I almost became a Catholic over the holiday break

On our ride down to North Carolina, Tina took over driving for a few hours. I took the time to rest my eyes and catch up on social media.

On my Facebook feed, a young, Catholic girl posted an article that blew my mind. I mean. I’m dying to see how this current pope is going to change the current dismal perspective of Catholicism, but this particular article threw their efforts into overdrive.

Here’s the article if you want to read it.


And then the mind blowing began.

This in particular:

In a speech that shocked many, the Pope claimed “All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them. What other kind of truth is there? In the past, the church has been harsh on those it deemed morally wrong or sinful. Today, we no longer judge. Like a loving father, we never condemn our children. Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals, for the pro-life and the pro-choice! For conservatives and liberals, even communists are welcome and have joined us. We all love and worship the same God.”

And later:

“God is changing and evolving as we are, For God lives in us and in our hearts. When we spread love and kindness in the world, we touch our own divinity and recognize it. The Bible is a beautiful holy book, but like all great and ancient works, some passages are outdated. Some even call for intolerance or judgement. The time has come to see these verses as later interpolations, contrary to the message of love and truth, which otherwise radiates through scripture. In accordance with our new understanding, we will begin to ordain women as cardinals, bishops and priests. In the future, it is my hope that we will have a woman pope one day. Let no door be closed to women that is open to men!”

The words in that article, this passage above included, would almost — ***ALMOST*** — cure me of disbelief.

This section was pure gold:

Through humility, soul searching, and prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity.

When I read most of the article to Tina, her response was, “Man, I’d consider becoming a Catholic again.”

That’s the rub.

The article is so well written and so ideal to what the church should do, but it gets too caught up in hoity toity, we’re right, they’re wrong bullshit.

It took three paragraphs before I said to myself, and Tina, “This is satire. We’ve been duped.”

So I looked further at the web site it was hosted on and sure enough, the site is satire.

Gold, though. Gold. Pure greatness.

Cheers to those folks at Diversity Chronicle. That was the closest I’ve been in a LONG time to consider even considering the consideration of a considerate thought about admiring the church.

And then you see stuff like this story (about how white American evangelicals reject science), and all that hope for the world is a flatulent balloon sound.

But then there’s the following, and my hopes are rejuvenated.

Let’s go back to the future!

Above is an acoustic guitar version of the Back to the Future theme. Back to the Future happens to be one of my guilty-feeling favorite movies of all time. If I catch it on a station, I will watch a good bit of it.

Tina and I got back from a Christmas trip to North Carolina a couple days ago. All in all, it was a good time.

There were a couple hiccups, and there was a moment that — had I heard a comment that was made — we would have left and driven home at around 9 p.m. at night.

I’m not sure how members of your own family can be so fucking cruel and completely oblivious to it.

I trust everyone here had a nice relaxing Christmas time, and you celebrated in the best way you know how.



Affordable Healthcare is an Obamanation

Over at the liberally liberal of all liberal publications, The New York Times, there’s a business article called: “New Health Law Frustrates Many in Middle Class.”

When I clicked to read the article, NYTs wanted me to sign up for a subscription fee, but I refreshed the screen a few times and it showed me the article for free.

The lead-in said that a family of 4 with $100,000 income would have to pay $1,000/month for health insurance through Obamacare.

Out of curiosity, I went to healthcare.gov and varified it. It’s true.

The article reported:

The cheapest insurance plan they can find through the new federal marketplace in New Hampshire will cost their family of four about $1,000 a month, 12 percent of their annual income of around $100,000 and more than they have ever paid before.

Later in the article, it explains that healthcare should not exceed 10% or it becomes too taxing on someone’s income.

Ten percent is too much.

Did you read that.

Ten percent is too much, and the article said that people making $100,000 weren’t able to cover 12%.

In response, the wife in the article said, and I quote:

“That’s an insane amount of money,” she said of their new premium. “How are you supposed to pay that?”

Insanity, dear readers, is paying 12% of one’s income to pay for healthcare.

Do you know what Tina and I pay for our healthcare?

We pay upwards of 25%, closer to 30%, of our annual income for health insurance.

I pay out of pocket for mental health care, because our deductible is over $12,000.

Basically, the woman in the article is saying, “Fuck me sideways. That’s fucking ridiculous that I would have to pay 12% of my income on health insurance. Anybody who pays more must be a fucking idiot.”

Our application is pending review and approval right now. And if the preliminary information is correct, we could save over $250 a month to get better coverage, a $1500 deductible, and many other perks.

$250 a month.

That’s $3,000 a year.

So maybe it’s going to suck for those making $100,000, but it seems heavenly for yours truly. I hope that the $100,000 earners get better rates soon.

But for the past 5 or 6 years, having to pay as much as we do, it’s pretty damn awesome.

Christmas next year could be pretty damn sweet.



I love Christmas.

Christmas is finally almost here. And we can finally start decorating the house, bake some cookies, visit with family and friends and spread good cheer to all.

My appreciation for Christmas has been a roller coaster ride.

Growing up, Christmas meant presents, stocking, toys, and a big Turkey dinner. It meant bikes, batteries, putting toys together and blinky lights.

