Friday, March 31, 2006

Tricia's Musings - This week's tenant

Go visit my tenant: Tricia's Musings

I'll let her introduce herself:

I have two motto's- 1. Live life to the fullest; and 2. don't have any regrets. I'm married to a wonderful man, and I work as an ER nurse. I enjoy my garden, good music, photography, cooking great meals and having a good time with my friends, oh, and I really love reptiles.

Her stuff is varied and well written. Go take a peek!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Saturday, March 25, 2006

To the anonymous folks out there who hate me for laughing at death

I feel for anyone who as lost anyone due to any cause. Parents losing their children is one of the worst things I can imagine.

That being said:
If a 17 year old highly accomplished young woman gets hit by a train, that’s tragic.
If the 17 year old is hearing impaired, that’s tragic and even more sad.
If the 17 year old is Miss Deaf Texas, that’s newsworthy, tragic, and sad.

But if the 17 year old is
a) hearing impaired and knows it (being Miss Deaf Texas would be a clue) and
b) is text messaging anyone (let alone her parents) while walking near a train track
then the 17 year old Miss Deaf Texas was doing something very stupid.

Did she deserve to die? No. Did her parents deserve to lose her? Of course not.
Did she contribute to her own death? Yes indeedy.

Does she deserve a certain amount of mockery?
In my world, if you don’t laugh then you are always going to be crying about one thing or another.

The comedy-tragedy rule is this:
If I get a paper cut, that’s a tragedy.
If you, Mr or Mrs Anonymous, fall down a manhole and die, that’s comedy.

And give me a break! I barely mentioned that the story had humorous elements.

Did I suggest that her entry in the Mrs Deaf Texas talent portion of the competition was clearly not “train dodging?”


That would clearly be wrong.

Friday, March 24, 2006

This shouldn't be the least bit funny, yet…

This is a piece of news which I only heard about through The Plural Of Apocalypse list of the "New of the Apocalyptic sort," which she does periodically.

Onto the news (insert old-timey clickity clack of newswires here):

Miss Deaf Texas was text messaging parents before accident

AUSTIN (AP) — Miss Deaf Texas was walking just a foot away from the train tracks on her way to her mother’s workplace when she was struck and killed by a passing Union Pacific train.

While she was walking, Tara McAvoy, 18, was text messaging on her cell phone last week to her parents, who are also hearing impaired. Police said McAvoy was likely distracted before she was hit by the snowplow on the front of a 65-car Union Pacific train. She died at the scene.

“As the train approached, they sounded the horn and got no response,” Austin police Detective David Fugitt said. “They activated the emergency brakes but were unable to stop in time.”

A railroad spokesman said that the accident underscores the danger of walking anywhere near railroad tracks.

“It’s not safe to be there,” said Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis.

McAvoy graduated from the Texas School for the Deaf in 2005 and won the state pageant in June. She was scheduled to compete in the national pageant in California this year. She had been a cheerleader, a basketball player and an honor roll student at the school.


News from:

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Understandably My New Tenant

Welcome to my new tenant Understandably Insane

She describes herself as:

"I am a 21 year-old female college student/chef. As I’m sure you’ve figured out now, I’m a little touched. Maybe not the touched that gaurantees you a ride on the short bus, but the kind that makes your friends doubt your sanity. Maybe they are one in the same…
Anyway, this blog is a collection of things that have happened to me, that I’ve found, or that I’ve done. Everything you’ll read or see here is true, so if you start to doubt some of the things I write, feel free to ask questions in the comments section, I’ll be sure to try and answer them."

If that doesn't intrigue you enough, I happen to think she writes great stuff.

Go check her out and tell her I sent you!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Love and Marriage

My tenant, Gidget Bones Diary, got married to her beau, Dark Marcy during her tenancy at the Panic Blog.

Now those are memories which will last forever.

Do send them a fondue (or at least tell them congratulations).

Wahoo! Go-go-Gidget nuptuals!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Name this mental illness

Is it weird that I have something like five projects all going at once and yet I want to learn to a) etch glass and b) weld for purposes of metal sculpture?

And where do all the people go to sell their used big expensive art supplies when the muse disappears? I want to go there.

And yet I have no actually demonstrated artistic talent.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms – in Kindergarten

Well, okay not so much.

But I've got another burr under my saddle and it's this:

Smoking is bad for your health and costly to society, no question.

TV shows and movies routinely get harangued for showing smoking in a positive light.

Remember when Winona Ryder was being lambasted for smoking in all of her movies? The poor thing had to resort to shoplifting to relieve the stress.

