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Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

Dear Anti-maskers:

Congratulations! You and our inept president have helped the United States reach a milestone.

(Ironic how your battle cry is the co-opted “My body, my choice.”)

I understand your desire for personal freedom. But with personal freedom comes personal responsibility. But often, though, people do not do the right thing for themselves or others.

Let’s look at some past freedom vs. personal/public safety issues:

Those four legislative efforts save roughly 723,000 lives every year.* The first three save nearly 30,000. That’s a large enough number to warrant legislation, apparently.

You see where I’m going with this?

246,083 Americans have died of the Coronavirus.

246,083 mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents.

It’s more deadly and prevalent than the flu.

Americans make up just 4.25 percent of the world population, but have contracted 20 percent of total Coronavirus cases. Americans deaths make up 18.6 percent of the 1.32 million deaths worldwide.

Clearly, we are not managing the spread effectively.

Clearly, lives are at stake.

Clearly, we need to do something.

I’m not a huge fan of personally intrusive legislation like a national mask mandate, but if y’all keep up your shenanigans, that is EXACTLY what we are going to need.

So wear a damn mask, and stay away from people not in your household.

Kthxbye,
Beth

*I’m happy to give you my sources for those stats, but I know you don’t trust scientific or news sources. (In case you do, and I’m being unfair, visit the links in the post plus this one and this one and this one.)

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Dear Rod,

Thank you for your life’s work: raising awareness of colon cancer. Because of you, I listened when my doctor said it was time for a colonoscopy.

No one ever has good things to say about them. Certainly not Eddie, who complained his way through the fluid you have to drink before the procedure.

But it had to be done.

Add flavor packet. Fill with water. Drink all of it. Stay close to the bathroom.

But you know me: I like to enjoy myself.

I’m bougie.

It did not taste bad at all. It was like a weak lemon-lime Gatorade.

Anyway, it had the required result.

I went to see the doctor clean as a whistle. The nurse got me ready, said one thing to me, I felt tingly, then woke up back where I started.

Easy peasy.

I’m completely healthy and won’t have to go through the procedure for 10 more years.

But thanks to you, I know I’m good.

Miss you,
Beth

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Dear Certain Women,

I just don’t understand you.

In the words of that great sage Taylor Swift, “Why you gotta be so mean?

It’s hard enough for women to make their way in a patriarchal society — and yes, ours is one — without other women trying to take us down too.

Support isn’t like pie: If you give it to me, you don’t have less.

Here’s how I get into trouble: I assume good intentions. That may not seem like a bad thing, but considering that I have been burned by a surprising number of you over the past few years, I actually do think it’s bad for me.

(Pause for that “fool me once … ” saying.)

One good thing is that I’m smarter now.

And now I have to quote another great sage: Christina Aguilera.

 

To gain or maintain power, you don’t need to step on other people. Here’s Taylor again:

Being a good colleague and a good supervisor can be done. You can support other women.

One of the best supervisors I ever had was a strong, smart, supportive woman. She was adept at identifying people’s strengths, getting them into positions that matched those strengths so that they could thrive, giving oodles of positive feedback, gently providing constructive criticism when necessary, and offering opportunities for professional development and advancement.

And, by the way, she was at the top of the leadership ladder. She never kicked anyone down to lift up herself.

All my close female friends are dynamic, funny badasses who also have my back.

I wish I could say the same about all the women with whom I come in contact.

Come on: You can be better than this. Use your powers for good.

Let’s band together to improve the situation for all of us.

Sincerely and respectfully,
Beth

*Thanks, Xtina.

 

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Dear Administrators at My Boys’ School,

I hate to criticize you in the middle of a pandemic. I know you are doing the best you can. So let me just provide some well-meaning advice based on what I experienced leading up to and during Curriculum Night.

  1. Send a schedule and teacher links more than just a few moments before the event begins. You could have saved so much parent worry. It also might have boosted attendance. I managed to attend six sessions (out of 10 that I tried). The most present in any session? Five, including the teacher and me. In one session, it was just Dominic’s Geometry teacher and me. She is a lovely woman.
  2. Make sure the links work.

    This is what happened when I followed the provided link. There was no meeting code.

  3. Either extend the time per class or just have the teachers record overview videos. Seven minutes is not enough time (not even for that childhood game 😉).
  4. Strongly suggest that teachers use the same platform. Zoom worked fine. Google classroom was hit and miss. Microsoft Teams didn’t work (no audio).

I’m not trying to be a jerk to you in these difficult times. But I do want to be an active parent. Please make it easier for us. I don’t think these are unreasonable, outlandish suggestions.

Thank you.

Sincerely
Dominic and Gideon’s Mom

*Thanks to the Beach Boys.

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Dear Teachers,

God love you. I can’t even imagine how difficult your life is right now. Thank you so much for all that you do for woefully low pay.

This post is addressed specifically to my sons’ teachers.

I do not envy you.
I appreciate you.
I know you are doing the best job you can.

