Saturday, May 31, 2014

I Will Always Like You (imagine Whitney Houston warbling it): Chapter 16 in my on-again/off-again relationship with Judge Alex

There ain't [sic] no good guy. There ain't [sic] no bad guy. There's [sic] only you and me, and we just disagree. 

My cyber-relationship  of  almost five years with Judge Alex Ferrer has always been of a somewhat tenuous nature. For starters, anyone who is not certifiably insane -- and, despite what a few relatives and divas for whom I've provided piano accompaniment may say about me, I have both of my feet planted relatively firmly on solid ground -- knows that a relationship that consists of exchanging brief communications via social media does not constitute a bona fide relationship.  Cyber friends can in some situations turn into real friends, and have done so in at least a couple of cases in my life*, but largely, a mentally healthy person builds his or her actual life around those into whose physical presence he or she comes. 

Still, communicating with Judge Alex via the Twitter has on occasion helped me through rough spots in life . I assume I would have made it through most of those rough spots with or without the the occasional metaphorical pat on the head from the judge, especially since the most traumatic aspects of my life were things I did not share with the judge or with anyone else on Twitter. Still, Judge Ferrer was kind enough to offer words of encouragement or humor from time to time, and those words did on occasion give me the strength and courage to go out into the world and brave one more day of that often ugly period in one's life known as adolescence. For that I am most grateful.

Psychologist and behaviorist B. F. Skinner, building upon the earlier work of physiologist  Ivan Pavlov, categorized forms of reward, which we all remember from Psychology 101. In short, reinforcement systems as described by Skinner could be categorized as fixed ratio ( the provision of  reinforcement after a specific number of responses), fixed interval (the provision of  reinforcement after a specified amount of time), variable ratio (the provision of  reinforcement after an indeterminate or even random number of responses), or variable interval (the provision of reinforcement after an indeterminate or random period of time). 

While Judge Ferrer obviously did not create an application on his iphone designed specifically to track my tweets and his replies, it became apparent that his replies to my tweets were based very casually upon a reinforcement schedule falling somewhere between fixed ratio and fixed interval.  After noticing X number of tweets from me, or after realizing that he hadn't acknowledged anything I had tweeted him in a given period of time, he would eventually tweet a response. Other factors, including just how busy he was in his real life at a given time,  just how busy his overall tweeting life was at a given moment in time, or just how pertinent a particular tweet or set of tweets might or might not have been, also figured into the formula. 

I tweeted a brief version of this to my cyber-friend Jaci. I looked for the tweets because I wished to reference something here that was cited there,  but I could not find them though it was probably less than two hours ago that they were sent. Twitter is a fickle media in that regard. Perhaps Jaci deleted the original tweet to which my tweets were mere responses. that may have caused them to disappear.  Then again, perhaps the Twitter fairy removed them, or perhaps they merely disappeared into the ether.  Regardless, I refuse  to lose sleep over the situation.

Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky, according to Kerry Livgren of 70's rock band Kansas, and scientists will tell you, for that matter, that odds are against even  the Earth and sky lasting forever. Still, it's a sad time when anything that brought you happiness comes to an end. I hope this dissolution, termination, or whatever one might call it with Judge Ferrer, is merely a hiatus and not the actual end.

*I would never have met Becca without our respective connections to Judge Alex, and for that, I extend my gratitude to him.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Conspiracy Theories, Functioning Democracies, and the Press

I don't really like to align myself with those who place great faith in conspiracy theories, but former U.S. President Jimmy Carter made a comment in a recent interview that he doesn't believe we have an actual functioning democracy in our nation at the present. Carter said that he has reason to believe that his electronic communications are monitored, and if he doesn't want those in the U.S. government to know the content of his communication to anyone,  he sends the communication in an actual letter as opposed to an email. While I've not necesssarily agreed with everything President Carter has said or done, I've never seen evidence that the man is paranoid or delusional.

I have mixed feelings about former President Carter. I admire that he has spent his retirement in service to his fellow man. On the other hand, things I've read from what I would consider to be reliable sources have lead me to believe he was never the "common man" he pretended to be while he was president. He did things, for example, such as carrying his own suitcase for as long as cameras were on him, then dropping them as soon as the cameras were off, usually expecting secret service agents to carry the bags for him. Such was not their job, and, in fact, compromised the job they were hired to do, which was to protect the president. If he needed aides to carry his luggage, he should have had his aides carry his luggage, and he shouldn't have pretended to be something or someone that he was not. Yet still  I suspect he is a good man at heart, and I believe there is something to his allegations concerning the state of our current government.

My feelings in this regard were bolstered a bit by a recent tweet  from People magazine regarding a luncheon to be held between Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama at the White House. The tweet was posted, then taken down almost immediately. Since the backlash over the removal of the tweet, it has been reposted.

I'm not terribly concerned about President Obama and Hillary Clinton having lunch together at the White House or anywhere else, nor am I concerned about whether or not the press is aware of it and chooses to publicize it. What does give me pause is the decision of People magazine to report it and then to immediately take it down. Precisely who applied pressure to the publication to delete the post  is a cause of perplexity to me, as is the decision to re-post the item.  

Do we have excessive governmental interference with our press, or do we have individuals in high positions of power in administrating our news agencies who are too biased to do their jobs effectively? Do we have a functioning democracy?

For the record, I'm a registered Democrat.

Josh Groban, Bocelli, Pavarotti, and the REAL World of an Accompanist

Isn't he adorable? I'm not accompanying him, by the way, but a girl can dream.

I played for two master's degree recitals in one day today. The flute recital was during the noon hour, and the violin recital was at 7:00 p.m. I'm not sure what in the world is going on with all of these late recitals. My mom thinks it may have something to do with two adjudication panel members having been significantly ill at the same time. Suitable replacements supposedly couldn't be found. Then the accompanist or accompanists had prior commitments. In any event, I certainly felt for the degree candidates. It would have been terribly nerve-wracking to me to have my recital be thrown up in the air in such a manner. I did my very best for them. The flutist played several selections I've played for my mom since I was in about seventh grade, and the violinist played two pieces I used in my own recital. I'm not sure why the criteria allows the same works to be used in masters' recitals as in bachelors' recitals. My friend the cellist, who turned pages for me, said that most of my selection were actually above the bachelor's degree category, though he may have been saying that to feed my ego.

