Browsing Category

People

Advice Dumb Shit I Do People politics Things that piss me off WTF?

OMG Stop Unfriending Each Other!!

October 12, 2016
Stop Unfriending Each Other!!

For the love of Pete, stop unfriending each other!! Every five minutes someone is challenging their Facebook friends and followers to unfriend them if they hold a different opinion about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

If you support that lying, misogynistic, groping dumbass – well just unfriend me now“, or “If you think she actually supports women then you can just unfriend me right now, in fact, I’ll do it for you“, or “if you’re planning on voting for this douchebag, I want you to unfriend me” and on and on.

picard

Additionally, people keep posting how so much more qualified Hillary Clinton is compared to Donald Trump, as if that is even a consideration.

Let’s Break it Down

Let me first say — I don’t like either of them and I’m not supporting or defending either’s behavior — but here’s the thing:

It’s not about their qualifications or their experience.

You can argue it should be, and you would still be wrong.

It’s about their agenda and what path they want to lead this country on.

People aren’t supporting Donald Trump because they also want to grope women without permission, they are not supporting Trump because they are racists (though it is certain that some racists support Trump, just as some of them support Hillary Clinton), people support Trump because they don’t like the direction they think Hillary will take this country.

Conversely, Hillary’s supporters are not women haters and they are not necessarily liars (though, again, there are probably many people who support Hillary who lie), it isn’t that they are liars that make them want to support her. They support her because they like the campaign promises she is making and foolishly believe she might be able to keep them.

 

via SIZZLE

They’re Both Deplorable!

This is an interesting campaign because usually the candidate’s qualifications are pretty equal. At least they both, usually, have some experience in public office. Here that is not the case. Here we have a candidate who is probably more qualified than any candidate in history running against someone who has absolutely no political experience.

This is why many people can’t understand why anyone with a brain might vote for someone like Trump (among a whole bunch of other issues). It’s not even that they don’t like Hillary (even though so many people have some really intense negative feelings about her), it’s that they don’t like the policies she plans on putting forward.

It is precisely because they have different agendas (and different parties) that they can both be deplorable and people will still vote for them. Their actions don’t matter. It’s disgusting, but it’s the truth.

Here’s an excellent article about why people will vote for Trump.

Stop Unfriending Each Other!!

Telling someone to unfriend you because you don’t agree with them on one subject is incredibly arrogant. Do you really think you have that much clout that you can wave your Facebook friendship in front of them and believe it will motivate them to change their deeply held beliefs? Are you that self absorbed? Are we still in middle school?

God, it’s like Facebook has turned into Mean Girls. Do this or you are out of the club!

Unfriending someone because they don’t like Hillary or because they plan on voting for Trump is a waste of time, though it will cull your friends to a more homogenous list. And I suppose that’s always more fun – to have friends who think the exact same way that you do.

People Things I Really Like

Traveling with Dad – London

September 20, 2016

Next week will be ten years since my father unexpectedly passed away. No one really saw it coming and when it happened it happened quickly. I miss my father very much. More than anything I miss traveling with dad.

But, we had issues. I’ve written about him many times over the years and it if you didn’t know him you might wonder how I could go back and forth between being angry with him and adoring him. I don’t know myself, I’m still working through a lot of it.

Day to day life with my father was difficult, especially when I was a child. As an adult it was much easier, although it still could be challenging. One area where it was easier was when we traveled together.

There was something about going through hell together that helped us bond. I have my father’s sense of humor, which is funny when you consider I didn’t think he had one until I was in my early 20s.

If you’ve read this blog before you know my mother had a stroke when she was 29 years old. It changed everything. She had severe brain damage and lost most of her short term memory and much of her mobility. That didn’t prevent my father from dragging my mother all over the globe.

My father loved traveling and he tried his best to show the world to my mother. They went on several cruises because those were easier, but he took my mother to Hawaii, Spain, London, and many other places I can’t remember. My mother suffered from anxiety in addition to her other ailments, but dad didn’t let her back out, even though she would have if given the opportunity. She looks back fondly on those travels now, in fact they are memories she hangs on to most of all.

Traveling with Dad – London

In 1988 we all flew to the UK for my brother’s wedding in Kent. After the wedding I traveled with my parents to London for a few days until they went home and I went on to Italy with a family friend. Neither of my parents admitted that my mother had any disabilities. My mother refused to be photographed in her wheelchair and my dad never made accommodations for someone who used one.

When we arrived at the hotel it became clear that the UK didn’t have the same laws concerning handicapped access as we did in the US. Dad had booked a room on the 5th floor of the hotel. It made him nervous to get rooms on the upper levels in hotels, but sometimes that’s simply all that was available. The hotel had two lifts but one was out due to water pipe issues and the other wasn’t big enough to fit the wheelchair.

No worries, the hotel manager said he would take of it and called a few of the bellhops to come and help. While the first one removed his belt and secured it around my mother and her chair, the other two grabbed on to the side of her chair and started to carry her up the stairs.

This was pretty standard treatment when we traveled, but especially in London. Everyone was always willing to do whatever it took to make sure we had access to anything and everything.

Mom was halfway up the first flight of stairs before she got wedged in the stairway. It was an old hotel and surely the building had settled over time. Not to worry, the helpful hotel managed instructed another man to remove one of the hand rails going up the stairs.

Mom was laughing, loving the attention, and not the least bit concerned that she was being carried precariously up five flights of stairs by three strangers speaking a language she didn’t understand.

Dad was just thrilled someone else was hauling her up the stairs for once.

At this point I’m standing in the corner laughing my ass off.

One lift is broken and no one an go up or down the stairs while mom is wedged in the stairway.

“How on earth are we going to do this every time we want to leave the hotel?” I asked.

My father, who was just as punchy as me, started laughing too. He came to his senses and asks the hotel manager to ask the men carrying my mother to bring her down. He was terribly sorry but this was just not going to work out.

I shouldn’t have said anything, we ended up staying in some castle that had only one room available. I ended up sleeping on a cot in the bathroom.

