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When Tourism Becomes Intrusion.

Recently, my partner and I went on a week long vacation to Mexico. We spent a mostly enjoyable week lounging on the beaches of the Maya Riviera, at an all inclusive resort. On Tuesday of that week, we went on a ten hour excursion that included touring the Maya ruins Coba, a visit to an authentic Maya village, and swimming in a cenote, one of the thousands of fresh water sink holes that exist through out the country. Frankly, though the ruins were really cool, it was a long and troubling death march that neither my partner nor I were prepared for. The most troubling part to me was the visit to the Maya village.

When we first learned of the Maya village, we were both thinking that it was a public site, much like Cherokee Village in North Carolina. We thought that we would be taken to a place where Mayan history was to be re-enacted by people of Maya ancestry. We didn’t expect the harsh reality that we actually encountered.

What we were taken to instead was an actual Maya neighborhood that existed in a small, impoverished rural town outside of Coba.  What we witnessed was no re-enactment: what we saw was actual Mayan families scratching out a living by allowing strangers into their one room huts, living on tips and the money that they made from crafts. Both my wife and I felt like intruders.  It was more disturbing than cultural exchange.

Although the families seemed perfectly happy where they were, I couldn’t help but feel sad. I can’t help but think that they are not choosing to live the lives of their ancestors, but instead playing with the hand that they were dealt.  They opened their doors to us, they shared their food with us, and they danced for us. Their Shaman even performed a religious ritual for us. I should have felt honored, but instead I just felt like a dirty, ugly American intruder. The whole experience was just disturbing.

I understand that every culture is different, that people must do what they have to in order to scratch out a living. I am in no way condemning how these people live, nor what they do to make a living. It is their way of life, and it is not up to me to judge. They could be perfectly happy for all I know. It just saddens me that a proud race of people who dominated the Yucatan Peninsula centuries ago now depend on tips and craft money to buy clothes and food.

I’m glad I met them, but again, I felt like a complete interloper.

WTF? The Mid-Term Elections And Where Things May Have Gone Wrong.

I Vomited

First, all three of my followers have probably been wondering where I’ve been. I’ve been around, but I haven’t been writing – at all. For those of you who have been following my blog for any time at all, you know that I like to write angry. The truth of the matter is that I haven’t been angry for a long time. I can’t explain why: There has been plenty to infuriate me. There just hasn’t been enough to motivate me to write. Well now, I’m pissed. In fact, one week after the mid-term elections, I’m mega pissed. With several seats in the House, Senate, and Gubernatorial offices coming up for grabs, the Democrats had a golden opportunity to take back the country. That didn’t happen. In fact, the Democrats lost the Senate, as well as many Gubernatorial elections, and it was our own fault. I’m infuriated.

Why was this mid-term such a Conservative blood bath? Liberals have been eye balling this election for a few years now. It was the end all – be all of mid terms. The GOP/ Tea Party was supposedly on the way out. The people had ostensibly enough of their elitist, racist shenanigans. The country seemed to be steering back to the center at the very least, and even a little to the left. It was a huge chance to drive back the crazy. One word comes to mind to describe this election: Apathy. This election had the lowest voter turnout in decades. Seemingly, most of these non-voters are Democrats, and I have an idea why.

Back in 2000, Al Gore “lost” the Presidential election to George Bush. Yes we can debate that he actually won, that he was fucked out of office by a corrupt voting process in Florida, and an even more corrupt Supreme Court. However, Gore could have won by a land slide. If that is, he hadn’t chosen to disassociate himself from out going President Bill Clinton, who was one of the most popular Presidents of all time. He distanced himself from Clinton, and in turn lost the liberal momentum that Clinton had fostered. The Democratic turn out was low, and Gore lost the election. Much the same happened this election: Candidates chose to disassociate from Obama, and in turn failed to generate the energy needed to draw a large turn out. The GOP in turn, attacked any and all associations with Obama, and generated a huge conservative turn out at the polls. Game over, the Republicans are now in full control.

For example, here in Kentucky, there was a heated campaign with Allison Grimes challenging Mitch McConnell for his long held Senatorial seat. If there was any time to get rid of this Koch sucker, it was now. However, while McConnell went on a huge smear campaign against Obama and his policies, Grimes back pedaled on her liberal associations, even going so far as to not even admitting that she voted for Obama. She made herself out to be a moderate Republican. The race was over a half hour after the polls closed. Grimes was out, McConnell was back in. The Democratic voters, not enthused nor energized the way they had been during Obama’s two campaigns, couldn’t be bothered to come out and vote.

