Sunday, April 15, 2012

The roaches may one day have their vengeance...

Photo by Michael Cote' via Flickr  

What's with roaches, anyway?

I came out into the kitchen yesterday morning to find one on its back on the floor. Its legs were moving just a bit and that made me much more cautious than usual. Of course, the mere fact that it was in the middle of the floor and not in some obscure corner covered in dust put me on edge.

Roaches have this uncanny way of playing dead and waiting for unsuspecting Diannas to come around and try to sweep them into a dustpan. As soon as the broom touches them, they bounce themselves back onto their creepy little legs and start running. Ugh. I'm shivering just writing about it. My hands are weak, my fingers shaky. I hate roaches.

If they scurry off toward the wall, you know they have a lot of life left in them. You have to smack them with something a few times to do them in. Or drown them in bug spray. But if they run around in circles, it's usually just a matter of sweeping them back onto their backs. At which point they spin around with their awful legs twitching wildly.

I never pick up roaches with a paper towel, like my husband does. That's the most disgusting thing ever. I did it once, many years ago, and I could feel its horrid little legs wriggling against the towel. It was traumatizing.

I sweep them up and put them in the trash. And then I spend the rest of the day worrying that they've managed to climb out. I wouldn't mind so much if they climbed out and went away. But the thought that I might try to change out the bag and end up with a roach on me is too much to bear.

If I find the roach in the bathroom, I sweep it up and dump it into the toilet. I have to flush it immediately. There's no way I'm sitting my bottom onto that seat when there's a roach swimming around below. I don't know how it could manage to climb out and get onto my bum, but I have little doubt it could if it was so inclined.

And don't let them fool you by floating around like they're dead. The only certainly dead roach is the one that's so squashed its pus-yellow insides are smashed out. All others should be considered active, creepy legged, and dangerous.

Do they ever die?

The one I found in the kitchen was an American Roach. Freaky creature with large wings. The experts say they prefer not to fly, but we don't believe them. We've run screaming from the room when one of them started dive bombing. And trust me, I know from experience, those freakish spiny legs feel just like they look when one of these gross bugs decides to land on you.

In the bath tub this morning was a half-dead Florida Woods Roach. Half dead. He was the type who turned over and limped in a circle before I swept him up and into the toilet. He's into the sewer system now...but is he dead?

Can you drown a roach? The Mythbusters say no. "They're like little zombies." But they used German cockroaches in their experiment, not the typical Florida Palmetto bug. We can only hope the chemicals at the water treatment plant do the final job.

Then again, maybe not. Apparently roaches might even survive the nuclear holocaust. Which just goes to prove my point. Just because you water them down with Raid and toss them in the trash or toilet does not, by any stretch of your morbid imagination, mean that they are dead. They're not.

So, it's possible that all the roaches I've tossed into the trash, dazed and confused, could be gathered at a meeting at the landfill right now. Sentries could be exchanging messages with the group stationed just outside the sewage treatment plant. They could be communicating with the roaches I've swept, stiff and paralyzed, out the front door and down the driveway, who've rallied at the large oak out front. All planning, strategizing, waiting for their moment to invade and take their vengeance.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

This post has made me nauseated. And no, I'm sure it has nothing to do with the insecticide with which my husband is, at this very moment, hosing down the house.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Beauty is only for pretty girls...we knew this all along...

For years, maybe since the dawn of time, we've come up with sayings to make ordinary (if not downright ugly) girls feel better about themselves.

"Beauty is only skin deep," we say. Which means of course that a girl can be pretty, but she could still be a horrible person. This saying was never more than an "also-ran" award. I mean, so what? She's still pretty and you're still ugly.

"You're beautiful on the inside." And that's supposed to make us feel better? Don't worry honey, you may be ugly as all get out on the outside, but it's the inside that really counts. Right. None of us really believe that one either.

Well, Bare Escentuals, maker of Bare Minerals make-up, has decided it's time we all abandon these ridiculous attempts at making the ordinary girls feel better about themselves. They're ugly and there's nothing they can do about that. They've decide to concentrate on the pretty ones.

"Pretty is what you are. Beauty is what you do with it."

That's right. Pretty girls are pretty on the outside. And they're beautiful when they use their pretty to do great things.

Keri stands there looking physically gorgeous and telling us that beauty is not about being prettier than someone else, it's about "being interested in the world, and people, and caring." Keri lives for thrills and getting out of her comfort zone. She speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Farsi. Good for her. But she's beautiful!

