complaints, controversies, LDS, mental health, narcissists, social media, YouTube

Self-preservation and the “gift of fear”, rather than bigotry…

I kind of don’t really want to write this post, because I have a bad feeling that it might be controversial… But I saw something yesterday that annoyed me a bit, and since it’s been kind of a difficult week anyway, I figure I might as well post about it.

Some time ago, someone out there in Facebook Land encouraged me to follow Father Nathan Monk. I think it might have been someone in the Duggar Family News group. According to his “about section”, Father Nathan Monk is a best selling author, “depressive humorist”, and former priest. He often posts things that are wise, funny, and insightful. However, there are times when he’s a little too “woke” for me, and I get annoyed. I know at least one time, I unfollowed for awhile. I think last month it happened, and I took a break for a month. Recently, his posts started popping up on my feed again. I mostly enjoyed them, until I saw the one below…

Naturally, he got many comments from people who completely agreed with his take on why so many people don’t like Meghan Markle. Lots of people were jumping on the bandwagon that people “hate” Meghan just because she’s “black”. I noticed that anyone who disagreed with any part of Father Nathan Monk’s post was immediately piled upon by other posters, seemingly eager to shut up the lone dissenter. People were calling the guy a bigot and a misogynist. Granted, he did turn out to be a Trump supporter from Britain, but even that doesn’t necessarily make him a bigot. I thought his comments regarding Meghan made a lot of sense, his political preferences notwithstanding. To me, it just proves that not all Trump supporters are necessarily crazy or stupid. They just haven’t reached the conclusions that I have, for whatever reason. Like the guy posted, “it’s okay to disagree.” I don’t know why he can easily see Meghan Markle’s issues and not see Trump’s, but then, I don’t know anything about him. Maybe he’s right about Trump and I’m wrong, although I doubt it. I suspect he just cares more about money than I do.

Now, if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you might know that I’m not one of Meghan Markle’s fans. My dislike of Meghan Markle has absolutely NOTHING at all to do with her racial makeup. I couldn’t care less about that. I don’t care that she’s an American who had the audacity to marry a British prince, either. I think people should be allowed to love and marry whomever they choose. And I also think that Harry should have been allowed to chart his own course in life, as we all should. I watched the interview Meghan and Harry had with Oprah Winfrey, and a lot of what Harry said made sense to me. I’ve always liked him, and when he and Meghan first got together, I was genuinely happy for both of them. I cried when I watched their wedding, especially at this part…

The man who sings the solo never fails to bring me to tears. This is just beautiful. I was even inspired to make my own version of this song based on this interpretation, which is one of so many over the years.

Here’s proof that I watched and loved their wedding, and this song…

When I heard this and watched the wedding, I had high hopes for this union.

What surprises me is looking at the congregation and not seeing that much emotion… but it is Britain. If I had been there in person, I would have been sobbing. That rendition is– indeed– glorious!

Below is what I had to say in late November 2017, when Harry and Meghan’s engagement was announced…

A screenshot from my original blog in an entry posted on November 29, 2017, so you can see that I’m not making this up… On another, unrelated point, I see that the post in question was about 85% about a certain lurker from Colorado. And given that it was late 2017, when we were having serious issues with our ex landlady, I now know it was the former tenant, spying on me and reporting her findings. I had titled the post “Snoopin’ and poopin’,” and that was definitely what she was doing. Sorry… I know I should forget about this, given what happened to former tenant, but it still really pisses me off.

As you can see, I had nothing bad to say about Meghan in 2017. I thought she was pretty, and Harry seemed happy. I did not give a shit about her race, and in fact, the two people I posted about her resembling are famous and beautiful WHITE people. But even if they were Black, it wouldn’t matter to me.

In May 2018, a few days after Harry’s and Meghan’s nuptials, I posted this :

See? Nothing derisive here about Meghan’s skin color.

Also from May 2018, I had written a post about gun violence in the USA, and added some comments about the royal wedding between Harry and Meghan. Again, totally positive and hopeful comments from yours truly.

Are these comments racist?

And finally, two more comments from October 2018, when Meghan announced her pregnancy… Nothing negative or racist here, either. And here’s a link to my post about Harry’s interview with Oprah last year. I had sympathy then, too, even if, by that point, I was liking Meghan less.

I’m not going to claim that there aren’t a lot of racists out there who don’t like Meghan Markle only because of her skin tone. I’m sure there are plenty of small-minded people who think she had no business marrying a British prince simply due to her being a biracial American woman with middle class roots. My point is that not all of us dislike her for those reasons. And just as it’s not right for people to make assumptions about others due to things they can’t help, like their skin color, it’s also wrong to assume that people are racist just because they’ve come to conclusions that you haven’t. I would gather that coming to that conclusion, even if it’s just for well-intentioned “woke” purposes, is just as wrong as stereotyping people due to their skin color is. In other words, people who instantly cry “RACISM” when someone says something disapproving of Meghan Markle are really not much better than the gossip mongers.

H.G. Tudor, who has been notably relentless and snarky in his observations of Meghan Markle’s behavior, put out what I think is a pretty good video. The main idea is that no, we don’t know her… but people who DO know her have spoken about her behavior. How many more people need to speak up before people realize that not everyone dislikes her due to her skin color?

