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Dear State of Missouri Government:

LAWD have mercy. Y’all make being street legal SO DIFFICULT. Worse BY FAR than Georgia, and I didn’t think that was possible.

My suggestion for a new Missouri slogan: More backwards than Georgia.

Let’s recap:

I bought a car. In Ohio. The finance company owns the title. (So I thought, because that’s what the dealership said.)

Your tag office wanted me to have the finance company fill out a special form, have it notarized and sent back to me so I could take it to you.

Your tag office also wanted me to get a property tax waiver.

Your tag office sent me here:

It came pre-highlighted!

But they needed the form from the finance company too.

I spent two weeks trying to get a human being at the finance company to help me. No luck.

Then one day I come home from work, and there’s a FEDEX envelope on my welcome mat.

It’s from the dealership. It’s my official car title. Sitting RIGHT THERE in front of my door for the world to take.

Good LORD!

So I make an appointment and go back to the highlighted office.

Nope.

That’s the COUNTY office. I need St. Louis CITY. Downtown.

The County office gave me a helpful slip with the info.

Fine.

I take all my paperwork and go to City Hall.

It’s not Room 110.

It’s Room 115.

Room 115. Let’s take a closer look at that sign.
I can assure you that there are no cards anywhere. There also isn’t a suggestion box.

Once I got the waiver, I went to Room 111 to get the actual tag.

My view while waiting for service.

Then I waited again to get my Missouri driver’s license. Y’all charged me $28 for the privilege. And took two hours of my life.

Good news: It’s over. Lamar and I are legal.

(Lamar is my “new” whip. 😉 He and I are getting along just fine. But I did cry when the junkyard came to get my old girl.)

But I now see exactly why so many people here drive around with temporary tags.

Please add that suggestion box. I’ve got thoughts.

Your exasperated new neighbor,
Beth

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Missouri State Penitentiary: They’ll leave one light on for you.

Dear Jenny,*

Thanks for the tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary Saturday night. You took 28 people on a wild ride through the site’s terrible past. More than 168 years of torture at the hands of the government and factory owners. Delightful!

The tale of the young woman starved in the “blind cell” was more horrifying than the prospect of any phantoms, as was the experience of being in there — especially knowing that of the thousands of keys needed for the prison doors, there are only four left. Four!

What was as incredible as your stories was the fact that I was the only guest wearing a mask.

Not only is COVID not gone, but I’m not interested in breathing in 168 years of lead paint, asbestos and general prison dust.

Thanks, but no thanks.

And it’s not like anyone was social distancing either. Not even the ghosts.

While you were at one end of Death Row talking about shifting floor shadows, I was having my own spooky moment.

I moved to the back of the tour to get away from a lady who insisted on being right at my elbow. I wasn’t alone. There were about four or five people on my left, with everyone else on the right.

You made us all put away our phones, and you turned off your flashlight.

It was so dark.

But I felt fine. I was surrounded by people, after all. I FELT THEM near me.

But then my left side got really cold. Just my left. My right was warm.

The guy on my right took out his phone.

In the light from it, I realized there was NO ONE STANDING NEXT TO ME ON THE LEFT SIDE.

So that was fun. 😬

I’d like to say I captured the presence on my phone. But no. This is just me trying to put my phone away.

I was glad when the tour got going again.

The last stop was the gas chamber — same as it was for 40 inmates.

No ghosts here, which is surprising.

I was also surprised to learn that residents nearby were told to leave their houses for four hours when an execution was scheduled.

Cyanide in sulfuric acid is a bitch.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your knowledge. We all learned something and some of us even got the ghost add-on package.

Your creeped-out guest,
Beth

*I cannot hear this name without hearing it the way Tom Hanks says it as Forrest Gump: “JEN-AY!”

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Dear Fellow Blogger,

You said to me yesterday that I am “practically a foreign correspondent now.”

That resonated. I AM gathering information on a place that is new to me.

I’m trying to see and do as much as I can.

For example, I saw a billboard advertising tours of the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.

Ghost tours.

Because of course they would offer ghost tours in October.

So I had to go.

Because of course I did.

I asked my mother if she wanted to go.

Me: I am booking a tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary Saturday night. Do you want to go?
Her: (long pause) No.

I have no trouble going places alone, so I called to make the booking.

Me: The website says there’s no availability on any weekend tour.
Lady on phone: We are sold out. When did you want to come?
Me: Saturday.
Her: How many?
Me: Just me.
Her: Just you?
Me: Just me.
Her: I can squeeze in one person.
Me: Great!
Her: 7, 8 or 9?
Me: A.M.?
Her (drily): P.M. It’s a ghost tour.
Me: Right.

