nnnhhrrr, hrrmble muurrmble frrmble YOO ESS AYYYYayay!

Hung out at the nursing home this evening with my mom to watch fireworks. On tv. Because fuck everything about downtown Columbus this evening.

It may be that something of the atmosphere was lost by not being downtown1, but the fireworks were unimpressive. I wanted to say it was just explosions set to music, but that implies more attention to detail than was given in this case. It was just explosions while at the same time music was happening, with no apparent relationship between the two events.

After a ten minute patriotism megamix2, the music stopped, and a generically enthusiastic voice booms out “Now it’s time for the grand finale, brought to you by Marathon Oil!”. At which point the pyrotechnicians presumably just started blasting skyward whatever rockets and snap bangs they could lay hands on as quickly as possible. The end result of this was a cloud of smoke illuminated here and there by the now hidden display.

 

Artistry? Fuck no. This is ‘murrca. Excess.

 

Before the fireworks there was Master Chef eliminations3, Big Brother4 and we watched Egypt collectively fire their president. People getting voted off the Island left and right tonight.

 

 

 

1And drunk.
2God Bless The USA might be the perfect patriotic song – especially for rallying a sort of generic patriotic fervor that has no specific direction. Lines like “Cause the flag still stands for freedom/And they can’t take that away” call out to your identity and suggest that someone means to take it from you. It provokes a defensive mindset with the threat of the ever-present “they”. The others. You know the ones. The ones that are not like you. The ones that hate you just because they are jealous of how awesome you are, and freedom and shit.
3Macaroons are apparently the litmus test of the baking world.
4The fact that my schizophrenic mom likes the show Big Brother makes me smile my small “I shouldn’t be smiling at this” smile.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_in_the_USA_(song)

Heuristic.

Little kids sort of freak me out. That is not to imply that I have child related phobia, it’s simply that I’m never quite at ease when one is around due to the fact that they are 1.) small and 2.) ignorant of the notion of their own mortality. As I understand it, children don’t have a real sense of self until around age 21. Or I guess more appropriately, they have no sense of self as a distinct object careening around in a 3-dimensional space where objects are often hard and unyielding. Or sharp. Or fire. Not sure if I have the age right, and I’m certain it varies. If any parents or shrinks have some actual data they’d like to share, feel free to correct my heresies.

In any event, the defining attributes of children seem to be inquisitiveness and utter disregard for safety. As a result, their investigative methods are somewhat lacking in the necessary sophistication to ensure relatively safe experimentation. It essentially boils down to “Ah, look! An as yet unidentified object! I ought to put it in my mouth to determine its nature and origin.”

The point being here, that you have to pay attention to them. At all times. I’m bad at focusing on anything that is not aggressively demanding my attention2, so that is more than a little intimidating to me. It is also possible that an infant might make both better reasoned and less impulsive decisions than I do.

This attitude and its exploratory trial and error manifestation in and of itself is rather delightful to observe. When not distracted by an immediate need such as hunger or the need to be cleansed of its own feces, small children are almost exclusively preoccupied with figuring shit out. That’s pretty cool.

My sister had a kid this past October, and whenever I’m around him, I find myself fascinated by his fascination with that which I have long since considered mundane3. If not for the expense, mess, time consideration, pregnancy, labor and general responsibility, I would have a child of my own.

Of course I fully recognize that, absent those factors, I’m essentially left with a learning algorithm. Which is why I intend to craft my children of metal and light instead of settling for the product of our baser exertions45.

Right. So anyway, I’m looking for edutainment toys for my nephew – or at least something sort of science-themed. As opposed to plush, squeaky-themed toys, because those are for dogs. I ordered him a baby version of a Hoberman Sphere and was very pleased with myself. I went back to check on my order and found my money had been refunded, as they were out of stock. I griped about this in front actual parents, who were horrified because playing with one of these things is obviously a death sentence for a child. Again – it was in the infant section. They’re in stock again – I’m still going to order one because, well, there’s a picture of an infant playing with it on the site, and that seems to pretty solidly support my case.

I’ll hear other suggestions for toys if anyone has any. Obviously he’s a bit young for a chemistry set. Which is to say that I asked my sister, and she said no. Rendered terrified of an accusation of child endangerment, I’m basically just compiling a list of ideas now, which I will present to her for approval. And before anyone mentions it, it is also apparently “too soon” for a rock tumbler.

Oh, and since I’m discussing my sister’s kid, I will mention that she and baby-daddy tied the knot last weekend. Here’s the best picture taken that day:


Bitches don't even know.

