Saturday, April 30, 2016

Just to show you how weird things can get in Europe...

I just read a very strange news story about a principal at a German school who forced a couple of boys to get naked in his office.  Apparently the principal at the high school near Düsseldorf accused the two students from a neighboring school of stealing from the changing rooms.  The boys denied stealing anything, but the principal insisted that they undress or he'd call the police.

Making the boys strip down to their underwear was not enough for the oddball school official.  He demanded that the boys get totally naked.  Oddly enough, they complied.  Investigators say they don't think there was a sexual motive for this forced stripping.  Other kids came into the area while the boys were disrobing, which added to the sense of humiliation.

I think if I had nothing to hide and was asked to get naked by a school principal or have the police called on me, I'd just let the principal call the police.  If you haven't stolen anything, the cops will quickly find that out.  They might also be interested in hearing about a principal asking students to get naked.  Besides, it turned out no one had reported anything missing.  But I guess German kids are taught to comply with the demands of authority figures.

The incident apparently happened weeks ago, but prosecutors are just now looking into it because they originally didn't feel it was worth investigating.  If this had happened in the United States, you can bet it would be all over the news and the principal would probably end up being labeled a sex offender.  Frankly, I can't think of a single reason why a principal would ask students to strip unless he temporarily lost his mind or was thinking with the wrong head.

Today there is a huge protest going on in Stuttgart.  Apparently, there are hundreds of left wing protesters holding up traffic and setting fires.  Police are threatening to use water cannons to disperse the groups.  In fact, I found out about the principal demanding kids to strip in front of him because I was looking for information in English about the protest.  I typed "Stuttgart news in English" in Google and ended up on The Local, which puts out news stories in English about countries in Europe.  The news often highlighted in The Local isn't your typical run of the mill news.  It's usually odd or funny stuff.

Americans who live in the Stuttgart area are usually advised to avoid protest areas because though they are usually peaceful, sometimes they can get violent.  Anyway, this is the information we got locally.
UPDATE: Starting at 0600 hours, 30 April 2016, at an unknown location in downtown Stuttgart, Germany, between 1000-2000 members of approximately 45 Left Wing organizations will rally and then proceed via unknown means/unknown routes to the Messe, Stuttgart Germany, which is directly adjacent to the Stuttgart Airport. The intent of these organizations is to confront members of the "Alternative fur Deutschland" AfD who have a scheduled meeting at the Messe. The organizations' sole purpose is too violently disrupt the AfD meeting. Information further indicates these organizations intend to emulate the violence that occurred in Frankfurt, Germany when the European Central Bank reopened in 2015. Disruption/blockage of Autobahn 8 in the vicinity of the Messe could occur between the hours of 0700-1400 hours, 30 April 2016. It is expected that approximately 4000 AID members will attend the meeting at the Messe. Over 1000 Polizei will be present in attempt to prevent any violent clashes between the groups.
The Polizei expect VIOLENCE to occur. It is RECOMMENDED all DoD affiliated personnel avoid the affected areas. US Personnel transiting the Stuttgart Airport on 30 April 2016, should be aware of potential disruptions and ensure they allow ample time in event of interruptions of traffic or public transit in the area. The demonstration was properly registered with Host Nation Law Enforcement. Although no specific or credible information exists, Host Nation Law Enforcement expressed concern about the possibility of the Left Wing organizations identifying and targeting nearby US Army Garrison - Stuttgart installations.
There's never a dull moment around here...


Friday, April 29, 2016

Sunday school ditcher...

My mind is on an incident that occurred sometime around 1983.  I was in middle school.  Every Sunday, my dad took me to Sunday school and church.  I hated going because I thought church was pretty boring.  My mom was the organist at another church and my dad sang in the choir, so I either sat alone or with a lady who was the wife of another choir member.

As much as I hated church, I really hated Sunday school.  The guy who taught my Sunday school class at that age was very annoying.  I didn't like him at all.  I don't remember exactly why I didn't like him, but I hated being in his class.  I also got bullied by others in Sunday school, people who had been born and raised in the community and picked on anyone who wasn't like them.

For some reason, one week I decided I wasn't going to go to Sunday school, so I hid in the bathroom for the whole hour.  The following week, I did the same thing.  I don't remember how many times I ditched Sunday school, but it was enough times that when the Sunday school teacher ran into my dad and me at the grocery store, he asked where I had been.  My dad, who was unaware that I had been playing hooky, was flabbergasted that I disobeyed him.  When we got home, he gave me a spanking that I have never forgotten.

I don't remember my dad ever asking me why I skipped Sunday school.  I don't remember him talking to me about why I needed to be there.  I just remember his raw brutality that day and how it made me feel.  After that, I went back to Sunday school, but I still hated it and really resented the teacher.  When he died a couple of years later, I was glad I didn't have to see him anymore.  His wife was a friend of my mother's.  I liked her.  She was very intelligent and played piano.  I'm sure her husband was a swell guy.  But he sure fucked up my world that day in the early 80s, when my dad was more concerned about his image and my disobedience than he was about me personally.

I was reminded of that incident last night after reading about the latest research on spankings.  I made the mistake of sharing the article and got a few comments from conservatives who continue to defend it.  I wasn't actually wanting to debate the issue.  In fact, I simply said I wasn't a fan of corporal punishment.  I speak out as someone who was disciplined almost exclusively with yelling and hitting, not one of those people who constantly claim spanking is harmless and builds character.  I figure I have as much of a right to be heard as those who think spanking is totally okay.

As I was having this discussion last night, sitting in my living room with my gentle husband, I got very upset.  I finally had to tell people I was done with the topic, because I was sitting there in tears remembering being physically punished by my dad.

I recalled my dad when he was in discipline mode, face beet red, veins popping out, and barely in control of himself.  Fortunately, he was never one to use a belt or a spoon.  He only used his hands, which were definitely enough when he was enraged.  I remember him yelling at me as he hit me, powered by fury and adrenaline.  I never knew which infractions would earn me a spanking.  He would just spank when the mood struck, which was never consistent.  Come to think of it, he was in consistent about a lot of things.  For instance, he always wore a seatbelt, but wouldn't always make me wear one.  Usually, when he did, it was either because he was punishing me or trying to assert himself as the boss of the family.

One time when I was about 13, my dad was driving me and a friend to the barn where I kept my horse.  I had to go clean stalls.  As we were headed there, my dad informed me that he expected me to haul gravel when we got back home.  I asked him if the work could wait until I no longer had a guest.  He got very angry and told me not to expect him to come pick us up later.  For some reason, I got very angry with my dad and called him an asshole.  His response to that was pretty epic.  He parked the car.  I got out and headed for the barn.  He followed me, grabbed me by the neck, and started to throttle me.

My friend watched my dad scream at me as he clutched me by the neck.  I remember telling him to let me go or I'd kick him in the balls.  He did let go.  Later, he acted as if nothing had happened, though my mom made sure to tell me that I'd "really blown it".  She was just pissed that he was pissed and didn't care why I called him an asshole.  Maybe I shouldn't have done that.  I had lost my temper too.  But I was a kid and he was a grown man who resorted to violence to get his point across.  I certainly didn't gain any regard for my father when he choked me in front of my friend.    

