Category Archives: Commentary

Thanks for Nothing, Big Corporate Robber Barons

Okay, I finally got up the nerve to make the appointment for Asscam 09 (tomorrow & I’m terrified) only to find out that since it’s a diagnostic asscam instead of a screening asscam, it’s going to cost me a $300 copay because, inexplicably, it’s considered an outpatient SURGERY.

Seriously?

The woman from the insurance company says it’s because they invade your body. Well, if that’s the case, those transvaginal ultrasounds they give you when you’re pregnant should be considered surgery, too. I’m sorry but I consider having a big old phallic-shaped device poking me in my lady bits to also be pretty damned invasive (and not nearly as *fun* as it sounds).

My complaint in a nutshell? We have the VERY BEST plan offered by my husband’s employer and we pay a small fortune the equivalent of our mortgage payment for it every month and they won’t cover a freaking colonoscopy 100%?

Frankly, that alone is reason for me to reconsider having it done, although I’m sure that’s EXACTLY what my insurance company is hoping for because if I don’t get it done, then they won’t have to pay for ANYTHING. I guess it’s never occurred to them that an asscam is a hell of a lot cheaper than treatment for advanced colon cancer or some other horrid potential diagnosis down the road. To hell with all that fancy, highfalutin’ logical thinking…

Health care reform of some kind CANNOT come soon enough, IMO.

If you have kids and have ever posted a pic of them on your blog or on Flickr, you should really read this post because…well, because I said so. And because really, who wants pix of their kids labeled with porn tags by a search engine?

Despite the Drama & Swagwhoring, BlogHer 09 Didn’t Suck

I actually considered writing this post on the flight home when everything was still fresh in my mind but then I thought better of it and took a nap. PRIORITIES, PEOPLE!

Every time I come back from BlogHer I grapple with this post because I want to name every person I hugged, met, reunited with, saw eye-to-eye with, admired or crushed on etc. I want to take the best parts of my experience and commit it to words so my memories will never fade.

I still want to do those things but you know, what if you forget someone? What if you get a name wrong? What if someone is offended or gets their feelings hurt?  (yes, I actually care about shit like that).

TOOOO MUCH PRESSURE.

That said, I had a fantastic time at BlogHer 09. I really did—far superior to  the last one I attended in 07, also in Chicago. Looking back, I can’t put my finger on it but I just wasn’t feelin’ it. The lovey-dovey inspirational vibe of 06 just wasn’t there for me.

That was remedied this time around because I had a fabulous time and other than feeling pulled in 5 different directions almost every waking minute and never feeling like I had enough time to REALLY talk to people, I don’t have any real complaints.

Yes, people were grabby and greedy about the freebies.

Yes, people bitched endlessly about not getting swag from certain parties and sponsors and yes, people were rumored to be sponsor-hunting rather brazenly.

Yes, some swag bags were reportedly stolen off elevator carts (unbelievable).

Yes, there was some totally made-up drama in the Room of Your Own  panel with Vaginally-Challenged bloggers (more commonly known as “men”) It was stupid and unnecessary and I’m not going to rehash it here. And for the record, I’m okay with men attending BlogHer.

Yes, a baby wasn’t allowed into a private Nikon party being held at an extremely upscale restaurant/lounge (and???).

Even I whined to my friends when I was denied a BlogHer registration bag because they ran out. I owe my pal and roomie Shari for rectifying the situation as she brought my bagless plight (that’s a JOKE) to the attention of  those in charge and they found one for me.

Despite all of the above, BlogHer 09 didn’t suck (read: don’t hate on me or call me a Pollyanna Sugarcoater just because I wasn’t miserable or disappointed)

I met a number of super people/new friends and I was beyond flattered at those who came up to say they enjoyed my blog or were longtime readers because let’s face it, when you leapfrog around and change names as much as I have this year, you kind of don’t expect that—so thank you to all you nice folks. Thank you for taking the time and for making me feel much more positive about where I’m at right now.

All the parties I attended were good in one way or another but a special shout-out goes to MamaPop, and especially Tracey and Catherine, for putting together one HELL of a party. You’ve raised the bar, ladies. Thanks for a fab time.

To everyone who came to our Room of Your Own panel (Blogging Identity and You with myself, Anissa Mayhew and Tanis Miller) I just want to say thanks. YOU made it a huge success and and it wouldn’t have happened without you.

