I’ll take the heroes, please

A couple days a week, I take Jesse out of school for two hours in the middle of the day so she can breath freely and regather herself, as she continues to push her way through the roadblocks erected by OCD.  Today I took her to Whole Foods for lunch. As we noshed on our pizza and sushi, the TV in the eating area was running some talk show on Fox. I have no idea what it was called, but it was four makeup-clad women with pushed-up boobs blathering away with a great deal of energy. Thankfully, we couldn’t hear the audio, but subtitles were running.

Needless to say, in our Roku-based, ad-free, streaming world, my kids and I are almost never subjected to this sort of torture. Jesse stared unblinking at the screen for a while, and slowly her mouth stopped chewing. Then she turned to look at me, a little puzzled and incredulous.

“What are they doing?”

I didn’t quite know what to say. “Talking. It’s called a talk show.”

“What do they talk about?”

Uh… “Stuff. I dunno.”

“Why?”

Uh… “Because I guess people think it’s fun to listen to them talk about stuff.”

A numb silence descended on us for a moment. Jesse started eating again and watched the screen. “Who are they?”

Uh… “People who want to be famous.”

Are they famous?”

“I don’t know. I guess so.”

I thought about it a moment. “What do you think would make a person famous, Jesse?”

My little monster/angel thought about it. “Maybe… a hero. Heroes should be famous.”

My heart started humming. I looked at my sweet thing. “What other kind of people do you think might get famous?”

“Someone who rescues animals and people.”

My heart started dancing. “Who else?”

“An inventor. Someone who invents amazing things. Like medicines that save people.”

Rainbows appeared and rays of sunlight shined on my soul. “Who else?”

“Someone who discovers a new species, now that would make you famous!”

I tried not to cry as my eyes gazed at the beautiful face of my child, my first-born, my mirror, no longer distracted by the garbage flowing through the television screen in my peripheral vision.

I couldn’t even voice my cynicism as I pondered how wrong she is about fame. I didn’t have the heart to tell her.

But she shouldn’t be wrong.

Let’s stop vilifying and glorifying the sick, psychotic, desperate people who revel in killing, taking, judging, condemning. Let’s stop worshiping at the altar of the weapons they use to do it. Let’s stop giving so much air time to people who want to be heard just because they want to be heard, but who don’t give a shit about the message they deliver. Let’s put alleged physical beauty where it belongs in the pantheon of things that matter. Like lower, much much lower on the scale of things.

Let’s find the heroes, the rescuers, the healers, the inventors, the seekers. Let’s celebrate them. Let’s fill the airwaves with 24-hour coverage about them and make them famous. Maybe our lost souls will look to them and find a better way out of the darkness. Maybe we can use the power of all that untapped goodness to start making some changes around here.

 

 

 

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grumpy about immigrants (because my peeps are a bunch of welfare-sucking, pride-less losers)

I’ve usually got my head buried in the sand when it comes to Immigrant Talk in American politics. It upsets me too much. Anti-immigrant bullshit is a personal insult to me and my not-white kin. The Donald can shove it all up his ying-yang.

But once in a while anti-immigrant sentiment rears its ugly head in unexpected places, like on my Facebook feed. Someone posts some anti-immigrant meme and, before I can shove my head firmly back in the sand, my eyeballs convert those stupid pixels into information that travels through my automated reading pathways and into my cognitive core. There’s nothing I can do to stop it. My (bilingual from birth) brain is THAT GOOD.

It happened to me today. Someone posted up a meme that said, “California offers their driver’s license exam in 32 different languages, which is 31 languages too many.” I’ve seen it before, but it got under my skin today.

I shook my head in disappointment and tried to run away from my beaten-down inner grammar nazi… to no avail. California is a state, which is neither a person nor a plural; so the meme should say “its” rather than “their.” Ugh. I tried to stop myself from thinking about the superfluous “different,” but I couldn’t. I sassed at the meme-writer silently in my mind. What if California offered the exam in 32 similar languages. Would that be okay? Or 32 of the same languages? And anyway, which one language does the meme-writer want left behind? The one he or she is butchering?

This all passed very quickly through my LIGHTNING-FAST (bilingual half-immigrant) MIND. Then I made a very bad mistake by scrolling down. My eyeballs once more picked up written words my brain did not need to see or comprehend, but it was too late. Information streamed into my gray matter. Immigrants don’t take pride in the USA. They come here to SUCK the welfare system and tax-funded assistance dry. We are being flooded by non-English speaking immigrants! And so on. All of which has little, if anything, to do with the question of whether a driver’s test should be given in a language other than English.

To be clear, the diatribe didn’t refer to “illegal immigrants” but to “immigrants.”

Well DAMN. Who knew?

