communication, dogs, Germany, social media

No need to shoot the messenger…

This post could just as easily work in my travel blog, but I am currently working on my latest travel series, and I don’t want to break it up with this post. Also, I like to keep things as non-controversial as possible on that blog. This post could wind up being contentious.

I currently live in Germany. I live here courtesy of Bill’s employment. He’s a retired Army officer who found work here after he finished his Army career. I had wanted to come back to Germany because we had to leave early when Bill was last posted here with the Army. He was actually posted to Germany with the Army twice, but we didn’t know each other during his first stint, which was back in the late 1980s. Anyway, even though I had wanted to move back here to Germany, I didn’t bank on us doing that. I actually had expected us to buy a house– probably in Texas– and settle there. In retrospect, I thank God that didn’t happen. My opinion of Texas has taken a huge tumble since 2014.

When we moved here in 2014, I never expected we’d still be here in 2022. Granted, yes, we did move from Stuttgart from Wiesbaden… and although I was a bit angsty about the move in 2018, I’m now very grateful we moved. Moving helped me make some changes in my Facebook habits. I quit following most of the military groups, for instance. I have found that it’s given me a lot more peace.

For many reasons, I don’t really fit in with the military crowd, even though I was raised by an Air Force officer and have spent my whole life around military folks. I tend to have more liberal political leanings. I am older, and don’t have children. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer. I have several college degrees, which isn’t necessarily a rarity among today’s military spouses, but having a lot of formal education is less common than it is common. A lot of people, especially in the military community, find me obnoxious or annoying. I suspect it’s because a lot of them have trouble dealing with strong and/or opinionated women, especially when the women are also formally educated, and especially when they are professionals. It is what it is.

Last night, I witnessed a professional woman working in the military community being berated. It was kind of a perfect storm– a woman who is passionate about her work as a professional dog trainer was trying to do a good thing. She ended up upsetting someone, who– I think– got his panties in a huge wad over something that, in the grand scheme of things, had little to do with him. The dog trainer really did appear to be trying to do the right thing, and the guy she inadvertently upset took her comments very personally and made a big stink. This is not an uncommon phenomenon in Facebook groups that involve the military, although in this case, I don’t think the man involved was ever in the military. However, he was kind of acting like some of the worst offenders in some of the military groups.

As we all know, it’s holiday time. That means a lot of people are wanting to travel. For those of us who have pets, travel can be difficult, especially when it involves flying to the US or other parts of the world. Many people in the US military community have limited incomes or want to travel on a whim. These two things can make them inadvertently break German laws regarding dog ownership. A lot of Americans will ask for people to come to their homes to feed and walk their dogs, rather than boarding them, or having the dog stay with someone, or having someone stay at their home. While this is not something I would ever feel comfortable doing myself, I know a lot of people in the States are perfectly okay with this arrangement. However– it’s against German law to leave dogs alone for hours on end.

A couple of people in our local pet group posted requests for people to come let their dogs out and feed them. The dog training lady, who is American but has lived in Germany for years, pointed out that simply having people come to the house to feed and walk the dog is illegal here. On one post, the original author was grateful for the clarification and open to suggestions. But then there was another post. See below:

hello! I will be in the States Dec 5-9.

We need someone to come take our dogs out to the enclosed yard DEC 6/7/8/9 to poop and pee and get some loving around 12n 1300 each day. (30min or so). We live in

Nothing more than inside playing with the 3 and making sure all

go out into the yard for pee & poo

The dog trainer lady, understandably, thought this was yet another solicitation for someone to just come over to feed and toilet the dogs. So she left a comment.

HBB= home based business. I also agree that the initial post made it sound like no one else would be home. I have a degree in English, so I don’t think I have an issue understanding grammar. A lot of people in the military community don’t have both spouses working and would travel together. This gent obviously doesn’t have a household like that, but that wasn’t clear from the initial post.

So anyway, the dog trainer lady then made a general “blast” announcement. She didn’t call out anyone specific in her post, and what she wrote wasn’t incorrect. See below:

Hello everyone,

I have met the most amazing dog owners who I work with in this community and I think the majority are absolutely wonderful.

However, as a professional dog trainer and behaviourist, it’s important that I try to inform as many dog/pet owners as possible that it is very unhealthy and cruel to leave your dogs alone at your home when you are out of town. It is not enough to just have someone stop by to let them out and feed them!

There are other options to board or have someone stay at your home if you plan enough ahead.

The gentleman who got upset with the trainer for misunderstanding his situation apparently felt “seen” and shamed. So, amid the people who were praising the trainer for her informative post, he added his own comment.

Oh wow. 

READ MY POST and use the grammar you learned in school. 

We have lived in Germany over 6 years. 

We know how to take care of our dogs and again, anyone can look at my original post and detect the difference between “I will be gone” and “We need help”

We are not stupid. 

Get a life.