I don’t like Meghan Markle because I don’t like her behavior. She makes my “cluster B” chimes go off. I’m not the only one who feels this way. And we’re not wrong to have these feelings, because we have had exposure to narcissists, and experience has taught us that these types give off signals that are triggering. Once you’ve been around that type of person, you can pick up on the vibes. Even though I get those vibes– mainly those of hypocrisy, fakeness, and self-centeredness– I totally get that I could be misinterpreting. Experience has told me that I’m pretty perceptive, and my perceptions are often right on target.

There’s a reason that people have this “sixth sense”, by the way. It’s part of self-preservation. Back in 2010, in my old blog, I posted about a book I read called The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It was recommended by a YouTuber who called himself Lithodid Man. I blogged about the video by Lithodid Man, and he eventually found the post and left me a comment. Below is his video, which is now twelve years old…

Lithodid Man, who is an atheist, talks about being approached by a very insistent evangelical proselytizer who was trying to wear him down and get access to his minor son. He explains that he had read de Becker’s book, and it opened his eyes to the manipulative techniques the guy was using to get Lithodid Man to agree to let his son go to a church group.
An excerpt of my 2010 post about The Gift of Fear.

Gavin de Becker’s book is about recognizing when your senses are telling you of a threat, and acting accordingly, and in your own best interests, to protect yourself from harm. Our culture often pushes us, through peer pressure, to think one way or the other, to be agreeable and not make a fuss, to not be a “Karen”, to always cooperate and not make any waves… And people who are manipulative, narcissistic, or otherwise up to no good, are only too happy to exploit those pressures we live under to be nice at all costs.

Being nice is not a bad thing, but one shouldn’t be nice simply because it’s the path of least resistance. Sometimes, those instincts are DEAD ON… and tragically, we don’t realize until something heartbreaking has happened. For more on this, read any of my posts about Bill’s ex wife, and what has happened because he was “too nice” and too afraid to upset other people. Granted, it hasn’t been all bad. If he hadn’t married Ex, we might not have gotten married. Some other woman would have almost certainly treated him a lot better and he probably would have stayed married to her, even if the match wasn’t as compatible as ours is. But a lot of people were hurt because Bill ignored “the gift of fear” and didn’t listen to his instincts. He has told me on many occasions that on his wedding day to Ex, he had a voice telling him not to do it. He ignored that voice and suffered the consequences– kind of like Diana, former Princess of Wales, did. He learned a lot of tough lessons. Some of them have rubbed off on me.

Here’s another example. For years, I was quite vocal about how much I dislike Mormonism. I still dislike it, but feel less compelled to speak out about it these days, mainly because Bill’s younger daughter, who is LDS, now talks to him. I know that there are really good people in Mormonism. I knew that, even when I was more outspoken about Mormonism. My disdain for the church had NOTHING to do with the people within it. I don’t dislike people simply due to their religious beliefs. If that were the case, I never would have married Bill, who was still LDS on our wedding day. It was the institution and doctrine itself that I saw as damaging, because it was used as a tool to separate my husband from his daughters. He wasn’t “worthy” to be their father or baptise them, according to Ex and the church itself. He didn’t believe in the church’s teachings, so he was less fit. This, even though Ex was the one who was abusing and neglecting their children, and Bill himself.

So I determined that I don’t like Mormonism for that reason, not because I’m overall a religious bigot. And I also know that the Mormons aren’t the only ones who pull that shit… they just happen to be the ones who have affected us directly. I don’t like the other religions where those kinds of divisive practices prevail, either. In fact, I’m not that big on religion as a whole, but I especially dislike really restrictive, controlling ones where everyone has to believe and think the same way, and criticism isn’t allowed. Does that automatically make me a bigot? I don’t think so. But some people insisted that I am one, no matter how much I tried to explain my reasoning to them. Thankfully, most of them are now out of my life. Likewise, my disdain for Meghan Markle has nothing to do with her skin color or race. It’s because I recognize problematic behaviors that I think are toxic.

It annoys me to read posts like Father Nathan Monk’s, that presume to lecture everyone about being “racist” against Meghan Markle and discounting why people might not like her. First of all, she is a very public figure. She chose to be a public figure. One could argue that making that choice, in and of itself, is kind of a narcissistic thing to do. Yes, there are famous people out there who aren’t really all that “public”. I’ve read and heard about Meghan Markle’s desire for “privacy”, and yet she’s still everywhere.

Sure, I could give Meghan a pass for attending the Queen’s funeral, and even the Platinum Jubilee, but she’s clearly been trying to monetize her association with the British Royal Family. She still uses that title– the Duchess of Sussex– even as she publicly disdains Harry’s family and disowns her own family. This might be easy to ignore if these folks were regular citizens, but they aren’t. The British Royal Family is extremely public.

While I’m not generally a fan of saying, “you knew what you were getting into”, I do think that Meghan had to know that she wouldn’t be living a private life if she married Harry. It’s not even like she was like Diana. Diana was 19 years old when she got married, and didn’t even have a college degree. Meghan was a divorcee in her late 30s when she and Harry got married. And Meghan is certainly old enough to remember Diana, and what happened to her. Moreover, other people who married into royalty have been harassed– Sarah Ferguson definitely was. Camilla Parker Bowles was. Even Kate Middleton was. So, in that sense, she wasn’t alone… and wasn’t really treated that differently, other than the fact that Meghan is biracial and American. I’m not saying it’s right that the press harassed these ladies. What I am saying is that they were all being pursued and treated similarly poorly by the press. Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie, is the only one I don’t remember being messed with as much by the press. Maybe it’s because she was involved in public relations herself, if memory serves.