 

Advice People politics WTF?

Hillary Clinton is Not a Badass

September 12, 2016
EKG

Since it was divulged that Hillary Clinton has pneumonia, social media has lit up with memes about Hillary Clinton’s super human stamina. Hillary Clinton is not a badass, Hillary Clinton is just like every other woman on this planet who ignores her own health. And it’s a stupid thing to do.

This isn’t a political post, I don’t care for Hillary Clinton’s policies or much of her character, but this isn’t about Hillary the politician, this is about Hillary the woman, wife, mother, grandmother, friend and colleague.

Hillary Clinton is Not a Badass

I get that she is campaigning for the toughest job in the world, I also get that she is between a rock in a hard place when it comes to fessing up about her health. Donald Trump has been making an issue of her nagging cough for months and months. Prior to yesterday, I just thought it was more campaign rhetoric. She’s yelling each and every day, of course her voice is going to be horse and it’s not a stretch that she would have a cough. Flying around in a jet with its canned air isn’t doing her throat any favors either, I am sure.

I get it.

But she missed an opportunity here. Most women I know push past the pain so we can take care of the kids, the husband/wife, the parents, the job. Most women I know need a push to schedule that mammogram, appointment with the endocrinologist or the cardiologist. This past week my Facebook feed had too many to count stories of women who ended up in the ER with symptoms not unlike Hillary Clinton’s this past weekend. Overheating, dehydration, racing heartbeat (that’s the one that usually, finally gets our attention. And it should since heart disease is the leading cause of death for women), dizziness and confusion. Could be a heart attack, could be anxiety, could even be pneumonia. We won’t know unless we see a doctor. And we won’t get better if we don’t follow their advice.

Hillary was diagnosed with a pneumonia on Friday when her physician, Dr. Lisa R. Bardack, examined her. I assume an X-ray was performed.

“Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies. On Friday, during follow-up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule. While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now rehydrated and recovering nicely,” Bardack said.

When diagnosed with pneumonia Hillary should have canceled her scheduled events for at the very least the next few days. Would social media have exploded because she didn’t attend the 9/11 memorial? Yes. But instead of pushing through the illness, like most of us do, she could have taken this opportunity to address this really bad practice among Americans. We take our health for granted and it shouldn’t take tripping into the Scooby Van to help us come to our senses.

Ignoring your health is not badass. Whether you are a mother who ignores her health because she feels as if no one else will step up in her stead or you are the President of the United States (or campaigning for that job). Being badass means you know when to say when and are thick skinned enough to let the insults roll off your back about it (something she has done rather well so far). Being badass means putting on your oxygen mask before putting it on those around you.

Minnesota People Things that piss me off

No Closure for the Wetterlings

September 6, 2016

While Jacob Wetterling’s remains have been found, there will be no closure for the Wetterlings. Over the weekend news sites and social media have been filled with articles about Jacob Wetterling. Jacob Wetterling’s remains were found this past weekend when the man who is suspected of abducting Jacob led authorities to his remains. I know better, but I looked at the comments. All of the comments were condolences to the family, many of them included the word “closure”. As in “now that he has been found, the family can have some closure”.

There will be no closure for the Wetterlings, or anyone else who suffers such a tragic and senseless act. Closure is a myth. The Wetterlings know what happened to their son, but I’m not sure that’s better than not knowing.

In the days to come we will learn how Jacob died, if he was sexually assaulted, if he was tortured, and how long he may have lived with the monster who abducted him. I spent all weekend thinking about Jacob. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know any of these details. Jacob has always been a happy boy wearing a bright yellow shirt and smiling for the camera. I don’t want to imagine him terrified and cold as he must realize what is going to happen to him.

I don’t want to know and yet I feel it is my duty to know. As a parent, a Minnesotan, a human being, it is our duty to learn the details of Jacob’s death. Not out of morbid curiosity, but as a show of support to his family. We must attempt to carry some of the pain caused by this monster, Danny Heinrich. The Wetterlings have given so much over the years, it is the least we can do.

As I write this there are reports that Danny Heinrich has accepted a plea deal and has given accounts of what happened that day 27 years ago.

From Kare11

The defendant described how he handcuffed Jacob and put him in the passenger seat of his car. Heinrich had a police scanner in his vehicle, and after hearing police respond to the kidnapping he decided he’d better drive back to Paynesville. He recalled Jacob at one point asking him, “What did I do wrong?” He took a series of backroads that wound through small central Minnesota communities until he reached a sewage pond road and drove to a gravel pit by a grove of trees. There, he forced Jacob to disrobe and masturbate him until the boy told Heinrich he was cold.

Jacob asked to be taken home, but Heinrich recalls telling the boy it was too far. On the way back to the car he noticed a police cruiser on the road nearby. Heinrich said he panicked, pulled his revolver and put two rounds inside. “I raised the revolver to his head, clicked once with no bullet in the chamber. Shot him twice after that. ” He admitted firing into the back of Jacob’s head after asking the boy to turn around so he could go to the bathroom.

The details got worse. Heinrich described how Jacob was still crying after the first shot, so he fired again. 

Knowing what happened doesn’t make it all better. Finally knowing Jacob won’t be coming home ever, doesn’t provide closure.

As a mother I can only imagine what the Wetterlings are going through now that they do know Jacob will never come home. The constant questioning – Could we have done more?, Could we have prevented this? – those questions will haunt them now as it has these past 27 years.

There will be no closure for the Wetterlings, they’ve just entered a new kind of hell. Now that they know what happened they will likely play out that scene in their imagination when it’s quiet and they are not occupied. I hope they can find the necessary support to help prevent that from happening. As a mother my imagination is vivid. To this day I replay an accident my son had when he was 3 years old. One in which I was not present. I cringe each time because I was not there to prevent it or to comfort him in his pain. I have to actively push the thought out of my head – and it isn’t always easy, in fact it rarely is. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for Jacob’s parents.

