Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page
I normally don’t blog about inconsequential personal issues because the internet is not an emotional tampon, but I feel the need to vent about this.
When I was a kid, I never had issues with the dentist. I had cavities filled. I had novacaine. No problem. I even endured a root canal on one of my front teeth when I was in high school. I remember it being unpleasant, but tolerable.
Before I moved out of my parents’ house for good a couple of weeks after I graduated from college, I went to the dentist one last time on their dime. That’s when it all went wrong.
It was a simple shallow filling on my bottom 12 year molar, left side. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was that bad.
Until you’ve endured a dental procedue like a filling on a molar without novacaine, it might be hard for you to understand why I haven’t been back to a dentist since that fateful day. It was such an overwhelmingly unpleasant sensation that just thinking about it generates phantom pain in that tooth.
How, or why, was a procedure done without novacaine, you ask? Oh, it was done with novacaine. It just didn’t work.
It wasn’t like the dentist was a bumbling idiot. She was the same one who did the root canal a few years earlier, and I survived that.
She used three shots in various locations near this molar but still I felt it. I was practically shaking when it was over. I had a hard time driving home. I remember this vividly.
Now that I have a young son I decided that it was time to get over this irrational fear of the dentist because in a few short years I’m going to need to set an example for him. If daddy is terrified of the dentist – and daddy is terrified of little else – then what will he think about it? So I made an appointment with my wife’s dentist here in my new home state.
The first appointment wasn’t that bad. She just poked my gums and made them bleed and then told me I have gingivitis on the one area of my mouth that I pay more attention to than any other with the toothbrush. Then she delivered the fateful news from the x-rays: the very filling that kept me away from the dentist for all these years had to be replaced.
I made the appointment anyway. Making an appointment is easier than actually sitting in the chair.
That appointment was today. I couldn’t even bring myself to get out of the car. I had to tighten my muscles and clench my jaw to keep fom shaking, just like I did those years before.
The thing that annoys me so much is that when I think about it in terms of pain it’s not necessarily that painful. I had some hardcore food poisoning from what I suspect was Chipotle a few weeks ago and my stomach was hurting me so badly that I actually went to the hospital and begged for intravenous pain relievers because I couldn’t keep pills down.
Drills on tooth roots, at least for me, is the most uncomfortable, awful sensation in the world. I would take another bout of food poisoning, even without a hospital visit, over that any day of the week.
As I was sitting in the car trying to brace myself and get my shit together and get it over with, all I could think about was that phantom pain from nearly a decade ago throbbing in the left side of my mouth and the horrific sound of a dentist drill.
Now here’s the thing that’s even worse. We had already established that I had a “bad experience at the dentist” previously, so my dentist prescribed Xanax. I had it with me, but I didn’t take it.
I didn’t take it for a few reasons. First, call me a scientologist but I have a real problem with taking any kind of mood altering or mind altering pills that don’t have another primary purpose. I’ve gotten loopy on painkillers, but I took the pill for pain, not to get loopy. The idea of taking a pill to enable me to do something does not sit well with me.
Next, I am in fact so terrified of the dentist that I am afraid to take any kind of action that will delude me into putting myself in a dentist chair thereby unwittingly subjecting myself to the possibility that a drill will touch my teeth. So, I’m afraid of Xanax.
Finally – and maybe this is another example of an overarching issue that I guess I have – is that I had a very bad experience with a pill that was supposedly ecstacy about 15 years ago – it involved rocking back and forth in the corner of a night club without a shirt on and sweating so profusely that I probably lost weight. I don’t remember the details except but I do remember the unpleasantry. The next morning I swore off head pills. Xanax is a head pill.
And this creates another dilemma for me because I am pretty sure that I will never be able to overcome this fear. There’s another option in dentistry called sedation dentistry, but from what I read, it involves a pill in which you remain conscious but supposedly don’t feel pain but you don’t remember anything. No fucking way.
