Monday, April 27, 2009

Oppression by minorities

  Normally Im rather quiet and laid back, but once in a while something crosses my path that seriously rubs me the wrong way. One of those things happened yesterday.
  Im sitting in the lounge at work, reading a book while on lunch, and was in a position to overhear a conversation between a friend of mine whom Ive known for many years and an acquaintance whos one of the nicest people at work.
  Purely for context only, I have to point out that my friend is Mexican and, at the very least, bi-sexual. My acquaintance is black. Both are minorities, and should know better. Or so I would think.

  Heres how it started.

  A couple days ago at the Miss America pageant, Miss California was asked her opinion on gay marriage - a touchy subject here in California - and she said that she was opposed to it.
  I support her opinion 100%. Shes freely speaking what she believes in, and she has every right to believe that, and nobody should tell her otherwise. But I dont agree with her views at all. And thats a very important point that far too many people seem to disregard all too easily - its ok to disagree, as long as you dont try to impose YOUR values and morals onto someone else. 
  So Im in the lounge and my friend (F) says to my acquaintance (A) "Did you hear about Miss America?"
  A: "Yeah, and its sad that people are trying to make her feel bad for saying that."
  F: "I dont think thats right either, we live in America and we have free speech, so she can say whatever she wants to."
  A: "Thats the way its supposed to be."
  F: "All she was saying was that she didnt think it was right for gay people to get married. Theres nothing wrong with that."
  A: "Right, and she didnt say it was because of her religion or anything, she said it was what she herself believed in."
  F: (Whispering) "You know, Im all for people being allowed to love whomever they want, but I dont think they should be allowed to get married."
  A: (Whispering) "I agree. Thats how I voted."
  F: (Whispering) "Thats how I voted too. We won, and I dont know why they cant just accept that and move on."

  Ok, there is SO much wrong with that conversation I dont know where to begin. Do I start with gay rights, or do I start with religion? Hmm...
  Lets see, first of all, my friend sleeps with girls. Or has slept with girls. Its not my business, I dont care. Regardless, she is one of the "they" she speaks of and I feel sorry for her if she ever falls for one of these girls shes sleeping with and decides she wants a more meaningful relationship. My friend also has two daughters, and while it would be a nice touch if one of them "decided" to be gay, I wouldnt want either of them to have to deal with a Mom who has those views.
  My acquaintance is old enough to have gone through a portion of her life having to deal with racism. Maybe not alot of her life, but enough to know what it feels like to have other people tell you you dont have the same rights that they do. So she has alot of nerve to try and do that to someone else.
  Human rights should NEVER be put to a vote. That idea itself is absurd. But because it was, and it passed, we here in California are now guilty of "legally" oppressing a section of our community. And for those not familiar, the definition of oppression is: "the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner." Simply, it was cruel for the voters of California to exercise their authority and unjustly take away gay rights.
  Continuing: "Racism, sexism and other prejudices are often studied as individual beliefs which, although not necessarily oppressive in themselves, can lead to oppression if they are codified in law or become parts of a culture."
  Lets do a really quick, and simple exercise. Lets start with this sentence: "In California, it is a law that people who are gay are not allowed to get married." Got that? Now go back to that bold "gay" word. Lets change it to, oh, I dont know... black. Now read the sentence with the new word. Kinda screwed up, huh? In fact, if you changed "gay" to ANY OTHER ADJECTIVE like blonde, or elderly, or green eyed, or right handed, or people from Utah, or people with your name, or... ANYTHING... the outrage of such a law, or the mere attempt at a law would be incredible! Yet, gay is acceptable?! How did we come to this? How did "Its my right to take away the rights of someone else" become our motto?
  And think about this, the only group of people in the entire world that are not allowed to get married are those that are gay. If you murder people, you can still get married. If you rape kids, you can still get married. If youre a terrorist, you can still get married. Think about the worst of the worst of society, and it doesnt matter, they still have the right to get married, but if youre gay you cant. Thats ridiculous! And for those out there that think its ok for a child raping murdering terrorist to get married and gay people cant... take a gun and put a bullet in your head now. Go ahead, Ill wait. 
  And dammit, if youre so convinced that "you won" and youre right, dont fucking whisper it in a lounge when you think nobody can hear you - speak up, be proud, and tell everyone else to kiss your ass. Or, you know, continue to huddle in secrecy and whisper to your minority friend cuz youre embarrassed by your beliefs. Whatever validates your view I guess.
  For the record, and contrary to my acquaintances statement, Miss California said “The way that I answered might have been offensive... but for me, it was being biblically correct.” So it WAS about her religion, which is fine.
  She also said “It did cost me my crown. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I said what I feel. I stated an opinion that was true to myself and that’s all I can do. It is a very touchy subject and I see where [Hilton] was coming from and I see the audience would’ve wanted me to be more politically correct. But I was raised in a way that you can never compromise your beliefs and your opinions for anything.” And again, good for her, she had a very public stage and didnt hide from her view no matter how unpopular it was. No whispering for her. 

