Spongebob for President

I was raised by my grandmother.  Not just any grandmother, but THE grandmother.  Let me tell you, she is a believer in voting.  She thinks voting isn’t just a choice we have as Americans, but an obligation.  She especially thinks this is true of women, because we had to fight so hard to get the right to vote.  She thinks it is an abomination that so few people turn out on election day.

I think she’s right.

I have voted since I was 18.  It’s a big deal to me.  I vote in local elections, presidential elections, even elections for dog catcher.  If there is an election, I’m there.

But this time, I may be in trouble.

Here’s the thing: I have absolutely no idea who to vote for.  The reality is that I don’t really want to vote for any of the current presidential hopefuls, but there’s this voice in my head that won’t stop saying “Not voting is the same as a vote for the opposition.” Fine.  I get it.  But from where I’m sitting, everyone is the opposition.

Let’s all be honest here.  Have you looked at these people? I don’t even know what to say about Donald Trump.  Literally, I have no words.  Hillary Clinton just reeks of scandal and lies.  I wouldn’t trust her if she told me the sky was blue.  And Bernie Sanders? God bless him, I think his heart is in the right place, but apparently no one realizes that this country is not in a position to implement socialism, even “democratic” socialism, or that the power really lies with our senators and representatives.  (As an aside, it breaks my heart to see all of these 20 and 30-somethings who think that a presidential candidate will actually do what he promises during his campaign.  Oh, to be so young and naive again!)

I’m not getting into my political affiliations here.  I refuse.  That isn’t my point.  I just want to know what the solution is when you don’t like any of the political candidates.  I believe in voting.  I hate to hear people say they don’t vote because it doesn’t make a difference anyway.  I HATE it. It is our privilege, and yes, our obligation as Americans, to vote.  But here I am, getting ready for a primary election, followed by a general election, determined that I will not cast a vote for any of the current candidates.

Really this post is just a plea for help.  Someone help me.  I’m drowning.  Am I the only one who feels this way? Does anyone else want to cry when they see the current candidates on television? What do we do? There’s only one solution as far as I can tell.

A write-in.

Spongebob 2016.

(not so) High Times

Below is the body of a recent letter I wrote to our Senator.  I wanted to post it so everyone could be aware of what is available out there for those who think they are running out of options.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

 

I am writing to you from Fayette County. I write concerning my daughter, a fourteen-year-old with profound special needs.

This letter is not meant to be a medical documentation, so I will spare you the details of her lifelong struggles. For the purpose of this letter, suffice it to say that she has severe epilepsy. Further, she has drug resistant epilepsy. She has anywhere from one to ten or more seizure per day. If she is standing when they strike, she falls, the result being that she is frequently bruised and bumped. The situation has degenerated over the past year to the point where she is required to wear a helmet and a gait belt while at school. She also has to be in her stroller or an adaptive chair for a large part of her day. Although this is for her safety, it is discouraging, because she has limited mobility as it is, and she needs to be walking as much as possible.

There is, however, hope. In the past months, I have studied the benefits of medical marijuana to individuals with various forms of drug resistant epilepsy (also called intractable, or refractory epilepsy.) I have also learned, with some disappointment, that West Virginia has not yet joined the more than twenty states who have put some sort of medical marijuana bill into place.

Must West Virginia always be at the back of the class? With the current administration’s insistence that healthcare for all is of the utmost importance, how can such an opportunity be overlooked? I have to sit here and watch as states all around us, even the Commonwealth of Virginia, put even the most basic laws into effect regarding medical marijuana use. Meanwhile, my daughter’s quality of life continues to diminish while I wait for everyone to get over the archaic notion that using marijuana medically, even in alternative forms such as oil and under the supervision of a physician, is “using drugs.”

I can tell you all about “using drugs.” My daughter, though just fourteen, uses more drugs than the Whites of Boone County. She has to have routine blood work to make sure the drugs aren’t reaching toxic levels in her body. What differentiates her, of course, is that her drugs are “legal.” Or, to put it another way, her drugs have gone through all the appropriate channels to line all of the appropriate pockets. What’s worse, even with all the drugs, she still has daily seizures.

Senator, what can we do about this? I don’t know your position yet on this issue. From what I can tell, it is just now coming to the forefront of our thinking in West Virginia, as I myself have only come by this knowledge over the past few months. Still, I say it’s well past time that we start looking into the future of caring for our most vulnerable citizens. My daughter, though limited, is as entitled to her dignity and quality of life as everyone. Our beautiful state should work in partnership with other states, not to mention the federal government, to make these types of options available to people in need.

I know there are no guarantees. Perhaps CBD oil (a form of medical marijuana) will not help my daughter’s seizures. Perhaps it will be like so many of the drugs that she has tried over the years, and will work for only a short while. However, I would like to be given the opportunity to find out, without having to break the law to do so.

