Lake Cumberland State Resort Park - Jamestown, Kentucky - May 2023

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

REPOST: February 3, 2017 - "Trump is About to Sign the E.O. Rolling Back Dodd-Frank (The Wall Street Reform/Consumer Protection Act)"


 Work is starting to pick up again, so just have a moment this morning, and I don't think I could say it any better than I said it in this post back then (copy below), when I predicted this bank situation, anyway.

Essentially, the bank fails are a direct result of Trump rolling back Dodd-Frank legislation , which was a bipartisan-supported bill passed into law in 2010, signed by Obama, for the federal government to have more oversight with banking in general, curb unethical banking practices, and prevent bank runs and bailouts  - after the market fell in 2008 (three months before Obama was elected), bank bailouts began in 2009, and a full-scale recession had begun.

As usual, Republicans make short-sighted, make-themselves-a-quick-buck financial decisions that have never once historically "trickled down" on the every day man on a national/international corporate level, and that you won't see fallout results of for years, likely when the next president - usually a democrat - is in office and is left holding the bag and trying to work with Congress to plug up holes in the dam as fast as they can. 

Trump rolled it back, there was less banking oversight, and thus the same thing is happening again today that happened in 2008/9  - again, three months before Obama was elected.

Let alone the fact that banks received huge subsidies during COVID and bigger tax breaks than ever before -  so why are we bailing them out again?

I understand that small to mid-size banks are mostly affected because they had less breaks and subsidies, but still ....


ORIGINAL POST




Love the quote - so Trump - you think the answer is to go back to the time before Obama signed Dodd-Frank - back to the banking mess we got ourselves into before Obama signed this bill in 2010 to stabilizing the economic fallout from unregulated unethical banking practice and bailouts that plunged millions of working  and middle-class Americans into poverty, lost jobs and bankruptcy? 

The economic meltdown that occurred after October 2008's stock market crash we didn't feel until 2009, Trump?

Here we go again.  Republicans screw up the economy and blame the next guy in office because we don't feel the fallout until then.


And we all sat right here and watched the congressional hearings on companies like Goldman Sachs, reading aloud their emails, which high-fived each other over getting the American public to invest in crap, knowing it would bankrupt them, but they'd make a quick buck. (Many Republicans are often very short-sighted - Trump is proof. Or they simply don't care about what happens to the every day American, as long as they, their shareholders and their families are safe.)


After learning what I did about Key Bank this morning (two posts below), I suspected this was coming - that's why I posted it ;)

What about Trump was draining the swamp and was all about small business growth, hmm?


Nope, as I told you, he was heavily invested in the swamp and he will continue to be - and this EO is proof. 

Wide awake yet, working and middle-class Republicans?

Because he's about to sign an EO that would roll back the one act that working and middle class Republicans and Democrats agreed upon in 2010, recognizing it was predominantly lack of regulation of unethical banking business practices that contributed most to our economic collapse, resulting in millions of hard-working Americans plunge into foreclosure, bankruptcy and job loss.

And you're okay with that, Americans?

And still, curiously no mention of the plan for new jobs or jobs coming back to the US.

Ready to admit you've been duped, yet, Trump voters?

Jeez, what's it gonna take - when YOU are bankrupt, laid off, or foreclosed upon (again, in some cases)? 

Well, the best you can hope for is that it will go down like it did last time - we won't FEEL it until the next president is in office and he/she will take the blame.

Love Obama or hate him, he signed this bipartisan Congressional bill - which everyone but CEOs and Wall Street agreed with, at the time -  which DID stabilize our economy and banking practice.

Dodd-Frank is the reason we are all more stable financially than we were then - and Trump is about to undo it because that's what his buddies want.


Monday, March 20, 2023

PS - Some Reassurance?


UPDATE, 3/24/2023: Moments ago, Governor Beshear just vetoed the anti-trans/anti-drag bill!  🌈🌈🌈

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In the below post, I mentioned that I knew that rigorous assessments were done on children before hormone therapy and/or gender reassignment surgery was performed, but that I didn't know much about them and I wanted more info for my own reassurance with children undergoing hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery, out of the concern that if even one child gets the surgery but regrets it later, reproductively. 

So  I found this study (among others), which did help alleviate my concerns.   I think this one does the quickest and most succinct job of explaining the latest discoveries. 

So the study was conducted from blood samples of both cis-gendered patients and transgendered patients prior to undergoing gender hormone therapy and/or gender transition surgery.

The study was looking for genetic hormone expression in specific genomes that we know are somehow involved in gender identification (though we don't fully understand it yet).


In other words, the medical community has long suspected that there is a genetic component to gender identity and sexual preference, but we've been unable to find it - until now.

And the reason we couldn't previously is because it's not in the DNA (at least that we can find) - it turns out it has something to do with RNA hormone expression and hormone regulation - and not just from one genetic segment or one hormone or one section of the brain, but several, ...


"Results: The principal components analysis (PCA) showed that both populations (cis and trans) differ in the degree of global CpG methylation prior to GAHT. The 2-way ANOVA test showed 71,515 CpGs that passed the criterion FDR p < 0.05. Subsequently, in male assigned at birth population we found 87 CpGs that passed both criteria (FDR p < 0.05; fold change ≥ ± 2) of which 22 were located in islands.

 

The most significant CpGs were related to genes: WDR45B, SLC6A20, NHLH1, PLEKHA5, UBALD1, SLC37A1, ARL6IP1, GRASP, and NCOA6. Regarding the female assigned at birth populations, we found 2 CpGs that passed both criteria (FDR p < 0.05; fold change ≥ ± 2), but none were located in islands. One of these CpGs, related to the MPPED2 gene, is shared by both, trans men and trans women. 
The enrichment analysis showed that these genes are involved in functions such as negative regulation of gene expression (GO:0010629), central nervous system development (GO:0007417), brain development (GO:0007420), ribonucleotide binding (GO:0032553), and RNA binding (GO:0003723), among others


In other words, those who wanted to transition did differ significantly in genetic hormone expression and regulation in key markers believed to be involved in gender identity and sexual orientation markers - in both trans men AND trans women.

We don't understand how this works or why, but it is among some of the first evidence we have that gender identity and sexuality is not only not always binary, but may actually be a spectrum, and it's likely based on gene hormone expression in the brain.

More research needs to be done, but methinks that one day, there's going to be a lot of my fellow Christians who will have to stand before our creator and explain much.

