Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mom's doing well...

Just got an email from my sister.  Our mom is doing well – the surgery went as planned (two lumpectomies) and her recuperation has been smooth. They didn’t find any cancer in the peripheral nodes, so seems like the cancer was contained. She has follow up visits with the radiation doctor and an oncologist on Sept 18 and 19.  

I called my mom a few minutes ago and she's in a good mood.  Another one of my sisters is with her now, helping her recuperate.  Looks like everything will be alright for the time being.  

Charmin asks-- Do you pee in the sea?

Someone posted this on my Facebook yesterday and as I watched it, it occurred to me that asking people this question is kind of like asking them if they masturbate.  I mean, this is the kind of thing most people do; and if they say they don't, about 99% of them are lying.

I understand this is a gimmick to get people to buy more Charmin toilet paper and I love that more people might be getting out of the water to pee in a toilet instead of the ocean.  But when you consider how many creatures pee and do other stuff in the sea, it may make you wonder if getting out to use one of the snazzy Charmin bathroom trucks is really worth the effort...  especially if you're a woman who happens to be wearing a one piece bathing suit.  On the other hand, Charmin happens to be my favorite brand of toilet paper.  I would happily help them sell their product and am doing my part by sharing this video.

Since I am now out of the country, I won't have a chance to see one of these handy dandy toilet trucks myself.  But I hope if any of my readers has the chance to use the facilities, they'll return and report!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Another post about shaming...

This post may be offensive.  If you don't like frank language, please move on to your next favorite spot on the Web.

Yesterday, I happened to see a photo posted by someone in a Facebook group I got added to somehow.  The group consists of Mormons and ExMormons.  Even though I've technically never actually been in either group, I think I am thought of as sort of an honorary exmo in some circles.

When I first saw this photo, the first thing that came to mind is the mushroom on Super Mario Brothers.  I was the first one to comment and that was what I wrote.  Other people made comments that made it clear that they either thought the photo was funny or they pitied the woman who was in it.

It was pretty obvious to me that this photo was posted by the original poster in an attempt to be funny.  Now, I know it's not nice to make fun of people and, to be honest, these kinds of photos often make me uncomfortable.  I usually ignore them and avoid reading the comments because people can be really mean.  What I saw in that particular thread was not really all that mean, though most of the people weren't being particularly nice or complimentary, either.  

Along comes a molly who chastises everyone for making rude comments about the photo.  A couple of others chimed in, tsk tsking the rest of the group for being "mean".  One woman said making fun of anonymous people in photos is "douchey".  

One lady got very upset, because she thought these women were calling her out for being mean and "douchey".  She defended herself, which seemed to amplify the chastisement from the molly who originally piped up.  I felt sorry for the woman who was feeling attacked, so I wrote that the thread was intended to be funny.  Not everyone shares the same sense of humor and what some people think is funny, others will find tasteless.  And while I understand that it's not nice to make fun of random photos of people, neither is it nice to publicly shame people on Facebook.  

In my humble opinion, it's mostly not my job to correct other peoples' behavior online because I am certainly no paragon of good taste or propriety (the one exception is when people attribute The Paradox of Our Time to George Carlin).  The thread then heated up, but I decided I wasn't getting into it with those ladies because I had already made myself "heard" and I doubted either side would be changing anyone's mind.  I backed out of the thread.  I did start to think about the situation, though, on several levels.

First off, I hate the term "douche" used in a derogatory way.  I think it's non-sensical.  A douche is basically an apparatus used to clean a vagina or, in some places, it's a shower.  There is nothing really offensive about that.  What is offensive about a douche is not the product itself, but the residue that results from using one.  A box of Summer's Eve or Massengill is not offensive.  The stuff that comes out after you've used Summer's Eve might be.  So really, you should be calling someone "douche residue" if you want to be offensive.

This is a douche.  What, exactly, is offensive about it?

One of my friends commented that she likes the term "douche nozzle".  My response is that at least the douche nozzle goes into an appropriately gross part of the body.

Young girl talks to her mom about feeling "not so fresh"...  How does one stay ladylike while talking about the smell of their twat?

She then wrote back that the vagina should be celebrated, to which I wrote "Exactly.  So if your vagina is to be celebrated and you use a douche to get rid of the 'not so fresh feeling', why would you call someone a "douche" in a pejorative way?"  A douche is meant to make your life more pleasant, right?  And somehow, calling someone a "douche", which is a product mostly used by women, strikes me as a bit misogynistic.  In a roundabout way, it seems to me that calling someone a "douche" is a slightly less offensive way of calling them a cunt.  While some people may deserve to be called that and I have no problem directing that word to those who actually deserve it, the word "douche" and its many compound incarnations as an insult has become so commonplace that people are desensitized to it.  

I love how virginal this woman looks as she talks about post menstrual douching.  I notice that most of the early ads used young white women to represent the product.

Then another friend reminded me that douching is not good for one's vagina.  Right, it's a self-cleaning organ.  That's why I stay away from douchebags; but when I write that, I mean it literally.  I mean I don't douche, not that I stay away from people who have been identified has "douchebags".  If someone is a jerk or an asshole, that's what I call them because that is the more accurate term.  Although if I'm being honest, the term "asshole" probably gets a raw deal, too.  Where would we be if we didn't each have an asshole as part of our anatomies?  I know my life would be a lot less pleasant.  

Secondly, while I agree that fat and ugly shaming people and posting photos to make fun of strangers on the Internet is not a nice thing to do, it's also not nice to deliberately try to make people feel bad for posting their thoughts, especially when what they wrote is not egregiously unkind.  By the way, I am sorry I posted my comment.  I usually ignore those types of photos, but the resemblance to the Super Mario Brothers mushroom was kind of uncanny to me and I often say things without thinking.  So do many otherwise nice people.  But it's not nice to police your peers on what they should or shouldn't be saying, especially since there is a very good chance that you're being a hypocrite.  Moreover, when people engage in public shaming, it's often less about them being genuinely offended about something and more about wanting to dominate and influence other people.  In my opinion, if you think something is really offensive to the point at which you need to say something, it's better to speak privately to the person who's upset you.  That way, you can get your point across without unnecessarily embarrassing them in front of their peers and looking, well, "douchey".    

Thank GOD I never had a conversation like this with my mom...

Obviously, it's a good thing to remind yourself to be nice.  But aside from setting a good example for other people, it's really not your place to tell other people what to do or say or try to tell them what is or what is not appropriate to post.  I think it's alright to say that something bothers you or makes you uncomfortable.  To flat out say to someone, "It's douchey to make fun of peoples' ugly photos." is basically saying that your opinions of what is and what is not appropriate trumps their opinions.  And that, in my opinion, is shitty behavior.  I spent a lot of my youth around horses and I know how much shit horses produce.  Imagine the shit that can come from riding a moral high horse.  It stinks; it's unsightly; and it can be hard to shovel after awhile.

Thinking about this situation led me to remember a conversation I had with one of my aunts.  She confided to me that she hates it when people say something "sucks".  She said that was the one phrase that just really offends her to the core.  I use "sucks" all the time.  So do a lot of people.  But I started thinking about where that term comes from, remembering when a soldier told me that it originally referred to something potentially very vulgar.    

According to


Old English sucan, from PIE root *sug-/*suk- of imitative origin (cf. OldSaxon, Old High German sugan, Old Norse suga, Middle Dutch sughen, Dutch zuigen, German saugen "to suck;" Latin sugere "to suck," succus" juice, sap;" Old Irish sugim, Welsh sugno "to suck"). Meaning "do fellatio" is first recorded 1928. Slang sense of "be contemptible" first attested 1971(the underlying notion is of fellatio). Related: Sucked ; sucking. Suck eggs is from 1906. Suck hind tit "be inferior" is American English slang first recorded 1940.

