Monthly Archives: April 2014

Tea Party post one: Devolution

The Boston Tea Party led to the American Revolution. Today’s Tea Party is leading America toward “devolution.”

The term “devolution” has more than one meaning. In a biological sense, devolution means degeneration. I believe the Tea Party is the primary reason behind the devolution of the Republican party.

I know what you’re thinking… But you’re a Democrat! To be sure, I am liberal. I believe in equal rights for all. I believe in public education. I believe the Affordable Care Act is not only appropriate but necessary. I believe W’s military actions in the Middle East were bullshit. I support the troops and believe the U.S. government does not support them enough.

I refer to devolution as the opposite of evolution. Not evolution as in Darwin, but evolution as a natural process. Water flowing down a hill will erode the dirt and change the topography. (And if you don’t believe that’s a fact, you should really look at my back yard.)

Evolution is natural. Everything evolves. What’s in fashion today is not in fashion tomorrow because our tastes evolve.

Our country has evolved. There was a time when women could not own property. They couldn’t vote. They didn’t make as much money as men in the workplace. Oh… wait. That’s today. So we’re still evolving, and we’ve got a lot of growth still ahead.

That growth can happen only if all of us are looking to the future.

Next: Who is the Tea Party?

 

God’s will, or, Stacy really put her foot in it this time

How do they know it’s God’s will? Any time there is a natural disaster – fire, earthquake, hurricane – somebody will say it’s God’s will. (Don Henley fans: Get the widow on the set.)Image

I always wonder how they know.

And what does it mean, anyway? “God’s will.” I have always assumed it means God meant it to happen that way. And that’s where I get confused. Say you’re talking about two fires. The first fire is in the mountains. It started when lightning struck a tall tree. The second fire is in an apartment building. The tenant on the third floor was frying chicken and accidentally started a grease fire.

Neither fire was arson. Both fires result in loss of property. People die; their homes destroyed. Are both of the fires “God’s will”?

If one equates God and nature, and accepts that lightning in nature causes fires in nature, they could say the first fire is God’s will. What about the second? Was it God’s will that a person live in an apartment building, where someone was frying chicken, which caused a fire and destroyed the building? That’s a lot of “will.”

Saying it’s God’s will assumes intent. God intended the flood, fire, traffic accident, etc., to happen. Really? Why? If all of these things are God’s will, is it God’s will when a woman is raped? When a child is abused? When a drunk driver crosses the center line?

And there are people who will say, “yes.” It was God’s will. I guess that’s one of the reasons I don’t believe in that God. I can’t imagine the omniscient person/being/entity who people refer to on Facebook with comments like, “God is good,” is willing bad things to happen.

So, I guess I don’t understand God’s will – or maybe it’s God’s will that I don’t understand why people think it is.

Maybe the bigger question… What would Jesus do?

I did it! On to the Tea Party!

And then I promptly stopped!

On March 14, I wrote the first of what I planned to be 30 blog posts in 30 days. I got close – 31 posts in 32 days – and felt all kinds of guilty for missing a day. I wrote my last post April 14. I guess I needed a week off!

This is my first blog. Yes, I’m fairly late to the game, but better late thanScreen Shot 2014-04-21 at 3.38.03 PM never. The first 30 days was about stretching my legs. Usually I’m writing for a client or editing copy from other writers. Writing on random topics, of my own choosing, has been very liberating.

Now it’s time to set my next goal. I think I will post twice per week. I want these future posts to be more in-depth. I’m constantly baffled by the weather, the price of gas and the Tea Party. Since the weather is already covered by the Weather Channel and the price of gas is anybody’s guess, maybe I should start with the Tea Party.

I see a lot of head-shaking in my future.

‘Ask your doctor…’

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 7.07.20 PMThe pharmaceutical industry – “pharma” – provides ample fodder for jokes and criticisms. It’s so easy with the number of new drugs entering the market, along with the Scrabble-worthy names and SNL-worthy lists of side effects*. As much as I love the names and side effects, my favorite part of the TV pharma ads is where they remind the consumer to “Ask your doctor…” or “Tell your doctor…”

Seriously? Where do they think I get prescription drugs? My dry cleaner? Is there some other – legal – way to get prescriptions? 1-800-GOT-MEDS?

