Just bitchin'

The Stupidity of Terrorism

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I awoke to the headlines like the rest of the world.

Another terrorist attack.

Another hostage situation.

Another bevy of sociopaths masquerading under the guise of religious piety.

Poor Bangladesh.

But this time I read deeper. I looked at Facebook pages of some of the victims. I read through as many eye-witness accounts of survivors as I could find. I spent a little time, though not as much as such an atrocity deserves. At least, not if one wishes to honor the victims. As for the instigators, they are less than nothing in my estimation. They deserve only contempt.

Because they’re stupid.

Yes, it is possible to terrorize individuals, but this whole campaign started out as a quest to terrorize the entire world. The goal was to make the planet cower and quake in submission.

You fucking morons. Haven’t you realized yet that the terror of people is not the same as the terror of countries?

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Are you so dumb that you haven’t yet seen the equation? Well, let me spell it out for you. Every time you run shrieking Allah and firing guns and blowing yourselves up, it’s like stinging a very large grizzly bear. The bulk of the animal will survive. Not only that, it will exhibit extreme fury. It will turn on what stung it, and rend it.

Terror  x  50  =  Rage  x  Billions

Terrorists are short-sighted sadists. This time around they took pleasure in torturing their hostages by requiring they recite from the Koran. If you couldn’t do it, you were killed. That’s a very particular kind of sick cruelty. Very inefficient. Very risky. It proves nothing other than these sociopaths wished to spend their last moments of life engaged in misguided brutality.

And they’re too dim-witted to realize that, in the bigger picture, their antics produce anger, not fear.

Because the rest of the world knows that each life, each spirit, is a gift. Each murder is the theft of potential.

This is not a Christian concept. It’s a human one.

It’s easy to grasp, unless you’re mind-numbingly stupid. You know…

…like a terrorist.

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Just bitchin', poem

For Fatherless Girls on Father’s Day

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As you recall times shared with family and father,

some of us look back on a singular lack.

I remember hearing ‘Girls don’t need fathers as much as boys do.’

Emphatically and thoroughly not true.

The place where a father might have been is empty and dark.

Less than grief, but more than loss, a separate chamber in the heart.

We’re girls who learn men from the outside first,

slaking a congenital thirst.

We grow up strong, we make up the lack,

But there’s something that we never get back:

the memories others celebrate today,

fathers and daughters along the way.

We’re grown women who have learned our way,

but the father-shaped abyss echoes today.

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Just bitchin'

No End in Sight

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So now every Tom, Dick and Fucking Harry who wants to scrabble for some form of crazy-ass validity is going to hitch their wagon to ISIS or IS or Al-Qaeda.

Like a runt piglet on the playground, looking for a peer group, they’re going to turn their heads containing their twisted brains and disenfranchised thoughts toward a religion they’ve never honored, never learned, never known, except that now the media has taught them that it’s the label to assume if you HATE YOUR LIFE AND EVERYONE ELSE’S, TOO.

Well, forgive me. I’m angry. I’m sick of the mass shootings and the tepid, little statements in the bloody aftermaths that offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ and let’s clasp our hands together and leave flowers on the ground.

It’s taken me a few days to gather my thoughts out of the shocked realization that IT’S HAPPENED AGAIN! Another morgue-full of reminders.

This isn’t ISIS. This isn’t IS. This isn’t Al-Qaeda.

This is someone looking for attention who happens to live in a country that lets him buy assault weapons with the ease of walking into a 7-11.

Worst of all? This isn’t foreign terrorism.

This is America.

It’s us, spelled U.S.

It’s the copycat loser who’ll fancy himself immortal for going out in a hail of hate, and will turn his pleading eyes toward the Daddy who’ll approve him. ISIS, IS, Al-Qaeda.

They didn’t birth him. We did.

And we armed him.

And it has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with mental aberration.

UNDERSTAND? NO???

Well, don’t worry…I’m sure there’s a refresher course right around the corner, buying his ammo at the corner gun shop as we speak.

