Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's New Year's Eve!

I'm shocked by how quickly the holidays have flown by this year.  Hell, I'm shocked by how fast 2013 went by.

I am a little apprehensive about the coming year because Bill is leaving the Army and we have to make some decisions about what to do next.  On the other hand, it's also a little exciting to know that the Army will no longer dictate when and where we move.  Hopefully, we will be able to find a place we like and put down some roots.  Maybe I can get a life, once and for all!

The flu hit my poor mother-in-law a couple of days after I came down with it.  She says she could have gotten it from us or she might have gotten it at her job, where there have been other infected individuals.  This bug is extremely contagious, though.  Bill says that at work, people were hacking and quite a few were pretty sick.

I mostly feel better, except for the sore nose and cough.  My voice is mostly better, though maybe still a touch on the hoarse side.

Yesterday, I posted an article on Facebook about a 29 year old nurse who was fired from her job because she didn't want to take a flu shot.  I am a little torn on the issue.  I hate the idea of forcing people to do things they don't want to do.  This nurse has had three miscarriages and is worried that the vaccine might damage her unborn child.

On the other hand, this flu is very nasty and anyone with a compromised immune system needs all the protection they can get.  While one can argue that the pregnant nurse should be concerned about getting the flu herself, the fact is, she may be exposing sick people to the flu virus.  True that the flu vaccine doesn't protect against every strain and that the viruses mutate, which lessens the vaccine's efficacy.  But it's better to have some protection than none.

One of my friends is from Germany and she was shocked at how many healthcare employers impose these vaccination requirements on their employees.  She says that in Germany, doctors don't recommend the vaccine for pregnant women.  And then she added that no one can force her to be vaccinated.  My response is that the pregnant nurse was presented a choice.  Take the shot or be fired.  In many states, a person can be fired for most anything.  Not all healthcare organizations require the flu vaccine and it does seem to me that this nurse could have been otherwise accommodated with different duties during her pregnancy.  There's probably more to the story.

I also shared a viral photo of some guy's hospital bill… Which also generated quite a lot of discussion from people wanting to bash Obamacare.  Look, the Obamacare roll out has been a total disaster, but I reserve judgment as to whether or not it's going to be effective once it gets rolling.  We haven't yet had a chance to see if it'll be effective or not because it's not really in full effect yet.  At the very least, we need to do something about healthcare in this country and the fact that it costs so damn much.  It's shameful that people can't afford healthcare when they need it.

Other than that, the last few days have been pretty quiet.  I'm just trying to kick this sickness and hoping that if we go somewhere out of the country next month, I don't end up with another virus.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Ahh… the sweet relief of recovery...

I feel much better this morning, although I still have a hacking cough and my voice is a little husky.  That will take awhile to completely go away.  The tip of my nose is chapped and sore because it was running so much on Friday and Saturday.  I've spent the past four days in bed.  I think the worst day was Friday, when it seemed like I had every symptom of H1N1 coming at me with a vengeance.

I slept pretty well last night, rising only once at 3:45 or so for a potty break.  The dogs probably roused me as they usually do.  Then I went back to sleep and had a good quality rest until it was time for Bill to get up for work.

Sometime yesterday afternoon, I started noticeably feeling better.  I sent Bill out for toilet paper and asked him to pick up something "fun" for lunch.  He brought home a pizza, which I washed down with a very refreshing beer.

I sat on my bed all day watching The History of the Eagles on Showtime.  That documentary is about 3 hours and I watched it twice because it was pretty entertaining.  I like The Eagles' music, though I think Glenn Frey and Don Henley are both very egotistical and I'm kind of pissed that they fired Don Felder over money.  I mean, Don Felder was upset that Frey and Henley wanted more money than the other guys in the band, which I don't blame him for… even though Frey and Henley are original band members.  I dunno… I just think it's a shame that the relationship ended over money and lawsuits, especially since Don Henley is always preaching about shit like that.  I also think it's sad that the environmentalist Henley allowed "his band" to get in bed with Wal-Mart, which has a dismal record when it comes to protecting the environment.  I was so pissed about that that I never did buy The Eagles' most recent album because I don't shop at Wal-Mart, ever.

Bill hung out with me for most of the day, as did the dogs.  He said he's always happy to see me feeling better, though he says I'm not too demanding when I get sick.  The dogs have served as heating pads, too.  They love snuggling, even when their human is running a big fever.

"Dr. Arran" works his magic on Bill…

Bill is talking about trying to take a military "hop" on January 10th.  I think the chances are good that we will end up in Europe at some point after that for a quick trip.  I am a little worried about the wisdom of taking this trip when Bill has to retire so soon and I have to get a crown and new contacts in the coming weeks.  On the other hand, now might be the perfect time to do this, since there is no telling what kind of leave policy Bill will have in his next position.  Besides, we are long overdue for some weirdness… which we always encounter when we travel.  My travel blog could also use some fresh content.

The prospect of taking a trip is exciting, even as it makes me nervous.  But it also makes me think I better do some writing and generate some quick cash.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


So I think the fever might be gone now.  I spent yesterday hovering around 99.5-100 degrees, which is better than 102.7.  I slept well last night after generous doses of Advil PM and ZeeQuil.  I woke up with a dog on either side of me, keeping me warm.  I am very tired this morning, but managed to get out of bed and sit at the breakfast table.

Bill made biscuits and sausage and hominy.  I am the one who taught Bill how to make this dish.  I had never had sausage and hominy before 1993, when I worked as a cook at a Presbyterian church camp.  The kitchen manager was a local woman named Helen who had three part time jobs, three young adult kids, and a hard working husband named Emra.

I didn't realize it at the time, but I'm pretty sure Helen and Emra were lapsed Mennonites.  They had a very German name, lived in an area of Virginia where there are a lot of Mennonites, and they definitely looked the part.  Helen's daughter, Dawn, went to college with me and actually lived on the same hall as I did freshman year.  I got to know her and had asked her where she was from.  She said she was from Woodstock, Virginia, a place I'd never heard of.  I later found out she was actually from Star Tannery, where the camp was.  But she never told anyone that because Star Tannery is a tiny place that isn't always on a map and no one knows where it is… except for those of us who have been to the camp.

Helen's son, James, also worked at the camp.  It was his job to cut the grass, which was a huge undertaking, and do other maintenance type stuff.  I had kind of a crush on James for awhile, but as it is with crushes, later learned that it was good that my admiration was unacknowledged.

I think Helen had another son, but I didn't know him.

Anyway, since I was the cook at the camp, I talked to Helen every day on the phone.  She would bring me groceries and advise me on things to cook.  Sometimes, she would bring me recipes.  I can't say that I liked everything she suggested, but I did like sausage and hominy.  I think hominy is kind of a southern thing, though.  And it's kind of freaky to look at hominy, since it kind of looks like molars.  I do think it's tasty mixed with a little sausage, though, and topped on a biscuit with a little hot sauce.  It's not a dish we prepare often, but when we do, it does remind me of camp and the good times I had there.

