On best friends, Keanu Reeves, and why I was triggered by Captain Marvel (but still loved it)

Content Note: 

Death of a loved one



Hey little buddy.

Long time no see.

Or hear.

Or hang out with.

Or read new comic books with in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

So much has happened in the last decade (it’s hard to believe it has been nearly that long since I last saw you). A lot of it has been 31 flavors of awful, but not everything. There have been some bright spots. One of brightest of them has been the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It really sucks that you only got to see the big screen debut of Iron Man, back in 2008. Since then, wow, I really think you’d have been as excited as I have been, your inner comic book fan bursting at the seams. Scratch that. Your inner fan would have completely burst out of the seams and gone full scale cosplay (like you did for Where the Wild Things Are). I can easily picture you cosplaying as one of the Guardians of the Galaxy (a movie you probably would never have thought would get made, let alone be a financial and critical success) or even the Winter Soldier. Yeah, they made a GotG movie and incorporated Bucky Barnes into the MCU. They also made 3 Thor movies, 3 Captain America’s, 3 Iron Man’s, and multiple Avengers films. Hell, they even made a film about Ant-Man, which did well enough to get a sequel, Ant-Man & the Wasp. And that’s not all. Marvel got Spider-Man back (not completely, but enough so Marvel can use him in their movies). So he’s gotten incorporated into their fictional universe, with Tom Holland taking up the mantle of everyone’s favorite web-slinger in one movie thus far, with another coming this summer (in related news, following Disney’s acquisition of Fox Studios, the X-Men and Fantastic Four are back under the same house as the Avengers, though its gonna be a while before we see anything with them, according to Kevin Feige).

There are so many more surprises that you almost certainly would have loved. As a fan of animation, I think you’d have loved Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. You weren’t around to read about the debut of Miles Morales following the death of Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe.  Let’s just say he gained a sizable following and eventually made the transition from the comic book page to the big screen (albeit in animated form, which I grumbled about at first, bc HEY LIVE ACTION, but after seeing it, I’m glad they went with animated, bc that shit looked amazing). Perhaps even more surprising, not only did the Black Panther make it to the big screen in his own movie, but it became a critical and financial juggernaut that went on to make over a billion dollars. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a Black Panther film would get made, let alone be top notch, and be such a successful movie. I could copy that last sentence almost verbatim to describe my thoughts on another movie that recently came out.

Can you believe Marvel made a movie with Carol Danvers aka the first Ms Marvel aka Binary aka Warbird aka Captain Marvel? Oh crap. I forgot you weren’t around for Carol stepping up to take the title. Well, she did, and she’s done the legacy of Mar-Vell proud. And that film she starred in? Like Black Panther, Captain Marvel broke a billion dollars (and counting). And just as Black Panther shattered long held beliefs about the viability of a movie with a Black lead (to say nothing of a virtually all Black cast), Captain Marvel showed Hollywood and the world that a movie with a woman as the lead character–a superhero movie at that–can be box office smash and receive acclaim around the world.

Living where I do now, it’s not easy to get out to see any movies. After wrecking my car back in 2013, I haven’t been in the financial position to get another one. I moved from Pensacola to a small town outside of Panama City, Florida. It’s one of those “wonderful” Southern cities that plasters confederate flags everywhere (as if a bunch of white supremacist, anti-American traitors deserve to be honored). I moved out here with my aunt and cousin (great aunt, technically) to get my bearings and try to get back on my feet. Thankfully, my cousin allows me to use her car on occasion, so I’m not stuck in this house. This city is verrrry small. There’s something like 3000+ people living here. We have 2 convenience stores (one just opened up a few weeks back), 2 dollar stores, and 2 small town supermarkets.  Buncha churches too. No gym. No swimming pool. One small bar with weird hours and a dart machine that doesn’t work. There’s just really not much here. For the first few years, I worked in Panama City, driving 45 minutes to and from work 5-6 days a week. Things were on their way to stabilizing when BAM, last July, the restaurant I’d been bartending and managing at (Bennigans) closed down. We had a feeling it was coming, but it still sucked. As if to add to the suckery, the vehicle my cousin was letting me use–a 2003 Dodge Ram (with a HEMI)–started acting up and becoming unreliable, so using it to travel back and forth to Panama City on a regular basis became untenable. That left me struggling to figure out what to do for work in this town that has precious little available.

