Monday, February 29, 2016

Positive vibes...

Just took the dogs in for their dentals.  Zane's went fine, but Arran has a large patch of infected skin near his lips.  He's had that for as long as we've had him, which is over three years.  Lately, it's gotten worse than it was.  He's has a crusty lesion that bleeds a little when he eats or plays.  It looks ulcerated and nasty.  Most every day, I pull the scab off because it's loose and gross and pretty much popping off by itself anyway.

The vet decided to biopsy it, which immediately makes me nervous.  Whenever I hear the word biopsy, I always think of cancer.  It may just be a nasty infection that won't clear up because it's always damp and he's always re-injuring it.  Or it could be something more sinister.  She put in a couple of stitches.

This comes, of course, in the two weeks leading up to our vacation in Scotland.  The last time we went to Scotland, we were dealing with MacGregor's issues.  He ended up having cancer and we had to euthanize him about two weeks after we came home.

If you have any good vibes to spare, we'd appreciate them.  Arran seems basically happy and healthy, but we did find that mast cell tumor last year.

I'm going to try to be positive, but I have to admit I'm worried.  It's probably just a bad infection, though... lip fold pyoderma.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

I love a good par-tay!

Last night, Bill and I hung out with some Americans affiliated with the local military installations.  It was a real blast seeing everybody and talking to someone besides Bill and my dogs.  We had lots of good food and good company and I was introduced to the evilness that is the game Cards Against Humanity.  I must have been living under a rock to miss this super fun adult party game that is custom made for someone as warped as I am.

The party started at 3:00 and I think it had pretty much broken up by 9:30.  Bill and I came home and went to bed at a reasonable hour.  I woke up feeling pretty good, which is in sharp contrast to how I felt on Saturday morning.

The odd thing is that we ended up meeting two exMormons.  Well, actually, we only met one in person.  The other was a guy on one of the local Facebook groups who piped up that I should hand out a Book of Mormon next time we get a visit from the Jehovah's Witnesses.  A couple stopped by right we got a visit from the apple and potato man and Bill had to tell them "Nein danke."

The other exMormon was one of the party attendees last night.  I never would have guessed he was an exMo, but he was talking about a fleshlight, which is basically a male sex toy.  Bill had explained to me what it was a couple of weeks ago.  Apparently, it resembles a flashlight and this guy's boss, apparently LDS, found it and thought it was a large flashlight.  Nope.

Sometimes living in Germany is a real hoot.  One of the best things about living abroad in an expat community is that you tend to meet people you otherwise wouldn't.  A lot of the people we hung out with last night wouldn't necessarily hang out with us in the States.  That's because when you're in your own country, there are too many groups you can be part of... people who are liked minded.  When you live abroad, you sort of end up being forced to bond with other people.  I like that, because you end up with a more interesting and diverse group of friends.  I enjoy hearing about other peoples' lives and learning about other cultures, even if it's just a state that isn't in the southern United States.

Here's something else I noticed.  A lot of the folks we hung out with last night are either retired military or enlisted.  And they are a hell of a lot more fun than a lot of the officers we used to hang out with.  A few years ago, I posted about how much I suck at parties.  I think the issue is that a lot of officers' parties are just boring.  People are too respectable and dignified at those gatherings.  I've never seen an officer break out an adult party game.  Of course, the one time Bill and I had a party, we got a little inappropriate.

Anyway, I'm not sure what we're going to do today.  I've started the laundry, which takes forever here.  I actually really miss my simple top loading washing machine that doesn't take two hours to do one load.  Tomorrow, I have to take the dogs to get their teeth cleaned.  It's definitely time for that.



Saturday, February 27, 2016

What the hell is Medium.com?

Over the last couple of days, I've seen a number of viral blog posts from a site called Medium.com.  You've probably seen them too.  The first post I remember reading was written by a woman named Talia Jane, who wrote about being barely able to survive on her wages at Eat24.  I read that post and had some empathy for Talia.  I've been in her shoes and I know how hard it can be when you're in your early 20s.  That was a very scary time for me.  So even though I recognized why some people were busting on Talia for being a millennial aged whiner, I had a little heart for her.

I can't say that I think Talia's post was altogether wise, although she has sort of made a name for herself.  Maybe that will lead to something new?  I see from her most recent posting that people have reached out to her with empathy.  She's not the only one who feels the way she does.

Anyway, it didn't take long for someone to write a snarky response.   This one was written by a woman named Stefanie, who is just a few years older than Talia is, but apparently thinks she's way more mature. That post got shared probably just as much as Talia's has been.  A lot of people liked it. I read Stefanie's post and even though I mostly got what she was saying, it kind of made me feel shitty.  The level of venom in her post, while probably entertaining for a lot of readers, seemed a bit harsh to me.  Aside from that, Stefanie may not realize that bad luck can strike in an instant.  She clawed her way into a secure situation now, but what if fate strikes her upside the head?  She could lose what she has in an instant.  

As of today, Stefanie's snarky rebuttal has inspired another snarky rebuttal from a 36 year old named Sara Lynn Michener.  Sara Lynn tells off Stefanie in her very biting open letter, basically accusing Stefanie of being a snarky bitch with no empathy.  I must say I was most impressed by Sara's writing.  It may not get as many shares as Stefanie's open letter  to Talia got, but I liked that Sara addressed what so many people in America seem to be lacking-- empathy and concern for other people.  On the other hand, while Sara was dressing down Stefanie for being a bitch, she was also being rather bitchy.  People love that shit, though.

Nobody likes a whiner.  I understand that.  But the fact is, life in America is hard and with every day, it's getting scarier.  Yes, I know that America is a first world country and there are worse places to be. On the other hand, over the past ten or fifteen years, a whole lot of people have seen their prospects dim.  People have lost their jobs, their homes, and their careers thanks to the economic downturn.

It seems like everyone is very concerned about themselves and what's in it for them.  So when someone like Talia comes along and writes eloquently about how hard it is to be 25, struggling to make enough money to pay her bills on $8 an hour and credit cards, other people are quick to tell her to STFU.  Yes, Talia has a lot going for her.  She's young, educated, presumably healthy, and white.  She lives in a beautiful, but very expensive city.  That doesn't mean that her life isn't hard.  She has a right to her voice.  I know others have rights to their voices, too... but why do they have to be so unkind about expressing themselves?  What a person writes in an essay is just a glimpse of who they really are as a person.  And yet, poor Talia Jane got a whole shitstorm of hate coming from people who think she should be happy she was making $8 an hour and barely scraping by.  I didn't get the idea that Talia was looking for a six figure salary.  Seems to me she just wanted to be able to eat.

As I was reading all of these "open letters" on Medium.com, I noticed that I had an account.  I don't remember ever signing up for Medium.com, but I see that I even have an avatar... an old Facebook picture from the fall.  I know this because I took it right after I got my baby tooth pulled.  I clicked on the picture and went to my profile, where I saw that I had nine people following me.  And I was following ten people myself.  I have no idea how I ended up with an account on Medium.com.

I guess I'm not upset about having a Medium.com account, especially since I also like to write.  It just seems mysterious that I do have one, especially since I don't remember signing up for it.  I have noticed that a lot of content on that site is somehow ending up going viral.  I'm not sure I necessarily want anything to go viral, mainly because viral stuff brings out the haters.  I don't like dealing with haters.  I get enough of them on my blogs.

Actually, now that I think about it, the rebuttals to Talia Jane's post remind me an awful lot of those life stories you'd hear from your parents...  "You think you have it hard?  When I was your age, I had to walk uphill in the snow with bare feet to get to school..."


I think Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen sketch nicely sums it up...




Stephanie Tanner's big knockers...

So yesterday, I decided to watch Fuller House, yet another reboot of an 80s era hit.  Everybody's been talking about this show.  I've seen lots of reviews of it and opinions have run the gamut.  I didn't like Full House that much, though I think I saw every episode.  It was just the kind of mindless drivel I could turn on and tune out on.  The original show was about a dad whose wife died in a car accident.  His brother in law and best friend moved into his San Francisco house and helped him raise his three daughters.  Kimmy Gibbler was the annoying next door neighbor who barged in whenever the mood struck.