Star Tannery, Virginia remains one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.  I would love to live there, simply because it's just a gorgeous, unspoiled place.

The view from my kitchen at Camp Paddy Run...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A review of Salty Baby by Orla Tinsley...

A couple of weeks ago, a visitor to this blog from Ireland alerted me to Orla Tinsley's 2010 book, Salty Baby.  Orla Tinsley was born in March 1987 and has cystic fibrosis, which was discovered three days after her birth.  I was interested in her story because I have read several books on CF and because it offered a perspective of how people handle this devastating genetic disease in countries other than the United States.  The title of Tinsley's book, Salty Baby, refers to the unusually high concentration of salt people with CF have in their bodies.

Tinsley's writing career seems to have started with a stroke of luck.  In Ireland, patients in hospitals are often kept in wards.  It was not unusual for Orla to be sharing a room with five other people.  One time, she happened to be sharing a room with a woman whose daughter was a reporter for the Irish Times.  Tinsley ended up writing several articles about CF for the Irish Times, particularly about the sorry state of hospitals for adults with cystic fibrosis.

This book is also a coming of age story.  Tinsley writes about what it was like to grow up with CF among healthy Irish kids, some of whom called her "germ girl".  She was interested in music, poetry, writing, and drama and was often involved in theatrical productions, despite being sick with CF.  I've often heard it said that kids with CF are kind of "special" in that they tend to be remarkably mature and "good".  I definitely got that sense about Orla Tinsely, who bravely seemed to want to wring everything out of living as she could, even as she saw some of her friends dying of the same disease she was born with.

Tinsley had grown up going to a children's hospital, where her illness was taken very seriously and nurses took pains to help her and other patients avoid cross-contamination.  She got her medications on time and the staff was very proactive in the care they delivered.  Once she graduated to the adult hospital, she discovered a whole new and terrifying world… where there weren't enough beds to keep CF patients from mingling with each other.  Orla saw people die before their time, mainly owing to the poor conditions in the hospitals.

In a way, cystic fibrosis seems to have given Orla Tinsley a calling.  She became an activist in Ireland, working hard to improve the sub-par conditions in hospitals for CF patients.  While she doesn't really explain everything that CF does to the body or even what it did to her body, she does explain that people who have cystic fibrosis must be very careful about not coming into contact with bugs, particularly if they come from another CF patient.  She writes of how hygiene standards were not as strict at the hospital for adults.  One time, she saw a male nurse preparing a needle with a tray that had blood on it.  She spoke up, which annoyed him… and probably spared her a serious setback in her illness.

Tinsley also goes a bit into sexuality with this book.  She realizes that she has romantic feelings for women and writes that she might be a lesbian.  And she also writes about her flirtation with eating disorders.  Although it was always my understanding that it's very difficult for CF patients to keep weight on, Orla apparently was heavier than many patients are.  On a trip to Rome, she ran into an Italian man talking to a couple of ballerinas from Ireland, who were very thin.  When the Italian guy realized Orla was also from Ireland, he was surprised because she wasn't as thin.  She didn't realize that many Italian men apparently like "curvy" women (it's my experience that they just plain like women).

Orla writes that she had to talk to psychiatrists about her eating "problems", that she claims she didn't really have.  But then she writes about being very body and image conscious.  I would imagine with a disease like CF, it must be especially difficult growing up and dealing with body image issues.  Because she has had to have so many IVs in her lifetime, her veins are all pretty much shot.  So she's had to have picc lines and port-a-caths installed in her body and she writes a bit about what that was like, too.  Due to her CF, she also has diabetes, and she writes about some of the special issues that have come up because of that.  She once got busted in the library for eating a banana and using her cell phone, which apparently results in a 10 euro fine.  

I mostly enjoyed reading Orla Tinsley's book, Salty Baby.  She is an engaging writer who has a lot to say and comes across as very personable and intelligent.  The one thing I did notice about this book is that it's a bit long and detailed.  There were times when I thought it could have been edited and streamlined a bit to make it a bit less cumbersome to read.  But overall, I was mostly just very impressed by Orla Tinsley and all she's done to make CF care better in Ireland.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about cystic fibrosis, particularly as it's treated in Ireland.

Here's an article Orla Tinsley wrote for the Irish Times in June 2013…  She also has a blog that hasn't been updated in almost three years.

The flu is kicking my...

substantial ass…

Since Christmas morning, I have been sick.  I've spent most of the last two days in bed.  I'm pretty sure Bill and I are among the latest swine flu victims… not that I've been to a doctor to see if that's what it is,  but in south Texas, about 95% of flu cases are H1N1.  I seem to feel best in the morning, when after I've cleared all the crap from my lungs and nose, I seem to have a surge of energy.  I also don't seem to be so feverish in the morning.  I did cough up some strange looking sputum, though…  

Right now, I'm feeling relatively okay after about 10 or 11 hours of sleep.  But I felt this way yesterday and by about 11:00am, I was back in bed with a fever.  So far, the highest temperature I've hit has been 102.7, which is pretty high for me.

I took some Advil and Tylenol the first day, when my temperature got really high and my teeth were aching.  But then as it came down, I started sweating like crazy.  So yesterday, I decided to just have a fever, since it wasn't making me feel that bad, other than needing to be under the covers.  I think that was the smarter thing to do, since fever is part of the body's way of fighting the microbes.  Besides, I sweat enough here in Texas.

Poor Bill has also been sick, though his illness has not been as bad as mine has been.  He happened to be peeing yesterday as I needed to vomit.  He finished just as I rushed into the bathroom and threw up what little was in my system.  Then he gave me a cool washcloth and my robe.  Such a sweetheart.

I don't bother with flu vaccines because I don't spend a lot of time around other people and Bill always gets them.  I think after this year, I might want to rethink that policy.  This flu has so far killed at least 13 people in Texas, including a teenager.  Besides, I would rather not get the flu.

I have managed to be somewhat functional, though… and even managed to finish reading a book yesterday.  In fact, I'm going to review it right here, since it's not in the Epinions database.  Stay tuned.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Get down off the cross...

I am feeling somewhat better this morning, at least so far.  I want to use this surge of fresh energy to write about a conversation I just had with Bill.  If you've been reading this blog, you know that Bill's dad left a "Brently" message on Bill's phone on Christmas morning.  If you're curious about the term "Brently", click the link for the backstory.  But I have a feeling that as you read this post, you'll figure it out…

My father-in-law has this nasty way of laying guilt trips.  It's a manipulative thing he and his wife both do… and I think they both may have learned it or sharpened their skills after hanging out with Bill's ex wife, who also does it.  They probably don't realize that what they're doing is emotionally abusive.  What they're trying to do is envelop Bill in FOG…  fear, obligation, and guilt.

They want Bill to pay them a visit, but instead of cordially extending an invitation for a specific date, they call him or text him to remind them that his dad isn't getting any younger and will eventually die (fear, obligation); they are "disappointed" in him (obligation, guilt), and they "know" he's not going to call them for Christmas, so they're calling him instead (guilt).  Getting a message like that sure doesn't make one feel warm and fuzzy, does it?

