1.30.2015

Go Hawks: Please Take Your Worshippers With You

The other day I realized it is not football or even the Seahawks I loathe as much as it is the worshippers, namely the ones who never stop praising and pushing their organized sport on a non-believer such as myself.

verb
To render religious reverence and homage to;
To feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any person or thing)


If I made a dollar for every time I am told about the Seahawks or a game without having first asked, I would make at least $5 every time I go to town.

Do not get me wrong, I understand the concept of sport talk: It is safe small talk, just like the weather. I get it. The thing is, people tend to popularly assume that sport talk will bring folks together since it is not politics and it is not religion. Yet, for myself, it really is both politics and religion when tax dollars are conveniently finagled to pay for a stadium people originally voted against and did not want, and followers spend obscene amounts of time and money worshipping overpaid ball-hurlers.

In fact, with all the Seahawks praise going on lately, I was reminded of a 2006 news report that brings my view to light regarding the worshipping of organized sports: A Pierce County Superior Court judge began a sentencing hearing in a manslaughter case by worshipping the Seahawks in open court. Oh, yes, she did.

Judge Beverly Grant requested attendees in the courtroom worship with her by saying 'Go Seahawks' before being allowed to sit, and when people did not respond loud enough for the judge's approval she asked them to repeat it. Talk about contempt of court. Gag me with a gavel.


What boggles me is the idea that there are people who do exist who would cry to the highest particle if a judge were to start a court proceeding by saying 'Go Jesus,' yet my experience tells me those same people would not hesitate to partake in shouting out praise for their popularly-accepted organized sport if a judge invited them to do it. Oh, the idiocracy. 

It is not as if I try to remember these things, but such behavior from a judge at the opening of a manslaughter sentencing shocked me and, as such, has stuck with me; also, it was my local courthouse at the time and a courthouse where I had worked as a court reporter pro tem, so it hit close to home. Plus the fact that Judge Grant's open Seahawks worship happened around Superbowl time only makes it more memorable, especially when it is Superbowl season yet again and the unofficial outfit for Washington residents is corporate Seahawks logo gear. But I digress.

While Ms. Grant's Seahawks worship was with good intent to bring people together, it backfired and Ms. Grant was disciplined for her behavior by a review committee. Whether for good or bad, she lost her position as a Pierce County Superior Court judge in the 2012 election and is now back in private practice.


In fact, the Tacoma Bar Association gave Judge Grant a positive rating of only 37.6 percent and placed her 21st out of 22 judges, not that it's related to Seahawks worship. It makes me wonder what Judge No. 22 did though.


Think about it: 
  • How would you feel if you showed up for a court case which is critical to your future and the judge begins the proceedings by whooping it up for a sports team and then tells everyone to join in, especially if you are a non-believer?
  • I mean, is there no separation of sports and state?
As if.

Interestingly enough, another case popped up on my research radar, again out of Pierce County Superior Court just this month, with open Seahawks worship. This time it was at the request of the court attendees who asked permission first, which is considerate for the venue they are in; plus, the case was a good thing, something rare in courts -- adoption! -- and not manslaughter charges.

Nevertheless, in spite of the adoption celebration, it still stands as sufficient evidence in my view that Seahawks worship is the widely accepted status quo in Washington State as it is rarely, if ever, looked at as being grossly out of place, unless you happen to be someone like me, a dissenting minority in a mob of democracy. 

Of course none of this is to wish any ill will towards players or fans, but only to express my individual views to a world outside my immediate vicinity. I do not accept that I am the only person who can feel this way; I know I am not that original. So, I write this so that it may reach others who understand the face-palming pains of being a non-believer outnumbered by believers.
Thank You for Not Asking Me the Score!
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1.23.2015

Minute Montage: Far Out Photos of a Contorted Filbert

Please enjoy my new 1-minute YouTube video.
It features a photo montage of a Contorted Filbert tree I photographed a couple years ago at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, Washington.

Turn on speakers to enjoy mood music with montage:
Strange Things by Telepictures Music

Take a load off, take a moment, and have a look!

The Contorted Filbert:
A Far Out Photo Montage by Eve Penman

Contorted Filbert Photos by Eve:
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Contorted Filbert Photos
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Thank you for watching!