I don’t quite understand why it was necessary to get this pissy over the dog trainer’s post. She didn’t specifically call the guy out, and there have been multiple requests in the group for people to come to community members’ homes and take care of their animals without actually staying over. Moreover, what the trainer wrote isn’t wrong. If someone feels “seen” or “judged” by what she wrote, maybe they should take a look at themselves… or realize that sometimes your actual meaning will get lost in what you write in a Facebook post, even when you do your best to be clear (which I don’t think this fellow did). It doesn’t mean someone is stupid or uneducated, nor does it warrant “shooting the messenger”. They had a miscommunication. It happens. That doesn’t require acting like your sandy undies are lodged way up your ass.

I felt the need to leave a comment, so I did… and I have to admit, I was a little nervous in doing so, because people tend to think I’m “uppity” or whatever. This was my comment:

I don’t think she’s calling out anyone specific. It’s pretty common for some folks in the military community to leave their dogs at home and just have people come by. It’s not an uncommon practice in the US, and some people just do what they always do at home.

I’ve lived in Stuttgart and Wiesbaden for ten years total, and I have seen people do this in both places. There’s no need to take things personally or shoot the messenger. The fact is, she’s right. It’s not legal to leave your dog alone for hours. She’s not wrong to point it out. Maybe her post will help prevent someone getting in trouble with their neighbors, landlord, the police, or all three. 

It’s also not legal to spank your kids here, but mention that in a military group and see how quickly things go south! 

Other people left comments lamenting how expensive and difficult it is to find appropriate pet sitters for when they want or need to travel. I totally understand that. To one lady who commented on that issue, I wrote this story:

I get it, however, there is another solution to this wanting to travel/lack of pet care situation. When we lived in Stuttgart the first time, we used a boarding facility that was fabulous. In the five years we were gone, the lady who made it fabulous left. A new person, who was nice but not very competent, came on board.

It didn’t take long before that facility, which had once been highly regarded, fell into severe disrepute. My husband actually knew a guy whose dog DIED in their care. I knew someone whose dog got hurt and had to be euthanized. Other people’s dogs got very sick because they didn’t take care of them properly. This was especially true for any dog that needed medications, or other special care. Lots of people, understandably, quit booking there. 

So we switched facilities, as did a lot of other people. That led to having to book our spots ages in advance, if we were going on a cruise or somewhere on a plane. 

You know what we did? We started bringing our dogs with us. It was pretty great, too, because we found places we never would have gone to if we hadn’t brought our dogs. One of my favorite vacation memories is of a rabbit and snail farm in rural France. It was a really cool place with alpacas, goats, horses, and an awesome donkey named Antoine. We never would have gone there if not for our dogs coming with us. We had a great time, and so did our dogs. One of those dogs is now at the Rainbow Bridge, but I have great memories of him in France with us and the awesome donkey. 

Last week, we went to Ribeauville for the sixth time to celebrate our 20th anniversary. Why? Because one of our dogs is currently having chemo and I didn’t want him to be boarded. But I still wanted to celebrate our milestone anniversary. So he and our other dog— a mammoth sized street dog from Kosovo who takes up the whole back end of our Volvo— came with us. It was the Kosovo dog’s first trip, but I knew where we were going was very pet friendly. We went, had a great time, and our chemo dog got care from us, while the street dog finally learned to poop on the leash.

Pet boarding is always going to be tough. It’s not as bad here as it was in Stuttgart, when that place went into disrepute. When it comes down to it, though, it’s our responsibility as pet owners. The lovely thing about Europe is that, if need be, you can take them with you. And if anyone wants the link for where we stayed in Ribeauville, just let me know. The landlord is VERY pet friendly and his wife won’t let him have a dog.

She wrote that she has a very large dog, so she can’t travel with the dog so easily. I get that… and I understand that sometimes situations and circumstances lead people to adopt dogs that might be hard to travel with due to their breed, size, or other issues. But when it comes down to it, it’s our responsibility as dog owners to follow the laws. Many Germans, especially in military towns, already think Americans are irresponsible pet owners. The practice of leaving dogs alone for an excessive number of hours (more than five) doesn’t help repair that image. I do empathize, though. Especially when someone is single and has a dog, but has to work a lot. I am home almost all the time, and in all of the German villages where I’ve lived, someone has commented on my dogs’ barking. The most recent comment came from my next door neighbor’s mother, who is also a neighbor. They have a labrador who barks all the time, too.

Other people tried to diffuse the situation a bit. But the guy who was pissed at the trainer wasn’t moved, as you can see below.

Actually, she didn’t call him irresponsible. She said the practice of leaving a dog home alone while you vacation is cruel and irresponsible. And it is. But he hadn’t yet clarified his situation when she posted that comment. Then she advised him to be clearer about his situation, which obviously really upset him.

I would have thought that this would be the end of the spat, but no… the guy posted again– another separate post about how insulted he was by the situation.

Thank you for everyone who responded to my post about needing someone to visit & play with OUR dogs for MY trip to the states the first week of December.

WE have found someone who can take OUR 3 doggies out for the days I will not be in town and my partner can’t make it home during the day.

SO unfortunate others weren’t able to read my intent in my original post but I’m thrilled with those that stepped up to help. Whilst my initial punctuation was not correct, my grammar was.

