Monday, October 31, 2016

Puhlease...

The other day, I posted this on Facebook...


And I mean it, too.  

An old college friend of mine responded thusly:

How could anybody be vote shamed. It's a secret vote you can say whatever you want about who your vote for and no one will ever know.

My response was this...

Says the guy who keeps preaching about why everyone needs to vote for Hillary Clinton and anyone who votes third party is throwing away their vote...

Not being able to take a hint, he wrote:

Which is right, but it ain't shaming anybody. More like putting forward a good argument that should be considered.

And I wrote this...

Seriously? Save it! Go spread that bullshit somewhere else.

My old friend took it surprisingly well.  But then today, I noticed he had shared this photo.


The original poster-- not my friend-- had commented "Remember this when you vote!" 

My friend, who is currently raising a little girl by himself, apparently agreed with the message and the person's comment about voting.  I thought his friend's quip was pretty interesting for a couple of reasons.  Of course, I was momentarily distracted by the apostrophe abuse in the first sentence.  I'm the type of annoying person who will get distracted and miss the message if a person fails to proofread, especially on a meme.  Memes are easy to proofread.

Aside from the grammatical glitch, I have a few issues with the above photo.  First of all, I am not a fan of the whole "daddy/daughter" date phenomenon.  I think both parents, male and female, should be teaching their sons and daughters basic self-respect.  Both parents should be modeling to their children how they should be treated by others.  And I don't necessarily believe that bringing your daughter flowers as you pick her up from the house to take her on a "date" is necessarily the best way to teach her self-respect and self-preservation.  

Secondly, I wonder why the original poster decided to bring politics into the above photo.  Has she considered her message?  Think about it.  Hillary Clinton is a very assertive woman who likely oozes self-respect.  Did she learn that from her daddy?  How about her husband?  Was he showing his wife respect when he was getting a blow job from Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office?  Was Hillary Clinton showing self-respect when she decided to stay married to her husband even after his multiple instances of philandering?  Does Bill Clinton treat his wife like a lady? 

What about Donald Trump?  I don't think I need to get into the many instances of his disrespect toward women and treating them like chattel.  All you need to do is spend a few minutes on Google, YouTube, or Facebook and you'll see something about Donald Trump's comments about women, including Hillary Clinton.  

The way I see it, neither presidential candidate is necessarily the ideal role model for little girls (or little boys).  Granted, politicians are mostly liars anyway and a lot of them are more narcissistic than the average person.  A person can choose to vote for Hillary Clinton for any number of good reasons.  I just don't think she's necessarily an example that should be associated with the above meme.  Moreover, I don't think serving as that kind of example is necessarily her role, especially given that her husband has been unfaithful to her on multiple occasions and she still tolerates it.  To me, it just doesn't make sense to equate a father teaching his daughter about how a lady should be treated with a vote for Mrs. Clinton.  If anything, she could simply be considered the lesser of two evils in that department.     

As for my friend, he has been bound and determined to get people to vote for Hillary ever since this fiasco of a political season began.  He is very condescending and rather obnoxious about pushing his point of view.  If that's how he deals with his daughter, my guess is that he could take a few lessons from the photo he shared. 

Piers Morgan was right...


Yikes.

I remember back in 2007, I was watching the second season of America's Got Talent and got introduced to the mega Mormon family the Duttons.  This is a family that plays together...  

Now, far be it for me to say they aren't talented.  I truly think they are good musicians.  I can appreciate all that goes into their act.  It takes impeccable timing, good collaboration, as well as many practice hours to achieve what they do on a stage.  They do it all, too.  They sing, dance, and play multiple instruments, all while looking exceedingly white and delightsome.

My quarrel with the Duttons is not with their musicianship, because that is very impressive indeed.  What annoys me about the Duttons is that they seem so very hell bent on showing off.  While I know that part of being an entertainer is showing off, there is something about the way they do it that is very irritating.  They all look like they're in the throes of ecstasy as they move around the stage, their corn fed smiles ablaze as they play their fiddles behind their backs.  It comes off as hokey and borderline silly.  I would be more impressed if they canned the tricks and just simply played the songs without all the gimmicks.

I remember being annoyed by the Duttons week after week as they made their way toward the big prize on America's Got Talent.  I remember the very first time they came on the stage, Piers Morgan said there were far too many of them.  


They sure are talented...  but do they have to sic the kids on us?

I agree with what Piers says.  He says there are just too many people.  I tend to agree.  It's like watching a much more musically talented version of the Duggars.  Their act is corny.  I have a pretty high tolerance for corn, but this borders on high fructose corn syrup.  

I'm not sure what made me think of the Duttons this morning.  Maybe it's the chilly fall air and the fact that we just transitioned to standard time again.  They border on Lawrence Welk sensibility.  I'm sure that makes them very popular in Branson, Missouri, though.  It's the heart of Americana corniness and Mormon acts like the Osmonds.  I believe the Osmond Brothers are still performing in Branson.


Hmmm...  I haven't been to Branson yet, but it sounds like good clean fun.


There's something very Spongebob Squarepants about this performance.  Especially when they start singing "Too Much Heaven" by the Bee Gees.  

I had the same reaction to Lindsey Stirling when she was on America's Got Talent.  It was the same kind of thing.  She can't simply play the violin beautifully; she has to play while doing stunts and dance moves.  I know Lindsey Stirling has made it big since she was on AGT and good for her.  I guess I'm just more impressed by good music played well than I am by people who multi-task while they play.  However, I am also a fan of underdogs and I'm glad to see how successful Lindsey Stirling has been since her turn on AGT.  She eventually proved Piers Morgan wrong. 


And yet... even though I am annoyed by groups like the Duttons and sometimes the Osmonds (I actually think the Osmonds are talented, but very cornball), I will admit that I really enjoy watching Natalie MacMaster, Donnell Leahy, and their huge brood of kids perform together.  I'm not sure why they don't annoy me as much as the Duttons do, even though they kind of do the same sort of act.  The whole family gets involved and shows off.  


Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy have six kids, four of which perform on this video, and they're in the family business...

Why is it that I can watch this family perform and get all misty and verklempt?  Meh, I probably just like their music better.  

Happy Monday, everyone... and Happy Halloween.  Hopefully, I'll be less crabby later.


Sunday, October 30, 2016

2002... the year I lived in Fredericksburg and had brushes with true crime...

It just occurred to me that 2002 was a really creepy year, even though it was the year I graduated from USC and got married.

Picture it.  It was June 2002.  I had just finished double master's degrees at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina.  Bill and I were engaged.  I had moved from Columbia to Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Bill and I were living in a shitty apartment very close to Mary Washington College (now known as the University of Mary Washington).  I had just turned 30 and was looking forward to our wedding in November of that year.

On June 27, 2002, there was a big news story on all the networks.  Richard Marc Evonitz, a serial killer, rapist, and kidnapper was dead.  This story was especially interesting for me mainly because of geography.  Evonitz died by his own hand after a police chase that had ended in Sarasota, Florida.  But he had spent a lot of time in the same cities where I had been in 2002.

