Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ever Think About Dessert After A Show?

Thursday evening, we had the fortunate opportunity to see the show Wicked at DPAC. My one and only trip to NYC, back in 2006, I saw the signs out for Wicked there and I've wanted to see it ever since. I don't know why, as I'm truly not a fan of musicals. I've gone and enjoyed them: Beauty and the Beast, Wizard of Oz but even so, they aren't on my list of things of must-dos and must-sees.

I'm glad I went because, of any musical to see, this one was made for me. Elphaba, AKA The Wicked Witch of the West, is exactly the person I can relate to. A good person (ME) who has the cynicism and wittiness of a brilliant being (ME). She also could care less that she's green and is made fun of (ME!! Okay. I'm not green but brown. And yes, there's a lot of brown people in the world but few that grew up in Gosnell, Arkansas. But so what that that I grew up in Homestead, Florida - which is just a hop-skip-and-a-jump-outside-of-Miami, Guam, Thailand, Philippines...I have my OWN stories about standing out...). Let's just say: I LOVED Wicked and it surprised me, OK?

And while I was relishing every moment of Wicked, I had thoughts to after the show, imagining a time that me and my family could walk to one of the many local restaurants, maybe even Tyler's Taproom, and enjoy a nice dessert, sharing maybe one or two amongst ourselves, laughing at our favorite moments of this magnificent show, while I, perhaps, entertained an alcoholic coffee drink. Yes, yes. I had the whole  Norman Rockwell family moment played in my head.

Here was the reality: Walk into Tyler's Taproom with the look of two young people that were like "aw fuck." I say "table for four". Four menus pulled out. A few seconds delayed and then the young lady says "um, it's late night menu". It's about 10:20ish right now. BTW, before we walked in, there were two menus outside of the restaurant, one with a playbill of Wicked. So in my mind, this was a business that might be supporting DPAC?

I say, with my Wicked-glow "no problem - we're here for dessert", to which she and he respond with about a 30 second delay..."um, I don't think we even have dessert". The dude leaves with a "Let me check". And I'm thinking "Check on what? How do you not have dessert if it's on the menu?" And then the young lady says to us "I don't think we have dessert. We won't have ice cream anymore." To which Tim replied "OK. Thank you". And we leave, and hear her say "Thank you." with the 'good bye' and relief tone.

She was relieved to see us go and not serve us. Even though, um, they closed (according to their website) at 2AM. But perhaps, the 2AM closure is the bar.

But my whole good feeling was BLOWN AWAY just by that BAD EXPERIENCE. They ruined my whole fantasy played out evening of ending the day with dessert and coffee. And it's not just these two dimwits but restaurants around these types of places in general. What the fuck? I thought better of the Durham's American Tobacco Historic District. And perhaps, the other places fared better but we didn't try them. We were too sourpussed by then and just headed home.

But it's similar in Raleigh: late night fare is non-existent. I think it's improving but I'm talking about after a show, going out and having a late night dinner or even a dessert. Now granted, it's been awhile since I've done this in Raleigh so feel free to correct me there. But last time (last year) we did this, we hit the 24 hour diner on Glenwood which is now CLOSED. I am not aware of anything similar in the downtown area.

So what gives? Why wouldn't you offer just a few specials during show nights? A dessert or two? An appetizer or two? An entree or two? You don't have to offer your full menu, so that you don't have to keep a full stock of supplies. Just a showtime menu special. Advertise it, or not. Post it on facebook - it's free. Yelp it. Or not. I don't know. I'm not a restauranteur. I'm just a person, who would like to stop by after a show, feeling good about it, wanting to celebrate, and spend a bit of money on a local dining establishment near the place I enjoyed the show. And it seems that these places just don't take advantage of it. Are we, in the Triangle, not ready to be a nightlife type place? I'm not talking WEEKENDS. Thursday night shows. Tuesday night. Any weekday night. Is it too much to ask? It seems like it because so far, I've never had the luxury to have it here.

21st Century Hippie

I like to think of myself as the new era hippie.

My maxi-dresses are the peace-love frocks from the woodstock crowd.


My minivan is the equivalent of the 60s beetle van.

And instead of the peace stickers, I've got my own expressions that I love peppering my back window with.

I previously reported what expressions I had on my car before. But I like to change them out and, with these stickers, they didn't last very long. There *is* a quality in making stickers. 

These stickers have been awesome and are sure to last a good while, which is good and bad. Good because I won't have to replace them anytime soon. Bad because, well, I won't have to replace them anytime soon. I have a few waiting in the queue in case these wouldn't last. But they'll just have to wait.

So here's what I have, have had for the past couple years. First, my take on those stick figure families.
I managed to stumble across these, which covers our entire brood, including Brenna (the dog), Sunkist (the cat), and the twins, Ricky and Lucy.