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Just bitchin'

Summer-Savvy

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Each season has a signature.

But it’s not reliable. The handwriting changes with the times.

Summer used to be bikinis, suntan oil, and long days at the beach. But over the years summer has taken on a whole new look.

The bikini…gone. We are advised that the exposure of so much skin to the brutal rays of the sun can have catastrophic consequences. So we cover up and take vitamin D to replace what we are told we should no longer absorb from nature.

The suntan oil…gone…replaced with sunblock designed to filter out all those aforementioned angry, vengeful rays. But the drawback with this savior of a cream is that it can migrate from wherever you have applied it on your face, assaulting your eyes with a burning, stinging vengeance. The solution to this particular problem is to use a concoction whose primary active ingredient is titanium dioxide.

You know…the stuff that provides whiteness and opacity to a huge array of products. The stuff that makes white paint WHITE. It is highly reflective. But don’t be concerned: the sunblock that contains titanium dioxide vows it will not alter your skin’s natural hue. Really. It won’t.

So, being a child of the times I followed all these summer precepts with the trusting soul of a lamb safe in the proximity of its sheepy-flock who are all taking the same steps. Or so I thought.

The result: I sally forth from my home feeling responsibly summer-ized; well-covered in fabric and formula.

It isn’t until the day is nearly over that I pass a mirror.

I do not resemble a savvy denizen of the summer. Leering back at me is the reflection of a white-faced creature in something long-sleeved and ankle-length.

Summer has a whole new look, and now…so do I.

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I look like a damn Kabuki ghost.

 

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animals, Just bitchin', poem

Windwalkers

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Bounced awake at 3 a.m. by feline urgency.

Pet-propelled, I follow the meowing fur-alert to the door.

Open it.

Wind.

But not our wind.

Not native to a northern clime.

This is a wind from the south, spiced with cinnamon and roses.

Santa Ana, the Witch’s Wind.

It reaches deep into our DNA.

Barefoot and pad-pawed, we walk into the primal.

The wind has claimed this night for the naked and the mad.

Blood surges.

Reason departs.

We hunt.

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image:Night Wind from flickr.com

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Just bitchin'

#March

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“In like a lion; out like a lamb.”

That’s the way the month of March, that quixotic, transitional interval spanning from winter into spring ;

 

And HOLY CRAP!!! Just as I hit the semicolon, a huge flash and an immediate clap of thunder that made my hands jump, my cat’s tail expand to alarming proportions, and the house shake!!!

I kid you not.

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So now, after a brief break while all things electrical were turned off and a barrage of hail flattened the hyacinths in my planters…now I will continue. And it seems more appropriate than ever to discuss March and its unique attributes.

I think I’ll leave the unfinished thought and improperly placed semicolon above as a tribute to the angriest month on the calendar. Maybe that slight offering will keep it from further inflicting itself on me.

What started me writing about this in the first place was my kitchen ceiling. Its disconsolate dripping is a fitting sound track. The sagging, cracking sheet-rock another testament to the birth pangs of spring. The light switch taped down to discourage inadvertently flipping it on and shorting out the kitchen light that is perilously close to the leak and thereby burning down my house is another signature of March.

I’m not a fan of the month.

But I still wonder about that ‘in like a lion’ thing.

Lions are golden and soft-furred and regal. March is dark and violent.

And ‘out like a lamb?’ Lambs are cute, but they can be messy and loud and notoriously hard to catch. (Note the hover-lamb below.)

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So based on this year’s experience with the month only half over, and as a plea for the quieter, more manageable way in which I hope it will end:

March —

In like a brontosaurus; out like an arthritic vole.

In like a tsunami; out like a jar of grape jelly.

In like Trump; out like My Little Pony.

Just, please, no more shaking and roaring, okay? OKAY??

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There Be Monsters…

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I’m amazed to say I can identify with Donald Trump. I’ve long considered myself arrested at the emotional development of a twelve-year-old. And I hate to lose. And sometimes I’ll lash out like a child when provoked. And I have bad hair days (well, okay…Trump has a bad hair life, but I’m trying to make a point here).

