Right Wingers

Somebody call the men with the white jackets to haul me off to the loony bin. I am certifiably insane. This is according to the rational, grounded, and downright pragmatic right-wingers who have taken to the saying “liberalism is a mental disorder.” Well, some of them anyway.

To be completely honest, if I must label myself, I guess I’d be classified as an “Independent with Liberal tendencies.” And like most of us probably do, I tend to surround myself with like-minded people. So my friends, for the most part, are left-leaning liberals or at the least “Independents.” Maybe it has to be that way…because some members of my family? Not so much.

I’ll admit, I personally find it very difficult these days to remain amicable with a certain someone who has drastically opposing political beliefs. I suppose I don’t have the patience I once had. Sure, people have always argued politics over a neighborly get together or family dinner. However it seems like in this age of social media people try to be as offensive and/or as argumentative about their political beliefs as possible. Oh, I know it’s not limited to one political party.

It’s as if these people are just begging to argue by putting up racist, sexist, homophobic or incendiary comments like the aforementioned “liberalism is a mental disorder.”  I think it’s fine for someone to have their anti-government sentiments and talk about it with other people who share their love of misogyny and assault rifles and their dream of a life in a doomsday survivalist commune somewhere deep  in the mountains of Wyoming. If someone wants to raise a Confederate flag and swear that the South will rise again that’s his or her own business. Just please don’t try to shove it in my face by forcing your views in such aggressive ways (i.e., stating that not thinking the same way is the side effect of a malfunctioning brain).

I can see doing that with strangers or people you don’t like to begin with. But family? Spouses? I mean, come on. Draw a line, people.

I have to say though; it does make me look at people differently.  I mean, I don’t care what political party you are or what issue you happen to side with – if you deliberately and very openly bait your closest friend or spouse or family member hoping to provoke a reaction solely for your own amusement or because you like to argue…there is just something wrong with you. At the very least you’re knowingly insulting them.  And that’s no better.

Looney Life

Imagine how different our daily lives would be if the physics of Looney Tunes were a real thing. I mean, when I was a kid I always thought the world was going to be a lot tougher to navigate, thanks to my favorite Saturday morning cartoon show. I know, I know, I spend way too much time thinking about Looney Tunes. I can’t help it. They’re my late night go-to when I’m too stressed to fall asleep. So sue me.

Anyway.

As things stand, in our Einstein-ian guided laws of space and time, our everyday concerns are pretty reasonable. When we’re driving we watch out for potholes because sometimes roads are old. When we’re walking we look out for gum on the sidewalk because some people are pigs. But if we were in a Looney Tunes life, getting stuck in quicksand or glue traps on the way to work would be more of a concern than they currently are. Oh, and we’d also have to watch out for little supper plate sized black holes people can unfold like napkins and lay on the ground that zip us off  into a void in the universe. Step in one of those and, bam! who knows where you’ll end up. There’s probably not any cell service in one of those either, so don’t bank on posting any funny stuck-in-a-wormhole-again status updates.

News about people being caught under falling anvils and grand pianos don’t normally dominate the front page of the local paper, probably because it doesn’t happen very often (i.e.: never at all). And that’s a good thing. I guess. Living in a Looney Tunes world may look like fun what with the ability to walk through the air until you look down, how you can bounce off walls when you’re really happy, and you can make your eyes really REALLY big when you see something you like a lot.

But let’s not be fooled. It is a dangerous place. Threats to life and limb loom around every corner in the Looney Tunes world. When I was a kid I didn’t quite understand the line between the cartoon universe and this reality and some of that has definitely stuck with me. To this day if I see a random balloon flying by (a stray from a birthday party perhaps), I double-check to make sure it doesn’t have a stick of dynamite attached to the string. Why? Because you just never know! Ahhh…if the world was really like this — sure it’d be more dangerous, but revenge plots would be sooo much more entertaining.

Sneaky Road Runners could not only hurt poor genius Coyotes, they could jam up traffic for hours!

Poor, poor Wile E.

Deadly Sins

We are now entering a judgment free zone, okay? This is a blog of trust and openness so please don’t roll your eyes too hard when I tell you that I recently watched some cable reality show called 7 Deadly Sins. Hey, remember, no judging! I swear it was my first time watching it. I had no clue what I was getting into.

If anyone else here has had the unique experience of seeing an episode you’ll understand when I say without hesitation that it is a truly awful show. So awful I couldn’t stop watching. It sucked me in like a UFO’s tractor beam or a vampire’s gaze. I was transfixed and couldn’t help it because the topic of the show was so disgusting.