Next up is just a silly one that I love because it's 'agnostic', almost like me:








This sticker is really a tiny one and is probably hard to see from the road. At the end of this post, you'll see my entire back window so you can see how these appear in my back window. This one is in the upper left-hand side. I've had it forEVER...bought it at the beach several years ago and it's managed to survive, even though the original color has faded away. And yes, this one is 100% me, through-and-through.


I love being optimistic. Really. I am one of the most optimistic people you'll meet. Most people like to bring me the 'glass half full, gloom and doom' side of life. So here's my take, which technically, is still optimistic. You know, 'seize the day' because tomorrow you could be dead kind of thing...



I really hate people who tailgate me. I don't like speeders much either but if you want to speed, stay away from me. I don't speed. Really. Not even five milers over the speed limit. I set my cruise control (if it's not hilly or below 35 mph) and I go. If you speed in a school zone or in my neighborhood, I get really irate. Somewhere in the depths of my blog is a posting about when I went ballistic in my neighborhood. Or maybe I imagined myself posting it. It's not the first time; hopefully it's the last. But I did post about the drive to work and getting tailgated. I still do (get tailgated) but not as bad anymore. I don't think it has anything to do with the sticker but I feel a little better with this on.

Another one of my funny ones.














Here are my political ones. For some reason, some people didn't get this one. I love it, even if the tea party is sort of defunct.



Yeah, May 8th is over and the Amendement has passed but it still shows where I stand. I'm not taking it off.


This one is actually not a sticker but a magnet and my latest acquisition. My favorite of the bunch. My last magnet was stolen so I hope this one doesn't get taken away from me. 

Of course, those close to me know how I feel about the Brad Cooper case. If you don't, then read this. I have a sanctuary of like-minded people who also believe in finding justice for Brad, which is where I got my magnet. You can find out more on the community facebook page: Free Brad Cooper, or www.justiceforbrad.com, which has great, detailed information about the trial. Really educate yourselves about this case. My friend Lynne, who supports the facebook page and the justiceforbrad site, will be discussing Brad's case this Wednesday, May 30th, at 6PM on blogtalkradio.com

Now on to sports stickers: this one is NOT mine. I hate the pool. This is for my swimmer girl MiMi. Swim team starts up - I'm excited for her. She's also excited about the summer olympics and seeing Michael Phelps. We have to watch the commercial everytime (on the DVR). I love it.







This one is for CJ, my volleyball girl. I'm hoping that she and I will be able to get some beach volleyball in this summer. Can you believe how hard it is to find an adult women's league? Doubles? That's just TWO girls? Well, four girls, since you need two teams to play. Once school is out, we will do some of the meet up events. Too difficult right now as most of them are during the weeknight, late-r, in Cary.






This one is for me. My girls bought it for me. Truthfully, I'm not big on the mileage stickers although I did want, at one time, to have a 3.1 sticker just to be funny. After doing the Magnificent Mile a few years ago, my friend Marty sent me an email where he drew up a 1.0 sticker and I thought that was funny and I would've loved to have that as a sticker. Most people wouldn't "get it" but the stickers are for me. 

But yeah, 13.1 miles. That's my favorite distance to race. It's been awhile. I'll be looking for one soon. Soon being maybe next year. :)


So it may look like a lot of stickers but overall, this is what it looks like :


Not bad, eh?















The Talk-Funny Girl by Roland Merullo

I found out about this book from the Wake County Library's "Book-A-Day" Staff Picks". I was 40 pages into Hitlerland, which is, BTW, actually a really good book, but I think one week and 40 pages was showing that I was done with Nazi Germany for awhile. I'll have to pick that back up when I'm ready to learn more about history...

The books I'm actually ready to read are not ready for me at the library so I decided to see how this one would fare. It sounded interesting but not 'gotta-read-it-now!' interesting. Boy, was I wrong. I read this in two days. I could NOT put it down. Saturday, well, actually, Sunday morning, I forced myself to put it away at 2:15 AM because I was barely halfway through the book. There was no way I could finish it (well, I _could_ but I did have to put in some sleepy time)...

Reading In The Garden of the Beasts was like reading a fictional novel, yet it was non-fiction. Reading The Talk-Funny Girl was the opposite: it was like reading an autobiography. I have found another wonderful writer in Roland Merullo. And what is more amazing is that the protagonist of this story is a 17 year old girl, Marjorie Richards - Majie (May-gee), as her parents call her, or Laney, as she asks to be called.

The setting is rural New Hampshire. Laney lives a rough life with her mom and dad, both who don't work. Dad is 'disabled' - Laney knows it's a lie - and waits for his disability check to come in so that they can spend it on a little bit of food, then he and 'ma' goes off without a trace, leaving Laney home alone. At 17, not a big deal but they've been doing it for most of her life.

But Laney's Aunt Elaine usually comes to stay with her when mom and dad go off to nowhere. Aunt Elaine is Laney's mom's step-sister. She tries to reach out to Laney, to rescue her from this sad existence. But Laney is trapped in her own world and refuses to leave, throughout her years.

