Friday, October 24, 2014

Arran and his tummy troubles...

Yesterday, as I was washing the linens in our bedroom, our dog Arran threw up his breakfast all over my nice feather duvet.  I was annoyed as I cleaned it up because Arran had also had an accident in the basement.  Though he was supposedly potty trained when we got him and is generally good about peeing outside, he still has trouble pooping on the leash.

In Texas, this wasn't as much of a problem because he could go outside in the fenced yard and relieve himself as his leisure.  Here in Germany, he can't do that.  Also, previous tenants in this house have had pets who have soiled in the house, which gives Arran the idea that it's appropriate to go inside.  Fortunately, he's mostly confining his soiling to the basement, which has no carpeting.

Anyway, having cleaned up Arran's mess, I went on about my day.  However, as the afternoon progressed, it became pretty clear that Arran wasn't feeling very well.  He kept to himself for much of the day and looked uncomfortable.  When I gave him his dinner, he threw it up on my clean duvet cover, which I ended up washing again.

By dinner time, I was truly worried.  Arran really looked like he was uncomfortable.  He was shivering and didn't even want a bite of our dinner.  I found myself looking at Web sites about dogs vomiting and tried to figure out if Arran had puked or merely regurgitated.  It was hard to tell.  I read horror stories about dogs vomiting that turned out to be really sick puppies in the literal sense of the expression.

Arran finally came to bed at about 10:30pm and slept soundly all night.  This morning, he ate about half of his breakfast (Bill didn't give him his whole ration).  He took a nasty dump, then seemed completely normal again.  I fed him the rest of his breakfast one morsel at a time and he's back to his old self.  He definitely wanted the food and it hasn't reappeared at this point.  That's a relief.

I always worry so much about my dogs because they can't tell me when they feel sick or are in pain.  And I've lost three of them to devastating illnesses before they really got old.  I'm hoping this episode of sickness is past us now.

I'm sure I'll post about something less mundane later.  I just love my dogs.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Little girls using the f bomb...

FCKH8: Princesses from Jose Ho-Guanipa on Vimeo.

The above video was featured on Upworthy yesterday.  Basically, it's a bunch of little girls in princess costumes dropping the f-bomb and other so-called "bad words" in order to get across their points about how poorly women are treated.  While I don't generally have a problem with the f-bomb, I didn't like this video.  I found it pretty obnoxious.  I also wonder how much these cute little girls really know about what they are saying.

I shared it on Facebook, though, and got into an interesting discussion with a woman I met through back in 2003.  She lives in Virginia and her husband used to work with my aunt's brother, Ralph, a former Virginia State Trooper.  Ralph is also a former Kansas Guardsman, so he ran into Bill at a conference before we met in person.  Ralph checked out Bill for me, to make sure he wasn't a psycho.  Anyway, that's not really relevant, other than to establish how else I know this lady other than from Facebook and Epinions.

My friend said she hated the video for the same reasons I do.  She found it obnoxious and exploitative.  The video turned me off because it had a bit of a male bashing tone to it.  For instance, at one point, the girls say "Stop telling girls how to dress and start teaching boys not to rape."  Uh... how many men are really rapists?  And why assume that rape automatically has to do with dressing slutty?  Rape is about power, violence, and shame, not sex.  

While I know that women have historically had to deal with sexism and being thought of as "less than" because of gender, I don't think that having a bunch of little girls use the "f" word is the way to change that reality.  In fact, I don't think this video does much more than shock and offend.  I'm sure a lot of people think it's cute and novel, but I doubt the people who like it will be the ones who can create change.  The people who will like this video will be people who think the egregious use of the f-word is cute, funny, or clever and that little girls using it is somehow cool.

