Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Haunted Places (A Halloween Post)

A Mother Life

Even though a Romney presidency is the scariest thing I can think of right now, I’ve already done enough political blogging for one lifetime. Christina Majaski talked me into it. She twisted my arm. Held a gun to my head. Threatened to reveal that, as a child, I had a crush on Mr. Spock, because I love emotionally cold, unavailable men.

A couple of weeks ago I asked my Facebook fans to identify their favorite haunted places. Here are some of them.

1) Theorosa’s Bridge can be found on the outskirts of Valley Center, Kansas. It’s one of a number of haunted bridges located around the country. There are multiple versions of the story:

  • According to the oldest version, a wagon train full of settlers was crossing the river near the bridge in the late 1800s, when a gang of Indians attacked them and stole a baby, Theorosa. It’s said that the ghost of the distraught mother still roams the riverside, calling out forever for her child.
  • In another version, Theorosa is a young Native American woman, because that sounds legit. She conceives an illegitimate child with a white man, and then throws it into the river to, according to Wikipedia, “hide her shame.” The grief-stricken young mother then either throws herself into the river or gets pushed into the river by the baby’s father. Either way, she also drowns.
  • A third version of the story has the young mother standing on the riverbank, I guess maybe contemplating killing herself and/or her child, when the baby’s father appears and stabs her to death. She drops the child into the river, and dies herself.

Why do I find that so funny?

  • In yet another version, Theorosa is a local farmer’s wife who conceives the love child of a farmhand. She throws the baby into the river, then herself. In both this version and the previous one, those who stand on the bridge and say “Theorosa, Theorosa, I have your child” will be feel the ghost’s wrath.
  • In a fifth version of the story, a local husband suspects his wife of cheating on him because she has a daughter with the wrong color hair. He drowns the daughter in the creek, and then leaves his wife, taking the other children with him. In this version the wife dies of old age or whatever, but her ghost still visits the creek daily, looking for the lost child.
  • Some people say that Theorosa was a witch who got murdered, along with her baby daughter, because people were freaked out that she was a witch.

That was how people rolled, back in the day.

2) Thalian Hall in Wilmington, North Carolina is not really haunted, honestly, you guys, any “strange occurrences” on the premises are totally attributable to Thalia, Muse of Comedy, and not at all to ghosts, really.


Besides, it’s an old building, and you’re bound to get strange noises, cold spots, disembodied voices, disappearing scripts, “creeps,” the occasional apparition and, when the weather’s right, dogs mysteriously tossed off balconies into the audience below. NBD.

3) According to their website, “there are only happy ghosts at the Stanley Hotel!” Reportedly, however, Stephen King got the idea for The Shining from staying in the Stanley Hotel’s haunted room 217 when the place was almost empty. So, yeah.

Happy ghosts, indeed.

Reports of strange goings-on at the Stanley Hotel include:
  • Phantom parties in the ballroom.
  • Mysterious piano-playing.
  • Unexplained tucking-in of guests.
  • An apparition of a man standing over a guest’s bed, then running into the closet, for some reason.
  • Disappearing luggage, watches and jewelry. (Due to GHOSTS, wink wink).
  • Lights going on and off.
  • Ghostly children running through the halls, especially on the fourth floor.

Guests in room 217 have reported finding their luggage unpacked and their things put away, presumably by the ghost of Ms. Elizabeth Wilson, one of the Stanley Hotel’s early housekeepers. The hotel’s previous owners, Freelan O. and Flora Stanley, are also said to be responsible for much of the ghostly activity that goes on there.

4) The Red Top Jail in Llano, Texas is supposed to be totally haunted, even though they don’t really mention it on the town website. Founder and President of the Llano Historical Ghost Society, Kenny Hare, first experienced the Red Top Jail haunting when he spent the night there at the age of 18. Hare claims that the toilet flushed all night for no reason.

According to this totally trustworthy internet commenter, “What the city website doesn’t mention at all is that the Red Top is a very, very evil place. The most evil place I’ve ever been.”

duh Duh DUH

He goes on to insist that vagrants, blacks, and “undesirables” were hanged from one of the Red Top’s rafters, through a hole in the floor, so that they’d plummet down and dance their final jig right in front of all the prisoners in their cells. He acknowledges that The Man won’t admit to having performed these hangings, but that he totally knows they happened because “you can absolutely feel the bad energy in that place.” 

