controversies, nostalgia, slut shamers, social media

Partial repost: Let’s keep ’em closed (and covered up), people…

Today’s entry is a partial repost, some of which I originally composed on September 5, 2015. I am reposting part of my blog today, because I feel like being kind of funny, and I’m not in the mood to write about Kevin McCarthy’s ridiculous Speaker of the House vote. I also don’t follow football, so I can’t opine about Dahmer Hamlin. And I’m not quite done with Jamie Lynn’s book… so here goes.

Before I repost what I wrote in 2015, here’s a brief briefing. The repost was based on a 2013 era viral blog post that was written by an Austin, Texas based mom, Kim Hall, who complained about teenaged girls posting pictures of themselves in various stages of undress. It went viral, with many people sharing it, and quite a few people writing snarky rebuttals, about what they considered “slut shaming”. This morning, I’m struck by how innocent we were in 2013, when so many of us were up in arms about pictures of scantily clad girls on Facebook and Instagram. Kim Hall wanted teenaged girls to cover up their bodies if they were going to share photos and videos on social media that her sons might see. Little did she know that a few years later, people would want them to cover up their faces, too. She had no way of knowing about the challenges that teens would face when a novel virus came to town. It’s almost comical…

Anyway, below is my 2015 post. It’s relatively brief by my standards, and most of the links still work.

***Two years ago (in 2013), a woman’s blog post about “slutty” looking teenagers went viral.  The post was called “FYI– If you’re a teenage girl…”  Why am I remembering this?  Because I checked Facebook’s “On this day” app and noticed that I had posted a link to a blogger’s funny rebuttal (I highly recommend reading the snarky rebuttal, which is still up. It’s hilarious!).  The post that had spawned the rebuttal was removed, but not before it was viewed millions of times and shared all over the place.  Indeed, I even responded to the post myself– but my rebuttal is on the old blog… maybe I’ll repost my rebuttal. Why not? 

A couple of days ago, another blogger wrote a post about an entirely different teen related topic.  Her post obliquely referenced the FYI post that has now been deleted but still exists all over the Internet.  Christine Organ writes:

Don’t worry; this isn’t going to be one of those letters. You know the kind. Some well-intentioned and wise adult writes with a just-trying-to-be-helpful shrug about how you should stop doing this or change that. Usually it has something to do with your clothing choices or selfie-taking habits or flirting protocols. Believe me, I’m just as sick of those “letters” as you are.  

Two years later, I’m remembering that post and how it caused such a stir.  An Austin, Texas mom named Kim Hall wrote somewhat eloquently about how she was going to block girls who post inappropriate photos and YouTube videos from her sons’ Facebook pages, because she didn’t want her boys seeing girls in their pajamas without bras, or wrapped in just a towel.  She didn’t want her boys to be unable to “unsee” the sexy teens in their midst, and think of them in a sexual way.  I’ve never been a teenaged boy, but my guess is that it matters little how girls are dressed when boys are at a certain age.  A good stiff breeze can make them think of sex. (I remember Mrs. Hall got in some hot water, too, because her post was originally littered with pictures of her shirtless sons, flexing their muscles in their swimming trunks. People thought that was very hypocritical, and it was! She later reposted it with the boys in street clothes, did some creative editing and rephrasing, and then took the post down altogether.)    

For the record, I don’t necessarily disagree with all of Mrs. Hall’s points.  I don’t like looking at scantily clad girls, either.  However, I think it’s pretty hard (heh heh… I wrote “hard”) to prevent people from seeing those images.  Humans are naturally curious beings and they like to see the forbidden.  So even if Mom scours her sons’ Facebook pages every day, they will probably still see some stuff she doesn’t want them to see.  They may end up with hardened dicks, too.  Perish the thought.

What amazes me is that I had totally forgotten about this incident and was suddenly reminded of it due to another blogger’s oblique mention of it.  I don’t know if she wrote her post about teenaged girls at the swimming pool almost exactly two years later on purpose, but it does seem kind of strange.  

I also wonder if Kim Hall knew that her blog post would take off like it did.  I mean, when she wrote her “open letter” to girls two years ago, did she know that it would be the subject of so many blog rebuttals, Facebook arguments, videos, and online magazine articles?  I wonder why she took it down, too.  It made her kind of famous.  Her blog is still up and was recently updated.  My guess is that she got tired of the attention.  Taking the post down was kind of like closing the barn door after the horse has already gone… but hell, it probably made her feel better.

The overwhelming message I got was that people should keep their legs closed… and their minds closed.  Because sex is bad.  Thinking about sex is bad.  And teenagers in towels are bad.  Especially on Facebook and Instagram.

