politics, Trump

Pissing off my friends and family, one meme at a time…

Okay… actually, I don’t have that many friends and family who are Trump fans and still follow me. This year has really been a test on many levels. The stress of the pandemic, along with the political shitstorm, has made it harder to stay “friends” with people who differ with me politically. I just don’t have the time for the bullshit. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still see it sometimes.

A few years ago, I kicked a couple of my cousins off my Facebook page because they would not stop confronting me about my “liberal” views. I don’t really consider myself a liberal, per se. I’m for decency, fairness, and rational thinking. I do have some liberal views, particularly when it comes to social issues. But I also have some conservative leanings. I’m really more of a centrist than anything else, and in the past, voted Republican more often than Democrat. I cannot forgive the Republicans for Trump and Mitch McConnell, though, and as the years have passed, I find myself less and less willing to vote red.

Seriously…

A couple of my cousins refuse to respect the political views of those who don’t think the way they do. They are condescending and overbearing, and I can’t bear to talk to them anymore, even on Facebook. So they had to go… but I’m still friends with people who are friends with them, and I still see their heavy handed condescension toward the precious few liberals in the family.

I swear, Trump could run stark naked down Pennsylvania Avenue, shoot a dozen Black people in the head while fucking half a dozen underaged prostitutes who are also giving him golden showers, and people would still champion him! I don’t understand it. Is it JUST because he’s a “Republican”? Because he’s really not. He never was.

Trump would probably wear these.

People in my family are, by and large, extremely conservative. I have noticed that a few folks have gone to the left, but it’s mostly dyed in the wool red at the ol’ homestead. These folks are basically really good people, but they have cognitive dissonance when it comes to their politics. And they fucking LOVE Donald Trump! One of my very conservative cousins has a daughter who is refreshingly open-minded and, dare I say it? She’s a liberal, and a couple of my relatives can’t stand it. I suspect that since my liberal relative is still quite young, they feel emboldened to browbeat her for her views.

So my liberal first cousin, once removed, has been posting a lot of liberal stuff on her Facebook page. And my cousin– who is her uncle– has been taking her to task much the same way he used to take me to task before I kicked him and his brother (my liberal cousin’s dad) off my page. I have been really tempted to chime in on the discussion because I want to offer support. But then I remember how frustrating and pointless talking with him is and I decide not to. Instead, I give her supportive reactions as I inwardly groan at how offensive his comments are and how sad it is that he has so little respect for an obviously bright, ethical, and humane person.

This cousin, by the way, is the same one who won’t write the word “shit”. He thinks that calling shit “shot” makes him a better person. He is overbearing, argumentative, obnoxious, and bigoted. When I was younger, he seemed like a “strong” person, protective and caring. Now, he just seems like a control freak who can’t respect smart women. It saddens me how dumb he seems to me now, despite his attempt at using big words and his smug, patronizing air.

So when I saw today’s featured photo in the Duggar Family News group, I decided to share it. Not surprisingly, it resonated with a lot of my friends, some of whom also shared it. One friend shared it and immediately offended her Republican friends, who can’t see that supporting a man like Donald Trump makes people question how Christian they really are. More than one of them brought up abortion, which always boggles my mind. If you are truly pro-life, why would you support a man who is doing his very best to fuck up the world for all the babies they want to force to be born?

Listen… there is NO doubt in my mind that Trump has paid for abortions. If he hasn’t paid for them, then he has been supportive of women who get them when they are convenient for him. Donald Trump is a well-known philanderer. It is a fact that he cheats on his wives, and that means he has sex with women to whom he’s not married. How do Christians reconcile the fact that Trump does these things?

Last week, a Christian explained to me that God is using Trump to do “great” things. Really? Is this really just about abortion? I don’t get it. The Jesus Christ that I learned about in Sunday School was about helping the sick, the downtrodden, the poor… and anyone else who needed love, understanding, kindness, and acceptance. What I mostly see among “Christian” Republicans is judging, slut shaming, and an “I’ve got mine; screw you!” attitude. Oh, and they like their guns, too… They’ve got a real problem with a woman terminating a pregnancy– ending the life of an unconscious, undeveloped fetus who has no concept of life or death– but they want their goddamned guns! They have this attitude, even though so many very young people who aren’t so long out of the womb have been killed by guns!

