Category Archives: Neighbors

There’s a Big Difference

Two occurrences in the same neighborhood really point out the difference between reactions of members of the two different parties.

Vice-President Elect Mike Pence has moved into a short-term rental house in the mostly democratic Chevy Chase neighborhood of DC.  When residents realized he was living there, the reaction was this, courtesy of the Washington Post:

rainbow-flag

Photo courtesy of the Washington Post, (taken by Gary Cameron/Reuters)

They put out rainbow flags.

The other occurrence took place at a restaurant in the same neighborhood, a pizza place called the Comet Ping Pong.  As written up in the Washington Post,

A North Carolina man was arrested Sunday after he walked into a popular pizza restaurant in Northwest Washington carrying an assault rifle and fired one or more shots, D.C. police said. The man told police he had come to the restaurant to “self-investigate” a false election-related conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton that spread online during her presidential campaign.

This restaurant was the subject of false news accusations that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring from the restaurant’s bathrooms.  (Who the hell believes such stupidity?)  Other than  General  Mike Flynn, soon to be Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser:

I feel very secure now, don't you?

I feel very secure now, don’t you?

Nevertheless, the gunman was arrested, several area businesses went on lock-down.

A D.C. police report made public Monday says Welch had been armed with an AR-15 assault-style rifle. The report also says police seized a Colt .38 caliber handgun and a shotgun. One of those weapons was found inside the restaurant; the other in the suspect’s car.

Please wake me in 2020.

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Filed under 'Merica, 2016, 2nd Amendment, ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, A Little Restraint, Perhaps, Adult Traumas, All The News You Need, All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance, Ammosexuals, Clusterfuck, Do GOP Voters Actually THINK?, Gun control, Huh?, I Can't Get No, Insighting violence, Kakistocracy, Mike Pence, My Right to Protest, Neighbors, Peaceful Protests, Shit Your Pants Scary, Trump Legally Declared a Slug, Washington, What a Maroon, What a Putz, Where does the GOP get these guys?, Wild Beasts, WTF?

Because You Need To Know

Every day of my life, I thank my lucky stars when I get up, go into my clean bathroom, and take care of business.

Some days of my life, I’m less thankful when I am somewhere where the only “facilities” have no running water.  No handle to push.  No way to wash my hands.

Of course, with my potty problems, I guess I’m more in tune to toilet issues than most people.

Why am I telling you this?  You see, Thursday, November 19, is World Toilet Day. And of course, I’m (1) telling you about it; and (2) celebrating it.

The Wider Image: Around the world in 45 toilets

A toilet stands outside the Llamocca family home at Villa Lourdes in Villa Maria del Triunfo on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, October 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

The point of World Toilet Day is actually pretty important.  People without access to hygienic facilities risk illness, many women are preyed upon and attacked as they seek out a place to go.  Diseases are transmitted, including infections, cholera, well, here’s a picture.

The "F-diagram" (feces, fingers, flies, fields, fluids, food), showing pathways of fecal-oral disease transmission. The vertical blue lines show barriers: toilets, safe water, hygiene and handwashing. Source Wikipedia

The “F-diagram” (feces, fingers, flies, fields, fluids, food), showing pathways of fecal-oral disease transmission. The vertical blue lines show barriers: toilets, safe water, hygiene and handwashing.
Source Wikipedia

Hope you’re not eating.

World Toilet Day is to help the fortunate ones of us around the world realize that:

2.4 billion people around the world don’t have access to decent sanitation and more than a billion are forced to defecate in the open, risking disease and other dangers, according to the United Nations

We in the West are rather spoiled.  And the reality of what some folks, many folks must deal with can be eye-opening.

About 25 years ago, my friend Ed got a grant and went to Africa to study something or other.  It was his first experience visiting the Third World.  When he came back, he talked only about poop.

It seemed that the city he had visited ran with raw sewage.  Poop was in the gutters. Children played in those gutters. The sewage ran into the river that was used to irrigate crops.

Piles of poop were everywhere.  In the street.  Under trees.  In the corners of buildings; everywhere, he said.  Even inside.  Ed described a memorable elevator in the middle of a hotel lobby, that he had seen. The decorative ironwork around the elevator shaft was delicate and beautiful. But the elevator didn’t run — in fact, the elevator itself had been removed.  But people would stand with their backs to the elevator shaft, pull down their pants/up their skirts, hang their butts over the open elevator shaft.  And they’d poop.

“I realized something incredibly important, “ said my horrified friend:

“Civilization all comes down to what you do with your poo”

So when you’re thinking about the craziness in today’s world, maybe we all need to realize that part of our problem is that so very many people just don’t have a pot to piss in.