That’s a creepy story but I don’t know, though, people poop when they die. You’d think they wouldn’t want to have to mop that up. I mean, yeah, Wild West, I know, everyone was covered in poop all the time, but still, I don’t know.

And then he goes even further on to insist that the whole place is infested with black pigeons (a sign of eeeeviiilllll) and it all just falls apart right there.

You need to work on your storytelling, dood.

5) White Ladies Priory was probably founded in the late 12th century. No one knows for sure, but the architecture of the place matches that of the period.

As you can see here.

King Charles II famously stopped here during his flight from England after losing the Battle of Worcester in 1651, but that’s beyond the scope of this post. White Ladies Priory was dissolved in 1536, having fallen into disrepair and financial hardship. Visitors to the area report mysterious whispers, music, and rustling sounds. Birmingham Ghosts and Hauntings UK (BGAH) have investigated White Ladies Priory, and report the presence of strange lights, white apparitions, and “light taps to the head.”

This anonymous internet commenter swears that Satan-worshippers perform their rites at White Ladies Priory (oh, those crazy Satan-worshippers!). She also reports a feeling of being watched while on the premises, and insists that the place was burned down by parties pursuing King Charles II, resulting in the deaths of many children, although I can’t find any of that in the histories and also, it doesn’t make much sense.

Kids hang out in old churches all the time, right?

6) Mary King’s Close can be found in the Old Town district of Edinburgh, Scotland. Extra points if you know how to pronounce “Edinburgh.”

It’s named after Mary King, daughter of Alexander King, who owned properties in the close in the 1600s. New archeological evidence shows that Mary King’s Close evolved from several narrow streets bordered by seven-story tenement houses. Rumors of hauntings in the close have circulated since the 1600s. Legend has it that the spirits haunting Mary King’s Close are those of plague victims walled up inside and left to die, or tossed into the walls. Some attribute the strange sightings in Mary King’s Close to the presence of swamp gas from the nearby Nor Loch.

The ghosts of your underwear.

7) The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, also known locally as the Weston State Hospital, can be found in Weston, West Virginia, about 15 miles from where I grew up. Have I been there? Yes. Is it haunted? Perhaps. It’s totally been on Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures and I think they even let people spend the night in there, for the right price.

Construction began in 1858, but was interrupted by the outbreak of the Civil War. The hospital was completed in 1864 and the first patients were admitted. The grounds contained a dairy, waterworks, cemetery, farm and gas well. Designed to hold 250 patients, the hospital had 717 patients by 1880, and by the 1950s, it contained more than 2,600 patients. They lived with inadequate sanitation, lighting, heat, or furnishings. Apparently there were just all kinds of murdering and torturing going on in there, and people were kept in cages, and everything. The hospital was closed in 1994, and the few remaining patients were moved to a new facility. Plans to convert the building into a prison never materialized. It was auctioned off in 2007, and is now open to the public for tours and events.

My friend had her wedding there. Creepy. ~ Tim Kiser

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Debates: They Drive Me to Drink

Monday night, as you may have noticed, the third and final Dem/GOP Presidential debate took place, and gawd was it f*cking boring. There were some sterling moments, don’t get me wrong, but altogether I found myself wishing I’d bought the big bottle of wine.

*sigh* ~ Andre Karwath

For one thing, I thought this was supposed to be a foreign policy debate, but Mittens kept steering it back to things like education and Obamacare, which I thought were domestic concerns. But of course Mittens wouldn’t want to talk about foreign policy, because his probably consists of “bomb people and act stupid.” This race is entirely too close, which is a shame for every other country in the world, since a BBC World Service poll shows that most of them clearly prefer Obama for the winner. I didn’t need a poll to tell me how the rest of the world feels, and not just because I’ve been out there fairly recently. It’s also because all of my non-American friends have been messaging me like, “Tell me this isn’t happening,” and I’m all, “I really wish I could.”

"I'm sorry, World."

This debate wasn’t even a debate, since the only time they really argued about anything was when Romney started babbling about his education record as governor of Massachusetts and all those filthy plebs begging for medicine like they think they’re people. Mittens lied, Obama called him out on it, Mittens got his feelings hurt. Mittens said some outrageous things, Obama made fun of him, Mittens got his feelings hurt. The words “Attacking me is not an agenda” haunt my dreams. Someone should explain this “attacking ≠ agenda” to the whole GOP, fer realz. Besides, it's a freaking debate, dude, you're supposed to argue, not sit there nodding frantically while sweat drips down your makeup-caked temples and your sentient hair sinks its tentacles ever further into your brain.

