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boschsevendeadlysins

The Seven Deadly Really Sucky Things

It just so happens that today, the 9th of November in the year 2016, I am rereading Richard Leakey’s  1994 take on how we became what we’ve become, “The Origin of Humankind” . The timing of the read was dictated by nothing more than it being the only hardback book on hand after relocating to Italy, but it all seems somehow prescient upon awakening this morning.

Why?

Donald Trump has been elected to be President of The United States. Wow. Aside from underlining just how good an idea it was to leave the US almost 25 years ago, there are no positive points to this now being the actual reality. (Had it been scripted and edited as ‘reality shows’ actually are, no one would ever have believed this situation even remotely possible … no matter how clever the contrived convolutions.)

The New York Times conveniently compiled a list of The Donald’s tacky snipes , so there’s no reason to dwell on the nasty divisiveness that spews forth from His Orangeness, but it does rub against the grain even more abrasively when juxtaposed aside the anthropological construct that says humanity itself … the very basics of what makes humans human and separates us from apes … began evolutionarily with sharing.

As Leakey states in his 1981 book, “The Making of Mankind”, sharing is THE factor that puts us where we are, “ … the food sharing hypothesis is a strong candidate for explaining what set early humans on the road to modern man.”

The Smithsonian’s Richard Potts notes in “Early Hominid Activities at Olduvai”:

The home-base, food-sharing hypothesis integrates so many aspects of human behavior and social life that are important to anthropologists — reciprocity systems, exchange, kinship, subsistence, division of labor and language.

Yet 1.5 million years later where are we?

We are in a world that just made a lying bigot with zero experience, no integrity, ethics or morals the most powerful man on the planet, not only suggesting democracy is a failed system, but also that evolution has come to naught. Sharing made us human, now not sharing will reduce us to whatever form of cockroach-like scramblers we are destined to become as Earth revolts against perpetual rape and some learn the hard way that avarice is actually one of the seven deadly sins.

And … just FYI …

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Sands in Seychelles Today

Thin Skin Burns

S. Hanks

“Nothing is more curious than the almost savage hostility that humor excites in those who lack it.” ~ George Saintsbury

There is a childhood adage dating back to the mid-1800s that goes, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Meant to arm kids with a tool to fend off the nastiness and name-calling pervading schoolyards and neighborhoods where children gather to play and taunt each other, it can work quite well. After all, words are just ephemeral bits of sound waves that bounce off eardrums or squiggles on a page that register in the brain as having some meaning, whereas bits of wood and rock can draw blood and literally break bones.

The tendency these days, however, is to attach all sorts of potential for injury to utterances, an attitude which can leave recipients in blubbering heaps unable to either ignore comments or to fire back with a biting retort, the lack of both a lifetime handicap. Being thin-skinned does not allow much bounce and makes people mean in their attempts to prove themselves perpetually correct and superior in everything.

Certainly no one should ever attack another person’s physical, mental, emotional, familial or whatever personal attributes another may have — that’s just rude and low, and says more about the commenter than the target of their vitriol, This, however, is far from a perfect world, so would it not be helpful if those earmarked for verbal assault were taught to deflect disparaging remarks in innocuous ways?

This is where humor comes in handy. Pointing and laughing can ricochet an insult off the thick, humor-armed hide of a victim of denigration, then slam it smack dab into the sloping forehead of a venom-spewing jerk at high velocity and packing a punch not soon forgotten. An effective quip, a barb dipped in sarcasm, a snide aside … all have the potential to disarm a tormenter and leave them a sputtering puddle of mortification without having to do any more than send a few well-chosen sound waves or squiggles in their direction.

Unfortunately, the sense of humor is not evenly spread throughout our species; some people just don’t get it, either through a genetic deficiency or having suffered a sagacity excision somewhere along the line. This is especially true when the taunting bully is shored up with self-righteous indignation they feel conveys some sort of carte blanche giving their views priority and protection against embarrassing come-backs. For reasons beyond comprehension and often contrary to the effectiveness of any original proposed point, this sort almost always lacks a funny bone, appreciation of well-placed irony and satire, so reactions to jests and jibes tend to go the way of obnoxious at best, and downright loathsome in many cases.

Due to objectives having less to do with civil discourse carrying potential for influence, but more about self-aggrandizement, this sort also vigorously and vitriolically takes part in social media and, absent humor, resorts to rudeness, threats, toddler-like verbal foot stomping (sans the humanity-leveling comedy routine that comes with “I know you are, but what am I?”, and “Neener Neener Neener!”), often ALL CAPS and, in typically cowardly fashion, under a fake profile assumed to absolve all personal responsibility.

