Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing the Day after Christmas

Hopefully we've all survived the decadent desserts, delightful companions, and dangerous sales. We should all be content in our homes or back about our daily business anxiously awaiting next weekend's ringing in of the new year. Some of us however still have a holiday to share. Hanukkah continues tonight. Kwanza began and today is of course Boxing Day. We all know about boxing day here in the USA. It's a greatly celebrated holiday..oh wait we just call today the Day After Christmas.

Ever Wonder about Good King Wenceslas and the Feast of Stephen?

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel.....

 Well, that song is about the tradition celebrated practically everywhere around the globe of Boxing Day. A day when employers treated their servants to boxes of goodies from the GOOD stores at hand. Imagine an entire holiday dedicated to sharing what you have with those who have not. Imagine if we did that on a regular basis. What a wonderful world this would be. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dung on a Twig

Mistletoe kisses are common at this time of year. I never questioned it when someone cute was hanging out ready to offer a quick smooch. It's fun and a great way to enjoy time with close friends and of course the one you love. It does make you wonder though how these holiday berries became "seeds of Love".

Those into word etymology  might not be surprised to learn that mistletoe seems to translate into "Dung on a Twig". Hmm, knowing that, I am not sure I would want to be kissed while standing beneath bird dung. Kissing under the mistletoe is one Christmas tradition that at least seems to be more readily traced back to it's origins than others. It happens to have a very cosmopolitan past which works well with the idea of good will towards man. A tradition of peace, good will and pleasant kisses is just fine by me.

 Go get some Mistletoe and have some fun.Happy Kisses Everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Songs and What Not

Around this time of year no matter how hard you my try to escape, one way or another the music of the season will get to you. We all sing them whether intentionally or subconsciously. I am talking about Christmas Songs (even Hanukkah has catchy tunes these days). We deck the halls on Holy Nights near shining stars and drummer boys. We Jingle bells and Fa la la la la while having a Holly Jolly Christmas. We even dedicate 12 days to gifts that make no sense at all.

Think about it. If your true love gave you a partridge in a pear tree how long would that love stay true? I am not guessing it would last a lifetime if these were the perks. I also wonder, has anyone ever stopped to figure out why we even have 12 Drummers Drumming, 11 Pipers Piping and so forth and so on. In 5th grade my teacher challenged us to figure out the cost of these daily gifts. It was a great game. He never however asked us to find the origin of the gifts. I have spent time of late discovering origins of information we just blindly accept and use. Ask your self do you know where "O K " comes from or why we say it's spic and span when everything is super clean? Most of you I am sure will not know. The same goes for many of our traditional songs.

Of all the Christmas melodies this one is the major mystery. There was a belief that it was a coded religious key to allow those being oppressed to speak freely. The only problem with that is if you were singing this at any other time of year I am rather certain the code would be broken. So what does it mean? No one is 100% certain but our friends at Snopes have wrestled with this question as well.

By the way if your true love gives you 12 drummers drumming,  I am thinking that is a message to you personally and has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

To Gift Card or not to Gift Card

So I am doing my Christmas shopping and I have the usual suspects covered and then I have the annual problem to solve again. There are some friends that no matter how well you know them they are difficult individuals to figure out when it comes to presents. You don't always want to ask "what do you want?' as that kills creativity and then there's a gift card.

Personally, I love gift cards for places that I know I go. I have point blank told friends should you want to get me something please nothing I have to dust. As time has gone by the need to display items and have items has greatly passed. You discover that stuff is exactly that. The bounty of my world is the friends I have collected along the way but that doesn't mean that you don't enjoy a good gift. Enter the gift card. It's a wonderful invention but not appreciated by all. They make me feel rich. They allow me the opportunity for impulse purchases and they let me shop where I want to shop. I think of them as little magic cards to be used at anytime during the year.

Many people however feel the gift card is greatly impersonal. They feel like there is no effort or thought put into this kind of present. This could be true if it's just a generic visa or american express card. OF course there's a target audience for those too. As long as you take the time to find the perfect gift card and the perfect person to go with the card you are doing well. If the person you are shopping for hates to shop that would Not be an ideal candidate for a gift card. If however, the individual has very specific tastes and tends to return or regift that would be a perfect mate to give the gift of shopping.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Deck the Halls with Pepper Spray

Words I never expected to hear as part of the news, "A search is on for a woman accused of Pepper Spraying a crowd in order to get a deal on an X-box." Black Friday has gone from people injured by over zealous shoppers who push, shove and even trample (bad enough) to people being beaten up, threatened and yes now pepper sprayed. Shopping by any means necessary is an aspect of reality I can deal without.What has happened to the "Holiday Spirit"?

