Conversation with a co-worker

[This is another Draft I’m just posting as-is, from before the 2008 election]

This is  a conversation with a co-worker who was trying to catch me off guard with this article, basically implying that since I didn’t like Bush, I shouldn’t like Obama either, and almost directly accusing me of being a “blind” Obama supporter. The tactic didn’t work, but it tells me that my co-worker has a pretty shallow understanding of the presidential candidates and issues this year.

The article is terrible.

(3:01 PM) Co-Worker: what are your thoughts on Bush?
(3:02 PM) Me: I prefer it close trimmed at least, but a Brazilian would be nice for a change of pace once in a while
(3:02 PM) Me: the landing strip isn’t as flattering as it should be
(3:02 PM) Co-Worker: I meant President Bush
(3:02 PM) Me: full bush, no thx
(3:02 PM) Me: oh, that fuckwad.
(3:03 PM) Co-Worker: You are going to vote for Obama, correct?
(3:03 PM) Me: I’ve despised him as a human being, but especially as a politician since 1999
(3:03 PM) Me: bush
(3:04 PM) Co-Worker: so are you voting for Obama?
(3:04 PM) Me: Unless he comes out & does something extraordinarily stupid, yeah. If he does that I’ll be looking third-party
(3:04 PM) Co-Worker: here you go then
(3:04 PM) Co-Worker:
(3:07 PM) Me: I see.
Let’s be clear about this here: I’m not voting for Obama because he’s not like Bush (he is in ways that matter to me) but because he’s not McCain.
(3:08 PM) Me: I want a President who’s not going to keep everything a secret, who gives the appearance of having thought his words through, rather than just echoing what the Religious Right thinks he should be saying (though YES I’m horribly disappointed with Obama’s stances on the Faith-based initiatives)…
(3:09 PM) Co-Worker: well I thought you might like to know on what Obama stands for and how they are Similar to “that fuckwad”
(3:09 PM) Me: who doesn’t play for the “peace through strength” doctrine of foreign relations (see Reagan)
(3:09 PM) Me: I dig.
(3:09 PM) Me: He’s not my ideal candidate, he’s just better than his opponents
(3:11 PM) Co-Worker: I tell you what though….. no candidate will ever be “perfect”
(3:20 PM) Me: #1 is incorrect
#2 I don’t know anything about
#3 is misleading
#4 I don’t care about
#5 is misleading
#6 is shallow and stupid
#7 is misleading
#8 just pisses me off
#9 I know nothing about
#10 is a sad compromise in the face of a majority of stupid people
#11 is Obama playing it safe. Want to fix AIDS in Africa? Hand out a billion condoms. The Right would crucify Obama if he proposed to do this before the election.
#12 is weak
#13 means Bush is slowly pulling his head out of his own ass
#14 I don’t know about
#15 Everyone voted for the PATRIOT act, it was political suicide not to.
#16 Is playing it safe again. The environmental reasons to block offshore drilling are no longer as strong as the economic reasons to do so
#17 I’m hoping Obama will hire a better attorney general. If Bush wasn’t such a fuckwad, this issue would be closer to being solved.
#18 I despise Obama for campaigning as a “person of faith” almost as much as I despised Bush for doing the same. The difference is the kind of christianity each claims to believe in.
#19 Guns are not an issue I care much about. If there was a simple answer to the problem, they’d have figured it out by now.
#20 I guess the difference I see between Obama and Bush on this kind of social issue is that Obama + a Democratic Congress would actually be willing to fund these welfare-to-work programs, rather than starve them in the name of “smaller government”
(3:20 PM) Me: feh.
(3:22 PM) Co-Worker: if you can give me proof of this i would MAYBE agree with you but I have a feeling that you are just going on what you hope is true
(3:22 PM) Me: which parts?
(3:23 PM) Co-Worker: first off #1 is correct because he has said it more than once!
(3:24 PM) Me: I think the difference is that Bush is all about “Abstinence Only” which is stupid, while the Democratic Party stance in general is that abstinence is just one of the ideas that should be taught.
(3:24 PM) Me: Among others.
(3:24 PM) Me: that’s what’s known as “comprehensive sex education”: which Bush and party are against.
(3:25 PM) Co-Worker: well I dont beleive anything you say about it because everything you have is so bias you are blinded
(3:25 PM) Me: Wow, what?
(3:25 PM) Co-Worker: but i am done talking politics i have get back to work
(3:32 PM) Me: The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to comprehensive affordable family
planning services and age-appropriate sex education which empower people to make informed
choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education
help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for

