Sunday, January 29, 2012

Funny thought I had today...

This post is going to be somewhat explicit; so if you have delicate sensibilities, I suggest you skip it.

Forgive me, folks.  I am just stuck on Christmas 2004, when my husband's crazy ex wife tried to force me to spend the holidays at my in-laws' house with her and her latest victim and all the kids she's had by three different daddies.  It was a tacky move on her part.  I had barely been married to her ex-husband for two years.  I had met my in-laws three times and the kids once.  She was hoping I would take the high road and stay in line in an effort to avoid alienating the kids and my husband's dad and stepmother.  She was counting on my being civil.

In the end, I was very civil.  I did not attend that gathering, because I did not think I would be able to keep a lid on my temper or a lock on my mouth.  I was pissed off about the attempted ambush.  And when I thought about it, I realized that no good could come from my being at that gathering.  I was feeling hostile and I knew the ex had hostile feelings toward me.  I didn't want to be the cause of a fight.

But last night, my husband found one of his kids on LinkedIn.  I was annoyed that he mentioned it to me.  I had been happily playing CastleVille.  I barely know his kids and what I do know of them, I don't like.  I wanted to enjoy a little time without thinking of my husband's miserable ex family.   But he brought it up and that made me start thinking of the past.   Before anyone thinks I'm totally heartless, I do understand that it can't be easy for them.  I am sorry they have been through an upbringing with my husband's ex wife.  On the other hand, maybe she really is the mother of the year, despite her apparent bad luck with men.  I wouldn't know about that.  All I know is that these kids have shown nothing but contempt and disrespect to people I care about.  And that makes me not like them or want to hear about them.

Anyway, I just had a funny thought about what might have transpired had I attended that Christmas gathering.  I'm sure that ex would have adopted an obnoxious, ingratiating tone of voice as she started to reminisce about her second marriage to my husband.  My husband told me that at that awful gathering, she did actually reminisce aloud about the so-called "good times" they'd had during their marriage.  Of course she did this "reminiscing" right in front of her current husband.  There's no doubt in my mind, she would have done that in front of me, too, since she has no respect for me or anyone else.  This would have been her way of rubbing my nose in it and trying to humiliate me in a subtle way.

Had I been at the gathering, I'm certain I would not have been level-headed enough to keep calm and collected.  I would have reacted, and probably in a way that would have given Ex great satisfaction.  But how funny would it have been if I had reacted in a way that she totally didn't expect?  Wouldn't it have been funny if she found out about my delightful penchant for saying the most shocking things ever?  For example, consider the following scenario.

Ex: "Oh... don't you remember when you and I used to..."

knotty's spouse: "Of course."

Ex: "We had the best time... It was one of the happiest times in our marriage, " said while giving me a patronizing and all-knowing look.

At that point, I could have cheerfully quipped, "Really?  Because I heard the best part of your marriage was your immense skills at giving great head!  I'm sure he misses it, because I don't have to do that to keep him around."

Of course, my husband's very inquisitive younger daughter, then aged 11 and now a devoted Mormon, probably would have piped up and asked 'What does 'giving head' mean?'"  And if Mom didn't want to tell her, I could have filled her in with a detailed explanation, as well as some information about who initially taught her Mom how to suck dick.  Yes, it's true.  I know a lot of very intimate things about my husband's ex wife... stuff that really shouldn't take up any space in my head.

Had I made that provocative statement, everyone would have been totally shocked and mortified, though I have a feeling my husband's dad would have eventually thought it was funny.

I'm sure Ex's mouth would have dropped wide open.  Then I could have taken a look at her mouth and commented on how many teeth she has and how I wouldn't want to risk putting anything fragile near those impressive choppers.  Her husband would then probably seethe with the reminder that his dick is not the only one she's ever sucked.  Indeed, from what I understand, my husband benefited greatly from the many different men who have enjoyed the ex's cocksucking talents.  Apparently, that was one way she managed to keep her men.