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Advice from an Expert Patient, All The News You Need, All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Farts, Flatulence, Good Deed Doers, Health, Health and Medicine, Huh?, Humiliation, Humor, Hypocrisy, I Can't Get No, Illness, keys to success, Mom would die of embarrassment, Neighbors, Oh shit, Poop, Shit, Shit happens, Taking Care of Each Other, Toilets, Useful thing to do with poop

Learn and Live? A History Lesson

We all thought it would be different, didn’t we.  After Columbine.  After Aurora.  After Sandy Hook.

But no.  Nope.  Nada.  Didn’t happen

We’ve all gotten used to thinking the unthinkable:  Not a chance for change.  Not with the money the NRA has behind them.  Not with the gun folks getting progressively crazier.

So some creative thinking was called for.

BAM!

Right to the Heart!

 

Naturally, the gun nuts are going, well, nuts.  As reported in the Huffington Post where I found the video:

The National Rifle Association’s New York affiliate immediately condemned the stunt and called for an investigation into whether the organizers violated New York’s gun laws.

“[It is a] felony violation of the Sullivan Act for a person to possess a handgun anywhere in New York without a license. The video clearly shows individual ‘customers’ handling various handguns and doing so in an unsafe manner,” New York State Rifle and Pistol Association President Thomas King said in a press release.

Because, you see, it’s not OK to “handle” a gun, but the 2nd Amendment gives us all the right to own them.  And use them.

*     *     *

Timiny Cricket, a commenter, said that he’d

like to hear about some of the positive examples where a gun scared away someone about to commit a crime or even was used in self defense and saved the owner’s life.

10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Awards, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Family, GOP, Gun control, Health and Medicine, History, Mental Health, Mysteries, Neighbors, Politics, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Voting, Wild Beasts

The Sounds of Peace

On the Friday after the World Trade Center fell, I was in Geneva, Switzerland, attending what was billed as a “silent” march.  Citizens of the world came together there in Geneva to show solidarity with we devastated Americans.  We walked la Place des Naçions, through the area of Geneva that is home to a dozen or so international organizations.  Organizations that promote peace, international cooperation, and help for our fellow man.

United Nations, Geneva Switzerland.  (Google Image)

United Nations, Geneva Switzerland.
(Google Image)

That day, people from every country on the planet, it seemed, marched to show their opposition to the hatred that attacked America and destroyed the towers.

Flags of the United Nations, Geneva (Google Image)

Flags of the United Nations, Geneva
(Google Image)

But it was anything but the “silent” march planned.  Instead, I was surrounded by thousands of voices, speaking in sympathy, in harmony, in defiance of evil.  The voices spoke in a thousand languages in righteous anger and solidarity.

It was the sound of peace.

I hadn’t heard that sound of peace again until last night.

Sometimes I forget that some of my ancestors came from other lands with other languages.  Sometimes we all forget that we are a nation of immigrants.  A nation that was built on the blood, sweat, tears and dreams of people from everywhere.

But we should never do that.  There are things we as Americans can never forget.  And the sound of voices singing one of our most cherished American songs, in whatever language they speak, and with whomever they love, is one of the most positive things that we should never forget.

 

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Filed under History, Humor, Neighbors, Taking Care of Each Other

The Anniversary

I can’t add anything to what the President says here:

 

The residents of Sandy Hook are reluctant to have a crazy media-fueled circus in their town on the anniversary.  Rather, people there are encouraging each of us to offer small acts of kindness to others.

It is a good idea today.  It is a good idea this season.  It is a good idea all year long.

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Filed under Childhood Traumas, Elections, Gun control, Health and Medicine, History, Law, Mental Health, Neighbors, Taking Care of Each Other, Voting

Lucky

John and I agree on many, if not most, important things in life.

But we have very different feelings about squirrels.  He hates them and often tries to chase them off.  He runs out of the family room door, waving his arms to shoo them off.

I’m pretty sure our squirrels are baffled by John.  On the one hand, he puts out a delicious smorgasbord for them every single day.  On the other, he runs out, waving his arms in the air, as if warning them of an alien invasion.

“Humans!”  they twitter to each other.  “Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without em!”

Me, I find squirrels so entertaining and so clever, that, well, I just can’t begrudge them some bird seed.  Or most of the bird seed.  I realize that from time to time we have to replace the expensive squirrel-proof bird feeders that they cleverly open, empty and render completely useless.  Then there is the $4.2 billion we spend annually on birdseed instead of the $1.38 we would spend if we only had birds at our buffet.

