Bubble Head

There’s an old saw (with many variations) that often goes like this:  Women give sex to achieve love, men express love to get sex. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, and as with all such sayings, there are those who insist the saying is true while others contend vehemently that it’s false. In my view, the saying appears to have some basis in fact but isn’t true across the spectrum. Will Ferrell (below) creates a third option that might be preferable for some.womengivesexWhen I read about Monica Lewinsky’s most recent foray into the public spotlight yesterday (October 19th), I have to admit my impatience. I expressed my initial thoughts about her re-emergence in the Spring when Lewinsky promoted herself via a Vanity Fair first-person article. These short months later, she’s retelling her story to more than a thousand young entrepreneurs and achievers who participated in the Forbes’ 30 under 30 Summit being held in Philadelphia.

Continue reading “Bubble Head”

Selfie De-generation

Today, I give you the tale of a man and his mistress. It’s a tale as old and sordid as history itself, but also as current as today’s scandal-driven news headlines as well as countless film and television plots. In this particular case, the man has his mistress. He delights in her, lavishes her with priceless baubles and they live together happily for a while, but over time, she becomes increasingly bored and decides to see other men.old-man-and-mistress-1884

Naturally, the man reacts with dismay to this turn of events. He’s jealous and wants her to himself, but the mistress finds his declarations of love to be unconvincing. If he really loves me so much, why doesn’t he make me his wife? she reasons. And, because he won’t marry her, she decides she’s not going to remain in an exclusive dalliance with him. She will toy with his emotions just exactly as he has toyed with hers. Occasionally, she even spends the night with other lovers, a pattern which makes him furious.

Eventually, the man becomes more demanding and quarrelsome, causing the mistress to leave in disgust. She travels to her father’s home to live, completely abandoning her lover. She reminds herself, there are other fish in the sea. Continue reading “Selfie De-generation”

CS . . . I

Customer Service (CS) is an area where retailers try to outdo each other. They may not be able to help the customers distinguish a difference in merchandise, but Customer Service is memorable. Customers remember when they’ve been treated poorly … or when and where they’ve been well-treated and appreciated for being nothing more than a customer.

In this regard, Kohl’s Department Store is a terrific place! For one, our local Kohl’s store isn’t situated in the mall, but in a strip mall area. This location keeps my stress level down because I don’t have to enter the nearby mall itself. (No, I don’t care much for shopping in general.) So Kohl’s is ideal for me … if a product is unavailable at Amazon or must be seen/handled before purchase, Kohl’s works for me. I can find clothing, gifts and housewares all in the same location.kohls2

Kohl’s has a return policy that is crazy good! They call it “Hassle-Free Returns” and they mean it … because as someone who changes her mind, I’ve returned plenty of things so I speak from first-hand experience. I may like an item in the store, then get home and realize the purchase was a mistake. No point in letting that hideous thing be a constant reminder hanging there in the back of my closet … it goes back to the store! Since they promise No Questions Asked – Hassle-Free returns, you’d better believe I’m going to make them keep that promise. Kohls

If you’ve dealt with other retailers who require a pint of blood … and your first-born child (potty-trained, of course) … before they issue a store credit that expires in 30, 60, or 90 days … and you can only redeem it on Tuesday between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., you’ll understand my affinity to Kohl’s and their return policy. Continue reading “CS . . . I”

Domestic Violence

If you expect this post to be another in the long list of comments and criticisms and criminalities of a once-football player, please stay tuned. I’m going to suggest there’s another kind of domestic violence that doesn’t scandalize the masses even though it should.

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/jz7xlx
FROM: http://tiny.cc/jz7xlx

Reading the excellent September 5th post at askthebigot.com, I found myself once again dismayed at the nightmare that masquerades as the state of California! This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of this lunacy. However, because I live in the middle of the country, what goes on at the margins doesn’t always earn my front-burner attention. But “The Bigot” wrote compellingly about why California’s birth certificate makeover is political correctness writ large and disastrous!

This, my friends, is domestic violence. Every boy and girl deserves to know who he or she is. We’re not just talking a name here. Who are their parents? What are the bonafides that uniquely connect them to an identity? What are the family ties and cultural underpinnings that have created that synergism of biological connectedness? Continue reading “Domestic Violence”

Rubberneck Culture

An accident occurs along the interstate. Usually on an interstate, metal-colliding-with-metal is going to happen at a high rate of speed, thus increasing the likelihood of injury and/or death. Whether it’s a simple fender-bender or a more serious multi-car pileup with injuries and even fatalities, most drivers respond in a predictable manner.

automobile accident, 1929
FROM: http://www.vintag.es/2013/04/an-automobile-accident-1929.html

They react with natural but morbid curiosity. They will avert their eyes from the road to see what has happened. In such instances (even for accidents that occur across the median) normal interstate traffic chokes to a crawl. Like sick voyeurs, we find our eyes irresistibly drawn to the misfortunes (perhaps even bloody misfortunes) of others.