I am in fact so afraid of the dentist that I won’t even risk the possibility that I will be even remotely conscious during the procedure, and some kind of waking-sleep pill is not good enough for me. The only way I will let a dentist touch my mouth is if I am under general anasthesia and I don’t think there are too many dentists around that do that. And I also doubt that too many dental insurance plans cover that, so basically, I’m screwed. I’m going to consign myself to the fact that my teeth are going to rot out of my head, but despite how irrational I know that position to be, I would honestly rather that happen than let a dentist come near me ever again.
On a related note, I am also terrified of two other things: driving in the snow and driving my wife’s 2002 Hyundai Accent, both because I’ve had horrific, traumatizing experiences involving those activities.
Do normal people get over things like this? I feel like it isn’t normal for trauma to stick around in adults, but I simply cannot get over these things. If something shakes me enough, it sticks with me forever.
I hope every liberal who voted for Obama is paying attention. I hope every liberal who voted for Obama remembers this for the rest of his or her life.
I hope every liberal who swooned over the phrase “hope and change” is feeling as embarassed as they should be feeling right now.
Nothing about Obama’s administration has been about hope or change.
I want you to think back to 2008 when Obama was busy promising to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan. If I had told you then that only 3 short years later Obama would be launching cruise missiles against a 3rd Islamic dictatorship under guise of human rights abuses when in reality it’s about the price of oil, the last thing you ever would have done is believe me. Hell, not even I would have believed me. As much as I took Obama to be a lying politician who was more interested in being president than actually improving the country, even I didn’t think that he would go this far.
Don’t get me wrong – I am totally in favor of what he’s doing in Libya, just as I was in favor of what Bush did in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t mind going to war for oil. I like oil. And I give Obama some credit for doing what has to be done.
Let’s review his track record so far.
1) Took Bush’s terrible TARP idea and instead of reversing it, actually raised him one by passing his own TARP 2.0 that was both more expensive and less effective;
2) Pushed, passed, and signed healthcare legislation that was not only unpopular nationally but is in fact so unpopular in many US states that they are refusing to implement and suing the federal government on the basis of constitutionality. Do you like being forced to buy something, even if we all know it’s something you should have (health insurance?) I don’t. Don’t believe me that it was unpopular? Midterm 2010 results. QED.
3) In the same vein as Bush, is absent in a crisis. Only the sports team republicans think Bush did an acceptable job with Katrina, but Obama’s attempt to remain “cool” and nonchalant during crises isn’t much better. The government is on the verge of shutting down over the budget debate and Obama’s out playing golf. It doesn’t bother me, but I remember how the liberals howled and moaned every time Bush spent any time at Crawford. It’s good for the goose and the gander, kids.
4) An Islamic dictator starts turning his military against his own people to block a democratic revolution and retain his authority. Where have we heard that story before? How about in both Iraq and Afghanistan? Okay, so Saddam didn’t necessarily quell a rebellion per se, he just gassed a bunch of Kurds with VX for the hell of it and routinely tortured and executed political enemies. You might say Qaddafi’s approach to suppressing dissent is reactive whereas Saddam’s was preemptive. What does the Nobel Peace Prize laureate do to convince Qaddafi to stop bombing his own people? He launches cruise missles, of course.
Since it’s fresh on our minds, let’s focus on #4 here. I had to tolerate 5 years of liberals whining about Bush the Warmonger and lo and behold, 3 short years after The One is elected into office, he does exactly the same thing. Gas prices start to rise, the whole world panics, Obama fires cruise missiles. Would you call that blood for oil? I would.
“But… but… the SECURITY COUNCIL SAID IT WAS OK!!!” Perhaps you forgot that Bush managed to get something like 80 different nations to commit either troops or supplies to his initiatives in the Middle East. The reason Bush didn’t get a security council resolution is because both Russia and China were doing business with Saddam and they knew that channel would disappear when he was deposed, and being permanent members with veto power, of course there would be no resolution.
