Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Gun Control Conversation

This is somewhat late to the conversation, most gun arguments having already disappeared from the forefront of people's minds as time passes and the name Adam Lanza vanishes from the headlines. I have various loosely connected thoughts related to several aspects of the gun control conversation, and I simply haven't felt organized enough to express them and I am still not sure that's changed, but I will try. I'll tackle them in sections.

1. The arming of teachers and school administrators.  

I wonder at people who express the idea that teachers should be armed to prevent school shootings, not only because weapons seems incongruent to academic, nurturing places where our children go, but because it rests on the notion that teachers are somehow just the kind of people we want to protect our children.  That somehow they are wise, good people who would know perfectly how to protect their charges.  Except, teachers are as much a part of the unwashed masses as anybody else.  There are alcoholic teachers, mentally ill teachers, teachers with anger problems, teachers with incredibly poor judgement.  Just a few months ago, in the area where I live,  a local teacher was arrested for putting a hit out on another teacher.

Teachers are not saints. And teachers can be just as disgruntled as postal employees.  Schools have their own political dramas and scandals and having armed teachers is not a good idea. 

These "bad teachers" aren't the majority, but they exist and in larger numbers than people realize.

2. Armed policemen at every school. 

This concept blew my mind. It's like something out of a novel....a world where armed policeman are everywhere, even elementary schools.  I found the suggestion amusing for its irony.  Let's pay thousands upon thousands of policemen for a service that is almost never needed in order to protect lives.....but lets not even consider the idea of raising taxes, or paying for socialized medicine/Obamacare/Medicaid/whatever.  It's no different than wanting to cut every social program in existence, but not touch defense spending.  It's OK to pay for force, but not quality of life.

Ach....it just makes me irritable to even contemplate the irony.

And yet...the county I live in has decided to have armed deputies at each school for the remainder of the year.  I work in elementary schools every day, so I see them standing outside every since Sandy Hook happened.  They aren't particularly threatening or scary looking to the children, but I can't help but wonder what it says about us.  Adults are so fearful that they spend a lot of resources in a relatively useless exercise.

3.  La Pierre blaming violent video games for mass shootings.  

Uh, I think there is probably a large overlap between people playing shooting/violent video games and people who own guns, or are interested in buying guns at least at the younger end of the gun-owning demographic. If the gun lobby starts condemning first-person shooter video games, they will be biting some of the hands that feed them. Also, some video game makers have actually partnered with firearm manufacturers to promote their products.

4. Fear of the government.

It has become painfully clear to me that there are people I would otherwise categorize as sane, normal people who have bought into the paranoid fantasy that our government might at any moment become a dictatorship, forcefully taking away all guns and oppressing all opposition forcefully. I think there are fringe elements who create these conspiracy-fueled, fear-laden scenarios and that many simply pick up bits and pieces of it through rubbing shoulders with more of the radical elements out there. The ideas filter through, losing some of their outright craziness and clothing themselves in historic incidents as some sort of proof of their correctness.

Germany gets brought up a lot.  And yet, the 21st century in the US looks nothing like the Germany of World War II.

I don't know....those are my random thoughts for right now.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

One of the new family toys we purchased this Christmas was an iPad. With two kids needing the computer for research, papers and gaming, it was becoming challenging for all four of us to have the access we needed and wanted with one Mac. I really wanted a laptop but couldn't justify the expense of a macbook right now. The iPad has gone a long way toward relieving the need for a second computer, allowing two people to be browsing the internet, checking e-mail, looking up directions/recipes/game tips at the same time.

However, I am disappointed with the way it works with Blogger. If I access Blogger through Safari, it is very buggy....constantly freezing up, giving error messages, losing cursor control, etc. I downloaded the Blogger app for iOS and it presents a very minimal word processor with no real features, such as spellcheck, font size, color, italics/blod/ underline...etc.

A disappointment to be sure.

One of the things I asked for for Christmas was a wireless keyboard to go with the iPad because typing anything of length on a touchpad is annoying. It seems to be working well and is what I am currently using to type this post.....which I am sure you will all realize is just a rambling post for me to experiment with my new toys....nothing to see here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Where did I go?