Lucky me I had turned on the episode dedicated to Lust. Part of the show’s way to define lust and the various interpretations focused on this elderly ass of a minister (who was more than a little creepy) who actively advocates for men to cheat on their wives. The wife could know about it or be left in the dark; on this point he has no preference. He was going off about the merits of visiting brothels and using prostitutes, and cheating in general, as a way to save marriages.

According to him—the dashing geriatric Casanova that he was—when women get married, “they get the white picket fence, the two-year-old twins, the puppy dog, the whole nine yards. They lose interest in pleasing their man….” so sex isn’t as important to them anymore. What these docile housewives don’t remember is that, “…men need blow jobs and wives just won’t do that…so why not find someone who will…”

So creepy old guy…I mean, this devout, lovely old minister has boiled it down to basic black and white in a way that no one else can because he understands women soooooo well. Well, it’s a good thing we’re in a judgment free zone, otherwise I might have a couple of things to say about how absolutely freaking stupid this entire premise is. But I digress.

Now this cuckoo minister is out there actively leading a congregation of men seeking out the word of God, or in this case – the means in which to cheat on their wives.  He even found a loophole in the Bible where God supposedly approves of it. No really, he did. So their search is on the up and up (ha!). I wish I could remember the exact citation he used, but if you know your Bible, it’s the part where Jesus apparently reached out to and helped ‘the prostitute’ and didn’t look down on her or treat her badly. Therefore, according to this minister, God must be totally cool with prostitution and men cheating, because Jesus did not, and I quote, “cure the prostitute of her ways.”

Okay, sure, yeah, the logic behind that thinking makes perfect sense. I can see how that must mean God is okay with marital infidelity.  Hang on for a sec while I just bang my head on the wall a few times.

Giving credit where credit is due, the man even practices what he preaches. On the show they filmed him visiting a brothel and I have to say, he’s more well-known there than Norm on Cheers.

I hope you can see how it is I got sucked into watching the show. At least this one part of it, anyway (I didn’t sit through the whole hour, trust me, I just couldn’t). But the last part with the minister was the real kicker for me. I’m still cleaning soda off my duvet because the minister’s parting words during the final fade-out scene took me somewhat by surprise seconds after I had just taken a somewhat large swig of my drink. (Remember…no judging.) So — as he’s driving away from the brothel after some money well spent, he says to the camera, “If I ever remarry, I’m going to marry an ex-working girl because they’re submissive and really know how to treat a man.” Excuse me? Remarry? REMARRY!? Someone actually signed up for this in the past? What a shocker that didn’t work out. And there goes my lovely duvet all covered in diet Coke.

The gospel of misinformation this guy is spreading is on a ludicrous level. The utter misogyny seeping out of my TV screen reminded me of The Blob and I seriously expected Steve McQueen to parade around the corner at any moment to fight the beast off with a fire extinguisher of logic. Everything this so called “Minister of God” said was simply untrue.

  • Infidelity is okay according to the Bible!? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t one of the Ten Commandments ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery’? I thought the Ten Commandments were sort of a big deal in the Bible. Important even.
  • Women are bound to lose interest in sex after they get hitched? Maybe for him when his ex-wife realized she royally screwed up in the husband department. Or, according to his scenario: two year old twins, a house to keep up (white picket fence), a puppy dog, the whole nine yards, and apparently a man who believes in traditional roles (equals no help)…sure…I mean with a household like that, maybe the wife just doesn’t have much energy left over for sex. But in general?  Most women like sex. I hate to break it to you guys –  if you’re not getting any, it’s not because we don’t like sex or because we lose interest in sex.

I wonder what this fella would think about women cheating on their husbands? You know, to save the marriage. I’d bet my life savings he’d be against it. The wife would surely be branded as a hussy who doesn’t know how to respect her man or some BS like that.

At the beginning of the show, before I knew what I was getting into, the misogyny dripping off this guy made me livid, but then by the end I was in tears from laughing. He was such a parody of a true upstanding man of the cloth it was hilarious. Made all the funnier by how staunchly serious he was about his contradictory and crazy beliefs. People like this just kill me —and they are the ones who are SURE they have a golden place awaiting them in heaven. If they do, I tell you this, I’ll take hell any day of the week. And twice on Sunday.

