Archive for July, 2012

Crayola Silly Scents By Crayonsman (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

Crayola Silly Scents By Crayonsman (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

They like
to eat crayons.

No matter what I do
to stop them.

A green one here.
A red one there.

A few blue ones
for variety.

They seem
to like yellow,
but never pink.

An occasional purple
seems good, too.

My dogs
they like
to eat crayons.

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A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Berea, Ohio

A Bully Free Zone sign – School in Berea, Ohio By Eddie~S (Bully Free Zone Uploaded by Doktory) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

So, CNN is featuring a video of a girl who got plastic surgery to “fix” her problems because she’d been getting bullied since the 1st grade because of how she looked.  She was 10 the first time she asked her mom for the plastic surgery “to stop the bullying.”  Her mom found an organization online – “Little Baby Face Foundation.”  They flew her and her mom out there, and the doctor decided that she needed more than her problem area (her ears) fixed – he wanted to do her chin, too, because it was “too square.” 

Now, I have no problem with the fact that he wanted to fix her nose – her septum was completely deviated, and she stated after the surgery that she felt better physically because she was breathing better.  That, admittedly, is an important fix. 

But the fact that the doctor suggested the other changes because once her ears would be pinned back, her other problems would be more noticeable, and he wanted to “balance her features” tells me this is more about appearance and giving in to others’ perception of what we should be rather than what we are. 

I do want to note: There’s a difference between some of what is shown on the Little Baby Face Foundation’s website and the “problems” they fixed for the girl.  They show true deformities – microtia and other issues that causing hearing loss that can be fixed with surgery, cleft lip and cleft palate, and facial palsy.  These are true physical deformities, and ones that cause physical issues – unable to speak properly, inability to move portions of the face…  These are true problems that need to be fixed. 

Being bullied is not a reason to change.  Because, let’s be very honest, a bully is always going to find something to bully someone about.  The fact she had surgery, all by itself, is something she can be bullied about.  Talk about giving in to peer pressure!  And peer pressure from people who obviously have never been taught respect for others, compassion, or empathy.

But it goes further than that.  Is there an organization out there to provide money to people who are bullied for wearing the wrong clothes?  What about an organization to teach smart kids to act stupid in order to avoid being bullied for being “too smart”?  Do we really need to create a world where we force people to change to be more acceptable to the masses of asses?  (Why do I have that song by L7 running through my head?)  

Maybe my opinion here is being informed by personal experience.  I was bullied for more than five years in grade school.  I was in a Catholic school.  I have no idea why I was picked for bullying.  I had been popular in public school, but when my sister and I were moved to private school, the bullying began.  Did the other kids know that we weren’t as rich as them?  Did they mind that I didn’t care if they were my friends? (Even when I was popular, I still was a bit of a loner and was happy to have only a few friends…)  Did they resent the fact that I came in and went into the “A” group with the smart kids? (Aside – what educators really think it’s a good idea to have an “A” and “B” group with the smart kids being in the “A” group?  Why not just say, “Hey, you kids are stupid, so you’ll never get an “A” in your life, including the name of the classes you’re in!”) 

I also have what some might consider a physical deformity.  I consider it one.  I had severe acne and have fairly severe scarring now.  Do I consider plastic surgery at times to “correct” it?  Yes.  Do I ever get it?  No.  Why?  Because I don’t mind the scarring.  Sure, maybe I think I’d look better without it.  But it doesn’t interfere with my functioning, any more than this girl’s ears interfered with hers.  I do think that maybe I’d have more success with certain parts of my life with this problem “fixed,” but I know that to do so would be to give in to social pressure to conform to an image that isn’t me.  Why should I be forced to change who I am just to make other people happy?

I’d like to close this with something my father taught me many, many years ago.  Probably the best advice he’s ever given me.  Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.

Image 	Michael Holley's Home Computer in 1978. The items in the photo are a Southwest Technical Products 6800 computer with 36k of memory, dual mini floppies, a Hazeltine 1500 video terminal, and a Trendata1000 Selectric printing terminal. The small box on the disk drive is a homebrew 300 baud modem.  This photograph appeared on the front page of the July 1978 issue of the Northwest Computer Club News.

