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Posts Tagged ‘Death’

Dear Readers:
Yes, this is another topical post (read: rant) about what is happening in America. The country is burning (literally and figuratively). Sorry, not sorry. A story about kayaking with the family can wait.
Beth

Police cruisers drove into a crown of people in Brooklyn. Yes, this actually happened.

Dear White People:

I’ve been fighting with some of you all week. I refuse to scroll past your inane posts and try to make nice. You can unfriend me, unfollow me, ignore me — whatever you have to do to be safe in your echo chamber. But I am not going to resist calling you out if you post something ignorant.

You say: What happened to George Floyd was wrong, but the looting and property damage has to stop.
I hear: Destroying property is worse than murder.
I respond: Reverse that sentence. Say instead, “Looting and property damage is wrong, but police brutality and murder have to stop.”

You say: People getting arrested at protests deserve it. They must have done something wrong.
I hear: I’m trying to find a reason to believe our institutions aren’t broken.
I respond: You have to face it: They are, in fact, broken. Police are reacting violently to police protests ABOUT POLICE VIOLENCE. Let that sink in. This is what happened to someone I know personally during a peaceful protest. By the way, the First Amendment guarantees the right to peaceable assembly.

You say: People who comply with police don’t get in trouble.
I hear: La la la la la — I’m not listening.
I respond: Even if/when people comply, they still get murdered. Also, let’s pretend for argument’s sake that someone HAS done something wrong — like pay with a counterfeit bill. Does DEATH fit that crime? (The right answer is “no,” you mongrels.)

You say: The mainstream media isn’t trustworthy.
I hear: I’m desperate to find excuses not to face the truth that Trump’s America is a disaster.
I respond: You’re wrong, as I explained in my last post. Listen to me. I know my stuff.

You say: All lives matter.
I hear: I don’t know why we should focus on black people when we are all equal.
I respond: We’re clearly not equal. White privilege exists. Start from the 1600s and go from there. If you need something bite-sized, read up on redlining.

You say: I haven’t experienced “white privilege.” I’ve worked hard for everything I have.
I hear: I don’t want to believe that I have it better by virtue of my skin color.
I respond: It’s not about hard work. It’s about starting in a different place by virtue of skin color. No, you shouldn’t be embarrassed to be white, but you should understand the concept of systemic racism and work to make changes. Read this. Watch this:

I hope this helps. We have to work together to make America great again, and I guarantee it’s not Trump’s way.

Love,
Beth

Courtesy of Creative Nonfiction, here are some action items:

LEARN

ACT

 

SUPPORT

 

FOLLOW 

 

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Hey Y’all:

It’s come to Auntie Beth’s attention that some folks don’t understand how the mainstream media works. As Auntie Beth has more than two decades of experience as a journalist for TV, radio, newspapers and magazines (yeah, no spring chicken), she is here to help clear up confusion with some DOs and DON’Ts.

DO have a healthy suspicion of social institutions.
DON’T only get your news from alternative news networks. There are many sources of legitimate news. If you need help finding reputable sources, use this updated interactive media bias chart.

DO understand the criteria for newsworthiness:

  • Timeliness: News is new.
  • Proximity: The news hits close to home.
  • Conflict: There is some disagreement/opposition.
  • Prominence: Names make news.
  • Impact: The news is of consequence and is useful.
  • Novelty: There is a deviance from the norm.

DON’T wonder why the conversation has shifted from COVID-19 to protests when protests hit all the above criteria.

DO understand that media representatives use the criteria to choose what to cover (see Agenda-setting Theory in communication studies). There aren’t enough staff or hours in a day to cover everything that is newsworthy. So editors, reporters, managers, producers, etc. have to make some hard decisions. These are economic/structural forces beyond the individual journalist (see Hierarchy of Influences model above).
DON’T mistake this for telling people what to think about what gets covered. In 1963, author/scholar Bernard Cohen said, “The press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.” But again, it’s not willy nilly and based on bias. Also, no one is controlling you.

DO understand that the way to combat this structural issue is to get your news from many sources. Again, the key here is choosing reputable sources — usually the mainstream media as there is an attempt at objectivity. Therein lies the bigger picture of what is happening in the community, region, nation and world.
DON’T get your news from Info Wars or Wonkette and think you know what’s really going on.

DO understand that news is an industry with many, many employees.
DON’T believe that every person working in this industry is part of some elaborate conspiracy theory.

