Monthly Archives: September 2013

The silly things I do when I wake up in the middle of the night …

Well I’ve actually been debating it for a couple weeks now.  With the upcoming move and everything else going on, why not just add this to my list of things “to do,” right?

So this morning/tonight I finally filled out my audition for Blogger Idol 2013.  It’s going to be a challenge, and I’m not quite sure I’m up for it.  But if I don’t try, I automatically don’t win.

The hardest part – deciding which two blogs best represent me and my style.

What is blogger idol, you ask?  A several-weeks long competition between up & coming bloggers.  There are nifty prizes and opportunities to network and grow my readership, which is all well and good.  But for me just getting off my ass and entering, and keeping up with the challenges if selected to the Top 12 (though I really thing Dirty Dozen is a better name) should be prize enough, amirite?

Whether or not I make it in, this is how, in a roundabout way, I got blogging.  My sister shared a link to her friend’s blog & facebook page — Manderstanding — one of last year’s competitors.  She was helping him drum up votes and I found them hysterical.  He later asked me to guest blog, promoted me to a few of his other blogger friends and voila, here I am.

That said, for more details — here’s the page:  http://blogger-idol.com/

There’s sure to be some great material coming out of this, so make sure you follow along with this year’s competition, on facebook, (https://www.facebook.com/bloggeridol)  twitter (https://twitter.com/BloggerIdol), or both!

Categories: In all seriousness | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Syria & Cyrus – redux

Diplomacy is:

(as defined by great minds of the 20th century)

 

The art of letting somebody else have your way.  ~David Frost

The art of restraining power. ~Henry A. Kissinger

and lastly,

The art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock. ~ Will Rogers

My international relations professors (one former DIA, one a Persian ex-pat from Iran) always said diplomacy was the art of speaking softly and carrying a big stick.

In Syria, this week, it seems all four definitions are true.  

To sum up – yesterday a reporter asked Sec. State John Kerry what it would take to keep the U.S. from strategic strikes in Syria, and he said, perhaps tongue in cheek, and certainly skeptically, for Assad to turn over his WMD’s to the UN for destruction, turning them over to the international wrecking ball.  

By nightfall, Russia’s Putin suggested that to Assad, and Assad agreed.  Frankly, I don’t care who gets the credit for the idea if this works, for several reasons:

First and foremost, the U.S. will not be acting alone in yet another nation’s civil war.  Throughout our recent history, we’ve been involved in too many, at the cost of too many American lives.

Second, it gets the chemical weapons out of the hands of a sociopath.  Assad is clearly apathetic to the plight of his own people in comparison to his own family and friends.  He will keep his power at all costs.  He saw what happened to his buddies Hussein, Mubarak, & Qaddafi.  

Third, it pulls the world back from the brink of another cold war, or world war.

The question is – using Frost’s definition, whose way is diplomacy having?  Frankly I’m beginning to think it’s President Obama and the U.S. national interest.  The president is standing there, at the G20 in Moscow, with the biggest stick and the softest voice.  

Putin wants to feel like he’s a player too and keep his oil routes unencumbered, so he jumps at the opportunity to play “peacemaker”.  In just about a week, Assad has gone from we don’t have ’em, to we didn’t use ’em, to “prove it” and finally to the UN, cried “uncle” and is giving them up. 

And last but not least, Congress is dancing around, a little bit like marionettes, because Obama said he was going, and didn’t need their approval.  When they demanded he said, ok, fine. Debate it.  

The legislative shell-shock and gun-shy kerfuffle bought Kerry and diplomacy a little time to work, all the while Obama’s sitting back and saying look – we know you did it, and we’re not letting you do it again.

Call him an idiot if you want, but frankly that’s brilliant.

Ms. Cyrus is smarter than you think too.

If you’ll recall, about a week or so ago I went on a little tirade about how we should really ignore Miley Cyrus’ antics with Robin Thicke at the VMAs and how Syria was just completely being ignored.  That the outrage at her behavior, while ignoring everything else was insane. 

I stand behind that.  And yet here we are again, side by side news headlines – Syria blinks and Cyrus has a new video and OH MY GOD SHE’S NAKED. 

Unless you’ve ever been in a relationship that’s laid you bare and emotionally or physically wrecked you, I don’t expect you to get it.  I’m becoming convinced this kid — the same age as my stepdaughter — is what my mom & grandfather would call an “old soul.”  This song is wise beyond her years, lyrically brilliant, and if you listen first, and look later, you will understand it. Especially if you’ve ever had your heart broken or betrayed. 