Shame on the Democrats for their defensive lackadaisical campaigns. Go on the aggressive, and things may have turned out differently last Tuesday. Push to get out the vote, and many of us may not be worried, no terrified of where this country is headed. Align yourself with Obama, one of the best Presidents we’ve ever had, and you might have found yourself either re-elected, or elected for the first time. Shame on you. You had a chance and you all failed- miserably.

Shame on the voters for not voting. This was our chance to enact change. Come out to vote, and the Tea Baggers may have been struck their final death blow. Now, they’re stronger than ever. Don’t even think about bitching about what’s about to come: Ya’ll brought it on yourselves. I voted, I did my civic duty. Christ, my partner who was experiencing the perfect storm of chronic health related issues, came out in her wheel chair to vote. I’m proud of her. The rest of us? Not so much. The country was finally ready to set things right, to halt the landslide of the extreme right invasion. All we had to do was vote. We had one job, and we failed horribly.

This my friends, is why I’m so pissed.

Foil

Quick, name three artists who have had a top forty hit in every decade since 1980. Give up? It’s Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Weird Al Yankovic. Yes, you read it correctly: Weird. Al. Yankovic. His latest album, (Do we still call them albums?) Mandatory Fun is the first comedy album to debut at #1 since the Kennedy administration. I thought I would share this video parodying Lourde’s song Royals, because it’s sympatico with my blog. Also: It’s funny as hell :)

Without further adieu, I share with you Weird Al’s Foil.

Motherless Day

Originally posted on Capricious Lestrange:

I imagine childbirth to be another memory hidden away in an avalanche of ruined messages somewhere along the synaptic highway of my dementia, the red and squalling life lost with it. Her tiny body wrinkled, covered in hair as a tiny caterpillar, legs and arms aflutter with their first taste of cold freedom, her terror shrill and demanding from purple lips; PUT ME BACK. She is wise in this demand, enfant terrible. I’d put her back too, save her from the despair of life we all must know; the trade off for our existence. I realize too late I do not have the strength to save her. The only way to save her is for her to not exist. In causing myself the greatest joy, I have caused her the susceptibility of existence. I love her already though, loved her years before she even came into existence, and I…

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Categories: Uncategorized

On Rudeness And The Devolution Of Our Society In General.

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Since I recently became a retail worker, this meme I came across rings particularly true to me. As I stand for what seems to be endless hours behind my cash register, I constantly repeat the same question over and over again in my mind: ” At what point did our civilization become generally rude? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly a bastion of social grace myself. However, I did learn and do practice some basic social rules: I speak when I’m spoken to. I say hello, please, thank you, have a nice day, blah blah blah. When I give something to a person, I hand it to them, not flip it at them like they don’t deserve it. I smile back at people when they smile at me – you know basic actions of civility that have helped keep our society functioning for thousands of years. Apparently, the rules have changed. People no longer have to perform these perfunctory behaviors, particularly when conducting a 30 second transaction with their friendly local Kwickie Mart cashier. Here’s an example of an exchange that happens daily during one of my shifts:

Me – ” Hello, how are you today?”

Customer – ” Marlboro Light 100’s in a box.”

Me – “Marlboro Light 100’s in a box sir/maam?”

Customer – No response

Me – “No problem, here you go. Will there be anything else sir/maam?”

Customer – No response

Me -” Ok, your total is $5.23.”

Customer – Angrily flips wadded up money across the counter at me.

Me – “Ok, that’s $5.23 out of 6. 77 cents is your change. Thank you and have a nice day.”

Customer – No response, turns and walks out the door.

Bear in mind, this is usually one of the most congenial of exchanges. Most transactions involve a lot of complaining about how we charge too much, or hateful curt responses, or anger over the fact that I don’t have 20’s in my drawer to change their 100 dollar bill, etc, etc. What the fuck is this all about? I am convinced that the general customer behavior in a convenience store is but a mere microcosm of how our society has devolved.  It disgusts me, and it frightens me.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t one of those “What’s wrong with kids these days” rants that you used to hear from your grandpa.  This general rudeness and hatefulness isn’t even exclusive to an age group: I find it common practice to be an asshole across every generation. Dickish boorish behavior now spans from 8 to 80. Ass hattery apparently has no born on, nor expiration date.

