Monthly Archives: February 2013

Release of Gary Becker – Let’s All Take a Breath

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Becker sentencedI would like to encourage people to reserve their panic regarding the release of ex-Mayor, Gary Becker. It is often a scary thought not knowing who our neighbors REALLY are or whether or not they could possibly be a threat to society – or worse, our very own children.

Three years ago Mayor Gary Becker was convicted of second-degree sexual assault of a child and child enticement. He was paroled yesterday.

In 2009, Becker thought he was going to Brookfield Square Mall to meet a 14-year-old girl. A state agent working with an internet sex sting met him there instead.  He also admitted to having affairs and hiring prostitutes many years ago – issues I really don’t care much about when it comes to strangers. That’s really none of my business. But kids? Hell no.

It was clear he had either some deep seeded mental issues or just a grandiose sense of indestructibility. After being arrested, he was witnessed in the mall purchasing lingerie. For what/whom, I have no clue. But you’d think you would be a wee bit down low while under investigation.

Apparently he received “treatment” in prison…whatever that means.

Today, Becker’s address was released and I am beginning to hear the outrage and panic from friends as well as strangers. And I get it. I really do. Nobody wants to think about a sex offender living in their neighborhood. And I also completely understand why they release the location of the offenders.

However, I want to remind people that there are offenders everywhere. Most of them, we receive no notice, no photo, no warning. And that is because most of them are never caught. These offenders work in our churches, our schools, our day-cares,  our parks…and they also live in our homes or in the homes of people we know. These are the perpetrators to be worried about – much more so than the ones we can easily point out.

Our behaviors or worries should not change upon learning of a sex offender living near by. First of all, worry does little good. Second, chances are they already HAVE been living near you. And third, we should always ALWAYS be aware and teach our children of possible dangers anywhere.

We need to make it stick into these kids’ heads that they can come to us with ANYthing regardless of what they may be told. They need to be able to trust us and know that we will protect them against any manipulative threat. We need to teach our children modesty and the importance of personal space and privacy. We need to try to instill in them self worth and security so that they are less likely to fall prey to “admirers”. And we need to discourage the sexualization of our young girls.

We will never have complete control. We can never prevent every bad thing that may happen. But we can take reasonable steps to do our best to avoid as much bad as possible. Because there will always be bad guys (and yes, bad women too), they do get out of prison and they do need to live somewhere.

So let’s all take a breath and be rational. Freaking out will help nothing. Gary Becker is much less of a threat than the other 5 guys down the street whom have yet to be caught. We know who he is and where he lives. He is in the public eye. And most sexual abuse happens either in the home of the perpetrator or the victim (or both). Uncles, friends, cousins, clergy, babysitters, fathers….90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator. NINETY percent. And there are 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States each year. So there are a whole helluva lot of shitty people out there, folks. Let’s not use tunnel vision and focus on one guy.

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Chill Out, People…It’s a Joke

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The Wendy Whiners are out in full on blasting mode lately. Film and comedy are being critiqued for far more than their entertainment value. And I gotta say, it is getting to the point where I almost avoid calling myself a liberal. I say almost because…well, who the hell would I be foolin’? But honestly, some people should really examine the possibility that they create problems where there needn’t be any. There are, after all, bigger fish to fry. And way too many of them.

For quite some time now, political correctness has tightened the grip on entertainment as well as everyday conversation. Sometimes it is appropriate; sometimes it is just obnoxious.  Ironically, I noticed it becoming absurd when Bill Maher was forced out of his show, ‘Politically Incorrect’.  And I happened to be watching as he gave the line which ultimately cost him his show.

Here is the scene:

What really struck me as I watched that was the fact that I said the same fucking thing within hours of that broadcast. News outlets were continuously using the word “cowards” to describe the 9/11 terrorists. And not from a political stand point (I wasn’t as into politics then as I am now) but from an English language standpoint – it just made no sense to me. There are plenty of terms which could have been accurately used to make their points of how awful these people were. But coward really didn’t fit.

Bill was right. But beyond that, he HAD THE RIGHT to say what he thought. And what killed me even more than his losing his job was the fact that he was forced to apologize – something I knew damn well he felt he shouldn’t do.

Sometimes humor about a sensitive topic is just stupid and uncalled for. But you can determine fairly easily if a talented comic is using irony or satire to make a point or if some hack is just trying to be shocking. Michael Richards and his racial slurs were not funny. He was not funny. And his anger was evident. That is not the same thing as a comedian who can write a funny joke, deliver it to the right crowd with the right timing and kill it regardless of how controversial the topic.

