Thursday, September 11, 2014

Things that are upsetting me lately... the unorganized, potpourri edition

Just some things I've been musing about for awhile... Strap in.

Why are so many kids little fucking shits? Back when I was a kid (I was a child of the 70s/80s), kids respected their elders... period. And if they didn't, they sure as hell knew to keep their mouths shut and not throw a fucking tantrum about something being unfair. If they did, they better be ready to endure the shit storm that was going follow.

In our quest to keep up with the Joneses we've allowed a basic premise of parenting to slide by the wayside.... parenting. If your kid doesn't do anything but play videogames during the summer and is disrespectful to you when you tell him/her to stop it, then asking "What do I do? I've tried "EVERYTHING" on social media.  

No you haven't. If you had, you would have yanked that fucking gaming system out of the wall and taken his/her other shit away too. Are you a dainty flower who is worried about her son overpowering her? That's not a problem. I'm sure you know a man or neighbor who you get along with well enough, who is bigger than your boy and who your kid is not going to mouth off too. Still a problem? Drive your kid to the local Police station... they'll still stick your kid in a cell free of charge for a couple of hours, so that they think about why it's important to respect Mom and Dad.

Stop listening to or getting advise from people on social media... me included. Trust your gut as a parent. No one is a fucking expert when it comes to kids... if someone is telling you they are, then they're a fucking liar or suffering from delusions of grandeur. Every single kid that you will have is going to be different than the other. They will have different needs and act differently. What parenting method worked on one, won't work on the other. Think of parenting as a game of chess.

Chess: Being able to change game strategies and tactics, as your opponent changes his/hers... is necessary to win.

Parenting: being able to adapt and change your parenting methods, as your children display different personalities/behaviors is necessary to be successful.

Not recommended for washing out your kid's mouth, but great
for washing dishes and keeping your hands looking young.
Is profanity a problem with your kid? There is no such thing as soap poisoning... your kid won't die and it's not abuse (provided you're not a dumb ass, who dumps half a bottle of Palmolive down your kid's suck hole) I'm talking about tried and true bar soap. Worked on just about every kid I know. We may have swore around each other after, but we sure as fuck didn't do it around our parents or anyone else's parents.

Discipline. Different aged children require different discipline methods. A single pop on the ass and a "No" to get their attention when they're little... I guarantee that's going to get Cutsiepoo's attention, more so than a time out when they're 2 or 3. They're also not going to remember getting that Pop on the ass when they're adult. I'm not talking about a belt or a paddle to the ass either. I'm talking about your hand and their little butts. It doesn't need to be hard. It's a pop. It's an attention getter. It's not to meant to hurt, its meant to get their attention and stop the behavior. Their little butts fit in the palms of your hands for a reason... just saying. Don't be afraid to use when necessary.

Not for spanking your kids... if you're using this then you're a sadist.

As your kids move into the young child stage, spankings aren't going to be very effective. Timeouts? A better alternative, because your kid can now rationalize and better understand the concept of right and wrong; and think about why his/her behavior was wrong as they sit there. (They're also probably developed enough logic, to ask you why you're hitting them if hitting is wrong)    

My kids are older now, so would I try to spank my 13 year old or put him in a timeout? Of course not. In fact, I haven't spanked Mini in years. When he does wrong, which isn't often, his mother and I ground him or take his cool shit away. Whether its a gaming system or his phone. The same goes for Special K. At 10, she gets things taken away too or she may end up not getting to go to a classmate's birthday party / sleep over.

See what I've done there? Over the years I've changed and adapted, based on what works best for my kids... because there isn't a one size fits all. Maybe you have a genius child that was capable of logic and rationalizing, while he/she was doing calculus in the womb... obviously then a spanking for your kid won't work. He/She already knows its not good to run into the street chasing after a ball or that throwing sand is bad. 

Two more things on kids and we'll move along. 