My father's discipline sessions did not teach me to respect him.  As a matter of fact, by the time he died, I had a lot of conflicted feelings about him.  He was my father and I loved him for the many good things he did.  But he also often treated me badly and felt he had a perfect right to.  He brought me into the world and felt he had the right to "take me out", right?

The latest studies on spankings indicate that spankings make children more aggressive and less successful. Quoted from the article I linked:

The more kids are spanked, the greater the risk

Studies have shown that spanking can damage a child's IQ or ability to learn; that it trigger aggressiveness and worsens behavior. Gershoff says the pattern is consistent when a large number of studies are put together.

"In childhood, parental use of spanking was associated with low moral internalization, aggression, antisocial behavior, externalizing behavior problems, internalizing behavior problems, mental health problems, negative parent- child relationships, impaired cognitive ability, low self-esteem, and risk of physical abuse from parents. In adulthood, prior experiences of parental use of spanking were significantly associated with adult antisocial behavior, adult mental health problems, and with positive attitudes about spanking," they wrote.

"Spanking was also significantly associated with lower moral internalization, lower cognitive ability, and lower self-esteem. The largest effect size was for physical abuse; the more children are spanked, the greater the risk that they will be physically abused by their parents."


Let's take a look at the end results in my case.  

First off, here I sit, "The Overeducated Housewife".  Some may say that I've been "successful" in many ways.  I have a good marriage and managed to finish my education and then some.  But I haven't had a regular job in years.  I tried to get one for a long time, but finally gave up on it.  The thought of going back to work terrifies me.  I also have trust issues with people and am reluctant to connect with them.  

I have suffered from clinical depression and anxiety.  I had issues with eating disorders when I was younger, though now I think I've pretty much traded those for drinking too much.  I'm still haunted by my upbringing and if I think too long and hard about it, I get upset.  

As a kid, I was aggressive to other kids and animals.  It wasn't until I got older that I developed a sense of empathy and compassion.  I think it's safe to say that I have a lot of negative feelings about my parents, too.  I would consider my father's version of "spankings" excessive and abusive.  They were not done when he was calm and they didn't involve anything more than him getting out his frustration and anger by physically attacking someone much smaller than him.  Maybe some people would say that my dad's spankings were actually beatings.  But my dad called what he did "spanking" and it was perfectly fine for him to do that to me.  I often felt resentment and often fantasized about hitting him back.   

Was all of my baggage caused by my father's spankings?  Probably not.  But I don't think the physical punishments were helpful at all and I can definitely relate to what researchers discovered in their studies on spankings.  Maybe I'd be more in favor of corporal punishment if my father had spanked me when he was calm and rational, but it would have taken time, effort, and self-control for him to get to that state.  He wasn't disciplined enough to calm down before he put his hands on me, so his form of discipline ended up being abusive.  

I often hear people saying that today's kids are entitled brats because they don't get spanked.  I don't think that's why kids today seem different than they were in my day.  I think a major reason why kids are more "fucked up" nowadays is because they aren't necessarily allowed to be kids anymore.  We have plenty of nanny laws designed to protect them, even though there's never been a safer time to be a kid.  We don't let them run and play, but force them to take standardized tests.  We don't let them explore on their own or give them time to dream.  Instead, we load them up with planned, supervised activities.  Parents have to work very hard to make ends meet and often families end up splintering under the stress.  And at the end of childhood, young adults have this fucked up world to assimilate into somehow.    

I understand that people are going to do what they're going to do.  Parents are going to spank their kids and call it "loving" discipline.  I can't agree that spanking a child is a loving action.  I think it's often done as a result of a parent losing control and being lazy.  But I also say that as someone who was a recipient of corporal punishment and not as a parent myself.  So yeah, I don't know what it's like to be on the other side of the equation.  I'm sure if I were a parent, I would be tempted to lash out sometimes, even though intellectually, I think spanking is a wrong-headed thing to do.  

Plenty of people were spanked as kids and "turned out fine".  Maybe I'm "fine" too.  When I think of my father today, sometimes the memories are good.  Often, they make me feel sad and depressed.  I wasn't his favorite child and I bore the brunt of his PTSD, depression, and alcoholism.  He'd call me fat, retarded, and "crazy" and he felt like he had the right to strike me anytime he wanted.  He'd leave me enraged and humiliated and full of hatred for him.  Somehow, I doubt that's what my dad was going for when he decided I needed discipline.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Repost of my review of Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

I posted this review on Epinions a several years ago-- what do you know?  I posted it exactly seven years ago today!  I remember reading it the first time we lived here.  It's an excellent book about one woman's experience being in foster care.  I'm reposting it to keep it alive so others can read it.


  • Surviving foster care against the odds...

    Review by knotheadusc
     in Books, Music, Hotels & Travel 
      April, 28 2009
  • Pros: Sheds light on the plight of foster children. Uplifting.
    Cons: Some parts may make you angry.
    Recently, there's been some buzz about 24 year old Redmond O'Neal, son of Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal, being arrested for violating his parole on drug charges. The young man is now sitting in a Los Angeles jail while his mother battles anal cancer. Redmond O'Neal is just one of many young people in America who grew up privileged and turned out troubled. Thanks to CNN and FoxNews, we can read about cases like Redmond O'Neal's all the time; yet we don't as often hear about people like Ashley Rhodes-Courter, author of 2008's Three Little Words: A Memoir. That's a pity, since Rhodes-Courter's story is so much more inspirational and uplifting. Perhaps it's also much rarer as well. Wouldn't it be nice if our media focused more on the positive rather than the disappointing?

    Ashley Rhodes-Courter was born in South Carolina in 1985, the daughter of a seventeen year old girl named Lorraine. Ashley never knew her biological father when she was growing up. Her earliest memories of a father figure are of her mother's abusive husband, Dusty. Ashley's mother went on to have two more children before she turned 20, Tommy, who died of SIDS after 48 days of life, and Luke, Dusty's son. Ashley writes that Dusty and her mother were neglectful drug abusers who apparently didn't know the first thing about how to take care of children. She explains that her mother would carefully strap her into her carseat, but neglect to strap the carseat into the car.

    One day, Ashley's mother decided they needed to get a fresh start in a new location. They headed for Florida, where Lorraine hoped that Dusty would be able to find work. Everything changed when Dusty was pulled over for not having a license plate. The cop then arrested him for not having a license plate or a valid driver's license. A couple of days later, the cops showed up at the duplex Lorraine and Dusty had rented and arrested Lorraine. That was how Ashley and her brother, Luke, ended up as foster children in the state of Florida.

    What follows is Ashley's harrowing story of her life in a series of foster homes and children's shelters. Sometimes she was allowed to stay with her brother, but more often, they were separated. All the while, she wondered what had happened to her mother and when she would get to see her again. At one point, she and Luke were sent back to live in South Carolina with Lorraine's alcoholic father and his live in girlfriend, Adele. Adele turned out to be a wonderful mother figure, but it soon became clear that Ashley's grandfather was an unsuitable guardian. Moreover, no one in Florida had ever given permission for Ashley and Luke to move to South Carolina. They came back to Florida, plunged back into the system after tentatively bonding with Adele.

