Miss Guided

You know something?  Not everybody looks good when they take off their clothes …

Lena Dunham makes my skin crawl; however, I’m not going to go so far as to say she offends me.  I pride myself on the fact that I am seldom if ever offended by anything.  In my world, those who are perpetually offended by people, their remarks, their choices, or their actions are buying into the zeitgeist of victimhood.

Having made that proclamation, let me say that Lena Dunham’s latest video (albeit being marketed as a spoof) where she raps about her BFF Hillary Clinton, tongue in cheek or not, is going to come back to bite her fat ass.  After I watched it, all I could think of was that even Clinton’s supporters are doing a collective face-palm.  Would you really want her on your side?  Because in the worst possible way, Lena Dunham represents the worst ideals of liberal ideology.  When I think of the body of Americans who identify as liberal or who belong to the Democrat party, I’m pretty sure that not all of them rally behind Lena Dunham’s misappropriated tribute to their candidate, her morbid, obsessive, and worshipful love affair with Planned Parenthood, or her contempt for any man who doesn’t find her do-able.

Or, maybe they do.

You see, Miss Dunham resides in that artificial world where actively hating everything that is considered a mainstay of traditional American values is part of her brand.  That’s how she gets everyone’s attention.  Her latest attack on straight white men would be ridiculous if there weren’t others out there who are swayed by Dunham’s relentless bullying of the vanilla establishment.  In her world, unless you’re LGBTQ, had an abortion, or think that climate change is the sole responsibility of the same straight white men she wishes were extinct, you can’t possibly expect to be treated with any modicum of respect or acknowledged as a contributing member of society.  She’s the savior of the progressive movement.  She’s the stalwart champion of all those who have been hapless victims of the same slice of society she so enthusiastically despises.

The utter lack of tolerance Lena Dunham has for those who don’t endorse her particular brand of misanthropy screams irony.  Look, it’s okay to be edgy, different, to march to a completely alternative drummer, but it’s not okay nor is it very tolerant to spew hatred at what you perceive to be the establishment, but in reality is the foundation of our very culture.  Not everybody’s queer, most rational people don’t take off their clothes to get attention, and for the love of all that is holy, ending your sentences with an upward inflection suggests that even you are not sure about what you are saying.

Not that I have any skin in the game (she’s not my kid, thankfully) but I can’t help but wonder if she could have made a more positive and rational impact upon those causes she champions if she used her powers for good.  Go ahead and be a Hillary fangirl if that’s how you swing politically, but understand, too, that if you’re preaching tolerance, you might want to steer clear of suggesting that the world would be a better place if an entire segment of that world’s population—straight white men—would become extinct.

But what am I saying?  I take it all back.  Go ahead and make an ass of yourself, dear.  It’s working.  For me, anyway.

Oh to be young and ignorant …

You see, it’s all fun and games until you realize you’ve got nothing of substance on your opponent and you’re so desperate to deflect attention from your most obvious crimes that—with quite a bit of help from the media—you’ll take the risk of going there.

Continue reading Oh to be young and ignorant …

Looks like trouble

I needed to stop judging kids until I had a good idea of who they were, where they came from, and where they intended to go.  I had to learn their story.

Continue reading Looks like trouble

A victory for women?

Abortion has become the scepter of the feminist, the talisman against oppression and male dominance, the badge of honor of the progressive left.

Hillary Clinton gleefully and smugly called it a “… victory for women!” Yesterday, SCOTUS ruled to strike down a Texas law requiring abortion clinics to become safer (thereby holding them to somewhat higher standards than a CVS Minute Clinic), calling it an “undue burden” for women.   Yes, according to the Democratic nominee for President of the United States, it is a victory for women that abortion clinics do not have to rise to the same standards as a facility where one might have their wisdom teeth removed.

Only we’re not talking about removing wisdom teeth, and therein lies the bigger issue.

The reason for the court’s ruling?  Should the Texas law have remained in effect, a number of sub-standard abortion facilities in the Lone Star state would have had to either be closed or refurbished to meet the higher standards of care—much like a hospital.  Physicians performing abortions would be required to have privileges at nearby hospitals in cases where complications may arise.  All of this regulation would, according to SCOTUS, make it more difficult for women to access health care.

