Saturday, April 30, 2011

You Know Were You Can Put Your Passive-aggressive Flag!!!

I am sure it is well known to the readers of the blog how I think of fundamentalist thinking.  Today is no exception.  The strangest thing happened today.  We live in an upscale neighborhood by the Oquirrh Mountain Temple in Daybreak, South Jordan, UT.  We moved into this home about 8 months ago.  The house has a flag pole.  It had a flag on it with tattered edges.  We replaced that flag with our own.  The flag has not weathered the winter sun well.  It became tattered and faded and bound itself around the flag pole.

I was sitting in my office proofing a paper that my lovely wife had written.  I saw a shadow flash across the blinds of the window that faces the porch.  There was a thump like a package had been delivered at the front door but no knock at the door and no door bell.  I have been waiting for a text book that was supposed to be delivered today and I assumed that was it.  I did not immediately get up and go to the door instead I continued to proof the paper.  Several minutes later I got up and went to the door.  There was a package on the door step.  I was a distinctive red white and blue box.  I opened it and found our tattered flag inside with an advertisement to have the flag repaired and the care and proper handling instructions for the American flag.    There was a new flag on the pole.

Oh how nice right?  Wrong!  Passive-aggressive self-righteous behavior is never nice.  I am aware that some people wear their patriotism on their sleeve and know in their heart that this is the greatest country in the world!  I know to them our tattered flag is an insult to their patriotism.  Such an insult that they were spurred into action to replace our flag and to rub our noses in their patriotism.  This chicken shit act of anonymously replacing our flag, coming on to our property, and self-righteously depositing our tattered flag on the porch with "protocol" instructions doesn't make you a patriot it makes you an ugly-American.  

Ugly American is an epithet used to refer to perceptions of loud, arrogant, demeaning, thoughtless and ethnocentric behavior of American citizens mainly abroad, but also at home.
As we have walked in our front door over the last 6 weeks or so, we have been aware that the flag needed to come down.  We have had a couple of conversations about that.  However, with the demands of our family, my school load, and the extra care my ill mother has taken..... the condition of that flag has ranked last on my priorities.

You might be tempted to say that nice neighbor did you a favor. They didn't!  My wife has been humiliated by the thoughtless act.  She has told me that our next move will take us out of Daybreak and out of South Jordan.  She stated unequivocally that she hates living here.  She cried for the better part of an hour.  She already felt like a misfit because was we don't assimilate into the local culture.  This was the straw.

The American flag is not a sacred symbol to me and I refuse to bestow a piece of cloth with any amount of adoration.  I am not a chest thumping patriot.  I don't think that America is beyond reproach.  I think there are several other countries I could live in and thrive in.  I am as much as a citizen of the world and humanity as I am an American.  I won't ever say if you live in America you had better learn goddamn English.  I don't give members of the military extra respect because they served the "country".  I served the country for 25 years domestically as a police officer.  I have been shot at, physically assaulted and willing put myself in harms way to protect the very thing that was taken from my wife today.... the right to live peacefully the way she chooses.

I don't know who was responsible because they didn't have the personal integrity to knock on my door.  The net result of their action is that my wife feels more isolated than ever.  I personally resent their fundamental patriotism and would have no problem telling them that to their face!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

If You are an Anti-vaxer You Are at the Root of this Outbreak

I attend Salt Lake Community College where we received this email:

SLCC Measles Exposure Notice

On April 11th, 2011 you were potentially exposed to a person who was infectious with measles. This exposure occurred at the Nicholas Kristof presentation, held at the Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) South City Campus.

In an effort to help reduce the possibility of spreading the measles to others, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) is requesting that you as a recipient of this email contact the Utah Department of Health at 801-538-6191 if you begin experience signs and symptoms of measles.

