Right to Remain Silent

I’ve recently come to the realization that network television will probably never make a reality show centered round me.  Not because my life isn’t interesting enough and not because the people in my life aren’t colorful enough. No, no, there’s probably plenty of material for them to work with. The problem has to do with the simple, unavoidable fact that I have a bit of a potty mouth.  Some of you may have noticed. I’ve known this about myself for some time, but my Lord, the things that I’ve been seeing in the news lately has had me making a run for the crown in The Most F Bombs per Minute contest (the title is currently held by Christian Bale in case you were wondering).

Can any of you relate? You turn on the news to see what’s going on in the world and are bombarded by so much horrible, detestable, gut-wrenching shit that your brain basically malfunctions. When my brain malfunctions, I am only really able to do one of two things:

  • Become speechless OR
  • Curse up a storm! This is where the producers of my reality show would decide to pull the plug. If one of my rants were ever broadcast on NBC, every other word would be a BEEP Now that might be okay in normal situations. But here lately, there’d be so many that you wouldn’t even know who I was mad at or why.  I’d be speaking Morse Code rather than English.

I know you’re wondering about that first point I made. Me? Speechless? Well, you got me.  I’m not really “speechless” in the technical sense.  I just can’t get past the various forms of the word f**k (in all its glory) in order to make my point completely clearly here in print.  My mother reads this blog after all. And if I were to censor myself, it’d be like reading one of those classified government documents with 90% of the text highlighted black.

Anyway.  It’s gotten to the point where I’m avoiding the mainstream news like the plague, so I’ve only been subjected to what’s been showing up on my mobile alerts and newsfeed. Stupidly, I thought this would “help” my mood.  Yeah, right.  My mobile alerts and newsfeed are filled with animal advocacy issues. Not exactly a subject that helps rein in my tongue.

I swear (ha!), it’s a wonder I haven’t had a stroke yet over the stories I’ve come across. Throw in some personal issues that have had me seeing red lately and it’s been a downright free-for-all at my house.  I won’t even bore you with the personal issues right now. Long story short, I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage “so and so rears its ugly head.”  Yeah, well…them ugly heads, they’ve been a-rearing…’Nuff said.

So what gets me sounding like Joe Pesci in a Martin Scorsese movie? In a word – Bears.

Or rather, bears accidentally mixing with dumb, ignorant, attention-hungry humans. There was a story about some woman who ran into two young bears over the summer when she was on a walk in a State Park – where (gasp!) bears live, in case you didn’t know – and rather than back away like a normal person or follow any of the safety protocols that are posted in parks, she simply could not contain herself and just had to have her 15 minutes in the spotlight. So she whips out her cell phone and starts videotaping them. Well, lo and behold, just seeing the bears in nature wasn’t enough.  She then apparently started trying to get them closer to the camera by beckoning to them in baby talk. When one of the bears opened its mouth in an obvious attempt to take in her scent (as we’ve all seen animals do, hell my cat even does it), she decided to claim that it “almost bit her.” Almost bit her.  How does something almost bite you, I’d like to know!  It’s not like she fought it off and kept it from biting her.  In the video, this “almost bite” was the bear, smelling her leg with its mouth open.  Do you see the beginnings of my frustration?

Rather than keep the information of this encounter to herself, she showed the video – no, not to park rangers, but rather, to the media (therein lies the 15 minutes of fame), with the story that she was “afraid” and was just glad she got out alive. There were several times that the bears took refuge near a tree or into the woods to avoid the woman because they were clearly nervous and uncertain…did she take the opportunity to leave the area or yell to scare them farther away (since she was sooo afraid)?  No. She stuck around, even going so far as to put her water bottle down so she could videotape better.

What happens next? Two dead bears, that’s what. Because the park rangers, in their complete and utter brilliance, thought that was the right thing to do (despite a public outcry and petitions coming out the ears).  It should be noted that just one of the bears even approached her and most likely wouldn’t have if the woman had just had some common sense.  Did I mention they were very young animals? Just a year and a half old. Still babies really. Was the woman fined for interacting with or harassing wildlife (like you’re supposed to be) for acting as she did?  No. Of course not.

Okay…hang on…Breathe, Wendy. Breathe. I usually cannot get through this story without cursing profusely and typing is no exception.  I must say the poor bears were surrounded by idiots that day and they paid the a dear price for human stupidity.

Dog Gone Stupid

If you’ve known me for more than five minutes, you’ll know that I love dogs. Let me try that again. I LOVE dogs. Of course I think mine is the best in the world, but in general just about every dog is worthy of belly rubs and behind the ear scratches. Naturally, I often miss my dog when he’s not able to be with me. Like when I have to go the doctor, to the library, to a work meeting, or go grocery shopping. But, hey, those are the rules. Even though it pains me, I follow the rules and I know I’m going to see him again soon, so it’s not like it’s really that bad. I mean, really, what kind of person can’t be separated from their dog for even an hour while they have brunch with their friends?

