My Followers…..

I am sad to say that you won’t be seeing me for a while. Thanks to the problems that I am having finding work I will be temporarily offline. Until I can come up with the money, my internet/cable will be disconnected as of 04-13-13. Right now, we owe $201.71, so it may be a while before I can come back and harp some more about the stupidity in the world.

Until the day of my return, I hope that you will continue to share my blog with your friends, family, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, bosses, politicians or the next stranger you meet.

I will miss you greatly and hope that I don’t lose any of you during this time of desperation.

Thank you for joining me in protesting stupidity.

Please feel free to continue using the OHS (Hypocrites Anonymous) page for group therapy sessions.

Big Hugs to all.

PS: I am setting my blog up to accept all comments without a moderator, so please keep the fighting to a minimum. Thank you.


Overseas Charities????

Why do we send money to charities overseas?

If you are one of those that feel sorry for the downtrodden of other countries, I understand.  You see the poor hungry children posted up on the TV, starving to the point of emaciation and think “Oh that poor child!” Then they blast you with the “It only takes a few cents a day, no more than it would cost for a cup of coffee, to help this child.” I understand that it can be difficult to look at that and not want to help. Really, I do understand.

But, if you send money overseas, you have absolutely no guarantees that it will be used the way they promise. Even if the charity does use it for food, fresh water, etc., they have no way of stopping the government of that particular country from stealing the food/equipment at gunpoint for its own needs. You also take the risk of your money being sent to help fund terrorist groups in a completely different country.

What I don’t understand is why you don’t feel sorry for the downtrodden right in your own neighborhood, city, county, state or country? What is so hard about looking for those that are in need near where you live?

It’s not like there aren’t enough charities here in the USA that could use the help. Shoot, if we just put the same money into our domestic charities then I seriously doubt that we would have hungry/homeless children, hungry/homeless military vets, etc.

At least here in the US you can check up on where your money went, who benefitted from it and when it was used. If you find out that your money was being abused, then you have legal recourse to punish the person(s) responsible.

Also, it wouldn’t cost you any more than the same amount of money and you could make the donation either anonymously or in person (saving the cost of the stamp/transfer fee). You could meet the people that you are helping and learn about them and their situation. You could even meet other people that are busting their butts to help in a more direct way, such as running the soup kitchens/food banks. Shoot, you could always spend that money on yarn or cloth and make hats, scarves, or other clothing for direct donations. This would actually last longer than just cash or food. And, the person that received the item you made would know that you take your donation seriously enough to spend your hard earned free time on making something just for them, instead of just feeling sorry enough to make a monetary donation.

You could even take the time to teach someone something that you are very good at doing. Taking the time to show a person how to sew, crochet, cook, budget money, woodwork, beadwork, jewelry making, typing, reading, organizing, painting (fine art/household), drawing (fine art/architectural), leatherworking, metalworking, welding, or anything else that you know how to do, will actually help that person create a job niche for themselves. Not only do you feel good, but you help raise that person’s self esteem and take one more person off the needy list. And it wouldn’t be a handout. It would actually be a hand up. This is actually what most people want.

Granted, there are people out there that just want someone else to feed, house and clothe them without having to do anything for themselves. These people are obvious, but cannot (at this time, with our current social beliefs) be left out. Telling them that they are not living the life that they could be is not going to work. They are living the way they want to right now. That could change later on, but in most cases it takes a major crisis for them to decide differently. Usually they are addicts or victims of abuse that have just plain given up because life has become too difficult for them to deal with.

Also granted is that there are people out there that abuse their positions of authority in the charity. This can be overcome. All it takes is one person that is willing to step up and report their activities/crimes. We do not have enough people in this day and age that are willing and able to do this. No one wants to get involved. Or they don’t want to look like the bad person “trying to pull down the program”. Or they are afraid that the program/charity will be shut down.

Buck up! If some over-achiever politician shuts it down because of one person’s screw up, then get with the others and start up your own program/charity. Yes, this could take time to get going, but at least you will know that you are doing your best to help those who could really use the program.

It basically comes down to this:


Legalizing Drugs – Yes or No?

This blog was inspired by John Raymond. (Thanks John!)


What would happen if the U.S. legalized drugs?

Well, there would definitely be a meteoric rise in drug use (duh), theft, unemployment, more theft, increased number of emergency calls, more theft, higher insurance rates (both business and individual), more car wrecks, more domestic violence, more rape, etc, etc, etc.

Obviously this would not be a good thing.

However, is there a way to legalize drugs AND minimize the afore-mentioned issues? Let’s take a look, shall we?

For the sake of argument, we will be legalizing all of them. Otherwise this blog would get way too long to read in one sitting. So, all drugs are legal. Great! Now what?