But mom and dad tell Laney, at 17, she needs to start earning money and finding a job. She needs to quit school (they were forced to send her to school, as she was not going until the state found out when she was nine years old) and just work and bring them money. Laney likes school. She likes to learn and she's pretty good at it. And it's a way to be away from her home life. Her parents, especially her mom, treats her badly. They abuse her: douse her - dragging her by her hair, all the way to the pond, then throwing buckets of cold water on her, no matter the time of year; "boy" her - making her dress up as a boy and having her fix up things around the house, like the roof, a shed, etc.; "hunger" her - refuse to feed her. This, on top of the verbal abuse they throw on top of her.

School is her escape despite the fact that kids call her 'the talk-funny girl' because she speaks like her parents, in an uneducated dialect. The school administrators, while stating Laney is smart, can't understand why her language skills haven't progressed. But it's because Laney has chosen to continue to talk the way her parents do because it's better to endure the teasing and scrutiny of the school system and talk incorrectly than to endure the abuse of her parents by talking correctly. Here is an excerpt of a conversation with her parents about taking on a job as a stonemason. I've cut out the paragraphs and kept only the dialogue:

[Laney's dad] "What for the job, you Majie?"
[Laney]"I started on today."
"What for doing?"
"Stonework."
[Laney's mom] "Smelling on stones? Feeling stones down between the legs? What, rubbing on stones for a genie coming out? You gotten three wishes, you Majie?"
[Laney]"Taking of old concrete at the dump. Putting the stones by a size."
[Laney's dad] "Where in?"
"Into the town."
"Where part of?"
[Laney] "Where was the church before. St. Mark's. The person has work to make another church at there now.
[Laney's mom] "Keep lie-making. And someone goin' to boy you."

Laney's job is working with Sands, who is a 24 year old man who loses his mom and dad and takes his inheritance to rebuild a burned out church in the nearby town to rebuild it into a cathedral. He hires Laney to be his apprentice and teaches her about stonesman-ship, among other things. He tries to build a bond, to break her out of the wall she's built for herself and slowly, we see that happen.

Laney is one of the most amazing characters I have read. I thought of Ree from Winter's Bone (the movie, as I have not read the book), as well as Katniss from The Hunger Games (amazingly enough, both played by Jennifer Lawrence. But if you have not seen Winter's Bone, Jennifer Lawrence is much better in that one). She is smart and strong-willed, as well as physically strong. It's not easy to read the abuse that happens to her. There is a scene where we think she is about to get buoyed again but no, she in fact gets tied to a tree by her dad. And there are frustrating scenes where Sands and Aunt Elaine want to rescue her and she refuses to leave. Those are things I'm sure those of us fortunate enough not to live in an abusive relationship just won't understand.

I'm always amazed when a writer can write for the opposite sex. David Nicholls did that with One Day and now Merullo with Laney. When you can relate to the female character (I hate saying "character" because they feel like a person to me) *and* you happen to be female, it's mind-blowing to know that it was a man that wrote those words, those feelings.

I'd never heard of Merullo and yet, when I went through the comments at goodreads.com (one of my favorite sites; my daily reading site) for this book, I noticed that he had about a dozen books and that he was a favorite author by so many. He's on my list now. This book was AMAZING. His writing was incredible. And Majie/Laney/Marjorie is a _person_ I will soon not forget.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Revenge

No, this isn't a post against the reflubicans, christian-hypocrites, or right-chicken-wingers.

This is, in fact, a very fluffy post about the ABC TV show. The first season is now over and I urge you to enjoy the reruns this summer (I'm sure they will show them). I can't think of a better program to watch as a summer show.

To me, this show is just like a summer novel: trashy, cheesy, intriguing, unrealistic, fantasy, soap operery. Something to 'calgon-take-me-away'. But it's not cheesy-bad. It's cheesy-good.

The premise is that a young lady, Emily Thorne, comes to the Hamptons and buys a home next door to the wealthy and powerful Grayson's. The Grayson's pretty much 'control' the Hamptons. Emily Thorne is beautiful and mysterious and also, very wealthy. She's too good to be true. What makes Emily Thorne spectacular, to the viewers of the show, is that she is, in fact, Amanda Clarke, a previous resident of the Hamptons.  As a young girl, she lived (in the very house she purchased) with her father David Clarke, who was then wrongfully taken away from her and imprisoned, then eventually murdered while in prison...by the Grayson's

Emily/Amanda has come back to the Hamptons to seek her revenge on every person who has wronged her father and each episode, we see that plan come to fruition. She is wily, smart, conniving, almost sociopathic, which makes the show even more fun to watch because we see the brooding acting style of the very beautiful, girl-next-door look of Emily VanCamp, who has a lot of bad ass in her as Emily/Amanda.

