Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Celebrity BS

On a recent weekend the world came alive with all the talk and buzz about the death of Whitney Houston. The next weekend brought more talk and buzz while they buried her. UGH! Sure I am sad for her family, but beyond that I just don't give a shit. This is not the popular thing to say I am certain, but I have never been the popular one anyway.

Many people are blaming Bobby Brown for her downfall or for not rescuing her or whatever. Maybe he didn't help her much, but the dude was messed up for a long time too -- from what I understand. How on earth could one messed up person be expected to be functional enough to save another messed up person? Not to mention the only way someone can save someone else from addiction is if the addict WANTS TO BE CLEAN to begin with! The reality here is that WH made her own choices -- no one held her down and forced her to do drugs, no one poured alcohol down her throat and no one made her pop pills or whatever. She was an adult with a mind of her own and she made poor choices. As do we all at some point or another.

Years ago when WH became a star, I was smitten with the sound that was she, and I ate up all the sweet -- girl next door stuff we were all being fed about how wonderful, righteous, good and yadda-yadda-yadda she was. Maybe she was at first, but watching her -- she fast became one of those stars who seemed to forget her humbleness AND those that listened to her and spent their money thereby helping skyrocket her to fame and fortune... I was disheartened. For me, WH was the first big celebrity let-down for me and from there I began to stop caring so much about celebrities.

I would go so far as to say that WH was a bigger let-down than say Madonna was. After all, the UN-virgin was never portrayed as wholesome from the get-go, so her becoming a larger than life snot that appeared to scorn those who made her famous by adoring her work was not a let-down and certainly not a surprise. She's still truckin' along and seems to have given up her bad-girl ways, but she is still so above it all that I wouldn't be surprised if her pedestal got knocked out from under her one of these days.

Michael Jackson was so full of himself that I lost respect for his so called genius long before he was accused of being a pedophile. Nowhere does it say that genius has to be accompanied by lunacy or that people need to feed that mentality! MJ may not have been found guilty but I have to say... If you don't put yourself in the situations  that could compromise you, you won't get accused of the behavior. He went on TV and as much as said he saw no harm in certain behaviors and admitted to certain behaviors that would have gotten just about anyone else in a load of trouble! Here again, I felt bad for his family, especially his kids, because they lost their father. When he died I was not all broken up about it, though. They didn't call him Whacko-Jacko for nuthin'...

Years ago I quit watching Entertainment Tonight and other shows like it. They showed me -- as a young mother then --  that they had no idea how to focus on truly important things. Celebrities want to be famous and then they want their anonymity back. They want to go to the store without being bothered yet they make all manner of effort to be seen and noticed. They want their private lives private, but they air their dirty laundry for the world to see. Generally, they are not people I care to worry about or follow their antics because I believe there are better, more important people to pay attention to. All in all, in the grand scheme of things people like WH, MJ and countless other celebrities are not the real story. The media focuses on them for all the wrong reasons and those who should be getting attention often barely get notice.

I am not callous and unfeeling. Someone talked about on the evening news that died can bring me to tears. Sweet grandparent looking types pictured in the obituaries squeeze my heart. Children who die for any reason make me cry like a baby. Death is sad and painful and I have been to funerals of enough loved ones to know.

Why do you suppose society as a whole values celebrities so much more than they are worth?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Facebook Parenting: For the Troubled Teen


WOW! I just watched this video that Hubster sent me on the FB this morning. If you watch it, I am sure you will have a reaction -- Positive or Negative you will have one. It is long, about 8 minutes or so, and for some it will be hard to watch for the emotional side of it. Others might find the language objectionable, but no matter what -- see it through to the end.

Personally, after all we went through and really are still going through with college brat, I feel for this man. The things he said about his expectations of responsibility for his child are very nearly the same things we have said AND continue to say. The emotion he struggled to keep under control in his voice shows how hard it can be for parents when faced with children who seem not to care about anyone other than themselves.

Kids today are hard to punish. There are so many rules that prevent parents from doing a lot of things that 25+ years ago were acceptable. Now, parents are simply scared to do anything, and many do nothing OR many do much that is ineffective because that which would be is likely to bring trouble down on their home. One snarky teenager can make one snarky phone call in anger and it can have devastating effects on the entire household. Even if nothing came of it in the end, there is still a record of it and still an accusation. These things can affect your employment, your credit score, your credibility, the trust of your contemporaries and ultimately your family. There once was a very distinct difference between parenting and abuse, yet in our society today, that difference is extremely blurry. No wonder parents are scared.

I am the first to admit that I SUCKED at being a teenager. I had a lot of stuff swirling around me. In all honesty, I didn't know up from down, left from right, near form far, love from hate or if I was coming or going for the most part. In spite of being a bad teenager, I had a job, I made dinner most nights and I did my chores with enough regularity for them to count. When I decided on my 16th birthday that I had had enough of High School and dropped out, I was informed that same day that I had better find a full time job, because I was going to be paying rent if I wasn't in school. So, I got a full time job and I paid rent. It wasn't much, but it was enough to sting when subtracted from my net pay. As soon as was allowed by the school board, I registered for and took the GED --  ON MY OWN. (B+ average tyvm...) No one told me to, I just did it, because even though I was a sucky child, I was not about to let my Mother's predictions of utter failure be the end result. (Somehow I think that was the intention all along... Tricky woman!)

The Father in the video made a statement, maybe even an extreme one -- but in this world there are fewer and fewer ways to defend yourself against kids and the drama is all too common. I say good for him. I hope like hell his daughter (and mine for that matter) will realize that life is not a free ride and that we must all do our share.