Bill told me this morning that he desperately needed to "end this row" with his dad.  Not being able to keep my trap shut, I pretty much broke it down the way I see it.  First off, Bill's dad is making "ASSumptions" about what Bill is thinking and feeling.  That's a pretty natural thing when people don't talk to each other.  I do it myself… in fact, I even did it yesterday.  Turns out I was wrong about one of my sisters, who did send me a pleasant note after getting my e-card.  The other one hasn't yet responded, but I'm less concerned about her.  But anyway, Bill's dad assumes that Bill is "mad" at him and leaves him a message kind of shaming him for that, since he "doesn't know" why Bill should be angry.  He also doesn't know what Bill is thinking or feeling… he is ASSuming.  And yes, I realize I am a hypocrite.

Bill and his dad haven't talked since Bill's birthday in July.  Bill doesn't enjoy calling his dad because when he does, he gets a guilt trip about not visiting or calling him more often.  No one wants to get an ear full of guilt when they call someone to say hello, so it's understandable that Bill is reluctant to communicate with his father.

When Bill doesn't call after a few months, his dad will eventually pick up the phone and call him himself.  But then he leaves shitty phone messages, which makes Bill even less inclined to want to talk to his dad.  Or he gets his wife to leave shaming text messages on Bill's phone, which he doesn't end up seeing until they've been there awhile.  When he finds them, he ends up feeling shitty anew.

I think this is a pretty common problem among aging parents and their kids.  Bill didn't grow up with his dad because his parents divorced when he was very young.  But he has always loved his dad and was never alienated from him.  His mother let him see his dad without interference, even though they lived in distant states at times.  They never had a normal father-son relationship, though… one that involved conflict.  They've never had the fights or conflicts that normal fathers and sons have, so they both sort of walk on eggshells around each other.  I don't think Bill's dad even knows how to deal with conflict in an assertive way.  And Bill's dad may naturally be a guilt monger or he may have picked up the habit from his wife, who is a master at emotional blackmail and martyrdom.

So anyway, I looked at Bill and said, "If I were you, I'd ask your dad if he has a vendetta against your enjoyment of major religious holidays.  Because seriously, he and his wife (along with Bill's ex wife), have certainly done their part to ruin quite a few of them over the years…"

Just off the top of my head...

Christmas 1999
Easter 2000
Christmas 2004
Christmas 2012
Christmas 2013

The last two weren't quite as bad as the others were, but still… holidays are supposed to be fun and enjoyable.  I want to ask my father-in-law if he really just wants Bill to visit him out of a sense of fear, obligation, and guilt.  

Wouldn't he rather Bill visit him because he wants to visit him?  Because it's not like Bill doesn't love his father.  He does love his dad and wants a relationship with him.  But when his father leaves shitty, guilt-laden messages on his phone or uses a holiday phone call to shame Bill, that doesn't make him want to pay a visit.  In fact, what Bill's dad is doing is very manipulative.

The logical thing to do, of course, is to extend a pleasant, cordial invitation to Bill and allow him to have some input as to when he should come see them.  Bill's dad would do well to understand that his son is going to be 50 years old in 2014 and is an adult with adult responsibilities.  He should deal with his son on an adult level and refrain from the guilt tripping, because that doesn't make Bill want to talk to him.  Seems pretty simple and logical, doesn't it?  It does to me.

But to get to the point at which Bill's dad understands that FOG is not useful for strengthening their relationship is going to take time.  Bill is going to have to tell his father straight up that his tactics aren't working, and that is a stressful prospect.  Bill is a nice person and doesn't want his father's feelings hurt.  But he also doesn't want his feelings hurt every time he speaks to his dad.

Bill knows his father is hurting… but in all honesty, his dad needs a lesson in empathy.  Because Bill still talks to his dad and is willing to see him.  Bill's daughters, on the other hand, don't want to see or talk to Bill.  And Bill's father aids and abets them by not holding them accountable for the way they behave.  Bill's dad apparently thinks it's okay that his granddaughters disowned his son and he expects Bill to just swallow the bullshit and drive on.  And why?  Because that's what makes him comfortable and what's easiest for him.  It apparently doesn't matter to Bill's dad that those kids have been hateful to Bill and his mother.  It doesn't matter that by allowing Bill's ex to stage her dramas in his home, he has helped the ex in her parental alienation campaign.  Bill's dad has helped these people be cruel and disrespectful to his son and then expects Bill to honor him for his efforts.

Bill and I understand why his dad gives in to the ex.  He just wants everyone to get along so he can have a relationship with his grandchildren.  But what he doesn't understand is that we're finished with the ex and her abuse.  In order to really be finished with ex, we have to go "no contact".  We don't want ex to have access to us though Bill's dad.  Bill has told his dad how he feels and his dad seemed to understand.  His actions suggest otherwise, though.      

Anyway, at the very least, I think Bill's dad needs to understand that the guilt tripping isn't an effective way to get Bill to want to see him or talk to him.  Someone needs to tell him that you get more flies with honey than vinegar.  If he wants to communicate with his son more often, Bill's dad should treat him with more consideration and respect and refrain from leaving guilt trips in text messages and phone calls.  That's a cowardly, passive-aggressive way to get one's needs met and even if it does result in Bill visiting or calling, it will be done as a duty or response to guilt rather than a true desire to connect.  Most healthy people would rather not be an obligation to their loved ones, though perhaps they don't always realize that resorting to FOG techniques weakens their position and makes people less interested in talking to them.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas is over...

Aside from getting Bill's flu, it was pretty nice.  We exchanged gifts with his mom, who gave us some really wonderfully thoughtful presents.  She gave me a couple of framed photos of Bill when he was a little kid with funny captions under them.  She gave Bill photos of her dad, whom Bill is apparently a lot like.

Bill gave me a scarf that he had given me last year… he bought the same one.  So I gave it to his mother, who also thought it was pretty.  He got me a new phone, perfume, earrings, and a bright yellow  RedOxx bag for my iPad.  Last year, he got me another case for my iPad, which I never use…  But he likes those things and I guess he figures I do, too.  And RedOxx does make very nice bags, though I would not have picked yellow for myself.  At least it's distinctive and I can see it from a distance, though… that may be a good thing.  And I'm happy that he was thinking of me.

We ended up being late to the gathering at the Riverwalk because I got the time mixed up.  That's not really like me, but I had a brainfart.  We still went and had a good time, though I did my best to keep my distance from folks who hadn't already been exposed.  I probably shouldn't have gone, but we had fun anyway…

Bill's father left a shitty voicemail on his phone that, in essence, said, "I don't know why you're mad at me, but since I know you won't call me for Christmas, I'm calling you to wish you a good holiday."