Yes, a large number of squirrels enjoy E&J’s all-you-can-eat buffet.  If you’re a squirrel at our house, you’re “In with the ‘In-Crowd.'”

Anyway, about two months ago, John walked into the kitchen from the Dining Room where he has been throwing papers around since our dog Cooper got too old to go upstairs to John’s real office where he used to throw his paper.  And John saw a squirrel drinking out of our bird bath.

He started towards the door to do his arm-waving routine, when he stopped.  Because John saw that something else was going to chase the squirrel away!

Another animal came up onto our little deck, and headed towards the squirrel.  A fox!

Google Image

Google Image

The fox lunged at the unsuspecting squirrel, and they both disappeared into the hedge.  Only one of them was ever seen again.

Meet Lucky:

Photo Credit:  ME!

Photo Credit: ME!
(Yeah, it was an incredibly Lucky shot!)

Or maybe we should call him “Sorta Lucky.”

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Filed under Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Family, Humor, Neighbors

Because You Never Can Tell With Some People

It wasn’t something John and I thought about right off the bat. Nope, there were other more obvious and urgent ways to protect that new baby we’d been lucky enough to adopt.

In fact, we didn’t actually worry about Jacob playing in a house with guns until he was, actually, playing in a house with guns and he was out of our sight.

It was a day or so before we were to leave Connecticut and move back to the DC area.  Our neighbors, the Planters, had us over for a good-bye dinner. It was John, me, Linda and Paul, their two grown daughters and their significant others. The eldest daughter, Jade, had a daughter Juniper, who was Jacob’s age.

All was well for a while. They were nice people. Linda had retired from an insurance company and and divided her time between cooking and playing classical piano.We could hear it whenever the windows were open, all summer long.   She was quite good. Paul was a upper end contractor.  He was also a hunter.

For some reason that I have conveniently forgotten and  for which John will never forgive me, I brought up guns and gun control at one point during dinner. It was then that I learned that our soon to be former neighbors believed that they needed an arsenal to fight off the ” black booted” thugs from the government. The US government. Black helicopters. They thought that the 2nd Amendment guaranteed that he could have any weapon that he government had. Including nukes.

Huh?

It was at about that time that I realized that Jacob and Juniper were downstairs. They were being supervised by another relative, so I hadn’t been concerned.  But the discussion made me a little uneasy.

I knew there were guns in the house, but I no longer felt quite comfortable that these folks were reasonable. I didn’t know where the guns were, whether they were locked away, or left leaning against the wall somewhere accessible to my 4 year old son.

*     *     *

That was the last time for many years that I didn’t ask about guns in the home of anyone Jacob played with.  Even when the parents seemed like they didn’t fear the guv’ment.  Even when they seem like normal folks.  Liberals, even.

It is incredibly awkward to ask people if they have guns in their house — akin to saying “excuse me, are you an irresponsible parent who would endanger your own child(ren) as well as mine?”

Still, I had to ask. Every time Jacob went someplace new for many years.

I did it by lying through my teeth.  To new friends and acquaintances.  I shamelessly blamed my husband:

“I have the most overprotective husband” I would sigh.  He made me promise to ask everyone before letting Jacob go play … You don’t have guns in your house, do you?  Arsenic?  Nukes?” I’d laugh, and the other mother or father would laugh too.

And then they’d answer.

“No, of course not,” was generally the answer.  And then I was comfortable letting my son go to their house.

One time, though, I did get a “yes, we have guns in our house” answer.  I was surprised. You will be shocked to know that I kept an open mind.

That time, my friend Suzanne invited me and Jacob over, and took me down to her basement and showed me where her husband kept his hunting rifles. In a locked, secure gun safe.

If I had learned that the person had guns and did not secure them, their kid would have been welcome to play at our house any old time.  But my son would not have been allowed to play there.  Nope.  Not a chance.  It is simple common sense.

Guns+Kids=Tragedy

Naturally, I felt bad for blaming John.  Oh who am I kidding.  No I didn’t.  It was much less awkward, doing it that way — it made the other parents feel less threatened, less like I thought they were crazy, irresponsible, folks who wanted to kill children.  With my way, well, I had the comfortable knowledge that my kid wouldn’t become a statistic. It was worth sacrificing John’s pride for peace of mind. Especially because he still doesn’t know I did it.

Friday, June 21st is “Ask About Guns Day,” sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Because all too often pediatricians are called on to try to save children who are hurt by guns.  They know that asking can save lives.

ASK.  Because you don’t want your kid (or grandkid or really any kid) knockin’ on heaven’s door, do you?  I just had to ask.

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Filed under Family, Gun control, Health and Medicine, Neighbors