NOT Acceptable

Standard

I was listening to This Week In Blackness Prime yesterday as they discussed/reacted to the despicable shooting in Charleston that happened this week. The phone lines were open and at one point a caller from Georgia spoke about living in the south where “an acceptable amount of racism” is just always in existence.

Now, I get that she meant that people IN the south just accept it. Not that racism itself is ever acceptable in her mind. The problem is, I have heard this line before and it ALWAYS makes my hair stand on end.

NO, there is NEVER an ACCEPTABLE level of racism.

There is also never an acceptable level of homophobia, trans-phobia, islamophobia, antisemitism, misogyny, or any kind of ‘phobia’ or ‘ism’ that centers around the demonizing and “othering” of humans!

When it came up on the podcast, the caller also responded when asked what does she DO when she hears the random ‘n’ word and racist jokes (which is what she considers the culturally embedded level of accepted racism) and she said she would be exhausted if she pushed back on every single one.

Yeah, well, I imagine it is even more exhausting for the person who IS in the category being attacked. For how do they know if the person telling the joke or using the derogatory term is “just” your casual everyday racist or could turn into someone who would kill them?

I immediately flashed back to around the year 2006 or 2007. I was at a party with a bunch of the families who we knew thanks to my son’s participation in youth sports. One of the men who I had known since our kids were in kindergarten and who I really respected and enjoyed being around used the “f” word. No, not fuck – you know me, I will type that one – he used the one to put down gays. I remember it like it was yesterday. In my head I know I groaned, then I checked myself for maybe 2 seconds, and then…I told him I didn’t think he should use that word any more than he would use the ‘n’ word. I swear that time stopped and it was just SO quiet as he looked at me after this very mild chastising and I knew I was risking my friendship with him by doing that….but….to his credit he said “I’m sorry. You are right, I should back away from that term.” and we went right on talking easily (and still do to this day). PHEW, but…the point is…I HAD to say something because it wasn’t acceptable at all.

My story was easy though. I don’t live in the south or in a place where there is an underlining level of “acceptable” phobias and isms. I can stand here and say that I will *always* push back against those words but I am also fairly confident I wont ever be around them that much.

Words matter. They really do. The rise in the last 20 years of combative, loud mouthed radio and TV programs disguised as “news” has eroded our ability to be empathetic allies. It’s more “acceptable” to be a hyper critical bully putting down everyone with whom he disagrees than it is to be kind, measured, pragmatic and empathetic particularly in media and politics.

This country celebrates “anyone can make it here” reputation. We love to talk about how inclusive we are. Freedom! Independence! Democracy! Be who you want to be, worship how you want to worship! Yet we say there is an “acceptable” level of racism in certain areas?

I say that I agree with the people who say it is time to “take our country back!” Only thing is, I want to take it back from THEM – the bullies and white supremacists and people who carry around deep seeded phobias of OTHER PEOPLE! I want to take the country back and actually turn it INTO the place it was meant to be. No fear of differences, all inclusive and equal opportunity for all.

Now THAT would be acceptable.

Raging at the rage (yes, I get the irony)

Standard

What do people get out of rage tweeting/status updates?

I’ve recently been somewhat befuddled by folks who watch something on TV (say, a particular channel or program) and then spend time posting anger filled tweets directed at said TV show. Now, I know there are “media” watchers whose job it is to blog or comment on the program’s quality (or lack thereof). I am not talking about that. In fact, the couple of people I follow who are in that field tend to tweet about them other than in a comical manner. They save their rage/real critiques for their jobs.

No, I am talking about someone like me – an accountant by day with no connection to the industry – spending my time and energy watching something that I clearly do not like and then spewing all those angry thoughts out onto the internet (either via twitter or facebook).

Why?

I read those thoughts and immediately pass judgment – not on the program you are criticizing – no, I pass judgment on YOU for being dumb. Or, perhaps for being a deliberate drama addict. You know you don’t like it, so DON’T WATCH. Or, maybe rage-watching is cathartic in some way as was pointed out to me once by a rather trusted and otherwise reasonable friend. OK, I can maybe get that – but the same friend also agreed that SHARING the rage is a mystery. So you choose to wallow in it – why post about it every single time?

Once in a while, maybe, but every single day?

Yeah, not only are you clearly ENJOYING the drama, but making other people enraged is also a thrill for you so – goodbye. In keeping with my own rule of NO DRAMA, I had to start removing people with that habit from my social networks.

However, in a somewhat similar vein, people who spend status updates whining ABOUT what other people post is also tiring. We get it. You don’t like ________ (sports/tv show/talking head/singer etc).

