Friday, August 14, 2009

Do You Pay To Advertise For Others?

When I was a teenager, I wanted, wanted, wanted a pair of Guess Jeans (dating myself much?). I did end up getting a pair, but not until my extremely fashion conscious mom outgrew her old pair. Other than that, having grown up when I did and where I did, I never paid too much attention to trends, labels, and other crap. While my teammates were buying the most expensive and trendy sports shoes for volleyball, I always went to Kenney Shoes (sadly, Kenney Shoes is long gone) for their cheap NBAs, because they were comfortable and stuck to the court when I needed them to. I wore holey jeans, but only after they had developed holes on their own. I didn't want shirts with a little polo dude or an alligator on them.

I was always more into comfort than trendiness, and I still am. I'd be a great person to put on that show where family members turn in mom for wearing frumpy stuff all the time. But the women who get wardrobe makeovers always look fashionable but uncomfortable at the end. Sometimes, even the men end up looking uncomfortable, but not as often since men's clothing, except for neckties, is not deliberately designed to be UNcomfortable like lots of women's fashions.

Now that I have kids, it seems important to me to instill skepticism into them in regard to pop culture and the advertisement industry, and to make sure they know that they don't have to wear things that look fashionable, but are itchy, pokey, or cut off the circulation to their legs. I refuse to buy them clothes with visible corporate logos. I am careful to call products what they are instead of using trademarked product labels, e.g. tissues instead of Kleenex, swabs instead of Q-tips, etc.

I believe that if I wear a t-shirt with Coca-Cola's logo, the Coca-Cola company should pay ME, not the other way around. Anyone wearing a Coke shirt should be able to get free Cokes that day. I've explained that to my kids, and they seem to understand. I hope so, anyway. So far, they have shown no interest in trendy fashions, and in fact, they often have trouble just picking out tops and bottoms that don't mix stripes and plaids or orange and green, so I'm hoping for the best. They're only 8 though, so the tough years are still ahead.

Do you wear corporate logo clothing? If so, you might think about the fact that you actually PAID money to provide FREE advertising for that corporation. Even if you really, really, really like their product, perhaps you should start sending them an invoice every month requesting reimbursement based on how long you wore the clothing and how many people saw it. Doesn't seem unreasonable to me!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Confusing Comment From Everyone's Friend, Anonymous

Been away for a while, and came in to find a comment from Anonymous on my last post about the frightening immaturity of those who would destroy society unless they could control it. The comment is interesting in that I really don't understand what Anonymous is trying to get across. So, here's my response:

Thanks for your comment, Anonymous.

Anonymous: You are so very lost in the false left right paradigm that unfortunately you will never be free from it.

Maleficent: What exactly is this false left-right paradigm in which I am so very lost?

Anonymous: People like you are so very pathetic and sad, I didnt even know what "teabagging" was until it was mentioned on CNN by an anchor as a joke about protesters, pornographic jokes like that just prove that the progressive left really is what those right wingers say they are
You are a sick, disgusting, failure as a woman and my generation of women who will be mothers and wives will be better off if you learn to have some self respect and class.

Maleficent: What is your point? I'm not quite understanding your point about my being pathetic, sad, sick, disgusting, and a failure of a woman, lacking self-respect and class, for writing a post about the very real lunatic fringe of immature and irresponsible individuals who would prefer to kill us and destroy our playground if they can't tell us how and what to play on it. That's a threat to all of us!

I also imagine that many didn’t know the sexual connotation of “teabagging” until it was pointed out on several news shows after being picked up from the internet. You may not be aware that Tea Party attendees embraced the nick-name of "tea-baggers" when the movement first began to organize local protests against President Obama's so-far non-existent tax increases on the middle class. A friend of mine, who still attends local Tea Parties, also still embraces the nick-name (though I consider myself a fiscal conservative, my friend and I agree to disagree in regard to this particular aspect of fiscal politics and I obviously do not support the Tea Party movement). If you are offended by its now-known sexual connotation, please feel free to refrain from using it. I am not the boss of you, nor am I talking about you in this post. Unless you would prefer to see me dead if I don't bow to your (or anyone else's) personal and extra-legal ideas about how society should be run. If that's the case, then I AM talking about you. After all, that anti-American threat is what the actual post, not the one you’ve made up in your head, is all about. Somehow I don't think that's the case, though the name-calling and assumptions about me seem somewhat immature, and I could be wrong.

