Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cyberstalking our old neighbors...

Back in October 2003, Bill and I moved from a shitty apartment in Fredericksburg, VA to a single family house on Fort Belvoir, an Army post in northern Virginia.  While many people hate living on military installations because of the craziness and drama, at the time, we were delighted to have the chance to move on post.  I hated the apartment for many reasons.  We made the decision to move when my car got broken into and the neighborhood began to feel distinctly unsafe.

I never actually believed we'd get to live on post.  We were led to believe the housing list was too long.  But one day, I was sitting at home and the phone rang.  It was the housing office at Fort Belvoir and they had quarters for us.  I called Bill at work and left him a message and we moved ourselves up there right after we lost our dog, CuCullain, to a mycobacterial infection.

As we were moving in, the lady who lived next door came over with cookies.  She welcomed us to the neighborhood, which I thought was very nice.  She and her husband had two cute daughters and a flat coated collie named Truffle.

Compared to the pot smoking noisy college kids we had been living next to, our new neighbors seemed really great.  But then we got to know them better.

I can't really say that they were bad people, per se.  The husband was clearly very ambitious and an Academy graduate.  The wife seemed to be the perfect mother.  The daughters were super sweet and well behaved.  But as we got to know them, I noticed that they seemed a little "off".  Like they didn't like us very much.

One day, the younger daughter asked if Bill and I had any kids.  I said that Bill did, but I didn't.  That is the truth.  He has two daughters, but they aren't my daughters.  I have only met them once, so I can't even really call them my stepdaughters anymore.  They have nothing to do with us.

Anyway, after that conversation, I noticed a distinct and disapproving chill in the air.  It was noticeable enough that it made me feel uncomfortable.  I could tell that they avoided us.  I began to feel like they thought their shit didn't stink.

I started to notice the mom taking walks and usually looking really pissed off.  I noticed her husband running around the block with no shirt on and driving a big flashy truck.  It seemed like they were going through the motions of being the perfect family, but there was an undercurrent of hostility even among them that made them seem almost sterile.  They seemed to have no sense of humor, or their humor was of the goofy Disney flavored kind.  

Though I haven't seen or heard from that family in about twelve years, I was suddenly reminded of them while I was watching an episode of Army Wives yesterday.  One of the characters was having a baby and the wives threw her a shower.  One of the gifts given at the shower was called a "boo boo bear".  You put it in the freezer to put on a child's "boo boo".  It's supposed to soothe them.

While I was watching that scene, I had a sudden flashback to a conversation I had with my old neighbor.  She told me her sister had died.  Her little daughter added that she'd had a "boo boo" on her heart.

Because I was bored and feeling nosy, I decided to see if I could find out whatever happened to that family.  It turned out their presence online was pretty minimal, but I did manage to track them down.  It turns out the husband is now a colonel in charge of a combat readiness center.  The wife, whom I knew was a registered nurse who had taken a few years off work to be a stay at home mom, had gone back to school, earned a master's degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix, then went back again and got her PhD from the University of Tennessee.  I see that she now teaches nursing.

And then I discovered that this family is also LDS and suddenly everything made perfect sense.

I don't know if I ever mentioned Bill's ties to Mormonism to them.  Knowing me, I probably did.  I don't know when I would have, though, because they weren't really all that friendly.  I don't remember having any deep conversations with them.

But anyway, after cyberstalking them yesterday, now I totally get it.   I can definitely see why they wouldn't like me.  I would not be the least bit surprised if the husband makes general.  He's the kind of person who looks the part.   

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Just to show you how weird things can get in Europe...

I just read a very strange news story about a principal at a German school who forced a couple of boys to get naked in his office.  Apparently the principal at the high school near Düsseldorf accused the two students from a neighboring school of stealing from the changing rooms.  The boys denied stealing anything, but the principal insisted that they undress or he'd call the police.

Making the boys strip down to their underwear was not enough for the oddball school official.  He demanded that the boys get totally naked.  Oddly enough, they complied.  Investigators say they don't think there was a sexual motive for this forced stripping.  Other kids came into the area while the boys were disrobing, which added to the sense of humiliation.