Stores have been enticing us to shop since the Sear's Catalog  first showed up in houses along the Prairie. I am all for proper marketing but I am not all for the mass exploitation of each holiday that seems to be part of our current culture. I hate that I cannot fully appreciate and celebrate each individual holiday without the next looking at me from aisle three. I hate that we not only cannot just appreciate the holidays for what they are and truly mean but that my inbox is inundated with ads telling me where to shop, what to buy and when. I hate that it's all about getting the best deal on the most poorly produced products instead of about investing time in the people we love.

I know I am not alone in how I feel. There have been posts everywhere depicting Santa in a most unflattering light vs a Thanksgiving Turkey. Nordstrom's has made a point of informing us that it will not start any Christmas talk til the 30th. Various other businesses are trying to follow suit. Should we as the consumer sit idly by as innocent individuals are destroyed by the gluttony of others? Is saving a buck worth losing a limb? Can we not take to Cyber space and end this mass consumerism in deference to the human and humane element of the holidays? There has to be a better way to get "deals' on these supposed "must have" items which doesn't involve pepper spray.

Thanksgiving is on a Thursday in November and yet all the stores have been prepared for it since well before Halloween. Christmas isn't until the 25th of December but at the same time as Halloween there were aisles in many stores dedicated to Christmas cards, plastic trees and decorative lights. The Monday before Thanksgiving the news analysts were already predicting spending for Black Friday, which somehow has become an unofficial official event. All morning today the term "Cyber Monday" has been bandied about as today is the onset of online deals which will help further stimulate the economy. None of these conversations are about peace, love or family. None of these conversations are about being thankful for your health, work and  general welfare. None of these conversations are about anything of true value.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beep Beep!

The coyote hears "Beep! Beep!" and he's off to chase the roadrunner. His hunger, much like Pavlov's dog, is triggered by a sound. So too is our world controlled. It was simple at first. We awoke to the sound of an alarm clock. We waited for the sound of the beep for the answering machine to record our message.The novelty of quick cooking created the microwave whose beeps alerted us to the finished food. From there, we moved on to car alarms which honked or should I say beeped the car's horn to alert us that someone was too close to our vehicle. Pagers and cell phones were next on the scene; Convenient devices which control us with the sound of a beep. Beeping, incessantly loud beep, beep beeps surround our lives on a daily basis.

Not only are we inundated by this sound but we are controlled by, slaves to and victims of it as well. How many times have you caught yourself hearing a beep and wondering if it was you? How many times have you said "Was that my phone or yours?", during the course of a conversation? How many times has a car door being opened by the remote triggered you to check your phone? How many times have you ignored the person with you to check the mechanical device beeping at you just to see who it was and if a message or text was left? How many times have you shushed a clerk, waiter, waitress or other service person doing his or her job so that you could answer the call of the beep (ring or other tone for that matter)? We are all guilty of doing all of the above to some degree. There are individuals more guilty than others but for the most part we are all now giant experiments trained to respond to a beep.

We lived without the beeps for years. We answered calls and others received a busy signal. If it was really important an operator would actually break through.  We now are oddly aware of little noises signalling an incoming message. We jump to our phones like good little doggies. We hear car doors and automatically check our purses, packs and pockets to see if it was for us. Now we are all trained that the sound of the beep must be instantly answered and the flesh and blood individual with us is somehow less important than whoever sent a text, left a message or called.

Like every interesting science fiction film we must learn to break our programming. We must return to a world where people and manners matter. We must learn that whomever we intentionally chose to be with that day has priority over the caller at the end of the beep. We must remember that the person waiting on us, behind the counter or helping us in any form is the correct individual to engage in conversation and not the mechanical device attached by blue tooth or other means to our body. Keep in mind, the coyote was often hurt along the path of following the beep. He never learned. We can change our story. Beep, Beep!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Would You Like a Ride?

