Saturday, July 12

Happy Saturday! How 'bout the World Cup, eh?


Good afternoon! *raises margarita glass*

Before you ask...no, I really don't actually care about the World Cup. Happens that I'm married to a Dutch dude, so of course we're watching today (and tomorrow)...

...and congratulations in advance to Germany...

...which happens to be what I want to write about. No, not the fact that I think Germany is going to win this year's World Cup. And not really about Germany itself (my daughter just returned from her Germany tour last week, so I could write about that if I wanted to...but no). Really, I want to write about a conversation that transpired on my facebook wall after Germany eviscerated Brazil.

I had shared Ricky Gervais' status, which was "This won't be the first time that thousands of Germans will have to lie low in Brazil for a while for their own safety." I laughed, thought nothing of it, really...and had, honestly, a couple of snarky-jokey thoughts about the German team during the game against Brazil. Who didn't?!

What I didn't expect was an old friend of mine to get persnickety about it on my wall.

(NOTE: I am going to say -- right here, right now -- this old friend of mine is someone I enjoy tremendously and respect highly, so my discussion of this topic here today is in no way a criticism of him personally. I just want to make that very clear right up front.)

That being said, I got extreeeeemely snarky and sarcastic with him, to the point of likely offensiveness. You know, the way you can only get with people who've known you long enough to not actually (hopefully) get offended at offensive-level snark. I didn't follow up with him to find out, though, so he may well have been offended. I'm not sure.

So...why did I get snarky? Because boiled down, I was informed that if I'm not bothered by "anti-German" (really "anti-Nazi") joking, then I should not be bothered by anti-Semitic joking/commentary.

REALLY?!?! There were quite a number of things I wanted to respond to that with...staring with "Have you really thought that idiotic comment all the way through?" But, as I said, this is a friend of mine, so I wasn't going to be insulting like that.

To flesh out (just a bit) how it got to the point of being told that I shouldn't be bothered by anti-Semitic joking/commentary, I was first told this:

"More accurately, wasn't it Argentina and Peru? Evita Peron and her dictator husband were Nazis through that entire era. They actively supported hiding these war criminals. Brazil is only the go-to place for surface humor.

Additionally, I know it's a gervais-joke, but its a shame the modern german people have to continue to be reminded and persecuted with ridicule and disdain, when their modern society is about as anti-nazi, compassionate and peace-serving as it gets."

Well yeah, I actually already knew that. I also know, just to be clear, that prior to the U.S. entering WWII a HUGE portion of the American population was also sympathetic to Hitler and the Nazis...there was quite a lot of support for fascism (and a shared hatred of Communism). Further, I didn't feel like getting into the fact of modern history that my friend and I have both lived through with the bringing down of the wall...and the fact of young East Germans...many of whom, through no fault of their own honestly, harbor plenty of anti-Semitism. And commenting to that fact takes nothing away from those who do not harbor those sentiments...or the fact that modernday Germany has taken strong measures to make right, given the abominable history connected with WWII and the slaughter of millions of Jews (among others). None of that is really the point. It was a joke...a well-timed joke...and was not, in any way "anti-German." It's the fucking World Cup, for gawdsake, and in that context, the German team is pretty much hated worldwide. Not a huge secret, actually. That joke, coming from a Brit no less, was funny...and not any sort of disparagement against Germany as a country or as a people.

BUT...if we MUST treat that joke in a way like, "Oh...too soon?" -- let's take the lack of logic a bit further, and ask the necessary questions...you know, connect the dots.

Here...in this country (*cough* U.S. of fuckin' A... *cough*) -- we have VERY similar jokes. Like this one:

(dunno who created this meme)

or this one:

(picked up from here)

Setting aside the history lesson I was given, let's do a find-and-replace of the second part of the comment above from my friend:

"its a shame the modern american people have to continue to be reminded and persecuted with ridicule and disdain, when their modern society is about as anti-genocidal/anti-slavery [respectively, given the above two images], compassionate and peace-serving as it gets."

But somehow, a joke about Germans...in context with South American countries (given the World Cup) is somehow off-limits because Germany's modern society is peace-serving and anti-Nazi? To be clear, I get my friend's point, and I sympathize -to a point- with what he pointed out. I understand what he was driving at, the thrust of his reasoning. But only to a point. I get about sick and tired of attempts at justifying equalizing unequal things.

Meaning, I could have (and did) point out that I am a quarter German (by heritage and birthright), and it's not just a "few" German friends I speak to when I point out that we're talking about a significant portion of my own heritage that I am laughing with (and of course I got criticized for pointing that out) -- but I also pointed out...where my snark came out fully, with claws (and only after getting told "Thanks for the lecture.", which brought my bitch face out with a fucking quickness):

"...it wasn't millions of Jews gassed, now was it?"

And, of course, that shut the conversation the fuck down...as it had to.

I chose to simply shut it down with extremely sarcastic shorthand because I didn't honestly feel like saying all that I could have in that particular moment. I get exhausted from (mostly politely) pointing out flaws in debates on topics that I'm extremely passionate about...I didn't feel like having to take the time right then to point out the most obvious flaw in my friend's assertion. Partly because he is my friend...and partly because I get irritated with the thin-skinned nature of political correctness in so many Americans -- even when their hearts are in the right place. And in my friend's case? His heart was certainly in the right place. His head just wasn't connecting with it in that moment...

...because, see...when a joke is made about what amounts to a dominant population, any defense of that population is ridiculous on its face. Most of us who identify as feminists (female AND male) don't get "offended" by the jokes about our ludicrous right-wing, white, male politicians who say ridiculously stupid things that are...long-term and long-standing...harmful to women. We don't need white men we know to say things like #notallmen in response. Why? Because we fucking know not all men are like that. We also know that in this particular context, women are the affected, marginalized population.

Most of us on "this side" of the political table aren't offended by Teabagger jokes, while we recognize equally that not all older, white, conservative people are members of the Tea Party...and that what the Tea Party actually represents on the whole has a long-term and long-standing harmful (and historical) impact on minorities, LGBT folks, women, etc. We joke about FauxNews for the very reasons I posted the above images, because DUH...