I think if I had nothing to hide and was asked to get naked by a school principal or have the police called on me, I'd just let the principal call the police.  If you haven't stolen anything, the cops will quickly find that out.  They might also be interested in hearing about a principal asking students to get naked.  Besides, it turned out no one had reported anything missing.  But I guess German kids are taught to comply with the demands of authority figures.

The incident apparently happened weeks ago, but prosecutors are just now looking into it because they originally didn't feel it was worth investigating.  If this had happened in the United States, you can bet it would be all over the news and the principal would probably end up being labeled a sex offender.  Frankly, I can't think of a single reason why a principal would ask students to strip unless he temporarily lost his mind or was thinking with the wrong head.

Today there is a huge protest going on in Stuttgart.  Apparently, there are hundreds of left wing protesters holding up traffic and setting fires.  Police are threatening to use water cannons to disperse the groups.  In fact, I found out about the principal demanding kids to strip in front of him because I was looking for information in English about the protest.  I typed "Stuttgart news in English" in Google and ended up on The Local, which puts out news stories in English about countries in Europe.  The news often highlighted in The Local isn't your typical run of the mill news.  It's usually odd or funny stuff.

Americans who live in the Stuttgart area are usually advised to avoid protest areas because though they are usually peaceful, sometimes they can get violent.  Anyway, this is the information we got locally.
UPDATE: Starting at 0600 hours, 30 April 2016, at an unknown location in downtown Stuttgart, Germany, between 1000-2000 members of approximately 45 Left Wing organizations will rally and then proceed via unknown means/unknown routes to the Messe, Stuttgart Germany, which is directly adjacent to the Stuttgart Airport. The intent of these organizations is to confront members of the "Alternative fur Deutschland" AfD who have a scheduled meeting at the Messe. The organizations' sole purpose is too violently disrupt the AfD meeting. Information further indicates these organizations intend to emulate the violence that occurred in Frankfurt, Germany when the European Central Bank reopened in 2015. Disruption/blockage of Autobahn 8 in the vicinity of the Messe could occur between the hours of 0700-1400 hours, 30 April 2016. It is expected that approximately 4000 AID members will attend the meeting at the Messe. Over 1000 Polizei will be present in attempt to prevent any violent clashes between the groups.
The Polizei expect VIOLENCE to occur. It is RECOMMENDED all DoD affiliated personnel avoid the affected areas. US Personnel transiting the Stuttgart Airport on 30 April 2016, should be aware of potential disruptions and ensure they allow ample time in event of interruptions of traffic or public transit in the area. The demonstration was properly registered with Host Nation Law Enforcement. Although no specific or credible information exists, Host Nation Law Enforcement expressed concern about the possibility of the Left Wing organizations identifying and targeting nearby US Army Garrison - Stuttgart installations.
There's never a dull moment around here...

Friday, April 29, 2016

Sunday school ditcher...

My mind is on an incident that occurred sometime around 1983.  I was in middle school.  Every Sunday, my dad took me to Sunday school and church.  I hated going because I thought church was pretty boring.  My mom was the organist at another church and my dad sang in the choir, so I either sat alone or with a lady who was the wife of another choir member.

As much as I hated church, I really hated Sunday school.  The guy who taught my Sunday school class at that age was very annoying.  I didn't like him at all.  I don't remember exactly why I didn't like him, but I hated being in his class.  I also got bullied by others in Sunday school, people who had been born and raised in the community and picked on anyone who wasn't like them.

For some reason, one week I decided I wasn't going to go to Sunday school, so I hid in the bathroom for the whole hour.  The following week, I did the same thing.  I don't remember how many times I ditched Sunday school, but it was enough times that when the Sunday school teacher ran into my dad and me at the grocery store, he asked where I had been.  My dad, who was unaware that I had been playing hooky, was flabbergasted that I disobeyed him.  When we got home, he gave me a spanking that I have never forgotten.

I don't remember my dad ever asking me why I skipped Sunday school.  I don't remember him talking to me about why I needed to be there.  I just remember his raw brutality that day and how it made me feel.  After that, I went back to Sunday school, but I still hated it and really resented the teacher.  When he died a couple of years later, I was glad I didn't have to see him anymore.  His wife was a friend of my mother's.  I liked her.  She was very intelligent and played piano.  I'm sure her husband was a swell guy.  But he sure fucked up my world that day in the early 80s, when my dad was more concerned about his image and my disobedience than he was about me personally.

