Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Repeat After Me: When I Learn of Sexual Assault I Will Call the Cops

This should be a no-brainer. One of those things you don't ever think about. An automatic response. Engraved in your soul for all time. As natural as breathing.

When you learn of or witness sexual assault (aka rape), especially against a child, call the police.

Period. Conversation over.

The excuse of "I told my boss" is not good enough. Nor is the excuse, "it's not my job."

It sure as hell is your job. In fact, it's everyone job to protect children.

Do you hear me Mike McQueary and ESPN?

Earlier this week a number of my friends posted a story from The Onion about a group of 10-year-old boys holding a press conference begging the world to call the cops if anyone sees them being raped. Is it funny? Well, I guess so, but more than that, I think it's horribly sad. As I said when my friend Ellen posted the video, "It saddens me that The Onion has to write this story because so many people seem to be unclear on the concept. What makes me sadder is that in all the media coverage of the Penn State (and now allegedly Syracuse) child rape scandal, I have yet to see anyone simply look into the camera and say 'The bottom line is this: When you see a child being sexually abused, do whatever it takes to remove the child from the situation and call the f*#)^%@ police. To do anything else makes you as bad as the rapist.'"

So with that, I bring you this video of ESPN explaining why they held onto a tape recording of a conversation between Syracuse University's former coach Bernie Fine's wife, Laurie Fine, and Bobby Davis, one of his alleged victims, for eight years. Yes, you read that right. They had the audio tape for eight years and did nothing.

To say that ESPN's actions disgust me is a gross understatement. They clearly put their business needs ahead of protecting children and that is vile. I just hope that Bernie Fine didn't abuse any other children during those 8 years while ESPN sat on its collective hands.

Protecting those who sexually assault anyone, especially children, makes you as bad as the rapists, in my opinion.

I hope this is the final time I have to say this: If you learn of or witness sexual assault, especially against children, CALL THE COPS.

If we all did that one thing, children would be protected, victims could begin to heal, pedophiles would be in prison, and the world would be better.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanks Bank of America!

I so wish I'd thought of this, but I didn't. I have plenty of reasons to dislike Bank of America, so I found this absolutely hysterical. It's funny because, well, there's a good amount of truth to it. The good folks at Funny or Die nailed it again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kohl's Black Friday Commercial: Everything That's Wrong With the Holidays

Have you seen the new Kohl's Black Friday commercial? Evidently it is a parody of a song by someone named Rebecca Black. I don't know who she is, I've never heard her song, and I don't care.

What I do know is that this commercial epitomizes everything that's wrong with the holiday season. Watch the commercial below. Not only is it horrendously annoying, but at 0:07 the "star" of the commercial attempts to block a little old woman from entering the store by putting her hand in the woman's face and physically touching her and then at 0:14 she actually removes an item from another woman's shopping cart, causing the woman to give her a scornful look. Frankly, given the craziness that always comes with the Black Friday frenzy, the "star" is lucky that's all she got.

As far as I can tell, Kohl's is promoting bullying and greed in this commercial.

Now maybe you're thinking I'm taking this whole commercial WAY too seriously, especially since it's supposed to be a parody. But here's the thing: I had no idea it was a parody until I did a Google search to find the video for you. I thought this was how Kohl's was seriously promoting its Black Friday sales.

Isn't it bad enough that stores are now opening for their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving itself and forcing their minimum wage employees to work? Yes, I know that police, fire fighters, EMTs, ER doctors, nurses, and anyone who works in a nursing home or assisted living facility work on Thanksgiving, but they are literally saving lives. For the life of me, I can't fathom that selling Cabbage Patch dolls (or whatever the IT gift is this year) ranks up there with saving lives. I could be wrong though.

But now we've got Kohl's telling people that it's okay to bully senior citizens on their rush into the store and that until a customer pays for their purchases, anything in their cart may be taken by other customers.

