddity, not a plot. They changed the name for marketing reasons, not to make everyone consume mustard gas.

NO ONE needs to drink so much water every day that they can never be more than 10 feet from a toilet. Feeling thirsty does not mean you are on the brink of death from dehydration. It means you are thirsty. If any animal evolved so that it could only be healthy if it never left the water hole, the lions would totally win. 8 glasses of water a day may be a shrewd marketing move by the bottled water people (and the lions), but it doesn’t make any SENSE!

There is no rapist in the back seat of your car. Just like the couple making out by the lake never found a hook hand hanging off of their bumper. Sorry.

But all this is NOTHING compared to Facebook. I try to be nice. I do. But people persist in reposting every damn shiny thing they see. Funny stuff is great (all hail George Takei!), and I can even deal with the motivational self-helpy stuff. Not MY thing, but whatever, we all know I’m jaded and bitter and destined to die complaining to my cats about politics. It is the new-agey, pseudo-science, EASILY FACT CHECKED stuff that makes me… not as nice as I should be.

I’ll give a ferinstance. A picture of a bunch of berries. All kinds. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries mostly… and there is a caption. It reads: Grow your vaccinations! The word “vaccine” comes from “vaccinium” which is latin for berry!

There are a lot of implications to this adorable, and many would say harmless little memelet. Vaccines are bad! Big Pharma is out to kill you, and probably give your children autism. Natural cures are the best cures, and our ancestors who were in tune with nature knew this! Live off the grid and don’t poison your children with nasty vaccines! Give them wholesome berries instead. Don’t buy into the corporate lie. Those studies that claim no link between vaccines and autism? (All of them, really, except for the one that has been debunked by… everybody.) Those studies are lies bought and paid for by THE MAN. Owned by Pfizer and Monsanto, all of them. Don’t believe me? Sheeple.

Okay, maybe I’m reading a lot into it. But it is actually, completely and factually wrong. It so happened that I had been reading fairly recently about smallpox, you see, and I happened to be aware that the word “vaccine” does come from the latin. It comes from “Vaccinia” which is latin for of, or relating to, cows. Vaccinia is the latin name for cowpox. Cowpox happens to give the infected a partial immunity to its close cousin smallpox, and it was the discovery of this by Edward Jenner in the late 1700’s that lead to the first widespread use of inoculation against disease. Because of the use of the vaccinia virus to inoculate against the far more deadly smallpox (Variola Major), inoculations came to be known as vaccines. Vaccinium, so far as I was able to tell, was an archaic latin term for a specific kind of berry, and it came to be used as a genus name for a family of berry producing shrubs, one of which is the modern blueberry. The similarity to vaccinia (and therefore vaccine) is a linguistic coincidence. Sort of like those rape seeds some people get so concerned about.

My point here is that it took me less than two minutes to look this up.

My other point is that if you feed your children raspberries (which aren’t even IN the genus vaccinium! Come on people!), they will not harm your children. They are a healthy treat unless the little seeds get caught below the gum line. I really hate that. BUT they will NOT do a damn thing to protect them from whooping cough. Now the chances are that your berry eating little rugrats will still be safe from whooping cough, but only because the rest of us vaccinated our damn kids. If enough new age, science distrusting, homeopathic parents turn to fruit salad and skip the injections, guess what? We start getting outbreaks of those diseases no one gets anymore. Just like we have been. And if we get enough outbreaks, those pesky little viruses may evolve enough resistance to put everybody at risk. Viruses like to do that. They are good at it.

Now you may be thinking I am against herbal medicine. I’m not. Mostly. What I am against is people who think it is magic. The active ingredients in herbal remedies are drugs. That is where most of our drugs came from in the first place. And they are just as potent and effective and DANGEROUS as anything you get from your pharmacist. I am all for the knowledgeable and judicious use of them. Now I will tell you what I see as the problems. One: plants vary, so the amount of active ingredient in one plant can be vastly different from the amount in another. Two: the supplement industry is mostly unregulated, so dosage may or may not be constant from manufacturer to manufacturer or even from batch to batch. Three: the term “supplement” covers a wide range of products, and includes such snake oil as “homeopathic medicine”. Four: the people selling these products tend to be very well meaning but are often completely untrained. This last is particularly dangerous when it comes to drug interaction. There seems to be a pervasive idea that herbs are natural and therefore safe. When my stepfather was dying of a brain tumor, and had recently had brain surgery, a VERY well meaning worker at the health food store tried to sell him a product containing willow bark. He had been warned not to take any blood thinners or he could have bleeding in his brain. When my mother protested to her that willow bark (essentially aspirin) could kill him, this woman insisted that it was safe because it was natural.

