An alternative plan to Koran burning on 9/11…

Many of you may have heard about the pastor in central Florida (Florida, of course!) who is calling on folks to mark the nine-year anniversary of the September 11,, 2001 terror attacks by burning copies of the Koran.

Yes, because book burning has such a rich, storied history of success in our country, does it not?

The head of the controversial church says he is not deterred by protests, death threats or warnings by the top U.S. commander that his plan may put the lives of US military forces at risk.

And why should he be?  After all, he’s getting his fifteen minutes of fame, isn’t he?

But I have a better idea.

Instead, buy this book, written by a high school buddy of mine:

Apropos title, isn’t it?

He won’t care if you burn it, and it won’t put the lives of our military at risk – though Jihad may go after him personally.  But he won’t care – he needs the cash.  And a ranking on Amazon higher than #6,989,111 will help  his ego.

And about Red Fred, the poor tense fish, Bob reports that Red Fred, “…had to be committed to the Sunnydale Home for Tense Fish a few years back…His behavior had become too aberrant, and I had found that he was operating a small crystal meth lab under the rocks…He will be missed by all…”

Indeed he will.

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In Re Roman Polanski, or, Doing the Right Thing Unless You Don’t Wanna

Roman Polanski.  I have so much to say on this subject it will be a long, rambling mess.

In re: his tragic life

What a tragic life he’s led.  Losing his wife and unborn child to Charles Manson and his merry maniacs is enough to send anyone over the edge.  I get it, I really do.

In re: his crime

I also understand that the rape happened in a more permissive time.  Pedophilia was not a common word in the  American vernacular.  The general public (and, tragically, many churches) did not talk about it in good company.  Arrests and jail time were rare, and though perhaps the behavior that led to such consequences was not exactly accepted, it was certainly most often swept under the rug, or best ignored.

But not by this girl’s mother (though how she could be surprised in the face of her utter neglect in sending her unaccompanied child to hang with the guy is beyond me).

Perhaps Roman Polanski was used as an example, a deterrent.  Perhaps someone was taking a moral – or a political – stand.  But so what?  A forty-four year-old man should not be having sex with a thirteen year-old girl.  Period.

But let’s forget that for a moment, too.

In re: the arrest and plea

The thing is, he WAS arrested. For RAPE.  He DID plead guilty to unlawful sex with a minor.  No matter how he or anyone else felt about it, he plead guilty.

In re: fleeing like the coward he is

And then he ran.   Far.  Because he feared the judge was going to put him in jail, instead of a wink and a wrist-tap sentence of “time served.”

And has evaded taking responsibility for HIS, HIS, HIS actions – the crime he has admitted – for the past thirty-two years.

That’s not what a real man would do.  A real man would have taken responsibility.  At least sometime in the last thirty years.

Now, I know you’re going to tell me that the case against him is wrought with problems.  There are charges of misconduct.  And the victim doesn’t want the case to go forward.  That should change everything.

But to me it changes nothing.  He ran.  He didn’t stand up.  Appeal!  Please!  Get the case thrown out if it won’t stand.

And then stand trial for your thirty-two year flight from responsibility.

You know, be a MAN.

If he had stood up like a man and served his sentence, then lived his life admirably since, fine.  I’m all for second chances.  But I’d sure never leave him alone with my kid – or any other.

But that isn’t what he did, is it?  He fled.  And he expected to hide behind the more permissive cultures in Europe for the rest of his life.  And he was correct in those expectations for thirty-two years.

In re: Switzerland grows some kahunas

And then Switzerland started growing a conscience.  We all know they started opening up their legendary secret banking records, forcing the world’s cheats into accountability.  Amen, my Swiss friends.

And now they decided to honor a thirty-two year-old warrant for Polanski’s arrest.

Because, Mr. Polanski, it doesn’t matter how angelic, how philanthropic, how upstanding you’ve been for the last thirty years, you don’t get to avoid this responsibility.

You just don’t get to.

In re: Roman Polanski, entertainment industry god

It has always boggled my mind that Polanski has enjoyed great popularity and support since he fled.  Actors, directors, filmmakers, entertainers can’t line up fast enough to support him.  His movies – only one of which (Rosemary’s Baby) I have ever seen – are widely applauded.  He is considered a cinematic genius.