Of course, pulling a mean-spirited stunt like that probably would have been uproariously funny, to me at least, but it also would have made me look like the bad influence she claims I am.  And I was not about to give her that satisfaction.  She can tell everybody what a horrible person I am, but the truth is, I have never acted badly in her presence because I've never been in her presence.  And I have barely been in her kids' presence.  Her claims about me have no basis in fact.  So I can't be blamed for anything except coming along and marrying her ex husband.  I can't be accused of stooping to her incredibly low level.

But I have to admit, it really is a funny thing to think about... making such an outrageously inappropriate and rude comment in front of her precious innocent kids.  It might have been worth it to see the expression of utter humiliation on her face.  It's kind of akin to throwing a drink at her or taking a big dump on her pillow.  It sends home the deep level of contempt I have for her.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

There went the sun...

The nice weather we had yesterday is gone today.

Meanwhile, I have horrible cramps owing to Aunt Flow's arrival.  I'm thinking seriously about going back to bed and curling up with a book.

Maybe later I'll feel more like writing about something substantial.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Here comes the sun...

This year, the weather has been unseasonably warm.  It's late January and we have yet to see any snow.  There have been days when I've spotted people wearing shorts.  Many days, I don't need a jacket to go outside.

Still, we have had a lot of damp, rainy weather lately.  For the past several days, it's been positively gloomy outside.  This morning, we finally have some sun.  As I gaze outside at all the leaves I have yet to rake up since they fell two months ago, I feel a slight pang of guilt.  I probably should go out there and rake the leaves.  I probably will do that before spring hits.

It's hard to believe that last year, we lived in a state further south that is not known for snow.  January was riddled with snowstorms and ice.  This year, we live further north and have yet to see a snowflake.

The temperate weather hasn't stopped me from fantasizing about taking a tropical vacation, though.  My spouse is less partial to the beach than I am.  He would rather hit the mountains.

I have to admit, I don't have much to say today.  


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Elizabeth Smart claims to treasure her privacy... so why is she in People magazine?

Yesterday, I found out that world famous kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart is engaged.  Elizabeth's news was reported on several major news outlets, including CNN and People magazine.  In the articles I read, Elizabeth's father, Ed Smart, was quoted as saying that Elizabeth was, in fact, engaged, but did not want the press to know the future groom's name, nor did she want anyone to know when or where the big event will take place.  Of course, reporters did some basic research and found out that Elizabeth and her groom, Matthew Gilmour, plan to wed July 1st and are registered at Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma.  Since Elizabeth Smart is a devout Mormon, they will probably get married at the temple in Salt Lake City.  Or maybe they will marry somewhere else.

I made the mistake of sharing the news about Elizabeth's engagement on my Facebook page with the comment "One more thing for Ed to gush about."  Indeed, Ed was quoted in a caption from the People article as saying "We're just thrilled."  Ever since Elizabeth was abducted on June 5, 2002, Ed Smart has been in the public eye.  From my observations, he often gushes and emotes, so I don't think my comment was that out of line.

But an old friend left me a comment basically shaming me for posting the article and the comment.  She asked me to "leave the poor girl alone" and that "no one wants to be famous for what she went through".  I never wrote a word about what happened to Elizabeth Smart.  In fact, my comment was about her father.  And yet, this friend seemed to assume that I was about to make cynical and snarky remarks about poor Elizabeth.

Make no mistake about it.  I would never wish what happened to Elizabeth Smart on anyone.  She has endured a terrible ordeal, from the abduction, to the daily rapes, to the court case and having to face Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee.  I admire her for her courage and the fact that she has turned what happened to her into something positive and I do hope she has a happy marriage.

However, I do find Elizabeth Smart's claims about not seeking publicity disingenuous.  She is where she is because she has stayed in the public eye.  Other people who have gone through horrific public ordeals have managed to stay out of the press once their ordeals were over.  Jaycee Dugard and Jessica Lynch immediately come to mind.  Jaycee Dugard wrote a book and was in the news a lot when she was found.  After that initial ripple of notoriety, she faded out of the limelight.  Jessica Lynch used to be the stuff of daily front page news.  But she, too, eventually went back to living a normal life out of the public eye.

