communication, condescending twatbags, stupid people, travel

“I’m really sorry about your head injury!” ;-)

The featured photo is a screenshot of a “laugh reaction” I received from some poor soul who is humor challenged and probably has brain damage. Based on the person’s handle, I assume that the person comes from southwest Florida. That explains a whole lot, actually… I’m sure DeSantis benefits from his or her largesse… This is not going to be a particularly “nice” post, so consider that before you read it.

It’s already just past noon on Sunday, a full week after we arrived home following a long vacation. I don’t usually spend a lot of time on Cruise Critic, because I don’t do a lot of cruising. However, when I do cruise, I will sometimes visit the message boards and share my experiences, while gleaning wisdom from other travelers.

Because we cruised on Regent Seven Seas on our most recent voyage, I’ve been visiting that board more often than my usual boards– SeaDream Yacht Club and Hebridean Island Cruises. But, although we really did have a good time on Regent Splendor, I think the experience just drove home to us that we much prefer smaller cruise ships. In fact, being on Regent Splendor made me realize that maybe I’d like to do another SeaDream cruise at some point. So, in the interest of solidarity with fellow SeaDream fans, I started a thread about wanting to go back to a smaller ship.

A decent discussion ensued, albeit with comments from people who haven’t been following that forum for as long as some posters have. About ten or twelve years ago, someone started a very popular thread about “cheating” on SeaDream by using other cruise lines. It got so popular that SeaDream actually used it for their own personal blog (which I’m not sure still exists). I referenced “cheating” on SeaDream, and one of the newer posters– likely unaware of the old joke– reassured me that I wasn’t “cheating” on SeaDream, just trying out different products. Fair enough, and I didn’t bother to explain.

But then some posters got into a discussion about how crowded ports can get when there are a few ships docked. One person– someone who apparently thinks a whole lot about money over all else– commented that the communities who are served by cruise ships “love” it, because it means a lot of cash gets flushed into their economies.

Frankly, I don’t think that’s always true. Yes, an influx of money is a great thing for a lot of people, especially in economically challenged areas. However, I have read about some places not liking cruise ships at all. For instance, in Norway, there’s a campaign going on that actually shames cruisers for being “parasites”, and not taking a “proper holiday” in the countries they visit. Many cruise companies pay “slave wages” and don’t pay taxes to the countries they visit.

Norway, in fact, is going to ban most cruise ships by 2026, unless they meet stringent environmental standards that most ships won’t be able to meet. When we were there, I noticed most cars were electric. The train we took from Oslo to Bergen was also electric, as are the cruise ship/ferries run by Hurtigruten and Havila.

Venice, Italy no longer allows large cruise ships to dock in the city. Instead, they have to dock in ports nearby. It’s because the large ships damage the fragile ecosystem around Venice and make it more likely that the city will be destroyed sooner, rather than later.

Bill and I also had a rather hostile experience when we visited Carriacou, Grenada, back in 2011. I had never heard of the place before we visited there, so I had no idea of how difficult life is there. There we were, getting off our fancy “mega yacht”. I believe I was even wearing a SeaDream baseball hat, because I neglected to carry a hat in my luggage and my poor white skin and blonde hair were taking a beating. In fact, I remember being VERY sunburned on that trip.

We decided not to take the offered excursion, and instead, walked around the town, which was very depressed looking. We stumbled across a museum, which gave us something to do, but was also very interesting. We walked around, looking at the artistic impressions of what had happened to the people on that island. I distinctly remember seeing a painting of a Black person shackled to a tree. It made me feel awful to see that, but I’m sure that was the point. Looking at art is a great way to learn about history, especially the ugliest parts.

There was another white couple in the museum at the same time we were there. They looked like vegan backpackers who slept outside. The man had dreadlocks, and the strawberry-blonde woman, who had a British accent, was very freckled. I remember her asking the young Black woman behind the counter about the history of the island. She was very interested, and the lady was explaining it well. I was glad to overhear what she was saying, in spite of my SeaDream ballcap.

