infuriatingthings

You have things in your life that are infuriating? Me too, our difference is I write about them. Enjoy.

My Life.


Creation of Bill Watterson, father of the greatest comic strip that ever was; if I had an idol as a child it was Calvin.

http://www.progressiveboink.com/archive/calvinhobbes.htm

If you’ve never read any of his work, go to the above link.  They’re one of my great loves.

Oneness


“People partition off their lands by means of boundaries, but no one can partition off the all-embracing sky overhead.”
Ramakrishna, a Hindu seer and religious man.

We humans are the guardians of this world, as well as its destroyers. We are the most fully developed and most successful species, in terms of culture and intellectual advancement if not biology (that goes to the cockroach) and as such we hold the future of this  world in our hands.  We are, as humans, people of boundaries, and we staff wardens to guard these limits.  Our man-made boundaries are everywhere.  The enclosed walls of our home make a small society; the college or workplace we attend is a slightly bigger one; the city limits larger yet; then a state’s borders, a nation’s, and even beyond that.  It stretches, not limitless, but vast; these are just the physical boundaries.  One hasn’t even taken into account the boundaries of personal space, boundaries marked off by society as the drop-off zone in thought, the boundaries of acceptable behavior and many more.  It makes it easy to forget a few important things, arguably harmed by the creation of these boundaries.

How easy is it to partition ourselves off from the world, create our own cloisters and personas and ignore the world at large?  I find it ridiculously easy, to the point that it scares me, but maybe I’m just anti-social.  The quote above is referencing not us as a people, but us as a religion.  Hinduism recognizes all as worshipping the same, just through different paths and cultures as a result of displaced geographies.  I take it in that way, and yet, differently.  It’s far too easy to box ourselves in and place the outside world at arm’s length, but the world doesn’t cease to exist just because you cease to recognize it as such.  Reality is independent of the human mind.  In a world where the Internet, intercontinental flight, and cruise ships are available, internationalization is at hand.  We can no longer shut people out.  It is a truism that we are all more human than anything else, and it should be recognized.  People in China are different, yes, but they are still people.  They have hopes, dreams, whims, realities, wants, and complaints just like each of us here in the states.  We separate ourselves because of the oceans and land masses on either side, but in reality we can no longer do so.  The world is crying for us to work together, and in that is the only way of surviving; the sky encompasses us all under its backlit blue umbrella, and it is time for us to accept that.  The constant battlement, partitioning, and prejudices of people from different races hampers our growth of humanity.  People are people, across the globe, no matter their state or nation; the external is but a mask that covers their true persona, and it is one that should be ignored in favor of the more abstract, but infinitely more rewarding path of trying to understand people’s inner workings.  A person is a person, a human is a human, it’s time we begin treating each other as such.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God


As much as I enjoy doing these writings, life has away of intruding and making its reality known.  It is with regret that I inform my readers that I will be not as dedicated as in the past week and a half, for at the end of the day my schooling comes first.  I will still faithfully upkeep this blog with a fresh post daily, but my longer articles will only be seen two or three times a week; I can’t keep up the hours it takes to compose them and juggle the rest of my life during the school year.  For some of you, this comes as a relief; I tend to run to tangents sometimes.  For those that enjoy my lengthier pieces, never fear, they will still be featured as often as possible.  But for now, smaller they shall be.  My apologies.

This is an excerpt from the tail end of Jonathan Edwards’ famous oration; it is both well-delivered and terrifyingly absurd at the same time, in my humble opinion.

“If you cry to God to pity you, He will be so far from pitying you in your doleful case, or showing you the least regard or favor, that instead of that, He will only tread you under foot.  And though He will know that you cannot bear the weight of omnipotence treading upon you, yet He will not regard that, but He will crush you under His feet without mercy; He will crush out your blood, and make it fly and it shall be sprinkled on His garments, so as to stain all His rainment.  He will not only hate you, but He will have you in the utmost contempt; no place shall be thought fit for you, but under His feet to be trodden down as the more of the streets.”

Does this not bother anybody out there?  It certainly did me.  The entire passage is a calculated threat, “Listen and worship God or he will crush you as if you never mattered,” it says.  Never mind that this casts out the idea of God as wholly perfect, for no being could ever be so hateful, but this is something that influenced millions of people in the Great Awakening.  It is a major reason why the society we live in today is so puritanical, and why so many people today are still threatened with hellfire for reasons unbeknownst to them.  It is also proof that God and religion, in the minds of the people, has evolved over the years.  Can you imagine any mainstream preacher saying this type of thing and having a following of anybody other than the fanatics?  Unless I’m mistaken, I don’t think that is the case, but back then it was accepted and even promoted.  For those that have never read the entire thing, I advise you to go and gaze upon it.  It is rife with threats, empty promises, and all sorts of amazing letters dancing upon the fire that is Edwards’ voice.  Imagine yourself transported in the front row of his sermon; you would probably be a believer too.  Personally, I would never have anything to do with such a religion that depends so heavily upon such terrorism of the mind.  This strikes me as reminiscent of today, in a milder form, when people of religious origins ask unbelievers, “Don’t you know you’re going to hell?”  It’s a threat, disguised as question, and it can be traced to ideas and speeches like this.  It matters not what your religion is, or if you even have one; Edwards’ speech is a fascinating study if only for purely intellectual reasons.  Highly recommended if the goal is to further your mind.

