luna_virgo: (Boots)
I haven't seen American Sniper, but on The Nightly Show tonight (so glad this show is a worthy successor to Colbert!), Larry Wilmore discussed the movie with his guests, one of whom was Nick Irving.

I had not heard of him before this show, but Nick Irving is a military sniper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the show he said he doesn't look at "the aspect behind it as far as, you know, I'm gonna kill this guy. He's nothing but a target at that point."

I'm not trying to dehumanize him and his war experiences, because he went on to talk about PTSD and how he coped with it, but I don't understand how someone gets into that mindset in the first place. His answer for why he joined the military: "I saw the Twin Towers fall". Well, I saw that too, and it made me sad, horrified, and pissed off like everyone else, but it didn't make me want to sign up to kill people.

I don't understand war at all. I kind of understand violence on personal level. I don’t condone it, but I understand it. I understand being angry at another person and wanting to hurt them. Honestly, if you’re human, you’ve felt that at some point. Hopefully you didn’t give in to it, but we all know that feeling. And I understand violence in self-defense. What I don’t understand is the impersonality of war. The leaders of one nation or faction decide they want something another nation or faction has, or they want to prevent them from taking theirs, and they send their young people of fighting age out to kill the others of young fighting age, and whoever defends the territory or has the most people left alive wins. This is madness. This is calculating, machine-like insanity. And I think the root of it is to learn to see the “others”, however that is defined, as not human. This is the cause of most of the world’s evils: racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, etc. How does a person get there? How does a society get there? How do we not recognize when the people in power are encouraging us to get there for their own purposes?

I understand people in the military have a job to do, and they have to defend themselves (and many join the military from lack of other economic options), but in the world that I want to live in, the world we should live in, a sniper’s job wouldn't be necessary.

(posted on DailyKos)


Wednesday, December 24th, 2014 01:41 am
luna_virgo: (Boots)
Just a thought: Think long and hard before you get married, because after your divorce (and eventual remarriage), your kids (and their kids) will deal with multiple families at every holiday afterward for THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

It's a REAL pain in the ass. Forever. Just something to think about.

Happy Holidays!

I'm still alive

Thursday, December 4th, 2014 01:45 am
luna_virgo: (Boots)
I subscribed to The Local Palate, a Southern foodie magazine. I'm too lazy right now to remember how to link by html, but I'm sure you can find it. Overall it's great, and my first issue has articles on drinking in Birmingham (which I already know quite a bit about) and eating in Austin (which I hope to be doing next year).

But there's a photo on page 33 with a description. It's a great photo of a cocktail with a sprig of rosemary, from Nightbell in Asheville, NC. Looks delicious. Unfortunately it's called "Your Word Against Mine". Now, this may not have been intended to have the connotations I immediately thought of, but seriously? An alcoholic beverage named "Your Word Against Mine"? Am I alone in thinking this is referring to alcohol-aided rape? As much as I like the mag and possibly the drink itself, I don't like the name.

I have not been poetic lately but I have been pondering some political posts inspired by current events. Gender and race issues, coming soon.

I am not a Christian

Saturday, March 1st, 2014 04:03 am
luna_virgo: (Witch)
My cousin posted this link on Facebook:

This is a quote from that website:

“Spiritual Evolution.
Do you think that has ANYTHING to do with Jesus dying on the cross for your sins? So you could evolve spiritually? NOOOOO. It is blasphemy to the Christian which she claims to be. A Christian who happens to be so self-realized that she is levitating?!?! Uhm levitating? That is a funny little joke Roma. Because IF you were self-realized, have you realized that you are dirt? You are a sinner? You can’t evolve spiritually, because if you could Jesus wouldn’t have had to come die on the cross for your sins.”

Consider that for a minute. “YOU ARE DIRT.”

That is the bullshit that I grew up with. That is why I am no longer Christian, and will never be Christian again, and will oppose that religion for the rest of my life. Because it is CHILD ABUSE to teach a child that they are a dirty worthless sinner. I will never change my mind on this. Christians that teach people to hate themselves are child abusers and deserve to rot in the Hell they created.

