Thursday, December 31, 2015

Nationalism vs Humanism

Invisible barriers drawn as lines onto maps should not be the decisive factor in whether someone lives or dies. Where someone is born does not designate their importance. Being born in this country was a matter of luck. You did absolutely nothing to earn it. Nothing. You have never fought for it, shed blood for it, or even strived to make it better. Yet you believe that you deserve all that you have, and that those who've run, swam, paddled, dragged and carried themselves through things you probably cannot imagine should be barred entry because less than 1% of them might hurt somebody? How is that logical? 

Many people consider nationalism as a form of patriotism. However, upon closer reading of the rules of this attitude, those two terms have nothing in common apart from love of homeland. The term nationalism originated with the Latin word natio - race, nation, it defines ideology in which the highest value is the good of the country.

According to principles of nationalism, only a homogeneous nation, connected by language, culture and history, is an ideal form of social organization. Nationalism rejects ethnic minorities, strives to racial segregation and is reluctant when it comes to relations with neighboring countries. Twenty-first century concept of nationalism, based on social Darwinism, compares social life to the world of nature, where the constant struggle takes place, and only the strongest can survive.

There is nothing wrong with loving your country or being proud of it, but nationalism puts your own nation above others and above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice. Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love; love for one's country which is not part of one's love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.

Nationalism is inherently divisive because it highlights perceived differences between people, emphasizing an individuals identification with their own nation. The idea is also potentially oppressive because it submerges individual identity within a national whole, and gives elites or political leaders potential opportunities to manipulate or control the masses.

Hitler used nationalism to convince his people they had the right to rule the world. Israel used it to deny Palestinians their human rights. We have seen it again and again throughout history used to demonize others, justify war and commit atrocities. I am seeing it in my own country now, tearing people are part, making some think they are better than others.

At this point we ought to recognize that there is a humanist outlook now emerging in this world, which is trans-cultural. It cuts across frontiers and the cultural divide. If you tolerate all ethnic differences equally you are going to conflict. We have to move beyond that. Ethnic groupings are accidental, based on geographical isolation, with cultures and languages developing over a relatively short period of time in human history. We are reaching a stage where ethnicity can be reactionary, regressive, and divisive.

I favor liberation and tolerance, but a new planetary society is emerging. This global culture is authentically humanistic; it goes beyond chauvinistic ethnicity; it opens the door to a new, more inclusive ethnicity where we are all members of the world community.

Geographic boundaries are arbitrary; accidents of recent history. What say should they have on the worth of a person? On what we can, or cannot do together?

The whole idea of national pride has always been suspect to me. I have only existed since 1988, so how exactly can I be proud of the accomplishments of Americans before me? And how can I be proud of the accomplishments of Americans period, unless that American is me? People who are proud to be a citizen of the country they were born in are fooling themselves. It was not an accomplishment to be born into a given country. It is an accident of history that they were born there. If you become a citizen of a country of your own volition, I can see cause for pride. But just showing up into the world in a given place shouldn't make anyone proud. It is merely, a chance spin in the cosmic lottery wheel. We're all accidents of history and genetics, and the only things we can truly take pride in are the things we have done ourselves or in connection with groups we have chosen to engage in.

Forget Nationalism, be a humanitarian. We are all equal, even though we may not all be the same.

2015 in review

I did more charity work/philanthropy than ever before. Partially in part with my Amazing new company. We went Gleaning with Nuviva. I raised money for Breast Cancer Research. I helped make meals for families in Orlando. We made Christmas bags for the homeless. We donated tons of our own belongings to the homeless. I participated in Movember  (no shave November ) and raised money for men's health. I participated in Jack in the Park, and helped raise money for special olympics. Etc etc ad nauseam.

I obviously landed an awesome new job, where I feel more appreciated and better rewarded than I ever have before. I think it may be the first step in an amazing career. 

My sons both grew, and started new schools. They remained the closest brothers I've ever known.

I started my weight loss journey with Nuviva and so far I've lost 35 lbs. I feel better about myself than I have in a very long time.

I got awesome new hair. Thanks Noelle!! 

I spent the summer visiting w friends and family on the Cape. 

