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Fascism is knocking, will you let it in?

It has been said that if a lie is repeated often enough, people will believe it is the truth. For the last few decades, those on the right in the United States have been waging a campaign of one big lie, repeated so often and with so much vehemence that they have made almost everyone believe it is the truth. That lie? “The liberal media.” “The liberal bias of the media.”

There has never been such a thing here.

There are, or, more accurately were, facts. That those facts happen to align with liberal politics doesn’t make them any less factual. But the repeated conservative mantra, the big “liberal media” lie has made it so that facts are routinely unreported lest the reporting agency be accused of bias. News agencies go out of their way to report things with a more conservative slant. For instance, in this past week, local news agencies have repeatedly mentioned the number of attendees at Trump rallies while blatantly not mentioning the numbers at rallies held by Bernie Sanders, though those numbers are much higher. This underreporting of facts means that the media does now have a bias. A conservative bias.

Yet that doesn’t stop those on the right for continuing to rail against those who would continue to ask the hard questions and attempt to maintain some semblance of journalistic integrity. There is a systematic movement to quash such things. Verbal attacks on journalists, ridicule. An unabashed attempt to control the media through intimidation.

And that’s how it starts, folks. Control of the media is one of the core characteristics of fascism.

For those who aren’t familiar with them, those characteristics are:

 

  1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
    Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

  2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
    Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

  3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
    The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

  4. Supremacy of the Military
    Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

  5. Rampant Sexism
    The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

  6. Controlled Mass Media
    Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

  7. Obsession with National Security
    Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

  8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
    Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

  9. Corporate Power is Protected
    The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

  10. Labor Power is Suppressed
    Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .

  11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
    Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

  12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
    Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

  13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
    Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

  14. Fraudulent Elections
    Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

If a good chunk of these sound familiar, well, then you’re dealing with fascism, folks. It’s just that simple. And the big lie has allowed this to happen because the media, so afraid to report the truth lest they be considered liberal, isn’t going to bring itself to say it. Sure, some stalwarts will stand up, though they have been ridiculed and unfairly discredited to the point that they are sidelined at best. (Dan Rather, anyone?) So their voices go unheeded. And so the rise of fascism goes unchecked because everyone is afraid to say that the emperor has no clothes.

Well, then, I’ll say it. Donald Trump embodies the vast majority of these qualities. He is bringing fascism to America. It’s knocking at your door. Do you really want to let it in and make it feel welcome?

 

A Morning on Palomar Mountain

Last Friday, I realized that with little on my schedule for Sunday, a holiday on Monday, and the weather finally getting to something of a reasonable temperature, it might just be time for me to visit one of my favorite places on Earth: Palomar Mountain State Park. The park was slated for closure due to budgetary cuts, but a great group called Friends of Palomar State Park stepped in, did a fund raising drive, and worked a deal with the State Park system to keep the gates open to the public. Of course, continued operation depends on people actually paying the fees to use the park, so the least I could do was spend a night there. There were several campsites available and I booked one.

The drive up was relatively uneventful, with one slight exception. In several places on the park website, it is mentioned that there’s no gas station on Palomar Mountain. I was around a quarter of a tank as I reached Escondido, and used the GPS in my phone to locate a gas station. The closest one was the Qwik Korner on East Valley Parkway. Now we all know that gas prices have jumped like crazy over the last week or so, but this was just nuts:

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Across the street at the Mobil station, the price was a relative bargain at $5.29 a gallon for regular. Yes, there were people fueling their cars at both stations. Not knowing what was ahead, I put three gallons in at the Mobil station. Turns out that another 15 miles along the road at Harrah’s Rincon Casino, there was a 7-11 with regular priced at $4.63 which, while still obscene, was at least along the lines of prices elsewhere in the county.

Reaching South Grade Road, I took the twists and turns the way I can only do when driving alone. I can’t imagine any passenger enjoying that drive. I loved it. I had to turn off the traction control as I slammed my automatic transmission from D to 2 to L and up again, hitting the turns hard and fast. Even so, I had to pull to the side three times for motorcycles to pass me.

I got to the campsite and, first things first, set up the tent while there was still a lot of daylight. Then, after a snack of some grapes and sliced turkey breast, went over to the camp host to buy some firewood. Things all set, it was time for my first hike. I took the Doane Valley Nature Trail. It’s an easy, 1-mile trail that starts in the Doane Pond parking lot, with beautiful views and lots of variety.