DO know that news owners/folks in charge typically don’t get involved in day-to-day reporting and news coverage. (Exception: Sinclair Broadcasting.)
DON’T believe Auntie Beth? She’s happy to send you her dissertation that delves into this exact topic. That’s right: Auntie Beth has a Ph.D. in journalism and mass communications.

The findings of this study are in opposition to the ‘powerful pressure’ idea that the dominant ideology of the status quo finds its way down to the news product via the highest levels of the media organization: the owners who represent the status quo (Sutter, 2001; Iggers, 1999; Herman & Chomsky, 1988; Smith, 1988; Bagdikian, 1985).

DO understand that mainstream media reporters are literally risking their lives to cover what is happening in our world.
DON’T disrespect them by calling their work “fake news.” Don’t let the President of the United States (!) work you into a frenzy for his own ends. The mainstream media is not the “enemy of the people.” News he doesn’t like is not “fake.”

DO think carefully before you post something possibly incendiary.
DON’T run from dialogue if you go ahead and post it.

DO have an open mind. Be ready to admit you are wrong if someone who has actual experience tries to explain how things work — even if this flies in the face of the conspiracy theories you’ve been swallowing.
DON’T double down and tag Auntie Beth in something you think proves your point.

DO listen to someone who works in the industry you are criticizing.
DON’T watch a YouTube video and think you know everything. You didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn last night.

DO understand that Auntie Beth is a living, breathing human being. In fact, High School Friend has known Auntie Beth since eighth grade and knows she is trustworthy. HSF also should know by now that Auntie Beth speaks her mind.
DON’T try to “other” her so you don’t have to pay attention.

Auntie Beth understands it’s a big industry. Not everyone in it acts responsibly or ethically. But Auntie Beth believes in the importance of the Fourth Estate.

If you have any questions, Auntie Beth is here for you. She also can call on any of her dozens of current and former colleagues at the national and local level to help set your mind at ease.

Happy watching/reading!

 

 

 

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Today is Sunday. I usually post something innocuous about teenagers or Coronacation or whatnot.

But today I don’t wanna.

It would be tone deaf to whine about Dominic using every pan in the house to make an egg sandwich when a man has died from a cop kneeling on his neck.

Yet another black man.

Yet another cop.

How terrible is that?

When will it end?

I’m mad that a black CNN reporter covering protests was arrested before the white Minneapolis cop who killed George Floyd was.

I’m mad at people saying protests should be peaceful when they absolutely crucified Colin Kaepernick.

I’m mad at police shooting rubber bullets into crowds of peaceful protestors, using tear gas, escalating violence.

I’m mad at a white male high school “friend” who wants to mansplain everything to everyone all the time, even about race.

I’m mad at another high school “friend” telling people how the mainstream media operates when she has never spent a day in a newsroom.

I’m mad at the white lady in Publix who told Eddie she doesn’t understand the protesting: “I mean, these people! Didn’t we just have a black president?”

I’m mad that systemic racism clearly exists, but there are still people who deny its existence.

I’m mad at Trump. Perpetually. I want him to STFU and anyone who supports him/agrees with him to GTFO.

There’s plenty going on in my life. Fun stuff to write about. But maybe later.

Right now, there are bigger things going on, even just down the road in Atlanta.

I’m phenotypically white. I can’t change that. I have no idea what it is like to be a person of color in this country. So at the very least, I can STFU and listen to what people who do have to say.

America is broken, and I don’t know what to do about it except:

1. Listen to other people’s stories, believe them and learn.
2. Call out people on their bullshit.
3. Harass Contact elected officials about important issues.
4. Research candidates and vote in EVERY SINGLE ELECTION.
5. Be an ally every day.

Black lives matter.

And I’m sorry that things are STILL not remotely equal. In 2020.

Love,
Angry Beth

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Dear Gov. Kemp:

Can I call you Brian? What about Ronald ’cause YOU’RE A CLOWN.

Right. I’m not a comedian. Got it.

Look, I understand that I’m not running the state (not that you really are either, with any success, in my opinion). I understand that you are trying to balance pressure from a variety of sources. I understand that you can’t please everyone.

But dude, the CDC is — as we say in the South — just down the road a piece.

I’m not a scientist (in this case, being a communications researcher doesn’t count), so I will believe those who are. And you can’t swing a cat without hitting one at the CDC. So I’m guessing NO ONE was surprised at this headline after you “reopened” Georgia last week.

