celebrities, controversies, music, YouTube

Casting my “Angel Eyes” downward on Good Friday…

I’ve been reading some rather disturbing headlines this week… Lots of people are claiming to be Christians, but they aren’t acting in a very Christ-like manner. I’ve written about this phenomenon a few times… and I always feel a little strange when I do so, because I’m not a particularly religious person myself.

I guess it just perplexes me when I see so-called Christians in a fear fueled war on people, simply because they’re different in some way. I don’t understand issues surrounding gender identity. I truly don’t. I am a woman, and I have always identified as such. I feel fortunate that I’m so comfortable in my own skin. I can’t really sympathize with someone who identifies as transgender, but I can try to empathize. It must be a very complicated problem to have, especially in today’s very polarized world.

There is a difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is an expression of caring that is often more about pity, while empathy is more about compassion and understanding. I can’t know how it feels to be transgender, but I can try to have compassion for someone who doesn’t feel comfortable with their “assigned sex” and is more at ease presenting in another way.

I don’t know much about the current controversy surrounding Anheuser-Busch’s decision to use a transgender model for their latest advertising campaign. Although I once worked for Anheuser-Busch, when it owned Busch Gardens, I haven’t been a consumer of their products in at least a couple of decades. So, even without the current controversy, I wouldn’t be buying their beer. I live in a place where vastly superior beer is readily available. In fact, if I want to buy Anheuser-Busch beers, I have to go on post, and I’d pay more for the privilege of drinking inferior beer.

Travis Tritt is a conservative “artist” who says he’s boycotting Anheuser-Busch products at his shows because Anheuser-Busch used transgender activity Dylan Mulvaney in an ad campaign. He thinks that his boycott will make a difference. I respect Travis’s talent, but I think his efforts are misguided and polarizing, and while I don’t know what his beliefs are, I’d say that if he claims to be a Christian, he’s not acting in a very Christ-like fashion. Ditto to Kid Rock, who is similarly banning certain beers from his concerts. What a couple of tools.

This reminds me of how, back in 2003, supposed “freedom loving” conservatives boycotted The Dixie Chicks (as was their name at the time) because they publicly announced their disdain for former President George W. Bush. The Dixie Chicks responded by changing their name and their style of music. Honestly, fuck these conservative Christian rightwing zealots! They are enormous hypocrites! If you love freedom, and you consider yourself a Christian, trying to silence people and ruin their livelihoods isn’t in keeping with those values.

I’m tempted to go buy some Bud Light, just because I’m disgusted by so-called Christians and far right conservatives being hateful and bigoted. It’s all because they’re terrified of evolution and change, and the idea that not everything is black or white. And honestly, what the hell difference does it make who’s modeling for Anheuser-Busch?

Why hate on someone simply because of their gender identity? Why boycott a product simply because a transgender model is promoting it? If you’re secure with yourself and your own identity, I don’t see why the model is any threat to you? I really don’t get it.

Frankly, I’m just happy to see a live person is being employed as the model instead of some artificial intelligence generated thing. It’s getting more and more difficult to tell what talent is real, and what’s not anymore.

Anyway, since it’s Good Friday, and we’re about to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, I think I’ll just ponder on this crazy bullshit for another day. This morning, I feel like recording something kind of moody and jazzy, to match the rainy weather. The song “Angel Eyes” has little to do with this post. I just feel like recording it. Why does YouTube always pick me mid high note for the stills? I look like I’m having an orgasm.

Angel Eyes…

Hope you all enjoy your Friday. I’m going back to bed so I can do some more reading.

complaints, silliness

A mildly exasperating day…

This morning, I woke up to find Bill looking crestfallen. He said he’d tried to play with Noyzi, who responded by submissive peeing on the rug. Noyzi is coming along nicely as he adjusts to life as a pet dog, but he still has some fear triggers. Two things that scare him are sudden loud noises and sudden quick movements, especially if they come from a man. Poor Bill is such a kind, gentle soul, but Noyzi is still afraid of him.

Then, Bill noticed that he had a package coming today… Belgian beer from Saveur-Biere, a Belgian company that stocks exotic beers for when we don’t want to drink another Hefeweizen or Pils. I waited around all morning for the delivery. I finally decided to chance a thirty minute walk at about 1:30 or so. The weather is very nice today. We have sunshine and mild temperatures.

Well… it happened to be about the time the kids were getting out of school, so there was more traffic and activity than usual. Then, when we got to the bottom of the hill, Arran decided to take a crap in someone’s flower bed. I had to clean that up as cars and people were going by. It was a messy job picking up the poop, so some of it got on my hand as we crossed the street, then Noyzi spooked at a lamp post.

After he recovered from that, he spooked again because someone raised their Rolladen and it made a loud squeak. He backpedaled quickly, and almost knocked me over. At that point, I was glad I put the harness on him. He’s doing a lot better on the leash than he was, but he still has his moments of panic.

So there I was juggling the two vastly different sized dogs and a bag of fresh dog crap. We encountered a lady at the bus stop, another lady standing on the narrow sidewalk, and a metal manhole cover that I always seem to hit. It makes a loud clank when I step on it and scares Noyzi.

As we were about to turn onto the pathway through the gardens, we ran into a chatty German woman who wanted to pet the dogs and had one of her own. Thankfully, her dog was super calm. Noyzi was great. He likes women. I was really glad she wasn’t a he.