My thoughts are a little scattered this morning.***

Now, on to my fresh post…

This morning, I noticed that someone in Alabama hit a post I wrote in late June 2020. It was about face masks and the totally nuts– over-the-top– reaction a lot of people on social media were having to COVID-19. At the time I wrote that post, I was feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and hopeless about the future. I was giving serious thought to getting rid of Facebook… a notion I’ve had a bunch of times over the years. It was mainly because I felt inundated with the prospect of a bleak, dystopian world, post COVID. I was tired of all of the annoying, sanctimonious preaching being done by all of the Google experts on social media. In 2020, COVID was very scary, but so was the public’s polarized reaction to it. I was genuinely feeling a bit crazed by it. I’m sure I wasn’t alone.

In the post someone hit today, I noted that I expected face masks to be a temporary measure. Fortunately, my predictions and expectations regarding the pandemic have mostly come to pass. Even here in uptight, but stoic, Germany, people have calmed down a lot about COVID. I was afraid that we would all be forced back into masks this winter, but that hasn’t come to pass. Masks are still required on most buses and trains, although Bavaria– which had the strictest regulations for a long time– recently dispensed with them on local trains. The masks are no longer needed on flights. They are still required in any medical office, including veterinary offices. But, I suspect, they will eventually be phased out, even though COVID is still a problem and there are new mutations. Life has mostly gotten back to normal, and that is a really good thing. Thank GOD.

I guess the one message I take from reading my post about face masks, before reading about a mom who was concerned about her sons seeing girls in towels and braless in pajamas on social media, is that our battles have a way of changing. There was a time, not so long ago, that people were all upset about a woman admonishing girls about being too “sexy” online and asking them to cover their bodies. That was what a whole lot of people were thinking and talking about, blissfully unaware that they would soon be angry about people not wanting to cover their faces. And there was a time, not so long ago, when the topic of the day was face masks, and how we not only needed to cover our bodies, but we also needed to cover our faces… forever. How very depressing. I’m glad most of us have moved on from that idea, at least for now.

In 2015, Donald Trump was still just a very rich and famous guy talking about running for office. No one had ever heard of COVID-19. The idea of wearing a face mask in public was just for germ avoidant freaks. In 2023, we’re all older, wiser, and wearier. I’d say most of us lost some innocence.

Just for shits and giggles, I went to see if Kim Hall is still blogging. It looks like she still is. Her blog was updated within the past few months, anyway. It appears that she’s a dedicated conservative Christian, and lately, her posts seem to be about the evils of allowing transgender teenagers to access treatment that would allow them to transition. She writes about how devastating it is when some of these folks wind up “de-transitioning”. To be honest, I don’t know much about how many people decide to de-transition. It’s not a subject I spend a lot of time researching. Apparently, Kim Hall is upset about it. I see in the summer of 2020, she posted about the “hysteria” over COVID, and how God has “lovingly” numbered our days. So we all might as well simmer down… those were not her actual words, but I think it was kind of the attitude she imparted. I don’t think we were in disagreement about that, based on what I wrote in 2020, although my reasoning has a lot less to do with God’s plan and more to do with how extreme reactions often do more harm than good.

Anyway… Kim Hall is probably better at blogging than I am. She has a Facebook following of about 11,000, while I recently took down my Facebook page for this blog. So what do I know? 😉 Looks like her kids are pretty much grown now, too, so that means she doesn’t have to concern herself with what they see on Facebook anymore. See? Battles change all the time!

And, what the hell… I think I’ll repost my 2013 commentary about Kim Hall’s post. Stay tuned.

 

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complaints, controversies, first world problems, LDS, lessons learned, social media

Two things I don’t want to argue about with strangers…

I’m sitting here on Bill’s 58th birthday, reading the headlines that flash across the computer screen, along with the comments that go with them. Once again, I’m tempted to join the conversation with a comment, but I just know it will only end in an unpleasant interaction with some stranger. So, since I don’t have time or patience for such nonsense, I will just say these things here. You can agree or disagree with me. You can leave me a comment. If you’re a new commenter or using a new account, I will have to approve it. Any shitty comments will be deleted.

‘mmmkay…

  1. I just read a headline– haven’t gotten to reading the article yet– about how Cyprus has now reintroduced indoor masking because of “surging” COVID numbers. Fines will be about $305 for those who don’t comply. The comments are full of the usual preachers about how excellent face masks are at containing sickness. And, if they are worn properly, they probably are very useful in some settings. One person posted this comment:
Umm…

I want to tell this person that in Germany, FFP2 masks were required in indoor spaces for many months. FFP2s are akin to N95s. They are hot, thick, and uncomfortable. Guess what. COVID was, and still is, still spreading in Germany. Face masks aren’t a panacea, especially since few people wear them properly, or change them as regularly as they should. And no matter what, you’re not going to get a N95 mask or FFP2 on every face. As we know, some people will just flat out refuse to do it. There’s nothing you can do about it, sport.

It’s not that I don’t think COVID is scary or dangerous. I know it is, and have been saying so from the get go. I just don’t think that perpetual face mask wearing is going to stop the virus. It hasn’t so far, even in places where heavy, “high quality”, face mask wearing is imposed. Face masks went away in most venues in Germany back in April, but they’ll probably be forced on us again in the fall. And people will still get sick, just as they are getting sick right now.

