Friday, August 16, 2013

Feminist rant: Sanctioned teen sex in parents' home

The Brothel by Van Gogh (Wiki Commons)

(I speak only about heterosexual intercourse in this column, as I know very little about homosexual teen relationships; however, I would assume many of the same things apply. Childhood is childhood, regardless of the sexual orientation of those in question.)

When I moved in with my current husband, his eldest daughter lived at home. She was 26. The youngest did, also. She was 18.

The 26-year-old was used to having her boyfriend stay the night; fortunately, she didn't have a boyfriend just then.

The 18-year-old (almost) never had her boyfriend stay the night. It was uncomfortable for her, I think, as she is a sensitive soul and considers the comfort of others as much as her own.

I was adamantly opposed to boyfriends sleeping over for either of them. Why? Simple. If one wishes to act like an adult, then one had better accept the rest of the adult world first, including working and paying for one's own house. Until then, the following statement applies:

My house, my rules.

The problem there was that the habit had been sanctioned by my husband's first wife, who had died a few years earlier. The fact that she had herself been pregnant once before wedlock (don't ask; I don't know any more about it) didn't seem to convince her that sanctioning adult relations between non-adult persons in her own home was a bad idea. So, despite the fact that my husband also objected, he didn't rock that boat during his first wife's final illness, all of which meant I was stuck with it. To a point.

Endless childhood

The eldest daughter was not a minor, obviously. But she had never so much as paid a dime toward her food and lodging. Rather, she spent all her money and then some on clothing, and, as it turned out, various forms of "don't ask." I was mistakenly trying not to upset things more than I already had simply by becoming their widowed father's wife, so I didn't make an issue of it. (The two eldest, who shouldn't have given a damn by then, were livid that my husband had fallen in love; the youngest, who had a right to be a bit upset, nonetheless accepted it.)

And then the eldest acquired a boyfriend. It was disastrous in so many ways. He tended to spend all of every weekend laying around our house, getting up at 4 in the afternoon after they had done drugs (I assume) all night in her room. He was a lout. In every possible way. And a drug addict, of course.

Sex, drugs and videotape was NOT going to be the way we lived our lives. So, before too awfully long, we required that the eldest move out. We helped her financially, and encouraged her to get a place by herself, without the lout on the lease, so she could cast the lout aside at will. She didn't, of course. She moved into a place with the lout, who became more and more loutish and more and more drugged out. She was arrested once, with him. That night when she called to ask for bail money, my favorite balloon glass for red wine ended up in shards on the kitchen floor. I had to throw something, such was my frustration at seeing a person who could have been awesome--she is beautiful and intellectually smart--ruin herself over sex with a lout. But children allowed to remain children as long as she would have little to base a common sense lifestyle upon.

Parents are supposed to parent, or else we'd call them fire plugs

Which brings me to my point: What in the name of all that's holy are parents thinking by letting minor children fornicate in the family home? I don't care if family is just a single parent and a single child; the family home is just that, a place where children are taught not only which fork to use, but what makes sense for a good life well lived.

Fornication between minors in the family home does not meet the specs.

Here, simplified, are the arguments:

  • Keeping the kids "safe"
  • Ensuring that there is no abuse
  • Ensuring that birth control is used (are parents going to enter the room when Little Petey is at full salute and check for a helmet?)


  • It constitutes giving children adult privileges BEFORE they have adult wisdom
  • Although kids become physical adults as early as ten, that's food additives speaking, not maturity
  • It is not a family activity
  • It is abusive, a priori, to girls
  • It weakens the leadership of the parents (I was going to say authority, and that's what I meant, but I decided to take the "modern" route)
  • It suggests the promiscuity is not a bad thing (AIDs, STDs, pregnancy, low self-esteem)

The feminist viewpoint

You may do as you will with every one of my points except one: Allowing this to happen in your home is abusive to any daughter involved. 

First, it makes it clear to her (regardless of what you say) that her prime function in life is to be a vessel for sperm-catching.

Second, it makes it clear that you regard the purely physical act that can be successfully performed by any competent primate to be more important than spirituality, education, etc.

Third, it is simply physically harmful. Think about it: There is almost no incidence of vaginal cancer among nuns. Heterosexual intercourse takes a lot more out of the female anatomy--and leaves a lot more behind in it--than it does to male anatomy. "Slam, bam, thank you, ma'am" is the catchphrase for a reason; Men can spread their little swimmers around with relative physical impunity. Every time a woman receives them, she is taking on the task of dealing with them (whether killing them or helping one to its inherent goal), none of which is without physical consequences to the woman. And that's before we discuss abrasive activity, introduction of bacteria, and the soul-deadening effect of having to effect or fake orgasm beginning before one truly understands either human anatomy or human spirituality.

Fourth, you will probably obtain birth control pills for her. I'm not going to post the research here, but young women often have strokes after long years on birth control, and if they also smoke, the stats are even worse. In addition, it is a body-altering chemical; that having been said, it would only be prudent to limit the number of years a woman is obliged, in order to prevent unwanted pregnancy, to take them. Sometimes, it is difficult to conceive after long years on birth control, giving the whole deal a significant double whammy.

There is no upside for a girl/young woman. None. For a boy, yes, probably. Unless, of course, he experiences failure to launch, a situation even further fraught with lurking disasters for both parties.

In the case of my eldest step-daughter, I'm pretty sure that last one wasn't a problem. But all the others were. Literally were. She may have been 26, but she had not yet become an adult. And she had not yet become an adult because she hadn't been raised to become an adult; if a child is allowed to do adult things in the family home, what reason do they have to become an actual adult? What leadership do they have in how to become an adult? How to take responsibility on all fronts?

One out of three makes poor odds

And, when they finally are pushed out of the family home, and possibly begin their own family, what example do they have in guiding their own children to adulthood? None. And that was clearly the case in the eldest daughter's situation. She isn't an adult even now, at well over 30, having had two children out of wedlock with two different, and both execrable, men. One she has kept; the other has been adopted by an intact family that appears to be at least OK. I guess you can tell which one I think is the luckier child.

