Saturday, July 28, 2007

I hate Bambi: Deer, Farming, Suburbanization

Seriously, I've never understood the appeal of that film.

So there's a Commercial Appeal article today about a farmer in Shelby County shooting 40 deer in defense of his cotton crop. He had applied for and received a permit to do so. At least a 30% damage to his cotton was noted by the appropriate authorities. The area of land the guy rents to grow cotton on is 200 acres. The neighbors are, of course, in an uproar whining abut how they "don't like to deer slaughtered" and "brutality."

So some of the things this bloke was up to strike me as less than well thought out. Just dragging all the corpses into a wood and leaving them to rot, for one. There should be a better system in place to deal with that issue. But really, it's the little suburbanite residents that I have no sympathy for. Overpopulation of deer is an actual problem. Yes, death is brutal and it freaking happens. Deal.

While I've never been hunting myself, I grew up in the middle of a community that hunts. And hunts in closer proximity to houses than this fellow was. (A neighboring family interrupted Thanksgiving dinner because a small herd of deer had wandered into the field out back.) Sure, there could be safety concerns to this, but we knew not to go out to play in the woods without at least having on brightly colored clothing. If my parents knew someone was out hunting in a certain area (we leased back lots to hunters) we were not allowed to go out into that lot to play. Simple as that. Further, communication happens in farming communities. One neighbor who hunted raccoons would knock on our front door fairly frequently after dark to say that his dogs had followed a coon onto out property, would it be okay to go after it?

So, in the clash of cultures, I really don't have sympathy for the suburbanites who are moving into "the country." Yeah, life's more brutal out here. You might drive down the road and see a calf who died laying on the shoulder waiting for the dead wagon to come pick him up. You might hear gunshots because Billy Bob and Bubba are going hunting and their land abuts yours. Or because you moved next door to my grandfather, and if you are a critter you shouldn't expect to mess with my grandfather's crops and get away with it. (If you are a human, lock your car doors or you'll go out one morning and find two or three plastic shopping bags of sweet corn and tomatoes -- its a risky business living near my grandfather.) Your kids will encounter dead things and dying much earlier than they will if you keep them in an actual suburb. (They might encounter it at school on an agsci class field trip to see a hog slaughtered, or when they are assigned to bring in a dead squirrel to learn taxidermy. Or when they open the freezer in the ag shop and find the intact roadkill that the teacher keeps on hand for students who can't bring their own critter corpse.) You will need to pay attention to what you're neighbors are doing -- like as not, they'll be happy to keep you informed, if you ask them -- and instruct your children accordingly. Wear something with bright colors, and unless Dick Cheney came to visit, your kid should be fine. Besides, deer hunters are normally out at dawn and at dusk, not the middle of the afternoon.

If you want to live in the country, live in the country -- there's lots of things I like about it. Quiet. Knowing what I'm eating and how it was slaughtered. The neighbors dropping off part of the mess of fish they caught at the river. Well water with high iron content to keep the mild anemia I think have under control. My tree forts. Seeing deer and other critters that aren't road kill. Peaches that freaking taste right!

But if you want something sanitized and clean, the country is not the place for you and your escapism. Real human society is probably not the place for you. With some massive systematic restructuring society would be a lot cleaner, but you can't do that while trying to create an escapist existence in the "country." And certainly not if you think a fellow shooting some deer is the gun crime worthy of complaining about. Particularly, when your little housing development likely contributed to the greater strain on his crops. Reality. Deal with it. If you don't like it, change the system that creates the problems instead of just trying to run away from them and creating more problems somewhere else.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sex, Lust, Sin, and Holy Matrimony

From the "trying to figure out how fundamentalist minds function and failing" file.

This one actually surpasses the whole "women as non-sexual beings who don't experience lust themselves, but only cause it in the poor men and are must therefore be kept control" on the "buh? how'd ya figure that?" scale.

From some of the articles/sermon outlines/board discussions I've read, I get the sense that many in the evangelical community are convinced that the slightest hint of sexuality prior to marriage is going to land one in the firey pit of hell for eternity. I mean, I get the whole "he who looks at a woman with lust in his heart..." verse. My snarky response is to come back when they're ready to talk about being a eunuch for the Kingdom of God, and we'll chat about what's up with the hard sayings of Jesus.

But here's what I'm seeing as the evangelical Christian ideal: Christian boy and Christian girl meet, decide to marry with neither one entertaining any sexual or lustful thoughts about the other, marry and magically at you may now kiss the bride, they find the other sexually attractive, but not before that point. And then they produce babies, because, really it's all about the babies.

How does that work? Seriously. I can't wrap my mind around it. And I'm not talking about premarital sex -- I comprehend that. If an individual or a couple what's to wait to have sex, it's their decision, nothing wrong with it. It's not a lack of experience that I think would not work, it's the sheer amount of repression going on that strikes me as dysfunctional.

What I don't understand is this odd expectation that there will be no thoughts of sex before the actual moment of marriage. None. Nada. Nehchevo. At least, nothing specific, as having "the conversation too soon . . . only create opportunities for temptation." Being a pretty well repressed little thing, myself, I understand how it could be done, but I can't see how it works. That much repression seems to be a disaster in the making, not to mention the effects of guilt over thinking the so vaguely erotic thought. I mean, if you're repressing every erotic thought, how on earth are you supposed to know if you're actually sexually attracted to the person you're planning to marry? And given that celibate marriages aren't in style amongst evangelicals -- despite being quite popular among early Christians -- sexual attraction is a bit of an element in the arrangement. Further, how in God's name do these folks expect to people to just click repression on and off? To go from associating any erotic thoughts with dirty to pure in the time it takes a preacher to run through a ritual?

