communication, politics, psychology

We should all listen to each other more…

This morning, I read a headline in the Daily Press, the newspaper that serves the Tidewater area of Virginia, the place where I was born and raised. The headline was about Virginia’s gubernatorial race. This year, Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, will step down as governor, and someone else will take his place. The newspaper was reporting on how the Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, “dodged” a question about vaccination, which drew criticism from Democrats.

I know a lot of people hope to see Glenn Youngkin beat the Democrat candidate, former Governor Terry McAuliffe. This is because a lot of people from Virginia don’t like Ralph Northam, or Democrats in general. A lot of people don’t like Mr. McAuliffe, either. I come to this conclusion based on comments I’ve read online, but also because I am from Virginia and I still know a lot of people there. Plenty of folks think Democrats are just plain evil. On the flip side, plenty of people also think Republicans are evil.

Even though Virginia’s political leanings have recently shifted from red to blue, there are still many Republicans in Virginia, particularly in the area where I grew up. And, just as they might choose a favorite sports team, people in Virginia have a tendency to choose sides in politics. I suppose it makes things simpler for them. On the other hand, it also makes our society more divided. I’ve noticed that people will often write off people solely based on their political preferences. There’s little thinking or discussion involved.

I didn’t read the article in the Daily Press about the governor’s race. Doing so would have required turning on my VPN, since the Daily Press, like so many other U.S. based newspapers, has made itself unavailable to readers based in Europe. We have a pesky data privacy law over here with which a lot of American papers can’t be bothered to comply.

I did, however, read some of the comments on the Daily Press article. Someone lamented about how anti-vaxxers were selfish and rebellious. Below is a screenshot.

Good lord! The comment about banning vaccines and masks comes from someone who lives in Tennessee, for Christ’s sakes!

I had to laugh at the guy who called Biden’s administration a “pos” (piece of shit), and wanted to know if the commenter he was responding to would jump off a bridge if Biden asked him to. Did this guy have the same mindset in January 2021, when Trump called on citizens to storm the Capitol? Are most people really like this? Do they really have no ability to think for themselves? I mean, there are some conservative ideas that I can get behind. And there are some liberal ideas that I like. Why does it have to be “either/or”? Why can’t we work together to make policies that suit the majority of people? Are there any moderates left in the world? Or are they all just keeping quiet?

Lots of people are in legal trouble right now because they listened to Donald Trump and “jumped off his bridge”.

I attempted to tell Bill about the comments I was reading, but he suddenly interrupted me with thoughts of his own. Granted, they were thoughts that were on topic, which was a plus. However, it was pretty clear that he hadn’t really been listening to me. A few seconds after I started speaking, he began formulating a response. In doing so, he missed part of my message.

I was immediately annoyed by the interruption and said so. I love Bill very much, but he has a terrible habit of interrupting me when I’m mid sentence. He also has a tendency of speaking to me when I’m engaged in something else, like reading, watching a video, or playing a game. Consequently, I often have to ask him to repeat himself or “hold that thought” until I’m ready to actively listen to him.

I often feel frustrated, because I can’t finish a thought or I get distracted from something on which I’d been concentrating. I have kind of a short attention span, so when people interrupt me, I tend to forget what I was saying. I also grew up in an environment where people didn’t really care what I thought and happily told me so… and in fact, I was labeled “arrogant” when I did express opinions. So, I’m probably even more sensitive to being interrupted than I might otherwise be.

Bill immediately apologized. He knows he has a tendency to interrupt. It’s a habit that gets reinforced in his job, where people are action oriented. He works with a lot of military folks, and they aren’t big on introspection or “soft skills” like listening instead of speaking. There’s a lot of testosterone and posturing that goes on– guys jockeying for leadership. Bill is probably one of the less alpha guys in his office, but he still has this habit of cutting me off when I speak. He doesn’t mean to be rude when he does it. It’s just something he’s learned to do.

It occurred to me that a lot of information and insight gets lost because people are so busy talking over each other. Successful communication depends as much on receiving messages as sending them. If you’re speaking or formulating a response when someone else is speaking, you’re going to miss some of what they say. And whatever you say in response will probably be poorer for it.

After Bill apologized for interrupting me, I said, “What do you think would happen if you consciously made an effort to listen more?”

Bill thought about it for a moment and said, “I’d probably learn more.” Then he told me that listening more carefully was a concept he’d actually talked about with his Jungian therapist.

Then I said, “I challenge you to make an effort to speak less and listen more today. When you’re at work and someone speaks to you, try to make yourself listen carefully to what they say. Do you think you can do that?”

Bill smiled enthusiastically and said, “I can try.”

That’s one thing I like about Bill. He has a really good attitude about most things. He’s slow to take offense and quick to take correction.

I truly am curious about what would happen if people listened more and spoke less. This is a habit so many of us have– myself included. We’re so busy wanting to be heard ourselves that we don’t let others have their say. And then we get offended when they don’t want to listen to us when we want to speak.

It’s not just a problem in conversations, either. It also happens when we read. Here’s an example.

A few days ago, someone in our local pet group posted a comment about heartworm preventative in Germany and asked a question about where to find heartworm treatment for her new dog, who had recently come to Germany from Romania. German vet clinics aren’t like U.S. vets. A lot of the clinics in Germany are just offices, rather than hospitals, where veterinarians can board sick animals. Heartworm treatment generally requires hospitalization. The vet where she took her dog could only test for the infestation; they could not offer treatment, because they don’t have hospital facilities.