"Would you like a ride?" If that question comes from a friend then the answer could be yes or no but the question would always be acceptable. Usually I personally have heard that question from strangers. To be more specific I have heard that question from strange men as I make my way either to a favorite venue so close I don't need a car or back to my humble abode. Apparently a woman walking automatically means she needs a lift that won't necessarily take her to her final destination.

I know that there are kindhearted and generous souls to be found across the globe. I know that danger isn't always lurking behind every corner. I know that people are capable of generous deeds. I know that I do not live in Utopia and that when I am suspicious of the man offering me a ride I have every right to be so.  It amazes me that the men seem offended that I, as a single woman walking down the street minding her own business, will not blindly take this coveted treat without hesitation.

It is sad that we no longer live in a time where we could readily accept what could be an innocent offer to assistant someone struggling with packages. It is sad that the hidden meaning of words is what we look for and the words themselves have been lost. It is sad that most of the time "Would you like a ride?" has nothing to do with the vehicle in question. I see the look in your eyes when you ask.You aren't fooling me with your question. I know better than to accept your offer. However, to the men with no ulterior motive, I say, "No, but thanks for asking."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Inanimate Objects

We are often told that it is just stuff. We are told that objects can be replaced. We are told that things mean nothing. In a sense it is true. Objects Can be replaced and will be replaced over time however they do mean something. When we are attached to an object it is not necessarily the object that we are linked to but the memories the object represents.

Yesterday I said goodbye to an object. A beautiful sturdy, gigantic and gorgeous papasan chair. This chair has been a part of my life for nearly 18 years. I am actually feeling sad that it is not in my living room awaiting me. I am sad that it's round form no longer greets me. I am sad I will never sit in it again. You may say it is just a chair but after 18 years it is more than that.

It was an old friend waiting to take the load off a tiring day. It was a  safe place to retire to in the middle of the night when the bed just seemed too far away. It was a sleeping spot for a friend's young child just right for her to curl up and feel comforted. It was a sought after spot when company came as it sat in the perfect place to see and be seen. It was a kissing booth and romantic place to begin or end a passionate embrace. It was more than an object and now it is gone.

I have purchased a new chair. It is completely different from my papasan. A new chance for special memories. A new place to sit and ponder. A new spot to curl up with a good book. A new chance for romance. In time it too will feel familiar but for now it is new. I miss my old friend. Do not judge too harshly all who love an object. Some have a love of material things but others have a heart filled with memories and although they are able to let the object leave when it is time an empty space is left behind.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

No one knows that the Irish are responsible for Halloween. No one has a clue about the connection of the   Vigil of Samhain  and All Saints Day. We do know that there are tricks to be played and candy to be had on Halloween. I for one am thankful for the holiday not for the candy (although it is yummy) or the tricks (although they are fun) but for the opportunity to freely express, as an adult, the pure joy of dressing in a costume.

As an adult there are few opportunities for artistic expression allowed to us. If you act you can pretend to be anyone and it's ok but if your a typical worker bee you have no such luxury. Teachers have a bit more wiggle room. I would love to be as free as a small child and decide today I will wear all my favorite colors, today I am a super hero, today I am a princess or Today I am magical. IF I left the house dressed as a masquerade ball attendee just to go to work, someone would stop me for fear I might harm myself or others. Why is it so wrong to walk around in multi-colored wigs and a pair of tattered wings? Halloween makes it all good. 

To me, the opportunity to express some inner identities without fear of disparaging words is worth the 364 day wait between moments in time. I can feel free to be all the me I can be and I can do so as much as I want and say "It's Halloween". People smile at your creativity. People applaud your innovation. People are just people on this day. We laugh, we scare, we wonder and we relive the innocence of youth. I wish it could be Halloween at least once a month. I wish their were more opportunities for us to dress up but for now, I am appreciative of the fact that there is Halloween. 

Happy Happy Halloween to all the Children but even more to all the Inner Children of Halloween-Loving Adults!!!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Holiday Express

It happened again. I was walking down an aisle at the pharmacy minding my own business and I ran smack dab into the center of Christmas. I did a double take. Why am I being bombarded with trees, cards, stockings and all the other guilt (gelt) of the Holidays to come I wondered?  Last time I checked a calendar it was still about a week til Halloween. Is this an overly Christmas"y" version of The Nightmare Before Christmas? I hoped, but knew it was not.