The same premise applies when an English man cracks a joke about the German team that is reflective of an identifiable part of, frankly modern history...and I pointed out in that conversation that, honestly, the ENTIRE WORLD needs the ever-present reminder about the Holocaust and the reality of anti-Semitism in the world today...including Germany. Including the United States. Including the whole fucking world...

...but do not fucking try to tell me that it's a shame of any sort that modern day anyone (in this case Germans) need reminders of their own history. Because I'm going to point out the American hypocrisy of such an idiotic statement, given our own history...and the very people who get defensive about reminders of said history...and why they get defensive.

Or...I'm going to say something along the lines of: "Lighten the fuck up. It was a joke."

Anyway, yeah...we'll be watching the last two games of the World Cup this weekend, and I'm already congratulating Germany. I hate that I'm congratulating Germany, because I wanted to see the Netherlands win...not because I give a fuck about soccer, but because I know it'd make my Dutch husband and his family very happy. And hating knowing that I'm going to congratulate Germany is not...*take a wild guess*...about actually hating Germany or Germans.

I know. SHOCKING. It's about a fucking game.

Anyway...Happy Saturday! Go sports!

P/L/S
~dw

Wednesday, July 2

A Bit About How I See HOAs

Good morning! *raises coffee mug*

I don't know how familiar you are with Homeowners Associations (HOAs). Until I moved to Georgia, I wasn't terribly familiar with them beyond an academic understanding. Prior to moving to Georgia (during what I casually refer to as my "previous life"), for more than a decade and a half (pushing on two decades, if we factor in certain unnecessary details) I lived off and on military installations. Of that near-20-year period, more than a decade was spent consistently on military installations. From North Carolina to Texas to Hawaii to Washington (state) to Kentucky.

The reason I mention that history has to do with yard inspections. If you happen to have ever in your life been affiliated with on-base living, you're probably familiar with yard inspections. The government hires civilian subcontractors (typically anymore) for this sort of service, and inspectors are generally annoying. Not bad people or anything...it's just that they're paid to perform a specific task. This task includes a ruler, even, to measure grass and such. Residents are required (depending on location) to ensure yards are kept within very specific parameters according to regulations, up to and including ensuring that fallen pine needles are raked up and used as mulch at tree and bush bases. I could go on to describe this in greater detail, but I feel no need to do so. My point is, I have lived in environments that very rigid yard maintenance requirements were strictly enforced.

When I moved to Georgia, I moved into a subdivision with an HOA. I thought nothing of it, really. My husband and I were renters, not homeowners, so as long as we remained within the guidelines of the covenants set forth by the HOA, no big deal. Which we did. There wasn't much to attend to, come to that. My neighbors sometimes complained about the HOA dues, but the way I saw it, I recognized what those dues actually paid for, which was significant. There was a (very) large swimming park that needed to be maintained, along with lifeguard salaries, the large tennis courts, the dog park, the many different common areas, the garbage/recycling services...oh, and the HOA hired contractors to attend everyone's landscaping (meaning, not just the common areas).

After three years of living in that subdivision, my husband and I decided to become homeowners. We chose a house in a different subdivision, with a different HOA (of course)...run by an HOA management service, since the builders were not finished completing all of the homes in the subdivision. Every nightmare I ever heard about (and didn't think much of) HOAs finally came to visit the House of Weirdz. Now, if you happened to read this, then you are already aware of my irritation. And if you've happened to traipse over to my husband's blog, you might assume that our issues with our HOA management team began only this year. That would be an incorrect assumption. Our issues with the HOA management team began within a month or so of our moving here, and have continued ever since. We have lived in this home now since July 2010...so going on four years. It's only been since the end of last year and the beginning of this year that we've finally reached the ends of our respective ropes with the woman called Jessica.

My husband and I go about addressing Jessica in different ways (for different reasons), which makes sense since he and I are very different people.

So anyway... I shared all of the above (mainly for those who are new to this story) to get to how I've come to view HOAs in general. I see HOAs very much like school uniform dress codes. I don't mean Catholic schools, like the one I attended when I was a very little girl...

hehe...find the ProseBud

...rather, I'm referring to what is more common today in schools like the ones my older kids attended before we moved to Georgia that have uniforms more or less like these:

not from my kids' previous school; image borrowed from here

My older kids hated having to wear a uniform, but in a way, I understood the reasoning, particularly living on a military installation at the time. Elementary, middle, and high school experiences can be tough enough without factoring in clothing. For parents, uniforms are (sometimes) less expensive. There is no pressure to deal with trendy crap that adolescents (especially) desire for peer conformity. And...there is still room for a bit of creativity. Further, there is an attempt at a leveling of the playing field. This is true anywhere, but it can be especially true in a public school housed on a military base, where kids of officers frequently can be (and are) total assholes to kids of NCOs and enlisted folks (that'd be non-commissioned officers, for those unfamiliar with the acronym there). Those "popular kid" traits with which many of us are readily familiar from our own middle and high school experiences? You know, the ones with the high-end name brand clothing...all the "right" friends...the ones whose parents could afford to buy them a brand new car for their 16th birthdays? Remember them? Yeah, in a school that serves military families, those same asshole kids are just as bad...if not worse.

So sure, I understand...cognitively...the rationale behind uniform dress codes in public schools. Of course.

However. And this is a BIG however...having a uniform dress code only changes what the kids are required to wear. Nothing changes about kids' behaviors. Parents who can afford the uniforms from high end retailers will get those. Parents who can't will buy their kids' uniforms at Wally World. And kids...they see it. They know it. And...well, they do what adolescents do.

The school administration can't cite a student for "less expensive" or "frayed" clothing if it adheres to the dress code...but more well-to-do students can still make the kids from less well-to-do (or, let's call it by its name: POOR) homes lives absolute hell. And do.