She meant well. She was also completely wrong.

Just like the guy who made the little berry picture.

So no, I don’t point out to you that planetary alignments are neither rare nor mystical JUST because I am a know-it-all bitch. I mean I AM, but that isn’t the only reason I do it. I want you to stop for a minute and think before you forward or re-post something. If you are posting a picture of something that has not actually happened yet, the chances are pretty good that it is photoshopped. Just like your email cannot magically tell how many people you have forwarded it to, and then DO ANYTHING, let alone something really cool. (Also, the person you got it from had to have sent it to you BEFORE they could see how cool it was. Think about it!) Typing “I am gullible” into the comments thread of a jpeg image is NOT going to make the image do something magical. It just means that everyone will see the big sign on your forehead. I think you know what it says.

So go ahead and unfriend me. I am not going to stop pointing out bad science out of respect for sacred cows. I am not going to stop being snarky about homeopathy or creationism or bigfoot. Or libertarians. Though I will try to confine it to my own feed. Believe it or not I actually do bite my digital tongue on a lot of issues (like GMO’s) because I generally agree with the message even though I think the messengers make piss-poor arguments. I’m not out to make anyone feel bad.

I want you to make better arguments.


Ghost monkeys… it’s Chinatown

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2012 by Misanthropic Mom's Group

Chinatown. Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

I always took that line to mean there will always be things below the surface you can’t even begin to comprehend.

Of course none of that movie takes place in Chinatown, but I don’t live in Chinatown either. I live in a sort of cross-town annex of Chinatown. Actually if you turn right out of my front door, it is a Chinese neighborhood. If you turn left it is Russian. Basically I live in a spot where the old communist world powers rub elbows and stare with distrust at one another while doing brunch. It is interesting. And really easy to get dim sum.

Mostly it doesn’t affect me very much. I pretty much stay indoors, and since the herbalist moved out of the shop on the ground floor, the building doesn’t even smell like ginseng anymore. But there is Helen.

According to my nicest-landlord-in-the-world landlord, when his parents bought this building Helen came with it. I suspect that Helen was actually here before the building, similar to when you build on an old Indian burial ground. Like a cypress rooted into solid rock, Helen is small but immovable. One suspects that dislodging her would destroy the bedrock.

Helen is small, about four feet tall with wispy white hair, and her face is lined with a look of continual shock, fear and distrust. Given that most 80 year old Chinese women look about 55, and extrapolating from Helen’s apparent age of about 95 I am guessing that she is somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 years old. Give or take. She speaks broken English with a heavy accent, which is not at all surprising given her age, but communicating with her is further hindered by the fact that she is deaf as a post. And crazy.

I can only assume some form of senile dementia, and it would be shocking that anyone would reach approximately 300 without a little slippage of one’s mental faculties. Honestly, I am a little in awe of Helen. She manages to shuffle slowly out every morning and make her way around the neighborhood. She takes care of business. She lives with a mentally disabled middle-aged man who is either her son or grandson (no one is actually sure which), and the two of them DO manage to get by. It is just that over this past year or so things have been going progressively more off the rails.

One evening her son (or grandson) managed to get himself locked out of the apartment and was pounding on the door and screaming for a really long time. I was honestly afraid she was dead, and the police I called to help weren’t very much. In the end after nearly two hours of various parties knocking and yelling at doors and windows and fire escapes, she woke up and let him in.

Another time she lost her keys and called the police to tell them that she was SURE that our landlord had been sneaking into her apartment at night and stealing them. I got roped into that one because even though she had called the police, she wouldn’t let them in when they came, so they ended up ringing my bell. The policewoman and I both tried to explain that it was unlikely that anyone had stolen the keys, and that she could use the set her son had until another could be made. Still the next day she knocked on my door begging me to help her call a locksmith to get the front door of the building re-keyed because she was now certain that bad teenagers had stolen the keys. I tried to explain that locksmiths won’t change locks for you if you don’t own the building, but I’m not sure she understood. She has this way of grabbing on to your shoulder to pull you down close to her face. She is really frightened, but I can’t understand 9/10 of what she says. And I’m guessing she understands me even less.

