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Archive for January, 2021

Dear Parents of Teenagers,

Is it normal for them to want to spend time with you?

Dominic got jealous of my trips with Gideon, so he asked if we could go somewhere together.

My head immediately exploded.

I’m not complaining. I just don’t remember even wanting to admit I had parents, let alone be seen with them.

When I asked him where he wanted to go, he had no suggestions.

Me: I know you don’t want to go hiking in a state park like Gideon and I do.
Him: No.
Me: What about a city like Chicago or Philadelphia for the weekend?
Him: I have a gamer friend in Chicago.
Me: I’m not going to go all the way there and hang out with you and some gamer person you barely know.
Him: What about a road trip?
Me: Sure, but no more than four hours. I can’t do a car trip longer than that.
Him: I’ve got it!
Me: What?
Him: The towing museum!
Me: 💀

Back story:
When we all went to Chattanooga after Thanksgiving, we kept passing the International Towing Museum on our way to other, better known, sites such as Ruby Falls and Rock City. It became a joke:

One of us: Will we have time to go to the towing museum?
Another: After all, it’s the reason we are here isn’t it?

Like that. A joke. Because a TOWING MUSEUM?!

Dominic is CLEARLY my son, with a well-developed appreciation of the absurd.

So we went to Chattanooga last weekend.

I let him drive.

I let him pick a place to eat.

I let him pick the movie. (General Grievous is my favorite Star Wars character outside of the Han/Chewy duo [bromance].)

I let him sleep in.

I didn’t comment on the fact that he changed under the covers instead of in the bathroom like a normal person.

I did choose one activity: The incline railway. As many times as I’ve been to Chattanooga, I had never ridden it.

We were very interested in the Centennial Exhibits …

… until we realized it was just a few photographs along the hallway to the bathrooms.

After the railway, it was time for the main attraction: the towing museum.

The majestic quality of this museum necessitates its own post.

To be continued …

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Dear Family,

Thanks for one particular Christmas gift:

I’ve never had a Chia Pet (though I always wanted one).

I love that my first one is a Chia Child.

But actually, as we know, his name really is Grogu Craig.**

Despite the fact that I read and followed the instructions — and even bought a plant mister — I could not get the damn seeds to sprout and keep growing.

I tried and failed twice.

I was determined that the third time would be the charm, so I soaked Craig a little longer — much to your dismay.

Look. Listen. It had to be done.

And you know what? It worked.

I’m disappointed that the seeds I put on his head didn’t sprout.

So y’all can get off my back.

I did what needed to be done. If you don’t have the stomach for it, look away.

But seriously, thanks for the gift that keeps on giving.

Love,
The Gardener

*Remember this commercial?

**We thought it would be hilarious if the Star Wars folks would have named him a regular dude name like Kevin. Or Craig.

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Dear People With Whom I Don’t Agree:

I appreciate you. I mean that sincerely. I keep you in my social media feeds so that I don’t fall into the echo chamber.

If you are an angry elf, I tend to scroll on by. But if you present an honest viewpoint with evidence, I pay attention.

For example, there is a blogger I follow who is an actress, speaker, author, pro-life Catholic conservative, and I am … not. Still, I read her posts because she has a strong voice, a firm handle on what she believes and why, and often posts yummy-sounding recipes.

She posts more political posts than I do, as she regularly relates her faith to current events. In her latest post, she wasn’t very happy about Biden winning, as her No. 1 voting motivation seems to be the abortion issue. Yet, she advocated patience and tolerance.

Huh.

That’s interesting because when I posted a comment, not only did she not respond, but she deleted it. (Or so it appeared on my end as it was there one moment and gone a few minutes later.)

My comment?

I appreciate your pro-life stance. We are all pro life, really. No one is psyched to get an abortion. It’s a last resort for so many. No one is “pro abortion.” I think we can agree: The goal is to reduce abortions. How do we do that? As we’ve seen with prohibition and the “war on drugs,” making them illegal won’t work. People will find a way, but it makes it very dangerous for women. So to me, the solution is to put more money into sex education, healthcare and contraception.

