Monday, December 30, 2013

Gotta Catch'em All

If you hadn't seen your grown son for near a year, and then he suddenly got leave from the Navy to fly in for almost two weeks, would you post on your blog?

Fine, YOU would.  I didn't.  But now I am and I'm pleased to announce that the Navy Manchild has grown a mustache.

He tells us that his mustache outranks other Navy mustaches and that less full mustaches have to defer to his.  It's as good of a reason as any to be grateful for the hairy genetics I've passed down to him.  The good thing is that the Navy won't allow him to grow that mustache down his neck and around his nipples.

Instead of blog posts, we put up a Christmas tree before Christmas Eve.  I tied a quilt.  We ate food.  We baked.  We figured out which cat pooped in my son's luggage.  In general, we stayed home and allowed the family togetherness to unfold.

One of these Christmas cookies is not like the others...
Then it was off into Utah County, where we find the Absent Minded annual tradition of quotes from my extended family's togetherness.  When it unfolds, it's best to keep some Wetnaps handy.
"You guys are perverts!"
- My Jill, my little sister, who asked my parents if they had christened their newly re-upholstered loveseat and my Mom only giggled. in response.

"What did you get me Brian? My undying's what I got you!"
- Justin, my husband, fishing for gifts from Jill's husband.

"I'll be refigifting that..."
- Brian's response. Might as well regift such a cheesy present.  Justin obviously regifted it from me.  I'm wondering where my undying devotion will finally end up.

"Now we can send Mom zit popping videos!"
- Becky, The Absent Minded Housewife, delighted that my Dad got my mom her very first computer for Christmas. Then we all got on our phones to search YouTube.

"Wait, I will I need to block my Mom on Facebook?"
- Me again, realizing exactly what my Mom getting an internet connection means. It means she's the one that's going to post zit popping videos.

"It's like sticking your hand down your pants, ain't it?"
- Seth, my heavily bearded nephew, who allowed me to run my hands through his facial hair.  He's Duck Dynastied his facial hair down his neck and around his nipples.

If  you recall, last year I asked to sniff his beard...


"It's the smell that makes it interesting."
- Jackson, my sister's 8 year old son, who did indeed remember who asked to smell whose beards.

" don't know how to get in the lake...they traded that?...NFE...Togepi..."
- Kaelan, the Navy Manchild and my nephew Taylor's boyfriend, Jayden, hovering over a Nintendo 3DS for at least an hour, discussing Pokémon in the same tones as you'd discuss Tea Party politics.
"You get one whether you want one or not!"
My husband's Aunt Dianne, informing her mother, my mother in law, that there will be an open house to celebrate her 90th birthday next month.

Well, my readers and other hangers on, that's all I remember.  I hope you've all had blessed holidays and I hope that 2014 kicks ass instead of kicking our asses.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Kevans mom has got it going on...

Last week, my Navy Manchild let me know that he'd sent the link to this blog to some of his friends.

Oooh boy!  New demographics!

Hello youngsters.  Welcome!  I'm glad you've taken a moment away from gaming and the Myspaces and the Twitters and the Pr0n to show up here. 

(I remember when you had to sneak that stuff out of a mildewing box in the basement of a friend of a friend's house.  When you were grossed out, or someone yelled down the stairs at you,  you were careful to put it back just exactly how you found it.) kid...I grew him with my body and stuff.  He is the cause of most of my stretch marks.  He's the lucky firstborn that had his birth video taped for posterity.  Do those cheapo VHS transfer thingies work?  I'm considering digitizing that particular home movie to keep the memory alive and maybe post it for a source of YouTube income.  Right now the tape is up in the attic generating no money at all and that's just a shame.

There is also a VHS copy of Richard Simmons Sweatin' to the Oldies in that box.  Better not find any of you sneaking into my attic with a VCR.  That's a disgusting habit.

At this point in the post you might have expected that I would be telling a few embarrassing stories about my son's growing up years.  As much as I'm tempted, I'm not going to.  He can tell his own embarrassing stories.  Extra points if he can tell them in 140 characters or less #underpants #feminine hygiene products aren't bandaids #swearing in front of grandma.

Instead, have one of mine. 

It's G rated!


Read it anyway.

Then you can go back to playing Farmville, or whatever it is you do on the internets.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Mid-evening Minutia XVII

Loading up on the probiotics are a necessary consequence of eating too many white rolls, too much sausage stuffing, too much macaroni and cheese, too much gravy, too much Velveeta covered broccoli and too much pecan pie.

Thanksgiving shoppers suck.  Black Friday shoppers suck a little bit less, but only a little bit.  Shopping in hardware stores on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in Utah is a blessed event.  There was a bathroom vanity and a can of primer with my name on them. 

Gorging on whole TV series on Netflix is the right thing to do unless you're gorging on Ghost Whisperer.  I feel horrible but I cannot stop!

The Walking Dead mid-season finale wasn't right.  It wasn't right at all. 

I've adopted another cat.  He's a ten year old sweetie who I think I'll call Baxter, unless I can think of something that fits his big cute face that's a little more crude. 

My current cats are sulking.  Even to the point that one cat wouldn't come out from under the bed for kitty treats when his whole life up to that point has been all about the kitty treats.

My Navy Manchild spent his first Thanksgiving away from home as a guest of a Navy family in Virginia.  He tried new food.  This is monumental!

Sitting next to the ultimate Hunger Games fan during her 16th viewing of Catching Fire doesn't make the plot of the movie any more dynamic.  She found all the book references hilarious and mouthed the dialog.  I'm allowed to make fun of this lady...I have three cats.

Increasing my intake of vegetables over the last two months has resulted in the loss of twelve pounds and my boobs.

James Franco and Seth Rogen are now on my celebrity crush list but only as a pair.  Separately they don't do much for me.

This year I'm hoping to get up my Christmas tree before December 22nd.  And down before Valentine's Day.  It's setting the bar high but I can jump.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Get a job!

Today, when I was picking up my eight year old son after school, he informed me that I wasn't in charge of his life.

This statement came out of the blue.  My son opened the van door, sat his butt in the seat, had an Oprah ah-ha! moment and happily demoted me in my role as parent.

So I laughed.  More ridiculous things have happened in my van.

There my son was sitting, looking like he has some brains in his head because he wears these thick glasses, thinking that he could tell me to not tell him what to do anymore.

I asked him if he was 18 yet.  He said he wasn't.
I asked him if he had graduated high school yet.  He said no.
I asked him if he had a job.  He said he didn't.
I asked him if he had his own house and paid any bills.  He said, "Mom, get to the point already!"

