Monday, December 17, 2007

Oh Holy God

How do I feel about the Holidays, now I have peeled back many layers of religious indoctrination and desire to live life and interpret it through rational means?

In some ways I am as familiar and comfortable with "Christmas" and a kind of "American T.V. Hanukkah" as I ever was.

What do I believe? I believe that this is a time of human celebration that existed long before, or as long as, any other tradition later grafted into it. The dogma's and doctrines I find detract from the "human family" spirit of the season. Christmas was co-opted from an ancient Pagan "festival of the lights" which seems to have a Jewish cousin. I think the explanation for the holidays is simple.

In times long before artificial light when a fire may have been the only man-made night lighting, many earth-peoples noted the lengthening nightly darkness and the arrival of the dominance of the "lights" or stars over the daily cycle.

A lot of our ancient traditions come from cultures that are largely in the northern hemisphere. Something similar happens down south, just 6 months out of sync. So, everywhere you are, there is a time of year where the sun's day shortens and darkness seems to continually conquer the cycle of day and night. We know, of course, that this doesn't so much happen at the equator.

Also, the earth is always 50% light and 50% shadow at any given moment. It just so happens that during certain times of year and because of our 23.5 degree tilt, your house may only spin through a section of the light side and a lot more of the dark side. This may help if you don't already "get it":

Clickest Thou Unto This Place

Day and Night, and the seasonal difference in length of the "light vs. the dark" hours seem to be ready symbols for the struggle between light and dark or good and evil. I think humans have such a strong sense of these ideas because the planet spins.

December 25th also marks the first visible hint that the Sun's long day will return as the position of sun-rise begins to move back along the horizon. (Really, the angled Earth's motion around the sun is the actual event being observed).

Now THAT is cause for celebration involving light! The Sun, our life giving and sustaining star, will surely return to maintain life and eventually rule the longer days. The Sun starts winning the contest of day/night length around Easter, "coincidentally".

I like shiny, sparkly, red, green and fun things so I like Christmas. Nothing says "long nights of many stars" more than a Christmas tree. Nothing says how glorious it will be when the Sun returns (in spring) than a Star above a tree, or 7 to 9 burning candles. Since I think that Christians co-opted the holiday to promote their mythos, I do get a deep internal groan when I hear "The Real/True meaning of Christmas" speeches. To me, Christ means "anointed one" in Greek and that might as well be us to each other. Anointing one another with gifts to celebrate our human concern for one another, our glorious life in this wondrous Universe.

Rather than being mundane, I feel my view of the Holiday sees the wonder of life in its true stature as being what it is. Though I will not tell you mine is the "True Meaning" because I still think people have a right to be into and believe what works for them, so long as they don't try to impose their dream world on me with laws or force.

I guess I am kind of Japanese about Christmas now. Quaintness, electronic gadgets (haha), wonder, gifts, joy and pleasure of being alive are what I celebrate. Yet unknown wonders still exist and I allow myself to hope for great things at this time of year.

Have happy holidays, a Merry Christmas (or whatever adjective you prefer) or whatever you wish to celebrate! Like it or not, we all share the human condition and that is cause to rejoice, even if your nearest Angel is a Heavenly Hostess.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Visited Utah

Over the thanksgiving weekend I went to Salt Lake City.

I stayed with my friend Jeffrey on the living room floor with one of those real high-tech Swiss Gear mattresses. I figured...I am of Swiss heritage, so Swiss Guy, Swiss watch, Swiss gear. His parents graciously invited me to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. They have a nice formal European dining experience with traditional American holiday food, apart from the excellent German riesling! Mr. Gold is an American and the Mrs. is German so it works out to be a best of both worlds kind of social event. There are always engaging conversations and anecdotes about Utah culture from the former mormon perspective. I call the decor Berlin Art Decco and you take your shoes off at the door. Such a good time.

I met Christy, "the degenerate elite" herself (link at right under "Great Minds"). Unlucky me, she's in a relationship, though our friendly lunch and coffee was like meeting a long time friend. I really like her and I wish I lived nearer to her to be able to enjoy her company more often. She is cool and connected to a good group of people who probably share my perspectives.

While in Utah, I saw my good friend from high school, Shannon. She and her husband are allowing each other to have the occasional night off with friends, which is cool. I am deemed imminently trustworthy, which really makes me feel un-manly, though I stand by my standards. Hey I am not a saint, I only refuse to make the same mistakes over and over again...referring to a few dates I have had with women who were divorced and then turned out only to be "separated". So it goes, sometimes.

I deserve a clean-slate, free-of-all-ties woman. I am not saying she can't have a past or even children, though to me it is simpler not to try to become a step-dad. In a biological way, why should I raise another man's offspring? In a personal way...why can't she just sort things out with their father? Ok, I know it's not always easy or simple. At my tender age it seems a lot of my opportunities (where women find me interesting) are in the "complicated" category.

