Showing Posts From: Current Events

26 Nov, 2014

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

/ posted in: Current EventsReading

I’ve followed @everydaysexism on Twitter for a while and was always confused by one thing. There are a lot of tweets about street harassment. I haven’t ever seen or experienced that. No one has ever yelled at me in the street. If this was such a big problem elsewhere why didn’t it happen anywhere that I’ve lived? It wasn’t until I was listening to this on my way to work that it hit me. I’m never on the streets. I live in Midwest USA. There is no public transportation and no one is able to walk to work. We are always in the car. We are never out to get yelled at. I walk around my neighborhood but it is quiet.

This is just one example of how this book will make you look at the circumstances of your life in new ways. It discusses a variety of topics from rape to domestic violence to female genital mutilation to street harassment to body image to online targeting of women to women in the workplace. It also discusses how sexism hurts boys and men by putting them in strict gender roles (no crying, “man up”, gendered toys, no parental leave, etc.)

Each chapter is accompanied by stories that have been sent in to The Everyday Sexism project from women around the world. The goal of the book is to make people notice what is going on in the world around them and to have them speak up when they see sexism.

The author points out that every woman has stories that fit in the book. Listening to it, I remembered several. During my first year of vet school, I lived in an apartment that had access to a bike trail. I was walking on it one day when a guy grabbed me and kissed me and asked me out. It turned out that his wife was pregnant and he was in need of a sex partner until the baby was born. We were neighbors (I’d never noticed him before) so I would be convenient. Would I be ok with that? Yeah, um, no. He seemed surprised. He kept watching me for the rest of that semester and then they moved away. It never occurred to me to report this to anyone. I never told anyone, not because I was ashamed but because who was going to do anything? I wasn’t physically hurt by the guy. He was just creepy.

And the street harassment thing that never happens? In October of this year I was France. I was waiting outside a cafe while the husband paid the bill. A random guy walking past came up to me, put his face right in my face, and roared at me. I busted out laughing because it was so absurd and I figured that would offend the guy most. I was alone on a busy street in a city for about 2 minutes and a guy felt the need to mess with me. Nothing else happened for the rest of the trip because I was always with the husband. Nothing says, “Don’t harass” like appearing to belong to another man.

Some times you can have fun with it. I’ve written before about sexism in my profession. You know that thing when women have an idea that is met with blank stares until a man repeats it and it is the greatest idea ever? We used to get mad about it at my office. Now we bet on it. We’ll have an idea and then go tell it to the male business manager. We make sure the women all know when we told him and then we bet on how many days it will be until he has a brilliant idea out of nowhere! He’s used to it now so when we laugh he just asks who told him it and when.

I think this is a great, eye-opening book for both men and women.

My only criticism is that it is very British. There is a tendency to refer to British celebrities or news stories without explaining it those of us in the rest of the world. It will say things like, “Like what happened with so and so last year.” I usually had no idea who so and so was or what happened. It would have been easy to add a sentence to explain what happened. It starts in the introduction. It is written by Sarah Brown and refers to what happened to her with no explanation at all. I found out later that she was married to a Prime Minister so maybe that was part of the issue but still have no idea what she was referring to in her introduction. I also had to look up what “Page 3” referred to. That’s a topless photo of a woman run as a regular feature in a major English newspaper. See, one sentence explained it. Also, are you kidding me?

For those who think that sexism isn’t really still an issue you can just look at this review of the book on Amazon.

“Of course there are a few sexist men around, but expecting the world to change, and sexism to end, infantilises women. Still, with this book out and presumably selling well to other whiny women – of whom the world has no shortage – Bates officially becomes a professional whine merchant. I see men get a mention in chapter 10. Yippee. The difference between the sexism faced by women and that faced by men is that men don’t whine about it, they suffer in silence. If you want to get a sense of the sexism faced by men, which has immeasurably more serious consequences than the sexism faced by women, visit the website of The Alternative Sexism Project…”

I’m guessing he didn’t read the book.

The Lady Errant
05 Nov, 2014

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

/ posted in: Current EventsReading

We Should All Be FeministsWe Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nonfiction

This 23 page essay is an adaption of the author’s TED Talk on the same subject.

With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.” from Goodreads

In case it still isn’t clear to people why focusing on the rights of women is important, here are just a few of the news stories that have come across my news readers this week.

Boko Haram denies truce, says kidnapped girls married

“In a new video message, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau says the schoolgirls have converted to Islam and married off. “The issue of the girls is long forgotten because I have long ago married them off,” he says, laughing.”