That’s an easy fact to ignore when you’re intent on defining a Republican president as evil because he’s a Republican.
I don’t have much respect for liberals to begin with because I think they’re fools, but after Obama’s choice in Libya, I’m giving all of the liberals I know a chance to redeem themselves. Any liberal who is willing to condemn Obama for his action in Libya – or at the very least express unhappiness that he’s making all the same “mistakes” that Bush did and that he isn’t delivering on any of his hope and change nonsense – will gain my respect. On the other hand, any liberal who can look me in the eye and convince me that he or she actually still believes that Obama represents hope and change will lose it forever. If you can be so brainless, then you have nothing to offer me.
On a related note, based on the above, I have actually gained some respect for Michael Moore. I despise everything he believes, but he is furious with Obama and I applaud him for that. He is sticking to his beliefs. He believes that war for oil was wrong in 2003 and he believes it’s wrong in 2011 and he’s not afraid to say, “you know what, this guy I voted for in 08… he’s screwing up bad.” Good for him.
For once there’s something posted on Feministing that I (sort of) agree with.
The reason that I am pro-life is because I believe abortion is used irresponsibly, as a means to correct errors in judgment or to prevent significant inconvenience in life. I am against abortion in all of those cases.
However, to ban abortion in its entirety out of principle, which is unfortunately what republican lawmakers particularly in the midwest seem to be doing, is just plain bad medicine. We have come a long way when it comes to prenatal care and a big part of prenatal care is recognizing major developmental problems very early. I trust medicine well enough to trust that when the neonatologist says the fetus has a virtually zero chance of survival and even if it survives it will have less than a 2% chance to as much as breath on its own without a machine, I think it’s criminal to tie that doctor’s hands from terminating the pregnancy if the parents want it. Forcing a woman to go through labor and hold her doomed baby in her arms and watch it die is … well, it’s honestly barbaric.
A year ago I might not have been as convinced or have used such strong language, but after living through my wife’s pregnancy and the birth of our son, the thought is horrifying. My son was a very large baby – almost 12 pounds – and my wife is a very small woman, only 5’1″. As such she endured a long labor that ultimately ended in a section, but in that time the baby decided to poop in the fluid. He was born with a suspected blood infection so to be safe he had to stay in the hospital for a week. The initial news was pretty bad for both of us, but my wife was almost hysterical. We had both been up for almost 48 hours at that point – and that includes labor and surgery for her. It was bad. But, even though it was bad, it wasn’t that bad. We weren’t concerned about the baby’s health per se - this kind of thing is pretty common and the chances of something happening were miniscule. The emotional stress would have been multiplied by a thousand if there were a real chance that he could die. They emotional stress would have been multiplied by a billion trillion if the doctor had told us that our baby had 15 minutes to live.
Someone close to me was in a situation where she became pregnant (by her husband), but very early on something went wrong and sparing the details, the baby had a very high chance of miscarriage or, if it survived, major problems (you know, like, 24×7 nursing care problems). She aborted the baby at something like 7 or 8 weeks. I don’t think she was being irresponsible. And I really don’t fault any woman for making that choice – because usually, it’s hard enough.
If any lawmakers – republican or democrat – want to pass limits on abortion, they need to limit it in the way most reasonable people want it to be limited, and that is to keep women from using abortion as birth control. Abortion has a place in woman’s health, just as opiate narcotics have a place in surgical and hospice health. Abuse of both should be illegal, but responsible use shouldn’t.
Has anyone else noticed the striking, undeniable similarity between the climate change religion and Christianity?