    In all, Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nine years in fourteen different foster homes. She was unable to bond with her caregivers or learn to trust them because she was constantly being shuffled around. One foster family turned out to be shockingly abusive, while another foster dad was later revealed to be a sex offender. Through the years, Ashley saw Lorraine a handful of times and was always left with hope that someday her mother would be able to reclaim her.  Sometimes Lorraine would be scheduled for a visit and fail to show up; sometimes Lorraine would show up with gifts, which would inevitably be lost as Ashley moved from home to home.  With each move, Ashley and her brother lost track of their few possessions.  I found myself imagining what it must have felt like to be constantly moved from one place to the next, unable to form attachments.

    Ashley's saving grace was her uncommon intelligence. She did very well in school and had impressive leadership qualities. She was also lucky enough to run into Mary Miller, a woman who acted as her guardian at litem and later helped Ashley and Luke escape the foster care system. Ashley's mother finally lost her parental rights and Ashley was eventually adopted as a twelve year old, but it took a very long time for her to gain enough trust and stability to be able to say three little words to her adoptive parents.

    My thoughts

    Ashley Rhodes-Courter is an incredible young woman as evidenced in her memoir, Three Little Words. This book offers a rare first person glimpse of what it's like to be a foster child. More than that, it shows readers how much children need stability in their lives. A good portion of this book focuses on Ashley's life after her adoption and the adjustment issues she dealt with even after she found a loving forever family.

    Since I have a master's degree in social work, I was also interested in reading about how the child welfare system served Ashley and her brother. As it turned out, the system did a very poor job looking after Ashley and others like her. Even though Ashley's mother was irresponsible and abusive, some of Ashley's licensed caregivers were just as bad. At best, Ashley generally spent a lot of time in overcrowded, impersonal conditions. At worst, Ashley was beaten with a slotted spoon, forced to drink hot sauce, subjected to grueling physical punishments, and exposed to pornography. It's very clear by Ashley's account that there are not enough caring people serving as foster parents and too many people who are in it just because the state pays them.

    And yet, as someone who has been a social worker, I can also understand why these things happen. One of the reasons I don't practice social work (besides the fact that I am now married to the military) is that it's a thankless, low paying, stressful job. A lot of people go into social work because they want to help people. But the system makes it difficult for social workers to be as helpful as they should be and there aren't enough families who are willing to take in foster kids. So I can see why some inappropriate couples were approved to be foster parents, even if I don't condone it. Ashley seems to be doing her best to change the situation for foster kids.  Inspired by the film Erin Brockovich and helped by her adoptive parents, Ashley Rhodes-Courter went on to bring a class action suit against the foster parents who had abused her and so many other children.

    One thing I noticed about Three Little Words is there's a little plug for Wendy's restaurants in it. Dave Thomas, the late founder of Wendy's, was an adopted child and did a lot of work for the adoption cause. Ashley was also a fan of Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers.

    Ashley Rhodes-Courter's story is amazing. She was able to channel her writing and public speaking talents into something very valuable for children. I am humbled by her courage and resolve to change the child welfare system.

    I think Three Little Words is an excellent read for anyone who is interested in the child welfare system, as well as anyone who just likes an uplifting memoir. I was able to read this book in a matter of hours and I felt good when I finished it. I have a feeling we'll be hearing a lot more from Ashley Rhodes-Courter in the coming years.

    Ashley's Web site: http://www.rhodes-courter.com/index.html

Pornographic spam...

Wow... that's quite a title for a blog post, isn't it?  It almost sounds like the name of a new wave band or something.  Nevertheless, this morning, I have pornographic spam on the brain.  Why?  Because that's what's been taking up residence in the spam folder of my Yahoo! email account.

I have three email addresses on three different free accounts.  I have a Hotmail account that I've had ever since I got married.  I have had a Yahoo! account since before I got married.  I also have a Gmail account that I probably started using when everybody was saying Gmail accounts were the shit.  Remember, there was a time when you had to have an invite to get Gmail!  I'm not sure what that was all about.  But anyway, I apparently bowed to the pressure and got myself Gmail, which I use sometimes.  The account I use the most is the Hotmail/Outlook account.

Spam is always a problem, though it's not as bad as it was in the days before spam folders.  I used to get pornographic spam in my Hotmail/Outlook email, but that stopped years ago.  Now I get emails from Nigerian princes and rich widows in that account.  Sometimes I get legitimate emails in my Hotmail spam folder, too.

The spam folder in my Yahoo! mailbox, on the other hand, is almost always 100% full of pornographic spam.  Or, at least that's what it appears to be.  I never open the emails because they mostly seem to addressing heterosexual males.  Since I am a heterosexual female, I have no interest in seeing some chick named Mona's "pics" and I'm not looking to hook up with "local girls".  Even if I was interested in that, I could easily go to Sindelfingen, which is a city not far from where we live, and visit Erospark.  Erospark, for those who don't know, is basically a whorehouse.

Sorry...  I wouldn't necessarily call it a whorehouse if I was left to my own devices.  I only call it that because referring to Erospark as a whorehouse makes me laugh.  Bear with me because there's a story behind the Erospark whorehouse... which I've probably already written on this blog, but what the hell.  I'll write it again for those who came late.

Back in 2014, when Bill and I first moved to Germany, I joined a bunch of Facebook groups for local American military expats.  There was a guy in one of the largest groups who called himself Gabriel Kingston (not his real name).  Gabriel was a masterful troll.  He used to pull gags in the Facebook groups and would piss off a lot of people.  Personally, I found Gabriel hilarious, but he was definitely guilty of being naughty in groups that were intended to be helpful and serious.

Anyway, one day some lady asked about things to do on a Sunday.  Sundays in Germany can be boring if you don't know which places are open.  It's not like the United States, where a person can simply go shopping at the mall or something.  Sundays in Germany are for family, church, and peace.  Of course, restaurants and museums are open and it's always possible to go walking, which is what a lot of the locals do.  And our old friend Gabriel came up with an inspired activity for the gentleman who was hoping for a little family fun.

I wish I had copied the actual conversation, but basically Gabriel told the person that she should pay a visit to Erospark.  He touted it as great fun, especially after church.

A few minutes later, another guy came back and wrote "Are you sure you didn't mean Europa Park (a local amusement park)?  Because I just looked up Erospark and that's a whorehouse.  I'm not really wanting to take my family there."

Gabriel continued to josh with the guy, posting more and more ridiculous comments about how awesome Erospark is for the whole family...  especially Dad!  Prostitution is legal in Germany and highly regulated.  So yes, if you wanted to, you could visit Erospark and enjoy the services of a prostitute.  I'm not sure if they are, in fact, working on Sundays.  My guess is that they probably take Sundays off and spend time at home.

Incidentally, Gabriel also once claimed that in Germany, children are not welcome in church.  He said German parents usually leave the kids sitting in the car while they worship.  Naturally, that little joke got a whole lot of people upset, but it was hilarious nonetheless.  I miss Gabriel.  He left Germany last year and was always getting banned from the local groups, so his shenanigans are no longer a thing here.

Speaking of church...  I found a hilarious new YouTube channel last week.  It was "suggested" by YouTube.  Basically, there's a black comic who posts about crazy church stuff on his channel.  He includes all kinds of craziness.  I spent probably two hours watching video after video, killing lots of valuable time on the planet.  And because I am a generous person, I will share his channel with people who would rather laugh than read my blog.  Here are just a few videos that got my attention.