Woman gets 1 year in Iranian jail for attending volleyball game

“An Iranian-British woman detained while trying to attend a men’s volleyball game in Iran has been found guilty of spreading propaganda against the ruling system and sentenced to a year in prison, her lawyer said Sunday.”

Iran hangs woman for killing a man she said tried to rape her

“Jabbari was found guilty of premeditated murder in 2009 but the sentence was only carried out after Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the verdict. The victim’s family could have saved Jabbari’s life by accepting blood money but they refused to do so.

Iranian media reports say the family insisted on their legal rights under the Islamic principle of “an eye for an eye” partly because Jabbari accused Sarbandi of being a rapist in what became a highly publicized media campaign.”

India court says ban on female make-up artists illegal

 “Two judges said the gender discrimination was unconstitutional. A powerful trade union has long argued that men needed the jobs. “

And let’s not forget that here in the United States, Gamergate supporters are threatening women with rape and death, while ignoring men who criticize them.

“As former NFL punter Chris Kluwe demonstrated this week with his scathing attack on Gamergate and subsequent total lack of doxxing, when a prominent man speaks critically about Gamergate, he can do so without worrying for his safety, despite calling the movement’s followers “slackjawed pickletits.” But when a prominent woman speaks about Gamergate with even a fraction of Kluwe’s fire, the response is immediate and overwhelming: She is threatened, insulted, and attacked by dozens if not hundreds of different voices, on every platform available.”

 

The Lady Errant
26 Nov, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

/ posted in: Current Events

I had to change my sidebar About Me. It said late 30s not because I was being coy but because I didn’t want to have to remember to change it every year. I changed it first to 40 and then realized that I was still lazy and changed to it early 40s so I don’t have to think about it for another 5 years if I don’t want to!

I have no big plans. I have to go to work and it is my late night so we are postponing going to dinner until tomorrow. The husband has a box from Amazon that promises good things. I gave him the link to my wishlist. He said he ordered from there and that he found something I didn’t even know I wanted and ordered that too.

They say that you start waking up with aches and pains at 40. It is true. I have bad rug burns on both my knees and they really hurt! I don’t even have a good illegal or even slightly immoral story to go with them. I got them doing 67 burpees in my workout yesterday.

23 Jul, 2012

A Rant

/ posted in: Current Events

I love college football. I’m a long term hater of Penn State. That being said, the sanctions imposed on Penn State today are the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.

(An aside for international readers who may not know the story – US readers feel free to skip ahead: A Penn State assistant football coach named Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of raping boys who he met through a charity he had set up. The coach of Penn State, Joe Paterno, was fired and then died soon after. Today the NCAA, who sets the rules for college sports, decided to punish the school.)

1) First of all, I don’t think this is the business of the NCAA. No violations of college sports rules happened. They are saying they got involved because they are supposed to have sports be a model of integrity. Yeah, right. Go back to policing recruiting violations and bribery that happen in sports. This is a criminal case involving people who are involved in sports but not actually involving the team at all.

2) But since no one wanted my opinion, the NCAA got involved. They decided to not let Penn State play in any post season games for 4 years. Ok. That seems like a fair punishment. Post season play brings a lot of money and prestige to a program. That is hitting them where it hurts. I’d be ok if they stopped there.

3) They took away the ability to give out 20 football scholarships this year and 10 next year. The idea is that without the ability to give scholarships the the team won’t be able to recruit the best players which effectively cripples the program for years. Who is being punished here? The kids that would have had their college tuition paid for. It isn’t like these 20 scholarships are going to kids who are all superstars and are going to be easily recruited by other schools. Scholarships number 11-20 for sure aren’t going to potential NFL players. These kids weren’t even at Penn State when anything bad happened. How does this help the victims?

4) They fined the school 60 million dollars and are requiring them to set up a fund with that money to help abuse victims. 60 million is the amount the football program brings in to the school in a year. So they pay out 60 million and they bring in less money with no post season games. Let’s say as a conservative estimate that over the next several years that the school is now down 100 million dollars. Who does that punish? Every student at the school who is going to see their tuition and/or fees go up and their programs cut.

5) They “erased” the wins of the last several years. This just plain pisses me off. You can not “erase” wins. That’s revisionist history. They won the games they won. Who does this punish? Every player and coach for those teams. This move is aimed at Joe Paterno because he had won the most games in college football history. With these games erased he’s in second place. You know what? He doesn’t care. He’s dead. Any time that record is discussed people will say that Bobby Bowden is the official record holder but everyone knows that Paterno really was the best. How does this help the victims?