Richard Evonitz was born on July 29, 1963 at Providence Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina.  Having just spent three years of my life in Columbia, I knew exactly where that hospital was.  Many years later, in the 1990s, Evonitz kidnapped, raped, and murdered three young girls from Spotsylvania County in Virginia.  Spotsylvania is very near where Bill and I were living in 2002.  Evonitz was also suspected of a 1994 abduction and a 1995 rape in Massaponax, Virginia, also very close to Fredericksburg.

On June 24, 2002, Evonitz went back to Columbia, South Carolina.  There, he abducted a fifteen year old girl from a friend's yard.  Evonitz took the girl to his apartment, where he repeatedly raped her.  He tied her to his bed and then fell asleep.  By some miracle, the girl was able to free herself and escape.  She identified Evonitz to the police.  Upon finding his captive gone, Evonitz fled South Carolina.  He was finally stopped in Sarasota, where he took his life by shooting himself.  I recently read that the young lady who escaped Evonitz went on to become a police officer.  

Because Evonitz had ties to Fredericksburg, his story was all over the news.  I remember feeling a bit freaky because I had just left Columbia weeks prior to his death.  Now I was in another town where he'd struck.

I remember 2002 was a pretty big year for crime.  That was the year of the Beltway Snipers, John Allen Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo.  Muhammed and Malvo had struck many places in Northern Virginia and Maryland, including a couple of places in Fredericksburg.  I remember how Bill would never let me walk behind him.  He was always behind me because he was afraid I might get shot.  That was truly a very scary time because no one knew where the snipers were going to strike next and they were hitting very close to where we were living.

2002 was also the year Erika and Benjamin Sifrit were in the news for brutally murdering and dismembering a couple during a visit to Ocean City, Maryland.  The crime occurred about two weeks after Bill and I moved to Fredericksburg.  It was all over the news because Erika had been a basketball star at Mary Washington.  

It was also the year that Erin McCay George, a woman I was acquainted with in college, was on trial for murdering her husband for insurance money.  The Georges had lived in Aquia Harbor, not far at all from Fredericksburg.  At the time, I had not been paying attention to the trial.  It wasn't until years later that I realized we had a connection. 

I remember when Bill and I decided to move to Fredericksburg.  I had always thought of it as a safe, beautiful city.  But when we were living there, we had some rather eerie brushes with true crime.  Indeed, it was a brush with crime that drove us from Fredericksburg.  In 2003, my car was broken into at the apartment complex where we were living.  At that point, we decided to get housing at Fort Belvoir, which was a hotbed of drama, but at least there was less criminal activity.

Bill and I have been mostly lucky to live in mostly safe places since our first home together in Fredericksburg.  The only other place where I felt less than safe was Converse, Texas.  But we were not really victims of crime in Texas, unless you count the idiot who tried to break into the real estate lockbox as we were trying to move.

Crime does happen in Germany, but it does seem a lot less common here.  Maybe I have a false sense of security, but I am glad to live in a place where I feel pretty safe.  I hope we can stay here awhile.  

I probably ought to quit watching so much Locked Up Abroad.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Zane is dandy...


Zane not long after his surgery.  He's a little dazed.

Zane came through his surgery just fine.  I took him to the vet's office at 8:30am and we were done by about 11:00am.  He had his ears cleaned out and the cyst removed.  The vet had him wear a "t-shirt", which he didn't seem to mind.  He wore it all day yesterday, but we found him this morning with it balled up next to him.  I think it was riding down too much and annoyed him, so he took it off.


Last night, right before bed.  He eventually took the t-shirt off.

He doesn't seem to be in too much pain and isn't bothering his stitches, so I think I'm going to let him stay naked.  Unfortunately, he has a bit shaved spot and stitches now, but at least I don't have to worry about that stupid bump anymore.  The vet said she'd send it to pathology if it looked like anything other than a cyst.  Bill called yesterday and spoke to the German speaking receptionist, who said there was nothing to worry about.

Strangely enough, I haven't found a lot of posts from people who have opted to have sebaceous cysts removed from their dogs.  I think it's because in the United States, veterinary surgeries are very expensive and involved.  For instance, had we had Zane's cyst removed in the States, the vets probably would have wanted to do a lot of pre-op testing.  I don't necessarily think that's a bad idea myself, since going under anesthesia is risky.  Our German vets don't seem to care too much about blood panels.  Given how litigious Germans can be, I guess that must mean the risk is small.

I opted to have the cyst removed because it kept filling and draining internally.  It would get the size of a grape and be kind of painful, then deflate.  Naturally, I was worried about cancer, but I also found the cyst to be pretty unsightly.  I also dreaded the potential mess if it ruptured.  So since Zane needed his ear flushed out anyway and that would require anesthesia, I asked the vet to remove the bump.

After the surgery, I brought Zane home and he rested all day.  He ate voraciously at about 3:00pm and wanted to eat again at about 6:00pm.  He slept comfortably all night and this morning, after I gave him a big dose of Rimadyl for the pain, he went for a walk.  I have to wonder if maybe he's been dealing with some pain lately because after his walk, he and Arran had quite a rowdy play session.  I haven't seen him play like that in awhile.  The vet seemed surprised that I knew about Rimadyl.  I told her I used to use it regularly.

Our old dog, MacGregor, used to get Rimadyl on a daily basis for the last couple of years of his life because we thought he had arthritis.  He probably did have arthritis, but then he ended up with a spinal tumor which we thought was his arthritis worsening or possibly disc disease.  It took an MRI to determine that he had an aggressive tumor in his spinal column.  Rimadyl is controversial.  Some people have had their dogs get sick or die after using it.  For our dogs, it's just been a handy medicine to have around.  I wish I still had some to give the dogs for minor aches and pains.


Anyway, as you can see in the video, Zane is doing just fine.  We are going to attend a whisky/whiskey tasting this afternoon and then come home to look after him.  I think he'll recover with no problems, though.  Monday, we'll go to the vet again so she can check his wound and make sure all is well.  Then we'll wait for the hair to grow back.  Right now, after their play session, both dogs are enjoying a nap!

I expect I'll get the bill for our little veterinary adventure on Monday.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Concern trolls... piss off, will ya?


No you don't... you just don't want to be called out for being an asshole.

Last night, I happened to run across a post from the Today show on Facebook.  It was about an actress named Chrissy Metz, who is on a show called "This is Us".  I haven't seen the show, but I noticed the headline, which was about her being "plus-sized" in Hollywood.  I can never resist reading the comments on articles about overweight people because they're always full of concern trolls.  You know what a concern troll is, right?  A concern troll is someone who couches derogatory comments about other people as "concern".

I usually don't bother to respond to concern trolls, but I couldn't help myself last night.  I came across this comment by someone named Britt.

She doesn't value her life. obesity leads to heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure issues and countless other issues. There is nothing positive about obesity.

My response was this.

Oh, shut up, Britt. You don't know her health status. You just don't like how she looks.

