Saturday, December 15, 2012

The God Who Wasn't There.....

*Warning: This is going to be a rant. It's probably not going to be cohesive or grammatically correct. It's probably going to be offensive and have a lot of curse words.  I realize that my posts are few and far between lately, and with the holidays approaching they should be more lighthearted and focused on the kids, but I'm mad as hell right now and I'm about to let loose. So. You've been warned.*

I don't know how anyone can call themselves an intelligent human being and believe in any god.  There, I said it.  I know I have friends who are religious. I know that they are intelligent. But I think that when it comes to the whole "god" thing, their brain is being affected by something that's making them stupid. 

Obviously my comments are stemming from the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, where the lives of 26 people (20 OF THE CHILDREN) were cut short by a mentally ill person with guns. 

I keep seeing posts of "angels being called home" and "god is hugging those babies now" or "prayers for the family".  Seriously?  Shut the fuck up.  Shut up with that idiotic, pedantic, bullshit.  There are no "angels", there is no "hugging" and what the fuck is praying going to do now?  You think maybe if this Great and Powerful Oz, oops I mean, God, DID exist that he could have PREVENTED this disgusting event from happening?  Maybe jam a gun?  Maybe stall the car the shooter was driving?  Better yet, maybe NOT let the shooter be mentally ill with access to an arsenal of weapons?  But no, for some reason, the religious will rationalize that "Satan" was at work.  Really?  Well then this would logically mean that "God" is weaker than "Satan".  Or that they're working together?  Or that they're one in the same.  Or better yet, THEY"RE BOTH NOT FUCKING REAL! 

How come "God" is always there when Bubba wins the lottery or when Cletus wins on the Price is Right, but strangely absent say, when a fucking psycho shoots up a school? When children are hacked to pieces with machetes for "being witches"?  When terrorists fly planes into buildings? Oh wait, "God" WAS there on September 11th, except his name was "Allah" and he was granting the wishes of Mohammed Atta, Osama Bin Laden, and the other 12 terrorists. 

Don't even get me started on the fucking asshats who are blaming this tragedy on the fact that "God" was "removed from school".  Again, shut the fuck up.  Shut your idiotic piece of shit mouth.  You're in the same group of assholes that is now going to blame "teh gayz" for this tragedy.  You're a Westboro Baptist fuckface without the sign. 

And now I'm reading all these news pieces about church vigils and prayer rallies.  Really?  FUCKING REALLY?!?!  You're going to go to CHURCH and pray to your little sky friend, AFTER he allowed this thing to happen.  You're going to subjugate yourself to this (and I'm speaking as though "god" were real) misogynistic, baby killing, genocidal, slave endorsing, egomaniac, who gets his rocks off on killing kids (for the Bible tells me so!) and then you're going to look to "him" for answers.  Are you fucking mental?!?!?!

So let's approach it from this angle.  Either "God" is real or he isn't.  Simple.  BUT!  If he is real, then one must concede that he allows murder, rape, disease, cruelty, injustice, and all these horrible things.  If he doesn't exist (the more reasonable option), then one can be satisfied in the knowledge that LIFE is unfair, that human beings can really be horrible to each other, and that this fraction of a second we have on this planet is fleeting, unstable, but also worth a million trillion zillion lifetimes.

"But Alessia, God gave us free will! He can't step in!".  Oh really?  So he can't step in when children are being murdered, but he CAN step in when you get a promotion at work?  He can't step in when a woman is being raped but CAN step in when Extreme Makeover renovates your house?  And speaking of the woman being raped, WHOSE "free will" is being exercised here?  The rapist?

Oh and I LOVE the idiots on the message boards blaming atheists for this tragedy.  According to one genius on HuffPo, responding to my comment about being confused as to why people flock to church, I have no capacity for love and compassion and I have no concept of helping others because I don't go to church.  Yep, absolutely right (eye roll). I *totally* need to go to church to know what love and compassion are. That love and compassion sure overflows for gays and lesbians, for nontheists, and the like. Going to church to learn about love and compassion is like going to a fucking steakhouse for a vegan meal.

In the days following this tragedy we are going to face a barrage of images of fresh-faced children whose lives ended violently and tragically.  We are going to see images of distraught parents whose own lives, in a sense, ended yesterday.  And I'm going to have to listen to the same bullshit over and over again about "god bless them" and "prayers for them".  I'm going to have to have some asshole of a parent in an interview on TV claim that "by the grace of god", THEIR CHILD SURVIVED.  That, by far, is the most disgusting thing anyone can say.  "God" saved your kid but not the others. How nice for you, you smug piece of shit.  What kind of bullshit self-rationalization is that?  Your kid lived because "god" loved him more?  Because you prayed harder?  Because that kid talked back to his mom?

I was sobbing yesterday but today I am mad as hell.  I'm pissed that a mentally ill person had access to weapons. I'm pissed that this person thought it necessary to kill anyone.  Just kill yourself and be done with it, why take out a school?  I am mad as hell that people look to the sky for answers instead of focusing on REAL solutions to REAL problems.  The mental health system failed this man.  It failed and continues to fail on so many levels.  We have soldiers who fight for this country coming home and murder-suiciding their entire families because they're not getting the care they deserve.  We have disgruntled workers shooting up malls because they got laid off.

Let's ignore all that and pray for answers.  Yes, let's just do that.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Huggie Bear

You don't have to tell me we are a weird family.  I mean, when I asked Dante if I should decorate the house for Halloween, he looked around, and softly stated, "But mom, isn't the house already decorated for Halloween?"  That was a proud moment for this old goth mom, and I'm sure that when people visit, they tend to think "Is something going to jump out at me and kill me?" or "Do I have to pay admission to this place?".

But in all the ways that we are weird, I never thought that we were strange when it came to affection, both giving and receiving.  We're huggers and kissers and touchers and squeezers.  Randy and I are very affectionate toward each other and toward the children. The kids are hugged and kissed at least 7 million times a day, give or take .5. 

Apparently, this is not the "norm" in most families as evidenced today by sadly my poor son's humiliation.  Twice.

We went to his school's book fair.  As we were entering, Dante saw one of his classmates, a boy.  Dante was so excited to see him, he ran up to him and gave him a big hug.  The kid, first of all, didn't move a muscle, and acted as though a Dementor was flying in his face.  Stone faced and even shocked looking, the kid barely managed a "hello" before his mom (who didn't even acknowledge me or my mom) started pulling him away as though Dante had the plague.  Poor Dante didn't understand why 1. his friend didn't hug him back, and 2. why his friend acted scared.  I brushed it off, chalking it up to shyness and asshattery (yes first graders can be asshats) and we went inside.

And then it happened again.  Dante saw another classmate, a girl, and he again in his excitement of seeing her, hugged her.  This time, the little girl FLINCHED like Dante was going to pull a Chris Brown on her and as she PUSHED Dante off her she said, "Don't ever hug me in public again". The look on my son's face was horrible.  He was mortified.  I wanted to dig a hole for him to jump into.


O rly?

Her mother, visibly embarassed (thankfully so) made her come over to Dante and give him a high-five as a sort of apology and then explained that "she's not used to hugs".  Um.......NOT USED TO HUGS?  What planet am I living on when a first grader, no fuck it, when ANYONE is not used to hugs, let alone a little kid?