Called it. ~ Gage Skidmore

One of the highlights of the debate occurred when Romney accused Obama of weakening the nation's navy. Specifically, Mittens declared that our Navy is the smallest it's been since 1917, which, while technically true, doesn't actually mean anything, as Obama pointed out with his now-famous “horses and bayonets” quip. Richard Danzig, former secretary of the Navy under the Clinton administration, tells The Huffington Post, “The Navy is stronger than it's ever been.” He also points out that the Navy shrank under Dubya, but that Obama has been rebuilding it.

I find it worth noting that Republicans have called the “horses and bayonets” remark “unbecoming” and “a sign of...'desperation.'” Florida senator Marco Rubio announced, “[Obama] compared the modern Navy to bayonets and horses,” which isn't the biggest deliberate misunderstanding of the campaign, but it makes the list. Rom-com adviser Dan Senor remarked, “President Obama looked like a frustrated politician who knew he was losing momentum. He looked angry.” Gee, Dan, angry? Ya think?

Current secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus calls our modern ships “far more capable than any ships we've ever had,” and asserts that “comparing them to the old fleet in terms of numbers is sort of like comparing iPhones to the telegraph.”

There's an analogy you kids can understand.

Facts or no facts, the Romney campaign isn't backing down from this assertion. Mittens has released a campaign ad reiterating the “Navy smallest in 100 years” refrain, because a country's military is analogous to its cock, and there are plenty of idiots who will hear that and clutch theirs.

Mittens also earned another collective facepalm (at least, like, 25 million faces wide) for remarking that Syria was Iran's only route to the sea. Anyone could fact check this by looking at a map, but I know most Americans break into hives at the very thought, which is why I'm skipping family dinner this Sunday.

No one is surprised that he said this, but what you probably didn't know is that he's said the same thing before – five times.

Oh for fuck's sake.

Actually, the UK Guardian says “at least five times before,” because there is just no measuring the stupidity of Mittens “Magic Underwear” Romney.

You know how a couple of months ago Republican Todd Akin spouted all that “legitimate rape” business? Yeah, of course you do. Well, yesterday, Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said that pregnancy from rape is God's will.

When asked to elaborate, Mourdock stated that he “struggled with it...for a long time,” but ultimately decided that, rape or no rape, he can only condone abortion in cases where the mother's life is at stake. After drawing criticism from basically everyone, including the Romney campaign itself, Mourdock rushed to assure the world that he's certain God doesn't actually cause rapes themselves, just the babies that sometimes result from those rapes.

Thanks for clearing that up, asshat.

Mitt Romney keeps talking about “getting tough” with China, because threatening China is always a great idea. He plans to demonstrate his Chinese foreign policy by closing the Sensata factory in Freeport, IL on 5 November, the day before the election, and firing 170 skilled workers in order to send those jobs to – you guessed – China. The workers, who have already been required to train their own replacements, are currently protesting, while Romney himself vigorously ignores them. He's got better things to do, like keep up his spray tan. Of course, this is the guy who apparently sincerely believes that those fences around sweatshops are there to keep the overzealous masses from storming the place and building Apple Macs by force.

I hate Steve Jobs, too. ~ Matthew Yohe

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #48: The Second Presidential Debate

I was going to blog about this already, but shit kind of got out of hand, not least of all because I’ve been sitting around here for two days going, “What can I possibly say about this that hasn’t already been said,” the answer to which, of course, is, “Has anyone else noticed that President Obama has beautiful hands?”


The laptop spazzed out and ate my notes, which is just what I get for using an old French laptop/not writing things down the Old Fashioned Way with like a pen and stuff, but, you know, this debate was so memorable that, it turns out, I didn’t need any notes. The “Binders Full of Women” Facebook fan page had, like, 100,000 likes (at least) by eleven o’clock, and now has over 350,000 likes. Personally, watching that meme explode was one of the most exciting events of the entire election season to date. I mean, seriously, BINDERS FULL OF WOMEN. BINDERS. I’m sure it’s already been pointed out, but, no one uses binders anymore, Mitt.