Imperfection


The title sounds a bit off, doesn’t it?  If spoken it tastes slightly strange, bordering greatness, but not quite making the final cut.    Imperfection is seen as an unwanted quality; perfection is the state for which we all strive.  In some instances, this can be seen as admirable.  Making a perfect score on the ACT, GRE, or LSAT is certainly a worthy goal, as is having a perfect game of golf or delivering a perfect address to an audience.  Perfection is a worthy goal when shortened to include only the present, but too often we take it to an extreme; we try extending it into the unseen future.  We desire to be perfect in life, but it is an absurd wish; I hold it is also an undesirable impossibility.

Far be it from me to deny it; I’m close to a perfectionist.  The idea for this post actually sprung from an annoying habit that has lain unreflected upon for too long.  I’ve played sports my entire life, but no longer is that the case.  Why?  Easy, I’m no longer the player I was at one point.  I’ve been accustomed to winning, and with those victories came a heady rush.  Never was I the best player, but usually I would up on the side of Nike.  Nowadays, I’m garbage.  I couldn’t beat my little sister if she spotted me nine points in a ten point game.  I can’t have fun like that, for it means I’m losing.  It’s impossible for me to go out and play the game that I used to love; to have fun I have to be good at it.  The imperfection of my game has driven me to a point where I no longer even want to pick up a ball.

Pursuit of perfection can be a hazard to the happiness in which one’s life can be composed.  Who, in fact, would honestly want to be around a purely perfect person anyhow?  A perfect person has no desires, no wants, no needs outside of him/herself.  A perfect individual is a boring individual, for what is it if not the little quirks and troubles that plague us as humans that make us interesting?  Imperfections are what make us the people we are today, without them we would be a uniform mass; homogeneous in our perfection and indecipherable from the next person over.  Who would really want a life like that?

Imperfections drive us, they better us, and they give us something to work toward.  You may bowl a perfect 300 one game, and you have achieved perfection.  But that perfection is not forever, nor even long-lasting, it is but temporary.  The next game you might only bowl a 275.  You have had a taste of perfection, you thirst for more of the same and therefore practice and improve your game more than ever before.  You attempt to achieve everlasting perfection, but it’s an impossible desire.  The closest you can ever get is becoming perfect more often than not; the imperfections of your life are what give your life flavor to work harder and in doing so achieve fuller growth as a person.

Live for the now, plan for the future, but don’t let something as insignificant as imperfection hold you back from doing what you love.  We’ve all seen what happens to those that put too much pressure on themselves to be perfect.  What springs to my mind are those childhood pageant stars, practically forced into it by their mothers (usually) who live vicariously through the daughter.  They place heaps of pressure on these children to become perfect, for that is what wins contests.  But has anybody ever seen some of these childhood stars once they become adults?  I have, and many of them are complete wrecks, shattered horrors.  They have spent an entire life striving to achieve perfection, but once out in the real world they encounter things and situations in which perfection is out of reach.  It breaks them.  I know women like that, and to say they have self-esteem and confidence issues would be the understatement of the decade.  A life built on perfection crumbles once it hits the reality that is imperfection; it’s demoralizing for somebody who doesn’t realize it until he or she has hit that wall.

Strive for perfection, it gives you a goal.  But realize at the same time that everlasting purity is but a pipe dream, and it will do you no good to hold onto it too tightly.  I’m taking my own advice; soon I will go out onto the basketball court and attempt to play the game.  If I fail, then so be it, but I’m going to give my very best to try to enjoy the game for the sake of the play, not worry that my shot doesn’t have quite the arc it used to or that my legs are a hair slower than in years past.  I’ll still attempt to be the best I can be, but also realize that sometimes being imperfection can be just as enjoyable.  Work towards it, but when the inevitable fall from grace comes around, realize that imperfection is but a part of life.  Accept it, make it your own, and find the joy in being a stained person.  It’s what makes you, you, and billions of deficient you’s make the world what it is today; damaged, imperfect, but happy.

Pathetic


http://www.newser.com/article/d9s7069o2/ohio-parents-plead-guilty-to-denying-medical-care-for-8-year-old-son-who-died-from-cancer.html

One would think swollen glands would be a cause for concern.  One would think that repeated requests to go to a hospital would be cause for further angst.  One would think that the repeated admonitions from case employees and social workers to take a child be checked out would have some type of effect.  Well, in this case, one  would think wrongly.  An eight year old boy passed away from Hodgkin’s lymphoma over two years ago, a highly curable form of cancer often found in young children; the trial against the parents is just now seeing new light.  The recovery rate for this disease is spectacularly high thanks to modern medicine, and there was a good chance the cancer could have been erased with treatment and a proper diagnostician on board.  Who is to blame for this?

This was a short segment in the news, not horrible enough to make it to primetime, but worthy enough to warrant a fuller discussion here.    Is this tragedy a result of parental ineptitude, callous disregard for human life, or simple stupidity and lack of knowledge on the parts of the mother and father?  I tend to think not one, but all three are to blame; it is important to reconcile which is the first among them though.

