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Posts Tagged ‘Peeves’

Dear Dominic,

You’re killing me.

I get it: You aren’t a fan of online learning. As I told one of your teachers this week: You are not thriving in the remote environment (to put it mildly).

But you do actually have to do the work until there is an alternative.

Part of your problem is your lack of time-management skills and your habit of prioritizing things like watching “The Mandalorian” over getting your work done.

Do you really want to repeat 10th grade? You’d end up going to school with your brother.

I KNOW you don’t want that. So pull yourself together.

Love,
Your long-suffering mother

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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 People Talking About Election Fraud:

Look. Listen. I get it. I’m still not over the 2016 election.

I couldn’t believe that people would vote for Trump the first time. But they did, and he won. And we all got on with it.

We’ve had four years of (fill in your preferred adjective).

Why is it so hard to believe that the same sentiment that drove the “silent majority” to the polls against Clinton in 2016 could be the same thing driving folks against Trump in 2020?

His presser last night was … unhinged. It was made up of lies. It was embarrassing.

The election was not rigged. There hasn’t been widespread voter fraud.

Let’s look at the ways Americans had to vote:

  1. Early voting. This does not seem to be in dispute.
  2. In-person voting Nov. 3. This does not seem to be in dispute.
  3. Absentee voting. This is apparently what’s in dispute. By Trump.

With absentee voting, people could mail them in or drop them in a ballot box. State laws vary, but the mailed-in ballots usually are counted as long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3. The deadline to drop in the ballot box in Georgia was 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. Again, states vary.

OK, stay with me here: Early voting and in-person voting are tabulated easily. Absentee voting takes longer because poll workers have to open and carefully check the ballots in a guard against — wait for it — fraud. Some states can open and count early. Some can’t.

I am a Georgia voter. I did not want to wait in line and be around people in a PANDEMIC. I requested, filled out and returned an absentee ballot via drop box by the Nov. 3 deadline.

Georgia had better DAMN WELL count my vote. (And I did NOT vote for Trump.)

As there were historic numbers of absentee voting, the processing will take longer. DUH.

Absentee voting has a long, strong history in America. It’s the way those in the military vote, for crying out loud.

Also, Trump himself has used absentee voting (as recently as August) and encouraged people to vote by mail. In Arizona. Where he thought he had plenty of support.

But you know what? Spitting on Arizona favorite John McCain’s grave has a cost.

You know what else has a cost? Calling war dead “suckers and losers.” Georgia has 13 military bases. Georgia also has Stacey Abrams, who has worked tirelessly to increase voter registration and voter turnout.

There are many reasons why people would want Trump to be a one-term president, just as there were many reasons why people didn’t vote for Clinton

Just as the Democrats have not engineered a worldwide Coronavirus hoax, they have not perpetrated voter fraud. Please note that Georgia and Arizona (two states you are wound up about) both have Republican governors. And Georgia’s Secretary of State is a Republican too. One Trump supported.

Nevada’s is too. Are you alleging that they are in on this plot? Please.

And if Democrats were going to rig an election, wouldn’t they flip the Senate too? Come ON.

So stand down, outraged Trump fans. This is our democracy — the one you profess to love.

This is our process and it works, whether you like it or not.

Your fellow American,

Beth

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Dear Mr. Trump,

Americans have been making their choices in droves via early voting and absentee ballots.

Tuesday is Election Day (even though we may not have an answer that day).

I won’t be voting that day. Eddie and I chose the absentee route for two reasons:

  1. I believe scientists that the Coronavirus is real and not a hoax perpetrated by the Democratic Party. (I mean, REALLY? A U.S. party is going to get the whole world in on a hoax? To what end?)
  2. Hence, I want to limit potential exposure by not putting myself in close contact with people I don’t know.

I’ve had in-depth conversations with two long-time friends who support you. One was a rational, calm conversation where we agreed more than we disagreed. One was … not like that at all.

I understand your allure even less than I did in 2016.

And I am regularly amused/outraged/appalled at the emails I get from your campaign. (I’m on your list thanks to an event I attended.)

This is the article that examines presidential laziness.

Here’s my response to some slogans you and your supporters use.

“Make America Great Again”
I thought America was pretty great pre-2016.

“Keep America Great”
Sorry, but America is not great at the moment. I am NOT better off than I was four years ago. I’m middle class and paying WAY more taxes. The industry in which I work has been negatively affected by your xenophobic policies. And as someone who travels, I can tell you that America is an international embarrassment.

“Life begins at conception”
Fantastic! So that means you’ll protect women endangered by a pregnancy, the children after they are born, old people who might get COVID-19, poor people, immigrants and people on death row. Right? Pro-life means that you support all lives.

“My body, my choice”
This one makes my head explode as it has been co-opted for the anti-mask movement. If you want personal autonomy, great. I’m all for that. But you can’t pick and choose. (See above.)

“Drain the Swamp”
Eeesh. Washington, D.C., is now the swampiest swamp ever.

It should come as no surprise that I will not be voting for you. This is not to say I haven’t voted Republican in the past, and wouldn’t do so again if he/she were the right person.

But you are not the right person.

And the Republican Party is not the Republican Party of old. You know, the one that wanted a smaller government, fiscal responsibility, personal autonomy, etc.

I care about LBGTQIA rights, universal healthcare, eradicating systemic racism, reducing the deficit, upholding personal choice, maintaining separation of church and state — all those things that you are against.

So I’m not wishing you luck on Tuesday.

And I hope you’ll take McConnell and Graham with you.

Frigid regards,
Beth

 

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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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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.”

🙄

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 😉).
  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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