So sadly, I had to explain to Dante that not every family was like ours and from now on, when he saw a friend, to not run up and hug them and to just wave and say hello.  If they wanted to hug, let them come to him first.

What a horrible conversation. I am so sorry I had to have it.

So next time, if you see Dante, give him a big hug.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Big "A" Strikes Again!

I swear, it must be Crazy Season when it comes to my book club, Ex Libris lately.  Either that, or it's a perpetual full moon and the crazy is here to stay.

Today I sent out an email to some members to pay their dues in a timely fashion or they would be removed.  I give them options, tell them where to find the rule about dues, and let them know they can contact me with any alternatives if they don't want to use PayPal.  Usually the person will pay their dues or email me asking me if they can send a check  or just leave the group. Simple, no?

Apparently not today.  A woman sent me an email in response saying:

"Sorry I guess we won't be a member then"

So I replied that I was sorry to hear that and could I ask why?

And then I got this:

"one, there was no explanation of what the $8 pays for
two, we have yet to come to a meeting - the last one we couldn't get the book to read
three, not comfortable with someone who pushes their atheism"

Really?  Fucking Really? Apparently at the end of the emails I send from, it lists other meetups I am a member of. Two of them are Atheist groups. Apparently "two" means "pushing".

So I replied:

Firstly, the $8 covers the fees for hosting on, something that is clearly stated in the member rules and guidelines which are sent to all applicants.

Secondly, it is also stated clearly in the member rules and guidelines that dues are to be paid within three (3) days of joining the group.

Thirdly, nowhere in my book club does it state anything about religon or religious preference therefore you must be basing your biased assumption that I am "pushing atheism" based on my memberships in other meetup groups. I am also in several parenting groups. Does this mean I am "pushing fertility"? Should I assume that the other members in Ex Libris who are in Buddhist groups, Jewish groups, Yoga groups, Christian groups, etc are all in my book club to "push" these agendas as well?

The world is a big place and Ex Libris is open to all people regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, education, religion or lack thereof. Thankfully, because of your blatant disrespect and bigotry toward someone who doesn't share your worldview, Ex Libris will be grateful for your absence.

Have a nice day and good luck.

Alessia Lane
Organizer Ex Libris

Then I booted her ass out of the group.

I am so amazed at the intolerance of people. 

Judging by last night's meetup, the only thing anyone was "pushing" was awesome discussion and intelligent dialogue.  How dare us!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

From the Mouths of Babes.....

I organized an event last night at Dante's school for the 3rd and 4th graders.  It was an Pajama party/Movie Night and lots of fun.

I am the type of mom who likes to interact and get to know the kids. Last year, I knew every one of Dante's Kindergarten classmates (and I'm well on my way to knowing all of his 1st grade mates this year) and I can still see them today and say hello to them (and strangely enough they somehow remember me) <----#sarcasmfont

Anyhow, I sat down with some of the kids and chatted with them and this is what I discovered from today's 8 and 9 year olds.

  • The Lorax is good but it's boring and nothing blows up
  • My dad used to be a DJ in the olden days in the 90's.
  • My mom is really old.  She's 32.
  • We should turn off the movie and dance because I want to show everyone my moves and maybe someone will want to be my girlfriend.
  • It's weird to see my friends without their clothes on. (The kids were wearing pajamas, not the required school uniform)
  • My grandpa was a warrior in the Venetian War. He's dead now.
  • In the 80's there were no cell phones so people couldn't call anyone unless they were home.
  • In the 80's computers were as big as your house and only rich people had them.
  • Girls are weird because all they want to do is hit you
  • Boys are weird because all they want to do is hit you
  • My dad has tattoos like you except his are nicer
  • I like your tattoos. My mom won't let me get one yet.
  • Is Justin Bieber your favorite singer?
  • You like Star Wars?  But you're a mom!
  • How could you have seen Star Wars when you were a kid? It wasn't real back then.
And my favorite of the evening:

  • I love your hair and your lipstick.  You look like a goth lady, but old and with jeans on.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hey Readers!

If you haven't noticed, my blogs are few and far between.  Parenting, health issues, and a general "meh" lately have prevented me from writing my usual epic rants that I love spewing.

I'm not ending this blog by no means, but I only have time for mere snippets and photos as of late, so if you want to keep up with my bits of snark that I post in between epic rants of an AGM here at Musings, please visit and follow me here:

Don't Blink

And remember, Musings is on Facebook as well
I hope to see you there and please stay tuned for more blogs as I have more time.

In Snark,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Going Off the Rails on the Crazy Train

My book club, Ex Libris: A Book Club With Brains, has lately attracted a sort of "crazy" that I have never experienced before.  It's the kind of "crazy" that, at first seems like you are dealing with a sane, rational, person, which then evolves into a sort of mania that leaves you confused, disoriented, and frankly, a bit like you just peed your pants.  Who can forget my first instance of this type of "crazy" a few months ago, when a member went batshit upon 1. being asked to pay the required membership dues and 2. discovered we were reading a controversial book reserved mostly for Tea Bagging idiots and Republitards. If you didn't see that gem of an interaction, you can find it here.

Well, it happened again.  I was visited by this morphing type of sane/crazy last night upon returning from our August meetup, One Hundred Years of Solitude.  The meetup, as usual, was a rousing success.  It's so amazing to read a book, not really enjoy it, then go and discuss it with some amazing people only to discover these hidden gems in the prose.  A book that I thought so sad, was actually filled with humor, dark humor nonetheless, but humor.  I seriously love Ex Libris and its members.  We are all so different and that is such an asset. 

Anyhow, when I got home, I went to the meetup site to register dues that had been paid and then alter the "attendance" of the members who did not show up to the meetup.  In most cases, people will RSVP and not show up, so I will remove them after the meetup is over so as to reflect the correct number of attendees (and also give me an idea of who participates and who doesn't).  It's a simple click of a button and I, as the Organizer, has the ability and the right to do this.

A few hours later, I get this in my email:

Hi Alessia:

Sorry I could not make the Meetup! My mom decided to pop in from Montreal on short notice and I forgot to change my rsvp in time. Please refund my $8.00 however. I have not even met you and you were asking me for the fee without even giving me a chance to attend the first event! And now you are marking me as not going for some reason. No one but me should be able to change my RSVP status. And if Meetup allows this, then I want no part of it.

So please, refund the money to Sorry for the gruff tone.

I wish you all the best in your group.

Ok, not really crazy yet.  She seems sane and rational (a little demand-y), but apparently unaware of my group's rules and policies so I sent her this in reply:

I am sorry you were unable to attend the meeting tonight.

As per your request for a refund: It is clear in the rules and guidelines that your $8 membership dues are due within the first three days of joining the group and that they are non-refundable. This information is not only readily and easily available on the website, but it is also sent to you in your "welcome" email when you are accepted into the group. It is automatically sent to each member when I click the "approve member" button. There is no way you didn't get it. The membership dues are used to pay the fees needed to host this group on and are required by each and every member of Ex Libris in order to be a member of this group.

I changed your RSVP because you did not attend and I prefer to edit my attendance to reflect the ACTUAL people that showed up to the meetup. Changing your RSVP and having control of my own group and its settings are options that I have as group Organizer and do not violate any Terms of Service with If a member does not attend a meetup, their status will be changed and it will show they did not attend. It's part of running a group on Meetup, of which I have been successfully doing for over four years now.

