27 September 2015

It’s very nearly October; Thursday is the 1st of the month, a day that my plans at the start of the year would have had me in Philadelphia for a day already, relaxing before the start of the 3 Day. It was to be the kickoff for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in my own personal little sphere, a bubble in which I was going to ignore the naysayers, and just go about the business of doing what very little I can.

Instead, I’ll be home, not walking. But that’s fine. Next year holds a lot of promise, and I fully intend to be where ever my team chooses to walk, ready to go the distance, even if I have to crawl. I just hope the consensus is somewhere fun, and not somewhere hot at sticky.

I was also *this close* to saying to hell with it and walking in San Diego, but…

Cooler heads have prevailed.

So I’ll be here, playing online a lot while I cheer my team mates on, and online is where I’ll witness a whole lot of the inevitable backlash to All Things Pink, with particular venom spit directly at Komen.
It’s no secret that I’ve had my own issues with Komen. They’ve made some pretty big errors in the last few years, big enough that I’ve been “done” with them more than once. Stepping back and taking deep breaths, though, has given me the chance to look at the bigger picture, and in that bigger picture they’re doing far more good than not.

But there will still be those people who choose to not see it, who choose to spit out statistics as proof that Komen is evil and proof that the pink ribbon needs to be burned at the stake. The main one I see all the time: Komen only puts 20% of what it raises toward research.

But…does it really?

Actually, in fiscal year 2012, it was 21%.

“Just” 21%.

So the statistic isn’t far from the truth, but let’s look at that bigger picture.

In that same year, 15% of funds raised went to screening. The oft-decried Planned Parenthood grants? They go only to screening; women who can’t afford a mammogram can get a voucher from PP, funded by Komen, to get proactive care. That same pool of money is funneled through its affiliates to reach other women and men in need of screening, but who lack the funds or insurance to get it done.

8% went to treatment. The results of that research? Drugs with the potential to become cures, used in clinical trials for people who have run the gammit of the standard treatments. Those have to be paid for somehow; Komen funds many of these.

38% on education. No, in spite of what you read on the Internet, this is not a disease that “everyone knows everything about.” There are always going to be people—either because of age, economic status, level of education—who do not have the facts and instead have a plethora of old wives tales and urban legends as the crumbling foundation of what they know about breast cancer.

11% went to fundraising. You have to spend money to make money, that’s just a simple fact.
One of the biggest complaints I read about and hear about? The bloat at the top, the outrageous salaries being drawn by the CEO and Board.

Yet…only 7% went to administrative costs. That includes all the salaries. The CEO, the VPs, the Board. And when you compare the CEO salary against other major charities, it’s right in line. It’s not as much as the CEO of a major corporation would command, even though the job is on par.

Komen disperses over 80% of its income. The American Cancer Society, which few people seem to have an issue with, is at a rate of less than 61%. On Charity Navigator, they have a 2 star rating. Their top salaries exceed a million dollars…yet few people seem to hone in on them. Komen is rated higher, is transparent about where the money goes, yet they’re the target of inexplicable ire where the supposed statistics tend to be the issue.

I get it; people are tired of pinkwashing. It’s an over-used and misused monetary generator, and far too many companies are going to slap a pink ribbon on their merchandise and claim that it’s for breast cancer, when the truth is that .0001% might actually find its way to a charity. still notice it.

You’re more aware this time of year than any other.

It’s a reminder: get yourself checked. Make sure your daughters understand how to perform self-exams. Make sure YOU know how to perform one.

And yes…donate towards the cause, because money really is the first step.

Pink is not “just a color” anymore, but one day it will be. That’s the goal: beat this sucker down until the only thing pink happens to be is a happy color.

I will never be 100% happy with the things Komen does. But it’s the bigger picture: they do a tremendous amount of good, far more than the hiccups that pop up along the way.

So next year, unless I croak between now and then, I will walk for them. There are too many people who really will die before then, too many who found themselves availing Komen’s programs, and too many who probably thought it was all just “pink shit” and wouldn’t really look at where the money goes. There's not much else I can do; I will never be smart enough to understand the science needed to do the research that will eventually find a cure--that will find the dozens of cures needed, because breast cancer is not simply one cancer.

I walk because I can, because it's doing something when I can do nothing else.

Oh, and the money I raise for those walks? 80% goes to research.

Eighty per cent.

That’s worth a blister or two.