I wonder about this rubbernecking of culture. The death of Robin Williams (see yesterday’s post here) was only the latest example of this phenomenon. First, we had the 24/7 media storm. Not just the simple fact that Williams was dead, but instant retrospectives appeared, featuring his life and artistic portfolio, even online photo displays of the inside of his home. There was an intensity in the examination that felt creepy … almost as if his underwear drawer had been laid bare for public scrutiny. Continue reading “Rubberneck Culture”

Help to Live

From the first time I heard the euphemistic term Death with Dignity, I thought it surely had to be a joke. This laughable term describes one’s desire to ease into death, much as one might slip into bed one night … and never wake again. hypodermicThe principle adherents of the death-with-dignity mentality are usually individuals who’ve received a terminal diagnosis. Some supporters are hoping to avoid the high costs of dying while others hope to minimize the pain associated with extended illnesses or others just prefer to pull the trigger (so to speak) at a time of their choosing. 

I’ve always argued the notion of death with dignity is absurd. First and foremost, we’ve all been given a terminal diagnosis; the day each of us was born, we were born with the exact same destiny: death. Is that harsh? Regrettably, it’s true. Continue reading “Help to Live”

Zero Tolerance

FROM: http://tiny.cc/iderix

The cartoon at left echoes a question I remember hearing in my youth. Truth be told, it has the flavor of wonderful iambic pentameter rhythm (minus half a foot). Its rhythmic nature pretty much guarantees it’s a line I’ll love!

Not long ago, I got to thinking about an answer and I automatically related it to the historic occasion when this question took center stage. In full, the question was: Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?

Readers who are younger than me might not remember this question being repeatedly asked by Senator Joseph McCarthy during a series of hearings into potential Communist infiltration of government. A polarizing figure, McCarthy’s name became synonymous with the practice of leveling unfair accusations (without supporting evidence) to quash dissent. While McCarthy was a sincere anti-Communist, his tactics were considered outrageous by some, while others believed only that his methods were detrimental to forwarding the anti-Communist cause. I’ll let you decide for yourself which it was. Continue reading “Zero Tolerance”

The Sometimes Savage God

Bad things happen to people. Notice I didn’t say bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to all people, good and bad. In the colloquial, it’s often expressed as: Spit Happens. And indeed, it does.SpitHappens1

In recent days, there’s been a flood of discussion about rape culture. Though I didn’t actually employ that specific term, my recent post For The Children touched on the concept. In the aftermath of the Leadership Journal fiasco (to which that post referred), I’ve read numerous other articles and posts addressing the issue.

Naomi Hanvey’s post discussed the subject at length within the context of the Christian community. She developed four excellent points:

  1. Rape culture exists
  2. The Evangelical Church does not understand rape
  3. The Evangelical Church does not really care about rape
  4. The Church does not know what to do about rape

I encourage you to read her post for an honest and insightful discussion of this sticky issue, especially as it relates to people who care about living out authentic Christian faith in a culture that makes authenticity a challenging task. Continue reading “The Sometimes Savage God”

The Fairy Tale Is Over

When I was about twelve years old, I remember my first overnight slumber party with friends. Before that occasion, I’d never spent the night with anyone outside my family. When my younger siblings were born, my brothers and I stayed with our cousins, but we were familiar with their house, feeling like it was simply an extension of our own home.sleepover

It’s been a long time since that first “official” sleepover, but that event has stuck in my mind all these years. There were six to eight of my girlfriends in attendance, lots of squealing and giggles, hairbrushes and combs in use, most of the girls clad in baby-doll pajamas, and plenty of stuffed animals and pillows flying through the air as we playfully teased and interacted.

Almost as soon as the night had begun, though, I made a personal (and private) decision that this overnight party would be my last for the foreseeable future. One thing I remember caused me significant discomfort was my friend’s mother who made a point of walking through the house wearing only her panties and bra. Despite my familiarity with my own personal undergarments, I found it disconcerting (and inappropriate) for this grown woman to be so casual in the presence of strangers in spite of (and perhaps mostly because of) our tender ages.