Along with Emily VanCamp is the ever stoic douchebag acting style of Madeline Stowe, who plays the matriarch of the Grayson family, Victoria Grayson. She is perfect in that role and gets plenty of air time for us to hate her. Madeline Stowe, at age 53, looks pretty freaking amazing. I'm sure she's had some work done but not enough to make her look like the rest of Hollywood where she looks freakish.

The only person at the Hamptons that knows who Emily really is, is Nolan Ross, an ally of Emily's father, who promised to watch out for Amanda. Nolan is a great ally, as he is a software genius and a multi-millionaire. Despite his continued protests of Emily's antics, he helps plant cameras, programs, and all sorts of unrealistic devices to help Emily's vengeful tactics. It's all such sordid fun!

The season ender was perfect - the writers continued to do what they do best with this show. It's no Homeland but it's not that bad either. It's just something fun to watch, especially for the summer. So, grab a glass of wine (or some hot cocoa for those under 21), and put your feet up, and take your mind off for an hour, and just sit back and enjoy some revenge.

How can you not enjoy something that uses the infinity symbol as its "g"?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

S'now Life for Me

I saw this a long time ago but only now do I remember posting:



This is 100% me. I do not have any desire to do any kind of snow activity. But I did try...

Many moons ago, me, Tim, CJ and baby MiMi took a trip to the mountains of NC. It was somewhere SW of Asheville but I can't remember the resort name to this day. It's not one of the resorts I hear many of my skiing friends go to.

I decided, for whatever reason, to sign me and CJ up for ski lessons. I'm an island girl, grew up in the Philippines, spent most of my life by the beach: Florida, Guam, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Nowhere did I spend any time growing up around snow. But I decided it must be fun, since so many people I knew did it.

What I found was I was more panicked about CJ sliding down that bunny hill than me, and *I* was not feeling 100% safe and comfortable up there. Within the first ten minutes of "lessons", I knew I didn't want to be there and most certainly, wanted CJ off so I could at least concentrate on my own doom.

She ended up fulfilling my wish and headed off to her dad, while I stayed to complete my lesson. Which included going to the top of the bunny hill and skiing down. At this point, I was done. I wanted nothing more than to NOT ski down the stupid hill. But I wanted to show my bravery and commitment. So my first horrific endeavor was to hold on to a big ass rope, which pulled me up to the top of that hill. Holy, mother of buddha, was I scared shitless. I prayed for my skis to fit in the ruts that were already made by the many 5 year olds before me. I concentrated, with my dear life, on making sure my skis stayed put. My heart pounded with dread. What happens if I fall here? I mean, literally, I had no idea what would happen to me. Would I slide down? Would I be trampled on by the toddlers behind me?

But I made it to the top and for someone like me, downhill looked more horrific than the ruts I concentrated on going up. How do I *not* ski downhill and get off this mountain of a lump? Why the fudge am I doing this again? How stupid am I?

So I knew, the only way down was to start going down. If I fell, I fell. That sounds a lot calmer than I felt: DO NOT FALL. I did not want to fall because 1) I knew I would hurt myself, 2) I could hurt the kids around me and 3) how the hell was I going to get back up?

All I wanted to do was get this shit over with. I knew that I was done and even though skiing was never, ever on my bucket list, I was done forever. No more ski resort for me.

I remember the 16 year old instructor saying that if my skis were pointed together, it would reduce my speed. So that's what I did: I think I sped down that bunny slope at approximately 0.5 mph, which was still too fast for me. I had my feet planted and that's all I was going to do, to get down that hill. My only other panic was to make sure no 3 year old got in front of me with their fancy-shmancy moves (show offs!).

The teen-instructor came by, urging me to widen my stance so I could go faster. I think I was pretty gruff in my response: I'M FINE. THIS IS AS FAST AS I WANT TO GO.

Once at the bottom, I think it was pretty dark by then (JK), I quickly got the skis off and told Tim, I'm ready to get out of this shit.

Yeah. Not for me. None of it. I'm not interested in piling on ten layers of clothes, wearing big ass gloves where I can't feel any way to maneuver anything with my hands, then getting out into the frigid cold, with more frigid snow. I think it's great that you folks that love this sport so much, love it (not really).

But I'm with Key & Peele on the whole snow-sport thing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Innocent Die

I saw this article from The Huffington Post about, potentially another innocent man who was executed in Texas. The high level interpretation is: a poor Hispanic, in the 80s, with a criminal record, hides after his "friend" stabs a gas station attendant to death, because he's on parole and KNOWS he will be found guilty.

Despite his explanation, his premonition comes true and not only is he found guilty, he is eventually executed in 1989. No one ever, in law enforcement, made an attempt to corroborate his alibi. They appear to have looked at the man, his record, and decided his fate.

However you deem the term "fortunate", a law professor and a team of students determined that Carlos De Luna was indeed professing truth in his innocence and 'matter-of-factly' proved his alibi, that the Texas law enforcement apparently refused to do. This article is a great read, which is cited from the first article I cited.