I know you are but one man, but every forward movement requires that first push. Please, Senator Laird, consider helping make that first push. I am willing and able to help in any way possible. I hope to hear from you soon.

 

Sincerely,

Janice F. Bostic


 

 

Tear Jerkers (Sorry, Mr. Sparks)

I just watched a video which listed the biggest tear-jerker movies of all time.

I think movies based on Nicholas Sparks books made the list at least three times.  Maybe more.  I sort of lost interest about half way through.

We just can’t get enough of the sappy, drippy, romantic tragedies, can we? What is it? Maybe it’s the idea that love transcends tragedy, and exists even in spite of cancer and death and dementia.

Now, before any of you Sparks fans out there start planning my painful death, let me assure you, I think Mr. Sparks is a talented man. He knows how to tug on the heart strings.

But there are some of us (or at least me) who believe a real tear-jerker movie isn’t just sap from front to back and top to bottom.  It’s a movie that gets you.  It breaks your heart. And then someone gets stabbed in the eye with a sword.

Anyway, here are my nominations for the greatest tear-jerker movies of all time:

  • Last of the Mohicans. This  movie kills me.  Kills me.  It is a very violent movie at times, but it is also a wonderful story based on the book by James Fenimore Cooper.  The acting is top notch (we are talking about Daniel Day Lewis, after all) and there are true edge-of-your-seat moments.  It really hits the mark, though, because there are whole scenes with absolutely no dialogue. Guess what?  These are the scenes that are the most powerful and, yes, tear jerking.  Whole planets of emotion are shared between the characters with just eye contact, and of course the heart rending music in the background.
  • Cast Away. I bet you think I’m going to tell you I cried the most near the end, when Tom Hanks is getting ready to drive away and Helen Hunt comes running down the driveway in the rain (of course.) WRONG! Although that is a highly charged moment, the part of the movie that will crush you is when Tom Hanks loses his best friend.  That’s right–Wilson, the volleyball.  Wilson is tied onto the life raft, and he comes loose and starts drifting away before Tom realizes it, and then gets too far out of reach to be recovered.  Then we get to see Tom Hanks sobbing his heart out over a volleyball, and I sob right along with him.  Because it’s not really just Wilson he’s crying over, you know?  He’s crying because, well, everything. And that breaks your heart.
  • The Patriot. I can’t pinpoint one moment in this film, because it is brutal.  Let me just say, don’t get attached to too many characters in this film, because they drop like flies.  I will say the scene where Mel Gibson is leaving and his little girl runs after him and speaks to him for the first time in forever is over-the-top ugly-cry material.
  • Forrest Gump. You knew this one had to make the list, right?  Tom Hanks is brilliant, and this movie is all the proof needed to back up that statement.  How many times do I cry during this movie?  The Lord might know–I don’t.  Bubba dies, Lieutenant Dan has his “what am I gonna do now” moment, Momma dies, and let’s not forget when Forrest sees his son and wants to know if he is like him.  Then Jenny dies, and if you had any heart left, it gets destroyed by the whole “I miss you, Jenny” thing.
  • Braveheart.  I have never cried over any movie as  much as I cry over this one.  It would take a book to list all the tear-jerking scenes in this movie.  This movie uses the “no dialogue” technique, too.  When Murron is killed, and Mel Gibson leans over her right before they are going to bury her, he breathes in her scent like he did when she was still alive, and it’s almost too much to watch.  Then right before he dies, he sees Murron in the crowd walking toward him, and the music changes, and, and…..excuse me a minute, okay?

Okay, I’m better.  Sorry, but that one gets me every time.

So, what makes your list?  What movie rips out your heart?  And don’t worry if it is a Nicholas Sparks film.  I will only make fun of you a little.

 

If I Ruled The World

Things would be a lot different, that’s for sure.  For starters, anyone who spoke out loud before 9am would be awakened each morning by having hot coffee poured in their ear.  Here are some other things I’d like to see go into effect immediately:

