laughing out loud

I had to giggle at this. The utter absurdity of it and misplaced sense of entitlement meets an up-country flair for the dramatic.

The ultimate irony is this is part of the same tired mantra of a small group of people in essentially a small town who regularly declare war on anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with them. They practice the Northern equivalent of the Southern “bless your heart” tactic. I find them extremely amusing. I also find them sad as their limited lives are entirely too consumed by their petty vendettas.

And remember….this blog is NOT endorsed by This is West Vincent on Facebook….it doesn’t have to be.

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politics + non-profit nature conservancy = ?

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Saw this on a friend’s Facebook page with this comment:

“Like if you think Political Signs should NOT be installed in a beautiful view shed. PS this property is owned by the Brandywine Conservancy and I bet the Politicians did not ask permission.”

Thoughts? And anyone else tired of all the robo-calls and political mailers and the ads on television?

political giggle on a rainy day

Please follow this link and check out Remy/Reason’s political parody video ( a take off of a Taylor Swift song). Also note this is actually what a parody is ….

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IJReview: The Only Cure for Obama’s Really Low Approval Rating is Perfectly Captured by a Taylor Swift Parody

The folks over at Reason just put their own spin on one of the summer’s biggest singles. And it comes on the heels of the latest Gallup poll—one in which President Obama’s 41.5% job approval rating the past quarter ranks among the lowest of his tenure.

from blue dress infamous to social activist

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From blue dresses and White House scandals before there was the television show Scandal, to a line of failed (?) purses (see article in New York Magazine from a few years back), to social activist, Monica Lewinsky has spent years being an unfortunate household name stemming from poor choices made literally as a kid while a White House intern.

She opened up about the blue dress years and the aftermath of being a fallen star in the Clinton universe in the June 2014 edition of Vanity Fair. It was her article and it was fairly well written and interesting, I must admit.

Like millions of others at the time I remember thinking “What was she thinking and why can’t this politician keep his pants zipped?” (Face it, Clinton might look like the grand papa bear of Democrat politics today, but the man has had his issues with the ladies à la Pennsylvania’s own Ed Rendell, right?)

I don’t have the moral code that is able to justify cheating, or justify why a very bright young woman couldn’t stay away from a married man who happened to be the President of the United States, except I am guessing that was exactly why she couldn’t stay away.  However, after the first few weeks of hearing about her and that, I felt as if it was enough already.  There were after all, far bigger issues going on in the Clinton administration, weren’t there?

So now Monica is what? About 40 years old give or take? And she made a whopper of a mistake and has spent almost 20 years paying for it.

Yesterday she spoke in Philadelphia  on the subject of cyber bullying.

I have to give her props for stepping out onto the stage at the Forbes Under 30 Summit.  That took guts, all things considered. I am sure she was amply compensated for her time but her topic was of personal interest to me. Her topic was cyber bullying and that is also apparently now her personal cause.

I listened to the replays of her speech and could totally understand when she said “It feels like a punch in the gut.”  After all, cyber bullying = abuse.

That isn’t the first time I have heard a similar description applied to being cyber bullied. Of course those who perform the cyber bullying always blame their victims. Much like abusers who tell their victims it’s their own fault they had to beat them.

I make no bones about the fact that I have perverse admirers, otherwise known as cyber bullies. In part, when you become a writer or a blogger it sort of comes with the territory.  It shouldn’t, but it does. Only my main bully doesn’t bully me because I am some random blogger she doesn’t like, for her it’s personal. She used to know me, and used to be in my life.

It is odd to think about this late middle aged woman from several states away being so angry and so hateful because well she was someone very supportive of  me when a few years ago now, my ex abandoned me and his old dying dog quite literally and then a year or so after that when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and isn’t that strange? How can someone go from being caring to being pathologically angry and hateful when there was no fighting or anything like that?  This person chose to leave my life so what was I supposed to do? It was her choice and I tried to respect it. It’s like she had this weird unrequited crush on me and I am being punished for ignoring that, and her. It’s truly bizarre.

It came as a shock when I realized I not only had cyber bullies, but they had been essentially stalking my life.  I am not a public figure. I am just an ordinary woman living my life.  Yes, I write, and I am not just a blogger given my published bylines here and there (albeit local and regional), but I am just a regular person. I write more about my recipes and gardening these days than anything else. I share my photography, as well. Apparently and ironically, it is very upsetting to people when you are happy. And apparently it’s all my fault they have to bully me because I am happy in my life and they are miserable and stuck. Bullies like other forms of abusers have a limited sense of personal accountability, have you noticed?

