Category Archives: Negotiating

How Be a Friend

It’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day. And so, of course, Putin’s President, with the irony born of someone without a soul or a keen eye for history, chose today of all days to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Naturally, that means anybody who “looks” Muslim will become even more of a target than they have been since Trump took us all down the gold escalator into hell.  It is now open season on “others” here in our nation of immigrants.

So what can we do about it?

I will admit that the safety pin movement left me feeling decidedly unhelpful.  It’s a nice thought, but it never made me feel like I was actually standing up for anyone.  Or like I was doing something to help people being targeted.

But a while back I saw this article that offered some practical suggestions that have some meat on the bones.  Really!  Click on the link.  Cause I’m not going to tell you everything it says.

Anyway, I like to think that I would be the kind of person who would stand up in any situation to protect those in need.  But frankly,  I’m overweight, slow moving, and cowardly.  They don’t make superheroes who look or act like me.  So the odds are NOT in my favor.  Besides, when something happens around me, I never have a clue what’s happening.  I generally stand there, looking around, confused.  Immobile.  Saying “WTF” with my mouth hanging open.  Quick witted I may be with words, but actions?  Not so much.

But the Vox article showed me a way to help when someone is being verbally assaulted, in situations where I am most likely to see it happen.  It’s brilliant.  And relatively safe.  Win-win.

Here’s an example.  Say you’re in Target, passing by the children’s section, when you hear a man harassing a woman in a hijab.  He’s big and burly, and you want to help. You also don’t want him to target you.  Still, you can’t just walk away, turn a blind eye.  You’re a good person!  You wouldn’t be able to look yourself in the mirror if you didn’t help.  But how?

Why, act like an idiot, of course.  Me, I’m a natural!  At acting the idiot, that is.  Not being one.  That’s the role of the racist.

You interrupt the jerk.  Wander in between him and his victim as if you’re looking for something, and can’t quite find it.  Request his help.  Be totally oblivious.  Give the poor target the opportunity to get away.  Think Roseann Rosanna Dana.

roseann-roseanna-dana

Gilda Radner as Roseann Rosanna Dana.

Or, in an equally ditzy way, pretend to be the friend/shopping buddy of the woman being mistreated, and in an oblivious way whisk that woman out of the children’s department and into the table linens.

“Sylvia!” said in the most nasal tone imaginable, “THERE you are.  You were supposed to meet me in the shoe department … you come with me right now before they’re out of the size 7s…”

Read the article.  Learn steps you can take to help folks who may really need your help.  Because it’s a Brave New World out there.  And it helps to be prepared.

Today of all days, it’s important to recall these words, from the U.S. Holocaust Museum:

The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words. The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech.

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Cut It Out, 2017

Dear 2017,

Cut it out — right now.  Just stop being an asshole.  You’re far too young.

We already have to deal with Donald Trump sullying the Oval Office.

We already see our rights, our civil liberties, our healthcare, Medicare, Social Security, all flushed down the toilet.  [No.  I’m not going to illustrate a flushing toilet.  What do you take me for?]

But you’re off to a bad start otherwise, too.

Stop taking people.  Or stop taking good people.You need to take someone?  I have some suggestions.  Call me, 2017, so the U.S. Secret Service doesn’t.

But Mary?  You took Mary?  You left Trump and took Mary?

Jeez, 2017.  Cut. It. Out.

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A serious political piece.

Isn’t it funny how when you’re procrastinating about doing something, you get just the right push from behind to do it.  Or maybe in this case, the push came more from the Right.  Regardless.  It’s time.

I need to do a serious political post.