I was reminded of that incident last night after reading about the latest research on spankings.  I made the mistake of sharing the article and got a few comments from conservatives who continue to defend it.  I wasn't actually wanting to debate the issue.  In fact, I simply said I wasn't a fan of corporal punishment.  I speak out as someone who was disciplined almost exclusively with yelling and hitting, not one of those people who constantly claim spanking is harmless and builds character.  I figure I have as much of a right to be heard as those who think spanking is totally okay.

As I was having this discussion last night, sitting in my living room with my gentle husband, I got very upset.  I finally had to tell people I was done with the topic, because I was sitting there in tears remembering being physically punished by my dad.

I recalled my dad when he was in discipline mode, face beet red, veins popping out, and barely in control of himself.  Fortunately, he was never one to use a belt or a spoon.  He only used his hands, which were definitely enough when he was enraged.  I remember him yelling at me as he hit me, powered by fury and adrenaline.  I never knew which infractions would earn me a spanking.  He would just spank when the mood struck, which was never consistent.  Come to think of it, he was in consistent about a lot of things.  For instance, he always wore a seatbelt, but wouldn't always make me wear one.  Usually, when he did, it was either because he was punishing me or trying to assert himself as the boss of the family.

One time when I was about 13, my dad was driving me and a friend to the barn where I kept my horse.  I had to go clean stalls.  As we were headed there, my dad informed me that he expected me to haul gravel when we got back home.  I asked him if the work could wait until I no longer had a guest.  He got very angry and told me not to expect him to come pick us up later.  For some reason, I got very angry with my dad and called him an asshole.  His response to that was pretty epic.  He parked the car.  I got out and headed for the barn.  He followed me, grabbed me by the neck, and started to throttle me.

My friend watched my dad scream at me as he clutched me by the neck.  I remember telling him to let me go or I'd kick him in the balls.  He did let go.  Later, he acted as if nothing had happened, though my mom made sure to tell me that I'd "really blown it".  She was just pissed that he was pissed and didn't care why I called him an asshole.  Maybe I shouldn't have done that.  I had lost my temper too.  But I was a kid and he was a grown man who resorted to violence to get his point across.  I certainly didn't gain any regard for my father when he choked me in front of my friend.    

My father's discipline sessions did not teach me to respect him.  As a matter of fact, by the time he died, I had a lot of conflicted feelings about him.  He was my father and I loved him for the many good things he did.  But he also often treated me badly and felt he had a perfect right to.  He brought me into the world and felt he had the right to "take me out", right?

The latest studies on spankings indicate that spankings make children more aggressive and less successful. Quoted from the article I linked:

The more kids are spanked, the greater the risk

Studies have shown that spanking can damage a child's IQ or ability to learn; that it trigger aggressiveness and worsens behavior. Gershoff says the pattern is consistent when a large number of studies are put together.

"In childhood, parental use of spanking was associated with low moral internalization, aggression, antisocial behavior, externalizing behavior problems, internalizing behavior problems, mental health problems, negative parent- child relationships, impaired cognitive ability, low self-esteem, and risk of physical abuse from parents. In adulthood, prior experiences of parental use of spanking were significantly associated with adult antisocial behavior, adult mental health problems, and with positive attitudes about spanking," they wrote.

"Spanking was also significantly associated with lower moral internalization, lower cognitive ability, and lower self-esteem. The largest effect size was for physical abuse; the more children are spanked, the greater the risk that they will be physically abused by their parents."

Let's take a look at the end results in my case.  

First off, here I sit, "The Overeducated Housewife".  Some may say that I've been "successful" in many ways.  I have a good marriage and managed to finish my education and then some.  But I haven't had a regular job in years.  I tried to get one for a long time, but finally gave up on it.  The thought of going back to work terrifies me.  I also have trust issues with people and am reluctant to connect with them.  

I have suffered from clinical depression and anxiety.  I had issues with eating disorders when I was younger, though now I think I've pretty much traded those for drinking too much.  I'm still haunted by my upbringing and if I think too long and hard about it, I get upset.  

