I’m nothing like “the left” Jospeh Farah describes.

And I doubt anyone else is, either.  And yet, he goes to great length to speak authoritatively about what “the left” is like.

So, what does Farah think I’m like?

The left hates religion. It hates God.

Except I don’t.  I actually love religion.  In fact, I’m a religious follower myself.  But, you see, Farah isn’t talking about any or all religion, he’s talking about Christianity.  To him, none of those other religions matter or exist.

More specifically, Joseph Farah doesn’t even mean all expression of Christianity, either.  No, to him, “religion” doesn’t just mean “Christianity,” but “Christianity that looks exactly like i think Christianity should look like.”  All those Christians that disagree with his views?  They don’t exist or matter, either.

But here’s the thing, even if we redefine “religion” to mean “the kind of Christianity that Joseph Farah appreciates,” his claim that I hate it is simply untrue.  I don’t hate his religion.  I don’t believe in it, that’s for sure.  I think it’s worthy of deep and lengthy criticism for a number of reasons.  But that is not the same as hatred.  Farah’s choice to conflate my disbelief and criticism as hatred makes any honest communication impossible.

His claim that I (and all progressives) “hate God” is troublesome for the same reason.

It doesn’t recognize any behavior as sinful, with the possible exception of voting Republican.

I will admit that “sinful” and “sin” are not parts of my vocabulary.  However, that does not mean that I don’t have ethical standards of any sort.  Indeed, there are several things that I find highly unethical.  Here’s a short list:

  1. Using force, deception, or manipulation to get someone to do something they do not wish to do.
  2. Allowing systemic oppression to continue unchallenged.
  3. Treating others as being less deserving of dignity than oneself.

Farah acts as if the only ethical standards that matter is who someone is or isn’t having sex with.  The fact that he completely ignores all of my other ethical standards is quite telling.  Again, it shows a level of dishonesty on his part.

The rest of Farah’s article is equally garbage, but the above points serve to demonstrate one clear fact:  Farah is not interested in giving people like me an honest hearing or encouraging his readers to do so.  He is much more interested in painting us as some sort of monolithic force that matches his straw liberals.

Quite a curious position for someone who goes on to complain about “the left’ vilifying people like himself, don’t you think?

 

Musings about Piers Morgan

And by “musings” I mean “a barely (hardly?) contained rant.”

Okay, for those who may not be familiar with what I’m talking about, Piers Morgan had trans woman, activist, and author Janet Mock on his show earlier this week.  The way he handled the interview was highly problematic, as has been explained by numerous people who did it far better than I can, so I’m not going to try.  Mock and those who support her decided to criticize the way she was treated on his show, and Morgan has acted like an ass since.  Furthermore, he’s acted like an ass who insists that he’s now the one who’s being wronged.  (Because you know, heaven forbid you actually criticize a white cis man who sees himself as a good guy.

One of his more recent complaints is this whine:

And there you have it, folks, the martyrdom of the faux ally.  Because, you know, allies never have unexamined privilege left lying around (we1 do).  Allies never screw up (we do, and all the time).  Allies are always above criticism (like hell we are).  Here we have Piers Morgan demanding the “cookies” he feels he earned from (alleged) past good deeds.

I call bullshit.  A real supporter would have display more critical reflection than that.  A real supporter would be open to correction and seek to be supporting.  And a real supporter would never dream of whining about how the people he’s supported “turned on him,” as if they owe him anything.

If Piers Morgan thinks this is what “supporting LGBT rights” looks like, then this is one cis gay man that would be much happier without his support.  I won’t abandon my trans* friends and acquaintances for anyone’s support.


1I’m saying “we” because as a cis gay man, I have relative privilege compared to trans* people.

Dude, try to remember I’m a person.

I’m on a lot of sites and mobile apps for meeting guys.  Some of them are “traditional” dating sites.  Some of them bill themselves for “flirting and chatting.”  A few are unapologetic hookup sites (and apps that don’t call themselves hookup apps, but only because doing so would get them in trouble with Apple and possibly Google).