“Call your doctor if you have fever, stiff muscles and confusion as these may be signs of a life-threatening reaction or if you have uncontrollable muscle movements as these may become permanent.” (Latuda)

Unless you want to have uncontrollable muscle movements for the rest of your life, call your doctor. Better yet, consider whether the possibility of uncontrollable muscle movements is worth the risk.

“Tell your doctor if you have been to a region where certain fungal infections are common… ” (Xeljanz)

The doctor knows where you’ve been, and he knows where all the fungal infections live. That’s a good thing because Delta doesn’t normally clue me in to such things when I book a plane ticket. Maybe this is a benefit of going to an actual travel agent, instead of booking online.

“Ask your doctor if you’re healthy enough for sex.”

‘Nuf said.

 

*The nonstop blather of side effects has gotten the attention of the FDA. Several online sources report the FDA was planning to look into shortening the lists. They believe the current standard may cause consumers to tune out, reducing comprehension and thereby increasing potential dangers.

NPR – http://tinyurl.com/o3qnhuy

NY Daily News – http://tinyurl.com/o79ltg2

Consumerist – http://tinyurl.com/nb7acq3

I’m a Mac

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 10.35.20 PMRemember the whole “I’m a Mac. I’m a PC.” advertising campaign? I think the kind of computer one uses is very telling. As a student at Kent State, I used a Mac. My first three years as a professional – 1993-96 – I worked for the National Park Service and I was lucky to have a PC. Seriously. I think most of the NPS folks were still using DOS-based systems at that point. When I joined the private sector in 1996, I was back with Macs.

It took a bit of adjustment, but I’ve really never looked back. My first home computer was a PC, but that’s because Apple was still a baby. They were extraordinarily expensive in 1994. Shoot, the PC was expensive. The next home computer was the first iMac. The very first version. It served us well. I think my son used it throughout high school, graduating in 2006.

The iMac was a breakthrough product. It was tiny – compared to our first home PC. I still use an iMac, but it’s ginormous – 27-inch screen. In fact, my computer screen is larger than the TV I have in my office. It’s all good though because I spend way more time looking at my computer screen than I do looking at the TV in my office.

Yes, I think Macs are cool. No, I don’t like PCs. I don’t – usually – think my Macitude gives me superiority. But I’ll say it again: I’m a Mac.

Overload me with some cute

Every day – at least once a day – I visit a website called Cute Overload. It’s a break, a haven, an escape from all the real-life stuff. Regardless what is going on in the world, I can visit Cute Overload and look at pictures of kitties, bunnies, dogs, hedgehogs, hamsters, bugs, birds and elephants. I visit it often enough, it has a place on my toolbar, right between Facebook and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 8.57.42 PM

I’ve been visiting Cute Overload for many years, and it never disappoints. Wars, earthquakes, crashes… Cute Overload gives me hope. It reminds me that even when everything else is tragic, some otter, somewhere, is floating with another otter. A man is making a video about a dog. A goat is jumping on a trampoline.

But that’s just me. I don’t take life too seriously. Taking life seriously is not fun. I want fun. I want to be overloaded with fun. I want to be overloaded with whimsy. I want to be overloaded with cute.

Identity crisis

My legal (given) name is not Stacy. If you know that, you either know me well, or you have known me for a very long time. My dad gave me my name and a well-meaning aunt and uncle started calling me “Stacy” when I was just a baby. I have never felt like the person associated with my given name. I have always felt like a “Stacy.”

My name is not a derivative of my legal/given name. It’s not like the Richards of the world who are called Rich or the Williams of the world who are called Bill. My name is just my name. The only thing my two names have in common is that they both begin with “st.” Not like “saint,” but “st” like “stop” or “stuff.”