Looking at your records, I see that you joined Ex Libris on July 24, 2012. There is no reason why you would not have familiarized yourself with the Member Rules and Guidelines mentioned on our home page or read the "Welcome Email" sent upon your approval. You also paid dues on August 8, 2012 after being sent a reminder in the mail that also stated our group's dues and refund policy. Here it is once again for you:

3. Dues are to be paid within 3 days of joining the group. The Dues can be paid by clicking the PayPal link on the home page. If you do not wish to use PayPal, please contact me to arrange another method. Dues are non-refundable. Non-payment of dues will cause you to be terminated from the group. One reminder will be sent. After that, unless other arrangements have been made, you will be removed from the group.

It is clear that dues are non-refundable. Clearly, if you had just joined the group within a span of a couple of days, I would break my policy and offer a refund, but you have been a member for a month. It is not my fault that you did not read the "fine print".

I am a little confused as to why you would send me an email "demanding" a refund simply because you were unable to attend one meetup. Life happens and sometimes plans change at the last minute. I know full well as I have two small children and have had to miss meetups at the last minute myself. I would consider rethinking your stance on leaving the group altogether since we have some great books coming up for the rest of the year. Yet again, if you do decide to leave Ex Libris, because of the reasons stated above, I am unable to issue you a refund.

Alessia Lane
Organizer, Ex Libris

 I thought that was fair and to the point.  I explained to her that the dues were non-refundable, that she shouldn't just leave because she missed one meetup and to not worry about it.  I thought that would be the end of it, get an email that said, "Oops I thought the $8 was per meetup, I'll see you next month!" or "Ok no problem, I'm paid up for the year, so I'm just going to stick around and come at a later date".  Nope. Instead, I got these two responses in a row:

Number One: Being a member of your group is just too much work! What a long response! Over $8.00! What a legal nightmare! Perhaps you might consider making it a bit more FUN and encourage participation rather than reading someone the riot act! And I have not even attended one meeting and I have this impression of you!!! I guess life got in the way and I just did not get into the rules and regs thing. I might have if I was doing it for credit. I just got to Florida from another state within the last 4 weeks and I was hoping to make some brainiac friends. But you have ruined it for me, at least as far as meeting folks in your group. Great gatekeeper job! Have a great time at Book Club with Brains and little heart. See, to me, being a bookworm does not have to be a chore. I enjoy reading books very much. This does not mean I need to be anal about it! Take care. I expect my refund immediately (which I reluctantly paid after your last ridiculous email about paying up or else). If I don't receive it, you will not get the riot act from me, a visit from an attorney or Uncle Lou. It will just be your karma you'll have to deal with. Ciao!

Number Two: By the way, you might reconsider your atheistic views. I believe God exists and He is watching. Always has, always will. If you don't believe me, just ask yourself, "What if he exists? Then what?"

I do not mean to offend. It's just that your spiritual position shows in how you handled your response to me. So it's just as well that it didn't work out. Thanks for keeping literature alive in South Florida though. Too bad I will not enjoy the good company of your group. If they don't believe in God, though, perhaps I did the right thing in pulling out. Perhaps a book by St. Augustine would be a good future book to generate some interesting discussion among your group.

PS I do not mean to bother you so I will not respond to any more emails from you. And I do apologize for the tone of these two emails. I just couldn't help how your email made me feel, all of them. And your rules and regs. Bye.

I was going to let it all go after reading the first reply, seeing as that suing me for $8 is ridiculous and that my refund policies are clearly stated on the site, but when I read the second reply in which she somehow blames my Atheism for her not getting her way, I couldn't shut up.

So I replied:

First and foremost, my atheism has nothing to do with my book club. My members come from all walks of life. I have Jews, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists, Wiccans, you name it in my group. Some of my most active members (and greatest friends) are a Presbyterian Pastor and an Episcopalian Minister. Ex Libris has no religious/non religious affiliation and again, if you had bothered to do any research into the group, would have seen that we have covered a vast array of topics, including those involving religion.

Please do not blame your ignorance of the rules and guidelines for Ex Libris on my atheism. It reflects extremely poorly on your character and really makes a sad case for the mind of the theist. I would never dream of singling out a person for their religious beliefs, nor would I have the blatant nerve to proselytize to them, insult them, and then condescend to them simply because I made a mistake. Own up to your error and simply let it be.

While I am always sorry to see a member leave the group, in this case, I will agree that you probably would not have been a good fit for Ex Libris. We pride ourselves on being a welcoming and open group for people from ALL walks of life, and it seems that with your closed-minded and judgmental attitude, you would have just been a detriment to Ex Libris rather than an asset.

I would prefer you refrain from contacting me further as I have no need for your inane "spiritual guidance". If anything, I would suggest you seek inside yourself for the reasons why you are so threatened by people who are different than you.

Alessia Lane
Organizer, Ex Libris

You'd think that the whole "please do not contact me any further" would be an indication to not contact me any further, but I should have assumed that this person doesn't know how to read considering she did not read the rules and guidelines sent to her to begin with.  So yes, I was contacted AGAIN.....and this idiot. 

Number One: Sorry, I just re-read your email (remember, I love to read) and noticed that you said something about owning up to my error. I purposefully did not pay within 3 days because I make it a personal policy not to pay for goods I have not seen. I pay after I attend the first meeting regardless of anyone's precious rules and regs. So, no error on my part. You are mistaken.

The graver error is your spiritual error. Yes, I proselytize. Because I used to be an atheist like you. Until recently. If you ever want to hear my story, since you are so open to people of different walks of life, I will welcome communication from you, apart from your role as Meetup organizer. I did not originally set out to say anything. But I could not help but see the irony of your firm stance on "dues" and your religious affiliation. These are, whether you see it or not, very related topics.

Have a great night. I do hope I go to bed now so that I can refrain from writing to you again.

Number Two: You really don't get my point. I was trying to gently show you a spiritual truth, but you did not pick up on it. You are very smart. One day you will be very wise, but not today. Or perhaps you will be spiritually blind all your life. That would be a travesty. My comment was personal. It had nothing to do with dues. I really don't care for the $8.00. Again, you just didn't get my point. At least I tried!! Can't blame me for that.

Please do not respond, or I will respond. I do not wish to respond anymore.

Have a good night. 

It was at this point that I realized I was dealing with a crazy person.

I love how my stance on dues is somehow related to my Atheism. 

People like this give sane, religious people a very bad name.

People like this give me a headache.

People like this are a perfect example of  "sane to crazy is 0.3 seconds".

And strangely, the world still turns.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Reality Bites

With the recent violence in Aurora and Wisconsin, the secular community has once again come under attack for our godlessness and our insistent stance on separating church from state.  Congressmen and women have claimed that "god is angry" with America because the "atheists" have taken "god out of schools and our lives".  The always jovial and friendly televangelist Pat Robertson, you know, the guy who spews this kind of crap constantly, has now blamed "satanic atheists" for all that's going on.

Lovely right?

And, of course, the Twitterverse and Facebookland are filled with the whole "it was probably an atheist that committed those crimes because they don't have any morals or ethics and they eat babies and hate god and punch old ladies and kick puppies and think killing is awesome".  Maybe not in so many words but that is the general gist of the comments and conversations I have been witness to.

