Sunday, June 23, 2013

Defensively Offended: The Free Speech Conundrum

Warning: If you are easily offended, please keep reading :-D

Spartacus's pre-solicitation breakfast
Last night, while we were waiting in MoJo's for our pizza to arrive, Spartacus casually mentioned that he'd been solicited by a prostitute less than an hour before. 

"Really?!" I responded, impressed by his revelation. The visuals of their imagined interaction were strangely delightful, irresistible even, and I made no attempt whatsoever at concealing my curiosity. 

First of all, who knew there were ladies of the night working the mid-afternoon shift in downtown Decatur, known locally as "Dick-Hater" because of its lesbian demography? Secondly, I find him ├╝ber-desirable, so why wouldn't another woman? I have no shame in admitting that I'd spent all morning lusting after my own husband, purposely trailing behind him as we crossed the street into the breakfast cafe, just so I could admire his butt and legs in those cargo pants he wears so well. 

Pressing for more information, I quizzed him. "Where were you when this happened? What'd she look like? How was she dressed?" 

Clearly not sharing my fascination, he gave me the skinny. He'd been out all afternoon, running errands for his upcoming business trip, and when he stopped by the CVS drugstore in downtown Decatur, a "beat down" looking woman approached him, suggesting they "get together." Not exactly the exotic, thigh high boots and mini-dress clad vixen I'd envisioned. Wa-waaaaaaaah! *sad trombone*

Us, after stopping off for a quickie. Yeah, that's how we roll.
"Well," I laughed, "it's a good thing I'd just given you a nice blow job; otherwise, you might have taken her up on that offer." Exchanging knowing glances of carnal recall, we dove into our pizza, a fitting end to a lazy Saturday spent making love and discussing the perils of legislated morality.

Our discussion started Friday night with Paula Deen's "n-word" scandal. Arguably the most controversial word in American English, "nigger" is simultaneously associated with hatred and freedom of expression. Using it in one context makes you a bigot; in another, you're a rap star. It's also commonly used as a casual greeting among certain age groups. Depending upon your upbringing, social class, and threshold for feeling offended, this word typically evokes pretty strong opinions and reactions, unless you're one of "those" (like me) who doesn't believe words and symbols have inherent power. 
Patti Smith's brilliant song of rebellion: "Rock'n'Roll Nigger 

Me, indulging in a little self-expression after being audited by the IRS
Personally, I find the whole "if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention" movement disturbing. Intended to raise awareness and combat ignorance and intolerance, it's devolved into witch-hunting, a modern day Spanish Inquisition that threatens individual freedoms more than it protects them. But, then again, the self-righteous have always loved a good crucifixion, haven't they? They're functioning under the assumption that sitting in judgment of everyone else puts them a little bit closer to God. 

Here's what I think. Designating words as "bad" or "good, stereotyping groups of people, moralizing for others, believing you're right and everyone else is wrong, and being offended by just about anything and everything is what's outrageous. Submitting to the tyranny of ideology is what's outrageous. Accepting society's mob mentality is what's outrageous. As you might have guessed, I am not a fan of political correctness, either. Sugar-coated euphemisms aren't particularly helpful or meaningful in the fight against racism, sexism, or classism. You can't candy an abscess. 

The worst thing that's ever happened to mankind was its break with Nature. Segregating ourselves from the natural order of the universe necessitated myths to explain it all, mostly because "I don't know" became such a scary monster. We traded the wonder of not knowing for the indifference of omniscience. Classification was born, and with it, moral judgments, laws, and expectations. Darkness and light became black against white, and values became more valuable than individuality, and sometimes even life itself. Pretzel logic is incompatible with free thought. No wonder it can't get its head around free speech.

Wonder if this is illegal in the state of Georgia?
By and large, we choose our battles, whatever it is that we find immoral or offensive. We've criminalized all sorts of so-called immoral behaviors, namely sexuality and drug use. But, just because something's illegal doesn't make it immoral. For instance, prior to 1998, fellatio--even between married couples--was illegal under the state of Georgia's sodomy laws, a felony punishable by 1-20 years in prison. Yikes! Twenty years in the hole for a consensual blow job? The morality police have no idea what they've been missing in my bedroom! Shhhh.