I love my friend Shannon very much and we always have an incredibly great time when we get a chance to spend some time talking or sharing a meal. It is my sincere hope that she sorts things out with her husband. I have always approved of the guy, he is cool, witty and a nice looking person. They should just get their shit together before a REAL home-wrecker comes along.

I saw my long time crush Melanie who brought a boy to our only romantic date opportunity in years. Oh well. I am a fool for dreaming. I am also a single guy who has about 8 or 9 love interests, so until one gets serious I am a bit girl crazy. I don't understand Melanie. She holds something back from me...maybe many things. She is so retarded for thinking I couldn't handle really knowing who she is. I have known her for 10 years, I am always going to care about her no matter what. I flirt with her because I find her very attractive but I never made "her loving me back" a contingency for caring about her. Silly women, can't they trust? Can't they be truthful, real? I always over-tip her at her night job as a cocktail waitress at a swanky little hip club with great music. I do that because it's the only thing I have enough of to share that she has a hard time rejecting...still she tries to stuff my paper back into my shirt pocket, but my rational arguments usually win: "I know I can't buy your love, and you are due a good tip from time to time".

I had dinner with my friend Jan. She is Bi. Which I think means she wants to marry a man and leave him alone every night while she goes out with chicks! Heheh. I also love her deeply and we always hold hands a lot while we are together. I cannot presume what she could want from me, though I have made a rational decision we are not a good match. I hate to be petty, I just want a heterosexual girlfriend. It is not unreasonable. Maybe I just don't understand anything. I do know I fully enjoy her companionship and it is always great to see her. She is also way way cool, way way smart and way way hot.

So what have I done? Above I mentioned a "date with girl who has a boyfriend", "date with married girl", "date with girl who brought her new boyfriend", "date with girl who likes girls more than me". It's like I am not really trying!

I know why. I am heartbroken from years of strong relationship bonds with about 4 different women (successively) where those ties and bonds eventually broke and left me some of the worst pain I have experienced in life. I am spent! I am just now recovering from my shadows of disillusionment and heartache enough to risk something.

So what did I risk? If I am really going to count a date as an emotional risk it has to be with a woman who is single and available! Why not ask someone out who is known for being a single icon in the dating scene and even makes a living from it!?

I met Sarah Nielson for a drink. I have been in love with women like her all my life. She is smart, cute, funny, witty friendly and seemingly forthright. I really liked her. I was a little nervous when she brought out her writer's pen to note something I had said, though she did not completely blast me in her column "The Dating Years". She insisted on bringing a friend, so I brought a friend along too. It made the situation go from a romantic encounter to a social encounter, though it was still enjoyable and no one was murdered by an evil stranger they just met, which would have been really inconvenient to say the least. Her friend, Maddie, was fun and funny and helped make it a good time.

Sarah was like a bloody mary drink. Warm and delicious yet with a sense that "hey this is made from good ingredients, maybe it's good for me!" At the same time she is just a little salty, though not bitter.

Who am I to think I could be the one man among many who would bring an end to the dating years and win her heart!? Though I did think about it and I still do.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Sudan

If it's not a three way civil war or a government tolerated (if not sponsored) murderous horseman militia, then it has to be reactionary extremists longing to murder anyone even perceived as threatening their deep deep religious insecurities. I know some more traditional groups from the Sudan were quoted as saying "This was an innocent mistake" and other younger Sudanese groups stated "this is ridiculous and she should be released immediately".

Still, there is that "stuck in the dark ages of ignorance" class of society who want the very life of a British woman who allowed her 7 year old students to name a stuffed bear Mohammed. The name finally gets its "Teddy Roosevelt" moment and this is perceived as anything other than adoring familiarity!? There are many regular old good and bad men who share this name, because it is promoted with murderous rage throughout the society. A little research can help one determine for one's self whether "murderous rage" is an appropriate description of the activites of the Janjaweed militia in Darfur, Sudan.

One great mark of the success of this rhetoric should be that a group of children in this Islamic society want to associate something adorable with a prophet whose name they adore!

When some choose to make death threats against a school teacher over this, It is the depth and height of ignorance. What should be punishable by lashing and death is to threaten an innocent school teacher and honorable woman with death and lashing over such a non-incident.

Instead, sprained and broken reasoning is used by fanatical adherents whose devotion and hypersensitivity has rotted their common sense.

It is a wholly inappropriate and intolerant response to an innocent choice which actually exhibits deference to the very leader whose name and teachings are said, incredibly, to be insulted. It is truly difficult to decide who exhibited the most childish behavior in this situation.

[edited because I concluded that I was mocking others beliefs in this section, which really negated my criticisms]