Saturday, January 23, 2010

Patriotism My Ass

Six years ago, I received a forwarded email (one of many, sadly) that was one of those rotten, hateful rants disguised as patriotism. It pissed me off so much that I had to respond to it on my blog, hoping and dreaming of the day when we could grow learn to love instead of hate. And yet here we are SIX YEARS LATER and we haven't grown a goddamned bit.

A blogger I adore received this same email all these years later, and being a good, kind person, it outraged her as much as it did me. And I feel the need to re-post what i wrote all those years ago:

I received an absolutely OFFENSIVE email yesterday. I am SO SICK of hateful diatribes being sent around via email, thinly disguised as patriotism. The people who start these things need to think a little harder about the meaning of patriotism. As far as I know, it doesn't include hate and bigotry. In fact, for those too stupid to look it up, here's the dictionary definition:

"Love of country; devotion to the welfare of one's country; the virtues and actions of a patriot; the passion which inspires one to serve one's country"

Love of country. Hmmm, I don't think that requires hating others based on their religion. Devotion to the welfare of one's country. These assholes may think they are devoted to our welfare, but if you ask me, hate really isn't good for the country as a whole. In fact, I think that hate and prejudice will do the exact opposite. They'll tear this country apart. So stop it. Now. Anyway, for your reading displeasure, here is the email:

USPS New Stamp

Looks pretty doesn’t it? Pretty deceiving….

USPS 44-Cent Stamp Celebrates Muslim holidays Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha .

If there is only ONE thing you forward today… let it be this!

REMEMBER to adamantly & vocally BOYCOTT this stamp, when you are
purchasing your stamps at the post office.

All you have to say is “No thank you, I do not want that Muslim Stamp
on my letters!”

To use this stamp would be a slap in the face to all those AMERICANS
who died at the hands of those whom this stamp honors.

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of PanAm Flight 103!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the military barracks in Saudi Arabia!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the American Embassies in Africa!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the USS COLE!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001!

REMEMBER all the AMERICAN lives that were lost in those vicious MUSLIM attacks!

Now the United States Postal Service REMEMBERS and HONORS the EID MUSLIM holiday season with a commemorative first class holiday postage stamp.

REMEMBER to adamantly and vocally BOYCOTT this stamp when purchasing your stamps at the post office. To use this stamp would be a slap in the face to all those AMERICANS who died at the ands of those whom this stamp honors.

REMEMBER to pass this along to every patriotic AMERICAN you know and get the
word out! Honor the United States of America!

Lovely, isn't it? Now I feel the need to respond to the ASSWAD who wrote this hateful, racist, bigoted, small-minded FLAMING BAG OF CRAP:

I DO remember the many atrocities committed by MUSLIMS. And by CHRISTIANS. And JEWS. By CATHOLICS and by PROTESTANTS. By WHITES and by BLACKS. By MEN and by WOMEN.

And I also REMEMBER the JEWISH boy who was the son of God. He told me to love, not hate. He would not approve.

I REMEMBER a BAPTIST minister who had a dream. He would not approve.

I REMEMBER a BUDDHIST monk whose struggle remains "non-violent and free of hatred". He would not approve.

I REMEMBER a PROTESTANT woman who devoted most of her short life to helping those of all religions and backgrounds. She would not approve.

I REMEMBER a HINDU man who died for his unwavering belief in religious freedom. He would not approve.

I REMEMBER a CHRISTIAN man who spent 27 years in prison fighting for freedom and equality. He would not approve.

I REMEMBER a CATHOLIC nun who gave up all she had to live among and help the poor, the sick and the "different". She would not approve.

Neither do I.

Now go read what Mrs. Chili has to say.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's been seventy hundred years since I have written anything and damn it’s hard to get back into it. I’ve had the flu, and I hate Hate HATE blogging about being sick, so I had nothing to say. Actually I had a LOT to say about how fucking sick I was, again, I hate blogging about being sick. Finally, I am feeling a little better, but sitting here thinking I have nothing to say. Perfect.

