Friday, March 1, 2019

No more encores...

Sung to James Taylor's version of "The Water is Wide"...

My "Blogger" has died...
Time to cross over.
And try again on a brand new space.
No need to haunt my former site.
Don't try to fish, cuz I won't bite.

There is a place...
Where I've settled in.
I've paid the price
WordPress for the win.
I've locked down posts
that might cause me grief.
I'm turning over
A brand new leaf.

Oh, write I must
it keeps me sane.
I love to vent
in sunshine or rain.
The time has come
to make this change.
A brand new blog
I've now arranged.

So come along...
if you feel you must.
This blog is gone...
turning to dust.

This blog is done...
it's going bust.

Apologies to all James Taylor fans and anyone else who loves his version of "The Water is Wide".  I just felt like making my last post on this blog more creative than usual.  If the player doesn't work and you want to hear my creation, click here.

I'd like to explain my sudden departure here, but unfortunately, Blogger simply isn't secure enough.  I'd actually been wanting to change venues for awhile now, but a recent issue has forced my hand.  So yes, it's true.  I've moved this blog to a new site.  For the time being, I'll leave my travel and music blogs on Blogger.

Many thanks to the "regulars" who are still visiting every day, looking for an update.  I appreciate the hits.

Thursday, February 21, 2019


This blog has moved.  If you want to know where, hit me up on Facebook.  New comments are no longer allowed here.  If there's something you wish to comment on from this blog, feel free to do so on the official Overeducated Housewife Facebook page.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Suicide brings out the assholes in people...

A couple of days ago, I came across an article in the Army Times about the tragic death of a soldier.  21 year old Private Aaron Mitchell had come home to Nebraska from South Korea after his husband, 21 year old Rich Rosa, committed suicide.  Mitchell was granted leave for the funeral.  Twelve days later, on February 5th, Mitchell was found dead in Valley, Nebraska.  He had also committed suicide.

Mitchell had only been in the Army since May 2018.  He was stationed at Camp Henry in South Korea, where he worked as a mortuary affairs specialist.  As far as I know, there's no explanation as to why Mitchell and Ross killed themselves.  That's not really the point of my post today, anyway.  As usual, I made the mistake of reading some of the comments.  A few were respectful and expressed condolences to the family.  Too many were mean-spirited and hostile.

The very first comment I read on Army Times was this one:

All you people with an opinion on this, if you've never served, you are outside your lane. You often live with lots of other people at very close quarters, little things get magnified, and whether you think so or not, or want it to be, being a homo is a big deal in the military. Less so in some kinds of units maybe, medical units have anecdotally always been an area they gravitate to. The Infantry is a different world from the world the REMF's live in.

There's enough BS in the military without having to deal with this kind of crap. The military does not need the freaks, the freaks need the military to prove to themselves they are normal. In most cases it does not work and becomes an issue for everyone involved. Who thinks the military benefitted by letting Bradley Manning enlist? No one, probably not even him.

Notice this person, who claims to have served, refers to "homos", "freaks", "REMFs", and people needed to "prove to themselves they are normal."  It was this comment, along with others, that caused me to remark on Facebook that I think it's a shame that there are so many people affiliated with the military who are homophobic and/or think suicide is funny.  

One of my friends, married to a general, commented that she doesn't know anyone in the military who is like this.  Unfortunately, I have run into quite a few service members who behave this way and have this despicable attitude.  I also have a gay cousin who honorably served eight years as a Marine officer in the infantry.  Being gay doesn't make a person unfit for military service, nor does it make someone a freak.

This is another comment someone left:

Hey Army Times, don’t pee on my head and tell me it’s raining. Notwithstanding the fact that Oblammer did much to destroy the Espirit de corps of the armed forces with nonsense that you now promote, or what former Justice Kennedy says about the institution of marriage, this homosexual relationship was NOT marriage. It is a moral deficiency now compounded by 2 more moral failings. Suicide is not an option that we should promote...unless and until our betters give their blessing. Then...wa-la, problem solved!

Suicide is a huge problem in the military.  It doesn't just affect homosexuals.  However, if you happen to be gay and in the military, you run into assholes like the above commenter who thinks he's a bad motherfucker being a homophobic moron.  I was glad to see some commenters taking the assholes to task over this, but I am also sad to see that the above comment got five "likes" from like-minded, small-minded bigots.  