The youngest daughter? Well, as noted, she almost never had a boyfriend stay the night, and the one time I know of, they were discreet. And she was in a committed relationship with an excellent young man at the time. It was not an ideal situation, but as noted, I came into it late in the game. She didn't marry him; she married another man, even nicer and more industrious and polite than the first. They have two children who are well cared for, nurtured and will have role models as they grow up. And by the way, they never had a sleepover in our house, nor, I think, in his parents' house. They had their sleepovers in his apartment or hers...because they were adults, paying their own way, starting their own careers and lives. And that was reasonable. And none of our business.

I haven't mentioned the middle daughter yet, but it's also a sad and cautionary tale. She left home as a teenager, long before I arrived, because even the permissive nature of the household was too constraining for her. Or, more likely, she wanted to move to Florida--where the drugs flow more easily--with her boyfriend  It is likely she has been a drug addict since she was about 15, having appropriated her dying mother's pain medication, I'm told; she has had a child out of wedlock with a drug addict who has since left her. She is in rehab. She is still a child, waiting for something to save her. It will not be me nor my husband.

My stringent advice is not to let this happen to  you. When your children are children, treat them as such, so they can grow into adulthood in the fullness of time, not when some dingbat promoting teen sex in the family home convinces herself and a few naifs in the news media--and you--that anatomy is destiny. We moved to England to ensure the eldest two could not continue to drain our retirement accounts and our spirits as we grow older and less able to recoup.

It's a shame, really, as we would happily live next door to the youngest and her family. Maybe they'll move to England.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nose-picking on the Internet

Methods for expelling mucus (Wiki commons)

You know how a person will pick his or her nose while driving a car, convinced that it is private space and no one can see the disgusting habit that entices all of us from time to time?

Just so on the Internet; people who are bone-deep cads seem to think that behaving in caddish ways on the Internet is fine. Cad is defined as, "An ill-bred man, especially one who behaves in a dishonorable or irresponsible way toward women" by
It is an archaic British word, but one I think needs to be resurrected and also expanded to apply to women who act in equally dishonourable and boorish ways toward others. (I think boor works, also: "A person with rude, clumsy manners and little refinement: a peasant." But cad includes the dishonourable part, and so is preferred.) Yesterday, I mentioned in response to a call for comments about the travesty of the conduct of the Zimmerman case that the Florida jurors were ignorant. OF COURSE they were ignorant, based on several cogent probabilities.

Support for calling Zimmerman jurors ignorant

First, they were in Florida, a state with a racial problem second to none. Oh, sure, it hides it well under the patina of opening its arms to Cuban refugees (with the exception of Elian Gonzales, but of course Bush's gormless Feds had something to do with that disaster), and under the fact that much of south Florida was built by New Yorkers, Ohioans and Canadians as a place to retire their snow-brittled bones. Having a visible population of northerners gives Florida a soupcon of race relation respectability, except, of course, not every northerner is free of racial prejudice, not by a long shot. 
Second, it pays to recall that of all the states involved in the Supreme Court's ultimate selection of George W. Bush to be the first moron president of the United States, Florida led the pack, captained by Katharine Harris who was subsequently handsomely rewarded for her misconduct, and from which the state's current governor learned how to manipulate the vote without the public drama. He simply purged the voter rolls of every voter who could possibly have been black. No hanging chads; hell, Florida has just about got over hanging Chads...and Willies*. (My apologies to at least two very intelligent and decent Floridians, but they already know I'm not talking about them, but rather about the lowest common denominators of that state's population.)

Third, Florida rants in the low average column for education in half a dozen surveys I've seen.

Fourth, the defense in this case--knowing it had a vicious reprobate as a client--would have dismissed any juror showing the least glimmer of intellect or decency. It appears the defense, taking a page from the OJ Simpson Book of Courtroom Idiocy, did not reject those rejects.

Fifth, the prosecution was as dim-witted as Marcia Clark and Chris Darden. As they failed to easily refute the bloody glove defense in the OJ case (duh...people...leather shrinks after being soaked in liquid. Blood is a liquid), so the prosecution in this case failed to shrink-wrap the defense notion of a bit of pavement being a weapon for Trayvon Martin. No, Martin had not picked up a chunk of it to USE as a weapon; he was holding Zimmerman down on a long stretch of pavement. Was he hitting Zimmerman's head against it? Who knows? We were not there. Zimmerman was, but he has had so many untoward incidents in his past, it would hardly be prudent to take his testimony without a grain of salt. I doubt he much feared a perjury charge. 

Can we teach everyone the basics of intellectual argument, PLEASE?

OK. Now back to my cad experience. 

So, after my opinion that the Florida jury was ignorant, The Cad--rather than supplying facts to cause me to rethink my contention--simply implied that I was a profound idiot...which in itself is idiocy because, if I were, I could hardly have managed a relatively lengthy post on Facebook. Later, he claimed he hadn't called me an idiot, he had merely said what I wrote was idiocy. It is impossible to sever writer from writing (no, I do not produce this stuff by automatic writing delivered gratis from the spirit world). Had he wished to do anything other than call me names, he might have written, "I find your contention regarding Florida jurors to be without merit because....XYZ."

Worse, The Cad claims to have taught at-risk Florida students. Oh, boy. I guess he didn't instruct them in avoiding ad hominem attacks and in how to construc logical arguments. But then, to teach it, you first have to know it.

Nor did he back off when I verbally slapped his face, and told him that I would have done so in the flesh and not in words if he had attacked me that way in person. He STILL didn't back off, so, a second time, I told him his face needed a good slapping. I broke off contact as it was apparent that he is incapable of realizing that part of being a fully functioning adult human being includes logical discourse, not playground rank-outs. Maybe he's been with the kids too long. But I suspect he thinks he is safe on the Internet, and possibly he is. I am not going to post his name here; I don't relish as bogus lawsuit from him. So yes, he is safe as far as that goes. He can pick his mental nose until the cows come home, but he can't pick mine.