So, the NCAA has officially punished everyone but the person who committed the crime. They can’t punish him because he’s already gone from the school and been convicted. They are piling on a dead man because they say that he didn’t report it when he was told that it happened. Excuse me, but what ever happened to the witness who saw the rape occur and went to a football coach instead of the police? Why is the football coach more culpable than the eyewitness? Is it because he is dead and someone has to take the fall? Is it because they say he was powerful enough to stop an investigation? He was a powerful man but he was not the voice of God. Who are the police who didn’t investigate? Oh, I’m sorry, let’s blame a dead guy because it deflects blame from the police and administration.

This isn’t justice. This is trying to act like they care enough to “do something”. It is typical of our society where everyone feels that someone has to be blamed whenever something bad happens. I don’t doubt that if the football program wasn’t so powerful at Penn State that the guy would have been caught much earlier. But punish the guilty (which has been done) and not the innocent. That doesn’t help anyone.

18 Jan, 2012

Now with more “fair and balanced”

/ posted in: Current Events

I was checking out one of my news apps to see if the world had ended when I wasn’t paying attention. This story showed up. Imagine this with a big FoxNews headline across the site (the app is an aggregator, not a FN app) saying Fair and Balanced. I’ll emphasize the prime examples of fair and balanced in bold italics.

Pagan mom challenges Bibles in North Carolina school
Jan 18, 2012

A pagan mother’s challenge to the distribution of donated Bibles at a local school has prompted the Buncombe County Board of Education to reevaluate its policies regarding religious texts.

Ginger Strivelli, who practices Wicca, said she was upset when her 12-year-old son came home from North Windy Ridge intermediate school with a Bible. The Gideons International had delivered several boxes of the sacred books to the school office. The staff allowed interested students to stop by and pick them up.

“Schools should not be giving out one religion’s materials and not others,” Strivelli said.

According to Strivelli, the principal assured her the school would make available religious texts donated by any group. But when Strivelli showed up at the school with pagan spell books, she was turned away.
//
“You can either open your public school up to all religious material, or you can say no religious material,” Michael Broyde, a professor and senior fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion said. “You can’t say, ‘You can distribute religious material, but only from the good mainstream faiths.'”
//
Traditionally, that “grand experiment” has involved Judaism and a handful of Christian denominations. But as non-traditional faiths spread into new communities, longstanding customs such as prayer, Christmas plays and Bibles that once went unquestioned in public schools are finding themselves under increased scrutiny.

“Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, not on Wiccan principles,” Bobby Honeycutt, who attended public schools in Weaverville during the 1970s, said. 

“Our children have access to more non-Christian print material in the libraries and online than they really do Christian stuff,” he said. 

While many Weaverville Christians see recent events as a threat to tradition, others see a purpose in enforcing church-state separation in public schools, because even the nation’s traditional faiths have divisions.

“Many Christians have stood up and said they agree with me too,” Strivelli said. “Because, as much as they may like the Bible, they don’t want Jehovah’s Witnesses coming in with Watch Tower (magazines) or Catholics coming in and having them pray the Rosary.”

Ah, yes, the “traditional faiths”. I take it they aren’t refering to Native American religions when they say that.

I love Mr. Bobby Honeycutt’s quotes. I don’t know who he is or how he is related to this story at all since they don’t mention it. I have to assume he’s the equivalent of the lady in her housedress and curlers standing in front of her trailer smoking a cigarette after the tornado went through.

And last but not least the pagan lady’s quote at the end sums up the religious attitude of this community when she says that the Christians don’t want the Catholics to come into the schools.

If only they could have worked in some “War on Christmas” stuff…. oh wait, they did.

I saw a bumper sticker today that said, “I get my comedy from Fox News and my news from Comedy Central.” I should have bought it.

04 Jan, 2012

Atheists For Good, Really

/ posted in: Current EventsReligion

Some things never change. I read this in an article entitled Atheists Up Charity Giving; Good Without God? You’d think they’d move past this tired argument.

“…the debate is not over the fact that atheists can’t be good, but rather that there is no objective basis for their being good. “No matter how much non-theists and anti-theists engage in grammatical gymnastics – without God there is no objective, absolute, ultimate foundation for what is good or why to pursue it,” he said in an email.

For Christians, McFarland said, the “basic premise is that since people are made in God’s image, all humans have inherent worth, value, and dignity. When you see humans as a mere product of evolution (as non-theists do), there is less incentive to invest in benevolent causes because human life is cheapened.”