  

This is the first video I watched by KevOnStage...  Alexis, I highly recommend that you check this one out... 


Old guys fighting in church...


Sexy dancers in church...


And very odd "praise dancing"...

You could seriously spend the whole day watching this shit.  I know I did.  It beats watching the snow that has been falling (but not sticking) all week.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fare Thee Well...

Here's another collaboration with George (shargram).  Just learned this old Indigo Girls song.  I get really neurotic when I make recordings...


I could probably practice this a few more times.  I literally learned it this morning, though.  I think it suits me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Constructive discussions...

Sooo...  my old friend ...tom... came back at me after I told him to "fuck the hell off".  Here is a screenshot of what he said and my response.


Forgive me for my hypocrisy.  Just two days ago, I wrote about why this kind of shit is kind of narcissistic...  But at least ...tom... is not one of my children being publicly punished on Facebook.

This may come as a surprise to some readers, but I actually had a hard time telling ...tom... to "fuck off".  Although I enjoy using profanity, I don't generally enjoy swearing directly at people.  I was raised not to use profanity and, in fact, had a father who hated to hear cussing.  He rarely swore himself, unless he was really angry or drunk.  Even then, he usually only used words like "damn" and "hell".  He'd get mad at my mom when she tossed out the occasional "shit".  More than once, I got knocked upside the head for saying anything stronger than "heck, "crap", or "darn". 

For some reason, I've never had issues with using profanity.   In fact, I think the concept of "bad words" is kind of stupid.  How can a specific word be "bad"?  Words only have the meanings that people give them.  I think rather than focusing on specific words, we should focus more on intent.  Don't listen so much to what was said; listen to what the person meant.  But even as I write that, I understand that cuss words are a turn off to many people and it's not my desire to be annoying, even if I often am. 

Sometime when I was in high school, I started swearing like a sailor, even though I grew up around old school people who discouraged swearing.  And, while some people might think I'm condescending, snarky, and sarcastic, I don't enjoy making people uncomfortable, although I know that when I was growing up, I definitely did.  I remember some guy at a frat party, of all places, asking me if I "kissed my mother with that mouth".  The answer to that question is, "Not very often.  My mom isn't a fan of sloppy sentimentality and discouraged kisses from her kids."  Anyway, the point is, I don't like to cuss people out and will rarely do so directly.  I have to be pretty angry or annoyed to directly tell someone to "fuck the hell off" and actually mean it.  

The truth is, ...tom... has been annoying me for about 13 years.  However, there are times when I find him funny or entertaining.  He's not all bad, as most people aren't.  I first ran into ...tom... when we were writing product reviews on Epinions.com.  He was an advisor for the books category and prided himself on welcoming new members.  I wrote a lot of book reviews, so I ran into him fairly often.  He'd leave what I'm sure he thought were "constructive comments".  Sometimes his comments actually were constructive, but they were often delivered in a way that was offensive.  I don't always have the thickest skin when it comes to being corrected, especially by people whose opinions I don't respect.

Over the years, I was less irritated by ...tom..., probably because I was less new to Epinions and he had more fun "mentoring" new people he felt needed his help.  I'd only get the occasional comment from him and sometimes they were even full of praise.  Like, I remember reviewing a book called Sex Disasters.  ...tom... enjoyed my review and said so.  He even told me that he considered giving me a "Most Helpful" rating, but ultimately decided not to.  Um...  thanks?  No, but really, that was a high compliment coming from ...tom...  He prided himself on being a strict rater and I respected him for that because, despite his tendency to leave obnoxious comments, he generally was fair and consistent with his ratings.

Many years later, ...tom... friends me on Facebook and continues with his snarky comments.  Facebook isn't Epinions, though, so he's not an "advisor".  He's just some guy out there I've never met in person.  We have different political views, which is just fine.  I can hang with conservative folks.  I have a family full of them.  I just don't like being talked to like I'm an idiot.  Call it one of my many quirks.  It probably comes from my own "daddy issues" and having a father who would say things to me like "You'll never make more than minimum wage" or "You are a very arrogant person" or "You're fat and retarded and no one will ever want to marry you".  If I had responded to my father in they way I would have wanted to, he probably would have felt very justified in hitting me.  There were a couple of times when I did lose my temper and swear at him and he did physically strike me.  And, in fact, when I was a child, hitting and yelling were pretty much his usual responses to me when I offended him somehow.  So I learned to swallow the indignation and tolerate a lot of abusive behavior from him and other people.

When I was in my mid 20s, I went through a pretty severe bout of depression coupled with significant anxiety.  All of those things my dad used to tell me seemed to be coming true.  I was living with him at the time, which was not helpful to the situation.  But, because I lived with my parents, I had enough money to see a therapist.  I did that and took medication and that helped me get out of that situation and on my own.  And now I've changed and can no longer take abuse like I used to.  When someone is shitty to me, I am inclined to respond in kind.  Sometimes, a good "fuck off" is exactly what is required.  However, I still feel uncomfortable telling someone to "fuck off" or "eat a bag of dicks".  It takes awhile before I resort to that.  

I usually try not to respond with severe profanity, but I know ...tom... irritates a lot of people and truthfully, many people would enjoy seeing him told to "fuck the hell off".  In fact, some even told me privately that they couldn't understand why I didn't block him or at least tell him to "fuck off".  My own sweet husband, Bill, doesn't like ...tom... and is much less confrontational than I am.  I figure telling ...tom... to fuck off or eat a bag of dicks is better than resorting to blocking, which will probably be my next step.  Not that he cares one way or the other.  


Monday, April 25, 2016

Trolling people and wasting time...

A couple of months ago, I blogged about a guy on my Facebook friends list who sometimes leaves me annoying comments on my personal page.  A couple of weeks ago, he left me a shitty comment and I told him to fuck off.  He left me alone for awhile, then reappeared over the weekend when I shared an opinion post about Target and their decision to allow people to use whichever restroom feels right to them.  I pretty much ignored his first comment, which was posted in a pouty, snarky, holier than thou tone.

Then I shared another post about a Texas sheriff who said he'd beat a transgendered woman unconscious if she tried to use the bathroom while his daughter was present.  I called the cop a "thug".  My obnoxious Facebook friend came back and made some irritating comment about the word "thug" being a racist word.  I looked it up in the dictionary found there was no racial connotation whatsoever.  I posted the definition straight from Merriam-Webster's dictionary.  So my "friend" wrote:

Quote Merriam-Webster if you like.

Does not stop the vast left from trying to stigmatize the word as a substitute for the n-word. 


Glad to see you join me in rejecting this particular piece of social language nonsense.


I was in no mood for his provocative bullshit, so I responded with this...

Kindly fuck the hell off. I am not in the mood for your snotty bullshit today. Go stir the shit pot elsewhere.

But then I decided I would post something purely to see if he would leave a shitty comment.  I decided on this...


I picked this because I know it's one of my "friend's" pet topics...  He loves to pontificate about how raising minimum wage will lead to America's destruction.

And he did not disappoint.  He wrote:

I am pretty sure there are any number of other . . .'pressures' on the prices of all goods.

