Posted in Politics

More Like a Blue Puddle

Post election day, everyone is telling me that the blue wave happened, the House of Representatives will save us all from tyranny, and many other things.  I’m glad Rauner is no longer going to be governor of Illinois as he was a nightmare person, and I’m glad that the house flipped, but I’m still disappointed.

I’m disappointed that of all of the registered voters who actually voted that Bost had 17,024 more people than Kelly. Yes, I get that normally he runs unopposed because in the past the Dems figured this area was just a loss (thanks for that, btw, there may be a reason people in Southern IL don’t vote blue when they are told they don’t even matter) and the fact that Bost had to have Trump come to this region to have two rallies – one in Granite City and one at the Carbondale airport – in order to bolster his flagging numbers, but still.

17,024 more people in this area are ok with children being put into camps.  They are ok with tax cuts for billionaires that will end up losing them their Social Security if Bost has his way.  They are fine with a man who doesn’t think about their needs as constituents and is too cowardly to even meet with them.  Bost has been a coward about town halls ever since he voted to gut the ACA repeatedly, because he knows that people will be upset.  He just doesn’t give a shit because he got his.

Bost doesn’t give a damn about anything other than retaining power and his party.  If his constituents die because of lack of healthcare, he is fine with it and 17,024 more people in this area voted that they are ok with it, too.

A vote for the Republican party in this day and age is a vote saying that you not only are fine with Trump being president, with him saying he is a nationalist (this means white supremacist), fine with him demonizing his political opponents to the extent that his whackadoo followers have sent bombs and death threats to his political opponents, and fine with him trying to rob any marginalized group of their protections.  When voting for Bost, they vote that all of this is ok.  Most of them seem to think it is preferable.  The underlying racism of Republicans has been breathtaking and heartbreaking to see exposed.  We always knew, but it’s never been so blatant.  They literally don’t care about anyone seeking asylum except to spit on them.  You know, unless those asylum seekers are white.

Being in an area where the white supremacists greatly outnumber those who believe in civil rights is jarring.  It’s more than a little bit upsetting.  Before Trump came to the area, during the planning of a protest against him, the Bost voters and Trump supporters threatened the protesters on their facebook event page with violence, they posted graphically violent imagery and said they would do this to the protesters, they crowed about “snowflakes” and basically were just psychos in general.

I’ve never seen such sore “winners” as the GOP followers of today, and there are 17,024 more of them voting than there are of people like me who are disgusted with the blatant threats and lies and general insanity that is today’s GOP.

Furthermore, finding out the House has been flipped to Democratic control isn’t the win we want it to be when Pelosi is announcing how she will be “reaching across the aisle” for bipartisanship.  Are you fucking kidding me????  The GOP has obstructed every single thing the Dems have tried for over a decade now, but keep kicking Lucy’s football, Pelosi, I’m sure THIS time she won’t yank it out from underneath you.  I mean, after all, Chuck Schumer got all of those great things he wanted when he approved of the conservative judges the GOP wanted – he wanted nothing but scorn, right?  It’s like these moderates enjoy being screwed and it’s damning the rest of us, too.

What this Blue Wave/puddle has proven is that the Democratic party needs to stop acting “moderate” because those that won didn’t win by catering to the conservative crowd, they won by appealing to the far left.  They didn’t win by appealing to moderate Americans, or by being Republican-lite.  They won on campaigns being extremely liberal and they won by huge margins because of it.  The Democrats in power need to stop doing the same things they’ve always done because those things no longer work.  I don’t want bipartisanship, I want the Republicans to stop screwing everyone over while denying climate change, something bipartisanship isn’t going to get done.

So while I understand that there was some good coming out of the election, and I’m so thrilled that women of color and women in general are going to be in the House in droves, I’m still not in the mood to celebrate.  Not until they show that they will obstruct Trump’s agenda of hate as strongly and as viciously as the Republicans – who put a known sexual predator and drunk on the Supreme Court – did to Obama.  Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct and fight, fight, fight is what we need, not some namby-pamby bipartisanship where we get fucked over once again.

You know why Ocasio-Cortez is so beloved?  Because she campaigned for what the people want.  She certainly came into her campaign swinging against the garbage party that is the GOP these days, and she brings hope to many.  I only hope she runs for presidential office sometime soon, because she embodies what the Democrats need to be in order to stop Trump from turning us into a fascist state.