Yes, yes, I know … such occurrences may be the “norm” today. And I’m grateful my friend’s father wasn’t lounging about in his underwear! For me, this was simply an unnecessary display (TMI). Because I knew my parents to be scrupulous and discreet adults, I presumed all parents were like them. Boy, did I have a lot to learn! Continue reading “The Fairy Tale Is Over”

The Right To Live

Their names (in alphabetical order) are:  George Chen (age 19), Katherine Cooper (22), Cheng Hong (20), Christopher Michaels-Martinez (20), Weihan Wang (20), and Veronika Weiss (19). Two women, four men … daughters and sons, each with a unique story of hope and potential … and each one’s life abruptly ended by the soulless act of a self-absorbed narcissistic killer. Their pictures (shown from an online tribute) show carefree, smiling faces, typical examples of eager, playful young people unafraid of tackling their lives head-on. I doubt a one of them anticipated this.

FROM:  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-27593514
FROM: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-27593514

Following the deaths, one of the parents quickly raged − “Why?” − and then he added an even stronger reaction for the media to immortalize. In part, he said:  “What about [my son’s] right to live?” No doubt, he verbalized thoughts each of the parents had agonized over. I can’t imagine I’d have been capable of speech (certainly not coherent speech) at such a time, and I am dumbfounded to think of the pain of their losses.

However, as a life member of the NRA (on whom the parent cast partial blame), I think a measure of balance is essential. Why is it we in America choose to be so narrow-minded about firearms? Yes, narrow-minded and inexplicably naive. We think if we surround ourselves with Gun-Free Zones that we − and more importantly, our children  −  will be instantly sheltered from possible harm. Yet time after time, it is the very “gun-free zones” we’ve blocked off, zones populated by our precious children (whether at an elementary school or a college) where bad actors insist on perpetrating their crimes!Franklin on duh

Further, this murderous individual engaged in a crime of opportunity and designed his rampage for its most sensational impact. All three of the man’s roommates were apparently close at hand; news reports reflect he killed them in the apartment where they lived. We teach our children to beware strangers, but shouldn’t living arrangements for college-aged men and women be scrutinized for similar stranger-danger? Parents make a foolish assumption that sending their adult-children to college means they’ve moved beyond the age of danger. Not so … as this tragedy proved.

Another aspect of this crime of opportunity:  the secured door of a sorority house effectively convinced the gunman to go elsewhere in search of more convenient and readily available targets. The murderer was looking for easy targets. Because his “aggressive knocking” was ignored, he walked away, wandering just around the corner where he came upon other lives to destroy.

I hate talking about this man and his heinous behavior, but I think it’s crucial that we remember the young people who died at his hand. They did have the “right to live.” That right was stolen from them! They are not the first  − nor the last  −  to have their lives carelessly snuffed out by a bad actor. We must not forget them.

But here’s my most important point:  Do not give this knife-wielding gunman a pass! DO NOT! Blaming his behavior on the NRA or “craven, irresponsible politicians” or even blaming his parents is an open invitation to other bad actors to continue committing such crimes! They won’t be blamed. They’ll have a moment of infamy and a place in history books, but their crimes won’t be directly imputed to them:  they were abused in childhood, their parents (or school teachers) treated them cruelly, their siblings (or school mates) made fun of them. It’s always someone else’s fault that the bad actor chooses evil, don’t you know? Perhaps if we would just take the time to understand them and their deeds, we’d be able to prevent future bad actors?

NO! NO! NO! That’s something this individual apparently never learned! Daily appointments with a therapist didn’t resolve his bad behavior. He had plenty of “understanding.” His social alienation seems to have grown, even as professionals continued their efforts to understand him! Such nonsense!

In this case, the murdering perpetrator was given a pass repeatedly, all his life. Parents, nannies, siblings, therapists and teachers all made allowances for a child who aged into boyhood and eventually to manhood without ever having to be culpable of anything! He aged, but he never developed as an adult with strong adult impulse control! The willingness of professionals to give this boy-man a pass, in spite of his clearly harmful, antisocial actions, allowed him to become an egomaniac who never had to answer for his own behavior. Do not give him a pass!

Blame this man for his crimes … he wielded a knife, machete, or ax to kill three men, wielded a pistol to dispose of another man and two young women, all of them unsuspecting and pretty much defenseless (as well as others who were injured). Forget his name, expunge it from any history book or newspaper, and never speak the name again. He wielded the knife and he pulled the trigger; he did so with malice aforethought. The inanimate tools he used did not commit crimes; a man committed these crimes. Never forget the difference, and …