Circumcision... do I have my own opinion on it? Yes I do and I'm quite passionate about it. Am I going to get up all in your business with my opinion, when it comes time for you to decide. Nope. None of my business. If you ask me about it. I'll calmly tell you my opinion on it and then advise you to seek advise from others as well. 

Breastfeeding in public... It's a boob. Whip that bitch out and let your child suckle away. It's a natural process of a mother feeding her child. If someone finds it offensive, then they're the problem. With that being said... if you're in a place and for whatever reason they have signs that say no breastfeeding. Respect that or stop patronizing that small ass minded place immediately. If they ask you to cover up and your baby tolerates that... then cover up, feed your baby and THEN stop patronizing that small-ass minded place. I'm sorry, but it's still taboo. That's REALLY stupid I know. Eventually it will get to a place where it isn't, but until it is... let's have respect for each other... not just ourselves.

That brings me to entitlement... when the fuck did we become a nation of entitlement? This attitude that its all about me and mine. It's one thing to say "Please mind your own business". It's another for one person or group to say you need to re-write the rules for me or for us. This is really pertaining to situations where one group feels that they're entitled to something to be provided for free. Repeat after me... there is no such thing as a free lunch. If it's something you need, shouldn't you pay for it, if you're an able bodied person capable of work? Are there exceptions? Of course, sometimes people  need REAL help and giving help is a noble thing... and sometimes the only right thing to do. However, is providing shit for free to people on an ongoing basis, at the expense of others a long term solution? No. I don't believe it is. Why? Someone always has to pay. Whether it's your employer or taxpayers... someone is paying for it.

Female empowerment. Something has been bugging me since the MTV VMAs. I saw a lot of comments and remarks flying around social media about female empowerment and a LOT of "go girls"!!! Really??? Because to me, Nicki Minaj looked like a whore and was "dancing" much like some strippers I've seen. I'm sorry, but I don't equate scantily clad women gyrating and twerking like hookers to being powerful, independent and sexy women. When I think of strong women that are music artists, who've pushed for female empowerment. I think of artists like Shania Twain, Pink, and Kelly Clarkson. Women who sang about female independence and empowerment without having to drop to their skivvies and shake their ass to make a point. And they're all incredibly sexy as fuck too I might add. That's just my opinion though.

These women and girls are role models to young girls and tweens. Do you really want your young daughters to emulate the dancing and dressing of some of these young, music artists? I for one don't. I want us to teach our daughters that they can be confident, independent and sexy without putting their bodies on display. So yes, to me it is about clothes. Simply put and with apologies to Dr. Seuss...

Short-short shorts and cropped up tops. I will not, do not, like these clothes.

As parents, especially the Moms out there, please teach your daughters to respect, love and clothe the body they have. Most importantly, please teach her to dress for the venue she is going too. Tell her if she has to ask herself is this outfit appropriate for where I'm going... chances are, it's not. I'm not stating that shorts aren't appropriate or that a short skirt is unacceptable. You all know the clothing I'm talking about. Tweens wearing shorts that stop just short of the natural crease between the hips and legs... Teens wearing skin tight leggings with nothing covering the bum or skirts that would do a 20 y/o club dress wearer proud. I'm not a prude... but for fuck's sake... c'mon.... these are young ladies. They need guidance and direction.  

Lolita-ish... not age appropriate for your daughter. Totally
appropriate for you to wear for your husband.

Short, but still cute and
leaves something to the imagination

Dad's... teach your sons to respect girls and women. That girl is someone's daughter, someone's sister. That woman is all the above and probably someone's mother. WE have to make sure our boys respect women. They don't learn it on their own. This is something that has to be taught to them and that they see US doing as well. Part of how we can do that is by putting the shoe on the other foot. How would they feel if it was their sister or it was their Mom that was being ogled.

Men are visual. We get turned on by what we see, but we have to teach our sons control though. We have to make sure our sons understand that even if a girl is dressed like a hooker, she may not want sex. Or... if she does want sex, that she may change her mind. That whole concept of "a woman's prerogative" that they didn't teach us about in school... yeah that. We have to teach that to our sons and ensure they understand that when a girl says "No!"... it means just that, "No!"  