Enter the mindset of an HOA. You can be in full compliance with covenants declared by an HOA...but you can have neighbors who can afford lawn services assuming such services aren't paid for by the HOA. And you can have an HOA manager (*cough* Jessica *cough*) give citations out of turn, even if you're technically in compliance with the covenants...or in the school comparison, the dress code.

Summarized, the way I see HOAs? It's high school...on acid.

Anyway...enough for a Hump Day. Time to head out the door in preparation for my daughter coming home from overseas.

P/L/S
~dw

Sunday, June 29

Dr. Weirdz' One-Stop Shopping for Truth re Kristine Redio

Mornin'! *raises coffee mug*

A little over a year ago (on 18 May 2013 specifically), I shared a ProsePetals Story Hour. There was a Part 2 and a Part 3 to that story, of course.

For the purposes of today's entry, the original PPSH and Part 3 are significant. Now, in those entries, the one thing I originally felt badly about was my initial decision to post everything with names. I changed that within a day...and left it at that. However, it has come to my attention...again...that "Q" from the three above-posted links...is continuing to claim that she's a CNM, or that she works in the "birthing field"...she's giving medical advice in public spaces, et cetera ad nauseam. "Q" is someone called Kristine Redio. She and I tangled viciously about a year or so ago, and after I wrote the PPSH entry, she blocked me. Then attempted to disparage me after blocking me. This was of no surprise to me whatsoever.

What I suggest, before you continue reading this entry...click through and read the above story (in the order of its three parts) before I continue here. I'll still be here when you get back. *sips coffee*

Back? Fun reading? Soooo...

...as I said, I make it a general personal policy to not reveal people by name in this space. I even leave the ex-asshole's name outta here (if I *must* refer to him, I call him "St. Bea" -- but never his name). Then again, the ex-asshole is a lot of things, but he doesn't publicly proclaim on the internet that he's something he's not...and in such a way that is actively damaging to people (especially women). So for Ms. Redio, I'm making an exception.

Here, I'm not going to re-post screenshots that were in the original entries above. I am, however, gonna share new ones. I noted, in the big story, that Ms. Redio claimed that she was a CNM and a fetologist -- and didn't share those screenshots. Mainly, because I didn't have them. She had deleted them before I could capture them. Turns out, someone else did...so I can share them here before I continue...



Now...those statements were made back at about the same time Ms. Redio and I tangled. I presently refer you back to Part 3 of my story. After having claimed to be a CNM, and getting called on it, she then said:

"Actually [X], the practice that I am apprenticing with are all CNM. I am in the process of going the full route but I cannot go full time with my schedule. At the current time I am only taking one or two courses at night. As of now, that's all I can handle since I do animal advocacy also. All of this is just a diversion to avoid the topic at hand. We wouldn't even be having this discussion if I agreed with your stance on abortion."

Then the next day:

"This morning...seeming to have forgotten that she's supposedly taking a couple of night classes here and there, she's suddenly (again) a Licensed Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) in the state of New York...but apprenticing...or something. She said, today 19 May 2013 at 2:56p.m. EST, "[X], I never said I was interning. I interned when I was in college. I have my license as a certified midwife and am apprenticing with a group of midwives. Apprenticing is different from interning.""

Then...add to that...more current displays by Ms. Redio...after having blocked me (and several other people who called her out on bullshit) -- this is Ms. Redio again...just two months ago, making her claims yet again...


And the response from another person (necessarily) calling her out:


Naturally, I read these comments with great interest, because it is such familiar territory. You know, given that I wrote three full entries on the topic more than a year ago. So...I decided...after seeing that Ms. Redio is continuing her unethical (and likely illegal) behaviors...publicly...that I would go public. In the PPSH entry, I posted a screenshot of the thread where she and I initially met. I never linked it...but I will now. You can find that full thread here. And the full thread where she wound up blocking me where I fully went after her to provide her credentials is here. Of course she tried to go after my credentials, my business name, me personally after she blocked me. That was necessary for her.

Thing is, blocking me doesn't make the threads invisible. From my facebook account, naturally I can't read the threads. But others can.

Moving on, in both her current Twitter feed and her facebook profile, she claims to have a BS in Biology from SUNY Empire State (and that she is a PETA activist, though her love of horseracing seems to undercut her PETA claims, too...but whatever). So...I decided to have a look at a couple of things, to refresh my memory.

The first place I went was to SUNY Empire State's web page, and pulled up the information on a Biology undergrad degree. Go ahead, click through...have a look. No biggie, in and of itself. But then I went to what the state of New York actually requires for working as a practicing midwife -- you can look, too...you don't have to take my word for it. It's all publicly available information. I urge you to click through and read that in its entirety...but if you don't wanna, I'll share this portion here...which is extremely important:

"Education Requirements

To meet the education requirements for licensure as a midwife in New York State, you must present evidence of completion of a master’s or higher degree program in midwifery or a related field that is:

registered by the Department as licensure qualifying; or
accredited by the American College of Nurse Midwives Division of Accreditation*; or
determined by the Department to be equivalent of such a registered** or accredited program.
*If the midwifery program you completed did not culminate in a master’s or higher degree, you will be required to complete an additional program in midwifery at the graduate level to meet the current education requirements for licensure as a midwife in New York State..."

The link goes on...and on...and on...but the point is, the requirements for licensure in the state of New York for a practicing midwife are pretty stringent. As well they should be.

The next two screenshots, I'm also going to provide linkage for...so that you again don't have to take my word for it, but can easily verify it for yourself:

First...that link up above to the publicly available information for New York state's requirements? You can actually verify licensed midwives. There is a link to verify licenses...and you can search by name.


Then you get a results page. A year ago AND today, I went and searched for Ms. Redio by name, and the results page from today is:


I deliberately left my tabs visible in both of the above screenshots, along with the actual search info...for those of you who know me in facebook, and here in this blog...I just wanted to ensure you know it was me looking it up, not pasting someone else's screenshots.

Now, I suppose Ms. Redio could be using a fake name everywhere, but given that she's had the same screen name consistently for several years...and that she uses it in every single online place she's posted, the simplest answer that makes the most logical sense is that she is using her real name. Now...there is an enforcement page over in NYSED's website. As frequently as Ms. Redio makes claims of being a CNM in the state of New York, I think a complaint to NYSED is in order.

