Saturday, March 28, 2015

Are We Becoming Eco-Jerks?

I have four living first cousins, but the only one I have any contact with is in prison.  He has been there for years and will probably be there for the rest of his life.  While I don't condone his reason for being there, he is still family, and he has contact with very few people on the outside, including most of our family.  He is also the only one of my cousins who corresponds with my mom on a regular basis, so he is definitely in my good books there. 

Recently, we discovered a mutual interest in Norse myths and history, and I remembered reading a book while I was in grad school that I thought he might enjoy.  Since he hasn't read it, I ordered a copy from a book store through  Per prison regulations, I notified the seller that the book HAD to have a receipt/packing slip enclosed or they would not accept it.  They responded that they do not provide those because they are an 'eco-friendly' business, and if I wanted one I should print one out myself.  I replied and explained (again) that it HAD to be enclosed by the book store due to federal prison regulations, and that if they could not accommodate my request would they please cancel my order.  And they actually did cancel the order. The second book store I contacted also refused to include a packing slip; they didn't give a reason, but I assume it's the same.  I'm waiting now for a reply from Bookstore Number Three.

While I definitely do renew, reuse, and recycle whenever possible, including bringing my own bags to stores so they can 'save a plastic tree', I don't understand a mindset that is quite as rigid as these bookstores' owners apparently are.  I find it hard to believe that they would rather cancel an order and lose a customer than print a single piece of paper to comply with a federal regulation.

Am I wrong here?  Must we be so obsessed with doing what we consider to be "the right thing" that we can make absolutely NO exceptions?  I want to be eco-friendly, but I don't want to become an eco-jerk. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dracula for President; or, Why I Hate Politics

In view of the fact that pre-pre-election rumbling has now begun to be heard on the internet and in the news, I have decided to put this post out earlier than I had planned.  This is probably the only politically-themed post you will EVER read by me, so I suggest you either print it for posterity, or run away as quickly as possible...  And please note that these are MY PERSONAL OPINIONS.  I am not suggesting that I am "right" or that anyone else should agree with me, so please do not tell me I am wrong and should not feel this way.  If you do, I will probably send some very large bats to poop guano on your front doorstep.

I am not a politically-minded person.  I tend to avoid reading posts or watching news about politics as
much as I possibly can; I leave those for the people who care.  However, when countries with psychotic leaders, a relatively decent military, a developing nuclear program, and a history of attacking other countries start banging drums and dancing around bonfires while spewing hate at the USA, it does make me nervous.  Especially when our leaders don't seem to be too worried about it.  As I recall, a lot of political leaders, including those in the U.S., were pretty unconcerned when Hitler started doing that kind of thing in Germany back in the 1930s.

This brings me to voting.  I used to be an extremely conscientious voter.  I would read all the material they sent out, studying each proposition carefully before making my decisions.  We discussed the various pros and cons over dinner.  When Stuart turned 18, one of the wrapped gifts I gave him was a voter registration form (he was thrilled).  But I didn't vote in the last two elections.  Why?  Because the way I see it now, my vote doesn't really matter.

Now, before you (legitimately) explode over that statement, let me explain my point of view.  I live in California, and we have a serious economic problem here: it's called "bonds".  For those who may not know what bonds are in this context, basically they are loans that the voters agree to get now (for schools, road improvements, or whatever) that have to be paid back in ten, twenty or thirty years, using state tax money.  This means that the people who vote for the bonds frequently do not have to pay them back; instead, their children and/or grandchildren do, by paying higher taxes.  I have voted "No" on almost every bond measure that has been put on the ballot since I've been old enough to vote (that means almost 35 years), yet almost every one has passed.  In the last election, there was at least one bond on the ballot that was designed to pay off an old bond that has come due!  It's like when you max out a credit card, then get another credit card with a special introductory fee to "pay" the first one off with; you're not really paying it back, just changing lenders, because you don't have the money to pay it back.  This is what California is doing now.  I am fed up with robbing Peter to pay Paul, as the saying goes.  

Another pet peeve of mine is that if you don't vote for a Democrat or a Republican, especially for a major office (like the President), your candidate is almost guaranteed not to get elected.  Why have a multiparty system if only the same two parties EVER win?  For years I clung to the idea that if enough people started voting for candidates from other parties, eventually one would win, and the "curse" would be broken, but that has never happened, and it doesn't seem likely that it ever will, probably  because not enough people are willing to vote outside the two "socially approved" parties.  And don't even get me started on pork barreling!  I'm fed up with all this hypocrisy.  In fact, I'm fed up with the whole political mess in general.  And the only way I feel I can voice this is by not voting.

So, unless I find out that Dracula is running for President, don't expect to see me in a polling place any time soon.  And no, I would NOT vote for Dracula... unless, of course, his only real opposition was a Republican.  ;-)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March: "I'm SO Goth..."

Okay, this one is truly frightening...  Can black clothes fade THAT badly?????  Possibly because they were never washed (like their faces).  And unlike their hair, which has obviously been washed waaaaay TOO much.

This is the kind of thing we 50+ goths have nightmares about!!!