We’re back from our trip and, as it always is after a break somewhere, I’m up to my ass washing clothes and writing. My computer is being really irritating tonight. Or maybe it’s just the ever crashing Internet, which seems to have a fit whenever I try to upload photos. Adding to my angst is that it was about 3:00 before I had lunch and I was super hangry and irritable. Poor Bill…
Twice, people have rung the doorbell… one was someone wanting me to take packages for the neighbor. The other was some woman pitching a breakfast delivery service. After our Hello Fresh disaster, I am definitely NOT interested in that. I told her I wasn’t wanting to sign up for a free trial. She was nice about it. I’m sure she’s been on the receiving end of plenty of nastiness, so I tried to be nice when I said “no”. I wouldn’t want that job. Door to door sales sucks.
I hate it when I open the door and someone immediately launches into a rapid fire spiel, particularly when it’s in German. I usually just interrupt them and say in English that I don’t speak German. The truth is, I speak really terrible German, but I understand a surprisingly good amount of it. If you want German out of me, though, your best bet is to ask me to sing it. I can sing in German… if I know the words, that is. Anyway, I figure if they’re going to ring my bell and try to sell me shit I don’t want or need, they can speak English. They came to me, after all. Also, she caught me in my most indecent nightie, since I just took a shower and wasn’t planning to see anyone.
I should probably be in a better mood. We had a good time on our short break. It’s very beautiful in the Eifel, and there’s still a lot to see that we never even touched. If we’d wanted to, we could have spent a week and not been bored. Maybe the next trip we take will be somewhere a little further out.
I’ve been missing my guitar. This was the longest break I’ve had from playing since early May. I’ve been making some real strides in learning how to play, although barre chords are definitely going to be a bitch. I was also really happy to hear from my Italian friend Vittorio, who wisely left Facebook last year and lives in Germany… he left me a comment on my blog the other day. That made me happy. I like to hear from friends, and I had been wondering how he was doing.
Sorry, this post is a whole lot of nothing. I’ve been fighting with my damned computer for the last hour. Every time I try to upload batches of photos, the net crashes. I often end up having to reboot the router at the very least. Sometimes, I have to reboot the computer, too. I’m sure there is a techie reason this happens… someday, I may figure it out. Anyway, I’m not really in the right frame of mind to write anything coherent right now. But I bet I’ll wake up tomorrow ready to rant, because I have a few things in mind…
So… until then, Auf Wiedersehen. See? I do know a couple of German words.
This morning, as I was sitting here thinking about what I wanted to write about today, I remembered a post I wrote for my original blog back in March 2015. At that point, we had only been in Stuttgart for about nine months. I was a member of way too many local Facebook groups. There was a lot of drama in those groups… drama that I haven’t seen up here in Wiesbaden. In many ways, I enjoy the lack of drama because I don’t end up nearly as annoyed or upset as I regularly did in Stuttgart. On the other hand, I almost never lacked for topics to write about.
Back in March 2015, the American high school for the children of military and government service members, Patch High School, was still located on Patch Barracks. The Stuttgart area high school has since moved to Panzer Kaserne, as a brand new facility was built and opened in the fall of 2015. The new high school’s mascot is the Panther, as it was for Patch High School. However, the community sports team’s mascot was the stallion, as is the mascot for Patch Elementary School.
The choice of a stallion as a mascot was locally significant, since Stuttgart’s coat of arms has a stallion on it. Car buffs might also notice that Porsche, which is a sports car brand made and based in Stuttgart, also has a horse on its logo. Sometime in the past, when it came time to name the local sports team’s mascot, someone decided on the stallion. The teams for the female athletes were known as “Lady Stallions”. Back in March 2015, the local sports team coordinators were looking for people to join the “Lady Stallions” softball team.
I am a lover of words. I’m also a lover of horses. A stallion is, by definition, an uncastrated male horse. Because I was feeling saucy, I mentioned this fact in a snarky Facebook group I used to be part of back in the day. Some brave soul decided to share my thoughts with the sports team coordinator, who wrote this cranky response:
I’m going to take a wild guess here and assume that Ms. ****** has no prior experience or dealings with OCONUS community level sports. We did not name ourselves Stallions. That is the mascot for the Stuttgart community, therefore we don’t have the authority nor the desire to change it simply because a stallion is a male horse. Every community level sport here has a men’s team and a women’s team, both of which are Stallions. Just like any other community… Lady Rams, Sabres, Mustangs, Generals, etc. So, if there is more concern about what we are called than actually playing the sport, that is not someone who we are looking to add to the team.