We're on to iPads now. ~ Tom Morris

I can’t remember if that was before or after the bit where Romney lets us all know that the answer to the gun control question is that everyone should get married, for some reason – I don’t really understand, but I guess that’s because I have a weak female brain.  A Facebook friend, Maxx, brought up some salient questions:

Should we buy our guns before or after we get married? I don’t know, dude, my take-away from that was that once we’re all safely married, the need for guns will disappear, but then again, as I said, I only have a weak female brain;

Would Romney’s plan allow working women time off when they need to go buy guns, or is that time off to be used strictly for cooking dinner, picking up the kids from soccer practice and buying kneepads? Maybe we could start selling guns and kneepads in the same place for convenience? “I’ll be home soon, dear, just need to stop off at the Gun ‘N Kneepad Depot real quick”?

Sounds like a plan American can get behind. *snort*

Also, you know, this:

I was raised by a single parent, too, and I’ve never shot anybody, even a little bit, although the “getting somewhere in life” part is still up for debate, if you go by the hate mail I receive.

Or my bank account, for that matter. ~ William Ross

My favorite part was when Mitt Romney harkened to his immigrant heritage – in front of BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA. Much has been made of the fact that Mittens’s inexplicably named son Tagg felt like punching Obama for calling his precious Daddy a liar (and for being “an obstinate child”) but I’m pretty sure there was a moment or two there when Obama was calculating the possible effect of a well-executed right hook on the undecided voter demographic.

Get in line, Barry. ~ Gage Skidmore

I’m kind of glad I waited three days to blog this, because a lot of interesting facts have come up since then. Those of you privileged enough to be allowed into my personal Facebook page can probably stop reading, because I will have already inundated you with my posts about:

1) Prominent economist, character actor and Clear Eyes spokesman Ben Stein took his life in his hands on Fox News, announcing, “We’re going to have to raise taxes on very rich people.” I love Ben Stein, and always dreamed of winning some of his money.

2) The Salt Lake Tribune has announced its endorsement of the Obama campaign, which is a pretty big deal, not just because Mittens is a Mormon, but because SLC is his mama’s hometown, he went to school there, he met that shrieking harpy of a wife of his there, shackled himself to her on this planet and the next there, and ran the 2002 Olympics there. The article begins, “Nowhere has Mitt Romney’s pursuit of the presidency been more warmly welcomed or closely followed than here in Utah.” It then goes on to call Romney “servile,” “shameless” and a bunch of other nasty things, before praising Obama’s efforts to keep us all from being completely fucked.

If you don't understand, ask your grandparents.

3) Katharine Fenton, the woman who asked about the wage gap issue, has been crucified in the conservative press for having the wrong genitals for thinking and speaking and stuff. Curiously, she is “passionate” about gender equality in the workplace and female reproductive freedom, but is not a feminist, and still can’t decide who to vote for!

You've got to be kidding me.

4) Paul Ryan’s taken a lot of flack this week for forcing a photo shoot at a non-politically-affiliated soup kitchen, where he turned up uninvited and pretended to wash a pot so he could look good for his fanboys. The soup kitchen – which relies on donor funding – was totally not supposed to be doing anything that might be construed as an endorsement of a political candidate, like letting one have a photo shoot on the premises. The soup kitchen now reports a “substantial backlash,” among its donors, meaning that it’s basically lost a lot of the money it needed to feed all those poor people who depended on it.

"They should take responsibility for their own lives."

5) Naturally, Romney didn’t ask for any “binders full of women.” No one is surprised, because it’s Mitt Romney we’re talking about here, after all, and also because Mittens doesn’t seem to fully grasp the concept of a binder or, for that matter, the concept of a woman. In Massachusetts – where Romney was governor but where Obama is “mysteriously” leading in the polls – the numbers of women in senior government positions declined until, in 2006, they were lower than they had been when Romney took office.

They were all in binders, yuk yuk yuk.

6) Tagg Romney now owns voting machines that will be used in the upcoming general election, specifically in Ohio, Oklahoma, Colorado, Washington and Texas. No one seemed to pay much attention to the voter fraud stuff that occurred in the 2004 elections in Ohio, so, I guess we’re still going with letting individuals actually own voting machines, even if those individuals happen to be the blowhard son of an actual candidate. I can’t with this country anymore.


7) The Scholastic Student Vote, which has accurately predicted the outcome of all but two Presidential elections since 1940 (neither one of them being the 2000 one, either, crucially), has Obama winning with a 51% majority. One of my friends shared this on Facebook, only to have some asshat come along and point out that a fucking squirrel in South Carolina has selected Mittens for our next Fearless Leader. I counter with the totally reliable 7-11 coffee cup poll, which has Obama winning by a huge margin.  

