Category Archives: Pet Peeves

Some thoughts on being a “liberated” American woman…

The above videos show America’s oldest teacher, Agnes “Granny” Zhelesnik, who turned 102 in January 2016.  Zhelesnik didn’t start teaching until she was 80 years old, when she began teaching children cooking and sewing at a private pre-K – 5 school in New Jersey.

This video struck a chord with me on many levels.  It’s wonderful to see young children learning useful life skills in a school these days.  It’s wonderful to see an elderly person strike out on a new purposeful and meaningful course late in life.  It’s wonderful to see somewhere in America’s vast morass of education failures, efforts to teach children important and useful practical life skills exist.

My oldest sister, in her 60s, teaches adult cooking classes at a community college, but she also teaches cooking classes for kids in the summertime.  One of my long-term pet peeves, but also deep concerns is how many young adults I’ve encountered in the past 20-30 years or so, who have absolutely no practical life skills.   This concern isn’t about politicized feminist ideology vs. traditional family values, but about a society where so much opportunity, information, resources and talent withers away, never developed or fully realized.  Living in a world where information on just about any topic is accessible with just a click or touch on a screen, this lack of acquisition of knowledge, training and development of practical skills in America speaks to a crisis of the American spirit.

My oldest sister has the skills of a culinary arts school grad, although she never attended any formal cooking school.  Our grandmother started buying my sister cookbooks, when my sister was in her teens and showed an interest in cooking.  In high school, my sister was a super-star in her home-ec classes, impressing everyone with her creations.  She impressed us at home too.  She found a job as a teenager working in a local restaurant, where the owner was a very talented cook, baker and cake decorator.  This lady also ran the food services in our school district by the time I was in high school.  Our school district had very good home-cooked type lunches back then.

My oldest sister is also extremely talented at all sorts of crafts and way more talented at needlework than I am.   What she has always done is read a lot about the hobbies she’s interested in and she also observes carefully how craft and sewing items are constructed. Every hobby she undertakes, she doesn’t settle for mediocrity, but works to master it.  She has taken classes to learn many different things.  In fact, she took several cake decorating classes and convinced my mother to go to cake decorating classes.  My other two sisters decided to take cake decorating classes several years ago too.  I am the only one who hasn’t learned cake decorating yet and I still think that’s something I want to learn how to do.

Growing up in a time-warped village in rural PA, most of the people I lived around still lived in traditional families and although many women there worked outside the home, most still knew how to cook and sew.  There were two blouse factories in my village, so perhaps the number of women who knew how to sew clothes was higher than normal there and of course, with their being of PA German ancestry, where quilting and needlework were traditional pastimes for women, knowing how to sew was a common skill.  My oldest sister worked in one of those blouse factories as a teenager too.

Likewise, knowing how to cook and bake were common skills when I grew up, right in the midst of that 60s & 70s feminist revolution, but perhaps the self-reliant gene really is a part of those bitter PA clingers’ cultural DNA and not just indicative that they’re backward, religious zealots and xenophobes, as President Obama implied.

One of the great ironies of progressive career mothers, and amusing to me, is their desire to find great nannies and caretakers for their children, where something like hiring “Mormon nannies”, whose strong moral values are a real draw for well-to-do parents seeking a caregiver for their children.  However, this reality vs the progressive rhetoric always smacks of rank hypocrisy among America’s elitist Leftists.

Teaching home economics in American schools was a progressive idea, not about training traditional stay-at-home mothers or keeping women trapped in their homes.  It was about advancing teaching science and scientific approaches to domestic topics, but along with that, training women to pursue careers outside the home, beginning in the late 1800s.

My mother was a “science and math” person – she liked chemistry, she thought trigonometry was “fun” and she embraced the metric system.  Besides knowing a great deal about “domestic skills”, she was a registered nurse, who loved to continue learning about medical innovations, she could fix a lot of electric appliances and knew how to do electrical wiring in homes, she was an expert at refinishing furniture, gardening, very good at crewel embroidery.  She was a fantastic cook and expert baker.  I think she was like many (most) of the women where I grew-up, who were multi-taskers long before the word came into vogue.

Even the “traditional” farm women were businesswomen too.  Knowing how to bake cookies is not something to scoff at or mock!  Baking is a useful skill to acquire,  just like my father made me and my sisters learn to check the oil in the car and change tires.  Being “liberated” means learning to be FREE to learn as much and as many skills in life as you can, to lead a fuller life.

As I often do, I started searching about “home economics” after watching the first video of the oldest teacher in America.   A 2014 Huffington Post article,  by Brie Dyas, caught my attention:

“You don’t hear much about Home Ec courses in schools these days. Even though many voices, from Anthony Bourdain to Slate, have called for its return, there’s still the critique that teaching high-schoolers cooking, budgeting and basic household skills is like saying they should walk around in poodle skirts — a “regressive” idea that doesn’t have a place in the modern curriculum.”