Yeah, that sentence started in his brain and came out of his mouth while he was sitting there wearing those glasses.

The point is, my son, issue of my loins, that for as long as there have been parents, those parents have had the right to tell their offspring what to do until they grow up.  Or until they stop being children.  Whatever comes first.

As an example, I let him know that I no longer tell his oldest brother, my almost 20 year old who is in Navy, what to do.  Do I care if he eats his vegetables?  Yes, but I can't tell him to eat them.  I care if he showers regularly, says please and thank you, doesn't spend all his money on candy, and is a gentleman with girls...but I can't enforce any of this.  He gets to choose to do what he will...the consequences are all his.  Nowadays parenthood with him consists of passing back and forth Cheezburger links and getting used to my boy using the occasional exceptionally crude word.

Then I laid some science on my kid.  Parents get to guide their children with varying degrees of tell-you-what-to-do-ness based on their brain development.  Your brain, like your body, has not grown to it's full capacity.  Parents know this and in order to protect you from your own lack of decision making skills and impulse control, we get to be the boss.

He thought about this a while and then said, "Mom, you shouldn't get into too much science."

Then, ironically, he demanded that we go to the store so I could buy him some granola bars.

I told him no.

Then I made him eat all his mashed potatoes and salad at dinner.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ducky go down da hole.

"Mom, the toilet is leaking."

There are worse statements that can come out of your children's mouths when their grandparents are coming to visit.  There could be vomiting.  There could be vomiting not in a toilet or other proper receptacle.  There could be vomiting and the internet could go down.

This is thinking glass half full, people.

So I went into the guest bathroom, where my fourteen year old son was cleaning, with a bowl to catch any drips while I got my toolbox.

"I don't think that's gonna work," he said and flushed the toilet to show me why.

Every ounce of that flush spread out from under the toilet base across the bathroom floor, rushing under the vanity and pooling up against the wall.

Glass half empty, that's a big leak.  Glass half full, the flush contained no vomit.

Being a handy sort, I figured I'd just pull up the toilet, replace the wax ring, and then bingo, a toilet that directs water into the sewer system properly.  Every parent wants their kids to have functional plumbing someday.  No parent wants to be in their grown child's bathroom wetting their shoes while they are visiting.

Up comes the toilet...

And then I had to pull up a few tiles...

And then I discovered that I should probably replace the whole vanity...

It was mushy down thar!

I'm not terribly upset.  It's okay that I'm faced with a leaking toilet and a couple of uneven tiles and crappy contractor grade cabinetry...because...yeehaw, it's home improvement time again!

I love my power tools.

You see my hammer?  I love my hammer.  I love my shop-vac.  I am going to love removing that countertop and sink and patching walls and painting and installing faucets!  I love plumber's putty and grout and primer.


Yeah, you knew where that was going.  I'm sorry.  I could not help myself.

That half glass of pun could go either way.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Two thoughts from my husband on Veteran's Day

My husband, Justin, is a Desert Storm war veteran.  He always says it better than I can on this day.

This is in response to a man who objected to being wished a "Happy Veteran's Day!" because it should not be a festive occasion.  Certainly it's a day of remembrance, shouldn't positive emotions about service be included as well?  Justin writes:
I am a veteran, and I do appreciate the word "happy." I am happy to have served with so many fine soldiers. I am happy to be counted among those who served. I am happy that people stop to remember, even for a moment or two. I am happy in the knowledge there are those willing to serve, sacrifice, and pass on a tradition of service. I am happy politically diverse people with integrity around the world can agree on a few fundamental issues, and that honoring their nation's veterans is one such issue. Look in my eyes. I am happy to have survived combat. I am happy to have a family. Do I despair at the loss of so many fine people? Yes. Am I sober and saddened when I think of the cost of war? Yes. Are far too many veteran's lost in their fear , anger, and depression? Yes. But when I am with my friends, those who I served with, we are happy in each others' company. So, Happy Veteran's Day to all those who served, sacrificed, and answered the call. Thank a Veteran in your own way, be respectful of the sacrifice, and be happy for the life each veteran has after the war, for far too many have yet to find the joy which can be had in this world.

Then as a note on his Facebook page: you go on about your day, please take the time to say thank you to a veteran.  Maybe you know someone personally, and maybe you might see a stranger walking own the street---it doesn't make any difference. Please, just say "thank you" in your own way.  As a veteran, I don't mind this day has become an excuse for buying a couch or television on the cheap.  Honest.  I don't even care if you don't thank me personally because I was not alone in my efforts.  I had friends in my platoon in Operation Desert Storm (and other various units) who boosted me up as I tried to boost them.  The result was this: We were a synergistic effort, the whole more valuable than the sum of our parts.  And that goes for every veteran, regardless of whether he or she served in combat.  When you thank one veteran, you are really thanking all veterans in a tradition which goes farther back than recent decades.

My offering today is simple.  I am offering my thanks to all the men and women I served with, whether we got along or not.  Thank you for being there when it counted, and when it mattered most.  Thank you to all who have served and are serving now.  Your sacrifice is/was not political, nor are my thanks.  Your sacrifice, no matter how small or easy you think it, is not a thing which can be compared using some objective scale.  Please know I am grateful for your service, your brotherhood, and in many cases, your friendship.  Thank you for sharing with me your lives and your ideas.  Knowing you has enlarged me and made me a better teacher, poet, and human.  I wish for you peace and resolution in your heart for your service and the lives you have and the portions of life you sacrificed because of your service.  For those who sacrificed everything, there is nothing left but to say once again, Thank You.

Pretty with the writing words, ain't he?

His newest book of poetry is now available for pre-order from BlazeVOX.  We are fond of saying around our house that you can't make friends with salad and you don't make money from poetry, but at the very least you can scroll to the bottom of the page and look at the book preview!

Monday, November 04, 2013


My eight year old son has become quite attached to his baby blanket lately. 

He waited until he was older to become attached.  When he was littler he wanted to be wrapped up in all the blankeys.  Every single one of his baby blankets had to be in his crib while he slept.  I'm sure that was a fire hazard of some sort but the kid has lived thus far.

Since then one particular blanket has become the favorite.  He wraps it about him when he plays his Nintendo DS.  The smell reminds him to blink.

This morning my son wanted to take his blanket on the ride to school with him, so he could give it a warm cuddle before I shoved him out of the van into the cold morning air.  He understood how uncouth it would be to take a baby blanket into the school but leaving it in the van until I picked him up after school seemed like good middle ground.

