Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just Feel Better

Hola, amigos! Man, have I been busy since my last post. But before I get into that, there is a matter of no small importance for which I need your assistance.

Help me name my two (female) pet mice! I got them on the 15th, and they still don't have names. As you can see from the picture, they are adorable and tiny. I've narrowed the choices down to following three sets, so please cast your vote!

Possible Names
1) Boomer & Starbuck (taken from Battlestar Galactica)
2) Joanie & Trixie (taken from Deadwood)
3) Mrs. Crummles & Mrs. Nickelby (taken from Nicholas Nickelby by Chuck Dickens)

Since my last post, I've done the following: taken Yuval with me to Cincinnati for a weekend, driven 15 hours from Cincy to Boston with Yuval in my sister's car (which is mine until she comes back from Oz), seen Boston Opera Underground's production of The Seven Deadly Sins by Kurt Weill as directed by Adrienne, seen Watchmen on a double date, gone to Dave & Buster's in Providence, RI to celebrate a birthday (and helped accumulate over 10,000 tickets for the birthday boy), had a delicious brunch with the Shavit's, and checked out or returned a cumulative 15 books from the library. And, of course, there was getting the mices (pronounced mees-iz). So, yeah. Life's been very busy, but very fun. And exhausting.

I've also been canvassing animal hospitals and private veterinary practices to see if I can volunteer with them. Normally, of course, I'd first apply to help out places like the MSPCA or ARL of Boston or even the New England Aquarium. But, contrary to what you might think, all of those places have all the volunteers they can handle and are not taking on anymore. Does anyone in Boston have an "in" to some sort of animal-related organization that takes volunteers? It's frustrating, because I want to help so badly, but no one wants me!

So, the other day, the Pope--who is visiting select cities in Africa right now--declared that condoms "increase the problem" of AIDS. And now the Pope and the Vatican are getting lambasted from all sides for those comments, which could prove counterproductive and even detrimental to AIDS relief efforts in Africa. I'm not going to spend time detailing how the exact opposite of the Pope's comments is true, nor how there have been countless scientific studies that have found no correlation between distributing condoms and increased sexual activity.

Rather, I wanted to point out that it's exactly because of comments/beliefs/ideologies like this that Catholics (and to a larger extent, Christians) are generally thought of as repressive, backwards, and malignant. For all the good that Catholic charities do, stances like this overshadow all the positive instantly. As one of the youngest major organized religions in the world, you'd think that Catholicism would still be felxible enough to learn from its mistakes and adapt to a changing global society. But instead, the Vatican insists on upholding dogma that has been scientifically disproven countless times both in theory and in practice. In college, telling people I was a Christian elicited an immediate reaction, and it certainly wasn't positive: I was seen as ignorant for believing in something so backwards and out-of-touch with the real world. And when I would try to defend it, something like the Pope's words in Africa would happen and invalidate all my efforts.

I left organized religion for private reasons, but I still feel an empathy with its believers. Not all Catholics or Christians are as conservative and resistant to change as the Vatican would have you think. But you wouldn't know it from the news, would you?

Cruel Intentions
Die Hard 2

Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth
The Daily Coyote: A Story of Love, Survival, and Trust in the Wilds of Wyoming by Shreve Stockton

1 comment:

Yuval Shavit said...

Totally agree with you re the Vatican. What's sad is that it's this kind of stuff that constantly threatens to push me over the edge from tolerant agnosticism to angry atheism.

When the Pope pulls something like this, or the LDS spends millions to try and invalidate personal relationships, or an Evangelical president tries to kill off stem cell research, or a number of other examples -- when those things happen, it makes it far too easy for someone like me to go from "I don't believe, but it's okay if you do" to "how the hell can you associate yourself with that?"

The strongest weapon I have against that urge is to remind myself that if they force me into that polarized position, they've won, because their dogma has gotten me to change my views.