But The Cad is also unethical, unconscionable, ill-bred, uneducated and vicious as ascertained by a look at his actions. Precisely as, I expect, Zimmerman might turn out to be if he were to attempt a debate on an issue. He couldn't subdue Trayvon Martin without killing him, if the young man even needed subduing which it appears he didn't, or at least hadn't until Zimmerman baselessly stalked him. Just so, The Cad would probably not be able to endure a 'back off' order like the one Zimmerman received regarding Martin, and would doubtless attempt to subdue this uppity woman with some sort of nuclear flyswatter or other. 

I hasten to add, I have been called names by women for my opinions on Facebook, as well, especially when my opinion included my displeasure in the currently popular methods of displaying one's cool, an opinion I'm certainly entitled to hold and express, considering that the current display of "cool" is in itself a personal expression. I guess I was the lobster trying to climb out of the boiling water, and lord knows American society can't tolerate THAT. I mean, look at how many people want Snowden lynched. Still, I wonder if it is simply coincidence that the worst offender among my experience of female cads also lives in Florida. Apparently, Floridians are all vigilantes now, since the Stand Your Ground law went into effect, and they have clearly established the Sunshine State Thought Police as well as Bozos Against Black Folk.

God help us.

* A very, very probably innocent black man hanged in Florida in the late 1980s, while I lived there. It was almost physically impossible--not just improbable--that he had killed a man, all known at the time of his execution. It was a horrific time to be in Florida...and even more horrific to be Willie Darden and his family.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


A vaccination lesion on a cat. The same sort of thing happens to many humans. (Wiki commons photo)

EDITOR'S NOTE: The medication in question has, like so many others with big TV budgets, been removed from the market. Not because of what I wrote, since I never published this before, but because eventually, enough people are sickened-maimed-killed for pharmaceutical company profits that the lawsuits litter the earth, and--since they've already made a bundle--the ethics-challenged pharmaceutical companies take them off the shelves.

A recent article in The Telegraph in the UK, about the pseudo-forcing of flu shots on kids and shingles shots on older folk brought this to mind, and I thought I'd offer it to my readers.  



Like a lot of other Americans who don’t believe God is spelled D-o-c-t-o-r, I’m a little tired of seeing TV ads for prescription medications one can ask one’s doctor about taking.  But this week, the ads for Wellbutrin tm pushed me over the edge; I am now in full-tilt revolt against the pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Here’s the gist of the TV spot:  Take Wellbutrin tm for depression because there’s a low incidence of sexual side effects.  If you take it, you may, however, experience one or more of these side effects:
·       Seizure
·       …….
OK.  Stop right there.  Why would anyone want to risk a seizure to get over a little bout of feeling blue, or even a large bout of feeling blue?  I mean, crying in public beats the pants off falling down on the floor unconscious, getting carted off to the emergency room at some outrageous cost, and having one’s driving privilege revoked.  Because in many states, if you show up at a hospital and get diagnosed with a seizure, you don’t have to worry about informing the Dept. of Motor Vehicles about it; the hospital will.  You can then forget about getting behind the wheel until six months have passed without another incident.  By then, of course, you will either have lost your job (talk about depressing!) because you can’t get there, or annoyed friends and family with constant requests for rides here, there and everywhere until you don’t have many of those either (talk about depressing!), or maybe you’ve just killed yourself because you couldn’t deal with the depression the side effects of this feel-good capsule produced.
Well, you might think, but how many folks would suffer that side effect?  Don’t know.  The Web site I viewed didn’t have those numbers and, frankly, I didn’t feel like hunting for them.  The fact that that side effect is the one now mentioned FIRST in their TV spot said it all for me.
But wait, there’s more.  In case the thought of a seizure doesn’t put you off, maybe one of these unpleasant possibilities will:
·       Dry mouth
·       Headache
·       Increased sweating (how nice!)
·       Nausea/vomiting (how quaint!)
·       Constipation  (I didn’t say a word)
·       Anxiety
·       Fatigue
·       Blurred vision (another one that’s really fine for driving skills)
But wait, there’s more.  The Web site also advises reporting promptly:
·       Unusual weight loss or gain
·       Palpitations
·       Agitation
·       Trouble sleeping
But wait, there’s more.  These are labeled “Unlikely, but report promptly:”
·       Tremor
·       Dizziness
·       Fainting
·       Mood changes
·       Slowed movements
·       Difficulty urinating
·       Decreased sex drive (AHA!)
·       Drowsiness
And then there is the “Very unlikely” category, which includes:
·       Seizures
·       Mental problems
·       Fever
·       Muscle aches
·       Yellowing of the eyes or skin
Reading on a bit in the disclaimer on the Web site, one might get the idea that this drug is for people on heavy-duty mood altering medication.  It says: “Suddenly stopping certain tranquilizers (e.g., diazepam, chlordiazepoxide) is not recommended because doing so may increase the risk of having seizures.”
Yipes.  So maybe it’s fine, then, about all those other side effects.  But hey, if a patient is already juiced out of their gourd on deadly chemicals in tiny doses packed in pastel pills, why would that person be worrying about the incidence of sexual side effects anyway?  From the disclaimers on the Web site, it would appear that most of the people who would seek or use Wellbutrin tm are, well, outside the mainstream of human interaction already.  In short, if you’re drugged out of your senses, then it would seem the only sex you might be betting would be the sort which, when a result of Rohypnol, is called Date Rape.  In short, if you’re so fuzzy-headed you don’t know which end is up, someone’s probably taking advantage of that situation, and you don’t know much about it anyway, so again, who cares?
About that point in the research, I thought it would be nice to have the manufacturer’s name.  But it is not to be found on the Web site I was viewing, the one through which you can place really big orders for the stuff.  Still, looking for it was fun.  That exercise revealed that the non-timed-release version of the drug, in its development and post-marketing phase (so apparently it was released for sale while still being developed?  I thought the FDA was involved here….), offered lots of other side effects.  Lots.  I mean like a dozen or more for each of the systems in the human body, from brain to butt.  These I really liked:
·       cystitis
·       abnormal ejaculation (AHA! again)
·       urinary incontinence (lovely!)
·       menopause (Why bother waiting for those hot flashes!  Have them now!)
·       penis disorder
·       vaginitis
Those were not all of the genitourinary system disorders, just my favorites.
            Some people will say I’m over-reacting or using scare tactics, or that I am politically incorrectly assaulting the hopes of the poor, downtrodden depressed population. 
I say: If you think courting any one of the few possible side effects I have mentioned might be fun, why not do this?  Just go find someone who has epilepsy and ask if he or she would recommend taking the chance of getting it.  Ask someone with Parkinson’s disease if having tremors is a treat.  Do you enjoy gaining weight?  Swallowing Milk of Magnesia?  Do you want your penis, for crying out loud, to be disordered?  Or perhaps the sweats and cravings and sometimes hair loss and other menopausal excitements excite you.
            I have been depressed.  Everyone has been depressed.  (Well, maybe not Dr. Phil or Dr. Wayne Dyer.  But everyone else.)  I may even, at times, have been clinically depressed.  My mother was depressed forever.  I have relatives who had been diagnosed with severe mood disorders.  And I’m a freelance writer; I’m always living on the edge, always waiting for a check or screaming for it, and sometimes tucking my tail between my legs and asking friends or family for a bailout.  Talk about depressed!  I have found a good book, a glass of wine, a walk down a country lane, or even planning something pleasant helps.  I may still feel depressed, but less so than otherwise, and a lot less so than risking any one of the disasters described on that Web site.
            Even on my worst dark, lonely, depressed days—when my rent is due, the car needs work, my dog is out of food, I’ve had pasta for one week straight and my publishers still haven’t sent the check—you couldn’t pay me all the royalties of Gone with the Wind, Catcher in the Rye and the Harry Potter books combined to get me to swallow one single sample of Wellbutrin tm.
            By the way, the manufacturer of the stuff was GlaxoSmithKline.