Then Mother Nature decided the least of my worries was finding a job. On October 10, Hurricane Michael hit.  It was a catastrophic hurricane that straddled the line between a Category 4 and 5. We live 24 miles from Mexico Beach, which was ground zero. The hurricane decimated this region.  By January of this year, the death toll in Florida was 47. The damage of course was in the billions. There were no deaths as far as I know in this town, but there was a metric fuckton of damage. We sustained surprisingly little damage. My aunt’s home lost some shingles off the roof and some vinyl siding. And some trees were uprooted, while others were nearly snapped in half by winds over 150 mph. But the structure of the home was fine. There were no leaks and no substantial damage. Of course the power was out. 17 days with no power really is not fun. Relief efforts came quickly, supplying food and water for the community. We had two generators so we could charge laptops and cell phones (though no carriers were up and running in the days immediately following the hurricane so we had no way to tell people were ok and vice versa). More importantly, we could keep our refrigerators cold. By the beginning of November, things slowly returned to normal, but the job situation hasn’t. There’s just not enough opportunities for anything in this town and without a reliable vehicle, I’m pretty much stuck.

But enough of that.

Last week, I had the opportunity to see Captain Marvel. The only movie theater left after the hurricane is almost exactly an hour and a half away from us (which is one reason I don’t go to the movies very often). I know this bc–and if you were here, you’d laugh, bc you know how I am–the movie played at 3:30 and I left the house at 2:05. I arrived at the ticket stand at 3:24. Of course, having been a manager in a movie theater, you know that I wouldn’t have missed the movie, since previews go for like 20 minutes. I grabbed my popcorn, a hot dog, and drink ($24–geez; but you always told me that theaters make their money on the concession stand items), found the seat I’d picked out (it’s still weird to me that we get to select our seats) and settled in. And by settled in, I mean, got reeeeeeeeeally comfortable. These weren’t the old school theater seats. They were the luxury seats. Very comfortable. Soft. Wide. No cramped spaces. Quite nice.

A few hours later, the movie finished and I rushed to my car. I had to get there before the waterworks came. I held them back during the movie with ease bc I was distracted by the film. With it over, the emotional turmoil that I’d kept a lid on was boiling over and I didn’t want to be a crying mess as I walked out of the theater. The walk to the car seemed to take forever. When I finally got there, the dam burst. In a million years, I never would have thought a Marvel movie would trigger me, but Captain Marvel certainly did.

Continue reading “On best friends, Keanu Reeves, and why I was triggered by Captain Marvel (but still loved it)”

On best friends, Keanu Reeves, and why I was triggered by Captain Marvel (but still loved it)

The world just got a little darker

A demagogue with the emotional maturity and temperment of a child sits in the Oval Office, wielding the power that comes with the highest office in this nation, but lacking the desire to use that power to improve the quality of life for those less fortunate than him. With a moral code and ethical core that centers himself over everyone else, his only concerns are how he can best enrich himself (and with no concern about the legality of his plans, nor their impact on the lives of the ~330,000,000+citizens of the country he is accountable to).

America’s favorite fictional African-American doctor, who spend decades entertaining some with his humor and wit, while terrorizing others with his predatory, misogynistic behaviors (and simultaneously chastising African-Americans for not being respectable enough)  received a 3-10 year sentence for one of a litany of crimes he committed against scores of women during his time in Hollywood. Even if he is given the full sentence, it is barely a fraction of what he truly deserves. I hope the only time I hear of him again is when it is reported that he died in prison, where he belongs.

Yesterday, on Capitol Hill, a woman spoke about her sexual assault and a nation listened. Recounting the events of a horrific night more than 30 years ago, Dr Christine Ford testified that she feared she was going to be raped by the man who is now within spitting distance of becoming the next judge on the Supreme Court. Fighting against anxiety, she laid bare her soul in front of a group of old, white men whom she knows have no sympathy for the violence she faced (to them, sexually harassing, sexual assaulting, and raping women are rites of passage all boys go through and are behaviors that are intrinsic to all human males). Standing on the shoulders of Anita Hill and countless other women, I suspect Dr Ford knew the male politicians before her were not guided by the pursuit of truth or a desire for justice. Living in a patriarchal society, especially one with the high levels of sexualized violence as we have, it’s probably difficult to not see that men like these hunger for more and ever greater power. More influence. More control over a nation they feel is slipping through their hands. And of course in this specific case, Congress has already established that they don’t care if 45’s SCOTUS nominee is a rapist or not. They won’t lose a single moment’s rest.