Dyas continues with a history of “home economics”:

“The creation of home ec is often attributed to Ellen Swallow Richards, a chemist and instructor at MIT, who paved the way for MIT’s Women’s Laboratory, which existed from 1876 to 1883 with a goal of advancing the scientific education of women at the Institution.

At the Women’s Laboratory, Richards turned her scientific attention to the study of how to make home life more efficient. According to the Chemical Heritage Foundation, “Richards was very concerned to apply scientific principles to domestic topics — good nutrition, pure foods, proper clothing, physical fitness, sanitation, and efficient practices that would allow women more time for pursuits other than cooking and cleaning.”

Richards’ philosophy — that running one’s home as efficiently as possible in order to make more time for things like, say, education — might be surprising to those who still see home ec as being anti-intellectual. To Richards, home ec wasn’t contrary to feminist principles. After all, she gathered other progressive women in 1899 to come up with academic guidelines for a fuller home ec curriculum that would “liberate” women from house work. The meetings, which occurred yearly in Lake Placid, New York until 1909, led to the formation of the American Home Economics Association. The group lobbied for increased funding for home economics programs. Richards was the president of the group until her death in 1911. (The American Home Economics Association was later renamed the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences and still exists today.)

But let’s back up a second. Another guiding force behind the formal teaching of home economics was The Morrill Act of 1862, which led to the establishment of land-grant colleges in each state. These colleges, which offered both classical academic and practical courses, were open to women. “Domestic Science” courses were often on the agenda, specifically geared towards the wives of farmers, who were expected to run the household in addition to assisting in farm work.”

Definitely click on the links in Dyas’ article, because they offer more historical information into the progressive idea of teaching women domestic skills in a school setting, using scientific methods and research.  The woman who started the home economics movement, Ellen Swallow Richards, was a feminist, the first woman to attend MIT, the first woman in America to earn a chemistry degree, a scientist engaged in a life of scientific research and whirlwind of studies, experiments, advocating on behalf of science being applied to teaching women domestic skills:

Chemist, sanitation engineer, and home economist Ellen Richards opened scientific education and professions to women when she started teaching at MIT in 1884.

“Ellen Richards graduated from Vassar College in 1870 and went on to become one of the first women admitted to MIT, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in 1873. Her focus was on chemistry, sanitary engineering and home economics. Richards blazed a trail for women in the sciences by establishing a woman’s laboratory at MIT and eventually joining the school’s regular faculty. She died in 1911.”

Dyas explains how home economics progressed in the early part of the last century, where some universities used real babies from orphanages as “practice babies” in their training programs, but post WWII, she explains how home economics funding decreased, with the focus being on science programs and the advent of convenience foods quelled the interest in teaching home-cooking.

In typical liberal fashion, Dyas and the Huffington Post staff recommend:

So, what now? We have a few ideas.

– Language matters. “Consumer Science” on its own has broader appeal than throwing “Family” into the mix. “Family” sounds like we’re back in the “practice baby” days.
– Timing matters, too. A high school kid can handle learning how to make grilled cheese. But the student likely won’t remember the in-depth lecture about interest rates, mainly because that’s probably not part of his or her world yet. But in college, with student loan debts averaging in the high $20,000s, it’s a great time to learn things like budgeting and basic business etiquette. Work in the “core” home ec classes from there: Managing laundry, meal planning and cooking.
– Don’t make it part of the formal curriculum. Instead, treat it as informally as freshmen orientation.
– Change your attitude. The sooner we can accept that Home Ec isn’t just for women, the sooner we can have students who have attain stronger life skills.

As always, the first thing with liberals is always to change the words we use to describe something.   They know words DO matter, that’s why they are forever insisting we use different words – words they choose – to describe things.

The women I grew up with as mentors must have had some 19th century progressive women in their family trees, because on both sides of my family, the women are doers and not dainty flowers.  Even my great-grandmother with the 3rd grade education read the newspaper everyday, could follow crochet patterns and needlework patterns, measure out ingredients and follow instructions in cookbooks and recipes jotted down from other cooks and was supportive of women getting a college education.  I never met a woman where I grew up who didn’t want her daughters to attend school and to learn as many things as possible.

Admittedly, I mock the Hillary Clinton/Gloria Steinem type feminists, who pride themselves on knowing nothing about domestic topics, but I mock them, not out of jealousy of their “feminist achievements”, but because they are terrible role models, not only for women, but for AMERICANS.  Their “liberation” of women, keeps women chained in an imaginary, perpetual state of victimhood of evil male patriarchy.  There is no “equality” that will ever assuage their sense of discrimination, because with them its internalized and constant.  Pssst, I think they hate men…

Yes, I believe they are strident ideological harpies, who offer no meaningful lessons or model to follow on how to achieve real-life emancipation or on becoming a self-reliant, free-thinking, independent American citizen. Especially, Hillary Clinton repeats strident, boring, angry feminist boiler-plate political rhetoric, while she relies on a coterie of sycophantic fetchers and carriers, to keep her public image from shattering.