Seriously, a fucking squirrel. ~ Franco Folini

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Zombies Are Totally Real You Guys! The Internet Said So!

Everybody loves zombies, and I’m no exception. This Sunday, the third season of The Walking Dead begins on AMC, and I’m telling you, there had better be a lot more zombie action this season cause if I have to sit through another dozen episodes of “oh god why did I bang that creep repeatedly” and “WHAT ABOUT PRESERVING OUR HUMANITY?!?” and “I’m pissed off that the only guy with leadership experience is our leader,” then I’m going to be writing them some very stern letters. Everyone knows we don’t watch zombie fiction for the gripping interpersonal drama. Nor can I be the only one who wants to see little Carl get freakin’ eaten, already, and I mean in the worst, most torn-apart-limb-from-limb kinda way.

The little brat deserves it.

If the comment section of this article can be believed, there are actually lots of people out there who really believe that honest-to-goodness, reanimated corpse, flesh-eating zombies really exist, and that the government has been hiding their existence, and that a devastating zombie apocalypse is just around the corner. Take a look at some of these:

if you look up 1970 in florida there were boats full of zombies from cuba being dumped off florida a few hundred i think made it to the shores 57 people were biten 22 died ,, i think the a coast guard ship was over taken and the fzva agency had to go out there and clean up the ship and sink several other boats full of cuba zombies that was in 1970 , thanks castro they ran out of vombie vaccine during the embargo and they wouldnt accept help from the usa but they gave us fresh biten cuban for spite i guess thanks castro i guess that virus is common there in cuba ,i have my doubts it wasnt helped along ,
you know bio-warfare is a practicing college war games and little guinea pigs commoner get to play victim.
big mad scientist play roulette with peoples lives,

Not understanding the U.S. embargo of Cuba fail, and failure to recognize a parody website fail.

And, of course, the standard illiteracy fail.

Another comment reads:

             I just have to say that if zombies are not real then where does it come from??? 
Have a good think about it.
(More to think about)
If people can restart the hart after death then what’s to stop people from reprogramming  
the brain.

Hart. HART. Restart the HART.

Hart! ~ Bill Ebbesen

Another guy says,

I really thing it could happen just look at the madcow thing ppl eat the meat from a cow with mad cow they get all fucked up in the head . And just thing add up it’s going to happen and outbrake of infected ppl and ppl that eat ppl turn in to zOmbies after years of eat meat from ppl. It’s real and going to happen soon

And then some guy lets us know that his buddy’s uncle, who works at NASA, has assured him that “zombies are one of the top predators that can cause trouble on apocalyptic scale for man kind.” It goes on in this manner through four years’ worth of comments. I didn’t read them all. But hey, did you know Hitler used zombies in his takeover of Europe?

That casts the Blitz in a whole new light.

I guess that’s what happens when you’re foolish enough to Google “zombie outbreak” – you spend the next hour reading poorly written comment after poorly written comment about how zombies are real because they just make sense. Because it’s like mad cow, and we have to stop eating each other before it’s too late.
In all fairness, I’m pretty sure none of these commentators were Haitian or members of the Voodoo faith.  They’re just random idiots who can’t spell and who believe everything they read.

Legends of undead creatures coming back from the grave are pretty common all around the world. The Norse tradition gives us draugr, the animated bodies of the dead, who are super strong, capable of hulking out whenever they want, and smell of death. In Europe in the Middle Ages, people believed in revenants, evildoers who return from the dead and may or may not be vampires. The Chinese believe in jiang shi, the hopping zombie (or vampire).

Hopping could only improve these zombies.

Irish skeletons dating back to the 8th century were found interred with rocks in their mouths, which scientists take as a sign that the people who buried them were concerned about the possibility of zombification. Bodies from the time of the Black Death have been found with stones in their mouths, perhaps because it was thought that blocking the mouth prevented the spread of disease. From the 1500s on, shoving a rock into the mouth of a corpse was considered an effective treatment for vampirism. However, these bodies – two men, one middle-aged and the other in his 20s – predate these practices. Archeologist Chris Read thinks that the mouth may have been considered a gateway for the soul, and that stuffing a rock in there was meant to keep the soul from returning to the body, or alternatively, to keep ghosties out.

Rock beats ghostie.

Legends of flesh-eating zombies pop up even in mankind’s earliest written records, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, a Mesopotamian poem that’s 3,800 years old.

