55 Flash non-Fiction Friday: Fucking Retarded Censorship

Many encourage bans on ‘bad’ words attempting to render all language inoffensive. It’s not possible. Other terms will convey the same meaning soon becoming offensive. Use of “Joe Six Pack” during the vice presidential debate offends me, what about my rights? Blue vans collecting donations read, “Northwest Center for the Retarded”. Should they change too?

55 Flash Fiction Friday

Baby Naming Freedom

I’ve run into a few people with very ‘normal’ names that made me think, “My GOD, did your parents hate you?” I know a couple Richards that go by their middle names because they don’t want to be called Dick. My grandfather was named Richard and chose to go by Dick. I’m assuming that when he first decided to go by Dick it didn’t have the meaning that it does now. I knew a guy named Shannon who hated his name and one named Lindsey that didn’t seem to mind his at all. I knew a woman named with a unique name that wouldn’t choose any other but have heard of some creative names that would just be cruel. So even though I’m an advocate for freedom of speech, every time I’ve read a blog post about, “should parents be able to name their kids anything they want” I’ve always on the fence about it in the past.

I think the name Metallica would be awesome. Ikea is a little silly, but not offensive nor any more outlandish than Monk, Fulmer, or Knute would be in the US, the last three being traditional Scandinavian names for boys. I was a little put off by Penn Jillette naming his daughter Moxie. I love the name itself though to me it seems more fitting for a boy, but it’s a choice for Penn and his wife. I really don’t think Moxie CrimeFighter or her brother Zolten Penn Jillette will be teased any more than if they had been named Mildred and Loren. Both of those names accepted as ‘normal’ names they just aren’t used much anymore. Loren is common for a girl’s name, but was once used for males. Kurt and I considered naming our child Darth if she had been a he. If Kurt had won out and if we had a boy, we would have at least given him a more common middle name in case he didn’t appreciate his first name.

When I heard about the poor girl from New Zealand who was so embarrassed by her name that her friends only new her as “K” I thought, maybe baby name regulation isn’t so bad, but a more recent baby name controversy has me leaning on the parents side, but only because Adolf used to be a very common and acceptable German name prior to one rotten apple.

Holland Township family angry that supermarket won’t personalize cake for their son
by Express-Times staff
Sunday December 14, 2008, 12:16 AM

JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell and Adolf Hitler Campbell.

Good names for a trio of toddlers? Heath and Deborah Campbell think so. The Holland Township couple has picked those names and the oldest child, Adolf Hitler Campbell, turns 3 today.

This has given rise to a problem, because the ShopRite supermarket in Greenwich Township has refused to make a cake for young Adolf’s birthday.

Even though Kurt and I joked about naming our kid Adolf Hitler *Kurt’s very complementary last name* if she had been a boy. I’m appalled that someone out there actually did just that. Forget about schoolyard bullying. We are all teased for something growing up. It’s part of the right of passage into adulthood. Besides who the hell is going to fuck with Adolf Hitler or his siblings. I mean really! My concern for JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell and Adolf Hitler Campbell is that their parents don’t seem to realize using their children’s names to make a statement will seriously limit the children’s future college entrance and job prospects. We have laws against discrimination of gender, race, and religion, but nothing for unfortunate name recipients. And we all know that anyone with an applicant whose name is Adolf Hitler, weather right or wrong, is going to make some assumptions and have serious reservations against calling him in to interview, especially if the interviewer is having a very bad Jewy Jew day.

Between the New Zealand girl’s case and this one, I know that no one with parents this inconsiderate has a chance in hell anyway, so just as we do with other areas of free speech we must accept the bad with the good in order to preserve the freedom for all. If these people are bad parents and the kids end up in the middle of an abuse case or custody battle, maybe the judge will let the kids change their names. Sadly, I’m guessing they’ll be so brainwashed they might actually want their given names. They might even be proud of them. In which case *saluting the children* have fun with your uphill battle.

Freedom From Religion Foundation Holiday Greeting

I’m all for free speech and am glad that this group was allowed to display their thoughts, however if their goal is to enlighten people about their cause they should really think about the words they chose. Telling people that their god(s) don’t exist and that religion hardens hearts and enslaves minds doesn’t exactly warm them up to the ideas held by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. It’s about as effective as the door-to-door religions trying to explain their take on the bible to someone that isn’t receptive to it. It’s just annoying as hell. If the beliefs held by a person are strong enough, no sign or lecture will convince them otherwise, so why bother. Seriously!

The message is clearly anti-religion, yet The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s sign makes a case for those that consider atheism a religion itself.

