After yesterday’s seriousness, today you can read about poop. Merbear and I talk some shit over on her blog about a retro add on constipation. Head on over and if you haven’t already, follow this gal. She’s my wonder twin!
This is not my usual happy-go-lucky fare. But in reading another blogger’s post, I felt moved to do this. Not to push a political agenda, but to tell a story. One that should never happen. Please go see Kylie’s blog post “The Right to Bear Harms”, and watch her video. I cannot imagine her loss. But I did have one of my own.
When I was nine years old, they told me that my grandfather had been murdered. He owned a store that sold guns in a small Texas town. He was shot by one of his own guns. This was the first time in my life I had ever seen my father cry. My mother only told me he was shot because she knew people would be talking about it. It had been on the news in his home town, and they didn’t get much news there.
I wasn’t really close to my grandfather. I heard later he wasn’t the best father. But he was the only father my father had. Mostly I remember going to his store and sitting on the pool table and listening to the jute box while I ate chick-o-sticks. But no matter what kind of person he was, he didn’t deserve to die on the floor of his shop. And my father didn’t deserve to have to live with the grisly death of his father.
People came to his funeral – people who didn’t know anything about him, because it was a scandal. They were curious. They thought it was exciting. They didn’t think of his family when they crowded in that funeral home. I was too young to understand this at the time. I was told later. I was also told later, by an aunt, just how he was shot, and how many times. Now I have that imagery in my mind.
None of us should have had to see the special they had on TV about the executions in Texas, when they spoke about the execution of his killer, and put up pictures of my grandfather, a person, on TV. Yet much of his family still support guns. They watched the killer get executed. Let me repeat this. They watched another person murdered in front of them. Have we really come that far from the Middle Ages?
I remember when hearing about a school shooting was a rarity. Now it seems to happen once a month. Remember how the media played up Sandy Hook? How many people still even remember Sandy Hook? Those parents do. They will never forget that day for the rest of their lives. Some of these people are working, tirelessly, reviving the memory of their children, over and over again in an attempt to get better gun legislation. Too few are listening.
My father is a pacifist. He went to Vietnam as he was told to do. They had the soldiers raise their guns and shout “Kill!” My father raised his gun. But they couldn’t make him shout kill. By sheer luck, he was able to be a medic during the war, and he was eternally grateful that he got to help people, not hurt them. Soldiers even now return, having had to kill, and are forced back into everyday society where suddenly it is a crime to do so. Many have nightmares for the rest of their lives. Some have taken their lives. Others have taken the lives of their family. And for what? Do we even know what we are fighting for anymore? Do not misunderstand me. I support the troops, every single man and woman and child, because, I’m sorry, 18 is a child. I support them by wanting to keep them alive.
After Sandy Hook, many people wanted to put the blame on mental illness. The man was mentally ill – that’s the real problem, not the gun. We should help mentally ill people. That’s true. But here’s the kicker. If he hadn’t had all those weapons – clips with so many rounds, he wouldn’t have been able to shoot so many children so fast. Sure he could have used a knife – but chances are far greater he could have been stopped before killing an entire classroom. Instead, he walked in, and blew them away in seconds. Seconds. In seconds all those lives were snuffed. All those names of those babies were read on the news. And what did people say? Clearly, we need more guns. We need to arm teachers. We need armed guards outside the schools. We need, apparently, to function like those war torn countries we send our soldiers to. We need to do this to protect our rights. Our rights to own guns. Our right not to have to have a three day waiting period, a license, training in using the weapons, or child safety locks. The NRA fights against any legislation having to do with gun ownership. Any.
