• It’s Friday, we should break up – Cottonelle Toilet Paper

    4

    Do NOT be fooled by that cute little puppy. This toilet paper is of the devil.

    Okay, it’s probably not that bad. But it’s not good.

    Dear Cottonelle,

    I used to be an Angel Soft girl. For years, really. Then I discovered Northern triple-ply, which is like the 7th cloud of heaven for my ass (and costs as much as a five-star hotel room). The problem? It clogs the toilet even when there’s just pee.

    Then I decided to try to be a good steward of the earth and use recycled toilet paper. Boy, was that a mistake. If triple-ply is the 7th cloud of heaven, recycled toilet paper is like the 7th gate of hell, complete with Satan’s claw for wiping your ass. Are the hippies just against that outer layer of skin?

    That’s all to explain how I ended up at the grocery store, pondering my toilet paper decision for the first time in a decade. And there you were:

    Look at the cute puppy! It has aloe! And so I purchased it. Damn you, marketing.

    In all the years I’ve been wiping my own ass, I’ve never experienced this…aside from the scary one-ply in public bathrooms, maybe. The toilet paper keeps ripping. Like, there’s a hole in it and I end up with my excrement dangerously close to my fingers. How can this be, Cottonelle? You’re TOILET PAPER. This is your JOB.

    Maybe you need to go back to toilet paper school? Did you just go for the associates degree? I’d like toilet paper with a masters degree, thank you very much. Do your job. I do not want poo on my fingers.

    That is all.

    Love,
    Shine

    PS – That puppy is still really cute. Please send him to me for hugs, because of my toilet paper trauma. Thank you.

  • We need to talk.

    7

    It’s about rompers.

    Look, I know what you’re thinking, okay? I’ve been gone a while, so who am I to be sticking my nose in your fashion sense?

    Trust me on this one. I don’t care if it’s on every runway in New York, Milan, and Paris. It’s a onesie. And you’re an adult.

    Side note: If you’re not an adult, you should probably not be reading this, as I have a tendency to use the word fuck and talk about sex. At the very least, don’t tell your mother.

    Listen. I’m all for childhood nostalgia. I still eat the occasional Lick M Aid (now called Fun Dip, I suspect because of what happens when you try to google Lick M Aid…those spaces are VERY important). I’ve been known to put my hair in braided pigtails when I’m working out. But this? Is taking it too far.

    Just in case you haven’t noticed, it’s also an invitation to the worst camel toe you’ve had in your life. Like, wedgie meets camel toe in an unfortunate “get your ass juice in your vagina” kind of way. And at your age? You don’t want to be messin’ around with that.

    For those of you who are wondering, I’m still just as passionate about leggings/tights as pants. I’ve just added this to the list.

    And while we’re on the subject, I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’ve already read Mandy’s rant about Julie Klausner’s rant about women acting like little girls to attract men. If you haven’t, go read them both. I’ll wait.

    Not that it’s necessary, but I do want to add my two cents to the…debate? Discussion. Whatever is going on here.

    I agree with a lot of the points Julie makes in her blog. I think it’s sad when women are scared to be intellectual or funny, because they don’t want to intimidate men. I also believe that this is a phenomenon that is pretty much solely settled on women. I know no men who act like babies, so they don’t scare away potential female mates.

    Of course, I could be wrong there.

    HOWEVER, Julie. HOWEVER.

    I believe that this sort of snap judgment based on superficial things is what feminism came about to fight. I don’t want to be judged purely based on the superficial fact that I was born with boobs and a vagina. To switch the focus to judging people based on wearing converse or having pig tails or liking cartoons or Cap’n Crunch (the boyfriend says it is not Captain) or wearing stilettos or a short skirt isn’t really what I’d call progress. That’s just deciding how women should be and act all over again.

    Maybe that girl in the short skirt and the converse with her hair in pigtails has a masters degree in Russian literature and could be one of the most interesting and intelligent people you’ll ever meet, but you didn’t bother to speak to her because of her outfit.*

    I also think that, in general, we’re increasingly treated like children. Both men and women. I have some thoughts on why this is, but I know that if I use the words “industry” and “consumerism” most of you will probably think I’m a communist. A conversation with my Grandmother (yes, I capitalized it because that’s what I call her) paints a similar picture.