I was the first person to respond to the poster. In my first comment to her, I explained that heartworm preventative isn’t widely prescribed in Germany because heartworms aren’t that prevalent here. I wrote that German vets usually only give prescriptions to people if they’re taking their dog to a warmer country. Vets here don’t prescribe heartworm preventative as a matter of course, the way American vets do. More discussion ensued, and we established that she’d need to find a vet with a hospital.

Another commenter came along and tagged me in a comment, “correcting” me for what I’d written about heartworm preventative medication. She wrote that German vets will prescribe preventative if someone is going to a warmer country.

My response was, “Right. I mentioned that.”

I’m sure my response came off as a bit “curt” and “bitchy”, but it always annoys me when someone doesn’t read carefully and then tries to correct another person. If she’d spent more than a few seconds reading more carefully what I’d actually written, she wouldn’t have felt the need to make the point about warmer countries that she’d mistakenly thought I’d missed. Those few seconds spent more attentively reading/listening, could have spared her the few seconds she’d spent “correcting” me, and the few seconds I spent letting her know that the correction wasn’t necessary. It also would have spared us both some irritation.

Why do people do this? I think it’s mainly because of egotism. We want to look smart, accomplished, and helpful. People want to be heard– but they don’t always want to listen. I think Americans, in particular, don’t want to take the time to listen before they respond. They’re always rushing to prepare for things, even though a minute spent listening could spare them five or ten minutes down the road. Time is money, we’re told, so we rush to say something, do something, take action– but so often, if we’d just cooled our jets and shut our mouths, we could have spared ourselves needless grief, time, and money.

Plenty of other commenters came along after I commented on that thread about heartworm treatment in Germany. Many of the people who commented never bothered to read what had already been written. It seems they all assumed they knew better than everyone else who had responded. I ended up turning off notifications for that post. Hopefully, the lady found a vet to help her dog.

This issue of how we don’t listen well came into my head a couple of days ago, when I stumbled across a televised interview of one of the women who wrote Not Without My Sister. The show was aired in Ireland, and proved that some interviewers are terrible listeners.

I found this interview very frustrating to watch.

Notice how the interviewer often doesn’t really let her guest finish her sentences. Part of this may be because of time constraints. Part of it may be because the interviewer is trained to ask questions. But I wonder how much she can be hearing if she’s so busy forming responses and new questions as her guest is trying to answer. As a viewer, it was annoying to watch this interview, because I couldn’t hear all of what the guest was saying.

The above interview isn’t as bad as some, though. I can’t stand watching shows like The View, because there’s a whole group of women talking over each other. It’s hard to get a clear message rather than just noise. I wonder what the point of the show is, if no one can get a word in edgewise, and no one is actually listening to the person who speaks.

Anyway… I hope Bill will remember what we talked about this morning and give my proposal to talk less and listen more a try. I wonder how much more efficient and productive people could be if they’d just stop and listen for a moment. How much information will they get that is not distorted? How much time will be saved because someone didn’t have to repeat themselves? The possibilities are endless.

We really should all listen to each other more. I include myself in that suggestion. I’m going to give it a try. I hope some of you will be inspired to try it, too.

Standard
communication, complaints, rants

Back to the chum bucket with you…

We just arrived home a little while ago from our brief trip to the Schwarzwald. What should have been a relaxing break from Hesse turned into a bit of a shit show.

Before I get into the specifics of what happened, I will state upfront that this issue is partly my fault for not unplugging from social media. I really need to break the Facebook habit. It seems to bring me a lot of displeasure and discontent lately. I also need to quit caring about people and things that ultimately don’t matter.

Our trip began on Wednesday. The drama started a couple of days prior, and culminated into a trifecta of toxicity last night. I’ll try to keep it simple…

Last Monday, I got a private message from a woman who used to live in Stuttgart and moved back to the States a few years ago. She was very active in the community when she was here, ran several groups, and organized tours and such. Every year, she helped a vintner in Stuttgart with their harvest. This year, she says she got so busy that she forgot about the harvest. She asked me if I would mind helping her.

At first, I was pretty cool to the idea, because it sounded like I would have to be in Stuttgart. We live three hours away now. I have never met the people she’s been working with, and I don’t want to be expected to go to Stuttgart every weekend for three weeks. But then she said I didn’t have to actually be in Stuttgart to help pick the grapes or anything. So I told her I wouldn’t mind hearing what she had to say. She said we would have a video chat the next day. But then she never contacted me.

Off I went to Baiersbronn. Didn’t hear from the woman until Friday, as we were enjoying a fantastic lunch. She wanted to video chat. I said we were busy, so she rang off. Then last night, she contacted me again, wanting to video chat. I told her today would be better, since we still weren’t home. Then I told her that we had to go get our dogs between 6 and 7 our time, so 7:30pm would work best.

She asked which video chat program I preferred. I told her that I actually hate video chats, so I rarely use the programs. I get nervous on camera. But I have Skype and Zoom, and I didn’t say I wouldn’t do a video chat. I just said I don’t like doing them. She said there was no reason to be nervous… then she said maybe she should find someone else. I agreed with her.

Then she said this was their “livelihood”, so it was “serious business”. And that came off as a bit manipulative and passive aggressive, so it pissed me off. Especially since she came to me for a favor. But as I’m looking at the chat log now, I see she’s put in a bunch of smilies and stuff. Maybe she wasn’t trying to be manipulative and lay a guilt trip, but that’s how it came across. Bill thought so, too, when I showed him the chat.

Then I shared a wonderful article from the New York Times Magazine about Baiersbronn. We decided to visit it in 2018, after I read that piece. I shared it in the wine group I run. One of the members left an “angry” reaction and snapped, “I’m not paying for a subscription to read that!”