I told him no.  Blankies stay at home.  At his age the furthest the blanky should travel is back and forth from the washing machine.

He looked so sad. 

I felt bad even if it was the right thing to do.  I had to do the same thing with his oldest brother, my son who is now closing in on twenty years old and in the Navy.

His blanket was named "Boit" and it had a special corner, a corner that had become so saliva stained and shredded that there was danger of breeding a new communicable disease.  When the Navy Manchild was old enough to finally understand I gave Boit a final laundering, put it in a box and stored it away.  Every once in a while my oldest son would ask about his blanket and I'd say he'd get it back when he was a grown up.

I thought it would help my eight year old understand things when I told him about his brother and Boit. 

His response?  "Send my brother his Boit!  He needs it!"

So, if any of you readers and other hangers on see a sailor carrying around a blue blanket with a farm print on one side and a shredded corner, that's my son.  Say hello.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Open the Wine

I'm preparing for Halloween.
This year preparing involves a lot of Elmer's Glue.

And covering our palms in glue to see who can pull off the dried glue in one big piece and then when you've done that, rolling your glue skin up and then putting it in your nose like it's a giant booger.
Anyhow, I'm sorta busy.
So, have some giraffe porn.
I answered the riddle right.
You're welcome.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Is as it does

When you don't sit down and write for a while, you can't let all your readers and other hangers on know your opinions on what's going on in the world.  These last couple weeks what has happened has been mostly stupid. 

In summary:

John Boehner is stupid.
Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are stupid.

 These Boy Scout Leaders on a trip to Goblin Valley, Utah, are stupid.
Well, they aren't Boy Scout Leaders anymore.

The teens who broke in and trashed former NFL football player, Brian Holloway's house are stupid.
Their parents are also stupid.

Feeling bad about yourself or being angry because this woman added her image to a meme is stupid.
You're wonderful.  Comparisons aren't necessary. not working as well it is supposed to is stupid.

Welp, that's that.
Feel free to add on...

Monday, October 21, 2013

I'm back and that IS a cucumber in my pocket.

It's nice to rejoin the living.

One infection after another since summer and maybe just maybe, my body has righted itself.  No pills for a week.  I've had more energy today than I've had in a long while.

In fact, I feel sort of awesome.

Part of that is the result of blood tests I had two weeks ago.  A nurse who knew what she was doing took three vials of my blood.  I'm not an easy draw.  Before anyone draws my blood I tell them if they cannot find a decent vein my forearm, they are free to draw out of the backs of my hands, my wrists and my feet.  They always look at me in horror.   Then they take it on as a challenge.  Depending on if they have the knack or not, I get poked once or they poke me in multiple locations and twirl that needle until I scream "Uncle!"

This nurse, she looked at me, closed her eyes, poked out her tongue, and painlessly slipped in that needle on the first try.  Then she told me she was out of practice because she'd been on maternity leave. 

Anyhow, the blood tests came back showing a whole lot of nothing.

The hormones were playing nicely.  My iron levels were fabulous.  My thyroid wasn't having a tantrum.  My sugars were fine.  No possession by evil spirits.

I went home confused with another seven days of an antibiotic. 

Then it dawned on me while I was threatening to touch my kids with my dirty blood draw bandaid, chasing them at the speed of a snail, I eat like crap.

Certainly I could eat far worse, and I'm not overweight, but my love affair with great mounds of pasta, alfredo sauce, the cheeses of the world on top of the bacon burgers of the world, and all things cake, probably has to end or at least only be visited a few times a year.

Instead, for the last two weeks, I've tripled the amount of fruits and vegetables I eat, cut down the starches and carbs, and kept track of everything that has gone in my mouth on My Fitness Pal.
I know where your mind went.  Snerk.

My mind went straight to my digestion.  I'm eliminating like it's an Olympic event.  

My body is responding in the most enthusiastic way to all this roughage, the vitamins and the antioxidants.  Literally an apple a day.
So, I'm feeling better.

If I'm not talking too soon. 

Time for a banana.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Lots and lots and lots of tea party.

Yes, I'm still here.

Still sick.  Not too sick though.  Sorta sick.  I'm still battling with infection.

The ear infection I was suffering with is much better but taking it's time clearing up.  I had an awful reaction to the antibiotic and it's taken me more than a week to clear it out of my system completely.  I finally get my energy back and get my house cleaned, only to wake up at four in the morning with a burning in my bladder that probably made Satan a wee bit jealous.

Wee bit.  Ha!  That's funny right there!

I put up with this over the weekend because this type of medical goings gets treated during business hours.   I drank plenty of D-Mannose.  It's tasty and works great for most types of UTI, but apparently not so good with what's happening in my bladder.  My bladder has special and unique bacteria.

So I called my urologist yesterday.  I love him.  He cares about my urinary tract.  His office staff arranged for my local clinic to take my sample.  This is good.

Bad is, I have to wait another day or two for lab results to be prescribed yet another antibiotic.

As my urologist explained to me, what sometimes happens if you've been on one type of antibiotic that is good at wiping out some types of bacteria is that when it wears off, other types of bacteria feel it's their obligation to set up house and have millions of children.  The circle of microscopic life.  Hakuna Urethra.

I am really really really tired of taking pills.

In general I'm just tired.  Run down, though the infection isn't as bad as others I've had.  Maybe at this point my bladder knows that this is old hat and has resigned itself to a wait and see approach.

Because if it was going to take the whiny congressional approach a shut down is NOT an option.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I invented a pill that gives worms to ex-girlfriends.

Look at that bastard.

You might as well call this a birth control pill instead of an antibiotic because there was no chance I could have conceived any babies in the state I was in.

Yes,  I've had a tubal ligation.  That's not the point.  The point is I've never reacted to an antibiotic like I did this one.  If you're the kind of freak that finds my side effects sexy, I don't know what to say.  Shouldn't have eaten all those paint chips when you were a kid?  Whippets weren't as fun at parties as you thought at first? 

Tuesday I went to the doctor, she felt up my glands, I paid for pills and began taking them.

By Friday night I'd slept for 60 hours straight with a low grade migraine, waking up only long enough to puke.  The pharmacist told me to take this pill on an empty stomach.  No problem.  Even the thought of water made my stomach lurch.

I went four days without washing my hair.  Or brushing my teeth.  I left a grease ring on my pillowcase and my sheets had that moldy penicillin smell. 

Friday night I quit taking that pill.

Saturday I slept much of the day.  Ate some white bread.