I picked up a recital for this weekend as well. This one's just a senior recital (which unfortunately doesn't pay as well as a master's recital unless the soloist pulls a total diva act on me, which I've been told is unlikely in this case) and not a master's recital, and probably was rescheduled because of the same situation that caused the others to be postponed. This guy is supposed to be somewhere between a leggiero (or leggero) tenor and a lyric tenor. A leggiero tenor is the rough equivalent to a coloratura soprano, with a light yet somewhat athletic voice capable of flourish. A lyric tenor has a warmer, brighter, fuller voice. I'm curious as to how these two sets of characteristics can be combined in a single voice. The department chair offered the description, so I'm not inclined to scoff at it.  The guy is performing "Nessun Dorma."  I just hope he doesn't ruin it for me.  I'll either be crying as I play because it's such a thing of beauty or because it's such a pathetic effort. Regardless, I know the music, so the tears in my eyes will not impair my ability to play the song.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that voice majors tend to be given greater latitude in their selections for their recitals. One selection this guy is performing is "Gira Con Me Questa Notte," which is, in my opinion, David Foster's attempt to make Josh Groban sound like Bocelli.  In my opinion, Groban does not need to be made to sound like Bocelli, as he sounds great as himself, but still I like the aria. I'm interested in hearing the degree candidate's rendition. 

It's a tall order this guy whose name I don't even know has created for himself. I don't know that I would be so readily setting myself up for comparisons between myself and Pavarotti, Bocelli, or Josh Groban. Still, people like to hear what they know. Some degree candidates pull obscure works out of thin air. Even if the adjudication panel likes the artist's rendering of the work, the audience may not, and the panel's scores are influenced to a degree by audience response. They can usually  tell the difference between genuine appreciation of a work and the enthusiastic cheering of family and friends combined with the hiring a frat to sit in the auditorium and make noise after each selection.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Going Down in History for Crimes

First and foremost, let me say that I do not wish to give any sort of official title to the mayhem that occurred over the weekend in Isla Vista.  In my title I referred to the incident as such because it was a massacre of sorts, and it did occur in Isla Vista.  Doing so, in my opinion, glorifies the action, and perhaps gives future sociopaths delusions of grandeur in terms of  what their own planned anti-social acts may  one day be called, and as to just how they might go down in history.   I recall a long time ago  --  or long ago  in relation to my relatively short life span, anyway  --  some rather wise news personality suggesting that none of these worse than  infamous murderers (at the time it was the "Beltway Snipers" of whom the press was writing)  be given any sort of moniker by which they would be referred. he suggested, if I remember correctly, that instead we should call them simply, "Piece of Shit Number One," "Piece of Shit Number two," etc.   it would nice to see the press unite rather than compete if just in this one area.  Do we really need the Night Stalker, the Zodiac killer, The Milwaukee Cannibal, Son of Sam, the Unabomber, or any of the rest of these creatures? Or, for that matter,does the world need  Nancy Grace's cutesy nicknames (AKA "Tot Mom" ) that she uses and thinks will catch on among other segments of the press, but usually do not?

When we apply sobriquets, handles, or bynames  of any sort either to those unknown deviates for whom law enforcement is seeking to identify, or to those who have already been charged or convicted,  are we doing anything but lionizing, aggrandizing, or even simply adding publicity to the characters of those who have committed heinous acts? Why must we do this for such depraved individuals? In many cases, they will go down in history despite our best efforts, but must we make it all the  easier for them to do so by supplying them with  clever handles by which they will be forever known?  Furthermore, are we aiding, abetting, or motivating them in the planning and commission of their crimes by helping them to imagining just what sort of a nom de guerre the press will envision on their behalves, thus boosting them into immortality?

I have additional opinions on the subject (since when do I lack opinions on any given topic?), including the supposed Asperger connection, into which I wish to delve at a point in the near future.  For the present, however, I shall focus on today's topic. The person who committed these unspeakable acts does not even have a first, middle, or surname to me any longer. He exists in my memory as Piece of Shit (garbage if you're less crude than I) Number One.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Visiting Graves, Parasailing, Tying Up Loose Ends

I don't have anything deeply profound to say at this hour, but I'd rather not leave my last post as my most recent pot any longer, as, true thought it may be, it's depressing even to me.

I picked up, courtesy of the recommendation of the department chair,  two last-minute masters recitals for which to accompany in this upcoming week. Even senior recitals, much less master's recitals,  are not supposed to be allowed so late in a quarter, so I assume there must have been special circumstances surrounding the rescheduling of them. Master's recitals pay better than senior recitals. so who am I to complain?

I met with both candidates at the music department building yesterday (Sunday). I ran through the music with each soloist - one flutist and one violinist. it's all straightforward music. I could do either recital right now if necessary. both musicians have had adequate preparation, which take stress from me. It's enough to worry about preventing my own miscuse; having to be concerned about reacting to and minimizing someone else's is stressful. There's still always the possibility of error on my part or someone else's, but it's easier to sleep between now and then knowing that it would be a flukish sort of thing and not a likelihood.

What to do with unexpected cash flow is always an interesting quandary. Conventional wisdom would be to put the money away for a rainy day, but i've put a whole lot of my earnings away for rainy days, and were experiencing a pretty heavy drought here in California, so the earnings from last week and this week are going to be spent. i'm taking mt brother, my friend Alyssa, ans Jared to Santa Catalina for three days. We're parasailing while we're there. They're each kicking in the fee for their ferry transportation and paying for their own food so that it won't all be on me, but i'll footing the hotel bill and the parasailing fees. 

Alyssa and Jared each have one more year of undergrad, but for Matthew and me, we're looking at a lot more drudgery than fun and games over the next four years. A few days of frivolity while we still have the chance seems like not such a bad thing. We'll essentially have summers off for three years, but our childhoods ar essentially over. The nice thing about the medical profession is that once one has completely finished education and training, one must work hard, but then has the means to play hard if that is what one desires.

Tomorrow morning, which is actually today, my brother and I will make the northward trek to our twin brothers' graves to clean the grave sites and place flowers on them. We've collected a nice selection of flowers from neighbors, and we're packed an ready to go. I should be sleeping in anticipation of the drive, but sleep eludes me at this moment.

Santa Catalina Island, which is soon to be my destination

Saturday, May 24, 2014

He's NOT a victim, and PLEASE, let us not turn him into one.

Over spring break  a bit of  a disaster occurred in UC-Santa Barbara's off-campus residential community. In that particular case,  scads of high school students as well as a roughly equal number of young adults who attend other universities or no universities at al converged upon Isla Vista for some sort of event. Predictablly, things got out of hand rather quickly, and the "event" turned into a minor riot. Unfortunately for student of UC-Santa Barbara, blame for this was pinned on them when little evidence pointed to the the UCSB's student body having much if anything at all to do with the unrest.

Another incident took place last night. This situation was of a much more serious nature, and lives were lost. Six was the last body count I heard, although others may still be fighting for their lives.