I call bullshit.

The law would have limited the number of abortions in the state of Texas, so by striking down the legislation, SCOTUS has effectively sanctioned more abortions.  Obviously it’s not women they care about, it’s the issue of abortion.  Abortion has become the scepter of the feminist, the talisman against oppression and male dominance, the badge of honor of the progressive left.  They don’t care to know how the actual surgical procedure is carried out, nor do they concern themselves with the moral, ethical, or spiritual implications of abortion itself—no, what’s more important to them are the memories of their bygone struggle to attain and their present commitment to maintain the right of a woman to have an unborn baby viciously sucked out of her uterus.  It’s never been about women’s health care.

A victory for women?  Hardly.  A victory for the progressive left?  Absolutely.

Worst of all, a sad, tragic reminder that there remains a sector of our society that simply does not value life.

Sidebar:  For those conservatives who have decided not to vote in November because Donald Trump doesn’t fit into their milquetoast ideology of what a Republican nominee should look like, understand that the next president will most likely be nominating 3-4 justices for the Supreme Court.  Do you really want Hillary Clinton to be making those choices for you?

Don’t Cry for Me Hillary Clinton

The truth is, I just don’t like you.

According to conventional wisdom, I should vote for Hillary Clinton because she will fight for my rights as a woman.  She will insure that my daughters and I have access to free birth control, abortions on demand, and that we’ll soon be able to sue our employers because we don’t earn as much as men. USA ELECTIONS HILLARY CLINTON

Thanks, but no thanks, Hillary. Neither I nor my daughters need you in our corner “fighting” for our rights.  That would suggest that we’re victims.  If it’s all the same to you (which obviously it isn’t) we’d prefer that you not brand us as the hapless, helpless casualties of white male dominance and supremacy.

Because we’re not.

In fact, when I look back on my mother’s life, I’m pretty sure that she would laugh at the notion that someone like Hillary Clinton has her back.  No one needed to have my mother’s back—she forged her own destiny during her short time on Earth.  In today’s vernacular, she would have told Hillary Clinton to suck it.  She didn’t need a Hillary Clinton to tell her in 1951 that she could go to college, she didn’t need a Hillary Clinton to tell her in 1959 that she could have both a family and a career, and she would have been horrified by Hillary Clinton’s decades-old obsession with providing abortions, especially under the guise of “women’s healthcare”.

SayNoToHRC

But those in Hillary’s world want you to believe that without her, we would all be living in a 1950’s television sitcom nightmare where we had to ask a man’s permission to do what we all take for granted today.  Hillary Clinton had absolutely nothing to do with the evolution of women’s rights—she was born in 1947.

Hillary Clinton’s attempt to feed all of us this misguided vision of herself as the great Mother of us all, the one who will deliver us from ourselves and make us better, stronger, faster, and richer is hardly born out of her instincts as a mother as she would like all of us to think.  She (like her opponent) recites a litany of meaningless platitudes that she thinks will win her the election.  But much of everything that Hillary Clinton says is worthless because (unlike her opponent), she has lied so many times about so many things that she has lost credibility.  It isn’t hard to uncover her lies—that is, if you’re being honest with yourself and you’re paying attention.

Granted, her opponent in this race is no boy scout himself; however, I’ll take my chances with him rather than risk America’s future on a woman whose campaign is built upon a teetering and not-so-brilliantly assembled house of cards.

If you’re at all on the fence about this come November, ask yourselves this:  If not Trump, then the presidency should go to the woman who funded her campaign with “donations” to her foundation (read: money laundering organization) from countries that sponsor terrorism and practice misogyny and basic human rights violations? The same woman whose obsession with keeping Planned Parenthood up and running and killing unborn babies exists under the false pretext of protecting women’s access to healthcare? The same woman who allowed four Americans to die needlessly in Benghazi even after Ambassador Christopher Stevens had repeatedly begged the State Department for more security?

I’ll take the lesser of the two evils, thank you. At least Trump committed his sins as a private citizen.