I got married.

My mom told me she was diagnosed with cancer, and while I'd like to say she kicked it's ass I don't really feel comfortable getting my hopes up since she's started smoking again. 

I cut a lot of people out of my life. Like, a lot. But for the most part I feel that my load is lighter now and little has been lost.

We explored new places both near and far, and made memories that will last a lifetime.

I went to the Bahamas with our great friends, the Browns, who have become our "Florida family"

We went camping/to six flags and went camping in Daytona Beach.

My husband and I went to Niagara Falls both for the first time, on our honeymoon.

We spent a lot of time at Disney World, and a little at Universal.

We buried the hatchet with Johns parents. I learned a lot above forgiveness, and moving on.

We had our first family themed Halloween costumes.

I cooked an epic thanksgiving dinner, if I do say so myself.

We celebrated an awesome winter holiday season. 

Here's hoping 2016 is as good as 2015 if not better!

Holiday Project Update (with photos)

We did a variety of charity/philanthropy projects to celebrate the holiday season. We went gleaning:

John and Hayden "gleaning" oranges for the local food banks.

The whole Nuviva crew getting ready to go gleaning

We put together THIRTY bags for the loca homeless population.

Dropping off 2 carts of bags full of goodies at OURM for their homeless population.

And we cleaned out our closets following Christmas to make room for what we had been given, we have to others. We'll be dropping off these boxes at OURM today.

This is what the holiday season means to me. It means sharing what we have with others. But also it means time spent with family. We did that too:

We got to see most of the cool holiday stuff at Disney.

So from my family to yours, happy holidays.

Friday, December 25, 2015

One Tree Hill character rankings

I could not for the life of me find a ranking anywhere on the internet that I agreed with, so I guess I have to create my own. With 9 seasons and over 52 characters, this will put my devotion to the test. Obviously full of spoilers.

54. Nanny Carrie
Anybody who fucks with Naley is going on my shit-list, never mind also kidnapping my boy Jamie. Fuck you Nanny Carrie, fuck you. Killing her was one of Dan Scott's shining moments.

53. Ian Banks "Psycho Derek"
I'm not sure if Catfishing was a term yet, but if so, Derek was king the OG king creep.

52. Nicki (Saunders?)
As if abandoning your own baby and seducing Lucas weren't enough. She had to top it off by being a manipulative psycho forcing Jake to leave the damn state (breaking poor Peytons heart)

51. Emily Chambers "Jules"
Listen Emily, nobody is allowed to play with Uncle Keith's feelings like they're a yo-yo except Karen. Did you not get the memo? Plus, aligning yourself with douche-face Dan at his worst makes you a loser. 

50. Katie Ryan
By the time this psycho made her entrance One Tree Hill had already had it's fair share of crazy stalkers. Shooting Quinn and Clay was a big no-no you creepy doppleganger. 

49. Taylor James
I'll say this for Taylor, atleast she was interesting. But I'm pretty sure I already touched on the fact that messing with Naley is a major faux-pas in the OTH universe.

48. Lindsey Strauss
Ugh, Lindsey. Suffering through a season of this gal was painful. Beyond being an extremely one dimensional character (interfering with Leyton's love no less) she was also either dumb as a brick or extremely blind. How do  you NOT notice that the book YOU are editing is named after your fiance's soulmate's car? Especially after you already edited an entire book about the same woman. Come on Lindsey! Get it together. Also, you're kind of a bitch. 

47. Miranda Stone
While we're discussing one dimensional characters, who was Miranda again? Oh yeah the supposed record producer who appeared for a minute on OTH to break Wakey Wakey guy's heart. Boring. Enjoy England. Bye, Felicia. 

46. Felix Taggaro
Oh hi, homophobic asshole. Oh bye, homophobic asshole. Next.

45. Anna Taggaro
So... I get what the writer's were doing here. We, as viewers, needed to address some issues in Tree Hill, and Anna was the way they did so. But, she was boring, and not the female heroin I was used to seeing. Where did she even go? Little miss run away. 