Bill got very upset and, once again, I feel like sending my father-in-law an open letter

Unfortunately, I don't think my words would be understood.  He thinks he's a victim.  He thinks he has the right to screw Bill over by not holding the ex-daughters accountable for their actions and telling Bill hurtful things on major holidays.  He blames us because we took a stand with him last year and don't just humor him by continuing to call and visit, when he is certainly capable of doing those things himself.  I also suspect that father-in-law and his wife blame me for the fact that Bill's ex wife took the kids out of their lives.  But the kids are now adults and have the freedom and ability to do their own thing.

Bill called his dad back and left a message.  I hope he calls him again and has a serious talk with him.  If it were me, I'd be telling him that if Bill wasn't angry with him before, he was after he got that message on Christmas day.  It wasn't as bad as last year, when Bill called his dad, got shamed for not visiting him at Christmas, and then was told about how his younger ex daughter called and didn't want to hear anything about her "real dad".  My father-in-law immediately forgave that ungrateful, misinformed little shit and then broke Bill's heart on the biggest holiday of the year, right before we went to see my two oldest sisters for Christmas dinner.  Speaking in completely figurative terms, I wanted to go knee Bill's dad in the groin after that.  No father should be making his son cry sorrowful tears on Christmas, even if the man is in his 40s.

I also have a suspicion that two of my three sisters are pissed at me.  I detect the "silent treatment" going on.  That's okay, though, because I never really talk much to them anyway.  I did send all three of them Christmas e-cards, just to let them know I was thinking of them.  One sister responded… the one who typically causes a lot of drama, but with whom I usually get along because we seem to be on the same wavelength.

I suspect the oldest sister may be disappointed in me for skipping Thanksgiving and the one closer to my age is probably angry, because for years she's been trying to manipulate me into attending a "reunion".  She has a son who doesn't know me because we haven't seen them in several years and he's ten now.  But they live in Minnesota…  and I have seen the other family members more regularly.  I guess she feels like since she lives so far away, I should make an effort to see her.  But whenever I see her, she criticizes me about everything from my laugh to the things I talk about.  She either bosses me around or acts all stiff and formal.  It's like she doesn't know how to talk to me.  All she has to do is treat me like she'd treat any peer.  Instead, she treats me either like I'm 12 years old or I'm some acquaintance.  Tell me why I'd want to hang out with someone over the holidays who acts like that?

Back in 2009, Bill and I bought my Mini Cooper brand new.  We had the money to do it and got a favorable interest rate.  We also got a military discount.  When I told my sister about it, she asked, "Aren't those cars expensive?  How can you afford that?"

It was an unbelievably rude question.  I bet she'd never ask a friend such a thing.  Incidentally, that car is going to be completely paid off in February, months ahead of schedule.

These are the reasons why I prefer very low key holidays.  I like spending them with agreeable people who are kind and loving and aren't going to stir up old issues.  In fairness to my family, I do my share of stirring, too…  but Christmas is not the time for that shit.  And I can't even really trust myself not to.  So it's best to stay away.

Bill's mom is wonderful company.  I have told her she is welcome anytime… especially since she heard a song by Alison Krauss on my iPod yesterday and thought it was me…  Talk about flattery!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ahh… Christmas Eve...

Bill has been sick the past few days, but he's basically functional, which is a good thing.  His mom is coming over later today and we'll have a nice Christmas Eve dinner.  Tomorrow, after we open presents, we're supposed to meet up with friends on the Riverwalk.  Apparently, this is a tradition for this particular friend and his wife.  I feel kind of sorry for the people who will end up working, but I imagine they'll be rewarded for it.

Last week, a guy I worked with at a summer camp back in 1994 sent me a private message with a link to real estate in Helotes, Texas.  He is a vicar at an Episcopalian church there and is hoping Bill and I will move out there.  I think it's mainly because we have good taste in beer… but it's also because he's hoping I'll join his church's choir.  I actually don't like singing in choirs that much, nor am I particularly religious.  But Episcopalians are, by and large, fairly low impact folks who don't get all up in your business.  And church can be a good place to "get a life".

I signed up for real estate sites and, like sharks looking for fresh blood, the real estate agents came calling…  I had to tell one of them yesterday that we'd contact him when we were ready to get serious about looking for a house to buy.  At this point, we're still not absolutely sure we're staying here.  I have a feeling we will, but I don't want to buy a home until it's a sure bet.

Helotes is not far from where Bill's mom lives, so if we do move out there, we'll be closer to friends AND family.  But I'm not sold on Texas, yet.  On the other hand, we do have some friends here, at least… and I think Bill can find work here.  Hell, maybe I can find work.

I called my mom to wish her a Merry Christmas and she didn't seem to want to talk.  Turns out my dad has a stomachache and she needed to take him to the bathroom.  He's not being cooperative, though he did get on the phone and say hi.  She asked me to call back later, but if I do, it'll be in several hours.  She didn't sound like she was in the mood for a phone call.

Anyway… not much on my mind this morning, but I wanted to wish everyone a nice holiday.  Hope it's stress free, fight free, and drama free.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Baked goods...

I just made this.  It's apple pie with crumb topping.

Apple pie is not one of my favorite pies, but I had a craving for it this afternoon.  So I made one and Bill and I just enjoyed a taste.  It was damn good.

A couple of days ago, I made two loaves of homemade bread…

These turned out great, but Arran ate almost a whole one by himself.

Needless to say, the pie is in a place out of his reach…  I don't bake that often anymore, but when I do, I rock.  Baking is one thing I'm pretty good at.

Side effects of shame...

A few days ago, I wrote about a man who sat in prison for four years because of a lie.  A teen was caught looking at porn and her mother repeatedly asked for an explanation.  She wondered if the girl was looking at the sexually explicit material because she had been abused.  Apparently, it never crossed the mother's mind that perhaps her daughter was just horny or curious.

The girl, apparently ashamed of what she had done or perhaps just worried about being punished for looking at pornography, proceeded to tell a very damaging lie that horribly affected an innocent man.  For whatever reason, she didn't feel able to tell the truth.  It never occurred to her that her lie might injure another person.  She told a lie to save her own skin and in the process, almost ruined an innocent man's life.

If you read this blog regularly, you may know that I'm not too big on shame.  I think shame is often pretty useless, because instead of focusing on what's messed up, it focuses on who messed up.  A person who fears shame may say or do whatever they can to avoid that feeling of self loathing and remorse that comes from shame.  They may make false accusations to take the heat off themselves.

My husband has often said that the cover up is almost always worse than the original offense.  All the teenager needed to do was 'fess up to her mother and say that she was looking at porn because she was curious or horny or whatever.  Mom might have been very angry with her, but eventually the anger probably would have passed.  That poor guy who went to prison based on a lie could have enjoyed the early half of his 20s instead of losing his liberty.

Moving on to a different example.  The abortion debate has been raging in this country for about 40 years.  Many people think abortion should be illegal, though quite a few people recognize there are times when perhaps it should be an option.  One situation in which people tend to forgive abortion is when a woman has been raped or molested.

