Only in America Do We Need a Separation of Church and Chicken

I know everyone is sick to death of this Chick-Fil-A scandal, which really only means one thing: it’s time for me to stop slacking on my blog and mock the hell out of it! Woohoo!

First of all, I don’t know why anyone is surprised that Chick-Fil-A took a homophobic stance on this gay marriage thing. It’s the only fast food restaurant that’s closed on Sundays for god’s sake! (No pun intended.) Seriously, when a company is willing to lose out on the hungover fast food crowd of Sundays just to force the Sabbath on people, are you REALLY surprised that they took the most right-wing stance possible here?

But with that said, isn’t freedom of expression so all-encompassing that privately owned companies are perfectly within their rights to support organizations that seek to deprive citizens of their rights based on sexual orientation?

Technically? Yes.

Does that make it okay? Oh hell no.

I’ve heard people who are fans of Chick-Fil-A’s food argue that they don’t care about the politics, they just want the delicious chicken/waffle fries.

Personally, I don’t give a crap about that because I don’t eat fast food anymore. Yay for being a borderline anorexic size 4 health nut! Go me!

Yup, got to a size 4! You can’t do that by eating chicken that’s fried in hate and homophobia!

But, unfortunately, Chick-Fil-A didn’t give you a choice. Eat there and you’re giving money to organizations that oppose gay rights, whether you support those viewpoints or not.

Yup, you know that special seasoning that makes their chicken taste so good? It’s called homophobia. Enjoy that.

It’s an issue that hit close to home for me. No, I’m not gay. And like I said, I don’t eat there anyway. But I had a Chick-Fil-A University of Maryland stuffed cow that my dad gave me years ago. And because I love my Terps and because my dad gave it to me, it’s been on my dresser for more years than I care to admit. But now, that stuffed cow just reminds me of how annoying it is to have to read all about this controversy every time I log into Facebook or Twitter. So I had to take action.

Actually, I let Rosie take action and show how SHE feels about Chick-Fil-A. My little piggy LOVES chicken, but even ROSIE is anti-Chick-Fil-A as this video clearly proves.

She’s so cute.

But there are a few things about this whole controversy that make NO sense to me.

Completely irrational issue #1: Why does ANYONE give a crap if two consenting adults of the same sex want to get married?

 If anything, gay weddings are probably a LOT less painful than straight weddings. I can’t picture lesbians turning into major bridezillas, and two guys getting married means I DON’T HAVE TO BE A BRIDESMAID AGAIN! WOO-FREAKING-HOO! (Have I mentioned how much I hate being in weddings? Seriously, it’s horrible. It costs thousands of dollars, the bride owns you for like a year, you have to wear an ugly dress that the bride CLAIMS you’ll be able to wear for everything but in reality, you never want to wear that crap again, and you’re practically required to make drunken bad decisions with a groomsman, who, OH WAIT, you’re going to have to see every time the married couple has a get together FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Straight weddings ruin lives.)

 If we’re going to ban marriages, or at least weddings, we’re targeting the wrong demographic here.

Completely irrational issue #2: Why didn’t the president of Chick-Fil-A donate his OWN money and keep the company out of the scandal? I mean, okay, yes, gay marriage is illegal in most of the country. But did Dan Cathy REALLY think that meant that most of the country would rally around Chick-Fil-A and be like “YEAH! Let’s eat some homophobic chicken and sing songs about how awesome straight people are!”? Cause honestly, if he just gave his own money, I’d still think he was a prick, but I wouldn’t object to anyone wanting to eat there. But if he’s literally taking company money and trying to deny American citizens of their right to the pursuit of happiness, he might as well be running an ad campaign for KFC/Popeyes/Every other fried chicken joint in the country. Not your best marketing ploy, Danny boy.

Completely irrational issue #3: Regardless of your political/religious views on homosexuality and/or gay marriage, why are you eating at a fast food restaurant whose ad slogans are built around poor spelling and grammar? Really? If they can’t spell Chicken, I don’t think you should eat what they’re serving.