Copyright 2013 by Laura Harrison McBride

Friday, June 14, 2013

Table manners cut the sheep from the goats

(Formal place setting, Wikipedia)

Americans are goats.

I realize most liberal commentators--hell, anyone with a working human brain--usually refers to Americans as sheep, mainly because of the way they allowed George W. Bush to lead them into bondage over a stage-managed putative terrorist attack.

But actually, they are goats.

Goats are more intelligent than sheep, which would tend at first to suggest that Americans, dumbed down by hook and by crook, cannot be goats.

However, one may be willfully obtuse if one has a brain, and goats--as do Americans-- have a reputation for being a bit stubborn. Goats also are not nearly as attentive and protective of their young as are Americans, who proclaim loudly and widely about loving kids, but actually generally fail to raise them...but that's another rant for another day.

Goats also have rather annoying table habits. According to Wikipedia, when goats investigate something new:

They do so primarily with their prehensile upper lip and tongue. This is why they investigate items such as buttons, camera cases or clothing (and many other things besides) by nibbling at them, occasionally even eating them.
I suspect a table at which goats had dined would look a lot like the one described to us on night recently by our favorite restaurateur.

International relations

Suzanne said a group of semi-Americans (that is, a mixed group of Brits and Americans) came in together for dinner one night. They passed the dishes of food around as if they were in a Chinese restaurant. And she couldn't tell when they were finished eating because of the completely American way they left their plates. That is to say, cutlery was everywhere, and the tables were an awful mess when it was all over.

How do Americans leave their plates, I asked, being a former American, and being curious.

"Well," said Suzanne (also a former American),  "They don't place their knife and fork across the top of the plate; they just leave the cutlery any old place, on the table, on the plate any old way...." She didn't say on the floor, but having worked in family restaurants in the US years ago, that's a distinct possibility.

A light bulb went off, though. Aha, thought I, now I know why waiters and waitresses in the States used to ask me if I was finished when it was clear that I was, the knife and fork having been placed across the top of my plate. They didn't know. They had no idea that the signal for being finished with one's meal is to place the knife and fork side-by-side across the top of the plate.

Dining boot camp

I was taught such things early, and I suppose I just thought everyone knew them. I was also taught not to bang the sides of my glass with the spoon while stirring sugar into iced tea (this would not be an issue in the American South where iced tea comes already sweetened.), nor on the side of a cup when stirring tea or coffee. I was taught not to gulp from a glass, nor make sucking noises with a straw. I was taught to scoop soup away from me, and to tilt the bowl away when I needed to get the last drops. I was taught to put the spoon down on the service plate, if any. I was taught to wipe my lips after eating before sipping from a glass.

I was taught to handle a knife and fork American style--switching hands between cutting and conveying food to mouth--because that's the way my mother's family did it. My father, however, was raised and taught table manners by an Irish mother from Ireland and so he ate English style, fork in left hand, knife in right, throughout the meal. When I began traveling to Ireland and England in my early 30s, it was easy for me to make the switch, and I've never gone back.

A view of tongue and tonsils, etc.

Whether one eats American or English style, though, some things transcend culture. One of those is signalling that one is finished to anyone--waiter or Mum--that you are finished. Another is wiping lips before drinking. And another biggie is eating with the mouth closed.

Years ago, my husband and I took my father out for dinner to our favorite Italian restaurant in NYC, Monte's in Greenwich Village. He'd been there with us before, and also liked it. But that evening, as we ate, I was aware that my father was uncomfortable in the extreme, picking at his food, looking down at his plate. Eventually, he began behaving as usual, talking and cracking jokes. What was all that about, I later asked him.

It was awful, he said. A man directly in his line of sight had been eating cheese ravioli carbonara with his mouth open, which was turning my father's stomach. When the man left, my father was able to enjoy his meal once again.

