Thursday, April 26, 2007

Missouri Sex Education

A new bill, HCS HB 1055, was just approved by the Missouri House of Representatives yesterday. There hasn't been much news coverage of this bill, and surprisingly little opinion, so I thought I'd throw my two cents on the topic into the vast void that is the interwebtubes and hopefully make at least a couple more people aware of this bill.

The short description of HCS HB 1055 states that the bill "changes the laws regarding sexual education instruction in public schools and establishes public awareness and services for alternatives to abortion programs." That seems innocuous enough. Change is good right? But further inspection of the bill reveals some not-so-desirable changes

The actual text of bill states that a sex education course should, among other things, "(3) Present students with the latest medically factual information regarding both the possible side effects and health benefits of all forms of contraception, including the success and failure rates for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; or shall present students with information on contraceptives and pregnancy in a manner consistent with the provisions of the federal abstinence education law, 42 U.S.C. Section 710;" (emphasis theirs). Really, the only word in that statement that bothers me is the "or." This leaves it up to school administrators and school boards whether the students in their charge will be presented with all the facts about safe sex and adolescent sexuality gathered by decades of medical research and thousands of medical professionals, OR if they'll simply be told, "Don't fuck each other, OK?" That seems like a pretty important "or" to me.

This optionally educational or irresponsible sex education is similar to teaching a gun safety course in which the instructor can either give the pupil a loaded weapon and tell him not to use it, or give the pupil and loaded weapon and tell him how to engage the safety, how to remove the ammunition, how to carefully store the gun, how to clean it safely, etc. The former seems ludicrous, but that is essentially what we are doing to Missouri students. We put them in small rooms for hours at a time, week after week, year after year, with peers their own age and with similar developing hormone levels. These kids are ticking time bombs of lust, powder kegs dangerously close open flame. And the solution HCS HB 1055 proposes is not to douse them with the knowledge of STDs (or STIs, or whatever they're calling them these days) or diffusing them with safe sex practices, but to scold these volatile kids, "How dare for thinking of exploding!"

HCS HB 1055 also states, "7. No school district or charter school, or its personnel or agents, shall provide abortion services, or permit a person or entity to offer, sponsor, or furnish in any manner any course materials or instruction relating to human sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases to its students if such person or entity is a provider of abortion services" (emphasis theirs). This is, of course, to prevent those lewd sex-mongers from sneaking into our students' classrooms and whispering into children's ears, "Sex.... Sex.... Don't worry about the consequences; we've got abortions for that! Just have sex! Sex...."

This is just some of the language of the bill that I found a bit disturbing. I advise everyone to read all of HCS HB 1055 for themselves (and read the summary, too). If you agree with me (and some other people) and some of the points I have made and you want to help change this bill or stop it from becoming Missouri law, I recommend you go to the Planned Parenthood Take Action page and send a letter to your local senator condemning the bill. If you don't agree with some of the points I've made and you want to make sure this bill does pass through the Missouri senate, well, I'm not sure what you can do. (Write your senator, too, I guess.) But either way, let me know what you think about HCS HB 1055 and its possible effects on Missouri students.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Invisible Bigfoot?

This Invisible Bigfoot? post on Cryptomundo (Don't ask me how I found it.) is the wackiest shit I have read it a while. I only wish that the author had intended it to be the farcical fiction that it turned out to be. But with a pitiful grin I accept that the author probably believes every pathetically humorous word.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Promises, Promises

Last week I made some blogging promises that I didn't keep. I didn't blog as often as I said I would, and about the topics that I wanted to. So, I suppose I broke my promise. I'm not too broken up about it, though. Are you?

The War

The soldiers do not want to fight. The generals think it is pointless. The leaders may be doing more harm than good, and the people often most affected are people just like you and me.

No, I'm not talking about the war in Iraq. I'm talking about a war much more close to home, one that we've been losing since we started it. I'm talking about the War on Drugs.

Drugs are dangerous. I won't deny that. But are people so irresponsible that they have to have a babysitter government tell them, "You don't know where that's been. Don't stick that in your mouth or you'll get a spanking!"

I propose that we stop this silly prohibition on drugs. We should stop going after petty drug dealers, and instead hold big drug cartels accountable. Make drugs legal, but regulate them like alcohol, nicotine, or prescription drugs. Instead of losing millions of dollars sending police officers to their deaths and keeping petty drug dealers locked up, the government could make money on drug taxes and inspection fees. I doubt the mass hysteria and anarchy – as little old church ladies imagine when they think of a nation in which "dangerous" substances are legal but controlled, and where personal responsibility reigns – would actually occur. People who would want to do drugs would probably do them. People who didn't wouldn't. No riots. No drugged-out zombie invasion. Just people doing what they've always done, only now they're paying taxes on it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


is everything
that exists a part of me,
or vice versa?


does my influence
permeate all existance?
do i have an end?