A couple of months ago Mark answered the door and went on an odyssey to try to help her. The story was unclear. But it seemed to involve the new downstairs neighbor teaching our hispanic UPSTAIRS neighbors to do Chinese chants and rituals to make ghost monkeys come out of her walls. She showed Mark the walls in question, and when he stubbornly failed to see the ghost monkeys he ended up taking her around to various people to try to get someone to help her. The Chinese herbalist who used to be downstairs is now next door, so he tried there in hopes of getting help with the language barrier, but I don’t think anything helped.

For the past several days she has taken to standing in the hallway and yelling at someone in Chinese for hours on end. We let Anthony (upstairs hispanic ghost monkey summoner) try to help her this time, because it is his turn, but I don’t think it went so well because she was out again today. When I went out to go to the store she cornered me and told me that “The man had come into all our apartments” and that our landlord’s father had died and the memorial service was on Sunday. I said I was very sorry to hear it and went to buy milk. Later I texted our landlord and expressed condolences if, in fact, his father had passed away. His father is thankfully fine, but apparently Helen was out on the fire escape yelling until a passerby called the fire department. It seems her keys had gone astray again, although her son still had his.

I probably sound callous, and I’d honestly like to help. I’ve spoken to the landlord many times. He is afraid to call social services because he doesn’t want to give the appearance of trying to get rid of her. So I called social services, but I don’t think it accomplished anything. I try to be friendly with her when I see her, but she always looks afraid, and I’m not sure she remembers who I am from one day to the next. I don’t want to scare her any more than she already is, and there just doesn’t seem to be any real avenue of communication.

So it is all just ghost monkeys. It’s Chinatown.

Not in the rain, not on a train

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2012 by Misanthropic Mom's Group

I do not like old Doctor Who.

I am really sorry about that. I don’t do it on purpose. I just don’t like it.

For a really long time I resisted ANY Doctor Who because of the odd snippets I had seen of old Doctor Who. I decided that the only way to enjoy Doctor Who, similar to things like bitter melon or tripe, is to have developed a taste for it during childhood. I finally relented under extreme pressure from multiple sources and agreed to watch some 11th Doctor. Initially skeptical, I sat through a few episodes and became hooked. Once finishing up the 11th Doctor, I went back and enjoyed the 9th and 10th. (Though to a lesser degree. There is something to be said about loving one’s first Doctor.) I happily passed the disease on to my children and to my mother, who is in turn spreading it through her friend group. I am thoroughly hooked.

On David Tennant and Matt Smith. And that other guy was okay too, especially in the Empty Child episode.

But here’s the thing. My husband was clearly hoping to provide the NEW Doctors as a sort of gateway drug through which to hook me on the old Doctors. And it didn’t work. I actually wanted it to work, because once I ran out of new Doctor Episodes I really did want more. I tried the fourth Doctor, who everyone loves so much. I tried the first Doctor, for historical context. I tried bits of the third and seventh. And it seems to range somewhere between mildly interesting (if you try hard to ignore the costumes, and the special effects… and the acting) to downright dreadful. I still think Daleks are silly, even when viewed in their historical context. I can understand why one MIGHT have found the Cybermen scary when one was seven, but for me they just can’t hold a candle to the Weeping Angels. Or the Silence.

I still think you had to have watched it as a kid.

And yes I KNOW that Douglas Adams wrote scripts for the fourth Doctor. I tried to watch one of those. It was horrid. Sad but true.

I know it was originally a children’s show, meant to teach science and history in the 1960’s. I can appreciate that. I just don’t enjoy it. Because I am not a child in the 1960’s. And I am not particularly fond of silver lame and rubber monsters. Plus there is just no excuse for the 1980’s Doctors. Or the companions. Or the scripts.

No, Ace is not plucky and endearing and a strong female character. She is annoying.

