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All posts for the month September, 2013

It’s an ism

Published September 30, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

My niece, M, just started middle school.  M is a sweet and sensitive child.  She is also the only girl in the Gifted and Talented program at her school. (I am also surprised. She lives in Eastern Tennessee, which I thought was more progressive, but what do I know?)

The only girl thing doesn’t bother her; she likes being smart.  One boy at her school has accused her of being a Feminist, and if she doesn’t watch out she’s going to turn into one of “those” women.

Take a moment to absorb.

I come from a long line of  “those” women. I’m actually quite proud of it.

It’s starting to bother M, because this child says “Feminist” as if it is the worst possible swear word.  M, being the smart child that she is, printed out the definition of “Feminist” to show him what it really means.  He scoffed and said that the media has influenced the information distributed on the internet.

This whole incident got me to thinking.

What is Feminism?

 “Identify yourself as a feminist today and many people will immediately assume you are man-hating, bra-burning, whiny liberal. Perhaps a certain charming radio talk show host will label you as a “Feminazi” or “slut.” Even among more moderate crowds, feminism is still seen as too radical, too uncomfortable, or simply unnecessary. Feminism is both misunderstood and denigrated regularly on a broad societal scale.”

http://www.whoneedsfeminism.com/about.html

I think feminism means something different to each person.   I don’t know why we need an ism to label the act of treating everyone as if they are important and valued as human beings.

For some reason, it seems that females of all ages and races are somewhat less than (fill in the blank.)

The litany of crimes against women in other countries is horrific and I do not mean to take away from the nightmare of what is becoming a regular occurrence in India. It is common knowledge that girls (and some boys) are trafficked for sex worldwide.  A lesser known horror is the number of female soldiers who are sexually assaulted by their fellow soldiers because they dare to commit the crime of wanting to serve their country.

Urban dictionary provides an excellent definition of feminism:

The belief that women are and should be treated as potential intellectual equals and social equals to men. These people can be either male or female human beings, although the ideology is commonly (and perhaps falsely) associated mainly with women.

The basic idea of Feminism revolves around the principle that just because human bodies are designed to perform certain procreative functions, biological elements need not dictate intellectual and social functions, capabilities, and rights.

Feminism also, by its nature, embraces the belief that all people are entitled to freedom and liberty within reason–including equal civil rights–and that discrimination should not be made based on gender, sexual orientation, skin color, ethnicity, religion, culture, or lifestyle.

Feminists–and all persons interested in civil equality and intellectuality–are dedicated to fighting the ignorance that says people are controlled by and limited to their biology.

Feminism is the belief that all people are entitled to the same civil rights and liberties and can be intellectual equals regardless of gender. However, you should still hold the door for a feminist; this is known as respect or politeness and need have nothing whatever to do with gender discrimination.

 I’m still puzzling about this. I wish I had answers for her. I wish I had answers for me.  I wish I could actually punch Robin Thicke in the head for thinking that his Blurred Lines video is anything but a prancing advert for objectifying women and I wish that  so many girls were not going to get the idea that they have to fit some kind of type in order to be considered attractive.  Even more terrifying, girls might get the idea that they have to march around half naked in order to get male attention.

I am concerned about M. I hope that she doesn’t lose the desire to learn or try to disguise her intellect because “girls aren’t supposed to be smart.” (yes, someone actually said this to her.)

I hope that she can ignore this kind of talk.

I just hate that she has to.

What do you think?

Published September 27, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

It’s going to be a strange day. I woke up with that damn Miley Cyrus song in my head and a cat standing on my face.  (Some people get to wake up with a song in their heart. I have to overachieve.) 

Later today I will be attending a memorial service for another of my far too young friends. She died in a car accident last week.

That’s plenty jarring on it’s own. 

The Daily Skimm (newsletter that gives you the basics of what’s going on with an easy to understand breakdown.) It is indeed possible that the federal government will shut down on October 1st. That’s Tuesday. It is indeed possible :

THE STORY: Congress has still not passed a budget. The government will still shut down on Oct. 1st if it does not reach an agreement. Still. No. Deal.

STOP EXAGGERATING, IT CAN’T JUST SHUT DOWN. Yes, it can. If you’re a federal worker, you may have time off but don’t bother going to a national park or landmark. Because they’ll be closed. And don’t plan on a fancy lunch, because you may not have a paycheck for a while.

http://theskimm.com/2013/09/26/skimm-for-september-27th-2/

So the people who are meant to be in charge are acting like brats and it may just send us all into a no-mail-having frenzy. 