Zombies, as we understand them, first appeared in the 1968 Romero classic Night of the Living Dead. Many people insist that Haitian Voodoo witch doctors, or bokors, are capable of turning a person into a “real zombie” by feeding them a drug that contains tetrodotoxin, the stuff in pufferfish, combined with a mix of datura and other dissociative drugs. The victim goes into a death-like coma, then wakes up to find himself in a trance-like state, and under the total control of the bokor. Ethnobotanist Wade Davis investigated this phenomenon, and claims these drugs were used to keep Haitian Clairvius Narcisse in state of subservience for two years.

Criticism of Davis’s research has been plentiful. Counterarguments include:

  • The pufferfish toxin is very, very potent and will kill the shit out of you like so fast; it’d be all too easy for a Voodoo sorcerer to accidentally kill the person he meant to zombify and enslave.
  • If pufferfish toxin doesn’t kill a person outright, it gives them brain damage. A person dosed with this poison would be really good at drooling, shitting himself, and falling down, maybe not so good at farming sugar.
  • I guess you have to keep dosing the person, too, because Narcisse was able to escape his undead destiny when he missed his medicine. The bokor controlling him came down with a bad case of dead, the drugs wore off, and Narcisse was suddenly his old self once again (and not brain-damaged at all, it would appear).
  • It would be more expensive to feed, house and clothe “zombie” workers than it would to hire regular workers for, pardon the pun, slave wages.
  • No one has ever seen a crew of “zombies” working on a sugar plantation.

Not pictured: zombies.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #47: The VP Debate 2012

As I said last time, I don’t normally watch debates. That goes double for VP debates. In my experience, a VP is a weenie, a bumbling idiot, a cartoon super-villain or Al Gore. And, you know, Joe Biden is no Al Gore…or is he?

No, he isn't.

Now, in the aftermath of the debate, everyone is saying that Joe Biden lost because he was rude to his opponent, which he isn’t allowed to do because he’s an N-word-loving, Red Bolshevik, baby-killing Democrat, but which Mitt Romney is allowed to do because he looks like the Mayor of Whoville (important distinction). Also, he laughed at Paul Ryan, who sat there looking at him like he was just adorable, and smirking whenever the subject of dead American soldiers came up. My first cousin once removed insisted that Ryan’s tongue kept darting out rapidly, like a lizard’s, but I must not have been watching closely enough because I didn’t see it. All I know is that the way he kept saying “We can’t show weakness” reminded me of my abusive ex-boyfriend teaching his son not to cry.

No matter what the major news media say (because they depend on ratings to survive and therefore, can’t be trusted) I know that last night, Joe Biden turned Paul Ryan over his knee and spanked him like a little girl – and Ryan liked it.

No apologies.

1) The auto industry bailout, like the recession and so many of our problems today, began during the Dubya administration. The Obama administration continued it, as was absolutely necessary; otherwise, this might have happened:

If you don't understand, ask your grandparents.

2) Obama’s tax plan would end Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and couples making more than $250,000. Which is everyone you know, right?

Poverty is an urban myth.

The tax increase would affect about three percent of small business owners. Also, the Romney/Ryan ticket does not in fact have a plan to actually cut taxes. They're going to work on that after they're elected. I hope you didn’t miss that.

3) The famous $716 billion cut from Medicare came up again. As we said before, cutting that incomprehensibly gigantic sum of money from Medicare has extended the life of the program to 2024. But, I guess since the program only has 12 years left, LET’S EVERYBODY PANIC RIGHT NOW BECAUSE SURELY THERE WILL NO SOLUTIONS IN THE NEXT DECADE. Under Obama’s plan, some of that $716 billion will be put back into Medicare, while the rest will be used to finance benefit expansion other than Medicare. Either way, the cut will save granny and grandpa $577 a year by 2022, which is important when you’re living on an average of $14, 169.60 a year.

4) Ryan accuses the Affordable Care Act of “infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals.” I find it interesting that he specifically mentions pnly Catholicism. Guess he’s not concerned about anyone's religious rights but his own.


5) Under the Affordable Care Act, most employers will be required to cover birth control for women employees in their benefits package. This does not apply to churches, because they are directly engaged in spreading and nurturing faith, which is often opposed to these sorts of things. Hospitals and charities that provide services to the public will be required to cover birth control in their benefits for female employees, because after all, no one said you have to be a Catholic to work at a Catholic hospital.