    Grandmother, upset that my cousin is dropping out of school, because she can’t afford it and food: “I just don’t want her to throw her life away.”

    Me: “Well, she’s only 21. That’s practically a kid.”

    Grandmother: “Practically a kid? When I was her age, I was married and pregnant with my third child!”

    That conversation really stuck with me. I know I didn’t feel like a real adult until I was about 26. I can’t even imagine being married and having kids by that age. We’re pushing adulthood and maturity further and further into the future, so we don’t have to deal with reality. Because reality sucks.

    And that? THAT is how grown women end up wearing onsies out in public.

    See how I tied that together?

    And Shia LeDouche? Should have quit while you were ahead. Which, I think, was when you were 12.

    *Leggings as pants, rompers, and ridiculously saggy pants not included. Sorry, I just can’t take it.

  • How does my birthday suddenly feel like a wedding?

    12

    As the cliche, traditional wedding story goes, the bride and groom must make every concession to please their families, while getting almost nothing that they actually wanted out of the day. I’m not saying your wedding was like that, I’m just talking about the stories and movie plots and such.

    Of course, that simply leads me to wonder why anyone wants a wedding, but that’s a wonder for another day.

    My birthday is coming up in a couple of days. Friday, to be exact. I will be 31 years old.

    I’m not one much for making a big fuss about my birthday. I had several really crappy ones and now I’d rather just be quiet and peaceful and…well, not cry. Last year was my 30th, so a couple of friends insisted that it should be a big deal. A party was planned and everyone had a great time. Including me.

    But this year, I just want to do what I want and not have to make a big fuss.

    Cut to Thanksgiving Day:

    Nana: You know I was too depressed to celebrate your birthday last year, since I had gotten fired a couple of months before. This year, we need to make sure we have a celebration for you.

    Me: …….

    The truth is, I barely noticed that she wasn’t up for celebrating. She hasn’t been a big part of my birthday, or any other part of my life, in YEARS. But, in typical Nana fashion, everything is about her, so she assumes that I must have been oh so sad when she didn’t bother to call or make time for dinner (I didn’t have family dinner at all for my birthday last year).

    What can I do, but agree? Yes, Nana, we can do a family thing for my birthday this year, if that’s what you want. Never mind what I want, of course.

    Cut to last night at dinner with my parents:

    Mom: So what would you like for dinner for your birthday? Nana said that we need to do something for your birthday this year, since she missed it last year.

    Me: Oh, I don’t know…sushi?

    Mom: Well, I guess I could figure out how to make sushi at home.

    Me: We’re eating at your place? Never mind. I just assumed we were going out.

    Mom: I’m pretty sure Nana is planning on cooking dinner for you and doing a family thing at home. (Except, of course, Mom will have to cook the dinner.)

    Me: …Oh. I didn’t realize. Sure, whatever Nana wants.

    Mom: So what do you want for dinner? I can cook anything.

    Me: Um…maybe beef tenderloin?

    Mom: I could do that. But we’d have to get something else for Dana.

    Me: Oh, right. Well, Gary hates chicken and Dana doesn’t eat red meat (or anything except chicken, really) and I’m not a huge fan of pork…Ugh, I really don’t care.

    I suppose my question is, if I have to make concessions for everyone else, why can’t someone else just plan the thing and I’ll show up? I love my Nana, but she is one of the most self-involved people in the world. I wouldn’t choose to hang out with her if I didn’t have to, but I don’t have a choice. She drives my mom crazy, too, so it’s not just me.

    In awesome birthday related news, HWLTFA is taking me for Greek food and to see Black Swan for my actual birthday. It’s the perfect, quiet celebration. The next morning, I get to have brunch with the always lovely Natalie and April. And then my friend Leslie is sort of having a birthday party for me that night. Yay for birthdays!

  • The atheism post I actually meant to write.

    3

    WARNING: This post is about atheism. If you don’t like atheism or think that I’m evil because I’m an atheist, please feel free to come back another day or not at all.

    Okay, so the other day, I wrote about a little experience I had at lunch. I had been meaning to write something about atheism anyway, and that took over. My original plan, however, was to give you my thoughts (I know, you’re dying with the suspense over there) about a “debate” going on in the atheist “community.”