Elizabeth Smart, by contrast, has been in magazines, listed on People magazine's "most beautiful" list, made appearances on television shows, and has been widely featured on the Internet.  Now, she might still be in the news because of her father's shameless attempts at staying relevant.  After all, Ed was quoted as saying that Elizabeth wanted to maintain her privacy, yet there he was, talking to the press about Elizabeth's alleged desires for privacy.  But having been famous for almost ten years now, Elizabeth has to know that whenever the average person recognizes her, it's mainly because of what happened to her.  Knowing that, and hearing her pleas for privacy, I have to wonder why she would choose to start a foundation and be so publicly involved in child advocacy.  If Elizabeth had never been kidnapped, would she have even considered choosing a career in child advocacy?  My guess is that she probably wouldn't have.  

The truth is, Elizabeth Smart could fade out of public view if she really wanted to.  She could stop talking to the press.  She could choose a career that would not force her to make speeches, raise money, and talk to government officials.  Instead, she has chosen to use what happened to her as a means of effecting positive change.  That's a good thing.  But it also means she will never have total privacy and people will never "forget" what happened to her.  She is in her current position because of what happened to her.  Telling the press that she doesn't want them to know when, where, or to whom she will get married is only going to force them to dig for the information and create buzz.  Being in the public eye means that her privacy will be violated.  It's the nature of the beast.  If she doesn't like it, she can choose to stop cashing in on the bad thing that happened to her. 

But at least Elizabeth Smart doesn't have a reality show... yet.

I don't know that I would necessarily lump Elizabeth Smart's disingenuous pleas for privacy in with the Duggars' similar pleas.  The Duggars' recent miscarriage also caused an old friend (different one) to take me to task for daring to mention it on Facebook.  That time, my one comment was a simple "Hmmm".   I didn't make any rude remarks at all.  Just "Hmmm."  Other people made unkind remarks, which my friend was upset about.  My response to her was that the Duggars have chosen to be in the public eye.  While it might not be the classiest thing to make fun of a woman who has had a miscarriage, people have the right to be tacky if they want to.

When Michelle Duggar miscarried, it was immediately news.  Within hours of losing little Jubilee Shalom, the suddenly revised status of Michelle's womb was common knowledge around the world.  Jim Bob Duggar asked the public for privacy during their difficult time.  And yet, days after he asked for privacy, the Duggars held a funeral for the fetus.  And details about the funeral and pictures of the tiny girl's hands and feet were leaked to the Internet.  Supposedly, someone who was at the service was the culprit behind the leaked photos.  However, the Duggars, having been in the public eye for years now, had to know that putting pictures of Jubliee on the bulletins passed out at the funeral was going to lead to them being leaked to the press.

Like Elizabeth Smart, Michelle Duggar has endured something painful and tragic.  I would never wish a miscarriage on anyone.  But again, I have to question why a mother who pleads for privacy and respect goes running to the press hours after she miscarries.  It seems very hypocritical.

My friends who have shamed me for posting about these women who have been in the news for tragic reasons are also hypocritical.  I've known both of these women for years and have seen firsthand that neither of them are above a little snarking and cynicism themselves.  I'm reminded of the Bible passages about hypocrisy, since both of these women claim to be such Christians.  Matthew 7:3 says, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the log in your own?"  Luke 6:42 says "How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye.  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Of course, I don't really claim to be particularly religious.  But I also don't tell people what they can or can't say or think.  I think it's disrespectful.  People have the right to their thoughts, comments, and feelings, even if I disagree or think they're being tacky or mean-spirited. I can tell my friends I disagree with them.  I don't have to approve of my friends' thoughts or comments.  If it bothers me enough, I can always disassociate with them.  But I don't think I have the right to tell them not to "go there".  They have the right to "go" wherever they please.  And so do I.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yea! Jillian Michaels is off The Doctors...

I know this is old news.  I don't even like The Doctors that much.  But when fitness guru Jillian Michaels was on for her brief stint, I found the show almost unbearable.  It looks like Wendy Walsh, the sexpot psychotherapist, is also gone.  I'm glad, because I found both of them intensely irritating.

