I’ve made it abundantly clear in the past that there are certain holidays for which I have little to no use- Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, to name three- because they are either ridiculous and unnecessary, and/or have been Americanized (i.e., the reason the day exists has totally been forgotten or ignored, and the day now exists for no other reason than to drink to excess). But folks, we can’t even get our OWN holidays right.
FYI, “Mexican Independence Day” is celebrated on September 16th- IN MEXICO. Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. Neither has anything to do with Corona overindulgence and half-price tequila shots.
Obviously, Independence Day commemorates the day we became a nation independent from the “evil tyranny” of the British empire. (See also: Declaration of Independence.)
Today is Memorial Day. The name should be enough to know why today is a “holiday”, but clearly, people still don’t get it. Memorial Day is not a “happy” holiday. It is a day meant to reflect upon the men and women that gave their lives to protect our freedom. Actually, it was originally a day meant to honor those that lost their lives in the fight to abolish slavery. (Hat tip to my good friend Kelly for that article.) Regardless, wishing people a “happy” Memorial Day is a bit twisted. And to be perfectly honest, thanking the currently serving men and women is incorrect. That is what Veterans Day is for.
But here is the rub.
There shouldn’t even be a Memorial Day OR a Veterans Day. Now before you go bombarding me with curse-riddled comments, hear me out.
I’ve often mentioned how Valentine’s Day is
stupid worthless unnecessary, in that one’s love for their significant other should mean no more- nor less- on one day than on any other. And in my mind, if one day IS more special than all others, it should be an anniversary, whether of marriage, of the day the couple met, of the day of their first date, whichever. At any rate, my point is that every day should be “Valentine’s Day”. Exactly the same idea with Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Instead of taking one day to recognize those that lost their lives, and another to recognize those who are currently serving- and, in the process, bastardizing both days into nothing more than a day off from work/cookout/excuse to drink to excess- we should remember the deceased servicemen and women EVERY day and remember that they died for us to be able to get shitfaced and fall into swimming pools and burn hamburger patties. We should shake the hand of a veteran, whether currently serving or discharged, EVERY day. Buy them a coffee. Hell, just say “thank you”. Veterans deserve a hell of a lot more than what they’re receiving, but that’s another post for another time.
But until we can all learn to treat every day as though it were both Memorial Day and Veterans Day, can we at least correctly distinguish between the two? Veterans Day, November 11, is to honor the current, discharged, and retired living servicemen. Today, Memorial Day, is a solemn day to reflect upon the millions of men and women that died in battle protecting our freedom. So stop wishing people a “happy” Memorial Day. Today is not meant to be a “happy” day. Learn how to at least be correctly patriotic.
Oh, and brush up on your knowledge of the actual origins of Memorial Day.
A few weeks ago, while reading other blogs on my RSS reader, one of them posted something from a website called Friday 5. Every Friday, they ask 5 questions and have you post the questions and your answers on your blog as, perhaps, a means of getting discussions started. At any rate, I decided I’d try it myself, so here goes.
My Friday 5 for May 10, 2013.
- What’s something you know about constellations? Next to nothing. The stories and legends intrigue me, but I’m relatively ignorant about them. I DO know that the Big Dipper and Little Dipper are not constellations unto themselves, but rather are parts of constellations: Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, respectively.
- What’s something you know about bugs? That they are vital to the planet to thrive. Yes, folks, even those !*!&#% mosquitos serve a purpose. Although, I have to say, I’m very appreciative for bats, for they eat thousands and thousands of mosquitos each night. Circle of life and all.
- What’s something you know about a car’s engine? That they are wonderful until they stop working correctly, and that their care is best left to qualified individuals. I know how to check and add oil, and that’s pretty much about it.
- What’s something you know about wine or beer? Wine: that the mere smell of it can trigger a massive migraine. Beer: simply that it is the nectar of the gods. I love beer. Not all that long ago I drank nothing but the mass-produced, slightly (and I do mean SLIGHTLY) flavored water that comes out of St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Golden, CO, and viewed people that drank craft beers and micro-brews as “beer snobs”. How wrong I was. Three years or so ago, I finally started trying different brews and styles, and now I am on a mission to try as many different beers and styles as I possibly can. But as far as what I “know” about beer, besides that it tastes good, not much. Other than that hops smell delightful.
- What’s something you know about the Pacific Ocean? That it is larger than all of the Earth’s land area combined. The ocean has had me captivated since I was a kid. I love everything in and about the ocean: sharks, whales, dolphins, rays, fish, eels, jellyfish, you name it. However, I have a recurring dream that I am out on the ocean, with no land in sight, and it is an absolutely terrifying dream.