  • All carpet would be removed from earth and rocketed into outer space, where presumably space aliens would find it and use it to carpet their own homes, at which time their little alien children and six-legged alien pets would vomit on it.
  • Anyone who has a child and names it a normal name like “Cindy” or “Mindy”, but puts an “i” at the end, will have to sign a contract stating they will support their child for the rest of their life, since they will never be taken seriously in any field outside of the porn industry.
  • Anyone who names their child something like “Apple” or “Cocoa” or “North” will be made to stand in some public forum so we can all gather around them, and then point and laugh.
  • Mandatory grammar class for anyone who misuses “to,” too,” “your,” you’re,” “their,” “they’re,” and “there,” and double punishment for anyone who doesn’t know the difference between “then” and “than.”
  • Text speak will be banned, punishable by death.
  • Pop music will also be banned, and offenders will undergo a rehab of sorts where they are taught was music actually is supposed to sound like.
  • Personal automobiles will be equipped with large-caliber machine guns, in order to encourage people riding along at cruising speed in the passing lane to perhaps move it along a little bit.
  • Everyone would be required to read at least one book, any book, a week.
  • Charm and finishing school should be reinstated for every man, woman, and child, until we all learn to stop shutting doors in people’s faces and never saying “excuse me.”
  • Equally important, some sort of fashion guru will hopefully volunteer to teach Fashion Basics, such as if your ass is three feet wide, and your shorts are two feet wide, your shorts do not fit.  Perhaps a math teacher could fulfill this role or something. (I’m raving.)
  • Somewhere, somehow, someone will invent a self-cleaning house.
  • Also, I hope to inspire someone, with a large cash reward, to invent a way for laundry to automatically be switched from the washer to the drier.  (As an aside, I find it impossible to believe that this is not widespread technology yet.  I mean, we have tiny little computers we hold in our hands, and we can’t get laundry from one place to another?)
  • Non-streaking, finger-print proof glass. Enough said.
  • Anthony Hopkins would come and read me poetry every night as I fell asleep.
  • I would have one of those red phones, except it wouldn’t be for war or anything.  It would be a direct to line to, say, the Pope, or Roger Waters.  Or maybe just an Italian food delivery service.  I’ll have to think about that one.

I’m sure most of your feel this is a very selfish list, and you are right.  So of course I would do things like stop war and abortion and genocide and hunger and all of that stuff.

(But seriously, someone get to work on that laundry thing.)

 

So, what would it be like if you ruled the world?

 


 

Lap Dances: $120 Million

Let me start by saying that I firmly believe that celebrities do outrageous things for the sole purpose of gaining notoriety.  Bad press is still good publicity.  Furthermore, we are all just feeding into that by writing about it and talking about and watching the clip on YouTube.

But I’m writing about it anyway.

I was more than a little surprised at all of the negative reaction to Miley Cyrus’ little performance on the MTV Video Music Awards last night.  Don’t get me wrong–I agree with the negative reaction, but what I don’t understand is why anyone was really shocked at all.

I grew up in the Madonna generation, back when she looked more like a person and less like, well…….

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Anyway, Madonna sort of paved the way, in my mind at least, for that whole rolling-around-on-the-stage-sex-simulation thing.  From that point on, each female pop star after her has had to find a way to top the shock factor.  We love to be shocked.  I mean, we live in a world where, as a society, we have made this woman one of the most successful pop artists ever:

gaga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we get up on our high horse like we can’t believe that Miley acted this way.  I mean, that’s Hannah Montana up there humping a foam finger, you say.  That’s Billy Ray’s little girl twerking Beetlejuice…..er…..Robin Thicke, you say.  Well, here’s what I say to that:

WHO CARES????!!! The most irritating thing I could see was that she is trying to be the next Gene Simmons.  (Does she have a hairball?  Is she choking on something? An allergic reaction, maybe?)

The other thing that sort of tickled me was that the VMAs are always crap.  I mean, is everyone just now figuring that out?  The performances are crap, and, let’s be honest, the talent is crap.  That’s what it’s really about, isn’t it?  These poor celebrities have to become famous for something, because the Good Lord knows they can’t sing.  Yet we act all shocked.  Well, watch the Miley Cyrus clip again.  Her backup singers/dancers are gyrating around nearly as badly as her, and when Beetlejuice….er…..Robin Thicke finishes the big number, doesn’t it look like one of the girls is simulating giving him, well, you know?

I despise MTV.  Real music, and yes, real talent, died a little the day MTV was born, and I say that as part of the MTV generation.  (As difficult as it is to believe, there used to be actual music on Music Television.)  It’s pure, solid, talentless, shocking crap.  Pop music as a genre is crap.  Here’s a news flash–Miley Cyrus can’t sing.  Taylor Swift can’t sing.  Britney Spears can’t sing.  Even Gaga, who I personally don’t mind that much, is only marginal.  (Before anyone gets on a high horse, no, I can’t sing either.  But I don’t pretend to.  I embrace it.  There’s a whole group of us non-singers.  Maybe there should be like some sort of “I thought I could sing” rehab or something for people like Miley and Taylor and most of the people who try out for American Idol. But I digress.)  Gyrating around on the stage and causing a huge uproar are what these girls are famous for.  Not singing.  Their voices are enhanced digitally just like the pictures of celebrities are airbrushed.  Just listen to a live performance by Taylor Swift sometime, if you can find one where she isn’t lip singing.  It isn’t even about the music anymore.  You know, Bob Dylan couldn’t really sing, either, and neither could Janis Joplin, whom I worship, but you know what?  Their music was about something.  They didn’t have MTV or the VMAs to make them popular.  They didn’t have to give a live, simultaneous lap dance to everyone in the world to get people talking.