Though I personally find abortion sickening, I believe it should be safe and legal.  I also think that it would be a mistake to allow it only in certain situations.  Allowing abortions only in cases of pregnancies resulting from rape or incest opens up the risk that some men will be falsely accused of sex crimes and they may end up having to go to prison for crimes they didn't commit.  While we'd hope that most women wouldn't lie about sexual assault, we also know from the case I cited at the beginning of this post that sometimes women do lie very convincingly.  Unfortunately, there are people out there in the world who don't care what happens to the other guy as long as they get theirs.

I also have a problem with selective ethics.  A child conceived through a criminal act is still as innocent as a child who was conceived through love.  If abortion is not okay when a woman gets pregnant because she's careless about birth control, how can it be okay in other situations like rape or incest?  I don't think it's right to force women to be pregnant, even though I don't like abortion.  So, I think it should be legal, though I do agree that late term abortions should be outlawed in the vast majority of cases.

I think that shame and fear of humiliation leads to a lot of problems.  It causes some people to try to cover up the truth.  In many situations, it's far easier to just face the problem and accept the consequences rather than try to bury the truth.  Lies almost always complicate things, cause pain and loss, and make things much worse than they need be.  Worse yet, lies can really hurt innocent people and sometimes even ruin their lives.

Those who have read this blog regularly already know that my husband's relationship with his children was ruined, in part, because his ex wife told their daughters lies about him and used shame and humiliation to perpetuate her untruths.  My husband's life was not ruined, but he sure went through hell for many years due to her lies.  Those lies also had a ripple effect that have hurt many other people in my husband's family… and they will continue to hurt people as time passes.  When my husband's daughters start having their own kids, they will very likely perpetuate the lies into a new generation.  I wonder how it must feel to them to think that half their DNA came from a monster…  Of course, now that I think about it, half their DNA probably did come from a monster, though not from the side of the family they think it did.

Fortunately, Bill has overcome the lies somewhat…

Does this man look like a violent porn addict who hates women?  He's not… but that's what his daughters think he is, thanks to lies told to them by their mother.

This post was mostly about women who lie, but I don't mean to single them out.  Shame affects people of either gender and sometimes leads to damaging lies that hurt people.  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Follow up to Musical Interlude...

This is the video from which yesterday's video was spawned…

I first saw this cheesy video a few years ago, when I read about it on a blog called Psychotic Letters From Men.  That blog has since stopped being updated, but the old and very entertaining posts are still there.  That's also where I first heard about Ricky Keyser and his crazy video directed toward his ex girlfriend, Kelsi.  Ricky's video went totally viral, but now I see he's managed to get it pulled down.

The star of today's video is a guy named Ben Ryan Metzger who made a totally cheesy film for his ex, Loren, who wisely dropped off the face of the earth.  He says he doesn't know why she dumped him, but to me it's pretty obvious.  He's a narcissistic control freak.  Interestingly enough, his last name means butcher in German.  It seems very appropriate that his last name refers to meat, since it appears that his head is full of it.

Love how he uses an 80s era power ballad as he runs around flexing his muscles, trying to look impressive…  Still, I know a lot of women think he's a hottie and would go back to him if he made them a video like that, even though the video is more about him and his body than it is about his "love" for Loren.

I'm feeling kind of icky today, so I think I'll leave today's post at that.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Musical interlude...

You can dance to it.

Meanwhile, here in Texas...

I just read the sad story of Marlise Munoz, a married mother of one.  Her husband, Erick, found her collapsed and unresponsive at around 2:00am on November 26th.  She was 14 weeks pregnant at the time.  Erick Munoz is a firefighter and paramedic, so he immediately sprang into action, trying to revive her by starting CPR.  He also called 911.

Doctors thought she had suffered a pulmonary embolism.  They have no idea how long she was unconscious before Erick Munoz found her.  And they have no idea what condition her unborn child is in.  Nevertheless, though she had a living will and her husband and family wish to discontinue life support, she is being artificially kept alive because she is pregnant.  In Texas, it is illegal to stop life sustaining measures on pregnant women.

Munoz fears that his unborn baby may have been seriously harmed due to his wife's collapse.   There is a good chance that if and when the baby is born, it may have serious birth defects.  But according to section 166.049 of the Texas' Health and Safety Code, "a person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient."  So doctors must provide care and the bills will mount, despite the fact that Marlise Munoz, also a paramedic, had made her wishes known to her family.  Basically, this woman is being kept alive to serve as an incubator for her unborn child, who may or may not be viable.  The woman's wishes and those of her husband and family of origin mean absolutely nothing.  Never mind that had Munoz wanted to before her collapse, she could have legally had an abortion.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  It seems like more and more often, once you get pregnant, you become a ward of the state.  People will opine about everything you do and you run the risk of getting arrested for things that are perfectly legal for non-pregnant people.  Like, for instance, the waitress who called the police when she noticed a new mom drinking wine while simultaneously breastfeeding her baby.

In 2005, I wrote the following essay on Epinions.  In those days, it was worthwhile to write essays if you had something you wanted to vent…  Nowadays, it's better to write in a blog.  Anyway, it seems like this issue is getting more and more disturbing as time goes on.  It bothers me that women's reproductive rights are eroding the way they are, even though I personally don't condone abortion or irresponsible behavior during pregnancy.  However, I also don't like the idea that we have to treat pregnant women as a different class of people than non-pregnant women.

Should we protect pregnant women from themselves?

The Bottom Line The care and feeding of pregnant women is a delicate issue.

Jul 25, 2005 

I first read the sad saga of Melissa Tanner ten days ago.

The Oklahoma mother of seven was arrested for giving birth to a drunk baby girl on June 30. Tanner, who is a connoisseur of Milwaukee's Best beer and regularly consumed a case of it per week during her pregnancy, had a blood alcohol level of nearly four times Oklahoma's limit of .08. Her baby had a blood alcohol level of .21. After Tanner gave birth to her intoxicated baby, she was arrested on charges of child abuse and neglect. Melissa Tanner was evidently unaware that she was pregnant, or at least that's what she told a nurse before she had her baby. When a friend asked Tanner what she planned to name the baby, Tanner suggested the name "Milwaukee's Best" (taken from The Smoking Gun-- http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0715051tanner1.html).

My initial reaction after I read about Melissa Tanner was disgust and horror. I felt sorry for her baby, who will almost certainly suffer from the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). No one knows how badly she will be affected by FAS until she's older. I also felt badly for her other children, who must also deal with the consequences of their mother's addiction. And then, when I thought about the issue some more, I realized that Melissa Tanner was thrown into jail for something that she did to herself while she was pregnant... something that would have been completely legal had she not been pregnant. She drank alcohol.