 

Mother of the Year

I couldn’t get out of my mind the picture of her son crying out for help without thinking, why wasn’t she there?

Wife and mother Helena Richards Colby resides in a tony suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio.   Helena lives a life that most of us dream of—she’s wealthy and reasonably attractive, with a well-appointed home that includes plenty of space for entertaining, a large back yard with a pool, and a gorgeous lake view.  But what Helena wants most is the envy and adulation of her peers, and to a greater degree (though she would never admit it) she wishes to climb the proverbial social ladder to become a select member of Cincinnati’s privileged elite.

Helena stepped on the first rung of that ladder in January 2012, when she talked her husband Will into nominating her for the title of Greater Cincinnati’s Mother of the Year, the promotional brainchild of Cincinnati City magazine.  Nominees (who pay a ridiculous fee just for the faux honor of being nominated) are fêted for an entire year at various magazine-sponsored functions throughout the city in an effort to promote themselves as the quintessential mother, giving Cincinnati’s well-heeled a chance to vote for their ultimate Madonna.  Helena never missed an event.

In September, 2012, Helena and Will were scheduled to attend an event at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Art Center (once home to the infamous Robert Maplethorpe exhibit, but I digress).  It was a Tuesday night, and Helena’s regular sitter, her 16-year-old daughter Hailey, was unfortunately unable to watch the couple’s seven-year-old son, Christopher.  Hailey had a party to attend.  On a Tuesday night.

Never one to say no to her daughter, Helena figured that Christopher would be fine by himself at home.  Hailey would have her cell turned on, of course, and Helena and Will would each have their respective cells on vibrate but within “feeling” proximity.  Hailey assured her parents that she would be no fewer than five minutes from their house, and though Helena and Will would be downtown, Helena was certain that Christopher would be fine for the few short hours that he would be alone.  After all, isn’t teaching children the virtue of self-reliance a hallmark of a Mother of the Year?

Christopher wasn’t so sure.  He didn’t like it when Mommy and Daddy were gone at night, even when Hailey was there with him in the house (she never really was in the same room with him, but at least she was there).  He still slept with his light on in his room most nights, and he didn’t like this time of year when the leaves were starting to fall off the trees outside his bedroom window because they made scrape-y noises that were scary to him.  Christopher didn’t say much at dinner; Mommy and Daddy didn’t notice, and Hailey was busy playing on her phone.

Always in a nervous flurry before these types of events, Helena rushed through dinner and began barking orders to Will in an attempt to get him to hurry.  She didn’t notice that Hailey had already left the house and that Christopher was sulking on the sofa watching a rerun of South Park.  The couple left the house after Helena hastily scrawled hers, Will’s, and Hailey’s phone numbers in big Sesame Street-sized numbers on a piece of loose leaf paper she found in Hailey’s backpack because, well, that’s what good mothers do.  She trusted that Christopher would call one of them if there was an emergency.

Once Helena and Will arrived at the venue, all thoughts of her children were blissfully erased from her consciousness because it was here that she would be introduced to Cincinnati’s preeminent citizens.  Not for her were the hoi polloi that she ordinarily ran into at Kroger or while waiting in the carpool lane at her son’s school.  No, it was among these majestic faces she was meant to rub elbows, to mingle and chat, to exchange dinner invitations.  Helena was in her element.  So transfixed was she that she never felt the phone vibrate in her small reticule clutched in her left hand.  Will’s phone buzzed, too, but after several trips to the bar, so did he.

It wasn’t until she had excused herself to go into the restroom to check on her lipstick that she felt the phone in her purse vibrate.  It was Hailey.  She told her mother that she had had several calls from Christopher who said that he was scared and that he was hearing noises.  Although Hailey offered to go home and check on him, Helena reminded her that Christopher often made up stories about hearing strange noises, and that a good mother would teach him a lesson about crying wolf.  Besides, Helena had it on good authority that the party Hailey was attending was at the home of a board member of one of the city’s most sought after charitable foundations, and she couldn’t wait to hear from Hailey about what the inside of the house looked like.  After all, isn’t encouraging your daughter to develop relationships with influential people part of being a good mother?