Under the best of circumstances no one is prepared for the onslaught of forced holiday cheer that December unleashes upon the masses. When you are bombarded with the sales of the season before the season officially begins, it makes it all the worse to bear. A nice break between each holiday would allow us the opportunity to properly prepare and perhaps even enjoy the thought of shopping til we drop for those we love dearly.

Unfortunately, every year it seems the stores get worse. Costco actually started Christmas deals at the beginning of October. The malls as a whole are beginning to decorate store windows in their finest holiday outlooks. Thrift Sores and even the bargain stores ( 99cent store, Ross, Tuesday Morning) are starting early to get you in on last year's deals before you get in on this year's deals. This Sucks! I hate being rushed through my holidays. Halloween for ME is the most wonderful time of the year and I refuse to share it with Santa, a tree, reindeer or any wise men unless they are walking the streets of West Hollywood on All Hallows Eve.

 It appears that only one major chain realizes the folly of this  over zealous sales tactic. That store, believe it or not, would be Nordstroms.  They believe each holiday deserves a proper moment in time to be enjoyed rather than exploited. They do not put up any Christmas items until the day after Thanksgiving. I applaud their sensibility and wish other stores were as pragmatic in their thinking.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Excuse me M'am

     When did I go from being a Miss to being a M'am? I don't remember advertising to the masses. I don't remember rescinding my Miss title and yet more and more M'am keeps creeping into polite conversation when strangers address me.

     "Give the book to the nice lady." said the mom to the child. I looked around to discover the nice lady was ME! "Are you a grown up?" asked the eight year old child confused by my overalls, backwards baseball cap, sneakers and chewing gum. "Technically I am." My answer confused her more.

     Am I a grown up? Good question. I have a driver's license which first graced my wallet at the tender age of 27. Explaining that it's your first license at the DMV is less than amusing.Responding to people with the words "I had no desire to drive," just fell on deaf ears and blank stares.

     Am I a grown up? I've lived in my own apartment for well past a decade. All the bills are in my name. I'm employed;some would say I have a career. I can stay out as long as I like and have no one to report to when I get home at night.

     Am I a grown up? I watch Saturday morning cartoons. I play kickball with the kids at school. I dance without being afraid of looking like a fool. I laugh out loud in public and declare tickle wars on my friends. I mix my sodas. I still drink Slurpees. I eat chocolate for dinner.

    Inside I am a miss. I still get called miss but not as often as once upon a time.  Am I a grown up? Again I say, good question. Technically I am. I can accept that I am a grown up; But I am still NOT a M'am!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Entitled to Keep Up

My mother raised me to work hard at whatever I chose to do. A strong work ethic has been instilled in me and my brother. Times were difficult but enough was provided and extras, when they happened, were greatly appreciated. I never expected my mother to buy me a car at graduation because we were not those families you see in movies where that happens. I never expected her to reward my every action with a cash bonus. I was always proud when I received her smile and nod of approval. I grew taller when I heard her friends compliment me as she whispered my achievements to them trying not to boast but obviously wanting to share in the good fortune of her child. It was high praise for her.

 I know that I am not alone in the way I was raised. I often talk to others 7 sometimes 10 years my junior or anyone older than myself who was raised similarly. Unfortunately something has been greatly lost along the way as those who are currently in the 20 something sector seem to have no idea of what it means to “earn your keep”, those in high school think everything is handed over to them without question and those in elementary feel that just showing up deserves a reward. Where does this sense of entitlement come from?

I do not wish to blame everything on television. I have never been that person. I feel you control what enters your realm and you have the ability to influence your world for positive or negative with the actions you have chosen. I do however feel that media does temper your actions for good or for bad whether you choose to admit it or not. Keeping up with the Kardashians can not be having any type of positive effect on society. No reality show actually seems to have any real positive influence for our world.  (I will admit that I have never seen the Kardashian show nor do I watch reality tv but I do sit in rooms where these shows are discussed and based on content feel my claim is valid.)
As far as I can tell most reality shows are about untalented individuals who have no jobs, no skills, little to know education but plenty of time and money to spend on pointless parties, latest fashions and frivolous expenditures. These people are worshipped for their looks and their ability to spend like there is no tomorrow. It would explain greatly why most 20-somethings want money but do not care to work for it, want parents to give it to them and do not understand why they don’t just hand over the gold card and have a great inability to conceive the concept of an honest days work for an honest days pay.