Tiny glimpses of the “real” Hillary aren’t a pretty sight, like when she goes off-script and spews her angry diatribes or wallows in her self-pitying victim-mode rants.  Her “damned” emails, as Bernie referred to them, give you a glimpse too – to a woman who orders her staff to fetch and carry, even her tea.  She relies on them to handle all the details of her paid job, while she publicly gets all the credit.  She’s a woman who relies on her husband to be her political fixer.  A woman who relied on her Filipino maid to print out her work emails for her.  A woman who is completely helpless on her own.  She’s a woman who needs her staff flunkies to stage public outings to make her look “normal” (not like THE QUEEN).

Sadly, too many young women embrace shunning all things “domestic” and by doing so turn themselves into helpless fools in the process.  Everyone, both male and female, should learn basic domestic skills, like simple food preparation and storage, basic housekeeping skills, basic household budgeting, how to balance a checking account, and if they’re planning on having children, acquiring some basic child-care knowledge sure comes in handy.  Most young people won’t be like Hillary Clinton, with her coterie of fetchers and carriers, but will instead have to rely on themselves (or their parents) to handle all the drudge work in their lives.

The video above is Alton Brown, who has dozens of videos online, and he’s my favorite food personality for many reasons, but mainly because I love his scientific approach to cooking.  Of course, he constantly asks my favorite question: WHY?  WHY is a question that will keep your life an endless adventure, as you begin each new search for the answer(s).

Watching so many young women whine and embrace frivolous, mindless feminist political causes, while eschewing putting effort into learning real life skills saddens me. Feminist icons, like Hillary Clinton, have devoted their lives to perpetuating myths about opportunity for women in America, by enslaving young women’s minds to feminist dogma, more rigid than many religious cults.

Practical information, how-to videos, reference material is only a click away – embrace the freedom to explore old and new hobbies, pick a favorite meal and learn how to prepare it yourself, ever wondered about a science issue, how something works, or how something was invented, well devote a few minutes a day to researching it.  I’ve become a fan of how-to videos with crafting and needlework, because I can pause and rewind as often as I need to, while I do it myself.

I kept urging my oldest sister to start a Pinterest account, where she can set up boards and save ideas, patterns, recipes and inspirations to refer back to and she has now done that. She’s way more computer savvy than I am, so her hesitation was about Pinterest being part of “social media”, not that she wasn’t familiar with computers.  I use Pinterest often and while it’s doubtful I’ll ever use most of the recipes or make most of the needlework and craft projects I’ve pinned, these boards are much easier to access than trying to remember which magazine or craft book I saw a pattern in and then hunting it down.

For me, knowing how to handle as many daily tasks, central to my daily life, myself, gives me not just a sense of calm and security, it gives me a sense of FREEDOM. It’s nice to be able to do many things myself, without needing to rely on someone else to do them for me.  And for me that’s what being an American is all about – personal liberty.


Filed under American Character, Culture Wars, General Interest, Pet Peeves, ThatWitch2016

Trump “war crime” policy heard around the world

Andrew McCarthy at NRO penned an excellent, must-read piece:

“Culture Rot: Donald Trump Is the Effect, Not the Cause”

Read more at:

McCarthy writes:

Before our very eyes, the corruption of cultural standards begets the corruption of law and politics. The coarsest part of the debate was Trump’s boorish boast (for which I’m willing to take him at his word, lest the next debate sink to a new low). The most egregious part, though, was Trump’s vow that, as commander-in-chief, he would compel the finest, best-trained armed forces in the history of the planet to commit war crimes — because there are evil people doing unspeakable things, as if that never happened before.

For a number of years in the mid-aughts, we debated the merits vel non of waterboarding. I defended the legality of this interrogation method — in the restrained practice of the CIA, not as cruelly administered historically — mostly based on a strict interpretation of the federal torture statute. It was not an endorsement of the tactic in any particular case. The opposition’s point was well taken that the existence of a legal justification (which they did not concede) would not necessarily make the use of waterboarding good policy. We volleyed ticking-bomb scenarios and slippery slopes back and forth.

As a lawyer, I instinctively believed we should be able to write rules clarifying the extremely rare circumstances in which aggressive tactics could be used. Critics forcefully countered that the very writing of rules was an authorization that would be stretched to cover non-dire circumstances. Jonah Goldberg reminded us about the “hidden law,” which as applied here, counsels forbidding across the board that which should be forbidden in almost all situations, in the belief that if a dire emergency did arise, good people would act outside the law, do what had to be done, and hope that others would understand and forgive.

Since I have already vented in the comments on Mr. McCarthy’s piece, let me just paste it here and be done for today:

Please, if the choices are Hillary or Trump – America is doomed, PERIOD! Trump is not some lifesaver of the Republic, he’s an insurgent intent on burning the system down! You reap what you sow when you enable sociopaths and those two are extreme sociopaths, who don’t believe rules apply to them.

