Order Animalia

A friend posed a thought on Facebook about religion and how some judge others for their beliefs and how that just makes no sense. Here are my thoughts.

People are animals…. I am not being derogatory here. I mean that literally. Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Class Mamalia, Order Primate, etc. etc. this is also not to say humanity is not special as we developed or were gifted intellectual properties not seen heretofore on the planet up to now. As animals, however, we are heir to certain problems.

Animals are subject to fear based prejudices instinctively. It keeps the apes with the apes, the ants with the ants, and whales with the whales. This doesn’t mean a lion can’t befriend a field mouse, but it does mean they probably won’t mate and the mouse might, out of good sense (from an evolutionary standpoint) might steer clear. Humans, having that big old intellect, tend to name things and define them and over process them until instinct becomes emotion and fear becomes hate. It degenerates into “Your belief is different than mine.” or “Your skin is the wrong color.”

When you take instinct and twist it with emotion, you start to see things. The afore mentioned Lion will protect his patch of Savannah because he needs his genes out there. We don’t anymore as we are now technologically apex predators over populating and eating our way out of house and home but, since we’re animals, we still feel that drive. We call it love or lust or we put rules about it in books making sure we pursue the drive to distance ourselves from the animals we really are. “Be fruitful and multiply” my ass. It was an excuse to mate in a time we needed to be mating to ensure our success but because we get all weird about stuff with our big brains, we had to make it a divine directive. We had to make it ok. We had to justify instinct. That’s a problem other animals don’t have.

Once the “dominant class” (ie those in power) amongst us documented all these rules, regulations, justifications, and subjugations for their benefits into these laws and said, at first, the laws were given by the ancestors, then by the spirits of the earth, then by gods, then by God and all the while, they did it without malice. See, that’s animal instinct too. You have to, as an animal, ensure you are on top. The problem, again, is that big ol’ brain working over time to drive wedges, to label and control, to compartmentalize not only society and how we react to each other, but to maintain an order that will keep the species going. That may be counter intuitive given the number of religious and ideological conflicts that have come close to wiping us out, but humanity is like a fever…. we burn hot and quick.

The point is, no one is right. We’re all just a bunch of Order Animalia, Class Mamalia, Genus Homo, Species Sapiens who think too much, like to feel good, hate to exert ourselves too much unless it gets us where we want to be to feel more good things and all the while our brains dictate how we see the order of the universe. We’re seeing that order through meat colored glasses and until we shed the physical, utilize our free will and really search without bias, live the way we want the world to be and stop trying to make it how we want it, we;re going to continue to bicker about thees and thous, and who is right and who is wrong. Spoiler alert… we’re all wrong. I mean no disrespect to any religion, faith, or path one might choose to walk.

Be the lion with the mouse. Accept each other instead of eating each other and we will find peace.

LGBTQ Rights Infringed Upon at Southwood Highschool

I am not one to jump on band wagons or rush to the aid of a cause…. usually. But let me tell you a story –

I have had friends an relatives die in drunk driving accidents and when I was a kid, I wanted to do something about it. I started the Student’s Against Drunk Driving groups at Southwood High School in Shreveport Louisiana. With the aid of Mr. White, the sophomore councilor and a few teachers, we held events, went on trips, raised awareness, and even got the media involved. We made a noise and made a difference. This was 1991 – 1993

Fast forward to now… 2018. I saw a Facebook post about my former high school and I get angry. Apparently, Mr Roberts, the principle at Southwood is not allowing a transgender student, Kami Pham, dress in women’s clothing in the yearbook photos or walk with her senior class as a young woman. A call went out, thank you MIchael, to have people write to Principle Roberts – jroberts@caddoschools.org – directly or to sign the petition at change.org

I did both – Below is the email I sent Mr. Roberts for what it’s worth.