So anyway, my friend who shared the featured photo got two comments from men about abortion. And since it was late and I’d had my wine, I responded thusly…

…until the Republicans champion policies that make pregnancy and childcare feasible for all women, rather than just slut shaming, I really think this particular argument needs to go away. Moreover, men cause 100% of unintended pregnancies anyway… and they are a hell of a lot more potentially prolific than women are.

The guy came back with this comment:

how in the world does that equate to NOT being in favor of killing babies…….. because YOU wouldn’t do it but you’re ok with someone else doing it?

I’m in favor if the moms life is in jeopardy and in rape…… certainly not because someone didn’t “plan” it

I respectfully will not go on after this because you are right, we could go on for days. But to insinuate that Republicans are not Christians is laughable at best, insulting and misleading at worst……… let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I have a problem with those who have “situational ethics”. If you want to grant personhood to a fetus, I don’t see how you can make the argument that abortion would be okay in certain situations. A fetus that is conceived due to rape and incest is just as innocent as an accidentally conceived fetus is. So if you’re against abortion for someone who didn’t plan it– because you think it’s murder— I don’t see how you could ever excuse it in any situation.

Fortunately, I disagree that abortion is murder. I do think there are situations in which it’s better and even kinder to terminate a pregnancy than carry a fetus to term. I always think that all people should have the right to privacy, especially when it comes to their healthcare. And since I do think the mother’s life should supersede the developing fetus’s, I think abortion should remain safe and legal– especially when we have immoral dickheads like Donald Trump in charge. So I responded with this comment:

Honestly, if you support a man who brags about grabbing women by their pussies, you kinda lose some of that moral highground… especially since Trump has a history of molesting women and teenagers. I get being conservative, but there comes a point when you really need to assess your candidate to see if he’s actually championing your ideals. I would bet money Trump has paid for abortions because he has a long and very public history of molesting women and, in fact, even brags about it.

As for abortion, when you can get pregnant and it’s your health, livelihood, and reputation on the line, I will be more interested in what you have to say. As it is now, men will never have to personally face the abortion decision and too many of them simply want to control women, yet do nothing to help when those babies arrive. So I will remain pro choice, and thank God that I will soon be beyond being personally affected by whether or not abortion is legal.

I would not want to see pregnant people turned into vessels with rights and privileges that change because they are pregnant. If we are going to force women to give birth, we have to give them what they need to make raising a child feasible. We have to make sure they have adequate housing, healthcare, nutritious food, transportation, and education. And since Republicans are not about providing those things– because that’s too “socialist” for them– then I think we must allow women to do what is best for themselves. Especially since so many men have little thought for what might happen after they deposit their sperm.

A single man can theoretically get hundreds of women pregnant every year. A woman gets pregnant and she’s going to be busy gestating for nine months and will presumably have just one (maybe two) babies. Why are so many people concerned with controlling what women do with their bodies? And how many of these folks have adopted the children who have already been born and need homes? Why is it any of their fucking business what a woman does with her body? Particularly since so few of the pro-life crowd care about what happens after the baby is born?

Either way, I don’t see how Trump really squares with the truly Christian crowd. He doesn’t behave like a Christian. But then, neither do a lot of the so-called religious role models out there. I’m thinking of people like Paula White, Josh Duggar, and Jerry Falwell, Jr. Smug, rich, white people who like power and money and preach about what Jesus would do, but they don’t actually follow Christ’s teachings are not impressive to me.

So I will continue to share offensive memes for my brave Christian friends who are surrounded by Trump supporters. They can put them on their Facebook pages and start shitstorms of their own. Maybe one or two of those right wingers will get a clue. You want to be Republican and Christian? Fine… start demanding that your representatives act like Christians should act. Otherwise, you’re just a massive hypocrite who has imbibed too much of the proverbial Kool-Aid and had your head swirled by cognitive dissonance. As Trump would say, “It’s not a good look”.