I can identify with Hilary Clinton, too. I’ve struggled in male-dominated areas of endeavor and had to over-compensate with harsh repartee and an iron glare. And I hate making mistakes. And sometimes I try to cover them up because I think no one will notice, or maybe time will rob them of their import.

I can identify with Ted Cruz. Canada’s a pretty cool country; I’ve always enjoyed my jaunts over the border.

I can identify with Bernie Sanders. I sometimes feel if I don’t make my mark on the world real, real soon, I might not have another opportunity. You don’t want to check out with so much left unsaid or un-given that regret is the last thing you taste.

But as just, plain me…an unsung, American citizen of voting age, I can’t identify enough with any candidate running for President to feel good and hopeful about electing them into office.

There’s always mud-slinging and a battle of wits in every presidential election, but this time it’s different, because all I’m hearing is the volley of insults and accusations being lobbed across an insurmountable, ideological distance from one party to the other.

I’m scared.

I don’t want any of these people in charge of something I do love with all my heart: my country.

My immigrant parents raised me to cherish being born here. They were politically active in their own way and staunch supporters of whomever attained the office of President of the United States, because they said anyone who did so was worthy of respect, whether or not you agreed with the platform upon which they stood.

I’m the first to admit I’m politically challenged. But this is the first time I feel as though I’m watching a clown show…a sit-com…a farce…

There have been times in the past when I’ve voted against a candidate rather than for the one who received my ballot. This time that cop-out option doesn’t feel available.

There is no lesser evil this time around.

Like an ancient map of the known world, truncated and proscribed by a sea of horrors… there be monsters.

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They circle us and lick their chops and are slippery and hard to see. And they bite at each other with abandon. And we don’t know what will happen when we’re immersed in their treacherous waters.

And I’m scared.

Really, truly…

…like never before.

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Just bitchin'

#GroupHealth and the Maze of Misinformation

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Oh, dear.

It’s time for another useless rant; the type that soothes the ranter’s soul, but unfortunately wields no power to affect the outcome of the situation spawning the rant in the first place.

But, what the hell. Ranting has its place in the scheme of things.

Subject of rant: The acquisition of the Washington based HMO Group Health by California’s “not for profit” healthcare monster Kaiser Permanente.

I could go on and on, but most readers would tune out. So, let’s use two tidbits of information that are easily digested and can lead to individual outrage and a host of offshoot rants. I can only hope.

The acquisition is being pushed by Group Health (called ‘Group Death’ by some in homage to the general climate of managed health organizations and their penchant for treating spreadsheets rather than patients). The picture painted is one of a phalanx of healthcare workers facing down the ills that plague humanity, noble noses turned into the wind of the future as they not only take positively mythic bounds in providing excellent care, but also create an astonishing number of new jobs for the beleaguered Washington economy.

Gosh, wouldn’t that be nice…

Unfortunately, this is how Kaiser Permanente is described in the industry (and this is a direct quote…not my words):

“Kaiser has had disputes with its employee’s unions, faced civil and criminal charges for patient dumping, faced action by regulators over the quality of care it provided, especially to patients with mental health issues, and has faced criticism from activists and action from regulators over the size of its cash reserves.”

Hmmm…gives one pause.

But, not to worry! Group Health members were assured of being able to vote on this mega-acquisition. The power is in their hands!

Gosh, wouldn’t that be a first…

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Because this is the clandestine fly in the ointment of the voting charade (again, not my words, but a direct quote from the Puget Sound Business Journal):

“A special meeting to consider the vote is set for Saturday, but under the co-op’s bylaws, members must have been registered to be a voting member at least 60 days beforehand.….The timing caused some criticism, however, because Group Health officials announced the deal three days too late for most Group Health members to register to vote.”

Aw, snap!

Ain’t that a shame?

No, it’s not. That’s the plan.

Game…and rant…over.

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Irani Among Us

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He is of late middle age. Dark hair salted with white and gray. Knuckles gnarled.

