The Airing of Grievances

by And the White Lion Roars!

Can we, for ohhhhh, maybe one year, put a moratorium on naming girls “Maria?” I understand the whole saint’s name thing, but can we, just once, think about the children, and how many other kids in their classrooms will have the same name? Surely there is a saint with some other name that can be used for female babies. I didn’t Google this one, but I’m fairly sure that Maria, or Marie or some other derivation would be the most common girls name, just as Mohammad is the most common boys name. Time for a change.

We’ve heard the use of the word “dame,” to mean a not exactly pejorative slang for a woman. Did it originate with the title “Dame” in Britain? Is it the same root as “damsel?”

“Thanks, Obamacare” is not punctuation.  I’m tired of it being used as such. Some of my customers at work use it that way, and I’ve heard it other places as well. I’m on the verge of beginning to throw it around as casually as some folks use “like” or “ya know.”

I was asked by a dear friend who is a pagan if I consider her “silly” for her beliefs. I do not. Historically paganism was a nature worshiping religion, and it still is. I can see some of that, even though I am a non-deist. She also believes in ghosts. I’ve never seen a ghost, but I think it would be very exciting and life changing if I did. But I cannot categorically deny that ghosts exist, as I can find arguments for the reasons I do not believe that “God” as I was taught him exists. I have watched TV programs on The Science Channel and The History Channel, and some of the “theoretical physicists” hypothesize some truly bizarre things, all without concrete evidence. Many of these programs engage in pure speculation about what the future will be like, and involve things like allowing us to live forever, or our minds being saved on computers and equating this to eternal life. What I think physicists have agreed on for a few hundred years is the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. That leaves a very large window open for what we become after we die. The energy that is us changes form. Whatever that may mean; I don’t think we can really count anything out, can we?

Most instinctive behavior evolved as “survival strategies,” from an innate desire to leave behind our offspring and continue passing on our genes. It seems counter intuitive to me that some of the great cats, such as lions, kill the babies of their prides. How is that a strategy for carrying on one’s genes? I get that sometimes this behavior is carried out by cousins, but it still doesn’t make any sense to me.

We’ve all heard lots of talk about American Exceptionalism, and whether or not we still have it. It has been shown that American students are not at all exceptional in the areas of math and science. Those who develop curriculum have diminished the arts and physical education aspects of our public education system to make more room for math and science teaching…so, why aren’t we creeping up on the competition in those disciplines? Could we regain our exceptionalism if we made our education a little more “well rounded,” as it once was? We lose a great deal as human beings without exercise, and without cultural education. Is it possible we also diminish the capacity for learning the technical skills we need when those things are taken away.

On watching one 0f my weekend news programs this weekend I heard a gentleman speak who used to be something called an “advocate” for New York City schools. The panel was discussing the poor children in NYC public schools, and the fact that they are coming to school hungry, which leaves them lacking in intellectual capacity. As a result these children have a double strike against them in learning enough to pull themselves out of poverty.  I was struck by the fact that this man referred to the children as “our children.” And it occurred to me that perhaps that recognition is missing in those who would cut school food programs for the disadvantaged students. Perhaps those legislators see these poor children as “their children,” as the children of that scary “other.” I remember how the horrible, terrible “S” (socialist) word got thrown at Hillary Clinton regarding her book, “It Takes a Village,” but she is so very right. If the children of the poor are ignored during early childhood, allowed to come to school too hungry to focus, leading to educational failure, then they will remain on the public dole, unable to stop the cycle of poverty for another generation. Surely some food costs way less than that?