Recently, I wrote a post about the insane day we had at our college when a man robbed a nearby convenience store. In wake of all these tragedies, the entire university was shut down for two hours while police officers tirelessly combed the area, making sure that an armed robber had not made his way on campus. As it turned out, the robbery was all staged, and there was nothing to be worried about. But because of the tragedies, we must react this way, because we don’t know when it will be real. And that same afternoon I put up that post, there was another shooting at another university. The same day. Yet even with all this insanity, the university is considering letting people bring guns on campus – for defense. Guess what? When you’re acting like Rambo, the cops don’t know who the bad guy is. You aren’t helping anybody, just making the jobs of the police officers harder. At best, they’ll shoot you because, as part of their jobs, they don’t have time to check and see if you’re “good” or “bad”. They see someone with a weapon, they shoot. So please quit fooling yourself.
Do you think you need one for home protection? How likely do you think it is that you’ll be able to wake up from a sound sleep, grab your gun, and shoot the intruder, all while your body is reacting to stress? And if you keep that gun in your bedside table drawer, loaded and unlocked, how likely is it that a child or someone else could get hold of it? Many gun deaths happen because someone shot their own family members while defending their homes. Many gun deaths happen because children shoot each other.
My husband is a gun owner – I’m sure that surprises you. They were passed down in his family. He shoots targets. He would never harm anyone. And he has been trained in operating his weapons. But not everyone is like him. As a compromise, the guns are kept unloaded in a locked gun cabinet. I still don’t like them, but I deal with it. So I’m not completely ignorant. I know guns aren’t always used to kill. But I also know that the only real purpose of a gun is to kill something, whether animal or human. Unlike cars, and knives, that is their only purpose.
I could link you to the many, many news stories talking about gun deaths and statistics. And I’m sure those on the other side could do the same. But I’m not talking about numbers right now. I’m talking about our parents, our spouses, our children, our friends. Kylie’s father is not a statistic. My grandfather is not a statistic. Those children at Sandy Hook elementary school are not statistics. They were people. And now they are all dead.
We live in fear of the next shooting now, just as our elders feared the atomic bomb. Why?
- Santa Monica Mass Shooter From Lebanon Planned To Kill Hundreds With Stockpile Of Guns And Ammo (themuslimissue.wordpress.com)
- Sandy Hook victims’ names read out six months on (itv.com)
Hey, readers, I’ve got something special today. Merbear from Knocked Over By a Feather and I teamed up to discuss this fascinating ad from the 40s that’s about . . . a brush? You decide. And head on over to her blog to see more of these hilarious ads deconstructed!
Alice: it’s a stimulator – and the brand is named prophylactic?
Merbear: my favorite line…makes 100 strokes a pleasure. that is fucked up yo.
Alice: what the fuck is she doing with that brush???
Merbear: hmm…i think the rigid package tells us exactly what, indeed
I thought it was a vibrator at first
Alice: It might just be one. I know I don’t get that happy from a brush
Merbear: no…not usually..not enough to sing a song about it
Alice: penetrates hair . . . oh lord
Merbear: it writes itself, really..all the good ones do!
Alice: I wonder which end you use – I mean the bristles massage but that might get uncomfy
Merbear: I think it is one of those multi use brushes one end brushes the other side penetrates
Alice: I do need to recondition my va-jay-jay
Merbear: It is also good for getting snarls out of your pubes
Alice: yes, they are wonderful for scalp massage . . . (dramatic pause) er, uh, so gentle. Yeah, yeah scalp, gentle on the scalp.
Merbear: scalp, of course… brings out all the luster
Alice: it’s a beautifully molded package, hahaha
Merbear: rigid, don’t forget..that is very important
Alice: I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair, and then I’ll use this brush!
Merbear Who needs a man when you have a stimulator? I personally love a hollow handle
Alice: there ain’t nothin like a brushhhh, nothin’ in the worlllld!
Merbear: sing it girlfriend!!
Alice: I still can’t believe the company name, oh my god
Merbear: i wonder of they made condoms too? wtf is Mary Martin?
Alice: lol, she was in South Pacific – it says above the ad. I think she also played Peter Pan?
Merbear: oh, I thought she looked familiar..I didn’t recognize her without the green tights
Alice: When cross dressing, always bring your brush.