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family, lessons learned, nostalgia

Double repost: It’s graduation season! and Lost in Bloomingdale’s…

Sorry… one more repost. Bill and I were talking about the incident that occurred in the “It’s graduation season!” post last night, and I wanted to preserve the memory. Then I noticed the next post, which was about the time I got lost in Bloomingdale’s as a little kid. I’ll try to write something fresh after these reposts, which appear “as/is”. These posts were written in April 2014.

Apologies if I’ve posted about this before… I probably have, but I think it’s a story that bears repeating. This is not a happy story, so skip it if you prefer something cheery.

Since it is graduation season, I feel impressed to write about an incident that occurred in the year 2003, when I had the great “fortune” to attend two graduation ceremonies.  My own grad school graduation from the University of South Carolina occurred in May 2002.  I guess 2003 was the payback year.

Picture it.  It’s late April 2003.  Bill and I live in a shitty apartment in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Bill is about to get his master’s degree from Webster University.  My sister, Becky, was about to get her master’s degree from American University.  Both ceremonies were going to be held at the American University campus.  American University also happens to be where Bill got his undergraduate degree back in the mid 80s.

My parents were still mostly functional in 2003.  My dad’s mental state was starting to slide a bit, but he was 70 years old and still pretty “with it”.  Though my parents had lived in northern Virginia for a couple of years, my mom didn’t feel comfortable driving up there anymore.  Becky realized that Bill and I lived close enough to the DC area that she could call upon us for a favor.  She asked us to play chauffeur for our parents.  They would drive to our shitty Fredericksburg apartment and Bill would drive us to Becky’s graduation ceremony at American.

Now… I knew what was up.  Becky had phrased her “invitation” in such a way that it sounded like she cared if we were there to celebrate with her.  And, I’m sure on some level, she did want us there because we’re family.  But really, it was about her wanting our parents to attend and knowing they wouldn’t show up if Bill and I didn’t drive them.  At that time of my life, I was less assertive than I am now.  Still, I knew what she was up to.  She was asking a favor of us and expecting me to say yes out of familial obligation.  And Bill, being a brand new son-in-law wanting to make good with my parents, was all too willing to be the driver.  So though I knew we were being used, we agreed to help Becky and my parents, knowing that we were going to get a lovely lunch at 1789 for our trouble.  1789 is a very nice restaurant in Georgetown; in fact, it’s where Bill presented me with my engagement ring the previous year.

So, graduation day rolls around.  It’s early May and the weather is fine.  Mom and Dad come to our apartment and Bill drives my mom’s land yacht to Washington, DC.  We park and go to a gymnasium, which is where the ceremony is being held.  My parents seat themselves a couple of rows ahead of us.  Bill and I sit with Becky’s boyfriend, Steve. 

We were chatting quietly among ourselves.  It was a gym, after all, and people were yelling, clapping, ringing cowbells, and using air horns to congratulate the graduates.  Somehow, we had the misfortune of sitting near the single biggest northern Virginia/DC area cunt on the planet.  Apparently, our quiet conversation bothered her.  She complained to my parents, specifically about me.  I was surprised she knew we were with them, since they weren’t sitting with us.  But my mom said, “We can hear you.” in my direction.

We quieted down; but again, it wasn’t exactly a dignified event.  We listened to the graduation speeches and then the noise level kicked up again.  The massively cunty woman in front of us objected again and said something to my parents.  Why she didn’t just turn around and speak to me personally, I will never know.  It would have been the smartest and most adult thing to do.  But she didn’t… she took her issues to my parents, who felt compelled to correct me.

Anyway, my father suddenly turns around and roars at me loudly enough for everyone in the vicinity to hear him, “Shut up!  You’re DISTURBING people!” 

