More Sins of Omission, Explaining One’s Offspring to Others, and More Awesome Tunes

Old-time Catholicism is a bit masochistic, but you gotta love the artwork.  I have nothing against Catholics- some of the best Christians I know adhere to Catholicism, and I’m not going to argue the small points- other than to say that by definition I cannot be considered a Catholic because I don’t agree 100% with the Catholic Church.  Agreeing with Church teachings 100% is part of the deal.  I’ve read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and I agree with a good deal of it- but I do disagree with some key points of what the Catholic Church teaches, and I don’t agree 100% with their theology- especially what I consider to be the bizarre extra-biblical stuff like purgatory and indulgences and praying to saints.  It would be dishonest for me to claim to be Catholic when I don’t agree with everything the Church believes and teaches.  So those who claim to be Catholic but embrace some very un-Catholic and very un-Christian thought processes are effectively lying their pants off.  You either take the whole hog or not at all- that’s the way that Catholicism works.

Joe Biden: claims to be Catholic, but if my grandfather were still alive I think the descriptive would change to “Crazy as a Shithouse Rat.”  Though in the end he- and we- are accountable to God alone.

As a confessional Lutheran I don’t fall terribly far away from the core beliefs of Catholicism, and theologically I am well within the sphere of orthodox (small “o”) Christianity.   I’m not into weird stuff like God being a space alien (who knows, He might be, but I doubt it) and I don’t believe that I’m part of some elite nerd tribe whose destiny is to be spirited up to heaven in a space ship with Marshall Applewhite and company.  I’m definitely more conservative both socially and theologically than most of the people who go to my church, which does give me pause at times, and does cause me some cognitive dissonance, but there’s an important point to be made with that unease.  If I were to seek out a very literal, fundamentalist church (at one point I almost became a Southern Baptist) I wouldn’t hear any viewpoints remarkably different from my own. (I do differ with the SB’s on the subject of infant baptism, which is an important point of dissent- but otherwise I can pretty much get right on the bandwagon.)  I need to be challenged to see viewpoints that are different than mine, and I need to be challenged to be compassionate to those who are coming from a different perspective.  As a confessional Lutheran I have considerable freedom to ask theological questions and to hold differing opinions on non-essential issues without being considered heretical or completely outside the box of Christian orthodoxy.

I think we can agree: This dude was one crazy mo-fo.

I don’t like to argue theology with anyone.  I will gladly explain what I believe and more importantly in Whom I believe- and why, but I’m not going to pound anyone in the head.  It doesn’t work.  Some of my closest friends are atheists and agnostics, who likely view my faith as something archaic and quaint- but they still talk to me and there’s still a relationship there.  Jesus was all about building relationships with unlikely people in unlikely ways, so if it worked for Him, why not?  I learned long ago that the number one way to dissuade people from faith and a relationship with God is to act like Dana Carvey as the Church Lady.

Could it be….SATAN?????

I may differ even with some of my more orthodox cohorts in that I believe Satan is real and that there are real evil forces at work in this world.   But most of the ills of this world can be attributed to human beings doing what we do best- screwing up.  The sin of the Garden was not so much, “The devil made me do it,” as “I screwed up and did the opposite of what I was told.”  Is this not the underlying theme of human history?  I know it’s the definitely the story of my life.  I am an example, and a good amount of the time I am an example of What Not to Do.

A sin of omission is knowing what you’re supposed to do, but not doing it for whatever reason.  I know I should refrain from laughing at Jerry when he can’t find the beer in the fridge because it’s behind the milk, but I laugh anyway.  Technically that’s a sin of commission because I did laugh, though.  Sins of omission are more like knowing I should iron Jerry’s shirts, but not doing it because I hate ironing, and because I know it’s something his lazy ass can do for himself.  He should be happy I’m washing them and hanging them up for him, but if I were really good I would be doing the ironing thing too.  That’s the omission thing, sort of, anyway.   I should be a missionary in Africa giving out food and water to pitiful orphans, but my selfish ass is too satisfied with sleeping in the A/C and not having dysentery.  There’s always something I should be doing but for whatever reason I’m not.  Take it right on back to the old Catholic guilt trips perhaps, but there’s a grain of truth there.  I know full well I do things I shouldn’t and neglect to do things I should.  Which segues quite well into my hit-or-miss parenting.