Merbear: hey, the bitch doesn’t even have hair!
Alice: Yeah, so how does she know how good that brush is . . . ohhhh
Merbear: Um, perhaps they should have gotten Marilyn Monroe to model this thing or someone from that generation. You know, someone who has hair would be helpful.
Alice: Brushes are a girl’s best friend
Merbear: You said it, sister!
Alice: Yeah, I don’t think she’s using it on her head.
Merbear: I feel bad now, that lady is probably dead.
Alice: yeah but she was all famous and shit so it’s cool.
Merbear. Yeah, I am sure she wouldn’t mind. She had her day in the sun.
Alice: Was it a brush related death? Going to hell now, I am.
Merbear: I bet she got it stuck.
Alice: THAT would be an embarrassing ER trip
Merbear: Had a mind of it’s own one day and bzzzzzzz….
Alice: I sat on it doc I SWEAR
Merbear: Nurse, quick, get the forceps…
Of all the Disney princesses, I think I can most identify with Sleeping Beauty. I happen to be a champion sleeper as well – at least during the day. Night is another thing altogether. I’m also fairly certain that were I to touch a spindle and try to make wool, I’d definitely prick myself and possibly fall over dead (or pretend to) because I’m not much into spinning. It sounds like way too much work.
I think there’s a little more to this story than the spindle and narcolepsy, though. I’ve come to see it as a reflection of depression in creative people. Yeah, okay, bear with me and I’ll explain. You remember when Aurora (that’s Sleeping Beauty’s name btw) is a baby and those fairies came to bestow gifts upon her? There was the bossy one with the stick up her hiney, the flighty stupid one, and the chubby feisty one. And then there was the one who wasn’t invited to the party.
You know, you’d think when the king and queen were making out invitations, they’d have considered that. Like, hmm, I’ll invite Lord Frances and Maid Mildred and uh oh hmm what about the psycho fairy with all that evil power and the bad temper? Nooo, I don’t want her around. Maybe she won’t notice if we leave her off the guest list. She’s always been so REASONABLE before.
People in fairy tales are stupid. But nevermind that. Back to the gift giving ceremony. See these fairies come to give gifts to the princess, stuff like beauty and singing ability, so that if the princess thing doesn’t work out, she can still make a killing on American Idol. I’m not sure if without these gifts the princess would be ugly and tone deaf, or if they just perform enhancements, like extreme princess makeovers.
Anyway, I believe most of us are given gifts at birth. Maybe they’re not readily apparent gifts, but everyone has something they’re good at. Even evil people are pretty good at being evil. You have to give those dictators props on that one.
I know I was given gifts at birth. And I can imagine it going something like this.
First fairy comes up and swings her wand and says “I give Alice the gift of artsy fartsy! She will be able to draw well and impress everyone but art judges!” Then the second fairy steps up and whaps me with the wand and says “I give Alice the gift of writing which she can use to get two useless degrees and a blog!” And then the third fairy steps up, all prepared to give me something like the gift of total hotness, and that’s when the evil fairy my parents didn’t invite shows up. Way to go, Mom and Dad.
Evil fairy appears in a ball of fire (she likes to make an entrance) and cackles “I curse Alice with depression, so that no matter how good she is at art and writing, she will only be able to do it about half the time and she will mostly just want to sit around and whine!” It goes without saying that I really, really hate this fairy, and I do wish she’d quit visiting so many people.
But lo, there was one fairy left, right, the one who was going to give me something useful like being a total hottie, and she says “Well, you’ll still have depression, but I’ll give you these drugs that will sort of work part of the time. And I’ll give you a counselor. And I’ll give you family and friends. And I’ll even give you – a blog! Ta-da!”
Yeah, thanks a freaking lot, good fairy. I mean, yes, I guess it’s something. The fairy offered hope, and without that, none of the other gifts matter one bit. But still – I wonder why do people get this stuff? I know there is a genetic component but – why? Only pure evil would bestow such a gift on any child. For you can get through anything, even the worst diseases, the greatest tragedies, with hope. But depression seeks to rob you of that hope, for the evil fairy is more powerful than that good fairy. Which is why you must rely on those gifts, however weak they may seem.