Bananas: the naughtier fruit?
Certainly, there are actions that necessitate criminalization. Behaviors such as murder, rape, torture, enslavement, and physical and psychological abuse deprive others of their life or liberty and are unacceptable any way you slice them. But, do attitudes always translate into behaviors? Are words the same as actions? If I don't approve of what you have to say, does it follow that what you've said is immoral? If that's the case, then no one in the human race is above reproach. Who's to judge what's off color in the first place? My guess is that we'd all have been a lot better off had we just minded our own business to begin with.

Condemning Paula Deen as a racist for having uttered the same word that's currently glorified by the music industry is not only irrational, it threatens free society. Seriously, before the news of her lawsuit broke, no one seemed particularly concerned with her personal prejudices. Would society function more smoothly and fairly if we abandoned our current legal system to side with the court of public opinion? Somehow, I doubt it. Some of us really like making mountains out of molehills. Legislating morality hasn't made the root causes of intolerance or hatred disappear; they always resurface in another disguise. It's like putting a Band-aid on gangrene, hoping it'll heal.

Offensive or silly? (Fun times during anesthesia residency)
As a writer and an artist, I value the individuality of others and their freedom of expression as much as I value my own. What moves or repulses me might affect you differently. In the words of Paula Deen, "I can't, myself, determine what offends another person." I have the distinct feeling that I am in the minority on this issue. A fellow blogger, known for his special (and often brilliant) brand of crassness, once became so frustrated over his failed attempts to get under my skin that he exclaimed, "Old woman, is there nothing that offends you?!" Not hardly. Am I too nonjudgmental? Or have I finally just learned to let things that bother me roll off my back?

Spartacus, defensively offended
Before we start censoring words and attitudes, maybe we should ask ourselves if we're really willing to live in a police state. We've already had a taste of state-sponsored terrorism with the NSA's invasion of privacy debacle. If we criminalize speech, we may as well just invite Johnny Law into our bedrooms to join us for a threesome. By accepting anything less than absolute freedom of speech, we're giving our own freedom away. There's a good bit of truth and wisdom in the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." And having a sense of humor goes a long way, too. People who take themselves too seriously rarely (if ever) have one, which is why they're always defensively offended.

Not being outraged doesn't mean I'm apathetic. It's just not how I want to spend my energy. I'm minding my own business; now, why don't you be sweet and mind yours? :-)



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Love in So Many Ways

Dad, me, Nannie, and my first Bloody Mary....
I'm in a weird mood today. It's Father's Day, and my father has been dead for over 10 years. Every year, my siblings immortalize Dad on Facebook by posting images of him and his art, recalling how talented and brilliant he was, how influential he was in our lives, and every passing year, I realize how very few pictures I have of Dad and me together, partly because so many family photos were lost when my parents' house burned down back in the 80s, but mostly because I've never been much of a shutterbug and have always detested posing for the camera. Strange as it may sound, seeing snapshots of him doesn't evoke the flood of emotions I imagine others might experience. Maybe it's because I don't have to remember my father. I'm perpetually aware of him sensually--in 3D--from his unmistakable scent and the porousness of his nose to the warmth of his ample, veiny hands and his sound-barrier breaking sneezes. I still know him.

Spartacus aka "The Most Interesting Man in the World."
I'm alone at the moment. Last night, we celebrated Spartacus's 52nd birthday, and right now, he's out playing eighteen holes of golf with an old friend he's known most of his life. It's strange to think about how, timewise, he and I have only just met. We've been alive together on this planet for half a century, but Fate didn't cross our paths until six years ago. Realistically speaking, that's probably a very good thing. Although he loves my sons as if they were his, he never wanted to have children of his own. My biological clock sounded when I was 26, the strongest and most overwhelming physiological urge I've ever known. Back then, we wouldn't have been right for one another. But, what does that really mean? 

We're constantly drifting into and out of each other's lives through gaps in the cytoplasm of time; all of us potentials, not rights or wrongs. I'm not knocking romance, only the expectations that accompany it. Love that's "meant to be" is already doomed. Love grows best unconditionally, yet that kind of love is reserved for children and pets. Why is that? "Till death do us part" is incompatible with the way things are in life. People and situations are changing all the time, and nothing in this world is permanent. To believe otherwise is delusional. From that perspective, marriage is wholly unnecessary, a legal relationship defined more by the shaky nature of commitment itself than lofty everlasting love. All those conditions and constraints leave little room for spontaneity; no wonder so many marriages fail! Just like life, love keeps moving and changing. We humans are social animals, hard-wired for possibility; otherwise, our self-conscious species probably wouldn't have survived. Love isn't a destination; it's a happy accident. There are billions of people in this world, so the romantic mathematics restricting us to one great love per lifetime don't exactly add up. Loneliness is often a choice. My 87 year old father-in-law, who's been widowed for almost two years, totally gets that. He's not betraying his thirty-five years of marriage by dating again, he's honoring them.