I don't know what comes first with these people.  Are they heartless assholes before they get indoctrinated, or does military training turn them into these people?  My guess is that they're ignorant and heartless when they join, since I do know a lot of service members who would never make these kinds of vile comments in the wake of someone's suicide.  What a shame the military doesn't screen out these people... but then, there are quite a few stupid folks who join up because they can shoot a weapon and blow up stuff.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of these two men who died much too young.  Shame on those who lack the humanity to feel compassion for other people who are hurting.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

In France...

We found a quiet little town to spend President's Day weekend.  I suspect we'll spend some time shopping for wine and gourmet delights.  Hopefully, we'll find something interesting in one of the bigger towns near here.

The house we're in is historic and adorable, but all there is here is a bakery, convenience store, and a butcher.  I think there might be a school, too.

Our drive here was mostly pleasant.  We had great weather.  I think we'll continue to have good weather this weekend, although the house is pretty cold because it's old and I don't think anyone's been in it recently.

I'm going to try to enjoy our weekend... because when we get back to Germany, we have some business to attend to.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Is speaking Spanish in Montana illegal?

This morning, as I was basking in the afterglow of last night's fabulous meal, I started reading the news and came across a report out of Montana.  It seems that last May, Americans Martha Hernandez and Ana Suda were at the grocery store buying eggs and milk at a store in Havre.  While they were shopping, they spoke Spanish to each other.

Border Patrolman Paul O'Neal, no doubt descended from Irish people who were once not very welcome in America, approached Hernandez and Suda and demanded to see their I.D.s.  He wanted to know if they were citizens because he'd heard them speaking Spanish.  And, he claims, Spanish is not widely spoken in Montana, which must mean these two women aren't Americans.  But then, the state’s name, Montana, is derived from Spanish, is it not?

The ladies filmed O'Neal, who said that he hadn't racially profiled them.  But the reason he detained them was because they were speaking Spanish.  And that, apparently, was reason enough for him to interrogate them.

Not surprisingly, the American Civil Liberties Union, affectionately known as the ACLU, has now sued the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on behalf of Hernandez and Suda.  The language in the lawsuit reminds us that the United States has no official language and the country is multi-lingual, multi-cultural, and multi-ethnic.  Furthermore, plenty of American citizens lack fluency in English, just as plenty of non U.S. citizens speak English with ease.

As I was reading about this case, I wondered if Mr. O'Neal would have stopped me for questioning if I had been in Montana speaking Spanish.  I don't speak Spanish fluently at all, but what if I did?  What if I spoke German or Armenian, two other languages I've studied.  What if I had chosen to speak any of those languages with someone else at the grocery store?  Would Mr. O'Neal have detained me and asked me where I was born?  My guess is that he wouldn't.

I have blonde hair, blue eyes, and apparently most importantly, white skin.  However, according to 23andMe, my origins aren't actually American.  I am 99.8% European, which means that I am actually living in the land from where my ancestors came-- although I'd need to be in the United Kingdom or Ireland to really be where I "belong".  Of course, I'm not a U.K. or Irish citizen, despite looking and speaking the part (albeit with an American accent).  I have never been stopped or asked for my papers in either of those countries, though, apart from when I was at an actual border checkpoint at the airport.

You can't tell me that O'Neal stopped those women for any reason other than racial profiling.  They speak fluent Spanish and they have the darker features that come from having a Latin heritage.  And yet, Suda was born in El Paso, Texas, and Hernandez was born in El Centro, California.  And, as we all know, thanks to the 14th Amendment, being born in the United States automatically makes one an American citizen.

It really is troubling to read so many stories of people being harassed as they go about their daily business, simply because of Donald Trump's wide sweeping racism toward people who come from south of the border.  I think Mr. O'Neal could use more training on the policies of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which forbid stopping or detaining someone solely based on their race or ethnicity.  I wonder if border patrol officers are being rewarded for how many "illegals" they bring in.  Are they really so gung ho to round up people who aren't citizens that they round up anyone who just happens to look different from a stereotypical American?

