Archive for September, 2012

Two Tickets To Huh?Ville

September 27, 2012

I’m back with more stuff that just makes me shake my head in wonderment. Oh boy.

Anyone hear about the Daddy Blogger who proclaimed that he has a favorite child? He’s being condemned for his admission by many of his readers and the media. He says he doesn’t play favorites he just likes the older son more. I saw him being interviewed on a news show two days ago and then yesterday I saw a rebuttal interview with another daddy blogger who also condemned him and wondered what will happen in the future when the younger son learns how to navigate the web and can look up all these things; what kind of emotional torture this not-so-well-liked kid will go through. It might take a village, but when it gets down to brass tacks, it’s a family’s own business how they raise their kids. Sure, when you put things out there on a blog, you’re open to ridicule and condemnation (and praise, from time to time), and Heaven knows I’ve been told about myself on occasion as far as my blog goes and in real life. It’s what makes the world go ‘round.

You know what else is making the world go ‘round? This one: and it’s got all kinds of WTF written all over it.

There’s a big hullabaloo over a Texas school spanking incident. It’s not the spanking that’s sparking the outrage, as corporal punishment is legal and from what I understand welcomed in this Texas burg of Springtown and for all I know, all of Texas. It’s meant for students who cheat in school or are sassy, as long as the parent has given his or her written consent and it’s in lieu of other forms of punishment such as detention or suspension.

Well, the whole thing went kerfluey when one of the girls, 16 year old Jada Watt, came home with raised welts on her bottom after she was paddled for mouthing off to a teacher and an assistant principal. The mother, Cathi, admits her daughter deserved to be punished, but not bruised. This might just be me thinking out loud, but isn’t 16 kind of old to be getting spanked for misbehaving? But it gets better. The real reason the mother got upset is because it was a male educator who administered the throttling. And of course that male/female combo leads to all kinds of sexual connotations. THAT gem was suggested by Jimmy Dunne, president of People Opposed to Paddling Students.  I’m not making that up. Honest. And I laughed out loud, literally, when I read that.

Had it been a female educator, the mother suggested (and I’m paraphrasing here) the result wouldn’t have been as harsh since a woman doesn’t have the same force as a man. I beg to differ. I grew up in an era where mother’s could spank their kids. Granted, I wasn’t 16, but a paddle hurts no matter who’s hitting you with it.  That was also an era when you felt fear at the mere suggestion your parents would be told you were bad, not when all would be smoothed over with the new “in vogue” canned response of “oh, he’s just expressing himself…” 

So, they’re amended this rule. A male can paddle… good grief, saying paddle makes it sound so juvenile–”I’m gonna paddle your bottom!”–… Let me start again. A male can paddle a female student as long as there is an educator of the same sex as the child present. And nothing negates sexual connotation like having a witness. Also,  if you need a woman there so the man can spank the kid, why not just let the woman do it?

Let’s get a WTF tally: spanking high school age kids; needing a same sex to witness the paddling so there’s no sexual connotation; parents condoning the act in the first place, when they should take up the reins at home and administer fitting punishment at home so the kids don’t act like animals in public; having an organization called People Opposed to Paddling Students. That’s 4 at least.

Merry Christmas!

Smile! No, Don’t

September 26, 2012

Maybe it’s because I’m not much of a football fan, other than I know that in some circles football is more of religion than those the world finds itself in wars over, but when you get right down to it, one team had to win and one had to lose. Right?

The other thing that makes me not smile is the new ban on smiling on NJ driver’s license photos because it will louse up facial recognition software. Of course, I can’t figure who’d be smiling anyway after waiting half a day trying to get through a line at the DMV.

It’s all meant to protect against identity theft, but I wonder why, if you have your picture taken with a smile, you couldn’t just smile again when the police question you for whatever crime. And then what happens if you, men especially, grow a beard (or shave off the one you had originally) in between the times your license is valid. Or what if you have different colored contact lenses? Or if you wear glasses and then aren’t wearing them, or vice versa? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if any sort of personal alteration like a beard or shaving one off, etc, will be against the law.

How about a bona fide finger print and stick that on your license? Maybe a strand of hair encased under the lamination for a surefire DNA identification? A stool sample?

Anything else?

Oh, here’s something. The Warwick, RI owner of a foul-mouthed cockatoo has been slapped with a $15 (yes, fifteen) fine for violating a noise ordinance. The judge in the case says the owner, Lynne Taylor, broke the law that prohibits residents from letting their pets habitually howl, bark, or make other noise. What? Like farting? Then, Taylor’s lawyer says the ordinance is unconstitutional because it’s not specific enough as to what noise is a violation. Turns out it was a neighbor, who coincidentally lives with Taylor’s ex-husband, who made the complaint. My guess is the neighbor is the one who created that ban on father/daughter dances and the parrot was giving her the business about it.