This particularly happens on Sundays as there seem to be equal amounts of love for certain Sunday night TV shows (Downtown Abbey comes to mind, but Mad Men/Dexter…there’s lots on Sunday night I think)…or you really really don’t like pointyball…err….football.

So then, you know what to expect on Sundays, right? Don’t log onto twitter and get yourself all irritated at people tweeting on topics you don’t happen to like. You are free to not like them! I don’t happen to watch any of those TV shows I just listed, but I know lots of my friends do and that they LOVE them. It does not offend/anger/irritate me in any way that they wish to express and share their love of those shows with others as they watch. In fact, that’s kind of the POINT of social media. Just because I personally do not enjoy that topic does not mean I should then spend equal amounts of time raining on their fun.

And now you are thinking – hey – first you are critical of people who rage tweet about TV, now you are telling people NOT to rage at people who tweet about TV. Double standard!

It’s subtle, but not really. In the first group, the hate TV watchers are sharing just that – hate & rage. In the second example, people are having FUN and then you get the haters who rage AT the fun. In both cases what I am lamenting is the people who are spreading anger and irritation on a regular basis.

I get that there is never going to be 100% peace love and understanding. But there should be a balance.

If you don’t like something, don’t watch. Scroll past tweets of people talking & enjoying a topic you don’t happen to like. If those tweets are coming too fast & furious on some particular days, log off. It’s easy to turn the TV or twitter off and avoid the irritation, right? Read a book! Listen to a podcast or music that makes you laugh and smile.

Just don’t knowingly walk into a situation that you KNOW will make you mad and then scream at everyone else about it.

No whining and no gasbags!

Warning! This is your brain on Zyrtec!

Standard

Well, MY brain anyway ….

The ol’ barometric pressure took a nose dive last night and right on cue my sinuses filled with pressure.  Consequently I’ve been either excessively foggy headed and tired from the pressure itself or, the Zyrtec I take to relieve it somewhat. Take your pick – either way, I am not at my sharpest but with the meds, at least it doesn’t hurt 🙂

Here are some random ramblings of my brain in this condition. I should probably apologize ahead of time to the many many people I may will offend or piss off.

Nah…..why start now?

**** There are Christmas lights on TWO houses around the corner from me! TWO! And not just put up because you hired one of those light hanging services to come do it just to get it over. I’ve seen those. They go up, but don’t turn them ON at least until after Thanksgiving. No, these two houses are LIT UP! ON November 17th!! Now, I am the Mrs Griswold of the block and I love exploding in lights more than anyone, but NEVER…NEVER…before Turkey Day! Heck, with Thanksgiving being so early this year I may not even hang my outdoor lights immediately.

Maybe. Don’t hold me to that 🙂

**** This one wont offend anyone – last night was the final Friday Night Lights for us this year. Since 16 is a junior and was hurt most of the season I am OK with it, but also very sad for the seniors who played their last game together. Apparently they were all crying on the field after. Especially big #78. Even though he is the only one guaranteed to be playing Division 1 football in college, it was very hard for him to say goodbye to the coaches and players who basically taught him the game. He hadn’t played youth football like so many others because he was too big so his only football experience is at the high school. It’s no wonder he had the hardest time seeing that end. I’ll be sad to see many of the parents move on. This senior class was a great group of families and kids. We’ll have a finally banquet for the kids in early December to really wrap up the season and I think extra tissues will be needed all around!

**** Speaking of parents…so…I live in an area that may have or may not have a reputation of potentially being another location for The Real Housewives. Plenty of excess money and time goes around in certain parts. Not the WHOLE area mind you, but there are some very very ritzy pockets and if their kids go to public school, the end up where we are. I’ve now been to dozens of baseball, football and girls volleyball games over the last two years and I noticed something about the volleyball crowd recently.

Some of them need to lose the phone numbers to their plastic surgeons. Really. I mean it. There are way too many Dolly Parton and Cher look-a-likes in the stands at the gym! I have no clue why there appears to be a higher percentage per capita of such examples in that particular crowd vs the other sports but…yeah..it’s kinds scary to see them up close.

**** I should follow up after the rant earlier about the busy body/bullying co-worker to report that – as I suspected would happen – about an hour or so after I barked at her, she came by in her classic passive-aggressive manner and struck up a totally unrelated conversation but then managed to “slip in” her version of an apology. Having known her my whole adult life, I know her patterns all too well and she didn’t disappoint. Ah well….some people just never grow up or learn real empathy. I just wish those types would be quieter 🙂

And now I need to get to bed and hope that I wake up with a bit clearer head tomorrow. We have a trail run planned and I want to enjoy it like I enjoyed the run on Wednesday.