Oh, and again, HBB business owners should never try and insult potential clients publicly. Get your facts straight before you call pet owners irresponsible.

Have a great night all!

Mmm’kay… well, I don’t know about how this came across to other people, but I don’t think the dog trainer was insulting him, personally. She was criticizing the practice of leaving dogs home alone for too many hours, which many Americans are guilty of doing. Here’s another post that appeared last night, as proof:

Please delete if not allowed but there has been hours of what sounds like 2 dogs barking and crying. This is not the first time this has happened (last time it occurred all night until 730am). The barking is coming from the area surrounding the playground at the top of Arizona/Virginia/Texas Strasse. As much as it is loud and makes it hard to sleep, I am genuinely concerned for these dogs.

It’s 12:50 am right now.

The dog trainer obviously didn’t know the guy from Adam when he first posted, and his initial post wasn’t that clear that someone would be home at night. But he took what she wrote as a personal insult, when it probably wasn’t meant that way at all. And then he turned into a proper jerk with the above comments in a follow up post, highlighting his grammar as if people are intellectually delayed and need the emphasis. I didn’t write this thought in his post, because I have no interest in engaging with someone that thin skinned, but my response to him would be that I would hope a dog trainer running a home based business in Germany would care enough to know the local laws regarding dog ownership and point them out, even if potential clients are “offended” or insulted. And honestly, I would not want this guy as a client, because he obviously has a pretty short fuse and is unreasonable. There was no need for this situation to blow up in the way it did. Imagine his reaction if something were to go wrong when he hires someone to take care of his dogs. He’s probably very litigious. He would not have liked Max, our sitter in Stuttgart, who was very free about lecturing us, sometimes unnecessarily. Yes, it was annoying and kind of insulting at the time, but he wasn’t wrong to do it. He had our dogs’ welfare in mind, which is a quality I highly regard in someone who makes their living taking care of or training dogs.

Should the dog trainer been a little more careful about her comment being seen as an accusation? Maybe… because obviously, some people are going to take offense when none is really intended. He clarified the situation, and she recommended that he add that to his original post so people wouldn’t make erroneous assumptions. He could have just done that and been done with the drama. Instead, he chose to get really offended and go on the warpath, insulting the dog trainer by insinuating that she’s uneducated. In the process, I learned a lot about him that wasn’t very flattering. He’s evidently a very rude person, which is interesting, given that according to his profile, he’s made his living in customer service.

What makes this worse is that someone else piled on with the pissy guy, agreeing that the dog trainer was “shaming” and lording her profession over “parents of fur babies”, who love their dogs but don’t always follow host nation rules. It’s the same kind of shit I’ve gotten in a lot of military groups, because as a woman and a “dependa”, I am supposed to just shut up and color, rather than express an opinion or be myself. I think the person who made the comment about being a parent of fur babies is someone who has bought into the mindset that no one should claim to be an expert, because it makes them feel inferior. Seriously… this is a thing in military communities. People get threatened by professionals and/or educated people, especially when the person who is educated is a woman. Military communities tend to be quite sexist.

I really didn’t think the dog trainer was “condemning” anyone in her “blast” post. Her comment to the pissy guy was a little less friendly, but my guess that came from the frustration of seeing a bunch of people asking for drop by dog sitting, rather than having someone stay with the dogs. Granted, she misinterpreted his initial post, but I can see how that happened. His initial post wasn’t absolutely clear. I got the same impression the dog trainer did.

To be clear– the original poster– the pissy guy– does not appear to be military affiliated. But his adversarial attitude is one that is very common in military groups. It’s not productive. And it added fuel to a post that, in my opinion, really should not have been controversial at all. Instead of just leaving a reasonable response and extending some grace, he got very offended by what he saw as a stranger insulting him. The woman who sided with pissy guy is still arguing about what the local laws are. She insists that dogs aren’t to be left alone, crated. I can tell her that the Germans in my neighborhood don’t hesitate to say something when dogs are howling, even if they, themselves, have dogs that howl and bark. 😉 It doesn’t matter if the dog is crated. If your dog is making a lot of noise and you have uptight neighbors, you might wind up hearing from the police. So knowing and heeding the laws is a good practice, even if it’s not what you’d do at home in America. And if a professional dog trainer doesn’t know, and/or isn’t advocating for following the laws, that’s a much bigger issue than “insulting” or offending potential clients. Just my opinion. 😉

Anyway… this kind of ridiculous crap is why I now avoid military affiliated Facebook groups, except for the one I run… which doesn’t tend to be very controversial, since it’s about food and wine. But even in that group, sometimes I have to clean house.

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communication, social media

The old American double standard…

The featured photo was shared on Janis Ian’s Facebook page. I think she might want to consider if maybe she, herself, falls into the “easily offended” category… And before anyone comes at me, I hasten to add that I know I can be a bit prickly and easily offended about some things myself. I am human, after all.

Some years ago, I heard George Carlin talk about what he referred to as “the old American double standard”. His exact words were:

It’s the old American Double Standard, ya know: Say one thing, do something different. And of course this country is founded on the double standard, that’s our history! We were founded on a very basic double standard: This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.

