I pledge allegiance …

the pledge

Today is National Pledge of Allegiance Day

When I was in the first grade, I stopped saying the pledge in class because I wasn’t sure if I believed in god and didn’t like that the pledge had “under god” in it. What I didn’t know is that the pledge has been revised several times.

It started out:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Original pledge, written in 1892

When Congress made the pledge official on December 28, 1945, it was:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Official version in 1945

Of course, during the Cold War and at the height of the nation’s anti-communist paranoia, it was changed again. In 1954, “under god” was added. The men who founded this nation were not religious zealots like we have today. They didn’t think god had any place in government, hence their appreciation for the separation of church and state. Now, back when I was six and already on the path to hell, I could have just not said “under god” but that didn’t occur to me until later so I just didn’t say anything

Fruitcakes for everyone!

Does anyone like them? Not me! But yesterday was National Fruitcake Day. Accordingly, I think I put a TikTok video up about Donald Trump. His snowflake supporters got all upset, how dare you say Trump never supported the vaccine! He got it last December! Pull your head out of CNN’s ass!

Wow. Don’t I need to watch CNN to get my head up its ass? Guess not. If you haven’t checked out my channel there, please do. You’ll thank me later.

Want to do some good and lower your tax bill?

There are still a few days left in 2021. If you want to donate to a great cause, make my work against genocide possible and lower your tax bill, please donate to No Business with Genocide. It would mean the world to me. Thank you!

PS. I remain pissed off about Annie. Check out why here.

Happy Easter (for reals this time)

If you are so inclined, I hope your Easter celebrations were good.  My day was destroyed by the devastating news that Justin Bieber‘s monkey was confiscated in Germany.  He apparently did not have the correct paperwork for his pet, who is now in quarantine.  This is all true, you can read the story here.  Side question: what is it about fame and fortune that makes people go completely insane?  For Bieber, and I speak from personal experience from my days at RCA Victor (no, not with Bieber), I blame his handlers and the record company execs who treat him like he shits gold.  I worked with artists who completely sane and normal when they started with us and as they asked for things — and got them — they became more and more self centered, whiny and just bat fucking insane.  I was a publicist and I had artists call me at home (and on my cell) pretty much any time they felt so inclined.  Just getting in from a night of partying and you want to know what your Soundscan numbers are?  Just call your publicist.  She doesn’t need to sleep.  PS.  Dear Mr. Bieber, while you are on top of the world now, in a year, or five, no one will care who you are so make sure your financial advisors don’t suck because your music career has an expiration date and I think someone should tell you that.  Don’t take my word for it, ask  someone you trust and who doesn’t depend on you for their living.  If you don’t have a person like that in your life, and you may not (Lindsay Lohan clearly doesn’t either), buy one, rent one, find one on Craig’s list, just do it.  You’ll thank me later.

Luckily, my day was saved by news about this invention.  What is it?  A toothbrush that plays music.  What music?  One Direction was mentioned in the ad I saw.  I MUST GET ONE IMMEDIATELY.  Anyone who knows me knows I love brushing my teeth (seriously, I wake up at night and sometimes get up to brush them), so add One Direction to my tooth brushing, well, it is a glorious time to be alive.  Glorious, I tell you!  Glorious!

Other thoughts from today include…

Who writes the copy for Safeway frozen dinners?  I am lazy and cooking just is too much a lot so I do eat frozen food a lot.  I like the Safeyway dinners because they are decent and cheap but I happened to look at the back of their fettucini alfredo, the description reads “A Delicious Classic with a Delightful Ending” (capitalization is theirs).  What is that all about? You know what that says to me, “If you like it going in, you will love it coming out.” Nothing makes me excited about food like the expectation of an awesome crap later.  To think I thought eating the food was the fun part!

Oh, on my Daily Banter page, which you need to check out right now, I mentioned a humorous story about my mother – and this is one where she doesn’t look bad so I don’t have to worry about that (at least not right now).  When I first moved to Washington, DC, I lived with my mother and her husband.  A few months later, a group of my friends came to DC to attend a pride rally.  They were mostly lesbians, which is only relevant because of what happened when they rang my mother’s door and their reaction.  You see, we also had a family friend visiting and he liked to walk around naked.  He was sleeping on our couch when they rang the bell and naturally answered the door and he was, as usual, naked.  My friends, who may not have seen a naked man in a very long time were not expecting that – “Are you sure this is Alyson’s mother’s house?” They asked.  He assured them that is was and brought them in and then tried to rouse me (it was 7:00 am on a Saturday and I had been out late the night before, yes, I was hungover, sue me).  Then they all sat uncomfortably in the living room.  When my mother returned from the store, her surprise was at my friends’ arrival and my friends were surprised by her reaction to his nakedness, which was no response at all.  Anyway, I was proud of her that day.  Still wish I didn’t have to come out as straight every Christmas but what are you gonna do?