This would be the second publicized case of Texas executing an innocent man. There is the case of Todd Willingham that is beyond shocking. I've blogged this before but this article is one of the best written on his case.

I swear to god I have been wronged in some part of my life. Either I should have become a powerful, influential lawyer, so that I could be working on these cases...well, at least locally. I would be doing whatever I could to get Brad Cooper, Jason Young, or Michael Peterson's verdict overturned (among many others), or I should have been a billionaress so that I would hire a powerful, influential lawyer to work on these cases.

I have said before, I am not against the death penalty. Please, god, let's kill the bastards that dehumanize other humans: rape, molestation, torture, murder. I am ALL FOR IT. But I am only for it if you know that, without a doubt -- with 100% proof -- the person you are accusing is indeed guilty. I truly, in my heart of hearts, believe in INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. Why the fuck doesn't the rest of our nation believe that? I guess the ignorant layman can...but law enforcement? They need an equivalent vow to the Hippocratic Oath that somehow makes their being, their soul, indebted to doing the right thing. I just don't trust that they (law enforcement in general) have that in them.

In one of my Humanities classes in college, I had to write a defense for Medea and her actions of killing her two children she had with Jason. I don't remember the defense but I remember having my male BFF review it at the time, and he said that I should think about going to law school. This was in my prime: just graduated from high school, single, with the whole entire world at my mercy. My ego was pleased. I must be that good! Later in life, law school would trail through me head once or twice but never seriously. In the end, I think my talent, at 18 years of age, was more in my writing than any law school prodigy instincts I may have had.

But those words stay with me, especially because of the outrage (passion?) I have for those who have been wrongly convicted. But I realize too, there ARE lawyers who are passionate and influential...but it's money $$$ that will cure these horrible convictions. And that is what I'm missing.

Monday, May 14, 2012

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson

Erik Larson is truly a gifted writer. My first novel by him was The Devil in the White City, which was incredible. And this one was just as amazing.

Larson's talent is that he writes non-fiction. But when you read this (you=me), it reads like a literary fictional novel. And I realize that he does this on purpose, when I read on his website, why he doesn't like to include too many pictures in his books:
What I don’t like are photographs inserted in nonfiction books, especially books like mine that are meant to be read as if they were novels. 
I felt like a history buff reading this, knowing the 'characters' of 1933, 1934, 1935 Berlin. I needed engagement, to talk to pedantic minds like me, with my newfound knowledge. I found one in my colleague, and we spent a good half hour sharing details of Nazi Germany. I was in heaven.

What Mr. Larson educated me, in fine fashion, is that newly elected president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was desperate in finding a U.S. Ambassador for the Berlin office in Germany. But it wasn't the plum job: there was that newly appointed chancellor, Adolf Hitler and those Storm Troopers, who were reputedly arresting, beating and murdering communists, socialists, and Jews.

Eventually, William Dodd, a history professor from the University of Chicago, would get that call. He wasn't on the short list. He wasn't even on the long list. But because Dodd wanted an ambassadorship to finish his series The Rise and Fall of the Old South, his name ended up on Roosevelt's desk.

And for us Triangle folks: William Dodd was from Clayton, North Carolina. :)

So the Dodd family: William, his wife Mattie, son Bill Jr. and his infamous daughter Martha, head off to Berlin in 1933. And this is where Larson's novel takes us. And it is amazing how descriptive Larson is: I would be transplanted into 1933 Berlin, into Dodd's world. I would meet Goebbels, Hitler, Goring. I would see the sympathetic eye that Dodd would have over the "Jewish problem" and then how he would see the maniac that Hitler and his party truly were and how Dodd would warn Roosevelt, the U.S. about the problem these men, the Nazi party would be; how the U.S.'s isolationism stance would not suffice. But no one would take him seriously due to the nature that, IMHO, that he was just a history professor that became a stand-in ambassador.

The protagonists of this story are William Dodd and Martha, his daughter. Martha is a beautiful woman who apparently has a highly sexual appetite. She sleeps with more men than Madonna in her life but these are pretty powerful dudes. But she's also slept with men like Thomas Wolfe and Carl Sandburg. She was a big Nazi sympathizer, until the purge...also known as the Night of the Long Knives.

This was June 30, 1934 when Hitler ordered the executions of top German military leaders of the SA, as well as most of the SA. Many were taken from their homes then brought together with other SAs and executed in a firing range. The SA was a paramilitary group (the brownshirts) that helped give rise to Hitler and the Nazi party. Another military group, the SS, formed from the SA and with Hitler's paranoia, he feared the SA was trying to overthrow him and thus, the SS decided to 'purge' the SA. There seemingly was no real proof that there was ever a true plot to affect Hitler's new regime.

William Dodd had met with Hitler on several occasions, mainly, to deal with the acts of violence against Americans. For instance, during SA parades, American tourists would stand, watching as the marchers would go by. However, it was mandatory in Germany for bystanders to Hail Hitler when the SA marched by. Technically, this was OK for tourists to not have to do but of course, the SA were fucked up and at least one soldier would come over and beat the crap out of anyone who was not saluting the marchers.

