Welcome message archive – November 23, 2003

Here’s the archive copy of the latest welcome message from the front page.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Welcome to my world!

My name is Jason, and this site is my experiment in self-expression.  I had no grandiose ideas when I started it and continue on in the spirit of ad hocism.

You can probably learn a little something about me from what I divulge via this site, and you’ll certainly learn something about my life.  It centers around my kids (the four cats who are very much in charge around here), my tattoos (those I have and those I intend to get), piercings (again those I have and those I intend to get), working out and trying to build a better body, my experiences, and exercising my free speech by discussing politics, local, national and world events, technology, science, national security, and a host of other things that I’m interested in.

Some of the things you’ll find here will entertain you while others will make you think — and others might very well piss you off.  That’s good, since I’m no conformist and take pride in what I know and what I believe.  I also tend to think my opinions are important even if others don’t agree with them.

So take a spin around the site, look through the topics and read a few things here and there, and feel free to let me know what you think.

The horrordays are upon us

I've been so busy lately that I've had little time to update the site.  With work and the end-of-year horrordays (holidays) fast approaching and quite a bit of activity going on in my personal life, I've just not been able to get back here long enough to post.  As I'm sure is true for most everyone, this time of year is about as stressful and hectic as it gets.  After a while, you feel as though your own life is no longer under your control.  Personally I think someone should have spread these holidays out over the course of the year rather than piling them up at the end — like they forgot about them when planning the calendar and had to stuff them all in at the last minute.  Not to fear, though, as I'm still here and will be posting as often as time permits.  I just felt it necessary to throw something out here so you'd know I was still kicking.

It’s not a choice version 2

In response to my previous posting regarding homosexuality not being a choice but rather being something we are born with (as with all sexual orientations), I've received several emails from folks either in support of or totally against my point of view.  Since I think it's the debate that does a society good in that it often helps others see a point of view they might otherwise not have considered, I've responded amicably to these messages in the hopes that, even for those who don't agree with me, my point of view might help them consider another side of the argument other than their own.  One message, however, struck me as so poignant that it deserved to be reposted here.  Someone sent me a copy of a letter written a few years ago to a Vermont newspaper by a mother who had reached her limit with the arguments against homosexuals.  As you read the letter, you'll realize why this apparently heterosexual mother also believes that our sexual orientation is part of who we are and not something we select one morning while we're brushing our teeth.


Ignorant Cruelty Robbed Me of the Joys of Motherhood

For the Valley News
White River Junction, Vermont

MANY LETTERS HAVE BEEN SENT to the Forum concerning the homosexual menace in our state.  I am the mother of a gay son, and I've taken enough from you good people.

I'm tired of your foolish rhetoric about the "homosexual agenda" and your allegations that accepting homosexuality is the same thing as advocating sex with children.  You are cruel and you are ignorant.  You have been robbing me of the joys of motherhood ever since my children were tiny.  My firstborn son started suffering at the hands of the moral little thugs from your moral, upright families from the time he was in the first grade.  He was physically and verbally abused from first grade straight through high school because he was perceived to be gay.  He never professed to be gay or had any association with anything gay, but he had the misfortune not to walk or have gestures like the other boys.  He was called "fag" incessantly, starting when he was 6.

In high school, while your children were doing what kids that age should be doing, mine labored over a suicide note, drafting and redrafting it to be sure his family knew how much he loved them.  My sobbing 17-year-old tore the heart out of me as he choked out that he just couldn't bear to continue living any longer, that he didn't want to be gay and that he couldn't face a life with no dignity.

You have the audacity to talk about protecting families and children from the homosexual menace, while you yourselves tear apart families and drive children to despair.  I don't know why my son is gay, but I do know that God didn't put him, and millions like him, on this Earth to give you someone to abuse.  God gave you brains so that you could think, and it's about time you started doing that.

At the core of all your misguided beliefs is the belief that this could never happen to you, that there is some kind of subculture out there that people have chosen to join.  The fact is that if it can happen in my family, it can happen in yours, and you won't get to choose.  Whether it is genetic or whether something occurs during a critical time of fetal development, I don't know.  I can only tell you with an absolute certainty that it is inborn.

If you want to tout your own morality, you'd best come up with something more substantial than your heterosexuality.  You did nothing to earn it; it was given to you.  If you disagree, I would be interested in hearing your story, because my own heterosexuality was a blessing I received with no effort whatsoever on my part.  It is so woven into the very soul of me that nothing could ever change it.  For those of you who reduce sexual orientation to a simple choice, a character issue, a bad habit or something that can be changed by a 10-step program, I'm puzzled.  Are you saying that your own sexual orientation is nothing more than something you have chosen, that you could change it at will?  If that's not the case, then why would you suggest that someone else can?

A popular theme in your letters is that our state has been infiltrated by outsiders.  Both sides of my family have lived in Vermont for generations.  I am heart and soul a Vermonter, so I'll thank you to stop saying that you are speaking for "true Vermonters." You invoke the memory of the brave people who have fought on the battlefield for this great country, saying that they didn't give their lives so that the "homosexual agenda" could tear down the principles they died defending.  Well, my 83-year-old father fought in some of the most horrific battles of World War II, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.  He shakes his head in sadness at the life his grandson has had to live.  He says he fought alongside homosexuals in those battles, that they did their part and bothered no one.  One of his best friends in the service was gay, and he never knew it until the end, and when he did find out, it mattered not at all.  That wasn't the measure of the man.

