Cistematic Discrimination

April 21, 2016 1 comment

The current fashionable object of discrimination are transgender people due to a North Carolina law, HB2, that removed protections for LGBT people. You can read more about HB2 here. Thankfully, the good news is the law is garnering worldwide disgust from compassionate and intelligent people who do not let fear of the unknown dictate their lives. Countless businesses and celebrities have come out against it, refusing to play concerts or move their companies into the state, until said law is changed. This is costing the state a great deal of money, and sadly, that’s ultimately what is likely to be the catalyst for changing the law.

The bad news is countless ignorant people have been sold an irrational story of an impending bathroom apocalypse should transgender people be allowed to pee where they want. This is from an actual discussion I was having on Facebook:

 

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With that in mind, I’d like to clarify some things in hopes of alleviating the illogical fears some of you may possess.

First, there have been zero documented reports of transgender individuals molesting children in bathrooms. That is an important point as it completely invalidates the entire apocalyptic premise people fear.

Second, if you are worried about your children’s safety in public bathrooms, then don’t leave them unsupervised. It’s really that simple.

Third, providing protections for transgender people does not all of a sudden make it legal for ANYONE to film your children, molest them, or abuse them in any way. THIS IS ALL STILL ILLEGAL.

Finally, there are many, many other threats that you SHOULD be concerned about, and I’ll let Steve Rudner explain what I mean:

 

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If nothing I’ve said thus far has resonated, then I’d like to change tactics and bring this to a more personable level. Because at the end of the day, that’s what this is all about. Real people are being hurt by the ignorant discrimination people choose to display.

Charlie Comero, a 35-year-old transgender man in Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of the people being hurt by widespread ignorance and fear. After HB2 passed, he decided to print the following business cards because he was scared of the impending interactions he would be forced to encounter in women’s bathrooms.

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Comero states,

“I was sitting down with my girlfriend at brunch and I asked her: Where do I go to the bathroom now? It’s literally against the law for me to use the men’s room, and it’s also risky. Even though I’m more than a year on testosterone—I’m getting facial hair, my hair has receded a little—I still don’t always pass as male. Or do I use the women’s room, follow the law, and clearly make people uncomfortable? We started going through the different examples of what would happen, what could happen, and she started crying because it became clear to her that I was at risk for getting hurt.

The first time I went back into a women’s bathroom, I was so nervous. I’m still nervous. I’ve created these cards—I keep them in my wallet. One time I was in a bathroom at a government center in Charlotte, and a woman asked what I was doing there. I tried handing her the card but she didn’t want to take it, she walked away. I saw her later in the hallway, and I said, “I didn’t mean to startle you.” She looked at me and said, “I hope I never make that mistake again.” I have no idea what she meant—I don’t think she knew what it meant to be a transgender man. And then the other day someone gave me a hug after I gave her my card. I don’t know if she recognized it because it’s been viral.

But here’s what I’m most afraid of: When they don’t say anything and just ignore me and leave, I’m afraid to leave the bathroom and to be met by that woman’s boyfriend or husband or an authority figure. Because I could easily be socked.”

That’s the level we all need to be on, the empathetic level. The level where we stop letting fear dictate our beliefs, and instead focus on compassion. It’s natural to fear what we don’t understand, but we MUST move past it. Discrimination is always wrong, and we have had to fight this battle for far too long.

In our history, women have been greatly abused, neglected, and tormented throughout history. Over time, they have fought and fought to be seen as equals. While it may still be a fight in progress, they’ve achieved great progress.

Black people have been greatly abused, neglected, and tormented throughout history. Over time, they have fought and fought to be seen as equals. While it may still be a fight in progress, they’ve achieved great progress.

Jews have been greatly abused, neglected, and tormented throughout history. Over time, they have fought and fought to be seen as equals. While it may still be a fight in progress, they’ve achieved great progress.

