Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Embarrassed Relief

Mountain Mama called me at work today. I saw her cell number on my caller ID at work and got a little nervous. When she calls me at work, it's usually on my cell. I got more nervous when I heard her teary voice.

"Laurel, I've got some bad news," she began. My mind whirled. Not my dad! Or my brother or his kids! Maybe my only aunt? I sat down.

"The minister's husband was killed in a car wreck yesterday evening. She was at a board meeting yesterday and hadn't heard from him yet. Then a few hours later, she found out about the accident. The wreck was so bad that it burned for 2 hours before they could get him out. Of course he was gone by then."

Mountain Mama and Daddy's minister is a really neat person whom I like a lot. I consider her my minister as I haven't yet found a church home here and my registration is still there, even though I can only make it a few times a year for services.

"Oh, my God! That's terrible. God bless her and the kids, and may He give them the strength they'll need. How is she?" I asked.

"Our friends spent the night with her. She's doing as well as she can be, and the kids will be coming today, which will help."

As we talked I looked it up online in the hometown paper, I felt an embarrassing sense of relief. Yes, it's terrible and I feel for the minister and her children, the youngest of whom started college this fall. But I breathed a little easier than I had before. My family was all fine. And then, of course, I felt guilty. I can't imagine what's like to lose my father so young. Actually, I can't imagine it now. I began my prayers for them.

Mountain Mama was still describing the horrific accident and memorial details along with the shock and disbelief. "I guess you just never know when your time will come," she said.

"Mama, Daddy's on the other phone. Let me call you back. I love you," I said, because Mountain Mama is right, as always. You never know. And when I called her back after I talked to Mountain Daddy, I ended the same way.

And that's why every time I talk to her, I tell her that I love her. Because you never know.

Prayers are appreciated for the minister and the congregation. They are used to being on the receiving end of her comfort. I'm praying that they, and I, will be able to comfort her half as well.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Would You Have been a Nazi?

Here's a fascinating question: would you have been a Nazi? Take the test. It's quite interesting.

Here are my results:

Your result for The Would You Have Been a Nazi Test...

The Expatriate

Achtung! You are 31% brainwashworthy, 32% antitolerant, and 24% blindly patriotic

Congratulations! You are not susceptible to brainwashing, your values and cares extend beyond the borders of your own country, and your Blind Patriotism does not reach unhealthy levels. If you had been German in the 30s, you would've left the country.

One bad scenario -- as I hypothetically project you back in time -- is that you just wouldn't have cared one way or the other about Nazism. Maybe politics don't interest you enough. But the fact that you took this test means they probably do. I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt.

Did you know that many of the smartest Germans departed prior to the beginning of World War II, because they knew some evil shit was brewing? Brain Drain. Many of them were scientists. It is very possible you could have been one of them.

Conclusion: born and raised in Germany in the early 1930's, you would not have been a Nazi.

The Would You Have Been A Nazi? Test

- it rules -

Take The Would You Have Been a Nazi Test at HelloQuizzy

But the problem is that I'm not sure that I would have left. I think I might have tried to stay and work for change. I know, dumb, dumb. What with the current state of affairs financially, I'm even more scared of the way things are going around here.

I will be Starfleet Crew

Your result for Reincarnation Placement Exam...

Starfleet Crewperson

52% Intrigue, 63% Civilization, 65% Humanity, 51% Urbanization.


As Mister Spock would say: Fascinating. It seems you've managed to hit the edge of the curve on all metrics. An extraordinary life is almost certain.

According to your answers, you want it all, you want a lot of it, and you're willing to do what it takes to get it! Adventure! Romance! Technology! Challenge! You love civilization. You like people. You love the complications and joys of a big, weird crowd of humans plus lots of other beings wandering into dangerous and complicated corners of the galaxy.

There is an ideal place for you, and you are ideal for it: Welcome to the crew of the starship Enterprise. Captain Kirk would have welcomed you aboard himself, but his head was too big to fit in the landing bay.

Take Reincarnation Placement Exam at HelloQuizzy

it woudl be so nice

That's the name of the early Pink Floyd song I'm listening to now. After learning that Pink Floyd founder Rick Wright died today at age 65, I had to put on some early Pink Floyd to soothe my soul. I've always thought of them as my favorite group, from the early goofy, psychedelic side with Syd Barrett to the later heavier concept albums characteristic of the Waters years. I always hope they'll get back together, but now I don't think that will happen, at least not in this life.

Is he now with the departed Syd Barrett, jamming and creating treats for the ears? It would be so nice.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sexism Bad. Racism Good. Or at least acceptable.

I'm so mad right now I could just spit.

I just read that Georgia GOP congressman called the Obamas `uppity'. Now, quick quiz here: what word follows "uppity?" That's's a six-letter word that starts with "n," ends with "r," and has ignorance in the middle. It is not acceptable on this blog or around me.