    I’m not sure if it’s a real debate, but I’ve read about it quite a bit and some are referring to it that way. I have trouble calling it a community, because atheists don’t really…organize and congregate. At least, that wasn’t the case in the past. Now, it’s more acceptable, I suppose. I’m just not a huge fan of it.

    It all started when I noticed an article on Alternet entitled “Can Atheism Be Proven Wrong?” I clicked, I read. Feel free to click and read, but I’ll tell you a little bit about it, just in case.

    Greta Christina wrote, in my opinion, a pretty thought provoking article about what she considers to be the very nature of atheism. She was inspired by a man named PZ Myers of the Pharyngula blog, a pretty well known atheist writer. He had written a couple of pieces about how, in his opinion, there could be “no evidence that would convince [atheists] of the existence of a god.” Greta Christina disagreed, and proceeded to list the things that might convince her of the existence of a god. She argued that if, as atheists, we say that we can’t be proven wrong, we are betraying the very nature of atheism and science.

    I think they both make some good points. PZ argues that the concept of “god” is so ill-defined (and I happen to agree) that there is no way to prove anything about it. Greta Christina suggests that saying it would be impossible to convince atheists of the existence of a god is close-minded and exactly what atheists are often fighting against; that the idea that we cannot be proven wrong puts us in a boat with those we claim to be in conflict with.

    I have a few issues with the debate, though. First, speak for yourselves (I think Greta Christina actually does this). Don’t start making grand blanket statements that encompass all atheists. I don’t need to be lumped in, I can form my own opinions. The only thing that all atheists definitely have in common is a lack of belief in a god or gods.

    Second, I think it’s a silly question. And certainly nothing that should cause conflict.

    While I agree that saying that we cannot be proven wrong is both arrogant and ignorant, what’s the point of having a discussion of how we COULD be proven wrong? Theists don’t sit around talking about the things that could convince them their god doesn’t exist. At least, I wouldn’t think they do. And why is that? Because it’s a pointless discussion.

    Why do I think it’s pointless?

    For this reason: If anyone ever proved to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that god exists? God would become a natural thing that could be studied and explained by natural laws. It would cease to be a supernatural (living outside natural laws) being in which I am required to have faith. It would be no different from all the other things that exist. By simply existing, it would negate the question entirely. I don’t walk around having faith that chairs exist. I’m sitting in one right now. The chair, it does exist.

    Sure, a little debate can be fun. These are interesting things to consider. I think Greta Christina made a good list of evidence that might convince her to believe in a god. I think making such a list is a good idea, if only because it makes you think (although I would first like a definition of god). But at the end of the day, the proof would negate the conflict.

    And in my opinion, proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a god does exist would be just as bad (if not worse) for most religions as proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is no god (which really, just isn’t possible). Religious belief is about faith. Without faith, what is the point?

    Jerry Coyne says, according to the above Alternet article, that atheism must be falsifiable, I believe, in order to preserve scientific nature (Link: he challenges PZ Myers’ assertion that there can be no evidence for god). To this I say: Is atheism science? I don’t believe that it is. I think our approach in thinking and speaking about atheism can be rational, but I don’t believe that atheism is a science. A lack of belief can’t be tested any more than a supernatural thing can (at least, I can’t see how, but I’m not a scientific method expert, just a person with a degree in biology). No, there will be no debate-ending proof that atheism is true, because atheism makes no positive assertions. Likewise, in my opinion, there will be no debate-ending proof that atheism is false.

    While there might be any number of things that would persuade me to believe that something that people around me are calling “god” exists, the likelihood that I will also be persuaded to continue to believe it is supernatural are slim.

  • A little late and a little muddled.

    22

    So today, I was going to grace you with a post about atheism. I’m still going to relate to you something that happened to me last week, but first I want to direct you to a story I read in The Advocate. I just want to know if someone can help me to understand how something like this can happen. It’s short, but to summarize: A student at an Oklahoma high school has been kicked out, because the school administration found out that she’s living with her girlfriend (she’s 18) instead of her parents. They are refusing to let her graduate.

    Okay, on to the atheism. Feel free to skip it.

    Last week, I was at lunch at a restaurant near my job. I eat at the restaurant pretty frequently, because there aren’t many places nearby. I usually read a book while I’m eating, since I’m usually eating alone. Last week I was reading Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith. An excellent book so far, by the way.