The new show has D.J. Fuller, nee Tanner, moving into her dad's house after being widowed.  Her sister, Stephanie, and Kimmy Gibbler move in to help D.J. take care of her three sons.  The original show was very kid friendly.  The new show is a bit edgier, especially since Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) is forever showing off her knockers.  They appear to be bolt ons.  John Stamos and Lori Loughlin still look fabulous, but Bob Saget has aged a lot.

To be honest, I was pretty sure Fuller House was going to suck donkey balls.  It's not as bad as I thought it would be.  One thing I don't like much is the obnoxious laugh track.  I thought those things had gone out of style.  Also the theme song sounds a bit auto tuned.  Naturally, there are lots of 80s and 90s references, which are fun for those of us who remember those days.  Interestingly enough, the storylines aren't as much about the kids like they were in the original.

Anyway... on the original show, Stephanie Tanner was a dancer.  On this show, I notice D.J. and Kimmy do more dancing.  I guess that makes some sense, since Candace Cameron Bure was on Dancing With The Stars.  Stephanie is a D.J. and (poor) singer.  And because she is a D.J., she's always wearing clothes that show off her big knockers.  Jodie Sweetin looks great, especially given her many real life trials to include a crystal meth addiction and three divorces.

I have seen a couple of people commenting that the new show is not really for kids.  I guess that makes sense, since a lot of the people watching are adults who liked the show when they were kids.  At least this reboot isn't like the many reboots of The Brady Bunch.  The last incarnation was The Bradys, which aired in 1990 and was a total disaster.  They took a goofy sitcom and tried to turn it into Thirtysomething and it turned out to be completely ridiculous.  Fuller House is still a silly sitcom, though it's not as corny and saccharine as the original.  Also, did anyone notice how dangerous it is to marry a Tanner?  Both Danny Tanner and D.J. Tanner lost their spouses young.  If I were dating a Tanner, I think I'd be extra careful.  Death seems to follow them and then they turn death into a sitcom!

Who knows?  Maybe Fuller House will take off.  But I bet a lot of people will tune in just so they can look at Stephanie Tanner's knockers.  They are massive.  

Friday, February 26, 2016

When professors of ethics are unethical...

As I was waking up early this morning, I ran across an article posted on The New York Times Web site.  It was about Anna Stubblefield, a former professor of ethics at Rutgers University.  Stubblefield was recently found guilty of raping a man with disabilities.  She has been sentenced to twelve years in prison and must serve at least ten years and two months before she can be considered for parole.

It always shocks me when I read about an esteemed professional ending up in prison, for whatever reason.  It's even more shocking when I hear about women who end up in prison, especially for rape.  Anna Stubblefield's case is extremely bizarre.  The former chairwoman of the philosophy department at Rutgers and mother of two is someone I never would have guessed would end up behind bars.  And yet, in part due to a letter her ex husband wrote to Judge Siobhan Teare, Stubblefield is going to do hard time.

Anna Stubblefield's story is almost hard to believe.  What put her behind bars is an extremely inappropriate relationship she had with the brother of one of the graduate students she taught at Rutgers.  Known as D.J. in the media, Stubblefield's victim is a 35 year old black man with severe cerebral palsy.  Unable to speak or dress himself, D.J. relies on his family for everything.  He has muscle spasms that make it very difficult for him to stay in one position.  He has spasms in his eyes that make it hard to make eye contact or focus on fixed objects.  He is only able to walk if someone helps him.  Otherwise, he must scoot on the floor.  In 2004, five years before Stubblefield met D.J., a psychologist named Wayne Tillman evaluated him and found his ability to comprehend "quite limited".  

Stubblefield claims that she and D.J. "fell in love".  Moreover, she has said that D.J. is not as cognitively impaired as the psychologist claims.  She admits that he lacks motor skills, but that deep down, he was intelligent.  Indeed, D.J.'s family had asked Stubblefield to work with him.  Using a controversial method called "facilitated communication", Anna Stubblefield used a keyboard to help D.J. type out communication.  She claims that what he typed with her assistance came directly from him.  After some time, Stubblefield began a sexual relationship with the man she was tasked to help.  Anna Stubblefield maintains that the messages expressing his love for her and desire for a physical relationship came directly from D.J.

I will admit that I don't know a lot about this case.  I only know what I've read this morning.  Whether or not D.J. actually authored those messages, I have no way of knowing.  What I do know is that even if Anna Stubblefield's account is truthful, what she did was highly unethical.  Moreover, even though she had many friends and colleagues in her corner, vouching for her character, her ex husband paints a picture of a very narcissistic woman who managed to turn the couple's daughter against him.  Even if Stubblefield's ex husband hadn't made the claims he has, sexual relations with a client, especially one who can't consent, is the height of unprofessionalism and unethical behavior.

I read the comments posted on The New York Times about Stubblefield's sentence.  I was shocked to read that some people thought the judge was wrong in taking Roger Stubblefield's comments into account.  One person wrote that Roger Stubblefield's comments were "not relevant".  Really?  While I understand that when marriages break up, there's a lot of "he said, she said" that needs to be considered with a grain of salt.  But had the situation been reversed and it was Roger Stubblefield being accused of raping a disabled woman who is unable to speak, I feel pretty certain that no one would be defending him.  And plenty of people would put stock in what the ex wife had to say.

It's always weird to read about people like Mary Kay LeTourneau and Debra Lafave, women who were teachers and engaged in sexual relations with their underage students.  LeTourneau's case was especially odd.  Once she'd done her time in prison, she and her victim, Vili Fualaau, got married.  As far as I know, they're still happily wed.  Given that Fualaau didn't see himself as a victim and eventually married his rapist, it's hard for me to wrap my head around that case.  Stubblefield's case seems a lot more revolting to me, even though D.J. is technically an adult.  I just don't see how he could have ever consented to a sexual relationship with Stubblefield, even if she's right about his intelligence.

When Stubblefield was convicted of rape, she reportedly cried out, "Who is going to take care of my daughter?"  Seems to me Stubblefield should have considered that before she took advantage of her client.  Moreover, Stubblefield's children have a father.  She claims he's abusive, but even if that's true, I can't imagine he's much worse than she is.  I think this case is one that will go down as fascinating in a grotesque way.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A review of Surviving Cissy: My Family Affair of Life in Hollywood

Although I was not yet born when the television show Family Affair was originally broadcast, I had heard about the show from people who had watched it when it aired from 1966-71.  I think I might have seen a couple of episodes at some point, though I was much more of a Brady Bunch fan.  Family Affair was about three orphaned kids-- "twins" Buffy and Jody (played by non twins Anissa Jones and Johnny Whittaker) and Cissy, the fifteen year old big sister (played by Kathy Garver, who was actually a young adult and student at UCLA at the time).  The three children's parents die in a car accident and they descend upon their Uncle Bill (Brian Keith), a confirmed bachelor who travels the world, and his gentleman's gentleman butler, Mr. French (Sebastian Cabot).  


The Family Affair theme song.

Kathy Garver's role of Cissy made her famous, even though as a child of the 70s and 80s, I couldn't have told you who she was before I read her recently published book, Surviving Cissy: My Family Affair of Life in Hollywood.  To be honest, I think I bought this book because of the picture on the cover.  It looked like it was going to be a sordid tale and I am a sucker for sordid tales.  Well, I just finished Ms. Garver's book and it's definitely not a sordid tale.  Indeed, it reads a little like a Christmas brag letter.  Kathy Garver seems awfully proud of her long career in show business and the many important and notable people she's met along the way.