I don’t know Meghan Markle personally, and almost surely never will. So, the fact that I see her behavior as obnoxious and don’t like it is irrelevant, anyway. It’s not like I’m sending her hate mail, or even posting a lot of toxic stuff about her. I don’t even hang around with a bunch of girlfriends and giggle as we drink wine and trade catty gossip about her. I just pick up on these toxic vibes that I can’t ignore. I still wish Meghan and Harry luck with their marriage, particularly since there are now children involved. And I even hope that the two of them prove me wrong and have a long, successful, and happy marriage. I would be even happier if Meghan stopped seeming so artificial and tone deaf to me. And yes, I will continue to write about my observations of her behavior as I see fit. But, whether or not people believe me, my feelings have nothing to do with Meghan’s race. And to make that sweeping and insulting judgment about anyone who has criticisms of Meghan Markle is pretty lazy, limited, and disrespectful, in my view. People are going to “do themselves”, though… so for the sake of my sanity, I’ll try to ignore the bullshit and drive on.

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dogs, healthcare, politics, rants, royals, social media

Yesterday was a particularly crappy Monday… mind if I vent?

I knew yesterday was going to suck when I woke up at 3:30am needing to go to the bathroom. It wasn’t just a quick pee, so when I was done, I was wide awake. I instinctively knew yesterday was going to be very difficult for a few reasons. I knew I was going to watch the Queen’s funeral, and there would be beautiful music, bright colorful uniforms on stalwart men and women in her service, somber people in black who came to pay their respects, and wise words from religious leaders. That would provoke an emotional response under the best of circumstances.

Then I knew that we would be getting the results of Arran’s cytology report. I knew that they would not be the results we hoped for, and I was right. Arran has been diagnosed with lymphoma, and our time with him is growing short.

We have dealt with lymphoma before. Our dog, Zane, had it in 2019. He was diagnosed on the Saturday after we came home from vacation, and was gone a week later. He wasn’t as strong as Arran is, and his disease was found later. We were in Scotland on a cruise when Zane’s symptoms appeared, and had no idea he was ailing. Unfortunately, canine lymphoma can sneak up quickly and work devastatingly fast. My one comfort in Zane’s situation was that his last week was relatively pleasant, as cancer goes. He was able to enjoy the weather, lie outside in the sunshine, and even take a walk the day before we said goodbye. Steroids kept him relatively comfortable until the end.

Arran is still quite strong and vital. He still eats, sleeps, walks, jumps, and engages with us. He’s also around 13 or 14 years old, which makes him elderly. Dying is part of life, and as lives go, Arran has had a pretty good one with us. So I’m not particularly sad that it’s getting close to the end of his life. I will miss him very much, and it will hurt to say goodbye. But I know this is a simple part of life.

I made a social media announcement, and wrote this for a friend who expressed preliminary condolences:

…I kind of look at this as I do the death of the Queen. Unfortunately, dying is part of living, but we’ve had almost ten wonderful years with Arran and so many fond memories. We’ve been able to give him a very loving home and a pretty luxurious lifestyle in two countries, plus the ones he’s visited with us. After being passed around a few times when he was young, he finally landed with the right people– especially Bill, who is his favorite person. 

It’s always hard to lose a beloved family member, but some situations are worse than others. At least we know kind of what to expect, and this isn’t a particularly painful cancer. I think he’s got some time left to enjoy… and when and if the time is right, we can give a home to another dog who needs one. In my experience, the successors seem to be sent by the predecessors. I feel very sure that our old dog, MacGregor sent us Arran in January 2013. 

As the Queen once said, “Grief is the price we pay for loving.” But that doesn’t mean it won’t be hard to say goodbye when the time comes.

After we lost MacGregor in 2012, I started making memorial videos for my dogs. I made one for MacGregor, and two for Zane, because I had so many great photos and another song to use. On Zane’s videos, I even sang the songs that accompanied the photos, while I used Willie Nelson’s version of “Rainbow Connection” for MacGregor. Yesterday, I made a recording of a song I might use for Arran, when his time comes. I decided to do that, because I suspect I might be too emotional to do it later. In Zane’s case, I already had the recordings done, just because I had wanted to try the songs. I find that making the videos helps me process my grief, since it requires me to look at photos from years ago and see the progression of the time we spent together. I have tons of videos and pictures of Arran, so I think there could be two videos.

MacGregor’s video.
Zane’s video.
And more photos…

The timing for this diagnosis comes at a bad time. We are supposed to go to the Black Forest next weekend for a much needed five night break. We’re close enough to the reservation that I can’t cancel without owing 80 percent of the cost of the room, which is very expensive, because it’s at a five star resort with half board. We’re talking about 3800 euros… but it’s a special hotel. I do have travel insurance with cancel for any reason coverage, but I would rather not have to use it. Of course, I had no idea Arran was going to have lymphoma when I reserved. We are also going to see our dentist. Fortunately, the resort is in Baiersbronn, which is only a couple of hours away. If it comes down to it, we can probably still deal with Arran if he goes downhill during that trip.