And I recommend listening to it here, then viewing it.  Not because of the nudity, but because you need to hear the message and then you’ll get the visual.   It’s here:  Put it in a background tab.

http://www.vevo.com/watch/miley-cyrus/wrecking-ball/USRV81300400

Get off her back.  Even if she twerks up to you. 

Categories: In all seriousness | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Learning all the wrong lessons about the internet and social media

So earlier today I saw this blog post, a very nice & thoughtful blog written by a clearly concerned mom.  Out of respect for her (like I respect my fellow bloggers) this is the link to her mea culpa.  Like me, she’s got a small blog and frankly I’d have been overwhelmed by this if it happened to me.

http://givenbreath.com/2013/09/04/fyi-2-the-one-where-everyones-covered-up/

She’s trying as hard as she can (and aren’t we all) to raise responsible young men & tries like we all do to keep communication open between her and her kids.  I know it’s hard.  My stepdaughter is 20 and sometimes I want to reach through her facebook page to North Carolina and yell at her “are you seriously ok with putting that picture/post out there?”  And sometimes I do.

But in reading all the comments (and I hardly ever read those, because most days they want me to choke someone for idiocy) I kept seeing people bringing up the same thing.  She’s shaming the girl who posted a picture she thought was questionable, while posting pictures of her kids that others thought were questionable.

The biggest lesson from all of this, is that you cannot control what others think of your pictures or your comments.  And it’s not right for others to blame you for their own thoughts.

This was my response to Mrs. Hall, and I don’t know if she’ll approve the moderation or not for it.  But even if you don’t read her blog, read this because I think sadly, too few people ever think long-term about what they are putting online.

Sadly what’s happening across the board is all the wrong lessons are being learned from your blog Mrs. Hall.

I was linked to the original post by fellow bloggers, one who raved about how awesome it was because she too had sons. And another who was shocked and appalled that you seemed to put all the impurity involved on the girl.

I have three daughters, a 20 year old stepdaughter, a five year old, and a 10 month old. I don’t want them to go around in the world thinking that the impure and sexual thoughts by anyone, male or female, is their fault, based on their clothing or actions. And that was the first takeaway I got from reading your blog.

In your response midway through the comments you were shocked that it was receiving so much attention. I too have a small blog and my mom is one of my most frequent commentators. I get the surprise when something goes viral. Someone along the line will probably say you wrote it in a way shaming girls to draw attention to your small blog and gain attention, exploiting the current rape-culture debates where blaming the girl for her semi-sexy pose and not wearing a bra provoked your son’s thoughts is like saying a rape victim asked for it because she wore a certain skirt.

I’m a Pollyana-type optimist that you truly meant your post from a caring and heartfelt place.

However I think everyone’s taking away the wrong ideas here.

I think the real teachable moments are things other commentators (here and on the original) have mentioned: Nobody is responsible for what anyone else thinks. Yes, to a degree it’s a natural hormonal response for boys or girls to think someone else is cute or “hot” based on the image of themselves they present. Confidence is always an attractive quality. And yes, I am a HUGE fan of modesty – not for the sake of keeping others from having impure thoughts – because that cannot be controlled – but because frankly I’m sick of seeing everything that anyone has to bear. But, you know what? That’s my issue. Not someone else’s.

Another teachable moment missed was you talking to this girl, or her mom, and letting her know that even a speck of glitter on her carpet may show, and her mom may not be aware of what she’s posting.

My point is this – the greater takeaway from this is that once something is posted online, it’s online FOREVER. The internet does not have a global delete button. Somewhere, in someone’s cache files, are the pictures of your sons, that you posted, on the beach. They’re out there now. And there’s nothing pedophiles and internet trolls love more than photos of kids, of any age, half dressed for their own stimulation – be their stimulation sexual or they just get their kicks being jerks to folks online.

Like it or not, some of these creeps have google searches set to show them new pictures when they’re publicly posted, as yours were of your young & innocent boys. For safety reasons I never post pictures of my kids on my blog, and never mention them by name. I’m open about who I am and unlike others won’t post anonymously, because like you, I stand by my words as something I believe strongly in.

That’s the ultimate lesson here – for all bloggers and children (and their parents). Once it’s online, no matter who posts it, or where, it’s out there. You can’t control who approves of it. You can’t control who disapproves of it. You can’t control who ultimately sees it — whether it’s future employers doing a social media search before they offer you a job, or a creep looking for pictures to stimulate themselves.

The only thing you can control is what you put out there. And we all need to learn and teach our children this, above all.

Categories: In all seriousness | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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