That’s My Little Girl

We are out of beans, chez VFD. I was digging through the pantry in astonishment, trying to find another can of beans. To date, I have never seen our pantry without a can of beans in it, waiting to be heated and eated.

VFD: (from inside the pantry) We’re out of beans?! That’s impossible!
#1: (on the couch, in the living room) That’s impossible!
VFD: You’re impossible!
#1: Your face is impossible!
VFD:  . . .

For the record, neither she, nor I, nor my face are impossible. But what may be impossible, is for her to have a long term relationship with a guy who isn’t VERY quick on his toes, in a verbal sparring contest. I think it can be stated with some authority, the love of sarcastic humor is well established in the latest generation of my bloodline.

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Re: The Duggar Boy Naughtiness

It has been a junior-grade flapdoodle in the press for a few days, and it is time for the noise to stop.  Exactly one person knows exactly what happened.  Five other people know parts of what happened.  The parents and local law enforcement and health officials have an idea, as well.  You, you pornographer, have no idea and no business knowing what happened.

All you know is, more than half a lifetime agone, a barely-teenaged boy did something unacceptable to five girls.  A couple of them were his sisters.  The records which were previously unlooked-at have been destroyed in an excellent move by the local Police.  One assumes that this family which was maybe locally-famous for having a bunch of children but not-yet-at-the-time internationally famous (and wealthy) could probably not have gotten by with counseling if their boy raped five girls.  So somewhere between rape and a kiss on the cheek, you have something bad enough to talk to the Police and a head shrinker about, but not bad enough to incur Sex Offender status or a criminal record to speak of.

And you are freaking out.

Look, this has been dealt with.  If any of the other parents thought the dealing-with were inappropriate, surely they would have said so at the time.  You are only hearing freak-out about this in the news because YOU didn’t hear about this a couple of decades ago.  And you just can’t wait to hear the salacious details of what this handsome young man did to those girls.  Well you know what?

You don’t get details.

Its’ none of your business.  The local authorities at the time caused Justice to be served, and whatever personal issues you are projecting onto the Duggar family have nothing to do with this time of weakness in one boy’s life.  Or, if you insist on talking details:

You are a horrible person and a terrible gossip.

You want these “victims” to dredge up possibly hurtful, traumatic memories, just so you can see what happened to them.  This is the worst sort of voyeurism.  Shame on you.  If your imagination of what might have happened makes you not want to watch their show, don’t watch if it comes back on the air.  If it makes you want to not patronize the show’s sponsors, don’t.  But don’t you try and insist that people cause themselves mental harm just to satisfy your curiosity.

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The stuff that gets people on Registries these days, used to be called “normal boyish behavior” by the way.  Nobody thought %behavior% was sex assault, it was just not a great idea.  Parents gave lectures and/or licks and it was not to be done any more.  Everybody relax for a few minutes and try to think of a time when children were allowed to be children, and the occasional grabassery was treated as childish, rather than criminal.  And remember this particular case was dealt with YEARS ago by the people whose job it was to deal with it – and those people ain’t YOU!

Eulogium Ante Mortem

As I type this, #2 is out in the garden digging a hole.  VFDDawg #2 is on her way tonight.

When #1 was around kindergarten age, old enough to be trusted not to hurt the dog, she would take the little thing to her bedroom for hours.  They would keep each other company while #1 would read or color or play.  #1 would dress her in cute little dresses of her own design, and ridiculously large bows, also of her own design.  This chihuahua never uttered a protest.  She never was one to growl, never one to snap at a child even when being poked at and her tail pulled, etc.  Even when other dogs would come around, she would bark of course (that’s the Chihuahua way) but she would never bite.

Last year she started losing weight.  She started around nine and a half pounds at full size.  Then from about October last year she kept shrinking.  Skinnier and skinner she’d get but she’s always happy to see the family come home, always wagging the tail and turning little circles waiting to be petted.  Sometimes she runs with one of her rear feet up like it’s hurt (“trigger foot”), but they all do that.  Sometimes she would get closed in the door by a toddler and get half a baby aspirin for a while until she was better.  Sometimes she would shit in the house and nearly be killed on the spot by the mistress.  But she was always such a sweet dog.  She would be your favorite thing in the world, if your favorite thing  happened to be a small, black, fuzzy lap warmer that likes to be scratched on the head but please don’t touch her ears.