Then, the day after we come back, Bill has to go on another business trip. It’s in Germany too, though, so he can get back if he has to. Still, it would be good if we can keep Arran going until that stuff is done– at least a month or so. I think we can do it, provided we have some chemical assistance. But lymphoma can go south really fast, as we found out from Zane’s experience. Or, dogs can be treated and go into remission… We’ll have to see what the vet can do for Arran’s situation. He did try to chase a squirrel yesterday on his walk.

The next thing that sucked about yesterday is that I spent the day feeling physically bad. I threw up breakfast because my stomach was all messed up. I have a burning, pinching feeling on the left side of my stomach. I think I have gastritis. I feel somewhat better today, since I tee-totaled last night, and drank herbal tea for breakfast instead of coffee. Bill made me eggs, which seemed like they would be the least offensive. I didn’t eat much yesterday anyway, and that tends to be bad for me. But I had no appetite or inclination to prepare anything. And when you’re 50 and you have these kinds of aches and pains, it gets harder to shrug them off, especially when you’re phobic of seeing doctors, like I am– and especially when you’re in a country that isn’t home.

And finally, I made the mistake of posting a comment on Amy Klobuchar’s Facebook page the other day. It was an innocuous comment– nothing that should have invited controversy. I wrote that I live in Germany and got a phone call from a German about voting in the US elections. I explained about that incident here on this blog, too. Naturally, I got several laughter reactions from MAGA trolls, which is irritating enough. But then some old bat left me a pissy comment about how I should post my address so she and her MAGA friends can send me their bills.

Already annoyed because of my gnawing stomach ache and the news about Arran, I responded “Grow up.”

She came back with more vile piss and vinegar about how she’s “grown up” and yada, yada, yada. I blocked her, and then ranted a bit to Bill, because for the life of me, I don’t understand why people feel the need to mock and harass perfect strangers for having different opinions than theirs.

Then this morning, I saw this very “literate” comment from someone else:

How could they get your phone #? Please, if you you make up stories, make them at least more believe label. Do you write fiction novels?

So this was my more eloquent retort, which I probably shouldn’t have bothered with:

I’m not making this up. They had my number because I signed up for Democrats Abroad. I just didn’t expect to get a phone call when I did that. My guess is that the guy who called was either a dual citizen or spouse of an American, or he might be a German who cares about American politics because our leaders affect Europe, too. Nevertheless, I am done voting for Republicans because of Donald Trump and his ilk. 

I don’t see why stating this on a page for Amy Klobuchar should invite rude, derisive, comments from anyone. You are free to vote your conscience. I expect and deserve the same consideration. And when you “laugh” at me and accuse me of lying, you just show us all that you don’t stand for American values.

This photo alone is one reason why Trump needs to go. People actually believe this shit!

She’ll probably laugh at me again, which will prompt me to block her. Seriously… I ain’t got the time for it. I like how the woman can’t fathom how someone over here would call me about voting… There are LOTS of Americans in Germany, and we are affected by our country’s policies. But so are Europeans, and folks, from over here, America looks like a three ring shit show.

I was surprised too, about the phone call, which is the only reason I decided to post about it. Why can’t people simply be civilized and decent? Especially when a stranger posts something pretty innocuous. It’s one thing when someone posts something obviously incendiary or obtuse, but I didn’t do that. I want to ask that person if she’s that much of an asshole in person, too. But that would only reduce me to her level, and I don’t need to go down there.

Oh well… no need to fuss over it. I’ve got bigger issues to deal with. At least the weather is nice today. I’ll walk the dogs and try to enjoy our precious time with sweet Arran… and maybe my stomach will calm down. At least the funeral for the Queen is over… I know not everyone loved her, but I will miss her. Overall, I think she was an exceptional person, and she did many good things, in spite of the many controversies surrounding the monarchy. At the very least, her funeral was a masterfully presented show for the world to see. Nobody does pomp and circumstance like the Brits do.

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condescending twatbags, controversies, narcissists, politicians, politics, social media, YouTube

It was fun while it lasted… and pointless political conversations…

Yesterday, I noticed that someone hit one of my recent posts about H.G. Tudor and his YouTube channel about narcissism. H.G. Tudor is a British guy who says he is a narcissistic sociopath, and claims to provide a service to the world by explaining narcissistic behavior. Last month, he posted many videos of himself, reading Tom Bower’s book, Revenge, about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. I enjoyed listening to the videos, as H.G. Tudor mostly uses static images, rather than slideshows or video. He read aloud from the book, then explained his interpretations of (mostly) Meghan’s behaviors in an often delightfully saucy way.

Anyway, I often visit the posts that people click on, and when I did so yesterday, I discovered that all of H.G. Tudor’s videos were taken down. When I clicked on one of the absent videos, I noticed that H.G. Tudor had posted an explanatory video on one of his other channels. It seems that CBS Viacom, or whomever holds the copyright for Revenge, had issued a copyright claim. H.G. Tudor says he and CBS Viacom worked it out amicably, and he agreed to take down all of the videos regarding the book. However, in spite of having worked it out, and both parties having notified YouTube, they didn’t remove the automated mechanism that shut down his Ultra Narcissism channel. So, that’s why the videos on that post no longer work.