 

 

Push Presents and our Madison Avenue driven culture of expectation (re-post)

Standard

Listening to a morning radio show on the way to work I heard a completely new term. “Push Present” Now, I know I fall out of the range of your typical female target audience. The things that I watch on TV or the magazines & blogs I read are WAY out of the norm for most women. But I do pay attention to conversations on Facebook and of course I have the August moms who usually end up talking about things here and there which helps me pick up things I might otherwise miss amongst the more generic girl talk. And yet this one had bypassed me. Turns out I did know the concept, just not by this title. A Push Present is the gift a man gives to a woman after the birth of their child. A reward for pushing the baby out 🙂 Kinda cute and it’s a lovely sentiment and I do know some women who have received these. SOME. Not all by a long shot and it was not something most of us talked about when we were pregnant.

What bothered me about the conversation this morning was that the women on the show – both in their early 30s – spoke of it as if it was EXPECTED. About as expected as a birthday or anniversary gift. For some reason, this rubbed me the wrong way entirely. I am sure it has something to do with my overall distaste for the way Madison Avenue has commercialized just about every holiday ever. Even the ones that were never *supposed* to have big presents or parties have become extravagant affairs if you follow advertising trends and popular TV/Magazine trends. I have often lamented the trend towards children *expecting* a big birthday party every single year. Mini golf, laser tag, chuck-e-cheese, bowling, etc etc. The parties get bigger and more expensive every year and it all seems like a grand competition to top one another. Little Johnny is only turning 2, but you have to invite 50 people to a pool party with jumpies and clowns and a Dj and and….!! Johnny won’t remember ANY OF THIS!!

It’s interesting because there is an overall sense that we can’t stand what is referred to as the “Entitlement attitude” of current generations. The phrase is thrown around in political arguments and in discussions on society as a whole. Typically it is used to vilify liberals expecting government handouts (sorry, had to stray a bit into politics for a second there). However, I think this whole notion is something that can be more properly laid at the feet of Madison Avenue. Anyone who consumes any amount of media is bombarded with the idea that the way you show off your success (and you must!) is by buying the shiniest, most expensive things. The way you show your love is by giving the shiniest most expensive things. Forget the country, citizens in general are more in debt than ever thanks to this constant messaging that you must have Tumi luggage, a shiny Lexus, a 2 carat ring, Jimmy Choo shoes and on and on. Self worth is wrapped up in it. Kids are steeped in it early with the birthday parties and accompanying pile of gifts. It’s not poor people who feel entitled to help; it is everyone, from all economic backgrounds that learned the world will shower you with all the pretty things that make you feel loved if you just whip out that credit card.

What would I consider a proper Push Present? Just be there. Be a dad. Stick around. Take them to doctor’s appointments and soccer practice & be there to watch their dance recitals. Make dinner and clean up after their barf. Be a partner in discipline and homework struggles and illnesses. That diamond tennis bracelet won’t do those things. Save that money. Start the college fund with it. That is what I *expect* from you. Birthday parties? How about we go back to marking the milestone years only? Every culture has some variations of course, but gosh just hitting the ‘5s’ and ‘0s’ works for me. Or, if you really love celebrating and having an excuse to be with a crowd of friends, then make it a No Gift party most of the time. Family will take care of that. Your 50 neighborhood and school friends? Nah – you just want the fun of having them there to play with you but they don’t all have to bring gifts. You want to reduce the entitlement culture? Then reduce those expectations.

UPDATE #1Ask 16 about his birthday as an example. Scroll down and see pics from his BBQ. He *loved* his day! Did he get some gifts? Sure, from family, but not from his peers. We told them to just show up. I bought them tickets to the movie and provided transportation there and back. All 16 wanted was to gather enough money to buy himself a new headset for his Xbox and he got exactly that. How many 16 year old boys do you all know who would be perfectly with that? Be honest!

Crazy how 2 mins of a radio show elicited that whole rant eh 🙂

Oh yeah! The guy who was the topic of the radio show? The Push Present he gave to his wife? A week at a FAT CAMP?!! Oh, he REALLY missed the concept. He’s in the Forever Dog House for sure.

UPDATE #2: Re-posting this because it has received a little more attention again along with a comment trying to explain the origination of the Push Present concept. Also a recommendation for a new website selling push presents that properly encapsulate the sentiment or something like that.  Endless love and protection of the mother and child? Yeah, sweet, but no. You know how to show that? I told you up above. Just be there.  Everything else is gravy and is simply a material item to be sold that continues on the culture of consumption. Push Presents are not mandatory, they are extra niceties if you have the money – maybe. But I will always resist it becoming some kind of expectation. 

Dear Mother Nature

Standard

So it begins eh? The annual Springtime Weekend Only rainstorms.

Charming.

You know what this is forcing me to do today?

