Double confession

They say confession is good for the soul.

For years I’ve considered McDonald’s the fast food of last resort–just generally kind of gross and unappetizing–and all in all I still do, especially now that I’m even less inclined to eat crap as a matter of course.

But I really like the simple and cheap Jalapeño Double.

Please don’t judge me.

Or do.

Doesn’t really matter to me one way or the other.

Just forgiven

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“Christians aren’t perfect…just forgiven.”

That bumper sticker is one of those little things that years ago pushed me over the edge into atheism. It’s as if the whole message comes down to “As a Christian, I don’t have to take any responsibility for my own actions. I can pretty much do whatever the hell I want as long as I pray for forgiveness precisely one second before I die.” It’s like there’s a coupon for heaven and you’re all set as long as you hit the expiration date and follow the fine print.

Yes, I know this does not really reflect what most Christians believe, but it’s pretty much the impression I absorbed through my own pretty strenuous religious indoctrination as a youngster and I guarantee you a lot of other nonbelievers absorb this very same message. Let’s just say these stickers (and this particular message) may not be the effective outreach tools they’re meant to be.

More troubling, though, is that so many within the Christian right seem to be asserting a similar dismissal of personal responsibility in the public arena these days, suggesting that anything they say or do should have no repercussions whatsoever just as long as they’re “expressing their beliefs”.

One recent example is the very earnestly conservative talk show host in Texas who recently walked off the set when her more liberal colleagues said things she didn’t like. Granted, this show doesn’t seem to advance an especially high level of discourse on either side of the spectrum–the two “liberal” hosts kept using the word “racist” when they clearly meant “prejudiced”, for example–but it is illustrative of a bigger issue among mainstream religious conservatives. If Amy Kushnir is disciplined for this–and I very much doubt she will be–you can be sure this segment of the population will be up in arms because of the old paper tiger that she was persecuted for “expressing her Christian beliefs” rather than for the real issue: she behaved unprofessionally and abandoned her job by walking off the set in the middle of a live broadcast.

Think about it. If a cashier at Walmart or Target abandoned a line of customers at his register because one of these customers said something or bought a product he disagreed with, everyone would expect him to be fired or at least disciplined. Even the cashier himself would see it coming from a mile away. Can’t we expect at least the same level of accountability from someone who has made her way into a career as a public figure? Evidently not, if she’s “forgiven” and probably doesn’t even recognize that she did anything inappropriate or unprofessional in the first place.

I find it hilarious to watch today’s conservatives morph into the very same whiny victims they used to criticize liberals for being…and to see how quickly they abandon the whole “personal responsibility” thing they allegedly valued so strongly in the past.

God may hate but I just don’t care

Fred Phelps was an evil man…and a sick one. Talking about dancing on his grave and celebrating at his funeral, though, puts people at pretty much the same level as Fred and his followers. That’s not of the higher levels.

I would be lying if I said I mourned his passing; I’m pretty certain the world actually IS a better place without Fred Phelps. The only charitable thing I can say about the man is that he did a lot of important (if unintentional) work toward equality for the people he hated most. Mainly, though, he was just a bitter, miserable old man who made it his business to spread around his misery as effectively as possible.

I do, however, like to think that I can conduct myself with more dignity and respect for humanity than Phelps or his family ever have. They probably don’t deserve that much consideration, but behaving better than the Phelps clan would in a similar situation requires almost no effort at all.

Which is precisely the amount I’m willing to put into it…

Smoke this…

This will become more of an issue in coming years as Prohibition falls around the country: Why is it that people who would howl in protest if anyone lit a cigarette within half a mile of them think it’s just fine to smoke pot anytime and anywhere?

I support reform of drug laws. I’m pretty much in favor of decriminalization, legalization, or whatever is appropriate as long as the process recognizes two things: (1) that marijuana is an intoxicating substance that affects things like driving, work, parenting, etc.; and (2) that smoking marijuana is still smoking and should be just as unacceptable in public or other smoke-free spaces as smoking cigarettes would be.

For reference. those of us who don’t do either–while we very well may support drug law reform–would prefer not to be personally exposed to whichever burning substance you’re inhaling today. That’s pretty much the definition of a smoke-free environment. (And yes, at this point I acknowledge that I smoked cigarettes for years and was less than discriminating about where I did so, something for which I am now incredibly sorry.)

I think that’s one of the things that has irritated me so much over the years about marijuana advocates: the smug self-righteousness–especially common in Northern California, where this first became an issue for me and where smug self-righteousness is nearly ubiquitous–that suggests that just because marijuana has been unjustly penalized for years it should now be smoked by everyone, everywhere, whenever the spirit moves. Marijuana is not the “salvation of the world.” It’s just another recreational drug that may or may not have some health benefits for a small percentage of the population and should probably be legal. It’s also one that produces a foul-smelling and harmful cloud of smoke just like cigarettes do when ingested in certain ways.

Dear stupid kids down the hall…

I really don’t give a damn if you want to smoke pot. It’s your brain and your lungs. But could you please not do it in a nonsmoking room on a nonsmoking floor, so the rest of us don’t have to smell the nasty shit? Your clue for the night: Setting it on fire and inhaling it, no matter what the substance is, is pretty much the definition of “smoking.” It’s just as toxic and just as annoying whether it’s marijuana or tobacco.

So stop it.

Now.

Thank you.

This is what it looks like when websites die

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I built this site years ago when I was still doing freelance work. It was never one I was especially proud of but at least it used to work. It’s been on a death spiral in the years since I gave it up and has finally degraded to the level you see here. It amazes me that a large company like Fox Broadcasting (which purchased the station earlier this year) would let something like this remain active as the station’s only web presence. Why not just shut it down completely?

I’ve half a mind to call them and offer to log in (I’m sure my old password still works) and at least pull the plug since they obviously either don’t know or don’t care how to do it themselves. For a fee, of course…

The stupid– as ever–hurts

A friend posted this on Facebook today, joking that it was time to get rid of his e-cigs. So here’s my take: I’ll stipulate that smoking pot is almost certainly less of a health risk than smoking tobacco. It very well may not cause lung cancer. But can any rational human being really believe that intentionally and directly inhaling any kind of smoke could ever be a healthy–or even neutral–thing to do to your lungs?

Maybe I’m just being a self-righteous ex-smoker but “it probably doesn’t cause lung cancer” is not a ringing endorsement. Neither do heroin, booze, Chicken McNuggets, and Nickelback records, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good for you. Should icky, annoying vices be criminalized just because they’re potentially harmful? Of course not. But believing that smoking pot is a free ride healthwise is pretty much just delusional.

Your limited gubmint

It seems that whole Republican “limited government” philosophy only applies when starting or ending a marriage is not involved.

I will not allow the state to decide how a portion of my income will be spent nor to regulate my business, but I’m happy as a clam to allow the state to tell me whom I may choose to marry and how long we must stay together.

Uh huh…