I responded that she didn’t have to subscribe. I don’t get commissions from the New York Times. It was just a nice article about the town and its many chefs. I thought it would be a good read for people in the group. But… then I got a comment from someone wanting to know the names of the restaurants… and someone else who linked to a vastly inferior blog post about Baiersbronn. Neither of the comments had anything to do with the article I posted.

Bill commented that people shouldn’t expect to read content for free. Then the woman came back and wrote that the New York Times isn’t a “credible” news source. Guess she’s a Trumper. Either way, though, all she had to do was scroll on, if the link wasn’t useful or interesting. Instead, she basically implied that she doesn’t like the source because of her politics. There wasn’t a fucking thing in that article about politics. It was written during the Obama era. I just thought it was an informative and interesting link…. and I was sharing information. Evidently, that wasn’t okay.

And then, I noticed a “like” from the formerly resident troublemaker. A couple of months ago, this chick, who is a sommelier or something, and runs her own wine group in Stuttgart, was pimping her group in my group. I slightly lost my temper with her and told her that pimping her group in my group was disrespectful. I finally implied that I was going to kick her out. She laid low for awhile, which was nice for me, but recently started posting again. She never posted her own stuff, though. She would just leave comments on my stuff, often in an attempt to make me look incompetent. Or, at least that is how it appeared to me.

A few days ago, I shared an ad from the Stuttgart Sky Beach about an event they’re having. I have no stake in the Sky Beach. I was just sharing information about an event. She posted a link to a competing event in the comment section, writing about why people shouldn’t choose the Sky Beach event. I suspect that she was getting kickbacks from selling tickets to that event. I don’t know for sure, but I do know that she’s hooked up with a bunch of wine sellers and is about making money.

I thanked her for sharing the information, then asked her to put it in a separate post. People can choose for themselves what activity they want to do. She ignored me.

This morning, she added her two cents to my New York Times link… a link to the Michelin site, for the woman who asked about the names of the restaurants. She helpfully added that the Michelin link is “free”.

Maybe I’m crazy… but it seemed to me, that once again, she was trying to make me look incompetent. She has asked me more than once to join her group. If I did that, my group would be redundant, and she would be in charge. I don’t care that she has her own group. I don’t care if people in my group are in her group. But I don’t want to be in a Stuttgart area group, because they tend to be toxic. Aside from that, I know that she promotes things that make her money. I don’t care about making money. I just want to have a group that is friendly and helpful and fun for everyone, including me. I don’t claim to be a wine or food expert. I just want to share information, and I want to do it without having someone posting after me, trying to undermine me.

It was getting to the point that I would cringe when I saw her name pop up. She literally made me feel sick to my stomach this morning. So I decided to kick her out of the group. The decision was a long time coming, and it brought me no pleasure to do it. But you know what they say– “too many cooks spoil the soup…” She wanted to be in charge of my group. She has her own group to run.

Bill pointed out that the toxic chick was acting a lot like Plankton on Spongebob Squarepants. He said I should send her back to the Chum Bucket. I agreed.

I didn’t send her a PM or address her in the group. I just quietly kicked her out and permanently banned her. Then… perhaps by coincidence, I got three new requests to join. I’m wondering if one or more were from her friends. I let two in. The other claimed to be living in Germany, but his profile indicated that he’s a chef who lives in Barcelona, Spain. My guess is that he’s someone she does business with. In any case, he can always join her group. He doesn’t need to be in mine.

I think this chick wanted to be in my group for ideas, new members to spam, and to irritate me to the point of closing the group. I came close to doing it a few weeks ago, but then decided not to when some people seemed to be enjoying the group. I found myself revisiting the idea this morning, as I choked down breakfast. That’s how “toxic” I feel about this woman. Her motives may be innocent, but my intuition tells me that she’s up to no good. I’m usually right about these things. She has her own group, though, and she can run it the way she wants to. And if everybody else wants to join her, that’s fine with me. I’m not trying to make money or be popular. I just want to share information.

Poor Bill had to listen to me complain most of the way home… all of this stuff comes from the neuroses I have from growing up with a very dysfunctional family. I really hate conflict. I don’t like dealing with manipulators. I can’t stand feeling like I have to confront people… especially people who ought to be adults. That woman who posted an angry reaction to a newspaper link got me a bit irritated. I was tempted to kick her out, too… But I know that doing such a thing would probably lead to a lot of high school styled drama.

I really don’t like feeling like a tyrant. I don’t think I act like one. But I think my instincts are right about these situations…

I probably should sign up for a Fuck It retreat in Italy. I need to learn not to engage with these people… and just say “fuck it” and delete the people who get under my skin.

As for the vintner lady looking for free labor, I calmly wished her luck in finding the right person to help her. I think it’s a tall order, but I’m sure someone out there would be more than happy to get involved in her project.

Standard
communication, condescending twatbags, stupid people

Some men just Can’t. Understand. Normal. Thinking… Glad to be Bill’s double shot of tequila.

This morning, I read an interesting Facebook comment thread on an article by The New York Times about CNN’s decision to fire employees who ignored their COVID-19 vaccine mandates. CNN, like many private businesses in the United States, has directed employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus before returning to its offices in the U.S.

The Cable News Network has been relying on the “honor system” to enforce its rules about vaccination. However, apparently three former employees are unfamiliar with the expression, “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The powers that be at CNN became aware that the three former employees were unvaccinated and defiantly continued to report for work, in spite of the vaccine mandates. The CNN bosses responded by firing the rule breakers.