Has anyone in the history of time ever come up with that conclusion except for Christian writers? Have you ever heard a scientific person say, “I was going to sit home and watch TV but then it occurred to me that my belief in evolution means that human life is cheapened so I’m going to go become a serial killer instead?”

Let’s go over this again slowly. Society has determined what is “good” and what is “bad”. Christians would say that they got the idea from God. Others would say that it was determined by what was best for the community. Either way it doesn’t matter. “Good” and “bad” are pretty much defined at this point. People either conform to society’s mores or they don’t.

The people who really scare me are the ones like this writer who are only being good because they think their god is watching them. If they ever found out that he wasn’t, would they go on a rampage?

09 Dec, 2011

Heather’s Guide to a Stress-Free Holiday

/ posted in: Current Events

I don’t get all the hype about the holidays being so stressful.  It sort of annoys me.  I’ve seen articles that advise writing cards in July so have one less thing to stress you during the holidays.  Who gets that stressed?  Why do that to yourself?  I think people just like to say they are stressed because it makes them sound busy and popular.  But in case you are actually struggling with holiday stress here is my helpful guide to a low stress holiday.

1.  Ditch the work party

Once upon a time I was a boss’s wife.  The worst part of that was the holiday party.  I dreaded it all year and everyone but my ex did too.  Getting rid of that party was the best part of getting divorced.  Where I work we figure we see each other all day so there is no need to see each other at night too.

2.  Be unpopular

We don’t have any friends who have holiday parties that we feel obligated to attend.  Or, if they do have parties, they don’t invite us.  Either way we get to stay home and not have to socialize with people that we aren’t dying to see.

3.  No cards

My parents never sent cards so I never got in the habit.  Therefore I don’t have to worry about doing them on summer vacation.  If I want people to stay in touch with me they can be my Facebook friend.  I did buy a package of cards this year because they were funny and they were $2.99.  So far I’ve sent one. 

4.  No decorations

I’ve never understood seasonal decorating.  My mom would work all day to set it all up and then spend another day taking it down in a few weeks.  Usually I live with someone who wants some decorations.  The stress-free response to this is, “Ok, have fun with that.”  Then you come back when the tree is up.  This year we aren’t decorating at all since we may be moving at any given time.  This means that we can look at everyone else’s designs without having to set up and take down our own.

5.  No real world shopping

It is a rule of mine not to set foot in a store after Thanksgiving.  I also ban any store playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  Shop online.  You don’t have to deal with herds of people (which makes me homicidal).  It is also is like Christmas everyday when the mail comes.  You get to open the packages yourself first to see what you bought. 

6.  Only buy for people you like

I feel no compulsion to buy for mailmen or teachers or other people.  If I have to give a gift to someone who isn’t close to me I bake.  People don’t want whatever crappy gift you come up with anyway.

7.  Don’t obsess about the date

I have had the sense to get romantically involved with men with no family nearby.  That eliminates the need for multiple family gatherings.  If you did not have this foresight, schedule your holiday visits on different days.  My family is good at this.  Several of them have multiple families and some of them are very hung up on celebrating on December 25th.  So my family will have Christmas whenever it suits.  On Thanksgiving we generally have a discussion about when Christmas is going to be.  Once they had it in February.  That let out of state people get cheaper flights and let everyone shop the after holiday sales.  Usually it isn’t that extreme but you get the idea.

See, it isn’t so hard.  With just the right amount of common sense and Bah Humbugness you too can be stress-free this holiday season.

02 Oct, 2011

Phantom

/ posted in: Current Events

I’ve been a huge Phantom of the Opera fan from the beginning of the musical. I still have selections from the original cast recording on my iPod and they get heavy play. So when I got an email recently that there was going to be a live broadcast of the 25th anniversary celebration from London at theaters worldwide, I knew I had to go.

It was expensive for a movie ticket. $22! But, I paid much more than that to see it from the nosebleed seats in Toronto.

It was amazing! Better than front row seats. You could see all the details on the costumes and see all the facial expressions on the actors.

Phantom

There even was intermission.

My only complaint is that they didn’t drop the chandelier. That is the end of the first act. Instead they had the chandelier explode. Ok, that’s fine but if you are going to have an explosion, have an explosion! I’ve had Christmas tree lights go out with more enthusiasm.

After the show was finished, they had Andrew Lloyd Weber and the original London cast onstage. Then Sarah Brightman (the original Christine) sang Phantom of the Opera with 4 former Phantoms and the star of this show. Then the five Phantoms sang Music of the Night. Michael Crawford was there but he didn’t sing.

If you like the show, you should try to see the repeats at a theater near you this week. It is also going to come out on DVD. Now I’m spoiled and I want to see all musicals like this.