This won’t be the last time he will be cajoled into sporting his daughter’s clothes- heh-heh!

As far as Steve-o goes I am delighted that he is remarkably normal in many ways.  He is gainfully employed, only has a couple of weeks until he graduates from college (YAY!) and is very close to Independence from the Parental Units, which in my mind is the ultimate goal of parenting to begin with.  As far as I’m concerned, I did not give birth and work myself into the ground to end up with a thirty five year old acne-ridden, obese couch jockey stinking up the basement with greasy Taco Bell wrappers whilst clogging up his brain cells with assorted online interactive video games 24/7 on my dime.   I do wish Steve-o would have listened to Mother a little more intently in regard to abstinence, chastity and so forth, but hindsight is 20/20.  I love my granddaughter and wouldn’t trade her for anything, but it would have been better if they would have waited a bit.  However, life is such that you wish in one hand, or shit in the other, and we all know which one fills up first.

The two most common elements in the universe are:  Shit and Stupidity.  Figure out how to convert either into energy, and screw foreign oil.

Today’s playlist is just as awesome as Friday’s:

“Urban Angel” from Neal Schon’s I On You

“Double Vision” – Foreigner

“Evil Woman”- ELO

“After the Fall” – Journey from Greatest Hits Live

“Somebody to Love”- Queen

“Smells Like Teen Spirit”-Nirvana

Truly Tasteless Holiday Decor, Stupid Parenting, and Gratuitous Self Pity

I have a pink Christmas tree, complete with pink lights.  Mom got it for me last year.  Believe me, I am putting it up.  Watch me go.

Like most people, I have a deep ambivalence toward the holiday season.  I enjoy the decorations – especially tacky ones– but I sincerely abhor crowds, especially when all I’m trying to do is get basic grocery staples or scripts and I have to fight off the unwashed hordes.

I don’t like feeling as if I have to do all kinds of shopping either. My relatives already have way too much crap they don’t need.  I do too.  Please forgo the kitschy crud and either give me a gift card (Target, Kroger’s or Speedway, especially) or even cash.  That way I can get something I need rather than another hideous green sweater, or hinky nasty dinky earrings that I will never wear.  I hate shopping unless I can do it online. Whoever isn’t happy with a gift card and/or what I can manage to get ordered online, sorry about your luck.

The cooking business is actually something I enjoy as long as I have the time to do it.  My grandmothers ensured that I was proficient with the culinary arts (at least the old-time redneck version thereof) so there will be no shortage of such holiday favorites as pumpkin, apple and chocolate cream pies, scalloped potatoes, turkey-and- dressing, homemade gravy, homemade noodles, baked mac and cheese, cheeseballs, etc.  I like to serve the old-time comfort food.   If other people want to bring funky stuff like spinach casserole (not bad, really) or hummus (got to love the extra garlic version) that’s cool- I am not a food snob and will try just about anything once, but make sure the staples are covered.  I would hate to see Dad disappointed because there were no scalloped potatoes or reduced sugar chocolate cream pie, or have the nieces and nephews wonder why I didn’t bring the baked mac-n-cheese.  Lasagna is lovely (I made both red and white lasagna Sunday night that is divine if I say so myself) but it’s not a substitute for turkey with homemade dressing and gravy. 

Although I have rather diverse and eclectic tastes in food, there are some items commonly served around the holidays that I can do without.  I find fruit cake to be just plain vile.  I can’t eat it.  Fruit cake might as well be head cheese or pigs’ feet, which are two items that I have also tried and find positively gut-wrenchingly disgusting.  I’m also not a real big fan of green bean casserole.  I like the stuff that goes in it, but there’s just something about the combination of green beans, mushroom soup and deep fried onions that doesn’t thrill me.  I can eat it, but it isn’t something I find imperative to serve.  Sweet  potatoes (some people call them yams) are another item that I can do without.  Since I am diabetic I can beg off the candied yams (gross, gross, gross) without too much trouble. 