The most common statement I have come across lately is the "how easy it is to be an atheist because you just don't care about anything and don't have to worry about god judging you".  To this statement, I cry a loud and resounding "BULLSHIT".  Being an atheist is fracking hard and trust me when I tell you that I have tried with every ounce of my body to "believe" but simply cannot find the logic behind it.

"Ha!"You say. "The atheist wants to believe because deep down they know there is a god!" No. Sadly, deep down inside I am 99.999999999999% sure there isn't.  There reason I try to believe is because, face it, reality bites sometimes and I don't have the lovely cushion of security and comfort religion provides.  When a 6 year old is gunned down in a movie theater I don't have that "she's with Jesus now" mentality.  I have reality telling me that a 6 YEAR OLD is dead and her parents will never see her again. She will never grow up. She will never have a boyfriend, smile, eat, play, hug or kiss anyone, and she will never have the luxury of being alive that everyone seems to take advantage of.  The theist has the blissful advantage of being sad for this tragedy, but then actually believing that this little girl is now crowned with a halo and fluttering around Heaven with Jesus and all of her dead relatives and pets.  Her parents are comforted in their beliefs that when they die, they'll "meet up" again and everything is hunky dory.  How nice.  Really, I don't mean that in a snotty way.  There is no snark behind that statement.  To have that belief that someone you love is "waiting for you" in the next life, makes these horrible things well, a little less horrible.

Let me tell you. If one of my children were killed or died of a disease or something horrible like that, I would die myself.  Because, as an atheist, I don't have that belief of them "watching over me" or "in Heaven" or that I will "see them again".  My reality is that my child is gone.  Forever.  And I will never, ever, ever, be with them again.  So when tragedies like Aurora and Wisconsin happen, or I read about a baby with terminal cancer, or children starve to death, I'm not thinking they are in a "better place". I cry because they are dead and gone forever.  And that is a hard pill to swallow. A very very hard pill.

There have been only a handful of times that I tried very hard to put myself in the place of a religious person and try to "believe".  The biggest one for me was my grandmother's death.  I couldn't fathom that one minute she was here and the next not.  I would give both my arms and legs to see her for just 5 more minutes.  The theist has the comfort in believing that they actually will. The reality that my grandmother is gone forever is devastating, even after almost 20 years.  Death, at least for this atheist, is terrifying, and I don't want to face it.  The reality that my life, my parents' lives, my children's lives, my husband's life and all the lives of the people I care about are fragile and temporary frightens me to no end.  There are nights I wake up out of a sound sleep so afraid that I am going to die that I can't fall back to sleep.  It's horrible. 

It frustrates me to no end when people say they are "living for the next life".  Why?  Life is so amazing and wonderful, why would anyone waste it waiting for the afterlife.  It boggles the mind.  And it frustrates me even more when I'm told I "have it easy" with "no responsibilities or consequences" for my actions because sky daddy doesn't exist.  That's a scary statement.  It implies that the speaker is only decent and good because they fear repercussions from "god".  That, if in fact they did not have god in their lives, they would be on murderous rampages.  How absolutely frightening.

So let me tell you, an atheist doesn't have it easy.  Apart from being blamed for all the crap that goes on in the world, blamed for corrupting the childre, and moral fibers of society (I think we are tied with gays and lesbians on that one), blamed for being "intolerant" and general "meanies", we also carry the huge burden of seeing things as they really are.  There's no "he's dead but...." in our little world.  There's no "satan", causing people to do evil.  There's no "god's will", determining who lives or dies. There's no notion that we are this amazingly special creature created in the image of a deity who rule the planet and the Universe.  As the amazing Bill Nye, the Science Guy said, "I'm this guy standing on a planet. Really I'm just a speck. Compared with a star, the planet is just another speck. To think about all of this, To think about the vast emptiness of space.There's billions and billions of stars.Billions and billions of specks".

It's pretty humbling to be a speck.

But reality as an atheist isn't all doom and gloom.  I have the wonder of the Universe to marvel at and realize how absolutely amazing it is to be here at this moment right now.  The landing of the Mars Curiosity puts everything into perspective on how marvelous it is to be a human being.  No deity or supernatural forces needed.  Reality may bite when dealing with "the hard stuff", but in the end, it is really awesome and it is what makes this little trip around the sun so much more worth it.  I don't have the promise of an afterlife running around my head.  I have the promise that this life is all of I've got and I've got to make it worth something to myself and the people around me.  What a waste to do otherwise.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Doctor, Doctor!

In preparation for the new season of Doctor Who, I've been watching the series on Netflix again and revisiting the lovely and scary creatures Numbers Nine, Ten and Eleven encounter.  Here's my list, in  no particular order, of the ones that make it difficult for me to fall asleep.

1. "Are You My Mummy" Little Boy

2. The Weeping Angels

3. Silence

4. Scarecrows

5. Mannequins

6. Clockwork

7. The Vashta Nerada

8. Host

Funny that the Daleks aren't on my list. Thirty years ago(Jesus Christmas I can't believe it was that long ago), the Daleks scared the hell out of me. Now, when faced with the above monsters, I'm sort of "meh" on the Daleks. My tastes in scary/creepy have evolved apparently.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Milestones, I Haz Them

It's hard to believe that I have been writing this blog for 6 years, but indeed I have and I know this because I initially started writing this blog to chronicle the pregnancy and subsequent birth of my first child.  And, seeing as that baby that was kicking me in my belly as I blogged about late-night peeing just turned SIX YEARS OLD, my blog reflects the same age.

And, in the same breath, the baby that took two years to conceive, who decided to come two weeks early and who now is not really a baby anymore, just turned TWO YEARS OLD as well.

They say that the second child always gets the shaft when it comes to attention and such. While I can't say that Dorian isn't showered with as much attention as big brother Dante, I can say that he's definitely gotten the shaft when it comes to photos and videos.  By the time Dante was two, I had about 400 pictures and videos of him.  Dorian, on the other hand has about 70. And while my blog in the past marked every step, word, poop, jump, and milestone Dante achieved, my blog posts now have become few and far between, appearing only when I really have something I have to get off my chest or when I feel that I need to post due to a sense of overwhelming guilt for not mentioning that Dorian has started walking and talking (about a year ago, actually) and that his early years and not as documented as Dante's.

So without further ado, I present:

Mr. Six and Mr. Two!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Scarlet Letter

If you didn't know, I am the organizer of a (dare I say it) very successful and ongoing book club here in South Florida.  We've been going strong for well over four years and I can boast we are, I think, the only co-ed book club that has lasted this long and has a great turnout at the monthly meetups.  My membership consists of young, old, moms, dads, professionals, blue collars, professors, students, priests, pastors, atheists, gay, straight, you name it.  We are a very diverse group brought together by our love of books, ideas, and hearty discussions over a few glasses of wine.  In a nutshell, I love my Book Club.

I got this letter from a "new member" today responding to my request that they pay their dues.  Names have been changed to protect my sanity:

Hi Alessia, please withdraw my membership.

This book club is starting with probably the most harmful and anti-democratic novel of our time. Ayn Rand is not a thinker, she is a polemicist, and her message is pro capitalism, pro rich people, anti Union, anti helping people, and is in keeping with the sick philosophy of the Tea Party and the evil Koch Brothers' attempt to have our democracy controlled by non-tax-paying billionaires.