As I sit here on a Monday morning, eyes barely cracked open after a busy few days, I’m remembering George’s wise words. In fact, I was talking to Bill about them this morning, as I read a scolding Facebook post by Janis Ian. A few days ago, as I was eating Quiche Lorraine in Ribeauville, I noticed a post Janis put on Facebook. It was a quote. For some reason, even though she is a critically acclaimed songwriter, Janis Ian likes to post quotes by other people. And somehow, when she posts quotes, the comment section goes south, and she ends up chastising someone and/or closing comments in apparent disgust.

One of the contentious posts on Janis Ian’s page. She turned off commenting.

Janis had posted the above quote that some people thought was misattributed. Someone left a comment pointing out that she was “spreading misinformation”. The person’s remark was a little bit rude, and Janis responded in a rather pissy way. I happened to agree with the commenter that people should be more careful about sharing quotes and making sure they are attributed to the right person. In fact, one of my most popular posts is about how people misattributed a quote to Betty White that she specifically stated she never said, and never would say in a million years.

Again, I do think it’s important to get quotes both correct, and credited to the right person. As a highly acclaimed songwriter, it seems to me that Janis Ian would agree. I mean, how would she like it if someone made a meme using a line from “At Seventeen” or “Society’s Child” and attributed it to Carole King, Joni Mitchell, or Janis Joplin? My guess is that she wouldn’t like it… and if someone dared to share it on her page, she would call it out. Below is one of the more civilized exchanges on the post in question. I cut and pasted it, because the poster and I agree that there’s a bit of a double standard going on here…

I didn’t comment on the post myself. I’ve followed Janis’s page long enough to realize that she doesn’t always concede gracefully. I continue to follow her, though, because she’s often funny. I also appreciate that she appears to do her own social media, something I find refreshing and interesting. I like her music. However, I have a feeling we probably wouldn’t get along if we were to meet offline somewhere.

This morning, I was reading her page again, when I noticed this:

Do people really stop to read up on the people whose quotes are shared online? My guess is that most of them don’t… just like they don’t read news articles before commenting on the headlines.

I don’t know anything about H.L. Mencken, but I do know something about Sunday School. I was forced to attend for years. I didn’t find it to be particularly awful, since I grew up in a mainstream Presbyterian church, but I do know that there are a lot of toxic religions out there that do a lot of damage to people. I’ve written about quite a few of them in my blog.

On the above post, I noticed a lot of people were sharing their experiences. Some people were agreeing with the quote from Mencken. Others were apparently offended that Janis Ian was posting about religion. Some pointed out that Ms. Ian is Jewish, so what would she know about Sunday School? I think that could be a valid point. I could also understand why some people felt offended by the quote, since they are, themselves, religious.

I didn’t find the quote offensive, but I do think how people will take it depends on their own perspective, and there are so many of them to consider. And unfortunately, there are a lot of jerks on the Internet who get off on trying to pull “gotchas” on people. On the other hand, sometimes people are simply trying to prevent misinformation. If, for instance, I posted that Dolly Parton wrote the “Star Spangled Banner”, I would expect people to correct me. If I truly believed she wrote it, maybe I’d get a little pissed off by having my pride insulted by a well-deserved correction. But in the long run, it’s better that I know the truth, right? That way, I don’t look foolish later, telling people something that is obviously wrong.

I think there’s a fine line between being a jerk trying to make someone feel small, and honestly trying to give credit where credit is due. And while I agree that some posters were less than gracious in their comments on Janis’s page, I also think that Janis isn’t always as even-keeled as she could be. I’ve noticed that she has a tendency to scold people, sometimes when I don’t think they necessarily did anything to warrant such a response. It’s possible she does this because she’s a sensitive, creative, artistic person. Or maybe she’s a little narcissistic, as narcissists are often the type to shame and scold. Either way, it’s an aspect of her online personality that I don’t particularly like very much. Like I wrote up post, if we were to meet offline, I sense that we wouldn’t like each other. But then, if that turned out to be true, and Janis didn’t like me much, she’d be one of many people. 😉 I’m the kind of person people tend to love or hate. 😀

A recent post by Janis… I see her point, but her point is one of many that could be presented…

Janis Ian often posts quotes by people she apparently admires, even if they weren’t “good people”. I actually applaud her for discouraging the ever popular “cancel culture” that a lot of people think is justice today. People are complicated and complex, and sometimes brilliant people say and do shitty things. It shouldn’t necessarily negate everything else they do in life. On the other hand, if you’re going to post something for public consumption, chances are good that someone is going to be contrary or inappropriate.

If you’re a famous person, it’s even more likely that someone is going to take a dump on your post. I know it’s annoying. It even happens to me sometimes, and I am not famous at all. But one thing I would like to ask Janis is, why is it up to her to decide what should, or should not, offend other people? If someone is offended by Picasso, shouldn’t they be free to state that? Isn’t that how productive discussions in free societies get started? Wouldn’t it be better to just take a breath, validate the person’s viewpoint, and then try to have a civilized chat about it, rather than just dismissing them as being “too easily offended” and scolding them for being “argumentative”? Why post this stuff if it just leads to exasperation and shutting down the comment section?