There would have to be special companies that manufactured these drugs. Some companies would be general, manufacturing a wide range of drugs. Other companies would be specialists, dealing only with one or two types of drugs. Of course they would be the ones to determine how much product per individual unit would be salable. Similar to how cigarettes are packaged. Granted, this would only work for drugs like pot or other leaf-type drugs. I am sure that making individual packets and then grouping them in larger packages could work for the other drugs, but I am not going to get all that specific since I am not an expert in this field. These companies would also be the ones to set the price of the drugs. Obviously this would be based on the cost of growing, chemicals needed, machinery, taxes, special licensing, special employee certification, insurance, security and man-hours. This could get pricey.

Then there would have to be the distribution system. Again, this would involve machinery, insurance, taxes, special licensing, special employee certification, security and man-hours. Fortunately, there are already companies that are set up for distribution in general. Again, this could get pricey.

On top of the previous two points, there would need to be wholesale and retail outlets. I mean, c’mon, you can’t just make a drop at the local grocery store or set up a vending machine outside the library. Get real. You would once again have to have wholesale agents and retail stores that had the proper machinery, special licensing, special employee certifications, insurance, taxes, security and man-hours. Once again, this could get pricey.

So, now we move over to federal, state, county and city government involvement. Since everything else is regulated to a fare-thee-well, then drugs would be no different. As we saw in the previous paragraphs, this entire industry would require special licensing, employee certification, insurance and, oh happy days, taxing. Based on previous history, each level of government is going to want their own piece of the pie. The biggest question to be answered is….”how high can we set the fees and taxes, but still get companies and people to pay?” I will let you decide what you think would be a fair tax.

Another form of regulation is most definitely an age limit. I mean, if you’re willing to tell our kids that they’re not old enough to drink, but they’re old enough to kill for our country, then you might as well tick them off with drugs, also. Say, make the age limit the same as for alcohol.

Now, if we add everything up, we have lots of new companies (in addition to the pharmaceutical companies), lots of new jobs, and lots of new taxes and fees. Sounds great, right? Not quite.

Remember all the regulation, certifications, etc? How would you go about deciding who is a legitimate company? You don’t want just any Tom, Dick or Harry starting up a pot field or even a hydroponic pot farm in their basement or the nearest abandoned warehouse. And you definitely don’t want some unscrupulous gangster that is going to “boost” sales by dosing a slower addictive drug with a faster addicting drug. Not to mention making sure that the employees are protected from the same unscrupulous companies or gangsters that would intentionally get their employees addicted and make them work for their next “hit”. In addition, you would have to set up some type of guideline (adjustable per company) to protect these budding entrepreneurs from their own employees. This would definitely be some form of weeding (forgive the pun) out those job seekers who are addicts trying to get hired just for access to the drugs.  And then there is the insurance. Woe to the company that doesn’t have protection from natural disasters, theft, medical (yikes!) or lawsuits from unhappy family members of the addict. Hoo boy, there’s a whole ‘nother zebra. Better put that in with the government regulation section. Definitely need to put that under the common sense laws that are supposed to be in existence. Otherwise, the legal costs would skyrocket. And all of that lovely tax money would go down the drain.

So there are just a few of the pros and cons of legalizing drugs. I have my own opinion on how to do this. As if you didn’t know that.

First, the government would run everything from manufacturing to distributing to sales. Anyone that worked in this field would be a government employee, with all of the benefits and detriments involved. That way, full federal regulation would be involved and enforced. This would include how much and how often a person could purchase their “fix”.

Second, anyone that decided that they were going to get on the drug band wagon would have to be part of a government study that involved full medical check-ups on a regular basis (say every two weeks), could only get the drugs from a government facility and if it required injections, then they would have to go to a government medical officer to receive the injection. They would also have to sign a waiver of liability, accepting responsibility for their own safety up to and including death.

Third, anyone entering into the addiction world would have to get a divorce, give up any children in their custody and be sterilized to prevent future pregnancies due to poor judgment. This includes men. If said person does not have any known children, then they would have to donate sperm or eggs prior to beginning their addiction. This way, if they decide later on that they want to get off the drugs, they will still be able to have a child. Also, said addict will be given condoms to prevent the spreading of STD.

Fourth, each “client” would have to show a current paystub each time they came in for their “fix”. In other words, they would still have to be a productive citizen. Now don’t get me wrong. I know that addicts are not the world’s greatest workers, but they are capable of doing all of the “shit” jobs that no one else wants to do. Unfortunately, this would most likely push out the migratory crop workers (usually seasonal and usually from other countries) and other similar workers, but it would most likely reduce the number of people wanting to get hooked.