And she finally got skinny enough to take to the vet.  Four and a half pounds.  Blood testing showed liver failure.  The smallest steroid pills you ever saw, cut in half, to help with nausea so she would eat.  And she started eating again too – but not putting any weight back on.  You can tell which are her poops in the yard, because they’re almost gray.  Her ears are no-kidding falling apart.  It looks like scabies gone wild on the edges, with chunks missing and the top edge of the ear flap just a raw sore – but it doesn’t itch, stink, or hurt her.  Her liver can’t maintain her skin any more is all.  Her coat lost fur in spots along her spine, then on her hips, and then everywhere in little dry patches.  The skin can’t hold fur any more.  She used to be as strong as any other little rat-dog, and would stand on her hind legs to grab a treat.  But she stopped doing that.  Then sometimes she couldn’t step up six inches to clear the bottom of the door to come back into the house.  You set her down gently and she collapses until she deliberately collects her strength to stand again.  Then she’ll shake herself -not as hard as she used to do- and wag her tail like nothing.

Her spirits remain high through it all.  A happy dog.  Loves attention.  Loves to come around when DW and #1 are on the floor, and get tangled up in their long hair like it was catnip.

And her ribs are showing through her coat.  And her waist is smaller and smaller.  And she has to think about it for a moment before she can come inside from the back yard.  And she doesn’t have any appetite.

This morning she staggers and can’t exit her kennel.  She can’t step up 3″ to get on the patio.  She can barely stay up just to walk straight.

VFD: She’s going.  She’s going Tonight.
#1: Yer gonna kill her?
VFD: Look at her.  Is it a kindness, to let her be like that?
#1: No.

Good.

If I steal a car and give it to my children, do they get to keep it? What if they have come to depend on it for transportation?  They’ve been using it for a REALLY LONG TIME!  They should totally be able to keep it!  I mean they even put money into maintenance, changed the brakes, oil, filters, stuff like that!

No?  Then why the [deleted] do you want to allow children to keep permanent residency when their parents brought them here in violation of our national laws?  I have family that came here illegally.  You know what they did next?  They got in damn line and became citizens and their children had exactly ZERO problems with citizenship status.  Don’t come crying to me (the taxpayer) if you want to stay. You’re Mexico(or wherever you came from)’s problem.  Go there and petition THEM to deal with the USA.  You have no standing and no right to BE here. *

Much less a right to protest that we may take away your reduced-fee IN-state tuition for college, and you’re a foreign national!

*P.S. in Mexico what they will usually do to foreign national children illegal immigrants is kick them out whatever end of the country they entered, and tell them to kick bricks.  Like we should do.

Where’s that Drummer?

I needed a rimshot this weekend.  My baby sister is in college these days, taking (get this) EIGHTEEN hours of courses.  Not 18 this year.  18 this term.  She started to fall behind a little, and has dropped one course:  Calculus-based physics.

I told her that I couldn’t take that class because if I tried to go into the classroom I would bounce off the force field.  My dad said he could go into the class, which surprised me a little – but he followed it up by saying “but my head would immediately explode.”

We’re more on the mechanical side of things than the equation-based theoretical side, my dad and I!

Not So Bad, After All

New readers are encouraged to go read this old post first:

Go ahead.

I’ll wait right here.

It’s worth a few minutes.

All done?

Now we’ve fast-forwarded almost five years. The trees are gone from the culvert behind the house, except near the fences. The grass and weeds have taken root. It’s been raining on-and-off for a few days, and the creek is flowing again. This afternoon, it was muddy but not raining. Perfect for a traipse through the former-woods.

anotherromp

The former trees and a random smattering of the “forest” floor were covered in poison ivy. That’s all gone, replaced by clean grass and wildflowers. A few (already-failing) attempts at erosion control in the stream bed make for interesting play areas. So, today we went on a play walk. It’s less of an “explore” and more of a “play in the crik” but it was good.

Different, but good.