They just sang.  (Well, and drank and did drugs, but that really doesn’t serve my purpose right now, so never mind.)

Long story short, America:  Hannah Montana is dead.  She was dying already, and she took her last gasp last night.  Turn off MTV.  Mourn her and let her go.  If you really want to watch some good tv, I have a suggestion.

Stick with The Andy Griffith Show.


 

Ten Signs You May Be an Asshole

Warning: the word ASSHOLE appears in this post numerous times.  Do not read if the word ASSHOLE offends you. (Note: if the word ASSHOLE offends you, you are probably–you guessed it–an ASSHOLE.)

 

I can only come to the conclusion that people, in general, are not aware of their own behavior.  What other explanation could there be?  People cannot deliberately be acting this way.  So I decided to be (not so) helpful and make a little list to help you determine if you are, in fact, an asshole.

  1. You often find yourself just waiting for others to stop whining about their own pathetic problems, such as cancer, death, decapitation, whatever, so you can assure them that you have it much worse.
  2. You put more than one status update a day about how wonderful your life is, how rich you are, how beautiful your house is, how smart and perfect your children are, and how perfect your spouse is.  Trust me, you aren’t just sharing your blessings.  You’re an asshole.
  3. You have uttered the phrase, with no irony whatsoever, “Hot enough for ya?” This also means you are a moron.
  4. You insist on driving in the passing lane, no matter how slow you are going, no matter how long the line of traffic is behind you, no matter how many people swerve angrily into the slow lane and pass you. Double points if you have ever said, “I have a right to drive over here! I pay my taxes, too!”
  5. You have parked in a handicapped parking spot when you were, in fact, not handicapped.  This also applies if you have parked in the lines painted to leave room for unloading wheelchairs. In this case, you are an inconsiderate jerk as well as an asshole.
  6. You somehow manage to forget to turn off your cell phone every single church service, even though you have being attending church for 65163532158 years and the announcement has been the same every. Single. TIME.  Also, the person who manages to text or call during church time every week, even though they know you are probably at church, since you have been attending for 65163532158 years, that person is also an asshole.
  7. Speaking of cell phones, if you still think the only way people can hear you on cell phones is if you shout, no matter where you are–restaurants, the grocery store, funerals, whatever–then you are…..well, you know.  If you talk about personal issues at this same glass shattering decibel, you bypass asshole and go straight to idiot
  8. You constantly call people “babe,” “hon,” or “sweetie,” even people who are old enough to be your grandparents.  This is marginal, but at the very least it is condescending.
  9. You know, without a doubt, that no discussion of any kind can be complete unless everyone is aware of your opinion, which you, of course, must share, whether asked to or not. (Every one of you just shut up. I know this is me, okay?  I get it, OKAY?!)
  10. You have gone to outrageous lengths to prove that you are right.  There is nothing you won’t do to make your point, and if, God forbid, it turns out that you are wrong, then nothing must ever be said on the subject again, ever. You can never admit wrongness, and, if necessary, you must place the blame for your wrongness on the person who was right.  (I am in no way implying that anyone in my home, such as my spouse, is like this.)

There are many other tell-tale signs that you might be exhibiting asshole behavior.  This is just a basic list to get you started.  As always, I’m glad I can help!

What would you add to the list?

(Anyone who adds to the list “you make a list telling other people they are assholes” will be banned from my site.  Just kidding. Sort of.)

 

 

Why I’m Pro-Life (Put Away Your Labels)

I’m getting ready to break one of my own blogging rules.  I’m going to talk about one of the three forbidden (by me, anyway) topics.  I feel like maybe I should put some sort of disclaimer on here, but the fact is I believe wholeheartedly the things I’m getting ready to say, and I’m not going to start by offering conditions or exceptions to keep from offending someone.

I’m going to talk about abortion, and why I am against it.

Now, one of the reasons I don’t like talking about abortion is that it’s a very frustrating subject to talk about.  Why? Because as soon as I said I was against abortion, BAM!, many of you slapped a label on me.  You immediately assumed many things about me that, in reality, may or may not be true.  You probably assumed that because I am against abortion, you know how I feel and think about everything.  You probably called me a conservative, and you probably accused me of being in a “war on women.”

Let me start by saying I absolutely am NOT in a war on ANYBODY, and especially not women.  I am, in fact, a woman myself. (Who knew, right?) I love women’s rights.  I believe in equal pay for equal work, equal educational opportunities, whatever.  In fact, I truly believe that ALL people should have equal opportunities, just like those PC disclaimers say on job applications.  You know, “regardless of gender, race, religion,” etc.  I consider myself a very open-minded person, but sometimes I think you SHOULDN’T be open-minded.  In fact, when you know something is wrong, it’s okay to be close-minded.  I can be open-minded about having equal rights, because having equal rights is not wrong.