Merry Christmas!

No Apologies

September 19, 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the end of days. Truly. Sometimes I cannot believe my ears but then when I flip through the Rolodex in my memory bank, and remember other things of this nature, I realize things like this should not surprise me. No, they just aggravate me.

Remember how it became politically incorrect to wish someone a Merry Christmas because it might offend..might offend…someone of another religion and we had to greet everyone with a blanket Happy Holidays? To digress for a split second, having to do that offends me! Don’t I count for anything? Then we have the kids who never lose in playing a game because it might damage their self esteem. I digress again…get over it. It helps you grow, to realize your shortcomings and how to overcome them, if you have it in you to do so, which you won’t if you keep on winning all the time.

Public apologies from celebrities, from actors to sports figures to politicians, for “getting caught” in voicing their opinions drives me insane. It’s my opinion that people eventually say things they’re thinking, but as long as you don’t ever speak, you’ll be fine. And guess what? I’m not apologizing for this blog.

But the latest thing that has gotten my dander up is this story I first heard on the news yesterday. It’s one of those “XYZ is banned” stories.  This one comes from Cranston, Rhode Island. On behalf of a single mother (single, in this case meaning unmarried, not a lone renegade breast-feeding-in-public rampaging woman), the American Civil Liberties Union lodged a complaint that the Rhode Island school system was in violation of the state’s gender discrimination law because the woman’s daughter was unable to attend a father-daughter dance. “This is 2012 and they [public schools] should not be in the business of fostering blatant gender stereotypes,” said Steven Brown of the RI ACLU. (This quote was taken directly from and NBC news article).

Hmm, blatant is so right. I mean look at it. You have a woman…and a man…. Sounds gender-specific to me.

(Reminds me of an old joke I know from when I was a kid –here comes my big racy moment, folks: Fred and Wilma were taking a bath and Wilma looked down and said, What is that? Fred answered, “My rocks. What is that?” he replied. “That’s my rock grinder.” So, he put his rocks in her rock grinder and made Pebbles.) And I’m still not apologizing for this blog.

School superintendent Judith Lundsten told the Providence Journal that while federal law banning gender discrimination gives an exemption for such gender-specific events, Rhode Island law does not. And in a letter she sent out, she is also quoted as saying: “I acknowledge that many of these events have long traditions and for many parents, these types of gender based events are not an issue, however, this is a public school system and under no circumstances should we be isolating any student from full participation in school activities and events based on gender.” Sounds like someone didn’t get to go to her own father-daughter dance. Just sayin’.

Janice Ruggieri, School Committee member, said the school system can begin hosting “family dances” to accommodate all kinds of parenting situations.

So, thank you very much single mother from Cranston, Rhode Island for being so self-important and for ruining yet another tradition. Oh, hey, by the way, do you have a brother who could have taken your kid to the dance? Another relative? A friend? A neighbor?  Did your kid even want to go to the dance?

Just as a note, mother-son events are also included in this ban.

Oh, I know… why not ban the traditional mother/son, father/daughter dance at weddings, too, while you’re at it.

I’m still not apologizing.

In Defense Of… HUH?

September 18, 2012

Stop me if you’ve heard the one about the breastfeeding professor. I’m not going to debate the issue of public breastfeeding, though, speaking on a personal level, I’m not comfortable seeing it, but I also don’t make a federal case of it on those rare occasions when that event happens to be in line of vision. I just avert my eyes. There are so many other things to look at in this world.

Well, this professor, Adrienne Pine, is wondering why she’s attracting  all the flap over breastfeeding her baby in class. Well, I’m sure there’s one main reason and that’s because in this day and age, everyone wants to be and can be a news commentator and with cell phones and quicker than a wink uploading capabilities to Facebook and other social media, everyone can be.  The other reason is that Pine chose to do it in the first place.

Here’s the situation: her baby woke up with a slight fever and because Pine had no emergency plans for daycare, and didn’t want to miss the first day of class, brought the infant with her to work. One might ask, how effective could teaching be if she were focusing on her sick baby? But that’s neither here nor there, really. However, like other women I know who have babies, who breastfeed also store their milk to bottle feed. But, again, I digress.

I mean, look, if society didn’t think it to be a taboo thing, the news media wouldn’t blur out the connection point between the baby’s mouth and the mother’s breast in the video that accompanied this story on the news.