Seth MacFarlane is being skewered throughout America for his performance as host during the recent Academy Awards. Let’s face it; the Oscars are scrutinized more than the fruit coming in from South America.

As an example: my husband has no idea who Honey Boo Boo is. He cannot name a single judge on American Idol. He simply pays no attention to pop culture. Yet he came home on Monday night and asked, “What happened to Anne Hathaway’s nipples?”  He must have heard snippets of a story and thought they were in a mechanical accident or something. I had to explain to him that this entire week will be filled with stories about dresses and jokes and hairstyles. Such (self) importance is placed on this one awards ceremony. For anyone to take it so seriously as though it is meant to represent our entire culture is purely ridiculous. Why give it so much value?

Don’t get me wrong. I watch award shows. Golden Globes are my favorite but I also enjoy the Oscars and Emmys. Do I watch it to gain perspective or knowledge or a sense of my own morality? Ummm NOPE. “Entertainment purposes only.”

MacFarlane is a comedian. He is the creator of Family Guy. He tells dirty jokes and pushes the envelope whenever he writes or performs. Honestly, I thought he was incredibly tame. Was each pitch met with a hit? Nah. But we also don’t know how much creative license he was given. The show does have its own writers, attorneys and rules.

But either way I am certainly not offended by his boob jokes. I know that his crack about Chris Brown was not excusing abuse. I fully realize the difference between something for which to take offense and that which is SATIRE.

In fact, I would argue that making fun of the most horrific facts of life (you know, the later ones…after Mrs. Garrett) sheds a light on them and helps strip away their power. Maybe we need the MacFarlanes of the world to remind us how stupid it is for actors to starve themselves for a role. Or how we adultize (is that a word?) our children.

There are similar recent critiques about the films nominated for these awards. I keep reading about the shameful inaccuracies in Django, Lincoln and Argo. Apparently by leaving out an entire history lesson in Argo gives it a racist undertone. Apparently Django makes light of slavery in American history. Apparently a few minute details altered in Lincoln ruined the whole film. Holy shit, people. Please get the Encyclopedia Britannica out of your ass.

It is not a filmmaker’s job to educate the public. It is not a filmmaker’s job to set our moral compass. It is their job to entertain us, make money for their studios and tell a story. That’s it. Even documentaries shouldn’t be counted on for thorough historical context or uncontested fact.

These are movies. And even though they may be BASED ON a true story or real people…this doesn’t make it a history lesson. These are comedians bringing humor to an ugly world. Not everything has to be picked apart and taken so damn seriously.

I would just like to encourage some of my liberal friends to chill a little bit. Enjoy the little things in life without always looking for controversy or a reason to be appalled. Grab a bucket of organic popcorn and let go this constant need to protect everyone’s feelings. We don’t live in Rainbow Lollipop Land and we never will. Let the rest of us laugh at the insanity once in a while. Let us be entertained without having to always learn something. I hereby declare that I will no longer feel the need to apologize for laughing my ass off (even if it is in between gasps) at Daniel Tosh, Sarah Silverman, Louis CK and many other comedians who “take it too far”.

Bitchin’ on The Siren: Worst Campaign Strategy Ever

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So, I was a guest writer on The Root River Siren today. Here is a snippet:

Apparently, Keith Fair doesn’t like his job as Alderman very much. I sure can’t say that I blame him one bit. But what’s odd is the fact that he is running for yet another term and the election is mere weeks away.

Wait…first…some background…

So, I have bitched about the CAR 25 fiasco in the recent past. You can read about it on my site HERE and HERE or from The Siren HERE and HERE.  Well, last week, City Council approved the negotiation of a contract with, Skies Fall Media Group, with a 10 – 4 vote. Alderpersons who voted against the contract were Sandy Weidner, Mike Shields, Krystyna Sarrazin and, of course, Keith Fair, who has been very vocal about his opposition. In fact, I think CAR 25 may just be his Moby Dick(ert).

After the vote last Wednesday, Alderman Fair left the chambers without notice. He simply disappeared into the smoke streaming from his very own ears.

