Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Keeping the 'X' in Xmas

Every year, around...oh, I don't know....September, you start hearing ads for what the best new xmas gift will be, where the big sales will be, an endless barrage of holiday music and bells ringing everytime you try and walk into a store to buy some toothpaste or a frozen pizza...and honestly? I fricken love it.

I love decorating the tree and watching snow storms and drinking cocoa and eating popcorn from my stepgrandparents while we open gifts...the whole thing.  Ok, well I am not too into the consumerism, but even I like to see a tree with a bunch of nicely wrapped boxes underneath.

But there is one thing I hate about about xmas, I hear it over and over and it annoys me more each time.  I'm referring to the "keeping the christ in christmas" crowd.  You know who I mean, those (uninformed) individuals who think that saying 'xmas' instead of 'christmas' is right up there with burning bibles or punching the pope.

People seem to get all upset that saying x-mas is somehow sacrilegious, that it is deleting Christ from the holiday. Actually though the root of the X in Xmas is a Greek letter meaning “chi” that looks like an X. X has been used as an abbreviation for Christ used by the Christians since about 100 ad. Christians during that time frequently referred to themselves as Xians or Xistians and referred to the “mass of Christ” (Christmas) as Xmas. It is not a recent thing, it is not a way for non-religious people to take the religion out of Christmas, it is an abbreviation that was started by the earliest Christians and was used by the church.

But if you really want to get worked up about how Christmas has lost its Christians roots look at St. Nicholas (The Saint that Santa Claus is based on). St. Nicholas was a man who anonymously donated his money to helping the poor. On that note, helping the poor was also a pretty big part of Christ’s message. Whether you call it Xmas or Christmas, I think everyone can admit that rampant consumerism has become one of the main focuses of the holiday season.

So maybe instead of worrying about what arbitrary abbreviations other people should or should not use, spend this holiday season worrying about homeless people, people losing their homes to foreclosure, the growing number of the unemployed in the US, people who have to risk their lives at war in order to afford college (I know that isn’t the only reason people join the military but it is one of them) people without health insurance, people who can’t afford enough food, or the millions of people in developing nations who are living in abject poverty because of how the US economy is run.

There is my rant.

Have a Safe and Happy (Christmas / Xmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / December / Whatever)

does this post seem a little familiar to any of you? It was originally on facebook and it was after writing this that I decided I wanted a blog.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


So we had an election in the US yesterday. My state (Wisconsin) is now officially a red (republican) state and I am pretty....shocked? Disgusted? Angry? Yeah...all those things.

So when I was around eleven or twelve, my older cousin recommended the book 1984 by George Orwell to me. If you haven't read it, it is about a guy who is living in a dysutopian future where everything is controlled by a war hungry government.

When I read that book, I really got into it. After that I started looking for other books with the same plot-line which led me to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and then Anthem by Ayn Rand...which led me to Ayn Rand in general which eventually made me pick up the communist manifesto. (I know Ayn Rand has become the figurehead of the teabaggers but she is a good writer, she made up some evil philosophies but she's still a good storyteller).

Anyway, sounds a little convoluted but that is, in a nutshell, how I got started thinking about societal inequality and what kind of governmental system I think is the most moral. In other words, that is basically how I became a socialist.

So back to my point...the election.  I've been a socialist since around eighth grade, I am pretty aware of the fact that most people in the US equate socialism to devil worship. Joe McCarthy wasn't all that long ago and the red scare is something that people still remember so it never shocks me that there aren't socialist candidates on the ballots. I mean, sure I would love to see them there, but I know basically you have a choice between democrats and republicans. Sure you can vote for an independent (and I have) but when you do that you kind of know that your candidate isn't going to end up in office.

Now I have some friends who are socialists who don't vote at all out of principal. Their belief is that the lesser of two evils is still evil and that a democrat or a republican is just going to help the rich no matter what promises they make in their campaign. And they are usually right.

However, this my analogy for why I vote democrat. Ok, say you are starving to death and even though you are entitled to a full meal, even though you have worked very hard for it and totally deserve it, you are told that you can only have either a slice of bread or a few bread crumbs...what are you going to pick? The slice of bread right? Is it as good as the meal? Obviously no...but isn't it better than the bread crumbs?