Posted in Uncategorized

Believe Women – Guest Blogger

Written by guest blogger Perditax

Believe women. It seems like such a simple phrase, but to so many people resist the notion, muttering darkly about due process and suspending belief until all allegations can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. But belief doesn’t require absolute proof. If it did, could anyone believe in God? No. They could not.

What belief requires in this context is that the listener take a woman’s statements seriously. That’s all. No more. No less. Here’s an example of that sort of belief:
Think of a small child, about 4 years old. This child tells you with absolute certainty that there’s a monster in her closet. You have two choices. The first option is that you can believe her. You can believe that she believes in the monster. You don’t have to believe in the monster yourself; you just need to believe that this monster is a problem the child is having that needs to be addressed. So you investigate. You stay up with her one night and listen for the monster.
Are there any mysterious noises in the closet that sound monster-like? Is there a mouse in the walls making scary scratching sounds? Do you need to have a talk with the cat? Are there any shadows that look particularly scary when the lights are out? Or is there no “proof” of a monster at all? If there’s no proof of a monster, then the child is still definitely afraid of something, and this fear is expressing itself as fear of monsters. So, you talk with the child, ask what she’s afraid of other than the monster. Try to figure out how to soothe her fears. Try to figure out what the monster really is. Fear of a new school? Fear of the new baby brother or sister that’s on the way taking her place or taking her mom away from her? You find out what this monster is. Together, you and the child find this monster, real or imaginary, and deal with it.
The second option is to not believe the child. You tell her that there ARE no monsters. You disregard her fears and her anxieties. You scream, after the fifth night in a row that she cries about monsters, “I told you monsters don’t exist! Now shut up and go to sleep!” And you slam the door shut, ignoring her small quiet sobs behind the closed door. Far too many parents choose this option.
Which child do you think feels more secure now? Which child do you think has just been taught to fear and distrust adults? Which child was treated like a human being with thoughts and anxieties that deserve respect? Which was treated well? Which was treated poorly?
The reason women are so very angry right now is that society has been that second parent to us for centuries. Despite the fact that ¼ of us will be raped in our lifetimes, despite the fact that even more than that will be harassed or stalked or assaulted or terrorized, society keep screaming at us, “There is no monster/rapist in the closet! Now shut up and fuck off!” Because rape and harassment don’t always have witnesses. And for so many people, if it can’t be seen, it doesn’t exist.
But what would it be like if society behaved more like the first parent? What if our government and our culture acknowledged that there’s a scary monster, and we can’t always prove it, but it’s a problem we women (and men too!) are having that needs to be addressed? What if they commit to brainstorming and working to find some solutions, from changing the culture, to better law enforcement, to educating citizens?
Frankly, I believe Doctor Ford, and I believe Brett Kavanaugh. Just as you don’t have to believe IN the monsters to believe the child, I don’t have to disbelieve one party in order to believe the other. Believing both is absolutely possible, and believing women’s stories of assault does not mean automatically convicting the men they accuse. I believe he did assault her, just as she recalls, but he doesn’t remember the incident at all, both because that sort of thing was common and socially accepted back then (though still both morally wrong and illegal), and because he did drink heavily according to many of his friends.
But what if he believed her? What if Brett Kavanaugh said this:
“I don’t remember that at all, but I believe you. I believe it’s possible, no…probable, since you are so certain it was me, that I did something to harm you. After all, I did drink a lot back then, and I don’t recall every moment perfectly, so it is possible that I assaulted you. And I am so very sorry. I really didn’t mean to hurt anyone. And I know that an apology doesn’t help much, but I do apologize, and I will be sure it can never happen again. I will limit my drinking, and when I do drink, I will always have a sober friend around. I will change, because an apology isn’t enough. True remorse demands change.”
I’d respect the hell out of him if he said that. If he said something like that, I could honestly say, “I don’t like his politics, but I think he’s a good person.” But he didn’t say that, because he’s not a good person. And he’s not a good person because he doesn’t empathize with others, and he does not give people the respect they deserve as fellow human beings.
Because that’s what “believe women” boils down to. Believing other people’s stories of trauma means believing that the thing they feel so strongly about deserves to be addressed in some way. It’s having some ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes, to see events through their eyes. It’s about respecting our fellow human beings and really listening to what they have to say. And it’s a courtesy we’ve denied women and their stories of assault and trauma for far too long.
Posted in Uncategorized

Believe Women – Internalized Misogyny

“It is hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.” Sally Kempton

There are so many things I wanted to blog about in regards to the whole Kavanaugh national disgrace, but the thing that keeps coming up for me over and over again is internalized misogyny.  We all have it, but there are so many women out there commenting about Dr. Ford being a “liar trying to ruin a man’s reputation” that I’ve been pissed off and frustrated.