We got back to the house, just in time to catch the DPD guy who had just delivered Bill’s beer to our landlords. So, after washing the shit off of my hand, I had to go over there and get it. The landlord was kind enough to carry it for me, since it was heavy. Then he said he had another package. I wasn’t expecting one, and it turned out to be for our other next door neighbor. It never fails! If I decide to risk a shower or a walk with the dogs, the delivery people always seem to show up!

Thinking I was done with distractions, I got in the shower. I had just washed my hair when the fucking doorbell rang. I dried off a bit and managed to see the DHL driver taking off. I guess he had a package for the neighbor, too. I’m not sure I even finished my shower.

Hopefully, I’m done with annoyances for today. Bill was supposed to work from home this afternoon, but he got some shit suddenly dumped on him at work. He was named as a point of contact, but no one warned him he would be. Hopefully, tonight he won’t come home without his wallet, like he did last night.

The featured photo is one I took of Arran this morning. He could tell Bill was sad about scaring Noyzi and needed reassurance that he’s still a great dog daddy.

book reviews

Repost: Review of Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss

This post was written for my original blog on March 9, 2017. I am reposting it as is.

Not long ago, I saw a book advertised on Facebook called Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss.  Written by Frances Stroh and published in 2016, this is the story of the famed Michigan brewing family by the same name.  When I was growing up, Stroh’s beer was well known as a brew for working class people.  I seem to remember people drinking it in college, too.  It was cheap.

The Stroh’s brewing dynasty was based in Detroit, Michigan.  Frances Stroh, who was born in 1968, grew up with tremendous privilege.  Her father took her on shopping trips to New York City and London.  She went to private schools and was tended to by servants.  Stroh, along with her brothers, seemed poised for a lifetime of privilege.  Her brothers were expected to one day take over the beer company and continue its success into the new millennium.  Stroh’s father even used to teach Frances what she should do if someone tried to abduct her.  He’d turned the training into a game Stroh hated and he’d force her to play.   

Now, in 2017, the Stroh family no longer makes beer.  The money is gone.  In the 1980s, Frances Stroh’s family was worth about $700 million.  Now, there’s nothing left but what Stroh’s father left her in his will.  He disinherited Stroh’s brothers.  Stroh writes that what is left are basically her father’s collections, which she will sell and then split the proceeds with her surviving siblings.

Beer Money is the story of what it was like to grow up an heiress and then see the entire fortune vanish in a matter of years.  Frances Stroh is a very evocative writer and an excellent photographer, a passion she shared with her late father, Eric Stroh.  This book is full of her wistful memories and some very poignant and interesting photographs.  She writes about going to private school and being kicked out, later forced to attend public school like her brothers when no private school would take her.

Stroh watched her family’s fortune disappear as Detroit’s auto industry crumbled.  Over the course of sixteen years, the Stroh family lost over $9 billion.  Her family also dealt with serious personal problems caused by divorce.  One of Stroh’s brothers, now deceased, became an alcoholic and drug addict and died while apparently experiencing some kind of psychosis.  He leapt from a hotel window in Forth Worth, Texas, thinking he was being chased.  Eric Stroh, for his part, died alone after not tending to a wound on his leg caused by untreated diabetes.  It was as if he’d simply given up. 

If anything, this book serves as a cautionary tale to those who are blessed with good fortune.  It’s a reminder not to piss away one’s gifts.  Maybe it’s also a reminder that with wealth can come great burdens.

Frances Stroh has managed to do okay for herself, despite her family’s tremendous losses.  She earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and went on to get a Fulbright Scholarship.  I am very impressed with her writing style, which reveals a surprisingly candid look at her family.  I understand this book caused some strife among the surviving members of the Stroh family, but I’m glad Frances Stroh took the time to write her book.  It was well worth the read.  I may never look at Stroh’s beer and its affiliated brands in quite the same way again.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon from purchases made through links on my site.


When your party pack of beer looks like a box of feminine hygiene products…

Now that I’ve done some major processing of the events of the last week or so, it’s time to write something lighthearted. I awoke this morning to see this picture on my Facebook feed.

This was shared on Natural Light’s own Facebook page, but apparently one of my friends still drinks this stuff…

As I was opening my eyes this morning, I saw this picture and thought maybe one of my friends was advertising medicine for killer menstrual cramps or had picked up a box of slender regulars. But no… it’s just Natural Light’s latest product, Naturdays, which is “strawberry lemonade” beer.

Full disclosure here. I love beer. I drink it all the time. But if I’m going to drink beer, I’m going to choose one that tastes like beer, unless I’m drinking a Belgian lambic or a kriek. I used to drink Natural Light in college because it was very cheap and didn’t taste as horrible as Milwaukee’s Best did. I mean, I was a super fan of Natural Light for a couple of good years back in the day. Then I grew up and started drinking real beer.

I can’t imagine that a strawberry lemonade flavored beer made by Natural Light would be satisfying… but hey, there’s a market for everyone. This one is probably aimed at college girls wanting to get drunk for little money, but not liking the taste of beer. I mean, look at that packaging! It’s bright pink and has a flamingo on it! What could be more girly than that? All they need to do now is add some glitter!

I still think it’s funny that my first thought about this packaging is that it looks like a big box of maxi pads or a PMS remedy. I’m almost curious enough to try it. Almost, I say… I can’t remember the last time I drank a regular Natural Light. I have a feeling I would enjoy that experience as much as I would enjoy having sex in a canoe. It’s fucking too close to water.