The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More Human Than Human

I think I’d like to see the human race roll up with a little more ‘humanity’.


“Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”
Dalai Lama

This is how these things always start…

I was on Facebook, minding my own business, and I noted that one of my younger (and clearly less wise) cousins had joined a Facebook group called “WE SHOULD MANDATE DRUG TESTING FOR ALL WELFARE RECIPIENTS”. And, yes, it was in all caps like that.

Now, because I try to understand my fellow man (and in the case of my cousin, woman), while I may disagree with your opinion, I’ll always listen to it. Because, if I can understand WHY you feel the way you do, maybe I can figure out how to make things a little less polarized. I’m crazy. I know. And I genuinely do not believe that all issues can be less polarized, but genuinely believe it’s always worth the try. It baffles me how people can look at the same information, and then not come to the same conclusions. Now, I realize that backgrounds, religion, education level, etc. all play into that. I really do. But we’re talking raw empirical data here.

So, being me (sorry ‘bout yer luck there, fellers), I popped in to take a look at what these compassionate Americans had to say. The rest of you are shaking your heads. I can see you. And your all like, “D’uh, Superwife. They think all people on welfare are ‘using money that they don’t deserve…because they’re lazy…and buying illegal drugs. And because the welfare system is so badly broken, we can fix it if we start shutting this phenomenon (only they wouldn’t use that word) down.’ Don’t ya know?” And I did. But I needed to know more. Like, do they have any evidence of this, or is it just made up stuff.

When I got there, there really wasn’t much information at all. But there were discussion threads. Great. Discussion and debate. Just what this situation needs! The first discussion thread I saw was titled something like “Hey, Dudes, you really need to change your opinion”. I popped my head in and the first post was by this clear-headed fellow who cut and pasted information from the ACLU that basically said that approximately 10% of welfare recipients are drug addicts. It also went into great detail about how ineffectual testing is (a minute percentage are actually ‘caught’) and the cost. As well as discussions about how alcoholism is a much more damaging drain on our system and that it’s legally-obtained.

Now this information was pretty much all that was needed to clear up any misconceptions on the matter. Except. Uh uh. Dozens of posts by people outraged by these “facts” and accusing the ACLU of being partisan and biased.

In response, various other studies were quoted and linked. Studies indicating that the amount of tax dollars that go to poverty assistance programs account for about 8% of your federal tax dollars. So…for someone with an average income of $50,000, filing as a single person, they’d pay a total of about $6,200, and of that $6,200, less than $600 a year would go to ALL poverty assistance programs. If 10% of the people on welfare are drug users, that means the average person is paying $60 a year to drug-using welfare recipients. Less if they make less or pay less in taxes. And studies indicating that 78% of welfare-recipients are on assistance for less than five years. And you can’t believe how head-up these people were.

Finally, one woman, when faced with the grim reality (and associated facts) that there are far bigger drains on our tax dollars (like fighting illegal wars and such), and that corporate bail-outs and big business are doing far more to subvert not only our tax dollars, but our poor, and that drug addiction is a societal problem and that maybe we should try to help these people, too, responded with “You people need to take off the blinders and WAKE UP. These are just excuses and it doesn’t matter how much you argue, I don’t care what you say. You are never going to change my mind.”

It’s as if they see the facts and then decide “No. No. I refuse to let the truth in.” And that continues to blow my mind. When you can look at the facts and then make a conscious decision to be closed-minded, I’m astounded. Honestly, I am. And no matter how many times I see the situation, it’s like the first time. I’m like, “Wow. Really?”

It’s as if people would rather hate than love. People would rather judge than understand. People would rather the whole world did things the way THEY, themselves, believe is the best way. Is it impossible to embrace the differences between us? To look at someone else’s experiences and realize that the molds we forge are not one-size-fits-all? It ain’t easy, boys and girls, quit looking for the easy button. It takes more effort to work things out than it does to shut them down, but it's usually worth it.

Personally, I would rather that people on welfare assistance not use illegal drugs. (I’d rather people who are NOT on welfare assistance would also refrain.) I would also prefer not to see people paying for tv’s and designer clothes with welfare money. But all of that is my personal opinion. Here’s another one. Drug addicts who do not have a source of income find one. It’s usually crime. I’m not advocating paying them off with government money to avoid being a victim. I’m just saying that if people are truly trying to fix a broken system (and I agree it is flawed), find the actual flaws and format solutions that will actually correct them.

