Whale Phallology: You really DON’T want to know, but you’ll read anyway

It’s always bad form to discuss genitalia in a public forum, unless you can somehow tie it to an election issue and something stupid in the news. As is expected, I will attempt to do just that. Fortunately, I have been given a bit of a gift from a friend who shall remain nameless here only because I have no clue what inspired her to find this, but it seems there is a Whale Penis Museum.

Actually, let’s be clear: it is not devoted exclusively to the Whale Penis. That is a small (rim shot) part of a greater whole (another rim shot). The exhibit is part of the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which is dedicated to the collection and study of all things phallic. Their website is remarkably academic in how it presents the specimens (yes, I am attempting to contain my laughter at these puns) but the mission statement alone is quite astounding in its devotion to the academia of the male genital part.

The Icelandic Phallological Museum is probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country. Phallology is an ancient science which, until recent years, has received very little attention in Iceland, except as a borderline field of study in other academic disciplines such as history, art, psychology, literature and other artistic fields like music and ballet. Now, thanks to The Icelandic Phallological Museum, it is finally possible for individuals to undertake serious study into the field of phallology in an organized, scientific fashion.

As hard as it might be to believe, this museum consists of some amazing artwork and metalwork, glass and stone craft, all with the male apparatus in mind. Also, what the hell is phallic ballet? Never mind, forget I asked! Of course, the real draw seems to be the Whale Penis Exhibit. Iceland, once a proud whaling culture, culled many a whale member for a variety of uses, none of which can be divulged without risking a serious “Beavis & Butthead” style fit of uncontained laughter. Some of the pieces are reputed to be as tall as five feet! Let it be known throughout the land…there is no car economical enough to compete with Whale Johnson.

That would be all well and good, but now comes word that a whale can spew almost 40 gallons of semen during one mating session? Crazier still, much of that doesn’t even get into the female whale. Of course, it’s possible a recently circulated picture of the same male whale in writhing passion, love machine flipping about like an out of control sea serpent, could just be in the process of audition for the next season of Game of Thrones: Whale Edition. How do we know what really turns a whale on? Is it Hillary? Is it Donald? Is it word of an unscrupulous funeral home owner being freed? Is it the notion of Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston dating, or could it just be the most disgusting, fundamentally gross notion of earth: whale porn.

We will likely never know, so I shall retire to my table near the beach with my delicious blue rare steak and HEY!!! What the hell is all this crap? I didn’t ask for white gravy!

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That little imp that causes so much pain

It has become more common than ever before for people to assume the worst in each other. It’s easy to think that, because someone disagrees with you, that makes said person the devil incarnate. One area we see this happening is when friendships begin to disintegrate over simple misunderstandings.

The human heart is a funny thing and ego plays a huge part in it. Too often we allow our feelings to get the better of us not because it’s what we know in our heart is the right thing to do, but because that devilish little angel sitting on our shoulders is saying “who cares what they think, this is about you! You! You! You!” That nasty imp just loves to stir up trouble, doesn’t it? Here’s a little shocker for you, and you might not like this.

That imp isn’t the devil – it’s your shadow side coming out.

There’s an old saying that God created good and evil to work to his own end. Well, if that’s true, doesn’t that mean that evil is something the Almighty uses to serve an end? Evil is described by Obi Wan Kenobi as being seen from “a certain point of view.” So, if we go with that bit of Star Wars canon, much of our problems depend greatly on our point of view. Which brings us back around to friendship.

It’s easy to be “done” with friends for major things, and rightfully so. Unpaid debts, property theft, disregard for ones person all perfectly valid reasons to be done. After that, it comes back to point of view. If someone talks about you to another friend and you get wind of it and are offended, think about how many times you did that with others. If you are one who believes in karma, this is karma doing its job. If you love someone only to have your heart broken, think back to whose heart you’ve broken. You’ll find correlations at almost every point.

Of course, that’s when the shadow side likes to come out scream me, me, me, me, ME! It’s all about ME!

Our shadow sides like to think they are justified when they treat people, especially friends and family, like crap. Who do they think they are, telling us how to live our life? Who are they to tell us who is best for us? What right do they have suggesting courses of action? It’s all about me.

Honestly, if you really value their input, they have every right in the word to offer input, but no right to dictate. If they dictate, then you can be done with them. If they suggest or explain, listening does go a long way to heal a rift.