Repeated and persistent were the boy’s requests to be taken to the hospital, appeals that were insipidly granted in the form of cold medicine, administered by the mother.  This, I believe, is where the lack of knowledge comes into play.  The parents, having raised four other children, were confident in their belief that the child was exaggerating; a hospital was unnecessary.  This is common in many families today, most of whom avoid the hospital if at all possible because of the long waiting periods, extraordinarily high bills, and the mistrust of medical staff by the laypeople.  If it was only the child asking, perhaps they could be looked at in a kinder light.  But when you have multiple people advising to do so and it still isn’t being listened to, then stupidity is being shown, or worse, brutality in the form of involuntary manslaughter.

Was it parental ineptitude?  Were they simply unfit parents?  I think this plays more than a little part in it.  The parent’s main excuse was that they didn’t have enough money for hospital bills, and were therefore forced to administer home treatment to him.  That may be the case, but if so, why did you have five children in the first place?  That’s either a result of bad planning on their part, unless the children were quintuplets (they weren’t) or a lack of brainpower, traced back to the first argument.  People shouldn’t be having kids that they don’t know they can raise properly, something gone over at length in earlier posts.  It’s a drain on the rest of the nation, and a slight to the kids that you do have because they’re not going to receive the proper attention, values, and monetary help they will need growing up.  It’s understandable that you don’t have enough money; cash flow is tight these days.  It’s less understandable that you, as parents, had five kids when you both have dead-end jobs.  That’s irresponsibility at its peak.

The last one I leave open, an argument I termed as disregard for human life can also be filed under “living a life with the wrong values in place.”  As a parent, your first duty is to the welfare of your children, broadly defined.  That means other frivolities like pets take a backseat.  It doesn’t matter if your pet, in this case a dog, is “like a child to you,” the fact remains that it isn’t.  A dog’s life is worth less than a human’s, especially your own child’s.  You have failed that person, and there are no do-overs.  The parents actually listened to the advice of others at one point, taking the boy to a clinic, but upon learning they would be charged a fee they walked out, never to return.  However, in this same span of time they paid an almost $90 bill to have a dog treated for fleas.  Does this strike anybody as a family full of misfits?  Dogs are not more important than humans, for reasons that shall not be covered in this post; just take my word for it.  It’s a sad thing when anybody dies, it’s even more sad when it’s a child, and it’s one of the saddest things imaginable when a child dies who could have been saved but for lack of effort on his benefactor’s part.  In retrospect, the parents placed a dog above their own child.  At best, taking into account their ineptitude and lack of education, they equalized the two.  It’s pathetic.

The parents are going to feel miserable about this for the rest of their days.  They’re facing jail time, and all manners of charges and accusations from the prosecution.  If they’re any sort of people they will feel bad about this for their entire lives; it is not something that should be forgotten.  This is not an account to be shoved to the back of the mind, and this is not something you simply stow away and start over with.  You both had major failings as parents, and as people; you would each do well to remember it.  Otherwise, you’re going to be committing similar mistakes in the future, and that is unacceptable; one child has already been sacrificed because of your failings.  One of the articles went on to say that the mother doesn’t go a morning without waking up with tears in her eyes.  It’s unsure as to whether that is a legal ploy to gain sympathy for the client or if it’s just a statement of the facts, but I hope it’s true.  A child’s life was snuffed out before it had ever begun; he deserves tears.  I don’t want them to be held back the rest of their lives, moping and woebegone people unable to fulfill the simplest of duties, but neither do I want them to ever forget what they have done.  The child who once was deserves more than that.

Left Behind


After three days of stories straight from Stephen King’s merciless locker, tales that tore at even the most cold and embittered hearts, I feel as if it is time for the relation of a life lesson I picked up from an old-timer, those vessels of wisdom too soon forgotten.  It’s game day in Louisiana; the gym in which I work is suspiciously devoid of life, likely sleeping the day away in preparation for the night’s festivities.  I’m sitting behind the front counter, shivering with the smell of a burnt out heater lingering in my nostrils as I watch the two sole occupants, young men both, embrace that cold iron bar.  I’m reminded of myself at that age, trying most vigorously to outperform everybody that came across my path no matter the consequences or ridiculous body contortions I had to go through.  It dredges up a memory of some advice I got from an old school Olympic lifter a while back, and sounder lifting advice you’ll not likely find.

Anybody who knows my story knows also that I have been an athlete since young.  I’ve talked big, with both successes and failures littering my path; I’ve been around the block and cut through yards; you name it and I’ve probably done it.  This year past, both knees groaning every time they even heard about a set of stairs, I switched from racing to the weight room.  I attend one of the best gyms in the south, in the nation even, Red’s.  Beginning with intentions of adding some muscle to my lean racer figure, and being able to lift something more than your medium-sized kitten, I began my first real workout in that gym as the smallest person there, bar none.  My legs were no bigger than your average weightlifter’s wrists (okay maybe slightly) and my headphones practically dragged my head toward my chest.  But, being the person that I am, I watched.  I kept watching, and then I started researching.  I kept researching, and I learned. Now, a year later, I am able to keep up with anybody there, pound-for-pound.  I’m not the biggest person there, but I’ve moved up in the unspoken ranks of iron.  Does this matter to me anymore, this comparison to people I’ve never even meet?  Not at all.

Those same people who know I’m an athlete know that I’m not an Olympian, professional, or college athlete.  Evolution chose not to bless me with the proper genetics nor the drive to become one; it’s simply not something in which I want to dedicate my life.  But fitness is a huge part of my life, and consequently I spend a certain number of hours per week in the gym.  I brought with me to Red’s the dedication and willpower it takes to run twenty miles through the woods, cycle for four-hour cross-country rides, and push through the fire-breathing limits of a sprint triathlon.  Other than that, I was pretty much useless.  I had no form to speak of, no programming, and no clear goals.  Soon, through study, I developed all of those, but one thing stood in my way.