If you’re looking at spending thousands and thousands of dollars to save $60, and that $60 savings will net you an increase in crime, there must be a better solution. Further, what makes people believe that welfare recipients are the only government assisted drug-addicts? I personally know of two social security recipients with drug problems. Do we want to start random drug-testing every elderly person as a condition of them participating in the program? How about unemployment insurance recipients? (With the current unemployment rates, that’s a whole lotta testing!) At the end of the day, haven’t most people using these programs paid into them with their own tax dollars?

Do we really want some independent board telling anyone receiving government money what they can and cannot spend it on? Would that include the military, the police, politicians, public educators? Don't my tax dollars pay them, too?

What I find even more surprising is the number of those who want to see this change, who consider themselves Christian. But this particular discussion has not devolved into matters of religion, and I’m excusing myself from it before it does.

How far are we willing to go to avoid compassion? How much humanity do we want to shed to feel superior? Why is it preferable to put someone under our thumb, rather than to give them our hand? Don't we realize what happens when humanity fails? Why are we more willing to kill than to heal?

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I've Been Pie-soned!

How could ye, ye gloriously rich and gooey confection? It was truly love I had for ye. Alas, forgiveness will be some time in coming.

On the slow road back from a nasty bout of self-inflicted food poisoning, and thought I'd poke my head in here. I couldn't bear to throw out a half of a buttermilk pie from Mark's Feed Store (one of the most heart-stoppingly delicious desserts known to mankind) that we'd picked up for Easter dinner and...well...I think it was a little past it's prime. Or that's the consensus anyway. I, alone, had a slice of the buttery delight on Saturday night...and I, alone, suffered the wracking abdominal pain causing me to double over and grit my teeth (about every ten minutes for about 10 hours) on Sunday. It was far too reminiscent of labor and by the time I finally succumbed to slumber, I was exhausted.

Upon waking Monday morning, I was barely able to move. Mostly weak, the pain had stopped, but not the other (more traditional) side effects of food poisoning.

Back at work today. Feeling a little better, but sad...oh so sad...that it was the buttermilk pie that did it to me. Luckily, the white chocolate banana cream from Rafferty's has offered to step up and fill in any available openings.

But probably not today.

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Hey, Look Kids! She's Ranting Like a Lunatic Again!

Sorry. Either you missed it or you didn't. But it didn't go away when I did. Buckle up, Buttercups!

So why isn't this terrorism? Why aren't we fighting a war on THIS organized terrorism right here, right now?

We are clearly not discouraging these religious zealots (who obviously have so much in common with our enemies around the globe that it's staggering) from their attacks on our citizens. Do we really want the result to be no doctors to safely perform this legal procedure? Don’t we all see that’s where this is going?

Generations of women have grown up never having seen the reality of coat-hanger abortions. It's been so long, in fact, that this horror has achieved a nearly mythical status. Much easier to believe it's all a fabricated monster story...that frightened, hopeless women, with no options, no control over their own lives and bodies, took such measures. But it’s true. They really did live (and often die) through this. With far too staggering frequency. Or as some stories tell, the traveling unlicensed "doctor" who asked no questions...if the cash was right...would be available to perform the necessary procedure.

But when is the last time, short of fictional accounts, that you've heard of that happening? That you've heard of a young woman bleeding out from this type of procedure? or being so scarred that she could never have children? And while the emotional impact of this procedure is rarely inconsequential, consider the far more significant psychological damage that abortions caused when they were self-service.

It just doesn't happen anymore.

Now, I'm sure many of you are sitting there in disbelief that I'd actually even broach this HIGHLY sensitive subject, but I gotta vent and that's just the way it is. I do want to clarify that I'm not a pro-abortion chick. I'm a pro-CHOICE chick. There truly is a difference. But in order to have a choice, it has to be a reasonable choice. None of the choices in this situation are entirely risk free. I think everyone realizes that. You can run into a plethora of complications delivering a baby, too. But we, as a society, have worked to make that choice as safe as possible…and we continue to do so.