I never got the sense Wendy Walsh was really all that into that show.  I don't remember her contributing that much.  By contrast, Jillian Michaels was all over the broadcast, dropping the F bomb (which personally doesn't offend me that much), and yelling at people who are too fat.  I think heavy people already suffer enough humiliation.  Yes, it's not healthy to be too heavy, but fat people are people too and they deserve more respect than Jillian Michaels gave them.  I found her abrasive and disrespectful.  I'm glad she's gone... except for the new ads she's on.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No cussing allowed?

I just learned about a "no cussing" club started by McKay Hatch.  Hatch was in the news today because he took issue with an episode of Modern Family depicting a toddler swearing.  Hatch started his "no cussing" club as a 14 year old and apparently it's grown so much that he makes news when he complains about cussing.

With a name like McKay, I figured the kid had to be Mormon.  I was right.  He is.  And I am certain that his discomfort with swearing has a lot to do with his faith, which teaches that swearing is naughty, along with just about everything else that is fun, like sex.

McKay's club even has a catchy slogan... "You wanna hang with us?  Don't cuss!"  I wouldn't want to hang out with anyone who presumes to censor my language through peer pressure, but that's just me.

It could be said that one can have fun without swearing.  But I am not a big fan of burying language, even so-called "bad words".  Swear words are part of language and serve a purpose.  There is an appropriate time and place to use profanity and I do agree that it's important to teach people when it is and isn't generally appropriate to swear.  But bad words exist because PEOPLE make them bad.  The words are innocent.  It's the intention and context behind them that makes them good or bad.  What's more, sometimes there's great beauty in a good "fuck you".  Some people really need to hear those particular words.

I'm sure McKay gets lots of props for promoting clean language.  I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up being one of those right wingers who tries to regulate what is appropriate for other people to say or hear.  And really, where does he get off?  If he doesn't want to cuss, fine... but don't try to censor other people.  If you don't like what's on TV or the radio, turn it off.

I wish the great George Carlin was around to talk about this...  But at least, for now, anyway, we still have YouTube...  I just think that people need to live and let live and devote their energies to things that really matter.  God knows a lot of people have plenty to cuss about.

As for me, for now, McKay, I'm gonna keep cussin' ...  m'kay?

Monday, January 16, 2012

An old fashioned sex shop...

Where I live, there's an "adult entertainment center".  It's pretty funny to pass it on our way to the grocery store.  It's in a big dilapidated building with a big yellow sign.  There's a cheap, somewhat opaque fence that stretches across the parking lot, I guess to allow patrons to park so their car won't be recognized.

I don't usually see people going in or out of the adult entertainment store, though it seems to be open every day.  This afternoon, however, my husband and I were on our way to the grocery store when we noticed the guy who had been driving in front of us walking toward the entrance of the store.  The guy was an older gent and apparently was embarrassed about his need for adult entertainment, because he was wearing  a big pair of dark sunglasses and was walking quickly toward the front door.  He had parked behind the fence.

I saw him open the door and quickly scuttle inside the dirty looking establishment.  I had to wonder if the guy had never heard of the Internet, where that kind of entertainment is easily scored in private.  This is a small, conservative, southern town, so I guess I understand the desire for privacy.  I wonder why the proprietor didn't have the door moved to the back of the store so it was private... or at least erect a privacy fence by the door.  But I guess that would take money, which I'm guessing the proprietor has less of because of the Internet.

One of these days, I'm gonna take a picture...  ETA: I took one yesterday!  I later found this place reviewed online.  Apparently, it's a hook up place for homosexuals, complete with glory holes.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Costa survivor speaks out on Cruise Critic...

I regularly hang out on Cruise Critic's message boards.  I am not a Costa cruiser; my three cruises have been on Royal Caribbean and SeaDream Yacht Club.  Nevertheless, I've been perusing the Costa boards with interest, mainly because I'm still shocked and oddly fascinated by this shipwreck.  One lady from Australia posted that she was on the Concordia.  Evidently, the whole rescue operation was a big cluster fuck.

They basically dumped passengers off at a hotel, which Costa paid for at least.  They haven't got anyone helping these folks, some of whom have lost everything.  I imagine the passengers will be okay, but what about the crew members?  Some of them really may be calling the ship home.