Hitler would always apologize 'sincerely' and promise to take care of it. Dodd was known to have written back to the Secretary of State how pleasant Hitler was about it. But after the purge:
I have a sense of horror when I look at the man.
From this moment on, Dodd would refuse to attend any function that had any Nazi attendee. This would incense the U.S. government, of course. But Dodd was consistently writing how the U.S. needed to do something about Hitler and the U.S. would continue to ignore his sentiments. Eventually, Roosevelt would remove Dodd as ambassador and his replacement, Hugh Wilson, "sought to emphasize the positive aspects of Nazi Germany". He groveled at Nazi Germany's programs and blasted America's press as being 'Jewish controlled'. Sad isn't it?

What is even more sad, I found, that anti-Semitism was pretty prevalent in the 30s. It wasn't just Hitler, although his madness was something I doubt anti-Semitism was what anyone had in mind. There was a Jewish problem - people thought too much about Jewish being a problem. It's too surreal to think that people think that way. I'm so glad we are out of that era but we really aren't, are we? I think we are still in it. Some parts of our world still have a Jewish problem. And reading about how Hitler stripped away Jewish rights reminds me of what we are doing to gay humans, right here in the US of A.

Slowly but surely, Hitler stripped away Jew's rights to work in this business, then in that business. Eventually, they had separate benches they could sit out at bus stops: painted yellow. Then they were taken out of their homes. At one point, repeating back how to spell something over the phone was changed, so that Jewish names were no longer used:
The Ministry of Posts ruled that henceforth when trying to spell a word over the telephone a caller ould no longer say "D as in David," because "David" was a Jewish name. The caller had to use "Dora." "Samuel" became "Siegfried." And so forth. There has been nothing in social history more implacable, more heartless and more devastating than the present policy in Germany against the Jews," Consul General Messersmith told Undersecretary Phillips in a long letter dated September 29th, 1933
George S. Messersmith is my hero. He was never a Nazi sympathizer and was always a humanist in at least this cast of characters. We need more people like him in this world who serve in our governments.

One more quote I want to add... During Hitler's regime, most novelist's exiled out of Germany. A few stayed. Those that did had their books reviewed by Nazis. So whatever was released in Germany was released based on whatever the Nazi's deemed appropriate. Most of these novelists were reviled by those that left Germany. Thomas Mann wrote, of those works that came from Nazi Germany:
It may be superstitious belief, but in my eyes, any books which could be printed at all in Germany between 1933 and 1945 are worse than worthless and not objects one wishes to touch. A stench of blood and shame attaches to them They should all be pulped.
I have been fascinated by this era and thirst for more. I'm waiting for Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power from the library now. I had asked for advice from a book group, for a 'part two' to this book, something to give me more about what takes place after Dodd's life, and the onset of WWII.

BTW, as I always do, I started researching each individual, events, etc. from this novel. According to wikipedia, over six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. *Six million*. Isn't that incredible?  Reading further, the numbers are actually around 11-17 million people because the genocide includes others that didn't fit the bill: homosexuals, disabled, other-non-Aryan types.

I used to think, if only we had known, we would have stopped him. But my rosy-colored glasses are off. I've just learned that clouds are not made of soft, cotton balls. We did know. We know today of genocide happening. And we still do nothing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gay Pride

With bad there can come some good and that has been, in some weird way, what has happened as a result of Amendment One's passing. The nation has been slapped in the face. We see that ignorance is not bliss. That we cannot sit idle. Isolationism is not good. And that we, as a nation, can do something about it. At least, I hope that is the case.

Obama comes out and supports gay marriage. I hope that CJ's prediction, upon hearing this, will not come true. Her reaction? "I guess we'll have a new president in January." My fear of that is also there. After all, Amendment One passed with an astounding 61% of the vote. And NC was the 30th state in our nation to pass a similar marriage amendment. That's a serious number of ignorant people that will be voting for our next president.

And Romney. Man, he really had a chance to make a huge difference in history. And he blew it. But there's no surprise: he is (has been) against gay marriage; he's a republican; and it's the political move to make, now that Amendment One passed overwhelmingly and Obama came out with the biggest balls in recent presidential history by standing. My only hope is that christians hate mormons more than they hate gays. I guess it can be a tie? I don't know how all that fares on the priority list of their hate list.

But as one of my friends posted on Facebook, their are many that are coming out: the facebook page for VisitNC.com was full of negative comments to their question "What's on your NC bucket list?" I wish I had taken some screenshots because the FB page is now 'sayonara!' because, apparently, they ended up with over 1500 comments about 'never coming to NC' after the amendment was passed. Here is at least one news article about it.