Well excuuuuuuseeee ME!!!
I was amused by the bitchy response, which wasn’t directed to me personally, but to the woman who had decided to comment that stallions are, in fact, male horses by definition. But then I started thinking about it some more. I wrote this in my original blog:
Okay, fair enough… but have they considered what makes a stallion a stallion? I used to judge horses and I’ve seen quite a few sets of stallion genitalia. They have balls the size of grapefruits. They have very impressive penises, too. I was thinking about including a photo for reference, but given that apparently a lot of people like to use horses for their own twisted fantasies, I decided against it.
Notice that the person who responded lists examples of other “lady” teams as “proof” that Stuttgart is not the only area where a mascot is obviously male, yet has teams designated for the ladies. But only one of her examples isn’t gender neutral. One can be a female mustang or general, for instance, though I don’t think sabres actually have genders. I do realize, though, that sexist mascots are very common.
Now, at my high school, our mascot was “The Dukes”. No, it wasn’t because of the Dukes of Hazzard; it was because of the Duke of Gloucester. If you grow up near Yorktown, Virginia, you quickly become acquainted with the names of people who were important in the American Revolution. And yes, we did have “Lady Dukes” instead of Duchesses.
After I graduated from Gloucester High School, I went to Longwood College– now known as Longwood University. Our mascot was, and still is, the Lancers. Back when I was a student, we didn’t have an actual mascot. Now, there’s Elwood, who is a horse. Longwood was an all women’s school until 1976. Still, we have a rather phallic looking symbol on our mascot…
It wasn’t lost on me that my college had a rather phallic mascot. I mean, the horse isn’t so much… except that I think Elwood is male, and if he’s a stallion, he’s got impressive genitalia. Trust me, I’ve seen a lot of equine genitalia.
So then I went to the University of South Carolina, where the mascot is the Gamecock. Gamecocks are fighting roosters. Roosters are males. I remember that the female athletes at my graduate school were not known as Hens, but Lady Gamecocks. And, in fact, they were all collectively referred to as “Cocks”. I have a Facebook friend who went to the University of South Carolina as an undergraduate. I like to tease him by writing “Go Cocks” on his posts.
I used to wear a garnet colored t-shirt that read, “You can’t lick our Cocks.” It looked just like today’s featured photo looks. Unfortunately, back at that time, it was just before Lou Holtz took over coaching the football team and, in fact, a whole lot of other teams “licked our Cocks” quite soundly. Like Lou Holtz, I started my time at USC in 1999, and Mr. Holtz was indeed able to turn the football team around. They became a very formidable force that year. Lou Holtz left USC in 2004, having vastly improved their stats.
I don’t actually follow football or any other sports. I just think it’s interesting that so many sports teams are named after male animals, and a lot of those names end up being shortened to references to genitalia. Especially when you consider what happens when when a male gets hit in that part of the body…
Given this obvious weakness in a male’s anatomy, I wonder why we glorify a male’s genitals in sports contests and in naming sports teams. What’s wrong with having a team called the Stuttgart Mares? Mares are pretty tough. And when they get hit in the genitals, it probably doesn’t hurt as much.
Anyway… I’m glad that Stuttgart’s high school has adopted a gender neutral mascot in their Panthers. Here in Wiesbaden, the mascot is a nice, somewhat gender neutral Warrior. I guess there are female warriors out there, right? When I went looking to find the featured photo for today’s post, I found a picture of the t-shirt I used to own. I also found a lot of x-rated photos of the slang use of the word “cock”. It’s not just for male chickens, that’s for damned sure.
Actually, I’m reminded of something funny from my glory days in high school. Back then, Gloucester County still played in the AA league, which meant our school was considered “smaller”. It has since moved to the AAA league– I think that happened the year after my graduation. Teams were playing bigger schools in Hampton and Newport News and, unfortunately, getting soundly beaten a lot. But my senior year, we were still AA, and for Homecoming that year, we played the Bruton Panthers. Bruton is a small community in York County, near Williamsburg. Anyway… I distinctly remember my friends trying to come up with fight slogans for the floats in the Homecoming parade– you know, things like “Pierce the Panthers” or “Pop the Panthers”. One of my grosser male friends suggested “Panther Pap Smear”. Knowing my friends, I’m surprised no one suggested “Pork the Panthers”.