  Which brings me to the bible portion of our program.

  Though I dont go to church, I do not actively read the bible, nor am I religious in any way, I am also NOT anti-religion at all. Again, I think people should be allowed to live their life how they please and if following the bible is what they choose to do, then nobody should tell them otherwise.
  That said, and using a wide brush to paint the world generally, I have not known a single group of people to be more close minded, judgemental, hypocritical, and flat out mean spirited than those that call themselves religious.
  The bible is law, the bible is Gods word, the bible is, well, gospel. And it should apparently be swung around and used as a weapon... as long as the swinger can twist the words to suit their needs and be allowed to pick and choose which portions to follow and which to ignore.
  Nowhere in the bible does it say that being gay is a sin. Yet people continue to take verses out of context, misinterpret passages, or flat out make stuff up - such as the oft quoted Leviticus - all in an effort to keep the sanctity of their third marriage. If thats not true, dont tell me, SHOW it to me. Yeah, thats a challenge. Accept it or shut up.
  Truth be told, the bible is full of a bunch of screwy things. Some real head scratchers. So for fun, here are a couple things the bible does talk about, and where to find them.....
  DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21
  If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.
  If a married person has sex with someone
else's husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.

  MARK 10:1-12
  Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.
  MARK 12:18-27
  If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.
  EXODUS 21:7-11
  It is acceptable for a man to sell his daughter as a sex slave.
  LEVITICUS 11:6-8
  Its a sin to touch the skin of a dead pig.

  So while the bible doesnt say Adam and Steve cant get married, it CLEARLY states that most of the people I know should be put to death by stoning, which would save me money on Christmas presents. It also clearly states that I can walk up to someone and ask how much I can have their daughter for, so I can... umm... you know. But Christ! I love football, so what am I gonna do about that dead pig thing?
  Thank God I have the option to do what all the other bible thumpers do: "Its a sin if it goes against my morals, but if it pertains to me, then the bible shouldnt be taken literally." Convenient, huh?
  Anywho, if you choose to read more about being gay in the bible, go here:

  I guess the point Im trying to make is that you have every right to disagree with gays who want to get married, but its your obligation as a human being to support them for wanting to do so.

  Ok, Im done ranting now.

  -- DBW --

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

No money, more problems

  Yo --

  So, like most of the rest of the world, Ive been having money problems. The severity of these problems probably depends on who Im standing next to - if Im next to Bill Gates, Im pretty much broke, but if Im standing next to someone that has a family to support and just lost their job, I probably look like Billy Boy. Its all relative I guess.

  For some reason, it actually hit me last night, for the very first time, WHY Im broke. Obviously its a lack of funds, but I never broke it down. I never considered the cause, the reasons, and the amounts.

  Some back story first.

  A couple years ago when I went to Vegas with Blanca for vacation I got us an amazing suite, overlooking The Strip, and it even had a jacuzzi in it. And it didnt come cheap either. While we were there I also paid for most of the things we did - from tickets, to food, to souvenirs. And I did this without a problem because I could afford it. Not "pocket change" afford it, but afford it to the point where it didnt hurt so much.
  The following year when we went on vacation to a different amusement park every day, I again paid for most of the stuff. Tickets, hotel rooms, swimming with the dolphins, the photo caravan, etc. And again, I did so without it hurting me too much.
  Whenever wed go out - to the movies, dinner, anywhere - Id pay for it. None of this was because she was cheap, but because I could. "Back then" life was good.

  Now we arrive to the recent past and today.