Gays have been greatly abused, neglected, and tormented throughout history. Over time, they have fought and fought to be seen as equals. While it may still be a fight in progress, they’ve achieved great progress.

There’s a common theme here. They say history repeats itself, and boy does it. We are seeing it now with the transgender discussion. Discrimination is wholly accepted and exploited, then, ever so slowly, the oppressed rise up and fight for change. In time, with the help of great leaders such as Martin Luther King, battles are fought, education spreads, and justice prevails. In the end, one thing always wins – love.

Despite all that is bad in this world, despite all those who look to exploit a certain group, we as a society continue to evolve and to step ever closer toward equality and love. Women play a huge role in society nowadays. As do black people, jews, gays, etc. Discrimination NEVER wins in the end.

So here’s my question.

Why must we fight this same fight EVERY SINGLE TIME? We all know the outcome. We all know that love will win. We all know that equality is right. Can’t we just skip ahead to the part we’re we all just treat each other how we want to be treated?

If you know me, then you know where this discussion is going. 12 states have already passed laws banning breed specific legislation. Why must we fight this same exact fight for pit bulls? Can’t we just skip to the part where all BSL is banned? And not just BSL, but ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION?

Whether you like it or not, love is going to win. It’s going to conquer ignorance and fear. It’s undefeated. So if you’re against gay marriage, if you’re against a certain breed of dog, a certain race of people, whatever prejudices you may have – why not simply choose love instead? It’ll save us all a great deal of time. And you know what? You’ll be happier as well.

To learn more about the struggles transgender people face, then check out this wonderful (as always) piece by John Oliver, Transgender Rights.

Categories: Uncategorized

Should Rape Be Legal?

January 5, 2016 Leave a comment

If you’ve made this argument,

“We shouldn’t make X illegal because criminals don’t follow laws, and will do X anyway.”

then you are dumb. Here’s why:

If that’s your baseline for which laws we should have on the books for a civilized society, then you are advocating for rape, murder, and child molestation to be legal. You are advocating for EVERYTHING to be legal. Using the same logic, one would say, “A rapist is going to rape because a rapist doesn’t follow laws. So there’s no point in making rape illegal.”

This is obviously ridiculous to every intelligent person, but not so obvious when people start discussing guns. People instantly claim that criminals will find a way to get guns regardless of any laws put in place. This is an argument point that fails to realize the implications of its meaning.

There are speed limits on the roads. Do some/most people speed anyway? Yes. Again, using the aforementioned logic, we should completely do away with speed limits altogether because speeders will speed. This completely disregards the benefits of the speed limit. For example, people often stay within a certain range of the speed limit, even when speeding (such as 10 mph over). In addition, there is a large group of people who do obey the law. And finally, by having the speed limit in place, it gives officers the necessary law in place to crack down on those who disregard it.

This idea that we should only have laws in place that criminals will follow is inherently flawed. So which is it? Should rape be legal or illegal?

Categories: Uncategorized

Good Parents Kill Children

September 8, 2015 Leave a comment

We’ve all read the horrible stories about kids/pets being left in hot cars, resulting in a death that none of us want to even imagine. The stories propagate across social media each and every summer, and our natural reaction is horror, disgust, anger, sadness, shock, and inevitably judgement. We think, “….but….but….how could you? How could you leave your CHILD in the car? What kind of parent of you?” We may even go so far as to comment on such articles, expressing our disdain with fervent superiority. I know we do this because I see it every time. I know we do this because I’ve done it.

But then I started thinking. This happens far too often. This happens all over the country. This happens to all kinds of people. Maybe it isn’t a case of diabolical parents. Maybe there’s a scientific reason that exculpates these individuals to some degree. Maybe the next time…*shudder*…maybe it’ll be me?

When I stopped judging the parents, and instead tried to understand, it opened up a new way of thinking. That’s actually a common theme, by the way. When we seek first to understand, then we often learn far more about an issue. But I digress.

