The trouble with McCain.

The news about John McCain sure is coming at an interesting time. And it’s happening to an interesting person – a moderate who many people on both sides of the political spectrum admire.

I don’t advocate politicizing one’s personal struggles, but sometimes it’s literally the big elephant in the room. This is an unavoidable topic to touch on, because of the healthcare debacle dominating the Senate at the moment. The US is on the edge of a cliff, and the healthcare issue is going to kill millions of people. For the first time that I can remember, and with breathtaking cruelty, Republicans are letting their thirst for blood show and they’re not even trying to hide it. Curiously, McCain has been in the centre of this fight by virtue of the party he’s in.

Just 4 days ago he lambasted the ACA and reiterated the usual false talking point of conservatives that it’s “failing”. He accused the Democrats of voting for the ACA “strictly on party lines” and forcing the bill through Congress in spite of no Republican support, and called for this process to include input from both sides. Ironically, it’s the exact opposite of what his party is now doing, and even though McCain has recently shaded McConnell for trying to break the Senate… yet, always votes in favour despite overt corruption. And the critical factor that everybody is ignoring isn’t what the opinions are of those in Congress, but that the American people overwhelmingly support Obamacare. It hardly matters what Republicans think of it; the people who elected them are all for it – except, of course, the wealthy.

So McCain receiving what’s essentially a death sentence 2 days later is ironic, because his perspectives on healthcare are likely to change, having been a victim of a serious illness that’s expensive to treat, but also a person who benefits from provided coverage. Some might say, it doesn’t matter if he has coverage or not if the illness is terminal. Maybe not to him, but it matters to his family… and the McCains are lucky they’re wealthy and that this isn’t something they’d ever have to worry about. But, he can still participate in clinical trials that might save lives of other glioblastoma victims, and he’ll still need hospice care. When he’s facing death and the main argument in the chambers of Congress is focused on throwing millions off their coverage to give tax cuts to the ultra rich, don’t you think this is something he’ll be thinking about?

Life can change in an instant. And for those with terminal illnesses, it always does. And knowing that your death is coming and you have an idea of when, it forces you to think about your life an the decisions you’ve made. No one goes to their grave happy to see millions die, unless they’re evil. McCain isn’t. I hope Congress is influenced by the loss of one of their most esteemed Senators.

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Disappointed in my family, as usual. What exactly is the appeal in embracing this white trash frame of mind? I’m bleeping tired of getting phone calls and e-mails and having hours-long conversations about the utter bullshit that is the stuffed clown car I call my family. (edit: the stuffed clown car that brainwashes itself with a healthy overdose of FOX news, because they’re totally smart and stuff)

My sister referred to my dad as a “more intelligent Archie Bunker” yesterday – which is apparently an acceptable comparison because he doesn’t mind being called a racist. I don’t know when it happened, but he became a bitter and terrible person with such narrow views of the world around him. I mean… he actually told me that Trump was the ONLY person who could “fix” America, so that tells you a lot in and of itself.

My brother goes to work and brags to my colleagues (because we regrettably work in the same place) about how our family is JUST LIKE the Trailer Park Boys, and then reminisces about all the good times when his wife has called the cops on him or been abusive to him, which is just a reason for him to humiliate us all so he can laugh at our dysfunction.

What is this “we”? I’m not dysfunctional. I have a college diploma, some university, a good career. I’ve travelled the world. I read. I’m political. I look after my own shit, and I clean my house. And I know this is probably over the top, but I even have a nice yard… with gardens and grass that somehow cuts itself. I don’t go to work and brag about all the ants in my home and how funny it was when my kids ate a sub covered in them. I don’t lay around in my own filth all day and the inside of my house isn’t yellow from stale cigarette smoke. If my pets are sick or have an infection, I don’t let it go untreated for months. I don’t get into lame and completely horrendous screaming matches with my family and let all the neighbours know how low class we really are… and I don’t do it in public either. So let’s stop putting everyone in the family under the same umbrella. “We”.