I think the saddest thing about this story is that these women have now been facing harassment in their neighborhoods.  And Suda's daughter was so upset about what happened to her mother while shopping that she is afraid to speak Spanish.  That's a real shame, because God knows Americans could use more multi-lingual citizens... especially those who aren't completely ethnocentric.  Shame on Paul O'Neal.  I hope these ladies win big in their lawsuit.

We're off to France today... hoping for a good time.  I doubt we'll be profiled while we're there, either.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

People who don't answer the question...

A couple of days ago, I was lurking on the Cruise Critic messageboards when I noticed a thread called "Baby Mama".  A poster named lyannea explained that her nephew has a son with a woman with whom he is no longer romantically involved.  The woman wants to take their son on a cruise that will take place during the first week of school.  For some reason, the son and the "baby mama" have never drawn up any legal paperwork detailing the boy's custody.  After she set up the scenario, lyannea asked "Does Baby Mama need any papers from nephew, the father - okaying the trip?"

I must admit, as someone whose husband has two daughters he was not allowed to help raise, I was curious about this thread.  I have noticed a lot of people in divorce situations ask about taking children on cruises.  Cruise lines and airlines have rules and procedures in place for good reason.  They don't want to be a party to kidnapping in a child custody dispute.

Sometimes public forums bring out people's "Dr. Phil"...

I was not surprised, though, when many posters offered judgment and commentary on the nephew's situation rather than simply answering the question.  The first two comments were somewhat reasonable, but the third one was posted by someone making assumptions.  Poster "dolittle" wrote this:

Tell your nephew to get over the ''I was not asked first's'' and do what is best for his kid .Give them what they need and wish them a good time . Missing the first week of school is not a big deal . In these situations it is best to be the bigger(better) person.

I was rather impressed by lyannea's measured responses, as poster after poster passed judgment on her and her nephew.  Very few people simply answered her question.  Instead, they added other, irrelevant shit or made comments and assumptions about a situation that doesn't involve them personally and is really none of their business.  lyannea does continue to add a bit of information and some of her comments indicate her personal feelings about the situation.  For example, she writes that the mother is "unstable" and has "been known to lie" on occasion.  Maybe she shouldn't have posted those details, since they seemed to be bait people who felt the need to pass judgment.  

dolittle comes back with this:  

Maybe I am off base but it seems like you and he are looking for reasons to say NO to this trip . I hope you do not spoil the fun of a 10 year old and his new family. As Dr. Phil says sometimes you need to be the hero.

I must admit, anyone who quotes Dr. Phil as they offer advice is not exactly someone I would consider a font of wisdom.  And actually, I think missing the first week of school is a big deal.  Education is important.  

Another poster wrote this:

Why isn't your "nephew" seeking to establish his legal and parental rights himself? You seem to be more interested than he. "The mother is unstable". "The mother lies". Well, it seems to me that the father is uninterested and irresponsible.

It seems to me that the poster doesn't know the people involved.  I know a lot of people have read my blog posts and think I'm just a bitter, angry second wife, and they assume my husband is an irresponsible asshole (which he is so not!).  I can admit to being bitter and angry.  On the other hand, my husband's ex wife really is certifiably crazy.  I think I have a good reason to be bitter and angry toward my husband's ex wife because she denied him access to his children and tried to mess up his relationships with his own family.  The same could be true for the nephew in this situation, too.  There's really no telling.  We don't know the people involved.  To her credit, lyannea very patiently posts this response:

Thank you for answering my question about what papers, if any, he would have to submit for the cruise.

It’s difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, as we all know, without judgement

Have a great Sunday

I give her credit for not losing her cool.  She may have ranted offline, of course, but her response to the judgmental bullshit is admirable.  I am impressed.

But then, more judgment follows, and lyannea posts this...

She very diplomatically calls people out for passing judgment and even self-criticizes her choice to provide too many details.

And still, the judgment continues... and this is on Cruise Critic, of all places!

I think the commenter should "butt out", but that's just me...

Interestingly enough, the other posters start to come to lyannea's defense.  Check this out.

After this comment, lyannea says that they are not worried that the mom won't bring the child back.  She has a job that she won't want to lose.

And someone else besides me notices how civilized lyannea is.  