The woman behind the counter was not nearly as engaging with us. In fact, she seemed downright hostile. We decided to buy one of the wood carvings hanging on the wall. She sold it to us in a distinctly unfriendly way. I left that museum feeling depressed and unwelcome… which I probably was, come to think of it. I’m sure that woman thought she knew everything about us… or our “type”. I could excuse that reaction in her, to an extent. It probably is demoralizing to see well fed white people touring an island where people are obviously struggling.

I have never forgotten that experience, and I’m reminded of it every time I look at the carving we bought at the museum that day. It was a good reminder to me that not everyone appreciates holiday makers/cruisers/people with money, especially when they are loudmouthed Americans. We did have a different, more positive experience later, when we bought another carving from a guy who was whittling wood by the pier.

When the person on Cruise Critic made the statement about how locals in the ports love it when cruisers come to town, I was reminded of that day in Grenada, and the bad vibes I got from that woman. My mom, who also visited the Caribbean more than a few times, also had experiences with people that were kind of unfriendly. It occurred to me that maybe we do look like assholes to them. Anyway, that was a humbling experience, although it also made me not ever want to visit Carriacou again.

I briefly related that story on my Cruise Critic thread, and someone wrote that it was good that we went to those places, since they increased “awareness”, that would maybe inspire cruisers to offer help. The cynic in me thinks that’s a long shot, although I do know some folks with money are also generous with it and donate to charity.

I mentioned that maybe I’m more sensitive to people’s local reactions because I was in the Peace Corps. I added more to the comment, trying hard to be even-handed about it because I didn’t want to start an argument, even though I kind of disagreed with the idea that locals love cruisers because of money. And while my comment about the Peace Corps might come off as “humble bragging” or whatever, the fact is, that experience DID make me a lot more sensitive to how locals react. I can’t help that. I was simply stating the truth about how I changed after I spent two years in a developing nation. Excuse me for living.

As expected, someone thought my comment was just hilarious. They left me a laugh reaction. I was left a little puzzled, since I didn’t write anything that I thought was obviously funny. Since I wasn’t being funny, I was left to assume that the person who left that reaction is either intellectually disabled, or completely lacking in manners and decorum.

I like to think the best of people, so I figured that they probably have a head injury of some sort. That made me feel some pity for them, instead of irritation at the inappropriate reaction. I briefly considered calling them out with condolences for their obvious head injury and the suffering it’s causing for everyone in their midst… but I figured that would only escalate things. It’s tempting to fight rudeness with counter rudeness, but in the interest of being a more evolved person… 😉 (that pesky humanitarian streak I have, thanks to my life changing experiences in the Peace Corps), I decided to simply ignore the slight at the source and just rant about it here, instead. Few people will read this.

I get that people– especially the types who sail on luxury cruise ships– don’t like it when there’s a hint of “wokeness” afoot. To be honest, maybe it is hypocritical of me to notice the unhappy locals when I take cruises. After all, if I really cared about the locals, I wouldn’t have even gotten on a cruise ship, right? Especially an all inclusive luxury vessel like SeaDream I. I’d donate the money we spent on the cruise to UNICEF or CARE or something similar.

Maybe this is a sign that I shouldn’t cruise on SeaDream again, after all. Wouldn’t want to rub elbows with people who not only resent me for taking a vacation on a luxury ship, but also resent me for mentioning that I was in the Peace Corps. Those same people, by the way, usually don’t mind telling me what THEY do for a living… and implying that they have lots of wealth, as they flaunt their wives with obvious “bolt ons” and facelifts. But, what can I say? SeaDream offers a really nice product, and we do genuinely enjoy our cruises with them, even if some of the other passengers can be jerks.

People are always looking for reasons to tear other folks down. They usually do it by making judgments about the external. Since we can’t usually see each other on Internet messageboards, that leaves people to judge what others write in their posts and assume things that aren’t necessarily there.