On all of them, I have a fairly nonsexual profile.  No nude or even shirtless pictures.  And while a given profile may give indication I’m open to sex (including sex outside of the bounds of a longterm or romantic relationship), I also make it clear that I’m looking for even more.  Heck even my Grindr1 profile says the following:

Just a funny, friendly, and (allegedly) charming guy who likes to chat, laugh, and see what happens.  Say hi.

For the BoyAhoy/Skout app (which is where the exchange this post is about took place), my “About Me” section is a bit longer:

I’m a wonderful guy who loves to laugh and make others laugh.  I love making new friends and seeing how we connect.

I’m a romantic and often a goofy one at that.  I’m very affectionate, compassionate and caring, but have a wild side to, if brought out by the right guy.

A sample from the book I’m working on:

“You can spend the night if you’d like.” I blinked. I looked at him long and hard. I really did like him, and it was so tempting. He straightened and said, “Maybe I’m being too forward.”

“No,” I added quickly. “Believe me, it’s a tempting offer. And part of me wants to say yes. It’s just…been a while….”

He reached up and took my chin between his thumb and forefinger, gently tilting my face up to his. I held my breath as he said, “Maybe it’s been too long, “ and leaned down. His lips met mine and I closed my eyes. My posture softened as our kiss deepened. I gave myself over to the experience, knowing that I wanted him more than anything.

He pulled back and looked into my eyes. I nodded. He unlocked and opened the door. I walked in ahead of him and headed up the stairs.

So this is the profile that a certain guy checked out a few days ago before he sent me his first message:

So what are you into

I replied with a variation of my standard reply to this question:

Reading, writing, movies, going for longs walks, going for drives, etc.

Apparently (and not surprisingly), this was not the answer he was looking for, as he made clear with his next message:

Haha ok that’s not what i meant but ok

Well,  yeah, I kind of figured that’s not what he meant.  However, it’s what I felt like sharing about myself at the moment.  (As an aside, other than a handful of pictures, his age, and the fact that he’s interested in men, his profile has “Ask Me” for ever field.  So he’s effectively shared nothing.)

I decided to reply with a simple “ah,” as I still didn’t feel like sharing the information he was clearly looking for or try to strike up a conversation when he’s put no effort into such an endeavor himself.

This is where the butthurt (or at least what I perceive as butthurt) came in:

Ok sorry to bother you I seen you on other sites but obviously your not interested in me take care

Okay, here’s are the problems I have with this response:

  1. Why would I be interested in someone who’s told me nothing about himself that might pique my interest
  2. Why would I be interested in someone who’s first message effectively calls for me to give a laundry list of my sexual interests and/or preferred sexual roles?  Experience has taught me that such a guy isn’t interested in me but merely what I can do sexually for him.  I don’t need long term commitment or love, but I do need to be seen as a person.
  3. If he’s seen me on other sites and bothered to glance at more than my profile pictures, he should’ve realized that last point might be an issue for me.  I mean, every single profile I have mentions I’m primarily looking to chat2 and connect.
  4. Since when has sharing a list of things that I enjoy doing with another person exactly communicated a lack of interest.  Sure, it makes it clear I’m not yelling “take me now!”  But it certainly indicates I’m open to conversing further.

I considered telling the guy all this, but I decided against it.  A while back, I realized I’ve grown tired of trying to explain to self-absorbed men who managed to go at least two decades without learning basic guidelines for conversing with strangers3.  So I just told him to take care and left the conversation.


1One of the reasons I chose my Grindr profile for this example is that it’s the profile that frustrates me the most, what with the app’s ludicrously small text limit.

2I’m beginning to think that most gay and bi guys think “chat” is always synonymous with “sext.”

3Note that I”m not talking about socially awkward or not knowing what exactly to talk about.  I often find those things endearing, especially if someone is struggling to be conversant in spite of that.  But I know a lot of socially awkward people who understand that “what will you let me do to you once I get you naked” is not an appropriate conversation starter.

 

(Disjointed) musings on Jennfier Roback Morse’s recent interview

[Content Note:  hostility to agency]

I’m reading the recent interview with Jennifer Roback Morse in the National Catholic register and I just have to shake my head.

Let’s go over some of the more…interesting statements.

