communication, condescending twatbags, family, healthcare, history, law, politicians, politics, true crime, Uncategorized

Granny’s notes give me perspective on the past…

I had an interesting Thursday, and not just because it was my day to vacuum the house. It was interesting because I did some thinking, and even became a little inspired. My Aunt Gayle sent an email containing a document written by my Granny years ago. The fifteenth anniversary of her death is approaching next week, so Gayle sent out “Granny’s notes”, which was basically a brief history of Granny’s long and fascinating life. Granny was born near Natural Bridge, Virginia and spent most of her life there, though she did have some brief sojourns to other places. She was the fifth of ten children, and the last of the children to die, at almost 101 years of age. Had she lived just 54 more days, she would have made it. But it was time for Granny to go, as she had obviously witnessed a whole lot in her life. I can’t imagine what she would think of what’s happening today.

My grandmother was born at a time when women couldn’t vote, and were thought of as little more than property to their fathers and husbands. She died in the age of the Internet. In her lifetime, she bore nine children, and outlived two of them. She saw a man walk on the moon. She watched cars take over horses and buggies. She traveled to England to visit my parents, my sisters, and me, stopping in Scotland and Ireland, to walk on land where her ancestors lived. What would she think about the way women’s rights are being rolled back today? Granny was a conservative lady, but she was always very smart and practical, and she had a sharp mind until the bitter end of her life. I don’t know what she thought of topics like homosexuality or abortion. I suspect she was more progressive than some people would have liked to have given her credit for being. I say that, knowing that she was born and raised in Rockbridge County, which is a very red part of Virginia.

When I got my aunt’s email last night, I thought of a woman I “met” on 23andMe. She and I are first cousins twice removed. It turns out my Granny’s brother, Ed, had a fling with a young woman who had come from Longwood University (then known as the State Teachers College) to Natural Bridge to teach school. Ed and the young woman conceived a baby girl, whom they surrendered for adoption in Roanoke, Virginia. The girl was adopted by a couple from Roanoke and grew up there, while Ed went on to marry another woman and have a son. I seem to remember hearing that Ed’s son died when he was still in his 20s, although that happened when I was still a glint in my dad’s eye. Ed died a few years before I was born.

The woman I “met” is the daughter of Ed’s “illegitimate” daughter (to use an antiquated term), who was given up for adoption. She is in her 70s now, and has a half sister. They live in Maryland. I hadn’t been chatting with her lately, mainly because after we exchanged information, there wasn’t much else to say. But Granny’s notes changed everything. I immediately contacted her on 23andMe and told her about the document, and asked her if she’d like me to send it to her, since Granny had written about her parents and grandparents– and they were also kin to her. She enthusiastically agreed, so I forwarded the document to her.

Then I thought about the rest of this woman’s incredible DNA story. Her mother had grown up in Roanoke, apparently unaware that she had been adopted from a couple in Rockbridge County. When she became an adult, she moved to Washington, DC to work, and there she met a young, dark haired man who worked for the Ecuadorian Embassy. They had a fling, and sure enough, she got pregnant. When she told her mother, her mother snapped “Just like your real mother!” That’s when she found out she wasn’t her mother’s natural child.

Unlike her biological parents, to include my great uncle and his girlfriend, my cousin’s mom chose not to give her daughter with the “Ecuadorian” up for adoption. So she grew up not knowing her dad, but assumed she was half Ecuadorian, since that was where he was from, and he definitely looked and acted the part. Many years later, when she took her DNA test, it turned out that actually, he was Ashkenazi Jewish! I guess his family had moved out of Germany to Ecuador as a means of avoiding Hitler.

Of course, it’s not lost on me that had this all happened years later, Ed’s girlfriend could have chosen to have an abortion, and I wouldn’t have this novel worthy story to tell. And the truth is, I don’t cheer for abortions. Personally, I like the idea of choosing life over an abortion. But I am against forcing women to give birth, because there are simply too many reasons why having a baby might be the worst decision. And so, I read stories about women who made that tough choice and agonized over it, or even laughed about it, as Alison Leiby has, having written a comedy show about her choice to have an abortion before Roe v Wade was overturned, and women’s rights became even more threatened than they already were.

Yesterday, I wrote about Alison Leiby’s op-ed in The New York Times titled “Please Laugh About My Abortion With Me”. I still think it’s an article well worth reading. I found it very thought provoking, and I think she’s very BRAVE to have written it, given how completely horrible and closed-minded some people are about this topic. For those who missed yesterday’s post and don’t want to read it, here’s another link to the unlocked article.