Okay, so I’m getting to the point of my story today. When being interviewed for the news, Pine defended herself: I don’t believe any part of my breast really was showing. If I had bottle fed my daughter I would not have been attacked for that. If a male professor brought his child to class the response would be ‘how sweet, how cute, how fatherly of him’ whereas, as a woman and I do that, I get attacked. Hmm, yeah, probably, but when is the last time a man whipped out his breast and fed his baby?

So, is she being wrongly persecuted? Perhaps. Should she learn a lesson and bring a bottle next time, or find a baby sitter? Perhaps. Should she, being a professor, come up with a better example than the man theory? Uh-huh.

~~~~~

Phone update: still dead. The trouble has gone from being at the pole in front of my house, to possibly in New Brunswick, to the central office, to a short in my house, back to the pole in front of my house. They same guy from last week was here yesterday telling me they need to “fry” the wires so they stay connected, or some such blabbety blah. It was making some sort of sense when he explained it at my front door yesterday afternoon. Which makes me wonder why that step wasn’t performed in the first place. Then, like a light bulb went off in his head he said to me, “it’s working now, right?” “No”. “We just talked on the phone” “I’ve transferred the house number to my cell” “Oh.”  And that’s probably why the runaround because every time Ariel speaks to a customer service rep, they say they’ll call him back with an answer, yet they call the house number, which is dead, but gets passed through to my cell so they obviously think we’re nuts until I explain, time after time, what the situation is. But the long and short of it is, because it’s raining today, they can’t work outside so it will have to wait until tomorrow when he can also arrange for a police escort and a second truck.

Because He Can

September 14, 2012

You know, some things get me hopping mad and oftentimes they have nothing to do with me, directly, but they still get my dander up. The New York City Board of Health approved the ban on the sale of large sodas and other soft drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts. It’s not the ban itself that incenses me, it’s how the public just lets things happen….like sheep. Kind of like the smoking ban, and without going all over that one again (believe me, I understand the health hazzards of cigarette smoking) but I don’t approve of how the government just insinuates itself like that.  My stand on the cigarette ban was, by normal standards, perhaps somewhat twisted in that if we’re all in a restaurant and you want to light up, perhaps I should be the one to go outside while you enjoy blowing carcinogens across your filet mignon. Of course I wouldn’t like to do that, go stand in the cold or the rain or get soaked with sweat on a particularly hot day while you slowly kill yourself, but your money is just as green as mine. And the part that killed me about it was hearing things like this: My clothes don’t smell like cigarette smoke at the end of the night.”

Well, now, again, apparently without allowing the public to have a say, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s crusade to control his minions seems to have come to fruition. But I have to ask, what’s to prevent a soda drinker from buying more than one drink at a time? Or hopping from store to store? And what’s next? Being allowed to buy only one slice of pizza at a time? One candy bar? One…whatever, at a time? Isn’t this America? Land of the free and all that?

Does Bloomberg really think a large soda is the main culprit in obesity? How about all the fast food restaurants. Take McDonald’s for example. One plain hamburger has 260 calories and 9 grams of fat. A 16oz of Coke has 187 calories and unbelievably a trace of fat. And popcorn at the movies can range from 400 to 1,200 calories, not to mention the supply of saturated fat, up to three days’ worth. Hmm, even I’m reconsidering the large popcorn after that one.

So, Mayor Bloomberg, why don’t you just shut the city down so you won’t have any fat people? And while you’re at it, maybe fine parents who supply their kids with video games or give them access to computers they sit in front of day and night? Shut down taxi service and make people walk to wherever they need to go. Hey, it would alleviate pollution in the city, wouldn’t it? Have the militia escort all the children to the park on a daily basis, rain or shine, so they can get their exercise. Just don’t be giving our illustrious governor any ideas.

Here’s one more thing that gets me. Yesterday, the big V came to repair the phone line up on the pole in front of my house along with a second truck and a police barricade against the onslaught of whooshing traffic. When he was done, he called to check that the line was working and the noise issue had been resolved. Ariel got a text from V that it had been taken care of and he called me to test it out. It was crystal clear, more so than I remember it being in years, quite frankly. Apparently it’s been a slowly deteriorating situation. Well, later, when I went to call to have my septic tank cleaned out, I had no phone whatsoever. Dead. Dead. Dead. When I called with my cell phone I was told Monday was the earliest they could come. Well, that didn’t fly with me and I told her how dare she insult me like that. I told her that I don’t pay the amount I do on my phone bill to wait and wait. And not to bother transferring my house number to my cell, I can do that myself. What I can’t do is climb the pole outside. I want someone here today.