I haven't driven anywhere near the crime scene today. To do  so would be painful and emotionally charged, and I'm sure that those involved with investigating the crime have plenty to do without curious rubber-neckers ogling the scene.

This particular tragedy was the work of one very narcissistic individual. I shall not mention his name here because he is not worthy of the publicity provided even by this lowly blog. I hesitate to touch upon the topic, but my conclusion is that those whose lives were lost merit  mention even if the amalgamation of lagoon scum deserves anonymity. The press is, as of yet, not releasing the names of those whose lives were lost. When the names are released, I will do what little I can to honor their collective memory.

This incident is neither the first nor the last of its kind.  I don't know enough about weapons to know if harsher laws in terms of the availability of assault-type weapons could have minimized the damage that was done, or if the weapon used was of a simple variety and is of the sort that will likely always be legal. Moreover, if I understand correctly, the BMW was the weapon of choice in the loss of some of the lives. I don't foresee BMWs being outlawed at any time in the near future.

Pond scum had apparently made a name for himself at several websites. my cousin showed me one particular off-tpoic comment he wrote at a particular board after which another poster commented, "Those sound like the writings of a serial killer."  The commenter probably truly believed pond sum's comments were stranger than garden-variety strange, but he/she probably had no clue as to how prophetic he or she truly was.

The perpetrator of this heinous act was twenty-two and was still a virgin, and for that, the residents of Isla Vista deserved to pay with their lives. he, the perpetrator, was, in his own words, a prefect gentlemen, but the ladies of a particular sorority were giving sex to other men less deserving than he. He had been in school two-and-a-half years - wait -- longer than that, and hadn't had sex. He attends a University of california and cannot correctly calculate how long he has been in attendance at the college or university level. Perhaps our requirements for entrance into the University of California are too lax if students there don't even know how long they've been there.

The whole dating quagmire is painful at the best, but many others before this amalgamation of pond scum have navigated it with the need to resort to mass murder.  My guess is that the perpetrator was aiming too high  in terms of those he wished to date versus those who wished to date him. Most of us figure this out very early in life.  When we first begin to notice the opposite sex (or same sex, for those who experience same-sex attraction), the venn diagram representing those we would choose to date and those who would choose to date us is typically two circles which neither intersect nor even touch. Eventually most of us become acquainted with reality. We socialize with others who aare not necessarily the girls or guys of our dreams,  but we learn a few social skills and have a bit of fun along the way. then eventually, if were lucky, something a bit magical happens:  the way we look in real life starts to a bit more closely resemble the way we looked in our imaginations, and people who wouldn't have given us a second glance in our earlier days actually notice us. That doesn't happen, in most cases, however, if we don't go through the motions and practice our social skills in our earlier years along with our fellow social inferiors.

The pictures I've seen of pond scum amalgamation do not portray a hideously ugly young man. Surely someone would have gone out with him, and might even have willingly had sex with him. I do hope they test his DNA, as a friend of mine was raped two years ago in Isla Vista, and if he's lying about never having had sex and happened to have been the perpetrator in her case, I'd like to see her get a bit of closure.

In any event, he appeared to have a type, from things he said in at least one of his videos.   It seemed tha he liked blonde sorority girls.  Though it's good not to get too heavily into stereotyping, I've not been a major fan of most of the sorority girls I've encountered in classes. Some have been merely snobbish, while others have been  outrightly nasty.  While no manner of rejection any of these girls gave to this man in response to offers of dates, sex, or anything else would in any way justify his actions, in this particular case, this creep's feelings were hurt, and he took it out on innocent bystanders.  if the sorority girls of which he spoke were the ones I knew, it's not hard to believe that any offer of a date (a more sexually explicit offer he may have made was sufficiently crude, in my opinion, that no response with which a girl might have come up would have been too rude for the situation)  might have been rejected in a publicly rude manner when a simple, quite, polite "no" would have sufficed. it's really no one's fault but his. At the same time, if he did make a polite request to one of those blonde sorority girls of his dreams for a date, and she rejected him in a loud and humiliating manner, I hope she's considering that she might have played at least a small role in this. I say this because I've seen the loud and humiliating rejections happen. Obviously, regardless,  that gives no one a right to kill anyone else.

This piece of pond scum seemed to think his BMW gave him  some sort of entitlement. I've never counted BMWs on campus, but I see them on a regular basis. I've read that the piece of pond scum's father works in he entertainment industry. That, combined with his BMW, would lead me to believe he was from at least a moderately privileged background.  While I have no way of  assessing relative wealth on campus, I'm comfortable in saying he is one of very many students from financially comfortable backgrounds. At UC-Santa Barbara, if a person wishes to distinguish himself or herself, it takes more than familial wealth in order to do so. Parents: don't think you can hand your kid the keys to a BMW and assume you've given him or her the keys to success in college or in life.

All's Well that Ends Well for the Accompanist

not my actual diva, but a reasonable facsimile

The Thursday night recital went off, though it would be a stretch to say it did so without a hitch.  I would like to know precisely what was the soprano's adviser's role in the process. We as performance majors pay those people big bucks to advise us.  I don't know if the adviser attempted to advise but the degree candidate refused to listen, or if the degree candidate, unbeknownst to me, is the offspring of someone important among benefactors to the university's music department -- I do know that the diva's parents have no eminence in the department itself, but perhaps her parents are big donors. In any event, if any good advice was being given, it was being summarily disregarded.

My first issue was with the selections. For instrumentalists, we're still required at most universities to hit major works from designated musical eras. The requirements for repertoire for voice recitals have gotten a bit flaky at most institutions in recent years.A smart person would use this to his or her advantage. Greater flexibility in selections allows one to form a theme of sorts, which is, in my idea, a good idea if one isn't hitting the major music eras with one's choices. At the very least, use the greater freedom to choose the prettiest songs one can find. I've attended and accompanied for enough of these recitals to know that  pretty beats impressive every time, and this is particularly so if one's attempt at impressive fails to impress.

The diva opened with "A Je Veux Vivre" from Romeo and Juliet by Gonoud.  I've always considered this piece somewhat blah, but it was clearly the least obnoxious work in the program. She didn't render it particularly well, but neither did she have all attendees with even average pitch discernment fighting their way out of the exits as though the building had caught fire.

From there it only got worse. She sang Ernest Chausson's "Chanson Perpetuelle," which translates to "never-ending song." it truly felt that the song would never end. When I was really little,  a lady named Shari Lewis hosted a program called "Lamb Chop" or something like that . Each episode ended with the puppet characters singing, "This is the song that doesn't end. Yes, it goes on and on, my friend. Some people started singing it not knowing what it was, and they'll continue singing it forever just because . . ." and then the song repeated until it faded out. The problem is that our soprano didn't fade out. I wondered at some point if I should segue into the "Lamb Chop" song, then fade out gradually, but thought better of it.