I usually read articles before I read comment sections. I guess this morning, I was still a bit drowsy from the early hour and the cool, rainy weather we have today. It’s also getting darker in the mornings, which is a sure sign that fall is coming. In a month, we’ll probably need jackets again. In any case, I ran across a comment left by a woman named Margie. She wrote:

It’s interesting how so many people think “freedom” only works for them but not for others. I guess it’s that same lopsided rationalization that concludes that assault rifles are necessary for freedom.

I like Margie’s comment. I think it makes a lot of sense. It’s no secret that we have a serious problem with weapons in the United States. So many innocent people have died of gunshot wounds while doing ordinary things like going to school, worshiping, shopping, attending a concert, or watching a movie at a cinema. And now, so many people are dying of COVID-19. Most of the people who are dying of COVID are people who are vehemently against vaccines and have even taken to mocking them on social media. Interestingly enough, many of the people who are against the vaccines are also people who support the right to bear arms, no matter what the cost is to others.

Sadly… or maybe not so sadly… some of those gun supporting folks are ending up ruing the decision to mock vaccines. For instance, proud Republican H. Scott Apley was 45 years old and the father of a newborn when he died of COVID-19 on Wednesday. Mr. Apley was a very conservative member of the Dickinson County Council, and had taken to social media to lambast COVID-19 vaccine mandates. He cheered about a “mask burning party” that happened in Cincinnati in May, writing that he wished he’d lived in the area, and he claimed that Baltimore’s former public health commissioner was an “absolute enemy of a free people.”

In the end, Apley maintained his “freedom” not to be vaccinated. He caught the virus. And now, he’s dead. His wife, Melissa, who is also COVID-19 positive, is left to raise their infant son, Reid. Reid is currently in his grandmother’s care, because unlike her late husband, Melissa seems to realize that COVID kills people. I sincerely hope she’s smart enough to get the vaccine so that baby doesn’t lose his other parent to willful ignorance. I am also legitimately sorry for Melissa’s and Reid’s loss. It didn’t have to be that way.

I dedicate this song to “Rick”… but I would replace the word “step” with “fuck”. That’s because I enjoy profanity very much. It’s one of my most adorable flaws.

In any case, Margie, who had commented on the article about CNN, had a point that resonated with a lot of people. At this writing, there are 890 likes on her observation about the concept of freedom in the United States. Some people don’t seem to realize that freedom applies to everyone, and there’s civic responsibility that comes with that privilege. But, as we all know, some people just “can’t. understand. normal. thinking.” and they have to show everyone their ass. Such was the case with the response left by a man named Rick, who wrote this:

The fact you said “assault rifle” already tells me everything I need to know….

Margie came back with an impressive response that really should have shut up Rick. She wrote:

…does it? Would it surprise you to know that we have many guns, including some semi-automatic guns, in our home? That my husband conceal carries? So, what is it you think you know about me?

Rick wrote: There’s a reason why “assault” was in parentheses….try to follow along champ.

Then, Rick continued to show his ass by lecturing a guy named John with this beaut of a comment:

Its a common term among you leftists who have no fing idea what your talking about when it comes to firearms.. Thats the issue. It’s not a common term amongst people who have an ounce of knowledge of firearms. Trust me…its worth belittling…since by “assault” you mean “fully automatic”….which with like ten fing seconds of research will tell you have been banned for nearly 30 years. So yes…you now know I know at least basic knowledge of firearms. Congratulations.

A guy named Bill (not my Bill) wrote this for Rick:

An AR 15 is an assault rifle bro. No matter how you sugarcoat it

And Rick insisted that he knows better and responded thusly:

No it isnt….people are afraid of how it looks. It’s a fing rifle…..like any other semi auto hunting rifle. They just “look” scary. An “assault” rifle in the sense that people are so adamant against it would be anything that can lay down fully auto…added with huge like 75-100 round drums. Big diff. Those are already illegal. There litteraly is no difference between a Ruger ranch rifle and an AR-15 for example…..other than ones black and scary…which is kinda funny and ironic….One is acceptable by even left wing anti gun nuts for hunting purposes and the other one is ostracized….even though it’s the same thing. People are litteraly afraid of aesthetics. (He can’t spell either, can he?)

At this point, I was scratching my head. Rick must not have much to do in his personal life, since he was hanging out in the comment section of a notoriously left leaning newspaper that is known for its excellence in journalism. And instead of engaging with people on an adult level, he was resorting to insults and bragging about his knowledge of firearms. Obviously his vast knowledge of firearms doesn’t extend to knowledge of basic English grammar. Reading and writing are still considered fundamental skills, aren’t they? And yet, here he is in the comment section of a respected news source, taking on people who are clearly intellectually and developmentally superior to him, so he has to bring his “guns” to the fight. What a big man!

Rick, being a typically stubborn and obtuse sort of person, continued to engage. He was clapping back at everyone with personal insults and condescension. So I decided to leave him a comment, having noticed that he apparently doesn’t know the difference between quotation marks and parenthesis. I wrote:

I like how you can’t tell the difference between parenthesis and quotation marks or “your” and “you’re”. And I like how you belittle and name call to make your points. That tells me all I need to know about you, “Champ”.

Rick’s response to me? Unsurprisingly, he tried to insult me, too…

I like how you think men are actually looking for a booty call from you 

Wow… LOL. I thought that was funny on many levels. You see, in order for Rick to make that comment, he had to visit my Facebook profile. He was referring to my latest tag line, which is: “Not looking for friend requests or booty calls from strange men. I’m also NOT German.”