I want to tell my friends how lucky I am to have every single one of you. You really made my BlogHer experience what it was…awesome. You’re like shoes that don’t cause blisters and bra straps that don’t slide and ice cream without penance. You’re ALL the bomb diggity. LOVE.

And finally, the first day I’m home, my skin has totally cleared up.  Why does the universe hate me so much? You know how vain I am, universe. Why do you insist on f*cking with me like this???

****** STAY TUNED FOR PHOTOS—IN A FEW DAYS *****

Now, for the practical part of my post…

Everyone should put their photo on their business cards. I know you’ll probably feel silly doing that but seriously, it would help me a lot. Just sayin.

As a party co-host myself (The People’s Party) I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest swag bags stop being given out at parties. Offer your guests food and drinks and good music instead. This might cut back on the greed and entitlement issues that have been the 24-7 topic on Twitter and on blogs since Blogher ended yesterday. I know the bags are a huge draw but do you really want people to just come, elbow babies in the head (yes, that really happened), get their bags o’ stuff and then leave? Remove the stuff and remove that element entirely. Of course, I’m only one vote with The People’s Party but that will be my suggestion for 2010.

To those looking for sponsorship, I’d like to suggest you build relationships with companies. They may well end up sponsoring you if you have something of value to offer them in return you but making that the focal point of your conference attendance is ill-advised and makes us ALL look bad.

And to EVERYONE… In the future, try to have a little patience & understanding with your fellow conference attendees. I got into a verbal altercation with another attendee who assumed I was trying to cut her in line at the Tim Gunn thing when I had actually just stopped to say hi to some friends who were in line. She sniped at me. I sniped back. It was really unpleasant and after mulling it over and  putting myself in her shoes, I concluded that I might be irritated if I assumed, mistakenly or otherwise, that I was being cut in line. I went back and apologized to her. She returned the apology and that was the end of it. Hopefully.

And in the same vein, the aforementioned reminds me that I did jump the line at the Nikon party but ONLY because they said they wanted to photograph attendees with Carson Kressley  in pairs and I wanted to be with mah girl, Anissa. I sincerely hope that was understood.

Oh, and Wife and Mommy… I promised you a shout out—I totally didn’t forget about you and your awesome hairbrush contraption.You were very kind to share it with me, a total stranger. So nice to meet you :)

I have an assload of pictures. Some of them are a bit…risqué—nothing REALLY bad—but you know, I like to ask permission so if you did anything you might be embarrassed about in front of my camera, particularly if you were intoxicated, tell me now if you don’t want them published.

Surprisingly, I kind of enjoyed my time at the Expo Hall. By Saturday, the vibe was relaxed, the swagwhoring was at a minimum  and I actually had some really good exchanges with the folks from Pepsi/FritoLay and Clorox Greenworks. I’d also like to give a special nod to Expo sponsor Johnson & Johnson for removing parabens and fragrance from their baby lotion. I was rather vocal last year at J&J’s Camp Baby about them removing certain unsafe chemicals from their products so I’m kinda stoked.

Thanks to Nikon and Estee Lauder for treating us like rockstars and thank you to the always gracious (and incredibly pretty) Isabel Kallman for the Starbucks Recovery Suite on Sunday. It was SO nice to have coffee and pastry with my friends before rushing off to a long day of hellacious air travel.

AND FINALLY…You may have heard about an awesome new site called Aiming Low. See my button in the sidebar? Yeah, well it does kind of rock and you should check it out if only to feel far superior to us because you don’t wear the same pajama pants all day for three days in a row. Not that I would know anything about that. Ahem.

WTF? A Visual Essay

For your WTFing pleasure, I give you…

amapparel

Why American Apparel? Why would you be party to such high-waisted wrongness? Wearing denim up to your ribs represents a very dark period in fashion history and should never NEVER be brought back. EVER.

rsac106_01

One question, American Apparel... Do people actually buy these for their kids? They remind me of roller disco. And Toddlers and Tiaras. And Oscar statuettes. They frighten me.

scary baby shower cake

I'm sure the person who ordered this cake had the best of intentions but seriously...WHAT THE F*CK?!!!!!!! (click to see in scary full-sized enlarge-o-vision)

Yeah, it was more visual than essay. That’s because I’m busy fretting about my inability to find non-ugly, non-hurty shoes for the conference that cannot be named because it pisses people off. Also freaking out about the anomaly that used to be my face (I’m breaking out like a 14 year old boy…again).

