PlazaJen: The Blog

Riding the Bike with One Pedal.

Category: Don’tMessWithMe (page 2 of 3)

I’m too busy to blog…

because my job is awesome and keeps me hopping.

Oh and yeah, today? I’m fucking madder’n a hornet’s nest. Here’s a sample of my writing – you can read both my emails to my Senators as I lose my shit over the idiots in Congress trying to hold Planned Parenthood funding hostage:
Dear Ms. McCaskill,
I know we share the same beliefs and outlook on women’s rights, and their right to healthcare. I sent the following email to your colleague, Senator Blunt, and I urge you to fight and do whatever is necessary to help bring this heinous affront to Missouri women and the women of our country to a close. To de-fund Planned Parenthood is to set our rights back countless years. I am utterly astonished that presumably educated men, with wives, sisters and daughters, would even consider this restriction and the resulting impact on the low-income and poor women who NEED the medical and health care provided by Planned Parenthood. You have my support 100% and I hope your voice can help bring reason and resolution to this ridiculous battle.

Email to Senator Blunt, 4/8/2011:
It is completely unconscionable to hold up the entire budget of the United States over federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Mr. Blunt, we do not share the same views on abortion, but surely you can recognize the services provided by PP to low-income and poor women throughout our state? Needed, necessary services including family planning, cancer screenings and medical treatment? Not one penny of the budget that hangs in the balance goes to fund abortions. Not a one. I urge you to speak to your colleagues and stop this all-out assault against the women of our state and our country, because allowing this budget battle to hang on this issue? Is a travesty and will put our society back by 100 years in terms of equality, medical services and women’s rights. Thank you.

Matching Crazy for Crazy

Since I’m at home all day, I get to see things firsthand, not hear about them after the fact. You know, it’s like “24”, and I’m Kiefer Sutherland, and all events are in REAL TIME.  Yesterday was Delayed Garbage Day, due to the holiday on Monday, and the Wo is in charge of trash. I had taken advantage of the nice weather and wheeled out a huge bin of recycling the evening before, but we never put the trash out earlier than possible, since Feral Cat City across the way will destroy it in their efforts to find things to eat. We hadn’t had problems the past few weeks, but all of that changed. Just like the weather had. So my head actually exploded – yep, brain matter, bright spots of blood everywhere – when I looked out the window and saw this after the garbage trucks had been by:

Thanks, feral cats.

Granted, I was livid before I even went out the door. And I did grab my iTouch, along with plastic gloves, a huge trash bag and a scoop shovel, just so I could capture the moment for posterity.  But the weather did nothing to improve things, as I was pelted with sleet and rain, and my jeans were sopping wet from the ankles down due to puddles. It occurred to me, as I lost my temper and may have shouted a few things out loud at the sky, that I was now matching Crazy Cat Lady, toe to toe, as I swore and punched the sky and invited her to come over and help me, since she maintains the presence of these feral creatures by feeding them. I think I saw some curtains move, and I wondered what I would do if she actually DID come out, because I knew it wouldn’t be to help, but to screech at me about her poor starving kitties (that she doesn’t REALLY care for, or even bother to collar, since you can’t come near one.) That would have been an interesting blog post, for sure – and in my dream version, the rain and sleet would be augmented by the fire hydrant between our homes spraying into the air, and despite my personal dislike for him, I would play the role made famous by Mel Gibson, and Crazy Cat Lady would, of course, pick up the part played by Gary Busey, and we would end this Battle Royale once and for all. (Yes, Carmen, you can show up and play the role of Murtough.)

A Girl can dream.

Stay Tuned!

I’m currently in a battle with the Water Department.

For some unknown reason, my account has been locked. I tried to log in and pay our bill, and surprise! No go. I figured it was because I had signed up ages ago and they just did an overhaul on the payment site. So I called the Action Line today, and after sitting on hold for 15 minutes (being reminded every five that if I indeed had a life-threatening emergency, to hang up and call 9-1-1), I was able to get through. Only to learn “oh, the water department? They all screwed up today, their phones ain’t workin’ and their computers are screwed up.”