To me, that's bullying and greed. And I don't support businesses that condone those behaviors.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Gratitude List 2011

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is stopping to count my blessings. Once again, my cup runneth over with good fortune. Of course, that's not to say I haven't faced hurdles this year; I just choose to focus on bountiful goodness in my life.
  • This year, I'm grateful my mom is home from Florida. I'm grateful for all the years she selflessly gave to caring for Nana, but I'm grateful she's getting her life back. I'm especially grateful doctors caught her breast cancer when they were still able to remove all of it this summer.
  • Sitting in my very own home is simply awesome and I'm grateful for the confluence of a horrible housing market and record low interest rates that allowed me to buy rather than rent.
  • I'm grateful for my Forever Friends. They are my touchstone and keep me from losing my mind most days. They make me laugh, force me outside my comfort zone, and best of all don't let me get caught inside my head, which I'm prone to do.
  • Betsey and Ross are still the best snuggle kitties ever. I'm grateful that in spite of this year of health challenges for the both of them, they are both doing quite well and most of the time don't know they're sick. I'm also truly grateful for their vets who remain focussed on Betsey and Ross's best interests rather than the bottom line. I appreciate that they have not easily given up on figuring out what was wrong with each of them and are now finding the right balance of treatment for them both, without bankrupting me.
  • I'm grateful for my health and good insurance and I love the way my body feels each time I hit the gym. To that end, I'm grateful to the friend who encouraged me to join the gym and kicks my ass when I lose motivation.
  • I'm grateful I got to spend the day with my dad a few weeks ago. We don't see each other very often, so it was a nice treat. Most years we only see each other at Watervale and at Thanksgiving and since I'm spending Thanksgiving with my mom this year, I'm really grateful we could get together.
  • I'm grateful for the 60,000 unique visits Little Merry Sunshine has had in the past 4 years and 4 1/2 months. That's right, 60,000. You made that happen on Sunday and I missed it. Just 7 months ago we were at 50,000 visitors. What shocks me most about this new milestone is that I've hardly been writing this year. I guess that also means I'm grateful I worked through the writers block that has kept me silent more often than not.
  • I'm grateful that when my car was broken into almost two weeks ago there was no damage and that my observant neighbor found my stuff two days later. I also appreciate the detective who called me today to let me know the status of the investigation of the multiple car break-ins last week.
I hope each of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving with those you love and that your cup is overflowing with blessings this year.

It's Thanksgiving. You Have Questions. Butterball Has Answers.

It's Thanksgiving and so I am reminded of one of my favorite scenes from The West Wing. Yes, I know I quote the show all the time, but you didn't think I was suddenly going to start quoting The X-Files, did you? (For the record, I've never watched The X-Files because it scared me.)

Back in Season 3, there was an episode called "The Indians in the Lobby" and in part of the episode President Bartlet is fretting about the proper way to cook a turkey. He carries on for awhile about what a national service it would be if there was a hotline you could call with your turkey preparation questions. Charlie informs him that there is such a line - The Butterball Hotline - and President Bartlet proceeds to call the hotline. It's quite humorous, at least in my opinion.

When you're cooking your turkey this week (or anytime before the end of December) and you have questions about how to properly cook your Thanksgiving turkey, you too can call the Butterball Hotline. Just call between 8am and 8pm CT on weekdays throughout November and December and have all of your questions answered by one of the delightful Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Experts. I don't even think you have to prove you're a citizen or that you're cooking a Butterball Turkey to get your questions answered. That's customer service.

The Butterball Hotline can be reached at 800-288-8372.

Oh, and watch President Bartlet call the Butterball Hotline. Trust me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Story of Menstruation . . . As Told By Walt Disney

My Facebook friend Sarah posted the video below on her Facebook page today. Not only did the video garner many comments to some of its outdatedness, but much discussion ensued about how women in our age group learned about what was happening to us during puberty. Hint: Many of us didn't know anything until it was too late.

Aside from the fact that I think it's hysterical that Walt Disney, a company not exactly known for its empowering portrayal of women, took a stab at educating girls about menstruation (and did it without dancing teacups or singing forest animals), I actually learned a few things.

First, I learned that when I clean house, I must be wearing pearls, an apron, and heels. I sure do wish someone had educated me on that fact. I usually clean in sweats and sometimes in my pj's. Second, I learned that although it is perfectly acceptable for me to ride a bike without a helmet and without keeping my hands on the handlebars while going down hill during THAT time of the month, I shouldn't dance with boys while Aunt Flo is visiting. Third, it seems that I can throw off my body's schedule if I get cold or over-tired. Finally, I learned that any stretching I do to relieve cramps should only be done under the guidance of a qualified person. I have no idea what makes one qualified in this area, but when I find out, I'll let you know.