As a kid, I was aggressive to other kids and animals.  It wasn't until I got older that I developed a sense of empathy and compassion.  I think it's safe to say that I have a lot of negative feelings about my parents, too.  I would consider my father's version of "spankings" excessive and abusive.  They were not done when he was calm and they didn't involve anything more than him getting out his frustration and anger by physically attacking someone much smaller than him.  Maybe some people would say that my dad's spankings were actually beatings.  But my dad called what he did "spanking" and it was perfectly fine for him to do that to me.  I often felt resentment and often fantasized about hitting him back.   

Was all of my baggage caused by my father's spankings?  Probably not.  But I don't think the physical punishments were helpful at all and I can definitely relate to what researchers discovered in their studies on spankings.  Maybe I'd be more in favor of corporal punishment if my father had spanked me when he was calm and rational, but it would have taken time, effort, and self-control for him to get to that state.  He wasn't disciplined enough to calm down before he put his hands on me, so his form of discipline ended up being abusive.  

I often hear people saying that today's kids are entitled brats because they don't get spanked.  I don't think that's why kids today seem different than they were in my day.  I think a major reason why kids are more "fucked up" nowadays is because they aren't necessarily allowed to be kids anymore.  We have plenty of nanny laws designed to protect them, even though there's never been a safer time to be a kid.  We don't let them run and play, but force them to take standardized tests.  We don't let them explore on their own or give them time to dream.  Instead, we load them up with planned, supervised activities.  Parents have to work very hard to make ends meet and often families end up splintering under the stress.  And at the end of childhood, young adults have this fucked up world to assimilate into somehow.    

I understand that people are going to do what they're going to do.  Parents are going to spank their kids and call it "loving" discipline.  I can't agree that spanking a child is a loving action.  I think it's often done as a result of a parent losing control and being lazy.  But I also say that as someone who was a recipient of corporal punishment and not as a parent myself.  So yeah, I don't know what it's like to be on the other side of the equation.  I'm sure if I were a parent, I would be tempted to lash out sometimes, even though intellectually, I think spanking is a wrong-headed thing to do.  

Plenty of people were spanked as kids and "turned out fine".  Maybe I'm "fine" too.  When I think of my father today, sometimes the memories are good.  Often, they make me feel sad and depressed.  I wasn't his favorite child and I bore the brunt of his PTSD, depression, and alcoholism.  He'd call me fat, retarded, and "crazy" and he felt like he had the right to strike me anytime he wanted.  He'd leave me enraged and humiliated and full of hatred for him.  Somehow, I doubt that's what my dad was going for when he decided I needed discipline.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Repost of my review of Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

I posted this review on Epinions a several years ago-- what do you know?  I posted it exactly seven years ago today!  I remember reading it the first time we lived here.  It's an excellent book about one woman's experience being in foster care.  I'm reposting it to keep it alive so others can read it.

  • Surviving foster care against the odds...

    Review by knotheadusc
     in Books, Music, Hotels & Travel 
      April, 28 2009
  • Pros: Sheds light on the plight of foster children. Uplifting.
    Cons: Some parts may make you angry.
    Recently, there's been some buzz about 24 year old Redmond O'Neal, son of Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal, being arrested for violating his parole on drug charges. The young man is now sitting in a Los Angeles jail while his mother battles anal cancer. Redmond O'Neal is just one of many young people in America who grew up privileged and turned out troubled. Thanks to CNN and FoxNews, we can read about cases like Redmond O'Neal's all the time; yet we don't as often hear about people like Ashley Rhodes-Courter, author of 2008's Three Little Words: A Memoir. That's a pity, since Rhodes-Courter's story is so much more inspirational and uplifting. Perhaps it's also much rarer as well. Wouldn't it be nice if our media focused more on the positive rather than the disappointing?

    Ashley Rhodes-Courter was born in South Carolina in 1985, the daughter of a seventeen year old girl named Lorraine. Ashley never knew her biological father when she was growing up. Her earliest memories of a father figure are of her mother's abusive husband, Dusty. Ashley's mother went on to have two more children before she turned 20, Tommy, who died of SIDS after 48 days of life, and Luke, Dusty's son. Ashley writes that Dusty and her mother were neglectful drug abusers who apparently didn't know the first thing about how to take care of children. She explains that her mother would carefully strap her into her carseat, but neglect to strap the carseat into the car.