Although I usually like show biz memoirs, this one was a bit of a struggle to get through.  Garver has a formal writing style that is technically mostly correct, but comes across as stilted and affected.  It also felt like the book was a little too long and could have been edited down somewhat.  Garver has had a few trials in her life, but none that merited the amount of "airtime" they get in Surviving Cissy.  She writes about her house falling down a hill during a rainstorm, her house catching on fire,  breaking her leg, having her one and only son at age 44, and her husband overdosing on potassium that she purchased off the Internet from a company in Vietnam.  The rest of the book is mostly a breathless and saccharine accounting of all the things she's done and how wonderful she is.

On the positive side, the few chapters about some of the challenges Kathy Garver has had to face were somewhat interesting.  And I did also learn a little bit about Family Affair and what it's like to be a child actor, or at least what it was like in the 60s and 70s.  Garver was a child actor before she was on Family Affair.  She had a supportive family who helped her in her career and fostered her development into an adult actor.  She writes that many child actors have parents who do everything for them except recite their lines on camera.  Garver was able to learn how to do her own legwork.  Also, since she looked young for a long time, she was able to play roles that were written for children.  That worked to her advantage, since as a young adult, she wasn't limited by the child protection laws designed to prevent exploitation of minors.

While some readers may be interested in reading about Kathy Garver's many wonderful friends and ex boyfriends from show business, real estate, law, and school, others will probably find this aspect of the book pretty dull.  To me, it came across more as Garver's showing everybody how special her life is rather than offering insight into her career.  Patty Duke wrote the foreword to this book.  I read Duke's book, the excellent Call Me Anna, which was about Duke's harrowing childhood as a child star and her struggle with bipolar disorder.  In my opinion, that book was a lot more intriguing and engaging than Surviving Cissy is.  Moreover, Garver really doesn't explain why she needed to "survive" Cissy.  To me, it seemed like Cissy was just her defining role... and one she played long ago at that.

Another thing I noticed is that Kathy Garver is not someone you want to cross.  She writes about suing people, even though the things she sued over seemed to be at least partially her fault.  For example, her house caught on fire because she bought a new dryer.  The dryer didn't reach the electrical outlet, so the guy who installed it asked if she had an extension cord.  She did, but it didn't have the capacity to handle the electrical current.  It only had two prongs instead of three.  Two weeks later, the machine caught on fire and burned down her house, which her husband had failed to adequately insure.  So she sued the department store that sold her the dryer.

She also sued her son's Montessori school because he fell and cut his face on a radiator that was turned on.  While I'm not sure she was totally wrong to sue over that, the way she goes on about her "gorgeous" son and his marred face came across as a bit unbecoming to me.  It was in jarring contrast to the self-congratulatory tone in the rest of the book.

Anyway, I will say that this book did inspire me to watch part of the pilot episode of Family Affair.  I was surprised to find that the show was well written and genuinely funny as opposed to corny.  I probably would have been a fan had I been old enough to see it when it first aired.  I can't say I'm very familiar with Garver's work as an actress, despite having seen The Princess Diaries, in which she and her son had bit roles.  It's my guess that she's a better actress than writer.

I think I'd give this book about three stars.





"The YouTube Lament"...

The title of today's post was inspired by a musician named Tim Minchin.  I have blogged about Mr. Minchin before.  He's amazingly talented, funny, and astute.  I have a bunch of exMormons to thank for knowing he exists because someone on RfM shared his "White Wine In The Sun" video.  "White Wine In The Sun" is basically a Christmas song for atheists.  It's very poignant and beautiful and it resonates with many.

Anyway, there's another song Tim Minchin did.  It's called "The YouTube Lament".


Tim Minchin sings "The YouTube Lament" before an enthusiastic crowd.

"The YouTube Lament" is a song about how people don't care about someone's dazzling creativity and showmanship as much as they do kitten videos.  I often feel this way myself.  I've written some blog posts that I think are pretty interesting...  (if I do say so myself).  There are some posts on this blog that I've spent a lot of time on and expended a lot of effort writing.  I carefully insert links and videos and express myself as eloquently and artistically as possible, confiding in the anonymous people who stop by.  I do it because I love to communicate and create.

But...  do you know which of my posts are the most popular?  Well, I think the most popular one right now concerns postal regulations.  I'm left with the impression that a sizable number of people come to this blog to find out if it's illegal to put unstamped mail in someone's mailbox.  Not that I mind that people come here to read that.  That post, like every other one I wrote, came from a place of inspiration.  It's just funny to me, since that post has been shared around the Internet and may be the closest I'll ever get to having a viral blog post.  And it's not even an official source of information regarding postal regulations!

Another strangely popular post is the one I wrote about a dog hair getting embedded in the sole of my foot.  It was just something I wrote in a few minutes.  Never thought it would be a popular post.  That one gets hits every day and comments, too.   It makes me wish I had taken the time to write a blog post about when a huge, old, brown piece of ear wax randomly fell out of one of my ears and made my hearing seem like it was in stereo for a few minutes.  I know for a fact people would have stopped to read about that.  Want to know how I know?  Because when it happened to me, I went looking for blog posts about it.  It was such a strange, random, and yet oddly pleasurable event in my life.  I don't know why I didn't bother to express my wonder about it to the whole world.  I share everything else, don't I?  And I KNOW that post would have caught on fire.

I'm actually in a bit of an edgy mood today.  I woke up feeling slightly bitchy.  A couple of hours later, I realized that I've had PMS for the past couple of days.  Fortunately, I don't really have much trouble with PMS.  I'm crabby most of the month anyway, right?  But, I am finding as I'm getting older that I tend to have just a little less patience at certain times of the month.  I also find that I crave grease more.  Yesterday, I told Bill to bring home something fried.  He's remarkably cooperative when I make such requests and we ended up having fried shrimp and seared scallops for dinner, along with baked potato wedges and green beans.  I would have loved it if we could have gone to a big seafood buffet with a bunch of fried stuff offered.  Most of the other times of the month, I don't have these kinds of cravings.  And now I see I've digressed from the original topic of this post.  Or maybe I haven't.

I guess writing about PMS in your 40s is the sort of random bullshit the average person would seek out, just like dog hairs stuck in your foot and mail protocol.  I could wax poetic about poverty, Pensacola Christian College, and perverts all day, but when it comes down to it, most people just want to read about goofy shit.  


Oh, who am I kidding?  People are looking for porn, first and foremost.  ;)

Well, I'm trying not to come down with another cold and it snowed again last night.  I think I'll go finish the latest boring book I've been trying to plow through and come back later to review it.  Enjoy your Thursday.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Christ, they're back!

Have you heard the big news?  The Duggar kids are coming back to TLC.  I knew this would happen and I knew it was just a matter of time.  And while I am certainly not privy to the financial arrangements that have been made to get this family back on the air, my guess is that Boob has arranged it so that he gets a generous piece of the financial pie.  It would be nice if I could be wrong about this.  I would LOVE to see the now mostly adult Duggar kids being paid for what they do without the "guardian of the vaginas" sticking his hand in the pot.  But that would be just too unrealistic.

So, the new show focuses on Jill and Jessa, just as I predicted it would ages ago.  I watched their specials, which aired in December 2015 and thought they were pretty boring.  I guess that means I won't be tuning in to their new show, mainly because my computer can't handle much more shit on the hard drive.  And also, I hate the idea of putting money in Boob's and Michelle's coffers simply because they fucked a lot and produced many children.  

I suppose I shouldn't be so filthy as I write this.  I think today's earlier post put me in a mood, mainly because after I finished writing it, I found some articles that were related to Pensacola Christian College and similar schools about people who have been punished for being raped on campus.  That pissed me off, so I'm not inclined to use the kind of language one might hear at a valedictory address at a baptist seminary.    

It will be interesting to see how this new series is received.  My guess is that it will probably be a lot like the old series, minus a couple of undesirables.  And if it's like the old series, it'll be boring.  Being boring coupled with the unsavory aftermath of Josh's perversions may mean the newer show won't last so long.  