I am keeping a list, for future reference, of every Republican mouthpiece, who uses the phrase, “that’s just Donald Trump being Donald Trump,” to excuse his excesses. Duncan Hunter, yesterday morning, a vet, no less was interviewed on FOX news in the morning about Trump’s Thursday night doubling done on his killing ISIS family members policy. Hunter said he hadn’t seen the debate, deflected, then tried to excuse Trump by asserting Trump was “just a little bit inarticulate”. I am disgusted that a former Marine Corps officer could excuse Trump’s assertion that he would ORDER U.S. troops to commit war crimes. There’s another Trump mouthpiece, a former Navy seal, who was on FOX doing the same thing. They are a disgrace to the US Armed Service and have dishonored themselves and are unfit spokespeople for we, the heirs of General George Washington’s Continental Army!

All this to promote an obvious sociopath, out of venal political motives. Rudy Guiliani, a man I respected, did the same “that’s Donald Trump being Donald Trump” excuse last weekend on FOX News and I lost all respect for him. He has been an “unofficial” Trump adviser for months and was well aware of Trump’s war crimes spiel, because Trump has repeated it several times. NRO should do a heading at the top of their page, to click on, and chronicle, names, dates and statements of all these Trump enablers – they deserve to be remembered for this.

As a vet myself, and the spouse of a Grenada and Desert Storm vet, I am disgusted that these people are excusing Trump and the murmurs of he’s trying to be tough – well, here’s the rub – the strategic challenges to defeat Islamic terror, which Mr. McCarthy has written very informatively about in his books, are complicated and very challenging, as it is, but for some fool like Trump uttering those words, he just added to the problem exponentially and he is UNFIT to ever command the US Armed Forces. It’s not just that Trump’s “strategy” is a war crime, it’s also that anyone with a brain knows that a military strategy based on killing innocent civilians in hopes it hurts the morale of enemy combatants is IDIOTIC and unhinged. YUGE blowback, in kind, would be the result of Trump’s policy.

His words were heard by every world leader and our enemies.

Trump walking that back should not be forgotten – remember it and remind all Trump enablers, because his foolish and idiotic utterance put US Armed Forces, operating in an already dangerous area of the world, in more danger! Anyone aspiring to be commander in chief, who would say he will order our military to commit war crimes, is a threat to The Constitution and to the troops he aspires to command!!! Wake up, this is no longer just the Trump reality TV show -Mr. Draft Deferment, just put US troops in danger with his careless and idiotic blustering – all to “sound” tough.

Let me add that, yes, I am aware that the Trump campaign issued a statement late yesterday, avowing that Trump would obey the law as President, but NEVER forget what his first policy was and that he only backtracked for political expediency, not because he conceded his war crimes policy was immoral and illegal.  He is Hillary’s twin brother when it comes to saying or doing whatever it takes to get what he wants – they are both corrupt to the core and they will corrupt all who follow them!!!


Filed under American Character, Culture Wars, Foreign Policy, General Interest, Military, Pet Peeves, Politics, Terrorism, The Constitution

Barry explains Cloward-Piven Strategy

Barry explains Cloward-Piven Strategy.

This link is from Allen West, January 2014 – a simple cartoon explanation about what Obama has been doing and where this is leading.

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture Wars, Foreign Policy, General Interest, Military, Pet Peeves, The Constitution

Any seat on the bus (my city’s ARRA hand-out)

 Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see

– Kerry Livrgren

In 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009(ARRA).  Occasionally, major scandals hit the news of incredible waste or fraud, with this bailout, the tally which will lurch to $831 billion between 2009 and 2019 and  yet our public consciousness of government malfeasance flutters by with only vague awareness of the Solyndras or the shrimp on treadmills horror stories .

How much has actually been spent remains hard to decipher and due to the maze of federal funding avenues, mapping this money’s trail will likely prove about as fruitless as the projects it funded, more dust in the wind.   Blaring headlines of scandal, fraud and abuse through this law coalesce in short bursts of light, then quickly burn out and fade into the darkness that is government’s secure cover from public exposure.  We, the public, possess short attention spans and quickly move on to the next big news story, easily forgetting yesterday’s tempest that roiled our senses momentarily.  Laugh at the exercising shrimp at your own peril, for we like to sit snug as a bug in our partisan-colored rugs, content to blame the other roaches and dust mites for all the problems.

We like calm sailing,  so best to let waters calm and the putrid muck settle back to the bottom, where the clear waters serenely mask what lurks below.  I live in a very blue county in a Southern state that votes reliably red in most federal elections.  A drop in the bucket from the ARRA made it to my small city (town) in the form of a brand spanking new transit system, composed of 9 buses, each replete with ADA-compliant wheelchair lifts and  2 wheelchair spaces.  Our system shifted into drive in 2010 and keeps chugging along.

Working at the hub (our local big box store), where these buses pull in many times a day, I’ve watched these buses make their stops multiple times a day, year after year.  The highest number of passengers I ever spied on a bus stopping in front of my store was 2, yes 2.  Now, I admit to surprise at leaving the local Applebee’s restaurant a few years ago and seeing numerous passengers disembarking from a city bus, which contained families of soldiers from our nearby military post.  Was I missing the big picture of how successful this stimulus project really was, viewed from my partisan-tinted glasses?  I doubt it.  To service these empty buses requires: 22 new employees including 1 general manager, 2 administrative personnel, 1 mechanic, 3 road supervisors, 1 bus hostler, and 14 drivers.