Several weeks ago, I posted that tag line in response to the tons and tons of unsolicited private messages and creepy comments I was getting from scammers. I’ve actually written about those messages in this blog, and have included screen shots of the more entertaining ones.

The scammers were writing icky messages about how “beautiful” they think I am. To be clear, I know the people (male or female) behind those messages are just shady fuckwads who have ripped off other Facebook users’ profiles. My own profile was also ripped off recently. Those lowlifes are ultimately just looking to scam money, and trying to use flattery to do it. I was getting a lot of these messages. So I posted that tag line to express my irritation, not because I think men actually believe I’m “hawt” or “fuckable”. Even if they did, I’m a happily married woman, so other men’s opinions about my appearance are irrelevant.

‘Ol Rick decided to zero in on that tag line to insult my looks, which is typical of people like him. What he fails to realize, though, is that the fact that he took the time to visit my profile instead of just blowing me off tells me that he found me attractive on some level. Maybe I’m not his “type”, but my comment obviously got to him. Otherwise, he would not have responded to me at all. That implies an attraction of sorts. Remember, negative attention is still attention, and the fact that he took a moment to check out my profile means that he noticed me.

Rick also seems to think I care that some random guy on Facebook apparently thinks I’m ugly. LOL… hell, my own father regularly criticized my appearance! So Rick’s opinion about my attractiveness is irrelevant, and frankly, pretty juvenile. I mean, that’s the kind of thing people say on the playground. “You’re ugly!” Well, I know you are, but what am I, Rick? 😀

Anyway, I laughed at Rick and wrote, “Thanks for creeping my profile, you strange man. Why don’t you run along now and play with your assault rifles.” I was going to add the word “loaded”, but decided that I didn’t need to encourage more gun violence. For all I know, Rick might take my suggestion.

A kind man named Stephen wrote, “…yes it is not worth engaging him in conversation. He seems to love insulting and using words he doesn’t understand.

So I wrote this:

Thanks for that. I don’t actually care that Rick apparently doesn’t think I’m cute. I’m married to a wonderful man, and he’s the only one whose opinion I care about regarding my attractiveness or lack thereof. Besides, I figure ‘ol Rick must have found me interesting on some level, since he took the time to stalk my profile. 😉 Like I said… creepy… just like the booty callers who send me random PMs.

Some people reading this might think I shouldn’t be writing this blog post. Why give guys like Rick a second thought? But I’m writing this because Rick actually did give me something to think about this morning.

There was a time when I was much younger that Rick’s comment might have hurt my feelings. Back in the days when I was less secure, had lower self-esteem, and cared more about what people thought of me, it actually did sting when someone insulted me on a personal level– especially when they criticized my appearance.

I think that comes from having family members who cared a lot about image, and what others thought of them and our family. When the people responsible for bringing you into the world– the people who were your first “love”– criticize things like your appearance, or your laugh, or they tell you that no one will ever love you, that tends to make you think that everyone feels that way. After all, they made me. You’d think they’d love me unconditionally for that alone. But they couldn’t love me unconditionally, because they didn’t even love themselves that way.

My parents are/were good looking, talented, and intelligent people, and they expected their four daughters to be the same. I think we all did turn out alright. I may not always be camera ready, but I clean up fine. I’ve never had a problem turning Bill on, and he’s the only one who matters. I mostly hang around with him and my dogs, and my dogs think I’m awesome because I’m the one who feeds them and walks them. I value their opinions a whole lot more than I do Rick’s.

I’m old enough to know that it’s not true that my parents’ opinions of me are reflections of what all others think. The world is full of people, and they all have opinions. I’ve been around long enough to know that no one is everyone’s cup of tea. I know I’m not… but I’d rather be someone’s double shot of tequila, anyway. Thanks to Bill, I know that I AM someone’s double shot of tequila! That makes me pretty blessed.

Besides, my mom is a lot more appreciative of me now, especially since she doesn’t have to look at me. 😉 My dad is dead, so his opinion is irrelevant, too. He was wrong, anyway. I found someone who genuinely loves me, even though my dad often said I never would.

I don’t have to be physically gorgeous to turn Bill on. He was very attracted to me even before he saw me in person. And when he saw me in person, it only confirmed that we belong together. I can simply write something erotic, sing him a siren song, or touch him in a certain way and he’ll get a “raise”. We have a lot of chemistry, and always enjoy being together. I am very fortunate because a high quality person loves me no matter what; but I would be okay, even if I were still single.

I could gain twenty pounds, get hit in the nose with a football like Marcia Brady, or look like death warmed over from illness. Bill would still love me. That’s what makes him vastly superior to cavemen like Rick, who are only interested in big guns, conservative politics, and what his eyes superficially see in a photo. And again, HE’S the one who came to my profile, looking for something to criticize. Why would he do that if he didn’t find me attractive on some level? If he didn’t find me interesting, he would have ignored my comment and kept scrolling.

What a guy like Rick thinks of me is completely immaterial. The fact that he criticized my looks as a means of shutting me down is pathetic! Obviously, he had nothing of substance to say, but had to say something to defend his pitiful male ego. He needs a big GUN to defend himself, too, which tells me all to know about his so-called strength and resilience. What a small-minded man he is… and I’d venture to guess that he’s not very satisfying in the booty call department, either. 😀 That’s why he plays with big guns. They make him feel bigger and more powerful than he actually is.

