50 Shades of Things On My Mind


Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey

 

The last romance  man in my life used to accuse me of seeing everything black and white Another reason we aren’t together, he didn’t understand my mind at all.   In his defense though, I DO see things black and white when it comes to my worldview.  My principals are black and white.  My love is black and white. Only to me though, many people don’t understand why I allow people in my life that they consider “lesser”…see?  That’s their black and white.  Understanding is the key!   I always see the grey in things I don’t understand.  Why?  Because the blacks and whites are what makes the grey….both literally and figuratively.  I sort things problems into blacks and whites to better understand…to make my world more orderly. OMG that sounds so OCD!  Anyway, here are the greys I’m trying to sort out right now.

  • The big Abortion brouhaha that is currently taking our collective minds off of rising inflation, the madness of the IRS and double talk from our current administration.  Why are we arguing about this?  I’m a feminist.  I believe in both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice.  As a Mother who was told for 12 years of marriage I could never have kids and went through the  $$$ testing, in vitro , foster child, adoptive child processes I just don’t understand.   Why would any woman get an abortion after the second trimester?  Why?  Do you pro-life feminists not realize you are setting feminism back by hundreds of years by exploiting our “right to change our minds” scenario?  During the second trimester you can feel the baby moving inside you.  You may even get an ultra-sound that shows your baby sucking his/her thumb in utero.  By 20 weeks most Mothers have bonded with the baby they are carrying. One of my friends couldn’t carry her baby full term and the baby was born at 23 weeks.  This child is a beautiful blessing for my friend and is part of society.   If you were raped, then by all means you shouldn’t have to feel shame for getting an abortion, but that’s usually done right away.  If your religion says “no” then “so”?  Your relationship with God is one on one and He knows what’s in your heart.  Now, on the Pro-Choice side,  if a woman truly wants to have an abortion due to health, finances, ignorance, genetic counseling, then she’s going to have one.  That’s that!  Why put women through the horror most women in third world countries and some 1st world countries must endure due to sloppy “doing it for the money” Doctors, or self-inflicted coat hanger abortions?  Legal abortions protect women.  Why would our government see this as bad?  Our government is not our moral compass, we the people are. We haven’t illegalized guns, why should we illegalize abortion?  And another thing, if the fetus isn’t a “living being” then why when someone kills a pregnant woman they are charged with TWO deaths?  Why so much hypocrisy in our government?  Why?  If we do this to women are we going to tell men they can only be a “baby Daddy” a limited amount of times and then he must be snipped?    Here’s an idea….why don’t we just expect people to take responsibility for their actions and not let the government tell us how to run our lives?  What a novel idea!
  • Okay, now for some fun pop-culture greys.  Sharknado.  A social media phenomenon and one of the worst movies ever made.  What does this say about us as a society?  I truly can’t find the black and white in this one.
  • And to end these ramblings, the book that spawned see what I did there? this blog post:  Fifty Shades of Grey.  After reading snippets of it in 2011, I swore I wouldn’t read it.  But a newlywed friend from my high school days begged me to read it.  BEGGED ME!  She says she values my opinion. So for you Claudia?  The book did not turn me on.  The characters were two-dimensional.  And after reading it, I didn’t want to lay Christian Grey, I wanted to psycho-analyze him.  It was at once repelling and degrading.  It was like bullet points 1 and 2 above.   In my summary, here’s an intelligent, newly graduated from college protagonist who is still a virgin falling for a handsome man with money, power and HUGE issues.  Why is this story such a sensation?  You remember the love of my life John?  Remember how handsome, sexy, electric we were together?  Remember how his family owned hotels on the Greek Islands?  Remember how I couldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him?  Why do we celebrate dysfunction?  Why?  The best thing about the book is that the protagonist, Anastasia, listened to her inner voice and did what was right for her as well as for him.   She left him.  Still my friend Claudia?  smile
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The Borgias and Rhetoric and Catholicism: Truth or Drama?


The Borgias:  A Showtime Series

The Borgias: A Showtime Series

 

Let’s face it.  Drama is interesting.  It is!  Think of what our lives would be like without it?  With whom would we compare our lives?  How would the more insecure of us find substance in our little lives without having a lessor one with which to compare?  Drama makes us feel better about ourselves.  Drama adds excitement to the mundane.  Drama makes us feel alive.