Michael Holley’s Home Computer in 1978. The items in the photo are a Southwest Technical Products 6800 computer with 36k of memory, dual mini floppies, a Hazeltine 1500 video terminal, and a Trendata1000 Selectric printing terminal. The small box on the disk drive is a homebrew 300 baud modem.
This photograph appeared on the front page of the July 1978 issue of the Northwest Computer Club

The little light
Shows it’s ready
Goes flash flash flash
But the Internet does not appear

The technician on the line
Asks me
If it’s been turned on and off and on
It has
But the Internet does not appear

I am transferred,
Upgraded in level
Asked if it’s been turned on and off and on
It has
But [again] the Internet does not appear

The new technician on the line
Asks me
If I can check the co-ax cable
It is fine
But the Internet does not appear

The little light
Still shows ready
Goes flash flash flash
But the Internet does not appear

The technician on the line
Tells me
Someone will come by sooner or later or sooner
They will
But the Internet does not appear

I wait all day
They finally appear
Ask if it’s been turned on and off and on
It has
But [again] the Internet does not appear

I call a new technician on the line
Tell him
I am placing my order
It will be DSL
So that the Internet can appear

Arundel Castle, UK, on a Sunny October Afternoon By Farwestern Photo by Gregg M. Erickson (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Arundel Castle, UK, on a Sunny October Afternoon By Farwestern Photo by Gregg M. Erickson (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I recently purchased some Legos from the Toys R Us website, and they were kind enough to send me an email, introducing me to a “New Way To Save.”

Here’s part of the email:

“How do you do it? You want your kids to have the latest and greatest, but you have a budget to stick to. We understand, which is why we’re inviting you to join Little Rue today.

Little Rue is your destination for private sale boutiques on the most-wanted kids’ brands up to 80% off.

Get discounts on brands like:
Puma
Brooks Brothers
Calvin Klein
Sorel

… and more.”

Brooks Brothers?  Puma? Calvin Klein? 

Okay, maybe I have to admit now that I’m out of the loop.  I haven’t even heard of Sorel (is that a brand of clothes? Shoes? Breakfast cereal?).  But I am still shocked that apparently these are the “most-wanted kids’ brands.” 

What children dress in Brooks Brothers?  Besides Alex P. Keaton, of course.  (Showing my age, showing my age, how embarrassing!)

Another part of my shock and awe might be that my son doesn’t care what he wears.  I went to the outlet mall and came back with some t-shirts for him.  Does he care that they’re from Old Navy and Gap?  Nope.  Do I?  Nope.  I just know that they looked cool and were reasonably priced.  (Hey, if I can get a new t-shirt at Goodwill prices, I’d be an idiot to turn it down.)

Anyway, I think that Toys R Us might have missed their market with me.  I won’t be checking out any of their amazing sales anytime soon…

Image from the backscatter advanced imaging technology (AIT) machine used by the TSA to screen passengers. This is what the remote TSA agent would see on their screen. By US Transportation Security Administration part of U.S. Department of Homeland Security [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Image from the backscatter advanced imaging technology (AIT) machine used by the TSA to screen passengers. This is what the remote TSA agent would see on their screen.
By US Transportation Security Administration part of U.S. Department of Homeland Security [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’m finally in tune with a judgment made about free speech.  Too many times, it’s restricted or otherwise cut in the name of “safety,” especially when it comes to airports.

But on July 19, a man in Oregon was cleared of indecent exposure charges after he’d gotten naked to go through a security checkpoint when a judge decreed that it did, indeed, count as free speech because it was being done as a protest.

The man had been going through security and didn’t want to go through the “nude scanner” so he opted for a pat-down.  The security guard who did the pat-down found traces of nitrates on his gloves after the pat-down.  At that point, the man was so frustrated that he decided that the whole thing had moved beyond absurd and that, since they wanted to see him “naked,” he might as well go whole hog and stripped off and went through the checkpoint.

The judge determined that it was protest, and that the charges would have punished him for “speaking,” so they were dropped.

This is a great reminder that the TSA cannot restrict free speech (as long as it’s not threatening).  If you fly, you’re welcome to wear slogans on shirts or even put them on your bag.  So copying out the Fourth Amendment, as one flier did, is legal, as long as you don’t do it in a threatening way.  Even so, I would personally expect them to try to file charges and need to fight it.