I noticed that a lot of people on Facebook were commenting on Leiby’s op-ed, but it appeared that very few had bothered to read it. It was behind a paywall, so that’s to be expected. Still, it’s disappointing when someone writes a piece that is thoughtful and interesting, and the masses– who can’t or don’t want to pay for a subscription– feel the need to make irrelevant comments about it. So I posted that I thought Alison Leiby’s excellent op-ed was “thought provoking”, and it’s a shame that few people appeared to have read it. Others who had read it gave me likes, while a few obvious pro-birthers gave me laughter.

Naturally, it wasn’t long before a guy named Steve decided to engage me. He immediately wrote a mocking post to me, asking what part of Leiby’s post I thought was thought provoking. His comment was full of the usual tripe about how Leiby is obviously an uncaring, irresponsible woman who made a poor choice in sexual partners and then cold-heartedly KILLED her baby. I laughed at that and wrote, “Didn’t read the article, huh?” Because I knew that if he had, he would find out that the piece was not about Alison’s decision to have an abortion, but rather how she had processed the experience, the difficulty of discussing abortion with others… and yes, LAUGHING about it. She’s a comedian, so tackling difficult topics with humor is literally what she does for work.

Steve came back at me with more hostility, accusing me of not having read the article, which I actually did. And then he demanded that I defend my pro-choice opinions to him, which I don’t have to do even when people ask me politely, let alone make demands. But I decided I wouldn’t be engaging him at all, when I noticed that in his snarky retort, he referred to me as a “chick”. Imagine that. I’m 50 fucking years old, and this “pro-life” man, who doesn’t even know me, just called me a CHICK! I’m not even a fellow human being to him. I’m a baby chicken who happens to have a uterus (for now, anyway). My Granny used to take care of “chicks” on her family’s farm. And then he expects me to have a thoughtful discussion with him about a topic as complicated as abortion is? I don’t think so.

“Duck you, Steve.”

My response was more or less, “I can answer the questions, but I am choosing not to, because it’s obvious to me that you just want to judge this woman’s very personal decisions. The fact that you just referred to me as a ‘chick’ gives me a pretty good idea about what you think of women. I couldn’t be less interested in interacting with you. Please leave me alone.”

To his credit, he did stop tagging me. It’s a good thing he did that, because if he hadn’t, I could have commented on the fact that not only does he dismiss and dehumanize women by calling them “chicks” when they’re being serious, he also doesn’t respect them when they say “no”. And this overbearing habit that some men have of not hearing the word “no” when a woman says it, is precisely why a lot of women need to seek abortions in the first place!

Fortunately for Steve, he did hear me when I asked him to leave him alone, and he complied with my wishes. Not every guy offline or on social media is even that respectful, so I guess I should be grateful that he knocked it off when I requested it. But it was quite clear to me that he hadn’t read the essay and was betting that I hadn’t, either. Then he had the nerve to try to demand that I interact with him. I wonder if he was ever like that on his dates.

Is Steve like this guy?

Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on ol’ Steve, though. It probably didn’t occur to him that calling me “chick” would trip him up on his path to the idyllic Land of Mansplaining Sanctimony. Like a lot of people, he failed to think ahead. Failure to think or plan ahead, is another reason why some women want or need to have abortions. It’s natural that this happens, and as Steve has proven, it’s not just the women who have this issue.

It occurs to me that Granny, who was a very strong, intelligent, wise, and hardworking woman who bore nine kids, probably had to deal with that kind of shit from men all the time. I know she had to deal with my grandfather, whom she had said was the “nicest man” when he wasn’t drinking. The trouble is, he was “always” drinking, and had a legendary temper. Or so I was told by his son, who was my dad. By contrast, Granny wrote in her notes that her own father was very quiet and gentle. Being married to “Pappy” must have been quite different to her, just as being married to my gentle husband is different for me. Like Pappy, my father was often very nice and kind, but he was also a severe alcoholic who could be brutal. Thankfully, he wasn’t physically abusive very often, although it was often enough.

I think about women who are still, even in 2022, when we have laws against domestic violence, trapped in horrific relationships with men who won’t take no for an answer. I think about women who are on their way to financial freedom, or finally have the achievement of a lifelong dream in their sights, or maybe can’t keep any food down because they have severe hyperemesis gravidarum, or any other medical issue, just wanting to make their own private decision about whether or not to be pregnant. If I had gotten pregnant with Bill’s baby, I would have been very happy about it. But if I had gotten pregnant after being date raped at a fraternity party, not so much (and no, that never happened to me, but it could have). Likewise, I served in the Peace Corps, where female Volunteers have been known to be sexually assaulted. I personally knew of one person who was raped when I was serving in Armenia. She didn’t get pregnant, but if she had, she would have been required to get an abortion at her own expense, or leave the Peace Corps.