This particular use of the slang term "sucks" at one time implied engaging in fellatio.  While males can participate in performing fellatio, when it involves sucking, it's usually a woman or a gay man doing it.  So, if you think about it, saying something "sucks" can be somewhat misogynistic too, even though the term has since sort of evolved into something more benign.  Now, when someone says something sucks, it basically means that it's disappointing or of poor quality.  But at one time, it referred to sucking dick and, while many men enjoy having their dick sucked, it may not be as pleasurable or appealing if you're the one doing the sucking.  So I can see why my aunt thinks it's disgusting to say something "sucks", though I doubt I'll modify my use of it.

That being said, I now realize that I am myself a hypocrite.  I don't like using the term "douche" to describe someone who is a jerk, but I have no problem saying something "sucks".  Which means I have no business telling other people what they should or should not find funny or trying to shame them into not being "douchey" (*eyeroll).

Anyhoo, it looks like the woman who took offense to the photo and stirred up the shitbrew has left the Facebook group.  I gave some thought to it myself, since I don't participate much and don't enjoy drama.  On the other hand, it does give me something to write about on an otherwise boring Saturday.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

A review of Until the Twelfth of Never- Should Betty Broderick Ever Be Free?

I purchased the late Bella Stumbo's book, the exhaustive Until the Twelfth of Never- Should Betty Broderick Ever Be Free? in April of this year.  I have just now gotten around to reading it.  I normally breeze through books in a matter of days, but this one took me about three weeks to finish.  This book is the story of the tragic relationship between former San Diego malpractice attorney Dan Broderick and his first wife, Betty.  It's one of several books written about this controversial case of an enraged woman scorned who resorts to murdering her ex husband and his second wife.

I must admit to being something fascinated by Betty Broderick.  She was born and raised in New York State, the daughter of respectable Catholic parents who had brought her up on the idea that being a wife and a mother was of utmost importance.  When Betty and Dan married in April 1969, it looked like Betty was going to be one of those women who married well.  Dan had graduated from medical school and then decided to become a lawyer.  Given his dual degrees in medicine and law, he was a powerful force in a courtroom.  He became very successful and was quite wealthy by the time he died at the hands of his ex wife and mother of his four children, Betty.

Betty Broderick had been a beautiful, educated, gracious woman.  By her account, she had helped Dan Broderick become the success that he was.  Dan repaid her by fooling around with his 21 year old secretary, Linda, then deciding that he wanted to dump Betty for Linda.  Dan's actions enraged Betty, who began to refer to Dan and Linda in the most vile, vulgar terms possible.  She also vandalized Dan's home and possessions, ruining his clothes, smearing Boston Creme pie on his bed, and driving her vehicle into his house.  Dan retaliated by fining Betty, refusing to give her access to their children, and using his extensive legal training to keep her from getting what she felt she was owed.

Things got to a fever pitch on November 5, 1989.  Betty went to Dan's and Linda's home with a gun.  She shot them as they slept, then ripped the phone from the wall.  She was tried twice; the first trial ended with a hung jury.  She was convicted during the second trial and sentenced to 32 years in prison, where she remains today.

Bella Stumbo wrote Until the Twelfth of Never years ago, but it has been updated with the edition I own.  There is an analysis of Betty's handwriting included as well as some statements by friends of Dan Broderick's.  I'm not sure the extra material made this book better.  Frankly, I thought it was way too long and, at times, rather redundant.  Stumbo includes a lot of detail in this book, but some of it was probably better left omitted.  For example, I don't need to be reminded umpteen times how profane Betty was when she called Dan on the phone.  But Stumbo included a number of transcripts that explicitly spell out the filthy language Betty uses to the point at which it becomes tiresome.

I did think that Stumbo did a good job in presenting a somewhat even look at Dan and Betty Broderick, although if I had to guess, I would guess Stumbo was slightly more sympathetic to Betty over Dan.  To be sure, Dan Broderick comes across as a real jerk in the seemingly callous way he dealt with his ex wife.  However, Betty Broderick had absolutely no right to kill her ex husband and his wife, Linda.  Had the gender roles in this case been reversed, I seriously doubt people would sympathize with Dan and claim he was driven to kill, no matter how awful Betty was to him.  I'm not one of those people who thinks women should get a break when they turn murderous.  Betty Broderick was not being threatened when she killed.  Dan and Linda were sleeping when she shot them.  There is no reason why Betty should be in prison now, other than her own selfish actions.  At the same time, I did have some empathy for her on one level.  It does sound like her ex husband was a jerk.

I thought the information Stumbo included about Betty's behavior in jail was interesting.  Apparently, Betty Broderick's antics in 1991 were so outrageous that they upstaged news about the fall of the Soviet Union.

Bella Stumbo's Until the Twelfth of Never is basically well-written, but I think it could use an editor.  It's maybe 100-150 pages too long, does not include any photos, and there are some typos that could be corrected.  I'm kind of relieved to be finished with this book because I'm ready to move on to the next subject, but I would recommend it to those who are interested in the war of the Brodericks.  Just be prepared to read for a long time.

Will probably be incommunicado for part of next week...

We move into our new rental home on September 1.  We don't get the Internet hooked up until September 4.  Since Germany is rather stingy with free WiFi (not even sure McDonald's has it), I probably won't be able to access the Internet, except maybe with my phone.  I have limited data on that, since we didn't go with a contract (contracts in Germany can be notoriously difficult to break).

While I will probably go through some withdrawal, it's good for me to be offline for a few days.  I need to be reminded that I once lived without the Internet.  Besides, being offline will give me some time to collect things to write about.

Hopefully, our household goods will get to us very close to the day we move into our house.  The cars are due here September 7th.  We still don't have the boxes we mailed, hoping they'd get to us quickly.  Maybe they'll show up eventually.

I'm still worried about Zane, who, although he's acting completely normally, still has that big rabies shot lump on his hip.  Hopefully, we will be able to get him to the vet soon.  I doubt anything can be done, other than a fine needle aspirate.  That may put my mind at ease.  On the other hand, even if it comes up clear, there's no telling what the future holds.

I have no new information about my mom.  I may end up calling her today, depending on how things go.

Yesterday, I chatted with a woman who is a contractor here and can't wait to leave.  She told me about some really bad things that happened to her.  Someone poisoned her cat and she had to have him put to sleep.  Her bike got stolen.  And apparently, someone complained about her dogs barking too much and the authorities supposedly threatened to take them from her.  She ended up moving, even though she's been here just over a year.

I don't anticipate anything like that happening to us.  It didn't happen last time.  Still, talking to her kind of soured my mood a little because it made me think of things that could go wrong.  I need no encouragement in that department.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

An update on my mom...

She had her breast cancer surgery and according to preliminary tests, her lymph nodes were not involved.  The tissue that was removed will be examined and biopsied.  At this point, she may be advised to undergo radiation.

I expect to hear more from my sister later today.  She wrote last night that Mom should be up and around today and will be at home.

Conditional love...

As I write today's post, it occurs to me that I have never tagged any other post with the term "conditional love".  When I snuggle with my dogs, I have a sense of unconditional love-- or as much as a dog can "love" a human being.  They accept me for who I am, what I look like, what my beliefs are, what kind of work I do, how much money I have...  My dogs, if they are capable of love, love me unconditionally.