Sorry, all. I’ve had a crappy week. My family sucks lately. I’m a little jilted about my father not speaking to me for the last 7 months because he’s pissed off that I don’t burn Qu’rans and ask my government to bomb the Middle East off the map. Oh, and well, to be fair he’s also angry that I am not accepting his child-abusing, live-in girlfriend. I know, I set the bar unreasonably high. And there was also that time when I told his ex about how Dad was seeing someone else behind her back, because I had respect for her and thought she ought to know the disturbing lengths he was going just to prove he won’t be told what to do by his controlling kids. And also because I was upset by how he was acting and wanted to talk to her about it, and my resentment gave way to spilling the beans.

At least he feels confident in the choices he’s made… which was evident when he filled a Christmas card with a letter cutting down me and my sister. That’s one way to spread holiday cheer. How lucky my brother is to have such a genuine relationship with good ole dad, a bond that’s only been forged by broken relationships that they created – both being well-aware that they’re at fault, but refusing to apologize because… well, it’s more important to hold a grudge than the people you love.

The men in my family get into abusive relationships, which make them miserable and bring out the worst parts of who they are. But I’m the one with the problems, as I look after my life from far, far away.

Dear Dad

Are you happy with the way things have turned out? It’s been nearly 5 months since we talked. We didn’t speak at Christmas. In fact, I cancelled my plans to come to Sarnia because of you and I missed Christmas with my family, which I haven’t enjoyed in over 5 years. We didn’t speak at New Years. It’s now Easter, and we’re still not speaking.

I haven’t been able to celebrate great moments in my life with you – like recently getting a new permanent job and being promoted to a higher one. Never saw you when my ship was in town. Never even heard from you. You, the father, are so stubborn that you refuse to apologize for the sake of patching up a relationship with your own daughter.

What exactly are you gaining from this? Who wins in this? We have never had a falling out like this. And to think it started over a disagreement about politics, initiated by you and escalated by you, at my Thanksgiving dinner table. It hardly matters that we differ in world views, because I know we do and that’s why I don’t talk about it with you. But it does matter that you used my beliefs as an attack on my mental health. Not only is that a small-minded coping mechanism, but it’s pretty deplorable to bully your own children. And if I did actually have mental health issues, what does it say about you as a father when you use it to smear me as a person to people who love me? Very supportive, Very loving. Very fatherly.

When did you become such a terrible, mean-spirited person? This has nothing to do with me. This has everything to do with you being a miserable, lonely man with no patience or compassion for other people. You now have 2 of your kids not talking to you, and another only hanging around because he’s enjoying being a rare favourite… at the expense of being around the person he probably hates more than anyone (the girlfriend you got back together with, in spite of her abusing your kids and scarring them for life). You haven’t won. None of us has.

But honestly, nothing makes you happy. Everything pisses you off. Your violent temper is a turn-off to most reasonable people. You’re at a stage in your life where you should be enjoying yourself and keeping your family close. And all you do is waste your time complaining and being a downer, and apparently tearing down the people who have always supported you. And you run to the person who you spent a couple years lamenting about,

I haven’t made great choices in this fight, but I suppose being under attack has that effect on people. I suppose mean-spiritedness breeds mean-spiritedness. You screwed up and you need to make an effort to fix it. I’m not going to make this easy for you. I think I’ve demonstrated that. I’m sick of the dysfunction in this family. You need to get over yourself and realize that I’m at a good place in my life, I’m doing well and actually… I’m doing far better than you are. You used to praise me and be proud of that. You’ve gorgotten who you are and who I am. You’ve become petty and you hold on to grudges stronger than you hold on to family.

And your beloved Trump sucks and is a bona fide failure. Time to let it go.

Alt Right vs. Media

America is in deep trouble. Code blue kind of trouble. This is the first time in my life that politics has scared me. But I’m also more engaged in it than ever before, which probably kickstarted my interest… one of the few upswings to this festering boil of an administration.

The attack on the media is perhaps one of the scariest parts, a tactic long used by historical dictators. But the media is handling it fairly well. I watched Don Lemon cut off Paris Denard on CNN when being asked about the hypocrisy of the Trump family costing taxpayers millions for private travel. They’ve doubled in one month what the Obama family cost Americans in an entire year – a year when stupid conservatives did nothing but whine about it, but suddenly taxpayer funded expenses being exploited by the Trump family is perfectly fine. It’s so painfully hypocritical, and when these clowns get asked about it and they don’t have a solid defense, they revert to “fake news” distractions… just like Paris did. Don cut him off when he was using his airtime to accuse the media outlet hosting him of being fake news… and then shut him out completely.