Look we can't keep teens from being teens... or stopping girls from changing clothes when one they step outside. Maybe however, by having open and honest dialogue about sex... maybe then the mystery won't be as much of a mystery.

I'm got a lot more on my mind... but this is getting too long and I really have to get some real work done. As always comments welcome. Be respectful. Please present dissenting opinions with intelligent responses. (Proper grammar as well, if you'd like a response)


Saturday, September 6, 2014

My Twin - The Mystery Revealed

Sisters. They're your first best friends. They're your first worst enemy.

I have four... two that I've been blessed to have in my life since I was five. One that was removed from my childhood when I was three and then reintroduced when I was sixteen-ish. The last one, I just met in the last five years. Different sisters with different personalities, different lives, and yet similar, in that they have me for a brother. Over time, I've made them extremely proud and extremely frustrated. I've made them cry, I make them laugh.

My post today however, isn't about my sisters as a whole. It's only about one. My Twin... who is not my twin, but really is. If you been a fan of the page, or this poorly maintained blog of mine then you've heard me refer to "My Twin". My Twin is my slightly younger, step sister. (Five months, six days) for those keeping track.

Today is her birthday, days our family really doesn't really go out the way to celebrate. It's usually a card, a phone call or an occasional dinner. But typically it's a hooray for you, shut up and eat your cake or drink your booze kinda day.

My princess crown is bigger, but you get the gist of what I'm saying 


Anyway.... like most step siblings... she and I were not always the best of friends. Throughout 5th - 11th grade we ran in different cliques. She was the All-American girl. Sweet, pretty and somewhat ALWAYS demure. I was no none of those things. I was short, awkward, and a nerd who never fit in with any crowd until about high school when I eventually grew and people were like "There you are. How've you been?" 

I suspect however that if it hadn't been for her... my adolescent years would have been worse than they were with more bullying and such. Boys liked my sister and even a teenage boy knows not to mess with the nerdy brother of the girl he'd like to make out with.

It was during this time that our relationship while not enemies, wasn't what it is now. She largely ignored my comings and goings; and I likewise with her. Most of conversations went something like this... (out of earshot from our parents of course)

Twin: Stop being such a dork. I'm tired of being embarrassed by you.
Munch: F**& you.

Our only commonality in those days was explaining to dipshits the concept of why were in the same grade and didn't share a birthday.

That however was soon to change...

The summer before our Senior year in High School, just as I was becoming semi-quasi cool and things we're going better for us all, we moved from Wyoming back to Ohio. My Dad had left his job as a Deputy Sheriff and had gained new employment in Columbus, OH; where we were originally from. It was painful for my sister and I. You grow up with your friends, dream about graduation, and look forward to what will be the best year ever; only to find out that it's not what fate has in mind for you. While painful, I have to look back and say I'm grateful that it happened, as My Twin and I probably wouldn't enjoy the relationship we do today if it hadn't.

And so really begins the story... moving back was hard. It involved a large pay cut for Mom and Dad. As such, we all contributed to the household income and chores. More so than we already did due to everyone's work schedules. My sister and I gave 50% of our meager income to my parents to assist with household bills.

Moving our Senior year also involved another challenge... making new friends. Most of us know or have heard how hard it is to make friends for a new kid. I can tell you its only worse when you're a Senior AND you're a new kid. Cliques have already been formed and friendships set... simply put, we were the weird kids from Wyoming who are in the same grade but weren't Twins. Now while I was use to being an outsider... my sister was not. She was also dealing with the loss of her High School Sweetheart. (D-R-A-M-A... YOU HEAR ME PEOPLE?)