I will admit that the comment sections on my own blog are set to shut down after a certain time. I don’t do that on the travel blog, because most of the stuff posted there isn’t controversial. I do it on this blog, because sometimes people find old content and try to stir up shit on subjects that are old news. I don’t get enough productive comments from people on old content to justify leaving comment sections open, although I’m always open to re-evaluating my policies. I prefer to let my regular readers be the ones who comment, though, and they usually do so on posts when they’re new. Troublemakers and spammers hit the old stuff.

I try not to be hypocritical, and while it can be hard, when I’m wrong, I do try to admit to it. I’ve been wrong about a lot of things. I’ve also been right about a lot of things. I think it’s best to try to stay open-minded about most topics, although I can agree that sometimes people can be so open-minded their brains can fall out. Or, that’s my opinion, anyway.

I guess my main point is that opinions run the gamut. As my favorite uncle, Brownlee, used to say “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one.” I know he didn’t come up with that quote, nor did he come up with the follow on… “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one, and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.” I think that’s pretty accurate, don’t you? I just wish people who claim to be open-minded and desirous of discussion would take a moment to examine their own behaviors before pointing out other people’s bad behaviors. Because chances are, the speck you’re trying to remove from someone else’s eye is obscured by the plank in your own. And yes… I know that’s a concept that comes from the Bible.

Maybe I learned something in Sunday School, after all. Praise be!

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social media, Twitter

I just quit Twitter… and it feels so good!

I wasn’t planning to write another post today, but I decided it was necessary to share the news that I quit Twitter. This is mainly because I have a regular reader who communicates with me via Twitter’s DM system, and she may want to know what happened. I’m sure most of the rest of you don’t give a shit that I shitcanned Twitter, and that’s fine. I never had much of a following there, and found it to be mostly a toxic waste dump, anyway. And although I got an account in 2009 or so, I almost never used it until this year, when I was tweeting at USAA… another outfit I’d like to ditch at some point soon.

So what happened?

I recently loosened up my Twitter settings, because after some rather unpleasant sessions a few months ago, I found having Twitter so “locked down” was boring. But I didn’t like it wide open, either, because the platform is truly full of people who are apparently completely vile and uncivilized. So, I was marginally happier with a less restricted Twitter, but I was still seeing tweets from unhinged MAGA folks. Frankly, I was appalled at what was allowed to be posted on Twitter, and Elon Musk just bought it, vowing to bring back “free speech”. Meanwhile, he’s also talking about charging a subscription fee for some users, which will probably become all users at some point. He says he wants the company to be less reliant on advertising revenue.

Well, given that there’s so much vitriol and nastiness there already, I can’t imagine wanting to pay for the privilege of reading someone’s MAGA bullshit. Besides, I didn’t find the platform to be very engaging. When I had it wide open, I mostly interacted with people who were rude, insulting, and abusive. When I used privacy settings, it became boring. I mean, yes, I could read tweets and laugh at some of the witticisms and memes. But I didn’t feel connected or engaged, and save for a few “stars” who were regularly entertaining, I mostly found people on Twitter to be obnoxious… even worse so than they are on Facebook.

And then, it happened. Today, I got “disciplined” by Twitter’s bots. If you’ve read some of my recent rants about Facebook’s annoying bot overlords, you know that this is a feature that I find extremely irritating and useless. Bots tend to crack the moderation whip with a lack of context… not unlike KFC’s bots who invited Germans to celebrate “Kristallnacht” with some fried chicken. Kristallnacht, as you probably know, isn’t a day that is to be celebrated by anyone. But it is a noted day in Germany, and the bots were programmed to push out notifications on noted days in Germany… and apparently, no one notified the AI system that it’s not appropriate to invite Germans to eat fried chicken on a notoriously tragic day in history. Kristallnacht is the day in November 1938 when massacres against Jewish people in Germany and Austria were initiated. Many people consider Kristallnacht the beginning of the Holocaust. So… this is a pretty terrible public relations SNAFU for KFC.

What got me “disciplined”?

Some guy posted a tweet along the lines of “I’m voting for Trump and there’s nothing you can do about it.” My initial thought was to tell him I don’t care who he votes for… but then it occurred to me that by responding to him, I was indicating that I do care. So I posted that he might as well pour sulfuric acid on his genitals, too. Note, I didn’t invite him to do it. I didn’t write that I wanted him to do it. The phrase “might as well”, according to the dictionary, means “to suggest doing something, often when there is nothing better to do”. Like, for instance, when my second grade teacher used to moan, “I might as well be talking to the moon,” when she was annoyed by our class’s lack of attention and talkativeness. She didn’t mean she was actually going to talk to the moon. She meant that talking to the moon would be just as ineffective as trying to talk to us. Likewise, I didn’t mean to imply that the guy should actually pour sulfuric acid on his genitals. I meant to say that it would be just as effective to do that as it is to vote for Donald Trump, who is definitely not the future of Republican politics anymore. In my opinion, obviously. I was being facetious.