A chorus of similar comments cascaded after that, mostly from people like me who are tired of shitty concern trolling comments about other people's health.  Britt did have a champion in a guy named Steve who wrote this.

You should at least find a bit of your value in your health.

To which I responded...

I have a sneaking suspicion that your "concern" for her "health" is directly tied to what makes your crotch stir. Unless you are her doctor, you have no business making a statement about her health status.

And these were his lame responses...

neither do you.
But, any MD would have a problem with her weight.
As for my crotch...
You do nothing...

So I wrote this...

Fortunately, I am married to a great guy, so I don't care if I don't turn you on. And secondly, I never made a statement about her health. You did, and you have no business commenting on it. Why don't you worry about your own health... and your own lack of humanity? And while you're at it, go screw yourself.

I can't stand people who feel the need to concern troll.  It's annoying as hell.  I had to tear myself away from that story, though, because I knew if I read more of the comments, my blood pressure would rise.  I am already a little stressed this morning because I have to take Zane to the vet for a minor surgical procedure.  He's having his ear flushed and, hopefully, a cyst removed.  The cyst could probably wait, but it keeps going up and down.  Right now it's pretty empty, but a week ago, it got big.  When it gets full, it seems to hurt.  Also, I hate looking at it because it makes me worry about cancer.  I'm pretty sure it's just a cyst, but as everyone knows, I'm neurotic about cancer in my dogs.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  Concern trolling doesn't just happen in posts about fat people.  It's been happening a lot as the presidential election looms.  For instance, this morning I read a rant from a very liberal friend of mine who posted about why people should not vote third party.  Her rant, while passionate and very well-written, was yet another in the many garden variety voter shaming posts that have been springing up recently.  I've seen them from all political sides and I'm sick of them.  I'm really tired of people feeling like they need to tell other people how to vote and doing so in the most condescending and annoying way possible.  

This friend of mine explicitly wrote that anyone who doesn't vote for Hillary Clinton is basically voting for Donald Trump, even if they don't actually vote for Donald Trump.  She wrote that she's explained the electoral college to so many people and yet they still stubbornly refuse to support her candidate.  She explicitly stated that anyone who doesn't vote for Hillary Clinton is okay with sexual assault, locker room talk, racism, misogyny, and a host of other horrific sins.  She also basically equates third party voters to childish brats who need a good schooling.  I was very tempted to write an eloquent response to that, but decided against it.  However, I will make a statement on my blog.  Here goes...

First of all, a vote for a third party candidate is just that, a vote for a third party candidate.  I understand fully well how the electoral college works.  I think it's a flawed system that needs to either be updated or scrapped altogether.  Now, I know it's unlikely that the system will change in my lifetime, but I know it won't ever change if everyone continues to accept the lunacy of a two party system. This election is a prime example as to why we need more choices for the very important job of United States President.

I usually vote third party as a matter of course and every election season, I hear and read the same stupid comments about how I'm "wasting my vote" or actually casting a vote for the candidate the other person doesn't support.  Every election season, people get wound up about the candidates.  They say, "This election is too important!  You have to vote Democrat or Republican because a third party candidate can't win!"  To those people, I say this:  

No, I'm not wasting my vote or de facto voting for Trump by virtue of voting third party.  I'm exercising my right as an American citizen to vote my conscience.  And you have absolutely no right to make a statement about my thoughts and feelings about topics like sexual assault simply based on how I choose to vote.  The fact of the matter is, who I vote for is none of your business anyway.  I would hope my friends would have enough faith in me as a person to allow me to choose my candidate without a speech about why my choice is right or wrong.  

If you really want to change someone's mind about politics, why not write an emotional piece about why you are voting a certain way?  Instead of focusing on why other people's thinking is wrong, why not focus on why your thinking is correct?  I think that's a lot more challenging than writing a shaming post that will likely do nothing more than alienate those who disagree with you and rally "hear hears" from like minded people.  I don't want to read about why my vote is wrong.  I want to read about why your vote is right.  And I don't want to hear that your candidate is simply the lesser of two evils.  Tell me, in a positive, non-insulting way, why I should jump on your candidate's bandwagon.  Be convincing.  You get more bees with honey than vinegar.

Concern trolling posts about why my thinking is wrong headed and accusations that I'm in favor of sexual assault because I didn't vote for Hillary Clinton are just insulting and rude.  They do nothing to change my mind about Hillary Clinton, but they do go a long way towards changing my mind about so-called friends who think I need their help deciding which way to vote.  Think about it.

I'm glad it's Friday.  I'll be even more glad when the morning is over and Zane is resting comfortably post surgery.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mandatory volunteers...


Sounds like a nice idea... right?

A friend of mine posted this today.  She is big on public service and people working together for the common goal of making a good community.  I happen to agree; in a perfect world, young people would willingly and be expected to do their part for their countries.  However, although there are places where young people are expected to volunteer for a time, it's a trend that is declining.  In Germany, for instance, young men used to be required to serve in the military or do some kind of public service.  In 2011, Germany scrapped conscription, so public service is no longer required.

While I think volunteering for public service and even military service are very good things for young people to do, I don't think anyone should ever be forced to serve.  Not everyone has an attitude of service.  Not everyone has the benefit of coming into an attitude of service naturally.  It's not something that can necessarily be taught, because a lot of it comes from a person's individual perspective and character.

I think one of the main reasons I don't think service should be forced is because for years, I've listened to Bill talk about why he'd never want to have to lead military draftees.  The military can be a  dangerous vocation.  People in the military depend on each other.  There has to be camaraderie and morale.  Not everyone is suited to wear the uniform.  Even if a person is physically and mentally capable of serving, he or she might not have the character to put other people's needs in front of their own.  Those people, if forced to serve, can bring everyone else down to disastrous levels.

"Ah," you might say, "but Jon Stewart says young people can do something besides military service.  So they don't have to wear a uniform!"

I still think the same concept applies, though.  You can't force someone to care.  I think service is best when it's delivered by someone who cares and has a stake in the work being done.  The sad thing is, there are a lot of people in the world who flat out don't care about anyone or anything but themselves.  Selfish people can have a toxic effect on people who do care and are forced to work with them.  Aside from that, as history showed us during the draft years, sometimes people will go to ridiculous lengths to get out of public service.  Some men would claim to be gay or try to convince the draft board that they were mentally ill.  According to the Wikipedia article I shared, in Germany, some young people would consume drugs to get out of serving.  Seems to me, it would be a lot simpler to just let people choose and make choosing service worth their while.

When I was a young woman, I did choose to do some public service.  I joined the Peace Corps.  Although a lot of people might think I was brave to do that, the truth is, I joined mainly for selfish reasons.  I was actually lucky they accepted me, too.  I happened to join during a time when there were a lot of assignments available.  The Peace Corps is very competitive and not everyone who applies gets a spot.  I think that's even more true today, since they revamped the application process.  When I was a Volunteer, the application was very lengthy, but mainly I had to meet the basic educational requirements, be healthy, legally unencumbered, and over age 18.