The truth is, I am rather “proud” of my Peace Corps experience. It completely changed my life and my world view, and it really was a challenging thing for me to do. But I’m not going to tell you that I joined the Peace Corps because I had visions of saving anyone but myself. I certainly didn’t join because I thought I’d save the world, nor do I think I actually did that much for the cause. I joined because I was trying to find a pathway into meaningful employment. I didn’t end up finding that from my Peace Corps experience, but I did learn a lot. I did come away from that experience with a tendency to pay more attention to how Americans look outside their own habitats. And while some people might not believe it, I think my Peace Corps experience made me into less of an asshole than I might have otherwise been. 😉

Take that comment as you will, since I know a lot of people think I am an asshole. Most of them, like that “brain damaged” laugh reactor on Cruise Critic, and that judgmental local woman in Grenada, don’t know a fucking thing about me and would never deign to try to know anything about me. That’s because most of them are focused on themselves, and to a lesser extent, people in their immediate orbits. But, I’m also not going to tell you that I don’t have that problem, too. I think we all do, to some extent. For the vast majority of people, it’s simply part of being human. Especially the ones who have lots of money.

That’s just my opinion, of course. It’s good that I have a blog for moments like these.

No good deed goes unpunished. I was trying to do something good when I started that Cruise Critic thread. I guess I fucked it up by just being myself. 😉 Lesson learned.

Maybe I should look into booking a trip where I don’t have to interact with anyone else. I seem to be a complete failure at relating to other people. And to the jerk on Cruise Critic with the “head injury”, here’s something to make you feel better… Take two of these and don’t call me in the morning.

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dreams, music, politicians, politics, slut shamers, social media

Strange morning dreams, and rude comments from MAGAts….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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complaints, condescending twatbags, Germany, healthcare, language, politics, psychology, social media, social welfare

Am I really that “funny” to some people?

Lately, I’ve been feeling kind of puzzled about how I seem to come across to people. I know that sometimes people find me funny. Sometimes, they even find me funny at appropriate times, like when I make an obviously humorous comment. But then, sometimes I find puzzling laughter reactions to things that aren’t meant to be funny.

For instance, yesterday, I shared an old photo of Bill and me at a beer spa. We were in a tub shaped like a keg with a beer spigot next to it. I suppose that could be kind of funny… but it was actually more awesome than humorous. Several people laughed at it. When I asked what was funny, no one responded. I wasn’t necessarily offended by the laugh reactions to that photo. I was just confused by them. I don’t see what’s funny about a couple sitting in a beer spa keg, especially since we weren’t naked.

I did get some laugh reactions at another post, though, that I did find kind of obnoxious. I have ranted a few times on this blog about how certain people in the United States like to tell me how life is in Germany. It’s usually conservatives who do this. They have this idea that Germany is a dystopian communist hellhole, where people are paying taxes out the ass, living in tiny boxes, can’t get medical care, and are subjected to death panels by Muslim terrorists. And yet, my guess is that most of them have never so much as ever left the United States. Or, if they did, they didn’t stay away long enough to understand that life can be good outside of the United States.

The mocking, derisive effect of the laughing emoji is annoying enough when it comes from strangers. It’s actually kind of hurtful when it comes from “friends”. Below is something I wrote in September 2019, after having a very frustrating discussion with a friend of a friend, who was convinced that no one in Germany feels safe, because people don’t walk around with guns here. She stated that she knew Muslims were taking over Germany, and that life here is a nightmare. And she was saying this from Dallas, Texas!

Twice this week, Trump supporters in the USA have tried to tell me how things are in Germany. I have heard how unsafe I am, how I can’t get medical care, how Muslims run everything, crime is rampant, and no one is allowed to have weapons. Do I really look like I have no ability to draw my own conclusions about what life is like over here? Folks, Germany is a nice place to be. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s pretty good, despite those pesky “socialist” policies that make healthcare and higher education affordable and guns more difficult to obtain.

I swear, I must come off as just plain dumb to some people. I don’t get it.

I shared this again, because it still happens regularly. I was completely serious when I wrote it, and when I shared it as a memory. Yet some friends “laughed” at me for this. People who don’t know me presume to tell me how bad it is where I live. What’s especially strange is when they assume I’m not American, and lecture me about life in rural America. It’s inconceivable to some US citizens that anyone can be happy beyond the shores of the United States. Especially a fellow citizen! It’s like– how in the world can one stand to be away from the most fabulous country in the world?

