Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Somehow, it's fitting that tonight I held a small memorial service for my grandma. A close friend and his family visited Kansas City. My friend performed some prayers and said a few words about grandma. The point wasn't a gathering of people, I've had that through various close friends and family. The point was ceremony.

The day before, I watched the Phoenix land with a small group of people. And the night before that, I went to a party held by my adopted sister. This weekend on a whole has led me to think about my life, the lives of those around me, and what I want out of the world. What strikes me most is the substance of the past few weeks. As a society, I think we sometimes loose track of the important things. And then, I realize what today is.

I believe our country is sick. A festering illness is rotting away our very core. On Memorial Day, we choose to remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we hold dear. And yet, as a people we have taken those freedoms and spat upon them. The illness lies in our own ego and pride - the belief that we are always right. It hops into our churches and courthouses. It sinks into our speech.

In Iraq, our forces fight to 'bring freedom to the people'. What strikes me though is that I'm not sure we remember what freedom is. Freedom is not a form of government. Freedom is a way of thinking. Freedom is self-determination. The Founding Fathers of our country recognized freedom, and attempted to form a government that would foster an environment for freedom. How can we bring freedom to another people when we ourselves have forgotten it?

Our attitude toward freedom is only one among many symptoms though. Freedom is just one of many basic rights. In forgetting it, we forget our responsibilities to others which allow us to remain free. That failure of responsibility manifests itself in our lack of decency and respect for human dignity.

Churches have become havens of hypocrisy, espousing a message that condemns abortion as murder, yet supporting politicians that would ignore the right of the poor to basic health care. We condemn human rights abuses in China, but currently rank near the top for executing prisoners. Not to mention the current debate as to what does or does not count as torture. We allow debt collectors and creditors to encourage enormous debts of stupid children and then turn and collect from them until they die.

As a country, it is time to turn back to the things that made us great. When facing a powerful opponent, this country once chose to demonstrate our ability instead of only poking the bully. And on July 21, 1969 the results of that demonstration became clear. Man walked on the moon. In that moment, the world took a collective gasp and all realized their humanity. The biggest blows in the cold war were not military victories or defeats. They were the battles for the minds and imaginations of people.

Sadly, preachers, politicians, and schools continue to espouse egoist messages and hate. The current war is not about bringing freedom to the middle east - it's about forcing a people to move to our government, convert to our religion, and give us their oil. We are taking a valuable opportunity to lead the world and frontiers of science and instead focusing our resources on imperialism.

So, on this Memorial Day, I remember the soldiers, and hope that we also remember our humanity.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Grandma, Rest In Peace

1921 - 2008

Despite our differences, I will miss you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Denial, Religion, Depression

Death is a tough thing, especially when it's close. I took a rather long road trip to visit a relative. Reports as to her health varied. Some look at this whole cancer thing as beatable, but the realist in me knows the odds aren't good. Nearing 90, cancer is tough. The truth here is that 'candidate for treatment' is going out the window even more every day.

So, visiting the situation was tough. It was even tougher with the whole religion question between my parents and I and my other relatives. A select few of my immediate relatives are not members of the cult. That said, they fall into the bible-belt Christian category. Relations between them and my family have been tense for years. Of course, my family and me don't have the best of relations either. So, I get to feel the brunt from both sides. Even more fun - the constant preaching and digs from my family.

So, I've been back in Kansas City for three and a half days now. Mentally, I still haven't recovered from the trip. It's not exactly easy seeing someone you are close to on death's door. The trip also forced me into some disturbing realizations.

The first of which, is I'm no longer sure how much of my separation from my family is me versus the family. On one hand, I hear things like "If you bring Christmas presents, you're no longer welcome at this house". On the other, at least my mom calls every now and again just to talk. And yet, they can't call or talking without preaching at me somehow.

I don't like the 'game' we are playing. And, it's worn very thin. We don't really stay in touch. We have an illusion of staying in touch. My parents preach at me, and I don't tell them about the vast majority of my life and views of the morally bankrupt Watchtower corporation. Because, *if* I told them about my hobbies and passions, I'd no longer be welcome there.

So, despite having gone through so much effort to break free, I don't feel free of it. I'm quickly reaching the conclusion that the only way I'll be able to relax mentally is to clearly let the family know, that not only do I view the religion as a fucking cult, but I have no intention of ever returning to it. Still, doing that would be devastating to my mom.

Why do I even care anymore?

An honest look at this here just shows me that whatever joy I gain from my family is overpowered by the crap relationship that the cult has created. It seems that I have worked so hard for others happiness, that I have no clue what I want. I just wish I could shut off my feelings for my family. Not give a fuck if they live or die. I'm sick of dealing with people that see me as "not doing anything about the truth". I'm sick of dealing with people that say they want to say hi, but really are just going to give an hour long preaching session.