These same individuals are planning futures together. Some of them are even currently raising children in an unrealistic reality where you can have it all. If you watch tv long enough you will encounter an advertisement for Tronix Country. The opening statement of the ad says “Tired of not having the best things in life like a large screen television?”
That right there shows you the mentality of society at the moment. In order to have the best in life you need a materialistic representation. Those of us who have had to deal without know better. Tronix however is doing big business and we are enabling it to happen because we all HAVE to have the latest greatest of everything. The government is trillions of dollars in debt. The youth want money but don’t want to work. The Kardashians are cashing in on us because we are so busy trying to keep up. Where will it all end?

Monday, October 3, 2011

A sign of the times

Apparently it is NOT just me many other people feel the same way as I do. This would be a good time to revisit a previous post I call "Belt America".

Monday, September 26, 2011


For the past 20 years (I started as a child prodigy at the mere age of 10) I have been fortunate enough to participate in one of the few truly college run radio stations left to us. It has allowed my musical knowledge to grow and enabled me to meet individuals that would have most likely never crossed my path in any other circumstance. I am fortunate for this experience and would greatly like for it to continue. This year, as well as the past few, has been financially tough for us all. Having enough money to meet the rising costs of daily needs has been increasingly more difficult. Answering every plea for help is impossible for any one individual but if you can answer any plea, I am asking that it be to donate to the radio station that broadcasts live 24 hours a day from the campus of Loyola Marymount called KXLU.  This Tuesday, September 27, 2011 from 8-10 PM Pacific Standard Time I will be on air to raise funds for both the station and my show Soiree Musicale. Please contribute to the cause by pledging your support either online at or by calling in a pledge at 310-338-KXLU that’s 310-338-5958. All pledges are greatly appreciated. Thanks VERY much for your new and continued support!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Dedicated DJ

Monday, September 19, 2011

The World As It Is

 Every now and again it’s nice to just notice the world around you as it is. I noticed a billboard that said, “We intentionally made this billboard boring so that you pay attention to the road.” Now I know I am quoting it, which means I saw it to read it, but I was walking, looked up and saw it. It was a billboard for gas so I am not the target audience. If they don’t want drivers distracted then how are they going to get new customers?

I noticed a mushroom growing in the hall. I’m not kidding. My building’s main hall had a mushroom growing between the carpet and the wall. It made me laugh but it also scared me to death as that means there’s a fungus among us and mold and mildew must be in the walls. It might explain the rising cost of water.

I noticed that birds intentionally find the cleanest car to aim at. I know because I just washed my car and somehow although it was not under a tree or a lamppost or even overhead hanging wires, I have a lovely splotch across my hood. I think the new shiny wax enables easier target practice.

I noticed the beautiful sunset over the hidden lake as the ducks paddled by and the laughter of party goers filled the night. Everything’s a bit better when shared. IT was most definitely a night worth noticing. I wonder what I will notice next. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Everyone is NOT a Winner

I am sick and tired of people being rewarded for breathing.  One of the major problems we have in this society is giving a gold star to everyone for every little thing.  You just lost a pound or two, here have some money.  You were born into a rich family and have no discernable talent or purpose whatsoever, here have a television show.  You happen to have purchased a clever pet and posted a timely video when you caught it in the act of being cute, I’m sure I have a prize for you too. This is the society in which we currently live. Due to these “amazingly talented” moments, the children with whom I work believe everything deserves a reward.  They are no longer motivated to action because they know this is what we are supposed to do. They think at the end of any game there should be a physical reward as small as candy and as large as cash. Why are we rewarding children for expected behavior?

We have lost the ability to be gracious losers as both sides get a ribbon or a prize.  Kindergartners are having full on graduation ceremonies, 5th graders are receiving yearbooks, middle schools are having dances akin to high school proms and yet we wonder why the children aren’t satisfied with basic items anymore. We don’t know what it’s like to be happy for someone else as we all leave with gifts from a party.  We don’t recognize that it’s not an “all about me” moment as with our mass love of media we all get more than our 15 minutes of fame. Once upon a time a pat on the back and recognition for a job well done was satisfactory but now, we won’t lift a finger unless we are certain that not only someone is watching but that that same someone is ready with a reward.  Once upon a time we worked hard to achieve goals so that when we reached them we felt a true accomplishment had been made, but now it’s not worth the effort to be bothered.