I thought that since I met you at the Broward County Atheists, we would not be doing the kind of sick books that have influenced such numb-skulls as Ronald Reagan, Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, Grover Norcross, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and other sick right wingnuts. Those right-wing Republicans would lead us back to the "golden age" that preceded and caused the Great Depression, a time when banks and rich people controlled everything, and common people controlled nothing.

My joining your club was a mistake. I shudder to think I might be associated with such political thinking.

(Name deleted)

Let me just start off by saying that this is proof positive for all Christians out there that not all atheists are the same.  This one is clearly a dolt.  While I, on the other hand, am awesome. Let this letter dispel any notions the theist world had that all atheists think and act the same.  Clearly, we are only similar in that we don't believe in the supernatural.  That's it.  Anything else, is fair game.

So, I was a bit taken aback by such harsh words coming from a supposedly intelligent person, whom I have actually met and spoken with many times at length.  And maybe it was because I spent 2.5 hours this morning cleaning out the kids' playroom and my back was screaming at me in pain, but I simply did not let this go unanswered.  So here is my response:

Wow (name deleted), what a misinformed, judgmental asshole you are.

First and foremost, my book club is not "starting" with Atlas Shrugged. My book club, Ex Libris, has been going strong for over FOUR years now with a dedicated and intelligent group of men and women who bring incredible thought provoking discussion to our monthly meetups. If you had bothered to take the time and read about the club, you would have found our extensive list of past books we have read. Instead, like most of the idiots you listed in your senile diatribe, you chose to make sweeping generalizations based on NO information.

Secondly, a MAJORITY of Ex Libris members are freethinkers and progressives and we collectively chose this book because of its negative history. We, as intelligent, rational human beings, wanted to read this drivel (because I've discovered, since reading it, that is is drivel) BECAUSE of its history. Are you clearly so ignorant that you would think only a certain type of thinker should read a certain type of book? I've read Mein Kampf. Does that make me a Nazi? I've read the Bible. Does that make me a Christian? Better yet, I've read Harry Potter. Why can't I cast spells yet?

Your ad hominem attacks against Ex Libris, myself, and my members are extremely ignorant on your part. It seems like you've been too exposed to the right-wing're becoming "one of them".

You can withdraw yourself from Ex Libris, because, if you claim you have such superior intellect, you can certainly figure out how to click the button to do so.

Alessia L.
Organizer, Ex Libris

I would have liked to throw in a few "fuck you's" here and there but I was trying to keep some sort of decorum.  But then again, the idiot was claiming I had no brains and loved the Tea Party, so maybe I should have said something about "Amurika is Jeeezis cuntry" and that would have sufficed.

In any event, if you're interested in checking out Ex Libris, by all means visit us here: Ex Libris: A Book Club With Brains.  If you click on the "Pages" tab, you'll see FOUR YEARS worth of books we  have read as well as what is coming up.

Now I'm going to go watch Fox News and fantasize about Bill O'Reilly since I seem to love them so much.

UPDATE: He wrote me again, tried to chastise me like he was my father, then tried to school me on "how to properly read books" and then played the "I'm 74 years old missy" card on me. He has been removed and banned from the meetup.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


As you know, I was in the hospital from May 9th until May 13th.  What you might not know is how or why I ended up there. So here goes:

For a while now ( a few months) I had been suffering from lower back pain radiating into my left leg.  I was still able to walk and function in my duties as "mommy" so I pretty much paid no mind to it, other than taking the occasional Aleve or Ibuprofen tablet to ease the discomfort.  I was still very active in my Yoga and Pilates classes and really just chalked it up to "I need to lose more weight" and "I'm officially old because this is sciatica".

After a few weeks, the pain wasn't getting any better and it certainly was getting worse.  Now, my left leg would spasm randomly sending shooting pains all the way up my body and my spine making it unbearable to put any pressure on it for a few minutes.  My balance at Yoga was completely off when dependent on my left side, sitting cross legged was virtually impossible, and sitting at all for any length of time would eventually start to hurt terribly, thus making it impossible for me to drive.

At the end of March, I was lying on the couch and in trying to get up, my left leg gave out and I cried out in pain for Randy to help me.  I couldn't move. My back and my leg were on fire and it was horrible.  My mom came and took me to the Emergency Room where I was given an I/V and Delaudin (?) which (didn't know at the time) I am allergic to and I proceeded to hallucinate and get sick all over the place.  And it did nothing to alleviate my pain or the spasms.  After hours of twilight sleep in an uncomfortable gurney, my mom putting cold cloths on my head, the doctor came, asked me questions, told me I had sciatica, prescribed pain meds and muscle relaxants, told me to take it easy, and sent me on my way.

Take it easy?  I'm a mom. I don't take it easy.

I followed the regiment I was given, took a pain med as needed as well as the muscle relaxant and decided that this was going to be a pain I was going to have to live with.  There were good days and bad and I was just going to have to deal.  I modified my poses at Yoga, took it slower in Pilates, and went on with my life.

One morning in late April, as I was hoisting Dorian, my 25 pound 22 month old into the car so we could take Dante to school, I felt "something" click in my back and I saw stars.  I saw moons, planets, nebulae, fuck it I saw the whole Universe in the pain and I knew something was wrong.  I managed to take Dante to school then hightailed it to my mom's house where it was decided that we'd make an appointment with a doctor at her primary care office to see me.

This doctor was very brusk and formal.  Told me that I should expect to have lower back pain and sciatica because of my weight (fuck you very much) and that he would prescribe me pain medication and Valium this time and recommend I see a nutritionist.  And he sent me on my way.

A couple of days later, the same thing again, my leg went into spasms and my back wouldn't move and I was taken to the E/R where again, I was told I had sciatica, given pain meds, and sent home.  This doctor, though, recommended I go get an MRI.  When asked why he couldn't just send me up to get one, he said "We don't do MRIs at the E/R, you'd have to be admitted".  Gee thanks Doc.

So that night, my mom took me to get an MRI at the Outpatient center nearby.  By this time, my leg and back pain were so intense that I was no longer able to function.  Lying on my side was the only way to alleviate the pain.  I could walk as far to the bathroom but even sitting down to "use" the toilet was excruciatingly painful.  When I heard that I would have to lie FLAT and STILL for this MRI I didn't know if I could do it.  I was shoved into the MRI machine and I instantly knew that I was in trouble.  The pain was so incredible that I was literally SCREAMING for them to get me out.  I lasted as long as I could but unfortunately, the tech was unable to get a scan.  She recommended I call an ambulance and be taken to the hospital.  Then, and only then, would they "admit" me to get an MRI.

I had had enough by then and just wanted to go home.  After a long night, my mom came over in the morning, called an ambulance and I was taken by three very handsome EMTs BACK TO THE HOSPITAL.  This was at 10:30am May 9th.  I was fed morphine through an I/V all day but nothing was helping.  At 10:30 PM, the doctor came in, told me that if he gave me any more morphine, I would die, and that I was going to have to do the MRI awake and just do my best.  So I was wheeled up to the hospital MRI.  Randy, having switched places with my mom after work, was at my side as I cried from the pain, assured me that I could do it and to be strong.  The MRI guys were kind and sensitive to my pain.  I explained to them how difficult it was for me to be on my back and they said they would do it as fast as they could.  I went into the machine.