I will admit my tweet was vulgar and crass. It was not nearly as awful as some of the tweets I’ve seen posted by others, or even directed at me, personally, before I blocked a bunch of people. It didn’t sit well with me to immediately get an email from Twitter letting me know that they had locked my account for twelve hours (it was the first time it ever happened). I was even less impressed that the email directed me to “proceed to Twitter” to fix the “issues” with my account. I was invited to appeal if I wanted to, but they wouldn’t unlock my account while the tweet was examined. What really annoyed me, though, was that in order to start the clock on the ban, I had to give them my “real” phone number so they could send me a code and verify my identity.

Um… how ’bout you fuck off, Twitter? I am not your ass monkey.

Just to get into my account to deactivate it, I had to give them my phone number. And then they wanted me to delete the tweet, so I could start the process of “learning my lesson” with a twelve hour ban on posting. I don’t post very much, anyway, so it’s not like the ban is much of a hardship. That wasn’t the point of why I quit.

Like I said, I’ve about had it with bot style discipline, especially when I read reports of Elon Musk totally fucking up the company the day after he buys it, firing a bunch of people and then asking some to, temporarily, come back, indicating to the world that the rules won’t apply to him, and wanting to charge a subscription fee. I figure Twitter is going to go down in flames soon, anyway. So I’m proud to join the ranks of Sara Bareilles and Whoopi Goldberg and the rest of the woke celebrities who are fed up with Twitter. I suppose I could have just not bothered to log in again, but I figured that would just prompt Twitter to send me emails. I suspect that if enough people do what I did, they won’t survive for long. Elon Musk has already said the company is in a death spiral from a financial standpoint. Pissing off casual users is one way for Twitter to hasten its extinction.

Leaving Twitter might make it harder to watch Ex, but you know what? That may not be a bad thing, either. I’m always going to be getting updates about her, regardless, whether or not I want them. As long as younger daughter is talking to us and her mother, we’ll continue to hear about her antics. And most of what she posts just makes me cringe and causes anxiety.

So here’s to one less social media platform to keep up with… I’m down with being a troglodyte. Why not? Alexis, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry to bail… Maybe we can find another way to chat. I’m sure there are options aplenty. And the bonus is, I don’t have to be there when Donald Trump is allowed to tweet again, with all the other losers. 😉

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Bill, narcissists, politicians, politics, social media

Yesterday was tough, and not just because of the elections…

In all of the excitement of Election Day, I forgot to mention that yesterday was significant for other reasons. Last night, Bill reminded me that it was the second anniversary of his father’s death. Because November 2020 was during the height of the COVID pandemic, we were not able to go back to the States for his funeral. Consequently, I think there’s a lot of “processing” that never got done, especially in Bill’s case. Yes, we were keeping an eye on the elections, but last night was more about remembering Bill’s dad, whom Bill loved dearly, but never got the chance to know as well as he should have.

For that reason, it was probably a good thing we weren’t able to see James Taylor. Bill got triggered, because he saw an email from Dignity– the bereavement service where people post obituaries– reminding him about his dad. He got very flustered and scatterbrained after seeing that reminder. Last night, he needed to debrief somewhat. If we’d been at the concert, that wouldn’t have happened. We still don’t know when the show will go on. ETA: November 19th…. So we will come home from France a day early.

We were also pretty tired last night, because Arran was restless on Tuesday morning and kept getting up in the wee hours of the morning for various reasons. He was not so bad last night. I think we only roused once during the night, although I was wide awake at 5:00am. Arran is now napping in his bed in my office, while I wait for the bed sheets to dry. Wednesdays are the days I usually wash them. It’s a pain to wash the sheets, but I always enjoy the rewards of clean, crisp linens on the bed. I look forward to an afternoon nap. 😉

Seriously, y’all… Women in Texas voted for a man who wants to pit neighbor against neighbor over abortion…

I am disappointed that Greg Abbott won another term as Texas governor, although I am not at all surprised. Although there are many bright people who voted blue in the big Texas cities, there are lots of very rigid people living in rural areas who are so very sure that abortions are akin to murder. They don’t seem to care about the already born children of Uvalde who cowered in fear as their classmates and two teachers were slaughtered in front of them. It always amazes me that people want to demonize anyone who needs an abortion for ANY reason– including when they are going to lose their babies due to catastrophic medical events–but they still promote gun rights, even as CHILDREN are murdered in schools.

Ah well… Maybe it’s time I stopped caring about what happens in Texas, even though it’s my “home” state for now. I don’t live there, and at 50, I won’t be bleeding out because I need an abortion for medical reasons. I read three different horror stories within 24 hours about this happening to Texas women. They need medical help, and wind up in New York or Seattle or almost DEAD in Texas hospitals, because the vile and abhorrent Greg Abbott has made abortion pretty much illegal across the board.