Fifth, the “client” would have to live in a segregated community with other “clients”. These communities could range from individual military style housing to studio apartments, depending on what would be most cost-effective. The important thing is separation from the rest of the town or city, as well as separation from each other (privacy and security). This way if they feel the need to commit a crime, then they can perpetrate their crimes on each other. I do not recommend a separation of the sexes. My main reason for this is if you choose to become addicted under this system, then you are choosing to live the life of an addict. No one has forced you to become addicted. You cannot blame your childhood, parents, etc. My second reason is that men and women are supposed to be equal in this country. So stand up and be equal in the bad as well as in the good.

So…..these are just a few of the different directions that our country can go when it comes to legalizing drugs. I am sure that there are many other ways of looking at it, but I am only one human being. Please feel free to expound upon your own ideas in the comment box. Or shoot me an email and I will see if I can post it as an addendum to this blog. Heck, you might even inspire a whole new blog just for you!

One thing I do know about this subject is that we, U.S. citizens and government, are woefully unprepared for legalized drugs, not only as a country, but as a culture in general. At this time in our history, there are way too many debates over moral issues between religious groups and secular groups. Just remember what happened after Roe vs. Wade. I’m sure you get my drift.


Is there a difference?

When you say “discipline”, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it a swat on the butt? A smack on the hand? Or maybe you think of grounding, removal of a favorite toy, sitting in the corner, etc.

These are in actuality forms of punishment.

When you say “punishment”, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Getting smacked in the face (hard enough to leave bruises)? Getting hit with a foreign object like a belt, wooden spoon, or other item that leaves excruciating bruises, welts, cuts and scars? Being locked up in a small room with no light, very little airflow, or room to stand or stretch out?

These are in actuality forms of abuse.

If you look the two terms up in most dictionaries or other reference material, you most likely will find that the terms are considered synonymous with each other. One is the outcome of the other.

We have thought of discipline and punishment in conjunction with each other for so long that it is difficult for us to separate them. Unfortunately, this is exactly what we need to do.

I feel that the dry definitions of these two words do not show the whole picture.

So, in my infinite wisdom, I am taking a leap of faith and writing down how I feel that we should go about separating. Believe me when I say, that this is very nerve-wracking for me. Living through abuse as a child makes this a difficult subject for me to be non-aggressive in the stamping on someone else’s views. But I will do my best to keep this general, informative and thought-provoking.

Here we go:

Discipline is what humans, both individually (as parents) and socially (as a society), use to instill order in our environment. This can be done through self-discipline, familial discipline, societal discipline, political discipline, cultural discipline, or religious discipline. When you get right down to it, discipline is a means of teaching one’s self and/or those around us what is good and acceptable for us.

Discipline is also the teaching of others what is acceptable behavior within societal environs. Basically, this is done by explaining to those around us what society likes or does not like of different types of behavior. These explanations can get very repetitive with young children, persons with certain types of disabilities and those that are just plain stubborn in accepting what you are teaching. This constant repetition can get very frustrating, but a strong enough form of self-discipline can prevent the breakdown into excessive punishment (known as abuse). As an example, just think about this simple question that everyone who has been around young children knows quite well. “Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?” Irritatin’ ain’t it?

Discipline can usually be accomplished by the simple expedient of saying “Please don’t do that” or “I like what you just did” or “I appreciate how you acted just now” or “That is not very nice”. That is it. That is all it takes (granted it takes multiple repetitions to get the point across) to let the people around you know what is acceptable to you. In a societal setting though, we have to get a bit more specific. Hence the laws that have been codified refined and expanded on throughout the centuries. They are basically a large group of people saying “We will not accept (this type of behavior)” or “(This type of behavior) is not good for society”.

People that use the above form of discipline have usually been denigrated for being weak or wishy-washy, when in actuality they are following the true definition of the term. Those who denigrate their methods are thinking about punishment.

Punishment is the consequence of the failure to do what is good and acceptable to those around you. If you choose to “break the rules” of the individual, family, society, culture or religion that you are in, then you will be forcefully reminded, either verbally or physically, that you messed up. This can take many forms from shunning to death.

Punishment is definitely something that should fit the “crime”. The degree of punishment naturally depends on the severity of the “crime” and the number of people who were affected. Obviously refusing to eat your peas when you are a toddler is not going to require as much punishment as going on a mass murder spree when you are an adult.

A simple “No” works very well with very young toddlers and infants old enough to know what it means. Unfortunately, humans have this nasty propensity to push the boundaries on a regular basis. Therefore, once we know that the other person understands the concept of “no”, and continues to behave unacceptably, the form of punishment we use must be increased (in very small increments) until a balance has been achieved. There is no need to knock a child down because they tried to grab something out of your hand. A light slap on the hand is enough.

Conversely, someone who knows the difference between right and wrong that deliberately sets out to cause harm to those around them should not be let off with a slap on the hand. If you are old enough to understand “I don’t like this being done to me, so other people probably won’t like it either” and then intentionally harm someone else, then you should be punished in such a manner that you won’t want to harm another ever again.