Lost: Suddenly, Free-Range Parenting Seems Really Stupid

This 4th of July, we decided to go to the beach to watch fireworks. This particular beach has a lot of activity going on every evening and on Independence Day, even more so.

After letting the kids play on the playground for a while, we made our way down to the water. Though the sun was beginning to set, there were tons of people everywhere.

My kids were playing in the water and digging in the sand with my husband while I stood at the waters edge and took photos. It was when I heard a frantic young girl’s voice that I turned my attention behind me.

“Have you seen a little girl in a green bathing suit? We can’t find my sister.”

The girl was speaking to some other people nearby. I walked up and asked her how old her sister was (six), where they last saw her (about 20 yards up from the water) and how long since they’d seen her (15 minutes).

Her mother came up to me and gave me some more details. I promised to keep my eyes open and that’s pretty much all I did. I couldn’t relax and just carry on as if a little girl wasn’t missing. From time to time, I’d find myself walking back over to the mother to see if there was any news.

I couldn’t believe the beach police patrol was just driving down the beach visually scanning the area. I thought they should let everyone know they were looking for a child and use a megaphone or something to get the word out. At another point there were police officers just sort of wandering around on the beach, like stray ants that had lost their way. If it was my kid that was missing, I don’t think I would have been satisfied with such a half-assed attempt to find them. I mean really, it would have been laughable were it not such a dire situation. Get the whole story »

Mean Girls Suck

Mean girls suck, too...

Mean girls suck, too...

Every summer my daughter goes to day camp. She absolutely loves it and looks forward to it all year long.

This year, the camp has started having theme days which are kind of like spirit days at school. Recently, the theme was superheroes and princesses and N was pretty psyched about it.

As princess and superhero day approached, however, I began to have doubts about the merits of this particular theme. For one thing, my daughter is going in to third grade—most of her old princess dress-up clothes don’t even fit anymore.

I pointed out to her that most princess dress-up clothes are made for younger kids and a lot of girls probably won’t participate because they’ve outgrown their princess dresses. I even went so far as to suggest she dress as a superhero instead,

“We could make a really cool costume out of stuff we already have!”

I was met with a look that fell somewhere between abject horror and unwavering determination to tune out her obviously insane mother.

It became clear that my daughter fully intended to ignore me and my sensible advice so I backed off.

The next day, she came skipping out of her room with a frilly light green Tinkerbell princess dress (yes, I know Tinkerbell isn’t a princess but Disney apparently does not). While she looked adorable in her almost too small dress, a bad feeling settled in the pit of my stomach as I hugged and kissed her goodbye.

N is a sweet, sociable, happy-go-lucky girl who gets along with pretty much everyone but when she came home from camp that day, she didn’t seem like herself. She was lying on the couch watching TV, looking pretty sad and dejected.

I sat down and asked her if everything was alright.

After some gentle prodding, she told me that she was the ONLY girl in her group (besides her counselor) to dress up and that when she arrived, the other girls pointed and laughed at her.

One perpetually mean girl looked at her and sneered  loudly “Isn’t Tinkerbell for babies?”

“And what did you say?”

She replied softly “I said no”

I wanted to annihilate those girls for hurting my baby, for crushing her spirit like that without a second thought.

I proceeded to do try and undo some of the damage.

“Tinkerbell is NOT for babies. You know that, right? They make clothes for grown women with Tinkerbell on them. Not Cinderella, not Sleeping Beauty. TINKERBELL.”

“And you are NOT a baby. You’re actually older than a lot of those girls.”

The thing is, my daughter may be several months older but she is very innocent and unjaded and perhaps a bit sheltered.

Unlike a lot of girls her age, she still likes fairies and princesses and mermaids…exactly the way an eight year old girl should be, IMHO.

Don’t get me wrong—she’s NOT the victim of a plot to keep her artificially immature or anything. She’s just been exposed to different things and really,  in some ways, she’s more sophisticated than her peers—she’s able to talk to adults about a wide range of topics and she has an understanding of the world that a lot of kids her age don’t possess. While they’re obsessing over Hannah Montana and High School Musical, she’s watching British science fiction (The Sarah Jane Adventures) and NOVA and Dinosapiens, reading chapter books at a 5th grade level and pursuing her numerous artistic interests.