As far as I know, brains don't quite work like that. Perhaps, young evangelicals have specially wired brains that do work like that? Byt mozhet? Maybe? For their own sakes.

And I just got distracted by an article claiming that the Left has a "moral monopoly." Again, wait -- what?

Sigh. I'm now returning to my regularly scheduled contemplation of eunuchs in Early Christianity. They make so much more sense.

The Pope is a Primate?

Well, in a certain sense, yes.

I present the definition of primate from
1.Ecclesiastical. an archbishop or bishop ranking first among the bishops of a province or country.
2.any of various omnivorous mammals of the order Primates, comprising the three suborders Anthropoidea (humans, great apes, gibbons, Old World monkeys, and New World monkeys), Prosimii (lemurs, loris, and their allies), and Tarsioidea (tarsiers), esp. distinguished by the use of hands, varied locomotion, and by complex flexible behavior involving a high level of social interaction and cultural adaptability.
3.Archaic. a chief or leader.
So, yes, in some sense, the pope loosely fits all three definitions of primates. I submit that Bill O'Reilly check the dictionary next time.

But all that aside, since when did having comments that might admittedly be inappropriate (re: Tony Snow in particular) suddenly turn a blog into a hate site. Now, I'll admit that I don't actually read the DailyKos on a frequent basis and I do know that the DailyKos is known for strongly worded opinions, but there's something about Bill O'Reilly accusing anyone of being hateful that maketh the ole' hypocrisy detector beep rapidly.

Okay, it is correct to point out that making comments that the world would be better off were certain political figures dead after they've had a cancer relapse is quite crude, and the commenter is deserving of a virtual slap. Hardly the equivalent of the KKK. In fact, Mr. O'Reilly's implications belittles the actual seriousness of the crimes committed by the KKK. But other things that O'Reilly had a problem with most of the ones mentioned on the Factor are just snarky, and several are nothing more than opinions with which Mr. O'Reilly disagrees. But since apparently someone died and made Mr. O'Reilly god, his dissent suddenly means that such comments are now hate.

As usual, I just can't imagine why people would call Evangelicals nutty! I mean, it could be worse, we progressive terrorists could be plotting to make all the Evangelicals live by our moral code. It would horrible. They might actually have to respect their neighbors and actually drive the moneychangers out of their houses of worship. I mean, I mean, it would just be unChristian, wouldn't it! No, we just mutter to each other that these people are a little screwy and we do wish that their would stop trying to force their religion onto our bodies and into our lives.

And heaven's forbid that anyone suggest that a country as a right to attack Israel. Being a bit of a pacifist, I'm not suggesting that any country should attack Israel or any other country. There would be serious ethical issues to any country attacking the Israeli population. But if the US wants to claim the right to attack basically whatever country it pleases.... And back to that whole, oh-em-gee, someone has a differing opinion. Let's call a witch hunt! What an attitude!

Mr. O'Reilly, you said, "hate is hate no matter where it comes from." Honey, look in the blasted mirror!

And, I'll be upfront about it, Mr. O'Reilly. Frankly, I detest you. I detest your attitude. I detest your actions. I detest the vast majority of your opinions. I detest even more the hateful lies that you spread. And that's probably why I won't be getting off the reincarnation merri-go-round this time.

And, yes, I don't watch the Factor and would have remained blissfully ignorant of the latest nonsense to exit Bill O'Reilly's mouth were it not for Steven Colbert. However, I did go find and watch the clip of the actual Factor segment. It must be a hard job, Steven, parodying a parody.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Seen too many Krystal's Commercial's, I reckon...

So, could someone explain to me why on earth all these Southern "belles" are wearing bleach blonde hair, tanning bed orange skin, and heavy black eyeliner?

It's not just Krystal's commercials. I first really noticed it at a high school basketball games. Out cheerleaders were pale as anything (cause we don't do that tanning bed nonsense in the 'Shire, least we didn't back then) while the cheerleaders for the other teams were tanned to an interesting shade of orange.

But what is up with this? I really don't get it at all. But then, I don't get most things that girls do from blow-drying their hair on out. Seriously, it's a whole recently birthed stereotype. Maybe it's the junior version of most prominent SBC ladies have hair from the eighties. I don't know.

Oh, and I also totally don't grasp the athletic shorts and a freebie T-shirt thing with the hair carefully arranged on top of the head by a headband. I'm all about comfort, mind you, what I don't get is putting effort into looking sloppy. Sloppy is one thing, but it should just happen -- without help. Shoot, if I'm going to spend time on my appearance...

Long live the tie-dye!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Now this is what I've been hoping for...

Sweetness! There is yet hope! Found from (en)Gender.

There are things known, and things unknown...

And in between is where all the cool people hang out.

So, Neil deGrasse Tyson's talking about the draw of science, but that's basically why I'm drawn to the study of religion. Pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and all that. Of course, the people who try to create some sort of relationship of opposition between science and theology just don't understand what they're talking about in my opinion.

Well, we can all hope not....!

Take this quiz at

You know, there are good reasons for me to not be good [hmm, I think I mean to type god there, oops]. For instance, there would cease to be any question over the type of humor god has -- all sick, all the time. That and I'm kinda vindictive. I would create special hells for certain people who would just sit there waiting upon my mood to become merciful. For everyone else, I'd say a sort of Origen-like cycle of reincarnation until you get it figured out. But yeah, plenty of good reasons for me to not be god.