And then there's the editor. I had to invite him to lunch. There was a problem that needed to be solved, and it seemed the best way to do it was over an expensive lunch; New York publishing works that way. I hesitated, dragged my feet for weeks. Finally, it could wait no longer. I needed the money, and I had to face it. Courage, I told myself. It won't last longer than two hours. I figured I could endure anything for two hours. So I sent him a note, he accepted the invitation, and I sought the strength to get through a long lunch of what my father endured so that I could come away with the problem solved. Since the problem was my royalties, okay, it was worth it. But just.

What do you do when there is a salt cellar but no spoon for it? How do you get the salt out?

Answer: Use your CLEAN knife, before it has been used for anything else, and dip a bit of salt out of the salt cellar. Deposit the salt on the side of your plate, and add it to your food as you eat each bite with your fork.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Where is FDR when one needs him? Fear itself rules America

Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933 (Wiki Commons)
Getting close to 100 years ago now, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, in his first inaugural address, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." He was referring to the devastating depression then gripping America. And he backed up his exhortation by fearlessly bashing his cabinet and Congress to enact programs to help the American people. This was very unlike anything anyone--and I sadly include Mr. Obama--has done since that smirking chimp first darkened the White House door.

These days, Americans fear just about everything. They fear "socialized medicine" which is their way of saying, "I have health insurance and I'm afraid if we make it possible for everyone to have it, then I won't be better than you."

They fear gun control, which is another way of saying, "If you take my gun, how am I going to protect myself from the people I FEAR might want to take something of mine?" Forgetting, of course, that it will be more difficult--not impossible as nothing is foolproof--for those who want to rob them to have guns, too.

They fear Arab terrorists because they think 19 of them took down the World Trade Center, damaged the Pentagon, and plowed a plane full of people into a Pennsylvania field. The fact that all the so-called hijackers died and could not be questioned, and that the only word we have for it that Al Qaeda was behind it came from the mouth of George W. Bush, doesn't impress them with the possibility that all may not be as it seems. The fact that physically the planes could not have taken down the towers also seems lost on them. And the fact that the BBC announced the fall of Tower 7 a full 20 minutes before the building--not hit, not even pinged or set afire--came down in a neat, implosive footprint. It doesn't even occur to them that it might not all be true despite the incontrovertible evidence that Georgie lied to them--and suborned the otherwise honorable Colin Powell into agreeing--that Iraq had WMDs.

Folks, I'm here to tell you, if you doubt even slightly the facts of 9/11 as purveyed by the government and its wholly owned news sources (political donations, people, and a weak FCC said to be run by the CIA and bob's your  uncle), then you're fearing the wrong stuff.

What you need to fear is what went on in Boston today, and the almost unanimous outcry that the government is right in locking down a major city, violating human rights and hunting an alleged criminal--note, alleged, not proven guilty, not even charged yet--with all the military hardware at its disposal. The unanimous thought that this is both correct and the American way and a way to ensure their safety. One must ask: Would that be the same safety the military and police guaranteed on Monday when unknown persons for unknown reasons killed three and maimed 180 others? Would it be THAT safety you are happy to allow your freedom to be at least temporarily snatched to ensure? 

Would it surprise you to realize that those very protectors, in Boston on Monday for a bombing drill exercise, were as useless as the aircraft involved in the Vigilant Guardian exercise on the East Coast on 9/11? Odd protectors, those, involved in PRECISELY what happened and able to do nothing. Are those the people you are allowing to cage you like rabbits to protect your safety? Did you not notice that after 9/11, they used your fear to erode your personal freedom substantially via the Patriot Act? To compromise your own future and your children's by engaging in at least one war--and probably two--based on lies? To destabilize the global balance of power because Little George wanted to stop those nasty Arabs from walking over Big George's face rendered in a Baghdad hotel floor mosaic after the Gulf War?

Almost universally, Americans think it is OK to hunt the alleged bomber with anything up to and possibly including nuclear devices. They think they'll have a live, arrested bomber at the end of it so they can get to the bottom of it. I think they are wrong; there is no way the bomber will live through capture. 

Some of those very fearful people say he's running because he's guilty. Well, of course he would. 

But also possibly he's running because he's being chased and doesn't trust law enforcement or US jurisprudence to sort it out ethically and fairly, and who could blame him? People who are caught up in US government matters such as this have a tendency to end up dead, beginning with Booth for shooting Lincoln, right through to BOTH deaths surrounding JFK's murder. The shooter and the shooter of the shooter...amazing, really. The only exception can think of is RFK's killer, Sirhan B. Sirhan.

I can't help but wonder whether Americans are so ready to trade freedom for the illusion of safety just because they have not had war on American soil (unless you count the Indian massacres) since the War of 1812. Americans didn't suffer, as a people, the horrors Europeans suffered in WWII (despite the fact that US likes to claim it "saved" Europe, although the British taking the Battle of Britain with courage and ferocity and all of Europe resisting in ways Americans never imagined had at least as much to do with it. That and Hitler being an overextended madman.)

Americans are a fearful lot, easy prey for any gormless jackass like Bush with his history of lies and no-shows, killing for fun (frogs ARE living beings), and bone-deep lack of compassion; such people, also generally excellent showmen, can play with fearful people the way cats play with mice. And Bush surely did that. 

Such people are easy prey for a Congress full of bagmen who promised to keep them safe via draconian erosions of the Constitution if the citizens will just let them take baksheesh from corporations that want to own the world. 

They are easy prey for media companies who understand all too well that their continued well-being depends on their convincing Americans of untruths (please see WMDs, above.)

That's enough. That's all I can stomach; it's Friday, and a good dinner will happen soon if I stop writing and start cooking. 

After that, I'm taking the weekend off from worrying about how my former countrymen and women are going to justify to their kids or to themselves why they traded their inalienable rights for the hollow promise of safety from deadly acts, itself arising from their former complacence when morals-challenged dimwits like Bush pulled the wool over their eyes again and again and again.

No wonder most of the alternative press calls them sheeple.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No such thing as a coincidence

You can't make this stuff up.

On HuffPost Live just now, I noticed two sidebar headlines. The first said, "Two explosions at Boston Marathon finish line." The second, just below it, said, "George Bush is comfortable with Iraq war legacy."

