Monday, January 7, 2013

Don't Believe Everything You Read

So, I was cruising various news sites this morning when I came across a funny (ish) piece about yet another chunk of Wikipedia misinformation, this one in the form of an article made up out of whole cloth.  It's the story of a war that didn't happen, and the article has been in place for five years.  It took five years for someone to catch wise to the hoax.

The lesson there?  Don't get your information from Wikipedia.  It might be a good launching point, but don't ever let that be the foundation or "proof" upon which you base anything.

Speaking of internet hoaxes, there's one making the rounds again--the whole "Through a Rapist's Eyes" pile of trash (I won't post it--it's that awful).  It's spreading like wildfire because, once again, we have a bunch of folks who WANT to do good.  Sadly, spreading dangerous misinformation isn't "doing good."  It is, in fact, doing exactly the opposite.

In a nutshell:

Rapists do NOT seek out women with long hair.  Short hair will not protect you.

Rapists do not seek out women in particular types of clothing (and they don't carry scissors to cut through overall straps--grip!).  Dressing dowdy or wearing layers will not protect you.

Rapists are rarely the mask-wearing stranger lurking in the back seat of your car or in the grocery store parking lot (which doesn't mean you shouldn't be careful).  Instead, most rapists are KNOWN TO THEIR VICTIMS.  You have more to worry about from your DATE (or your sister's best friend, or your husband) than you do from some stranger stalking you.

Rapists are not a "one size fits all" phenomenon.  What will deter one will enrage another.

The majority of rapes do not occur in the morning hours (?).  In fact, according to The Department of Justice, most rapes occur between 6 pm and 6 am.  As you'd expect.

In fact, the only accurate part of this idiotic spam is this:  rapists thrive on seclusion.  The more alone, the more isolated a place, the more a rapist will like it.  His crime depends in large part upon his ability to keep his victim from being heard.  So the warnings to stay out of alleyways and stairwells and darkened streets are worthy of heeding.  Yes, you're more likely to be raped in a home (over two-thirds of rapes occur in homes), but it still pays to be where there are people and lights.  Still pays to lock your doors and windows, too.

Now, if you know me at all, you know how much I hate the whole "teaching the girls to dodge rape because we can't teach the boys to stop it" thing.  I spent a few years as a rape and domestic abuse counselor, and one of my duties was teaching "self-defense/rape-avoidance."  Again, even today, the entire idea pisses me off.  By teaching women to stay away from here or don't do that, we're conferring a sense of responsibility onto the potential victims rather than letting that blame rest where it should--entirely on the rapist, regardless of where the victim was, what she was doing, what she was wearing, etc.

I just found this piece, and I think it's worthy of a read.  And, of course, the obligatory Snopes article.

Back to the missing/tampered-with mail issue.  No word yet from the USPS, but the local police refused to take a report because it's a federal crime.  A terrible thought occurs.  We sent out 34 Christmas cards.  We got six in return.  Eight, if you count the two that showed up on January 2nd (11 days after being mailed), already opened, one cleared of its monetary contents.  Right before and after Christmas, we had a number of days with no mail--unusual for us.  Very unusual.  Plus, when we moved in, the real estate agent handed us the various keys and remarked, "Hmmm, only one mail key, I guess."

Here's my fear--the woman who lived here before?  The one the cops came looking for over and over?  Including once in a door-banging 2 am raid-style visit?  She moved back onto the street a few months back. Now lives across the street and four houses down.  What if she kept a key?

What if she kept a key?

What if that's why my Epinions checks keep not showing up?  What if she's snatching credit offers and the like out of the mail?

Please tell me I'm just being paranoid, huh?

Looking to take Charlie in for his annual vaccinations plus a heartworm test.  Personally, I don't agree that he needs a heartworm test--he's been on Heartgard since he was five months old, never missing a dose.  But the vet insists.  However, we won't be taking him to the vet for this--see, the vet wants $190 bucks for the vaccines plus heartworm test.  The local wellness clinic wants $75.  Kinda like the neutering thing last year.  The vet wanted $560 with microchip.  Local "Neuter Commuter" wanted $65 with microchip.  Amazing.  Yes, I get that the "Neuter Commuter" is subsidized by the ASPCA.  But I also get that, when we had Bodhi fixed back in 1996, it only cost $95 bucks at a regular vet.  Hard to believe the vet's costs have gone up by five-plus times.

Walgreens emailed me last night, said I had a script needing refilling, all I had to do was respond to the email.  I did, then got an email telling me there was a problem with the script and they were contacting my physician for renewal.  I crack open the medicine cabinet and can't find a script with that number.  I call them, and it's some script from over a year ago from the wildly personable and spectacularly inattentive urogynecologist who absolutely missed that mass, even when I told her exactly where it was, what it felt like, how big it was, etc.  So I told them to cancel the request.  I have no dealings with Dr. I up in Maryland any more.

On the paneling front, I found a gem, a pure-D miracle of awfulness, but I've dropped a line to the owner of the website to make sure it's okay for me to post it.  It's really amazing.  If I don't hear back in a day or so, I'll post it with a link-back to his page and, if he later objects, I'll remove it.  It's amazing, I'm excited to post it!  Until then, here's ME, in 1987, with my Mom's bad (but could be so much worse) upstairs paneling:

Note the mallard duck lamp.  

Yay!  The owner of the blog says I can display the picture!  Look for it tomorrow--it's an explosion of awfulness!


  1. I know it is a pain and an expense, but it sounds like you should either get a post office box, or somehow pay to have the lock replaced on the mail slot. Have you talked to your landlord? We had mail theft some years ago and it took a lot of time to unravel the trouble it caused. We now have a new locking mailbox.

    1. Yeah, I'm thinking PO Box because the post office won't replace the lock (it's a privately owned box), and I'm getting no word back from the HOA on who or how. Locksmith says "50 bucks, minimum." So yeah, PO Box. But I'm still looking to pursue this, because if that woman has a key to our mail box and is stealing from us, I want her in jail.