How many years and how much taxpayer money will be exhausted before this transit system runs out gas?   I don’t know, but I do know that in this city, you won’t have to ever worry about having to sit in the back of the bus, you can choose any seat you want….  And if you thought the shrimp running on a treadmill going nowhere was the craziest waste of taxpayer money, you might take a closer look around your own neighborhood and find one just as wasteful as my city’s transit system.


Filed under General Interest, Pet Peeves, Politics


To the 5 W & 1 H Folks:

The internet is an amazing thing.  Connections, connections, connections.  JK, I’m posting this for a reason and it’s not for credit actually.  I just want this connection out there – and if anyone can come up with an earlier blog post or news report on Ms O’Bagy’s Syrian Emergency Task Force position, please post it.  I wrote my post on September 3, 2013, 8:56 am.  I mentioned my post on The Diplomad 2.0 blog, September 3, 2013m,  10:03am, which certainly gets more traffic than my obscure backwoods blog.  After I posted my comment on Diplomad’s blog other journalists ran with this story.  There’s a lot of ego among you, but very little integrity.

I’ve tried since 1999 to get someone, anyone actually, to take my story, Messages of mhere (located in the archives section)  seriously – so far, no takers.  I followed advice and used pseudonyms in my story. I wrote it with a light touch, but the story itself is the truth.   All these years of attempting to get someone to listen to my story, well, truth, sure seems  a rare commodity.   Most of the people in this story would recognize themselves, if, someone with the right connections investigated this.  It shouldn’t be this hard to get someone to listen to you in America.


Filed under Culture Wars, Foreign Policy, General Interest, Messages of mhere, Military, Pet Peeves, Politics, The Constitution, The Media

Political party identification be damned

G. Murphy Donovan posted another excellent article, “Rent Seeking and Other Blood Sports”,  at The American Thinker the other day.  Real life intruded on my time, so excuse me for lagging behind on the blogging.  Real life versus politics in my own very mundane life isn’t even a choice really, because for me gabbing about politics here is more like a hobby and having a few readers is a gift I never expected to receive.  Once again thanks for your time.  This difference between how I embark on blogging and how many others approach it, struck me recently when I ventured onto a blog, where a genuine question about a stereotype of Tea Party folks as “despising constitutional principles” led me to question this.  Polls were cited, I was castigated as being a Fox viewer, all with the intent to discredit my opinion as next to worthless and maybe it is.  GMD’s article made me think of this difference between those who take themselves very seriously and people like me, just ordinary Americans, who watch in disgust and dismay as our country teeters ever closer to collapse.  Now, the issue on that other blog was about whether we need a new Pledge of Allegiance or no pledge and all I could think about are the millions of Americans struggling to survive, raise their kids in this crappy economy and hope there’s some future worth inheriting from us and these folks on this blog, who tout all their academic and career credentials are worrying about whether we keep the Pledge of Allegiance.  I got lectured and dismissed, which is fine, but really GMD highlighted the real problems, where we are failing large segments of the population, especially way too many children and the mentally ill.

One more comment about that other blog (which shall remain nameless, because maybe they do have great solutions that I failed to see), but the way in which my simple question led to automatic stereotyping of me as an idiot Fox viewer/Tea Party sympathizer irked the hell out of me.  And here my last lengthy response (because I can’t just leave well enough alone) went as follows:

“The trick is not to mark groups’ opinions as “not worth talking to”, because finding solutions to our country’s problems will require pulling along as many people and they come with widely divergent views. Every team is built by finding some common ground, so it’s an inclusive process and that’s how to begin uniting America.

Our problems are much deeper than whether we have a pledge of allegiance. We’ve got so many people so keen to stereotype based on perceived political groupings, that we’ve lost touch at looking at all Americans as individuals with lots of potential strengths, ideas, skills sets, etc. that might be useful.

I won’t be posting here again, so you can put me into whatever group you choose – just place me as far away from your elitist snobbery as possible. I haven’t heard one solution yet here, just who you think shouldn’t be listened to based on your stereotyping. How on earth you think you can fix what’s wrong when you start off writing off entire large segments of America is beyond ridiculous – “Oh you stupid person, you don’t understand the Constitution, so your comment doesn’t count!”, “Oh you must be a Tea Party member, because you asked why this thread says they despise constitutional principles or you’re dreaded Fox viewer or something – you’re just not smart enough to post here among the enlightened few!”

