Wednesday, February 26, 2014

And So Ends Epinions

Over 14 years ago, I threw myself into that wave that swept through the SAHM world like a tsunami.  I mopped up in ways that still boggle my mind--two pairs of free Asics (retail 120 a pop), amazing free clothes for my then toddler, free makeup, free money (yes, free money!  Just open a checking account and they give you a hundred bucks!), free magazines, free books, free medicines, free toiletries, free meals, free videos and games.  I became something of an authority on how to get stuff worth having for free in the blossoming shopping realm.

One of those "how to mop up on the interwebs" deals?  A new writing site called "Epinions."  I came into it early--it was brand new.  And those first few months were heady.  Some months I was cashing out twice, 800 or so dollars a shot.  Yes, you read that right--some months, I made over 1,600 dollars.  Just writing product reviews and parenting advice pieces.

Of course, it couldn't hold.  There was only so long the site could pay like that until it dropped to ten cents a hit.  And then a penny a hit.  The place slid into a morass of "rating circles" and spam reviews consisting of "lalalalalalalalalala" to fill the minimum word requirement.  And the masturbatory "look how cool I am, I'm an ARTIST" types and their idiot hangers-on, of course. No site is complete without the troll contingent.

Then the pay dropped off even further, and most of the spammers and rating circle jerks (see how I did that?) went away.  The self-indulgent artistes wandered away, too, to start (and sink) their own rip-off site.  And those of us who stayed?

Did some really good work.

While the money never did pick up, it was always a nice perk each month to get that check.  Sometimes I'd let it ride for a while and have enough for a nice treat--like a three week luxury car rental for a vacation or a fun weekend trip somewhere.  Often, that check was the difference between a bill getting paid and not.  Sometimes it was milk and bread in the fridge.

And now it's gone.

It was a long time coming, really--the moment ebay entered the picture and took over Epinions, we all knew.  Once you become a small sliver in a huge organization, your days of being the main focus are over.  We all knew we weren't important.  And ebay jerked us around enthusiastically.


Anyway, practical upshot?  I have 700 product and travel reviews that won't be earning me money anymore.  I can't even delete them from Epinions.  Instead of seeing some sort of financial boost or recovery this year, my family is down around $275 a month.  More, if you count the wingnuts slashing hubby's transit benefit.  I'm going to look into posting my reviews elsewhere, but fact is, I have now become completely dead weight.  Damn.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Doahn Beh Stooopid

This absolute nut-fuggery came across my Facebook feed today, and I felt compelled:

The person who wrote this is a college (law) student. Perhaps there is hope for us after all.



Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al: We have stuck together since the late 1950's for the sake of the kids, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has clearly run its course.

Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right for us all, so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.

Here is a our separation agreement:

--Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a similar portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.

--We don't like redistributive taxes so you can keep them.

--You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.
--Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military.

--We'll take the nasty, smelly oil industry and the coal mines, and you can go with wind, solar and biodiesel.

--You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell. You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them.

--We'll keep capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street.

--You can have your beloved lifelong welfare dwellers, food stamps, homeless, homeboys, hippies, druggies and illegal aliens.

--We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO's and rednecks.

--We'll keep Bill O'Reilly, and Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood . 

--You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us.

--You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we'll help provide them security.

--We'll keep our Judeo-Christian values.

--You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, political correctness and Shirley McClain. You can also have the U.N. but we will no longer be paying the bill.

--We'll keep the SUV's, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Volt and Lea f you can find.

--You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any practicing doctors.

--We'll keep "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "The National Anthem."

--I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute "Imagine", "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", "Kum Ba Ya" or "We Are the World".

--We'll practice trickle-down economics and you can continue to give trickle up poverty your best shot.

--Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our history, our name and our flag.

Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like-minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you might think about which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.


John J. Wall

Law Student and an American

P.S. Also, please take Ted Turner, Sean Penn, Martin & Charlie Sheen, Barbara Streisand, ( Hanoi ) Jane Fonda with you.

P.S.S. And you won't have to press 1 for English when you call our country.

I'm sharing this because it's probably the stupidest thing I've seen slide across my feed in a long, long time.  It's so stupid, in fact, that my first thought was "this must be a joke, it's satire, because no one is actually . . . well, that stupid."  A "law student" wrote this?   I'm trying to imagine a situation where that might be true.  I suppose, perhaps, a very rich, not particularly bright, breathtakingly entitled and sickeningly racist law student whose rich daddy and rich mommy have paid his way may have written it.  Or maybe a painfully hypocritical, student-aid using, scholarship-sucking, public education-enjoying law student.  But not a real person.  No.  No, this reads like every bad stereotype, and it is horrifying that anyone could possibly take this garbage seriously.

The person who chucked this my way said it gave her "Hope for us after all."

"Hope for us after all?"  No, after reading this (and realizing that we've churned out dullwits who would lend it an ounce of credence), I am feeling a lot less hopeful.

All that said, let's talk about it.  Let's talk about the fact that the states who vote the reddest are almost always the states that eat up the most in federal aid.  The states that whine the loudest about federal regulation are the ones whose citizens are most often facing threats to water and air safety because they keep voting for people who don't give two spits about them.  Let's talk about people whose medical bills have landed them living in their car, and yet they decry the "marxists."  You have been so hoodwinked.  You have been convinced that voting against your own best interests is somehow in your best interest.  The whole idea of "you can keep redistributive taxes, we don't like 'em" is a JOKE--you don't like them until some big coal company dumps a few tons of toxic waste in your water or a hurricane hits.  And then you like 'em just fine.

What this boils down to, at its most basic, is this: convincing stupid people to blame those even less fortunate than themselves for the state of things is the best way to create a mindless, cohesive voting block. All you have to do is get them to hate immigrants/gays/the poor/the sick, and voila! They're like a ballistic voting machine, just point 'em in the right direction and push the button! And it's human nature.  It is, it is human nature to blame the weak, to scapegoat, to otherwise point a finger at those who are in dire straights, because if you can BLAME them, you can feel like that'll never happen to YOU.

The vilifying of "intellectuals" has certainly helped this along.

I would actually love to see this traitorous and ridiculous new "America" come into being, because the floundering and failure would be a joy to see.  No military (no, you don't get to have them because our "redistributive taxes" pay for them, for their equipment, and for their training and upkeep.  Make your own military--you can probably conscript folks who've fallen on hard times, financially.  Perhaps restore slavery), no colleges (except the stray religious institution, which is hardly higher education and could only be afforded by the rich), and no hospitals.  Not with health care being a "luxury."  Stunted industry, zero ability to cope with natural disasters, and an infrastructure that, without those fancy taxes, crumbles to nothing in short order.  The very idea is so astoundingly immature that, again, I find myself wondering if it's not really satire.

And finally?  The utterly disingenuous and purely incorrect claim that the left is the realm of welfare and slobs and junkies, when study after study shows that the red states are, more often, the desperate resource suckers.  You want the highest level of federal "welfare" spending?  Again, of the top twenty federal dollar-sucking states, sixteen vote red.

That anyone would be so shortsighted as to say something like "You keep your solar, wind and bio, we'll keep the coal and oil" speaks volumes.  This is what happens when an education system fails and a political structure falls into the hands of a corporate power grid that benefits from ill-educated people who don't have any sort of realistic grasp of this nation (or this world, for that matter).   People who are proud of polluting, who wear their irresponsibility and lack of foresight as a badge of honor.  I saw a gigantic black pick-up truck the other day, jacked up halfway to Mars and covered with crappy Teabagger stickers, including one that read "Prius Killer."  Slack-jawed doesn't begin to cover it.

Can we keep Ted Turner, a multi-millionaire?  Can we keep folks who've spoken up against perceived injustice?  Like Americans are supposed to?  Whether they were right or wrong, they spoke up, and they did so using the big words and doing their best to understand the issues.  I'd take them over your George Zimmermans and Ted "Poopy-Pants Draft-dodger" Nugent any day.

Did I use the word "stupid" an awful lot here? Yes, I did, because when this sort of racist, mindless, thoughtless, careless, mouthing puppetry comes across my feed, it's the only word I can come up with that isn't truly, deeply offensive.  When I see someone argue that Americans should be controlled by corporate interests, should support corporate welfare, should support a system that allows business to control politics, I get mad.  When I see someone jab at the poor, ridicule Americans who take their love of country so seriously they DO something rather than pass around some dull-witted, ill-conceived, mean-spirited spray of vomit on Facebook or wave a flag while wearing a hat dangling tea bags, I get even madder.  And when I come across someone so utterly foolish that they actually believe that "pressing one for English" somehow DAMAGES them (what, is your finger broken?  You only have a finite number of button presses in you and you're almost out?), I want to scream.

And finally, spectacularly, amazingly?  The bag-o-hair dimwit who splattered this crap across my wall?  Is HISPANIC.

HISPANIC!  And not just ANY Hispanic, but Hispanic and spent time LIVING IN HER CAR BECAUSE THE MEDICAL BILLS FROM HER HUSBAND'S CANCER SURGERY WIPED HER OUT!  She says living in her car is so much more "convenient" because it allows her to travel where she needs to be for him without worrying about . . . blah, blah, blah.

I know.  The mind positively BOGGLES, GOGGLES, and WOBBLES at the self-deception there.

And for the record?  My Grandpa was an immigrant, and if dimbubbles like this had had their way, he'd never have gotten off that boat.

That's my rant.  These folks said it better OVER HERE and HERE.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Updates are for Wimps

Things have been pretty crappy 'round the casa lately.  My son came away from summer camp with one close friend, and, of all the healthy, happy, normal kids, he wound up with the psychopath.  I'm not using the term lightly--the kid is completely nuts.  Violent, stupid, rude, medicated, homeschooled because they won't have him at public school anymore (as opposed to "homeschooled by choice"), and constantly throwing out things like "the only reason I don't murder my parents is because I want them to get cancer so I can watch them die slowly, in agony" and "I want to join the military so that I can murder people and get away with it."

I know this how?

Because our boy's moods and behaviors began to become so alarming, so dark and different, that we (I) checked his text messages.

Now, he has no "real" contact with this whackjob.  Until summer camp.  And I'm incredibly concerned about that.  Concerned enough that I want my husband to apply as a volunteer counselor.

In the meantime, I've limited the time our boy can text with this freak.  We're torn--do we contact this nutball's parents?  Let them know?  I mean, how could they miss it, right?



On the Dad front, things are markedly better.  They have him on his feet, the tracheostomy has been closed, he's only on oxygen for a couple of hours a day, and he's cruising about the halls with a walker.  Eating semi-solids, and they're moving him to a rehab facility next week.

Good  news, huh?

Sadly, there is a downside.  He's got a whopping case of "ICU Psychosis," which, among other things, has him not remembering me a good part of the time, and not remembering that we're close all the time.  In effect, he's lost ten years, and the fifty before that are come and go.  Some flat out delusions, a fair bit of "I'm being persecuted" going on, and he only yesterday figured out that the woman he's married to is the woman he remembers from way back.  

It will probably get better, though the symptoms can linger for a long while after release.  What a mess.

He's been off the smokes for over 60 days now, and, other than one raging tantrum, he's been okay with that.  In fact, he's talking about how great it will be to not be spending that money. Sadly, his wife is still smoking.  She says she'll quit when he comes home.  We'll see.


And, to wrap it up, I want to talk about medical care in the United States.  I want to talk about a young woman with huge plans for a wedding in Ireland and a happy life with her new husband and baby.  Instead, she found herself buried under massive, devastating bills associated with her baby's serious medical problems.  To paraphrase Cassie, you open a bill and it's for 47,000 dollars, and what can you do besides toss it on the table and not read it?   Add to that her increasing depression, a combination of PPD and the crippling stress of her baby's health problems and the murderous costs?

You have a young woman who takes her own life.

Cassie was so fresh in this world, she was young, breathtakingly lovely, full of love and so loved.  And now she's dead.  People say that the health care debate is political, but it's not.  It's human.  It's not about numbers and ideological persuasions, it's about individual human beings.

And the world is a poorer place without this one.

Just a short time ago, Cassie started a fundraising page for her beautiful boy.  Have a look.  Give if you can.  Share if you will.

Thank you.