Even Trump criticized you. Trump! That’s a surprise.

And you’re doubling down. That’s not a surprise.

In my mind, your actions led to this:

That’s from last weekend, Gov. That’s a flock of people who don’t care about social distancing. Many of them were out to watch the Blue Angels’ tribute to health workers.

Um.

  1. If you don’t want people to gather, don’t stage this event!
  2. That flyover cost taxpayer money that I — a taxpayer — would prefer benefit small businesses.

I’m not blaming you for the Saturday event. I am blaming you for letting people think the fight against Coronavirus is over. It’s clearly not.

I mean, I guess I should be happy that I’m in Atlanta, instead of cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Lansing and Raleigh where people are protesting stay-at-home orders, claiming it is an overreaction. Of course, they are doing this WHILE WEARING MASKS.

 🙄

Listen, I’ve been trying really hard not to write about politics here. (In fact, it has been more than three years.) In these polarized times, any criticism of a Republican brings on name calling of the “libtard” and “snowflake” variety (among other names not suitable for a family blog). I’m technically an independent voter. I do, in fact, think for myself when I vote, instead of voting along party lines. But, full disclosure, I didn’t vote for you because I think you are kinda dumb, just like the masked protesters.

Sorry. Not sorry.

You know what Forrest Gump’s mama always said.

You can fix that by listening to people who know more about a subject than you do.

I know you want Georgia to be No. 1 in something.

Can it just not be cases of COVID-19 and deaths?

Thanks for your consideration,
Beth, a registered voter who has a valid ID and votes in every election

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Dear Viktor Wynd,

You and I clearly are kindred spirits. My friend Nick mentioned your Museum of Curiosities as a place to check out the next time I was in London. In fact, he specifically said this:

It looks like how I imagine the inside of your head looks.

Well, he’s not wrong.

My head is filled with flotsam and jetsam, much like your museum.

In fact, your website celebrates the lack of categorization as part of the mission.

This museum will merely display everything that has glittered & caught the eye of it’s founder.

I just want to take a moment to recognize your genius. Where else can a jar of Amy Winehouse’s poop live alongside some terrible taxidermy?

As I was able to visit recently, here are some visual aids for readers who think I’m kidding:

This is pretty bad, even as bad taxidermy goes.

And part of Amy outside her music lives on.

BFs 4EVA!

It must be weird to be a celebrity whose detritus is museum worthy.

There is plenty going on in this case. Almost too much for intake.

Id like to copy edit the museum mission statement, but I won’t. Here it is with all its charm intact:

The Museum has no overreaching aim beyond the theft of it’s visitors time and the hope that it will provide amusement by return & hopes to fill the vacuum between what the establishment elite believes is worthy of worship & what exists in the world.

Good news: It did ABSOLUTELY provide amusement. This is exactly the sort of place that provides a perfect afternoon for me.

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Warning: This post contains graphic images of a dead animal.

Dear Eddie, Dominic and Gideon,

Thank you so much for giving me the best Christmas gift ever: a taxidermy class at Rainy Day Revival down the street. It is the gift that keeps on giving, as I learned two things:

  1. I really like practicing the art of taxidermy and not just admiring it.
  2. It appears I’m good at it.

You know I’ve been trying to take a taxidermy class for years — since before we moved to Atlanta. The ones at Graveface kept getting cancelled as they didn’t fill up.

Not so with the RDR one: It sold out quickly.

Revell, the man in charge of my hair, and I have similar interests. His boyfriend bought him a seat in the class for Christmas too!

We practically rushed into the room as soon as it opened. Revell chose a fluffy black bunny, so I picked the one across for convenience.

The instructor, Nina, had us start with painting or staining our plaques. Then we had to massage our still-partially frozen yet “ethically sourced” rabbit. (No, I don’t know what that means. Various websites say various things. I didn’t ask. Ignorance is bliss.)

Here’s my rabbit, Roger (of course), lying in state — massaged and thawed.

Next we had to turn our rabbits inside out to remove the skull.

You would think this would be gross, but all the Borax we put on them helped dry things out. Plus, you know I watch plenty of medical and forensic reality shows.

Nina came by to check on progress and gave me props for not popping the eyes and keeping my lids intact.

Screen Shot 2020-02-18 at 1.19.26 PM

See! I’m a natural!