That is exactly what the media has to be doing. Why even have these idiots on your show spreading this message? Why not have moderate conservatives or actual media analysts with a qualified background in it? The people coming out of the woodwork in the wake of Trump’s war on notmalcy are Anne Coulter on steroids. (but I would still take Anne Coulter over Alex Jones or Milo Yiannopoulis any day)

The media is far more powerful than people realize. Honest reporting is not fake just because their reports are not favourable. Dedicated Trudeau supporters aren’t calling it fake news when he renegs on electoral reform… but Trump supporters call everything fake news that they don’t like. Give them a big enough platform and this will become the new normal.

When MSNBC aggressively refused to have Kellyanne Conway on air anymore, I was singing hallelujah. CNN tried it once and then caved and had her on air, where she totally changed her tune from attacking them to placating them. It’s high time that ALL the networks donthis. It’s the only weapon that would work. If they can’t broadcast their message and their “alternative facts”, they lose. Media is helping them keep suport.

Even a FOX News host can’t contain bis anger over Trump anymore. Enough is enough. Cut this clown off at his mouth.

Does the GOP have a strategy?

I am in this dark place lately where Twitter, Facebook, liberal forums and news are eating up all my time. Never in my life have I been so consumed by the state of the world, to the point of not sleeping properly or not being able to focus on anything else. I am on my phone basically all day. My spouse is already fed up with it, which is just as well. I don’t think the free world has much more time to get all the information off the internet as they can, or speak their free mind. Pretty soon FOX will be the State media and anyone speaking against the establishment will be penalized.

I am more terrified of extremist American Christians and fringe groups gaining ground, like the KKK and white nationalist groups, than I am of any moderate Muslim anywhere. I think the Republican party has demonstrated that it is scarier than any other threat facing Americans. All this time you feel like, hey I might not agree with your politics, but career politicians on either side are sure to preserve the Constitution and generally have Americans’ best interests at heart. WRONG.

I keep saying this, but in the event that Democrats ever take back the Senate or the White House again, the GOP will be a party of the past… unless civil war breaks out and they become the sole party of the Confederation. I am beginning to think civil war will be the better of two evils, versus international conflict. Sure, the US is screwed either way, but at least a domestic war wouldn’t result in nuclear deloyment.

Civil war has been brewing for a long time – mostly in the deep South. So if perilous executive orders continue coming out that endanger the rights of minorities and instal a Christian theocracy/totalitarian state, civil war is pretty much a definite. It would be far more complicated today than it was in the 1860s, what with wars no longer being fought with just man power and guns. It’s pretty clear the executive branch is aligned with Trump, so what military power would the other side even have? (not to self: brush up on Northern Ireland)

But back to Democrats. If they win the Senate in 2018 before Trump and Bannon start a nuclear war or dismantle the government, it firstly means certain impeachment. Secondly, it means we diffuse global chaos coming to a head. Thirdly, we’ll be on a path to never seeing the GOP win a majority ever again. That party will never recover from this, UNLESS members within the GOP see the clear and present danger and start breaking away and moving to impeach him. McCain and Graham will start it, and I think Cornyn will follow because he’s apparently not happy with being overlooked on the Bannon appoinment. And when the most prominent members defect, the wimps like Ryan, Priebus and Cruz will follow… because they have herd mentality. It’ll piss off most of their support, though, so it sadly could make the prospect of this happening even slimmer… but maybe not if they ram through their entire agenda and ride out the rest of the term with Pence. Because the GOP puts money and power before country. Everyone says that.

I think the GOP has such a strong hold among conservatives that the prominent figures could successfully slander Trump to the point of convincing their base that he was putting them in danger. Nobody els will get through to them – certainly not Democrats, women or minorities.

The painful quest to find a recipe in a foodie blog

You read that right.

I am so tired of googling recipes and the search engine spitting them out in the form of blogs. If I had an option to shut that off, I would. I scroll past any link that might be a blog and go straight to reputable sites that are succinct and give you exactly what you’re looking for, no more and no less. To all you self-professed foodies out there who combine a so-called knowledge of cooking with the tiresome and narcissistic blathering of blogging, STOP IT.