I’m so glad you asked! THIS kind of person can’t do that.  A dog trainer, in fact. One who took the time to write an article detailing the ins and outs of having a “fake” service dog while encouraging others to take her lead. It was mainly infuriating, but often it also veers into delusional with a couple of quick pit stops into utter nonsensical.

It should be noted that the author of the piece entitled “Me and My Fake Service Dog,” Anna Jane Grossman, quickly deleted her original article from medium.com due to the severe, and immediate, backlash it received upon its publication. Strangely enough, even the Google cache link has since been removed. However, a very industrious YouTube person posted a video showing screenshots of the original article which has also been removed. BUT the article did exist, however briefly, and deserves comment.

This woman, Ms. Grossman, has taken it upon herself to give the laws of the state of New York the middle finger and intentionally go through great lengths to lie so that her dog can go with her everywhere. She pretends he’s a Service Dog which means everyone who encounters her and her dog assumes she has a disability that requires the help of the canine.

She doesn’t lie about whether or not she has a disability (because by law no-one’s allowed to ask what her disability is, she just lets everyone assume). She just lies about her dog and his alleged “job.” And she’s very aware of what she’s doing. It’s a very purposeful thing.

A few stellar quotes from the blog that jumped out at me due to their sheer audacity are:

“But it’s true that often people in shops and restaurants are assuaged to see some kind of “proof,” even if it’s meaningless. (For this reason, a friend used Photoshop to make Amos a “Service Dog” card, which has indeed helped mollify shopkeepers)” 

“I might lie for my own benefit, but I can’t condone someone else’s dishonesty”

And my favorite:

“Of course, I’d rather not lie at all!”

Oh, you’d rather not lie at all? Here’s an idea: don’t. Just don’t. Follow the laws like other people. No one is making you put yourself above the law. No one is making you print out fake registration cards (she even puts a picture of the card on her blog). From what I’ve read, there’s no reason that this dog is in mortal danger if it is left alone. There are simply no external forces making her lie as she tries to make it sound like (this is when the delusion comes in). She just wants to be with her dog all the time. So lie she must! What a crock of crap.

What’s worse is that she also encourages others to do this. She has a dog training school. I will repeat. She has a dog training school. She is a dog trainer. She trains dogs. For clients. Presumably for money. And she believes it’s okay to not only lie about her dog being a Service Dog, but to encourage others to do the same. Shouldn’t someone who is in the business of training dogs for a living have more respect for the real jobs of Service Dogs and those who need them?

Look, it’s bad enough that people who are disabled have the drawbacks of their disability affecting their daily lives. But they also usually have to jump thru bureaucratic hoops just to get a Service Dog or get their own dog (or animal) certified legally. Yes, they have it hard enough already without this woman threatening their credibility just because she gets lonely without her dog around.

She seems to think that the behavior of the dog is the determining factor in this whole issue. If the dog acts well-behaved then it should be able to go anywhere. She’s missing the point that it’s not about the dog’s behavior; it’s an issue of what’s legal and what’s not, period. An issue she’s decided to skirt around for her own selfish desires.

My favorite delusional line (when talking about NYC changing their policies about dogs allowed on outdoor patios) is:

“Perhaps this is the beginning of a movement to stop segregating dogs based on their owners’ disabilities, and instead look at the dogs’ abilities.”

Yes folks, dog segregation is obviously a HUGE problem in this country in case you didn’t know. Now I’m all for animal welfare, which you guys well know…but seriously, she’s going to claim her lies are to protest dog segregation!?

Now Ms. Grossman, at one point, put a statement on her company page to the effect that she was simply trying expose the regulations involving Service Dogs, though I have no idea how exactly she might have been doing that.

Her following statement sort of contradicts that intention anyway and is much more telling:

“There are various reasons why Faux-disableds may bring dogs with them to places like restaurants. It might be because it’s convenient, or it could be for the well-being of the dog who, for example, might have anxiety when left alone. Many, like myself, just are happier when they have their dog around. I’ve suffered depression for years; if Amos is with me, I’m less likely to drift into the dark recesses of my brain. But is my depression so crippling that I’d diagnose myself as disabled? Maybe one day a year.”

When it comes down to it, this self-centered, self-absorbed woman sure doesn’t seem to care one iota for Service Dogs in general or their behavior or worse yet, the people who truly need them. She just wants to make sure her dog can be by her side 24 hours a day and she doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process. In the end, isn’t that just sort of sad, too?

Hell Bus

To the amusement of many Heavy Metal music fans the world over, I was lucky enough to catch this article about a mother in Tennessee complaining of hidden pentagrams in her child’s school bus brake lights. She went so far as to call the bus lights “Satanic.”

An article about the blasphemous bus’ back end with its clear-cut message of hellfire and damnation can be found here.  Another, more detailed, article is here.  Have fun with those.