And guys like Steve want to frame a narrative about how anyone who wants or needs an abortion is just some loose, slutty woman with no heart or morals, who “got herself pregnant” because she was “irresponsible”. Same guy wants to call me a “chick”, as he demands that I engage with him. I’ll bet he was expecting me to write something coherent and sensible, too, even though he degraded me by calling me a slang barnyard term for a young woman. It’s crazy! Why should anyone waste the time or energy?

That brings me to some other news that has come out this week. That ten year old Ohio girl who was raped and had to go to Indiana for an abortion resurfaced in the news, after certain right wing pundits theorized that her story was a hoax. And then, Indiana’s attorney general, Todd Rokita, was allegedly “outraged” that the girl’s doctor, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, allegedly hadn’t reported the abortion— except she HAD, and the story is absolutely true. See below.

I’ll bet that jerk, Rokita, hasn’t even apologized for his mistake, and decision to smear the good doctor’s name. She did a great compassionate service to a CHILD who was raped, not once, but TWICE! No ten year old is, in any way, prepared to have a baby! But Rokita isn’t about to humble himself. Instead, he’s “gathering evidence” to see if he can still nail Dr. Bernard for doing something that was obviously medically indicated. Guys like Rokita just want to put doctors and nurses in prison, don’t they? Misogyny is still alive and well in our country. I wish there was more empathy and decency!

At least in Ohio, some of the politicians are showing some remorse for their mistakes, having initially cast doubt on the girl’s story. But you know how remorse is, when it comes from a politician. It’s often pretty hollow. And Ohio is a state where a MALE legislator wanted to make properly treating ectopic pregnancies ILLEGAL. He wanted to plug and play non-viable embryos– technology that doesn’t exist. What makes me especially sick is that these dumbasses aren’t even learning from their mistakes. Ohio’s MALE attorney general, Dave Yost, was among those who doubted that a ten year old could get pregnant. Yes, they can, and this is one major reason WHY abortion should be allowed… and frankly, kept PRIVATE. There’s no reason why the whole world should have to know about this girl’s hellish torment, even if she is anonymous (for now). This is something that should have been kept confidential and dealt with by medical personnel, social workers, and law enforcement. It should not be a political football. And for Christ’s sake, she should not have had to go to another state to get an abortion done! Way to prolong and increase her pain, Ohio!

Some people, unbelievably, think that poor baby should have been FORCED to birth— and they have even said they would have “hoped” she would come to understand why birthing her rapist’s baby, when she’s ten years old, is the right thing to do. Naturally, it was a MALE lawyer named Jim Bopp who said that. That shit regularly happens in developing countries, not the United States! And even those countries are reevaluating their draconian positions on abortion.

So, you see, we still have a long way to go… in spite of the great wisdom in Granny’s notes and the great progress she personally witnessed in almost 101 years of living. I truly do wonder what she would think of how things are today. Reversing Roe v Wade has opened a huge Pandora’s Box. I really hope we can get this mess straightened out for the women of the future. But at least I know it won’t affect me personally. I haven’t had a period in about two months. I think very soon, Aunt Flow will finally become a guest from my past. And I thank God for that on so many levels.

In other news… Ivana Trump suddenly died yesterday in what appears to be very suspicious circumstances. It was curiously announced by her most famous ex husband, Trump, who disseminated the news on Truth Social, his very own social media platform. It seems curious that she died so suddenly, weeks before Trump is expected to announce another run at the presidency. But I’m sure the details will come out soon enough. Maybe it’s a coincidence, like Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide was. I know that many idiots will still happily vote for Trump, even though it’s very obvious that he’s a liar, a cheat, and unhinged to the nth degree. I think the people who keep supporting him will eventually find themselves on the wrong side of history. I think if he wins again, it will be a disaster. Hopefully, the saner people in the Republican Party will keep him from running for the Republicans. They already know he can’t be controlled… and I’ll bet he’s paid for MANY abortions.

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condescending twatbags, rants

I don’t mind calling her “Dr. Jill Biden”. She earned it.

Last night, I read these words from a former Northwestern University lecturer by the name of Joseph Epstein.

Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the “Dr.” before your name? 