Uh… yeah. A country where people are still screaming about an election that happened two years ago, in which a delusional and obvious narcissist LOST… and on his way out of the White House, which he had threatened to refuse to leave, he STOLE highly classified documents and took them home! A country where children have to learn how to behave in case some unhinged young man with a gun comes in and opens fire on them. A country where more and more states are denying physicians the right to practice their profession without speaking to a lawyer first… and women are being denied the right to choose whether or not they want to be pregnant. A country where we speak of freedom and the right to pursue happiness, while in practice, people who aren’t conventional are pushed to the peripheries– their rights and personal safety threatened regularly. A country where a hell of a lot of people think anyone who has their well being in mind should be sent to prison. A country where a large segment of the population are incarcerated and treated inhumanely!

I could go on… but I think you get the point. It’s not that I don’t love my country. I do. I am proud to be American. But it’s really not the most awesome place there is. There are other countries where life is very good, and even preferable, to some people– Americans included. Personally, I like the lifestyle in Europe much more than I do the US lifestyle. I like the fact that people here don’t obsess so much over work. People take vacations, spend time with their families, enjoy hobbies and clubs, and engage with their communities. New parents can take paid time off to take care of their babies, rather than handing them off to a childcare facility after six weeks. And yes, it’s a huge plus that there’s a lot less violence here.

I’m not saying life here is perfect. It’s not. There are global issues that affect life here as much as they do in the United States. Sometimes I really miss my friends and family back home. I miss being able to do things easily, simply because I can easily speak and read the language. I miss certain foods, and having things like a big kitchen, closets, and the ability to buy a king sized American mattress with ease. I miss being able to go to the beach without spending ages in the car. But, by and large, it’s been nice to live in Europe. I like it here. I think this experience has forever changed me, too.

A few years ago, Bill and I attended a Christmas market in our village, and we met a German lady with an adorable little shih tzu dog, who was wearing a t-shirt that read “Security”. The lady spoke excellent English, and explained to us that she had lived in Tennessee for years, having worked for the drinks company, Seagrams. When we told her about how we’d been in Germany for years, she smiled with recognition and said, “Well, you’ll never be the same again. When you go back to the US, you’ll be too European.”

She’s right, of course. Every time I live abroad, I’m irrevocably changed. This latest stint has been the most life altering. Sometimes, I wonder if I can stand the idea of moving back to the US. Other times, I think that of course I can. That’s my home. But living over here has opened my eyes to its many shortcomings. Why is that funny to some people?

I think social media has really made people more thoughtless and callous, anyway. I started my morning today by blocking a young lady named “Ashlie” who left a rude response to a comment I had left about Dr. Fauci, who had just announced his retirement. I expressed support for Dr. Fauci, because I think he’s done some incredible work for humanity. His job has truly been thankless, because there are so many people in the world– especially in the United States– who think that COVID is a hoax, and vaccines are useless. I just want to ask those people– where the hell do you think all those people who died went? Are they all in Roswell, New Mexico with all the people who disappeared on 9/11? COVID is very real, and it’s killed millions of people. The vaccines have been life savers.

I had COVID myself over the summer. It was like a bad cold. Maybe it would have still been like that if I hadn’t been vaccinated, given that it wasn’t the original variant that got me. Or maybe I would have had to be hospitalized and would have been left extremely debilitated or even dead. I have a few of the risk factors for severe COVID. I’m still not a big fan of face masks, but I cooperate with the rules. I trust people who went to medical school and work in public health.

But this young woman wrote “straight to prison where you belong.” to my well wishes about the octogenarian, Dr. Fauci, who is finally going to retire. I assume she means Fauci should be imprisoned, but the fact that she presumably accidentally wrote that I should go to prison was enough for me to block her. Lately, my block list has been growing by leaps and bounds… and in a way, it makes me sad. People can’t all be this awful, can they? And yet, they are… even though Facebook keeps disciplining me with bots, claiming that I’m a poor citizen of the ‘Net.

I wonder if the young woman who left that comment wanted me to block her. Maybe she doesn’t care. If she doesn’t care, why should I?

Ehh… I know some people would miss me if I quit social media, and I would miss them. But, I have to admit, I do think about doing it every day, because I’m tired of interacting with people who don’t think. I suppose I could have asked “Ashlie” what the hell is wrong with her. I could have addressed her, stating that I haven’t done anything that warrants going to prison, and neither has Dr. Fauci. I admire Dr. Fauci for the lifesaving work he’s done, in spite of massive hostility and stupidity directed toward him. And I could have made a firm statement that COVID vaccines have saved lives worldwide… and Dr. Fauci is just one of many competent healthcare professionals worldwide who have touted them.