Fortunately for me, I advance ordered the new Stephen King novel and it should be here tomorrow. 

But it still sucks. 

In the still suck category, today is my best good friend’s birthday.  It would have been his 63rd.  Everyone enjoy a quad espresso and something loaded with sugar and storm the racks at a thrift store. Mr. Steve would be honored. 

While scanning the news feeds this morning I ran across an article that asks, “Are you at risk for a stroke?” I said “Yes” then went on to another story. 

(If you have had a stroke, you are automatically at risk for another even if the stroke in question was the result of a burst blood vessel and those are pretty rare. You are still labeled at having a history of stroke.  I maintain that one event is not a history of stroke.  One is one. History is many. And other short stories by Benjamin Franklin.) 

And one other thing that’s making me a little wary of the day ahead.  Monkeys were seen whispering to each other at the NYC Zoo. A zoo worker entered their habitat and they commenced to whispering. This spawns a number of questions, not the least of which is, “Why do they feel they have to whisper? What have they seen this person doing?” You really have to be a nefarious creature if you are making monkeys whisper. 

And other short stories by Jane Goodall. 

Rest in Peace sweet Amy K. 

Just a few words

Published September 26, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Dude thinks a dream girl is less than 130 lbs and says that a fat one has low self-esteem and lacks self-discipline.

Dude has nice teeth, but he is a racist and doesn’t want to date outside of his group, nor does he want to date anyone who has ever been with a black man. His interview reveals him to be an inarticulate boob who likens sex with African Americans to bestiality. I am not kidding

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/24/sleepless-in-austin-thin-girlfriend_n_3984384.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

Take a look at this. Writer Chick’s words: No Freaking Way.

Isn’t it misleading to headline a story, “New Photo of Abraham Lincoln discovered.” I clicked on this story hoping to see Abe photobombing a bachelorette party.

Most of the news today is hardly news.

Headlines are misleading. Some men are jerks. George Zimmerman was probably guilty. No one is really sure what Ted Cruz was rambling on about. Lots of sound and fury signifying nothing.  Except if he doesn’t get his way, the Federal Government might shut down.  I have listened and read a number of news reports.

I consider myself an intelligent person. I  have no idea what’s going on.  So, unlike Ted Cruz, I’m just going to shut up until i figure out something wordworthy to say.

But for right now, check out this baby.

https://vine.co/v/hWZ2hOYDVtL

Back again, back again, bloggity blog

Published September 24, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I don’t know if I have anything worthwhile to say today. I’m not sure I’m qualified to judge what is good or wordworthy (worth spending the words on. I just made that up. The next time you hear some weirdo, probably me, wasting time that you can never get back, you can tell them/me, that wasn’t wordworthy. Then direct them to my webpage www.ellesview.com. Unless, of course it’s me, because I know where it is.)

I am one story into a six story contract on this ghostwriting thing.   The story I just finished writing was uncomfortable, and almost painful, like candling your own ear. (I’m not at all suggesting anyone try that, I’m just trying to paint a wordworthy picture.) I sent it in, fully expecting to get an email filled with hysterical laughter and perhaps a curse put upon my head and a demand that I rewrite that monstrosity or surrender one of my diplomas.

The publisher loved it. In fact he said, “Thanks! Excellent story.”

Just what I needed, more proof that I have no idea what is happening around me.

So here I am on a Tuesday taking a survey of the world around me. I have already been out for the day. My errands are run. I need to figure out what to do next. It’s not that I don’t have plenty to do. There’s just varying levels of repugnance associate to each task.

My job now is to figure out where on the repugnance pyramid I want to find myself. (and other short stories by Jack Kerouac)

I’m also easily distracted. It took me about ten minutes to write that sentence, because when I was writing it, I remembered that I needed to scan the check I just received for payment on my house in NM.  Then I remembered that I needed to create an Excel file for the whole thing. Then I remembered that I had left tomatoes and bananas in the car (World’s Worst Stripper names.)  When I brought that in, I remembered that I also bought a bag of Chicago Mix popcorn. Then I got distracted by the Oriental Trading Company Catalog. (If you have never had the delight of that particular distraction, go to the website. It’s amazing and somehow comforting to know that there is a place where you can get glow in the dark bouncing eyeballs for less than 50 cents each.)