While the Kavanaugh hearing and debacle has dredged up so many things I thought dealt with or buried in dealing with my own abuse and trauma, I keep remembering this girl in the 4th or 5th grade.  I can’t remember her name, and I wish I could because I’d try to reach out to her and apologize.

This girl was 10-12 years old, as was I, and she said that the orchestra teacher had molested her.  Ten years later this man was finally caught and arrested.  I’m assuming no one believed the girls that came after her, either.

More importantly to this narrative, *I* didn’t believe her.

I remember quite clearly lining up to go inside after recess and me and my bitchy friends were talking about it and she overheard us.  She motioned me over and asked if I wanted to know what happened, and I said yes.  She told me about this man – who my family nicknamed Chester the Molester a few years after this incident because it became a known secret that he did this – and how he shoved his hand down her shirt.

And being a bastion of hope, kindness, and open mindedness, I went back to my friends and said loudly, “She told me but I don’t believe her.”

I said it loud enough for her to hear and I said it with venom.  There is no making this more palatable – I was a fucking bitch to this girl.

Now here I want to forgive my pre-teen self for being an unmitigated bitch.  I want to talk about how my grandmother would say – any time she heard of anyone being raped that they should have just kept their legs together.  I want to say that I had internalized the culture of disbelief and was just doing as I was taught.

But honestly, that’s all bullshit.  This girl – who wasn’t popular and was often alone – told me what happened and I smacked her down for it.  I think about this often as I see clips of Dr. Ford’s testimony.  The shaking, the voice, and the suppressed panic – this girl exhibited all of this and my bitchy childhood self took it as an indication of someone lying.

So, to this girl – god how I wish I remembered your name – I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have said that to you or about you.  I’m sorry I didn’t believe you and I’m sorry it took so long for the man who did this to you to get his comeuppance.

I’m sorry I was an asshole to you over something indescribably traumatic.  I was shitty to you and I should have led with kindness not viciousness.

Seeing all of the women out there that as grown adults acted the same way I did as kid is pretty distressing.  Hearing all of the men out there call Dr. Ford a liar – and after the hearing, I honestly believe people who believe him over her are delusional, a Devil’s Three-way is a drinking game?  What the fuck ever, Brett – why on earth would women come forward in this culture?

My hope is that many of the women commenting this heinous stuff are never put in the same situation with a victim I was in or if they are, I hope they reply more compassionately than I did.  However, with the way Republican women came out and voted for Roy Moore, I’m not optimistic.

The #believewomen hashtag is moving across the internet and I’ve had even allies come up with problems to this.  “Oh, just believe women automatically without any proof or anything?!  That’s insane!”  Yes, I think you should believe women when they tell their stories, especially since most of these stories are being posted online and they aren’t in a court of law.

If the accused is “innocent until proven guilty” the accuser should also be considered “innocent until proven guilty” but no one thinks this way.  Believing women doesn’t mean you get a posse together and go after anyone vigilante-style.  It means be supportive to the women in your life and give them the benefit of the doubt.  Don’t just discount what they are saying as some sort of knee-jerk ingrained reaction.

 

 

Posted in Cats

I Mock Cats

Every morning, I wake up and use the bathroom, with a black cat accompaniment.  Shadow, our aptly named black cat my husband discovered on the side of the road, likes to follow by leading – this means he trots out in front of you and tries to guess which way you are going.  When he isn’t sure, he stops right in front of your feet like a very solid, furry wall.

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He’s not supposed to be on the countertop.  He’s well aware of this.

He sits on the sink while I sit on the toilet, and mostly it’s pretty companionable.  He can be demanding – he’s trained me to turn on the sink for him so he can drink from the trickle.  Or he digs in the sink so I will depress the drain guard and his trickle can become a puddle.  If I don’t do these things, he fwaps my face with his tale.  Accidentally, I’m sure.