Ego.  I have an abundance of it, and it’s in constant need of being tempered lest it run out of control and engulf the earth.  I was swapping stories with a retired Olympic lifter one day, and by the conversation’s end he told me something that has stuck with me ever since; “Leave your ego at the door, because to be honest, once you’re in here nobody really cares about you.”  What?  Everybody cares about me, this is common knowledge.  I thought the eye of the world was constantly trained upon me, and I needed to act as if this was so.  It took me a while to realize it, but the old man was right; I just had to take a step back from the game to understand what he meant.

Step into a gym like Red’s and you’re confronted with a vast variety of athletes.  Walking its floor are triathletes, Oly lifters, powerlifters, bodybuilders, Crossfitters, yoga elites, cyclists, and spin bike professionals (lol).  Nobody really gives a damn about you, because they’re so concentrated on their self.  Trying to out-lift the person next to you may result in a slight euphoria of victory, but then a three-hundred pound behemoth walks through the door and crushes your deadlift PR while warming up.  You walk into the locker room with a pump and take your shirt off to admire your abs in the mirror and a juiced up bodybuilder walks by, taking a second to glance at the pitiful six-pack you’ve built only to proceed to take off his own shirt to admire a drug-induced twelve-pack.  Come in from a long run and you’ll see a guy in a hot tub telling admirers about his most recent ultra-marathon, ten times the distance of your last outing.  Whatever you do, there is always somebody in there that’s going to be beating you in something.  Letting your ego rule as emperor is bound to have you feeling like the wimpiest wannabe ever to step into a gym; you’ll never want to come back.

If you’re a professional, then by all means try to outdo every man, woman, and child that walks through the door; if you’re me you’re not even going to worry about it.  I’m far past the point where I want to compare the girth of my arms to that fool flexing in the corner.  I don’t care how much more you can squat than me, and I really don’t care how big your bench is.  Honestly, if you people would kindly clear the gym and leave it open to me to do as I please I would be most appreciative.  I disregard almost everything and everybody in the gym; I’m in there for myself.  If you are lifting for yourself, that means you can make yourself happy by your own abilities and rely on no other.  Break your PR’s, run a mile further than ever before, obliterate that power clean you were working on the other day; all of these will make you love being there and love what you’re doing.  If you rely on being able to lift more than the next guy or run faster than that freak of a man out-sprinting your car then you’re going to be in for a world of hurt.  You’re working out for yourself, not for others, and relying on everybody else to validate you performance is going to leave you a sad and broken person.  Those people in the gym don’t care about you, it’s common courtesy to return the favor.  Leave your ego at the door, not attached to your gym bag.

A Lost Soul


What’s the easiest way to ignite a fireball in today’s superheated atmosphere?  Pick a sensitive topic, one with as many hot spots as there are dimples on a golf ball, then lob it in the middle of an enclosed yard and watch the dogs rip into it with a gusto.  It’s an easily accomplished feat, and there are any number of topics that can serve admirably.  Capital punishment, torture of war criminals, homosexuality, medical ethics, gun control, and pornography can all be used as well as numerous others.  Every topic is controversial to somebody; it is almost unavoidable even with one possessing the most pacifistic intentions.  Want to hear another, one which has stood the test of time with little change?  Abortion.  Drop that open-ended atom bomb in conversation and see what happens; the results are extraordinary.  The feature that make such issues so controversial, the one that stands out not as a first among equals but as a king above his subjects, is their shared lack of clarity.  Put a topic that affects many into a discussion, ensure that it is sufficiently murky in detail, and let the combatants duke it out.  People lose friendships, loved ones, and all manners of relationships over disagreements over such matters; the issues are nothing if not important to many of us.  The one concentrated on today, so overused as to become a trite, will be the one of abortion.  Calm down, drink a sip of water, and calm that fluttering heart; it is not what you think.

For better or worse, abortion has been a topic of interest in the tug of war of views for a long time.  The quintessential opponent of the pro-choice movement is the Catholic Church; they have been strongly against it from the outset and they continue their stand against it today.  One thing can be said of them, they are constant.  But at one point does constancy become inflexibility, inflexibility morph to rigidness, rigidness become brittleness and finally brittleness decompose to nothingness?  I believe the Church has hit that point, exemplified in a case from 2009 that caught my attention, and which I believe should be expounded upon.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/brazil-rocked-by-abortion-for-9yearold-rape-victim-1640165.html

The above is the link to the article in which I will be referencing.  If you have the time and opportunity, then I’d suggest reading it.  If you don’t, then here is a brief breakdown of the case.  A nine-year old girl in Brazil was raped by her stepfather, and impregnated with twins.  Upon the discovery of the girl’s incubated state, she was brought to an abortion clinic where the twins were removed from her body.  Immediately after this the entire family, along with the doctors who performed the abortion were excommunicated by the Catholic Church, a stance driven home by the Archbishop Sobrinho and backed by Pope Benedict XVI.  For those of you on the fringe, excommunication is the Catholic equivalent of a death sentence.  A spokesman for the Church was quoted as saying “We have laws, we have a discipline, we have a doctrine of the faith.  This is not just theory. And you can’t start backpedaling just because the real-life situation carries a certain human weight” (TIME World, “A Sequel to the Case of the Pregnant 9-Year Old).  That’s nothing more than a politically correct way of saying, “Yeah, that’s an unpleasant situation.  Unfortunately, rules are rules.  Life is tough sometimes; you better wear a helmet.  We can’t make exceptions for every sad story that comes our way.”