I really think what’s going to have to happen to change things is that women are going to have to suffer and die to the extent that the public demands changes. That’s what it took to change things in Ireland, so that women were allowed to make choices about their own bodies. But maybe it’s not my fight. I’m tired of engaging with brain dead, uneducated idiots on this issue, who REFUSE to understand why completely banning abortion is so dangerous and wrong. Like I said, I’m 50… and I don’t have any children. And now, I’m glad about that.

I did try, yesterday, to remind people about this scary and important issue, as they were blaming Democrats for inflation (which isn’t controlled by specific government administrations). One woman accused me of “murdering” 63 million babies (uh… no), totally ignoring that I specifically addressed women who need abortion for HEALTH care reasons. The other accused me of “spreading misinformation”, because Planned Parenthood takes care of women in Texas (uh… no). I turned off notifications for that post and blocked the two idiots, as well as several others who were reminding me of why I’ve been so glad to live in Germany for eight years.

It saddens me that people in America are so rigid and blind, and they can’t even entertain an alternative viewpoint. But– here in our little Wiesbaden suburb, we have community events, complete with wine and lacking in firearms… and I don’t get treated badly for being “foreign”. In fact, Germans have been very welcoming to us, on the whole. Too bad people in the so-called “land of the free” aren’t like that toward people who aren’t citizens.

In other news, Peter Gabriel is going on tour. I almost ordered tickets yesterday, but the Frankfurt show is happening on June 13, a week before my birthday. Bill says he might have to be on a TDY that week. I don’t know that I want to shell out over 900 euros if there’s a chance he can’t go. Peter Gabriel is playing other venues in Europe, of course. It might be a good excuse to visit Cologne again, which is a very nice city and not too far from us. We had a great time there in 2019, when we went there to see the Eagles. Or we could go to Amsterdam and I can have some space cakes, like I did when I turned 43. Germany is now talking about legalizing marijuana, too… which would be great, as far as I’m concerned.

It would have been really nice to see Beto beat Abbott. I didn’t expect it to happen, though. And I see Ron DeSadist won in Florida, which also isn’t a surprise. But now, Trump is threatening him against running for president, because Trump is dying to get back in power so he can become a dictator. I hope the two of them eat each other alive. They are both dirty. And hey, although we’re still stuck with the disgusting Marjorie Taylor Greene, at least the repugnant Lauren Boebert was (probably) defeated. And so was Dr. Oz… so that’s a great thing. The news isn’t all bad…

Anyway, it’s Wednesday, so that means I can watch The Handmaid’s Tale season finale and The Crown. And since it’s a wet, rainy day, it may be perfect for finishing my book and binge watching Netflix… if I don’t fall asleep, that is. So I think I’ll end here, practice guitar, and maybe take a short walk with the dogs… and get on with rotting what’s left of my brain with some television.

A screen grab from the better video of Weird Wilbur’s hit song…

Oh, and before I forget… I dedicate this song to Greg Abbott and every Texan who voted for him… (even though I bet Weird Wilbur voted red, if he managed to stagger to the polls…)

It bears repeating… over and over again.
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dreams, music, politicians, politics, slut shamers, social media

Strange morning dreams, and rude comments from MAGAts….

I’ve been having some interesting dreams lately. Yesterday morning, I dreamt that Richard Carpenter had quit playing music and become a dentist, and he was MY dentist. I don’t know how good Richard is at math and science, but based on his looks alone, I could totally see him as a dentist. But, because I do admire his piano skills so much, and I’m sorry I dreamt he changed careers, I decided to download a few of his solo albums. As I write this, I’m listening to this year’s Richard Carpenter’s Piano Songbook, in which he plays intricate piano instrumentals of his biggest hits with his sister, the late Karen Carpenter. And, as I write this, I realize I’m turning into my dad. This is the kind of thing he’d probably enjoy himself. He used to play Carpenters albums in the car when I was a kid. If I was lucky, that’s what he would play… otherwise, it would be straight up Muzak. Thankfully, I’m not that bad off yet. If I ever become a Muzak fan, please just put me out of my misery so I can be beamed out of this existence.

Then this morning, after I fell back to sleep after waking up at 4:00am, I had a dream that I went back to my parents’ former home and place of business in Gloucester, Virginia. Somehow, I had forgotten that they had sold it to Deborah, the lady who worked for my dad for about 20 years before he finally let her take over the business. Before Bill and I went to my old house, I dreamt we were at some kind of pond in Germany. I was standing on the shore, looking for fish. I saw a whole lot of them. One was a giant goldfish– size of a frying pan, which jumped out of the water and bit the air. A German woman standing next to me managed to get a shot of the magnificent leap. I was about to try to do the same, when all of a sudden, an iPad came flying through the air at me. It was somehow magnetized with a powerful force, causing it to stick to me and push me to the ground. I couldn’t get up.