The diva thoroughly butchered "Alfin Mucciderete" by Scarlatti, which was a selection that I had previously liked. She ruined the song for me. I think it was at this point that one of the other voice majors handed the adviser a paper bag. I don't know whether she was supposed to put it over her head or throw up in it. Either use would have been both understandable and fitting.

I'll skip a few selections because I'm trying to delete them from my memory. She ended with "Mein Herr Marquis" otherwise known as "The Laughing Song," from Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss. With all due respect to Strauss, even considering for context, it's arguably one of the most ridiculous pieces ever composed.  She didn't put any sort of a new spin on it that lent respectability. I followed her the best I could, but she didn't know the piece well enough to be performing it and at one point actually forgot her lyrics. She should've faked it and just started singing "ha! ha! ha!" until she remembered where she was, but she's not a fast thinker. Instead, she turned and glared at me as though it had been my fault that she didn't know the piece.

I always find these things out after the fact, and this was no exception, but her glare at me very nearly cost her the recital.  Failing a senior recital is usually not an option. One may receive a mediocre [ or worse] score, but if one has jumped through enough hoops to have been extended the privilege of performing a senior recital, one will almost assuredly receive a "pass" on the final outcome.The department chair was present and in perfect position to catch a full view of the diva's glare at me.  At the immediate conclusion of the recital, he took the diva and her adviser aside.  Everything I know is from a fellow piano major who served as a stage hand because he needed the money. He told me the department chair totally ripped into her. Even if a discrepancy is the fault of an accompanist, it's considered a major faux pas to in any way call attention to such. (It goes both ways. An accompanist has an obligation to do everything in his or her power to avoid making a soloist look bad.) If said discrepancy is not the fault of an accompanist, it's doubly the responsibility of the soloist to own the error. The department chair told her she was a disgrace to the department.

The department chair apologized to me in the diva's presence for her rudeness and told me I had done an outstanding job.  I was gracious and thanked him without flashing a huge smile in her face.

The end result is that the diva will earn her degree but that she would be wise not to ask for any recommendations from anyone in the department.

When I was given my envelope with five one hundred dollar bills, I held each up to the light and examined it as though I had the skill to determine a counterfeit bill from the real thing. Truthfully, I probably wouldn't have recognized them as fakes  unless they'd had Dick Cheney's picture on them. Even though it may have been too late, I took the bills to the bank to get a professional opinion that they were legitimate. I shouldn't have been so concerned. If I'm not smart enough to tell the real deal from a fake, what are the odds that the diva would have had the street-smarts to come up with counterfeits that looked sufficiently legitimate to fool the casual observer?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Divas and Those Who Like to Think of Themselves as Such

Once again I'm ranting. A girl with whom I'm only marginally acquainted had a family emergency and had to leave to return home several states away. She was to provide piano accompaniment  for a senior voice recital tomorrow. The dress rehearsal was this evening.

I was called about fifteen minutes before the dress rehearsal and asked if I could fill in. I had things I would have preferred to be doing, but I took one for the team and said I would play for the recital.  I walked into the designated recital hall ten minutes before the rehearsal was scheduled to begin, which was early considering I didn't learn of my involvement in the even until twelve minutes before that time.  The soloist, a wannabe soprano diva,  possesses the body (Junoesque/Rubenesque to some degree) and attitude (full of herself) fitting for a diva, but , I would learn a few minutes later, is sorely lacking in talent, She  didn't approach me when I took my place at the piano bench.  I refused to approach her to introduce myself since I was the one doing her a favor.

After a few minutes, she walked up to the piano with the music, which she plunked onto the piano music rack. "I hope you've had time to go over all of this," she commented.

"I don't know when I would have done that," I responded, "since I'm seeing the music for the very first time right now. " I could have added that I'm good and don't need to see most music in advance but A) I don't usually blow my own horn in person (I reserve this blog for such purposes), and B)  I didn't necessarily wish to say or do anything that would put her mind at ease.

She let out a sort of sigh, blowing air upward by extending her lower lip.  Then she glared at me.

Then she said, "I hope they told you this, but I don't customarily pay my accompanists. It's considered a privilege for an pianist to accompany me."

I was quicker in response than I usually am,  feigning an expression of  concern. "That could be a bit of a problem," I told her. "I typically charge twice the customary fee for anyone I accompany, because it's considered a privilege for any soloist to be accompanied by me."  I smiled sweetly, or as sweetly as I can under such circumstances. That, I admit, is a major stretch of the truth, but I am the recipient of this year's  outstanding pianist and outstanding violinist awards. I don't know who this quasi-diva thinks she is, but I'm not stepping in at the last minute for her and then providing my services gratis.

The diva acted briefly as though  she might faint. Friends stood around her and fanned her.  An adviser went over to confer with her and with her entourage. Her friend came back to say that they could come up with the customary fee of three hundred dollars but that they were unwilling to double it. I said I'd think about it, and encouraged the friend to get the rehearsal started since I didn't have all night.

I don't wish to be boastful, as the accompaniment wasn't all that difficult, but I nailed it. Then, at the conclusion of the rehearsal, I said, "So which is it? Do you want my services on my terms, or would you rather try to find another replacement at this late date?" She conferred again with her adviser and came up with a counter offer of five hundred dollars. I pretended to mull the offer, then agreed to take the job. I never ask for more than the customary fee of three hundred. Sometimes I even play free of charge.  It's just that I appreciated neither the implication that she was in possession of more talent than evidence would support nor the overall lack of appreciation of my coming to her rescue at the last minute.. My mother said I was being the diva. She would have needed to have seen the situation in person in order to understand.

So I'll give up two hours of my evening tomorrow and will be five hundred dollars richer. I stipulated that the compensation needed to be in the form of cash (nothing smaller than twenties, as I could see the bitch handing me five hundreds ones) and handed to me in an envelope before the concert began. I'm not usually such a bitch, but this musician of limited-at-best talent brought the quality out in me in droves.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Part One in the Saga of Alexis' Self-Pity: which will get better but not before a few additional rants. I apologize in advance, and encourage you not to read if you find teen angst and dejection to be off-putting.