Make no mistake about my position on this. I do not advocate drinking alcohol during pregnancy. I think that women who intend to give birth should do whatever they can to ensure that they have a healthy baby. But when I did some checking into the federal and state laws regarding drug use and pregnancy (http://www.drugpolicy.org/library/gov_responses_overview_p1.cfm), I found that state laws run the gamut from requiring health professionals to counsel their patients about the use of alcohol and drugs during pregnancy, to allowing pregnant women who use drugs and alcohol to be involuntarily committed to treatment facilities, to not having any statutes regarding pregnancy and alcohol use at all. Had Melissa Tanner given birth in Alabama, for instance, she might not have wound up in jail at all for giving birth to a drunk baby. Had she been pregnant in South Dakota, she might have been committed to a hospital and forced into treatment for her addiction to alcohol.

Based on what I've read about Melissa Tanner, I don't think she has any business raising children. But I have to admit that I was a little disturbed that Melissa Tanner was put in jail on child abuse and neglect charges-- not because I don't think what she did was wrong, but because it occurs to me that in our country, we're starting to give rights to the unborn that supersede those of people who have already been born. And it also occurs to me that as long as we continue to allow abortion in this country, any laws that grant rights to the unborn are hypocritical.

Had Melissa Tanner wanted to, she could have legally gotten an abortion. In some peoples' minds abortion is murder, but in the United States, it's still a legal course of action. Instead of having an abortion, though, Melissa Tanner drank a case of "Beast" per week and gave birth to a child that is likely to suffer from the effects of FAS the rest of her life. It's not lost on me that Melissa Tanner was very irresponsible during the pregnancy that she claimed to know nothing about until right before she gave birth. Moreover, since she evidently didn't know she was pregnant, I can only assume that Melissa Tanner also never received proper pre-natal care. If Melissa Tanner never had any pre-natal care, no one had the opportunity to counsel her or test her for drugs or alcohol-- not that this would have necessarily done any good, but at least the state could have claimed to have tried.

As far as I know, pregnant women are not required to seek a doctor's care. Since we have over 43 million people in this country who lack health insurance and don't qualify for public aid, I can only surmise that there are plenty of women in the United States who don't get the medical care they need while they're pregnant. Melissa Tanner gave birth in a hospital, but she didn't have to; in fact, she reportedly came to the hospital because she fell off her porch, not because she realized she was about to have a baby. She could have stayed home and given birth.

I've discussed this issue with other people, mostly online. The reactions I've gotten from other people have varied widely. Some people think that Melissa Tanner should go to prison for what she did. Other people think that we need more laws that would force pregnant women to take care of themselves properly. Still some other folks think that the government has no business dictating to women what they can and can't do because they happen to be pregnant.

My feeling is that as long as pregnant women are allowed to walk around freely, laws that dictate how they should take care of themselves while they are pregnant are going to be very hard to enforce, especially since not every pregnant woman has access to medical care. I don't think that what Melissa Tanner did was right, but I also don't think that more laws are the answer. For one thing, Melissa Tanner is clearly not a well woman. Yes, she should have sought treatment for her alcoholism, but for some reason she didn't. I don't know what her reasons were for not seeking help, but the end result is that she's still an active alcoholic and she has at least one child who was affected by the fact that she drank while she was pregnant. Should she have been forced into treatment because she was pregnant? I don't know... we don't, as a general rule, force alcoholics into treatment unless they've broken the law. And whether or not drinking while pregnant is really against the law is a muddy issue. In some states, children who are born with alcohol in their systems can be put into foster care... but is it truly against the law for pregnant women to drink and is that an enforceable law?

In North Carolina, it's against the law for anyone to serve or sell alcohol to a pregnant woman. Ignorance of a woman's pregnancy is not an excuse (http://www.drugpolicy.org/library/gov_responses_overview_p1.cfm). But how can retailers and servers know for certain if someone is pregnant? In New Mexico, those who are in the business of selling or serving alcohol must attend a training that addresses the risks of fetal alcohol syndrome. I think it's great that restaurant personnel must learn about the risks of drinking during pregnancy, but once they are armed with that information, what are they supposed to do? If they spot a potentially pregnant woman in their restaurant ordering a beer, are they supposed to lecture their customer about the evils of drinking while pregnant? Refuse to make a sale? What if the woman just looks pregnant? What if the woman just decides to drink in the privacy of her own home? And does the prospect of being prosecuted for drinking or using drugs while pregnant deter some women from seeking medical care?

I'm really torn on this issue. Of course I don't like to see women who are pregnant getting drunk. Of course I think that pregnant women should do what they can to ensure that they have healthy babies. But I also think that we have a lot more responsible women in our country than women like Melissa Tanner. And as long as we can't guarantee that women will have free access and transportation to excellent medical care, I don't understand how we can force them to take care of themselves while they're pregnant. I don't like the notion that unborn children's rights should always supersede those of their mother's... especially when the mother still has the right to choose to have an abortion.

What's clear to me, though, is that Melissa Tanner needed help that she didn't get. And now she and her children and our society are paying the price.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A man's life was almost ruined...

because a teenager was looking at sexually explicit material online and got caught by her mother.  The teenager explained her behavior by making up a story about being sexually assaulted when she was a kid.  She falsely claimed that Johnathon Montgomery had molested her when she was ten years old and he was fourteen.  She said she had named Montgomery because he had moved away from their area and she figured the cops would never find him.  But they did find him in Florida and he was arrested, even though he insisted that he hadn't touched the girl.  Apparently, she made up the story because her mother wanted to know why she was looking at porn and wondered if she had been abused.

In 2008, the young woman, Elizabeth Paige Coast, was 17 years old.  In court, she testified that Montgomery had defiled her in several different ways and apparently, her testimony was so graphic that she was able to convince a jury and a prosecutor of his guilt.  As a result of her testimony, Montgomery was sentenced to seven and a half years behind bars.  In October 2012, Coast, then working as a civilian at the police department, told a police officer friend that she had made up the story.  At that point, Montgomery had spent four years in prison and expected to spend a few more behind bars.  Just now, in December 2013, this man has finally been declared completely innocent.

I don't know about you, but I think this is a pretty sickening situation.  I am very glad Montgomery was eventually found innocent, but what about those years he spent in prison, wrongly accused of a crime?  

I just read about this case today.  I don't live in Virginia anymore and had gotten out of the habit of religiously following stuff going on there.  And that makes me think that Johnathon Montgomery was just languishing behind bars before that woman finally came clean and revealed the truth.  I have to wonder, how in the world could she live with herself for those four years, knowing that an innocent man was sitting in a prison cell based on her lies?  And all because she was too ashamed to tell her mother the truth about why she was looking at sexually explicit stuff on the Internet.

Montgomery will never get those years back.  I am sure he's happy to be out of prison.  I can't even imagine what he endured in there… and how he managed to adapt after he was wrongly accused of being a sex offender.  Hell, if that woman hadn't finally told the truth, even if he had gotten out of prison, he would have had to live the life of a sex offender, even though he's totally innocent.

God only knows how this affected his family.  How much time, money, and resources were exhausted to prove Montgomery's innocence?  And now that he's out of the joint, he's going to have to make a living.  But at least he doesn't have to do it as a registered sex offender.