Why are we allowing this to happen? Why are we settling for mediocrity in all forms of life? Why are we so afraid that someone we love will not love/like us if we say “No” and mean it? Why are we content to let everyone believe they have abilities which they do not?  I understand wanting to commemorate events in life. I am willing to accept the faux graduations of Pre K, Kinder and various other grade levels as long as they are called culminations. As that is merely acknowledging the end of a particular journey I can deal with that. To me there are only 2 true graduation ceremonies that most people get which are High School and University. Those ceremonies are special. They are earned through years of hard work and dedication to an action. We have to recognize that we are missing the mark in recognition. By allowing everyone a prize no one wins. Why should I bother to work my butt off if just by showing up I will get an award? We need to recognize and accept this fact of life: Everyone is NOT a winner. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sidewalk Poop

I love dogs. I really care for pretty much all animals great and small. I have a bird. I've had a few over the years. The ones I've had are low maintenance so they are easy to take care of at all times. I live in an apartment so a bird is better than a dog on that level. I have neighbors with pooches. These pooches I have seen but more often than not I have been made aware of their presence because of poop inappropriate places.

Scoop your poop people. Although the main reason I don't have a dog at the moment is my apartment's policy on that another major factor is I do not wish to be a pet valet. I have no urge to walk behind my canine with plastic bag in hand picking up steaming piles of poop. IF you have purchased a pup however, that IS what YOU  have signed up to do. You chose that life. You knew the responsibilities. You should not subject me and the rest of the world to stepping in something sticky. It is most definitely not neighborly. It's unsightly and unsanitary as well.

People not being responsible for their four legged friend's poop has become such a major epidemic that they are actually doing DNA testing to find the owner of the pile. That's right, you might think you are getting away with it but, you will be tracked down and fined. It's a simple matter people. Pick up the poop or be picked up for not picking up the poop. It's your call.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Driving 101: This Lane is my Lane

This Lane is my Lane. This Lane's not your lane. While I am driving, stay in your own lane. (think This Land is Your Land...) One car can fit into one space at any given time. When two vehicles try to inhabit the same space the end result is usually not pretty. This is called an accident. Vehicles and more important to note people can become greatly damaged in an accident so we must try to avoid these at all times. How can we do this? It is simple, stay in your own lane.

The lines running down the street are provided so that each vehicle knows the appropriate lane in which to drive. Vehicles that tend to drive fast are usually in the left, average drivers in the center and slow drivers on the right. This of course is the ultimate driving scenario and not always an accurate account of the cars on the road which is why it is extremely important for correct lane procedure.

Do not drive on the line. This technique does not allow the vehicle in the lane next to you adequate space in
which to drive. Do not lean towards the lane in which you intend to change with out properly signaling your intent. Other vehicles may not understand your lean as a lane change. This is how accidents occur. Do not look down to change the cd player as for some reason the angle of your arm on the radio is equal to the angle of your vehicle as you try  to change the dial. Do not decide at the last minute you no longer wish to turn and then awkwardly end up in two lanes blocking traffic. Do not text, talk without a hands-free device or do any other non driving related task while driving because not only do you wind up weaving in and out of your lane but you tend to speed up or slow down inappropriately causing great stress and annoyance to those around you.

This Lane is my Lane. This Lane's not your lane. While I am driving, stay in your own lane. We'll reach our final destination if we could drive there without frustration. Stay in your own lane is what I'm saying. There's lanes enough for you and me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Driving 101: Turn Signals

 The turn signal is to alert other drivers of your intended direction. If you are indicating you are turning right, the appropriate direction to turn is right. It also works if you indicate left that you should then turn left. Your signal indicating you are turning alerts the other driver that simultaneous turning is appropriate. Don't yell at the driver for nearly turning into your preciously polished Porsche when you were the idiot who indicated you were turning  and then decided to go straight.

If a car in front of you is pulled parallel to parked cars with a signal indicating they are about to park you should not drive up behind it at full speed, honk and yell at them for being in your way as you are the one stupid enough to speed up on a non-moving vehicle which has made it clear that it was waiting to park. In turn cars which are trying to park must visibly warn others of this intent. Sitting perfectly still and then deciding to back up is not proper parking procedure.

