The Inconvenient Truth

A newspaper article caught my eye the other day about the planet Jupiter. This quote especially gave me pause:

“We think the ocean leaks onto the surface,” said McKinnon, a planetary scientist at Washington University. “What does that tell us about the chemistry of the water that’s down below? And the 64 billion dollar question is, could any of that stuff have the signature of life?”

Apparently, life is most valuable on far-flung planets in the solar system. Imagine if a human embryo were found in that “vast, warm, salty ocean – bigger than all of Earth’s put together” on Jupiter. The scientific community, indeed, the world at large would be thunderstruck, in awe of the discovery. Can you imagine the furor? (The story might even push the Anna Nicole drama out of the news.) How many scientists have devoted their lives to the search for life in our solar system?

Now, put that same embryo in the uterus of a random woman in this country and you’ll hear that “life begins with the mother’s decision” (as General Wesley Clark asserted during his presidential campaign).

That life in a warm ocean on a distant planet would be a breathtaking miracle.

That same life inconveniently located in the womb of a woman on this planet is disposable.

I guess that old adage is true: It’s all about location, location, location.

Borat is Stupid.

I offer my opinion on a popular current movie. Spoilers may appear below.

* * *

I am ashamed to admit that I fell for the hype. “Outrageously funny,” and all that. NOT. I actually saw “Borat” two weeks ago, the first week it opened, I think, and I thought it was not funny. I thought it was stupid. I thought all the people shrieking with laughter in the theater were stupid. (I thought they were almost as stupid as the people surrounding me in the theater when I saw “Fahrenheit 9/11.” You might be able to find that post if you try hard enough.)

Now, when I hear people mention how they laughed until they cried, how they laughed from beginning to end, I think they are stupid, too. In fact, I worry about the future of our country if so many of its citizens find this offensive compilation of stupidity funny. Seriously, what is wrong with people? I am surrounded by stupidity, it appears.

I am a judgmental elitist who cannot for the life of me understand how exposing people’s stupidity by acting stupid is funny. I have never found stupid people funny. This, perhaps, explains my lack of interest in getting drunk or hanging out with people who get drunk because I tend to find drunkeness stupid. I would never willingly impair myself so I might act as stupid as drunk people act.

I think it is stupid to excuse anti-Semitism by saying, “But he is Jewish!” That is just stupid. (And anti-Semitism? Stupid and incomprehensible to me.)

And I also think jokes about bodily excretions and bodily functions are stupid. I am not amused by naked wrestling, especially when it involves an obese hairy man. Not funny.

For what it’s worth, I think drunk fraternity boys are stupid, but so is tricking them to participate in a bogus “documentary.” And I think it’s outrageous to mock religious people as they participate in their traditions, no matter how wacky those traditions appear.

Save your money and don’t see this stupid, stupid movie. Do not believe anyone who says it is funny . . . because people who laughed all the way through this movie are stupid and unless you are stupid, too, you will regret “Borat.”

(And people who say, “You don’t understand this movie because you are not smart enough.” Oh, knock it off! That is stupid!)

Slow Down

Life is not a race.  So, why are so many mothers I know in such a hurry to enroll their three and four-year old children in school?  Why does a four-year old need to write his name?  What is the big rush?

For the typical pregnant woman, the starting flag begins waving the second the doctor insists on an ultrasound to “date” the pregnancy because God forbid a baby should just arrive on its own terms.  It’s all about shaving off the final weeks of pregnancy and inducing the baby to be born for the convenience of the doctor so he can be home before the sun sets on the splendor that is his home.  Who cares that a normal pregnancy can last up to forty-two weeks and that some babies take even longer to gestate . . . let’s hurry and get that baby born!  Stat!

Don’t even get me started on how few mothers bother to breastfeed their babies for the optimum length of time, because surely, someone will be offended and that is not my intent.  But honestly, how many babies are shortchanged because of mom’s rush to just move on to another stage? 

Babies are little for about twenty minutes, it seems, and then they are stinky teenagers, but we are in a headlong rush to get them through each stage as quickly as possible.  Finish up breastfeeding so we can potty-train so we can enroll them in full-time preschool so they are ready to read and write before they get to kindergarten so they can what?  Apply to an Ivy League college before they get out of second grade?

Speaking of second grade, I must again describe my dismay at observing second-grade girls at a Veteran’s Day assembly a few years back.  Those seven year olds had highlights in their hair and pantyhose on their legs and high-heels on their feet.  And to think that I wasn’t even allowed to wear earrings before I was ten back in the old days.  These girls looked ready for an office romance.