I was not one of those people who went my whole life wanting to volunteer.  Quite a few people dream of serving.  I was not one of them.  I was inspired by my older sister, who had joined and launched a great career.  I wanted to have a good career, too.  At the very least, I didn't want to live with my parents anymore.  So I joined and I spent two years in a developing country.

The work was very difficult in ways I didn't expect.  I'm glad I was a Volunteer, because I learned a lot and my life did change, mostly for the better.  I also made a few great friends.  However, just as not everyone escapes military service whole, not everyone comes out of that experience with nothing but memories.  There was risk involved.  People have died or gotten sick or injured while serving.  Some people have ended up being victims of crimes.  And again, not everyone is suited for that kind of service.

Finally, the reason I don't think people should be required to serve has to do with economy.  Unfortunately, a lot of people in the United States are simply trying to survive.  Some people work multiple jobs just to be able to pay their bills.  We don't have a government that mandates paying workers a living wage.  Minimum wage is not a living wage.  We have a large segment of our population not wanting government interference in other people's lives.  The right wingers don't want to pay higher taxes.  Many of the left wingers tend to be anti military, which would be one way young people could serve.

If we did require young people to serve, there would have to be some agency that would run the program and keep track of those who did their time.  Someone would have to be in charge of placement, training, and finance.  This would create jobs and that's a good thing.  However, those jobs would be paid for by taxes, which some people would resent.  Granted, the public service would benefit everyone, but not everyone would see the value in it.  Not everyone values community and that's not a concept we can force on people in a free society.

So... while I think the idea expressed in the above meme is noble (and I don't know if Jon Stewart really said that-- I'm too lazy to Google), ultimately it's an idea that would require a lot more than just noble intentions.  I think it would be a tough sell to a lot of people.  Besides... if you require people to "volunteer", they aren't actually volunteering, are they?

  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dirty dicks done dirt cheap...


Joannie and Chachi started off in love.  Wonder if they'd still be together thirty plus years later...

Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for my husband, Bill.  He is honest and loyal as the day is long.  I never worry about what he's doing.  I suppose I probably should be more concerned, but I'm really not.  He truly is a good egg.  When he's not at work, he's with me.  And usually, when he's not working, he's even sitting in the same room with me.  When would he have time to do anything to violate my trust in him?

Unfortunately, I know all too well that not everyone is lucky enough to have such a faithful partner.  One of my cousins was at one time married to a woman who was very jealous and insecure.  I remember her rantings about men who look at other women.  She was very much anti-porn because she felt the women in the pictures were a threat to her.  I remember thinking she was being ridiculous.  Later, she and my cousin divorced.  I'm sure they split up due to a number of issues, not the least of which was his love of drinking and her penchant for being overly emotional and controlling.  I don't believe he was ever unfaithful to her, but I think they had a lack of intimacy.  He eventually declared himself an alcoholic and swore off the sauce.  He is now remarried and very religious.

My cousin's ex wife also remarried for a time.  I remember her constant breathless Facebook status updates about her third husband (my cousin had been her second).  She would post pictures of the meals she had lovingly prepared for him.  Too many of them included mushrooms, so I couldn't look at them for too long.  But I could see that she had put a lot of thought into making her husband's dinners.  She would also post about his compliments to her.  Many of the things he said had a lot to do with her physical appearance.  I suppose that should have been a hint of what was to come.  Not long after one of her "hot damn" status updates, my cousin's ex wife notified her friends that she and her third husband were going to split up.  She had caught him cheating.

My cousin's ex wife is now divorced again, but she still dates.  Many of her status updates are about her love for her three kids.  One of those kids is my cousin's son.  He's seventeen and already a father of a one year old.  My cousin's ex wife also posts about God and Jesus a lot.  Like my cousin, she's gone all religious.

Although I trust Bill very much and I don't worry about him when he takes business trips, I have told him that if he ever cheats on me and brings home a disease, I will take him to the cleaners.  I would be hurt enough by infidelity, but bringing home a sexually transmitted infection would be a dealbreaker for me.  Bill has assured me repeatedly that he would never do that.  I believe him because I know him very well.  He likes women and yes, even likes to look at pictures of them, but he's not one to engage them until he knows them very well.  Or, at least that's what I think.

I guess I don't understand men that well.  I have been told they are very visual creatures.  I have heard they have a need to "spread their seed" far and wide.  As a woman who is very satisfied with her mate, I guess I don't understand shopping for another one.  I suppose for some people, marriage isn't a good arrangement because they are always looking for someone else.  They aren't appeased by what one person can give them.  Either that, or they don't communicate enough with their partner to get what they need.  They lack intimacy with that other person.  There's no trust or bond.  

I have seen men do unbelievably stupid things for a simple glance at a woman's private parts.  I've seen them look for excitement with other women online, even though they can't even be sure that the other woman is, in fact, a woman.  It's basically meaningless bullshit built on fantasy.  The guy gets involved with a "woman" (or someone he believes to be a woman) and has a "relationship".  But it's not a relationship because it's not based on reality.  They chat and send each other pictures, which may or may not even be based on the reality of who they are.  They don't expect to ever meet offline.  They waste time and energy on something that won't likely come to fruition.

  

I learned this song yesterday and it's kind of timely for this post.  Sorry, it's karaoke, but the guy singing with me is pretty good.

I've seen and heard of men spending a lot of money on things like "dirty panties".  A few years ago, I read an interesting book called The Big Book of Pussy, which I later reviewed.  In that book, there was a chapter about women who worked for a mail order service that sold love letters to horny guys.  Each letter came with a pair of "used" women's underwear.  They had a good time coming up with ways to make realistic looking and smelling skid marks so their product would seem legit to the poor idiots who purchased them.  Pathetic.

I've seen men stupidly throw away relationships with very good women just so they can indulge their feelings of lust.  To be fair, I have also seen some women behave similarly.  But, for some reason, this behavior seems especially common among men.  It makes you wonder if males really are just a separate species with feelings and desires that are so totally alien to females.  Although I used to notice a lot of good looking men when I was single and I developed crushes, I am honest when I say I don't have those feelings anymore.  At least not right now.  I want Bill and only Bill.  I think he feels that way about me, but I can't be absolutely sure.  Friends and family members have told me how devoted he is and I believe them.  But I've also seen a lot of other women suddenly blindsided by infidelity.  I can only imagine how devastating it is.

I am sure I have family and friends who look at me next to Bill and wonder why he's with me.  I've even asked him that myself.  For a long time before we met, I didn't think I'd ever find a significant other.  Now that I do have one, sometimes I wonder if it's one day going to turn out to be a mistake.  I know that's kind of an irrational thought, since I have absolutely no reason to doubt Bill's fidelity.  But then I see people I know going through the aftermath of an affair and I picture myself in that situation.  I wonder how I would cope.


An appropriate song for those who are dealing with life "After the Love Is Gone".