We parent differently because of what happened to Jacob. I was 23 when Jacob went missing, I was engage and about to start my own family. In fact a few years later I would meet Patty Wetterling. Her mother was a patient of my father and Patty escorted her mom to the appointments. I worked in his office and was pregnant at the time, I recall marveling at Patty Wetterling’s grace and generosity.

She smiled, she was friendly, she chatted with other patients and the staff. She was not some tragic figure, she had a mission – to find her son – but she also learned that life keeps moving. When the child I was carrying died, I would think often about Patty Wetterling. If she can get through each day, I thought, certainly I can too.

My daughter died of natural causes and yet there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and wonder if there was something I could have done differently to prevent her death. While Patty and Jerry have a deep well of memories to draw from of Jacob, the what-might-have-been probably will always cast a long shadow.

There is no closure, and I’m not sure anyone who loses a child or suffers a similar loss, would want it. Closure might work at the end of a marriage, but I don’t see it as even a desirable thing in this situation. Closure means to let go, to move on and move away. It means forgetting even if the things remembered are excruciatingly painful. As a parent I would want to hold on to all of that, even the horrible things, because that is all that is left.

We don’t have to look for Jacob anymore, maybe that’s what they meant by closure? But the fight isn’t over. The Wetterlings have made many positive changes for families who have children who go missing. They helped create the Amber Alert that has saved so many kids from terrible endings. I assume they will continue with this work even though they no longer have to search for their child.

I hope they can find peace, I hope they will continue to smile and laugh and find joy in this world.

 

 

 

Advice Minnesota People politics WTF?

What’s Happening to Our Nation?

July 8, 2016
If you're like me, you're probably wondering what's happening to our nation? Yesterday, following the killing of Philando Castile, I was moved to go to the protest at the Governor's mansion in St. Paul.

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what’s happening to our nation? Yesterday, following the killing of Philando Castile, I was moved to go to the protest at the Governor’s mansion in St. Paul. I’ve wanted to write about this issue for a long time, but have never known what to say. Witnessing the peaceful protest at the Governor’s mansion didn’t help me much. For the last two days, the internet has erupted with outrage over yet another (and another) black life cut short by a cop. And rightfully so. I’ve wanted to write about this, but I’ve been afraid to. I won’t bother addressing those fears here, they’re not irrelevant, but they don’t move the conversation forward. I probably wouldn’t have written about the protest for Philando if it hadn’t been for the events that followed later in Dallas.

What’s Happening to Our Nation?

Following the killing of  Philando Castile, which immediately followed the killing of Alton Sterling, social media lit up with all kinds of angry pronouncements about how white people can “help”. Helpful memes were created to unintentionally enflame race relations. White people proudly displayed their “white privilege” guilt as if it were a badge of honor. White people, some of us, became woke. Instead of simply coming together to mourn the lost lives, the injustice and the loss of what was left of our innocence, white people seem to be trying to gain the most points by proclaiming their privileged guilt. But there are no solutions in that.

I hate the term “white privilege”, mostly because I don’t believe the word privilege is an accurate description of the idea that is being put forth. I get it, I get the meaning of the phrase and I wholeheartedly agree it is a real thing. I also hate the term because it immediately shuts down any meaningful discussion about the problems we face. If we can’t discuss the issues, we certainly can’t solve them.

Think Differently?

We used to be able to hold differing opinions. Now, we must all be in agreement. If not, the internet reaction is swift and mighty. Don’t agree with me? Then you must be a racist.

As a white, middle aged, woman I never worry about being pulled over in my little SUV crossover while rocking out to the softer sides of the 80s. Even when I go above the speed limit by 5 or 6 mph, I know the odds are good I will not get pulled over. Broken taillight? I’ve never been pulled over for one, though I have had many. I don’t worry about being followed in department stores because the clerk is worried I will shoplift. And I certainly never worry about being shot dead by a police officer.

But privilege to me, has always meant something that was earned and that could be also taken away. I did not earn my whiteness and I cannot remove it. In these times, because I really do want to help make things better, my whiteness has become a burden. And yet, there are still so many things I take for granted because I am white.

I understand that.

Hands are Tied

I keep starting each paragraph with a story that exemplifies what I am trying to convey. And then I remember, sharing those stories is another way not to help. The thing is, it is a way to connect. And we need to connect more with one another if we want to change the way things currently are. I’ve been told over and over what not to do, as a white person, these past few days. I want to help be the change, I want things to be better for everyone in this great country of ours, I want equality for all. And yet I know that simply wanting something to happen rarely makes it happen. Action must be taken.

Philando Castile Protest

Privilege

The reason I was not compelled to write about my visit to the Governor’s Mansion was because I saw privilege at that protest. Not white privilege, but American privilege. There were a few hundred people at the protest. People of all color, age, gender, sexuality, and political persuasion. People were there with their children and their pets. Neighbors welcomed the protestors into their neighborhood with tables of bottled water, granola bars and even opened the doors of their churches for people to use the bathroom and get out of the heat. The police were there in large numbers. They were protecting the proetestors’ right to assert their first amendment rights even if the words they were speaking were against the police officers. There was no fear at this protest. People were calm, they were not worried that someone might start shooting at the crowd.

Philando Castile Protest

A similar protest took place in Dallas later that evening. It too was a peaceful protest, until it wasn’t. Someone did the unimaginable and started picking off cop after cop. 5 dead, 6 wounded at last count. And the cops continued to protect those that were protesting while getting shot.

Be the Change You Wish To See in the World

Frustrated, I don’t know how to change things. I do know I have no control over a cop and how he handles himself. I also have no control over a shooter who wants to kill as many cops as he can before he gets shot dead. I only have control over the way I react to these things.

Even though I don’t know how to change the nation, I still want to try. I do know that it starts with community, something that has changed so drastically in the last couple of decades. And I’m not even sure we can put that genie back in the bottle. But, I know this – spewing rhetoric on social media is not “community”. Sure, we may be surrounded by like minded people, but those aren’t the people who live on our block.