So this is what happened.

When videos go dark, and I am aware of them going dark, I usually take them down. I don’t know if I’ll do that this time, since I wrote a few posts about H.G. Tudor and I’m pretty sure I always included videos. And sometimes, the text doesn’t make sense without the videos. If I leave up the “ghosts”, at least those who read the posts will know that there used to be more there. I don’t know if I have the time or inclination to go back and edit a bunch of posts that aren’t particularly popular and might only get a few hits henceforth.

I do think H.G. Tudor puts out good content. It’s interesting, entertaining, and informative. And I agree with him that he probably is a narcissist, although he’s remarkably introspective for a narcissist. He may claim to have a severe diagnosis of narcissism, because as a narcissist, he no doubt wants to be the “best”… or the “worst”, as the case might be. It’s not unlike someone with an eating disorder wanting to be the sickest. If you’re healthy, you might think that sounds crazy. But, some people with certain eating disorders take pride in the behavior. Many of them see it as a badge of honor– a testament to their will power and level of control. I would imagine narcissists have similar issues, because part of being a narcissist means wanting to be above everyone else. I can see how the ones who know what they are would want to “worsen” their diagnoses, even if they don’t actually warrant a worse diagnosis. But personally, I have a hard time believing that he’s as severe as he claims to be, simply because he genuinely seems to care more than the worst narcissists would.

I am grateful to YouTube content creators who put out content about narcissism. I do think that listening to an actual narcissist is educational. However, I think I appreciate the therapeutic takes on narcissism more, simply because the people who make those videos understand the behavior and empathize. A lot of people who come into contact with a narcissist are left wounded and bewildered. The non-narcissistic therapeutic approach is edifying and uplifting, a reminder that it’s not the victim’s fault that the narcissist does what they do. It’s part of their nature. I still shake my head when I think of some of the narcissistic people I’ve encountered in my life, wondering what I did to deserve that kind of treatment. And now I know, at least intellectually, that I didn’t do anything to deserve that shit. That’s just how narcissistic people are. It’s their nature– just like the frog and the scorpion, or Lucy Van Pelt pulling the football away from Charlie Brown before he can kick it.

I’ve also learned that when you know someone is a narcissist, you don’t want to get close to them. You won’t be an exception. They WILL eventually do something hurtful or hateful, and deep down, they won’t care that you were injured by them. In their mind, it’ll be your fault, because it’s NEVER their fault. It can’t be. Narcissists believe they are above all reproach.

I’m not surprised there were copyright issues with H.G. Tudor reading the book on YouTube. As compelling as the videos were, the bottom line is, he was still reading a book to thousands of viewers who might not have decided to buy the book themselves. I did buy the book and read it on my own, which I’m glad I did, since Tudor didn’t read the whole thing. And now that I’ve read it, I’m reading to move on to the next topic.

Edited to add: I am now watching a video H.G. Tudor just put up, saying that his channel has now been reinstated. Glad to hear it!

Moving on…

A couple of days ago, a childhood acquaintance who happens to share my liberal proclivities posted about Jared Kushner. I try not to comment too much on his posts, since he has some pretty obnoxious Trump supporting friends. It doesn’t surprise me, either, since he lives in Roanoke, Virginia, and that’s close to where a lot of my relatives live… and they’re all Republicans. I’m sure it’s not easy watching Trump go down in flames, especially since they all believed in him, voted for him, and assumed that they were right to do so. For some reason, when it comes to voting for politicians, some people are willing to overlook a lot of stuff they would never accept in someone they know in person. Many people will simply vote for parties, and they trust that whomever their party has chosen to run for office is going to be the better choice for them than their opponent will be.

Of course, having studied narcissism and having been around for a few decades, I knew what Trump was when I saw him. I didn’t think he was as bad as he turned out to be, but I knew that when he proudly spoke about grabbing women by the pussy, and being ALLOWED to do it, because he’s a “star”, that he would NOT be a good leader. It had nothing to do with his political party. It was all about him. I knew he wasn’t a good husband, father, or boss, and that meant he would be a terrible president. So I didn’t vote for him.

Then I saw Trump’s acolytes coming out in the form of loudmouthed, ignorant, obnoxious, extremists, both in terms of politicians, and rank and file citizens. I knew I couldn’t vote for Republicans again. At least not until this current crop of miscreants is driven out of politics. I don’t agree with all liberal agenda. I’m more of a moderate. But, I do think the Democrats, for now, have put out candidates who are more acceptable to me. You’d think this would be my right to come to this conclusion, as a “free” American, right?

Well, I left my old childhood friend a comment, and sure enough, one of his Trump friends came at me. I could tell this guy was sucking hard on the Q Anon teat, as he kept trying to tell me what a pervert Biden is, and how his family is “sick”. I told him I wasn’t interested in his conspiracy theories. He kept coming at me, so I asked him if he thought it was “effective” to try to engage in arguments with people he doesn’t know. How many people does he know who have changed their political beliefs because of anything he’s posted?

Do you really think it’s effective to argue with people you don’t know in comment sections? I get that you don’t like Biden. I don’t really care. 

As far as I’m concerned, Trump is the worst president we have ever had. He never should have been allowed to run, in my opinion. I have a lot of reasons for feeling the way I do, just like you have your reasons for not liking Biden.

