I haven't blogged about Congresswoman McKinney. What is there to say when an entitled woman slaps a Capital Hill Policeman on the face? A lot, evidently. Read more here and not here (can't find one thing on Daily Kos about this and its tagline is "State of the Nation". Why not?).
Cell phones cause brain tumors. This surprises absolutely no one, least of all cell phone manufacturers, right? Radiation emanating right into your ear drum and there are no bad side effects?
Even immunized people can get Mumps like is happening in Iowa. The vaccine is only 95% effective and it is a terrible thing to get when older especially for boys as it causes sterility.
Kidnapped journalist Jill Carroll is ready to return home. Does she have Stockholm Syndrome? Was she brainwashed by the Iraqis who took her? Was she brainwashed by U of M? We'll find out soon.
Jacques Chirac offers "compromises" aka appeases, the twenty-something temper-tantrum throwing imbeciles who are bullying the government out of any common-sense economic change. This, considering he is such a principled dude, is just totally shocking. It takes some effort to suppress the giggles.
Basic Instinct is starting to get reviews. It gets a ONE star out of a bunch of stars. Hmmm.... That's not good. I've seen a string of out-takes and it looks like Sharon Stone's acting talents are on full display, if you know what I mean. M-TV reviewers like it: "It totally rocks!" (I kid you not.) You get to see Sharon Stone naked! Huh huh!
Prayers don't make a difference with healing says the research. Scrappleface has the best take.
If you want to throw up, listen to the 911 calls on 9/11 from the people told to STAY in the tower when they could have escaped. Too horrible for words.
Supermodels, are very skinny and therefore angry ladies and are mean and violent and crazy. It's the lack of blood sugar. When they eat they are really, very nice people. Really. But then they get fat and we don't want to look at their puffy, bloated faces. It's a bind really. Skinny and criminal, ala Naomi Campbell, fat and kindly, ala Rosie O'Donnell.
More sex abuse at the hands of Catholic Priests. More shock.
Benzenes (cause cancer in tiny amounts) in soda gets it yanked in Britain. Alcohol is bad in small doses afterall.
And now for the biggest shocker of the day: Condi Rice admits the U.S. made tactical errors, 1000s of them, when invading Iraq. No way! That is such a disappointment. No other war has ever had tactical errors, or thousands of them. None. I hate the U.S. Our military sucks.
Friday, March 31, 2006
I haven't blogged about Congresswoman McKinney. What is there to say when an entitled woman slaps a Capital Hill Policeman on the face? A lot, evidently. Read more here and not here (can't find one thing on Daily Kos about this and its tagline is "State of the Nation". Why not?).
In December, for my 30th birthday...again, my dear husband and blog-uninterested sister bought me an I-Pod. Remember? I still love, love, love it.
Dr. Helen and Glenn Reynolds finally buckled to peer pressure and bought one. It's about time! One can hardly call oneself a "techie" and not own an I-Pod. I mean really!
Dr. Helen is ashamed of her taste in Pop music. I am not. After my last post, how could I be? Life is Short!
My recent downloads include Ashlee Simpson-L.O.V.E., Roy Blunt (an explicit version, oh my!) You're Beautiful, Carrie Underwood-Jesus Take The Wheel and more Kelly Clarkson-Walk Away. Old favorites include Justin Timberlake. Don't laugh. Cry Me A River is one of the best revenge break up songs ever.
Dr. Helen claims an otherworldly ability to accurately pick Pop Mega Hits. Man, I thought I was the only one with that talent. The first time I heard the Eminem song/rap from Eight Mile (a better movie than you would think, I liked it, don't be hatin') Lose Yourself, I cried and ran into the house from the car asking my husband if he had ever heard of this guy. My liberal brother had (of course, he's seven years younger than me) and burned me the CD.
In case you think my taste totally runs to the low-brow and Top 40, I also have Toxic by Brittney Spears (the anthem for dysfunctional relationships everywhere), Fighter by Christina Aguilara (I've recovered from the abuse--post dysfunction rant), and my all time favorite pop song ever Let's Dance by David Bowie.
Oh, I've got Cat Stevens, Dylan, Billy Joel, Queen, everything by Coldplay, selected Arias by the world's greatest sopranos, Simon and Garfunkle, Norah Jones, a little Roy Orbison, a lot of Stevie Wonder, Sarah McClachlin, Kate Bush, Tina Turner, The Cranberries, Howard Jones, Five for Fighting, Diana Krall, Bette Midler, The Eagles, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Hootie and The Blowfish, Stray Cats, Prince, Carly Simon, Blu Cantrell, Fiona Apple, OMD and even some Beyonce. And there's more. Much more.
If you haven't bought an MP3 Player, dude or dudette, you do NOT know what you're missing. Every listening experience is like a delicious, unique meal created by a world famous chef: music by you!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:06 PM
Life is short. The older you get, the more uncomfortable you get acknowledging this brutal reality. Time is running out. This very minute, around seventy heart beats, scores of respirations, millions of thoughts, the smells of home, the light over your shoulder, the music you're listening to, the hug you gave your kid goodnight, they're gone. They are just a memory. And that can go, too.
If you have a really bad day, permanently bad day kind of day tomorrow, the way you spent tonight will really matter to your family, to your friends, to God and, to you.
Now, you might think I'll say, stop fooling around playing internet poker, you juvenile loser! But I'm not going to say that, although taking a break probably wouldn't kill ya.
No, my advice today, dear readers, is to enjoy the simple pleasures. Too often, we are doing so many "important" things, we ignore really important things: like gazing at a picture of Orlando Bloom dressed as the Elf Legolas Greeenleaf, Prince of the Woodland Realm.
Let's all take a moment and enjoy Orlando. Mmmmmmm, Legolas. Some simple pleasures are simply delightful.
People who have experienced near-death adventures, had a child die, been diagnosed with some grave disease often do the strangest things, simple things, fun things, and they do them without regret or shame. Why? Because they have nothing to lose, that's why. They've lost everything, in a sense, so the things that become important rarely are what was important yesterday. They are simple. Simple pleasures.
Laughing is a simple pleasure. Gazing at a beautiful piece of artwork is a simple pleasure. Sitting in the sun is a simple pleasure. Taking a leisurely walk is a simple pleasure. Soaking in a bath is a simple pleasure. Eating a perfect truffle is a simple pleasure. Watching airplanes take off and land is a simple pleasure. Holding hands in silence gazing at the stars is a simple pleasure. Revisiting a well-worn city path with friends is a simple pleasure.
A simple pleasure is a a moment wholly devoted, completely consumed with the thing at hand.
Fear, anger, blame, bitterness, anxiety don't touch these moments. They are light and full and satisfying in a soul-filling way. They are the moments you remember on your deathbed and wish you made more of while you still had the chance.
Simple pleasures are not magical although they seem so in retrospect. Simple pleasures are created when, in full awareness, you decide to abandon your inhibitions, your self judgement, your competitive desires and give yourself to the moment.
Today make sure you enjoy at least one simple pleasure.
Life is short.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:31 PM
An early reader clicking through my blog said I'd get more readers if I posted about sex and would get even more if I showed pictures, too. So I posted a post on sex lives to temporarily satisfy my insatiable readers.
This link, via Seth Godin of Purple Cow fame, goes to Scott Heiferman's blog where he lists 50 reasons no one reads your website/blog. This got me to thinking. Uh oh. You see, I'm plateauing at the 50 readers/day level. I'd like about 5000/day. Let's do some math. If each discreet reader got 10 friends hooked, who got ten friends hooked........oh my goodness! Watch out Daily Kos! A little self-awareness might be necessary. So, I'm going introspective here as to why I haven't gotten over the hump, so to speak.
One problem, he says could be "college words" or writing above your readership. So, since I am not interested in the gazillions I invested in higher education going to waste, I'll just put a dictionary link to any word my kids (ages six and eight) don't understand. Solves that problem.
Another problem is the "no sex thing" and the "no sex-celebrity thing" which is related to the "you're a complete dork thing". Well, I'm sorry people, my interest in celebrities runs from completely disinterested to not interested at all. Every now and again, one, like Tommy-Boy Cruise, will get my attention and I'll give an opinion about their weirdness/plastic surgery/political views/closeted gayness/cult membership, etc. Most of the time, I really don't care about them or the fashion that clothes them, either. But for those who are desperate to read my take about popular culture you can go HERE and HERE.
So why should you read my blog? There are better political blogs, no doubt. There are better, more rigorous scientific blogs, no doubt. There are better business trend blogs, no doubt. There are better humorist/satire blogs, no doubt. There are better futurist blogs, no doubt.
There is no place, however, where you can get ALL of the above in one capsular format AND, and this part is free too!, possess an informed opinion about it too!
My sister, who reads a newspaper only under duress, would read this blog if she realized how smart, informed and up on the current events she would be if she only took five minutes of her day to stop by. That she doesn't stop by daily only reveals a lifetime of accumulated passive aggression and/or she doesn't like any post that is longer than two sentences. Either way, it bugs me, when a week late, she says, "Did you hear that there were Mexican Marches last week?"