 

CLICK HERE for the rest of the story. Later I will explain why I bother to write about this even though I am not in the 1st Aldermanic District or even in the City of Racine for that matter. Stay tuned…

Strep Can Kiss My Butt

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IMG_3557For years we dealt with reoccurring strep throat diagnoses – ever since Cassidy was a baby. Many times the cultures were negative, but all the same signs were there. Sometimes the tests would read positive and the doctors would be shocked. Her symptoms didn’t always seem to fit the typical strep case. Usually headaches and stomach pain (not nausea, but pain) would present with little or no throat discomfort. And other times she would have it all including a horrible raw and ulcerated throat. Because of all of this – and more (possible PANDAS) – we finally decided on a tonsillectomy at the end of 2012. The ultimate goal, of course, was to see no more strep.

Today, two and a half months post surgery, Cassidy was diagnosed with strep throat. Three days ago she began having a headache. It was “really bad” and OTCs gave little relief. Her father and I both have sinus headaches fairly often depending on weather/barometric pressure. And we had one of those headaches that same day. We figured we were just all in the same boat.

Cassidy used to get these sinus headaches almost as often as I did. But when they removed her adenoids – it seemed to have helped eliminate the headaches. Since December she hasn’t had a single one until now. Could have just been coincidence I suppose. We’ll see. Clearly, THIS headache is being caused by strep.

The next day came a little bit of a sore throat, stomach pains (biggest complaint as usual) and dizziness. By last night, the throat started to really hurt. During all of this her temps ranged from 99.7 to 102.5. I have been alternating Tylenol and Advil (acetaminophen and ibuprofen) – not on a regular schedule, but when she needed it.

I decided to bring her in today and the Nurse Practitioner checked everything out and said she had a lot of drainage and some swelling in her ear and nose. Told me to get an antihistamine and decongestant. She also ordered a UA – I suppose to rule out a UTI.

I asked about a strep test and explained her history. She said sure – just in case. After testing and waiting she came to us and said she was really shocked, but that Cass did actually have strep. I knew it, of course. I always know it. I just doubt myself or live in denial once in a while. But I always KNOW.

So now she is on a stronger-ish antibiotic (because in the past the regular stuff didn’t kick it), taking OTCs and vegging on the couch. I hate it so much when she is sick. Which is stupid to even type because what mother DOESN’T hate it? But yea, it bites.

It especially gets to me because of everything we went through – everything SHE went through recovering from that surgery. It was awful. She was in a lot of pain for quite a long time. Missed a shit load of school too. Was it all for nothing? I sure hope not. Maybe she is still healing and will start to grow out of it soon? I don’t know. And I don’t have a friggin DeLorean time machine so what the hell can I do about it anyway.

So I will spoil her for a couple days, hope the medicine works quickly and beg the heavens that this is thee LAST case of strep to enter this house!!

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It just occurred to me that I had never written an update about Cassidy’s surgery.

It took forever for me to decided to go through with it. And I knew that if we were going to do it, we should do it by the end of the year since our deductible had been met. I waited until the last-minute and she had it done early December.

She was SO brave. So much better than I would have been. I was a nervous wreck but she was fine. She didn’t want to know or hear about anything. Hearing about it gave her anxiety. She was just like, “Do it and shut up”.

The surgery itself was a snap. She was seriously in and out within 20 minutes. And she was pretty funny on the versed pre-surgery. But the two weeks after…hell. She was in so much pain. In her throat and her ears. She was taking vicodin around the clock. But the alcohol content burned her throat even more and she started refusing it. Then we had to depend on OTCs and ice packs.

She lost like 6 pounds and wouldn’t talk for days. She had a bell that she rang CONSTANTLY. Ate hardly anything. And would only drink water. It was really rough. Much more so than I expected.

Thankfully she got through it without complication. And I really do hope it makes a difference. More than anything I hope I do not see any other PANDAS signs. That was the scariest part of any of this.

Here are a couple of videos of Cass right before surgery and right after the versed (chances are this will be a complete bore to anyone other than…well…Cassidy or me…oh well).

Get Off Your Ass and VOTE!

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Today is a primary election day in Wisconsin. Here in Racine we can vote for up to 3 School Board candidates and 1 candidate for State Supreme Court. In some districts, there are City Council races as well – quite a few candidates in the 1st District (Downtown area) actually.

I have been hearing about the turnout so far and it is down right pathetic. The GAB predicted a less than 10% turnout – so we all know a February Primary will not bring in herds of voters. But it sounds as if the turnout is even lower than expected. Lame, people! Lame.

We have so little control over our government; so little control over our own lives. Why not exercise the once chance you have at making your voice heard – if even a whisper?