Especially when the she claims also that she's a licensed hair stylist here:


Which is probably also false, since if you look up license requirements in New York for hair stylists, you find this. The pertinent part of that page is found here (emphasis added):

"In New York State, there are five different designations for beauty specialists:
• Cosmetologist
• Esthetician
• Nail Specialist
• Natural Hair Styling Specialist 
• Waxing Specialist"

Now...over in facebook, there is a post by Ms. Redio to a place called Nubian Heritage, using the question of "we," which is suggestive of a company (presumably) --

Of course, if you follow the links to find licensee information in that website, you'll find nothing on Ms. Redio either. It could be that her license is expired. Or it could be she never actually got one...at least not in the field she claimed. However, upon a quick search of all licenses in this particular realm...guess what comes up? LOL Nada.

Why would I be surprised by that? Of course...a complaint could be filed with New York's Department of Licensing on this count, too...again presumably. But I'm far less concerned about someone claiming to be a licensed hairstylist and making suggestions about hair and hair products than I am about someone claiming to be a Certified Nurse Midwife and giving out (inaccurate) medical information that can detrimentally affect people's lives.

So...with that, I offer you, gentle reader, all of the available information I have (there is MUCH more from other people I know, including screenshots)...but this is what I have. For those of you who have interacted with Ms. Redio, you already know she is a fraud. That much is easy. For those of us who've been blocked by her for shining the harsh spotlight on truth, we know that she will continue to do what she does in the hopes of others not learning what a fraud she is...in her gazillion attempts to appeal to some sort of authority in order to promote anti-woman bullshit.

Here, in this entry, is your one-stop shop for what is publicly available about Kristine Redio. Have fun with it.

Quick Update: Confirmed that what Ms. Redio is doing is illegal under New York's Criminal Impersonation Law (with the applicable portion emphasized):

 "Criminal Impersonation in the First Degree – New York Penal Law 190.26

A person is guilty of Criminal Impersonation in the First Degree when:

1. He or she acts similar to NY PL 190.25(3) except that the person pretends to be a police officer or a federal law enforcement officer or wears or displays without authority, any uniform, badge or other insignia; and

2. That person acts with the intent to induce another to submit to such pretended official authority or otherwise to act in reliance upon said pretense and in the course of such pretense commits or attempts to commit a felony; or

3. Pretending to be a licensed doctor, physician or other person authorized to issue a prescription, he or she communicates to a pharmacist an oral prescription which is required to be reduced to writing.

Criminal Impersonation in the First Degree is a class E felony punishable by up to four years in state prison."

So, yeah...she is not just being an unethical liar (which is also true), she's also committing a felony by misrepresenting herself.

Lovely.

Happy Sunday! (and Happy Birthday to Prosey's Mom!!! xoxo)

P/L/S
~dw

Wednesday, June 18

Standing With Tool of Satan Jim Wright

Evenin'...*raises beer bottle in your general direction*

Ya know...I've been following the fiasco involving one of my favorite bloggers, Jim Wright...and the theft of intellectual property by one Mike Malloy of SiriusXM Radio. No, I won't put a link to Mr. Malloy's webpage, because I don't want to invite anymore traffic to him. I have few problems with SiriusXM generally, and we have a subscription (though I've never listened to Mr. Malloy's show -- and now I will not ever), and I don't blame people for challenging SiriusXM on this matter. While I understand the disclaimer of "[t]he views of our hosts do not reflect the views of our company," when the company makes a profit off of people who bear the company name and have a successful show, then there becomes a serious question.

Now...as an individual blogger, at least in this blog, I don't generally personally care who shares what from my entries. Generally. I've never put up rules about that, because it's never been much of an issue. Someone asks me if they can share...I typically say sure. There was only one exception to my stance back a few years ago when I tangled with the "Manhood Academy" (that history is still here in this blog), where one of those idiot yahoos snagged a photograph --a piece of my property, with copyright (online be damned, it's mine)-- of myself and my youngest child...and shared it on their despicable, hateful MRA website. Never mind that my youngest was and is a minor (that was bad enough)...but they are also in the business of peddling their swill of a "guide" -- so, I took action when they refused to remove the image of my son. They had a full-on temper tantrum when I got police involved...but they modified the image to blur my son's face. My image of my face? I don't rightly care about. They aren't impressive to me whatsoever, and the word "cunt" doesn't offend me, no matter how they tried.

My point is...I'm not big -personally- on caring if people share my words from this blog. I don't really even care about images of myself, no matter how flattering or unflattering. In that particular instance, I was in full-on protective mode of my child...against an organization that used an image with him in it...on a website that seeks monetary gain for whatever reason. Either you get my express permission, or you just don't do it. It's not a hard concept. My business blog is a bit different, as well. I share entries from my business blog in certain spaces with the hope of those entries being shared -- but the business is young, and I'm working toward building visibility...and generally where I share that blog, there is a lot of quid pro quo, a lot of mutual support...and eventually, money will be involved, but not from the blog, so the blog isn't the issue.

I share all of that to get to a point that this is how I handle my blog, and I know plenty of bloggers who share a similar perspective. However, I don't go into another person's blog expecting that to be the case. Ever. I am happy to share others' blog entries...and the point of that is, I'm not making money at all, and I share them often directly from the share option OR from a connected Facebook post on that same said entry. So to see this...as a part of the aforementioned fiasco? I was and am grateful that I read the entry when it was first posted. I shared it, too, to Facebook. I share most of Jim's entries...they're that fuckin' good. I periodically quote him here in my own blog...with a link back to him, where credit is due. I do that with most bloggers I quote. To do otherwise is utterly dishonest. Again, though...regardless...I *don't make money* in this blog. I don't even accept donations here. It's blogger, for goodness sake. In my other blog? Yes...eventually, I will seek donations...and I will take even greater care there, but the only blogger I've quoted in my professional blog is (drumroll...wait for it...) myself.