What I don’t understand is why we, as a culture, think that a woman having equal rights means she has the “right” to have an abortion.

There is really only one major reason I oppose abortion, but I’ll get to that in a minute.  For now, I’ll give you the minor reasons.  For starters, if you believe in God, can you honestly say He would support abortion?  This usually brings up the argument of when life begins, and therein lies one of my biggest complaints about the pro-choice argument.  Consider the following: if I was 26 weeks pregnant, and my baby died of natural causes, it would be a family tragedy.  The baby would be delivered with the utmost reverence and sensitivity.  There would be a funeral, and for the rest of my life I would speak of my deceased child.

Now, let’s look at this scenario in a different way.  Let’s say I decided to have an abortion at 26 weeks.  The baby would be aborted, and tossed out like a ball of used paper.  That’s it.  It’s over.

So it logically follows that, based on this example, it is the choice of the mother which decides whether the baby is, in fact, a living human or not.  This is quite a power given to mothers!  In fact, we are almost deifying women, because ultimately they are deciding if this baby is worthy of life or not!  I can’t go along with this.  It makes no sense.  We can’t have it both ways.  Be honest with yourself.  Is it a baby or not?

Another example for you to consider: if someone kills a pregnant woman, and the baby dies, too, our judicial system will charge the killer with TWO counts of murder.

This is why the pro-choice movement is lost on me.

Every single pro-choice person I have ever spoken to is so versed in political bullshit that it is frightening.  They start in on how it is impossible to legislate, and how pregnant women would have to register their pregnancies or some kind of crap like that.  They want to argue with you about contraception and sex education.  Smoke and mirrors, people.  That’s all.  Abortion is not a political issue.  It is a moral one.

And there is another problem.  People say you can’t impose your morals on others.  Okay.  Let’s talk about that.  What is ANY law but the imposition of the morals of others on the citizenry at large?  Marijuana is illegal, right?  It’s illegal to smoke it, grow it, and sell it.  However, there is a whole population of people who feel like this is ridiculous.  It’s my body–if I want to light one up, why is that anyone’s business?  Right?  The only difference is that the “legalize it” group doesn’t really have time to organize big demonstrations or anything.  They are all at the 7-11 buying pop-tarts.

But I digress.

My point was we all live by laws that are based on a certain moral code.  We all know you shouldn’t kill others, or cause them harm in any way.  So how can we exempt our most innocent from this basic right?  Don’t believe in God?  Fine.  Forget the “moral” aspect of it.  Let’s talk science.  A woman’s body, from top to bottom and all the way around, is designed for one purpose–to conceive, give birth to, and subsequently nurture offspring.  Sorry if that upsets you.  Blame millions of years of evolution.  Or God.  Or whatever force to which you attribute creation.  We are the only species who systematically destroys our own young as a matter of convenience.  The survival of any species hangs on the raising of its offspring.  Didn’t any of you ever watch “Wild Kingdom?”

By the way, please, please PLEASE don’t insult my intelligence or yours by saying “What about rape and incest?”  Look up the statistics of abortion and tell me what percentage of abortions are performed for those reasons.  Let me know what you find out.

Also, I’m not going to address people who think it’s okay for a woman to get an abortion because she finds out she is carrying a “defective” baby.  I have no use for this argument, and if someone believes this, I don’t want to talk to them, I don’t want to see them, and hopefully they won’t ever bother reading this blog again.

To make this a little shorter, I think we are on a dangerous, slippery slope.  We think we are qualified to choose who gets to live and who gets to die.  And what’s worse, we have allowed ourselves to be numbed to the horror of abortion by years of political language and media distraction.  We are inoculated against reality by phrases like “reproductive choice” and “the war on women.”  The truth, though, is that abortion is ugly.  It’s barbaric.  Look up partial birth abortions, which are perfectly legal in this country.  They aren’t common, it’s true, but they are still legal.  I won’t put the graphic pictures on here that show what abortion looks like.  It makes people angry, and disgusted.  It’s upsetting.

As it should be.

So here it is, after everything else I’ve said, the real reason I’m against abortion: it is murder.  Period.  Life begins at conception.  If not, when does it begin?  At birth?  Well, then we go back to that previous scenario I described.  And since I believe life begins at conception, I have to believe that the purposeful and willful stopping of that life is murder.  That is the most basic definition of what murder is–the destruction of life.

Don’t kid yourself.  The 55 million babies that have been aborted since Roe versus Wade were alive.  Way back in the beginning of my first pregnancy, I remember laying on the little table and listening to that thumpathumpathumpathumpathumpa that was my son’s heartbeat.  Make no mistake–that was my son in there.  The same one who is sitting over on the couch now, eating lunch.  The one with the coarse, curly hair and the gap between his front teeth.  That was him.  And if I had “chosen” not to have him, if I had “chosen” to get an abortion, it would have been no different than if I pointed a gun at his head right now and pulled the trigger.