Anonymous: While you scramble to put me in a category check off the minority, under thirty, urban, college educated, non-religious boxes.

Maleficent: You could be a kindly grandma from Tigard, Oregon, for all I know or care. The only thing I'm scrambling to do is figure out your point.

Anonymous: What kind of parent and wife are you that you would blog this way knowing that if the cyberbullying act gets signed, rick perry can sign an affidavit and have you arrested on federal charges to serve not more than 2 years in a federal lockup

Text of the bill
‘(a) Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
HR 1966

Maleficent: I deny your accusation of cyberbullying. I have not “coerced, intimidated, harassed, or caused substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior”. Perhaps you are trying to instigate such behavior with your accusations and your unsupported description of me?

My blog consists of legitimate critiques of various issues that are important to me and to my family, so I am being the best possible wife and parent by highlighting these issues in order to improve life for myself, my husband and my children! In this particular case, my post highlights the immaturity and danger of those who would destroy what they cannot control. I love being an American, and I love living in the USA, and I resent those who would destroy it! I am acting in my family's best interests by pointing out these threats to our great country!

Recent case in point #1 - Scott Roeder
Recent case in point #2 - James von Brunn

If you can clarify your accusations and statements about my personal characteristics with specific examples, I will be delighted to address them.

Anonymous: So go ahead, say something bad about me, say something you feel will cause me emotional distress. Already by your blog post persons who you call "tea-baggers" could have you visiting a cell.

Maleficent: One more time: I do not know you. I don’t know anything about you except what you’ve written above. I certainly don’t know enough about you to insult you, nor do I wish to cause you emotional distress. Are you a fan of Rick Perry? Have you have attended a Tea Party or two? Did you read my post’s title, see the word “tea-bagger" or the name Rick Perry in there, then get all upset and posted without thinking or reading further? After all, had you actually read the post, you would have known that I was quoting another blogger’s post, excellent and with which I strongly agree, mentioning Rick Perry as the first to call for armed rebellion against the USA (Case in point #3 – what kind of person calls for armed rebellion simply because not everyone agrees with him or her? This is a threat to my country and to my family! And yours!) But, regardless of the mention of Rick Perry in the quoted section, MY post was more from the Orson Scott Card side (Case in point #4, another individual who would KILL because some people don't agree with his bigotry, a giant threat to America and therefore, to me and my family! And yours!) What is it? Are you a huge Orson Scott Card fan and responded offensively to my post on his behalf? Maybe you just don’t like the word “tea-bagger”? What? What? I truly don’t get your point! Help me out! First, though, I humbly suggest that you actually read posts prior to responding so that you can address concerns about the actual post and not the one you made up in your head that got you all angry.

Looking forward to hearing from you with some actual discussion points or at least a specific description or what it is about my post that put the bee in your bonnet!

Update: almost two months later - What, nothing? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tea-baggers, Galts, and Other Pachyderms

Worthy of mention, from Daylight Atheism:
[NOM Board Member, Orson Scott] Card isn't the most prominent member of the religious right to call for armed rebellion because the government won't cater to his wishes. He's not even the first. (Rick Perry may have that honor, along with a substantial portion of the Texas Republican Party.) But it is frightening that, as society moves away from accepting their views, these calls for revolution become more and more common among them.

What this shows, I think, is that the religious right is unwilling to participate in the social contract: the understanding that we all have a voice in directing the course of the state, but the price of that freedom is not always having one's own way. The religious right has no interest in that bargain. If they don't get to win, they don't want to participate. And as soon as events are not going their way, they immediately begin calling for armed revolt and insurrection, determined to achieve their goals by violence if they can't achieve them by democracy. The most insane aspect of this is that no one is taking away any of their rights - their clamoring for rebellion is purely because they can no longer control the lives of others.