what I'm trying NOT to be

Brief Note: If you for some reason think you might somehow make things better by reminding me that there are people in the world with AIDS or inoperable forms of cancer, or whose intelligence quotients are lower than that of my dad's goldfish, or whose parents are fighting bitter divorce wars in which they use their own offspring as pawns, or people my age or younger who are literally going to battle in some war-torn section of the world as I sit in my comfortable bedroom typing my woes as though I think I'm a modern-day Anne Frank, you probably should read no further and definitely should not leave a comment. The "you" to whom I address this are primarily my frenemies [God, how I hate that word, though it sometimes applies] from the RFM site. I recently registered there. While most people have been kind (primarily the  people  whom I thought were kind when I was just reading and not commenting [for more than 5 years, by the way] some people there tend to think a person did not exist on this planet until he or she registered at RFM) others have been worse than ugly to me. There are things I've been asked not to explain here or there, but at the same time, I'll pose a simple question. If a person were fortuitous to the extent that one's parents knew a talented photographer, one's shrink's wife knew cosmetologists "in the business" AND,  even before the application of  makeup,  one happened to wake up on the the day of a scheduled photo shoot slightly better than one usually looks, should one take the resulting photograph (which took the place of the"senior picture," which wasn't done at the time it should have been done because my face was swollen and bruised) and burn it? If someone offers a person money for limited use of his or her photo, is it so wrong ton accept the money? (For the record, I thought I was selling to a specific company and not for someone else to have the right to sell the rights to the photo and a couple of others from the same shoot, but in the end it matters little.) Bottom line: People from anywhere  who love to figuratively shout "FAKE" at me: fuck you. 

Please indulge me in a brief escape into the world of self-pity. Another girl who lives in her parents' home in the cul de sac in which my parents' home is also located is hosting a gathering of some sort.  The girl and I are not well-acquainted, although we typically converse at neighborhood events, and we  wave in passing. I will note that the girl is similarly not-well-acquainted with my cousin Josh and my brother Matthew. If anything, she knows them less well than she knows me, as they both live on campus at the universities they attend and come home only on weekends. Even when I was theoretically living in the dorm last semester, I was home more than I was at the dorm, and I've been officially out of the dorm since January.

Josh and Matthew received formal invitations to tonight's soiree. Despite the fact that my brother and cousin were invited to this event, I still don't actually know what it's about, as I do not snoop into the mail of other people. My mother, bless her poor meddling soul, thought the lack of an invitation to me must have been an oversight and concluded that she [my mother] could remedy the obvious oversight by discreetly speaking to the girl's mother. What my mom learned through speaking to the girl's mother was that A) one hosting an event cannot afford to invite everyone living within a given zip code to said event; B) the neighbor girl and I have never really "hit it off," [ the neighbor's actual words]  though no personal ill will was intended by my non-invitation; and C) I am "just a little too nerdy for [her daughter's] social set"  --a direct quote, according to my mother, who is usually neither a liar nor a known trouble-maker, all though she has brought herself precariously close to the level of "stirrer-up-of-trouble" with her involvement in this situation, however harmless her intentions may have been.

So now, even though I have errands to run and things to  do, and my dog, as well, would love a walk right now, I'm self-quarantined inside my own home because this social event is taking place in the home just to the  outside of my home on this otherwise uneventful cul-de-sac. I don't wish even to be seen by those socially adept creatures deemed worthy to attend this event. In my mind they would all be laughing at me even if they had no clue as to my identity nor cared why I was not in attendance. This feels too much like middle school, and I thought I was long past middle school. Maybe that's the lesson of the day: no matter how old you are, you're not as far past middle school as you would like to think.

The girl who is hosting the party is about four months older than I and is just finishing her first year at the community college in our city. It's not her birthday. I don't think she has a highly serious romance in the works, so I don't think she's announcing an engagement, though almost anything is possible. My only point here is that I don't think one of life's typically commemorated milestones is the focal point of this celebration, not that it matters all that much. 

Someone decided to have a party and didn't invite me. It only matters symbolically. Truthfully, I'd probably rather be holed up in my bedroom than at the party, anyway. And I obviously have better things to do, although my own pride is keeping me from doing any of those things right now. I do admit that the invitations issued to my brother and cousin added to the sting of the absence of my own invitation, if only for the idea that I wouldn't even have known about the party until the caterers and other vendors began to make their appearances, which started only an hour or so before the party began this evening. With my brother's and cousin's invitations, I had plenty of advance notice.

I am acting like a martyr in being upset that I haven't been invited to a party I'd rather not attend in the first place. I readily admit this. Still, the lack of invitation was very clearly a deliberate slight. My cousin said it looks like there are more than 100 people there. One more -- especially one more who eats or drinks as little as I do, would not have added much to overall the cost of the event.

It seems from the loudness and raucousness that alcohol at the very least is involved in the frivolity.  I could telephone the police to let them know that alcohol is being served to minors and tell myself that I was being a  be a good citizen in doing so, but I would know perfectly well that being a good citizen was, if present at all, at the very bottom of any existing heap of motives I might have. Still, I
hope no innocent bystander is harmed. All of our cars are parked in the garage. 

The neighbors hosting the party have extra-persnickety neighbors -- think Gladys Kravitz --living directly across the street from them. Those neighbors may very well become fed up and inform law enforcement if the party doesn't wind down soon.  I hope the people on whom a report is made are allowed to know who made any report against them, because I don't need the blame for something I didn't even do. Regardless, it's out of my control.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Cookies, Mother's Day, and One Family's Story

Most of my mom's cookies will be in the form of dough, but the idea is the same.

It  should come as no surprise to anyone who even occasionally turns on a TV, radio, or computer that Mother's Day is tomorrow. My own mother has always been against the use of the day as a giant windfall for Hallmark, American Greetings, or for any of the other scads of greeting card-production companies, some of whom bizarrely try to claim number one status in the industry for themselves. That, however, is a subject for another day's blog. For right now, I'll try hard to reign myself in to the topic of over-commercialism of the holiday of Mother's Day, of Mother's Day itself, and of my mother.

My mother's mother died when she was in high school. My father had an extremely tenuous relationship with his own parents in the early days of my parents'  marriage. It's unlikely my parents would have made the trip to Utah on Mother's Day anyway, but my dad's parents have almost always traveled for the LDS Church on Mother's Day weekend, so a trip to Utah would beget a visit possibly with a giant seagull monument, but not much more. 

Family lore has it that some nine months or so after my parents were married, my father stopped at a pharmacy to pick up a package of latex gloves, which, most of us know, have all sorts of practical non-medical uses.  Under more normal circumstances, my dad probably would have just grabbed a handful of the things from a box in just about any given room at the hospital where he worked, but a Nazi cost accountant had recently come on board and had been meticulously inventorying such items, necessitating many previously unnecessary trips to pharmacies for doctors. On his way out of the pharmacy, as a last-minute thought, my dad picked out a Mother's Day card for my mom. He signed it, sealed it into its accompanying envelope, and put it away until the next morning, when he presented it to her.  Expecting a polite "thank you," he instead got a tirade worthy of a salt-water crocodile on miscellaneous subjects including but not limited to  greeting card company greed, over-commercialism of holidays in general, buying of Mother's Day cards for people who are not mothers as a way of pacifying them so that  the givers may later go out for a guilt-free  round of golf, failure to deposit one's already-worn underwear into the designated laundry chute, and unpopped popcorn kernels that NEVER made it from the bottom of the hot air popper unless my mother took the time and trouble to carry the hot air popper over to the trash can and empty the damned thing, and she didn't even LIKE popcorn. My father's side of the story includes a pointed reference to the calendar and to the involvement of PMS in this mother of all disputes.