But here’s what it boils down to folks, gay people deserve the same rights as everyone else. As my dad puts it, if straight people have to suffer through marriage, why should gay people be exempt? There’s a certain logic in that.

Anyone who claims otherwise is going against the basic foundations that our country was built on: the idea that all men are created equal. Yeah, the founding fathers had slaves and didn’t really mean ALL people when they said that, but it’s 20-freaking-12. Get over it and let people do their thing. There’s no need to make chicken political.

Although, there’s a perfect opportunity for any business people out there who want to jump on it: open a PRO-gay rights chicken chain. Chick-Fil-A would probably sue if you called it Chick-Fil-Gay, but there are plenty of other choices. Chicks ‘n Chicks? El Pollo Homo? Homo-Chick-Sual? The possibilities are endless. (And I didn’t even make any cock jokes! Keepin’ it clean, ma, keepin’ it clean!)

Of course, my motivation in wanting someone to open an anti-Chick-Fil-A chain is purely selfish. No, I still wouldn’t eat there, which isn’t a political statement, I’m just a psycho about my diet these days. But I REALLY want to see if all of these people who are posting about how evil Chick-Fil-A is on my Facebook timeline are actually passionate enough about the issue to eat at someplace called El Pollo Homo, or if they’re just all talk.

I don’t care what Siri’s political beliefs are–I’m too busy playing Words With Friends

So a couple of months ago, I bowed to the inevitable and got an iPhone.

I had held out for years in an attempt to be non-conformist. I don’t LIKE doing the same thing that everyone else does. But the peer pressure got to be too much and I caved.

Of course, I waited until I could get the newest release and woke up at 3am like an idiot to pre-order the iPhone 4S so that I could at least have the far superior model to what everyone else had on the very first day possible.

And I have to admit, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

And one of the worst.

On the plus side, I’m no longer in the cellular dark ages. I can do all that cool crap that everyone else has been doing for years. And I am, in fact, kicking myself for not doing it earlier.

But the 4S is a joke. Like Siri was cool for the first day and a half when I asked her all the stupid questions that everyone else was asking her. And I laughed when she got mad that I kept asking about Hal 9000. (Please tell me that someone other than my dad knows what I’m talking about.)

Although I was extremely disappointed that when I asked what the airspeed velocity of an unladden swallow was, she didn’t ask “African or European swallow?”

But I giggled with moronic delight when I asked her “Who’s the boss?” And she came up with the ONLY correct answer.

And then I never used her again.

I mean, I know people are all up in arms about her unwillingness to provide you with the location of an abortion clinic. But, to be fair, what dumbass is walking around and suddenly says, “Hmm, I think I need an abortion before I walk another five blocks. Siri, where’s the closest abortion clinic?”

Actual answer from Siri on MY phone.  Just saying…

(That wasn’t a statement of political belief. I’m just saying you should probably make the decision before you leave the house. And maybe get a doctor’s recommendation on where to go instead of Siri’s. Yes, your iPhone can do a lot of things. And the x-ray app is kinda cool. But that doesn’t make Siri a medical professional.)

I also think the 4S was a complete rip-off. Like yeah, it has Siri and a better camera, but it looks EXACTLY the same as the 4. Which completely and utterly defeats the purpose of putting out a different phone, because unless I walk around obnoxiously asking Siri questions every three seconds, how are random people supposed to know that I have a better phone than they do?

Come on, Apple. Priorities.

But none of those things are why the iPhone is slowly destroying my life.

And it’s not even because I’ve spent a huge chunk of my savings that SHOULD have been spent on shoes buying worthless and pointless apps that amuse me for a couple of minutes before being forgotten about forever.

No, it’s because of the soulless, mind-sucking, life-destroying mental vacuum that is Words With Friends.

I’m totally addicted.

I honestly didn’t even plan to download the game. When I was a child, Scrabble was used as a torture device and the only form of punishment that I truly feared. Because being sent to my room wasn’t much of an inconvenience. I had my books and music and tv in there. So if I smacked my little brother upside the head for something and heard, “Sara! Go to your room!” it was like, okay, time to play!