These words were printed in an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper with a decidedly conservative bent, but one to which I am a current subscriber. I decided to subscribe to the WSJ a few weeks ago because I wanted to read an article and had to be a paid subscriber to do so. It wasn’t the first time I had wanted to read something published by the paper, and I am a big believer in paying for journalism. I currently subscribe to six different publications, four of which are papers with long histories and storied reputations. I don’t agree with everything I’ve read in any of these papers, but I think it’s important to have access to the services they provide. Almost all media sources are biased to some degree, which is why I think it’s important to read a range. The WSJ represents one of my conservative viewpoint sources.

A conservative viewpoint is certainly what Mr. Epstein, a man with a mere B.A. provides, when he slams the future First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, for referring to herself by the honorific “Doctor”. Dr. Biden earned a Doctorate in Education, most precisely, the Ed.D., at the University of Delaware. She also holds a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees, and she has been working as a teacher since Melania was a wee lass. Dr. Biden certainly has earned the right to call herself “doctor”, even if she’s never “delivered a baby”, as Mr. Epstein asserts is the only reason anyone should be calling themselves “doctor”.

Mr. Epstein brags in his windy opinion piece that he’d taught at Northwestern University for thirty years without benefit of a doctorate or any other advanced degree. He writes that he got his B.A. “in absentia”, because on graduation day, he was at Fort Hood serving in the “peacetime Army in the late 1950s”. Then he goes on to wax poetic about the worthlessness of honorary doctorates, one of which he has. Epstein writes that the president of the school that awarded him his honorary doctorate was fired in the year following the award. I’m not sure what any of this has to do with Jill Biden or her considerable accomplishments, as well as the honest, valuable work she did in achieving them. But obviously, the people at the WSJ who decided Mr. Epstein’s piece was worth printing saw fit to trash the incoming first lady, who at least first became notable for things she’s done with her clothes on and her mind fully engaged.

It may be fair to note that Mr. Epstein is 83 years old, and is likely very set in his ways and his opinions. I’m sure it’s hard for him to imagine that a woman might be worthy of being called “doctor”. Hell, he’d probably rather refer to even the female medical doctors as “doctoress”, as they were called in the mid 19th century.

Interestingly enough, I once got chastised for referring to physicians as doctors by my own dentist, a man who is half German, half American. My dentist, who received his dentistry training in the United States, but has worked in Germany for decades, gave me a tutorial on who is allowed to be called “doctor” in Germany and clarified that here, a physician isn’t necessarily really the same thing as a doctor is. The female lawyer we used in our recent legal situation is referred to as “doctor”, even though in the United States, lawyers don’t typically go by that honorific. It’s because she wrote and successfully defended a dissertation, just as Dr. Biden did. But Epstein is apparently not impressed by Dr. Biden’s choice of subjects. He referred to the title of Dr. Biden’s dissertation “‘Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs’” as “unpromising”.

Why anyone should care about Epstein’s opinions of Dr. Biden’s dissertation is beyond me. The man has admitted that he, himself, had never managed to earn a legitimate advanced degree. He claims that we should not be impressed by Dr. Biden’s accomplishments because the standards aren’t as rigorous as they used to be, and according to him, that’s a bad thing.

Well… as someone who worked for three solid years earning two master’s degrees, I know that there is a lot that goes into earning higher degrees. It’s not just a matter of being smart and showing up. There’s also attending and actively participating in classes, studying, writing papers, and taking exams. There’s also the task of coming up with original ideas and convincing people who are further in their academic development that you are worthy of being awarded a diploma. It takes a lot of time and effort to earn degrees at legitimate universities. There’s also the cost of attending school, not just in terms of money, but also in terms of having a personal and professional life. I worked very hard when I was in graduate school, but I didn’t have a husband or children to worry about, nor did I have an extremely demanding job. I did have jobs while I was in school, but I was not in positions that required a lot from me.

Dr. Biden, by contrast, had a lot going on in her life when she was earning her doctorate. She was awarded that degree only two years before her husband was elected Vice President of the United States. And she worked as a professor the whole time he was in office, bringing a change of clothes with her to her job so she could go from the classroom to state dinners. This woman has surely proven herself worthy of great respect, at least to people who look at her objectively and don’t consider their personal feelings about her politics or her husband’s politics.

As is my custom, I read some of the comments on the Wall Street Journal’s site. I was heartened to read that many people had the same thoughts I have regarding Epstein’s ugly opinions. But I also wasn’t surprised to read comments from butthurt Trumpers, who are no doubt very sad that their disgusting literal golden boy, Donald Trump, isn’t going to be allowed to perpetuate his misogynistic and racist agenda on the United States for another four years… or, at least he won’t if the electors, voting in the electoral college today, do their duty.

