The second Pfizer jab grabbed me by the business, violently shook me like a rabid dog killing a rabbit, and left me on the floor in a sweaty mess

Thursday I got my second Pfizer jab. I felt fine after. Barely felt the needle go in.

Thursday evening, we had two friends over who are in our bubble for dinner. They are both vaxxed. The next morning, I felt fine. My left arm was sore again, like the first jab, but nothing crazy.

Then as the day wore on, I turned into a mess. I developed a fever, my body ached, I had shortness of breath and I wanted to vomit.

I anticipated a little something, so I tried to take it easy. I took a bath, which might not have been a good idea. My resting heart rate was hovering around 100.

Around 4:00, I finally started feeling okay again. By 5, I was probably 90%.

I grilled steak and potatoes, which is our Friday routine. And then we retired to the bedroom to watch something. I saw that TCM on HBOMax was going to have a “film festival” of sorts. And I wanted to see what movies were featured.

Three caught my attention: “Namesake,” “Hunger,” and a doc called “Harlan County, USA“.

We watched “Namesake”. It’s the story of an Indian man living and working in America who is arranged marriage to a gorgeous Indian woman on a visit to Calcutta. He brings her back to America and they live in the Northeast US near NYC. They have two children and it’s about how these children, namely the boy, sows his oats and learns about his heritage. It’s not a happy Hollywood movie. It’s tragic and realistic.

There are movies I watch and movies I consume. “Namesake” was one of the movies I consume. I’ll typically drink a beer or two during most movies, but this one sobered me and made me want to enjoy every aspect of it without any distractions.

I wrote my brother the next day that we watched it. “The characters are complex. I found myself mesmerized by the story (stories) and photography, and the clear cultural polarities. It felt like “watching a book” albeit a beautifully illustrated one with lots of colors.”

Kal Penn plays the young man who rebels from his family’s culture and dates a wealthy American girl. After a sort of cultural epiphany, he chases after a natural need to search out his Indian heritage. It’s a thoughtful approach, but doesn’t come without a price.

The photography in the movie is rich and awe-inspiring. There are contrasts of Calcutta and NYC that are mesmerizing and genius, really.

I recently received my 23 and me results, and I learned that there’s a good possibility that my father was from French roots. Having lived my entire life with a love affair for French culture and language, it was the second biggest validation of my life. The first being the knowledge that I have Puerto Rican heritage and that it informs my proclivities for passion, temper, and emotions.

But think about it. I lived 45 years. One summer as a student, I drove from North Carolina to Montmagny, Quebec to work in a furniture factory. It softened my ear to the language, which I desperately needed. Then I spent a semester in Montpellier France. Tina and I spent our honeymoon in France and we’ve traveled there six times since.

When I’m there, I’ve been told several times that people thought I was French.

And while I desperately wanted that to be the truth, I was like, nah, I’m Puerto Rican.

On Saturday morning, our next door neighbor, a mother of a six year old and whose partner has an 8 year old came over to teach a yoga class to Tina and me. It was so lovely and it’s just what we both needed. Breathing exercises and stretches. Some challenging repetitive movements. It’s such a spiritual experience. And despite the fact that our yogi’s daughter was banging on the piano in our studio space, we were calm minded and soothed by the voice of our teacher.

After our Namastes, we went upstairs and I forced myself to read. Sometimes I get distracted by the internet or some lingering work. But I found a book on our shelf called “Heartburn” by Nora Ephron and Tina said, “That’s my favorite book.”

Anytime someone says, “This is my favorite book,” I have to read it. Or at least try.

It’s a bitty book and I read the entire thing in a day. At first I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy it. It felt stream of consciousness and I couldn’t remember if I liked stream of consciousness style writing.

But the story was interesting and funny. I never read Ephron before, and I could totally see how “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle” and other adaptations came from her mind.

Saturday night, Tina’s cousin – who is like her sister – and her family came over. Husband and three boys, all of whom I love dearly. They are like extensions of my family; fun, entertaining and a joy to be around.

We share much in common. The youngest boy loves cooking and was my grill sous chef. The middle boy called me on Wednesday night and said, “Uncle Jeremy, I have a test due on The Godfather tomorrow and I didn’t watch it. Will you help me?”

You had me at Uncle Jeremy.

He got a 92 on the test. Which means, I got a 92. Ha.

I also spent a little time musing about the monikers “atheist” vs. “exvie.”

“I think I am going to start referring to myself as an “exvie,” I told myself. Atheist is such a pejorative. And — for the most part — atheists are dicks. I know I’m a dick, but damn, the general atheist superiority complex is fucking ridiculous.

