Thursday, October 22, 2009

Left home alone

My sister lives in the suburbs of Memphis and brought a recent news article to my attention. A mother of two toddlers, ages 2 and 3, left the children at home alone while she and her aunt "ran errands." The house caught on fire killing one child and leaving the younger in critical condition.

The fact that the aunt seemed more worried about the condition of her purse and public assistance card than the children only added to public disgust. As I watched the woman speak on camera, I wondered if she was mentally unstable or was drunk. Yet, she was too coherent to be inebriated.
I then turned my thoughts to my own 26-month-old granddaughter. I called my daughter to share the report. Incredulous, she said, "Why did they BOTH have to go ... no wait ... they were going to score drugs!" Her answer fits perfectly. It explains why the aunt is so disconnected, why they wouldn't take the kids, and why they'd reason away risks. My daughter went on to conclude that the children probably got hungry and tried to cook food.
This is complete supposition, and hopefully, the facts will come out. Public outcry lambastes the district attorney for not filing charges. I can only hope he is trying to assemble a strong and tight case against the women so that they have no chance of being dismissed on a technicality.
A myriad of books give child rearing advice, but none offer technical guidance. If you lack common sense and need a manual to raise children, then 1) don't have them, and 2) at least look at the law books. In North Carolina, it is illegal to leave children under the age of 12 unattended. I'm sure other states have similar laws, reinforcing the fact that baaaaaad parents are everywhere.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crawford vs. Balloon Boy

As I sat working on the computer, I was also watching "Strait-Jacket" on the Turner Classic Movie Channel. The actress screamed which was louder than the rest of the movie had been. My 20-year-old son came in to see what happened. The following conversation ensued:
Me: I'm watching an old Joan Crawford movie.
Son: I don't know who she is.
Me: Did you ever see "Mommie Dearest"?
Son: Yeah
Me: That movie was about this actress.
Son: Ohhh - the crazy woman.
Me: Well, she wasn't crazy - just ...
Son: Oh - yeah - right, beating people with wire hangers isn't crazy. Wait -beating CHILDREN isn't crazy!
Me: (laughing hysterically)
Son: (walking away) Good to know who's side you're on mom!

She's no worse than Balloon Boy's parents. At least Crawford already had her fame established and was a shrewd business woman. Her children were adopted as accessories. Balloon Boy was a forced accessory to criminal behavior. Who's crazy now?!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wisdom to know the difference

The italicized text below was sent to me in an email, obviously supported by the friend that sent it. The message absolutely makes my skin crawl and sends chills up my spine. I will send a note to the person saying "Surely you don't believe this crap?" yet I am fascinated by the way people are so easily led, or accept such sweeping, generalized remarks.
Even the most wholesome of television shows has issues. The Cleavers and Nelsons had no racial diversity and set a standard of an unattainable family lifestyle that forced the average American to build a wall around any deviation from the publicized "norm."

Do people immitate what they see on television? Or is television merely a mirror of what people do? Personally, I see give and take in the public's relationship to media. Video games and movies do not create violent children. Unstable children believe they can mimic fantasy.

My children would see idiots doing things on television, laugh, and say, "How stupid can people be?!" They learned the difference between fact and fiction, and used critical thinking skills, which serve them well as adults. If only the creator of the following statements had critical thinking skills of his or her own!

The following are examples of what we are teaching and allowing to be taught to our children. There are many others that do much the same.
How much of the following do you want your children doing?