I can always count on entertaining comments whenever I mention this on Facebook.  Last night did not disappoint when I shared the news with my friends.  One new friend is from Australia and I had to explain to her why Jill and Jessa are married to Ben and Derick.  She didn't realize that Boob doesn't let his offspring pick their mates.  He also doesn't let them be adults, other than using them to do the parenting that he and his wife should be doing.

Anyway... I suppose I'll keep my eyes peeled to see if this new show is worth viewing.  I doubt it will be, even for snark value.  I suppose one thing about exposing America to this family is that everyone knows that being Christian doesn't mean that one is necessarily wholesome and pure.  I have a feeling more skeletons will fall out of the closet.


Making fun of Jack T. Chick...

When I was a graduate student, I had a surprising amount of free time on my hands.  Though I did not have as much free time in those days as I do now, as The Overeducated Housewife, I did have plenty of time for messing around.  I bought my very first personal computer in 1999.  I felt I needed to have it, even though the University of South Carolina had computer labs.  It was a good investment, especially since it ultimately led me to Bill.  Of course, I've already written that shocking story.

Today, I want to write about the Christian comic book artist Jack T. Chick and how I came to learn of his existence.  I had never heard of him until 1999 or so, when I bought that first Gateway machine for $999.  I spent hours on the Internet, looking at everything that was available in cyberspace.  At one point, I landed on The Student Voice, a site for former students at Pensacola Christian College.  The site I linked to is not the original URL.  It used to be www.pensacolachristiancollege.com.  The school sued to get the URL released to them, but they lost. It looks like the guy who had the domain finally released it and now if you go to www.pensacolachristiancollege.com, you end up on the school's official Web site.  I see a lot of the stuff that used to be on The Student Voice has been taken down.  That's a real pity, though it's still worth looking around if you're interested in how weird PCC really is.  Here's an article written by someone who experienced PCC and didn't like it.

Apparently, the people who run PCC are extremely uptight folks.  They are very quick to give students the boot for not measuring up to standards.  If you choose to attend this college, you will be paying to be treated like you're on house arrest.  Pensacola is near beaches.  PCC students were allowed to go to the beach, but they have to go to gender segregated ones... or, at least they did back in the early 00s.  Students were not allowed to be in mixed company and had to travel in groups.  They had to scan off campus and were only allowed to go to certain places.  They were only allowed to see G rated films.  And ladies, you can forget about wearing pants.  Indeed, women have to wear dresses and skirts of an appropriate length along with pantyhose.  Imagine how pleasant that is in Florida heat!  And guys are to wear ties, which are not allowed to be removed until the afternoon.

Man almighty, if I ever thought the rules were strict at Bob Jones University, BYU, or Liberty University, they were nothing compared to PCC.  Men and women had to use different stairwells and sidewalks and avoid touching or staring at each other for too long (making "eye babies").  At night, everyone had to draw their blinds in a particular way to prevent peeping.  Books, magazines, and the Internet were strictly regulated and filtered.  Anything remotely suggestive was censored.  If you got sick, you had to check yourself into the infirmary.  And almost every student was required to live on campus, where, if they broke the rules, they could be grounded (campused).

I'm not sure if the rules are as strict today as they were sixteen years ago, but back then, they were almost unbelievably strict.  What was really crazy in my view is that the students were all legal adults paying for this experience.  And the degrees they were paying for weren't even accredited.  It's my understanding that PCC now has some sort of accreditation designated for Christian schools, but I don't think it's the kind that is universally respected.  I, of course, found the whole thing fascinating and used to hang out on the Student Voice's messageboard to get the dirt.  The stories were crazy and positively addictive.

Anyway, not being a particularly devout Christian, I had never heard of Christian tract artist Jack T. Chick.  Chick makes Bible tracts that many Christians pass out to others, leave in lieu of tips at restaurants, or litter with in parks and public restrooms.  They can be entertaining to read, even if some of the messages within them are hateful.  Basically, according to Chick, everyone who doesn't live their lives in accordance with Biblical principles is going to go straight to Hell.

The PCC crowd had heard plenty about Jack T. Chick.  Some of them had handed out his tracts to innocent people.  Once I found out about Chick, I felt the insatiable need to find out more about him, so I continued my sleuthing and eventually came across a Web site called Weird Crap.  A guy named Psycho Dave had created several  parodies of Jack Chick's tracts.  Most of the parodies are hilarious, even if they are also quite sacrilegious.  If you have an irreverent sense of humor and are not offended by blasphemy or extremely off color humor or language, I recommend having a look, especially after comparing them with Chick's originals.  If you are at all sensitive about such humor, I recommend simply taking my word for it.  Also, be aware that the site is a bit wonky because it hasn't been updated in ages.  Your patience will likely be required.

Psycho Dave wrote that he got a ration of shit from Jack Chick after he created his parodies.  He got phone calls and emails demanding that he take down his parodies because they were copyrighted.  I can't help but get a huge kick out of the fact that the people at Weird Crap had loads of fun poking fun at Chick.  Their Web site kept me entertained for hours when I was in grad school and not able to chat with Bill.  And, as you can see, despite Chick's saber shaking and harassment, Psycho Dave's parodies are still online.  He says he's ready to pass the Web site on to someone else, though.


A Chick tract in Dutch I found on the ground near the train station in Amsterdam.

I made the mistake of sharing the parodies with the folks on the PCC board.  I got quite the dressing down for that because even though a lot of them seemed to think Jack Chick is an asshole and they were a bit on the rebellious side, they didn't like how Psycho Dave made fun of their holy book.  Aside from that, they were pretty accepting of me, even though one person said I reminded them of Janine Garofalo (really?!).  I guess to them, I really was super liberal.  I'm probably even more liberal now than I was back then.  

I can credit PCC folks for introducing me to the writer Frank Schaeffer, who was himself raised by famous Christian evangelists in Switzerland.  Schaeffer has written several very entertaining novels as well as a few non fiction books that I've enjoyed.  His son, John, joined the Marines against his parents' wishes.  Schaeffer had never been exposed to the military and was against John's enlistment, but later educated himself and wrote a few excellent books about different aspects of the military experience, including his experience as the father of a Marine.  When Bill came home from Iraq, I passed on Schaeffer's novel Baby Jack to him.  That book really resonated with Bill on many levels and I probably never would have known about it if the PCC folks hadn't turned me on to Frank Schaeffer's writing.  So I offer them thanks for that.  And, I also see from Amazon.com, that I've missed a couple of Schaeffer's latest books.  He's very prolific and, if you write to him, he will write back.

I don't really hang out with PCC folks anymore, though I am still a member of their relocated forum.  Every year on my birthday, I get an automated birthday greeting from them and I remember how much fun I had learning about the wacky world of PCC and fundie Christians.   I only wish I could find a similarly entertaining community so I could pry myself off of Facebook. 


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Well fed white people...

Yesterday ended with me getting decidedly pissy because of things I was reading on Facebook.  Seriously, it's probably time I pulled the plug on social media and got back to living life offline.  But, like an addict seeking the next high, I go back every day for more.  Today's rant is mostly inspired by an article I read on Raw Story.  The subject of the article isn't new.  It's about yet another well fed white politician preaching about what poor people getting welfare benefits should be eating.  Republican Senator Patty Ritchie of New York introduced a bill targeting so-called "luxury food items" that apparently people receiving welfare benefits are buying a lot of.

Ritchie wants to make it forbidden for SNAP card recipients to buy steak, lobster, decorated cakes, energy drinks, and other items that are considered "high end" or "junk food".  The legislation would require the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance to come up with a list of prohibited items.  On the surface, this probably seems like a reasonable enough proposition to most people.  Or, at least it does if you are a person who has access to a kitchen, the time and skill to cook from scratch, and the ability to store leftovers.