It might pay to note that there are, in the world we know, no coincidences. But it may not be a case of the editors choosing to juxtapose these two thoughts; the quantum field of the universe has a tendency to connect things along its own lines, just as water seeks its own level.

No matter how you want to view it, it is unlikely these two statements were a coincidence.* At some level, they were meant to be, shall we say, suggestive.

This Coincidence Rangefinder is the only real coincidence of which I am aware...and the name alone suggests....well, figure it out. (Wiki Commons)

Here's some more food for thought:

There were so-called terror attacks before the World Trade Center attacks, if attacks they were. Controlled demolition is so much more scientifically plausible. So what made those 'attacks' different?

The prior so-called terror attacks did some damage. But those prior attacks, such as the bomb at the Atlanta Olympics and the first World Trade Center bombing in the basement, did not cause a galvanizing of American attitudes. They were not significant enough, not murderous enough.

But the World Trade Center event was. It was horrific. But it was less horrific than it might have been had it been carried out an hour later. New Yorkers go to work in offices between 9 and 9:30, not between 8 and 9 like the rest of the world. I thought, at the time, that it was lucky that the terrorists were unfamiliar with New York work habits so that only 3,000 were killed, instead of the 50,000 that would have been killed had the attacks occurred an hour later.

And then, as the years passed, I thought otherwise. I thought that whoever actually had masterminded the event knew perfectly well how many people, in round numbers, were likely to be in those buildings at that hour. My husband, just a while ago, said, "So why didn't they do it a 2 in the morning, then? There would have been hardly anyone there."

Why indeed, I wondered. But actually, if one sees the WTC destruction as part of a larger picture, it is fairly simple; at 2 in the morning, there would have been, as with the trial-run terror events, too little damage to galvanize Americans against an identified enemy. Al Qaeda, for example, leading (circuitously, but surely, since Americans had by then been whipped into an anti-Arab frenzy) Iraq. Which had nothing to do with 9/11, nothing to do with Bin Laden, no WMDs...just a man who hated a member of the Bush family, had in many ways bested him, and put his face in mosaics on a hotel floor. (In case you don't know, one of the biggest insults in the Arab world is showing someone the bottom of your shoe; Bush Sr., by proxy, got to see the bottom of every Iraqi shoe that entered that hotel.)

No, for the mastermind of an event such as the Twin Towers fly-ins and subsequent demolition, just prior to the workday was the perfect time. Had the falling towers killed most of the 50,000 people who inhabited them at prime working hours, it would have overwhelmed even New York's ability to cope, even with abundant aid from neighboring states and the federal government. It would have risked major contagion. It would have created emotional wounds so large, people would not have been galvanized, but rather sent into a state of shock so deep that they would not be able to be whipped into a frenzy of fear and hatred. They would have been numb. For a long time. So, indeed, whoever masterminded it did a sterling job. Unfortunately.

The only thing I'm wondering now is who masterminded the Boston Marathon murders--for that's what they are--and why. Why go to the insulting lengths of ensuring that joyful runners lose their limbs, a cruel twist in the bombing that appears to have been part and parcel of the intent, in addition to destroying an American icon, the race itself. What's in it and for whom?


When trying to solve any mystery, follow the money. After 9/11, the money trail led directly to the pockets of defense contractors and their wholly owned politicians. Granted, it took more than a year for that cash to start flowing--Bush had to uselessly destroy Afghanistan first and create an even more entrenched hatred for America. But flow it did, I understand to the tune of something like $39 billion to Cheney's Halliburton alone.

Bush could never have gotten his unethical, useless, expensive, murderous wars going without the impetus of the World Trade Center attacks. The previous attacks were too small, too lacking in true horror and drama, and touched too few people. No national icons were destroyed. An already jaded population had looked up for a moment, then had yawned and had gone back to sleep.

The Boston Marathon is a national icon. It allows all comers to participate; it is among the most egalitarian sporting events in the world. Immediately, the right wing whackjobs claimed it was God's price for recognizing gay marriage. (How the hell they put these things together is really scary; their god would kill athletes, abled and disabled, in recompense for recognizing marriage between that same god's creatures? Holy cow. Disbelief is the least of a sane person's reaction to that.)

But again: why the Boston Marathon? What's in it for the mastermind of the disaster? I realize this appears to say I think Bush masterminded the World Trade Center attacks. Let me put it this way: He may have been a shill--he's stupid enough--but it sure wasn't some half-dead zealot in an Afghan cave and a dozen ignorant peasants who masterminded it. (Red herrings abound.) Nor did Bin Laden have anything to gain. He may have been half-dead, but he wasn't half stupid. He had to know a cowboy like Bush would rain bombs down upon anyone between him and the frog he currently wanted to kill** for fun and profit. Bin Laden, it seems to me, was a bit more cagey than that.

We have yet to find out who is behind the horrible loss of life and limb at the Boston Marathon Bombing. (I refuse to shorten it for convenience to Boston Marathon; the Boston Marathon is good, the BOMBING needs to bear the emotional weight of this.) But I am certain beyond doubt that attempts will be made to galvanize the American people against someone, to ensure their continued fear of anything that moves, to convince them that constructing yet the next deadly transfer of the world's money to the pockets of evil trolls that is forthcoming is acceptable.

I would be happy to be proved wrong.


* Two quotes on coincidence:

“Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.”
Albert Einstein, The World as I See It
“The concept of randomness and coincidence will be obsolete when people can finally define a formulation of patterned interaction between all things within the universe.”
Toba Beta, Betelgeuse Incident

** My favorite peek into Bush's character is the apparently true story of him putting firecrackers in the mouths of live frogs and lighting the fuse, then tossing the frogs out over a pond to watch them explode. I'm going to throw up. Every time I think about that as a boyhood activity of a US president, it turns my stomach.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The secret to living well is all in the big toe joint

An article in Huffington Post this morning said gout--that disease of rich old fat guys that made their big toe joint swell painfully--is back. They blamed it on "consuming alcohol, red meat, shellfish, organ meats and high-fructose corn syrup."  They also advised that hypertension, kidney disease and diabetes are all associated with gout.