Anyway, I’ve concluded that Rick is just another guy who Can’t. Understand. Normal. Thinking… Read between the lines on that one. It’s sad that he has to resort to insulting and belittling people on social media rather than engaging in respectful and meaningful dialogue with others. He must live a very limited life.

I’m happy to report that Facebook finally seems to have done something about the PM issue. Or maybe the scammers don’t like my most recent profile photo. I haven’t been getting those PMs recently. It might even be time to change that tag line. Maybe I’ll write one that says, “Creeping my profile to find ways to insult me simply proves that you think I’m interesting.”

Hope you all have a great Friday. It’s time for me to find something constructive to do. Maybe I’ll drink some tequila and watch the below video again, simply because it’s hilarious!

Don’t act a fool… otherwise, Alfredo might be forced to tape you to your seat.

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communication, musings

Reposts, random messages, and reasons why…

Actually… some messages are useful and some are entertaining.

Regular readers may have noticed that lately, I’ve been reposting a lot of old book reviews and articles from my original Blogspot version of The Overeducated Housewife, which I discontinued in 2019. Those who also follow my travel adventures might remember that last year, I spent several months updating old posts from Blogger. The travel blog wasn’t so huge that I couldn’t migrate it to WordPress. Unfortunately, doing so led to massive formatting problems. I spent a lot of time updating and reformatting posts that were years old. That process is mostly finished now, save for the odd hiccup. I did have to edit a couple of old posts yesterday, which I only noticed because someone hit them on Statcounter.

I was not able to migrate the Blogspot version of this blog to WordPress. I think it’s because the file was simply too large. I started my blog in March 2010, so that was a lot of material to move. The system just flat refused to do it for me. I’m actually kind of glad, too. Some of it was stuff that doesn’t need to be reposted… non-sensical drivel I posted while bored or uninspired, or posts about time sensitive issues that aren’t relevant now. There were a few other posts that I didn’t repost because I wrote them when I was angry and they are potentially hurtful to others.

After spending months reformatting the travel blog, I decided I didn’t want to have to do that with the original OH blog. That thing had over 3000 posts over a span of almost nine years! By contrast, the travel blog had maybe a third as many. Reformatting is very tedious and thankless work. I think it’s better to just repost the stuff that I think might be interesting.

Some people might wonder why I would repost anything, especially book reviews that are very old. It’s mainly because I’ve discovered that people get nostalgic and look for information about things that may no longer be covered online. I’ve found myself listed in bibliographies, often by Internet handles. I get a kick out of that. But really, the book reviews of titles that are now out of print can be valuable to some users. In some cases, what I (or others) have written in book reviews may be all the information that can be found of books that have gone out of print. Book reviews are pretty evergreen and, as you’ll see below, some of the better articles, especially about true crime, are legitimately useful to readers. My angry rants about very personal or insignificant issues, or people no longer in my life, are much less so. 😉

I also like to preserve my own thoughts and memories, especially when there’s a news story involved. For example, on my travel blog, I reposted an article I wrote several years ago about a trip to the Eastern Shore that I took with my parents in the early 80s. On the way home, we stopped in Chincoteague, and I ended up visiting a water slide that was owned by a guy who, years later, made the news for being a sex offender who castrated himself while he was in jail. That true crime case is now many years old, but I guarantee there are people out there who remember it and want to read about it. I could have put it on this blog, but when it comes down to it, that story is ultimately a travel tale, and the travel blog needs some love. I do mostly try to keep the mood light on that blog, but not every travel story is delightful. I like to keep things real, if I can.

In the wake of all of the reposts I’ve been doing, I’ve been getting some strange comments and messages from people. Sometimes, I get communications through the contact form. I mostly appreciate the ones that aren’t spam, since most people who contact me are respectful. Sometimes the spam messages are hilarious, like the one I got today. Check this out…

Um… I wasn’t aware that I had any “drug addict criminals” to send anywhere…

Sometimes, I’m left scratching my head as to why someone would contact me about something. The other day, I got a message from a very decorated academic. I looked him up on LinkedIn, per his suggestion. He invited me to contact him if I ever wanted to know about Title IX and suicide on college campuses. I was puzzled, since I don’t think I’ve ever written about that subject. I consulted Statcounter to see which article the guy had accessed me through, looking for a clue as to why he’d written to me. The article he hit had nothing to do with the topic he was proposing. It was something I’d written about an advice column about divorce. But maybe the guy thought I could cover that subject or would be interested in it? I’m not sure, because he didn’t explain.

I probably would enjoy talking to this man. Maybe I should try interviewing willing subjects. I mostly write about stuff in my head, but two heads are better than one, right?

I got another recent communication from someone who wants to know more about a true crime story I wrote about years ago and had reposted. I didn’t actually know that much about the crime itself; I just happen to know someone who knows the perpetrator because they grew up in the same town. In fact, my friend had once brought him to our college and I actually met the guy. But at the time that I met him, I didn’t know he had killed someone, and I am not from the small town where the murder happened. I just know someone who knows him. Somehow, the commenter thought I knew more than I do, so she was hoping to glean insight from me. I ended up directing her to my friend, who is more in the know. I thought our exchange was over until this morning, when I got this message…

I have never done a podcast. Maybe someday I will do one, but at this writing, that is not in my bag of tricks.

I might be good at podcasts. Once upon a time, I did radio, and I was relatively good at it. I’ve been told I have a good voice for the airwaves, although I don’t like listening to it myself. Maybe someday I’ll try it, just for fun. We’ll see if my ego can take it if no one wants to listen to me.