That was my parents' first Mother's Day. The second one went by tacitly unobserved.  Neither parent remembers anything that happened that day, but they're sure that if the day had involved any sort of acknowledgement of the holiday, it would have evolved into at least as big a fiasco as had the previous year's "celebration," so they're fairly certain they both avoided any mention of the day's significance much the way Jewish people living in close contact with Christians don't ordinarily use Good Friday as a day to throw huge bashes for the purpose of gloating about Jesus' demise. I won't say it's never happened even once in history, but in my corner of the world, it's certainly not customary.

Fast forward to the next year. My mother had been a mother, though only briefly. Two years earlier, my dad's head had been figuratively sliced off and handed to him on a crystal platter for, among other things, giving my mother a Mother's Day card before she was an actual mother.  What was the correct and proper way to acknowledge Mother's Day for a mother who had been a very real mother but had barely experienced much of it, or at least had dealt only in the most brief way with the post-utero realities of motherhood?  His parish priest had no great ideas. (Realistically, how would a life-long single, childless man be able to advise a parishioner on such a matter? It's one of the things wrong with the whole Catholic concept of clergy in my opinion. Men with the best of intentions may be called upon to provide answers to questions for which they haven't the merest clue.) A scan of the writings of Emily Post, Amy Vanderbilt, and Miss Manners, didn't offer much more than what the parish priest had to say.  The local LDS bishop, a 32-year-old teaching physician by trade who paid my dad a visit when my dad's mother asked him to do so,  handed Dad one of those "Plan of Salvation- Families Can Be Forever" sort of pamphlets, but my dad knew all about that, as he'd served an LDS mission many years earlier.

I don't really know for whom I feel more sorry for retrospectively (it was before I was born) at that point in their lives. My poor mother had lost premature twins, far enough along to take their first breaths and, in one case, to hang around for a few days,  just long enough to grip both parents fingers and to be held in the hands of both  parents as he took his final breaths.  My father had been along for the whole ride and had lost his own flesh and blood as well.  I don't want to diminish fatherhood in any way, but I suspect there's a biological thing going on with a maternal loss of a very new child that, while it's present for the father as well,  isn't there with quite the same magnitude as for the mother. On the other hand, there's a grieving father dealing not only with the loss of a child but with a seriously grieving wife, and not really having any idea what he can possibly do to help. In the grand scheme of things is that  a whole lot easier than the mother's role? I don't know, and I hope to God that I'll never have to know any more about it than I know about it right now.

My dad finally decided just to ask my mom about two weeks before Mother's Day what she wanted to do about the day. She wanted to get away. Time off was precious and tough for my dad to obtain at that point in his career, but he managed a long weekend, and they traveled north to where they could spend the weekend avoiding the awkwardness of  contact with anyone who knew about the babies they'd lost months earlier.  

By the next Mother's Day, my parents were once again in the early stages of pregnancy. They weren't ready for any formal announcements, and they certainly weren't ready to spend the holiday with friends and family, but my mother was already needing to choose her wardrobe carefully, because twins (even when one is tiny) manifest their presence early. She didn't want to deal with anyone's questions. Again they traveled north to be by themselves for the weekend, though it was a happier  if still slightly walking-on-eggshells sort of mini-vacation.

By the time Mother's Day of 1995 rolled around, my parents had their very own set of healthy twins.  Mother's Day was no longer a taboo subject, but a holiday to be openly celebrated as it is for most mothers.  My dad said he sent flowers, bought candy, and even bought a new car for my mom that she very much  needed but that they couldn't quite afford yet. He said he wanted to make up for the other years that he wanted to gift her with so much but couldn't for all the obvious reasons.

I think we're now normal celebraters (my spell-check says there's no such word, to which  I say bullshit!) of Mother's Day, if there is any such thing. We're all still on rocky terms with my dad's father, but not with his mother. It's still not usually a good time for us to go to Utah, but we send something we think she would like, and we visit her as close to the actual day as possible.

My dad usually barbecues. Sometimes we go to a restaurant, but restaurants are incredibly crowded around here on Mother's Day.  My dad usually has something that's in his price range alone among immediate family members that he knows my mom would like. He would be more than happy to include us in the gift, and even to accept our small monetary contributions, but still it would not be our gift.

My brother is really good at thoroughly cleaning and detailing cars, and my mom is a bit of a slob when it comes to her car, though she loves having it clean and perfect.  Right now even as I am typing, my brother is working on my mom's car.

My cousin Josh  lives with us when he is not away at school because he is wanted here no matter what his religious preferences may be. He doesn't know yet how he feels about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or about any other church. He left a mission when he became life-threateningly ill, and though he never really left The Church, The Church sort of left him. He's not welcome in his parents' home unless he's willing to go through the church's motions, so he's here with us. He honors my mother by changing her oil, rotating her tires, and steam-cleaning her engine, or something like that. My knowledge of the workings of cars is limited. I just hope they go when I turn the key.

There's little I can buy or do for my mom. We have a house-cleaning service, and I do most of the in-between stuff already. My mom  has a lot more money than I do, so if she really wants something that I can afford to buy for her, she's probably already bought it. She likes cookies, so I'm making ten batches of cookie dough  for her. I'm baking about three of each kind of cookie for her, and freezing the rest of the dough in rolls so that she can  pull it out out of her freezer and cut it, roll it, or shape it however she wants. I'm making it at my pseudo-relatives' home because they're not here to be bothered by my presence. The cookies will then be a surprise for m mom.

Cookies are such a lame expression of appreciation and love for everything my mom has done for me, from sitting up with me when I was sick or hurt to standing up for me against an agency which ignored my rights to giving me life itself. It cannot have been an easy decision to try for another pregnancy after the initial one ended so tragically.  

I read a silly maxim on a greeting card or somewhere that said,  "A son's a son until he takes a wife. A daughter's a daughter for the rest of her life."  I doubt there's much truth to that where Matthew is concerned, as I suspect that he's in with you and dad for the long haul, but I KNOW I'm with you forever and that you could not rid yourself of me even if you tried.

I love you, Mommy.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Is she or isn't she?

If a  new little person is indeed on the way, I don't think anyone seriously cares about its gender.