Rory, Billy, Jim, Yvie, & Nick, circa 2002
Earlier in the week, I received a very moving e-mail from my ex-husband, the father of my children. We'd been conversing on Facebook about a video I'd posted. In the video, an Episcopalian bishop gave the most cogent, realistic, and open-minded examination of religious faith and doctrine that I'd ever heard from a Christian believer. Backtracking just a bit, when I started medical school back in 1997, I went through a brief period of revisiting Catholicism. Our sons hated going to church, and to be honest, so did I. I haven't been back since. 

Jim's response to my post delineated the ways in which the organizers of early Christianity discarded any gospels depicting Christ as a man, and not a God, systematically wiping out Gnostic and pagan influences and incarcerating the souls of man. He observed that "a functional, meaningful religion in our world should have Gods and Goddesses functioning equally, in harmony together. Right now there are 7 billion of us Gods and Goddesses, most of whom do not KNOW it!" I think he might have wondered if I was re-exploring Catholic faith. He then shared with me a wonderfully original piece of prose he'd written on the Jungian concept of anima and animus, and how they related to Jung's archetype of the Self. In closing, he added:

"As this has been soaking in, I've fully realized that had I not had You in my life, with all our conflicts and the fact that we just weren't a good match for marriage, You have had a huge, beautiful and wonderful influence on my Anima development. Without having recognized the embodiment of my shadow projection, I could not Know my Self/Soul! I wanted to deeply honor You for all You have done and all the ways You have helped me in this journey through life. I wish You and Brad much joy and happiness in your journeys! And as I mentioned before, why ever bow down to God again, when You're already a Goddess!"

I was so touched by what he wrote that I read it again and again. Emotionally, I felt privileged. It's not often that ex-spouses exchange such heartfelt sentiments.  We weren't a successful match as marriage partners, but our relationship wasn't a failure; its course just changed over time. We've parented and lost parents together. We are who we are now because of our history, not in spite of it. I don't regret any of the time we spent together, because it's all led to this interceptual convergence where future memories are made. 

Nineteen and wondering about all the possibilities...
It's now 6:43 p.m. I've finally showered after an hour-long dog walk in humid, sweltering heat, and am enjoying a glass  (or two) of red wine. I'm overcome by life's messy beauty, the tenuous evanescence and bumpy texture of it all, how meaningful each forgettable moment really is, how much I love right now. When I was 19, I wondered what I'd be doing in 10 or 30 years. I had no idea I was born with the egg which later became my sons, or that one day, my right elbow would break so badly that, even with surgery, it would never be the same, or that I could love in so many ways: now my father, now the father of my children, now the man I call my husband. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Return to Luxury

Temporarily stifled by the climate-controlled comfort inside,
I opened the door
And waded into the sticky June evening air
That hung like the wet towels of so many summer days
Spent swimming till after dark.

It hasn't gotten hot here yet,
But the humidity is already suffocating.
Hesitant to inspire, I wondered
How on earth did early Georgians survive
Without the luxury of HVAC?

My dogs, leashed and ready for their walk,
Looked at me expectantly
Tails wagging, panting to cool themselves.
While my freshly showered skin and carefully tousled coif
Beaded up with sweat.

Just as the reality of familiar discomfort
Began to settle in,
My unenthusiastic sigh was repurposed into the shyest of breezes,
Timidly urging me
To keep walking.

So I did,
Smugly anticipating my return to luxury
In less than an hour or so.
Unaware that I was now
Surrounded by it.

The late afternoon sun
Had yielded to evening's magic hour.
Shadowless, golden light
Suffused the heavy air,
And each of my breaths was redemptive.

And I was seduced by green's inglorious profanity,
Its primal, mundane allure.
From the feathery emerald-blacks of the evergreen bushes
To magnolia's waxy jade
And those whimsical broccoli-branched trees, screaming Dr. Seuss.