Lauren is stunning. And she's a firefighter, too. Is this supposed to make me forget she's beautiful? "Nothing that's considered physically beautiful is timeless," she says. "When people say beauty is timeless they're not talking about what's going on here," she motions to her face, "they're talking about a quality of an individual that transcends. Confidence, and wisdom, and somebody that's fun and funny, like, embraces all different people and makes people comfortable," she just goes on and on talking about what beauty is supposed to be. She's a beautiful woman trying to make us all feel better by insinuating that we could be as beautiful as she is, if we'd just be nicer to people.

Just once I'd like to see an ordinary or even societally-considered ugly girl on a commercial talking about beauty. Because that's what advertisers are usually pretending to say. They're pretending that they're telling us that beauty isn't about what you look like. They're lying.

But Bare Escentuals is now actually saying that, yes, to be beautiful, you also have to be pretty. "Pretty is what you are. Beauty is what you do with it."

Bare Escentuals claims they hired these spokeswomen blindly, without actually seeing them. Read the sneaky way writer Elizabeth Nolan Brown, at Blisstree, describes the process:

...they held a blind casting call for women ages 20 to 60. Models completed a questionnaire about themselves, and based on their answers, 78 women were brought in for interviews with casting agents, which was eventually narrowed down to five models. Bare Escentuals reps didn’t see the women who applied until they were selected for the campaign.

Did you catch that? A blind casting call...of models. They were models. Of course they were models. Like they were really going to let ordinary women do commercials for them.

Don't think that's true? Here's what the blind casting call was really all about:

Models and actresses get a bad rap - as just pretty faces. Having worked in the business, we were determined to find women who were much more to represent the campagin - women that were true forces of beauty.

We wanted to find the beauty in a sea of pretty.

To that end, we went about casting in a different way. So we started by creating a space where the women wouldn't feel pressured by being evaluated by the [way they] looked. And we weren't distracted by their looks. Hence, the blind casting idea was born. For three days, we just listened from behind a wall to over 78 women tell their stories. From those women, we booked 5 forces of beauty without every seeing their faces.

Sounds like such a hard job, trying to find beauty in a sea of merely pretty.

Beauty is what pretty girls do with their pretty. Thanks for reaffirming what we always knew, Bare Escentuals.

Yes, we all knew it all along. Nobody was fooling us. Finally someone has come out and admitted it.

*About the photo:
Anathea Utley took this photo. She titled it "beautiful"
She says, "I've never been able to apply society's version of 'beautiful' to myself, even though I tried and tried and distroyed [sic] myself over it for years. It's part of what the dreads are about, just departing from the weird vanity of our culture and doing something spiritual and truly beautiful and connected with the earth and something larger than myself. I don't want my girls to grow up [to] think that they have to compensate for our culture's beauty propaganda.
Because they don't have to.
Because they're already so much more beautiful than that.
And so are you."

Sunday, April 8, 2012

It's chick season...

On my way to lunch on Friday, I stopped off at the corner to take a picture of two Sand Hill Cranes and their chicks.

In another part of the neighborhood, a pair has two older chicks, already looking gray, but these are still fluffy and golden brown.

Yesterday (Saturday) was a beautiful day so we had the doors open. My husband and I noticed a crane in the back yard pecking at the empty bird feeder. I knew I needed to fill that thing up! I'd never seen a crane try to eat from it before.

So, I got the package of seed and took it outside. The bird stood a couple of feet from the feeder and watched me as I shook the bag (hoping he'd know what it was) exited the back porch, approached the feeder, and lifted the lid.

He lifted a wing slightly as if ready to defend himself, but he stood there and let me fill the feeder. And before I could back away, he was moving toward it. I watched from the porch as he pecked at the tray and managed to eat. He half emptied the feeder much like the squirrels do, but I think it was clumsiness, rather than a hunt for only the sunflower seeds.

Later that day, to my surprise and delight, the two parents showed up with their chicks and my husband caught a picture of them. I don't know if the first crane was one of the pair and went home to get the family or not, but I like to think so.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Holy cows...

Look what I just read:

Trolling Could Get You 25 Years in Jail in Arizona

All my talk about freedom of speech is just circling down the big, fat, toilet of America, isn't it...

Are you kidding me?

I talk to crazy people now and then. And you know how, when you do that, you sometimes pause, and you I the crazy one here? And sometimes you have to reread all of the conversation if you're lucky enough to have had it in writing. And most of the time, if not always, you accept the fact that you are not crazy. Anyway, I didn't even have to pause yesterday.

