communication, musings

Reposts, random messages, and reasons why…

Actually… some messages are useful and some are entertaining.

Regular readers may have noticed that lately, I’ve been reposting a lot of old book reviews and articles from my original Blogspot version of The Overeducated Housewife, which I discontinued in 2019. Those who also follow my travel adventures might remember that last year, I spent several months updating old posts from Blogger. The travel blog wasn’t so huge that I couldn’t migrate it to WordPress. Unfortunately, doing so led to massive formatting problems. I spent a lot of time updating and reformatting posts that were years old. That process is mostly finished now, save for the odd hiccup. I did have to edit a couple of old posts yesterday, which I only noticed because someone hit them on Statcounter.

I was not able to migrate the Blogspot version of this blog to WordPress. I think it’s because the file was simply too large. I started my blog in March 2010, so that was a lot of material to move. The system just flat refused to do it for me. I’m actually kind of glad, too. Some of it was stuff that doesn’t need to be reposted… non-sensical drivel I posted while bored or uninspired, or posts about time sensitive issues that aren’t relevant now. There were a few other posts that I didn’t repost because I wrote them when I was angry and they are potentially hurtful to others.

After spending months reformatting the travel blog, I decided I didn’t want to have to do that with the original OH blog. That thing had over 3000 posts over a span of almost nine years! By contrast, the travel blog had maybe a third as many. Reformatting is very tedious and thankless work. I think it’s better to just repost the stuff that I think might be interesting.

Some people might wonder why I would repost anything, especially book reviews that are very old. It’s mainly because I’ve discovered that people get nostalgic and look for information about things that may no longer be covered online. I’ve found myself listed in bibliographies, often by Internet handles. I get a kick out of that. But really, the book reviews of titles that are now out of print can be valuable to some users. In some cases, what I (or others) have written in book reviews may be all the information that can be found of books that have gone out of print. Book reviews are pretty evergreen and, as you’ll see below, some of the better articles, especially about true crime, are legitimately useful to readers. My angry rants about very personal or insignificant issues, or people no longer in my life, are much less so. 😉

I also like to preserve my own thoughts and memories, especially when there’s a news story involved. For example, on my travel blog, I reposted an article I wrote several years ago about a trip to the Eastern Shore that I took with my parents in the early 80s. On the way home, we stopped in Chincoteague, and I ended up visiting a water slide that was owned by a guy who, years later, made the news for being a sex offender who castrated himself while he was in jail. That true crime case is now many years old, but I guarantee there are people out there who remember it and want to read about it. I could have put it on this blog, but when it comes down to it, that story is ultimately a travel tale, and the travel blog needs some love. I do mostly try to keep the mood light on that blog, but not every travel story is delightful. I like to keep things real, if I can.

In the wake of all of the reposts I’ve been doing, I’ve been getting some strange comments and messages from people. Sometimes, I get communications through the contact form. I mostly appreciate the ones that aren’t spam, since most people who contact me are respectful. Sometimes the spam messages are hilarious, like the one I got today. Check this out…

Um… I wasn’t aware that I had any “drug addict criminals” to send anywhere…

Sometimes, I’m left scratching my head as to why someone would contact me about something. The other day, I got a message from a very decorated academic. I looked him up on LinkedIn, per his suggestion. He invited me to contact him if I ever wanted to know about Title IX and suicide on college campuses. I was puzzled, since I don’t think I’ve ever written about that subject. I consulted Statcounter to see which article the guy had accessed me through, looking for a clue as to why he’d written to me. The article he hit had nothing to do with the topic he was proposing. It was something I’d written about an advice column about divorce. But maybe the guy thought I could cover that subject or would be interested in it? I’m not sure, because he didn’t explain.

I probably would enjoy talking to this man. Maybe I should try interviewing willing subjects. I mostly write about stuff in my head, but two heads are better than one, right?