I think few human beings are truly capable of unconditional love.  There are only a few rare people out there who are able to be wholly accepting and not judgmental of another person.  I think when it does happen, it happens between parents and children.  But I think even the most loving parent has limits as to what is and what is not acceptable in their offspring.

This morning, I ran across the following letter that was written to a young man who decided he didn't want to be Mormon anymore.

Original source... (or at least where I found it)

The person who wrote this letter to their son obviously loves him very conditionally.  If he doesn't fall into their beliefs and do exactly what they tell him to do, he is cast out and treated like a pariah.  They are obviously threatened by their son's decision not to be Mormon anymore and fear that his apostasy will spread to his sisters.  So instead of trying to understand where he's coming from and why he no longer believes, they cut him out as if he were a cancerous tumor on the family.

Obviously, my husband Bill can relate, since his own kids did the same thing to him.  Part of his situation was caused by Mormonism.  A larger part was caused by his ex wife being terrified of losing control of her own little mini cult within her own family.  If you aren't "with her", you are against her and have to be exiled.  Fall back into line, though, and she's glad to have you... where she can control and exploit you and treat you like a minion.

I'm not sure what I would have done if my parents had presented a letter like this to me when I quit going to church years ago.  Fortunately, I wasn't raised in a family where church was that important.  Yes, I had to go every Sunday.  I didn't enjoy it much.  Church bored me and I thought it was a waste of time going every week.  But when I got older, I realized that it wasn't all bad.  I was exposed to good people in my church, a few of whom are still in my life.  I'm old enough to be interested in a sermon now and I can see why many people enjoy being part of a church family.  More importantly, the church I grew up in wasn't nearly as controlling or intrusive as the LDS church is.

The man who posted this letter is presumably still pretty young and may or may have not needed his parents to help him launch.  Their threats and demands may very well have forced his hand, though according to a thread on RfM, they are now on speaking terms and the parents have relaxed their stance a bit.  These parents' demands would have forced my hand when I was 19 or 20 years old.  But, the thing is, that kind of heavy-handedness is likely to backfire.  A person can go through the motions and pretend... but at some point, they will be able to make their own decisions and they may decide to say "sayonara" to their parents who think it's okay to make threats over religious beliefs.  I have to wonder if this man's parents are really willing to just shitcan one of their offspring because he doesn't want to be a Mormon anymore.  But then, reading this letter, it's obvious that they are; just like my husband's former daughters were willing to ditch their father over religion and lies their mother told them.  They lack the curiosity to find out for themselves what made their father leave the LDS church and their mother, just like this man's parents are not curious or interested in what caused their son to have a change of heart about Mormonism.

This video is of an irate Catholic mother who is upset because her son says he's an atheist.  Clearly, this phenomenon happens in a lot of religions.  The letter writer above just happened to be an ex Mormon.

In the above video, this supposedly religious mom uses a lot of profanity when her son says he doesn't believe in God.  She takes a threatening and controlling stance in an attempt to get him to fall back into line with her rigid beliefs.  She's not at all prepared to listen to her son, nor does she seem very loving.  At the same time, as I watch this, I almost wonder if it was staged.  Then I read the letter above and think maybe it wasn't.  At least this mom doesn't seem ready to throw her son out of the house.

I don't think very many people are capable of unconditional love.  When someone does something egregiously wrong and they do it often enough, I think most people with a shred of self-respect get to the point at which they fall out of love.  This should happen less often with parents and children, but as I've seen firsthand and read in letters like the one I posted above, people can and do love conditionally, even when it's their son or daughter.  I think it must be pretty miserable to have to live with parents who use religion, money, health insurance, and access to other family members to exact so much control.  Hell, I know it is... because Bill's ex wife did the same thing to him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mom is having her surgery today...

She's scheduled to go in at 10:30am.  There are two small cancerous masses and at this point, they are only planning to do a lumpectomy, though that could change once they see what they're dealing with. My eldest sister is there right now and Mom supposedly has only asked her to cook for her.

I took the dogs out for a walk this morning.  It's raining and chilly.  They rain into a cute little pug who was very quietly doing his business with his German owner.  Fortunately, his mom wasn't too upset about my very noisy but friendly hounds.  They sniffed and wagged tails, though, which was a good thing.  I always worry how my dogs will be received.

Zane still has the big lump on his hip from his rabies shot.  I'm a bit worried about it because he's had it so long.  I'm about 90% sure it's nothing, but I still hate to see it because it doesn't seem to be getting smaller.  Fortunately, our household goods are due in a few days, which means we can get set up in the house and start making things more livable.  Once we're settled, we can pay a visit to the vet.  It'll probably be the same one who took care of Flea and MacGregor when we were here last time.  Actually, I think the German vet only saw Flea because MacGregor didn't have any health issues.  But as we are now no longer military, it's probably best to just have the German vet do everything for us.  Getting in to the Army vet in Germany is a major pain in the ass.

We're still hunting for the boxes of stuff we sent here general delivery, which apparently got sent back to Texas...  It's pretty sad when your furniture is faster than the US mail.  I'm kind of annoyed that the post office folks here would just send stuff back rather than hanging on to it for awhile.  I hope that stuff isn't lost forever, although most of what was sent wasn't particularly valuable.

I guess the next step is to get ourselves a washer, dryer, and decent sized fridge.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Not paying it forward at Starbucks...

You've heard of the concept of of "paying it forward", right?  Basically, it means a person does something unexpectedly kind for another person.  It could mean mowing someone's lawn for them without being asked, or anonymously paying their check at a restaurant, or removing the snow and ice from their sidewalk in the winter.  When a person "pays it forward", they do it hoping their kindness will catch on and inspire others to do the same.

A Florida blogger named Peter Schorsch recently made the news for "deliberately scuttling" a Starbucks "pay it forward streak".   Mr. Schorsch went to Starbucks and was advised that one of the two cups of coffee he purchased had already been paid for by the person who had come before him.  The barista then asked him if he, too, wanted to pay it forward for the person who came after him.

Schorsch accepted the free cup of coffee, but declined to pay it forward.  Instead, he tipped the barista $100.  Now he's coming under fire for not playing along with the pay it forward scheme and deliberately ending it.

A lot of my friends think Peter Schorsch was an asshole to do what he did.  In fact, even Bill thinks the man was wrong to rain on Starbucks' parade.  I happen to see this situation in a different light.

One of the reasons Schorsch didn't participate is because it didn't seem like a genuine "pay it forward" act.  He maintains that a lot of people participated because they felt guilty or were influenced by peer pressure.  Schorsch explains that it's not "paying it forward" if you're not doing your favor anonymously or spontaneously.  I happen to agree with him on this.  He came into the store wanting to buy two cups of coffee.  Had he participated in the pay it forward scheme, he would have spent the same amount of money because he would have paid for the one cup that wasn't paid for and the one he would be buying for the next person.  At some point, someone would have gotten a free cup of coffee.  Why shouldn't it have been him?

While I think the "pay it forward" idea at Starbucks is a good one for making people smile, to me, Mr. Schorsch did pay it forward when he gave the barista $100.  My guess is that a lot of people working for Starbucks need tip money more than their customers need a $4 cup of coffee.  Likewise, had Mr. Schorsch gone to the grocery store and anonymously paid $100 on someone's grocery order, that would have seemed more like a random act of kindness.  People need groceries.  While they may think they need Starbucks, they probably really don't need it as much as a struggling parent needs help paying for diapers.

Of course, if you pay for a random stranger's coffee without expecting anything in return, that could possibly be considered paying it forward.  But paying for coffee because the barista suggests it and you don't want to look like a selfish asshole is not really paying it forward in my opinion.