This is what is silly, but frightening, about the extremely vocal right-wing Republican fringe. If you won't let them win, they'll take their ball and go home, just like kindergartners. Or maybe they won't invite you to their birthday party. But when they take their ball and go home, they would love it if they could cause everyone who wouldn't let them win to disintegrate in a painful way into dust and blow away. Or the people who aren't invited to their birthday party should die, disappear, and never be uncooperative with the toddler's desires ever again! It's toddler behavior, but these are supposed to be grown-ups. A toddler wishes another person dead or vanished because toddlers haven't developed a moral sense or empathy or a sense of responsibility. Toddlers are interested in doing what THEY want, when THEY want, and others must participate, assist, agree, or DIE. That's why we don't allow toddlers, for the most part, to choose how they will live their lives, much less allowing them to decide for others. They require supervision and education into how to hold up their ends of the social contract.

These latter day (there ya' go, a reference for you, Orson Scott Card, whose Ender novels have given me much now-tarnished-and-slightly-nauseous delight! Darn you, man! Grow UP!) revolutionaries seem to have been poorly supervised and educated. If these grown ups can't tell everyone how to live, they threaten to destroy society as we know it. What they would put in its place, in light of their vicious playground justice mentality, is not anything I like to contemplate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Back In The USSA - Non-Kosher Edition

Upon our return, and having finally retrieved our pets and settled into our hotel, we first went to Fred Meyer, where we purchased several pounds of bacon, ham, and cheddar cheese.

We wallowed in bacon, ham, and cheese before making bacon-suits and ham-hats for ourselves, while munching on cheese covered pork chops.

Since then, we have made a point of eating meat, preferably pork, and dairy together at least once per day, with leavened bread products, since we arrived back just as Pessach began. Bacon cheddar burgers on fat buns! Ahhhh! It is good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back In The USSA - Pet Adventures Edition

The clan has returned from Israel to the USA.

The trip itself was, let's say, interesting. Delta lost our pets twice. It was due to a combination of uninformed employee error and Nigel's inability to believe anything I say unless I am backed up by at least 50 experts.

At Ben Gurion airport, we were told to pick the pets up from baggage claim and run them through customs when we arrived in Atlanta. However, Nigel, hoping they were wrong, asked a flight attendant about it and she informed him that, no, we didn't have to do that, and that the pets would just be put on our next flight.

Of course, I protested. But without 50 experts to back me up, Nigel insisted that the flight attendant was the person he would believe.

So, we got onto our next flight, and he asked if the pets made it on board. They said no, but that they would find them and get them on. This delayed take-off by 45 minutes. In the end, Delta informed Nigel that he was supposed to pick them up and run them through customs and returning them to baggage. Which I knew. At any rate, by the time we arrived in Portland, Nigel was angry with me because I was right and angry with Delta because they had effectively washed their hands of the issue.

We worked with a Delta supervisor for three hours upon arrival and discovered that Delta in Atlanta did not know where our pets were. While waiting for Nigel to come to pick us up at baggage claim with the rental vehicle, I called my mom. She informed me that Dennis from a kennel in Atlanta had called her and told her that he had our pets there and asking that she tell us to call him. I called Dennis and explained the situation. He said that we were not the only people to have had this happen, which was reassuring.

It took three days of negotiations and faxes and phone calls to get the pets to Portland, and when we got to Delta's cargo office, they couldn't find them. Turned out that Atlanta had left the baggage tags on their carriers and they were sent up with the baggage. Once that was discovered, they were brought to cargo, where we had to get paperwork and take it to Customs and Immigration, down the road, for an officer to sign. We brought the signed papers, paid 85.00, and took the pets to our hotel. They were quite happy to see us. Our poor dog had peed all over her carrier and the pad, which I ended up having to throw away after trying to wash the smell out twice.

I have to say that Officer Weddington of the Atlanta Customs/Homeland Security office was extremely helpful and sympathetic. I wrote an e-mail commending her. The Delta supervisor at Portland was also kind and helpful. The people at cargo were efficient and forced the baggage people to drop everything to find our pets.