One thing I would like to mention to those who do send me a message– bear in mind that unless you explicitly tell me, I won’t necessarily know what you’re referring to when you make a comment on the contact form. Those messages aren’t linked to any specific posts, so unless you are clear about which one you’re referencing, I am left to guess. Sometimes, it’s obvious, but other times it’s not. The message from the academic was a head scratcher. The one below was easier to figure out, but still not 100 percent obvious.

This guy was referencing a repost about strange crimes that happened in the small town where I went to college. But I had to clarify it, because it wasn’t necessarily plain.

The WordPress version of my blog is about 2.5 years old now. I’m glad I changed formats from Google Blogspot. I’d been wanting to do it for awhile, since the Blogspot format feels kind of limited and dated. I hesitated for a long time because I was enjoying a pretty good presence on Blogspot. When I discovered that someone was deliberately stirring up trouble for me offline, I decided that it was finally time to move the blog somewhere else and use a platform that would allow me more control over my content. WordPress allows me to password protect certain posts, so that invited readers can access them, but the general public can’t. On Blogspot, I could either make posts open to everyone or make them open to just me. Or, I could make the blog open only to invited readers, which I didn’t really want to do. Not every interested reader wants to be a member of an invite only blog.

I know Blogspot has been revamped a lot since 2019, and maybe what I’ve observed about its shortcomings is no longer true. I do keep my Dungeon of the Past blog on Blogspot, but I seldom update that blog and may discontinue it once my AdSense finally hits $100. I’m getting close.

It was painful to move this blog. Moving from Blogspot meant losing the somewhat robust readership I had, as well as earnings from Google AdSense and Amazon. The money wasn’t a necessity, but it was a nice perk. I would like to be able to earn some money on my own, you know. It’s a point of pride… even if all I earn in a year is enough to buy me a six pack of beer. I’m lucky enough to have a husband who supports me in all ways. He certainly doesn’t have to do that, but it’s nice for me that he does, given our lifestyle.

Since I moved the blog, it’s steadily been getting more readers. I have found that, by and large, I like the people reading now more than I did a lot of the readers of my original blog. People who are reading now tend to actually care more about the content. I don’t get nearly as many rude or abusive comments on this blog. Of course, I also moderate comments here, while for the longest time, I didn’t do that on Blogspot. I’ve found that moderating comments cuts down on hostile drivebys. I require people to identify themselves, so they must really want to say something to me if they comment. When I didn’t moderate, people would be more willing to comment, but many of the comments were mean spirited. I have feelings because I’m a person, too. Also, comment moderation cuts down on spam, although as you can see from the first screenshot, I still get spammers via the contact form! I still would like to know where Wilton gets the idea that I have drug addict criminals to send to his rehab. How strange!

Anyway… I do have a few current events in my mind that I might write some fresh content about today. Or I might repost more stuff from the past. I hope those of you who are annoyed with the reposts will continue to have some patience. People are interested in some of that old content, and sometimes I get inspired to make fresh content based on the comments I get on the throwback stuff. This post, for example, is one of those that wouldn’t have been written without reposts. Some might find it a boring read… but I know I have at least one regular reader who was amused by Wilton’s offer to host my drug addict criminals. You see? People are interested in all kinds of stuff. Luckily, so am I.

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communication, complaints, language

I don’t care if “it’s what’s for dinner”… especially since “I ain’t been nowhere”.

I think Bill and I are on the verge of insanity. The last few months have been rather difficult for both of us. Bill has been working very hard, traveling for long stints to the same place in Bavaria, and working extremely long shifts– sometimes overnight, which is not a good fit for his early bird personality. I’m not physically and mentally exhausted like Bill is, but I’m feeling the strain of being socially distanced and not having any fun. We both really need a vacation. It’s not that we’ll die without one… it’s more that we both seriously need a change of scenery. Lately, I’ve found myself daydreaming about day trips to the Rhein, which we used to enjoy before the pandemic struck.

Don’t get me wrong… I know the pandemic is still going on and people are still getting sick and dying. But it’s good to see the infection numbers going down and rules starting to relax a little bit. I’m finding myself less interested in reading about COVID-19 or reading the shrill opinions of neurotic people who think we should be wearing masks forever. I hope to score a walk in appointment this week so I can get my second shot and be “street legal” by my birthday on the 20th. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll get pricked on the 9th. I think Bill is already trying to come up with something for us to do… When we finally do get to break out of here, I suspect it will be a nice trip. Or… I hope it will be. You just never know what’s going to happen in the wonderful world of contracting for the U.S. military.

A few friends managed to get away for the holiday. They’ve been posting photos from Belgium, Luxembourg, and Iceland. I’m happy for them that they got to travel. I hope to join them very soon. I think it will do wonders for my disposition. Lately, I’ve been a bit crankier than usual. I’m sure I’m not the only one, either. Even Rhonda Vincent agrees, having just released a brand new album with this fabulous COVID-19 inspired parody of “I’ve Been Everywhere”… because she, like Bill and I, “ain’t been nowhere” because we’re doing the “responsible” thing and staying home… avoiding masks and annoying busybodies who think we should live this way forever– and if we disagree, we need to be “corrected” and “reeducated”. (I need to quit reading The Atlantic, for sure!)

I love Rhonda Vincent… and I love her song, “I Ain’t Been Nowhere.” I ain’t, you know, and it’s making me even bitchier than I might otherwise be.

Yesterday, I posted a crabby status update about how much I hate the old beef ads from the early 90s… you know, the ones that used Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and gave us the ever annoying slogan, “Beef! It’s what’s for dinner!” I don’t remember hating that ad when it was new. It was aired during a time when a lot of Americans had turned away from eating red meat because of the heart risks. Instead of eating beef, people were eating poultry and fish or pork, “the other white meat”. Beef farmers were concerned about their lagging profits, so they came up with this ad, which has led to a highly irritating catchphrase that many people still use today.