"Uh, yeah! If you had read my blog......"
This statement now cause gales of laughter amongst my extended family. I try not to let the humiliation get to me. I'm a blogger, I have no shame. In fact, I don't care if Harrison Ford (the old leather cranky pants) hates my guts. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, IF YOU READ MY BLOG......
YOU'D ALREADY KNOW.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 2:45 PM
Borders refuses to carry a magazine that has the Danish cartoons inside. Are you kidding me? Cowardly and just plain business stupid, too. It's a fair assumption that Islamists won't dirty their minds with the intellectual fair found in books that are found....in bookstores. Why would Borders irritate people who actually read--their main customers, I'm guessing.
Robert Bidinotto, editor of The Individualist has some theories and a complete round-up. It is a must read. He says,
It IS serious -- deadly serious: our fundamental right to freedom of expression is at stake here. How many more bookstores, universities (NYU is the latest), publishers, TV networks, newspapers, and others in the business of transmitting ideas are going to submit to this naked intimidation...and then, in turn, compel their employees, reporters, commentators, editors, students, and faculties to shut up and go along with the jihadists' demands?
Pardon me, I thought I was living in America...not Germany circa 1940.
AMEN. This IS serious. If Americans are brave enough to go to work and shop at Borders, Borders should be brave enough to put a magazine on the shelf. Sheesh!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 1:32 PM
Mexican pride on display.
I'm all for ethnic, country-of-origin pride. In fact, being of Scottish origin (the Cambell and Cameron clans, please don't hold it against me) I've enjoyed the Scottish games and even have a plaid blanket here or there.
But what you see at this link is not that, it is something else altogether. Glenn Reynolds asks why there isn't much going on in Florida. There really isn't much going on in Texas either, at least not in Houston, except a couple kids are enjoying skipping class and trying to get a flag up a pole, but that's kind of juvenile fun. If you experienced the weather here, you'd understand why they are trying to bail.
Anyway, I lived for three years in Southern California and the way immigrants were treated was not the same as here in Texas. They were clearly second-class citizens, openly treated harshly and out-righted demeaned publicly. I saw that routinely there.
I have never seen it here in Texas for the nine years I've lived here. The worst public incident I saw was one Mexican guy yelling at another guy to get to work. 99.9% of the time, I've seen respect.
My church is fairly representative. Tons of racial intermarrying between Mexicans and Anglos. No thinking about it. Just the way it is. Lots of the second generation know less Spanish than I do. Integration isn't really an issue and there are loads of babies to prove it.
So maybe it's a respect thing. Maybe the kettle is boiling over in California where the communities are less integrated. Don't you find it ironic that the Left Coast suffers this--they are so progressive and open-minded and all.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:42 PM
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Every week, I read Peggy Noonan. She is always provocative and always has something important to say even when her views seem wrong to me. Today, though, her views about immigration are spot on.
In a nutshell, she believes that America's worry about the immigrants both legal and illegal is that they are part of us culturally, but have not fully assimilated. They don't see the grandeur of America and she gives examples. They don't know the amazing history and she recites some.
She doesn't blame media and the academy or hold them to much account at any rate and that is where her opinion differs from mine. In the aftermath of WWII, American pride was at a zenith. And why not? We had saved the world from a terrible fate and this is not overstatement, much as some might bristle at the idea.
Watergate and Vietnam changed this. For the first time, the press not only reported the downfall of our greatness, the coverage took a gleeful tone, as if it was no small thing that the very trustworthiness of our most highest places was is in doubt. And then, those politically opposed to Vietnam used their bully pulpit to sway and push and prod public opinion. It went beyond reporting. Television gave those reporting the news power that their predecessors in print media could never imagine. The visual media people revelled in it. It will be, make that is, their downfall.
This frenzied energy surrounding the Clinton scandels bothered me for the same reason. While Bill Clinton's cigar usage in the Oval Office is beneath contempt, what is worse, in my opinion, is that everyone knew about this. America had come to this despicable place and some, mostly again, in the press revelled in it. Mostly, I think that those in the press who believe it is their mission to "right all wrongs" are naturally cynical beasts. Authority is not to be trusted and when authority falls, it just proves what they already believe.
But the problem is, most people I know don't believe this. They see how a damaged president, damages America. They don't like it. That, more than any other reason, is why people did not want to see Clinton impeached. Not because he wasn't wrong: he was a liar and user of people and everything else, but he was the President. When the President fails, the failure is felt for a long time. America feels it for a long time. The press, generally, is glad of this. They don't like a high-falutin' leadership, a noble bunch. Fallibility makes great news and jokes and stories. Dignity doesn't.
Well, we've enjoyed about fifty years of seeing in raw, gruesome detail the failings of the greatest nation on earth. But what we have seen is hardly the whole story, or half the story, or even one teeny-weeny part of the story. But when you see murder, rape, burglery, homelessness, displacement, "slow government response" to a natural disaster relentlessly, daily, hourly, visually in your home, it is easy to forget that criminals get due process, that they receive the benefit of a jury trial and are innocent until proven guilty, that the government does respond to disaster not just our own but the worlds and generously too, over and over and over. In fact, Americans seem incapable of donor fatigue, but that my friends is coming and I'll tell you why: when you do your best for people you don't know, who don't know you, simply because you imagine how it must be, and those people don't appreciate it, in fact, they HATE you it breeds frustration and indignation and finally resignation and eventually apathy. It doesn't matter what we do anyway....
When your allies spit on your hand ala France. When your allies join with your sworn enemies to make a buck. When countries all around treat you with disdain when you could have consumed them for a light snack in one afternoon, but don't because you DO believe in the notion of a sovereign nation. When the press ignores all the good our people, our soldiers, do, people get irritated and turn their energies where they believe they will count. When the press doesn't report the news but seems eager to destroy people, especially those who represent America, it angers them.
The internet, is a relief from this reality and also a sharper view of this reality, too. No smiling faces to couch the venom. No images of neutrality just raw, uncensored ..... for lack of a better word, hatred. Yes, hatred. There are those among us who seem to hate who and what America stands for, stood for and what made her great.
Now, I'm not saying that anyone who disagrees with me hates America. That kind of strident rhetoric is what is abominable. But it does seem that there are those whose contempt for our stature in the world hides under sneering elitism and in the case of the illegals marching all over God's green earth and highways and by-ways the contempt represents itself in a flag from another country and the American flag flown..... upside down. Upside down on her own grace-filled, blessed and giving streets. Upside down.
The average American sees this and it only confirms a suspician held for quite some time: America is great to count on in time of need, she will protect and fight for the safety and freedom of all free peoples not just her own, but she can be treated like dirt and be counted on to still do the generous thing.
That can change. And much as President Bush and the know-better-than-you Senators would like to pander for votes to ILLEGAL people, they confirm the belief that America no longer stands on principles. Don't give me the B.S. about being built on immigrants. America was built by immigrants--people who deeply desired to come to America and stopped speaking their native tongue immediately because they wanted to be AMERICAN--not Polish or Scottish or Italian or Irish. American.
I still have friends, even Mexicans, this way. They refuse to speak their native tongue. They want to be viewed as American not Mexicans who live and work here. My next door neighbors work their butts off every day to learn the language and fit in--even though the vulgarity of the M-TV culture offends them. It offends me too, I tell them. Good grief! These are the people we WANT here. Legal immigrants, small business owners who want to be good Americans because AMERICA IS GREAT and a land of GREAT OPPORTUNITY if you're willing to work.
America is still this place. I am sorry that whole sub-sets of our society is breaking down almost beyond repair and have become intergenerational slaves to the state. Some are almost beyond help. That does not mean that there isn't opportunity here. But you won't see it if you're doped up, strung out or watching the news. You have to live it these days to see it.
The media does contribute to this or even creates this nasty UNGRATEFUL atmosphere where every other country but America and every other religion but Christianity is portrayed in a charitable and noble light. Even Bill Clinton opined the other day that Britain is envyed in America. No it isn't. Not by me. Give me a break! You can't take a good shower or get clean teeth in that corner of the world. I love America. And when I leave, I'm always so glad to be back. It is the best country. By far. No question. No competition. END OF STORY.
With the greatness called into question, a very common-sense reaction could be: fine, we'll bring our soldiers back--from EVERYWHERE (except our loyal allies like Britain, Australia, Spain and Poland to name a few)--fend for yourself, we'll start up our factories, export the illegals, eat our own produce, build our own stuff. Our people are not above manual labor, much as those in high places would like to portray it so. And those who think every other country is heaven compared to the U.S., good-bye.
