Freedom of Religion

I almost didn’t write this one, but as I said before I’m tired

Once again I saw a post from a friend on Facebook regarding Islam. The last time, it was someone saying the religion should be illegal in the United States. It resulted in me writing about the slippery slope of allowing discrimination against a group with which you disagree. This time, the post was complaining about a tweet from one of our new Muslim Congresspeople. This complaint had multiple people agreeing that people who are Muslim should not be allowed to hold office. People agreed that they should not be allowed in the United States. They all apparently agree that every Muslim should be judged by the actions of other Muslims. There are many, many issues with all of this. I will highlight a few.

The first amendment gives us freedom of religion. Many of the same people who want to take away a Muslim’s first amendment rights also rant quite a bit about their own second amendment rights. Seems to me if the second one is important, the first one, by virtue of being first, should be even more important. People like to scream about how this is a Christian country, but one of the very basic freedoms we have as Americans is the freedom to worship as we want. This includes Muslims. You can’t pick and choose who gets this freedom. We can’t pick and choose which amendments are important.

If we are going to judge all Muslims based on the actions of a few, I guess we can judge all white men who own guns by the actions of the mass shooters? Should we assume all white men with guns will eventually murder multiple people? Should we judge all Christians on the ones who bombed abortion clinics? On the televangelists who take money from gullible old people and spend it on private jets? Again, you can’t pick and choose. You can’t declare all Muslims are terrorists if we can’t declare all white men with guns are mass murderers.

In one post someone said that Islam is not a religion. It is a political ideology. For some, that may be true. It is also true for some Christians. There are plenty of self-proclaimed Christians out there who are political, not religious Christians.  Christians who care about power above all else. Christians who will denounce a Democrat for not being “Christian” enough for office, but will justify electing an adulterer and liar because he promises them political power. Every religion, to some, is more political ideology than a religion.

Generally, I think the problem is the fear of other We don’t like people who aren’t like us. We fear things we don’t understand. It’s easier to want everyone to be just like us, but that’s not America. America is great because we are all free to be who we want to be, worship how we choose to worship, love who we choose to love. I’m tired of people demanding people not like them be declared illegal and unwanted.

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What’s Good in Tater Town 2/17/19

For once, it shouldn’t be hard to find good things this week. It would be sad if I couldn’t find good things in my birthday week.

  1. I started out the week with a 90-minute delay at work, so my three day weekend had a small extension.
  2. I had a reason to leave the branch again Thursday. Regardless of the reason, it’s always nice to get out of the building and see people I don’t normally see.
  3. We got a yes to explore a possible class at work when I was expecting a no.
  4. I went out with work friends after work on Friday night. It was slightly better than sitting on my couch watching TV.
  5. We picked the kids up and went to lunch at Old Ebbitt Grill in DC for my birthday.
  6. We spent a little time wandering around DC after lunch instead of heading straight home.
  7. A lot of people took the time to say happy birthday to me on Facebook even though I’m a terrible person who never takes the time to do that for my Facebook friends.
  8. My son’s presentation was accepted to a conference in Portland in June.
  9. Kentucky beat Tennessee last night. Beating Tennessee is always good. Beating them when they are #1 is especially good.
  10. I still have two more days off before I have to go back to work.

Here’s hoping I have a snow day on my list for next week.

Tater 5-0

Why, yes, I am narcissistic enough to write for a third year in a row about my birthday. I’m told this is a big one. I went to bed last night middle-aged and woke up old. I didn’t expect it to happen so fast, but here I am.

I now have the urge to go to dinner at 4 and then go home and watch Matlock.

I have the urge to go yell at someone to get off my lawn.

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

I have the urge to read the obits in the paper to see if I know anyone.

I begin every sentence with “back in my day”

The left turn signal on my car is always on but I’m not turning.

I have the urge to very slowly write a check to pay for my groceries.

I guess it’s all downhill from here.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 2/15/19

This week I actually have a movie, a book and a new TV show to write about. It’s been a while since that’s happened. One of the benefits of a three day weekend.

Movies – I didn’t watch any new movies this week. I have a couple of DVDs of newer movies but instead of watching them I watched random movies on cable. Friday I watched Footloose again because it was on IFC. I still love it. Saturday, I found Cooties and HBO. I always meant to watch it, but never did so I was happy to stumble across it. It’s a horror comedy set in an elementary school where a virus turns all the kids into crazed cannibals. The teachers, including Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson, fight to survive. I enjoyed it.

TV – I spent a lot of time watching my normal shows and The Walking Dead returned, so there was a lot of TV this week. The one new show I watched this week was Miracle Workers on TBS. It is based on a book by Simon Rich. I really like Simon Rich. The show stars Steve Buscemi as God and Daniel Radcliffe as an angel in the answered prayers department. A young, idealistic angel is transferred to the department and wants to answer bigger prayers. Her conversation with God leads to his decision to destroy Earth and then to a bet. If they can answer an impossible prayer, Earth will be saved. I really liked it. I laughed several times. Buscemi is really good as God. Daniel Radcliffe and Geraldine Viswanathan are good as the angels. It’s a good cast with good writing. I say watch it.

Books – I finished On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. It takes place in Garden Heights, same as The Hate U Give(the events of THUG are mentioned), but with new characters. This one is the story of Bri, an aspiring rapper who lives with her recovering addict mom and underemployed college graduate brother. They struggle financially and Bri dreams of making it big to help them pay the bills. Her first song goes viral and attracts a lot of attention from bad places. I don’t know if I liked it as much as THUG, but it was close. Thomas is very good. I do think Bri’s story was more interesting and the stakes were higher when it came to her decisions. That might resonate more with some readers.