This link takes you to Tommy Jordan's original FB post -- I read some of the comments and I was glad to see so many were supportive of him. Obviously I know, as should you,  that there are two sides to every story, BUT as someone who has lived the extreme teen drama from both sides of the playing field, I tend to think there is more than enough truth in his story to make his video reaction credible.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

visitors

One might think by the title that I am going to talk about people who came to visit -- at our home. However, that is not the case. Today I address blog visitors. This space is far from popular. One post and one post only is the major source of my blog traffic and is discovered via Google search; it is the one in which I discussed my experience trying the extremely nasty Skinny Girl Margarita. I occupied the # 4 space for quite a long time, now I am down to # 8 -- and I expect that before that post reaches a year in age come April, I will be on page 2 and the traffic excitement will die down further -- probably completely.

I cannot say why my particular review comes up so high on the search, but it certainly has boosted my visitor numbers. What should be pointed out is that the people who come to my piddly little space on the "inter-web" via such searches don't wander around. They have a goal, they reach their goal and they leave. The very few people who get here through other various searches don't hang out for any length of time either, nor do they usually make return visits.

I have a few loyal visitors... Most of whom have known me most of my life and already know most of what I write about myself. They know who they are and they know I love them very much and appreciate their support. There are a few loyal visitors that have come along unexpectedly and I perceive their return visits as supportive from one blogger to another. Most of them are as unknown to me as I am to them. I happen to follow along with their pages as well and though their styles, topics and even reasons for blogging are far different than mine, I truly enjoy them.

All the chatter of late about the pending end of Google friend connect has reminded me that while it looks like I have about 40 "followers" I really don't. Most of those folks I acquired when I was new to blogging and was trying out blog hopping. They followed from the blog hop and, with the exception of 2 that I know of, have never returned. Recently I signed up for the new "linky followers" that was developed to be like friend connect, but does not discriminate against blog brand. Since my current passion is DIY, I chose to follow a few interesting blog pages with a lot of cool ideas for re-purposing and re-finishing. These same folks have followed me back and now it feels like a glorified blog hop. I am happy to have followers,  but I really prefer to have those that are actually "following" along and I imagine most bloggers feel the same.

Based on page traffic information, it is interesting to note that those who do return after "following" proceed forward with my new posts and don't often go diving back into the old ones. That is totally fine and doesn't bother me. I am the same way -- largely because most of us don't have enough time in the day to go digging way down into the archives. Sometimes it can be hard to just keep up with the current posts of those I follow.

I do have a few visitors who are generating a significant rise in my numbers because they have gone back through the cob-webs and they keep hitting my blog, sometime daily -- even if they only stay for a couple seconds. Specifically these are people  who do not care for my blog and probably wish it would poof into thin air -- yet they visit so regularly that if I didn't know who was looking I would think my piddly little space on the "inter-web" was quite popular.

Since I know that my pages are not as popular as they appear statistically, I thought maybe certain others ought to consider that as well. I feel like it is worth stating the obvious, because sometimes the obvious is lost along the way, but this is my therapeutic outlet. I do this for me and me only. I really don't vent on a topic unless it has come to the forefront of my mind through events in my life. I am a scarred person that lives every day trying to overcome the damages -- be they inflicted by others or the actions of my younger self --and if that bothers people I am sorry for them but not for myself.

The most interesting thing about my blog is that it is largely uninteresting, unless you have a vested interest in me. That hasn't proved to be the case, with a precious few exceptions -- these are people I have a consistent and long term relationship with, who support me and receive support in return because that is what it is all about. The people one would most expect to give support are not among the vested -- by their own choice, though I love them anyway and in spite of it BUT not to spite them...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bullying

Bullying is a topic I often don't want to talk about. It is painful and makes me think of things I would sooner forget. This evening I read a blog post by: Amanda over at  She Who Blogs Behind The Rows. She referred to a post on the blog of author K C Neal. (Will now have to check her out!) Anyway, the gist is that they wanted people to speak out against bullying on their blogs today.

I was bullied in Elementary School. It was fairly ugly in that I was called hideous names, teased mercilessly and singled out for reasons I still don't know. In second grade the classroom teacher exacerbated things by singling me out for her own brand of torture in front of the class on a near daily basis. I am fully aware that I was no help to my cause as a child. I cried, I acted up and out, I was angry and hateful because I believed I was disliked and unlikeable, ugly and essentially of no value. It didn't help that home life was not much different from school life. If anything, what was done to me in school was a reinforcement of the low opinion I already had of myself from home, so my inner turmoils ran very deep.

Being the parent of 4 kids, each of whom have been teased in varying degrees at one time or other, my radar is keen. Recently my 11 year old daughter E came home from school and told us that she was being called names at school. Not for the first time. It seems to have tapered off for now, but she was deeply hurt by it. 6 year old C came home last fall and several time told us that her classmates made fun of her "hairy legs" -- she wanted to know how old she had to be to shave! Why on earth this is something that a 1st grader has to worry about is beyond me!

I tell my kids all the time that they must try to remember their own feelings when they lash out at others. I like to think it makes a difference, that we each have learned from being hurt by others. Bullying does nothing but fail at giving the bully a sense of superiority and because the bully fails at this goal, they continue to bully in any attempt to attain some false glory. I have to wonder why this feeling of superiority is so important to so many, how it is that we as a society have not found a way to bring it under control and why it still runs so rampant with so much education.

Teach kindness, generosity and patience. Don't put up with bullying and definitely teach your kids what to do if it does happen. Be proactive! I cannot say if my friend SRT actually said these words or quoted them, but she posted them on FB today and they speak for themselves: 
Zero-tolerance of bullying shouldn't just be a school policy. Call it out wherever you see it.