The pilot of Desperate Housewives got more hate mail for Eva Longoria's lighting up a cigarette after sleeping with a high-school aged gardener than for sleeping with the high-school aged gardener.

Okay, fine. Keep up the ads. Kids, please don't smoke. Eva and Winona should also stop, not because they are role models but because it's going to hurt them physically.

But why is it that in nearly every sitcom these days everyone is guzzling alcohol.

Case in point: What I Like About You. I don't particularly like this show but my lovely wife does. It's on the WB before Reba which we both enjoy watching. Watch it sometime. Every single scene has alcohol in it. Trust me on this one. Do you think Amanda Bynes was all cross-eyed before this show? No, it's because she's constantly drunk on the show. Oh and underaged to boot. And Jennie Garth (the oldest living high schooler in the 90210 area code many years ago)'s character arc is based on the premise that she got so totally drunk that she married a guy during an alcoholic blackout.

Reba's show is better but they consume a lot of beer in a house where the daughter is a saucy young alcoholic.

Maybe it's because I don't drink alcohol (I've too much of an addictive personality and it does nothing for my girlish figure) but this seems like a huge double standard.

Tobacco is addictive and causes cancer. Yet alcohol can also be addictive and causes 17,000+ driving related fatalities per year. That's just driving.

Watching Will and Grace leads me to believe that the age of the good-natured and loveable drunk (Karen) is finally back after a hiatus during the 70's and 80's. Maybe we can bring back other old favorites: the loveable wife-beater, the happy go lucky shoplifter, the white supremacist with the heart of gold. Oh wait, I have one: performers in black-face tap dancing.

But then folks would write letters of condemnation. Better to have a bunch of happy drunks. Apparently the Salvation Army has no propoganda General. At least they still have their sniper corps.

Word to the wise: Don't let anyone on Will and Grace drive you home. 'Sall I'm sayin'.

Cheez… all this ranting lately. Perhaps I need a drink.

Click on my renter: Gidget Bones. Really, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

This Week's Tenant: Gidget Bones Diary

Gidget Bones Diary

Go check her blog out!

I don't just say that because my last tenant Unsettled was not very happy with the number of clicks she received when renting my blog last week (my fault, I should have pimped her out much more or charged her less).

I say check out Gidget Bones Diary because it's got a great layout, fun content, and is written in a sassy way. It's a great opportunity to read a fantastic blog.

Tell her I sent you. And click on Unsettled too, she deserves it!

(Oh and I gave Unsettled half of her outrageous rent back since she was a dissatisfied customer).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

New words

I love malapropisms.

I love to say the word 'malapropism.'





It's even fun to type. Try it.

Also try slipping these lovely words into your next cocktail party, business meeting, or anti-technology manifesto:

When folks use words incorrectly it often leads to a disastrophy.

If several folks use words incorrectly it could cause wide-spread pandalerium.

I can't count how many times I've had callers who wished to be unanimous.

Once a lady told me her neighbors were trying to use her as an
escape goat

A weight loss surgery patient on a WLS board my wife frequents complained of a high anal hernia (yeow!)

I won't even get into the presidential gaffs and slips of the tongue.
Actually there is a Bill Clinton joke in there somewhere.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Product Placement in Books ??

So after reading the wonderful Carl Hiaasen books Skin Tight, and Stormy Weather, I am slogging through The 5th Horseman by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.

I don’t expect greatness out of James Patterson but I do expect a good time. This book is like a lovely TV movie: not too much brain power required and a fun diversion. I recommend this book for only that reason.

Yet one thing just goes screeeeeeee like fingernails on a cheese grater for me: product placement. The main character refers to her cellular phone repeatedly and exclusively as her 'Nextel.'

Okey dokey. Let's review:

1. Nextel is not a brand of phone. Nextel used to be a wireless communications company and now it is part of Sprint. They were the first (and maybe only, I don’t frankly care) company to integrate digital cellular phone service, two way radio, and text/voice paging. In this and only in this way there is such a thing as a "Nextel" phone.

2. The actual Nextel phones are made by our friends at Motorola and Blackberry.

So why use the term Nextel without even mentioning that it's a freaking cellphone?

I can think of many reasons why not:

1. Twenty years from now there might not be a Nextel. Shoot, it's already part of Sprint so in twenty minutes there might not be a Nextel.

2. It automatically dates your book. Why refer to a specific brand name?

And the reason why:

Someone is getting paid to endorse this product in a book by a Best Selling Author.