Jim's Sharing, Reposting, and Linking to Stonekettle Station...? That has been there forever...that was the second stop I made when visiting his blog (the first stop was his Commenting Rules). Seriously, please...click through the Sharing (etc) link...now. Go do it. It wasn't modified as a result of the Malloy mess. That entry has been there for longer than I've been a fan of his...and I've been a fan for a long while.

So for Malloy to send the following to Jim when Jim called him out for theft of intellectual property...

Well, I'll be goddamned!
I read your piece on the air because it appealed to me. I decided it might appeal to others. Big fucking mistake. I had no idea you are such a mercenary, greedy type. Wow. I had no idea you are such an amateur as to bitch when someone (me) gives you publicity.
Make money off what you wrote? You have to be kidding. This is where your amateurishness is so apparent. In the first place, reading a piece on the air is considered "fair use." And, um, how would I "make money?"
As far as your web site and what it says there about "using" your "stuff", sorry, but I've never been to your site. A friend emailed a link from Australia.
Now, take your ugly, mercenary words and go back to wherever you came from. And, strong suggestion: Back off with your threats, especially on social media. You are leaving a very public and incriminating trail.
Sue me? For reading something you wrote on the air?
Un-fucking-believable!
Sorry I rattled your cage, JIm. My mistake. Big time. Trust me on this: You just disappeared.
- MM

...REALLY?? Mr. Malloy, you were willing to go to Jim's blog, where above ALL entries are instructions about commenting and sharing in bold red letters...really? You're going to call Jim a mercenary when you stole his writing...to share on your radio show that you're PAID for...? Without having first gotten permission? And then you're going to get pissy when the author of the words you stole for use on your paid gig would expect either his permission FIRST or payment for use of his words...?

Dude, seriously...Jim, who is now receiving hate mail as a result of this nonsense, deserves an apology at the least, and I mean the very least. I'm not above suggesting that people email Mr. Malloy with their thoughts either, frankly -- he can be emailed here: MikeDMalloy@aol.com

Personally, I'm with Jim on this one. *sends supportive salute to the Tool of Satan*

P/L/S
~dw

[Edit: Yes, I'm aware that Jim named Stephanie Miller in his original rant...and, as a longtime fan of Stephanie's, I hesitated before reacting at all to that. I've seen the comments on her post of the same topic (with all the reader fallout there) -- but no, I did NOT comment to Stephanie's wall. Why? Because she shared from AATTP -- who did return to Jim, professionally, and made amends...and Jim cleared them - and, by proxy, her (and I haven't seen him return to anything regarding Stephanie, since it wasn't her that pulled the dickish move. That was Mr. Malloy).]

Monday, June 16

What I *WANT* To Send...But Won't...

This image, taken 10 June, of the sky preceding one of near daily storms, the FB post for which can be found here

Good afternoon!

If you've been fortunate enough to follow Rene's email exploits with Jessica, then you know we have a LOT of fun with our Nazi-esque HoA management team. Yes, management team, as in a for-profit organization that oversees our subdivision...and for which Jessica is a manager who seeks constantly to justify her nonsensical "job." No, our HoA is not (as of yet) a community-based thing...and yes, part of our HoA dues go to paying the salaries of Jessica and others who work for the organization that employs her/them. The company is located in Alpharetta, a nearby city...and heaven only knows where Jessica actually resides, but she certainly is not a member of the community/subdivision within which Rene & I reside.

So...back on 11 June, Jessica performed one of her little neighborhood inspections, where she does I don't know the fuck what...measures grass with a ruler? Who knows?! Anyway, we received a notice for a "Covenants Violation" -- supposedly the 2nd Notice with a Warning of Fine in the text. However, the only things we've actually received from the organization, dated 18 April and 15 May (respectively) are entirely unrelated to anything to do with the Covenants.

This 11 June "2nd Notice for Covenants Violation/Warning of Fine" (for which there is not original notice of anything -- and we save everything from them) reads (after the "Dear Rene..." introduction):

"I am writing to you regarding the matter referenced below. You recently received correspondence indicating that you were in violation of the Covenants governing your Community. According to our records, you were originally contacted regarding:

OWNER'S RESPONSIBILITY


Section 5.2 Owner's Responsibility. Each Owner shall maintain his or her Homesite, and all structures, patios, sprinkler and irrigation systems, landscaping and other flora, and other improvements comprising the Homesite in a manner consistent with the Community-Wide Standard and all Governing Documents, unless such maintenance responsibility is otherwise assumed by or assigned to the Association. Each Owner shall maintain all pipes, lines, ducts, conduits, or other apparatus which serve only the Homesite located within the Homesite's boundaries or, if located outside the Homesite's boundaries, the portion of the pipe from the cutoff valve serving the Homesite (including all gas, electricity, water, sewer and air conditioning pipes, lines, ducts, conduits and other apparatus and the cut of valves for the same serving only the Homesite). Any maintenance that involves an exterior change, including, without limitation, landscaping, and plainting or repainting of the exterior or improvements in a different color, shall require prior approval of the Board or tis designee pursuant to Section 9.3 or this Declaration...

To resolve this violation: An inspection was completed on June 11, 2014. Please spray the lawn for weeds. There is a picture attached to this violation.

To view any pictures associated with this violation, please log in to your homeowner account.

A recent review of the neighborhood indicated that the condition cited above still exists. As the situation has not been corrected, the Association has no choice but to issue a second notice. If the above stated violation is not resolved within fifteen (15) days from the date of this letter the Association will impose a fine amount of $25.00 per day for each and every day the violation continues.

The Declaration of Covenants provides the Board of Directors with the authority to impose fines and other sanctions to enforce compliance with the Declaration. All fines associated with this violation will be assessed to your account and remain on your account until paid in full. If the fine continues to accumulate for 60 days, the Association will file a lien for all fines and costs, including but not limited to legal fees, to correct the violation.

Thank your for your timely attention to this matter..." [and of course it continues to explain how to respond to the Manager (Jessica) regarding this violation...which is OBVIOUSLY what I'm *dying* to do right now]

So...I shared all of the above to get to how I want to respond...