02 Sep, 2011

Let’s Be Offensive

/ posted in: Current Events

People with no sense of humor are annoying me. They are extra annoying me when they post their outrage on my Facebook newsfeed.

The latest one was about an ad for WalMart urgent care. Apparently it showed two guys looking at one’s skin rash. They look it up on the internet and decide it could be leprosy. One asks if the other one has been in The Congo lately. The guy looking at the rash backs off and washes off what has been touching the shirt.

Guess who is complaining about this according to the article?  People from the Congo who are offended that people think leprosy is endemic there and people with leprosy who are mad that it implies that it is highly contagious. I kid you not. To be totally logical, the lepers should start protesting the Congolese for implying the leprosy is undesirable.

Um, can I venture the opinion that the point if the ad was not to be like those morons shown who are diagnosing themselves with rare diseases?  The ad wants you to go to the doctor. As someone who dreads the words, “I looked it up on the internet..” in her doctor life for just this reason, I found it funny.

Yep, funny. I’m not afraid of offending anyone by that.  I’m Polish. I’m not offended by Polish jokes. Lighten up people! 

It reminded me of all the hoopla that started all over again about The Help once the movie came out.  It was all, “Why was this written by a white woman? How dare she? Why are their white women in it?”  My favorite comments were the ones by people who were so horribly offended by it that they decided to never, ever read the book or see the movie. People pointed out that then they really had no idea if it was offensive or not if they hadn’t seen it. They didn’t care though. They just kept screaming, “It’s racist!”  Don’t let facts get in the way of a good argument.

What else is out there that people are protesting for bizarre reasons?    

28 Jul, 2011

I Love the Internet but It Makes Me Cranky

/ posted in: Current Events

Maybe it is just me but I love the internet because whenever I want to know the answer to some random question, I can get it.

When woke up this morning, for reasons that are entirely unclear, my brain was wondering if the guys who played the Weasley twins in the Harry Potter movies were actually red heads. That would be quite a coincidence, you know. Indentical twin boys born in England at just the right time who want to be actors who also have red hair. 

Anyway, I could look it up immediately because my iPad was on my nightstand.  The answer is no, they have brown hair. Life can go on now that I know that.

But then, I started surfing around as you do to E! Online and then other connections that I forget until I got to this factoid.

In the Dominican Republic divorced women can not remarry until they have been divorced for 306 days.

This does not effect me in any way, shape, or form but it pissed me off. Apparently men can get divorced in the morning and take a stroll down the street and get remarried in the afternoon. But that’s not acceptable for women.

At first I thought it was some kind of punitive thing.  Then I converted it to months.  Ten months. Long enough to make sure the woman wasn’t pregnant at the time of the divorce. 

Ok, do they honestly think that most women are sleeping with their soon to be exes right up to the morning the divorce is finalized?

If the soon to be divorced woman is sleeping with any one it may be the guy she’s about to marry.  What about considering what happens in those ten months?  She could be sleeping with lots of people who could get her pregnant. If they truly cared about preventing fallen women from tricking poor innocent men into marrying them and supporting their bastard babies, then they would require a pregnancy test one month before the wedding followed by the placement of a chastity belt until the key was handed over to the husband during the ceremony. 

What if the woman has had a hysterectomy or sterilization? She is still restricted with this one size fits all law.

And what about the men?  Where’s a woman’s guarantee that her intended hasn’t been out impregnating a whole herd of women? Why does no one care about that if they are being nosy?

Why is it anyone’s business anyway? 

08 Jul, 2011

Comfy under my rock

/ posted in: Current Events

I’m starting to think I live under a rock. People keep asking me what I think about Casey Anthony and my first response was, “Who?” Then people look at me funny. I don’t have tv but I look at online news everyday and I never heard of this person until the other day. It is sort of weird to heard people talking in detail about a trial that apparently went on for six weeks and I never had an inkling of it. Wonder what else I don’t know?

19 Nov, 2010

Here it comes again

/ posted in: Current EventsReligion

That sound you hear is the sound of my head hitting the wall over and over again. Have you gotten this on Facebook yet?  It is a song that is supposedly being suppressed by the radio stations because it talks about God.

You place your hand on His Bible, when you swear to tell the Truth
His name is on our greatest Monuments, and all our money too, And when we Pledge allegiance, there’s no doubt where we stand,
There is no separation, we’re one Nation under Him.