Back to camp. Time to split up some of the wood for kindling and build a fire. Once it had been ablaze for an hour or so, I realized I needed more wood. Back to the camp host.

The night itself was something of a loss. While I had a fabulous opportunity to view the stars (and it’s so amazing how many stars you can see up there, a mile above sea level and away from city lights), other campers were loud: radios, overly-raised voices, oh yeah, and barking dogs. Nice.

Weather.com had said that the temperature was going to drop to around 50 degrees overnight. Not too cold. I brought a suede jacket just in case and it was already getting rather chilly by 8pm. I had planned on just using my sleeping bag as a mat. I normally like it cool and use no covers save a sheet. Since I was planning on actually wearing something to bed, I figured I’d be warm enough. I was wrong. Had to get in the sleeping bag.

Woke up at 6:30, cold, just around sunrise, fingers numb. A quick bowl of cereal and brushing of teeth, and I was off on the hike I really wanted to take: early morning down the French Valley Trail. This trail begins where the Doane Valley Nature Trail ends: pretty much right in the middle of the campground area. Almost everyone was still asleep in the campground. And it was downright chilly.

Up to the left, the campsite across the narrow road from the trail head was ringed with large black crows, silent and still. They were all facing the tent on the site, waiting or watching for something, some event. One hopped a few feet forward and was again still. I’ll never know what they were waiting for, but it was an eerie early-morning sight.

On to the trail and into the first small meadow, the temperature dropped several more degrees in the open air. But it was crisp, clean air. The shriek of bluejays had begun to pepper the morning that was coming alive with chirps, whistles, tweets, and calls from other unseen birds all around.

Perhaps 50 feet into the first area of cover on the trail, a sudden bounding started in front of me then off toward the left! A large deer had been spooked by my not-so-subtle gait. I stopped, and it paused, some 40 feet away, directly left, watching me through a thin bush. When it decided I posed no threat it began to graze on some of the grasses. I watch for a while longer until it wandered off, out of sight.

Farther along, the trail split. To the left, it went down into the valley meadow, still in shadow, while the ridge beyond blazed in sunlight.

From where I stood, with the rising sun still hidden behind me, the grasses in the meadow, yellow, green, and brown the afternoon before, looked oddly white in patches. I took the right fork, up, through more trees. A slightly more ambitious trail, this one. In several places, trees had fallen, and one was presented with the choice of climbing over or going under.

Several times along the way I stopped to soak it all in. The beautiful views, the bird-filled quiet. The serenity.

When I finally reached the point where the trail left the trees and skirted the meadow, I could see the white somewhat more clearly. Bizarre, yes, but it looked like frost. Trekking on, I eventually made it to a stretch of trail that went directly through . . . frost. The crunch under my boots was confirmed when I reached down and scraped a layer of frost from a blade of grass. And then another, just to be sure.

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I’m going to say that Weather.com might have been a few degrees off in their forecast of the overnight low.

By that time, though, I was anything but cold. The altitude and the hike had raised my heart rate, for sure. Reaching the end of the meadow, the French Valley Trail met up with the Lower Doane Valley Trail at the base of the ridge that was now hit with full morning sun. I knew this trail would meet back up with the Nature Trail back toward the Doane Pond parking lot, so up I went, along the lower part of the ridge. I turned just in time to see a large hawk fly from a nearby tree to one further along my path. Smaller birds scattered as it landed.

Along this trail, from ferns and other flora either side the dirt path, gossamer strands intersected my way. Spiders had spun their webs overnight. There was no choice but to cross them, breaking the webs that would surely be rebuilt again the coming night.

Up, up, down. up. Down, along, and down to where the two trails meet. Then up, up again to the road, and back to the campsite, sweaty, breathless, and fully refreshed.

I need to do this again, and soon.

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An Angry Person

On the Book of Faces, I was told I’m angry because I make and vehemently defend a lot of political/social posts. First, I’m going to explain why that opinion is wrong. And then I’ll explain why it’s right.