Some ideas of punishment that come to me include making the crime and punishment public (no matter what the criminal’s age, sex, religion, politics, race, etc.). Embarrassment is a wonderful form. Punishment is meant to be unpleasant. Also, get rid of the TV’s, computers, exercise equipment and fictional books that are routinely found in our jails and prisons. If you are worried about the inmates becoming unruly or even going so far as to riot, keep them in separate rooms when they are not working their butts off. You can keep them busy by re-instituting chain-gangs and physical labor nationwide. If the criminal want something to read (should they are still awake enough), let them read from dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks and other types of instructional material. Another reason to keep them busy or separated is to contain the forced sex that occurs in this type of situation.

Jail is not meant to be abusive or dangerous to health. Having medical services in the prison itself is a definite keeper. We definitely want to keep the indoor plumbing, actual mattresses, proper food, clothing and shoes, as well. I also feel that having access to telephones and visitation is beneficial, as well. They are reminders to the criminal of what he/she is missing out on by committing a crime. I do not believe that conjugal visitations have any benefit above the previous sentence what so ever. It is nothing more than saying that it is ok for some to get what others can’t have. It is a source of disruption. If you want to get laid, then you shouldn’t have committed the crime.

If the crime is horrendous enough, I am a firm believer in the death penalty. I also feel that criminals that flat-out refuse to accept society’s laws and repeatedly commit vicious crimes should be added to the horrendous crime category. Most likely their multiple crimes equal one horrendous crime. On top of that, if the death penalty is handed down, it should be implemented within a fairly short period of time. If you are going to use it, then friggen use it! I realize that the criminal has the right to appeals, but there are only so many times that you can rehash the evidence without coming up with something new to use as a mitigating circumstance. If it was in the evidence, then it would have been set out in the first place. If you were found guilty of the horrendous crime because you committed it, then why should we allow you to sit on death row, sucking up tax dollars and wasting people’s time having to take care of you? I know that there are people out there that will be extremely offended by this, but a bullet or a rope does not cost near as much as using the electric chair or euthanasia drugs. You might want to keep that in mind.

Crimes affecting a large number of people, like drug dealing or bank robbery, should also be in this category. Drug dealing, especially in the upper levels, reaches hundreds or thousands of people either directly (users) or indirectly (family, friends, coworkers or victims of the users crimes). Bank robbing also affects hundreds or thousands of people by causing financial insurance rates to go up nationwide, which is then passed on to the customers in general. Both of these crimes generally have a death that can be attributed to them, as well. They also cause taxes to be used to catch the criminal, bring them to trial and keep them in jail. This results in taxes being raised nationwide. (Oops! I just realized that the last sentence is true for all other crimes, so I may need to figure out how to keep a petty criminal from being sentenced to death along with the extreme criminals. It is very difficult to keep the levels separate, isn’t it?)

By instituting and enforcing these types of measures we can build a more stable society, reduce the number of crimes committed and a cause a major reduction of the number of prisons needed. Not to mention a reduction in the taxes required to run them all. The down side to this type of reduction is the loss of jobs available. That would be something to look into prior to implementing any sweeping legal changes.

Conversely, the taxes saved from not building and staffing prisons could go to building and staffing schools. The way things are going in this day and age, I am sure that many schools would be more than happy to accept security staff that was trained to handle criminals in most situations. What little training needed for the other situations wouldn’t take very long or cost near as much. Hmmmm….that would take care of the job issue, and would make it easier for the teachers and other staff members. Just think of how many workers that we would be able to move from prisons to schools. It would definitely increase the safety of our children.

My Apologies

To those of you that have allowed me into your lives, I ask your forgiveness and extend my apologies for not blogging over this past week.

It has not been a good week for me and mine. I have been dealing with an infected tooth, which, I am sure, some of you know what that feels like. We have also lost a very close friend of ours to liver failure at the age of 52 due to complications from cancer. On top of that, we lost a family member, who was in his late 60’s or early 70’s, due to complications from cancer. Both of whom developed these complications after the fact. This wouldn’t have been quite so hard on us, except that they both passed away within 12 hours of each other on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 (R.I.P.). We then found out the next day that my boyfriend’s nephew lost a very lucrative job with an oil company due to cutbacks. I am still looking for work, and just received the bill from the emergency room in the amount of $680. Add to that our upcoming bills for gas, electricity, plates for the jeep, car insurance and next month’s rent. I have also had to cancel my dental appointment due to a lack of funds. Which will most likely cause another trip to the emergency room for more antibiotics when the tooth infection flares up again.