I’m sure he is.

But he raped a child. Even if she gave a 13 year-old’s version of consent.  It is legally rape, folks.  No matter what plea he copped.  And I could never help wondering how these actors and actresses justified working for him.

“Sure, he raped a kid, but he’s really a super dee-duper terrific guy!  And a genius!”

What do they say to their kids?    “He plead guilty to having sex with someone your age?  Honey, don’t worry about that old sex with a kid, thing.  It was waaaaaaaaaaaay before you were born.  Well, yes, he did flee to avoid jail.  But he had a really good reason!  That mean old judge was going to put him in jail!  And I want you to watch and learn how he and all of the rest of the people that support him are justifying not only his original crime, but the wonderful way he has been canonized by us so that we make it all not his fault!  After all, it was kinda consensual!  I want you to learn from him how not to take responsibility for your actions.  And if you ever commit a crime, I’m sure he’ll tell you how to flee and live abroad  – well, for thirty-two years, anyway!  And, if you’re lucky, and if you kiss his ass enough, perhaps one day YOU can be in one of his films!  Oh, joy!”

In re: the petition

And they startle me even more, now, with this infamous petition.

Yes, theses idiots started a petition demanding his release, accusing Swiss authorities of a failure to appreciate  the genius that is Roman Polanski,  and the hereto before unknown fact that international film festivals share the same sanctuary status as churches.

Um, huh?  Sanctuary?!?!?!!!!

The SACD petition that Martin Scorcese, David Lynch and  over 100 other industry insiders signed says, in part:

By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.

The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed (and we all know what happens when we assume, don’t we?) he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no one can know the effects.


Um, so????????????????????  By that logic all murderers and rapists should be able to travel unencumbered, for the good of the arts.

These superstars of intellect and morality go on to say:

It seems inadmissible to them (filmmakers) that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.

It doesn’t seem inadmissible to me at all.  It seems poetic.

In re: the idiots supporting Polanski

His supporters include the not-so-surprising, like Woody Allen (um, didn’t he screw, then marry his adopted  stepdaughter?).  Then there are the ones that do surprise me, like Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme and Michael Mann – all terrific filmmakers with apparently extraordinarily bad judgment. I can only hope that they are sorry they sign that ridiculous piece of drivel.

Debra Winger issued a separate  statement:

This fledgling festival has been unfairly exploited and whenever this happens the whole art world suffers…

Yes, but it was perfectly okay for Polanski to unfairly exploit that thirteen year-old, Debra. Seriously, folks, my eyes are starting to bleed.


In re: “it isn’t rape-rape”

Whoopi.  Whoopi Goldberg.  She actually defends Polanski on “The View”, first saying that he wasn’t charged with rape (Wrong!  He WAS, but he plead to the lesser charge) and that nonetheless, she’s sure it wasn’t “rape- rape.”

Whoopi.  It will take a looooooong time to live that down.  Sure, it wasn’t stranger-rape.  The girl was not kidnapped, beaten and left for dead after her rapist put his penis inside her.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape.  This guy was in fact much smoother, more insidious.  He made this 13 year-old, who wanted nothing as much as she wanted a career,  feel like the adult she wasn’t by giving her alcohol, and drugs, and made her feel pretty and  special.

Before he put his penis inside her.

That’s rape in the eyes of the law.  And in my eyes, too.  It’s rape-rape, Whoopi.

In re: do the right thing

It’s always easier to pay now instead of later, Mr. Polanski.  When you pay later there are always penalties.  And interest.

Do the right thing.

Do the right thing.

Do the right thing.

1400 words, give or take.  That is, thankfully, all I have to say on this subject.

She did WHAT?????????????

After much thought about the events of the past few days Husband and I decided in the end that it wouldbe better for Son if we kept  him in his class until the end of  the year.

So, this morning I brought him to school. The administrator was not on site, so I walked Son directly to his class.    I asked his teacher if she’d heard what happened and she didn’t want to talk about it – referred me to the office.  That was fine because I didn’t want to talk about it with her, either.  I just wanted to make sure she knew so that when I told her what a good  teacher she is and  how much I appreciate her, and specifically the way she handles the difficult child in her own class, she wouldn’t just dismiss it as a platitude.