Chorus:
In God We Still Trust Here in America
He’s the one we turn to every time
The goin’ gets rough
He is the source of all our Strength
The One who watches over us
Here in America In God We Still Trust

Now there are those among us who want to push Him out,
And erase His name from everything, this country’s all about, From the Schoolhouse to the Courthouse, they’re Silencing His Word,
Now it’s time for all Believers, to make our Voices heard.

Let’s analyze, shall we?

You pledge on the Bible even though it says that swearing oaths is bad.

“One Nation Under God” is a 1950s addition to the pledge of allegiance. I have a real problem with the pledge anyway. Why should everyone be forced to stand and blindly say, well, does anyone even know what they are signing up for in that pledge?  Does anyone even notice the words when they say it? Cutting that rant short for now. 

Then they say that there is no separation. Wow, throw away the bill of rights.  Bet they’d get huffy if we threw out the right to bear arms.

In the chorus we find that we turn to God when the going gets rough  Isn’t that when most people start saying things are the will of this same God?

Then the second verse outlines the problem of people trying to shut up God. If he was so immensely powerful how could these people shut him up? I’m sure God could fight his own battles. Besides I thought we were all united and non-separated in verse one. Where did this opposition suddenly come from?

Yes, I’m an educated, lefty, pseudo-intellectual who finds it laughably easy to make fun of “the working man.”  (Notice how that phrase is always used to imply that anyone not struggling to exist on their salary must not be working?  Going to many years of college to better yourself instead of working minimum wage jobs means that you will never understand “real folk.” Reverse snobbery at its best.)  I’m exactly the kind of person verse two warned you was out there.

1. I believe this is a country founded on the principles of freedom of beliefs. I don’t want to be told that if I disagree with you religiously that must make me some kind of traitor. There are more viewpoints in the world than just yours. Let’s work on sharing the world, ‘k?

2.  In the spirit of religious pluralism, including atheism, let me say that I don’t want to hear your prayers before sporting events or public dinners or anywhere else. You can pray if you want but keep it to yourself. You know that fundamentalist Christians would be the first ones screaming if they were forced to ever hear a Hindu prayer in public. Guess what? I feel the same way about your prayers.

And while we are on the subject of religious freedom, it occured to me today that it is almost time for that great American tradition – the “Taking Christ out of Christmas” feeding frenzy.  It depressed me when I realized that. Let me explain slowly.

1.  I’m not a Christian. I will not be worshipping Christ this December. Christmas is mainly a secular holiday in the U.S.  Don’t argue. Your own rhetoric says that people aren’t honoring God enough around the holiday.  But, that doesn’t stop you from worshipping as you wish. Do your own thing and quit worrying about everyone else. (Likewise, same-sex marriage won’t destroy your marriage. I’m just sayin’.)

2.  Saying “Happy Holidays” to someone is not the secret sign of the devil. Here’s what I think when someone says that to me at a store. “Well isn’t that nice. This person acknowledges that there are many religious holidays in December. She is unable to know which, if any, I am celebrating but wants me to enjoy myself in the manner of my choosing.”  Unfortunately now, after all the ranting about how Americans need to say Merry Christmas or baby Jesus will cry, when someone says Merry Christmas to me at a store I automatically think, “Self-righteous prick trying to impose their will on me. Fight the power!”

This all reminded me that I lost my favorite pin in the move. I can’t go through another December without a new “The Solstice is the Reason for the Season” pin. The small possibility of making someone think is the one thing that lets me face the crowds at the mall.    

03 Nov, 2010

Kids’ Food Toy Ban

/ posted in: Current EventsFood

I was minding my own business reading my Facebook page when I came across this story from NPR. San Francisco city council has voted to ban toys in kids’ meals that are unhealthy. They define that as over 600 calories, over 600 mg of sodium, and over 35 grams of fat.

I hate those cheap little toys that Z shows up with.  I end up stepping on them and breaking either it or my skin. Then I feel guilty about throwing them in the trash. Ban the suckers I say.

But I wasn’t emotionally involved until the last paragraph when a person said that this was unrealistic but kids won’t eat any meals that fit the healthy standards.

What??!! 

Z was a fast food addict a few years ago. Through much pain and suffering on all our parts she now knows not to even ask for McDonalds when she is at our house.

How to break your kids’ fast food addiction:

1.  Don’t buy it for them.

Sure, that’s easier said than done. There were days when she flat out refused to eat because we wouldn’t get her fast food. Guess what? She didn’t starve to death. She threw a lot of screaming fits but my ears have recovered. Her father may have diverted a lot of fits by telling her that sometimes all the McDonalds in our town were closed for health code violations.

“They look open Daddy.’
“Those are the workers trying to clean up the mess.”