I must have blacked out from the pain because I was awakened by the tech in my earphones telling me to stop moving.  I explained to him that I wasn't moving.  Turns out that my body, from the extreme pain, was spasming on its own.  I was pulled out and allowed to lie on my side and cry for a little bit.  The tech told me that he had enough for a flat view but desperately needed the cross section view so I had to go back in.  I knew it was going to be excruciating but I also knew that if I didn't get this MRI done, there was no way I was going to get better. So I went back in.

It turns out, that I was gone for over an hour.  When the MRI was finished, I was so out of it from both pain and medication that I think I just went to sleep.  By now, it must have been 11:30pm or so.  I vaguely remember a doctor coming into my room in the E/R to tell me I was going to be admitted, but after that it gets blurry.  At 3am I woke up because I was rolling into the hospital going to my room on the 7th floor, Neurosurgery.  I was given more pain meds.....and I was out.

The next morning, Thursday May 10th, I was informed that I had herniated discs and that the "jelly" from my spine had burst through and was pressing on my back and nerves causing me this excruciating pain.  By this point, I was no longer able to walk at all and needed help going to the bathroom.  Nothing is more humbling than having a nurse younger than you wipe you.  Anyhow, I was told that surgery was necessary and that I'd be going under the knife tomorrow, May 11th.

So, I did.  I had a procedure known as a Laminectomy., plus my herniated discs were "shaved" down.(My incision is much lower that this diagram.  I believe my discs were 4 and 5).

I came home from the hospital on Mother's Day and have been recovering ever since.  I can walk again, but only short distances because I get very tired and my back starts to hurt.  I have a snazzy cane which makes me look pimp, and I cannot BLT (bend, lift, or turn).  I had my two week follow-up yesterday and I have been granted permission to drive short distances, but still am not allowed to swim until my incision is fully healed.  I am starting physical therapy 3 times a week for a month on June 5th and will follow up again after 6 weeks.  I still have lots of pain in my back and my doctor said that that is normal during the healing process, but if after our next followup, it is still present, I'm going to have to get X-rays done to see what's going on.

So there you have it.  My wonderful story about enduring horrible and copious amounts of pain.  Thanks to those of you who helped me with the kids, with my emotional state, and with just being there.  I couldn't have done it without you. 

My birthday is June 29th.  I hope to be dancing by then.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wedding Day Blues

My brother and his fiancee were married this past weekend and sadly, because of my stupid back surgery, I was unable to go despite being Maid (Matron?) of Honor and being fitted and refitted for my dress, having all of our travel plans arranged, and Randy taking time off of work, and so on and so forth.  Dante, on the other hand, entrusted in the very important job of being the Official Ring Bearer, went along with my parents on his first plane trip to NYC and his first "vacation" away from the rest of us for four days.

On a side note, Dante was under the impression that he was the "Ring Bear" and was going to wear a bear costume and growl and snarl while presenting my brother and Elena their rings.

I wrote a little something to be read in my absence and I heard it went over well.  It wasn't my "usual" type of writing because it was a classy joint but I did get a few zingers in there.

I don't have many regrets in life, but this is one of them.  I truly regret not having been there to see my "annoying baby brother" get married.

Without further ado. Here is the happy couple and the "Ring Bear". 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Like A Prayer

When I first met my husband, a native North Carolinian, he told me this joke about two little prim and proper Southern old ladies sitting on their front porch.
The first said to the other "My husband got me a Cadillac for my birthday this year!".
The other replied, "That's nice".
The first said, "And last year he bought me diamond earrings!"
"That's nice", replied the second.
"What did your husband get you for your birthday?" asked the first woman.
"Finishing lessons." replied the second.
"Finishing lessons?" asked the first woman, "Whatever for?"
"So I can say 'that's nice'", replied the second, "instead of 'Fuck you!'"

It's a cute joke and very fitting when I'm faced with the phrase "I'll pray for you".  This simple phrase uttered daily by millions of people has a very complex meaning, and it all depends on very specific circumstances.  Most people would assume, and wrongfully so, that because I am an Atheist, that the phrase, "I'll pray for you" would make me extremely angry and offend me to no end.  In fact, this past week while I was in the hospital having emergency back surgery (more on that in a future blog), my Facebook page was flooded with well wishes, thoughts, and yes, even prayers from friends who were thinking of me.  What upset me, though, were the posts from people offering prayers who felt they needed to "apologize" for using that terminology, thinking that because I don't pray, I would somehow find their need to do so as a way of wishing me well somewhat offensive.  So while lying in the hospital and watching horrible TV shows I would never dream of (admitting to) watching and having really cool painkillers pumped into my IV (seriously, the doctor said that if they gave me any more morphine I was going to stop breathing), I decided I would clarify certain things with my praying friends in hopes that they would understand my mind as an Atheist when it comes to things like that. Notice I didn't say "understand THE mind of an Atheist" as all of us are different and trust me, there are some fuckwad Atheists out there that I'd rather not be associated with.  Especially the ones that tell me I can't do Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, but that's a whole other thing all together.  Anyhow, I digress.  Moving on.

The term "I'll pray for you" has, as I said earlier, different meanings.  Specifically, two.  The first comes from a place of love, caring, friendship, and the belief that your god (whoever or whatever he/she/it may be) will take time out of their omnipotent schedule (it's a pretty booked one) and nudge a little bit of goodwill by way of you to the person you're praying for.  That's awesome.  It's a nice sentiment.  There's no malice behind it and if anyone thinks there is, they're a dick for thinking it.  In most situations where the phrase "I'll pray for you" is being used or "You're in my prayers", someone like me who doesn't pray will say something like, "Thinking of you" or "Positive thoughts coming your way", or the ever intelligent "hugz".  There's no need to apologize for saying it.  You're wishing someone well.  You could be praying to Rangor, god of mute sheep who floods the fields with the blood of newborn lizards, and it still would be coming from a good place.  This meaning of "I'll pray for you" is not the one that is offensive.  So please, don't ever apologize for saying it.

Now, though, I will deal with the phrase as it is taken as a negative connotation.  I'm going to have to use examples since I've never experienced this with an actual friend, so most of my stories will be those of me and random strangers who are dicks.  No, I'm not judging. You'll see why.

Example 1 of "I'll pray for you" used as a negative:  I am shopping at a grocery store.  I am walking to my car with full cart of bags and children singing a random Yo Gabba Gabba song.  Woman is near my car. I think she's getting into hers next to me, but in fact she's just staring at my car.  I get my keys out to open the trunk.  Conversation is as follows:
Her: "Is that your car"
Me: "Yes, I'm sorry did I park too close?"
Her: "You're an Atheist" (My bumper sticker says "Friendly Neighborhood Atheist")
Me: "Yep."
Her: "So you don't believe in Jesus"
Me: "Nope"
Her: "I'll pray for you"

Did you spot the difference? She wasn't sending well wishes.  She was using the phrase as a mask instead of saying "Fuck you!"  And you can't convince me otherwise because 99% of the time when this happens (and yes, it happens quite often) the person saying "I'll pray for you" isn't merely speaking the words, rather they are spitting them in anger with a face on them that could stop a clock.  Seriously, if looks could kill, I'd be dead a hundred times over.  I even once had a guy actually spit on my car after saying "I'll pray for you".  Are you getting the gist of the different contexts?