Though it doesn’t really matter at this point who arrived home at the Colby residence first, it happened to be Hailey, who would, for the rest of her life, have seared into her brain the image of her little brother’s body as it lay broken, bloodied, and beaten on the cold, bare floor of the empty garage.  At this point in the story, I lack the vocabulary to describe what actually happened at the Colby home that September night—Google it for yourselves if you like.  Suffice it to say that after four armed intruders broke into the home, burgled it, and murdered seven-year-old Christopher Richards Colby in one of the most brutal attacks ever investigated by the first responders and homicide detectives on the scene, Greater Cincinnati’s candidate for Mother of the Year was down one child.

Oh, there was quite an investigation.  The family was questioned repeatedly about the events surrounding the break in and Christopher’s murder.  The day after the murder, the local television affiliate interviewed a tearful Helena who blamed the tragedy on a violent video game she had read about online and suggested that it was this that was the impetus for the killers’ vicious actions and the eventual death of her son. Days, weeks went by with the entire community both mourning alongside the Colby family and expressing outrage at the killers’ murderous rampage.  Ultimately, the killers were caught, and the community and the family could rest a little easier.  But there was nothing that would bring Christopher back.

Even in her grief, though, Helena found a way to turn this heartbreak into a triumph.  After all, she was still in the running for Greater Cincinnati’s Mother of the Year, and with a senseless tragedy to add to her repertoire of virtuous deeds, influential friendships earned, and exposure among the city’s most celebrated citizens, there was no reason to abandon her quest for social acceptance and virtual aristocracy.

The tragedy was too much for her husband, though—he put a gun to his head a month after his son’s murder.  Well, that’s how it was reported anyway.

After a socially acceptable period of quiet mourning, Helena began making the circuit of local and national talk shows, sharing her grief over the murder of her son and the loss of her husband, and used her platform to promote her new raison d’être as the new voice for all mothers out there who have lost a child.  Not surprisingly, after her well-crafted and heavily articulated year-long campaign, in January 2013, Helena Richards Colby was named Greater Cincinnati’s Mother of the Year.  She had endeared herself to nearly everyone.

But not to me.  I couldn’t get out of my mind the picture of her son crying out for help without thinking, why wasn’t she there?  Why did she leave him home alone, helpless and frightened?  Even when her daughter had expressed concern over her brother’s pleas for help, this mother was more concerned with her own social position and that of her daughter’s than she was about the safety of her son.

I am outraged that anyone lacking the fundamental judgement of a parent would deign to promote herself as the arbiter of parenthood.  After she all but fed her son to the killers who ended his life, how can she even consider herself worthy of any praise or accolades, let alone the title of Mother of the Year?  I am outraged that more people, not only in the Cincinnati area but throughout the country, are not as sickened by this situation as I am.  Some are even going so far as to defend her actions and feel that those of us who dare question her motives are engaging in a 17th century witch hunt.   But I don’t care about that.  I’m more concerned about the starry-eyed boot-licking sycophants who are looking at Helena Richards Colby as the gold standard of motherhood.

Any cold-hearted excuse for a human being who can demonstrate this much arrogance, negligence, and lack of judgment and still manage to become the Democratic nominee for President of the United States Greater Cincinnati’s Mother of the Year will stoop to the lowest level imaginable in order to further her self-serving agenda.

We’re dying to hear from you

If you are one of those good Muslims among the faithful who is angry, hurt, resentful, disgusted, or otherwise offended by the anti-Muslim rhetoric you are hearing, why don’t you speak up?

Most of the stupidity that has left Donald Trump’s pouty potty mouth in the months since he’s decided to run for king of the world president has truthfully gone in one ear and out the other.  I’ve never regarded him as a serious candidate; in fact, I once opined that his candidacy was a ruse—once he’s gained enough momentum, he’ll drop out just so he can sit back and laugh hysterically while he watches the next guy in line get his balls busted by Ursula the She-Monster.  So I guess I haven’t been too worried about ol’ Donald.

Until yesterday.