This all ties in with my pet peeve:  parents who take children to inappropriate movies or allow them to watch inappriate DVDs at home.  (The latter happens more often than the former because parents apparently don’t realize that the images are the same–only smaller–on both screens.  Duh.) 

Why are we in a foolhardy hurry to expose our children to adult themes and images?  What three-year old needs to view a rated PG-13 Superman giving his main squeeze an upside down kiss?  What child needs to see violence on screen or hear wildly inappropriate language in surround sound?  If a preschooler watches PG-13 movies, what will he be accustomed to watching by the time he’s fourteen?  What is the rush?

My job as a mother is to protect my children’s innocence for as long as possible.  My job as a mother is to protect my children’s childhoods for as long as possible. 

When moms and dads worry more about whether their kid can write a word at age four than they worry about images that child sees, people that child meets and influences that child experiences, something is wrong.  Not that any of you are like that, of course.  But some theoretical parents are, you know.  Rush, rush, rush, hurry, hurry, hurry, without regard for a child’s internal timetable or needs.

My four year can write a “M” and can recognize her name in print.  It hasn’t even occurred to me to teach her to write her alphabet, nor do I ship her off to preschool.  I haven’t tried to teach her to read nor have I shown her how to wear eye shadow.  She doesn’t have a lunchbox or take any classes or own a Dayplanner.

She’ll know how to write in cursive and recite her multiplication tables soon enough.  In the  meantime, you can find her in the sandbox, digging.

We’re in no hurry around here.   

A Judgmental Post About Another Mother

I heard the World’s Worst Mother interact with her small children today at Marshall’s.  I could hear crying from halfway across the store and I responded with my usual thought:  better her than me.  Crying kids really don’t bother me too much when they aren’t my crying kid.

But when I strolled closer to the children’s clothing section, I couldn’t help but overhear this bratty mother and her bratty children in full concert.  And it was really bad.

“NO!  I am not buying that!”

“Waaaaaah!  But you promised we could buy something this time!”

“I did not!  Now put it back!”

“You’re a liar!”

“Don’t you dare call me a liar!”

“Owwww, you’re hurting my arm!”

“Stop it!  Stop it!”

“But, mom, you said we could get something.”

“I said no!”

“You never spend your freaking money on what I want!”

“Don’t you dare talk to me like that!  Do you understand!?”

“Yes, I understand.  But you’re a liar.”

That’s just a small sample.  It was worse than I can express.

The kids talked back to her, sassing personified.  The mother screamed at the kids, ineffective screaming with no results and no reinforcement.  The kids cried.  They ran off.  She ran after them, grabbed them.  At one point, I looked up and caught her looking at me and then she hissed loudly, “EVERYONE IS LOOKING AT US!  STOP CRYING!” 

The kids were probably four, five, six, seven.  Something like that.  I think there were three of them, but there could have been four.  I was really trying to ignore them. 

I shuddered to think what that household is like–between the children who did not listen and who did not respect the mother and the mother who had no idea how to control her children and who twisted their arms in public, I imagine it’s a hellhole.  I mean, if they behave like that in public, what are they like in private?

I always wonder if I have any responsibility in a situation like that.  And then I decide to mind my own business, lest things get worse.  Children like that wouldn’t listen to me and the mother certainly wouldn’t appreciate my interference.  But what a sad, sad situation.

A Morally Superior Word to You Know Who You Are

Ever have someone say this to you? “By the way, for someone who claims such moral and Christian superiority, you seem to have an issue with forgiveness. Not very Christ-like.”?

I have.

. . . I suppose that’s what I get for speaking my mind on my own blog about my troubled relationship with my sister, the one who stole from me and then refused to speak to me for three years (and counting).

. . . I suppose that’s what I get for admitting that I am a Christian and for allowing my small corner of the blogosphere to glimpse into my life without glossing over the rough spots with Christian platitudes and phrases that ultimately mean nothing.

. . . I suppose that’s what I get for allowing ridiculous anonymous comments to remain on my blog, even when the commenter calls me an “uptight bitch” and accuses me of the silliest behavior imaginable

. . . I suppose that’s what I get when all I do is tease about the lack of punctuation and appropriate sentence structure instead of ripping her to shreds with a flick of my keyboard. I use what we like to call “self-control” rather than attack the character of the commenter in return. For all I know, the commenter is a disturbed mental patient and how fair would it be for me to assume that the commenter is a rational adult? (What rational adult would criticize a blogger anonymously with venom? Just move along to the next blog–there are 10 kajillion blogs in the world. Pick another one.) This is certainly not my only recourse, but generally, that’s how I choose to handle the poor souls who stumble through my blog and anonymously offer their off-base, name-calling criticisms. Or I delete them. Depends on my mood.