Well, the end result was, that after she ran a diagnosis on the line, she discovered it was dead (Hello…!, didn’t I just tell her that?) she can have someone here on Saturday.

A Stupid News Trifecta

September 12, 2012

I know you’ve all heard about this one but I’m gonna write about it anyway. First there was the no shirt, no shoes policy and then there was the social acceptance of public breast feeding and now, well, let’s just hope it’s not going to catch on–potty training in restaurants. Of course that’s a stretch except for the one incident in a packed Utah eatery called the Thanksgiving Point Deli. The woman of twin girls who had them perched on what at first glance appeared to be booster seats were, in actuality, portable potties, and the kids were stripped down, at their table, eating food and pooping. The management of the place said that had they known what was going on they would have asked the woman to leave and by the time they got to the table, after several complaints, the display was aborted. The integrity of the patron who initially brought the incident to light on Facebook is in question now whether she should have posted the picture online or not. Hell yeah! To show the stupidity and ignorance of some people. I can only hope the patrons at nearby tables, at least, got a free lunch. Well, there was that time I pulled a mini pad off the underside of a table in a restaurant. What? It’s gross, right?

The other thing that made me go hmm was the new DipJar that’s being test run at two New York Coffee houses, surprisingly it’s not even Starbucks. The DipJar is a canister-shaped tip jar that takes credit cards to leave a tip for you barista. The only catch is, each swipe is a dollar. Well, maybe the guy that served you your mocha chocolata yaya (hey sister, go sister, soul sister, go sister) was a complete prick and you don’t feel like tipping him a dollar..well, then I guess you don’t swipe your card. Well, I guess it’s meant for people who make their purchase with a credit card and if coffee is that expensive you don’t have ready cash for a cup, maybe you don’t need coffee all that much. So, maybe my DipJar rant is really a moot point. Okay, I’m allowed one. But, wait, okay, how’s this: right now the DipJar company is not taking any fees from each “dip” from the two pilot stores, and the employees get the full dollar (divvied up among who worked during a particular shift) but they will eventually institute a minimal fee for each tip.

The last thing that boggled my mind is the pole dancing craze. First there was the coalition to have it become an Olympic sport, which maybe I can almost see. I mean, it’s probably more demanding than rhythmic gymnastics. But when pole dancing classes are offered to kindergartners, there’s just no hope for the human race. “…Kids love climbing trees. They will climb anything,” says Kristy Craig, owner of The Twisted Grip Dance and Fitness Studio in British Columbia. She also says that her current students, women of appropriate pole dancing learning age gave her the idea of “Little Spinners”, when one such woman said ‘my daughter plays on my pole at home all the time, I’d love her to actually learn how to do things properly and not hurt herself”. What would she say if the kid was playing with an errant marital aid? What the hell is wrong with people? Kids are exposed to too much nowadays. Can’t they just be kids while they’re kids? The clothes that parents dress them in….. hey, even that breast feeding doll that latches on to a flower on a pinafore the kid wears and makes sucking sounds…. and now pole dancing classes.

Is it me?

The Trouble With I, Is Me

September 7, 2012

Maybe it’s I. I know me can’t be the only one this happens to.  Nah, I’m not getting into grammar in this blog, although that ridiculous usage of “I” and “me” is still so prevalent. It makes my blood boil. Is it that people think that by using “I” in most instances makes them sound educated? If they only thought about the sentence before they said it for a split second, and how the action is going to affect (watch, it’s probably effect…for all my going on about grammar, but, nah nah nah nah nah, nah, I’m dealing with “I” and “me” right now)… man, I go off on these tangents like I’m Tangent Man or something… how the action is going to a/effect the subject. My favorite one that I ever heard though, which is really the first time it occurred to me that the differentiation between “I” and “me” was that difficult was listening to an interview on the radio with an adult hostess from some dude ranch out west and what services they offer and she said that sometimes the client will want two hostesses and I don’t remember the exact set up for the quote or their exact names, but let’s go with this and get it over with: Bunny and I’s robes were hanging on the back of the door.

Here’s something of questionable rationale.  Neil Diamond’s song, “Sweet Caroline” has been banned at future Penn State home game sing-a-longs for “obvious” reasons after the fallout of the Sandusky mess, because of the lyric: touching me, touching you. The sinspiration of Diamond’s song was a photo of  11-year old Caroline Kennedy with her pony. Is it me, or is this idiotic?