It’s wrong because, as most anyone who meets me can tell you, I am almost always easy going, friendly, happy, and loving. In fact, I am almost hippie-like in my belief in the importance of love and peace. Elvis Costello had it right: what is so funny about peace, love, and understanding? If people were more open and loving with each other, I believe that we’d elevate our society. I want love and acceptance to overcome hatred and aggression, and I don’t see why that can’t be the case. I know it sounds corny, but if you think about it, it only makes sense that the world would be a better place if we’d all just let go of hate–even if it’s just a little bit–and love that much more.

But, yes, I am angry. I’m angry at people who promote hate. I’m angry at those who hide their bigotry behind a smile and a pulpit. I’m angry at those who would bully others, whether it be on a personal level or from a place of political power. I’m angry at those who would push others down so that they can feel better about themselves. I’m angry at those who would deny rights to others–rights that they, themselves, enjoy. I’m angry at those who feel they have the right to tell others who they may love and how they may love. I’m angry at those who hold disdain and contempt for the disenfranchised and less-fortunate. I’m angry at those who blind themselves to the misfortunes and miseries of others while lining their own pockets.

I articulate this anger and outrage against injustices I see. I feel compelled to point these things out, to say, “Hey! Look at this! There’s a problem here! PAY ATTENTION!” Because so many people find it all-too-easy to look away and ignore the hurt, pain, and social injustices that assail us every day. I can see how one could simply say I need to grow a thicker skin and learn not to care. The thing of it is, I think I already have! I just don’t know how I could possibly cut myself off completely from the rest of humanity. I love too much, care too much, and empathize far too much to be able to ignore such things completely.

Concert Review: Adam Ant at 4th & B, San Diego, 2012-09-15

The Adam Ant show at 4th & B was truly excellent. While, no, he didn’t jump as high as he might have some 30 years ago, he nonetheless had great energy and an excellent band backing him up. I will admit, I did miss Marco Pirroni on guitar now and then (I think Marco is one of the most influential and underrated guitar players of the last several decades–his use of feedback alone was innovative and I can hear it in so many recordings from so many other artists to follow).

All told, Adam played for nearly two hours, featuring music from all eras of his career. The highlights for me were the many B-side songs, such as “Beat My Guest”, “Red Scab”, and “Fall In” to name a few. Now I must come clean about my bias, here: I became a fan shortly after the “Kings of the Wild Frontier” album came out. This strongly influenced my enjoyment of  his set list as it was heavily peppered with songs from “Kings”. He performed approximately half of the songs from that album, several from “Dirk Wears White Socks” and two-to-three each from “Prince Charming”, “Friend or Foe”, and “Vive Le Rock”.
 
As to Adam himself, I very much enjoyed the fact that his look has returned to the pirate of old–high boots, gold-trimmed jacket, scarves, and trinkets. Let’s face it, Johnny Depp owes the entire Captain Jack Sparrow look to Adam, so it’s only fitting that Adam should reclaim it now. And as someone said to me that night, very few musicians can pull off wearing a T-shirt with their own face on it. Adam did, without seeming either self-aggrandizing or showing any sort of conscious self-parody.
 
By the end of the show I was drenched in sweat from jumping up and down, hoarse from singing along at the top of my lungs, and grinning from ear-to-ear due to sheer enjoyment of the evening. Welcome back, Adam. It’s been a long time and you’ve been missed.

An Early Morning Stroll

I went to dinner at my favorite local spot: the bar inside Ruth’s Chris Del Mar. I was lucky enough to enjoy the company of a friend whom I’ve known for some years. Okay a few decades. Her current boyfriend was three years old when she and I first met. I enjoy teasing her about this. But I digress.

After lots of talking about relationships, old times, jobs, routinely breaking into the house of a friend and consuming food from his fridge in the wee hours of the morning (no, that was NOT my story–she’s quite the adventurer), and various and sundry other subjects, I found myself on the way home far earlier than I’d expected. Hell, it wasn’t eight o’clock yet! I could hear the call of Small Bar.

Far be it from me to resist such an invite. I got there around 9.