On the plus side, we are all medically healthy, still have a home to live in, and I am going to start looking for work outside of my home, since I can’t find a decent paying job online that matches my skill level. Because of this, I will most likely be very sporadic with my blogs and hope that all of you will stick with me throughout this trying period of my life. It may take a while to get a routine down so that I can begin blogging on a regular basis again, but I will do my best to post at least once a week, hopefully more. Just don’t hold your breath on the “more” part.

I will understand if some of you no longer follow me during the next few months, but I do hope that you will continue to check back on occasion to see when I have posted something new. I also intend to post as many as I can, as often as I can, during the next few weeks. I have some ideas to blog about, but would appreciate all the ideas that you can come up with and are willing to pass on to me. The more controversial, the better. Just don’t get too angry if I take your ideas in a completely different direction than you expected.

Thank you for being you and accepting me.


Bullying – lived with it all my life. So what?

Bullying – The activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally. [It] is characterized by an individual behaving a certain way to gain power over another person. (15) via Wikipedia/definitions.


Echo Marie Grotz.

If you have a name like mine, then you know that I have had a very intimate relationship from day one with bullying. Not only in school, but in my life in general. As a child, prior to school, I was always told by adults that I had such a pretty name, and I was stupid enough to believe them. Then I started school and spent most of my recesses in the corner, crying because I hurt from what felt like a betrayal of my beliefs. As I got older, adults would still tell me that I had a pretty name, but I didn’t believe them anymore, thanks to bullying. I lost a lot of self-esteem which set me up for even more bullying. More years passed, and the bullying continued to grow more petty. My family was too poor, my clothes were cheap, my hair was to thin & flat, I had acne, my teeth were crooked, I wore braces, I wore a bra earlier than others, I had hips too early, I started my period too early, my nose was crooked, blah, blah, blah.

Finally, graduation put an end to all of the snarky little comments I had been hearing most of my life. Or so I thought. No longer did adults tell me how pretty my name was. Now the adults were the same age as me and still teasing me about it. Not only that, but people 5 or more years older than me teased me about my name. No matter where I moved to, or what job I had, teens and adults of all ages bullied me about my name. Even in the military, on my very first day, my drill sergeants bullied me over my name. It didn’t help that the 5th letter in the military phonetic alphabet is the same as my name. Many a time I thought about suicide. Many a time I thought about running away and disappearing into the wilderness, living away from “civilization”.

But you know what, I chose to stand my ground and make people accept that my name, family, etc. were facts of my life that I could not change or control. I let them know in no uncertain terms that all of their petty B.S. would no longer hurt my feelings just because they didn’t like something about me. I learned that by trying to change something about myself that others’ didn’t like just made things worse. For example, from 7th grade up to the beginning of my senior year in high school, I went by my middle name and my stepfather’s last name. Do you think that changed anything? No. It just made things worse. Even the teachers and other faculty made unsolicited comments, sometimes causing the bullies to expand their taunts as though they had permission via example.

I sit here, now in my 40’s, and watch as more and more kids, teens and college students, all across the world, either commit suicide or become local domestic terrorists because someone or a group of peers teased them or bullied them and I wonder what is happening in our society.  Is this some kind of societal implosion? Or, is it just the result of multiple factors showing that humans in general are not ready for the type of society that we have been trying to build over all of these years.

Here is how I see things.

1. There are just too damned many humans on the face of the world.

Now, having said that, I do not believe in killing a bunch of us off or implementing excessive birth control laws that only allow a small number of children to be born per couple. I do think that the day of overly large families is no longer necessary, and there should be some kind of common sense about how many children a couple should bring into this overcrowded world. And, I don’t think that religion has anything to do with it. Depending on what your religion is, your “maker” gave you the intelligence to know when too much is just too much. Be fruitful and multiply was ok thousands of years ago, but having more than 3 or 4 children is just flat out asinine in this day and age.

2. Lack of resources, jobs, & “adventure” for those already born.

Basically, this means that my 1st point has reduced the amount of food, housing, land, etc. available for each person. It has also reduced the amount of work available due to a reduction of funds available for education & training programs. As for the “adventure”, what I am talking about is the lack of an outlet for those of us that don’t want to or aren’t able to follow “normal” societal mores. These are the people who left the tribes and traveled hundreds and thousands of miles to set up their own societies. They are the people who enjoyed being the “1st” to set foot in a new place. They are the oddballs that usually are the ones that suffered from being bullied back in their old society. Humans are now spread out all across the globe. The few places that aren’t full of people can be seen and studied by modern technology. There are no more “new” places to see, unless you have mondo amounts of money and can fund undersea research or go into space. Not your typical option to the average person.

3. There are too many laws & restrictions on self-expression.

  1. “That dress is too short.”
  2. “Your pants hang too far down your butt.”
  3. “Don’t dye your hair such weird colors.”
  4. “Tattoos are for criminals.”
  5. “You’re not old enough for facial hair.”
  6. “Piercings are dangerous.”
  7. “Too much black clothing/makeup is a sign of depression (rebellion, devil worship, anarchy, etc.)”
  8. “Don’t show so much cleavage.”
  9. “Don’t wear too much make up.”