Unplug to Reconnect

I’m going to spend less time online in the coming months. That isolation and anonymity doesn’t do anyone any good. I want to have these important conversations, but I want to do so with people in real life. I want to discuss these issues with members of my community instead of on some Facebook thread of someone who lives three states away. I know I can’t solve this problem on my own, and I know I won’t change the world, but I can make a difference in my own community if I get out and get to know my neighbors.

We fear what we don’t know, so let’s get out there and get to know each other so we stop fearing each other.

What We Can Do

National Night Out is next month. If you haven’t already, start planning a block party.

Unplug from the internet. Get out and get to know your neighbors.

When online, don’t read the comments.

Think before you react or leave a comment.

Be kind.

Treat others the way you would like them to treat you.

 

 

Events Minnesota Music People Things I Really Like Things that piss me off

On the Passing of Prince – From a Minnesotan

April 23, 2016
Death of Prince I35W Bridge Purple

I was in the car with my daughter Thursday morning when we heard the news that Prince had died. We were going to Ikea, driving along 494 through Burnsville, Mn. My daughter is in charge of the radio while we drive and had just switched from satellite radio to a local station, Cities 97 if you’re wondering, when we caught the tail end of the DJ talking about how someone had died. You could hear she was holding back tears. I said to my daughter “the only death that could bring a Minnesota DJ to tears is Prince”, but that seemed unthinkable.

(For an in depth read, from another Minnesotan, about the music, the style, the talent of Prince, click here)

My daughter grabbed my phone out of my purse to see who it was. She didn’t even have to open the phone, it was right there on the lock screen.

Prince dies at 57.

I was pulling off the exit towards Ikea at this point, but was so distracted that I missed the exit and continued on to the Mall of America. While stuck at a light I tried to search through my phone for any details, but got shut down by my daughter. Already, a digital billboard had a tribute to Prince.

It was real.

We continued on to Ikea, the daughter wants to update her bedroom and needed a few items. My heart was no longer in it, and neither was hers. My daughter was upset too. No surprise really, she grew up being embarrassed by me dancing and singing to all the Prince tunes. When David Bowie died earlier this year she wasn’t the least bit interested in listening to his music with me. She didn’t want to listen to me go on and on about how cool he was and how experimental his music was. But then Bowie wasn’t a Minnesotan.

As we walked through the parking garage we could hear other groups talking about his death.

My son was now texting me about Prince’s death.

How could he be gone (I can’t type dead, it’s too final)?

I’d first heard of Prince when I was 13 or 14 from my friend Stella. She’d heard I Want to be Your Lover on the radio and had to get the album. Stella, Stephanie and I listened to Prince after school each day. Stella sang that song ALL.THE.TIME.

The music was amazing, the album cover was titillating with his bare chest, flowing hair and intense stare, and that he was from Minneapolis made him incredibly real. For a 13 year old it was a little unsettling and exciting at the same time.

And thus began the soundtrack of my younger years.

I just can’t believe
All the things people say, controversy
Am I black or white?
Am I straight or gay? Controversy

My dad was gay, closeted and married to my mother who discussed their issues with me,  while he was out at the Townhouse bar on University Avenue. I was terrified people would find out about my dad (even though they all knew, I just didn’t know they knew) so would much rather have people discussing Prince’s sexuality than my fathers.

We don’t care
It’s all about being there
Everybody’s going Uptown
That’s where I wanna be
Uptown

When we were a few years older we’d go to First Avenue to catch of glimpse of Prince on stage or the dance floor or just on his way to the bathroom. If you’re a Minnesotan, you have a story of literally bumping into Prince at one time or another. He didn’t hide away in some ivory tower, he was part of the party.

My high school years were challenging, for a variety of reasons I went to three different high schools and was forced to spend my senior year at a new school. I went to St. Paul Central that year, a large inner city school with a population four times what I was used to. Prince’s discography played at every single school event, after event party and was constantly playing on the Walkmans all the kids were wearing. Sometimes Michael Jackson played.

Let’s pretend we’re married and go all night
There ain’t nothin’ wrong if it feels all right
I won’t stop until the morning light
Let’s pretend we’re married and go all night, tonight

Prince was playing when I had sex for the first time (though it did not go all night), and many times after as I am sure is the case for most people my age. It was the most sexually explicit music available and yet it didn’t seem dirty. Okay, it was really dirty, but in a damn good way.

‘Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the after world
In this life
You’re on your own

That summer, 1984, Purple Rain was released. If you know me, or have read my older posts, you know how I struggled through those years due to my dad’s closeted lifestyle and the affect it had on my mother who had been disabled years earlier. Prince helped me through those years. When the movie was released soon after and we got a glimpse into his early years I knew he understood all that I was dealing with. And, as I Minnesotan, we all knew he was goofing with Apollonia when he tricked her into jumping into the Mississippi river.

What’s the matter with your life
Is the poverty bringing U down?
Is the mailman jerking U ’round?
Did he put your million dollar check
In someone else’s box?

My first apartment – my roommate and I tried to drown out the relentless Bruce Springsteen that was played downstairs, with Prince music.

“Oh, I got a live one here!”
Get the funk up!
BATMAN

On our first date my ex husband and I saw the movie Batman at the Grandview theater on its opening night. The packed house erupted when Prince’s credit filled the screen.

If I gave you diamonds and pearls
Would you be a happy boy or a girl
If I could I would give you the world
But all I can do is just offer you my love

We married that fall.

It was my ex husband’s decision to bring his girlfriend to Paisley Park for one of Prince’s more intimate concerts that made me realize the marriage couldn’t be saved. While he was dancing to Prince with some 21 year old I was in the hospital with our infant son who was dehydrated from an ear infection.

When I found a necklace with Prince’s symbol on it, a souvenir from the show, next to our bed, I knew it was time to move on. I would have liked to blame Prince, but that would have been foolish. Our marriage ended when our daughter died a year earlier. Not unlike the way Prince’s marriage ended to Mayte Garcia shortly after their son died of a similar malady.