In fact, this picture also drew a response from another conservative poster.  I thanked the first one for his input.  

For my annoying "friend", I wrote this...

I'll see you later. I gotta go wash my crotch.

I'm not really sure what got into me yesterday.  I think I was bored.  The weather over the weekend was cold and rainy.  It even snowed yesterday and this morning, though it's not really amounting to anything.  Bill and I were sitting around drinking beer and wine and listening to music.  If ever there was a day for me to indulge annoying Facebook friends, yesterday should have been the day.  But, to be honest, I just don't really like that guy very much.  He rarely approaches anyone with respect.  He is especially snotty to liberal females.

I know I should probably dump him off my friends list.  He's so annoying that I've actually had other friends complain to me about his posts on my page.   Bill can't stand him and Bill's the type of guy who gets along with almost everybody. And yet, I'm not quite ready to delete him.  Sometimes he's entertaining and, I will admit, he helps me sharpen my mediocre trolling skills.  I have decided that from now on, whenever that guy leaves me a snotty comment, I'm going to respond with profanity and vulgarity.  I think many people will enjoy it.  And if they don't, they can fuck the hell off, too.




Sunday, April 24, 2016

"This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you..."


I ran across an interesting discussion on Facebook this morning.  A friend of mine posted an article about a mom who took her kids to Dairy Queen, bought them each an ice cream cone, and then, when the kids didn't say thank you or smile at their server, threw each kid's ice cream in the trash can.  She then told her kids that someday, they would probably have a job working at Dairy Queen and they needed to learn how to be polite.  Then, the mom got on Facebook and bragged about what she did.  Her post went viral.

I wonder why this woman felt the need to let everybody on her Facebook friends list in on her decision to publicly humiliate her children.  Now, not only were her kids embarrassed at Dairy Queen; they were also embarrassed online.  Or maybe they will be someday, thanks to Facebook's "On This Day" feature.

Personally, I am not a fan of parents who post about their bright parenting punishment ideas on Facebook.  I realize I'm saying this as someone who doesn't have kids, so maybe I don't understand why it's anyone else's business what you do to teach your kids right from wrong.  I just think that if you're going to punish your children, you should punish them privately and not turn it into a public spectacle.    

I'm not even going to say that what this mother did as a lesson to her kids was necessarily wrong, per se.  Having worked in the service industry myself, I agree that kids should be taught to be polite and appreciate what they have.  I'm not sure I would have done what she did in that situation, but they're her kids and it's up to her to discipline them.  As long as the punishment gets the point across, right?  Maybe her kids learned a lesson.  Maybe they just think their mom is a mean asshole.  Who knows? 

It's just that I don't understand why so many parents feel the need to brag on Facebook about punishing their kids.  Properly disciplining children is a huge responsibility and I'm glad to know parents are taking it seriously.  But when someone blows their vuvuzela online about publicly shaming their kid as a form of punishment, I have to wonder what their motivation is.  Do they want a cookie?  I guess for some of them, a pat on the back, a Facebook like, or a "way to go" comment will suffice.

Of course, I get that the Internet kind of encourages narcissism.  I've been accused of being narcissistic myself, simply by writing this blog and sharing my posts.  And some folks, who don't understand why I titled this blog "The Overeducated Housewife", assume I'm bragging about my education.  So maybe I'm wrong to assume that every parent who relates stories about the "wise" punishments they dole out to their kids is trying to brag.  Maybe it just seems that way.  I think many people are generally turned off by bragging, so they are sensitive to people who break their arms patting themselves on the back.

We're always looking for feedback, aren't we?  As long as it's positive feedback.  We don't want people to disagree with us and we hate it when they confuse us with facts.  Let's face it.  If our minds are made up about something, other people will be hard pressed to change our perspective.  

Here's another annoying trend I've noticed.  The same types of people who brag on Facebook about punishing their kids will also challenge others to "live better".  Here's an example.  In Germany, we are required to recycle.  Many Americans don't recycle back in the States.  For many reasons, we just throw stuff away in a common bin with no thought about where that stuff ends up after they throw it away.  So, not long ago, I noticed someone on my friends list challenging people out in Facebook land to recycle.  

Now, I don't think it's a bad thing to encourage people to recycle.  I just don't like it when people get holier than thou about things like that.  It's one of my pet peeves.  Moreover, why should you feel the need to set an example for people other than your kids?  I think instead of "challenging" people to live more like you do, perhaps it's better to comment on how your habits have changed.  Rather than posting, "I challenge you to recycle like we do because it's the right thing to do.", you could say "Since we moved to Germany, we've learned to recycle more."  That way, rather than presuming to challenge people and setting yourself up as an example to be followed, you might just turn out to be an inspiration.   

Anyway... those are my thoughts this morning.  And I'll say it again.  It's probably a good thing I'm not a mom.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Kurt Vonnegut, George Carlin, Wal-Mart... and Prince?

Last night after a delightful dinner, Bill and I came home and I got ready for bed.  Before retiring for the night, I sat down to my desktop computer and read posts in one of my favorite Facebook groups, Stuttgart Vents.  Recently, the group had t-shirts made.  They are a big hit and I'm proud to say I own one myself, though I haven't worn it yet.

One of the group members proposed making another t-shirt.  He said we should all get black t-shirts that say "Fuck the hell off" with a big Wal-Mart happy face on it.  You'd have to be a member of Vents to understand the connection to "Fuck the hell off".  Our group is full of inside jokes and "Fuck the hell off" is one of them.   It would be kind of hard to explain it because it's one of those situations where you kind of had to be there.

But anyway, I was reminded of how a few years ago, Wal-Mart started using an asterisk for their logo.  I even blogged about it back in 2010.  So I asked the group if anyone else thought the asterisk looked like an asshole, commenting that the asshole motif seems especially appropriate since Wal-Mart figuratively fucks people up the rectum with their business practices.

My Venting friend didn't get the reference, so I went Googling and found this...


This is a photo of a page from Kurt Vonnegut's marvelous book, Breakfast of Champions.

Back in my teens, I was a real fan of Kurt Vonnegut's writing.  I mostly liked it because it was creative, imaginative, and funny.  He had an off color sense of humor and used ribald language, which I especially appreciated back then and still do now.  When I was sixteen, I read Slaughterhouse Five and thought it was a great book.  But in those days, I didn't know a whole lot about what that book was about.  I had little concept of war, even though I was born in the middle of one.  I knew nothing about PTSD, even though my father suffered from it.  I didn't know about schizophrenia or Nazi Germany or feeling like I was traveling through life with no say over what happened to me.  I just thought it was a cool book.

I really ought to re-read some of Vonnegut's books and explore some of the ones I haven't read.  I am sure I would get much more out of them today than I did in the 80s and 90s.  But anyway, it was Vonnegut's crude drawing of an asshole that was on my mind last night.  So I posted the above photo and wrote that anyone who could name the title and author of the book it came from gets "extra points".  Of course, either no one cared about my challenge, or people just didn't know.  My guess is that they didn't care.  Oh well.  