We both got tears in our eyes, and as I started to walk away another mother asked what I was referring to.  So I told her.  And she told me about other things she’s seen this offensive teacher and others at the school do that disturbed her, and we discussed how lucky that our kids had the great teacher they have.

We continued to talk in the parking lot when the offending teacher from Monday approached me and said, “Hey, you’ve caused me a LOT of trouble.”

Alarmed, I still could not stop myself from retorting, “I caused trouble?  No, YOU caused the trouble.”

She kept approaching, accusing me of  “spreading rumors” to the other parents and making her and the school look bad.  “I told what I saw.  That’s not spreading rumors.  And there were three other women who witnessed what I did.”

When she  started to get in my face, talking about how I didn’t see what led up to what I saw and that I had no right to interfere or tell her what she did was “cruel,”  I  walked a few feet away and said, “I have nothing to say to you. ”

She then proceeded to tell her story to the three other parents standing with or near us.  About how she and the child’s mother were “like this” as she crossed her fingers, about how what she did “was cruel but his mother agrees about the way to handle him”.  About how everyone looked at the video and said she was justified.

Funny she never mentioned what the  administrator told me – that she admitted that she was wrong and was told never, ever to hold the door preventing a child from entering.

I stood there not saying much of anything – though doing a few eyerolls as she painted herself in the best possible light.  She said quite a bit, about how much she has studied and suffered and worked to become a teacher, and why would she do that if she didn’t care?  That is really a very good  question.

And about how she is a mother herself to a one year-old who acts out and she has to discipline him, and how she’s not putting up with anything like that.  Gee, that’s a big old surprise, isn’t it?

And what really got me was that two of the  parents thought I should not have intervened – that the teacher is the one trained and we should trust her judgment, and if  “people  thought they were perfect they can take their kids elsewhere”.

Yes, next time I see your child on fire I’ll go to the office first to have them determine whether or not it’s a justified fire…

I do support teachers.  Son has been disciplined  at school three times this year, and I completely supported the appropriate measures his teacher chose to take.

But there’s a difference.  A biiiiiiiiiiiiig difference.

I’m just disgusted.

So I called Husband and we agreed to remove Son from the school.   He’s very angry that I was confronted by this teacher and insists on accompanying me to complete the withdrawal, and despite his reluctance yesterday he wants to report the entire incident to the authorities.

I certainly don’t need teachers confronting me, and even if I am the only person in Florida that thinks this was inappropriate, cruel and uncalled for – no matter what the child did – then I’m really okay with that.  And it’s obviously not the place for Son.

Who’s Watching Your Children?

I’ve had a few issues here and there with Son’s schools, but most of the issues have been dealt with and we’ve moved forward.   I very much like Son’s teacher, as she is committed and engaged with the children and just the perfect amount of strict to keep Son on task.

After all, having a good teacher can make up for lots of poor administration issues.  Heaven help us all if Son ever gets a poor teacher, no matter how good the school is rumored to be.  I’ve noticed a few other teachers at this school that I’d not be happy with, and it has made me wonder about the availability of good employees, the level of  supervision by the administration and the involvement of the parents.  Do they know ???

There is one teacher in particular who has always concerned me.  I walk by her class every day, as her class is the only one directly off the lobby.  She always looks bored, disinterested.  As if she’d much rather be watching Jerry Springer.   She either has the kids watching a DVD, or she’s just sitting there staring off into space while the children (three year-olds) play on the computer.  I shake my head and walk on,  and get involved with what’s going on in Son’s  class.

Today when I was dropping Son off at school there was a little boy clutching his mother and sobbing.  The mother was dressed for work, tears in her own eyes as she tried to calm her son.  He just didn’t want to be at school today.   We all threw sympathetic looks at her, and I did a silent prayer thanking G-d that I didn’t have to put Son in daycare – that school is a choice for us.  The mother led her son into that class – the only one right off the lobby – and I left before she came out.