Some may say that the point of the video is that people care more about little girls using the word "fuck" than they do the message, which is that women deserve equal treatment and the right to feel safe when they are walking to their cars.  I don't deny that the message is important.  Women do deserve equal pay for equal work and they should be able to feel safe at all times.  But the message that comes across to me in this video also seems to be that all men are bad, treat women unfairly, misogynistic, potential rapists, etc.  What these girls are describing are assholes.  Assholes come in both genders.  An "in your face" video about how badly women and girls are treated in the United States rings pretty hollow, too, when you consider that there are many places in the world where women truly have no public voice at all, let alone one that can utter the word "fuck" at will on a video.

As I wrote before, I don't have a problem with the word "fuck" or even so much that the kids are using that word.  In fact, I use it all the time.  But there is a time and a place for that word.  Of course, the name of the organization that made this video is FCKH8, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. also shared Monica Lewinsky's recent speech about cyberbullying.  I don't know about you, but I was kind of shocked by how fast the years have passed.  Seems like yesterday, people were talking about how she gave Bill Clinton a blow job.  While I don't condone Monica's actions, I do have some empathy for her.  She was very young and starstruck when she was involved with Clinton.  Yes, he was a married man and she knew that, but ultimately, he's the one who strayed from his commitment.  And I don't think Monica Lewinsky should spend the rest of her life paying for her mistake in judgment... although it really was a whopper.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Life and death...

Yesterday, I posted this on Facebook.  I got a bunch of "likes".  A friend of mine left a thoughtful comment basically stating what I think, that a person's exit from this life is personal and should be up to them and their families.  And honestly, I'd take it a step further and say that death should be an individual's decision, as long as they are competent enough to make it for themselves.

I've actually been kind of surprised that there hasn't been more controversy about Brittany Maynard's decision to end her life on November 1.  Sure, there have been religious folks trying to appeal to that decision.  They argue that Brittany isn't letting God decide when she should draw her last breath.  They say she's not giving her family and friends the chance to be used by God in service to her.  And I guess those arguments are fine if you happen to be religious and have people around you who are both willing and able to be of service.  

But not everyone believes in God.  Not everyone sees this kind of catastrophic illness as an opportunity to serve someone else.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have loving friends and relatives who want to help or financial resources to pay those whose job it is to help.  And not everyone can cope with the pain and misery that comes from a devastating disease that robs them of their ability to function independently and with dignity.  

From what I've read, Brittany's cancer causes her extreme pain.  She has a very large brain tumor, which as it grows, puts pressure on brain and causes major headaches.  She has seizures and fatigue.  While I don't know the specifics of Brittany Maynard's illness, I would imagine a brain tumor would eventually start to take away important body functions.  She would probably eventually lose her ability to see... to hear... to speak... to move...  all of the things that make life pleasant would slip away, one by one.  

Once those things start to go, she loses power over her faculties and then other people would have to tend to her.  Then it becomes a lot harder to make decisions because the person making the decisions isn't the one who is actually living with the results.  It may be a burden to have to physically care for a person who is terminally ill, but I think it's an even greater burden and responsibility to make life or death decisions for them.  I think it's much better when a competent adult is able to make those decisions for themselves.  Once a person loses competence, they lose self-determination. 

I think people have the right to believe in whatever religion they want to-- or no religion at all.  They have the right to live life as they see fit.  I don't think religious people have the right to impose their religious beliefs on other people.  You think it's a sin to commit suicide?  Then don't commit suicide.  You think God should decide whether you live or die?  That's fine.  But don't try to make that determination for someone else. 

Of course, a lot of the "right to life" folks don't talk about the fact that left to their own, a lot of people who are terminally ill or grievously injured would die without lingering for months.  It's medical support that keeps them going... support that didn't exist until somewhat recently.  One hundred years ago, we didn't have high tech computers and mechanical equipment that kept people's bodies going indefinitely.  When a person's time came, it was time to go.  And they went...  There was no ethical dilemma because there was no technology available that could forestall death.  

How long would Brittany Maynard live if she had no medical support?  It's hard to tell.  Left alone, the process of death might be faster, but pretty intolerable to experience and to watch.  But make no mistake about it, she is going to die.  Unless there is some kind of a miracle or a new treatment for her disease becomes available before she voluntarily ends her life-- presumably on November 1, 2014-- she is going to perish, as we all will someday.