Oooo…wait. I do have something to say about being sick. I knew it when I did The Plunge that I would get sick sometime in the following few weeks and then people would start in on how I got sick from jumping in the river. I just knew it. And to those people: SUCK IT!! The flu comes from germs. From other people with the flu. Not from being cold. Hell, if that river was going to give me anything, it would have been superpowers. Which - I feel the need to point out – it did NOT! (WTF, river??)

Anyway, let’s see…um…nothing going on. At least nothing that doesn’t involve violent coughing jags and my poor, childbirth-ravaged bladder. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – those kids better study hard and get good jobs, because they OWE ME!

Oh, I know! We got a new cat. A couple of days before Christmas, I was in Petco buying presents for the pets, and as always, I had to head over and look at the Animal Rescue League cats they have for adoption. As soon as I got over there, I noticed a little black cat. I have a weakness for black cats – they have a special personality. Both of my previous cats (one gone, one still with us) have been black cats. Because of my Can’t Resist a Black Cat Disease, I decided to put my blinders on and walk right past the little thing. But she had other ideas. As I was walking past, she stuck her arm through the bars of her cage and grabbed my coat. And she would not let go. I stopped to look at her and immediately fell in love. She was tiny and cute and playful. She reminded me a lot of our first cat, Pussty – she had the same little bald-ish eye-to-ear stripes and the same long body, tail and legs. And then I noticed the sign on her cage saying she was a polydactyl and that she had two extra toes on each front paw and one extra on each back. I was SOLD.

I went home and had the following conversation with mr b:

Me: I found our cat.

Mr b: What? Angus? Was he outside?

Me: No, not Angus. Our new cat.

Mr b: oh, OK…wait, WHAT?

Me: Well, I was in petco today and…

Mr b: No

Me: …they had Animal Rescue League cats and…

Mr b: NO!

Me: …one of them looked JUST LIKE PUSSTY!

Mr b: Huh? Really? (I knew I had a chance at this point – I had his attention)

Me: Yep – she’s so sweet and tiny, and she’s a little evil and she grabbed me.

Mr b: We don’t need another cat.

Me: But she PICKED ME!

Mr b: I don’t c…

Me: She picked me with her crazy long arms. They’re abnormally long, just like Pussty’s! And she was swinging them around like weapons!

Mr b: But…

Me: She has the KUNG FU! Imagine her with Fat Angus! Or the dog! She could seriously fuck with the dog!

Mr b: We do not…


Mr b: What?

Me: Extra toes. A whole shitload of them! It’s like a sign from God - we HAVE TO have her!

Mr b: How exactly is that a sign from God?

Me: Because God knows how much we would love a cat with extra toes!! Duh!!!

Mr b: Welllll…

Me: Her feet are huge! Like huge flippers! Huge, giant, dog-grabbing, magic, KUNG FU FLIPPERS!!

Mr b: Go get her.

I rushed back to Petco to get there before the ARL folks got there at 6:00. The whole way, all I could think was pleasepleaseplease don’t let anyone beat me to my cat (I was already thinking of her as MY cat). I got there at 5:45 and ran straight to the adoption cats, only to find that there was a couple looking at and *GASP* playing with MY CAT!

I tried to be subtle and hang back and wait for them to move it along, but those of you who know me are thinking, “subtle? Hahahaha!” Instead, I moseyed on up behind them and waited for my chance. When the woman leaned to the side a little, I shoved my face right in between them (I know! If the tables were turned, I’d be here ranting about the crazy ass pushy bitch in the Petco. But I don’t care. She was MY cat. She chose me.) I was trying to give them the jeebies so they’d leave, but they were jeebie-proofed. Finally, I heard the man say, “I’d take you home if I could.” And I relaxed a little. But just a little, because I knew firsthand that this cat had magical mind-changing powers.

Eventually, the couple left and I grabbed a nearby folding chair and planted myself in front of the cage, marking my territory and acting like a crazy person every time someone came near, talking loudly to the cat about how I was TAKING HER HOME! WITH ME!!!