44. Victoria Davis
I'm not sure how Brooke's C*** of a mother made it this far without being called out on how awful she is, other than the fact that she is made redeemable by her eventual (sort of) reconciliation with Brooke. She brought bitch to a whole new level. 

43. Ted Davis
Some might characterize Brooke's work-a-holic, absent father as worse than Bitchtoria, but I say better to be gone, than be a bitch. Plus, the extent to which Julian tears him apart is pretty great.

42. Paul Norris
Julian's equally awful absent father. Less amusing, but also less years of hatred (for me).

41. Karen Roe
Other people like Karen. I'm certainly NOT one of them. The more times I watch OTH all the way through, the more I grow to loathe her for being weak, and selfish. The list of things Karen did that I would never as a single mother have done are long and ridiculous. Just no. 

40. Chuck Scolnick
Super obnoxious, victim of child abuse. Meh. I guess I can't hate him right?

39. Gigi Silveri
Slutty, broke up with Mouth, tried to break up Mouth and Millie. Not really of any value as a character. Probably should've ranked lower. 

38. Lauren
Definition of a meh character. The most interesting thing about her was that Skills saw something in her. 

37. Ellie Harp
Dead mom number 2. Showed up, taught Peyton some life lessons, died. 

36. Derek Sommers
The real (brother to Peyton) Derek, seemed like a nice enough guy. Too bad he didn't stick around long and was never mentioned again. 

35. Rachel Gatina
Spunky, but evil. The original mean girl. 

34. Alex Dupre
Ah yes, mean girl number 2. Tried to break up Julian and Brooke, turned Millie into a coke-whore, and was overall a pretty big bitch. But, she was clearly suffering from a host of issues that needed addressing. So, we don't make fun of the mentally ill. 

33. Sam Walker
Brooke’s foster child — she had some total spunk but had terrible eyeliner. She left Tree Hill to live with her mom and never returned (characters seem to disappear a lot from Tree Hill.)

32. Bevin Mirskey
The best cheerleader and was always the “dumb” friend. She brought the comic relief to the show and ended up with Skills at the end — score.

31. Jimmy Edwards
Jimmy shot a bunch of people, before committing suicide. His shooting spree created the cover that allowed for Dan to shoot Keith. He was integral to the story line, although very little of his own backstory was ever revealed. Wish I knew ya better buddy.

30. Deb Scott
While probably no one's favorite character, and definitely a train wreck as a parent, Deb sure knew when to kick ass and take names. 

29. Sara Evans
Umm... sorry you died. It made Clay very sad.

28. Junk Moretti
River court  guy # 2

27. Fergie Thomson
That guy from the river court.

26. Quinn James
She married Clay and presumably adopted the son he forgot about for 2 whole seasons. Got shot, took some great photos and looked great in her underwear. Not much else to say.

25. Andy Hargrove
I admittedly forgot he existed until I was doing this blog post. Andy was nice, and had an accent. He dated Karen and was definitely way too good for her. 

24. Cooper Lee
Sexy Uncle Cooper. Don't sleep with minors k? Although, I too would lie about my age to get you in bed.

23. Owen Morello
I may admittedly be ranking characters by hotness now. But seriously, owwww.

22. Chase Adams
He basically fostered the worlds most obnoxious kid and didn't kill him. Plus, he loved Mia for the friggen rockstar she is. Also, hot. He's a keeper.

21. Lydia James
While basically completely absent from the first few seasons, Lydia turns up and ends up being one of my favorite characters. Especially amongst the parent collection. Plus, the whole mom cancer thing is one that gets a little too real for me. 

20. Clay Evans
Clay was adorable. Although, admittedly not the best agent, and definitely more than a little insane. I dug him, and someone had to replace Lucas as Nathan's go to guy.

19. Tim Smith
Tim was a total idiot, but he was hilarious. Loyal to a fault to Nathan during his total ass-hat days. 

18. Chris Keller
I know I said messing with Naley was a crime, but Chris Keller does it in such a comedic manner. I can't hate him. 

17. Mia Catalano
She's a friggen rockstar played by Kate Voegele. Duh.

16. Quentin Fields
Q's murder made me cry like a little baby, and his relationship with Jamie was just beyond adorable. You're real tough Quentin, reaaaal tough.