A couple of my friends have blasted Mr. Schorsch for hearing about the activity and deliberately messing it up, then writing an article about it.  He's a writer, though, and that's what writers do.  And if he hadn't written about it, I wouldn't be writing about it because I almost never go to Starbucks.

I will say that this incident did spark an interesting political debate among my Facebook friends.  I have friends from every political stripe and the ones arguing over this had a lot to say about Schorsch because he's apparently a Republican.  I usually try to stay out of political debates, but I have to admit that sometimes they are entertaining.  

Overwhelmed with shit...

Good to know...

I had a little fight with Bill last night.  Actually, it was a moderate fight.  Fights a very rare thing for us, so for what would be a minor fight between some couples is a much bigger one for us.  We just very rarely argue or have conflicts because neither of us enjoys it much and we have little to argue over.  But there was a tiff last night.

I was feeling irritated with Bill because I felt like some of the things I was communicating to him were going through one ear and out the other.  For instance, he needed to set up a local bank account so he can pay our new landlords.  I told him I'd heard it was better to set one up in the local economy.  He basically said that was "nice" and set one up on the installation.  When I pointed out that the rates are better off post according to anecdotal evidence, he told me he didn't have time to go to a German bank.  I understand that... so I told him that I'm not going to offer more suggestions.

Then one of the people who was supposed to come see this apartment on Sunday had an appointment yesterday for 5:30.  I hadn't really wanted to have to deal with them and it turned out I didn't, since they cancelled less than two hours before they were supposed to be here.  I was irritated about that, since I've about had my fill of dealing with people looking for housing and just want to be left in peace.  I had told Bill about that too, but he pretty much ignored me and set up the appointment anyway, which was then cancelled.

I got an email from my overachieving sister, who is with my mom as she prepares for breast cancer surgery.  I guess I should be happy that she is so eager and able to deal with our mom (and previously our dad) as she starts dealing with serious health problems.  At the same time, our mother is my mom too...  And sometimes, it seems like my eldest sister is the "golden child" and the rest of us are ladies in waiting or something.  It kind of makes me a little sad that my eldest sister is automatically the "go to" child when there's a problem.  She's the oldest and probably the most accomplished of all of us... and she can certainly handle everything.  But then, after she's voluntarily taken on all this stuff, we get guilt emails from another sister who complains that she's doing too much and we should all "pitch in".  This isn't making sense right now, but I haven't yet had enough of this shitty weak coffee and my brain is fogged.  Anyway, I guess you could say I feel disconnected and disenfranchised from my family.  As usual, they kind of treat me like the unwanted baby.

Bill made dinner, but he basically made some crap that came from the tiny local German supermarket-- minute steaks, which were akin to shoe leather, and greasy potato pancake things, along with some not so fresh asparagus.  It wasn't a bad meal, per se-- but it wasn't a particularly good meal, either.  And I'm just ready to be in my own place with familiar food and my own bed.  I'm tired of being in transit and am ready for things to settle down and be somewhat normal again.

Being in this apartment with dogs all day, not having anyone to really talk to, not being able to do the things that usually distract me from being annoyed, just caused me to reach a limit last night and I got very angry.  Bill tried to argue with me, but I told him to leave me alone.  Then I took a walk by myself for about half an hour or so, which helped me clear my head.  It was really liberating to walk outside alone without the dogs or even Bill and burn off some steam.  I was still pissed off when I came back inside, though, and we had a very quiet night while Bill studied and I felt more and more hostile and upset, not so much with him, but with the fact that I let my life get so far out of my control.

I was planning to sleep on the floor in the living room area, such as it is, because I was pissed off and didn't want to be crowded into the too small queen sized bed (with two medium dogs that move around a lot, it does get crowded).  I got up to take out my contact lenses and brush my teeth and slammed the bathroom door pretty hard.  When I came out, Bill was standing there in what I call a "thug" pose.  His arms were folded and he looked stern.  He tried to grab my shoulders, which made me warn him not to touch me.  That was what my dad used to do when we fought.  He'd grab me, shake me, and sometimes hit me.  I have no tolerance for that anymore, although I know Bill would never lay a finger on me in a violent way.

But then we sat down and talked.  He was under the impression that I was mad at him.  I explained that I wasn't so much mad at him as I was overwhelmed and stir crazy.  I know a lot of people have endured more than I have this summer and a lot of my problems are "first world problems".  And I will probably feel better when we have our cars, our home, our stuff, and I'm not constantly worried about my dogs upsetting other people (not that that will completely go away after we move into our home).

It's just that moving to an international location is very stressful and we had a stressful move prior to coming here.  I'm limited as to what I can accomplish right now and that frustrates me.  I'm worried about my mother and still having a hard time believing my dad is gone.  I'm worried about our finances, the dogs' health, and my own health.  I'm 42 years old and sometimes feel like I'm a child in a middle-aged body.  And even though that's my complaint, I was still thinking of all the childish things I'd like to do, like hop on a plane back to the United States.  But once I got back to the States, then what?  Especially since I don't really like the United States that much.  Walking around the neighborhood, I was reminded of how beautiful Germany is and how much it suits me, even if I don't yet speak the language.

Anyway, I'm happy to report that Bill and I made up.  I quipped that we don't fight very often and I feel entitled to fight once every ten years or so, which made him laugh.  He just wants me to be happy and hates to see me get angry.  Zane hates it when I'm angry, too.  When our voices rose last night, he had to come out, get between us, and whine.  He's very sensitive and worries a lot.  That's one very special characteristic of our dog.  Arran, on the other hand, couldn't care less when we argue.    

Just a few more days... and then we can move into bigger digs with no furniture.

Monday, August 25, 2014


In October 2007, Bill and I moved into our first German home.  While he was working, I was unpacking our stuff.  Somehow, I lost my footing and landed hard on my ass on the wooden floor.  It was a very hard fall and I actually saw stars because it really hurt, despite all the cushioning my love of junk food and beer has left me on that part of my body.  After recovering from the fall, I took a look at my ass and was horrified to see a huge black and blue bruise forming there.  Within a couple of hours, a large swath of my right butt cheek sported hues of purple, black, blue, and a touch of yellow.

It took a few weeks for that bruise to completely heal.  Once it did, I was left with a big knot under the skin where the impact was the worst.  I had that knot the whole time we were in Germany last time and for a long while afterwards.  It's finally gone now, but it literally took years for that knot to go away.  I'm pretty sure it was a hematoma, but I never had a doctor check it out.

Well, our dear Zane has a big knot on his right hind leg, right in the area where he got a rabies vaccine back in early July.  I'm a little concerned about it, since these knots, while common, usually subside within a week or two.  He's had his for about eight weeks now.  I have been doing some research and I see that while some dogs have them for a lot longer than a couple of weeks and they eventually go away, some other dogs end up developing a type of canine cancer linked to rabies vaccines.

While it's unlikely that Zane has cancer, I still worry about it.  We lost our last two adorable hounds to cancer and I'm not ready to go through it again just yet.  Zane does have a tendency toward allergies and is allergic to at least one vaccine.

I can't get him in to the vet right now because we don't have transportation yet.  But Zane and Arran are due for checkups anyway, so I'll keep an eye on that lump and hope it goes down or away soon.  It doesn't seem to hurt him much, though I do think it could be a little bit sore.  He's still eating, drinking, and playing... and being his usual goofy, loving, adorable, and annoying self.  I hope that's the way he stays.        

Sunday, August 24, 2014

All I want is a room somewhere...

far away from the landlord's glare.  With no home showings there!  Oh, wouldn't it be loverly!