Get in my weekend run today. After work. Or, more specifically, I am going to run home from work (thank god that’s mostly downhill this time). So please, keep that rain away until much later tonight OK?

Also, my friends and I are not too thrilled about that Sunday forecast. You see, it’s the first triathlon weekend of the season and we really don’t want to be racing and cheering on racers in the rain. And the cold. I am pretty sure the cold will piss us off the most.

Also, I have friends coming into town over the next two weeks. You know, spring break and all that. Could you please try to not rain all over them?

Thanks,

Withholding the love pending overall wet & cold, me.

Dear Daylight Savings Time

Standard

What the heck did I ever do to you?

How can one little hour have so much impact?

Por ejemplo – last Sunday I joined my running buddies for a 90 min trail run at San Elijo Lagoon. We had to get started before 8am because they have follow up the run with a swim class that starts at 9:45. I ended up covering just over 7 miles in the 90mins and ended up with a couple of angry toes due to some poor pedicure habits (my own fail, nothing to do with the always awesome shoes & socks). Anyhow, I followed up the run last week by completing the following, all before noon:

  • filled up car with gas
  • had a protein shake when I got home
  • showered & tended to toes
  • started a load of laundry
  • went to dry cleaner and dropped off comforter & picked up clothes
  • finished weekly grocery shopping
  • emptied dishwasher from load I started before my run
  • watched early morning news shows that were on the DVR

Not a bad morning’s work, right?

So today we had the same run planned. Other than filling the car up with gas & emptying the dishwasher (did those last night), I needed to do pretty much the same things afterwards.

So how did it go today after Springing Forward one measly hour?

  • Home from run around 9:30
  • Made protein drink
  • Check toes (all good this week)
  • Turned on DVR to watch news shows while sipping shake
  • Turned off DVR and went to sleep
  • Woke up and turned DVR back on and finished watching shows
  • got in shower at 12:30

See a difference there?

One hour ends up screwing up and entire day.

And it wasn’t just me. No one in this house moved until noon.

Someone asked on twitter what we were all going to do with that extra hour of daylight we inherited today. I’ll tell what I’m doing. Catching up from the apparent FOUR HOURS I lost this morning!

Not sure that extra hour is worth it right now. Especially since I still feel foggy brained and hungover.

Seriously DST – what the hell did I do to you?

No love, Me.

What if Tim Tebow wasn’t a Christian?

Standard

I can’t be the only one who has posed this question, right? But I just need to get this out there as he on the verge of potentially yet another freaky upset against the often equally reviled Tom Brady and the Patriots in the playoffs this weekend.

UPDATED: And so readers don’t think I am anti-Tebow personally – not at all! This is, much like the media hype about the Mommy Wars I ranted about earlier – all a reflection on the media and the nation’s reaction to him. In fact, here is a lovely article by my most favorite and respected sports writer of all time on just what a good kid Tim is: http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/7455943/believing-tim-tebow

People who are over-hyped (Paris Hilton, any Kardashain, The Beiber, Tom Brady, etc tec…) pretty much end up annoying everyone at some point. Doesn’t matter WHY they become famous, you just get sick of hearing their names and seeing their faces when they are at the height of their popularity.

So it was no surprise that the most HERALDED (hah!) player in recent NCAA football memory would have some of that hype carry over into his NFL career and that the sports media would be all over him if he had even a hint of success. Which he’s had this season. Big time.

Now, it just so happens that Mr Tebow is also, very very openly Christian. He tends to pray a lot on the sidelines. To the point where once he was elevated to starter on the Broncos, a tribute site to his religious bowing on bended knee sprang up with people in all walks of life “tebowing” – loosely defined as kneeling down to pray when everything /everyone else around you just continues to go about their business as if you are not there at all.

So, obviously, this is my question:

What if he wasn’t Christian?

What if he were Jewish?

Or Muslim?

Or Hindu?

Or (insert any other religion here?)

Because, guess what, sports figures do cross over into many other religious faiths. Or, none at all.

Or:

What if wasn’t a starting quarterback on an NFL team?

What if he was your co-worker bowing on his knee before every staff meeting?

What if he was your child’s youth league coach praying before every match?

What if he was (insert any other type of non-religious workplace/community volunteer setting here)?

I am ALL FOR religious freedoms. Freedom OF and freedom FROM in some cases.

So Tebow all around town all you want.

Know that no matter WHAT you believe – IF there IS a God, one thing I DO KNOW FOR SURE:

He doesn’t give a flying rats ass about sports so spare me your thanking God for your victories folks. There’s a team and fans on the other side of the field praying just as much as you.

Mostly though, I deeply deeply believe to my soul that this country would NOT be loving them so much Tebow if was bowing down on the ground facing Mecca at sundown.

Just guessin’