Signals should be turned off immediately upon turning in the correct direction as drivers behind you will become greatly annoyed at the fact that you are consistently driving straight and have not changed lanes or  turned for the past 11 blocks. Just because You supposedly know were you want to go doesn't mean the rest of us know. Thus the invention of the turn signal.

Monday, August 15, 2011

No Comment

I'm a curious creature by nature, most of us tend to be. I enjoy surfing the net and reading about various tidbits from all around the globe. I'm not a sports fan but I've read plenty of sports articles. I don't care for Lady Ga Ga or the latest rappers but I know what they've been doing. I've never seen most of the current run top shows out there and I've know idea why we keep up with the Kardashians but I've spent time on OMG just to see what the rest of the world is doing. It is a wonderful ability to be able to open up the World Wide Web and learn about anything. The world is literally at your fingertips. I can be a science geek one day and a Hollywood who's who expert the next.  I can learn about the joys of a family I do not know in Petra or the sadness of a fallen soldier I'll never meet from Arkansas. I can leave my respects, my awe, my bewilderment in a comment and feel as if I have participated in the world without ever leaving the comfort of my living room. To me it should be a beautiful thing to be able to feel empathy for the individuals who inhabit our world that we will never be capable of knowing in person.

What amazes me most in regards to all of these varied posts is the comments section. In particular the often arbitrary, insulting, demeaning, demoralizing, disgusting comments that most people feel are perfectly fine to add to every article. For instance, currently there's an online story regarding a 12 year old who wandered off from the camping group with out a buddy and became lost in the woods. He was found just over 20 hours later with minimal mishap. Many comments were thankful he was found safe as the overnight temp was 31 degrees and he had no jacket, food or water. However, many more comments were about him being a great target for a gay evangelical, not smart, no big deal that he was out, too stupid for words and the list goes on. Similarly I read an article this morning on a man's very touching tribute to his pregnant wife who died in one of  the 9-11 planes. Again the comments were mixed with beautiful thoughts about what he had done and ugly racial slurs and conspiracy theories that were not needed. An article about a 90 year old 9th degree black belt contained a comment about how she probably was a bitch in bed. Rebecca Black, an online singing sensation, not for good but for bad, has some of the most hateful comments I've ever seen in print. She has been forced to drop out of regular school due to the high profile hatred she's incurring. She is 15 and getting death threats. DEATH THREATS, really?! Are we so shallow a society that a 15 year old whose only crime was poor singing is being threatened with death? After reading some story comments, I am immediately reminded that it's not that unreasonable to believe, that  issues of the days of MLK are still alive and well and not just in the south. I've even seen comments at the end of articles which debase not only the author but the entire subject being written. Why read it if you don't want to know?

If the comments were relevant, well written positions of why you disagree with the subject being discussed it would be a different story. We would have a true open discourse about an idea or subject, person or thing that would instill a debate with reasonable respect for all parties involved. Unfortunately no such thing seems to exist. Those articulate enough to write an opinion tend to not be the writer. Instead we have individuals who think writing "First to comment" as the comment serves some value in the world. We have people who can not even be bothered to spell check or use even slang correctly. We have sex starved women posting links to their sites and penis enhancement ads trying to garner our attention. We have the freedom of speech here yet what we choose to say tends to have no value.

 Why do humans feel the need to interject evil into every aspect. Why do we feel joy in tearing down those around us that may be trying to make a positive difference. I feel we are at a loss in our society. Everyone has an opinion. We do not live in a rose colored society but based on the comments that I have seen, the glass is definitely less than half empty. No Comments Please.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meeting in the Ladies Room

Ladies I call this meeting in order to discuss an incredibly serious matter. It is bad enough that we as women have so few stalls installed in public places but the fact that the ones we have are so filthy is absolutely appalling. Case in point: Saturday night I was waiting for the one available restroom at a local pub. I went in, pulled out the safety cloth that's supposed to protect us from each other's cooties and went to place it on the toilet seat. As I lowered the threadbare sheet I noticed what at first appeared to be a new pattern on the seat. In actuality it was a shoe print;a filthy black tread mark from someone's sneaker.