And unlike Donna (**shudder**), she does not have David Tennant to offset her horrible personality flaws. The Seventh Doctor is downright cringy. I know I imprinted on Matt Smith, but I want the Doctor to be adorable and quirky, not… whatever that was.

Here is the crux of it, for me, and I find it does not only apply to Doctor Who. Television and movies are a visual media which rely on sets, costumes, special effects and acting to tell a story. Depending on the genre, you can skimp on some of those things. Basic dramas or romances can usually get away with a pretty spartan budget if the acting is good. Science Fiction far less so. Even assuming good acting, which you really couldn’t assume at all. For instance the original, and One True, Star Wars had great costumes, sets and special effects and told a pretty good story. Acting? Not so much. 2001 was good on everything except the story. But all in all both worked quite well. They were also huge, glaring exceptions in a sea of schlock. For the most part Science Fiction did not translate well onto either screen until fairly recently.

And I love Science Fiction.


Nothing ruins a good Science Fiction book like a crappy adaptation.

And my tolerance level has gone down, not up.

I grew up watching and LOVING Star Trek. But I can hardly tolerate it any more. I’ve tried to watch old, well loved episodes, but I can barely stomach the cheese. Perhaps I have grown lactose intolerant in my old age, but this stuff has not aged well. I understand that the budgets were nearly non-existant and the technology of the era was worse. I am not expecting it to be any better than it is, I just don’t want to watch it.

It pains me.

I’m sorry. :-(

Right and wrong

Posted in Uncategorized on November 16, 2012 by Misanthropic Mom's Group

He seemed like such a nice boy.

I mean I guess he IS a nice boy, it’s just that he comes from such a different socio-economic background and he has obviously been raised with different values than we have in our family. Still, he has always been nice when he came over to the house… as far back as kindergarten! And I suppose he can’t really help how he has been raised. It’d be a funny old world if we were all the same.

However I am disappointed. I mean I don’t care so much if he wants to live like that, and apparently his parents are fine with it, but to try to push it on others is annoying to say the least. I’m just glad that I’ve raised my son to just say no to that sort of thing, and not feel he needs to go along just to be one of the guys. After all, it is pretty common at his school and it can’t be easy to be one of the only ones who doesn’t believe in it. I’m really proud that he feels strong enough in his values that he will openly go against his friends, even when they are critical.

I am speaking, of course, of religion.

I realize that the boy is his friend, but what kind of friend would tell someone that they “can never be happy” without believing in God? His parents may be Republicans. They may be multi-millionaires. They may own a private jet and be able to buy and sell our entire family ten times over, but MY son would never say something like that to someone.

We atheists have little things called values, and manners.

That’s one boy that isn’t getting any more cookies.



Really? Eighteen Cents???

Posted in Uncategorized on November 6, 2012 by Misanthropic Mom's Group

So I went to the latest in a long line of specialists to try to figure out what is wrong with my hands. Three specialists, an EMG and an MRI later, I still have no idea what is wrong with my hands. But I do have a bill from the latest doctor for $0.18.

I paid my office visit copay of $30. Twice actually. The second time for a consultation that lasted approximately five minutes during which he basically said, “I dunno…”

Today I got a bill for $0.18. Apparently the insurance paid a portion, and the office wrote off a portion. Between the two it was supposed to be covered, and it basically was. It isn’t like eighteen cents makes much difference to me one way or another. It is the principle of the thing.

It is ridiculous. I could mail them a check. Of course the cost of the stamp will more than double the amount of the bill. I could drive over and pay them. I am tempted to do so in pennies… but parking in that neighborhood is likely to cost me at least a dollar once I factor in putting extra in the meter to avoid a $50 ticket for an expired meter. I could use the handy pay by phone service that will let me know if my meter is expiring and let me put more on it, but of course there is a $0.45 service fee.

And let us say I do pay by check, it is going to cost them more than $0.18 to process. Hell, it cost them way more than that to mail me the bill in the first place.

What I am really tempted to do is call the billing department and ask to put it on a credit card.


UPDATE: Tempted as I was to tape 18 pennies to the bill and send it in, postage be damned, I called the billing company instead. They were as nice as could be and immediately wrote off the charge, agreeing with me that it was completely stupid.

On the other hand, I may yet get a late  bill.