While we both managed to make friends... they weren't the same kind of relationships we'd had with our old friends in Wyoming. What it did, was to force us to talk to each other and really get to know the other. We went out together a lot. To movies, to putt-putt, to the mall.... sometimes just us and other times with a group of kids from school. Our trust was in each other and not many others. To cap it off around this time, our parents (technically my Mom and her Dad) were having problems. Looking back now... after being married myself, I understand a lot better than I did then what was causing the problems in the marriage. The only reason I bring that up, was how it affected Twin and I. We were both scarred... for them and for us. We generally only had each other. Cool Ass Big Sis was around, but she was in college. She worked a lot as well and didn't live with us. Being forced apart would have been detrimental to Twin and I both, as we were each other's support system. In the end however, Mom and Dad stayed together. Crisis avoided and a lesson learned for each of us about relationships and divorce and kids.

After High School, I left for the Marine Corps and Twin went on to College. It was hard. I missed the person that had become pretty much my best friend. With that said... life happens and in the absence of our friends, even best ones... we go on to make new ones. She did and I did.

We may not be best-ties anymore and we are both are getting older. We have our own lives and schedules, which keep us busy and often apart. When we do get together though... the friendship hasn't changed much. We're still the friends who were... just more "mature". When I see her number pop up my cell phone I smile. When our families get together, I smile because I know I get to see her. I get giddy meeting her for dinner, drinks and people judging watching or even just for morning coffee, before she goes to her teaching job.

She teaches 6th grade at the Middle School where my son attends and where my daughter will start next year. Obviously she cannot teach my kids, but I find a lot of comfort knowing she is there with them. 

As adults, we no longer get the you're in same grade? Are you twins? Now, it's just the surprise we encounter when parents or students discover we're brother and sister. As always, I'm asked are you twins? I just smile because in all honesty I think we are as close as twins... while we don't have our own secret language, we do have our own uniquely close sibling relationship.

Fate was kind when it choose to move us our Senior year. 

Happy Birthday Twin!!! I Love you!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

To my Sister

When mom and dad don’t understand, a sister always will. ~Author Unknown

You were there to help me to pack when I wanted to run away.

You were there to trash my room when I went away. 

You were there to protect me when I was bullied.

You were there to encourage when I needed to be myself. 

You are here today...

Still the comedian
Still the protector
Always a teacher

Cool Ass Big Sis....  the best Big Sister ever.

Happy Birthday! Love you!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Counterpoint - "distressed babies"

This will likely not be a popular post. So be it. I don't judge people on their past. Making mistakes is important part of how people learn. Bloggers included.

Can some people stand to make due with a little more sensitivity? Sure...
Can some stand to make due with a little less, it's all about me sensitivity? Yes...

Aol. is in the news. Specifically, CEO Tim Armstrong is in the news over an answer he provided during a Town Hall meeting with employees; to address changes made to the company's 401K policy. The company changed it's monthly "matching" contribution to a "lump sum" year-end contribution.

In the interest of being transparent and helping employees understand the decision to change the company benefit, Mr. Anderson said this:

“Two things that happened in 2012,” Armstrong said. “We had two AOL-ers that had distressed babies that were born that we paid a million dollars each to make sure those babies were OK in general. And those are the things that add up into our benefits cost. So when we had the final decision about what benefits to cut because of the increased healthcare costs, we made the decision, and I made the decision, to basically change the 401(k) plan.”

After these remarks were made, an AOL employee's wife, wrote this piece for Slate.

In the article, Deanna Fey comes forward to say: "For the record: It was me. I don’t work for AOL; my husband does. One of those “distressed babies” was our daughter."

She went on to write:

"Some commentators have questioned the implausibility of “million-dollar babies.” I have no expertise in health care costs, but I have a 3-inch thick folder of hospital bills that range from a few dollars and cents to the high six figures (before insurance adjustments). So even though it’s unlikely that AOL directly paid out those sums, I don’t take issue with Armstrong’s number.

I take issue with how he reduced my daughter to a “distressed baby” who cost the company too much money. How he blamed the saving of her life for his decision to scale back employee benefits. How he exposed the most searing experience of our lives, one that my husband and I still struggle to discuss with anyone but each other, for no other purpose than an absurd justification for corporate cost-cutting."