    Just to be clear, I was reading the book silently. I wasn’t shouting passages or reading aloud or preaching about atheism to the patrons around me. I was just sitting. Reading a book. Well, and eating a cheeseburger.

    This woman walked up to me and said, “You really shouldn’t be reading such offensive material in public. It’s inappropriate.”

    Blink blink. “Excuse me?”

    She repeated, “Your book. It’s inappropriate for public.”

    I was in shock, so my response was a little lame. I told her that I had the right to read anything I wanted in public and that if she is so easily offended, maybe she shouldn’t be looking at my book.

    I wish I had told her that she should stay home, if she’s so easily offended, but alas…it escaped me.

    Now, before anyone gets his or her panties in a twist, I’m not suggesting that this behavior is representative of all Christians or all religious people or any such thing. These were the actions of one person. I took them as such.

    What bothers me, though, is the idea that atheism is seen as “inappropriate” or “immoral” or whatever, in so much of our society (as this sort of thing has happened to me before and I’ve read about these sorts of things happening to others and I’ve seen much evidence of the intolerance of some or even many religious people). The idea that my reading a book about atheism in a restaurant could somehow be offensive to anyone just makes no sense to me.

    If I had walked up to a person reading a Bible in a restaurant and suggested it was offensive and inappropriate, I can almost guarantee that my actions would be seen as irrational and rude. Not to mention that I would probably be seen as representative of atheists, in general. Which would not be the case.

    Most atheists are just trying to live their lives. The constant and overwhelming “Christianity is the only good” message in this country is…trying, certainly. I didn’t say “religion is the only good,” because people in this country tend to believe that the Muslim religion is anything but good. Not all people, mind you, but it is (sadly) a pretty popular opinion.

    I think the negative opinion of atheism is based mostly in the fact that people don’t understand what atheism IS. So I thought I’d toss out a definition.

    Theism is defined as “the belief in god or gods.” As such, atheism is defined as “the lack of belief in god or gods.”

    Much like amoral is a lack of morals, but not immoral (violating moral principles). Atheism is simply the absence of belief in god or gods.

    It’s not a belief at all, which is why it cannot be a religion. It’s not a belief system. It’s not “I believe that god doesn’t exist,” it’s “I don’t believe in a god or gods.”

    That may seem like a subtle difference to you, but I can assure you it isn’t. Many atheists may assert that they believe that god doesn’t exist, but that’s not what atheism is. Atheism doesn’t make a positive assertion.

    Personally, I don’t like the supposed “new atheism” in which “converting” people is made a priority (I don’t know how real this is, but I’ve heard some talk). I would never try to “convert” someone (but I understand that some atheists are loud and abrasive…so are some Christians), but I will question the things people say and do (particularly if they claim out loud to be doing them in the name of some religious being). That isn’t my attempt to change someone’s mind, it’s simply my attempt to have a conversation or to understand; sometimes it’s an attempt to get the person to think about things from a different perspective. Likewise, I don’t get upset when friends or strangers ask me, in a polite and civil manner, why I’m an atheist. I’m happy to give you my thoughts and explain how I came to be an atheist.

    It absolutely angers me when I feel that people are trying to make their beliefs into legislation (e.g. discrimination of any kind, censorship, etc.), forcing us all to live by their rules. But that would likely anger me, even if I weren’t an atheist. Sure, there may be a few things we can all agree on. Murder is bad, stealing is probably bad, assault is almost always bad, lying is usually bad. But what of the rest of it?

    There are lots of people who say that beliefs should be private and no one should talk about them. There are still others who say that religion isn’t important. While these are nice thoughts (and both have been said to me by people who believe in god or gods in some form or fashion, not atheists), they just don’t represent the world in which we live. Until wars are no longer fought in the name of a god and people are no longer persecuted or discriminated against in the name of a god, these things ARE important. They affect all of us everyday.

    I’d also like to say, for the record, that just because someone takes issue with a religious person or group for something that’s been said or done, that doesn’t always mean they’re making an indictment of all religious people everywhere. Read carefully and completely before you jump to conclusions. There are many many many good and kind and smart and compassionate theists. Same goes for atheists. In both groups, there are also bad apples. I will always think it’s okay to call out bad behavior.

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