On Deck – I’m reading The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams. I might need to take a break from this one because I need to finish An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon by next Friday for book club and I haven’t even started it. I don’t think I will get to the movies I have on DVD, so I have no idea if I will watch a movie this week. Maybe I will get to True Detective at some point.

Tater’s Wednesday Morning Off Thoughts

Wednesday is the day I don’t start work until 1. That means I have time in the morning to do housework, run errands or, like this morning contemplate life while I’m waiting for the laundry to be ready to fold. The contemplations are not always fun. Today’s contemplations are brought to me by the increasingly clear signals that it may be time for me to move on. As I think about moving on, I think about some of the lessons I need to learn before I make a jump.

Look before you leap – I practiced this one recently when I opted against taking a new job. I won’t rehash the details as I’ve written about it already. In short, I took the time to consider the pros and cons of the job and decided that is was not the right move for me at the time. Change for change sake is not the right decision. Really investigate the jump before you take it.

The greener grass might be misleading – The grass might be greener on the other side, but that might just be due to a lot of bullshit. It’s easy to clean your house and threaten the kids to behave when company is coming. It’s easy to be fooled into thinking everything is great somewhere because of this. It’s similar to the social media effect. You think everyone’s life is better than yours because of the fake snapshot they post online. Before you consider jumping to a new place, look below the surface. Is it a healthy work environment? This might be hard to know for certain, but try to find out what you can.

Jumping is scary, but staying put might be worse – I’ve been with the same employer for 24 years. The thought of leaving is scary. The thought of giving up the comfort and security of being a long time employee could easily keep me from considering making a move, What’s scarier, though, is the thought of watching everyone around you move up and move on while you remain stagnant. Sometimes, the only way to move up is to move out.

It doesn’t hurt to look – Even if you are happy where you are right now, it never hurts to look to see what’s out there. You might miss out on the perfect job for you by not even knowing it’s an option. It doesn’t hurt to look, apply and even interview. You don’t have to take the job if you decide it isn’t the right fit, but how will you know if you don’t try?

You don’t owe anything to anyone – Do what’s best for you and your family. That is all that matters. You don’t owe anyone else anything but ample notice that you are leaving. That’s all.

All that being said, even when it likely becomes clear to me in the next few months that it is my time to jump, it will be hard for me to actually do it.

Tater Talks Blogging

I will begin this by saying that I am a nobody when it comes to blogging. I have no following. I feel like it is a success if I average 20 views a day. That is peanuts when it comes to blogging and I don’t see it ever changing. So, what I’m saying is that I’m the last person you should ever go to for blogging advice. Good news! I’m here to tell you to stop looking for blogging advice. I’ve been there. I’ve read posts about being a successful blogger. I’ve written a post about how to fail at blogging.  Guess what? I’m still lucky to get 20 views a day. I don’t think there is a formula for being a success if you want to maintain your individuality. I’ve seen so many different takes on how to be successful:

Don’t write too much. People will get tired of you and your posts will not be quality posts – Everyone was tired of me before I started blogging and my posts have never been quality posts.

Write every day or people will forget about you – I could write every day or stop writing and still be invisible.

Find a niche. Only write about one thing – I am not an expert on anything. I write whatever pops in my weird little brain.  A niche would be forced and artificial.

Post pictures, post videos, promote your old posts! Self-host! Learn how to maximize your random acronyms I can’t remember! That sounds exhausting.

In theory, I would love to have hundreds of views a day or more. In theory, I would love to be so popular that I could make money doing this. In real life, making money or even getting more views than I do is not something that will ever happen for me. I don’t have the skills nor the energy to get there.

I guess if there is a point to this post it is to relax, write what makes you happy and if you have the time do what you need to do to increase your numbers.

Drive Angry: Nic Cage Movie or the Story of My Commute?

I’ve written about Traffic before.  Here as well I once even wrote about traffic for our local Patch back when we had local people running the local Patch. I just did a google search and it’s still out there. Click here if you want to read that one. Guess what? Traffic still really irritates me.

I suffer from road rage. I don’t go as far as trying to fight someone for doing something that makes me mad, but on really bad days I yell a lot and say some not nice things. The furthest I go in interacting with other divers is usually honking the horn. If it is really bad there might be some sort of gesture trying to relay how stupid I think they are. I try to focus on music or a book, but the stupid usually distracts me from it. Today, for example. Every time it rains here traffic grinds to a halt. My 12 mile, usually 20-25 minute drive doubles to at least 45 minutes of following Waze trying to route me around the standstill traffic on my normal route. On these roads, I run into so many people driving way too slow, not going when the light is green and refusing to turn right on red unless they have no traffic coming for a mile. I’m already irritated because my commute is messed up and now I have to deal with this. It drives me crazy. I have serious issues. I still haven’t found the music that will relax me.

I thought it might get better when I started driving home to an empty house and most days it does I just don’t get why any rain destroys the commute. It’s not like it never rains here. We should all be used to driving in the rain. It shouldn’t take 45 minutes to drive 12 miles because it’s a little moist outside. I know it will be a bad drive when it is wet. I need to find the music that will calm me on those days. I also need the other drivers in the area to stop being so stupid.

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