I got another recent communication from someone who wants to know more about a true crime story I wrote about years ago and had reposted. I didn’t actually know that much about the crime itself; I just happen to know someone who knows the perpetrator because they grew up in the same town. In fact, my friend had once brought him to our college and I actually met the guy. But at the time that I met him, I didn’t know he had killed someone, and I am not from the small town where the murder happened. I just know someone who knows him. Somehow, the commenter thought I knew more than I do, so she was hoping to glean insight from me. I ended up directing her to my friend, who is more in the know. I thought our exchange was over until this morning, when I got this message…

I have never done a podcast. Maybe someday I will do one, but at this writing, that is not in my bag of tricks.

I might be good at podcasts. Once upon a time, I did radio, and I was relatively good at it. I’ve been told I have a good voice for the airwaves, although I don’t like listening to it myself. Maybe someday I’ll try it, just for fun. We’ll see if my ego can take it if no one wants to listen to me.

One thing I would like to mention to those who do send me a message– bear in mind that unless you explicitly tell me, I won’t necessarily know what you’re referring to when you make a comment on the contact form. Those messages aren’t linked to any specific posts, so unless you are clear about which one you’re referencing, I am left to guess. Sometimes, it’s obvious, but other times it’s not. The message from the academic was a head scratcher. The one below was easier to figure out, but still not 100 percent obvious.

This guy was referencing a repost about strange crimes that happened in the small town where I went to college. But I had to clarify it, because it wasn’t necessarily plain.

The WordPress version of my blog is about 2.5 years old now. I’m glad I changed formats from Google Blogspot. I’d been wanting to do it for awhile, since the Blogspot format feels kind of limited and dated. I hesitated for a long time because I was enjoying a pretty good presence on Blogspot. When I discovered that someone was deliberately stirring up trouble for me offline, I decided that it was finally time to move the blog somewhere else and use a platform that would allow me more control over my content. WordPress allows me to password protect certain posts, so that invited readers can access them, but the general public can’t. On Blogspot, I could either make posts open to everyone or make them open to just me. Or, I could make the blog open only to invited readers, which I didn’t really want to do. Not every interested reader wants to be a member of an invite only blog.

I know Blogspot has been revamped a lot since 2019, and maybe what I’ve observed about its shortcomings is no longer true. I do keep my Dungeon of the Past blog on Blogspot, but I seldom update that blog and may discontinue it once my AdSense finally hits $100. I’m getting close.

It was painful to move this blog. Moving from Blogspot meant losing the somewhat robust readership I had, as well as earnings from Google AdSense and Amazon. The money wasn’t a necessity, but it was a nice perk. I would like to be able to earn some money on my own, you know. It’s a point of pride… even if all I earn in a year is enough to buy me a six pack of beer. I’m lucky enough to have a husband who supports me in all ways. He certainly doesn’t have to do that, but it’s nice for me that he does, given our lifestyle.

Since I moved the blog, it’s steadily been getting more readers. I have found that, by and large, I like the people reading now more than I did a lot of the readers of my original blog. People who are reading now tend to actually care more about the content. I don’t get nearly as many rude or abusive comments on this blog. Of course, I also moderate comments here, while for the longest time, I didn’t do that on Blogspot. I’ve found that moderating comments cuts down on hostile drivebys. I require people to identify themselves, so they must really want to say something to me if they comment. When I didn’t moderate, people would be more willing to comment, but many of the comments were mean spirited. I have feelings because I’m a person, too. Also, comment moderation cuts down on spam, although as you can see from the first screenshot, I still get spammers via the contact form! I still would like to know where Wilton gets the idea that I have drug addict criminals to send to his rehab. How strange!

Anyway… I do have a few current events in my mind that I might write some fresh content about today. Or I might repost more stuff from the past. I hope those of you who are annoyed with the reposts will continue to have some patience. People are interested in some of that old content, and sometimes I get inspired to make fresh content based on the comments I get on the throwback stuff. This post, for example, is one of those that wouldn’t have been written without reposts. Some might find it a boring read… but I know I have at least one regular reader who was amused by Wilton’s offer to host my drug addict criminals. You see? People are interested in all kinds of stuff. Luckily, so am I.

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family, musings, religion

Sunday School ditcher…

This is a repost from April 26, 2016. I did write fresh content today, but I don’t feel safe in sharing it publicly. So I’m sharing this piece from my old blog instead, mainly because old memories were brought up by a meme my aunt shared a few years ago.