Back in the 1980s, I remember reading a news story about a disgruntled man named James Huberty. Huberty had a bumper sticker on his car that read “I’M NOT DEAF, I’M IGNORING YOU.” At age 41 in July 1984, Huberty was known for being cranky and “sour” and raging at his wife, Etna, and their two daughters, Zelia and Cassandra. Originally from Canton, Ohio, Huberty had a degree in sociology, had learned how to embalm people in mortuary school, and often worked as a welder.
For some reason, on July 18, 1984, Mr. Huberty was in an especially foul mood. He visited a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California and went on a shooting spree, killing 21 people and injuring many others. Huberty was the 22nd person killed that day when he was fatally shot by a SWAT team sniper.
The day before he went off the rails, James Huberty had called a mental health crisis line. The receptionist misspelled his name on intake as “Shouberty”. He had not indicated that his situation was an emergency, so his call was never returned. The morning of his shooting rampage, Huberty and his wife had taken their two daughters to the San Diego Zoo. Afterwards, they ate at a McDonald’s– different than the one where Huberty went on his spree. Later that afternoon, Huberty was leaving his home, and his wife asked him where he was going. He said he was “hunting humans” and that “society had its chance.” Mrs. Huberty never reported this behavior, bizarre as it was. A witness saw Huberty leaving his apartment and heading down San Ysidro Boulevard with two firearms. The witness notified the police, but the dispatcher gave the reporting officers the wrong address.
At 3:40pm, Huberty began his massacre. It went on for 77 horrifying minutes. Huberty discharged 257 rounds of ammunition before he was finally killed by a sniper. As he was killing people, Huberty declared that he’d killed thousands of people in Vietnam. However, he never spent any time in the military. A couple of years later, Etna Huberty unsuccessfully sued McDonald’s and Huberty’s employer, Babcock and Wilcox. She claimed that the unlucky combination of McDonald’s food and the heavy metals Huberty was exposed to at work had caused him to go crazy.
What has me thinking and writing about James Huberty today? I’m not sure. I remember when that shooting occurred. I was twelve years old, and my parents subscribed to Newsweek magazine. I remember reading an article about the massacre and seeing pictures of the horrified people who were involved in the attack. I didn’t remember the details of the shooting until I read up on them this morning. What I did remember was the testy bumper sticker Huberty had on his car– “I’M NOT DEAF, I’M IGNORING YOU.”
I’m feeling kind of like Huberty today. No, I don’t have any plans to shoot up a McDonald’s. I’m not that off kilter. I don’t own any guns and don’t feel like getting dressed, anyway. But I am feeling sort of testy. I think it’s a combination of being bored and being perimenopausal and hormonal, and spending too much time connected to electronic devices. My allergies are acting up, my boobs are itchy and sensitive, I’m ragging, and I’m hungry. On top of that, my Facebook feed is alternately riddled with annoying comments by overly helpful people and ads for “cute” face masks being marketed as gifts. How bizarre is it that a year ago, fashionable face masks weren’t a thing. Now we have people marketing masks with Bea Arthur and various dog breeds on them. And it just reminds me of how irritating things can be… especially when we have leaders who don’t really care and are only interested in lining their pockets and staying in power.
Back in the 80s, the phone was really the only device where people could invade your home and irritate you at will. Nowadays, we have email, a plethora of social media platforms, instant messaging, Facebook groups, and, of course, blogs. And when I’m already feeling irritable due to my special time of the month, I have less patience for people than usual. I should probably exercise some self-control and do something old fashioned, like read an actual book or watch television. The skies are cloudy this morning which means that there could be rain. I think I’d like that. The air is full of pollen, which is making me hack, wheeze, and cough, even though I’ve had no close exposure to other people and am definitely not sick.
Anyway… even though James Huberty was a total bastard for killing so many people, maybe the sentiment on his bumper sticker wasn’t such a bad idea. Perhaps it’s time I logged off and plunged back into the offline world. If I don’t respond to an unsolicited PM, “overly helpful” Facebook comment, or text message, just know– “I’M NOT DEAF, I’M IGNORING YOU.” But then, none of those novel modes of communication require the ability to hear. I guess that makes the sentiment expressed in Huberty’s quaint bumper sticker even more interesting.