I will be interested to read how all this turns out.  The reports so far are alarming.  The captain abandoned ship before the passengers did.  The lifeboats were not used in a timely manner.  Crew members did not have an understanding of how serious the situation was.  Apparently, there was no real leadership... although I'm sure at some point, a hero will emerge.  That's usually how it goes in situations like this. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Costa ship runs aground... it's a gonna cost a lotta...

I was shocked this morning to hear about Costa's Concordia, a huge cruise liner than ran aground off the coast of Italy last night.  I was blown away by the photos on CNN of this massive ship lying on its side and streams of shellshocked people wandering around, wrapped in blankets.  I can't even imagine how terrified those people must have been when their vacations were suddenly ruined by a wayward sandbar.

Having just cruised a couple of months ago on a much smaller ship, it was hard to picture the chaotic scene the was being described in the news.  Most of the people onboard were from Europe, but there were over one hundred Americans onboard.  All told, there were over 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members, all of them trying to get off the ship before it sank.  I wonder if those people took the muster drill seriously...   If they didn't, I'm sure they will if they ever cruise again!

It will be interesting to see what comes of this shipwreck.  Good can come from any situation, even tragedies like this one.  But it's hard to imagine right now just what.  I imagine there will be lawsuits filed.  People will lose their jobs, either due to being fired or being laid off.  Some folks will be stranded for awhile.  The water will be polluted.  Money will be lost by Costa and its parent company, Carnival... and by passengers and insurance companies that have to pay claims, not to mention all the people who had cruises planned on Concordia and will now have their plans changed.

It looks like there was some incompetence going on, too...  Apparently, the lifeboats weren't deployed until it was too late for some of them to be released, thus delaying the rescue of many passengers.  I'll be watching the news for more information about this situation.  I'm sure it will prompt some procedural changes.  Again, that's one way good can come out of this... but overall, it's pretty much a suckworthy situation for a lot of people.

I have another blog...

It's intended for my music obsession and will mostly focus on my fixation on songs from my past...

Check it out...

Don't worry.  I'll keep bitching here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

They call me...

LaQueefah?  Really?

I was introduced to this song by watching Dance Moms, a cringe-worthy reality show starring horror show dance teacher Abby Lee Miller and a gaggle of moms and daughters.  Once again, the trainwreck factor kicks in when it comes to me and this show.  I don't have kids, but if I did, I would not tolerate the way Abby talks to her clients and their moms.  I watch this show off and on, probably because I can't believe it's on TV.  Actually, today, I was looking for Desperate Housewives and instead got a Dance Moms marathon.  My fault, I know.  I should change the channel or, hey, do something more constructive than watching TV...

But you gotta admit...

This is pretty much beyond the pale.

I mean, what kind of mom lets her daughter dance to any song that has the word "queef" in it?  Or a song that even suggests queefing in an abstract way... And don't tell me that it's just a name.  If it was just a name, why not use Latifah?  Or some other name that rhymes?  Why go there with the q word?

I have a pretty off color sense of humor and I can handle a lot of crude stuff.  And words are neutral, but they all mean something.  Queefing is a vaginal expulsion of air, m'kay?

This is too crude for me.  If I had been that mom, I would have pulled the plug on it and refused to let my kid go on.  Surely Abby Lee Miller could have come up with another ethnic dancer without using a song with the world queef in it.  Eeewww.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

If it's January, it must also be time for...

depressing ads for UNICEF and the ASPCA... *groan*

Lately, the ASPCA has been airing ads trying to get animal lovers to pledge monthly.  They set tearjerking photos of distressed dogs and cats to Sarah McLachlan's or Willie Nelson's music.  On some ads, Ms. McLachlan herself makes a plea to animal lovers to pony up the cash to keep the ASPCA going.  I hate those ads even though I love animals very much.  I feel like they're a cheap shot and they piss me off more than they make me want to reach for my purse.  When I watch those ads, I feel manipulated and emotionally blackmailed... even shamed.

I did actually give some money to rescue organizations a couple of weeks ago.  I love animals and am committed to adopting my dogs from reputable rescues.  I'm sure the ASPCA does good work, but I cringe whenever their ads air.