Great.

The woman on the Action Line took my information, and -I am not shitting you – five hours later, I got a call back. I was told to just plug in my user name and the reset-password they gave me and it should work.

No.

Still locked out. I was informed that “Well, she can get right into your account.” WHO IS SHE. “She’s the lady who worked on this whole new website.”

Gee, you think maybe she’s got some fucking admin privileges I don’t? Because I’m betting she does. Nonetheless, we keep trying. I’m told to wait ten minutes and try again, and someone from the Action Line will call me in fifteen minutes.

I waited twenty minutes, no luck, account still locked. I even went into (gag) Internet Explorer to try it, thinking perhaps our new website is only as strong as its weakest platform. Nope. Still locked out. And it’s been an hour and fifteen minutes since I was supposed to get a follow-up call. Oh sure, I have other options, but I get like a terrier about shit like this, because it’s so STUPID, and should not take 8 hours to fix, or if it does, just say so. And if you think I’m letting go of this? mmmm. Nope. I have a case number.

Gosh. I wonder how they’d feel if I just took such a laid-back approach on payin’ ’em. Something tells me it’s not a two-way street.

The (Self-Appointed) Spelling and Grammar Police Are Having A Week.

I don’t claim to have perfect grammar, spelling, or even spectacular sentence structure. I do, however, make every effort to use correct spelling and proper grammar, and I try to limit the number of sentences I start with the word “so”, as that is a particular weakness of mine.

This week has been a bit crazy, hectic, stressful, you name it – but I have been provoked twice now to actually yell at the television because of spelling and grammar. The Fox 4 morning news crew are a fun bunch, but a couple of them just cannot get the proper use of the word “good” versus “well”. I finally had to post on their Facebook page because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Don Harmon, the weatherman, had just finished saying “Slow..ly. Slowly. I think that’s right.” And then Mark Alford responded with something like, “It’s going good out there.”  My post:

Way to go, Don, properly identifying adverbs! (slow-LY!) You are correct!
Next, let’s get Mark telling the world things are going WELL instead of
‘good’, since that is not proper grammar and it makes me yell at him.
Thanks!

To his credit, Mark actually responded with humor, saying “im well with that!” I may have to go down there with a ruler and rap some knuckles. Actually, it would be rather fun to have a paintball gun and every time an egregious grammatical mistake is uttered, KAPOW! I would also shout what they should have said, since I’m quite good at that already.  The traffic guy should be very afraid if this comes to fruition.

Which brings me to this morning, when KSHB (NBC)  flashed up two different slides (the typed-up cards on their template background that accompany the anchors while they’re talking) with horrid typos. The first one was about the new television season, and that production had “haulted” on a show. Uh, wtf is that? You can haul things, but you don’t hault them. Then, THEN, the next story was about – wait for it – BOAL GAMES. This is not the closed-captioning system translating, this is someone typing it in for the day’s stories. Seriously, I think six-year olds know how to spell “bowl”.

I think what bugs me in all of this is that even though I don’t hold my local media outlets to the standards I would hold, say, the New York Times, I do expect a certain amount of accuracy and I expect a whole lot of proper grammar. This isn’t a reality tv show, this is the news. Manufactured, selective, tilted at times, sensationalist most of the time, but you are still THE NEWS. And in ignoring grammar and spelling, it feels like we are moving yet another ten paces closer to accepting an unacceptable level of national stupidity. Why not just start typing it all in phone-texting style? Hell, start doing shots of Jager during the news, why wear a tie, or a nice pantsuit (Katie Horner, I’m lookin’ at you), just wear swimsuits or dress like the cast of Jersey Shore? Talk smack, talk trash, why have standards at all? Editorialize while you’re at it!

Nevermind me, I’ll still be getting my real news from NPR. I have never heard Steve Inskeep say “Things are going good!” And I’m GREAT with that.