Amber, from now on, it is inappropriate to refer to your friends as anything other than your crew.

Peace.

1Incidentally, I’ve also read that children do not develop a sense of other until around 5 or 7. For some reason that seems rather late to me, but it would explain why kids are kind of assholes.
2I have taken some pretty intense stimulants designed to forcibly wrangle my thoughts into some sort of manageable direction. I am, on occasion, uncomfortably energetic.
3Although to be fair, I was also pretty fascinated by watching my dog figure out how to eat a tortilla off of the kitchen floor.
4No offense intended to current parents. I’m certain your progeny are all the very essence of cherubic perfection, yet as individual and special as a snowflake crafted by the hand of a loving god.
5Have I been using superscripts correctly? I feel like they are supposed to go before the punctuation when used on the last word in a sentence, but it doesn’t look right for some reason.

Back me up Mr. Malthus

I already know I’m going to get shit for this from all five people that read what I post, but I don’t think this is necessarily a bad idea: UK official proposes “temporarily” sterilizing teen girls. For argument’s sake, let’s say it’s completely safe – will not hinder development, will not cause ovaries to erupt into tumors, etc. Seems at least like a not terrible idea . . .

Of course I’m also a fan of requiring a breeding license before you start inflicting your offspring on the general population – to at least make sure you can afford to cast your lot into the gene pool rather than filling out your welfare forms during the first trimester. And before anyone cries inappropriate government interference, consider that you already need a license to get married, drive a car, carry a gun or catch a fish. It’s not such an infringement on your rights to make sure you can afford a kid before you have one. You don’t actually have a right to breed and expect the state to compel the rest of the population to support your young.

And where do you suppose most of the welfare mums come from? Just taking a wild guess, I’d say a fair amount were high school girls either too stupid, uninformed or self-destructive to take steps to prevent a pregnancy. I knew a lot of girls in high school that ended up pregnant. One girl admitted to me that she thought as long as the guy pulled out, you were ok. That’s bad enough for a face-palm, but I also knew a girl whose plan was to get pregnant and collect welfare. That was it – she had figured out how many kids she needed to have to get by without even working. Is . . . is it going too far to think some people need their uterus revoked?

I don’t think this is going to make teenagers more promiscuous. Most kids feel as though they are exempt from consequences anyway – it just seems to go with the youthful territory. This would just protect them – and the rest of society – from their own poor judgement.

As part of a greater plan, you give the girls one of the five year implants, say from 13-18 or 12-17. Health classes starting in or around the seventh grade should start educating kids about sex. Yes this should happen in schools. No, this is not the domain of parents – at least not anymore than any other school subject is. Homeschool if you want, but know that if your kid doesn’t understand the basics, you fucked up. Sexual reproduction is a biological function, and as such is the province of science, not ethics. Much like our other biological functions, a series of social mores and restrictions have grown up around it – that is a more personal subject, and probably the right time to tell the public educators to butt out.

“Fixing” your kids for a few years might be an extreme step for a parent to take, but if it were safe I think I’d do it. I’ve said before – I’d advocate a broad spectrum vaccination for all STDs at birth if such a thing were available. I wouldn’t fear my child becoming a sex addict at fourteen because of it. Ideology can still be taught. If the ideology takes hold, then that young person will have made their choices based on the “right” reasons, rather than out of fear of mundane repercussions. If the ideology does not take hold . . .well, then at least society will not have to bear the burden of the person’s choices.

Signs

I drove down to visit my mom again yesterday for Thanksgiving. On the way down to visit, I always pass this sign, and it always makes me giggle:



It makes me picture some of the mentals wandering away from their keepers and entrenching themselves in some abandoned barn. Or possibly a cave. In any event, I’m certain a wall of pillows would be involved, and the head crazy would get a fancy hat as a symbol of his office.

There are a lot of bilboards in semi-southern WV imploring people to read their bibles and go to church. My favourite was one that simply stated “Read the Bible. It is the word of God.” Underneath was a Bible verse. I didn’t get a chance to read what it was, but I want very much to believe that it was a some verse asserting itself to be God’s word, just to highlight the circular nonsense that so many seem oblivious to.

There was also a great sign that said “Abortion is forever.” I’m not really sure what that was meant to accomplish, as I’m relatively certain that anyone getting an abortion is not really looking for a temporary solution to the problem.

Long post is long.