Nina then announced this, which is something I never thought I’d hear:

Once you take your face off, stop: We’re going to take a break.

So we took a break.

Revell and I had fun with our gross puppets.

Screen Shot 2020-02-18 at 1.18.43 PM.pngScreen Shot 2020-02-18 at 1.18.59 PM.png

After the break, we made a new skull out of the kind of foam stuff that goes in the bottom of funeral arrangements. Apropos, no?

Screen Shot 2020-02-18 at 1.18.30 PM
Roger starts to look more like himself again.

But see how his nose is a little mushed in? I got the bright idea to plump it up with some clay. Nina’s mom, who helps with the classes, was skeptical. Then she saw the end result.

Oh! You were totally right! That looks much better.

I’m an artist, I tell you.

Once we were done, we lingered in the shop waiting for Nina to mount them on our plaques. (Power tools + expertise = much quicker to get through all 30)

I had plenty of time to admire the wares — and dream of bigger projects.

Screen Shot 2020-02-18 at 1.18.16 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-02-18 at 1.17.58 PM.png

Finally, Roger and I were reunited.

Screen Shot 2020-02-18 at 1.17.45 PM.png

It will be two weeks until he “cures” completely and his bandages come off.

And you three will be forced to look at enjoy him in a place of pride at home.

So thank you for this gift. I had a great time, and I’m proud of myself.

Love,
The Novice Taxidermist

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Teen survives bad haircut
From Staff Reports

ATLANTA — Though he could not see through the fringe of hair, Dominic C., 15, resisted the idea of a haircut. Clearly, his trepidation was warranted, as the resulting cut nearly ruined his social and academic life, according to him. What masqueraded as barely any cut at all to those around him, was, in the teen’s opinion, the worst thing that could have happened to him. In his life. Ever.

“He asked me if he could stay home from school,” said Eddie C., the teen’s father. “I hope you told him ‘no’ in a hot second,” the teen’s mother replied when she heard.

Beth C. exhibited no sympathy for the teen’s plight. The heartless woman even was reported as telling Dominic C., “I don’t understand how you can want a haircut, but want no hair to be cut at the same time.”

The shattered teen tried everything to hide the effects of what he called, “the worst cut of my life.” First, he tried a ski mask. Then added a hoodie. Then enlisted both parents in a campaign to use various hair products to regain some sense of style — exactly what style was unclear, however.

“Listen,” Beth C. finally said to the aggrieved teen, “I don’t know what the problem is. It looks exactly the same to me as it did before.”

His mother had the audacity to show him a photo of that time in third grade when she cut her own bangs. She then claimed her situation was worse. “I had an inch of hair on my forehead!” she said. “Yours still hits your eyebrows.”

The teen recovered in time to be able to make it to school the next day. The family is accepting notes of sympathy from other parents of teens.

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Dear Readers,

I’m so excited that my badgering has paid off. Here’s another guest post. The Royce had a birthday last week, and it prompted some reflection.

I’ll be back next week with a story about the eldest. Parents with teenagers will relate.

Love,
Beth

This is The Royce in his natural habitat.

 

Aging vs. Old: A Rant
Guest post by The Royce

So, yesterday was my birthday. And that’s good because, hey, another trip around the sun, right? But somewhere along the way — in the last, oh say, few years or so (I don’t know whatever) — it occurred to me that, while I am not old (yet), I am, in fact, aging. Maybe I’m finally “of a certain age” — whatever the hell that entails — because, while I’m definitely still an easygoing person, little things are starting to grind my gears just a bit.

Like those damn neighborhood kids walking in my yard! LOLJK. (Note from Beth: I don’t think he is, in fact, JK.)

Though it’s commonly *cough* invariably *cough* attached to middle age and miracle creams, signs of aging actually applies to things other than crow’s feet and smile lines.

I’m talking about the less-obvious, non-physical signs of aging. Because like it or not, every day of every year, you’re aging. You just don’t notice it.

Until you do.

And then you notice it again. And again. It’s a lot like buying a new car that you thought was unique and rare until you drive off the lot and there’s three of the same vehicle waiting at the first intersection you get to.

On Jan. 13, 1974, the Super Bowl was on my seventh birthday, and I got to watch my favorite team, the Miami Dolphins, become two-time world champions against the Minnesota Vikings. Not a bad day for a kid.

In 2020, the game is three weeks later, two hours longer, and the pre-game show lasts half a day. WTH?