But Scrabble? Oh no. That was REAL punishment. It was the only board game at my aunt and uncle’s Ocean City condo, and if my brother and I didn’t behave well enough, we had to play Scrabble with my mother instead of going to the boardwalk. I tried calling Child Protective Services, because that was CLEARLY a form of abuse. But when they showed up, my parents made them play Scrabble too until they finally lost, at which point they just turned to me, shrugged, and said, “You’re on your own, kid.”

Now that I’m older and have a much larger vocabulary, however, the game has become ridiculously addictive. Of course, it probably helps that it’s the high-tech version, because I still have nightmares about old-fashioned Scrabble sets in that Mommy Dearest, no-more-wire-hangers kind of way. But the game is approximately 94% more addictive than crack.

At the moment, I have nineteen different games going with fourteen different people. I’m not exaggerating. Like I know I sometimes blow things out of proportion for the sake of humor on the blog, but those are real numbers. I swear on Bruce Springsteen.

In fact, the thing that I hate most about Maryland’s new law prohibiting the use of cell phones even at traffic lights is that I can’t play while I’m at a light.

Well, okay, I CAN. I just have to keep my phone in my lap and my sunglasses on so it doesn’t LOOK like I’m looking at my phone when I’m stopped at a traffic light. Which is probably pretty conspicuous at night and when it’s raining.

And it’s probably bad that I play at school. Usually with other teachers during our planning periods, but also with former students. Who are also in school. But they’re at my old school, not the school that I currently teach at, and because they’re no longer in MY classes, I no longer feel compelled to tell Rachel and Alli to get off their phones. (I promised I’d mention them today… Hi guys!)

But I think my favorite thing about the game isn’t that I’m consistently beating my parents. Which I am. And it feels great. (Sorry mom and dad. Please don’t pull out the real Scrabble set next time I’m at your house. I’ll behave. I promise!)

No, my favorite thing is playing bad words to see what it will accept. For example, a certain four-letter word beginning with an “s” that means excrement is acceptable, although f-bombs aren’t. And it accepts “chode” and “dildos,” the discovery of which made me laugh out loud so loudly that people assumed I was having a seizure.

At this point, I will literally play any moderately profane word to see if it accepts it, even if it means I will lose the game. Because I apparently have the sense of humor of a twelve-year-old boy. If he met me online and didn’t know what I looked like, Jerry Sandusky would love me.

But I also think that the game is secretly trying to kill me by being so addictive that I WANT to play it even when I’m driving.

And I have proof.

Words With Friends doesn’t recognize the word “Jews.” But it DOES recognize “shivah,” which is the Hebrew equivalent of a wake (but less fun), when Jews mourn for seven days after someone has died.

See? Jews aren’t okay, but DEAD Jews are.

Coincidence? Or evil plot?

To be honest though, I don’t really care. Because I’ve got nineteen games to get back to.

Peace out.

The State of the Union is more fun when it’s segregated like a middle school dance

Last night was kind of like my Super Bowl. Because once the Redskins are out of the running, my interest in football dwindles to the approximate level of my interest in Nascar, tennis, bowling and golf. (Although I have to admit that this year, I was quite relieved when the Redskins’ season ended because it meant I was being put out of my misery… it’s been a painful few years.)

Don’t get me wrong, I like the commercials during the Super Bowl and all. But I’m a total news junkie (which is probably a good thing considering that I teach journalism) and I’m kind of a political junkie as well. Which means that when I watch the State of the Union, the noises coming from my apartment sound like when I’m watching Redskins game.

Well, okay that’s a little misleading. With Obama in office, it sounds like when I’m watching a game that the ‘Skins are winning. When George W. Bush was giving the State of the Union, it sounded more like the most recent season, with me yelling “NOOOOO!” “COME ON!” and many less appropriate sentiments as well.