Because I have suspected a biological and genetic component to this since my early 20s, when I began to believe that, most LGBTQ are "created this way" - it's not a choice - and the spiritual lesson isn't for them, it's for us - how to better love our neighbors as ourselves, despite differences.

And if you personally have ever had the blessing of being friends with most LGBTQ people, you'll find out that they are usually pretty easy people to love :)

(Of course, there are bad apples, like George Santos, but doesn't every group have them?)


Now, I will say that I hope this test becomes routine before children received gender reassignment surgery.  It would reassure us all, I think :) 


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PPS - I'm told my contract work will be picking up again, so this is likely my last post for a while. - UNLESS TRUMP GETS INDICTED! :)

I was just bored while we had a lull in work lol.


Sunday, March 19, 2023

So I Just Now Had Time to Read The Whole JK Rowling Thing ...


UPDATE, 3/24/2023: Moments ago, Governor Beshear just vetoed the anti-trans/anti-drag bill!  🌈🌈🌈


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So two people have mentioned to me that they don't like JK Rowling anymore because she's "anti-trans."

Neither had read what JK actually said, and I hadn't either.

So because this is the second time I've heard avoidance of JK Rowling since the Harry Potter series came out (for two very different reasons), I went and researched everything she actually said on the issue. 


Because the first time I heard to avoid her was from people on the right side of politics, who said she's a witch and her books are Satanic.

Of course, none of the people saying this about her had actually read her books themselves. 


So after reading the books myself and not suddenly wanting to become a witch or hating God (lol), my first thought was " How come no one says that about Tolkien  and Lord of the Rings?"

I mean, her stuff admittedly heavily borrows from the pagan themes (dwaves, elves, centaurs, wizards) used by both Tolkien and CS Lewis, but is still founded on Judeo-Christian values, just like they were - although not biblical commentary like they were. 

So then the only real difference, IMO, is that she's a female writing  about these same things, you see :)


Now we hear a different tale on reasons to avoid her, from the other side of politics, my side, the left side - that she's anti-trans, a bigot, a trans hater.


So because the first time she was accused, it was all gossipy nonsense -  and because I'm a huge JK Rowling fan since -  I figured I owed it to her to read everything I could find that she said, in her own actual words.

However, since I also despise hero worship to the degree of blinding yourself to very serious, even dangerous flaws in these people (cough, cough, Trump is Exhibit A), when I read her own words on this trans issue, I read them critically, with eyes wide open. 


And after reading JK's comments on the transgendered, TBH, I wouldn't say she's "anti-trans" or a "trans-hater" - but I WOULD agree that she's definitely  trans-phobic - particularly of men transitioning female.

 In fact, in her June 2020 "manifesto," she came across as being terrified of men in general? lol


She seemed to contradict herself - one minute she's laughing at efforts to legalize the definition of women as "people who menstruate" as being too narrow and sexist  -  which I happen to agree with, I'm much more than a menstruator, plus there are plenty of young women from birth who are "amenorrheic" for various reasons (yes, there's actually a medical term for not menstruating) - but then the very next minute, she's trying to define women herself and does a very poor job of it.

Then she goes off on an irrational argument, something about (paraphrasing - NOT a direct quote) "If we let men say they're women just because they want to, aren't we giving men even more rights and somehow eroding women's rights in this way?"

Sigh.  As my little sister said, "It's not a pie" - and I would add that it's also not either/or - either men's right or women's rights, it's about all HUMANS having EQUAL rights.  


And she uses the same old tired of arguments of avoiding same-sex bathrooms because some creepers will say they're women just to use it to attack women.



Erm - and you think men hiding in women's bathrooms doesn't happen already, dressed as men or not?

It's not like there's a guard outside of women's restrooms, this happens all the time.



In fact, Google for yourself the amount of sexual assaults and rapes of women at public rest stops/areas in the last year alone - places funded and run by state and federal government, but have no cameras or attendants.

You will also note that although all of these assaults were performed by men, not a single one of them was dressed as a woman.

So if State Governments are soooo concerned about women's safety in bathrooms, then instead of using money to create law  bans that no one knows how to enforce,  use that money instead to put up some more damn security cameras and have 24-hour security attendants at ALL of your interstate rest areas and public bathrooms -  regardless of gender?!?



If nothing else, you'll see who it really is sexually assaulting women in bathrooms - and it's not trans men.

Not to mention, it's not just females who get sexually assaulted in bathrooms!

(This is why if we stop at a rest area while traveling, Mark always watches my entry and exit, as well as who goes in after me - he stands right there outside the door to do so and tells any incoming women that is what he's there to do, keep his wife safe while using the facilities.)

So how about this?

Why do we NEED to legally define gender?

And why are we almost singularly focused on just defining the gender of a woman, when there are also women transitioning into men?

And why is this issue of the legal definition of gender soooo important - seemingly currently  more important than any other issue to Republicans? 

And those most up in arms about it are the usual suspects - ya know, white male Republicans with an unusually obsessive need to define/control women and their choices and blame all of the world's problems on women.

And here's an even more interesting question - how is it that these same members of the supposed party of "small government" are the ones sooooo eager to have the government to define gender, marriage, and reproductive rights? 


Honestly, I'll be damned if I let the government define me, my gender, my marriage. or my family choices.

But if it's on my ballot and I HAVE to choose, I'll choose gay marriage being legal, transgendered people having the same rights as everybody else, and abortion being legal with restrictions, rather than abortion being entirely illegal without exception! 

In fact, I don't have the power to define who is male or female or what marriage is, that's above my pay grade and authority, and I'm not sure the government should have that much power over our personal choices either. 


Now - the only thing I semi-agreed with JK on is transitioning surgically before the age of 18 - I'm still on the fence about that.  It's not that I'm against it, per se, I just have some concerns I'd like to be reassured about first.

I DO know that there are very rigorous psychological screening programs in place - but it does bother me that if even one of those children truly is just young and gender confused versus truly trans, well, it's too bad later, it's too late - your reproductive organs are gone. 


Now - where she lost me on even this point is saying that's she talked to social workers, psychologists, etc. about the psychological damage of doing so, without citing any clinical studies on this.

I don't have them either, but as long as we're using limited personal experience as "proof," I used to transcribe for Boston Children's Hospital Gender Reassignment Department.