The local health minister thinks we need to use masks like we’d use snow tires (which sadly, are becoming less necessary in Germany as the climate changes). What that will mean is that I won’t go to places that require them. That means I won’t spend as much money. I probably won’t be alone in that decision. Instead, I will just go to places where COVID rules are less onerous. I’m not the only one who feels this way.

A few days ago, I read a very interesting opinion piece on The Local: Germany by a guy who has experienced riding the train from Liege, Belgium, where masking on trains isn’t necessary, to Cologne, Germany, where they are required. As soon as the train goes over the German border, the train staff comes around and forces everyone to put on a mask. Like me, he thinks this is bullshit, as everyone was happily maskless until they went over the border, and masking isn’t required if one is eating and drinking. But here, you’re liable to be reprimanded if you “take advantage” of eating and drinking in order to shirk wearing a mask. It’s ridiculous, and it makes no sense whatsoever. Either make people wear masks all the time, or just dispense with the fucking things! And if you make people wear them the whole time, be prepared for more people opting to drive!

Below are the first two paragraphs from the op-ed by columnist Brian Melican. I can practically see and hear this scenario:

If you’ve always dreamt of being able to travel in time, there’s now a surprisingly easy way to do it: just take the ICE from Brussels to Cologne. When you get on at Midi station, things are just like they were in Germany in July 2019: friendly guards greet passengers at the doors and, soon after departure, someone from the BordBistro comes through to first class with a tray of coffee; the weather is fine, the train is punctual, and everyone is beaming ear to ear. You can see they are, of course, because they’re not wearing masks.

Then, in one of the tunnels between Liège and Aachen, we speed into July 2022 Germany: “Meine Damen und Herren…” The jarring announcement tells passengers in four languages – and in no uncertain terms – that they have to wear a medical face-mask on public transport in Germany; they may remove it to eat and drink, but must not overextend the break, and must make sure that it always covers both their mouth and their nose; any deviation from this rule will result in them being removed from the train. Suddenly, the guards and waiters reappear – and this time, they’re not smiling…

He continues pointing out the irrationality:

Okay, so this may not be genuine time travel, but it’s certainly a good piece of absurdist theatre and, what is more, a graphic example of just how dysfunctional the German approach to dealing with Covid has become. It’s not that Germany is the only country with an irrational fear of people catching corona on trains and buses (but not, say, in pubs, gyms, or shops): in the UK, France, and Belgium, public transport was one of the last non-clinical settings in which masks were still required; in Sweden, trains were the only one in which they were officially recommended. Yet, everywhere else, common sense eventually prevailed.

In Germany, meanwhile, the world’s largest beer festival and proverbial germ-den, the Oktoberfest, will be returning on 17th September, from when each of the 16 largest tents will be welcoming up to 10,000 guests belting out Schlager (and virus particles) from 11am to 11pm daily for two weeks straight. It will, however, still be illegal to take the underground to the festival site without wearing a mask.

Lately, I’ve been complaining a lot about obnoxious right wingers. The COVID issue shows us that people on the left can be just as insufferable about pushing their views. But you can’t talk to these folks about this, because they’ll just tell you you’re “wrong”, or accuse you of being an antisocial monster, “laugh” at you, and assume you’re a far right winger who doesn’t know anything. I actually do know something about this, though… probably more than a lot of people do, because I have an actual master’s degree from an accredited public health program and professional background in public health, rather than an “education” from the Google School of Public Health. 😉

I notice that the few comments on this editorial are the usual tripe about how we should be doing “everything possible” to stop COVID. I just want to say that it’s probably a lost cause at this point. And, more good news… thanks to global warming, there are billions of other microbes that have been trapped in the tundra for thousands of years, just waiting to escape their “icy prisons” and potentially unleash more disease and death on earthlings. In other words, we probably ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Which isn’t to say that I don’t think we should do what we can to prevent disaster, if we can. It’s that I don’t think masks are going to be the magic bullet, and we need something better. Making people wear masks as they travel over an international border, when they haven’t been wearing them before that point, is just nonsensical bullshit posturing. It’s absurd, and serves no useful purpose.

Frankly, if I die of COVID, so much the better. I’m pretty sick of this life, anyway, and reading daily about the awful shit happening on planet Earth. From mass shootings to sickening politicians and even sicker policies that seek to take freedom from others, I’ve had enough of this bullshit. And I’ve also had enough of most people. Sorry… I did mention in other posts that I suffer from depression, right? Maybe I am antisocial. Anyway, on to the next point…

2. Last night, I was in the Exploring Virginia Facebook group, and someone shared some lovely photos of my mom’s alma mater, the former Southern Seminary Junior College in Buena Vista, Virginia. Southern Seminary, or “Sem” as it was called back in the day, is now Southern Virginia University, and it’s run by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I actually used to know the wife of one of the Mormon businessmen who bought the school as it was foundering in the 90s.