I’m not a human
I am a dove
I’m your conscious
I am love
All I really need is to know that
U believe

Yeah, I would die 4 U, yeah
Darling if you want me to
U, I would die 4 U

Life moved on and Prince continued to churn out album after album. 39 in total. Prince was texting decades before it became a thing. I only knew one person who didn’t like Prince’s music and I think that was because his music was so raw it could be scary if you weren’t willing to just fall into and let it take you wherever it was going.

We live in a global world now, because of the internet I have friends who live all around the world. When Prince died I got text messages from people asking if I was okay. I was not  a super fan, but I was a fellow Minnesotan and it stung just slightly more, I think, that one of our own left this world. A Minnesota friend who has lived in NY for decades learned of his death before me and was afraid to mention it to me on Facebook, preferring not to be the bearer of bad news.

I visited my mother in the nursing home on Friday. Mom has been delusional for some time and it was nice to see that Prince had worked his way so quickly into her delusions, I spent half an hour listening to her tell me how he and my father were more than just friends.

Let’s go crazy
Let’s get nuts
Let’s look for the purple banana
‘Til they put us in the truck, let’s go!

Minnesota has been awash in Purple since his death. The I35 bridge bathes in purple light during the night. First Avenue is alive with all night dance parties to celebrate his life and gates of Paisley Park are festooned with purple mylar balloons and flowers. It is spring here in Minnesota, early because of El Niño. This week all the azaleas bloomed. Drive down Summit Avenue, Highland Parkway or along Mississippi River Boulevard and you can’t help but see all the purple flowers blooming — seemingly for Prince.

Honey, I know, I know
I know times are changing
It’s time we all reach out
For something new, that means you too

You say you want a leader
But you can’t seem to make up your mind
I think you better close it
And let me guide you to the purple rain

Prince Purple Rain

People politics

The Trouble With The Democrats

February 23, 2016
the trouble with democrats

The trouble with the Democrats is – where to begin? Ugh, the biggest trouble the Democrats have is Bernie. As I stated when I wrote my post about the trouble with the Republicans, I am no political expert, I watch and listen to the talking heads, I read the paper (online) and I try my best to get both sides of the argument and I fact check whenever I think something is BS (which is pretty much all of the time).

The Trouble With The Democrats

Bernie Sanders

Yes, Bernie is a problem – to the establishment, and Hillary Clinton. In fact he is so much of a problem that the DNC scheduled as few debates as possible and aired them at the worst possible time so few people would actually watch. When Bernie started kicking Hillary’s ass in the polls they scheduled more debates because they benefitted Hillary Clinton. Bernie is a problem for many reason – he’s attracting a huge crowd of millennials (a great voting bloc if they actually show up to vote) who have been rabid social media users in his favor. Think Reddit or even 4chan going after Hillary supporters. They’ve co-opted social media to shame people into voting for Bernie. If it weren’t for the Super Delegates, it might actually work.

My son wants me to consider giving my vote to Bernie, and I promised I would pay more attention to him. My biggest beef with Bernie, besides him being a socialist, is that he wants to make college free. I’ve spent the better part of the last two years fighting the public school system over the silliest thing like making sure my child feels safe at her school. The public schools in my district are horrible places. Even the best public schools are still woefully lacking in actually educating our young. Common Core is just one example of the failure of the public school system. I don’t want to see that happen to our colleges and universities. Kids who manage to make it out of the public school system and get into a good college deserve a quality education. I don’t believe that can be had free of cost. Bernie doesn’t seem interested in fixing the rising cost of college (not unlike fixing the health insurance part of the health care crisis). He just wants to give away degrees.

I understand why millennials would be swayed by this sort of thing, and I probably would have when I was that age. But, with a recent college grad in the family I know you have to have some skin in the game to appreciate the value of that education.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is the other really big problem the Democrats have right now. She’s an incredibly skilled politicians and there is no doubt in my mind that she is extremely qualified to be president. She is such a good politician that no one believes she is the least bit trustworthy. And let’s face it, she isn’t. She’s got so many scandals swirling around her campaign it’s not even funny. There’s Bengazi, the lost/missing/deleted emails (and FBI investigation), there’s Whitewater and there’s Bill.

I love Bill Clinton, he’s the most charming president in my lifetime, but he’s a cad. And Hillary stood by her cad even when she said she wasn’t standing by him.

The thing, is she vilified the women who accused her husband of all kinds of unsavory acts and now she’s riding high on the feminist vote. She didn’t leave her cheating husband, she stood by him and attacked his accusers. If that’s what a feminist is then I’m glad I’m not one.

It Doesn’t Matter

To the left none of this matters. It’s Hillary’s turn and by golly the left will do everything in their power to get her into the oval office.

Huh Music People Reviews WTF?

Beyoncé and Red Lobster

February 9, 2016
Red Lobster Beyonce Formation

Evidently, Beyoncé has single handedly* increased sales at Red Lobster because of her new song Formation. Apparently, when he fuck her good, she takes his ass to Red Lobster.

No shit, those are the lyrics to her newest song (anthem, really) that she performed (I think) during the Super Bowl half time show this past weekend.

I’m not really sure if she performed it because the audio was so horrible and it was difficult to hear any of the musicians sing. It didn’t help that I was worried about Chris Martin’s back injury – talk about the show must go on! The man couldn’t stand up and yet there he was out there shouting or mumbling or whatever the heck he was doing while Beyoncé and Bruno Mars funked it up.

According to all news sources today, Red Lobster’s sales have increased 33% since the song Formation was dropped this past weekend due to these lyrics –

When he fuck me good I take his ass to Red Lobster, cause I slay

Look, I’m no relationship expert, I’ve been divorced twice, but if the fucking is good I should think one might want to reward the person doing the good fucking by bringing him to a restaurant that was actually pretty good. It doesn’t have to be Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse or McCormick and Schmick’s, but maybe Ruby Tuesdays or Outback Steakhouse? Hell, most of the guys I might reward with food after performing well would prefer Chipotle over Red Lobster.