The Secret. The Lie. Same Differene

Though I have not read it, watched it, or been told it by a giggly twelve-year-old girl, I'm guessing The Secret is probably the biggest New Age, pseudo-spiritual, mind-enema to hit the best sellerslist since L. Ron Hubbard last shit on a pile of paper and called it a book. As I understand it, the titular secret is the knowledge of the "Law of Attraction," some all-powerful force that binds the things people desire to the people who desire them. This law is not something as plain as gravity, mind you. In fact, it's a law that science can't even explain. How it even became a law is anyone's guess, but a definite law of the universe it is.

Apparently, by recognizing this law and using the power of positive thinking, a person can get anything they want: a new car, a wife, a cheese grater, anything! You could probably even hold your breath for an hour or make yourself taller or cure yourself of cancer just by hoping that nasty ol' tumor will go away. All this, of course, is a giant lie. Sorry, wishes can't cure cancer.

While I'm sure there are benefits to positive thinking (having a more cheerful disposition, getting a new perspective, decreasing stress levels, etc.), I don't think that's what the phrase implies. Blindly believing some book that tells you there is a magic wishing well inside your head is not positive thinking. That's not thinking at all.

I think the main point of positive thinking is the last half, the thinking part. The power of positive thinking comes into play when a person actually uses their brain to analyze a situation. You want something? So think about it. Focus on it for a while. Find out about it. Ask yourself why you want it. Figure out the best ways to get it. Imagine what it would be like to have it. Consider the differences between having it and not having it. All this positive thinking will make you more prepared to get what you want than idle wishing.

But I suppose it's much harder to sell a book that promotes analytical thinking than it is to sell one that tells people that all they need is to think happy thoughts, sprinkle on some fairy dust, and then they can fly, they can fly, they can fly!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


It was late for a visitor, but, nevertheless, Thomas answered the door. Miranda stood at the doorway smiling. He half-heartedly smiled back and invited her into his apartment. "I just came over to see how you're doing," she said. "You seemed pretty upset earlier today."

"Yeah, well, I guess I was," he replied. He walked over to the couch and plopped down. On the coffee table in front of him there was a glass of ice and a bottle of whiskey. Thomas filled the glass halfway. He stood up and walked to his kitchen saying, "Do you want a drink?" along the way.

Miranda declined and sat down on the couch waiting for Thomas to return. "Do you want to talk about anything?" she asked.

Thomas strolled out of the kitchen. "Like what?"

"Well, you haven't said much in the past few days. And today you seemed upset about something."

Thomas shrugged.

"The other night, the woman with the long arm... You... I mean, it must..."

Thomas waited for a complete sentence.

"You killed her. I mean, it was an accident, but you killed her. That's got to be tough to deal with. You don't want to talk about it?"

Thomas was nonchalant as he took a sip from his glass. He stared at the corner of the room for a moment. "It wasn't an accident."


"It wasn't an accident. I meant to kill her."

"It was just the heat of the moment," Miranda reassured him. "You were just protecting me, protecting us."

"There was that. But also, I didn't want to just stop her. I wanted to kill her," Thomas said matter-of-factly. He looked at Miranda. Her eyebrows furled. She looked confused. "She would have killed us or someone else if given the chance. I felt bad about it at the time, and for a little while after, but I don't feel like I should regret it anymore. I killed her."

Miranda was not prepared to comfort someone who did not feel remorseful. She did feel sorry for Thomas, though. It showed on her face.

But Thomas resented her pity. "And I don't feel bad about what I did tonight," slipped out, perhaps because of the alcohol swirling through his veins.

"What did you do?"

"I got rid of a real evil that has been plaguing New City." Miranda waited for more facts. "I got rid of a crime boss and a murderer. I killed Harry "The Hammer" Kwan!" Thomas spilled some of his drink in his excitement.

"You killed him?" Miranda asked in disbelief. Thomas nodded. "But why?"

"Because he was a crime boss and a murderer," Thomas repeated.

Miranda stood up. "But you can't just go around killing people!"

"Why not? He did."

"But that's what makes us different for them. We stop crimes; we don't commit them," Miranda said.

"But how many crimes did I stop by committing just one?"

"You can't kill whoever you want, whenever you feel like it," Miranda said. She looked as thought she might cry. "It's just wrong."

Thomas shrugged and looked away. Miranda felt her chest tighten and her throat swell up. Her eyes burned. She was upset with Thomas's indifference. And disappointed.

