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Posts Tagged ‘Advice’

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 Georgia Power,

We all knew Zeta was coming. We all knew there would be rain and high winds. We all knew the power would go out (because it goes out here if someone coughs too violently).

As a result, this family has a propane stove, a generator, hurricane lamps and many portable phone charging blocks.

So it was not a surprise to wake up yesterday at 6:13 a.m. with no power.

What was a surprise was that there were no updates from you on your website ALL DAY LONG.

There is no ERT.

I looked at Twitter, expecting to find more information.

Nope.

Your first tweet was at 10:05 a.m. — nearly four hours after 600K+ Georgians lost power.

And this ridiculously late attempt directed people to the outage map that had NO INFORMATION.

Much later, you tweeted this gem:

No shit, Sherlock.

I couldn’t resist replying.

Here’s the thing: I do not doubt your crews in the field and in the office are working very hard to restore power.

But in a crisis, you have to communicate to your stakeholders. This is PR 101. And THIS is why I’m dogging you.

Whoever is handling your Twitter account tweeted only 13 times in the space of 24 hours.

People are freaking out and you traffic in sporadic platitudes?

Come ON!

You can do better. You should do better. Millions of Georgians rely on you.

Next time, I hope your response team includes a dedicated crisis communicator.

Sincerely,
Beth

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Here’s Mary, all fancy feasting on cat treats.

Dear TLC:

Thanks for running a marathon of “My Strange Addiction” last night. My strange addiction is “My Strange Addiction” (among other shows of its ilk). And it hasn’t been on in ages.

I thought it was a new season, but apparently I just stumbled across episodes I hadn’t seen. (Not sure how that is possible, but yay for me.)

On days when that hypocrite Mitch McConnell is rushing through a SCOTUS pick in an election year, the United States is leading in world COVID-19 cases, and the U.S. president is actually tweeting that certain states are “going to hell” and thus he should be re-elected (odd logic here, no?), there’s something satisfying about the simplicity of a weird habit.

Granted, certain habits can have consequences.

Mary’s cat food addiction has led to anemia and high blood pressure. The doctor’s suggestion (I’m paraphrasing): Start eating people food. (Duh.)

Alicia has been smelling mothballs for 15 years. (Yuck.) Her conversation with a friend (I’m paraphrasing again):

Him: Have you read the warnings on this box?

Her: No, I can’t see that fine print. (Um, yeah, because the mothball sniffing is damaging her vision.)

Him: It says that you shouldn’t inhale them.

Her: I’m not inhaling. I’m just smelling.

Him: (Head explodes)

Riley lives life as an adult baby. She wears diapers 24 hours a day, yet wonders why she isn’t in a relationship.

By watching someone else’s bizarre reality, it somehow makes my (fairly normal) reality easier to bear.

The country is a dumpster fire. People are dying. Certain leaders refuse to see how they are complicit in that or change their behavior.

All I can do is vote and champion my candidates. (And you can bet I will.)

In the meantime, thank you for providing what I consider to be escapist content.

Keep up the good work!

Beth

 

 

 

 

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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 Outraged Women on Facebook,

Last night’s entertainment for me was getting into it with you over “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” vs. “WAP.”

πŸ™„

Our mutual FB friend A– is a pot stirrer. She loves to post things that get people going. I don’t often take the bait. But I couldn’t pass up the chance with this post.

I’m sure “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was fine in 1944. And yes, the lyric “What’s in this drink?” is a joke from the time.

However, in the light of modern day, the song seems creepy. (I prefer the Legend/Clarkson reimagining.)

Enter “WAP.”

I like the song. (Maybe not blasted at our Airbnb, though.)

Men have been singing about sex and what they want for ages. Why can’t women?

To me, it’s a strong female song: She knows what she wants and wants to get it. Also — and this is key — it’s consensual sex. No assault/date rape overtones like the other song.

Well.

You would have thought I suggested that I play it on a speaker at Disney World and twerk on Mickey himself. Let me remind you of the exchange:

And R—–, your kids may have “clesn and lure” thoughts, but I guarantee you that they will not always have “clean and pure” ones, if that’s what you are seeking.

As it has been people on the political right who are wound up about stations not playing “Baby … ” and also upset about “WAP,” I’m going to make an assumption of my own:

You voted for Trump, didn’t you? Mr. Grab Them by the P—-.

So certain vulgar things don’t seem to bother you at all.

Got it.

Also, speaking of Disney, if your wholesome sensibilities are offended by that, you should not watch the Disney parody video.

Anyway, thanks for the evening’s recreation.

Good luck with your mental gymnastics — and keeping your kids safe from anything “perverted.”

Regards,
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 πŸ˜‰).
  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.β€œ

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.

πŸ™„

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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