We all have gifts, be it art, or music, or writing, or even just meaning something to somebody else. And we have to try to use those gifts, even when that evil fairy is staring down at us in dragon form, prepared to blow us away. The most important gift of all comes from the third fairy – the chubby, snarky fairy who did her best to counteract the curse. Use that fairy’s gifts – use your friends, drugs, counseling, whatever the heck works for you in order to stay awake. Do not be like Sleeping Beauty. Do not let the evil put you to sleep. There is no prince in this story.
Do you remember the Berenstain Bears books? It’s this series of children’s books written by – wait for it – a couple named Berenstain. Yeah, they named their creations after themselves. Not the humblest bears, are they?
There are roughly eleventy billion books in this series. I think after the 90th book or so, the Berenstains just started calling them in. Recycling old books into new ones. Getting ghost bear writers, etc. After a while, you gotta run out of didactic topics to write about. You see, most of the Berenstain Bears books are designed to teach lessons to children, yet they don’t answer some of the most basic questions themselves. For instance:
What were Mama and Papa’s names before they became parents? Girl Bear and Boy Bear? Likewise, before Sister Bear (creative, am I right?) was born, Brother Bear was called Small Bear. Which means he had to change his name because of a sibling. That’s just asking for sibling rivalry right there. I mean, giving up your freaking crib is bad enough, but your name? Jeez, people.
But then, having exhausted every other idea, they decided to have the Bears have a third cub. Well, there’s a problem there. I mean, there’s only two official sexes, at least when it comes to bears. So what to call the third bear? Other sister bear? Other brother bear? Number Two? It’s not like they could just start calling the bears Thing One and Thing Two or something I mean who would do that to their children?
The third one was named Honey. Unfair. This kid gets a name. And that’s not all. Brother and Sister have friends with actual names but they are stuck with Brother and Sister, at least until they get married and then I guess they become Mama and Papa, though hopefully not with each other. Also notice their last name is Bear. That’s like saying my name is Alice Human. Hi, Mrs Human, how are you? Just fine, come meet my children: Brother, Sister, and Other.
But what does this have to do with cake? I’m getting to it. See, I remember one of the Very Important Lessons they taught to children was one about eating too much junk food. In fact, the book was called The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food. There’s also one called The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday, which could also fit, but I’m going to concentrate on the junk food one because that one just ticks me off.
See, in the story, Mama notices that Papa and the cubs are getting too fat. I think that’s a bit presumptuous of her. She ain’t exactly Kate Moss herself. And wtf with always wearing her nightgown? Like, get dressed already.
She gets a bee in her bonnet, so she goes all Michelle Obama on the family and takes them all to the doctor to hear about healthy food. Because doctors totally do that. My question is like, why wasn’t she just serving it in the first place if she’s so healthy? Oh, wait, I bet Papa bought the food, and as you know, dads are almost always buffoons in cartoons and TV shows. So Mama buys them healthy food like carrots and the kids actually eat it.
Back the truck up. I want to know how she got them to do that. There is no mention of ketchup in the books, so what caused the sudden change?
At the end of the book, they all run in the Bear Marathon. Whoop-te-poop.
You know what I say? I say the Berenstains need to quit being so judgmental. How many of these books can you take? The Berenstain Bears and The Truth (I can’t handle that book), The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV, The Berenstain Bears Beat a Dead Horse. I mean, enough already. I don’t want any more lessons. I want cake.
I might have had a little too much cake, though, because wow I just totally powered through this whole post in no time flat! So toooo much birthday for Alice! Tooo much cake! But how to stop? I read all these Berenstain self-help books and they have not cured my sugar addiction. For realz, I mean, I cannot stop eating cake. I actually stood at the table and ate cake with a spoon. I forced Thing One to help me, which didn’t take much forcing, so that I didn’t eat another two pieces myself. I have a cake problem.