I live in Germany, and COVID vaccines have been heavily promoted here. Dr. Fauci doesn’t work in Germany. Should I adopt the belief that Germany’s healthcare minister, Karl Lauterbach, who is a physician and has a Ph.D. in public health from Harvard University, should go to prison for the work he does? I don’t like all of Lauterbach’s opinions or policies, but he has a tremendous responsibility. His job is necessary. My guess is that he’s lost a lot of sleep over the past couple of years. Yes, he’s in a position of power, and some of his policies have been highly annoying and tedious. But again– he has a tremendous responsibility and is in a position of huge trust. Same as Dr. Fauci. Saying that either of these men should go to prison, simply because of their unpopular policies, is ludicrous, disrespectful, and frankly, very stupid.

I could have told Ashlie all of that, but in the end, I just decided to remove her from my sphere, because I just don’t have the time or energy to deal with such idiocy. It just seems like here in Europe, there are fewer people like Ashlie to deal with. They do exist, but they’re in much smaller numbers. Or… maybe it just seems that way, because I don’t speak German very well. Anyway, I like it better. No need to laugh at me for that. At least my opinions are based on real experience instead of conjecture.

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healthcare, law, modern problems, politics, social media, Twitter

The baby depository “drop box”…

Last night, I read a news story about how some conservative groups, post Roe v Wade, have decided that it would be a good idea to have “drop boxes” for unwanted babies to be placed in. These boxes are supposed to give people a way to surrender their babies with “minimal interference”. It’s seen as an expansion of the “Safe Haven laws”, which have already been around in all 50 states for a couple of decades now.

The Safe Haven laws were enacted to discourage people from dumping their babies in unsafe places, such as trash receptacles or public restrooms. Instead, parents who want to give up their babies are encouraged to take them to any emergency room, fire department, or a law enforcement agency. According to the link I provided, in four states, Guam, and Puerto Rico, only the mother is allowed to relinquish her infant. In the District of Columbia, infants can only be relinquished by residents of the District. Twelve states already allow so-called “drop boxes”, which are devices that would trigger a 911 call to emergency services when the box is opened.

Personally, I am not a fan of these “boxes”, mainly because I don’t think that people who are relinquishing a baby should be able to do so anonymously. Some of them simply need help, which they won’t get if they are encouraged to anonymously drop off their babies. I know the boxes exist in other countries and are supposedly “life savers” for the babies. But it seems to me that it would be better to 1. prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place, and 2. provide appropriate healthcare to women who want or need it. Sometimes, abortion is healthcare. Sometimes, it’s the kindest, most responsible thing a person can do. And all the time, it’s an extremely personal decision that should not involve anyone but the already born person who is directly involved. I agree with this point, which was made in the article I linked (and unlocked):

“Is this infant being surrendered without coercion?” asked Micah Orliss, director of the Safe Surrender Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Is this a parent who is in a bad spot and could benefit from some time and discussion in a warm handoff experience to make their decision?”

As I was reading up on “baby drop boxes”, I found this letter to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. It was sent by an adoptee rights group called “Bastard Nation”, which opposes use of the baby drop boxes. I think they make good points in their letter, as these are people who are adoptees and have to live with issues surrounding being adopted. I’m going to have to read more about Bastard Nation later, when I have more time.

Later in the article, Dr. Orliss is mentioned again:

Because of the anonymity, there is limited information about the parents who use safe havens. But Dr. Orliss, of the Los Angeles safe haven clinic, performs psychological and developmental evaluations on some 15 such babies annually, often following them through their toddler years. His research found that more than half the children have health or developmental issues, often stemming from inadequate prenatal care. In California, unlike in Indiana, safe haven surrenders must be done face-to-face, and parents are given an optional questionnaire on medical history, which often reveals serious problems such as drug use.