I’m not sure what she means by “slay” either. According to the dictionary it means to kill someone or to impress someone. According to the Urban Dictionary it means – mercilessly fuck, or to do something awesomely well.

I think we can assume its usage is not in reference to mercilessly fucking anyone since it was he who fuck(ed) her good.

Let’s see if we can get some context from the next set of lyrics.

After she takes him out to get some shoes…

I might get your song played on the radio station, cause I slay
I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making, cause I slay

I’m going to make a leap and suggest she’s using “slay” in the do something awesomely well definition.

So I repeat, if she is doing so well, and I think we can all agree that Beyoncé is doing pretty well for herself, why not take her bae to a really nice place?

According to the internet, this song was also about all kinds of black empowerment, woman empowerment and other empowerments – It just went completely over my head during the Super Bowl. I am not the only one. Many people, mostly white, middle aged women who want to know what all the fuss is about, are asking on social media. So far has been construed as racism, because ….America.

I just thought she was channeling Janet Jackson and Rhythm Nation.

It’s not racism, most of the people who are questioning this song at all simply didn’t understand the lyrics (because they don’t make much sense at all – Red Lobster for good sex?!?!?!?!), or because they couldn’t understand the lyrics (slay).

It might just be generational rather than racism, but you can decide for yourself, here’s the original video with NSFW lyrics, the video gives it better context than the Super Bowl performance.

(*or maybe not, it could be Lobsterfest)

People politics Things that piss me off

Why We Can’t Stop Terror Attacks

November 17, 2015

I’m horribly saddened by the terror attacks in Paris last week. My heart goes out to those who are victims and their families. I know our government will stand shoulder to shoulder with France and talk about the fight on terror and how we’ve got them on the run and blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it before. The problem is no matter how many people change their profile picture on Facebook, it’s going to happen again.

The French understand liberty better than we puritans could ever hope to:

From the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 defined liberty in Article 4 as follows:

Liberty consists of being able to do anything that does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every man or woman has no bounds other than those that guarantee other members of society the enjoyment of these same rights.

Over here in the United States we wrestle with that definition. It’s always been a struggle for us because for some reason we think it’s okay to get worked up about who someone is sleeping with, what someone is smoking, drinking or eating, what political party someone supports, what kind of clothing someone wears, and probably most importantly – what kind of god someone worships.

We have people like Rush Limbaugh on the right and Rachel Maddow on the left who both profit because they don’t understand what liberty means. Or maybe they do and they don’t care because they like their paycheck (and I have no problem with that by the way, I don’t bother listening to either one of them because I exercise my freedom to ignore them but if others want to that’s their business). Both are appalled that the other could hold such outrageous beliefs.

Read any comment section on NBC News and you’ll see how closed minded even the most progressive people are because they believe that only their view is the correct one. It doesn’t matter which side you play on, both are equally stuck in their ideology and neither is actually willing to have a discussion to try to solve the problems at hand.

Basically it’s about ratings, clicks or fake internet points.

Call it white privilege, or first world problems or any other politically correct term that’s currently in favor and meant to put someone in their place and prevent any meaningful discussion. It’s just on a smaller scale and with less committed to the cause participants because hey it’s Sunday and The Walking Dead is on, or there’s a game or I really can’t be bothered to take up the cause but I can spew hatred on the internet because that only takes a few minutes and I never have to actually own my words because it’s all anonymous.

Right?

We can’t stop the terror attacks because we aren’t any better than they are AND we’re lazy. It’s so much easier and satisfying to get in a couple of jabs at some stranger on the internet than it is to sit with someone and learn who they are and why they do what they do. If we can’t allow someone on a news feed comment section to have their own belief, without attacking them, calling them stupid and brushing them and their supposed political party with the broadest brush possible how can we expect the people who grow up radicalized, where that behavior is fostered rather than a side effect, to be any different?

When things like the Paris attacks happen, at least in the US, our response is to reduce our freedoms. Some dude put a bomb in his shoes and now all of us have to remove our shoes at the airport. Some other guy tried to detonate a bomb in his underwear and now we all get felt up by the TSA. We want to think we are safer but most of us understand it’s just theater. It’s a show they put on to make us feel like they’re able to keep us safe. Taking away freedom and liberty is never the answer to these events, more freedom, more liberty is.

But that’s risky and scary

After the 9/11 attacks on NY, PA and DC President Bush said we should go shopping. He took a lot of shit for that but that’s the world we live in and to show fear, to stop going to the malls because they are such targets, is to allow the terrorists to win. He was right. We must not let fear win. The French get it. The day after the attacks most shops were open. I live by the Mall of America and I love it, but every year around the holidays I think maybe it’s best not to go there until the holidays are over. Because I know what a target the mall is (and because it has massive skylights, and is located across the highway from the airport, you frequently see airplanes fly right over it while you’re inside enjoying your Orange Julius).

It isn’t about fighting a religion, it’s about refusing to be afraid in the face of their terror. We go all bat shit crazy talking about muslims and how they are the problem, but then we do that we’re feeding into the narrative of these terrorists. You know what the terrorists hate? They hate it when Muslims move to the US or any western country and assimilate. When someone who is a practicing muslim moves to the US they do so because they want to live a better life than they could in their country, they want a better life for their kids and the want to take advantage of all the opportunities that are here but not found there. When they come here they bring their culture with them and by adding it to the melting pot that idealistically is the US.

It’s just a red cup!

For the last several weeks we’ve been getting worked up about the Starbucks holiday cup. Which might just be the biggest dupe in history because what we were actually getting worked up about was that people were worked up! No one actually ever saw anyone get worked up, at least not than I am aware. It’s less than two weeks before Thanksgiving and Black Friday and already my Facebook feed is filling up with images of turkeys superimposed with a list of which stores will remained closed on Thanksgiving so you know where the right place will be to shop when you’ve woken from you self induced food coma.

Today we’re outraged about taking in Syrian refugees, the internet is up in arms over this. We can’t possibly screen them all!!!! Governors from all over the nation are refusing them (not in MN, though).

