We’re Still On Our Way Home

Oh bloody hell:

Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, and more than half disagree with the theory that humans developed from earlier species of animals, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Hey Texans! Wanna buy half a bridge in Brooklyn?

About the same numbers of Democrats and Republicans — 43 percent — disagree with the idea that dinosaurs and humans lived on the planet at the same time. Republicans were slightly more likely to agree with the idea (31 percent to 27 percent). Perry had more voters in each group on the GOP side, but Kay Bailey Hutchison had the largest share of voters who believe in that coexistence.

Prindle says the results recall a line from comedian Lewis Black. “He did a standup routine a few years back in which he said that a significant proportion of the American people think that the ‘The Flintstones’ is a documentary,” Prindle says. “Turns out he was right. Thirty percent of Texans agree that humans and dinosaurs lived on the earth at the same time.”

Putting aside for the moment that the poll presents a dispute about an objective reality, let’s take this fundy talking point to its extreme conclusion. Suppose for just a moment dinosaurs and humans roamed the earth at the same time: what would oil be made of? If you believed, as some of these death cults do, that human remains must be buried and left whole or the soul has no body to inhabit on Judgment Day, what are you doing to your ancestors as you tool around Texas in your SUV?

If my brain was stewing in this sulphurous marinade I’d be nailing solar panels to every outdoor surface I owned.

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Hope That Holds Us Together

ATTENTION: MANUFACTURERS OF HIP REPLACEMENT TECHNOLOGY,

Your current products permit users to bend at the hip a mere 90 degrees. A generation of athletes, sex fiends and Shriners will be arriving at your door any day now for whom 90 degrees simply will not cut it.

Plan accordingly.

Kisses,

Princess Ta

More Of This I Can Take

Sarah Palin:

A lot of people, I guess this New York Times reporter, they just don’t like that message of we being taxed enough and wanting to remind our elected officials of their constitutional limitations of big government, and just kind of get government back on the side of the people.

Grammar schools everywhere have found their cautionary tale.

The Line Of Cars Drove Down Real Slow

Sometimes you bumble through life – dum dee dum dee dee – doing your own thing and stumble on proof that thing you’re doing? You’re doing it at an advanced level. There’s no other explanation for this:

When you accept everything you’re told without question, you open the door to being manipulated. If you want to avoid being someone else’s puppet, follow these steps.

Think for yourself – like me!

Step 1:

Ask questions, particularly the question “why?”. Ask everyone (not just the so-called experts), and try to answer your own questions as well. When you get an answer, try to think of exceptions, and then ask yourself why those exceptions exist. Never be satisfied until you arrive at an answer that has very few exceptions.

Three-year-olds get to ask “Why?” all the time. Everyone else who asks a second time better duck.

Step 2:

Look for selfish motives. Some people will become very annoyed, and perhaps even offended, that you’re questioning something they accept without question. Whenever people want you to think a certain way, it’s because it benefits them in some way. But that benefit is not always obvious or direct. Many times, people want you to adopt their perspective because it makes them feel more comfortable and secure (safety in numbers). Sometimes, people’s beliefs make it easier for them to feel like a good person. These people don’t want those beliefs challenged because it’s as if you were challenging them personally – it seems to them that you are questioning their “good-person-hood”. Sometimes, people are trying to look out for your best interest, and truly want you to be in step with their beliefs without looking into their statements any further. And sometimes, people just want to be seen as authoritative and trusted, so they’re personally invested in whether or not you buy into the things they say. That’s why they take it personally if you don’t automatically buy in.

One of my sisters has internalized the lessons of Dr. Phil without mulling them over even a little. This means when I say, “Fuck that guy,” my sister’s eyes spin in her head like a cheap slot machine. She’d like to think this makes me a bad, bad person but her default thinking is Dr. Phil’s: anyone who doesn’t agree with him is dumber than a dumb bunny and lower than a tick on a snake’s belly. I can only stare when she says this with a Weehawken accent.

Step 3:

Stop being a people pleaser. People who don’t think for themselves are often scared of disagreeing with others, and scared of “rocking the boat”. A freethinker, on the other hand, bases their self worth on something other than what people think of them. These people may still experience rejection, discomfort, and anguish, but they will continue to think for themselves.

In cases where someone says he “just wants the best for you,” you may be accused of distrust, and it could make you feel guilty. But keep in mind that anyone who truly cares for you will be willing to explain their point of view and why they feel that way, and allow you to decide for yourself whether that is enough evidence for you.

In my book, that makes him a controlling dipshit, but don’t take my word for it. What do you think, desperate people pleaser?

Step 4:

Do the research. Look into the statements made by others. You’ll be amazed at how many times you’ll find lots of evidence to contradict the statements of others. Yet, these people spout this erroneous information as if it were the Gospels, never questioning the accuracy or truth of what they’re saying. Use Google or go to the library, and search for information to prove or disprove the statements made. Remember where you get the “evidence” from. Be aware that, just because you saw it in a book or on the internet, that alone does not make it the truth. Once you’ve found evidence, one way or the other, you can speak up about it. “Yes, you know after we talked last time, I was so interested that I looked that up. That’s amazing, isn’t it, hard to believe, but true!” Or conversely, you can say, “I know that sounds amazing, and I hate to burst the bubble because it’s fun to believe that could be true, but I looked it up, and it looks like it isn’t true. I feel bad to be the bearer of bad news, but I just don’t think that’s true. You can look at ____________ (wherever you found your disproving evidence) and see for yourself.” When you’re breaking the news that your friend is passing along a false tale, let them know in a humble and compassionate way – don’t just come in crowing and congratulating yourself for debunking a myth. You may look smart to others for a minute, but to your friend, you look like a jerk.