I have a bug man update and then an add-on to that story. I called my exterminator yesterday, mid-afternoon and asked if I was mistaken or was I supposed to have an appointment yesterday. I explained how I had called and that it was not an emergency, but a routinely scheduled maintenance call and this was the number I called, not the hotline (you know, the red dial-less phone under the glass dome–to the bug phone, quick!). She told me no, at first and I explained that the woman I spoke to (I know, the woman with whom I spoke…sheesh) told me the guy would be here around 12:30 and that it was in fact, 12:30.  She came back with, Oh, yes, you did have an appointment and I just found out the guy, he’s new, taking over so and so’s route, went home sick and never notified his customers.

Well, that’s a fine how-do-you-do! Now I’m set up for next Tuesday. The furnace guy was indeed set up, some time ago, when we made our annual oil tank protection plan payment. Case closed.

Next case: We’re having trouble with our phone line, getting static and sometimes calls don’t go through, plus we have one outlet that somehow died and Ariel spoke to the big V about it and we set up for them to come this Saturday, which, by my calendar is tomorrow.  He did that so I wouldn’t have to deal with yet another service call. Well, at around  5pm yesterday afternoon, there he was, Joachin,  taking care of my phone problem. The outlet situation was a disconnected wire 36 feet away, as indicated by his instrument. I guess the box in the basement could be 36 feet away, sure. The noise on the line is bad wires outside and now they have to send a splicer and then he, or someone of his caliber, will return to jump the numbers to the new wiring. It all sounds like fun and being that today is Sunday, according to the big V, I’m going on a picnic.  See ya!

**I just did a search to make a character for Tangent Man and found there is a blog that uses that name, so, with all respect to him, I won’t persue the idea. Of course I could use Digression Man or something.  I’ll get to work on that.

Buggin’ Out

September 6, 2012

Here’s a funny story to get me back into the swing of blogging. It’s been a long “dry” summer, creativity-wise but now that for all intents and purposes summer is over I’ll be here more often.

Camping is done as of Labor Day Weekend. It was kinda bittersweet saying toodle-oo to everyone until next season, but I think we were both ready to be done with it for the year. The best part of all was that it stayed dry; inevitable remnants of Hurricane Isaac sort of hit, as promised, on our drive home and not even that badly, though I heard it was monsoonal here at home.

So, that funny story, that now might not be so funny for someone once I get on the phone and find out what’s going on, is that yesterday my exterminator company was supposed to come for their quarterly maintenance around the house and I got the reminder on my phone calendar, which I’m still learning how to use, the day before. Good, that gave me time to prepare myself and not be caught in the middle of big work project and I could sort of gauge my timing. The time was for 11am.

Now it’s 12:30, give or take a nanosecond, I was in between projects and hungry and because I knew it would be a new person–their employees are dropping off like flies (a little exterminator humor) and I wanted to time my lunch break so I could take the guy through the house. So I call and the woman tells me, Oh, they’ll be there by 12:30. Oh, it’s 12:30, they should be there very shortly.

So, I signed back in to work and did a few more things. 12:50, and the driveway alarm goes off and I run to look and I see the truck but no one is coming to the door. 1pm, the doorbell rings and the guy introduces himself–let’s call him Dave, though right now I don’t remember what it was–and he asks me if there was another way to come in. Odd. So, I figure the garage since he’s ultimately be out there and this way he’d be closer to his truck. I ran to open the door and when he entered the garage with his equipment I said, Do you want to get started in here, since you’re already out here and make your way up (to the second floor and the attic). He said, The boiler room. An odd request, thought I, but what the heck, he’d also be working in there.

He makes a beeline to the furnace and starts taking off the front cover and then it dawned on me…he was from the oil company coming to do an annual furnace cleaning.

Well, I had to laugh and tell him who I thought he was and then in that instant I though, hmm, that doesn’t reflect well on me,not realizing exactly who I let into my house. I checked with Ariel but he didn’t have the appointment on his calendar either. Oh no, what if this guy was going to murder me and rob my house. Then I remembered the postcard that came in the mail announcing it was time for a cleaning and I put it aside until I had 5 minutes to call and make an appointment. But apparently I didn’t read the card properly. It was a reminder that they’d be here on September 5 at 12:30.

12:30. Hmm, so then I started to question who I actually called a half hour prior. The exterminator was listed on my calendar and their number in my phone and that’s who I called and they were supposed to be here at 12:30. I even pulled out their folder to double check the number while I was hold, learning that my call was very important to them. That’s why I never put two and two together that it wasn’t who I thought it was even though the company name wa emblazoned across the front and back of his shirt.

The exterminator never did come and I will be finding out why. .

Yup, I’m still at it. Good how some things never change. Change could be dangerous.