Let’s just leave it at that. H and I are politically on the same page, so my comment was mainly for him, anyway.

He kept trying to goad me into a debate. He even wrote that he wouldn’t argue with me if I would just tell him why I prefer Biden to Trump. It was a request, or even a demand, to explain myself– which I didn’t feel inclined to do. I knew that explaining it would not change his mind, because he is already very convinced of all of the things he’s read and heard from far right sources. He strongly believes that his views are the correct ones, and all other perspectives are 100% wrong.

I finally posted this:

No, because if I do that, you will just tell me I’m wrong, and that will inevitably lead to an argument. I have a right to my opinions, just like you have a right to yours. Moreover, it’s a beautiful Saturday here in Germany, and I want to spend it with my sweet husband.

I would rather frost my pubic hair than get into a political conversation with someone whose mind is as made up as yours obviously is. It’s an exercise in futility, and liable to be more painful and pointless than chemical burns would be on my private parts. 

So I am going to fuck off of this conversation and go have a beer. Have a good one. 

It used to be that people could have different opinions. It used to be that politics and religion were taboo topics for polite company. Social media has changed that, of course, and now people seem to think it’s incumbent on them to change hearts and minds to whatever their political persuasion is. Like I said, I know that people have their reasons for their beliefs. I might agree or disagree with them. But, if we live in a free society, people should be allowed to vote their consciences. I wish that the parties who put forth politicians would put forth humane, ethical, decent people to lead. But those people are often seen as “weak” by a significant number of voters. So then we get charismatic, but cruel and incompetent, people like Trump to run. He has proven to be as corrupt as they come. Some people will never believe it, though. They can’t believe they chose someone who is so fundamentally awful… or they just don’t want to admit it. That’s okay… and it’s understandable, until they try to deny the rest of us the rights to come to our own conclusions.

I have a pretty good brain. I’m logical, reasonable, and sometimes even insightful. Some people don’t like me, or what I have to say, but few of them who actually know me would call me “stupid”. Those who would call me “stupid” are not exactly good judges of intelligence. I know some intelligent people who prefer conservatism. I’ve got no problem with that. I just wish they would champion conservatives who aren’t total narcissists. Because I know that real narcissists don’t care at all about anything or anyone but themselves, and that inherently makes them awful leaders. I won’t willingly vote for that, no matter how high gas prices and inflation get… and, by the way, those problems are global– they aren’t Joe Biden’s doing.

I don’t know if my friend’s right wing, Trump supporting, Biden hating friend is “smart”. I don’t know him at all. But I’ve had a couple of run ins with him, and he’s always beating the same fucking pro Trump/pro Republican drum. I suspect he does it to me because he has a penis, and I don’t. It’s like talking to my cousin, who thinks that his dick and his experience selling life insurance overrules my education and experience in public health/healthcare management. If I were a man, I doubt he’d be so insistent about correcting my “silliness”. For the record, I’m not in need of “special help” from a man who thinks his mind/viewpoint is superior to mine. Most of them quickly prove that’s not the case at all. And anyone who still thinks Trump is innocent and deserves another chance to be a good president is probably in need of some IQ testing themselves… or maybe a psych evaluation.

Well, it’s time to close this post and play some guitar. Hope y’all have a good Monday. Catch you later.

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Biden, money, politicians, politics, YouTube

I’m intrigued by the timing of Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan…

Yesterday, I wrote about how President Joe Biden has announced a plan to forgive a portion of student loans for many American borrowers. Plenty of people are expressing their opinions about this idea. I’ve seen lots of people laud Mr. Biden for helping regular people who are struggling with student loan debt. And I’ve seen many people who are presumably angry that some people are getting “free money” when they’ve been “irresponsible.”

For the record, I don’t have a problem with Biden’s plan to forgive some educational debt. I won’t be benefiting personally from Biden’s “largesse”, but as I explained yesterday, the timing of my own school loans were fortuitous. I lucked into a low interest rate, which was very helpful for me. It was hard enough to get ahead of the loans even with that low rate. I see that now, a lot of people are paying significantly more in interest than I did. One friend shared the graphic below, which came from a longer, viral Facebook post:

Yes, I know signing for loans is a big deal, but how many 18 year olds– people we don’t even allow to legally drink a beer– understand what this will mean in the long run? Especially when they have been told since childhood how essential college is for a successful life in the United States.
The rest of the post… I think it makes a lot of sense… and cents.

As I mentioned before, I got my loans paid off after years of concentrated effort and gradually rolling larger payments into what I was regularly paying every month. After five years of paying the minimum, which barely covered the interest, I voluntarily started paying more and more. There was no penalty to prepay, and we could afford it, starting back in 2007, when Bill was in Iraq and temporarily got paid more. It wasn’t like I was spending money on anything exciting during that time, so I just rolled the extra money into paying off debts. I paid off Bill’s shitty high interest credit cards, too, and he was soon able to get a much better card. But if I’d had a higher interest rate, it would have been much harder to pay off the debts. I’d probably still be paying.

In any case, I am not upset that other people are getting help with their student loans that I won’t be getting. I’m just grateful that I don’t need the help, and that against all odds, I managed to pay off those loans. It makes no sense for me to be upset about this, either, because it’s a done deal, and there’s nothing I can do about it. There are plenty of other reasons to be angry right now.