Yesterday’s news proved yet again that there is no shortage of the second most common element in the universe: stupidity.  Suffice to say that anyone stupid enough to leave one’s offspring in one’s (running) car whilst running into a convenience store to get smokes really shouldn’t be left alone with children.  I am glad the mother got her little boy back safely, but I’ll bet that’s the last time she will leave him alone with Baby Daddy for a long time.   I was certainly no shining example of superlative parenting, but I never left my kid alone in a running car regardless of whether or not he was strapped into a car seat- no matter how bad I needed smokes.

Ironically, Steve-o, in preparing for his upcoming role as Baby Daddy, seems to be a tad bit on the OCD side of things. He’s reminding me a bit of Mom and her Clorox obsession.  When Steve-o was a newborn (and a large, robust one at that) Mom tried to Clorox everything that came remotely close to him.  I swear she bathed him five times a day and changed his (freshly Clorox’d) clothes on the hour, every hour.  His dire concern with everything being Just Right and Super Clean for his little girl is not only reminiscent of Mom and her fussiness with the POMC, but it’s also richly hilarious- considering that he ran from Mom screaming bloody murder when she chased him down in her feeble attempts to cut through all the little-boy crusty filth with wet wipes and/or Kleenex.   He is in for a rude awakening.  Tee-hee.

I am wondering just how long it will take him to realize that his little girl is not made of porcelain, that baby puke and poop both stain and reek, and there is no known medical explanation as to why a two year old can extract an infinite length of thick green snot streamer from his/her nose.  

I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun, but I can’t wait until my grandchild showers him in a spray of snot, spit and half-eaten Cheerios.  Children are many things, but filthy is universal. You just haven’t lived until you have been showered, caked and drenched with the offal emanating from your offspring.

I must really be becoming my mother now that I am taking delight in the same phrase she liked to use: “Wait until you have kids.”  I have to remember to send Steve-o a copy of the news article above as a cautionary tale.  Never leave the kid in the car (especially with the car running) when you run to the shop-and-rob to get smokes.

Parenting taught me a few interesting lessons, above and beyond the average toddler’s infinite capacity to generate toxic waste of divers kinds.  I learned you can drown out a screaming kid pretty well by cranking up Led Zeppelin and/or Ozzy.   I also learned that until the kid’s about sixteen or so, while it’s rude, it’s often necessary to wheel the grocery cart down the middle of the aisle, and to inspect the contents often- unless you want to explain to the cashier why you don’t want  the 15 boxes of Pop-Tarts, the economy pack of extra-heavy duty disposable douche, the “For Her Pleasure” multi-colored condom assortment, and the six tubes of Prep-H that magically appeared in your cart.

I guess I really shouldn’t feel too sorry for myself.  It could be a whole lot worse.

Potty Trained and Literate, and Other Parenting Goals

Dad always said that he enjoyed children once they were potty trained and literate.  Mastering these basic skills can occur for some children by the age of five, but I do not have a whole lot of confidence in a young child’s toileting accuracy, and few children gain reasonable command of the written word until about the age of eight or nine.  I can understand why Dad is rather uncomfortable in the presence of infants, toddlers and preschoolers.  He’s sensitive to smells, and he has an almost phobic reaction to the bodily effluvia of others.  After the age of eight or nine kids are a bit less messy.  It is far less likely that they will pee, poo, puke or snot all over you by that time.  They understand using the toilet, and hopefully before they hit puberty, they will understand snot is not a condiment, and they should also have a rudimentary knowledge of how to use Kleenex. 

Steve-o has been potty trained and literate for about ten years, which for a male is pretty good.  When I say “potty trained,” I mean fully trained, as in (for males, anyway) we aim and achieve our target without spraying the entire bathroom floor, AND we both wipe and flush every time, after dropping a deuce.  He could read relatively well by the age of seven, but it took a long, long time for him to get “wipe and flush every time” down.  

