Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Not content with merely waging war on women, Republicans are targeting another enemy of conservatism: education. It appears that the leading elements of the Republican Party truly believe that not only is ignorance bliss, but also blessed. In the class rooms they want  replace critical thinking and evidence base science with the mythology of the bible and “creation science”. In Tennessee this past cycle, a new statute encourages teachers to express skepticism toward,  “scientific subjects, including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, and global warming”.

They are still fighting the Scopes Trial and the civil War there and very sensitive to any science that would have blacks and white descending from the same root. Tennessee believes that the blacks were created that way to be slaves and used that justification to fight for god in the Civil War.

Slavery is not an institution that developed itself. Many people used the Bible as their justification of slavery. In the book of Genesis, chapter 9, Noah ‘s youngest son Ham saw the nakedness of his father and did not covered him. It was his brothers who covered him. Noah then cursed Ham to be a servant to his brothers forever, Genesis 9:25-26 “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers”. This is known to be the first act of slavery that people argue is sanctioned by God. Many interpret Ham’s curse as placed upon people of darker skin color, Africans more specifically. Some use the phrase “Mark of Canna.” The argument is that since Ham’s descendants were to be slaves forever and Africans were already slaves and inferior then they should remain in slavery. Visit http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl.htm to learn more about Ham’s curse and Biblical references to slavery.

Slaveholders justified the practice by citing the Bible,

They asked who could question the Word of God when it said, “slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling” (Ephesians 6:5), or “tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect” (Titus 2:9).

That is why the R’s push to have the Bible taught in schools.  They think it is better to hear it taught from “people of authority” rather than parents or religious people. In order to sustain Christianity, at least their type of it, you need people to not think critically or ask probing questions. More important you need people who can ignore science and accept the absurd as truth.

Faith becomes more important than truth and every question has a true or false answer. That is why they push for standardized testing that reinforces the idea that there is an answer to every question already. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma likes to shout, “Global warming is a hoax”. He’s a US senator rolling in cash courtesy of oil and gas corporations. This somehow qualifies him to say that while 97% of climate scientists accept anthropogenic climate change, that “doesn’t mean anything”. His peer-reviewed journal of choice is the Bible: “Genesis 8:22: ‘as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night’. My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

The republicans need stupid people to exist as a party and in America they are home to 49% of the voters.Image

I’ve lost three months of my life recently to Pristiq. Pristiq is an antidepressant that I started and from the very beginning I felt it was wrong. I lost interest in reading and writing. I lost interest in weight training and sex.  I lost three months. I knew I wanted off the drug but every web site I visited talked about listed testimonials of people who various reasons (lost insurance leading the way) have had to go cold turkey of the drug. People complain of Massive headaches and nausea and light-headedness. All of which I have experienced to one degree or another. None to an extreme or uncomfortable level.

This past week when I went to refill my prescription, I lost the new bottle. Faced with going out of pocket or cold turkey I figured I would try going, over Christmas, cold turkey without my Pristiq (I am still on Abilify). As I say So far the only thing I have noticed is last night I read 4 chapters in a new book. The Last Werewolf. While on Pristiq I was unable to read an entire page from that book. I am now driven to get back into the gym and last night took a long walk with the dogs and Ed after dinner instead of napping. I am relived to be back in sorts to a large degree. I still won’t watch the hallmark channel yet. Why ask for depression or tears. I do, for the first time in months feel in control. Something I have not felt in months.

Is that the goal of the mental health professionals, to give people socially acceptable ways of feeling numb? I thought it was to develop the tools to maintain control. I’ll keep my therapist but I am dropping my pill pusher psychologist. I want to develop my own tools for handling my life and life experiences. I don’t want to feel dead.

Happy holidays and sorry for the lack of blogging. Between cleaning and shopping and depression writing has been thin. There are several things about this time of year that make it my least favorite. The first would be my birthday.

My birthday, celebrated last week, has always been a time of angsts for me. When I was young, my friends and family would say that they got me one big present instead of two little ones. They would try to get out of buying me both a Christmas present and birthday present by trying to sell me a load of  bull. I knew, kids know when you are feeding them crap. I knew what they spent on my brothers’ presents and saw what they got him for Christmas. I was getting short changed. Damn it, I was the oldest, I should be getting more, not less!

Then the actual birthday celebrations always seam to fizzle. Our family would go get a Christmas tree on my birthday and that would be part of the tradition. It never failed that there would be some argument about the size or cost or type of tree that killed the “festive” mood. Then there was the year that my father was going to pick me up after school and we were going to Shakey’s for pizza. It was pouring rain and cold so that was a great relief to me. I waited at the school and waited and waited. After about an hour I started walking in the cold rain. My dad finally found me and I crawled into his car. He was soaked too. He had a flat tire and had to change it in the rain. We got back to the house, cold, wet and miserable, only to find my mother emptying the contents of the refrigerator into coolers and moving them downstairs to the garage. The refrigerator had died and the garage was the coldest place to store food until a new one could be delivered.

When we entered the house and shut the door, the vibration caused the top shelf in the living room to fall on to each of the shelves below leaving a huge mess. My brother (who had stayed home sick that day, my birthday, while I had to go to school) dealt with that while my parents handled the kitchen.  After all of that had been dealt with and we started to relax, and got ready for pizza, we realized that the dog was missing. We though that maybe she walked out the garage while the doors were open. My dad and I got in the car to drive around looking for her. My mom found her deep under the stairs with a new litter of puppies. Only one made it. We named him Jinx.

As I got older things did not get much better. In 1980, I spent my birthday being poke and prodded at the National Institute of Health with what I later learned was my sero-conversion of HIV. Other years my birthday usually fell during finals week and such. In the past few years’ things have gotten better though, although the last two years they were spent in the ER with friends. Even if the day itself is pleasant, to me it is the official beginning of the Christmas push.

The Christmas push is the window where presents need to be mailed and final gifts need to be secured. I always worry that I am not going to make the impact I want with a gift. Something special that is remembered. I know I create a lot of the stress myself but I don’t know how to not worry.

Then there is Christmas day itself. When I was younger and then in my “religion” stage it held a magical time. Now it’s just another day. I was talking with a friend last night about Christmas. He is going to spend it at a casino with an ex-girlfriend from 25-30 years ago, his sister-in-law and her sister. Scott, much like myself, enjoys solitude. For some reason however we are both putting together “family  groups” that would not normally be people we want to spend time with, because of some deep seeded need to find a community or place to belong.

Ed is working on Christmas day although we will have Christmas Eve together. He said that on Christmas day, the ER fills with lonely people from the nursing homes who want company and the suicide attempts of the more mobile members of the lonely community.  Why on Christmas do we feel this need to be around friends and family more so than other times? Is there something deep in our soul or have we been so brainwashed by media, movies and Kodak advertising to feel that we are lees than normal if we cannot recreate a Norman Rockwell print. I don’t know. Maybe we always have hat need and the seasonal displays make it harder to mask. Sound good to me.