Saturday, April 20, 2013

Justice or Vengeance?

I've been fairly quiet about the events in Boston this week, mostly because I don't like to speculate without data, and despite round-the-clock coverage by just about every news medium known to man there has been very little actual data.  But now that the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing (just in case you don't know what I'm talking about) are accounted for I'm going to go ahead and discuss. The facts, in a nutshell, are that for reasons as yet unknown two naturalized Chechen immigrants, neither with a history of any sort of violence, suddenly decided to set off bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing two and maiming hundreds.  After being identified by various videos of the event they were found, fled, one was shot and killed, and the other was eventually captured alive, albeit in serious condition. The two are brothers, the dead one was 26 while the other is 19, and that is what I want to discuss.

Many people are calling for the head of the living assailant, and it is quite understandable, but I'm not so sure about that yet. One friend of mine even asked on Facebook what an appropriate sentence would be, and many respondents seem all too willing to get Medieval on him. Ordinarily, if, indeed such a word can be used here, I'd be all for getting out the rack and hot pokers too, but pending further information I'm reserving my vengeful desires. Let me explain why.

In my job I work with 18-20 year old boys every day. Notice I said boys. Physically yes, they are men, and many of them even deserve the appellation 'man', but many of them do not. The brain of a 19 year old human male is far from finished developing, and while many of them can be very, very smart when it comes to things like information storage and retrieval, they tend to be rock stupid when it comes to things like actually functioning in the real world. I don't know what the relationship was between this boy and his brother, and if it turns out that the younger one was every bit as complicit and guilty of bomb construction and trigger pulling then I'll be first in line at the hanging. But if this is a situation where the older man used the gullibility and malleability of his younger brother to twist him into someone he wasn't, then I hope those who are prosecuting the case have the compassion to at least try to rehabilitate him. Yes he must pay for the crimes he has committed, but we must determine if he is both perpetrator and victim before deciding just how he must pay. Only then will justice be served.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Face Palm

I think it was when the CoA was in second grade that she was diagnosed with ADHD.  I knew this almost from the first time I met her, but it took a while before official confirmation came along. It's important because schools need official diagnoses of mental conditions in order to make accommodations, and she needs a lot of them.  As she grew older it seemed that the ADHD was no longer the only thing going on, but we could never get her health care providers to agree on a diagnosis.  Her psychiatrists said it was only ADHD.  Her psychologists (the last one just stopped returning our calls one day) grew frustrated in trying to nail down the exact situation.  About the only thing they all agree on, including the counselors, is that she needs to be on medication.  So last summer her grandparents footed the rather large bill for an extensive neurological screening at the University of Mississippi that suggested not only ADHD but other things as well and strongly urged us to get her to a neurologist.  Last week she had her first neurologist appointment.  They want her to get an MRI, and have suggested that they strongly suspect she has Asperger Syndrome, which, again, is something I've suggested many times and had her shrinks say no.

 Today she had an appointment with her psychiatrist, and my wife told him about the neurologist's suspicions. His reply was along the lines of, "I thought you knew that already. I've been treating her for Asperger's for the past year."   GAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!  If we had that on an official document we might have been making progress at school since the accommodations for Asperger are different than those for ADHD. So now he's promised to have the appropriate paperwork ready by next week, and we'll see if the updated diagnosis does any good for this school year, but I rather doubt it since it's so late, but at least we're finally making some progress.

So how is your week going?

Marius the Incredulous

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I Want My Guts Back!

Sorry for my absence, dear readers, but a particularly nasty virus has made my digestive tract its bitch for the past few days and I haven't felt much like living, let alone blogging.  But since today I finally feel like poop, instead of total shit, let's see what we can talk about.

First of all I'd like to recommend a few books to y'all.  Reading has always been something I've loved, but in recent years my reading habits have all but died. There are various reasons for this, chief of which is that I used to do the majority of my reading in bed just before going to sleep, but since my wife has to be up at 2:30am for work she goes to bed much earlier than I do, so that has ceased. And if I sit down on the couch to read, I'm usually asleep within a few sentences. But I've recently been making a concerted effort to change that. Over the Christmas break we went up to Mississippi to visit my wife's parents so I checked out John Scalzi's Red Shirts from the library. I'd heard about the book from several people, all positive, so I couldn't wait to read it.  It takes the concept that wearing a red shirt on the original Star Trek was a death sentence and runs with it. I was expecting a silly comedy, but it's actually a serious story about what happens when two universes collide. I can't go into the story too much without spoiling, but I really enjoyed it.  I also finished it during the break, so it's a quick read.

The next book I just finished last night. A while back Wil Wheaton recommended via twitter The Bloggess's blog.  Her name is Jenny Lawson and she is hilarious! Her humor is twisted, and vulgar, yet strangely innocent and sweet, and she has a real flair for injecting true pathos in amongst the stories of strange taxidermy and inappropriate CNN interviews. She released her memoir, titled Let's Pretend This Never Happened, and if you like her blog, you'll love her book. I must warn you that she does use a lot of strong language, but I think the best way to describe her style is M*A*S*H with F-bombs instead of real bombs. Lots of raucous comedy interspersed with real emotions and some sadness.