Who knew that my mom and her family came here to suck the welfare system dry? All those years of hard work, paying taxes, becoming American citizens, not getting welfare… They were kidding themselves. Hosebags all, my Korean family.

My grandmother became an American citizen in her 80’s.  It was an extraordinary moment of pride for her, but she took the test in Korean. She didn’t move to the states until her late 50’s; learning a new language at that age is really hard, if not practically impossible. The fact that grandma probably knew American history better than most American-born high school grads? Whatever. LOSER. NO PRIDE IN THE USA. WELFARE-SUCKER. No speakie English? No goodie American!

Who knew that the lovely Mexican family living down the street from me is sucking our taxpayer system dry? They moved here a few years ago because the dad has an executive-level position at GE or some other major corporation around here. Their kids go to the same public school as Jesse and Nick. The mom barely speaks English, but she does her best to get by.  She is an absolutely delightful woman, pleasant and kind, who volunteers time at the school whenever she can. Whatever. Immigrant public school LEECHES, just another drop in the flood.

Who knew that the Italian, Brazilian, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Indian immigrant professors I know from Anthony’s workplace are sucking our system dry? I thought they were hard-working people, earning income, paying taxes, buying houses, purchasing goods and helping drive the economy — you know, doing that immigrant thing. I thought they came here for an education and jobs. Nah. I know why they came now. To SUCK THE USA DRY. I bet they even use made-in-the-USA roads to commute to work. Welfare suckers.

The emotions I feel when I hear broad-stroke anti-immigrant talk require a vast array of adjectives to describe fully. I am insulted, affronted, angry, exasperated, outraged, mystified, even contemptuous. Do people who make these broad, hateful statements even understand how offensive they are?

Xenophobia is so last century. The following statements should be trite asides, truisms everyone knows to be true, part of the magic mythology of America, the rainbow thing that makes us a nation full of ever-changing potential. Repeat after me:

immigrants make our country stronger, not weaker.

Diversity makes our country stronger, not weaker.

Bilingual and multi-lingual children (and adults) have more opportunities, not fewer.

Open arms make us stronger, not weaker.

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Wait. That giant lady out east with that enormous stinking flame? She’s from France. Send her back.

grumpy about lady bodies (thank goodness for women’s soccer)

How cool that the US women won the world cup?? Not that I’m super nationalistic, but every time women athletes get a lot of airplay, it’s good for our girls. Athletes don’t have chicken legs. Real women shouldn’t have chicken legs. Our little girls shouldn’t dream of having chicken legs.

Jesse and I recently watched a PBS show on the history of the ABT, the American Ballet Theater. We loved watching the incredible athleticism of classical dancers. They are ridiculously strong and flexible. They do things that are impossible, holding their legs out at angles that would land me in the hospital. The women, who are otherwise tiny, have relatively enormous calves and thighs. They could never be hired by a modern modeling agency. They don’t have chicken legs. Their muscles are real, not ‘scaped. I know the dance world has issues with asking its women to be too skinny, but at least it allows them to have real muscles. 

Watching the show reminded us of Misty Copeland, whose career Jesse and I have followed for a year or two. Now she’s the first black female principal at the ABT. Beautiful athleticism and artistry, sweet intense face, historical significance — what’s not to love?

Some time ago we watched the UnderArmour ad that she starred in.

Jesse was captivated by Misty’s musculature, her strength and balance, her determination, her story. One day recently, Jesse wanted to see that ad again so we went hunting on YouTube. We watched it, and then we looked for some different ads by UnderArmour. We found this one of tough female athletes working hard. They have big thick muscles where they’re needed. There’s nothing delicate about them. 

We continued our browsing and came across an UnderArmour ad with Giselle Bundchen.

Sigh. I know, I know. Don’t hate on models. But let’s face it. Giselle ain’t got the chops.  I mean, I’m sure she works hard, but her motivation is modeling. No matter how much screaming there is about it, modeling. is. not. an. athletic. venture. There is no air-brushing on an athletic field of play. 

The thing about athletes is, they come in all shapes and sizes, even within a particular sport. Think about Venus and Serena Williams – could two world-class athletes in a single sport be any more different physically? Who could ever claim that there’s an optimal body type for tennis after those two?

Models all have to be the same skinny and tall. What matters is appearance, not strength or speed or a particular physical skill or tactical sense. I’m not able to grasp how there’s even a debate about this. 

I tried not to say anything though, as the Giselle ad ran. And I was pleased by Jesse’s reaction. In the ad, Giselle takes some roundhouse kicks at a punching bag, and then she rapid-jabs it. Jesse, who’s actually shown real talent in tae kwon do, offered up a real-time critique as the ad ran. “Those are pretty bad roundhouse kicks, mom. How come she’s only taking one at a time? Why is she waiting so long between kicks? Is she supposed to be good? She doesn’t have good snap. Wow, those are bad punches. She looks weak. Why is she so sweaty?” Jesse was making “WTF?” faces. 