I came to pick up Son three  hours later, Nana in tow.  I’d just picked her up from the airport and she got a welcome every Nana wishes for when Son raced into her arms.  We were on our way out when I saw a boy, alone and  sobbing, trying to open a classroom door from the outside while pleading, “Let me in!”  He was trying to turn the knob, but the teacher – the same teacher I said always looks bored and disinterested – had her back to him and was not letting the boy in.  I glanced at the other mothers in the area and they all looked disturbed, and I walked over to that boy and put my arm around him and knocked on the door.

She opened the door and said, “He’s okay.”  Furious, I said, “No, he’s not.  You can’t leave him out here! It’s  cruel!  Let.  Him. In.”   She pulled him into the room while trying to reassure me.

“It’s okay,” she said,  “We do this every day.”

I was apoplectic with fury and disbelief at this point.  Talk about inappropriate punishment!  He was ALONE outside the classroom!!! Being excluded.  Crying.  I know, I don’t have to explain it to YOU…

I walked (stalked, really) over to the reception area, where the attendant (the owner’s daughter) was trying to explain school enrollment to a woman who was considering enrolling her child.  I interrupted to tell the attendant what was happening, and she  excused herself from the prospective customer and immediately went to “handle it”.

I plan to talk to the owner about the incident tomorrow.  The more I think about it the angrier I become.  In my opinion this is cause for termination.  I certainly hope that they will notify the parent of this incident, and if they don’t I’m seriously considering telling the parent myself.

That woman should not be permitted to work with children.  She compromised that child’s physical safety, and his psyche.  Add that to her general attitude of disinterest, and I’m thinking that perhaps she should just get a job where she can do no harm.  Perhaps a cemetery groundskeeper.  Or a port-a-potty cleaner.

It didn’t occur to me until I got home that this could have been the same boy that was crying this  morning.   I was honestly so horrified that I can’t recall.  But no wonder that kid didn’t want to enter that classroom.

No wonder.

On Forgiveness

I’ve always been quick to poo-poo the things that others have done to hurt me.  People are human, they make errors in judgment – at least if I am any indication.  I can just let most things roll off my back.  I’ve never held a grudge against anyone (well, except my stepmother), much preferring to let things go and move on.  I won’t  go through a laundry list of my life’s hurts, as they are only unique because they happened to me.   It just takes  too much emotional energy to carry around the hurt and anger.

I’m not so easy on myself, though.

Like all other Jews I was injected with a healthy dose of guilt at birth (what, you thought that was a rumor?).  That guilt was fostered by various Jewish grandmothers, parents and clergy over the course of a typical angst-ridden childhood.  That inherent guilt only enhanced my low self-esteem (which really didn’t need the help).  I found a myriad of ways to feel guilty, adding some extra spice to my parents’ divorce and the unfortunate molestation incident that make up the major markers of my childhood.  Do I know how to have a good time, or what?!

Being so guilt-prone I even feel guilty for things for which I have no more than a cosmic responsibility.  I feel guilty for the way our country acquired land from Native Americans, and for the treatment of African Americans and anyone else who has been enslaved. I can’t step on an ant without feeling guilt, though I do admit to less guilt when a roach meets it’s end stuck to the heel of one of Husband’s boots.  Ick.

What does guilt have to do with forgiveness?  Everything, if you’re waiting on it.   Forgiveness withheld is the ultimate manipulation.   Guilt is a horrible emotion, without any productive purpose.   The  kicker is that even once you’ve managed to wrest forgiveness for transgressions it only assuages  guilt temporarily, and in essence leaves one at the mercy of the one  manipulating dangling offering forgiveness.

And who the hell needs that?

You don’t have to be a genius to figure out why it’s so easy for me to let others off the hook, do you?  I never want to be that person, wielding that power.  I’d rather just acknowledge the event, appreciate and acknowledge an apology (if given), and  move on.

Still, letting myself off the hook isn’t nearly as easy.  I’ve worked to move away from feeling guilt for my transgressions, and instead simply take responsibility.  It’s just like guilt, but without the angst.  Without the manipulation.  Without the condescension.  And it’s productive!  What worked?   What didn’t?  Keep doing what works, stop doing what didn’t.  Acknowledge and apologize,  then move on.

Wow!

It’s not easy.  But it’s worth doing.