How To Merge

This would ordinarily count as a public service announcement, however, I may wind up cursing so much, the lesson will only remain appropriate for truckers, sailors, and Marines.

First, a message to the old man leaving Price Chopper on 103rd in your little white truck: FUCK. You. Thank you for not understanding the general concept of merging, so I was forced to hit my brakes and send my leftovers flying off my passenger seat, to leak and smear on all the papers in my bag. Fuckyouverymuch. Punching it to get out of the parking lot? I get it. Getting into the middle lane and pulling into my lane while there was still room? That’s awesome. Except you didn’t do that, did you. You went below the speed limit and made like you were coming over, then went back into the middle lane, then came back over again, as I was wildly gesturing and screaming at you by that point and sending all my belongings on to the floor of my car.  I got to play the “Is he coming over? Is he waiting? He isn’t going a consistent speed? I am? But now I’m not, as I don’t want to wreck my car?” game.  And, for the record, I was going below the speed limit. I got to come home and scrub things, after calling you numerous, colorful terms that would have made even George Carlin pause and look at me in admiration. Have a splendid evening, douchecanoe.

Merging. I have witnessed this problematic element of driving quite often of late. Let me break it down for you. The whole fucking point of merging, especially when getting onto the highway, is to be TRAVELING AT THE SPEED OF TRAFFIC. This is why those goddamned red lights on the entrance ramps are the bane of my existence, even though I get the reasons behind them. This isn’t a putt-putt-putt along lane, slow way down maybe stop if it doesn’t feel right. We are not doing the goddamned double-dutch jump rope and you get to pick and choose when your feet are going in.  Get your ass going. And to all the rest of you sailing along in the right-hand lane? Get the fuck OVER. Y’all don’t seem to understand how badly I wanted a driver’s license as a child and it was denied to me. I studied the inserts Shell Oil used to run in Woman’s Day and Family Circle, using Goofy to show how to properly accelerate (imagine an egg between the pedal and the floor! Press down slowly!) I ate up every bit of information on what to do in accidents, when to use flares, how to stay safe on the road. So to say that I studied the Iowa Motor Vehicle License book would be an understatement. I absorbed it. I can still see the line drawing for merging onto the highway.

Here’s the one from the Missouri booklet, it’s quite similar:

mergemofos

This is not that hard, people. Driving isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. Let people in as they’re merging, and if you’re a merger, speed the fuck up so you’re not creating a potential 20-car fender bender and sixteen more high-blood pressure cases.

So. In case you’d like the full-blown directive from the same book, here you go:

ENTERING THE HIGHWAY
Entrance ramps are short, one-way ramps used to get on the highway. At the end of most entrance ramps is an acceleration lane. Use the ramp and acceleration lane to increase your speed to match the speed of the vehicles on the highway.

As you are speeding up, watch for an opening in the highway traffic. Switch on your turn signal, and pull smoothly into the traffic. DO NOT stop at the end of an acceleration lane unless traffic is very heavy and you have to stop.

Drivers already on the highway should give you room to enter, but if they don’t, DO NOT force your way onto the highway. You must yield the right-of-way to them, even if that means stopping at the end of an acceleration lane.

Namaste, motherfuckers.

I Would Shoot This Week Like I’d Put Down A Rabid Possum, If I Could.

Hey, didja all enjoy the full moon this week? Beautiful, bright, havoc-wreaking full moon that it was? Good god. The Crazy ratcheted up pretty high this week, I must say.

On Wednesday, I met a couple friends for an impromptu lunch at Red Snapper. Upon leaving, I thought my back tire looked low. Indeed, it was. As in almost flat. Yikes! So I hustled across the street, got air back in it, skipped my errands, and came home. It stayed inflated pretty well and looked good the next morning, so we assumed it was a temporary seal thing, hitting a pothole, etc. But now I’m paranoid. So I left work yesterday with paranoia in my heart, looked at my tire, and decided it looked lower. Not like the first time, but lower and something must be wrong. (One thing to know about me: I go from blissfully ignorant to OMFG WE’RE GONNA DIE AND LOSE ALL OUR MONEY FIRST in about 8.2 seconds flat.) So I’m worrying. And as I start to drive in the parking lot, I hear this crazy noise. OMFG! I pull over, spanning four parking spaces, and put the car in park, frozen, listening. I’m quite certain this sound is coming from my tire. Except the sound continues, after I’ve stopped. I finally realized that it was a plane flying overhead. Yay! I’m losing my mind!