The aim of this post is not to start a flame war.  I don’t want to hear exclamations of “Abortion is wrong no matter what, and if you do it you’re going to hell!”  Nor do I want to hear the other mundane response that “You don’t know when a baby is truly a baby.  We’ll abort if we want because it’s the mother’s choice”  Those arguments have their places, this blog isn’t one of them.  I’ve heard them before and adding in a few dozen exclamation points doesn’t make either of them more convincing, so kindly take them elsewhere if that’s your game plan.

What this post really concerns is, when is there a point to give in a little bit, or is there a point at all?  The Church has been a pillar in the pro-life community, but should there be a little bit of bend here?  The Church feels that it is an absolute; abortion is wrong in every single case, no exceptions can be made.  Are they right?  I personally think the answer is a resounding no, but I am admittedly biased in this.  Sobrinho told TIME magazine that “Abortion is much more serious than killing an adult,” and what’s more this quote was said in reference to this case.  Is he serious, and if so then how does he back this up?  Are lives that are already on their way to fulfillment less valuable than the unborn?  Does our worth in God’s eyes decrease the older we become?  Is this poor child considered an adult, and therefore less valuable than the potential twins she had aborted?  Abortion is not an easy answer, but in this case I think the the right path is better lighted than the confusing darkness we usually encounter.  The Church has condemned a nine year old for having an abortion, an operation likely saved her life.  Nine year old children aren’t meant to have other children; their bodies aren’t mature, and having twins likely would have killed her.  The child is already likely going to have a hard enough life as it is; being raped and impregnated by her stepfather, then having this limelight shined on her by the media, and being excommunicated from a religion that was one of the only standards in her life is enough to drive us all down the path of insanity.

It seems to me that the Church tried standing so strongly on this issue that it broke its own back.  Religious beliefs have evolved through the centuries just like everything else, and I believe it is time for the Church to become just a little more flexible.  I admire Pope Benedict for standing tall in the light of what he believes in, but I view his beliefs in this matter as undeniably confused.  He thinks that by allowing an exception he shows weakness, and in that weakness a crack will be shown, a crack that will prove to be the undoing that is the wall of defenses the Church has built over time; he can’t allow this to happen.  I can see why he did and said what he did if I were a person of religion, but I simply can’t agree with it.  Such a stance on a case like this devaluates the people who are already living, and he weakened his own Church with such a move.  If you have trouble identifying with this then step back and put yourself in the situation.  Imagine your nine-year old sister was raped by your dad, and then you must look her in the eye to tell her that she’s carrying the child to term.  Imagine telling your daughter that what Daddy did was wrong, but that to live a properly spiritual life you have to emotionally cripple your mind and body in order to conform to some absurd absolutism.  Imagine being raped by your own stepfather when all you wanted to do was play with dolls, and then being forced to carry the seeds implanted by the monster until they were birthed.  You, your sister, or your daughter would be destroyed.  Your life would never be the same.  Forbidding the abortion is saying nothing more than the girl’s life isn’t as valuable as the potential she was carrying inside of her.  Are these potential babies any more innocent than a nine-year old girl?   I think not, and I would hope one wouldn’t tout this absolutism that the Church requires.  It’s a monstrous absurdity to expect that such a child carry another child within her undeveloped womb just because one claim to know the God that is also claimed to be infinitely unknowable.  I would think, if there is a God up there, that he would agree with me.

What do you think of this?  I’m curious to hear.

P.S.  The stepfather who raped the daughter (and had been having sexual relations with her for years) was not excommunicated nor severely reprimanded by the Church because abortion was a more serious crime than the actions he performed.  He is still in the Church today.

Rage, Pity, or Contempt. Part Two


I’ve dwelled long on this baleful woman, and in that span I believe a conclusion as been drawn, along with a number of other small details.  I was rendered unable to type for the first few hours after this video, so badly were my hands shaking in barely contained fury.  Now, after a full day has poured ice water over my head, I have been able to look at the situation more objectively.    From this slightly deeper look comes less raging and more rational thought, though I believe both are in order when it comes to people like her.  There are so many varied problems in our world today that this one became shoved under the rug, and rather than gaining the attention it should it, it becomes a localized phenomena.

I spoke in an earlier comment that today’s blog would be focused on the problems the trio of fathers brought to Angel and the kids, but I am only going to touch on that briefly before moving on to another facet of the video.  The fathers are to blame as well, this should be apparent.  One of the men fathered at least ten of the children, and then had the tenacity to be put in jail.  He is a failure to his family, and what’s more, he failed the children that were so casually left behind.  There are some instances and possibilities where the jailing might not have been his fault, and so I will not condemn him completely just yet, but that is a minor wish to live on at best.  To the two men who fathered the other children; what were you thinking?  To become involved in such a situation as hers requires the brainpower of a slightly above average squirrel, and the decision-making capabilities of a particularly wise rabbit.  I couldn’t locate any obituaries, so my assumption is they disappeared and left her with the baggage (obviously if either of them passed on then they are excused).  Disappearing under a clock of invisibility is cowardly, opportunistic, and deceitful.  The one good thing she tried to do was keep her family together, though she was an abject failure at providing for them; you two ran out.  The fathers of this story are all major characters, and by focusing on Angel in my previous post I was not trying to be sexist at all but trying rather to pinpoint a problem.  This is not to say the fathers escape guilt free; they should be held equally as accountable for the harm they sowed and the damage reaped.