Look at your own child–it’s the same.  Your spouse, partner, best friend, mom, dad–all of them, they all started just the same.

To those of you who don’t support abortion, but who feel like you shouldn’t tell others what to do, I would offer you this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., from his Letter from Birmingham Jail:

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.  Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

And this one:

“More and more I feel that people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will.”

For me, it all boils down to one thing.  Thirty six years ago, my mother was pregnant.  She was fifteen when she found out.  Abortion was legal.  She could have done that.  She could have finished school, went on to who knows what.  Instead, she quit school and got married.  She ended up divorced.  But still, she chose life.  She chose me.  That’s not all–the notion that our choices affect only us is self-centered and absurd.  Her choice has trickled down through the years, right up to this very moment.

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I’m so glad the choice she made was the right one.

 

 

********I welcome and enjoy discussion and even debate.  But to all you trolls and antagonists, don’t waste your time and mine. 


 

Dog Days

First of all, allow me to warn you that this is not so much a blog post as a public service announcement.  What can I say?  I live to help others.

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I got a new puppy a couple of months back.  Living with The Grandparents as I did for almost ten years, it wasn’t really appropriate for me to get a larger dog and bring into their house.  I already had (and still have) a small, old dog.  So I didn’t want to push my luck.  Anyway, my point was, as soon as we moved into our own place, I got a puppy.  His name is Jack.

This post isn’t about him, though.  It’s about dogs in general.

I love dogs.  I am a dog person, for sure.  Always have been.  I’m not an overly demonstrative person, but I get very attached to my canine companions.  Also, I try to do what’s right for them.  I always try to make sure they have the proper activities and vet care and such.  Following this same train of thought (if you can) I take Jack for a walk every day around the neighborhood.  We do a couple of miles every day.

Allow me a brief digression.  We are Cesar Millan disciples around here.  We believe and practice his methods to the very best of our ability.  I walk Jack because he needs daily exercise to keep him calm and easy going.  He hasn’t chewed up the first thing in my house, he is housebroken, and although we are still working on properly greeting people at the door, he is overall fairly relaxed.  Hail Cesar!

Back to my original point (which I hadn’t made yet).  When I walk Jack, I carry a stick, pepper spray, and a pellet pistol.  Why?

Because of the dogs.

At The Grandmother’s house, there were almost never any loose dogs.  I think the main reason was that the main highway went right in front of the house, and that’s not the best environment for a wandering dog.

Here, though, is a one lane country road, and there are lots of dogs.  Loose dogs.

We can’t really walk in one direction of our loop road, because there’s about ten dogs running around up there.  The other direction of the loop goes just a few dozen yards then runs into the main highway, so forget that.  So, naturally, we walk out the one lane road that follows the creek up the hollow for a couple of miles.  It’s a lovely walk.

Except for the dogs.

It’s very frustrating.  None of my family will walk with me because of the loose dogs that stalk you as you walk.  My husband will, but he doesn’t get in until almost dark, and if you’ve read my posts in the past, you know I don’t do dark.  So anyway, I’m on my own.  My son will go sometimes, and he tries not to be nervous about it, but I know he is.  There is one dog in particular who is very aggressive, and my son and Jack sort of cower behind me while I stand her down.  Everyone tells me she is just a “teddy bear,” and I’ve seen her being friendly with her owners and with one of her neighbors, and I’ve even tried talking to her and getting her to calm down and come on over and have a sniff, but she’s not having it.  Some days she just stands on the porch and barks, but she has actually charged us across the road, and once I even had to poke her with my stick because she got too close.  I’m not afraid of dogs, but she is a very big dog, and I sure as hell don’t want to have to get into it with her.

Luckily, I’m a bigger bitch even than she. (I thought I’d say it before you did.)

There are other dogs on our walk, but mostly they just bark.  Barking doesn’t bother me.  I think most people out in the country have their dogs because they want to be alerted when things are amiss.  Fine.  But at some point, you have to take responsibility for your pet.  I know of local neighborhoods where people have actually been bitten, and kids had to stop riding their bikes on certain public roads because of loose dogs.

Then here’s when it gets ugly–something bad happens, and a dog turns up missing or gets shot.  I can’t stand that.  I’m not sure under what circumstances I could ever shoot a dog.  I love dogs, remember?  But then I start thinking.  My daughter has this really cool tricycle that she absolutely loves to ride, and I’ve been so excited for her to ride it this summer.  The walk out our creek here is reasonably flat, and she could go pretty well.