Get home, the Wo takes a look, agrees it’s low, and we come up with the game plan: tomorrow at some point, I’ll go in to Firestone, get the thing fixed, get an oil change, and be on my merry way. We refill a bit with the pump he has. He checks it this morning: pretty low again, so now we accelerate the time frame, and I’m heading up there for an 8 am appointment so they can get it taken care of and I can be in Westport by 9:45. Everything seems fine, I’m hanging with Mr. Magoo in the waiting area until he’s finished, then I switch seats so I can keep an eye on things, and get called to the counter around 9. Lookin’ good. Except for one thing. They can’t fix the tire. It’s all shredded on the inside, he says. And my two front tires have wear on the insides of the tires and you can’t see it unless the car is up on the hoochymomma thingy, but it’s really bad and I need four new tires, he gestures at wildly circled numbers on a sheet of paper and can I hang on a sec because he has to run something out to some manager in the parking lot.

I get out the phone, and call the Wo. Tell him briefly that I’m being sold 4 new tires and could he talk to the man when he returns. Which he does, at that moment. I hand the phone over, he goes through the spiel again, and hands the phone back to me.

Now. Here is where, for me, it really broke apart. I can be blissfully clueless and unaware at times. But the rest of the time, my antennae are set on “11”. And so, as I take the phone, and as most people do, my head tilts down to listen and talk. But I am still watching the employee – who is looking at the computer, and I see, in this short second, he rolls his eyes. So as I’m hearing my husband in my left ear “THEYARETRYINGTOSELLYOUTIRESYOUDON’TNEEDYOUNEEDTOGOSOMEWHEREELSE” I’m thinking, “You motherfucker. There are two people standing right here, and the only one who gets to roll their eyes at my husband? IS ME.” So I’m pissed. He’s pissed. The Wo’s pissed. I hang up. Store dude looks at me and I say, “OK, this is why I let him handle these things. Can we just fill the tire with air and I’ll pay for my oil change?” And he says, “Well, he sounded really angry, I’m just saying, if you don’t replace all four tires, you have AWD, you would void your warranty (I’m still puzzling that one, as the dealer’s warranty expired a year ago), and let me take you back in the shop and show you this wear, you can’t see it unless the car’s in the air, so you can explain it to your husband,” and I’m all, “NO, that’s fine, let’s just settle up here.”

Because if I go back into the garage, it’s another point of sales pitch to wear the little lady down, I suspect.

So I wait, and then another employee comes in and tells me all about her morning and how she was t-boned on her way in and blah blah blah, and then a new dude comes in and says it looks like I need to be helped. I decline, saying I’m just waiting. But here’s what I think is interesting. First dude has now gone back into the garage, and never comes back out to interact with me again. New dude is now “handling me” and feigns shock and awe at the numbers on my tires and that I’m going to drive off the lot with my car in such a state, even, but is all smiles and polish and tells me they will give me their recommendations and an estimate, should I want to return. Now, I’m not all-knowing in the world of auto repair but I felt like this guy’s appearance was definitely a planned move and part of the whole schtick. (I heard the schtick given by the t-boned employee over the phone, all the dreadful things they found and how much it would cost.)

I pay, collect my key, my receipt and go. In my car, I look at the price tag: just over $1,100. Yes, eleven-hundred. Dollars.