Why do I say this? Because we all make that mistake and we look back and wish we could throttle that little imp. I wish I could tell mine where to go then, but I had to suffer profound loss to learn. I only hope those whose friendships I’ve lost because of that side of me coming out to play will one day forgive me. It was not an easy lesson to learn.

Of course profound learning comes from profound pain.

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Calling the rest of the year, one blunder at a time

We are just past the halfway point for the year, and life just gets more and more interesting. Not only did Sumter County, Georgia see America’s first-ever successful use of a “prevent” defense to win an election, but the nation was rocked by a little known Supreme Court ruling which essentially stated Taylor Swift can, indeed, date British actors and we can’t do jack about it (next breakup song will likely feature references to “Spotted Dick.”). As always, I am here to offer my insights and half hearted predictions for the remainder of the year. These are strictly for entertainment and lobotomizing purposes only.

– Great Britain agrees to return to the Euro only after the nations of Europe agree to rename themselves “Westeros.”

– Tampa and Miami declare war on each other over who is the rightful heir to the title of Cuban sandwich capital. Miami surrenders when it realizes that few people there actually KNOW what a Cuban sandwich is MADE from.

– An earthquake devastates the Botox clinic where Kim Kardashian goes. Strangely, no other businesses or structures for a million miles in any direction report damage. Kanye West denies involvement and says Mother Nature hates him.

– Hillary Clinton, having secured the nomination for speaker for all people everywhere, is denied the Democratic nomination when party “superdelegates” are sent gift baskets from an “anonymous benefactor” with lifetime supply coupons from Ben and Jerrys.

– Cleveland is a raucous scene when the NBA grants the Cavaliers “all time champion rights” for three years. Also, the GOP convention takes places there too, supposedly.

– conspiracy theorists around the world are thrown into a quandary when not only is the existence of “Planet X” confirmed, but NASA admits it contains high quantities of PU-234, an element needed for the US Air Forces trillion dollar project, the Explosive Space Modulator.

– In a grand act of defiance, the People’s Republic of China will declare pizza to be Chinese food along with a wonton soup embargo. This will send Lethal Weapon reboot futures plummeting.

– Some nation will announce it has developed nuclear weapons but nobody will care because their national defense system will consist of irate aviaries being flung using a rubber band slingshot. Pork futures will break and tumble on the news.

The News, as it happens, or happened…or something or other.

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Like SHE’s upset Obama got blocked!

The SCOTUS ruling about President Obama’s immigration executive order decision direction Jade Helm Alpha Omega Slimer 3 is not really a ruling at all.  It was a tie vote, which left Americans everywhere with that feeling Georgia Bulldog fans have in the pit of their stomachs when they see their team take to the field each year in Jacksonville (oh stop your whining!  You know the Gators got your number til Vince Dooley retires and breaks the Donald Trump-Herschel Walker curse).  That being said, it’s time to talk about several random news items which make no sense when talked about separately, and make even less sense when they are brought together.  Of course, in my bipolar mind, that only means one thing – the average human brain will be reduced to the consistency of an Eggo waffle by the time it’s done processing this work.

Yep, I’m back, bitches!  And away we go:

  • President Barack Obama, during a news conference following the SCOTUS tie vote, announces he has begun a new system in which Congressional Representatives can toss yellow flags into the press room to challenge his orders. He then states those flags must be called “maize” to avoid offending the Pro-Yellow-Crayon Lobby.
  • Christian Evangelist Jerry Falwell Jr., in a stunning moment of candor, is seen admitting that he once dated a woman who knew someone who knew a Playboy model, and thus God forgave him for some sort of sin, though nobody really knows what.
  • Ivan Reitman announced he is working on a concept for a new animated series based on the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot. How they plan to incorporate good animation remains to be seen.
  • The University of Texas, following the SCOTUS ruling in favor of their Affirmative Action practices, announced they are eliminating all beef products at every game, citing a need to become more “Chicken and Pork Inclusive.”
  • Las Vegas made a stunning announcement yesterday, declaring June 22 of each year “National Gambling Abstinence Day.” Following that announcement and several minutes of unbridled laughter by local residents, the NHL awarded the city a hockey franchise, and everyone shrugged.
  • Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles, an Atlanta culinary institution on Peachtree Street, was shuttered when state revenue agents, conducting a raid, realized the food was actually decent and began combing the restaurant for the recipe book, which was reportedly spirited away, along with $650,000 in illegally kept sales taxes, but nobody really cares about that. The chicken is the thing.
  • Sumter County’s Sheriff’s race ended with incumbent Pete Smith defeating challenger Phillip Daniels. Everyone gathered at the local Walmart afterwards and shared a cold Yoo-Hoo, except for community-minded voters, who actually had jobs to go to.
  • Reporters were given a sneak peak at the Atlanta’s MercedesBenzPorscheBankofAmericaWhileCanWeBribeThisWeek Stadium and Theme Park, and discovered the horrifying reality that a pro football stadium’s roof, when it opens, resembles a rose. Chants of “flower power” could be heard coming from visiting Tampa Bay fans.