Since he became President, it seems like the nation is going through one crisis after another, with no time to rest, relax, on engage in necessary self-care. I’ve felt like that since January of last year. The last week and a half have seemed worse, with people–especially victims and survivors of sexual assault–having difficulty keeping up with breaking news. Not because they are uninterested, but rather because so often the news triggers memories of their assault. On top of that, for many people who use social media as their primary or only way to interact with friends, article after article is being shared and spread and talked about, making it difficult for people to socialize positively and without stress.

Into all of that came a gut punch today. It was as if some great cosmic force enjoys watching us suffer and wants to watch us break, because in addition to everything occurring around the nation, many of my friends and I found out that a dear friend had died. While reading through my Facebook feed is not anxiety inducing or triggering as it is for many other people, I have been a bit on edge lately. Even still, I wasn’t prepared for the ton of bricks that hit me when I just happened to see what I thought was a random post from a friend. As I sat there reading that post, the tears just started flowing and the ability to deal with anything went dormant as fuck. But I couldn’t stay silent. He was my friend and I had to say something, so I did.  And I’m glad because doing so helped me focus not on the extinguishing of a bright, passionate light in the world, but on the fact that that bright, passionate light existed and touched the lives of others:

Continue reading “The world just got a little darker”

The world just got a little darker

An interesting concept might make this chore less taxing


Never was a fan of them. Not as a child. Nor as an adult. Can’t say I even like the word, which brings to mind unpleasant tasks that no one wants to do. Sadly, they need to be done by someone, and when you’re a kid staring at those $1.25 comics you want to buy or the cool new Transformers you want, suddenly, you become a bit more willing to mow the lawn. Or wash dishes. Or clean the car. Or vacuum the living room.  Willing, yes. Thrilled? Not so much.

Throughout my life, I’ve done a fair amount of chores, both as a child living with my parents and sister, as well as an adult living with roommates or extended family (as I am now). I still really don’t *like* doing chores, but as I’ve aged, I recognize that they need doing, and as someone who contributes to messes in the home, or who benefits from living in the residence, it is my job to contribute to maintenance.  I’m fine with that (though I miss the days of being paid for doing them). It is what it is. There is one chore that I typically avoid, bc it is one that taxes me the most.


It’s not washing the dishes, cleaning my room, or folding clothes. It’s not even mowing the lawn (though this one comes close, as my aunt’s home sits on a huge plot of land, which I thankfully don’t have to mow any longer).

No, for me, this chore is wholly mental.  It’s taxing bc of the amount of time it takes to complete. Depending on the length of time it takes to complete, it can take a week or even months. Hell, sometimes I’ve just given up and tossed the book to the side and never gone back to it.

You read that right:  reading is a chore.

Continue reading “An interesting concept might make this chore less taxing”

An interesting concept might make this chore less taxing

A trip down memory lane

“If you could be straight, would you?”


I was asked that question many years ago. I was in my 20s, I think. I don’t remember who asked me, but I think it was a co-worker. How was I to answer that? At the time, I had been out of the closet for several years. Anyone who knew me to any degree knew I was gay. To the outside world, I was an out, proud gay man. And yet. And yet. My answer was ‘yes’. If could have chosen right then and there to be a heterosexual man, I would have switched my sexuality. Or if I could have reached back into my mother’s womb while I was developing, I’d have altered something to ensure I came out heterosexual. This was almost two decades before I knew anything about heterosexual privilege. Even with that, I was aware that straight people had it easier in life than gay people. I knew that if I were straight, I wouldn’t have grown up feeling so isolated and so alone. And I wouldn’t have had to experience one of the most upsetting events of my life.

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A trip down memory lane

Internalizing cultural messages

Over on Facebook, “Opinion Vlogger, Children’s Illustrator and Thrift Store Addict”  Kat Blaque, posed the following question:

So I need your opinion. I have mine, but I want yours:
Do you think people who actively say that they don't date members of their own race have issues with self hate?