Another example of the negativity aspect of "I'll pray for you" can also come in the written form.  In this case, when random strangers, leave "love notes" on my car.  I call them "love notes" because, as we all know, "god is love" and since these people believe they are speaking for god and followers of god, their notes are in fact, full of "his love".  Sorry, I told myself I wasn't going to be snarky, but blame the Percocet because it's kicking in.  Anyhow, the most common "love note" I get goes something like "Jesus Christ is Lord. You will burn in hell. I will pray for you".  Again, that's not a "get well soon" kind of sentiment.  They just don't have the guts to write "Fuck You" and would much rather condescend into some sort of weird passive/aggressive mumbo jumbo that makes them feel better about themselves. "Sure, I left a nasty note on someone's car whose views I disagreed with, but I am praying for them!" Not quite.  Sometimes I get some really clever notes, which have the standard text above, but thrown in they will add commentary about my other bumper stickers like "You are a ni**er loving socialist nazi" (must be the Obama sticker), "I feel sorry for your children" (must have seen the car seats in the car), "I hope your children burn for eternity" (see previous), or some that just don't understand the Carl Sagan quote about the Universe and call me a "fucking bitch", "cunt" or tell me to "go kill yourself, then see that you're wrong". But you know what brings all these notes together?  They all end with that simple phrase of guessed it...."I'll pray for you".

But it doesn't end there. No no no!  It's not "I'll pray for you" that suffers from double meaning, but the phrase like "god bless you", rather anything with "bless" in it falls into the same trap. And again, I have to remind my friends not to apologize if you want to use it in a sentence while talking with me.  A while back I went to dinner with a wonderful woman from my book club.  She is an Episcopalian Minister, married to her partner for a long long time, and really someone that you come across once in a lifetime.  Amazing.  While we were eating and talking about our families, life, loves, etc. I noticed that she kept apologizing every time she said "god bless you" or "god bless them" when I was talking about my children or parts of my life.  And every time she apologized for saying it, I had to remind her not to because it wasn't offensive to me.  I think many religious people think all Atheists are cranky old men like Richard Dawkins who are always looking to pick a fight with theists.  You have to understand that we're not.  Sure, as I said earlier, there are fuckwads on all sides of the camp, but saying "god bless them" when I tell you a story about my kids isn't going to make me offended or go on a tirade.  You're wishing them love as you perceive it.  You're sending them positivity from a place that means a great deal to you.  Why ever would anyone need to apologize for that?

On the flip side, if you're handing out pamphlets at the park inviting me to your church and I politely say, "No thank you, we are Atheists", and you chuckle, scoff, roll your eyes and say "Well, god bless you then", please don't be surprised if I reply with some snarky comment like, "Well Santa bless you as well". 

So you see, there are many ways words and phrases can be used that take on a different meaning when used in different contexts.  I wanted to clear this up because I don't ever want anyone to hide or apologize for who they are when they want to wish me or my family well.  Goodness knows, I am not one to ever apologize or hide who I am or what I believe and neither should you.  No, this is not an open invitation to start throwing bible quotes on my FB timeline or send me "Jesus loves you" pictures or anything of the sort.  Just know that if you want to wish me well or luck or whatever and if the way you want to do it is to "pray for me", know that you do not have to apologize for saying it.  A perfect example came in an email from another one of my book club members who is a Pastor at a local Presbyterian Church near Dante's school. In his email he wrote " I'll be keeping u in my prayers (u can think of them as nice thoughts if u prefer :))".  

Thursday, April 12, 2012


If you know me, you know I'm not a fan of gender specification when it comes to toys and colors.  I don't buy into that whole "pink is for girls, blue is for boys" or that whole bullshit that boys can't play with dolls and girls can't play with trucks.  If you know me, you also know that I'm also not a fan of random strangers telling me how to parent or telling my children what to do.  So please to enjoy this conversation I had this morning at Marshall's while standing on line to return a pair of shoes.

Dorian: (pointing at pink dump tuck toy on display shelf) WAAAAAAHHHH! translation: I want that!:

Me: No, Dorian, you have plenty of trucks. You don't need another one.

Dorian: Mama, looooo loooo loooo loooo yes! translation: Mom, look, I want it yes

Me: No, Bloopie, now that's enough.

Fat Redneck Douchebag Dude wearing a John Deere Hat: You don't want that truck anyways boy, it's a girl's truck!

Me: A girl's truck?  Really?

FRDDwaJDH: Well it's pink, ain't it?

Me:  Seriously?  There's no such thing as a "girl's toy or a boy's toy" and that "pink and blue" crap is outdated.

FRDDwaJDH: Boys who like pink are queers. Looks like your son likes pink.

Me:  If that's the case, what's your excuse then? Or is your boyfriend a fan of "beer gut and camo?"

Thankfully, it was my turn in line because I have a feeling it would have gotten a little more heated with said "gentleman".  But, in true form, as I walked away with my queer 21 month old who wanted a pink truck, I heard the dulcet tones of murmured breath utter "fucking bitch" as I walked away.

Why yes, yes I am.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Block Party

No, not this Bloc Party

I'm having serious writer's block, actually forcing myself to post a blog today.  I remember when I could fire off two or three blog posts in a week with my witty banter and cynical crankiness that amused the reader (s)?, but now I'm just "blah" and have no energy to brush my hair, let alone write a captivating blog that will have everyone forwarding it, quoting from it, and/or printing it out and sleeping with it under their pillow.

So much is going on, Trayvon Martin's murder, the Reason Rally, the theocratic nation the United States has become, Santorum calling Obama a "government ni**er", my foray into becoming Quasimodo and going to the hospital for my back, Rock Beyond Belief, etcetera, etcetera, and so on.

So what's the problem?  The problem is I got nuttin to say.  No snark comments, no fiery tirade, no amused cynicism.  Not a sausage.




Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Apocalypse Now

The end of the world is nigh.  No, not because the Mayan calendar is ending and not because asshats like Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are running for president.  Not because Whitney Houston died (although you’d think so by the reactions of the media), not because Davey Jones died, and certainly not because Pat Robertson claims that the tornadoes are a sign of it.

The world is ending because of me.  Yes, that’s right. I take full responsibility for Doomsday when it comes.  And it’s coming.

Why, do you ask?  It’s simple.

I bought a Kidz Bop CD…………………………… the mall………………………………………….on purpose.

Now before you shake your head in bewilderment and wonder why that would cause the end of the world, let me explain to you what Kidz Bop is (other than the tool of the devil to indoctrinate children into evil).  Kidz Bop is a company which started back in 2001 which takes popular music and releases it in “kid-friendly” versions to CD.  The "”questionable language and innuendo” is cleaned up and you even have a gaggle of pre-pubescent singers belting out tunes.  So far, there have been twenty-one Kidz Bop album, the last one being the one I purchased recently.

The kids LOVE it.

Me?  Personally?  Would rather stick a needle full of spider eggs into my eye and let them hatch into my brain.

For me, the “kid-friendly” censorship is hysterical. I find it very presumptuous of this company that runs Kidz Bop to assume that I would find certain words offensive.  For example, LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” lyrics have one part where the music stops and the sample voice says, “Shake That”.  Apparently, in some alternate Kidz Bop Universe, this means “kill your parents and give BJ’s to all the boys in third grade” because the Kidz Bop version CENSORS that lyric and replaces it with “Dance That.”  I’m not kidding.  How the frig is “shake that” offensive or not “kid-friendly”?  The Wiggles have an entire song dedicated to “Shake the Sillies Out”.  Am I now to assume that the Wiggles are now some sort of purveyors of secret sex language for children?  I mean, according to Kidz Bop, does “shake the sillies out” really mean “show me your tits?”.