Contorted Filbert located in
Point Defiance Park; Tacoma, Washington.
Video made using YouTube Editor.


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1.14.2015

Life Imitates Art: Enid Wexler & The Abolition of Gender Markers

Life reflects film...or perhaps it is film that reflects life. Whichever it is, the similarities give me a good chuckle. 

For example, in one of my favorite comedies, Legally Blonde, the Enid Wexler character makes an argument to Warner Huntington III at a BYOM party (Bring Your Own Merlot) regarding the 'the English language' and that it 'is all about subliminal domination.'  

Enid goes on to argue that the word semester is 'a perfect example of the school's discriminatory preference of semen to ovaries.' Her solution is to petition the school 'to have next term be referred to as the winter ovester.' Whether or not the argument is correct, it makes me laugh every time I hear it.

Well, today I got an even bigger laugh when I stumbled upon a blog that may very well have been created by Enid Wexler: The Campaign for the Abolition of Gender Markers. If you think 'ovester' is make believe, please visit the Campaign link to learn about the real-life application of gender neutral pronouns. In the fondly remembered words of my German grandfather: Aye yai yai!

Now, I am not knocking the information presented in the Campaign's blog, because it is interesting and something I never knew before as far as the etymology of Humanist and Spivak pronouns. I do not have to agree with something to learn from it and the wordsmith in me appreciates the creative ideas. However, I am relieved that this Campaign is only calling for the abolition of grammatical gender markers and not anatomical gender markers. That's a load off.

Imagine that for a hypothetical moment:
No anatomical gender markers!

If you are a female attracted to males, how would you know it's a male if they had no gender markers, such as an Adam's apple or a penis? 

And what if you are a male attracted to females; how would you know it's a female if they had no gender markers, such as curvacious hips or breasts?

The horror!

Even when it comes to the abolition of grammatical gender markers, how would a person describe an attacker to law enforcement? Would it be considered discriminatory or prejudicial to say an attacker had a penis or a beard, since those are markers associated with men?

What if a family member disappeared and needed medical attention; without grammatical gender markers to describe the person, how would people know who to look for? And what happens when they receive medical attention; would the medics not concern themselves with whether or not the person they are helping is male or female, when proper medical care often depends on knowing the gender of the individual receiving treatment?

Taking it a step further: If gender markers prejudicially box people in, then why have any words or markers that categorize individuals? If the word 'she' makes the statement 'She has blonde hair' prejudicial, then aren't the words 'blonde' and 'hair' equally prejudicial to people who are not blonde or people without hair? Is the word 'has' prejudicial to people who have nothing? Where does the line ultimately get drawn to stop this intrusion once the door of nonsense has been thrust open?

Aye yai yai!

I for one do not want to lose gender markers, whether they be grammatical or anatomical. I love gender markers...I want gender markers...I need gender markers...manly gender markers that indicate a man is a man. I, for one, love the smell of testosterone in the morning.

Likewise, there are men who love, want, and need womanly gender markers that indicate a woman is a woman. Granted, some men are more vociferous than others in expressing preferences for womanly gender markers, and while that can get stale I still prefer men do that than go to war by invading, attacking, and killing in the name of peace and liberation...but I digress.

The truly funny thing about the concept of abolishing gender markers is that it tends to be the gender markers themselves that play a driving force in what attract men and women to one another. In fact, that is one of the many joys that comes with being human -- having the ability to embrace gender markers, both grammatically and anatomically...but especially anatomically. Indeed!


To demonstrate the undeniable importance of gender markers, I present 13 song lyrics that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt why gender markers are needed:
Sexual attraction!

(How else will the species carry on??)

1. Legs by ZZ Top
She's got legs
She knows how to use them

2. Brickhouse by The Commodores
She's a brick house
The lady's stacked and that's a fact,
ain't holding nothing back.

3. Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot
When a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
And a round thing in your face
You get sprung

4. 36-24-36 by Violent Femmes
See a girl walkin' down the street,
just the kind of girl that I'd like to meet.
It ain't her hair, her clothes, her feet,
Somethin' much more discreet.

5. Itty Bitty Titties by David Alan Coe
If you want yourself a girl with a tight little kitty
you better find yourself a girl with itty bitty titties.