I’m passionately pro choice and pro life. These are not mutually exclusive. I am adopted, so obviously I’m thrilled my birth mother chose to have me.

But it’s her blog, and she can do what she wants.

My philosophy is to accept all comments (even if they are offensive) and like and/or respond to each.

As everyone knows, I love a good debate. My views don’t fit neatly into existing political parties’ platforms, so I do my research and vote for the individual rather than party affiliation.

No politician is going to be perfect. No human is perfect. And we can’t agree all the time. No need to be nasty about it.

A friend I’ve had for 30 years texted me to tell me she’s unfollowing me from Facebook. It wasn’t rude; it was matter of fact and funny to me because it was so strait forward.

She’s got loads going on in her life and doesn’t want to read anything political. I would say that day-to-day living IS political, but that’s not her POV as she has the luxury of not having to deal with some of the things many others do every day. But she does have to deal with other things, so I get it.

But writing and talking about things is how I make sense of the world. So I’m going to keep on reading and responding to others. It’s important to me especially if I don’t agree.

Keep up the good work!
Beth

 

 

 

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Hey Y’all!

Yesterday was Inauguration Day. It seemed to go off without a hitch, even though some people are still bent out of shape.

Since Jan. 6, Auntie Beth’s social media feeds have been filled with angry people posting a variety of logical fallacies.

Auntie Beth thinks it might be helpful for some people to understand a particular one: false equivalency.

Let’s talk about it in terms of protests.

Here are three well-known ones:

  1. Women’s March on Washington
  2. Black Lives Matter
  3. March to Save America

Here are the pertinent details of each:

Women’s March on Washington
Who: 500,000+ women (mostly) in pink hats.
When: Jan. 21, 2017.
Why: Gender equality mixed with protesting the Trump election.
Violence? None.
Arrests: None.
Deaths: None.
Outcome: More women running for office.

Black Lives Matter 2020
Who: Could be as many as 26 million people.
When: May 26 to present.
Why: Anti-racism. Summer protests triggered by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Violence? Yes, in 7 percent of protests. Some violence perpetrated by protestors, some by police.
Arrests: 14,400 over the summer.
Deaths: Numbers vary. Could be as high as 19. One set of scholars studied 7,305 protests and found deaths or injuries in 1.6 percent.
Outcome: Police reform, social change, increased important conversations, etc.

March to Save America (also called Stop the Steal, Rally to Revival, etc.)
Who: Could be as many as 10,000 people.
When: Jan. 6, 2021.
Why: Supposed election fraud.
Violence? Yes. By protestors.
Arrests: No arrests on site. Arrests later. The count is up to 100.
Deaths: Five.
Outcome: Hard to say. Biden was sworn in.

On Jan. 6 and afterward, Auntie Beth saw loads of people trying to compare the Capitol event with the Black Lives Matter protests.

So let’s break down the concept of false equivalency.

Why might a comparison not be a fair one? There are two big reasons:

  1. The comparison notes similarities but not differences. For example, I listed three major protests. They have in common inciting incidents — the election of Donald Trump, the killing of George Floyd and the 2020 election — and that they were all protests. But there are major differences: number of people protesting, nature of inciting incidents, amount of violence, number of arrests.
  2. The comparison ignores magnitude and/or nature of difference. The number of arrests in BLM versus MSA is huge. That would indicate that the BLM protests were much more violent than MSA. Were they? Or is there something else at play? According to a recent study, it is the latter. Police are three times more likely to use force against left-wing protestors than right-wing. Arrests follow.