So I went. It’s an hour and some change north of Rolla. Rural Missouri looks like rural Georgia.

Fifty feet from this sign, there was a dead deer in a ditch. Must not have been good eatin’.
What kind of fowl convention is this?

I got to Jefferson City early so I had time to look around.

Gov. Mike Parson’s place. He can walk to the Capitol building if he chooses. It’s a more modest place than Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s palace.
Lewis, Clark and the gang
Brisket, pulled pork, pit beans and jalapeño cheddar grits. Many animals were harmed in the making of this meal. I’m sorry.

At this point, you may be asking this:

But Beth, what about the ghost tour — the whole point of your trip?

Well, it deserves a whole post on its own.

Stay tuned.

Your Midwest correspondent,
Beth

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Dear Friends and Family,

As many of you know, I’ve been taking what I’ve termed “murder-prevention trips” during the pandemic. As I’ve mentioned, I’m an extrovert who likes to travel. The pandemic was hard for me for those reasons, as well as the fact that my children and I were all up on each other trying to work/study.

(First-world problems, I know. We did not have nearly the issues that many, many other people had. But this was my reality, and I’m acknowledging its difficulty.)

I’m not an indoor cat.

Look at what Dominic got me (on his own!) to commemorate my latest trip:

When he is good, he is very good indeed. (And when he is bad, he is horrid.)

Where did I go? England. Boris said I could.

Plus, my favorite band was playing their first gig in a billion years (i.e., 18 months).

I am such a huge Anglophile — constantly amused and/or impressed by the things I find. This jaunt was no exception.

An all-in-one station. You don’t even need to move your hands. Genius!
If it’s needless, why is it there?
Ew! No. That’s an assault on humanity.
I asked the waiter what this was on the saucer. He said, “Flake.” I said, “A flake of what?” It’s chocolate. We Americans don’t have that.
Brilliant!
I love that it’s a “Demand” button instead of the more polite “Call.”
I’ve never seen a toilet shaped like this.
Well, OF COURSE there will be nudity. It’s the UK and “naked” is in the title.

I’ve promised Gideon a birthday trip there in May, COVID willing. Maybe he’ll be as delighted as I am with the cultural differences.

Have a great week!
Beth

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Dear Folks Who Won’t Get the COVID Vaccine:

I’ve created a handy chart for you to help in your decision making.

Look. Listen. We all had to get vaccinated to start school. What is the sudden problem? And you don’t want to show proof? We’ve all had to show proof of vaccinations our whole lives for school. It’s a public safety issue.

We also have had to show proof of identity when flying. And driving. And returning to the country. And voting in many places. (Hey, Georgia!)

So what’s the big deal with vaccine passports? We’ve had vaccine records for years!

We already have government mandates for safety (OSHA, seat belts, helmets, speed limits, etc.).

But some of those things only protect the individual, while others protect, well, others.

Vaccines protect you and others. Many diseases are gone because of vaccines.

Please get yours so we can all get back to normal. And so, you know, you won’t DIE.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Beth

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This guy. Rep. Barry Fleming. UGH. He’s from the Georgia city that has the Laurel & Hardy Museum. His efforts would be a comedy if his fellow Republicans weren’t serious.

Dear Georgia GOP,

Hey, y’all! Georgia voter here. What you are doing with your omnibus elections bill is ridiculous. I know you are upset that President Biden won the state in November and Senators Ossoff/Warnock won their seats in January, but you can’t just change the rules because you lost.

Except you can, because that’s what you do (*cough* gerrymandering *cough*).

There was no voter fraud. That’s been proven over and over.

Stop being sore losers. Just mobilize your base and register new voters. You know, like Stacey Abrams did.

I’ve voted in every election. I voted absentee in November because, you know, PANDEMIC. I took a picture of myself at the ballot dropbox because I know how y’all like to pretend ballots are being returned by others. 🙄

Forcing a voter to make a copy of his/ her/their ID or get a witness for a signature IS NOT GOING TO STOP FRAUD.

Reducing early voting IS NOT GOING TO STOP FRAUD.

Eliminating no-excuse absentee voting IS NOT GOING TO STOP FRAUD.

It just makes voting a hassle for everyone.

Even the Georgia Secretary of State — a man in YOUR PARTY — says y’all lost because of unfounded conspiracy theories, not because of fraud.

Stop making it harder for people to vote. You should be reducing barriers. But I guess you aren’t interested in a fair fight. You want to rig the system.

Huh.

That’s funny.

That sounds like someone I’m glad is gone.

Do a better job of promoting yourselves and your platforms. Then more people might vote for you.

It’s not likely to be me, though, because you waste time on stupid stuff like this.

Be best.
(🙄)
Beth

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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 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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