I pretty much gave up blogging for a lengthy amount of time. I had lost my taste for it. Saw no reason  to continue.

 I drowned my sorrows in World of Warcraft, choosing to waste hours of time on a video game rather than waste hours of time writing and commenting online. They always say that you have to replace one habit with another. I found battling monsters and orcs, except for when I was playing a Horde character, very relaxing and not nearly as mentally exhausting as trying to justify all of my opinions and ideas to people on the Internet.

Blogging had become too emotionally taxing for me because I really only wanted to say things that were true and honest, at least from my own perspective. As in real life, I don't do well trying to "fake it." I can be socially adept at knowing when to say what and how to read a situation, or people, and saying, or not saying things, at the right time.  However, even though I can do that, I find it tiring. It's an effort to go against my usual directness...which is why I am not a social butterfly and choose to have few close relationships. People have to be able to take my directness and I have to be able to feel as if I don't need to constantly censor my thoughts for the sake of others, or to guard my own sense that I haven't offended people whom I have no desire to upset.

I tend to withdraw when I feel too conflicted about what I am personally thinking and how I imagine others might react to what I am thinking.  Considering that blogging is an entirely self-imposed obligation, it made no practical sense to feel so emotionally involved with the reactions that I might provoke in my posts. Why fret about it when there is no need to?

I'm not sure if I will begin blogging again with any regularity. I'm kind of tiring of WoW, having explored most of the classes, races, and factions of the game, and having a lot of fun along the way.

I might be ready to re-enter the blogosphere, though it's probably not as fun as playing my rogue.

Bad Argument

The worst argument which I have heard about guns and mass shootings in the the aftermath of this last crisis: "Shootings happen more frequently in gun free zones, therefore we need to eliminate gun free zones and allow gun owners to carry their guns anywhere they please as a deterrent."

Correlation is not causation.

Intentional shootings happen in these gun-free zones because these zones are heavily populated venues such as schools, malls, theaters, or parks, which makes them prime locations for people intending to harm as many people as possible in a short period of time.  Also, considering that many of these shooters wind up ending their murderous sprees by shooting themselves, it hardly seems likely that they intentionally choose places where they think people will be unarmed. They are entering a quick blaze towards their own deaths. They are unconcerned about the outcome or possibility of facing other armed people. And, the fact that they often are wearing bullet-proof vests implies that they sense they will be shot at by somebody, whether it is a security officer or a police officer.

Their actions give no indication that they have spent any time pondering, or that they care about, whether a venue is officially labeled "gun-free".

My comments have nothing to do with whether gun control laws should be stricter, or not, but just to point out the absurdity of that particular argument.  No one should be able to say those things with a straight face, or be taken seriously when making such an argument.




Friday, February 17, 2012

Parenting Fail

Ok. This has gone viral and DH forced me to watch it at gunpoint just before he shot up my laptop.



DH was curious about what I thought of it.  After watching all 8 minutes and 23 seconds, my only reply was, "He's a jerk. No wonder his kid wrote all of that stuff about him."

That is apparently the opposite reaction that most people have had to the video. The majority of comments seem to egg him on and describe what he did as "tough love" and standing up to teenagers.

I don't get that reaction at all. From my perspective, it seems like an immature attempt at one-upmanship aimed at publicly humiliating his daughter for having normal, teenage feelings.

Think about what happened.  A 15 year-old girl ranted about her parents and chores, not publicly, but privately to her friends.

What a shocker. Next thing you know she'll be talking about boys, and sex, and growing up and moving out, and how out-of-touch teachers are, and how boring church and school are, and how when she grows up she'll never be like so and so....etc. etc.

This is why parents should never go snooping through children's diaries/journals.  You'll most likely find some unpleasant things written about you in there.  That's what diaries and journals and stupid posts to your friends on facebook are for. If a person really wanted to humiliate and hurt you, they would say those things to your face, not in a private venue that you were never meant to see.