Where to begin with this...
First and foremost my heart does go out to the family. Having a pre-mature infant must be among one of the scariest things to face as a woman, a mother, and an expecting couple. The fact that your daughter is now starting to experience milestones, as other children do, is a testimate to the quality of healthcare in this country.
Now, on to the business side.
The CEO did not identify your family. YOU did.
  • Why? Why the need to? No HIPPA violation occurred here. Of the 5600 employees employed by AOL , you assumed he was citing your family. Truth be told, in a corporation that large, you have no way to positively identify that it was your daughter's claim that the CEO spoke of. In an effort to be (again the word: transparent)  he cited factors which led him to the decision to change the 401K benefit and how the company administered it. 
"A “distressed baby” who cost the company too much money.How he blamed the saving of her life for his decision to scale back employee benefits. How he exposed the most searing experience of our lives, one that my husband and I still struggle to discuss with anyone but each other, for no other purpose than an absurd justification for corporate cost-cutting."
  • He didn't do any of that. You inferred that from what he said. At the end of the day, here's the thing... You would only be feeling the way you do, if there was truth in what you inferred from his remarks. That's kinda harsh, but it is reality
"All of which made the implication from Armstrong that the saving of her life was an extravagant option, an oversize burden on the company bottom line, feel like a cruel violation, no less brutal for the ludicrousness of his contention.
Let’s set aside the fact that Armstrong—who took home $12 million in pay in 2012—felt the need to announce a cut in employee benefits on the very day that he touted the best quarterly earnings in years. For me and my husband—who have been genuinely grateful for AOL’s benefits, which are actually quite generous—the hardest thing to bear has been the whiff of judgment in Armstrong's statement, as if we selfishly gobbled up an obscenely large slice of the collective health care pie."

Nowhere did I see that said by the company CEO. The fact is, your family had a large claims utilization year. That happens. Last year, my wife had one hospitalization and an outpatient surgery. We too, had a larger than normal claims utilization year. When a company has a large claims utilization period... premium for the group normally rises and those costs are shared by its employees. Higher risk=higher premium dollars.
To think however that high dollar cases like yours or mine do not have an affect or have impact the decision making process of a company's owner or Board of Directors is naïve. To take it personal... that's just unnecessary. You paid your premium and your entitled to all the care proscribed by your benefits plan. End of story. You have nothing to feel guilty for.  
Speaking of benefits... AOL is offering a benefits package, which you yourself described as "very generous".  Part of that benefits package includes matching 401K contributions. As with any employer, benefits change... based on the company's bottom line. Sometimes they change for the better and sometimes for the worse. No matter what however, there is no mandate about how much, how often or even IF an employer must offer additional benefits on top of salary.
A CEO salary of $12 million. Yeah, I agree it's pretty crazy, but that's what the Board has determined his worth to be. Can a company have a good year or even the best year; and then raise, lower or do nothing about employee benefits? Sure. Maybe they have a R & D project working. Maybe there is something on the horizon which will eat up a chunk of the company's cash reserves and to offset that... benefits must be reduced. Who knows? Your employer that's who. The Senior management team. Will they always be transparent with plans? Likely not. There is still classified/ need to know areas within every company.   
Did Tim specifically call you out?
Was he intentionally trying to make you feel bad?
Were the two babies cited as examples the only factors in the decision making process.
Very likely not.  

Was he making an effort to help your husband's co-workers understand the decision making process? Yes.
Did he utilize bad judgment in citing the two examples he did? 
Has he tried to rectify this with you personally? Based on what I've read, yes. The man has apologized. Accept it. Stop turning this into something it's not. An attack on your family.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Musings of Munch: Fashion Faux Paus Fridays; 2014 Golden Globes Edition!!!

So... Twin is a total pain in my ass... she has hounded me nonstop since Monday, about doing this post. (which isn't even going to be that good) But still... as those of us lucky enough to be blacklisted blessed with little sisters know... They don't stop until they get what they want. They're relentless, because they were the babies growing up and they always get their way.