Because I’m so well known for expressing myself succinctly, my response to Kat was a few concise sentences.

Ok, maybe it was a bit more than a few sentences. Ok, fine. It was a lot of sentences. Sue me. I’m still working on concise. Anyways, here’s the response I left:

Continue reading “Internalizing cultural messages”

Internalizing cultural messages

Thoughts on life

Growing up, I always believed there were things you were just supposed to do. When I was a teenager, I believed that the proper path in life was to finish high school, attend and graduate college, and find a career. Along the way, I thought that find a girlfriend, settle down, get married, and have kids was to occur concurrently with the pursuit of education and a career. For me though, that path in life had some significant speed bumps. For one thing, I wasn’t one of those high school kids who knew what he wanted to do with life. Even in my senior year of high school, I still had no clue what college major I wanted to declare. I had no clue what career field I wanted to enter, nor what job I wanted to have after college. Many would argue that such things aren’t necessary to know as a senior in high school, and looking back with hindsight, I agree. But as a teenager surrounded by others who had their lives planned out, and living in a society that pushes the message of the one true and proper path in life, I felt that it was important to plot the course of my life. That I couldn’t was a bit frustrating. Adding to that, and perhaps more significantly, was the inner turmoil I was going through as I tried to come to grips with my sexuality. I did not come out of the closet until roughly 20. But even when I was closeted and trying hard to be heterosexual, I didn’t have any urge to get married to a woman one day, even as I knew that the rules in our culture say that’s exactly what I was supposed to do. The thought of marrying a woman literally wasn’t anything I saw in my future. Nor was the thought of having children.

It took me time to realize there isn’t one true path in life that everyone can, will, or should follow.

As I drifted through my 20’s, I took several jobs in the service industry, dropped out of college (because I still didn’t know what I wanted to major in, let alone do for the rest of my life), and began dealing with my sexuality. While I knew I was never going to marry a woman, I began to change my outlook on kids. I began to want children. I don’t really know the reasons why. I’m sure there was a cultural component to it. After all, I grew up in a society where it was expected for men and women to get married and have kids. That cultural narrative of the family was (and still is) reinforced throughout society. No matter the reason, the desire was there. Of course there’s a lot more to having children than saying “I want kids” and for all that the desire was there, I never reached a point where having them was a serious consideration.

For one thing, I wanted to be in a stable field before I became a parent. I didn’t want to rely on the highly erratic nature of the service industry as a parent looking to provide for his family. In addition, I wanted biological children and I had no idea how I’d go about it. Just as important-I didn’t want to raise a child by myself. I didn’t think for a second that a family consisting of one parent and one or more children was “lesser” or inadequate (and I still don’t). I felt (and still feel) that single parent families are every bit as legitimate as families with differing makeups. But for me, I felt (and continue to believe) that a two-parent household (regardless of the gender of the parents) made for the ideal scenario with which to raise a child. And since I’ve never had a relationship last longer than 3 months (and as of this writing, I’ve been single for 13 years), any thoughts of having kids were academic at best. Even now, as I approach 40 (hello there December 16, you’re creeping up fast) I still want kids, though the prospect becomes dimmer and dimmer as I get older. One thing has changed in the last decade: I think adoption is a better option. There are so many children around the country (and the world) without homes. Without caring families. Without the love that children desperately need. And I think I have that love to give. I think I could be a father and I hope to be one day.

Thoughts on life

Expressing myself

I was being watched.

Not because I was in the midst of performing the mundane task of pouring soft drinks for a table of guests. No-I was being watched by staff members at work because in addition to dispensing a Coke and a sweet tea, I was moving energetically and rhythmically. I was dancing. And I had a captive audience. It was in this moment that I had an epiphany.  “I was wrong all those years ago” I thought.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is actually a story that encompasses most of my life and reaches back to my childhood years.

It all began with the creation of my first superhero, the Vacuum-Cleaner Man. Not exactly the most awe-inspiring or fear-inducing name for a superhero, but then, I was only 5 or 6 years old when I created him. Inspired by the amazing Spider-Man, the V-CM was one of my earliest attempts at exploring my artistic side. If I recall correctly (my long-term memory is spotty at times), I designed him with the help of my maternal grandmother (who passed away in the late 90’s; miss you and love you Grandma Greene).