Epstein’s sneering sexist attitude toward Dr. Jill Biden reminds me an awful lot of the sexist bullshit many women, particularly those who are married to servicemembers, get in the military community. God forbid a woman wants to be educated, intelligent, and accomplished in her own right. I have run into many little men who are very threatened by the fact that I’m educated. To a lot of guys in the military community, women who have married servicemembers are just “dependas”. Dependa is short for dependapotamus– fat, uneducated, lazy women who milk their husbands for their paychecks and military benefits.

Are there women like this in the military community? If I’m honest, I would have to say that there are, just as many other types of people are represented in the military community. But “dependa types” don’t represent the normal military spouse by any stretch, and I would add that any person who tolerates “dependa” behavior– whether it be from a man or a woman– has only themselves to blame for it. If you’re female, you can’t win in that community, either, because to a lot of these guys, if a woman isn’t an actual “dependa”, she’s an uppity bitch who has gotten too big for her britches and needs to be pushed down to her place. I’ve written about this phenomenon many times over the years and can supply lots of offensive quotes from men reacting to articles written about the “dependa” stereotypes. The people who perpetuate the dependa stereotype, by and large, are also the ones who uniformly refer to Democrats with terms like “libtards” and seethe at the idea that women and minorities might deserve equal rights, equal pay, and basic respect.

What Joseph Epstein proposes is nothing new… I’ve seen it and experienced myself from the same type of person he is– small minded, easily threatened, butthurt, and rapidly becoming insignificant and obsolete. I think Joseph Epstein has a hell of a lot of nerve printing his dismissive, discounting, and diminutive comments about Jill Biden. I think his issue is mostly jealousy and bitterness. When he called Dr. Biden, a 69 year old woman, “kiddo”, he revealed just how petty and threatened he is by strong, articulate, and driven women. He should be deeply ashamed of himself. I sincerely doubt this article ever would have been run if Dr. Biden was a man.

So yes, I will call Dr. Jill Biden by her honorific. She put in the work. She earned the honor. And we need a lot more women like her to undo the damage wrought by Joseph Epstein and his ilk. I look forward to welcoming Dr. Biden, with great pleasure, to the White House next month. I think she and her husband are exactly what we need.

Today’s featured photo was inspired by Kurt Vonnegut, who expertly drew what I think Mr. Epstein is in his great novel, Breakfast of Champions.

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silliness

You can’t lick our Cocks…

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.

A flag with the famous Stuttgart stallion on it.

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. 

My high school’s mascot, the Duke of Gloucester– hence the Gloucester Dukes.

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.

Long, hard, and pointy… just like something else we all know…

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…

Elwood the horse… He didn’t exist when I went to Longwood. I guess the sports teams have gotten better since the 90s.

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.

I used to have this sticker on my car. I had to remove it due to force protection rules.

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…

3:22… that was all she wrote for that fight. OUCH!
Sheesh! Game over!

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.

This mare looks like she can handle herself quite well.

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”.

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true crime

Don’t give me no lines and keep your hands to yourself…

A little mood music by the Georgia Satellites… maybe Tommy Callaway should listen to this song a few times– especially the “keep your hands to yourself” part.

I had another topic in mind to write about today… maybe I’ll get to it later. For now, I want to address a news article I just read about yet another man taking liberties with a woman and apparently thinking it’s funny. The short version, guys, is that this isn’t funny. It’s demeaning, humiliating, and downright shitty. And if you touch someone without their consent, you’re likely to pay a stiff price for it. Sexual harassment is not a joke, and doing it on live TV is really foolish. At the very least, you will be outed and shamed for it, and there is a good chance you could wind up in court, too.

What the fuck?

Savannah, Georgia based anchorwoman Alex Bozarjian, 23, was covering the Savannah Bridge Run 10K last Saturday for WSAV TV. She appeared to be enjoying the scene as she stood to the side, watching joggers pass as they mugged for the camera. Then, suddenly, a man in sunglasses and a baseball cap came up behind her and slapped her on the ass. Bozarjian’s face immediately registered shock and indignation, but she quickly composed herself and went on with her reporting. Below are screen grabs from the video. You can see Bozarjian’s horrified reaction as she’s groped on live TV while trying to do her job.