I was watching The Borgias last night yes, I’m admitting to it and reveled at how truly enticing this series is to me.  It’s not just that The Borgias were the first Mafia family.  It’s not just that the characters are so beautiful well most of them.  It’s not just the time in which it is set.  (one of my favorite historical times)  But what TRULY makes it worth watching is how the writers blur the lines between true history and “drama”.  In grad school I had an advisor that loved to debate the merits of what makes a perfect story (i.e. book or movie or play) I loved hanging out with him when I was writing a paper (Big props to you Dr. Litton)  He and I would debate every Rhetorician/Philosopher’s idea from Aristotle to Freud from  E.M. Forster to Nietzsche as to what made the perfect story.  We both had big dreams of being writers. What we both agreed upon, and what I have always kept is that Rhetoric is not just style over substance.  It is not just drama over reality.  Rhetoric is not just, as Plato so ridiculously stated, “mere flattery”.  No, Rhetoric is the blending of the black and white.  Rhetoric has a substantive as well as stylistic genome….and a good story, like good bone structure is a gift.

For the sake of today’s argument, and to keep you reading, I won’t dissect or re-educate you on the five canons of Rhetoric.  What I will do is explain why I think drama is necessary in our lives using rhetoric as my argument and the Showtime Series The Borgias as my subject.  Using some of the rhetorical and philosophical thoughts of greater thinkers than me, I will try to convince you of my argument:  Drama is a necessary evil.   Yeah okay, I may just be showing off my grad degree in Rhetoric, but shouldn’t I? Sheesh, I’m still paying for it!  Since literary devices are so akin to rhetorical devices, those of you who are purists may want to argue later….to that I say, “Bring it” with a smile.

 

Let’s start with Kenneth Burke who stated:

The most characteristic concern of rhetoric [is] the manipulation of men’s beliefs for political ends….the basic function of rhetoric [is] the use of words by human agents to form attitudes or to induce actions in other human agents.

I don’t know much about the writers of The Borgias.  Are they Catholic?  Are they Jewish?  Are they Atheistic?  Or are they just hacks getting paid to write an almost semi-porn series with historical overtones?  In other words, what is their will for writing this series?  In watching it, and because I tend to be optimistic, I think they are truly attempting to appeal to the more educated viewer while also appealing to the “voyeur” viewer who really is just watching it for entertainment.  For instance, the Pope Rodrigo (Alexander VI) quotes Socrates while his son Cesare lustfully beds his daughter Lucrezia.  In skillfully blending the two appeals, the writers attract a larger audience through drama.  Personally, the show has made me want to know more about The House of Borgia in order to delineate between dramatic truth and manufactured drama.  Which leads me to the next definition of Rhetoric by Francis Bacon who wrote in (1561-1626): Advancement of Learning:

  The duty and office of rhetoric is to apply reason to imagination for the better moving of the will.

Using Bacon’s definition, this would mean the writers of The Borgias are forcing us, the viewers, to use our imagination to make willfull observations, right?  But are they for the better?  I am not Catholic, but I empathize with those who are in regards to this series.  Has the Catholic Church become the media darling of all things wrong with religion?  Is this series just another testament to the abuses of the Catholic Church?  As a Protestant, I have suffered and witnessed  the hypocrisy of those who feel their religious worldview is better than others. It just seems that the Catholic Church has a history of drama; from the Borgias to medieval relics to modern day pedophilic priests.   Has the Catholic Church publically asked for an apology from the writers for making their religion look like a God-ordained form of organized crime?  And would other religions react the same?  Or do the writers have a more noble, daresay, religious agenda by athey showing that though religious, we are all still sinners….and there is no sin greater than another? nota bene:  the Catholic Church DOES believe that some sins are greater than others and they are divided into mortal and venial sins. Just knowing that makes a difference in applying reason to imagination. So what indeed are the writers’ trying to persuade their audience to see or believe?  Which leads me to….Sappho who was far from being religious:

Persuasion is Aphrodite’s daughter: it is she who beguiles our mortal hearts (frg 90).