How I felt when my dad screamed at me at my sister’s graduation…

At that moment, I was completely consumed with fury.  I gave what Bill has described as an absolutely murderous look to my father and the bitch who was sitting near us.  I’m pretty sure if looks could kill, they both would have died instantly.  As it was, I’m certain the look in my eyes conveyed to that horrible bitch and her pansy male companion that I hoped she got into a fiery car crash on her way home from the graduation.  I then got up and stormed out of the gym, mortified and livid. 

Here I was, dressed up and sitting in that fucking gym, not even really wanting to be there, but doing a favor for my parents and my sister.  Moreover, I was being no more disruptive than anyone else at the graduation, including the two men I was sitting with; and I was almost 31 years old, being spoken to like a six year old by my father in a way that was absolutely uncalled for. 

Bill came after me and found me absolutely beside myself with rage.  I was so furious that I told him I wanted to leave right then and there.  He was trying hard to get me to calm down while at the same time trying to figure out how we were going to escape the graduation without a vehicle.  Getting back to Fredericksburg without my parents’ car would have involved taking a train or bus or renting a car.  Owing to the massive child support Bill was paying, we were pretty broke at the time and really didn’t have the money to rent a car or buy train tickets.  So he was trying hard to get me to calm down and go through with the lunch at 1789.

After about a half an hour of deep breathing and venting, I finally calmed down and we found my family.  I was still feeling really pissed at my dad.  I went to the ladies room and Bill was left there with my mom, who went into damage control mode.  She suggested that we sweep this under the rug and just try to have a nice lunch.  Bill, being my biggest supporter, explained that I had a perfect right to be pissed off at my dad for the way he treated me in public.  His reaction was unreasonable and he humiliated me.  Even Becky’s boyfriend, Steve, stuck up for me and said he felt my father’s reaction was way out of line.

Somehow, we got in the car and I was sitting in the front seat.  Bill was being nice to my dad, but I was still enraged.  Poor Bill got my claws at one point as we were making our way to the restaurant. 

It happened to be Mother’s Day, and the restaurant was giving out potted impatiens flowers to all mothers.  When they gave one to me, my dad helpfully piped up with “You’re not a mother.”

I said, “I am a stepmother.”  I took the flower and proceeded to have a sumptuous lunch on my dad’s dime.  I had steak and eggs, champagne, two whiskey sours, and dessert.  Bill caught my eye as I casually ran up a big bill.  I made sure my father literally paid for being an asshole to me in public.  Bill knew exactly what I was doing… and I think he approved, even though today I realize it was a pretty passive aggressive thing to do.  Talking to my dad rationally about what he had done and how it made me felt would have done no good.  In my dad’s eyes, he had the perfect right to discipline me in any way he saw fit, even though I was almost 31 years old and married. 

This is the same man who, while roaring drunk, felt it was appropriate to slap me across the face when I was almost 21 years old and the whole family was staying together at a beach house.  He slapped me because he felt I needed to be knocked down to a lower level.  To my credit, I did tell him that he had no right to hit me and if he ever laid another finger on me, I would have him arrested.  To his credit, he never has struck me again, though there were times when he threatened to.  My reminder that I would be calling the police always seemed to get him to back off and simmer down. 

The following week, I attended Bill’s graduation by myself.  Afterwards, we went back to 1789 and enjoyed a more modest celebration lunch, but it was a hell of a lot more pleasant, even if we had to deal with a couple of drivers near the Key Bridge who were intent on cutting in front of us.

I do love my family, but variations of the above scenario have happened to me more times than I can count.  Someone in my family will ask me for a favor of some sort or want me to attend a family event, and then it turns into a huge drama.  I find myself in a situation in which I feel forced to swallow abusive or embarrassing behavior or I find myself regressing to that kind of behavior myself.  They wonder why I don’t want to do things with them anymore.  The scenario I just described is why I avoid family gatherings whenever I can.  I’m just getting too old for that kind of shit.