How nice that they picked five things about which I possess virtually no knowledge. Luckily, I have Ian and Adam to teach me things. I can never say my kids don’t pay attention in class. Ian spouts off facts and figures about historical events and, especially, science-y things and I’m simply in awe. Most days, Adam (2nd grade) comes home and informs me of something I didn’t know I didn’t know.
Moral of this post: Don’t ever be unwilling to learn. We never stop learning unless we so choose.
It is that time of year in central Illinois again.
Time for the annual Walk A Mile in Her Shoes walk. The walk in which men strap on women’s shoes (REAL men wear high heels!) and literally walk a mile through downtown Springfield, ending up on the steps of the Illinois State Capitol for a rally.
This walk benefits the Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault, an organization that provides assistance to ALL victims of sexual assault- men, women, and children- and seek to prevent sexual violence all together. This year’s walk is Saturday, April 20, 2013.
This is a very good cause that means a lot to me. In today’s economy, I realize there is not much extra money aside for charity donations, but if any of you has even $5 to spare, I’d greatly appreciate anything you can give. My donation page can be found here. If you don’t donate, that’s fine. If you live in the Springfield area, I’d love for you to come out along the route and support me and the rest of the walkers, and then join us all for a party afterward at Donnie’s Homespun at Vinegar Hill Mall on Cook St. in Springfield.
Or, if you live in Springfield and are man enough, get yourself a pair of heels, sign up, and join me.
I’m going to take a whole lot of shit for this post. But I don’t care.
As we undoubtedly all know by now, there was a shooting at a grade school in Newtown, CT. A
deranged unstable young motherfucker gentleman walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary School with three guns and opened fire, killing 20 children between the ages of 5-10, and 6 adults, including the principal, before killing himself, as they always do. Punk ass bitch.
There are all sorts of fuzzy and/or conflicting details- first that it was the shooter’s brother that was the shooter, and apparently the brother was on Facebook saying, “IT WASN’T ME! I WAS AT WORK!” Then it was discovered that it wasn’t who they thought it was after all. Nice job of fact checking, CNN. Here’s a tip: instead of being the first to get the scoop, how about being the first to get the goddamned facts correct? THERE’S a novel idea. News outlets get hard-ons for sensationalist stories like this. Sure, it’s a “senseless tragedy”, but you can just read it on their faces that there is some mass circle jerk going on in some board room at CNN Plaza or Rockefeller Center or wherever. “Ratings!!” *stroke stroke stroke*
But that’s a whole other kettle of whoop-ass for another time.
[cue Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" in 5... 4... 3... 2...]
It was said that the shooter’s mother, who was reported to be a kindergarten teacher at the school, was one of the six adults killed. Now they’re saying that the mother was killed at the family home before the shooter ever got to the school. It has also been reported that there was a related killing in Hoboken, N.J., 80 miles away, where the shooter is said to have lived. Not sure we’ll ever even know for sure what happened, let alone why it happened.
Anyway, naturally, when each of my kids came home from school today, we hugged them a little tighter than normal. We told Ian what happened, and it shook him up. Adam, we’re not really going to volunteer anything about it until such time as he asks, at which time we’ll be up front with him about it.
But here’s the thing. The anti-gun folks are going to be full of all kinds of piss and vinegar about how we need to ban all guns. The pro-gun folks are going to be all kinds of piss and vinegar about how that’s not fair. Neither are correct. But then, neither are incorrect, for that matter.
People that say, “Cars kill people; are you going to ban cars?!” are idiots. Same with knives, baseball bats, or anything else. The fact is that knives baseball bats, and cars have intended uses besides inflicting harm upon people. A gun’s sole purpose is for inflicting harm, whether on people or on animals. But here’s the rub: A gun does no damage until someone pulls the trigger. Someone has to willingly aim that gun and pull that trigger for it to do any harm. That gun has no emotion, no freewill, no motive. It takes a shooter to shoot a gun. It takes a killer to kill.
I agree that it is way, WAY to easy for anyone to get a firearm. There needs to be a serious overhaul of that system. One can literally walk into just about any gun show and buy a gun and take it home with virtually no questions asked. That is simply wrong.