He also invented my deadly McDonalds food allergy that will kill me if we even set foot in the restaurant. Someday he’ll probably get in trouble when she figures out what a liar he is.

She did ask us once why we insisted on being so mean to her. It isn’t our job as adults to make her happy. Our job is to make her healthy.

But, she eats better now. She is nowhere near perfect. She still refuses most food without benefit of trying it. She will eat baked chicken now which she used to refuse because it didn’t look like nuggets.  Vegetarian me wishes she would try more veggies. But it is in no way impossible to get kids to eat healthier food.

/rant

20 Oct, 2010

My Outrage

/ posted in: Current Events

On the front page of the local paper today was a story about how a toddler was almost hit by a car. Not that a child was hit by a car. Might have been hit. I had moral outrage, mostly because I read freerangekids.com.

I found out that we could email a letter to the editor. I wrote a strongly worded letter.  They’ll be sorry that they made it easy to write.  I have a coworker who sees conspiracies everywhere. She says I’m going to be her letter writer now.

Here were my points:

1.  The kid was nearby at the time that a truck crashed into the post office. She was not injured. Nothing at all happened to her. This is not news.

2.  This is the second time in six weeks that a vehicle has hit the post office. Here is your headline. The post office was injured-  not some random child.

3.  People overprotect their kids to a ridiculous degree and this doesn’t help. The grandmother who was with the kid was berating herself for letting the kid walk instead of carrying her. What if she hadn’t stopped to talk to someone?  Then she would have been in front of the truck and would have been killed.  It was so over the top and melodramatic about all the what ifs that we have staged dramatic readings of it today at work. Seriously it sounds like you should wrap your kid in bubble wrap and carry her over your shoulder until she is at least 25.

What I didn’t add into my letter:

Why is it that people act all horrified when a kid is involved?  You know what I mean.

“Sixty two Americans were killed today in a bombing INCLUDING A BABY!!!! ” 

“A Nobel Peace Prize winner, a nun, and two transplant surgeons were killed when their plane crashed. Most tragically a child on the ground was killed along with her entire extended family.”

Makes me nuts. Children are not more valuable than adults. I would argue that they are less valuable than productive members of society.

It must be a slow news day today because I got a response in a few minutes. This person agreed with me and said that the uberhysterical grandmother had called and suggested the story.

I happened to have to go to that post office at lunch. Nothing happened to me. I did almost witness a fight between a customer and the clerk. I should call the paper. I could have been slapped by mistake if it had escalated and gotten physical….

09 Oct, 2010

WEG

/ posted in: Current Events

All hail Kentucky!!! Where the strippers love ponies and are very civic minded.

Spearmint

Can you believe they tried to make us pay $200 for this room? It even smells.

Room

07 Oct, 2010

Getting Ready

/ posted in: Current Events

Getting ready to go on a trip is a pain. I like the planning stages several months in advance. It is the time period one to two days before the trip that is maddening.

What I need to get done before leaving for the World Equestrian Games tomorrow:

    Go to work today and tomorrow
    Charge all the rechargable batteries to run two cameras
    Charge the iPad so I can blog
    Laundry
    Fold the laundry so I can find the clothes I need
    Pack
    Buy dog and cat food
    Clear out the guest room of construction debris so my mother has a place to stay when we get back
    Go to the grocery store
    Pay some bills
    Go to the library to pick up some road trip reading material
    Review the dos and don’ts list for the event that reads like something from TSA
    Don’t forget to pack the tickets!

I’m excited. I’ve been faithfully obsessively watching online. This will be my fourth time visiting the horse park. I’ve never managed to go there during the official season. I’ve gone twice in November and this will be my second time in October. A lot of the exhibits are only open in the summer but it is still cool. The last time I was there I did this.

Prize KHP

This was in October 2005 when they had just been awarded the WEG for 2010. They hadn’t started the massive construction projects yet. I’m not going to recognize anything.

26 Sep, 2010

WEG

/ posted in: Current EventsHorses

I need a flag on a stick.

That’s what I’ve learned so far from watching the World Equestrian Games. I subscribed to the FEI TV site so I can watch everything. The games are also on Universalsports.com but they are only showing the three Olympic events – dressage, show jumping, and eventing. I care more about seeing the driving and vaulting and endurance.

Right now I’m watching the reining. I don’t really care about reining but it is fun.

My mother and I are driving down in two weeks to see the Driving Marathon phase and the vaulting finals live. We need flags on sticks to wave from the stands.

