"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Facebook Activist ......

These days I find myself very comfortable on my couch when I get home from work. Having Lupus sometimes makes it difficult to get through the commute home, never mind then going back out into the world to support the causes that are most important to me.

I also am not a millionaire - so supporting these causes financially is not always an option either.

But I have facebook!!! Before FB, before television, before radio, before the printing press people stood on their "soap box" in the town common and spoke as loud as they could! That was how people put forth the news of the day .... word of mouth. It was neighbors talking over the fence, parishioners chatting after church, parents talking at school events. That is how news got out.

I heard a BBC news program about the 4th Plinth at Trafalgar Square and I remember thinking "this is what the world was like before the Internet."

But today I saw this status on a friend's page, and I quickly posted it to my page and looked back at my profile. Aside from the cute things my four-year-old says, the not so cute things my teenager says and the Zynga games (for which I am realizing I need a support group), I am very politically motivated in my posts. I post videos and news articles, and debate with friends who have different views. I have also been known to update my status during the Presidential State of the Union in the same way people update during the Superbowl or Stanley Cup.

Facebook is my soapbox and now I have this blog. I don't know if people will pay attention or change their minds. I hope that somehow something I say will hit home with someone and society will somehow become more fair and just. The Internet is like a huge common area ..... but if every inch of the common is covered with soap boxes, everyone speaking at the same time, in the same loud voice, does anyone really get heard?

I am a facebook addict activist .... passing on information and opinion, hoping my voice is heard by people who have the time and energy I once had ...... here is the message for the day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Babikinis ....?


This one has me baffled. I am not sure if I find it disturbing that they are selling string bikinis for 2-year-olds or that we are even debating the issue.

I remember being on the beach as a child (my Yia-Yia used to pick me up from elementary school, I would change in the backseat, she would cover me in baby oil, and we would hang out on the beach until bed time) and I wore 2-piece bathing suits. My Yia-Yia would sing the "yellow polka dot bikini" song no matter what color the suit was. I didn't think anything of it, and no one worried that I was being sexualized.

So that is what I am having a hard time with. It is very scary now that these bikinis are actually the pre-cursor to poor body image, inappropriate tween clothing, and the sexualization of young women. I think most of us can go back to the 70s and we have some photo that our parents took in a cute 2-piece (certainly not a string bikini to be sure). But I remember my mom being damn sure that I was not wearing skin-tight jeans or short skirts or push-up bras in elementary school or middle school. Once I was in high-school I made my own decisions - some of them good .... some not so good.

I remember sneaking lace gloves and "Boy Toy" belt buckles in high school. I remember my mom would make me kneel on the ground and we would not purchase the skirt if it did not touch the floor. I remember pleading with my mom for Calvin Klein Jeans. I think this was the beginning of the end ... Brooke Shields

I have talked with a lot of moms of daughters (I am fortunate to have 2 boys) who don't want their daughters wearing all this "sexed up" clothing. So I say .... ok, don't buy it. They responds with find me a store that doesn't sell it. They tell me it is really hard to find a clothing store (that they can afford) that sells age appropriate clothing. That is a shame. It is almost like society just kept going and going more sleazy and now can't turn the knob back.

Perhaps we can start an e-mail campaign to places like Target and Walmart .... we want our daughters back.

This brings me back to the Babykini. I have no answers ... in my gut it seems like it is just too much. I usually go with my gut.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Boston Sports

I feel the need to apologize to the city of Boston. I am not a sports fan. I didn't shed a tear the many years that the Red Sox did not win the World Series, didn't really notice when the Patriots won the Superbowl (three times), I actually got angry when the Celtics started winning (my son was a really big fan and when they were losing we could afford tickets to go the the games), and if it were not for my friends minute by minute status updates on facebook (and my screaming neighbors next door) I would not have known that the Bruins finally brought home the Stanley Cup.

I don't know when I lost that sports feeling. I remember as a kid bringing the small black & white tv into my room, covering the rabbit ears with foil so that channel 38 came in and watching the Celtics play. They were my favorite, I loved basketball. But somewhere between then and now it just wasn't as exciting - even with the HD big screen tv.

I understand that a winning sports team can bring a city together ... "Root, root, root for the hometeam!" But I kind of have the same problems with sports that I did about the Teen Mom. There are so many players that behave badly and we reward that behavior, we allow them to be our children's role models, and we pay them more then some small towns pay for education in a year all because they can dunk a ball or score a goal or run around some bases. Below are some examples!
Michael Vick - do I really need to add a link to more information here?