Later, she tweeted this:

Damn right…

Eagle eyed observers figured out who that “masked man” was, on account of the race number he was wearing. He was identified as 43 year old Tommy Callaway of Statesboro, Georgia. I know Statesboro. I have relatives who are from that area and, in fact, I’m pretty sure my Aunt Jeanne is buried near there. I’m sure Mr. Callaway, who was also identified as a Boy Scout leader and youth pastor for the United Methodist Church, meant no harm. He might have thought he was being cute and funny, smacking the anchorwoman’s ass. It’s probably how he was raised. And in this age of Donald Trump worshipping pussy grabbers, he may have felt perfectly justified in smacking the ass of a woman young enough to be his daughter. It’s all in good fun, right?

Of course he was wrong, and Mr. Callaway may soon find out how wrong he was in a court of law. Alex Bozarjian, whose Twitter profile reports that she’s a “proud Latina”, was raised in Salem, Massachusetts, and sports an apparently Armenian surname, has filed a police report and is allowing police officers to decide if criminal charges are worth pursuing. Callaway’s attorney, Joseph Turner, issued the following statement:

“[Tommy Callaway is a] loving husband and father who is very active in his community [who is] working with those involved to correct the situation. While we regret the situation, Mr. Callaway did not act with any criminal intentions,”

Callaway has also apparently said that the butt slap was an “accident”. He stated on Inside Edition:

“I was caught up in the moment. I was getting ready to bring my hands up and wave to the camera to the audience, there was a misjudge in character and decision-making. I touched her back; I did not know exactly where I touched her.” 

Callaway added, “I totally agree 100 percent with her statement and the two most important words were her last two words, ‘do better.’ And that’s my intention. I did not see her facial reaction as I just kept on running. If I did see her facial reaction, I would have felt embarrassed and ashamed and stopped and turned around to apologize to her.”

Really? I’ve watched the clip a few times and, to me, he looks pretty intent on making contact with her ass. Of course he wasn’t going to see her face as he was running up behind her, and of course he wasn’t going to look for her reaction as he was racing away. While some might excuse him for that reason, I think it’s an even better reason not to touch people without their permission. Especially if there is any chance you might wind up touching them in an inappropriate place and/or having your intentions “misunderstood” (although I think Mr. Callaway’s excuse is 100% bullshit).

Bozarjian says the slap hurt; he hit her hard. Bozarjian also says that Callaway “took her power”, and she’s claimed she even feels a little bit “guilty”, probably because she’s been shamed by people who think she should just let it go because he was just being “rambunctious”.

Well… what the hell is that supposed to mean? Tommy Callaway is married and has daughters, and he presumably has a mother. Does he like it when strange men fondle them “in good fun”? I wonder what Callaway’s wife, mother, and daughters think of this, watching their husband, son, or dad treating a young woman like a side of beef on live television. It’s probably embarrassing and humiliating for them, too. I know I’d be pretty furious if Bill ever did that. Fortunately, Bill is much more evolved, even though he grew up at a time when guys were allowed and expected to take liberties with women that way, especially in the South. Callaway seems to have a “frat boy” mentality. I’ve run across it a lot myself, especially having grown up and lived in the South, where there seems to be more of an attitude about boys being boys. Lots of guys like Callaway have been taught this behavior is just fine.

I see from Heavy.com that Callaway got married in 2015 and is a graduate of Georgia Southern University. He works in sales for Swedish Match, a tobacco company. His wife has daughters, but it’s not clear if she had them with Callaway. Either way, I would expect Callaway to set a better example and respect his vows to his wife.

But even if Callaway wasn’t married and didn’t have daughters, smacking someone on the ass like that is just a tacky thing to do, especially considering that Bozarjian was working. It certainly would be wrong regardless, but she was acting in a professional capacity, reporting the news. There she was on camera, trying to do her job, when she gets sexually harassed for all to see. Does Callaway go around smacking police officers on the ass when they’re working? What about nurses or schoolteachers? I give Bozarjian true props for keeping her composure in that situation. She did a lot better than this guy did, when he was caught off guard while reporting the news:

He’s clueless. I think he was fired after this gaffe.

Watching the video of the incident involving Callaway and Bozarjian, I was reminded of a trend that was going on a few years ago. Anchors were interviewing people about various subjects when the person suddenly blurted “fuck her right in the pussy.” It started out just being one guy, but the trend soon caught on and others started doing it, because it was “funny”.

Is this funny? Well… yeah, it kind of is. But it doesn’t involve anyone being physically or sexually harassed.