As I got older, I began to collect comic books and became fascinated with copying my favorite characters using tracing paper. Eventually, this led me to try my hand at freehand drawing, though I was hamstrung by my ignorance of anatomy and physiology (leading to some interestingly designed characters). In time, and for reasons I no longer recall, I lost interest in drawing (though I continued to create my own comic book characters and even tried my hand at world-building–the less said about that the better). Since then, I’ve had little interest in returning to the drawing board, so I suspect that was a phase I was going through.

While I no longer had an interest in drawing and thought my days as an artist were over, I did develop an interest in another activity-dancing. Upon turning 21, I became a regular fixture at local gay bars in the small Alabama town of Huntsville, where I could frequently be found on the dance floor. For years, my idea of fun on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night was going to Upscale or the Vieux Carre (or Connections and the Chute in Nashville, TN) and dancing my ass off for hours.I could stay on the dance floor an hour, an hour and half, even two hours straight, pausing only to chug some water or use the restroom. On the dance floor, I felt alive and vibrant, while simultaneously relaxed and at peace. Dancing became an outlet for me-a way to de-stress and temporarily forget any problems or frustrations going on in my life.

When I first started dancing, I danced freestyle. That changed in the early 00s, with the release of the instructional video Darren’s Dance Grooves, by choreographer Darren Henson.

I have fond memories of relocating the living room furniture of my apartment to provide space so that I could practice the moves taught in the video. As I became more skilled, I incorporated moves into my own personal style, which I then brought to the dance floor on weekends. Expanding beyond Henson’s video, I sought out concert videos by artists like N’Sync, 98 Degrees, Madonna, Janet Jackson, and more. The expertly choreographed moves demonstrated by these performers further assisted me in honing my dancing abilities. Don’t get me wrong, though. I was no professional dancer, nor did I ever aspire to be one. For all that I derived much enjoyment from dancing (as well as knowing that I was entertaining others), it was a hobby and nothing more.

Or so I thought.

I no longer think that.

That epiphany I spoke of earlier? The one I had in the wake of my spontaneous dance-fest? For some unknown reason, I had long thought of art as something done by painters, photographers, graphic designers, or sculptors. I never thought of dancing as a form of art (and never bothered to try typing “definition of art” into that newfangled Google thingee). But it is indeed art (performance art, in fact). That moment of clarity made me realize how wrong I was all those years ago:  while I may have lost my desire to draw, I never stopped being an artist.

Expressing myself

Minor annoyances

Have you ever like, used the last roll of toilet paper and like, did not replace it?

Are you, like, one of those people who doesn’t like, use a turn signal while driving?

Like, has the word ‘irregardless‘ ever, like, escaped your lips?

Do you like, use the word ‘like‘ far too often in a sentence like it’s going out of style and like, you feel the need to use it, like, as much as possible?

If so, congratulations! You’re* actions have probably annoyed someone around you and made them declare (to themselves or others) “That’s my biggest pet peeve!”

Ah, pet peeves. Those minor annoyances that irritate some people more than others. Declaring something to be your pet peeve can often cause others to stare at you with a puzzled look. So prepare your best puzzled face dear reader, for I am about to unleash four, count ’em-four-of my pet peeves (in no particular order of importance):