On one hand, this was a wildly successful commercial. On the other hand, it’s still irritating the fuck out of me almost 30 years later.

I wish I had a quarter for every time someone says or writes “it’s what’s for dinner”… I would be a much wealthier woman than I am today. Today’s featured photo is a picture I used for my last blog moan about this trend… which I wrote almost five years ago. Yes, this also annoyed me in 2016… and probably before then, too. And in five years, nothing has changed, because people haven’t come up with anything catchier or more clever to say about their evening victuals as they share them with everyone on Facebook.

I bitched about this yesterday, and a friend who is a teacher and also likes to say “kiddo” (another word I can’t stand because it reminds me of a rapey stepfather on the Guiding Light), stopped by to tell me why the beef ad from 1993 is good. I have a feeling she might have felt offended that I was complaining about it, since she’s said she thinks it’s a great ad and apparently uses it as a teaching tool. Look– I am all for people using whatever they can when they teach children. Teaching is a tough job. However, the fact that it’s a good ad for use in the classroom has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it sets my teeth on edge.

I love beef, too. I would happily eat steak or a burger or barbecue with anyone, unless I’m in Armenia, where the beef wasn’t very good. I wouldn’t say German beef is that awesome, either. I’ve got nothing against beef as a food, even if procuring it does involve killing animals. I should probably like it less than I do.

I just don’t want to hear about “it’s what’s for dinner”… because I just don’t give a fuck. I’d like to be having dinner somewhere where I can order something off a menu and take photos of it for my blog. And the fact that today’s kids like that ad is irrelevant. They weren’t around in the early 90s, when it was shown incessantly on TV– back in the days before the Internet, getting into ridiculous conversations about annoying cliches, and wondering why I shouldn’t be able to say I don’t like something without having my opinions corrected.

As for the word “kiddo”… Yesterday, as I was telling Bill about how much I hate the old beef ads, I introduced him to the sordid tale of Bradley Raines, played by the late James Rebhorn on Guiding Light, a soap opera that lasted for over 70 years and has the distinction of being the only daytime serial that ever held my attention. Back in 1983, when I was about eleven years old, the iconic power couple of Phillip Spaulding (Grant Aleksander) and Beth Raines (Judi Evans) was born. Phillip’s original girlfriend, Mindy Lewis (Krista Tesreau) was in the hospital because she got bucked off of a horse named Boss. Beth was in the hospital because she was abused by her yucky stepfather, Bradley. She called him Bradley, even though he had adopted her and she used his last name.

Bradley Raines was a creepy character. James Rebhorn was a great actor, and he portrayed the part of a narcissistic abusive pervert to the hilt. However, thanks to Rebhorn’s turn as Bradley Raines, I’m left despising the word “kiddo”. Every time I hear it, I think of him, and the way he treated his adopted daughter/stepdaughter, Beth, who was portrayed as fragile and sweet… at least in the early years of her character’s existence.

Phillip and Beth meet, after Beth is hospitalized after Bradley threw her down the stairs.
Rapey stepfather!
Kiddo again, at 9:36. Yuck! At 11:00, he’s abusive to Beth’s mom, Lillian, and at 12:30, he hits Beth.
He says that damnable word, “kiddo”, at 9:59. Looks like a mean motherfucker, too. Incidentally, he was a motherfucker, since he fucked Beth’s mother. Most men are motherfuckers, aren’t they?

Ever since the 80s, the word “kiddo” has made me cringe. I feel the same way about the cutesy term, “doggo”. Ick. One time I mentioned hating that word, “kiddo”, and someone decided to correct my opinions about that, too. Why can’t people just let someone express a thought or an opinion without trying to correct it somehow? It’s just an opinion. If everyone agreed, the world would be a very boring place. I won’t be writing any letters demanding that the word “kiddo” is struck from the everyday American lexicon. I just hate hearing it because it makes me think of Bradley Raines.

But really, I mostly think I just dislike cliches. I am more impressed with people who come up with fresh ways to say things. I think the people who made the beef ads were very good at their job… but they were too good, if you know what I mean. Because people are still parroting that annoying cliche many years later, reminding me of dead cow flesh and Aaron Copland. I used to like Aaron Copland’s masterpiece, but now I feel the same way about it as I do the “it’s what’s for dinner” slogan. If I never hear it again, I’ll be pretty happy. 😉

A classic George Carlin routine on cliches… and how fucking annoying they are.

Ah well… I think I will be a lot less cranky when I can no longer say “I ain’t been nowhere.” I think Bill and I both need to get away and unplug for awhile. I don’t know where we’ll go. Europe is opening up… but, like I said, one never knows what will happen in the wonderful world of military contracting. Bill has been working very hard and needs a rest, though. So hopefully we’ll get a temporary one very soon… and even if it’s not outside of Germany, that will be fine. I would be happy just to have a new hill to photograph and a rainfall shower in a stall that I won’t have to clean. Plus, Noyzi needs to meet the dog sitter.

I ain’t been nowhere in way too long… today, my big plans involve going to the backyard and enjoying the sun while drinking myself into a stupor. Bill plans to barbecue chicken… not beef. Because at our house, beef is what’s NOT for dinner… although wine probably will be. Not that anyone cares. If you don’t care, I don’t want to hear about it… or be corrected… and I don’t want to know “what’s for dinner”.

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