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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holly and jolly

It's all going to be okay.

We've all had our ups and downs this year, our joys and losses, loves, hates, fears, hopes, worries, and disappointments.

Just remember every day is new. Find joy when you can. You are wanted, needed, and loved. You matter. Be happy, because you deserve happiness.

Unless you ruin Star Wars before I get to see it. Then you can burn in Hell.

Merry Christmas!
-Tony

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dem bones!

Daddy / daughter / dinosaur / planetarium / corned beef & matzoh ball soup day!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars The Force Awakens Spoiler Leak!

Apparently, The Force Awakens is really about Max Rebo. He steals Sy Snootles away from Lando Calrissian while working in one of his nightclubs, and Lando blacklists him. So Max goes to the Hutts, and Lando wakes up with the bloody head of Jar-Jar in his bed.

I would pay good money to see that.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, December 14, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Where did the time go?

My son turned eighteen today. Where did the time go? So much has happened in those years. I'd like to say I've grown wiser in that lifetime, that I've changed and been the best father I could to my children. I've been good and bad, smart and stupid.

He was so tiny when he was a baby, a bit of a preemie. Now he towers over me. I used to run around with him under my arm, like he was a tiny football. Or we'd fake WWF wrestle, with him always winning. Now, he could probably put me under his arm.

Good and bad things will happen to you. You will have friends who will leave their mark on your brain forever. Wish them happiness, but always wish it for yourself as well. Find something to want, something that will make your soul grow, and follow it. Learn things that will make you believe in yourself. Find people who make you want to be the best you you can be. Treat yourself with love, and never forget your own love has value. Be realistic about the present, but when it comes to the past, treasure the good. It will make your memories happier.

Remember that if you want self respect, that you have to earn it from yourself. If you want pride, you have to do things that will make you proud. Forgive the people who hurt you - but forgive yourself as well.

Life is beautiful, and I love you always.

-TTFN
Tony


Thursday, December 03, 2015

Agnostic Speaking: Prayer is Good, or Why the NY Daily News Can Stick It Where the Sun Don't Shine

A few days after the terrorist attack in Paris, my cute, little, sainted, Catholic, Sicilian mother called me. She was upset.  "I don't want to upset you, or pry," she began. I told her she could ask or talk to me about anything.

She told me that she and my father were worried, because my family and I live in New York City, and I'm currently doing transit work, which is a prime target for terrorism. But since I'm agnostic (simplified: I don't know if a higher power exists, though it might, but in the meantime, I'm not going to pretend that I do), she was also worried about my eternal soul. "Heaven is supposed to be paradise," she said, "but how can it be paradise for me without you?"

It doesn't matter that I'm agnostic, and that to me, the idea that an all powerful and supposedly all-loving god has nothing better to worry about than which stories people have made up about him/her/it is silly - although I am angry that anyone has convinced her she needs to be so upset about such a thing. The point is, this is still one of the most loving and touching things anyone has ever said to me.

As a child, it used to drive me up a tree when my father's response to every problem I had was to pray about it. But that's because I was a child, and I was looking for help, answers, and guidance. (Which he did give, by the way.) But what if he had phrased it a different way? Is there any real difference between "Don't sweat the small stuff" or "Don't make yourself sick about what you can't change" and "Give it up to God?" I don't believe twenty Hail Marys (a priest actually gave me that many once at confession, I'm not going to tell you why) are going to magically wipe my wrongs away... but is there any difference between them and any other meditation-centering mantra? The Our Father is bad, but chanting Ommmmm is good?

Now that I'm pretending to be an adult, I can't understand the anger that's directed these days at people who say "I'll pray for you." Maybe because I don't expect those people to fix my problems in the first place. If I tell a friend or family member that I am hurting, or have ninety-nine problems (you know the rest- and by the way, he was alluding to a drug-sniffing dog, not women), and they say "I'll pray for you," I don't think, "Well what good will THAT do? Get out there and fix anti-union problems, or my transmission, or my children's health, or get Oprah to spotlight my books!" I think, "Wow, that's really kind and loving of them to care."
 
OK, lets be honest. The New York Daily News's front page today is deliberate controversial spin to keep the conversation away from the religious affiliations of the San Bernardino shooters. (NO I am NOT saying all followers of that religion, or even that that religion itself is to blame, or should be spotlighted. I am saying the media is deliberately creating controversy as a distraction, especially since they spent the past week blaming a different religion for the Planned Parenthood shootings - which, for the record, was horrible and inexcusable, so don't even try it.) I'm also not going to get drawn into the gun control debate. (For the record, I believe in the second amendment, but I also believe we need sane gun control laws. Having a gun in your home to protect yourself or for sport doesn't mean you should be legally able to carry a gun into a movie theater where I've taken my kids, You also shouldn't be able to buy military-grade hardware at gun shows, and gun ownership should be federally at least as regulated as drivers' licenses. Sometimes a slippery slope is a slippery slope, and sometimes it's an excuse.)

I suppose I don't expect politicians to solve my problems either, especially if they're just candidates. Nor, considering their lives, do I consider their offering of prayers sincere. I'm sure its 75% pandering. But hey, if that other 25% is actually praying for peace, hope, and healing, then good for them. Thanks for caring.

No, I'm not saying prayer will help on its own. But it can't hurt. I've always believed that prayers are answered by people (Which is why, if you pray for healing, you should support scientific research to help doctors learn to heal, including the theory of evolution, but I digress.) We also need to answer our own prayers, sometimes. But it's hypocritical bs to pretend that prayer and action are mutually exclusive. I've volunteered with New York Cares during long stretches of unemployment, and most of the other volunteers are overtly religious. It's the same way most of the people I know who are against abortion for religious reasons donate their time and money to help the needy. One does not automatically exclude the other.

So many cans of worms, so little time... 

To sum up. Yes, action needs to happen for things to change. Yes, all politicians are full of excrement. No, scapegoating prayer and those on the (politically) right who pray to keep the conversation politically "safe" is not the answer, and up your ass with broken glass for doing so. I say my agnostic prayers for the people I care about all the time. Maybe I need to turn in my membership card and blazer badge back in to the League of Agnostics (Insert obscure reference thumbs up here, if you get it.)

Peace, love and soul, my friends.

TTFN
-Tony