“They’re not leaving Syria or parts of Iraq because they want to become terrorists,” Stanio told NBC News. “They have been victims of terrorism, they’ve been victims of gross violations committed by murderous dictators. These are people who deserve protection.”

Welcome

But we need to take in these refugees because these are the people who make this country great. They’re trying to escape intolerable situations and looking to build a better life here. I say, welcome, come start a business, raise happy and safe children, become an American and enjoy all that she has to offer.

By refusing to take in refugees we’re likely to create more ill will towards the US than reduce it. We’ve always welcomed the huddled masses looking to start a new life on these shores, this is no time to stop now.

TL;DR

More liberty is what prevents terror attacks, not less.

And

If you really want to do something to change the world start in your own little space. Refrain from calling each other names when someone has a different opinion than you. Instead of shaming them think about having a discussion to understand their point of view. It’s highly unlikely that everyone is correct 100% of the time so open your mind just a crack and consider that someone else might know a thing or two and that we could all learn something if we just listened more and talked over each other less.

Blogging Books Contests Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota People Things I Really Like Writing

I Saw The Bloggess!!

November 5, 2015
The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson at U of MN bookstore

I saw the Bloggess!!

(an unintentional homage to Jenny Lawson)

I don’t mean to be a name dropper but I’ve seen my share of celebrities over the years. When I was 16 my parents sold our house to Garrison Keillor. I had no idea who he was but my grandfather sure thought he was the shit! I used to babysit Nick Swardson of Grandma’s Boy and Reno 911 and bunch of other movies. I ate lunch in the same restaurant as that woman who sang the song Downtown…. what’s her name*??? And, I stood behind Kevin Garnett or maybe it was Kevin McHale** at the Giant Slide at the MN State Fair once. So, I’ve rubbed shoulders with some pretty well known celebrities, I don’t get star struck very easily. At least I didn’t until I learned Jenny Lawson was coming to town to promote her new book Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things.

From Amazon:

In Furiously Happy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? 

I learned she was coming a couple of months ago and immediately put it on my calendar. She was going to be at the University of Mn Bookstore in Coffman Union – a place had I spent maybe less time in I might have actually graduated after 7 years. Maybe. Anyway, I know Coffman, I could do this.

And at the time it seemed so simple. How can attending a book signing be a challenge you ask?

Because, like The Bloggess, I also have a fair amount of anxiety. It isn’t crippling but it gets in the way of a lot of things and makes them much harder. It’s gotten much worse over the years as I’ve isolated myself more and more. At the end of the day, 7pm for this event, the last thing I want to do is go out, even if it’s for something I really want to do.

Does that even make sense?

So, by 7pm the idea of getting in the car, driving to campus, finding a place to park and then walking in late to the event (because I will be late, trust me) doesn’t sound like fun to me no matter who is there.

I even tried to justify not going by telling myself that of all people, The Bloggess will understand. She knows what it’s like to take to bed for a couple of days (I don’t, I’m a single mom and my kids still expect me to feed them and drive them to school and yell at them for not changing the toilet paper roll. If I were to take to bed I’d have to call one of their dads and there’s no way either of them would step in. In fact one of them would probably threaten to seek custody if I were to ask.) so she’d be totally ok with it if I didn’t show up.

No, she doesn’t know me (though she did wish me a Happy Birthday on Facebook last year because, you know, we’re FB friends), she had no idea that I was going to be there so why I felt bad for not going to her event I really don’t know. I’d already bought her book (and you should to, you can get it here)  so what more could she want from me?

Sheesh, she’s demanding!

I forced myself to go anyway. As I said before I’ve been isolating myself for a while now and it’s getting old. I know I should go out and spend time with people my own age so I’m really thinking about making an effort. This seemed like a great opportunity a few months ago. Now that it was here not so much. Besides, even though I know I should get out more it doesn’t change the fact that I still don’t really like people that much so I’m not really sure where the payoff is. Anyway, I forced myself out of the house, into the car, on to the freeway, and into the parking garage where I thought I got a really good spot because it was right by the entrance to the parking garage and I could see Coffman Union just across a short walking bridge. The trouble was the parking garage is on sea level, or down by the river, while Coffman is on top of the hill. I had to walk  up about 15 flights of stairs (okay, 4) to get to the main level entrance of Coffman. By the time I got to the top I was so winded I was sure I was going to pass out and even had to fake a phone call outside before I walked in.

When I got to the bookstore (in the basement so I’ve basically come full circle but thank God they had an escalator) the event had already begun and there was no place to sit or stand. I made a beeline for the only spot I could find that was not going to get me called out for being late. I stood between a rather large Norwegian man with red hair and some women who looked as though they majored in Women’s Studies. I immediately dug in my purse to find my phone so I could take pictures but got distracted wondering if I left my keys in the car knowing full well I locked the car because my son gets upset with me for leaving it unlocked.

Now I had to find my keys.

Except when I tried to open my purse I got my sweater caught on the zipper and now I couldn’t move without pulling the thread out even more which happened to be right under my arm and the last thing I wanted to do was lose the arm of my sweater while trying to quietly and politely listen to Jenny Lawson talk about passing out at the gynecologist office. She kept repeating the word vagina which I don’t mind but while I’m at this event I’m composing this blog post and I fear using the word ‘vagina’ is just going to get more strange traffic here because believe it or not 70% of my traffic comes from people searching for the word ‘vagina’ and usually something really strange like ‘with teeth’. So, I’m worried about her excessive use of the word vagina and I still haven’t managed to free myself from my purse.

Of course I’m sweating at this point.

Everyone is laughing, the room us beginning to spin a little and I’m wondering how long do I have to stay here before I can leave without being obvious.

The answer is I can’t so I try to make the best of it and search for my phone again so I can get some pictures. I pull out my phone but realize no one else is taking pictures. I figure I must have missed the announcement about not taking pictures because there is no way a room full of younger women can resist taking pictures of anything.

And then I see one of the Women’s Studies woman pull out here phone and start taking pictures.