Sunday I got up, bathed, brushed my teeth, did fifteen minutes of housework, and then fell back asleep.

Today I got my kids off to school, looked at my neglected house some, took a bath, and opened all the windows.  I'm wrung out.  Still sleepy.  But much better.

How's the ear?  That's doing nicely, thanks.  It's stopped oozing and it's not swollen anymore.  Cross fingers.

Tomorrow...the long awaited and last installment of how to discuss sex with your kids.

Because it's not a good idea to keep them asleep and nauseated for the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I wish Shah Rukh Khan would feel my glands and discuss my hormones.

I developed a fairly severe ear infection over the weekend.

The local doctor felt my glands.  We discussed my hormones.  She prescribed me ear drops and an oral antibiotic.

I've been in quite a lot of pain.  I'd rather pass a kidney stone or give birth. 

The ear drops are making the right side of my face swell to three times it's normal size.  I can't feel my teeth.  My ear looks like a toddler's playdough masterpiece.  I'm not taking the next dose. 

Unlike other oral antibiotics, it's recommended that I take this one on an empty stomach.

My family is in the next room eating pizza for dinner.  Pizza which I did not cook for them and won't be eating because I can't chew.  The pizza smell will have to sustain me because I can't eat for another half hour and when I do, it'll be Cream of Wheat.

Did you come here hoping for the next and last installment on how to discuss sex with your kids?

I apologize profusely.  My ear is beginning to drain and when I can chew again, I'll get right on that.

For now, just think about how sensual Cream of Wheat is.

...and enjoy a nice clip from the Bollywood movie I watched today because it had subtitles...

Friday, September 13, 2013

FYI (If you're a conscientious parent) - let's talk sex ed Part II

I meant to post this yesterday but as always, life tends to rearrange a mom's priorities.  Do me a solid and share this with your friends.  I'd appreciate it.

Besides that photo of me wearing those big fake boobs, On my About Me page I've posted other photos, including this sexy little number right here.

I sew costumes.  Mostly for Halloween.  I think if you're going to dress slutty you shouldn't waste your money on a prefabricated costume that won't last a cycle in the washing machine.  Premature disintegration is embarrassing.

According to some, maybe even the mother who wrote that FYI post, the way I'm displaying myself is mighty disrespectful.  But, I think you should look at this photo again.  See any cleavage?  Do you see the outline of my breasts?  (I know for a fact you don't.  God didn't grant me that wish.)  How much skin can you really see?  Is the position of my legs, arms, hands or head suggestive?  How about my facial expression?  Do you sense any come hithering?

No...and you're probably wondering what my point is.  GeezLouise woman, quit blabbering about your selfies and get on with the sex ed.

Just this.  Sex is for the most part in our heads.  The biggest sexual organ is our brains.  We are sexual beings from birth.

Most of us don't think twice about sexual imagery.  French maid costumes are sexy, even though I know that I'm wearing a thick white cotton petticoat under that black skirt and a pair of mid thigh pantalets under that.  It's the Fort Knox of French maid costumes.  No one is getting in there without a password and some chocolate.   

When two of my three boys got around age 10, around the age when some of their female classmates were starting to need bras, part of our birds and our bees was about sexual imagery and the idea that they should question what they see.  The images aren't inherently good or inherently bad.  Nor are my sons for looking.  It's what you do with the imagery that matters.

The sexual imagery talk was easy to accomplish.  Sexual imagery is all around us and throughout history pretty much always has been.  Last year my 8 year old went through a bout of binge watching He-Man on Netflix.  The same He-Man I watched when I was a kid.  The production values and plot sure was bad, but the imagery sure can be compelling!

What do you tell your 8 year old son those ram horns on her chest are for when he asks?  He-man goes around in weird looking underwear and his girlfriend has a dangly bit down her front.  I asked him what he thought they were for and he said they looked tough but they looked weird and big.
That's the point.  They are weird and big.  They are there for no other reason.
If you think about it, sexual imagery has always been cartoonish.  Being in awe of this thing that is so human, so every-day, which feels pleasurable, which arouses our bodies and minds, which can create the miracles of love and babies...isn't that something we focus on the biggest parts of for any one of us?  From exaggerating all five senses concerned with the act to exaggerating the morality behind it from one extreme to another.  Some examples:
(Some of these links may not be safe for work.  Discretion is advised. Yadda.)
The Romans come up with Priapus.  Pan got it on with livestock.
Pompeii was known for the ambiance of it's fine brothels and bath houses.
The Kama Sutra had some interesting anatomical idiosyncrasies.
As long as we're in India, check out the porny architecture.
20th Century pin up drawing.
It just goes to show that people like sex.  We like puppies and food and work and play and sex.  If a ice cream cone is good then a banana split with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry is better. 
We like to feel something when it comes to how we relate to our bodies, our brains, and what kinds of relationships are possible with other human beings as well as how we relate to ourselves.  We feel powerful emotions when we display ourselves and powerful emotions when we see a display, emotions that are positive and healthy and emotions that are negative and unhealthy.
I tell my sons there is no shame in seeing, or thinking about it, because they are as human as anyone else, both males and females.  If what they see and feel is compelling that it's because it's meant to be and that they have the power to decide for themselves what it means to them to see it.  Exploring ideas is exploring yourself especially when it comes to the vulnerability of sexuality.  Is what they are seeing really the whole story when it comes to knowing themselves and relating to other human beings? 
I also tell them that graphic sexual imagery is illegal until they turn 18 years old.  So while they may try to seek it out, it's inappropriate until they develop adult brain functions.  The last portions to develop in young adulthood control decision making and impulse control
The more information they are given about sex, and the less they feel ashamed, the more tools they have to rely on when impulses happen and decisions are made.
That's what we call "personal responsibility".

Monday, September 09, 2013

FYI (If you're a conscientious parent) - let's talk sex ed

So...hello there new readers and other hangers on...

What can I say?  I'm happy you're here and I'm doubly happy it's because of a subject I've been passionate about for a long time.  Passionate in the very interested platonic sense rather than the hot bothersome sweaty sense?  Yeah, something like that.  The subject of the sexual education of our children...hell, our entire one I find important and putting it into practice only makes us better humans.

A large part of my interest comes from my background and the way I grew up.  That's where I want to open this series of posts about talking sex to your kids.  The first aspect to performing this Herculean feat is to consider our attitudes towards sex and how we grew up.  This is the way I grew up and it will help you understand where I'm coming from.

I think the expression on my kid's face is hilarious.

I was born in Provo, Utah in 1974, fourth child out of five and third girl to parents who married as teenagers before hippies were a thing.  Utah county is a place I affectionately term in this blog as, "The Utahiest location in Utah."  There is no bigger percentage of devout practicing Mormons as there is where I grew up.  My family was not included in that percentage.  From time to time we attended the LDS church but the label we wore in the community was "Inactive".  As in, my family had issues with the faith and for the most part did not attend services or activities.  These days the label I wear when I go back to Utah County to visit is "apostate".  As in, I am no longer a practicing Mormon.  Both of these labels are loaded with connotative meaning.

Utah Mormon culture is a strange duck.  You may have heard the quacking during the 2012 presidential election, what with that Mitt Romney guy, and then before that it's role in California's Proposition 8 outlawing gay marriage.  When it comes to sex in Utah culture there are some dos and many don'ts.  Do wait to have sex after marriage.  Don't have any type of sex before marriage, which includes groping, heavy petting, making out, necking, tongue kissing, dry humping or arousing lusts...lest you be a licked cupcake or a chewed up piece of gum.  Sex outside of marriage is a sin next to murder. Do not masturbate.  Don't be gay, and only recently it's been decided that if you are born gay, that you should remain celibate for the rest of your life and you can still be a good Mormon.  Dress modestly, so that your shoulders, chests, and bottom half to the knees are covered.  Confess sins against chastity to your Mormon bishop and if they are serious enough, humbly accept consequences from the church body.

Then the unwritten rules follow that...not official doctrine but some of the social conditions that get passed around like gossip without basis.  Don't use tampons as they will compromise your virtue.  Don't remove your body hair in extreme ways.  Double date as a young adult and don't get yourself into serious relationships until you are an adult.  If you are a young man, meet the father on the first date.  Being modest is hottest.  No oral sex, or anal sex, mutual masturbation or toys even if you are married.  If you're washing in the shower, use a washcloth on your genitals instead of your hands.

There are so many more and I could spend hours listing them, but I think you get the idea.  When you put an emphasis on the don'ts and add a couple extremes in there, you shouldn't have to spend any time talking about what you need to know when it comes the proper time to do the dos.  They'll figure it out as Mother Nature and the Lord intended.

When I was a teenager it was abstinence only sex education by law.  Birth control was not discussed.  STDs were not discussed.  The anatomy and the biology of the opposite sex was not discussed in any depth.    There was scant access to hormonal birth control if you needed it as a teen.  There was a lot of shame in even asking an adult, a parent or a teacher or a religious mentor, if you were normal.  A teacher wasn't even allowed to answer that question.

My parents gave me some sex education, or rather, my mother did.  Some, as in the hinting type of talk that still left sex as a mystery, and she was way more forthcoming than the parents of my friends.  I had the "Your body and you!"  presentation in the fifth grade where the promise of menstruating was exciting and still a mystery.  Before then I wasn't even aware I had a vagina. Read me some Judy Blume. There was a presentation on how conception happens in junior high with a split second glossing over of concept that men get erections and have testicles.  I felt my first erection at a school dance when I was 14 or so.  I made the link to what intercourse meant while reading an article about vulvodynia in my mother's Good Housekeeping.

Yadda yadda, I had premarital sex and conceived my first child at 18 years old with my 23 year old boyfriend who was a virgin when we met.  You can read that story HERE.   At eighteen I wasn't totally ignorant, and I in no way blame my parents, but I still didn't have access to many resources because of the culture. Teen pregnancy rates were at their highest in 1991/early nineties and have been steadily falling since.  My husband, the father of all three of my children, and I have been married 20 years.

It was then, right out of high school and planning a wedding, I had to confront the idea that I should be ashamed.

Well, yeah, I was ashamed.  For many reasons.  But none of them were because I had sexual feelings or that I had enjoyed sex with a partner I had fallen deeply in love with.  Or that I'd had boyfriends before my husband and we tested out what it was to arouse feelings in one another.  That was the disconnect.  Isn't this normal?  Why wasn't this talked about in a real way?  Why the light switch approach to sexuality...from it's so bad before marriage and after marriage it's a duty, try to have fun, and let's still not talk about it.  Why was it wrong for me to seek out the tools I needed on my own to approach this part of my adulthood?

I've talked to many in my community openly about sex since then.  From women who won't go see a gynecologist because someone other than a husband might see their vulva to men who didn't realize their wives don't have prostates.  I've talked to husband and wives, supposedly lovers, who don't even talk about sex with one another. The ignorance is astounding.  It's willful in this day and age.  It's dangerous.

We can point the finger at's the shame and the stigma that is most dangerous.  Did you know that Utah has the highest rate of paid internet porn subscriptions in the country?  Did you know that porn and sex addiction recovery is big business in Utah?  Did you know that the Salt Lake City area is quickly becoming saturated with plastic surgeons performing breast augmentations?  Did you also know that Utah has a high gay teen homelessness and suicide rate?   The governor of Utah vetoed an abstinence only sex ed bill last year and a Utah state senator proposed a bill to expand public sexual education for adults because many parents “don’t feel entirely comfortable” talking about sexual topics with their kids and need resources to help them learn how.

I'm not trashing Utah or the LDS church.  If you're a practicing Mormon, I'm happy for you.  Really, I am, because I think there are many ways to feed the soul.  If you're practicing any religion, I'm happy for you.  But, what do you suppose that the monster of shame is not at all feeding souls?  Not just in Utah, but all over the country.  Some of it stemming from religious instruction and some of it not.  That despite having access to more creditable resources than ever that learned shame is keeping us from learning how to talk to our kids.

In these coming posts I hope to expound on how I talk to my boys about sex so that they may become honorable men who aren't hindered by shame.  It's a wish in my heart for my boys to have healthy, trusting, kind and loving relationships with healthy partners.  I would like my sons to be fulfilled and authentic when it comes to love.
You can't do that when you keep your head and your heart under a rock.

So, let's talk about it.  It's important.

Part II - talking about sexual imagery.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

In response to FYI (if you're a teenaged girl)

Let's get this out of the way at the beginning of my post:


That's me but those aren't my boobs.  The boobs are a costume item I sold online for a while, made out of polyester and fiberfill.  Great gift idea...good for baby showers and pot luck dinners.

Now that you've seen me in one of my favorite photos, are you able to control yourself?  Especially if you are a red blooded heterosexual young male...can you tear your eyes and thoughts away long enough to see the woman behind the photo?  Have I made you impure?

If I posted an even more naked photo, would you be able to look me in the eye?

I hope so.

At least that's the sentiment I left in a comment (still in moderation) on a blog post that's gone viral these last couple days.  A quote from FYI (if you’re a teenage girl) on Given Breath on the subject of modesty of teenaged girls:
I know your family would not be thrilled at the thought of my teenage boys seeing you only in your towel. Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t ever un-see it?  You don’t want the Hall boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?

Many of you know that I'm the mother of sons.  They are 19, 14 and 8.  Because I'm the mother of sons and in general a conscientious person, I've been as thorough as I can be regarding their hormones and the subject matter of sex. 

Let me give you an example.  When my middle boy was in second grade he asked me why the baby his teacher was carrying didn't just fall out of her body before it was ready to be born.  I got that kid in front of a computer, pulled up a diagram of a woman's reproductive system, and he learned that the part that keeps the baby inside is called a cervix.  I also told him that many people are not as comfortable as his mother is when it comes to the subject of sex and reproduction, and so he shouldn't just repeat what I taught him in school.  Then I forewarned his teacher.  It would be an odd thing at circle time for the subject of her cervix to come up.

My oldest asked me what a period was at age 7.  I told him.  He asked what herpes was at age 12.  I showed him.  It led to a productive conversation on STDs and how they are transmitted.  My middle asked me what the term "horizontal polka" meant.  I told him.  My youngest asked me how women got eggs in their bellies to make babies.  I told him along with the help of YouTube and without euphemisms.

My children know that they can come to me and ask me any question.  I will not bat an eye.  I do not get embarrassed.  I will answer with compassion.  We talk about all of it.  Male and female anatomy and function.  Biology, hormones, drives and orientation.  Sexual ethics, sexual consequences, and love.

Hell...I've even had a question and the ensuing conversation at Disneyland making the happiest place on earth all the more happy.

When you talk this way with your children you remove the mystery, the shame and the stigma of sex.  AKA, the tee-hee factor.

What you get is young men and young women who have the tools to approach their sexuality in a matter of fact way rather than out of misguided emotion and unchecked instinct.  While my sons may look at a photo of a lively young lady and have an impure thought or two, they also know that there is nothing wrong with them because of that.  That they can put the thought in the proper context because they don't have to be ashamed or make a secret of having a normal reaction.  They know, because their mother has taught them, that women are more than their parts or their clothes.  They understand what their body is doing and why and what happens when they act out of ignorance, naivete or single minded lust.

Modesty is how we view other people and not how much of our naughty parts are covered.  No one else is responsible for our thoughts and you can control them.

So, if my boys see something like this...

...the expectation I have laid at their feet is that while they may have sexual thoughts, Miley is a human being, and you will look her in the eye.  Robin Thicke is a human being.  You will treat him with consideration.

If they come upon imagery like this, they will have the tools to recognize that she is more than what we'd scorn her for.  That her display only has the power they give it.  She is worthy of respect and of kindness.  You will look her in the eye.

This woman is not immodest and she has nothing to be ashamed of.  She has the breasts that all women have.  Her body is not bad and you seeing it doesn't make you bad. You will look her in the eye.

This woman is not an object.  She is not a commodity.  She has thoughts, feelings and struggles.  She is a human being.  You will look her in the eye.

This woman is not a temptress.  Her body is not property.  Her body is not evil.  It will not cause you to become evil or out of control.  The way she dresses is no more or less worthy of respect than any other woman on the planet.  You will look her in the eye.

My sons bodies are not evil.  They are not abnormal.  They are not commodities.  They are not animals.  They are not clueless, thoughtless or incapable of decency.

So, having read all this and remembering back to my hilarious photo of my costume boobs, I'll ask you the question again.

Can you look me in the eye?

Damn right.

ETA (Sep. 9, 2013)

I'm talking sex ed.  Go ahead and CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Can martyrs wear white today or not?

Did we all have a lovely Labor Day?  Was everyone's three day weekend satisfactory?

Mine was decent, thank you.  Bit of a county schedules their fair on the Friday before Labor all the little school children get that day off school in case they'd like to go see prize hogs and eat deep fried Twinkies.  We got four days worth of sitting on our butts and everyone else got three.  Neener.

Speaking of Twinkies...the box my husband hoarded on the day they went away almost a year ago got opened.  The Twinkies were all hard as rocks.  Obviously not good for eating but perfect for throwing missile style at bratty neighbor children.  I hope they ate them and got the trots.

Labor Day means many things to many people.  I don't know that it should go beyond the celebration of the steadfast  and honorable worker but it's a nebulous enough holiday to hijack.  Labor Day is good for shopping or grilling meats or professional football.

Labor Day has also been mommyjacked.

That is, I saw many fruity women about my social media outlets wishing other fruity women a happy Labor Day because all these fruity women had experienced childbirth.

Happy Labor Day!  How's your vagina?  Mine's done it's job!  Squee!

Almost 7 billion people on the planet and I'd presume that we all popped out of a female human being.  That's why we have birthdays and Mother's Day and Father's Day.  Reproduction is well represented and fruity women don't  need to co-opt a holiday that non-parents should be able to enjoy too.

Don't get me wrong here.  It's an awful special thing to endure hours of  excruciating contractions to eventually expel a miracle.  I've done it three times in a hospital without medication.  I've talked about my experiences with childbirth on hundreds of occasions, especially the part where I bit my mother during transition.  There is a video in my attic of me in the act, featuring a close up that isn't my face.

I just don't show that video on Labor Day.

I show it on Halloween.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Hormone laziness.

I'm ovulating.

Image and video hosting by

I'm also having a hot flash.

Image and video hosting by

I wish
my ovaries
pick a

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Yesterday I was asked what I thought about our "libturd" president going to war.

I don't think I know all I need to know about that.  I figure there is a lot about the situation that us lay people don't know.  That's why relying on doublespeak and platitudes about Syria is so attractive to our drive-thru window culture.  What we don't know we make up so we can become properly outraged..

Not to mention that I was asked this because I tend to lean a wee bit left and I voted for the "libturd".  It doesn't matter if I can think or reason when it comes to my vote.  It only matters what some folks think that Democrat™ means.  Tree hugging, gay love making not war making, handout loving, anti-gun, pro-fetus killing, socialist fascist pacifist.  Do I follow the party blindly?  Nope.  But I do vote more than my conscience.  Both sides of the aisle do.  Though I'm lacking in using the term "conservatard" or pointing the spastic foam finger of racism when it comes to my conscience.  I used to be a Republican.  Hell, I voted for Bob Dole, but I cannot in good conscience vote for what the party represents today.  There is no place for me there.

In answer, I could have written an entire essay about Syria, comparing and contrasting between what's going on according to even handed news sources with the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, Desert Storm, Vietnam.  I could have delved into the legalities of the president preparing for a military strike along with stating the obvious, that we've not bombed yet.  The decision is yet to be made.

Instead I replied in short.  One sentence.

"My son is in the military, asshole." with my conscience.  'Murica.

Monday, August 26, 2013

I've been a good girl.

My children went back to school today.

Wait for it...



That's the sound of not watching Pokémon at 8 in the morning.  It's a delightful silence only made better by the taste of hot coffee.  Not to mention that I didn't have to compete for any hot water. 

....and then I watched the Miley Cyrus VMA performance.

It inspired no emotion in me whatsoever!  Why would I care about the Video Music Awards?  Why would I care about Miley Cyrus?  Robin Thicke can suggest all he wants that he knows I want it, but he's an old married fart just like me, and at our ages getting a little quiet IS what we want.
So I turned Miley and her foam pointer finger right off.

Then I made myself a sandwich and some iced tea.

Skyped some with my Navy Manchild.

Organized all my sewing projects.

Made my bed.

Rushed my heaving cat from the carpet to the tile floor.

Did a little cleaning in the garage.

Chewed some gum.

Played spider solitaire.

Wondered if there were any new and interesting podcasts.

Dusted my art supplies.

Made a mental note to myself to prune my rose bushes.

Pulled out ingredients for dinner...


So, my kids get home in an hour. 

Ahh, they get home in an hour!  Noise.  Noise! 

Wait...was Robin Thicke wearing a Beetlejuice suit?  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fred and Wilma

On Sunday, my husband and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary.
He puts up with me.  I put up with him.  We are wonderfully comfortable.
He loves me.
I'm still so in love with him.
I cropped out our laundry hamper.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The NFL won't hold my purse because it'll look like a pansy.

If you ask my husband about The Great Purse Search of 2005-2012, he'd get red in the face, start to tremble and then suddenly fall to the floor in a fetal position.

What can I say?  I've been looking for the perfect purse for a hell of a long time. I've drug my husband into many stores to see if, just if, maybe, there might be a purse I could take home to pet and love.

When it comes to my purse, I'm picky.  I don't give a crap about brand name, price, or if it's in style.  I have specific traits I want in a purse because I believe in it's practical function.  I don't need my accessories to give me identity but I expect my accessories to serve me.

My purse must be black to match everything because I don't need a closet full of purses to match every pair of my shoes or tubes of my lipstick.  I need small purse because it hurts to dislocate a shoulder.  I need my purse to have structure so it will sit upright on the floor and a top zip so my stuff doesn't fall out if it ever ends up not upright.  I need my purse to have short handles so I don't have to fuss with untangling myself, my kids or my stuff from a long strap.  I need my purse to have some sort of outside pocket to store chapstick in.  I need my purse to be able to double as a puke receptacle if the emergency arises.

I found the purse last winter.  THE purse.  The cashier asked me if I was OK because I was in such shock at the find.  Seven years long torturous years.

It's okay, you don't have to like my practical purse.  But in case you do, you can find it at Sears.  The one downside is that it's vinyl.  A good quality matte vinyl, but still vinyl.  I can live with that.  Just in case the purse gets puked in, I've bought another for the future.  It sits shiny in my closet, my husband's reprieve from The Great Purse Search of 2013-2016. 
Now that you know how I feel about purses, have a YouTube commentary about the NFL's new bag policy for their stadiums.

The NFL has just said no to purses any bigger than the length of your hand.  According to their websiteProhibited items include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, seat cushions, luggage of any kind, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
What you are allowed to carry your stuff in is a clear vinyl or PVC bag no larger than 12"x12"x6" or a gallon sized ziplock bag.  You can buy the vinyl bags at the stadium for $8 or get yourself a complimentary ziplock at the gate.  Bags carrying medical items are exempt but you have to have them inspected at a separate gate.
Surprisingly, women type folks are not big fans of this policy.

Not that this rule has any effect on me.  The only reason I'd be in an NFL football stadium would be because I'd been possessed by demons, but I know that plenty of you purse carrying ladies enjoy football and would like to carry the same stuff you carry everywhere else into the stadium with you.

Like tampons.  Sure, some of those guys like to get naked from the waistband up so they can paint their chests and grunt without any self consciousness, but as a woman, you really don't want to display your preferred brand or size of feminine hygiene product for all to see.
Or your cheap liquor.

Or lap dogs.

Or full changes of underwear and shoes. 
A gal really doesn't know what she might need and it sometimes pays to be prepared for any occasion.  My choice of small purse leaves me woefully unprepared for many situations but that is the chance I take.  Other ladies should be able to carry their purse as is their choice? 

From some of the opinions I've read, this policy is another Lego block in the colorful plastic wall that is the war on women. 
I dunno.  Is my purse inherent to my gender?

I think I'd have a bigger fit that they've stopped allowing my seat cushion in. 
My butt is delicate.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mom! I'm bored! So?

Summer vacation is getting over and done with.

This isn't an assignment worth credit, but what did you guys do over your summer vacation?

Did you click a graphic that looks much like this one in June, hoping that you might fill your summer months with educational and fun activities for your offspring which would provide memories or respite from them biting or hitting one another?

That's a graphic full of promise, isn't it?  I made it just for you. 

However, I didn't make a list of summer activities for kids.  Not for my kids.  Not for your kids.  Nobody's children are getting a list out of me.

That's because these super crafty uber helicopter lists are so full of crap.   Hope and crap and letdown.  Bait and switch.

Make homemade popsicles they say!  That's easy enough.  Healthy too.  Are they frozen yet?

Every list includes a recipe for gallons of bubble solution and instructions on how to make wands out of pipe cleaners.  This is a fun activity.  For five minutes.  After that, someone is going to go wading in the vat of bubble solution, it will get in their eyes or they will slip in a puddle of it and split their lip, the pipe cleaners will get shoved into your air conditioner's fan, and your entire lawn will die of soap poisoning.

Are your popsicles frozen yet?

Then there are the recipes for homemade play dough.  Heh...yeah.  Have you ever dug a plug of dried salt dough out of your kid's ear canals?  I have.  Ever pulled plugs of wet play dough out your bathroom sink drain?  I have.  Ever washed smooshed play dough out of your cat's fur?  I have. think those popsicles are frozen yet?

Make a portable sand box out of plastic sweater box!  Portable is the key word.  That sand gets everywhere.  In shoes and underwear and in bedding.  It's amazing there was still enough left in the box for the cat to poop in.

Check the popsicles Mom!

Start a garden and let the kids do the watering and weeding! They can paint rocks with the names of your plants!  They can also preside over the plant funerals when they discover it's work.

Gee Mom, freezers take forever!

Build a lemonade stand.  BUILD A LEMONADE STAND.  Bwahahahahaha!  Oh...that's a good one!   You'll happily drink one glass of their lemonade but I dare you to drink two and I might offer to pay you money to drink a third.

Are they frozen yet?  I'm starving!

Build couch forts and spend the day in your pajamas reading books!  Now, I know every single one of you has asked your kid to make a decision about staying inside or outside when that back door has slammed for the thirtieth time before noon...expect to ask the exact same thing about time in your couch fort.  Reading?  Right.



Don't paint me as some sort of summer Scrooge.  I love summer.  I love fun.  I do not love putting a lot of effort into entertaining my children when they are exponentially capable of entertaining themselves.  This is the expectation I have of them because children have always had this ability.  My children are not so special that they require activities handed to them.  Turn off the TV and eventually their little brains figure it out.

They can think up the architecture of their own couch forts.  They can go to the library or the computer and look up their own lists.  They can drink their own sour lemonade and they certainly can learn how to remove the S trap under the sink or how to bathe a cat without bloodshed.

So, what did I do over my summer vacation?

We made a grand tour of Boise, Idaho...

This was taken at the Idaho Old Penitentiary.  It was really creepy and cool.

We mined opals....

We family reunioned...

I'm in there somewhere...
And we made popsicles.  Eventually they did indeed freeze.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Brick Wall of Bias

Many of you know that I'm originally from the Utahiest location in Utah.  Did you also know that Utah is predominantly a red state?  As in, the preferred flavored of Kool-Aid is juicy red Republican?

Most of my friends and some of my family and a hell of a lot of my acquaintances hail from Utah which means that at some point the interactions turn to politics.  More so because people know that I tend to lean  Democrat.  Gasp.  Yeah, I know.  I voted for Harry Reid but only because his last opponent was so crazypants.  Her party affiliation is not what made her terrifying.  They say a defensive vote never wins the election but this time it sure did.

Face to face it's easy to "bean dip" political conversation.  As in, "Mitt Romney wouldn't have stood for this NSA spying stuff!" and the response would be, "That's certainly something to think, have you tried this bean dip?  It's really spicy!"

Or this:  "Are you going to attend Glenn Beck's stage show?  I hear it's educational!" and the response would be, "I don't think I can make it...Do you know who made that pasta salad.  It's fabulous!"

Acknowledge, dodge the bullet, redirect.  Most of the time it works pretty well.

Face to face interaction never includes a hyperlink.

You have to be careful with those hyperlinks.  Online, folks LOVE to post stuff that confirms their confirmation biases.  You click on something that seems totally reasonable on it's face and when you get to the site, it's an editorial soup of run on sentences, inflammatory rhetoric and mental masturbation.  It's not journalism.  It's gossip.

Then you feel abused and mislead.  You could go on and enter into the ever so popular Facebook debate full of red herrings and strawmen in trying to prove the article wrong...or you could write a kick-ass blog post and then clog their feeds with link backs here.

But Becky, you say, don't you libs love to watch MSNBC every single moment of the day?  Have you heard what the liberal media has been saying?  They can't be serious!  They spew all kinds of stuff that I don't like and you can't like and no one should like it and I'm indignant and you should ponder all that in your heart!  If they can say all that stuff, we can too, darn tootin!

No need to bean this dip question.  I don't know about my juicy blue Democrat Kool-Aid drinking brothers and sisters, but I don't watch MSNBC.   My husband doesn't spend any time watching MSNBC.  Some of my liberal friends post baloney that confirms their confirmation biases but many of them don't.  Those that do post baloney do it at the same rate as the conservative folks if you compared equal parts conservatives and liberals.  My news feed is very much not equal parts, hence the awesome graphic I made above.

There are a lot of sources I get my news from and it's important to me that they espouse a standard in their journalism.  If they post editorials and opinion pieces, they are clearly marked as such.  They allow dissenting opinions in their editorials and opinion pieces.  The language of their reporting is tempered and thorough.  They openly post retractions when they are wrong.  They consider themselves a news source and not entertainment, and are legally registered as such.

Most importantly, they go by the old standard of answering who, what, where, how, when and why, without appealing to more base emotions.

Let's compare.  Last week, a makeshift 9/11 memorial on a New York City courthouse bulletin board was ordered removed by a judge because of a complaint of offensive material.  The event was covered by several news sources.

The exclusive article from the New York Post
The article from the Wall Street Journal
The story was not covered by either NBC or Huff Post, as far as I can tell.
I'm not finding the story on Fox News either.
The article from a grassroots conservative news site.

It's the last link I saw first, which got me thinking about the topic.  Why aren't these readers in the least bit interested in finding about this story in context?  Read the story, fume, and then move on to the next consumable "news" tidbit.  I read it and the first thing afterwards was Google it to see what really happened.

This sort of half-assed reporting was all over the Trayon Martin shooting and the  Zimmerman trial.  It was important to me when it came time to try Zimmerman that I didn't base my opinion on what's regurgitated through even the most "fair and balanced" news outlet.  I watched or listened to the trial on YouTube, recorded streaming directly from the courthouse.  No still photos of a funny expression on the defense or prosecution's face.  No gotcha headlines.  No commentary.  No scrolling tickers.  Just good old American trial by jury.  Testimony directly from the lion's mouth.

I'm humbled to say that I found Zimmerman's interview tapes very compelling.  I had doubts that I didn't have before.  It didn't change my mind completely, but it didn't confirm my biases at all and I expected it to.  This is exactly the experience I wanted...not to be told what to think but giving myself the opportunity to reason.  To maybe be wrong.

This is also why I've read many laws and bills which I'm passionate about.  The American Care Act isn't as long of a read as you'd think.

As for where I get my news and what standards I hold it to, this speech given by Rafael Olmeda at the 2007 World Journalism Institute conference covers it far better than I can.  It's an excellent read.

10 Qualities of a Good Journalist

Alright, acknowledge you thought about clicking the link, dodge the bullet, then redirect. 

Why yes, the bean dip is pretty good.

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