Over breakfast this morning, I was telling Bill about the Wal-Mart and Kurt Vonnegut connection.  He started talking about all the Vonnegut books he's read.  Then he moved on to other books that he loved.  I was an English major and Bill was an International Relations major, but he's so much better read than I am when it comes to literature.  He has a real appreciation for it and an understanding that eclipses mine.  I majored in English because I am compelled to write, not because I want to read... though I do love reading, too.  But with a few exceptions, I prefer non fiction, not novels.

And then I found myself thinking about George Carlin. 


As George Carlin reminded us back in the day, business people lull people to sleep with lots of promises... and then things can get pretty profane.

If you made it to the end of the lullaby, you might understand why I think it's especially appropriate that businesses like Target and Wal-Mart use bullseyes and asterisks in their logos.  Think about it.   And if you have time and aren't already familiar with this old routine by George Carlin about big business, I highly recommend watching the clip until the very end.  It may very well change how you see big business and the logos they use. 

But hell, I probably shouldn't complain.  Big box stores and huge online retailers are here to stay and they do provide jobs to many people.  And if their concept wasn't attractive and effective for a lot of people, they wouldn't be as successful as they are.  People like convenience and affordability.  I am as guilty as anyone for shopping at Amazon.  I can't climb a moral high horse about being a consumer.  

On the other hand, I am old enough to remember when you could go shopping and be on a personal level with business owners.  They were neighbors.  My parents ran a small retail business and knew many of their customers by name.  And when Wal-Mart came to town, they were lucky enough not to be too adversely affected by them because they offered some things Wal-Mart couldn't.  I'd be lying, though, if I said that my parents and other small business owners in our town didn't sweat a little bit over Wal-Mart.  The truth is, Wal-Mart did take some of their business.  Some small businesses couldn't survive Wal-Mart.

Isn't it weird that I managed to string Kurt Vonnegut, George Carlin, and Wal-Mart together?  That's just how my mind works.  I often find connections to things that seemingly shouldn't be connected.  I go off on tangents.  It can be frustrating to talk to me sometimes because I start finding obscure connections to things that other people can't see or don't understand.  That's one of many reasons why some people think I'm weird.  

Now that I've written that, I'm finding yet another seemingly unrelated connection to Prince.  Earlier this morning, I wrote about a song he wrote and later performed with The Muppets back in the 90s.  I didn't know it the first time I heard it, but that song was about people who are different and think in an unconventional way.  Many people think unconventional thinkers are odd, but a lot of times, unconventional thinkers simply see things that others don't see.  The most brilliant of them come up with new perspectives to share with everyone... as long as others are willing to listen and don't just dismiss them as freaks.

This isn't to say that I think I'm anything other than just a little bit weird.  I probably come up with this shit simply because I have nothing better to do than run a vacuum cleaner.  It's no wonder I don't have a job.  Are other people like me?  Do you come up with odd connections to things like this?  Feel free to leave me a comment if you like.  I'm here all week.



Friday, April 22, 2016

Prince has left the building...

Everybody is going to be writing about Prince today.  The famous performer, whose music once made up a sizable portion of my personal playlist, died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday.  When I got the news last night, I was shocked.  And I did what a lot of people have done and posted about it on Facebook.  Since we were going out to dinner last night, I didn't have a chance to wax poetic about Prince the way some of my friends did.  In fact, it's been a long time since I was a devoted fan of his music, although I loved Purple Rain and 1999.  Though I kind of lost interest in him in the 90s, I always respected him as a brilliant musician and profoundly talented creator.

I do have sort of a funny Prince related story, too.  In 1984, Prince's career was huge.  He had done Purple Rain, which marked his acting debut.  I wasn't a huge fan of Prince's acting, but as a kid, I did enjoy Purple Rain.  It was rated R, but I watched it many times and I got hooked on the soundtrack.

For Christmas 1985, I requested the soundtrack as a gift.  My dad, being a sport who knew nothing at all about Prince and his rather suggestive songs, stood in line at a music store at Newmarket North Mall in Newport News, Virginia and bought me the LP.  He had no idea there was a song called "Darling Nikki" on the album and, to be honest, I had no idea what the song was about.  I mean, I knew it was kind of a "dirty" song just based on the way it sounded, but I didn't know what "grinding" was.  I could only speculate.

Actually... when I think about my dad, then in his early 50s and a very straightlaced white guy, standing in line to buy me an album by an artist he never would have appreciated, I kind of get a warm and fuzzy feeling.  I loved that album and played it all the time, though I did wear headphones.  For one thing, my parents weren't fans of a lot of the music I liked at that time.  For another thing, if my dad ever heard "Darling Nikki", he probably would have kicked my ass.

At some point, I ruined the LP my dad bought me when I spilled 7Up all over it.  It was several years later when I finally bought a replacement in the form of a CD.  I listened to it a lot when I first bought it, which was probably when I was about 17 or 18 years old.  Nowadays, I don't listen to it much anymore.  I might have to turn it on later today because some of the songs on it are pretty epic.

I really hope we stop losing so many amazing performers.  2016 has been quite a banner year for deaths of great artists.  And it always seems like we lose legends when I'm living in Europe.  I was on the way from Vienna to Venice on a train when Princess Diana was killed.  I was living in Germany the first time when Michael Jackson died.  And now we've lost Prince, as well as Glenn Frey, David Bowie, Pat Conroy, Patty Duke, and Maurice White, among many others...  It's just really sad.

Given that Prince was still performing as recently as last week, it's a tremendous shock that we lost him so suddenly.  I guess you never can tell when death will come for you...


Thursday, April 21, 2016

People with "issues"...

Yesterday, in one of our local Facebook groups, a huge drama erupted.  It was started by a woman who seems to either have copious amounts of sand stuck in her vagina or an incurable diaper rash.  Seriously, though I have never personally had any run ins with her, I can't help but noticed that she is constantly bitchy to other people.  She argues with them, treats them with condescension and disdain, and is just generally really nasty.  I feel pretty fortunate, though, because for some reason she blocked me.  I am more or less spared her piss and vinegar postings.

Anyway, what happened was this lady, who happens to be German, posted something about potential terrorist threats on Italian beaches or something like that.  Since she blocked me, I couldn't actually see the post.  One of the Americans who saw the posting asked her to provide a source for her intel on terrorist threats.  The perpetually sour German lady got pissed off and an online argument ensued.

Screenshots were taken and shared with people in other groups.  Someone told the Desitin Queen about her posts being shared and mocked in other groups.  So our German friend with "issues" got extremely pissy and posted a rant for everyone in the community to see... except for those she had blocked.  Of course, the people she blocked were the people she was addressing.

Naturally, everybody saw her rant, even those who were blocked, because other people got screenshots and shared them privately to be mocked.  The shit spread like wildfire and turned into last night's entertainment.  In all truthfulness, when stuff like this happens, there's no need to watch Netflix in these parts.  You can hang out in our local Facebook group and get all the entertainment you could ever want.

While some people might call this kind of stuff juvenile and stupid, I will say that it brings out the artist in a lot of people.  For instance, some creative genius of a person posted this hilarious article...  Other people made funny memes.  One guy called out Ms. Sandyvag with an epic profane rant that is the stuff of legends.  I can see why he chose to be a warrior and wouldn't want to run into him when he's having a bad day.