2003 was an exceptionally dramatic year, but it did give me the balls to stand up to Bill’s ex wife and anyone else who seeks to treat me with disrespect.  Of course, at this point, I realize my dad was probably in the early stages of dementia and that was likely affecting his behavior.  But truly, he has treated me like that for most of my life… with disrespect and condescension.  I simply can’t tolerate it anymore. 

Awkward family photo…  I think my dad must have threatened us with the belt.

AND– Lost in Bloomingdale’s

Lost in Bloomingdale’s…

As I wrote about graduation season, I was reminded of another dramatic event from my youth.  It actually took a long time to get over this particular trauma in the years after it happened, but yesterday was the first time I’d thought of it in a long while. 

I was six or seven years old.  We lived in Fairfax, Virginia, which is a suburb of the Washington, DC area.  At the time of this incident, my sister, Becky, was about seventeen or eighteen.  We generally got along, though she had a tendency to be moody and would get very upset and angry whenever the mood struck.

Anyway, one day she decided she wanted to go to Bloomingdale’s at Tyson’s Corner, which is a huge shopping mall in northern Virginia.  For some odd reason, she decided to take me with her.  My parents had company coming over.  Maybe that’s why she took me… they may have told her to get me out of the house as a condition of driving the car.

So we went to Bloomingdale’s and they had a kids’ area where there were books and toys.  Becky told me to stay there and read while she went shopping.  I stayed there for awhile.  I really don’t know how long.  It could have been a few minutes or an hour.  I was a kid and a few minutes probably seemed like an eternity to me.  All I know is that at some point, I got bored and decided to go look for my sister.

I started wandering around, but I couldn’t find Becky.  Before too long, I got lost.  I started to cry.  Eventually, a matronly looking black woman approached me.  She said, “Little girl, are you lost?”

I was sobbing uncontrollably, but managed to tell the nice lady that I couldn’t find my sister. 

She said, “Come with me.” 

I followed the lady, who turned out to be a plain clothesed security guard.  She took me to her tiny office and called my parents, who said they’d be right there to pick me up.  Meanwhile, Becky was still out there in the store, looking at the latest fashions.

The security guard took me to what must have been a room designated for lost children.  All I remember about it was that there were couches and a nurse worked there.  Why there was a nurse working at Bloomingdale’s, I’ll never know.  It was the 70s, though.  Maybe she just looked like a nurse.  I remember she wore a white uniform that resembled a nurse’s outfit of that era.

The security guard finally found Becky, who was furious with me and swore she’d never take me anywhere again.  She kept asking the “nurse” why they hadn’t paged her.  The nurse said they didn’t have a paging system in the store. 

My dad eventually showed up at the mall.  He had his friend with him.  They were chuckling about my frightening ordeal.   I remember being very worried about Becky being so mad at me for wandering off.  Had this scenario happened today, God knows what kind of invasions that would have invited into our home.  I’m sure someone would have called CPS!  Not that I would have agreed with that, of course. 

It was a scary incident when I was a kid, but I survived it mostly unscathed… and Becky did eventually forgive me and take me on other outings.  She even joined me in Europe when I was traveling there on the way home from Armenia.  Given how certain parts of that trip turned out, maybe it would have been better if she’d kept her promise not to travel with me anymore… 

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language, musings, politics

“Chickenshot…”

It’s amazing how quickly things can change. Looking at memories on Facebook is a reminder of how, in just a year’s time, our focus can shift. A year ago, people were up in arms about people in cages at the southern border of the United States. I was in Sweden with Bill, and we were going to pick up our brand new Volvo. Meanwhile, we spent a couple of heavenly nights at Gothenburg’s best hotel, the Upper House.

This year, we’re contemplating a quick weekend away in Gerolstein, a place two hours from us in the next state. It’s known for its mineral water, which I used to buy when we lived in North Carolina. It’s not Sweden, but I’ve been wanting to go there for years. And now that we live somewhat close and have a good reason not to travel far, it makes sense to consider a trip there.

Anyway… this topic comes up because as I was looking at my old memories, I ran across an epic argument I had three years ago about an ad the NRA had put out that was pro Trump. As of this writing, it’s still available.