Then, I was at my old house– Deborah’s current house– walking around, noticing how my mom’s needlework shop was full of kids’ bikes, and there was a water slide made of foam rubber cushion installed near the front porch. Just as I was about to try out the slide, I remembered it wasn’t my house. I figured we better leave, but as we were about to leave, a bunch of people showed up, claiming they were Deborah’s friends. They were an odd group– people who would be considered “weird” in many circles. I have no idea if Deborah has any friends who resembled the ones in my dream. There were also cops, and they wore black uniforms instead of the brown ones they wore when I lived in Gloucester. I should also note that Deborah, herself, was not in attendance.

That’s when I woke up for good… and I looked at Facebook on my iPad, and saw a bunch of notifications for comments people made to me last night, after I dared to post to Nancy Pelosi that I had already voted straight blue and wished her husband, Paul, a speedy recovery. Now… on the surface of it, I don’t see why this statement should have attracted rude and angry comments, and inappropriate reactions, from MAGA trolls. I don’t understand, either, why they are hanging out on Nancy Pelosi’s Facebook page, harassing her supporters and well-wishers. Even if I still voted Republican, I would wish Paul Pelosi a speedy recovery from the injuries he received at the hands of David DePape, an unhinged QAnon supporting person who broke into the Pelosis’ home and attacked her 82 year old husband with a hammer. Why wouldn’t I wish him, and his wife, well? That’s called just being a decent human being, don’t you think? He’s not in office himself. He’s just married to a high powered Democrat. No one deserves to be violently attacked, especially in their own home, but I don’t see why I should wish Paul Pelosi ill, simply because his wife is a powerful woman who pushes Democratic policies.

As for my votes, I figure I have every right as an American person over the age of 18 to choose the people I think will do the best for the country. I do not think that Republicans, especially as they are today, will do the best for America. Even if I believed that voting “red” would improve the economy and help people with their bills– and I don’t believe that, by the way– I have seen way too many people with questionable morals and narcissistic personalities running for office. Decent humans who actually care about others and want to do what is best for America are in very short supply in the Republican Party. Sorry… I just can’t align with folks like Lauren Boebert, Ron DeSantis, Marjorie Taylor (Greene), Matt Gaetz, Glenn Youngkin, Kari Lake, Greg Abbott, any Trump family member (besides Mary), or any of the other truly disgusting and hateful people who are stumping for the Republicans right now. I won’t do it, even if it means my stocks will finally go up again. Voting for decent, professional, caring people in leadership matters more to me than money does. I’ve been broke before, too… so I do know how important money is. But if bad people run the country, do you really think they will want me to hang on to money? My answer to that question is “no”.

I simply don’t believe that if the Republicans get all the power, they will make American better, let alone great. They are interested in enriching themselves and staying in power, PERIOD. So, because I have the ability to do so, and a functioning brain, I’m choosing NOT to vote for Republicans… probably ever again, if I’m honest. As a legal, law-abiding, adult American, that is MY call to make, just as it’s your call to vote for Republicans, if you want to do that. Leaving me horrible comments, especially on a Democrat leader’s Facebook page, is NOT going to change my mind. Laughing at me will only cause me to use my block button, because by laughing, you’ve shown that you don’t have any respect for me, anyway. So why would I want to read anything you post or see your profile picture? We have nothing in common.

I don’t make a habit of following social media pages made by Republicans. I don’t sit there and harass Republican voters for leaving supportive messages for their candidates. Frankly, I’ve got better things to do with my time. In fact, as an American, I believe that everyone has the right to vote their conscience. I am also smart enough to know that if I was inclined to try to change people’s political beliefs, I’d likely get further by being nice about it, rather than being insulting. Too bad some of these MAGA trolls aren’t busier making their lives more fulfilling somehow. Maybe they should go to church or something.

I totally agree with Beau on this. The Republican Party is not about helping the people. It’s about money and power, and they WILL come after yours, even if you vote for them.

I was telling Bill about my strange dreams, and he was especially interested in the one about the iPad that was so powerful that it was holding me down to the ground. What a concept! I spend too much time online, and way too much time being irritated by social media. I don’t like all liberal ideas, and would actually rather have the choice to vote for more moderate candidates who have chances to win. But I prefer liberal agendas to the truly distasteful fascism I’ve seen coming from the right wing these days. I’d rather vote for “woke” policies, even if I don’t really like the whole “woke” thing, where women have privacy and bodily autonomy, than align with people who cheer for guns as they try to force women to gestate at all costs. And as they force women to stay pregnant when they don’t want to be, can’t afford to be, or it’s not safe for them to be, they offer no solutions or support to those women, or the babies they will birth. All they do is slut shame. I think access to abortion and healthcare privacy are both very important, so I will always vote for candidates who support that. I care much more about already BORN people. The MAGA trolls can just fuck off.

I am glad to spend another year abroad. This year, on Election Day, I will see James Taylor perform. I have had tickets for his Frankfurt show for awhile now. We were going to see him in February of this year, but COVID numbers were too high then. It looks like the show will still be going on this Tuesday, and we have second row seats. This may be my last time seeing James perform in person, so I look forward to that. It will be a nice diversion from the disasters at home in the United States. Hopefully, my dreams then will be inspired by James Taylor, rather than MAGA morons.

ETA: Sadly, James Taylor had to postpone again. COVID has invaded the band.

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