I wanted to find out why because if it could happen to me, then I wanted to do everything in my power to prevent it. And it turns out there is a scientific reason. This article explains it far better than I could, while also examining the topic from many angles. I feel as if it should be a must read for every parent. It’s long, but so worth it. I’ll highlight some of my favorite parts below:

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This first excerpt details just how pervasive this problem is within all corners of society:

“Two decades ago, this was relatively rare. But in the early 1990s, car-safety experts declared that passenger-side front airbags could kill children, and they recommended that child seats be moved to the back of the car; then, for even more safety for the very young, that the baby seats be pivoted to face the rear. If few foresaw the tragic consequence of the lessened visibility of the child . . . well, who can blame them? What kind of person forgets a baby?

The wealthy do, it turns out. And the poor, and the middle class. Parents of all ages and ethnicities do it. Mothers are just as likely to do it as fathers. It happens to the chronically absent-minded and to the fanatically organized, to the college-educated and to the marginally literate. In the last 10 years, it has happened to a dentist. A postal clerk. A social worker. A police officer. An accountant. A soldier. A paralegal. An electrician. A Protestant clergyman. A rabbinical student. A nurse. A construction worker. An assistant principal. It happened to a mental health counselor, a college professor and a pizza chef. It happened to a pediatrician. It happened to a rocket scientist.

Last year it happened three times in one day, the worst day so far in the worst year so far in a phenomenon that gives no sign of abating.

The facts in each case differ a little, but always there is the terrible moment when the parent realizes what he or she has done, often through a phone call from a spouse or caregiver. This is followed by a frantic sprint to the car. What awaits there is the worst thing in the world.

Each instance has its own macabre signature. One father had parked his car next to the grounds of a county fair; as he discovered his son’s body, a calliope tootled merrily beside him. Another man, wanting to end things quickly, tried to wrestle a gun from a police officer at the scene. Several people — including Mary Parks of Blacksburg — have driven from their workplace to the day-care center to pick up the child they’d thought they’d dropped off, never noticing the corpse in the back seat.

Then there is the Chattanooga, Tenn., business executive who must live with this: His motion-detector car alarm went off, three separate times, out there in the broiling sun. But when he looked out, he couldn’t see anyone tampering with the car. So he remotely deactivated the alarm and went calmly back to work.”

That excerpt shows that it CAN happen to anyone. It HAS happened to anyone. It can happen to YOU. The next touches on the science of why.

“The human brain, he says, is a magnificent but jury-rigged device in which newer and more sophisticated structures sit atop a junk heap of prototype brains still used by lower species. At the top of the device are the smartest and most nimble parts: the prefrontal cortex, which thinks and analyzes, and the hippocampus, which makes and holds on to our immediate memories. At the bottom is the basal ganglia, nearly identical to the brains of lizards, controlling voluntary but barely conscious actions.

Diamond says that in situations involving familiar, routine motor skills, the human animal presses the basal ganglia into service as a sort of auxiliary autopilot. When our prefrontal cortex and hippocampus are planning our day on the way to work, the ignorant but efficient basal ganglia is operating the car; that’s why you’ll sometimes find yourself having driven from point A to point B without a clear recollection of the route you took, the turns you made or the scenery you saw.

Ordinarily, says Diamond, this delegation of duty “works beautifully, like a symphony. But sometimes, it turns into the ‘1812 Overture.’ The cannons take over and overwhelm.”

By experimentally exposing rats to the presence of cats, and then recording electrochemical changes in the rodents’ brains, Diamond has found that stress — either sudden or chronic — can weaken the brain’s higher-functioning centers, making them more susceptible to bullying from the basal ganglia. He’s seen the same sort of thing play out in cases he’s followed involving infant deaths in cars.