05 Jun, 2010

Not Well Behaved

/ posted in: Current Events

I was minding my own business looking around at who had posted for Pink Saturday when I came across a site written by a 30 year old woman with 7 kids. You’d think by now that I would know better than to start clicking links on a site like that but I was hoping that the kids were adopted or foster kids to reaffirm my faith in humanity. Instead I got sent to Raising Homemakers. Dear God.

The goals of the site are to teach people to raise their daughters to do the following:

1. Learning to love their future husbands
2. Learning to love their future children
3. To be self-controlled
4. To be pure
5. To be keepers at home
6. To be kind
7. Learning to be subject to their future husbands so the word of God will not be maligned

Notice that they don’t want to teach them to be self-supporting. Why do that? Men will always be around to support them. They won’t run off with another woman or die or do anything unChristian like that. They won’t turn out to be alcoholics who squander the family finances. I have friends who believe that the man must handle the finances to be truly Christian. This continues even though the man has repeatedly spent all the money on himself instead of paying the bills.

Who contributes to this site?

“Older, wiser, Titus 2 women with many children, some grown
Younger women with little ones all about
Young married women with no children (yet!) and…
Stay-at-home daughters”

I explained the term “stay-at-home daughters” to the SO. He is going to pick out a husband for Z now so he doesn’t have to support her forever. He asked if there was a promise that the husband wasn’t going to run off and have Z move back in with us with her 7 kids when she’s 30. I said no. He said that we should move as soon as we marry her off so she can’t find us.

Raising Homemakers lead me to LAF/Beautiful Womanhood. That URL is ladiesagainstfeminism to give you a hint of the worldview of this site. One of the first posts I read was from a stay at home daughter.

“Lately, I have been convicted of a truth that I have long denied:
I am sheltered.
I know what you might be thinking. As a homeschool graduate, as an adult daughter living at home, as a Christian, this is a claim that I have been taught to deny. I do not live in a comfortably insulated bubble. I am not just a privileged princess who has never had to endure hardship. I am not young and idealistic!
But the fact of the matter is, I really am all of those things.”

No kidding. She then proceeds to try to make a point but I can’t follow it. I read it out loud to the SO. He couldn’t follow it either. Something about how biblical womanhood is for everyone even if it is hard to be a stay at home mom when you are single or something. The comments supported the idea that “sheltering is good.” You shouldn’t expose your kids to life.

But then I read the post that put me right over the edge. It was a rant about the phrase Well Behaved Woman Rarely Make History. The point of it was that of course well behaved women make history. They raise children who make make history. I assume that is male children who are allowed to make history. The comments were even crazier.

From Diane:

“Are you kidding? What else is this country founded on if not well-behaved women who raised well-behaved men of integrity? And who are the most historically known women if not women of the bible who were well-behaved and walked the straight and narrow road (Ester, Ruth Sara)”

Um, this country was founded by well behaved men who advocated the overthrow of the previous government while eradicating the Native Americans and enslaving Africans?

Ester – A Jew who married a non-Jewish king (shameful to marry outside the religion) and then used sex to convince her husband to kill high government officials before they led a massacre?

Ruth – A widow who lay down in front of the richest local dude she could find in order to get him to take care of her?

Sarah – When she thought she was infertile she told her husband to sleep with her slave but then after Sarah had a kid she exiled the slave and her child into the desert in hopes that they’d die?

I guess what we learn here is to use sex as a weapon to get what you want. That is probably all these women had since they weren’t developing their minds.

Another commenter brought up the Virgin Mary as a well behaved woman. Yep, unmarried teenage mother who child grew up to tear apart the temple. How many of these woman would like to have these people in their church now? How many would consider them well behaved if they saw it happening now?

I couldn’t handle it anymore. I had to comment on that post. Bring on the hate mail. But of course the comments are moderated and you have to have a log on to comment. Wouldn’t want dissent I guess. Sheltering is good.

05 May, 2010

Changes

/ posted in: Current Events

Yesterday I changed my party affliation officially to Democrat. Here you can do that by requesting a change at the polls. I was a bit sad to do it because now I won’t receive the lovely mail that I’ve been getting for the past month.

Besides the creatively random changing of typefaces and adding of bold, italics, and underlining, I got to learn about a candidate who was so moral (his wife’s words) that he made her quit her job as a campaign staffer before he would date her. Now, I know this because she wrote a letter to tell me about what a great guy he is and why I should vote for him. So it was immoral to pay her but just fine and dandy to have her do the same job unpaid. He’s a swell ol’ feller.

But never fear! The SO came home and said that he switched to Republican so he could vote against someone. The mail will continue for our edification and amusement.

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