When I was a high school senior, I toured Sem, and I really liked it. In their pre-LDS days, they had a fantastic horse program, and back then, I was all about horses. But it was a two year school, expensive, and all women… I probably would have done well there. My mom had a full scholarship, because she played piano for the glee club. She was also a “townie”, so she lived with her parents as she attended.

For a lot of reasons, I was kind of sad to see the school taken over by Mormons, mainly because the religion has infiltrated the culture of the city of Buena Vista, which was previously a cute town full of protestants of Scots-Irish-English stock. I’ve softened up on the Mormons lately, though… even if I still don’t like Mormonism, and never will. Still, I had to chuckle when someone wrote:

Umm….

Sorry ladies. You won’t be drinking any iced sweet tea at SVU. Mormons don’t drink iced tea. They don’t drink hot tea, coffee, or alcohol, either. They also don’t smoke, but a lot of them do wear special underwear. I was tempted to point that out last night, but decided not to, because I didn’t want to be an asshole. I did just now add that they’d be more likely to get a glass of lemonade, and added a little wink. Sorry, I just had to do it. 😉

Just wanted to say those two things, so thank you for indulging me… It occurs to me, just now, that both of these issues relate to people drinking when or what they “shouldn’t”. No excessive drinking to circumvent mask mandates in Germany (or Cyprus), and no drinking iced tea or any other “illegal beverage” at a LDS run university.

It IS Bill’s birthday. I probably should cook for him. But we didn’t plan for that… Maybe after I do my usual Thursday vacuuming, I’ll see if there’s something I can throw together for him. Or maybe not. He’s got a hot date with his Jungian therapist tonight, anyway. I’m sure they’ll talk about subjects that are deeper than this post.

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bad TV, healthcare, social media

Things I try not to say on Facebook…

When I stop myself from responding to some comments on social media, I think of my conscience as Dorothy Zbornak, covering Sophia Petrillo’s mouth before she says something everyone regrets…

It’s Thursday, and I’m currently in allergy hell. Yesterday, I went outside briefly, hoping to enjoy the warm, sunny weather, and had to come back inside within minutes because my nose was running like a faucet and my eyes were swelling. I took a couple of Benadryl, which really helped, but not before my eyes took on the appearance of two cherries in a glass of buttermilk. They still look pretty bad today, and I’ve been coughing, sneezing, and sniffling since I crawled out of bed.

I mentioned this issue to some of my Facebook friends, many of whom responded with empathy. A lot of us are suffering right now. One person said she was ready for the trees to stop having sex. Yes, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? I think a lot of men should stop having sex, too. They obviously can’t handle what sex can cause. Aside from that, there is currently a formula shortage in the United States, and a lot of men seem to think it’s a simple thing for women with starving babies to simply start breastfeeding.

Spotted this on THE BEER PARTY’S Facebook page. Too funny!

Guys… not all women can breastfeed. Start with the fact that some women don’t have breasts because of cancer or some other health issue. Some people take medications that would make breastfeeding dangerous for the baby. Some don’t make enough milk for their babies; that was an issue for my sister, who had to switch to formula when her son was a baby. There are any number of other reasons why breastfeeding doesn’t work for everyone. Aside from that, this is simply another issue that the vast majority of men don’t have a clue about. But, even though they don’t know about periods, pregnancy, or PMS, a lot of guys think they can offer a simple fix to the baby formula issue. Just pull out your breasts, ladies. Right. I wish I could lactate at will, and squirt some of these guys in their faces with some breast milk. A lot of them would enjoy it, though.

I decided to go to the original source of the above post, put on social media by a comedian. A cranky old man took him to task. I noticed that both the comedian and the cranky old man use misogynistic terms in their comments about feeding babies. Old guy refers to “bitching”, which is anti-woman, since in the human definition of the word “bitch”, bitches are usually either women or effeminate men. Comedian uses the term “d-bag”, which is an abbreviation of a word that refers to something women use to clean out their nether regions. While I do like the comedian’s “meme”, I do think he might want to consider that when a man uses misogynistic language like “bitching” and “d-bag”, especially when they are claiming not to be sexist, as they discuss issues that mostly pertain to women, they kind of lose a little credibility. But, that’s just my opinion.

I do think cranky old man needs to get a clue and realize that many women are tired of men trying to tell us about what it’s like to be female. The last comment, by the way, wasn’t made by me. However, I do agree wholeheartedly that on this subject, a lot of men need to STFU.

I don’t usually take offense to the words “bitch” and “bitching”, even though I probably should. However, I truly don’t like the word “douchebag”, or any incarnation of it. I think it’s nonsensical to call someone a “douche”, especially when one claims to be sensitive toward women, or a feminist. To me, using the word “douche” as an insult is also stupid, because in many countries, a “douche” is a shower. But in America, we know that douching is kind of nasty, and douchebags are mostly used by women. So if you’re a comedian commenting on the cluelessness of “Trumpanzee pro-lifers” and calling them “d-bags”, maybe it’s better to choose a different insult than one that is basically sexist.