Told ya I was back.

Just an FYI, I will be orienting this blog towards both humor and mental health awareness.  Yes, it’s an odd combination, but I do believe it’s the best use of my talents.  My best to you all!

Mental Illness and Platitudes: like oil and water

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A hand up is difficult to give someone with mental health issues.  In the end, it is appreciated.

It’s easy for someone with mental illness to feel forgotten, abandoned or tossed aside.  Such conditions as borderline, bipolar, cyclothymia and OCD can be a complete drain on friends, family and loved ones, causing them to peel away.  The problem comes when someone tries to reach out for help and all they are offered are what amount to platitudes; quotes and statements which sound like something out of pop-psychological television program, or a glossy picture book which grace the table of one trying to appear erudite on mental health.  It is a case of the supposed cure being far worse than the disease itself.

 

The reality for someone who is either suffering in silence, or has come forward to seek help and is in the deep mines of their own minds, is that such statements and quotations feel like salt being rubbed deep into a wound.  The intention of such platitudes may be good, but they often come across as insensitive, hollow, and “one size fits all.”  With that in mind, here are five platitudes which many who are dealing which such issues often hear, why these are so hated, and how to reframe them into something far more effective and positive.

If you are in distress, please call 911 immediately if you are considering self-harm.  If you feel unbalanced or unable to successfully govern your emotions, please check out the MentalHealth.gov for links for immediate help.

Platitude:  “Be grateful.”

Why people with mental illness hate this phrase:  It smacks of hypocrisy.  It’s easy to say “be grateful” when someone else is hurting and you are enjoying your life.  After all, people who are doing “well” are perceived by those who aren’t as insulated from life’s ups and down, whether or not it’s true.  Like it or not, that is the perception and being told we need to be grateful for our blessings is like telling someone who just put their dog to sleep “at least you can go out and get another.”

Good reframe:  Rather than telling someone to be grateful, spent a moment talking to them about their hobbies and interesting.  Sometimes they will be reminded they are a great cook, or a wonderful writer, or make beautiful art.  They may remember they have a knack for always catching the biggest fish, or looking super hot in a cocktail gown.  Whatever it is, find that thing and expand the conversation, then remind them “hey, you know this is something I wish I could do.  I envy you.”  Even though you really don’t envy them, the fact remains they know they can do something somebody else can’t is a huge confidence boost.  Take that and build on it.

Platitude:  “That’s not your journey,” or “you can’t compare yourself to another.”

Why people with mental illness hate this phrase:  We live in a society in which comparison is a part of life.  For many with mental illness, obsession or seeing certain (not all) things in absolute terms is a part of life.  Whether others want to believe it or not, we compare ourselves to each other all the time in our daily lives.  Hiring practices, impressions of attractiveness, competing for mates all bring comparisons into play.  It’s no wonder people with mental illness compare their lives to those of others all the time.

Good reframe:  When your friend starts telling you how great your life is compared to theirs, ask them a question about something interesting that happened, even if it was a few months back.  It could be something as interesting as meeting someone famous, or getting to go somewhere you’ve never been but, because of their life, they can go.  Tell them how you wish you had gotten a chance to do that.  Ask them what it was like.  Be gentle, be kind, and be genuine.  A person with mental illness, believe it or not, can almost always seen through a veneer.  Show you are really interested.

Platitude:  “You really need to stop living in the past.”

Why people with mental illness hate this phrase:  There are those people out there we just want to throat punch – folks who either can easily separate the past from the present.  These are the folks who can choose to forget stuff they did that we regret and beat ourselves up over the same.  The fact is, one of most common triggers for mental illness episodes are thoughts of yesterday.