Just one question, though. I did a search of my blog and couldn’t find a single instance of my own gloating about my moral and Christian superiority, unless, of course, you count the time I mentioned how disappointed I was about Lance Armstrong’s broken marriage. I stand by my own feelings . . . which, hello, this is my blog, the place where I deposit my own feelings and examine my own thoughts. If you are here looking for someone else’s viewpoint, you are lost.

And if you are here, hoping to fix me, edify me, point out my flaws, I just have to say, why? Are you a therapist without a practice? A writer without a blog? A person without a real life?

And if you are here because you can’t look away from my riveting prose, I say, ha! (And I know you can’t look away. My statcounter tells me that.)

And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s because I’m talking to only one person who is a big fan of my blog, yet hides in the shadows when she throws her stink bombs. That, my friends, is despicable. One might even call it pathetic.

And it hurts my feelings. So go away.

“Eleanor” Replies

I know. I know. I promised some judgments today.

But to amuse you, I thought I’d point out “Eleanor’s” reply (I’d hate for you to miss the fun–I can’t miss the fun because it arrives in my email box)–which lucky for us, includes her email address–not that I personally would email her. An email address doesn’t really prove much. What I’d really like to read is her blog–or perhaps she doesn’t have a blog, which would be sort of ironic, wouldn’t it, that she would be stomping around here in my blog, hiding behind her anonymity, attempting to shame me when really, we have no idea if she’s been out bombing abortion clinics, do we? Or if she’s dressed in a Tigger costume at Disney World or if she’s panhandling by freeway exits. “Eleanor” is suffering from a lack of biography and a lack of history.

Poor “Eleanor” has nothing to back her up. All we have to judge her by are her words, which (aside from being poorly punctuated and occasionally misspelled) do not show her in a very positive light. This is so sad it almost makes me feel sorry for her.

Perhaps “Eleanor” needs the Church of Scientology to whip her into shape. That and some vitamins. With iron. Maybe “Eleanor” is anemic.

At 10:19 PM, Eleanor said…
My, my…it would appear someone can dish it out, but cannot take it! Not surprising. Happily the “subtle” message of my post was not lost on you. My comments were intentionally rude, arrogant, inflammatory, and harsh to illustrate a point. Just like everyone, you really don’t like being judged, stereotyped, or ridiculed. And yet, having spent considerable time reading through all your posts, you do this quite a lot. As do all your friends it would appear. Don’t assume this is the way I ordinarily dialogue with people of contradictory beliefs. Quite frankly, you just pissed me off!

[Mel says: Why would I assume anything else? All you have to show for yourself are your self-admitted harsh comments! I am sure you’ll be disappointed to hear how amused I was by your comments. And my “friends” will be disappointed to hear that you’ve lumped them all together, for they are a fairly diverse crowd. I did not judge, stereotype or ridicule Lance Armstrong in the first place, so at this point, I think you must have me confused with someone else. And yet, you spent over four hours reading my blog. Don’t you have access to a library? Maybe you should check out some books since my writing so infuriates you.]

To be fair, my comments on The Commander & Chief were indeed based in my personal reality and thus, I have fallen victim to the evil judgement monster in all of us…touche! I still, however, think he is an ass!!!

[Mel says: I accept your apology.]

Hey, one last question. Did I miss some internantional rule of blogging that requires that persons who leave comments of opposing beliefs must leave their email address? No one who agrees with you leaves their emails that I can see. For your records I can be reached at…
xonacracker19@yahoo.com

[Mel says: If one wants to be taken seriously, one should leave an email address AND a link to one’s blog. Almost everyone who comments on my blog leaves both. In fact, everyone who commented on this post is accessible by their blog URL or their email address. Common courtesy. Elizabeth disagrees with me on most everything, yet I know her email address and her blog URL. And I like Elizabeth a lot. I think she adds a lot of spice to my blog, and I appreciate diversity.]

Toodles, Eleanor
p.s. You should have been a school teacher. You seem obsessed with punctuation.

Well, what do you know? “Eleanor” ends her comments with a compliment–isn’t obsession with punctuation a good thing? In my world, it is. Unless, of course, you overdo it with the exclamation mark! Which I have done a time or two! I just can’t help myself when I get all narcissistic and judgmental and–lest I forget, sanctimonious!!!

So, “Eleanor,” I accept your apology!!! Thanks for stopping by!!!! Have a fantastic day!!!

(And today’s judgment: I tend to think people who don’t capitalize are lazy. I KNOW! I know! Not true at all, but there you go. A random, unfair judgment. More tomorrow . . . anybody else care to share a judgment of their own?)