- Alarmists are addicted to feeling guilty about their behavior. You can’t get into a conversation with one of these people without hearing a sermon about their (and your) rampart consumerism, consumptionism, and the devastating effects that you as a Western carbon producer are wreaking on the environment every minute of your life, from the cradle to the grave (unless you do as they say, such as drive a hybrid car and recycle),
- Alarmists insist that at any moment the world is going to end due to catastrophic climate change thanks to our misdeeds – if we don’t stop burning coal right this instant, in some undetermined point in the future, the planet will turn into a scorched wasteland, and further
- Only through “sustainability” can humanity protect itself from its own impending disaster, and that
- If you are not part of the sustainability picture then you are damning the world to hell with your constant carbon dioxide pollution and your careless discarding of plastic bottles, and thus
- If you have the nerve to live in a developing country that is desperately trying to move itself out of the stone age and industrialize, if you do it by burning coal or by other non-sustainable methods, you do not deserve to industrialize, and,
- Alarmists will do everything they possibly can do to ensure that the entire planet gets on board with “sustainability” because it takes a village and only when the entire world is covered in solar panels and giant wind turbines will the climate catastrophe be averted.
Now, let’s compare some of these beliefs and attitudes to Christianity:
- Christians, in particular Cathloics, are addicted to feeling guilty about their behavior. You can’t get into a conversation with a true believer without hearing a sermon about their (and your) original sin and the fact that because you are a bad person God had to send his only son to die on the cross and that if enough sinners do enough sinning then God will smite the earth as he did many times before such as the Great Flood or at Sodom and Gomorrah. You were born a sinner and you will die a sinner (unless you live your life in the Christian way, such as performing pennance and not being homosexual),
- Christians insist that at some undetermined point in the future the world is going to end in a rather unpleasant manner – have you read the Book of Revelation lately? – and further
- Only through Christ can humanity protect itself from its own impending disaster, and that
- If you are not a Christian then you are damning the world to hell with your constant sinning, blaspheming, gay anal sex, and abortions, and thus
- If you have the nerve to be a Muslim or a Jew or homosexual and you want to live your life how you please and not be bound by secular rules defined in a book authored in a cultural era 2000 years past, you are going straight to the fiery pits of hell when you die, and,
- Christians will do everything they possibly can do to ensure that the entire planet gets on board with Christ because it takes a village and only when the entire world loves Jesus can the hellish armageddeon promised in Revelations be averted.
Really. It’s striking.
Of particular interest to me is the fact that the Climate Changers are obsessed with the idea that their own wicked ways are ruining the planet and that through abstaining from the things they really love to do – for example, to drive gasoline cars and not pay through the nose for non-polluting electricity – can they be saved. Interestingly, when you talk to most climate change whackjobs, they seem to be entirely indifferent to the fact that for every lump of coal they don’t burn, the Chinese are burning 15, and therefore nothing they can individually do will make one tiny speck of difference on a global scale. They are perfectly content to jump through hoops anyway because they are personally fulfilled in believing that they are doing their part even when basic common sense proves otherwise.
The alarmist basically believes in original sin and believes that he is a sinner and must change his sinning ways. The details are of course different because, after all, as we well know the alarmist’s beliefs are based in science and the Christian version of original sin is just a silly fairy tale about a snake and an apple, and that makes the alarmist’s sinning legitimate and rational and the Christian’s totally stupid and subject to mockery at every opportunity.
Another fascinating parallel is the alaramist’s obsession with the idea of fiery global doom. If an alarmist were to describe the end times triggered by runaway global warming, he would describe Armageddeon pretty well. It would be really hot and uncomfortable and the armies of the world would certainly meet in war over the few remaining resources left on the planet, and lots and lots of people are going to die. And the ones who survive are going to be the ones who heeded the warnings when they were given and transitioned their way of life to “sustainable” energy such as solar panels so that when the oil runs out and the crops are all dying they will still have electricity, a grey water system in their EarthShip house in Arizona, and they will know how to make terracota drinking vessels and won’t depend on plastic because plastic is the devil.