Since this cyber bullying and cyber stalking began shortly before my 50th birthday I have been fascinated by the people who have supported the efforts.  People I have never known or spoken to. And why do they cheer on negative and spurious activity that there are laws against? I guess because at some point in time I wrote something they didn’t agree with and isn’t that so bizarre coming from “adults”?

But as far as adults go, I have seen a lot of strange behavior. Especially recently.  Take for example parents of teenagers who not only support their teen’s scorched earth bullying behavior, but in essence bully other parents themselves and how crazy is that? People who are parents and who you know love their children but who can’t see right from wrong on their own?

People spend so much time hating and why put all that negativity out there? Its not so much a Zen or spiritual thought as it is  that I just don’t get people of any age who wake up with the intent to be mean or malicious. Life is a precious gift and having survived breast cancer I know full well we are all on borrowed time on this earth so why not try to be better human beings, not worse?

Cyber bullying is as pervasive and invasive as physical bullying.  And there is a certain disconnect from reality with it on the part of the bullies.   These bullies seem to think in their minds their behaviors are justified, and that they are invincible, which of course couldn’t be farther from the truth.   They also only have power if you allow them to have power because the truth of it is, bullies are cowards. They only accept their version of reality as the ultimate reality and get totally tweaked if you mess with their perception of how it should all be. With mine I marvel at how literally crazy and unbalanced they are and pity them at the same time.  This hatred is all they have to do all day, and that is truly and incredibly sad.

Cyber bullying is something, however, that not enough people take seriously even if it is illegal. So if Monica Lewinsky wishes to use her unfortunate celebrity to shine a light  down the dark rabbit hole of bullying, I am all for it. After all, bullying happens most often to the less obvious in this world: ordinary people both adult and kids.

Monica Lewinsky being a social activist will take some getting used to. Of course she was immediately trolled after doing this. In addition to the article excerpts below, follow this LINK and check out an interesting perspective in the Washington Post and another CNN article.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Lewinsky makes emotional plea to end cyberbullying

By Dan Merica, CNN
updated 6:46 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014

(CNN) — Monica Lewinsky told an audience in Philadelphia on Monday that her new mission in life was to end cyberbullying. Her speech — and her goal — come as the former White House intern steps into the public eye after years of trying to live privately.

“Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too,” she told the audience at Forbes’ 30 Under 30 summit. “I want to put my suffering to good use and give purpose to my past.”

Lewinsky, who as an intern in 1995 had an affair with President Bill Clinton, said she was “patient zero” of online harassment.

“There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram back then,” she said. “But there were gossip, news and entertainment websites replete with comment sections and emails which could be forwarded. Of course, it was all done on the excruciatingly slow dial up. Yet around the world this story went. A viral phenomenon that, you could argue, was the first moment of truly ‘social media’.”

Forbes:  Monica Lewinsky Speaks: ‘It’s My Mission To End Cyberbullying’

Clare O’Connor Forbes Staff

Monica Lewinsky has broken a decade-long silence to announce her campaign to end cyberbullying and today’s toxic culture of internet shaming.

In her first ever public address, the former mistress of President Bill Clinton revealed her plan to launch a “cultural revolution” against the sort of online harassment she experienced firsthand in the late 1990s…..Lewinsky described her life since the 1998 sex scandal that resulted in Clinton’s impeachment by the House of Representative and subsequent acquittal by the Senate as one marred by a deep sense of shame and even suicidal thoughts….She intends to share her story with victims of cyberbullying and online harassment. There are many of them: almost 54% of young Facebook users describe being bullied or harassed online.

Forbes:Full Transcript: Monica Lewinsky Speaks Out On Ending Online Abuse

(Click on hyperlink above to go to the Forbes website and read the full transcript.)

on sunday

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Ah yes, Sunday. The day of the week when everything is supposed to be calm and relaxing and peaceful.

Except during election season. Then Sundays are for political robo-calls. As in the long annoying ones you can’t disconnect your telephone line from. They just keep playing until the brain washing via telephone is over.

We got one of those calls earlier today. I tried to hang up and disconnect it three times. It is one of those calls that even talks to answering machines and won’t disconnect no matter what until every last pre-recorded bit of stupidity has been spouted.

The call was something about Corbett. I don’t really care which party was doing the calling, we are on political call overload! They occur all during the week, people should at least get Sundays off! Actually, why can’t we opt-out of political robo-calls permanently if we choose?!

And don’t even get me started on the attack mailers from both political parties! My mailbox is filled daily with the oversized glossy offerings from the political Hatfields and McCoys.

Enough already. It is a political turn off. This inundation of political negativity is not an enticement to get out and vote, in fact it causes the opposite reaction.