Yet Democrats have been so sexist because some have been wondering about Palin's family situation with an infant with Down Syndrome and a 17-year-old unmarried, pregnant daughter. I have been denouncing these under the "good for the goose, good for the gander" doctrine of "if you wouldn't say it about a man, it's sexist to say it about a woman." (My thinking on that is evolving as well.) I've heard no "don't worry your pretty little head" talk, which I've had directed at me in the past. So the sexism isn't the worst I've heard or even experienced.

But to say something so blatantly racist and THEN deny that was the intent, that's just beyond the pale. I've had plenty of lies this week watching the RNC so I should be inured, but this one takes the cake. For someone in rural Georgia to NOT know what follows "uppity" is like claiming to have never eaten a biscuit. it just doesn't happen. I lived in rural Georgia and am very well aware of the racism that can still exist there. (Doesn't everywhere, but it's there enough to be a problem.)

So, Senator Obama, go after them. Take off the gloves and make everyone see what kinds of folks these are. It's bad enough to make this "slip of the tongue." It's even worse to deny it.

Watch this space for updates as my thinking evolves and I cool down.

Monday, September 01, 2008

In W.Va., Unexpected Riches

Here's a fascinating article from about a place I've been meaning to visit for years, Bramwell, WV.

Bramwell (pronounced Brammel, not as it's spelled) was Grand Central of the coal operators back in the day. My home town was as well. In fact, the Watson mansion is a lovely, sprawling mansion in the center of town, now the home to two businesses, a rest home and a funeral parlor. With my morbid streak, I've often wondered if there's a two-fer deal if residents contract for services at both businesses.

But back to it. With my love for all things old and Victorian, I'd love to go to Bramwell to see the architecture. Plus, you've got to want to visit the location of the world's longest poker game (according to Ripley's Believe it or Not).

But nothing comes for free. While the operators were imbibing centuries-old Scotch and their wives were bathing in Chanel No. 5, miners and their families were suffering. The riches the article speaks of did not extend to the coal camps. Or the mines. Abhorrent safety conditions in the mines and dreadful sanitation practices in the coal camps (set up by the operators) lead to extreme mortality rates. That's not to mention the massive disasters. Don't'll hear personal accounts on the Monongah disaster of 1908 (OK, so I wasn't around then, but Grandma was) closer to the anniversary. These conditions were what financed Bramwell and the Watson mansion. There was a lot of money made those days. None went to the ones taking the risks and doing the work.

I just don't know if I can visit Bramwell and marvel at the architecture without seeing blood from my people dripping from the gingerbread.

What say you?

Sexist Attacks on Palin

Over the past few days, I"ve seen plenty of attacks on Sarah Palin. I've got to admit, I don't like her, and I think it's a terrible choice for McCain to have made. On the other hand, I thank McCain for this choice as it's an obvious and blatant ploy for Hillary's supporters. In fact, I giggled most of the day on Friday when I heard. And it wasn't just because Friday was the first day I was able to smile or eat solid food (mouth infection last week...Mother warned me that it would happen if I keep saying dirty words).

But one item that concerns me is that there have been a number of sexist attacks on her over the past few days.
I know you've seen the allegations that her youngest child is actually the offspring of her daughter. There have also been attacks saying that, with a young Down Syndrome child at home, she should be taking care of him.

I have just one question. If Sarah Palin were Seth Palin, would these questions still come up? I don't think so. Is anyone asking who is taking care of Barack Obama's children? Or who is taking care of Jenna and Barbara? Or Chelsea Clinton? Nope, didn't think so. When we attack a woman on a topic that we wouldn't even think of attacking a man on, that's sexist.

"but Laurel, Obama has been subjected to racist and xenophobic comments for months!" some may say. And that's right. But I expect a higher standard from us. We know evil and injustice when we see it, and we fight against it in any instance we see. We don't perpetrate it. (In this case, WE=fair-minded individuals who haven't drunk the Republican Kool-Ade and actually have two firing neurons. Which means most of the folks who read my blog.)

Besides, attacking family lives indicates that there's nothing else for us to attack, and that's just not true. Take a look at this 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire and especially Palin's responses. There is so much there to attack. As a matter of fact, last night my Honey and I sat here and picked apart these answers. Try it. It's fun!!

I'll get you started:

11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

OK, fact check here. Let's take a look at the history of the Pledge, shall we? The first thing you'll notice is that the pledge was written in 1852. That's a good 50 years after the Founding Fathers had passed. What did they do, dictate it by Ouji board?

But even then, that pledge didn't include the phrase "under God." That was added in the McCarthy era. And boy, oh boy, if there's a time that the Republicans love and would like to return to, it's the McCarthy era.

And funny, I've read the Constitution, but I didn't see McCarthy's name on it anywhere.

I'd like for my leaders to have at least a glimmer of an idea about the history of the US and our most important documents.

Your turn. Pick a ridiculous position and pick it apart. it's easy and fun!!

Crossposted at Appalachian Greens.