I am sure that there are many more where these came from, but you get my drift. These statements are made by parents, teachers, religious leaders, peers, fashion gurus and even governmental officials. All they are is another attempt at forcing people to conform to their idea of how we should live our lives. Which leads to our future generations learning that to be “different” is wrong. I personally feel that this is actually the foundation of bullying.

4. There are too many laws & restriction on behavior.

I don’t mean that we should let every jerk out there with a gun or knife go around killing or harming others. That is not conducive to a harmonious society. But, telling the parents of children that sometimes have difficulties sitting still in class that their child needs Ritalin, or some other mind killing or personality dulling drug, is just pure laziness. Doctors, teachers and modern parents just need to accept that children are children. None of us liked sitting still day in and day out in a dreary classroom being told what to do and how to do it for 13 years of our lives. We did not volunteer for that kind of treatment and were resentful of the loss of our childhood freedom. Think about it.

There were very few rules in your life before school. You were either with mom, dad or the babysitter each day and could go outside and play (in the summer) or run around the house (in winter), got to go for a ride when they did errands, went visiting family and friends on occasion, could change your mind about what you wanted to do and actually go do something else right then & there. All of that changed when you started school.

Granted, there are a lot of children that are capable of reigning in their impulses, mostly because they were trained at an early age the difference between yes/no and right/wrong. From what I am seeing nowadays, being able to train your under 6-year-old is no longer permitted, which is causing a lot of the behavioral problems right from the get go. (Discipline vs. Punishment Blog to come later.) Having a teacher that spends most of the time telling a few children to stop, pay attention, etc., takes away time from the other children. This can lead to more resentment and the belief that they can treat those particular children the same as the teacher. This also goes for families with multiple children and how the parents treat each child on an individual and group basis.

Other behaviors that we have a tendency to restrict are such things as the type of books our kids read, what kind of music they should listen to, what religion they should follow, what politics they should be into, what sports they play, what subjects they should study and above all else, how they fit in at school.

Being shy or quiet in group situations is not what I would consider abnormal behavior. What is abnormal is the treatment that kids like this get from those around them. Either they are completely ignored (peers and faculty) and made to feel that they are not wanted or they are told to suck it up and join the activities (parents, peers & faculty). It is not acceptable that some just want to observe those around them. As adults, we call this people watching and think that it is just fine. In teens and children we call it aberrant behavior. It is also not acceptable that these are most likely the kids that have been teased and embarrassed too much already and don’t feel welcome in group situations. Without some severe intervention on both sides of this equation, these children will have very difficult lives ahead of them. Still, very few will end up on a tower somewhere with a hunting rifle or will walk into a building full of people with a machine gun or bomb.

So (parents, teachers and so-called experts) get over it already. Learn what the child is like, accept them for who they are and let them live their lives with minimum harping.

The above 4 points that I have made are mostly about what I feel are some of the causes of bullying. The next group of points are what I feel might help to remedy bullying already in progress.

1. Accept that bullying happens. This does not make it right. I do NOT advocate it. I just accept that some people are bullies and some are victims of bullying. Once we accept that it happens, and that our precious baby is a bully or victim, then we can begin to do something about it. 

2. Grow a thick skin – metaphorically. Everyone is different. Everyone has things about themselves that they cannot change. Everyone is unique and needs to learn to accept that uniqueness for what it is. We need to accept the differences that we see in others. We also need to accept that it is ok for others to look, smell, sound, walk and think differently than we do. Most likely, the human race would die out if we were all the same out of sheer boredom and stagnation. No one would have traveled farther from the tribe than it took to get food. No one would have explored new territories. No one would have learned how to treat injuries or illnesses. No one would have done anything different from the previous generations. 

3. As scary as it is when you are the victim, stand up for yourself. Make a scene. Let everyone know that you are being harassed. Talk loudly about how sad it is that the only attention the person bullying you can get is fear. Fear does not equate respect. The bully needs to learn this. They should also learn that fear pushed too far can get them killed, along with those around them. 

4. When you see bullying in progress, grow a spine and stand up with the victim. If everyone in the area did this, then it wouldn’t just be you as a focus for the anger that prevention would cause in a bully. It would also let the bully know that their behavior is considered wrong by their peer group. We have all seen how peer pressure can lead to someone becoming a bully, usually against their better judgment, but very few kids and teens realize that peer pressure can make a bully change their own behavior. If you show that you don’t accept their behavior when they bully someone, but that you do accept their behavior when they are nice, the bully has a tendency to realize what will get him/her the real attention they were wanting. Sadly, this doesn’t always work due to other factors that may be involved. 