Earlier today, I got a comment on an old-ish post I wrote about Trump — It’s Just Not Funny Any More.   Zen Hiker wrote:

I have been amazed at all of the people who say they would never vote for Trump (for whatever reason) still rabidly follow and will vote for Hillary. And this is after everything that she has done, beginning with demonizing the women who accused her husband of sexual improprieties. Now I know that some of you on the left will start with the “He’s a sexist” etc. nonsense, but if you are truly honest with yourselves, you will admit that Hillary is no better than Trump and to continue the attack that he is running a hate filled campaign is just intellectually dishonest. Also, to say that Trump followers are uniformed and blindly follow him, what about (some) Hillary supporters? The bottom line is this-both sides are filled with people who blindly follow their candidate. Both sides have supporters who are not truly informed. And to those of you on the left and extreme left-Please get the idea that just because people don’t agree with every word you say it doesn’t make them a sexist, homophobe, islamaphobe etc. People just disagree with you. That is the beauty of the 1st amendment. I don’t have to agree with you. BTW-I am pretty much a Libertarian these days based on the fact that both of the candidates are not worth my vote.

There are two parts to the answer.  Why I’m voting FOR Hillary, and Why I would NEVER, EVER, EVER vote for Trump.

Why I’m voting FOR Hillary

I will admit, I came about my regard for Hillary slowly.  Still, I have never truly understood the hatred so many people feel towards her.  I disagree with some of the positions she’s taken (Iraq, for example).  But she is smart, thoughtful, and she can change her mind.

She’s a Democrat, as am I.  We both believe in using government for public purposes.  That folks shouldn’t be left just on their own.  That we as a society has responsibilities to children, to the poor, to the disabled.  That a civilized society takes care of the less fortunate among us.

Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime studying law and government, and public service has truly been her life.  She has brokered international agreements — fostered peace.  Brought different sides together across the world, and across the aisle as a Senator.  She is the type of public servant, in fact, that makes me hearken back to the old days, before Ronald Reagan created the scorn for government service with his “The Government IS the Problem” comment.  We need thoughtful, smart people to work in government as a calling.  Hillary Clinton has met that call admirably.  I have no doubt she will continue to do so.

She is imperfect.  She makes mistakes.  But she is strong, thinks problems through, makes decisions based on facts; she doesn’t shoot from the hip.  Government decisions can be made over a long process, or they can be required in an instant.  She is suited to making decisions either way — in part because she has spent a lifetime learning.

I am someone who understands government — I’ve worked with it and watched just how difficult it is to pass legislation (and how an ability to compromise is vital).  I know how complex  the regulation of the hundreds of industries that do business in the US is — regulations that keep all of us every single day of our lives whether by the standards set for food, safety standards for machinery in factories, or standards for airplanes and trains.

I want somebody as president who is smart and understands how to examine a problem, analyze it, look at options and come up with solutions based on reality.  Someone who makes decisions based on science, or engineering, or whatever is necessary for that particular problem.

I recently discovered the blog of an old friend of mine, where she was challenged to find the reasons to vote FOR Hillary, instead of just voting AGAINST Trump.  She started a blog and lists one reason she’s FOR Hillary every day.

 

As I scrolled through her blog, I realized that my old friend had made this post significantly easier, since Karen listed many of the same reasons I am supporting Hillary.

Karen has various post that illustrate and provide references for other reasons she has for voting FOR Hillary.  They include post elaborating on how Hillary Clinton has worked hard and effectively for her beliefs — particularly those geared toward children.  She has unceasingly promoted healthcare and education for children, particularly those in need due to poverty and/or disability.  She has an even temperament — it’s highly unlikely that foreign sailors flipping the bird at US sailors would result in a war, for example.  She has shown grace under pressure — whether that be sexism, political harassment (can you say Benghazi?) or what I believe is a lack of balance in comparing anything Hillary does to anything someone else does (the discrepancy in the way the Clinton and Trump Foundations are viewed makes me wonder how I have any hair left on my head).

The list of Hillary Clinton’s admirable traits is long.  It’s just that few of us bother to re-familiarize ourselves with them.  And we keep hearing nothing but the negative in the press.

I was originally against Hillary Clinton for the simple (and prescient) reason that I didn’t want to rehash the same damn scandals all over again, not because I didn’t like her or her policies.  I just had to re-look at her policies, and how she decided upon them.  I’ve been doing that for a year now.