I generally try to be nice to people most of the time, though I definitely have my limits.  However, as I sit here and think about yesterday's Facebook drama, I am suddenly reminded of a news story involving Richard Simmons.  Back in 2004, the then 54 year old Simmons was at Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport when he had a run in with 23 year old Chris Farney.

Farney made a teasing remark to Simmons, which apparently set off the fitness guru.  Simmons walked up to Farney and said, "It's not nice to make fun of people with issues."  He then slapped Farney across the face.  Farney, who was not hurt in the altercation, then called the police, who cited Simmons for assault.

At the time of Simmons' slapping incident, Simmons was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 155 pounds.  Farney was 6 feet 1 inch tall and outweighed Simmons by 100 pounds.  He also cage wrestled in his spare time.  I'm not sure what Richard Simmons was thinking, but he sure took a risk when he laid the smackdown on that guy.

Perhaps if we weren't on Facebook and our prickly German friend was visiting us in person, someone might actually get slapped.  On the other hand, having witnessed the reactions of others in the community, I think it's best that we keep these kinds of battles online.  Wouldn't want to start a German/American brawl... especially since the local police are pretty well practiced at breaking up those things.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mary Skeffington leads me to shargram...

Today's blog post is about how music can lead you to unexpected places.  Back in the mid 1970s, my family lived in Mildenhall, Suffolk in the United Kingdom.  I was a young child who loved listening to Olivia Newton-John.  My dad was also a fan of her music and he owned several of her albums.  In 1974, Olivia Newton-John was a country singer and she had released If You Love Me Let Me Know.  I loved that album and used to listen to it all the time, to the point at which I wore out the cassette.  That's a pity, since the album is now out of print.  Fortunately, someone uploaded it on YouTube so I can still listen to it when I want to indulge my nostalgia.

Anyway, a couple of years ago, I was sitting at home alone.  Bill was on one of his business trips and I was probably drinking a lot of wine by myself.  I started watching YouTube videos and did a search for Olivia Newton-John's version of "Mary Skeffington", which was on If You Love Me Let Me Know.


Olivia sings "Mary Skeffington"...

After I listened, I continued to fool around on YouTube and found myself on shargram's YouTube channel.  


shargram covers "Mary Skeffington".

I didn't know that "Mary Skeffington" was a song written by Gerry Rafferty about his mother.  I also really enjoyed the way shargram made music.  So I listened to a few of his videos and left comments.  He came to visit me on my YouTube channel.  We seem to have fairly similar taste in music and, of course, we're both big James Taylor fans.  shargram lives in Scotland, too, which automatically makes him cool.  

I love how something like an obscure Olivia Newton-John song from the 70s can lead to discovering a musician in Scotland.  It's even cooler that we can collaborate while living in two different countries.  God bless the Internet and my love of obscure music.  






Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A "false reality"...

Several years ago, Bill's abusive and narcissistic former war zone boss was very publicly fired.  The year was 2011, and Bill had been back from his deployment for four years.  His former boss was on the fast track to becoming a general and had been put in charge of a brigade.  Bill had spent six months in 2007 with this same guy, who played mind games with him, disrespected him, and basically made his time in Iraq much harder than it needed to be.  When he called me from Iraq one day and said he felt like he was back with his ex wife, I knew his boss was a toxic leader.

Four years later, there he was in the news...  He was disgraced after a number of soldiers complained about the way he treated them.  When he was questioned about all that had happened, Bill's old boss had this to say...

"I was in a false reality about how my people were perceiving me and, therefore, interacting with me,"

In other words, he didn't even realize how abusive he was being.  Or so he says, anyway.  I think the guy is a classic narcissist.  

The Army Times report said [Bill's former boss's] conduct triggered at least two congressional inquiries.

[He} "created an overall environment of anxiety and degradation in which open communication and professional discussion were nearly impossible and members of his command lived in abject fear," Army Maj. Gen. William Garrett, chief of staff of U.S. Forces-Iraq, concluded in his investigation.


Bill's life with his ex wife was much like working with his former boss.  She created an environment of fear and anxiety.  Bill was kept constantly anxious and tense.  There was no time to stop and think about what his life had become.  He thought he was stuck there.  He was also in a "false reality".

When I look back on the past fourteen years, it amazes me how far we've come.  In 2002, when Bill talked about his ex wife, his voice quivered with fear.  This was a man who willingly went to war, but did not want to deal with his ex wife.  To me, she was just a woman and a rather pathetic one at that.  To Bill, she was the source of a lot of pain and anxiety.

The other day, Bill told me that he found his ex daughter's blog.  She has reopened it for the public.  Bill's younger child is a lot like her mother.  She likes attention and adulation.  Sometimes, she makes her blog private, but it never stays private for long.  She likes to be in the spotlight.

Bill read a post his daughter wrote in December.  He said she was describing coming back from her mission and the tone of her writing seemed slightly more subdued than it had been in the past.  It sounded as if maybe the Mormon mission hadn't been all that awesome for her.  I really don't know, since I don't read her blog myself.  Based on what Bill told me, my guess is that she's still spewing a lot of shit for the benefit of other people.  She lives in a false reality and has an image to uphold. But maybe even she is starting to realize that she's been faithfully building a mound of bullshit her whole life.

Last night, we were kind of fantasizing about what would happen if Bill left a comment on the blog.  I have a feeling that it would ignite a shitstorm.  The ex would probably get wind of it and go nuts.  She might even call Bill's father and stepmother and bluster about how Bill is "stalking" his adult daughter.  I pointed out that it's likely they will try to reconnect at some point.  Narcissistic types usually do at some point.  They need that supply and for most people, things tend to "blow over".   Bill could be proactive and contact his daughter first.  At the very least, it might be fun to see how she reacts.  My guess is that she'll delete the blog or make it private again.  Or maybe she'll level a nasty retort. 

Bill heard many awful things about the ex's first husband.  Then, fifteen years after her son with the first ex last saw his real father, she had him get in touch with the man.  The first ex, who probably wasn't even close to being as horrible as ex claimed he was, was flabbergasted and delighted to hear from his son.  Pretty soon, all was forgiven between ex's son and his so-called "deadbeat" crazy dad.  They were soon supposedly thick as thieves and the young man was reclaiming his original last name.

I see no reason why the same thing won't happen to Bill some day, especially if I'm not around.  On the other hand, I think Bill's ex wife probably knows that a stunt like that wouldn't work as well with us.  She'll still probe, though...  and it may happen if something significant happens to Bill's dad's health.  Narcissists like to strike when people have their guard down.  They're not unlike cult leaders.

The other day, Bill told me more about his time with his ex wife.  What he told me was very shocking and made me hate her even more than I ever thought possible.  Some people reading this post might think I'm being dramatic.  I'm not.  Had the situation been reversed and I had an ex husband do to me what Bill's ex did, my guess is that Bill would be equally enraged.  I am glad he told me, though, because it really explained a lot.  It also significantly deepened my contempt for the ex and her posse. 

I'm not sure how much I believe in divine entities, but given the relationship I have with Bill, I almost have to believe that God had something to do with us finding each other.  Or maybe it was just plain dumb luck.  I'm just glad we're together and living an authentic reality.

Monday, April 18, 2016

What I've been doing this morning...