And as it is Easter, I am watching the Wizard of Oz.  This means my obsession with the munchkin suicide.  I don’t care if the “myth” has been debunked, I think it is real.  Please watch this video.

The icing on my day was having to call Comcast as the old cable box I had made me choose between having a picture or audio.  They actually asked me “Which do you want, picture or audio?”   Uh, both?  Anyway, after getting a new box and spending hours dealing with them, it still doesn’t work and after getting the account number, serial numbers for both boxes and more information than I give my physician, they said if I did not give the social security number of the account holder (not mine but I would not give it if it was our of principle) they would “find it hard to believe” that I am authorized to have them send a signal to the box.  I asked the representative what they were thinking.  What, am I part of some crazy gang that breaks into houses and fixes their cable?  Yo, Pete, put down that computer, these people have terrible cable reception, we need to fix this.

Oh, and while I am being random…  I saw three deer in a neighbor’s yard yesterday.  I nearly fainted and thought it was great.  Great, I tell you!  Great!  Then my landlord told me that DC has a new program where sharp shooters can kill deer in Rock Creek Park to reduce their over population.  I never saw Bambi (really, and no, I have not seen ET either) but they looked like her and may meet the same fate (I hear she is shot at the end, talk about a reason not to watch a movie or show it to kids — hey kids, wanna watch a movies about a cute animal that you will love?  Warning: they kill that cute animal at the end. And people think the movies about serial killers I watched as a child were disturbing).

But I have digressed from celebrating Jesus’ rebirth.  I love that what we do for this doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus.  I mean I love peeps as much as the next person but were marshmallows around when Jesus was alive?

Seriously, I hope you had a great day and if this day has meaning for you — I wish you the best.  And I mean that sincerely.

The unbearable lightness of being

Shakey's had its own "pledge of allegianc...

Shakey’s had its own “pledge of allegiance” in the early 1970s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was six, I stopped reciting the pledge of allegiance because I didn’t believe in god.  I didn’t know the “under god” section was added to differentiate us from the godless communists and I could have just stopped saying that part but that only occurred to me last week.

And yes, I am an atheist who attends church most weeks.  I am a complicated person.  My Facebook profile has physics as my religion.

My already confusing stance on this got more confusing when Cheddar Jameson died.  After seeing his little body at the vet, my last thought was I really hope I am wrong about god.

Cheddar died the week of the Connecticut school shooting.  Another event that makes me want to believe in god, so that the shooter has a chance of going to hell.  In the scheme of things, his death, while important to me, was not the worst thing that week but it got me thinking about my most fundamental ideas and values.  I love Neill deGrasse Tyson’s statement that “we are all stardust.”  This idea — that there is no god but that we are still part of something so much larger than ourselves is very comforting to me.

And then the cat gives me more reason to keep my faith with physics.  As I was questioning my non belief in god, something occurred to me — neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed, they can only be transferred.  I may not know where Cheddar’s energy went but I do know, it still exists somewhere.  It no longer rests with him but it is out there — somewhere.

(and then I realized, the guns, the bombs, the revolution all had something to do with a girl named Marla Singer…)

While I am being honest (when am I not?) I am going to tell you, this has been a rough few months for me.  My health issues have been, well, I am not healthy.  First it was anemia.  Next I had a seizure.  Then I was diagnosed with sleep apnea.  When I had that seizure, I re-injured my back (herniated a disk) and knee (train wreck of a knee).  My teeth should qualify me for British citizenship.  My favorite cat ever died (sorry Hobbes) and the only way to describe a recent relationship is “crash and burn.”  That might be the nicest thing I can say about it.  For the past month, my life has been a nonstop pity party.  That all ends today.  I am a lucky, blessed person and I need to get over myself.

You need to get busy living or get busy dying.  I am done feeling sorry for myself.  I am done forgetting how lucky I am.  In the words of American Horror Story’s Sister Jude, “No time for navel gazing, there’s too much work to be done.”

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

(If posts with personal information bother you, leave now.)

Yep, every now and again our friends on the right (and I don’t mean this never happens on the left, it does, I am sure) come up with a non-issue to rile each other up about.  As it is December, the flavor fear of the month is of course, the Democrats’ “war on Christmas.”