It's not just the lack of assimilation, Peggy, it's the unbridled contempt for what America is, was and stands for that galls most Americans. That there is so much self-loathing that the marching nonsense is even tolerated, that's what worries Americans. Assimilation will never happen if the preservation of what America is, is lost--and lost by her own citizens. We won't have to worry about fighting an enemy, we'll just spend our time consuming ourselves.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:53 PM
Read this NY Times Article for a sobering reality check. The truth of the matter comes deep in the second page:
Terrible schools, absent parents, racism, the decline in blue collar jobs and a subculture that glorifies swagger over work have all been cited as causes of the deepening ruin of black youths. Scholars — and the young men themselves — agree that all of these issues must be addressed.
Joseph T. Jones, director of the fatherhood and work skills center here, puts the breakdown of families at the core.
"Many of these men grew up fatherless, and they never had good role models," said Mr. Jones, who overcame addiction and prison time. "No one around them knows how to navigate the mainstream society."
When the state took over for men--instead of making men meet obligations, when women entered the work-force and began to take care of themselves, when parenting a child in the absence of a father became politically correct (but unsubstantiated by any rigorous scientific studies validating this "choice"), when women got comfortable with "having it their way" and preferred it to compromise and partnership (marriage is for white people), when men glorified sex and violence and the easy way and got the message reinforced by media, and then....
when hopelessness and despair bred of these realities took root and nobody, most of all the men themselves, believed it would ever change, we got to this place.
Will the masses ever come around to appreciating a family that includes mother and father? Or, more likely, will people justifying their parents bad choices, try to find evidence to support a family without a dad at home? No one wants to think their parents are wrong, do they? Some people spend their whole life repeating their parent's mistakes to try and "make it right".
But sometimes, a whole bunch of people get it really wrong.
UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg blames the Black Caucus.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 1:44 PM
Are the students today more conservative? asks Maxed Out Mama. Read the answer by Pedro The Quietest here.
Mama also points us to Sigmund, Carl and Fred where popular ideology finds its roots. Then Dr. Sanity talks about the Marxist Dialectic.
Basically, the conclusion, to simplify points to an argument I've made before and Dr. Santy makes clear here:
In fact, you will notice that for the most part, there are only two templates that exist for journalism on the U.S. military: (1) they are the poor helpless victims of an oppressive military system and the current political administration which horribly abuses them; OR, (2) they are the brutal, savage, sadistic psychopaths that enjoy inflicting death and misery and who are encouraged to do so by the oppressive military system and the current political administration.
Do you notice something about those two templates? They just happen to coincide with the marxist view of the world, where you are either one of the "oppressed" victims or one of the brutal "oppressors". Apparently that is the only context in which journalism is taught these days.
Caught up in the hidden marxist agenda of their postmodern rhetoric (with which they hope to "make the world a better", the graduates of these journalism schools march in lockstep with the other "oppressed" people of the world, including the poor victimized terrorists and all the helpless and persecuted dictators and tyrants who also only want to make the world a better place (with them in charge, of course).
Even though politically conservative moreseo than liberal for quite some time, being raised American these days imbues a person with certain beliefs that we often fail to acknowledge because we are so conditioned in the ideology. I have been no exception.
What do I mean? I was schooled in victimology as a youth and so were you, most likely.
The child of two misunderstood underdogs, language and action revealed our victim mentality even if unconsciously: include so and so or else they will feel bad, go on a date with someone you don't want to because a boy's emotional state is very fragile, tears got you what you wanted--plain speaking never did, manipulation was de rigeur, passive-aggression the only means of expressing differences, etc.
The take-home message: you are not responsible for you, someone else made you feel or behave that way.
This message pours every day, unchecked, into heads all over the U.S. It is nurtured in public school where "fairness" supercedes "greatness". It is reinforced by Oprah, inadvertantly, when the down-trodden and used and abused are showcased daily. It comes into full bloom at college where disgruntled theorists (their ideas are rarely tested in the real world) expound about racism, ageism, sexism, VICTIM-ism.
What is wrong with this? It isn't true. And even if you have been victimized, what good is there in staying there? Good grief! The greatest achievers in our world do not keep a list of wrongs with them to pull out at the first bump in the road. But it seems to me that the leaders in the U.S. are less interest in creating achievers and more interested in achieving fairness, equalness and comfort for the masses. This is also known as Socialism. We can see the results in France where young people are throwing a very public fit about jobs-for-life.
A person of import in my life and I argued the other day about Victimology. A social worker immersed in the victim culture, she worked with women abuse victims, getting them to safe houses, "saving them".
"They aren't victims," I said. "Their children are victims. Their children are stuck between two moronic parents--one playing the role of the predator, the other playing the role of prey, both getting something out of it while the children suffer."
"Yes, but these women, they are just worn down after so much time," she said. "They didn't know what kind of person he was."
"I dont' believe that for a minute," I say. "They saw all kinds of signs and proceed willfully to ignore them. Family pleads with these ladies. Friends share their fears. And the lady defends the indefensible and then claims shock when she's on the receiving end of a hay-maker. Bull."
She couldn't really argue with this, of course, because her own experience now bore this out. But holding these women responsible, not for being beat up, but for choosing an unstable man likely to direct his considerable anger at her, finally-- holding these women responsible for that choice, meant holding other people responsible for their choices. It means holding ourselves responsible for our choices.
I'm not suggesting that sexism, racism, ageism, name your-ism, is okay or good or that people are responsible for being the brunt of these -isms. But they are responsible to how they respond. They can take in the words and actions or they can choose differently and act differently.
The truth is that we all label, judge and even condemn people for irrational reasons. We all act at times anti-socially, do mean things to helpless people--even if unintentionally, and we all can be cruel and neglectful. That does not excuse this behavior. Hopefully we repent, make the wrong right and never do it again. Or, if bad enough, we go to jail and do our time and get out convinced that the consequences of being a stupid-head outweighs the pleasures of being a stupid-head. Or not.
There is a scale of goodness and badness. Some of us are great parents and horrible employees. Some of us are diligent tax payers but neglect our spouses. Most of us try to do better, be better. Through our religion or other belief system, we repent (change) and try to be what God wants for our life. That doesn't mean that there is no objective right or wrong, there is and we are all somewhere along the good-bad continuum.
A staunch Victimologist though, wants to separate the world: fat and skinny. Fat people are lazy, undisciplined and stupid and never have sex. Skinny people are hard-working, disciplined, smart and enjoy block-buster sex lives. Mean and nice. Conservatives are harsh, selfish, rich and mean. Liberals are kind, giving, moderate to poor and nice. Good and bad. Men are borish, brutish, aggressive and abusive. Women are gentle, protective, passive and innocent. Black and white and brown. Black people are open-minded, welfare recipients with lots of children. Whites are racist, tax-paying people with one kid. Brown people have good families, work hard, and live thirty to a house. Rich and poor. Rich people have everything given to them, are stingy, and greedy. Poor people work hard for nothing, are generous and share what they have.
You name it, there is a category. The categories are cast in moral tones. In fact, Victimology survives on the us and them dogma. Dogma, doctrine, beliefs. Insiders and outsiders. Us and them. Oppressors and the oppressed.
No one makes a choice. No one is in charge of those decisions. No one is responsible (response-able). Everyone at someone's mercy. Life is a food chain. The haves and have nots. The weak get vanquished by natural selection. It's a dog-eat-dog world. Eat or be eaten.
While this worldview serves our sanctimonious self-righteousness--as a victim I am beyond reproach--it is limiting and damaging, mostly to ourselves. Locked in a prison of our own making, our beliefs hold us in long after we have been victimized by a robber, thief, abuser, cheater, scumbag. Victimology, while satisfying in the short term, leaves a bitter aftertaste.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:52 AM
With life so busy do you even remember the Summer of 2005? Yes, I do, vaguely. Hurricanes and Sheehan and ..... hmmm.
Perhaps a reminder is in order. Over at Sundries by the FutureMD, our dear sweet, virus-filled friend recounts for us why we should not be surprised at the immigration nonsense currently happening everywhere.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:12 AM
Today's tip is simple but very effective. Every hour or so, while sitting at your desk, take a deep breath through your nose until you feel the air in your lungs push against your diaphragm then exchale out your mouth. Do this three times.
When stressed, our breathing becomes shallow and fast and restricted. If you take a body check every once in a while you'll be shocked how often you are breathing "tightly".
Deep breathing oxygenates the brain, releases some endorphins (feel good hormones) and helps reset your mood.
If you find yourself sighing a lot (ask people if you're a "sigher", they'll know) that could be a sign you're suppressing feelings. Talk with someone, solve it and then let it go.
Breath. You'll feel better.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:44 AM
What do terrorists, fashion elite, Euro-socialists, communists, the U.N. all have in common? They all hate America. So goes The Futurist's argument. He further explains crafty ways to expose this cowardly "Superpower" through logic. Logic doesn't work in some conversations though. I include a couple examples below.
While engaged in argument with a very nice, sincere, socialist/liberal/utopian/feminist at a party during Chiropractic college, we disected one of her very deeply held beliefs about the benefits of some social program. When we got to the bottom though, (and I can't remember the substance here, if I remember I'll tell you) and coming to the conclusion that her position had been misguided all along, she started sobbing. Honest-to-pete, I did not expect this tough broad (her husband hasn't taken a bath in years, a habit he picked up living in France, I kid you not, and he stays homes with the children while she supports the happy tribe) to bawl right then and there.