You know (all five of you that read this blog) how much I love Jon Stewart, so the day after the amendment passed, I thoroughly enjoyed his bit on his take on it: 

And then this past Saturday's SNL skit, with Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer (who is now on one of our favorite shows, Suburgatory), had them come back as The Culp's, the cheesy couple that play music at weddings, and for this skit, at an LGBT prom. Oh yeah. Wouldn't that be grand? Of course, again, in my little paradise of the Triangle, it is OK to go to the prom as a gay couple. My friend's lesbian daughter is going to her 8th grade dance with her BFF lesbian friend. It's those little places across ignorant America that have no chance.

CJ has been telling me how she and her two friends have bonded over the Amendment issue. I'm so proud to hear it. I told her that there is word/work about a march in June to protest the amendment. I plan to get more involved; help her become more active. I care too deeply for my friends, strangers, who are losing their rights. Reading this novel about Nazi Germany, and how people just didn't do anything - for whatever reason...but mainly, fear -- and for far different reasons than what we have now -- there is no Hitler, no SS, so what the fuck is stopping people who believe in humanity from getting out and being even more proactive? We won't get killed or imprisoned for it, for god's sake! But I just can't be another person putting a bumper sticker on my car and hoping for change.

Happy Mother's Day!

I love this cover on Time Magazine. And in no way am I surprised at the outrage it's caused in the good ole' US of A.

I am in awe of the people who put it on the cover and *this* woman. I only wish I could be as brave, bold and as beautiful.

I was an attachment parent. It's not easy being one when 1. you live in the US and 2. you are a working mother. Most APers are stay-at-home mothers but fortunately for me, I knew at least one that worked at my company. I didn't really _know_ her personally but knowing there was one other around helped me know I wasn't alone.

I didn't really choose to be an APer. It all came 'naturally'. As a first-time mother, I had a child who would only stop crying if I held her. Tim was no help. I mean: he was but until we started daycare (six weeks), even him holding her wasn't sufficient in easing her crying. It was Dr. Sears' wonderful godsend of a book, The Baby Book, that saved me from crying my own eyes out, and wishing for my own mother to take me away from the hell of first-time motherhood because: all the classes that prepared me for pregnancy and birth did NOT prepare me from actually being home with a baby. Yes, I knew I'd be sleep-deprived but I didn't know that what total dependency actually meant.

And Dr. Sears told me that holding my baby all the time was OK. That sleeping with my baby was OK and that there was a name for it: attachment parenting. I already knew a little bit about it. I had the book before I had CJ and I purposely refused to buy a crib and baby furniture, except a rocker/glider, because I was going to co-sleep with my baby. We bought a thingamajig that allowed the play thing to be a nursery to be next to the bed but because CJ refused to sleep in it, she ended up sleeping next to me anyway.

Once I read up on AP, I decided to go full force and just carried her with me everywhere. I tried the sling but could never figure it out and would just freak out about how she looked like she would suffocate in it. By Mi-Mi, I was so over it and had the sling mastered and Mi-Mi was my sling baby and I toted her everywhere in it.

I breastfed CJ for well over two years. I was going to go until she was ready to wean herself off. If that meant three years, so be it. I was so fortunate to find, at random, a supportive ob/gyn and pediatrician. Ironically, the pediatrician's nurse would always tell me how CJ needed to thrive more and my pediatrician would come in and tell me how perfect CJ was, and how I was doing the right thing.

And at 2 1/2 years, I wasn't exclusively breastfeeding. The feedings are drastically reduced. It's almost like comfort feedings: once in the morning, after daycare (at home) and usually when she was upset (after falling down, etc.). But it was I that decided I wanted her to be weaned. I wanted my body back. I don't remember now why but 2.5 years is a long time.

With MiMi, it definitely wasn't quite that long. I don't even know if we reached two years; probably close, so between 18 months to under two years. But she definitely was a much different personality than CJ. I still practiced AP with her and more extreme as I took three months off with her. We took our mattresses off the bed and laid our big king on the floor, with CJ's double next to ours and we all co-slept together. Including our dogs at the time. It was wonderful. All my children managed to sleep in their own rooms in due time.

And I love how people reacted to my situation, for both children. They don't hold back.

To breastfeeding CJ at two years: 'Who's getting more out of it? You or her?'
To co-sleeping: 'Aren't you afraid of rolling onto your baby?'
'Is that something YOUR culture does?'
'How do you have sex?'

When I was researching AP, I read how, in our natural state, as in developing nations, women tend to have children every three to four years because we do breastfeed for three to four years, where we are not fertile. Then our children wean, we become fertile, become pregnant, and the cycle begins again.

It's not unusual in most every other country to practice AP (whether it's called that or not) except in our own very conservative country, where we demean people for doing it. Whatever. I found it naturally for me and it worked. And I love that look on that woman's face on the cover, like yeah, I dare you to confront me. Because I know she's had some bold comments made at her too.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Amendment One Throw Down

So by now, we all know that the amendment has passed. I had already heard the news from my last post, when Ann mentioned in her comment that the polls were showing that the Amendment was going to pass. I didn't want to believe her so I went out and did my own research and, sure enough, she had the facts right.