Indeed, Ritchie sounds like she's almost concerned about the plight of the poor.  In a memo about the bill, Ritchie writes “At a time when our state and nation are struggling with an obesity epidemic, it is critically important that taxpayer-funded programs help low-income consumers make wise and healthy food choices...”  She continues, “Many of these items aren’t just unhealthy, they’re also expensive...  This legislation would not only help low-income families and individuals stretch their food budgets further and promote health and nutrition, it would also protect taxpayers from abuse of a program that’s intended to help those who have fallen on hard times.”

Wow... well, Ritchie sure makes it sound like she cares.  But I have to wonder how much she really knows about poverty and the real challenges that many poor people have to face when it comes to eating.  Does Ritchie realize that not everyone who has a SNAP card is unemployed with plenty of time on their hands?  Many people who receive welfare benefits have jobs.  In fact, many of them are juggling more than one job.  While I would love to see more people eating fresh, healthy, whole foods, the fact is that when you're working all the time, you don't always have the time or the energy to cook and eat from scratch.  And some people don't have the ability to "eat healthy" because they literally lack the facilities to transport, store, and prepare whole foods.

Last night, I was talking about this with Bill and he told me about what it was like for him after he and his ex wife split up.  Ex had come up with a divorce settlement that was extremely unfair and punitive.  It basically left Bill living on $600 a month.  He was paying her $2250 a month in child support for three kids, one of which was not even legally his responsibility.  He paid her $400 a month in alimony.  And he was also paying $1100 a month for the house she awarded herself in the divorce.  Granted, Bill made some big mistakes by agreeing to this, but at the time, he was broke, desperate, and unable to get legal assistance.  The upshot is, he lived in poverty for about two years.

Bill went to Kansas for his new job and was forced to live in a tiny, drafty apartment.  He was very lucky because the man who owned his building was kindhearted and more interested in seeing his units filled than making a lot of money.  So Bill managed to rent a place for $220 a month, unheard of in most cities even back in 1999.  He had a dial up Internet connection that he paid $20 a month for.  He paid about $65 a month for electricity and phone.  He drove a shitty K car that his ex wife deigned to let him have; Ex's father's relatives had given it to Bill because he helped pay for the man's funeral.  Luckily, gas was cheap in those days.  Whatever was left, he used for purchasing food.  He ate a lot of beans and rice.  Fortunately, during that time period, his job required him to travel and he got per diem from the military.  He never used all of the per diem, so he was able to pocket the excess.  That extra money supplemented him some months.

Bill never had to resort to welfare.  That's probably because he was in the military and got some perks that are not available to most civilians.  Also, he was making a good salary, it's just that most of it went to his ex wife and kids.  In the wake of his relationship with his ex wife, Bill experienced both bankruptcy and foreclosure.  I was around to see the aftereffects of his financial problems.  It's taken years for him to recover and recovery was difficult to achieve.

Bill told me about some of the apartments he went to look at that were affordable for him back in those days.  A lot of the rental properties that he could have managed to rent were "flop houses".  They had no refrigerators in them.  One potential landlord said he would allow a hot plate, but no microwaves.  Now, if you're someone who lives in a room with no cooking or refrigeration facilities, how are you supposed to eat well?  What if you don't have transportation available to you and you live in an area that is not served by a decent grocery store?

Bill also told me about how once in a great while, he would go to Sonic and buy a burger combo.  He very rarely eats fast food now and probably ate even less back then.  Fast food tends to make him feel sick.  But he'd see guys working construction go in and buy super sized combo meals.  The food was cheap and filling and would keep them going, even if they might have stayed healthier by eating a big salad.

Looking at Ritchie's picture on the Raw Story article, I see a woman who has no money problems.  She's white, well-employed, and clearly well-fed, as well as getting income from taxpayers.  She's promoting legislation that seems reasonable to so-called "working people" who are fortunate enough not to need welfare benefits.  However, I really don't think Ritchie has much of a clue about what some people are facing, especially as the news reports more and more big businesses closing their U.S. locations and shipping jobs overseas.  American people who used to have relatively decent jobs are finding themselves unemployed or underemployed.  Many of them need  more help affording life instead of more micro managing laws designed to make their lives even more difficult.

It's not that I don't think poor people should be eating healthy.  They should.  I just don't think this  so-called "problem" of SNAP card users buying steak and lobster is that widespread or common.  Besides, shellfish and beef are good sources of protein.  Someone who is fortunate enough to luck into a sale on meat or seafood should be allowed to take advantage of it, especially since things go on sale because they are close to their sell by dates and will be thrown out if no one buys them.

I think politicians have much bigger issues with which to concern themselves other than what some poor person on welfare is buying at the grocery store.  I also think government offices have better things to do other than coming up with lists of "forbidden foods".  Many people receiving welfare benefits are folks who are just trying to survive and would much rather have a job that pays enough that they don't need welfare benefits.  And, just like all self-respecting adults, they would prefer that others stay out of their personal business.

This bill pretty much insinuates that people who are unfortunate enough to be poor, for whatever reason, need special help from the government deciding what they should and should not eat.  There are people out there getting benefits who, at one time, were gainfully employed and able to shop at a grocery store without judgmental comments and disapproving looks from strangers.  Many of these folks know that it's healthier to eat fresh produce than a microwavable burrito.  But that burrito is going to keep them going longer than an orange will, even if in the long run, a diet of burritos and french fries will lead to higher healthcare costs.

It's not a crime to be poor.  Anyone who has ever had a paying job that required a 1099 or a W-2 has paid into the system.  People who have fallen on hard times should be entitled to a little basic dignity and respect, as well as privacy and self-determination.  Moreover, rather than wasting time on legislation that dictates what poor people should be eating "for their own good", I would like to see lawmakers tackle the bigger issues that lead to people ending up on welfare.  How about working on laws that make healthcare affordable, accessible, and available to everyone who needs it?  How about working on legislation that discourages American businesses from shipping jobs overseas?  How about legislators paying more attention to the average person who is trying to get by rather than special interest groups and corporations?

So yeah... I get why many folks who are not really poor think that Ritchie's legislation sounds reasonable.  But I don't think they get why this kind of legislation is not necessarily a good idea.  I hope, for their sakes, they never have to experience poverty and the many challenges that come with being broke.




Monday, February 22, 2016

Inappropriate people on TV...

I happened to run across this very strange clip from Wheel of Fortune.



I don't know what is up with Raymond.  Is he on something?  Does he have some kind of illness?  Is he just an odd duck?  He does play well, though.

I must confess that I had to fast forward through some of this clip because Raymond was weirding me out a little bit.  After watching his historic performance, I noticed yet another clip...


Maybe these ladies had a touch of the nerves...

And some people just have no situational awareness...


Mad props to Pat Sajak for keeping cool...

I'm sure a lot of people didn't even catch what this guy was suggesting the puzzle solution was.  Imagine if he'd been right!  I don't know how game show hosts do it.  There are all kinds of folks who end up on their shows and you never know what they'll say.  I see the same thing happens to journalists.  


Well, Meredith asked... and she got an answer, right?

When we lived in Germany last time, we had German cable TV.  It was set up for us by our landlord. This time, we didn't bother with cable or AFN.  I download stuff or watch Netflix.  I have to admit, sometimes I miss live TV because you never know what will happen.  The news is especially fun to watch.  


Uh oh...

Of course, it's not okay to swear on live TV.  At least it's not in the United States, land of hypocritical prudes.  In other places around the world, no one really cares if you cuss.  Hell, European ads can be a whole lot of fun because there's so much more leeway as to what's allowed.  They tend to be less accepting of violence and more accepting of filthy language.


I've actually seen this ad on the Internet...  You don't have to speak German to get it.

I had a fairly good weekend.  Zane's paws are better and he was able to take a walk yesterday.  Bill said he was delighted and had a great time.  We tried two new restaurants.  Next weekend, we will go to a barbecue and hang out with real people.  Then, just a couple of weeks later, we will finally go on our trip.  I am dying to get out of here for awhile.