Hillary Clinton is a flawed candidate, for sure.  But which candidate isn’t?  Certainly no one running today.

Why I would NEVER, EVER, EVER vote for Trump

In the late 1980s, the news that Trump was stiffing contractors at his NJ casinos hit the news just as my friend Elizabeth was visiting John and I.  It turned out that Elizabeth’s father was one of the cheated contractors.  He had worked at the casino nearly exclusively for more than a year.  I learned early on that “trust” was unlikely to be a word I’d use in connection with a man who would do that.

I could recite a litany of the horrible, dishonorable things that Donald Trump has done.  In fact, I’ve written dozens of posts about him.

Even if I didn’t think he was:

  • A bigot (I do think he’s a bigot),
  • A liar (I do think he’s a liar)
  • A cheat (ditto)
  • A fraud (uh huh)
  • A sexist (as sure as he breathes)
  • Willing to say anything that pops into his little head (ditto)
  • A coward and a bully (oh yeah, he is that alright)
  • A con man (no doubt in my mind)
  • A crook who feeds on people who can least afford to believe him (hey, get your degree at Trump University!
  • So thin skinned that a slight by a foreign leader or even a foreign sailor might mean a war .

Even if I liked his “ideas” (can they really be called ideas if there is no meat on the bones?), even if I agreed with everything he claims to believe, I would be against Donald Trump.

Trump hasn’t got a single iota of experience in government or public service.  Not a shred.  I don’t believe that one should get their feet wet with government experience by running the country.

Trump’s knowledge and understanding of laws and government and regulation consists entirely of circumventing it.  We are a nation of laws.  Anybody who thinks this con-man is going to follow our laws and the constitution (which I believe, like Mr. Khan that he hasn’t read or at least hasn’t understood), is a fool.

Electing Donald Trump would beg the question:  If we are not following our laws and our constitution, are we still Americans?

Moreover, Trump has no interest in learning anything.  He doesn’t think he needs to learn any more — doesn’t need to listen to the generals, for example.  Well, you know what?  Donald Trump is not an expert in anything.  If, god help us, he becomes president, he cannot do everything alone.  He needs to understand the importance and value of the experts who have spent their lives studying their specialties.

What about 3rd Party Candidates?

I voted for John Anderson in 1980.  I’m responsible for inflicting Ronald Reagan on all of us.  I will be sorry until I die, believe me.

carter-anderson-reagan

Seemed like a good idea at the time.  Sorry world.  Very sorry.  (Google Image, of course)

Ask anybody who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000.

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be elected President of the United States in 2016.  If you look at history, you can see that third party candidates don’t get elected.  Ever.  There is ZERO chance that Gary Johnson or Jill Stein will get elected.  Sorry, but it’s a combination of history and math and common sense.  Ain’t gonna happen, no matter how many stars you wish upon.

Maybe some day, a third party candidate will have a chance.  But this is not the election where that will happen.  More importantly, votes for either will count towards Donald Trump.

Elections Matter.  Choose wisely.

choose-wisely

If you don’t know where this image came from, you are an alien and Donald Trump will have somebody eat your intestines.

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She Speaks for Me (Language NSFW)

Language NSFW

 

 

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Fasten Your Seatbelts

Holy shit.

This election just got really interesting.

Antonin Scalia died.  Anybody need a hanky?  I didn’t think so.

Mitch McConnell has already said that the next president should nominate someone for the vacancy.

So did Ted Cruz.

Of course they said that.  And of course, Mitch McConnell will block the nomination of whomever President Obama puts forward, even if the man or woman’s halo is clearly visible to Scott Kelly from space.

According to my husband the lawyer and Google, a 4-4 tie in the US Supreme Court means that the lower court ruling will stand.

Things are gonna get interesting.

Many thanks to my bloggin’ buddy Mark at Exile on Pain Street for letting me know the news.

 

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Trump v. Fox — A Solution

You’ve all heard the news.