My mind is on an incident that occurred sometime around 1983.  I was in middle school.  Every Sunday, my dad took me to Sunday school and church.  I hated going because I thought church was pretty boring.  My mom was the organist at another church and my dad sang in the choir, so I either sat alone or with a lady who was the wife of another choir member. 

As much as I hated church, I really hated Sunday school.  The guy who taught my Sunday school class at that age was very annoying.  I didn’t like him at all.  I don’t remember exactly why I didn’t like him, but I hated being in his class.  I also got bullied by others in Sunday school, people who had been born and raised in the community and picked on anyone who wasn’t like them.

For some reason, one week I decided I wasn’t going to go to Sunday school, so I hid in the bathroom for the whole hour.  The following week, I did the same thing.  I don’t remember how many times I ditched Sunday school, but it was enough times that when the Sunday school teacher ran into my dad and me at the grocery store, he asked where I had been.  My dad, who was unaware that I had been playing hooky, was flabbergasted that I disobeyed him.  When we got home, he gave me a spanking that I have never forgotten. 

I don’t remember my dad ever asking me why I skipped Sunday school.  I don’t remember him talking to me about why I needed to be there.  I just remember his raw brutality that day and how it made me feel.  After that, I went back to Sunday school, but I still hated it and really resented the teacher.  When he died a couple of years later, I was glad I didn’t have to see him anymore.  His wife was a friend of my mother’s.  I liked her.  She was very intelligent and played piano.  I’m sure her husband was a swell guy.  But he sure fucked up my world that day in the early 80s, when my dad was more concerned about his image and my disobedience than he was about me, personally. 

I was reminded of that incident last night after reading about the latest research on spankings.  I made the mistake of sharing the article and got a few comments from conservatives who continue to defend it.  I wasn’t actually wanting to debate the issue.  In fact, I simply said I wasn’t a fan of corporal punishment.  I speak out as someone who was disciplined almost exclusively with yelling and hitting, not one of those people who constantly claim spanking is harmless and builds character.  I figure I have as much of a right to be heard as those who think spanking is totally okay. 

As I was having this discussion last night, sitting in my living room with my gentle husband, I got very upset.  I finally had to tell people I was done with the topic, because I was sitting there in tears remembering being physically punished by my dad. 

I recalled my dad when he was in discipline mode, face beet red, veins popping out, and barely in control of himself.  Fortunately, he was never one to use a belt or a spoon.  He only used his hands, which were definitely enough when he was enraged.  I remember him yelling at me as he hit me, powered by fury and adrenaline.  I never knew which infractions would earn me a spanking.  He would just spank when the mood struck, which was never consistent.  Come to think of it, he was inconsistent about a lot of things.  For instance, he always wore a seatbelt, but wouldn’t always make me wear one.  Usually, when he did, it was either because he was punishing me or trying to assert himself as the boss of the family.

One time when I was about 13, my dad was driving me and a friend to the barn where I kept my horse.  I had to go clean stalls.  As we were headed there, my dad informed me that he expected me to haul gravel when we got back home.  I asked him if the work could wait until I no longer had a guest.  He got very angry and told me not to expect him to come pick us up later.  For some reason, I got very upset with my dad and called him an asshole.  His response to that was pretty epic.  He parked the car.  I got out and headed for the barn.  He followed me, grabbed me by the neck, and started to throttle me. 

My friend watched my dad scream at me as he clutched me by the neck.  I remember telling him to let me go or I’d kick him in the balls.  He did let go.  Later, he acted as if nothing had happened, though my mom made sure to tell me that I’d “really blown it”.  She was just pissed that he was pissed and didn’t care why I called him an asshole.  Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.  I had lost my temper too.  But I was a kid and he was a grown man who resorted to violence to get his point across.  I certainly didn’t gain any regard for my father when he choked me in front of my friend.     

My father’s discipline sessions did not teach me to respect him.  As a matter of fact, by the time he died, I had a lot of conflicted feelings about him.  He was my father and I loved him for the many good things he did.  But he also often treated me badly and felt he had a perfect right to.  He brought me into the world and felt he had the right to “take me out”, right?