Signs of symptoms of measles include: (People generally become ill from measles 7-18 days after exposure to the virus)
Fever of 101 degrees or higher
Runny nose
Red, watery eyes
Rash (The rash usually occurs about 14 days after exposure and begins at the hairline and spreads to cover the face, trunk and arms.)
Sensitivity to light (symptom for some people)

Additional important information regarding measles:
If you develop symptoms of measles, please contact your healthcare provider immediately. Call ahead before visiting your healthcare provider or any medical facility so precautions can be taken to avoid potential exposure to other patients.
Measles is very contagious, 90% of people exposed to measles who have not been vaccinated against measles will get measles.
Measles is spread by close contact with an infected person. Just being in the same room as an infected person can be enough for a person to get infected with measles, even after the infected person has left the room.  The measles virus can live on surfaces for up to 2 hours.
If you have never received a MMR vaccine or only one dose of the MMR vaccine it is strongly recommended a first or second dose of MMR vaccine immediately.
If there are people in your home who are not completely immunized, it is strongly recommended that they receive their first or second dose of MMR immediately.
If you have had prior measles illness you are protected and need not do anything.
Additional information on measles can be found at

Utah Department of Health
Office of Epidemiology
PO Box 142104
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2104
801.538.9923 (fax)

To report a disease or outbreak

This outbreak coincides with an outbreak on the eastside of Salt Lake County in the Granite School District. According to a study outlined in the Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics parents who are most likely to skip vaccines are mothers who are educated, white, with above average incomes. The Oprah generation who get their medical advise from Dr. Oz, Deepak Choprah, and Dr. Phil. The same parents who bought off on the Wakefield study and who continue to practice this dangerous abstinence.

Because of the MMR vaccine learning and physical disabilities such as congenital and acquired deafness have a much lower incidence. If you are a teen or young mother who was not immunized and you get rubella there is a 60% likelihood your child will be deaf. If your infant gets the measles there in a likelihood they will suffer from hearing loss. There is NO chance they will get autism. None. ZERO.

Fundamental thinking is bad for humans with or without a god!  If you deny your child vaccines against childhood diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, polio and pertussis you should not only not be allowed to keep your children but you should be voted off the island as well. You have no business endangering your children or the herd. In exercising your right to abstain you impair their right to life and happiness.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What We Do Not Teach

I have not posted in over a month.  I know that is no way to keep a readership nor is it keeping the goals that I set at the beginning of the the year.  I know that you are wondering 'what happened to curmudgeon?'  Okay I know that I am not really weighing on your minds but I like to have my own fantasies.

In January I made a radical change in my life.  I ended my 25 year career with the State of Utah.  I retired 5 years prior.  I was double dipping in a job that really met none of my needs much less contributed to happiness.  After my friends Matt's suicide and some other financial trials I reevaluated my priorities and decided it was time to make a radical change and to live out my remaining 30+ years pursuing life instead of money.  I reentered Salt Lake Community College taking 17 credit hours to complete my Associates Degree in General Studies.  I will graduate in May.  I will return to the University of Utah mid May to work on my bachelors degree in Theatre Performing Arts Design.  Once completed I will follow that up with masters in education.  I can complete half of the M.Ed. while an undergrad.

So the title of this post is "The Things We Do Not Teach."  At the community college I have taken two courses this semester that have been wrapped into the conservative fabric of this state.  The first is Human Biology.  In Human Biology we discussed, as we should, evolution.  I was a bit disturbed by the fact that when it came to discussing Macro Evolution the instructor stated we would be skirting the topic so that those who believed in a higher power would not have that belief challenged.  There is one person in the class who noted the text book is not as sensitive and directly discusses macro evolution.  This is a guy who has made jokes about democrats being parasites in the class when we discussed the immune response system.  He also accepts state offered and paid for assistance in the form of a note taker as provided by IDEA.  A Democrat supplied program. I found it frustrating that we are in a class full of adults and we have to skirt the topic of evolution because, although there is plenty of evidence supporting evolution, it might offend someone's fantasy about a god created earth.  In fact there is more evidence for evolution than there is for a god.  We are adults.  Provide the evidence and the data in an objective matter and let us make the conclusions from that.  If you want to entertain the idea of a god at a collegiate level take philosophy .

The second topic that bothered me was in my Human Sexuality Course.  When we talked about sexual satisfaction and guilt we were told we could not discuss religion in that context.  Now I agree that we should not bash religion in the context because there is some evidence religion contributes to delay of risky sexual habits in teens.  There is also the evidence that practices like teen sex and masturbation are normal natural processes in sexual development and the religious programing can be harmful in the healthy development of adult sexual experiences.  Religion in this case became the 1,000 pound gorilla in the room.  Again, we are adults.  We can handle the truth in an evidence and socially responsible conversation regarding the entire spectrum of the topic of sex and human sexuality.

I have to say as a whole these courses have been exceptional.  I have enjoyed the instructors and their approaches to the topics.  I just think in a higher education institution the truth should be discussed as supported by evidence in classes that demand it.