    One day, Ashley's mother decided they needed to get a fresh start in a new location. They headed for Florida, where Lorraine hoped that Dusty would be able to find work. Everything changed when Dusty was pulled over for not having a license plate. The cop then arrested him for not having a license plate or a valid driver's license. A couple of days later, the cops showed up at the duplex Lorraine and Dusty had rented and arrested Lorraine. That was how Ashley and her brother, Luke, ended up as foster children in the state of Florida.

    What follows is Ashley's harrowing story of her life in a series of foster homes and children's shelters. Sometimes she was allowed to stay with her brother, but more often, they were separated. All the while, she wondered what had happened to her mother and when she would get to see her again. At one point, she and Luke were sent back to live in South Carolina with Lorraine's alcoholic father and his live in girlfriend, Adele. Adele turned out to be a wonderful mother figure, but it soon became clear that Ashley's grandfather was an unsuitable guardian. Moreover, no one in Florida had ever given permission for Ashley and Luke to move to South Carolina. They came back to Florida, plunged back into the system after tentatively bonding with Adele.

    In all, Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nine years in fourteen different foster homes. She was unable to bond with her caregivers or learn to trust them because she was constantly being shuffled around. One foster family turned out to be shockingly abusive, while another foster dad was later revealed to be a sex offender. Through the years, Ashley saw Lorraine a handful of times and was always left with hope that someday her mother would be able to reclaim her.  Sometimes Lorraine would be scheduled for a visit and fail to show up; sometimes Lorraine would show up with gifts, which would inevitably be lost as Ashley moved from home to home.  With each move, Ashley and her brother lost track of their few possessions.  I found myself imagining what it must have felt like to be constantly moved from one place to the next, unable to form attachments.

    Ashley's saving grace was her uncommon intelligence. She did very well in school and had impressive leadership qualities. She was also lucky enough to run into Mary Miller, a woman who acted as her guardian at litem and later helped Ashley and Luke escape the foster care system. Ashley's mother finally lost her parental rights and Ashley was eventually adopted as a twelve year old, but it took a very long time for her to gain enough trust and stability to be able to say three little words to her adoptive parents.

    My thoughts

    Ashley Rhodes-Courter is an incredible young woman as evidenced in her memoir, Three Little Words. This book offers a rare first person glimpse of what it's like to be a foster child. More than that, it shows readers how much children need stability in their lives. A good portion of this book focuses on Ashley's life after her adoption and the adjustment issues she dealt with even after she found a loving forever family.

    Since I have a master's degree in social work, I was also interested in reading about how the child welfare system served Ashley and her brother. As it turned out, the system did a very poor job looking after Ashley and others like her. Even though Ashley's mother was irresponsible and abusive, some of Ashley's licensed caregivers were just as bad. At best, Ashley generally spent a lot of time in overcrowded, impersonal conditions. At worst, Ashley was beaten with a slotted spoon, forced to drink hot sauce, subjected to grueling physical punishments, and exposed to pornography. It's very clear by Ashley's account that there are not enough caring people serving as foster parents and too many people who are in it just because the state pays them.

    And yet, as someone who has been a social worker, I can also understand why these things happen. One of the reasons I don't practice social work (besides the fact that I am now married to the military) is that it's a thankless, low paying, stressful job. A lot of people go into social work because they want to help people. But the system makes it difficult for social workers to be as helpful as they should be and there aren't enough families who are willing to take in foster kids. So I can see why some inappropriate couples were approved to be foster parents, even if I don't condone it. Ashley seems to be doing her best to change the situation for foster kids.  Inspired by the film Erin Brockovich and helped by her adoptive parents, Ashley Rhodes-Courter went on to bring a class action suit against the foster parents who had abused her and so many other children.

    One thing I noticed about Three Little Words is there's a little plug for Wendy's restaurants in it. Dave Thomas, the late founder of Wendy's, was an adopted child and did a lot of work for the adoption cause. Ashley was also a fan of Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers.

    Ashley Rhodes-Courter's story is amazing. She was able to channel her writing and public speaking talents into something very valuable for children. I am humbled by her courage and resolve to change the child welfare system.