If you want to share a recipe, isn’t it enough to just say, “This is a longtime favourite of mine, passed down from so-and-so. Enjoy.”? I don’t understand why the writer thinks it’s necessary to type 10 paragraphs of back story or reminiscing before providing the promised recipe. I mean, you can do that in any other entry as much as you want. BUT NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR BLAH BLAH BLAH WHEN ALL THEY WANT IS A RECIPE. This is something that actually makes my blood boil. And it’s enough to deter me from even looking at blogs anymore for recipes. They’re just bubbling with self-importance because they think the reader cares more about their opinion than the recipe.

They don’t stop there, though. Once they give the list of ingredients, they provide an entire paragraph for each individual step of the process. Is that really necessary? To me, it’s like assuming your reader isn’t smart enough to follow short and simple directions, and I find it insulting and arrogant. I also find it annoying – VERY annoying – that you have to sift through all these sentences to get what should be a very basic set of instructions.

To top it off, most of the recipes I’ve pulled off blogs turn out to be shit. I bake for a living, so I kind of know what I’m doing. And sometimes I see combinations that don’t seem right to me, but you shrug it off and try it anyway and aren’t surprised when it ends up being a disaster – and it’s irritating to spend all that time bothering when the writer has promised that this recipe trumps all the other recipes of its kind. A lot of these recipes come from amateurs who pride themselves on throwing together a mish mash of ingredients, and if it turns out semi-edible, they think it’s worthy of the public sphere.

Not everyone, of course. Some really do have good recipes, but it’s difficult to appreciate them when you get lost in text.

I came across one for some kind of artisan ciabatta bread and I was excited, because my boyfriend loves ciabatta and I still haven’t figured out how to make it. This recipe promised to be easy, but the person who wrote it couldn’t have been worse at description. They tried to tell you how to fold the bread without providing pictures, and the text ended up being more confusing and time-consuming to translate than it was worth. A few people had left a comment asking “What is this sentence supposed to mean? I can’t figure this out” and I followed suit, leaving a much snottier criticism because all that time I had spent following the beginning steps were wasted by coming to a standstill at this particular step that was unintelligible. The author also didn’t respond to questions in their comment section, so nobody had answers. It’s a piss-off, and that’s what happens when people who don’t have a familiarity with professional cooking/baking try to pretend like they do.

I’m no Gordon Ramsey or Anna Olsen. However, I bake every day at my job and I’ve been through enough recipes over and over to have a standing knowledge of it. I just get irritated with people who waste others’ time┬álike this… and there seems to be a consensus among people I know to stay away from blogs when looking for recipes. There’s a reason for that, folks.

ON A GOOD NOTE… after a couple years in search for a perfect lemon loaf recipe, I finally found it. Ina Garten delivered. Every time I made one it either had too little of a lemon taste or it was too dry and dense. This recipe is a god send and I’ll be making this at work this month. The trick? LOADS AND LOADS of lemon zest, lemon juice and milk. Oh my, it is heaven. This is a perfect way to get rid of excess lemons, which always seems to be a problem for me at work.

Close Encounters of the Perv Kind

Do you guys remember that show To Catch a Predator? It was a segment on Dateline NBC, hosted by Chris Hansen, that ran from 2004 to 2007 and it caught people trying to engage in lude acts with a minor.

Well, I watched that when I saw it on TV back when, but I was just thinking about it the other day and looked up YouTube clips. It’s hard to fully understand how rampant this kind of thing is. Things from my past have started coming back to me that were within the parameters of pedophilia, that I had mostly blocked out of my memory. It was astounding when I started remembering all these events because I started to realize how easily it can happen to any child. I’m sure all of us at some point have had a questionable experience with this. So, in the hopes that parents or minors are reading this right now, I want to share some of my own experiences to demonstrate how easily kids can be preyed on when parents aren’t around.

The Family Friend

The earliest memory I have of feeling creeped out involved a friend of the family (he’s no longer a friend of the family). My mom and her siblings had known him going back to their early 20s, when they worked together at a bar and partied with one another. I remember him as being really slimy in personality and decorum: middle-aged man who shaved his body and had an earring, always wore the same outfit, was an alcoholic and used to watch you so intently you’d feel like a hole was being burned into your soul. From the time I was about 4 years old he would jokingly refer to me as his girlfriend, which bothered me even at that age when I had no idea what was going on.He continued with this pet name well in to my teens, which speaks for itself.