When did that happen?

You see, that’s not old. That’s aging.

Recently I went out with my lovely wife to meet some friends visiting from out of town. We arrived a few minutes early and looked over the drink menu while we waited.

I’m sorry, but WTF?! How did a cocktail get to be $14 in this town? (Note from Beth: They live in Savannah.) Did I teleport to Manhattan when I walked
through the door to this place?

Again: Not old. Aging.

You know why people don’t go out as much when they get a little older? It’s less about being tired and more because we don’t want to get bent over paying those ridiculous prices every time we feel like having a nice meal somewhere. Hey, how about we go out for dinner and have a couple glasses of WELL SHIT THERE GOES A HUNDRED BUCKS.

No, it’s not denial. Old will, with some luck, arrive eventually.

But for now … nah, not old. Merely aging, just like I have every day of my life. And considering the alternative, I’m fine with that.

Seriously, though. Would it kill the little cretins to stay off my lawn?

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Dear McKinnons,

Every time we stay with you, we have something to laugh about. From Petra trying to fatten us up like Thanksgiving turkeys to Patrick disappearing in the middle of the conversation to go to Home Depot, it’s always an adventure.

On Thursday, I walked into your house with the family. Patrick took one look at me.

Him: What’s on your pants?
Me: Serial killers.
Him: Is that a band?
Me: No. Real serial killers. You know. Like Charles Manson.

(The leggings I mentioned in this post.)

This time, even Ryder and Mia gave us a laugh.

After I tagged along on the guys’ outing to see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” Friday (the bros and a bra), we discussed the finer points of some key deaths. (No spoilers.)

Ryder went back into the vault to describe Obi Wan’s death like this:

His towel dropped.

I laughed so hard, I was wheezing.

(Ryder then asked if he was going to make it into my blog finally. Yes, my young padawan.)

Mia, who has a competitive streak like her father, did not want said father to win the Uno game Friday.

She turned to me, sitting next to Pat as I always do.

Her: You got something for him?
Me: I do.

She plays a color she knows I have. I throw down a reverse. She wins the game. We high five, because she won and not Pat.

Evil. I love it.

Saturday, Petra and I were having a serious conversation about the deaths of our fathers and subsequent guilt.

Here comes Pat to vacuum right behind her.

Petra and I looked at each other. Shocked. Then started laughing because OF COURSE HE HAD TO DO THAT RIGHT THEN.

Then last night, we all played a Pictionary-like game called “Buzz Draw.”

Naturally, someone yells out “penis” if anything is remotely phallic. (Like there is ever going to be a penis prompt on a family game card.)

Gideon drew “winter.” He thought at first that no one got it.

Mia: I said ‘winter’ a long time ago!
Pat: But I yelled ‘penis’ at the same time.

Speaking of penis, your dog Angus took an unusual interest in me.

I feel like I need a restraining order. Counseling at the very least.

Here he is rubbing his slobbery toy all over me under the table.

It’s better than what he usually rubs on me. (Hint: See theme of the game above.)

Perv.

Anyway, thanks for letting us stay with you this weekend. And thanks especially for the laughs.

Love,
Beth

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Dear Karen, Georgia and furred colleagues, including Steven,

I’ll get right to it:

I was accepted to a leadership conference hosted by my sorority. I haven’t been involved in the organization since I left college many (many) years ago, but it’s been a tough year, and so I applied.

The organizers sent out a list of roommate assignments.

I’m a grown woman; I didn’t want a roommate.

That is until I Googled my assigned roommate. (I’m a journalist. I research.)

She was a Chi Omega.

At Florida State University.

In 1978.

That’s right, y’all.

My roommate was nearly a victim of Ted Bundy.

He killed the sister next door to her, and the one in the room across the hall.

The police took her door because his fingerprints were on the doorknob. He was interrupted from going in because Nita Neary came home.

My roommate was the one who found Lisa Levy — still alive until she got into the ambulance.

She ended up being deposed three times by that monster who served as his own lawyer.

(You know what Lincoln said: He who represents himself has a fool for a client.)

The focus of the conference was resilience. And Diane McCain is the epitome of resilience. Her Bundy experience led to her becoming a crusader for victim’s rights.

She’s also battled some serious health issues.

In sum, Diane is a badass.

Of course, I offered to help her write a book about her life, or write it for her.

Stay sexy, and say yes to roommates.

Love,
Beth

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