Not to be outdone by the ASPCA, UNICEF has enlisted Alyssa Milano to beg viewers to give 50 cents a day-- that's two quarters to you and me-- to UNICEF so they can save children in poor countries.

These kinds of dramatic pleas from non-profit organizations have been going on for years.  Everyone from Sally Struthers to Bonnie Franklin have done their part to cajole and shame people into giving money to various charities to save lives.  But Alyssa Milano's ad is really annoying. 

I know she's a UNICEF ambassador and I know UNICEF does good work... but I could do without the melodramatic pleas for donations.

January is also the time when people start thinking about their taxes.  Maybe that's why these ads run more than usual now.  Whatever the reason, this is just another reason to turn off the TV.


The following is an editorial I wrote in 2004.  It is posted on another Web site, but since it correlates to this blog post, I figure I'll repost it here.

I'm betting that those of you who own a television and watch it occasionally have seen the ads for sponsoring a child through organizations like Save the Children, Children International, and Christian Children's Fund. If you haven't yet run across one of these ads, you must be a public television watcher or a fan of premium cable TV. I'll describe one, just the same. 

An old guy, looking very casual, but "worldly" in long pants and a long sleeved, banded collar shirt is shown in a third word hellhole- it's never identified. He tells the sad story of a boy or girl who lives in the hellhole-- of course the child is invariably barefoot, malnourished and plagued by flies. The child usually has big eyes that dominate his or her face, just daring you, the viewer, not to feel sorry for him or her. The old guy tells you a little bit about the child's plight- the kid lives in this horrible slum, and his or her family has no money for food, education, clothing or medicine. You can help the child by agreeing to sponsor him or her; this entails sending about $20 or so a month to provide clothing, food, medicine, and education. In turn, you'll get cards and letters from the child documenting his or her progress. 

In the latest ad, the old guy rhetorically asks viewers "Why haven't you called yet?" Then he starts offering some "excuses" for why you, the viewer, are being so selfish. He suggests, "Maybe you're too busy with your day to day life. But these kids don't have time to wait for when you're ready to make a commitment. 27,000 kids died last night, but a lot more were saved with the help of sponsors." Then he lays on more guilt, reminding you how awful this kid's life is and how he or she desperately needs your help. He says, "You've thought about sponsoring a child when the time is right. Why not now? It's not the 80 cents a day, is it?" He implies that you will be a much better person if you'll just pick up that phone and call. Then the punchline is, "You know what I think it is? I think you just forgot the number-- so here it is." A train passes and the 1-800 number is flashed across the screen for your perusal. 

These ads are all the same. They almost never identify the country where they are being shot-- and they show kids with no spark in their sad, vacant eyes and no smiles on their faces. The kids always look helpless, frightened and depressed, and they always cling to something desperately-- an adult or an inanimate object. The kids always have an anglicized name, too- maybe to make it easier for you to relate to them and their plight. These ads are supposed to make the viewers feel like crap and they often succeed. After all, Christian Children's Fund has been around since 1938. 

Am I the only one who thinks these ads are in poor taste? Yes, I know the guilt approach works... it must, since these organizations have been around for years and they've had the same ad campaign for as long as I can remember. But, for one thing, I have doubts that $20 or so a month is enough money to save the world, one child at a time. Yes, I know that dollars stretch further in other countries than they do in the United States, but who's paying for these commercials to air? Who pays for people like Sally Struthers (Save the Children and Christian Children's Fund) and Walter Coppage (Children International) to pitch the program? What about public relations efforts? Who pays for that? Does that $20 a month really go directly to the child you sponsor? 

I think that while children's charities may be doing wonderful work, they are also selling something. When sponsors send in that $20 a month, they get relief from that guilt that comes from ads like these. That $20 (plus a couple of extra bucks to offset the cost of changing currency) monthly payment feels good because it makes sponsors feel like they're doing something to help save the world. But there are so many people in our own country who need help, and there are so many other ways to be helpful besides just blindly sending money to a charity. I never feel guilty when I see these ads. I spent over two years in a developing country and taught English to children and locals who worked for Save the Children and United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). I won't say that these organizations are scams, but I do think there's a better way to get people to make donations and sponsor children. We never hear about the good things that have happened because of these charities. Sure, the narrator always tells you how your donation will help, but the overall picture is kept grim, hopeless, and helpless. 