Then, to add to my mental brain fuck, after spending a few days surrounded by people and family, I speed back to Kansas City. Down South, smothered by people who view me as sick. Up North, completely alone.

Truth be told, in the cult, I never felt like a liability. And now, I look at my general mindset, and think I am. I hate feeling like a needy bitch when I'm around people. And as I hate that, I generally hate being around people as well.

So, being around my family, trying to say goodbye to family, just showed me that caring hurts.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Still calling....

BCR == asshats

They called. In fact, they called twice today. And left messages.

Despite telling them I am not the person they are looking, they continue to call, repeatedly.


Going to call their corporate office and try to get some resolution.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Need some advice...

I have been receiving phone calls from a company listed as "BCR". They have repeatedly called and asked for someone that is not me. Generally, they like to stretch the bounds of legal limits in terms of calling times. I have respectfully informed them the person they were looking for did not have this number, and that I did not wish them to call back. They continue calling.

Unfortunately, the calls continue. My question: what steps do I need to take in terms of getting these annoying, daily, phone calls to stop? As I have no business relationship with these people and have repeatedly asked them to stop calling, is this not violating SOME law? If it's not, it damn well should be.

The number they are calling me with is: 1.866.364.9836 - this number is tied to numerous complaints online in regards to harassing phone calls. I do not have an address or any information with which to write them.

A small part of me wants to inflict some pain upon them in some legal way/shape/form for repeatedly waking me up on the weekend and interrupting my dinner. I think I actually became "that guy" with this last phone calling, telling them "You have me really pissed off, I don't fucking know ****, I'm sick of your calling, and I don't want you to call back. Am I clear?"

Which was responded to with a click. You know, if I was ***** I'd be fairly upset about a debt collecting firm calling some random person and informing them that I owed a debt. Again, if that's not illegal, it damn well SHOULD be.

If they call again tomorrow, I might just stroke. As if dealing making a trip to a family that thinks I'm the anti-Christ to say goodbye to a dieing relative wasn't enough.


Sunday, May 4, 2008


In a few days, I'll be traveling again. A close relative has cancer and it appears that after over 80 years of life, her end has come. And so, I now sit and wonder about life and death and my own mortality. Everyone in the family is grieving now.

As religious people, they have a "hope" for her- an expectation of life after death. This hope is concrete in their minds. Why then, the pain and anguish? If life after death is a real possibility, something to be counted on, and that life will be full of bliss and joy, why be sad? Why cry? As a young child, I took that view entirely. I'm told that after the death of a baby, I walked up to the casket, and whispered, "don't cry, she's just sleeping, she'll wake up in paradise". As a child, I accepted the possibility of life after death completely. As an adult, I have yet to reach a level of certainty about life and death. A large part of me believes that we do have souls, and that death is not an end, but the close of a chapter.

Unlike the child that whispered near the casket so many years ago, I have to admit that I'm not so resolute in that faith. Some people seem to break this general rule. The description of Socrates' death has him cheerful as he drinks a poison cocktail after receiving a death sentence.

It doesn't matter what faith or non-faith you hold, death raises a multitude of questions - the ethics and morality of how to die, how to sustain life, how to care for the dead, what happens to the dead. For the most part, our rituals and handling of death are more for the living than the dead. There are a multitude of different rituals designed to honor the dead. In the United States, there is the standard Christian style service. Some rituals in other lands involve things that many would say are immoral - such as cannibalism.

With all the fear and sadness and ritual, I wonder, do people really believe in the after-life? Looking at the behavior of people, I'm convinced that the vast majority have some deep rooted doubt. They are not the young child - they have seen enough of life to have lost some faith.

The general effect of death on me has been motivation. The current situation raises some questions. How do I want to die? How do I want to be remembered? What do I want for those around me after I die?

Without a doubt, my worst fear to this day is that I should die alone. For some reason, this has always been my worst fear, even back when I was a member of the cult. Maybe, it's because I never really managed a tangible relationship with another human while in the cult - either romance or friends. Sure, you have people you know, but real friends? Not often.

How do I want to be remembered? I don't know. The only thing I know is that I want to be remembered. When my time is up, I'd like someone to look back from time to time and remember me.

Iron Man

It was good.

Perfect casting.

Make sure you wait through the credits!!!!!!

Kept me awake, even though I had to see a 10:40 PM showing after running errands all day and getting ready for a trip to Dallas. It's been a long day. I'm getting sleep. :)