And there’s also this nugget:

“Jesus is not interested in social reform. He’s interested in reconciling utterly sinful human beings to a holy, righteous and good God through: His substitutionary death for sinful man, His resurrection of new life for those who’ve repented and trusted in Him, and a glorious eternal life spent in the presence of the Almighty once we’ve completed our sojourn here on earth. Jesus did not come to earth, die, be resurrected and ascended to the right hand of the Father so we could have a “better life” here on earth.”

How very Republican of you. That suits your political aims well, doesn’t it? Nothing has changed since the days of the Holy Roman Empire.

What a crock of shit.
luna_virgo: (Boots)
Back in prehistoric days before the internet, people copied vinyl albums to tape to share among friends. I still have cassette copies of Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Bad Brains, Concrete Blonde, and many others from those days. In my college years before digital file-sharing (hell, before e-mail) became commonplace, living where I did in Alabama, I would never have heard a lot of this music otherwise. Since then I have replaced most of those tapes with store-bought cd's or downloads, now that cassette players are obsolete. (For the most part vinyl is too, although I still have a turntable and most of my old albums and 45's.)

My point is, though I have made many copies of music I liked, I have also paid hundreds, no, probably at least several thousand dollars over the last 30 years to buy music in whatever form was available at the time. And when there's a new release from one of my favorite artists, I buy it at full price. But when I'm replacing one of those old copies, or trying to find something long out of print, I go to secondhand stores and websites, where I can buy or download it cheap or free. I don’t have an ethical issue with this at all.

So I have mixed feelings about this:
“But I didn't illegally download (most) of my songs. A few are, admittedly, from a stint in the 5th grade with the file-sharing program Kazaa. Some are from my family. I've swapped hundreds of mix CDs with friends. My senior prom date took my iPod home once and returned it to me with 15 gigs of Big Star, The Velvet Underground and Yo La Tengo (I owe him one).
During my first semester at college, my music library more than tripled. I spent hours sitting on the floor of my college radio station, ripping music onto my laptop.”

If I had free access to all that music at her age, would I have taken advantage of it? Hell yeah, no question (wouldn't you?). But she goes on to say:

“What I want is one massive Spotify-like catalog of music that will sync to my phone and various home entertainment devices. With this new universal database, everyone would have convenient access to everything that has ever been recorded, and performance royalties would be distributed based on play counts (hopefully with more money going back to the artist than the present model). All I require is the ability to listen to what I want, when I want and how I want it. Is that too much to ask?”

Yes, I think that is too much to ask. While it is fantastic that we have unprecedented access to all kinds of music now, artists still have the right to put limits on what is available and at what price. And while homemade copies will never die (and will always play an underground role in introducing people to new music), record companies and all those who depend on them deserve their cut of the profits.

Now, having said that, here is this:
Some good points are made here, and some (IMO) irrelevant ones. I'll only say that trying to tie two musicians who committed suicide to this argument is cheap at best. The rest can speak for itself.
luna_virgo: (Boots)
Right-wingers tend to be black-or-white thinkers. Conservative, religious, right versus wrong, you’re for us or against us. Hard-core, my way or the highway. Left-wingers tend to be more amorphous, inclusive, "soft" thinkers. Everything is subjective, we need to consider all the consequences before we take any action, don't offend or leave anybody out. Right-wingers want us all to be individual islands and get rid of the government and any sort of society/community programs. If you’re not well-off, it’s your fault and go fuck yourself. Left-wingers think we should all take care of each other and spread the wealth, and if you're not willing to donate you can also go fuck yourself. Both sides at their worst resemble the Borg. You will be assimilated (or destroyed).

I tend to be more on the left than the right. I think generosity (however naive) gets us all further than selfishness (however organized). But if things ever got really bad, I mean beyond Depression-era bad, into every-man-for-himself anarchy (which I must say I think would be accomplished much faster by the right-wing agenda than the left-wing), I don’t think I’d have much of a problem converting to selfishness. When it comes down to survival, I’ll take care of me and mine first, as will most people.

The difference, as I see it, is that right-wingers tend to interpret EVERY situation as survival or death, and it’s almost never that dire. For some reason (probably the dualistic religions most of them follow), it’s all-out war for them, all the time, and if they have their way, they’ll gladly push us all to the brink of their Armegeddon fetish.

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