  Then I moved into a new house, and my portion of the bills went up $100. At the time, I didnt feel it too much cuz I still had a 40 hour a week job. But then the economy tanked and everyones hours started getting cut, mine included, and as a result my paycheck dropped about $250. Times that by two and Im short $500 a month. Add in the $100 rent increase and thats $600 a month that I no longer have.
  For someone like myself, thats a TON of money. As a result, my savings, which was never alot anyway, has been cut in half. And Im trying SO hard to hold onto the rest of it cuz once its gone Ill be completely broke.
  Not only that, but not having money has affected other things as well. Blanca and I broke up last year, for unrelated reasons, which is probably a blessing in a very painful disguise, because the truth is I no longer can afford to have a girlfriend. Even if she paid for 99% of everything, I dont have enough for the 1% anymore. A car, even a beat up, used, crappy, cheap one, is just a dream. Im sleeping in a canyon of a mattress that has long since passed its prime and is also too short for my bed frame. I need new contacts because my prescription has expired, but since theres no money, my eyes continually hurt and I swear my vision is getting worse. And the worst part is that Im eating Pop Tarts for lunch and only eating dinner every other day, today was not the day I got to eat.
  I have found a way to save money though. I sleep. Alot. Not only is sleeping free, but if youre not awake you cant hear your stomach rumble and you dont dwell on how much your life currently sucks. Bonus!

  But like I said, some people are in worse shape than I am and they view me as being well off. Some of those people I actually know and I have no clue how theyre surviving. So I shouldnt complain right? Every cloud has a silver lining or whatever. But I tell ya, if I ever find that cloud, Im selling the metal from it cuz Im pretty damn hungry right now.

  Anywho, its nap time... again.

  -- DBW --

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Are you Yanking my chain?

  So this morning Im laying in bed, watching "Outside The Lines" and theres a story on the new stadiums in New York, the ones that combined cost something around $2.5 BILLION dollars to build. 
  And they started talking about the tickets prices at these new ballparks and how ridiculous they were. The highest ticket at the new Mets stadium is $695 for a seat behind home plate. $700 to watch a team that chokes every year. But thats a bargain considering that that very same seat at the new Yankee Stadium is an absurd $2625.
  I can find things alot better to spend my $3000 on than a ticket to see the Yankees. Things like making a dent in my debt. Or perhaps even a car, used of course. 
  Apparently so can other people, people far richer than I. They were talking to this guy that used to have four season tickets behind home plate at the old Yankee Stadium which cost him about $80,000 a year. To me, thats still stupid money, but I suppose if you got it, right? So when this guy was offered the chance to renew his season tickets for the new stadium, he actually had to debate if he should say no, or lay off some employees at his company. He then realized how ridiculous that was and bought more "affordable" $200 a seat tickets instead.
  So, how much were those new season tickets behind home plate going to cost him? $860,000. Same ticket, same team, yet the price went up 11 times! Hey, someone has to pay off the stadium, right? 
  Not surprisingly, the Yankees are having trouble selling their more expensive tickets, yet when asked, they said they were doing just fine - in spite of taking out full page ads in the paper advertising seats still available. In their defense, they claimed that there were plenty of great affordable seats for those that couldnt spend $3000 a game. Like the 1,100 bleacher seats that have an obstructed view where the action gets cut off around center field. A billion dollar plus stadium, and you have seats where the people youre scamming to get in the building cant even see? I wonder if thats one of those "Only in New York" things. But, hey, you do get an absolutely amazing view of the side of the sports bar, so complaining... fuggedaboutit. Oh yeah, the price of those tickets are a mere $15, more during playoffs of course. Just make sure to bring a portable tv cuz, well, ya know.
  On second thought, maybe thats why those home plate tickets cost so much, because you can actually see the game. But if Im gonna spend a million dollars on season tickets, I better get more than all you can eat veggie dogs, I wanna have all you can eat endangered species.

  But what do I know, Im a Padre fan.

  -- DBW --

Happy New Year!

  Ok, so its actually Easter, but this is my first post of the year, so whatever. Obviously, Ive been lagging in my posts, and Im not even going to attempt to convince you that Im going to try and stick to a schedule, but I will say I do have a bunch of ideas that Ive been thinking of blogging about, so I might have something up soon, and probably before the end of the year. If Im lucky.

  So, until next time..... Happy Easter.

  -- DBW --