In the Facebook examples above comparing BLM to MSA, it is not accurate to identify “Democrat” response to BLM versus MSA as hypocrisy. That is false equivalence. Why? Three reasons:

  1. Peaceful assembly is a First Amendment right. Nancy Pelosi, etc., can call for protests just as Trump, etc., can. Calling for violence is a completely different thing. (Also, please note that the remarks in the meme are missing context. And let’s also note the peacefulness of the Women’s March. That’s how you protest, folks!)
  2. Democrats did not condone the BLM violence. In fact, many spoke out against it, including Biden.
  3. The underlying reason for the protests is markedly different. The BLM movement began because police killed black men. The MSA protest began because Trump told a lie about a “stolen” election. We can agree to disagree on approaches, but facts are facts: There is no evidence of election fraud. Plus, death fraud, asking for power displaying power.

Many people who believe “the big lie” also believe that Democrats and the Hollywood elite are Satanists running a cannibalistic child-trafficking operation.

Reread that sentence.

Allow Auntie Beth her massive eye roll.

🙄

Believing in conspiracies like that has consequences. Look at this slide Auntie Beth took from a recent talk on child trafficking that she attended.

See that second point? People drawn in by conspiracy theories took away from services for actual victims. (Educate yourself here.)

Y’all, Auntie Beth would like to remind you of the concept of Occam’s razor: The simplest explanation is likely the right one.

So you can believe in a vast pedophilia ring led by Tom Hanks, among others, or just freakin’ NOT. (Auntie Beth cannot believe she had to write that.)

You can believe that local, state, national and international forces banded together to “give” Biden the win, or you can believe that more people voted for him than voted for Trump. (I mean, just think about the former. All those people can keep a secret? Please.)

Auntie Beth hopes this little lesson was helpful.

Happy fact-finding!

 

*Apologies to Salt-N-Pepa.

 

 

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Dear Tim Sweeney,

I know you don’t need my thanks — you’ve got $5.3 billion to give you comfort — but I do appreciate you. Without you, there would be no Fortnite. And without Fortnite, I wouldn’t have had this weekend’s bonding experience with Dominic.

Dominic had his friend Dylan over (COVID bubble FTW), and Gideon was at work. They were playing something together, but Dominic died in the game. Dylan was still going.

Dominic, emerging from his trash heap room: Do you want to play Fortnite?
Me: Me?
Him: Yes.
Me (shocked): Sure. Give me a few minutes.
Narrator: She did not want to play Fortnite, but knew she likely wouldn’t be asked again.

Let’s call this the fear of the Cat’s in the Cradle Phenomenon.

So he logged me into Gideon’s PS4.

Then he gave me Gideon’s headset and controller.

But that came with a warning:

Him: Don’t tell Gideon. He doesn’t like people touching his stuff.
Narrator: She told Gideon the second he got home. The response? “You played Fortnite without me?”

He showed me what all the buttons on the controller did.

Him: Push this one to jump.
Me: I won’t be jumping.
Him: OK. Just look and move and shoot.

He helped me set up my avatar. There is a mind-boggling array of choices. It took longer to choose my getup than it did to play the game.

Once that was done, we started the game. He took me to a quiet place so I wouldn’t get killed while I was learning how to play.

I managed to pick up some weapons, steal a truck, and fix my arm after a storm.

Dominic gave me his medical kit.

Awwwww.

During all this, I heard Dylan through Dominic’s headset:

Dylan: Is she any good?
Dominic: Yeah. She can run and follow directions.

Mostly, I followed Dominic. He was very patient. At one point, I said I liked the music that was playing.

Dominic: That’s not good music. That’s a bad sign. We need to get out of here.

The game didn’t last long. Someone sniped me while I was swimming across a lake.

Then it was time for Dylan to go home.

Dominic, coming in to shut off the game: That was good. You’re a lot better than our father.

That made me feel all warm inside.

(Sorry, Eddie.)

So thanks, Tim, for creating something that led to a a few lovely moments with my prickly teenager.

Sincerely,
Beth

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Dear Dominic,

As I told my friend and your “aunt” Sophia this week, laughs are in short supply lately. Luckily, I have you.

Let’s discuss one of your quirks.

Ever since you were little, you’ve had a thing about squeezing the bar soap until is a misshapen ball that no one wants to touch. You are 16 and still doing it. Why? I don’t know. You don’t know. But here we are:

Me to you: Please stop mangling the soap.
Gideon to you: Why do you do that?
You: I don’t know.
Me: Well, there are fresh soaps in the drawer.
You: I heard you say that, and I immediately thought, “Not for long.”