In the past month, a lot of words have been written about Brittany Maynard.  A lot of those words have been beautiful and complimentary.  Some have not been very kind.  Some have been condescending and some have been supportive and admiring.  Whatever happens to Brittany Maynard, I wish her and her family peace.  It's tragic that she's likely going to die before she turns 30, but from what I've read about her, she's already lived a life fuller than many people ever do.           

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Indoctrination starts young... Mormon mommy videos

Maybe a couple of years ago, I was messing around on YouTube watching videos of kids throwing tantrums in cars.  Don't ask me why I was doing that... maybe it was because I was comforting myself that I never became a mom.  Anyway, I came across one video that intrigued me.  A little boy was sitting in the middle seat of a car.  His sister was sitting next to him, properly strapped into a carseat.  Another child could be heard crying.  The boy was in the middle, wearing a seatbelt without a booster.  He was too short for the shoulder belt, so it was cutting across his neck, touching his ear.  This distressed the boy, so he was screaming at the top of his lungs about it.  Mom was apparently filming this spectacle for the masses instead of fixing the situation somehow.

Now, I actually hate seatbelts.  I always have.  I wear them because if I don't, Bill turns into Pat Boone.  Also, because if you don't wear them in Germany, there's a huge fine.  By now, I've gotten used to them, anyway.  I do remember being a small child, though, and sitting in the front seat of my parents' cars (back when it was legal for kids to sit up there).  They'd sometimes make me wear a seatbelt and I was too short.  It was uncomfortable, so the damn thing would cut me across the neck.  I'd usually just put the shoulder part behind my back.  Of course, nowadays, you can't do that.  Most cars don't just have lap belts anymore, either.  So kids need booster seats if they can't sit in a carseat anymore.  Actually, this kid was small enough that he probably could have been in a carseat for larger kids, but he had two little sisters who needed them more than he did and there was no room for another carseat.

A couple of days ago, I came across the carseat tantrum video again.  Not having a lot to do, I started looking at other ones posted by the kids' mother.  She's now up to four small kids.  It wasn't long before I noticed that this family is very Mormon.  The kids are really cute, so mom has posted all sorts of videos.  There's one of the boy and older girl in bathing suits in the bathtub.  Actually, I was glad to see that, since someone actually encouraged the mom to film them nude (pedophiles, people!!!).

There's one video where mom is in a rushing river of some sort.  She takes her oldest daughter (at the time the video was shot, maybe 3 years old) under a log in cold water.  Mom writes that the water is usually about 55 degrees.  The girl doesn't cry, which mom comments on... amazed.  Honestly, if you think your child might cry and scream in cold water, why would you even attempt to swim with them under a log under they're older and can decide for themselves?

In another video, she shows an even younger daughter eating raw onion.  Apparently, the kid really likes it.  There's no accounting for taste, I guess.  It does surprise me a bit, though.  That girl must have interesting taste buds for being so little.

The one video that really caught my attention was one of her three year old girl giving a "church talk" for the first time.  This kid is basically unintelligible, so mom has helpfully provided a transcript in the video description.  She's not actually speaking in church-- looks like maybe it was a dress rehearsal of some sort and they're in a classroom.  But she's saying things mom feeds to her, like "Thomas S. Monson is the prophet" and "When I follow the prophet, I am happy".  She holds up signs as she says these things, surely not really knowing what she's saying, but pleasing her mother, who is also filming her for all to see.  Her brother, the same one who was screeching about wearing a seatbelt incorrectly, is clearly bored and can be heard commenting throughout the video as mom tries to keep him contained while filming her barely verbal daughter giving a "talk" that she clearly doesn't yet comprehend.  And freakily enough, what the child is saying reminds me a little bit of what North Koreans say about their "dear leader".

A North Korean girl sings praises to the "Dear Leader".