5. Stop trying to make multitudes of NEW laws to stop bullying. As with our gun laws, we have enough as it is. We just need to start enforcing them. We also need to increase the discipline end of our laws. As with the previous point, peer pressure and embarrassment works if done promptly, without malice and without leniency. Too many of our bullies grow up to be criminals that don’t worry about our justice system because they already know that it doesn’t work. Use such things as: so many swats on the butt in public, unpleasant public chores like cleaning up the sides of the roads, scrubbing dirty garbage dumpsters, shoveling snow, mowing public lawns, etc. on a long-term basis that takes up all of their spare time (but leaves them time for their schoolwork), wearing specific clothes marked appropriately during their entire term of discipline, have their crime and form of discipline announced on the radio, in the newspaper, posted in the school public areas, posted in public areas in town, posted on the internet and on television. No more of this crap that minors should be kept anonymous when they screw up. Since they are old enough to know right from wrong when they started school at the age of 5 or 6, then they are old enough to know better as they get older. Actions beget consequences. It is best to learn this at the earliest age possible. 

6. In the event of Cyber Bullying, have the authorities begin a reverse campaign about the bully’s activities on the internet and send it out to everyone that joined in. This is not necessarily a case of 2 wrongs making a right, but more along the lines of turning the tables. Let them know that the authorities know who they are. Advise them that doing this on the internet does not allow them to hide who they are. It is actually just the opposite. It makes it easier to document who they are, what they said and when they said it. It also does not make it ok just because it is not face to face. 

7. Don’t ignore a child that is claiming they were bullied or teased. Even worse, don’t mouth platitudes that do nothing but make the victim feel as though they are a weakling or incapable of determining their own feelings.  The worst thing ever said to me when I complained about being teased about my name was “You think you have it bad, you should have put up with what I went through when I was growing up.” All this did was make me feel that I was whining over nothing and that my problems weren’t worthy of complaint. Even if you had a hard life prior to the child’s situation, keep in mind that everyone is different and react differently to each situation. What might not be a big thing to you could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back to them.  Platitudes also have a tendency to show a form of hypocrisy that can cause the victim to lose their trust in the person or group they confided in. Investigate every incident brought to your attention. Determine who the bully is, who else knew about it (peers, friends, teachers, faculty, neighbors, siblings and others in the town), and what the parents of the victim & bully know about the situation. Make this information public along with the announcement of crime and discipline, and make those people work alongside the bully, as well. By forcing those around the bully to share in his/her embarrassment, you are telling them that allowing it to happen is not acceptable. In cases where parents truly did not have a clue (because they worked too many hours, the child behaved differently at home, or those in the know failed to bring it to their attention) of what was going on, the knowledge that this behavior was publicized should be discipline enough. Those parents that knew about or suspected, and chose to turn a blind eye to, their child’s behavior should also have to share in the child’s discipline. 

8. EDUCATE children & adults about what bullying is, how it causes problems in both short-term & long-term scenarios, how it affects not just the victim but also the bully and those in the community  that they live in. Educate early and often. Show them that hurting someone else’s feelings are just as bad as hurting them physically. Teach the adults that bullying can be a sign of an abusive personality that can escalate as the bully gets older. Teach everyone in the community what the signs of a bully and a victim are. There are very distinct differences between a bully and just an alpha personality. The bully usually isn’t very good at leadership qualities, being in charge of their group only because they refuse to allow anyone else to think for themselves, they tend to demand what they want instead of asking for it, they are bossy at home, pushy in public places and can get aggressive when driving. They also have a tendency to lose their cool if they are denied anything that they deem should be theirs. Victims lose interest in going to public places such as school, work, the store, the park or local hangouts. They have a tendency to retreat from everyone around them in such a manner that it is noticeably different from those who are just shy. They no longer enjoy talking about their day or what their weekend plans may be. They tend to get upset easily when asked to do something that is mildly unpleasant, such as taking out the garbage or doing the dishes, especially if you have to tell them multiple times and get frustrated with their lack of response and enthusiasm. They are very sensitive to changes in tone of voice. Even when it is only a perceived change.

Some of the above possibilities have a very good chance of being implemented. But I don’t think that they will be enforced in such a way as to actually do anything about bullying except to salve the minds of those in charge. They will do just enough to let them feel that they are actually making a difference even though nothing ever truly gets done. It will also let them justify to their constituents “that they are on the job and took a stand”. Whoopty doo da day! Goody for them.

In the meantime, please keep in mind that bullying happens every day. It is not just a school problem. It can happen in neighborhoods, at the store, on the roadways, at daycare centers, in the military, on the job and sadly enough in the local church. Yes, even religious persons can descend into bullying those around them. Taken far enough, bullying can become classified as extremist  or even terrorist behavior.