I’ve heard it said that sugar can give you the serotonin rush you need, thus turning you from a Sad Pony into a Squirrel. It totally does. But this isn’t such a good thing, because my stomach hurts and I just injested like 5,000 calories and I’m afraid that typing and vibrating in place doesn’t burn nearly enough of these calories off. So what now? How do I solve this problem?
One more birthday to go this month – mine. More caaaaaaaake!
Today is Thing One’s birthday. Thirteen. I feel old. I told her I wasn’t ready for her to be a teenager. She said she wasn’t ready to be one either. Who is?
If you’ve been keeping up, yes, my children have birthdays 7 days apart. It’s like having twins, only different ages and stages and not exactly the same day so you still lose your sanity, just with a very short break in between. Before, we’ve done a joint party with kids. We’ve also had a lot of family parties consisting of my parents and cake because my tolerance for any sort of party, especially one with lots of small shrieking people, is very, very short.
But this one was special for Thing One, so I wanted to do something more grown up. This took some thinking on my part. Thing One is very hard to shop for these days. Not on purpose – she knows what she likes, she just can’t seem to convey this very well until she looks at something, and it’s all over her face that no, this was not a good choice.
It didn’t use to be this way. I used to dress her however I wanted, which was “small Laura Ashley clone” Later she had an accessory sister. I dressed them in matching or coordinating clothes and they were gorgeous. Great pictures. Back then, Thing One loved wearing dresses with matching hair bows and lacy socks and shiny shoes. Her baby sister didn’t care because she was too busy eating her shoes or tossing them out of shopping carts. Still, they made a perfect set. Their grandmother loved buying them clothes, so even though I was poor, my kids were freakin’ stylin’.
But then Thing One got older, and decided she didn’t really want to match little sister. She likes jeans and T-shirts now, not dresses. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since I rarely wear dresses either, but losing my little “doll” was tough. For a little while. Until I realized I was getting a real, live girl in return. Thing One started out with a verbal delay. She didn’t talk well until after four, but the entire time she was listening and processing. And one day the results all started spilling out.
This girl has opinions – based on facts. Like her sister she is smart, beautiful, creative, and so funny. Unlike her sister, she spends more time thinking on things, turning them around in her head before speaking her mind. She has friends, but she doesn’t seem to need them around like Thing Two. She is content to entertain herself in a world of her own, or play the same weird computer game for hours. A game where you’re an animal that bounces around “chatting” with other animals or playing stupid games. Come to think of it, it’s just Facebook for the younger set, only more honest.
She and her sister also love to hang with me, and follow me around, even though I’m not nearly as cool as they are. I know there will come a day when Thing One won’t need me as much, but right now she’s at such a tough stage. Not a little girl, not an adult, not quite a moody teenager really. She’s right on the cusp, and I remember how confusing and frustrating that can be.
Yet she’s much more self-determined than I was at that age, or even now. When her friend made fun of a strange, awkward girl, she stood up for the kid. She said to her friend, “Hey, wait, you got baptized. Aren’t we all supposed to be brothers and sisters and be kind to each other?” Oooh, snap! Yes, the kid reads and understands and puts good lessons to use! I’d have been a big fat weenie and not said a word, though I knew it was wrong. I was worried about fitting in. Thing One is more worried about doing what’s right. Thing One is awesome.
So I decided that since Dad had planned a rocking party for little sister, I would plan a day out with her. I got her a purse (that she picked out so I knew she’d like it) and a wallet with money in it. Money she could spend on a shopping trip with me, once we were done having manicures for the very first time together.
It was a great day. We got our nails done (I’m jealous, Thing One’s look better than mine.) while Thing One gave a commentary on the People Magazine. “Oh, wow, they actually reported on the Boston Marathon bombing instead of just Kim Kardashian?” Once again, love this kid.