Good reframe:  This requires being able to identify the trigger in its early stages.  Once the road down memory lane is being traveled, it’s difficult to stop.  Now, if you have just turned onto it, you can make a statement of “you know, that was so long ago and we are both so different now.  Why don’t do…” and suggest a fun activity, preferably physical, for you to do together.  The endorphin release combined with mindfulness, helps the brain re-calibrate itself.

Platitude:  “You really need to seek help.”

Why people with mental illness hate this phrase:  chances are, we’ve already begun seeking help, or are waiting for our insurance to kick in, or have to see someone with a waiting list.  “Seeking help” is often code for “Take a pill” or “talk to a therapist and everything will be better.”  Most people do not understand that mental illness doesn’t cure with a simple pill – it is an overarching healing approach which takes months, sometimes years, and on occasion, entire lifetimes to achieve.

Good reframe:  Express that you’re concerned over them not taking care of themselves or not being themselves.  Don’t be judgmental, but notice the little things, like their appearance or lack of energy.  Point out that counseling is not a death sentence or a social stigma, and that having a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but that you are willing to face it and admit it is true strength.  Be careful how you word this, though, because it can also sound like a stupid platitude.

Platitude:  “You need to love yourself first.”

Why people with mental illness hate this phrase:  Thankfully, this particular phrase is starting to experience a bit of a backlash.  It’s a statement which suggests that when one does not love themselves, one is unlovable, and that’s just a falsehood.  It is possible to love someone who does not love themselves, but it takes incredible patience to help that person because they need to choose to love themselves as well to avoid harming those who care about them.  This can create a toxic relationship in which both are drained and left resentful of each other.  With professional help, many can get to the point where they can love in a healthy way, even if they don’t love themselves as others believe they should.

Good reframe:   Rather than saying this, simply be a friend and spend time with them.  Let them know they are loved and appreciated.  Some folks never get it and really do need professional help, while others are just stuck in a rut and need reassurance.  It all depends.

Our experiences are what guide us in our daily lives and, contrary to popular perception, there is no one person on earth who truly has it “all together.”  We all have our good days, our bad days, our time in the sun and, eventually, our time in the darkness.  For every sunset there is a sunrise, and yes there is a season for every person, no matter how brief.  Awareness and mindfulness are essential tools, not empty platitudes, for anyone with mental illness who wants to get better and recover.  Focusing on the now and having friends there to help are more valuable than any material asset on this planet.

Old friend wishes a new day

A city divided, people pointing fingers,
Much pain inflicted from longtime citizens.
Everyone wants their piece of the pie
Nobody wants to admit their complicity.

New blood is infused one who wish the best for all
Drives, strives, endures to learn the truth
His wish is simple; the best for all concerned and affected
To create a new day from the ashes of what once was.

His heart is wounded but strong, bloodied by healing
He finds solace is learning all he can and sharing it.
Hardened hearts he avoids, softened hearts he embraces
His world is that of knowledge, compassion and kindness.

Others are skeptical of his motives
Why would someone from outside want to help?
What they do not understand is he is a mirror
Of what they feel and think for themselves.

His mind is limitless, his heart open to new ideas
Others around him to take to the concept of rebirth
A city reborn, a community united, but he is merely a cog
He wishes no recognition, only that they all unite and rebuild.

Change and Friendships: Signs the two are no longer compatible

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A quote nobody wants to experience, but as with life, it does happen.

Life is about change.  We all change, and change brings with it beginnings and endings.  To that end, we all experience that moment where we have to decide whether or not to stay friends with someone.  It’s a gut-wrenching, heart-shattering moment when we finally have to accept the fact that someone we used to be “ride or die” with is no longer the same person we once knew.  New associations, co-workers, even romantic involvements change us, and it changes our outlooks and opinions.  Some friendships can survive, while others just don’t have the strength to do so.  Not everyone sees eye to eye on what friendship is over the long haul, not everyone can balance conflicting emotions over friends, and not everyone wants to keep the same circle of friends.

While all friends fight, some fights are a clear indicator of fissures, fractures within the relationship which will only grow with time, and drive those individuals so far apart there is no way for the relationship to recover.  Some friends stop talking for a time for whatever reason, but they do come back together and make up.  Unfortunately, there are those who do not want to be around when times are really tough; some have good reasons for that (personal trauma resurfacing), while others simply don’t care because, to them, you are either not interesting or don’t fit their expectation of a friend.  Don’t fall for the notion of “low maintenance friends,” either; even the least-involved friends find time to check on someone going through a dark night or bad run.  Here are some warning signs that it may be time to push the eject button on a friendship, no matter how long it’s lasted.