For instance, I’m very upset about the fact that as of yesterday, abortion in Texas is virtually illegal. As of yesterday, a trigger law went into effect, making abortion a felony for those who provide the service. Yes, there are exceptions for when the mother’s life is at risk, but because of the political climate in Texas right now– and, oh, maybe the fact that it’s the number one death penalty state– physicians are reportedly committing malpractice and not giving pregnant women who actually need an abortion for medical reasons the care they need. Why? Because they don’t want to go to prison and be fined $100,000.

It occurred to me last night that the timing of Mr. Biden’s student loan assistance package is rather fortuitous, as the midterm elections approach. Lots of Republicans are positively GLEEFUL about overturning Roe v Wade. However, there is also evidence that a lot of people– Republicans included– are upset, worried, or even downright pissed that a political party is taking away a fundamental right from all women of childbearing age, not to mention their right to healthcare PRIVACY. If we learn anything from the results in Kansas, when voters were asked to vote on abortion rights, it’s that this is an issue that affects a whole lot of people. Some of the people who voted for abortion rights were, no doubt, Republicans.

I have also read reports of Republican politicians abandoning their party, because they simply can’t abide the cruel, intrusive, and downright stupid policies that today’s Republicans are pushing. Yes, there are still a lot of people who are vocal about supporting Trump and his ilk, but some conservatives are seeing the light. Some also don’t want to be associated with the likes of shady characters like Matt Gaetz, Ron De Santis, and, dare I say it? Trump himself.

I think that Biden’s decision to offer student loan help may sway some Republicans to vote blue in November. Not only would they be voting for women’s rights, healthcare privacy, and the right to have an abortion, but they would also be voting for much needed financial help with their loans instead of another corporate bailout. You can’t tell me, either, that Republicans who qualify for the $10,000 forgiveness of their student loans won’t take the help. Of course they’ll take it. Some will happily take that benefit as they loudly complain about it. I don’t remember hearing too many people from the Republican Party complaining about the temporary financial assistance Trump offered during COVID-19’s worst months.

Now, I could be completely wrong about this. Maybe the timing of Biden’s student loan announcement is completely unrelated to the cluster fuck being perpetrated by Republicans right now. However, I have a feeling I could be on to something. I also think the main reason Republicans are so upset about this development is because, ultimately, it will help a lot of the people they’d like to keep down… women, minorities, people who don’t identify as mainstream. This help will be useful to people who could use a financial leg up in order to improve their lots in life. For many people, the $10,000 will be a “drop in the bucket”, but some people’s loans will be completely paid off because of this help. And some will have their burdens greatly reduced. That simple fact will make Biden look pretty good to some of them.

On the other hand, the reverse could also be true. Some Democrats might not like Biden’s decision, either because it doesn’t go far enough, or because they agree that doing this “rewards irresponsible people”. However, my guess is that most Democrats who don’t like this plan will still vote blue, because they will still consider Democratic candidates better than the alternatives. I can’t imagine someone who supports progressive, humane, public policies voting for a Republican candidate over something like this. But then, much stranger things have happened, right?

I haven’t even mentioned some of the totally ridiculous and backwards school policies being enacted right now. I will never know why so many conservatives are so much more concerned about what’s in a teacher’s classroom library than they are about kids being killed at school by gun violence. I mean, they’ll do all they can to “save” a fetus from being aborted, even if the pregnant person isn’t ready or wanting to be a parent, but they don’t do anything about those same “babies” being blown apart in a classroom by some unhinged nut with a gun. And what if they happen to be reading a book about a kid with two dads when that happens? Personally, I just think that kids should be encouraged to read. I think teachers should be better supported for their efforts, because it’s not an easy job to educate kids, nor is it necessarily well paid or respected work. Every day, teachers put their lives on the line to see that children are properly educated, but we have elected officials doing everything in their power to make their job harder. No wonder so many good teachers are leaving the field. It seems that many Republicans just want the citizenry to be dumber.

So… kudos to Joe Biden for offering this help, especially at this point in time– as Trump is fighting many legal battles and people are in a tizzy over everything. Experience has taught me that money talks. A lot of regular people are fed up with the way the country is heading, and they want to see some real help and change. I don’t think it’s an accident that this student loan measure, controversial as it is, is being presented now, as Republicans are doing all they can to take away women’s rights, dumb down kids in school, and force us back into the Dark Ages. Some Republicans will appreciate Mr. Biden’s efforts enough to vote blue in November. And some of those people will become permanently former Republican voters, like I am.

Before I go… I want to share these videos I watched by Mr. Atheist yesterday. They were pretty infuriating. I will probably end up writing about “pro-life” activist Kristan Hawkins soon, but I won’t do it today, because this post is long enough. I’ve got laundry to fold and dogs to walk. But I do want to share them with those who read this post and need a new reason to be disgusted. Maybe, if anyone is interested, I’ll offer my thoughts about these videos tomorrow.

Mr. Atheist is right. I legitimately cringed when I heard Kristan Hawkins speak.
Yep… yikes is right.