He continued to creep me out for years. He came to visit us when I was about 15, and my mom had left me alone in the house with him while she ran out for a bit. I was sitting in my room and I could hear moaning coming from the other side of the house. He was taking a bath in my parents’ ensuite, and it wasn’t hard to imagine what he was doing… but the point is that he was making highly inappropriate sounds for a man who was alone in a house with a minor. I think it was that evening, or maybe the evening after, that he exposed himself to my mother and she told him to leave. My father was a truck driver at the time and was on the road, so I guess this “friend” thought he’d be opportunistic with anyone who was willing to take him up on it. We haven’t seen or spoken to him since, and I’m totally fine with that.

(I later found out that a relative of mine had a worse experience with him, but I won’t share that story as it isn’t mine.)

The Apartment Building Pedos

This memory is really vague, but there’s one thing about it that jumped out at me then that I still remember. I was six years old and had met another kid or couple of kids who lived in the same building as me, and I had been invited back to the apartment. I want to say there were at least a couple kids, and between 2 and 4 adult men. The men were sitting around a dining room table and the kids were kind of standing around, when all of a sudden one of the little girls stripped off her clothes (just down to her underwear) and started strutting up and down the hallway that was directly in front of the dining room table. The hallway had a red lightbulb screwed in to the ceiling that cast this ominous, eerie light on this girl I was watching in absolute confusion. What is she doing? Why is she doing that? Who are these men? Why aren’t they telling her to put her clothes back on?

That’s about all I remember. I know for certain that I did not partake. I don’t think I told my mother about it, either.

The Backyard Neighbour

This happened when I was about 7. I was playing in the backyard when I started talking to the guy who lived behind us. Most of the houses on this block didn’t have a fence, so the backyards were mostly all communal. This particular neighbour had a row of cedars growing around his yard as a “fence” and I think he might have been out clipping them. Being the inquisitive kid that I was, I had probably wandered over and started talking to him. Anyway, I remember him telling me he was going on some trip and I was always intrigued by adventure and exploring, so I wanted to go and I remember him wanting to take me. This is the first day I meet him, mind you. He doesn’t even know my mom. Kids don’t really know that there’s something wrong with this, because they’re too trusting and young to understand it. He invited me in to his house, and I remember there being a lot of clutter. There were magazines everywhere. That’s all I really remember.

He ended up getting killed by the other neighbour. The guy shot him and then committed suicide, in some kind of neighbour dispute. God knows what that was about, but the guy who killed him had two small kids about my age… so who knows.

Another Friend of a Parent

This one was probably the biggest one. He was a friend of my father’s. He was a guy who lived in my dad’s apartment building who my dad had met and started hanging out with, as they enjoyed playing guitar together. He was tall, extremely skinny, had greasy thin hair that came down past his ears and his skin was dark and wrinkly from years of chainsmoking and boozing. To look at him as a 9-year-old kid was creepy. I came down one summer when I was nine years old to visit my dad and we went down to this guy’s place to hang out. He had a daughter my age and a son a few years younger, so I had made a friend too. The kids and I were playing Nintendo and our dads were playing guitar, having a couple drinks and talking. My dad left after a while, to go back to his place and watch TV. I asked if I could stay and keep playing Nintendo with my new friends, which he was fine with. (Dad was only at the other end of the hall)

After some time had passed, my friend’s Dad asked me to come with him for a minute. Now, I don’t remember if he had upset me earlier that night somehow, or what the context was for what was about to happen, but nonetheless it was extremely bad judgment on his part. He brought me in to his bedroom and closed the door. He asked me to sit on his bed and he knelt in front of me and had his hands on my thighs and was rubbing them, telling me, “You know I love you, right?” He kept going on, saying stuff like this, until I got up and ran back to my dad’s apartment in tears. It had made me so uncomfortable that I started crying, not understanding why he had done that or why it was making me upset. My dad immediately got up and barreled down the hallway. I don’t know what was said, but their friendship was over in that minute. I keep meaning to ask my dad about that, but I’m not usually thinking about it and my dad never brings it up.