Lots of quiet and peace for me.  Calm and private as it can be!  How happy that'd make me!  Oh wouldn't it be loverly...

Oh, so, loverly with no one to interrupt my day...
I would never bitch again-- if my home wasn't on display!

No one's car sitting in my drive.  No one calling at half past five.  No tours, no shows, no jive oh wouldn't it be loverly... loverly... loverly... loverly... loverly...

Sung to "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" from My Fair Lady...

The lady who owns this apartment wanted to show it to new people this evening.  There were supposed to be two couples.  Neither of them showed.  I was not too happy about them asking to show the place since it's Sunday, we have a week to go, and we just spent the last month dealing with this same shit from our Texas landlord.

But as of September 1st, we'll be in our new home, so I just have to hang in there.  I have to admit being rather bitchy.  Sorry lady.  I know you want new temporary tenants, but we're your tenants now and we're actually paying you.

Ye olde Fecalgram... one shitty revenge!

Have you ever been so pissed off at someone that you literally wanted to be shitty to them?  Did you ever sit in a corner and think of ways you could get back at your foe?

The flaming bag of shit is one way... though it's kinda been played out.

About ten years ago, there was a company that sold fake turds which they would then pack into a beautifully gift wrapped box.  For about $40, you could have them send one of these beautifully wrapped boxes of fake shit to someone who had earned this "special treat".  The company would send it completely anonymously, though they would include a note if you wanted one.

One guy made the news in 2005 because someone sent him a Fecalgram.  Kenneth Nailleux's neighbors were pissed off that he shot their cat for killing the birds using Nailleux's bird feeders.  So they sent him a Fecalgram, which caused him to call the police.  Apparently, aside from receiving the Fecalgram, Nailleux got a threatening note.  According to The Smoking Gun:

The box delivered to Nailleux also included a 12-character password that, when keyed into the web site, delivered the anonymous sender's message: "It's time for you to move out of our neighborhood. No one likes having you live among us and this 'gift' is a reflection of what we think of you. Remember this feeling every time you leave your house and have to drive through the neighborhood. We do not want you here."

Fecalgrams were available until around 2006 or so, when the company that made them apparently went out of business.  I have no doubt that there are plenty of people out there who wanted to send one as a gag gift-- emphasis on *gag*-- for those who either like shitty pranks or those on whom they wanted to exact revenge.  On the other hand, sending one of these could be fodder for legal action, or it could make a bad situation much worse.

I started thinking about the Fecalgram this morning while chatting with an old friend who thinks I should write a novel.  He said it should be based on something from my life.  My life hasn't been that exciting, really; though I do have the distinct displeasure of having experienced my husband's ex wife's toxic bullshit.  While I may not have gotten around much in my 42 years, I can say that she is one of the most fucked up people I have ever encountered.  And even in saying that, I realize that she could have been much worse than she is.

All she did was poison Bill's daughters against him, try to ruin his relationships with his family of origin, ruin him financially, and extort money from him for over twenty years.  He was eventually able to recover from his years with her, though; and he's still alive and well.  He never has to see her or her kids again.  Some people who have had bad relationships with toxic people have not been so fortunate.

I will admit that back around 2005, when my husband's ex wife was at her shittiest, I was really tempted to send her a Fecalgram.  I jokingly floated the idea past Bill's mom, who also hates his ex wife, and she said she'd even split the cost with me.  But I determined it would be a waste of money because I wouldn't get to see her reaction; and at that time in our marriage, we didn't really have $40 to spend on fake shit.

Also, it would be one more thing the ex could say I "did" to her, even if someone else had sent it to her.  I am, of course, assuming no one else ever did gift the ex with fake poo; but I'm just as certain she has plenty of other enemies besides me, Bill, and Bill's mom.  I'm also sure she would immediately suspect me if she ever did receive such a "gift".  Besides, it was almost as much fun for me to imagine her reaction to receiving a Fecalgram in the mail and the raging paranoia I knew would quickly ensue following receipt of that beautifully gift wrapped package.

This person apparently received a Fecalgram and thought it was funny.  Warning, there's a lot of filthy language in this video.

I know just thinking about doing something like this is immature and horrible... but then, so is trash talking about your children's father and making them believe he's an awful person just because your marriage to him didn't work out.  And so is telling your ex husband's mother that her only son hates women and is a sick pervert.  And so is telling people at your church that your husband, who doesn't have a mean bone in his body, abuses you and threatens you with a Bowie knife that you know is part of his military uniform.  And so is deliberately ruining your husband's credit by telling him you'll take care of the bills and then failing to do so.  And so is staging a bunch of hurtful dramas involving your dying marriage in your children's grandparents' home over major holidays...

These are all things my husband's first wife did to him during and after their relationship which has led me to hate her with a flaming hot passion.  She is one of the very few people on this earth for whom I have these feelings.

People tell me I should move on; and intellectually, I know I should.  In fact, I mostly have moved on... because now, when I think about this stuff, I can sort of laugh about it ruefully.  At the time it was going on, though, it was very distressing and hurtful.  It takes awhile to heal from such treatment... and sometimes it's fun to fantasize about revenge.

As for my potential "novel", I'm not sure if one based on this aspect of my life will ever materialize.  Maybe someday I'll write it once my laughing is less rueful.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Black sheep...

I think I am one of a couple of black sheep in my family.  That's kind of saying something, since no one in my family has really done anything totally embarrassing.  I mean, we've had a few people get DUIs and a few folks have been divorced.  I think I have one relative who went to drug rehab and one-- that being my father-- who went to alcohol rehab a couple of times.  But no one has really done anything to completely shame the family.

So the ones who get looked at as "black sheep" are the ones who don't really fit the mold of our southern, conservative, God-fearing family... those of us who are a little bit liberal or not at the perfect weight, or they're gay, or swear a lot...  those who don't go to church or, heaven forbid, don't believe in God...

I have written about this issue before because it bugs me.  I can't stand fake people and there are a number of them in my family.  Those are the people who will be very nice to you to your face and act like they love you, but then show you in certain ways that they disapprove of you.  I have a cousin who is especially adept at doing this.  She will be "honey lippin'", as Dr. Phil puts it, and sweet as pie when she's talking to you.  But then you'll see and hear her doing other things that indicate that her words don't match her feelings.

I'll be honest.  It hurts my feelings when someone doesn't like me.  But I would rather someone tell me they don't like me than stab me in the back.  If I know you don't like me, I will stay away from you.  Of course, if you tell me you don't like me, I won't like you back.  And maybe that's what the issue is with these folks.  They can't stand the idea of someone not liking them.  

I guess, for me, it's just better not to waste time being fake.  No one is going to be liked by everyone.  Even my sweet Bill, who is a lovely, lovely man, has people who don't like him.  His own daughters hate his guts (though I think they are dipshits for hating him).  A lot of people don't like me.  I don't like not being liked but it is what it is.  I can live with it.  And maybe my family members are ashamed that we happen to share common bloodlines and they don't like someone they share blood with.

But I find it so much more offensive when someone pretends to like me and then shits on me behind my back.  The prospect of going to Virginia for Thanksgiving is kind of daunting for me because I know I will run into this shit.  And I kind of have to be there this year because my dad died and if I don't show up, it will look really bad.

Oh, I know.  There's a voice in my head telling me I don't HAVE to go.  And I have already proven many times that I won't go if I don't want to.  But I know if I don't go this time, my mom will be very upset.  And, under the circumstances, I feel like I owe this to her.  But I still don't want to hang out with some of these people and I fear it may be a struggle to be civil to some of them, especially my sister.