Further research showed that people just didn't understand the amendment. And that became the great advantage for the conservative, Christian right: people thought they were voting against gay marriage, and/or banning it. I truly believe that many folks went into those voting booths and voted against their own domestic relationships, not knowing that this amendment affected all domestic partnerships, not just gay ones. Well, my only satisfaction will be 'the jokes on you for not doing your homework and you reap what you sow'.

But it's sad.

Another friend posted this article, who was the same author of the myths about Amendment One, and this line broke my heart:
5:26 AM: I slept for about 3 hours. Cried a bit, fell asleep, woke up congested, wishing I could roll the clock back to 2010 and stop the turnover of our legislature to the GOP. That’s where the nightmare began on a host of issues here in NC.
It made me think about all the other people out here, who cried themselves to sleep. How this must have felt to them. I'm reading In the Garden of Beasts and it's about the rise of Hitler in 1933 Berlin and the ripping away of rights from the Jewish people. I couldn't help but think of how this was similar, how deplorable and dehumanizing it is.

And yet, if it _had_ passed, perhaps the religious rights folks would have been angry enough to cry. But that's it. They would cry, be mad, stamp their feet. But life goes on for them. There is no change in their lives. Nothing would have affected them other than their ignorant and unethical and immoral values would remain stuck in their heads. But they could go on and be unaffected by everything else covered by our state constitution.

And here we are. Tears from a woman who had a wife and now has to figure out what her future will be in our state. Fortunately, we are not Nazi Germany, nor an anti-Semitic society. We _have_ progressed and there is a backlash and our own President had the FUCKING BALLS to come out and make a brave stand and declare his belief that marriage should be legal. That's a huge risk. (As soon as CJ heard that, she joked "Guess he's not getting re-elected". It's really not that funny because it could come true after his statement.)

So the funny side to this story is the backlash *I* got from someone who, apparently, is pro-Amendment. I think.

In email messages via Facebook, his defense for his comments is that he is affected because he has a family member who is gay. Yet he hisses at me because I am not worthy enough to defend Amendment One. That apparently, I should have been fighting for this when I was 14 years old and now, too little, too late.

I read a post on his FB and I noticed that he appeared to be sick of the status updates from his own FB circle, I assume, pertaining to Amendment One.

Forget the Amendment One issue for a moment...nothing irritates me more than people who start complaining about people posting Facebook status updates. Seriously. The amount of shit that gets posted on FB, including yours truly, and you want to post about how sick you are of something? You know what I hate? Posts about football, March Madness, sports trades, etc. But I love tennis updates! Do you? Probably not. But you know what, if you do, then I bet you'll Like my post and possibly write something. THAT IS WHAT FB IS ALL ABOUT. Not pointing fingers at people and acting like your post is something better than theirs. I don't knock my football loving friends when it's game time. That's their thing and I skip right over until I find something that stands out. THAT IS JUST GOOD FACEBOOK CITIZENSHIP.

So today, I started my day with a warning: I am going to pepper my page with my liberal point of view, especially about the Amendment One issue because I am one pissed off North Carolinian. My friend decided to treat me to an "education" and tell me that I shouldn't be hatin' on NC because 30 other states have already passed a similar amendment.

OhhhhhKay....

Next few lines was an attack on me about not doing anything about this before today and only waiting until, I assume he means yesterday?, to do something about it (or maybe today?) and treating this as a "Not in my backyard" issue, citing VA and AZ as two states that this amendment passed.

WTF??? What the fuck am I going to do in AZ and VA? (Yes, I said WTF twice). I've lived in NC since 1989 and except for my first Presidential election in 1988, my entire voting history has been in this state.

Reading his previous post, I was confused: is he pissed that we (his FB circle) can't stop venting about Amendment One and he wants to see, oh I don't know, who might get voted off Dancing with the Stars tonight? Or is he pissed that we are 'hatin' on NC'  What does that truly mean anyway? Can I hate the state I live in? I can but I don't. I love Raleigh (we voted against it, BTW). It's pretty hard for me to _hate_ anything. If my friend knew me well enough, he'd know that. I dislike vehemently many things but hate, I draw the line. It's semantics but I know what I mean in my head.

Is he pissed off at _me_ personally? What did I do?

I was pissed. I made a snide comment on his own status since he so proudly stated how he 'pointed out to  some people about how NC was the 31st state to try to pass the stupid Amendment'. As if the rest of the state was clueless. I cannot stand anyone that thinks so highly of their intellect based on their own assumption.

And the first time in the history of my friendships with anyone, I got an apology, an explanation that did not match anything that I read from his previous comments, then a retraction to the apology after reading my status updates!!!

I have heard of people losing friends from similar political situations but NOT FROM SOMEONE SUPPOSEDLY BEING ON THE SAME SIDE. This is the most bizarre experience ever. Well. Not _ever_. But at least today.