Then I got back to the sentence.  This is why I can’t get anything done. And I really need to. I watched a great documentary last night. (For those of you who are new to my shenanigans, I watch documentaries while I’m ghosting or editing the stories of which I’m not a big fan because I don’t want my brain to completely cave in. Also, if I drop dead of another stroke, I would hope that whoever finds my cat hair laden corpse will notice that I was watching some cerebral documentary and not waxing idiotic by writing a phrase like “Kaleidoscope of passion.” I actually wrote that and it was published in a story. )

The documentary was “Miss Representation” It’s about how women are depicted in the media and how women are underrepresented in positions of power.  It inspired me.

And I all I have done today is write about shopping and buy bananas.

Sigh

Rage: Now available in choke sized bites

Published September 23, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I recently had a conversation with a friend from high school. We were catching up on the events of the last twenty-five years and he remarked, “You sure want to punch a lot of people in the face.”

It’s true.

It’s also frightening to think that I am now medicated so there are actually fewer folk who  I actively want to pound.  Pre-Head Explosion I was considerably less calm. (In fact, I once got so mad so fast I actually passed out.)

I have not exercised my ability to rage in a very long time.  A recent situation has made me come of rage retirement.

I won’t overylinky you with the myriad of news stories, but the House has passed the move by the GOP to cut $40 billion dollars for food stamps. When I read this, I had another of those can’t-move-can-only-stare-straight-ahead-because-I-think-this-might-actually-be-the-worst-thing-ever moments.

Folks, almost fifty percent of those who benefit from food stamps are children. You know those things that are our future whose major concerns should be what  Halloween costume to wear, those creatures who are not tiny adults but are developing organisms who deserve actual nutrition to help them turn into productive members of society?

According to information acquired by Beth Hoffman for  Forbes magazine, 22 million children IN THE UNITED STATES are in need of food assistance. I think this is insane in a country where we throw food away. There are places in the world who children go hungry because there is NO food. We have food here, but apparently we don’t want to share it.

I know today is not my day to rant about inequity. Today is actually my day to rant about education. But like everything else, one thing impacts another.

One of my teacher friends was telling me that most of the kids in his school attend after school programs. They attend these programs because they serve dinner.

Did anyone have a school lunch experience that was so wonderful that they would choose to eat all of their meals there? Kids don’t have much of a choice.

Several organizations hold food drives around this time of the year. People gather up canned and boxed foods to donate to food banks.  When this drive hits your neighborhood, take a minute to select something that someone might actually want to eat and that might have nutrition in it.  (I can only think of one person who likes canned beets and he doesn’t live here anymore. I would say something about it but I suspect that it’s confrontational to call someone and scream, “Would you get your damn expired beets out of my house?!!”)

I am stunned by all of it.

It makes me want to watch Apocalypse movies and root for the Zombies.

Frivolity and Ravitching

Published September 20, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I woke up this morning wondering if today is the day the roof caves in on me. (There’s a leak in the roof, and don’t ask  my mom about it. Really. Don’t.)  But other than that I welcome the much needed rain and the much more needed cooler weather.

I overslept because I was too comfy and the cat was too convincing about our need to wake up and immediately power nap, so I’m already a little behind. (I wish!)

Fortunately for me, Jezebel has wrapped up the important stuff for me: Miley Cyrus’s fans have been sending hate tweets (I can’t belive this is a thing) to sixteen year-old singer Lorde for outselling La Miley on the iTunes.  This is insane for so many reasons. I realize Miley fans aren’t exactly a brain trust, but I had no idea who Lorde is but now I kind of want to hear her sing. Because of the hate tweets, and because she is wearing clothes and keeping her tongue in her mouth in her photos.

Apparently James Franco is running around the world acting like a ridiculous douche. So do  a lot of people, but they don’t post photos of their douchery on social media. Oh wait, they do.

Other than that earth-shattering news is the update that Jay-Z and Beyonce are rich.  Charlie Sheen partied and shared drugs with younger actor. If you don’t wash the makeup off of your face for a month, your skin looks terrible.

There was a mass shooting in Chicago. Among the victims is a three-year old child.

Good morning world. Onto the questions for the day.

I started reading The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education by Diane Ravitch.

The first chapter alone has warranted a stream of questions:

What does No Child Left Behind really mean (besides how to screw up a whole bunch of kids and make the teachers tense and hate their jobs)?

You can try and figure out what it means by directly going to this site.

http://www2.ed.gov/nclb/landing.jhtml

Then when your head caves inm (you can tell because there will be a refreshing breeze wafting over your neurons. They say that you can’t feel something that happens inside your brain. They lie.)  you can go over to Yahoo answers:

No Child Left Behind is a buzzword created to mean schools should be improved, especially the worst schools. But what does it really mean? No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is based on four pillars that call for:

Stronger Accountability: Schools that perform poorly must find ways to improve or lose control of their school, and possibly even lose funding.