~*~

Dear Jessica, HoA Management Team Manager Extraordinaire:

Thank you so much for your 11 June letter informing us of a supposed 2nd Notice of Covenants Violation. It should be noted up front that no initial notice was received by our household. The last two letters received from your office were dated 18 April 2014 (INCOMPLETE MODIFICATION REQUEST regarding "Sod removal/Hologram tree) and 15 May 2014 (MODIFICATION APPLICATION - WITHDRAWAL regarding the 18 April 2014 letter). We received no communications from your office between 15 May 2014 and the current 11 June letter.

We did, however, receive a letter from your office dated 4 March 2014, which was prior to the annual inspection on 30 April 2014 -- at which point, there were no letters citing violations of the Covenants. If your "Courtesy Notice" dated 4 March is the letter to which you're attempting to say the 11 June letter is a 2nd Notice about, then I will remind you that your 30 April neighborhood wide inspection revealed nothing in violation of the Covenants, and the 11 June letter should also be a "Courtesy" or "First" Notice. Otherwise, I'll be left to assume that your office is attempting to wrongly collect monies out of order. If you would like a photograph of the neighborhood bulletin reminding all residents for more than a month that the neighborhood inspection would be on 30 April 2014, I am happy to provide that to you for your review.

I understand you and your staff pride yourselves on efficiency, what with multi-paragraph emails to residents about exploding newspaper bags and threats of citations, as well as effectiveness...since I'm certain you intended to send our household an initial Notice of Covenants Violation. Perhaps you sent it to another address. I completely understand the capacity for human error.

Having said that, I will note plainly that in the history of living at this residence, we have of course received letters from your office for supposed violations of the Covenants. For example, we received a letter on 17 August 2010 from your office about a supposed unpaid balance of HoA dues, including an attempt at a late fee assessment, with instructions to pay online at [link]. This was a monthly problem for several months, and many nasty-grams from your office. However, as our file containing letters from your office began to overflow, we decided to do some research. As it turned out, after a few emails and phone calls, we had paid all dues on time, but your office location had changed, and your staff had not updated your banking records. Fortunately, your office seemed to understand that no late fee could legally be assessed, since the error was on your office.

In another interesting example, we received a letter dated 1 August 2012, a First Notice - Covenants Reminder, with the same "Section 5.2 Owner's Responsibility" cited in the letter dated 11 June 2014...with similar instructions. As per the instructions in that letter dated 1 August 2012, we sprayed the weeds in the front lawn, and edged the lawn at the curb and street. Strangely, given the unusually hot and humid weather, after we sprayed for weeds, the areas we sprayed experienced "sunburn." The following month, we received a "2nd Notice" from your office regarding a Covenants Violation because of the "sunburn." A phone call resolved that matter in due course, as instructions from the "First Notice" were followed.

Now, I have a decent long-term memory, as it happens. As is perhaps clear in this letter, I retain most, if not all documentation from your office. So to receive an inappropriate letter entitled "2nd Notice" is slightly annoying, but I'm willing to chalk it up to human error. However, the language of the letter...being clearly threatening in a monetary way...leads me to offer up a couple of thoughts for consideration by you and your organization.

First. Only in the past year has your organization hired landscapers to attend to the common property that is beyond our backyard fence-line. Prior to that, we spent a great deal of time, money, and effort to rid our backyard (and front yard) of weeds that encroached from beyond our property line. This is not to mention that one of our neighbors has also pointed out to your organization that said landscaping company your organization hired has been delinquent (or perhaps your company wishes to avoid the expense) in cutting limbs from a tall pine tree that is beyond his property, where the branches are encroaching onto his property and affecting the health of trees that actually are on his property. The responsibility for cutting limbs of trees where the base is on the common property falls to the HoA, but I am fully aware that your company has distinctly avoided attending to that matter. This point may seem disconnected, but I assure you, the points are directly connected, as our neighbor's property and ours are affected by the weeds that encroached directly from the common area just behind our connected properties.

Second. While you may enjoy sending lengthy emails about dangerous exploding newspaper bags (for which there is no evidence whatsoever), I'd like to remind you that you are not a resident of this community. I'm not entirely certain where it is that you happen to reside, but it cannot be so far away that you have missed the off and on torrential thunderstorms and rains that turn our neighborhood here into veritable riverfront properties. You are more than welcome to look into the google machine at your own leisure to verify the science behind why weeds grow faster than certain grasses...and why that may happen even more frequently during off and on weather changes between sunshine and intermittent rainfall. And, I'm certain that you understand that when the ground is wet, pushing a lawnmower over it can destroy the blades, in addition to the damage it can do to rotary components of a weed eater. As for spraying for weeds, I don't feel it necessary to inform you that instead of spraying (and risking a repeat of the 2012 letters), we chose the "Weed & Seed" option, which is completed once every quarter. The process of weed removal is slower than spraying, but far more effective for the long-term (again, you're more than welcome to verify that through the google machine at your leisure). If you must have verification of this, I am happy to hunt through our budgetary receipts and provide receipts for equipment and chemicals purchased, which show the items and the dates purchased.

Third. There is nothing in the Covenants that specifies "weeds." Yes, flora...yes, landscaping. But no specific mention of weeds. Having read the Covenants very closely (and after as many interactions with your office as we have had, I assure you, we've read those Covenants quite closely), the matter of "weeds" is not expressly named. Furthermore, before you attempt to make any helpful suggestions how you believe we could or should handle our lawn, allow me to remind you again that you are not a community member or resident. Nothing within the Covenants provides you that authority, much though you probably wish it were otherwise. With that in mind, I am the only person in this household who is physically capable of managing the maintenance of the lawn care. And I have long-term back and knee issues. With those things clearly expressed...