As it is now, we must watch these folks, usually has-been actors, peddle their charities-- holding the hands of these kids and leading them around trashy third world villages, begging viewers to help them. How do the kids really feel? Do they know they're being exploited? Do these programs really benefit them or are they more for the consumer? 

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Have you ever been shunned?  Have you ever had a family member, friend, or business associate suddenly stop talking to you?  Certain religious groups are notorious for shunning people, particularly when there's been a "transgression"; especially when a member decides to do something against the religion or leaves it.

Shunning can be very hurtful, especially when it's perpetrated by a family member or close friend.  In fact, that's the reason people do it.  Shunning is intended to keep people in line.  It's not so much for the person who is being shunned as it is other people within the group.  Typically people who are in groups that would resort to shunning are very isolated.  Shunning is usually carried out in close-knit groups which don't encourage members to associate with others outside of the group.  Consequently, people who are being shunned feel alone and abandoned.  Lacking social support, they may acquiesce to the demands of their group.  That may be a desirable effect, but the real reason groups shun is because it keeps others within the group toeing the line, even when obedience is uncomfortable.  The prospect of being shunned by loved ones is even less comfortable than the cognitive dissonance that might lead someone astray.

Recently, I was hanging out on the Recovery from Mormonism board and someone started a thread about shunning.  They wanted stories from members of the forum who had been shunned by church members, old friends, family members, and co-workers because of their disbelief in Mormonism.  I would submit that while it's very common for some religious organizations to shun, it also happens in families that are headed by a narcissist or sociopath.  The threat of being disowned or shunned keeps family members from ever talking about the "elephant in the room".  Abusive parents threaten to disown children that go astray or, when they split up, coerce their children into shunning the other parent.  If they disobey, there will be hell to pay.  They may themselves end up being shunned.

It struck me the other day that the practice of shunning is at its core an extremely arrogant behavior.  For it to be effective, the victim has to care about the people doing the shunning.  And the people perpetrating the shunning have to believe that their companionship is of value to the victim.  The shunning may be used to force someone into compliance, but more likely, it's used to keep others from going astray.  It's a control tactic.  Close-knit, unhealthy groups abuse this tactic to maintain control over members.

Whether the group is a religious or familial in nature, the devastation of shunning is the same.  Those who are affected by shunning have to learn that there are other people who can offer them companionship and love.  Any group or individual that would resort to shunning is toxic.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

If it's January, it must be time for weight loss ads...

Not that we're not already bombarded with weight loss ads year-round, but they come out with a vengeance at New Year's, because that's when people make resolutions to lose weight.  This is the weight loss industry's "holiday season".  We gotta lose weight so we can fit into the new clothes we got at Christmas, right?  This year, it seems that a bunch of female songbirds have come out to show us all how we should improve ourselves by dropping weight.

So, Jennifer Hudson is still with us, but this time she's singing a duet with "the fat her".

I have to admit, I didn't recognize Jennifer Hudson's "fat version"and actually thought she was upstaging someone else...  She does look very different, but this ad is offensive because the "skinny version" comes out and upstages the fat version, which indicates that the fat version should just STFU and go away.  I also don't think the fat version looks that bad... just different.  Anyway, I hate this ad.

The next ad that is all over the boob tube right now features Janet Jackson...

I don't think Janet Jackson looks particularly fat in this ad.  She's a woman in her 40s and still looks wonderful.  And I have a hard time believing that she's actually eating food prepared by a diet company.  I wish she'd "get on it" and get the hell off my TV.

And now Mariah Carey has jumped on the bandwagon by pitching Jenny Craig.  I didn't think it was possible, but she's more annoying than Carrie Fisher is...

She looks great having lost the baby weight after having her twins, but you won't convince me that her body came from Jenny Craig.  Moreover, this commercial annoys me because it's mostly her shrieking over and over again to irritating dance music.  I think Jenny Craig's ads are pretty obnoxious, but they're more effective when they show someone who actually needs to lose weight losing weight.

