Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Space Cadet!

Yes, I am a Space Cadet.

Not sure where the intervening days went, but they just slid away, and suddenly, I realize I'm not only a dollar short -- but a day late! And nothing at all to post.

My good friend, Eric, sent this to me, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought I should share it, so here it is.



That really is pretty good advice not just for the holidays, but also for the rest of the year.

And, as Eric reminded me:

"The universe is under no obligation to make sense to any of us."
--Neil deGrasse Tyson

Monday, December 4, 2017

And Another One Bites the Dust

Remember that song? Really kinda gruesome, if you pay attention to the lyrics, but a great beat. But then, a lot of things in this life are a tad gruesome, if you want to stay alive.

Anyhow, I just saw that another one bit the dust – this time Matt Lauer. I admit I had to think a bit on that one, he did daytime tv, which I don't watch. Well, I do watch tv during the day, but not the shows he did. A lot of newscasters, actors, a lot of men are, well, biting the dust. To which I say one word: GOOD!!! It's about damn time!!

A friend and I were having a discussion about this the other night, and we're both on the same side, but he has a slightly different take on it. I say sexual harassment/abuse/rape is about one thing—power. My friend thinks it's about sex and the procreation of the species. The powerful males get the mates; father the children.

I disagree. I see it purely as power. Perhaps I am looking at the picture from a somewhat different perspective than he is. I see the harassment/abuse/rape (hereinafter shortened to rape), as power. Period. If rape did equate to sex and procreation, then men would not rape tiny babies, little boys, old women, or other men. No, it's about power. Purely and simply. They would not use it as a way to emasculate prisoners of war, to turn them into 'tractable females' if it was about sex and babies. No, it's about power. And yes, I am probably over-simplifying the topic, but I do have a limited amount of space in which to vent.

The longer the abuser gets away with it, the harder it is for victims, men or women to come out. Let's be honest until so many women started coming out about Harvey Weinstein, they were abused, harassed, and raped again—by the police, the district attorney's office, the judicial system, as well as the perpetrator who smeared them in public, and threatened them without any form of comeuppance. Many men say they thought it was consensual, and perhaps, in their minds, in their fantasies, it was. But ask the women. The victims. They have a much different story to tell.

Many years ago, I did volunteer work with a rape crisis-counseling group. Rape is not something women make up to get even with a guy. They have to go through too much at the hands of the "system" to make it worth their while. It also isn't something children make up, though if they are questioned by someone who wants them to say something specific, those questioners can lead the child to say whatever the questioner wants to hear. Are the children lying? No, they are trying to please the adult in the room.

I'm really sorry that we're seeing such a rush of accused men, but, ya know what? They asked for it. They worked for it. Do I feel sorry for them? Not on your bippy! I feel sorry for all the women (and men, though there are not as many male victims as female victims) they've abused through the years, especially the ones who were too frightened, too embarrassed, too ashamed to come forward. I hope they can, now, all come forward and get the justice and healing they so richly deserve. Especially the healing.

Many of the victims have paid for their crime of being a victim for years. They are not now wealthy, they are not now suing for money, they are now coming forward to tell their story and do their part to stop the cycle of violence before more are hurt, and I applaud them for that. I support them in that. Yes, it is a shock when I'm confronted with the news that men I have in the past admired are no longer worthy of my admiration, and in fact never were, I just didn't know it. But ya know what? Honesty is worth it. And I do still admire a rare few of the men—those who have owned it, offered no excuses, and have offered genuine apologies. Not as much as I did, and I may never completely trust them again. But I applaud their taking ownership of their problem.

For hundreds of years, the males of our species have blamed the victim when they (the males) couldn't control their own bodies. It is time to stop blaming the victim for the perpetrator's inability to behave. It is time to stop blaming the victim for "allowing" the assault, for somehow "asking" for it by the way she dressed or walked, or talked. It is time for the males of the world realize they control their own bodies, and brains--yes, both their brains. They need to own that responsibility. (They can't control their bodies so they want to control ours? Puh-leeze!)

Yes, another one bit the dust, and I bet we will see a lot of changes made in the coming months. On our televisions, in the movies, the magazines we read, the cops on the beat, the men we thought we knew.


"And another one gone, and another one gone. And another one bites the dust..."