I’m not going to point out this logic discrepancy on Facebook, though, because it will only invite eyerolls and comments about how I need to “rent a sense of humor” or “lighten up”, or whatever… Moreover, the vast majority of people aren’t going to change their minds from reading comments on Facebook. Actually, it seems to me that a lot of people, based only on what they post on social media, are miserable jerks who are more interested in being rude and insulting, than actually contributing to a discussion, or being social. I can admit to being kind of a jerk myself sometimes, but it’s often in response to some of the snark I read daily. I do stop myself from posting a lot of times, though. It just isn’t worth the butthurt.

Last night, for example, I found myself commenting on an article about COVID, and how some people think face masks could save humanity. I pointed out that in Germany, we have only JUST started being allowed to be in some places without masks. And here, people were expected to wear the oppressive FFP2 masks, which are akin to N95s. People still got COVID, in spite of the “high quality” masks. COVID is going to spread, whether or not we wear masks. That is a proven fact. Given that most people do NOT wear the masks properly, replace them frequently enough, wash their hands, or cover their eyes, we should expect that infections will continue. What is more important is keeping people out of the hospitals, which is where effective vaccines come in. Vaccines are helping in that regard.

I know I should have kept that thought to myself, but it was late in the evening, and I lost my resolve. Sure enough, a bunch of people jumped on my case about it. One woman proudly told me I was wrong because she works for the CDC. My response was, “Good for you, working for the CDC. I have a MPH myself, so I respect your work.” (as someone who works for the CDC, one would hope that she might realize that not every educated person is going to agree).

Another person commented that Germany’s COVID infections are among the highest in Europe, and implied that it was because the mask rules were mostly dropped in April. He or she might be right. To tell you the truth, I didn’t bother to check. However, Denmark dropped masks weeks before Germany did. I would have been more impressed with their comment if they had brought up how Denmark is faring, coupling it with more than just anecdotes. Denmark has been maskless longer than Germany has. Moreover, I assume this person is in the USA, where masks were dropped even longer ago.

My point is, Germany still has plenty of COVID infections, in spite of more people masking with higher quality masks, and more mask compliance as a general rule. People in Germany still got COVID, in spite of wearing masks. The masks had nothing to do with whether or not the resulting sickness was more or less severe. Masks are supposed to stop viruses from spreading; but if you get the virus in spite of masking, you might still get deathly ill, if your body isn’t prepared to handle the infection. The goal shouldn’t be preventing infections, so much as it should be keeping people from dying and/or taking up all of the hospital beds. And again, vaccines do help with that. At this point, I am sure I will eventually get COVID, and it might be really bad. But I suspect I won’t get so sick that I die, because I am triple vaxxed. To read some of the comments, the minute one person takes off their mask, disaster will certainly strike. As the old song goes, “it ain’t necessarily so.”

A third person blessed me out for daring to doubt the efficacy of wearing face masks forever, then signed off with the hashtag, #wearamask. To which my very southern response was, “Bless your heart.” If I’m not hanging out around people and I’m fully vaccinated, there’s much less of a need for masking, right? Staying away from people is a guaranteed way to lower the risk of getting sick. I’d say it’s much more effective than wearing a stupid mask. Aside from that, I don’t live anywhere near the vast majority of these people, anyway, so my conclusions and decisions stemming from them, won’t affect any of them. Why be so rude? Critical thinking skills are nonexistent among some people these days, aren’t they?

Finally, a woman told me to “take a hike” because she got sick from the Astrazeneca shot. So I replied, “Taking hikes is a healthy thing to do. I wouldn’t mind taking one; thank you.” Especially if it means getting away from the likes of her. Based on her online persona, she’s probably not someone I’d want to know. I don’t particularly enjoy hiking, but I’d probably rather do that than have a conversation with someone who is rude to me right off the bat.

I think people should be able to wear masks if they want to. I also think it should be a valid personal choice not to wear them. There are reasons why masks are problematic for some people, and those people should be allowed to contribute to the conversation, too. It would be nice if people would be more open-minded about these things, and think longer about the issue, instead of immediately shooting down those who have a different viewpoint. Except, of course, when it comes to “pro-life Trumpanzee” men, who continually refer to abortion as “murdering babies” and try to comment with authority on things with which they have no possible personal experience, like having periods, birthing babies, and breastfeeding.

Incidentally, I finally lost my most recent Facebook red badge of shame today. I got dinged a month ago for referring to “dumb Americans”… but my God, it sure is hard to resist when there are so many fine specimens of homegrown American stupidity on the prowl.

And finally, there’s one last subject I want to bring up today. This has nothing to do with the rest of this post. I just found it amusing.

While I was waiting for Bill to come home from work, I started watching a mid 80s episode of the medical drama, Trapper John, MD. Now, I know Trapper John, MD was not the most factually or medically accurate show. However, I did do a double take on the episode, “Going, Going, Gonzo…”, in which Gonzo Gates (Gregory Harrison) has a stroke. While he’s recovering, they show a montage of him getting therapy. In one shot, a doctor is using a Hitachi Magic Wand on him. See below…

I would not expect a physician to be doing physical therapy on anyone, even if it is the Great Gonzo Gates. And that massager he’s using is clearly a Hitachi Magic Wand, which many women use for sexual stimulation purposes. I used to own one myself, having purchased it when Bill was in Iraq. I got a huge kick out of it, especially since the directions never indicated that the wand was a sensual device, but one could buy attachments that were clearly for that purpose. Also, the person who wrote the directions was obviously not a native English speaker, so some stuff got lost in translation.