I "met" a YouTube's shargram (aka George) a few years ago.  We'd chatted about trying a collaboration for awhile.  This is the result so far.

It took all morning to do this, so I'm not really in the mood to blog right now.  Maybe I'll be back later.

ETA:  I went back and lowered the volume on the vocal.  The version that appears now is slightly edited.



Sunday, April 17, 2016

One last spanking post...

I'm going to write this post and, I hope, will be done writing about spankings for a long while.  Yesterday, I wrote about the case of Georgia mother Shana Perez and her son.  Perez had allowed school officials in Jasper County to paddle her son for hitting and spitting because she had recently had legal trouble due to her son's unexcused absences in school.  Perez's son had been reported truant and Shana Perez worried that if she took the alternative punishment and allowed the school to suspend her child, she would end up back in jail for allowing him to miss another day of school.  Now she's in the news because she's claiming she allowed the officials to spank her child under duress.

I posted about this case on Facebook and a very lively debate ensued, with most people opining that the school had every right to paddle Perez's son.  The people debating with me are mostly in the local military community.  Many of them have conservative values, especially when it comes to discipline.  One guy, who has been a military police officer, commented that corporal punishment is not allowed in local military quarters or in schools run by the Department of Defense.  Spanking children is illegal in Germany and has been since 2000.  So technically, any American living in Germany who uses corporal punishment as a mode of discipline toward their children is breaking German law.

If I really wanted to open up that can of worms again today, I could write a new post about how spanking in Germany is illegal and all Americans who spank their kids while living in Germany are breaking the law.  But I don't really feel like getting into an argument.  Instead, I want to write about a point I brought up yesterday that seemed to surprise a couple of people.  I think it's something that very few people think about when the topic of spanking is mentioned.

Say one of your adult married female friends tells you one day that if she comes home late or mouths off at her husband, he turns her over his knee and spanks her.  Your friend explains that her husband spanks her the same way he spanks their children and for the same infractions.  What would your initial reaction be?

A quick Googling of the term "domestic discipline" turns up many hits.  There are many blogs written by people involved in domestic discipline relationships.  Based on the number of blogs I've seen,  DD seems to be quite common and even popular these days; though for obvious reasons, few people talk about it openly.  Basically, a domestic discipline relationship consists of one person acting as the "head of the household" and another being subordinate.  It's usually the man who is in charge and it's his job to maintain discipline over everyone else.

For many people in DD relationships, maintaining discipline involves giving and receiving spankings, the same kind many parents give their children.  In some relationships, the second in charge, usually the wife, will even get "maintenance spankings".  The husband will spank his wife at an appointed time each week, not because she's done something to "deserve" it, but to encourage her to maintain a submissive attitude.

When I introduced this concept to my thread on spanking, one commenter seemed flabbergasted by it.  She said the practice of spanking wives is akin to "domestic violence".  However, the definition of domestic discipline involves two people who are in a fully consensual relationship.  Both parties are adults capable of agreeing to such a lifestyle and they both embrace it.  Although a lot of people seem to think the concept of domestic discipline has to do with kinky sex, some adherents have said they do it for Biblical reasons.  When I have asked religious people about this, most have generally responded with outrage.  And yet, there are people out there who think the Bible commands males to discipline their wives as they would their children.

While I might think it's wrong for a man to spank his wife (and for the record, I don't really...  not if she's an adult who consents to it), an adult woman has many more tools at her disposal to combat abuse if the spankings become excessive.  For one thing, an adult woman is usually physically larger and stronger than a young child is and can take more physical punishment.  For another, an adult woman can call for help if she needs it.  A woman in an abusive relationship may find it very difficult to leave because of the nature of abuse.  However, an adult is always in a stronger position to get help or get out of an abusive relationship than a child is.  An adult doesn't have to worry about being sent to foster care.  An adult can make his or her own decisions, find a job, and live independently, while a child cannot.

Many people can't wrap their heads around the idea of an adult woman willingly participating in a domestic discipline relationship.  They think the woman must be sick and a victim of abuse.  When I have read about this phenomenon, a recurring theme I have noticed is women explaining that the spankings make them feel safe and secure... even loved and valued.  My guess is that the spankings take them back to childhood, a time in life when most people don't have anything to worry about but growing up.  For some, the spankings might represent attention from a parent that they didn't ordinarily get.  For others, they represent erotic feelings that came out during the punishment.  Some women describe the relief of being able to cry and releasing pent up anxiety after they have been spanked.  There's also a "rush" that can happen during and after a discipline session.  When a person is in sudden pain, the body releases adrenaline and endorphins which can be intoxicating and even thrilling.

Most adults seem to think domestic discipline is weird and wrong.  Yet many people think it's perfectly okay for parents to spank their children.  In fact, most people who are in favor of corporal punishment think small children are the best candidates for spankings.  Older kids, who are not nearly as defenseless, usually don't get spanked as often.  People say it's because other punishments are more appropriate, but I think a large part of the reason why older kids don't get spanked as much is because they are more able to run away and/or fight back.  They are also more likely to report the spanking to someone else who might alert authorities.

Why is it considered "abusive" for a man to spank his adult wife, but it's "good parenting", particularly in Christian circles, to spank a small child?  If I were to ask around, people would probably tell me that the wife is an adult who is responsible for herself, while the child is still being raised and the adults are responsible for the child's discipline.  Okay...  so why not exercise a little self-discipline and come up with an effective training method that doesn't include hitting, pain, and humiliation?

Most parents spank their kids because they themselves were spanked.  They still love their parents and think they grew up unscathed, so they figure spanking is a harmless practice.  Spanking is a quick and often short term effective punishment that also allows the parent to address his or her own anger and frustration.

"But I never spank my child in anger!" some parents will argue.  I doubt that is always true for even the most patient parents.  But let's say it is always true.  Then that means your small child with a short attention span must wait for you to calm down before you resort to physical punishment.  By the time you get around to it, does the child still remember what the spanking is for?   Maybe, maybe not.  Why not just put the child in his or her room and take some time to calm down.  You might find that five minutes later, the urge to strike will have passed.  Then, instead of spanking your child "after you've calmed down ", you might find another way to teach the child right from wrong.

When I have written about this topic before, I have pointed out that I can't say spanking is never justified.  Some kids really do respond to it.  Everyone is an individual and for some kids, spanking is not traumatizing.  It's kind of the same thing as a pregnant woman who drinks.  You will hear many anecdotes about women who drank alcohol throughout their pregnancy and had a baby that was perfectly fine.  You will also hear about pregnant women who drank and had a child with fetal alcohol syndrome.  Everyone is different and responds differently.  Every parent takes risks and no one is perfect.

One person said there is no "one size fits all" method to raising kids.  I agree with that.   For some adults, domestic discipline is a source of happiness.  For some children, spankings are essential for good behavior.  I'm not even saying that I support anti-spanking laws.  I think they'd be very difficult to enforce.  My original reason for bringing up this topic is that I think corporal punishment in schools is inappropriate.  What parents do in their homes with their own kids is generally no one's business unless what they are doing puts their child's health and safety in serious peril.

I just thought it was interesting that many people think husbands spanking their adult wives is abusive and sick, while the same adults think mothers and fathers spanking their young children are being good parents.  To me, it seems to be an odd contradiction in logic.