When I go to the doctor, I am called my by legal name. It’s on the insurance papers. It’s on my driver’s license. It’s on my checks. When I was a teenager, I wanted to change my name as soon as I turned 18. Well, it turns out that becoming an adult brings a whole bunch of other things that need attention. So I never legally changed my name. Now it seems like an unnecessary, expensive hassle. I know who I am. I am “Stacy.”

I am not a Baby Boomer

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 4.36.18 PMI’m not a Baby Boomer. The number crunchers have always called me a Baby Boomer, along with all the other people born between 1946 and 1964. I’m here to tell you, people born in 1964 are not Baby Boomers.

Pew Research Center just published a new report on generations, and it reminds me how very little I have in common with people born earlier in the boom. Under the subhead, Portraits of America, there’s a picture and bullet points describing Gen Xers (ages 34-39) and Boomers (50-68). Apparently Easy Rider was a very influential movie for Boomers. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen it, start to finish.

Gen Xers had The Breakfast Club, a movie I’ve seen at least two dozen times.

Boomers led “…counterculture protests of the 1960s…” You should have seen me at Woodstock. I was tearing it up.

I was 5.

Xers are “Children of the Reagan revolution…” Reagan was elected president in 1980, when I was a high school junior. I voted for Reagan in my first presidential election in 1984. (Sorry about that. I was young.) My point is, Reagan had a much greater impact on my life than the hippies of the 1960s.

While defining groups of people by generation can be helpful, it’s not a magic bullet. Boomers are between the ages of 50 and 68. Seriously? That age difference is a whole adult person – old enough to vote, join the Army and buy cigarettes. Shoot, the person born in 1946 could be the parent of the person born in 1964. Two familial generations and both considered boomers?

It’s a touchy subject for me because I don’t like being lumped into the Baby Boomer category. I guess I should get over it and let the U.S. Census Bureau and Pew Research and board of AARP have their arbitrary description, but I don’t have to like. And I won’t like it.

Because I’m not a Baby Boomer.

Shinier package, less cat food

I bought cat food today. I have been giving my kitties Science Diet Sensitive Stomach formula dry cat food for at least the last dozen years. I buy a large bag, which I put into a pour-top plastic jug (I think it’s actually a cereal canister) and the rest goes into a plastic bin. When I began buying this brand, I would even have another jug-full or so left in the bag. I would guess the bag contained about 20 pounds of food.

The food is expensive – like $40 – so I pay attention to how much pours out of the bag. I was pretty ticked a couple of years ago when the bag size shrunk to 17.5 pounds. Imagine my surprise today when the bag didn’t fill the jug and the bin. Sorry. Only 15.5 pounds now. But it’s “NEW!”Image

I call bullshit on that one. I’m sorry, Science Diet marketing department, but it takes more than a tiny banner to get me past the fact you are charging me more, for less.

Yes, I know this is happening everywhere. And I hate it everywhere. Prices go up. We get that. (We buy gas.) But why try to trick me? That’s what’s happening. No cereal box has a banner saying, “LESS VOLUME! SAME PRICE!” No. They just put a smaller amount of cereal in the same box.

Does anyone else hate this? Does anyone else think we – the consumers – are getting the shaft? Does anyone else want to stand up and fight with me? Probably not.

We’re all afraid the oil companies will start selling us a 100-ounce gallon.

Dirt

I love, love, love to play in the dirt. I always have. As a kid, I was a bit of a mud-pie chef. I was very particular about mixing the proper amount of dirt and water, tossing in some blades of grass for texture, then forming the perfect mud-pie in a miniature cake pan or pie pan. I guess I got pretty dirty. I don’t remember it much, but I get unbelievably dirty these days working in my garden.

I don’t like to wear gloves when I garden, so my hands and nails are a mess for most of the growing season. Every year I have to give myself a planti-cure. That’s like a manicure, but completely different. I cut my nails as short as possible so they’re easier to clean. It’s no great loss because I’m not one of those well-manicured girls. And I spend so much time scrubbing my nails, I’ll do what it takes to get them clean. Except for wearing gloves.

It’s just dirt.