Designed to intimidate, this does sometimes work, but many who have developed a sense of humor, honed it to a fine point and maintain its edge with practice, find it hilarious.

After all, sticks and stones …

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“Persistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.” ~ Criss Jami, Killosophy

super_power_islandWatching the world from my veranda can provoke some convoluted contemplation; it’s big/small,  gorgeous/grotesque, unjust in the extreme, yet inherently fair in the grand scheme.

Birds fly, fish swim and the sea has rhythm, yet there is a Donald Trump and The Riders of the Purple Dildo (with 50 gallons of lube on hand … so to speak) in simultaneous existence and I find that mighty confusing some days.

Those are the days I have power: power to get myself out of bed, make coffee, sometimes even shower and dress as well as contemplate convolutedly. Oh … and juice. Those days I have juice.

Juice is vital. It connects me in ways nothing else can. Passion fruit juice connects me to my garden. Grape juice — that’s been sitting around for a while — tethers day to night almost flawlessly. And when current is current, electric juice connects me to the Internet … which connects me to balloon juice, which gives a handle to lunatics … which is funny. (I’m a fan of funny.)

I know some wonder what possible charm a computer screen could have when the view, the peace, the chirping birds as the only sound, are on offer. They ask how I can pull myself away from puffy, white clouds reflected from the surface of the perfect shade of blue that is the Indian Ocean and why I’m not sitting on the shore of said ocean all day, every day. Why would I even think of opening my laptop in such a paradise?

To these people I say two things:

1) Obviously you’ve never lived decades on a rock in the middle of nowhere thousands of miles from anything even close to the real world, and 2) A girl’s got to make a living.

I sit on Facebook for hours every day (Go ahead. Let the thought cross your mind with the sit/face thing if you must.), not because I find it stimulating (Yeah …  okay …go on.), although it often is, but because it’s my job.

Keeping up with friends, family and global events is surely a benefit, and hopping in and out of conversations, arguments, bombastic bullshit, freaky hallucinations, unsubstantiated claims and such keeps me sharp.

Access to information is vital, and thanks to today’s technology I can educate myself on things other than the tide table, the rapid growth of unwanted greenery and the painfully slow decomposition of granite.

My clients expect nothing less than total up-to-date-ness on travel trends, global economic fluctuations, flight interruptions, international conflicts, and sometimes something as obscure as the price of a cup of coffee in Sofia, Bulgaria.

To say I rely on electric juice is an understatement of understated, yet understandable, proportions, given that my livelihood, and no small part of my social life, can only happen when everything can be turned on, because when the power’s out, I can’t do shit.

I can and do write when my wifi squirrel dies, but having no idea when someone might get around to reviving the rodent has me checking battery levels as often as I insert a semi-colon. Outages going on for full days present a stack of work piled up to the virtual rafters, all needing immediate attention 5 hours ago. (That, btw, tends to delay me connecting with my grape juice, thereby sloshing day into night and pissing me off.)

The power was off all day yesterday … again … for something always referred to by the utility company as: Urgent maintenance on the overhead lines. (We apologize for the inconvenience … again … and appreciate your patience. Yeah … right.)

Ah … island life … in Africa; all juicy tales and the undiluted nectar of nature. Or is it sap?

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.” ~ Emily Dickinson

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Tolerance. I’m all for it, or was. Embracing diversity, respecting the views and beliefs of others, giving plenty of room for different strokes, live-and-let-live and all that hooey.

Yep. No expectation that folks should think like I do just because I’m right, now is there?

I’ve managed a lot of years on this attitude, but I’m just about done with it and feeling a need to start drawing lines in the sand; un-crossable, non-neogtialble lines dividing me from them.

What’s brought on this uncharacteristic lean toward leaning away? Short answer: I’m reacting to reactionaries. I’ve had it with different strokes reining down on heads, arms, legs, and those who limit “let live” to only their own ilk.

A far too steady diet of news stories like this has strained all limits of forbearance.

The attackers forced the man to strip to his underwear and tied him to a chair, the police said. One of the teenage victims was still there, and the “Goonies” ordered him to attack the man. The teenager hit him in the face and burned him with a cigarette on his nipple and penis as the others jeered and shouted gay slurs, the police said. Then the attackers whipped the man with a chain and sodomized him with a small baseball bat.

This, of course, following right on the heels of the deaths of Alec Henrison and Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Billy Lucas … and on and on.

I’m done being shocked and sad. I’m through cutting slack to those who are just too invested in whatever-it-is-stupid-agenda that makes it okay to label gay people as “less than” or “abominations”, to carry signs insisting that “god hates fags” or to judge in any way something that has NOTHING to do with them.