Sorry, Giselle, you’re not motivating my daughter. Women’s World Cup soccer? That’s some serious motivation! Speed, snap, strength, endurance, grit. Congratulations to all the women who played in the World Cup, and an extra congratulations to team USA. 

If you love athleticism and dream of a strong, healthy life for your daughters, and if you dream of a world where your daughters can market their strength instead of their skinny to potential mates (even if they happen to be skinny), check out these awesome photos of World Cup athletes and their muscle-ripped thighs.  http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/7732670

Awesome. As for underArmour, well… I’ve been a fan of their products since their beginning, but now I’m going to be looking around for a replacement. I guess they’re looking for another market niche, but I wish they would try to win that niche without turning to a runway model. They have the power to empower (and pay) real athletes in the sale of their athletic gear. I’m disappointed they moved in a different direction. 

Grumpy about gay marriage

I was thrilled when I learned today of the Supreme Court’s decision that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional. Gay people are entitled to equal protection. They are equal to me, a straight person, when it comes to binding themselves to the loves of their lives in marriage.

It makes me seriously grumpy that this concept is big news. It makes me even more grumpy when I hear people wondering why I, a straight person, even care about the rights of gay people. Seriously?

* * * * * * * *

When I was in law school and in my mid-20’s, Anthony and I spent the Christmas holidays with my parents in California, which means my brothers and their families also congregated there. I don’t know what funky business was in the air that particular holiday, but it turned into a rip-roaring fight that ended with me not visiting again for five years. (That was a mistake, by the way. I should have relented much sooner, and I regret those lost years.)

One of the things we fought about was GAY. A day or two before Christmas, my college friend (pseudonymous) Ellen drove from the bay area to visit with me in Stockton. She brought along her partner, (pseudonymous) Kristen. I was delighted that Ellen was in a happy relationship. My family was warm and pleasant upon meeting them, which is our way. But on Christmas day, things unraveled. All sorts of homophobic comments started spilling out. Alcohol was no doubt a factor. I shouldn’t have been shocked to hear people saying that being gay was wrong, or against nature, or just gross, or whatever it was they were saying, but it upset me very much because I felt like it was because they had met my GAY friend. They were passive aggressively messaging me, I thought, and putting down my delightful and good-hearted friend. I couldn’t stand it.

I was a lawyer in training, so I lashed out. I remember practically screaming at the people I love most in the world, along these lines: Ellen and Kristen are responsible members of society who graduated from college, have jobs, pay their taxes, have never been in prison, and are not drug addicts, WHICH IS MORE THAN I CAN SAY FOR SOME MEMBERS OF THIS FAMILY! Who are we to judge them??

I remember someone adding that it’s a sin, and I got really incensed. I attacked again. Not so long ago, I argued, the law and our culture said exactly the same thing about mixed race marriages. People would have called us half-breed mongrel dogs, born of an evil marriage against the laws of God! Our parents wouldn’t have been allowed to marry!! DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT???

My mom got really mad at me then. Later that night, she apologized for only telling me to shut up, but she explained why. “You were winning, Carla. You’re better at arguing. You should have stopped.”

I may have been better at shouting down people, but the best lines of the evening didn’t go to me. I remember my sister-in-law sitting peacefully (she’s always peaceful) and waiting for a quiet moment. She said gently, “I just think… If someone is lucky enough to find someone they love, we should just be happy for them.” It was so kind, accepting, compassionate — everything this whole journey, ending with the Supreme Court’s ruling, is all about.

The other Oscar-winning line went to my own Anthony, who in one angry moment raised a didactic finger and announced, “I guarantee you, statistically speaking SOMEONE in this family is gay!”

That was a conversation ender.

The entire evening was almost a relationship ender. I guess it was one of those moments when I realized gay rights really mattered to me, not because I’m gay or because of my friends, but simply because I believe the prejudices against gay people are founded in nothing more than ignorance and fear, and are morally reprehensible.

* * * * * * * * * *

There’s a little book I read in law school, called “Should Trees Have Standing” and written by a law professor named Christopher Stone, that changed the way I saw the world. You can read the entire text here. There’s a lot of legal talk in it, but it’s a great read.