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complaints, music, technology, YouTube

I am, once again, a Facebook inmate…

Greetings, y’all. Today has gotten off to an annoying start. First off, last night I got put in “Facebook Jail” for a comment I made on a friend’s post about Donald Trump. What I wrote was not too terrible, when you consider what people regularly post on Facebook. However, my comment tripped the super sensitive bots, and within a couple of minutes, it got “schwacked”, as Bill would put it. I had a nastygram on my iPad, telling me that I was in trouble for posting “hate speech”.

As usual, they gave me the pointless option to appeal, which I decided not to bother with this time. Then they handed down my punishment… two days of not being allowed to post in my groups. Since I run two groups, that’s kind of a pain in the ass. It also really annoys me that my online activity is being dictated by bots. I’ve been giving serious thought to deleting Facebook, mainly because this kind of crap pisses me off. I mean, people can post all sorts of hateful, homophobic, transphobic, racist, and sexist craziness, and nothing gets done. But I make a simple three word comment about Trump, and I immediately get “restricted” from posting in groups for two days. Granted, it’s not much of a punishment, but that’s not really the point. I don’t like feeling like Zuckerberg’s chump. He has way too much power, and he’s delegated it to bots who don’t understand nuances, and don’t get context. That is BULLSHIT. Way too many of us are tolerating it.

This isn’t a nice thing to post, but it’s no worse than a lot of what of people post on Facebook. Moreover, I think euthanizing Trump would do a lot for the safety and security of the world’s people. Now I wonder what will happen the next time I have to put one of my dogs to sleep. Will I also get punished for posting “He needs euthanasia” in that case?

Anyway, this won’t be a big problem for me, even though I run a couple of groups. I do think, however, that Facebook shoots itself in the foot when it “punishes” people for minor crap like this, but ignores the really personal, toxic shit people post to each other all the time. Eventually, people will move on from Facebook, when someone comes up with something better. You know it will happen, too, because there was a time when people couldn’t live without MySpace. Look what happened to that quaint artifact from the early 2000s. Every time this happens, to me or to other people, I think Facebook sucks more.

Moving on…

I did succeed in making a music video yesterday. I can do it better, though… Bill came home unexpectedly while I was recording, so I wrapped up my session sooner than I would have. Anyway, if you’re curious, here it is. Keep in mind, I literally learned this song yesterday, and I do this strictly for fun and artistic purposes. I’m not a professional in any capacity of the word. 😉

It’s a pretty song. Maybe it would be better for me in a higher key, although I do enjoy occasionally exploring the low registers of my voice.

The other annoying thing that has happened so far today is this… I happen to love Beth Nielsen Chapman’s music. I use Apple Music to organize my library. I’m sure there are better options, but I don’t have the time or inclination to look for them. Consequently, sometimes I try to manually maintain the library, especially when I get double entries for the same songs on the same albums. For some reason, when I tried to delete some duplicate tracks, Apple Music inexplicably deleted my whole BNC catalog.

I still had the songs on my computer, of course, but they weren’t being recognized by Apple Music. Moreover, when I went looking for the files, they were all listed individually, instead of in a big file. I ended up having to manually adding over 100 songs back to Apple Music. And I had to do that twice, because when I had the same problem after fixing it the first time, the same thing happened. The positive side of this, of course, is that I got to be reminded of what a great songwriter BNC is, and how many of her songs I love. I continue to improve my guitar skills, so maybe someday, I can tackle a couple of her songs that I can’t find backing tracks for.

One final event that will happen today is that I will be getting a new iPad. The one I’ve been using is getting hard to charge. At this point, it is possible to charge it, but it’s a pain to do it. I decided to go with an iPad Pro, because I use the iPad a lot when we travel, and want the better camera that comes with it. I have it on my phone, and it is superior to what comes with the lower models. I also got an Apple Pencil and a Smart Keyboard Folio, because as long as I was making the order, I figured “what the hell”.

The next big purchase I want to make somewhat soon is a new car… and I want that simply because my old car is 13 years old and has an obsolete stereo. 😉 But as I rarely drive, we can definitely wait on doing that.

Because I’m waiting on an expensive electronics device, I have to wait to walk the dogs, which I know will annoy them. But, at least we have some rain, at long last. It’s been so dry lately… I doubt we’ll get much rain today, but whatever falls will be much welcome, if only to cool things off.

And finally… just for my political friends, check out this ad for Ryann McEnany’s conservative dating app, “The Right Stuff”. Ryann is the sister of former Trump press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany. This kind of makes me want to puke… but I’m sure some people will love it.

ROTTEN.

This sounds like a bad idea for many reasons… I recommend listening to Farron Balanced’s video for reasons why this dating app potentially sucks. Generally speaking, I agree with the host’s comments about not necessarily cutting out people with different political leanings. On the other hand, politics has changed wildly in the Trump era.

I never thought I’d swear off voting for Republicans, but yet here I am. I heard Liz Cheney’s concession speech, as she was beaten in her primary race by a Trump devotee. I don’t like Liz’s politics, but she’s at least fair, decent, and sane. I hope she can make a comeback. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of her, especially as Trump goes down in flames. But for the time being, Liz Cheney’s dedication for not championing sociopathic wannabe dictators has cost her. Maybe she’ll run for president, though. So we’ll see.

Well, I think I’ll sign off now, and play some guitar. Hopefully, the new toy will get here soon, and I can get set up with my new iPad while I wait to be sprung from Facebook Jail… AGAIN.

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