I feel pretty sure that I won't ever marry again.  I doubt I will ever find anyone as perfect for me as Bill is.  I also doubt my company would be enough for most men, even though a lot of men seem to enjoy me for my personality.  But I bet if I hung out online, I could engage any number of bored, lonely, horny, unfulfilled males looking for a fix.  It's really sad.  I'm glad that at least it looks like I got one of the mature ones who is genuine.  For now, anyway.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Newspaper endorses presidential candidate. Internet goes berserk.


Every once in awhile, I like to read my hometown newspaper.  It helps me stay in touch with the community where I grew up, even though I couldn't wait to leave it when I was coming of age.  I grew up in a very conservative, Republican loving, military heavy, southern values area.  I have many Facebook friends who knew me in school and a lot of them are Trump supporters.  I have said it many times and I'll say it again.  I think people should vote their consciences.  I don't understand why people endorse Donald Trump, but I can respect their choice to do so.

I had stronger feelings against Mitt Romney than I do Donald Trump.  I think it's because, for one thing, Romney had a much more realistic chance of winning than Trump does.  For another thing, Romney probably believed in a lot of what he said.  I think Trump simply says what a disenfranchised community of people want to hear.  Romney is also very religious.  Trump is not.  On the other hand, Romney has actual political experience and Trump doesn't.  Moreover, the rest of the world seems to think Trump is a moron.  I kind of laugh at Trump, while Romney did kind of scare me for awhile.  I was very relieved when he didn't win the election in 2012.  

Yesterday I noticed that my hometown paper, Daily Press, ran an editorial that indicates their editorial board's support for Hillary Clinton as our next president.  I must admit giggling as I read the comments.  A lot of people don't seem to understand what an editorial is.  Many people were disgusted and promised to cancel their subscriptions.  A few people commented that they simply wanted the news with no slant, perhaps failing to realize that media outlets regularly slant things.  And more than a few people asked how in the world the editors can endorse Hillary Clinton-- a Democrat-- in an area so heavily populated with military veterans, many of whom are diehard Republicans.

I couldn't resist sharing the article with my Facebook friends.  I commented that I could not understand how anyone would get the idea that Donald Trump will do anything for the military.  He considers himself above the military.  He doesn't give a shit about military people, except as a means to promote his ridiculous xenophobic agenda.  Actually, when I think about it, I have to wonder why so many military folks are pro conservative anyway.  Conservatives are supposed to be for a smaller government with less interference in a person's personal decisions.  And yet, we see Republicans trying to curtail a woman's rights to make her own personal decisions about whether or not she wants to have an abortion.  Republicans try to tell homosexuals they can't get married.  Republicans support sending military servicemembers into war zones and then don't want to make medical care more accessible for them, especially once they get out of the service.  

Having both grown up the daughter of an Air Force officer and been the wife of an Army officer, I can attest that there's no other job where the government has as much say over a person's life than the military does.  Moreover, the military system is pretty socialist, too.  Government housing, government healthcare, government subsidies on groceries...  granted, most of the housing has been privatized and no one has to shop at the commissary.  Those who live overseas are most likely to be forced into government housing, which isn't always awesome.  Indeed, sometimes military servicemembers get royally screwed by the government.  But people in the military sign up for that treatment and accept it for as long as they're in the service.  In exchange for signing up for the military, servicemembers get a lot of perks and benefits from the government.  It surprises me that they don't recognize it. 

I had some fun reading the comments from people from my hometown as they condemned the Daily Press for rooting for Hillary.  It was angry comment after angry comment.  Lots of people opining that the editorial board was wrong or had been "bought off".  Lots of people threatening to cancel their subscriptions over the expression of an opinion in an editorial.  The funny thing is, most of these Republican folks champion "rights".  One of our most basic rights as Americans is the right to freedom of expression.

An editor writes something locally unpopular and people in my community immediately react by threatening to cancel subscriptions.  They have every right to do that, of course, but what are they actually doing when they cut off their financial support of the paper?  Are they not kind of guilty of trying to "buy off" the paper themselves?  Write something we agree with and we'll keep subscribing.  Write something controversial or against our values and we'll cut off our support.  It's pretty hilarious that so many people accusing the Daily Press of being "bought off" don't see that many of them are sort of doing the same thing when they threaten to withdraw financial support over an opinion they don't like.

Aside from that, I think some people from my community could use a refresher course in learning what an editorial is.  An editorial is, by definition, an opinion.  If you don't value free expression of opinions, aren't you kind of going against that whole "freedom or expression" thing Americans are always plugging?  Of course, when it comes to reporting the news, impartiality is very important.  But an editorial is not news.  It's an opinion.  All Americans are entitled to opinions and freedom of expression.  Get pissed if you read a news article that is biased (and you probably do that every day). But recognize an editorial for what it is.  You don't have to agree with it.  It's simply an opinion.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Annoying cliches...

This morning, I was awake far too early for my own good.  A bunch of my Facebook friends in the United States were finishing up their evenings.  I noticed at least two status updates that employed an old ad slogan from the early 1990s.


Yes, that's Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring in the background as we see the many ways beef can be turned into an appetizing meal in a short time period...

Even though this ad was at the height of its popularity in 1993 or so, its slogan has become an annoying cliche.  Twenty-three years after "Beef.  It's what's for dinner." was trotted out to the masses as a way to get people to go back to eating red meat, people are still using it in any number of irritating ways to describe what they're consuming for their evening meal.  Instead of beef, my friends are eating chicken or drinking wine and declaring it dinner a la the beef campaign of the early 90s.


Groan.

I was exposed to the "it's what's for dinner" cliche one too many times as I woke up this morning.  In a fit of irritation, I wrote "Curse that old ad campaign for beef."  One of my friends immediately knew what I was writing about and asked for confirmation, which I provided.  Another piped up cheerfully about how much she liked the campaign and how she thinks it needs to be "brought back".  I wrote, "No, they really shouldn't [bring it back].  It's become an annoying cliche."

My chipper friend explained that she knew the campaign was "dumb", but she grew up with it and recalled it fondly (I guess I'm older than she is because I was a young woman in 1993 and certainly wasn't still growing up-- at least not physically, anyway).  She said it was like the old animated Tootsie Pop ads where the boy asks an owl how many licks it takes to get to the center of Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop.


A classic from my youth, though I don't think this ad had a slogan with nearly the staying power.

I quipped that I thought the beef folks should come up with something "new and improved".  My comment apparently amused my perky friend so fond of the "it's what's for dinner" campaign.  She said it was "punny".  What can I say?  Sometimes I come up with zingers of my own.  

I probably irritate certain people because I tend to be very uptight about language.  Some of my friends have noted my tendency to be precise about word usage and spelling.  A couple of them have even called me a "grammar Nazi", which I think may be taking things a little too far.  I don't think I'm quite that militant about language, although I will agree that I really can be picky about usage and spelling.  

Poor Bill has been corrected more than once when he's used a word that wasn't quite accurate.  For example, many years ago, Bill wrote an email to his ex wife that read, "This may seem shrewd, but my commitment to support you, personally, ended when we got divorced."