That said, I don’t think I will be attending Curriculum Night tonight because it is just too confusing for me.

And this is what worries me.

I have a number of college degrees.
I am technologically adept.
I teach online and have created online courses.

Yet I CANNOT FIGURE OUT how and when to log in tonight. Each of my children has seven teachers plus homeroom. They are at the same school. I’ve received SO MANY emails.

Interestingly enough, only half of the teachers have sent the emails. I haven’t heard anything from the other half. Ninth-grade teachers are much more communicative (five of eight) than 10th grade (two of eight).

Here’s the biggest problem: Most emails don’t include times. I filled out the form. This teacher did not send the link. Also, she sent that email at 10 p.m. the night before, giving parents just over 24 hours to respond.

Another teacher wants us to join during the day. DURING THE DAY! You know, when most people are working their full-time jobs.

There are only two of you who have provided an easy guide like this:

But guess what: Those two? Scheduled at the SAME TIME. Of course. You know how I know? I had to do this old school:

Nothing written means I got nothing from the teacher.

Then later — at 4 p.m. today — I got a text from the principal with this schedule:

The principal sent this ONE HOUR before the event is supposed to begin. You’ll note that the times don’t line up with what the teachers sent. And how am I supposed to attend two sessions (because I have two kids) at the same time in the space of fewer than seven minutes?

If it is this confusing for me — an educated technophile who works in education — I cannot imagine how difficult it is for parents who aren’t. Or parents who speak English as a second language. Or parents who do not have access to technology.

And you know it is difficult for the students to keep up with all this.

I can see why some students are already completely checked out (e.g., Dominic).

All I’m asking for is some consistency, at the VERY least.

Maybe I’ll see one of you tonight. We’ll see.

Thanks again in general for all that you do. These are weird, challenging times.

Sincerely,
Dominic and Gideon’s mom

*Thanks, Kim Wilde.

 

 

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There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software.
Edward Tufte

Dear Jeff Orlowski,

Thanks for directing “The Social Dilemma” for Netflix. A number of friends told me to watch, so I did.

It’s a fascinating and thought-provoking look at how tech companies manipulate people for profit. Also, we are conditioned by society (i.e., watching others) to want to be part of these platforms (hey, Social Learning Theory!).

DUH.

We live in a capitalist society. We are all potential consumers. Social media algorithms are no different (to me) than companies choosing which radio, television and newspaper ads to place based on user data gleaned from Nielsen/Arbitron ratings and subscriber information.

One of the underpinning theories for my journalism and mass communications dissertation was Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model (1988). Media manipulation is a peaceful way for those in power to maintain the status quo.

Their recommendation for scooting out from under control? Get your information from many sources.

DUH. AGAIN.

It’s personal responsibility. Critical thinking.

You don’t want to be addicted or manipulated? Then employ your critical-thinking skills. Put your phone away one in a while. And beware the filter bubble.

Maybe I’m just super cynical. Critical. Suspicious. Typical Gen X.

I’m also someone who has been trained to look at all sides of an issue, thanks to my reporter background.

In the documentary, Sandy Parakilas, senior product marketing manager at (formerly with Uber and Facebook), said:

“(There are) biases toward false information … the truth is boring.“

One more time: DUH.

In news, we have a phrase for that: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

That’s because — by its very nature — news is an anomaly. You don’t cover the planes that land.

And the more unbelievable, horrible and salacious something is, the more interesting it is. It’s human nature to swivel your head when you pass a car crash.

 

So, to me, there’s nothing new here.

Plus, your documentary is as manipulative as the social media it criticizes.

The irony is not lost on me that it was created for a streaming service that tracks user engagement and supplies content based on history.

The doom-and-gloom soundtrack helps instill that sense of dread.

And I love how the tech folks interviewed have all made their money and now suddenly have developed a conscience.

One of the main interviewees, Tristan Harris, might be worth up to $5 million.

Huh.

Interesting.

That doesn’t make your documentary any less compelling. It just means I had a chance to practice what I preach.

Keep up the good work!
Beth

 

 

 

 

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Dear New Airbnb Hosts:

Welcome to the club! It’s a good way to make some money, and the Airbnb platform usually makes life easy. Sometimes the guests don’t, though.

I advise you to set clear house rules. Here are mine:

Even then, I’ve had people leave:

  • Frat-party levels of empties.
  • Multiple bags of trash even though the chute is right outside the door.
  • A weave.
  • Dirty underpants.
  • A burn mark on the bathroom mirror.
  • The balcony door open with A/C, fans and lights on.
  • Bleach stains on the towels.
  • A pile of wet towels in the bedroom closet.
  • Balcony furniture in the bedroom.
  • Something orange and sticky on every surface.
  • Cigarette stench that required days of airing out and a trip to CVS for three styles of air freshener.

Someone also left an unopened package of bacon, which did not upset me at all.

One thing I didn’t realize when I first became a host is that guests can be dumb. Really dumb. Like how-can-they-live-their-lives dumb.