I may come back later for more opining.  For now, I think I'll take advantage of the somewhat decent weather we have today.  The sun is actually out!







Sunday, February 21, 2016

Tasteless cakes...

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about Cake Wrecks, a Web site that highlights cakes that are in poor taste or demonstrate someone's warped sense of humor.  The post I wrote was about a cake that had a bride and a headless groom bleeding all over the cake.  At the time, I wrote that I thought the cake was in bad taste.  I still do, but I recognize some people find tasteless humor funny.  Most of the time, I am one of those same people, which I guess makes me a hypocrite.  Sue me.  Most people are hypocritical.


Nothing like a good piece of ass...

Yesterday, a Facebook friend shared pictures of a cake that was made to look like a very realistic baby.  The baby cake was covered in Saran Wrap in the first picture, which was weird enough.  The last picture showed the cake cut up.  The inside of the cake was pink, which I guess means the mother to be was expecting a girl.  I think we can all be glad the baker didn't use Red Velvet cake for the inside because eeeewwww!

Anyway, I couldn't restrain myself from sharing the pictures.  At this writing, I have thirty-three comments, most of which are about how disgusting the cake is.  A couple of people actually liked the photos.  One said she would eat the cake with gusto!

A few people seemed to be upset about the post.  One said she wished she'd never seen it.  My response was three-fold.  First off, it's really just a cake.  No actual babies were harmed in the making of the cake.  Yeah, the baker was a little too good at the realism, but when it comes down to it, there are worse things your shower guests could be eating, right?  Think about it.

Secondly, I didn't bake or serve the cake.  I probably wouldn't think to do that if I ever hosted a baby shower.  It wouldn't occur to me.  Or, at least it wouldn't until last night, when I saw those pictures for the first time.  I guess my decision as to whether or not I'd serve such a thing would depend on how I felt about the mother to be and whether or not I wanted to open up a can of worms.

And thirdly, Facebook is full of tasteless shit.  I get disgusted by a lot of things I see on Facebook.  I can name several things off the top of my head.  For instance, I hate seeing pictures of animal cruelty or hunting trophies.  I know people share the pictures to increase awareness and outrage, but it really upsets me to see photos of beagles being forced to inhale carbon monoxide, pictures of dead deer shot by hunters, or dogs with their snouts taped shut.  I am much more horrified by that than a picture of a cake that looks like a baby.  I also hate stupid memes, especially the ones that feature sick children, holier than thou religious messages, or politicians.

And I hate political rants of every stripe.  Last night, one of my conservative Christian cousins posted a meme about Bernie Sanders that  totally turned my stomach.  I was almost tempted to comment, but ultimately decided not to.  I'm already a black enough sheep in my family.

When you think about it, a picture of someone's skillfully made cake that looks an awful lot like a real human baby isn't as tasteless as it could be.  I'm sure that if I sat here and thought about it, I could come up with many more examples of tasteless humor I could spread to the masses.  How about a cake that is made to look like a scrotum?  Or maybe a fudge cake that looks like a rectum, complete with shit residue made to look realistic by using several kinds of chocolate frosting?  There is no accounting for taste and art is often shocking and tasteless...  I think if it generates discussion and makes you think, it's served its purpose.  I could even say that the baby cake inspired my own creativity today.

I bet a lot of the same people who cringe over the sight of a realistic looking baby cake would laugh over this news story...  People are such hypocrites!

I think I'll try to behave myself today.  Maybe we'll find somewhere else to chow down so I can write a nice, harmless restaurant review.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Nice sheets, luxury towels, and no Disney plates!

A couple of weeks ago, I bought two luxury bath sheets from Amazon.  The new towels are made of organic cotton, and covered with little "knobs" on them that give sort of a massage effect as you dry off.  I got one in rose pink for me and a dark grey one for Bill.  I washed them for the first time yesterday and this morning, Bill tried his for the first time.  He came into our bedroom with a smile on his face and said, "Wow... that is a nice towel!"

I laughed because a couple of months ago, I bought us new sheets from Comphy.  They were pricey, but totally worth it.  I thought I loved our cotton sheets from Italy, but the Comphy sheets are super soft and comfortable.  The only thing I don't like about them is that they're made for a pillow top mattress and I don't have one of those yet.  The sheets are a little large for our current mattress, which I hope to replace at some time in the near future.

Here's Bill, a guy who grew up with not a lot of money and was pretty destitute when we met.  Now he sleeps on nice sheets and uses luxury cotton towels that I buy for him.  I asked him if he was glad I'd introduced him to luxury.  He said he was.  I like to invest in quality... things that are useful and will make our lives nicer.  I might spend a little more, but the stuff I buy tends to last longer and actually has uses other than collecting dust.

When Bill and I met, he was deeply in debt and having serious financial problems.  He wore ill fitting clothes his ex wife bought him at yard sales.  He slept on a futon and had approximately one bowl, one plate, and a few odd pieces of silverware.  He lived in a tiny efficiency apartment in a large, soulless apartment building.  I distinctly remember demanding that we go to Target and pick up some dishes and basic cookware.  We found some that wasn't too expensive.  Though we long ago got rid of that initial set of dishes (it had metal on it so it couldn't be microwaved), we still have a few little bowls that came with the set.  They're perfect for Saturday morning grits, which are the kind that need to be boiled in salty water for a half an hour.

One of the reasons Bill was so deeply in debt when we met was because his ex wife had a problem with excessive shopping.  She had a need for instant gratification.  Unfortunately, Bill went along with her demands because he thought it was easier to give in than say no to her.  Saying no to the ex usually brought on epic tantrums and meltdowns.  When I say that the Ex had a shopping problem, I mean she really had a shopping problem.  She would spend mortgage money on trips to the nearest Mormon temple, where she assumed Heavenly Father would bless her with some miracle that would get the house note paid on time.  She'd spend wads on money on worthless things while important bills would go unpaid.  Her habit of overspending wreaked havoc on their personal finances.  It kept Bill in a constant state of stress and worry, yet he couldn't bring himself to put a stop to her financial abuse.

Ex bought a house when Bill was underemployed, using Bill's Army pay stubs from a temporary school he was enrolled in at the time.  One time, she bought two cars, one of which was a Miata convertible.  She gave Bill the convertible (which, of course, he was paying for) and she drove the VW Euro van.  She bought landscaping and furniture when Bill was job hunting.  She also bought Disney plates, Franklin Mint figurines, Precious Moments statues, and Star Wars action figures.  At Christmas, she'd buy tables full of food... food that wasn't even necessarily kid friendly stuff.  She had a Swiss Colony account and would buy stuff like baklava and fancy adult oriented snacks that would invariably end up going to waste.

Bill says Ex used to go to Wal Mart and buy several Star Wars action figures, four or five each.  She'd give one each to her eldest son, and "file" the rest of them.  She'd buy greeting cards and keep them on file.  When they'd run short of money, Ex would return some of the stuff she'd bought.  It never seemed to occur to her not to buy the stuff in the first place.  Investing and saving money isn't fun for someone who spends like a drunken sailor.  It doesn't offer instant gratification like something tangible, shiny, and new does.

I have noticed that a lot of people who seem to have issues with narcissism or other personality disorders, also seem to have a problem with excessive shopping.  Ex would buy expensive but worthless crap for the house, yet troll the yard sales for clothes she'd buy for Bill...  with HIS money. I don't know if Ex still has this problem with blowing money, but it was a huge problem back when she was married to Bill.  My guess is that it's still an issue.

Bill had told me about the Disney plates a lot of times.  It's become sort of a metaphor for the craziness that was their marriage.  They were drowning in debt.  Ex had medical problems that required stays in the hospital.  They had three kids who required day care.  Ex had pressured Bill to get out of the Army because she didn't want the Army dictating where they would be living.  Bill's career wasn't so great in those days anyway, so he acquiesced.  He got out of the Army; they moved to Arkansas; she decided to buy a house that reminded her of one she saw in a snow globe.  The house had serious problems that required immediate repair.