"What should we do then?" she wailed.
"I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." I mumbled looking around in consternation. Everyone at the party, besides my husband and me were staunch socialist/liberal/utopian/feminist New Yorkers as opposed to us conservative/christian/semi-feminist/utopian/somewhat libertarian New Yorkers who were moving out of New York as fast after graduation as our little fat legs would carry us. I wasn't worried about being beat up exactly, but I didn't want to be booted from the party either. Oh, how had I allowed myself to get engaged thusly? My specialty, while living there, was to nod politely and enjoy the company, because they were nice company.
My response was highly evolved (sarcasm), I didn't want to further the sorrow by offering a solution that would result in a psychic-break, the sobbing was bad enough, so I said: "I need a beer. Do you want one?" To which she just shook her hanging head mournfully while her smelly boyfriend/husband-to-be glared at me as I slunk away.
It should be noted here, that I had often parried with the Smelly Husband-To-Be over politics. He got so mad at me once that (I was right, he later admitted on the phone) he stomped out of my apartment and slammed the door when I said he was in no position to offer criticism of Rush Limbaugh when he had never listened to him, while I was qualified to argue the merits of Howard Stern versus Rush since I had listened to both. His door slamming amused me. I had seen people slam doors and leave in movies, but no one had actually slammed a door in my face mid-argument. Fascinating. It frustrated him, though. Because our apartment doors were in a dorm building built at Eisenhower College which was bought by New York Chiropractic College, they were unbelievably heavy and spring loaded (precisely so they couldn't slam and bother all the other residents). So he had to drag the door shut to make it slam. Very funny.
In another discussion, he put forth the argument that marriage is slavery. So tired. So incredibly tired. Since I was married, and he had never been, and he still nursed a broken heart from an "open relationship" that went horribly wrong because he actually loved the girl he was with but was too gutless to ask her to MARRY HIM, I proceeded to explain to him the freedom of marriage. He evidently took the point because he is now married and to a nice girl, too. Domesticity no doubt agrees with him.
So there are few of my experiences arguing with people who govern their life by emotions. Their sincerity and empathy always impresses me. But my experience has been that devout Christians tend to be more oriented to doing something about the problems. The faith-based institutions lead the clean-up and rebuilding and continue to do so on the Gulf. In New York, my friends (all of them poor college students, I might add, who had yet to make a dime or pay taxes--this distinguished Steve and I from them since we actually worked and paid taxes before going back to grad school) believed the State should solve this or that problem. They believed taxes should be raised.
I said to my friend, well if taxes should be raised, "Why don't you take the lead and put extra money in your taxes? Why do you work hard to minimize your tax bill?"
"Well, I'm poor," he said.
"Yeah, so, people who are working have families, and responsibilities, what makes your money more valuable to you than their money valuable to them? And besides, there are people poorer than you who could use the help."
He had no answer. I think every person should be exposed to beliefs different than their own. It makes you smarter and more fully developed. Hanging out with people who didn't believe like me didn't bother me at all. In fact, it was enjoyable.
Part of the problem today is that socialize exclusively with people who believe, think, have the same background, worldview etc. I see this in liberal circles and conservative ones, too. No one can even entertain an opposing viewpoint or argue it for that matter because they accept their own authority because everyone believes just like them.
This my friends is called in logic Ad Populum. Or Appeal to Popularity--everyone approves of it, it must be true.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:29 AM
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
If you want to know what is going on about immigration go over to Michelle Malkin. She has everything. You know, my feelings about immigration have changed. Illegal immigration always bothered me, but the human face that I saw every day, the people I know softened the hard edges of reality. Seeing the U.S. flag upside down with the Mexican flag on top, kindles something primal in me, something protective. It rises almost to the toppling of the Twin Towers. The mother in me wants to discipline some sense into these ungrateful brats and their ignorant leaders.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 7:23 PM
Is something better if it's beautiful? Does beauty make a better emotional connection? A qualified yes and definite yes respectively.
Beauty is better than ugly any day. Ugly makes an emotional connection, but one we don't want.
Don Norman discusses design and emotions in his book. Here is a review.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 7:16 PM
Wednesdays, I see clients. That means that posting is sketchy. Today has been extraordinarily light. Sorry all.
Thought I'd update you about Cali. Yes, she's gone. But wow what an emptiness around the house. She had such a spirit presence. Always connected to us, always "on" for us. Dogs are amazing creatures. She was extraordinary.
Her declining health also consumed more emotional energy than I realized. Waking in the morning, my first stop would be the window to look after her. Coming home from some errand, I'd scan the backyard. Looking out during meals, if I didn't see her right away, a sense of panic welled up and I'd look around 'til there she was sunning herself on some soft leafy spot.
Anyway, I miss her and cry when thinking about her soft muzzle and beautiful, kind brown eyes for too long.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 6:33 PM
A very talented client of mine got presented with an unbelievable business proposal by a forceful, enthusiastic sales type. It was all very exciting. New business! A nationwide, maybe worldwide reach! Yet inside, he felt unsure. The deal relates to part of his business he likes, but isn't convinced about how he wants it to fit in with his life. He said that he felt uncomfortable, even though everything sounded good.
"Do you know what you want?" I asked him. He gave me a confused look so I continued. "How do you know if a business deal is good if you're not sure what you want? It could be a great deal, but not for you because you want something else. Or it could be a fantastic deal and you'll miss it because you haven't committed to the direction you want to go."
Nearly everyone comes to points in their lives when there are many paths to choose. Sometimes people allow their spouse to decide the path. Sometimes, as one of my advisors once said, "I've always just gone through the only door left open." Sometimes we wait for our indecision to become the decision thus minimizing our free will.
How often have we been uncomfortable, vaguely dissatisfied, because we don't know what we want and so the good thing that we have feels, well, blah? This situation many find more tolerable, though, than wanting something really, really bad and then being disappointed. If I don't say or work toward what I really want, the reasoning goes, then I won't be upset if it doesn't happen.
Unfortunately, our hearts secret desires tend to bubble to the surface, while we eat the mediocre pie we've made for ourselves by setting the bar so low. We attack ourselves with the woulda, shoulda, couldas. Some call it "shoulding" on ourselves. We "what if?". We feel ashamed for being so cowardly, or indecisive, or passive at the helm of our own life.
Devout Christians or Muslims sometimes take this a step further and excuse the passivity with "well, God willed it" or "it was meant to be" or "En Shalah". It sounds good, but often covers embarassment or fear of failure. Does God really want passive, fear-filled followers? Or is this used as an excuse to cover unused talents and gifts? Just asking.....
The person who waffles about their own life finds that things just "happen to them". Well, things happen to everyone, don't they? It is easier to deal with when on a course than not having a course and being swept away when "things happen". What do I mean?
Say you want to climb Mt. Everest. A daunting task right? But it is something you've always wanted to do and you're willing to work for it. You spend the time, you work out, you buy the equipment, you do everything mountain climbers must do to succeed. The trek begins. Halfway up, a raging, unseasonal, very dangerous storm comes and you must retreat. For today anyway. But what have you done? You've still made it half-way up Mt. Everest! Sure, "stuff happened", but even the disappointment can't take away your effort and accomplishment. Other people, people who dream, but never do, watch and wonder and wish while they read National Geographic Adventure.
By clarifying what you want, you clarify opportunities, too. When a great proposal lands on your desk, but isn't part of your mission, you can get it to someone who would seize it and make the most of it. When a great proposal lands on your desk, and it is the opportunity or financing or plan that you needed, you'll recognize it and spend the energy to make it a success.
These require active, involved, conscious decisions. Choice. YOU decide.
Here is some homework for today: write down your perfect day. I would get up at this time, do this, do this, etc. Then write your perfect week. What work would you do? What tasks would you accomplish? Then write your perfect year. And five years. And 25 years. Maybe starting at 25 years and working backwards is the best idea.
Ask yourself, what will be my biggest disappointment if I never accomplish it? And when you view your life goal, does it fill you up with such love and longing and excitement that you could cry? Ok, you've found it.
Now, make it happen!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:08 AM
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Want to know why I don't recommend Flu Shots besides the fact that they don't work and that their preservatives can turn your brain to mush?
Go to this link to watch a hilarious video. Only in Canada, too many sacred cows would be dead along the road in the U.S. and then a real hoax like Mad Cow might actually seem right!
Courtesy a Colleague in Sunny SoCal!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:56 PM
Michelle Malkin quotes Thomas Sowell via Real Clear Politics saying, paraphrasing here, that if the press had lots of low-paid journalists who could do their jobs at half the wage, they wouldn't be quite so charitable to this whole illegal immigrants deal.
Another thought I heard on talk radio today: when we accept wholesale, another culture, without the expectation that they must assimilate into our culture, we are, by default accepting their culture. Senator Tancredo said, paraphrasing again, that the United States was becoming a Tower of Babel. At the end of the conversation, he asked for prayers for he and his family. Is he in danger in the United States of America for holding a differing opinion from the powers that be, i.e. Bush-Kennedy-McCain? Give me a break!