I have spent quite a bit of time looking these up ..... not because it took long to find news articles about athletes behaving badly, but because it is hard to follow up on the arrests to see what happened at trial and whether or not they were allowed to continue to play.

I completely understand that once people pay their debt to society, they should be allowed to start their lives over again ..... I just don't think that their new life should necessarily include being role models to our children (the NFL actually markets itself as a family franchise so don't tell me being a role model is not part of their job description) nor should be allowed to pick up their million dollar salaries like nothing ever happened. A couple of people listed above actually got to do their jail time off season so that they could return quickly to their game.

There are consequences for our actions ..... maybe if losing a contract worth millions of dollars was one of them athletes would behave better on and off the field (or ice or court).

The majority of players just want to play the game, they do not beat their wives, or take steriods, or cheat, or do drugs, or assault people. Unfortunately you do not hear much about these people in the media (the occasional fundraiser to cure cancer, but that is really it). These types of athletes are really not interesting to the public unless they are on the field - so we focus on those that are vulgar, violent, sexist, and crude .... rude to their fans (Lebron James), vicious and unapologetic on the ice (Aaron Rome), crazy in the ring (Mike Tyson), or who cheat on their wife (Tiger Woods). And they all still get paid .... why .... because the audience accepts it as business as usual. And that is a shame.

My son has played soccer, baseball, basketball and runs track. I hope that he gets to play in college ... and I hope more than anything he does not play professionally (that is a pretty realistic hope actually). He enjoys the game, he plays for fun and I think that gets lost in the craziness that is professional sports.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reality Television ..... I just don't get it!

This morning on the news I heard a story about a "Teen Mom" star who had attempted suicide. That was a sad story, no one should have to go through that, even if it is just a cry for attention.

What really upset me (aside from the fact that this is considered a news story at all) was that at the end of the segment they mentioned that the stars of this show make 6 figures a year. I was stunned! That is more money than most people I know make in a year working really hard. What is society getting from paying reality stars this much money to bring down society?

I only know about most of the reality shows from watching commercials for them, the occasional news story online that catches my attention, or the front pages of tabloids while I am waiting in line at the grocery store. I did watch "Jersey Shore" for about 15 minutes once because my students told me I could not judge reality television unless I watched it .... that is 15 minutes of my life I will never get back.

What I do not understand is when it became acceptable for the worst of society, vulgar, uneducated, violent, trashy, to become role models for our youth. Young people don't just watch Jersey Shore because they think it is funny, they watch it and then emulate it. I suppose it started with "Jerry Springer" the more outrageous the better. Jerry came to my school when I was an undergrad and gave a presentation on speech ethics (you can laugh, I did). But he did say that his show had no socially redeeming value and if that people watched his show and wanted to be like his guests he felt bad for them. If only he knew that his show would be the precursor to people being famous just for being famous I wonder if he would have continued? Probably, he made a lot of money.

And that is really what it all comes down to isn't it .... the dollar. If the teen moms are making 6 figures a year, someone else is making so much more. With no consideration or care about what it is doing to society as a whole. The only way that we can stop this insanity is to stop watching the shows, but people won't. It is like watching animals at the zoo, we know it is cruel to take them out of their home and put them in a cage, but we really like to see them so we continue to visit the zoo.

I hope this young girl gets out of the hospital and gets well. I hope she looks at her life and realizes that despite the bank account she has messed up. I hope that she gets her daughter back, for gos fame and becomes a mom. And I hope eventually that we realize we should not be giving reality stars like Snookie book deals, but we should be encouraging our daughters to read about real female role models.

Society makes me sad sometimes .... it is just crazy!
Teen Mom Suicide Attempt

Monday, June 13, 2011

Driving in Massachusetts .... does it get crazier than that?