Will I someday read my kids the story of the eternal war between arachnid and child only to have them see a picture of the lovely Ms. Muffet eating from a tub of Lucerne Cottage Cheese?

Will the baby bear have a bed that is "just right" because it's a Sealy Posturepedic?

Does this really happen?

Tell me a story.

Oh and go get a Carl Hiaasen book, you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Domestic Violence is Satisfying!

Q: What do you tell a woman with two black eyes?

A: Nothin', you done told her twice.

There are two types of calls which I am particularly passionate about: mental health consumer calls and domestic violence calls.

Mental illness another time, today the topic is DV.

I've always liked telling women to leave their abusive men. It seldom works but at least it gets them thinking. Victims of domestic violence who end up on the phone with me usually are not thinking all that clearly due to whatever recent indignity to which they have been subjected.

My job is pretty simple: get them help in the form of immediate safety and documentation. Once the information I need for this task has been collected sometimes I get to enter the bonus round. This is where the victim and I just talk.

It usually consists of a little rundown of the living situation: Any kids? Married, living together, or just dating? Family or close friends the victim can stay with? History of the abusive behavior. The basics.

Then the tack I take is always this:

1. If you are not safe in your current situation, you need to go someplace safe.

2. These things usually escalate. No matter how "sorry" the abuser is, it's going to happen again.

3. A restraining order is a great tool with which to arrest the abuser if it is violated later but it will not actually protect a victim. It's just a piece of paper. See rule number 1.

I'm absolutely shameless. I have no problem laying a huge guilt trip on folks. "If not for yourself, then for your kids. Are you going to wait around until one of them gets hurt? Do you want them to grow up without a mother? Did you know children of domestic violence abusers are 20 times more likely to abuse their partners?"

And I almost never get to talk to someone the first time they get hit. Maybe you and your loved one have had some knockdown drag-out fights and maybe you've survived to old age together with great regret. The calls I get are the victim who has been abused mentally longer and more frequently than physically but usually physically several times before ever calling for help.

The worst is when the kids call and the parents are fighting in the background. Your heart just breaks because the kids are usually 6-12 years old and profoundly scared. Their whole world, such that it is, is bad and they know it's not going to change for the better any time soon.

That's the truth too. When the police come it's not going to turn out all happy. One of the parents is usually going to jail. If that's mommy or daddy it's going to hurt, even if they know it's the best thing.

The other parent will often be at the jail later that night to bail them out. That's a tragic truth. Change is hard. Maybe the abuser is the only bread-winner. Many times, as the result in the abusive relationship, the victim doesn’t have any close friends. What else do they know? How are they going to get along by themselves? If they don't bail their abuser out it's only going to be worse when he eventually gets out of jail. It's bound to come up at dinner later.

Getting someone to go to a shelter is the hardest. No one wants to be in a shelter. It's admitting defeat and opening up your private business to complete strangers. It's a tough sell. Yet it does fulfill rule number 1: a safe place.

I'd guess that in ten years and talking to hundreds of domestic violence victims I've only actually made a difference half a dozen times. Maybe less. Yet it's immensely satisfying to have pushed someone in a safe direction, even if they drift back into danger sooner or later.

What I haven’t figured out is how to get more folks to call. Do you have any idea how many gays and lesbians are in physically abusive relationships? Neither do I because they are less likely to call. It seems like there are a disproportionate amount of physically abusive lesbian relationships but I have not done any scientific studies. If one feels oppressed by society one is not likely to call the government to help.

Ditto victims who have very little ability to speak English, victims who come from cultures which are very patriarchal, and victims who are disabled.

And one thing I try to remember and try to impress upon my recruits is that it will only take one bad experience to sour the whole relationship. If a victim calls for help and doesn’t get it, they are not going to call back.

Those victims and their kids are in for a world of hurt.

If you are reading this and are being physically abused, get out. Not "soon" -- now. You didn't ask for it and there are no "good reasons" to abuse someone. No amount of being sorry can fix it and next time it will be worse. Do you want to get killed in front of your kids? Do you? And if you won't do it for yourself or your kids then do it for me; I'm going to worry about you if you are not in a safe place tonight.

I told you I was shameless.



Crouching Woman

Cycle of Violence

Hate Crime

Then and Now

Digital Violence

Monday, March 06, 2006

Unsettling News

This week's tenant is Unsettled.

Go check her blog out. It's great.

No really, go.


Suggest a satellite television service, ask her how she liked the movie Crash, comment on her hair, whatever tickles your fancy.

Tell her what you think then come back and tell me what you thought.

Or someink.