Although she might think twice about asking such a question on Cruise Critic.  It's a huge community and some people are more contentious than others are.

But then someone blames lyannea again... and she kind of throws a little shade.

This topic comes up because I notice in a lot of online communication, people don't simply answer the question.  For example, yesterday, someone the mast cell cancer Facebook group I'm in asked if anyone had ever used Hemp My Pet.  I was the first one to respond.  I wrote that I have given both of my dogs Hemp My Pet and it's a good product.

The people who responded after me, however, suggested other things.  No one answered the original question about Hemp My Pet.  Instead, it was suggestions to use frankincense or other CBD or hemp products.  What is it about online communication that prevents people from simply answering the questions asked?  I don't know.  Maybe the woman in the Cruise Critic thread who pointed out that messageboards and Facebook tend to bring out people's inner Dr. Phil or Dear Abby.  I'm sure we're all guilty of posting too much information or getting too judgmental.

I know I add too many details sometimes because I like to write and I think details are what provide an accurate picture.  I also think details are interesting.  But I know that the more detail you add, the more likely someone will get a picture you weren't trying to paint.  

Years ago, people on Recovery from Mormonism were pretty brutal whenever I posted about Bill's situation.  But then, after time passed and people got to know us, the responses softened.  A few people got to know me on Facebook and have actually seen pictures of Bill.  I think the ones with him and our dogs especially show what a kind, loving, decent, and reasonable person he is.  But with no context other than what's written, people tend to assume the worst.  I fear that must have been what happened with lyannea and her posts about her nephew.  He could be an irresponsible and uninvolved father... or he could be in a situation more like Bill's was.  But people love to project their shit onto others and get things twisted.

Well... it's Valentine's Day and I'm not sure we have anything going on.  Tomorrow, we're headed to France for the weekend.  We're bringing the dogs.  Hopefully, we'll have fun... or, at least a few croissants.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Rose McGowan's BRAVE...

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, before I read her 2018 book, BRAVE, I wasn't at all familiar with Rose McGowan's career.  Rose McGowan now bills herself as a "former actress".  Now that I've read her book, I can see why she's supposedly left Hollywood. Her book, BRAVE, is mostly a tale about an industry that abuses and exploits women.  As I was reading the last pages of her story, I recognized the crescendo that can come from a person who is gathering steam, telling off someone whose had it coming for a really long time.

Rose McGowan was born September 5, 1973 to her American parents, Daniel and Terri McGowan, in Certaldo, Tuscany, Italy.  Her parents were members of the sex cult, Children of God.  The late actor River Phoenix, and his famous siblings, Summer, Joaquin, Liberty, and Rain, were also in the Children of God.  I was interested in reading more about this cult, which seems to have attracted so many talented people and enticed them to live a life of poverty and exploitation for its charismatic leader, the late David Berg.

McGowan's family left the cult when she was still a child.  Her parents were abusive and neglectful, and after they left Italy, she had a very troubled upbringing in the Pacific Northwest and Colorado.  She was shuffled between her parents, both of whom were apparently kind of "fucked up".  Her mother was a writer and her father was an artist.  It was through her father that Rose McGowan got her break into show business, first as a child model when she was still living in Italy.  When her parents divorced, McGowan's lifestyle became more troubled.  For a time, she was a runaway and associated with drag queens.  At 15, she became emancipated, and moved to Los Angeles.  She had her first credited film role in 1992, playing Nora in the movie Encino Man.

Despite her rather unconventional upbringing, McGowan was able to break into Hollywood.  She modeled and acted, appearing in Scream, and eventually becoming the "face" of the clothing brand Bebe.  She also made music, starting while she was dating Marilyn Manson.  

This sounds like the career of dreams for many ambitious people.  Rose McGowan has led a life of fame and fortune, rubbing elbows with legendary actors and musicians and having her face displayed on the covers of many magazines.  And yet, according to McGowan's book, BRAVE, the lifestyle apparently makes her miserable.  Actually, apparently, it's the men in the lifestyle that make her miserable.