When I was first taken into a public restroom as a child, my mom told me to take some tissue and clean the seat in case you lost your balance, squat, and clean up after yourself. I really don't remember too much being left on seats or stalls and absolutely no shoe prints ever. What has happened? How did women's restrooms become filthy? As someone who has also worked in a restaurant and been in the men's room I can honestly say overall the men's room is cleaner than the women's room. I do not like being able to say this.

Time after time I have entered a stall and found pee on the seats, unwrapped pads/tampons on top of the garbage (or even on the floor), unflushed toilets, paper stuck to seats.... It's disgusting to find that most  women are actually incapable of using a public toilet. We are supposedly fastidious females. We are greatly missing the mark (and the toilet) when it comes to public peeing. This situation cannot continue. You are not at home. You are in a public place that many others will eventually have to use.

The floor is not a garbage can. Not all toilets automatically flush. It is just common courtesy to wrap your pads/tampons and dispose of them properly. Just because YOU do not have to clean the public restroom it doesn't mean there isn't another human being who won't be subjected to your bloody mess. Think how you would feel having to clean some strangers waste. Please  remember a rhyme we teach children in elementary upon your next visit to a public facility, "If you sprinkle when you tinkle please be neat and wipe the seat."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Digital is not a Book

Okay so I know I am writing a blog. I'm in the blogosphere which is admittedly a wonderful new form of communication, instant gratification, self satisfaction and so on. I will also concede the fact that many new voices have been more easily discovered through this medium. I am grateful it exists. I will never admit however that browsing online and downloading a title into the most convenient plastic covered screen is better than searching the aisles of the bookstore for hidden treasures. I will never admit that digital is better than a book.
As a child I spent my hard earned allowance on flashlights; tiny little plastic flashlights that I hid all over my room. Why? I needed to be able to read in the dark. Every night my mom would come in to check and make sure lights were out. She tucked me in, kissed my forehead and went down the steps to her room. I reached under my pillow, grabbed one of the several books I was reading , flicked on the flashlight and dove back into the wonderful world of the written word. Sometimes I would read until the morning light came through my window. Other times I would read until my mom somehow magically appeared by my side to take the book away and tell me to get some sleep. I however would always read. If I got tired I would curl up with the book content to know that soon I would be able to open the pages and dive right back in to a world ready and waiting for my return.

As I got older, my little brother would sneak into my room after lights out and I would read stories to him. We would both be anxious to see what would happen on the next page. We were so engrossed in the story that we never noticed our mom standing in the doorway waiting to confiscate yet another flashlight. I have a feeling she knew what was going on well before she invaded the room and let us get through the full chapter before sending my brother back to his room and reminding me I had to get up in the morning. She always had a hint of a smile when she said this.

These are treasured childhood memories which would be greatly altered if I were growing up today. The very young children still have storybooks with pictures but the older ones are now being given cold machines to keep them company. No flashlight is needed to read something that lights up. Page turning anticipation has been replaced with a scroll bar. My books kept me company. My books took me traveling across oceans to new lands and new adventures. Revisiting any tale only required the ability to take it down from a shelf. Now a days there seems to be no room for sentimentality. Instead of having a hard or soft covered tale to reread at will, you have an empty shell which you download and dispose the contents. Instead of being able to visit a shelf and browse the titles, you get the pleasure of waiting for it to finish recharging. There are no book jackets, author's pictures, signed copies or first editions in the digital realm.

Many characters on television and in movies have character traits we love and can identify with easily. One character's quirky quality that I adore would be Joey from Friends. He "never starts reading The Shining without having plenty of room in the freezer." When a book scares him or has a moment that he doesn't want to face, he puts it in the freezer. It's a silly tidbit. It's a warm and humanizing one as well. I can recall many occasions when a book has upset me and I've slammed it closed and shoved it away from me only to look at it from afar and slowly go back to it as I just needed to know what happens. I guess the equivalent reaction with a screen is just to turn it off. It just doesn't sound the same. Joey definitely couldn't put it in the freezer.

As we go forward we seem to be leaving a lot behind. The small bookshops are a thing of the past. Most of the conglomerates are gone as well. Self-publishing seems to be the wave of now and possibly tomorrow. It's not the same. I do not begrudge modern technology it's advances I mourn for the loss of simplicity and the beauty in sentimentality of the mere act of reading a book.