  • American Idol – Dance your Ass Off - Dance – We glorify sexually explicit dancing

  • American Idol - Sing – We glorify singing of immoral actions

  • UFC - Cage Fight – WWE - We glorify “no rules” fighting

  • Various Fraudulent Movies [Fahrenheit 911, Inconvenient Truth] Actors – We glorify acting and actors of ill repute who have no real veracity, character or life experience

  • Various Shows in search of Food - Food – We encourage the glorification of food and gluttony

  • Commercials Drinking – We encourage the glorification of drinking and drunkenness

  • Mad Men - Sex – We encourage sexual promiscuity, adultery, corrupt business practices

  • Chemistry Teacher Making Illegal Drugs - Drugs – We glorify the manufacture and sale of illegal drugs

  • Queer Eye for the Straight Guy – Glorification of homosexuality as a “normal” lifestyle

  • Glorification of Politically Corrupt and Questionable people - OBAMA AND COMPANY

And all the above comes from the “ Hollywood ” crowd and movie/network moguls.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Crazy like a Criminal - Smart details Mitchell's assault

When I read the details of Elizabeth Smart's ordeal from when she was held captive by Brian David Mitchell, I admired her strength and ability to move beyond the nightmare that consumed nine months of her young life.
When I read that she was testifying at Mitchell's new competency hearing, I was stunned. I suppose I assumed that the guy was rotting in jail, where he should be. Instead, he has been tested, and re-tested, for mental stability. Obviously the guy is whack-o! Why are we spending good tax dollars on having him evaluated for competency to stand trial? Anyone that would creep into a little girl's bedroom at night, whisk her away for a make-shift wedding, keep her tethered to a line, rape her multiple times on a daily basis, and threaten to kill her entire family if she tried to escape, is beyond any level of sanity.
The man is coniving, calculating, and dangerous. He sang hymns in court and preached to the judge - which easily could be an effort to underscore his insanity plea. Since his religious outbursts are evidentiary to his being off-balance, does that mean that zealots declaring God's word in an unusual manner are subject to being considered insane? I'm surprised there is no outcry from evangelistic corners whose representatives should be insulted!
Anyone that commits a crime has to be somewhat unstable, though many are saner than some of the oddities in Walmart. When a crime is committed, and continues repeatedly or long-term, there should be no doubt that the accused is off-balance. Any serial killer is a prime example. If they are competent enough to carry out a crime, they are competent enough to stand trial.
I believe in our system of "innocent until proven guilty," but Mitchell wasn't plucked out of thin air, and the evidence is far beyond circumstantial.
The only thing crazier than Mitchell, is the system that wants to "prove" he is insane.
Charles Manson

Friday, October 2, 2009

Summer in the South Pole

All of my life, I have recognized that everyone has a story, and that became more deeply seated when I was a news editor. Taking mom out and getting our nails done today proved there to be no exception.
I would never expect an eyebrow waxing to lead discussing a trip to the Antartic with a stranger, but it did. As I settled into the chair for a pedicure, a few words were exchanged with the woman next to me. When she learned I was going to get my eyebrows done, she wondered if she should follow suit, noting her upcoming trip to the South Pole.
South Pole?! Suddenly penguins from "Happy Feet" were dancing through my mind and the interrogation began!
Emily Wilson is currently a physician's assistant in Greensboro with cardio and internal medicine experience. She said that, after doing the same thing for about 20 years, she was ready for a change. Recognizing a great opportunity and adventure, she pursued a position with Raytheon Polar Services which is under government contract to provide services to the US Antarctic Program . Her family is in Philadelphia and there are no local ties or children, so she is making preparations to be down there by Oct. 15.
She'll live in a dormitory-like atmosphere, with computer access but no television. "Which is fine with me," she said. South of the equator, spring is beginning. There is only one day and one night at the South Pole, so she'll be there for the day - which actually lasts six months. Astronomy is another of Emily's interests and she seems excited to be able to learn more about the studies underway at the site.
I recalled the story about the doctor that was rescued from a polar station when diagnosed with breast cancer. Emily confirmed that she will be at the same location. In fact, Dr. Nielsen passed away in June, 10 years after her leading non-medical personnel through a biopsy and initial self-treatment.
Emily's trip to the McMurdo Station will include a 24-hour plane trip to Australia, with a few hops and a final military flight from the tip of New Zealand to the Antarctic. When she returns state-side, Emily said, "I have no idea what I'll be doing." I have a feeling, she won't have any problems finding a job -- or another adventure. As for myself, my ears - and mind - are always open.

Follow Emily's blog for updates on her experience at .