Incidentally, I got rid of my “magic wand”, because it didn’t do anything for me.

In that episode, Trapper John also lectures/shames stroke ridden Gonzo for wanting to take antidepressants. I don’t know about you, but I would think that having a stroke would make a person depressed. So I would not fault Gonzo for wanting to take medication to help him deal with his new reality. Trapper mentions the “side effects”, which in fairness probably would have been bad in the 80s, since the drugs we have now were not available in the 80s. I didn’t take antidepressants in the 80s, but it’s my understanding that the side effects were pretty brutal. However, those drugs also saved people’s lives. Trapper ends his soliloquy by putting down the pill cup and telling Gonzo that if he wants to take them, he will have to do it by himself. Seems like a strange attitude for a doctor to have. I guess it was good for the story, though.

Anyway, now I have to repost my blog entries about the Hitachi Magic Wand. Hopefully, they won’t inspire any unwanted correspondence. Stay tuned!

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controversies, social media

Well… I guess I won’t be posting more often on Twitter, now…

Here’s another short post before I get dressed and head off to breakfast. I heard that Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter for $44 billion was accepted. Musk, who is the South African born CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, is, according to Forbes, the world’s wealthiest person. For some reason, that’s not enough for him. He wants to control a huge, global, social media app, too. I think there is a concern when the wealthiest people control the media…. But then, I guess that’s how it’s always been, since the days of kings and queens.

Musk says wants to “eradicate fake accounts” and “relax its content restrictions”. I guess this means that Donald Trump will be allowed to get back on the platform and spread his vile brand of disinformation for the clueless and selfish.

I never was a big Twitter user. I have an account, but i don’t use my real name on it, and I very rarely tweet or read the contents of Twitter. The one exception is when I recently had issues with my bank account. I went on Twitter to see if I was alone. I wasn’t. But after a couple of weeks, got tired of Twitter and went back to my usual habits. I thought I might switch to Twitter, given my annoyance with Facebook. But now that Elon Musk is buying it, I think I’ll pass. I don’t need more social media in my life.

I’m not a huge social media consumer. I don’t do Instagram, Tik Tok, or LinkedIn. I do have a YouTube channel that I use occasionally, and of course I’m on Facebook. Frankly, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I think it’s gotten too big for its britches. But, Facebook also happens to be the easiest way to keep in touch with friends and the few family members I still talk to. I have been giving thought to leaving Facebook, though. I wish someone would come up with something better.

I don’t think Elon Musk is going to change Twitter for the better. He strikes me as a voracious and power hungry person who likes toys. Twitter is probably just going to be a toy for him. But as I barely use Twitter, this decision probably affects me less than it does people who like the platform more than I do. Musk says that Twitter clamps down on “free speech” and he wants to change that. On the surface, that sounds good and noble. I don’t know that it’s going to work out that way.

I just find it disheartening that there are so many greedy, power-mad people out there. I’m pretty tired of all of the bad news, too, and the negative responses people have to everything. I am naturally a pretty negative person a lot of the time, anyway, so I don’t need any help.

Oh… how I miss the days when my biggest dramas came from writing on Epinions.com, and some of my biggest excitement came from seeing how much I made in income share. Sadly, time moves on, and things change. It would be nice to hear some good news… but at least I’m on vacation, and we’re discovering some beautiful places, good wines, and excellent food in Italy. It could be worse, right?

By the way… masks are still big in Italy, but most people don’t wear them properly. I guess I can understand why they’re slower to get rid of them here, given how hard this country was hit with COVID. But it’s really something when Germany and Switzerland are less anal retentive about public health measures than Italy is. On the other hand, again… people aren’t wearing them properly, anyway.

Today’s post is the 1500th on this blog… Go me!







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condescending twatbags, healthcare, law

Confusion, chaos, and crass behavior continues, as US ends mask mandates on transportation…

It’s a beautiful spring day here in lovely Wiesbaden, Germany. The sun is shining and the air is fresh, crisp, and cool. I can see my neighbors’ trees heavy with flowers. Later, when I walk my dogs, I expect to see plenty of beautiful blooms in well-tended gardens. I probably should enjoy being outside more, especially since the weather in this part of the world isn’t always as nice as it is right now. It’s always so nice to see spring arrive in Germany, since the earliest months of the year are usually pretty crappy, when it comes to the weather. Making things even nicer is that on April 2, 2022, Germany finally lifted face mask requirements and vaccine checks in many venues, although they remain on public transportation.