Holiday Rush

In the waning days of August, as summer inched closer to its end yet still had plenty of bite to put sweat on the forehead at the height of the afternoon, I was in a local store to grab a few items and, lo and behold, I saw Halloween decorations staring back at me. Really!? In August the merchandisers were already starting to push Halloween on us!? Halloween, people! I did a double take just to make sure I hadn’t maybe forgotten that I had previously slipped into a coma and having recently come out of aforesaid coma forgotten that it was actually the beginning of October. Nope. No coma. It was definitely August and before Labor Day fireworks were even being set up,  I was already being nudged to think about how I’m going to decorate my front porch for a night more than two months away!

Absurd, I know, but this is how the trend has been going for years now. Each successive holiday season, the celebration du jour has their products on sale earlier and earlier. My prediction? By mid-September (now-ish) we’ll start seeing turkey cartoons and cornucopia centerpieces. By the time Halloween actually rolls around there will be plastic sleighs and reindeer horns for sale next to cash registers. On Christmas Eve we’ll be able to buy chalky candy hearts with “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me” tattooed on them. After we sing Auld Lang Syne we’ll crack open a Cadbury Cream Egg which, by the way, has already been on sale for a week.

It’s getting crazy how early each consecutive holiday season starts but is it really that unexpected? Should we be shocked? We do live in an age of capitalism, so getting the jump on the competitor is how a business thrives. And who doesn’t like being reminded of these great excuses to eat more than we can fit in, see family we can barely stand, and drink more than we ought to? But when is it too much?? Keep pushing the clock back the way it’s been going and before you know it kids will be sucking on candy canes on their way home from the swimming pool.  Feliz Navidad!

Child Neglect, Forgetfulness, or a Shift in Priorities?

Fall is almost here and I want to touch on a subject that I have been stewing over for most of the Summer. I’ve hemmed and hawed over doing an entry about this controversial subject because children are a subject that I get incredibly fired up about and I have a tendency to rant (and you guys hear me rant enough about animals on here already).  But — I decided to just jump in and the Devil be damned.

We’ve all had one of those days where we leave the house in a rush and forget something important. I know I’m guilty of it. Phone, keys, wallet, and the like; some little bauble that can have a major influence on how the rest of the day goes. Pretty understandable, right? Normally it only takes five or ten minutes before we notice it’s not there. We get busy, our minds get filled up with all sorts of tasks that we try to organize in our brains as we’re moving through our daily routine. It seems understandable and totally forgivable if someone arrives at lunch and says, “Oh shoot, do you mind spotting me? I forgot my cash.”

Babies, on the other hand, specifically a baby that belongs to you, I have trouble believing as one of these forgettable items on par with say…your Subway frequent buyer card. Yet, it happens. It’s actually quite shocking, but the number of babies forgotten by their parents in cars and dying from hyperthermia (extreme heat) is on the rise. Don’t believe me? Don’t believe that a mom or a dad absent-mindedly forgets that junior was in the back seat and left to bake for 10 hours happens? Just read the paper. It’s happening more and more lately.  There were several cases throughout the summer (another one just last week), and a while back, The Washington Post had a morbidly disheartening piece about this trending phenomenon.

Read it and weep. Literally. Then read it again, and if you’re like me, you’ll probably get a sense of anger, confusion, disbelief, and outright awe swirling around in your head as you try to find a way to rationalize such a horrendous (and apparently growing) act of memory lapse.

Humans are imperfect machines. This I know. Yes, mistakes do happen. But I just can’t wrap my head around a mistake of this magnitude. I forget my phone. I forget my umbrella. I forget my dentist appointments. Hell, I forget sooo many things. Admittedly my brain is a sieve. But I can’t think of a single distraction that is large enough to push out the regular mental check-ins I conduct on my own children. And the idea that I could forget them while they’re actually in my presence?  Uh, No.

I read an article recently that said there is an up and coming disorder called “forgotten baby syndrome.” Yes, the occurrences are so frequent now, certain media pundits and so-called parenting experts have given the “condition” a name. It’s certainly not what I’d call it. But I digress. Anyway, it’s specifically when people forget they have children. The article listed all kinds of reasons why people may forget their children — most were to do with work, mentally reminding oneself of chores such as picking up the dry-cleaning, thinking through the day, etc.  It suggested that you put your shoe, your lap-top, or your office keys with your child so that when you remembered that item, you’d retrieve it, and voilà there would be your child as well. So. You’ll remember your laptop before you remember your child. Hmmm.