  • If you’ve ever been to a supermarket, you’ve probably seen (or even demonstrated) this pet peeve of mine-shopping carts left in parking spots. I’m fairly certain that every supermarket I’ve been to has a cart rack. Those racks exist for one reason-to provide a proper place to leave your cart because shopping carts don’t belong in parking spaces. Vehicles do. Double extra bonus points if you leave your cart in ‘the perfect parking spot‘. The ‘perfect spot’ is that parking space you really want when it’s too cold to be outside long. Or when it’s raining. And no, I don’t leave my carts in parking spaces.
  • Speaking of shopping carts…can I just say I hate Wal-Mart shopping carts? I don’t like Wal-Mart for several reasons. I would prefer not to shop there. Ever. Unfortunately, there are times when I have to, and some of those times I have to use a cart for my purchases. With all the money Wal-Mart has, why can’t they get shopping carts that aren’t fucked up? Wheels spinning incessantly and noisily. Constant loud clanking of the wheels as you wander through the store. That one wheel that doesn’t spin. So. Damn. Annoying. This is a long-time pet peeve.
  • My next pet peeve (another one that has annoyed me for a long time) will be familiar to front-of-the-house restaurant employees-the person at a table of two or more who wasn’t paying attention when you listed the side items, the salad dressings, or the available soups. Triple extra bonus points for the person (or persons; sometimes multiple people are being inattentive) who not only wasn’t paying attention to you the first time…they also were not attentive when you repeated yourself. I experience a variation of this pet peeve every day (no exaggeration) at my current job. I’m a bartender at a Mexican restaurant, and two of the five side items we offer are refried beans and black beans. After listing the side items and making it a point to mention that we have two kinds of beans, I frequently receive the following response:  “I’ll have rice and beans.”  Sometimes I just want to facepalm right then and there.
  • Another restaurant related pet-peeve of mine is when employees don’t replace the paper towels when they used the last of the roll. I’m very big on keeping my hands clean-as should anyone in a restaurant who handles food or drinks-so I make use of hand-washing sinks frequently. I have to admit that sometimes I get tired of washing my hands, but that doesn’t stop me from doing so. Any annoyance I have with washing my hands pales in comparison to the very real need for me to do so. The health of the patrons is of utmost importance, so even when I wish I didn’t have to, I still wash my hands.  When I do, I want paper towels to dry my hands off with!

These are just a handful of the minor irritations that rise to the level of pet peeves for me. What are some of yours?

*That was deliberate.

Minor annoyances

Someone tell Jesus to stop kissing people

One bright summer day in the late 80s, teenage-me was faced with a dilemma: how best to get home. I stood there, at the top of the hill leading to the swimming pool, weighing my options. There were a fair amount of trees along the hill, but not so many that I couldn’t safely navigate. Besides, if things got hairy, I could simply apply the brakes on my bicycle and slow myself down. There was another route (one that didn’t involve hills or trees) I could have taken to leave the pool, but this one was shorter. Which made it the better choice, of course (at least to my then-teenage mind). As I hopped on my bicycle and began the downhill journey, I began to question if I was being wise or foolish (definitely foolish). Shortly after beginning my descent, I realized I was going faster than I wanted. No problem I thought. Bike brakes, remember? Of course to function properly, bike brakes need brake pads that are not worn. Mine were very, very worn. Panic set in. My speed was increasing, and I couldn’t think of a way to stop that didn’t involve some pain and suffering. My panic diminished when I saw a ditch at the base of the hill. A ditch with a bridge spanning it. If I could make it to the bridge safely, I’d be in the clear. So I aimed for the bridge. Unfortunately, I missed and my bike (with me still on it) careened into the ditch. When my bike fell, I fell with it. As my bike skidded across the concrete ditch, so did my body. I still have the scars on the left side of my body from that accident. I remember that the experience was painful.

Despite what I had just experienced, I was able to pick myself up and drag myself home. I don’t recall the look on the faces of my parents, but I imagine it was that panicked look most parents get when they learn that their child has been injured. Let me be clear though: those injuries…the pain I was in…the suffering I experienced? It was all minor. No limbs were lost. There was no significant blood loss. I had no life-threatening injuries. Nonetheless, it still qualifies as an experience involving pain and suffering. According to the late, not-so-great Catholic icon Mother Theresa, experiences such as mine-while awful-are ultimately a good thing:

One day I met a lady who was dying of cancer in a most terrible condition. And I told her, I say, “You know, this terrible pain is only the kiss of Jesus — a sign that you have come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you.” And she joined her hands together and said, “Mother Teresa, please tell Jesus to stop kissing me.”

The message is clear: pain and suffering are the path to Jesus. Uh-huh. At the time of my accident, I was still a believer (it took nearly a decade before I came to recognize the error of my ways and rejected religious nonsense). Nevertheless, I think my teenage-self would have preferred to avoid that kiss, thank you very much.