The latest studies on spankings indicate that spankings make children more aggressive and less successful. Quoted from the article I linked:

The more kids are spanked, the greater the risk


Studies have shown that spanking can damage a child’s IQ or ability to learn; that it trigger aggressiveness and worsens behavior. Gershoff says the pattern is consistent when a large number of studies are put together.

“In childhood, parental use of spanking was associated with low moral internalization, aggression, antisocial behavior, externalizing behavior problems, internalizing behavior problems, mental health problems, negative parent- child relationships, impaired cognitive ability, low self-esteem, and risk of physical abuse from parents. In adulthood, prior experiences of parental use of spanking were significantly associated with adult antisocial behavior, adult mental health problems, and with positive attitudes about spanking,” they wrote.

“Spanking was also significantly associated with lower moral internalization, lower cognitive ability, and lower self-esteem. The largest effect size was for physical abuse; the more children are spanked, the greater the risk that they will be physically abused by their parents.”

Let’s take a look at the end results in my case: 

First off, here I sit, “The Overeducated Housewife”.  Some may say that I’ve been “successful” in many ways.  I have a good marriage and managed to finish my education and then some.  But I haven’t had a regular job in years.  I tried to get one for a long time, but finally gave up on it.  The thought of going back to work terrifies me.  I also have trust issues with people and am reluctant to connect with them.  

I have suffered from clinical depression and anxiety.  I had issues with eating disorders when I was younger, though now I think I’ve pretty much traded those for drinking too much.  I’m still haunted by my upbringing and if I think too long and hard about it, I get very upset.  

As a kid, I was aggressive to other kids and animals.  It wasn’t until I got older that I developed a sense of empathy and compassion.  I think it’s safe to say that I have a lot of negative feelings about my parents, too.  I would consider my father’s version of “spankings” excessive and abusive.  They were not done when he was calm and they didn’t involve anything more than him getting out his frustration and anger by physically attacking someone much smaller than him.  Maybe some people would say that my dad’s spankings were actually beatings.  But my dad called what he did “spanking” and it was perfectly fine for him to do that to me.  I often felt resentment and often fantasized about hitting him back.   

Was all of my baggage caused by my father’s spankings?  Probably not.  But I don’t think the physical punishments were helpful at all and I can definitely relate to what researchers discovered in their studies on spankings.  Maybe I’d be more in favor of corporal punishment if my father had spanked me when he was calm and rational, but it would have taken time, effort, and self-control for him to get to that state.  He wasn’t disciplined enough to calm down before he put his hands on me, so his form of discipline ended up being abusive.  

I often hear people saying that today’s kids are entitled brats because they don’t get spanked.  I don’t think that’s why kids today seem different than they were in my day.  I think a major reason why kids are more “fucked up” nowadays is because they aren’t necessarily allowed to be kids anymore.  We have plenty of nanny laws designed to protect them, even though there’s never been a safer time to be a kid.  We don’t let them run and play, but force them to take standardized tests.  We don’t let them explore on their own or give them time to dream.  Instead, we load them up with planned, supervised activities.  Parents have to work very hard to make ends meet and often families end up splintering under the stress.  And at the end of childhood, young adults have this fucked up world to assimilate into somehow.    

I understand that people are going to do what they’re going to do.  Parents are going to spank their kids and call it “loving” discipline.  I can’t agree that spanking a child is a loving action.  I think it’s often done as a result of a parent losing control and being lazy.  But I also say that as someone who was a recipient of corporal punishment and not as a parent myself.  I admit that I don’t know what it’s like to be on the other side of the equation.  I’m sure if I were a parent, I would be tempted to lash out sometimes, even though intellectually, I think spanking is a wrong-headed thing to do.  

Plenty of people were spanked as kids and “turned out fine”.  Maybe I’m “fine” too.  When I think of my father today, sometimes the memories are good.  Often, they make me feel sad and depressed.  I wasn’t his favorite child and I bore the brunt of his PTSD, depression, and alcoholism.  He’d call me fat, retarded, and “crazy” and he felt like he had the right to strike me anytime he wanted.  He’d leave me enraged and humiliated and full of hatred for him.  Somehow, I doubt that’s what my dad was going for when he decided I needed discipline.

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