Starting in the early 90s, when she was still somewhat unknown, McGowan dated a man who bought her exercise equipment and encouraged her to lose weight.  She writes that she felt like a "failure" when she couldn't manage to get below 92 pounds.  As she became more famous, she ended up in more abusive relationships with men, including one she refers to as RR (Robert Rodriguez).  She describes him as very possessive and obsessive.  One time, after working very hard all day on a movie set, she came home to find what appeared to be a man in her bed.  RR had put a male dummy in her bed with a cowboy hat, apparently to scare her if she'd come home with another man.

McGowan describes working with the director Quentin Tarantino on the film Death Proof.  She writes that Tarantino hates women.  Apparently, all of the women in his films, particularly the powerful ones, end up dying horrible, violent deaths.  McGowan writes that she tried to give her character, Pam, an "angelic" quality so that audiences would feel something for her when she inevitably dies.  I haven't seen Death Proof, so I have no idea if McGowan was able to pull off that quality in her character.  But I did find her comments about movie directors interesting.  She says you can tell how a director feels about women by how the female characters in their films are treated.

Of course, Rose McGowan also starred in the series Charmed, joining the cast after actress Shannen Doherty departed.  She played the long lost half-sister Paige Matthews.  I only saw a few episodes of Charmed, and I don't think they were the ones that included McGowan.  Still, I grew up with Aaron Spelling's television shows, so McGowan's comments on working on Charmed were interesting to me.  They kind of made me want to watch Charmed.  McGowan was not herself a viewer until she was asked to meet Aaron Spelling.  She writes that she watched the show's pilot while flying, and she has never seen Charmed offered on any other flight since then.  Apparently, being offered that role was like "kismet".

I would say BRAVE reads a bit like a manifesto.  McGowan rails against sexism in Hollywood, even comparing it to a cult.  She apparently doesn't like the constant pressure to be thin, beautiful, and accepting of the way women are treated by the men in charge.  It doesn't surprise me that Rose McGowan experienced sexism and sexual harassment in Hollywood.  And yet, so many people would trade places with Rose McGowan.  Regular people dream of being stars, even though she makes it sound like a miserable experience.  People don't realize that stars work very hard.  The hours are long and not that glamorous, and there's constant pressure to measure up to physical standards that are very difficult to maintain.  McGowan's disdain for the way her image was marketed to the masses is palpable.  This book is her way of calling out the industry.  She flat out writes that she "despises" Bill Cosby, and claims she faked an orgasm with Harvey Weinstein.  Both of these men have been accused by many women of exploiting them sexually.  For what, though... a career the women wanted in Hollywood?

To be honest, it took me awhile to get into BRAVE.  From the beginning, it's a very confrontational book to the point of being kind of unpleasant.  McGowan uses raw language and seems very angry, which isn't the most soothing thing to read before you go to sleep.  I usually read before sleeping, so McGowan's style was kind of jarring to me.  But then, as I kept reading, I found her book more interesting.  I think she really was brave to write it, given that she's been in an industry that blackballs people.  In fact, she writes that she was "blacklisted" at least once.  On the other hand, there were times as I read this book that I kind of felt like she had a choice.  Rose McGowan had a choice to leave Hollywood.  It wasn't like she was forced to be an actress or a model.  Like anyone else, she could choose to go a different way.  I suppose she kind of has with this book... but I won't be surprised if she eventually stops referring to herself as a "former" actress.

Anyway, if I were rating BRAVE, I'd give it 3.5 stars out of five.  I see that it's a pretty controversial book on Amazon, with people seeming to love it or hate it.  I thought it was reasonably well-written and interesting, but the writing is very much "in your face".  Some people will like that and others will not.  My guess is that Rose McGowan is a complicated and, probably, a very troubled woman.  McGowan seems to think all men are the same, which I think is a shame.  Not all men are abusive bastards.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I've never been "prone" at the dentist's office...

I am currently reading actress Rose McGowan's book, BRAVE.  To be honest, I didn't know who Rose McGowan was before I picked up her book.  I never watched her on Charmed; I wasn't a fan of the movie, Scream (and don't even remember if I ever watched it); I don't follow Marilyn Manson; and looking at McGowan's page on, I don't even recognize anything she's been in since 2011.  I have heard of Law & Order, but have never watched the show.  I probably should watch Law & Order, because I probably would like it, but not because Rose McGowan was ever in it.