“The quality of prior parental care seems to be irrelevant,” he said. “The important factors that keep showing up involve a combination of stress, emotion, lack of sleep and change in routine, where the basal ganglia is trying to do what it’s supposed to do, and the conscious mind is too weakened to resist. What happens is that the memory circuits in a vulnerable hippocampus literally get overwritten, like with a computer program. Unless the memory circuit is rebooted — such as if the child cries, or, you know, if the wife mentions the child in the back — it can entirely disappear.”

And finally, a word on why we, the superior parents, react the way we do:

A substantial proportion of the public reacts not merely with anger, but with frothing vitriol.

Ed Hickling believes he knows why. Hickling is a clinical psychologist from Albany, N.Y., who has studied the effects of fatal auto accidents on the drivers who survive them. He says these people are often judged with disproportionate harshness by the public, even when it was clearly an accident, and even when it was indisputably not their fault.

Humans, Hickling said, have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.

In hyperthermia cases, he believes, the parents are demonized for much the same reasons. “We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay. So, when this kind of thing happens to other people, we need to put them in a different category from us. We don’t want to resemble them, and the fact that we might is too terrifying to deal with. So, they have to be monsters.”

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I strongly urge everyone to read the full article. It humanizes the issues much more than these brief excerpts. It completely changed the way I viewed the issue, and it also inspired me to take further steps to hopefully prevent such a terrible tragedy in my own life.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Truth About Jake Owen’s Puppy

October 7, 2014 4 comments

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If you haven’t heard, then let me fill you in. Country singer, Jake Owen, “Adopted A Puppy In Baltimore during SITC Weekend!” Or at least that’s what Baltimore country radio station, WPOC, would have you believe based on their article, posted Monday, October 6th, 2014 at 6am by The Laurie DeYoung Show. They conveniently left out from which shelter or rescue Mr. Owen adopted his new adorable companion, named Thurman Thomas, after former Buffalo Bills star running back. I’m passionate about animal rescue in the Baltimore/Annapolis area, but weirdly enough, I’ve also been a passionate Buffalo Bills fan since I was a child. This seemed like an awesome story at first. Not only did this famous dude choose to rescue a dog, but he’s also a Bills fan like myself! It turns out that WPOC’s failure to mention the shelter or rescue’s name might have been intentional since Mr. Owen did not, in fact, adopt his new dog. He purchased Thurman from Charm City Puppies, a well-known pariah in the Baltimore rescue community.

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You see, Charm City Puppies, like most puppy stores, gets their animals from puppy mills. They will use alternate wordings, such as “reputable breeders,” but people in this area know the truth. Puppy mills are a serious issue. The conditions in which the animals are kept, bred, sold, and discarded are horrendous. Anyone calling themselves an animal lover would never knowingly support a business that supports puppy mills. The good news is that pet stores don’t have to cease to exist in order to eliminate the suffering. A new trend has begun that partners pet stores with local shelters. The pet stores pull animals from shelters, saving their lives, and then people come into the stores and buy them. It’s truly a win/win strategy, and you can read more about it here. Unfortunately, when I proposed this idea to Charm City Puppies, their elegant response was to ban me from commenting on their Facebook page. No response. No fake “we’ll look into it!” answer. Nothing. They deleted my comment and banned me from making future ones. Clearly they are not interested in anything but their bottom line and protecting their public image. What’s ironic is that considering the aforementioned partnership could actually benefit them financially, even if moral benefits are of no value to them. With enough public pressure, maybe they’ll actually consider it one day.

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Which brings me to the issue at hand. People heard, either via WPOC’s article, or through Jake Owen’s personal Facebook page, that he had saved a dog. In his words, “Merle just got a brother… Had to save this guy in Baltimore. He has no idea how awesome his life just became.” Let me preface this entire conversation with the fact that I know very little about Mr. Owen. He could be a great guy for all I know. My beef isn’t with him personally. My beef is with his choice of the word “save,” and his ignorance on the topic. Let me also be clear in that I am not condemning anyone who unknowingly thought they saved a dog by buying them from a pet store. I, too, once frequented these stores simply because I love dogs. I was completely and utterly ignorant of the puppy mill industry. Mr. Owen likely is just ignorant, and probably isn’t a bad guy. He probably thinks he saved Thurman, and that’s because he did. I’m sure Thurman will live a great life now, so I understand why he chose the word “save.”