In a private forum, which will remain nameless because it just doesn't matter (and anyway they get all pissy when you diss their delusions of Zumba Love and Zumba Family), someone posted a complaint, and boy was he upset.

Rightfully so. He happened upon a conversation on Facebook (that bastion of moderation and maturity) in which certain persons were trashing him. Called him a wanker and a tosser. So right there you know they're British.

If someone called me a wanker and a tosser, I wouldn't know what they were saying so I wouldn't take it so hard. But this guy must have known that these words are very bad indeed. And he was upset. Unfortunately, for me, he mentioned that he thought this behavior on the part of the name-callers (assuming those were's British after all--a foreign language) might be illegal.

Well, wait up there a minute. You know I'm going to have to say something there, right?

So, all these people go on and on about how awful said Brits were, how immature, what middle-schoolers, clearly they are "haters," they're jealous, blah blah blah. All the psycho-analyzing that goes on when people act like people is laughable. And all the rationalization to make the hurt party feel superior: "You're just so much better than they are. That's undoubtedly why they think you're a wanker."

Right. Right. What's with that? It's almost as if we should never listen to anything remotely critical of ourselves. Not one person commented to the guy saying, well, yeah, you are something of a wanker. Or at least said, why don't you take this opportunity to examiner your behavior. Maybe the Brits are on to something, dude.

But no. Everybody jumps on the bandwagon to tell the little pisser he's gawd's gift to Zumba and the Brits are evil incarnate. I'm not saying he's a tosser mind you. I don't know the little guy.

The truth is people often talk trash about other people, especially when they don't like them. This doesn't make them immature, or jealous, or "haters." It makes them normal. Look at me. I'm talking trash right now, or fixing to. And I'm no hater. I just like talking trash. I don't do it to assuage my ego or make myself feel better. I do it because it needs to be done. If no one calls stupid stupid, not only does stupid think it's smart, but other people do too.

And hey, maybe wankers and tossers need to be pointed out. Maybe it's a sort of "don't let this happen to you" sort of thing. I'm just saying, if no one ever called anyone a wanker and a tosser, how would we know what one looks like?

Anyway, so I say, "dude, I'm sorry you're hurt and all, but people have the right to express their opinions of other people."

Okay, I didn't really say dude. But the second clause is exactly what I said. Then I said stuff I thought might be helpful. You know, like, get over it already. That kind of thing.

Anyway, this crazy woman named Annette had the gall to respond to me with this: "I so disagree with your comment that people have the right to express their opinions about other people. What right does a person have to hurt another person....publicly? I can't and won't even continue with this kind of discussion."

Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously? I swear to gawd I did not truly realize there were people this insane on the planet.

But it's all starting to make sense now. Some of the thread went toward calling the Brits bullies and their behavior bullying. I noted that, because the conversation wasn't sent to the complainer and the words weren't said to him and he wasn't meant to see them, it wasn't bullying.

Anyway, there's more to it. So, we all (me and my little family here, you know, the only people who understand me) got a laugh out of the way she said she wouldn't continue this kind of discussion when she started the discussion by responding to me.

So I wrote back with this: "Seriously, Annette? If we don't have the right to express our personal opinions about other people in public, what sort of criminal penalty do you propose? Sheesh... I have the right to say things that hurt you. Get over it."

To which she, the lady who believes we do not have the right to express our opinions about, or hurt, other people publicly, responded: "It is hard to have an intelligent discussion with a person who can't see past their own nose."

I should have responded with "you got that right." But the problem with stupid people is that they don't know they're stupid and well, they're stupid. So they don't get sarcastic jokes at all.

She also said something completely insane: "Do you really have to have a criminal penalty imposed to treat someone with compassion? I'm out of here....not worth my time or energy."

And I'm like, what the fuck? What? Clearly the woman is an idiot, incapable of having a conversation at all.
I'm still so baffled by this experience it's silly.

But as I was saying, this is actually part of what the whole anti-bullying crusade is all about. There are, apparently, people who believe we need laws to ensure that we are all nice to each other in public. Nothing may be said on Faceobook or any public forum, including the in-person public forums, that is hurtful.

Because gawd forbid, someone could get their feelings hurt. And when that happens, sometimes people kill themselves. So we must stop it at all costs.

I have to admit I was suspicious that the anti-bullying thing was going that far, but I tried not to believe it. Now I'm going to be ever more vigilant. I'll stick my nose around and see what other lunatics are out there claiming we don't have the right to say hurtful things about people.

Insane. Completly, fucking insane.