The Wo is already regretting having sent me there, but he wanted me to have a nice place to sit and wait, but now I’m going where he wished he’d sent me in the first place, to Larry’s Wholesale Tires on Wornall.  Larry, or his other cousin Larry, comes in from the shop to see what I need and sends me down the road to the U-Haul place (which he also owns, and I ponder this, thinking how unassuming he is and he probably is quite well-off), because that’s where they fix tires. Honestly, I don’t know why I ever thought I’d be incapable of driving a car in NYC, because if you can cross two lanes of Wornall without a light and make repeated left-hand turns while you’re on it, I’d say you could take on just about any traffic situation in this country. I get down to the U-Haul spot and for whatever reason, I am instantly reassured. I’m greeted, there’s no problem, just back it in here, okey dokey, the guy finds a 1.5″ metal shiv that’s in the main part of the tread, he extracts it, does other manly things to the tire (including patching it), tells me he doesn’t see any shredding, but at some point I’ll need A new tire, because the side seam looks a little worn, and they all blinked when I told them what their neighbors up the street wanted me to spend.

So then I ate some Indian food at Chai Shai with Beth and knitted and decompressed (and wished I’d gotten the mango shake instead of the iced chai, because o.m.g. is it good,) ran into Dan of Gone Mild there, always nice to see him and say hello.

Then I came home, and discovered the breezeway was filled with bits of foam and bright red maribou feathers. Because Tripper had GONE INTO THE CLOSET, removed one slipper, and systematically shredded it everywhere. Then he took JWo’s old shoe he’d already done a number on, and completely chewed off the toe. That fucking dog isn’t getting out of his crate until he’s 12.

Next on my list? Re-installing software on my laptop that was rebuilt on Wednesday. I told you, this week has just been from hell! TGIF, indeed!

Law & Order: MO Wo Style

About a month ago, The Wo mentions that he’s finally gotten a notice for jury duty. He’s interested and intrigued, and has never even been called before. So he fills out the paperwork, I drop it in the mail, and think nothing more of it. Until I walk by his computer and see the rest of the summons, and in big red block letters, it says, “GRAND JURY”. Wha-WHA!?!? That’s quite the detail oversight! Then, like so many other things in my life, I promptly forgot about it, until he was on the phone with Momma Linda and mentioned that he would have jury duty in September.
GRAND jury duty, I interrupted.
Yeah. He had no idea.

I’ve been watching Law & Order for all the years it’s been on tv. All the variations, all the spin-offs, I am right. fucking. there. Love me some legal justice. (Yes, I am also fully aware the shows are nothing like real life.) I even have had the juror experience, as the foreperson on a malpractice lawsuit when I lived in St. Louis. Let me tell you what, I have no desire to be judged by a jury of my “peers” because half the people I sat with on that panel were competing with mushrooms for Most Active Life Form. Dude next to me kept falling asleep, in fact. Nice. I was freaking out. I took the responsibility so seriously, and was so riveted to every single detail, because I felt it was So Important. The case lasted 5 days, and by the 3rd day, the judge pointed at me before giving the rote instructions to the jury, instructions that were given to us every. single. time. there was a recess, a break, lunch, or leaving for the day. Basically instructing us we were not to discuss this case with anyone else, with anyone from the defense or the plaintiff, or among ourselves. It was about four lines long, and I had memorized it at that point. So when the judge pointed at me and saw my focused eyeballs, he pointed his gavel at me and said, “GO.” I began to say, “We are not to discuss this case with anyone else. We are not to discuss it with…” and he chuckled, told me he needed to say it, for it to count. Yes. I was focused.