I found him when my car broke down and I called the American Automobile Association for a tow to a triple-A approved garage. They brought me to him.

He and his mechanic, a younger version of himself, worked on the car. The fee was reasonable. I drove away and broke down again a few miles later.

I called him bent on tearing into him for a job done poorly. Instead, I listened to an honest apology and a request that I give him another chance. It was a rare moment when I heard a foreign sound: the sound of quiet pride and integrity and a genuine desire to set things right. Not something you hear often. Not something you forget soon.

I was towed back for round two.

He did more work, presenting me a bill for $11.00…the cost of the part I needed. No charge for hours of labor. No excuses or arguments.

When all was done and settled, I waited in the small, shabby foyer for my car to be brought around to the parking lot.

A woman burst through the front door. Red-faced. Fuming. Shrill and Ugly-with-a-capitol-U; the kind that has nothing to do with physical appearance, but stems from a much deeper source.

“Get out of our country!” She screamed. “We hate you! There is no place for you here! I called the police and they’ll lock you away!!”

Both the owner and I stared at her in shock. I think his English deserted him, so I asked in a quiet, unsure voice, “What’s wrong?”

“This!!” She shouted, shoving an invoice under my nose. It took me a while to find what she meant at the tip of her shaking, pointing finger. A math error. The mechanic had added incorrectly.

A $1.25 mistake.

I stared at her, speechless before such extreme overreaction as she continued to harangue the man frozen behind the counter. Sure enough, a police officer showed up, giving that once-over, wary scan of the situation that they do, seeing a livid, prancing woman, a statue of a shocked and frightened man, and me.

The woman repeated her performance, brandishing the invoice at the cop. He read it through. His brows rose. “You said someone robbed you, Ma’am.” He handed back her receipt.

He did! He did!” She pointed, jittering with venom. “He’s a thief! A liar! He’s from Iran!!”

The owner found his voice and began to apologize. “I’m sorry…”

“You will be!” the woman shrieked.

“Ma’am, I think there’s been a mistake, but this isn’t robbery.” The calm words of the officer had the opposite effect of what he’d hoped.

With a strangled cry of rage, she slammed out of the shop, unaware the owner had opened the register and was holding a handful of cash, apparently refunding her entire bill. We watched her lumber into a decrepit van held together by duct tape and rust and careen out of the parking lot.

The officer took his leave.

The owner put the money back in the register and closed it. He came out from behind the counter and took a seat across from me. Hands trembling. Eyes full.

“I am from Persia.” His voice shook with the aftermath of fear and shock. “I leave my country because they try to kill us. They try to kill us all. I come here.” He gestures with one work-hardened hand, encompassing the whole of his establishment. “I make this for my son.” His eyes finally overflow.

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“Persia is beautiful country. And Persian people are so kind. But…Them…” His lips press into a thin line and he shakes his head. Words have deserted him again.

I offer him a sad approximation of a smile.

“I like your cats,” I say.

He blinks. Then, tears still tracking downward, he gives a ragged laugh.

I hope he knows that every country has a ‘They.’ But it’s not everyone. And today it’s not him… and it’s not me.

We’re just us.

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#Bowie — Life Like a Rainbow

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I don’t usually pay tribute to the passing of people I’ve never met, but today…

…oh, today of all days…I have to acknowledge David Bowie, gone from us at age 69 after a very private battle with cancer.

When I was little he was already a colorful burst, exploding without apology across music, movies, pop culture. He was unique, odd, strange, quixotic. His style was chameleonic, a constant reinvention of freedom of expression.

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‘Sham glam’ was the term that birthed into my child’s mind when I first saw him. It’s still my private label for the style of a firebird. I’m the girl who gravitated toward beads and glitter and rhinestones and color, mostly because of watching people like Bowie at my fashion-formative age.

So today I’ll play his music and tonight I’ll watch ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’…

…and I’ll do it all spangled from head to toe…

Thank you, Mr. Bowie, for a life like a rainbow.

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