When I read that sentence, I inwardly groaned.  He wasn't being shrewd.  Shrewd is defined as being "keen" or "astute".  It's usually used to describe someone who's cunning and canny.  For example, a businessman who stealthily engineers a brilliant business deal that makes him a lot of money could be described as "shrewd".  I think the word Bill was looking for was "cruel", although I could never describe him as cruel, especially when dealing with his former wife.

Anyway, that's just one example of my low level irritation and irrational sensitivity when it comes to language.  I wouldn't call that "Nazi" behavior, though.  It's more like I just wish people expressed themselves less often in cliches... especially the one about beef or whatever else being for dinner.  I also wish people would learn how to spell and correctly use words like "VoilĂ !"    

I will leave you now with this classic Carlin commentary on cliches.  I may have issues with cliches, but alliteration is still pretty cool.  


I miss the fuck out of George Carlin.




  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Reposted book review: How to Live With A Huge Penis

Here's another reposted book review.  This one is about a rather silly book I read a few years ago.  It's basically a gag gift and not at all serious.  I see I wasn't impressed by it.


  • Moral support for anyone who has to live with a huge penis

    Review by knotheadusc
     in Books, Music, Hotels & Travel 
      October, 23 2011
  • Pros: Somewhat funny.  May make a good gag gift.
    Cons: Not all that funny.  Not much to the book.  The title is the funniest part.
    Hey guys!  Do you suffer from Oversized Male Genitalia (OMG)?  In other words, is your penis HUGE?  Does it rival the size of a Pringles can or a shampoo bottle?  Does it cause you pain or embarrassment?  Have you been the subject of ridicule, violence, or discrimination because of your large member?  Are you afraid for the future because of the size of your penis?  Have I got a self-help book for you!  Dr. Richard Jacob and Reverend Owen Thomas are the authors of the 2009 book, How to Live with a Huge Penis.  It's a book especially for men who suffer from OMG and the people who love them.

    I suppose you're wondering how in the world a genteel lady like myself would ever deign to read a book entitled How to Live with a Huge Penis.  After all, I don't have a penis.  Well, the truth is, I found this book while looking at a hilarious site called UHpinions.com.  UHpinions is basically a site that showcases funny reviews that have been posted on Amazon, Yelp!, and though I have yet to find one, Epinions.  Quite a few people had reviewed this particular book and one person left a real humdinger of a review.  I was so intrigued that I just had to read this book for myself.

    In all seriousness, what is this book all about?

    First thing's first.  This book was published by an outfit called Quirk Books (www.quirkbooks.com).  Despite the handsome red cover with fancy gold lettering, this book is not really intended to be taken seriously.  This slim volume is more of a satire of self-help than anything else.  I will admit, however, to finding the handy Length Gauge on the front cover very useful as I determined whether or not my dear husband, Bill, suffers from OMG or is just well-endowed.  Flip to the back of the book and you'll find a Girth Gauge, which again, helps readers of the male persuasion figure out if their penis size is cause for personal problems.

    Book style 

    This book is written a lot like your garden variety self-help book is, albeit with larger lettering.  The font size used in How to Live with a Huge Penis is huge, which ought to make people who prefer larger print happy.  The authors begin by reassuring readers with OMG that they are not alone.  Indeed, they include witty little anecdotes of certain famous men in history who also reportedly had huge penises.  These little anecdotes, while probably not altogether true, are somewhat entertaining.

    Next, the authors address how guys with OMG can deal with negative situations arising from their condition.  These situations are brought up through italicized stories written by anonymous males who have suffered with reassuring answers offered by the authors who no doubt are experts on the subject of OMG.  Toward the middle of the book, men with OMG can learn how they can "unzip" their condition, coming out to friends and family.   There are also handy tips on the care and maintenance of a huge penis and the best ways to enjoy sexual intercourse with loved ones.

    Introspective readers will certainly appreciate the daily affirmation journal at the end of the book, just pulsating with anticipation for its first entry.  And the authors have also thoughtfully provided a helpful chapter about the positive aspects of owning an enormous schlong.

    My thoughts 

    Honestly, I think this book could be much better than it is.  It's meant to be funny and it sort of is, but there's not that much to it.  The book is written in large print and contains pictures... not the detailed, interesting ones, mind you, but more like the stick figures that are used to determine which restroom one should use.  Some of the writing is mildly entertaining and even giggle worthy, but with a title like How to Live with a Huge Penis, I was expecting something much more exciting.  This book is a little like a cock tease in that respect.  Also, there is a Web site on the back cover, but I tried going there and got the front page for GoDaddy.  Talk about false hopes dashed.

    Overall

    This book might make a funny gag gift for a man in your life.  Of course, it might also be quite offensive to some readers.  If you're the slightest bit intrigued by this review, I recommend checking out UHpinions.com and reading about it there, first.  You might actually laugh harder for free.

    For more information: www.quirkbooks.com



Saturday, October 22, 2016

It took me over forty years to get so popular!

When I was growing up, I was not popular.  People knew who I was mainly due to my personality.  It's over the top.  Being *known* did not translate to being popular.  I had friends, but not much of a social life.  That trend continued until we moved to Germany for the second time.  Now, I have a social life for the first time in my life.

This afternoon, we have been invited to attend a birthday party.  A week ago, we went to a barbecue.  I've even got ladies to lunch with if I want.  I actually caught myself fretting this morning.  I'm not used to having so many offline friends!  That isn't to say I'm complaining, though.  I genuinely like the people we've met since we've been here.  It's fun to socialize.  What's even more surprising is that Bill, who always claimed to be an introvert, is more of a fan of the parties than I am!

The sad thing about this community is that people are always coming and going.  But, on the positive side, there are always people looking for company.  I think that's one reason why I like living abroad.  You end up meeting an interesting mix of people.  Sometimes you hang out with people you never would in your home country.  I like to mingle with different kinds of people.

Even though we have plans for later, I'm sitting here in my nightgown watching a ridiculous movie from the early 80s.  It's like they found every very popular 80s teen actor and threw 'em together in a cheesy rip off of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  Check this out...


Seriously...  Anthony Edwards, Michael J. Fox, Todd Bridges, Nancy McKeon, Crispin Glover, Lauri Hendler, Dana Plato...  the list goes on.  I haven't even mentioned the 60s teen stars like Tony Dow, Ken Osmond, Bob Denver, and Dawn Wells.  They keep referring to "preps", who are all walking around with popped collars.

We were so easily entertained in the 80s.  It's no wonder I'm shocked by my new social life.  I always relied on crappy TV.  On the other hand, I feel older than hell watching this.  It doesn't seem like 1983 was that long ago, but it really was. 

I think we're going to go out and try to score some farm fresh goodies today.  I need a topic for my travel blog and tonight's party ain't gonna cut it.



Friday, October 21, 2016

Druscilla Penny...