Apparently where she lives, which is LITERALLY next to the Governor of the State of Ohio, the cable or satellite providers did not offer DVR Service. Why the need to DVR? Because Twin needs her rest and isn't up late enough to watch things like award shows. (Even though she only cares about the dresses and who wore what) And even though the red carpet show is broadcast from 7:00 - 8:00 and she should totally be able to watch that... the hour before she goes to sleep 8:00pm every night is reserved for "sleep prep". 
So in any event... she leaves it to me to write these posts, to critique Hollywood couture, as if I'm some type of expert. (Which I totally am, so shut your face) This way she can discuss and amaze her peers with her knowledge and opinions of Hollywood Red Carpet Couture.

So without further ado... here we go,

The Musings of Munch: Fashion Faux Paus Fridays; 2014 Golden Globes Edition!!!

This is Ms. Amanda Williams. PETA enema #1 right now.
She didn't get the memo about not wearing your pet zebra

I love that Amy Adams was daring... BUT... American Hustle filming is over.
The plunging necklines like these... not one of my favorite retro trends.

If you look up the definition of ethereal beauty...
you see a pic of Ariel Winter

Purple and Pink, the colors? Yes!!!
Purple and Pink together on this dress?
ehhh,... not so much
(although I do love me some taffeta, dammit!)

ohhhhh... Drew, not you too! Pregnancy brain strikes again!
Pregnancy is never an excuse to wear dingle berries

Sailor Moon called.. she wants her bow back!

Elisabeth... I like you and I want to like your dress...
haaaa... kidding... I don't.... it's fugly.
Please hire a stylist...

Emma Roberts
Gorgeous, classic

Emma Watson
I'm still out on this.
I don't HATE it, she is young and she can take chances.
I just don't know.
Look, on the carpet...
It's pant's!
Its a dress!
Da' faq?

Did you see Hayden's Red Carpet interview?
If I was short on time and couldn't do my hair and was wearing this ugly ass dress,
Maybe I would have would have got drunk before the ceremony as well.

Is Jennifer Lawrence dating an electrician?
It's the only way I can explain the black electric tape
that is wrapped around her waist and crotch.
OR IS IT......

Katniss is the Little Mermaid? Mind blown.... 
Jessica Chastain
 I love that you can see her neck. It's super feminine. Very sexy.
The diamonds accenting it... Absolutely
The hair... the evening's trend of the hair pulled or slicked back...
Not a fan...

LOVE the JC Penny Worthington Collection meets Chanel, Julia!!!!
Tre' sheek!

Ahhh... Kerry Washington, another mother to be,
appearing very elegant and beautiful.
Stunning really.  

I think a bit more curves on the top would have helped with proportion
Yellow done wrong....sorry Lena Dunham.
 Melissa Rauch...
Yellow done right.

 Not sure what happened here.... Tom Ford? Reem Acra? Both these dresses look awfully similar... only one way to resolve this designer dilemma... Fashiondom.... two designers enter and someone leaves looking faaabulouuuuuss!!!!!

This is the "lady bit" dress... Some on Twitter took to remarking its similarity to labia... I think that's a bit mean.... however if in fact your lady bits have this type of curvature and only on one side... I'd recommend a plastics consult.

As much as it PAINS me to say it... Taylor looked amazing. One of the best dressed of the evening. Maybe a bit much for the GGs, but she knocked it out of the park. Her make-up, her hair...
We're still not getting back together, Taylor...
Stop calling me!
Drum roll please.....
The hands down the winner and best dressed Lady of the evening
(in this Blogger's opinion)

Ms. Lupia Nyong

The color of the dress against her rich, dark skin is beautiful.
The way the dress clings to her body, without being trashy looking.
Truly radiant and beautiful.  

Thoughts? Feedback? Agree/Disagree? Write about, talk about it... and Twin, you can shut up about it, now  :-)