The room was silent for a few moments. Then Miranda said, "I'm going to go." Thomas stood and turned to see her to the door, but she was already there, leaving.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Love Is Dental Hygiene

The legend goes that the toothbrush was not invented until the 1800's, many years after the widespread use of toothpaste. This is probably not true. I'm sure many toothbrush-like instruments and several toothpaste-ish concoctions were around millenia before someone decided to patent them. The fact is, though, that toothpaste and the toothbrush came about long after the need for keeping one's teeth clean was realized.

Nobody can accurately know when humans began to keep their teeth clean. I surmise it was around the time that we began to keep our hair tidy and gnaw our fingernails off. But whenever it happened, people began washing their teeth because, if they scraped gunk off the enamel or picked chunks out from between the molars or rinsed out their mouth, more of their teeth lasted longer and they were less prone to mouth infections. And people having more teeth and less disease later in life meant that they could eat more, and thus, they themselves would last longer. This is dental hygiene, but it wasn't called that then.

Fast forward many, many years later to the "invention" of the toothbrush. Here was a time when tooth care was made nearly obsolete by the miracles of the emerging field of dentistry. If someone found themselves lacking teeth, they could have a pair of dentures made and fitted. But original teeth were still valued, as well they should be, and the risk of loosing teeth was probably the same as it was many years before.

The toothbrush was "invented" not to advance tooth care, but to catch up to all the extra damage that was being done to human teeth by the increasingly corrosive and germ-attracting things people were putting in their mouths and eating. Civilization had allowed for humans to have easier access to more corrosive foods that could potentially cause more damage to their teeth. In order for a person to make their teeth last as long as they had previously, they had to take extra care of them. The toothbrush had become a necessity.

Then, sometime in the following century, it became not only necessary to keep all of your teeth, but also to keep all of your teeth looking good. Dental hygiene, as a term, was born.

But dental hygiene did not end there. Soon, it became not only necessary to have all of your teeth, but also to have all of your teeth be perfect. You had to keep them polished white as bleached bone to be considered to have good dental hygiene.

More recently, though, dental hygiene has given way to dental perfection. You must have perfectly aligned, spaced, shined, and white teeth in order to be considered to have good dental hygiene. The teeth you were born with are no longer good enough. You must straighten your teeth with retainers and braces and dye them unnatural shades of white. It is purely manufactured perfection, as fake as a porcelain white cap. This perfection means nothing, and the ideal exists only because people say it should. There is little practical advantage to having perfectly white, straight teeth, but if not striving for that goal means being ridiculed or shunned, most people opt to fit in.

There is and has always been a thing that, when applied to a relationship, makes it last better and longer. This is Love, but might not always be called that.

As civilization developed, society allowed for more caustic things to be applied to relationships: money, jobs, lifestyles, etc. A new form of bond was "invented." Love, as a term, was born.

More recently, though, Love has come to mean something inaccurately perfect, something fake and contrived. A relationship can be made to look better by being straightened and rearranged. This is what is now called Love. Love exists to the extent it does for its own sake, because people say it should. "All you need is love." "True love." "...but the greatest of these is love." "The greatest thing you'll ever learn / Is to love and be loved in return."

Love, now, is a fabrication. It has become something separate altogether from a relationship, something magical and mysterious and more desirable than the relationships it once enhanced. People now look for Love rather than a partner. It no longer matters how long the relationship lasts or how effective it is, just as long as it has the appearance of being perfect. Love, as it now defined, is a thin, brittle veneer covering a decaying tooth.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Hammer

Despite Thomas’s unpressed slacks and ineptly tied tie, the host (who more resembled a bouncer) had let him in. This was most likely due to the restaurant’s current lack of patronage. The near absence of customers was not because of the restaurant itself, but because few people, besides the two well dressed elderly couples near the back, saw fit to visit upscale restaurants at four o’clock. In fact, the restaurant had been just opening and gearing up for that evening’s business.

For hours Thomas had sat at the bar, ordering only as many rum and cokes in that course of time as to keep the bartender happy. Customers started to trickle in as the evening wore on. The dining area quickly filled up with wealthy and important-looking patrons.

Thomas made idle conversation with the bartender from time to time and had struck up an interesting dialog about the current state of the country with a man who had sat next to him for a while. For the most part, though, he stared into his glass and thought about what he’d said earlier that day: "Instead of wasting our time waiting for some ethereal evil shadow to fall over New City, or wasting our powers on stopping misdemeanors, we should be getting at the root of crime. We should be going after drug lords and crime bosses, the real evil in this city?" He waited.

Just as Thomas was starting to get a little buzzed and a little impatient, Harold Kwan, the owner of the establishment, entered the dining area and began mingling with some of the guests of his restaurant. Thomas took notice.