Miss Manners frowns on telling your friends they’re lying halfwits, but sometimes you can’t help yourself. Because sometimes they’re lying halfwits. How can you help yourself when you finally figure out that you’re sitting at the world’s largest encyclopedia and you can look up facts? Because you’re smart!

Step 5:

Live outside your comfort zone. Not only will some people be very perturbed by your refusal to take their statements at face value, but you will also learn to question your own assumptions, and that can make you feel lost and confused, like walking into a dark room. It takes courage to face uncertainty. Be Bold.

If you’re boring – be interesting! If you’re dull – be weird! But not too weird. Then you’d challenge my idea of you.

Step 6:

Beware paralysis by analysis. When you’re thinking for yourself, you’re taking full responsibility for your life and your actions, because you can’t say you were trusting someone else’s judgment. This can be very nerve-wracking, and lead to excessive self-doubt. Remember that thinking for yourself doesn’t mean being sure. It means making decisions based on your own analysis, rather than someone else’s. There will always be some degree of uncertainty, no matter what, that you must learn to accept and cope with.

Wax on = wax off!

Look, someone can teach you how to think like they do, but only you can teach you to think for yourself. And if you’re just learning, it’s about fucking time.

Yearn Admits You’re Outside

Etienne appeared – POOF! – in a cloud of dust, tossing off flaming emails – IN NJ UNTIL TOMORROW COME AND FUCKING SEE ME. I laughed the whole six blocks Pete and I drove to his aunt and uncle’s house, which was filled with cats and other people surprised to see me. Etienne squeezed the stuffing out of me and raced to the car, anxious to meet Pete, whom I’d described as “my shiny new husband.” Pete managed to drive the car to the diner we call simply The Diner, though in this part of New Jersey, diners dot the landscape, while jet-lagged Etienne described his flight back from London where he served as his grandmother’s sister’s man Friday. Lunch conversation limped and loped along until Pete and I decided we had to get home and get ready for work at the family store, and somewhere about then, I remarked that I couldn’t remember where Etienne’s grandparents’ house was. On our way back to Etienne’s, we decided to find it.

Tata: Pete, turn left here, go to the second stop sign and make a right.
Etienne: At the light, make a right.
Pete: Make a left here?
Etienne: At the light –
Tata: Make a left at the light and we’ll be in front of the grocery store and the family store.

Pete turned left. Etienne suddenly recognized where he was.

Etienne: Turn right.
Tata: Go up one block and turn left!

Pete made a straight.

Tata: Okay, turn left.

Pete made another straight.

Tata: Any time now, you can turn left and turn left a second time.
Pete: Was I actually supposed to turn or keep averaging out your directions?
Tata: TURN LEFT.

Pete turned left and left again.

Tata: Etienne, what was the name of the street?
Etienne: Garner.
Tata: There it is. What number?
Etienne: Number 16. It’s that one!

Etienne’s grandfather designed the house and built it in the Modernist 1950s, and the family moved in in 1958. It is a study of small windows and odd angles. The enormous and yet graceful carport sits at a 45 degree angle to the front of the house and the front door was a honey color I remembered from distant childhood. We sat in the car, staring at the house for a long time. Then Etienne said, “Guess I better tell them I’m here,” and bolted from the car. Pete and I sunk down in our seats and waited for the police to arrive, but Etienne, though buffeted by life in ways you and I wouldn’t wish on our enemies, is special. We saw the door open and Etienne disappeared inside. A minute passed, then Etienne waved to us to park the car and come inside.

Pete: No, no, we can’t go in there.
Tata: I’m going!

Pete beached the car in a snow bank. I stomped my feet clean of snow and Pete followed. We’d walked into a foyer with an observant Jewish family on the sabbath and they were smiling. I couldn’t believe they let us in – I mean, would you? The foyer had been renovated to add windows and change the shape of the ceiling. Etienne could see that right away, but I recognized nothing until we came to the living room, which I remember filled floor to ceiling with Etienne’s grandmother’s paintings and sculptures, and the back window wall that overlooked a creek and what in summer looks like a small forest. We turned toward the kitchen and both Etienne and I became confused. The renovation had removed part of a wall, but once we were in the kitchen we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the cabinetry and the odd, odd angles. In the renovation, another wall at the side of the house had been removed and an addition had been added that was so respectful of the original design that at first my eye passed over it. Through a doorway, I could see the rest of the family still sitting at the lunch table, so I made a few excuses to leave, but the family was genuinely happy to walk Etienne around and show him one last treasure: a painting on the wall of the stairs to the basement. Etienne’s grandmother’s art was still in the house. We were overjoyed.

I laughed all the way back to Etienne’s aunt and uncle’s house.

Like the Deadly Hands Of the Radium Clock

Tata: Is Lois there and is she good and surly?
Anya: Lois, are you good and surly?
Lois: Who is it?
Anya: Auntie Ta. Get over here!
Lois: Hello?
Tata: I have all the ingredients for tempeh dumplings laid out on the counter. Wanna come over and teach me how to make them, since you’ve made dumplings and I haven’t?
Lois: I can’t. I’m going out to play in the snow with my friends.
Tata: I don’t blame you. That sounds like more fun than calling Poison Control.
Lois: Sorry about that.
Tata: Talk to you later when you visit me in the hospital!

Since I was in my house and happy, I thought I’d try out something new. We had wonton wrappers because this day was going to come eventually, vegetables because I was betting on the snowstorm and tempeh because why the hell not? I cooked everything that needed cooking, drained everything and minced the whole mishegas. So I brushed each wrapper with water, filled it, pinched it closed and laid each little dumpling on parchment paper. It was a lot like working with phyllo dough in that the wrappers dried out quickly, but it was also very satisfying to fill up trays and freeze them. Vegetable dumplings are my favorite breakfast. I’m psyched!