Thank you for allowing me to rant. I will step down off my soapbox now. Until the next time…heehee.

Are you ready for some football???

Every year we celebrate the children returning to school. No more High C Soprano screams in the neighborhood.  No more loud cars and stereos vibrating their way past your house all day long. You can justify keeping that irritating bumper rider at a sedate 20 mph for the next 4 or 5 blocks.

Then you come home, turn on the TV, and BLAM!, the first game of the season smacks you in the face.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for sports.  They help keep people active, healthy and outdoors.  They allow college scholarships for high school athletes, create an incredible amount of job opportunities from grade school scrambles on up to professional teams, and give the financially disadvantaged child the knowledge that they can make their dreams happen. They also keep the older crowds’ metabolism up with all of the jumping, yelling, finger-pointing, bleacher coaching and couch crunching going on each year.

So, there you are, staring in dread at the screen. Your brain shuts down for just the tiniest moment before going in to football overdrive.  How many games will I have to host?  Who all will be coming? Will it be for the kids or the adults?  How many snack foods will be needed?  Has the carpet shampooer been serviced? Who was that party planner I met the other day (now I know why she was smirking)? Where did I put her card? Will the dog get over-excited  and make a mess on the neighbors lap? Will I survive till March?

As these questions, and many others, run through your mind, you take a deep breath and let it out. You take another deep, deep breath and slowly let it out. You stand up and find yourself vowing to the Lord (and any other deities that might exist) that you will not allow yourself to be stranded in the kitchen this year because you don’t know anything about football. You are going to learn everything there is to know about things like “offense”, “defense”, “special teams” and the different positions in each one. You will learn what the actual rules are, because you will be a member of the group. No more asking “what does that mean?” or “why do they do that?” and “when will the game be over?”

Then we realize that we left it too long. Our day-to-day routines have left little time to sit down and decipher the foreign language of “rules & regulations”, “playbooks” and intra-team lingo. We slowly lower our fist, let our shoulders droop and shuffle into the kitchen to begin making dinner.  As we sit down to an indifferently cooked meal, we listen to the excited chatter from around the table. Football…………………

Isn’t it just ducky?

Hi. My name is Echo & I am a football widow. 

The man I love has suddenly become the world’s greatest coach. Everything his chosen team, the opposing team and the referees do is wrong. The refs will make all the wrong calls at all the worst possible moments. Defense will not sack the quarterback, tackle the running back or wide receiver, pick up the fumble or block the field goal. Yet again, the offense will fail to block the defense, drop the ball, throw for negative yards or step out-of-bounds at the wrong time.  My personal favorite is when they throw the short pass to the side and get tackled behind the line of scrimmage.  Oh, how he starts to bounce in his chair, as though he was Skip from ESPN’s First Take, which is pretty impressive since he is in a wheelchair.  Every year I wonder if we will have to replace it after each game. Luckily, they make them very sturdy these days.

As football widows, we get to sit and listen (during the game) to how that play should have been done, why that ref is blind, where that particular WR should be sent (because he is so slow, clumsy, fast, etc.) and whether or not the QB should be benched for such poor decisions. After the game, we get to listen to a play by play breakdown between him and his friends. Each play is dissected down to its individual foot movement, arm movement and body position. Friends that were unable to be here are called and the whole game rehashed over the phone. The debates go on and on. Usually, they last longer than the game did. You hear it at the office, in the parking lot and in the grocery stores. Finally, we only hear only the occasional comment. That is, until the next game (usually the next day, or on the next channel, depending on your cable package).

Whatever happened to football on Sundays and holidays? When did it become a daily ritual to go through the TV guide searching for each & every game time?  How did my home become the coaches’ box multiple times a day? How did we get transported continuously to exotic places like Denver, Indianapolis and other states? Who realized that college football would be as addictive as the NFL?

For almost every day of the week, for the rest of the year, we will be watching & listening. Trying to learn & understand what it is we are hearing. As we listen, we think that we are actually learning something about that game called “Football”. That all-encompassing, illusive sport that sucks our men’s attention away from “normal” life. We think to ourselves “I am really going to be able to join the group this year.”

It never occurs to us that we think the exact same thought every year. And every year, we go through the same process. From preseason to post season, we hold tight to that vow we made. The refrain “Never Again” echoes through the minds of football widows across the world. Never admitting to ourselves that when post season is over we will go back to the mundane routine that interfered with learning about football in the first place.

Football widows are so naïve…………….

……..My dog is in here cowering. I think she is of the opinion that “daddy” is mad at her.  If she could just figure out how to get into that little box, onto the field and chase those “idiots” in the right direction then “daddy” would stop yelling.  She is such a sweet, loyal, misguided, naïve little puppy.  You would think that she would have learned, after 8 ½ years, that this happens every year.

She is a football widow also.