No more than you have to be an animal to work in an animal hospital. ~ CG Burke

Monday, October 8, 2012

People I've Unfriended

A Mother Life

Facebook is really irritating, because you have to put up with a bunch of unpleasant f*ckers. For a while I tried really hard not to unfriend anybody, but then I finally just couldn’t take it anymore, and started unfriending everyone who looked at me funny, figuratively speaking. These are some of them:

The Concerned Friend

This is that asshat who usually sends private messages expressing his concern for my well-being, since it’s obvious, from the things that I post on my Wall, that I’m wrong in my head somehow. He (and yes, it’s almost always a man, for some reason) might feel I’m espousing the wrong political beliefs, or supporting the wrong politicians – he’d certainly rest easer at night if I’d read these 17 links about how voter apathy is going to revolutionize the two-party system, I’m sorry, I mean how the two-party system is a conspiracy to keep the little guy down and lead the country towards full-blown tyranny and our only hope is to stop participating.

Or, he might be deeply grieved to see that I’ve been hornswoggled by the Prince of Lies into believing that women are people but fetuses aren’t, and that gays should be allowed to marry, and that it’s okay to talk to blacks. He’s only sending me this six-page message out of concern for my immortal soul, and not at all because he’s a bigoted assclown, honest. I wish I really were best buds Lucifer, so I could sic him on you.

Go get 'em, boy! ~ Joe Butler

The Proud Mommy

Ok, it’s great that your little angel made poopie all by himself today. Really, honestly, I’m happy for you. I don’t need to see pictures.

Using my powers of observation, I can deduce that it’s pretty normal to be completely obsessed with everything your kid does, especially when it’s your first kid, or you’re a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t get out much. I would suggest going to a class of some sort, joining a book club, arranging some play dates, or doing what my mom did, which was force me to play with her friends’ kids whether I liked it or not. For the record, I did not. But at least my mom would’ve had something to post on Facebook.

The Drama Queen

I think it’s unfair to constantly post about how someone (you won’t name names, because you’re classy like that) had better stop talking shit/mind their own business/stay away from my husband/stop messing with my kids. I’d like some more details. Who is this person or people? What exactly are they doing? When and where will the ass-kicking occur?

Can I bring my own popcorn or do I have to buy it from you?

The Irritating Relative

The Irritating Relative is a lot like the Concerned Friend, except he (sometimes she, but again, mostly he) feels utterly vindicated in lecturing me publicly, right on my Wall, because he’s “family” and therefore has a “duty” to teach me “sensible behavior.” Because I’m only 30 years old, I have no f*cking idea what I’m doing.

I have a large extended family, which sucks, because so many of them insist that I treat them with the utmost respect, even though they’re complete assholes. When I call one of them on being a complete asshole, they get all pissy because “you can’t talk to your family that way.” Oh, really? Because you’re talking to your family that way when you jump up on my Facebook and start lecturing me like I’m a naughty toddler. I don’t care if you’re the f*cking Pope, I’m not putting up with it.

I'm not coming to your funeral either, asshat. ~ Robert Lawton

The Poet

This guy wouldn’t know poetry if it walked up and kicked him in the ass, which it should do, because it deserves some revenge for what’s been done to it.

The Racist F*cker

You’d be surprised how many of them are still around. There’s a whole Tumblr dedicated to racist f*ckers on Facebook. One day a photo of a high school classmate’s husband’s swastika throat tattoo appeared in my feed with no warning at all.

That's what drove me over the edge, actually.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #46: So, the First Presidential Debate

As you may have noticed, there has been a Presidential debate.

I actually didn’t watch the whole thing, as I haven’t watched a debate since the 2000 elections, and we all know how well those turned out. I’ve never really troubled myself about not watching a debate before, probably because I’ve managed to be out of the country during both of the last two election seasons – a pattern I plan to repeat in the future, because F*CK THIS NOISE.

But this time, probably because I’m actually here for some reason, I felt obliged to watch these debates, like it was my civic duty. Now, you might not think I’m one for civic duty, but I totally am. I vote, I don’t litter and if I had a dog, I swear I’d never train it to poop in the neighbor’s yard, even though that’s how I was taught to housebreak dogs growing up.

We didn't get invited to many cookouts.

I spent most of the afternoon discussing it with my friend (via text message; I don’t like to talk to people in person) and ultimately decided, at about 8:00 pm, that I was under no obligation to watch the debates if I didn’t want to, and that it doesn’t matter anyway since I know who I’m going to vote for.