Behold, the site of my formative years:


ac79fe0d5ff46e4a50746b9f64fa02e2

This is my mom’s house, which, due to her mental condition, I have been looking after for a number of years as part of my role as her guardian. In this case, looking after basically means getting someone to mow the lawn every now and then, ensuring taxes are paid on time and making sure her neighbors keep their redneck detritus from trickling over onto her property. You have not lived until you have argued with a drunk stroke victim about moving a boat hitch off your lawn. The man spoke with a particular dialect that I probably would not have understood even if he’d had the benefit of teeth and full facial muscular control. I know I didn’t get the full meaning of what he was saying, but it involved squatter’s rights and how there hadn’t been anyone living in that house for a while. He also offered to put new siding on the house for a nominal fee.

I’ve wanted to rent the house out for a while now, but it wasn’t entirely livable – and my mom did not have the funds to hire people to make all the necessary repairs. The house being in another state also complicated the matter. So my smom and sister discussed the issue last time I was home, and we decided that Amber and her boyfriend would handle all the repairs with my mom footing the bill for the raw materials. In return, they would get to live there for a while rent free while fixing the place up.

I wanted to put the before and after pictures up at the same time, but my sister has turned a deaf ear to my pleas for pictures. Pictures which are apparently sitting on her computer, and need only the hand of a sentient user to post them somewhere.

Anyway.

Here are some of the before pictures:
Continue reading

Appalachian Tales

My visit to the homeland drew to a close on Monday, and I find myself once again in the realm of enlightenment and gentility that is central Ohio.

One activity which I rather enjoy when visiting is taking in the local color of my hometown. People are friendly and more than willing to spend a few minutes with a stranger sharing their views regarding race, politics and a woman’s place. It should be noted that many people in the area are not terribly well-off – a situation that seems to contribute toward general poor health through either a lack of resources, education or some combination of the two. This was something that I generally accepted seeing on a regular basis – plenty of people in my own family had a spotty bill of health. Unfortunate, yes, but not really noteworthy.

Then there are those whose ailments have been with them since birth – the genetically challenged. Now I’m not talking about the short bus kiddie (who, by the way, has been gifted a puppy who’s breath will likely be squeezed from him in the grip of an enthusiastic tard hug – way to think that through mom & dad!). I’m talking about the seriously messed up Hills Have Eyes fucks shuffling aimlessly up and down the sidewalks. I’m saying these ones have problems stemming from lack of genetic diversity, if you understand.

Even after dealing with every joke and stereotype regarding sketchy relationships between kin, I really never thought it was so prevalent. I asked my smom about this and she just chuckled and said that it still happens a lot. Not as much as it used to, but often enough so that you shouldn’t be terribly shocked to see Sloth cruising the neighborhood.

She related a story about a gentleman she knew who had a less than firm grasp on both societal and biological standards for family conduct. He had just lost his wife and my smom was talking to him about how he and his family were doing without her. He explained to her that his wife’s household duties had now fallen to his eldest daughter, Berlinda (that’s Berlinda, not Belinda). Smom agreed that was for the best since she was living there and old enough to pick up the chores. He pointed out that it wasn’t just the chores – all his wife’s old duties were passed to Berlinda. A this point she still wasn’t quite picking up what he was getting at, just nodding and asking if she was a good cook and if she managed to keep up with all the cleaning. He assured her that Berlinda was adequately skilled at all her chores.

After a bit he mentions that he had been visited by a man from the state and a pastor. Apparently that man from the state told him he couldn’t have relations with Berlinda no more. This was a notion that he found utterly bewildering, and informed my smom that he didn’t “pay no mind to that as it was just man’s law”. He was a bit more moved when the pastor pointed out that the relationship was not condoned by god either. Apparently he didn’t know that it was improper for “an old man to lay down with them youngens like that”.

Traditionally a visit back home prompts a bit of a cleansing ritual when I return. Sometimes it takes the form of a hot bath or a nice soothing cup of tea. This time, it took the form of me bleaching the christ out of my hair.



The burning in my scalp makes me feel all clean again.

Aberrant Conveyance

I’m in WV this week for my family reunion on Sunday, as well as to bid my brother safe journey on his road trip to LA (he left this morning). I expect to have more to post later on. The long weekend has been – and will likely continue to be – eventful.

But for now . . . well, this happened:



If you’re wondering what manner of arms I have taken up, that would be a gas powered blender that I am wielding in my off-hand.



I instructed my sister to take up a crossbow and man the rear cooler. She would not comply.

Having exhausted the entertainment possibilities of a motorized cooler, I went upstairs and bought some fudge. It was a pretty full day for me.