Good morning Mr. Roberts,

My name is Palmer. I graduated from Southwood in 1993, founded a S.A.D.D. chapter there, and enjoyed my time there as a student. It was a shock when I heard this morning that your administration, and not to put too fine a point on it, you yourself were not affording a transgender student the same respect and right of expression I was allowed when I was a student there.
I understand completely your probable point of view; the “What If” scenarios that you might have been presented with or are imagining might be a bit extreme. I can also see the “slippery slope” argument of “if this / then that” that you might be forming but let me put it this way – This young lady, Kami Pham, was unfortunately born with a different sex organ than she should have been. She’s not asking to come to school dressed as an animal, nor is she concealing her identity, nor is she being provocative in any way.
I know the cost would be too great to reprint yearbooks, but for God’s sake, the sake of decency, the sake of the promises you made to yourself as an educator and the students you serve in that capacity, let this poor girl walk with her class mates in a manner she feels comfortable and let her make the memories we all have.
It goes beyond embarrassing photos of our youth. I am sure you as I regret a lot of photos from childhood like dated clothing, hairstyles, etc. easily dismissed. For a trans gender person later in life, a childhood photo of a transgender woman as a boy in her youth can be disheartening and a reminder that she was not allowed to be themselves once. Kami has a right to look back at her high school photos and a video of her graduation and see the young woman she was and remember how she was allowed to express herself.
Regardless of how I feel, how Kami feels, or even how you feel personally, protect your student and her future and allow her to be who she is, just for a little while, as she walks with her class.
Thank you

What would you do for your Democracy?

I don’t want to be involved with my Democracy. Sure, I like it’s benefits and I believe in democratic process. I just like to not get ground up in the machine. I made a list of how I’m going to be a better steward of Democracy at the limited level I want to be involved with it. Here’s that list.

  1. I own a firearm, but would gladly register it, get a license and any training required to achieve that license. I will not own an “assault” style tacti-cool semi or full auto rifle. I don’t feel the need to over compensate for anything. I prefer bolt action anyway.
  2. I will not affiliate, associate, or otherwise engage with a group of individuals, organized or social, who profess the virtues of freedom and liberty or even equality just to hide behind rhetoric of hate or separatism. It’s great to want to make america great again, but what are you saying about it’s current status? Wasn’t it great already?
  3. I will fact check my loathing. Just because it’s on the internet does not mean it is true and I will make sure it is before I believe it arbitrarily. It’s easy to believe something terrible about someone you regard as human garbage, but I think you still have to know if what is posted about them in the media or online is true.
  4. I will engage only so far with someone who can’t see the middle and will otherwise keep my mouth shut. I don’t care which side you’re on as long as you’re willing to see the other side and debate your position with regards to the middle. A level playing field is the only way anyone will win. Winning, by the way, means compromise.
  5. I will understand most fear and hate are based on ignorance and will not tolerate that ignorance. Instead I will strive to correct that ignorance to a point (see #4). If that gets me hated, so be it. Hate actually comes from the same place as love…. it’s the same energy. Just ask a hippy.
  6. I will see myself in my leaders and repair those things I see in myself that disgusts me about them. Ask yourself why you dislike someone. You might have something in common with them. Any person you come into contact with can be a mirror and a force for positive change.
  7. I will continue to be the voice of the middle discarding emotion and outrage and focus on and offer up ideas for how things can be made better in the middle ground. You have to build somewhere.
  8. If I ever have any, I will throw money at the right politicians to get them to change their minds in favor for a solution that benefits the most people. It seems to work for big Pharma and the NRA, it will work for normal people too. Bribery is bribery so let’s call lobbyists what they are.
  9. I will not bow to mob mentality. Just because a lot of people, even people I love and care about, say it doesn’t make it true until I’ve researched it and found out the actual truth. Stop believing the filtered crap and opinionews you see on the popular internet and television sources and become your own news aggregate to find the wheat in the chaff.