I probably ought to write this post on my music blog, but I figure what I'm about to write has enough in it that isn't about music that it belongs here on my big blog.  Besides, the only reason anyone reads my music blog is to find out about Richard Carpenter's daughter, Mindi, who probably gets unfavorably compared to her famous dead aunt Karen more times than she can count.

Yesterday, I took my dog to the vet.  Zane has had an ear infection and the vet had given us some meds.  I've been using the meds, but his ear is still full of gunk.  The vet wants to sedate him and flush it out.  I'm going to try to have a sebaceous cyst removed from him on the same day.  On the way to the vet's office, I was listening to music.  The old Carpenters' song "Druscilla Penny" came up on the iPod.


I'd like to watch this video, but it won't play in Germany.  For those of you in Germany reading this post, here are the lyrics...

"Druscilla Penny"

Druscilla Penny, what a name!
Are you sure you didn’'t make it up yourself?
You’'re very pretty, yes you are
But with all the junk you wear, it’'s hard to tell

Man, you must work hard to get your hair to look like that
I don’t need a horoscope to tell me where you’'re at
Your family’'s probably given up on you
Since you began to follow groups of long-haired rock'n rollers
I can hear your mother crying for her daughter

Ah, ah, ah ....
Ah, ah, ah ....

Druscilla Penny, what a girl!
Where’s the purpose to the crazy life you lead?
It doesn’'t matter after all
You're so sure instant love is all you need

I’'ve seen your face at least a thousand times
You’'re always standing there behind the stages at the concerts
Waiting for an offer to be with someone after

Druscilla Penny, how’'s your head?
Do you ever wake up lonely in the night?
It isn’'t easy for a girl when she can’'t decide
If love is wrong or right
I hope I live to see a change
Could you ever really love?
Ever really care?
Ever really get it together? no no

This is one of a couple of songs on the Carpenters' 1971 self-titled album that features the metallic voiced Richard Carpenter singing lead.  I read on a message board that this song was kind of a comedy skit, with Richard singing to one of the countless groupies who were waiting around to get with a musician.  I'm sure Richard fielded his share of horny women back in the 70s, though he sounds so uptight and straight on this song that it comes across as funnier than it probably should.

He sings about her crazy life, her love of substances, makeup, and weird hair, and the fact that her family is sick over her departure from respectability.  I've heard this song many times, but yesterday was the first time Richard sounded downright disdainful to me.  Like, I could picture him backstage telling off some poor kid, standing over her like an overbearing father.  It just doesn't seem to mesh with the concept of a famous pop musician.  On the other hand, it does seem to suit Richard's personality. Case in point...


"Piano Picker"... another song that highlights Richard's attitude...

"Piano Picker"

Everybody always asks me
How I got to play so fine
And friends, I'm gonna tell ya
It really did take some time

Yes, after years and years of practice
And a case of real bad knees
Whil the other guys were out playin' with the football
I was home bangin' on the keys
And it got me

Right were I am, this is me
Playing the piano
I hope ya like what I do
It's for you, and I'll try and sing right too

I guess I'm really very lucky
That I've got this thing to play

'Cause it can really make me feel good
Even when it's cloudy and grey

Yes, after years and years of practice
And awful allergies that made me sneeze
And now the other guys are out playin' with their girlfriends
And I was still bangin' on the keys
And it got me

Right where I am, this is me
Playing the piano
I hope ya like what I do
It's for you
And I'll try and sing right too

Someone get this guy a glass of chocolate milk and some Claritin.  And maybe something to kill the bug up his ass.

Actually, the whole "Druscilla Penny" story seems kind of funny to me because everyone and their brother seemed to be taking drugs back in the 70s.  I mean, Richard himself spent some time in rehab for being hooked on prescription meds.  As far as I've read, he was not a drinker even in those days, but he did take Quaaludes or something like them.  And while Karen was getting some help for her anorexia nervosa, Richard was seeking treatment for his addiction to pills.  So why should he be looking down on a groupie whose head is in the clouds?

I know... it's just a song and a rather silly one at that.  It might be funny to hear someone do a cover of it.  I bet Pat Boone could turn it into a big band standard, much like he did with Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train".  On the other hand, maybe it's time I got a life and started listening to music from the 10s.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Unexpected educations from math professors...

Some people are just born to teach.  I was blessed to go to college at a place where there were many wonderful teachers, even if the school wasn't the best known or prestigious university on the block.  Twenty-two years after my graduation, I still get to interact with a couple of old professors.  Thanks to Facebook, I have gotten to know a few of my former teachers more personally, even if communicating online may actually be less personal than talking to someone face to face.

This morning, I woke up to a Facebook argument.  It was between a friend of mine from college and a math professor from our school.  I didn't know the math professor when I was a Longwood student, but after watching her argue with my friend and her apparently very religious family, I wish I'd had her as a teacher.  She makes a lot of sense.  I have a feeling if I'd had her as a teacher, I might be able to understand math better.

The argument that I woke up to was over the very contentious topic of abortion.  I did not see last night's presidential debates, but apparently Hillary Clinton took Donald Trump to task over late term abortion rights.  My friend from college posted a bold status update about Hillary Clinton's belief that women have the right to late term abortions.

My friend has a young son.  When she was six months pregnant with her one and only child, she was diagnosed with stage three melanoma.  She chose not to have treatment while she was pregnant because of the risk that her son would be harmed.  My friend explains that her decisions were focused on her son's welfare.  It never occurred to her to have a late term abortion.  I commend her for making those decisions.  Fortunately, it worked out for the best in her situation.  Or, at least that's what it looks like at this point.  My friend used her situation to make the statement that other women should be legally compelled to do as she did.

Naturally, since my friend called out Hillary Clinton about her stance on late term abortions, a whole lot of people decided to comment.  Most of the comments were supportive; my friend and I come from Virginia, where many people are God fearing red voters.  Quite a few of my friends are Christians who have conservative ideals based on their religious beliefs.  They see nothing wrong with making laws based solely on their beliefs and their world view of what is wrong or right.

One of the commenters to my friend's bold Hillary Clinton call out was the aforementioned math professor.  The professor is clearly someone who supports a woman's choice to have an abortion and/or make that decision privately with her doctor.  After reading my friend's statement about not terminating her pregnancy, the professor wrote:

I am glad you had that choice- would you deny it to others?

My friend responded that she'd made her "choice" when she decided to have unprotected sex.  It was a very quick, simple statement.  I'm sure she thought it would shut up the professor.  Given that the professor makes her living challenging people to think, I must say that very decisive, simple comment was short-sighted.  Did she really not expect the professor to take her on in an argument?

Sure enough, the professor pressed by reminding my friend that she had been free to make a choice.  The professor does not judge my friend for making that choice.  And she wrote that she also does not judge other women who might make a different choice in that situation.  The professor then asked my friend if she would deny the right to make a choice to other women.

That comment prompted a response from my friend's dad, who asked about the baby's "choice" to live.  My friend's mother made a comment about how children are "blessings from God".  My friend also responded, with a lengthy comment about God.  She used very scholarly, high-falutin', correct language, which told me that the professor had indeed challenged her.  But though my friend's command of an affected writing style is very much intact, I don't think she really stopped to think about what the professor was asking her.