The Constitution was written with a mechanism for change – to add or repeal amendments – suggesting such a change does not make one despise the Constitution – it’s the exact mechanism that follows constitutional principles. The founders also, in their infinite wisdom, made it a steep hurdle to make such changes – thankfully. And no, I never supported repealing the 14th Amendment, I never joined a Tea Party, I watch Fox news, MSNBC and CNN, because I like to compare coverage, mostly I read as many newspapers online as I can, I oppose capital punishment and drone strikes ( except maybe in a declared war and under tight controls), so I am not sure what that makes me. Maybe when you’ve decided amongst your chosen few, you can let us ordinary Americans know and show us the way. I spent most of my life as a homemaker – I talk to just about everyone and I try to learn as much about what they think, what they’ve done, so I know who they are. I don’t discount anyone.”

Now of course my views were cited as utopian and wrong, on pulling as many people along as possible, with the factual statistic on the very small percentage of rebels who launched the American Revolution, (but of course they worked damned hard to up that percentage quickly).  This behavior pattern of wiping the floor with other people, by quickly stereotyping them into convenient political boxes is the problem of thinking in terms of factions and not of people.  At the end this blogger lectured me about resorting to name-calling when from his first response to my honest question he discarded me as a “Tea Party sympathizer/Fox viewer”, making whatever I had to say worthless.  The further elaboration was that the Tea Party is made up of angry old white people, who are racists and can’t accept a black President.   This entire attempt to find out why he stated the Tea Party despises constitutional principles ended with this lame stereotype.   More breaking down America into rabid political factions.  And while all these factions keep throwing gasoline to keep these fires burning out of control, the rest of us, ordinary Americans sit here hoping the wind doesn’t send the flames in our direction and closer still to the flames are all those who are least able to beat back the flames – those living in poverty, especially children and the infirm.  Factions and political party identification be damned, since 2008 the group of those not able to find a path to upward financial mobility keeps increasing, as does the number of children and the infirm, who need help.

You can’t unite a country if you constantly work to discount and marginalize large segments of it.  We’ve either got to find a way to reach some middle ground on some very existential problems or we will crumble.  And we’ve got to welcome everyone to the table, put some of the rabid politics aside and find our talents and strengths and rebuild the American team.   GMD’s article presented our failure as a society, one that we prefer to talk about in abstract terms, but he knows each one is a life, not a political talking point.  We all need to remember that beyond the political flame-throwing are real lives left in ashes.


Filed under Culture Wars, Pet Peeves, Politics

Michelle, Michelle, how does your garden grow…….

Who knew, with silver bells and cockle shells and ravenous squirrels all in a row.  Just when you think the Obama farce hit it’s low bottom mark for cynical publicity stunts, today’s news cycle churns out sad tales of Michelle’s Potemkin garden project rotting on the vine, so to speak – here, here and here.   A perfect tableau for the phoniness that is the Obamas – it’s all one sad, trashy tale of lies, pandering, pathos and to quote one of the biggest liars in America, none other than Bill Clinton, “it’s the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen”…..

While many people plant vegetable gardens out of a love for gardening, understanding the basics of gardening, the basics of how to survive if the power goes out and basically to have some simple plans in place of what to do, when life’s little emergencies happen should be common sense, but instead we’ve got an entire society geared toward waiting for the government to take us by the hand and fix everything.  Before I turn this into a meandering rant, let me just say, I am so sick of these people and their never ending staged political posturing.  Her garden serves as just another one of their lame stage props – nothing more, and as one of those dwindling oddities, known as “taxpayers”, I sure would love to know how much Michelle’s organic garden costs us each year???   Not to worry though, because no matter the fiscal calamities, these self-anointed demigods will still have their faithful at the ready to shovel more s**t (because they sure won’t get their hands dirty)!

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture Wars, Pet Peeves, Politics

The defining generational shift

Thanks Justin for all the kind words about my blog and for pointing out so many great blogs and sites to check out.  Duff&Nonsense: entertaining, erudite, chock full of that British understated ruthlessness – love it.  Gypsy Scholar: covers the gambit and not easily pigeon-holed into a particular category – a well-written, eclectic mix of commentary.  Just this morning I started reading waka, waka, waka, Malcolm Pollack’s blog:  plan to spend days reading through his archives – the writing is top-notch.  I’m sure their blog lists contain many more blogs worth perusing. I’d like to venture out on a limb about Gypsy Scholar’s recent post.

Gypsy Scholar posted a piece, “Nonlinearity: E-Books vs. Physical Books“, which delves into the pros and cons of e-readers, when matched up against physical books and it led me to ponder this matter a bit further and after I pondered this a bit, I thought about how truly spoiled we, who bask in the modern world of luxury, are to have so many varied ways to access information, great literature, connect with other people around the globe.  Certainly, anyone who has ever tried to find the index or bibliography of an e-book, knows the frustration of simply flipping through the pages of a physical book and trying to do that with an e-reader.  As technology improves, my optimistic nature leads me to feel confident that glitch will eventually be ironed out.

Writer’s warning: Proceed at your own risk, the following rambling post is this writer’s “oh the demise of American culture” rant of the day.