I picked up her book because someone in the Life is Not All Pickles and Hairspray Facebook group mentioned that Rose McGowan had been in the Children of God cult.  I recently wrote a couple of posts about that creepy sex cult that was big in the 1970s.  Rose McGowan is about my age, and she was born in Tuscany.  Why?  Because her parents were in that cult.  The Children of God sent members around the globe in an effort to recruit new people.  McGowan's parents must not have been as closed in to the compound as others in the Children of God cult were, as McGowan has actual memories of Italy instead of just the Children of God compound.

Fortunately for Rose McGowan, she wasn't forced to stay in that cult until she was an adult, as some others have been.  Her parents eventually moved to the Pacific Northwest, which McGowan hated after her time in Italy.  I can't blame her for that.  Italy is a magical place and the food is insanely good there.  I had to chuckle as McGowan described the first lasagna she ever encountered in the United States.  My very first memories are of England, not the United States (although I was born in Virginia).  I think it permanently affected my world view, just as Rose's world view seems to have been affected by having been born and spent her earliest years in Italy.

So anyway, I don't have too much longer to go before I'm finished with Rose's book.  I'm kind of glad I've been reading it, particularly since I also just read Justine Bateman's book about fame.  McGowan kind of echoes Bateman's comments about how fame isn't necessarily all it's cracked up to be.  There is a definite downside to it.  Unfortunately, at this point, McGowan's comments about her experiences in show business are not what is sticking out the most to me about her book.

A few chapters ago, McGowan wrote about having visited the dentist, who was pressuring her to get her teeth the "Cadillac" treatment.  You know, a lot of people in Hollywood have perfect teeth that are straight and brilliantly white.  And this is part and parcel of being in show business, since people are always looking at your teeth when you're in a movie or on television, or even if you're photographed for a magazine or album cover.  McGowan's point was that this dentist was trying to pressure her into spending big bucks to repair her perfectly serviceable, but not quite perfect, teeth.  It's toxic to women, particularly those in entertainment, that so many of us are pressured to look beautiful all the time.

But... as she was explaining this very good point about how women in show business are objectified and pressured into staying as young and gorgeous as they can for as long as possible, McGowan wrote something along the lines of, "There I was, lying prone at the dentist's office..."

I had to stop and scratch my head at that.  In 46 years of life on this planet, I have never once been asked to lie prone at the dentist's office.  If I ever had been, I'd be concerned about the dentist's competence.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is what it looks like to be "prone", if you are writing or speaking about lying flat and you want to be accurate.

If you're lying flat, but face down, you are in a "prone" position.  I would hope your dentist wouldn't want you lying like this during your checkup.

I think the word McGowan was looking for was "supine".  

Yes... you want to be lying on your back so your dentist has access to the right hole.  I have altered the original version of this photo, which was generously made available in the public domain by user Asanagi.  Many thanks!

I will admit, I get hung up on these kinds of "trivial" things all the time.  It probably annoys a lot of people, especially on Facebook.  In fact, I remember recently getting into it with people in the Life is Not All Pickles and Hairspray Group about the proper way to spell HIPAA.  People got snippy with me about it, claiming it's not a big deal.  

Maybe it's not a big deal to you, but it is a big deal to me.  Words have meaning.  Spelling is important.  Word knowledge and proper usage is important.  If I ever get to a point at which something like this doesn't make me twitchy, it may be time for me to see a physician.  I know some people don't care about this, just like I don't care about dog hair in the doorway and my ex landlady does.  It's one of my quirks.  I also hate it when people use the word "utilize" when they could just as easily and more accurately employ the word "use".  Or when they write or say "jettisoned" when they actually mean "rocketed".  The word "jettison" is not akin to the word "jet".  Look it up.

Remember this photo, especially next time you see your dentist.  If he or she asks you to get into a prone position, you may wish to switch doctors.

Incidentally, this morning I became aware of a new book that I've decided I must own.  Although I doubt I'm quite the guru professional copywriter Benjamin Dreyer is, I think we may be spirit animals.  

I hope to finish Ms. McGowan's book today and perhaps I'll review it later today or maybe tomorrow.  There's more to it than just an improper use of the word "prone".  If I know myself, though, I will probably think of her next time I get a cleaning.