So a thought occurred to me, that has vaguely percolated in the background, but seemed too unreasonable to be entertained seriously. Now, I'm entertaining it seriously. Is this policy, favoring amnesty for illegals, not just political (500,000 easy votes! Yippee!) but also part of a philosophy where the powers-that-be believe that massive transferring of wealth is the way to world peace? Or, is there a notion that a combined South America, Central America, and North America would strategically align in opposition to a United Europe and a United, for lack of a better description, Communist front (Russia and China)?
This seems all so conspiracy theoretical, but the willingness to accept into our American fold millions of people who broke the law to escape economic and politcal corruption rather than change their own societies begs the question: why?
While cheap consumer goods and services explain part of it and pandering to the corporations that employ the cheap labor explains part of it, this hugely impactful decision does not explain all of it. This decision is not strictly economic. For if it were, the decision would be stopped in the interests of the legal American workers already here as I mentioned before.
Do our leaders fear a situation like Europe--especially Spain and France--where native women just simply are not having children and the population outlook fifty years out isn't inspiring? Are they worried that we need to get as many low-paid workers in here as possible because the average worker here will be doing higher paid jobs requiring more education?
First of all, America's reproduction factories are outproducing those in Europe, thanks largely to the Red Staters. But maybe that's the problem. Maybe the liberals, willing to sell out the undereducated and lower income workers, a great percentage black, by the way, for more voters since they aren't reproducing and unlikely to have enough votes to ever win anything at this rate.
Second, maybe Bush sees the same thing and is trying to make a deal with the devil so that the Republicans don't lose the voting block like they lost the blacks for fifty years. Make no mistake, though, this is selling our soul. It's already lost anyway Prez Bush and this is why: if it is on the wrong side of the law, if it creates more social welfare recipients, if the problem causes more potential jail inmates the proposal favors liberals....every....time. End of story.
Examine these economic statistics. They tell the whole story.
I can't think of any other reason for all this than my theories above. Gateway Pundit has his own theories here.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 7:24 PM
You all know, because you're so informed by the MSM that you don't need Dr. Melissa's widdle, teeny-weeny blog, but I'll tell you anyway: The sub-30 set in France is demonstrating and rioting and basically holding the government hostage. Why? Because a new law about to come into effect that allows employers to fire workers younger than 26 within the first two years of work. When no-talent-ass-clowns do nothing, they can get fired. So sad. Poor French babies.
If French workers had any sense (big if), they would welcome this law as unemployment for people this age is 22%. Hmmmmm..... I wonder why? Maybe it's cuz the employers are afraid of hiring people like the rioters and then getting stuck with them? Just a guess.
Anyway, MyVastRightWingConspiracy, expresses my sentiments exactly.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:35 AM
Our dear, sweet Tom is full of shit. But that is no surprise to anyone these days. The master media manipulator had signs delivered to his home that his brainwashed honey Katie Holmes can read while she is birthing their child (do any of us wonder why Nicole wouldn't give the crazy man a child? Oy!). Helpful messages include: "but be silent and make all physical movements slow and ..." Yup, the Scientology folks just happened to deliver posters message side out for all of us unenlightened to read. Which we are, of course. So even this post should give Tommy some satisfaction. John Devlin
A commenter at The Sun Online says, "I think it’s a fantastic idea. These boards could be employed in normal everyday life in and around the home. They could display messages such as “Do the ironing, and don’t complain about it” or “This bath won’t clean itself”. Of course these messages would be targeted at both male and female members of the household.
While screeching like a hyena tends to waste a woman's energy while birthing, forbidding the low gutteral moans (the ones guys tend to like a certain times of ahem...Tom, is different, no doubt. I bet he likes silent sex too.) is counterproductive to birthing. American midwife Ina May Gaskin says "the same energy that gets the baby in there, helps get the baby out." I agree having given birth to four babies.
My biggest beef though, is that since Thomas P. Cruise will give birth NEVER he should keep his big yapper shut. A first time mother is nervous enough about the experience and needs a bossy husband like she needs Barnum and Bailey in her delivery room. Sheesh. Men. The one thing that is really, truly female, galls thems so much they need to control even that.
May the force be with Katie. She'll need it.
As for the poor child who will get no words, no singing, because noise bothers it during the first seven days--what utter horse manure. Now, a quiet, loving environment is great. They certainly don't need the fifth fleet there with trumpets, but the child has heard everything before he is born. He's not deaf in there, doofus. Read a science book. Katie, of course, knows this because when a loud sound happens the baby jumps inside. Guess what? He'll be used to his mom's voice and dad's too. In fact, when the child cries from hunger or discomfort, mom's voice can sooth and comfort.
Mama don't let your girls grow up and date cult members.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:49 AM
Yesterday, I talked about getting rid of that hated object that has bothered you for ages. Today, the topic is more general--stuff everywhere and what to do with it.
Feng Shui, a topic that elicits either muffled laughter or earnest interest, probably is the best system for getting rid of stuff in a common-sense way even though the advice is couched in mystical terms at times. Before getting to those ideas, here is some advice about clutter removal:
- Remember that visual clutter is what is tiring. Make sure surfaces don't have stuff on them, keep the kitchen, office and room surfaces clear. You'll feel better.
- Americans have too much stuff. If you suffer from pack-rat-itis, you need to examine yourself. Are you hoarding things because you're a secret pessimist? As in, if I get rid of this _________, I may never get something so good again. Or, I might need it. Or, bad times will come and I'll regret getting rid of these magazines. Do you hold the same attachment to people, or are you hold Bag Lady fears? This is not healthy.
Now onto Feng Shui advice:
- Keep all doorways clear.
- Keep entryway clear so you can easily enter and move around.
- Imagine how air or water would flow through the house. What stops it? Are there any "dead-ends"? Put something that moves energy in a dead end--a fountain, fan, radio.
- Make sure you have clear paths to what you need.
- Nothing should ever be under your bed. Ever. (Go through the old stuff you have under there, you'll be shocked at what you find and the energy those things hold.)
- All stuff holds energy. Energy you don't want holds you. If the energy doesn't feed you, get rid of it.
- Books especially hold energy. Do you have any books that hold such bad information that it should be thrown out or packed away? Be very careful about having piles of books in your bedroom.
- Pictures, too, hold lots of energy. Ever get the feeling you're being stared at and accused by great grandma? Take the picture down.
- Put kids stuff on their level. Can they get to their clothes, toys, stuff they want? Imagine trying to reach over your head all the time for what you want.
- Make sure all appliances work.
- Keep lightbulbs working. NEVER leave a socket without a light. Ever.
- Make sure you have no leaks or power problems. Water and electricity represent water in Feng Shui. A slow leak symbolizes money slipping through your hands.
- Make sure your stove has all four burners working. It is symbolic of your money-making ability. I know, it's crazy. But we had a stove that only had two, and then one, burner working at our old house. And even though we were selling the house within two years, I urged my hubby to make the investment. It was almost magical how our financial situation improved after that. Yes, yes, other factors contributed, but there was an immediate difference.
- Your bedroom is for two things: sex and sleeping. Anything else in there distracts from that purpose. You decide how important those two things are for you.
- All this stuff is a bandaid on a flesh wound if the part of the city, the neighborhood, street you live on is bad, unsafe, or unnerving. Keep in mind that the energy of a place will affect you. If you live at the end of a street where lights flash into your house, it's a problem. If you live on a dangerous road, it's a problem. Without thinking about it, these factors increase your anxiety. Also, if your yard is truly a junkyard. That must be dealt with. Your landscape affects your innerscape.
- Don't live next door or across the street from a church, cemetary or school. Bad energy or excessive energy--both are not good.
- Avoid living in houses that waste space, have loads of nooks and crannies and turns.
Removing clutter will free up so much energy, you will be shocked. Be prepared for conversations with your spouse resolving unaired or packed away grievances. Moving stuff is symbolic. Those discussions are good though, because the issues were always there just hidden.
Your home should support and nourish your energy. All the stuff, clutter, gets in the way, literally, of what you want and/or need. Spring Cleaning will be a great way to start.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:14 AM
Monday, March 27, 2006
I have dreaded posting about the messy ILLEGAL immigration situation. I capitalize illegal because no one is against legal immigration, that I know anyway. Most of us had family come through NY or some other place and value being a U.S. legal immigrant or one of her sons or daughters.
This is the latest Senate News via Fox News.
MSNBC discusses the Guest Worker program.
CBS covers the Protests that drew over 500,000 people/illegal immigrants.
This photo says it all doesn't it? Yay for Mexico! While the U.S. benefits from Mexican illegal immigrants sweat, it also pays for them without receiving any tax dollars in return. Mexico benefits from their citizens that set up shop in the U.S., too--without paying for them. Billions get sent home to the motherland. Mexico avoids health care costs, welfare costs, and social costs that a high unemployment rate and governmental corruption from stem to stern breed. How nice for them. How not nice for the American taxpayer.