Professor Stone was addressing the question of whether the environment — the earth — should have rights in our legal system, but his ideas percolated up in my mind unbidden today as I marveled at the Supreme Court’s decision. Stone begins by reflecting on Darwin’s observation “that the history of man’s moral development has been a continual extension in the objects of his ‘social instincts and sympathies'”, moving from caring only about himself to a broader concern for others, including even ‘useless members of society” and animals. Stone observed that the law has experienced a parallel development, gradually extending rights to those who used to have no rights at all — such as children, women, blacks, Chinese, Jews — and even to inanimate beings such as corporations. (The Supreme Court knows all about that last one, since its conservative members decided corporations are people.)

It’s in this context that I celebrate the acceptance of gay marriage in America — not only in its own right, but also as a proxy for the journey that Professor Stone described, which has brought us to a place where slavery is long dead, apartheid has been rejected, women and poor people can vote, children have rights, inter-racial marriages are allowed, and on and on. We advance because eventually the right people in power realize a simple truth: we should care about each other because we should just care about each other. Justice Kennedy’s decision today represents one of humanity’s many little steps forward in search of this truth, as we embrace a broader view of justice, parity, and acceptance across age, gender, race, nationality, religion, sexuality, and wealth.

I know there will always be reactionary backward lurches, but today’s news re-energizes my hope that members of the human race can bind our lives together despite our differences — to each other, to the environment, to the earth. If we don’t destroy ourselves first, maybe there’s even hope for some lasting peace.

grumpy about Rachel … who?

I’ve been reading a bit here and there about the Rachel Doo-dad story (I have trouble remembering her last name), but only as it comes across my Facebook page — which is a lot, so I’ve read some articles from mainstream news sources, and some friends’ posts, and a few random blogs and opinion pieces… If someone asked me to sum it up right now, I would describe the situation as follows: some white lady made her hair kinky and kept a good tan and told people she was black, and she got into Howard University and was the head of the Spokane NAACP, and then her white parents OUTED her! How awesome and strange is that??

And that seems to be about the end of the story, except of course it’s not, because it was timed so perfectly with Bruce Jenner’s transition to Caitlyn Jenner, and so now everyone’s talking about why is it okay for Caitlyn to claim a different gender identity from what she was born with but not okay for Rachel to do the same with race? And everyone’s got an answer, one way or the other.

I admit, as usual, to my total ignorance of the correct and fancy way to discuss this issue. I don’t know how academics talk about social constructs and inherent identities and blah blah blah blah. I do know that I have some intuitive feelings about this story that arise out of my half-ness, half white and half Korean.

When I was a kid, my mom always told me this: “You’re not Korean. You’re American.” It was important to her. I used to believe that she was expressing patriotism toward her adopted nation. She had become an American citizen long before we had these conversations. But of course, with decades behind me, I now realize it was something more than that. She didn’t tell me, “You’re not Korean or white. You’re American.” It was important to her that I not be Korean in America. Telling me to perceive myself as “American” was the closest she could come to saying “be white,” without choking on the words. Mom has always been a pragmatist. She lived in North Carolina for a few years in the early 60’s. She quickly developed a sense of how fucked up America was. She didn’t want her kids to be disadvantaged by their not-whiteness, and she knew we could pass as white.

But she couldn’t change what was. I couldn’t hide my Korean-ness behind white skin. Or at least, I couldn’t disappear it. Because when the wrong someone spotted me as Asian, I had to deal with the weird odds and ends of bullshit. Like the guy in the bar asking Anthony, “Hey where’d your Chinese girlfriend go?” Why did the word “Chinese” fit in that sentence? What, it was necessary to distinguish me from Anthony’s other girlfriends in the bar? And when the wrong person didn’t spot me, I had to deal with hearing the racist shit that drooled out. It sucked either way.

So I tend to wear it on my sleeve now. Better to be exactly what I am – half white, half Korean. Anthony wears my race on his sleeve too, at least the Korean half. If he has to deal with a person who he’s worried might have some nasty views on race, he finds an excuse to slip in there that his wife is Korean. I noticed this a few years ago and asked him why. He told me it’s so that he doesn’t have to listen to the bullshit; people tend to bite their tongues more if they know you have a connection to a race or ethnicity they’re inclined to trash talk. (I’m pleased that Anthony never tells people he’s Korean, because that would be kind of weird.)

One of the hardest things about being white in America — the other half of my experience — is accepting the bitter significance of that racial heritage. As a Korean, I’ve kept a pretty close eye on the question of whether Japan admits its wrongs from World War II. Lots of savage and evil things were done to Koreans during the Japanese occupation. There’s simply no denying it, and I’d like to know Japan doesn’t hide from that history. Own up. It’s okay, I don’t think you’re continuing that evil today: but own up.

White folks have to do that in America too. We have to own up to the evils we’ve committed in our past, whether we agree with them or not. Sure, I would personally never lynch a black man or intentionally discriminate against someone because they’re black. But my race has done just that in America. I need to own up. I can’t pretend it’s not about me. I can’t pretend I’m not the beneficiary of my whiteness. My mom made that clear to me early on: be white, she taught me; it’s good for you in America.