Chatted with several of my old customers. Well, since I no longer work there and therefore they’re no longer my customers, I guess it’s better to call them friends as that’s what they are. I left a little bit after 11pm, much more in line with my expectations than the 8pm departure from Ruth’s Chris. On the way back to my car, someone called out my name. At first I thought she was an old customer, but then she mentioned a party in Las Vegas. Um, not terribly helpful. That we had both worked. Ah! She volunteers for the same charity I do. Let’s call her C, for the sake of simplicity. C was with her girlfriend, A. I’d met A before, briefly, during another sojourn in my old work neighborhood. They wanted to go . . . somewhere, anywhere. And, gosh I don’t know how they managed to twist my arm, but I ended up with them. Lei Lounge was closing so we headed next door to Bourbon Street. We spent, oh, about twenty or thirty minutes there. They ended up taking me–

–back to their place. They have two medium/large dogs and a cat. All super friendly. We watched a movie on HBO. I sat on one couch with C, rubbing her shoulders and drinking wine, while A dozed off across from us.

Eventually, well, what can I say? It went like this:

C got up, woke A up, they each hugged me, headed for the bedroom, and invited me to spend the night. On the couch. C’mon, what were you thinking? Really? They’re a lesbian couple! I don’t have the right bits. Ain’t nothin’ was gonna happen. I tried to get a bit of shuteye but their pets had other ideas. The cat jumped up on me. Not a bad thing as I often sleep with a cat or two on top of me, but it was really only a secondary annoyance. One of the dogs decided it was time to play. With me. I felt a wet nose against my arm and a moment later, something rolled against my side. A slobbery ball. I put it gently on the floor. A few seconds later, there it was again. I again put the ball on the floor. This time it seemed to work . . . for about a minute. Plop. Slobbery ball. After the fourth or fifth time, cat still atop me, I gave up on the concept of sleep. So, sometime around 2:20 in the morning, I walked back to my car. Oh, wait. It was, ah, two miles away at that point.

Leaving their house, heading south toward Adams Avenue, I was struck by how bright it was outside. The sidewalk was lit as though a full moon was at its zenith on a clear night. Yet there was no moon up–I’d seen its crescent low in the western sky far earlier in the evening and knew it had long since set. Nor would I have been able to see it had it been up and gibbous–a uniform, featureless cloud cover blanketed the city, hiding the stars and planets. Ah, but city lights brightened the clouds from below and that reflected light was, in turn, illuminating my walk. My very next strong recollection is that of having to carefully navigate a stretch of shattered pavement perhaps a block from their house. It looked as though it had been smashed up from underneath, rather than blows from above. It was in such a straight line, right down the center of the sidewalk, that it couldn’t have been a tree root.

There were more people out and about than I expected at such an hour. Once I got to Adams (a right turn to the west), I found myself walking behind a couple of guys who had exited a busy taco shop, but I slowed to let them get a nice long lead. Other sources of human noise were a 7-11, a coffee house, another 7-11, and the stragglers from a nightclub–all in the first half mile or so. But the walk down Adams grew more quiet as I went on, though the city noise never fully disappeared. Far off traffic (especially when I crossed the 405 and later Texas Street) was the main culprit, joined by crickets and some distant frogs on this warm summer night. Yeah, it was closing in on 3am and the temperature was either in the high 60’s or the low 70s.

Approaching Old Trolley Barn Park I could hear water. The sprinklers were on, but that wasn’t the noise that caught my attention–one of the heads near the curb was broken and water was gurgling up from the ground. It flowed freely over the concrete to stream down the gutter and pour noisily into a storm drain some thirty feet on. My car was still another three blocks away, past Park Boulevard, but as it was on the south side of the street I decided to cross right there rather than try to negotiate a dry path through the sprinklers.  For some reason (lability? affectation? Ten points to anyone but Chip who knows which book I’m re-reading right now based on this sentence) I walked down the middle of Adams Avenue for at least a block, passing the power substation. By the time I’d reached Cheers, though, I was on the sidewalk again.

I got in my car perhaps two minutes before 3am to head home. And now here I am blogging about my little journey. At least I don’t have to get up early to hit the gym: a) I’m already up, and b) I already got in over half an hour of cardio!

Regarding Love, a re-Blog

Over on the Book of Faces, I wrote a few Notes about Love. I’m republishing them here in one large post. Here goes…

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A friend of mine has something in their profile on another social networking site that resonates with ideas and thoughts that have percolated in my head since, well, at least junior high school. Yeah, a long time.