(As an aside, you'd be surprised with the amount of children born with some element of both genders). 

 I agree with MDs there - the fact is, the brain develops last, after the gradual development of reproductive organs (which is why men have nipples, the brain is still undecided on gender until later).  

So being that we know as fact that the brain develops last, I believe it's entirely possible that the brain could even be an entirely different gender  from the body, and until I'm proven wrong, I will continue to believe this is not only possible, but happens more frequently than you would think. 



But more important to the point about psychological issues, the only psychological problems that I personally transcribed were the children being born with some element of both organs and the parents choosing their gender for them, rather than waiting to let the child decide.  

The parents choosing the gender for these particular children, based on what they wanted, invariably caused psychological issues in the child, 100% of the time.


Along these same lines, as you may have heard, my state of Kentucky (among other southern states), is trying to pass a bill to make drag shows illegal.

Sigh.


FAKE ISSUE ALERT! REPUBLICAN DISTRACTION TACTIC! LOL


With all that's going on in the world, Republicans biggest concern is men dressing up in sometimes over-characterizations of women for comedic effect or lip-synching songs by iconic women?


Seriously, Republicans - with some actual threats to the health and safety of our children (School shootings? COVID?) -  do you realize how petty and delusional you sound, trying to force through laws about drag queen shows? LOL

If this bothers you so much, why didn't you legally ban Milton Berle or Flip Wilson or Dame Edna for dressing up as women and telling stories, singing, and dirty jokes on national TV then?














Otherwise, as I said, I will define you by whatever gender you want me to, and your relationship however you want me too, and support whatever decision you want to make about your reproduction/family rights, since I'm not the one raising your child/providing care. 


If you're a man that wants to wear a dress and sing songs and tell stories, I'm not going to stop you ....

Whether you wear your dress like this .... 




Or you wear your dress like this ... 





Speaking of which, I have yet to hear of one single case of a drag queen molesting a child, but I can cite multiple cases where "men of the cloth" have. 



BUT, I digress to my original point.

I will NOT be canceling or boycotting JK Rowling for her  transgender stance, which is curiously diametrically-opposed to the rest of her self-proposed liberal and gay-supporting politics.


Because I don't feel it was "bigoted hatred" or "anti-trans," as people are saying, sorry - but it WAS transphobic. 

Sometimes fear and hatred go hand-in-hand, but not always - sometimes there's just fear,  which is almost always based on ignorance/lack of experience or education

And IMO, with people that are simply afraid/ignorant, the very last thing we should do is make ourselves scarier by hurling stuff at them and excluding them from further conversation, right? 


She has a right to her ... very odd, inconsistent, incongruent, and somewhat ignorant opinion. 


And if I canceled or boycotted every author that said or did something I disagreed with in their personal life, I'd have nothing left to read lol.

For me, I guess it's really about percentage - well, not an actual percentage, but if the majority of things that come out of your mouth or off your fingertips are things that I strongly disagree with, especially if they are hateful, then I'm probably not going to listen or read anything further that you say lol.

If it's just one or two things you say that I don't like, well, I'll give you the same courtesy I'd like for myself - I assume not everyone will agree with every point I make, either :)


JK still "identifies" herself as a liberal and truly has supported other very liberal causes, whether you agree with her definition of being a liberal or not.

We're actually a pretty diverse group, those of us claiming to be liberal.  


In fact, though it's less common in the Democratic party, I've even met gay racists and homophobic, even truly bigoted people of color, all professing to be liberal Democrats - this is especially common in the bible-belt  South.

Maybe I wouldn't consider you a "liberal" with those ideas, but it's not up to me, I don't really get to define "liberal" - and if you define yourself that way, who am I to say  you're not? 


Though I would never condone racist or bigoted attitudes in my party, speaking more generally, it's the acceptance of diversity, of differing opinion - not just in skin color or faith, but in actual opinion in general, is one of the things I like most about being a liberal.

It's what separates us from people like Trumpers who demand that you drink ALL the Kool-Aid and check ALL the boxes or else you're a RINO or something. 

I may not agree with you on this point or that one, but if YOU consider yourself a liberal still, who am I to say you're not? 


And that is the culmination point of my post - only YOU get to define you, your relationship, your gender, your reproductive rights, and even your politics, nobody else  - not me, not the church, and certainly not the government. 


(But if you actually restrict rights based on these attributes, then you're going to see me involve the government by voting against you ;)







Friday, March 17, 2023

So ... Why Aren't We Members of the ICC?


So most first-world, major-player countries are a part of the International Criminal Court (who just pronounced Putin a war criminal)  -  EXCEPT - China, Russia, India, several Middle Eastern Countries - and us, the United States of America. 

Hmm.

Okay, so all of those countries have a history of not playing by the Geneva Convention rules - so what are the optics of NOT being a part of that, and what does that say about us?

I'll leave that question for you to answer yourselves ;)


Also, the Justice Department just announced they are investigating the owner of TikTok for possible spying on American citizens. 

Of course, it's no coincidence that both of these things happen on the  same day that President Xi is meeting with Putin.


I doubt that either Xi or Putin are shaking in their boots over these things, and yet still, I support and applaud both decisions :)


Because authoritarianism - regardless of politically left or right - has no place in modern, civilized societies that truly value all human life.

Historically, authoritarian-style regimes have repeatedly proven that not only do they always lead to even greater disparity between the rich oligarchy and the poor, but they also always lead to either genocide or politically-motivated mass murder even of those within the same race, ethnic group or citizenship status who oppose them politically -  all performed by the government itself - always.






Tuesday, March 14, 2023

It's Always John-Wick Time Somewhere ...

 


So allow me to pre-empt this post by reminding you all that there are only two things I'm snobby about - film and architecture.

That is because I think if you have that kind of money, do it right - don't just be throwing any old thing up in my face, assaulting my senses lol.

So Mark calls me from work this morning, just to read me the five-star reviews he saw for John Wick IV. 

In fact, as I speak, he's texting me the links.

Okay, I get it lol.  I really didn't need the reviews, though, I would go see would go see it with him anyway, just because he wants to see it lol. 

But I will also say -  he's lucky I like Keanu Reeves.

Because otherwise, it's just another fight 'em up, shoot 'em up, blow 'em up type of thing to me.  

And let's be honest, Keanu is not the best actor in the world, he's largely dependent on the stellar actors around him, special effects, and his athleticism/action star abilities, but you still can't help but like Keanu in anything he does, he's just so likeable. 