But folks, there’s also this little thing called the United States Constitution and its Bill of Rights. The 2nd Amendment states, and I quote directly from the text of the document itself:
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Shall NOT be infringed. What that means is that law-abiding citizens have the right to own a gun. And once Illinois pulls its head out of its ass, to carry one in all 50 states as well. There IS a serious flaw in the system regarding how easy it is to obtain a gun. It is far too easy. There need to be background checks. There need to be mental health evaluations. There need to be waiting periods. There need to be safety education requirements as well as shooting education requirements. There need to be age requirements. Direct sales at gun shows need to stop. Allowing convicted felons to obtain guns needs to stop. Allowing the mentally ill to obtain guns needs to stop.
But banning guns is not the answer.
Many killing sprees, such as this one today, are reportedly carried out with legally obtained weapons. To me, that lends itself to the notion that it is not the gun, but the shooter. A legal gun in the hands of a killer becomes a lethal weapon. An illegally obtained gun in the hands of a law-abiding citizen remains nothing more than a gun. Law-abiding gun owners don’t fucking kill people. It IS just that simple. Believe it or not, folks, it will not turn into Shootout at the OK Corral simply because citizens are allowed to carry firearms.
Do you truly believe that banning guns will just magically make crime disappear? Or that banning guns will at least make gun crime disappear? If you believe that, you’re either delusional or an idiot. That. Will. Not. Happen. All a full-out ban will do is drive up the price of those illegal guns that are being bought and sold already. And they’ll still be bought and sold. Mayor Daley instituted a gun ban in Chicago, and gun crimes have increased since. You know, because criminals are all about obeying the law and all.
And quite frankly, even if you could somehow magically get rid of all guns, even illegal ones, and take all guns out of the hands of criminals (good luck with that, by the way), there will still be murders. Killers kill, regardless of their weapon of choice. Knife, car, baseball bat, meat cleaver, wood-chipper, poison, explosive, plastic bag [i.e. placed over someone's head], or bare hands- it doesn’t matter.
It is the killer that kills. Not the weapon they use. Not even the gun.
What is most important here, regardless of where your beliefs lie, is the fact that there are 20 families who no longer have their children to hug and kiss and tuck in at night, and the families of the adults that were killed that no longer have their spouse, parent, aunt, uncle, sibling, or whatever the case.
I also have to mention the President. At approximately 2:15 CST, President Obama delivered a statement with regard to this tragedy. He spoke not just as the leader of our country, but more so as a father. I watched the President of the United States cry on television. People will undoubtedly argue that it was staged, or even phony. I’m willing to put it all out there and say that the tears he wiped away were genuine. I know the tears that he caused to pour down MY face were genuine. I am dropping my guard and admitting that I did not vote for him last month or four years ago (nor did I vote for his Republican Party opponent either time, for what it’s worth, but that’s irrelevant), but in watching him today I was never more impressed with, and proud of, my President. Much respect, Mr. President.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims of today’s horrific shooting, their families and friends, and the entire community of Newtown, CT. I hug my boys a little tighter from now on, partly because my heart aches for those 20 families that don’t get to do so with theirs any longer.
Okay, Ian has had four meets in the last week (last Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and then yesterday).
Tuesday was in Chatham against Glenwood Junior High. This is the team that trains like friggin’ beasts, and they have a running club in which the kids get together and just run. All. Year. Long. I’m SO hoping Ian’s coach moves forward with his plan to strongly urge the LMS/BC runners to do so. Anyway, the actual meet was out in the middle of this wildlife sanctuary in Chatham’s Deliverance section. Really weird course. Ian ran a 15:06 there. Naturally, he was pissed off about it, since he has twice tasted times in the fourteens, but I think it was pretty impressive considering what a goofy course it was, and it was wet, AND he’d never run it before. But could I convince him of that? Hell no.
Then Thursday was a meet at Lincoln Park, with just Lincoln, Franklin, and Johns Hill, which is apparently by Decatur. Ian ran a 14:33 at that meet- his third time under the fifteen minute mark this season. This kid never ceases to friggin’ impress the hell out of me.