More freedom for states and communities: States and school districts will have more control over how school funds are spent, whether it is to hire better teachers, purchase technology, or start innovative programs.

Proven Education Methods: Federal funding is used for scientific research to determine which educational practices work best.

More Parental Choice: Parents in low performing schools have the options to choose to use other schools and to receive supplemental services like tutoring, and after school programs. Children in dangerous schools or children who have been victimized in school will be able to attend a safe school in another school district

(http://voices.yahoo.com/what-does-no-child-left-behind-mean-713411.html)

If you can still focus your eyes, think about your own education and the kind of  education your children are getting. If you do not have children, do some conversation roulette and your local library. I say library because these children and parents care enough to at least find out where the library is. Eavesdrop on some conversations. Watch what kids are checking out (literally and figuratively.)  Then lay your head on table and count to 100. This might keep you from immediately racing down to your school’s central office, banging on the door and shrieking, “What the sweaty hell is going on?!!!”

If you are so inclined to do that, give the door a shake for me. I can’t because I still need to work for the public schools in the position of the last monkey on the chain. That is until I figure out how to get some of that research money to figure out how to fix the immediate problems.

I want to send hate tweets to someone. I don’t know or much care who.  This is why horror movies don’t scare me.

Importantance

Published September 19, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

 

I’m not sure why I don’t ever really know what is going on, not just in the world. Most of the time I don’t know what’s going on in my own house.  There is the predictable; I will find a roach husk somewhere in the house. (It’s not just in the mystery spot anymore.)  Samantha will meow at me until I check her food and water at me, then she will look at me hopefully as if today might be the day that I have decided to whip up a surprise salmon mousse for her.  Later on in the day, there will be loud thunk because the letter carrier (we don’t call them mailmen anymore) will fling the mail at the door. Sometimes he is talking into his Bluetooth device. It’s confusing and this usually happens when things are at a lull and is most likely to scare the cookie monster pajama bottoms right off of me.

In an effort to improve my cultural knowledge, I sat down with a diet soda and Glamour Magazine. (I would have read Cosmopolitan but the articles have a tendency to make me stabby. Really, why should I have to be the one to learn kinky sex tricks to please my man? Cosmo, you insult me.)  So, here’s my take on what is important to young women right now (I know, I’m mid-forties, but I’m deeply in denial)

Fifty perfect outfits to wear to work: Okay, here’s what I’m wearing and I’m pretty sure I have at least fifty variations on this ensemble.  Yoga pants, might have been black at some point, but who knows? I got them at a thrift store. Faded red t-shirt that I can probably wear two or three more times before it completely dissolves. There are holes all over it and I probably shouldn’t wear it outside of the house. The shirt has a pocket. This is important because it helps me keep track of my phone.  I have on a pair of old athletic socks that someone left here at some point. (Anytime one of the miscellaneous musicians/actors stays over I find at least one mystery sock. I toss them in the laundry with Oxyclean. )

This is the perfect outfit for me to wear to work because it’s comfy, practical and equally suited for napping and working out either is equally likely to happen.

One of the perfect bags Glamour is pushing this month is an $800 Coach bag. My most expensive bag cost $20. My next $800 will be divided up this way-$600 for mortgage, $80 for savings, $75 to spread out over three weeks to send to my kid to help pay his metro pass, the remaining $50 will go for miscellaneous bits and pieces (used books, the occasional bag of French fries, new mascara, a spree at the Thrift store outlet) I will not be buying a Coach bag. I would feel guilty about buying a Coach bag. If someone gave me a Coach bag I would sell it (a raffle would be more lucrative. Are you allowed to hold a raffle for yourself?)

Then we go on to the best beauty tricks

My best beauty trick is to only hang out with people who think my loveliness has nothing to do with how I look.

But if I have to make a presentable face for the public in a hurry, Dark Blue eyeliner above and below the lash line, slather BB cream in your skin tone, (or obvious mismatch if you are feeling frisky) Run a Q-tip over some loose or pressed powder, then run this over the liner on your top lid and under your lower lashes to keep the eyeliner from fighting with the humidity. Mascara if you want, just a few coats. Fill in your lips with lip liner then top with chapstick

Even my frivolity involves note taking and research.

I’m a nerd; I actually took notes while I was reading Glamour.

I think I will fill up the void with actual news.

Have a glamorous day!