I skyped with PseudoAunt. She's nearing the conclusion of a fairly momentous trial. It's not tremendously important in the annals of California crime, but in terms of her own career, it's a milestone case. I cannot say more about the trial  until it has wrapped itself up. I usually would have helped PseudoAunt, and from the looks of things in terms of how exhausted she is, she certainly could have used my assistance, but the very last thing she needs at this juncture is exposure to pink eye. 

Since not very many people read my blog,  I will say something I wouldn't usually say in a public forum. PseudoAunt's level of fatigue is almost unprecedented considering that she hasn't dealt with even a minor illness in quite some time. No one is suggesting that she's ill, now, either. She can't, however, work for more than four hours without looking like she's in serious need of a nap. Even the judge  noticed her state of weakness and  expressed concern on Friday. PseudoAunt's breathing sounds fine. Her coloring is good at the very least. 

I will go on record as saying that I believe PseudoAunt is in the extremely early stages of pregnancy. She should not be very far along, as she drank a glass of wine at her husband's urging just under two weeks ago, and she never would have done such a thing had there been even a consideration that she might  have been pregnant. I would even go so far as to say that she probably conceived at some point between that glass of wine and now.  It's time, as she's twenty-six , and the clock moves in a forward motion for her just as it does for everyone else. She's also dealing with those cystic fibrosis lungs, which do not get better but only degenerate. The time now is probably as good as ever for her to have a child.

She's certainly not sporting anything as obvious as a baby bump. Her midsection is as concave as it's always been. She'll probably need to be at least three months along even to have a flat stomach.

Some people would say I'm violating the privacy of the Pseudos with my prediction. While such may be the case, A) very few people who know them read my blog (hell, even they're too busy to read anything I write these days); and B) I will not say whether my prediction was on the mark or somewhere out in the middle of left field until they make their own announcement.

Some experts and pseudo-experts will say that a female body has no physiological response to pregnancy for at least two to three weeks. I will defer to those whom I would consider the true experts concerning pregnancy, which are those who have been pregnant. My own mother has been pregnant twice and has said that she knew less than twenty-four hours after conception that she was pregnant both times. My friend Jared's mom, Stephanie, has given birth six times. In three cases she was sure within a week of conception. In the other three cases, her husband knew. For the record, neither my mom nor Stephanie had any false positives in terms of believing they had conceived when they hadn't.

Jared's Aunt Brooke conceived twins very shortly after having given birth (to a singleton). I won't go into all the details of the conception, because I know more than I should know about it, and just because I know doesn't mean that the rest of the world needs to know. The conception of the twins, however, happened on the very first encounter  of the sort that produces pregnancy following the birth of the previous child. It was earlier than Brooke's OBGYN had okayed such activity. Immediately afterward, as in before the couple was back in their clothing, Brooke was groaning about what she was going to tell her doctor. "Why do you think you need to tell him anything?" her husband asked.

"Because I'm pregnant!" she answered. Her husband laughed hysterically as though he was speaking to a crazy woman, but nine days later the home pregnancy test confirmed the presence of something that hadn't been there before, and a little more than seven months after the positive home pregnancy test, twin girls appeared on the scene. 

Not every woman who is pregnant will have confirmation of it before the sperm and the egg meet up in the love canal. We hear on TLC all the time, in fact, about the ladies who didn't know of their impending arrivals until visiting the E.R. with unexplained lower abdominal or back pain during the transition phase of labor. The vast majority probably fall somewhere in between, perhaps experiencing their first symptoms between two and four weeks.

In PseudoAunt's case, she's not even the one proclaiming her pregnancy at such an alarmingly early date. I don't know if she suspects anything or not. For that matter, I could be wrong. (I'ts happened before -- my being wrong --  believe it or not.) PseudoAunt could have a UTI or something equally boring, except to the person suffering from the UTI.  I've had kidney infections, which are not exactly a walk through California Adventure Park, and I can't imagine the standard  UTI being all that much more pleasant. To those of you who have in the past or are presently suffering with a UTI, absolutely no disrespect is intended. Seriously. I do not wish for God to smite me with a UTI. Pink eye is almost more than I can handle.

Pink eye, pale flamingo eye, or whatever you call it, it hurts!

I took one of these. cousin gave me five more with the instructions not o take more than one in four hours and not to exceed five in a day. Iwon't exceed recommended dosage because I hoard the hood stuff.

I took one of these puppies.

About two hours ago my eye started to bother me considerably more than it had been hurting before. My first course of action was the logical one: I live in a house with an MD. It made sense to ask him to do something to make the pain more bearable. so I woke up my dad.

He asked when I had last put in the drops that had been prescribed. I told him that it had been about ninety minutes earlier. The drops are supposed to be used every six hours, although the time limit can be pushed just a bit if necessary. Taking them hour-and-one-half hours early, however, is not an acceptable level of "pushing it" My dad told me to take ibuprofen. I told him I'd already taken it. He then told me to take acetaminophen. I told him I didn't think it would be a good idea to take  it because that would limit my access to most oral narcotics, which also contain acetaminophen. Acetaminophen in excessive dosages can be dangerous -- even lethal.  I reminded my father of this. His response was, "You're not getting any narcotics from me for pink eye." I asked him if I could at least have something that might help me sleep. He recommended benadryl.  Sometimes having a doctor for a father - especially one who is unsympathetic to anyone's pain but his own -- is about as useful as having a banker for a father. Sure, he works in a building full of money, but he's not likely to share any of it with you unless he has a peculiar desire to spend time in a lock-up facility.

I ordinarily might appeal to my mother for assistance, but she's dealing with her own agony. She has a ureteral calculus (AKA kidney stone)  that does not want to pass beyond its current juncture in her left ureter, and she's finally drugged to the point that she's feeling no pain nor much of anything else. I doubt she's even conscious. theough her current drug of choice is injected dilaudid, there are oral narcotics in her bathroom. Under ordinary circumstances, they would be under lock and key. Right now, however, there's a bottle of Norco on her bathroom counter. I wouldn't ordinarily even think of helping myself to its contents, but my current circumstances are beyond ordinary. Still, there are ways around this situation other than breaking the law.  I am resourceful enough to come up with a plan that doesn't involve the theft of controlled substances.

My first cll was to my Uncle Steve, who is my primary care physician. My plan was to drive the forty-two miles to his home so that he culd come up with something better than Tylenol or Motrin to get me through the night. he, unfortunately , was opposed to my driving forty miles through fog at this hour with compromised vision. he wanted to talk to my dad, but I told him it would be futile. he disagreed, but decided other plans would work equally well. cousin Peter, who is not really a cousin either to me or to Uncle steve, is in twon for the weekend. He probably isn't carrying a full pharmacy in his cae trunk, but my Uncle Michael, who lives a mere block from me and three blocks from where cousin Peter is staying, probably has no hand what is needed to get me through the night.