You don’t have to follow any of these rules. Heck, you don’t have to listen to anything I have to say about anything which is the beauty of being an individual. As a human being who is not a sociopath, you DO have an innate moral obligation to help the tribe. Remember the person you’re arguing with, while they might be coming from a place of fear, ignorance, bad childhood, or just selfishness, might still be thinking they’re protecting the tribe or at least their small part of it. Learn empathy, something that seems to be lacking these days, and take yourself out of the equation, step into their shoes, and then see their point before making yours. It might go a long way to changing their mind and your own.

Another one? Didn’t I just talk about this?

I just posted about this. What is going on?

Yet another shooting and another flood of Face Book posts, Tweets, and Snap chats about the evils of guns and gun owners. I have said in the past that the person who owns the gun is the problem, not the gun. While it is true that if you remove the gun, a person can’t shoot it, but to the normal and mentally healthy gun owner that’s like pulling out a dog’s teeth to keep it from biting. I’m not saying that’s 100% rational, but think about why most gun owners purchased their guns and who owns them.

According to the Pew Research Center, a bout a third of American’s own firearms. In 2013, Pew documents that eighty percent of those gun owners own them for hunting and for self defense. Those people would argue their rights to defend themselves or to provide food for their families without having to rely on farms or big industries. That only leaves eighteen percent of gun owners owing guns for recreational use. The other 18% own guns because they can and that’s where I feel the problem lies. Why own something that can kill without a clear reason to own it?

With regards about the most recent school shooting in Florida, the gun most assuredly was not the problem. Granted, he bout it at 18 with zero training. On top of that, he was diagnosed with Autism which could have been a contributing factor to his lack of emotional control. Who sells an ar-15 to an 18 year old autistic kid? That’s beside the point.

He had behavioral issues when he was at the school, regularly talked about killing small animals for sport and he was expelled instead of any kind of investigation being done. Had the school been properly funded and staffed then maybe he would have gotten help to deal with his adopted mother’s death. Instead, he was tossed aside. His school failed. At home, he would send his dogs to the neighbors house trying to get him to attack their pet pigs. If that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is! If any of this was reported to police, he could have gotten help so his community failed. On line he posted about wanting to shoot people with the very gun he used to shoot up the school and on Instagram, he posted threatening pictures evoking terroristic imagery brandishing guns and knives. The Internet, not the healthiest place to live, also failed to alert anyone to the very obvious danger this kid represented.

Where does it end? We ignore problems with our society or we marvel in morbid fascination of these sick people and we don’t speak up. There is something to be said for freedom of speech but there is a normal. When someone is off the bubble, say something. In the case of terrorism, we use catch phrases like “See something, say something” and we foster fear of the foreign but we ignore our own until a kid shoots up a school. I don’t have any answers, just observations.

Teach them well and let them lead the way

Here we have two pictures. The one on the left came from a sub Reddit called Accidental Renaissance and the one on the right is a famous photo of athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the 1968 Olympics.

  

On the right, we have children who, for good or ill, have been indoctrinated at an early age to feel a certain way about the national anthem. They’ve been told… something. They’ve observed…. something. On the left we have two thoughtful young men making a statement about human rights and solidarity which would later be taken as a show of “Black Power”.

While we might look back on Tommie and John with admiration, we should look at these kids, and this is just my opinion, with pity. While the athletes believed something and were simply showing the solidarity and a connectedness we should all feel, these kids don’t feel that or embody it. Too many times have we seen protests by people who don’t know what they’re even protesting. What did the parents say? “Don’t pledge allegiance to a corrupt and crumbling system that longs to be changed but instead defiantly raise a closed fist, the fist that will one day clutch that system and crush it” or was it more like, “Damn the government. I think I’ll piss on it” or maybe it was more simple than even that.

Do I agree with the pledge in schools? Not really. I don’t think children should have to participate in school prayer or any show of patriotism and I think they both amount to the same thing…. empty gestures. Your relationship with God and your love of country are two things that shouldn’t be questioned in school or in public under any circumstance. But I would ask that children not participating in either be respectful of those who would and that’s what this boils down to.