There, that is my brief spill on the fathers, anything further would witness my decline into the realm of tautology.  I apologize to any if it doesn’t seem enough, but I am impatient to move on to a possible solution to the problem represented by Miss Adams.  What is the solution to her and the children, if any?  Logistically, there is a right path for every problem, even if that path is hidden from our mortal eyes.  There is an answer for everything this world has to offer, and because we don’t know it at this exact moment in time is not to say that it doesn’t exist.  The same can be applied to Angel Adams, for what can be done with her?  The video captures her when she is nearing her fortieth birthday, more than enough time to be set in her ways, ways that need to be changed.  Can we educate her, help her see the wrongness of her methodology?  I’d like to try that route, but it just doesn’t seem practical.  Her terminology use and the life that was outlined in the video will allow me to make an assumption (I could be wrong) that she is woefully uneducated, to the point of illiteracy.  That’s an observation made entirely from the situation she is in, the amount of children she has spawned, and the viewpoints she is touting as her own; it is not a judgement of race by any means.  It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, as the adage goes, but I fear in her case that any effort to teach would be inadequate to the task.  She is likely too rooted, to stubborn, and too corrupted for this route to actually work.   I do believe that a higher level of learning is a bodyguard against situations of this nature, but it must begin before they reach the point of Angel Adams.

What else is there?  We can’t possibly give in to what she’s demanding.  There are already people and groups paying for her rent, food, and the children’s clothing; what more can she ask?  I don’t believe giving in to her unsupported demands is the right choice.  In fact, I think it would just serve to feed into her false beliefs and create a stronger monster than ever than the caricature that stands before us today.  Scratch that idea.

How about we take her children away to foster homes and toss her to the side to live as she pleases?  That could work out in a purely utilitarian manner; sacrifice the happiness of one to gain the happiness of many.  I think this is an actual possibility, as cruel as it sounds.  She’s shown herself to be an unfit mother, and it would likely be in the best interests of the children to have them permanently removed and placed in agencies that would give them a modicum of care.  The problem with this is that I view Angel Adams as an evil, and one can’t separate themselves from such a thing.  By evil I do not mean that she dresses up in tights and a mask to fight the forces of good or that she has intentions of world domination; rather she is an unthinking evil.  She likely thinks that she is the good and mistreated one in this situation; we are the villains.  By allowing her to do as she pleases we are giving our blessing to her actions by our inaction; one must actively work with evil and try to make it a good if one wants to eradicate it completely.  Separating evil just allows said evil to grow stronger; in her case she’d probably create another brood of children or something of a similar nature.

I have presented three solutions to the difficulty that is Angel Adams, though there are undoubtedly more.  I have targeted all of them as unworthy, but are we going to find one that combines practicality and positive reinforcement?  I have hit upon one, and though it may be controversial, bear with me for a moment.  It’s a difficult thought to entertain because it goes against many of our values, but it has the potential of being viable.

It would be a practice in futility to attempt to educate her to a level that would allow Adams to see her wrongness, but what if there is a shortcut?  We need to pay for your pains and problems?  Okay, right after you’re shown real suffering.  Let’s take Angel Adams on a tour of a hospital, and show her the AIDS victims, the cancer patients, and the terminally ill.  Take her to Africa and show her the enforced mutilation of women’s genitalia, a horror inflicted on them for having bad enough luck to be born a woman.  Bring her along to the real slums where people are selling their bodies on every street corner just to feed the meth addiction that’s quickly ravaging the very body they depend on for money; have her observe them as their bodies eat themselves into oblivion.  Take her down to our southern neighbors and show her the modern-day slavery going on underneath our noses.  Show her what real suffering is, brought upon the victims’ heads through bad luck and accidents of birth more than anything else; show her how wrong she is.  Horrify her, make her feel ridiculous for ever complaining about the life she led and the decisions she’s made.  Ridicule almost never works; it usually just forces somebody to a position of further stubbornness because they feel that by giving in they are admitting to the idiocy of their position, and most of the time that is the case.  However, in this particular situation we need to make an exception.  The only way that she is ever going to feel as if she needs to change, even in the slightest, is by looking forward and seeing a wall of united faces standing in opposition to her, then looking past that wall and seeing the terror that is the real world.  She might feel so bad and so much the fool that she might realize she is wrong.  There is such a power in numbers that she might want to join us just to feel as if she belonged.

For those that are uncomfortable with this and have a “live and let live attitude” I have this to say to you: you can’t just let people do as they please as long as it doesn’t affect you.  Sometimes you have to stand up for what is right; accepting things as they are now is a coward’s way out.  Is my solution the only one, or even the best one?  I doubt it, but it’s better than allowing her to fall back into the person she was.  You have to base your life somewhere as well as your beliefs, and if you believe it is okay for her to live this life then you are confused.  Her life is not okay, her values are not okay, and the impact it is having on the rest of society is not okay.  She needs to change; allowing her to solider forward with no change whatsoever will do nothing to better this world.  We cannot separate ourselves from evil; we must embrace it, and in doing so, change it.