The article also explains that mothers who abandon their babies and have a change of heart may have a hard time reclaiming their infants. They are also not immune to being subjected to legal sanctions, particularly if there is evidence that the baby they drop off is unhealthy due to drug or alcohol abuse. It’s potentially risky for them. See below:

In Indiana, which has the majority of baby boxes, state law does not specify a timeline for terminating birth parents’ rights after safe haven surrenders, or for adoption. But according to Don VanDerMoere, the prosecutor in Owen County, Ind., who has experience with infant abandonment laws in the state, biological families are free to come forward until a court terminates parental rights, which can occur 45 to 60 days after an anonymous surrender.

Because these relinquishments are anonymous, they typically lead to closed adoptions. Birth parents are unable to select the parents, and adoptees are left with little to no information about their family of origin or medical history.

Mr. Hanlon, of the National Council for Adoption, pointed to research showing that over the long term, birth parents feel more satisfied about giving up their children if biological and adoptive families maintain a relationship.

And in safe haven cases, if a mother changes her mind, she must prove to the state that she is fit.

According to Ms. Kelsey, since her operation began, two women who said they had placed their infants in boxes have tried to reclaim custody of their children. Such cases can take months or even years to resolve.

Birth mothers are also not immune from legal jeopardy, and may not be able to navigate the technicalities of each state’s safe haven law, said Lori Bruce, a medical ethicist at Yale.

While many states protect surrendering mothers from criminal prosecution if babies are healthy and unharmed, mothers in severe crisis — dealing with addiction or domestic abuse, for example — may not be protected if their newborns are in some way affected.

The idea of a traumatized, postpartum mother being able to “correctly Google the laws is slim,” Ms. Bruce said.

But then… the article also points out that some of the babies do well, and turn out to be healthy. I have been thinking, though, that all of this focus on babies being born could lead to less freedoms for potential birth mothers. Are laws going to be changed that force potentially pregnant people to get prenatal care, since their bodies are basically being thought of as akin to vessels now? If a woman doesn’t regularly see her OB-GYN, is she going to be punished? If she does something considered unsafe, will she be at risk of arrest or incarceration? That’s another thing– why are so many Americans so hot on jailing people? We have so many incarcerated people in the United States, and some of the anti-abortion folks just want to put more people behind bars. What kind of life is that?

There’s something really sickening about the fact that drop boxes weren’t acceptable to many conservatives for collecting votes, but they are for babies. It’s like dropping off a book at the library, or something. There should be more to relinquishing a baby than simply dumping off a kid in a box. Maybe something can be done to make the situation less dire for the natural parents so that they don’t feel compelled to abandon their offspring. In any case, I would hope that people are made aware of the fact that there’s a window of time in which the parent can reclaim the baby, if the situation is such that they’ve panicked or had a change of heart.

Anyway, once again, I expressed my opinion. I immediately got an inappropriate laugh reaction from someone I quickly blocked. I noticed two other “laugh” reacts, both from obvious MAGA trolls. Then I got a nonsensical comment from someone. I wrote “huh”, because I genuinely didn’t get what they were on about. That person came back and said they didn’t have the time or crayons to explain it to me, so I blocked them, too. If your response to me is immediate rudeness and insults, I don’t see why I should waste any time with you. If you choose to interact with me unsolicited, and all you have is mockery, then welcome to my block list. I don’t have the energy for it. I wonder, though, is that the overall goal for these people? To be so insufferably obnoxious that they immediately get blocked by strangers on social media? I think a lot of them make rude comments for attention. If they get blocked right off the bat, they don’t get any attention. So what have they accomplished, other than looking like assholes?

I’ve decided to be a lot more aggressive about blocking people who deliberately annoy me. I think the current political climate calls for it. There’s no reason to engage with people who are disrespectful and immediately make personal attacks against others. That doesn’t mean I block people who simply disagree. It means I block people who are sarcastic, rude, insulting, or just plain mean. I don’t deserve to be treated that way. No one does.