I take half a dozen grainy pictures (actually only three, and they all pretty much suck but I didn’t want to get busted for taking pictures when I wasn’t supposed to — though, I’m not sure if that was a rule or if people were just really polite) before I see the sign in front of me that says “This line for people who have already purchased a book” or something similar. In my haste to go unnoticed I got into the priority line for people who purchased the book in advance and bought a ticket to get first in line for a signing. I have purchased a book but not through the U of M bookstore. I got mine at Barnes and Noble and it was currently sitting on my dining room table, probably with a cat on top of it.

I have to get out of here. I already know I’m not going to stand in line for three hours to get the book signed (obviously, because it’s at home with a cat on it). I could buy a book and get it signed but I’m going to be last in line because I’m Minnesotan and even though I have budged into the first part of the line I’ll feel too guilty if I stay here (even though there isn’t any other place for me to go at this point).

I’m freaking out and now my phone is vibrating in my purse. It’s my 12 year old daughter who wants to know where I am and can I pick up some food on the way home? I tell her yes but feel bad that I am leaving even though I wasn’t really here, and am looking for an excuse to leave.

Something as simple as a book reading/signing should not cause so much anxiety that I need to go home (after picking up something to eat for the daughter, of course), but it does. I feel bad about it, again. This is not the first time I’ve left something because I started to sweat or my stomach started doing flip flops and my chest got all tight. It probably won’t be the last time either.

I’m upset with myself for leaving (though on the way out I purchase another book) but am actually pretty proud I even came out because I nearly talked myself out leaving the house.

If you’ve made it this far and would like a chance to win an unsigned copy of Jenny Lawson’s new book, Furiously Happy please leave a comment below.

TL;DR

Apparently I have a fair amount of anxiety, and sometimes it wins. Also, book giveaway, leave a comment.

* Petula Clark

** It was Kevin McHale, though I had to google it to see which one he was.

 

 

People Things that piss me off WTF?

Gwyneth Goes Slumming on $29 Per Day

April 15, 2015
Gwyneth tweets about her food

You’d think the big news in the past week was that Hillary Clinton announced (officially) that she is running for president but that hardly made a ripple on social media. Instead there was a crack in the ozone when Gwyneth Paltrow announce via Twitter that she was taking the #FoodBankNYCChallenge promoted by her friend Mario Batali. The goal of the project is to bring awareness to the difficulty in living on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Gwyneth accepted the challenge and is living on the food she can purchase for $29 per week.

“This is what $29 gets you at the grocery store — and this is what families who rely on SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) have to live on for a week,” the actress wrote in the photo caption. “We’re going to walk in their shoes and see how far we get.”

While she has certainly got us talking about living on $29/day for food no one really is talking about making SNAP better or helping people so they don’t need these programs. What we’re talking about is Gwyneth (and not in a good way) and why she needs so many damn limes.

The lime to avocado ratio is backward and does anyone really like kale?

Like Gwyneth there isn’t an ounce of fat in that picture. I’m not sure how she plans on cooking any of this food but unless she has some kickass non-stick pots and pans she’s going to have a mess on her hands.

People who use SNAP can’t eat this way. Most of them are either single moms chasing after little kids or they have kids and also have to work usually labor intensive jobs. People who subsist on SNAP need more calories than someone who’s only real achievement is fitting into a size 0 dress for the Oscars and not passing out.

I suspect this is actually MORE food than Gwyneth eats all week.

I was on SNAP a few years ago. I think it worked out to about $33 per week for three people, one of whom was a teenager who inhaled anything that wasn’t nailed down. Being on SNAP was probably the most humiliating thing I have ever experienced. People would glare at you for using the distinctive card. If you purchased something that was not SNAP approved you’d have to remove it from your basket. If you went over the amount you had on the card you’d have to take something out of your basket. Nothing makes you feel confident and productive like having someone else tell you what you can and cannot buy for your dinner table.

I was only on SNAP for a few months and never told anyone until today because I was so ashamed. I still am.

I couldn’t waste the money on foods that would spoil so I’m not sure why Gwyneth would except possibly because she has no idea what it’s like to be poor.

When you’re on food stamps you can’t afford to have any of it spoil and sadly, the produce at the cheap grocery store doesn’t last as long as the stuff from Target or Whole Foods. At $29 per week you’re going to buy a lot Ramen and other pastas, rice and beans because it stores, fills you up and goes a long way. Of course it also makes you fat.

Eating this way makes you feel sluggish and lacking energy — something you need to go to that second job or take care of the kids without any help.

I’m all for Gwyneth trying to bring awareness to the difficulty poor people face. She and her wealthy friends could do more by sponsoring these families rather than making news because they are so out of touch with how people in the real world live.

I didn’t consciously uncouple from my ex husband. We had a nasty, drag down divorce that lasted two years, cost thousands in legal fees and forever changed the way I live. We didn’t have a lot to begin with but by getting divorced my kids and I had a whole lot less. I doubt Gwyneth experienced the monetary loss of a divorce and it certainly didn’t effect her career because she could handily afford care for her kids. Gwyneth Paltrow has no idea what it’s really like to be a single mom.

By the time someone is using food stamps they’ve fallen so far down the rabbit hole their chances of recovery are slim. Certainly not without some kind of grand intervention, something Ms Paltrow could do by sponsoring a family – privately, not through social media.

And that is the problem with the whole #FoodBankNYCChallenge that Gwyneth has taken on, it’s about her, not about the people who actually live on $29 worth of food each week.

If she wants to help solve this problem, and it is a problem worth solving, then she should hire people who use food stamps and pay them enough so they don’t need food stamps. If all of her friends did that we’d have a strong economy and the government would have a lovely surplus. Win-Win!!

** thoughts while writing this **

Why is her name so damn difficult to spell?

What would Gwyneth have done if she didn’t have famous parents to ride their coattails?

Does anyone like Gwyneth Paltrow? Not personally, I’m sure she has friends who are just as vapid as she with whom there is mutual adoration. I mean, does she have any fans?