Hope you have a healthy and annoyance free Monday, wherever you are.
Sorry… it’s Monday morning, and I’m in a bad mood. I don’t recommend reading this post, unless you want to be in a bad mood, too. I woke up early and the smell of Arran’s food made me heave a few times. Then I checked Facebook and felt even crankier. It’s probably time for me to rethink being on social media. On the positive side, it does keep me connected to people. On the negative side, it keeps me connected to people. People get on my fucking nerves.
I have a laundry list of grievances this morning, mostly relating to social media and how grating it can be. I might as well start with Felicity Huffman. A lot of people are irritated that she only got 14 days in prison for her part in “Varsity Blues”. More than a few people hit the angry reaction in response to an article about Felicity Huffman’s sentence. Honestly, I don’t really get it. She’s not going to repeat the crime. She’s not a violent person or a career offender. And she’s taken responsibility and apologized profusely. What more do people want? Blood?
I have already stated that I think Huffman’s sentence is just. I still think that, even though people are pointing out other cases in which poor people of color got much harsher sentences for similar crimes. I am aware of formerly homeless mom Tanya McDowell’s 2011 case, in which she was sentenced to five years in jail for falsifying her address so that she could send her son to a better school. I think it’s extremely unfair that McDowell got so much time behind bars for her crime, although having read more about it, I have discovered that McDowell’s sentence wasn’t just because she falsified her address. McDowell’s sentence was the result of a plea bargain that included other charges, including some involving drugs.
For some reason, a lot of Americans seem to think jail is the answer to every societal ill. I think people lose sight of how many Americans are locked up and how warehousing people in prison ruins lives. Incarcerating people doesn’t just affect those behind bars; it also affects their family members and loved ones. Now, Felicity Huffman’s life won’t be ruined by her upcoming stint in prison, but the average person will have trouble bouncing back after being incarcerated. Locking people up is expensive for taxpayers, but it’s also a big business. Private prisons make money by keeping people behind bars. They aren’t in the business of rehabilitation; they’re in the business of enslaving people for profit while forcing them to wear used underwear.
So, while I understand people being upset by the disparity between Huffman’s sentence and McDowell’s sentence, I don’t think wishing more jail time for Huffman is the answer. Instead, we should fix the system that locks up people for committing non-violent crimes and profits off of keeping them locked up for as long as possible. But, I understand, hitting the angry reaction button on Facebook is a lot easier than actually doing something to rectify society’s problems.
Yesterday, Bill and I spent the day together. It was a beautiful day, and we probably should have gone out and tried to do something fun, but I was feeling kind of tired and cranky. So we stayed home, and Bill baked a delicious Dutch apple pie. It was his first time, so he forgot to put foil on the edges of the pie crust. They got a little overly brown. Someone “helpfully” pointed out that foil on the edges would have prevented that. I have baked a lot of pies in my day, so I know about the foil trick. Bill now knows, too. The pie was still excellent, regardless. I probably should just focus on that, but instead, it was just the first in a series of unasked for help I received yesterday.
Did you ever notice how much people enjoy offering unsolicited advice? I’m sure most of the time, people want to be “helpful”. But, for some reason, it really chaps my ass when people offer “tips” I didn’t request.
For instance, last night, we were listening to the Eagles and I asked Bill if he knows what harmony is. Bill loves music, but he isn’t a musician. He didn’t quite get the concept, so I demonstrated it for him. We had kind of a cool conversation about harmony, so I posted about it on Facebook. I was really just sharing a “feel good” moment. Immediately, I got a bunch of suggestions about other bands or groups we could have been listening to. A little of that is okay, but this was a totally impromptu discussion that came about only because the Eagles were playing. I hadn’t prepared a lesson plan or anything, and wasn’t planning a lecture. We were just chatting.
And then, a guy shared a video of the song, “Hallelujah”. You know, the one written by Leonard Cohen? When I first heard that song on Shrek, I liked it. But now, it’s become so goddamned overrated that I just plain don’t care how great the harmonies are by some group I’ve never heard of. I don’t need to hear that song again… or, at least not for a very long time. The guy who shared the video doesn’t know that, of course… but I wonder what makes people feel like they have to offer “help” when none was requested.