However, not every day - and I tell you what -  the first three John Wicks are on somewhere on TV everyday, no lie.  They're like the new Shawshank Redemption.

Anyway, so I was like ...

 "Five stars?  Oh, come on lol.  That's like "Top Gun: Maverick" getting nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture lol. 

"It was a good watch, yes -  but were all the elements combined - acting, dialogue,  story arc, direction, cinematography, special effects, editing, and sound  - truly a work of art?  No, they most certainly were not lol."  

"Okay, so did it tell a new story or an old story in a thought-provoking way that we hadn't heard before?  DEFINITELY not. 

"Okay, so did the film then somehow break new ground as an evolution or revolution in film-making in some way? No, it did not."

"Oscar nominations are supposed to be about recognition for quality art -  not based upon popular opinion or box-office sales.  We don't do that with art work, judge it based on how much somebody paid for it or popularity." 

"Like those stupid "Dogs Playing Poker" and "Velvet Elvis" paintings are wildly popular and people pay a lot of money for them, but they're not quality art lol.



 

"Don't get me wrong, I think everyone that won should've won, they deserved it, for actual quality work -  but the fact that Maverick was even nominated is proof that we're overrating certain films just because we're so excited to see the big-budget films getting made again and seeing them at the theater.

IMO, Top Gun: Maverick is an example of that - it was one of the first in-theater movies released again. and not pared down when filming due to COVID. 

And John Wick, 5 stars?  Probably not.  It's probably a good watch, but not 5 stars, come on lol.

But like I said, at this point, people are so excited to get out and watch big-budget films again that I think that Stephen Spielberg could literally sh*t in a bowl  and people'd be like, "BRILLIANT!"  and "It's a masterpiece!" LOL


I don't know why, but we laughed for like five minutes over that? lol


***That is NOT a criticism of Spielberg's latest, The Fabelmans, by the way, I haven't seen it yet, but it's supposedly a great film - nor is it a criticism of other nominated films this year, which truly were masterpieces.  I'm just making a point that I think a few of these films coming out are getting overrated because everyone is just excited to be able to go see them again? ***


Maybe I'll see it and end up eating my words - but I doubt it.

Regardless, yes, honey - I WILL will go see John Wick IV with you :) xo

(This, of course, means you'll be seeing "Women Talking" with me, though, right? ;)

Just kidding -  that's tantamount to torture for you, probably, so I'll see it with some gal pals :)



Monday, March 13, 2023

So One of My Husband's Fantasy Celebrity Co-Wives Just One An Oscar! :D

 

'Atta girl, Michelle Yeoh - we LOVE her! 




She won for the "Best Leading Actress" award for "Everything, Everywhere, All at Once," which also won Best Picture, Best Director (actually to directing partners, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, known lovingly as "The Daniels" - third time a directing duo or team has won Best Director), and a whole slew of other awards.

I'm not sure if many will remember this post from 2019, when I gave a list of my fantasy celebrity co-husbands, and then I listed my husband's fantasy co-wives - and Michelle Yeoh was #2 on his list - long before she was a household name.  

We both approve of the other's "lists," by the way, we totally get it lol.

So he first developed this celebrity crush on Michelle Yeoh back in 2000, in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  




However, she'd already been around Hollywood for a few years, but her acting ability was not taken seriously enough, just her looks and her dance/martial arts ability - most notably, as a Bond girl in "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997) :) 




She's an extremely-feminine bad-ass - proving these two things are not mutually exclusive :)

And at 60. she and Helen Mirren have somehow broken the age glass ceiling for women over 40 still being considered sexy in Hollywood - now being offered and playing more roles than she's ever had her entire life, so as she said in her speech tonight, "Ladies, never let anyone tell you you're past your prime."


Amen :)

Does this mean my husband has good taste? ;) 

(Yeah, don't actually answer that lol)


As for my list, if you follow that old link, I'd like to apologize for my sports fantasy celebrity co-husband at that time, Aaron Rodgers, whom I've since fantasy celebrity divorced, after he went woo woo on vaccines, started showing up looking like a 1970s used car salesman, started promoting regular use of psychedelic drugs (did I not tell you in THIS post my addiction alert system was going off with him long before he admitted it?), and generally started talking out of his arse lol.

You'll be pleased to know that he has since been replaced by not one, but two fantasy sports co-husbands - Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes in a tie lol.




You will also be pleased to know that I just recently added Pedro Pascal to my list - but then who hasn't? 

Every straight woman and gay man in the world crushes Pedro, right now - we ladies especially LOVE our Pedro :)






Also super happy to see Brendan Fraser back and his Best Actor win and Ke Huy Quan's win (hilarious that they both were in Encino Man with Pauly Shore in the early 90s) and Jamie Lee Curtis :)


Best moments?

All three of the above wins, not just because of their performances, but their backstories - if you didn't cry for at least one of them, then you have no heart (I, of course, cried for all three :) 

Best Actor winner, Brendan Fraser, was blackballed in Hollywood, after the former President of Hollywood Foreign Press groped him at a restaurant, an advance he refused, which also adversely affected his mental and physical health. However, Darren Aronofsky decided to bring him back for "The Whale" - and talk about a comeback!




He Kuy Quan for Best Supporting Actor - Brendan's fellow "Encino Man" castmate - comes in second for the best comeback story, playing "Short Round" as a child in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, then left Hollywood not long after, unable to get roles for being "too Asian,"  and instead working behind the camera in production.




Tack on the fact that he arrived from Vietnam in a boat and lived in a refugee camp for some time.  If that's not the American Dream, I don't know what is.  We love his energy, he's still Short Round, all the way around, and we also love that he thanked his wife for her patience and encouragement, who has credited in several interviews  for allowing him to follow his dream at whatever cost and never gave up on her faith in his dream of acting, even when he nearly gave up that dream himself.

And I loved this moment as well  - Harrison Ford and He Kuy hugging on the way to the stage, as well as backstage after his win :)




And of course Jamie Lee Curtis, who visibly and hilarious exclaimed, "Oh, Shut Up!" when her name was announced in a semi-surprise win for best supporting actress (we love her because she says whatever she likes and it's usually awesome).

Then she ended her speech by looking up at the heavens and claiming the Oscar as a family win, a win for her parents -  Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh - who were both nominated for an Oscar, but never won.