Although I will continue to be amused by kind-hearted and humorous get-backs like this video posted on facebook … ‘like’ them here … and I’ll wear purple on the 20th in support of efforts to raise awareness, I will no longer sit back and listen to anyone wax on about being entitled to harbor even the hint of condemnation for a segment of the population that has been segmented off because of who they choose to love.

Nope.

People like the moronic Andrew Shirvell get nothing by my wrath and “anti-gay activists” are deemed evil incarnate, especially those who who use their stance to hide behind their preference for behinds.

I won’t limit myself to simply encouraging people to support organizations like The Trevor Project, but now take to vilifying any and all who don’t.

My tolerance is gone, and I don’t give a flying fuck if someone thinks it’s within their rights to disagree over the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality … it’s NOT. Don’t like the idea of gay? No one cares. Keep it to yourself, or, better yet, get a grip, stop spending time conjuring mental images of acts that are none of your damned business and get it through your head that gay people are not only as good as you are, they are very often a whole lot better in all the ways that count on the goodness scale.

Here are some truths that might help with that:

1) Homosexuality is NOT a choice. Some people are blond, some people are Black, some people are gay. (Some are blond AND black AND gay … not always a good look, but nobody’s place to judge.) And who the fuck would choose to be gay in this world? Anyone worried that they might make that “choice” may just want to take another gander at their motivation for condemnation.

2) Gay people could give a shit whether or not you approve. What is important is whether or not you deny rights, and if you do, you’re an asshole.

3) For those who fall back on religion as an excuse to cast aspersions, keep in mind that the story goes that Jesus had two dads, and he turned out okay, and any belief that any god should care what people do with their god-given bits shortchanges that god by reducing him to pin-headed moron status.

Feel free to add to this list …

Yes … I’m pissed off today, even more than I was yesterday and the day before that and the day before that. I’m afraid for so many I love so much, terrified someone will hurt them because of who and how they love. I’m crushed with the thought that fear is growing around them, turning them into hermits when they should be flying free and joyfully. I’m furious that some are forced into hiding themselves behind a mask of heterosexuality, denying their true and lovely natures and their loves.

I’ve tried it other ways, but it’s not worked out so well, and now I’m fighting intolerance with intolerance. So, to anyone who disagrees with me … fuck you. Sandra hates self-righteous homophobes.

Line drawn. Cross over to the good side or stay well away.

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Sandra, you seem to put a lot of your personal life out there for all the world to see. You publish under your real name, write about life, love, fears, kids and just about everything else in your world. Doesn’t it bother you that people have so much access to what might be better kept private?
Anonymous

True, not quite, yes, and no … reasons follow:

1. Because I don’t trust writers who refuse to put their name to their work, it’s long felt important that people know who I am. By not disguising my identity, I accept accountability, and given that so much of my work over the years has swirled around controversial, contentious issues that could have impact on lives, stepping up and stating clearly who I am and where I’m coming from has been important.

2. Contrary to some perceptions, I don’t actually write about everything in my life. There are huge swathes of living that don’t come under the pen because a) it’s not interesting, b) there’s nothing of value to share with readers, c) it’s not my story to tell, d) I’m saving it for a book, or e) I don’t bloody want to.

3. I find life as an open book rewarding, personally and financially. I’m a writer; opening books is what writing is about.

4. Writing about pain is cathartic. It’s neither fun, nor easy, but not only does it feel right at the time I’m spewing, I reap rewards of validation and compassion that would be hard to come by were I to sit on my story and stew.

5. I’m a cockeyed optimist when it comes to honesty. I actually feel that the more truth there is in the world, the more chance there is for improvement. Like putting a brick in the toilet, recycling or driving an energy-efficient car, writing the truth feels like doing my bit.

6. I live on an island in the middle of nowhere. It’s not like every wacko in Waco can pop by for a stalking.

7. I live on an island in the middle of nowhere. It’s not like I can cultivate a local contingent of hundreds of brilliant conversationalists to keep me sharp and interested.

8. People who come into my world understand that parts of my life end up in print. If I were a painter, I’d paint it; as a poet I poem it. Art comes from life. Send me something profound and I’ll quote you. Impress me and I’ll publicize you. Love me and I’ll celebrate you. Hurt me and I’ll whine about you. If that wraps my accountability around others who would rather not have life repeat on them, well, they knew that on the way in the door.

Nuff said …

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At exactly the same time Ernesto was trying to convince me that his clicking daily for hunger, literacy, breast cancer whatever … whatever … makes a difference for the positive in the world, a friend posted on my facebook wall “Help the people in Chile now … just by clicking”.