I see that in May of 2013, Coast confessed to committing perjury for making those false statements and had to spend 60 days in jail.  She was also fined $90,000.  It seems like a very small price to pay for what she did to Johnathon Montgomery.  I'm glad the guilt got to her at last and she did the right thing.  But a man's life was almost ruined, thanks to her lies.  She is fortunate that Montgomery appears to be a forgiving sort.  I wouldn't blame him if he sued the shit out of her.  Perhaps a testament to Montgomery's good nature is that he has apparently said that he doesn't think Coast should have to go to prison for what she did.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Party foul...

Last night, Bill and I attended an "open house"/party at his boss's house.  Bill's boss is a colonel.  He's a really nice man.  I thought so before I attended his party and I especially think so now.

We walked into his home and I was amazed by how gorgeous it was.  The colonel's wife is from Brazil, I think… and she has very good taste.  The whole place was decked out with foliage, lights, and an enormous Christmas tree with white lights and white decorations.  They had beautiful furniture and music played over the sound system.  The kitchen was enormous and had an awesome five burner gas cooktop and dual ovens.  A huge granite island stood in the middle and there were big windows that opened over what appeared to be a nice view over Bulverde.

Things were going fine at first… but then I went to get some red wine.  I was going to go out on the deck to check out the view when I happened to bump into the colonel's big white couch.  Some of the red wine splashed onto the white upholstery.  I was instantly mortified and, of course, not believing what I just did.

I sheepishly tapped the boss on the shoulder and showed him what I did… and he grabbed some clean towels and white wine, which somehow lifted the stain so that it was almost invisible.  Later, Bill and I chatted with him and I was impressed by how nice and down to earth he is.  I like his wife, too.  She seems very nice and is quite lovely.  She's tall and thin and wore a short red dress with impossibly high heels.  At first, I thought she hadn't zipped up the back of her dress, but it turned out that was how the dress was designed.

One of the other guys said that the boss had a party about six months ago and people totally trashed his house.  They were putting their feet on the table and spilling stuff.  I felt a little less guilty after that.

Bill and I also talked to an exMormon guy and his girlfriend, who I think are engaged now.  They were out on the deck smoking and were really interesting to chat with.  The guy is a returned missionary who speaks Portuguese and once taught at the Missionary Training Center in Provo.  They are fellow dog lovers who now attend a Buddhist temple!

The boss's two dogs were crated together outside and were surprisingly well-behaved.  My dogs would have been freaking out.

All in all, I had a very nice time last night.  I like the people Bill works with now.  I can't say that's always been the case.  But many of the guys in Bill's office are foreign area officers who have married women from Central and South America and I seem to fit in better with them, for some reason.

In other news, it appears that Debby Boone will be on Oprah's Where Are They Now? on Sunday.  Since I'm fascinated by all things Boone, I may actually tune in.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christopher Knight's latest gig...

It seems that Christopher Knight, aka Peter Brady, is now pitching haircare products.  Neato!

Surprise death...

The other day, I was hanging out on Facebook when an old friend of mine from college popped up on my feed.  I met this guy when I was a freshman at Longwood and he was a junior.  He lived in the dorm next to mine.  I don't really remember how we met.  I want to say that some people who lived on his hall became friends with friends who lived on mine and we all started to mingle.  But anyway, we started hanging out.  I seem to remember him being in trouble with the school for some reason… and they were talking about kicking him out.  But he appealed and ended up getting to stay.  He went on to earn two degrees, one in history and one in accounting.

We used to party a lot.  I remember him making daiquiris in his dorm room.  I remember one time, we visited his sister at Virginia Tech.  His sister also visited us and stayed in my room, since during the spring of my freshman year, I didn't have a roommate.  I remember him to be a really good guy and a good friend to me.  I liked his sister, too.

Years later, we found each other on Facebook.  He had a girlfriend who was a nurse and enrolled in the doctoral program at UVa.  They eventually married and last year, they had a daughter.  I noticed that my old friend rarely posted on Facebook, but he did the other day and I noticed how beautiful his daughter was.  She has his red hair and brilliant blue-green eyes.  I didn't immediately see that he had also posted that his wife had just died.

I don't know what exactly killed my friend's wife.  All I know is that she had some kind of cancer.  If I had to guess, I would say it was probably some aggressive form of breast cancer, since it seems like it came on very suddenly.  She was wearing a t-shirt that was in support of breast cancer, too.  This woman was my age-- about six months older than me.  As of October, she had posted photos of her and my friend with their daughter in a pumpkin patch.  There was a photo of the little girl wearing a Wonder Woman tiara for Halloween.  As recently as last week, she had posted on my friend's Facebook.  And now she is dead.

Hearing about my friend's wife's death makes me realize how quickly things can change and how tragedy can strike when you least expect it.  Some folks who know this couple started a fundraiser for them.  I decided to donate yesterday for the little girl's education fund.  That poor child will never know her mother.  Today is the little girl's very first birthday and now my old friend has to raise her alone.

This situation kind of takes my mind off of what today is…  Today is the anniversary of our old dog MacGregor's death.  We had him euthanized last year because he had a malignant tumor in his spine.  That was a very sad thing to have to do right before Christmas, though in truth, I was a lot sadder to see that sweet old hound suffer the way he was at the very end.

Good things came in the wake of MacGregor's death.  I don't know how my old friend will make sense of his wife's tragic death to cancer.  But I hope that like Bill and me, he will find good things in the future after his loss.    

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Come on, tooth...

Hang in there until February.  Bill and I will be done with our next trip to wherever and I will have plenty of time to deal with you and all the prospective broken temporary crowns then…

Please don't fail me now!

Had to take some Tylenol and Advil this morning and swab my cracked molar with plenty of clove oil to dull the ache.  I'm sure that to a dentist, my achy tooth is a small menace, but to me it's a pain in the butt.  But now is not a time to have to fix it, since we're in the holidays and Bill and I may be out of the country next month as we attempt another military hop.  I don't want to be in the middle of dental treatment as we travel and I don't want to have to do a crown prep right before Christmas.

So send me good dental vibes, if you please…

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dumpster divers...

Bill put out some bulk items this morning that we've been wanting to get rid of.  I told him yesterday that I felt a certain someone would come along and take some of the stuff before the city ever got there to pick it up.  Lo and behold, I was right.

About a half an hour ago, I watched a Hispanic man in a light brown pickup truck stop in front of my house and go through the stuff we left on the curb.  He took about half of it and left the rest behind.  I told Bill and he said, "Well, you sure called it, didn't you?"

I suppose on the surface, there's nothing really wrong with people who go through the trash, though it is kind of creepy actually watching someone rifle through your stuff so boldly in broad daylight.  I guess the guy will either try to sell our stuff or he'll put it in his own home.  Or maybe he'll trade in some of the stuff for money.  Who knows?  Actually, now that I think about it, it appears that he took the metal, which can be sold for scrap.  I told Bill that in the future, we should take our own stuff to the scrap metal place.  That way, we get the money instead of the dumpster divers.