6. Shoop by Salt n Pepa
You're packed and you're stacked 'specially in the back
wanna thank your mother for a butt like that
Can I get some fries with that shake-shake boobie?
If looks could kill you would be an uzi
You're a shotgun - bang! What's up with that thang?
I wanna know how does it hang?

7. The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson
Hey pretty baby with the high heels on
You give me fever like I've never, ever known
You're just a product of loveliness
I like the groove of your walk,
Your talk, your dress

8. She's So High by Tal Bachman
She's blood, flesh and bone
No tucks or silicone
She's touch, smell, sight, taste and sound

9. Peach by Prince
Her hot pants can't hide her cheeks
She's a Peach

10. The Girl Got Hot by Weezer
What used to mean a little now means a lot
Oh my goodness me, the girl got hot

11. She's Got a Way by Billy Joel
She's got a smile that heals me
I don't know why it is
But I have to laugh when she reveals me

12. Candyman by Christina Aguilera
He had tattoos up and down his arm
There's nothing more dangerous than a boy with charm

13. I Can Make You a Man from Rocky Horror Picture Show
But a deltoid and a bicep, a hot groin and a tricep,
makes me, oooh, shake.

Thank you for thinking!

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1.11.2015

How Far Will You Go?

Two Words:
Breaking Bad

Behind the actions of the dynamic characters in the Breaking Bad series are the personal philosophies, morals, and ethics of what drives the characters to do the things they do.

The driving force behind Walter White's shift from a mild-mannered chemistry teacher into a mad-minded meth cook is his family and his desire to provide for them.

Thus, the underlying question I find being presented by this hypothetical scenario is: How far will you go for family?

Pretend for a moment you are Walter White

You just turned 50 years old. Fifty; half a century; about 25 to 26 years away from the average age of death for white males.

You are a full-time high school chemistry teacher who supplements his $43,000 yearly salary by working at a car wash part-time, where your students who drive luxury automobiles take pictures of you washing wheels on your hands and knees on your 50th birthday (watch unedited version for this scene that was taken out of AMC's latest airing).


You have a wife approximately 10 years younger than you and she is pregnant with your second child that you did not anticipate.


Your first child is 15 years old and has cerebral palsy, a handicap that you did not anticipate.


Your wife has control of the checkbook even though she does not work and you have nothing to show but debt.


Your wife orders you to be home on time for your 50th birthday party after you work all day as a teacher plus a shift at the part-time car wash job, and when you are late she makes you feel guilty for it while other family members give you back-handed compliments.


Your hot water heater is on the fritz and it leaks, and you have no extra money to fix it.


You walked away from a billion-dollar corporation before it made billions when you were younger and the resentment eats at you as an overqualified, underpaid public school educator.


You find out you have lung cancer soon after your 50th birthday when you are not a smoker and medical professionals can't explain how you ended up with cancer.


You are told by medical professionals that you have an undetermined amount of time to live, anywhere from weeks to months, and a couple years if you are lucky.


You are in shock to be suddenly faced with your own mortality years earlier than you anticipated.


You realize that when you soon die you will have nothing to leave your family after an onslaught of cancer-related medical bills that will only leave you dead and your family bankrupt without a provider.


Take all of that into consideration
for a moment of pretending you are Walter White.
Now, how far will you go for your family?

1. Would you do whatever you personally deemed ethical and moral as a way to make money and support your family?

2. Would your impending mortality and family's survival overshadow the War on Drugs, or any other arbitrary regulations that you personally believe stand in your way of providing for your family?


3. Would you harm anyone who stopped you from providing for your family or who was a threat to your family, when you expect to be dead within two years?


Three legitimate questions worthy of hypothetically pondering, all of which may not have legitimate answers, making them all the better!

It is easy to repeat politically correct mantras about how breaking arbitrary laws is never the answer, period, end of boxed-in discussion. Instead of parroting that automatic response, I challenge readers to take a moment, to think and to sincerely question what you would do in such a scenario as Walter White found himself.

I am not saying that Walt's extreme answer was correct, and I am not saying that any answer is correct, and I am not saying that I want to know your answer (trust me, I don't). All I am asking is for readers to think:

What would your solution be for you,
and how far will you go for your family?
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