You religious folk just can't bear the thought that as my son emerges from the hell that was his childhood he might like to find a lifelong companion and have a measure of happiness.  It offends your sensibilities that he should request the right to visit that companion in the hospital, to make medical decisions for him or to benefit from tax laws governing inheritance.  How dare he… these outrageous requests would threaten the very existence of your family, would undermine the sanctity of marriage.

You use religion to abdicate your responsibility to be thinking human beings.  There are vast numbers of religious people who find your attitudes repugnant.  God is not for the privileged majority, and God knows my son has committed no sin.

The deep-thinking author of a letter to the Forum on April 12 who lectures about homosexual sin and tells us about "those of us who have been blessed with the benefits of a religious upbringing" asks, "Whatever happened to the idea of striving… to be better human beings than we are?"

Indeed, sir, whatever happened to that?

Sharon Underwood,
White River Junction, Vermont

Ten rules of housekeeping

If you're like me, you hate to clean house.  Although I do my chores every single weekend, I hate having to dust, vacuum, do dishes, and so on.  I'm sure this is common with many people.  It's this common hatred for housework that gives us these new ways of approaching these horrific tasks.


(1)  Vacuuming too often weakens the carpet fibers.  Say this with a serious face, and shudder delicately whenever anyone mentions Carpet Fresh.

(2)  Dust bunnies cannot evolve into dust rhinos when disturbed.  Rename the area under the couch "The Galapagos Islands" and claim an ecological exemption.

(3)  Layers of dirty film on windows and screens provide a helpful filter against harmful and aging rays from the sun.  Call it an SPF factor of 5 and leave it alone.

(4)  Cobwebs artfully draped over lampshades reduce the glare from the bulb, thereby creating a romantic atmosphere.  If your significant other points out that the light fixtures need dusting, simply look affronted and exclaim, "What?  And spoil the mood?!"

(5)  In a pinch, you can always claim that the haphazard tower of unread magazines and newspapers next to your chair provides the valuable Feng Shui aspect of a tiger, thereby reducing your vulnerability.  Roll your eyes when you say this.

(6)  Explain the mound of pet hair brushed up against the doorways by claiming you are collecting it there to use for stuffing handsewn play animals for underprivileged children.

(7)  If unexpected company is coming, pile everything unsightly into one room and close the door.  As you show your guests through your tidy home, rattle the door knob vigorously, fake a growl, and say, "I'd love you to see our den, but Fluffy hates to be disturbed, and the shots are so expensive."

(8)  If dusting is really out of control, simply place a showy urn on the coffee table and insist that "This is where Grandma wanted us to scatter her ashes…"

(9)  Don't bother repainting.  Simply scribble lightly over a dirty wall with an assortment of crayons and try to muster a glint of tears as you say, "Junior did this the week before that unspeakable accident…  I haven't had the heart to clean it!"

(10)  Mix one-quarter cup pine-scented household cleaner with four cups of water in a spray bottle.  Mist the air lightly.  Leave dampened rags in conspicuous locations.  Develop an exhausted look, throw yourself onto the couch, and sigh, "I clean and I clean, and I still don't get anywhere…"

Quick cat facts

These are just some interesting factoids about domestic cats.  I tend to remember lots of little pieces of information like this (not always a good thing, mind you), so I thought it would be interesting to share a few tidbits that you might not have heard before.


·  Scientific studies have compared and examined both a cat's brain and a dog's brain.  The results established that the cat's brain is more similar to a human's brain than a dog's brain.

·  Almost 10 percent of a cat's bones is in its tail.  The cat's body contains 245 bones, but as they age some of the bones fuse together and the number of bones decreases.

·  Cats have only thirty teeth.  Kittens have baby teeth which are replaced by permanent fangs at around seven months of age.

·  A cat's hearing is incredibly sharp.  Cats can recognize their owner's footsteps from hundreds of feet away.

·  The roughness of a cat's tongue has a very useful purpose.  It gives the cat an extremely effective grooming tool with which to clean their fur and paws.

·  The cat is one of nature's cleanest animals.  Cats spend around 30 percent of their time grooming themselves.

·  Because cats have an amazing sense of balance they rarely become ill when traveling by car.

·  Though cats have an incredible sense of hearing, it takes a kitten about two weeks to begin to hear well.

·  Kitten's eyes usually open between 7 to 10 days after birth, but occasionally they open within 2 or 3 days.

·  The average life expectancy of a cat is between 15 to 18 years although the oldest cat on record lived to be 36 years old.

·  Cats should not be fed raw egg whites because they contain an enzyme that breaks down the vitamin biotin, which is essential to cat health.

·  The oldest known fossilized record that has a similarity to today's cats has been aged at 12 million years old.

·  Fish isn't a "natural" food for cats.  Cat origins are in the desert where rodents, birds, and insects are found, not fish.  One theory that explains why cats today eat fish is that during World War II, meat was scarce, expensive, carefully rationed.  Cat food manufacturers had to find a cheap source of protein, so they started to use fish and fish by-products in cat food.  Except for one cat breed in India, in the wild, cats won't hunt for fish.

·  The smallest species of cat is native to Africa: the Black-Footed Cat (Felis Nigripes).  Its top weight is 5.5 pounds which is considerably smaller than the average house cat.