Good rhetoric, communication, poetry,  writing, film, and speech are designed to persuade someone to see the artist’s point of view.  I’m not always the most fun person to watch a movie with, and definitely not commercials.  I immediately try to pinpoint the persuasive element behind the words, images, sounds and actions of others.  This could also be a reason I have difficult times in relationships!  ssshh!!  What I do know, is that if you can beguile my mortal heart, you have my attention.  The writers of The Borgias have done that for me.  Though I don’t condone nudity and violence for the sake of shocking the viewer into watching more, I do appreciate the artful mixing of history and fantasy to tell a good story. And I also appreciate drama that has intellect.  And maybe that’s where I should end this, because in the end, The Borgias is just a dramatic television series meant to entertain.  Don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Memoriam–Taps to Honor the Dead of Unknown


Holidays - Memorial Day Poem, with Flag

Honoring The Dead Of Unknown

As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said in his Memorial Day address in 1884 at Keene, Memorial Day ‘celebrates and solemnly reaffirms from year to year a national act of enthusiasm and faith.’ With changing times, Memorial Day is more celebrated as a holiday than the glum occasion it was meant for. We must remember that the day means to honor of America’s defense personnel who lost their lives in various wars. Though, people used to honor the graves of the war dead even before the Civil War, the National Memorial Day holiday, originally known as ‘Decoration Day’ was first observed on May 30, 1868.

The concept originated in the mind of General John Alexander Logan, who dedicated this day to decorate the graves of the American Civil War dead. Later, it encompassed all those who sacrificed their lives for their nation, from the Revolutionary War to the present. May 30th every year was celebrated as the Memorial Day until 1971. Later, the federal government issued the orders of holding the Memorial Day on the last Monday of May. Alabama celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the fourth Monday in April while the states of Mississippi and Georgia celebrate it on the last Monday of April.

Seeing the Memorial Day losing its importance in the minds of younger generations, the concept of the National Moment of Remembrance was hatched by a national humanitarian organizations known as the ‘No Greater Love, based in Washington, D.C. It was introduced in 1997 and is recognized by the President and Members of Congress. Since then, ‘Taps’ is at 3 p.m. throughout America to honor the contributions of our dead soldiers. All Americans are encouraged to pay respect to them by keeping silent for one minute in their memory at 3:00 p.m.

The Article That Upset Me Today… And Should Upset You TOO!


There is a Cure for Hep-C. But Money Stands in the Way. Imagine that!

I don’t want to make a fashion statement. I don’t want to be hip. I don’t want to be a cougar (though I have been at times) What I REALLY want to do is make a difference in the world before I die. I found this Twitterer (is that a word?) @hepCCure  and her website today.  After a day spent writing philosophical essays, this article really upset me. It should upset you too. Why do we allow this type of behavior in America? Our government is so busy meddling in other county’s affairs; our President is so busy dining with Jay-Z and Beyonce; our religious leaders are so busy asking for more money to convert the Atheists who have become the way they are through the acts of many self-proclaimed Christians; and then there’s the pharmaceutical companies. They are heavy PAC contributors. They pay for Doctors to take cruises, go to conferences and buy new wardrobes.  DOCTORS!!  Why not help the people without insurance?  Why not help the criticallly ill?  Why not HELP???  No their idea of help is manipulating healthcare, insurance and of course, medication costs….and then they do THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Stop whatever you’re doing and after reading the previous link,  read this:

http://hepc-cured.com/

Are you incensed? Don’t you want to do something about this???? Have you ever wished you could have made a difference but didn’t know how? Sign the petition. Write a letter to Gilead. Write a letter to your Senator. Pray.  Just make this greedy, capitalistic BS stop. Are you with me?

More Thoughts Inspired by an Evening with Glenlivet


 

My GLEN

 

There was a battle for my attention last night.  The kids were gone and I was alone, well okay, not really alone.  My St. Bernard, Aristotle, was with me.  As was my phone (read that as texts, messages), A new bottle of Glenlivet and FIOS TV movies.  I had an enjoyable text session…I thoroughly enjoyed “Brave” (yeah, sad isn’t it?  I watched a “kid” movie with no kids) but Glenlivet won the attention war.   And like it always does, it made me think about the following things….ready?