I am not sure where this fits on my list of their pet worries that are just paper tigers meant to scare people into thinking liberals are evil.  Is it better or worse than legislation barring sharia law?  Does it piss me off more than the people (you know who you are) who tell me my assertions that Herman Cain was never qualified to be president because he lacks even the most basic knowledge about anything was hypocritical because I like Bill Clinton and he had flaws, too.  Yes, I do like him and yes, he does — we all do.  Apples and oranges or should I just say 9 9 9.

But back to the current outrage.  When people say Happy Holidays they are starting a war on Christmas.  I always say it to everyone because there are more holidays than one, even for Christians.  Even Christians celebrate New Year’s Eve.  But you also don’t always know people religious affiliation, maybe they are all about Festivus or Boxing Day. (Or serious ones like Channukah)

Now, I love Christmas.  For me, it has always been the most wonderful time of the year.  When my parents divorced, my life became pretty chaotic.  Maybe to make up for it, my family gave me three bites at the Christmas apple — Christmas Eve was at my grandmother’s house, Christmas day was at my Aunt Edna’a (is there a law that everyone on Long Island must have an Aunt Edna?  I think there is.) and then we went back to my father’s place for a final round.  It was the only time of the year that I thought the situation was good for me.

It never occurred to me that maybe this is why I love the season so much and I don’t think that can be all of it.  When I grew out of the stage where I could be bought off with toys and candy, my traditions changed but remained really special.  I would go to Minneapolis for Christmas and then on to San Francisco for the rest of my break.  Minneapolis could be one of the best places to spend Christmas.

If you are wondering why none of my fond memories of Christmas have anything to do with religion, it’s because Jesus is not the “reason for my season.”  And I suspect if some people I know read this they will think less of me but it’s time for me to come clean about something.  I am an atheist.  Why would people not like me for admitting such a thing?  I am not sure how my friends from the church I go to will feel about my non-belief of something that means a lot to them.

Yes, I said it.  I am an atheist and I go to church.  I am a complicated person.  That’s why my Facebook profile lists my religion as physics.  I stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance in the first grade because of the “under God” part.  I wonder now why I just opted out of that part but I was six and it didn’t occur to me until I found out it was only added because of McCarthyism.

So Christmas was never a religious thing for me.  And don’t even bother spamming me with your comments about it being Jesus’ birthday.  He was born in April.  Christmas was set up to take the place of a major pagan holiday.  If you think there is anything Christ-like about cutting down a tree and decorating it, well, you need to read up on your paganism.  And no, my opinion on this is not because I don’t believe Jesus is our lord and savior (though if anyone can explain how he is both the son of God and God at the same time, please I am all ears).

Because Christmas for me is about the season of goodwill and fun, I never understood people who objected to Christmas decorations.  What’s the problem with festive lights and decorations at a dark part of the year?  No, I didn’t get it.

My first real job after college was working for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).  She is  Jewish.  At Christmas time, we had a huge tree in the front office and decorations — I think throughout but it’s been a while.  Some staffers were truly offended.  They felt she was abandoning her faith and them.  I asked why and was told that as it wasn’t something they celebrate, the decorations left them feeling left out.  I may be an atheist but Christmas was a huge part of my childhood and finally understood what the big deal is.  I would be lying if I was upset that we kept the decorations up but being a little more sensitive to people from different traditions than me was a good thing.

For the record, my mother has asked me over the years about what my friends are doing for Christmas and I have to remind then that it’s not a something some of them celebrate and she always sounds surprised.  For a few years, we had our own Judeo-Christian tradition.  We did the big breakfast with gifts in the morning and then spend the afternoon at a movie and go for Chinese food that night.

All the uproar over President Obama leaving God out of his Thanksgiving address or having “holiday” parties and the like vs “Christmas” parties is just a whole lot nothing.

And no, Gretchen “black hole of humanity” Carlson, no one gives a rat’s ass what you put in your house at this — or any other — time of year.  Get over yourself.

Note:  I often attend the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church.  I go for several reasons.  On one occasion where I was having a need for something spiritual in my life I wandered into this church. The pastor, Andy Walton, gives great sermons.  I went back for two reasons, his sermons and the community services they offer — not to get them, I feel I should add, but volunteer for them.  Over the years I had wandered in every now and again but the visit that made me return was last September when I volunteered in their soup kitchen.  That marked the delineation between me stopping in and going regularly.  I like the contemplative nature of his sermons, the ability to help others and the great people I have met.  I have had trouble this fall going because I feel strongly about my person view of religion — not that anyone is wrong, my beliefs are what work for me, if that makes sense. But the juxtaposition of your firm belief and my equally firm disbelief has left me feeling like a bit of a fraud and that is why I have been absent so much.