If you have any ideas, solutions, or critiques of the above I’d love to hear them.  There is far more out there than what I have named, but my aim was not to be too incredibly long-winded (kind of failed).  Feel free to comment, and leave your thoughts on Angel Adams or anything related.  Thanks.  Jonathan Lenahan

Rage, Pity, or Contempt?


Before skimming for the good stuff I beg of you, imploringly, if you have the availability and the opportunity to do so then watch the video above.  It will cause you to feel an emotion of some sort, and is crucial to understanding what is typed so boldly below.  Without the understanding brought about by the video, the emphasis of what you will read will be less than it could be, and its absence will deprive the formulation of your own opinions of the situation.  Take ten minutes out of class, a little time out before going to bed, or watch during your lunch break; it’s necessary.

Now, in saying that, indecisiveness plagues me as to what I honestly think of this video.  I don’t know whether to rage, beat at the walls, and rail against the worthlessness of humanity and our valueless depravity, or weep with pity at this poor, hallucinatory, Gollum-like creature.  I think she deserves both, for she is surely a product of a flawed system as much as she is a complete waste created by her own person and parental figures.  There are so many pernicious instances any half observant person could pick apart in watching this; I could write a book on this single cut of video.  I’m not speaking figuratively; I’m not trying to be cute; I’m dead serious.  This could easily be expanded into a full-size book; 300+ pages would not be enough for me to explain this thoroughly.  This, however, is a blog; I will restrain myself.  There are innumerable problems here that can be focused upon, but I’m only going after what I deem to be the most terrifying.

Adams said that “her children are a gift from God” and blames the rest of us for her homelessness and impoverished conditions.    Though I for one take issue with being blamed for her inability to close her legs and am infuriated that I should have my taxes feed her inaptitude, this is but a side tangent to an even greater one.  Angel Adams has fifteen children, twelve of which were shown in the video.  The children were fathered by three different men, and at the of age thirty-nine she has birthed a kid an average every two and a half years since her own entrance to this world of the living.  She has made a living cheating the system by managing to stay pregnant on an almost biennial internal clock.  There is a huge problem with her entire life and the way it’s played out, but the most important headache comes in the form of her children, a complication we will now explore.

Fifteen children that call this woman mother now roam the streets of America.  These same fifteen children grew up in a squalor; the poverty a salient feature of their childhood.  What kind of upbringing did these children have?  I would gamble it was close to none; they likely half-raised themselves and galumphed around the neighborhood in a pack, for there is strength in numbers.  Have you watched the video?  She is a pathetic specimen of what it is to be a mother, whether that be by her own doing or as an effect of an unfair system it matters not, the fact remains unchanged.

Look at these fifteen children, all of whom I would venture were raised in conditions that were likely inhumane at best.  What kind of adults will these children turn out to be?  If one can hazard a guess based on what type of person the mother is, the answer doesn’t bode well for their future.  Now take these children again, and make them parents.  Say each of them has what amounts to an average family in the U.S. and has two kids.  You now have fifteen children who have morphed into morally bankrupt parents that have spawned thirty children.  These children learn at the knee of the parents, who in turn were the children of Angel Adams, and likely fare no better.  These thirty children all reach adulthood and they have two kids apiece; you’re now staring at sixty extra reprehensible persons populating this earth.  They are not born this way, but they become it in the same manner as did their parents, through learned actions.  In no less than three generations after Adam’s motherhood there are over one hundred people in the world that learned to be replicas of her, and what do we have on our hands?  A pandemic.  Evolution will take care of some of them, some will pass on from this world due to the harshness of this world; others may grow up to become the opposite of their mother and do well for this world and their families, but that is a game for fools playing against a stacked deck.

Cases like this form a nucleus from which radiate all manners of problems.  There are varying factors, absolutely.  There is a system in place in this nation that panders to the rich, the male, the white, and the well-connected; none of which Adams is.  She remains a living anomaly nevertheless, and her impact lasts far beyond her into what is most important to many of us, the children.  They have grown up without food, clothing, and proper living conditions.  How much of a bet is it that the same lady who dropped the media equivalent of a bomb, saying “Somebody needs to pay for all my children…and all our suffering” gave her children none of the values they need to survive; none of the lessons they need to learn for a tough road ahead, and none of the parenting that should be expected of somebody who dare calls herself a mother.  It’s a disgrace, and what’s more is it is a long-lived one; we shall see the results of this for years and generations to come.  Hate her, or feel pity for her; she is a stigma no matter who does the slicing.

(As a side note, this is a topic that will be covered in no less than two installments and no more than four.  If you’re interested then look for a new angle and point of interest tomorrow).

Back on the Grind


Tomorrow is the day, those twenty-fours hours that have been at the back of your mind since the holidays began; the inevitableness of its ponderous approach was practically unavoidable. It may land on a different day of the week, depending on which part of the nation’s geography you fall in, but it’s coming nevertheless. School is back, and it’s staring at you with a gimlet eye. You have eighteen hours on your dinner plate with two biologies and a chemistry lab every Wednesday. Graduation is winking slyly two years yonder and you can’t help but mull over the thought, is this really worth it? Aren’t these supposed to be the best years of my life? Personally, I find that drivel irritating. Don’t go down this road, I beg of you. If you really think that then somebody has either told you a barefaced lie or your values are skewed. College is important and vital in some fields; however, it is but a small stepping stone to get you across the river. Don’t fuss if you fall in a time or two; you’ll always be able to clamber up again.