Tommy Callaway has apparently taken down most of his social media by now, but before this blew up, it was revealed that he takes part in a lot of races and running events. However, thanks to his inability to keep his hands to himself, Callaway is now banned from all Savannah Sports Council owned races. Perhaps that doesn’t matter to Callaway, but at least someone is holding him accountable for his boorish behavior on live TV. I’m not saying I think this is something that should ruin Callaway’s life, but I do think it’s good that people have taken notice. Yes, Bozarjian has gotten some dismissive comments from people who don’t think this is a big deal, but others– particularly those in her profession– are coming to her defense.

Seriously, Tommy… keep your hands to yourself!

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politics

There is no such thing as a “wasted vote”…

So… the guy I wrote about yesterday, the dude who was flabbergasted that people think that racial relations are better under Donald Trump, posted another controversial thread. This time, he asked his Facebook friends what percentage of people who voted for Donald Trump are white supremacists. Naturally, that opened up a floodgate of polarized responses. Several of his conservative friends took issue with, once again, being lumped in as “white supremacists” or “racists” simply because they back Trump. I have already expressed my thoughts on that. Personally, I don’t believe that all conservatives are racists, though I do think that many racists support Trump. I think Trump emboldens and normalizes racist behavior. I also think that people who still support having Trump in the White House are willfully ignorant to what a shitty, unethical person he is. Why not demand a candidate who is more ethical and qualified for the job?

Having written that, I understand that some people always vote for their party, regardless of who the candidate is. Some people will support Trump simply because he’s an alleged Republican, or because he claims to be against abortion. Some will vote for him just because they can’t stand the other candidate, for whatever reason. I know a lot of people dislike Hillary Clinton and they voted for Trump simply because they couldn’t stand the idea of voting for her. To be honest, I can’t blame them for that. Although I think Mrs. Clinton was much more qualified for the job, I am not personally a fan of hers or her husband’s. However, I also think Bill Clinton was a much better president than Trump is.

I am sick of political dynasties from either side, and I’m tired of people in high places getting away with being narcissists, crooks, and leches. Guys like my husband can’t get away with harassing women or being so outspoken about certain groups of people without risking their livelihoods. I see no reason why Trump, Bill Clinton, and their ilk can get away with their shenanigans while in government service, when the rank and file employees who work for them must adhere to an ethical code to be hired, let alone keep their jobs.

I voted third party in the last presidential election because I was voting in Texas, and I knew Hillary Clinton would never win Texas. She did win San Antonio, which was the city where I was voting. So really, my vote didn’t matter in terms of the election’s results. I still don’t think I “wasted” it, though. I did make a choice. I think more people should choose the person they think is best for the job, not the specific party.

I have never made it a secret that I vote for people over parties. I have voted for people in just about every party, from Libertarian to Green and, of course, the two big parties that always win. When I do choose to vote “third party” and dare to admit it, I often get a condescending lecture about how I’m “wasting my vote” by not choosing Democrat or Republican. I’ve heard it from die hard liberals and dyed in the wool conservatives. Frankly, that kind of talk pisses me right the fuck off. I find it extremely rude, not to mention shortsighted and fallacious. Please, for the love of Christ and everything else that is holy, do NOT offer me another explanation of how the electoral college works. It’s not necessary, nor will it be appreciated.

First of all, as an American, I still have the right to vote for whomever I please. I also have the right not to vote if I choose. That’s part of being free. Many people chose not to vote in the last presidential election. If more people had voted, maybe the end result would have been different. Or maybe Trump was simply destined to be the president. It’s hard to tell, because there is no way to know which way the non-voters would have cast their votes. Due to the electoral college, it’s pretty hard for one person’s vote to matter that much, anyway. What matters is how people as a whole voted in the state and how many electoral votes and how much influence that state gets in the election.

I do think voting is very important, and I try to make the effort with each election. But when one candidate wins the popular vote by millions and still loses the election, that’s pretty discouraging. I’m sure plenty of average Americans were terribly let down by the results of the last presidential election. Some people blamed third party voters, although I don’t think third party votes had much to do with the results. There still aren’t that many of us, and people often make assumptions about which way third party voters will swing without actually knowing if their assumptions are valid.

Secondly, even if a third party candidate has no chance of winning, by voting for that person, I’m still making my voice heard. People often complain that there’s not that much of a difference between Democrats and Republicans, yet they refuse to make a different choice. As long as people only vote for the two big parties, there can never be any evidence that the system needs to change… that we need more than one viable candidate for such an important job. I’m pretty sure that there will never be a third party president in my lifetime, but if no one ever gives them a chance, how can the system ever change? If I just vote Democrat or Republican, yet bitch and moan about how much I dislike both candidates, that seems to be a big waste of time. There’s nothing less empowering than whining about how much something sucks, yet still making the same choices that led to the situation sucking. If something doesn’t work, why not try a new approach? Maybe if we had more viable candidates, the big parties might choose candidates who are actually more qualified and higher caliber, rather than the person with the most money, power, and name recognition.