Even he has a cooler name than I do, Thomas thought. Harry "The Hammer" Kwan was not only a socialite and restaurant owner, but also a supposed drug runner and an alleged murderer. He had been arrested on several charges several different times, but nothing had stuck, and each time only one of his lackies had ended up being tried and imprisoned. After so much trouble with the law, Harry decided to "go straight," as he had told one tabloid a couple years ago, right before opening his restaurant. But few people believed his sudden turn to decent citizenship, least of all the local police and the FBI, who hand kept him under constant surveillance ever since. Thomas did not believe him either.

Thomas watched Harry from across the room. Harry smiled as he stepped a way from a table of two – someone who was possibly the channel 5 weather man and a young woman that Thomas at first guessed was the weather man's daughter, then, from the look of the kiss they gave each other, decided it was more likely his trophy wife or his mistress. Harry stopped at another table of two a few feet away and jovially slapped the man on back as he greeted them, an overweight, well dressed couple grazing on two small salads. Two men followed close behind Harry. They resembled the host of the restaurant in stature and demeanor, but were dressed as waiters. Thomas gazed on intently.

Suddenly, the woman sitting at the table yelped and pointed at her plate. Harry was shocked and immediately slid around the table to inspect her plate, but could find nothing wrong. The woman loudly insisted that something was wrong with her dish. Noticing that a few curious eyes from other tables were straying toward the woman and not wanting to cause a scene, Harry sternly instructed one of the waiters to take away the madame's salad and quickly bring a replacement. The waiter left in a hurry.

Thomas smiled as he watched Harry "The Hammer" apologize profusely to the couple. The man seemed happy and a little apologetic himself, but the woman continued to act indignant. Harry asked them something, perhaps what he could get for them as an apology. The two deliberated for a moment. The remaining waiter stood by patiently.

Without warning, the waiter's face changed from being calm to creased with pain. He grabbed at his head with one hand and his chest with the other. He doubled over and let out an anguished groan. Everyone at the surrounding tables looked on in confusion. Harry put his hand on the man's back and asked him something. The waiter suddenly stood straight up. He looked around himself, frightened. His eyes darted from face to face, looking for something familiar or friendly, but he found no one who understood what he was seeing. His eyes fell on Harry and he took a few scared steps backward.

Harry noticed that the strange actions of his waiter had caught the attention of nearly everyone in the room. He turned around and raised his hands to get everyone's attention. In a voice loud enough for Thomas to hear across the room, Harry said, "Please, stay calm everyone. I think Mikey here is just having a panic attack." Harry turned back around to see Mikey pulling a gun from his jacket pocket and pulling the trigger.

The back of Harry's head blew out across several tables of patrons. The accompanying gunshot was followed immediately by a chorus of screams. People scattered. Some tried to run for the exits, others ducked under their tables. The waiter who was returning with a replacement salad dove over a table and tackled Mikey to the ground, wrestling the gun from his hand.

Thomas finished his rum and coke and set his glass down on the bar. He meandered out of the restaurant, a little tipsy and a bit content.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


I haven’t been posting regularly recently. Further, I have't been posting my serial story like I promised I would. And I appreciate those who have called me out on it (Thank you, The Magster and Pancake Wrangler). It helps me to know that I am actually being held accountable for my promises.

I haven’t been particularly busy lately, but I just haven’t felt like writing. It’s the apathetics’ version of writers’ block. So, I’m going to try to jumpstart my inspiration with a solid week of blogging. From tomorrow to next Saturday, I promise I will post at least once every day, or my name isn’t Cynical McBastard (which it isn’t). I want to post at least four Superhero updates (to make up for those I’ve been missing) and a couple discussion topics Justin and I have explored recently.

In the meantime, here are some topics that I missed blogging about:

  • It was my 24th birthday a couple weeks ago. I’m too young to say I’m getting old, but I’m too old to say I’m young.
  • I went to my first wedding of the year a few weeks ago. I’ve already got three more lined up, one of which I’ll be in (i.e., the Stellar + Matt wedding extravaganza). I just need to be invited to one more wedding to break last year’s record of four weddings attended.
  • I interviewed for a new job. It sounds like it will have some to do with technical/instructional writing, but for the most part be a jack of all trades. The interesting part is that I would be working with Justin (or “under” him I should say).
  • I went to the Royals opening day game on Monday. I had a great time sitting out in the parking lot, drinking beer, and eating burgers. And the game wasn’t bad either. The sun was spitting out carcinogenic rays, the weather was calm and beautiful, and the pretty girls were out in force – it was the perfect day for baseball. Plus, the Royals actually won, so that day might actually be classified as a miracle.
  • I started working out again. I was just tired of getting winded walking up a few flights of stairs and, in general, feeling like a slug. I haven’t exercised in over a year, and by the amount of huffing and puffing and sweating I do after a quick thirty minute workout, it’s pretty evident. I’m not aiming to lose weight or build huge muscles. I just want to stop feeling listless and lazy. And to not sigh or grunt when I bend over to pick something up.

Circa Now