But what if my nemesis charges my little disabled daughter on her little bike as she rides by?  Evelyn is afraid of strange big dogs, and I don’t know how she would react if one came snarling and barking at her.  I don’t know how I would react.

I know how my husband says he’s going to react.

Then there’s trouble.  You put up with crap and put up with it, then when you finally do something, you’re the dirty dog (pun absolutely intended.)  As an example, The Grandparents have these neighbors who used to keep three Siberian Huskies in an eight by ten cage.  They never took them out, ever.  They dumped the food and water over the top of the cage.  The water bowl looked like a frog pond.  The mountain of dog shit was literally three feet high, and that is not an exaggeration.  The smell was horrific. On humid evenings, you couldn’t even tolerate sitting on the back porch at The Grandparent’s because of the stench.  So, finally, The Grandmother called the humane society, and they came and took the one remaining dog (the other two had died.)

Can you guess what happened?  The neighbors told everyone what awful people The Grandparents were, and how they had picked on them, blah blah blah.  The worst part was that everyone in the neighborhood had complained about it for years, but no one would dare do anything.  Then, to top it off, the owners just knocked down Mount Turdious, paid a fine, and then brought the dog right back and put him right back in there again!

The point of my story is that, no matter what, I’m going to end up as the bad guy here.  There is no happy ending.  Something bad will have to happen, then more bad things will happen.  Just a cycle of badness.  I want to be friends with all of my neighbors.  I don’t even care if their dog come around here.  A neighbor up on the hill has an extremely fat yellow lab that waddles around sometimes and says hello.  She’s a panting, whole-butt-wagging type of dog.  But I also had to chase away two black dogs the other day, because one of them charged at my dad while he was here visiting.  What do you do?  What’s the answer?

There is no answer.  Just the cycle of badness.

 

Social Isolation

A terrible thing is happening.

I’m falling out of love with Facebook.

I think this must be how a heroin addict feels.  You hate heroin, but you love it.  You never want to see it again, but you can’t live without it.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I couldn’t live without social media, or, more specifically, Facebook.  And yet, it holds me.

It holds me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about social media in general lately, and it’s really sort of a sad testament to our culture that our main form of communication occurs without ever having to actually see or talk to anyone.  Even family.  I’m just as guilty.  In all seriousness, probably 90% of my contact with friends and family that I stay in touch with is via social media.  So, here’s the question: is that a bad thing?

Maybe it is.

I wonder if we are becoming a people who has zero social interaction skills.  How ironic that Facebook (and Twitter, and whatever) is called “social” media.  Maybe it should be called anti-social media.  We can allegedly fulfill our familial and friendship obligations without ever leaving our reclining chairs (which is, incidentally, where I am sitting right now.)  We don’t ever have to send a thank you note, write a letter, or, God forbid, talk to someone.

What’s worse, when you actually do talk to someone, I think the lack of social interaction is showing.  No one looks anyone in the eye anymore.  Usually that’s because they are busy checking Facebook on their smart phones.  Texting also fits into this category–again, you don’t actually have to talk to anyone.  I guess if it wasn’t for politicians and Baptist ministers, talking would go out of fashion altogether.

Even though I just made a lot of compelling points about why social media is going to be the downfall of modern society (I didn’t really make any compelling points, but who cares), the real reason I am falling out of love with Facebook is because it is making me hate people again.

I hated people before, you know.  Long ago.  I was a bitter, hateful youth.  Then I sort of mellowed out.  Well, a little, anyway.  I can usually ignore people who really annoy me.  But with Facebook, I can’t ignore them.  It’s like I’m drawn to the annoying-ness, then I get some sort of pleasure complaining about it.  How sick is that?! No–how sad is that?

blog post

So now I’m starting to hate people again, and I’m afraid I’m not alone.  So you see, this is yet another way our social media is isolating us from each other.  Not only is it making me indifferent, it’s making me want to actively hurt people in the face.

I mean, seriously.  Don’t you get that?  Don’t you read some of the statuses and just want to die? Or kill someone?  You know what I mean–the ones that go on about how wonderful their lives are.  “I woke up in my satin sheets this morning in my mansion and went for a walk around our private island, and some sand got in my nose, and when I sneezed, dimes flew out! How wonderful! Then the kids went and built houses for poor people and then we went and all bought complete new wardrobes for the week! We are so blessed!”

Yeah.

Or it’s the opposite–you know, the ones who are always on the verge of death.  But still, they are blessed.

And then there are the ones who feel compelled to share every single detail of their personal lives.  Take my word for this, folks–no one cares about the color of your BM.  Really. And some of the stuff you are sharing shouldn’t be shared.  In the old days, if you wanted to find out about people’s dirty laundry,  you had to rely on gossiping, or Jerry Springer.  Now, just turn on the computer.