The wilder and more unruly the green, the better.
Manicured lawns, sterile and frigid,
Left little to my imagination,
Whereas pregnant cascades of muscadine
Evoked luscious daydreams of abundance.

Of blackberry-picking mornings
On camping trips in the North Georgia mountains
When I wasn't quite as attached
To creature comfort.
When my idea of luxury was making love under the stars.

Of majestic tree forts and grass-stained knees
When my boys were small
Buttering our noses with dandelions
Because that's what you do
When you're outside.

I was greeted at the front door
By a chilly blast of filtered air
And I realized I was shivering on the threshold of summer, reaching for a sweater in Georgia June.
Maybe my old friend green was telling me
That I've had luxury all wrong.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Taste of Immortality

 For the past couple of months now, I've been trying in vain to sell several items on Craigslist. Aside from an unused inflatable queen-sized air mattress ($100) and my old gold and diamond wedding band ($175), I have an ad for four "funky-cool, nearly new chartreuse metal barstools," and though I've had a couple of bites from legitimate purchasers, most of the responses I've received have been lame efforts at phishing. When I originally posted the items, I made the mistake of including my numeric phone number. That resulted in me receiving a polite text message from someone inquiring about the price of the stools in plain English, someone who really sounded interested. I texted back and we agreed upon the price; no haggling involved. Yay for me. 

When I specified  that I was to be paid in cash, though, the transaction quickly revealed itself to be nothing more than a thinly-disguised scamming attempt. First, I'm asked if I'm familiar with PayPal. Then, I get this lengthy explanation about a shipping agent needing to come pick the items up...blah, blah, blah. Restraining myself from what I really wanted to say, I TM'd that asshole back, saying, "No thanks, I wasn't born yesterday."

When I told my son, Rory, about this interaction, he informed me that I needed to spell out my phone number in the ad, instead of listing it numerically. Apparently, numbers attract scam artists and bots. I've since changed my "404" to "four-zero-four" and dropped the price from $225 to $200 on the barstools, but all I've gotten is a few redonkulously low ball offers. Rory tells me I just have to be patient and keep renewing the ad. Yesterday, I did receive a reasonable offer on the inflatable mattress from someone named Sylvia who lives just down the road in Grant Park, so I guess Rory was right about being patient. It took a minute, but in the end, every minute counts, n'est-ce pas? Unless, of course, you're someone who believes in the concept of wasted time.

BearKnuckle (L to R): Nick, Donny, Willie, & Rory
For those of you who don't know, my 22 year old identical twin sons, Rory and Nick, are musicians in a local Atlanta rock band. BearKnuckle's original music is probably best described as metal and blues-infused psychedelic grunge. I really love their sound; so raw and energetic. Spartacus and I try to attend every local show, not an easy task for us 50-plussers, unless they're the opening act. When BearKnuckle headlines, the guys rarely go onstage before midnight! The band is comprised of Rory, who plays bass and sings backup vocals, Nick, guitarist extraordinaire, their best friend from high school, my son-from-another-mother and supplier of lead vocals, Willie aka Fune Williams, and remix-entrepreneur, Donny Dey, on drums. When Rory, Nick, and Willie initially decided to form the band, they didn't have a drummer. Craigslist to the rescue!  Fortunately for my boyz, Craigslist proved itself instrumental in drumming up a percussionist; no pun intended. Donny responded to their "drummer wanted" ad, and BearKnuckle made its debut in the summer of 2011. 

On the road, livin' the dream....
Rory writes a pretty cool blog for BearKnuckle. His posts range from band-related updates, such as songs they're working on or a glowing local review of its newly released EP (Lost Woods), to music-theory driven rants about no-talent techno pop and the declining quality of music to Rory's personal insights on how and why he came to love music. Last night, I was checking Facebook on my iPhone on the way home from a nice dinner out, and noticed that BearKnuckle had new post. When I saw the title, "Black Lungs," my heart felt heavy as a brick. I knew Rory had written a song about having cystic fibrosis (CF).

