Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life
My life is, to me, ripe with frequent challenges, occasional successes, spontaneous laughter, adequate tears, and enough *life* to last me a lifetime. To you, however, it surely seems most pedestrian. And therefore, I recycle the name I used previously and call this my Notebooks of Daily Life. Daily, because it's everyday in nature, ordinary. These conglomeration of events that are my life are of interest to me because I live it, perhaps mildly so to those who are touched by it, and could only be of perverse, morbid curiosity to anyone else. Yet, I offer them here nonetheless. Make of them what you will, and perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Suppose I told you that the Quiznos Toaster (you know, the big talking toaster from recent commercials) told me that I should quit my job and move my whole family to South Bend, Indiana. Mind you, I don't know anyone in Indiana, but a few other people that talked to the toaster are going. What would you think? What do you think my wife and kids would think?
"Sara, don't tattle on your brother. Jared, don't eat the dishes."
Man's best friend is said to be the dog. Canis lupis familiaris, to be specific. Everybody loves dogs, right? From heroic Lassie to Duke, the lazy old hound dog that belonged to Jed Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies, from the taco bell chihuahua to Disney's Ugly Dachshund, we all adore every last one of them, right?
What is, exactly, the point of the Miss USA contest? Is it merely a beauty contest, staged for the titillation of the home viewer or is it an opportunity to find a new role model -- someone young girls can look to for guidance, someone to be an example for those who are still trying to figure out how this whole life thing works. I'm sure, if you ask the pageant directors, they would vehemently claim the latter -- consider the harsh penalty Vanessa Williams suffered when risque photos of her surfaced.
This is why I disagree with Wendy of the Domestiquette about the controversy surrounding Miss California's comments about gay marriage. Setting aside, for the moment, that she apparently didn't actually answer the question she was asked ("Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit?") and that she was rather incoherent and self-contradicting, I think people do have a right to expect more from those who are celebrities. Because of her status, I would argue that she has a duty to support and empower those who look up to her. With great power comes great responsibility.
Now, mind you, I'm not saying that Miss California or even Miss USA is the president's equivalent, but they are marketed as someone special, to be looked up to, a do-gooder, if you will. And in that context, yes, some freedom of speech should be self-regulated. While I certainly support the right of any idiot to express whatever hateful stereotypes and misconceptions they like about any or all racial, sexual, or religious groups, I do not allow the same leeway to an elected official, certainly, or, to a lesser extent, to Miss California.
The long and the short of it is, if you want to shoot your mouth off and spew bigotted hate, do so at the local bar. As soon as you acquire a position of celebrity, you need to mind your manners.
Are there any anti-lgbt atheists out there? It seems to me that the hatred of gays and lesbians as well as the opposition to marriage equality is strictly a religious thing. Once you take God and his mythology out of the picture, there doesn't seem to be any reason to care.
Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm sure there is at least one or two atheists that are as disgusted by homosexuality as your most fervent bible-thumper. In fact, I might even go so far as to postulate a corollary* to Rule 34 that demands it. That, however, isn't what I mean. I want to know if there are a statistically significant number of atheists who not only disapprove of homosexuality, but also feel the need to take action to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians.
If I were a betting man, I would put my money on the negative. It takes religion to foster that kind of hate.
*If there is porn of it, someone will have a sign that decries it.
Things you don't expect to hear at a 30th Wedding Anniversary party
"I believe your daughter left her pants at my place."A middle-aged man, greeting another upon arrival at the party
"I still have lumpia in my pocket."Rachel, at home, after the party
"I'm a pirate with a peg leg! And I have butterfly wings! But I'm not a bad pirate; I'm a good pirate."Sara, getting ready in the morning
Sara bursts into the kitchen where Rachel and I are starting to clean up after dinner and, frantically jogging in place, announces breathlessly "Mommy, Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom but I'm not done yet!"
I happened across a message posted via Twitter that I felt required a response. @Clergywomen, a "Clergy-Community and Political Activist," wrote "Americans now understand R forefathers fought socialism, communism & atheism 2 protect faith in God 4 R future. -me"
When I'm a little older, can you order me and Sara a jet pack so we can fly to school instead of driving?Jared, considering alternate forms of travel
One of the common (and specious) arguments offered by opponents of marriage equality is that if you change the legal definition of marriage to allow two men or two women to marry, then, surely, people will start marrying dogs or horses or sheep, followed quickly by marriages to trucks, bicycles, etc.
I got a request, recently, to become "friends" with someone on Facebook. I didn't recognize the name right away, although it sounded familiar. A quick look at the "2 mutual friends" provided the context I needed to remember her as a friend-of-a-friend that I had met briefly once or twice.
Okay, so I pulled up her profile and gave it a quick once-over. There, at the bottom of her basic information, I read "Religious Views: Christian". And my incredulous thought was, "do people really still admit that in public these days?"
Sometimes, I have to remember that not everyone is as socially, culturally, and intellectually advanced as we are here in San Francisco.
So I've decided to befriend her. Perhaps she'll click on some of my links and learn something. At the very least, she'll become aware that there are those who do not share her superstitions and mythology. And if she gets offended by what I write, well, she's the one that asked me to be her friend.
If you've got children, chances are money is perpetually tight. Even in the best of times, the darn kids are always outgrowing or wearing through their clothes, demanding food, and wanting to take classes and join clubs and organizations. In tough economic times like these, it's even worse. And then, summer comes along and they expect to go on holiday. As if anyone could afford that.
Everyone deserves, now and then, a chance to step back, recouperate, and basically goof-off, especially when they get laid off. Eventually, however, reality rears its ugly head and the need to work/produce an income takes over. I have come to that point.
After a month (or more, depending on how you look at it) of lazing about, it is time for me to get back into the swing of things and start working again. No, I didn't get sacked from the day job, just the writing gig at ParentDish. Their focus changed and I no longer fit into the character of the site. No longer is ParentDish information for parents as seen through the eyes of a handful of characters, but a more neutral collection of stories and information.
I have no problem with that, mind you; it's where AOL wants to take the site. We split on good terms and I don't doubt that, if PD changed direction again and were looking for my style of writing, that I would be welcomed back. But for the time being, we are going our separate ways.
So, for the last month or so, I have enjoyed not writing. It's been good to just sit back and let my brain turn to mush. I've also taken the time to work on a couple of country songs I've had rolling around in my head. I've caught up a bit with the world of online social networking, watched a few movies, and spent more time with the wife and kids.
Now, however, it's time for me to get back to work. Therefore, I am actively looking for a writing gig with one or more websites or print publications. I'd love to continue working in the parenting arena but would also be interested in covering the technology world. I'm open to just about anything, though, so please don't think those are the only two areas I'm interested in writing about.
And here's where you come in -- if you know of a site or publication where you think I might fit in, please let me know, either in the comments or via the contact form. If you have a favorite parenting or tech or any other type website or magazine, let me know that too. Most of all, if you know of somewhere that's looking for a writer, definitely get in touch.
Thanks in advance!
So Jon and Kate Gosselin are getting a divorce.