I agree with the football players who take a knee but I know, understand, and agree with why they’re doing it. I understand it has to do with police violence and not that they’re just crapping on the flag or disrespecting this country. These men, and Tommie and John too are patriots. These children are parrots and the parents should be ashamed.

Inktober continues

I am horrible at posting daily on any social media. I’ve been successful on twitter this month because them’s the rules, but blogging daily has been a drag. I am continuing with Inktober, though and you can follow my twitter to see them as they come out. Here’s what I’ve gotten in the last few days –

Day 15 Mysterious – I was told he looks like a wolfman, but he’s supposed to be Sasquatch.

 

Day 16 Fat – Ogre or orc…. you decide.

Day 17 Graceful turned into Grateful… oops – If you can’t tell, it’s Jerry Garcia from Grateful Dead.

Day 18 Filthy – Lindsay’s comment – “That certainly is filthy.” HA!

Day 19 Cloud – I was messing around with something vaguely Asian inspired with washes of ink.

Day 20 Deep – I guess I could have done Teeming again as both take place underwater. It’s been a soggy Inktober I am just realizing.

and yesterday, day 21, was Furious. – Hulk angry and ice cream missing.

 

I still have no clue what I’m doing today for “trail”, but I’ll come up with something…. maybe.

Inktober Day 13 – Teeming

Friday the thirteenth in an October? Awesome! So far, nothing unlucky has happened so that’s a good thing. I even finished my day 13 Inktober project early this morning so I have some time this afternoon to share it. The prompt today is “Teeming” and the first thing that pops into my head is again, not what I do. I was thinking Jelly fish but they came out of my pen as squid. I think it turned out fine, but the chicken and seahorse are still my favorite.

The Woff has fixed some issues with her Blog and she’s still churning out cool small watercolors so you should go to her site and check them out. Here’s her post yesterday.

Inktober Continues – two more days

I am continuing with my Inktober “journey”…. “adventure”… what have you. I am still terrible at daily posts, but I am getting the inks done daily so that’s something.

Day 11’s prompt was “Run” and I had a few things pop into the old noggin but settled on this charming thief. Initally, I had him chased by a cloud with arms protruding from it, each holding a billy club. As cartoony as this is, it didn’t need any help being MORE cartoony.  Especially with that Mustache.

I went the other way today on day 12. I kept thinking about a character breaking apart and when I looked through the other Inktober entries today, it seemed like a lot of people had the same idea. I thought about the prompt, Shattered, and then synonyms like broken. What things get broken? I went though a list and settled on pocket watches which have glass to shatter. I found one in Google images and viola.

The woff is still creating too. She is more about color than I’ve been recently and her most recent work is VERY colorful. You should take a look.

Inktober 9 and 10 – Another “two-fer”

I’m not always good at keeping up with things. This Blog is evidence of that but so far, I have not missed a day in ten of Inktober. I’m tweeting them daily so if you want to see them on the day, check here.

I had a productive day 9 with the prompt of “Screech” Initially I thought of doing a caricature of Dustin Diamond from Saved by the bell but given his criminal record and over-all grossness these days, I changed my mind to a bat in a trench coat ala-Bogart.

Day ten I had a big plan…. Imagine a toe. Not really the prompt of “Gigantic” but if you put a little guy with one of those scrubber brushes on a pole they use to clean elephants just scrubbing away…. maybe put the little guy on a ladder, you have something. After a few prelim sketches, no…. not a toe. How about a chicken?

Lindsay has been producing as well. You should check her yesterday. I really like it.

 

Inktober Day 8 – Crooked

Producing something daily that I won’t be embarrassed showing people is difficult but I do see the benefit. Having to come up with something to do daily and doing it, not matter what time of the day, no matter what else is going on, I am noticing I’m loosening up a little and picking up pace slightly. Here’s my most recent entry for the prompt “Crooked”

 

And from Mother Goose –

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.