Sometimes, I think about how I thought about my parents growing up, especially during my teenage and young adult years. I always loved them because they were my parents, but I frequently did not like them and said things about them that I'm sure they would have found hurtful.  I was always honest and direct with them when I was upset with them, specifically my mother. She always knew how I felt, even though I didn't purposely try to be hurtful in the way I expressed my frustration with her.

Still, I remember things I said, or thought, about her that were much more extreme than what I actually said to her in person because even though she upset me, I wouldn't purposely want to humiliate her.

I soberly consider that as I watch my children grow, knowing that at some point they might be writing snide facebook comments about me, or rolling their eyes to their friends while I am talking to them on the phone, or complaining about rules, standards, expectations that I have and how I "just don't get it".

And even though that will assuredly happen, just as surely as the sun will rise each morning, I will remember being a teenager and hopefully cut them some slack, even as I will probably be inwardly hurt.

That's is what being a mature, adult parent is about. Attempting to understand and communicate with your children, rather than trying to bully them with snide comments, sarcastic tones, and over-the-top punishments is probably more effective.

In general, I think that parents can be too hard on themselves, expecting more than is humanly possible, regretting every little mistake.

On the other hand, I see what this father has done, in a very self-satisfied manner, as one of those parenting mistakes that is going to have a very long life in this girl's memory, and not in a positive way.  She's learned, not that she should never say anything bad about her parents, but that if she does something her father doesn't like, there will be retribution.  That he will react on the basis of his own feelings of being hurt rather than on the basis of what would be good for a healthy relationship with his daughter.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Random Book Recommendation

I am thoroughly enjoying Peter S. Beagle's collection of short stories, We Never Talk About My Brother.

I picked it up on a lark at the library, unfamiliar with his work, and found a nice gem.  I'm halfway through it and every story so far has been wonderfully written, engaging and satisfying.

If you're looking for pure enjoyability, in a mild sci-fi/fantasy vein, try it out.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Intuitive was one of two children to advance from his school's science fair, in the 4th grade, to the regional county science fair.  We spent one day this week among a display of at least 1,000 science projects. The Intuitive had to stand alone in a sea of cardboard displays with only fellow participants for company as the science fair judges made their way to each display and had the students present their project and answer questions.  No teachers or parents allowed.

We sat in bleachers with hundreds, maybe thousands of other parents waiting until his grade and science category were officially dismissed for the day. We saw him making his way to us in a crowd of other dressed-up fourth graders and joined him halfway down the aisle.

"How did it go?"

"OK, I guess. I probably won't win anything. The judges only spoke to me once."

"Well, you never know.  At least you did your best.  Did you stand up when they approached you?"

"Yes, mom."

"Did you answer all of their questions?"

"Yes, mom."

"Were you friendly?"

"Yes, mom."

I had to pester him. It is my motherly duty, after all.

The next day we attended the awards ceremony, not knowing what to expect.  When the announcers got  to The Intuitive's category he was thrilled to hear that he qualified for an "Excellent" award, which seemed to be somewhere between the Outstanding category and Superior, with Superior being the highest. They give out many of these 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards because the sheer volume of participants makes it difficult to have just one 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner, but not everyone gets them, so The Intuitive was happy to get another nod for his project.

He went to the ceremony expecting a mere participation ribbon and came home with a medal. He was positively radiant with happiness, especially because he was utterly taken by surprise when he had simply won at his school's science fair to begin with.

I was happy for him in the way that parents are happy when they see their kids feel affirmed and valued and content with themselves after working hard on something.

Santorum Word Salad

What the hell is Santorum talking about?



What are these mysterious emotions that he's talking about?  At first it seemed like he was implying that women might be too scared or emotional to carry out a mission, but then he starts talking about men and camaraderie and these things already happening and I was thrown off.  Usually the things coming into the spotlight regarding men and camaraderie in the face of war revolve around groups of soldiers doing bad things together, like urinating on bodies, or taking trophies of the war, or being overly aggressive and killing non-combatants.