But at heart, she’s still very much a little girl and I love that about her.

That night, I told my husband what she told me, how much it hurt me to see her like that. We both voiced the same sad thoughts…

She’ll probably never fully put herself out there like that again. Sad.

Something that she loved to do will always be tarnished by the memory of this day.

A little piece of childhood innocence was lost today…

The next day she told me that the mean girl who said “Isn’t Tinkerbell for babies?” plays Elmo games on Sesamestreet.com in the computer lab.

Pot? Meet Kettle.

I told her to call the girl out publicly for playing Elmo games.

I know on some level that was bad. I know two wrongs don’t make a right. I know turn the other cheek blah, blah, blah…

But this girl is always so mean and until she gets put in her place, she’s not going to stop. I know this from experience—and really, it’s BASIC human nature.

For the record, I’ve never been mean to anyone unprovoked. It’s not who I am. But if you mess with me past a certain point, you’ll get it back in kind.

That said, if I have to choose between some 8 year old mean girl and my daughter,  I’m choosing my daughter—I won’t fight her battles but I WILL teach her to stand up for herself.

And I make NO apologies…

I’m sure at least a few of you are DYING to tell me how wrong I am. Just keep it civil, please.

Enough Already With the Breastfeeding Outrage

After reading YET another article about people getting all up in arms over public breastfeeding, I feel the need to tell all you freaks and weirdos who think the act of nourishing a child is somehow sexual or exhibitionistic to GET OVER IT.

Do you get all offended when you see a cat nursing kittens or a cow nursing a calf? Does that get your nether regions so worked up that you have to complain to their humans that it’s obscene and shouldn’t be done in public?

Do you have the urge to roll your eyes and complain loudly that said cat and cow should go feed their young in a public bathroom so your eyes do not have to be assaulted by the utterly (or udderly…heh) offensive image of…of… MAMMALS EATING???!!!

This latest and most tiresome shitstorm is about a poster, displayed in Manchester UK (in a hospital, no less) in which a toddler (fully clothed, you nasty pervs) is pretending to breastfeed a doll. Why? Because it’s completely NORMAL and NATURAL and that’s what the poster is trying to communicate. Of course, this LOGIC is completely lost on the folks who have so many issues and hang-ups that they routinely get porn and eating confused. Pity the poor fools…

Just imagine how much good they could do if they protested something TRULY outrageous like the systematic rape of women and girls in Darfur or the stoning to death of innocent women by fundamentalist Muslims or the disgusting abuse of food animals in factory farms right here in America.

But no…protesting the act of sustaining life the way nature and God intended it is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT to eradicate because HELLO? It involves TITTIES and BOOBIES and HOOTERS and we all know those are to be used STRICTLY for profit and amusement. And think of American corporations like AT&T—how are they to continue making millions selling pay-per-view porn in reputedly family-friendly hotels if mothers are using them in public to titillate men FOR FREE?  Think of the implications! Think of the loss of revenue! They MUST BE STOPPED!

Sex Offenders: Let Them Rot

Apparently, the Supreme Court has blocked the release of 77 sex offenders who have served their federal sentences after the Obama administration claimed many of them remain “sexually dangerous.” The primary  issue is whether the government has the power to indefinitely detain prisoners who have served their sentences but could pose a public threat if they were released.You can read the details here.

Frankly, I don’t give a crap if they never get out of prison and I don’t care one bit if it’s unconstitutional. Victims of sex offenders are serving a life sentence, too. The only difference is that they aren’t getting free room and board funded by my tax dollars.

It’s a known fact that sexual predators are FOUR times more likely to sexually re-offend than other types of criminals and offenders themselves have admitted, on the record, that they don’t believe they can be rehabilitated.

In one recent case, a 13 year old girl was raped, beaten and stabbed to death just blocks from her house by a convicted sexual offender who was still on probation and wearing a court-ordered monitoring device. He was registered as a Level 3 sex offender, the category considered most likely to re-offend and had only been out of jail for SEVEN weeks before he took a little girl’s life.

How many people, how many children, have to be victimized by repeat offenders before our lawmakers see the light? I personally think dumping them all on an island in the middle of shark-infested waters is the way to go.