Also moving was the tears in her eyes from her husband, comedy filmmaker, Christopher Guest (Spinal Tap, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, For Your Consideration).

Now, enough tears - so best dressed?  

This year was about the tailored top half/big-skirt bottom-half 50s or the puffy-shouldered/skirted 80s - even the combination of the two - as well as capes!

So in my opinion, the best-dressed were mostly the usual suspects, with a few new entries, but in no particular order ...  


Angela Bassett



Cara Delavigne



Janelle Monae 




Reminding you of some sort of cross between a tuxedo-bustiered Playboy bunny on the top and an Indian-sari bottom combo, you wouldn't have thought this would've worked, but it totally did - as only Janelle Monae could do.


Sofia Carson 




Lady Gaga 




Halle Berry 



And of course the Queen of Oscar Night herself, Michelle Yeoh 





Here are the runners up (meaning I liked the gowns, but something was amiss 


Stephanie Hsu - I think it's the color that I don't like, it reminds me of a prom dress, but the dress is otherwise gorgeous!



Danai Gurira - so I love the gown ... and I love the hair ...  just not together? 

 One distracts from the beauty of other, almost, instead of working together.




As for the ceremony itself, thank God they were light on the slap jokes, we're all sick to death of it, but of the few that were made, the funniest was Jimmy Kimmel talking about his own protection, pointing out the amount of Irish actors nominated this year, sitting in the front row, that one would have to go through to get to him (camera pans to Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, holding up their fists as if boxing the camera, taking that tired stereotype well) -  then Michelle Yeoh (doing some karate moves at the camera) -  and even Pedro Pascal, who made a serious  "Joel" from "The Last of Us" face (or I'd say Mandalorian face, except he wears a mask), and gestured the "I'm watching you" sign with two fingers from his eyes to the camera. All good natured, in the end :)

Actually, there were actually even less awkward moments than usual, this year, with most of them occurring on the red carpet.

However, this year, the ASL interpreters stole the show and were more interesting than either the interviewers or the megastars being interviewed ... which is exactly what I texted live to a friend who was unable to watch lol 




 However, one of those red-carpet awkward moments I noticed was Hugh Grant, acting like huge a-hole to Ashley Graham on the red carpet.  




Okay, granted, her first question wasn't her best and it threw her, but when she tried to recover and move on to better questions, he just made it worse by acting like the rest of her questions were stupid, too, and refusing to answer them reasonably.  He behaved snobbish, rude, and uncooperative - why even agree to be interviewed then?

Apparently by the time he made it onstage to present he adjusted his attitude, though, because he kicked it in his presenting speech and became self-deprecating (talking about the difference between Andie McDowell's skin and his skin was moisturizer, and that this is why he looked like a scrotum lol). 

As for those interviews, alhough Jimmy Kimmel did a really good job overall, asking the pretend fan questions to the attendees - who are already nervous as hell, mind you - to answer absurd questions, with "cocaine bear" coming out to paw at Malala, was not only painfully awkward, it was just plain ... weird? lol.





I mean, I like absurd humor, as we all well know, but what the ???

Did you and cocaine bear snort a few lines just before that or what?

This is a Nobel Peace Prize winner ... and you thought you'd re-elevate the Oscars by having some guy dressed up like a cracked-out bear paw at her or-?

I mean, that's like asking creepy Chuck E Cheese to take a selfie with Pope Francis at the Vatican, just ... No 






I mean, the right-wing press is having a field day with it (because they don't have anything else - virtually no politics were discussed last night and no one slapped anyone else, so they can keep deflecting off of January 6th and their own penchant for violence onto people of color).

I actually don't think that Malala-and-bear moment was as big of a deal as they were making of it, it was just awkward and didn't go over well.

Poor Malala tried to play along anyway, and actually gave the best answer.

Her question was "As the youngest Nobel Prize winner in history, do you think Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine?”

Malala, without missing a beat, said: "I'm just here to talk about peace."




Brava, Malala - this is one of the many reasons why we love you :)


And Jimmy kind of made fun of her name, too, as he walked away, and also appeared to take a slight dig at Colin Farrell, asking him if he was going home with the donkey tonight.

Okay, so for those unaware or unsure, IMO, that was a double-entendre jab at Colin Farrell.

Because yes - although Colin Farrell let the donkey sleep in his bed in the Banshees of Inisherin,  Colin Farrell also had the previous reputation of scamming and sleeping with nearly every actress in Hollywood, during his alcoholic/drug/sex-addict days in the early-to-mid 2000s.

And in case you weren't sure if Jimmy's joke was a double-entendre for his prior reputation, look at Colin's face just after Jimmy said it, still somewhat present in this photo, taken at the same moment as the one above (the one with the bear and Malala), only taken closer ... 





His son, Henry, is laughing at the bear, but you'll notice that Colin is still looking at Jimmy like, "Yeah, you're lucky you have security detail this year - eff off, ya bastard" LOL


HOWEVER again -  Colin has been clean and sober, for the last few years - yet another comeback story, this year.

It was probably hard enough for him to stay sober, last night - let's cut him some slack and not tack on more pressure on him to want to use, yes?

So let's be kind and allow him the chance to redeem himself and we'll just wait and see.


And I thought we were taking it easy on insulting the nominees and their wives this year?

Whether good PR or sincere, not only did he bring his 13-year-old son, Henry, as his "date" to the Oscars ... 




... but everyone describes him now as being extremely kind and empathetic, and though I can't find a picture of it, his reaching out to Brendan Fraser, in such a kind way, on his way up on stage, despite just losing to him, was very touching and appeared sincere. 

Who knows, though, it could all be acting - we'll wait and see.


Otherwise, bravo, Oscars - clearly about comebacks, kindness (mostly), and warming our hearts again this year - thank you for the much-needed re-elevation - the Oscars became, once again, a delight to watch :)

(I totally dug the art deco throwback decor, too! :)



Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Meanwhile, There's Been Saugatuck, Sjogren's Syndrome, and ... Saint Chris Rock? ;)

 

So I'm told we are going to have a few days with no/low work, and I'm bored, so I thought I'd take a moment to write an update -  I just felt like writing, and thought I'd take a moment to update everyone all at once :)

So my first big-but-good news is that I have reconnected with my mom and it's going super well.  

In fact, I have never seen her like this -  it makes me so happy to see her doing this well!