According to HuffPo, this luscious paella--with lots of pork, chicken, spices and tons of mussels--ought to be a gout-sufferer's nightmare, especially served with red wine. Not in my house!  (Wiki Commons)

On both counts, I would have to say bullshit.

I've never had gout, and I have had hypertension for decades. Really. My homeopath took it into consideration years ago, assessed my overall health and what he knew of my constitution, and told me not to worry about it. (Good thing. The only reason I knew I had it was that I had made the mistake of going to a doc-in-the-box once during a holiday when I had the flu and they took my blood pressure and instantly decided that they needed to prescribe pills, which I declined. They were aghast. You'll die, they warned me, really soon. I believe that was in 1995.)

My homeopath also told me salt was not the culprit; some people just have naturally higher blood pressure than the charts desire, and live to be 100. That's my plan anyway.

I might add that, for most of the time between the doc-in-the-box scare and today, I got lots of exercise riding and training horses and riders, and I read labels on food--anything I didn't make from scratch--as if my life depended on it. Which it does.

My dear gouty suitor

Two weeks after I first met my husband, he developed gout. He was in pain. He got over it. He had another attack a couple of weeks later. He got over it. And once again before we got married.

After we got married, I was in charge of his diet. In seven years, he has had exactly one attack of gout, and we both attribute that to a packaged fondue we had one night. Simple cure; never buy and eat that garbage again. We eat tons of cheese, though, so it wasn't the cheese that did it. It was probably the unpronounceable stuff at the end of the ingredient list that I decided wouldn't hurt us "just this once." Wrong.

The HuffPo article says that "Doctors can also prescribe drugs to lower your uric acid level." Sure they can. And you can pay for them. And the ethics-challenged CEOs of Big Pharma can get richer, you can get weaker as you suffer whatever those drugs cause and take more drugs to cure that, and the environment can become more polluted as you piss away all that money and your health as well into the sewers. (Water treatment plants do not and cannot trap every molecular substance that enters them; hence, you're ensuring that fish don't get gout. Expensively in every way.)

The article notes that gout rates have doubled in the past twenty years. Really? Imagine. People eating a diet filled with an ever-increasing variety of non-food consumed as if it were real, nutritious food, and gout doubled. What a surprise!

Come eat with us. You won't get gout. You may be a tad overweight because we eat cheese and red meat (lots of it, actually, Simon being the original meat-and-potatoes guy), shellfish (well, I do as Simon isn't served well by shrimp and doesn't like mussels, the later of which I consume with gusto every chance I get), butter, wine, gin....

Nor do we get as much exercise as we used to. The only horse I ever really loved to ride is retired, and it rains a lot in Cornwall anyway. We are both fair-weather exercisers.  And still, no gout.

It all comes down to real food

It's obvious to me what the secret is: food. Period. Real, honest food, as lightly laced with the junk of technological food processing as it is possible to get it. If we have one leftover industrial food in our diets, it is bread. I would like to start making bread again, as I did when I was young and broke, but the pitiful oven that came with this house won't do it. Changing it means redesigning the whole kitchen, so a new oven is on hold for a while.

But I hope not too long. So far, Britain's better breads don't seem to be too garbage-laden; one can actually pronounce the ingredients. Flour, water, oil, yeast. That sort of thing. Sometimes a "dough conditioner." Well, there it is. If a few grains of one's diet come from a test tube rather than a pasture or garden, I guess you can still stave off the gout. But when it comes to keeping my loved ones healthy, I'd prefer to do it with diet every time.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Plague: It's the only solution


There are almost too many problems in modern society--in the US, the UK, the EU, and even less so-called civilized locales--to decide even which ones to deal with first. Or so it appears from the working class and middle class points of view. The points of view, basically, of all those who have historically spearheaded revolts of various sorts against the status quo (admitting that sometimes it is the poor who begin a period of redress.)

But if one looks at the current problems from the point of view of the rich or the poor, the landscape is very different.

From the landscape of the rich, it would appear that the only problem is how to get rid of all those poor people, not needed in a highly developed post-industrial society, so they won't have to find ways to keep them alive with minimal squawking.

From the landscape of the poor, it looks as if the only problem is how to get some of that money away from the rich to, perhaps, begin businesses in order to sell things to the rich and thus be able to feed themselves and their children.

In both cases, what is really needed is the plague.


In his wonderful book, The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, Ian Mortimer makes it clear that what changed feudal society with its serfs and villeins* into a modern one of people paid fairly for work produced was the plague. It simply wiped out so many of the productive members of society--the poor, the marginal workers, those bound to an earl's estate and so on--that the only way the wealthy could get the work done that they needed was to pay for it, and pay better than ever before. Nor would people any longer consent to being serfs, or virtual serfs. They demanded freedom, and they demanded wages. They could do this simply because of the unforgiving necessities of supply and demand. Too many workers for the available tasks: workers starve. Too few for the available tasks: workers thrive.

So, what we need now is a plague. Unfortunately, the modern age has produced sufficient drugs (their deleterious effects on the environment notwithstanding) to keep almost any illness--bacterial or viral--from wiping out great numbers of a population. Even Bush's wars (not to mention the trial-balloon war, Vietnam) have failed to remove sufficient sperm donors from the planet to limit the increase in proles enough to keep the wealthy cared for, but not nattered at to be more generous.

Bush did, however, begin a plague on the lower classes in another way: his education program, No Child Left Behind. When children finish 12 years of schooling by demoralized teachers who teach to test, and those tests have been created specifically to ensure children can regurgitate minimal amounts of semi-useless information, but not think, they are almost too stupid to work. Certainly, they are too stupid to engage in meaningful societal change. They have not ever encountered an idea--a galvanizing idea such as ensuring abundance for all, the abundance the planet is capable of providing--so they cannot possibly work toward fulfilling an idea.

But then what? They don't have work, or at least not enough work or high-paying enough work. So they become a drain on society by needing benefits or by engaging in theft or other unsavory things.

