Today in the Northeast U.S., Nature is having a snowball fight with the humans and (outdoor) animals that live here. We are due for 12 to 16 inches of snow today. The snow is coming down like gangbusters, but it's not really sticking to the roadways--it's too warm. What IS happening is that the snow is piling up on rooftops, tree branches, power lines...and as the snow gets too heavy, it comes down with a great "plop" onto the house, the sidewalks, passers-by. I had no idea that trees could throw that much snow so far. At least the cat is entertained; he's been watching the snow fall in great dollops onto the skylights in my bedroom. Between the snow and the sound of birds chirping on Birdsong Radio downstairs, I'm sure he thinks there is some giant pterodactyl-like bird outside. And he wants to eat it.
Whenever I have an unplanned day off and I'm stuck in the house, I always feel the need to be productive. Frequently I'm not, in spite of good intentions. This is because I try to take on too much in a short space of time, and get so exhausted thinking about it, I think a cold beer and some Ghost Hunters reruns sounds like a better proposition. Today I am trying to take baby steps--only get a few bits of housework done, and more work on my current short story. That's it. Part of me wants to brave going out in the snow, but lately I've found that conditions at my house are not representative of conditions elsewhere. Why a small town with a population of about 1,000 should do a better job keeping its roads than some of the bigger and better-funded towns in the area is beyond me. But that's how it goes. The passibility of the roads after a snowstorm is inversely proportional to the amount of tax money a town collects. For example--I always drive through Morris Township on my way to work. Morris Township has a ridiculous amount of money. The taxes are obscene. Yet, that is the one place out of many others that I drive through that consistently has sloppy, partially impassable roads the day after a big snow event--or even a small snow event. What are the residents of those towns paying for, anyway? Golf courses?
A quick scan of my online resources tells me that lots of athletes are getting injured or dying at the Olympics. I don't think that's supposed to be part of the competition. Either the athletes are ridiculously uncoordinated, under a curse, or Vancouver needs to check their facilities for safety.
I read yesterday that Utah is looking to pass a law making miscarriage "a criminal homicide". I also read about a woman in New Zealand being kicked off a bus in the pouring rain for breastfeeding her baby, which reminds me of another story about a woman thrown off a bus because her child was crying, and she was having difficulty calming him down. Looks like misogyny is alive and well on planet Earth. And that the Utah legislature members are first-class cretins. I can just see it now--a married woman desperate to have a child even though she has fertility problems, ends up miscarrying and going to the hospital, and then is arrested for criminal homicide. Words don't even begin to express how inhumane and evil this is. But clearly the Utah legislators are a moral bunch who are looking to protect the rights of the unborn. Maybe they'll be kind in that case and rule it an "accidental homicide". Or, maybe they'll start genetic testing to weed out the "weak" women who can't properly reproduce. You're thinking, "That's just sick." And it is. They should pass a law making it a criminal act for the legislator who thought up that piece of legislation to have children. Or maybe not, if the old adage about children becoming the opposite of their parents holds true.
Last semester, my religion students handed in papers on various issues regarding religion and society. Of those who addressed gender issues, it surprised me how many--both male and female--said that "women clearly did not have to deal with the kinds of discrimination they used to in this day and age." Generally speaking, women don't have it "bad" in this country, but if you think discrimination is dead, think again. I have been a woman on my own for a number of years now, and I can tell you that I am treated differently when I need to call up male businessmen for various services--real estate appraisals, car leasing inquiries, state auto inspections, home repairs. I'm not going to make a blanket "all men are chauvinistic pigs" statement, because it wouldn't be true--I've dealt with some very professional men in my domestic business. But I've also dealt with men who have tried to be intimidating, insulting, patronizing, and just outright sleazy just because they hear a reasonably young female voice on the other end of the phone. My test of chauvinism is to hang up the phone and let my father call the next day for the same service. He gets the same people, but entirely different, respectful treatment. If said sleazeballs catch me on the wrong day, I will tell them to take their head and their business and stick it where the sun doesn't shine. I have no patience for prejudice and disrespect. The point is, of course, that discrimination still exists. My prediction, given the political environment in this country, is that it will get worse. But the pendulum is still swinging, so things will get worse, then better, over time. At least I hope that's the case. Humanity these days is doing a good job of disregarding evolutionary (and/or God-given) advantages in favor of perplexingly asinine behavior. But maybe that's nothing new.
I switch over to my RSS feeds, and I'm pleased to see that my friend Dan has 2 new blog postings at Mirage Divine--one on reincarnation, the other on Tarot. Both restore my faith in human intelligence. In the latest post, Dan suggests that reincarnation, or the notion of "past lives", contradicts the idea of an eternal Now, which is suggested in much of Eastern religion. He cites the multiverse theory as a possible solution to this and other paradoxes involving the creation of the Universe. (No need for a Creator if all possibilities are possible in many universes). In this view, there could be one idea of a "soul" that is fragmented across many universes. In other words, you are living many different lives at the same time--now. Which would certainly explain why the Buddhists exhort us to be aware in the present, instead of an imaginary past or future. Linearity is an illusory construct of the brain, since it experiences the illusion of linear time.
Speaking of people named Dan--a former MSU student named Dan recently posted to Facebook that Syracuse University closed on account of snow. Given that Syracuse is in a major snow belt...in Dan's words, "this...could only be the snow brought on by Nyarlathotep". Who is the messenger of Azathoth, if you read H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos stories.
Hmm...good idea...go read some H.P. Lovecraft. And if you haven't seen the trailer for the upcoming Lovecraft Society film, "Whisperer in the Darkness", watch it now: