Today I saw a sign being shared that was originally from an Episcopal church. People commented on it about how great it was, how it was all about love, and how this is what Jesus meant.
I call bullshit.
A massive, steaming pile of fresh, fly-attracting bullshit.
A field full of massive, steaming piles of fresh, fly-attracting bullshit.
I don’t love you.
I don’t have to love you.
Love is like respect.
You try to love and respect people when you meet them.
You try to assume the best in them.
You try to believe that the love and respect will be reciprocated, that there is a level of parity that is reached, and that there will be a mutual response.
When that doesn’t happen – when that person makes it clear that they want to oppress you, deny you your rights, imprison you, and, yes, even kill you simply because of who you are at your fundamental core…
I do not have to love that person.
You do not have to love that person.
Loving that person is allowing them to continue with their messages of hatred.
Loving that person is being complicit in their hate and anger and behavior.
Loving that person is agreeing that it is okay to discriminate
I’m terrified of spiders. Not shocking news, especially for anyone who reads this blog or knows me in real life.
What I’m not terrified of is lizards.
I love lizards.
I love them so, so, so much.
I love them so much that whenever I find their little desiccated corpses which means that one of them was brutally kitty-murdered, I’m super sad as I toss it into the trash. (Which doesn’t sound like I’m that sad, but, honestly, what else can you do with a little lizard corpse?)
So when the blinds in the living rooms shifted, I almost freaked out and ran away. Then I spotted a green tail sticking out. A second later, a green head popped out.
A lizard in the house…with the murdering kitties. And, to be fair, puppies. The puppies don’t catch them as often, but I do know that a certain puppy quite enjoys the hunt and is happy when she manages a kill.
I had to rescue it before it began kitty – or puppy – chow.
The problem with the lizards we have around are that they are fast, and they don’t like to be captured. If you foolishly try to grab them, they drop their tail and make a break for it while you have that completely natural reaction of “oh my god, there’s a part of a lizard in my hand!”
This time, though, I had a cunning plan.
Waiting to get put back up above the cabinets was a Halloween candy container that had a lid.
I could totally catch this lizard and save him.
The only problem was that he didn’t want me to.
I don’t think that it was because he enjoyed hiding the slats of the blinds – although, since I’m not a lizard, perhaps that’s actually some sort of spa-like experience for them, and he thought I was ruining his perfectly enjoyable afternoon.
I made a few ill-advised attempts to get him to jump into the container.
Hint: lizards do jump, but not into clear containers.
Instead, he jumped down to the window ledge or jumped back up into the blinds.
I knew I only had a few more chances before he would drop to the floor, hide under some furniture, and become kibble for one of the animals in the house.
“Get in the bucket! It will save you!” I told him.
“You’ll die! You’ll die!” Which, if he understood English, he might have taken as a threat.
I don’t think I suddenly convinced him with my yelling. I think he probably just ran out of options since I had been forcing him downward until the container was between him and the floor.
He jumped into the container.
“I have saved you, lizard!” I yelled at him as I rested the lid on top. I didn’t want to push it down – if he had been too close, I might have killed him, which would have made the entire ten minutes I’d spent on saving him into a wasted ten minutes instead of ten minutes that made me a hero.
I brought him outside onto the back porch, which meant the dogs wanted to come along, too. To try to keep him saved, I put the container down on a chair, above the dogs’ easy reach, and opened it.
He looked up at me.
He looked up at me.
“Get out of the bucket!”
He looked up at me.
“Let me rescue you!”
He still hadn’t gotten out of the bucket. I began to suspect that perhaps we had bonded, and now he didn’t want to leave me. I couldn’t blame him. I mean, who would want to leave me, especially after I saved their life?
But I knew it was best for him to rejoin nature.
I grabbed the bucket and tried to slide him out.
I guess lizards have super amazing pads on their feet because he didn’t slide. He stuck to the plastic side of the container. He didn’t budge.
“Don’t make me hurt you!” I said.
“Don’t fight it!”
Even as I slid the lizard to his outdoor fate, I couldn’t help but think of a particular episode of “Better Off Ted.” I couldn’t make the lizard watch it – he wouldn’t understand it, plus, having been forced from the container, he’d made a break for it, and I’d already lost him.
So here it is – for you – part of “The Great Repression”
I’m used to mosquito swarms during summer, even the end of summer, especially when it’s been especially wet and rainy, like it is right now. But this is not the normal level of swarms.
They swarm the front door, turning it from its usual not-so-clean white to a mottled grey with moving bits.
They swarm into the car the minute I open the door to get in. (And then I’m in the situation of not crashing the car trying to swat at a bug, which, of course, I would never ever do, but, for argument’s sake, let’s say I did, and let’s say that I believe the wasp in the car died when I hit the telephone pole, so it was sort of an even trade: the front end of the VW for a vicious little bastard of a wasp.)
They swarm me the minute I sit on the back porch. I wind up not being able to do anything, including just sitting there and watching the dogs run around or listening to nothing, because I spend every second swatting them away, and I still get covered in bites.
There is a bit of joy in the situation, though. There’s nothing like the feeling when you get revenge on one for landing on you. But by then, it’s probably already bitten you, so that revenge is tempered by the fact that there’s often a little splot of blood when you kill it. The blood that splots out might be yours (gross! Bloodsucking bastard!), or, even worse, someone else they bit before they bit you (extra gross! You bastard whore of a mosquito!).
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hate mosquitos. I hate them very, very, very, very, very much. But not as much as I hate Trump. So there’s that.