She’s easy on the eyes as she spits out how evil liberals are…

As I watched this NRA ad again in 2020, it does seem oddly predictive. There have been a hell of a lot of protests lately, some of which have gotten violent. She seems to think the answer to this is a police state and everyone armed to the teeth, even though Trump is unraveling more and more by the day. It’s disturbing to watch him disintegrate. He’s supposed to be a leader, but I expect him to collapse and go into a fetal position any day now, a la Jim Bakker back in 1989 as he was convicted of fraud and sent to prison. Jim Bakker was initially sentenced to 45 years behind bars, but was paroled after almost five. You can now find him on YouTube, eagerly peddling doomsday “food” slop in buckets and stumping for Donald Trump.

This is an entertaining and disturbing video.

The NRA ad attracted a number of comments from my friends, including one of my conservative cousins (and I have a whole lot of conservative cousins). My cousin Timmy (not his real name) had to chime in on the NRA. Timmy is a dedicated gun owner and gun rights proponent. Despite having been arrested a time or two when he was younger and wilder, he’s very much in favor of the police. And yet, despite all of this bad-assery, my dear cousin will no longer say the word “shit”.

I’m not sure exactly how or why this change came about. I know he used to drink a lot. In fact, he is partly responsible for my very first drunken episode when I was fifteen, because he kept giving me bourbon and Cokes at a family party. I remember getting very sick in my hotel room… It was definitely not my finest hour. But I was a teenager at the time, while he was an adult. I later heard that alcohol had caused Timmy a lot of problems and he had finally sobered up. Now he’s exchanged booze for conservatism, legalism, and religion. And he won’t say “shit” anymore, probably because he thinks it offends God. Instead of “chickenshit”, he says “chickenshot”. Instead of “bullshit”, he says “bullshot”.

I’m not Facebook friends with Timmy anymore, because we had one too many contentious arguments in which he became overbearing, snide, and insulting. It reminded me of dealing with my dad, who would similarly be rude and disrespectful when discussions didn’t go his way. Still, because we’re family, I run across his comments now and again on stuff shared by mutual family members who are also “friends”. I have noticed that he substitutes the word “shot” for “shit” quite often. I wonder why he does it and if he really thinks it makes a difference. Does God really care if you swear? Seems to me like God would have much bigger issues to deal with than someone who says the word “shit”. It’s silly, and it makes it hard for me to take him seriously. But anyway, here’s an example. Timmy told Bill that he’s a “Constitutional Libertarian”. Bill asked him to explain what he meant. This was his first response:

I can only define myself. As Jenny would say “who are you that I must explain who I am or what I believe”. 

Since you took the military service oath it shouldn’t be hard…and as an officer there should be “no gray areas”

Actually, I only said that to Timmy once, and it was after he’d been relentlessly badgering me about some argument we were having. I basically told him that I’m not obligated to explain anything to him just because he says so. Bill’s query was a lot more respectful, as they generally are. To his credit, Timmy recognized that, and wrote this response:

Actually Bill…my answer was chicken shot. Yes I believe in the US Constitution in the “originalism” sense. 

I know it’s next to impossible for it t be applied in that sense…yet it’s what I feel we should strive for. So many years have passed with gross overreaching from representatives and our federal government into our personal liberties. Members of congress could enact Article V… but appear scared to do so. 

You join the ranks of many that ask me to explain what I mean…for crying out loud it’s written in black and white. 

It wasn’t fully applied as written for many years. We’ve made progress to instill those liberties but have much more to make. 

It was snide and childish to respond the way I did earlier. I respect you, your differences, your wife, and the service you embrace for our country.

He eventually annoyed me so much that I posted this photo. His response was, “Very nice! Good thing you have a Masters degree Jenny [sic]”
To which I responded, “I have two of them, Timmy. :)” I don’t think he likes “uppity women” like me.