And finally there is another blog that was recommended to me by my friend Sarah called Parenting Illustrated With Crappy Pictures  which is also hilarious. The author, Amber Dusic, tells tales of her life with two young children and illustrates them with poorly drawn, yet totally endearing pictures.  She also released a book with the same title as her blog, and it's a very fun read. My only complaint is that it is rather short, but for a $10 hardcover it's really worth the money.

Confession time. I started this post at 7:00 this morning, but the baby woke up shortly after I finished the first paragraph and I'm just now getting back to it at 9:08pm.  I think I had more to say than just the books this morning, but my virus addled brain can no longer remember what it was, so I will bid you adieu for now until I either remember what I was going to say, or come up with something else entirely.

Peace, y'all!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Here is my reading of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven.

Oops! Accidentally set it for private viewing. This should be better.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Dramatis Personae

Hi, Folks,
  I thought I might take a few minutes before going to rehearsal today to remind y'all, or introduce y'all to, the cast of characters that you're likely to meet here at Marius' Corner.

Marius: That's me, and my real name is Rick. Maybe someday I'll blog about the origin of my screen name, but the short story is Marius was my favorite of Anne Rice's vampires. I teach Technical Theatre at a small, private college on Florida's west coast and I've been blogging since 2005, though there have been some rather significant gaps in my output over the years. I'm also a podcaster, father, sometime anachronist, and full time geek.

Mrs. Marius: AKA The Mrs., The Wife, My Lovely wife, etc.  She's my better half, and should acquire sainthood eventually for putting up with my shit. She's a fellow nerd, though while my nerdities are more along the Science Fiction line, she's firmly in the Anime/Fantasy camp. Neither of us care for Twilight.

The CoA: This is my step-daughter, and it stands for Child o'the Apocalypse.  She is currently 15, and is forcing me to wonder how the human race survived as long as it has. She has a laundry list of mental and emotional issues that we are doing our level best to deal with, but on top of all that she is now a surly teenager who is so oppressed and misunderstood that she almost never gets to play with her DS anymore. (First World Problem doesn't even begin to cover it.) 

The Starbaby: AKA Sharon.  When my wife was pregnant my podcast listeners christened our fetus The Starbaby.  She is now 19 months old and the light of my life.

Artemis: She is our cat.  We used to have two kitties, Artemis and Starbuck, but back in June Starbuck went walkabout and never came back.  He was something of a doofus, and never exhibited any desire to go outside until Sharon starting walking. He never cared for the baby, and once she could chase him I guess he had enough.  About a month or so ago the CoA said she thought she saw Starbuck up the street. We checked it out, and there is a gang of cats two blocks away, and one of them could very well be our missing lummox, but he won't let us get close enough to tell for sure.  If it is him then he's healthy, and happy, and dragging him home (assuming we could even catch him) would just make him miserable, so we're just happy to know(well, at least we think we know) he's still alive.  Artemis, on the other hand, is needy, neurotic, and grumpy, but we love her.

There is also a plethora of friends who will pop up from time to time.  I generally don't use people's names unless they've given explicit permission, so I tend to use initials, so when I say 'I had dinner with A' that's why.

And thus we have our players. If we shadows have offended think but this and all is mended, everything herein is solely my opinion, and unless specifically stated otherwise in no way represents anyone else's.

Ok, gotta get back to work.

Later, y'all,

Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Duel by Eugene Field

I've been dabbling in poetry reading of late, and I intend to make several recordings both of poems that my mother used to read to my brother and me, like this one, and just poems that appeal for one reason or another. I hope you enjoy them.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Howdy, y'all!!  I'm playing with new templates and trying to get Blogger to actually post things the way I type them instead of one huge, squished-together clump of verbiage, so please feel free to comment on the appearance, format, etc. of The Corner. 

So this week has been something of an auspicious one. Our friend Z, who has been babysitting Sharon since she was just a couple of months old, moved away so we enrolled the baby in a nearby day care place.  As I am the morning parent I feared the first day I dropped her off as I expected heart wrenching tears.  As it turned out she didn't seem in the least bit phased by my leaving her there, but that has been slowly wearing off all week, and today she just stood in the middle of the room crying 'Dada! Dada!'  I know she was most likely fine within a few minutes of my leaving, but it left me feeling a bit like a monster.  I know we'll both get over it soon, but it is a bit wrenching.

In the world of work we start tech rehearsals for our next show, Fuddy Meers, tomorrow.  The set is nearly finished, so I am anticipating a boring time of it for me, which is a good thing. 

I don't want to say that I feel guilty about not being that moved by the death of Roger Ebert, though it is sad, but I wasn't a huge fan.  I didn't dislike him or anything like that, I just didn't really pay much attention to him.  I can say that were it not for him and Gene Siskel giving Robocop two thumbs up, which if you saw the trailers at the time came as quite a surprise, I don't know if I'd have bothered with it.  So there is that.

Ok, time to make the donuts.  Later, gators.