We usually found our presents before hand, so the surprise was usually a lesson in Academy-Award-winning acting.

Hell, my brother is the absolute WORST secret keeper. So when he learned Santa wasn’t real at age 7 (I was 5), guess what the first words out of his mouth were Christmas morning as my foot hit the last step and I hadn’t even seen the Christmas tree or presents yet?

“Santa’s not real.”


I was so emotionally distraught. I was 10 parts excited and 100 parts destroyed by the idea my parents, friends and family lied to me for five years of my life.

I remember lying in bed — before learning that dreadful news — on Christmas eve staring at the ceiling waiting for hoofs to prance across our roof. I stared out the window at the moon hoping for Santa to silhouette against the moon.

Perhaps this early awakening to the truth of parents teaching kids about fictional characters planted the seed that helped me drop religion.

Christmas for us was about the presents. And as much as we wanted to think it was about Jesus, our saviors’ birth, it was about the loot and the bragging rights when we got back to school from the Winter break.

I went through a “I hate Christmas” phase in my 20s and early 30s. I’m still not a huge fan. I find it to be an egregiously non-religious religious holiday. You know, it’s the way of the church. There’s unconditional love with conditions. There is all-knowing savior who still needs us to let him know what’s up with prayers, requests and adulation.

Time at home with family meant large levels of stress. It’s still stressful, but I work through that stress with an unhealthily healthy amount of alcohol and repetitions of affirmations.

But I like Christmas again. I like it because it means the days are going to start getting longer. I like it, because it’s time to get some needed respite from an otherwise busy schedule.

I wish there wasn’t a “War on Christmas.” I wish people took accountability for their own attitudes for the holiday. And if someone says “Happy Holidays,” wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

This morning, I read a piece from Dan Savage about his response to Sarah Palin’s book, Good Tidings and Great JoyProtecting the Heart of Christmas. 

And while I loved the writing and how he logically throws down on stupid-ass Sarah Palin, it perpetuates an ugliness. I mean, regardless of how convoluted Sarah Palin’s views are on the mythological “war on Christmas,” we can’t go around expecting it to get better if we keep bashing the hell out of her.

Can we?

I liked this part in particular:

1. Who holds Christmas in contempt? Who? Where are these people? I’m a secular humanist—there’s an award from the Freedom from Religion Foundation on my mantel just inches from my Christmas tree—and here I am, at home on a Saturday morning, baking Christmas cookies for my family. Not holiday cookies. Christmas cookies. I’ll be taking some across the street to share with my Jewish neighbors later today. They love Christmas. And no one is trying to “save” Christmas from its heritage. We have a crèche for the baby Jesus and strings of lights for the Roman god Saturn. We honor Christmas’s religious heritage—the Christian and non-Christian bits.

But maybe Palin is asking for the ridicule and directed attacks. If we’re to believe that she begins the book talking about how she bought a gun for Todd in the wake of the anti-gun crazy that happened, well, let me let Savage write it:

Page 5: Here I learn something I didn’t know and, if I were Sarah Palin, something I wouldn’t want anyone to know. But Sarah hustles this fact to the front of the book because she sure as hell wants us to know it: Sarah surprised Todd with a “nice, needed, powerful gun” for Christmas in 2012. It was a “small act of civil disobedience,” Palin writes, prompted by “the anti-gun chatter coming from Washington.”

What was inspiring that anti-gun chatter in Washington in December of 2012? Oh, right: Twenty children and six teachers were shot dead in their classrooms by a deranged asshole with a “powerful gun.” And before the grieving mothers and fathers of Newtown, Connecticut, could put their dead children in the ground, Sarah Palin ran out gun shopping. Buying Todd a gun in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary was “fun,” Palin writes—and, again, an act of “civil disobedience.” Because gun nuts are a persecuted minority.

Crazier thing: my family LOVES Palin.

Sarah Palin, that deranged, megalomaniac with absolutely no fucking clue as to what this country is all about, diversity, freedom of speech, freedom of life, love and happiness.

Freedom that we all get to enjoy, including her, Dan Savage, you and me.

We all get to love or hate Christmas. We don’t all have to have the same views of every fucking idea that you hold sacred.

If you’re racist, I can have the view that you suck. If you think women’s rights to vote are what’s wrong in America, I get to have the view that you’re an asshole. If you love guns and shout it from the rooftops, I get to respond. And vice versa.

Freedom of speech includes my freedom to respond.

Freedom to celebrate Christmas is another person’s freedom to not celebrate.

Me? I love Christmas. I’m all for keeping the “Christ” in Christmas. And I hope you do, too. He’s not my savior. He’s not my idea of a cool guy. But if he’s yours, get on it. Love it. Own it. And when you get criticized, bask in the glory that you win in heaven.


Henry’s Concepts is worth a look

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Alex is a Toronto-based photographer for Wild-eyed Photography. She also nannies a cute little kid named Henry.

Henry’s Concepts is a photo series Alex put together in which Henry comes up with a pose and location and they both get a photo. It’s a cute project.

Not to mention, Alex — the photographer — has a cute butt.

More here.

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