I shared the video with some people in the know... and I noticed one person came back and took mom to task for it.  She basically invited him to watch Meet the Mormons, a new documentary now showing in movie theaters near you.  Naturally, it's all about Mormons.  This lady figured her commenter was "confused" and didn't know about how great the Mormons are.  But, as it turned out, he was a former missionary who did time in Peru trying to convert people.  So then she apologized that he was "offended", which is another common assumption many church members have about people who don't like their church.  Frankly, I don't think that's a bad reason to dislike Mormonism.  If enough of the people in the church are so yucky that you'd completely abandon your religious belief system, there must be something wrong with the church.  But no, the commenter claimed that he left because of doctrine.

After watching one more video featuring her youngest child in the womb, two days before he was born, I decided to stop watching.  I was alternately amazed and weirded out by the sight of this woman's gyrating pregnant belly.  In some ways it was pretty cool... in other ways, it was a little too personal.  

3 year olds giving "talks" in church is a little creepy.  I know that many church members think this is the way to bring their kids up right.  Some probably think it's cute.  But having an adult feed you the right things to say in front of a church crowd is not really so much developing a belief system as it is submitting to indoctrination and being rewarded with parental approval.  Maybe a case could be made that it teaches kids how to speak in public... but it seems to me that kids ought to be physically able to speak, have rational thoughts of their own, and make some sense before they are expected to give a "talk" anywhere.  If not for the child's well-being, the comfort and well-being of onlookers should be considered.  It's true that some people find kids adorable and enchanting and think whatever they do is cute.  Other people tolerate kids.  Some people actively dislike them and won't think hearing their "canned testimonies" hand fed by their parents is all that interesting.

I do like kids.  I do think this mom is fortunate to have four adorable and apparently very healthy kids.  She obviously loves them enough to record a lot of their moments on video and put them on public YouTube videos.  I'm not sure she enjoys the negative response some of the videos have received, but I give her credit for not deleting the comments or becoming belligerent.  I do wonder what her motives are, though.  Why put your kids on YouTube for strangers to see?  Why invite criticism?  Are you doing it because you want to be an example to everyone else?  The videos are interesting, but perhaps not in the way mom intended them to be.              

Monday, October 20, 2014

Woman gets stuck in would-be boyfriend's chimney...

Just saw a video about a woman who got stuck in the chimney of a Thousand Oaks, California home. The woman, Genoveva Nunez-Figueroa, had met the homeowner online and they went on a date or two.  I guess things didn't work out from the man's perspective and he started to distance himself.  Apparently, she wasn't ready to let go of the relationship.  She was on his roof once and he called the police.  Then she came back and tried to break into the house via the chimney.  Fortunately for her, a neighbor heard her yelling and texted the neighbor, who then called the cops.  The chimney was dismantled and the woman was removed, taken to the hospital, and placed in police custody.  Now the homeowner has to pay to get his chimney fixed, but at least she didn't die.

Back in 2010, I remember reading about a doctor from Bakersfield, California who who tried to break into her boyfriend's home.  49 year old Dr. Jacqueline Kotarac first used a shovel to try to gain entry to her boyfriend's house.  When that didn't work, she used a ladder, then tried to slide down the chimney a la Santa Claus.  Unfortunately, Dr. Kotarac got stuck as the man she was pursuing slipped out of the house to avoid a confrontation.  Evidently, the boyfriend, William Moodie, then left town.  Her decomposing body was found three days later by a housesitter and her son, when she noticed a bad smell and fluids leaking into the fireplace.

As bad as it is that the doctor died in her pursuit, now the homeowner has to deal with the fact that someone died in his house.  I'm sure that won't make his home as attractive to potential buyers should he ever decide to move.  I read that Dr. Kotarac supposedly was a very compassionate physician.  It wouldn't surprise me if there was a little borderline personality disorder going on with her, but of course, I can't know that for sure.  She died a terrible death that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

Yesterday, I became aware of yet another crazy woman.  Kristina Riddell from Longmont, Colorado who, back in July, left her child alone in the backseat of a car, should have been arraigned in court today.  Two people passing by saw the boy and called the police.  While one of them was on the phone with the cops, the mother of the boy appeared, decked the male half of the intervening couple.  She then got in her car, backed over the woman who called the police, crushing her leg, and drove off while the man was holding on to the car.  The man got cuts and bruises but the woman was in a wheelchair and may never walk normally again.