So, three glasses of wine later, I turned on the debates. They were about 20 minutes gone but hey, get three glasses of wine in me and I go, “Oooh, presidential debates, sounds like a good idea.

It was not a good idea.

Booze makes me do terrible things. ~ Andre Karwath

I got some good tweeting out of it, even though some of those tweets make no sense in retrospect. What also makes no sense is that Mitt Romney has been declared the winner of the debate. Lying shamelessly and flip-flopping like a day at the beach don’t matter, because he gave a better performance.

I could slap all 300 million of you.

If there was anything worse than this debate, it was signing onto Facebook the morning after the debate, and, frankly, every morning since then and most of the mornings leading up to then. Clearly, I need to restrict my Facebooking to about 9 o’clock at night so I can respectably be drunk. Then, of course, you’d all be in for it.

This kitten doesn't drink either. That can't be a coincidence.

Everyone was all over my feed posting Big Bird memes and fact-checker links, and some other people were all up in the comments going “Obama lied too” because apparently we’re five years old and that’s a solid counterargument. I had to slog through more than the usual crowd of smug douchebags explaining how they don’t support either candidate and they’re not participating in this election because all politicians are liars anyway, which sounds a lot like the reason some people give for not dating anymore, except I have a feeling they’re just saying it because they want to look like they’re smarter than the rest of us. Then, there was the massive gaggle of disillusioned middle class folks who are pissed off that Obama didn’t do enough, as if radically reforming the national health care system while preventing a global depression, attempting to stop climate change, and chasing terrorists were easy, or as if another candidate wouldn’t face the same challenges RE: Congress being a bunch of sh*ts. I even got into an argument with Uncle Creepy on Facebook, and I’m not even friends with him. He blocked me, though, so it’s alright.

But, I digress. This is supposed to be a Fun Friday Facts and here I am rambling on about how much I hate election season and, by extension, you. I didn’t want to write this post, by a fan asked politely. And now I suppose I’ll have to watch all the stupid debates and write posts on them, too. Sh*t.

The things I do for you people.

1) Economists have pointed out that the 12 million jobs Mitt Romney promises to create in his first term as President are jobs that are already forecast to appear, as normal job growth is expected to add 11.8 million positions between 2012 and 2016. These jobs will presumably appear no matter who wins the election. So Romney actually expects to give us 200,000 new jobs. Perhaps that’s how many positions he expects to open up after the post-election emigrations and suicides are complete.

2) Since Obama’s stimulus package took full effect in 2010, the economy has seen 2.8 million new jobs. While that might not seem like very many, it does mean that he took an average monthly loss of 417,000 jobs and turned it into an average monthly gain of 155,000 jobs.

3) Mittens kept insisting he’d be great for education and squeaked repeatedly about how Massachusetts schools are the best in the country, so I got the impression that was kind of the ace up his sleeve. He still seems to be planning to cut Pell Grant funding and bring private lenders back into the student loan business (love those interest rates!). He also seems to think that the reason tuition is so high is because there’s just too much financial aid available to kids today. He wasn’t too specific about his plan to improve access to higher education, but I guess it involves giving lots of money to every student’s parents, so that they can then borrow it.

4) Also, some people legitimately feel that Maryland, not Massachusetts, has the best public schools in the country. So, there’s that. Nor should we forget that time when he told his donors he plans to drastically downsize the Department of Ed. 

5) Under the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare Cost Control Board would not be allowed to
“tell people, ultimately, what kind of treatments they can have.” Nor would it be permitted to raise deductibles, premiums or co-payments for Medicare recipients. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would add $109 billion dollars to the federal deficit over the next 10 years. It would also take coverage away from 30 million people.
Still not as tragic as a dancing horse trapped in an elevator shaft.

6) The $716 billion “Medicare cut” to finance Obamacare actually came from the reimbursements to insurance companies, drug companies and doctors, not from benefits to recipients. Also, that’s the same $716 billion that Paul Ryan claims as his annual savings in his budget plan, even though, you know, it's not his, or anything.

The $716 billion in cuts has extended the lifespan of the Medicare trust fund to 2024 without increasing costs to beneficiaries. Romney’s plan to restore the $716 billion would increase out-of-pocket expenses for beneficiaries by $577 a year by 2022, except that, without the $716 billion in cuts, the Medicare fund will run out of money by 2016, so I guess that’s a non-issue.

Yeah, dude, that's how I feel too.