Fourth. If you attempt to wrongly assess us $25.00 even one time (much less multiple times), I will be happy to provide you receipts for the replacements for our lawn mower, our weed eater, and for any and all medical services I receive for my back and knees as a result of having to attend to these matters upon threat from your company. Additionally, if I am physically incapacitated as a result of this, which would force my husband, Rene, to attend to the lawn at risk to his own health, given his airborne allergies to grasses, molds, and dust, I will also provide to your office receipts for all of those services as a result of incorrectly assessing us charges without proper *FIRST* notice. You will then be more than welcome to deduct your $25.00 assessment fee or fees from all the receipts we will hold you accountable for, as well as any legal and/or court fees we incur when we challenge any monetary assessment you attempt to claim from us.

If you would like to see a photograph clearly demonstrating weather the day prior to your inspection please refer to this, and if you have any questions about the weather that affected the reasonable ability to mow and weed, I am more than happy to provide your office with links to various meteorological websites that break that information down to the minute routinely and maintain regular archives. Perhaps in the future, it might be advisable to remember that people do not (and are not required to) attend to their lawn maintenance based upon the whim of whenever the weather clears up enough for you to drive by with your grass-measuring rulers.

Have a wonderful day!!!

~*~

Yeah, that's what I *WANT* to send...

Happy Monday!

P/L/S
~dw

Sunday, June 15

Rev. Weirdz' Sunday School: Circles, Bell Curves, and the Ways Prosey Sees the World

Since 4 June, I've been following (and participating in) An experimental online workshop on gender - over on PZ Myers' blog, Pharyngula - hosted by guest Crip Dyke (Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden). Thus far, the exercises have been extremely interesting...thought provoking.

And in this series of workshops, my thoughts keep going back to a lifelong theme (ish) that I have...with circles. Life is, for example, in my eyes, a huge circle. The seasons, in my eyes, transpire in a circle. I was trying to remember the first time I realized I saw things in a circle...and I really don't remember. I mean, sure, "Wheel in the Sky" is a decent song and all...but I don't know if it was all that influential in how I see circles. To point, I know I'm not the first or last to see circles...I just know that I happen to see life that way. 

I think the first time I actually articulated how I see in circles was to my friend, Sean...when we were talking about different worldviews. I explained it in terms of a big bicycle wheel...everyone at some end of spoke, and everyone moving toward the wheel hub. What that center is? Who knows? We're all stardust anyway...and for me personally, that is more than enough.

At some point during my research, as I was considering themes, and looking at bell curves (for what falls inside and outside of certain "normatives" on the curve), I realized, I was just looking at another circle...but from the side...and from the side, the larger picture still isn't complete. Mainly because life is not two-dimensional...and it isn't really even three- or four- or five- (etc) dimensional...but multi-dimensional all at the same time...and layered like crazy.

Lots of people get confused by this...because lots of people want to see things in concrete...with definitive answers, with certainty...in black & futhermuckin' white...pat answers. I remember when the "True Detective" episode with Rust Cohle's character talking about the "flat circle" came out...and the many "WTF?!" reactions to the idea...but it really made perfect sense to me. I enjoyed TP's article on the topic...and Vulture's article...to me, the concept of a flat circle simply clicked. 

To keep the topic here relatively simple to start, imagine a Matryoshka doll...I decided to take a few pictures to help people visualize (if the concept is difficult)...starting with the top of the doll (fully assembled): 


That is the view from directly above...it's a multi-colored circle. Looks almost like a ball, but in a photograph that is essentially two-dimensional, the "ball" is simply flat. A circle.

From the front of the doll (still fully assembled)...:


Obviously, no longer a circle...but still much more than it appears at first glance. For when you separate everything out, you get this:


Now, most of us are familiar with the above dolls...lovely as they are. I'll come back to them in a bit. For now, let's take the visual a different direction...:
Now...most of us have seen a fold-out paper honeycomb bell...at Christmastime, at weddings, etc... They start out flat, then you unfold them, and the ends adhere together, forming a bell. If you were to look at the paper honeycomb bell from above, what shape do you think you'd see?

It's easy, really. You'd see a circle. From the view in the above image, you see a bell. 

Now then, if you've ever taken any algebra or geometry...ever, then I'm sure you've seen a bell curve...:


...and if you've ever been through the "joy" of statistics, then you've probably seen more entertaining facets of the bell curve...:


Okay. Just working with the last image above...when I talk about "standard normatives" (which I do every so often, both in this blog and elsewhere), you see that "Same as others" two-sided arrow? That is where the normative falls.

Now, scroll back up to the paper honeycomb bell, and imagine the bell curve with the standard deviations from the last image were three- or even four-dimensional. Remember, that if you're looking at the bell from the top, it's still a flat circle, but from the top you'd probably get a much larger idea of how many possible intersections there are to rule out anything remotely "normal" by any easy definition. If you're still with me on that, then scroll back up to the Matryoshka doll and imagine that every single one of those intersectional lines also contain multiple depths within.

Are you still with me...? Let's return to the very first topic I mentioned at the top of this entry...the experimental workshop on gender over in PZ's blog, where the topics of biological sex and gender are discussed, alongside sexual orientation...and consider for a moment a few things.

First...biological sex is not binary, even though we've been socialized to think in terms of "male" and "female." How do we categorize a person, for example, who has Klinefelter syndrome? Or do we simply discount them because they don't conveniently fit inside the bell curve standard normative? How do we categorize someone who is intersexed...? And more to the point, on what grounds? (Note, these are just two quick examples off the top of my head.)

Second...gender is not binary, even though we've been socialized to think in terms of "masculine" and "feminine." How do we determine/categorize someone who does not identify with their assigned role? What if they don't *fit* that gender normative? 

Third...sexual orientation is definitely not binary -- and this part has layers. At one layer (and I'm not listing this in any order of layer, because that isn't mine to determine), we have sexual and asexual...and everything in-between. At another level, we have "opposite-sex" oriented (straight) and "same-sex" oriented (gay)...and again, everything in between. (And as a hint, a person can be completely asexual, for example...but same- or opposite-sex attracted in terms of *partnership*, without any interest whatsoever in sex as an act...again, for one miniscule example).