The case we heard was about the head of OBGYN at SLU, and he was accused of not having magical fortune-telling powers. Basically, the woman had a baby, and then got pregnant again. The second child ended up being macrosomic (huge), and got stuck in the birth canal during delivery. She also delivered really, really, really fast. Was on a petosin drip for 10 hours, and then suddenly went from a 4 to a 10, in 7 minutes. (I learned more about childbirth than I ever needed to know, folks.) So the baby got stuck, and there was brachial nerve damage, resulting in a permanent injury to the boy. He had about 30% capacity of his arm. It was really awful, because they brought the kid in (he was 10 at this point) and threw balls at him, instructing him to catch them with his “good” side and then his “bad” one. But the whole argument rested on the first supposition, that the doctor “should have known” she would have this oversized baby, and should have in fact performed a c-section. The issue we (I) had, was that all her vitals and measurements were identical to her first child, a girl, who had been delivered with no issues whatsoever. Weight, fundal height, all that stuff was precisely the same. So there was no way he could have predicted it would go wrong. Anyway, it was rough. The doctor’s lawyers were quite skilled; the mom’s lawyer was more along the lines of shyster. And when we first convened in the jury room, I was selected as the foreman, and two seconds later, the DumbShit who’d been falling asleep had a crazy outburst, “I think because he offered her an abortion at the beginning of her pregnancy, we should find him guilty RIGHT NOW!”

Oh lord. Yes, the doc made her aware of all of her options, because she was over the age of 40, and the odds of having a special needs child went up, and as her doctor, he wanted her to know every LEGAL medical option she had. I told him to essentially STFU, as the abortion issue had nothing to do with this case.

It took several hours. Juries in St. Louis were notorious for large cash awards. But we finally found for the doctor. The three men on the jury held steadfast in favor of the plaintiff, maybe seeing themselves in the little boy, awkwardly catching a nerf ball in front of the jury box. And six months later, I was in a mall, shopping, and saw a woman who looked familiar. Turns out, she had been on the jury with me, and she had visited the judge after our decision was rendered, to ask what he thought of our verdict. He told her we’d made the right choice (though I wonder if he ever tells a juror that he thinks they fucked up). I still look back on it as a significant moment in civic duty, it’s right up there with the very first time I voted. But because of the DumbShit, I fear ever having my fate in front of 12 people, because there’s no guarantee my counterpart will be in the room, memorizing the juror instructions and paying attention to the rules and keeping emotion out of it.

With all that, I would say the Wo would make an excellent juror. We’ll see if he gets selected! We do know he is not allowed to bring knitting needles, that was emphasized twice on the phone tonight. It’s a shame, really, that knitting isn’t allowed. He can bring a craft, though. He suggested duck calls. That might be a really good way to NOT get chosen….

The Resemblance is Remarkable.

I've created a Minion to join Gru's Minion army.

Musings

So, I pondered on Plurk earlier today, ‘the naivete and stupidity of clueless people will never fail to astonish me. Does that make me… naive too?’

A friend pointed out that I just want to believe in the best of everyone. And I think that’s mostly true. It’s a blessing and a curse, some of which grew from being an only child, because your formative influences are adults, who use logic and restraint and explain things and treat you with respect. Something I hear-tell is less common when a sibling’s in the mix, and I do believe that siblings give you thicker skin. I can’t even begin to count the number of times in my life where I’ve been hoodwinked, for someone else’s amusement, or out of addiction, or because they’re just plain mean. Yet I still apply logic to the wound, and while my skin gets a bit tougher and I’m certainly capable of being a jaded mean bitch when I need too, I really do want people to just … be. I drove up Wornall a few weeks ago and there was a blind man, obviously trying to figure out exactly where the bus stop was. The sign is on a light pole, and there’s grass there, it’s not a shelter. The traffic was going along quickly and I slowed, fearful he could mis-step and land in the street. But then another man, who didn’t seem to know him, walked up to him and I could see he was speaking to him. Then he touched him on the shoulder, guided him, talked to him, helped him find where he needed to be. It brought me to tears, these two people, just being human and kind and helping and receiving help.  No hidden agendas, no pretending to be anything else.