Yes, he went there.  Donald Trump made a statement to the effect that the U.S. should immediately close its borders to all Muslims, regardless of their status.  He not only went there, he doubled down when asked again if he wanted to retract anything about his most provocative statement to date.  Trump has no finesse; his sledgehammer bull-in-a-china-shop rhetoric makes me question his sanity.  Here’s a tip:  Simple solutions to complex problems make people very nervous.  Just ask the average Jew living in Germany in 1933.  Ahem.

It’s not that I completely disagree with Trump.  I think it’s only prudent to be ever-so-vigilant about who’s coming and going through the revolving door of our ports of entry, but to say that all Muslims should be locked out is going a bit too far.  Because there are good Muslims out there, right?

Before I join the millions of Donald-shamers, I think an important question needs to be asked:  If our citizenry, made up of a veritable kaleidoscope of cultures, races, religions, and ethnicities, is so concerned about those who label all Muslims as a collection of like-minded individuals out to commit jihad against the West, then help us out, good Muslims.  Tell us about your religion.  Share with us who you are, what you believe, and why your faith is being maligned all over the world.

Most importantly, state, in no uncertain terms, just us how angry it makes you that radical Islamists are ruining it for the rest of you.

I follow news; that is, I read, listen, and react, hopefully with an open mind.  But just as everybody’s baby is the prettiest, every news outlet and every talking and typing head has an agenda.  Every blogger, every columnist, every pundit is out to market their brand—themselves.  Using provocative rhetoric is how you get folks to pay attention, I get that.  But isn’t there someone out there who is in this for the greater good and can tell us the truth?

Likewise, isn’t there someone in the Muslim community who can share with us the virtues of their religion?

Allow me to put this in terms that may help you understand where I’m going with this:  I am first a Christian by faith, Catholic by denomination.  Michelle Duggar, mother extraordinaire, is first a Christian by faith, and an Independent Baptist by denomination.  We have very little in common lifestyle-wise (probably to her everlasting relief).  What we do have in common is that we have both accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer.

It is ridiculously naïve to lump all people of a set religion into the same group.  I’m sure Michelle would agree.  If such benign differences exist among Christians like Michelle and me, isn’t it reasonable, then, to assume that the of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, there are some good people among the faithful who may practice their religion in different ways and in varying degrees?

In contrast, whereas the Ku Klux Klan and the Westboro Baptist Church would like to call themselves Christians, their principles and actions, their rhetoric and practices are anything but Christ-like; ergo, they are not Christians, no matter what they’d like you to believe.  They pull scripture out of context from the Bible and twist it into evil sound bites in order to justify their sins.  In many ways, they are just as bad as radical Islamists, and their actions are reprehensible, especially when committed in the name of their warped brand of pseudo-Christianity.  True Christians would never stand up for them.  Ever.

And like the pseudo-Christians out there, isn’t it also reasonable to assume that among that 1.6 billion Muslims in the world there exist Islamic jihadists whose sole purpose in life is to destroy western civilization—radical Islamists committing terror in the name of Allah?

If you are one of those good Muslims among the faithful who is angry, hurt, resentful, disgusted, or otherwise offended by the anti-Muslim rhetoric you are hearing, why don’t you speak up?  Why don’t you tell us why you and people of your kind do not want to bring terror, death, and destruction upon the United States of America.

To stay silent will guarantee that all we’ll ever hear, see, or—worst of all—experience are the voices of the jihadists who want us all dead.

 

 

 

 

 

The Magnificent Aschenbachs

Lately, many people have been asking me if I’m writing a sequel to The Gym Show.  While I think a sequel would be an excellent complement to what will always be (maybe) my favorite novel, I had already begun my second novel before The Gym Show became so popular.  So will I write a sequel?  Yes.  But first, my compulsive personality insists that I finish my second novel, The Magnificent Aschenbachs.

Would you like a peek?  Thought so.  Here is an excerpt from The Magnificent Aschenbachs.