That’s an issue I care about. I don’t know McCain’s official stance, but I know that the Republican party’s evangelical base still thinks “abstinence only” is a good idea.
One strike against the Republicans.
(3:33 PM) Me: I have some experience with a number of young people in my family – far too many – who lacked some information they would have had access to if they were my age. And it caused serious problems for them.
(3:37 PM) Me: Obama on Merit Pay:
(3:39 PM) Me: Bush has implemented a global gag rule, which basically blocks funding for any program that will have ANYTHING to do with abortions, and also blocks funding for handing out condoms in Africa:
(3:39 PM) Me: I’m just sayin’
(3:39 PM) Me: Not blind. Just opinionated.
(3:49 PM) Me: Last thing, I promise. This just came to mind while I was peeing and I have to be clear about this.
One thing I despise about the Republican Party during the last 10+ years is their incessant campaigning against “judges who legislate from the bench”. This is one issue the Republicans talked very loudly about earlier this year, though not so much for McCain himself.

Mostly what these guys are talking about is judges at the federal level who have been ruling as un-constitutional, laws that were passed in *spite of being unconstitutional* because the majority of local voters are in fact undereducated hicks voting on hot-button emotional issues.

That’s what the Judicial Branch is SUPPOSED to do.

Can you hear the crickets chirping as I demonstrate how not-blind I am by my own bias?

Oh, I’m biased alright, just not blindly so.

Glurge, or I just couldn’t help myself

I recieved the following in a bulk email from a pastor to who I’m distantly related.

I know I shouldn’t stir the pot, but just couldn’t resist sending a reply. To all.

There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the western United States. Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course their freshman year, regardless of his or her major.

Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going onto Seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team and was the best student in the professor’s class.

One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. “How many push-ups can you do?”

Steve said, “I do about 200 every night.”

“200? That’s pretty good, Steve,” Dr. Christianson said. “Do you think you could do 300?”

Steve replied, “I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time.”

“Do you think you could?” again asked Dr. Christianson.

“Well, I can try,” said Steve.

“Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,” said the professor.

Steve said, “Well… I think I can… yeah, I can do it.”

Dr. Christianson said, “Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind.”

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. These weren’t the normal kinds of donuts. They were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson’s class.

Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, “Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?”

Cynthia said, “Yes.”

Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?”

“Sure!” Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.

Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked,

“Joe, do you want a donut?”

Joe said, “Yes.”

Dr. Christianson asked, “Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?”

Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.

Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team and in as good condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship.

The professor asked, “Scott do you want a donut?”

Scott’s reply was, “Well, can I do my own push-ups?”

Dr. Christianson said, “No, Steve has to do them.”

Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”

Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?” With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten push-ups.

Scott said, “HEY! I said I didn’t want one!”

Dr. Christianson said, “Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it.” And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.

By this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.

Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry. Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?”

Sternly, Jenny said, “No.”

Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?”

Steve did ten. Jenny got a donut.

By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say, “No!” and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.

Steve had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten push-ups in a set because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely.

Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row. During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room.

When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Dr. Christianson, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?”

Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your push-ups.

You can do them any way that you want.” And Dr. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, “NO! Don’t come in! Stay out!” Jason didn’t know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.”