Whereas I've written extensively about Nick and Rory's life with CF, this was the first time I'd seen it addressed publicly by him. Contrary to popular misunderstanding, cystic fibrosis is NOT cerebral palsy. People with CF are not mentally handicapped or neurologically impaired. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited genetic disease of the lungs and pancreas. A defective cellular ion pump causes an imbalance of salt and water in the body's mucus-producing glands, resulting in thick, sticky secretions that clog up the lungs and pancreas, creating a susceptibility to chronic, debilitating pulmonary infections, an inability to properly digest essential nutrients, and infertility. Some kids with CF spend most of their lives inside the hospital, receiving intravenous antibiotics and tube feedings. CF is one of the major indications for lung transplantation. The survival curve for CF is still measured in median age at death, which is somewhere around 40. Even with major advances in therapy over the last 20 years, the disease is still considered terminal. Parents unknowingly give their children this disease. In our case, there was no family history, and prenatal screening wasn't available; the gene for the CF mutation hadn't yet been discovered. One in 25 individuals is a CF carrier, and two carriers have a 25% chance of having an affected child.  

Nick, breathing easy on tour
For people with CF, every breath counts. Most of us never think about breathing; it's largely effortless and involuntary. Imagine what it'd be like to cough constantly, sometimes so violently that it brings up blood, to struggle for your breath. Not only is breathing itself labored, it's an effort that's accompanied by an unrelenting awareness of one's own mortality, perhaps the heaviest of all realizations. In his blogpost, Rory wrote about his inspiration for the song:

"This is the first song I’ve ever written about having cystic fibrosis. Most of the time, my writing deals with overall depression and dealing with talking to my subconscious. In most of my lyrics I am just talking to the voice inside my head. Telling it the things I don’t like about it. The deepest meaning that came out of me in writing this song is how long it took me to really embrace having CF. For many years of my earlier life I really didn’t take my health seriously enough. I can easily allow
Rory, doing his respiratory therapy in a hotel room
myself to become distracted and really overlook asking myself, “Do I feel healthy?” This awareness really came from having multiple hospitalizations for lung infections in a short period of time. It showed me how much I need to love myself and embrace myself and this disease. So this song is not a song about wishing I didn’t have an illness. It is a song about embracing the illness and becoming okay with it. Music is my drive behind my life, if there wasn’t music I don’t know what would bring me the same amount of joy in life. I feel like music does heal me. If your soul isn’t intact….how can your body be?" Gulp. The lyrics for "Black Lungs" are's Rory talking to himself out loud:

  A better way
I see a better way
A better way
Please just look this way
At me

Better days
I’ll bring you better days
Better days
Won’t you leave this way?
Follow me

The words I say
Won’t cause you any pain
If I should stay
Would you ever change?
Lay with me

When your life’s gray
Find me at the place
I’ll be the same
This is to remind
Breathe with me

A shallow pain
At first it felt okay
Turning away
Nothing ever changed
Die with me

My life slipping away
A new face
Lends a helping hand
Fight with me

Taming my heart
To change what I see
Play my cards right
To help set me free

Finding my place
Brings new confidence
Building a start
Live to see the end

It won’t be long
My mind is gone
We’re going to fall
I’m breaking down

From what I saw
I’ll walk the halls
With one last call
I’m breaking down

Gasping for life
Fearing your every worry
I’ll try to fight
Holding my memories closely

This time it’s right
Learning to live with your face
Turning the page
Willing to clean off my black lungs

Rory & Nick, channeling Kurt Cobain
I fell asleep after reading his post, wishing I could hear him sing the song. I had a strange dream about traveling through the midwest, doing something medically related, and being gone for a very long time. The last place I visited in the dream was St. Paul, Minnesota, which is where my mom was born. I've never been to St. Paul before, and I woke up just as I was arriving there. I got up, fixed myself some coffee, and opened up my laptop. Sometime during the night, Rory had sent me a message saying that BearKnuckle was contacted by a guy named Josh who hosts a cystic fibrosis podcast, JoshLand Unfiltered. He wants to promote their music. Through the wonders of social networking, Josh came across Rory's "Black Lungs" blogpost on BearKnuckle's site. I'm guessing this transpired as the result of my friend and former anesthesia colleague, Lou, sending me a link to Emily's Entourage, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising CF awareness. One of the site's featured CF "warriors" was an 18 year old female drummer, also named Emily. I congratulated Emily on her fund-raising efforts (May was Cystic Fibrosis Awareness month), and told her about Nick and Rory and their band. She wrote back, saying she was going to check out BearKnuckle, and I believe she is the one who contacted Josh. Here's where my weird dream comes in. Get this. Josh's podcast is based in St. Paul! Crazy coincidence or synchronicity? You be the judge.
The ring that popped my Craigslist cherry
As I was sitting outside with my dogs, I received a phone call from a guy named Stan who told me he was interested in buying my ring. He offered $125 cash, and said he'd be over in an hour to pick it up. In the meantime, I chatted with Rory via messaging about his plans for the day--he's going to the zoo with some friends--and about his blogpost. He sent me the mp3 for "Black Lungs," which I promptly downloaded and listened to. Hearing Rory sing this song was ironic and beautiful. The music is old-school grunge, Nirvana-esque with a haunting dissonance that comes from Rory's use of E flat minor 9 and 12 chords. "That's very jazzy of me," he boasted, jokingly. Show off. He's a freakin' genius when it comes to music theory. Jazzy, grungy,  or whatever genre it falls into, it's the perfect backdrop for such heartfelt lyrics. 