This one guy was going on about killing babies in the “whom”. Seriously, that was how he was spelling “womb”, as he sanctimoniously lectured us all about how babies shouldn’t be denied all of the “wonderful and beautiful” things in life. Yeah… like climate change, poverty, housing shortages, inflation, gun violence, domestic violence, political nightmares, rampant crime, extreme debt, and every child’s special hell– abuse. There are worse things than not being born, and I’m so sick and tired of reading comments from pro-life (birth) men, whose lives will never be personally affected by pregnancy or childbirth. A lot of them are only “pro-life” because they are upset about not having the choice to opt out of parenting and resent being forced to pay child support. See this video from a West Virginia legislator for more on that phenomenon:

“Chris Pritt owns his own law practice, Pritt Law, where he specializes in divorce, custody arguments and child support. But standing before the state legislature in West Virginia, his argument was a linguistic pretzel to justify eliminating all child support for the parent who gets custody of a child. According to Pritt, there are fathers who don’t want to be involved in the lives of their children.

It’s not just the men, though. On Twitter this morning, I read some MAGA woman’s comments about how miscarriages that require D&C aren’t abortions. Except a miscarriage is LITERALLY referred to as a “spontaneous abortion” in medical parlance. She also went on about how necessary medical treatment for situations like ectopic pregnancies aren’t abortions. Except they are. If there is a heartbeat in the embryo that is lodged outside of the uterus, and the pregnancy is terminated for medical reasons, it’s still technically an abortion. Abortion isn’t a “dirty word”. But these MAGA people want to term it as “murder”, which it’s not, and refer to it as a specific action involving ending a “healthy” pregnancy. People get abortions for all kinds of reasons that are important to them, none of which are anyone else’s business. Calling abortion “murder” is just a way to rile people up and get them to think irrationally. Murder is a legal term that involves people who have already been born.

I didn’t engage the MAGA woman, but one look at her Twitter page was all I needed to know that she isn’t someone I want to have anything to do with. So I blocked her, too. I considered blocking a guy who was demanding “proof” of a Twitter user’s story about a friend whose pregnancy ended in the 7th month of gestation and she couldn’t get appropriate medical care before she got sick. The guy actually demanded that she “prove” it to him. So, she blocked him. He was whining about being blocked, but other people were telling him that she doesn’t owe him personal information about her friend. Besides, there have been enough recent news stories about people being denied appropriate medical care in deep red states when they are miscarrying. That is a situation that will only get worse. And this is a world we want to bring innocent babies into? Where the females will be obliged to stay pregnant or denied medical assistance when they are in trouble because doctors are now terrified of being sued or arrested? Or the babies can be anonymously “dropped off” in a depository box, instead of handed to a human being? Maybe the boxes have saved lives, but I still don’t like them. I should be able to state that without some stranger laughing at me or calling me “stupid”.

I am all for allowing people to have abortions when they want or need them. It’s a personal healthcare decision, and restricting it causes a whole host of slippery slope situations that will cause big problems down the line, as well as a loss of privacy and freedom for already born people. People don’t seem to realize that forcing people to gestate will result in a lot of social problems that will affect everyone on every level. Because those new babies being born will have many needs… and we don’t meet all of the needs of people who have already been born as it is.

Moving on… a little levity for Monday…

I suspect Ex must be starting a new cycle of abuse, as she posted a picture of a man who appears to be #3 on social media with the following comment:

Oh how this touches my heart. I was adopted; my reunion was like this with my birth father, except he then refused to acknowledge me to his family. I am fortunate to have had a real Daddy to raise me and love me. He’s passed and I miss him so much! Hubby has to fill in on hugs! (interesting how she values her adoptive father, who by Bill’s account, was kind of non-commital to her and was always out at sea, but she denies her children access to their fathers, or replaces them when she gets divorced with inferior models, like #3)

My guess is that she and #3 may have hit a rough patch and she’s now making up with him… the cycle of abuse is starting again. But who knows?

I was also amused to see this comment from Ex, who apparently hasn’t heard of Duolingo… Duolingo does, in fact, offer what she seeks.

[her favorite author] does her homework and makes us do ours!!! I want to learn Gaelic but cannot find a program, not even BABEL has it. Anyone know of a good app or website or person I can learn SCOTTISH GAELIC, not Irish, from?!?! I’m of Scottish descent and want to know my own tongue!!!!

Anyway… Ex was born in Texas, not Scotland. I have lots of Scottish ancestry myself, but I am an American. So is Ex. And plenty of poison has come from Ex’s tongue, whether it’s through speaking, kissing, or giving someone head. So I think she knows enough of her own tongue, and should keep it to herself. 😉

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