These three things barely scratch the surface of this topic, but it might give you, gentle reader, some idea of why I cringe at broadbrushing in any part of this topic (and when I do it -rarely- I state up front that I'm doing so for a very specific purpose, generally for illustrative purposes with respect to the "standard normative" in our society)...and why I tend to be cautious about people who are quick to apply rigid, binary thinking to the entirety of the population without any second thought about it.

Put simply...yeah, I'm a woman, biologically-speaking, and I have no gender confusion about that. But that is only a very small part of what I am, and while it defines certain things, it is not the thing. I see gender (a human construct, to be sure) as nebulous...fluid...and not something any person can define for anyone else, much less what that might mean for anyone else.

Just my thoughts on a Sunday evening that happens to fall on Father's Day 2014.

Wishing you a terrific week!

P/L/S
~dw

Tuesday, June 10

BFBTR: Our (Dead) Resident Sovereign Citizen (Well, One Of Them, Anyway...)


I know it's kinda late for breakfast, and I can't even say that I overslept or anything.

Nonetheless, it's still Tuesday, and this is still the Beer For Breakfast Tuesday Report...even if it's actually past lunchtime.

The above image...probably easily familiar at this point to most folks...is of the now-deceased Dennis Ronald Marx, self-identified "Sovereign Citizen" of Cumming, GA.

Here in Cumming, our weekly rag, Forsyth Herald, typically reports news about a week to two weeks after it's actually news. Not this week, evidently. I suppose an attempted takeover of a county courthouse that makes national news in minutes is deemed worthy of timely reporting in our weekly paper rag.

I could choose today to write about the massive uptick in mass shootings and "gun incidents" that are now on a daily basis around the country. I could...but I'm not going to. A quick search in the google machine and you can read all about it on your own.

However, what you might not be able to find about the above dude who put the city I live in on national news (again) in a way that is told at a truly local level, such as our weekly rag (and other nearby paper outlets) have done. So...that's what I decided to do. I'm not "reporting" -- I'm simply copying the article here for your reading "enjoyment" -- to make of it whatever you will.

Before I do that, though...I'm going to say something right now, just in case. I've been very fortunate to not get drawn into "too many" debates (that are really shouting matches and not anything resembling discourse) -- but I've had enough conversations that writing this became necessary. I have updated the settings on that status update to public, along with the embedded link within that status update, which routes to a conversation that transpired in FB on 29 May. I'm not assuming that I'll get any comments to today's entry...but IF you are reading, and inclined to comment...and if any bit of that comment pertains to gun control, I will tell you now to click through the "this" above...read the entirety of that status update AND read the entirety of the conversation that transpired. I will not indulge anyone who attempts to play the TL;DR game with me. Just fair advance warning.

With that...here's the local report:

~*~

'Gunfight in front of courthouse' - Shooter carried assault rifle, bombs

Law enforcement gather to begin search for possible explosives planted by the courthouse shooter. [image descriptions]

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. -- Dennis Ronald Marx was ready for battle.

Wearing a gas mask and a heavy vest, the 48-year old laid down homemade spike strips on the road shortly before 10 a.m. June 6. The strips were meant to slow authorities' response along Veterans Memorial Boulevard and East Main Street. Marx drove through the sidewalk into the steps of the courthouse and that's when gunfire erupted.

Marx didn't get very far. He tried to run over a Forsyth County Sheriff deputy, who opened fire.

Marx, who was acting alone, fired at the deputy through his windshield and struck the deputy in the leg. Daniel Rush, a 30-year sheriff's veteran, hit the ground and was later transported to North Fulton Hospital in Roswell. He is expected to have a full recovery.

Several other deputies stationed inside the courthouse and a SWAT team training nearby rushed to the entrance of the courthouse. They started to shoot at Marx and he fired back.

"There was a gunfight in front of the courthouse," Sheriff Duane Piper said.

Marx then threw out homemade tear gas and smoke grenades at deputies.

And shortly after, Marx died of his gunshot wounds. When deputies searched his SUV, they found assault rifles, plastic flex ties, water and a lot of other weapons. [note: a comma there would have been nice, since water is not a weapon...the typo, however, is in the original article.]

"He came in there with the purpose of occupying the courthouse," Piper said. "It was a full-frontal assault."

No one else was hurt.

It was something no one had ever seen in downtown Cumming. [note: don't get me started on what has been seen...but I digress...]

The streets were evacuated. Across the street, construction workers working on a new courthouse dropped their tools and began to run. Businesses were asked to lock up and wait. Snipers were stationed on the top of the county administration building.

The city was shut down.

Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Gwinnett County bomb squad and Georgia Highway Patrol converged on the area. Nearby parking lots were searched for a possible bomb.

"There is no further danger to the public," Piper later said. "It's quite clear that he wanted to run through the front of the courthouse."

Marx was due in court that morning on drug and weapons charges, but he appeared prepared to take over the courthouse.

He had a home off Lakeside Trail near Lake Lanier, but he hadn't lived there, Piper said. Law enforcement searched the home in case it was boobytrapped.

Marx was also suing the sheriff's office, alleging excessive force and civil rights violations.

~*~

There are two things that are obvious by their omission...so, for those only peripherally familiar with this story...

First...Mr. Marx ranted quite a lot using social media...and there is an open (and seemingly unanswered question) about his daughter having been murdered. I don't know the story on that...I'm not saying it's ANY sort of excuse for Sovereign Citizen bullshit activities...and if anything, this possible facet of the story only serves to underscore the need for a national database, and regular mental health screenings for people who purchase weaponry and ammunition.

Secondly...the timing of this is particularly frustrating to me...lest you forget that Georgia's illustrious Governor Nathan Deal signed that damn "Guns Everywhere" bill into law last month...and though it's not slated to go into full effect until 1 July, we here in Georgia have seen a rise in "gun incidents" -- two here in Cumming the weekend after the announcement about the "Guns Everywhere" law was publicized.

Yeeeeeaaaahhh...I expect this mess is gonna get a LOT worse before it starts getting anything resembling better.

P/L/S
~dw