1.  This whole Petraeus thing.  What’s up with that?  Here’s what Glenlivet made me think (I’ll call Glenlivet GLEN because after all, I do share many a thought and evening with him)….First, I don’t trust our government, I just don’t.  I think politicians lie, cheat and steal all for the benefit of their wallets and power.  I have yet to ever meet an honest politician.  I was once a Republican, but that was before I was enlightened.  I’ve never been a Democrat…as a self-employed taxpayer, I have always been enlightened to their political antics.  I don’t agree with their tenets of tax, tax, tax….they wouldn’t feel that way if they paid as much tax as I and my family have then watch it frittered away with presidential comforts, seriously ignorant social programs and pork barrel expenditures. If I did that with my money, I would be living on the streets, but they don’t… But that’s another post.  Back to Glen and Petraeus.  I think Petraeus knew all about the Libyan terrorist attack on our Embassy many months ago and threatened to let the American people know that fact.  Right before the election no less!   In retaliation (and because Hilary Clinton’s  “it’s my own fault” speech didn’t work) the present Administration threatened back with this “mistress” revelation.  Funny how it all happened after the election was won.  Funny how both of the women involved have been to the White House.   Funny how our government can snoop out personal issues, but not terroristic ones.  Funny how by labeling Petraeus an adulterer (only Bill Clinton’s teflon personality can let that label slide off) it does the following:

  • Takes the attention away from the Libyan bombing.
  • Makes the religious zealots, teabaggers and true Christians uncomfortable.
  • Makes the Administration look really good to its constituents for “blowing the Scarlet Letter whistle” on a one-time warmonger.
  • Assures the short-term memory of Americans don’t remember how close the election was and how bad the economy is.

What do you think?  Is Glen pulling my leg?  Or are we really becoming more stupid as Americans?

2.  Does anyone know if Andy Samberg wrote the Rap lyrics for Jimmy Fallon’s sketches on SNL when Samberg first started and Fallon was on his way out?  I watched a rerun last night and I so heard the Samberg style in Fallon’s funny rap songs.  (yeah, Glen knew I was getting way too deep on the military/political issue so he lightened me up!)

3.  Would it be really bitchy of me to make a Pinterest board of things I dislike?  I mean, Pinterest is so “touchy, feely, glittery” and I would be adding an element of negativity.  Good or bad?  Your thoughts?

4.  Miguel Cabrera over Mike Trout for MVP?  Really?  Were the sportswriters who were voting under Glen’s spell as well?  The Angels would have NEVER gotten as far as they did without Trout.  Really?  Another epic voting failure.  Sheesh, it seems to be contagious!

So that’s it.  I’m really worried about the Israeli war.  I’m really worried about this country’s future.  I want to do something to make it stop, but don’t know how other than to educate my children.  My next task is to find out how difficult it would be to start another political party…I would call it “THE PATRIOT PARTY” for people who feel like I do.  The time’s they are a-changing, and not in a good way.

As usual, please don’t email, text or comment with hateful barbs.  Glen inspired me.  (though I actually invited him to do so)  It’s not Glenlivet, it’s the freedom of thinking.  I don’t want to lose that either!

 

Patriotism and Secession and Who’s Truly the Whacko?


From the Dallasvoice.com

Yesterday, my daughter told me that Twitter was afire with people tweeting about seceding from the United States.  I laughed it off and blamed it on the under 30 set (read that as high schoolers and those that still think they are) being bored and agitating liberals and conservatives alike.  I joked that it wouldn’t be such a bad idea due to the lack of responsibility from ALL politicians today.  I for one am really tired of government spending my hard earned money on their wasteful government spending, political vacations,  the President’s comfort (I knew I should have grown up to be the president)  fake wars and invasions, fiscal cliffs and general lying to the people of the United States.  Heck, anyone who has ever lived with me knows I can spend money too.  I just have  a problem spending other people’s money.  (unlike our government)

It has to stop.

What I didn’t know until today, is that there are many people who feel the same way, and not just the “whacko” Texans (as my NY friends call them).    Texas wants to secede.   So do 37 other states.  What does this say about the state of the true union?  About the 99% ers?  About those of us who are sick and tired of the same ole same ole?

I don’t blame the President.  I blame our system.  The President and every other politician in office right now is just taking advantage of what “We the People”  have allowed.

It has to stop.

I also don’t think secession is the answer.  But if it wakes up the political powers that be, then there’s progress.

Remember what our Constitution says…..what our Forefathers said about forming our union.  Don’t want to reread the Constitution but need a quick reminder about patriotism?

Here it is:

The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.”
―    Thomas Paine

What do you think?  And please….I beg of you.  Be civil.  Don’t call me a redneck, crazy teabagger, religious zealot, inbred Texan.  I’m a sapiosexual remember?

Before Voting Inspiration


A Nation’s Strength
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

What makes a nation’s pillars high
And it’s foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.