My least favorite game is when he decides that he wants to sit on my lap and chew on my hands.  This is a painful game that I don’t find a lot of fun in playing, so lately I’ve just been putting him back on the sink.  Today he attacks the crap out of my hands, so I put him on the sink, well away from my hands, so he fwaps me with his tale once, and then looks like he’s going to bite me on my shoulder.  I push him off the counter top.

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I tell him, as he sits on the other side of the bathroom – out of biting range – looking at me with green eyes full of hurt condemnation, that I am not willing to be bitten this morning.  I further remind him that I am larger than he is and that I have opposable thumbs, so he isn’t going to win in a fight and needs to stop trying.  I wave my opposable thumbs at him and explain that opposable thumbs will win against biting – simply a matter of size here.

Seeing my lack of remorse, he leaves the whole area.  Huffily he walks into the living room and then the kitchen.  Then he comes back and acts as if he’s never seen me before.  “Oh!  There you are, human.  Why, I haven’t seen you all day!  Please skritch my head.  Oh, would you turn on this water tap I’ve never seen before?  Oh, thank you.”

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This is called “resetting the room” and all of our cats do it.  If they get squirted for destroying each other or eating human food they leave the room and when they return, they act as if everything is completely new and fresh.  Reset.  All memories from a few seconds ago are now null and void as the room resets when a cat is absent.

Will and I read an article a few years back about how it is difficult for humans to remember things as they go through doorways.  The more doorways you go through, the more that you will forget what you meant to do.  Therefore, you end up tracing your steps back to where you originally had the idea in the first place.  We have started talking our ways through doorways (Iced tea, I’m getting iced tea) just to remember what we’re doing.

Cats have no such weakness, but being careful observers of human nature, they have noticed that doorways confuse our memory markers, so if you go through a doorway, the humans will forget whatever kitty transgression has been committed.  Thus resetting the room.  It doesn’t work, we always remember, but the hopeful look of innocence on cat’s face when they reset the room often does the trick.

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Sometimes, the black cat and I aren’t alone in the bathroom…

 

 

 

Posted in Reviews

Unleashed Review

This review of “Unleashed” contains mild spoilers, but nothing you wouldn’t find out by reading the movie synopsis on IMDB.

I was sick over the weekend, and we spent the day watching the new season of “Arrested Development” and when that was over, I was grumpy and frazzled.  When my depression (grumpy) and anxiety (frazzled) kick into high gear, I prefer to rewatch something familiar.  Familiar is soothing.  However, my husband was home and likes to watch new things.  I decide what we watch most of the time because I’m very much a “mood” viewer and have to be in a certain mood to watch some things.

Rather than tell Will I was frazzled and needed something soothing, I just let him pick something because he doesn’t get a lot TV time and when I’m awake he gets to watch what he wants 80% of the time.  I figure I’ll handle my mood and just suffer through whatever horror movie he picks (he likes horror movies and his queue is just full of them.)

To my surprise he picks “Unleashed” a movie he’s been waiting to watch with me.  This movie was soothing and delightful and funny and sweet.  It was a balm to my frazzled soul – Will couldn’t have picked a better movie for my mood.  I told him after we finished watching it that I don’t expect him to read my mind, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when he does.

Enough about me, let’s talk about the movie!  First of all, the premise of the movie is a woman’s dog and cat turn human.  Kate Mucucci portrays Emma, an orphan with trust issues.  One night her door is left open and the dog and cat run away.  While they are gone they turn human.  Hilarity ensues.

The worst thing to happen in this movie happens in the very beginning.  Emma tells her rat fink, live-in boyfriend about this night sky app she’s made.  He steals the app and deletes her iCloud (I hissed, “Oh, you bastard!” when this happened, because he didn’t just steal her app, but erased her life, too) before leaving with a suitcase.  Emma copes by getting a cat and a dog and moving to California.

Sean Astin plays the cuddly and friendly love interest.  He helps her put up fliers.  Meanwhile, her dog and cat have decided to compete for Emma’s affection, because they both want to be back inside her home, especially one piece of furniture that is very soft  that they like to nap on.  The cat tells the dog that they can’t both be with Emma because humans don’t do that for some reason, so they must compete for her.