The Donald’s feelings are hurt and therefore, he stamped his feet, put his fingers in his ears and said “la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-.”  “Not going to debate.”

Of course, that leaves Fox and the debate moderators with a problem:  Too few folks on stage.

After reading this blog post from my home town, though, I’ve come up with a solution.

Empty suit

Image: Turbosquid.com, which I did not make up.

You didn’t click on the link, did you.  You never click on the links.

So I guess I’ll have to give you a hint.

The story in that blog is about a resident of my hometown who works as a photojournalist who met The Donald on a job.  The billionaire tried to sell JP Vellotti a suit.

The story, to me, is a metaphor for The Donald’s offering:

He’s a cheap huckster selling things that just don’t fit.

So in my mind, an empty suit, standing in Donald Trump’s 7th spot on the Fox dias tonight, would represent exactly what Trump has to offer the United States.

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I’ll Take That as a Compliment

Dr. C wiped a tear from her eye, hugged me and laughed as she walked me out of the examination room after my semi-annual tune up the other day.

“I have never had this much fun during a consultation, Elyse,” she said.

I love this doctor, my gastroenterologist.  She is bright, listens, figures out the best treatment for me, and incredibly importantly for me, she has a fabulous sense of humor.  That’s incredibly rare for a gastroenterologist as I’ve mentioned before.

“I’ve been keeping up with all the research on poop transplants,” I told her.

Yes!  It’s fascinating, isn’t it?”

Even though they aren’t currently being used for IBDs like mine, well, I do keep up with the research.  Obviously, you do too.  Why else would you be reading this post about poop?

Canadian Poop

How could I resist this image?  I know it’s Canadian and they have single-payer health care and I don’t, but you will admit, it’s funny.  Thanks, Google Images. You’re the bomb.  Errr…

Did I lose you there?

Our discussion continued down that same hole …

“I read that you have to be very careful who you get one from,” I said, proud of the depth of my knowledge.  “I read that if you get one from a grumpy person, or a depressed one, you can take on these traits.  Or fat people (thanks, Carrie!)”

“I actually have a patient who had a poop transplant.  She had c difficile,  and the transplant came from a heavy person.  She’s actually gained a lot of weight!”

“I used to think I’d get one from my husband.  But he’s kind of a curmudgeon, and he has risks of a couple of other diseases that I don’t want to get.* But mostly it’s the curmudgeon thing.  I don’t want to become a crank.  Besides, he refuses to laugh at my jokes.  Since I’m often the only one laughing, taking his shit might make my career as a humor blogger short-lived.”

“You’ll have to just tell him to keep his shit to himself!” Dr. C said, roaring with laughter.  Suddenly she realized, oh shit!  I’m talking to a patient!

“‘My doctor says you have to keep your shit to yourself!’ — That’s what I’ll tell him!  –Maybe then, he’ll stop leaving his crap all over the kitchen counter!”

Poop!

Google Image.

“Maybe you have to get your poop transplant from a model — a smart and beautiful one.  You don’t want to get your poop transfer from somebody stupid, because we don’t yet know if it can impact your IQ.  So you should choose somebody really smart — a scientist might be good.”

I looked over at her.  She’s healthy.  She’s slender.  She’s smart.  She has curly hair like mine.

“I want a poop transfer from you!” I announced.

She quieted her laugh for a moment.

Uh-oh, I though.  I’ve gone too far.

“You know, that may be the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”

We both roared with laughter.

“Great. Lemme know when they figure out that poop transplants really do work on Crohn’s.  I’ll bring the sterile cup.”

Poop 4

Where do you think I found this?

 

* Nobody can say I don’t protect my husband’s privacy.  Ammirite?

***

While this blog was awaiting publication, I found this article in my inbox:

Gut Bugs Affect Cockroach Poop-ularity

By Jef Akst

Commensal bacterial living in the gastrointestinal tracts of cockroaches lace the insects’ feces with chemical cues that mediate social behavior, according to a study.

Lord, why me?

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