When asked about the injuries caused by the sexual revolution:

Contraception is an expected part of a woman’s career path. So that means the whole system is built around women treating their bodies as if they were men’s bodies.

So wait a second, using contraception and terminating an unwanted pregnancy amounts to “women treating their bodies as if they were men’s bodies”?  So the only thing that makes women’s bodies different from men’s bodies is that the former can be used as a baby-incubator?  I find Morse’s depiction of womanhood and women’s bodies unfortunate and horribly dismal.

In defending her insistence that the sexual revolution is a totalitarian movement:

So the government has to step in and control people’s behavior and even people’s thoughts about what’s possible, desirable and realistic. The HHS mandate is just one example of the government stifling dissent by essentially saying: “This society will be built around contraception, and there will be no dissent from that.” That’s one example of totalitarianism coming straight from the government and literally shutting down people who disagree.

Here’s the thing:  No one is being forced to use contraception.  The government is saying all people should be allowed and able to use contraception if they so choose.  That’s a signifcant difference from the strawman that Morse is erecting here.  Indeed, it is Morse and those like who are insisting that those who disagree with their position should be forced to comply with their view of the world.

while listing the “victims” of the sexual revolution:

Consider, for example, people who’d like to stay married but their spouse wants a divorce, so that’s the end of it. The government takes sides with the party who wants the marriage the least.

Would she actually prefer that the government coerce someone to remain with a spouse or partner they do not love and do not wish to be around anymore?  Talk about totalitarianism.

But wait, it gets better:

We all know somebody in this category — the jilted wife or the husband who’s kicked out of the family because his wife didn’t want to be bothered with him anymore, and now the courts are making him pay child support for kids he doesn’t see.

Reread that last clause a few times.  Here we have Jennifer Roback Morse — who spends a great deal of time talking about the importance of marriage and families to care for children — now talking about men being “forced” to help support the children he helped bring into this world.  Apparently, men should only be held responsible for the children they bring into the world if “they’re allowed to see them”?  Doesn’t sound like a very “pro-children” position to me.

On “heartbroken career women”:

These women are also all around us, but we simply don’t see them. [Culture says] the entry fee into the professions for women is that you chemically neuter yourself during your peak childbearing years in your 20s — and if you have an “accident,” you get an abortion.

Exactly what “culture” tells women that the price for them having a career is not having children?  There are organizations that advance and push for legislation to protect pregnant women in the workplace.  You know who doesn’t support that legislation?  The so-called “pro-life” crowd.  People who insist that for women, having a career and a family are incompatible.  In short, people like Jennifer Roback Morse.  So the fact that she an those like her push this “career or family” dichotomy, then have the audacity to feign pity for those women who feel like they’re stuck with that dichotomy is contemptible.

On the men and women who are “victimized” by the sexual revolution by “the lack of suitable mates”:

Absolutely. And I hear it from men, too [about not finding suitable wives]. Our whole culture is so sexualized it’s hard to find a suitable mate. Many young people have told me they wish the Church would do more to facilitate young adults meeting each other in a faith environment, where people won’t always be coming onto you.

I don’t know, maybe part of the problem here is that people are looking at other people as “potential mates” rather than people to get to know.  This whole thing makes finding a mate sound like a mission that erases real interpersonal relationships.  That’s something Morse listed as a problem earlier in the interview.

(h/t Right Wing Watch)

Cook’s Corner: Hamburger and Rice Skillet

As I have a pretty well stocked freezer (as in I have enough entrees to last me at least two months, if not three or four), I’ve decided to take a bit of a break from the heavy duty cooking.  However, I also decided that I wanted to do something special for lunch, so I decided to make the Mexican hamburger rice skillet that I found on Dick Logue’s Low Sodium Cooking a few months ago.

A skillet of yummy goodness!
A skillet of yummy goodness!

I haven’t made the recipe since sometime in November, and I decided to make a few changes it to it this time around:

  1. I decided to add chopped green peppers in addition to the chopped onion, as I’m finding that just about everything tastes even better when I add peppers to it.
  2. I decided to throw the onions and pepper into the skillet with the ground beef while I browned it.  Again, I’m finding this enhances the flavor.
  3. I decided to replace the orzo with another cup of rice.  Since I use brown rice, it breaks down into glucose more slowly than orzo (which I have not found in a whole wheat form).  This makes it a bit better for diabetes control.