Job opportunities where they were living were not very plentiful.  Bill worked in boring factory positions... jobs that didn't pay enough and weren't a good use of his skills, talents, or interests.  Here was Bill, a career military officer with a bachelor's degree in International Relations from American University making plastic toys and refrigerator doors for peanuts.  And Ex would spend the peanuts he made on stupid crap like Disney plates.  When I think of how stressful and needlessly difficult that time was, it just amazes me.   Bill and Ex spent almost ten years together and most of the time they were married was miserable.

After four years of civilian life in Arkansas, Bill decided to go back into the Army full time.  It was a decision that set his life back on the right path, even though it infuriated his ex wife.  Army life meant she'd have less say... less control.  You'd think all of her decisions had been excellent, the way she reacted to Bill's decision to join the Army.  But Ex didn't make good decisions; and if Bill continued to allow her to continue to run his life, he'd soon run out of options.  He decided to save himself.

After Bill took his life back into his own hands, Ex went on a smear campaign and told the young women she was teaching at the Mormon church about Bill's so-called perversions.  She did her best to assassinate his character and paint herself in the best light.  She even tried to sway his parents into her camp.  Fortunately, that tactic failed, though not without some initial damage.

Bill's re-entry into the Army was the beginning of the end of their marriage and the beginning of the beginning of our marriage.  I met Bill online just a few weeks after he went back on active duty and we chatted online for 18 months before we met in person.  When I met him, I never had any thought that we'd end up married.  If I'd had any sense back in those days, I might have steered clear.  I'm so glad I didn't.

Today, by their choice, Bill has no relationship with his daughters.  But he lives comfortably and within his means.  He has a wife who loves him for who he is and he has a job that interests him and is well suited to him.  He doesn't have to worry about not being able to pay his bills.  He can dry off with nice towels and sleep on comfortable sheets on furniture that is paid for.  He can travel the world, eat good food, drink whatever he wants, and spend his Sundays resting instead of stressing over church and his reputation.  

Some people would blame Bill for escaping his first marriage and building a better life.  They'd think he should have stuck around for the kids... or maybe divorce and try to get custody of them.  But I'll tell you, back in the early days of our relationship, Bill had nothing.  He barely got out of that marriage with the clothes on his back.  A lot of people think that a real man should suffer and tolerate whatever abuse dished out by the woman.  Yet we'd never advise a woman to stick around under those conditions.  We cheer when a woman recovers from abuse and makes a better life for herself.  When a man suffers abuse and leaves, a lot of people think he's a dirtbag or a wimp.

Bill's time with his ex wife has had ripple effects that have reached far and wide.  They go beyond him and his immediate family.  They have touched me and my family and will affect the people who eventually become involved with his daughters and the children they may someday have.  Not a day passes that I don't think about what may happen in the future.  I have a feeling that eventually someone in that band of miscreants will go rogue and try to pull us back into the cyclone of craziness.  I dread it.  At the same time, I feel so incredibly lucky to have Bill in my life.  I'm glad we're together and have been able to make a good life.  And I'm very glad I never developed an affinity for Disney plates or anything of that nature.

By the way, if you're looking for a nice bath towel, I can vouch for the one linked below.  :D

Friday, February 19, 2016

18 year old gets busted for practicing medicine without a license...

Facebook isn't the only place I get ideas for my blog posts.  Sometimes, I get ideas from CNN.  This morning, I read about Malachi Love-Robinson, an eighteen year old man from Florida who claims to have a PhD and has been offering physicals, well women exams, immunizations, pre-operative clearance, and well child exams.  Love-Robinson was arrested when an undercover police officer visited New Birth Life Medical Center's office.  Love-Robinson physically examined the officer and offered medical advice, which was enough to get him cuffed and stuffed.  According to Daily Mail, Love-Robinson refers to himself as "Dr. Love".  How cute.

If you check out his Web site, Love-Robinson does not expressly identify as a medical doctor.  However, the site is set up to suggest that he provides medical care.  You see pictures of men and women dressed in medical garb, complete with stethoscopes.  Incidentally, I just learned about the history of the stethoscope.  Rene Laennec, The doctor who invented it because he was too modest to place his ear on a woman's chest was certainly more qualified than Love-Robinson, even though he was a doctor centuries ago.  "Dr. Love" says he has a PhD, but refuses to divulge the field of expertise in which he supposedly earned his academic credentials.  Also, in televised news footage about Love-Robinson, there is a clip that shows a reporter peeling back tape over the letters M.D. after the teen's name on a nameplate on the clinic's door.

What surprises me is that Love-Malachi was able to do what he's been doing long enough to have a Web site.  It's pretty scary to think some 18 year old with no real credentials can be offering health care services to innocent people.  Granted, technically Love-Malachi never expressly called himself a medical doctor, he implies that he's qualified to examine and treat people.  The "practice's" Web site itself is rather sketchy looking.  Though it's located in West Palm Beach, Florida, there is one testimonial on the site... from a woman named Bettina in Phoenix, Arizona.

I notice the program director, Sandra J. White, apparently holds a PhD... but it's an honorary doctorate in divinity and there is no mention of the institution that allegedly granted the degree.  I also have to wonder how an honorary doctorate in divinity qualifies someone to be a program director for a fake healthcare practice.  The information about her work experience is very vague and sketchy.

Actually, New Birth Life Medical Center's cheesy Web site reminds me a little of the sites that I used to see for the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs.  WWASP programs are notorious for employing abusive methods to subdue "troubled teens" into compliance.  The Web sites that advertised the teen help services had a distinctly unprofessional look to them.  They used a lot of stock photos and wording that seemed to say more than it actually did.  At first blush, the sites may have looked legit, but they hid the scary reality.  WWASP still operates a handful of schools, not nearly as many as they did in the early 2000s.  For awhile, business was booming for them, even as many young people were being abused.

Based on the CNN article, Love-Robinson has been in trouble with the state of Florida before for trying to practice medicine with a license.  Also, his "practice" apparently opened on January 16th of this year.  I have to wonder who in the world thought this was a good idea.  On the other hand, maybe it was temporarily working for him.  Love-Robinson posted $21,000 in bail and then sat down for an interview with ABC.  He abruptly ended the interview when reporter Matt Gutman grilled him about his training and allegations that he bilked over $3,000 from a sick 86 year old woman.

For all I know, Love-Robinson may actually have a gift for healing.  But clearly, he doesn't think the laws apply to him and neither do his "co-workers".  I have to say, the kid's got balls of steel to try to pull this off.




Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Golden Turd award...

This week has been fraught with strange Facebook encounters.  It started with the dickhead who didn't like my Valentine's Day post and ended with my Italian friend, Vic, making disparaging comments about Americans in Germany.  I'm very used to Vic's comments, by the way.  He is an Italian who became a naturalized American citizen and apparently hasn't enjoyed being an American. So he takes potshots at Americans at every opportunity.  I don't mind, because I generally enjoy his comments and I know there is a kind person under the pithy barbs.  But that doesn't mean that he's not a turd sometimes.

The Valentine's Day disser is another story altogether.  I can remember only two Facebook encounters with that guy.  I have no idea what his problem is or why he has taken such a dislike to me.  I don't generally confront people who annoy me on Facebook.  I won't say I never do, but I rarely do.  I think it's mostly a waste of time and offers too much of an opportunity to be humiliated.  But as I've found out, others seem to enjoy confronting people on Facebook and picking on them.  I don't mind gentle teasing if I know the person doing it.  If it's a stranger, I don't know how I should take it.  More often that not, I take offense rather than think of it as gentle ribbing.

I think, from now on, when someone is shitty to me on Facebook, I'm just going to present them with The Golden Turd award.


Who wouldn't want this sitting on their mantle?

I did this to my friend Vic last night after his latest American bashing session.  He seemed amused by it and said he was going to list it on his C.V.   I suppose I could have also presented it to my Valentine's Day disser friend.  Maybe that would have been met with a more favorable response than my suggestion that he spent Valentine's Day masturbating by himself, which is why he had such a pissy attitude about my restaurant review.  