The trickier problem seems to lie in the sad fact that there’s no cure for stupid and the handing tech toys to most of the world’s inhabitants seems to spread  a “too-dumb-to-exist” virus faster than 4G access.  Yes, it’s been a long time since I posted a pet peeve, but here goes.  Everywhere you wander in America (even perhaps around the globe, if news footage is reliable) you see the masses, preoccupied with their cell phones, iphones, tablets, etc.  Often my mean-streak breaks loose and I wonder, “these $%^#!* morons can’t even string together a coherent sentence, so what in the Hades can they be texting about all day long?”  Yes, I really do think things like this and on occasion, my nice, demure self lets thoughts like this slip from my lips…….. accidentally, of course.  American culture teeters toward the end of a three act play, where no one remembers the first two acts and we’re zooming to a climatic final scene, curtains poised to drop and there we slouch slurping our big drinks……..  glibly unaware.

For the bibliophiles, an e-reader offers us one more way to indulge our obsessive passion for acquiring books and just the knowledge that I’m carrying around a small home library’s worth of books in my purse makes me feel giddy.  No longer am I left flipping through outdated, grubby magazines,  while waiting to see the doctor nor do I have to suffer making or enduring aimless small talk, with lengthy rambles about the size of one’s kidney stones or some undiagnosed “rash”.  It’s so convenient to pull out my e-reader or tablet and block out the other inhabitants, so yes, technology serves as a very useful barrier to unwanted social interaction.  But for all these wonderful uses, I work and interact with ordinary people and way too often I hear people tell me they bought an e-reader and haven’t really used it yet or worse I’ve heard the following comment more than a handful of times, “I bought a kindle, but I don’t really read books”  Yes, acquiring these gadgets is about acquiring these gadgets – not really expanding one’s reading options.

In the early years of owning a PC, one bright morning my children were getting ready for school and living in a very temperate Southern state, we don’t get much in the way of cold weather (although Southerners bundle in big parkas as soon as the temperature drops below 60°F).  One of my sons rushed to the PC and he had to go online to find out if it was cold enough to wear a jacket.  In dismay, I blurted out, “Are you stupid?  Just step out on the front porch and find out!”  He looked at me, affronted by my ignorance, and said, “Mom that’s not as accurate as the weather online.”  Many times I’ve thought back to this as the defining generational shift in America – those who lived before computers and actually had to rely on their own brainpower to figure things out and the PC generation, where if someone wrote about it online it trumps even trusting you own up close and personal experience (even if that weather info came from several hundred miles away).

The love of books seems a more full-bodied experience than ownership of an e-reader.  There’s something awe-inspiring to meander along rows of books in a beautiful old library or even to find a small makeshift library tucked into a few fourth-floor rooms on a tiny US Army kaserne in Germany.  Often, I would bundle my youngest daughter into her car seat and we’d head to this library on Schloss Kaserne, after I got my other children off to school. I’d find some story books for her and some books for me and we’d find a comfy seat and spend several hours at a time reading.  Very few people used that library and my husband and other children turned their noses up at this tiny library, but for me it brought back childhood memories of sitting for hours in our old pastor’s attic, where his wife kept all her old magazines and excess books stored on neat shelves, in perfect order.  She had every edition of some magazines going back to the 1920s, when she had married our pastor.

The first thing I notice about any book is the binding.  I admire lovely bindings and that’s before I even open the cover.  An e-reader can never copy that feel of a book between your hands, but the ease of accessing so many classics, histories and information so easily offers a huge trade-off.  Would that we could copy good teaching methods as easily as we copy books to digitized formats.  Our pastor’s wife (mentioned in several previous posts) spent her time being a good pastor’s wife – helped in the church, helped in the community, helped us with our many reports and school projects.  And yet, by training she had attended Teachers College Columbia University in the mid-1920s and I most assuredly benefited from her many years of informally teaching me.  My brothers, sisters and I  would run across the road to the parsonage whenever we needed more information than our books at home offered.  She would stop whatever she was doing and devote as much time as needed to help us find information and offer advice.  This lovely woman would bookmark passages from books, pages in magazines and write notes of things she thought I should read.

I think that the issue confronting us is lazy self-indulgence, where failing schools is just a small part of the problem – just walk into any big box store, where the majority of Americans shop.  The book section rarely is crowded, yet the electronics area, particularly the gaming section usually swarms with young men.  What are the girls shopping for – mostly clothes, freakish hair color, looking for “as seen on TV” merchandise.  And it’s the rare shopper who isn’t otherwise preoccupied with his/her cellphone.  There, I’ve said it, we have the laziest, most self-indulgent culture on planet earth and that’s what’s ailing America.