I would rather be around people who want to be around me and don't want me to change.  Moreover, some of the snooty people in my family don't seem to realize that those of us with sharper tongues come by it honestly.  There were quite a few spicy folks in the generations before us.  My very genteel Granny had a notoriously crude mother herself.  Granny used to recite some of the funny little rhymes her mother used to say... they weren't original, but they were definitely bawdy and brassy.

I guess, what I'm getting at is that sometimes people act like they are the only ones who have a right to be offended... and it's usually over really stupid shit, as a lot of family spats are.  And I feel like I'm getting too old for it and would rather hang out by myself.  At the same time, if I don't go to Virginia, I will probably be rather bitter, because it's my dad who is being honored and I have a perfect right to be there.  So we'll go... or I will go.  And hopefully, nothing really bad will happen.             

Mom's cancer...

I Skyped my mom yesterday to find out how she was doing after she told me about her breast cancer diagnosis.  She seemed to be surprisingly okay under the circumstances.  She told me that the type of cancer she has is invasive lobular carcinoma and that there is either one tumor in her right breast or two smaller ones.  This type of breast cancer is the second most common, though it only affects 10-15% of patients.  She had an appointment with a surgeon yesterday to find out when the tumor(s) can be removed.  She hoped yesterday they would be able to do the surgery on Monday.

Mom also told me about the horrible MRI she had done.  She'd had one before and it was no big deal.    To have one done for breast cancer, though, is a different thing.  She said it was awful and she resorted to praying and singing "Jesus Loves Me" in her head while lying in an uncomfortable position with her boobs in some kind of contraption.

My mom also misses my dad.  She said she missed having him sit near her, looking at her like she's crazy.  I guess even with severe dementia, my dad could be a real character.  My oldest sister, the one with the PhD in public health, is all over this, as usual.  Mom said she had a feeling my sister will want her to go to North Carolina for treatment.  But Mom had her fill of being down there when my dad got treated.  She doesn't like being too far from her own place or having to be my sister's guest for a long time.  When my dad first got back surgery and things went south, she got stuck there for weeks.  It stressed her out.  I told her I could understand why she'd prefer to stay in Virginia around her own place and near her friends.

I guess I'll call her in a few days for an update... or maybe I'll hear from my sister, who generally gets appointed to disseminate information at times like this.

All that's been going on this summer reminds me of this song by Peter Gabriel...    

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bill is on his way back to Germany!

I have really missed my husband this week, probably more than I usually do when he has to work at a different location.  This was his first trip as a contractor and he had to do it while we're still in temporary accommodations.  While the apartment we're in right now is really fine, it's not my own space.  And since I don't have my car handy, I can't exactly escape it easily.  I mean, I could take a bus somewhere if I got really stir crazy, but what fun is it to take a bus somewhere by yourself when you're not in a particularly interesting area?

Not that Kemnat, which is the neighborhood we're in right now, isn't beautiful.  It is.  There's a big field near where we are that offers a panoramic view of the little mountains in the distance.  The field has many fruit trees which are now heavy with fruit.  The dogs like walking through there, though they get really excited and make a lot of noise, which prompts dirty and/or curious looks from our German neighbors.

Yesterday, one of those German neighbors surprised me.  She had her son with her and he was holding a chewed up soccer ball that I had seen in the backyard.  I was in my nightgown, even though it was only 6:00pm, because I had just taken a shower and didn't feel like getting dressed.  For some reason, I didn't close the door all the way and my dogs escaped to go greet these people.

I'm not exactly sure what was going on.  The lady spoke German to me, but when I answered in English, she seemed to understand.  To be honest, I was a little embarrassed because I was in my nightgown with no bra on and wet hair and wasn't expecting to see anyone.  She wanted to go in the backyard because I think her son's ball was back there or something.  I honestly don't know.  I just pointed the way to the yard and wrestled my dogs back into the apartment.

The dogs were friendly and gentle as they greeted these people.  The little boy was giggling, yet shrinking away from them.  I kind of hope they spread it around that my dogs are actually really sweet and nice, even though they make a lot of noise.    

I'm hoping Bill gets back here in a few hours.  I am expecting some stuff in the mail and haven't been able to collect it all week because our locked mailbox is located miles away and I don't have access to a car or even the combination to get the mailbox open.  In a way, this is a good thing.  I don't have to dread getting certain things in the mail, like letters from our former property managers.  I have already told Bill that when that final letter comes, I don't want to hear about it because it's bound to piss me off-- even if it's just a check with what's left of our security deposit (I'm pretty certain they're going to screw us).  I've also missed him.  It's lonely being holed up in a small apartment with no one but dogs to talk to.

Yesterday, I posted on my travel blog about the difference between Army life and contractor life.  I posted the links on the Facebook groups for Stuttgart and I'll be damned if it's not getting a lot of hits.  I was going to wait before I posted about these two different living experiences, but I had nothing better to do.  If anything, it's useful information that curiously no one else seems to have written about.  I'm sure I'll be adding follow ups to that post as time progresses and we have more experiences.  I've gotten some good feedback, though... even from people who had been contractors and left to go back to the States because of the much lower pay being offered now.

Anyway, the dogs are ready for their morning poop ritual, so I guess I'll end this post.  If something rant worthy comes up later, I'll be back.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Drunken rantings...

LOL...  I notice that when I listen to music, I get in the mood to drink.  I can watch TV, work on my computer, talk to Bill, or whatever.  But if I turn on music and listen for long enough, it makes me want to drink booze.  And that's what I did on Tuesday night.  I drank beer and wine, even though Bill is in Chad and I usually try not to drink alcohol when he's not around.

Nothing bad happened, really, other than my waking up dehydrated and with a whanging headache yesterday.  I did post one status update on Facebook lamenting the economy and how it is that we were kind of forced to move abroad to stay financially solvent.  Don't get me wrong.  I love Germany very much and once we are settled again, I'm sure things will be fine.  I just think it's sad that we had to move so soon after getting to Texas.  I also marvel at the fact that we were able to make this move, given how little Bill's company was willing to give us to do it.

Anyway, there's a guy on my friends list who loves to take any opportunity he can to bash college and college graduates.  And any time I make a comment about how odd it is to be an overeducated housewife who is probably permanently fucked when it comes to job hunting, he tells me that college doesn't matter and all it takes is hard work and ambition.  Frankly, it pisses me off when he does that because while I don't disagree that college is overrated, I do think it's shitty to presume that people who don't have adequate work just aren't working hard enough.  And when I write this, I'm not necessarily writing of myself.  I know I don't work that hard.  But I also know other people work very hard to be gainfully employed and too many of them are failing.

Take Bill, for instance.  Here's a guy who's 50 years old, looks youthful, has had a long, prosperous, excellent career in the Army, and a master's degree.  He's about to earn a second master's degree in a very hot field.  We are very lucky because he only spent one month out of work.  But he sent out shitloads of resumes and got lots of rejections.  And he has a lot of colleagues, some of them retired colonels, who are still looking for work many months after they retired.  These are folks who have strong work ethics and great leadership skills.  Some of them will probably start their own businesses and will hopefully succeed.  Some of them may end up living out of their cars.

Had Bill and I not lived in Germany before and had he not had some lucky connections here, we might be in a world of hurt right now.  Actually, I do think Bill probably would have been hired to work where he was working before.  They did call him for an interview.  But the job was at a significant pay cut and was only for a year.