Enjoy! Let me know what you learn.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Good News!

As I was walking to the elevator this morning on my way to work, my neighbor, Bud, from the second floor was emerging and said I was just the person he was looking for. Now I only know a small handful of my neighbors and it was 8am, so I couldn't imagine what in the world Bud could be needing me for at that hour.

He said he thought he'd found my gym bag and wanted me to come to his condo and take a look. Sure enough, as soon as we walked in, there was my bag sitting on the floor with my fleece, one of my Croc flip flops, and my cosmetic bag of toiletries sticking out. I couldn't believe it.

Beaming with excitement, but hesitant to touch the bag, I asked where he'd found it. I have looked in the garbage dumpsters in the complex a few times on the off-chance the thief realized it contained nothing of value and dumped it or dumped parts of it. Bud said that he saw it on our street when he came home last night about 10:00 and picked it up first to remove it from the road, but then realized it was probably mine based on how I'd described it at our condo association meeting on Monday night. Because I came home at 9:30 last night and did not encounter it, I think the thief dumped it within that 30 minute window. Of course, it also further solidifies my belief that the thief lives among us.

I thanked Bud profusely, took my bag and called the police on my way to work to report it found. Not knowing if they would need it, I did not stop to see if everything was in it or not. I've now spoken to them and they did not need it for anything, but asked me to let them know if I found anything not belonging to me in the bag.

Quite fortunately, everything was in my bag except my goggles and iPod charger and FM transmitter. Once I do some laundry tonight and wash all my workout clothes, I'm going back to the gym tomorrow. I'll be there just a little more enthusiastically and grateful for my new neighbors who have my back.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

I've heard this quote a lot this past week in discussions of the Penn State Child Rape Scandal. Many friends of mine have posted it on Facebook and I've heard it in media discussions. There seems to be some question about the original source of the quote, but that's not what this post is about.

I've also heard many people talk about what "good people" the Penn State coaches as a whole, and Joe Paterno in particular, are. They've talked about what a shame it is that Joe Paterno and the President of Penn State Graham Spanier were fired because they are good men and did what the law required, as did Mike McQueary.

I suppose they did do just the bare minimum the law required. Or at least Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary did. Of course, if you believe today's latest reports, Mike McQueary may have gone to the police and sort of stopped the rape. I don't believe this claim today, but again, that's not what this post is about, so I won't go into all the reasons I don't believe him.

Here's the thing that gets me and what this post is about: Good people don't ever do nothing. Good people do all that's necessary to protect children. They don't just do the bare minimum, especially if they've personally witnessed a defenseless 10-year-old child being raped - anally or otherwise. Good people don't have to think about what to do when they walk in on such an atrocity. They immediately jump to physically pull the attacker off the child. And they tell as many people, especially law enforcement, as they need to tell until the attacker is never able to harm another child.

I don't care what kind of career Joe Paterno had at Penn State. It's not a shame his stellar career will be marred by this scandal. Paterno brought this on himself. He had a choice. He could have been the hero when McQueary told him he'd witnessed Sandusky raping a child. He could have prevented who knows how many other children from having their lives ruined. Instead, he put his football program and his own interests ahead of the children's interests. That tells me all I need to know about him. Good people don't cover up the raping of children, pretend they never heard about it, bury it in a bureaucracy, or simply tell their boss and think it's over.

Paterno's lack of actions have taught at least a decade's worth of impressionable college students that it's okay to look the other way and ignore abuse and other injustices when it's in their best interests to do so. The best interests of the victim be damned. Those are not values that should be taught to anyone. Ever. Period.

Good people do something, especially when it's inconvenient.

For more on this matter, go read what my brilliant friend Susan has to say in her post "Doing Nothing Is A Choice."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Keep the Stuff, I'd Like My Sense of Security Back

This is not the blog post I had planned for today. I had planned to write about the Penn State child rape scandal and even have that post mostly written, but then some jerk broke into my car.