I can no more decide that I’m all Korean than I can decide that I’m all white. I have to own up to what I am, what I’ve known I am since before I can remember. Bruce Jenner did that when he became Caitlyn: he owned up to what he knew he was, since before he could remember.

That Rachel chick? In my totally baseless I’ve-never-met-her-and-I’m-just-making-this-shit-up opinion, she just didn’t want to own up. She didn’t want to be who she was, face the responsibility and guilt of being white, and rise above it. And while I have some empathy for her desire not to be associated with all the wrong and evil things white people have done to blacks in America, snaking back to the days of slavery, I have no respect for her and I don’t feel the need to accommodate her desire to pass herself off as black.

But I also don’t think she’s a bad person or evil or whatever. I just think she’s sad and pathetic.

And now could we please start talking about ISIS again? Because they are really scary, and I think our energy would be better spent worrying about that than about Rachel whats-her-name.

grumpy about politics (what a lovely pool of republican presidential candidates)

I’ve been hearing about all the Republicans throwing their hats in the ring for the presidential primaries. Eight have declared and about seven more probably will? That’s a whole lot of ego to choose between. Out of pure curiosity, I googled around and found an article that gave a photo list of folks who have Announced and folks who are Likely to Announce. Other than Fiorina (female) and Carson (black), it’s the usual collection of doughy-faced, middle-aged white men. Carla heaves a sigh as she shakes her head sadly.

They all look the same to me, by the way. If you haven’t already read about the incredible unreliability of cross-racial identifications by eye-witnesses, you should go and do that. Just google it and all manner of scholarly work comes up. I first learned about it in law school and it has never stopped bothering me. It’s astounding, really, when you think about how many peeps have been sent to prison based on eyewitnesses pointing fingers at them.

I’ll just go ahead and admit that pretty much all middle-aged white men kind of look the same to me. I have trouble distinguishing Ted Cruz and Scott Walker, for instance. They look like the same person to me. If I saw one of them committing a crime, I could easily finger the other one in a line-up, quite innocently. Santorum and Ryan, same thing. Political candidates make it even harder by all wearing the same stupid blue suit and red tie and waxing their hair identically. What do they do, have SuperCuts parties once a month?

I’ve hypothesized that it’s because I’m half-Korean and spent the first ten years of my life in Korea. I used to think that would mean I’d be better at ID’ing both Korean and white faces, but my reality seems to be the opposite, especially when it comes to middle-aged men. All middle-aged Korean men kind of look the same to me, and all middle-aged white men look even more the same. Also all young Hollywood heartthrobs look the same to me. Exactly the same. They probably all use the same surgeon. Or maybe it’s the cross-racial identification thing. I don’t know anymore.

Why am I talking about this? Oh. Doughy candidates. When I see that sea of white faces, one of whom will be the presidential nominee (because let’s face it, Ben Carson doesn’t have a real shot), I feel in my bones why President Obama is so passionately hated by ultra-conservative racists in America, why they call him “Osama” instead of “Obama,” why they need to believe he’s not an American citizen, why they need to call him a Muslim. It’s plain and simple fear of what’s different. Because President Obama looks just like every black man these peeps have ever feared. All black men look the same to them.

This is hardly a novel thought, I know. I think about it these days, though, and I feel a bit sad that we’re heading back to the days of a not-demographically-symbolic (thank you, Wayne Lapierre for that tasty tidbit) white guy as president. I know, I know, Hillary might still win, but I’m not really optimistic about that. I think some white guy will beat her. Then we can start calling the White House by its proper name: The White Guy House.

Jesse was just three years old when Obama ran for the presidency the first time. Jesse would roll down her window as we drove through neighborhoods and loudly chant “OH-BAH-MA! OH-BAH-MA!” whenever she saw a yard sign for his campaign. When he won, I was super excited for a whole slough of reasons, but a three-year-old doesn’t really get most of that stuff. I liked most of Obama’s platform for reasons having nothing to do with his race, though I surely didn’t mind that he was a minority. But I didn’t grasp the true scope of what a black president meant culturally until one day when Jesse and I walked past a black teenage boy somewhere. He was just some ordinary kid. Jesse stared at him and asked me, with the pure innocence only small children can muster, “Is that President Obama?”

I can tell you without shame that I cried because my heart was so full. Kids in America grow up connecting black faces to gangsters, drug dealers and drug addicts, criminals, car thieves, thuggish pro athletes, and all other manner of negatives. Yet here was my daughter, an American-born mostly-white kid, looking at a young black man, and what she saw was the president of the eff-ing United States. If you need me to explain why that’s huge, then it wouldn’t make a difference if I tried.