I think he is trying so hard not to say what he really thinks, that women are not fit for combat, that he is wandering all over the place spewing non-sensical word salad.

A Santorum candidacy would push me even further away from the Republican party.  He is a culture warrior through and through.  There isn't a single issue that he speaks about that isn't directly tied to a religious position he has or is influenced by.

No objectivity. No openness to any area of policy that doesn't already line up with his predetermined view of the world.

*Update*

 Santorum clarified his remarks about women in combat, saying that he was referring to the emotions that men would have while working with women:
“I was talking about men’s emotional issues; not women. I mean, there’s a lot of issues. That’s just one of them. So my concern is being in combat in that situation instead of being focused on the mission, they may be more concerned with protecting someone who may be in a vulnerable position, a woman in a vulnerable position.”
Well, it wasn't just my imagination that Santorum wasn't making much sense. Apparently, he was wandering all over the place in that first clip.

The problem with what Santorum says here is that it is based in his own view of gender roles.  He naturally assumes that because he believes women need to be protected, and that men are responsible for protecting them, that every other man feels the same way.

It is self-evidently obvious to him.

Personally, I think it's bunk. If you're in the middle of an intense battle, you're not going to be thinking about gender roles.  You're going to be thinking about survival, plain and simple. And...soldiers are already trained to look out for each other and work as a team, "protecting" each other.

The women who choose to enlist and want to be closer to combat are women who are probably naturally inclined to do just that.  They aren't garden-party, creative-memory-making, trophy wife women who are being forced into a life they aren't suited for and don't want.  They don't need to be protected any more than any soldier needs to be protected.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Withholding Approval and Same Sex Marriage

I've been over at AVI's commenting on a post of his about Same Sex Marriage.

A couple of people made the point that SSM is about the gay community wanting validation and affirmation more than it is about obtaining specific marital rights.

I don't think that's a necessarily incorrect assessment. And, I think withholding that validation is a serious motive for opponents to gay marriage, who are comfortable tolerating gay people and acknowledging their existence, but don't want to be required to put their stamp of approval on gay relationships, elevating the status of gay relationships to those of heterosexual relationships.

Full disclosure. I don't know how comfortable I am, personally, with Same Sex Marriage. That's to say, while I don't harbor ill will towards homosexuals, I can also say that I have a hard time understanding homosexuality simply because I can't identify with it personally. I don't know or understand what it would be like to be attracted to the same sex, and because of that I can't un-self-consciously accept it in the same way that I would any other straight relationship. I actually have to consciously work on not making value judgements.

Those statements are not meant to be used as ammunition against me.  I am merely trying to be honest about the thought process I have. Because I don't identify with or understand homosexuality in the same way that I understand heterosexuality....I am limited in my abilities to be as instinctively OK with it as I would be with other relationships. As such, I have to take what gay people say about themselves and their relationships at face value to some extent. If most of them feel as if this is something they were born with or something they have no power to change, then I have to accept that.

I have no basis to argue otherwise.

How valuable is this validation of SSM and what do opponents gain by not giving it?

For the gay population, I think the validation is extremely valuable. Having governmental recognition of  SSM would allow them to feel accepted and as if their relationships were equal to heterosexual marriages and all that it entails. Living in a society that doesn't purposely and consciously exclude you and that doesn't merely tolerate you is definitely more appealing and freeing than living in a society in which you feel slighted.

Is it the government's responsibility to make sure that everyone feel more accepted and free? Is the government supposed to make us feel warm and fuzzy about all of our choices? Is the government supposed to be a hippie love-in organization making sure that everyone gets a hug and a flower in their hair?

Well....not exactly. However, the government isn't a separate entity that operates outside and independent of society. It is a representation of society and serves to enact laws that society considers just and good. Those laws are adjusted and added to as society adjusts and adds to its conception of "just" and "good".

Validating SSM is a way of declaring that society thinks it is more just and good to honor consensual, binding, relational agreements between two gay people than it is to not honor those agreements. While it is about making homosexuals feel openly accepted and equal, it is also about honoring the wills of individuals to live peacefully, according to their own consciences, without government impediments, a principle which is entirely American.