Of course, last year had one of those moments with the lovely, “You lie” incident, at which point I enthusiastically told Joe Wilson EXACTLY what he could go do with himself in far too graphic detail to print in this blog and still keep my teaching job. Let’s just say it caused Rosie to go hide under my bed.

The State of the Union causes me some stress though. Because it’s REALLY hard to decide what network to watch it on. I mean, I have picture in picture, which I tend to use exactly once a year for this event, because I LOVE seeing what Fox News says about it compared to what every other network says.

This year, I chose to watch it on NBC, mostly because I adore Brian Williams. Partially because he’s a huge Springsteen fan and his interview with Bruce when the Darkness box set was coming out cracked me up, but mostly because his cameos on 30 Rock as himself are my absolute favorite. There’s something about someone who’s THAT deadpan when they’re funny that I love. So even though the State of the Union isn’t typically funny, I still love Brian Williams’ introduction of it, monotone voice and all.

But I have to admit that Fox News is my favorite for oh-so-many reasons. I just love the ridiculousness factor. Granted, my favorite Fox News moment of all time was right after the Indonesian tsunami. I was in line at the dry cleaners and they had Fox News on. And there was this cute little blonde reporter covering the tsunami from Indonesia and she had her serious reporter face on and her serious reporter haircut, and she explained that while scientists had one explanation for the tsunami, “most people here do believe that the tsunami was, in fact, the wrath of an angry god.” And underneath her on the screen, Fox News flashed the message “Tsunami: Wrath of Angry God.”

I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that hard in my life. Nor have I ever gotten such weird looks while I was in line at the dry cleaners. Wait, that’s not true. I was on my cell phone with my grandmother one time and was trying to explain why you can’t use your computer’s cd-rom drive as a cup holder. I think I got weirder looks that time. But I digress.

Fox News declares the President’s speech a failure before it even happens. Which I find hilarious in a year like this year, when Obama’s speech didn’t go out to the networks in a finalized form in advance. How do they know it was a failure? Easy. If a democrat said it, it was bad. If Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin said it, it was good.

God help America. I think we need it.

The reason I love watching on a split screen though is because the different networks all show different people reacting during the speech. Most of the news networks do a mix of people loving it and hating it and make an attempt to show a fair and balanced mix.

Fox doesn’t bother with that. They just show Republicans. Which makes sense. Because except for me, they’re the only ones watching the speech on Fox. But if you watch Fox News, you’d think no one stood or applauded during the speech.

The big issue leading up to this year’s State of the Union wasn’t what Obama was going to talk about, it was the bipartisan seating. Now in theory, it’s a good idea. And it makes it a lot harder for there to be idiots like Joe Wilson yelling stuff out during the speech. Because I’d like to see him try that with Nancy Pelosi sitting next to him. Did you see the look she gave him last year? If looks could kill, he’d be deader than I think my neighbor is! And I mean, if she was next to him, she’d just stab him. I saw her in the pit at a Springsteen show one time. She may be little, but she’s tough.

I understand that the bipartisan seating presents the image of a unified front, but I like the State of the Union audience the way that I like a middle school dance—with opposing forces as far apart as they can get. The reason for this is simple: it makes it easier to see who the jackasses are when they’re sitting with the other jackasses. It’s hard to yell at half of the house when they’re mixed in with the half that I like.

Although I did think it was a little funny that John Kerry and John McCain were next to each other. It was like Loser’s Alley there. All they needed was Al Gore next to them. But he isn’t allowed to sit with them. Because his name isn’t John. And because he probably technically won the 2000 election. But that’s another story.

I had to finish this before the vultures descended to pick the speech apart (because some of us have to go educate the youth of America early in the morning—which Obama DID say we need more people to do), so I’ll leave the other bloggers out there to discuss the specifics of that, and I’ll end on this note:

Who’s impressed that I made it through a whole thousand word blog post WITHOUT making fun of John Boehner’s name?

Yeah, he’s never going to become President with that name. Can you imagine introducing “President Boehner?” I mean, I’d cry too if that were MY last name!