Take, for example, the woman who is in our place now. She called me at 10 last night because she couldn’t figure out how to turn on the light in the bedroom.

I had no idea of the rarity of an overhead fan with a remote control that features a lightbulb icon.

🙄

But there is a different woman who has the honor of being the dumbest person so far.

Here is the full exchange (I didn’t leave anything out, except part of the map I sent):

She needs one of Bill Engvall’s signs. Right? Or am I just being mean?

Anyway.

Now you know better what you are getting yourself into as a host.

Good luck!
Beth

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Hello Readers!
I apologize for not posting since July 5. I took a much-needed tech break. But now I’m back!
Beth

Dear Father of Gideon’s Friend:

As a fellow parent, I’ve always kind of felt for you. I realized how much you were trying to make sure your son gets to see his friends after you moved away. And even though you struck me as a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of guy, your kid seems nice enough. I always wanted Gideon to hang out with him, if possible.

But now I’m angry at you.

You exposed Gideon and another of his friends to COVID-19. And by extension, their families.

You should have known better. If your kid was unusually fatigued, then that’s cause for concern. You certainly should not have hosted a SLEEPOVER for crying out loud!

Imagine how the parents of those kids felt this morning when you called to let us know that your son has a fever.

Now I’m isolating Gideon and have scheduled a test for him and the rest of us. (I am NOT looking forward to having my brain scraped again.)

You were irresponsible. Negligent.

Not only is this SUPER irritating, but it’s possibly life threatening for Eddie the Asthmatic.

So thanks, Father of the Year. I hope you and your son enjoy being alone for a while.

Two weeks, at least.

Regards,
Gideon’s mom

 

 

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Warning: This post contains use of extreme sarcasm.

Dear Certain White People:

Hi. Me again. You seem very defensive lately. Dare I say easily offended? Even fragile?

You say you feel attacked because of the color of your skin? Something you can’t change!

The nerve! How dare people judge you based on your appearance?

Let me assure you: You are a very special snowflake. Of course NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE are racist.

Surely no one can ever accuse you of racism when you are “just stating facts.” Like this:

And I FULLY understand that Aunt Jemima shouldn’t offend anyone as even her great grandson doesn’t want her image removed.

 

OF COURSE her image isn’t perpetuating the “mammy” stereotype and imagery of black servitude to whites. She was a REAL WOMAN, for crying out loud. It’s just pancake syrup!

And I HEAR YOU when you say your history is being destroyed when these LIBTARDS take down Confederate statues and remove the Confederate BATTLE flag. It’s HERITAGE NOT HATE. Yes, of course it is.

There, there.

I understand that equal rights must be like pie: More for others MUST mean less for you. That’s why you are so upset. All these things affect you personally. OF COURSE they do.

Shush now. It will be OK.

I’ll talk to that mean blogger friend of mine who tried to refute clear statements of fact such as, “If we had WET (White Entertainment Television), we’d be racists.”

I mean, can you IMAGINE if white people wanted that? I’m not sure how it could be whiter than it is has been, but you should be able to find a way. You’re WHITE!

I UNDERSTAND that All Lives Matter. We are all EQUAL. OF COURSE we are. Systemic racism and COVID-19 are things dreamed up by those aforementioned LIBTARDS to whip people into a frenzy and distract from the REAL issue: That damn Hillary’s emails!

Here’s a white man talking about racism. Because OF COURSE.

I know, I know: It’s not FOX News or InfoWars. But he’s a good Christian!

No, I promise you ARE NOT embarrassing yourself. I know you’ve read important research like this.

You are in the right here, as you ALWAYS are. I DON’T UNDERSTAND why ANYONE would disagree with you. How DARE those SJWs! They’re just virtue signaling.

I’m SO SORRY you have to go through this. Things should just STAY THE SAME, amirite?

That unwillingness to evolve DOES NOT mean that you are racist. OF COURSE you aren’t. Some of your BEST FRIENDS are black.

Best wishes and warmest regards,
Beth

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Recipe for Disaster

Ingredients:

1 night feeling a bit dizzy
1 slight cough
1 morning sore throat
1 article about a Texas family

Method:

Set the first ingredient aside for 24 hours. Then add the second ingredient. Set that mixture aside for another 24 hours. Add last two ingredients, and whip into a frenzy.

Place frothed mess that is surely COVID-19 onto a refreshed CDC website. Set a test timer for one week.

While the timer is running, think carefully about the ingredients.

Remember:

  • The three sleepless nights leading up to the first.
  • The fact that major construction is happening on the floor below the office where you’ve been spending many hours every day. (Hello, construction dust!)
  • Sleeping on your back. Mouth open. Possibly snoring. (Gasp! No!)
  • That only one of the ingredients is a common symptom of the ‘Rona.
  • It’s pollen season. (Ohhhh. Riiiiight. Allergies.)
  • And also you wear a mask every time you are in public, which is not often, AND wipe down and/or spray everyone and everything that enters the house.

Add a good night’s sleep and reminders to fermented stew.

Poof!

Toxic brew evaporated.

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