Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Unhappy Valley- Abuse, Sports, and Religion.

I've always held organised sports in bad odour. Not just indifference or dislike but disdain and revulsion. Now, there are reasons I have always been able to point to. Sports players are paid ridiculous amounts of money in a society where teachers, firefighters, and many other people who do jobs that directly benefit others are underpaid. It's an example of us valuing the wrong people. Some sports are rather violent, and why glorify violence? High schools and colleges can be focused on sports to the exclusion or detriment of academics. Finally, I view professional sports as our modern equivalent of bread and circuses. Throw the gladiators into the arena and let them distract the masses from what's really going on. But that's not all.

As I cogitate on the wake of the Penn State tragedy I've some to a realisation, that my disdain is similar to one that some people seem to feel towards organised religion: that is't a set up so rife with and  the potential for abuse that it would be better is people did it on their own in a less organised way. I know this is sure to offend my sport fan friends. I won't pretend this way of thinking is fair; just like religion, sports give many people joy, common ground, an opportunity to some together, a way to do good and to improve themselves. Recognising that my thinking is unfair, that is based on the "crashed airplane" method of reporting the news, is the first step toward being more tolerant. It's good to recognise that any bias you hold is probably based on incomplete information. Abuse is never acceptable and is usually proof there is need for more oversight...but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Recognise the good, and accept that any time *people* get together, in any format, care must be taken to protect the weak from those who would abuse power.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Occupy Holiday Shopping

 I know I'm not the only person to observe Black Friday today by writing a blog post about NOT shopping. But I think this year, more than ever, it's important to put out the word about occupying our holiday shopping.
I have been celebrating "Buy Nothing Day" for years now. I have felt that it's important to not buy into consumerist frenzy and  the  "selling" of Christmas. It's also nice not to get trampled or pepper sprayed.  But this fall we have seen our economic crisis come to an explosive point, and I think that makes it even more important for us to think about what the way we spend our money does for our society. (not to mention the third world workers who were almost surely exploited to mass produce you flimsy, environmentally  damaging "killer deal")
I support the Occupy protesters, as they put an important public face on what's wrong with our economy. But the real change will be in the everyday.
What can you do TODAY to support the 99% rather than the 1%?

You can buy nothing This one is pretty easy. Stay home, eat pie, watch movies with your loved ones...relaxing!

Buy Local  Shop at local, independently owned businesses instead of chain stores. Don't worry, many of them will have Black Friday sales too.

Pay cash If you really want to occupy, don't buy anything on credit. Cutting up your credit cards and only paying for what you can afford may be tied for the number one thing you can do to cut the knees out from under the 1%.

Fire your bank If you haven't already, switch all your money from banks to credit unions ( and use the move as an opportunity to trade in your  credit card for a debit card)

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Friday, November 04, 2011

Halloween photos!

Livie grew this herself.

"Gorramit girl, it's me!"

"I am a broody, lurky Angelcakes."

By the way, the ones that would look like they were taken at a comic book store were taken at Fantasium Comics and Games . If you live in the South Puget Sound area you won't find a better locally owned comics and games store. Check them out!

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Halloween, All Saints, and Pagan holidays

Halloween is just past, and  I had hoped to write this leading up to Halloween. However, I was too busy getting costumes ready, making icky potluck dishes, and spending way too much to make sure all the candy my family ate was all natural to get around to it.
Some people, including a few friends of mine, choose not to celebrate Halloween. Most of them are conservative Christians; a few have other religious beliefs but I'll be focusing on the Christian outlook.
Before I go any further I want to offer a disclaimer. I'm not judging why or if someone celebrates Halloween or not, nor am I trying to convince anyone to my viewpoint. I'm really just thinking aloud. (However, if you say you avoid Halloween and then have a "Harvest Party" the last week in October complete with candy and costumes...um, sorry, but you ARE doing Halloween)
The two main reasons I see for not celebrating Halloween are because it a) a Pagan ritual and b) dark and or death focused.
Which is true on both counts.
Let's look at A. Halloween is a commercialization of the Pagan celebration, Samhain or All Hallow's Eve. Therefore a person whose religion tells them to avoid Pagan celebrations would have a good reason to avoid Halloween.
And- Christmas celebrations (Feast of Saturnalia) Valentine's Day ( Lupercalia) and Easter (Eostre) .
Most of the Christians I know who don't do Halloween do one or all of those holidays, usually in a similar manner to the rest of society. And why not? Trees, wreaths, candy in stockings, heart shaped candy, eggs, egg shaped candy..all awesome and fun.
I wonder if the underlying reason Halloween gets picked on is....B. The holiday celebrations we take from the Pagan celebrations of Saturnalia, Lupercalia, and Eostre are life affirming. But death...now that's something we like to avoid at all costs in our society. So it makes sense that some will look at a holiday that looks death straight in the face as "evil".
In the Christian tradition,the day after Halloween is All Saint's Day. Given that it's the day after All Hallow's Eve, we can tell it's  more of the co-opting of Pagan ritual. But, I think that no matter which day you observe (or both!) we need that day. We need to look death in the face and we need to celebrate the beloved departed.
I'd rather do it all together.