The idea that human suffering should be passively accepted or held up as a glorious part of the human experience (and thus, nothing we should try to alleviate) is a repulsive idea to me. I don’t like pain. I’d venture to say that the majority of people living on this planet don’t like pain. If it can be avoided, we humans often do. Because pain hurts. As for suffering, who the hell wants to be deprived of food, air, water, or shelter? Who wants to lead a solitary life with no interaction with other human beings? Who wants to be subjected to malnutrition, starvation, or disease? While the odd human here or there might say they like to suffer, I think it’s safe to say that the overwhelming majority of human beings don’t like to suffer. Sadly, the Catholic Church-that self-proclaimed bastion of morality that claims to have the best interests of humanity at heart-continues to disagree:

Jesus Sahagun, from Valladolid, has been charged with several offences including gender violence and causing injury and mistreatment.

The events began in 2012 when the girl’s parents asked for Sahaguns help because they believed Satan had possessed their daughter.

She was then subject to 13 exorcisms, in which she was repeatedly tied up and had crucifixes held over her head.

The girl’s aunts and uncles complained to police after the teenager tried to commit suicide.

In a statement in court, the girl’s parents said the Priest was aware their daughter was suffering from anorexia but that he told them the exorcisms would not interfere with her treatment.

In an interview with El Mundo newspaper in 2014, Sahagun said the exorcisms were necessary because the girl was “possessed by the devil.”

“The young woman’s suicide attempt was not a result of the exorcisms practiced on her,” he said.

Sahagun also defended exorcisms as “a religious practice maintained as part of the Church’s tradition, as a right available to all the faithful.”

While the causes of anorexia nervosa are not known, I think it’s reasonable to reject any supernatural hypothesis, bc hey, there’s no evidence for the existence of any supernatural beings (whether godlike or demonic). Before one more exorcism is performed, the Catholic Church should be made to prove the existence of their particular flavor of deity, as well as the existence of demons. They should also have to prove that demons can and do possess humans, and how they know this to be true. Finally, they ought to be required to demonstrate the efficacy of exorcisms. Until they do so, they should be forbidden from engaging in exorcisms, on penalty of prosecution. They should not get a free pass to engage in practices that contribute to human suffering simply because they are a religious organization.

That’s how things ought to be. Pity that’s not the way things are. They get to continue engaging in exorcisms and other actions that, rather than ameliorating human suffering, exacerbate it. Actions like installing a watering system to keep homeless people from sleeping in cathedral doorways:

The cathedral, at Geary and Gough, is the home church of the Archbishop. There are four tall side doors, with sheltered alcoves, that attract homeless people at night.

“They actually have signs in there that say, ‘No Trespassing,’” said a homeless man named Robert.

But there are no signs warning the homeless about what happens in these doorways, at various times, all through the night. Water pours from a hole in the ceiling, about 30 feet above, drenching the alcove and anyone in it.

The shower ran for about 75 seconds, every 30 to 60 minutes while we were there, starting before sunset, simultaneously in all four doorways. KCBS witnessed it soak homeless people, and their belongings.

“We’re going to be wet there all night, so hypothermia, cold, all that other stuff could set in. Keeping the church clean, but it could make people sick,” Robert said.

The water doesn’t really clean the area. There are syringes, cigarette butts, soggy clothing and cardboard. There is no drainage system. The water pools on the steps and sidewalks.

A neighbor who witnessed the drenching told KCBS, “I was just shocked, one because it’s inhumane to treat people that way. The second thing is that we are in this terrible drought.

Yes, that is an inhumane way to treat other humans (and hey, what about those alleged teachings of Jesus that Catholics claim to follow) but if you put on your Think Like Mother Theresa Hat, it makes sense. Homeless people being drenched in water? Facing hypothermia? Kicked out of one of the few areas that provides some shelter? Yeah, that’s suffering, but what are you complaining about? You just got kissed by god!

Someone tell Jesus to stop kissing people

Oh brother

Thanks to one of the readers of this blog, I’ve discovered that the images on the post ‘My furry four legged companions‘ are borked (sigh…I’m sure that’s not the only post I’ve made with that problem). For those interested in seeing pics of my cats, here’s one of Cassie, one of Kayta before she lost weight, and one of Kayta after she lost weight. As for the dogs, here’s an awesome pic of Krystal, and here’s one of Sham (who is really my roommates’ dog, but I care for him like he’s mine).

Oh brother