I feel the same way about the version of “Over the Rainbow” done by Israel Kamakawiwo. It was poignant when it was used for Dr. Mark Greene’s death scene on ER, but then everyone was doing it and playing it, and it became super annoying. I’m sure the version of “Hallelujah” that was shared with me to demonstrate harmonies is awesome, but I wasn’t looking for more examples of great harmonies. I know Simon & Garfunkel harmonized well. So do Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. So do a lot of other people. I was really just sharing a moment brought on by the Eagles. But I suppose it’s my fault for sharing that story in the first place.
People state the obvious…
I shared this yesterday… which I actually shouldn’t have done, because it also annoys me when people use social media for preaching. To me, the point made by this picture is obvious. The person who owns this business isn’t really all that welcoming, after all. But someone commented that the restrooms are for paying customers. Got it, and in fact, my parents were small business owners with a bathroom that people sometimes made a mess in. But seriously, folks… when you gotta go, you gotta go. I would rather let someone use the facilities, than have them go pee in the street. And maybe that person who comes in to use your bathroom might actually decide to become a paying customer if you simply show them a little kindness and humanity. But then, as I type this, I realize how irritable I am this morning and how I probably wouldn’t be inclined to be that kindly myself.
Renee Alway is back in trouble.
I read this morning that Renee Alway, of America’s Next Top Model fame, is back in the big house. One of my most popular posts on my old blog was about Renee… and, in fact, a few people commented that claim to know her. I’m sorry to see she’s in trouble with the law again. This time, it’s for assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm), two counts of infliction of corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, terrorist threats, a prior felony conviction, and a violation of parole. I genuinely liked Renee on ANTM, and I thought it was tragic that she fell into drug abuse and crime. I think it’s tragic that she’s back in trouble with the law now, although it doesn’t surprise me. But, you know? It annoys me that because some people are hellbent on making trouble for me, I have to keep my old blog locked down… at least for now. Maybe I’ll repost that entry about Renee, though, since I know people are interested in it. The comments were probably better than the article itself.
Ric Ocasek is dead.
Okay, so I know he was 75 years old, but I really like his music. It’s sad that Eddie Money recently died, too. Both of those guys contributed to the soundtrack of my youth, and losing them reminds me that I’m becoming an old fart myself. And I’m not really enjoying life as much as I should. Maybe I’m less upset that people have passed on and more jealous that I can’t join them. Being down here sometimes feels like a waste of time.
I looked up “roller fucking” on YouTube and got disappointing results.
I was hoping to find an old George Carlin routine about Olympic sports that didn’t quite make the grade. Instead, I got a lot of porn. It’s the same thing that happened when I searched for “bitchy landlady”. Instead of getting the results I was seeking, I got porn. Porn rules the world, y’all. And I am not interested in porn, although it might improve my mood.
Depression? PMS? Menopause? Burnout? A mixture?
I’ll admit, I am a bit irritable lately, for a lot of reasons. I think some of the reasons have to do with the onset of menopause. I felt very PMSy last week, and I should have gotten my period. It hasn’t shown up, but I have the symptoms of an impending visit from Aunt Flow. Add in the fact that I’m still mourning my dog while dealing with Arran, who has a bum foot. I have to take him to the vet again because he somehow cut his paw last week and was licking it so much that it couldn’t heal. He’s had a bandage for the past few days, and has substituted licking his asshole for licking his paw. I’m wondering if maybe he’s upset that Zane is suddenly gone and that’s made him nervous, or if we’re going to have another veterinary drama to attend to. Either way, the sound of a dog constantly licking his ass isn’t exactly peaceful or pleasant.
I think I’m also feeling a bit burned out on Germany. It’s not because I’m not happy with where we are now. It’s probably more because Germany is not really my home. I can’t even say that I miss the United States much, though. I don’t want to go back there… maybe I just need to visit my relatives and get a reminder as to why I’d rather be over here. But the idea of paying out the nose and being on a plane for hours on end isn’t very appealing, either. Especially since visiting my relatives is a risky proposition.
Bill is going to be away for most of this week. Maybe it’ll be a good thing. He’ll get a break from my irritable self. As it is, he asked me if I need to see a shrink. Yep… it’s a fucking Monday. I think I’ll go annoy myself with another episode of 7th Heaven and remind myself that at least I’m not a guy who made a name for myself playing an annoying minister on a popular TV show, only to be outed as a pervert years later…
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