Cool Points

He has skeletons in his closet and demons like the rest of us, and appears to not be a Christian, but…

Robert Downey, Jr. seems to be an okay sort of guy.  First he’s demanding raises for co-stars before he’ll work on a sequel to a hit movie, then he delivered a prosthetic arm to a little boy and put on Stark for the occasion.

Nobody’s good.  But this was a Good Thing for Downey to do.

zOMG TOTAL FREAK-OUT CALL 911!

On the way out of the parking lot at the children’s school this morning, I got stuck at the exit lane.  Right in front of me was traffic zipping past at n miles per hour, until the light changed and traffic stacked up all the way to my exit, and beyond.  In front of me was a mid-level luxury sedan with a small family inside.  Mom, two kids.  One child in front, one in the back, leaning against the back of the front seat.

So?

So this is a luxury car.  The front seat is far from the back seat.  This kid was not only not in a 3-point seat belt, he wasn’t in a seat belt at all.  So what did I do?  a) call 911 and report them b) jump out and berate the woman driving c) play peek-a-boo with the child in the back seat

Hint: on fark.com the answer is always c).  I don’t think he was ready for it, so instead of full-on play, I just got a glimmer of not-bored from the child.  A few more moments of standstill traffic, and he would have been ducking behind his windowsill like I was ducking behind my dashboard.  Oh well.

Sure, it’s against the law.  She’ll either get ticketed enough times for it to reconsider, or she’ll have a tragic accident and the child will suffer.  Then again, I remember being extremely incredulous when the first mandatory seat belt-wear laws came into effect, when they said “oh NOOOooooo we’ll NEVER make this  a primary offense!  We’ll not stop you JUST for not wearing your belts!”.  Uh-huh.  The world is too sterilized for children these days.  Let this one (and his mom) flout the law while they can.  Lord knows, we did our share of lying down in the back window, curling up in the footwells, etc, without any notable harm.  Let him remember a little taste of liberty . . . if he lives long enough!

A Modest Proposition

…to be euphemistic.  Both ideas are outrages, but one has a chance of success at achieving the stated objective.

President Obama proposes that we give two years of college to all students free of charge to them.  The taxpayer, of course, will take it in the shorts.

The proposal to give away free college years is an admission that our national primary and secondary schools are failures at properly educating our people.

The first two years of college for most students these days are often filled with remedial courses to prepare the student for ACTUAL college level work.  The first 8 grades of school used to be enough years of learning to prepare people for successful adulthood. Then we instituted public schools as a nation to train farmers’ children to be barely-literate factory workers in 12 years.  The sights were set low, and we have now seen what it is to achieve the stated objective: our people are largely uneducated by the time they are old enough to work, but they could push buttons or pull levers all day.  Now that we are no longer a nation of manual and factory laborers, we find ourselves replete with people only educated well enough to do Industrial Revolution-era style manufacturing work.  This is not a healthy model.  Also, for some reason, parents these days seem to want their children well-enough educated to succeed at life doing something better than flipping burgers.  So, to placate the parents and get the students ready to do something that involves a modicum of brainpower, the proposal is to send them to college for two years.*

This is nothing more than an extension of high school.  In addition to a HUGE power and money transfer, there is very little additional benefit to this idea. The people who REALLY want a college education somehow figure out how to get it done. Those who can’t afford it now are given money in Pell and other grants as well as relatively low-rate FAFSA loans. To say the cost is the problem is to admit you don’t understand why people don’t go to college.

Now here’s a question for those who will consider it:

Would you rather give every student $6,000 for two years of community college tuition, or would you rather give $6,000 cash to every student who graduates high school with a B or better average?

I would much rather the second.

The students who have no family or cultural reason to even want to BE in school, will surely understand the meaning of cold, hard cash in their hands.  It’s been tried and proved: Bribing children to do well in school results in them doing significantly better in school.  The upshot of this method is not only motivating children who might otherwise be dropouts to succeed in high school.  There is an additional benefit: they would have money to start on their college careers if they chose to continue their education.  Otherwise, they would have money to get a deposit on an apartment and buy a beater car, and be in good shape to start their own lives on their own two feet.

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*He actually said he wants to give them college years free, “…if they are willing to work for it”.  Now there’s a cryptic sentence for you.