Filed under Culture Wars, Pet Peeves

Pet Peeve #2 – Too Stupid To Survive

We Americans love to believe we’re the greatest nation on earth and at some point I believed this too, but as things go from dismal to dire, such delusions might well prove to be our undoing.  Since President Obama took office every step he’s taken pushes us closer to a point of economic collapse from whence we won’t be able to recover.  He deflects attention like a political  Wizard of Oz, waving his hands, telling us to pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, while he systematically dismantles (transforms) our country into a country ruled by executive fiat.  Republicans run around in disarray with only enough discipline to form a circular firing squad when the Democrats lob the next legislative fire bomb .  No need to wait for impact, these GOP clowns shoot each other long before then, making this era of democratic scorched earth policy an unnecessary redundancy.  Both sides provide a decidedly sickening display of gutless, self-serving antics that is it any wonder no problems ever get resolved?  We’re stuck on a endless political hamster wheel,  round and round and round we go with phoney fiscal crises, fabricated doomsday hysterics, all pasted together with the brainwashing chant of some new catchphrase the media willingly repeats thousands of times a day.  A couple months ago it was “fiscal cliff”, today it’s “sequestration”.   The Democrats perfected this technique of public brainwashing decades ago and it works – repeat the same hypnotic talking point, using the same phrases and all of a sudden the general public follows along , not even caring where they’re being led.

Our government loves to warn us about China and Russia.  Beware they’re doing all these dangerous things that run counter to our American interests.  Well, yes they do and what does America do?  We run around creating a fiscal plague, poised to wipe out life as we know it and we want to take the moral high-ground???   China has been buying up US real estate for decades and American companies, but we pretend it isn’t happening.  We want all the cheap consumer goods, because our lazy, slovenly citizenry can never have too much junk, yet we mouth hollow rhetoric about how great we are and how evil they are.  There’s enough scary stuff written about Putin to fill a library and yet, as I watch how he leads, I sure wish we had even one leader in America with his backbone – just one!  It’s time to pay attention and realize that the leaders in Russia and China watch us and frankly they’re worried that we might pull the entire world into a financial tailspin.  They’re  unloading foreign exchange currency (US dollars) for gold, in hopes of boosting their chance of survival (here, here, and here).   They’re seeking secure energy resources, while we have this President and his EPA albatrosses wrapped around our necks, strangling the last breath of economic freedom from us.  They have leaders and we have this sorry excuse in Washington and sometimes I laugh at how ridiculous it is to hear American officials, like our illustrious former Madame Secretary of State railing about Putin or lecturing the Chinese.   In my heart, I long for real leaders in America again.

What  does it say about us when our most popular export isn’t our American values, but Honey Boo Boo?   She’s the perfect face of our American decline:  a chubby, rude, beauty pageant queen, prone to temper-tantrums and embarrassing public displays.  As a child, I loved watching re-runs of Shirley Temple movies and comparing real talent beside this bratty child, being exploited on TLC (The Learning Channel) of all places makes me cringe.  It’s a perfect example of American culture.  We have  a History Channel where no real history can be found, but you learn about the pawn business, trucking in Alaska and  alien visits.  We have music channels where they play no music and  news channels with more punditry than news reporting.   Since words no longer carry concrete definitions it seems quite fitting that we prefer to live in a perpetual state of national delusion, believing our financial Armageddon can’t happen to us,  – we’re so great.  So, while we slouch, sag, and vegetate and our elected officials point fingers at each other, many other countries have leaders preparing for the future.  Are we too stupid to survive?    Sad to think that we just might be…..

Leave a comment

Filed under Pet Peeves, Politics

Pet Peeves Post #1

Hi everyone!  Since this topic is sure to warrant many additional posts, I’ve decided to designate this post #1.  In the past decade it’s become socially acceptable to wander about in public in pajamas.  I’ve seen this same  customer meandering in our local big box store numerous times wearing a long flowing nightgown that trails on the floor by about a foot on her 5-foot tall frame.  The hem of this nightgown has more holes than Swiss cheese, and needless to say,  from about her knees down the gown is filthy.   Oblivious to the stares, she prances along, head held high, as if she were a beauty pageant contestant.

This afternoon my husband and I were eating at an Olive Garden when I beheld the sight of a lady at a nearby table.  This rather large woman decided her bright pink Mickey Mouse pajamas were appropriate attire to go out to lunch.  What are people thinking???  At first this trend seemed to be lazy college students and other young people, but now I see people of all ages, out and about, in public wearing sleepwear as outerwear.

Judging by my views on this subject, maybe, I’m out of date.  Here is a Slate piece championing pajamas in public.  And apparently wearing pajamas in public (here) has been in vogue in China for years and under attack by many public officials trying to burnish the Chinese image globally.  Now, I’m not for banning pajamas in public and considering the state of American culture, pajamas rank pretty low on the offensive meter.  Still let’s hope this fad passes quickly.  It ranks right up there with my disgust of tattoos, earlobe stretching, sagging britches and flip flops worn as dress shoes/sandals with dresses.  I’ll console myself that at least this bright pink Mickey Mouse eyesore wore a bra, so at least we were spared a more jarring image.  Understandably, this carbon dates my fashion sense to almost antique status.  I grew-up having my mother drill it into my head that a slip was a must under every dress or skirt.  Now, I often see slips worn  in lieu of dresses and bras worn as tops, which is a whole other topic.  So, in the spirit of bad taste, I’ll post one more link (here).   Smile, despite this minor annoyance,  it’s still great to live in America!

1 Comment

Filed under Pet Peeves