An hour went by, and sure enough, Stan called to say he was en route to pick up the ring. I'm pleased to say that my maiden Craigslist transaction went very smoothly. I never would've gotten $125 at a pawn shop, plus I'm allergic to yellow gold, something I discovered shortly after I started wearing this ring. Now, I'm waiting patiently to see if Sylvia will still be coming by after her 10-5 pm class to pick up the inflatable mattress for $75.

Patience hasn't always been one of my virtues. I used to hate it when my ex-husband, Nick and Rory's dad, injected "Let's wait and see" into a discussion. My impatience rivaled that of Veruca Salt...But, I want it NOW!!!!! In a sense, I wasn't too far off the mark because now is all we've really got. Back then, my now was material: things I wanted, things I had to have, things I thought I couldn't live without. Having kids with CF changed all that. Nothing's more precious than the immaterial now, and I guard it selfishly. Resentments? Expectations? Pffft. Talk about  a waste of time! I thought back to my earlier chat with Rory:

Why should adulthood be any less carefree?
How unfair is it that 22 year olds like Rory and Nick, who through no fault of their own happen to be sick, have to spend ANY of their precious now, worrying about access to healthcare in our so-called civilized American society? It's absolutely scandalous. Lots of young people today, regardless of their current state of health, are choosing careers based upon the availability of an affordable insurance plan. How insane, no, how uncivilized is that?! The solution is simple: a publicly-funded single payer system with universal health care coverage for every American citizen. As you might have guessed, my views on this matter don't make me very popular with my peers in medicine as well as some of my friends, but as far as I'm concerned, they've got their heads up their asses. I'm impervious to and intolerant of their silly fear-based arguments about the "horrors" of socialized medicine. But, I suppose it's precisely the kind of attitude one should expect from a nation of profiteers and impatient patients, from people who aren't willing to think for themselves. We've definitely created a monster here, a real Veruca Salt so to speak. I find it interesting that none of my Canadian family members or American-trained physician friends who practice there has EVER complained about Canada's publicly funded health care system. In fact, they feel sorry for us! Ok, enough ranting. It sure feels good to get that off my chest.

Rory & his upright bass, Ruby.
It's now 6 pm. Sylvia came to pick up the air mattress, and we stood outside for awhile, having a friendly conversation. All in all, a very good day. I'm quite satisfied with my Craigslist experience, despite the false alarms and phishing, but it's not because I just sold a ring I haven't worn in over eight years or an air mattress I've never used or because it's been some kind of insight-arousing exercise in patience. My satisfaction actually has nothing to do with me at all. It comes from seeing my sons so happy, playing in a kickass band born of a shared passion for music, long-standing brotherly love, and a healthy dose of ingenuity, the randomness of which was moderated by Craigslist. I'm ecstatic that Rory is distracted by his music. As far as I'm concerned, he's right where he should be, livin' the dream, following his heart, rocking out in the immaterial now where this ripe, juicy moment, this sweet breath, this intoxicating morsel of happiness indulge him in something most of us take for granted: a taste of immortality.

BearKnuckle's website and blog
BearKnuckle's EP (you can listen for free)...good stuff!
Josh's CF website, Welcome to Joshland
Emily's Entourage

BearKnuckle's blogpost and lyrics used with permission of the band.