There are few things more disgusting than walking into the bathroom to find a huge corn-loaded turd floating in the toilet bowl, coiled up all alone, without any paper to keep him company.   The only thing worse than walking into that sensory gag-fest every time young Steve-o pinched a loaf was his “science” experiment involving Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.   I will comment a bit on this.  If you eat nothing but Flamin’ Hot Cheetos for three days straight, your feces will be exactly the same color as Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

I do have some standards.  If you want to see hot red-orange poo, go troll about on Rate My Poo for awhile.  Trust me, there you will find all things poo and then some.

We are working on the Holy Grail of parenting right now, which is: Gainful Employment and Independence from the Parental Units.

Steve-o did work at Taco Bell during his last two years of high school, but for some reason he either can’t seem to find a job or (my personal suspicion) doesn’t want to find a job while going to college.  This is vexing to me- and a major contributor to my constant state of poverty.  The only thing I can hope for is that when he graduates he finds gainful employment and becomes an independent, self-sustaining, meaningful contributor to society.

Some people hold lofty goals for their children, but I’m a realist.  So far Steve-o’s done pretty well, especially when one examines the lame track record of his age cohorts.  He’s stayed out of jail, and as far as I know he doesn’t have a horde of baby mamas after him, nor has he fathered any offspring that I know about, anyway.  I am not opposed to the whole grandmother thing- I’m old enough for it and I like kids well enough as long as they’re not mine and I can send them home- but he’s got to be able to pay for his own rugrats.  I’d also like to request that he be married to the potential baby mama, although these days that’s a lot to ask. 

In some ways Steve-o is better trained than Jerry is.  Jerry is gainfully employed which gives him the overall advantage, but Steve-o is getting close, and he has already surpassed Jerry in matters of etiquette.  While Jerry generally does wipe and flush, aiming is still a weak area for him, especially after a twelve pack or so of Natties.  Older men should sit and pee anyway, because it’s a long, long time and a far, far distance to have to keep that stream steady, and I’m getting too old to have to keep scrubbing dried up stale pee from the toilet and vicinity.

Jerry does reasonably well when he’s sober, considering he was raised by wolves.  When he’s wasted of course, all decorum goes right out the window and he has the potential to piss in the closet, moon the picture window, run outside in nothing but whitey tighties and a smile, and to play horrible old country music at obscenely loud volumes.   I’ve tried to socialize him somewhat, but in practical application, I’ve had better luck with Sheena.  Sheena has learned to sit and be polite if she wants a munchie, she will go to her crate on command, and she knows her name.  She is also very affectionate and sweet.  This is no small accomplishment for a dog who has only been with us for about 90 days.  Granted, Sheena is not the most intelligent dog I have ever encountered (Huskies can be a bit stubborn and dim-witted, and Sheena is no exception) and her physical coordination is abysmal, but she’s a lot easier to manage than Jerry when he’s 15 beers or so into it.

Dogs are easier than kids by a long shot- the worst thing a dog might do is to drop a deuce on the floor or knock something over.  Kids can get into all sorts of trouble, cost all kinds of money, and can end up in jail.  What really sort of sucks is that even after they turn 18 and you should technically be done with them they still cost a boat load of money, hence my anticipation of the day that Steve-o truly takes on his own adult responsibilities for himself. 

The main problem with breeding is the wrong people are doing it.  I was watching an episode of The First 48 (yeah, I love cop shows) last night and one of the murder suspects being interviewed admitted to, “well I have about five baby mamas and two on the way.”  The same scum bucket was found to be guilty of capital murder and received a life sentence.  Guess who’s paying for those seven kids?  Daddy certainly isn’t, that’s for sure.

I don’t believe in abortion or infanticide or anything Godless and evil like that- it’s not the kids’ faults their parents are scum.  I find it ironic that the same people who advocate mollycoddling violent criminals and murderers oppose the death penalty, but have no problem with abortion.  Isn’t that more than a little backward?

I do, however, believe in preventing ill-advised conceptions in the first place, and I have absolutely no problem with society carrying out its obligation to preserve public safety and to deter crime by executing violent criminals (murderers, rapists and child molesters) swiftly and publicly.