That's really not so much what I'm on about today anyway. It's about terrorism. In America. It's about how people who cannot use peaceful means to move their agendas take illegal, violent action and, not only murder U.S. citizens, but also terrorize other citizens from both performing and procuring safe, legal medical treatment.

How strongly must a doctor feel about this issue to put their very lives (and, tangentially, those of their families and coworkers) at risk, to undertake this professional option? When the doctors who currently perform abortions are all killed, and no one steps up to take their place, will the terrorists have won? Sure, abortion will still be legal...but where will you be able to actually get one? Will the ‘choice’ have been taken from us without the long, protracted legal discourse that takes every citizen's voice into consideration?

The religious right blathers about over-reaching government and how many freedoms they don't want to lose. Maddening that they can't, for an instant, see how they are BEGGING the government to over-reach, while demanding that more than 50% of the population give up control of their physical body to the same government they don’t believe is qualified to manage ANYTHING (including health care). How far over is THAT reaching and "Hey, there, that's my freedom you're snatching!" Okay, likely a bad (at least partially unintentional) pun, but the entire concept completely boggles my brain.

If my tax dollars (and I’ve been paying them a long damn time) are being applied to a War on Terror, I want some of them to fight the War on Terror right here in this country. I want someone to stop the jihad against U.S. citizens going on in my backyard. I want my government to stand up for my personal freedoms and the laws that we, as a nation, have enacted to ensure that this is a more perfect union. I want U.S. citizens to be safe from terrorists that are already here and well-established in this country.

And I want it now. Before my daughters and your daughters and one more American woman has to find out what happens when you no longer have legal ownership of your own body.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Original Recipe or Extra Crispy?

Here at Rupert & McElroy (yep, I still work there), we get calls (mostly complaint calls) from KFC customers with some regularity. Odd, because, well, we ain't KFC. I’ll answer the phone “Rupert & McElroy” (well, not really, but you know what I mean)and then they’ll start right in with “Yeah, I haven’t received the coupons I requested.”, or “I ate at your store on blah..blah..boulevard and my chicken wasn’t even done.”. Stuff like that. And, of course, working in an architectural office, where we neither have coupons, nor chickens, it always throws me a little. I try to advise them that they have not reached KFC’s offices. They almost always reply with, “Well, I got your number off the web.”

The first time that happened, it was more than a little surprising. I mean, I've worked here a long time. Surely, I'd know if we were a KFC affiliate. Right? But these folks are nothing if they're not persistent. At some point, it occured to me that since we had done the design for KFC's national headquarters building, that they may be (along with other prominent projects) featured on our website. And, perhaps, just perhaps, when people google KFC national headquarters, our website comes up. (I’ve never actually tested that theory, but it seems reasonable to me.)

Now when I’ve tried, patiently…and professionally…to explain this to (often hostile) callers, they scold me and tell me that we shouldn’t have that on our website. That we're intentionally misleading the public. *blink* *blink* Uh, huh. Clearly, these folks don’t understand the concept.

In any event, it’s happened many, many times over the years (and has really messed with some former receptionists), but we’ve never gotten a letter before.

Until today.

I’ve attached it for your perusal. I only opened it at all because it had Rupert & McElroy listed as part of the delivery address. Now, I’ve scanned it in (along with the envelope), so you can all see what kind of fun I have at work. And you should, 'cause it's lots o' fun!

Anyway, without further ado, and with FAR too much build-up for what will (likely) be a big nothing, check this out. It totally made me (and much of the rest of the rest of my office) LOL today.

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Remember Me?

It's been over a year since I've posted. So, it feels VERY weird to be here typing again. Not sure anyone still checks in (I probably wouldn't myself), but I'm hoping to be a better 'hostess' in the upcoming future.

I got deeply involved in an entirely other time-suck (Gaiaonline). My kids spend a great deal of time there and they got me involved. Once in, I found a group of adults and made some friends there. It's been a blast, but I've deeply missed the freedom I get here (short of rl hurdles constructed by my ex and his merry band of misinformed minions).

Anywho, I was telling my hubby about an incident at work today and he said he would "totally blog" it and I suppose it's time to get back on the horse. Sad that the first actual blog post after resuming will be kinda lame, but, well, they were kinda lame when last we spoke. ;)

So, it's good to be back and check out my other post today...