The whole thing turned out wonderful, as you can see from the picture I’ve included.  I’m quite pleased, especially with the fact that I finally found the right amount of water (3 cups) to add to the mix.  I don’t know what rice Logue is using, but the 1-1/2 cups of water he recommends isn’t nearly enough for the stuff I’ve been getting.

Of course, I’m also trying to figure out how he came up with the nutritional information he lists on his site.  Again, based on the rice I’m using, the original cup of rice alone divided into four servings makes the carbohydrate count 32 grams per serving.  In fact, I was quite distressed when I realized (only after the fact, naturally) that adding an apple and a yogurt to my lunch put the whole meal two starches over my allowance for this meal.  So when my BG is a bit high when I check it in a few minutes, I’ll know why.  Oh well, I’ve been doing well on that count, so one hiccup shouldn’t be a problem.

I love how it turned out, but I’m still thinking of ways I might play with the recipe.

  1. Add another can of tomatoes.
  2. Cut back to a single cup of rice with no other starch.  (If I do this, I won’t increase the tomato, more than likely.)
  3. Add a splash of red wine for flavor.
  4. Spice it up a notch with a little cayenne pepper or maybe some chopped jalapeno.

Yes, I’m getting obsessed with cooking.  Now if I could just find someone to do the dishes for me.

 

Anti-gay rhetoric and immature morality

Thanks to TWitter user @DeekyMD, I became aware of the following “response” to “Same Love” by Christian rapper Bizzle:

There’s a lot I could say about this video, a lot which is quite exemplary of religiously-motivated anti-gay sentiment at large.  I could talk about the underlying Christian supremacy in parts of it.  I could talk about how Bizzle claims there’s no such thing as “gay oppression” despite stories about anti-gay bullying, violence against LGBT people, and the fact that you can be fired for being gay in 29 states and being transgender in 34.  I could talk about the audacity it takes for him to then turn around and complain about “violence against Christians” (many alleged instances of which are exaggerated or trumped up by the anti-gay industry in an attempt to paint themselves as martyrs I might add) by LGBT people and their supporters.  I may talk about some or all of those things in the future.  (This video is a veritable “goldmine” of such garbage that can and should be laid out for all to see in its complete ugliness.)

Today, I want to focus on the following statement at the 1:09 mark.

And I’m sure that you lust like I do, just in a different form.  But I’m married, so if I give in to mine, I’m a cheater.  But if you give in to yours, you just fight to make it legal.

What gets me about that statement1 is that the man completely ignores the fact that he’s comparing two completely different things:

  1. A married man — who has committed to a woman and promised her sexual monogamy2 — breaking that promise and becoming sexually involved with another woman.
  2. A person — whose relationship status is unspecified and who has given no promises of sexual monogamy — choosing to become sexually involved with someone of the same sex.

The bolded parts of those two descriptions underlies exactly why these two situations are completely different.  The person in the first situation has entered into a relationship built on certain agreements, including sexual monogamy.  Breaking those agreements is a matter of breaking one’s word.  It’s also a matter of undermining the trust that such a relationship is built on and that is absolutely essential to maintaining that relationship.  That’s a big problem.

But the person in the second situation?  There is no such relationship or agreement.  There is no promise of monogamy to be broken.  There is no violation of trust.  There is no relationship that will be destroyed by said (nonexistent) violation of (also nonexistent) trust.  There is no moral wrong being done here3.

The problem with Bizzle’s comparison is that he has failed to draw an analogy to what exactly makes the situation wrong and how that carries over into the second relationship.

I posit that this is because to Bizzle, it’s not actually the breaking of a promise or the violation of trust that makes the first situation wrong either, but the fact that it goes against one of God’s rules.  I’ve noted this tendency of some Christians to reduce morality to nothing more than obeying Divine dictates.  I’ve noted how this sort of simplistic thinking causes them to do horrible things, like erase victims of abuse.  Once more I want to call attention to it here.