I never thought I'd ever see her like this, it makes me cry to think about how well she's doing!

(Please, God, whatever meds she's on, may she stay on them forever, amen lol.)

She even makes jokes now!?!


My little sister and I especially have an especially absurd sense of humor, absurdity is our favorite form of humor, and although Mom used to laugh sometimes, or tell corny stories about other people  telling corny stories - she never actually made jokes on her own - but she does now!

The first time she did, I thought:  "Hold up - who are you and what have you done with my mother?"  lol.


I think the first time I noticed, it was something like I said to her on the phone: "Okay, it's late, get thee to bed, young lady ... I'm shaking my finger at you and winking at the same time."

She quipped back, "Ignoring youuuuu ... I have too much to do still before my surgerryyy."

Oh my Lord, hold up - that was nearly a quip back - let me write this day down!


In all seriousness, I am SO proud of her, how well she is doing, it warms my heart to see her happy - and I tell her that nearly every day:) 


Yeah, she's still overly focused (addicted?) to religious stuff, IMO, but what can you do? If it helps her, who am I to stop her?

(For the record, I'm a Christian, too, just not charismatic evangelical, I'm Episcopalian and I guess I just don't think Jesus works the way she does, but it's cool :)

At least she has a sense of humor about it now.

Like after finding out we were Polish in a recent DNA test, I brought her some Paczkis from Kroger Bakery before Fat Tuesday/Paczki Day.  





Since we are not Catholic, and she knows nothing about Catholicism, she later said on the phone that she didn't get it, nor why they eat fish on Fridays.


Me:  "Well, you probably should ask Mark, he's been Polish Catholic all his life.  You and I are just newly discovered Polish (thanks to a DNA test) and neither one of us is Catholic  -  but as I understand it, it has something to do with eating the most decadent, rich, "sinful" stuff the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, when you have to give up your favorite things in order to relate to Christ's suffering." 
"I think the fish thing started because once upon a time in Europe,  meat, especially beef -  anything with fat or cooked with fat - was considered luxurious and decadent, and it was super expensive, whereas fish wasn't.  I mean, nobody gave up fish for Lent in Europe because it wasn't considered a luxury, the sea was always nearby and fish was abundant."  
"Anyway, here in Lex, you couldn't get Paczkis, or at least they weren't called that, until like 5 years ago, so Mark is super excited they're here now, but also says they're not nearly as good as Detroit's." 
"Whatever, I don't know, Mom ... just eat it, ya Pollock!" 
 "See, I can say that because I recently found out that I'm a Pollock too!" ;)

 

Mom:  "Hahaha!  Okay, but what is Mardi Gras about? 

 

Me:  "Pretty much the same thing - in fact, the day before Ash Wednesday is called Paczki Day in the north, but Fat Tuesday in the South, especially in New Orleans." 
"Same idea, you act all sinful the night before Ash Wednesday, then you're sorry about it later or something, and then you confess it to somebody or something lol." 
"So ... after you eat the Paczki, you must go dance half-naked in the streets with beads, okay?  Then be really sorry about it later and confess, very important ;) lol" 

 

Mom:  "No, I ... don't believe I will lol."  

 

Me:  "You mean you won't dance or you won't confess it later?" ;) 
"Hey, you don't know -  maybe Jesus did a little dance sometimes, when he was happy." 
"Like maybe on Palm Sunday or something, when they were still singing his praises, just before those same people crucified him, because he knew they were going to, and this was his last chance to dance lol"  

 

Mom:  "I'm pretty sure Jesus did NOT do that" (sounding amused.) 
 
Me:  "LOL!  How do YOU know?  You don't know, I'm sure he did dance sometimes, maybe at like weddings and stuff, like, 'Hey, some people I love just got married AND I just turned water into wine - go me!  Go Jesus, Go Jesus, Go! Gonna party like it's ma birthday!'" 
"Okay, not half-naked, no, but who knows, he probably danced sometimes."  

 

Mom:  "Hehehe, noooo ... silly girl."


Now, of course, I wasn't serious -  I was just trying to make my mom laugh during a rough health time.

Regardless, you don't understand how monumental this is - my mom laughed at my jokes - even my religious jokes.  

I'm quite sure Jesus had a sense of humor, whereas I used to think my mom had hers surgically removed, and previously, I would've had a prayer cloth thrown at me, which she bought for $19.95 from some televangelist for saying stuff like this as being "blasphemy," adding that I'm a demon or witch or something -  but she actually laughed!


As for that surgery, she finally had her second knee replacement after having some complications after the first one last year.


Thus, my little sister is in town, being the primary caretaker, so I'm backing her up with support.  

Unfortunately, my mom developed pneumonia, after this second one, and she was also just diagnosed with sleep apnea, which makes the  balance between pain medicine and CPAP/oxygen-flow very tricky.


As a quick aside, if someone you know is the primary caretaker for someone else - erm - help them?

(AND - don't forget to thank them!)

Especially if they are trying to both work AND be a primary caretaker, during these times of an international nursing shortages!

"Help" comes in lots of forms, by the way ... if you can't give physical care yourself because of work, parenting, etc., there are other ways, including just encouragement or listening to them vent, right?  

And if you don't know what you can do, just ask, "Is there anything I can do to help?"


On that note of my little sister kickin' butt with this, just in case she reads this someday -  I just found the original TikTok video she was talking about by Destini Ann ... 

So Ru, this is for you - just in case you forget, here's your daily reminder that ... "Bitch, you doin' a GOOD job!"

Love, 

Your sister, Chrystal xo


@destini.ann Duet with meeee! #positivediscipline #positiveparenting #positiveparent #momtips #mominspiration #adviceformoms #peacefulparenting #parenttips ♬ Bitch You Doin A Good Job - Destini Ann


LOLOLOL!


For the record, Destini originally recorded the song just for moms, but now it's an affirmation for all women, for themselves or for others, who just need a reminder on one of those days.

The full lyrics are:

"Bitch, you doin' a good job,

Bitch, you doin' a good job.

F that laundry, F that dish

Take a break and shake that sh*t"


LOLOLOL!

You will note that amount of views and people who took her up on the "duet" offer, women AND men, making their own videos and sending them to her :)

Regardless, Ru and I have our own duet going on, and we actually make a pretty good care team for Mom.

In fact, we both caught a couple of major flubs in her aftercare (that's what happens with nursing shortages) that we were able to rectify quickly.  

*That is not a diss of nurses - it's a diss of the nursing shortages going on since COVID - pay them more for putting themselves in harm's way, dangit!*


Regardless, our mama didn't raise no dummies! ;)

Go Smith girls, Go Smithies! Bitch, we're doing a good job :)


I work in healthcare, so my catches were just par for the course - but the remarkable thing is, my little sis doesn't -  and yet she still made the other catches -  so give it up for my little sister, Ru!





(We have all often lamented that we wished Morgan Freeman was our dad, thus, this GIF of him clapping for her lol.)


As for me, I had a little health concern myself, after a one-sided sore throat and swollen glands since Christmas that would not go away after antibiotics.  I'm a smoker, so I was a little concerned, but also knew there was other stuff it could be.

I had a CT scan which showed nothing but swollen glands, particularly near my right salivary gland.  

Sjogren's syndrome or mixed autoimmune disease is suspected, despite the rheumatoid panel being normal (because with Sjogren's, it only shows up in 50% of people on the panel - it really takes a salivary biopsy to diagnose, but even then, that's only accurate 60% of the time and you can still have it if negative.)

Regardless, I was told to drink lots of water and suck on sour candy and the symptoms did improve - and then I had a nasolaryngoscopy yesterday, and all was clear.  Since the symptoms are better, I chose to hold on further procedures (like the salivary biopsy) unless it flares again.

Anyway, good news, no throat cancer (but I'm still working on quitting smoking)!



Oh, other news since I last wrote -  I surprised Mark for his birthday in February by taking him to his beloved home of Michigan!

He hadn't been home to Michigan since before the pandemic because Michigan was especially locked down, so he was over the moon!

We did a lot in four days, let me tell you.

We started in the West, a little "sea town" on Lake Michigan called "Saugatuck," which we fell in love with instantly.  

Well, except for the food - it was overpriced blandness, which was so disappointing -  but other than that, totally in love with this little liberal, LGBTQ-friendly "sea" town, just below Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is a particularly Republican (and Trump-Republican at that) stronghold lol.

Day 1 -Douglas-Saugatuck, MI

Our hotel was only $69 bucks a night, can you believe it?  That is NOT typical for Douglas-Saugatuck, believe me. Super good deal for the price!





You will also notice that he is never, at any time, without his MSU Sparty gear on, because it was Michigan VS. Michigan State Weekend (basketball), as well as the weekend after the MSU mass shooting (more on that later). 




Douglas Beach, Douglas, MI







Waterfront houses along Douglas Beach ($2 to $7 million, we checked lol)  ... 
















Deer in the streets ... 




Coming into Saugatuck from Douglas, this is Saugatuck Harbor ...













... on Lake Kalamazoo, separated by only a half-mile of land (and a channel) from Lake Michigan itself ... 

Now, driving into the little cozy, cute little "seaside" town of Saugatuck, Michigan  - it reminds you of the Northeastern U.S. coast, a little? 












Downtown Saugatuck, Michigan




































It's very LGBTQ-friendly, by the way - in fact, the majority of the businesses here are even LGBTQ-owned now.



Taken at a local tavern that we popped in for a quick bite while shopping ... 



We then decided to visit Saugatuck Dunes State Park on Lake Michigan to hike, also having heard that you could sled there on the dunes in winter (but we were unable to find the area to do that).

A little hike on the way to the dunes ... 








Ultimately leading to the dunes and the beach ...








Not sure how this one of Miss Brookie turned out black-and-white on my phone, but I kind of like it that way :) 




Here is Mark, totally in his element ... 



Yes - it WAS super windy and cold by the water, thank you - I much preferred the walk in the woods just before, but Mark being from Michigan, was not at all bothered by it :)

In fact, the next day, it turned colder again, and while visiting Oval Beach on the way out, I froze solid shortly after these pictures were taken ... ;)





But it was worth it, to see my husband's face like THIS ... 








Note there is no hat or hood on, just a big smile :)

Me, on the other hand?

 I was bundled up in ski pants over winter leggings, knit hat and hooded parka, looking like Nanook of the North lol 

And yes, that IS Brookie eating the snow in the background - she loves snow!





Just some more pics of Oval Beach ... 





Interestingly enough, we found a rock on the beach that looked just like the "mitten" shape of mainland Michigan :) 




Michigan State University Campus, East Lansing, Michigan - Sunday, February 19th (6 days after the mass-shooting there).

After that, we moseyed East towards Detroit, where I had booked a suite at a hotel long before the mass shooting at Michigan State University, so though we planned to visit Mark's alma mater anyway, we took more time here to pay our respects.  

Current students and alumni, young and old, in a steady stream of pilgrimage made their way there, that weekend, paying their respects, very moving.

I think this is the best picture I took of that campus visit, it shows the mood on everyone's faces, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or political persuasion -  they were all feeling it, at "The Rock"  memorial on campus that day, the largest of several temporary memorials they had set up on campus. 






Three students were killed that day, one male, two females - two were white and one was black - from very different walks of life and different socioeconomics, proving that no one is immune to gun violence.

The main memorial to Brian, Alexandra, and Arielle ... 




I had my arm around my husband the whole time to support him, but we both teared up.  

In fact, I have a hard time looking at that first picture myself still, though I didn't even go to MSU.  These young promising little lives, cut short  by more mass-shooting gun violence that our country does nothing about :(









That sign is true - everyone was so kind to each other and supportive to one another - proving that human phenomenon that sometimes when things are at their worst, we humans are at our best :)

And it's a beautiful campus, MSU, by the way ...






We definitely didn't have dorms like that, at the University of Kentucky (and still don't) lol. 


On our way out of town, we stopped at Dusty's Cellar for one of the best cannolis you've ever eaten, especially in the greater-Detroit area (Detroit is famous for cannolis) ...




... and then one of the satellite stores for Grand Traverse Pie  Company (main bakery in Traverse City, Michigan).

I'm not a pie person, but if I was, I'd get one - these stops were checking off birthday boxes for my husband's wish list, you see, and he has an unrivaled sweet tooth :)




Then we moved on to suburban Detroit, staying in the suburb of Rochester, for a particular reason and one reason only and that is the hotel was literally a block away from Mark's beloved Sanders Chocolates, for their famous hot fudge.

