Archive for December, 2008

“Like a midget at a urinal, I had to keep on my toes”

Alright, I have to ask. Why is everyone so fucking shocked that the pope has decided that eliminating homosexuality is up there with saving the rainforest? Last time I checked the pope was catholic, and unless the catholic church has made some radical and fundamental changes to their philosophy over the last few years they believe homosexual acts to be inherently sinful.

Of course the pope thinks it’s important to eradicate homosexuality. The man truly and honestly believes it to be something that damns a human being to eternal torment and suffering. When offered the option to work for saving trees against that of working to protect millions of human souls I am, quite frankly, only shocked by how mild his response was. People can argue all they like about the church’s interpretation of the bible, but I guarantee you that the bible specifically states that homosexual acts are against god, I’ve checked. Anyone demanding I quote chapter and verse will be both obliged and simultaneously torn a new arsehole for making me trawl through the bible _again_, as I am sure there are millions of sites that will tell you the exact passages.

People whine about the pope’s responsibility as a world spiritual leader. My fucking arse. The pope’s responsibility is to his god. He knows it, why doesn’t anyone else seem to get it? Ok, it’s better for everyone if he can be on reasonably good terms with the world, he has a whole lot of influence over a whole lot of people. But from his perspective, the important thing is ensuring the eternal salvation of mankind, political correctness shouldn’t really enter into it.

At this point I should probably clarify something, I completely and totally disagree with the pope on the subject of homosexuality and indeed sexuality in general. In fact, the number of things I disagree with the catholic church on is rather substantial. What a cause of consternation for me, as an irish catholic by birth and upbringing. Oh what a wailing and gnashing of teeth there was for the approximately 5 seconds it took me at the age of 14 to realise that in fact there was a very, very simple solution, which I will now share with the world.

Stop. Being. Catholic.

Yes kids, that’s right, it’s a simple as that. You can if you like go the whole hog and get yourself excommunicated, but personally I am saving that for a special occasion. Frankly, if the sacraments of the catholic church mean nothing to you then a formal ejection is blatantly unnecessary anyway. The really cool part of this solution is that if you disagree with the pope and don’t think all gay people go to hell, you’ve actually stopped being a catholic already. It’s a religion, not a fucking social club.

The point of organised religion is to create a community of people with the same core beliefs. And guess what, the core beliefs of the catholic church are not in fact “let’s be nice to everyone”. Whatever about some other happy-go-lucky Christian faiths (none of which incidentally believe it’s possible not to be damned if you’re not a christian) the catholic church through the ages has been a byword for corruption and intolerance of epic proportion.

People complain about the pope, people complain about the church’s attitude toward sex of any description, people complain about the church’s long history of abhorrent political policies. But then they receive the census form and next to religion write down “Roman Catholic”. The church has power because we give it to them. It is insinuated into the structure of our lives, births deaths and marriages are unimaginable without a priest. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Screw organised religion. Most people are doing this already, I don’t know all that many Catholics or indeed Christians whose faith is much more than a convenient label and set of conventions for them to ignore at will. The only thing that can and is damaging massive global religious organisations like the catholic church is the attrition of membership.

Yes, that would mean giving up some traditional ceremonial aspects of life. But when those rituals become the whole point then the meaning they were supposed to convey in the first place is lost. All they mean to most people now is the ability to get married in a church by a priest with their mum watching.

If you can’t give up the conventional social trappings of a religion, then the excuse that the ridiculous intolerant speeches of your spiritual leader don’t represent you is pathetic, because you don’t even represent yourself.

“Ah, alcohol… both the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems”

In the approach to Christmas I’ve been reading an awful lot of articles and blog entries about the evils (or lack thereof) of booze, a common topic in Ireland in particular as we are somewhat prone to over-indulgence. So lets get a couple of things straight. There is a reason alcohol makes us feel woozy, there is a reason it lowers our inhibitions and makes us a bit merry, and there is a reason that large quantities of it make us extremely ill, it’s motherfucking poisonous kids.

Alcohol, like all hallucinogens and intoxicants, is poison. I find it endlessly entertaining that we manage to cultivate an attitude of cheerful ignorance about this. Does this mean I am soberly perched on my high horse looking at the scummy intoxicated people with disdain? Not in the slightest. I enjoy drinking, occasionally I even like the taste of it, and though I rarely drink in order to get drunk anymore I have done so in the past. But I don’t argue that its ok, I don’t argue that everyone enjoys a pint at christmas, and I don’t cite the “red wine and guinness can be good for you” argument.

Because I don’t give a rat’s ass whether its good for me or not. I drink for the same reasons I eat pizza and chocolate, I want to. Moderate amounts of pizza won’t kill me, and if I eat so much of it that I end up unable to wipe my own arse without a rag on a stick thats my own goddamn fault. By the same token, if I drink so much beer I end up falling asleep in my own sick then thats my own fault too. Anyone lecturing me on the harm it does my body will get a short sharp “go fuck yourself, you pompous wankfest”. It’s my body, so whether I want to poison it, paint it blue or throw it under a train is my own business.

With that established, I still think recommended units of alcohol are bullshit. For the simple reason that everyone’s physiology is different, and so everyone’s ability to absorb the aforementioned toxins will vary also. This does not mean it is healthy for me to drink 4 pints because I am pretty tall for a girl. It just means I won’t fall over until pint 5.