14 September 2015

From a writer friend*:
Look, you and I will never agree on the issue of gay marriage. I don't support it. It goes against not only my religion but the way I was brought up. 

Where you and I agree is in regards to Kim Davis. It comes down to the fundamental issue of the separation of church and state. She does not have to believe in gay marriage, but she should also not cross that line of mixing government with her religion. 

The rest of it really doesn't matter. One side is harping on her hypocrisy for doing this wile talking about having the authority of God on her side when she's been married so many times, has committed adultery, and had children out of wedlock. The other side is defending her with the idea that she became a born-again Christian after all of that, so she is forgiven. Those things don't matter.

The only thing that really matters is that we have separation of church and state, and we have it for valid reasons. We have it so that I am free to worship in a way that makes gay marriage seem wrong to me; you are free to worship in a way that makes it seem all right to you. We have it so that my kids can go to school and not have to recite prayers that are not of our faith, and we have it so that we don't fall into the trap of theocracy, which would turn the United States into something else, some place where the Sharia Law that so many claim to be against become the de facto law of the land.

It boggles me that there are people who think that because gay marriage is not technically legal in KY that all the gay people who get married there are breaking the law. It's federal law now, so it doesn't matter what the state says.

And like you said, keeping an oath is right there in the Bible.

I won't ever agree with you on gay marriage, but what these so-called Christian defenders of Kim Davis are doing is just wrong.
This was a conversation that went on for a while, and a few other people joined in. There was no name calling, no finger pointing, no YER WRONG SO GO KILL YERSELF hysterics. It never got personal.

We just talked.

No, we will never agree on the point of gay marriage; from where I stand, my personal beliefs should have nothing to do with what other people do as long as they're not hurting anyone. I don't accept the sanctity of marriage argument, because as a group straight people have done a hell of a lot to destroy that anyway. But the biggest thing for me is that what you do is none of my business.
You say that, but if the Mormons decided to bring back polygamy, I bet you'd think different.
You think? I might surprise you.

I never accepted what I was told about plural marriage when I was a member of the LDS church--that it was necessary because there were more women than men and women needed to be protected under the umbrella of the priesthood--and had a feeling it existed because Joseph Smith wanted a reason to screw around (and I still think so.) I don't understand the appeal nor the want of a plural marriage.

But...if you're not trying to marry 12 year old girls and every person who is a part of the arrangement is a consenting adult of legal age, it's none of my business. If that's how you want to live your life, why should my opinion even matter?

Do I find it a bit creepy?

Yeah, honestly I do. But it's not my life, not my marriage, not my problem.
State law should be followed, though. If what other people are saying is true, that gay marriage is illegal in KY, why can't that be enforced?
Federal law > state law > city ordinance.

When laws conflict, it essentially falls to the order of operations. A state law will always be the rule over a city or county ordinance, and federal law trumps state law.

It really is that simple. So no matter what the law on the books in KY is (and I honestly don't know) the fact that gay marriage is legal in the U.S. at the federal level makes it legal in KY.
So then why is this even an issue? If federal law trumps state, why is she even doing this?
Someone else's answer:
The easy answer is martyrdom. She becomes the figurehead for a movement trying to bully their way into changing a law they don't agree with. Another easy answer is that she wants the attention. No one takes a stand like this, a stance that defies a law that is basically fair for everyone, unless they want attention. 

I doubt the crux of the issue is actually a intent to put an end to it; my gut says this is another push of the religious right. They want to "put God back into our country," but they're not looking ahead. You have a group that yammers on about our President being a closet Muslim, how the terrorists are winning...and yet they want to insert their religious beliefs into our laws. They fail to see the irony. There is no appreciation for the fact that they are asking for exactly what they complain about. 

In short: Kim Davis is doing this because she doesn't understand that if we allow religion into the workings of our government, we risk becoming something akin to the fringe, to the hard-core religious terrorists that are destroying the Middle East. (I should clarify, I don't think Muslims are terrorists. I do think a high percentage of the religious right in the U.S. do.)
That was said far nicer than I would have. I wanted to say she was an attention whore using religion as an excuse for her actions (because honestly, the longer this goes on the more it feels to me like she's enjoying the hell out of it. I'm ready for her to be non-news, and I'm especially ready for Tea Party-like thinkers to just stop and thinks about what they really want.

Government by religion is not it.

And he's right...the fundamental thing about the entire issue of Kim Davis and gay marriage is the separation of church and state. That's what it's about. And why she needs to resign, if she feels so strongly against it.