In reality, I have no idea what brought on the guy's comment.  Was he sitting there at his computer, noticing every time I posted a link to my travel blog?  Has he spent the past eighteen months seething when he saw my name?  Was he thinking to himself, "I hate that Overeducated Housewife bitch!  She's always going out to eat and forcing everyone in the Stuttgart community to read about it!  Fuck her!  I'll show her!"?  I have to admit, it's a little creepy to think that I could have that kind of visceral effect on someone just for linking my blogs.  Humans are complex creatures, though.   

Or maybe he's just an unhappy person who likes to pick on people he deems weaker than he is.  Did I give the impression of being a nice, sweet person who would take his abuse without a retort?  Somehow, I doubt it.  I don't think I come off as a particularly sweet person.  I don't think I'm a mean person, but I'm usually fairly quick witted.  I wasn't always that way.  It was a skill I had to learn because I have sisters who think on their feet.

Maybe he was "kidding"?  I might have taken it that way if I had a relationship with him.  But I remember all too well the hostile, uncalled for comment he lobbed at me in 2015.  My guess is that, for some reason, he doesn't like me.  As I have pointed out before, he's certainly not the only one.  A lot of people don't like me.  Even some of my family members seem to dislike me.  While I don't enjoy being disliked, it's something I can live with because I have to and because I can't control how other people feel.  

Still, maybe I went too far when I suggested that my critic was jerking off by his lonesome on Valentine's Day.  That was a rather rude comment.  On the other hand, he started it by being nasty to me for no apparent reason.  Would the end result have been the same if I had just posted a picture of the Golden Turd award?  Who knows...

Maybe instead of the Golden Turd Award, I could post this video.


I used to have one of these Mattel Silly Talk dolls.  They were made in 1971, which makes me think that it was probably originally my sister Sarah's toy.  I hated the goddamn thing.  I think, when I was a teenager, I finally took a hammer to it and busted it into many pieces.  That was a very satisfying activity for me.

Of course, now I see that the Talk Up dolls are worth some money.  They were only produced for a year because they didn't sell very well.  Given how annoying I found the one I inherited, I can see why they didn't sell.  Mine was in surprisingly good condition until I obliterated it.  I probably could have sold it for $100 on eBay.  On the other hand, I think hammering the shit out of it may have been worth more than $100.  Given my hostile feelings toward the Talk Up doll, posting the video would be meaningful... at least to me.

Anyway... I was hoping this week would be better than last week.  In some ways, it has been.  Bill has been home and, aside from a little nasal congestion and a chapped nose, I'm mostly over my cold.  But the weather is still depressing and Zane's paws are still raw and tender, meaning he's not quite up to taking a walk.  I should get dressed and go do something fun, but I feel like I shouldn't leave the dogs.  And I also hate driving...  and getting dressed.

Hmmm... maybe I should present the Golden Turd award to myself?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Size 16 model on Sports Illustrated cover causes a ruckus...

I figure it's about time for another post about fat shamers.  If you read this blog with any regularly, you have no doubt seen me address this topic on a number of occasions.  I guess I just don't understand why some people feel like they have to opine about other peoples' bodies.  In the case of models, you have a bunch of people complaining about the larger women who are starting to show up on magazine covers.  Invariably, it's bitchy women who have a problem with this and certain men who find heavier women unattractive.

This topic comes up after someone posted this on Facebook and I saw it on my feed.


The comments on this were interesting...

A lot of people were praising this picture.  A lot of men were commenting on how "smokin' hot" Ashley Graham is.  A lot of women were excited to see a curvy woman with flesh on her bones rocking a bikini.  Let me be clear.  I am a booster.  I think people can be beautiful in many sizes.  I also think people can be healthy at many sizes.  

And yet, if you check out the comments on this photo, you'll also find all kinds of hateful commentary and people disguising their disgust with concern trolling comments.  There were thousands of comments on this post.  I spent a few minutes looking for what people had to say about the size 16 model.  Here are a few examples...

Why am I being forced to find this attractive? I just don't think it is. But it has to be crammed down my throat? Sorry but no. You can promote and push all you want but guys want what guys want at the end of the day.

The reason they are famous and are models is because they are 0. They are have something special that others do not? That is why girls look up to them... We don't live in a world where everyone gets a piece of the pie. It doesn't work that way

Sam, your are absolutely correct. Guys are not buying the swimsuit issue to look at fat chicks. We have become a society of pansy ass politically correct pussies. Guys get their genitals cut off and we're supposed to call them women and treat them like women, the fatties cry that they don't get as much modeling work so the companies cave in and put a size 16 on the cover. Just pathetic. Don't get me wrong, I think she's a good looking woman, but not for the swimsuit issue.

Oh yeah it's totally normal to be overweight. Let's just start glamorizing it now because we don't have the willpower to eat healthy and workout. Let's bash the skinny girls because they work hard to have a nice body and were too lazy. You only have one shot at life, so why the hell not put that dam pizza or extra cream latte down and have the body you want? Not that hard!

Being fat is not healthy. Y r people glamorising being grossly unhealthy. Yhh she looks k. But y on earth are u saying it's ok to let yourself go. Come on people.

This is a outrage! Do u know how hard women have to work and how much they starve themselves?! Now they are gonna let any fatty fat fat with a cheeseburger in their belly just walk on the cover like its no biggy? Sheesh!

This is sports illustrated. It's suppose to show women who are passionate about fitness, women who work hard for their bodies... This doesn't look healthy or fit. Glamorizing being over weight is sickening. I want to see a woman who is truly fit and worked hard to be on the cover of sports illustrated. Not saying she isn't beautiful.. Just not fit for a sports illustrated cover by any means.

I'd squirrel all of my erect genital inside of her mucus mitten. I probably wouldn't call her again though.


Many of the above comments came from men, but quite a few similarly nasty remarks also came from women.  In fact, the women seemed to be more critical than the men.  I think I would hate to have a job that depended entirely on my looks.  Women like Ashley Graham can't win.  Someone's always going to have something ugly to say about how she's doing her job.  Either that, or people are going to comment about the sexual things they'd like to do to her.  Incidentally, a lot of the shitty men who are opining about Ashley's looks are guys she probably wouldn't fuck with a stolen vagina.  Moreover, she can always lose or gain weight as she chooses, but those guys will be stuck with the same sized dick no matter what they do.  ;)

Sometimes, when I see stuff like this, I can't help but feel nostalgia for the days before Facebook.  Hell, I can't help but feel wistful for the days before the Internet, when you could avoid reading other peoples' thoughts.  It's amazing how different life is now.  

Don't get me wrong.  I mostly love the Internet.  I love being able to chat with old friends any time I want to without paying for long distance.  I enjoy being able to share my thoughts with the world.  I can even share my music, which is something I never thought I'd be able to do.  

I just think it's sad that so many people are evidently very shallow and selfish.  Apparently some other people feel like they have to right to dictate to others what we should all consider attractive or beautiful... or healthy.   

I don't really follow the fashion industry.  I did used to watch America's Next Top Model, but mainly that was for the drama.  When I was much younger, I read women's magazines.  I didn't necessarily care about the models.  I think I read them because my sisters did.  Sometimes I enjoyed the articles.  It's been years since I last bought a Cosmo or a Glamour.  I was never into Vogue because it was too high fashion for my taste.  Back in those days, you didn't get so much feedback from the rank and file.  Now that we have Internet, everyone has a voice...   

I'm all for people using their voices.  I just wish it didn't seem like so many people have such hateful things to say.  Let me go on record to say that I celebrate diversity, especially when it comes to fashion.  I think Ashley Graham is gorgeous.  A lot of people agree.  The ones who think she's "unhealthy" would probably do well to focus on their own health instead of worrying about hers... or mine, for that matter.