I was frustrated this past week by an obvious breakdown in logic. Granted, one should really avoid Twitter arguments, because bitch, please, I can NOT make my points in 140 characters or less. But I think it’s important to recognize that when you are putting things out there on Twitter, and you say something unpopular? You will get called out for it.  You will be accountable for it. If you want to say that the KC Fiber Community is lame, and then later say what you meant was inspired, I urge you to use www.m-w.com, because lame is not a derivative of inspired, or vice-versa. If you then want to be a martyr and say you’re just expressing your opinion and flounce about it? Well, then I get really pissed. Because yes, you are FREE to call us lame. And it IS an opinion. But I will defend my friends (who are…supposed to be the Lame-Labeler’s friends as well) because they are trying to make it a better place, and a more rewarding community, and you might not like being held accountable for your opinions, but there you have it. The old adage came to mind… when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is… stop digging.

Now that I’m not so irritated about it, and I’ve distracted myself all weekend with voraciously reading the Stieg Larsson trilogy, I’ve come up with a new twist on an old, albeit creepy, quote.  Sums up my sense of astonishment pretty darned well, I’d say. And, it’s rather appropriate with the big dug-out hole, too.

“It puts the logic on its skin and watches it slip right off again!”

Bitch, please. (I love that SNL skit just a little too much.)

Am I Going to Have to Change to “FlashMobJen”?

WTF, riots on the Plaza?

Parents?! Hel-loooooo. It’s 11:30 on a Saturday night, do you know where your children are?

I’m utterly disgusted with the state of parenting, consequences, and the lack of personal responsibility.  I love how we’re talking about trying to move teachers to a merit-pay basis – sure! Who doesn’t want their compensation tied to a crumbling infrastructure you have no control over? There are students who don’t care about their MAP scores because – well, nobody at HOME cares about their MAP scores. They’re perfectly content to race through, guessing, writing “I Don’t Know”, and basically turning in a half-assed job. How do you motivate that attitude to care? You can’t beat them – and if mom and dad don’t think getting an education’s very important, well, they’re not going to pass along any desire to excel to the kids.

So back to these roving mobs of ‘kiddos’. It’s scary. Mobs of anyone, any age, any size, any color, with limited wisdom and little care for consequences? Scare the shit out of me.  GroupThink is one of my greatest fears in life, and I was raised to question it and shun it with every fiber of my being.  And because the attitude towards authority, elders, the merchants, the police was so flagrantly insubordinate, so disrespectful, I go straight to smackdown. I think there should be a curfew. I think if these kids break the curfew? The parents should get fined. If the parents can’t pay the fine, or want an alternative to the fine? Then they should be court-ordered to parenting classes.  This is what would happen if you were caught drunk-driving, or beating your wife, or other things we deem  wrong and in need of correcting. Why not parenting? Is the American Family oh-so-sacred? We shouldn’t tell another person how to parent their child? Well, no, I don’t think it’s my place to tell the mother with her screaming infant that it would be better for everyone in the restaurant if she took her child outside. But we do tell mothers who shake their babies not to do it. And we do make people take classes to learn how to drive a car, and hey, even a test! But none of that’s necessary if you want to bring a child into the world, and you think it’s ok to put your needs first and not stay home  on a Saturday night and make sure your kid isn’t hoofing off to some part of town to participate in a riot, or a strong-armed robbery, or breaking someone’s jaw, or ruining some girl’s prom night.  All we do in this country is sweep up. We build higher-security prisons, instead of teaching disadvantaged mothers that they can break the cycle, they can raise their child to get an education, how to help give them tools to a better life. Instead, we throw a little money at them, teaching them “the system” will always take care of them, when in fact, it won’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the biggest advocate for a helping society. I believe those who are fortunate should help people who are less-so. But I don’t believe in handouts, nor do I believe in something-for-nothing.

arrrrgh I could rant on and on. I just HATE the fact we don’t just turn the worst parts of town into places like the Harlem Children’s Zone. Make being a part of that desirable. Make being a good parent, make being a productive member of society, make being a good student the desirable goals in life. Instead, we’ll just throw up new prison walls, drain a strained court system even further, and add more police to the streets on a Saturday night. Maybe bring in the National Guard. Turn our streets into a new kind of war zone. Freedom, my ass.

P.S. if we bring in the Nat’l Guard, my friend Beth would like them to spend their days fixing potholes. kthxbai.

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