Thursday, April 04, 2013

Killer Hardware

Well, kiddies, what shall we talk about today? I know, let's piss people off right away and talk about gun control in the US of A. Connecticut, the little state that sometimes could, just passed some of the strongest gun control laws in the country. Not surprising in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, but ultimately, in my opinion, pointless. First let's get this out of the way, I am not anti-gun. I'm anti-me-owning-a-gun only because I regularly hurt myself using my coffee maker, I don't need the added risk of removing bits of myself or my family in an unintentionally ballistic fashion, but I don't mind that other responsible people own guns. And there are some words in the US Constitution that seem to indicate that every citizen (meaning white, landed men at the time, of course) have the right to own firearms. We'll leave that whole 'well regulated militia' part alone for the time being as far more learned people than I have debated what those three words really mean for years.
 Anyway, Connecticut has passed bans on certain types of 'assault' weapons, limit clip sizes, and mandate background checks for all gun purchases. [for the sake of brevity let's just assume that there is a huge 'in my opinion' stamp over the rest of this] Background checks are a great idea. It really bugs me that I have to jump through more hoops to buy a box of cold medicine than I do to buy a shotgun. As for limiting hardware, well that's just legislative theatre designed to make it look like they're actually doing something. Sure, limiting semi-auto clips to 7 rounds seems like a logical step, but a skilled shooter can reload a 6 shot revolver in a few seconds, and changing out clips is even faster. Not to mention that someone who is looking to commit a crime with that hardware can easily get the higher capacity magazines just across the border. And the so-called assault weapons are no more or less dangerous than their less scary looking counterparts. This is the beginning of Connecticut's assault weapon definition: Any selective-fire firearm capable of fully automatic, semiautomatic or burst fire at the option of the user... Well, for starters, any weapon that can go full-auto (i.e. a machine gun) is already illegal for civilian use, the rest is just set dressing. I think that the way to curtail gun violence in the US is not to pass band-aid laws that only look like they're doing anything. The way to accomplish anything meaningful is to increase the penalties for misuse of firearms. When drunk driving penalties became much stricter in the 80s drunk driving plummeted, and no one had to ban booze. Start enforcing existing laws, take the guns away from repeat offenders, require training classes for anyone purchasing a firearm, and close the gun show loopholes that allow people to purchase guns without any sort of checks at gun shows. The genie is out of the bottle in this country, folks, and the guns aren't going away, but that lovely Second Amendment everyone likes to point to when ever this issue arises includes the words 'well regulated militia'. I've been told that that means that every citizen is a member of that militia, so let's regulate them well. Training, education, and accountability are the way out of this mess we have in this country, not more restrictions that will be ignored and difficult, if not impossible to enforce.

Existential Blues

Hello? Hellllllooooooooo!!!! Is anyone still out there? Wow, it's dusty in here. Lots of cobwebs and empty Doritos bags. I guess I'll need to do some cleaning up around the ole Corner. When the Hell did I get a cable spool coffee table? I hate those things. Must be squatters, or worse. Could be a bunch of meddling kids! Anyway, HI FOLKS!! It's your old pal Marius fresh from a muchly needed emotional slap in the face. I just got back from a wonderful dinner with my dearest friend A who has helped me realize that I still have a lot to say. You see I stopped blogging due mainly to my posts seeming to take two distinct and, let's be honest, annoying forms: 1. Oh, God! I'm so old and miserable that y'all should come on over and throw things at the decrepit relic. or 2. I HAS A BABY!!!!! It finally got to the point that I couldn't stand to write that stuff, let alone expect anyone to read it, so I just stopped. And lately I've been feeling like the highly compacted core of a baby-induced black hole, slowly losing my identity to that of The Daddy!! Now don't get me wrong, I am so proud of Sharon that I want to crow about it every 10 seconds, but I also keep hearing, most especially tonight, that I'm not the first, nor the only person to have a baby, and while it's great that you love her and all that, STFU ABOUT THE BABY ALREADY!!! So, here I was, feeling like the brittle jerky filling in a boredom and parenting sandwich, and when I tried turning to my usual place of comfort and succor, The Internet, I found little help. Not that there aren't gobs of folks who offer, but no one was close enough to me, with similar enough experiences to really give me the understanding, and kick in the ass, that I needed. I realized I needed someone my age, and for once my gender, so I called on A. We hadn't gotten together since before the baby was born, and it was high time. So gaining my wife's blessing I went on a mini road trip and had some 'guy time'. We talked, had a beer each(as we both had to drive home), and vented at each other. And I feel better about myself than I have in quite some time. Sometimes the best show of friendship is a metaphorical slap in the face to snap one out of a funk and back into living. And this is the first installment thereof. I'm sure The Daddy will still be a regular contributor, but not as often, and, hopefully, only when there's something particularly cute or important to report, and I will do my best to keep the mopey Marius at bay as well. What I do hope to bring is opinion, outrage, silliness, and above all regularity.(no, I am not eating more bran, I mean the blog you sillies) So dust off that RSS feed, gentle readers. Marius is back, and boy does he have a lot on his mind!! Allons-y!!! Marius the Reborn