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Top 10 Bushisms

I heard this recap this morning and wanted to share.

Tell me again how he got re-elected?

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In My Life(time)...

...There are places I remember,
All my life, though some have changed...

I have never been what I'd call gullible. At least I don't remember ever being so. In my "advanced youth", I've certainly become more and more jaded. It's something I continue to struggle with.

Today, though, when Barack Obama took the oath of office, I felt energized. I felt somehow restored. I felt that maybe, just maybe, we really could pull out of this and be better for what we've endured. I felt hope. I felt the restoration

And without realizing it, I exhaled.

As if I'd been holding my breath for eight long, long years.

I surprised myself by doing so.

Several co-workers and I sat around our conference room table and watched the ceremony (while eating some truly mediocre Chinese carryout). None of us speaking. All of us rapt with admiration for this charismatic and motivational man.

Part of me is a little nervous. Like the first time you ride your bike without the training wheels. You're confidence builds despite how wobbly you start. And before you know it, you're flying...great expectations and all.

I love that President Obama (whew...I'm diggin' that already) drew over a million people to his inaugural address. People hungry for hope.

I love that he refuses to dream small when it comes to this country.

I love that he is, already, a symbol of unity and wisdom.

I love that I got to see this in my lifetime. And that my children did, too. And that they are old enough to remember.

We still have so very much work to do. Maybe more than we can do. But today, on this day, I am proud of my country.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Okay, while thinking about movie titles yesterday, quite a few "stinkers" crossed my mind. Consequently, today's list (and it'll be the last, I promise) includes some of the worst movies I could think of for each letter. Anyone who wants to play along is welcomed to do so. In fact, I'd love to see what you come up with!

After Sundown (the hands down winner)
Boy in the Plastic Bubble, The (I’ll bet John Travolta NEVER mentions this one)
Cannonball Run II (nothing further needed)
Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (I didn’t even know this movie had a second part of the title)
Eyes Wide Shut (though my hubby would probably pick Escape From New York, here)
Flintstones, The (I know a couple guys who would pick Field of Dreams here, but this live-action adaptation nearly put me off the Flintstones forever)
Grease 2 (Michelle Pfeiffer’s house payments must have been pretty late for her to go here)
Inspector Gadget (Matthew Broderick, how could ye?)
Jaws 3-D (…::stare::…)
Kingdom of Heaven (one of the very few movies I’ve ever actually walked out would, too, if it happened to you.)
Ladybugs (Watching this Rodney Dangerfield film is truly painful)
Made in America (Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson…)
Norbit (What was Eddie Murphy thinking???)
Operation Dumbo Drop
Pet Sematary (Why are Stephen King’s movies such poor adaptations of his books?)
Quigley Down Under (this one may just be me)
Rhinestone (Sylvester Stallone & Dolly Parton...and Sly sings...::shiver::...)
Superman IV

Twins (Danny DeVito…Arnold Schwarzenegger…twins…of course…)
Underdog (Can’t we ever just leave well enough alone?)
Valley Girl (ewww…totally…)
White Chicks
Xanadu (this one was easy, I nearly put it on the other list just because it started with an “x”…now I can put it here…justly)
You Don’t Mess With the Zohan (Ben Stiller better be careful or he’ll end up on the list with Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson)
Zoolander (And this doesn’t help)

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Pointed here from Mark Gibson at Abject Conjecture, our record is now sullied...please direct any complaints there.

Like Mark, I've done this off the cuff, so don't expect any cool stuff. Cool stuff takes hours and hours of work. I love you guys. But not that much. Also, for fun, you should do your list before looking at mine (or anyone else's). No copying. Or else.

The Rules

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.

2. The letter "A" and the word "The" do not count as the beginning of a film's title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don't know of any films with those titles.

3. Return of the Jedi belongs under "R," not "S" as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with "S." Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under "R," not "I" as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Conversely, all films in the LOTR series belong under "L" and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under "C," as that's what those filmmakers called their films from the start. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Use your better judgment to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number's word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under "T."

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that I can eventually type "alphabet meme" into Google and come up #1, then make a post where I declare that I am the of Google.