By HerAlc, cropped by Stomme (Image:Lab 012.jpg -) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By HerAlc, cropped by Stomme (Image:Lab 012.jpg -) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Huffington Post had an interesting article about a brilliant high school principal in Pennsylvania that was busted sending texts and emails about a special needs (bipolar) student.  In these messages, he called the student a “psychopath,” noted that he thought the student might turn into another “Hinckley, Booth, and Oswald,” said that student was “the biggest accident waiting to happen,” and said he thought the student was, “the inspiration for the CSI show on school killing sprees.” 

In response to these obviously offensive and completely inappropriate comments, he was suspended for investigation, but then the school board went ahead and reinstated him (a 6 to 3 vote), but noted that he is no longer allowed to work with the school’s special needs students.

Okay, so let’s think about this.

 The guy isn’t bright enough to know that everything he says about students is available through the open records act.  Yet he’s bright enough to run a school?  Somehow, me thinks he’s too stupid to be in charge of that school.  Especially with those types of comments.  (And the fact that the reason he was caught was that he sent the text during a meeting with the student and the student’s parent!)

Next up – he’s allowed to be the principal, but he can’t work with special needs students.  Hello?  That’s like saying, hey, I know you molested an 8 year old, so you don’t get to work with any more 8 year olds.  But go ahead and keep on working at an elementary school.  The guy has proven he is not appropriate to work with part of the student body, why keep him?  And the fact that this kid is now going to school knowing that his (or her – student not identified) principal thinks that he/she is crazy.  Wow.  That’ll make him/her feel great about school!  And the fact that the board doesn’t care about him/her is going to make him/her feel great, too. 

Why do we excuse behavior when it comes from adults who should know better?  Especially when it makes the kids suffer?  If I was in that town, I’d be looking forward to the elections to get rid of those six school board members…

Scrapbook Materials By Bastet985 (

Scrapbook Materials By Bastet985 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

 I’m not crafty.  I crochet.  I knit.  I cross-stitch.  But I’m not very good at any of it.  Once, when I was a girl scout, I made some candles out of wax and ice and a wick and probably some other stuff I don’t remember.  I’m guessing I did other crafty stuff, but I didn’t last very long in the girl scouts, and I refuse to say whether or not those popsicle-stick and glue sculptures had anything to do with it.

But while I may do some of those crafty things, and while I might even enjoy some of them, I have never understood the current “crafty” movement that takes up aisles and aisles of crafty stores.  Scrapbooking.

There are websites out the wazoo.  Specialty shops.  Groups that meet in the library.  Pinterest, for Christ’s sake!

So why do I care about it?  Why am I even bringing it up and wasting my time writing about (and you’re wasting your time reading about it)?

Because I have a friend.  Yes, a real, honest to god friend (not me! I swear it to god, Stewart!), who scrapbooks.  She wanted to find some stickers to go in her scrapbook about her trip to San Francisco.  She’d gotten pictures and all sorts of souvenirs at Ghirardelli Chocolate.  She wanted to make a page to remember the chocolate.

Okay, maybe I don’t understand.  I don’t know why anyone wants to make a page of scraps in a book.  But she discovered, when she began to look at the multitude of sticker options, that she could not find any of chocolate.  There are fruit stickers.  Candy stickers.  All manner and assorted sundry of food.  But nothing that’s just chocolate.  And she *needs* chocolate stickers for those pages.

I decided I’d help.  It’s a friend, right?  A friend in need and all that clap trap.  So I began searching, when I went to buy my cross stitch goodies or anything else that falls on my craptastic crafty spectrum, for those stickers.  And as I wandered up and down the aisles of Target, Wal-Mart, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, the Dollar Tree, or anywhere else that I thought might possibly have her stickers, I found that, well, I couldn’t find them.  There may be a chocolate sticker here or there as part of a larger set of “dessert” stickers or “cake” stickers, but there is nothing I can find that is just chocolates.

Now for the sad part.  I love the stickers.  They’re pretty.  They’re funny.  They have words and images that make me want them.  I don’t know why.  I have no idea what to do with them.  I guess I’d put them in a stack and look at them.  Or maybe I’d put them in a book, but without the pictures and accompanying paraphernalia.  Because really, why would you put them all together in a scrapbook?

Oh, but if anyone happens across some chocolate-based stickers, I have a friend who can really use them…