In some parts of America (fewer and fewer every day) this issue is theoretical. In Texas, this issue is real. While people in this area tend to be fairly tolerant (80% of whites view Mexican immigration as a good thing--and I can't find the article right now, but I think this is the guy who did the research) and view the Mexican immigrants favorably, the number of under-educated immigrants from Mexico has risen and does not bode well for the future.
More than any social service, hospitals bear the brunt of uninsured soon-to-be-called "Guest Workers" in their Emergency Departments. The taxpayer foots this bill.
An illegal immigrant argues that they do work that people here don't want to do, get paid less to do it, don't get benefits or insurance and Americans get cheaper products. You don't get nothin' for nothin'. So taxpayers should be willing to pay for their emergencies when the taxpayer benefits from the Mexican illegal immigrant's hard work.
Americans want cheap consumer goods and services kinda like drug addicts want drugs. The demand fuels the supply. The only shortcoming to this analogy is that the drug addict buys and snorts all the coke he buys. When an illegal immigrant comes, he or she usually brings his family with him--the kids go to school (free education), the grandma uses the emergency department (free healthcare), the unwed sister receives foodstamps (free food). The illegal immigrant's work in no way balances out these economic realities. It is a net loss for America especially since first generation immigrants don't pay taxes (it goes up for the future generations). It is a HUGE gain for Mexico.
Mexico's economic benefit from their unemployed coming to American is multi-fold. Mexico's government is corrupt from bottom all the way to Vicente Fox's jet-black, well-coifed hair. Everyone is on the take. Crime is rampant. Unemployment is high. In Mexico, there are the haves and the have nots. Some of the more industrious or desperate have-nots make the trek to the U.S. This takes a tremendous amount of economic pressure off of the Haves in Mexico.
Should a wall be built to keep the industrious and desperate in Mexico, Mexico will have to come to terms with corruption and the economic imbalance or face Civil War. No one wants this, but power to the people is never going to happen at the hands of Mexican leadership. Those who run the country have too much to gain by staying rich and powerful and keeping the masses poor and stupid. No leaders in America want a Civil War on our border, we have great interests in their relative stability even if society is unfair.
Economic pressures in the U.S. have increased for the same industrious and desperate, ironically enough. Because so many Mexicans now call the U.S. their "temporary" dwelling, wage deflation has occurred. The new workers are working harder and for less money. I know this personally. A middle class person here in the Houston area can have someone clean their house for $30. (I don't pay this little, btw, because I think the work is worth more than $30--much more.) That's nothing. It makes no sense to clean your house. This fee has declined since five years ago. Landscapers face the same pricing pressure.
You would think that this situation would stop people from coming. It hasn't and won't. Why? Why would workers from Mexico keep coming when they work hard for next to nothing? Because next to nothing is better than what they are coming from and bad living conditions are better than no living conditions. It's a matter of scale. Also, for those who don't want to work, benefits here are better--a pain to get, but better.
My main concern with illegal immigration besides the obvious--it's illegal, the crime committed by illegals gums up the system and consumes tax dollars, and the economic costs--is that at a certain point the economic benefit (cheap stuff and services) becomes outweighed by the economic cost. What do I mean?
Well, consumer products and services become cheap for those who can afford them, but the wages at the low end are so low that they can't afford anything except social services. If the economy goes south and workers are let go, they are uneducated, don't speak the language and they consume more services and inevitably commit crimes to fill the time and their pocketbooks.
I'm not saying that illegal Mexican workers are generally criminals and parasites. They are hard-working diligent people with a strong family ethic and usually devoted Christians. These are good things. In fact, I love the culture and people though I hate with a passion the corruption, crime and inequity that is part of the Mexican citizen's daily life in Mexico. I'm proud that they view the U.S. as a great alternative because it truly is, much as liberals like to downplay this fact or deny it altogether.
Here's my solution:
- Seal the border.
- Increase legal immigration and make them U.S. citizens faster.
- Make a Southern version of Ellis Island and start processing these people, but like Ellis Island make sure the people are sponsored, are healthy, have clean records, have jobs on this side and a place to live.
- Stop incursions by the Mexican Army who are in cahoots with drug and people smugglers. Give Vicente Fox a warning and then blast away. Our border has to mean something. We cease to be a soveign nation without a solid border.
- No one already here gets citizenship if they are here illegally. They can go back to Mexico and go through the proper channels to get citizenship. Maybe a certain number of years working, a child whose a citizen, etc. mitigate the factors, but illegal behavior CANNOT be reinforced or it will breed more bad behavior.
- Cut off all social services to illegal aliens. This is ruthless, true. Life is really tough in a capitalistic society for Legal citizens nevermind illegals. And well it should be. Socialism sucks the will and removes the dignity of people one hand-out at a time. Socialism is ruthless, heartless and designed to get the masses sated so they will go along with the Beloved Leader's pet projects. As for the people outside the American system, we have experience with how this manifests. My husband saw a guy who fell two stories onto his head, saw a guy who flew out of the back of a pick-up and come to his office uninsured. The lawyers were all over both cases and would get the poor dudes a settlement from the "rich" small businessmen employing these uninsured people (hit life's lottery by getting dumped on your head like the guy from Office Space.) We love Workers Comp! (I'm being sarcastic--it's a haven for criminals--criminal doctors, criminal lawyers. I don't feel bad at all for indulging in some schadenfreude now that the scumbag doctors and lawyers we knew when my husband worked for a nere-do-well doctor all lost their shirts when the Comp laws changed in Texas. Serves them right for exploiting workers and the employers.) Back to the issue: Someone not paying taxes shouldn't get benefits.
- When someone is stopped by the Cops and they are illegal, back they go. Escort them home to round up their families and give them plane tickets. Have them take proof of their work, their homes, etc. and if they have a record of good, clean living expedite their paperwork to make them real citizens.
- Anyone fighting for the U.S. in the military gets citizenship fast-tracked. They get high honors for service? They get to bring a family member.
The problem with illegal immigration comes down to unfairness to all the people who are working their asses off to get family members here legally. My nail guy saved $7,000 per family member and sponsored both his mother and father from Vietnam and his sister. He works hard, absolutely loves America, speaks the language and though he lives in a Vietnamese community is an American down to his toe-nails.
Same goes for my hair guy from Lebanon. He is Muslim, named Mohommed and the best colorist besides my dear Wayne from Lansing, Michigan. He sponsored his wife to come here. He knows the language. He knows the culture. He is American. Legally.
Illegal immigration must stop. But for the strength of America, legal immigration must continue. We need the workers, we need the ideas and we need to be the place everyone longs to live. Pandering to people who don't vote, don't pay taxes and whose allegience lays south of the border is ridiculous. Our congressmen need to remember who they work for.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:24 PM
Yesterday night, late, a link on Instapundit got my attention: Marriage is for White People said the title. Huh? I read the Editorial and couldn't get to sleep that night, mulling over the implications of Joy Jone's opinion.
Traditional notions of family, especially the extended family network, endure. But working mothers, unmarried couples living together, out-of-wedlock births, birth control, divorce and remarriage have transformed the social landscape. And no one seems to feel this more than African American women. One told me that with today's changing mores, it's hard to know "what normal looks like" when it comes to courtship, marriage and parenthood. Sex, love and childbearing have become a la carte choices rather than a package deal that comes with marriage. Moreover, in an era of brothers on the "down low," the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the decline of the stable blue-collar jobs that black men used to hold, linking one's fate to a man makes marriage a risky business for a black woman.
"A woman who takes that step is bold and brave," one young single mother told me. "Women don't want to marry because they don't want to lose their freedom." (emphasis added)
A man doesn't want to lose his freedom in his testosterone-charged 20s and now women don't want to lose their freedom in their independent 30s. Marriage = Loss of Freedom.
Is this statement true? Has being married mean, well, that I'm a slave, or an indentured servant? Isn't that what "loss of freedom" means at its most basic?
I can see why a woman wouldn't want to marry a debt-laden, STD carrying, addiction-recovering shiftless bum of a man especially given the likelihood that this woman is a single mother, with a good job and seeks a partner not "another baby." But didn't these women help to create the Big Babies? This is going to get me in hot water, I can feel it, but I'll press on. When a woman allows every cutie with a tight glutes into her bed in her 20s without so much as a last name and a condom-request, doesn't she contribute to the perpetual petulant man-child phenomenon? I mean, come on, those babies the women are raising alone didn't jump into her uterus without some help.
It seems to me that one of the trade-offs for sexual liberation, have been isolation and solitary responsibility. The men were talking about here, also have trouble keepin a job, staying sober and generally contributing to society--they aren't parenting as the earnest little boy in Ms. Jone's anecdote hopes:
Here's the thing, that child had to be told by someone, probably a mother, that marriage isn't for black people to justify the situation. A boy wants a father. A mother must come up with a reasonable explanation why no father exists. This rationalization is as good as any.