And finally, there's Marie Osmond's ad...  Oddly enough, it's not posted on YouTube yet.  In the ad, Marie, who is over 50 years old, looks like she's taken an extra hit of Botox.  She sits on the couch, hair perfectly coiffed, skin looking dewy and glowing, and talks to America about using Nutrisystem to lose weight.  Granted, she does look good, but the average American doesn't have access to the tools Marie does.  Frankly, if I were a woman in my 50s, I'd be even more annoyed by Marie.  She's not very relatable to the average person.

I'm all for improving oneself.  Weight loss is an admirable goal.  But a lot of people who try to lose weight will gain it back.  We also have many, many people out of work right now who are just trying to keep the lights on.   Diet programs along with diet foods are pricey.  It's great that these stars are svelte again, but I'm having trouble believing it's just because they're using diet products.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Here's a tip. Don't quote Dr. Phil or any other "talking head" if you want to appear wise...

It always amazes me when people use Dr. Phil quotes when they want to get the upper hand against someone else.  First of all, Dr. Phil is an offensive pompous ass who regularly disrespects the people who come on his show.  When he condescendingly asks "How's that workin' for you," he comes off like a self-righteous creep.  I think anyone who parrots that question deserves a good ass kicking.  It's the height of rudeness and disrespect, even though there are plenty of people out there who repeatedly make the same mistakes.

But if you are so inclined to offer someone advice or point out their mistakes, at least have the decency to come up with your own snappy catchphrase.  Quoting Dr. Phil is just plain dumb.  There is only room in the world for one Dr. Phil-- thank God.  Same goes for Dr. Laura, Oprah, Rosie O'Donnell or any other talking head on television.  Wise people don't need to recycle catchphrases from entertainers... which is exactly with Dr. Phil and his ilk are.  Moreover, asking someone in a sarcastic tone of voice "how it's working out for them" is only likely to make them defensive and angry.

Just to be clear about this, no one asked me "how it was workin' out" for me today.  However, I have been asked that in the past and it never made me laugh.  Instead, it made me want to smack the shit out of the person asking.  I thought about this today because I happened to stumble across an exchange on a message board at which some busybody 70 year old biddy asked another poster "how it was workin' out" for him.  The other poster got offended and hurled the same question back at the old biddy.  End result?  Both posters and riled up, offended, and still in conflict.  The 70 year old biddy then quoted Charlie Brown of all things.  She had to rely on a comic character to make her point.  That's real fuckin' wise.

There are better ways to be helpful.  There are more effective ways to point out to someone that what they're doing is counterproductive.  It's generally not helpful to be an all knowing smartass, certainly not if the other person is bigger, stronger, and meaner than you are.  Of course, when you're on the Internet, people are often very eager to be snarky, patronizing, sarcastic and just plain rude.  If you want to be rude and sarcastic, at least be original about it.  Come up with your own smartass remarks.  Don't use Dr. Phil-isms or quote comic book characters to get your point across.  Or just shut the fuck up.  Chances are, no one cares about your advice anyway.  But I could be wrong...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

An hour and a half to go...

Before it's 2012...

I wasn't planning to write again today, but I figure I might as well...  Pretty soon, everything will have a 2012 label on it.

It's hard to believe how quickly this year went by... and how a year ago, I lived in another state.  2011 was a pretty good year for me.  It wasn't the best year, but it was good enough.  I have nothing but hope that next year will be even better.  I feel optimistic... even as I stare at my spare tire and third bottle of wine.  Yeah, I shared it with my husband...

Anyway, 2011 was an interesting year.  It was a bad year for despots.  Bin Laden, Quaddafi, and Kim Jong Il each bit the dust.  It was a good year for veterans, since the Iraq War finally ended.  It was a bad year for Amy Winehouse, who died way too young.  It was a good year for us... because my husband no longer has to deal with his skanky ex wife and her determination to brainwash her kids.  Yeah... she still has power over them, but they are now adults.  And their future is up to them.

I sound heartless, I know.  But if you walked a mile in my shoes and had to watch someone you love be treated the way my husband has been treated, you would probably identify.  It sucks.  It hurts.  I'm glad it's over.

I'm glad 2011 is over.  Bring on 2012...  hopefully, it will be good.