Nigel plans to write nasty-grams to everyone at Delta even though this was the fault of only two people, one of whom doesn't work for Delta. That would be HIM. Sigh.

Lesson: In order to avoid Nigel's distrust of information provided by me, get everything in writing. Verify information with people other than flight attendants. Don't fuck around with customs.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lovely Quotes From Men Series Opener

Simon Jones is a git.

Dude doesn't want to get married. Dude claims Frances railroaded him into marriage. Dude doesn't want children. Dude claims Frances railroaded him into fatherhood. Dude's true feelings about women in general come out:

And it’s not only Frances who’s become a boring frump — it’s depressingly common to see clever, attractive women become parenting bores. You can spot them at parties, in baggy clothes and making no effort to be interesting to men. Surely the ultimate mummy could still be a sex cat, if no longer a sex kitten?

Never forget, fellow women, that you are required by the patriarchy to continually be interesting to men at all times and in all places. Whether that interests you or not. Twisty has it right(though the subject of the linked post is much more disgusting than Simon's sad saga):

The sex class is responsible for maintaining its perpetual availability for the use of males.

She points out that women who do not feel obligated to conform to the requirements of patriarchical femininity will be punished. By being castigated and maligned by some git in the Times Online, for example.

Simon, however, for all of his whine-worthy suffering, did not learn from his experience with boring, frumpy Frances. He soon left Frances for Maria and repeated the whole ridiculous performance again. Git. I'm going to mail him a box of tissues.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama Starts Off On The Right Path

First, apologies to the two people who sometimes read this blog. I've been traveling and am now preparing to leave Israel to return to the US.

Now, today I read that President Obama has reversed the ban on US support to international family planning organizations that offer abortion or even information about abortion. This ban has been on (Reagan/Bush I), off (Clinton), and on (Bush II) again. Now it's off again, and I can only hope that it is off permanently.

Justifications for the ban are generally that no American tax payer should be forced to pay for what they believe are morally reprehensible programs. This is a silly argument on its face in that we all pay for things we would rather not - with our tax money. I would certainly prefer not paying Blackwater to terrorize various parts of the world on behalf of the US. I would certainly prefer not to have paid a penny towards the war in Iraq, which I was against from the very start. I would prefer not to pay for religious-based rehab programs. There are several morally reprehensible things my tax money supports.

Justifications for lifting the ban include the fact that funded programs offer many, many valuable services to women and families, including HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs, birth control provision and counselling, and general health and preventive care programs. It seems unfair that poor women and families cannot have access to these things while wealthy women and families can pay to go to private clinics, even traveling out of the area to do so.

This is one of the many reasons I have a problem with abortion restrictions here in the US as well. The wealthy seventeen-year-old who chooses abortion can afford to go just about anywhere to get one. The poor seventeen-year-old has no choice. She can't afford to travel to another county, state, or even country. Even if she can scrape up enough cash to go to some other county, she has to be "counseled," shown ultrasound pictures of her fetus, and otherwise delayed and delayed and delayed until she risks being fired from her job, missing important classes at school, or otherwise forced to take chances that the wealthy seventeen-year-old is not. This is a class and gender issue, not a moral one. If one set of morals apply to one woman and another set to another woman, that is just the type of moral relativism that the so-called Right to Lifers abhor. It is also annoying that, as the immortal George Carlin pointed out, right-wing fanatics' concern for life stops at birth - after that, they're on their own and social conservatives who made damned sure that they were born, wanted or not, able to be cared for or not, do not want to lift a finger to help them survive and thrive after they're born. Again with the moral relativism!

An interesting video is up on Youtube. A man visited an abortion protest and asked this question: If abortion is made illegal, what legal penalty should be placed on women who get an abortion. Most of the respondents were stumped by this question. One woman had the intestinal fortitude to admit that if abortion is killing a human, than murder laws and penalties should probably apply. She still hemmed and hawed with talk of "looking at the circumstances," but at least she is aware of the problems inherent in making abortion illegal.

Hmph. Rant over. Thanks President Obama. Let's try to work together to provide education and birth control to all the world so that abortion will be minimized.