Saturday was the Jacksonville Invitational. The high school kids run their 3-mile courses first, and then the middle schoolers do their 2-mile races in the afternoon. This was kind of a rough and tumble day for Lincoln Magnet/Ball Charter. In the 7th and under girls’ race, Sophia (a 5th grader on our team… a 5th grader!!) got knocked down and stepped on by about 6 girls in the mass convergence to a single line. It happened only about 40 yards from the starting line, so they stopped the race and brought everyone back. Coach and I checked on Sophie, and made her run a few steps to make sure she could go, and she said she wanted to run. I think her pride was hurt more than anything. She wound up finishing first for our team!!! I told her afterward that maybe we need to knock her down and get her run over more often. Apparently ticking her off is the trick! She didn’t seem to want to do that. Go figure. Anyway, in Ian’s race, he was moving right along, when he said the kid in front of him looked behind him (Ian wasn’t sure if the kid saw him or not), and then just stopped. Didn’t slow to a walk, he stopped. Ian and this kid smacked heads, and then as Ian stumbled, he got elbowed in the mouth by this kid. So that little altercation added a couple seconds to his time, but he wound up finishing with a 13:55. Now, before you all get TOO excited, understand that the Jacksonville course is not a full two miles. They swear it is, but it’s not. It can’t be. When nearly every kid out there- not just on our team- is beating their personal best by 1:00, 1:30, some more than 2:00… I’mma have to call ‘bullshit’ on that. I mean, it’s great for the confidence, I get that, but there’s just no way it an be a full two miles. Regardless, it was a good race and a good time for Ian. Other than that whole cracking skulls with the kid in front of him thing.
Then there is yesterday’s meet. The city meet. The big one. All 5 public middle schools vying for position for sectionals on Saturday. This was an amazing meet for me based on what happened beforehand, but I’ll cover that in a separate post. Franklin Middle School, naturally, won the meet, and took most of the Top 20 finisher medals in both boys and girls. There were four girls that got medals- one being Sophia, our little 5th grader. She is going to be tough as she gets older. We had one boy place for a medal, and another finished 21st (ouch!), and Ian set another personal best with a 14:25. Naturally, he doesn’t see that. The only thing he left with was the fact that two teammates passed him. He was worried about his placement on the team for sectionals, but considering he’s holding firm to the #3 spot, he really had nothing to worry about. Still… try to convince him of that.
All in all, ’twas a great week. And I hate that the season is almost over. Stay tuned…
We have a very cute beagle-Bassett hound mix named Lucy. We got her from the pound around Thanksgiving or so last year, and they estimated she was roughly a year and a half old at that time. Dawn was the one really wanting to get another dog at the time, but when we went to the pound to go check her out, Lucy [almost literally] attached herself to me instantly, so it was all, “I guess we’ll be taking the beagle”. She kind of became “my dog”.
Yeah, that lasted for about a week.
I love her to pieces and want to bury her in a shallow unmarked grave in the back yard at the same time. She does typical dog things (most of which piss me off), such as, among other things, begging for food (the #1 capital offense a dog can commit, in my eyes), digging 8-inch-deep holes in the yard, barking for no apparent reason at things that aren’t there, trying to eat everything in sight, including dog shit, rabbit shit, birdseed, squirrel corn, grass, leaves, and crayons, to name but a few.
SIDE NOTE: Dogs that eat crayons produce dog shit that looks like Little Debbie™® Cosmic Brownies.
However, I truly believe Lucy is really a cat in an incredibly lifelike dog costume. I just can’t find the zipper. I present the following as evidence of my theory:
- She begs, often rather vocally, to go outside. Then when we let her out, usually she’ll take about four steps and then turn around and wait for you to let her in. Cat.
- She is a Jedi master at that whole “serpentine between your legs as you’re trying to walk” thing. Cat.
- She climbs all the FUCK up in your business when you’re reading, or eating, or knitting, or doing pretty much anything. Cat.
- She walks back and forth along the couch, the footboard of our bed, and other furniture, rubbing her body against it as she walks. Cat.
- She is constantly cleaning herself. Constantly. CON. STANT. LY. Cat. Friggin’ nasty-ass disgusting cat.
- She puts her nose right up in your face and just sniffs you. Cat.
- Whenever you attempt to pet her, she instantly rolls over and grabs your hand and tries to rip it to shreds with her teeth, as though she were a lioness that just caught a wildebeest. Cat.
- Glance for a split second in her general direction and she teleports herself to you in the blink of an eye, yet when you call her, she looks at you like like she’s Travis Bickle. Cat. (Go ahead and Google ‘Travis Bickle’. I’ll wait.)
- She’ll be sound asleep and then suddenly, instantly has to be in another room RIGHT GODDAMNED NOW. Cat. (I believe “vacuum activity” is the term for that particular phenomenon. Ba-dee, ba-dee-dee.)
She really is an adorable “dog”, but I am convinced she is actually a cat. Franklin, my 11-year-old golden retriever, is simply confounded by her. He never knows whether to play with her, as she always tries to start shit with him (she exhibits further cat behavior by sneak attacking him and then running off underneath something where he can’t get her), or to simply swallow her whole and just take the ass beating as being “totally worth it”. Personally, I couldn’t really blame him if he did.