There are two main problems, however, that have since resulted. The first is that the comment section on his Facebook post is now filled with others lauding his rescue efforts, while simultaneously sharing their own stories of actual rescue (ya know, from shelters or rescues or the side of the road or a dumpster or…well, you get it, NOT a puppy store). They, based on his wording, mistakenly believe he actually adopted Thurman. So he’s getting credit for wisely and morally choosing the just option of adoption, when he actually did no such thing. At the end of the day, that’s a minor grievance. Tomorrow I won’t give a crap that he’s getting false credit for something for which I so passionately work. I barely even know who he is, and I’m too busy saving dogs to worry about who gets credit.

The second, much larger problem isn’t Jake’s fault, and it actually could turn out to be a good thing, depending on how he handles it (if at all). That same comment section on his Facebook post is filled with people defending his purchase. This is the dangerous problem, and one where education is key. The most fervent of arguments in favor of his purchase seems to be “at least he saved THAT dog!” What so many others fail to grasp is that by patronizing establishments that get their animals from puppy mills, we are only perpetuating the abusive, cruel cycle of life in the puppy mill industry. We as a society desperately need to think beyond the dogs in front of us when considering “saving” them. By buying that dog, yes, you saved Thurman, but Kelly, Reed, Bruce, Lofton, Tasker, and especially Norwood will now all suffer because of it. Think of them, not just Thurman. The voiceless who are suffering are LITERALLY DYING because people continue to frequent pet stores who support puppy mills. We need to educate the public and end the patronage of these stores until they start pulling their animals from shelters instead. Only then can the purchase of a pet store puppy be regarding as a true act of rescue. And this is where Jake can make amends. Hopefully he’ll become educated on this topic and become a champion against purchases like the one he made. Or at the very least, maybe he’ll make a PR move of making a donation to help end puppy mills.

And just as a heads up, education is not always easy. While attempting to shed light on the plight of animals in puppy mills, you’ll often be met with hysterically shallow rebuttals.

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Even in the face of sheer ignorance or apathy, we simply must continue the fight. Countless innocent lives are depending on us succeeding. As a start, here are 7 Ways You Can Stop Puppy Mills.

And I’ll end with a video that will hopefully inspire you to take action:

Categories: Uncategorized

My Religion is Kindness

April 29, 2014 Leave a comment

I will vehemently fight for everyone’s right to believe whatever they choose. I am personally against religion, and agnostic when it comes to God.

Instead, I live by the golden rule. Each day I try to be the best person I can be. I try to be kind, to help others, and to spread love, forgiveness, and equality.

What’s always interesting to me is how so many people who claim to be religious, or claim Jesus as their savior, act nothing like him. They condemn and judge others, and seem to forget that their leader would never do such things.

I’m a big fan of what I’ve heard about this Jesus fella. I just wish more of his followers acted like he did. Because in the end, my philosophy is very similar to his – spread love, equality, and forgiveness. If we all did that, it wouldn’t matter which religion you chose. The world would be a better place.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Discrimination is Always Wrong

April 29, 2014 Leave a comment

I visited an orphanage, and they had an interesting policy. All of the babies/kids who weren’t black could be immediately adopted. The black kids, however, were isolated from all human contact, at times for several weeks, and subsequently put through a round of testing. The testing wasn’t particularly difficult, but given the isolation, among other factors involved in being at an orphanage, the black kids weren’t exactly prepped for success. As a result, many of them failed. The consequence for failing? Death.

Crazy, right?