Because masks are still required in airports and on public transportation in Germany, Bill and I will be driving to Italy next week. Actually, we might have decided to do that anyway, since we will probably be buying wine, cheese, and other groceries and it’s easier to transport that stuff in a car than on a plane. I like road trips, as a general rule. In my opinion, one of the best things about living in Europe is having the option to drive to so many beautiful places.

My countrymen aren’t so fortunate when it comes to traveling abroad. A person in the United States can’t drive to Europe, Africa, Australia, or Asia. In fact, it’s not so easy to get from coast to coast in the United States by car. It takes awhile to drive from, say, Virginia to California, and a lot of Americans prefer to fly, because vacation days are precious in the US and flying takes less time. So yesterday’s ruling, made with a stroke from federal Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s pen, has caused a big ruckus among Americans. Public reaction to her decision has been decisively split. Judge Mizelle’s ruling makes it okay to forgo face masks on domestic flights, although it’s my understanding that they are still required on planes that are flying to places where the masks are still required.

Cue mass hysteria.
Something tells me that this decision is going to prompt policy changes.

Many people are hailing Judge Mizelle for setting them free from face masks on public transportation. Others are cursing her and calling her “incompetent” for allowing people to suddenly take off their masks mid flight yesterday. The facts that she’s from Florida, is somewhat young and attractive, and was appointed by Donald Trump, don’t help some people’s negative impressions of her worthiness as a judge. Some public health and medical experts are very concerned about this restoration of facial freedom the judge has bestowed upon the public. And some people are feeling more emboldened than ever to shoot the finger at people they regard as sanctimonious virtue signalers.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’m liberal about a lot of things. But you may also know that I’m not a fan of face masks, even though I am a master’s level graduate of an accredited school of public health. I was never really in favor of them, even at the beginning of the pandemic. I don’t think a lot of people wear the masks properly. Here in Germany, we’ve been forced to wear heavy FFP2 masks (like N95s), but the infections continue, probably because no one is forced to cover their eyes. And so, I conclude that a lot of the masking is basically theater, although I can certainly understand why they are important in certain medical settings.

Two years ago, before we had vaccines and most people had zero immunity to the virus, I could see why they were initially necessary, even though the masks most people wore at the beginning of the pandemic were pretty useless. As the variants have become milder, and fewer people seem to be getting quite so sick and dying, I can see why the masks are being phased out. For the most part, I think it’s time. It’s been two years, and while I’m sure there are some people who would love to see everyone masked forever, that’s not a very realistic goal.

Many people legitimately hate the masks because they can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. They do cause legitimate problems for some people, particularly those who suffer from anxiety, are hard of hearing, or have sensory processing disorders. They aren’t a good long time solution, in my opinion, because they are so polarizing, and because they hinder communication. Even if face masks were the best idea ever, it would take some time for people to accept them as normal. I am old enough to remember when a lot of Americans didn’t voluntarily wear seatbelts in their cars. It wasn’t until I was a young adult that they became normal for most people. At least that was how it was in the United States. In most countries in Europe, mandatory use of seatbelts for all passengers has been the rule for a lot longer, and fines are pretty stiff for non-compliance. But even a lot of Europeans are over the masks.

I still live in Germany, where public health ministers are still wanting to limit freedoms and impose COVID restrictions. A lot of Germans seem to be fed up with the rules, too, although they do seem to be a lot more willing to submit to them than Americans are. What I like about Germany, though, is that people seem to be somewhat less insulting, whichever side of the mask debate they’re on. And Germans, as a rule, are more community minded about most things. Many people here are still wearing masks, even though they are no longer legally required to wear them. Those who don’t wear masks mostly don’t get harassed for not wearing them. Maybe they get the side eye from one or two people, but no one is getting belligerent or aggressive about it, and there’s a lot less violence all around. I doubt if the mask rules were relaxed in the middle of a Lufthansa flight, that people would be whooping and hollering like they reportedly were on US flights yesterday. But yes, there would probably be people gratefully removing them.

As usual, I took a look at the comments on the news articles. It didn’t surprise me that a lot of people were whining about their fears regarding this decision, while others were being really offensively belligerent about their “freedoms”. I suspect that if the mask mandates are reinstated in the United States, there will be even more of an uproar and possibly, more violence. I have noticed, as many have, that since the mask mandates were in place, the behavior of people on planes was more violent and unruly than it’s ever been. After all, flights in economy class are uncomfortable enough as it is. The masks made them even less pleasant for a large number of people, even though some people don’t mind the masks and never found wearing them “onerous”.

Obviously, the masks make it harder for flight crews, as people have gotten violent over having to wear them on planes.

One thing that I’ve noticed and don’t really like from either side of this issue, is that people aren’t willing to compromise or concede. Why can’t the pro-maskers, for instance, understand why people hate wearing masks? Why do they feel it necessary to insult, belittle, and berate people for their valid opinions? Being nasty and sanctimonious to people does not inspire their cooperation. Moreover, I don’t find it very convincing when a person in a mask brags about “caring for other people” as they verbally abuse those who don’t share their opinions and dare to express themselves. I’ve seen more than one comment by a supposed “concerned mask wearing humanitarian” indicating that they think anyone who disagrees with them deserves to die. That’s not a very caring and kind attitude, in my opinion, and it doesn’t necessarily make me want to wear a mask for the sake of others. In fact, I think it’s the height of hypocrisy.