This won't do!

Ah...but cleverly, the upper crust has learned how to turn those few who still do make a good living against those who don't. Who cannot, as the deck is stacked wildly against them. At the same time, of course, the upper crust is forcing the middle class to pay the taxes to support the unemployed; the rich do not pay. Why should they? They control it all. 

Any way you slice it, the US and very probably the UK and the EU and everyone is in a pickle. You may not see the iron collar of a serf around too many necks, but if you will be quiet for a few minutes, preferably after you've done your monthly bills and had a good gander at income and outgo, you might well be able to feel it on your own neck.

The only solution, it would seem, is plague. Frankly, it has gotten to the point for many, I think, that they would just as soon go off quickly, if painfully, than linger in a hostile landscape where the merest hint of temporal salvation is quickly annihilated by yet another tax reform that shifts still more income up rather than down. In short, it's almost to the point that having a quick exit is far preferable to prolonged suffering. What the US government has been doing, lately, to the lives of its citizens has been compared more than once to the death of a thousand small cuts.

When being a literal serf was a way of life, and one people were born into, lives of that class were not long, usually no more than 35 years. Wealthy people tended to live longer, of course. Indeed, I've been told the median lifespan then and now was quite similar. Median, not average, mind you. This allowed for the wealthy to live long and prosper and the serfs to live not very long at all and be miserable.

So nothing, you see, has changed. Except that modern sanitation and medicine have trumped contagion and warfare and created far too many of us for the upper crust to tolerate,especially since we are not needed in the post-industrial world. They don't want to see us unless we are weeding their flower beds. They certainly don't want to pay for us.

Plague. It's the only solution. Next to what I fear the Koch Brothers cadre will come up with to ensure we all either die or stay miserable silently, plague might be a blessing. It's hard not to think so in a week in which the British government decides to spend 9 million pounds planting the scourge of British society unconscionably known as the late Lady Thatcher and Obama caves to the Republican oligarchs, selling out every compassionate, but obviously gullible, liberal who cast their vote for him.

* A villein was not a criminal; it was a person bound by indenture to the village in which he or she lived, and needing the local noble's permission to leave. Serfdom by any other name....

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Welsh pols try to destroy lovely straw-bale house

Both today and yesterday, friends of two very different persuasions put up the same article on Facebook. The first who posted it is a man, an entrepreneur and former member of Britain's armed forces. The second is a woman, an actress, writer/poet, raconteur, follower of the druid path. And yet, they both noted the insanity in the current attempt by Pembrokeshire authorities to destroy something beautiful, natural, sensible and holistic.

To destroy a home much more beautiful than even this cute and natural straw-bale home:

A simple straw-bale home in Germany; the one in Pembrokeshire is much more beautiful. (Wiki commons)

This amazing Pembrokrshire home was hand-made. (Clink link below photo to see the Welsh house.) It was made by a man without much money, living in a caravan, who built a straw-bale house for himself, his pregnant partner, and the baby to come. He spent only $23,000 (about 15,000 pounds), and placed the house in a rural setting on land already owned by his father. We should all be so lucky.

And so creative. His house is a marvel of compact natural beauty, but fully workable for modern people. Not only does it blend in with its natural surroundings; it has a lawn for a roof. There is only one problem: He forgot to bow down and kiss whatever's hangin' off  the Pembrokeshire County Council. Now they want to make him tear down his hand-made, hand-crafted, ecologically friendly home.

This is what that really means.

  • The man did not fork over money he could not afford to a local certified contractor.
  • He did not employ an architect to tell him how to build a simple home, something our ancestors have been doing since they first moved out of ready-made caves.
  • He did not ask the county council to bless his design; doubtless, since it does not employ plastics or pebble dash or PVC downspouts (no need with the grass), they would have found it aesthetically lacking and would have turned him down.
According to the story on, "Pembrokeshire County Council's enforcement notice says the property is, 'harmful to the rural character of the locality' and must be demolished. This is the rural character close to Charlie's home on Google Street View." Farmland, folks. Grass. A few trees.

As for the Pembrokeshire County Council, I would like to leave them with the following thoughts:

Wales has been properly castigated over the years for its treatment of miners, those who dragged value out of the hills at enormous personal cost to their lives and limbs, and mainly to enrich the titled from England, next door, who came to extract all they could and then leave. By your actions, you demonstrate that you are flunkies for a neighboring state's former ruling class. In short, time has left you behind. Now get out of the way.

A drive through Pembrokeshire today reveals more houses in need of upgrading than not, clinging to hills and byways by a hair, needing paint, needing care, not getting it because of the economic situation. The same situation that caused one brilliant man to use materials at hand and sculpt a dwelling that not only fits the IS the landscape. Grass/straw, lime, trees, grass. End of story.

There is a move afoot to badger the council into doing the right thing; find it in the story and follow the instructions on how to protest, if you feel able.

And then do whatever it is you do to encourage the planets to align in favor of this home and its family...pray, dance, drink, donate, pour libations....

It may be that the builder can hoist the council on its own petard. A comment on the story noted:

"The council have absolutely NO authority over this. Unless, you are an agent of the crown. Statutes only apply to agents or those who contract. I suggest you send them a Notice of Non-Acceptance of Service and Seeking Clarification. You will have to do your homework, but it has worked for me. I wish you every success."

As do I. I wish every success to this amazing man, who built a home for his family the old-fashioned way, from natural materials with his own hands. Who did not fall down in obeisance to those less spiritually, mentally and aesthetically healthy than himself, that is, the Pembrokeshire County Council.

To the Pembrokeshire County Council, my wish is simple. I wish that they may receive enlightenment and leave this man alone, nay, that they truly see the light and suggest that others do similar things.

Should they fail to become enlightened and proceed against this master builder, I wish the council the following: That they live out their days castigated for fools, ridiculed for lack of foresight, hornswoggled for lack of insight, and generally as miserable as the treatment they have given to a citizen in their own domain.

So mote it be.