What a wonder! With nothing more than very quick flick of a thumb, children are fed, quake victims are relieved of some related burden, cancer is cured … and owner of said thumb feels so much better. Just imagine what could be accomplished by legions of thumb flickers online for hours every day combing the www for click-philanthropy, and the guilt-assuaging self-satisfaction washing around the globe in the process.

Promising, and probably delivering, a contribution from sponsors with every click, sites like The Hunger Site offer a feel good moment.

So … ease-of-good-deeding-provider or marketing ploy designed to cater to affluent computer owners in need of guilt-assuaging self-satisfaction, or something in between? This is my question.

To expand on that a bit … does click donating make it less likely that people will contribute in other ways, having already “given at the office”?

Pardon my skepticism, but I can’t help but think this is all too simple. Is there some genetic remnant of Puritanism forcing me to feel benefactions should pinch a bit and not come with free gifts? Maybe.

“Get a daily reminder to click … and a FREE bracelet!”

“Nepali Cotton Floral Wrap Skirt Back in Stock!”

Okay …

But here’s the pitch:

The Hunger Site was founded to focus the power of the Internet on a specific humanitarian need: the eradication of world hunger. Since its launch in June 1999, the site has established itself as a leader in online activism, helping to feed the world’s hungry. On average, over 220,000 individuals from around the world visit the site each day to click the yellow “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button. To date, more than 300 million visitors have given more than 671 million cups of staple food.

No doubt that 671 million cups of staple food has filled some stomachs … a good thing … and perhaps it’s only my curmudgeonly side that stirs me to think that “300 million visitors” could have done so much better had they been moved to do more than flick a thumb at a cause.

Or am I missing a point?

Online donating is now possible, so maybe we can really click up a better world. I’m most interested to hear thoughts, so if you have ’em, please share …

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Since a post with panties in the title has attracted thousands of hits even though the topic was women’s rights and the panties mentioned were “big girl” with an admonition to pull them on and change the world, I’m wearing mine again … and, no, I won’t be offering multi-day-worn undies on Japanese eBay, no matter how much pocket money that provides schoolgirls there … hoping to get folks who may not tune their dials to the plight of the world’s female population to give a read, and perhaps even a thought.

The recent subject has revolved around the question of how and why a a planet with inhabitants that are more than 50% of the girl persuasion gets away with treating that majority like shit. The answer may be as simple as: Because it can.

The minority most certainly has a vested interest in keeping up this sucky status quo, as illustrated by this load of protected bollocks:

Conservative clerics in Iran have criticised a proposal by re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to include three women in his new cabinet.

“There are religious doubts over the abilities of women when it comes to management,” said hardline lawmaker Mohammad Taghi Rahbar.

He said his views were shared by many MPs from his clerics’ faction, which dominates Iran’s parliament.

Yep. He’s afraid his gnarled set of piyaz torshi will sink to the bottom of a bowl of turshulu aash and his bullshit will never float again if women have the power to do more than run households, live within budgets, oversee families and all that other stuff that keeps him and his cronies going.

But it’s not only men dedicated to the perpetuation of perpetual misery for their own mothers, sisters, daughters and wives doing damage.

Take women in Mali for an example …

Tens of thousands of people in Mali’s capital, Bamako, have been protesting against a new law which gives women equal rights in marriage.

The law, passed earlier this month, also strengthens inheritance rights for women and children born out of wedlock.

The head of a Muslim women’s association says only a minority of Malian women – “the intellectuals” as she put it – supports the law.

Amazing how often “intellectual” is spat toward a supposedly thinking world like a shit-covered fly … wouldn’t want to swallow anything having to do with smart now, would we?

And intellectual women? OMG! Stop them. Stop them now … and while you’re at it, beat them and throw acid in their faces.

Which brings us to this, right back where we started a couple of days ago in Afghanistan … a story in the NYTimes about acid attacks on girls in Kandahar who have the temerity to go to school.

… Through the mask, he asked Shamsia what seemed like a strange question.

“Are you going to school?”

The masked man pulled the scarf away from Shamsia’s face and, with his other hand, pumped the trigger on his spray gun. Shamsia felt as if her face and eyes were on fire. As she screamed, the masked man reached for Atifa, who was already running. He pulled at her and tore her scarf away and pumped the spray into her back. The men sped off toward another group of girls. Shamsia lay in the street holding her burning face.

I hold out some hope that outrage will replace apathy and that we eventually approach the tipping point where women will have finally had enough of this and turn the tables … and chairs and beds.

Watch out world when that happens, because the backlash is gonna be fierce.

Have I mentioned that my friend Gay spouts her solution far and wide … and with no little support resulting? The plan? Universal Male Castration. Since the announcement of the creation of artificial sperm, her arguments for a world where balls are just beach toys is getting more attention.

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