The Obama presidency created what I believe (or desperately hope) is a seismic paradigm shift in the mythology of race in America. Let’s hope that shift doesn’t just snap back to the past, despite the symbolic demographics of the nominees we’ll likely be voting for this time around.

grumpy about dihydrogen monoxide

I’ve been thinking hard the past few years about reducing the chemicals in my life — especially dangerous and toxic ones, but really, chemicals seem like a bad thing. Chemicals. I want them out.

I started hunting the web for some good chemicals to get rid of, and I spied a really useful site about dihydrogen monoxide — a chemical compound that is way, way too common in my life, like phytates. There’s a whole website devoted to addressing the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide, operated by a non-profit organization (I know this because the website URL ends in “org”).  Check it out. This is serious stuff and it’s for real. Because a whole website has been devoted to it. You can even buy t-shirts.

I don’t want to be misleading here, so I’ll just tell you up front in case you don’t already know. Dihydrogen monoxide hides under a lot of different names. Agua. Mul. Ocean. River. Lake. Rain. Steam.

Water.

Don’t let the names fool you. We’ve been lulled into a false sense of security about water, no doubt by large corporations working in tandem with government agencies, as well as the uncontrolled forces of biology. You may have heard that water is good for you. Water will clean you. Water is fun. You must drink water to live a healthy life.

Don’t believe the hype. Water is a chemical compound.

I can only speak to my own experiences and the stuff I’ve read while I’m surfing the web, and also stuff other people tell me. So I guess I’m no expert, but believe me, I know a LOT about water, even though none of it has been proven by any so-called “scientific method” or “double-blind study” or any shit like that. But sometimes, you just know what you know. And I know water. Let me just give you a few things to think about, and then I’d like to reach some conclusions for you and suggest you make some changes in your life based on my personal experiences.

Water is extremely dangerous to manufacture. It is made from two separate elements, named “OXYGEN” and “HYDROGEN.” If you put them near each other and add a little spark, they combine to make water. But the explosion is MASSIVE. Remember the Hindenburg? Revisionist story books — sorry, history books might say that it was just a poorly-designed blimp, but I have been reviewing many sources to learn about this. I will provide you with links when I find the time to do that. Meanwhile, just trust me: I have come to believe that the Hindenburg was actually a water experiment conducted by the German government. Its explosion created a huge amount of WATER, when the hydrogen in the blimp combined with oxygen in the air. We do NOT WANT governments and corporations creating water! They say they’re not, but why should we believe them? They lie to us ALL THE TIME, and look at what happened to the Hindenburg. We need to stop the secret manufacturing of this chemical compound!

Drinking too much water can poison you. Thus, it is POISON. Why are nutritionists and health experts telling us to drink POISON every day? Think about it.

Inhaling water can make you very sick and even kill you. But when you drink water, it goes in the same mouth hole as air when you inhale. Why is that? If water really is as good for you as the so-called experts and government officials say, then why haven’t they come up with a safer way to deliver it? Why haven’t they put labels on canisters of water to at least warn us of these dangers or to state the limits on how much water you can safely drink without poisoning yourself? It’s because THEY DON’T KNOW THE ANSWERS. And I don’t see what’s wrong with asking these questions, or demanding that they be studied.

I’ll tell you what, when I used to golf a lot I learned about the dangers of over-drinking water. I would wander around beautiful green lawns absolutely devoid of bugs and weeds, enjoying the views of algae-filled reservoir ponds and chewing on my painted tees. it was a lovely sport, and I had a low handicap. But on the hottest and most humid days, I would hydrate during a round of golf, following the advice of the so-called water experts. Usually by a couple hours into the round, I would have consumed between 2 and 3 quarts of dihydrogen monoxide. I would bloat. And feel kind of sick. And also very hot and sweaty. Sometimes I would even imagine that I was surrounded by a sort of chemical stench. I would wipe my brow and a salty crust would come off on the back of my hand. The only thing I had been taking in was water. So the cause of my malaise was obvious. Water. I eventually resolved the symptoms by eating a bunch of potato chips or other salty food as I hydrated. Also we tried to avoid golf courses that had just sprayed safe biological toxins designed to remove weeds and bugs. But this just shows you how blind I was. I bought into the water thing, and then I just added on another layer of food crap to offset the damage done by the water, and also I stupidly limited my activities by thinking the problem was something other than water. I should have just stopped drinking water at all during hot rounds of golf. No more sweating or bloating, no more strange smells.