It's been an interesting day.  It's looked like it's going to rain all afternoon, but so far heavy clouds but no rain.

Alexis suggested it and I'll deliver...

The other day, I posted about a woman who tried to sell her big pink dildo to the Stuttgart military community.  Alexis commented that the title of my post reminded her of the song, "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell.  I took it as a challenge to come up with a song called "Big Pink Dildo".  This may take me hours, but what the hell.  I have nothing better to do.

Big Yellow Taxi

by Joni Mitchell

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel *, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
Put 'em in a tree museum *
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Hey farmer farmer
Put away that DDT * now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Big Pink Dildo

by knotty (with major apologies to Joni Mitchell)

She posted a photo
selling a used sex toy.
It was eight inches long,
made of rubber, and looked like a boy.

Don't it always seem to go
that a dildo causes people to crow!
She posted a photo
tryin' to sell a sex toy! 

She kept all the pubes, 
sticking to the rubber dick.
And she's charging the people 
just five bucks to buy the pink prick!   

Don't it always seem to go 
that a rubber cock makes people loco!
She posted a photo
selling a used sex toy!

Hey uptight housewives
Put away that squeamish 'tude now!
Give me fake cocks on Facebook
and let me have fun being crude!

Don't it always seem to go
that the fun police show up and they know
she posted a photo
tryin' to sell a sex toy!

Late last night, 
a Facebook post got rude.
And a big pink dildo 
brought out a couple of prudes!

Don't it always seem to go
that a fake cock causes tempers to blow
She posted a photo
selling her used pink sex toy!

I said, don't it always seem to go
that some folks hate when we're being gross!
She posted a photo
selling a chewed up dildo!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I don't like half the folks I love...

This song really sums it up...  Yeah, 'nuff said.

It's ironic that I discovered this song on the way home to Virginia in July when I was going to see my dad for the last time.  Now that the holidays are rapidly approaching, I think this song will become my theme.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Big pink dildo...

Last night, while still bitching about not being one of "the grandchildren", I happened to notice a picture of a big pink dildo on my Facebook page.  Looking more closely, I noticed that it was coming from the Stuttgart Military Yard Sales page.  Someone was apparently selling it for $5.

One of my friends commented that this thing looks like a dick wearing clown shoes...

I will admit that my initial reaction was disgust.  But then I started reading the comments, which were hilarious... and of course I joined in!  The "seller" was offering up this fine sex toy that was used twice and cleaned with baby wipes.

Looking more closely, I noticed that the toy had what looked like bite marks on the end.  It also apparently had pubes.  I asked if it glows in the dark.  Then it occurred to me that my dogs chewed up their Michael Vick chew toy and they could probably have a blast with this thing...

Before too long, though, the fun police showed up.  And they wrote:

"This is an inappropriate posting on a military community site that can be accessed by teenagers. Please remove postings of this nature."

Naturally, those who were commenting and having fun scoffed at the lady who was offended.  She persisted in begging that we preserve the dignity of "our profession"...  (and given that I think she was a wife rather than a service member, I don't think it actually was "her profession", but I digress.)

So the naughty joke listing was taken down.  It was fun while it lasted and it did improve my mood even if I was relieved that the whole thing was a joke.  But then they made a new group for naughty people who like to joke about used sex toys.  Hopefully, it won't get too nasty in there with talk of "dependapotomuses".  But I did contribute this picture...

I bought this two weeks ago at the German drink market... I think it was supposed to come with a condom...

I learned that the German word for condom is Flutscher.  My friend Susi says that the word comes from the German verb "to slip".  Go figure.