Very conservative Christians will never accept homosexuals in any way. The only option in their eyes is a fundamental denial of same sex attraction. Homosexuals are expected to repent and live as heterosexuals. The problem is that after many years of this approach, it doesn't seem widely viable or workable. Some of the founders of various ex-gay movements, after many years of working in those movements, have given up on the idea of thinking it's even possible to be "ex-gay".

Conservative Christians will characterize these people as giving up on God, or the faith, or surrendering to the devil and their lusts.

On the other hand, if someone so desperately wants not to be gay, founds an organization for ex-gays, and dedicates themselves to that movement for many years, and after all that discovers that their life's work hasn't been very effective and openly admits it...then I think Christians need to listen to what they have to say.

The average evangelical christian has historically taken the path of "loving the sinner, hating the sin" when it comes to homosexuality. I once thought this was a workable spiritual solution; tell homosexuals that we love them and think God loves them, but that their actions are not pleasing to God and we can't condone their behavior. In theory, the idea is that acting on homosexual desires is equivalent to acting on heterosexual desires outside of marriage. People make mistakes. God offers forgiveness. We simply can't condone the mistakes.

The problem is that it never really works that way in evangelical churches. No matter how open and loving an evangelical church can be, or how insistent that homosexuals are welcome to attend, they are not treated in the same way that heterosexuals are because an attraction to the same sex is not viewed equivalently to an attraction to the opposite sex, in the eyes of the church. Attraction to the opposite sex is seen as inherently natural and if heterosexuals stray then it is a matter of right desire, wrong timing or wrong relationship. With homosexuals there is never a right time, place, or relationship to express their sexual orientation.

What remains is the option of lifelong celibacy in an evangelical church. However, even if an openly gay person chooses to be celibate, there is always a lingering suspicion towards them and they will most likely not be given any visible leadership positions within the church.

Withholding approval/validation effectively keeps acknowledged homosexuals out of evangelical churches. It's not hard to see why. If desires that you have always had, desires that you can't get rid of, and desires that are an integral part of the framework of your self-conception are considered twisted and unnatural, even if you don't act on them, it would be difficult to feel loved, accepted and part of that community.

When a person latches onto the idea of withholding validation or approval from someone as a means of influencing them, they are operating on several assumptions.

Assumption #1 --They are in a superior position.  Validation is theirs to give or withhold by fiat and natural authority.

Assumption #2--Their purposeful withholding of validation will influence the subject of it to submit and agree to the authority's position and discourage them from the subject's own position

Assumption #3--Giving validation to someone who lives and believes differently than they do is as bad as living and believing in the same way as that person. Validation=participation.

#1 is hard for anyone to prove.  Justifying hierarchies and inherent authority is incredibly difficult when people begin to critically examine that hierarchy and the basis for the authority given to it.

#2 isn't effective.  When you don't validate people they typically don't change, they simply continue being the way they are in a different location.

#3 Validation is not equal to participation.

I may write more about this when time permits.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Analysis on Florida

This is pretty much spot-on analysis of Florida:

And then there was this article about Florida evangelicals which is also pretty accurate.

And another article about debunking myths about Florida voters.

Florida is an incredibly diverse state that can't be pinned down. Even its ethnic groups have sub-groups.  Hispanic/Latino might mean Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican, or a number of nationalities from Central and South America.....and those groups often do not share political or cultural commonalities.

The same goes for African Americans. In Florida that term could represent people from Jamaica, first and second generation Africans, people from Haiti, Trinidad, and the Virgin Islands as well as the more traditional conception of "African American". The term itself is outdated and not entirely accurate here.

There is a large population of bi-racial and multi-racial people and those combinations may be black/white, hispanic/ white, black/hispanic, white/asian, black/asian, bi-racial/bi-racial.

I believe this is why Florida is so important during major elections, there is literally no portion of the American population that isn't represented here....not only in certain pockets, but throughout the state.

And that racial diversity is mirrored in religious diversity and age diversity in as complex a manner.