Water is bad news. It is capable of BOTH burning and freezing us. In large mobile quantities, it destroys entire cities and can kill thousands of people at one time. It has been found to be a significant component of all major storms on earth. In certain frozen forms that fall from the sky (but ask yourself: who put the water in the clouds up there?), it can cause entire regions to be shut down for days. It causes mudslides and all manner of erosion.

Dihydrogen monoxide is present in every single patient who was hospitalized in America last year, as well as every single child who was diagnosed with a developmental disability or mental illness. But no one is asking why. Just because some people can tolerate H2O without observable side effects doesn’t mean it’s safe. Just because humanity is generally thriving and over-populating the world despite the ubiquitous presence of water doesn’t mean we should stop asking questions.

Now this is really, really disturbing: the surface of DNA in your body is covered in water molecules. In fact, the water molecules may actually influence the DNA’s structure. WHAAA?? (If you’re one of those wackos who thinks DNA is something bad, you are seriously ignorant. Please educate yourself on some basic science. Jeez.) Who put the water molecules around our DNA? Why? What are they trying to change in our DNA? And why would anyone be suspicious of me for asking these questions? They’re just questions.

When my daughter was born, the very first thing the doctor did was take her away from me and give her a bath. The doctor made some excuse about the cord being wrapped and poop in the amniotic fluid. Jesse seemed fine as I stared down between my stirrup’ed legs at her. But when she came back 20 minutes later, I could already tell there was something challenging about her. And it just got worse and worse as the months passed. If only I had known better in those early years, I would have stopped giving her baths and making her drink water.

In case you are about to conclude that I’m the wacko, let me give you something to think about that will completely change your mind. Governments provide so-called potable water to our homes. Why? Why do they want us to have all this water? So they can charge us for it and make a profit? So they can coat our DNA in it? Not only that, but governments sell water to corporations. Where do you think that bottled water you’re buying comes from? You think Aquafina is the good stuff? Think again. It probably comes out of the sewage treatment plants of Detroit. Either that, or someone is manufacturing it and covering up the explosions. There is growing evidence (links to follow) that fracking is actually a fictional cover for underground water-manufacturing operations that are causing massive explosions that in turn cause those little earthquakes everyone is worried about. Anyway, it’s just another example of how governments and large corporations are in league together, conspiring to lie to us, cheat us, and extract dollars from us.

I know some people will say I’m crazy, I’m not making healthy choices, I’m endangering my children. But I’m done with water. At least, until some proper studies are done by someone other than government or large corporations or anyone who receives any money from them, including any large academic institutions that are part of the broken and corrupted structure of our society and any scientists who work for them. And I don’t want to hear about causality and data sets and what not. I want to see the EVIDENCE that water isn’t bad for me. I have had enough of scientists telling me things like, “there’s no evidence that normal use of water is bad for you.” I’m done with water until someone I’m willing to trust can say categorically that “under all circumstances, regardless of mis-use, water is safe and good for you.”

[Disclaimer for anyone too whack to figure it out: this post is total nonsense. Please don’t pay any attention to it. But if you’re submitting a statement to Congress, it’s probably a passable source.]

Grandma tales (grumpy about vaccines and polio)

Everybody’s doing it, so why not me? Talking about vaccines, that is.

I have a good friend who doesn’t vaccinate her kids. She claims it’s because she has auto-immune issues herself so she wonders what vaccines will do to her kids, but in moments of honesty and clarity she’s admitted the real reason to me:  her oldest child gave her hell at some vaccination visit and the pediatrician was a jerk about it, so she won’t do them anymore. Since she knows everyone else is vaccinated, it’s okay for her kids to skip the shots. Her attitude slays me, because she’s a pretty hard-core Republican and she likes to mouth off about freeloaders. It is so hard for any of us to avoid hypocrisy. All I can do is shake my head and let her be as human and imperfect as me. But also, she’s not opposed to vaccines. She’s just freeloading. She knows it.

I chatted some time ago with another mom who actually opposes vaccinations. She’s holistic and homeopathic and Eastern medicine and all that, and her reasoning was that her kids don’t need the vaccines because she uses natural methods to boost their immunities. Thus, she reasons, her kids are unlikely to be infected even if a vaccine-avoidable disease comes around, and also if her kids are infected they’ll survive just fine because she knows how to treat these things. As far as I could tell, the idea of her kids infecting other, more immuno-compromised individuals wasn’t a relevant consideration. I was recently reminded of how much that bothered me when I came across an Onion op-ed, “I don’t vaccinate my child because it’s my right to decide what eliminated diseases come roaring back.” (On the off chance you don’t know, the Onion is 100% bullshit and 100% brilliant satire and social commentary.)

Then this person had to go and use polio as an example, arguing that many people contract polio but survive anyway because they have strong immunities, so it’s not a disease she’s afraid of even if her kids catch it, and also we shouldn’t be giving any kids a polio vaccine because it’s not necessary, the disease isn’t so bad. I remember seething secretly and ending the conversation as quickly as possible.