    I think Three Little Words is an excellent read for anyone who is interested in the child welfare system, as well as anyone who just likes an uplifting memoir. I was able to read this book in a matter of hours and I felt good when I finished it. I have a feeling we'll be hearing a lot more from Ashley Rhodes-Courter in the coming years.

    Ashley's Web site:

Pornographic spam...

Wow... that's quite a title for a blog post, isn't it?  It almost sounds like the name of a new wave band or something.  Nevertheless, this morning, I have pornographic spam on the brain.  Why?  Because that's what's been taking up residence in the spam folder of my Yahoo! email account.

I have three email addresses on three different free accounts.  I have a Hotmail account that I've had ever since I got married.  I have had a Yahoo! account since before I got married.  I also have a Gmail account that I probably started using when everybody was saying Gmail accounts were the shit.  Remember, there was a time when you had to have an invite to get Gmail!  I'm not sure what that was all about.  But anyway, I apparently bowed to the pressure and got myself Gmail, which I use sometimes.  The account I use the most is the Hotmail/Outlook account.

Spam is always a problem, though it's not as bad as it was in the days before spam folders.  I used to get pornographic spam in my Hotmail/Outlook email, but that stopped years ago.  Now I get emails from Nigerian princes and rich widows in that account.  Sometimes I get legitimate emails in my Hotmail spam folder, too.

The spam folder in my Yahoo! mailbox, on the other hand, is almost always 100% full of pornographic spam.  Or, at least that's what it appears to be.  I never open the emails because they mostly seem to addressing heterosexual males.  Since I am a heterosexual female, I have no interest in seeing some chick named Mona's "pics" and I'm not looking to hook up with "local girls".  Even if I was interested in that, I could easily go to Sindelfingen, which is a city not far from where we live, and visit Erospark.  Erospark, for those who don't know, is basically a whorehouse.

Sorry...  I wouldn't necessarily call it a whorehouse if I was left to my own devices.  I only call it that because referring to Erospark as a whorehouse makes me laugh.  Bear with me because there's a story behind the Erospark whorehouse... which I've probably already written on this blog, but what the hell.  I'll write it again for those who came late.

Back in 2014, when Bill and I first moved to Germany, I joined a bunch of Facebook groups for local American military expats.  There was a guy in one of the largest groups who called himself Gabriel Kingston (not his real name).  Gabriel was a masterful troll.  He used to pull gags in the Facebook groups and would piss off a lot of people.  Personally, I found Gabriel hilarious, but he was definitely guilty of being naughty in groups that were intended to be helpful and serious.

Anyway, one day some lady asked about things to do on a Sunday.  Sundays in Germany can be boring if you don't know which places are open.  It's not like the United States, where a person can simply go shopping at the mall or something.  Sundays in Germany are for family, church, and peace.  Of course, restaurants and museums are open and it's always possible to go walking, which is what a lot of the locals do.  And our old friend Gabriel came up with an inspired activity for the gentleman who was hoping for a little family fun.

I wish I had copied the actual conversation, but basically Gabriel told the person that she should pay a visit to Erospark.  He touted it as great fun, especially after church.

A few minutes later, another guy came back and wrote "Are you sure you didn't mean Europa Park (a local amusement park)?  Because I just looked up Erospark and that's a whorehouse.  I'm not really wanting to take my family there."

Gabriel continued to josh with the guy, posting more and more ridiculous comments about how awesome Erospark is for the whole family...  especially Dad!  Prostitution is legal in Germany and highly regulated.  So yes, if you wanted to, you could visit Erospark and enjoy the services of a prostitute.  I'm not sure if they are, in fact, working on Sundays.  My guess is that they probably take Sundays off and spend time at home.

Incidentally, Gabriel also once claimed that in Germany, children are not welcome in church.  He said German parents usually leave the kids sitting in the car while they worship.  Naturally, that little joke got a whole lot of people upset, but it was hilarious nonetheless.  I miss Gabriel.  He left Germany last year and was always getting banned from the local groups, so his shenanigans are no longer a thing here.

Speaking of church...  I found a hilarious new YouTube channel last week.  It was "suggested" by YouTube.  Basically, there's a black comic who posts about crazy church stuff on his channel.  He includes all kinds of craziness.  I spent probably two hours watching video after video, killing lots of valuable time on the planet.  And because I am a generous person, I will share his channel with people who would rather laugh than read my blog.  Here are just a few videos that got my attention.