Now replace ‘orphanage’ with ‘shelter’ and ‘black kids’ with ‘pit bulls’ and you’ll have the actual story. This is what happens at countless shelters across the nation, including Anne Arundel County Animal Control. The only way to change it is through education. Education is the light that illuminates the darkness of fear and ignorance. That same light is what’s needed to end the senseless killing of pits.

Animal Control is a public safety organization. It is not the SPCA. The former looks out for people, the latter animals. Therefore, AC’s priority is public safety. They would have you believe that banning pit adoptions is increasing public safety. Do you know the number of communities that have reduced dog bites through breed specific polices? ZERO. There’s a reason 12 states have banned BSL, and a reason that the entire MD State legislature thinks BSL is ineffective and wrong. Prince George’s County spends $250,000 each year enforcing their ban on pits, and THEY ADMIT IT DOES NOT IMPROVE PUBLIC SAFETY.

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Pits pass 86.5% of temperament tests when tested in proper settings. This is a higher number than many breeds, including golden retrievers (85.2%) and chihuahuas (68.3%). Despite other breeds consistently doing worse on temperament tests, pits are the ONLY ones forced to go through the painful isolation and subsequent live or die testing. That’s an important point so let me reiterate. Dogs who traditionally do worse on temperament tests are not tested, while pits, who traditionally do better, have mandatory testing.

Pits do not have locking jaws. Their anatomy is pretty much exactly like all other dogs. In addition, pits do not have the highest bite pressure out of all breeds. They cannot crush a car with their bare paws or their jaws.

The media leads many to believe that pits attack more often than other breeds. Two main issues are behind this myth. One – people think a dog is a pit if it looks even slightly like one. This false identification makes it seem like one breed does more harm than others. Did you know that shelter workers who routinely assign breeds to incoming dogs have been proven to get it wrong 87.5% of the time? What do you expect that number to be for a random Joe on the street who vaguely saw an incident? I personally offered to pay for DNA testing on dogs that were labeled as a pit at AACAC (who were clearly not pits) and they refused. All too often they claim a dog is a pit, and set it up to be killed, when it wasn’t even a pit in the first place.

Two – dog attacks not involving a pit are RARELY reported. A study in 2007 found that 3 dog attacks involving non-pits were mentioned a total of four times in the media. One pit attack was mentioned more than 230 times. Seems fair, right?

Treating pits differently is akin to treating a race of people differently. If one white guy murders his family, do we then condemn all white dudes? Or do we treat each person as an individual?

Dogs are individuals too. We should treat them as such. Let’s illuminate their suffering, end their plight, and do the right thing.

For more on this topic, check out the link below:

http://www.1800petmeds.com/education/pit-bull-facts-and-myths.htm

Categories: Uncategorized

25 Random Things About Me

May 30, 2013 Leave a comment

1. I hate lettuce. Whoever managed to get it thrown on every burger, in every taco, and even under a freakin’ plate of mozz sticks must have been a marketing genius. It’s worthless and it ruins everything, despite lacking much taste. It’s kind of like reality TV in that way.

2. I was born in Johnson City, TN, moved to Connecticut, then to Texas, and finally to Maryland, all by the time I was 6 years old.

3. I spend way too much time trying to decide which I love more – cookies or ice cream. I think I’ve finally decided cake is 3rd.

4. The Alchemist is my favorite book and everyone should read it at some point in their life, preferably early on though as it speaks of following your dreams.

5. I got straight A’s througout high school, finishing with a 4.09 GPA. I also didn’t miss a single day of school throughout those 4 years.

6. I missed countless classes in college. Well, I didn’t go. I wouldn’t say I missed them. My four years of college was one of  the greatest periods in my life. I miss it greatly.

7. I beat Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out in college and consider it my greatest gaming achievement to date.

8. Comcast is the epitome of a horrible company and I’d rather not have TV or internet than pay them money.

9. For whatever reason, I’ve always believed that I am destined to do great things in my life. If I don’t impact the world greatly, then I will consider my life a failure.