  1. They make excuses for not talking to you. Do not confuse this with “ghosting,” which is a passive-aggressive cardinal sin which should result in an immediate ending of the friendship.  Being busy with kids or a new marriage, or more responsibilities on the job is one thing. . This is in reference to people who decide to not give you any reason for why they are not talking to you beyond the classic “I’m busy” cover.  In this age of digital interconnection and smartphones, that excuse should be less plausible than ever.  When that happens, ask yourself if you are really that important to them.  Chances are, you aren’t.
  2. They only make time for you when they can get something out of it. A friend who wants to talk to you only for advice, or to get your feedback on a decision, or wants to brag about their latest bedroom conquest is not the sort of friend you really need.  Now, if in between those moments they ask how you are doing, offer a great new place to get a bite to eat, share a joke or two, or offer to help you with a problem in your life, that’s a true friend.  Sometimes, they will give you a little nibble of that to get what they want.  The ratio is often two-to-one in their favor, or worse.  The moment you start having difficulties in life and lean on them, however, they run like hell.  This goes for family too.
  3. They belittle your beliefs or you as a person. This is different from “knocking some sense into you.”  Angry responses to your own passive-aggressive or attention getting behavior is one thing – that’s healthy and what a real friend does.  It’s the ones who resort to name calling out of “love,” who completely and aggressively invalidate something you believe in – whether it is political or spiritual – and who, worse still, justify their behavior as “telling it like it is” who do not deserve your time.  A true friend will smack you upside the head, tell you to “get a grip,” even block you for a while on social media to make a point, but will do so with an prefacing explanation (if you don’t pay attention to the explanation, that’s your own fault).  What they won’t do is call you names or act “tough” with you to make their point.  That’s bullying and it’s never acceptable.  Talk to a friend who sees your real value, even if you are acting like a fool or lovesick idiot.
  4. They don’t respect your reasoning to stay away. If you are in a situation where you like a friend as more than a friend and need some time for distance because you don’t want to create an issue because you feel it brewing, that’s healthy.  If you attempt to communicate it that way, a friend will respect it – they may not like it and take you to task for it, but they will respect it and disagree respectfully.  If they try to shift blame and say it’s all your fault and they are blameless, it’s time to take a long look at the relationship and ask if it’s really just you who is the problem – remember, all relationships, friendships especially, are two way streets.  Friends who expect things to operate in “one way” fashion have issues you can’t possibly help them with.  Let them go and find their way.
  5. It’s no longer a happy friendship. This is critical.  Friendships are there to build each other up and make each other feel better.  A friend whose attitude brings you down, or who has an attitude towards you in which you feel drained and depressed afterwards is not a friend you need.  That is a person who “collects” friends and hangs onto them like old toys in a cabinet.  Eventually you have to decide if that friend is worth keeping, that the relationship is salvageable, or if you need to walk away for your own sake.  Good rule of thumb; if you have tried to express your feelings and concerns and you worry they will blow up at you or end the friendship as a result, it’s probably a friendship which has outlived its shelf life, and it’s time to move on.

Yes, loss is painful, and it’s a part of life.  We can’t stay the same because life is not static.  What we can do is keep the good times, release the bad (you never really forget it, the human brain and heart are kinda funny that way), and focus on the horizon.  Not everyone will feel the same way about friendship as you will, and many people will not agree with these points because, frankly, everyone has different expectations of what friendship is all about.  Those who do understand you, stand by you, and are the “ride or die” types will completely understand how you tick.  They will even forgive and forget the occasional transgression, but they will always be there when things get hot or dark, and will give you a swift kick to the head when you need it, but do it in a way where you aren’t left asking yourself “why did they do that and just walk away?”  Bear in mind, the company we keep often determines who we keep as friends.  You can say “nobody controls me” all you want – in the end, who we associate with does influence who keep as friends some folks just don’t like the idea of losing a bunch of friends to stay loyal to the one.

That’s the difference between a healthy friendship and one which has been on life support a little too long.  Sometimes, the only thing you can do is pull the plug, mourn, and wake to a new day with friends who are there every day.