This is the first video I watched by KevOnStage...  Alexis, I highly recommend that you check this one out... 

Old guys fighting in church...

Sexy dancers in church...

And very odd "praise dancing"...

You could seriously spend the whole day watching this shit.  I know I did.  It beats watching the snow that has been falling (but not sticking) all week.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fare Thee Well...

Here's another collaboration with George (shargram).  Just learned this old Indigo Girls song.  I get really neurotic when I make recordings...

I could probably practice this a few more times.  I literally learned it this morning, though.  I think it suits me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Constructive discussions...

Sooo...  my old friend ...tom... came back at me after I told him to "fuck the hell off".  Here is a screenshot of what he said and my response.

Forgive me for my hypocrisy.  Just two days ago, I wrote about why this kind of shit is kind of narcissistic...  But at least ...tom... is not one of my children being publicly punished on Facebook.

This may come as a surprise to some readers, but I actually had a hard time telling ...tom... to "fuck off".  Although I enjoy using profanity, I don't generally enjoy swearing directly at people.  I was raised not to use profanity and, in fact, had a father who hated to hear cussing.  He rarely swore himself, unless he was really angry or drunk.  Even then, he usually only used words like "damn" and "hell".  He'd get mad at my mom when she tossed out the occasional "shit".  More than once, I got knocked upside the head for saying anything stronger than "heck, "crap", or "darn". 

For some reason, I've never had issues with using profanity.   In fact, I think the concept of "bad words" is kind of stupid.  How can a specific word be "bad"?  Words only have the meanings that people give them.  I think rather than focusing on specific words, we should focus more on intent.  Don't listen so much to what was said; listen to what the person meant.  But even as I write that, I understand that cuss words are a turn off to many people and it's not my desire to be annoying, even if I often am. 

Sometime when I was in high school, I started swearing like a sailor, even though I grew up around old school people who discouraged swearing.  And, while some people might think I'm condescending, snarky, and sarcastic, I don't enjoy making people uncomfortable, although I know that when I was growing up, I definitely did.  I remember some guy at a frat party, of all places, asking me if I "kissed my mother with that mouth".  The answer to that question is, "Not very often.  My mom isn't a fan of sloppy sentimentality and discouraged kisses from her kids."  Anyway, the point is, I don't like to cuss people out and will rarely do so directly.  I have to be pretty angry or annoyed to directly tell someone to "fuck the hell off" and actually mean it.  

The truth is, ...tom... has been annoying me for about 13 years.  However, there are times when I find him funny or entertaining.  He's not all bad, as most people aren't.  I first ran into ...tom... when we were writing product reviews on  He was an advisor for the books category and prided himself on welcoming new members.  I wrote a lot of book reviews, so I ran into him fairly often.  He'd leave what I'm sure he thought were "constructive comments".  Sometimes his comments actually were constructive, but they were often delivered in a way that was offensive.  I don't always have the thickest skin when it comes to being corrected, especially by people whose opinions I don't respect.

Over the years, I was less irritated by ...tom..., probably because I was less new to Epinions and he had more fun "mentoring" new people he felt needed his help.  I'd only get the occasional comment from him and sometimes they were even full of praise.  Like, I remember reviewing a book called Sex Disasters.  ...tom... enjoyed my review and said so.  He even told me that he considered giving me a "Most Helpful" rating, but ultimately decided not to.  Um...  thanks?  No, but really, that was a high compliment coming from ...tom...  He prided himself on being a strict rater and I respected him for that because, despite his tendency to leave obnoxious comments, he generally was fair and consistent with his ratings.

Many years later, ...tom... friends me on Facebook and continues with his snarky comments.  Facebook isn't Epinions, though, so he's not an "advisor".  He's just some guy out there I've never met in person.  We have different political views, which is just fine.  I can hang with conservative folks.  I have a family full of them.  I just don't like being talked to like I'm an idiot.  Call it one of my many quirks.  It probably comes from my own "daddy issues" and having a father who would say things to me like "You'll never make more than minimum wage" or "You are a very arrogant person" or "You're fat and retarded and no one will ever want to marry you".  If I had responded to my father in they way I would have wanted to, he probably would have felt very justified in hitting me.  There were a couple of times when I did lose my temper and swear at him and he did physically strike me.  And, in fact, when I was a child, hitting and yelling were pretty much his usual responses to me when I offended him somehow.  So I learned to swallow the indignation and tolerate a lot of abusive behavior from him and other people.