My point is, I don't think that the democratic party will end up giving the American public what it deserves. Its just that I think the Republican party will give us even less. And it isn't just theory. I have a good friend whose family will now be without insurance because Scott Walker(R) was elected Governor instead of Tom Barrett (D). I mean, that’s a tangible thing. She will no longer have access to healthcare based on this election.

I know that my vote will never change the system. I don't really think that capitalism will bite the dust until more people wake up to the fact that the American dream isn't reality, but I still can't not vote. Not when things like my friends healthcare or my sister's disability funding or abortion rights hang in the balance.

So OK, now that I justified why I am arguing for democrats, let me get back (again) to the election. The only politician that I really every trusted, Russ Feingold (who isn't a socialist but is brilliant) has just been voted out of office. The REPUBLICANS won. They won the congress seat, they won the governorship and they won the senate race.

And the only thing I can think to say about it is WTF?! Seriously?? Good god, we chose the bread crumbs.

My sister also had a baby last week, she is gorgeous and pretty much the most amazing baby ever so things aren't all bad.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm back...(maybe)

So I have started but then stopped writing about a million blog posts in the last few weeks. Part of the reason I haven't written so long really is because my work schedule changed and its been hard for me to adjust to normal people time. Part of the reason is also because my computer was having problems, but to be honest a big part of the reason is because I got burnt out.

Not on writing, I pretty much love to write. What I got burnt out on was following politics. When I first started this blog, that wasn't going to be the central focus of what I wrote. I was just going to write about my everyday life and see what I came up with. However, it was not a huge surprise that what I came up with was politics.

Since I was a kid, economics and discrimination and woman's rights issues has always been something that fascinated me. Fascinated seems like a weird way to put it, but it seems so simple to me the way that poverty and racism and sexism are all inherent traits of capitalism and I have always been compelled (much to the annoyance of my friends and family I'm sure) to convince everyone around me why it all needs to change.

So when I started writing on here, it was really neat to find a way to connect with other people who felt the same way. I would write on here and get comments about people that thought about the same stuff I did. I would go on other blogs and learn about stuff I'd never be exposed to otherwise. Overall, it was cool.

So anyway, after writing for awhile I started to spend more and more time looking about stuff about these issues. I started watching mainstream media more trying to get a sense of why everyone else has such weird ideas about things (i.e. teabaggers). I started reading more essays by people that disagreed with what I thought. And the end result of all that was that I got so disgusted that I needed a little time away from right-wing equals family, freedom and hard work and left-wing equals fascism, baby murder and high taxes. Overall, I got cynical and burnt out.

It seems like instead of seeing the recent depression as a clear sign that the rich screw over the poor at every chance they get, the super scary teabaggers have convinced the working poor to become their foot soldiers.

 They throw around words like family, “real” Americans and freedom and suddenly neoliberalism is this fancy new idea thought up around a roaring log fire by Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. They are literally proposing that the problems caused by neoliberalism and rampant, non-regulated capitalism can be solved by even less regulations, lower taxes and fewer social services. And of course by getting rid of undocumented workers...because obviously THEY are the reason that wall street fell apart.

Anyway, the conservative movements stance on the solution to this country's problems is basically like saying the way to put out a fire is by dousing it in gasoline. And people are buying it...hook, line and sinker. And the political ads for the midterm election? GA-ross. They're idiotic.  No one says what their politics are, they just say that they
for: hardworking Americans, freedom, change and against; Washington, job loss and pork barrel spending. 

here is an example of one:

What the eff does that even mean? I will tell you what it means, nothing.  It is basically like me saying that you should vote for me, if you vote me into office I will be against toddler beating, stealing from old people and making McDonalds illegal and I will fight to make donuts free, a six day weekend and spending Christmas with your loved ones.

My point is, all that modern political ads say are that the candidates are against vaguely
bad things and for vaguely good things. They never get into what they would concretely change or what their own political history is. Its disgusting. And fyi, it isn't just the right that do this, all politicians are guilty of it.

Anyway, back to the point I was making, the fact that the conservative movement in the US is nutso isn't exactly breaking news but what does this have to do with this blog? Well, last weekend I was visiting my dad and I said to him that I was fed up with politics....And I got a very,very, very, VERY long lecture. Now to put this in perspective, my dad is not a lecturer. He is about the most laid back person you could find but a few hours after I made that comment, he knocked on the door and basically gave me an hour long speech about how doing nothing was about as useful as hopping on the teabagger train.