*shared with permission


6 September 2015

From the email-conversations files:
"I am stuck. I've been working on this story for months now and I just can't get anywhere with it. I thought it was because it was a story that wasn't ready to be told or shouldn't be told but I realized last night that I'm having a hard time with it because the whole premise feels like I'm stealing someone else's idea. It's not fan fiction but the idea did grow from a love of someone else's work and I keep feeling like these characters aren't mine, even though they're not from the original work, and that I shouldn't keep writing their story. I'm not a real writer, so does it matter?"
First off...if you're writing something, whether it's for public consumption or just for yourself, you're a "real writer." There's no special test to take in order to become a real writer; there's no income requirement. If you're putting words to paper (virtual or otherwise) and you do it because to not write feels like you're not paying attention to an important part of yourself, you're a real writer.

Secondly...there's nothing wrong with getting ideas and inspiration from something that already exists. It happens all the time, often becoming wildly know, from "real writers."

Let's set aside the 50 Shades books; everyone who hasn't been living in a cave probably knows those bubbled out of the frothy brew of Twilight fan fiction.

Ever watched Sons of Anarchy? Awesome show, wasn't it? Would it surprise you to learn it was a retelling of Hamlet?

How about Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series? I read recently (no proof of its truth, but I love that it might be) that the inspiration for that was Doctor Who.

Look how many times Romeo and Juliet has been retold. 

My point?

Write what you love to write. If it's fan fiction, go for it (but don't try to publish it without permission of the copyright holder.) If it's a retelling using unique characters, go for it. If you're inspired by a TV show or movie or another book, tell that story the best way you know how. Make those characters who are whispering in your ear spring to life, and give them a wonderful, ultra-high-def, colorful existence.

Don't ever rip off someone else's story using your own characters, but it's fine to draw inspiration from everything around you. That's kind of the way it works much of the time.

We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?
~Doctor Who


4 September 2015

I am honestly surprised by the number of people on FB supporting Kim Davis... also surprised by their idea that she is somehow honoring Christ in this. "I support Christ! Free Kim Davis!" "Jesus stands beside her!"

I really don't think so.

Read your Bible, folks. Look to the books of Deuteronomy (You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth) and Numbers (If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.)

In short: when you take an oath, you honor it. Davis took an oath; it doesn't matter if what she is then required to do offends her religious sensibilities. She swore to uphold the law as applied to her office. And while I don't know for sure, I'd bet real money she made that oath while swearing on a Bible.

And while you're hiding behind Jesus, claiming that gay marriage offends him, take another flip through your Bible and find all the things he said about homosexuality.

Keep looking.


I know what you found. You found...nothing.

There are very few actual references to homosexuality in the Bible, and none from Jesus. They're mainly found in the Old Testament (which, in many Christina religions, is made mostly null by the crucifixion of Jesus and his sacrifice for our sins) and in Paul's writings. To fall back on that particular rhetoric doesn't support a position of gay marriage being somehow immoral and offensive.

There is a particular hypocrisy in supporting this woman, who bases her actions on her religion, who is trying to take the moral high ground here. She's trampled on the very ideology she's using as the foundation of her argument: married 4 times, committed adultery, hasn't been stoned to death for it.

Unless you're willing to drag this woman out of her jail cell and start chucking rocks at her, you don't have much of a leg to stand on here.

And in the end, none of it has anything to do with taking a religious stance. We're supposed to have separation of church and state. For someone who embraces their Christianity as a total way of life...follow the tenants. When you take an oath, you have to honor it. Period.

It's right there in the Bible.


1 September 2015

Just to be a little more, I'm not going to be pestering people for donations. Wanting to participate in a walk and mulling it over are just part of the chatter that goes on in my brain every day. In spite of being told I could do it if I followed certain criteria, I do understand that my own best interest is to follow the original plan of taking this year off.

I still need to train, but for a couple of things that have nothing to do with raising money and everything to do with just being able to do them.

The Spouse Thingy took this past weekend off, so we've had 10 days of doing pretty much anything we wanted (yet not much of anything we'd planned) and while there was a lot of walking I haven't been to the gym and am now feeling spectacularly lazy.

I also haven't done any real work in the last couple of weeks.

So...first order of business is to get back to both of those things. And I will, just as soon as I'm done watching the last 4 episodes in series 5 of Doctor Who, and after I've eaten the giant pizza that's calling my name.


Right after that.