The scary thought is, is this where our society is heading? Are conference calls getting top priority? Is the dry-cleaning really more important than the baby? Is Siri becoming more loved than little Susie? Is life really so hectic and our attention spans fragmented into such short spurts of linear thought that without an Outlook reminder to help us, we’re in danger of forgetting the existence of our children?

Have we become so selfish in our lifestyles that our priorities are no longer found in the car seat? I’m sorry, but in my opinion, kids are simply too important to forget; if you do get so distracted that you can’t remember you have a child, maybe, just maybe you shouldn’t have one.

Spoiler Alerts

I’ll try to keep this post as spoiler free as possible, but it’s going to be tricky because that’s pretty much all I want to talk about. What exactly? TV show finales (and t.v. shows in general).

(If you don’t want the endings to How I Met Your Mother and Dexter ruined you should stop reading the post now. Fair warning.)

Is it just me or do the finales of some of the best shows, shows with nice, solid track records of quality writing tend to be duds? It sure seems that way to me. One could easily reply that perhaps my standards are too high and no ending these producers come up with could ever somehow make up for the terrible knowledge that I will no longer be whisked away to the fictional world to visit for a brief time with my fictional friends.

Well, I think that’s bullshit. They’ve just been sucking, plain and simple.

Take How I Met Your Mother as a prime example of one way not to do it. Terrible, terrible, terrible ending. Did I mention it was terrible? Oh, and I wasn’t the only one booing the screen when the credits rolled. Apparently a lot of devout viewers were less than thrilled, especially over the divorce of Barney and Robin. The fact that Barney had spent an entire season learning he could love another person apparently meant nothing.  After the backlash, the writers shrugged their shoulders and said hey, sometimes in real life people break up, there aren’t always happy endings in “real life.” Maybe the womanizer Barney wasn’t able to commit because deep down, that’s just who he was …a womanizer. Blah blah blah.

Well, no duh, Einstein. We’re all well aware that couples break up all the freakin’ time. We know there aren’t always happy endings in “real life” because we live it. I think I speak for us all when I say, we’re hit in the face every day with the realization that sometimes life sucks. It’s an inescapable truth. I mean, hell we can open up our respective windows and watch it all day long all around us, if not have it going on in our own homes.

Do you really think we want the suckiness of life to play out on our favorite shows!? The very shows we watch to escape said suckiness of life?  No. We want the happy endings damn it! At least I do. I want to temporarily forget the unsavory parts of life and get away from the suckiness for just a little while. That’s the whole point of escaping to a fictional world. From the outpouring of HIMYM fans, obviously I’m not the only one. And these producers seemed shocked that people were disappointed in the writing of their finale. Hmmm.

And what about Dexter? Yeah, sure he was a serial killer, but come on…he performed a civic duty that should’ve won awards. His fans loved him. Underneath it all, he was a good guy. I know that’s twisted, but it was true. He was never caught doing any of his serial killer-y things and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief each time. He spent 8 seasons evolving from a person who could not feel emotions into a man who wanted a family (and indeed had one within his grasp). The writers led Dexter’s followers on a roller coaster ride of thrills and through it all, Dexter remained true to his “code,” until finally it seemed as though Dexter would finally have everything he had ever dreamed of – life as a lumberjack. Yep. According to Dexter writers, that’s apparently what passes as an acceptable ending for a historically top-notch show. Shhhh.  Don’t even get me started. Okay…breathe…

Entertainment is supposed to allow us to step into a fantasy world where, depending on what you watch, things can be better than in real life. The womanizer can be reformed. The marriage can last. The killer will be caught (or not, as in the case with Dexter). The child will be rescued. The mother doesn’t die. The earth won’t blow up (although I still feel sorry for Marvin the Martian’s lack of an Earth-shattering kaboom).

TV is like a multi-purpose drug. We figure out what kind of high (or low) we want and adjust our dosage accordingly. If we want to be excited there are crime dramas and political espionage series. If we want to swoon a little, love stories are sure to be found. If we want to be goofy, comedy cures. It’s a sliding scale. I don’t want to speak for you, but I personally know that I am not interested in watching a version of my life on the small screen that simply mirrors the crappiness I just ran indoors to get away from.

When are writers going to get this? I should make my own series to show them how it’s done. In mine, the couple we’re all rooting for stays together. The “good guy” serial killer gets his family. Everyone lives happily ever after. Thank you for at least making sure Ross and Rachel happened. If that didn’t work out I would’ve been pissed.