Friday, March 03, 2006

My Mom The Rat

This was emailed to me from my mom and posted here with her permission. Perhaps you can weigh in as to whether a) she should have bothered calling at all and b) whether you too are a little appalled at their reaction.

"Here's a little story for you.......
I arrived for work this am about 7:45 am. There were three other cars in our parking lot when I got here. I came up, started my computer, got out the appointment books, opened up the, la, la,la. Then I headed up the back stair way with my empty cup and my turkey roll-ups( to stash in the refridge). On the landing I glanced out the window that faces the parking lot and LO..and BEHOLD...there was a big yellow school bus parked parallel to the alley......idly in our parking lot.
Then I noticed the man...standing outside the bus, at the back end of the bus...drinking from a cup and smoking a cigarette. I didn't think much of it until I saw a couple of heads with winter hats bobbing around the seats inside the bus. So.......I watched out the window.
The man finished his cigarette..drank more from his cup then went to the bus door where he apparently couldn't get in without someone inside the bus opening the door to let him in. He got in the bus, little head with hats stopped moving around and the bus headed down the alley toward Reka Drive.
So I called your DAD.........since he's the moral compass when I get the guilt thing going ( don't want to cost a man his job.....don't want little bobble head students injured due to lack of involvement on my part....the whole --do I,-- don't I question). Your Dad suggested that it would be interesting to know what ASD policy was on leaving students unattended on a running school bus.
I called the administration office..who forwarded me to the transportation office (however they did tell me if I didn't feel like I had received the proper attention to please call back and they would bump it up a level). I talked to a gentleman for about 30 seconds who promptly transferred me to a very nice lady (name left out to protect the ??) who said she was the administrator of the transportation department.
After some conversation .."yes, I'd be happy to tell you what I observed...however before I do I would like to understand what the school district policy is" the bottom line is:
NEVER, EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES is a school district employee to smoke around students. Not on school grounds, not in the bus, not by the bus, not at a bus stop (not in a boat, not with a goat...). is allowed for the bus driver to leave students on the bus (while running) if he/she is just outside the bus door.
The very nice woman who was the administrator asked me to describe the man I saw and she said that yes he was the bus driver and that no he wasn't likely to lose his job but she would be doing some serious counseling with him. School employees are just NOT allowed to smoke anywhere around students at any time.
Okay...questions of the it just me or does it seem somewhat skewed that the Los Anchorage School District was more concerned about the smoking than with the driver leaving students unattended on the bus?
At any rate.........I gave the nice lady a description of the driver, the number on the bus, and number on the printed sign in the back of the bus (I assume the route number). So I am officially a tattle-tale. But you know what.......I'm glad I called the nice lady...and I really hope she does "counsel" the bus driver. But I'd feel better if it mattered more that bobble heads were left on the bus by themselves.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Just Desserts

Students to Pay for Massive Food Fight

Feb 28, 6:45 PM (ET)
CHESTERTON, Ind. (AP) - A massive middle school food fight left several students suspended and the eighth-grade class footing the cleaning bill that included the cost of scraping mashed potatoes off the ceiling.

Last week's fight at Chesterton Middle School left ceiling tiles damaged and could cost the students as much as $1,000 to pay for overtime, maintenance and repairs, said Duneland School Corporation Superintendent Dirk Baer. "It wasn't just one or two kids throwing grapes," Baer said. "There were mashed potatoes sticking to the ceiling."

Security cameras captured the fracas that broke out about halfway through the 25-minute lunch period Wednesday at the school in the town 15 miles east of Gary.
The school suspended between six and 10 students for two or three days for launching the day's menu of chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes and milk into the air.

As many as 50 students might have been involved. Principal Jim Ton recommended one student be expelled. Cleaning costs will be taken from the eighth grade's extracurricular activity fund.

Baer said the whole class was punished because many of the grade's 500 students knew about plans for the food fight but failed to alert administrators. "It was planned and it was widely known that it would happen, but nobody said anything," Baer said. "Everybody has to take responsibility."
Information from: Post-Tribune,

I understand the juvenile urge to create havoc with little regard or concern for who would be tasked with cleaning up and paying for cleaning up the mess.

Since I am no longer a juvenile, I read this story and thought "MAKE THEM PAY! SEND BILLS TO THE PARENTS! EXPELL ALL 50!"

But the damage was only $1000. That's two bucks a piece for each student or $20 for each actual offender. Not enough punishment.

There must be some way to humiliate these kids, take some of their thunder away.

But maybe I've become the principal in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, "I'll get you, Bueller!"

Food Fight
Ed Rooney