We went to the city and ate at an Italian fast foodish restaurant with free breadsticks. Not sure how many that kid ate. I miss having that metabolism. We headed to the mall next where she spent money on a bracelet and asked why she was being charged the Canadian amount. She’s still getting used to that whole ‘tax” thing. Bummer, that.
Fortunately, Thing One wears out as fast as I do. She is not my “shopping” kid. So after eating some double stuffed cookies (no calories there!) we headed home. The teenage years may be tough, but maybe they are off to a good start, at least.
Happy Birthday, my Thing One.
It just occurred to me that it’s Father’s Day and I didn’t do a special post on it. I’ve been busy, what with practicing my devil yoga and managing facebook accounts for two animals and celebrating the second birthday of the month (one more to goooooo!) So Father’s Day is really in a bad place here. Three birthdays is really enough. To top it off, my parents also have their anniversary this month. I remember it because there are flags everywhere commemorating the union that led to yours truly. Some say it’s Flag Day, but heck with them.
So now we have Father’s Day. I have no idea what the history behind Father’s Day is but I’m guessing the greeting card industry had something to do with it. Probably also the people who manufacture men’s cologne and ties. Even fathers don’t always care about Father’s Day because they already have 20 bottles of cheap cologne and a dozen Garfield ties. They’re pretty much set.
Also I posted more this week than usual. My apologies. I blame the ADHD or the OCD or some other letter combination. But I was talking about fathers here, and what they mean to me. They are much more than that little bit they offer to make a child. Sometimes they are much better. Other times they are much worse. And some are dead. People with deceased parents just LOVE Mother’s and Father’s Day because they like constant reminders of loss. It’s not like they can send cards to the underworld. That would cost a fortune.
Another annoying thing about Father’s Day – the ads. For once, they’re filled with guy stuff. Guy clothes, golf clubs, barbecue grills, tools and snooooooorrrre. I’m not saying all men like these things. That’s just what Sears and Target think they should like, so it’s everywhere even though, generally speaking, it’s women that like to shop. But we don’t like to shop for guys. Well, I don’t. And most Father’s Day stuff is crap. So my husband is buying his own Father’s Day present because he knows what he wants and it’s something for his garage that I can’t remember the name of or lift for that matter, so I’m perfectly happy letting him choose it himself.
We bought my father a book on cars. I might throw in cologne. He’s one of the few men I know that actually likes getting cologne. But really, I hate these made up days. Isn’t it bad enough that we have to remember people’s birthdays and whatever winter holiday it is they celebrate? I think we should all boycott stupid holidays. I bet I could get people behind that one because it’s pointless and doesn’t actually help say feed anyone or something. So boycott Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Siblings Day, Basset Hound day (I actually only made the last one up – probably). You’ll be glad you did. Unless your Dad is into revenge.
So tell me – do you like Father’s Day? Did you remember to buy a gift? Was it a tie? Why did you do that?
You probably recall an earlier post where I discussed my decision to leave Facebook. Well, when I wasn’t looking, Sad Pony created a page. He said something about hoping PETA would take notice. Then Squirrel heard he was on, so he got on too. You can find them there now, only they had to misspell their names in order to get accounts. Seems like Facebook is very judgy about what is a name and what isn’t. So Sad Pony is Sadd Poneh and Squirrel is Squirrelle Nutkin. I believe those are the French versions of their names. If you would like to friend them, I’m sure they’d accept. Already they have one friend. They are especially eager to find Miss Four Eyes. If you read their profiles, they are both in a relationship. Hmmm.
Call it a psychological experiment, but I’m curious to see what happens. Also I’m very bored and have too much free time. But mostly I’m curious. What ads will Facebook try to market to them? What sort of friends will they get? Will their actions affect future employment opportunities? Will Blunt Life Coach get a facebook page or does he too much of a life? Only time will tell, dear reader.
Be sure and Friend them soon if you love puppies and rainbows. But beware – I hear Squirrel really likes Farmville.