I am convinced that one of the biggest problem with certain segments of Christianity — especially those segments that seem far more interested in moralizing about others rather than seeking out what it means to live moral lives themselves — is their refusal to develop a more mature framework for their moral view than “[My interpretation of] God says so.”

Then they get completely confused when (and leap to ludicrous explanations to explain why) those of us who don’t believe in their interpretation of God or his “say so” don’t find their arguments compelling at all.


1Well, besides the fact that yet another anti-gay bigot is immediately reducing all same-sex relationships to a matter of lust and sexual gratification and no one is challenging him on it.

2Yes, I’m pointing out that Bizzle is in a monogamous marriage and want to make a point of noting that not all marriages or relationships are monogamous.  How other people choose to construct and negotiate their relationships is entirely up to them and I refuse to diss those who reach a consensual agreement to build non-monogamous relationships together or throw them under the bus to prove “not all gays are like that” or engage in some other form of approval seeking by being “the right kind of gay.”

3Say a gay man is in a relationship with another man wherein the two have agreed to sexual monogamy, then goes and have sex with someone else.  Then there is the broken agreement, the violation of trust, and the undermining of the relationship he is committed to.  In that case, it is not only analogous to the first scenario, but is identical to it.  But that’s the thing, Bizzle is trying to generalize this into all same-sex relationships.

Personal Update: Warmer weather brings thoughts of walks

It’s already 34*F (11*C) this morning. I think it was a couple degrees earlier when I started my car to come into the office. As I’ve been doing, I started before I fixed breakfast. Back when we were in the single-digit temperatures (and even lower wind chills), that gave my car’ s heater just enough time to get the passenger cabin slightly about freezing. Today, I hopped in a toasty car instead. It made the five minute drive to the office even more pleasant.

What was more pleasant than that, though, was the fact that walking through the parking lot to the back door of the building didn’t involve walking against near-arctic blasts of wind. As I covered the hundred yards on foot, it occurred to me that I almost felt like going for a three mile walk in this weather. That says something about how the polar vortex has changed my perceptions regarding temperatures this winter. It does suggest, though, that I need to get walking again.

Health-wise, it’s time to get walking anyway. I haven’t been going for my near-daily treks since just before Thanksgiving, mainly because it’s been too cold (and despite my rest expectations of what’s “cold” and “not so cold,” it’s still too cold) to do any serious walking outside and the Christmas shoppers made walking at the mall nearly impossible. It’s been okay though, because I’ve been able to meet my health improvement goals without long walks. (Climbing five flights of stairs three or four times a day has certainly helped.)

I think that’s about to change, though. Everything has been completely steady for a week or two now. The weight, I don’t care so much about. While it’d be nice to lose another twenty to thirty pounds, it’s just not something I’m going to pressure myself to do. (My doctors can deal with that.) But my morning BG readings are leveling out in the 80’s. Granted, those are fantastic levels. But since one of my major goals right now is to get off the five units of insulin I’m taking daily, I need them to drop a little bit again (that way they raise back up to the 80’s or 90’s when I go off the insulin). And the return to regular walks should certainly help with that.

To support walking, though, I think I need to adjust my evening schedule. Between taking blood pressure, taking my evening pills, taking my insulin (another reason to get off it), and testing my BG, my evenings are pretty well divided up. It makes going anywhere to walk (or do anything else to exercise) for thirty five minutes rather difficult. I was doing it the week or so before Thanksgiving, but it made my evenings feel full and rushed at times.

The big culprit is taking my blood pressure at 8pm. That’s something I really need to be home to do. Plus it requires me to sit still in the seat where I’m going to check my blood pressure and give my heart time to fully get to a nice resting state. So I’m thinking about moving that to just before dinner. Or maybe late at night before I go to bed.

Taking the medication — which I also do at 8pm — at night isn’t as big a deal. It’s only one pill and I can do that anywhere. Heck, I could slip that bottle into my coat pocket and take it with me on the walk. Same thing with testing my BG. The insulin is more of a challenge, but I don’t do that until 9pm, and could move that even later. That would free up a couple hours in the evening where I could go out. Come to think of that, it would also help me be free to do other things with my evening if I wanted to.