And this new term Exvie – or ex-evangelical – popped up into my world about a month ago. Exvie describes someone who is, well, an ex-evangelical, who loved the faith, but not the message. I have nothing against “God” per se. My beef is against the men and women who convinced the world that “God” wrote the Bible. Or God wrote the Koran or any other book. I don’t blame people who love the message. I get it. I loved that message, too.

That the author of the universe took up a pen and wrote a book so riddled with things so unbelievable, yet a mass of people see it and take it as literal truth. I see how it’s possible and I loved it as an insider. But as an outsider looking back in, it doesn’t appeal any more.

Last week, I watched this video (below) from a young dude named Drew McCoy who breaks down worship services and how evangelicals keep people coming back for more. Drew McCoy might be onto something about the formula for how evangelical churches work to establish the spiritual experience that many love, but damn, he needs to learn how to light himself. That purple side light going up his nose is sooooo distracting.

I look at all that’s happening in the world of religion with great curiosity. You have the Duggar boy, married, six kids, seventh on the way who — despite having porn blockers on his computer — accessed the dark web for child porn. Oh Josh, can’t you resist temptation? Where’s the powerful temptation-blocking blood when you need it?

You have pastor after pastor after pastor disembodied from the flock. People who “fall from weakness for the flesh.” Ernest Angly who was arrested for crimes yet flourished as a con-artist who claimed to raise people from the dead. A man who does that while paying cash for 747s should not be outside of a padded walled cell … and yet there they are.

I read this thing the other day: “Why is it when the world’s richest religious people need money, they turn to you. But when you need money, they tell you to turn to God.”

You have a political party so bent on falling lockstep that dissent is unwelcome? And cancel culture is a “liberal” ideology? Really? You can’t criticize the dude that criticizes EVERYONE who disagrees with him. Fuck that.

Every one in politics and who are enslaved by it embraces and flaunts of Hypocritical Culture … that should be the sin of humanity. You have leadership in the moral majority telling people how liberals are deranged lunatics who have TDS, whilst kids like the former president and Newton Gringrich, who couldn’t keep his pants zipped from wife to wife telling LGBTQ people their constitution is clear, all men are created equal, except you, you, you, and especially you.

Or Gaetz and Greene proselytizing white nationalism and Qanon conspiracies and leading the chorus in We are the Champions without an ounce of irony.

How in heaven’s name can anyone wonder why young people are sprinting out of the pews or away from the party of white-ness? Especially when this pathetic piece of shit makes speeches like this at weddings at his own resort to people who can’t accept defeat? It’s almost May in the clip and here is a man pretending to be a dog licking his wounds.

If a marriage celebration included a bumbling old dude crying about his failures unrelated to the party at hand, pack it up, kids, the party’s over.

If you do nothing today, watch that video clip of the former president giving his toast at Mar-a-lago. It is epically awesomesauce. Imagine being so desperate for attention that you crash a wedding, take the mic and kvetch about your biggest failures and how it’s not your fault, but a well-organized leftist plot to take you down, because you’re too awesome and they can’t handle it?

As my friend who works for the government in D.C. says, “the government is so dumb that it couldn’t have organized a secret plot without a 100,000 employees leaking it to the press. They can barely chew gum and tie their shoes at the same time. Republican or Democrat. The government is useless and dumb.”

I have to step back and look in. Am I feeding the beast that makes belief or politics appear badly, so therefore the validation I’m providing the monster thrive? Am I sucking the teat of one-sided bias? Do I live in a city so overruled by Satan that entering its gates requires me to slit my palm with a steely knife, dip a quill into the slit and sign my name in bloody ink to liberal politics?

Goddamn, I can’t stop the bleeding-heart liberalism from gushing all over this post. 🩸

When I read the FoxNews or the Breitbart or the Newsmax sites, I’m supposed to find “the truth” right? I’m clearly so entangled in hate that anything I read elsewhere makes me turn away as if I smelled a shitty fart?

We align ourselves with some shitty talking points, and when the powers flood the airwaves with new talking points, we sheep our herd into a frenzy of talking about that point, too. Would it hurt to stop repeating the shit we hear about sex, gender, abortion, morality, and intangible shit and just be civil with one another? All this disagreement has got to be bad for the brains and homicidal for the soul.

What makes people like me, say, dislike Nickleback. Or not care for a certain mindset that loves to think heaven awaits them on the other side of death? What makes people not believe that, but accept science as truth? And why does it have to separate the two?

Maybe there’s an answer in my 23 and me results. Oh wait, it’s an invisible red dude carrying a pitchfork? Oh right. That’s the answer. I am satisfied.

And you should be, too.

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