One my way to work this morning I made several observations:
  1. People are in way too much of a hurry to get to work. This I do not understand. Leave your house in enough time to get to work and you will have no problem. Other than that, slow down .... do you get paid more if you get there 10 minutes earlier? Is it worth risking your life or the lives of others for that parking space?
  2. It is amusing to watch the car in front of me switch lanes several times to get ahead .... only to have them end up one car behind me when the two lanes merge into one.
  3. When the two lanes are merging the car in the "ahead" position generally has the right of way. This morning the BMW behind me and to the left put the pedal to the floor to sneak in ahead of me .... only to slam on her breaks to not hit the line of traffic stopped at the red light. I wonder if this person is a friend of Charlie Sheen and needs that "winning" sensation throughout her day. Or, is her life so sad that this really is the only joy she gets? Did she go through the whole day telling her co-workers "wow, I really beat that Rav4 to the red light this morning?"
  4. Do not even get me started about people in the rotary, or entering the highway. There is this neat sign (see below) that indicates you do not have the right of way! Please acknowledge it! Not a day goes by that I do not almost get killed trying to exit the rotary by Route 1. Or worse, when I acknowledge the Yield sign pulling out onto the highway and almost get rear ended by the cars that refuse to admit the sign's existence.
  5. This does not even begin to touch on the matter of people talking on their phones. I admit I do this. However, first and foremost I pay attention to the road and the cars around me. I have been known to simply drop the phone, or tell people I can't talk because I am in a situation where the road (and the people on it) are more important than my conversation. It boggles my mind that we needed to pass a law that prohibits texting and driving. At what point did people begin to think that this was a good idea? Hmmmm I am in a vehicle going 30 mph, on a road with other vehicles going 30 miles an hour ...... I think I will take my eyes off said road to text my friend and see if they want to meet for coffee later. THESE PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE DRIVING!
OK - now I am about to leave my office and head home. This could be a 40 minute commute or a 2 hour commute - it depends on the traffic. I read a report on a traffic study done some years ago. They had cars enter a raceway to determine what causes traffic. There was no explanation, but every time the 51st car entered the racetrack, there was traffic. Here is to hoping only 49 people are leaving for home at the same time I am! :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

An Observation on Blogging!

So, I did indeed decide that I needed to start reading blogs if I was going to write a blog. For the past 2 hours I have been trying to search blogs that I can easily follow, that are well written, and that are of interest to me. I have come up with one: Lupus Humor and Wellness.

It would be easier if all the blogs had the nice little "follow" button and they fit neatly in the dashboard of blogspot.com. But they don't. So I need to learn about RSS Feeds and such. This, like so many things in life will be a learning experience.

They say that keeping up with technology will help your brain stay young. I don't know about that .... it generally makes my brain hurt. One of the things with Lupus is that your short term memory doesn't always work the way it should. So, I write myself notes and then forget to read them. I have a ton of calanders, but forget to write things down in them. Why all this babbling in a blog about learning to read blogs ..... the reality is I will forget what I read and a week from now I will say something like "I read this really cool thing in a blog last week, wish I could remember what it was."

So, I will keep searching for interesting blogs about interesting things. And I will post them here so that I always have somewhere to go when I forget how I found the blog, or what the name of the person who wrote the blog is.

Blog #1

I have never written a blog before. Come to think of it, I don't think I have ever read one (perhaps I should start). I have always had the idea of writing a book based on my observations of life. But getting a book published is a process I have neither the time nor energy to embark upon. So, here I am writing a blog.

Perhpas the first few blogs should tell you a little bit about my story. I recently turned 40 - so by most statistics I have lived half my life. This is a scary thought. I makes me realize that I really should start doing those things that I always thought I would have time to do: go to Greece, bring my kids to the Grand Canyon, write that book. Some things, like become President of the United States, I think have passed me by ... and that is ok.

I have two children, three if you count my husband. My oldest is 17 and will be starting his Sr. year in high school. My youngest is 4 and will be starting kindergarten in the fall. I also have a 19 year old step-daughter. We are the new American family: one of his, one of mine, one of ours. We also have one cat, one puppy, one ferret and some fish. I will admit most of my observations are about my children and about parenting. They can be the biggest joy in your life or the biggest pains in the butt - it really depends on the day. I love my children everyday. There are days however,  I do not like them very much. Ultimately that is my fault, until they are adults and on there own - everything your children do (good or bad) is your fault (that is one of my observations, in case you didn't notice it). Right now for instance, my 4-year-old is standing on my bed dancing so he can see his shadow on my wall. It makes me smile because it is the cutest thing, and then on the other hand I think I have told him about a million times not to jump on my bed. That in a nutshell is parenting.

I also have lupus - both  Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Lupus Nephritis. Basically for lack of a better way to explain it, I am allergic to myself. For no extra charge I also have fibromyalgia - which means I am in a lot of pain a lot of the time. I try really hard not to complain or go down the "poor me" path, but there are days.

So, this will be my blog. My spot on the earth to vent my frustration and spout my observations of the world. I don't know if anyone will follow it, but that really is not the point.

So, until next time ..... over and out.