It's like a mini United States here.

Primary Day

So, as a registered Republican, I get to vote in Florida's primary today.  Romney, Newt, Paul or Santorum.

Those are my choices.

I will probably wind up voting for Romney, not because I love him as a candidate, but because I dislike him the least....or at least consider his flaws less repugnant than the flaws of the other candidates.

I told my husband that I think this will be my last election as a registered Republican.  Throughout the long run-up to today, I spent time looking over the candidates and the positions they hold on various issues.  What I discovered was that there wasn't a single one with whom I agreed on more than one issue.  I like Ron Paul's bluntness about the war and his desire to avoid it.....but he has a lot of other ideas that are a bit crazy and the racist newsletters from his past make it impossible for me to vote for him.

Santorum has so much of his religious belief tied into his politics that I don't consider him an option.  Going to his site and reading through his "issues" articles is like listening to the Family Research Council. Lots of bluff and bluster and ranting against the evil powers in the universe, but not many practical ideas about running the country.

Newt....well let's just say that I wouldn't trust Newt in any position. Besides his personal scandals, which could be argued to be irrelevant, the transparency with which he manipulates and speaks is off-putting.  The constant reliance on invoking Reagan, calling the opposition "elites", and his downright outrageous claims about moon bases in 8 years is so over the top....I don't understand how anyone could really take him seriously.
"I declare that by the end of my second term that we will have light-speed space-ships and they'll be made in America!
I declare that by the end of my second term that there will be a chicken in every pot and a personal jet pack for every American!
I declare that by the end of my second term that we will be able to download our consciousness into biologically-based robots and live forever! 
I will accomplish all of this because I am a man of BIG ideas!"

Well...you get the idea.

sigh.

I think this will be my last year as a registered Republican. While I can't see myself registering as a Democrat, I simply can no longer find a reason to remain Republican. I haven't seen a candidate in the last several years that I could get behind without holding my nose. It's time to face facts. As the Republican party now stands, it's clear that I am not a Republican any longer.

The truest representation of my voting preferences would be to register as an Independent, which, in Florida, means no longer being able to vote in primary elections. The upside is that maybe it will mean that we will receive fewer robo-calls during the week before primaries and general elections.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Old Soul?

Heh.

Google is doing its job keeping track of everything you and I do in its systems.

You can check out what Google thinks of your demographics here.

Google seems to think I am a 65+ year old man.

I'm speechless.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Google as Revealer of Unpleasant Truths

One of the things keeping me busy lately is soccer season.

This is the second year we have had the boys in soccer.  They enjoy it.  We enjoy it.  It's a good way to spend time together as a family.

The fly in the ointment for me, this year, has been The Rationalist's U-12 coach. I have cultivated a general eye-rolling feeling towards him for several reasons, the least of which is related to his actual coaching. When we met him, I thought that he seemed familiar to me, especially once he mentioned he was a youth minister.  Though I couldn't specifically place him, I had the sense that we must have glancingly met him at some point in the 12 years that we have lived here.

Curious, I googled him when I got home and realized that we had visited a church he was starting many years ago.  We had visited just one time, so I doubt that he would have any remembrance of us as a part of a large group of people, but I remembered him because we gave him our attention for one full Sunday morning, even if it had been 6 years ago.

Googling someone, in some cases, can provide a key to their personality.  It's not an exact science, but for those who have a heavy web presence, it can pretty much lay out their lives--good, bad, and curious--in a few seconds.

What I found on the coach was evidence of many start-ups of various churches, stints as a youth minister at various churches, several career websites where he hyped his motivational speaking skills and mentions of playing for the NFL.

Mixed in with that were a couple of links with questions about whether this man had ever actually played with the Dallas Cowboys. Apparently, someone didn't believe his resume and wanted to know more about him from an expert on all things Cowboy-related.