Another example on this CD I bought is Alexandra Stan’s “Mr Saxobeat”.  One of the lyrics reads “Playing sweet, make me move like a freak”.  Apparently, moving like a freak is unacceptable and therefore the Kidz Bop lyric reads “Playing sweet, make me dance to the beat.”  Really?  Really?!?! Am I just a crazy parent that doesn’t care about the word “freak”?  Am I a crazy parent because I don’t care what the lyrics are?  Ok Ok, I’m not going to let the kids listen to gangsta rap because the cursing and violent misogyny are pretty loud and clear, but “freak” and “sexy” (another word censored in this song) really don’t bother me.  Plus, you can hardly understand what these singers are saying to begin with which makes censorship really unnecessary, doesn’t it?.

For me though, the clincher was the censored version of Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away”.  After hearing the censorship in the earlier songs, I had a gut feeling that this Kidz Bop version was going to be deconstructed into this “kid-friendly” mishegoss that would make me laugh.  And it was.  In exactly the place I knew it would be.  The Katy Perry line goes, “Summer after high school when we first met, we make out in your Mustang to Radiohead and on my 18th Birthday, we got matching tattoos.” MAKING OUT AND TATTOOS?!?!?!?! For the love of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the children!  Save the children from this witchcraft!!!  And they do save the children, with the censored lines reading, “Summer right before school when we first met we'd listen every day to Radiohead and when it was my birthday you bought me some balloons”.  Balloons.  FUCKING Balloons?  What high school guy is buying BALLOONS for a girl? It gets better, the Katy Perry line following reads, “Used to steal your parents' liquor and climb to the roof”. Ok, I agree that’s not-so-kid-friendly, but any intelligent parent, if asked by their child what “liquor” is could easily say something like, “Oh it’s candy” and move on.  But no, Kidz Bop assumes that if your kids hear this they are going to become raging alcoholics that make out and listen to 90’s Indie bands while getting *gasp* tattoos, so they changed the lyric to “Used to eat your favorite ice cream and hang by the pool”. 

Did you hear that? That’s my head hitting the desk. Ice cream?  ICE CREAM?!?!
I don’t know many of the other songs on the CD well enough to know whether they were censored or not but based on those above I really don’t understand what the big deal is.  I mean, it’s not like Kidz Bop is covering Ice-Cube or Wu-Tang, so what’s the problem with a couple of “shakes” and “sexy” and a “tattoo”?  I’m really not a fan of other people telling me what my children can and cannot watch or listen to.  Honestly, when I bought the Kidz Bop CD (after Hell froze over), I simply thought that they were popular songs sung by children.  I didn’t know I was going to be told that certain words and themes were not appropriate for my own children and thus they were going to be changed.  I don’t know if I like that.  I’m a responsible parent and I make responsible choices that suit ME and MY FAMILY.  If you want to let your kids listen to Ice-Cube and Wu-Tang that’s your choice, just like it’s my choice to let them listen to songs with the words “tattoo” and “liquor” in them.  Sure, and once in a while my kids will hear a song that may have a “shit” or a “damn” or a “fuck” in it.  Doesn’t mean they are going to run around screaming it.  Why?  Because as THE PARENTS we are the ones who guide them, not some dickheads at some idiot record label.

So prepare for the end of the world.  I bought a Kidz Bop CD that smells suspiciously of “moral majority”.

I’m shaving my head into a mohawk in preparations.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Time (Clock of the Heart)

Oh boy have I been lax in posting.  Looking back, when I had just one child, I would post sometimes twice, even three times, a week with updates about Dante and whatever we were doing.  Sadly, Dorian is getting shafted big time being the second child, because I am so busy/tired/exhausted/at a loss for subject matter/at a loss of time that I don't blog even half as much as I used.

And that's not helping me get super famous either. Ha.

Looking back on 2011, I missed blogging about important things because of this overwhelming lack of any personal "me" time.  I have to admit also, that I was extremely emotionally absent for most of 2011 as well, having succumbed to a very deep and horrible depression.  I lost myself in awful sadness. I lost so many great memories that I am now looking back on and wishing I had "been" there.  Sure, I was physically there but I was elsewhere.  I lost close friendships too and am just now trying to regain some sort of semblance of those relationships.  Anyone who is not depressed doesn't understand how difficult it is to function on a daily basis and I fear that many of my friends just took my absences as just me not wanting to hang out and so they moved on.  Sure, I pushed myself here and there to go to outings and events, but even when I was there, I wasn't.  I felt like everyone was looking at me funny; that friends were not really friends; that I was not welcome and was just invited out of pity.  It was a hard time for me but I muddled through.  Got yelled at by my husband a lot.  Got yelled at by my mom a lot.  And finally, I just started yelling at myself to "snap the fuck out of it", and somehow, I did.  Not 100% but I am, I would say at a steady 75% and holding.  There are days when I am still trying to climb into a dark hole and disappear for a few hours, but at least I'm not lying in a fetal position crying for hours on end.

So let's review 2011 with major events and milestones as I remember them.

Dorian went from this:

To this:

To this:

It's amazing how much a baby changes in one year. From February to October, crawling to dancing with his brother to classic Mantronix (yes, we're raising them right).
Dorian also has started to talk.  Sure, he's a bit speech delayed, but he's got a good handle on sign language and his new favorite words are "Dante", "bubbles", "ball", "Salad", "mama", "dada", "nonna", "nonno", and "nurse" (yes, he's 18 months old and still nursing like he was a month old.)  I've tried to wean him but he throws fits.  I figure if he's 35 and walking down the aisle, begging to nurse, then I'll worry.

On the Big Brother front, Dante started Kindergarten at the awesome charter school, the Hollywood Academy of Arts and Science.

We were extremely lucky to make the "lottery cut" and are now "in" until eighth grade (assuming they don't throw Dante out because of his behavior).  Yes, while D may be excelling academically - he loves Science - behaviorally, he's not doing so hot, already gaining a "referral" and a trip to the principal's office for promptly telling a classmate who was annoying him "fuck you".  That's my boy!  *sigh*

Randy and I love the school, as does Dante,and he can't be doing that horribly because they did ask if we were going to re-up him for first grade.  As we say every morning on the way to school, "We have to have our brain match our behavior".  Sometimes it sinks it, while other times, he comes home with a stern note from his teacher telling me that he wouldn't shut up all day or that he was jumping out of his seat for no apparent reason.

On the Husband front, Randy finished his Volskwagen Academy Training with flying colors and was flown to Virginia (his first time flying!) for the graduation ceremonies.  He was Valedictorian of his class and received a really nice plaque and a raise over at the VW dealership he works at. He's now a Class B tech.  Not bad for a guy who was only hired as an "oil change" guy.  We are very proud of him.

What else?
  1. My thyroid is still purely decorative, but I'm back on my old medication and losing weight again
  2. My brother is getting married and I'm already dreading the airplane trip to get there
  3. My book club, Ex Libris, is still going strong
  4. My parenting group, South Florida Atheist Families, is going well
  5. I've lost 13 pounds as of this posting
So here's to hoping that 2012 brings us many more adventures and escapades.  Although I did not make any New Year's Resolutions, I will promise to blog more often if I can muster up the brain power to do so. 

But for now, I leave you with this post's title inspiration.