I came across this interesting film on YouTube this morning as I was researching whether or not there is a local law against dumpster diving in the San Antonio area.

It is a good reminder to be very careful about what you throw away, though…  Trash pickers can end up picking up more than just your bulky broken furniture.  That's also a good way to end up the victim of identity theft.

On the other hand, I guess if someone else can use the stuff we throw out, that's not a bad thing.  Recycling is certainly admirable.

Name calling

A woman I sort of know seems to really enjoy posting controversial topics about politics and religion and getting embroiled in debates with other people.  Actually, I'd say the term "debate" is a loose one, because she rarely keeps her arguments civilized.  Most of the time, when I see her posting a news article about something involving politics and religion, I know that someone will take the bait and argue with her.  And the argument will soon degenerate into personal insults, condescension, and general abuse.

A few days ago, this person posted a news article about the Mount Soledad cross in San Diego, which a judge recently ordered must be dismantled and taken down because it is a religious symbol on federally owned land.  My Facebook "friend" is against this and advised people who are offended by the massive cross to "advert"[sic] their eyes.

Naturally, a couple of people argued with her about this, pointing out that it's unconstitutional for a government owned property to promote any specific religion.  My Facebook friend and a couple of other people then fired back.  It was interesting to read the debate, since it seemed to dissolve into emotion and then insulting language very quickly.  Emotion I can understand, but how about these insults?  I have bolded them for your convenience.

  • Terri  Gary, google it. Educate yourself.
  • Gary  "Taken care of in 2003 or 2004"? But it says that as of 2005, it was declared to be federal land.
  • Terri  head into brick wall. Are you seriously incompetent to research something? I was THERE for the thing.
  • Gary  Terri, I'm sure that if I "Google it" I will find numerous citations from sites with an agenda claiming that it is private property. However, to my knowledge Yahoo doesn't have an agenda and it says that as of 2006 it was federal land. Now, if there is some more recent information correcting that, please provide me with an actual unbiased source.
  • Gary  You were there for WHAT thing?
  • Gary  Terri, you posted a link to a Yahoo article, and I have extracted a quote from the very article you linked to that says it is federal land. If you have ANOTHER link that contradicts that, then please provide it.
  • Terri  I have my life experience. RESEARCH it. I am done.
  • Gary  I am researching. Haven't found a single site yet that claims the cross is on private land. Not even Fox News.
  • Terri  Since you are too stupid to find it
  • http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/15/us/15soledad.html?_r=0
    Bush Signs Law to Save War Memorial Cross - New York Times
    President Bush sided with cross supporters who contend that it forms part of a secular war memorial on a hill in San Diego.
    Gary Yes, and now a district court has found that since that law made Mount Soledad federal land, that religious symbols should not be mounted on it. (Of course, I'm not surprised that the Republican Congress of 2005/2006 passed a law trying to protect a religious symbol without realizing that the law itself, by making the property a federal property, would be unconstitutional.)

  • Gary Terri -- really? "Stupid"? That's more than a little condescending and insulting. But thank you for posting a link from the New York Times rather than Breitbart. Point is, if we accept that the doctrine of the separation of church and state is desireable, then the act of making the property federal land means that religious symbols should not be displayed there regardless of what it says elsewhere in the law.

  • Terri You said you were looking. You were not able to find. It wasn't hard, Google isn't rocket science!
  • Terri Is the doctrine of separation of church and state desirable?!
  • Gary Terri, what I said was that I couldn't find anything saying that anything since 2006 had made the property into something other than federal land. First principles -- if it is federal property, then religious symbols have no place there, period, full stop. Even if Congress passes a law to try to get around that principle.
  • Terri The separation of church and state...where is that a law or and referendum or anything?
  • Gary Yes, Terri, the separation of church and state IS desireable, as Christ himself said. If we did not separate church and state, then it would be possible when/if another religious group gets to be a majority in the country for religious symbols that you don't like to be erected with your Christian tax dollars.

    Terri Again, I asked the question wanting an opinion. I am THRILLED you have some brain cells, enough that you are not one of those idiots who believes it is in the Constitution! Kudos for know THAT much!
  • Gary While the words "wall between church and state" obviously do not exist in the constitution, the principle certainly exists there, right in the First Amendment. As has been upheld by numerous Supreme Court decisions, and as will be upheld when and if this case goes to the Supreme Court.
  • Terri  free speech is HARDLY the same thing, but you ARE making laugh pretty damn hard at your attempts today!
  • Gary  Ummm ... you DO know that the first amendment is about more than free speech, don't you, Terri?

On and on it goes…  this thread eventually got to 140 replies and included several posters, most of which included insults from my "friend".  I have seen this woman do this over and over again with a variety of different people, usually men with strong opinions.  So why don't I unfriend her?  Because, I have also seen evidence that she's a good-hearted person deep down.

Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of people who come off as blowhards, especially in a debate.  If you have to call someone stupid, an idiot, or make reference to their "lack of brain cells", that says a lot about how confident you must feel about your own arguments.  If you are certain your point of view is so correct, why would you need to name call?

Let's think about it for a minute.  What is the purpose of insulting someone by saying someone personal about their intelligence?  When you call a person an idiot, what are you really trying to do?  I think if you call someone an idiot, you are trying to belittle them as people.  You are saying that they aren't smart.  Why would you need to say that if you're so obviously right?  When you bring this up to name callers, they generally don't react well.  It's like you've just told them their slip is showing.

Telling someone that they "lack brain cells" and that you're "laughing at their attempts" to argue is a means of diminishing them.  Why would you need to do that to someone who isn't a threat?

Granted, we all engage in personal insults sometimes.  I have been known to name call… especially my husband's ex wife, whom I think deserves it.  I think originally, she scared me a bit because I had all these friends who were second or third wives and were put through hell by their husband's ex(es).  Later, I became much less afraid of her and what she might do when I realized that she's really just a very weak person who has to use children to fight her battles.  So then the name calling came from a serious lack of respect for her as a person, though perhaps if I were more objective, I might just feel kind of sorry for her and her kids.  Since her shit has personally affected my life, I have strong feelings of contempt toward her.  No matter how many people tell me I should "let it go" and stop holding a grudge, I can't.  However, I CAN say that as time as passed, I don't have nearly as much need to think about her or talk about her.  I probably don't need to name call anymore… but I continue to because it's fun and because she sees herself as a victim.  I might as well make her what she aspires to be, right?  Not saying it's right, though.

I name call Dr. Phil and Judge Judy, too.  But they are public figures who get name called all the time.  Both of them can handle it; though again, it's probably not the classiest way to behave.  I don't call them names out of fear per se, but more because I often find them offensive.  But if I were engaged in a debate with them, I probably wouldn't call them names… at least not to their faces.  ;-)  Judge Judy would start yelling at me and call me stupid.  Dr. Phil would look at me with disdain and say, "Oh come on!"  Hmmm… guess they kind of do it, too.