Damnit. Okay, well I made it through the FIRST thousand words without making fun of his name. Which, considering that I spend all day with teenagers, is a pretty big accomplishment.

I’m tired of hearing about Sarah Palin… in other news, I’m a Leo now!

I have officially turned to Twitter as my primary source of news.

But Sara, you’re a print news junkie! The Washington Post website is your homepage.

True. But until all this Sarah Palin crap blows over, I’m avoiding all mainstream media. Seriously. I’m done. I’m all for demonizing her and am considering changing my name just because she ruined a perfectly good first name by being an idiot, but what happened in Tuscon isn’t her fault.

Of course, it’s COMPLETELY her fault that she jumped into the middle of all of this the day that the President was speaking in Tuscon and used a hugely controversial phrase (which I’m convinced she didn’t understand. I mean, come on, if she doesn’t know “refudiate” isn’t a word, she doesn’t know the anti-Semitic history of “blood libel”), but she only was able to push her way into the limelight because the media let every nut who wanted to blame her for the shooting have a soapbox to stand on.

As a journalism teacher, what I see is particularly disheartening. I strive to teach my journalism students that they need to be fair and balanced in their reporting and get a variety of differing opinions for their stories. But how on earth are they supposed to learn to do that when they’re bombarded by news sources that consider a report to be balanced if their version of diversity is interviewing a right-wing extremist and a left-wing extremist?

In other words, you can balance out Sarah Palin’s craziness by also interviewing Bob Brady, who is proposing legislation making it illegal to use violent rhetoric. They’re both idiots and neither is actually representative of America. At least I really, REALLY hope they’re not.

And it’s a REALLY bad sign when Twitter has become a more reliable than any news network. I mean, it’s like trusting Wikipedia: anyone can say anything they want there. (Although whoever hacked the Wikipedia entry for “blood libel” and put Sarah Palin’s pic up, call me. I want to be your friend.)

So because Twitter is now my primary source of news, I was able to deduce that the biggest story of the day yesterday was the change in astrological signs. Apparently, by spending my whole life up until yesterday as a Virgo, I was living a lie.

I have to admit, I always suspected as much. I never really felt like a Virgo.

(Shut up, it has NOTHING to do with Virgo being the virgin. Jerks.)

But now I feel like I’m having an identity crisis. The first thing I do every morning when I wake up is make my bed. But that’s a Virgo, control-freak thing to do. So when I got home from school yesterday, I went immediately into my room and unmade my bed, because no self-respecting Leo would make her own bed—we’d believe that someone else should show up to do it for us because we’re the center of the universe.

Which kind of sucked last night when I had to sleep in an unmade bed. But I think that only bothered me because I had so many years of thinking like a Virgo and needing everything to be neat and organized.

Although now that I’m no longer a self-conscious and overly-worried Virgo, I seem to have overcome my lifelong battle with insomnia. Damnit astrologers, couldn’t you have told me I was a Leo years ago? I’m pretty mad when I think of all the sleep I could have been getting if I’d just known that I wasn’t ACTUALLY a worrier!

I also no longer have to stress about being late for everything. As a Virgo, I always felt great anxiety when I was running late, which, let’s face it, is ALL the time.

But now I understand my chronic lateness! It’s because I was misdiagnosed as a Virgo. Leos believe they are the center of the universe and therefore aren’t worried about how valuable anyone else’s time is. So instead of rushing like crazy to get to work on time, I’m just going to take my time and get there when I get there. Besides, Leos like to make an entrance. (I’m kind of curious to see how that works with my boss. Like if I walk in ten minutes after first period starts and just announce, “School can start now because the most important person in the universe has arrived!” I probably won’t have a job much longer. But that’s okay. Because I’m a Leo now and that means people should just pay me for being awesome.)

I was going to write more, but now that I’m a Leo, I think it’s time to go admire myself instead. So to sum up:

Sarah Palin = bad

Blaming Sarah Palin for stuff she had nothing to do with = usually good, but in this case bad

Extremists on either side = worse

Twitter = reliable source of information

Leo = a good night’s sleep in an unmade bed

Being me now that I’m a Leo = awesome

Astrology = total load of crap

Election Day: If you don’t vote, you forfeit your right to complain!