My point is that it's shitty that so many people who have taken the time and the initiative to better themselves are finding themselves locked out of the job market.  Sometimes it's because they are deemed overqualified.  Sometimes, it's because they are under qualified.  Really, it's because they're weeded out.  I think employers either can't or don't want to pay for people to work... and then when people end up with no money and need help from the government, they lament about how lazy they are, using taxpayer funds to stay afloat.

Another friend, about to earn her BSW, wrote that she's experienced the opposite of what I have.  She gets passed over for jobs because she doesn't have a master's degree in social work and won't be able to afford to get one for some time.  Here I have the degree, but I don't have the experience and it's been awhile since I last practiced.  And even if I could practice, I don't think I want to.  What I want to do is create stuff, which I am able to do.  But it sort of ends up being a hobby rather than a real profession.  I think a lot of people are in that situation.

Nobody likes a whiner and I know I do my fair share, especially when I've had too much wine.  I think this particular whining is legitimate, though.  People wonder why some folks get depressed and driven to suicide.  Well, part of that desperation comes from not being able to make one's life work.  If you can't find adequate work and are drowning in debt, you can quickly end up being depressed.  When depression goes on for a long time, you can end up feeling hopeless.  If you feel hopeless for too long, you start wishing you would just die.

There's no question that job searching is hard work and that you have to do your best to present yourself in the best light.  Job searching is a job in and of itself-- which my holier-than-thou, college bashing friend pointed out to me.  But the fact is, the economy sucks and a lot of good people are struggling.  In our case, things have worked out really well and we're actually in a place we thought we'd never get to be in again.  Getting here was not without significant cost or effort, but I think it will pay off handsomely.  Too many people are not as lucky as we are.

I think Americans need to get over the idea that a people are so expendable.  Someone like me should not have to worry about being able to work.  Someone like Bill should not have to worry that he might have to live in a van down by the river.  There should be room for everyone who wants to do something productive, but I know that's easier said than done.  Our priorities are fucked up, though... we pay reality TV stars like Honey Boo Boo and The Duggar Family big bucks to be on TV.  We pay athletes obscene amounts of money to play games.  Then we have a lot of hardworking, intelligent, talented people who have to worry about keeping the lights on.  I don't mean to sound like a socialist, but it does seem to me like we need to share the wealth a bit more.      

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

More Duggar news... one sister is engaged and the another is pregnant...

Well, it wasn't a huge surprise to hear that Jessa Duggar is now engaged to 19 year old Ben Seewald.  And now big sister Jill is pregnant less than two months after her wedding to Derick Dillard.

I actually am kind of pleased for Jill.  I think she'll make a great mom.  I like her husband, too.  He doesn't seem as hardcore as Boob does.  I wish them well.

As for Jessa... well, I guess I can't blame her for being ready for marriage.  It means less time stuck in the compound and dorm room.  Whether or not this is a union that will work out remains to be seen.  At least he's a reasonably good looking guy, even if he's probably way too young to be getting married.  Hopefully, it'll work out for them too.

The Duggars don't seem to want to get off my newsfeed, so I figure I might as well blog about them.   I think I like the Duggar kids much better than I like Boob and Michelle.  Hopefully, they won't turn out to be famewhoring breeders too.

I'm really ready for Bill to get back to Germany.  I'm sick of being alone in this little apartment with no transportation.


Michelle Duggar opens her big mouth again... this time about the transgendered

I remember about ten years ago when I first laid eyes on Michelle Duggar's image.  She was in a hospital bed, holding her latest baby.  In 2004, that would have been Jackson.  If I recall correctly, she was in the news for having him... and she might have been given a "Mother of the Year" award or something like that.  I remember she had a hideous hairstyle, with long hair in the back and short hair in the front... like a mullet on steroids.

Since those days, Michelle has become a reality TV star, which has also led her to dabble in politics.  Oh, she probably did some dabbling in the days when she wasn't famous.  Her husband, JimBoob was an elected official at one point.  But since she's famous, she has a bigger platform now and is able to spread her bullshit further than she otherwise might have.

Today, I read about Michelle Duggar's robocall to voters in Arkansas.  She's calling to inform voters about an anti-discrimination ordinance that is about to be voted on by the Fayetteville City Council.  While it appears that the ordinance is really about protecting the rights of those who might be disenfranchised by employers, landlords, and other public accommodations, Mrs. Duggar focuses on males being allowed to use women's restrooms and dressing rooms.  She's referring to transgendered people-- those who are biologically one gender but identify and present as the other gender.

She's afraid that someone who is biologically male will invade a public bathroom while she's taking a whiz.  If it's a public restroom, hopefully she's in a stall with the door locked where no one, other women included, would be able to watch her pee.  Of course, if she came to Europe and spent some time here, she'd find out that there are a lot of unisex public restrooms and the vast majority of people are able to relieve themselves in peace and harmony.

Frankly, I think Michelle's robocall is a bit odd.  I admit I know little about local politics in Arkansas (or anywhere else, for that matter).  But is this proposed ordinance really only about transgendered people being able to choose which toilet they use?  And is Fayetteville, Arkansas really teeming with so many transgendered people that this is a huge issue?  And do Michelle Duggar and her ilk really believe that a person who isn't heterosexual is automatically a pedophile?  If so, they are even dumber than they seem.

Pedophilia has absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality or being transgendered.  People who are sexually attracted to children aren't necessarily gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered.  Moreover, most pedophilia perversion happens within a family or at the hands of a close, trusted, family friend.  It's unlikely that a transgendered person who changes clothes in a locker room among people who have different reproductive equipment is just going to bust out and molest someone.  I think Michelle Duggar would do well to educate herself, but I realize that's a pipe dream.

Anyway, I guess Mrs. Duggar's concern is that if this ordinance passes, creepers will start claiming that they're transgendered and invade the women's bathrooms and start raping women and children.  This just seems like a ridiculous scenario, though.  Rape is not about sex; it's about power.  And if someone is that desperate to exert power over another person, they won't be stopped by the law, nor will they be encouraged by an ordinance that gives people recourse when they suffer from discrimination.  In other words, if this scenario Michelle Duggar predicts isn't a problem now, it won't be a problem if the anti-discrimination ordinance passes.

Christians, by the way, are not immune from acting like perverts.  Case in point, an Oklahoma teenager was just charged with raping several children at a Kenyan orphanage while serving as a missionary.  Who's to say there aren't pedophiles posing as good Christians hanging out in the churches Michelle Duggar and her family visit?

ETA in 2016...  Wow... little did we know about the bombshell that was going to drop on the Duggars in a matter of months.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

George Carlin sorta predicts 9/11...

I'm reposting this review of George Carlin's 1999 CD You Are All Diseased today because I was just reminded of his eerie predictions about global terrorism.  And maybe because we all are diseased...  today, I feel less healthy than I did yesterday.  That's because my chances of getting breast cancer have statistically now doubled.  I probably am diseased.

People are full of shit...

Bear in mind that this review is almost ten years old.  Ten years ago, I was 32 and hoping to become a mother and Bill and I listened to this as we were having sex in an attempt to procreate.  It's been ages since we last had sex and I can't say I miss it that much.  But this album made that particular session more fun than it might have been, even if it didn't ultimately lead to parenthood.  Given how life has turned out for us, maybe that's for the best.  After all, I'm hoping to visit the Starkenberger Beer Pool soon and that's not an altogether kid friendly activity.

Can George Carlin predict the future?

 Nov 27, 2004 (Updated Dec 22, 2007)
Review by   
Rated a Very Helpful Review

    Pros:Very funny and eerie. Can extend your lovemaking sessions.