We all laughed. And as we were already laughing, I decided to show you a meme that had made me giggle all day:

So, of course, I brought up another meme that has made us cackle in the past:

True to form, we laughed so hard we started wheezing. I started doing that smoker’s laugh I’ve got, even though I’ve never been a smoker. (Friends, you know the one.)

Gideon even started laughing because we were laughing. So I showed him the meme that always gets him going:

It was a good night. Thank you for that. And for being you, even if you do maul the soap.

Love,
Mama

 

 

 

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This is what he wrote while walking home from work.

Dear Parents of Teens:

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.* Maybe you can relate.

If there is one thing my boys have been this week is a fantastic distraction from chaos in the Capitol.

Here are some vignettes that have amused me:

Dominic, lifting the lid of the pot on the stove: What’s this?
Me: Turkey chili.
Dominic: I’m using the slotted spoon so I don’t get as much liquid.
Me: Why? Use the ladle there against the side of the pot to drain it off.
Dominic: Too late.
Me: (loud sigh)
Dominic: I love you.

Me, eating too many chips a few days before I decided to begin my diet again: I’ve given up.
Gideon: Haven’t we all?

Dominic, listening to ’80s music that he has JUST DISCOVERED like he’s some kind of musical Magellan: You know that piña colada song?
Me: Of course.
Dominic: How do they not have trust issues afterward?

Me, hosing Gideon down with Lysol as we come in the door: OK. Now do me.
Gideon: OK
Me, slipping in the spray on the floor: (high-pitched yodel)
Gideon: So you turn into Michael Jackson when you nearly fall?

Dominic: Are they all back from Marshall’s?
Me: “All” who? It was just your father and Gideon.
Dominic: Gideon brought a posse into Publix. Three girls!
Me: What? I knew about two. Who’s the third?
Dominic: I don’t know.
Me: Are you jealous? Don’t you have a girl?
Dominic: Yes, I’m jealous. I’m all alone. [The girl] and I are on a break.

Dominic: Have you seen the home screen on Gideon’s new phone?
Me: No! What is it?
Dominic: His new girl.
Me, yelling down the hall to Gideon: I bought you that phone. Now let me peep that girl!
Dominic: (laughs like Muttley)

Me to our Alexa device outfitted with the Samuel L. Jackson voice: Hey Samuel, set a two-hour timer.
Samuel L. Jackson: Two hours, Motherf—er.
Gideon, from inside the bathroom: (laughs like Muttley)

Me, seeing Gideon has a bag of fruit: Why do you have that?
Gideon: Remember? [His girl’s name] and I have a picnic date.
Me: Oh right.
Gideon: She wants me to meet her mom. What do I say?
Me: Hello.

If you have stories to share — funny or not — please do.

Otherwise, I’ll be over here by myself, regretting my decision to do Dry January.

Yours in solidarity,
Beth

*Thanks, Chuck.

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Dear Friends and Family,

What a year this week has been, amirite?

I’ve only been glued to the news five times in the past 20 years:

  1. Sept. 11, 2001 (Al-Qaeda attacks)
  2. Aug. 29, 2005 (Hurricane Katrina)
  3. Nov. 1, 2016 (Clinton vs. Trump)
  4. Nov. 3, 2020 (Biden vs. Trump)
  5. Jan. 6, 2021 (Capitol riot)

Here are five things that struck me from No. 5:

  1. Shocking lack of police presence. At the BLM protests this summer, you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting someone in law enforcement. Meanwhile, at the Capitol, folks were just waltzing around taking selfies with the one police officer who seemed to be inside. True story.
  2. Blue Lives Matter” selectively. One of the D.C. police officers at the Capitol riot was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. Horrifying and also true.
  3. Rioters escorted out without being arrested. Again, this is very different from some of the BLM protests where people NOT BEING VIOLENT IN ANY WAY were arrested. Even new Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock was arrested inside the Capitol in 2017 for praying. FOR PRAYING. But breaking windows and walking around with a lectern? Go right ahead.
  4. People *cough Brit Hume cough* desperately trying to blame Antifa for damage. Look. Listen. The “shaman” wants his credit due.
  5. How the riot has divided Republicans. I have a number of friends who are relatively sane conservatives. They and I want the same things but have different ideas on policies and processes we need to get there. Then there are Trumpers. Guess which ones LOVED the insurrection. It should come as no surprise that the fellow who punched me in the stomach in sixth grade is part of the latter group. Why are we “friends” on Facebook? Good question.

Who wants to tell my sixth-grade bully that there is a big difference between yelling at someone on an elevator and STORMING THE CAPITOL AND DAMAGING PROPERTY? Also, the dude was arrested, so yes he is wrong.

I have more thoughts, but I lack the energy to formulate the words. Plus, other people beat me to it.

It’s really not funny, though. People died. An important Federal building was trashed. National security was compromised.

As Americans, we have the right to have a peaceful Airing of Grievances on days other than Festivus. We do not have the right to destroy things and hurt/kill people. Those who do that need to experience consequences of their actions besides just being fired. Ten years for damaging government property (ironically, a Trump executive order) is a good place to start.

These folks couldn’t even wear masks while COMMITTING CRIMES. I hope they won’t be surprised when they get the ‘Rona. And you know they will.

2021 has to get better, right? Right?!

Sigh.

Hoping for the best,
Beth

 

 

 

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Dear Readers,
You all know how I love a good guest post. Well, my friend Revell — you know, my taxidermy partner in crime — wrote a doozy. Here is his end-of-year rant that he is permitting me to share. He echoes many of my same sentiments and is nothing if not authentic (edited slightly for format and references that might get him into trouble). You might agree with him, you might not, but it is a wild ride full of the F word (be warned). Enjoy!
Beth

Just a Yearly Update
By Revell

2020 … What the actual fuck? What even happened this year besides complete. Utter. CHAOS???

I don’t think I have ever been tested and pushed to this extent in my entire life, and I don’t doubt for a second the same for you! This may have been the most growth I’ve ever had in a single year or maybe as a human being in general.

This pandemic has had me question every aspect of my journey. Here’s a few key points I learned:

  • Hold on to your loved ones, celebrate life, and don’t EVER think twice about being 100 percent authentically YOU.
  • Don’t underestimate your personal power and know that WE REALLY ARE stronger in numbers.
  • Speak up for what’s right, call people out on their bullshit, keep friends close who also call you out on your bullshit, be held accountable, and don’t ever stop pushing to be a better person.
  • Being fired does not mean you were in the wrong or that you didn’t kill it at your job.
  • You can be in love with more than one person.
  • Mental health is real and you are not crazy.
  • Georgia is fucking BLUE!
  • Know your self worth, and don’t let people or corporations take advantage of you.
  • No matter how cute and adorable, small powdery moths are not your friends and will potentially eat everything you own.
  • Do not trust Nanna without a mask.
  • Love your family unconditionally, especially when they make it through COVID alive! FUCK — when YOU make it through COVID alive!
  • Dental care is still wayyyyyy too fucking expensive, and even when you try to be proactive about self care and the insurance money you paid into, you STILL get fucked! Well, unless it’s your cat and every tooth needs to be pulled at the most inconvenient time possible. So yeah! FUCKED!
  • Give yourself opportunities to grow and make yourself uncomfortable.
  • When someone laughs at your dreams or ideas and tells you they are not possible, just prove them wrong.
  • Peanut butter and Ramen noodles will keep you alive in a pandemic.
  • Credit Karma is an app and also part of being an adult now.
  • White men are still the worst! Especially fuckin’ Boomers.
  • Bernie’s campaign was smeared by the Democratic Party … AGAIN!
  • This country was founded on slavery, and if you’re not jaded, you’re obviously. NOT. listening. Fuck a confederate monument.
  • Socialism means all we want is healthcare … in … a … pandemic! Weird right?
  • I’m a queer, loud, unapologetic abolitionist with no regrets!
  • Well, one regret: that antique mirror at that one estate sale I decided not to buy on my credit card with money I didn’t have. Def a regret!
  • Fuck fascists, centrists and the “American dream.”
  • Trans women ARE real women!
  • When you’re starving in pandemic, just EAT THE FUCKIN’ RICH!
  • Harry Potter is fucking canceled, and J.K. Rowling ruined my childhood! What a TERF!
  • Still bitter about Taco Bell not selling potatoes.
  • And who knew that Paris Hilton’s vote-or-die campaign had such relevance now in 2020. The reality is vote, or FUCKING DIE!
  • And last but not least, BLACKLIVESFUCKINGMATTER!