It’s about love. To be specific, loving unconditionally. Here’s what was written:

“One of the most difficult-to-grasp concepts is the notion of loving and expecting nothing in return. That doesn’t mean you should make yourself a doormat or let people take advantage of you. (While real love is unconditional; relationships do have conditions.) It means love for the pure joy of loving. Love is a creative act, and like making art or music, there should be joy in the process. Does it matter if your doodles never end up in a museum or you never perform the song you sing in the shower at Carnegie Hall? If your love is not reciprocated, at least you’ve loved with an open heart; taken pleasure in making another person happy; uplifted the souls and spirits of people with whom your life intersects. Ironically, the more you practice loving without expectation, the more love you will receive…yet that can’t be your goal. (It’s a Zen thing.)”

I think the only thing I disagree with in that paragraph is the first sentence. The concept is not difficult to grasp. In and of itself, the concept is very simple. It’s the practicing that is incredibly challenging. I know—I’ve tried. And failed. And succeeded, I think.

Now, it’s probably fair to say that many parents feel something close to this ideal in relation to their children, if not for their whole lives then at least a significant portion of the child’s growing years. But unconditional love for someone who is not your child is another matter altogether. Even the most secure people can feel strong jealousy at times.

Jealousy springs out of possessiveness, though, not love. Love doesn’t want to hold onto the other person, though it revels in their presence. Love puts the happiness and needs of the other person before your own . . . and finds joy in that act. Those who love (or who are in love, which I view as a slightly different concept) almost always expect, or at least hope, that the person they love will love them in return. That is the way we, as a society, feel it’s supposed to work. But it doesn’t always happen that way. Thus, we have “unrequited love,” where one loves the other hoping to receive love in return, but is simply left hoping. There is rarely much joy in that situation.

Unconditional love removes that hope, removes the need for that hope. The act of love itself is all that is required to bring joy and satisfaction. But in our brains, love is almost always tangled with other things. Physical attraction. Want. Need. And we are confused, mixing these other things with love and mistakenly making them part of love. They are not. Love does not want, love does not need. Love is.

This is where the difficulty comes in. Divorcing need, want, and attraction from love is, again, a relatively simple concept. But just try doing it! Sorting out the tangle of emotions may be something that is beyond the abilities of most people.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t try.

Now, I mentioned above that I think of “love” and being “in love” as slightly different things. Until I wrote that down, I hadn’t really tried to quantify the difference. It got me thinking. “Love” has already been discussed, so that leaves the other.

Being “in love” is, perhaps, like a cocktail. Several things all shaken (or stirred) together. Its main ingredient is love, but there are other emotions and feelings involved. One of which, physical attraction, I mentioned before as being apart from pure love. I still feel that it is a different thing. But it is a component of the “in love” cocktail. A feeling of romance is also part of the cocktail, and is, in a way, a linkage between love and physical attraction.

The third facet is sex. These thoughts are driven by several things, but are mostly prompted by an interview (here: http://fanboy.gaymer.info/post/1252849523/lgm-exclusive-samuel-r-delany ) with my favorite author and good friend, Samuel R. Delany.

My thoughts here relate to a few of the many thoughts Delany touches upon in his interview. Especially his long response to the final question. And, in particular, these four paragraphs:

“A certain order of fidelity in a mate is supposed to make you feel good and of worth. But as soon as we learn a sex partner’s behavior has deviated from that, even if he or she is miles away in another city, you should feel hurt and disrespected—and anyone who hurts and disrespects you is supposed to make you suffer unbearably.

“Well, my personal worth does not depend on whom my partner fucks or sucks with, when he’s not with me. Nor does his worth depend on whom I fuck or suck with, when I’m not with him. We’ve been pretty happy together, now, for twenty years. I’ve been gifted with someone I love so much it still can block my throat, make my belly and chest feel like they just exploded with electric happiness, and my eyes water, at three o’clock in the morning, when I turn the light on and see him sleeping next to me, holding my hand.

“Or when he sends me an e-mail or leaves me a note signed with love.

“The primary want in my life is for him to be as happy as possible, and if having sex with someone else besides me would make him feel good, what else can I reasonably  want other than for him to do it? He claims he feels the same way about me. Our own sex is one of the most reassuring elements of my own life, and it’s been that way for a couple of decades.”