    Cons:Many people will find Carlin's humor very offensive. May be depressing to some.

    The Bottom Line:Take Carlin's wisdom with a healthy grain of salt and have a good laugh.

    This review may be offensive to some folks... if you're uncomfortable reading about frank sexual situations or irreverent humor you may want to skip it.

    My husband and I listened to comedian George Carlin's 1999 CD You Are All Diseased yesterday... I decided to put it on while we made love, reasoning that a good laugh is always beneficial on the way to an orgasm. Besides, we're trying to conceive and need all the help we can get. Can I just tell you that it's hard to concentrate on sex when you're laughing your ass off? Our whoopie session lasted a lot longer than usual just because of that simple fact. That may be a plus to some people!

    Anyway, on You Are All Diseased, George Carlin is his usual angry, cynical self. Near the beginning of the CD, he talks about airport security and remarks that there's too much of it. He's annoyed that some guy with a double digit IQ and a triple digit income is allowed to root around in his bags in the name of preventing terrorism. He talks about how pointless it is that airline security workers always ask the THREE BIG QUESTIONS-- 1. Did you pack your bag yourself? 2. Did anyone unknown to you ask you to carry anything on board the plane? 3. Has your bag been out of your possession since you packed it? Carlin points out hilarious reasons why the THREE BIG QUESTIONS are ridiculous and offers hysterical answers to the three questions. But what always gets me are his jokes about terrorism. Carlin even offers some insight into what terrorism in the United States could come to--anthrax in the water and bombs in public venues. He actually jokes about ways that people might kill pilots and flight attendants using tools that are readily available on the plane! Bear in mind that this CD was made in 1999, before these jokes would have hit so incredibly close to home!

    It's eerie to listen to this CD because of what happened on September 11, 2001. Carlin jokes about things that did eventually happen two years later. And what happened did very much involve a lapse in air transportation security. Did the terrorists listen to this CD to get their ideas? Is George Carlin privy to intelligence that the CIA is not? I don't think so. But it's interesting in 2004 to listen to Carlin's predictions from 1999. They were jokes back then and now they're reality. Carlin comments that fundamentalists of any religious stripe are going to "make our lives very interesting for years to come". He advises Americans to embrace terrorism and "enjoy the ride". It's not lost on me that some people would be offended and upset by Carlin's observations, especially since he delivers his humor with so much vitriol. But-- even though I don't agree that Americans should embrace terrorism-- I can respect and laugh about Carlin's point of view. My husband, who is a Soldier and was in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, can also respect Carlin's point of view. It's part of my husband's job as a Soldier to protect the rights of all Americans; when Carlin himself served in the Air Force, it was also part of his job to protect the rights of all Americans as guaranteed under the Constitution. Carlin has the right to speak his mind, even if what he says is shocking and distasteful. Besides, in my opinion, Carlin often makes a lot of sense.

    The rest of this CD is plain hysterical. Carlin busts on Americans for being too soft and obsessed with safety and security. He says that we get a false feeling of safety and security that we get when we make laws and buy products that aim to protect people. He comments that nowadays "kids have to wear helmets to do everything but jerking off" and that "we've taken all the fun out of childhood just in the interest of saving a few lives." And truthfully, he's probably right. How many of us on Epinions thought nothing of riding in the front seat of a car with no seat belt when we were kids? How many of us once enjoyed riding our bikes without wearing a helmet? How many of us used to think nothing of ordering a medium rare hamburger in a restaurant? He points out that so many of the risks that we protect ourselves against are so minor... and he does have a point. On the other hand, tell that to a mother who's lost a child in a car accident or a person who's been disabled by a bike accident or someone who's gotten very sick from eating meat infected with Salmonella.

    Listen to Carlin's diatribe on the American obsession with cleanliness and how we often end up sicker because our immune systems are not exposed to enough germs. Carlin does make good points, albeit in a gross way. He talks about how, when he was a kid in 1940s New York City, he and his friends would swim in the very polluted Hudson River to cool off. At this time in American history, everybody was concerned with polio and thousands of kids were dying or being crippled by it. But no one in Carlin's neighborhood ever got polio. Why? He surmises that it's because its because his and his friends' immune systems were tempered in shit. The Hudson was full of raw sewage.

    Anyone who's familiar with George Carlin knows that the man frequently presents offensive viewpoints and uses enough blue language to make a sailor blush. I have to admit that even though I don't always agree with George Carlin, I can appreciate his sense of logic. Carlin is a keen observer of life-- in a strictly realist point of view. For example, he says that children are overrated. Our society has become obsessed with doing everything "for the children" and making everything "about the children". But, as Carlin points out in a less than politically correct way, this rose colored view of children ignores the fact that children who are indulged too much grow up to be self-centered people with no sense of reality or self-preservation. Carlin asks, "What ever happened to survival of the fittest and natural selection? The kid that eats too many marbles doesn't grow up to have kids of his own?" Once again, he has a point... but he ignores the emotional equation. How would the parent of such a child feel about it? I don't think Carlin is so insensitive that he doesn't have an inkling of how he comes across... he's just pointing out absurdities that exist in our world. It's food for thought that not everyone will want to taste, but it's great that it's there for those who do want to sample it.

    Some other highpoints on this CD are Carlin's ideas of what to do with guys who are big jerks (especially the ones who wear muscle shirts and no deodorant), whether or not there is a God (nope, not according to Carlin), and fun new cable channels (I loved the "Willie Nelson" tunes). Yes, I thought the CD was funny... outrageous, offensive, and decidedly unPC. Frankly, I often get tired of political correctness and find it refreshing to hear Carlin's unabashed point of view.

    My father hates George Carlin. He thinks he's disrespectful, crude, and unpatriotic, and I would often be subjected to long boring lectures whenever my dad would catch me watching Carlin on television. My mother, ironically, introduced me to the world of George Carlin when I joined her as she watched him on an HBO special. When I pointed out to her that she's a Carlin fan, she shushed me and let me know that she didn't want the world to know that she liked the man's comedy. George Carlin's humor is not for everyone, especially those who take what he says literally. And frankly, although I think he's funny, I probably wouldn't recommend listening to his routines during a depressive episode, unless of course you subscribe to the idea that misery loves company. The man is angry and pessimistic-- he might make you laugh, but he might also make you angry too. If you're lucky, he might also inspire you to think and look at another point of view that is not so likely to be pleasant but is entirely likely to be pretty realistic.

    The sound quality on You Are All Diseased is good and the disc runs for about an hour. As far as extras go, there aren't any. The CD is not enhanced, nor do the liner notes contain any cool trivia. What you get when you purchase this CD is Carlin himself, nothing more, nothing less. If you like George Carlin's brand of humor, I don't think you'll be displeased with this disc, although you might be shocked by what he says about terrorism.

    Recommend this product? Yes

    Great Music to Play While: Romancing

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    The C word...

    No, not cunt...  cancer.  My mom has it.  It's in her right breast.

    I called her today on Skype to see how she was doing and wish her a belated happy 75th birthday.  She said she had some news.  She has breast cancer-- two masses that were found during her latest mammogram.  She's had the test every year religiously for the past thirty years.  This year, it took her 18 months, probably because my dad was in the process of dying.

    She told me to go get a mammogram.  I still haven't had my first one and now I am in Germany, where it's slightly less user friendly to get healthcare.

    She was deathly calm in telling me this news, by the way.  She said it doesn't upset her.  She has a very practical attitude and has pretty much said "Just tell me where to go and what to do."  She said she was on her way to a surgeon today with her best friend.  We'll see what the surgeon says.

    This really sucks.