And for your viewing pleasure – the In-Laws from 1979! Peter Falk’s description of tsetse flies is what I think of when I see our current mosquito swarms…
Yes, you. The mom with the stroller. Or maybe the soon-to-be-mom with the bun-in-the-oven look going on.
Wait, who the hell called it a bun in the oven? What kinds of buns do you have that get so big that they distort the oven itself and then burst free? I don’t think I ever want to eat at your house.
Anyway, yes, you! The one who either has children in strollers, a fetus that is currently acting as a parasite and destroying your body in ways that it will never recover from, or both.
I stole your parking spot.
First off, though, let’s be fair: it’s kind of weird that the library made *that* it’s go-to rallying cry that got two marked spots right up front by the door.
I mean, I know that there are a billion kid events, especially over the summer, but don’t pop ‘em out if you can’t bundle them up and drag them screaming into the library.
Please note: I didn’t specify if they were screaming out of joy or misery. I think that’s pretty dependent on the event, the kid, and a whole bunch of other kid factors, including whether or not they were able to share the dog’s food in the morning.
Second, if you’re going to put them there, then why right there? I mean, they’re next to the accessible spots. Do you honestly believe that anyone with a disability wants to deal with your screaming kids?
Again, no blame for why they’re screaming. Just saying that it’s a distinct possibility that they will be screaming.
Third, first come first serve, bitches. If I’m there, and if that spot is open, I have every right to it. There is no fine. There is no real reservation. Just a “please kindly listen to the sign,” which, being from New Jersey, I have absolutely no respect for.
Fourth, well, my fourth reason is my real reason.
There was a single accessible spot left, but there were two mother spots.
We have an accessible tag in the car for my son – he has disabilities, and while they are not physical, they do affect our ability to function in a parking lot at times. Like lately, with all the weather we’ve had moving in, the skies are filled with seagulls. And for reasons I don’t understand, the parking lots and skies are also filled with grackles. Big ass, bitchy ass, annoying ass grackles. They sit on cars, swoop down low, and even hide in the bushes.
And that’s the problem.
Simon is pretty much straight out terrified of them. If you’ve read my blogs over at Not So Simple Simon, you’ll see that he cannot handle birds when they are in quantity or when they seemingly threaten him.
So, back to the point: there were two mother spots, and one accessible spot.
I took the mother spot.
Come at me, bro. Just not with your screaming kids.
I’m a mercenary. I want to be paid to do things, and I’ll do a number of things to get paid.
One of the things I do is write content for various online sites. A lot of them are kind of wonky in how you get paid – page views, sales through Amazon affiliate links, all that kind of good stuff.
I thought I might add to my current sites, so I wandered around the interwebs, and I came across “Vocal.”
Interesting place, I thought. There seem to be a lot of users and a lot of user generated content. It seems to be good content, too. Stuff that will draw in readers.
Maybe I should sign up!
But then…I did what you should do. I read the fine print.
By transmitting User Content on or through the Services, you grant the Company a nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, fully paid, assignable, transferable, sublicensable license to use, reproduce, store, modify, edit (e.g., fixing typos, making editorial changes), truncate, aggregate, display, perform, distribute, prepare derivative works based on, and transmit such User Content, in any medium that now exists or may arise in the future, and otherwise exploit your User Content (including, but not limited to, use of your name in association with your User Content to identify you as the “Creator”) in connection with the Services and the Company’s (and our successors’ and assigns’) businesses, including after your termination of your account or the Services, and you waive any and all moral rights and publicity rights in such User Content. You represent that you have all of the necessary rights to grant this license to the Company for all of your User Content, and that such license is granted without infringement or violation of any third party rights, including without limitation, any privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, trademarks, contract rights, or any other intellectual property or proprietary rights. You agree that this license includes the right for other users of the Services to access and use your User Content, subject to our terms and conditions regarding such use and the right for the Company to allow its third party business partners (including social media services) to use your User Content and that this license has no restriction as to the medium, dissemination method, type of services the Company or its business partners may offer, or the type of systems or products that may be used in conjunction with your User Content.”
What does that mean?
You might “own” your content, but they can do whatever they feel like with it forever and ever, amen.
“You may be paid for user engagement with certain User Content that you submit to the Site. The Company determines amounts payable to users derived from User Content based on proprietary algorithms developed by the Company and subject to change in the Company’s sole discretion, without notice to the User. Generally, the algorithms measure and assign weight to such user engagement metrics as popularity of the content with visitors as measured by number of unique visitors; visitors’ interaction with the content; amount of time spent by visitors on the page; and shares on social media. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Company reserves the right to modify its algorithm at any time, which may result in decreased revenue to users for similar content, and to suspend monetization program altogether.”
So, let’s review, shall we?
You own your work, but they can use it as much as they want, however they want, in perpetuity, and you have no say over any of it.
That sounds fair.
And you get paid, but they figure out how much they pay you, unless they decide to stop paying you, and they can’t actually tell you exactly how they figure out how much they pay you.
Another totally fair aspect of writing for them.
Now, maybe I’m being harsh, and maybe you think that you’re digging this place and going to write for them.
Clearly, this one is not right for me: I don’t want people to use my stuff ad infinitum without having to pay me or get my approval to change and use, and I really don’t want them to stop paying me just because they don’t want to pay me.
But if you like them? Cool.
I will never tell someone that they should only write for money or that they should only write for free. As a writer, it is up to you to decide what you want for what you do. You have your reasons, and I’ll stay in my lane and let you make your own decisions.