A popular cartoon that circulated after Trump won. I don’t care if people are “impressed” by my voting habits. In fact, I probably shouldn’t even discuss them among “friends”. I didn’t used to do that, but Trump changed everything.

People who claim third party voters are “wasting their vote” jump to a lot of conclusions, many of which could be wrong. A lot of people think that if there wasn’t a Libertarian candidate to vote for, Libertarian voters would naturally vote for the Republican, instead. I voted Libertarian in the last election, not because I necessarily identified as a conservative, but because I thought of the candidates presented, Gary Johnson was the best person for the job and had the least amount of baggage. I liked more of his ideas, and appreciated the fact that I’d not heard of him being a pervert or a criminal. He was a popular governor, and I liked his comments about social issues, yet I didn’t see him threatening my husband’s livelihood working for the military, which, sorry, is a valid concern for us– Bill is 55 and I’m 47. We have to think about our futures, so we don’t end up in the poorhouse. Even though Libertarians as a party have some policies that I don’t agree with at all, Gary Johnson just seemed like the best choice to me, in spite of his “Aleppo moment”. That’s just my opinion.

If Gary Johnson hadn’t been on the ticket, I probably would have voted for Mrs. Clinton, not Jill Stein, even though Jill Stein ran in the Green Party and supposedly is more aligned to Mrs. Clinton’s politics. I’ll admit that I didn’t know much about Jill Stein, but I’m probably closer to the right than the left. I am extremely liberal about some issues, but more conservative about others. Jill Stein, who advocated for drastic cuts to the military and closing overseas bases, seemed to be too left for me, although after the last few years, I might consider voting for her if she ran in 2020. But then, in 2020, I plan to vote for whomever has the best chance of unseating Trump. I want him OUT of the White House, and unless the other major candidate is somehow much worse than he is, I will probably be voting for that person. Trump may win in 2020, but that will not stop me from voting my conscience, and my conscience says Trump needs to go, pronto.

The bottom line is, I think people should be encouraged to vote. If someone makes the effort to show up to vote, or mail in their absentee ballot, that effort should be respected and appreciated. You may not like the way I vote. I may not like the way you vote. But as Americans who value freedom, we should all have the right to make our own choices. While I think that voting is a responsibility that all free people have, part of freedom is being able to choose whether or not to exercise the responsibility to vote. And– if a person is completely uninformed about the candidates and uninterested in the results, it’s probably better that he or she refrain from voting, anyway.

In any case, I posted my comment but decided to bow out of that thread because I simply can’t bear to read more sanctimonious drivel from either side of the argument. I don’t understand Trump supporters at all, even as I support their right to vote their conscience. I don’t see how supposedly decent people can admire a man who has such a long history of doing the wrong things. However… I am not yet at the point at which I assume all Trump supporters are necessarily bad people. I know a lot of them are simply ignorant or refuse to face the truth. They want to support their party. They think abortion is “wrong”, gun rights are “right”, and that certain people deserve fewer rights than others… and that making money is the most important thing. Or some of them simply believe that Republicans really are more “family friendly”… or Christian friendly, and they think being Christian is the only correct way to be. I’ve seen too much of the world to continue buying into that bullshit, but I know the people who believe it don’t really want to hear what I have to say. It would be a waste of my time to try to change their convictions when they aren’t open to the idea.

Not a fan of “tolerance camp”, either…

I also don’t believe in trying to force people to accept my point of view, shaming them into what I think would be a “more moral” vote, because that would be disingenuous. After all, I don’t like getting a liberal guilt trip about how I only need to think about the disadvantaged, when I would like to avoid becoming disadvantaged myself. There is no shame in considering one’s own interests when voting. While I can understand that many liberals would like to see the military drastically cut and installations closed, that would not be a good idea in terms of my husband’s livelihood. It wouldn’t be in our interest to vote for a candidate who wants to decimate the military, and as much as I appreciate a lot of left leaning ideals, I’m still sensible enough to know that I like having a roof over my head, food to eat, and the ability to pay the bills and help others. So I typically vote for the most moderate candidate, even if that person happens to be third party.

I don’t like heated arguments, so I’ll keep venting on my blog… and some people will read it and agree… or not. Isn’t it nice to still have that freedom?

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