Religion
–noun
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.
7. religions, Archaic. religious rites.
8. Archaic. strict faithfulness; devotion: a religion to one’s vow.
—Idiom
9. get religion, Informal.
a. to acquire a deep conviction of the validity of religious beliefs and practices.
b. to resolve to mend one’s errant ways: The company got religion and stopped making dangerous products.

American Psychological Association (APA):
religion. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved December 02, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion
Chicago Manual Style (CMS):
religion. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion (accessed: December 02, 2008).
Modern Language Association (MLA):
“religion.” Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 02 Dec. 2008. .
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE):
Dictionary.com, “religion,” in Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Source location: Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion. Available: http://dictionary.reference.com. Accessed: December 02, 2008.

So, say hello kettle, and stop calling the pot black.

Lets take a look that the displays of this year and the past. A Christmas tree, a nativity scene, a menorah, and a sign that reads, “At this season of the winter solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

The first three are symbols don’t say very much about the set of beliefs behind them. If someone existed, that had never ever heard of Christianity and they saw the tree or the nativity they really wouldn’t learn any more about it and the same for the menorah if they knew nothing of Judaism. They probably wouldn’t know that those things represent anything more than the objects they are. I realize that atheists don’t have a universally recognized symbol to call their own, and having one would require herding cats for further organization. Also having a symbol adds to the list of similarities of being their own religion, but the atheist sign posted in Washington State’s capitol is very much like the school bully telling the little kids that Santa doesn’t exist coupled with the close-minded and demeaning similarities to messages the Freedom From Religion Foundation condemns from other religions. Practice what you preach people, and good job posting ninety percent (give or take) of the world’s population as second-class citizens with their hardened hearts and enslaved minds; it really takes balls to further alienate the majority. It’s no wonder when Christians read, “separation of church and state” many see it as an attack on religion. Way to help the cause.

By the way, I know it’s merely semantics, but religion is very real. It’s the gods behind religion that an atheist questions. For next year’s sign may I suggest it read, “Token symbol to represent the atheist voice”.

Glassblowing Morning News

glass blowing ovenThis morning the toga-wearing Tim Robinson (minus the toga) was in Bothell at a glassblowing studio that offers visitors the opportunity to blow glass with local glassblowers and an observation deck for viewing daily glassblowing. They showed a person putting a brick of glass into an oven via a hole and Timmy asks, “So what was that you called it?” The guy grins and says, “a glory hole”. Tim, without flinching turns to the camera and repeats, “a glory hole”. I don’t think he knows what that means. Either the King 5 morning news team is testing the profanity limits or the whole editing crew dropped the ball.

I’m not saying I think it should have been cut. I’m all about free speech, which is why I have a link to the ACLU on my side bar. I just can’t believe it was on the morning news considering 99.9 KISW had to take down some billboards that read, “Harder, Faster, Louder” and 100.7 KQBZ The Buzz had to bleep the word “bum“. I really don’t understand how and where the obscenity lines are drawn. Of the three I would think that “glory hole” would be axed out before the other two.

Christmas vs. Holiday Wars

It’s here again this year. I was at this little mom & pop sandwich place for lunch today and one of the servers wished, “Happy Holidays” as a customer was leaving. Her boss, the owner said to her, “It’s Merry Christmas here. Even Wal-Mart is saying Christmas now.”

I’ll start with the first offensive sentence… First, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, so really if you wanted your server to specify a holiday it should be Happy Thanksgiving. Christmas is next month. Second of all some magic time after Halloween, it becomes the Holiday Season. November, December and January all have major holidays celebrated by the majority of people in this country, so instead of listing them all we use the word holiday and group them all together to make it easy to yell out as someone is walking away.

As for the second evil sentence… Does Wal-Mart really create the standard to which all other businesses operate? I hope not, with the treatment given to their workers and crappy non-union pay even for the grocery department. Granted unions are not perfect but Wal-Mart embodies all the reasons that caused unions to form.

That Sucks!

In high school I had a teacher that hated it when we said, “that sucks!” She would always ask us to rephrase what we said even if it was something that was uttered in our own conversations outside of class and not just as a response to her homework assignments, so I started a trend of saying, “That vacuums!” I think she gave up her quest to reform our language shortly after.