In case you missed the memo, today is Election Day.

Now, as a teacher, I love Election Day because it gets me out of school, but Election Day also annoys the crap out of me. Not because I don’t like voting. I love voting; I hate the people who can’t be bothered to vote.

That’s right. If you have no intention of voting, you’re worse than a Springsteen-hating, Delaware-living, ostrich-owning, Cowboys fan to me.

Admittedly, there are quite a few things about my generation that I just don’t understand. Rap music does nothing for me. Nor does any of the pop/dance/house stuff that you hear at any bar or club. (With the exception of Lady Gaga. I do like her. But I’ll address that another day.) I don’t get the obsession with Family Guy, when The Simpsons is CLEARLY the better show. I think Crocs are too ugly to have any redeeming value and that anyone who wears them shouldn’t be allowed to pick out their own clothes.

But I REALLY don’t understand the people who express their disillusionment with the government by NOT doing anything about it.

Granted, I come from a rather politically charged family. My parents met at a riot protesting the Vietnam War, my father started bringing me to work the polls with him when I was eight, and my brother and I used to have a pool going to figure out when our dad and his Republican cousin (there’s a black sheep in every family, I guess) would start fighting at family functions.

A picture my dad took at the UMD riot the day my parents met (5/5/71)

But I enjoy voting. I don’t wear the little “I voted/Yo voté” sticker (because I don’t wear stickers of any kind. Ever. Especially not nametags.), but I DO enjoy being a part of the political process. I remember being so excited for my first election, even though it wasn’t a presidential one, when I was 18. Current Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler was running for Montgomery County State’s Attorney and he was at my elementary school when I went to vote, and he loved that I was so enthusiastic about getting to vote for the first time.

My first presidential election was slightly less exciting. Well, okay, it was MORE exciting, until I got home from voting, and my boyfriend at the time (who was a Republican—I know, I know, we all do stupid stuff when we’re young and rebelling against our parents) told me that he had cancelled out my vote for Al Gore by voting for George W. Bush, which took some of the wind out of my sails. Needless to say, he and I didn’t last all that long.

In general though, I know that the midterm elections aren’t as exciting as the presidential election. And I know that it’s DEFINITELY not as exciting as the 2008 election was. You don’t exactly see me wearing a sparkly O’Malley shirt this year, despite the fact that I think he’s a WAY better choice than Ehrlich.

But this election is important, and not just to the future of education in Maryland. What worries me is that a lot of people are saying they’re disappointed in Obama and his whole administration and are therefore not voting.

Unlike a certain Tea Party candidate, Obama never claimed to be a witch. He doesn’t have magical powers. I know everyone thought he’d get into office and wave a magic wand and fix all the damage that was done during the past eight years, but I hate to break it to you, unless you elect Harry Potter, that’s never going to happen.

The economic crisis of the last couple years is still the result of the previous administration. If you voted for Obama, it’s even MORE important that you go out and vote in this election to keep the party that will support what he wants to do in power so that he CAN deliver the points he campaigned on.

I went to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on Saturday, which restored SOME of my faith in people to understand what’s really important and stand up for it.

All rally photos taken by my dad, Jordan Goodman

But while the signs were funny and the rally was a really good time (and I liked the zombie pope), I think the main point that I’m trying to make is that if you want change, the only way to get it is to DO something. Voting may not always feel like you’re making that much of a difference, but you really are. And that’s what we’re doing here in this country. Our ancestors (some more distant than others) came here for freedom, be it of religion, speech, or political beliefs. And yes, technically, you CAN demonstrate your freedom by choosing to abstain from voting. But don’t not vote because you’re lazy or apathetic.

Because if you don’t vote for one of those reasons, I don’t want to hear it when you complain about the government.

If you vote, you can complain all you want.

Unless you’re a Republican. In which case, you’re still ALLOWED to complain if you voted. I just don’t want to hear it.