It’s not just in the store that I see this going on. I call and leave messages which never get returned, whether they be personal or professional. I send e-mails that are never responded to. I smile and say hello to someone out and public and they ignore me. I hold a door open for someone, and the action goes unacknowledged. Courtesy is mostly a thing of the past folks, and that’s a shame. So why is this happening? Is it the internet? There are a lot of trolls and bullies on the intertubes; anonymity seems to bring out the worst in people. Is it the behaviors of those who are regularly in the public eye? Celebrities and politicians alike seem to think nothing of destroying others in public. There is no decorum what so ever in the way they comport themselves. Are we the sheeple merely following their leads? I have no idea. All I know is that cordiality is supposed to beget cordiality, and that just isn’t happening anymore.

What I do know is that our society has eroded to little more than a community that shares camaraderie in hatefulness and arrogance. This group hates that group, and the exchanges between those of different ideologies are mean spirited. Hell, even the groups that claim to be oppressed lash out against those who are not like them. It’s sobering to consider that there is more hate and anger then there is a willingness to understand and accept our differences.

In the mean time, socially flawed as I am, I’m still going to comport myself in a civil and polite manner. I will continue to hold doors open, say “please”, “thank you”, and “have a nice day”, whether I’m working or out having dinner. Furthermore, I’m going to try really, really hard to resist the urge to grab the next rude customer by the hair, and smash their face into the counter.

After all, it’s the polite thing to do :)

Happy Anniversary Baby. I Got You On My Mind!

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Today marks the 8th anniversary of my marriage to a wonderful woman. You may know her as blogger Capricious Lestrange. This year, in instead of cards, we wrote to each other. Capricious wrote me a wonderful poem, which she will be cross posting on both her blog and mine. I chose to write about some of the wonderful memories that we have shared together through the years. This is what I came up with:

My love, when I think back on 8 years of marriage, and almost nine years of being together, these are the memories that come flooding into my mind:

Months of day dreaming and planning of how to escape my old life and start a new one with you – not even knowing if you felt the same way. The joy I felt on the day that you told me you did.

The weekends in Vandalia, lost in each other, oblivious to our surroundings.

The look of ecstasy on your face the first time that I came inside you.

Three days of being a zombie after pushing you away.

An hour of exhilaration, driving to Cincinnati to finally be with you, after getting asecond chance to be happy with you.

A summer spent in a high rise bedroom, day dreaming and planning a life together.

A smashed ironing board that had it coming.

Dinner and Mojitos in Miami.

A day on an island beach together, on a Caribbean island seemingly created for just us.

Running for our lives, $20 windfall in hand from Atlantis.

Making out on the ship at the pool party.

Making out pretty much everywhere else in public.

Our first Christmas and New Years together, and all that followed.

Our time in West Chester and  Fairfield, spending moments with ghosts from the past – both good and bad, and both driving through the country, as well as in our apartment.

A box of crackers skittering across the floor toward my feet with bad intent.

Expanding your knowledge of football, while you expanded my knowledge of music, theatre, etc.

Nine Inch Nails!

Sebastion’s!

Our first opera together.

The CD’s you made for me to listen to while I made the hour drive to work and back.

Painting our first apartment together, and eating Italian food while sitting on lawn furniture.

A whirl wind day of work, divorce papers, marriage license, and preparation, culminating in the bonding of two souls who were truly meant to be together.

A night at Putters, enjoying long islands, as well as a band whose name we can’t remember.

Working out, and laying by the pool together during our first year in Kentucky.

A lovely weekend on Dream Street.

Crying and hugging one another, before I had to go to Chicago, our first night apart since we got together.

An over turned kitchen cart, courtesy of yours truly (not my best moment).

Adopting the girls, and watching them grow together.

Our big beautiful house, and putting it together just right.

Backyard parties with all of our friends and family.

Grape vines and trees: although we never got to see them flourish, I know we left them for some lucky family to love as we did.

Crying in the bathroom at Mayfield, while you had your back surgery.

Shopping in Mexico, and smuggling Cuban cigars home.

The night we “made” new friends, before we had to bail your brother out of jail.

Clinging to each other, as we left our house for the last time.

Rock Band in our little attic hide away.