Comment from a friend:

I pity anyone who tries to reform you. :D

Hehe yeah that statement reminds me of this guy I dated for about three weeks. He was 30 at the time, had a bachelor’s degree in English and worked in a warehouse processing shipping orders. On our third date we went out to a comedy show. The comedians weren’t very good, but were of course as colorful as most, and so is my language outside of work (I’m sure you’ve noticed). He enjoyed the show and afterwords we were talking about comedians. I had brought a couple tapes one of Dennis Leary and one of Jeff Foxworthy. After we listened to both he asked which one I liked best. I told him that between those two choices I like Dennis as I tend to go for raw adult humor and comedians that make you really think about the things most people just take at face value over daily life observations and “family friendly”. I didn’t explain my reasoning to him but I gave my preference, and he told me that he liked Jeff better – cause he doesn’t curse. This was his passive-aggressive way of telling me that my language was too colorful for him. I rolled my eyes at his response and then he proceeded to tell me that people who curse sound less intelligent and that there are better ways to express a point or something along those lines. I thanked him for the show and dinner and told him that we just didn’t seem to click and I didn’t want to see him anymore. He called me a b**** and I told him he was right…that does make you sound like an f***ing idiot! And I left. He called me a month or so later, and without even apologizing for being a hypocrite, he wanted to see if I was available and if I wanted to go out again. You have got to be kidding me! The sick thing is I think that was his way of forgiving me for my faults…as if I cared to be with someone that would look down on me because I see nothing wrong with using all of the English words and not just the ones deemed socially acceptable. It was like I should feel privileged that he would give me a second chance or something.

Why do English majors turn their noses up to the most versatile form of English? They act like it’s a lower form has no meaningful place in society yet they exist in every language and when disallowed they’re merely replaced with words like…“Oh shoot”, “Darn it all”, “Gosh darn it”, “Fudge”, Smeg and Farfignuten. It’s an attempt to convey the SAME THING!

The Cat Traveling Northwest Airlines

The very first time Kurt and I took the cat with us to Michigan for Christmas we asked the type and dimensions of acceptable cat carriers and if there were ANY other things with needed to do or bring in order to fly with the cat. Nope. We flew there and back without incident (none dealing with the cat anyway). It was our second or maybe third trip out to Michigan with the cat that nearly caused me to go to jail. We had flown to Michigan without incident, even while switching planes. The way back home was quite a different story all together.

We arrived at the airport, got our tickets, waited to board, gave my ticket to the boarding person, and I had walked halfway down the gangway when the ticket person stopped me. “Do you have a health certificate for the cat?”

“A what?”

“A health certificate – You need one to get on the plane with the cat.” I still didn’t understand what he meant. I had never heard of such a thing. I showed him on the ticket where it specified cat in cabin. “No” he said, “You need a health certificate from your vet for the cat to fly.”

“But I’m on my way home! – I got the cat here without one.”

“Well Seattle must have dropped the ball, because it’s required on all flights.”

“I’ve flown several times with the cat and have never heard of this.” At this time he’s lead in me back out of the plane and Kurt who was held up behind me was on his was to the plane.

Kurt saw me heading the opposite direction and turned, “What’s going on?”

“They won’t let the cat on.” Kurt and I were upset. We had a long vacation and were ready to just go home. They informed us that we had been informed of the rules regarding pets. I love it when people who weren’t there tell me what was told to us. I asked them why on earth I would have taken my cat to the vet a month before the flight and not obtained a health certificate at the time if I knew about it. Police were summoned as we were quite visibly irritated, and the attendants started to try and come up with a solution. Our flight had left but there was hope that we may catch the next one. We used our out of area cell phone to get my vet’s number and then call the vet, so that we could have a health certificate faxed to the airport. The vet sent the cat’s shot record but no health certificate. This wasn’t accepted. We had to call again. The vet informed us that it had just been over thirty days since the last visit and therefore she couldn’t issue a health certificate. Kurt and I were enraged that they wouldn’t just accept the record of shots, and we began cursing.

The cops at this point became a little more interactive. I was doing the bulk of the cursing, but they warned KURT to stop, hence Kurt’s favorite phrase from Officer spunky in-your-face midget, “You do realize that you’re in the Dane County Airport?”

“What the Fuck does that have to do with anything! – What are you going to do Arrest ME!?” I yelled for the entire terminal to hear.

“Yes” Officer spunky midget said.

“Fine, GO AHEAD!” I had nothing to loose, I was unemployed at the time. It would be fun to ague about freedom of speech with him.

We finally had to call our friends to come pick us up and then find a vet in the area. Even the vet couldn’t believe that we were only there for a health certificate. I took Bailey out of the carrier and she didn’t even touch him. She just filled out the form and handed it to me to sign, and I had to pay her for this.

I wrote a letter to the airline and had a battle for a while about it and all they gave us was a $200 voucher that would expire after one year. Kurt and I haven’t flown Northwest since.