Monday, August 23, 2010

Knee Jerk Reaction

Virginia has just announced that it is going to end face-to-face visitation for its death row inmates, becoming only the second state in the nation to do so. Inmates will be allowed visitation via video conference only. Virginia is citing better safety and lessening of the burden on corrections workers as reasons and claims video conferencing may even lead to an increase in 'visits' beyond immediate family.

Those against the change say it is inhumane and that it hurts both the inmate and the inmate's family members -- those who don't get an opportunity to say goodbye before their loved one is executed.

I know. I know what the knee jerk reaction is from most and I know why. Most people probably think this is exactly what the person deserves. Most will say that the victim did not have an opportunity to say goodbye to his or her family. That the victim's family members did not have a chance to say goodbye to him or her. So why should the perpetrator be allowed visits and goodbyes?

Because we should strive to be better.

My knee jerk reaction was that a human being was going to be killed and would not be allowed human contact with his or her loved ones before dying. That was it. Same feelings, different context.

What does your heart say? Before your brain jumps in, when you hear that someone is going to die and is not allowed to say goodbye in person, what is your knee jerk reaction?

It should be the same for everyone.

We all started out the same way and we're all headed out the same way. And a lot of things happen to us in between. But we should ALWAYS strive to be better human beings and to show each other -- even the worst of us -- compassion.

Of course it's horrible that victims and their families don't have futures together and don't get to say goodbye. But that shouldn't cause us to stoop to the same level as those who prevent that from happening.

Think with your heart.

It's the better part of you.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chuck Thursday TEN

Well this bad boy just wrote himself! My friend and old ComedySportz director, Christine, posted the following on fb: "Interviewed a Dianah Dulany for the book yesterday. She credits improv for keeping her imagination vivid. So, who's up for a little improv today? The game Haiku. Create a haiku..."

I immediately "scolded" her for stealing my Chuck Thursday gig, but then realized I should probably respond in haiku, and did:

Cranial Vault: Chuck Thursday
AJ's gig for weeks
Haikus to amuse, she hopes.

Now, what's really fun about all of this, is that Dianah Dulany is the director of ComedySportz in Houston, Texas and I dated a girl in her troupe for a year and a half in the late 90s. Welcome to your weekly small world reminder. :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Your mission if you choose to accept it...

As usual, the right message at the right time. I'm stuck in a quagmire of my own choosing. I'm worried for a friend based on intuition and quite possibly, lies. If certain things are true, then I feel like the world's worst friend for not fighting through the crap and standing by her. If they're not true, then I'm right to push forward with my own life, without her. I may never know the answer. And so, all I can do is send a vague "I'm sorry" out to her and the universe. She'll never ask "What for?" and closure will remain elusive.

Onward, marching AJ.

GEMINI (May 20-June 21)
Despite your sense that you can “think things through,” that’s not really the case when it comes to feelings; you simply need to feel, and make the appropriate decisions. We’re inclined, indeed trained, to obsess over how we feel, and most of this involves guilt about how we feel. So let’s consider guilt, which is always rooted in childhood. It always has connections to the remnants of our family of origin, and we underestimate the power that these people, and their ideas, have on us as adults. Make no mistake: What you’re going through right now has something to do with that influence. Guilt is resentment directed against itself. We blame ourselves for our parents’ shortcomings, believing they are flawless, and get in the habit of attacking ourselves. When we take this into adulthood, it can cause significant emotional and relational problems. You may think you can work this out with them, but at this point there is no such thing. Your mission is to work out your life, your feelings, your needs, and your sense of safety with yourself. Be aware of when you are blaming yourself for the problems and shortcomings of your early caregivers, and be aware of when you’re dramatizing this with the people who currently surround you. You know it’s time to push out of your mental anguish and step forth into your full adult creative power. Don’t let the past hold you back.

PS -- This message will self-destruct in 30 seconds. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chuck Thursday Niner

Almost forgot my Chucku for this week! Back to therapy today after a 3-week break. The good news is I can barely remember what I've done over the last 3 weeks, but I think I really enjoyed myself. :)

Car, roof, windows, run.
These are the things I dream of.
Cheers to awake fun!

OK, they can't all be good. Or even remotely entertaining. They just have to BE. ;)

I've done two open mics since my grand debut back in May. For the first, I used the wrong material at the wrong time with the wrong people. For the second, I decided I needed to keep practicing and made the poor decision to go up after spending the afternoon drinking in 100 degree temps. I did my old material but dropped half the jokes -- and again it was for a room of people who had no idea they'd be subjected to standup when they sat down in the bar. Needless to say, Mama's feeling a little shaky comedy-wise.

Fortunately, the universe stepped in once again. I finally made an appointment to get my sickly car checked out (thereby taking a step in the right direction) and within a minute or two I was invited to perform at a comedy club for an all-woman show. It's in 2 weeks and will hopefully give me enough time to get my sh*t together.

Comedy horse, I'm climbing back on.

Thanks, universe! And deceased relatives. Even though I (as the Angel of Death) probably sent most of you on your way, I suspect you're pulling some strings for me on a daily basis. Love you!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Love (and clean underwear) Is All You Need

"We're all in this little boat of life together, and none of us are [sic] getting out of it alive." ~ Stephen King.

Have truer words ever been said? Makes you wonder what all the fuss is about, doesn't it?

Have you checked out the comments following any online newspaper articles lately? They are just chock full of hatred and horrific grammar. Oh, there's the occasional sane, level-headed person who tries to inject reason or compassion into the "debate," but he or she is usually drowned out or worse, ripped apart by the majority.

What is everyone so angry about?? Why does it seem like there's so much more hate than there's ever been? Have we just gotten better about allowing people to be themselves, about encouraging them to speak their mind rather than hide their hatred in the shadows? Just because you're louder, doesn't make you right. And you're welcome to think and say what you want, but wouldn't your energy be better spent getting to know the other people in the life boat? Maybe, just maybe, you'd learn something and open up your narrow existence a little bit.


Big sigh.

Prop 8 was ruled unconstitutional today. That means for a brief period of time, those of us who think gay marriage should be legal will be celebrating. But there will be an appeal and more fighting and perhaps the argument will make it up to the Supreme Court and more fighting...

Why on earth does it matter? Most of us will only be on this big blue/green orb for about 80 years. Is this really how you want to spend your time?

About an hour before the Prop 8 announcement, one of my lesbian friends registered shock on Facebook about another decision. An Islamic group has been given permission to build a new mosque approximately 2 blocks from the hole that was once the World Trade Center in NYC. Apparently, a building is currently standing there and was just denied a historic designation which would have spared it. The building has now been cleared for demolition - making way for the mosque. Several other lesbians replied to the news with shock and disgust.

Hang on a second.

As best I can tell, these Islamic New Yorkers were not responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that they do not support it. Or even if they DO support it intellectually, unless they participated in the act through deed or financing, they are allowed to think and say whatever they want. Isn't that what we're all about?

How can one oppressed group turn around and deny basic civil liberties to another? What possible sane reason can you propose for denying these people land -- two blocks away from the WTC -- to build a community center and mosque?

And when all is said and done -- who cares?

Is this really how we want to spend our limited time on earth?

I heard an old Beatles song today.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

It's all we needed when we arrived, all we need during our stay, and all we need when we depart.

Tomorrow's a new day. Worry a little less about yourself and your outrage. Spread some love around. You're running out of time. :)