Now don't get me wrong, its not like I think that this little blog is going to swing an election (VOTE FOR RUSS FEINGOLD!) but my dad did have a point. Even if the only difference I can make is to educate myself, (and of course N. who is forced to listen to just about any interesting/aggravating thing that I learn) at least I'll be able to fight back if I am cornered by a rabid republican. Ugh, I guess we'll see. Anyway, hopefully my readers haven't completely given up on looking at my site.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bookish, English Orphans.

I'm rereading Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham. Such a good book, the beginning reminds me of Jane Eyre and Dickens (are all English children little orphaned waifs who usually live with wealthy and resentful relatives? Seriously, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, Vanity Fair, Oliver Twist, this book..even Harry Potter. Where the eff are all the English parents?). Anyway there is a quote in OHB that I absolutely love,

“Insensibly he formed the most delightful habit in the world, the habit of reading: he did not know that thus he was providing himself with a refuge from all the distress of life; he did not know either that he was creating for himself an unreal world which would make the real world of everyday a source of bitter disappointment.”...brilliant.

Is it weird that I tend to love books about impoverished children? I mean, not like I like to hear about people being poor but there are pretty much two genres I always like; kids in poverty (like Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Angela’s Ashes, Bastard out of Carolina etc) and dis-utopian stories (like 1984, Brave New World, Clockwork Orange, Fahrenheit 451, Anthem etc). Ugh, I am making myself sound depressing.

N. (my roommate/soon-to-be-husband) is reading 1984 for the first time. He is usually a nonfiction sort of guy but has been raiding my bookshelf lately. I try not to talk about it to him because I really love that story and I am afraid I'll be talking about the plot and give away the ending, he seems to like it so far.

Speaking of Harry Potter (and I was a few paragraphs ago) I've read those books and the whole time I was reading them, I was like why does this story seem so familiar? Then, when my dad moved a few weeks ago and made me clean out my room, I found a box of YA books I hadn't seen in years. In it was a book called, Wizard's Hall by Jane Yolen.

Ok, so here is a story plot. An eleven year old boy goes off to wizarding school. He befriends a girl and boy who know more about the school than he does and they form a little trio. He doesn't do very well, but because of a legendary story about the boy, everyone expects him to be great. There is this wizard who used to be a student there but then grew up and now he hates the school and wants to ruin it. There are many times when the importance of saying the bad wizard's true name is discussed. Anyway, the bad wizard manages to sneak in to the school (did I mention that all over the school are pictures and paintings where the people walk around and talk to passersby and to each other?) and after he sneaks into the school he almost kills everyone until the little boy defeats him and saves the day. Yeah, the little boy in THIS story is named Henry and this book came out years before the Harry Potter series. Weird right?

Anyway, you are probably asking yourself, what was the point of this post? Well, sorry, it was mainly just rambling about English orphaned kids. I just got off a double shift and I am too tired to write anything more substantial...

Also, are you wondering why I haven't written is sooo long? Its because I now work days, usually over eight hour long shifts...hopefully I will get back into the swing of things now. Also, my computer has been working crappy lately but its fixed now....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Sorry for the lack of posting, in the last week I have literally worked 65 hours. Not cool, job, not cool. I am about to have a four day weekend starting tomorrow and I promise you all that after that I will be more consistent. (Hopefully).

Speaking of work, tonight is the very last time I will ever have to do a overnight shift. For the last year, I have worked from ten o'clock at night until six in the morning. There are some perks to it, like never having to wake up at the crack of dawn, being able to watch a few hours of TV every day (my work has cable, I don't.), and being able to work by myself. But for the most part it has sucked.

N. works during the day, so when I was on that schedule I would come home at six and he would be asleep. I would fall asleep and by the time I woke up, he'd already be at work already and I'd have to leave before he got home. So yeah, unless we had the day off or one of us got up way earlier than usual, it felt like we never say each other. We lived in the same house, but in different time zones.

So anyway, that will be pretty sweet to work during the day (although I am still not excited to wake up at disgusting five o'clock in the morning.)