And of course, the alarmists are dogmatic. Very, very dogmatic. It’s rare that a day goes by that someone somewhere has not made some comment that would be interpreted as proselytizing if they were talking about Jesus instead of recycling or hybrid cars or “sustainability” or any one of a number of boneheadedly stupid and irrelevant eco-causes.
Now I want you to turn a page back in the history books to that evil, terrible era known as “colonialism”, a very large aspect of which were missionaries whose mission from God was to convert the savage 3rd world into the bosom of the Lord Jesus. Remember how terrible that was, and how ethnocentric, and how insensitive? Remember how fantastic the windswept prairies of North America were before the white man came and ruined the native way of life with their guns, their horses, their Christianity, and their smallpox? Remember how pure and unadultered their culture was and how the wicked colonials came through and basically forced their way of life on the Natives who, had they been left to their own devices might have progressed on their own?
Now I want you to think about what’s going on right now all over the world, where many countries, the so-called “developing world” is trying to industrialize and to their horror they find that they cannot because the rest of the world – the “developed” world which is now run theocratically by climate change alarmists – does everything it possibly can to prevent anyone on any part of the planet from lighting anything that burns on fire because it’s polluting their precious air. The alarmists are pushing their beliefs, their agenda, and their culture on the 3rd world and forcing them to do things their way, chiefly by using methods such as withholding economic support, tarrifs, fines, sanctions, and so on – essentially lording their wealth & technology over the weaker nations of the world as a means to inflict their will. Sounds awfully familiar doesn’t it? It sounds to me an awful lot like new world missionary work to spread a new world religion, in fact.
When you line them up side by side, it’s hard not to see climate change alarmists for what they are – worshippers of a new religion that is almost exactly like the one they abandoned with mildly different parameters. Instead of an invisible smiteful bearded fellow in the sky with his finger on a button, alarmists worship an invisible smiteful greenhouse gas in the sky just waiting to boil the earth alive.
I have always believed that the pervasiveness of religion, and more importantly the similiarity the major religions of the world share, is thanks to the fact that human beings need to scratch certain psychological itches. Two itches that are scratched by both Christianity and Climate Change are the desire of man to feel as though he is constantly doing terrible things and that is actions are immoral and he must therefore take action in contrast to what his religion tells him is bad to ensure that he remains what his religion calls “good”, and that a collective societal failure to do so will result in some unspeakable wrath by the one his religion tells him to fear.
And there’s another important compulsion that is satisfied by both of these religions: the need to belong to a group that is not totally inclusive. Religious people must have a group to hate. Typically, that group is anyone who doesn’t believe in the same religion that they do. Thus, because I am what they call a “climate change skeptic”, and I do not belong to the religion of climate change, I must be hated and derided, and if possible, I must be compulsed to live by their rules whether I am a believer or not, and if I resist, I must be made to suffer first. This is important, because human beings are tribal and we must feel as though we belong to ever larger tribes – our immediate family, our extended family, our community, our country, our religion, and so on. But this need to belong is not satisfied if everyone belongs, because a tribe that includes everyone is not a tribe. That is why there will always be many religions and, for example, the Islamic end-goal of converting the entire human population, is a total folly. Even among Muslims, the Shia and the Sunni split off approximately 10 seconds after Mohammed died and have been killing each other ever since. What makes them think they’ll ever succeed in uniting the entire planet?
Anyone who doesn’t see the obvious parallels between climate change and organized religion must be blind, or, as must be the case for you if you’ve just finished reading this and you still aren’t convinced, in abject denial. Did I mention that it’s important for religious people to feel righteous?
I don’t feel any more shame for ignoring the climate change alarmists than I do for ignoring Jehovah’s Witnesses or Muslims or Mormons or Evangelicals or anyone else who tries to convince me in the sanctity of their worldview, because it’s the same horse with a different name, and I’m not interested in any of them.
I have a pretty good natural alarm clock, and by this age in my life I have gotten to the point where if I decide I want to wake up at a certain time, all I need to do is will it the night before and I am usually within 20 minutes of my target. It’s a useful ability.