Finally, the ARL people showed up and eleventeen thousand hours of questions and forms later, I had my cat. I walked into the house with the box behind my back and yelled to the kids, “Who wants an early Christmas present?” They came running (of course) and I set the box down and took her out. The dog came over to see what was going on and she immediately went kung fu on his ass and we all knew we had our cat.

She was already named Mittens and we thought about changing it, but one look at her paws and you realize she has to be called Mittens. Either Mittens or Holy Shit That’s Messed Up!

See? I was powerless to resist:

No, seriously:

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Monday, January 4, 2010

I Did It!

Let me start by saying that i never, EVER post photos of myself in a swimsuit, but this is too big not to. Try to erase the images from your minds when you're done.

I jumped into the frigid Monongahela River on New Year’s Day and lived to tell about it. Hedge came over on New Year’s Eve and we spent the night drinking champagne and eating all kinds of good food, just in case it turned out to be our last meal. Then we got up when it was still dark out - on New Year’s Day. That may have been crazier than the actual river-jumping.


Too early to be up on New Year's Day

Leading up to it, people kept saying we’d chicken out. But these people are dicks. Because once I say I’m doing it, I will do it. And besides - I really wanted to do it – I was actually looking forward to it. Of course, some of those people have heard me bitching about how cold it was in the house, in the restaurant, in someone else’s house, outside, in the car, in the office, in the mall, the store, another restaurant and several more houses. See – I hate the cold, so I guess it makes sense that I wouldn’t want to jump in the river. Back when we had a pool, if the water was less that mid-80s, I thought it was cold. Because of that, I’ll give those naysayers a pass.

We got to the Mon Wharf pretty early – there were only a few cars there. We walked around a bit, looking for The Crappys and checking out the river. We saw some insane brave folks walking around in bathrobes and flip-flops, but we stayed bundled up for the time being.

Still-empty lot

We can't even believe we're jumping in there

Pretty soon, the place started filling up with cars and people – some were obvious jumpers – they had robes and towels and crazy looks in their eyes. Other were clearly observers, wearing jeans and earmuffs and gloves and looks on non-crazy contentment.

Pretty soon, The Crappys showed up, and the tailgating began as more folks trickled in. There was some “special” hot coffee, but Hedge and I both passed on the theory that if we got all warm and toasty it would feel worse when we went in.

Some of the group

Slowly, We started to get ready – we put on our swim caps, and they were quite beautiful. We got them for fun, but they turned out to be an awesome anti-cold measure – they kept our hair dry – I’m not a won’t-get-my-head-wet kind of girl, but my years of swim team taught me that wet hair+ cold air = frozen head and a chill that’s hard to shake. Plus, the caps were pretty thick rubber and actually kept our heads warm like hats would.

Next, we took our coats off, so we could start to get used to the cold (though admittedly, the air temperature was not too bad – had the jump been yesterday, I would have died. I’m sure the adrenaline and nerves over the crazy thing you’re about to do helps a little, too, though. At this point, you start to think, OK, let’s just get this show in the road – waiting for jump time is nerve-wracking.

Finally, it was time to move the party up to the water’s edge. Hedge and I came up with a genius idea for getting warm after we got out of the water – we bought a shitload of Hot Hands hand warmers and we wrapped comforters up with them tucked inside. Then we put both comforters in a big plastic tote. We did this before we left the house at 7:00, so by 9:00, the tote was actually warm to the touch. So we dragged the tote and a couple of towel with us to the water and got ready. First, the pants came off. Then a few minutes later, the shirts. Then we died and froze the end.


OK, not really, but when I said it wasn’t TOO cold, I was right – as long as you were wearing clothes and a coat. In a bathing suit? COOOOOOOOOOLD.

After a couple of minutes, we heard the “GO!” and people started jumping. Hedge and I waited until someone in front of us got out, because we didn’t want to jump too near anyone else – we wanted to avoid any accidental elbowing or other minor things that would be no big deal under normal conditions, but in these conditions might contribute to our deaths.

Getting ready to jump

Once the guy ahead of us got out, we held hands and jumped.