You don’t have to dig much at all to learn that polio is an extremely contagious disease that has no cure and also it suuuuucks. In fact, almost all of the vaccinations we’re giving our kids are for diseases that are highly contagious and have no cure. And that are capable of maiming and killing. In the case of polio, it’s certainly true that many lucky people who are infected never even show symptoms. But I wonder how they would feel if they could calculate how many unlucky ones they infect in turn, especially if they could avoid catching polio at all by being vaccinated.

My Korean grandma was both lucky and unlucky. She contracted polio as an adult (before a vaccine was available) but survived. A paralyzed foot was polio’s life-long gift to her. She walked with a pronounced limp as a result, and as a little girl I was fascinated by it. As far as I could tell, her foot was frozen in a flexed position. When I asked why she walked funny, Grandma told me of a terrible sickness that caused the paralysis, and I later learned the pesky disease was called polio.

Grandma was an extraordinary person, a bottomless pit of kindness. When I was very little, she would encourage me to work over her foot and try to make it move. As hard as I tried, I never could. So she always won the game, and we’d laugh together and then I wasn’t afraid anymore of whatever had almost killed her. Now I wonder from the vantage of 48 years, did she also secretly hope that her magical little granddaughter could make the foot come alive again?

Over the years, my mom shared bits and pieces of her memories about Grandma and polio. Mom was a child, too little to understand the danger, when the disease came. Grandma was hit bad. She almost died and had to go live in some sort of institutional setting to recover. This was a time of Japanese occupation, before there were two Koreas, when Korea was still a beaten-down, occupied third-world place. It would have taken a lot of money and resources (which my family had back then) to send Grandma to a place where she could survive and recuperate. She was lucky to receive any medical attention at all.

Grandma had a baby at the time (my mother’s oldest little brother) who was still nursing, so she took him with her to the hospital. But Mom, who was also still a very small child, stayed home with the aunties and servants. Grandma was gone for about two years. Mom felt abandoned, lost without her mother, treated unfairly because her baby brother got to go. I remember her talking about it long into my adulthood. I could hear in the rhythms of her stories the deep, unhealed cuts in her heart, the bitterness she couldn’t let go. It mystified me. The child who survived her mother’s polio, who still lived in my mother’s soul, couldn’t grasp that Grandma didn’t have a real choice. The disease owned all the decisions. So it didn’t just paralyze Grandma. It paralyzed a piece of my mother too for much of her life, just not in the flesh.

Some years after Grandma died, my mom finally told me a story of retrieval, not of abandonment. I don’t remember it perfectly (which doesn’t really bother me – I’m okay with reality becoming mythology, especially when it’s the mythology of connection and love). Mom came home from school and a strange woman was standing outside of the house. Mom got closer and realized with a start, it was her mother! She ran over to the woman. Her mother embraced her hard. Her mother looked at her face, touched her, looked in her eyes. Her mother told her, I’ve come back for you. I don’t want to live in the country anymore, I’m moving to Inchon. I’ve come to take you with me; I’ll never be apart from you again. Her mother had survived polio. Her mother came back for her.

As Mom told me this story, I realized that I was finally hearing the last chapter of her family’s polio tale, which had now spanned something like 70 years. I felt a sense of relief, of thankfulness that my mom could finally forgive Grandma for a parental betrayal that had been beyond anyone’s control — so many years after the disease crippled not just Grandma’s foot, but also her relationship with her daughter.

I always think of Grandma and Mom when people talk about vaccine-preventable diseases like polio. The damage they do isn’t just to a body, but to a family, a community. It’s why we owe it to each other to avoid the diseases together, each of us bearing a little bit of risk via vaccination, for ourselves and for each other.

It’s easy for people in first-world countries, living in the lap of hygienic luxury, to argue in smug ignorance that diseases like polio aren’t that dangerous and don’t need to be vaccinated against. Goody for you. As for me, my kids are fully vaccinated. Jesse gets the shots even though they’re grown in egg whites and she’s allergic to eggs. I give her antihistamines prophylactically and she seems fine. It probably isn’t helping her outgrow her allergy. But if vaccination means she can’t eat eggs for the rest of her life, I’m actually okay with that. I guess I’d rather have her get stuck with an epi-pen now and again than crippled by polio, or killed by small pox, or scarred by measles. For the anti-vacc’ers, know this: if my grandma was still alive and had the means, she might just sneak up behind you and stick you in the ass with a polio vaccine, just so you don’t catch polio and go give it to someone else. She’d probably giggle and say a happy prayer for your wellness as she did it. I guess I’d be laughing with her.