The only problem is that it doesn’t work very well when I’m apprehensive about something. I tend to wake up a full REM cycle (about 3 hours) before when I actually want to wake up.
I’ve just started going back to the gym after basically falling off the wagon when the baby was born, and I’m apprehensive because my ability level is literally in the toilet. 6 months ago, I could comfortably run 25 minute 5k’s. Now I can barely do a mile in 10. Anyway…
When you wale up at 4am there’s nothing on TV, except On Demand – and the pickings are slim when you have the cheapest package Comcast offers. So this morning I’ve watched a couple episodes of Ax Men.
I am not surprised by the popularity of what I am calling Blue Collar TV. If you think about the premise of the show, it’s rather ridiculous. It’s a documentary about a bunch of poorly educated rather hickish guys basically just doing their jobs. It’s like watching an 8 hour work day condensed into 46 minutes of the highlights while omitting all the incredibly boring aspects of the typical work day.
Try to imagine what an episode of a TV show based on your work day would look like. I don’t know about you, but my TV show would be incredibly dull. It’s not because my job is worse than lumberjacking – quite the contrary – but it is dull. Watching a guy who hasn’t run a 5k in 6 months sit in an office and write C# all day isn’t cool. It wouldn’t make good TV.
But honestly, when I think about it, watching a bunch of high school drop outs wrap chains around logs isn’t particularly interesting either, in and of itself. In fact it’s just as boring.
But yet, Ax Men has decent ratings and I’m sitting here watching it. Why?
Because the truth is, a great lot of us – myself included – often fantasize about doing someting dangerous and traditionally sexy like lumberjacking. It would be nice to work outside in the mountains for a change. These guys get to see and work in terrain we’d only see if we took an expensive vacation. As a man, there’s a part of me that is suppressed by practicality that secretly wishes I had a manly job like lumberjacking. Shows like Ax Men are a window into that fantasy.
It’s interesting because it both encourages the fantasy and dashes it at the same time – because while it would probably be fun to do for a couple of weeks, I’m confident that after a month I’d be begging to get back to my cushy, comfortable, high-paying office job.
The problem with manly, sexy careers is that they are only good in bursts. They say that vacations don’t need to be luxurious, that the purpose of a vacation is just to get you to do something different for a while to break the monotony. Lumberjacking would be a fun vacation from software development, but like anything, it requires a learning curve and you can’t just show up on a site and do it. Even though on TV it looks like there’s not much more to it than wrapping a steel cable around a tree trunk, there are so many thousands of subtleties that you’d only earn from years on the job that make the difference between a crew that gets stuff done and a bunch of amateurs who end up cutting off their own legs.
The problem with blue collar careers that seem fun is that like anythimg, after the novelty wears off, it becomes a job, and any kind of manual labor is just plain hard work, and the pay is not commensurate with the effort. The reason men like me pick comfortable, cerebral careers instead of manly outdoor jobs like lumberjacking is because to me, what I do is pretty easy, and I can get paid several times more than than I’d get for lumberjacking doing something easy in air-conditioned office.
Whenever people say things like, “you should do what you love,” I get kind of annoyed, because people who do what they love end up not loving it most of the time unless it offers the same basic ammenities that doing what’s easy does. I might love working in the mountains cutting down trees but I don’t love waking up at 5am, performing strenuous to grueling physical labor all day, dodging tons of on-the-job hazards that could kill or main me, working with a group of low-brow cretins whose most interesting conversation revolves around the weekend football game, and getting paid peanuts and worrying about how I’m going to afford gas for my car.
Blue Collar TV is like a type of porn for white collar guys like me. It’s a fantasy. And that’s why people watch it.
On an unrelated note, has anyone noticed that the narrator on Ax Men speaks as if he’s narrating to a geriatirc demographic with dementia?