10. I’ve won a decent amount of money playing poker over the past decade, and even coached poker for a couple years. Growing up playing cards with my Dad, being naturally good at reading people, and being pretty good at math have helped me to study the science and theory behind the game. The more you learn about it, the more you realize how deep the rabbit whole goes. It’s extremely complicated and I enjoy the challenge of striving to play perfectly.

11. I’m a hopeless romantic who enjoys chick flicks. The Notebook, Romeo & Juliet, and Love Actually are three of my favorite movies.

12. When I was young, I cracked my head open with a hatchet, received a gash requiring stitches from a game of Smear the Queer, and fell out of a large tree when the branch at the top broke, subsequently hitting the root on the ground with my head which knocked me unconscious. This may or may not have something to do with why I don’t remember much of my childhood and my long term memory in general is pretty poor.

13. I am incredibly fortunate and try to never forget it.

14. My front right tooth is fake, the result of a player’s head colliding with my mouth during a basketball game.

15. I dated a girl for 3 months, spending a great amount of time with her, only to have her call me up one night and confess that she was married.

16. I don’t know if I could have asked for a better father. Everyone loves him because he’s awesome in general and tells great stories, but he’s also a devoted father. Don’t tell him I said that.

17. Tecmo Super Bowl is undoubtedly the greating sports game of all time, helped greatly by the fact that my Bills are amazing in it. It’s also the last time the Bills were relevant. I actually own an NES cartridge labeled TSB 2k10 with rosters & teams from 2010. This means I can play as the Ravens and select Ed Reed or Ray Lewis. It’s amazing. It’s ok to be jealous.

18. Baseball is by far my least favorite sport and always has been. The World Series is a special time for me because that means baseball is over, at least until reports of pitchers and catchers arriving flood the news. However, I do enjoy eating ice cream out of those little baseball hats.

19. I call my grandmother ‘Grammer’ and she is amazing. She makes the best egg sandwiches for breakfast, will do anything for you, and put up with my crap when I was kid. She would come up and stay with my Dad & I for a few months each year, and I would do my best to sneak around like a ninja and scare her. I got a fake spider and put that in various places too. That spider disappeared one day, never to be seen again. I’m not sure why she didn’t beat me. Oh, and I called her out to my Dad when she used part of the grocery money for perfume one day. Sorry about all that, Grammer.

20. I used to write poetry and songs. In fact, I wrote my first song, “Friends Forever,” back in elementary school with my best friend Bri. That lead to rap battling on paper in high school during class, which lead to writing poetry and songs in college. That’s often how I dealt with my emotions.

21. Getting lasik eye surgery is by far the best purchase I’ve ever made.

22. I have a huge passion for rock climbing, which I began doing in late 2010. I’ve never had a lot of upper body strength and couldn’t do a single pull-up until I began rock climbing. It’s a great workout because you have a ton of fun while your doing it. I worked incredibly hard to get to the point where I could boulder routes that were as high as V6s. Now, due to a back injury, I’ve had to take 2+ months off, but I can’t wait to get back to it so I can get back to climbing hard. My friend climbed his first V10 recently, but he has been climbing for far longer and is wayyyyy stronger than me. My goal is to one day climb at a level close to him.

23. I’m a grammar nazi.

24. I wanted a dog my whole life, but couldn’t have one since I spent the summers with my mom. I even subscribed to DogFancy magazine as a way to satiate my canine desires. I’m guessing this is why my passion for dogs grew to what it is today, but who knows. Speaking of that passion, I’m a huge pit bull advocate. I work to rescue them on a daily basis. I will die fighting injustice in this world, and this is one area where the world has made a grave mistake. Pit Bulls are amazing dogs and you likely haven’t met one if you fear them.

25. If we’re talking right out of the oven can hardly hold them gooey goodness, I think cookies are a slight favorite over ice cream.

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