My sister and I have gotten better at smoothing over those inevitable rough edges, I think, and it all boils down to a single word. I respect the person she is, and vice versa. She respects my beliefs even when she doesn’t share them. I respect her right to have different tastes. She respects my right to have different priorities. She gets to be her, I get to be me. And we both treat each other with — let’s spell it now — R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
It does wonders for us and I swear it would do wonders for the rest of the world too, especially in those areas where it is sorely lacking.
Read the full post at Day 5. Yes Aretha. Respect.
“Because the sex scenes make up so much of the book, I feel I cannot give it a rating. Rather, I will commend the author for the things she did well, mentioned above, and recommend the book to those whose tastes in this regard are different from mine.”
It didn’t take long for my resolution to review a book a month on my various blogs to land me in hot water. First Impressions was billed as an M/M romance and the premise of the two men’s lives sounded interesting. It was. But clearly I was way out of touch on just how steamy romances get these days. I was traveling internationally while reading the book, and actually afraid if anyone saw what I was carrying, I might get detained for bringing pornographic material into the country.
Luckily, I arrived back in the US without incident. Read my attempts to handle the review with grace at at Review: First Impressions
But hope wasn’t quite the word I meant, any more than peace and joy had been with the first two books. I was trying to talk about refusing to let go of fears and animosity from the past, and refusing to give others a chance based on old experiences. And I was talking about the belief that humans cannot change, that they cannot learn to be, or choose to be, better.
Read more at A better word than hope?
(For more thought on words we need, see A better word than loyalty?, A better word than peace?, A better word than joy? and A better word than courage?)
I can give you a long list of things I do not believe in, and an even longer list of kind-ofs to which I can add many qualifiers. But today, I’m forcing myself to make a short list of simple virtues in which I firmly believe. Virtues that can shape my everyday actions, you know, Wonder Woman style.
Read more at Believe.
(For more Wonder Woman inspired thoughts, see Top Requirement for a Superhero, It’s About What You Believe, I believe in appreciating those who protect us. All of them, and Believe in Tomorrow.)
Which takes me back to my blogging theme for this month. It’s not about what people deserve, it’s about what you believe.
I believe, along with Arizona Republican and Vietnam war hero John McCain, that “Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving.”
I believe that policy changes that deeply impact the lives of of anyone should be well thought out, based on valid reasoning, and carefully and compassionately communicated.
Read more at I believe in appreciating those who protect us. All of them
(For more Wonder Woman inspired thoughts, see Top Requirement for a Superhero, Believe, It’s About What You Believe, and Believe in Tomorrow.)
Along with the many tragic aspects of this incident is the side effect of how it serves to further separate the people of this world. No society exists on this planet that does not have its crimes; larger countries have more. Crowding, poverty, stresses from modernization and the integration of different cultures adds to volatility everywhere. But when the awful event occurs in the back yard of somebody else who lives far away from you, it is easy to think “Oh, that’s the way they are.”
Read more at The Courage to Embrace Those Far Away Places.
(For more thoughts on Far Away Places see Leaving a Light Footprint in a Far Away Place, As Far Away Places Edge Closer, Caring About Far Away Places and Those Far Away Places Could Be Next Door.)
Two things about far away places appeal to me. One is how different they are. The other is how similar they are. I think I like the second fact even better.
Read more at Those Far Away Places Could Be Next Door
Part of my growing politicization is that I have decided that I do not have to apologize for thinking the following:
1. Education is a wonderful thing. However you make your living, knowledge makes you a better person.
2. Open mindedness is a wonderful thing. What ever your religious beliefs, being hateful to any group does not please anyone’s God. I think every holy book on the planet is pretty clear about this.
This does not make me an elitist or a snowflake. Education makes us smarter. Open-mindedness makes us kinder.
Read the entire post at Smarter, kinder and living in 2017.
This post originally appeared on my blog “Fire Dancing for Fun and Profit,” and it inspired an op-ed piece I wrote for the Black Mountain News which appeared on March 23, 2017. Since I wrote this, the NC legislature has replaced this law with a less onerous version. Many of us in NC still hope for a total repeal.
Surely you have heard of this law. It was passed about a year ago, and it requires all humans in NC to use the public restroom designated for the gender of their birth. The claim, which few people really believed, was that HB2 was an attempt to protect women from assault. Now, assaulting women in public bathrooms has always been both wrong and illegal, in North Carolina and everywhere else.
Read the entire post at Potty Room Politics.
I conducted psyche experiments on myself when I was a child. You can’t blame me. There were things I needed to know, and I was my only cooperative subject. For instance, were all my preferences acquired tastes? This was important. If they were, then maybe I would eventually like beer, which was good because this appeared to be a necessary component to getting along as a teenager. On the other hand, it meant I might eventually wear pink polyester stretch pants like my mother, which was a horrifying concept. Either way, I had to know.
Read the entire post on my y1 blog at Am I capable of learning to like anything?
Yes, it may not be the classic telepathy of fiction, but we are talking about direct brain to brain communication here, aided by modern technology. The article goes on to address possible real life uses including already successful work on adapting a brain-to-machine interface to help paralyzed patients walk by using their brain signals to control prosthetic devices. This is cool, and it is really happening.
Read this update on achieving telepathy through technology at The trouble with telepathy.
This is a post about Aretha Franklin and wearing a hijab and my mother’s funeral, and it comes to you from a cafe in Marrakesh Morocco.
I’m staring out the window at the crowds of tourists and locals crossing a busy street in front of the Koutoubia Mosque as I write. I’m alone in this city, far out of my comfort zone, and I’ve just ordered my first couscous. I settle into the ornate red pillows, ready for a genuine Moroccan experience, when I recognize the unmistakable voice of Aretha Franklin in the background.
Now I like Aretha as much as anyone and maybe more than most, but she is kind of getting in my way here, and it’s not even one of her better songs. I listen more closely and I feel the ghost of my mother snuggle into the pillows beside me.
Read the entire post on my c3 blog at “My Way.”
Is a course of action better if it results in less harm? Most people would say yes, at least until they are confronted with the reality of the choices made by those who struggle to improve the world without making it perfectly right.
What am I talking about here? Well, drug addiction and educating women in Afghanistan and preventing pedophiles from molesting children and female genital mutilation and pretty much everything else I’d rather not discuss or think about. It turns out that there is a lot of icky stuff in the world, and it’s hard to make it any of it go away.
Read the rest of this post on my x0 blog at Do Less Harm.
… Only the book ended up being about Nigeria instead. You see, in 2010, when I started to write it, Americans on the whole considered Nigerians scarier than Arabs. I had just taken a job with a Nigerian oil company where I often worked late in a common room and couldn’t help but overhear the phone calls of my young, male Nigerian co-workers as they called home.
Please read the entire post on my x0 blog at More in Common
Recent world events have caused certain entities to ask the question “What exactly constitutes ‘your own kind’?”
You have been selected to take the following very short quiz. Please tend to this matter soon. Quite a bit may depend on your answers.
Take the quiz (and read the full post) at Taking care of your own kind (a science fiction quiz).
I don’t know a better way to develop an open mind than to read science fiction. The very nature of creating alternate worlds has a way of making us question the assumptions of our own society. If done well, a speculative story leaves us with empathy for characters whose behavior causes no harm and yet would be offensive here and now. In short, we’re forced to question the rules we live by.
Read the entire post at The kinky of the future.
Every once in awhile, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, one of us decides that the other just has to try something that we really enjoy. This bout of optimism occurs because we happen to genuinely love each other, so it’s understandable, even though it often ends poorly.
Read the rest of this post at Sharing the joy.