Discombobulated

What? It’s already past 10:00 p.m. A half-full, Costco-sized ketchup bottle sits on the kitchen counter. Open Prang watercolor paints on the kitchen table accompany Babygirl’s latest ragged freezer paper painting. I never did correct TwinBoyB’s grammar work from today, nor did I put water in the crockpot after I scooped out the remaining stew. My house looks somewhat abandoned, as if we all ran out during a fire drill.

But you can’t really blame me because last night I googled a variation of myself and found a stunning mention of a particular blog posting I made way back in February. I discovered this last night at 11:15 p.m., way too late for a woman whose alarm rings at 5:10 a.m. I’ve been preoccupied ever since with this derogatory mention of myself in a stranger’s lecture.

I had already been contemplating how disconnected I feel from our society, how belittled I feel as a woman who votes Republican, cherishes her faith and stays at home as a primary caregiver. I am sick to death of the mockery of conservative Christianity by people who claim to embrace diversity and tolerance. I am weary of the voices that refuse to admit that those of us who oppose abortion might have a valid point. There is all take and no give, it seems.

Why–please, someone tell me–why are women of faith, Republican women, women who scrapbook–assumed to be stupid? As if our default position is one of unthinking acceptance of ridiculous theology and backward political viewpoints? As if we are the ones who are intolerant and judgmental? All too often I find myself in the spotlight of judgment by people vastly different from me. All I can do is squint through that glare, trying to look into the eyes of those on the other side. Turn off the light! Come closer and sit down. We can talk, you know. I’ve got nothing to hide, even though I’m made to feel ridiculous for my belief system. I resent the implication that I am dim because of my conservative leanings and my choice to stay at home and raise my children.

I speak my personal truth here. Sometimes I throw caution to the wind and knowingly spout off something provocative, like when I called Michael Moore “smarmy.” Most often, I’m just describing how things look from here, inside my house, inside my head. I think this goes a long way towards forging common ground–because if you begin to see my viewpoint and offer me a glimpse of your viewpoint, we can find those intersections of our lives and see that we are really not all that different. With common ground, comes understanding.

This is not a monologue. It’s my half of a dialogue and ideally, you provide the other half by commenting here, writing on your own blog or even mentally mulling things over.

As for me, I might clean up the kitchen counter before I go to bed, but most likely, I’ll leave that for tomorrow. I’d hate to have nothing to do in the morning.

An Open Letter to Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

I received your comment today in response to my post about Michael Moore:

Anonymous said: “Thankfully there are very few responses to your narrow-minded and bigoted perspective to Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. It gives me hope that I am not alone and you represent the minority. It is outrageous that people can actually be this ignorant after all that has been revealed to support the so-called “satire” exposed by Michael Moore.

Shame on you for condemning him for having the respect to not show the charred and mangled remains of the victims of 9/11 for the millionth time. Shame on you for not having the common sense to be disgusted by your own government who inflicted that gruesome death on children in Iraq for their own financial gain. Shame on you for not being able to recognize when you have been duped by a greedy presidency. And shame on you for being so intolerant and insulting to those of us who can only laugh in the face of a president who does not even posses a basic grasp of the English language. Did it ever occur to you that the giggles and laughter you heard where based in sheer humiliation because “that” is our president with the vacant gaze???

The reason the theater was not empty and you were a “Republican Island” is because the rest of us seek the truth that our government seems unable to provide. And from the sounds of your post, you are clearly not smarter than everyone you shared that theater with…just more myopic!!!!!

And I reply: Thank you so much for your anonymous opinion about me. This kind of reminds me of the time I received an anonymous note from a disgruntled church member: “Stop playing the hymns so fast. I hate the music.” It always brightens one’s day to know that a completely anonymous person has such strong opinions about my opinions.

Now, I just want to point out that this entire blog is, in essence, my opinion piece, just as Michael’s Moore’s movie is his opinion piece. Apparently, you grant Michael Moore the right to criticize people he disagrees with, yet I am not granted that same privilege in your eyes.

Also, I have a few questions:

1) Do the parents of the dead babies in Iraq deserve less respect that the survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attack?

2) Did I mention how I feel about our government’s attack on Iraq? Do you think it’s possible to be horrified by dead Iraqi civilians and horrified by Michael Moore’s movie at the same time?

3) How was I personally duped by our president, oh, All-Knowing Anonymous One?

Thank your for your interest in my opinion. Next time, how about playing fair and signing your actual name? Otherwise, your opinion doesn’t count.

And by the way, saying something out loud does not make it true. Neither does publishing something in a book. You might want to make a note of that for future reference.