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Dear 2021,

I hope you are better than 2020. (2020 can suck it.)

I’m not one for resolutions. I usually declare things I won’t do or won’t give up. Just to be contrary. (Look. Listen. Give me this one rebellious thing. That’s about the only one!)

For kicks, I decided to look back at last year’s list.

Here are the things I declared I would not do, along with the result:

  • Keep makeup I don’t wear. Coral lipstick is not for pale people like me, and frosty pink is for preteens. Success: I ditched so much crap this year.
  • Retain books on my Kindle I won’t read.A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments” by David Foster Wallace is a supposedly fun read that is not. Byeeee! Success: I purged my Kindle and did not add any books. Of course, I didn’t read a single book either.
  • Put up with less than I need/deserve/worked for, etc. I am not a “Welcome!” mat. Mixed progress: I occasionally washed other people’s dishes and clothes, but I got better about calmly explaining what was bothering me.
  • Save money. Yeah, I know I should, but let’s be honest: I won’t. Success: I didn’t.
  • Stay home. I want to say “absof–kinlutely” to adventures near and far. Dream scenario: I get paid to write about it. Fail: I think we all know what happened this year.
  • Continue procrastinating on my book. This is the year I finish it, write the proposal, and find an agent. If E.L. James can become rich and famous off her trash Twilight fan fiction work, so can I. Fail: I did absolutely no work on it. Lack of motivation, thy name is COVID-19.
  • Lose more than just five more pounds. I’m calling that my “wine cushion.” Success: I found a few pounds more of me. Pandemic pounds FTW!
  • Stay in this place with the small kitchen. When it’s a pain to make things as fairly easy as Scotch eggs, it’s time to upgrade. Success: We moved to a larger place with a slightly larger kitchen.
  • Ignore show suggestions from certain like-minded people. I resisted watching “Killing Eve.” I was stupid. Success: I’m even taking suggestions from randos on Twitter. I’ve got some issues with “Bridgerton.” Who wants to chat about it with me?
  • Let people try to make me feel even slightly embarrassed about my love of bad taxidermy. Those uptight people can shove it. My obsession is Hando approved. Success: I let my freak flag fly this year to positive results.
  • Vote for Trump. Duh. Success: Duh.
  • Stop writing blog posts at least twice a week. I’ve been keeping this pace since April, so I’m pretty proud of myself. Success-ish: I was doing well until the holidays. I blame Netflix. 

In 2021, I will not:

  • Take for granted the ability to hug friends, see a movie in a theater, see live music, eat in a restaurant, travel, go out without a mask, work out at the gym, etc.
  • Take for granted physical mobility. (This was the year I broke my ankle and damaged my rotator cuff. So that’s been fun.)
  • Lament a packed schedule of in-person meetings.
  • Ever get off political mailing lists, apparently.
  • Be able to wear real shoes again without dealing with discomfort. (I wore flip flops for six months straight.)
  • Stop calling out people for being stupid.
  • Change my Alexa voice from Samuel L. Jackson. Having him curse at me when I ask him to set a timer gives me LIFE!

I reserve the right to add to this list.

Hoping for the best,
Beth

 

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