We were like, "OK, on three. One, Two..." and then we forgot how to count and just jumped

Going under

Also – this is about the time that The Grimace took up residence on my face. The Grimace was an involuntary facial contortion that in no way represented how I was feeling. I was happy - thrilled in fact, that I had just done it. But my face was saying “Shoot me now!” I was trying to smile and trying to thank @pgha for being our photographer, but my body would not let me. No, my body was all Grimace! Try To Breathe! (Did I mention that jumping in water that cold takes your breath away? It does.)

The beginning of The Grimace


We got to the shore and the next challenge was getting out. It’s a challenge because the “shore” is actually steeply slanted concrete – under the water it’s slippery, and out of the water, it’s high and steep and there’s nothing to grab onto. Plus – lead muscles. Luckily, I looked up and saw an angel - in the form of a swim-suited, be-toweled man – reaching out to help me out. He pulled me out of the water before I died and I wanted to thank him, but see: Grimace. Getting out was great, but once I was out, the cold wind hit me and I forgot all about hedge – she could have been drowning behind me, but all my body would allow me to do was a) Grimace and b) run for the warm blankets. Luckily, the Angel saved her, too.

Still Grimacing

My Angel - dude - if you are reading - THANK YOU!

Holy Grimace!

Hasn't died, despite my lack of giving a shit at that moment

We got to the tote, threw it open and pulled on our warm blankets and immediately felt great. I wasn’t cold thanks to the blankets and my warm, dry head. The Grimace faded, and I was finally able to say thanks to @pgha, who very sweetly kept taking photos. We stood around and watched some of the other folks jumping, climbing, freezing (I don’t know that anyone else was Grimacing quite the way I was, though)

Happy and warm - relatively

So happy we did it

Once everyone had plunged, we headed back to the parking lot to drink warm up and get out of our wet swimsuits. And let me tell you – when you have just jumped into a freezing river and are standing in the freezing cold with wind chill, modesty goes right out the window. I imagine that no less than 6 people are scarred for life after getting a glimpse of me trying to change under a blanket next to my car.

We put on some warm clothes, thick socks and slippers, and headed to the Hard Rock for some much needed food and a drink or two – mojitos for Hedge and me.

It was a great time, and I plan on doing it every year now – it’s an awesome way to start off the new year.

Awesome folks

More awesome folks

And more awesome folks

Still more awesome folks

Now this is the part where I tell you what a jackass I am. Here’s the thing with me and blogs, twitter, plurk, etc. I “meet” people online – I like them, I talk to them, it’s great. Then, I go somewhere and see these same people in person and I turn into a complete idiot. I am not a shy person – in fact, I am outgoing. If they were all strangers, I would have no problems. But somehow, since I sort of “know” them already, I get all weird. There are the folks that I “know” online, but don’t realize who they are when I meet them. There are the ones I suspect I know who they are, but I feel weird asking – I think that it is part of the “I’m old and out of touch and they won’t know me anyway because I am not a rock star like them” complex that I seem to have (and guys – if you happen to be reading this – you ARE rock stars – every single one of you).

So, I sit back and think, is that so and so? Oh, wait, maybe that’s so and so. And I don’t introduce myself and probably come off as an unfriendly douchebag and then I kick myself for days afterward because I really like these people! And I love meeting new people. And we just had a great time together. And yet I douchily let the opportunity to put faces with names pass because I have some weird old-lady inferiority complex.

So maybe I talked to you briefly, or maybe I took your photo, or maybe I don’t know your name even thought I met you once before and douchily didn’t introduce myself then either, or maybe you took photos for me, or maybe I shared some hot hands with you, or maybe I stood next to you while we waited, or maybe I was near you in the group photo, or maybe you complimented my swim cap, or maybe I just stupidly smiled (or Grimaced) at you. But if you read this – know that I am not as douchey as I seemed – I was thrilled to spend that time and that great experience with all of you. YOU ARE ALL AWESOME! And if you are reading this and have a minute, leave me a comment and introduce yourself, so I can finally know exactly who all you awesome folks are. And next year (or hopefully before then) when I see you all again, I promise I won’t be such a jackass.

I can’t promise I won’t Grimace again, though, because that shit is cold

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