Do you know why we – and by we I mean Wisconsinites and Americans – are in the position we are in? Do you know why our Congress is at a stand still and why healthcare is being taken away from less fortunate citizens? Do you know why our cities, villages and municipalities are bone dry broke? Do you know why reproductive rights and protections for women are being stripped each day? Do you know why more and more money is going to corporate fat cats instead of green energy, the sick, the poor, the elderly, the veterans? It is because there are far too many democrats, liberals and progressives who sit on their asses on days like today. Perhaps it is YOUR fault.

Please do not put yourself in a position of being blamed for the ills of all society ever again. When you have the chance to vote – do it. Got it? Thanks.

Just HAD to add this photo of my friend, Rocky, with his playful love of Democracy

Thank You Pat Peterson with Your Funky Self…

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Update (02/08/2013): Pat passed away yesterday morning after a three year battle with cancer. My heart and thoughts are with his wife, Ruth, and his daughter, Jazmine, as well as all who are mourning his loss.  Please continue to share his music and his legacy. Rock in Peace, Pat.

 

If any of you knew me 10, 12, 14 years ago, you may remember my infatuation with a (somewhat) local band called The Pipe Circus. Whenever they were in Racine I just had to see them. And when I did I would dance and dance my little bootie off even if I was the only one on the dance floor. It’s true, I had no shame. I was obsessed. I even made sure their CD (which I think was mine) stayed in the George’s jukebox for as long as possible.

This morning I woke up to some very sad news when I watched this broadcast on WTMJ-4 news. Excerpt below:

Pat’s been in and out of treatment for 3 years battling brain cancer. Doctors recently told him the cancer has spread, and he has just a few weeks to live. He just turned 40.

“We’ve come to just appreciate each moment we can spend together,” Ruth says….

Pat’s last wish is to have his song ‘Long Road’ seen around the world. “I love this song. It was… it just is what it is,” he explains.

Ruth posted the song on YouTube. While it’s been seen by tens of thousands of people so far, the message is deeply personal.

“It was something he wrote right after we found out about the tumor, and it was I think dedicated more towards me, and a way to say he was sorry for maybe all the mistakes he’s made in the past,” Ruth says….

“It’s not often you have the foresight to know your days are numbered, and you need to do all those things you need to do to make yourself feel good, and confident you’ve done what you’ve done on this earth,” Ruth explains.

Anyone touched by this story, both businesses and fans of Pat’s work, can help by sharing his viral music campaign. Contact Innabeat Music at innabeat@gmail.com to find out more about how to participate.

My heart goes out to Pat, Ruth and their entire family – including their family of friends. As many of you know – I do not deal with death very well. To see how dignified and at peace they seem to be in the face of this difficulty (to put it way too fucking mildly)…is nothing short of fantastically impressive and inspiring.

I cannot thank Pat enough for the music which brought so much enjoyment to my life during a pretty lonely time. Whether it was blasting the CD in my little apartment with all the windows down or gettin’ down with my bad self during one of their shows – the sheer talent and upbeat sound always brought me out of my funk WITH a little funk. Thank you, Pat. You and your music will never be forgotten.

This is the video Pat would like to make viral…please help by sharing this wherever you can.

This morning, after watching the news, I went into my closet to find my TPC paraphenalia…

Here is a poster I made them sign when they played at McAuliffe’s in…I am thinking it was…1999??

TPC Poster

Here is a tank top that clearly no longer fits me…and yes, I am suckin’ it in…

TPC Tank2

And below is a few links to some of their shows and music…please enjoy…

The Pipe Circus preforming on The Jenny Jones Show…

Robstock 2005

The Urban Theater

Summerfest 2011

Pat and TPC have a lot of great videos on YouTube…so please check them out!!!

And here is a player with some of their tunes. I think my favorite is Funky Sexy Lady…

Help Me Pick a New Pic

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I am looking for a new profile picture for my websites and Facebook. I had a little fun with Camera+ today – so help me make a choice, will ya? Thanks, man.

Key Lime Cove Water Park – January 2013

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I will be writing a complete review on The Rayne Report soon. I will post the link once it is published.

Kids going down water slide. Cassidy refused for the longest time, but once she tried it, she loved it.

I posted this video to show how great the new LifeProof case for iPhone works. I will post a review of that as well. People kept staring at us and I had a couple of guys ask me about using my iPhone in the water…they were kinda freakin’ out.