Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013 Online Red Kettle and other ways to help out

I'm sure my regular readers (of which I most likely presently have none) will be shocked to see a rare post on my blog after a long unplanned hiatus.  At this point, I'm not going to make any promises as to when I will resume any sort of regular blogging schedule, but we can always hope.

I am, though, going to post this, since I like to do this each year, and also since an online friend has already asked when I would do so.  So here goes:

As has been my wont for the past five years, I am once again hosting an Online Red Kettle for the Salvation Army, for those who have either already finished their shopping or want to plan out their donations in advance.

So, if you would like to donate through my virtual kettle, you can do so by clicking right here.  (For some reason, I can't make the kettle clickable this year.)

(Image courtesy The Salvation Army)

A couple of other ways to help out this holiday season (and, really, any time) are as follows:

If you are in the Austin area, the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, where, according to what they have said, your monetary donation can go about five times as far as a food donation, as they can buy in bulk and save money.  They do a lot of good work, and we've supported them before.

And, of course, as I mentioned last year, my friends Ryan and Ashley Beard have created an organization, 48 Lives, which will assist with international adoptions.  Ryan completed a 48-hour run to raise money for this (in which he ran over 140 miles) and has helped place at least one child with a family who loves her very much.

All of these options are well worth your support.  This holiday season, let's all help someone out who needs it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Challenged to Civility, Part 2

In one of the very, very few posts that have appeared on this blog this year, I happened to mention that I had stopped paying much, if any, attention to Ann Coulter for her use of a pejorative term that I would prefer for people not to use.  Now, thanks to Bill Maher (to whom I pay little attention, though others seem to give him as much ego stroking as he desires), that word is being discussed yet again, thanks to Mr. Maher's reported use of it to describe Trig Palin.

Yes, Trig Palin, the five-year-old son of Sarah Palin. 

And then to see some of the women of "The View" trying to justify it...well, all I can do is shake my head and get further burned out on the political process.  When someone says it's okay to insult a child just because of who his mother happens to be, that person is not a helpful component of any political discussion.  Ever.  (It's amazing that "The View" never had an hour-long celebration of that purveyor of eloquence, Jack Stuef.)

Thankfully, others have responded in a much better manner.  Take, for example, this video:

I don't recognize who this is in the video, but what he says is well put, and simply put.

Just for the record, this is not in any way an attempt or a desire for anyone's speech to be regulated.  You have every right to use that word, just as I have every right to discount your opinion for thinking that word is acceptable.

And one last thing:  Adrienne Ross, an online friend who writes a blog called MotivationTruth, wrote recently on her Facebook page:

And I would say, as I've said many times, putting "tard" after "Lib' is also not acceptable, conservatives.

Very true.  It's not helping.

I'm sure I've said something like this before, but here goes:  yes, we can debate on the ideas.  Yes, I'm sure I don't agree with some of yours, and I'm sure you don't agree with some of mine.  But if we cannot have political discussions without throwing around words like "retard" (may this be the last time I ever write it on this blog), then we've lost a lot more than an argument.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Just a quick little observation about the mainstream media

Sarah Palin still lives rent-free in the heads of most of the Obama-supporting mainstream media.  And, as always, this is most evident at that bastion of unbiased--meh, I can't even joke about that, no one would believe it--this is most evident at MSNBC.

Courtesy Newsbusters via The Right Scoop:

Yes, in a conversation that had absolutely nothing to do with Sarah Palin, Mika Brzezinski felt the need to say that something with which she (or, rather, her colleague, Joe Scarborough) not only disagreed but found "stupid" sounded like "something Sarah Palin would say".

Whatever, Ms. Brzezinski.  Keep thinking you're doing something worthwhile when you rant about Governor Palin, as you have done for years now.  Keep hate alive.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Challenged to Civility

As I said last year (when I basically made a New Year's resolution), I don't usually make New Year's resolutions.  I generally break them, just as I broke last year's resolution not to read comments on articles.  Instead, I repeatedly found myself looking at ignorant, ill-thought-out opinions about whatever topic had interested me on that day.  Usually, it was the presidential race (which has come awfully close to burning me out on politics) or sports (in which there was lots of conjecturing regarding my pro football team of choice, which typically found new and exciting ways to lose games at the final second) that sucked me in to reading the dreaded comments once again.

So, I am not making any resolutions this year.  I don't need to be reminded of my failures to live up to my own high standards for yet another year.

Instead, this year I just want to challenge myself to be a better person, online and offline.  Perhaps that is part of the reason that I have been blogging less, seeing as there are four other people in this household who would like to spend time with me, and vice versa.  And so, in that respect, being a better person means being offline more.

When I am online, though, I feel called to be more civil, especially toward those with whom I disagree (and obviously there are many such people).  I've kinda been moving in that direction already with my posts (see, for example, here and here).  And I have grown so tired, from having seen it from both sides over the past two years, of seeing so many people think that to make their point, they have to tear down whoever is on the other side of the issue.

(Aside:  it's somewhat sad that the spellchecker in my browser isn't flagging "kinda".)

Of course, as usual, I'm not the first, or the most eloquent, to point this sort of thing out.  Kathleen McKinley addressed it very well a few weeks ago, stating "we go after each other".  The best paragraph of the whole piece:

I know there is much frustration. One side believes something completely different than the other, but as a civil society we sit down and we talk it out. We don’t resort to Junior High meanness.

Or, at least, we shouldn't, but we certainly do.  And that's why the other way I am challenging myself is by trying not to immerse myself in media that is built around tearing down the other side.

Now, I suppose I'll need some sort of measure that will determine to whom I give my attention, and to whom I don't.  For example, I've really not paid much attention to Ann Coulter in recent months, since her use of the term "retard" to describe our president, as her shtick has generally tended toward the acerbic anyway, and this pushed me past my limits of tolerance.  By my new measure, Ann Coulter does not deserve my attention.  (I'm sure she'll be terribly broken up over this, but this is more for my benefit that I ignore her, not hers.)

Now, I was not quite as concerned when Sarah Palin made use of the phrase "shuck and jive"--partially because others, including his present press secretary, have done so, partially because some people, including a good portion of the mainstream media, are actively trying to twist anything anyone says in opposition to President Obama into a racist statement (something that has been going on for quite a while now), and partially because, having paid a fair amount of attention to the things that Governor Palin has said over the past four-and-a-half years, I don't believe her to be a racist.  And thus, by my measure, I believe that Sarah Palin is still worth my attention.

And, in this paragraph, I intended to talk about someone else not worth my attention, specifically, a long-time late-night talk-show host who hasn't been mentioned in this blog for almost four years, but anyone who has read this blog for very long already knows that I haven't watched him since then anyway, so I'll just move on.

I'll just say that I have set standards (There's that dreaded word again!  I can't get away from it even when I don't make resolutions.) to which I intend to hold myself when I deal with people with whom I disagree, but I would like others to hold themselves to that same standard.  When they don't, I limit contact with them.  It's happened on Facebook and Twitter a few times, but, thankfully, it hasn't happened in face-to-face relationships.

So what do I ask from you, gentle reader?  One, keep your comments civil, regardless of whether you agree with me or not.  And two, keep me honest here.  If I'm not being civil, call me out.  You may not agree with me, but you deserve to be treated like a human being.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

(1 Peter 2:1, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.  Courtesy Biblica, Inc./Biblegateway.com under Fair Use clause)

May we always do so.