After a few texts, my uncle Michale showed up at my house. I left a not in case either of my parents noticed my absence. My uncle Michael used oxbuprocaine or something similar to numb my eye. This is actually a drug that has a high rate of abuse and can be dangerous, but used very infrequently and in small doses shouldn't cause harm. By then, Cousin Peter (cousin to no one present, but that's a subject for another day's blog) showed up at Uncle Michael's house. he asked about my symptoms and what had been used to treat them so far.  He agreed that the conjunctivitis should have improved beyond its present level and warranted a change in medication. He gave me a tub of eye ointment that was stronger than the drops I had used previously.

He also agreed that thirty-six hours without sleep was probably sufficient reason for stronger than over-the-counter relief.  He gave me a 5 mg. hydrocodone/350 mg acetaminophen tablet along with a one-mg. tab  of klonopin. He drove me home and waited around for forty-five minutes to ensure no negative drug reactions. At some point my dad must have noticed the presence of an extra male in the house, because I heard the two of them conversing.  I certainly hope my dad felt like a fool, but I wouldn't know, because I'm falling asleep right now.

Correcting an Earlier Lie

some other Annie -- not I

I lied in an earlier post when I said that my very first experience on stage was the time I played Chava in Fiddler on the Roof. My parents thought it very bizarre of me to have lied about such an inconsequential thing, but I was not yet ready to admit that I had been a last-minute fill-in for the lead roll in Annie when the originally-cast Annie's mother had a colossal fight with the director of the community theater production. I was the only person anyone involved with the production knew who could learn the lines in the three remaining days before opening night who also could be lifted with ease by the guy playing Daddy Warbucks.  (There was afar superior singer and actress of about my age, but she weighed probably more than twice what I did, and the choreographer thought it was too late to re-do all the moves.)

It wasn't an optimal casting job. I didn't then, nor do I now have that bowl-everyone-over sort of Andrea McArdle voice that everyone associates with the character of Annie. I could even then sing audibly without being miked, but my voice was a little too dolce for the role of Annie. Still, with three days' notice, the local community theater was damned lucky to get what they got. The dresses were more or less the right length, as my predecessor had been height-challenged as well, and only needed to be taken in a bit so that I wasn't totally swallowed by them.

Someday I may post an actual picture. Neither the few pictures I  possess nor the entire experience are something of which I'm particularly proud.

Exactly why I needed to get that particular lie off my conscience at this odd hour is a mystery even to me, but there it is.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pale Flamingo Eye

not Alexis' actual eye, but close to the "pale flamingo" shade of eye I'm now sporting

The pink eye is clearing up, though not so quickly as I or anyone treating the condition would have liked. I'm not yet welcome in the public schools around here, so substitute teaching has been a non-issue, although the more I do it, the more convinced I am that teaching is a calling to which I have not been called.

I looked at a color chart on some random website. My eye condition would most correctly be classified as "pale flamingo eye" as opposed to the more classic "pink eye." My pseudo- uncle thinks I should see an ophthalmologist (another pseudo-uncle) because the infection and inflammation should have cleared  by now. Since pseudo-uncle #2 the ophthalmologist won't charge anything except in the form of babysitting once the eye has cleared up and I'm no longer contagious, my dad thinks it's a great idea to seek a second opinion. If I  ever were  in need of  some serious cardiac procedure and we didn't have a cardiologist in the real or adopted family, I would be sorely out of luck unless insurance paid 100% of the fees.

I'm seriously considering retiring from the teaching profession. I know that seven days is a rather short career, but I've had just about enough offers of being fixed up for dates with students' fourteen-year-old brothers to last a lifetime. I have a standing offer to work in a lab for anywhere between two and five days per week, and the compensation beats that of substitute teaching by about 100%. I think I'll work two days a week and be a lazy slug for the remaining five. September will roll around soon enough, and the days of my being a lazy slug will seem like a distant dream.

Belated Happy May Day.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dobson and His Inappropriate Self-Placement into the Venue of Presidential Politics

I'm not pro-abortion. The idea of abortion is rather ghastly to me. Yet there are circumstances that are perhaps even more repulsive than abortion itself. One example is of a mother dying in trying to give birth when a much simpler procedure performed months earlier could have spared her life. Another circumstance is of a child giving birth to a baby.  In some cases that child could not have lawfully given consent to the conception of the baby. Another scenario might involve a woman giving birth to  baby who is the product of an incestuous relationship. Another circumstance would involve a woman carrying to term a child  was conceived by rape. Perhaps an earlier and simpler procedure might have negated the necessity of an abortion in that case, but we cannot always righteously judge the reason for which that procedure was not made available to the woman.

Most of us have heard the ridiculous lines spouted by the likes of Representative Todd Akin, who stated that the female body is very "smart" and knows the difference between "real" rape" and the kind of rape that women cry when they simply want to avoid taking responsibility for the babies they've conceived through irresponsible sex. The "smart" female body will prevent the occurrence of conception in nearly all cases of legitimate rape, according to Todd Akin. Many children who are themselves  the product of rape might big to differ with the statements made by Akin. Incidentally, Todd Akin's mother is his father's first-cousin-once-removed.  Perhaps an abortion in this instance would have prevented major spewing forth of idiocy.

I'll go on record as saying that the very idea of abortion is horrifying to me, but in some cases not as horrifying as what might happen if abortion were prevented by law. Beyond that, I'm not quite certain why men are screaming quite so loudly about what women are or are not allowed to do with their bodies. And Dr. Dobson, (by the way, did you legitimately earn your doctorate, Dr. Dobson, or is it one of those honorary degrees so common among your ilk?) "Before [Obama] was elected, he made it clear that he wanted to be 'the abortion president,' " you stated. When and where did The President say this?

Despite anything the religious right might care to spout to the contrary, affordable and available birth control would be an excellent place to stop or at least to slow the prevalence of abortion. The teaching of abstinence alone certainly will not thwart the need for abortion.

Lest anyone accuse me of being a slut, a whore, or a baby killer, I've never done anything that would convict me of any of these sins. I do practice abstinence. I'm merely realistic enough to know that not everyone else does.

Dr. Dobson, go back to writing books about beating dogs with belts. I'm not saying that your espousal of that practice was a good thing, either, but it was at least sufficiently ludicrous that even your nut-case right-wing followers would be likely to laugh at it rather than to follow your directives. For your own good, stay out of presidential politics. Please purchase a nice retirement condo for yourself if you have not already done so  and live out the remainder of your days doing no harm.