 

Such a superficial attempt to show one cares

Over at Right Wing Watch, Brian Brian Tashman reports on Tea Partier Selena Owens’s reaction to the Grammy awards.  His post is titled “Prove You’re Not Homophobic By Complimenting Your Lesbian Store Clerk’s Haircut,” which helps draw attention to this part of Owens’s statement:

Sometimes I deliberately go through the checkout line of the lesbian clerk to drop a few words of Jesus’ love in her ear and then compliment her haircut.

There’s just so much that’s wrong with that statement.  Not least of all, I find it telling that her go-to example of “coming into contact with LGBT people” is a situation where she approaches a working class person at her place of employment.1  Owens is approaching someone in a situation where she’s operating from a position of power.  This poor lesbian who’s just there trying to do her job has to put up with whatever conversation Owens may start up2 because, let’s face it, she has a job to do.

Heaven forbid that Owens actually seeks out LGBT people in places where they may be on equal footing to her and be equally comfortable.  Or heck, heaven forbid she step outside her own comfort zones3 to approach LGBT people on their terms.

Then there’s the whole “compliment her hairstyle,” an act that Owens seems to pat herself on the back for.  As if such a superficial pleasantry somehow shows she actually cares about the woman.  You know, as I think of a lesbian working as a cashier in a grocery show, here are the things that cross my mind:

  • How much is she making?  How many hours does she get per week?  Does her schedule and her hourly wage work out to something she and any family she has can live on?
  • Does she have healthcare through her employer?  Can her partner (if she has one) be covered through that her employer’s plan?  Her partner’s kids (if she has any)?
  • What kind of harassment does she have to put up with from some of the customers who come through her line?

Granted, these are not questions I’d ask a random stranger who’s ringing up my groceries.  That would be completely inappropriate.  But knowing those are serious questions with potentially serious ramifications, I also wouldn’t do something as superficial as compliment her on her haircut and pat myself on the back as if I’d become the epitome of compassion.

Owens’s second example is just as awful:

Or I encourage the star-struck 17-year-old to become informed on political issues that will affect her life, then discuss those big hoop earrings she’s sporting.

Why is Owens automatically assuming that this young woman isn’t already informed on political issues that will affect her life?4  And why does she simply encourage the young woman to “become informed” on such a topic and then go on to discuss those big hoop earrings?  Maybe the young woman would rather discuss the political issues that affects her life — those issues that she may well know better than Owens, as it’s her life.

This whole thing reeks of a person who obviously sees herself as superior to others seeking to engage others in situations where her perceived superiority is reinforced by the circumstances, behaving in a manner that makes it clear she feels herself superior, and acting patronizing.  And she thinks this paints her in a positive light?


1And don’t even get me started on the whole “deliberately” doing so thing, as if Owens finds choosing to through a particular checkout lane some major effort or ordeal on her part.

2Let’s face it, I’ve seen what passes for “a few words of Jesus’ love” in some Christians’ minds when it comes to LGBT people.  It ain’t pretty, and most decent people would wonder what definition of that word such Christians are using.

3Assuming she doesn’t think just talking to a lesbian — even in a place where Owens can probably still create problems for her by simply complaining to the store manager — as something terribly uncomfortable.

4Oh, right.  Because Owens is probably assuming that anyone who is really informed on such issues will automatically agree with her.  The condescending smugness of it all is vile.

Playing with Parsers

Lately, I’e been fascinated with the concept of parsing and developing my own simplistic programming language. When I have my work laptop with me, I’ve been playing with ANTLR 3, which has been fascinating. I’ve gotten my parser partially implemented so I can define new enumerated and collection types, declare variables, and even start declaring functions with parameters and a return type. Granted, I still have to add instructions to each function and make it so everything runs, but hey. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?

The thing is, I really would like to do this on my home computer, which is a MacBook Pro. And while technically ANTLR was originally written for Java and will therefore work on MacOSX, I feel like that’s cheating. I’d much rather work with Objective-C and Cocoa (especially since I’m till trying to learn them.) Plus, I don’t know Java and the last thing I need to do is add to the list of programming languages I’m still trying to get better at (C# an Objective-C).