Conversely, I also think it’s awful that there are so many anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers out there who feel the need to laugh, gloat, and insult people who are genuinely afraid of getting very sick from the virus. I happen to agree that masking should be a choice, even though given a choice, many people won’t choose to wear a mask. Having the right to choose is part of living in a free society. But I also empathize with people who are afraid of COVID, or are concerned that they will spread it to vulnerable loved ones. Unfortunately, this was a problem even before COVID, and it will continue to be a problem. Forced mask wearing is not going to make the basic challenges faced by immunocompromised people go away, even if they appear to make things safer. I do agree, however, that we could all stand to be kinder and more considerate about this problem.

I read an op-ed on the Washington Post this morning about the relaxed rules. Robin Givhan, who wrote the opinion piece, demonstrated the attitude that, personally, I’ve found very off-putting throughout the pandemic. Her piece, titled “Whoops of selfish delight”, lamented that people were cheering about the suddenly dropped mask mandates. The mood of her opinion was that people were behaving badly for being visibly happy to be rid of the masks. This was Givhan’s sarcastic comment about the midflight announcement:

“They reveled in the knowledge that while they might be required to buckle their seat belt, turn off their cellphone, put their seat backs in the upright position and refrain from smoking on their grueling one-hour-and-20-minute flight, the one thing they would not have to do was wear a mask. The long, torturous nightmare of government overreach, which is how so many aggrieved passengers viewed the mandate effecting public transportation, has come to an end.”

I just want to ask her what the hell she was expecting. Of course people in their tight airplane seats with no leg room, strapped in and masked up, while their neighbors eye them suspiciously and with hostility, are going to be delighted with the prospect of being free to breathe unmasked. A lot of people– and I’m sure many in the travel industry, especially– are thrilled not to have to wear masks or enforce the wearing of masks, temporary as it may end up being.

Now, maybe it was rude to “whoop” about it, if only because yelling can spread viruses faster, and there are people who are legitimately terrified of being around maskless people. But I don’t think people are being selfish when they’re happy to be allowed to unmask. It’s perfectly natural, especially after two years of this weird, dystopian, plague we’ve been enduring. And if the mask mandates are reimposed, be prepared for backlash. I suspect it could be even worse after people have gotten a taste of freedom. No amount of shaming, virtue signaling, and berating is going to cow certain people into compliance. I just hope there won’t be more violence.

Anyway… count me among those who are for putting away the face masks, although I probably won’t be flying or taking transportation anytime soon. I never liked the masks, and I’m not going to submit to peer pressure to be a cheerleader for them. I’ll wear a mask if I’m asked to, but I certainly don’t want to do it. Not wearing a mask doesn’t make me a shitty person, especially since I don’t hang around people much, anyway. I also don’t care if other people wear masks. They can wear as many as they want to. It’s their choice, and I respect that. It would be nice if we could respect each other’s choices, since we all have to breathe. When it comes down to it, COVID is just another one of the many, many risks we face on a daily basis. Over the past two years, I’ve lost several people in my life, all of whom died years before perhaps they should have. Not a single one of them died of COVID… most of them had cancer or another chronic disease that might not have been adequately addressed, partly thanks to this virus. One died of suicide, and another was killed in a hit and run. I think that’s something to consider.

In other news…

I’m in trouble again.

I got another “restriction” from Facebook yesterday. They claimed I posted “hate speech” for referring to “dumb Americans”. My “punishment” is having my group posts filtered to the bottom for a month. I’m annoyed by this new ding, but I guess I should have expected it. Facebook must have a quota of sanctioning people for posting “offensive” content. What I find especially stupid is that people can and do post all sorts of offensive stuff toward strangers, but I refer to Americans as “dumb” because they won’t allow a children’s author to read his book about unicorns, and I get accused of posting “hate speech”.

I saw this on the Duggar Family News page. Wonder if it will get flagged for being offensive…

Just as I would like to ditch masks, I would also really like to ditch Facebook. I may end up doing that at some point, although it’s the best and easiest way to stay in touch with people. But I resent their stupid bots making false accusations about my posts that are taken out of context. The other day, someone referred to me as a “baby killer”, complete with vomiting emojis because I support the rights of people to get abortions. But that’s apparently okay– to call an individual stranger a “baby killer” as you react with puke emojis. Call Americans “dumb”, and your account gets restricted. It’s very aggravating. But, based on the comments from friends, at least I am in good company with these inane “punishments”. And at least this time, my offensive post was only a few days old, instead of four years old, as it was the last time I got slapped on the wrist. And this time, Facebook said I could appeal their decision. I don’t care enough about this particular issue to do that, though. I’ll just put up with another month of wearing a red badge of shame.

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