Now, during the pandemic, though previously we could get Sanders Hot Fudge at Meijer, but Sanders stopped selling it nationally due to distribution costs during the pandemic, so part of this trip was to get my husband Sanders hot fudge, like a case of it, for his birthday :)

Mission accomplished :)




My husband decided that because he felt I was a trooper for coming up to the frozen North in mid-February for him, he would pay for a night at this fancy schmantsy hotel in Rochester, called The Royal Park -  famous for likes of famous people like George W. Bush, Paul McCartney, and Taylor Swift having stayed there - as my Valentine's Day gift :)
















Now -  at this point, you might be saying to yourself, "What does  ANY of this have to do with Chris Rock in your title?" 


It doesn't lol.


It's just that also in the meantime, since I last wrote, I watched Chris Rock's Netflix special, "Selective Outrage,"  to see what he had to say, because it had been hyped to be about him finally talking about "the slap."




I need to pre-empt this by saying also that just before that, I watched Bill Maher for the first time in like three years.


Can I just say that Chris Rock and Bill Maher, plus tack on Dave Chappelle - despite having built their careers on being brilliant  liberal political satirists - appear to now be pandering to old, rich, bitter, white male conservatives, just to get a broader audience and more ticket sales?

I'm not offended by them, mind you,  I just don't think they're funny anymore, they're doing a near 180 with their content, and thus now rich and powerful themselves, have become part of the system they once railed against, not to mention greedy and selfish.

All three of them sound like rich, aging, bitter, angry  old white men to me now - the same men they once brilliantly skewered.

Or maybe I'm just getting old?


And then all of these talk shows, talking about how Chris finally got his say, and I'm like .... 

???

Erm - did we watch the same special?

Because that wasn't my take on it at all. 


Chris blamed Jada for Will's slap, calling her a bitch like 20 times, when as I recall it, she did nothing but make a face.

Then he went off on Meghan Markle without once mentioning Harry.

Which of course leaves both Will Smith and Harry totally responsibility-less for their own actions, because apparently, in Chris Rock's world, men are just our powerless puppets,  whom we women -  all women actually being powerful witches, of course - somehow telekinetically program to do our bidding for our covens?!?


Then he said he's not a victim -  but it sure felt like he wanted our sympathy to me, especially when he went on for several minutes about his bromance with Will, how much he previously loved him, like his heart was broken - to the degree that I was like, "Well, then talk to him about it privately, then, not to us, that was our problem with this whole thing - whatever your beef is with each other, it doesn't belong at the Oscars.  But one thing I DO know, this for damn sure is not going to facilitate that private conversation - you probably just killed any chance of a reconciliation with him now."


And throwing shade at Meghan Markle for attention-seeking and whining, despite having money (as IF money solved Diana's problems or even Chris Rock's own relationship problems)?

Okay, Chris -  but do you really want to go there, throwing shade at people you believe are whining, attention-seeking,  and cashing in on their victimhood despite being wealthy?

Because hellloooo, I'm pretty sure YOU qualify, yourself, by dragging us all back into this Oscar slap shit, a year later -  one week before the Oscars, mind you - just  so you can selfishly cash in on it, when the rest of us are trying to to rise above it and re-elevate the Oscars?


Not to mention, Chris cheated on and publicly humiliated his wife  with it repeatedly, right out in front of God and everybody - most notably with Kerry Washington, for years, to the degree that his wife finally had enough and is divorcing him - but he's dogging Jada for it  (despite Will and Jada admittedly having an open marriage) and blaming her for the slap?

As IF Chris was just innocently minding his own own business when Will slapped him, when he so wasn't - he has a history of repeatedly  getting all up in Jada and Will's shit for years, now, and then chose to shame her publicly at the Oscars.

Again, it's not that I was offended, I wasn't - and I still laugh, if the jokes are funny - but they weren't.

Also, his own blatant hypocrisy is what kept it from even being in the ballpark of funny.

And lastly, I'm all for freedom of speech (as long as you pre-empt it as opinion or belief, rather than stating fact or "news") - but abortion jokes are NOT funny.

You just can't make abortion funny, regardless of which side you're on, anti or pro - sorry. 



And what was with the Elon Musk praise?

Man, if I didn't know better, I'd think Chris Rock was a 70-year-old, wealthy, white man.

Now, I still wouldn't say that Chris deserved to be slapped - but I  will say that I don't think he helped his case at all. 

Chris just came across like a weird cross between a 13-year-old bully and an old, bitter misogynist (because as we know, the two groups often act similarly) -  blaming the world's problems on women of color, clearly pandering to bitter old white men and kissing white-male ass like Elon Musk - ESPECIALLY when he went off about abortion being murder.

I thought at first, seeing all the talk show praise for him, "Maybe it's me, maybe I'M the one getting old and that's changed, if I think that Bill Maher, Dave Chappelle, and Chris Rock have changed and aren't funny anymore and just sound like bitter old men?"

Then, not only did I read that I wasn't alone - several Twitterites and others were saying much the same, and believe it or not, the best review article I read on it was in USA Today ..."




"For Rock, like very successful peers Dave Chappelle and Ellen DeGeneres, the more money and power he accrues, the harder it is for him to be funny. Comedy has a long tradition of speaking truth to power, of giving the little guy a microphone and highlighting the collective woes of the everyman."
 
"But Rock is the power now. He is so embedded in the world of the rich and famous that he spent a full two minutes actively praising Elon Musk's sperm count (there was a joke in there somewhere). Musk is the richest man in the world, and Rock made sure to stoke his ego."



Amen!

I dunno ... though I previously found him funny, I began to actively dislike Chris in 2013, when Chris said "bullying is good for kids" in Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee"

Yeah, erm - pretty sure child psychologists and American Foundation of Suicide Prevention would disagree with you there, Buddy. 


He doesn't deserve a slap over it, no ... nor does he deserve to be silenced/lose his freedom of speech -  but everybody needs to quit  trynna act like the man is ready to be canonized into sainthood, either, right?


The next time I want to hear rich, out-of-touch, old (but still immature) men verbally jerk each other off by blaming women for all their problems, attempting to cover their bitterness and inability to take responsibility with lame, mean jokes, I'll just go down to to the bar at my local Texas Roadhouse instead, thanks. 

At least I'll get a semi-decent steak and beer for enduring it, at a much cheaper price than the price of a Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, or Bill Maher ticket.


Anyway, that's about it from my small corner of the world - hope everyone is doing okay where you are, too :)