That’s about as open as a relationship can get, and they’ve been together longer than most married hetero couples I know. My brain goes in so many directions when I read this. Certainly I do not question the validity of his statements. What comes to mind most, however, are questions. Is this the (or one of the) ultimate act(s) of love–to be happy with whatever makes your partner happy, regardless of what that might be? Is this something that only a few people are capable of? Now, obviously, Delany is gay and I have noted amongst my myriad friends in the LGBT community a certain departure from what most hetero couples would consider to be “faithfulness” in a committed relationship. I’m not trying to tar all with the same feather, just noting things I’ve heard from many friends. So, with that disclaimer in mind, is this more of a gay thing? Or perhaps it’s a male thing?

I am brought back to my statements above about jealousy and possessiveness. I wrote those original statements in 2008. Delany’s interview took place in the summer of 2010. Surely my thoughts were somewhat along the same lines; clearly I did not take it to it’s ultimate conclusion. I doubt I would have been able to.

I Am No Longer A Soulless Bastard

Had you called me a Soulless bastard this time yesterday, I would have had no choice but to agree. My Kia Soul was still in the hands of the Collision Factory, held hostage by the machinations of “Bogus, Drag-Our-Feet, Scam-You Insurance” (they advertise as Fred Loya Insurance). Ah, but just after 1pm yesterday afternoon, my Soul was returned to me. (YES!) There’s still a small amount of work to be done. Collision Factory will take care of it in the next couple of weeks. They’ve been very nice. I’m happy with the work they did, and it’s guaranteed for life. As to being a bastard, there’s not much I can do about that. My mom and her first/third husband did not realize that quickie Mexican divorces are not recognized in the US. So, technically, my mom and dad weren’t married when I was born. What can I say? I may not be Soulless, but I’ll always be a bastard.

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Don’t Trip On That Guilt You Just Dropped In Front Of Me

I am a very emotional person. While I try to be slow to anger, some things do set me off. At other times, I experience joy and sadness very powerfully. I love fiercely. I can be extremely bored or amazingly excited.

I have had people try to manipulate my emotions. Guilt is a big one. I’m becoming more and more immune to guilt trips. In fact, I’m finding that being on the receiving end of a guilt trip actually puts me closer to irritation and anger. You wanna piss me off? Try a guilt trip. I may or may not feel guilty when you’re done, but you can be pretty much guaranteed you’re setting me on a path to being angry with you.

Lately, though, I’ve been in three different situations where, from my perspective, someone has tried to tell me how I should feel. No. You may have the right to tell me how to act in a given interaction with you. But no one has the right to decide my feelings. They are mine. I will boil in my own anger. I will enjoy my happiness–I’ll share it if you want some! I will feel love for anyone or anything I so choose. I will be sad, joyful, melancholy, agitated, expectant, bored, excited, or any of the myriad emotions I feel–regardless of whether someone wants to be the recipient or not, regardless of whether or not someone thinks my feelings are appropriate. It’s there, it’s mine. Take it or leave it if I give it to you. But never try to make me let go of or otherwise invalidate my feelings. Just because I put them out there does not give anyone the right to tell me what I may or may not feel. What am I feeling right now? Righteous Indignation that anyone would think to tell me how I may or may not feel. How dare you!

A Taste Of Things To Come

Just to whet everyone’s appetite for more of my Mom Stories, I thought it might be fun (or slightly evil in a teasing, tempting way) to name off the next six titles I’m working on. Then I’ll come back here and make them into live links as I post them. So, without further ado, here are some future Mom titles:

Mom vs. The Backrest

Mom vs. The Water Beetle

Mom vs. Days Of The Week

Mom vs. Trader Joe’s

Mom vs. The Parked Car

Mom vs. The Postwoman

I hope they will all bring you much joy and laughter in reading them. At least as much to equal or exceed the amount of embarrassment and face-palming I experienced when they happened.

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The Imminent Return Of My Soul

I’ve been without my Soul for too long.

It’s been three weeks since my car was hit. Nearly two weeks since Scam Artist Insurance gave preliminary, but not complete, approval to get it fixed. I was hoping to have it last Friday. Then Monday. Today is Wednesday. Scam Artist Insurance dragged their heels throughout the process, slowly approving each stage of work. I don’t get it. They’re paying for (an admittedly crappy and, I’m sure, very inexpensive) rental car for me. The longer they take to approve, the more rental days they’re paying for. I want my car back. I like my car. It’s a black 2010 Kia Soul. You know, the hip-hop hamster car. I’m sick of the POS rental I’ve been driving for nigh on two weeks.

I hope I get my Soul back today. I really do.

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