Dr. Christianson said, “You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten push-ups for him?”

Steve said, “Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut.”

Dr. Christianson said, “Okay, Steve, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?”

Jason, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on.

“Yes,” he said, “give me a donut.”

“Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?”

Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down. Dr Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. By this time sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound except his heavy breathing. There was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders and very popular. Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, “Linda, do you want a doughnut?”

Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.”

Professor Christianson quietly asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-Ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?”

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda.

Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan and said, “Susan, do you want a donut?”

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. “Dr. Christianson, can I help him?”

Dr Christianson, with tears of his own, said, “No, Steve has to do it alone. I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes.”

“Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?”

As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said, “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, said to the Father, ‘Into thy Hands I commend my spirit.’ With the understanding that Jesus had done everything that was required of him, he yielded up his life. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.”

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. “Well done, good and faithful servant,” said the professor, adding, “Not all sermons are preached in words.” Turning to his class, the professor said, “My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God spared not his only begotten son, but gave him up for us all, for the whole Church, now and forever. Whether or not we choose to accept God’s gift to us, the price has been paid.”

Wouldn’t you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on the desk?

My reply:

You somehow managed to leave out the second part of this tale.

The story of Steve’s sacrifice for donuts spread and grew, until during his senior year nearly half of all incoming students were told what became known as the Tale of the Five Hundred Pushups, of whom nearly half believed the story without question.

Meaning that one in four incoming freshman girls heard the story, assumed it was true because so many freshmen couldn’t be wrong, and instantly believed Steve was such a terrific guy that they were willing to give up just about anything for a little bit of his time and attention.

Many of the freshman girls did give up a little something, and for the rest of his college career Steve was so thick with young ladies that he never felt the need to do another pushup again, though he spent more on donuts than his classmates spent on beer.

Not a bad return for an hour’s worth of extra exercise.

Reminds me of the tale of the omniscient, omnipresent half-deity who lived in part outside of normal time and space, and gained two billion worshippers over two millenia by setting himself up for a single bad weekend.

Can’t think of what his name was…

Rereading my reply, I wish I’d included a note or two about the number of athtletes at the college who also got laid because they claimed to be close friends with Steve. I’m such an asshole!

You are not the center of the Universe

I actually disagree with that statement. If there’s any validity to the premise that there’s a “center” of the Universe at all (which doesn’t actually turn out to be supported by the evidence), then for all practical intents and purposes, we happen to be it.

The microwave background radiation, for example, happens to be the same distance from us in all directions, and is darn close to the same temperature in all directions.

So, strike that. You ARE the center of the Universe.

But you are not the most important thing. You are a speck on the surface of a dot orbiting a point of light that circles a galaxy (that turns out to be relatively large but certainly not the greatest of them all) in a cluster of galaxies among millions of other clusters of galaxies buzzing around like flies in the football stadium of empty space that is our visible Universe.

So if you think it’s all about you, or that the anthropomorphic guy you like to say built it all is personally hurt that you had that wank last night, stop worrying.

You can have that beer, and it wouldn’t hurt for you to get out and get laid. Or at least it won’t hurt anyone but yourself if you pick up an infection.

A handy list of U.S. Representatives who do not get it

Fourteen Republicans who think it worth our country’s time and money to even consider a bill recommending to the President that he designate 2010 as “The National Year of the Bible”

I cannot think of many other ways to utterly waste the President’s time, yet these tools will probably get political mileage out of this stupid bill among their constituents.

And I call them out by name:

  • Mr. BROUN
  • Mr. FORBES
  • Mr. PENCE
  • Mr. GINGREY of Georgia
  • Mr. FRANKS of Arizona
  • Mr. JORDAN of Ohio
  • Mr. WAMP
  • Mr. CARTER
  • Mr. AKIN, and

You, of the party that claims to be about small government, should not be wasting your time (our money) on this bullshit when there are real problems to be solved. You are all idiots.

I feel better now.