But as a black woman, I have witnessed the outrage of girlfriends when the ex failed to show up for his weekend with the kids, and I've seen the disappointment of children who missed having a dad around. Having enjoyed a close relationship with my own father, I made a conscious decision that I wanted a husband, not a live-in boyfriend and not a "baby's daddy," when it came my time to mate and marry.
My time never came.
For years, I wondered why not. And then some 12-year-olds enlightened me.
"Marriage is for white people."
That's what one of my students told me some years back when I taught a career exploration class for sixth-graders at an elementary school in Southeast Washington. I was pleasantly surprised when the boys in the class stated that being a good father was a very important goal to them, more meaningful than making money or having a fancy title.
"That's wonderful!" I told my class. "I think I'll invite some couples in to talk about being married and rearing children."
"Oh, no," objected one student. "We're not interested in the part about marriage. Only about how to be good fathers."
And that's when the other boy chimed in, speaking as if the words left a nasty taste in his mouth: "Marriage is for white people."
It seems like the author believes, like many feminists believe, that there are only two options: independence/alone/single/freedom or dependence/together/married/enslaved.
That has not been my experience either way and it's not what I see. While being married can be challenging, I shudder to think of parenting my kids alone. Like all people, I have bad days and am glad to be partnered with someone who can parent as well, but differently, as I do.
In the last generation, men 50 and up, men came home from work to their woman. She cooked him dinner, cleaned the house, cared for the kids and almost everything else. The man watched TV and pretty much did as he damn well pleased. At least that was my home and that of most of my friends.
Growing up, I found the man-woman dynamic repulsive. Most (not all) men talked to their women like another child, showed little to no respect for her hard work and expected everything to be done their way--he was the breadwinner afterall.
Today, the roles for the black population (according to Ms. Jones anyway) are reversed. She brings home the bacon, fries it up in a pan, in the house she buys, with the kids she gave birth to and she's not much interested in anyone's opinion about how she lives her life. And, she's not interested in changing her life around for a man. Why should she?
Is this what women have aspired to? To possess the same selfish, chauvanistic, degrading attitudes toward men that men used to have for women? Tit for tat, as it were?
While the old stodgy roles stifled lots of women into being exclusively mothers and nothing more, throwing the mother role, the wife role, marriage itself out seems to be cutting our noses off despite our faces.
Marriage, between well-matched, loving partners, free people like no other social contract. Married people have more, better sex lives than their single counterparts. Married people, help one another during tough times. Married people have two people who can work should one get sick or hurt or lose a job. Married people don't have to do everything themselves--so the one with the money talent does that. The one with the gardening talent does that.
Married people can focus on the ways they can help their children best and not try to be Mr. or Ms. Everything. No one can nurture a child like a mom. No one can protect a child like a dad. While I'm not interested in playing horsey-rider with my kids, my husband is and does. While I'm not interested in working a chain-saw (not that I couldn't) my husband is. My sons and daugher see a man treating a woman with respect and kindness. They see a mutual relationship. They see conflict resolution. They see friendship and relationships modelled (for better or worse).
My sons and daughter see a whole lot of behavior modelled by their father they just wouldn't see with me alone. Could they survive? Could they grow up to be fine men and a fine woman without their Daddy in the house? I'd like to think so. But there is just no getting around the fact they would not see certain things growing up without a dad or a mom and that that lack would manifest when faced with similar situations as an adult. It would cause confusion like this:
One told me that with today's changing mores, it's hard to know "what normal looks like" when it comes to courtship, marriage and parenthood. Sex, love and childbearing have become a la carte choices rather than a package deal that comes with marriage.
Relationships "a la carte" cause confusion. There is a reason that marriage has been one of the most traditional, enduring social building blocks. It simplifies life. But marriage is not for selfish people. Marriage is not for people thinking that they can come home from work and boss around "the help". Marriage is not for people who view any compromise as a zero-sum game--a loss for themselves.
Marriage might consist of little "losses" but overall gains. Are we so short-sighted and selfish that we are willing to chuck it so we can have our own way all the time? Are we so inflexible and hardened that we are willing to short-change our children for our own comfort. Marriage, done right, offers safety, companionship, protection and stability for people. What is bad about this?
While Ms. Jones make a statement about the class of men available to her, not all men are this way! Perhaps she is hanging with the wrong crowd. Perhaps she hung with the wrong crowd in her 20s, too, when most people find their mates and get married.
Marriage is for all people, but they better be ready to give a little, because operating like a single person with a ring on doesn't cut it. It will be a sad day for America if the majority of all people, black, white or purple come to the conclusion Ms. Jones comes to. A sad day, indeed.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 7:10 PM
Want to add hours to your productivity like magic? Want to diminish the anguish from relentlessly bad news? Want to be more educated and less bothered? Turn off the TV.
Five years ago, my mindless, robot-like addiction to the Television finally irritated me to the point of action. I would sit and watch one program that I wanted, then I would watch another program that I didn't simply because I was sitting in front of the tube like a rube. Eventually, my lazy TV watching became a daily habit. When the hours of sitting, vegging got added up, two extra work days produced themselves.
A book I read recommended the drastic step of eliminating TV. With an autisitc son who used TV like Prozac, this was not going to be easy for any of us. We would all suffer withdrawal symptoms. And we did. My husband came home with a sour look and foul attitude. My son ranted and raved and begged. I stood my ground, but experiencedthe shakes myself. No more Oprah! Gulp! I might fall apart. No more March Madness. No more Sunday or Monday Night Football (this seemed to bother me more than the hubby, if you can imagine).
It took us three years to truly purge the remnants of the vile poison from our systems. Something happened, unexpected, though. We expected to get more done. We expected to enjoy more time to fill as we wanted. We didn't expect the peace of mind and sensitivity to garbage.
Like addicts, we had become immune to some pretty awful side-effects. Seeing the starving, waring masses failed to impress. Watching the hyped up, nearly gleeful, news reporting seemed rational. Taking in the provacative and sexually charged advertising images caused yawns. We didn't even turn our heads or change the channel with the kids in the room. Snooze.
You'll notice that I bought a flat-screen TV for someone's birthday, just in time for March Madness. The basketball has been great. Seeing the news and the advertising has not. Sensational, titillating, degrading, smutty--who needs it? I absolutely hate it.
Some will say, "How can I stay informed without TV?" One word: The Internet. Get more news, more accurate news, quicker and far more informative than TV or radio can deliver all at your fingertips. My understanding of world-events has much improved since getting rid of the TV.
Having the TV back has not tempted me. Watching Oprah holds no allure. Watching Sunday morning talking heads holds even less. Thankfully, though, we don't have cable. I'm not 100% sure my addiction could handle being tempted by Interior Design shows.
Getting rid of TV will change your life--for the positive. If the days seem overwhelmingly busy, getting rid of the TV will help create time, much more than you even realise, to accomplish what you want. Oh, and there is this side-effect, too: the original article I read said that you'll get make more money without TV. That has been our experience.
Turn off the TV. Turn on life!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:38 PM
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Citizens of the world, even today, will go to their graves believing that Iraq possessed no WMDs despite all circumstantial evidence to the contrary. Now, Gateway Pundit, provides some visuals of Russians receiving awards from Saddam for being such helpy helpers. Did the Russians take the WMDs to Syria? Naaaah.... No way! Did the Russians steal intelligence and feed it to Iraq before the war? No, they're our friends, Prez Bush says so!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 4:42 PM
A few years ago, while cleaning up our house to put it on the market my husband burst out, "I HATE THAT LAMP!" Well that lamp was a wedding present from friends who were as poor as we were and so we (or maybe just I was) were happy to have any sort of lighting since our first abode/box, came with no overhead lights and two windows total in the whole place. For years, the irritation bubbled very subtly under the surface. So subtly that I was shocked when he said it.
"Well, for heaven's sake! Let's get rid of it!" I said. And we did. Right then.
We all have stuff taking up room, filling up space, piling up on tables that we despise or just generally dislike. We try to ignore it, but every time we pass by the offending thing we sigh or shake our head or just resign ourselves to it's annoying presence. Why?
Spring cleaning should include getting rid of obligation gifts that we hate, decorative objects whose style is repulsive, and sad-sack things that just are way past their prime. They drain energy and take up space where something new or better could be.
Most people protest that they "can't afford a new lamp/chair/couch" or if we get rid of it "Aunt Polly will be offended/angry/hurt". Bah! Your house needs to be a restful, restorative, place that centers on you. The space left open by the missing item will prod you to either fill it with something better, or you may find you never needed the thing, don't miss it and don't want to fill the space.
My least favorite furniture item was a couch nearly identical to the picture above. Just thinking about it gives me hives and my nose fills with the smell of mold and dead cells. Digusting, right? Yup, disgusted would be very descriptive of how I felt even thinking about sitting on that wretched thing. We left the behemoth behind in Michigan when we moved to New York. Sweet, blessed relief! I would have rather sat on the floor, why we didn't I can't tell you.