What came out on the website is that there was no mention of his name on any NFL roster at any time, for any game with that team.  As far as the Dallas Cowboys were concerned, this man didn't exist. Searching a little bit further, the expert on the website found only one reference to him.  Apparently, he had tried out for the Cowboys, had initially been signed as a place kicker, but then was dropped/waived after a couple of months.  However, he never played a single game and it is unclear how much of those 3 months were actually spent with the team because he was signed in April and waived in July, presumably before the pre-season and definitely before the actual season which started on 9/13/87.

I had stumbled across an unsettling fact.  The coach was an exaggerator, possibly a liar, depending on how you looked at it.

I wasn't sure what to think about the whole thing. It seemed too incredible to me to think that this man would blatantly misrepresent himself, but that is exactly what he did.

The coach had advocated we follow him on facebook for soccer updates and there was no mention of the NFL on his info/work page. Several of the defunct churches' websites that mentioned him didn't mention it either. Maybe, I thought, this was a brief slip-up by him.  Maybe it was a misunderstanding by someone in the past, thinking he was claiming to have played as opposed to briefly being signed to the Cowboys.

Further googling turned up a couple of mentions of the pastor/coach and the NFL in personal blogs of people who were working with him or introducing him as a guest speaker.  The term "former NFL player" was used as a credential for appealing to youth.  Still, these mentions were several years old and very brief, no more than a sentence or two, not detailed elaborations. But now, instead of just finding references to the Dallas Cowboys, I was finding references to the New York Jets also.

Disturbed, I decided to do my own fact-checking, going to official NFL sites and the official Dallas Cowboys site and New York Jets site, running various searches to try and turn up any overlooked information, searching by year, name, position, etc. I found no mention of him anywhere on any of the official team rosters maintained by any NFL organizations.

It bugged me, but wanting to be charitable and give the benefit of the doubt, I pushed it aside thinking it was probably in the past, a minor case of braggadocio that had flared up and burnt itself out rather quickly.....until it wasn't anymore.

Not long after the soccer season started, the coach decided to give a pep talk about getting enough sleep, eating the right things, and drinking enough fluids the day before the game.  It was at this point that he mentioned this was the advice given to him when played in the NFL.

 A couple of kids gasped and exclaimed excitedly, "You played in the NFL?"

"Yeah.  I sure did," he said.

"What team?" they asked.

"I played for the Cowboys and the New York Jets," he said confidently.

"Wow!" they said.

I stood there, silently thinking despicable thoughts.

Misunderstanding?  No.

Exaggeration? Possibly able to be construed as such.

Outright Lie? In my book, yes.

Google had laid bare this man's lie before me.  I knew something about him that no one else on that soccer field knew at that moment, that he was lying to our kids' faces and to ours.

Practice was over.  We went home and I stewed, wondering how this man could so casually represent himself the way that he did...the same man who markets himself as a motivational speaker to teens in order to teach them not to smoke, drink or have sex before marriage...the same man whose facebook page was filled with mini-sermons about serving God.

ugh.

The awkwardness of knowing more about a person than I normally would, without them even realizing it, is pervasive. There's no way to reveal what I know without seeming creepy and stalker-ish as if I spend all my time researching the personal lives of those around me. And, there's no real point in revealing what I know because while it reflects very poorly on this man's character and personality it has absolutely zero to do with his soccer coaching. It's something he says to boost his own self-image and give him more prestige in the eyes of others, but after that brief moment it recedes in relevance.

Still, it annoys me.  It is hard to listen to him speak without second-guessing everything he says as exaggeration and self-promotion.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shift

I've been incognito for quite some time. Time and again I would consider blogging, or putting my thoughts down on numerous subjects...and yet....shifting inside of me a growing resistance to all things blog-related would assert itself, saying "No...not right now."

So...I would let the days slip by, busy with real life and chores and Christmas and working on the house, all the while considering the possibility of simply shutting things down, or maybe restarting elsewhere.

I'm not sure where I'm headed.  The internal shift I feel is one that I have had before in my life at particular moments when I suddenly change and go in a new direction.

A sudden revelation.  An epiphany.  A realization.  An acceptance of something unpredicted.

I'm not sure which one of those things will come from the shift, or if none of them lay beneath the change working in me.

I'll let you know when I know.