15. Millicent Huxtable "Millie"
Millie was a fantastic assistant and obviously a great example to young ladies who don't have a "perfect" figure. Sure, as a model she was a bitch, and made some bad decisions. Overall though Millie was a great addition to Tree Hill

14. Julian Baker
He came for Peyton, but he stayed for Brooke. Loving Brooke makes someone amazing, obviously, but also that SMILE. He made Brooke a mom, and in doing so made all her dreams come true.

13. Antwon Taylor "Skills"
My favorite piece of comic relief. 9 seasons of explaining why all the crap everyone is going thru is hilarious.

12. Dan Scott
While I, like everyone else with a heart, hated Dan at times, the show would not have been the same without him. Everybody knows I've got a thing for villains.

11. Jake Jagielski
Ugh, Jake. I am obviously team Leyton 4eva but this guy seriously made me doubt my team Lucas strength. Who is a better teen dad than Jake? Nobody. And Jenny was such a lil cutie. This storyline was just heartbreaking. You can serenade me anytime, Jagelski.

10. Larry Sawyer
Even though he wasn't always around, when he was he was just... such a DAD. One thing the show was otherwise missing, was decent Dads and Larry always came through in a pinch. Plus, hilarious.

9. Whitey Durham
The High School football coach everyone wishes they had! Whitey took a real interest in his kids, and had words of wisdom at all the right times. He never let them get away with anything they didn't need to get away with. 

8. Keith Scott
Oh Uncle Keith, you are so so missed. Lucas' surrogate father tried his best to step in when Dan stepped out. He is the reason Lucas is such a great guy, and ends up being a great dad. He pursued Karen long after she made it clear she wasn't interested and always tried to do what was right, even when it came to his ass of a brother Dan. How could anyone NOT love Keith?

7. Mouth McFadden
The truest male heart throb of the show. We would all be lucky to be loved by Mouth. 

6. Peyton Sawyer
Some of you may be shocked that she isn't higher on this  list, but although I LOVE Peyton, and her storyline with Lucas, she gave up on him. For me, that's a big no-no. When one is handed a Lucas Scott, they do not refuse to eat it. I love and respect Peyton. She is such a little fighter, and stands strong for her opinions and beliefs from day one. The show would not be complete without her, and she has great taste in music. But she's no Brooke Davis. 

4/5 (tie) Nathan Scott/Haley James Scott
I really could not separate these 2 to rank them one before the other. Nathan is Haley and Haley is Nathan. Who among us doesn't wish that for ourselves? I mean honestly, beyond the obvious character growth and development we see with Nathan that makes him so great in his own right, and Haley's brilliance and talent that makes her such a shining star, it's really their love that make them so amazing. Who else gets married in highschool, has a baby at graduation, and goes on to be successful while remaining totally in love through all the ups and downs but these 2? The way they fight for each other, and for their family is just, amazing.

3. Brooke Davis
The thing I love MOST about OTH has always been, that it re-enforces the idea that all your dreams will come true. For me, Brooke Davis was just such a badass for working so hard to make that true for herself. Not just in her dreams for her business and career but also in her dreams for the type of person she wanted to be. No other character came so far as Brooke in my opinion. From Season 1 to Season 9 she became a totally different person, in all the best ways, and I appreciate every piece of Brooke. 

2. Lucas Scott
If you know me, this was an obvious one, given my total adoration for Chad Michael Murray and his bodacious babeness. However, I think we can all agree that Lucas' hopelessly romantic ways were beyond everyone's wildest dreams. He obviously belonged with Peyton, but the writer's kept us guessing throughout his many love-triangle, square, plus one, whatever that is, relationships.

1. James Lucas Scott (Jamie)
I'm not really sure how anyone could come to any other conclusion but this. What is cuter than Jamie Scott I ask you? The correct answer is nothing. Jamie was a major point of comic relief, drama, and of course all things adorable. He just cannot be beat.

This took me absolutely forever. Weeks of working on it in bits and pieces. The ranking was easy, finding all the proper pictures and describing my choices was a pain in the ass. So appreciate this, and share it.