It’s tough waking up again at a somewhat normal time; no more sleeping past noon covered in jelly from your two o’clock snack while catching that last episode of Will and Grace last night. You have to attend classes with the professor you hate with a passion and go to a study group with that creepy guy you’ve been avoiding for two semesters. The key to all of this is that you actually do it, not just murmur about doing it tomorrow. College, no matter how you look at it, is about becoming a better person. Some of us go to college to learn more and improve our knowledge of the world. Athletes with high aspirations go to college to polish lagging skills and make their value shoot through the roof in the hopes that they can become paid professionals, a dashed dream for LSU’s Jordan Jefferson who has become a pariah in his own state. I went to pursue my undergrad in preparation for the next step in a long life of schooling. Colleges and universities exist for a reason, but those reasons have been hidden by a fog of stupidity in recent years.

Perhaps you’ve heard old-timers proclaim far and wide that their college years were the best times of their lives? One should feel sorry for them. Their best years are decades behind them; they peaked when they won the beer shotgunning contest in 1955. College is glorious, there is no other experience quite like it. But you come here to make yourself a better person, and the hordes of people who arrive at the wrought-iron entrance gates at the expense of taxpayer’s income that flunk out two semesters later cheapen the experience. If you imagine college as one giant Van Wilder movie then you’re delusional. Are there wild and crazy parties? Of course, that’s part of the experience, but life doesn’t revolve around them. Nothing is more teeth-grindingly annoying than listening to that twerp sitting three seats down brag about how wasted he was last night, and how hard he’s going to fail this test. Yeah? That’s cool man. I heard you got date-raped when you passed out. Still kosher?

School is a place to learn, at least somewhat. Yes, as we all know, there are parties. Celebrations at the frat house around the corner and several downtown; at that ritzy place in uptown and there is a social tomorrow evening. Nobody can deny the influx of fun they give all students in attendance. Parties, however, do not form the hub of the wheel that turns your life as a college student. You don’t need to take six or seven years as a full-time student to graduate with a bachelor’s in general studies; you’re an embarrassment. You want to party until you drop, then so be it; it’s a “been there done that” kind of story for me. Would I go back to those years? Hell no. The hangovers, the unfinished homework hurriedly scribbled three minutes before class begins, the terrible grade you receive for a test you didn’t even know you had until the professor slapped it on your desk; living that life is nothing short of miserable. It becomes a habit, a drug you need to survive. You did badly in school today? Well, go party today (it’s Tuesday), that’ll take your mind off of the disappointment your parents surely feel when referencing your disgrace. The cycle repeats itself, a reaffirming loop. The partying continues, an endless daisy chain of failed grades, relationships, and dropped classes. You lose the goal on which colleges were founded and gain the ability to look like the man by drinking your bodyweight three times over; say bye-bye to your liver by age twenty-seven. It’s just not worth it. Do parties have their place? Absolutely, I’ll never be one to say that everybody should be practice total abstinence and stay dry; don’t leave home because liquor is the devil’s brew. Pssh, that’s ridiculous. I like a good mixed drink or beer now and then, it’s a privilege. The difference between myself and some others is my graduation date is set for May and it’s accompanied by a fairly respectable GPA and a dream or two beyond affording that next bottle of vodka. Every college student needs to learn how to blend the two; quit depending on extremes. College doesn’t give you a free black card to act like a complete halfwit, and getting hauled away for a DUI at age nineteen still looks the same on your record when you’re thirty-three.

Class is a plague, homework is worse. Who cares? Do it. You signed up for it knowing what was expected; it’s going to get you places in today’s world. The people I see out at the nearest kegger one weeknight are the same people blowing up facebook and twitter about how stressed their life is; woe is me, nobody can judge me until they’ve walked a mile in my shoes. Really? I’m pretty sure I’ve strolled through that revolving door a time or two myself, suck it up. The world doesn’t stop judging you just because it makes you feel bad. Don’t ever complain about something and then do nothing to better the situation; wishful thinking never saved any lives. You have to go to class on time, take notes, and talk to your professors about homework problems that presented seemingly unsolvable issues. Life isn’t given to you any more than an A in Calculus is tossed uncaringly to the class by jaded, old teachers. You want to graduate and look back on years spent in college with a certain fondness, but there is also a need to be constantly moving forward towards a better life. I for one don’t look at this year as my best ever, rather the one in front of it will trump this one. The year in front of the next one is going to be better than this upcoming year, so on and so forth. Strive towards making your life admirable and worth living; if others are envious of you then that just means you’re doing something right. However, one must also think in the long-term, short-term is never the one to wear the crown. You might be the big man on campus right now, but I see a beer gut peeking out from beneath that shirt; the capillaries in your nose are busted to shreds, and you’re half a point away from failing English 101 for the third time. If you want to believe that makes a person cool then so be it, but I will be attending classes and doing my homework on time. I want to be able to tell my children all the wonderful things I’ve accomplished in my life; how mortifying it is if your best story is the tale of Daddy and the Keg thirty years ago. People say to live for the present, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for your future. Go to class people.

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