When I look at the brake lights—and let me pause right here to say just how tickled I am that this is the topic of my blog article—I see stars. Nice, pretty, shiny stars. Sort of like the glow in the dark stars kids have on their bedroom ceilings or the kind we learned how to draw when we were kids. The bus’ lights look quite nice to me.

What does it say about the mom if all she’s seeing is Lucifer’s call? She scares me more than any of these crafty Satanists who are sneakily switching out light bulbs to spread their message of devil worship. Satanists don’t really frighten me at all, actually. When you think about it they lifted the pentagram from pagans and pagans are a pretty cool group of people. They always knew how to throw a good party.  So the whole pentagram-as-a-sign-of-the-devil is just a made up thing that holds no power anyway.

So what else will this uber-religious mom attack? If brake lights aren’t off-limits, where is the line for absurdity now? Guess what — school buses look a whole lot like Twinkies!  Seriously, they’re yellow and oblong like Twinkies. What if an anti-Twinkie mom looks at a bus and sees a rolling endorsement for diabetes and childhood obesity? To other people it looks like a long brick of cheese. What if someone else feels that having buses that resemble cheese is very insensitive to those who are lactose intolerant? Well, we can’t have that now can we?

Change the lights, change the color, change the shape! Change it all and if it won’t get changed we must call the local news and hold protests.  Ahhh, the South… what would we do without your heavy-handed political and religious righteousness mixed with bat shit craziness? Thanks for keeping the news interesting.

 

satanic_bus_lights_606

(photo credit: WPVI) — click photo for news article

 

Killing Time with Board Games

What’s the maddest you’ve ever gotten playing a board game? Ever flip the board? Maybe storm out of the room in a huff telling your partner not to talk to you? My son plays a mean game of Uno to which I’ve been guilty of slightly overreacting a couple of times (it’s seriously not fair that he skips me like a gazillion times in a row only to end the streak with a Draw 4 card!). I’m sure we’ve all had our moments during a heated friendly game. A well-made game should get you emotionally invested. And those of us who are a little more on the competitive side, well, we can get a little hot under the collar during a tight match. It might cause dice to go flying.

That all being said, would you ever point a gun at a family member because of a game? No? Well, not everyone has that same answer. It happened – you can read the sad, sordid tale here.

A dad pulls a gun on his daughter over Battleship? Seriously, Battleship!? Not even Monopoly where money is involved? How into the game do you have to be to feel that threatening your kid’s life is an acceptable response to getting your Destroyer sunk? One of the charges the father was arrested for, besides aggravated assault, was suspicion of intoxication. Oh, really? Ya think? You mean he wasn’t totally sober when he dragged his daughter back into the house by her hair and stuck a loaded rifle in her face? Shocking. To think of something like this happening over a board game…there are no words. We live in a world where you might be advised to wear Kevlar before stepping up to a game of Yahtzee. Sad.

 

"America's All Time Favorite Game" Indeed

“America’s All Time Favorite Game” indeed

Where did the “news” go?

Check out the cartoon below. It came across my newsfeed the other day and it struck me as funny, and sadly, extremely relevant. Where are the accurate news sources? Every day it seems that another outlet has been compromised by political influence and corporate protection.

More and more people are getting their news from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (comedy programs airing on Comedy Central mind you) than Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, or Bloomberg. Does this sound sad to anyone else? Not sad because we look to John Stewart or Stephen Colbert for our facts on what’s going on in the world out there. That’s actually great because they’re both fantastic commentators. Sad because there are less and less places for us to get the unbiased, unfiltered, and transparent truth if we should want it (which we should).

It’s gotten so bad that some people I know don’t even read any American news sites anymore. They go to BBC News or Reuters because they feel they have a better chance of finding out what the US has been involved in and to what extent without the story going through a hefty edit process to make sure no influential billionaires get in trouble.

How corrupt are US news sites? I honestly can’t tell you. What I can say is that, as the comic implies, while we may not know where the “real” news is, we seem pretty sure that what we’ve got isn’t cutting it anymore.

Luckily there are a few bastions of uncompromised news out there. Or at least I think they are, until some scandal comes out that destroys their credibility as well. I’m thinking primarily of NPR. They seem fairly legit and unbiased, but then again I can’t be sure. And this is the point I’m trying to make. The skepticism has gotten so bad that I’m finding it tough to put my trust in any news outlet. There’s always a cloud of doubt looming overhead due to the way so many “sources” alter their perspectives to meet their station’s agendas.

This is why I’m parched, why I think we’re all parched. We just want to get through the business politics to learn about the actual politics. If that oasis will grow anytime soon is yet to be seen but those little pockets we do have had better stay pure lest we all dehydrate from lack of truth.

this is me on any given day my television happens to be on

this is me on any given day my television happens to be on

 

NEWS

this tidbit is NOT vetted by me personally, but wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true