I’m starting to think maybe I’m the problem.  Maybe someone with my personality defects shouldn’t be exposed to others.  Maybe it’s better if I just sit in the house and avoid social interaction of any kind.

Except Facebook, of course.

I can’t give that up.


 

The Blame Game

You may or may not have noticed, but I tend to wait a little while before talking about things that happen in our society.  This isn’t because I’m a procrastinator (I am) or because I don’t like writing about things like this (I don’t), but just because I like to wait awhile.  It gives me time to try to think objectively about things, and digest the stories and reports that spawn out of tragedies. Mostly, it lets me write a little more calmly.

The shooting at Sandy Hook in Connecticut happened a little less than a week ago.  I won’t rehash the whole thing.  You know all about it.

The blame started almost immediately, and it’s still going strong.

Some of the blame is obvious.  The guy who went in there and shot all those babies is to blame.  That’s an easy one.

But it isn’t all so easy.

Almost as soon as the story broke, the gun debate started.  My first reaction to the gun debate was disgust.  If you want to know part of what’s wrong with our society, consider the fact that when a news story broke that twenty babies were laying dead in their elementary school from multiple gunshot wounds, the first response of many was to promote their political cause.  It wasn’t just the gun nuts or the gun haters–it was both.  It was the Christians and the non-Christians. They all sat back and looked down their noses and wagged their heads just like the guys walking past Jesus on the Cross.  They gave their respective reasons as to why this happened and how if their respective ideas had been followed all along, this wouldn’t have happened.

They make it sound so easy.

Here’s the thing–it isn’t easy.  How I wish that there was some sort of concrete answer as to why this happened, how it could have been prevented, and how it could be prevented from ever happening again.  But the answer isn’t in black and white.  Here are a few of the things I’ve heard from many sources, and my problems with them.

  • Ban assault weapons: Well, okay.  In all honesty, I’ve never really understood why anyone needs a semi-automatic rifle.  Also, I totally see the point about how quickly they can fire and how difficult and dangerous this makes the situation for law enforcement to fight back.  But at the same time, if you look at it statistically, how many people own these weapons, and how many are used in mass murders?  It’s a microscopic percentage.  Is that really the problem?
  • Ban all guns: This one makes me kind of sad.  People like to talk about the second amendment, which gives us the right to bear arms and form a militia to protect ourselves from an oppressive government.  Like most good ideas in this culture, we take it, rape it, beat it till it’s bloody, then hang it in the town square for all to see. We stretch the boundaries until the original spirit of the idea is long gone.  I feel this way about our right to bear arms.  We are never satisfied.  Having said that, I am also a gun owner.  I have a hidden handgun, and quite frankly, I am not comfortable giving it up.  I’m not sure how that fits in to everything I just said, but it’s just the truth.
  • Give the teachers a gun: This one bugs me.  I really can’t look at this one objectively, because I think it’s ridiculous.  I know a lot of teachers, and not one of them would be willing to carry a gun in their school.  If nothing else, think of the liability!  They aren’t cops.  Someone mentioned the principal having a gun.  Well, fine.  But here’s a little dose of reality for you.  Real life is not like in the movies, when the citizen shoots the bad guy right between the eyes on the first shot and saves the day.  Can you imagine, as an ordinary, non-gun-toting citizen, being in an OK Corral style shootout in a school building?!  As a parent, I just don’t know about this.  It’s not that I think the teacher would do something bad, but the fact is they are teachers, not cops.
  • Have a cop or security person at each school: Lots of places do this already.  While I think it doesn’t hurt, when a person comes to do the kind of damage this guy in Connecticut did, I’m not sure what would happen.  I like to think it would have made a difference, but I don’t know.
  • Bullet-proof glass:  I don’t mind this one so much.  He shot his way in because they wouldn’t buzz him in.  Bullet-proof glass would have prevented that.  But I don’t know much about bullet-proof glass–can it be compromised?  Could he have, say, driven his car through the wall to get through?  I just don’t know.
  • Bring back the death penalty/hanging/torture/an eye for an eye, etc.:  This one is especially sad.  A man goes into a situation with the full intent of ending his rampage by blowing his own brains out–do you really think the death penalty scares him?

I guess my point is just that I don’t know what you can do if someone is determined enough to do something terrible like this.  I don’t know how it can be prevented.  Even with mental health care revisions, it isn’t fool-proof.

You can argue about God, and how we’ve turned out backs on him, and this is what happens.  You can say evil is loose in the world.  But here’s a news flash for you–evil has always been loose in the world.  As humans, we are set apart from all other living things on Earth by our intellect, and our free will.  This gives us the capacity for great goodness.

It also gives us the capacity for great evil.

So, whose fault is it?  I would say it’s mine.  And yours.  And our parents.  And our grandparents……..back and back and back forever.  So how do we fix it?  I don’t know.

I don’t know.

 

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