I called the number back that called us. It was a Google voice number for someone named Kathleen Bowman and the Malvern Victory Center. There is a person with the same name who works for the PA GOP

The number making these robo-calls is 484-320-7498

And again, I don’t care which party is making the calls, they are ALL an intrusion.

Feel free to post robo-call numbers contacting you in the comments. Maybe it’s time for. Some #political #robo-call #shaming.

Thanks for stopping by! It’s a beautiful day and feels like fall for real today!

political turn-offs

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All yes the season has arrived. Not fall, but the season where we open our mailboxes to far too many political mailers. There is no subtlety involved as it is an almost daily barrage from both parties. My position is, save a tree don’t flood my mailbox. I also am of the mindset that I prefer not to get my email inundated either.

Today we received a giant expensive multi–page glossy mailer mailer from the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee. For Manan Trivedi.

Now I have met Dr. Trivedi, and I found him to be a very nice person, but he’s not the person to represent me. I did not feel when I lived in Montgomery County that a man who was from Berks County could really represent my interests in Congress. I still feel that way as a Chester County resident.

I also want to rid myself early of all the glossy mailers that are going to clog up my mailbox and recycle bin. So since it is September and this is my first one I called up the campaign number listed on the glossy mailer. The lady who answered the phone at 484-329-7907 could not have been more pleasant. But some guy who must’ve been her supervisor decided he wanted to speak to me. I’m not going to publicly shame this person because everybody deserves a chance and I respect people that want to work on campaigns and I know it’s tough. But I will say that somebody else should take calls from now on, this gentleman should not be on the phone.

I tried to explain to this guy why Dr. Trivedi was not a candidate for me. I also tried to explain to this guy why I don’t want to receive these mailers. I did say to him however if he really wants his candidate to have a good showing in Chester County, a public position on things like the Sunoco pipeline and eminent domain would be of interest to Chester County voters.

He then tells me how they went to a couple community meetings and they were “looking into it.” Since March, no less. I said what is there to keep looking into? I asked if his candidate was in favor of eminent domain? Does his candidate understand our fears about these pipelines and what they could do that legitimately terrifies residents out here? I asked if his candidate understood how a lot of us were on wells and how scary an idea that is when somebody’s talking about fracking and putting pipelines through communities along with potential dangers to all natural water sources and wildlife?

If you want a topic that has grabbed hold of Chester County residents regardless of political party this is it, right? He decides he then wants to tell me all about Ryan Costello and Ryan Costello’s flaws.

I didn’t call them to debate the other candidate. I also don’t like to be talked down to by a campaign office. And I completely abhor people who use poor grammar on the telephone and tell me that they are a Montgomery county resident and he understands how I feel. I live in Chester County, you couldn’t possibly understand how I feel as a Chester County resident, so unfortunately that attempt at political empathy fell far short.

I did tell him that I feel sorry for political candidates because of the gerrymandering which has occurred in the 6th Congressional District of Pennsylvania over the past years. But when push comes to shove, I want someone more local to me to represent me in Congress if I can get it. And while I might find someone to be a very pleasant person, it doesn’t that I find them to be the best candidate for the job to serve my needs as a Chester County resident.

I will be blunt, I also find Obamacare a hot mess. I feel the last few years of national politics have been embarrassing at times for any American no matter what political persuasion you are. When it comes to Federal level politics, you very rarely get the opportunity to vote for the “local” guy. And my local guy is Ryan Costello. And I will vote for him gladly. But because I think Dr. Manan Trivedi is a nice person, I think his campaign offices need an education.

I see no problem with people being excited and very supportive of their particular candidate for whom they are working. But they need to adopt more of a “the customer is right” attitude. They need to learn the subtle art of turning people to their position without getting irritated on the phone. After all, there are quite a few weeks between now and election day. And I won’t be the only phone call their offices receive.

I have decided that one of the things that is going to make me decide on candidates this fall is what kind of a position do they take about pipelines and gas companies like Sunoco in Pennsylvania? How do these candidates feel about eminent domain? In mid-September, a candidate’s political office should not still be saying that the candidate is looking into something. They should have a position and be able to clearly state it for the candidate. The Wolf gubernatorial campaign, for example, is very clear on where they stand about pipelines. And I can tell you quite honestly, I can’t good conscience vote for Tom Corbett a second time. Especially given all the donations he gets from oil companies, right?

I might be a Republican, but I do believe in a two-party system. I am also an inveterate ticket splitter. But a two-party system in Chester County is also about 17 shades of ridiculous once again thanks to the infighting of the Democratic Party of Chester County. Truthfully, to that end, I actually feel sorry for the Trivedi campaign because as a Democrat candidate he and other Democrat candidates may very well be tainted by the same brush that is the in-fighting in Democratic politics right now in Chester County.