When I was in my mid 20s, I went through a pretty severe bout of depression coupled with significant anxiety.  All of those things my dad used to tell me seemed to be coming true.  I was living with him at the time, which was not helpful to the situation.  But, because I lived with my parents, I had enough money to see a therapist.  I did that and took medication and that helped me get out of that situation and on my own.  And now I've changed and can no longer take abuse like I used to.  When someone is shitty to me, I am inclined to respond in kind.  Sometimes, a good "fuck off" is exactly what is required.  However, I still feel uncomfortable telling someone to "fuck off" or "eat a bag of dicks".  It takes awhile before I resort to that.  

I usually try not to respond with severe profanity, but I know ...tom... irritates a lot of people and truthfully, many people would enjoy seeing him told to "fuck the hell off".  In fact, some even told me privately that they couldn't understand why I didn't block him or at least tell him to "fuck off".  My own sweet husband, Bill, doesn't like ...tom... and is much less confrontational than I am.  I figure telling ...tom... to fuck off or eat a bag of dicks is better than resorting to blocking, which will probably be my next step.  Not that he cares one way or the other.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

Trolling people and wasting time...

A couple of months ago, I blogged about a guy on my Facebook friends list who sometimes leaves me annoying comments on my personal page.  A couple of weeks ago, he left me a shitty comment and I told him to fuck off.  He left me alone for awhile, then reappeared over the weekend when I shared an opinion post about Target and their decision to allow people to use whichever restroom feels right to them.  I pretty much ignored his first comment, which was posted in a pouty, snarky, holier than thou tone.

Then I shared another post about a Texas sheriff who said he'd beat a transgendered woman unconscious if she tried to use the bathroom while his daughter was present.  I called the cop a "thug".  My obnoxious Facebook friend came back and made some irritating comment about the word "thug" being a racist word.  I looked it up in the dictionary found there was no racial connotation whatsoever.  I posted the definition straight from Merriam-Webster's dictionary.  So my "friend" wrote:

Quote Merriam-Webster if you like.

Does not stop the vast left from trying to stigmatize the word as a substitute for the n-word. 

Glad to see you join me in rejecting this particular piece of social language nonsense.

I was in no mood for his provocative bullshit, so I responded with this...

Kindly fuck the hell off. I am not in the mood for your snotty bullshit today. Go stir the shit pot elsewhere.

But then I decided I would post something purely to see if he would leave a shitty comment.  I decided on this...

I picked this because I know it's one of my "friend's" pet topics...  He loves to pontificate about how raising minimum wage will lead to America's destruction.

And he did not disappoint.  He wrote:

I am pretty sure there are any number of other . . .'pressures' on the prices of all goods.

In fact, this picture also drew a response from another conservative poster.  I thanked the first one for his input.  

For my annoying "friend", I wrote this...

I'll see you later. I gotta go wash my crotch.

I'm not really sure what got into me yesterday.  I think I was bored.  The weather over the weekend was cold and rainy.  It even snowed yesterday and this morning, though it's not really amounting to anything.  Bill and I were sitting around drinking beer and wine and listening to music.  If ever there was a day for me to indulge annoying Facebook friends, yesterday should have been the day.  But, to be honest, I just don't really like that guy very much.  He rarely approaches anyone with respect.  He is especially snotty to liberal females.

I know I should probably dump him off my friends list.  He's so annoying that I've actually had other friends complain to me about his posts on my page.   Bill can't stand him and Bill's the type of guy who gets along with almost everybody. And yet, I'm not quite ready to delete him.  Sometimes he's entertaining and, I will admit, he helps me sharpen my mediocre trolling skills.  I have decided that from now on, whenever that guy leaves me a snotty comment, I'm going to respond with profanity and vulgarity.  I think many people will enjoy it.  And if they don't, they can fuck the hell off, too.