Dear Guy Who Broke Into My Car Last Night,

Imagine my surprise when I approached my car this morning (located in my locked garage) only to find the center console had been rummaged through and all of its contents strewn about the front seats of my car. Since I am a little obsessive about cleanliness, I knew I hadn't left this mess.

Unfortunately for you, you only found a few tampons, some lip gloss and hand cream, four CDs, my car registration and expired insurance card, and the car charger for my iPod along with the FM transmitter for my iPod, both of which you conveniently helped yourself to. Aside: Why the heck did you leave my phone charger? You also took my gym bag because I guess you have a thing for running around in women's bathing suits, sports bras, swim caps, sweats, my favorite fleece jacket, goggles, Crocs flip flops, and assorted toiletries.

So the joke's sort of on you because you didn't get any material items from me with any value. Sucker. Of course, I heard I wasn't your only victim and that you did get some items of value from the others. So your "shopping spree" wasn't a total waste.

But here's what else you took from me. You took my sense of security and personal safety. As I stood there alone in my garage this morning wondering what the heck I was supposed to do, I broke out into a sweat and started hyperventilating when I realized that your grubby selfish paws had been rummaging through my personal effects.

I saw my car registration and realized you know my name and where I live. Ironically, up until a few months ago, I didn't keep my car registration or insurance cards in my car because I didn't want to run the risk of my car getting stolen or broken into and the thief knowing my name and address. It was a personal safety precaution. And then I let someone convince me that I was being foolish. As a single woman, knowing you know my name and where to find me will probably keep me up tonight. Thank you.

Speaking of what keeps me up at night, last night I had an overwhelming sense that someone was breaking into my house and every noise I heard had me on edge most of the night. Finally, I got out of bed, checked the locks on the front door for at least the third time, and locked my bedroom door. Knowing someone would have to make some noise to get into my room sort of allowed me to sleep. But learning this morning that my intuition was right but the location was wrong, frightens me more than you know.

I don't care about the material things you took. I can replace those. I care about how I feel violated today and how the mere thought of the presence of you took me right back to a really horrible place from 20 years ago. Feeling safe in my own skin doesn't exactly come naturally to me and it took a long time to find that feeling after it disappeared the first time.

Once I got past the initial shock and decided the cops couldn't help me because you didn't do any damage to my car or steal anything of value, I cleaned up the mess you left because that's how I deal with chaos and there was nothing else to do. Now I can get into my car, pretend you weren't there, and feel like I have a little control over my life. Well, until I want to go to the gym and have to figure out where to buy a bathing suit in November. Then I'm going to be reminded how mad I am right now.

Of course, I have to say that while I'm furious with you, I'm equally furious with me. The truth is that I can't say with 100% certainty that I locked my car last night. I had moved the last piece of furniture into my house that my dad gave me and it's possible that as I was trying to control it, because it was so big and awkward, I forgot to lock my car. That said, you still didn't have permission to go into it and take what you wanted.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Correction to "If You Were In An Accident, I Wouldn't Stop for Red Lights"

So in yesterday's blog post, I meant to place a video from the West Wing episode "17 People" from Season 2. To give you some background, it's Josh and Donna's anniversary of the day Donna came to work for Josh. Except Josh always remembers the wrong day. The video is of the discussion they have about it. I gave you the wrong video yesterday.

Here's the correct video.

By the way, this isn't really about running red lights. And I'm not encouraging anyone to break the law.

If you're reading this via email and the video doesn't come through, click here to watch the video.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

If You Were In An Accident, I Wouldn't Stop for Red Lights

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love The West Wing. Yes, I know it's been off the air since 2006, but I own all seven seasons on DVD and watch them more often than I should admit. And of course, I know most of the lines from the show. Like Josh Lyman says, "that's not being a fan. That's having a fetish." Yep.

This morning I was having a conversation with a close friend about going to the hospital. It reminded me of a pivotal scene from "17 People" in Season 2 where Josh and Donna start to admit their love for each other, although it would be another five seasons before they did anything about it.

Watch the video. You'll get it. Trust me.

Is there anyone you wouldn't stop for red lights for?