TFH and Capricious make a porno! With a little help from a boy toy ;)

Watching Tyler moon and stress over his cute girl friend.

Get aways to Scottie’s cabins, and the uncomfortable looks on his face as we expressed our unbridled desire for each other.

A wonderful Thanksgiving at the Gorge.

Trists while out in nature.

Our moments together that seem too short, and moments away that seem like eternity.

Napping together in a hospital bed.

Watching Aphrodite hulk out on a stray cat – behind the safety of a patio door.

Cheech and Chong, A German woman in drag, a hot tub, indoor pool, and an hors d’oeuvres picnic in Columbus.

Roger Waters performing The Wall, and the classic look on your sister’s face when we told her that the women hitting on her was a transsexual.

“I really like you (In classic Kentucky twang) I want you to be our tenant.”

Walks along the river, and drives in the country.

Lunch at a tiny sandwich shop outside of Frankfort. All because Guy Fieri said so.

Our trip to Gatlinburg.

Pointing out that you could be related to the clerk at the gift shop at the museum in Cherokee.

Our twin nieces in a frigid wading pool.

Verona!

Dine and dash with Teagan, after waiting 45 minutes for a check that never came.

The two months we spent every second of every day together.

Discovering that yes, we did know our way around tools and building materials.

The way we literally devour things that we become passionate about. Like each other for instance.

The way we share together: Absolutely nothing seems to be out of bounds or off the table.

I know these aren’t in exact order, and that there are so, so many more memories that define our love and life together. Furthermore, there are so many more things to come as we walk hand in hand down this path we know as life. I’m going to keep this list close and add both past and present memories as time goes by. There are so many good things to come in our life. I know it. I love you with all my heart my darling soul mate.

Happy anniversary gorgeous. Thank you for choosing me :)

Post script: This is going on the list.

That magical 8th anniversary celebration on Buck Crossing. It was everything that I hoped for and more.

In Case You’re Wondering, I’m Still Here!

I’m still around, but I’m finding little joy in blogging right now :(  I lost my job back in August, and though I’ve been in the transportation industry for nearly 30 years, I still have not managed to find a job in my field. I had to settle for a cashier job at a local convenience store; I work for a third of what I used to make, and in spite of severe back pain, I have to remain on my feet for 8-9 hours a day with no break of any sort! To cut expenses, we moved to a trailer park, and we’re fairly miserable here. The park is filthy, and the trailer is in more disrepair than what we originally thought. We’ve done a lot to rehab the trailer and we’re pretty proud of what we accomplished. However, there is a lot more to be done, and we have neither the money nor the energy to do it. We’re broke, and both my partner and I have been very tired, in a lot of pain, and very depressed as of late.

On the bright side, we got back our health insurance on January 1st (Thank you ACA!), and my wife is now back on her very needed medications. I have a doctor’s appointment in mid-February, and I’m looking forward to renewing some vital medications that I used to be on. We’re both managing to eat healthy; my wife has lost 27 pounds, and I’ve lost about 40 :) I’ve also picked back up on doing my PT for my back, and it is doing a bit better.

In spite of all of the personal set backs, I’ve still managed to keep up on the political world. Chris Christie, has once again shown himself to be the vengeful asshole that we’ve all known him to be, and Ted Cruz is still a douche.  The GOP still remains in the public eye as the disconnected, borderline sociopath party of no. In spite of getting trounced in last year’s election and ever declining popularity, the Republican party of religious elitist extremist seem hell bound on doubling down their message that unless you’re a white rich christian male, you’re of little use to them. However, we’re of great use to them; they divide us with their messages of hate and fear in order to make us hate each other. This is a very useful tool in the sense that it keeps the rest of us from uniting into one super group as it were, that could possibly wield a great deal of power, and dismantle the corporate and religious structure that continues to keep us among the “have nots”. The Republican party, with all of its religious dogma and corporate might has become indeed, the American Taliban. The 2014 elections are going to be a good marker to just how much the American people have grown tired of their shenanigans.

At any rate, I just wanted to let you know that I’m still around and I’m still writing occasionally. I’m going to try to write more, and I hope you will continue to visit my little corner of the world from time to time.

In closing, I want to share this Coca Cola commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. Apparently, the Tea-Billies are in quite the uproar over it.

Coca Cola: Now sweetened with the tears of xenophobes.

Much love and peace to ya’ll :)

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