   After that rather strange greeting, January’s initial reaction to Richard’s home was one of awe, but she fought the urge to appear wide-eyed and naïve, and tried desperately to appear as if it were an everyday thing to walk into a spectacularly furnished and appointed mansion like the main character in Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca.  And, like the nameless protagonist, January felt childishly out-of-place and wished she had worn something a little less showy (Gold lame, January, really?) and a little more conservative.

    Sadly, she didn’t have clothes in her wardrobe to match the splendor of the home, and she certainly was not dressed in the same manner as Richard’s mother, the formidable looking Angelika.  What did Angelika say to Richard when he had introduced her?  She knew it was German by the accent, but she had no idea what she said.  Richard had seemed rather taken aback, and even now, he was still somewhat quiet as if Angelika’s words had generated in him some meaningful response that he was still trying to piece together in his perplexed state.  January felt as if he was going through the motions of shepherding her through the house without really considering her at all.  This was turning out to be one of the most awkward and uncomfortable experiences she had ever remembered and wondered if all first dates were this excruciating.

The story is set in the mid-80’s in Indianapolis, and if you’re a Booth Tarkington fan, you might recognize that the title is a play off his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Magnificent Ambersons.  Think of my interpretation, though, as another slice of life in Indianapolis, told mainly through the eyes of a young inner-city teacher who faces daunting challenges both in her professional and her personal life.

It’s going to be spectacular, I promise!  Estimated time of completion?  I’ll keep you posted.

Ben Carson should never be president

Ben Carson should never be president

Is it because he’s a political infant? Never held a public office?  Ignorant of the delicate chess game of foreign policy?  No skill at interpreting the geo-political landscape?  Lack of business experience?

Not necessarily.

Ben Carson should never be president because he is too good.  He is elegant and eloquent.  He is stunningly articulate in the sense that he doesn’t point at you with just his thumb like every other politician since Bill Clinton (when he was lying to us about Monica Lewinsky) and tell the American people—in carefully scripted sound bites designed to be repeated, replayed, and rehashed—just why his …um …ideas are bigger and better than the next guy’s.

In short, he does not engage in a political pissing contest.

Instead, he tells you of his love for this country, his hopes for its healing, and the promises of its future just as if he were sitting across from you at the dinner table.  During his brief but powerful turn at Thursday night’s debate, I half expected him to ask someone to pass the butter. His rhetoric was poetic, not political.  Common sense never sounded so lyrical yet so, well … common.

He is a gentleman.  A gentle man.

Ben Carson should never be president because of what the media would do to him.  In case you haven’t been paying attention, the media have this curious knack for taking something that is good and pure and honest and turning it into a twisted circus of lies and suppositions, ignoring the good stuff about a person and instead finding any small rent in the fabric and ripping it to shreds.  No longer is the media about presenting opposing viewpoints; there’s no bank for them in that.  Instead, they only look for the ugly, calling it “good journalism”.  I call it muckraking.

No, Ben Carson should never be president.

Even though Ben Carson is what our country needs to bridge the massive divide between right and left, between those who want to perpetuate this country’s dependence upon our bulging and bloated behemoth of a government and those who would like nothing more than to line up the Washington elite in front of a firing squad, he should never be president.  Even though Ben Carson could heal the wounds of those who live on the fringes of society by drawing out of them the goodness that runs through their souls and the potential that lies within them, he should never be president.  Ben Carson would not bloviate like a lunatic, nor wring his hands in desperation about border security; neither would he look the other way nor look at who to blame or blame a YouTube video for the fact that Isis has come to town.  Instead, he would attack, with surgical precision, the crisis at our borders and eviscerate like a cancer the terrorism at our doorsteps, dealing with it like a man.  In matters of life and death, Ben Carson doesn’t concern himself with who he might offend by calling a spade a spade.

Even though Ben Carson is what we need he would never last long enough to make our country work again before the media would destroy him.

Maybe now is not his time.  If that’s the case, I’ll try to be patient and just pray that while we wait that we don’t end up like a fallen tree on the bank of a great river, its roots fighting to remain tethered to the earth—still living, still bearing fruit, and still able to reach its potential, but instead becoming unmoored from its tenuous anchor and floating out to sea only to become a mere shadow of its former majesty.