Later that same day, he decided to chime in on a discussion some of my friends and I were having about a mother who wanted to have her seven year old transgendered child sterilized and save some of her own eggs so that the child could later have children biologically related. He left this comment, basically revealing how he feels about people who adhere to Islam. I don’t think he’s remotely interested in understanding transgendered people and has simplified it to a “perversion” that, at the very least, requires intervention and correction by a psychiatrist. I don’t know much about transgendered people myself, but I do think it’s a real thing and people who are transgendered aren’t necessarily mentally ill anymore than cisgendered people are.

I guess I over simply things when “sorting”. To me the bathroom issue appears to be about “plumbing” and possibly being sexually or physically assaulted. 

The desired “comfort level” while relieving oneself in a public restroom…cannot be reasonably achieved. 

Knowing 20-200 individuals have sat (or stood) on the same toilet seat never comforts me. Not knowing their level of hygiene, nor the frequency of janitorial services…what sex they were doesn’t affect my comfort. 

Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way

When no one responded to that, he left a snide comment about “Sybil”. I guess he was referring to Sybil, who had multiple personalities and was the subject of a book and a movie? I asked him if he had anything of substance to add to the conversation or if he was just there to add snarky comments. He finally backed off… and if I recall correctly, it wasn’t much longer before I kicked him off my page.

Timmy doesn’t mind being snarky, dismissive, and rude when he comments, but he has a big problem with the word “shit”. And I imagine that if he heard the word “fuck” uttered in front of him, he might have a major meltdown. It’s too much to bear. Actually, it kind of makes me chuckle, because my dad was much like that. My dad HATED it when people swore. When he was angry, you might hear him say any manner of hateful things. He’d turn beet red and his veins would pop out. He was legitimately scary when he was like that. But– I never once heard him say the word “fuck”. I think I might have heard him say “shit” once or twice in my lifetime. He would say “damn” or “hell” on occasion, but it wasn’t very often. And he would often lecture me about my language, but y’all know I’m a potty mouth. I cuss a lot. I would rather cuss than become hateful or violent. I have not seen Timmy get violent, but I know he has been that way. He proudly carries firearms and I know he’s been arrested for being drunk and fighting in public. Timmy is also a very short man– even shorter than Bill is (and Bill is only 5’7″). I imagine a lot of this behavior stems from the fact that he’s short, and carrying a gun and being an asshole makes him feel better and more powerful about his lack of stature.

Another one of my cousins shared a laughable meme… laughable especially since the person who posted it didn’t even consult Google Translate when he added German… Behold:

JamesJim Lawrence is not my relative, but my relative shared this. I think Mr. Lawrence should speak only for himself instead of declaring that “most Americans” have disgust for people who take a knee when the National Anthem is being played. Moreover, if the Germans had taken over the United States– minus Hitler, anyway– we might be better off than we are right now. Germany is not doing too badly.

Well, it’s probably a good thing that I live so far away from “home”. I do feel pangs of sadness when I see how close some of my relatives are to each other. I feel kind of jealous when I see how some of my friends are close to their friends and relatives and how all of the “social distancing” has been a real hardship for them. It hasn’t been much of a hardship for me, since I live so far away and I can’t relate to a lot of my family members anymore anyway. They have written me off as a “chicken shot” liberal, even though I definitely don’t agree with all liberal ideas.

I just think that right now, the liberals are much more in touch with reality than the conservatives are, and they have policies that seem more humane. I’m also pissed off that the conservatives cursed us with Donald Trump, who, I’m sorry to say, is the worst president in United States history. Or, at least, that’s my opinion. I will admit I’m not an expert, and I understand that a lot of other presidents reportedly were even worse. But, at least in my lifetime, Trump is the worst by far. He doesn’t even pretend to be a leader. My cousin, Timmy, the self-proclaimed “Constitutional Libertarian”, didn’t even have the cojones to vote for the Libertarian POTUS candidate in 2016. Oddly enough, this liberal “chicken shot” and her husband, did…

Incidentally, I think I could be persuaded to buy some chicken shit… I hear it’s a good way to season your poultry.

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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.

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