Queen – Another One Bites the Dust https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDaD2G9xjMc

Monday, November 27, 2017

Thanksgiving --For the Rest of Us

Public Service Announcement:
If you are in the habit of sending Auntie Lenora, Rainy Day, or me a Christmas/Winter Gift, they thank you, I thank you. However, this year, instead of buying me something, would you consider donating to a charitable organization to help either the US Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico, instead? I'd appreciate it, and so would they. Please check Charity Navigator for a reputable charity, if you don't already have one. And now, back to our regularly scheduled blog.


Thursday was Thanksgiving Day in my country. Or, as I often call it with just a hint of snark, our National Day of Gluttony. Friday, the day after, officially kicks off our Christmas Season and is called Black Friday. Not in honor of anyone, or anything, other than the store's bottom line. It is Black Friday because, if the stores are lucky, they will cease operating in the red (at a loss) and begin operating for the rest of the year, in the black (at a profit).

Back to Thursday. This a day when many generations of friends and family gather to share feasting and thanks for whatever they wish to be thankful for. The women (traditionally) spend time in the kitchen cooking and later cleaning. The men (traditionally) spend time in front of the TV watching other men bash their brains into mush and argue politics and football teams. The kids (traditionally) make a lot of noise, disrupt the household, and in general are happy, squealing, yelling cowboys and indians (or astronauts and aliens—whatever they are today. Geek and sneak? I dunno, they're kids, who can understand them?)

I turned down many heartfelt offers to share hearth and home with friends this year. I was still getting over a cold, and just didn't feel overly social. Identifying with the Native in me (Catawba), I'm always conflicted about the celebration. I often, privately, or with certain close friends, refer to this particular Thursday as a National Day of Mourning.  Those from the dominant/invader culture don't understand, and that's alright. Sad, but alright. Ignorance is a treatable condition.

I read the poem, "Thanksgiving for the rest of us" by Thomas Hubbard. It's on Poppathomas's Blog at https://poppathomas.wordpress.com. It's the 3d poem down. It's a good poem, an excellent read. Especially if you have ever wondered why the Natives don't get all excited over the day. I have his permission to quote a couple of lines from the poem here. Please, think about them. Think about what, if anything, you can do to change the situation should you think it needs changing.

"let no child be hungry this thanksgiving day...free thanksgiving lunch for the homeless...living in a free country," And what, Poppathomas and I ask, about all the other days when children go to school, go to bed, play, and are hungry? What about all the other days when the homeless stretch on the bus bench in the sun to sleep because it's safer to sleep during the light of day than in the dark of night, even though they are hungry. What about the pollution in our land? The tar sands spill from the broken pipeline across the land of the Sioux? What about our water supply? What about climate change? What about our Veterans without homes, medical/psychiatric treatment, let alone food?

Yes, I am thankful on that particular Thursday, but I try to be thankful every Thursday, and all the days in between from one week to the next. Thankful for the friends and family I have, thankful for enough food to eat, thankful for a home and comfy bed, but I am saddened, too, for the homeless, the hungry, and those who are forcibly separated from their homes, their families, their loved ones for no good reason. Read Poppathomas's Blog, good words and great poetry to be found there. Honest. Trust me.

Lenora

Donate to USVI and PR—check out Charity Navigator to see how your money will be spent. https://www.charitynavigator.org

Buy Almost Like Praying by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Do your part. 


Are you as disappointed in SecDef Mattis and or his office staff as I am? Write him a letter. Let him/them know!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Auntie Lenora says, "Let's Clean House!"

Public Service Announcement:  If you are in the habit of sending Auntie Lenora, Rainy Day, or me a Christmas/Winter Gift, I thank you. However, this year, instead of buying me something, would you consider donating to a charitable organization to help either the US Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico, instead? I'd appreciate it, and so would they. Please check Charity Navigator for a reputable charity, if you don't already have one. And now, back to our regularly scheduled blog.



Unless you live deep in the ocean and never come up for air (and if you do, please leave a comment about how you do that and read this blog!), you have to know about all the allegations going around in regards to sexual harassment and misconduct, including pedophilia.

You will have to draw your own conclusions as to guilt or innocence. I'm not ranting about the allegations, I'm ranting about the something like $17M you and I have paid in settlements the last few years to victims of abuse (admittedly, not all of these cases, were sexual abuse. I understand there are racial and job abuses in this pot, too) by our duly elected Congresspersons.

When victims of sexual assault in the hallowed halls of Congress go forward, the cards are stacked against them. They are forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement, take counseling, wait for prescribed periods of time, and not given access to a lawyer. The Congressperson, on the other hand, gets a lawyer paid for by thee and me, and then if a settlement is agreed to, said Congressperson doesn't pay the settlement—we do!