Granted, ANTLR 3 technically has an Objective-C runtime (allegedly, there’s even something written for Cocoa to parse ANTLR 3 grammars and create the parser and lexer classes), but it’s pretty darn old. It looks like the Objective-C development stalled about four years ago.

Plus, to be honest, I’d really like to use ANTLR 4, since the documentation for the older stuff seems to be partially missing. Plus I’m geeking out, which means I’d rather geek out with the latest and greatest. Naturally!

The thing is, the latest version doesn’t yet support targets (or have runtimes for them) other than Java right now. Well, that’s not true. I guess there’s a C# runtime and target, though I played with that a bit on my work computer and it seemed a bit undercooked. (Getting things to run was a nightmare.)

Naturally, I went looking for a Cocoa based alternative and found ParseKit. It seemed great, but I ran into a few problems.

  1. The instructions for including the framework into your own projects seems horribly buggy.
  2. Using the parser generator app that comes with the framework, I still haven’t been able to get my own basic grammars to work. I keep getting errors with not-entirely-helpful messages.
  3. There’s so little documentation for the framework, I might as well say there’s none.
  4. And once again, looking online suggests that this is a project that hasn’t been touched in a couple years.

How frustrating! So I finally figured out how to download the ANTLR 4 code and I’ve decided to try my hand at porting the whole darn thing to Objective-C myself. I’m not sure I’ll actually finish it. I mean, there’s a LOT of code. I figure I’ll start first by just porting what I need to recreate the tool that creates parser and lexer classes from grammars. If I can get through that, I’ll see about creating the necessary Objective-C runtime and the target to actually generate parser source in Objective-C.

This means that I often have a lot of windows open:

  1. Eclipse, so I can sort through the original ANTLR 4 (and ANTLR 3.5, since the former uses the latter in places) source.
  2. XCode, so I can work on my new Objective-C workspace.
  3. The XCode documentation window, so I can look up the Cocoa classes I’m still unfamiliar with and may need.
  4. Firefox so I can look up details about the Java code I don’t understand. (Sadly, this may mean I learn Java after all.)

And to think, this is what I often do for fun. Some days, I think my middle name should be “Masochist.”

 

Spiritual Questions: Life after death?

Over the weekend, my eighteen year old niece contacted me to ask me a bunch of questions for an AWANA project.  I found the questions interesting, if a little simplistic (and maybe slanted), but I did the best I could to give her short, somewhat simplified answers.  I’ve decided to take at least some of the questions and turn each one into a blog post, where I can explore the thoughts that the question brought up for me in a bit more depth.

Where are you going when you die?

I’ll be honest in that this is one of the questions that bothers me.  To me, it’s rooted in a body-spirit duality, and one where the body is seen as unimportant and a shell to be cast off, whereas the spirit or soul is our “real” being.  I just don’t buy into this.  To me, mind, body, and spirit are an integrated whole and all three are necessary to make me the person that I am.  In a very real sense, I believe that when I die, I will cease to be.  While some part of me may live on in some sense (and I’ll talk about that in a moment), without this body, it will no longer be truly me.

I tend to believe in spirit.  Note that I said spirit, not a spirit.  I don’t think that spirits are a basic, irreducible part.  What I call spirit, I see as an enlivening force.  It’s what makes me a living thing rather than lifeless matter.  (Then again, I often doubt that any matter is truly lifeless.)

I believe that this spirit does go on after death.  Then again, I think all of me goes on after death.  My body goes on after death, even as it decomposes.  It is reclaimed by the universe, transformed, and is then used to fuel new life.  I think spirit follows this same pattern.

I envision this as spirit separating from the body at the time of death and making its way back to what I think of as the Heart of the Universe or the Fount of Creation, that place from which life flows.  (Whether it is a physical place or exists in some state beyond our concepts of space and even time is a question to ponder.)  Spirit constantly returns there and then once more flows out into the universe anew, vitalizing new life.

 

The thoughts of a gay witch living in upstate New York.

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