My friend wanted to talk about God and God's will.  It didn't seem to occur to her that not everyone believes in God.  Moreover, my friend is blessed with a loving husband, a supportive family, a job, health insurance (presumably), excellent medical care at the University of Virginia, and other means to take care of herself.  Not every woman faced with abortion has those benefits.  Not every woman considering a late term abortion (which are really pretty rare, anyway) is in the same situation my friend was in when she was pregnant.  She was apparently healthy enough to delay treatment.  Not all women can do that and expect to survive.  Should we really expect all pregnant women to die for their unborn children?  Especially if there is no one ready to take care of the child?  Or if there was a good chance child would not be viable when the mother's life ended?

I happen to mostly agree with the professor's points.  Her stance is that people should have the right to make the decisions that work for them with little interference from uninvolved parties.  Although I am personally against abortion in most situations, the truth is, I could never say I wouldn't choose to have one (for as long as my reproductive system is still functioning).  There are situations where abortion, as gruesome as it is to me, might make sense.  I think that choice should be private between the people involved, and not require input from the government.

My friend and her parents, obviously very much pro-life and clearly very religious, were arguing about God's will and their faith.  They made emotional pleas-- all in caps, mind you-- about how abortion is murder and unborn babies have a right to live.  When the professor calmly responded to them, albeit with a gratuitous use of smilies, my friend and her family accused her of "lumping them into a group", "telling them they're wrong for standing up for their convictions", and "insulting their intelligence".

In fairness to my friend and her family, in the face of the professor's calm, logical, and fair minded arguments, I probably would have gotten pissed, too.  They probably felt condescended to, which almost always prompts people to respond emotionally rather than logically.  I am also guilty of getting pissed when people condescend to me.  But I recognize that the key to winning an argument is staying rational and calm, responding to what's being said rather than how it's being said.  The professor was staying calm.  My friend and her supporters were not.

The professor then went beyond arguing about abortion.  She asked my friend and her family what they were doing for the babies who were being born to people who weren't prepared to take care of them.  She asked if they would support making birth control more accessible and affordable to sexually active adults.  She acknowledged that most people are hardwired to have sex and outlawing abortion will not stop them from having unprotected intercourse, sometimes outside the bonds of marriage.  So she wanted to know what my right winged friend and her family were doing in support of another choice besides abortion.  Were they adopting special needs children who needed homes?  Did they support better access to birth control and decent healthcare?  What about education for those unborn souls?  Were they onboard with providing that once the babies were born?

I noticed that my friend, her family, and other supporters had no answers to the professor's very good questions about how they would handle the babies who were born from unintended pregnancies.  In fact, I doubt they even gave much thought to what should be done for those babies.  They probably hadn't considered what to do for the unfortunate babies who might have been aborted late term due to a catastrophic medical problem.  Who takes care of those babies, should they survive birth?  Who pays for their care and gives them what they need from cradle to grave (whenever it is that they actually reach the grave once they've been born)?

I noticed that my friend's dad only comment addressing this is that women who don't want to have babies should "keep their legs closed".  Yeah, that works.  If every woman did that and never fell victim to rape or incest, we'd have no issues with abortion, right?  And every baby conceived would be healthy and wanted.  Keep dreaming, pops.

Many of the same people who are opposed to abortions are also against mandatory health insurance coverage and welfare assistance.  It takes a lot of resources to raise children.  While abortion costs money, it's a lot less expensive than feeding, educating, and otherwise supporting a child until adulthood.

That being said, although many of the women who are considering early abortion are poor, those who are considering late term abortion generally aren't poor; they are often women who have discovered that their unborn child has a medical problem that would either cause them to die in utero or be faced with incredible pain and suffering upon birth.  Late term abortions are very expensive and very few doctors will do them.  While I suppose there could be bloodthirsty, monstrous women out there who have late term abortions out of convenience, common sense tells me that it's probably not a typical phenomenon.  For many women who are considering an abortion beyond 20 weeks of gestation, the decision is heartbreaking, inconvenient, and just plain gruesome.

In my opinion, the professor made some very sound arguments that were based on logic.  She respected my friend's right to believe in God and refuse to have an abortion.  She also respected another woman's right to not make decisions based on a belief in God.  To me, that seemed like a fair and reasonable approach for everyone, not just people who happen to be Christians.

My friend wanted to make a bold statement about abortion, something that could affect any woman, and declare it immoral based on her religious beliefs.  She seems to believe that the American government should be creating laws based on her Christian world view and not based on fairness to everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof.  I'm sure my friend, who is a very good person, would deny this; I truly believe she thinks she's being fair.  But, as someone who has seen the perspectives of people who aren't necessarily devout Christians and/or aren't in a situation where pregnancy is feasible, I can't agree that forcing women to be pregnant when they don't want to be is fair.  Not when so many of them don't have access to decent and affordable medical care or all the other things that babies and their parents need in order to survive.

I'm sure some people reading this might say-- "Aha!  But what about adoption?"  And I would agree that carrying a baby to full term and giving it up for adoption is a very selfless thing to do.  But adoption comes with its own issues for everyone involved.  It's not so easy to ask someone to give up his or her child.  It's admirable when parents do surrender their baby to adoptive parents; but again, it's not always that simple.  Sometimes, there are other issues at play that make the choice for adoption more complicated.  And again, sometimes it's not simply about a woman being inconvenienced by a baby.  Sometimes there are private medical issues at hand that are just plain no one else's business.

I firmly believe that the law needs to be separate from religion as much as possible, especially as our society evolves.  Not everyone believes in God.  Not everyone subscribes to Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or any of the other religions out there.  For that reason, in fairness, laws that affect everyone can't lean in the direction of any one set of religious beliefs.  Moreover, while many people want to talk about a "baby's right to live", I have yet to meet a single person who has any memories of life within the womb.  No one I know was conscious of being alive while in a fetal state.  A fetus has no concept of rights, no matter how emotionally certain people want to advocate for them.

Until a baby is born, he or she is part of the mother.  At the point when the baby is born, he or she is a separate being who has personhood and rights.  Yes, we have laws that will put someone in prison an extra long time for murdering a pregnant woman or causing a pregnant woman to miscarry.  I'm not sure I agree with those laws, to be honest.  I think they needlessly complicate issues surrounding personhood.  But even as I write that, I empathize with women who have lost their unborn babies to violence and I understand the reasoning behind those laws.

Anyway... this is an issue that will probably not be solved in my lifetime.  I just thought it was refreshing to see my pre-life friend's math professor friend very logically taking her on in a Facebook argument.  I was moved enough that I had to leave the professor a comment.  I wrote that she was making an awful lot of sense and I wished she'd been my prof at Longwood.  Perhaps she really could have explained math to me, once and for all.


This is an oldie but a goodie...  I know not everyone who is pro-life feels this way, but in my experience, a whole lot of them do.