There is hope that Son will have a guilt-free, responsibility-rich life.  Amen.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kate at One More Thing is doing a weekly carnival of sorts, choosing a topic for other bloggers to write about.  This week’s topic is forgiveness.

Lady, You Are So Lucky I’m Not a Pedophile

I could have stolen your son today.

From the moment I saw him I thought him handsome.  He seems to be about four years old, and full of energy.  Playing with the magnetic letters in the children’s section of the library, his wary brown eyes followed me as I sat at a table and opened a book.

There were several children there.  Most played for awhile, then their parents would walk over or they’d run to find them.  He stayed, alone.  I watched him interact with the other children, and I noticed that he didn’t share well.   He was somewhat aggressive, too – quick to grab and push and grapple over the things he wanted.

One of the other children appealed to me for assistance, so after looking around and seeing that he seemed to be unsupervised I gently redirected your son by offering to read him a story.  He and another boy grabbed books from the shelves, and I read them all.  He soaked it all in, and we talked about things he liked.  I’d sometimes place my hand on his shoulder or back when he got really animated.  It was nice. I kept a lookout for a Mom or another caretaker, but in the ninety minutes I sat there no one came to check on him.

I began to suspect that he might be alone, and so I periodically asked him where his Mom was.  He said she was working, and I found myself wondering if someone had dropped him off and left him.  Later he told me that you were in fact there, and I wondered if you worked at the library and just had no child care that day.

Still, I knew I could walk out with your son and you would never know.  Whether you were there or not you weren’t paying attention.  You were oblivious to the stranger who had taken an interest in your child and spent over an hour watching him, talking to him, interacting with him.  Building trust and familiarity.

You are so lucky I’m not a pedophile.

As I gathered my own son and prepared to leave, I asked your son to show me who he had come to the library with.  He walked over to you, sitting at a computer on the other side of the library, your back to the children’s area.  Not an employee, just pre-occupied with the computer game on your screen.

I could have stolen your son today.

It would have been so easy.

Please, do better.  Your son needs you.  And I need to be able to sleep tonight.

The Shopping Fairy

Today I went to Costco for my normal Monday stock-up.  Back before Husband’s Diabetes was diagnosed I would have made back my entire membership fee in just 10 weeks.   Husband drank 5 gallons of milk per week, and Costco’s milk is $1 less than the milk at Publix, not to mention the savings on produce and dry goods…

I am also a huge fan of their  meats.  Publix has pretty good meat, but Costco’s is better, and almost always cheaper.  Because I have a refrigerator/freezer in our garage, I have room to buy in bulk (really, for the extra $5 per month it costs it’s well worth the convenience!).

Today I needed hamburger and steak.  We don’t buy steak all the time, but we do treat ourselves occasionally.  Costco’s sirloin is dee-licious (especially when you use a teryaki-garlic marinade!!!), so we get our steak fix without breaking the bank.  Today I got 4 large steaks for a little over $15 (and we butterfly them to go twice as far), far less than the $38 the package of four top-tier steaks nearby.

As I was selecting my sirloin I saw a woman looking at the $38 steak, and she had that look on her face that said, “I’d really like some steak, but this is soooo expensive!”  So I said to her, “You know, these sirloins are fantastic, and far cheaper than those.”

We chatted for a moment, and I assured her that these were great on the grill (that’s how we always cook steak), and shared my great.  She looked familiar, but that happens to me a lot.  I’ve lived here for twenty-five years, and I have a memory like a sieve…

“You look familiar,” she says as I start to walk away.  “I know – you helped me find something in Hallmark a few weeks  ago!”

Ah, yes.  She  was looking for a glass ornament for her sister for Christmas, and I struck up a conversation.  She didn’t want to spend a lot of money, which is my specialty.  As I browsed I pointed out several options for her, and she wound up finding one  she really liked.

“You’re my shopping fairy!”  Hmmm. I felt a little embarrassed, but I really don’t know why.  I helped the woman, both times.  That’s a good thing, isn’t it?  Or am I just a busybody???

Has anyone ever struck up a conversation with you while  shopping, pointing out a way you can save money?  Are you a shopping fairy yourself?

is was

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