Thanks for stopping by today. Save a tree by asking candidates for political office not to send piles of glossy mailers out. And if you are a Chester County resident, please ask your candidates offices where they stand on pipelines and eminent domain.

what is a faith based world?

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This was one of those photos that spoke to me.  I had no idea at the time what I was capturing, I was just snapping away. And then when I was editing there was a kind of funky irony to a street sign indicating a crooked road in front of a church.  Are we to assume the path to true piety is crooked? Or am I being jaded?

A friend and I were discussing religion today.  More specifically Catholicism. He asked me if I went to church regularly. (We are both Catholic) I said no and that honestly I had not even picked a church to attend in Chester County since I moved out here.  He asked me if I missed church and I said, honestly, no. (And understand this friend of mine is a little right of Attila the Hun as far as conservatism and religion go.)

Ok not a nice thing to admit, but I am totally conflicted about the Catholic Church, especially given all the issues in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  As an adult who is free thinking I have a hard time with why it is I should believe in a church that allowed so many predators and pedophiles of children to roam around unfettered.  When I was a child I never knew priests like this existed. I went to church, to Sunday school. I believed. Maybe it’s that whole thing about when you are a child you believe with a child’s innocence.  (Of course that is why I am glad there are non-profits out there now like Justice4PAKids.)

church 2(Ok so I mean no disrespect for the Mennonite Church.  I just like to photograph fire and brimstone as well as amusing religious signs. Just thought I would say that on the record.)

Anyway, we got into this whole deep and slightly esoteric discussion about faith and faith based lifestyles and how people should go to church more and how the world would be a better place if people went to church more.

Ideologically, yes, perhaps. But we live in the real world, right?

So I am a Catholic, I have my faith, but am conflicted by my church and the actions of said church. How do I resolve that? Do I pretend questions don’t exist?

And then there is the whole thing of joining a new church.  How do I pick one and will I feel like the new kid transferring into school if I go to mass at one of them?  I have already had a couple of years of that new kid in town feeling, and well it was much easier to deal with when you are a kid because I think we are just more flexible when we are younger.

But  some days my brave new world is daunting. You know because it’s new. It’s exciting and happy and all sorts of positive and amazing things, but some days it is like being the new kid in school.  It took me a year before I actually recognized someone in a grocery store.  So the idea of all eyes on the newbie in the church pew is so utterly unappealing.

When it comes down to it, how do I even go about choosing a church?  I thought about checking out Saints Peter and Paul on Boot Road. But then, one day driving by I saw all these extremely disturbing anti-abortion signs along their property line facing the road.  Iprocrazy might be Catholic but I believe in a woman’s right to choose no matter what that choice
is. What I believe is right for me personally is not something I feel I could foist on another woman. Nor do I believe things like this belong on either a political platform or a pulpit. So to say I dislike these signs is a bit of an understatement. (Don’t even get me started on the pro-life billboards!)

Of course the other thing is the whole idea of living in faith based world. Do we live with faith as part of our world or is it supposed to control our world? When I see websites or articles about “faith based investing” for example, I have to wonder.  Will I next see faith based grocery shopping ?

My other issues with religion these days? Birth control and religious beliefs and what are they going to allow their employees to have as far as health insurance related to that?  Should we sit idly by while the rights of millions are dictated by the beliefs of a few?

How do I join the beliefs of traditional religion to the modern world in which I live? I still consider myself to be a person who believes in God and has faith.  But I don’t know what to do with the rest of it. How can I still be Catholic if I question so much about my own religion, for example?

Of course there is also the whole thing of meeting some people  in recent years who professed to be oh so godly, so pious.  Quite literally holier than thou. They were as mean as snakes to some  and do the whole “bless your heart” thing to most. church 1

“Bless your heart” is basically a Southern Idiom as I know it and considered pejorative. When you meet these official “bless your heart” types they  will smile to someone’s face and stab them in the back before they are turned around, and well to me it is a sad commentary on humanity.

So are we more politically correct to be faith based, or is it a marketing tool of lobbyists and way too conservative for me personally political groups (or aspiring politicians)?

Faith based by definition is “affiliated with, supported by, or based on a religion or religious group”.  We live in a country founded on religious freedoms, so how does that compute?

What kind of God are we supposed to believe in? Allowed to believe in? Is religion supposed to be gentle and all enveloping or punishing? Is religion supposed to be a private belief system or a political platform?

So many questions.

I know truly religious and pious people who do amazing things and then there are the others who use religious beliefs as judgment, i.e. how people stack up against their moral high road to nowhere fast.

Any thoughts?