I remained friends with his daughter, but I never went back to his place again. I’d go visit her at her mom’s place, and then when I was a little older I started high school with her and we hung out all the time. When we were about 13 I decided to tell her what had happened that night, and in retrospect I kind of wish I hadn’t… because she was clearly in shock and didn’t know how to react. I didn’t have the best judgment at that age, or the maturity to understand how that might affect her relationship with her dad. But I wanted her to know, in case something like that had happened to another one of her friend’s or even her, god forbid. To this day, I am convinced something was wrong with him.

The Parking Lot Pervert

When I was about 12, a friend of mine and I had walked over to the neighbourhood convenience store. On our way out we walked past this car parked almost directly in front of the store. There were like 3 guys standing around the passenger door and one guy sitting in the passenger seat, all of whom I estimate to have been between the ages of 17 and 21. When we got about 20 feet away we heard this creepy, seductive “Hey girls” and we turned around and saw that the guy sitting had pulled out his dick and had it in his hand. I was young and innocent and didn’t even know what it was at first, until both my friend and I figured it out and turned around to quickly walk around the corner. We had both burst in to laughter, not fully aware of what had just happened. But looking back on it now, it was a case of grown men exposing themselves to 12-year-old girls… possibly even soliciting sex from a minor. The more I think about these things, the more I wish I was mature enough to know what to do about it.

The Older Online Boyfriend

When I was 15 I had connected with this guy on ICQ who claimed to be 20 and living in Toronto. He had sent me pictures of himself, which honestly resembled the types of photos you’d see inside a picture frame you’re about to buy… except all of his looked like the same person. He claimed to be half Thai, half causasian. I thought he was really hot, so we talked every day to the point where we were referring to each other as boyfriend/girlfriend. He actually sent me hand-written letters in the mail on fancy letter paper that he’d spray with cologne (because I was stupid enough to give him my address) with pictures and stickers, etc. Then in the summer of 1999 I was traveling to Edmonton to visit my sister and I’d told him that I’d be at the airport at such and such a time, hoping he’d come to see me. My parents were totally unaware of any of this.

After I arrived in Edmonton and was on my sister’s computer, he advised me that he had supposedly gone to the airport to find me. Then he sent me a letter to my sister’s address, which I still have (with the photo he sent me) and I just took a look at it and realized he didn’t put a return address on it. So my guess is that he was up to no good and didn’t want to get caught. When you don’t put a return address, there’s usually a reason. And lo and behold, if I try to google his name now, I can’t find him. So he could have been using an alias to lure young girls… or maybe he was just a creep praying on young girls who got arrested.

There have been other guys I talked to online who were over the age of consent when I was under it, who I naively developed feelings for. They’d talk to me on the phone, or we’d have lengthy chat conversations… none of which were ever sexual, but in retrospect I find it odd that anybody above the age of 18 would want to talk to a 14 or 15-year-old girl that frequently, unless they were a family friend or related to them. And kids at that age don’t see the problem with this; they don’t understand how wrong it is, especially if they enjoy the attention and are in a rush to grow up. But as anyone who’s ever watched To Catch a Predator can see, they are caught in droves. It’s pretty disturbing how frequently this happens, and how much the perpetrators seem to be fearless of consequence or blatantly unaffected by the risk this behaviour carries.

There were also plenty of times that I got messages from men in Egypt or Kuwait who wanted to talk over the microphone and would start asking me sexual questions. This happened right in front of my parents once, and obviously my dad shut that down right away.

Conclusion

None of these instances were definitive cases of soliciting a minor or pedophilia, but you can still see they were odd and seemingly ill-intentioned. You can also see how easily it happens. As far as the internet is concerned, all it takes is for a minor to be alone with a computer or wireless device that can transmit data, for this kind of thing to happen. I won’t mention names, but someone in my family was posting pictures of herself posing in revealing clothing and her parents didn’t do nearly enough to stop it. She was eliciting sexual conversations this way, because she was looking for male attention… but she was also provoking a negative reaction, which made her extremely defensive. She just didn’t get it, because boundaries weren’t enforced. Her parents didn’t monitor her enough and gave her too much freedom and too much trust when she repeatedly proved to be incapable of honouring it, and that easily could have ended badly. And as you can see, it can happen anywhere in person, to anyone.

Keep your kids safe, no matter how much they whine or cry. It’s becoming more dangerous out there every day and there are deviant people everywhere.