Justin Chatwin portrays the cat, and he was the highlight of the movie.  He gets picked up by a modeling agency, because who better to strut down a cat walk than a cat?  He becomes a big deal in a short time in part because he has the haughty and arrogant mannerisms of a cat.  Whenever the dog wants to get the cat’s attention away from Emma, he uses a cat toy to distract him.

The dog, portrayed by Steve Howey, is fun and likable and also provides a lot of funny moments.  The scenes where he and Chatwin interact alone are some of the best in the movie for many reasons.  Both actors really commit to being their animal selves and this works really well for the movie.  At one point they gang up on a bully and it’s a lot of fun watching them work together with their very different dog and cat styles.

The entire cast is likable and fun.  I won’t go on a rave about how great Sean Astin is in everything all the time, but needless to say I loved him in this.  My love for Sean Astin started in childhood and adulthood hasn’t diminished that love one iota.  Kate Mucucci is great as Emma because she has an appealing awkwardness that makes you instantly root for her.  She’s a great character to watch deal with this craziness and you really want her to succeed.  And she does succeed because it is a kind-hearted and lovely movie.

This is a movie I will watch again.  It will join my list of rewatchables because I know if I’m depressed, it will cheer me up.  I’ve read other reviews that complain that there isn’t enough tension in the movie, but that is exactly what I like about it.  This isn’t a tense movie and this isn’t a movie that will exacerbate anxiety.  This is a fun, funny little romantic comedy that focuses more on Emma’s life and pets than on the romance.

I give this movie an A and I deeply wish there were more lighthearted, funny movies like this out there.

Posted in Reviews

For the Love of Paula

I’ve been re-watching NCIS lately.  The number of shows I can watch without Will is fairly small and he hates procedurals.  Meanwhile, I find procedurals entertaining and NCIS doubly so.  Below are spoilers for season 4 – since they just finished season 15, I imagine spoilers are ok, but for those who have somehow missed it, SPOILER WARNING!

There is a character on NCIS in the early seasons named Paula Cassidy portrayed by Jessica Steen.  For my Supernatural readers, she was in the season 2 episode “The Benders” as Officer Kathleen.  I’ve adored Jessica Steen for ages as she manages to be awesome and interesting and heroic in most of the things I’ve seen her in.  I still think she made a better Weir on Stargate, but that’s a whole different point.

The point here is that in NCIS Paula Cassidy is quietly badass.  Her second or third appearance, while they are hunting for a serial killer, the serial killer kidnaps her.  Everyone is panicked and looking for her and at the end of the episode, they reveal that Paula Cassidy escaped and killed the serial killer with her hands tied behind her back.

How kickass is that?

The next time she shows up, her team is killed by a bomb.  At the end of the episode she saves the rest of the cast and innocent by-standers by tackling a suicide bomber.  She dies.

Now here comes the problem – her death can really be said to have been more about Tony’s emotional journey, something that I dislike because it’s just a little bit TOO Women in Refrigerators.  However, the way it is written feels more about Paula than many of the WIR moments often do.  She expresses feeling survivor guilt as her team died and she felt she should have died with them.  Right before the bomb goes off, she looks up to see her dead teammates smiling at her – this is a touching moment that brings me to tears, but it also is much more about Paula being with her team and being a major fucking hero than it is about Tony.

However, the episode does end with Tony in tears going to his girlfriend.

I love that Paula Cassidy is unabashedly a hero.  She is a great character and while she had a great death, I really wish we’d gotten to see more of her.  She was confident and capable and moreover, the men around her knew it.  Throughout the episodes she’s in she’s funny, fun, tough, and badass.  If only more female characters were written as well as Paula Cassidy.

Posted in Uncategorized

Hidden Cats

Woke this morning with our black cat, Shadow, stretched out on my legs and feet.  I was curled up against a body pillow on one side and Will was curled up behind me on the other side.

When I wake up, I tend to just stay in bed for a few minutes while the cobwebs of dreams clears and I get my bearings.  When I finally decide that the needs of the bladder outweigh the comfiness of the bed, I pull the blankets aside and discover Cecil the Orange was sleeping right next to me, completely buried in covers.  Had no idea little cat dude was even there.

Yes, I know this isn’t a lengthy blog post, but hey, I work from home and the people I talk to the most are basically cats.