The real problem arises when people not only risk their own health but the health and safety of others. People who drink too much and fall asleep in a gutter are idiots, people who drink too much and then drive themselves home are unforgiveably retarded. This sort of thing is rampant in america and really pisses me off, because people just dismiss it as a fact of life. It’s not an unavoidable aspect of drinking, it’s disgustingly irresponsible.

The irish seem to have cultivated an amazingly diverse attitude toward drinking that encompasses bravado, embarassment, social obligation and mutual reinforcement that borders on the irritating as hell. Unlike the americans, we feel weird going out for a drink alone, and therefore if we feel like a trip to the pub it is necessary for to recruit/bully/cajole/bribe someone else into accompanying us. Likewise leaving the pub before the majority of your group can be a very difficult maneouver as everyone simultaneously tries to guilt you into just one more.

So if you feel like drinking, go right the fuck ahead. I promise not to argue how much of it is bad for you if you promise not to argue how much of it is good for you.

Today I have mostly been shat upon from a great height

Today, has been a bad day. In fact, that could be considered an understatement. Up until now the worst day of my life was officially the 23rd of May 2003, a day in which I got stood up twice, found out I couldn’t go to an Iron Maiden concert, broke up with my boyfriend, and spilled bubble mixture all over my keyboard while complaining about the above. However I think Dec 2nd 08 will now be giving it a run for it’s money.

This morning I woke up lazily thinking I had a few extra minutes to get into work since my first meeting wasn’t until 9.30. So I was mildly surprised to receive a phone call from one of my colleagues at 9am on the dot. I was substantially more surprised at the subject of the phone call, namely that our boss had just been laid off, and was in the process of vacating the office.

It should be noted at this point that I work in finance. Not directly for a financial institution, but in the current global recession the crappy economy affects everyone. So I was expecting for something to throw a spanner in the works of my merry glide through life sooner or later. I suppose no-one ever thinks its going to be sooner. As we were all still reeling from shock of this news in the office, naturally the instant reaction was “what happens now?”, or to put it more accurately; “What happens to _us_?”. Lets just say answers were less than reassuring. In fact, on a scale of reassuring from 1-10, the answers we got could be reasonably considered to be a minus 17.

My concentration shot, I spent most of the day thinking through worst case scenarios, and what I was going to do in the event of losing my job. For anyone this is a pain in the ass, for me its more like a case of chronic piles. For you see, I am in the states on a transfer visa, which is the quickest cheapest way of getting someone permission to work in the US. It is also, rather ironically, non-transferrable. Should I lose my current employment, I have 9 days to leave the country. (Yes, I could just come back after on a visa waiver for 3 months, but the previous sentence has better dramative narrative quality, don’t ruin it for me)

I decided at about 5 that it was time to enjoy a relaxing beverage whilst bemoaning my fate to a sympathetic friend. Unfortunately, sympathetic friends are not actually something I tend to cultivate. This is almost never a problem, but today all 3 of my potentially sympathetic friends were busy or far away. All the blatantly unsympathetic ones were mostly just far away. In lieu of dramatically proclaiming doom to all who would listen I went home to brood while watching House.

After wasting most of my evening I decided to tidy some of the pile of clothing that has been accumulating on my couch and so I ordered chinese food. This may not seem like a logical progression, but my cunning plan was to make the tidying a goal I had to achieve before eating said chinese food. I’m not sure whether its more worrying that I try to use positive reinforcement on myself, or that it works. Now, the folding and putting away of clothing is a relatively simple task, even if you are an anal retentive psycho like myself. Unfortunately the very first item I put in a drawer was apparently the last straw in a long-running game I was having with the cosmos of “when will my chest of drawers break”. Thus, naturally, my chest of drawers broke.

Not a massive crashing wood splinters all over the floor type of break. No, it was more of a long drawn out, sad and pathetic type of break, which began with me futilely trying to re-insert a drawer and ended with me crouching on the floor with a hammer, every item of clothing I own strewn across a bunch of empty detached drawers which had one by one refused to remain in place and were now stacked on my bed. In the middle of this, it suddenly occurs to me to wonder where the fuck my chinese food is, at which point the phone rings.

The delivery guy is confused. I live about 10 feet from the most famous street in goddamn america, and this only serves to confuse people, because the genius planners of my building gave it 2 addresses. The official address, which is 1 Wall St Court, and the back door, which is 82 Beaver St. (I’m fine with putting this on the internet for two reasons, one there are a zillion people living here, and 2 I’m moving out. ) the back door requires a keycard to get in, so I give delivery people the front address. However no matter what I fucking write on the extra delivery instructions, or the address field, every goddamn fucking time, they go to 1 Wall St, which of course is a bloody great office building 5 minutes down the road.

Since this is america, they are delivering chinese food due to barely speaking english, and so when they call me to self-righteously complain that I have given the wrong address it is a fucking frustrating experience. I spent 5 minutes trying to explain to this guy that the address was incomplete, and he spectacularly failed to understand everything I said. When I eventually persuaded him just to go to the back door on the theory that at least it was unambiguous, he called me back to say it didn’t exist, having not bothered to walk another 10 feet down the street from where he was standing at number 76.

I finally ate my crappy chinese food half an hour ago, in the middle of a huge mound of clothing which is still not put away in my newly repaired and wedged upright chest of drawers. It was absolutely shite, which I guess means it wasn’t quite as unhealthy as the really delicious MSG-tastic chinese food I usually eat. I was about to bung the leftovers in the fridge when I decided to eat the fortune cookie, read the message inside, and nearly fell off the couch laughing…

“Your enthusiasm towards work will soon pay off”

Its good to know the universe has a sense of fucking humour.