Get rid of it, already! You'll be happy you did.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 3:49 PM
Possibly another side-effect of SSRIs (hmmmm, where can I get me some of them thar Prozacs?), PSAS, as it is currently called, affects more women than thought. It is a new syndrome and evidently the opposite of all those frigid ladies out there. Imagine getting sexually aroused and never coming down despite having multiple orgasms. Torture. No doubt there is more to this scientific story and further research will be conducted, much to the delight of men with rich fantasy lives everywhere.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 3:43 PM
Saturday, March 25, 2006
No really! She does....hypothetically anyway. I suggested that her students may want to work on personal budgets since the government is unlikely to get its act together in this generation and they may be on their own when they get old and retire. No Social Security and Medicaid for them. Better start saving.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:54 PM
You know those peace-keeping dudes who got kidnapped in Iraq and were rescued by the American and British Special Forces, i.e. "the sworn enemy"? And remember that the American hostage got tortured and killed and found like discarded trash on the streets of Bagdad? Well, not only have these rescued people not given sincere thanks, they refuse to cooperate with the military and offer any intelligence.
No one has said it yet, that I have read, people are too politic, but I'm not. Why did we waste resources hunting these people down? They didn't want to be found, evidently, yet they left willingly enough. Why didn't they stand on their beliefs and stay hostaged?
Norman Kember is being called the "Selfish Idealist" in the Opinion above. That seems apt.
I really don't know what to say. To be grateful to the soldiers who risked life and limb, to thank the intelligence people who spent time and energy to find them, to thank the TAXPAYING public for saving their stupid asses from self-inflicted danger would be too great a double bind--since these people are the enemy, not the crazy loons who took them for ransom, and murdered their friend.
Anger and disbelief greeted the 74-year-old's earlier failure to thank the hundreds of British and American -personnel who worked and risked their lives to free him and his fellow captives, all members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams campaigning organisation.
Gen Sir Mike Jackson, the chief of the general staff, had already expressed dismay at Mr Kember's apparent refusal to say "thank you", saying he was "saddened that there does not seem to have been a note of gratitude for the soldiers who risked their lives to save those lives".
It has also emerged that the hostages refused to take part in a critical debriefing session with intelligence officers who need valuable information on the kidnappers.
Jan Benvie, 51, an Edinburgh teacher who is due to go to Iraq with the same organisation this summer, said: "We make clear that if we are kidnapped we do not want there to be force or any form of violence used to release us."Don't worry, Jan. If you get kidnapped, if it were up to me, you're on your own. No force, no violence, no money, no resources, and not one shed tear, either will be spent on your silly ass when you're gone. Silly, silly girl. This shouldn't shock me after everything else, but it does.
Update: Just read Dr. Sanity's take on all this and it's a must read if you want to understand the psychology of these people. Short take: insane.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:06 PM
Want to make your life better today? Before going to bed, instead of counting sheep, list all the wonderful things that happened. List all the blessings you often take for granted. List everything and anything for which you are grateful.
Want to make your life bigger and better than you ever imagined possible? Do this every day. Make it a habit. Write it down, even. Take ten minutes of every day and write all the things that fill your heart with quiet contentment and unbounded joy. List those teeny-tiny things that make life worth living: fresh water, air to breath, hugs from children, people who love you, people you love, the sky, the clouds, the tree that mesmorizes while watching it blow in the breeze, a soft bed, a comfy chair, a good book, a heart-felt conversation. Everything.
Abundance begins with being grateful for what you've got. Most people have it backwards and say to themselves, "When this happens or I own this, THEN I'll be happy. It never works this way. Gratitude comes first, then more good stuff follows.
Gratitude: the not-so-secret path to happiness is yours today.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 2:12 PM
Friday, March 24, 2006
I was wrong. My husband, regrettably, was right. Cali was reviving and giving us the opportunity to say and do what needed to be said and done before she came to the end of her time on earth. She wasn't getting better, she was finding closure.
Last night, I'm reading the news, everyone is in bed and she groans from the laundry room. It was cold last night so she was inside, thankfully. The groans sounded serious. Frightened. I ran.
There, laying, splayed on the floor looking helplessly up at me was Cali. She had no strength or coordination. She couldn't move. Her wasted muscles shook with effort. Her eyes shone with panic.
I called Steve. A scared, cornered animal, a sick one is dangerous. Even when you've loved and lived with someone for years and trust runs to your toes, caution should be exhibited. He wisely hesitated to move her. I jumped in. If she bit me, so be it. Gently placing her back on her blankets her kind eyes filled with fear and relief, my fear almost got the best of me.
She's nearly 15 years old. She's been healthy that entire time. She has had a good life. It is never long enough. There is more happinesss to share, more petting, more playing, more exploring. There is always more.
Cali didn't want to be alone in the laundry room. When I settled her in, got her more water, checked all her parts and then closed the door she moaned. So we opened the door placing a flimsy barricade so she could see out and we could see in and we could be connected.
This morning she hadn't moved yet. When she saw me, she tried to stand. She couldn't. Steve and I took turns taking her out, holding her up, so she could relieve herself. She fell while trying to pee in the yard. This couldn't go on much longer.
First, she lost her fat, then she lost water, in the last month she had been losing muscle mass, now she was losing her nervous system. Up until this point, we had seen no evidence of pain. We could touch her, hug her, pet her everywhere and she never complained. She never nipped. She never cried out. She ate well and drank well and functioned well, but she was definitely sick.
Today, though, while she still seemed to feel no pain, her fear was palpable. This could not go on. We talked. I called the Vet. A decision was made. 4:30 p.m.
I called my mom. My sister. My brother, who got Cali from my sister as a puppy. We all agreed. Everyone said goodbye to Cali last weekend. Everyone knew it was the end. Everyone but me.
Steve'e folks are in town. His dad always loved Cali. Everyone who loved her most got to say goodbye. Steve and Dick took Cali to the "appointment". When Steve returns, he tells me the Vet cried, too. How do these people do this? What an utterly heart-breaking job. Euthanize. Doesn't really cover it, does it?
Before this, the kids said their good-byes.
"Mama, we need a new dog. Or a new cat. Yeah! A new cat," my son said.
"Cat's die, too, you know," said my daughter.
"Do they? Mama? Do cats die too?" he asked.
"All living things die," I told him. This news disappointed him and he was silent as he pondered the implications.
We hugged Cali. Told her we loved her. My daughter sobbed and ran into our yard. I followed her. Together we cried and picked a place to bury her. Her brother followed us.
"She'll be back tomorrow, right Mama?" he asked, still trying to wrap his mind around the permanance.
"She won't come back, honey. She won't breath. She won't bark or walk. Her body will be here but she will be dead." There. I said it. Dead. My daughter sobbed harder.
While the men ran their grim errand, we colored pictures of Clifford the Big Red Dog to put into the hole with Cali. It was therapeutic and calming.
"Cali will be in Heaven, right Mom?" my daughter said.
"Her body will be in the ground,"I say, "but her spirit will be with God."
"God seems far away," she said. I silently agreed.
"This isn't God's world, "I said quietly, to myself. My daughter heard.
Dinner needed to be prepared. Fed the kids so the adults could have a quiet meal after. Steve and his dad came home. His dad started digging. Steve came around the house holding Cali like a baby.
As the sun was setting during this clear, beautiful, brisk, sun-filled day, we watched the hole get deeper. We petted Cali's head. We peered into her staring, gentle eyes. She seemed so alive. Yet her body was broken. Seeing her this way made me wonder how she hung on so long. Love.
Steve tenderly placed her body in the hole. The colored pictures went in next to her. We looked for a moment.
"We were blessed to have Cali for as long as we did," I say.
"She is the best dog," Steve says.
Everyone nods in silent agreement. The first clump of dirt drops onto her. It's startling, that first clump. The hole is filled quickly. Big rocks are placed on top. She is in a perfect spot.
How do you measure the worth of a loyal, sweet, gentle, protective, friend? Everyone loved Cali. At 35 pounds she was a small Yellow Lab, Greyhound, Chow mix. Saved from death. The runt of the litter. Given no chance to live by the Vet who gave her her first exam.
Cali was the best dog ever. She knew who was good and bad. She growled sometimes, was very good at setting boundaries but never bit one person. She showed special kindness to children. Allowed them to eat her food, take her toys and never complained. The second day after my son was born, a year ago today, I sat in the sun with him. Enjoying spring weather. Cali sniffed the new family member, wagged her tail excitedly and licked his head in a split second before I could move him. She loved every baby in our family and never showed jealousy. They were hers as much as mine.
Until a year ago, she could leap privacy fences. Her biggest joy was treeing every cat in the neighborhood and then going around to their food bowls and eating every bit while they watched helpless from above. She would come back to the house smiling.
Until three months ago she looked like a puppy. Even in her death, her face looked like an innocent puppy-faced baby. Our baby.
Smart, sweet, gentle. The best dog. Ever. I can't believe she is gone.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:02 PM