6. If you're selected, you have to then select 5 more people.

And Justice For All
Big Chill
Continental Divide
Deer Hunter
Electric Horseman
French Connection
It’s a Wonderful Life
Kill Bill
Layer Cake
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
‘Night Mother
Odd Couple
Play Misty for Me
Quiz Show
Raising Arizona
Steel Magnolias
Thank You for Smoking
Uncle Buck
Walk the Line
Yellow Submarine

I notice (after the fact), that Mark and I have just (3) duplications. Not bad!

As for my five tagged, I'm looking to...

Spider Girl
Fortyish is Fab
Crayons in the Sun (if she ever checks in there anymore...)

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Lovers and Liars

Can you believe that it’s been nearly a month since I’ve been here? Well, with the elections over, I’ve not had much to discuss. Until last night...

Oh, sure, there’s been stuff going on in my life. Most of it is pretty boring stuff, though. But yesterday, I learned that my ex and his current girlfriend are moving in together.

Now, for the record, Highlander and I moved in together before we got married, too. I discussed it with all of the kids, and asked for their feedback (and approval) beforehand, and then I discussed it with my ex. I suppose that last wasn’t “necessary”, and it certainly wasn’t to get approval (or to “poke him with a stick”), but I thought that he, as their father, should be aware that his kids’ lives were getting ready to be impacted. And, I had enough respect (both for him and for myself and our kids) to discuss it with him personally, instead of letting it trickle down.

Of course, when I did discuss it with him, it was met with all kinds of furor and resistance and threats of legal injunctions. It was fundamentally wrong to live together without benefit of being married and there was no way he was going to allow me to do that. You think I exaggerate here, but you are wrong. When I pointed out to my ex that he and I had lived together before we married, he eschewed that stating that we didn’t have kids, and that having kids in the equation completely changed it. I disagreed, totally...and I am pretty sure that he didn’t believe his own argument.

But despite me pointing out how hypocritical it was of him to say that cohabitating was unequivocally wrong, he stood his ground. It was bad for the kids and set a bad example. (As an aside, it was my beloved grandmother who encouraged me to move in with my ex before getting married, telling me that “you will never really know if you want to spend your life with someone until you live with them”. It’s something I’d encourage my own children to do, as well. Because...well...I believe its good advice.)

So, of course, when I learned, yesterday, (and not from him) that my ex’s current girlfriend was moving in, I asked him if he was getting married. He looked at me (somewhat taken aback that I knew, I guess) and said simply “no”. I told him I was surprised, given how vociferously he had defended the opposite position just three years ago, that he no longer believed that it was wrong. Sure, maybe I should have just let it go. I mean, I know he didn’t really believe it then. I’m sure it was just more of the “he’s hurt and jealous” stuff. But he put us through a lot of shit and if he didn’t believe it, he should be a man and own that. He should say “look, I was in a bad place and I know I was wrong and I’m sorry for behaving that way”. The likelihood of that happening is none. I know this because his response was, “well, since you’d already exposed the kids to the situation, I knew it didn’t make a difference what I did...the damage was done.”

And me, totally missing the best opportunity for a line EVER, didn't say "so, I guess I should just let them smoke pot since you've exposed them to THAT lifestyle"...but I didn't.

Simply put, boys and girls, today’s lesson is “A principle is worth defending to the death...until it negatively impacts your own lifestyle”. Nothing has changed. Either you believe it is fundamentally wrong to do something, or you don’t. It’s as if you believed that it’s fundamentally wrong to hit someone, but when you find out someone else did it, you figure "why not?".

Up here on the high road, we call that a failure of character, a lack of integrity. Of course, for someone who said that they have no problem lying to people they don’t like and respect (and don’t see that lying is a reflection upon them...not on the people they are lying to), the armor was already dinged up pretty well. Of course, it could be that he still believes that I have to live by one set of rules and standards, and that he has an entirely different set he's established for himself.

I feel particularly sorry for the girlfriend. My kids like her well enough, so, for that, I am grateful. And she seems to be, by and large, good to them. But I don’t think she knows what she is getting herself into with him. Or, maybe she does. Maybe she has more experience with addicts and liars than I know. She definitely seems to be an enabler and that will certainly appeal to him. I don’t envy her what lies ahead. But I do like her enough that I feel sorry for her.

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