Is this how we want our tax dollars spent? To cover the settlements, expenses, of some Congressperson who broke if not the law, the moral trust we placed in them? I don't. Especially since the new tax cuts will cost most of us more in taxes! (The "cut" is for the uber-wealthy—who can afford to pay their fair share and have plenty left over. Sigh.)

And we never hear about who accused, who was accused, how much the settlement cost us (remember that non-disclosure agreement?). Nor do we know how many are repeat offenders.

If we pay for their peccadilloes, what lesson do they learn? That we are suckers, and they are powerful!

Do you want a serial sexual predator representing you? How will you ever know? Congress is still a "Boy's Club"—I think we need to elect a lot more women and let them "clean house"—after all, that's what they're good at! /snicker/snort/sarcasm font/


Lenora

Donate to USVI and PR—check out Charity Navigator to see how your money will be spent. https://www.charitynavigator.org

Buy Almost Like Praying by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Do your part. 

Are you as disappointed in SecDef Mattis and or his office staff as I am? Write a letter. Let him/them know!

Monday, November 13, 2017

How Do You Interpret Amendment II of the US Constitution?

"Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

First off, I love firing weapons, whether handguns or rifles. They make noise. They go bang! They destroy things (assuming I hit what I aims at). When I was in the Air Guard, I fired an M16 and was asked to be on the Rifle Team. Yes, I was that good and I seriously considered saying yes, until I realized I'd have to buy all my own practice ammo. Uh, no, guys. That be way too rich for my blood, even at the Base Exchange.

Now SCOTUS has already ruled that citizens are allowed to keep and bear arms, and I'm no lawyer and am certainly not going to try to argue my thoughts in front of such an august forum. BUT (you knew that was coming, yes?) to me, the key phrase is, "A well-regulated militia..." (emphasis mine). And this is one of those cases where I'm not in one hundred percent agreement with SCOTUS. That's okay; they can handle it.

Too many people believe the Second Amendment gives them the right to own, and use, a weapon. And SCOTUS agrees with them. But is it necessary? Unless one is trained to respond, in an appropriate manner, one tends not to. Yes, the young man in Sutherland Springs, Texas who shot the church shooter responded appropriately, but he was on the outside, looking in. He was not on the inside, frozen in shock at what was going on.

I can understand wanting hunting rifles—after all people do still hunt meat for their tables. I can understand wanting handguns just because they are fun to shoot. What I can't understand is why anyone, not in a well-regulated militia, needs an assault rifle. Okay, I can understand why they want one. They are great fun to fire. They're fast, they're noisy, and they are really, truly, destructive. Don't use one on Bambi's mom though; there won't be enough usable meat to bring home to your starving children.

So, what do we do? What about secure firing ranges, in- or out-door, where your pride and joy AK47 can be kept under lock and key and brought out to play with under moderately controlled circumstances? Why do you need to buy and use high capacity magazines for the ammo? (Maybe rent one from the firing range?)

Like I said earlier, firing is fun. Lots of fun. But I don't have a gun in the house. It's certainly not that I'm afraid of them; I just don't want one in the house. As much as I agree with William Saroyan, that "...if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret." I don't think I could totally follow his admonition. Oh, I could kill, of that I am certain. But I would for the rest of my days have great sorrow and regret over the need to do so.

I do believe we need stronger laws regarding the sales and purchases of firearms, and universal background checks are a good start. I really would hate to see them unilaterally banned, but I hate more seeing the NRA ride roughshod over our politicians and the majority of the American People who want common sense laws. I think it's time we stand up for what is right for our children and other living things. Responsible gun control can be, with a little work, a case of having our cake and eating it, too. Let us sit at the Table of Dialog and have a national discussion about it. And a slice of your favorite (and calorie-free) cake.*


Lenora

*All cake eaten at the Table of Dialog is calorie free!


Boycott Football! Save Brains! Save Lives!

Donate to USVI and PR—check out Charity Navigator to see how your money will be spent. https://www.charitynavigator.org

Buy Almost Like Praying by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Do your part. 


For those of you who are still waiting for my response from SecDef Jim Mattis, well, so am I! I'm very surprised, and some disappointed, that I haven't had one by now. Oh, not from himself, but one of his minions. I really don't expect The Man to respond. I guess it's too much fun to try to start a nuclear war than responding to a taxpayer, huh?